Monday, October 12, 2009

Dealing with Dirt

Our very old cat, Kiki, has been making regular trips to our bathroom to do her "business" which in and of itself would be a blessing if she was a good shot. But, as we have discovered during our own midnight treks to the one and only bathroom in the house, she is not. Yeah, um, you get the picture. Basking in the not-so-lovely aroma of kitty pee means yet another top to bottom scouring of the entire bathroom, washing rugs, etc. Well as I begun the ritual, for some odd reason I made a point to include the mini-blinds in the cleaning action this time. No, the cat did not pee or poop on those - THAT would be amazing! The mini-blinds were in dire need, and I realized I could no longer get by with twisting them a different direction to hide the dirt! By the way, did I mention how much I hate cleaning those little metal slats of hell? I was getting myself into something...

I ventured forward, as usual, working my way from the bottom up, going from one cleaning rag to another, and not particularly feeling like I was accomplishing much. It always seems like one slat gets clean, and the dirt just multiplies. Frustrated, I contemplated ending my cleaning efforts right at the section of blinds where the curtain fell; well, maybe a little farther up just to be safe. Out of sight out of mind, right? I mean, if somebody wants to go out of their way to check the cleanliness of my mini-blinds, don't they deserve to see a little dirt?

Well, isn't it just like God, on cue, to answer my questions with His own, "Daughter, do you think you can hide your dirt from Me?" WOW! I honestly had to stop and catch my breath. "No, Lord. I can't!" But that doesn't mean I don't try. Suddenly, a barrage of thoughts and intentions from all these faraway, secret places of my heart and mind came blowing and swirling in, kind of like out of control dust bunnies! Oh, how often I go out of my way to look good and clean; even adding a shot of disinfecting self-righteousness for good measure. I realized God had more to say to me. This is the verse He gave me, "Therefore, do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." Matthew 10:26 I knew in that moment I needed to let His word resonate in my spirit for a bit.

What was I fearing? What was I hiding? For crying out loud, I was just cleaning the bathroom!

As my family and I prepare ourselves to heed the calling God has placed on our hearts to help bring to life a new church in Kahului, HI; and as we leave the safe, expectant, and comfortable confines of our home, church family and friends of 15 years; I feel God is leading me ever deeper into the muddy, murky waters of my own soul - straight into my fears of the unknown. And suddenly I grasp how, more than ever, how confession and repentance must become daily acts of worship; and not just random, Sunday utterances! The revelation of God's love toward me in this 'bathroom cleaning' moment is amazing! I mean, how often do I busy myself with "stuff" just to avoid what is really bothering me? Well, He knows me better than I know myself. For it could only be God who would take me to that place in His word, to read what Jesus spoke to His disciples, preparing them for the persecutions they would face in following Him; encouraging them to not be fearful.

Lately, the well-intentioned comments and warnings for us to "be careful and aware of how much the Hawaiians hate white people" or how "difficult reaching the locals is going to be" has felt like set-ups for failure and discouragement before we have even started. I don't believe they are meant to dissuade us, but I confess that I have allowed them to give feet and movement to my deep fears and uncertainty - my very own "dirt" which the enemy does his best to use against me, and render me ineffective. But true to form, God is astounding! He is so patient...Once again I am humbled with the knowledge that I have been made clean by the blood of Jesus, which purifies me from all unrighteousness. I am reminded that fear is not from the Lord! The treasure which I hold dear is Jesus, and the Truth - He has already paid the penalty and price for every stinkin' piece of filth that I let cling to my heart, and which holds me back from doing what He commands! Love, after all, covers a multitude of sins...That is our act of worship going forward - to love, and to serve.

So, about those mini-blinds? Since it became clear that I was hiding out in a moment of cleaning frenzy and busy-ness; I decided they could wait. If you come over for a visit and decide to take a peek, I can't promise they will be any cleaner. I have decided it is much better to hide out with God and bask in His fragrance of mercy and grace! My heart is way too overflowing with thankfulness for His willingness to pick me up, dust me off, and wash away the stains...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a thought...

