Saturday, September 10, 2011

Forgive me for being dumb.

So. Life has been hard lately. I've been all over the map emotionally and spiritually. I shoved a lot in because I needed to for a short time, but then I forgot to stet talking again. And it finally messed something up.

Yesterday I was at home working on some stuff thinking through my day when a friend shows up and tells me to grab my dress clothes and my makeup and go with her. I don't do what I'm told very well, but I grabbed my stuff and went. She wouldn't tell me what we were doing... And then on the inside I started to panic.
We went to lunch and then went and got her a new fish... Then we went to get my hair cut. I've been wanting to get my hair cut and she knew that so this was really sweet- but I didn't know what I wanted cause I had just changed my mind to keep it long, and well... Whatever.
Anyhow. Get my hair cut and get my eyebrows waxed- a totally godly pamperig that sent me over the edge emotionally on the inside. When I do stuff to look nice I get horribly scared. (i know, more issues I need to work on). So my hair gets cut and when we're done I can barely look at myself in the mirror. I'm scared, I'm anxious, I'm nervous, and I'm insecure... Not a good thing- but I'm with my best friend... So it should be okay, right? But I found out that when I'm with her I feel safe... And so I feel all the emotions of stuff... But can barely talk about anything... she knew something was up - and kept trying to get me to talk to her about it... but i was so overwhelmed and scared... so i didn't talk.. but i was just getting ready to when another friend showed up to take me somewhere - and then i got even more scared.

the rest of the day was 3 more friends blindfolding me and taking me places... which were all fun - but i couldn't totally enjoy them because i was scared and insecure and freaking out all day... and then the last place was to go to dinner with rob and carolyne (i thought) but i ended up at a suprise party with a bunch of people from church. it was so awesome. i've never had a big party before - especially not a surprise party. i felt so loved... i just couldn't express it.

the night went on - it was fun.. i felt so loved. i have never had anyone do something like that for me before. but it came at a cost...

everything about yesterday ripped me apart emotionally...
i've been struggling with not being able to feel like i'm apart of my new family, that they don't really love me - but carolyne planned this whole thing for me - and had been working on it for months...
i've been struggling with feeling like i'm out of control - and i had absolutely no control over anythign yesterday...


all in all - i hurt my best friend yesterday. i didn't talk to her - but later i talked to other ppl about all the things she had been asking me about... i didn't mean to. i wanted to talk to her - but i didn't know how without leaving the party...

it's been eating me alive all day. i really don't like this feeling...

there's so much more i could say - but i don't know how yet...

Friday, August 26, 2011

the video

i found the video on youtube of that song - and i figured i'd share it with ya... it's amazing.
(i'm not sure about the pictures - but the song is phenominal)

satan is a butt-face...

yeah, that's right... pretty sure that's truth right there. satan is a butt-face. 

So, i go to this church. it's a mainline church. they're trying to grow. and they're struggling. but the Lord has put a number of really solid people on staff that have a big vision for God to do BIG things in our church. And i'm pretty sure satan is pissed. 


we've been planning this big fall kickoff outreach event - it was going good - minus that it's all staff pulling it off and we only have 2 weeks - but it was going good... then a few of us started trying to take some comp time to get some rest and relax a bit and everything fell apart. People started dropping the ball, things started not working the way we had planned, info got confused, people got irritated, blah blah blah... we diffused a bomb today -  and as i was sitting on the floor of amber's office - dripping with sweat because the lady in charge of the AC decided that 90 wasn't hot enough to turn the AC on - and we need to save all the money we can - cutting hundreds of invite tickets to our event (that we had printed for the third time due to some miscommunications) i came to a sudden conclusion. 

Our God is BIG! 

amber introduced me to this song the other day, it's pretty awesome. it's called "by and by" and it's by selah - and it's in some african language - probably swahili - but i'm not sure... but anyhow - the song opens with a radio broadcast from the 50's (i think) of a missionary talking about how they had over 1,000 africans show up to be baptized the day that the ban was lifted which made it punishable by death to be a christian. During the broadcast you can hear the crowd singing this old hymn in the background... it's pretty amazing when you stop to think about it. There's no way they could have marketed this baptism event - cause they all could have been killed - so the Lord managed to bring over 1,000 africans that had secretly been following the Lord all together in one day to get baptized. Out God is COOL! 

So - we're sitting in the office cutting invites and i mention that i think it'll be sweet when loads of people show up and the Lord uses this even to change the hearts of some of our congregation - and amber starts to talk about how it'll be hard for ppl to come when they havn't heart about it - and how we only have 2 weeks... and the Lord just put it on my heart that he's bigger than any advertizing or marketing or cool tickets that we make... he can spread the word to 1,000 africans that there's a baptism going on - in ONE DAY... he can do plenty more than that now - with all our social networks and instant everything... 

so - i just said "1,000 people showed up to be baptized THE DAY the ban was lifted - there's no way they were able to invite people to it - and the Lord brought 1,000 people... our God is BIG. REAL BIG! 


he's bigger than our best laid plans.... 
he's bigger than our worries....
he's bigger than any media we create.... 
he's bigger than all of our social networks.... 
he's bigger than we could ever imagine..... 
he's bigger than the city block that our church owns.... 
he's bigger than satan.... 
and.... 
he's bigger than the boogey man :)


i'm really excited to see what the Lord has in store for this event - i just hope that i have the faith and ability to pray hard and not worry or doubt the awesome power of the Lord. 

Our God is BIG!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dad stuff

I had a great conversation with a friend today... It was so good to get to catch up and just be real with someone... There's a certain group of friends that I can be truly real with... It was a great feeling. I habit been able to have a conversation like that in a while. And although it was awesome - it was really hard too. Hard to he real after being able to hide for the last year, hard to hear a friend hurting so badly, and hard to be asked some simple questions that cut to the depths of my heart.

The one question that I think hurt the most was the "have you been dealing with dad stuff?" it's such a simple little question but it sent my heart into a panic. I made a choice not to dig into dealing with that last year when I found out he passed away, I made another decision earlier this year when it started wearing on me emotionally - and although my friend said it was probably okay, that I'd know when it was time to deal with it... I think the answer is that I've known since last year it was time to deal with it...

Lately there's been a huge weight on my heart in regards to anything family oriented. There always is this time of year - but this year there's more pain to deal with and I just don't think I can handle it. my birthday was never mine - it was shared with my abusive cousin - and now it's also marked with the anniversary of my dad's death (a week after my birthday)... so, it's been a year and i haven't talked to anyone about dad stuff...

although i want to stick with the "it's okay - you'll know when it's time" philosophy, i think it's probably time to stop running from pain and listen to the truth i hear in the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by scott "i'm all in"

so now i try and figure out where to go from here.

I'm a real adult!

Well, it's been a while. The summer kind of turned into a whirlwind of chaos. My summer activity schedule that seemed nicely spread out through the summer turned into one thing after another after another- and then followed by another. But, its been a blast! Kids ministry BBQ's full of slip'n'slides and laser tag... Tips to silver falls to explore nature- remodeling rooms at the church for the kids- and learning to be real with a new friend... It's been a fun couple months... And I still have a lock-in and a trip to the aquarium to finish off the summer! Oh, and did I mention that was all in my "part-time" employee status....

Well- working hard for the kingdom doesn't go unnoticed. Last week I met with the head of HR at the church and she offered me a full time job (effective the day before our meeting!!) so I jumped right in to actually getting paid for the work I was doing... It's a good feeling to be rewRded for doing work for the Lord... I'm now making twice as much money as I've ever made and I get to do what I lOve... Share the love of God with others. It's pretty cool. My heart still longs to be overseas working with older students - but it's pretty obvious that this is where the lord has me- and I'm learning a ton through the process...

