Friday, March 25, 2011


We were asked at the renewal that we just came from to make some “commitments” (which is hard for some of us who flee from most anything that requires commitment for fear that we will fail, but that’s another post altogether).

We were to ponder and pray and listen for God to speak in regards to what He was seeking to transform within us throughout the week and how what we felt Him shifting would play itself out on the following Monday morning when we were no longer in “renewal” setting. It was obvious that real life was waiting, so how would our time together with one another, and mostly, with the Lord have affected the everyday-ness of our life.

In an attempt to not oversimplify but not write a ridiculously long post – one of my RUDE awakenings throughout the week of being in God’s presence and the presence of some other folks who invited us to engage with them in the process of a “deeper life,” was that I felt clearly convicted that I had traded in my DELIGHT at being a daughter of the King and walking with Him into hard places and feeling privileged to do so – to attempt to lead a ministry. The exchange has been stinky and it’s taken the best parts about doing all of this with it. It has left me tired and frustrated and burnt out and bitter and hurt and lacking in so many places. I was offering the people I was certain God has asked me to serve, a very manufactured offering, because my cup was bone dry – there was nothing there worth anything to offer. I found myself scary dry and scary numb toward some things that should move this girls heart.

One of the largest regrets I have about ministry is that sometimes it hardens things that were so soft and vulnerable and nurturing in some far off distant place in the past. Some of that is “theirs” to own (whoever “they” might be)…for instance my heart remembers soft and vulnerable before it seemed like everyone was watching and knew how you were supposed to do things and were dishonoring in their conversations about how wrong even your best attempt at following Him passionately and serving people is. It was that way before ministries fought and competed for credit instead of working together to help the people who needed it. It was that way before people who loved Jesus didn’t act like Jesus very much at all. AND THEN…if I am honest a whole big lot of it is mine to own…It was that way before I took my eyes off Him and put my eyes on all the needs in front of us and our inadequacy to meet them. It was that way before I was able to walk past a half naked hungry soul and that feel like a “normal” part of my world, without needing to respond. It was that way before the pictures in the newspapers of murdered bodies lying on the ground no longer made me sick to my stomach or burdened in my heart and I was able to flip the page without much feeling about that at all. It was that way until I allowed my guilt over what other people thought a missionary should be to dictate what I did whether I felt God leading in that direction or not. It was that way until I began behaving as though I believed that working for God might be the same thing as pursuing God. It was that way before I thought that being a “missionary” had now become part of my “identity” instead of a really humbling piece of my journey through this life. It was that way until one day I realized that I had gotten so far from the girl I was when I came here to do this that I honestly wasn’t sure whether I really knew myself at this point at all. There’s a whole lot there that takes some “owning” from me as well.

Sure there are places that have grown and changed and shifted. There are places that are better as a result of the journey, but I think sometimes moving forward from where you are requires naming what you hate about where you are. I think this is that.

Somehow naming it and saying it and calling it what it is – liberates. There it is, honest, and out in the open, I am far from who I desperately want to be.

So now what??? Well, I think that’s where the “commitment” of what would change on Monday morning after our renewal time together comes in. At the risk of this sounding like I’m binding myself to some “law” I’ll never be able to keep, and using some tag line that has become an easy way to bury someone with guilt, I was certain that some things were going to have to change in my world. You know what I decided. I deserve an hour in the morning to seek God. I deserve a pretty place to be able to do that. I desire a cup that overflows with Him and things that would honor Him and if that’s true then it’s going to take some devotion on my part to bring that cup to Him for His abundant filling. So I decorated my patio. I bought myself a table and chairs. I was gifted with some gorgeous flowers to plant in my flower boxes. I bought some more pots and some other flowers that I just loved. I created a space to meet with God. It won’t be magic. It won’t create something I couldn’t have created in a corner of my bare room – but I want to be intentional about meeting with God and delighting in that again. I figured He was deserving of my time and energy in creating and decorating a place where we would have a date each day. So I dedicated that corner of the patio to be my “prayer chair.” Many other things will inevitably take place there but at the beginning of my day whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour or longer, I’ll seek Him there. I’ll put myself in position of surrender and listen for His lead. I’ll remember that my identity is in being His daughter…NOTHING else. I’ll be still and I will allow Him to quiet this heart that can hear the criticisms and opinions of others so loud some days I think I might go nuts. I will bring Him my mess and ask Him to start here with me first, change this before I invite or serve or “work” for everyone else who “needs” Jesus, I’ll remember that I’m pretty desperately in need of Him as well.

