Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Your Week

Jesus, Precious Jesus,It's your week. Without this week you would be just the good man that many claim that you were.

But this week proves that you were and you are:


Savior - you saved me from Hell on a cross and you save me from myself every day

Fully Human - you know how I feel because you felt too.

Fully Divine

Alpha - the beginning of all things

Omega - the perfect ending still to come

The Great I am





All powerful


And for all that and more, I love you and I worship you today. As we focus on your road to the Cross I am humbled anew at the lengths you were willing to go to ensure that one day we could be together for eternity. I am undeserving a million times a day, but you love enough to cover a multitude of sins. You bled so I can be healed. You cried only to remind me that my tears are kept in a bottle with you. You anguished so that I could be comforted. You died that I could have life not only in every day, but for eternity.Thank you is amazingly insufficient, but from the very depths of who I am in the deepest way I am physically, humanly able to say it - thank you. It would take the rest of my life and all of eternity to ever find the words to say what it means that you allow me to be your friend. In you I have all that I'll ever need. The ways you bless me every single day are icing on the cake. And even though I act like a spoiled baby sometimes and make mistakes every day, you mean everything to me. Deep in my soul, at the very core of who I am-I'm all yours. Forgive the times when being wrapped in earthly flesh makes you within me impossible to see.

Because of You.


I always wonder what Jesus' heart was saying on Thursday morning so long ago. It's almost Friday. It's almost time. This week has no doubt been stressful for the precious Son of God. He knows that He will soon face death. He knows that he will be separated from the Father. He knows. Did he get up and bathe and put on clean clothes trying to have a normal day? Did he wake with tears in his eyes uncertainty fogging his vision? Did he sleep at all last night? I want to know. I want to have been there. Maybe it's just because it's my job to help people at their lowest moments, but I wish I could have just sat there with him and heard what was circling his heart this day.

He must have dreaded the unthinkable. He must have come to terms wtih the inevitable. He must have been a little excited that soon he would be reunited with the Father. He must have had when? will it take long? how painful will it be? I wonder if he wanted to go ask Lazurus how it felt to be . . . . .dead. I wonder what he said to his father this morning.

I imagine it is much like a death row inmate. The pardons have expired (Jesus had asked if there is any way let this cup pass by me). Clearly there was no other way. The priest has made the final visit. There is a sense of resolve. (Not my will, but yours Father). The tools are prepared. (the cross, the crown, the sword). The media is present. (a huge crowd). And the inmate must feel all alone at the final moment-about to enter the total unknown. (Father, why have you forsaken me?).

But that is all tomorrow. How does he get through today? How do you live with the questions knowing you are the answer? The burden of such responsibility. Joseph is deceased by now, but I wonder if he longed for the strong arms of his earthly father. I wonder if he could bear to spend time with his mother Mary today. I wonder if it broke his heart to see her knowing they would soon be separated. I wonder-did he just want to be left alone?

He had invested his life in the disciples and tonight he would say goodbye. His closest friends in all the earth. Imperfect as they were-he loved them. He had seen them go from fisherman to evangelist, from baby christian to empowered by faith. I wonder if he wished he had more time. I wonder if he was concerned that they would be okay without him. I wonder if his heart hurt to leave them.

I wonder if today his steps were slower, filled with meaning and purpose. I wonder if several times today he found a quiet place to commune with His Father empowered by the faith Abba had in him. I wonder if the disciples came and asked him some earthly question that maybe just a little bit irritated him. "With all that's going on today do we have to go over that again?" Or did he love their questions and soaked up the last bit of time they had together. He must have known even that day that one day many of them would be murdered as well for the faith they had in Him.

A woman is buying fruit at the market. Neighbors are talking. The donkeys are tied to the post while the owners meet in the square. A carpenter fixes a broken bench. I wonder if the sound of the nail hitting the wood caused Jesus to cringe as he walked by today. I wonder if he felt more alone than he ever thought possible. And I wonder if deep in his spirit he heard His Father whisper softly to him. . . . . .

"I love you my Son"

"I'm so proud of you"

"Thank you for keeping your promises."

"I am here."

"I care."

"I'll see you soon Beloved."

Love, Dad.


I've gotten a lot of questions about the Abbey of Gethsemane and I promise to do a huge post when I return with pictures, etc. and tell you more about it. One thing that I did want to address though is the power of intention.

First of all, there's nothing magical about any place. God is not anymore at the Abbey than He is right where you are or where I am. The environment is conducive to finding Him, yes, but certainly not because He is only there.

