December 31, 2008

Holding On

“I concentrated so hard on my vision that I lost my sight.”

Looking at the path,
Trying not to trip again,
Sweating not to fall.
But down again,
Tumble again,
Stumble and crawl.

Up again
I force my weary legs
To bear full weight
Once more
But crash
For another time,
The tears begin to
From my focused eyes.

Sitting there
Weary from so long
And futile a trek,
I finally for the first time
Raise my eyes
From the winding,
Rocky, precipitous road
With giant cliffs
On either side.
To my astonishment,
I am not alone.

A great figure
Clothed in white
Stood above me.
Frightened at first,
I shy away
But His voice calls me back.

“Child. Loved one.
You have not been alone
These weary miles.
Your cries have not been unanswered.
I have been beside you
And kept you safe
In every fall
From plummeting
To end all.”

“Why did you let
Me tumble at all?”
I weep.

“Because you would not
Take My hand
Which I held in front
Of you
All along.
You would not take My hand.”

I see it now.
A great, strong hand,
Pierced through the middle
In the shape of an ancient nail,
Reaching to me.

“Why did you not
Call out to me?
To stop me?”
I still don’t understand.

“The choice is yours—
Always yours.
Love is a decision
Not a forced
I was always here.
Had you looked,
You would have seen
My footprints lead the way.
But you only thought
To what was wrong
Not what was right
In front of you
All along.”


Thank You, Lord, for bearing with me for so long…

Of course, Christ does call out to us as we stumble in our pathes of sin. But He may not do it forever, or even for very long. Let us not take lightly His love for each and every one of us. Let us reach up and grasp the hand that is reaching back. It will lighten every step we take for the rest of our lives if only by knowing, we are not alone.

December 29, 2008

A Thought to Live By

"Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell your storm how big YOUR GOD is!"
The grandeur of God is beyond comprehension. Beyond all the words in English lanuage -- or other foreign dialect. Even our most praise-bearing words do not touch what He is.
God is grandiose.
God is magnificent.
God is ominopotent.
God is omnicient.
God is awesome.
God is omnipresent.
God is awe-inspiring.
God is splendid.
God is extravagant.
God is remarkable.
God is astounding.
God is overwhelming.
Do you still feel like you have only read a list of words? That is because God is all those things but those things are not God. God is still SO far above them and beyond them. We can only begin to sense His greatness when He reaches out, picks up from our brokenness in the corner gutter, breathes new life into us and calls us His own, His bride, "worthy" of His love. We who are not even worthy of drawing our next breath -- worthy of His love.
That is how grand God is. That our great trespasses against Him are utterly lost inside His love and mercy.
Let us never forget the God we serve. Let us never take advantage of Him. Always reaching upwards to His hands --- which beyond all comprehension, are reaching back.

December 22, 2008

I Would Tell My Younger Self...

  1. If somone starts cruelly criticizing your family (especially if they are wrong) -- shut them down. Your family is your unit, your "leave no man behind" team. You don't let anyone lay them out to dry. Period.
  2. If some guy tells you "good" things, like how important you are to him, etc., reserve your emotional response until you see him in action. Dr. Laura talks about men who would "swim through shark-infested waters" for you. Wait for actions to back up what he says.
  3. Take your time now and use it wisely. There are way too many good books out there to read any book twice. Don't waste your relaxing time watching dumb movies so much. Watch thought-provoking movies that will challenge you to become a better person. ("Braveheart," "To End All Wars," and "Gladiator" come to mind.) Realize that you do not need free, relaxing time as much as you think. Stop doling it out so plentifully.
  4. That goes along with this: push yourself! You will never ever regret it. You have more energy, strength and mental capacity now than you will ever have.
  5. About your weight: remember that it only matters to you. No one else cares. Don't talke about it, don't make a big deal about it. Your metabolism is phenomenal. Enjoy foods now that you will instantly gain 10 lbs. later by eating. But also remember your body has about 10-15 yrs of looking GREAT. Don't waste the first 5 by being lazy. Unless you want to. But recognize what you are doing.
  6. Learn new things every day. Get as much knowledge packed into your head as possible. So much it hurts -- like you're studying for a final. Life gets so busy so fast. Use your time to become as a big a person as possible -- even if that means leaving smaller-minded friends, or even boyfriends, in the dust. And it will.
  7. Friends are great but not in the list of life's GREAT goods. You can do just fine with 2 or 3 great friends. And you can do just awful with 10-15 "girlfriends." Unless they make you grow, don't spend a lot of time with them, unless God leads you to. It isn't about how good they make you feel or anything. They are simply souls who need you to bring them "faith challenges" -- find out how sincere they really are. Just because they go to biblestudy or church doesn't mean they'd go to heaven if they die.
  8. Boys. Stop flirting with them. All of them. It's insincere, inappropriate and a huge distraction. Put yourself on the "unavailable" list. You aren't open to a relationship for years. So stop acting like you are!
  9. Boys deserve two bullet points they're such a big deal. Boys cause drama, pain, heartache, wasted love and time, and so many other horrible scarring things. MEN cause spiritual growth, personal growth, happiness, strength in times of great suffering, a shoulder to cry on, and a hand to reach for when you fall. I have not met many men in my life. I certainly have yet to meet a single man who could be my future husband. I have met many boys. Even fallen for one. But men are few and far between ... Let me put it a different way ... Tall and handsome are 2 words that come to mind. Funny. Etc. All good words. But can you also say- he would drive through a snowstorm to come to a place he knew the truth was being taught? Can you say- he would rather suffer the loss of his arms than hurt the one he loves? Can you say- he values a woman's heart for the Lord more than her pretty face and blue eyes? Can you say- he values other Christians' opinions far above his own? Can you say- he values humility above being "right" and stubborn? Can you say those things and things like that? If you can't, you have yourself a boy. LET HIM GO.

