Sunday, July 22, 2012


I know I haven't posted much this week, but that's simply because I've been in the house most days, canvassing jobs on the computer, catching up on some reading, having no place to go and no money to get there.   While I've had all this time on my hands, there have been a few things I've realized about life. 
We just get stuck in our habits.  I mean, I have had the same amount of time each day to spend however I please, and I find myself doing the exact same things:  sleeping in, reading a book, browsing the internet, talking to friends, applying for jobs, making meals, watching a movie, going to bed.  My days were filled, my checklists were being completed, and yet, I felt as if I was making no progress at all.

That's when I decided to change my life up.  What if I didn't sleep in just because I had no place to be or because it would help waste a little more of my already elongated day?  What if instead I spent more time praying for people and reading my Bible?

And what if I didn't just sit on the computer browsing for hours looking for jobs, but rather applied to the few I was really interested in, spent time developing a better resume, and then leave the results to God?

And about those books-- why don't I pick up that giant epic that I've been meaning to read for the past 18 months and actually begin it?  What's stopping me?

When I'm tired of reading, instead of popping in a movie, why don't I sit down and hand write a few letters to people to let them know just how much I've been thinking about them?

When I need some type of entertainment, why not put in my Portuguese language cd and challenge my mind to a different way of viewing the world?

And instead of heating up a frozen pizza, or cooking another bowl of spaghetti, why not experiment in the kitchen and develop a new taste for food?

So, I began to move in my frozen sphere of time.  I began to operate as if I was already becoming the person I wanted to be, instead of staying the person I was longing to change.

And you know what I found?

I found a God more faithful than my next heartbeat and more tender than a soft breeze.  I discovered that praying to Him was not some futile, godly exercise but this most intimate gesture of love between the earthly and the divine in which I could participate.  I learned that when you go to battle in the spiritual realms, the battle is never over, but there are reservoirs of strength you could have never imagined set aside to help you continue.  That although there are a lot more needs than you could have ever fathomed encountering, there is a grace that paradoxically draws you deeper with each new wound.  I glimpsed a bit more of Jesus each morning and those brief moments stole my breath away.

I found that the computer did not have to dictate my moods-- whether I was accepted or rejected or emailed or messaged.  I perceived that the quality of offers oftentimes outweighed the value of those with more positions or hours.  I recognized that no matter how much time I've spent polishing something, such as my resume, there was still always improvement that could be done.  I learned that seeking God for the outcome of my applications instead of wearing out the inbox button of my email was far more productive and incredibly less stressful.

I found that the way through a giant epic resembled the way to complete a long journey--take it one page at a time.  I began to sense that those inspired to write epics were most likely the ones able to motivate me in uncovering mine.

I found that being still and actively reflecting on my life makes what I have to say far more interesting.  I discovered that something magical still resides in a postage stamp and the seal of an envelope.  That the way my hand uncurls ink is intensely more revealing no matter how personal the typed content of past emails.   I began to treasure anew the relationships I have, recognizing that sometimes the best way to show people my love is to spend  44 cents on them.

I found that expanding my horizons can be as close as the dimensions of my mind.  I developed a glow in finally nailing the correct pronunciation of a phrase in a language formerly foreign to my tongue.  A beauty was uncovered as I peeled back egg, and under, and jump only to discover they were cloaking such words as ovo, embaixo, and pulando.  I discovered a camaraderie with those whom I had never met and a commonality with those who went to sleep under a different sky than mine.

I found that taste can be developed and the arrangement of food can enhance its flavor.  I detected comfort in the warmth of a muffin and exhilaration in the chill of a smoothie.  I rediscovered the original Garden in an unknown fruit, yet relived the bitterness of the Fall when my teeth sank into its bruise.  I found that the quickest way to warm a cold house was to make a batch of cookies, and if you find yourself deficient in nearby loved ones, cupping your hands around a steaming mug of frothy chai almost distracts from the pain.