Though it all seems happy right now, things have actually been pretty Roth lately on the spiritual and emotional level. I'm doing awesome things for the Lord and Satan hates it. So he's been attacking me every chance he gets. And I yacht been alone. My closest friend here is town has been feeling the full force of it as well - so, we've been learning to fight hard and rely on one smothers prayers and the power of the holy spirit... It's been good. Hard, but good.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

words from friend...

i was talking with a friend this weekend. My friend is a missionary who's been working with an AWESOME ministry for the last 20 years. She know's a lot about ministry - and kids - and youth - and loving the Lord. A prayer i have is that someday i will be as knowledgeable and as soft hearted as she is. She seriously loves the Lord - it's so cool to see.

So, we were talking, and catching up, and i got to share a lot about the ministry i've been doing in salem - how i've set up the kids ministry, what all we're doing, my heart behind it, and what i want to do with it in the future... it was fun. Then she gave me one of the biggest compliments i could have gotten. She said that she wished her kids could be a part of my ministry!

man alive - i can't begin to explain what that did for my heart. To hear someone i deeply respect tell me that they wish their kids were in my ministry. It came from just the right person, at just the right moment - and propelled my heart forward... deeper into seeking the Lord and seeking where he's leading me.


________________


i also had a conversation this weekend with a friend about how we shouldn't shut our hearts off to uncertain situations - but to let them get caught up and feel the outcome, be it pain or joy.

(i was the one saying that you SHOULD let your heart get caught up - who knew i would ever have that conversation).

and let me tell you what - i sure let my heart get involved in this weekend...
- i have things planned out to most likely go back to school full time in the fall and commute from salem - and let my heart freak out a little about how crazy of an idea that is...
- i talked ministry with the Patty's and let my heart yearn for deeply impacting students here, and let it ache that i wasn't overseas yet, and let it ache more that i have no idea when i'll get to go overseas, and let the fire grow to the fact that i'll get to go...
- i saw 2 dear friends that i haven't seen in month's and let my heart feel the tragedy that ripped our community to pieces...
- i watch 2 people get married - and let my heart long to be in a deep and committed loving relationships someday...
- i got to go to church for the first time in months and get fed spiritually - and i opened my heart to the Lord in worship and took Josh's words to heart and let them challenge who i am - and how i relate to the Lord...
- and because i've opened my heart i've dealt with sleepless nights laced with tremors and nightmares...

needless to say - it's been quite the weekend. My heart has felt incredible joy - and immeasurable pain all in a short 48 hours. It has been incredible and cause my heart to long for a much deeper relationship with my Papa - to be able to run to him in my times of pain and to give him praise in the joy.

i'm excited to see where the Lord leads me in this next season.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My part time job...

Ministry. It can never be a part time job if your really into it... with your whole heart. You go home thinking and praying for students, you see things here and there that remind you of new games or get you excited for something new that you could do... it's a great life!

I've been working at my church for 6 months now. It's been an insane ride - so i wanted to share a few stories with ya...

Found: i started a small group for 4th/5th grade girls. I called it found - based off my favorite verse in the bible - Jeremiah 29:12-13. loosely put the Lord says that if you call on the Lord he'll be with you and when you seek him with your whole heart he will be found by you. I love that verse. It comes right after one of my least favorite verses (well, when people take it completely out of context...) jeremiah 29:11 that says that the Lord has good things planned for us... but people stop short and miss the truth that lies in verse 12-13... that he doesn't have good things for us and then just leaves us be... he's got good things planned for us and he's with us the whole way... So anyhow - i started this group to hang out and love on these students. The hope was to show them God's love in a real way - challenge them in their relationships and in their growth into teenagers and just be their friend and be around for questions and help encourage them to deepen their relationship with the Lord.

i started with 4 girls and the most i've had one night was 9... it's been fun. we've laughed, gotten frustrated, went to the mall, i've turned the church into a challenge course, and we've eaten cereal for dinner. The girls are faithful to come and love hanging out and having fun. I'm secretly teaching them about relationships and encouraging them to become Godly women...

Roots: this is our sunday night ministry. The theme is obviously growing deep roots of truth with the kids while they're young. I just started doing kidz church on sunday nights wtih the students and it's been a blast! we do a game, worship, bible lesson, and small group time. The kids are starting to get into the routine and are starting to engage in worship and calm down a little with their small group leaders and are having some fun discussions.

Caley: Caley is my friend amber's daughter - and when i started she was really shy, didn't talk much, and loathed coming to church. 6 months later - caley hangs out at church all the time, volunteers with the preschool/toddler class, has been helping us remodel the rooms and isn't quiet or shy anymore :) i love that kid - it's been so fun to see her grow and come out of her shell. I'm excited to build our friendship deeper and help her get to know her papa...

Summer Events: my church has done VBS for a gazillion years - well, we're not doing it this year :) it didn't fit in with my philosophy of ministry... i thought back to when i was a kid and the fact that i hated going to sunday school and church and vbs and that it was boring and i didn't really get what they were talking about... and then i thought about in high school when i did start to care about Jesus - it wasn't that i just needed to hear the stories again - it was because people were loving me and caring for me - treating me like i mattered... and telling me about jesus at the same time. So- that's my philosophy of ministry. To create an atmosphere where kids know they are unconditionally loved, safe, cared for, and believed in... and teach them about how much their Papa loves them. So - this summer we're doing activities that integrate the families are are made to help teach parents to having fun/spiritual conversation with their kids wherever they are. We went to silver creek falls, we're going to the zoo and the aquarium, we're having some bbq's and live music and we're going to have an epic paint battle... I'm pretty excited about them.

Jenny&Liz: i got 2 college girls that have stepped up big time and have been giving a lot of their time to come help me out. they are small group leaders for the 4th/5th graders, help sing on sunday nights, and have spent a majority of the past few weeks helping me renovate the "drop spot" (where we do kidz church) and are getting stoked to have painting parties when we get the paint for the other 3 rooms. It's fun to see them go from people that sat along the wall and watched the kids to leaders that i can share vision with and that i can leave at the church and know they'll get the task done ( as well as prank my office - but it's probably only fair)...

so - that's a lil snapshot of ministry lately. there's so much more, it's pretty awesome. Tomorrow is my day off - whatever that means - and me and liz are going to buy a new drill so we can be ready for building more stuff for the new rooms and clean the drop spot so it's ready for sunday... i'll have to put up pictures cause it looks REALLY cool!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

a little bit down...

Today was the first summer family activity i planned for our kids ministry for this summer. It was a big step of faith... i decided not to do VBS (which the church has done for longer than i've been alive) and plan 5+ fun family days that can be used to help families learn how to have normal spiritual conversations outside of church, how to use naturally occurring learning opportunities, and to have some fun activities to invite their friends with kids to come to that are outside the church walls - to promote relationships and doing life together... rather than church programs.

