A Journey of Faith

Monday, July 8, 2019

Stand in the Light

There is this song that I love...
It's called "Stand in the Light" by Jordon Smith. This guy has an amazing voice... but the lyrics are what grab my heart and make my soul sigh with contentment

These are the lyrics...

Stand in the light and be seen as we are
Didn't I tell you I hear what you say?
Never look back as you're walking away
Carry the music, the memories and keep them inside
Laugh every day
Don't stop those tears from falling down
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I'm not going to hide
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
With courage and kindness hold onto your faith
You get what you give and it's never too late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind
Fight hard for love
We can never give enough
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I'm not going to hide
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
Riding the storms that come raging towards us we dive
Holding our breath as we break through the surface
With arms open wide
With arms open wide
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I'm not going to hide
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
Source: LyricFind
"Riding the storms that come raging towards us we dive, holding our breath as we break through the surface with arms open wide."

Oh my... this is exactly how I felt three years ago when ALL the storms were raging around me, tearing my safe harbor apart and casting it aside and throwing me into a tailspin that in some ways I am just now breaking free of. I held my breath as my marriage ended, as my pastor (and mentor) left to serve a new church, as my therapist left for a new job, as I put my children into public school after homeschooling them for years, as I battled an eating disorder and anxiety that crippled me at times and depression that demanded I have a team of support people who were now leaving my life one by one. I held my breath as I figured out who I was and who I was becoming. I held my breath as I took a real look at my faith and my relationship with my God. And when I had worked hard and learned how to take care of myself, when I came to know myself and trust myself and actually (dare I say it???) like myself, I was able to start to move into the light as myself.

So who am I?

I am strong. I fought ED (eating disorder) and won
I am wise. I saw things in my life that were toxic and harmful and made choices that were healthy for me
I am stubborn. I not going to give up when I know what I need to do
I am loyal. If  you are one of my people, I am there for you. period
I am honest. Might not make some people happy (though I try to always be kind in my honesty) but I'm not going to lie just because it makes my life (or someone else's) easier
I am a woman of faith. I love God with all my heart and love God's people too

It feels so good to stand in the light... to stand in God's light and know that I can face the raging storms, I can come up from under the waves that try to drown me, I can reach up to the branch where happiness lives and escape the sadness that I have lived with most of my life. 

I am thankful for the light. I am thankful for the courage to take the risk to stand in faith and lean on that faith to sustain me and strengthen me and propel me into the life that God has for me.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Return to Joy

Ok, so I have been AWOL for a while. A lot has happened, and blogging has taken a back seat, but I have missed it... so here I am!

Soooooo... to catch up to things in my crazy little corner of the world...

I am in seminary! I have completed two years at one of the coolest places I have ever been and met soooo many people and learned soooo many things! I am constantly amazed at God's blessings on this journey. I was really worried about traveling to school (it's a long commute into a large-ish city and I am a country girl at heart!), worried about the coursework and worried that my eating disorder would rear its ugly head. I have been so thankful to see God's hand at work as I navigate all the things that come with being a seminarian with four kids, while learning to single parent and working two to three jobs. Let's just say that life is never dull!

SO.... I am hoping to start posting here once a week. My goal is to pick a song or movie or Scripture verse to write about.

It's good to be back, I missed this adventure of blogging and sharing my thoughts with anyone who is interested in reading them.

God bless!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Who is the Lady in the Front Row

I was sitting at church this afternoon, working on my schoolwork (the main reason I haven't posted in a while) and suddenly I had this overwhelming urge to pray for the lady who sits in the front row of the church I will someday be appointed to. I did pray for her. Of course, I have absolutely no clue who she is or what her needs are, but God does, so I prayed for her to feel his presence and strength, and for her to be safe and healthy, for her family and for her to feel overwhelmed by the love and peace of Jesus.

Who is she? Is she old or young, rich or poor? Does she have a huge, loving family... is she all alone? Is she the picture of health and vitality, or is she frail and weak with illness? So many questions I have about this woman and all the others I am getting ready to serve. I have been thinking a lot about that 'someday' congregation lately. Somewhere out there, right now, is a family of believers that I will be serving. Somewhere is a little baby who I will someday see before me in children's time. Somewhere is the child of God whose funeral will be the first I perform, a couple whose vows will be the first I hear as a pastor. Somewhere is the person I will someday counsel, hopefully making some small difference to their life.