You might be better at focusing. You might be able to spend time at your house or wherever with the Lord and accomplish a lot spiritually. I've tried it several times and failed miserably. I can't do it. I'll play on the computer, go to Target, go for a walk, take a nap, watch a movie, read a book - nothing wrong with any of those, but not the purpose of a spiritual retreat.

Early last year I felt like God was telling me, "I want you to be intentional about your relationship with me." I knew I had to be more committed. Being sold out to Him wasn't going to work if I only read my Bible when I felt like it. Getting to know Him was going to take several lifetimes if I only prayed when I needed something. And at some point I knew God was going to have to stop being a part of my life and be my whole life.

I have been so consumed with my life the past months that I cannot breathe spiritually. It's been wonderful. Lots of the activities with Christ at the very center. But for months now I've felt like I'm "doing" Christianity and not letting Christ live through me. I've felt more lately like I'm coming at Him with an agenda instead of coming to Him to hear from Him and learn from Him.

Sometimes we just have to be intentional. We have to give God the time He deserves to work. God always accepts our sacrifices as precious to Him.

And can I be honest and say it would be easier not to go? There are so many things I want to do next week. My friends who are teachers are on spring break-I want to spend time with them. I want to stay home and do nothing for a few days. I am physically exhausted especially this week. I would love to catch up on some rest and hang out on the couch with the dogs and watch movies. I'd love to read a book. I'd like to keep up our marathon training and not take 3 days off when we just got started. I'd like to go to the gym and go for some walks. Really, I would.

I think the idea of driving 10 hours to spend 36 hours in silence sounds a little lonely and boring at the moment. I have some serious things I need to address with the Lord and I don't necessarily want to know what He will have to say about them. I need answers to some spiritual questions, but what if the answers are not what I hope they'll be?

But I feel like right now what my life needs more than anything is some fresh interaction with the Lord. I need some vision, direction, hope, peace and joy-all of which are found only in Him. It's worth the time, it's worth the money, it's worth the effort and it's certainly worth anything I would have to give up to spend time with Him. I think sometimes we have to say to our spiritual lives, "I'm taking this seriously." And then do it. Sometimes we have to say to Satan himself, "I'm giving time, money, energy, etc. to this because I want to see you destroyed in this area." And I know he gets nervous when we jump out of our comfort zones.

So, I'm going and if it's like many times before it will be life changing, a deal breaker, and a game changer. We can never have an encounter with the Living God and be the same. Ever.

And for encouragements sake? You don't have to go to Kentucky or Africa or the Moon to be intentional. You can make efforts today to take your relationship with the Lord seriously. You can tell Satan with your time, your energy and your money in small ways and big that the Lord is important to you and you're not giving up.

All I know is the overwhelming desire of my heart is to know Him. To live like Him. To act like Him. And to find Him while He may be found. I don't even know what that means exactly, but I plan to find out. I cannot help but believe that even in the mundane activities of life His desire is to reign supreme. And if He can find ways with this little life to do that-it would be the honor on my heart.

And the winner is......

ANDREA! You win the book In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson. E-mail me your address and I'll get it right out to you. Congrats!! (

Friday, March 26, 2010

Every Season

I've been revamping the I-pod with some new running music and remembered how much I love this song by Nicole Nordeman. I've referred to my life with the Lord in seasons more lately than ever before. I love the times in life when He is so clearly at work and progress is evident. I tend to freak completely out when it seems He has stepped back to see how we will walk with what He's shown me. And most days I'm content to live somewhere in the middle content that He's at work whether I see it or not.

Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Randomness and a Giveaway

First of all WELCOME to all the new blog readers! I didn't realize they were putting the blog address on the flyers for the conference and the community event. SO glad you are here! Please comment so I'll know who you are.

I know I promised not to talk about the information for the conference on here and it is SO HARD! I want to write about it and tell you about it and share with you the grace I've found in the pages of His word for this time together. Sigh. I will not. But after? You won't be able to stop me so there :)

We finished up Breaking Free this week which made me terribly sad. Really. I'm not a fan of anything ending and certainly not such a wonderful season with the Lord. Awesome group, great messages and life-changing homework. The trifecta of growing in the Lord. Loved it. I'm taking so much away from it. It's killing me to not start another one immediately. September is the right time and I will wait. Another one of my favorite past times :)

I am headed to Gethsemane in 11 days. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. I cannot wait. I wish you all could come along. If you ever get the chance to go for a day or a week or a month or an hour I highly recommend it. I am staying at the Thomas Merton Institute for the first time. I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

I have gotten SO many comments especially on Twitter about the Daily Office of Prayer. I am not an expert, but I have wonderful friends who pray the office consistently. I can trace the most spiritual growth in my life to the times that I have prayed it on a regular basis. There's no power in the prayers themselves, but personally I'm usually in huge need of the reminder. I'll try to do a post about it some time after I touch base with them.