SO, the last few days have been filled with great ideas, finding awesome things for the drop spot (the room we have kidz-church in sunday night) and creating lots of amazing things and doing them alongside a bunch of people who are passionately investing their time, life, and soul into the kids... it was great. We woke up this morning and kept the adventures going... then people showed up - and explore day was under way... it was a great time! lots of fun and hanging out.... it was sunny - there were 4 families there and we ran into one more that was at the falls on vacation and got to say hi... all in all - i think it was a success!

so - on friday i went out and bought a video camera. I want to get the kids smiles and goofy antics in front of people in the church... a simple reminder that there ARE kids in our church and they having FUN and learning to love one another deeply in the process... and so i bought this video camera and made a quick 2 minute snap shot of the day... it thought it was great for the 2nd video i have ever made... the first was last night... and i proudly ran out and showed it to rob and carolyne and rob liked it - but the other thing he said about it was a snarky remark of "woah, who the heck was in charge of taping - that's WAY too fast and jerky"

it's my first time using a video camera dude... i use to stills - it doesnt' matter how fast you move....

so - needless to say - i'm feeling a bit down. i just wanted a little affirmation - a quick "nice work, that's awesome!" just a little something encouraging me to continue my work... but oh well... But - here's the video for you all to see... not cause i am fishing for a little bit of affirmation - but because i want to share my life with you - share my ministry - share the smiles and joy and jesus that i see in these kids faces :) enjoy! (oh, and make sure you watch it the whole way to the end!)

video

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

a weekend of learning

well, this weekend was one of our quarterly staff retreats. it was quite the learning experience.
i learned that sun-river is beautiful
i learned that caves are dirty
i learned that stalagtites are slimy (and hurt a lil when you run into them)
i learned that directions aren't always accurate
i learned that getting lost is fun with friends
i learned that hard alcohol acts differently than wine
i learned that i need to take my contacts out more often
i learned that rob loves me - no matter what
i learned that amber cares deeply for me
i learned that it's important to face truth - no matter how hard it is.

as i was hiding outside - reeling in the embarrassment of my actions wondering if anyone even knew i was outside - rob come out to find me, wraps his arms around me, and tells me he loves me - no matter what. Then he slowly walked me closer to the door - closer to facing the fear of being rejected or judged - and the truth that him and amber love me, care about me, and won't leave me because i'm stupid. it was one of the hardest things i've done in a while - but as rob walked inside - reached out his hand for me to take it and follow him inside i was instantly greeted by amber giving me a big long hug: that's one of those experiential learning moments that i wont be quick to forget. i might need a reminder here or there - another hand reached out waiting for me to take it - but in that moment i got a glimpse at the unconditional love of my earthly "father" and my heavenly father.

bottle of coke: $ 3.00
fifth or rum: $12.00
knowing your unconditionally loved: priceless.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A new friend. A new family. A new hurt.

It's been a while since i posted. it just happens sometimes i guess. So take this post with a grain of salt - and maybe re-read things a few times - cause there's a lot stuck in my head from the past few weeks.

Well, there's been a lot going on at work, in my heart, in my head... God has been working in my life and in the lives around me.

One of the biggest things is that my newest friendship is quickly becoming a very deep and very meaningful big sister. Once again the Lord has placed someone right where i need them the most - and someone that just naturally pushed me to grow and open my heart more to them - and to the Lord. The last few weeks have been full of conversations about me pulling away, covenant community, and a culmination of her saying "i'm taking you into my family wether you like it or not" and me knowing that she meant it. It's been a fun couple days talking about the covenant relationship that God had with israel, and that he still has with us. The fact that his own son was taken into an earthly family through adoption and that he was put into a family line or broken messed up people. Flushing out what it means to be a "family" and musing over how complicated and un-loving we've made christianity in america. And a few days of finding that i actually like reading the bible (the message translation) for the first time ever - that it's stirring my heart in new ways in the very opening lines of the old and new testament.

Today we talked about families - and how Christ was adopted into the line of david - and how his "family" wasn't his nuclear/biological family. My friend expressed how beautiful it was that we're adopted into God's covenant just as Christ was - that if we look at it biblically "family" is anything BUT a nuclear family complete with mom, dad, and 2.5 kids. She talked about how comforting that is - and how beautiful it is to think that people without loving nuclear families shouldn't fret because they have so much more...

... but my heart broke as she spoke those words. as much as i wanted to believe it - and as much as i've experienced bits and pieces of that truth as i've walked through life - it doesn't really penetrate to the deepest parts of my heart. No matter how much a family tries to step in and take me as one of them - there's always a separation of how people treat their biological family and their adopted family. I'm not talking about when parents adopt children - i'm talking foster kids, abandoned, abused, and orphaned kids. There are so many preconceived notions about things that could happen in those relationships. That the kids are broken, and have poor boundaries, and that they're more likely to be taken advantage of.... there are huge walls that are put up in between the hearts of the children and the people who attempt to love them.

but it doesn't have to be that way. right? how can we step out of the box that american culture has put us in. To think of family, true family, as more than just our parents and siblings, and to love the abused, orphaned, and abandoned as our own. What would it take to open our hearts enough to the broken people that they'll feel loved - without a doubt - and they'll be able to learn to trust. To show them what love and grace and family really means?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

a video.

So, as i drove up to Govy this last weekend to shoot a wedding i had a lot going through my head. Most of my friends were heading to Yakima and getting to spend time with our friends up there whom i miss so much - i was thinking through the last year and everything that has happened - and while that was all going on i was stuck listening to the radio (my ipod input doesnt work anymore and i was tired of the one CD i have in the car) and they happened to be interviewing Steven Curtis Chapman. He was talking about the ministry he's been doing and everything that the Lord has been doing through his family's life after the loss of his daughter. He talked alot about adoption and other things and throughout the interview they played cinderella (a song that almost always makes my face leak) and then they talked about how he got asked to be a part of third day's new music video for Children of God. I thought it was REALLY cool. Since i found out my dad died i've been struggling through feeling alone, without a family, and really needing a dad to just give me a big hug and let me know i'm loved and safe. So i went and watched the video today as i was messing around before church... and it made my face leak! seriously - this video is an amazing picture of God's love for us - how he's adopted us into his family - how we are called to love one another unconditionally like our father loves us - and a huge reminder to me that i'm not alone - that i have a huge family of people who love me deeply and even though they're not a biological family like some people get to have, they love me just as much. So, i just thought i'd share that with all of you :) enjoy.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

that time again!

So, life popped back up again - with all it's emotions and awesomeness and pain and fun and worry and well, you get the picture. So, i met with my "kids ministry team" last night... 3 out of the 4 girls that i picked to help me out showed up and i shared vision with them about what i want our ministry to look like, what i'm expecting from them, and what all we needed to work on. It was amazing! Then i went to the young adult bible study small group thingy that our youth pastor is leading (which is always really awkward and not all that cool) but i noticed that because i had just been planning ministry and sharing vision and doing all those things that my heart longs for and has been too afraid to do - i was in a totally different mood during bible study. i talked, i shared, i thought through stuff, i actually learned something  - which in past weeks i've have had a bad attitude about and so i havn't learned anything at small group. It was fun. 

then last night as i slept i had a whole littany of dreams that tore me down, made me feel like a loser and that i couldn't do my job and that i wont be able to pull anything off and you know - blah blah blah satan's lies... yeah, that happened. 

