Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fearless Review

Take courage-I am here. Matthew 14:27

Fearless by Max Lucado

We're afraid of all kinds of things: death, finances, health concerns, heartache, losing a spouse or a child, jobs, other people, addicitions, the past, the present, the future etc.

Thank you for sharing your lists with me. Here's mine.

I'm afraid of:

-Dying before I've really lived
-Sacrifices I'm making now not paying off in the future.

And ultimately that
-I will disappoint the Lord with the life He has given me

Some of my favorite people in scripture are the disciples. I totally relate to their crazy ways. I love when the disciples don't get it. I love when Jesus is standing right in front of them and they doubt him. I love when Jesus says come out on the water - Peter hesitates. I love when they're so sure they won't mess up and they do-over and over again. I love when they promise to stay awake and pray and they don't. I LOVE THEM! They're so human! And they make me feel better about myself :)

Whenever I feel lonely, afraid, or abandoned I always think of the moment in the lives of the disciples when Jesus is there-and then He's gone. Can you imagine how they must have felt? I mean you've just spent YEARS with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the best friend you'll ever have and now he's physically gone? What do you do next? I can't help but think in that moment that they were a little fearful. They've just had the best spiritual support-like really the best! They've had someone to pray with and love them and help them. They've had the perfect example. And now they have each other! Uhhhhhhh-not the same! They had to wonder if they could make it without Him holding their hand. They had to wonder if they'd be able to please Him without Him walking with them. And I think they were afraid.

Letting go of fear is ultimately to let go of perceived control-always has been-always will be. Satan loves to wrap other words around fear to make it more palatable-cautious, concerned, careful. Lie, lie, lie. Satan is robbing us with every mention of fear. If we are afraid that our spouse or child will die before us then we are being robbed of the time we have with them. If we are afraid of the future we are robbed of the blessings and need God has for us to be truly alive today. If we are afraid of imagined things (guilty!) we cannot properly process our current surroundings and we're robbed of the lessons in the real things.

And what I've discovered overwhelmingly this month while reading this book is that Fear and Trust have to walk hand in hand. I feel like that shouldn't be a huge revelation to me, but it kind of was. If we could really hear the Lord saying to all of our What if's-"Don't be afraid"-we'd never be the same. Think about it.

I'm afraid to die-Don't be afraid I've given you eternal life in Me.
I'm afraid to be sick-Don't be afraid I am with you always.
I'm afraid of the future-Don't be afraid I am already there
I'm afraid of the world today-Don't be afraid, I have overcome the world
Etc. Etc. Etc. Fill in the blank with your own fears.

My prayers have changed as I've read this book from asking the Lord to reveal what I'm afraid of to grant me in exchange a holy fear of Him. I can almost feel a physical shift in my spirit every time I pray for it. And as a holy fear of Him gets bigger, the smaller fears subside.

It's important to ask yourself why you're afraid of certain things. Are you afraid of getting cancer because your parent(s) died of the disease? If that motivates you to have regular check ups then it's a good thing. If it makes you afraid of every ache and pain it's a bad thing. Are you afraid of financial insecurity? If it motivates you to be a good steward it's a good thing. If it makes you afraid to meet daily needs it's a bad thing. Beat Satan at his own game. Use his intentions for fear as a great opportunity to trust the Lord.

I can tell you my life story from beginning to end by theme with the Lord. There have been some themes that have been short lived and others that have gone on seemingly forever. For several years now and especially lately it has been "Strength for today." I don't feel like I'm handling a lot of things particularly well at the moment, but I can hear the spirit of the Lord whisper to me all the time-"Strength for today." Today is enough to worry about, isn't it? I don't want to miss what the Lord has planned for this life today because who knows what tomorrow will bring.

One of my psych professors in college taught us this little exercise that I've been doing before I go to sleep almost every night for years. He said, "Take a deep breath in and breathe in the love of God. Let it get all the way into the very core of your soul. Then breathe out fear, anxiety, and stress. Feel yourself letting go." Particularly when I can't sleep it has made a huge difference. It sounds silly-it works amazingly well. Try it!

Jesus, you know what our fears are. You know where they came from and you know why we hang onto them. You know what's around the next corner and you offer us your presense to buffer the scary things of this life. Would you meet us right where we are today? Would you surround us with the comfort that trust in you can bring? Would you help us to exchange the fear of this world with a holy fear of You? We are at our very best still human. You know that and you love us anyway and we thank you for that. You are trustworthy. You are and always have been more than enough for us. Whisper to us when we are overwhelmed, "don't be afraid." And help us to believe you. Amen.

catch up

The final post about fear is coming soon. Your comments and vulnerability have melted my heart. I am praying for you! And just a reminder that the October book of the month is Return Policy by Michael Snyder. We need a good fiction title after last month :) Also, I know I have not updated my "The books I've read" list in months! Sorry. I promise to do just that very soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Book Review

Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones is the best fiction I've read in a long time. Soooooo funny! She is the perfect blend of serious and hillarious. I so loved the quirkiness of the main character and the way grace was weaved gently in the story all the way through. Fabulous! Read it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fear continued

I'm an animal lover. Big time. If I could I'd have every animal at the shelter living at my house. I don't like to kill things-ever-and will spend a significant amount of time "convincing" them to leave via the door so I don't have to kill anything and feel bad about it later. Unless it's a roach or a spider in which case I have no conscience. I might also add that I don't like to buy bug killer. For some reason it makes me feel like a murderer so I usually "forget" to add it to my list. Don't send me e-mails. :)

Last week there was a HUGE wolf spider in the guest bathroom that the dogs were helping get rid of by staring it down. . . ahem. And since I have no bug killer and I refuse to step on anything (ewww!) I had to kill it with whatever I could find. In this case-Windex. Can I just say that it must have been the poor spiders greatest fear realized to be killed by something that is in fact poisionous but not immediately effective. By the end of the torture I just felt bad for the guy. But, he had to go.

It made me start thinking about fear. How quickly we can go from minding our own business to being scared to death. How immediately when something hits us that is uncomfortable, confusing, frustrating, difficult to handle or deadly-we flip out completely. Or maybe that's just me. And sometimes it does feel like things are coming right at us that will not immediately kill us, but sure make living uncomfortable.

It's so easy to trust the Lord when the path is laid to perfection before us. When the beginning blends easily into the ending and we know which step to take next. When our eyes are open, our hearts are clear and our intentions are honorable. The rest of the time life just takes a lot of work doesn't it?

Trusting when afraid is certainly not a spiritual quality I have mastered. Honestly-trusting while not afraid is not a spiritual quality I have mastered! But, I want to. I want to have a heart that trusts the One who is Trustworthy. I want more than anything to have a heart that rests in the One who knows my fears - real and imagined - and longs to comfort them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I will never be able to do a single post about Fearless by Max Lucado. I have so much to say and YOU have had so much to say that I am dedicating this week to the topic of fear because I need it and apparently you do too.

I did not know several months ago when I chose Fearless as our book of the month that it would speak to this temporary season of my life so perfectly. I did not know that in this month of reading this book I would take every single scripture he presented and wrap it tightly around my heart like a security blanket. I didn't know. But God did.

