be delicate: what I learned in march

Now, I know that in terms of days, March technically only has 3 days more than February…though, this year I’ve deemed this the longest month ever.  With lingering snow storms, I’m a little weary of March and hoping that April might hold more promise—I’m not holding my breath, though!  I keep thinking that at least by the time this little baby comes we likely will have grass.  Right?  Grass by June/July seems reasonable.  In other news, I’ve let a whole month slip by without a single blog post but hey I’m here again linking up.  April just might be a good month for all sorts of things (blogging and sunshine!).  Until then…here’s what I learned in March!

1. I may say that I am Boaz’s favorite…but here is some evidence that sometimes this crazy dog prefers the husband over me.  Either way, that dog loves to be close.

IMG_7567 IMG_7569

IMG_7571

2. Trader Jo’s oreo shakes…yes please!  Apparently, I’m rather particular about the thickness of my shakes.  We followed a recipe for these and let me tell you, I was not impressed.  So, I did what only made sense and started adding more ingredients.  After using all of the oreos, some cookie butter, and a whole lot of ice, they finally were closer to what I preferred.  In the end, I determined I just plain prefer ice cream in my shakes.  IMG_7615

3. Community and vulnerability are good for my heart.  I went to a workshop/conference for a few days and even got to get creative and use some markers to share bits of my story (hence the color covered hand).  Life is messy and beautiful.  A few weeks after going, I found myself embracing the little phrase “be delicate.”  My head is still rolling this around and my heart is tugging at the seams when thinking about it. So often, I don’t show my delicate, tender, and soft side.  I don’t know where it will lead, but all that to say, that March has thrown that phrase into my vocabulary (and I rediscovered my love for picmonkey for editing and adding words to pictures).

IMG_7585be delicate4. This verse. Such goodness.  This month has exposed some of my “scorched places” and I am so thankful for a God who brings the rain and is with me in the fire.  Isaiah 58:11. IMG_7618

5. I could put sprinkles on just about everything and be a happy girl.

IMG_7635 IMG_7656

6. This bump has gotten out of control and we still have 14 weeks to go!  March became the month of the baby bump popping out and me finally gaining some weight.  And let’s just say.  Baby still loves to move a ton.  🙂IMG_6980

6 weeks above and almost 26 weeks below.IMG_76437. Lastly, I finally  figured out a way to organize and clean up my camera roll!  I deleted all of the photos off my camera roll this morning…first time, I have had an empty camera roll probably since I got this phone!  For some reason, my syncing hasn’t been quite great at deleting them after I imported them to iPhoto.  So, I didn’t know what I had on iPhoto and what I didn’t.  Either way, I made sure I had backed them up and had everything in order before deleting.  But let me tell you.  That thing was full!  I may or may not be a photo hoarder (2000ish photos later).

There you have it.  My random bits from March.  I’m hoping these next few days fly by and then April brings sunshine, showers, and pretty flowers.

What did you learn in March?

 

 

 

 

Learning to Deal with Disappointment

How you learn to manage your disappointments in your life will determine your destiny.

-Christine Caine

Disappointments come all around us in life.  They start coming even when we’re little.  When the friend chooses someone else to share her cookie with that day or when we don’t get to go on a class trip or when we miss out on getting the most amazing new toy ever.  Sometimes we’ll pout and throw our fits.  Other times we’ll get mean and say some angry words because at the core, we’re hurt.

 Then we get a little older and well, the disappointments don’t stop coming.  The little disappointments are still there like missing out on getting a cute new Starbucks mug because they sold out or missing going to a store because it closed or someone else getting what we wanted.  “Bigger” things too can crush our fragile hearts like not getting picked for a job or watching a ministry close down or not being able to get pregnant or watching our plans change.  That’s when we might simply cry because we had a plan and now it’s going all wrong.  We’d prayed and prayed and things weren’t supposed to turn out this way.

I started writing this post on December 12, 2011.  I had no clue on that day what God would do in my life and how different everything would be just a year later.  There’s the acknowledgement that if some of my disappointments hadn’t come, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Yet, there’s also the acknowledgement that those disappointments were exactly that. A disappointment.  Something to feel, grieve, and walk out.  Even when good is worked out of a situation, it can still hurt.

But that’s where Christine Cain ever so convictingly reminds us that how we handle those disappointments will determine our destiny.  Will we stay in our hurt and in turn hurt those around us?  Will we thank and worship God even so?  Will we hold grudges and reject others because of our jealousy or hurt?  Will we choose faith or fear? How will we handle our disappointments?

