Jesus Land

I read about 30 pages of this book a few years ago and then it languished on my bookshelf. I picked it up again and read it in a day. I guess some books you just need to read at certain times.

From the back cover:
Julia and her adopted brother, David, are sixteen years old. Julia is white. David is black. It is the mid-1980s and their family has just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees, trailer parks, and an all-encompassing racism. At home are a distant mother-more involved with her church's missionaries than her own children- and a violent father. In this riveting and heartrending memoir Jula Scheeres takes us from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining: surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe- a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic- is characterized by a disciplinary regime that extracts repentance from its students by any means necessary. Julia and David strive to make it through these ordeals and their tale is relayed here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and wry humor.

This book was so disturbing in so many ways. The way the parents were only marginally involved in their kids lives except to punish them and force them to attend a church more interested in appearing pious than actually following Jesus, the way Julia and David were so close and through the course of the book retreated from each other for their own self preservation and the way this divorced them from any desire to be in any relationship with God.

It was good, it was disturbing but it was good. 


Heartbreak and Bones

Some things you carry around inside you as though they were part of your blood and bones, and when that happens, there's nothing you can do to forget. - The Blue Diary
A few years back I heard someone talking about grief. He spoke about how he needed to make sure he was feeling it and working through it the right way. Of course, my immediate reaction as I'm sure yours is was that there isn't really a wrong way to grieve. Which I still believe.
But I am realizing that there are wrong ways for people to grieve for them. It's hard to explain.
I find that I've been grieving the wrong way. The wrong way for me.
It might work for other people, it might be more comfortable for people that I'm in relationships with for me to grieve this way (or at least I might think it's more comfortable for them) but it's doesn't work for me.

I've been subscribing to a don't ask don't tell policy of grieving. If I just don't look at it, if I just don't feel the grief it will stay away. It's just not true.
Some people believe if you don't open your eyes to sorrow and you don't talk about it, you can pretend it never happened. You can go on about your business and not even notice that a year has gone by, time enough for there to be nothing left except heartbreak and bones. - The Blue Diary
I've been reading this fiction book called The Blue Diary which I've not finished yet, I'm not even half finished with. But it's needling my sense of grieving at every turn of the page.
This idea of shoving it down and pushing it aside so I can continue to tell you that I'm ok. Because I think you really just want me to be ok.

I'm just finding more and more lately that taking the short cut to ok has only left me years later nothing but heartbreak and bones. It's left me feeling relationally and emotionally fragile to the point of completely disintegrating at the slightest wind of betrayal.
I'm finding that the advice I have doled out regularly about how grief doesn't just show up when a human dies, it shows up when a life dies, is true. A life in the form of a human, and animal, a dream, a thought of how it should have been, how it should be and how it could be if only...
You could tell she didn't want to [cry], she was trying with all her might to hold it back, but sometimes it's impossible to do that. I know that from personal experience. You have to turn yourself cold as ice in order to stop yourself, and then if anything falls from your eyes it will only be blue ice crystals, hard and unbreakable as stone. - The Blue Diary
I'm finding that the ice cold feelings I've been using to dampen down the hatches and not publicly talk about grief has not protected me, it has not dispersed the grief or the pain that comes with it. It's only delayed it. Sharpened it. Spread it thickly about my heart. Making it almost painful for me to delve into any sort of healthy relationship, romantic or otherwise (mostly otherwise). I've been mistrusting and suspicious, I've been cold and have pulled sharply away because of disappointments that strike fear in the deepest and more fearful parts of me. Because the thought of it hurts more than I can take some days.
She didn't want to be touched and she didn't want anyone to be kind to her. She was filling herself up with ice, and when a person starts doing that any human contact can be dangerous.  - The Blue Diary
I used to joke about no touching days. Way back when before Jesus and I were hanging out, before I let God out of the closet I stuffed him in. There were days that it was physically painful for me to be in proximity to people for fear they would touch me. For fear they would break through this angry barrier I had placed between myself and anything that I imagined could hurt me.
I would lash out, snarling, if I was touched. Because I was afraid to be touched, I was afraid to be loved and I was afraid to love. A lot of days I couldn't imagine that I even deserved it.

So this seemingly benign book about a fugitive on the run has cracked open this feeling of grief in me. This idea of grieving it appropriately for me. This idea of feeling it, then moving on with this new life. It's inspiring me to move closer to the middle of the road, where before I would only either be obsessively in relationships or not in them at all I'm re-learning how it is to live in relationship.

