Sunday, November 21, 2010

what's given is given away.

"I thought it would be hard to believe in, but it's not hard at all
To believe I've sinned
And fallen short
Of the glory of God

He's not asking me to change in my joy for martyrdom
He's asking to take my place
To stand in the gap that I have formed
With His real amazing grace

And it's not just a sign or a sacrament
It's not just a metaphor for love
The blood is real and it's not just a symbol of our faith"

so often i have this very convicting thought that lays heavy on my heart:
Jesus just wants in
His blood was shed for a price.
He traded His life so that i might catch even a glimpse of the Glory he knows so well.

by denying him entry and attempting to navigate rough roads alone, i am left in a horrible spot that leaves me behaving as though i've never understood the voice of God - that i have never heard Him speak gently to me, guiding me into a peace that He created for us all to enjoy.

feeling as though i am "entitled" to things is wearing.
& it's such an ugly thing - such a human instinct.
what a lie it is. i am entitled to nothing. i am from the dirt.

all that i have, all that i have yet to acquire, every human that i am in relationship with, all the places i've been...all of it is not mine to take ownership of. they are all gifts and a healthy response is gratitude and humbleness. while i am not to take ownership of these things, i am also not to hold so closely to them as to not share.

what i have been given, i have been created to give away.

a continuous outpouring.
this how Christ lived.

He gave and gave and gave until He ended up being crucified by those who were too prideful to see any other way.

& maybe we shy away from the message of the cross at times not just because it's more culturally "relevant" to speak of other elements of the faith but because we too are filled with a pride to truly think and dwell about such a humbling sacrifice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

we will never be the same

people use blogs for different reasons, so many reasons, good and bad. their thoughts, their ideas, their dislikes, their politics, their recipes, their pictures of their ridiculously cute animals...whatever it may be, they have the freedom to do. depending on who you are and how long you've known me and how long you've been following me in the blog world, you'll know that my blog history is one that is personal. i've share the world around me, i've share the world inside me.

my previous blog was primarily my writings from my time in uganda in 2008. my was exploding in so many different ways and i couldn't seem to do justice to all that was happening. i felt pain and struggle. i was joy and redemption. i felt conviction and for the first time, i knew romantic love with a man. my writings reflected my heart.

my life has changed since then. such a drastic change..i could never have dreamed of it. i returned from uganda, attempted to adjust, got engaged, got married, moved to canada and lived there for the first 14+ months of our marriage and now i [we] have come back stateside - - all in less than 21 months. if you've followed me/my blogs since my time in uganda, you'll know that the number of posts has dropped...significantly. theres a reason for that.

[here goes vulnerable for the sake of growth]

marriage has taken us by storm.
a storm can be a hard place to write from.

marriage has shaken me to the core and revealed more about myself than i could have fathomed.
God has purpose in it.

being married to josh has been one of the best gifts i have ever received but it hasn't come without some serious revelation and some serious stretching and some serious hard moments for us. God has always intended for josh to hold my heart on this earth, no doubt about it. but for us, the coming together of two separate lives and personalities into one hasn't happened as smoothly as we perhaps envisioned it. our humanness shows up every morning and it has a really nasty habit of showing its ugly self to the other.

i love this man with my entire heart. if he left my side, i fear my heart would break every new morning. [i'm learning dependence IS ok] i love him, i fight for him, i want to see him chase his heart dreams. i'd give anything for him.

all that said -- i guess you could say we had no 'honeymoon stage' of marriage. we got right down into it. God began a long and hard work in our marriage. tough questions. new realities. expectations. miscommunications. it seemed that all around me were happy couples. newlyweds without fault. i felt as though something was 'wrong'. in my own heart, i felt as though our hard times made us the outcasts - the ones who didn't 'fit' the newlywed stereotype. i started believing those lies you hear when you're down. guilt crept in. i kept my heart to myself, i kept quiet. my lips didn't speak much, my fingers didn't write much. i didn't necessarily act like everything was perfect, but i do admit to leaving out what i thought was the 'bad' and the 'ugly'. i carried a weight. i was often confused about what to write in a blog. i wanted to write from my heart but with the guilt i felt, came a fear. what if i was honest. what would they think? [if you were to ask me who 'they' were, i don't think i would have even had an answer. ]

these thoughts were wrong.