Lord, I haven’t always handled my disappointments with grace and love….help me, teach me, and be with me as the disappointments keep coming so that I can handle them in a healthy, godly way that draws me closer to You.

…life twists and turns

(disclaimer: my heart is full and doesn’t do these types of stories short….so i’ll just share in that lovely conversational, free-flowing style…so here’s an announcement of sorts)

I’ve written this post up in my head a few times and sat on it more often than not.  I’m big on people telling their own stories.  I want to hear your story from you…not from someone else.  That phone call saying you’re engaged–so exciting! The moment in the car when you tell me about your next big adventure–oh how I love it!  The steps you’re taking to move forward–I want to hear how they’re going from you.  The heartbreaking, gut-wrenching news that brings tears to your eyes–I want to sit with you in your pain and cry with you.  There’s something so powerful about doing life with people, being for people, and stepping into their stories as they share.  Words, perception, body language…all of it add so much to a story.  So, when it comes to my own story.  I want to be the one telling it.  I want to be the one to tell you the exciting news or about the times I’m crying.

Yet, I’m slow with my stories.  They brew, they simmer.  I let them unfold before letting most people into the story.  I struggle with finding the right words to convey the right meaning and to share my heart accurately.  I sit there and wrestle with how I can share in a way that you’ll see so much more than just the words.  My heart’s so much more complicated than a simple statement and I love that God made me that way and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All of that preface to say that I haven’t clued most of you in on the way that life has been twisting and turning unexpectedly.  If you’ve read a while then you’ll know I love Africa. I do. Absolutely. The missing is fierce and every time I think it might fade it doesn’t….though, as a friend (who just launched a pretty new blog!) reminded me: “Those of us who carry Her in our heart can pray for Her like no one else can… I’m convinced that’s why the intensity never fades!”

Now, oh how I wish I could jump up and down and say look God spoke and said to go back.  Nope. Not {yet}.  And don’t you go thinking I haven’t chased it down and knocked on all sorts of doors only to hear…not now.  There are lots of not yet and not now in my life in all sorts of areas.

Makes sense since my OneWord2011 is trust.  Trusting often means waiting when you can’t see.

Yet. I do have something fun going on and an open door that still scares me even as I’m doing it afraid.  I guess after Africa round 2 I’m still mostly gun shy that things are going to go along swimmingly and then be snatched away.  I’m tentative to share plans, dreams, hopes before they happen because of the uncertainty. (working on this with God!)

But the last month or so caught me up in a whirlwind of “Oh hey, God.” moments leading me down a path and open doors I didn’t even really want to open…I kept saying, “It’d be much easier to trust God in going back to Africa and fundraising and doing traditional missionary work than this.”  Yep. So, my “big trust” has been gulping a deep breath and doing it afraid.  From laughingly getting off a phone call where I realized I somehow applied to a program I just wanted information about to being accepted right before the deadline to everything coming into line.

Yes, I still love Africa and yes, I committed to going to grad school for counseling and yes I love it so far and yes, I don’t fully know what God’s doing and yes I’m trusting Him in this especially because I can’t see anything and yes, I still want to leave for Africa, and yes, I’m obeying when God says stay.  And yes, I’m trusting big time that God is just going to use this as all part of that awesome preparation time that so many people go through in the Bible (cue David tending sheep, Jesus waiting so many years, Joseph and his journey, Esther and so forth).

A nice little red bow of illogical “yes, and” mixed with a whole lot of trust.

Any new exciting and/or hard things happening in your life story? 

grief

This video of Ian Cron. I get.

Puddles of grief.

For most of my life I’ve been running away from these triggers, stories, moments…from this pain.

Ascribing the tears and running straight into these issues.  That’s the hard work.

And things that matter to me are issues even if I don’t want them to be issues (more often than not I don’t want to have any “issues”)

Owning my story in its fullness requires that I spend time sitting in the pain.

I am by far a “doer.” I problem solve, analyze, figure things out.  Sitting, being, enjoying….so much harder.

Wholeness takes work.  The hard work of sitting in the pain rather than running.

But, it’s worth it.  I catch glimpses of integrity and wholeness and just being me….and oh how my heart sings.  I long for that more often.  So, I’m choosing to sit in some of my grief today.

Do you have a hard time sitting in your pain? 

honor the story

“I want to sit quietly for a moment to honor the story you’ve just told.  It was sacred.” 