I'm trying not to leave people behind if I can help it, but I'm also learning that some people I've held onto much longer than is healthy and it is imperative that I leave them.
I'm re-learning that leaving them behind and moving forward on my own doesn't mean they weren't important, it doesn't erase the experiences we had and the ways I grew because of them...it just means journeying through the grief and continuing to live.
We couldn't see them anymore. Their door was closed, and it was just as if they'd never even been standing here with us and we'd been alone the whole time. It's like that when people leave you behind. You get to wondering if you ever had them in the first place. -The Blue Diary


Neccessary Endings

I read this over at incourage and loved it. It is so timely for me.

Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to live fruitful lives, we lose faith and end up collapsing under our own weight.

I love autumn.

Summer is so bright and intense, I wake up feeling obligated to go somewhere and do something.  People are always asking, “What are your plans for the summer?”.  There is pressure to have an exciting destination in your back pocket.  The truth is I just want to eat lots of peaches, watch some good summer flicks and hang out at the beach in my flip flops.
Fall is more my style.  It gets darker sooner and everything slows down.  It’s the perfect time to be outside too, if you ask me.  Take hiking.  There’s a lot less dust and quieter, except for the sound of a crunchy trail blanketed with falling leaves.   It’s hard to beat.
I wish I felt the same about my worries. All those things I juggle around in my head, I wish they could take a collective sigh, right along with nature.
It’s those plates I keep spinning.  They wear on my heart and keep my soul busy.
If only I can shed them the way the trees shed their leaves.   If only I could let one fall.

The Pressure

We weren’t originally designed to keep everything in play all the time.  Something got broken in us when we left the Garden of Eden.  We stopped trusting that God was good and we were the apple of His eye.  We have this suspicious feeling about letting go and letting God take us through the natural course of things.
Now, if you were to change the subject and talk about laundry, my problem with letting go dissipates. My husband probably wishes otherwise, but I’m good at not sweating the small stuff.   I like to worry about the big problems.  I get such a great mental workout from organizing all the unresolved questions and playing out the different scenarios, my memory’s practically guaranteed in old age.
I thought really hard about overhauling this mindset recently.  I got tired of keeping up with all the activity, trying to work everything out to its optimal outcome.  I noticed I stopped laughing at my own jokes.
Even in matters of faith, especially when it comes to pleasing God, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to live fruitful lives.  We forget that fruitfulness comes from allowing God to work in us through our circumstances — not our ability to effectively make everything work out right.

Necessary Endings

There comes a time when God brings us into a season of autumn.  Where there was once fervor and activity, He calls us to let go and slow down.  He doesn’t quiet our lives because we’ve done something bad.  God does it to release us from the burden of keeping things alive that really should be dying.
It’s hard to give up on my version of endings.  When I’m into a really good book that’s got the heroine steep in trouble, I forget about sleep.  I plow through to The End and wake up with a crink in my neck.  I want the story to turn out the way I want.
It’s in my nature to hold onto my problems, relationships, and ideals so that I can work them out.
Meanwhile, God is not derailed in His commitment or love for me.
There are necessary endings, Bonnie.
Let the plate fall. It needs to break.
Let me take care of you.
Intense pressure may have worked well to achieve a difficult goal.  It may even have been necessary if we were thrown headlong into crisis or involuntarily trapped in a stressful relationship.  What worked for us earlier, though, can leave us weighed down and overloaded.
God’s idea of a purposeful life is so different from ours.  He wants us to trust Him so completely, we would risk letting go and place ourselves willingly in the uncomfortable position of surrender.
When we can trust Him with our endings, we will discover He can carry us. He is good.
We will see the beauty of leaves falling and understand we can experience this beauty in our souls.  We learn to recognize the Voice of Love that calls to us behind the shattering of plates falling.  We learn that God’s love can sustain us and new seeds of faith will be planted and grow.
“I am Thine, O Lord,
I have heard Thy Voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to Thee.”
~ Lyrics to Hymn “I Am Thine, O Lord”
by Fanny Crosby
“…We rely on the love God has for us.
…God is love… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
1 John 4:16-18
Is there a plate you’re spinning that God is saying to let fall?


Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows

Reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the 2nd time really made me love the book even more. Actually, reading the entire series again made me love it even more.

I love the way Harry comes into his own throughout the series but especially in this book. I love the dynamics between he, Ron and Hermione. Even knowing what happened I was once again on the edge of my seat throughout the book breathlessly awaiting what would happen next.

From GoodReads:

The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission--not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man--and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself.

I can't wait for the last book's movies to come out and I've now taken to listening to the books on audio book again as well. 



I've been sick lately. When I'm sick I have to stop. Stop running, stop overbooking, stop paying attention to anything but getting better.

There always comes a point when I'm sick when I wonder exactly when or if I'll ever feel better again. I start staring at things, books, tv and while I'm watching them I'm not taking it in I'm just zoning out (typically with my mouth hanging open and a tissue hanging out of my nose but I digress...).

Naturally then, in a time of not being able to focus or concentrate and wondering if I'll ever feel well again, I try to make major life decisions.
I want to cut my hair. I want to remodel the house, I want to buy new clothes. I start reconsidering major portions of my life and trying to make long term goals and short term plans.

But of course that is the last thing I need to be doing when I'm sick. Thankfully I'm starting to realize that before I give myself a modified mullet and move to Nebraska to breed alpacas.



More than sparrows, he said
But who is a sparrow to me?
Could I identify one should it land on my sill?
Don't be afraid he says

But I'm afraid
I'm afraid of the sparrow I won't, can't, recognize

I'm afraid of the belligerent doubt welling up inside bursting at the seams yearning to let out its banshee yell
I'm afraid of falling to the ground

Uncared for
More than a sparrow he whispers again
Urgently wishing for me to understand how he longs for me
More than a sparrow I whisper back, afraid to believe, afraid to hope, afraid to trust
Yet I whisper again....more than a sparrow

Again I return
Again I leap
Believing I will fly like the sparrow I am more than

29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31


The Forgotten Garden

I LOVED The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. From almost the first few pages I was pulled into unraveling the mystery of Nell's origins. After reading through Harry Potter it was nice to be back in England as Cassandra searched for the final clues after Nell revealed her secret only once she was gone.

From the back cover:
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book-a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dock master and his wife and raised as their own. One her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.
It felt a little as if Kate Morton pulled out the mystery a chapter longer than needed (or at least I had figured out what had happened by then) there was still a great satisfaction in being alongside Cassandra as she figured out her true heritage.
The only thing is, I wish the would have made one other connection, but I don't know that was ever actually a connection, I just thought it would have been a lovely coincidental bow on the top of an already spectacular book.


Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince

I liked this book so much I ended up downloading the audio book and immediately listened to it right after reading it.
Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince is the 6th book in the series. It's the year that Harry learns more and more about what his purpose is and the path he will need to take forward.

From the back cover:
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet...
As in all wars, life goes on. The Weasley twins expand their business. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate - and lose a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort - and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability. 
I love that the super serious hunting for Horcruxes rests side by side with snogging and relationships forming and falling apart.



"His sympathy, though well intentioned, always seemed to carry with it an indictment. Disappointment, however faint, that she'd been unable- or unwilling- to recover her old self. It didn't occur to him that she might have chosen to remain this way. That where he saw reserve and loneliness, Cassandra saw self-preservation and the knowledge that it was safer when one had less to lose."
- The Forgotten Garden by: Kate Morton p59
I had a conversation with a friend the other week. I struggled through the whole conversation. I felt an overwhelming need to justify my hurt. That even as I was trying to explain things that had hurt me without obsessively laying out all the details I began to wonder if it was even that big of a deal. If I was being a silly girl for being so damn hurt.

I've been walking this fine line between withdrawing for self-preservation and withdrawing because I'm scared. I'm trying to figure out all over again what my role is in all of my relationships.
I'm trying to feel safe again in relationships with anyone. But I vacillate. Wondering if one should ever really feel safe in a relationship that's worth anything at all.

I'm torn between wondering if I've finally stumbled out of my 13 year old view of all or nothing relationships into an adult view of being happy with the scraps you can get and wondering if I'm just growing bitter and jaded.

I wonder if it's just me that refuses to ever just be completely happy. I wonder if anyone is ever completely happy.
I wonder if it's me that refuses to stop worshipping the cut, the shatter, the hurt.
I wonder if it's just me, refusing to recover.