through it all, good and bad, God has been fighting for me. for us. fighting to break into my heart and bring light to this situation. i often felt/feel him wanting to speak truth about our reality, about guilt, about honesty, about how what we're experiencing is actually quite normal. my heart has been fighting to hear - fighting hard to hear more Truth. there are moments that are dark. but. there are also moments where freedom feels real and understand comes..and these moments are increasing.

and then this past weekend happened.

it was at that moment, standing in that place, in that beautiful church that it hit me.

i will never be the same.

at the start, He was there. and at the end, He'll be there.

and because of that - i'm different.

in those moments, a bit of clarity came to my heart.
God called josh and i into this marriage and i will never be the same because of that
what God intended to reveal - to shake up - to change is being done
and i am changing because of it.

he took this idea we had of marriage & turned it into a living breathing thing in our lives.
we will never be the same.

i often take for granted what's been given to me.
sometimes i take this precious gift of a husband and a marriage and i twist it in my own little world the way i see fit. i have damaged, i have hurt, i have gone too far, i have spoken words i do not mean, i have blatantly disrespected the very man God saw fit to lead me through life.

"and after all my hands have wrought, He forgives."
he forgives. forgives. forgives. forgives?

and after all falls apart,
He repairs

he loves me so much that even after all i have done, he cares to repair.
he doesn't leave me orphaned; to fend for myself.

he enters & he offers redemption for us all.
Jesus Christ offers sweet redemption to us all.
redemption. what a FULL word.

"there were scars before my scars
love written on the hands that hung the stars
hope living in the blood that was spilled for me"

so here i am - open wide.
trying to figure out to accept this grace and offer of hope.
Gods love is strong. God supplies us with His love.
God is love and love IS real.

i have so much to say now.
so many more words to help form the above jumbled thoughts into more complete thoughts and ideas.

we are loved, friends.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010



all of these situations...

they make me...

look up to

my wonderful husband more and more

marriage takes me by storm sometimes
but it's a storm i am going to see through day after day after day
because i was called into this marriage
and a covenant was made between God and Josh and I

the picture that God gives us of our eternal relationship with Him is the perfect example of how i view our marriage. in my mess of a life, God chooses me. over and over. and so it is for that reason [and many others] that i choose Josh over and over.

God truly is our best example in all areas of life.
walking [or trying to] with Him just makes sense.

i love fall colored flowers

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

everything has changed.
traveling to africa is no longer a plan right now.

life changes so quickly.
sometimes i like that, other times it drives me NUTS.

Friday, August 6, 2010

it's unknown but it's also okay.

i just don't understand things sometimes. and i know that's okay. and i know it's part of life. but that doesn't mean contentment comes automatically, right?

josh and i had such a good grasp of what life would look like for us in the near future. but then...all of a sudden, we think something changed.

being in calgary is coming to a close, we both know that.
but we don't know where we'll be after calgary.

africa is always an option.
kansas city is always an option.
the northwest is always an option.

we could flippantly choose any of these but we want guidance.
we want there to be purpose & reason behind our move.

when we got married, we were obviously very aware that we came from different countries. but it's a whole new reality when we actually come to face the music: we have to go through immigration. i admit that we have avoided actually acknowledging this but it's rearing it's ugly little head lately. it is inevitable that we'll have to go through the immigration process for either him or i. it's unavoidable. so we have to pretty much make the decision of "when". now or later? africa first or usa first? maybe there is a compromise. maybe we can get the best of both worlds.

we are seeking direction. we are exploring. we are coming to terms that life may look different than we imagined it would...even from 2 weeks ago. we are praying. we'd love for you to join us.


after being gone for 2 1/2 weeks, i returned to calgary tuesday evening.
so many good good things happened in my travels.

this love of my life got engaged to the love[r] of her life:

this love of my life got married to the love[r] of her life:

{what a blessing to be part of that share in their JOY}

i'm thankful that people i love and miss got to spend TIME together

thankful to spend a week away from everything in florida with this one:

and now we're back. here in the great north.
seeking and waiting and anticipating.

my mom comes on sunday for a week. we're going to beautiful british columbia. i'm so thankful that joshs job has allowed him such flexibility and that they have such a sweet vacation time pay system. so thankful for that blessing.