This prayer was one that was shared at the “renewal” and will become a regular part of my morning time…it speaks of morning, but it also speaks toward new beginnings and I feel like that also is where I am at this point in the journey.


Our first glimpse of reality this day – everyday – is your fidelity.

We are dazzled by the ways you remain constant among us,
in season, out of season,
for better, for worse,
in sickness and in health.
You are there in watchfulness as we fall asleep;
You are there in alertness when we awaken…and we are glad.
Before the day ends, we will have occasion
to flag your absence in indifference…
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will think more than once
that we need a better deal from you…
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will look away from you and
relish our own fidelity and our virtue in mercy…
but not now, not at the dawn.
Now, at the dawn, our eyes are fixed on you in gladness.
We ask only that your faithfulness
permeate every troubled place we are able to name,
that your mercy
move against the hurts to make new,
that your steadfastness
hold firmly what is too fragile on its own.
And we begin the day in joy, in hope, and in deep gladness. Amen.

I desperately want to be honest with myself and with my God about who and where I am and how desperately I need Him – and today at this dawn – I think I make the commitment to start there again…knowing that I will no doubt fail…and that He will NO doubt still love me. Amazing!! Absolutely amazing!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I have just had a “defining moment” week in my life.

I remember the season that led up to my reinvention of what this heart believed to be true about church and God and an authentic relationship with Him so vividly. It sticks out to me and will forever be a mark of my spiritual journey because it reshaped so much of my own walk with God. I learned in a small group of people in my 20′s what it meant to passionately love God and become a disciple attempting to follow so closely that the dust from His steps might land upon these feet. I wanted to become a follower of Christ, the platitudes and cliches would no longer satisfy all that was stirring in my heart. I wanted Him – a true version of Him – a pursued intentionally version of Him – a manifestation of Him in my life in the ways that I chose to live out every part of life. That season actually began my “relationship with Him.” My belief in Him came much earlier but His permanent home in my heart took up residence during that season. It was a “defining moment.”

So when I use the words “defining moment” they bear weight in my heart. They carry with it the idea that it marked me so deeply that parts of my heart/life/pursuit of God will forever be changed from the experience.

In the same way that worshipping with a small group of folks “reinvented” my ideas about community and God and church and walking with Him, this week has marked me as significantly in my views of ministry. I have been changed forever by both witnessing these women serve and minister and by the empowering of feeling like God was challenging me to go and do likewise in the sphere of ministry that He has placed before me.

I have a feeling this blog will be the spot where I wrestle out some of what’s in my heart about my time here and ALL that has happened as a result of it. Even typing that I have a myriad of words coming to mind for blog topics…hesed, easy love/hard love and all that happens in between, Psalm 103 (which could easily be 150 blogs on it’s own), a whole host of names of women who have touched me deeply and things you should hear and know about each of them, oh heavens, I have soooooooooo much crowding for space and desperately needing a way to flow out that I’m gonna need a way (if for no one else but me) to say some of this … so this is it!!

One of the things I have read over and over and over again since someone was kind enough to share this with me is this prayer. It resonates. It challenges. It screams in some moments and whispers in others. Today this is what I need to share and what I need to log on this space, so that I never forget how much it spoke to me in this season.

An Answering and a Refusing

We confess you to be the God who calls,
Who wills,
Who summons,
Who has concrete intentions,
For your creation,
And addresses human agents
Who do your will.

We imagine ourselves called by you…
Yet a strange lot:
Called but cowarldly,
Obedient but self-indulgent,
Devoted to you, but otherwise preoccupied.

In our strange mix an answering and a refusing,
We give thanks for your call.

We pray this day,
For ourselves, fresh vision;
For our friends, great courage,
For those who search for You in places more dangerous than ours,
Deep freedom.

As we seek to answer your call,
May we be haunted by your large purposes,
We pray in the name of the utterly called Jesus, Amen.

And amen