I am not by nature fearful. I worry about dumb stuff to the point of exhaustion, but I'm not afraid really. I am unafraid at times to the point of being stupid. I've lived alone for almost 6 years and have forgotten on more than one occasion to lock the front door-for a long time. I sit outside sometimes with the dogs at 2 in the morning because I love the peacefulness of 2 in the morning. Up until a few months ago I would probably have told you I was independent to a fault. I thought really I could do it all by myself including rejecting the need for a fierce dependence on the Lord. I could not disagree more with myself at this moment in time.

I'm not just naturally super quiet or peaceful on the inside, but occasionally life has gotten to where Jesus feels just as close as the next breath. I have found in my own life that when we need Him, when we really really more than we know need Him-He is there. This has been one of those weeks.

I'm so tired of talking about my throat so I'm not going to do another post about it right now, but I will say it is not fixed and it may not be fixed for awhile. The results are all back and I have an appointment Monday morning to see where to go from here. I am prepared that finding the right balance of medications and procedures to fix what the problem is may take awhile, but can I just say - I'm a little weary. Feeling like something is stuck in my throat for over 2 weeks now is making me crazy. Having my throat close up to the point of being unable to breathe and feeling like it could happen again at any moment is making me afraid. And taking huge amounts of medication when I can't eat is making me feel sick-all the time. And I'm tired of it.

And the past few days I've been really tired of it. I don't have the mental energy to defend all my opinions at the moment, but you know that I believe in perspective, I know it could be so much worse, and I'm grateful for all the Lord has blessed me with BUT, it's my blog, this is how I feel at the moment, and you don't have to read it if you don't want to. I'm praying for people right now that I wouldn't trade places with for a bazillion dollars. I'm begging at the feet of Jesus for relief for people who are struggling with the unthinkable. And I'm thankful for a God who while dealing with all of those people and millions more still cares that I'm afraid. He is still interested in this little life that is frustrated at the moment. And he still loves this heart that desperately wants to be brave but has been more quivering than strong lately.

Satan is on a desperate quest to make us think we, as well as are requests are unworthy. Even as Jesus tells us to come, Satan tells us to come with something worth taking up the time of the King of Kings. Even as Jesus says to bring our burdens to him, Satan says comparatively we don't really have a burden so we might as well carry it ourselves-after all, we can do our part. Even as Jesus says Peace I leave you, Satan is whispering in the other ear about all we have to be worried about and that peace is somehow equivalent to laziness and inefficiency. RIDICULOUS. And it's these things, when we believe them, that are the very things making up my biggest fear-being rendered useless in service for the Lord.

I believe in the body of Christ. I believe that at our very best as Christians we still need each other. I believe Satan is at his core a liar and to listen to him in any way makes it difficult to walk in truth. I have sat at Jesus' feet this week. I have prayed until I don't know what else to say. And I've talked myself around in circles alternating at rapid speed between intense faith and total devastation. Humanity!

And tonight I just needed someone else to pray. I needed someone else to carry the burden of faith for me for just a few minutes. Maybe you're better at being spiritually needy than yours truly, but I just didn't care yesterday. Why we even hesitate to ask people to pray with us I'll never know. I can't think of a single time someone has asked me to pray with them that I found it strange, a burden, an inconvenience or anything but a total honor. Spending a few moments in prayer tonight with fellow believers made a remarkable difference. It was a relief to feel like I'm not the only one carrying something I don't entirely know what to do with. I already believed every word they said, but hearing it coming from somewhere other than my own confusion made it sink in so much deeper.

And I cannot thank the Lord enough for the spiritual exchange that took place tonight. Fear has been replaced once again by faith. Suffocating frustration has been replaced by the ability to breathe easier spiritually once again. I'm praying I never, ever take it for granted that as His children, a moment in his presence quite literally changes everything. The entire balance of good vs. evil and Jesus vs. Satan and fear vs. faith is upset with a single believing prayer. It should not be taken lightly.

I don't know what's making you afraid today. There's enough on the front page of the paper to keep us awake at night for weeks at a time totally paralyzed by fear. I'm reminding myself as well today that God has conquered fear. If we'll just ask - his sweet spirit of peace will blow through the very cells of our being restoring our faith, renewing our trust in Him, and bringing us again to a place of confidence in Him.

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." -John 14:27 NLT

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seaside Letters

THOMAS NELSON BOOK REVIEW: I have never read Denise Hunter, but I'm very happy I stumbled upon this great book. Seaside Letters was a fabulous read set in Nantucket telling the story of a waitress looking into her past to surprisingly find her future. I loved the idea of helping someone look for someone and not knowing it's you! Wonderful. I would and have already recommended it to a friend. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

this just in

oooooooooops! I forgot to set this to post over the weekend. I was a little busy with ah...stuff. non interesting stuff that is still going on. Yuck. I hate it. I'll do a post about trusting God when life is crazy when it - well - isn't. I have more faith in those times :) I promise to post this weekend more about a lot of things but for now............

The blog is on hiatus this week from posting because it's in the process of getting a brand new layout! That's right! My friends at cutest blog on the block dot com are hard at work creating a new logo and layout for the unending ramblings of yours truly. What? You can't wait? Too bad! It's not ready yet. But look for it soon!

Also with the addition of the Thomas Nelson Book Reviews the blog is now set to public which means some posts will be disappearing into thin air very soon. In case you wanted to frame them, memorize them, etc (HA!) you'd better get on it :)

For those of you who get the blog by e-mail, it will be exactly the same to you-no worries.

THANK you for all the prayers! So many of you I've never ever met but I'm so thankful to be a part of the body of Christ with you. It's my total honor to pray for your needs and I feel blessed beyond measure that you are praying for mine in the past weeks. God is good good good!

MUAH! Talk to you soon from a brand new layout!!! -BRENDA

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book of the Month

Friendly reminder-you have 10 days left to finish Fearless by Max Lucado. I've already gotten some great comments. If you've read it and have something you want me to incorporate into the review let me know! I have to admit I'm not a huge Max Lucado book fan-I think he has wonderful things to say but he tends to be a bit "touchy feely" for me sometimes. I'm so loving this book right now though. Who doesn't need a life without fear? And maybe it's just me but based on your comments I can tell you've needed the gentle reminders of a loving Father who cares for you. Me too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Childhood cancer prayer requests

WARNING (Krystal!) this is not a happy post!!

I know it's not fun to think about childhood or any kind of cancer, but I am going to do one final post this month for Childhood Cancer Awareness month with some updates from the families we've prayed for over the past year or so.

Remember Catie who died at age 4 after a 3 year battle with a brain tumor? Since this sweet family sent Catie home to be with Jesus they've welcomed not 1 but 2 healthy siblings-a boy and a girl! Jenny gave birth to her 2nd daughter just days after saying goodbye to her first. They have an amazing story and a wonderful testimony to the goodness of God even while grieving.
This is Katie and her sweet baby girl Reese. As far as the Dr's knew Reese was very healthy, but 2 days after a normal delivery she died unexpectedly on August 13th. Please continue to pray for this family. Katie wrote an awesome blog post the other day about finding unexpected hope - incredible. She didn't have cancer, but still such an incredible loss.

