Monday, February 20, 2012

Knocked Down

I heard it today.  That moment when you are trying to be the center of attention.  This girl was telling a story about how a guy hit on her and it was obvious that she was just being kind of needy. As in look how awesome I am. 

That girl was me.

Jesus knocked me down with how ugly that was about 10 minutes after I was done telling that story.  And all day today he's been showing me stuff.  I'm super prideful.  Jealous.  Possessive.  Greedy.  Covetous.

Yup.  All true.

I've been patting myself on the back lately for being just a paragon of spirituality.  Today's been hard, but good.  Reality check.  Remember that the only thing that is really truly good in me is what Jesus has done and is doing.  And changing.

I heard this song for the first time in Andy's car on the way from somewhere to somewhere with my Crash girls about 4 years ago.  It's still my favorite worship song.  Because Oh, how He loves me.  Even in the midst of my ugly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


My friend Wade-O just ran an ultra marathon.  It's called Holiday Lake and it's a 50K.  There's no way whatsoever you could pay me enough money to be an ultra runner.  Pain. Pain. Pain. haha.  Wade was telling us how difficult the second loop of the course was.  He was hurting.  His feet were screaming.  But when he rounded the corner to the finish line he had Todd and Frank running with him encouraging him.  He saw friends waiting, screaming 'hurrays' and 'keep goings' and he said the hurt went away, and there was just an incredible feeling of community as he crossed over.

At the beginning of the year we were looking at this scripture in Crash:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  ~ 1 Cor 9

Honestly, the first time I read this I was like. Phhsssshh.  Whatev.  Can't relate.

And then I started working out with a personal trainer.

Talk about beating your body.  My body screams 'I hate you!' after each hour workout we do.  But here's the thing.  If I don't workout I'll continue to be what I am, which is fluffy in places I don't wanna be fluffy.  I have a choice.  I can choose to do what I was doing and eat lots of delish things and sit on my bootie.  Or I can choose to go into strict training and beat my body so that I get the results and the bikini I want. :)

The more I work out the more I see the parallels to life and the scriptures about running become more real to me.  Walking with God is not a fabulous frolic through days of gold and light.  Life still happpens.  The sh*t still hits the fan.  So what is the point of fighting to have that relationship.  To keep walking the narrow road?  The point is this.  We are not running an aimless race.  We are in a real relationship with a real God who cares about us.  But in all of this we still have a choice.  Obedience to God.  Relationship with him.  These are choices that will take us down a path of life so that when life explodes around us we have hope.  So that when people fall apart we can hold it together because we are held by the Creator of the universe.  So instead of being people that hurt we can be people that heal. 

Choices and paths to run.

Whitney Houston's passing makes me incredibly sad.  But she's just one more story in a line of them.  Rich and famous dying of addictions because their wealth and fame didn't fill their hearts.  Bringing it closer to home, being around friends and family who walk away from God because they can't give up whatever calls them away from him.  Pride.  Parties.  Work.  Money.  Family.  The choices you make are a path that you are running on.  And the direction you are going is going to determine where your life ends up.  God says in Isaiah 55:

Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
   hear me, that your soul may live.

It doesn't matter how much I wish to be skinny and fit.  It doesn't matter how many pictures I Pin of sexy women in workout clothes running or stretching.  My intentions don't matter, my actions do.  My direction does.  Sitting in front of a computer will not change my body.

Change in the soul is like change in the body.  It needs action.  One run will not magically transform me.  One encounter with God will not suffice for a lifetime of relationship.  It's a continued action.
Wishing I had a deeper relationship with God will not make it so.  I have to pick up my Bible.  I have start talking to God.  I have to be involved in the community of the church. I have to love him. I have to desire God above all things.

But the good news is we don't have to run it alone.  As the family of God we have to support each other.  We are called to love each other.  We are told to run together.  There's a whole lotta people who've gone before us waiting at the finish line....

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ~ Hebrews 12:1. 