oh. and did i mention that tomorrow is our one year anniversary of marriage?
what an intense year.
growing. learning. struggling. patience. awakening. fun.
tomorrow we'll celebrate by spending the day in banff, alberta.
can't wait. he's the best husband i could ever ever have.
[and he's really really handsome]

Friday, July 16, 2010

daisy love

my words cannot express what my heart is feeling.

please pray for this sweet sweet little girl

i do not understand things such as this..
but i know that the hand of God hasn't left her body.
we, as the Church, are responsible for our own.
lets pray.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

it's the same.

there are situations in life where i don't seem to be able to find words to express my deep deep sorrow.

i find that this song has helped me express this event

sometimes all i can seem to think or say is 'may Gods love be with you'
and i mean it from the very depths of my heart.

people read of news stories like this and they don't really give it much thought. i will admit that i am slightly biased towards anything that comes out of uganda but i will say that i find something to be a bit off when an AM news radio station spends 20 seconds talking about bombings in uganda and then spends 4 or 5 minutes talking about a pancake feed that is happening.

my dad put it all too well when he said
"it's there. and we're here. it's another world for most people unfortunately."

dad, you've got it. it is viewed as a separate world. a different planet. most find that it doesn't bother them, that they can very easily separate and remove themselvesselves from things like this. aren't we supposed to 'weep with those who weep'? aren't we at least supposed to attempt to connect with their suffering and their burdens?

i don't have the answers to all of these things. not in any way. but i do know that Jesus cares about what happens in our neighborhoods and what happens all over the world. and that means we need to learn to care. deeply, genuinely, unselfishly.

josh and i continue to explore what life may look like in a couple of months. slowly we're getting [we think] a clearer picture of what may be coming our way. we are excited! nothing is set in stone right now but when things become a bit more definite, we'll be happy to share details. until then, we pray. we hope. we seek.

i leave in less than 5 days for kansas and i couldn't be happier. i'll be spending a week and a half in kansas and then a week in florida. and then my mom comes for a week! i can't wait for these couple of weeks to start. surrounding by friends and family. seeing 2 good friends get married. my dads birthday. spending my 23rd birthday with friends and family. spending a week away and relaxing with joshua.

i am so thankful that the Lord is providing me with this upcoming month.
lets do it.

"in all things we know that we are more than conquerors."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

because just want him.

today i was worn out. i was tired. i was exhausted. my mind kept going and going about how tired i was and i thought i was just ready for the day to be OVER with. but i think, as i was driving, i tapped into something deeper. something that i haven't tapped into in a while.

charlie hall's song, come for me, was playing and i found that i was singing my little heart out. and then i played the song again. and again. and again. [sometimes being outside city limits has it's makes car rides longer] today, in my exhaustion, i wasn't wanting to sit down. i wasn't wanting to put my feet up. i wasn't wanting a drink. i wasn't wanting any of these things. it was after singing the line a couple of times that i realized how deep the words were going.

"you'll come again with a shout, like a thief in the night you'll come riding on clouds...
and finally the Voice i have followed for life has a glorious face that is lit up with light"

somehow, past all the physical and mental distractions, my heart was aching for come, rescue my heart. to bring peace. in that moment, that is what i was truly longing for.

these things that i hear or read,
these things that cause a bit of [holy?] rage in this heart of mine,
these things that are realities that can't be avoided...
this thing i call my conscience actually isn't a conscience.
it's the voice that i follow. it's the voice i long for. it's the voice that leads me.
it's the voice of the One who is strong and full of all Good.

so today when i was worn out, i sang with hope.
knowing that one day, this voice will have a face.
all he will restore all things to new.
and hurt and pain and injustice will be a memory.
one day light will be shining and no eye will be able to look away.
and i look forward to that day.

until that day...we sing. we hope. we pray like mad.
we act. we advocate. we raise awareness. we proclaim beauty.
and we fight...because the hands and feet of Jesus need to spread wide.

p s a l m 97

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

bless you.

"may God bless you with anger at
exploitation of people
so that you may work for

franciscan benediction

[julie, janet, winnie]

Monday, June 28, 2010

we will remember.