I recently took my psych testing for my candidacy. There were some tough questions... not because I didn't know the answers, but because I did and didn't particularly want to answer them. But I did, with all honesty. In large part because I was thinking about that 'someday' congregation and how much I love them and want to be the best pastor for them that I can possibly be. Every step of this journey, every single one, I am thinking of how it is preparing me to do God's work, to be His hands and feet and eyes and ears and voice to His children. Every step of the journey I am thinking of how He has given me the love that He wants me to pour out on them someday. It makes it so much easier to see setbacks as just another part of the process and disappointments as another opportunity to learn and grow. It is funny to me (funny peculiar not funny 'haha') that it is so easy for me to see it this way. Usually I have a really hard time with setbacks and disappointments. Must be that I am getting just a liiiiiiitttttttlllllleeee bit better at the whole trusting God thing???

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Waking up at Home

           I woke up at home this morning. I took sleeping meds last night so that I would really sleep. And sleep I did... thirteen hours. When I woke up it took a minute to realize I was really at home. I lay in bed for a while thinking about the last week and a half and processing the fact that I was safe and comfortable in my warm bed... and those we served in Guatemala were waking up to very different circumstances. The leaders of the trip had said in emails that there would be an adjustment period when we came home... they were right. I am feeling so much right now... more even than when we were there serving. As I look around at my home and the piles of stuff... so much stuff... I think of Manuela and Francesca and their sparse homes. I think of the look of pride on their faces as they shared their humble homes with us. Homes that were small and dusty, but filled with love and pride. Homes that contained little more than a few beds, a few changes of clothes, and some kitchen tools. What would they think if they were to see the excess of stuff in my home? I have an overwhelming urge to sell everything I can and do more to help the people of Guatemala. Surely I could raise enough to do something more than hand out medicine for a week. Not that that didn't make a difference, seeing the gratitude on the faces of the patients as we gave them their medicines and prayed with them will forever stay with me. But to think what a couple hundred dollars could do for them... support the clinic, buy more medicine, help someone learn to support their family... the possibilities are endless. Coming home and having nothing more impactful to do than make sure the laundry gets done is awfully anticlimactic. How do you go back to your comfortable, safe life when you know that there are people in the world for whom just surviving is a daily struggle? How do you enjoy your health and safety when you have seen children who are suffering for a lack of simple medicines? There were children that we saw at the clinics that we had to send away without the medicine they needed to be healthy because we had run out. Little babies who would continue to suffer because there wasn't enough medicine to go around. Oh sure, their parents can always go to the next clinic and hope there is enough  medicine for their child this time... but what if there isn't? What if by the time there is enough it is too late? 
           My husband and I were talking about the trip and I told him I fully intend to go back. He asked if I wouldn’t want to go somewhere else, just to have the experience of going somewhere different. I wasn’t sure at the time why I would only want to go back to Guatemala… but I think it’s because I don’t feel done there. There is so much more to do there and I feel a part of it now. I went and served, yes. But I don’t feel like my job there is over. I feel like as long as there is more to do there I need to keep serving there. Not long term, I really feel like GOD is wanting me to stay on the path I am on into ministry, but I really think that I need to make serving His children there a part of my life in some way. I don’t think I will be able to rest if I simply go back to my life and forget that there is a way I can make life better… even just a little… for someone else.

          There is so much more I am thinking and feeling and I can’t put words to it. I can’t even begin to process. I wonder how long it takes to feel like you are back where you belong and not feel like you are short changing those you left behind who need more than you were able to give in too short a time. All I know at this point is that I saw GOD's hand everywhere on this trip, from the smiles of the patients at the clinic, to the energy that sustained the team through long bus rides, long work days, cold showers, and unfamiliar surroundings. It really brought to life the verse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" 

Monday, July 29, 2013

"The Best Day"

            For the last five or six years I have helped run the Vacation Bible School program at my church. I love the week that we get to finally see all our hard work pay off, and do all the fun stuff with the kids. I love seeing kids who don't know about Jesus learn that there is someone who loves them beyond anything they have ever imagined. And I love the energy that just runs through the whole week and the excitement that the volunteers and children have for learning about GOD's word.
           Today was the first day of VBS. We have three kids who have never attended a VBS before, and I don't know what their church background is. One of the boys in particular caught my attention. In music he was so enthusiastic, singing with all his might and really getting into the actions of the songs. He even started playing air guitar when he saw one of the people in the video playing guitar. I saw him a little later in snack and asked him if he was having fun. His reply? "This is the best day of my life!"
          The best day of his life! That's a pretty glowing endorsement for VBS! And I can't help but wonder what seeds we are planting for that young man. He is ten years old, and I have no idea if he comes from a family where GOD is talked about and prayed to, or if his parents were simply looking for something for him to do this week. What I do know is that for the three hours that he is in our care he will hear about how much GOD loves him, about how GOD will help him to stand strong, and about how GOD sent his son to die for him. I pray that those seeds grow and bloom and become a strong faith that will carry him through life's storms. Then indeed today will have been the very best day of his life, because it will be the day that his faith journey began.