I have more but it's too late for you, my younger self. You have already grown up and done all those things wrong and hurt...oh how you have hurt! But you have grown and come so far by the strength of God! And I am proud of you! And it's not too late to help someone else.

Above all, younger self -- Share love...not makeup tips.

Broken On My Own

"We are continually in circumstances where no man can do us the least good, and where we cannot help or deliver ourselves; we are in snares, and cannot break them; we are in temptations, and cannot deliver ourselves out of them; we are in trouble, and cannot comfort ourselves; are wandering sheep, and cannot find the way back to the fold; we are continually roving after idols, and hewing out "broken cisterns," and cannot return to "the fountain of living waters." How suitable, then, and sweet it is, to those who are thus exercised, to see that there is a gracious Immanuel at the right hand of the Father, whose heart is filled with love, and whose bowels move with compassion; who has shed His own precious blood that they might live; who has wrought out a glorious righteousness, and 'is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him.'"

Philpot, J. (1997). Ears from Harvested Sheaves . (July 16). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


If I were who I would
Have been,
I would never have
Told you goodbye.

If I were who I would
Have been,
All I say
Could be a lie.

If I were who I would
Have been,
You would have
Found no help
By knocking on my door.

If I were her,
I would lie awake
At night and still wish
My heart were quiet.

If I were her,
Knowing me would
Be no unusual
Testament to the power
Of a great God
In a dark world.

If I were her,
I would be ashamed...

But I am not her.

I told you goodbye
And never looked
I speak the truth,
Even when I must
Count a loss.
I can help a broken
Heart because mine
Has been healed.
I sleep well at
Night because
I only listen to what
Is right.

I am not her
Who I would
Have been,
Because He
He came in
And changed it all.

I am now not
Who I would
Have been...

12/8/8 -- "Who I Would Have Been"

Praise You! Praise You! THANK YOU!

I read in Exodus the verse in Ch. 3 where God said He was concerned for the Israelites. Concerned! The God Who created the whale, black holes, and the lensed eye is concerned for me! PRAISE GOD! I am so loved.

I feel ashamed I ever want love from another source. Especially from a guy. When I have God's love I need nothing.

I think it's time for a resolution. I found true freedom from my self will when I decided: I want God more than anything else.

I will find true freedom from love of "man" when I realize/choose to believe that I need no other love but God's.

It's a choice. And one I choose to make. I NEED NO OTHER LOVE BUT GOD'S...

I love you, God. Never leave me. Even if all else forsake me...even as so many I love have...I will never stop hanging on you. I trust in Your promise that You will "never leave me or forsake me."

Thank you....

November 14, 2008

A Confession by Ben Stein

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina)

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?

'In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.

'Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein
I challenge you, my friends, to repost this and talk about it. We've been quiet quite long enough.
Why are we afraid to "offend" when the world has never backed away from an opportunity to shove their beliefs, no matter how awful, down our throats? Why didn't we scream in protest when they wanted to take down the Ten Commandments from the courthouses? Why didn't we lay down our own lives to stop them from taking the lives of the unborn? Why did we sit down, shut up, and buckle in for a wild ride to arrive at the destruction of America and everything good about her??

Men lived and died to give us the Constitution with freedom of speech. Now we're losing it and don't even care because we don't even use it. What happened to Christ's spirit? He overthrew the moneylender's tables in the temple! He had a whip! Are we just skimming this chapter in the Bible because it makes us realize what cowards we are? Because it challenges us to speak the truth? To get outside our comfort zones?

No more. We CAN change the world. Before it's too late. Unbuckle. Stand up. Speak! In Jesus' name. At His leading.

January 06, 2008

3 Minutes Around the Big City :)

Okay, everyone. This is a GREAT activity for days off, friends, family, and infamous question-- "What DOES one do at an "adult" birthday party???"