So, i got to work at was messing around and realized that i should blog - cause i havn't done that in a long time and missed getting things out and being real and knowing that i'm somehow still sharing life with my friends. so here it is. 

i'm in ministry - it's growing and people are getting excited - and i'm freaked out and a little bit scared all at the same time! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

me and jesus

(okay - so i kind of stole this off a friends blog - but as i was reading it, it struck a note in my heart and made me start thinking.... )

what would it be like if i did everything to show love to someone that i knew would think it was the best?

does that make sense at all?

my friend told this story - she was making dinner - a new recipe - for about 30 people... and while she was making it she kept thinking about how excited she was to make it for her husband because she knew that he would love it, and tell her how awesome it was... she didn't really care about what the other 29 people who would be eating it thought, she only cared about what her husband would think of it... and then she heard jesus ask - "what if that's what it was like between me and you?" she went on to talk about how she would speak the truth in love without worrying what the other person thought and other things like that... and it got me thinking - what would that look like in MY life... what would it look like for me to do stuff for jesus and not worry about what anyone else thinks - to be excited about doing things that i know he'd love...

i would (as my friend would) talk the truth in love without worrying wether i sounded too "churchy" or too "spiritual"

i would tell truth - even if it hurt.

i wouldn't waste my time as much... when i'm helping others, or doing something for someone else, it's amazing how much my procrastination disappears.

i would spend more time with him. (there's the kicker - the reason this pulled on my heart)

do i even know who jesus is? have i spent enough time with him to call him my friend? do i know his character? or do i just know "about" him?

we just did an intro discussion in my interpersonal communications class (which i'm taking online - ironic hey?) and one of the latter question was - did this help you to feel like you knew your classmates more and feel like you weren't alone ? everyone was all "yeah, i feel like i know these people", "i learned so much - made a connection with my group"  - and to me, i felt like i knew about these people (the things they liked, what they did, where they lived, why they were in the class) but i had no idea who they were... something you really only get a grasp of over time. one of my favorite things to do is drink beer, smoke hooka, and sit around a fire and talk - if i were to tell a stranger that they could come up with some very wrong assumptions of who i am... is that what i've done with jesus?

i don't know the answer yet - i know i havn't spent near enough time just hanging out with jesus - but i also know that i'm not completely lost on who he is... but still - there's a lot to think about... get my brain a churning...

well - that's something to sleep on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the first day...

Well - my thoughts from the last post are still floating around my head - how can i run more after jesus? how can i live my life better - to be more of a Godly woman... how can i be more real, vulnerable, and authentic to my world... and how can i show people jesus more....

easy right?

whatever :) but, one thing that i know i need to do is to get into better shape. My desire is to do adventure ministry - going on backpacking trips, rock climbing, rafting, ropes courses...whatever the case may be - in that industry to be well respected as a leader you need to be in pretty good shape and you DEFINITELY need to be able to do whatever you're asking the people you're with to do - and better than them.... just as a safety thing, if nothing else. But that's part of leadership too - you can't ask people to do something you're not willing or able to do yourself. That's not good leadership - at least i don't think so...

so - i've kind of turned our garage into my own person torture chamber - uh, i mean gym. We have a punching bag (zebra print! awesome!) and i got a set of lil hand weights and some push up bars, i got a cinder block that i can do calf raises on and a whole bunch of old moving boxes on the ground so that i can workout barefoot - i just like it better. Since we moved in and put the punching bag up i've spent a lot of time out there, but it's gone in phases... a couple weeks has been the longest i've stuck with exercising on a regular basis. it's usually two or three days worth of getting bottled up energy out and then i kinda fizzle out as life gets busy again...

well - that's gonna change. I need more self-discipline and commitment. things that are hard to learn in your 20's - and i'm sure it's hard for everyone, but i feel like i have a steeper hill to climb since i grew up never being taught disciple or commitment. I was taught that i wasn't able to commit to anything and i would never be able to follow through on anything - so i was never given any responsibilities so i could try and learn. SO, here i am, 24.5 trying to teach myself commitment, responsibility, and follow through...

So anyhow, there's this commando workout that i've been reading about for a while now. i keep going back to it everytime i get excited and want to start getting in shape... blah blah blah - i've never done it... i've tried a few times, gotten a few rep's into it and then decided i was tired and quit. well tonight i completed the stupid thing the whole way through (minus the running part at the end - cause a. i can't run still on my foot and b. it was after dark and my neighborhood is kinda sketch).

it was hard. i wanted to quit. but i just kept going. i kept myself thinking about the bigger picture. being who God created me to be. being able to do something with the desire of my heart instead of having to sit around and be restless wishing i could be out doing awesome things...

tomorrow is going to be a rough start - i can tell already. but i'm excited, it's worth it, i hope that this time i'll actually be able to follow through. So, maybe ask me how it's going - shoot me some encouragement, or some advice on how to keep going when it gets hard. that would be cool - small reminds to know i'm not alone - even on what seems to be a silly little journey... it's nice to know there's others fighting with me.

To INFINITY and BEYOND!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

to live a life worthy...

last night as i wrote my blog i was shocked and surprised at the tears that burned my eyes as i wrote about the memory i had from Tony and Laura's memorial service... then it hit me. April 5th (tuesday) marks 2 years.

2 years ago today i was down in texas visiting rob and carolyne and had no clue that my life was about to be changed forever. I was stuck in texas while my family in Oregon was hurting - grieving the loss of two friends, siblings, spouses, children, and a father.

Today i sit in my room and try to hold back the tears as thoughts bounce around in my head - i wasn't BFF's with them, i barely knew Tony, why is this still so hard, so that's why this last summer was so hard, how could this have happened, i wonder how bobby is, i miss them so much, i just want to give rebecca a big hug, i never want to go to that spot - the thoughts just keep coming.

As i went to bed last night with tears running onto my pillow my heart was heavy. And yet - like i talked about yesterday, there was a peace - and something more.

When i woke up, my heart was still heavy, i fumbled my way through the morning after sleeping through my alarm and made my way to church. I actually got to go to service today and Del's sermon was about living a story worth buying into. What kind of story am i living? Is it what the Lord is calling me to - or is it boring and dry? What about Tony and Laura's story caused it to be such a HUGE deal to me? How can i live a life to honor them? What do i need to change? Could i live a story worth buying into - or will i forever live a boring story?

As i sat in service the tears welled up inside my heart again - and so did the peace - and that other feeling... it's like a fire burning on the inside... small and trembling, but i could feel it building and getting ready to explode. But for what? As i sat and listened to Del - memories of Tony and Laura kept flashing in my brain and the fire inside me kept growing. I was challenged by Laura and Tony's lives cause they both lived a story worth buying into. They lived a life that oozed jesus. It was exciting, raw, humble, and beautiful. I started thinking about Laura - the things i knew of her and the things that were said about her at the memorial.

I want to be like Laura. a gentle spirit that has the strength of a lion - loves truth and runs to Jesus - fights for others and doesn't back down when life get's hard - rooted in scripture and founded in Love. When she walked into a room everyone knew there was something different about her - she was real - completely content with who she was - humble - and had an impact on everybody that she did life with - her and Tony truly lived each day as if it were their last.

Here's where some people would start jumping in and saying - "Ashley, you can't base your life off people, you need to strive to be like Jesus - you need to base your life off Jesus - you can't make choices off of someone here on earth... that's silly".  Yeah, i know that... and that's not what this is about - but it is about seeing someone who seemed to have gotten it. even just a little bit more than i do - and using that example to become more like Christ. Its like reading Rob Bell's new book and being challenged by that - but this is a friend, a normal girl - not some super star pastor that everyone knows.

There's something stirring inside my heart - something challenging me to grow and become a better person - to look up to Laura - as a hero, if you will - as a little bit of Jesus (with flesh on). Laura and Tony only lived a short time - but they impacted more lives in the short time they were here than more people do with a full long life - and they continue to shape lives from Heaven. now that's something.