I understand now that Purgatory is a place we allow ourselves to remain.  A place where we unconsciously stay in the wheel ruts of yesterday.  I realize that being rich in time can rob you of yourself if you do not invest its wealth in growing.  I have begun to discover that life happens when you are planted, stuffed in the soil, and ready to receive what is availing itself to you.  But be willing to break forth from the seed... the only other option is to wither and fade.

*Wheels of Fury*

(FYI:  this was supposed to have been posted on Sunday)

Today I became an official cyclist!  For weeks I have been shelling out money to the bus lords every time I needed to go anyplace, but today their cruel, cruel reign has been bypassed by one purple bike called the Professor.  Professor Plum.
My roommate's boyfriend (Rick) gave me an old bike he had in storage.  This large, thoughtful gift has opened up a world of freedom, when I took it on its maiden voyage.
Before embarking, I spent careful time planning which train station I would ride to, in order to further get to the city.  Google informed me that most of the Max stations near me were about 2 miles away, a bicycling distance of a mere 15 minutes. I was pumped.  I checked the train schedules, confirmed meet up times with my friends, and finally calculated the minutes I would need to then further bike to church.  All these added up to a departure time of 9:30 am.  Lastly, I checked the weather forecast. This weekend has been beautiful, clear and 80s; I knew this was the right time to bike. 
Surprise!  Rain and high 60s.  Rain?  After I did all this work?   Ugh.  Fortunately, thoughts of being a true Portlander, who bikes, even in the rain, stiffened my resolve.  Too bad Mr. Dark cloud, I'm going to go anyway.

Thus, it was raining this morning when I got up.  Raining when I had breakfast, raining when I pulled out my bike.  I kept praying that it would stop-- at least for the 15 minutes I had to bike-- but it looked like God had other plans.  So off I went. 

I got to the top of my first hill and as I was shifting, my chain slipped off.  Was this another sign?  I was tempted to just turn around and call it quits, grab my money and head for the bus, but then my pride took a hold of me.  Just fix the chain yourself, you big baby.   Thus chastised, I bent down to put the chain back on and it worked... it actually worked!  and incredibly, as I went, the rain stopped.  

Now I was feeling freedom AND empowerment.  I pedaled and panted and plowed my way to the station.  I crossed streets, climbed hills, and raced vehicles.  It was pretty exhilarating... yet slightly wet.  (The back of my jeans took about 3 hours to fully dry).  But I had arrived at the train station a whole 10 minutes early!  I got into the city, biked to Pete and Kim's house, and then we all headed off to church via bike. 

We went from the NW section of Portland, through downtown, across the bridge, around the detours and police blockades, and arrived in the SE section of Portland (around another 2 miles).  The rain had started up again as we were nearing Imago Dei, but we had reached our destination.  After locking up our bikes, we discarded a few layers of clothing (whod've thought exercise would warm one up so much?), and headed in for the service, which was amazing. 

Then we did the entire trip back again (my thighs were abandoning me at this point), and headed to watch the Eagles kick the Jaguars' butts.  All in all, a satisfying day.

One last bike ride to the train, then another 2 miles home.  I thought I'd be so ready for bed, but I think I might be up for another road trip instead...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just Wait.

I was made for one man. I know this as surely as I know my own name, and yet, there seems to be a divine barrier between me and the man who is to be my husband. I feel "shut up" from the world of men, in the way that Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth's wombs were shut up by the Lord. I find myself pleading before the Lord to make me fruitful in this barren place in my life, yet the heavens remain silent.

There are so many things that have been going on in my head. Patience, for sure, is one of them. Learning to wait and be still; to be hidden and unknown has been extremely difficult for me. I so long to be known fully! My desire is to learn intimacy with another and to grow in learning. The frustrating thing for me is that I cannot just go out and learn this...I am hindered by another, by a man I am not even sure I know yet. Why is he hidden? When will he come to meet me?

Fear keeps me from being vulnerable. I mean, God is soooo good to me, and daily He drowns me in his favor and love, and yet I still get so destroyed by this small (yet unchartable) area of my life. There are large places where I feel inadequate, unacceptable, and disinteresting.