SO - Today I am giving away a hardcover copy of Robert Benson's book In Constant Prayer. One of my very favorite resources on the subject by my all time favorite author. All you have to do to win is comment and tell me why you want it. I'll draw a name randomly on Monday. Good luck!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To be 30

It's so funny to me that the world puts such big emphasis on birthdays ending in 0. As if when turning 29 no one really expects anything of you but 30?? Whoa. You really need to start getting your act together. I've heard the whole range of comments-some meant well and some maybe not. Of course my favorite is - "You now have a better chance of getting struck by lightning while winning the lottery than getting happily married." WHAT IN THE WORLD? The invisible tattoo on my forehead that says tell me anything I can handle it MUST be removed!!

Someone said at 30 you really have to stop partying so much and settle down. Yeah. I'll work on that.

You're apparently supposed to stop renting at 30 and get a real house with a grown up mortgage. Did that 6 years ago. Check.

You're supposed to buy a "reasonable" vehicle whatever that means. And no thanks.

And here's the funniest one. "If you don't get a handle on your linen closet by 30 you never will." UMMMM WHAT??? But okay, that one seemed less painful than getting struck by lightning trying to get married so I did. I cleaned out my linen closet. I folded the 6 sets of sheets I own, put away the winter blankets, ironed a few things, put the extra towels on the right shelving and vacuumed the 2x2 square of carpet on the floor of the closet. It made me feel organized I suppose and now by some form of magic since I got it organized before I was 30 it will forever stay that way. Ha.

I suppose as we get older we should be more responsible. For instance, I used to throw clothes on my closet floor ALL the time. Now I remember first that at some point I'm going to have to spend hours cleaning my closet and usually I pick them up. I really love the concept of everything in it's place in general and I'm getting better at returning stuff there before it takes over my house. I know-I'm the epitome of maturity.

Much more importantly than my shoes ending up on the shoe rack though is my spiritual life. I have professed to know the Lord for 18 years now. In some ways that's a long time and I feel like I should be much further along in my relationship with Him. In other ways I feel like I could not have possibly scratched the surface of knowing who He is after such a short amount of time. After all, it will take us all of eternity to even begin to know Him completely.

The last 6 months of my life have been an adventure of taking Him at His word and I feel certain that will continue. To trust that He always has been and always will be enough. To know that regardless of how I feel I am loved by the Creator of the Universe every moment of my life and nothing I can do or not do will ever change that. And to accept the responsibility to grow up in Him. Spiritual maturity is not gained by simply aging. It's an intentional process that never ends.

And I so want that. I cannot tell you how many times just in the last weeks I have failed miserably at portraying Christ through this life and unfortunately I will again. But I'm taking comfort lately in the fact that it's not who I desperately want to be. I want to be all His. Sold out. Committed. Willing. Obedient. I want to look like Him, act like Him, walk like Him, handle things like He would and love like He does. All the time.

I don't know that I'll live to be 31. Who knows what could happen, but today, in this moment, I'm here and I want to know Him. I want to be grown up enough in Christ to take Him at His word. I want to really believe that He has my best interest at heart. I want to know Him. For real. And not just today. Every day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thomas Nelson Book Review

I hesitated to read the Chronological Guide to the Bible. I'm not much for the Bible in Chronological order. I think it's interesting, but a little redundant especially in the Gospels! I did enjoy this reference tool though. The format is extremely easy to follow. I love the headlines of the books, the maps, the full color and the chronological reading guide. The time lines were very helpful. I found it overall to be very concise which is what I need! I feel like I will go back to this over and over again while studying different books of the Bible. The historical context it provides is invaluable. The only problem I have with it is the price. It's 24.99 for a paperback relatively small book. For that price or a little more you could own the Hardcover version of the whole chronological study Bible. Otherwise-awesome!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Bad blogger award for last week-I know. I really didn't have anything halfway motivational or spiritual to share and I can only take so much of my own whining :) I promise to (try) to do better this week!