*We all miss you - and Love you so much. Have fun with Jesus. Thanks for being such an inspiration and living your lives to the fullest.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

hallmark is kryptonite

I just spent a couple days up in PDX visiting some great friends. it was an amazing weekend - in so many ways - and a very emotional weeekend - in so many ways. which seems to be the story of my life right now ... awesome and hard and emotional - all wrapped up in a nice crispy burrito. uh - not sure about the burrito - but the rest of it. :)

i got to hang out with a friend that i have a very sweet friendship with. It's a friendship based in truth and authenticity and love. we hang out - and in the same breath can be talking about heart breaking/gut wrenching things going on and bring tears from laughing so hard... i cherish that friendship and the growth it has brought me. (so that was the amazing part - here comes the emotional part) that friend in moving to alaska in T-minus 74-ish days. Bummer. The story of why she's going to alaska is amazing - and i'm so freakin stoked for her and all the adventures she'll have (and for another reason to visit AK) but it is still heart breaking news (selfishly) for me.

Today i went to a baby shower for a friend that was told repeatedly she wouldn't be able to have kids - and after multiple miscarriages - is now pregnant with twins! such an amazing time to go see her little preggo belly and get to see her beaming with joy. i'm so excited for her and her little family.

After the shower me and a friend went up to Paradise (Agape) cause i needed to make a list of stuff we need to make some upgrades.... A, it snowed like crazy up there... and i was wearing chaco's.... B, i fell in love with that place once again. Every time i go up there it stirs my heart to long for more... more growth, more challenge, more freedom, more jesus, more truth... it's one of few safe places for me - (that was the awesome part - here comes the emotional part) because i got a job (another awesome part) working at a church in salem - i had to step down from being the lead on the challenge course up there... my time up at paradise this year is going to be limited to about 4 days. Bummer.

So as i sit here thinking through the last couple days my heart feels like an emotional roller coaster. And yet somehow - i'm completely content.

I don't understand this at all, but somehow there is a very sweet and very cherished relationship between deep pain and deep peace. I can be crushed in spirit and alive in hope all at the same exact time... EXACT SAME TIME... there's not a switch - simultaneous bi-polar emotional health.  i think that's what i'm going to call it. :)

Today while i was driving out to sandy to pick up my friend i had a surreal experience. I was driving out 26 and i came around the first corner before you start on the straight away towards Good Shepherd.... and i could see the quarter mile of flashing police lights that had once lit up that stretch of road - a family giving the highest honors to a dear friend. Monday will be the 2 year anniversary of 2 friend going to see Jesus. As i drove out 26 today my heart sank as i remembered their lives - the strength, passion, and true joy that oozed from them as they lived their lives... my eyes teared up as my heart started beating faster and i thanked my papa for giving me the chance to know them and be a part of their lives - to have learned from them, to have been priveledged to experience life with them, and look up to them...  i was crushed and thankful at the same time...


This "simultaneous bi-polar emotional health" is so sweet. Cherish it. don't fight it. sit in the uncomfortable feelings of pain and joy - and let Jesus come wrap you up in his arms... holding you tight and safe...

i use to feel weak when i felt anything - and was scared when my emotions were so conflicted. sometimes those lies pop up still... but i'm learning that there is strength in being weak. there is strength in being able to be broken in spirit and find joy and peace in the Spirit. The more i feel, the more i'm letting jesus into my life, the weaker i'm becoming, and the stronger Jesus is becoming in me... Jesus oozes out of my pours while i sit in the uncomfortable question provoking feelings of my conflicted soul. And now - instead of running from these moments - i'm going to cherish them... and let my papa wrap me up in His arms.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

a happy one...

I mentioned a few posts ago that it was the first night of the small group i was leading... well. i started with 5 girls - i'm now up to 7 regularly and they're totally stoked about it. They talk about it to their friends, they bring friends, they're excited, they're participating... it's really fun!

today the girls were talking about the book we were reading in their sunday school class - so the teacher came up and asked for a copy of it so she could help talk about it with them too. SO COOL! it was so encouraging today! (especially after i started the day off at 7:30 by not being able to get into my office cause they changed the locks).

And -church attendance was up almost 30 people today. it's kinda back to normal, but after 2 weeks of around 40 - it was nice to see 70 people sitting in the pews participating in worship - even a handful of faces i've never seen.

i had two new teachers in the preschool class today - not only was their class size doubled from normal - they ROCKED IT! they taught about abraham and sarah and had them wandering through the desert (the church) looking for a tent which was their home (a table with a sheet over it). it was so fun to see them wandering around the hall :)

things are lookin up - it's fun. and a relief after a really hard season!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

big decisions...

anxious.eager.discouraged.hesitant.lost.tense.distressed.worried.

that's a lil sneak peak into what's going on inside right now. I met with someone today and talked with them a little bit about where i'm at, how i'm doing, what's been going on... and now i have some real big decisions to make... one i don't want to make - but i know i will...

go big or go home.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

cry of my heart

Here's the lyrics to a song that i really feel a few of us need to hear - and rest in - and let our souls drink the truth of. 
______________________________
(forever reign by hillsong)
You are good
You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love
You are love
On display for all to see
You are light
You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope
You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace
You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true
You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy
You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life
You are life
In You death has lost its sting

Oh I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more
You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord
You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here
You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God
You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

My heart will sing
No other name
Jesus Jesus

________________________
Everytime i listen to this song it drives my heart nuts. i know that it's full of the truth that i need to hear EVERYDAY and it's truly the cry of my heart. God is our Peace, our Hope, our Light, and our Love. Lately i've been fighting hard for the smallest glimmer of truth. it's been a real battle in my head and heart. Pain, Fear and Doubts have been gaining a foothold in my life again - and I DON"T LIKE IT! Every once in a while i listen to this song and it just stirs up this feeling in my soul - my chest gets "tight, jumpy, & fuzzy". I've learned that this is the feeling i i'm hiding or shut down and get confronted with truth, love, or care. It's my body's way of letting me know something is going on - even though i can't feel it. When my emotions need some time to catch up my body steps in and give me a physical attention getter - a "slap in the face" if you will - letting me know to pay attention to what is going on. 


listen to the song - it's an amazing and simple reminder of truth. let your heart rest in the words. "your love will always be enough - nothing compares to your embrace". 

Friday, March 18, 2011

it's about time...

it's about time i've blogged again...

the last few days have been rough - and by rough i mean, i've had a couple of the hardest days i can remember (seriously).  The kicker is that it's been because things are going good. I was fighting hard - believing truth, my girls group is amazing, my work at the church is gaining momentum, things are changing, people are getting on board, it looks like the church itself is moving forward - we've been talking about moving to sunday nights - which will drastically change the contemporary service and how many people we can reach with it... thing are going good - the Lord is doing big things in Salem in and through and around me -

and then satan got pissed.

i had been sleeping - the nightmares came back
i had been believing truth - the lies started SCREAMING at me
i had been happy - i stopped being able to think straight
i could concentrate - i feel like i'm stuck in a fog
i was opening up and being vulnerable with a new friend - i started being afraid

i hate it. there have been day's when i don't even want to get out of bed... i'm scared to death to go to bed, but i feel like i can't handle the day... i completely believe the truth that i'm worth a lot, that i'm a beloved child, that i'm valuable - but i just have this heaviness weighing me down and it's easier to believe the lies than to fight for the truth sometimes...

and then i feel like a failure.

i want the Lord to be able to work through me. To use me to further the kingdom. To use my story/my pain to bring light and life to others.

I'm not exactly sure where i was going with all this - i just felt like i needed to tell someone - and since it's after midnight - it goes here.  so, there ya have it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a glimmer of redemption...