Plan of attack: Get notepads and good pens. Oh! And a stopwatch. Drive downtown. Where there are a lot of people. Pick a spot to sit down--yes- on the little walls outside shops are okay- you won't look like a panhandler. Haha! Anyway- set the timer for three minutes and everyone has to write--whatever they want. Describe a person, a store, or talk about concepts. Whatever you want. As soon as the timer goes off- you HAVE to stop. Nope- stop in the middle of that word. Just STOP. And no rereading or editng or erasing. Leave it. When you're done- reread them. It is great fun to hear everyone else's perspectives of one place.

So my family and I did it. I wanted to share my eight "Three Minutes Around the Big City" (I suppose you could do this in little cities but what you say? "Another preteen gang walked by. Whoopy dee do." Lol!)

Peet's Coffee- Hawthorne Blvd.

So much acceptance.
Wear your plaid and stripes together.
Spike your hair with hot pink tips,
Or grow a blue Mohawk.
Dress up..dress down..hardly dress at all.
We don't care.
You're welcome here.

But not those who live to save babies from death.
No those who question whether we evolved from monkeys.
Not Jesus. No, especially not Him.
You're not welcome here.
No- not your ideas, not your beliefs.
And especially not your bumper stickers
Or sandwich boards,
You make us uncomfortable.
Go away. Go home. Go to church.
Just go away…

Buffalo Exchange

Shiny fabrics are everywhere. I hear clashing and twingling of the hangars. It's funny inside the Buffalo Exchange if you think about it. Everyone here is trying to create their look, or be different from everyone else's. But no matter how different they look, they all end up looking like someone else. There is a match somewhere for his goth, and her pink and black and yellow mash of splurged colors and fascinatingly wild patterns. That girl's hairstyle has been double hundreds of times- it was probably even in Seventeen magazine three seasons ago…


Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Shoppe

Across the street is the Bread and Ink Café and to right is the Practically Divine Café, (I think it is a café.) At first, these names are just good store names sketched onto pretty boards and tacked onto artfully designed buildings. But think a little more about them. These two names symbolize man's desire to rule/replace God. God says, man cannot live by bread alone, but on every word that He speaks. But the store says no, live on bread and write your own words.
Practically Divine is encouraging the mindset that God is in everyone- not a separate, holy Diety, that deserves, indeed demands, our worship.

Hawthorne Café

Why do people design modern buildings like boxy, cut up prisons? The buildings in from of us have iron barred patios and portions that bizarrely stick out randomly with little windows and the whole building is a mixed up kaleidoscope of clashing colors. It isn't pretty. Shouldn't art inspire and draw, "OHHH! Look at THAT! So beautiful!" from people? Not- "WOW. That's so weird!" Because it really is.

These buildings are the psychological fruits of a mankind that has rejected God and His vision/norms of stately beauty.

City Liquidators on the "Couch" Level (2nd)

I've NEVER been surrounded by so many kinds of plus (or not) couches, recliners and oversized chairs in my life! Presently, I'm in a shockingly cozy one I'd love to strap to my back, bring home and live/eat/sleep in it---all the time! Forever!

But in a month (probably less if I actually spent that much time in it), I'd get tired or it. I visit another store and want another better, more comfortable couch. This one would lose its glaze of perfection. Isn't that how most people go through life- looking for another "easy chair" of comfort to distract them from their woes and even more- their duty to seek and worship God??

Dining Tables @ City Liq. (3rd floor)

We're at a dark table in a dark corner on a dark floor. This is symbolic, to me, of so many families who gathered, last Thanksgiving and Christmas, around festively decorated tables groaning with turkeys and stuffing and pies and more food than they could possibly eat, but inside, they were bitter or selfish or angry or depressed and instead of the family gathering together in love and harmony, the cheerful façade was overwhelmed by the contents of their hearts.

Everyone has that potential inside them—a dark table in a dark corner in a dark life—alone while surrounded by people.

Everyone needs Jesus…

Beds @ City Liq. (2nd floor)

I'm on a nice bed—well, it would be a nice bed if it were in a house instead of a warehouse. But to my left, a bright spotlight is invading my vision and searing my corneas.

This reminds me of how it is so easy for humans to stay "in bed," in their comfort zones in life, in warmth and safety.

But God is like the spotlight- GET OUT OF BED!! Do something for Me!!!—even if all that means is serving someone else or even if all it means is getting out of bed each day, looking for ways to worship and serve Me.

Don't stay under the covers and hide. Come out into the Light—
It makes for a beautiful life.

Bunkbed City @ City Liq.

I always wanted a bunkbed. And I always wanted to sleep on the top bunk. It was a such a safe-feeling idea. I could see anyone coming into the room. I was the king over anyone beneath me.
Doesn't everyone want to be on the "top bunk?" Being on the bottom was claustrophobic and dark and enclosed. It was like serving the top person. You had to deal with all their squeaks and squidgets on top. But they had only the ceiling to listen to and even a fun ladder!

Serving in life is like being on the bottom bunk. Dealing with others' messes and trouble but not inflicting your own on them.

Get off the top bunk—the bottom will make you happier.

(Besides—I have fallen off the ladder getting into the top bunk—what's to say it won't happen again???)