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan

sometimes silence is better than words that overcompensate or devalue.

psst…i think maybe just maybe that i’ve learned once you’ve told your story and get used to telling it, that’s when god breaks in like the dawn and shakes things up in a way that helps you learn how to fall in love and be swept off your feet all over again…that’s when you start to enjoy God and enjoy life and love Him all the more and that’s when trust starts getting easier.

whole

That beautiful time of the week slipped into place without notice.  Friday, you’ve come all too soon and yet right on time. My heart still needs to play a little catch up and my head wants to process oh so much more.  Time swooshes by and I’m reaching for air to exhale so I’m ready for a little ditty of writing without editing. Five minutes without frills.  The real, raw kind of writing that hits my soul in a refreshing way.  No holds bar. Whatever pours out onto the page.  And today, we’re writing on….

Whole

I crinkle the sides of my face when I think about the beautiful thing the Lord did.  If you’ve seen my face and the laughter that comes when talking about this story then you’ll know that I’ve found my safe place.  I found someone safe who listens to my whole story.  I laugh because for so long I kept secret about this refuge because I hadn’t learned how to swallow my pride.  Most often people gets bits of my story and bits of my heart.  Those who know the whole story lodge themselves in the depths of my heart. This healing process with this counselor friend mentor peer beautiful soul  unfolds in unexpected ways and I’m realizing that the journey toward wholeness requires telling the whole story.  The more pieces I tell the more I come together and fold unto myself in wholeness amidst the brokenness. God loves hearing me share the whole story. So do other people. The real parts of life. Life’s too short to skimp on these.

—–

what pours out of your heart when you write about “whole”?

Loss…

I almost said these past few months, but then I realized that it’s been this year.  2011.  I’m marking it down as the year that I started to learn how to grieve.  I never took the time before. I rushed from one trauma into the next thing.  I couldn’t catch my breath long enough to let the tears come and when they come sometimes they overwhelm.  Tears that I didn’t want to cry.  I scrunch up my face in protest, but learn that doesn’t work too well–even now writing this post, I see teary eyed because once you’ve opened the floodgates, you open them wide.  Yet all at once, there are those days where you so badly want the tears to come and they don’t.

That’s the thing about loss and grieving.  They aren’t what you expect at all.  They come in their own jumbled mess of a box without a timeline, formula, or plan.  Even now, I catch myself needing to give myself grace when I say, “You should be over this. That shouldn’t trigger that.”  I’m throwing wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, and everything I need in my toolbox.  Grabbing ahold of all the tools I can get because I know the fight is fierce. I’ve been there. I’m in it. Fighting PTSD like triggers that come out of nowhere.  A song. The way someone says something. An invitation.  Unexpected knee jerk reactions that cause me to throw up my walls, retreat, draw away, and put on my “tough” face.  Oh the ways I need to speak life and truth to myself: “Not everyone does that. They’re a solid person. You’re okay. Engage, don’t withdraw.”

In the midst of the loss, I stand tear-stained confident that He who began a good work will continue to be faithful to complete it.  He began this grieving and healing process, He will walk with me through it.  He promised to comfort. He will. He promised to make beauty from my ashes.  He will. Even though I see loss written all over, He is the great reward.  As is written, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Though, what I’ve lost mattered to me and it mattered to God because I matter to Him…I also keep in mind that He is far better.  So, when the door closes again and I experience another loss, I can rest in knowing Christ.

————

a little five minute friday turned into more than five minutes if you need because well it’s friday and sometimes when your teary eyed you need a bit more. thank goodness lisa-jo even gave permission 😉

what experiences do you have with loss and grieving?

marathon recap

Oh hey. Maybe you thought I forgot to fill you in on all the amazing marathon-ness. I didn’t! Granted, I wrote eight pages of my own memories shortly afterward so you’ll get the condensed bulleted version.  Here goes….


(this was taken toward the end…love that i’m still smiling–that was one of my goals to smile a lot! one group of girls even made a comment about how i was still smiling. happy.)

What I learned/memories from running a marathon:

