Lectio Divinia

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:4-7

I’ve written before about Lectio Divinia here and about how much I enjoy it.  For a quick recap, you read a section of scripture four times focusing on different parts.  Here are the four steps:

  • Listen
  • Word/Phrase
  • Invitation
  • Response

This morning as I was chatting with some ladies, we ended on the passage above and I thought it was fitting that God would tie this right into my 31 days series.  Here’s what spoke to my heart on the three active steps.

  • The word/phrase that stuck out was guard.  I was reminded about how God goes before us and is behind us.  He really has us covered and I can trust in that.
  • The invitation that I felt prompted by was say it again.  This kind of put me on edge because I knew that the meaning I was pulling from the phrase is a little different than the context, but it resonated with my heart.  The way I took it was that God is inviting me to say His word again.  To speak out truth over myself, my family, and others.
  • My response to God was one filled with thankfulness.  I am so thankful that He doesn’t leave, that He hears all of our cares, and that He gives good gifts.  Asher was sitting on my lap smiling away during this one and I just thought it was a fitting picture to have about rejoicing and casting our cares on the Almighty.

So, that’s where I’m at today. Soaking in this word!

What sticks out to you from the passage above?

a glimpse of god

I didn’t expect to find tears running down my face.  I didn’t expect to find such a clear glimpse of who God is and His love for me.  To see how faithful God is to walk with us and never leave.  That’s the thing about encouraging other people.  Oftentimes, you’re the one so blessed and can’t help but smile through the tears.

Within a free pack of cards from (in)courage for National Day of Encouragement, I pulled this one out to find my fingers covered in gold sparkles.  A card that I would not pick myself.  Oh, but, the words softened my heart toward it:

“Thank you for sharing God’s love, not only with your words but also with your life.  In today’s world, that’s not always easy to do–but you do it with kindness and consistency.  That’s what makes you different, and it’s the reason you make a difference.  Thanks for being who you are and doing what you do–you’re appreciated more than you know.”

Right away, I knew who God wanted to receive this card.  Words came easily across the paper as if we were sitting chatting together instead of miles apart.  Until I got caught on the word consistency…so I wrote:

“And you keep walking this road with me from afar even when you could have easily stopped when an ocean got in the way.”

Somewhere along the way I picked up this notion that even if people say they will walk with me through a storm…that they’ll end up leaving me alone.  Close to a year ago, I entered a big storm and made some life changing decisions.  One of my questions as I entered this storm was if a few people would walk with me…and here today, I find them still walking with me. The storm has changed, but the one who I’m giving this card to…well, she’s still here…walking through the rain with me and teaching me to jump in the puddles with a smile on my face even while the tears flow. All the while….encouraging. waiting. trusting. praying. with me.

The Letters

Read on if you’ve read The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger.  If you have not read the book, you may want to stop here and come back because there will be SPOILERS!  Thanks to the Hoochee book club for the suggestions (I’m just a bit late on posting this…though I did read the book the week of Christmas…still late, but not as late as now!)

Heart-wrenching, heart string-pulling letters. The kind of letters that make you want to get up and yank two people back together. At least until you find out about a few specific reasons that caused them to drift apart. 

Affairs. Emotional. Physical. Break.my.heart.

Thankfully, I’m usually not a crier, but I will say that my eyes may have teared up a little.  But I was also angry.  Angry that they would let this drive them apart.  Angry that she would do that.  Angry that he would leave.  But sad.  Sad that their son died. Sad that they were shaken to the core. Sad that people would manipulate them for money.  But thankful for letters that kept them connected, that helped them share and open up when everything seemed too hard.  

All of that to say that even now my feelings about the book are a mixed bag.  I read it in one sitting. Devoured it and yet I’m left with an aching to know what happens next.  I do love the idea of falling all over again through letters. I’m a romantic at heart, admittedly.  So, did you read it?  Thoughts?

p.s. I totally want to go to Alaska and go on a sled with dogs 🙂

My Own Little World

Ever find yourself captivated and blinded by your own little world?  So caught up by the every day and the desires of your heart.  Acting without thinking through all the potential consequences.  Choosing based on whims or personal desires.  Taking on a “it’s my life” kind of attitude.  Failing to let others speak truth into your life or not calling them before you make that phone call or decision.  

