Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Flying First Class

On Fridays I (sometimes) link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for a writing flash mob. I write for five minutes on the topic Lisa-Jo has chosen. Today's writing prompt is fly.

Sometimes you have to let go of some baggage before you can learn to fly, and for me that was a long journey. My fears were many and often revolved around being away from my children. I used them as my security blanket. I was excited to travel the world with my sweet husband, but only as long as our children were along as my insurance. I know. This is some weird (il)logic, but there it is.

The funny thing is that last month I was on ten planes in fourteen days and never was it with my children. They are, after all, living lives of their own now at ages 24 and 19.

Learning to fly looks different for all of us. My fears are not your fears and your fears are not mine. My fears controlled me to an extreme that kept me from leaving home alone. My leap into flight didn’t come overnight. It was a gradual climb, occurring only after crash landing in a pit of anxiety and depression. My leap included years of study and prayer with God, a kind therapist, a vigilant and loving husband and children who never judged me for my weaknesses.

If you’re still tied to the ground, my heart is tender for you. I have felt your pain. Your path to flight will not look like mine, but it is there. Let go of what holds you down. Let go and fly, because on this flight we all fly First Class.

Monday, November 18, 2013

But I Know He Loves Me

We get ourselves in trouble when we think we have all the answers. And since I am not a fan of trouble, I'm just going to confess right now that I don't have many answers.

I spend a lot of time with God in study, in prayer, in nature, in listening. Yet I recognize so much about God is bigger than my mind can grasp. I don't know all things. In fact, I don't know most things, but I get what God means when he says to love. Love Him. Love you. Love myself. This I understand. So in every decision of every day, I want to choose love. I may not be able to interpret the book of Revelation or explain exactly what Paul meant in all of his writings (I'm thinking more punctuation could have helped there), but I understand well enough that I can never go wrong when I choose to love.

I have come to understand that my loving well can only come when I rest in God's love for me. Until I grab hold of God's love for me, I won't be able to share it, because it won't be in me.

God loves.  He asks me to do the same. Love him.  Love you.  Love myself. I don't always do it well but I want to.

Of these things I am sure:  God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is creator of all things, me included.  God's power and promises are believable. On my own I am a mess, sinful and self-centered, but with Christ I can do all things. God's love, the saving blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit living in me, make me whole, perfect and valuable to God, worthy of His love. God wants me. He wants my attention, my love, my whole self and not just a piece. I give this to Him through worship and prayer and what I choose to give my heart to each day.

I don't know much, but I know God loves me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Good Goodbye

Fear is not a good friend. I dream of doing so many things, and I can say it is lack of time that holds me back but, honestly, it is fear more than anything that keeps me from my dreams. I dream of writing three or four blog articles a week, but while I am busy and the travel we love keeps me in a perpetual game of catch up, I know that if I really wanted to – if I was really brave enough to write more of my heart - I would be writing three or four times a week.

The past three years have seen me let go of a lot of fear. God has healed me in ways I hadn’t seen coming. And while I still hold on to some fear, I live braver today than I have in all my life. I am so grateful. Grateful that while my son is a member of the U.S. Army, I don't lie awake at night afraid of what his future holds. Fear does not grip me and that is a flat out miracle. I am grateful that when it came time to let my daughter go away to college, I was not gripped by fear. Fear that she would be lonely or scared or someone would hurt her, and I wouldn’t be there to make it right (that's what mom's do, right!). I walked that road when my son went away to college, and it wasn't good. Most of the time my imagination is a bigger enemy to me than anything real. I sabotage my own peace of mind. I am grateful for the healing of my mind, especially a healing that results from a reining in of my overactive imagination.

This has been a year of living bravely. A year of learning and growing. A year of new friends from distant countries. A year of navigating social services on behalf of refugees. A year of meetings with social workers and aid workers and doctors and planning a funeral, assisting in a birth, and meeting with caseworkers and school counselors and midnight emergency room visits. A year of saying goodbye to my son again and to my daughter for the first time. All because in January I told God I would like to live bravely.

Today I’m looking for a home for my friend who has been approved for permanent housing through the City of Boise’s housing program for the poor. We’ve been looking since August without success. It’s not easy finding a landlord who will rent to the poor. This is frustrating and could be scary, but I know God has a home for my friend and her children. A good home. A home where they will know joy and security.

And I am not afraid.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind."
1 Timothy 1:7

Friday, November 8, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

On Fridays I (sometimes) link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for a writing flash mob. I write for five minutes on the topic Lisa-Jo has chosen. Today's writing prompt is truth.

Last weekend Rebecca and I attended our first ever Women of Faith conference in Tacoma, Washington. It was a crazy travel time for me. Ten planes in fourteen days. Two continents and a lot of jet lag. But none of that could keep me from a long planned weekend with my girl at a conference where all our favorites would be - Jen Hatmaker! Christine Caine! Kari Jobe! No way was I letting a little jet lag keep me away.

Here are a few beautiful truths we heard:

"Freedom is available to each one of us today if we choose to grab on to it.  Most Christians settle for deliverance and not freedom. Christians that are bound don't like Christians that are free. I am not going to live delivered when I can live free." Christine Caine

"Stop defending the gospel all the time like we are protectors of the kingdom of God. Like everyone out there is our enemy. Jesus told us he needs us to represent the kingdom. Not defend it. We serve a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Nobody can take from us what Jesus has won for us. We need to be people that make the gospel real for people." Jen Hatmaker

"We are the most resourced, educated advantaged women on earth. Can you imagine what we can do. We can be a people who say here we are. Send us." Jen Hatmaker

"If you believe there is anything you can do to make God love you more, you're saying the cross was not enough. You are redeemed. You are holy. You are righteous. He doesn't care about what you've done or even what you're going to do. All he cares about is you because you're his. There's no loop hole. There's no expiration on Christ.  Take a breath and remind yourself there's nothing you can do to mess this up." Mercy Me

"We should be identifying ourselves like John did in the Bible as the one Jesus loves. Hi, I'm _______, the one Jesus loves. The theme of my life should not be my love for God but his love for me." Judah Smith

This is truth, and I choose to walk in it.