Doesn't it seem as if we are taught from childhood to always be "looking ahead"? I mean, when I think about it, most of my life has been spent trying to do just that. Either trying to get ahead, stay ahead of the game, or look ahead to the future. But what does that mean for the very moment at hand? I do not believe it means anything, except to say the moment is gone, poof, history...

When we spend all of our time looking forward, we forget to look behind us. We fail to stretch out an open hand to help someone who has fallen behind. Our forward motion is "busyness" and it creates a horrendous noise at times - a barrier that blocks out the distant cries for help.

I am reminded that I need the quiet presence of God in order to take hold of the gift - the present - today. When I look too far ahead, or worse yet, try and get ahead of God, I realize I only prostitute a little more of my soul. With the exception of my salvation I will leave this world with precisely what I entered it with - nothing.

These are precarious times for the world, and the only thing I am finding that is really worth having is hope...


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Love Letter from God...

(I attended the Captivating Women's Retreat in Colorado of April 2008. I went for some much needed time away and solace with God. Traveling alone through the Rocky Mountains to this retreat was in and of itself a gift from God, as I witnessed firsthand the awe and wonder of His creation, gazing upon those majestic peaks. And I thought the mountains around Redding were big...

During some free time at the retreat I went on a precarious horseback ride that would again, invite me to trust God in new ways. Namely to trust God along with the surefootedness of an old horse on a nose to tail trail ride along skinny shale cliffs. One woman was thrown, and even my ride decided he needed a belly scratching atop a small tree (with me still in the saddle). Still, I reveled in the adventure, refusing to turn my ear to anything that did not resemble a whisper from my Savior - "Trust Me, daughter..." is what I heard over and over. Well, understandably the trail ride ran late that day, causing some of us to miss most of the evening session. But what I did not miss was the invitation from the ladies of Ransomed Heart to BE STILL for awhile. Reassuring me (us) that Jesus has much to say... we retreated to a covenant of silence. With my heart quiet before God, this is what He said. The letter that follows was His gift to me that day. At the urging of my husband, and the Lord, I am sharing it with you now.)

Love Letter from God

You are beautiful and blameless in My sight - you are My child and I forgive you - I love you - come unto Me - I long to give you rest - I know you are weary - drop your burdens at My feet. I will give you all the strength you need - I see you, My love. I see you when you are laughing; I see you when you are crying; I see you when you are loving; I see you when you are playing. I am with you when you are working and letting Me work through your hands in helping people. I see you when you stumble over your words, and even if you don't know what you are trying to say - I do. I know everything about you, even the things you might not remember or want to remember. Healing is a process, My child. Don't be upset or ashamed if it isn't coming as quick as you would like. I am molding you and shaping you into a radiant woman - alive and a light with My love! You have captured me, My child. You have my heart and I have yours. I will never let you go. My arms have always held you, even when you turned your back on Me. It's OK - life is hard. But only for a short while. GO - Go share My love with the world. In your way, your words. Ask Me. I will give you all that you need to fulfill My desires for your life. If you fail, it's OK. I will be here to catch you - together we will go on, and if you'd like, I will carry you. I have placed dreams in your heart you do not yet know. Enjoy the journey - take Me with you always - I love to be your Adventure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

To move, or not to move?

There are a couple of sayings that I've begun to identify with life as of late. One being, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans", and my personal favorite, "If you wanna make God laugh, tell Him your plans". That last one must be true. I'm certainly not laughing.

Please, hear my heart on this. I love God. When things are going GREAT in my life, I REALLY love God! Honestly, I try very hard not to think I can make it on my own, but aside from throwing up the quintessential "Praise God" when things are rolling along pretty good, I tend to puff up a bit and think I can handle life by my own wits... However, the more I come to know God, I realize this is a dangerous pattern of thought. The enemy loves this weakness, in me especially. It's tiring, actually. Because when things start turning to doo doo (as they sometimes do do); I'm forced to get my knees dirty (AGAIN!), humble myself, and give my life back to the life Giver. This constant tug & pull, push & shove on my life is down right exhausting. Why do I fall for the lies that say "You the (wo)man! You are invincible!" "Self-sufficiency is the key to happiness ever after!" The epitome of oxymoron's is Christian "self-help". Whatever... I'm sick of the lies this world spoon feeds us! Me, especially! Take this slow collapse of our economy - I sense it can be contributed to many, many lies, we as a people, teetering on our own Godlessness, have fallen prey to. But, I fear the topic of spiritual warfare would be too much to handle for those conditioned to see only that which stares them in the face. I'm learning that it's the things I can't see that I must rely on God for. We would all do well to remember that.