I was sitting on my patio the other night. It was one of those perfect nights, just warm enough that you could sit there with a cold beer and not shiver and just cool enough that you weren't a sweaty gross mess.
The sun set in the front of the house and I watched as the world grew darker and quieter. The moon rose full and bright, I sat there sipping my beer and contemplating the thoughts rolling around in my head.

I felt so small.

It was one of those nights when everything is ok but you feel on the cusp of the next thing in your life. When you aren't sure exactly where the path you're stepping on is going to take you only that there is no other option but to step on the path that has presented itself to you.

I shrugged the world over my shoulders like I used to pull on sweatshirts and flannels of my dad's in the fall. It was large, this world I was shrugging over my shoulders.
My mind bent back and tried to insist that I continue to wallow in the muck and mire. It cooed my name from the pit of bitter angry girls.

The world felt much larger than one I was capable of living in.

But still I looked forward. Ignoring the doubts, the what if and maybe, I just kept turning my head, mind, and heart forward trying to believe.
Believe that He will not abandon me
Believe that He has a plan for me
Believe that He loves me perfectly
Believe that I can trust Him completely

Believe that even as a girl so small in a world so big that I am of consequence enough to have a purpose created just for me


Mirror Glasses

When I was young my parents bought my seester and I a spy kit. At least, I'm fairly certain that's what it was.
We had stickers with fingerprints on them (in fact I still have a juice glass with a fingerprint sticker on the side of it), little cardboard tubes for looking around corners and some wicked awesome sunglasses that had mirrors on the sides of them.
When I say mirrors on the side I don't mean like sticking out the side, I mean that on the inside outer edges of each of the lenses was a mirrored coating that you could see what was happening beside you just by looking at that portion of the lens.

I wore them all the time. (Perhaps the first signs of what has become my intense paranoia in regards to killers)
But you know, eventually I started running into things. Because I was so enamored with what was behind me that I forgot I needed to look forward.

I was telling that story half jokingly to some co-workers the other day when I felt like I was hit upside the head. Because I've been running into things a lot lately.
I'm staring behind me so much, I've become so enamored with how things are or were that I'm not looking forward with intentionality to what could be coming up in the future.

It's not the first time I've been smacked upside the head with that thought.

My natural default is to remain lost in memories, what ifs and way back whens. The future has always been very scary to me and I tend to not dream or acknowledge the dreams that thrust themselves on me because to move forward is so terrifying.
But little by little I'm learning to stop gazing longingly in the mirror showing me what has passed and is no longer. Little by little I'm learning to skirt the edges of the pit instead of swan diving into the muck and mire.

I take a several tentative steps forward then a giant leap back.
But I'm looking forward for the first time that I can really remember.


Dream On

Ben spoke recently about Dreams.
He talked about the dreams that you have for your life, the way that God partners your passion and the gifting He has given you into a dream for your life.
I thought about my dreams.
I thought about how I never really had them.
I just drifted aimlessly around flitting from one dream to another.

When I was younger, it was because I never really expected to be alive to make dreaming anything worthwhile.
As I got older I aligned myself so deeply with the dreams other people had for my life there was no room left for mine.
It's only been recently, in the last few years, that I've begun to dream.
Dream about what God is calling me to do with my life. Dream about things I'm passionate about. Dream about the next steps, the ways to align my steps now to meet up with a faster track to seeing the dreams come to fruition in the future.

As I bump into the grossness of life, my dreams are what I abandon first.
My spending habits, my time management, the very words I speak and type begin to drift away from aligning myself with the dream and into the immediate needs. Managing the crisis' instead of dealing with them and moving on.
I shove the dream down and wallow in pits and filth that detract from my dream.

I think I'm going to try to stop that.
I think I'm going to try to be more intentional (or intentional at all in some areas) about putting my dream into motion, saying no to good things so I can say yes to amazing things. Saying no to people that are good people, they're just not good people for me to allow access to my heart anymore.

Even now, I want to delete this. Even now I want to not tell you. Because I'm terrified of failing, of letting you down, of disappointing you and even me again.
But I'm going to try. I'm going to sacrifice and prioritize and move steadily towards the dream. For really one of the first times ever.


The Only Person

"It's a sad fact but more and more I'm learning the only person you can count on is yourself in this world"

That's what someone said to me the other week.
I'm really struggling to not believe that. Because it seems so cynical and I don't want to be a cynical girl.