So - i got this random email this morning...

it was from a lady in ohio who is the mother of a lady in my church that is on the worship team... the lady in ohio is the head of their deacon team and apparently gets a copy of our "communique - the thing i wrote that article for" in the mail. So - i wake up to an email from this lady explaining who she is and asking permission to use my story from the communique at the opening of their next deacon meeting - and she wanted to know what happened to the girl...

so i got to tell her the rest of the story - and now some people in ohio get to see hear the story of God redeeming my life for him - SO COOL!

but - i was texting with a friend and told her about it... she got excited, and asked how i felt about it - and without thinking i said i was stoked - my dream is that the pain i went through on this journey will be able to be used to bring the light and life of Christ to the lives of many - and then a few minutes later it kinda caught up to me...

1. i shared my story really easily in an article that loads of people are going to have access to
2. someone on the other side of the country read it - and wants to use it to hopefully challenge people in her church
3. i wasn't even hesitant to say yes - or that i was stoked that my story was out to so many people...


that my friends - (and if you've struggled through life with me at all should know this) - that is some mighty fine redemptive love that our Papa has... i had dreamed of this day - when i would be able to freely share my story in honesty and truth - and have it be used to bring new life to others - but it always felt "inconceivable" (name that movie) and so far away... but that day has come!

i pray that the words i wrote will be used to further the kingdom - that they can help break the bonds of satan and give hope to the brokenhearted...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

walking in the rain...

I absolutely LOVE walking in the rain. walking, running, biking - who cares - if it's in the rain it's amazing. conveniently i live in oregon - so it happens a lot. Most of the time i fall into the groove of being an oregonian and complaining about how much it rains... but then someday's i find myself completely amazed at the rain - and just want to spend hours just standing in it.

i had an incredibly hard day today - i'm not entirely sure why - just one of those day's when emotions catch up with you and you're just not yourself... ever have one of those? Yesterday i had a good talk with a friend - i came to realize something, said it outloud, talked about it - but didnt' feel the emotions behind it (and there should have been a lot) so i think today it just caught up with me...

So, i got a bunch of work done and then decided i needed to be out of the office so i walked across the street to the ike box (a really sweet coffee shop right next to the church) to grab some coffee. while i was walking back feeling the rain fall on my head, listening to it tap on the top of my coffee cup, i was blown away by how long it had been since i had enjoyed the rain...

Last week at church we sang "Grace Like Rain" and walking in the rain today feeling it fall on my head is like a million little reminders of God's grace - and how freely he gives it to us - and how much he loves us. That's why i like the rain.

so when i stop for a second and enjoy, it's a small (almost daily) reminder of how much God loves me - and how he pours his grace out on me... he doesn't hold it back - it falls freely and completely washes over us.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A story...

So, we have this thing called a "communique" at church - it's kinda a mix between a newsletter and a magazine - i think. it's articles about what's happening in our church, more at a relational and spiritual level rather than a programatic level... anyhow - i had to write an article for this month's edition and i wanted to share it, cause i think it's a pretty big deal that i wrote it. I was suppose to write about my ministry and what's going on - so i tried - but it was boring and more about program really... so i changed my direction. 


i recently changed the volunteer schedule (well, i'm in the process of changing it) so that people sign up for 1 service a month to work with the kids - seems like it would make ppl want to sign up more right - only 1 service a month so simple (compared to the every service for 3 month commitment they had been use to) but instead, people seem to get caught up on the idea that they can't possibly make an impact in just an hour a month... so - i wrote an article about a girl who's life was changed by somebody believing in her in one simple moment, things started changing. 


So - check it out - let me know what you think. 



One Hour a Month - how you can change a life. 
So, you’ve seen the posters, you’ve heard noises coming from down the hall, and maybe you’ve even heard rumors of kids running wildly through the halls during quiet moments. But what’s really going on? If you’ve stopped to read the revolution posters you’ve noticed that it talks about a community where kids know that they are unconditionally loved, safe, cared for, and believed in. Well, that is exactly what is going on. So, what can you do? Get involved. All you have to do it sign up to help for 1 hour a month (one sunday morning service). That’s right - ONE hour a month. 
Right, so now you’re probably thinking - an hour, that’s pretty simple, but I can’t make a difference in just one hour a month - can i? Well, i have a little story to tell you that should clear up this mental predicament you’re in. 
Once upon a time in a land far far away (2,500 miles is “far far away” right?) there lived a girl that had lived through a horrific childhood - parents’ that were totally absent and ignored her even when they were around, family members that beat her, verbally tore her to shreds, used her body for their sexual pleasure, and in every way treated her like she was worthless. She was a strong kid, but didn’t really know it, she had been told lies for so much of her life that they had become her truth. She believed she was worthless, used, ugly, would never succeed at anything, and that no one would ever like her. She learned to put on a smile, laugh, and to become invisible in every way. But all of this was a secret to the people she went to school with, and the people who she interacted with - they only saw a girl who smiled, got good grades, and had a home with two parents to go home to every night. No one knew the secret nightmare that she lived in every day. 
One day, when she was about 16, her and her friends had found a “coffee house” to hang out at. A place where they could go to get away from the worries of their lives, play cards, drink soda, and just be kids. This coffee house was staffed by volunteers from local churches, but everyone went to church in this town, so they didn’t really think much of it. The workers at the coffee house became friends with this group of kids, especially with the girl. They would talk, play cards, and just hang out with the kids while they were there - and they treated them like normal people, not like kids (like most adults did in this town). 
There came a time when this girls life got so hard, with pressures of school, and friends, and the nightmare that was her “home” that all she wanted to do was die - it had to be better than going home. One night, in particular, her whole family would be at her house  and she knew that when she got home she would be treated as property and forced to do unspeakable things. That very night, she was at the coffee house waiting for her friends to come and save her from having to go home - but they never came - with the fear of going home had her almost in tears. At that moment one of the coffee house staff came over, sat down at the table she was sitting at all alone, smiled at her in a way no one had ever done before, asked if she was okay and gave her a hug - something so simple but something that no one had ever cared enough to do before. In that moment, something inside her changed. It didn’t happen all at once, but knowing that one person cared about her was enough to give her the strength to make it through another day. To face the fear of walking into the nightmare she faced at home, and to start fighting for truth. 
What can one hour do? What can one small moment of belief in a child do? It can change their entire life. 
What happened to the girl? The Lord is using her life and her story in big ways. If you want to know more, just come ask me. I’ll tell you all about my story - and how one moment one someone caring for me changed my entire life. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

sounds to feelings

It is amazing what sounds and sights can do to take you back to an exact moment or a series of moments from the past. I just got back from a church "ministry summit" we spent the weekend talking about personality types and how to work with other ppl - basically how to help our church catch up with the change that's happening and how we should field their emotions and reactions to be the most loving and helpful that we, as leadership, can be. So i get home, completely wiped, my brain is spent - all of a sudden everyone is gone and i'm left at home with no car and so what do i do... watch bones of course.

i turn on an episode and as soon as the intro credits and theme song start playing i'm instantly sitting in the Bertz's living room, AC on, looking out into the summer heat, recovering from an exhausting but awesome week of camp, sipping on some coconut ice tea, and prepping to go back and do camp all over again. In a split second my thoughts, fellings, and emotions are all swept back to this summer (when me and sarah spent our weekends catching up on the first 4 seasons of bones during our few precious hours off each weekend).