Anyway, back to my original thought, and my "plans", which, unfortunately, aren't turning out like I thought they would (Hmmm, can you hear God giggling yet?) As much as I would love to get into the history of my desire to "move on", I can't possibly convey the deep longings of my heart and have you, my dear reader, understand this path of much resistance & fire, of which God seems to be purifying me. The trouble I have is persevering with Joy, because it goes against everything this world has conditioned me to. Nobody wants to suffer! I seriously doubt you'll find anyone who is suffering Joyfully. But, did you know it is a command? Let me know if you'd like me to comment further on that.

You see, I'm rambling again... To move on, or not to move on? Well, it would seem that God is reminding me of what I said a little over 5 years ago upon moving into our current home. "Honey, I promise, this is the last move we'll make! I swear, you will have to carry me out of this place in a pine box." Uhhh, be careful what you wish for? You see, I wasn't prepared to fall madly in love with Jesus. It just happened! In 2004, prior to opening up my little perfumery business, I read this gem of a book called "The Sacred Romance" and it messed me up - in a good way! Because reading that book allowed me to see my Christianity as a relationship with Jesus - and NOT religion. Well, that little book led me to many, many more great books (send a COMMENT and I will be glad to share titles). God stirred my heart in ways that I can't describe, and I can only say that this was the beginning of my great love affair with the Heavenly Father. Now, to some that probably sounds a little weird, but hey, we've all had those 'you had to be there' experiences. Well, 2005 rolled around (we had lived in my "dream house" for 2 years) and I began to get a little restless. My little business was floundering, and our other business was suffering growing pains with subcontractors, so we decided to go on a family vacation to La Paz, Mexico. I don't know about my husband or my daughter, but I got bit by the travel bug. And despite tipping kayaks in the Sea of Cortez, and snorkeling with aggressive sea lions, I suddenly felt the call to sell EVERYTHING (see Mark 10:21)! But it helps for that call to be heard by my husband, too. Unfortunately, that call didn't come for him until 2008. Which, brings us up to date. Here we are - 5 years, 1 failed business, 1 internal "home makeover", and 1 relocated home business later, and everybody in this country is seeing their home values drop, like a rock. That would include ours. But wait, did I mention Hawaii? The islands that captured my heart with the kind of beauty & warmth only God is capable of? My very first visit was in 2006. Since then, 2 more visits have ensued. I felt more healing begin there (hey, what can I say, it's a long process!) and I knew that I was meant to have a little slice of earthly paradise, if only for a little while. Aside from Jesus, Hawaii has become my passion. I dream about it, look for jobs, houses to rent, read the local news there, you name it, in my mind, I already live there. This presents a little problem, and we all know this as.... you guessed it - Geography! You see, while my mind is there, my body is not, and it doesn't look like this is happening anytime soon. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? While I try to usher in the promises of God, somehow it all feels so selfish, like I'm bargaining with God to get my way. My prayers have been that He would please bring buyers for our properties, so we can get out of debt, blah blah blah. I've even quoted Him scripture that should prove to Him we are trying to be all "religious". Hey, didn't God already let me off the hook with that stuff? Let's be real, and call it what it is - it's time to move on! Or not. Actually, nothing is moving, and that would include us.