And this is the update I almost can't see through tears to write. Remember when we prayed for the Maxey family when their daughter Madeline was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her kidney? She lived just a little over a year before she died from complications.

2 years later they had Grant a healthy baby boy who is doing well still today!
And last year they had baby Annette-a beautiful healthy baby girl who unbelievably was diagnosed with cancer also before she turned 2 months old. She died this past week. The visitation is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow at 2 P.M. Please remember this sweet family this weekend in prayer who will bury a 2nd child to this horrible disease.

You can see their story on

Every child is a gift. Don't take it lightly today to have healthy children/grandchildren in your life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A sweet little girl dog and her frog

I hate frogs. Ella does not. This is the story of how a sweet little girl dog brought her new friend the frog into the house to play with it.

She brought him in and put him on the blanket-she's hospitable like that.

It didn't take long for them to get to be the best of friends.

Keeping a closer eye on him after he attempted to hop to freedom!

She decided he wasn't much fun and let Odyssey play with him - who inadvertantly proceeded to kill the poor little guy.
The End :)

Whine Whine Whine

Wow, it's been a crazy few weeks. I hesitated seriously even posting this tonight because I'm praying for sooooooo many people right now who are facing amazing situations without a good outcome. People who are suffering in ways I thankfully cannot imagine, and people if given the option would change lives with me in a heartbeat.

So, knowing that perspective is a beautiful thing and because people have been asking, I'll update you on the drama in the life of Brenda :)

My throat has been feeling weird for a few weeks. Because I spend 2 days a week around the emergency room and everyone I know is sick (ok, not everyone, but just about), I really assumed I was getting sick. Friday night when I woke up to go to work my throat felt thick but I really didn't think that much about it. It was annoying, but that was about it. I ended up letting the ER dr. look at it while I was over there doing a consult and he said it looked weird.

By Saturday night it was closing up and I couldn't breathe. By far the scariest moment of my life to date. I ended up back at the ER with some meds to open up my airway and diagnosed with an "unstable airway." Duh. Back to Greenleaf to try to finish the weekend. And I honestly do not know how I finished the weekend except to say that God was super gracious. I saw every patient that came to the hospital, finished every last piece of paperwork and somehow managed to leave early. A miracle-all 3 of those.

So this has been the week of trying to figure out why my throat is not interested in staying open. It's been some long nights of trying not to be afraid. Saturday was just scary enough to make me a little nervous that it might happen again. I've been so thankful for a God who doesn't sleep, who cares when we're afraid and knows what's going on in our lives. My regular dr. wanted me to stay in the hospital (in hindsight I really should have), the ENT Dr. found a few things that were concerning (after doing an in office upper endoscopy with no anesthesia-I'll spare you the details of that!), and tomorrow they're going to do a cat scan to try to figure out exactly what's going on. 12 perscriptions later I can breathe better and I'm not coughing every 2 seconds to clear a throat that won't clear. So, it's way better than it was last weekend.

You are all so sweet to always ask how you can pray for me and I've told you 100 times I'd rather pray for you, but since you asked here's a few specific requests! Thank you.

-That the CAT scan results will come back quickly and with an explanation of the symptoms

-That this weekend would go smoothly. I am not going to be able to take the medication while I work this weekend so please pray my throat would stay open on it's own!

Thanks again! I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I'm reading/Tuesday book review

Yes, this is the Tuesday book review. Yes, I know it's Thursday. Sorry :(

First of all let me say it's been a crazy week. I'll blog about that later. Next let me say that I'm way more bummed than I thought I'd be that Bible Study is over! I miss the daily discipline of the homework and the fellowship on Tuesday nights-a lot! I feel like I'm sort of on a spiritual road without a map again and I'm hating it! And with that I'm done talking about the Esther study. The plan is to start another one in January which seems kinda far away. I'll keep ya posted!

Did you know I liked Steven James? You did??? No way! Well, I'm not here to talk about The Pawn, The Rook, and The Knight AGAIN (breathe big sigh of relief). I'm reading his latest book which is non-fiction/christian living. A Heart Exposed. Talking to God with nothing to hide. A book of prayers.

I'm not a believer that we need people to write prayers for us, but I do kinda like when people express their own hearts and journeys through written prayers. I love the way he writes and he has more than once taken the words right out of my heart with this book. I'm not finished yet, but it's good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September-Childhood Cancer awareness month

September is childhood cancer awareness month. You'll remember we prayed as a blog for Missy and Ryan most of last year - a mother and son both fighting horrible cancer. As you know a few months ago within a week of each other they both passed away. Continue to pray for Les the husband/father and the 2 remaining children. And let's pray especially for the children this month fighting this dreadful disease many too young to understand painful treatments and extensive episodes of misery. And for the other siblings and families of these patients that God would bless them especially this month with grace, hope, peace, financial means, and courage.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keeping your promises

Everyone likes people who keep their promises. I not only like people who keep their promises, but have a really hard time being in relationship with people who do not. By personality keeping promises is easy for me. If I tell you I'll call at 7-I will. If I tell you I'll pray for you-I will. Part of that is I don't have a whole lot in my life that can put me off schedule except me! I certainly have grace for my friends with small children who have to change clothes at the last minute because somebody puked or have to change plans at the last minute because their husband has to work late, etc. etc. But as a general rule? I'm just real happy with people who do what they say they'll do.

Lately I've been thinking so much about the promises of God. He has been reminding me in so many ways that his promises are true. They're not just the words to a hymn or a catchy Christian cliche. They're real. When He says he will never leave us he means, wait for it, that He'll never leave us! And yet, the first time I get in a bind I immediately wonder where he went. When He promises to never give us more than we can carry, He means His strength is sufficient unto our needs. And yet the first time life gets a little heavy I think God must have forgotten! Right.

I promised my dogs on Friday I would take them for a walk. A bunch of weird stuff happened and I didn't. I promised them I would take them for a walk Sunday night no matter how late I got home from work. A bunch of even crazier stuff happened and I didn't. I promised I would take them for a walk Monday morning before work, "No matter what." Still dealing with some stuff from the weekend, I didn't. I sat on the floor Monday morning before work and told them that I promised (for real) that I would take them for a walk when I got home. Promise.

Now intellectually I realize they have no idea what day it is. I don't really think they even know what time it is. And I know they're "just dogs." Really, I do. But it was bothering me that I was not keeping my promises to them-besides they deserve to go for a walk and I'm their only way to hit the road! So last night I ran a few errands, got home and put 3 collars on 3 very excited dogs. It might have behooved me to look out the door while I was harnassing the beasts because as soon as I opened my garage door I realized it was POURING DOWN RAIN! I'll also mention that I'm the only one of the 4 of us that noticed!

So what's a girl with 2 cocker spaniels chomping at the bit and big lab paw prints all over her shirt supposed to do? We went for a walk. A long walk. I mean once you're soaking wet (and we were!) what difference does it make?