 Personally, I act and express myself in such a selfish way sometimes only to find out later how my actions effect others.  Making a phone call can dramatically cause ramifications within my relationships.  What I write about in this blog effects those who read it.  My own well-being and emotional status affects those around me.  My closest friends and family often have to deal intimately with the aftermath of my decisions.  Yet, they still stick by me wanting to build me up, process my actions, and pray with me.  I am so thankful for such people in my life because let’s be honest, they don’t have to do that.  They can get wrapped up in their world and find my issues too big or too cyclical to deal with.  

Even those “far away” from me sometimes feel the effects of my decisions.  Will I give money to this organization or spend it on this?  Will I go here or will I stay?  Even as I interact with those nearby, they will in turn go to interact with others.  Will my actions build them up? Encourage them? Give them hope? 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

“…Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”

Since I Seem to Be Forgetting…

Happy Things in Life/Things to Be Thankful for (not a comprehensive list):

  1. I got into Seminary
  2. I have enough money to go to Seminary
  3. I have a job
  4. My pretty bike
  5. Being able to run
  6. Playing cards and games
  7. Curly/wavy hair so I don’t have to spend lots of time making it look decent
  8. More books than I can read at the moment
  9. My puppy that still greets me at the door and will sit outside on the deck with me and eat my gum and whatever else I give him
  10. God

You Are My Strong Tower, Fortress When I’m Weak

” …people are haunted by the idea from the intellectual heights that life is, in reality, absurd.” p. 10 The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

Loving this book and definitely have felt like that before.  Like life is boring, not purposeful, the same thing over and over.  But not today and for that I’m thankful.  I’m thankful for dreaming, realistic planning, being able to run 5 miles, a camera, good talks after Core Team (even if I went to bed WAY too late), exciting plans, achieving goals, friends home from Australia (above! with yummy fruit), biking, Kutless (I love their songs “Strong Tower” and “Take Me In”–can we say, repeat), and that tomorrow is Friday!

Thankful Sunday :)

I am so thankful:

  • that this weekend is over!!!!  Weird thing to be thankful for, I know, but such is life.
  • for the prayers that were said for me this weekend–thank you, Los (and all the people who were praying with him), Carrie, Liz, and anyone else.
  • for Mike and Sara…they’re pretty much amazing.  I am in awe at how God used them last night through their actions and words.  I am not one who is hardly ever able to cry in front of people, but for some reason I can in front of them.  Sara sat with me and let me cry before taking me on a walk (I’m definitely a walk and talk girl).  There is such power in being able to sit with someone and share in their sorrow without having to talk.  (reminds me of Job and how his friends sat for days before speaking).
  • board games 🙂 (like rook, wizard and settlers!)
  • my bright, happy room 🙂
  • and a lot of other things, but I’m tired….so bedtime.

Performance Review

What if God gave out Performance Reviews?

Prayer: You’re doing much better, but you still have plenty of room for improvement. Also, what about listening a bit more? Sometimes you get a little talkative and get off subject. I encourage you to be brave and pray more with other people. Oh and one last thing. Praying right before bedtime usually makes you fall asleep.

Bible reading: What happened?? You were doing so well for a while. I know life got busy with graduation and moving, but I had hoped you would still keep with the before bedtime reading. What about lunch time? That might be a good time to read a little and then pick up the before bed and first thing in the morning. You really don’t need to check your e-mail ten times in the morning.

Church: I’m so happy that you like Hope and the Church Plant and that you genuinely miss being there when you’re away. Keep pursuing community. I know it’s hard, but keep at it. Also, keep finding ways to serve and be an integral part of Hope and Antioch Community Church.