I want to stop being afraid of outside. I want to be able to go out of my house without wondering when the next attack will come, when the next cut will happen.

I want to be done with this already.
But I'm afraid to rush through the pain at the same time.
Because when I've rushed through it in the past it just simmers in the dark corners of my heart waiting for the right moments to crop up again.

I believe that I can depend on some people, and that there are people that care about me and not just because of what I do for them.
I believe that God is unfailing and will not abandon me. I believe that He is holding me tightly when I'm free falling away from all that felt safe.

Lord, I believe.
Help my unbelief.


When It Doesn't Seem Like It

I have mentioned about a bajillion times how much I love Alece and how often she writes my heart even when it's coming from a much different wound than mine.
This post is no different.
Especially this part: 
Often what God does and allows in my life does not make sense to me. Yet His promise is that it’s for my good and His glory. Even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Here's the full post:
I’m sure you’re familiar with this story. But bear with me for a moment…

Mary and Martha’s brother was sick, and they sent word to Jesus to let Him know.

“When He heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days… On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb…”

Jesus had told his disciples that “this sickness will not end in death”. And yet… Lazarus died.

We have the benefit of knowing how the story progressed from there—that Lazarus would be raised from the dead—but no one there did.

All they knew was that Lazarus died. And that Jesus could’ve healed him—that He even implied He would—and yet He didn’t…

In those moments, I’m sure it was impossible for them to imagine that “will not end in death” could possibly still be true. Lazarus was dead, for crying out loud.

But even still, Jesus’ words were truth. And everyone eventually saw them come to pass when Lazarus was resurrected.

Smack in the middle of the story though, while they were all grieving the death of their friend, Jesus spoke some words that make me stop breathing for a moment:

“For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe…”

He was talking about the fact that He hadn’t been there to heal Lazarus before he died. “I am glad I was not there…” Wha? He’s glad His friend died? He’s glad his sisters’ hearts broke in grief? He’s glad??!!

“For your sake… so that you may believe… it is for God’s glory…”

Often what God does and allows in my life does not make sense to me. Yet His promise is that it’s for my good and His glory. Even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Even when death has already sunk its teeth in. Hard.

In those moments, He still says “I am glad… for your sake.” And while that pains my heart in so many ways as I think about my life right now, I want to believe there is pure love in that statement.

I’m no longer hoping that I’ll be spared from the agonizing pain of my journey. I’m not asking to be saved from the fiery furnace… because I’m already in it. I’ve been in it for a long time.

I want to believe that it “won’t end in death” even though death is already here.

I want to believe that He loves making beauty from ashes, life out of brokenness, and a new beginning where there is nothing but finality.

I want to somehow find hope again.

Not in rescue, but in resurrection.


Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix

I've written a few times recently about Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix. I didn't really care for it the first time through, it was my least favorite of the series. But I'm finding that I'm enjoying it much more this time around.

From the back cover:
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?
Harry has a lot on his mind for this, his fifth year at Hogwarts: a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey; a big surprise on the Gryffindor Quidditch team; and the looming terror of the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams. But all these things pale next to the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named - a threat that neither the magical government nor the authorities at Hogwarts can stop.
As the grasp of darkness tightens Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice.
His fate depends on them all.
Harry and his friends have formed their own teen version of the very grown up Order of the Phoenix, at least that's what I considered it. They are subverting the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and learning how to protect themselves against Voldemort and his followers.

It was interesting this time around to pick up on different things seeing as I was mostly annoyed with Harry the first time I read this book. This time around I'm sympathizing with him for not being sure if he can count on anyone but himself.


Hearts Safe

I've been struggling through this hurt for a week now. Trying to feel this and not shove it down or aside to fester until another cut happens. I've been trying not to dwell on it, and attempting to see what it is that God is trying to teach me through this.

To be honest, some days I have to work hard to even care to work through it. I'd rather just sit and mope, drink, disconnect and lose myself in the halls of Hogwarts pretending that none of this is happening.
But I try anyway.
Because I've done it the other way. I've done the hiding, I've done the evading, I've done it all and more than a few times. All it really does is delay the hurt.