Life is full of light and shadow
O the joy and O the sorrow
O the sorrow

And yet will He bring
Dark to light
And yet will He bring
Day from night

When shadows fall on us
We will not fear

We will remember

When all seems lost
When we're thrown and we're tossed
We remember the cost
We rest in Him Shadow of the cross

---david crowder band [shadows]

resting is really hard at times. it almost seems impossible at times for my heart.
not resting physically. i can do that i think.
but resting in all the things that God is. all the things that He has promised and given.

honesty: in the midst of the hardest, most challenging and most fruitful relationships [marriage, anyone?] i don't seem to fully know how to rest in the hand and ways of God and understand that my justification is NOT as important as grace.

i feel as though those closest to me would definitely agree with this word to describe me:
determined. if my mind is on something, i do. i go for it. why hold back?
i am determined -truly by the grace of God- to gain a better understanding of Gods purpose.
i am determined to CHANGE and heaven knows, it won't be on my own accord.

I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me."
psalm 16.8

he's commanded that i be strong and courageous...
and sometimes courage comes in the form of denying yourself.
God help us all.

ps - who saw the Germans kick butt yesterday in the world cup?
here's my own little him (:

Friday, June 25, 2010

those forgetful things.

"Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

i can't tell you how many times in a DAY God is saying to me 'don't you REMEMBER?? don't you REMEMBER how GOOD i was to then and how GOOD i'm going to be to you now? don't you remember when i've already done in your life...don't forget all i've done!

the disciples forgot so easily that just in the previous days God had turned a meager amount of food into enough to feed thousands. thousands. THOUSANDS. he fed thousands. i have seen God make a pot of beans seem quite endless in uganda. and yet often...i forget.

i don't want to forget the things God has done. i want to remember them, think upon them and be gracious. i want to have an attitude that is grateful. i don't want to be so wrapped up in the here and now and i forget the then and WOW.


i have been so challenged and inspired by the story of this woman:

here is the of my best friends, katie, is dating dave. dave is in a band. jonny is daves bandmate. [strange enough, jonny and i were in the same public speaking class my first semester of college]. jonny is married to a beautiful woman named amy. here is the story:

story story story

the strength and trust that jonny has in the Lord for the life of his wife is challenging me and taking me to a new level of understanding of the pure goodness of the LORD.

it brings my heart to my knees in encouragement and humbleness and conviction on a pretty much daily basis.
along with many others, i thank God for the continued life of amy.
it can only mean that greater things are to come for jonny and her.

their story makes me never want to take josh for granted ever again...

we have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. we have been wrong. we must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. and that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. -wendellberry

things are happening.


not as important as the LIFE changes, i'm considering another tattoo!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

we choose not to coast.

"that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea and large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.

and He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow;and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.

but when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

and others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. he who has ears, let him hear."

Matthew 13.1-9

as i hinted at in my previous post, josh and i are being moved toward some life changes in the upcoming weeks...months...years? as i read these words that were spoken by Jesus to huge crowds, i came to a different understanding of this passage. these verses are often taught to be a parable about the message of salvation...the message of God's grace, the message of redemption. the different soils are similar to the conditions of our hearts, how readily we accept the Word...yeah? but yesterday, as i was reading...something different came over my heart.

[never downplaying the message of redemption towards God...] we receive many "words" from God in our life that stretch beyond salvation but very similarly we have the same options in front of us as to how we respond to these words. will the words and guidance God speaks over us be received on good soil? or will rocks and thorns be present? do we chose to hear, accept and obey that word or will we simply choose to 'coast' on the easier words of Christ and not do the things which we know we ought?

it would be one thing for us to ignore this word we've received from the Spirit. it would be one thing if we insisted that it "makes more sense" to stay here. [but trust us, it doesn't make more sense to us, as much as it doesn't make sense to this culture] it's an entirely different thing if we accept this word as GOOD and if we choose to, in obedience to His voice, follow it wherever it may lead. it's an entirely different thing if we choose and seek to have the ways of the Lord be played out in ways that require great faith and perseverance.

this is a step of faith. a big one. one that many think wouldn't come this "early" in our marriage but josh and i believe that there is a certain urgency in the world today. some receive clear words to stay in north america to be the hands and feet but if we are confident that we're being beckoned to a different land to be the hands and the feet of Christ.

as if our life hasn't been crazy enough in the past year, i think it's about to get a little bit crazier...a different kind of crazy though. one filled with much faith, anticipation, listening and believing.