Let us throw off the stuff that hinders, friends.  What is keeping you from God?  Whatever your intentions are your actions are what matters.  What do your actions say?  What's your path?

photo stolen from Wade's facebook. :) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm a lil deaf
and a lil shy
I'm not good at math
and neat is something more
like a good try

mostly a disaster
from my going ins to my leavings
excusing as much as possible
on creative personality things

but love I can do.
and do it well.

the most impossible
possible thing after all
is that heart
we call love

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2 Weeks in Spanish

Today feels a little unreal.  Culture shock I guess is the best way to describe it.  Like, is it really possible that I can't have maduros for breakfast, lunch and dinner? :)   Picking up my life here in the States feels a little bit like a skin that doesn't fit quite right.  One thing that living in Nicaragua gives you, is perspective.  Perhaps in fact, it's not a crisis if I can't get my way all of the time.  Or buy everything I want immediately.

There's no way to explain the gift it is to see a couple who has no bed or stove give a gift to a friend of shoes for her little girl.

There's no way to explain how kiddos damaged and used can laugh and hug and be normal.  And what a gift that is.

I guess being back here seems a little like, what am I doing with my life, really?  That's how I feel today.  In our BRCC church speak, we debrief each other after conversations or days of events that feel like they need examining, so this blog is my personal debrief.  If it rambles a little, forgive.  I'm trying to figure out what I feel and think.  Welcome to the maze. ;)

Week 1:

Week 1 was ministry and fun with women I love.   I saw my friends grow and take brave steps into relationship way outside their comfort zones.  With the girls and women and with each other. 


Teaching 2 classes on healing from sexual abuse.  Hearing Ash and Michelle give their stories and seeing the reactions of the girls to them. Sisne was on the front row crying through Ash's entire story.  Marcia and Kellie talked for a long time.  Josie asked if we were going to have more classes. 

Translating for Melis to the cell group leaders.  Actually the whole week with Melissa.  Being present when she stepped far out of her normal.  And being so super proud of her.

Visiting the cell groups on Friday and being a part of Carla accepting Christ.  Talking with Patricia.

Working out with Ash, Keely, and Kellie.  It turned into a dance party really fast.  We may have done the cha cha slide, the cupid shuffle and a lil dirty dancing to a dj from NOLA.  :D  Hey, a girl's gotta get her cardio in.

Hearing the stories of the team.  God breaking things wide open and working in several of the ladies to bring healing.

The parenting class.  Listening to the women get real with each other about how hard it is to discipline their kiddos appropriately. 

Getting yelled at by the park ranger for taking lava rock haha!  What's a mission's trip without a lil trouble with the law. :)


Cold showers all week.

Roosters crowing at the crack of 3 am.

Week 2:

Week 2 was waaaay different.  First of all it wasn't a girls only club, there were 4 men on the team and Shea, Autumn and I represented the ladies.  I remember thinking at dinner the first night.  Dear sweet Jesus, do these boys talk?  And then I spent a week with them. haha.   Every one of those boys was a gift and I enjoyed what they brought to the table last week.  It's been a long time since I laughed so hard actually.  Thanks especially to Gary and Chris for that. ;)

There's so much to download.  Highlights:

Lunch at a way fab place in Masaya.  You had to climb the chairs to sit in them.  Amazing.  

The way that God merged his scripture to appropriate moments: 

Dave's first message to one of the churches that works with Oscar was utterly and completely applicable to what was going on in the church.  Without prior conversation about it, God just put it on his heart to speak.   So cool!  The message was on conflict resolution between Christians.  Scripture was Joshua 22, in case y'all wanna read it.  I had to read it.  In Reina Valera.  Yep. 

I was part of a conversation in which God told me to read a couple scriptures and speak out of them into the conversation.  It's truly so scary for me to do that.  I saw something online the other day that says, "speak the truth even if your voice shakes."  yes. do it.

Praying over prostitutes in brothels in the market.  Seeing real need and desperation in their eyes and being able to offer real hope to them.  Seeing a woman with scars from cutting and suicide attempts and crying because I think of my friend who is walking in freedom out of that.  And I know that Lisa in that brothel can walk out of it too, if she will take the steps of obedience.

Teaching a business class to almost one hundred women.  Seeing connection and thoughts spark behind their eyes.

Translating a sermon for my pastor Dave to the Tuesday ladies.  Turning toward him to catch what he was saying and seeing tears on his face for the women.  Heart = melted.