My heart tells me that to keep it safe I have to lock it away, not let anyone near it for fear of it being harmed again. But that's a damage in and of itself isn't it? This locked away alone heart. It creates a vacuum of lies that fills my heart not with safety but with fears, anxiety and hurt.
As terrified as I am of letting people close to me, when I am attentive and measure the people I allow close to my heart they help to heal the cuts and soothe the bruising.

So I'm trying to talk to people, but not worship the cut. I don't want to be detailed but I want to share with people that really care about the hurt because otherwise it's just me, alone, worshipping the hurt instead of trying to learn from it and move on.
I'm trying to remember to tell people what God is doing in my life right now instead of acting like all of His delivering of me from evil is already done and over with.
We used to keep our hearts safe
We kept them safe and locked away
But then we grew up learning
That life could serve us in a better way
-Hearts Safe, Tenth Avenue North



i·dol –noun
1. an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
2. a. an image of a deity other than God
    b. the deity itself.
3. any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion: 
4. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
5. a figment of the mind; fantasy.
6. a false conception or notion; fallacy. 
I went to a concert the other night and the lead singer was talking about a song he wrote about out tendency to idolize things/people other than God.
I felt a little twinge.
I HATE that twinge. Because that twinge has always preceded a period of revelation and growth and a refining that is often blindingly painful.

It was odd, this concert. I was standing there having a blast and looking around, but at the same time I was churning inside. Churning with this conviction of idol.

Because I think I've idolized friendship. Which is hilarious considering I'm almost paralyzed with terror over relationships of all kinds.
I know the right things the say and the biblicallyaccurate ways to think. But I don't really think them. I mean, I do and I don't at the same time.
I should be looking to God for my definition, my affirmation, my value. I know this. But I just don't do it.
I choose instead to depend on the value I find in my relationships. Which is bad. Because I have issues with relational power.

I'm not saying it isn't normal, just that it's not good.

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say exactly. Only that....it's ok and valid that friendships and relationships are important. But they shouldn't be more important than my relationship with God. Yet I've continually allowed the way other people treat me to be a reflection of how I expect God to treat me.
When it's good, than I can feel closer to God, but when it's bad. When I'm stood up, lied to, let down or flat out rejected or forgotten about than I project that to God too.
I expect Him to be no better than broken and damaged people here on Earth.
When He is. He's so much more. He's perfect where the rest of us are not even close.

Yet I continue to cast my eyes towards these tumultuous relationships for my definition and security instead of staying focused on a God that has never abandoned me.

I honestly don't know where to go from here. Because the biggest struggle for me this week has been trying to remember to not throw the baby out with the bath water. My instinct has been to completely disconnect from everyone because I don't feel safe. Even if you haven't done anything to cause this hurt I don't feel safe with you...

I'm trying to find the balance between taking down my idol of friendship without completely checking out of all of my friendships at the same time.
One things for sure. I can't figure it out by continuing to ignore Him. He's the only one that has it all figured out anyway. Because with God is the place I have true security, true safety. Not simple, not easy, but I'm safe. I can trust His love even when I'm struggling to trust yours.
But you say, "Hold on, if I could just try this one thing.
Well, I know I can change and that would change everything."
But a house made of mirrors never helps you see any clearer
It's yourself you can't see past
And Lord isn't that just like me?

If only we could see
That He's already set us free

- House of Mirrors, Tenth Avenue North


Feeble Imitation

"You're dead, aren't you?" said Harry exasperatedly, "Who can answer better than you?" "I was afraid of death," said Nick. "I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't to have...Well, that is neither here nor there...In fact, I am neither here nor there..." He gave a small sad chuckle. "I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead."
--Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix
 I've been trying to remember that I shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Old scars and reminders whispering to me that relationships aren't worth it, that it's not worth the risk. I've been trying to remember that I should be pushing forward towards the life that God is calling to, I've been trying to remember that there are people I can confide in, people I can trust. But instead I'm finding I can only hold on for a little each day. I can sneak out of my fear and out of my terror and I can hang on to that.
But only for a little bit.

Then I retreat back to this feeble imitation of life trying like hell to recover.