Contentment: I know, I know, you had hoped this one wouldn’t come up. I know you want things that you don’t have. I know the desires of your heart. So, let’s keep working on this one.

Okay, so I’m lacking on substantial big topics. I know there are plenty more that I could touch on, but you get the idea. I had my 90-day performance review at work. Yikes, I am WAY emotional. I have known this about myself for a while, but today brought it home. I have a hard time seeing the positive (even if there are lots!) alongside the negative. The negative strikes home and becomes all that I remember. I become irrational and feel like I am being personally attacked. I go into the “I’m a horrible person, ect” cycle and get caught up. Rationally, I am thankful for the tips on what I can do better and areas where I need to improve because I honestly want to do the best job that I can in everything that I do. Feedback is important and is helpful. I just need to get beyond the self-esteem issue and wrap my head around the logical, rational side that sees how the criticism will be beneficial and helpful in the end. This covers all areas of my life from spiritual to emotional to work-related to physical to relational. Now, to get to work on changing and improving!

Best Friends

I remember as a little girl going the whole nine yards with the “best friend” frenzy. From necklaces, to bracelets to matching things, we flaunted the “best friend” status. Unfortunately, in those years sometimes people get left out and hurt by the whole “best friend” mania. Plus, the manufacturing companies never made life easy by only allowing a girl one best friend. Although, if we want to go technical, there should only be one “best”, right? Maybe we just need different types of “best” because that’s what the distinction comes down to sometimes. A best friend to talk with, a best friend to do sports with, a best friend to go dancing with, ect.

Last night, I really needed one of my “best friends.” I tried some of the other “bests” and they filled their spots wonderfully, but not quite what I wanted/needed. I needed that person to talk some sense into my negative, messed up head and to speak light and truth into the darkness with all encompassing love. I fell asleep with tear stained cheeks feeling a bit defeated. Yet come morning, my “best friend” spoke the healing words I needed. I am so thankful to have such amazing people in life. I am so glad that I have all sorts of “bests” to walk with me through the different struggles and triumphs. I am so thankful to have enough relationships that go beyond the proximity and affinity type (those are important too, but in a different way!). So, here’s to all the “bests” in life who let us lay it all down, drop anything to get there for us, and help us rise into the light at the end of the fight 🙂

Just lay it all down, put your face into my neck and let it fall out

I know, I know, I know, I knew before you got home

This world you’re in now, it doesn’t have to be alone

I’ll get there somehow

Cause I know, I know, I know

When even springtime feels cold

But I will learn to breathe this ugliness you see

So we can both be there and we can both share the dark

And in our honesty, together we will rise out of our nightminds

And into the light at the end of the fight…

You were blessed by a different kind of inner view: it’s all magnified

The highs will make you fly but the lows make you want to die

And I was once there, hanging from that very ledge where you are standing

So I know I know I know, it’s easier to let go

But I will learn to breathe this ugliness you see,

So we can both be there and we can both share the dark

And in our honesty, together we will rise out of our nightminds

And into the light at the end of the fight…

…and in our honesty, together we will rise out of our nightminds

and into the light…at the end of the fight

“Nightminds” by Missy Higgins


I hate being sick. I’m not a happy person. I am a wimp when it comes to being sick. When I’m sick, I just want to be at home with my dog (who unlike the dog here doesn’t bark and be annoying), my bed, and having *that* person holding me while I sleep and making it all better. Plus, I hate coughing because I have asthma so then it feels like I can’t breathe and am going to have an attack. I also hate runny noses because honestly haven’t I dealt with enough of that during allergy season (especially before I got allergy shots)!?

Okay, I’ll stop complaining and being a wimp and go back to sleep (so I can get better fast since I start my new job on Tuesday!!) in my ultra comfy bed with a pillow top and a feather bed and pretend my dog is here and forget about *that* person and be thankful that it’s the weekend, that I have a God who is more than enough, and I will get better eventually 🙂 Hope you’re all feeling better than I am!