It has always seemed to me as though I do follow in my biblical namesake's footsteps, Leah, the unlovely. Some days it still seems as though my verse in the Scripture would be, "Leah, whom the Lord has cut off from love..." Yet, I know I have grown older since those fearful days, and my faith dares to shout against this epitaph, and to declare the glory of the Lord in my barrenness. He has not forgotten me, though long are the days before His fulfillment! I will rejoice in His bounty because I know my appointed time is still to come.

And that's the thing. Everyone who waited in Scripture, every single one,
was granted this incredible story.
--Abraham receives Isaac through miraculous means, and not through Abraham's control or wisdom.
--Isaac receives Rebekah through an answer to a servant's prayer, and through them Israel is born.
--Joseph's dreams of his childhood were mocked as he is sold into slavery, thrown into jail, and forgotten by his fellow prison mates, yet he remains faithful, and is brought into a place of great wisdom, honor, and power in the end.
--The children of Israel, long in bondage, are miraculously rescued out of Egypt, by Moses, who has just spent 40 years hiding in a desert shepherding.
--Manoah and his wife are childless until God steps in and gives them Samson, Israel's greatest judge.
--David waits decades after his kingly annointing, hiding in caves, fearing for his life, losing his best friend before he can ascend the throne.
--Zechariah and Elizabeth spend their entire married life hoping for a child, until they pass the age of bearing, only to be blessed with being able to birth John, the forerunner to the Messiah.
--Jesus Himself spends 30 years in obscurity before His brief ministry and eternal plan of redemption is realized. Even now He waits until the Father declares it time to receive His full inheritance.

There is one whom I believe is well suited for me, and yet how does that even play out? I believe God wants me to be actively involved in my life, but then He wants to show me that He is the one who is in control; to prove that His way is sooo much better, ultimately so much higher and purer and more brilliant.

Do I really think that I can out think God?? That I am more creative, more inventive, more savvy in my planning and imagination? Boy, will He shatter those illusions with much grace and favor! How undeserving I am! How great and magnificent He is! May I never be tired of seeing His hand work in my life, even when I think that doors have been bolted and shut. He loves to work in the midnight hour! He accomplished His will in His timing, through their faith, in the men and women of Scripture. Oh why do I think He is tardy in my life? Why do I find His promises dusty? He is moving heaven and earth to weave the perfect tapestry in my life; full of his grace and His truth, and His love. Wait o my soul; those who waited had not only their lives changed, but the lives of the world around them for generations to come. The barren who conceived birthed prophets, patriarchs, judges, priests and the Messiah! How much greater their reward for their patience and hope during the darkness?

Oh my Father, make my life so much more than I could ever dream up, or hope for. Prove to me over and over again that You are good, that Your hand is not too short to save, that You do fulfill Your Word, that Your memory is not lacking, that You do own the cattle on a thousand hills, that Your plans do not waver, Your mind does not change as a man’s, that Your faithfulness is more consistent than the rising of the sun. Continue to teach me that You know I’m weak and frail, and Your Word is always followed by signs that are sent to bless us and teach us how trustworthy You are. Attune my ears to Your word; I want to hear Your direction in my life; I long to recognize Your hand, and Your instructions for me. Keep me ever closer to You. You are my life; You are my song and my day.

I am in love with a God who is nothing but good, and perfect, and sovereign. He has not forgotten me, nor could He ever. I am more precious to Him than I could ever fully come to know, and whatEVER He has for me is pure incredible grace. Learning these things about Him has done more for my soul than anything I could have hoped for. He used Scripture from Colossians, I Samuel, Hebrews, Daniel, Matthew, etc. Anywhere and everywhere from His lovely, rich word He was reminding me of His plans for me. And even though I still don’t know what they entail, or when they are coming to fruition, I know this: it is beyond my wildest and best dreams and imaginations. He is not bound by my resources, or my inventions, or even my hopes and prayers. He is so greater than those things, and that alone astounds me!

May this stand as a testimony of His favor before His favor in this has appeared!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Daniel saw Jesus!!!!!!!
My two favorite men in one place.
(Daniel 7:13-14).

"I saw in the night visions, and,


one like the Son of man
came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him;

his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."