Hearing my friend Dan's story at the Quinta.  Dan is precious and I want a little one of him to put in my pocket.

God sparking a conversation with the owner of our Quinta about real relationship with God, and with other people.  So fun just sitting around a table and hearing the men with us speak into Enrique's life.

Having a conversation with Marcia about something that I did that hurt her feelings.  She told me she was angry with me.  It took 2 days for her to tell me, but she did.  Good for her to tell me.  Good for her to hear me ask her forgiveness.  Good for her to see that it's ok to say that you are upset about something and that things can be worked out and expressed in a healthy way.

Chris serving the Nica staff of the HOH by washing their feet after dinner.

Vilma was cracking herself up over these pics. 


3, yes 3 freakin' cucarachas in our room.  Where we sleep.  And walk.  Nasty.  Enter plenty of ammunition for the boys to enjoy.  Chris Spencer, if you read this and any cucarachas find their way around me here...there will be retribution.

Feeling drained from constant thought in two languages and counsel in both.

Wanting more time.  Feeling a little like I've left some things unfinished.

Sunday morning service at the International Church.  Blech.  A panel of discussion on sex and marriage that had very little truth in it and lots of the cliches and image care that accompanies self protection.  The pastor of that church reeked of fundamentalist Bible college.  He was like scratches down a chalkboard to me from the very moment he stood up.  It seemed like they had a lot of social events and not much depth or life there.   Shea and I acted like junior high girls and passed notes about every idiotic thing said for the hour and a half we sat there. Example:  A fairy tale sermon illustration in which a man's life is fabulous and amazing until he gets married.  And then it's all over.  Because a.  Women ruin things.  b.  Women's lives clearly are incomplete and not worth mentioning until there's a man involved.  c.  Men never make marriage hard or difficult.

My slightly feminist heart had a hard time with this. 

Takeaway for the week:

Speak the truth in love.  Want truth inside our deepest parts.  Walk in ways that honor God in all things.  Internal and external.  Who we are and what we do affects those around us in ways we aren't even aware of sometimes.  Obey when God tells you to do something.  Do not grow weary in doing good.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

I love and appreciate my friend Shea.  She is appointed to do what she does by God and it's evident.

God continues to undo damage in me.  Before this trip I was a knot of anger over a situation aided and abetted by religion and leadership that takes advantage instead of protecting.  Being around Shea and Dave reminds me that the church is not all unhealthy and it is ok for me to trust a pastor.  God refreshes me with truth in that for the battles ahead.  I'm thankful for Blue Ridge.  I'm thankful for Woody's obedience in setting the example.  I'm grateful that God has not left me alone to walk in the kind of Christianity that wears his name but not his Spirit. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Holy Guacamole

I was just sitting here talking to Chris.  Thinking about the past week and a half.  It's a lot to process.  It's an amazing incredible amount of change and conversation and challenge.  This last two weeks have stretched me spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  And so as I'm typing this out the question I have is this.  What am I supposed to take away, Lord?  Where in all of this stuff that I've been a part of for other people is what you have had for me? 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

You Do the Same for Me

Week one of the Nicaragua teams is over.  My friends are back in the US of A, hopefully back in the Burg.  I might be snickering a lil because they are in 30 degree weather and we are hovering right around 88 here. :)

Last week started rough.  The spiritual warfare we'd been experiencing carried right over into the first day.  But after that night, after talking and praying.  Refocusing.  God gave us ministry.  To the women.  To the girls.  To each other.  When God moves powerfully and breaks bondage it's amazing.  And it was so rewarding to do that with my best friends, my sister, and my team from Crash.

So last night the other team arrived.  4 boyos.  Dinner was so hard.  It was like pulling teeth.  Men converse differently than women.  Or to be more honest, it's hard to try to carry a conversation with 4 guys who just stare at you.  I was not feeling this team.

But one of our men shared his story after dinner.  A sweet sweet guy in his 60s.  He shared how he'd been lonely and untrusting most of his life and tonight was one of the first times that he's told anyone the entire story of his life.  God kind of elbowed me and reminded me that perhaps this week is as important as last week was.  And perhaps these men need me to serve them to the best of my ability as their translator and also as their friend.

So let week 2 commence.  :)  I'm ready.

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