Sometimes God speaks the clearest during the unexpected ordinariness of our days. I have been praying for several people in my life who are struggling and facing my own confusion with the Lord over some things to the point of driving myself crazy of questions without answers. I don't know what I think about the Lord "speaking" to people as in like He comes down here and we discuss my life over coffee, but I know he speaks to us in lots of ways. Although I should add
A-N-Y-T-I-M-E He feels like stopping by is okay by me :) But, as I was walking and thinking and praying last night all while wondering if rain water is bad for my hair color (Ha!), it was like the Lord said to my spirit - "Sometimes I make the promise before I send the rain."

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Sometimes He promises to be with us before he brings us to a place where he is all we have.

Sometimes He promises that He is sufficient long before we stand desperately in need of grace.

Sometimes He promises never to give us more than we can hold right before the load we are carrying seems unbearable.

Sometimes the promise comes first, and then comes the rain.

After walking 2 miles in the rain we finally got back to my house. I was soaked, they were soaked, and they were muddy. I unclipped Shine the lab and put her in the fence and walked around to the side of my house. I looked back only to see that the rain had completely stopped. And maybe it's just my imagination, but just for my own situation with the cares and concerns in my own life I felt like God was saying, "I send the promise, I send the rain, and I send the relief. In my time."

I have been praying for some friends who are facing amazing health challenges, friends who desperatley need direction and friends who more than their next breath need a Savior. My favorite prayer to pray for people is, "Let there be light." Sometimes we just need a ray of light to shine through the darkness of our circumstance and with it the reminder that God keeps His promises.

Fun news!

Awhile ago I applied to be a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers not actually thinking I would get it. There are a bunch of rules and regulations to it that aren't that interesting and a limited number of spots, but bottom line is they send free books and let people with semi popular blogs review them. And yesterday they said I'm in! I'M SO EXCITED!!! And I'll take this moment to thank each and every one of you for HOUNDING me about what good books to read which has made the overriding theme of my blog about books :)

It's still my blog. I'll still share with you all the hold your breath exciting things in my life (HA!), how to make the perfect cup of coffee, and why I love dogs more than people. I'll still be doing Tuesday book reviews that may or may not have anything to do with a Thomas Nelson book. I'll still be doing our book of the month-again, maybe T.N. maybe not. BUT, once a month there will be an "official" review for Thomas Nelson and you'll be able to tell which ones they are. How totally, incredibly fun. I can't wait!

I'm starting with a fiction book because the whole process seems a little intimidating at the moment, but it will be a variety of books over time-all new releases. So, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bloggedy blog blog

I am out of posts early for the week! Thanks for your sweet comments about the Magnificent Obsession. It really was just an incredible journey for me and I intend to read it again very soon. I think sometimes just being aware that God is working makes a huge difference in how we view our days. I'm so thankful for the many reminders it afforded me in this season.

Praying that God has met you this week wherever life finds you. Whether your needs are seemingly insignificant or impossible, He knows and He loves you.

More next week!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

re-post sanctification

Sanctification make holy; set apart as sacred; purify or free from sin: Sanctify your hearts.

Sanctification is H A R D for me. "Holiness unto the Lord" is etched into my huge mirror in my bathroom, but unfortunately that doesn't make me holy. I'd say I'm a good person. I don't murder or steal. I help those I can. But I really don't think that has anything to do with sanctification. To me, quite simply, sanctification is getting rid of the parts of me that look NOTHING like Him. And I know I always use animal examples but this one is too good to not include. . . . . .

The other night I agreed to help one of my friends bathe her cat (don't ask me how people talk me into this stuff). My friend has a huge cat with GOBS of fur. . . oh my word. And the poor cat was COVERED in knots and tangles and other unmentionable stuff. Now I picked up the cat and it purred and rubbed it's head on me and rolled over like it couldn't be happier. And it acted this way right up until I put her in the water. Heaven knows that cat went balistic. Hissing scratching biting and my friend who was so willing to help when the cat was sweet starts crying because her cat is upset. I said (as nice as I could), "Elizabeth seriously help me hold her!" She said, "I can't I don't like it that she's not happy." Honestly, I'd have been the same way if it was my animals, but it wasn't and I was ready to kill the cat and her! Finally she gets it together enough to hold a foot (thanks a million Liz!) and "we" manage to get the cat bathed. Soaking wet and covered in scratches, laughing, we collapse on the floor and here comes the crazy cat purring and loving like nothing ever happened. . . . . . .

And God said to me plain as day, Look Familiar? OUCH!!!!!!!! Oh, but He's so right. I'll kneel by my bed at night and say, "Make me like you Lord. Whatever it takes I want to be just like you. Mold me into your image. Create in me a clean heart. Remove everything from me that doesn't look like you." BUT, BUT, BUT when the time comes to actually do anything about the parts of me that don't look like him, I pitch a holy fit. "I'm willing, tie me to the alter," but once the fire comes you can hear my soul scream ,"I don't like it. It hurts. HELP ME!!!"

And I have no biblical basis for this, but in my own little world I like to think that when the Father sends the fire to make me more like Him, Jesus has a tear in his eye. And the Father tells the Son, "Help me hold her down-this is for her own good." And he can't. He looks up at his Abba Father and says, "I can't. I don't like it when she's not happy."

Thank you Jesus for walking where we walk. You faced betrayal, fear, anxiety, stress and death. You didn't like it, but when the cup was not passed from you and you had to drink from it, you accepted the will of your Father who sent you. Jesus, you know in my heart, at the very core of who I am, more than anything in the whole world I want to be like You. I know where I'd be without you and I'll never forget what you've done for me. I love you more than I'll ever know how to say. Amen

re-post the company we keep

The company we keep
I've been thinking a lot lately about the company I keep. I love most people (believe me-Jesus and I are working on that word "most" but trust me-it's still there!). I like people to be around me. I like people to stop me in the grocery store and tell me they're doing well, or not, or whatever. But those people I call general people. People who happen to be where you are when you're there, not planned, just happens. Sometimes divine-sometimes coincidence-sometimes you're just both looking at grape nuts or whatever.

And those aren't the people I'm worried about. God takes care of the everyday encounters in our lives. I'm talking about real people. The people we intentionally choose to keep in our lives. Our friends, our confidants, our spiritual soulmates. The people that we let into more than just the surface of who we are. The people who know what pushes our buttons and try not to push them. The people who we call when our worlds cave in or we think we're just falling apart. The people we spend time with, invest our lives into and share the secret longings of our hearts and souls with. And in return the people who can be real with us-sometimes about us.I'll be honest with you.

Accountablity? Not my favorite thing. I'm in a season currently that is requiring MUCH accountability and I pretty much hate it every day. I don't mind holding other people accountable-I'm actually really good at that :) but being held accountable myself, at least in this season is soooooooo painful for me. There are some things that the Lord and I have gone around and around and around and around about for a LONG time and it's time for them to get straightened out. Believe me-I've tried on my own and I would REALLY prefer to handle some of them especially on my own, but I've proven over and over again that I cannot. Sigh. It's nothing earth shattering. If I gave you all the specifics you might be prone to think I'm looking for a needle in a haystack and maybe so, but can I just say I think that's exactly what Satan is after? Those little things that we think don't make any difference. Those things that we prefer to hang onto or blame on our personality or blow off as just who we are-they're ruining us in service for the Lord. And I think so much of it is in conjunction with the company we keep.My pastor preached this morning on being a usable vessel. A clean vessel. Being someone the Lord wanted to fill so He could use it. He talked about being set apart, sanctified. He said if you take a clean glass and a dirty glass and put them together-they both end up dirty. It's much harder for the clean glass to influence the dirty glass. Maybe you had to be there but it really resonated in my spirit.