Soft Place to Land

A Soft Place the Land is the story of two sisters. It weaves the story through the years following their parents death in a plane crash. 
The cover says:
For more than ten years, Naomi and Phil Harrison enjoyed a marriage of heady romance, tempered only by the needs of their children. But on a vacation alone, the couple perishes in a flight over the Grand Canyon. After the funeral, their daughters, Ruthie and Julia, are shocked by the provisions in their will. Spanning nearly two decades, the sisters journeys take them from their familiar home in Atlanta to sophisticated bohemian San Francisco, a mountain town in Virginia, the campus of Berkeley, and lofts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As they heal from loss, search for love, and begin careers, their sisterhood, once an oasis, becomes complicated by resentment, anger, and jealousy. It seems as though the echoes of their parents deaths will never stop reverberating until another shocking accident changes everything once again.
I know all to well the ripples that are caused by single events and how the repercussions can last for decades. It was a good book, but I was often frustrated by the sisters. Why they didn't just talk about things or ask each other about things. But then I remembered that when people are traumatized sometimes they just shut down and can't say anything because what is there to say...



I read this over at Angie's blog, right when I needed to read it. Because I'm stuck in the valley friends. Thinking the climb is to hard and looking back at things that are so painful because I can't imagine grace can really swallow them all up.

I sat completely upright, eyes staring at him while I moved food around my plate nervously.

It was our first date and I had decided I was going to marry him. He ordered (delicious) soup for me and opened the car door when I got in and when I got out. I wanted to impress him but I choked on my words as I tried to come up with something less desperate than "Elope or have a wedding?"

Because that's not always a good first date plan.

His eyes lit up as he shared a story he had heard about a little girl at church who had drawn a picture, and he just knew I would get a kick out of it as well.

"So, you know Lot's wife?"

Clearly Lot was a friend I hadn't met yet. I put on my best, "I'm sure I do. Give me a minute..." face and nodded for him to continue.

Was that the guy in Sunday school? Was he on the retreat? Lot. No, I would remember meeting a guy named Lot.

"Well her teacher tells her to draw a picture of what happened to Lot's wife and she drew a salt shaker."

He started laughing.

I laughed too, and shook my head side to side. Those crazy kids.

"Oh, that is great! How funny." I bit my lip and tried to think of a good follow-up condiment story.


"So, Lot..." I just kind of threw it out there. I figured I would give him some room to fill me in on the backstory.

"Yeah, you know, from Genesis? The one who left Sodom and Gomorrah?"

Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.

Note to self: find Precious Moments Bible that is somewhere in my apartment and find out who Sodom and Gomorrah are.

I nodded again, filling my mouth with pasta so I wouldn't have to drop any more pearls of wisdom before the second date.

A few hours later I found my little Bible and hunted down this Lot guy. He's umm, an interesting fellow, and reading about him next to images of Precious Moments figurines has got to be one of the strangest experiences a new believer can have. Seriously creeptastic.

With that said, I did find it pretty interesting. The gist of it is that Abraham is trying to save Sodom (Sodom and Gomorrah are places, not people. Also good to know for date number two) and kind of negotiates with God about it. This deserves a whole post of it's own, but let's come back to that some other day. Anyway, he works out a plan with God that if there are 10 righteous men in Sodom, God will not destroy it. Unfortunately, this isn't the case and God sends two angels to warn Abraham and his nephew Lot to get out of town before this happens. Lot tries to warn his sons-in-law but they thought he was joking and apparently didn't listen. It says in Genesis 19:16 that Lot hesitated, so the angels grabbed his and his wife's hands and led them out of the city.

As soon as they were safe, the angels said to them, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" Lot tells them he wants to go to another town instead. And guess what? It isn't in the mountains, it's in the plains. God wants Lot to go to one place, and he believes his idea is better than God's. I read this and shake my head because that just sounds silly to me.

Well, as silly as it can sound to someone who does the same almost every day of her life.

So Lot and his bride head towards Zoar (which was called Bela before this incident), and as they do, Lot's wife makes a critical mistake.

She looks back.

She looks at back at the city filled with sin and wickedness, and as she pauses, God turns her into a pillar of salt (the salt shaker thing is way funnier now).

We don't ever learn her name, but her legacy is one of looking back. She has been rescued from death, from sin and depravity, and there is something that still haunts her enough to stop moving toward whatever is ahead.

Did she want to see if it would really be ruined? Maybe she wanted to see her things one more time. Was she longing for a person? Reflecting on the life she wanted to keep living?

I don't know, but I do know this.

God has been gracious with me for many years in my turning back. A glimpse of what could have been, a temptation that makes me question my faith. An earth-shattering loss that beckons me to believe that the mountain is too far and the valley will be just fine.