This isn't the first time this has happened. If i hear a Rodney Atkins song, i'm instantly in my car, driving with the windows down and the smell of the northwest summer air coming in my windows as i'm driving down 84. (i drove from gresham to multnomah a lot one summer). The smell of campfire smoke takes me right back to summer camp when i was a kid at camp Lutherlyn sitting on a bench out by the lake, knowing that i was, at least momentarily, safe and cared for for the first time in my life. When i smell popcorn i'm instantly back to the JamHouse from highschool, where i hung out with college kids till 3 or 4 in the morning playing Euchre ... those are some of the happy ones, not all of those "instant trips down memory lane" are quite as happy. There are words, smells, sights, and emotions that take me right back to when i was a kid, sitting the woods crying because my brother beat me and there was no one to take care of me, when i was curled up on the floor between my bed and the wall hidden underneath some blankets while my cousin talked his way out of getting caught molesting me, spending hours in my car driving around avoiding going "home" to a place where i would be abused and abandoned...

the way the Lord has built us, to remember - not only with thoughts but with feelings, smells, sights - it is so amazing. Even in times where it hurts like hell - there are times when it is so precious to have those memories come fleeting back - campfires are my favorite, to instantly be reminded that i am safe and deeply loved by my papa, and that he has big plans for my life - it is such a precious gift that the Lord has given us...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

i don't wanna!

so far this week there have been 2 funerals at church. i havn't had to go to either (i watched an incredibly cute lil boy while his grandparents helped with the services) BUT that doesn't mean that the Lord didn't use the fact that there was a funeral to stir up some pain that has been shoved deep deep down in my heart. 

I wasn't able to mourn my dad's passing when it happened (i was running a camp and a few retreats) and even if i hadn't been doing that - i'm not really sure i would have even known where to begin - cause i still don't know where to begin. the concept of mourning the loss of someone you loved - i sorta get. the concept of mourning the loss of someone who hurt you and abandoned you, or mourning someone i didn't have - yep, i have NO CLUE where to begin. 

it feels so weird to be sad, to start to cry when i hear a story of someone's loving father (or parents), for my heart and emotions to go crazy when there is a funeral happening at the other end of the church, to lay in bed at night trying as hard as i can to think of a good memory of me and my dad but only remembering pain, to have someone ask if your okay and not really know what to say back... it's kinda wearing me out.

The Lord is good, he is the father i never had, and never will have - and he wants me to heal - and he keeps pulling up the emotions to try and help me push through this, but i just feel so lost. everything hurts, i have no words for it, and i just don't wanna deal with it. 




but then i remember that i don't roll that way anymore, i should be running hard to my papa's arms, letting it hurt, letting myself cry, letting him into the dark scary parts of my heart where i've shoved all this pain. 

Lord - help me run to your arms. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

avoiding homework

So, are you ready for this - seriously, you should probably be sitting down -

ready?

i'm avoiding my homework.

shocker right?

anyhow - i'm trying to avoid math homework - because i have like 20 word problems to solve - and history - cause i just don't want to read right now... anyhow - i figured i'd blog a little and at least attempt to be somewhat productive with my time...

So, tomorrow - i'm starting my 4th/5th grade girls group... i'm excited, nervous, scared, anxious, exhilirated, and overwhelmed - to name a few.

working at a church - in and of itself - has been quite the stress inducer ever since the tragic parting of core life... and this group is going to bring up even more - i'm sure.  One of the major wounds from "that other church" was the jr.high group. I was leading the jr.high group and then i went to europe - and then all of a sudden i wasn't allowed to do ministry anymore. it was said that i had nothing worthwhile to say to jr.highers (amongst other things)... needless to say - i was pretty crushed as far as ministry goes.

so - i started at this church and got a solid group of 4th/5th grade girls just dumped in my lap - eager, energetic, ready to learn, full of questions, and completely bored with the 4th/5th grade sunday school class - so it was a pretty simple choice. start a small group just for them where they can be real, learn to be godly girls, and have a blast.

I've been completely pumped about this - building relationships with the girls (one girl went from complaining about having to go to church, to making sure someone would be home to drive them to church in just a few shorts weeks), planning fun activities, reading through curriculum, and figuring out how to build a special/safe place for the girls. Then last night it all caught up with me: satan started kicking me in the shins and knocking me to the ground. I started feeling completely overwhelmed, believing lies, feeling like i shouldn't be leading anyone, and just wanting to hide in a hole...

then, today during church i was playing drums and Rob started talking in the middle of one of the songs about this ministry next door to us that helps the "street kids" (the ones who've been abandoned and tossed aside) find new life in christ - and then he told the whole church how he had been involved in a ministry just like that and that one of the kids was sitting behind the drum set. it was a pretty sobering reminder that i didn't get myself to this place, i'm not the one who changed my heart, i'm not the one who'll be speaking truth to the darkest places of these students lives, and i'm not the kid who believes lies anymore...

so - that's all. i'm super stoked for this ministry - and it's going to be awesome - the Lord is going to do big things in this church, i'm sure of it. so, if you think about it every monday from 4-6 i'll be meeting with my girls, telling them truth of who they are in christ, and helping them learn to grow up seeking the Lord - if you could pray for girls and for me (that i'd be open and willing to be completely real with the girls) i'd be stoked.

Monday, February 21, 2011

jump

The distance between where i am and where i want to be is so big - so i close my eyes and jump!


I was reading a friends blog the other day - and i found this definition of courage: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. This pretty much sums up where i want to be. So, i'm challenging myself to close my eyes and jump!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

coolest.sound.ever.


I had the chance to spend a day at the beach with one of my dear friends - we explored and cherished the moments that we got to spend together and separately taking in the awesome beauty, wonder, and excitement of hanging out with the Lord at the beach. 

Me and Jesus have a funny little connection with "a-ha" moments and large bodies of water (if i havn't told you about the multnomah falls trip - just ask, it's pretty cool). So, it's no wonder that this day was any different. So, here's the scoop. 

This is a picture of the coolest thing i've ever heart. picture yourself on the beach (one of the rocky ones - not the sandy ones) hanging out, watching the surf come in and out and listening to the roar of the ocean - go ahead, take a moment and think about how cool that is - and then imagine this.... 

a huge wave comes in - farther than some of the rest - and then you watch it go back out and as soon as you notice the wave is out you hear this awesomely loud ROAR - not of the waves - but of thousand and thousands and thousands of those black rocks that had been picked up by wave come crashing back down on each other and settling back into place. It's louder than the waves themselves and the first time you hear it you heart stops for the slightest moment - no joke. 

The first time i heard this i was at the beach with a close friend of mine, ben. He had never been to the pacific ocean - so he was pretty much in awe to begin with - and then we found this secluded lil rocky beach that you had to climbing down to via a really sketchy rope (it was awesome). We got down onto the beach and started talking about how cool the Lord is and then all of a sudden a wave came in (got ben soaking wet) and then left with this incredibly loud sound - it was AWESOME. like the Lord was just showing off a little bit - making sure we really got to the depth of how awesome he is in our conversations (which we did - i'll have to tell you more about that sometime too). 