And I know how hard this is to hear because the Lord has been saying it to me for years, but I truly deep in my soul believe that it's better to be by yourself than in bad company. I wish I lived a life that had Godly conversation every night of the week. I wish I had prayer meetings at my house 3 mornings a week where I could just fellowship in the company of fellow believers. I wish I never had to leave the presense of the Lord but my life isn't like that and your's probably isn't either. I break my neck to get my house halfway picked up for Tuesday night's Bible study at my house! By the time I make it to the study on Wednesday mornings and church Sunday morning mixed with everything else in a week I barely have time to send a few quick messages to friends letting them know I'm praying for them. It's so hard to manage a life nevertheless the people around it. I think it's so much better to be home alone with the Lord than out with people who are going to encourage us to be a unfit vessel. And I'm not EVEN talking about unbelievers. We're called to be among them. I'm talking about the people in our lives that encourage us to be worldly or bring out the worst parts about ourselves. The people who do not edify us. The people when we leave them we do not feel closer to the Lord but further away.

I hate that there have been times even recently when I've been that person. When I've missed the opportunity to discuss God's faithfulness with another believer because I'm totally stressed out or seriously lacking in faith at the moment. I hate that I haven't stopped in my tracks when I've encountered someone in my life who was hurting and prayed for them and with them right that second. God knows I've had moments in my own life the past few weeks that have had me all but begging the prayer warriors in my life to interceed for me. Not the first time or the last time either!

I think we become the company we keep. In my own life that means getting rid of some one sided friendships or at least not making them top priority. It means investing more in relationships with a view of eternity mixed in. I'll tell you-it's way harder to try to fit these people in, but it's so important. It's much easier to run to the movies or to dinner to gossip about work and other people, etc. than it is to intentionally plan time to discuss the Lord, but it's so becoming a necessary reality to me.

I sit right in the middle of 2 of the Godliest people I know at church on Sundays. I like to be around them and I like to be with them. They resonate Jesus from the inside out and having just come out of a season where Jesus was very hard for me to find, I like them close by! One of them said this morning after church, "I'm glad you came. You belong here." I really can't think of anything nicer anyone has said to me lately. To belong! Isn't that what we all want? To feel like we belong to the body of Christ. To feel like we're a part of a fellowship of other believers. To feel like we're a piece of an eternal masterpiece, a piece that matters, a piece that if it were missing would make the bigger picture lack something. Who we are, what we believe in, the way we act, where we are on the path to sanctification, our relationship with the Lord-so much of it is enhanced or destroyed by the company we keep. It matters.

re-post depression

I think Depression can absolutely be spiritually related. The farther we are away from the Lord the less at peace we become. I believe with all my heart that absense from the Lord in any way can make us depressed-for sure. BUT, I do not think depression is 100% spiritually related all the time. There are medical concerns and imbalances and life stresses that make some personality types more prone to depression than others. Circumstantial depression is almost unavoidable in the typical human life. Lately it has been on my heart and in my conversations to say to those of you who read this who struggle with depression - DEPRESSION IS NOT A SIN! DEPRESSION IS A SYMPTOM! Being depressed or going through a period of depression is so not a sin. And I don't think it can even be classified as a sin to stay in depression. However, I do think God wants better for you.
From the bottom of the core of my very soul I hope by now you trust me when I say I understand. I've had the seemingly endless nights of agony and despair. I've cried until I was absolutely convinced that there could not be any more liquid left in my body-and then cried for hours more. I've thought very seriously at times that the only way through this is out. And when I say out, I mean out like for real. I've wondered if it was worth it. I still do sometimes. But what I know now that I didn't know then is that God cares.
Depression is a symptom that something is wrong. When you have a fever your body is fighting off an infection somewhere. When you have pain there is something wrong to the tissues and/or muscles surrounding the pain site. And when you are depressed something is wrong. Sometimes it is physical like a chemical imbalance or medication interaction. Other times it's hereditary. And more often than not it's a combination of biochemical factors and life related stressors.
And if I can just be not very spiritual for a moment - I don't always think Jesus alone is the answer. I think Jesus can work in our midst and with our technology to heal. I think it's important to listen to Him. The first bad day you have doesn't necessarily mean you need a prescription for Prozac. Certain situations in life (grief, etc.) take awhile to run their course. We have to give our minds and bodies and souls sufficient time to recover through the losses and heartaches of life.
But I think there comes a time when you know all the outside stuff isn't working. Good diet, exercise and sufficient sunshine can do a lot to eliviate depression, but not for everyone. Talk therapy is extremely beneficial, but not always the answer. There comes a point when medication is a really great option. I'm not promoting or discouraging it, I'm just saying for some people (a lot of people) medication gives the best chance of returning to a normal feeling life. Psychotropic meds historically people totally emotionless - that's not the case anymore. Medications are available to treat mild depression all the way up to very depressed almost comatose people.
I've heard from enough people lately that medication for mental illness is not spiritual. I'll have to insert what I heard Chonda Pierce say the other day. "Tell those people to take their glasses off and drive home." :) Sometimes we just need a little help to make it! And I think God understands that. I so love the thought of a line of healing where people get hands laid on them and they leave totally healed and restored. I totally believe in the power of God to do just that. However, I think most of the time we grow in Him in the process. We gain spiritual strength and endurance by what we learn THROUGH the valley. And you may not be there today, but one day with God's help I believe you will be thankful for the journey. I am.
People always think that when they break a bone the point where it was broken is weaker than the rest of the body. Not true. The place where the bone heals is STRONGER than the average pieces of bone surrounding the break. I think it's the same with God. When we are healed of our brokenness people want to think of us as weaker, but Beloved we are Not. We are stronger. When God injects his healing power into the broken places in our lives, we are STRONG in Him.
Take courage today those who are struggling. God, even now, is loving you, holding you, and carrying you. He sees your heart, motives and intentions and he knows who you are.....His.

re-post selfishness vs. self care

Selfishness verses self care
Selfishness verses self careI think the voyage of self discovery is a lifelong process. We're always learning and growing and changing. We're always seeing God's Word apply to new situations and speak to us differently than it did in another season of our lives. We're learning that things that worked perfectly for us in one season are virtually useless in this one or the next one. Life is a process and it makes sense that our relationship with the Lord will also experience highs and lows and changes. Not that we renounce our faith by any means, but just that faith in general at times is easier than others.

I love the mountain tops-who doesn't? I love feeling like Jesus is no more than a breath away and if I were in heaven it would feel just like this. But as I have matured in my faith I certainly understand the purpose and the power of the valley. I can't say I look forward to them because they sure are not fun, but I appreciate them and the lessons they teach. I especially appreciate when you come out of the valley and first start to notice that you can breathe again-only one word can describe it-grace.