I have wandered to the closest city while I know He desires for me to climb, and I have settled there for longer than I care to remember. I have failed Him many times over, head and heart turned, and yet He urges me never to settle. I don't know what you are walking away from tonight, but as I have been praying about what to write the Lord has put this message on my heart so clearly that I had to share it. I want you to know I am praying for you as I write-asking the Lord to remind you tonight that there is a reason you have left that life behind.

It has been swallowed by grace, friend. And you need not miss what He has for you by believing there is something worth going back for. Leave it be. The Lord has told you where to go and it's time to walk. Eyes straight ahead, tangled in the spectacular love of a Savior Who wants nothing less for you than the summit. And as you stare at what might have been, you are immobilized, unable to bring Him the glory He deserves. And also, He might make you salt. Just saying.

It has been almost exactly ten years from the night I went out with Todd for the first time. October will mark a decade of falling in love with the man who has given me five daughters and many, many more dates. No matter how many times we sit together over a meal, I will never forget the first one. The heart-fluttering, life-altering, dream-come-true night when I learned about a woman who loved in the wrong direction.

I still get confused about Bible references. I am the farthest thing from a Bible scholar that could be possible. I can't tell you the Hebrew and Greek roots of words, nor every battle of the Bible or city mentioned in scripture. What I do feel confident saying is actually pretty simple.

He is Who He says He is, and He is whispering tonight if you care to listen...

"Flee, love. Flee and never look back..."


Good Things: September

September 1st- Straight home from work, but still lounged around the whole night. I think I'm getting sick...

September 2nd- Happy 90210 Day! I would like to buy one egg.

September 3rd- Lunch with a friend and quite possibly the best chips I have ever eaten at Chipotle.

September 4th- Nice relaxing day hanging out with Mom, Dad and Sharen's family. First night dogsitting, it's the family that leaves me cake for while I'm there!


September 6th- Super delicious and hilarious brunch with Stephanie at Cracker Barrel then a day reading and watching 90210

September 7th- I made it through my training session without dying and then walked the dog for a mile, I call that a win. Even if I went to bed directly after....

September 8th- Took the dog on a long and frustrating walk, but the good thing is he was tuckered out for the rest of the night.

September 9th- Listened to The Nines all day, lots of good stuff. http://www.thenines2010.eventbrite.com/

September 10th- Pedicure!

September 11th- I felt pretty today and Nicole came and sat with me at a reception when I was freaking out and trying not to cry.

September 12th- Home. I was so happy to be home and feel safe again I lay on the floor just inside the front door for 30 minutes when I first got home.

September 13th- I.....don't really have anything good to say about today.

September 14th- I made it through work

September 15th- Happy 6th Birthday Matthew Caldwell Matala (I can't believe you're 6)

September 16th- I feel like I'm slowly coming back to life again. But I still feel incredibly unsafe like I'm perched on a very very tenuous ledge.

September 17th- Chipotle for lunch, chatting with a few friends and trying to remember to not throw the baby out with the bath water

September 18th- Saw Tenth Avenue North for free at The Underground which was pretty awesome

September 19th- Made pot roast! It was delicious!

September 20th- Have I mentioned that our Washington Project leadership team is amazing? Because they kind of are.

September 21st- I did several brave things today. Working on some God sized dreams and trying not to throw up in the process.

September 22nd- I bought the most AMAZING tennis shoes today. I had no idea shoes could feel like this on my feet. AMAZING

September 23rd- Working out in my new tennis shoes = AMAZING I didn't have to drive home in just socks because my feet were throbbing.

September 24th- My boys are back in town!

September 25th- Apple Fest and an evening filled with champagne toasts and sitting on the patio laughing with friends

September 26th- Awesome Washington Project where I laughed until my face hurt and drove a really big bus a long way. Also, clean sheet night and burrowing under a down comforter while sleeping with the windows open.

September 27th- Waking up in a freezing cold room while burrowed deep under the toasty warm covers is I'm pretty sure what heaven is going to be like all the time, except without the having to wake up and go to work thing...

September 28th- Had an amazing company come re-insulate my attic, they actually swept and dusted inside my house because some dirt blew in the front door screen.

September 29th- I finished a really really good book (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton)

September 30th- Started listening to Deathly Hallows on audio book at work. I can't decide if this is awesome, or distracting....