So, back to a couple days ago... i got to stand on the rocks letting the waves come up and sweep past me (pants rolled up, chaco's on) and then stand in the middle of the coolest sound ever and feel the rocks move under my feet. 

i don't have a well put together point or anything solid that i've learned from this (yet) but the comfort and love that i felt from my papa every time that the waves would come in and then go back out with a crash i knew that my papa was letting me know he was there - and he cares - i'm safe - and he loves me - 

Friday, February 18, 2011

math homework is a lot like growth...

okay - so i'm sitting here doing my math homework. (i hate math). i've been at it for almost 2 hours now - i think, i'm actually not completely sure, it might be more. Anyhow - i did was doing this weeks homework and i got through the first 20 some exercises relatively quickly and felt really proud of myself then it took a turn for the worse - and i stopped moving forward. i couldn't figure out what i was doing - i kept trying and kept getting it wrong... so i thought i'd take a break - let my brain relax a bit and do the written work from the past few weeks (which i've been avoiding). 

small side note: 
So here's the thing. i'm taking an online math class - no classroom time - so i learn the math as i go through the problems each week. As i get to a problem that i don't know how to answer i go through a process that looks kinda like this - guess, try something different, click on "view an example", guess again, try and find it in the book (which by the way is the wrong edition so nothing is exactly the same), "view example" again, guess again, "help me solve this" guess again - and then i either get it right or skip to the next question. sounds fun right? 

back on track: 
so i'm in my book doing my written homework (which i turn in at the end of the semester, so i havn't been keeping up on) and i am 4 weeks behind. i open my book and realize that i vaguely remember what to do. i recognize the problems and how to complete them. it's kinda cool. then i just get tired of that "kinda cool" feeling after i've done like 100 exercises and i'm not even done with that weeks work.... stupid. 

so - i decided to take a real break and check my email. and as i read an email from a friend and started thinking about life i realized that growth is like math (which doesn't make me like it any better) but it made me laugh a bit. 

math teachers give you tons of problems so that you can try and keep trying until the problems make sense and are easy to complete... life gives you lots of chances to try the same thing over and over until it's simple and easy to complete. 

here's the really funny part (at least to me). Most people do a majority of their growing when they're a kid and they learn how to go about different problems by their parents showing them and them asking questions and trying it out - with the parents right there willing to help walk them through how to do it... well - i didn't have parents helping me learn anything while i was a kid... i kinda just made it up as i went - came to a problem guessed, guessed again, tried to think of what someone else would do ("view an example") guess again, and if then i try and fumble through asking someone what to do ("help me solve this")... i have the same problems come up time and time again (asking for help, allowing room for grace, putting words to my emotions) and then i get frustrated that i'm not even done with that week's stuff... 

but just like math - they start to get easier the more you go over it. 

my background picture

I felt like i should share the specialness of the picture i chose for my background.

shortly after the church issues blew, "the shit hit the fan", and scott and mel moved to Yakima i quit my job at coffee people and as a celebration to finally being done wtih that season of life - i drove to yakima for the weekend to be with my friends.

Through all the pain we were in - we were able to go on a little adventure and visit a coffee shop that melody had found - a new place where she could be alone and hang out with the lord and work on letting her heart heal. we went into the basement corner - this quiet little nook with a couple chairs - and we talked about life and love and what our hearts needed most right then. i got to hear truth about the last few months and be real about where my heart was with someone who got it. it was a very special time - at one point i looked up and realized that the ceiling of this little nook was pretty stellar - so i snapped a few pictures to save as a reminder of the love, pain, growth, grace, and redemption that was was taking place...

and since this blog is about love, grace, truth, growth, and redemption i thought it was fitting.

more picture and more stories to come.

to answer your questions...

questions questions... here's my answers. 

It's been a little bit since i've been on a date with Jesus - but, the last time i went on one was shortly after i moved to salem - i went down to silver creek falls and walked around. me and jesus have a special bond around waterfalls. So i was wandering around letting the spray from the waterfall wash over me and remind me of my papa's love and grace washing over me and then i found this lil nook in the rock behind the waterfall and sat and just hung out with jesus for a while. it was very cool. 

my ministry - well, i just got a job at the church that rob (my old youth pastor/dad guy) is the new worship pastor at... i'm the children's ministry coordinator. So, i get to build a rockin children's ministry program that is family based and teaches the lil tikes the truth about their papa loving them. It's very scary and very cool - all at the same time. the church is moving towards a family based ministry (i have no idea what that looks like - family isn't neccessarily in my vocab in regards to being a kid) and so i feel like i'm sprinting in the dark through the forest hoping i don't run face first into a tree. but i also don't have any preconceived notions about what it should look like - so i'm able to try some crazy things and just see what happens - i love it. 

Lately i've been praying like crazy to be able to tangible see and feel papa's love in my life. that's such a hard concept for me - but the other day i went out on a limb and asked this girl at work (who i really want to become friends with and grow with and be real with) to go out to lunch - and we talked and talked - she's so open and able to just talk about whatever is going on even though she's had some pretty gnarly hurts in her past - my mind was blown at how easily she was sharing with me - and then she started talking about something and the lord opened my ears to hear he say the exact same words that i had been struggling with for the last few months...  when i felt the most alone and needed a special kind of friend the lord stuck one right in front of me and said go. it was pretty cool. 

and what's been stirring up my heart - well - that's a loaded question. with being in a new place and being away from everyone i felt safe with - and with basically living with my parents (for the first time) and getting a job at a church - the last few month's have been a wild ride. I've been longing for a deeper, more intimate relationship wtih my papa - to be able to run into his arms instead of trying to run to people... to live and learn and breathe new life - i want to be a light for the students i get to work with - and show them the sweet love of their papa and help them live in the freedom of his love. and i want to become the godly woman that the Lord created me to be. seeking his will in everything i do.  

i'm looking to fall in love with my papa. 

papa's arms

I'm 24. I have a job. a car. i pay my own bills. i just paid off my first credit card. i have my own business. i've beat all the odds. i'm back in school. i'm strong. i'm confident. i can do whatever i set my mind to.

but when i'm by myself, sitting in my office working, sitting at a coffee shop doing homework, when i turn the lights off at night and lay on my bed - i'm lost. i'm confused. i'm hurting. and i feel so alone. i'm a scared little girl who just wants to be able to cry in someone's arms.

i want to curl up in my papa's arms.


Lately one of the hardest things has been watching Rob with Rachel and Padraig. Watching the kids be completely loved, safe, and content in their daddy's arms - it makes my heart long for a father's embrace of his little girl. My dad never hugged me or told me he loved me - he was physically around but i don't know anything about him. I always had this secret longing that someday i'd wake up and he'd be the loving caring affectionate father i always wanted/needed. 5 months ago he died. i learned more about my dad reading his obituary than i ever knew about him after living with him for 18 years. The grieving process is messy - but i don't even know how to attempt it - i'm broken over the loss of a father i never had and never will have. grieving the loss of something you never had - it's just confusing.  Every time i see a rob hugging one of the kids my chest gets tight and my heart sinks, longing for something i'll never have.

i just want to curl up in my papa's arms. in someone's arms. and feel loved, and safe.

i've written this post 4 different ways now. i want it to sound eloquent and put together. maybe even a bit cheeky. i even thought about not writing it - but if my blog is about being real - i can't skip the thing that's wrecking me. So, it's not pretty, it's not witty, and it's not done... but it's raw.

God doesn't waste our pain.

A wise man i know once told me (along with a few other people, actually) "God does not waste our pain." This simple little thought has been said, contemplated on, ignored, hated, clung to, taught, and has penetrated my heart.

Pain is something I hate, but happen to be very familiar with. It's not wasted.

I'm a verbal processor trapped inside a body that tell me talking isn't safe - so my hope is that this blog will help me to process and learn to talk with my hands and then with my mouth. To think through the pain, tell myself truth, and then share it with others - so it's not wasted.

I have a story to tell - hell, i have LOADS of stories to tell - hopefully one day my stories with be a catalyst for someone, even just one, to run into the arms of their savior.

"tonight begins a different way - let my life become an offering to you." S.O.

this is the cry of my heart.

If you're reading this - i want to share life with you - wherever you happen to be (near or far) - so please, interact and ask questions - i like questions.