Lately Satan and I have been going around and around about the topic of Selfishness. I say Satan because I'm not really sure any of this thinking originated with God or his current lesson teaching my heart to be more like Him. Let me say this first. My current season of life is so blocked in that if one or two things go wrong it doesn't take me long to flip completely out. That's just the truth. As long as I feel well, sleep and eat well, and everything else goes according to plan my life runs like a well oiled machine. But if I get a cold, can't sleep, am running late because the dog just puked on my cute shoes that go perfectly with this outfit, or someone totally innocent gets in my way and makes me late - I'll lose it - truly I will. I don't really like that about myself but it's so true. I just run 100mph ALL the time. I can't even tell you what I can cram into an hour if I ever get a free one. I definitely have at least 2 evenings a week where I stay home and read or talk to friends or whatever, but that time is also on a schedule.

So I don't like to think of myself as Selfish, but by nature of my jobs and life in this season I have to protect the time I have. If I don't sleep well Friday evening, I still have to work ALL weekend so I don't go out on Friday nights because I will regret it for 47 hours! I go out with my girlfriends on Tuesday night - really every Tuesday night for the last several years with very few exceptions. I look forward to it all week and it's my chance to get away with them for a few hours, discuss the week and hang out. I love it.

I'm so torn at the moment between being selfish and taking good care of myself. I have totally neglected myself in the past for the purpose of helping others and it didn't take too long before I fell completely apart. I feel closer to a good balance than ever before so I'm pretty sure that's why Satan is on the prowl-he surely doesn't want us to be balanced. I should also say that I am the absolute worst at being taken care of in general. If I'm not careful when people try to help me with anything I get very defensive and independent and end up hurting their feelings. I know this so I try very hard to not be so neurotic.

Recent examples-Last night I was at Cracker Barrell with my friend Tammy and we were running super late for the movie. She said she'd buy dinner and I could get the movie tickets. I was like sure great, but I started thinking what if dinner is more than the movie tickets and she ends up paying for more than I do? I was actually relieved when at the Movies she said, "Grab me a drink too." Whew! That meant I paid more which makes me way happier than when someone else does. WHAT A CRAZY PERSON I AM! What the heck difference does it make? Ugh. That's so annoying and SUCH a waste of perfectly good brain power! I think Satan LOVES that stuff, I really do. Bottom line is it made no difference. All of my friends toss back and forth the same $10.00 ALL THE TIME. One of us pays one time and one another and maybe it doesn't work out perfectly but it really makes no difference-at all. It's even more obnoxious to me now that I'm typing it, but I know I'm not the only one.

Another example-My grandparents have been here for the last 6 weeks. I love when they're here I honestly do, but like I said, I'm the worst at being taken care of. And truly they're just trying to help, but every once in awhile it so gets on my nerves. This past weekend at work was a nightmare, truly. I barely had time to run home change my clothes let the dogs out get some coffee and be back to work before the next patient arrived. Saturday afternoon I could barely keep my eyes open and I really just wanted to take a shower change clothes and get back. My grandfather stopped me at the door and proceeded into a long discussion about the front door and did I like the locks on it and did I think the frame was straight. My pager kept going off and we were still talking about the door. Finally I just said, "I love the door, as far as I can tell it's straight, and the locks match the rest of the hardware so I guess they're fine. Bye!" He really just wanted to know if there was something he could do to the door that would make me happier, but if he only knew-I don't even notice the door as I'm flying in and out of it!

Monday mornings you can probably guess are not Brenda at her finest. After working all weekend I have to be at the store to open. It's a miracle every Monday that I get to work at time and in any way look presentable. I have to be at work at 830 and it's 20 minutes away and if I don't stop at Starbucks-well, forget it! I woke up at 750 threw on some clothes and was trying to get out the door when my grandmother said, "I made breakfast!" I can't eat on Mondays until about 2 pm because my stomach is usually crazy from the weekends. I didnt' want to hurt her feelings, but I also wasn't about to eat breakfast. Well, there wasn't much else I could do about it, but she got her feelings hurt-and I was way too exhausted to be too bothered by it. I talked to her about it when I got home that night. She was just trying to help and I was just trying to survive and we came to an understanding, but it's still frustrating! I like it so much better when things run smoothly!

I am asking God to help me not to be selfish and if there are areas in my life when I need to be more understanding of people being late or postponing or changing plans that may or may not work for me. But I'm also asking God to not let me feel guilty for doing the things to take care of myself so that I can be at peace-body mind and soul. And definitely to recognize the difference.

So lately everytime Satan has whispered into my ear, "you're so selfish." God has gently whispered back, "you still need to take care of yourself." They're both right! I am selfish sometimes but God is showing me some of that time is because I have to be. And I do have to take care of myself. The patients that I see all weekend do not care that I am overly tired and the people who do care about me would probably appreciate me not snapping on them when they ask a question! It is about balance-the balance the Lord has for me and for this life at this time. I have to trust His leading.

And it was so wonderful last night to be a part of the body of Christ. I half jokingly said to my sweet friend Tammy, "I'm going to find some friends who can be on time to dinner so we don't have to rush to get to the movies!" She apologized and then said, "And I'm going to find some friends who don't schedule dinner so close to the movies!" I apologized too. Ah! I love it. Thanks friend!

re-post Therapy

Some people have asked me lately my spiritual opinion of people going to therapy. So, here it is.I haven't been to therapy since college when I had to go for my degree - quite frankly - I enjoyed it! I was a little intimidated by the process at first, but seriously it can be the best conversation you've ever had! I didn't really mind it at all and it gave me some clarification of some things so no biggie. Would I go again now like on my own accord? If I felt like I needed it - yes, for sure.

I don't really think therapy is a spiritual decision necessarily. If you're going through something that you feel like you could benefit from talking to a non biased party - do it. Sometimes we just need someone to help us put our thoughts in order.I assume people have been asking me because they have considered going recently, so assuming that let me say the following.

Don't bother scheduling an appointment with a Psychiatrist unless you want to start with the medication route. They don't generally do talk therapy so you'll be wasting your time and up to $200 an appt.Don't assume your pastor is a therapist. I'm all for spiritual guidence, but pastors are not necessarily trained to help you sort through your thoughts and emotions. Spirtiual guidence, prayer support, biblical questions - go for it, depression and other issues - no. (just my opinion!). We have a pastor who works at the hospital with a masters in counseling - genious combination, but hard to come by.Don't necessarily settle for the 1st counselor/therapist you go to. Therapy is like finding a great pair of shoes - you'll know when you've found it, and you know when you missed it totally. You should feel comfortable and able to have a productive dialoge. If after a few sessions you don't feel like it's "working" for lack of a better word, don't be afraid to tell him/her that you may need someone else. Chances are they feel the same way.

Don't think it's going to be like the movies. No one is going to make you lay on a couch or cry your eyes out or be hysterical. Most people report a very professional experience with a great conversation and some goals to work on in regard to the situation.