  • I love people. I love hearing their stories. I love sharing my story to give them a glimpse of God.  I love talking about Africa and babies and ministry and dreams and hopes.
  • I met the doctor with the goal of running a marathon in each state (he’s finished 22 states).  He also threw in a few Ironman’s to boot.  Twice in Brazil.  He informed me that they are easier than marathons—can you say my head went down the road of “Maybe I should do an Ironman” because it totally did.
  • I sat next to an amazing lady who “lost track” of how many marathons she had done–her guess was 90.  Including one in Antartica and a few trail ones where you have to pull yourself up cliffs.  Hardcore.
  • Met a couple of girls who did something “crazy” each summer.  This summer was a marathon.
  • Another sweet girl just had a baby named Olivia Rayne seven months ago.  She shared how she didn’t like being pregnant at all because she didn’t like being “controlled.” Such an interesting perspective I’ve never heard.
  • I met a lady who grew up Catholic and is now Lutheran. She shared parts of her story and I was so honored to hear them.
  • A guy whose idea of celebrating his 60th birthday meant running a marathon—granted I found out later that even though his sign said it was his birthday today it was really two days ago! Wha! I loved his blunt honesty. He shared that he started running because of “ego.”
  • Another man shared with me about how his wife just got back from Swazi. I heart Africa.
  • I joked with a lady about how we were going faster than the bus.
  • I found myself furrowing my brow at blow horn guy standing on the sidelines trying to tell people about Jesus. Um, excuse me, get out here and run and chat with these people and get to know them and love them…
  • An adorable couple with shirts letting us know they were newlyweds.
  • Matching texas flag shorts on a couple who held hands and melted my heart. I want a man like that who takes his wife’s hand and loves her well.
  • Giving high fives to everyone I could.
  • Kids holding signs for their moms….oh my heart.
  • Laughing with God about the rain. Embrace the rain and do it anyway.
  • Saying thank you to every single volunteer
  • Pushing through the hard…and there definitely comes a point where it’s hard. Keep running.
  • I’m all about doing life WITH people. That’s when I’m happy. That’s what I love.
  • Some people run with you a long while, others only a bit, but they all can add or take away from your journey.
  • The wonders of a heat blanket at the finish line.
  • Pure exhaustion.
  • Love.

I learned so much.  About myself, about God, about life.  God blessed me so much through this process. He showed provision and protection along the way.  Encouragement in all sorts of forms showed up when I needed it most.  He taught me to persevere even in the rain.  He reminded me that I care more about bringing people along to run the race with me…my motto lately has been God sees you; see others.  Put value on them, encourage them, love them, help them run their race well, run with them.

My heart still overflows with so many thoughts from this experience, but there’s a little snapshot.  You might just hear a bit more over the coming weeks and months or just chat with me sometime and I’m brimming with all sorts of God-stories from this.

p.s. if you’re thinking of running one….my advice…do it! and then let me know so i can run it with you =)

no.you.are.not

“you are a daughter of the king of kings and you hold your head up high because maybe when you were born the enemy said i’m getting rid of her and god said

no you are not.”

-sheila walsh

I can’t get this quote out of my head.  Hearing Sheila Walsh speak at God Chicks seriously messed with me in a good way.  She made me laugh when she joked about how she said, “God, take me anywhere, but just not that.”  She shared how God went with her to her very own “not that.”  How He went with her to the psychiatric ward and met her there.  In the midst, God reminded her, “The Shepherd knows where to find you.”

I don’t know what your “not that, Lord” is or what you fear.  I know I definitely have a few of my own and am laughing with God because I’m there now in one of my own “not that.”  But sometimes in those places, we find that there’s healing.  The very places we swore we’d never go turn into the places we find refuge.  The safe places, the places of trust, where we can breathe.

So, when I want to run, I remember…God knows where to find me. He knows where I hide. He knows when I’m crying on the floor. He cries with me.  He takes me to the uncomfortable places because He wants to make beautiful out of the mess.  Out of the hard work and patience comes the beauty.

He refuses to let go of me.  He fights for me.  Because the enemy certainly tried over and over to take me out.  He’s still trying. But God keeps saying…No.you.are.not.  She’s mine.

imperfect people

Airports fill up with interesting people. 

You have the little kids running around with smiles on their faces.

A momma pushing twin babies through the crowds. 

The gypsies sleeping on the floor who may or may not have shaved.

All sorts gather here to come, to leave, and create the perfect space for god encounters.

Before I encountered all the hustle, I found myself sitting quietly at the ticketing counter waiting.  I sat alone with my laptop being mindful that I should be working.

A complete stranger entrusted me with a part of his story.

My heart broke both for the pain in his story and in the threads of my own.

He shared of wounds from the church, affairs, a lack of leadership action, and his own struggle to show up to church.

I spoke what I could and heard his pain in a way that I could feel.

Because well I may not have been in his exact shoes, I have felt the pain in my own story.

The pain of imperfect people and the battle wounds they leave.

Imperfect people in imperfect churches.

The hard truth that we can see glimpses of God in people, but they pale in comparison.

I spoke life and reminded him while preaching to myself that people aren’t God.

Only God can make beauty out of ashes. Only God can work all things out for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Only God gives every good and perfect gift.  Only God makes the wilderness into Eden.

People are not God. We fall short. Very very short.

And so when I chalk up another wound, I must remember…that’s not what God is like.