Here's some random facts for you from the week:

-I signed up to run the Disney marathon next year. Pretty sure this qualifies as a new fitness goal since I last ran a marathon 9 years ago. My friend Tammy is running it with me. She is excited mainly about the t-shirt and tiarra they give you when you finish. I think we could just buy those at target, but okay :) I'm bored in my fitness routine so this should fix that! We start this week. Should be interesting.

-I'm getting so excited about the women's conference in Illinois! Registration is now open so let me know if you need more info. I'll hook you up with the right people. Topics for the three main sessions are

1. The Indwelling life of Christ

2. God's Covenant promises

3. A life of willing obedience

Should be fun! I do not know what I'm talking about at the fundraiser just yet. Yikes!

-Jodi Picoult's new book came out so THAT's what I've been doing this week with my "free" time. Reading. It's fabulous of course. I realize it makes me sound like a nerd to talk about books on here all the time. All my friends read like crazy people too so I don't care :)

-Odyssey had his teeth cleaned this week. It was $115 dollars less than they thought it would be. I don't know why and I didn't ask.

-I ordered philosophy bath stuff for an early birthday present for ME! Love Philosophy. Love it.

-I'm sad that the Breaking Free Bible study I'm in is quickly coming to an end. Seeking some direction in a lot of spiritual areas and do not like not having a plan at the moment! Imagine that-God not working on my time table!

-Watched the documentary Food, Inc. this week and cried like a baby about the abuse of animals in the food chain. Unacceptable.

Made some mistakes, handled some things not so great, wished I'd tried harder at some things before involving other people, established some new boundaries, found grace enough to take another step and grateful again that God takes us as we are and accepts us on the way to where we're going. And He just flat loves us from the inside out. Truly Amazing.

Hope you've had a good week! More to come.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Abbey of Gethsemane

Abbey of Gethsemane

My favorite place in all the world is the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. I wish I still lived close enough to visit in the afternoon sometimes and attend church services there on occasion. It would be an excellent outlet for those who can't sleep. Where else can you attend prayer meetings at 3:15 a.m.?? I don't really know that much about the monastic lifestyle. All the monks there look exactly the same to me. I find their lifestyle extreme and yet amazingly peaceful. There's just something about an Abbey thriving on silence and solitude that makes God easier to find for me.
Their life calling is engraved on everything there and they live it 100%.
The vows of obedience, stability, and conversion of manners provide our structure, support, and encouragement to persevere in the journey, in the work, in the search. Intently and joyfully, we live the mystery of Christ-among-us.

I love the grounds there complete with larger than life statues that tell the Gospel story. I love when you turn the final corner of their road all you see is a cross. A simple wooden handmade cross and you realize it's more than enough. I have never seen that cross when tears of unworthiness mixed with gratitude have not streamed down my face.
I love that when you go to the visitors desk they don't make you give them your phone/laptop/connection to the outside world, they just hold out their hand. I think it's the most spiritual moment I've ever experienced when the sun is going down there and you have no idea what time it is or what has happened in the world today. And you realize you don't really care. God clearly operates best in our lives when we don't hold Him to our schedule. I love that their libraries are filled to the ceiling with classic books-real books-that have been really read over and over again. I love that there's no tv in the guest house or anywhere else. I love that when you walk by people they acknowledge you without speaking and you leave feeling like it was a wonderful conversation.
I love that no one asks you what you're doing there or why you're alone. People don't come to a silent Abbey to explain themselves-they come to do serious business with God. When you check in the monk asks, "Do you require spiritual assistance during your visit?" If you answer yes I assume they will arrange it. If you answer no he says, "Then may you find the answers to your questions in God alone." Love that.
I'm obviously not Catholic, but I love to be there for their vespers service and the benediction service to close the day. They are both SO simple and profound. To thank God for this day, to confess that all that we have done is not the best we could have and to commit the night and the following day to His loving hand. Amazing. I'm fairly certain I talk too much and am far too much a people person to ever be committed to this lifestyle long term, but there's something about visiting there that just fills my spiritual cup to overflowing. Maybe it's just getting away from things. Maybe because there you can sit in the middle of an overfilled church and hear nothing but the voice of God. Maybe because when you do hear people talk, it's of things that are eternal and almost exclusively the word of God.
AND-I love that a month from today I will be there! Nestled in wonderful silence for 36 hours of a personal retreat. A silent personal retreat. I cannot think of anything I need more. Can. Not. Wait. :)