Another word to the wise - don't assume your husband/wife or best friend are your best options. Women especailly grow up thinking they will get married to the man of their dreams who they can talk to about anything, he will listen patiently and then have all the answers. That's not fair to him and most married women report this particular scenerio leaves them feeling unheard and alone. Even if you are married to a great man who will listen to you ramble on, he may not have the answers you are looking for which can lead to resentment, etc. However, for general day to day life stressors - if you have an attentive spouse or a best friend that you can discuss anything with, if you have someone in your life that when something bad happens you start dialing without a thought to what time it is - you have found therapy in it's purest form and for that you should be thankful. Having someone listen attentitively to your concerns who also has your best interest and well being at heart is a GIFT. Cherish it.

Working in the counseling profession myself I will say on this point I agree with Freud who said, "We don't really cure anyone - we just stand by and cheer while they cure themselves." Therapy is a valuable tool and if you need it - get it!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The End/Tuesday book review

Oh I just hate when good things come to an end. By the time this posts I will have finished my Esther homework for the week and except for the last dvd lesson tonight - the study. SAD! It's been such a great time. I've loved every Beth Moore study I've ever done. Some have applied more to my life at that time and this one takes the cake. I'm thankful for new clarity of Esther's life and circumstances. I'm thankful for the practical life lessons Mordecai offered. I'm thankful for the gentle reminders to heed God's warning to guard our hearts against the mistakes of Haman and Xerxes. I'm thankful anew that God has a plan for my life, that He will not fulfill my destiny without me, that his providence is in place and that his decrees over my life cannot be revoked. He's more powerful than our circumstances, more faithful than our fears, and more interested in our journey then even we are. He was faithful to Esther, faithful to the Jews and He is faithful to us!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Your coffee questions answered! First of all it makes me laugh that you all think I'm an expert on coffee. I don't know that drinking amazing amounts of it actually qualifies me as an expert but I will answer the questions from the comments I've gotten recently. Here goes......
-Yes, I have an espresso machine and yes I CAN brew my own espresso but I usually don't. Espresso shots only last 30 seconds before they start turning bitter and that's a lot of pressure! Plus it makes a huge mess and has a bunch of parts to clean which I'm not really into. But technically yes, I can and I have.
-If I could only drink one coffee for the rest of my life it would be dark roast african coffee in a french press. I'm trying not to drink as much french press coffee because it is bad for your cholesterol, but I truly love it.
-Yes I get a splitting headache when I don't drink coffee. I'm trying to pretend that's not a sign of addiction :)
-speaking of roasts, I will drink medium roasts if I have to but you won't catch me drinking light roast coffee except in an emergency :) I like really dark roast coffee-the stronger the better.
-My favorite starbucks drink? Well, my starbucks experience was a little more interesting before I gave up sugar. I pretty much either drink Pike's Place drip coffee or a quad venti non fat iced latte which is just espresso and skim milk over ice. Boring I know. If I was still eating sugar I'd be drinking the pumpkin spice latte. It's the best and I miss them :(
-I did get a few questions about hot tea. I don't know anything about tea and I only drink it if I'm deathly ill. I do own a teapot that I use to boil the water for the french press :)
-Since I gave up sugar I use regular cream and truvia sweetner. I can drink it black and I do on the weekends, but I think it's more fun with stuff in it.
-The golden rule for brewed coffee is half plus one. If you're making 12 cups of water then you use 7 tablespoons of coffee - get it?
-Coffee goes bad on the burner after 15 minutes. If you're not going to drink it by then, put it in a carafe. Please don't ask me if I reheat coffee in the microwave - blasphamy! :)
-I don't really remember when I became obsessed with coffee. My friends from college and I used to study at Coffee Times which is an awesome coffee shop in Lexington so probably sometime around then. They roast my very favorite coffee of all times - Cinnamon Nut Graham. MMMMM!
-Do not freeze coffee beans. Just don't. Store them in an airtight canister. Just do.
-I like to grind my coffee fresh for brewed coffee and I do sometimes, but I get lazy and let starbucks grind it a lot. I don't grind my own for the french press. I let starbucks do that on their cool machine :)
-No, I've never had civet coffee and I think that sounds disgusting. Look it up if you want to know.
-yes people always buy me coffee stuff. No I don't mind a bit! I don't think I leave much room for people to wonder if I like it.
-yes I actually do know what I spend on coffee a year and it's a lot! But I don't drink, smoke, gamble, go out very often and I work all the time so there :)
Did I get most of them? If not we'll do another post later. fun!
To coffee!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Magnificent Obsession

Most of you know me well enough by now to know I read waaaaaaaaay too many books to get all crazy over very many of them. I certainly don't believe everyone who can hold a pen should publish their thoughts on anything and find classic books very few and far between. In all the books I've ever read I have exactly 12 that are on my "don't give away and read over and over again shelf." I'm sure I've put the list somewhere on the blog in the past. Needless to say I think a lot of people can write a "story" about 2 people who fall in love and a few unforseen things happen and it ends happily ever after. Blech. It takes someone with a serious gift for the english language, a gift for stringing together thoughts that are both seemless and unexpected, and a gift in Christian writing particularly to accurately and God fearingly put pen to paper with a prayer that God's heart gets clearly expressed to those whose lives are influenced by your words. And when an author can do that with a powerful Biblical story, appropriate personal life applications and an obvious heart of humility-to me a great book is born.

That said-I absolutely fell in love The Magnificent Obsession by Anne Graham Lotz. It may be that it just fell into my lap at an amazingly opportune time, but I think it's more than that. The 2 people I've given it to have both called going on and on about it after only a few chapters. Yep, it's that good!

I so love the story of Abraham. I love that he was called away from everything. I love that he had to wait for a promise that didn't seem possible or probable. And I especially love when he got tired of waiting he seriously messed some things up. I'm not a big fan of waiting by nature. I tend to mess a lot of things up when God asks me to wait for just about anything.

Most of you know it wasn't exactly my life's dream to grow up, move to Valdosta, GA and live happily ever after. I still sometimes wake up in the morning and wonder how I got here. The day I graduated from college I told my friends in Lexington that I would see them in a few months. I fully intended to move back to Kentucky, work at Eastern State Psychiatric hospital and stay active in the church that I had loved and faithfully attended for 3 years. I love Kentucky and I fit so well into Lexington. Huge bookstores, great coffee shops, open space-it was my plan for me-but it wasn't God's.

I spent that summer at camp on staff and will never forget the day in July that I had to let the hospital know if I would take the position there. I was praying about it really more for pomp and circumstance then direction. I already knew what I was going to do and those prayers are EASY. Unless they become an answer you didn't expect. All I heard over and over and over and over again for a solid week in the depths of my soul was, "No."

Lord, I want to move to Lexington! "no."

I believe this is what you have for me! "no."

I already told everyone that's what I was doing! "no."

I'm staying at my church! "no."

Are you kidding me? "no."

It was miserable. MISERABLE! I spent the rest of the summer dreading the inevitable and having no clue what the inevitable might be! The summer came and went and I went to Georgia to visit some friends and to get away from the Lord honestly. Too bad I ran smack into Him!

I've loved the Lord most of my life. And I think loving Him is easy. I think trusting Him is another story. He's for sure, absolutely trustworthy, but in my humanity I desperately want to see where we're going. Anne Graham Lotz says "Abraham made the critical coice to embrace a God-filled life, a life of obedient faith, like a hammer striking steel, he made choice after choice after choice until he forged an intimate relationship with God that God acknowledged as a friendship. If you and I ever truly know God, it will not be an accident. It will be because we have pursued with focused intentionality."