It feels somewhat like my (our) prayers are being blocked by the well meaning people who love us, and don't want us to go, even though when my husband finally got his "call", he swore the Lord revealed Hawaii to him. Go figure! I guess when you're "open books" like we are, and you share dreams and life with people, it opens us up to a different dimension in the world. Once, what seemed like so much clarity has been clouded with fear & doubt, no less. I can say with much certainty that it's been difficult to discern what God would have our lives look like. Then last May, throw in a book "Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne, and if you're not already messed up, this book WILL do it to you. God completely took the focus OFF OF ME - go figure, again! And put it squarely on Jesus. I don't exactly know what is coming of it all, but I'm trying so hard to have faith that God is making a way - that He is purposing everything perfectly to His will, and not our own plans. I'm having to trust that our needs are going to be met. With our business being down 20%, and $3,000 in mortgages to pay, this is a toughie for me! That doesn't include any of our other bills, or the necessities such as food & clothing.

Matthew 19:26 "With God all things are possible" is the truth I'm clinging to, and not the lies. In my soul, I know that God longs to give me the desires of my heart. I just didn't quite see that He needed to place those desires there, and that He needs to move me (us) through a few detours before His plans become our life, and our life becomes His plan. Perhaps then will we hear His joyful laughter, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Until then, I can only keep praying.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Hamster Wheel

Ever have those days when it feels like life has you running on a hamster wheel? You know the ol'saying, the faster I go, the behinder I get? Well, the more I learn about Jesus, the more it is revealed to me that I've been living on the hamster wheel, and not just taking the occasional spin.

I've just finished reading two very different, but tremendous books, "The Shack" by William P. Young, and "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller. The first one belongs to the genre of Christian fiction, and the second one is more or less a book about the author's theological opinion as to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like I said, both are very different, but I can't help thinking I've been given 2 special gifts in these amazing reads! I can "think" my way out of most anything, so I just want to stay in the "gifting" for now. I highly recommend both, as one or the other has the potential to change your life, or at the very least your musings about God, Jesus and most certainly "religion". Personally, I hate religion. It has and continues to ruin lives. I will never believe that when God created the universe, that He had religion on the checklist for those He created in His image. But, that's a whole other ball of somethin'... maybe later.

So, I encourage you to step off the hamster wheel - open your heart up to new possibilities and awaken yourselves to the wonder of it all! Perhaps you will find what you've been chasing after has been there all along...


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Some days I would give anything to be a kid again... the disappointments of childhood seem so small compared to the disappointments of adulthood. But I suppose it's all in the perspective.

I've been a mother since I was 17. Some would say that's pretty young, but there have been those who went down the intrepid path of motherhood younger than that. It really doesn't matter how old you are, it's universal - once you become a parent something inside our soul shifts. You know that you would do anything to avoid having your child experience pain, or disappointment. It's as if this invisible shield goes up all around, lasting but only a short while. At some point, you know their bubble will have to burst. Hurts will flood over our carefully constructed walls; tears will fall; hopefully forgiveness and time will wash the pain away. As moms, we want to "fix", offer wise counsel, and get on with doing life. We go on, somehow, as Moms always do. Pretty soon, the kids grow up (or not) and enter that awful & beautiful world; full of wonder and disappointment. I hated that part. Knowing I couldn't do one darn thing to cushion the blows this world can deliver. That's the intersection of hope and faith, for parents, I believe. Hope that your kids don't fall and decide to stay down, and the faith they'll pick themselves up and move on; tucking each lesson under their belt to lash back when life gets rough.

Funny, I hadn't started preparing myself for the disappointing blows my now adult child is bringing me. All these emotions I wasn't quite ready for - pride, anger, confusion, profound sadness. Doesn't he know what I gave up for him to have life? It sounds a little selfish, but really, what right does he have to throw his life away? Oh, the lies that have come creeping in, accusing me of being a terrible mother, etc. All I really want him to see in himself is the potential for greatness that I see. It seems he, like so many young people are settling for so much less.

So, I pray, and God, being the remarkable One He is, spoke so clearly to my heart. In an instant, He simply said, "Give him to me". Who am I to argue with that? In my most heartfelt prayer, I offered over my son, once again, to the God of mercy and grace. Immediately there was peace. Knowing that God loves my son more than I ever could is enough to soften the disappointment. All I needed was a little perspective, and I got it.