Thanks be to GOD!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Whirlwind Blessings

          GOD’s timing is amazing. I was supposed to be leading another You and Me on the Hill at the camp this week, Sunday night until Wednesday noon. It was going to be the last time littlest duckling and I would be doing camp together (she’ll be too old for You and Me next year). On Friday the director of the camp called to let me know that they didn’t have enough kids signed up so they were canceling that program. Then he offered for littlest duckling to go to an arts and crafts camp for the whole week… by herself (she LOVES crafty stuff!! And so she was very enthusiastic to go). Biggest duckling and I dropped her off Sunday afternoon and were at the grocery store when my brother called and told me that my sister in law’s grandmother had passed away. I expressed my sympathy and thought… in the back of my mind…. hmmm wonder if I should offer to go out and help with the kids. But also in the back of my mind was the to do list that I would now be accomplishing since I wasn’t going to camp. Then Monday morning my sister in law called and asked if I would be able to come out so that she could go to the funeral. Of course I said yes!!
               Here is the cool thing… if the You and Me hadn’t been cancelled I would have been at camp. This is the only week that I could have done this for the next month or so. AND… we sometimes order food from a delivery service. I had ordered a bunch of stuff when they had a sale a few weeks ago, but wasn’t home when they came to deliver it. It arrived yesterday afternoon… about two hours after my brother booked my flights. Now my family will have some quick and easy meals while I am gone.
               And I get to spend time with my brother and his kids… without having to share them with my ducklings. So I can spoil, play, hug, read, and love to my hearts content and not have to fight off my kids (seriously… my kids are nuts about little kids! There is about six years between my youngest and my brothers oldest, so when we got together last the kids were 15, 13, 11, 8, 2 and 1. And my kids absolutely love to play with their cousins).

                So thank You GOD… for your timing. For the opportunity to spend time with my niece and nephew getting to know them better and make memories. Thank You for all the details you see to, from the timing of when people are at camp, to when the huge amount of ‘convenience food’ I ordered showed up. Thank You for watching over me, bringing me here safely and with no anxiety. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gardening Somethings

I walked into my garden today. It’s like my own little world, with its paths and its walls of green. Looking at the sheer volume of work that needed to be done could very well overwhelm anyone, and often threatens to do just that. But I have learned something about my garden. If I resist the urge to look at the garden as a whole, and avoid the temptation to think I have to pull every.single.weed… right NOW, I can enjoy my time in my little world. Instead of thinking of the garden as a one-time project that has to be finished all at once, I see it as a series of jobs. Today the tomatoes, tomorrow the beans and peas, later in the week the potatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash. As I was pulling each tiny blade of grass from around my beans today it occurred to me that caring for my garden is a lot like being a disciple of Jesus. Just like every weed I pull from the earth to give my plants the best shot at being fruitful… every time I give something up to GOD it gives me a better shot at being fruitful.

I worked on weeding my tomatoes first, getting two rows cleaned up and looking nice, then I moved on to the beans and peas. As I was sitting there I turned and pulled a particularly large weed from the row behind me. I started to scold myself for not staying on task, but then I realized that even thought I wasn’t sticking to one row I was still working on something. And as long as I was working on something I would still be making progress. It made me think of the way my faith has grown in the last few years. It seems that I am always working on something. Whether it’s gaining the confidence to speak in church about my faith, or finding the courage and words to pray out loud, or whether it’s learning to be still and listen to His call on my life… there has been so much to work on. And there is more yet to do. It’s like my garden. Every day I look at it and see the changes. There are weeds here that weren’t here yesterday, those plants are bigger than they were. This plant has more flowers than that one, and this one here is suffering from some plant disease.  Every day I look at my life and see the changes there too. Where I used to be a quiet presence in the pew every week, now I am taking a more active role in my church life. I am serving Him through serving my church… and it has made my faith so much more real.