I wish I could say I told the Lord I thought moving to the middle of nowhere where I knew 5 whole people, didn't have a job or a place to live or a church was just the best idea I'd ever heard of but let's just say I didn't! :) I did not like it. I did not want to. I was not happy. But something in my spirit knew even with all those human feelings circling about that this is where I was supposed to be. There were no signs saying, "you are here! God is happy you made it!" If anything ALL the signs pointed to, "You're making a huge mistake and ruining your life. Run away!!" And all I can say almost 8 years later is - it was God.

I so appreciated Anne Graham Lotz describing the journey with the Lord at times as step by step obedience alone in the same direction. Just a few weeks ago I told the Lord that I truly believed He had brought me here and I do, but for WHAT? I get so tired of the redundancy of my life especially lately. I just get tired period. And in those few weeks I was tired of hoping the Lord had something more interesting planned for this life. I was tired of wishing He'd just come down here for a few minutes and say, "I know your story-it gets better! This is just the title page-hold on!" I get bored REALLY easily and lately I'm living bored for some reason. One of my friends said the other day, "I think you're just bored with you." She's totally right because lately I haven't been great company! I'm not a person dead set on getting married to be happy, but just in general I get really bored living alone, eating alone, working alone, being alone, etc. I know marriage is not the answer to lonliness so don't send me e-mails-that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying I understood why when Abraham was told to leave his people he didn't want to and when he was living in a tent in the middle of nowhere thinking all of God's promises were seemingly forgotten-I get it. I've felt like that a lot lately.

I think God was gracious to still fulfill his promises to Abraham even when Abraham tried to take matters into his own hands. I wonder if on his death bed Abraham had the regret of not trusting God in the process. I wonder if he wished he would have truly waited on God and loved him when the road seemed to be headed nowhere. I wonder if he wished he'd held onto hope just a little longer. I wonder if he felt like he had hurt God's heart by not trusting him.

And maybe that's why I love this book so much right now. After a long few years in a spiritual valley the past few months have brought God back to the forfront of my life. It's so good to be back in right relationship with Him, but it also is so reminding of the fact that I have no idea what he's doing. I love being back in church. Just this morning for the first time in almost 8 years I realized I didn't miss my church in Lexington. It sounds dumb to say I've missed it every Sunday for years, but I truly have. Given the option I would never have left that church or the people there that I considered family. But for some reason God took me from there. I don't know why and I suppose I don't have to.

I wish I had some great ending-that God did A, B, C, and D and it all fell into place and now we know why I'm here! I still have no idea. On really good spiritual days I'm holding onto hope that this is an important piece of the puzzle of my life. On not so good spiritual days I think I might have missed the Lord altogether. I don't know why God would bring me to a place that is away from my "people." Spiritually deserted does not even begin to describe the feelings of the past few years. I have wonderful spiritual support from very Godly people who have spoken wisdom and truth into my life with total love. People who would and have dropped everything to pray with me and for me. And they live forever away! I think God even lately has been establishing some positive spiritual support in my life, but it's hard not to just ache for the people who know you-really know you. People you don't have to start at the beginning with! I feel like Abraham might have felt like that - a lot.

And yet there is something so strong in me that truly wants to love God in the process. To trust him when my days seem insignificant, when my life seems to be headed nowhere, when my goals and heart's desires seem forgotten. I don't want to know him when this happens or that happens-I really want to know Him now. I've told some of you that I really believe lately God has been asking me, "What if you really believed I was enough for you?" I think I've decided that would change everything. If he was what we were pursuing and we were trusting the rest to Him we would never be the same.

And it has stuck in my heart as I've read this book twice and listened to it once-if we really want to know God it won't be on accident. Our lives are not on accident and our relationship with Him is not either. And we're not promised that all the pieces will fall into place and we'll understand it all before we take our final breath, but we are promised He is with us. He sees our obedience when no one else does. He cares when we hurt. He understands when we're lonely. He sees our hearts and knows even better than we do that they are dead set committed to him even when they falter. He knows the end from the beginning. He knew what Abraham was called to do, what he would do, what he wouldn't do and still called Him his friend. I want to be as committed to the Lord as He is to me. I want to get to the end of my life and be able to say, "Lord, I loved you when I knew what you were doing and I loved you when I didn't."

The Magnificent Obsession.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

book club

Apparently that last post didn't go through right......Here's the list for fall.

October-Return Policy by Michael Snyder

November-Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

December-Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury (releases in November)

Book Club

Thanks for your help on deciding books for the rest of the year! Here ya go :)

October is Return Policy by Michael Snyder November is Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
December is Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury (releases in November!)

Happy Reading!


There have been many new people to the blog lately with questions about the book club. Several of my friends from all over and I read the same book every month just as a way to stay connected and now people that read the blog read them too-fun! So, you're more than welcome to join us, or not, or whatever-it's your world :) I try to announce the next month's book about 4 weeks before we start reading it. You can send comments regarding the book to and at the end of the month I'll review it, or someone else will - just depends. Got it? Good :) I also try to do a short review of a book every Tuesday because people are always asking me what to read. Those are under Tuesday book reviews in the headings.

Here's what we've read this year for those of you who wanted to know........

January-The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen

February-Hidden Joy in a dark corner by Wendy Blight and
God Speaks your love language-Gary Chapman

March-The Furious Longing of God-Brennen Manning

April-we skipped

May-1st Drop of Rain by Leslie Parrot

June-The Passion of Mary Margaret by Lisa Samson and
When Goliath Doesn't Fall by Jody Conrad

July - Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

August-we skipped

September-We're reading Fearless now by Max Lucado

I haven't quite decided on October, November and December but they will be coming shortly!

These are my favorites from the Tuesday book reviews in case you STILL need something to read :)

Hannah's Gift by Maria Housden
Let Go by Sheila Walsh
Prism by Karen Kingsbury
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
Sitting at the feet of rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler
Boneman's Daughter by Ted Dekker
The Good life by Robert Benson
Seeing things by Patti Hill
The Pawn, The Rook and The Knight by Steven James
Between the dreaming and the coming true by Robert Benson (my all time favorite book)
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friday off

I know it seems like I keep taking Fridays off but it isn't true-just a few! But tomorrow I'm so happy to be off again! I'm going to spend the day snuggled up with my dogs reading a good book. Speaking of good books, you can expect a complete review of Magnificent Obsession next week. I'd totally make it a book club selection if I thought I could wait that long! I can't. I still think you should read it. I can't tell you how every other page I've felt like someone gets it. Really gets it! I'm sure Anne Graham Lotz did not necessarily have me in mind when she wrote it (WHAT? :)) but she spoke right to this heart of mine which as of late has been a little unsteady!!

God keeps gently whispering to me in so many ways, "What if you really believed I was enough for you?" I've loved the conversations I've had with some of you on that very topic this week! You probably didn't even know it was divine timing! More on that in a future blog too.

Until then, hope you're enjoying Fearless by Max Lucado! Review coming October 1st. And I will announce the other titles for fall ASAP at your request. As you wish! :)