"the ongoing narrative of each of our lives is what binds us all together. through the power of story, our hearts are opened to the plight of others and we are compelled to respond."

this is what josh and i are wanting to live out...
a healthy response to those around us in the light and love and motivation of Christ.

more to come...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

urgency & the wind.

written word is an expression that is completely unique to that one person. it's an honest look at what they think, what they may be feeling, what they seek or desire.

act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life..."

i agree with this. writing makes me slow down, makes me think about what is going on...makes me think about the deeper things that are going on in my head, heart, mind, marriage, friendships.

confession: i have avoided writing lately for these reasons.

not wanting to face realities, not wanting to come to terms with the messy life that i call my own, not wanting to admit that sometimes weakness consumes me and that there are days where i can't seem to bring myself to look towards the Light because He's just too good. and then there are other days where i, with full force, look towards Him because He's just too good to look away from.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm." psalm 40.2

i've been seeing this verse play itself out in a way that i've never experienced. i've been clumsily trying to figure out life on my own, with my own ways, my own strength. i have tried tried tried to be so self sufficient that it's made me a monster at times. in swoops God and shows me verses such as this. i made myself a pit, i placed myself in the clay and i cannot make it out alone. HE is setting myself feet upon a rock, HE is making my path firm.

my heart is realizing just how THANKFUL it should be...for God does not require my perfection. he does not require me to have it all together. he does not want me crap to disappear before i come to Him. i am weary and if i try to get rid of my dirt before i come to Him, i'll probably kill myself. so here i am. pretty much starting new. feeling like a small child, feeling inadequate but being filled with the knowledge and truth that not only does He accept me as i am, he DELIGHTS in me...he sings true love over me, day in and day out.

do you ever have moments when something just changes in you? those moments where life is going one way and then all of a sudden, sometimes literally in a split second, everything changes? God storms in and all is different.
josh and i had that moment last night...

we looked at each other and kind of just knew that life will look pretty different, pretty soon. it's almost as if an unrecognized BURDEN was lifted from us and God immediately replaced it with EXCITEMENT and JOY. we've walked this road before, but not together, not in marriage. so many things are still unknown but we do know that God is desiring to move. we do know the urgency behind Scripture like this.

we are starting down this road...with almost no concept of time, place or length but we're walking it...

because you know...
sometimes i just think God wants us to throw caution to the wind.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


life is fragile.
God is The Healer and nothing is impossible for Him.
we're praying for you amy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

maybe it'll happen

i want to write a blog...
maybe sometime this week.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

negative guarantee.

nothing is promised to me

and yet i live as though i am invincible

i know the fragility of life

my eyes have seen it
my hands have held it
my heart has felt it

we simply are not promised that the harsh words spoken today can be apologized for tomorrow...why is it that the pure and great gift of life is taken advantage of

tonight i mourn the loss of a man i did not know...
through the words of his BRAVE and LOVING wife,
my heart has softened a little bit

the man that is sleeping soundly in the room next to me...
the man i love spending my days with...
the man who sees my worst side...
the man who makes me laugh wildly at his random goofiness...
that man, my josh is a gift from above

i cannot imagine my days without him.
therefore, i will make the most of the days we do have.
my heart is burning with a passionate love from God for josh.
tonight, more than most nights, i am incredibly grateful.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the melody in a scream.

"Sometimes I cuss in my conversations with God.
When I’m at the end of it all…

And you know what?
I think that He hears a melody in those screams that He never hears on a Sunday morning.
The melody of authenticity in pain is so much better than an inauthentic melody of praise on a Sunday morning.

HE will comfort you.
And HE will sing with you.
So don’t be scared to sing in your screams, ragamuffins.
Your haunting melody is music to His ears."

taken from [carlos whittaker]

if there was ever a season of life where this resonated with me,
it's this current season of life.
this haunting melody inside of me screams so loud i wonder how He hears me.
i wear myself out, i wear josh's a miracle, a true miracle i don't wear Him out.

in the midst of some shitty circumstances, a gentle Voice comes and reminds me that giving up isn't the easier option...but pressing on and believing in things to come will sustain my heart in a way that giving up and forgetting never could. here's to trusting that these crazy days are but a season.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

come and drink.

"The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers - the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.

For thousands of people still ignore Christ's warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.

The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called 'nominal Christianity'.

In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.
They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit the convenience.

no wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism."

john stott, from basic christianity

this is exactly the world we are living in. living as though we thought Christ came to make us make us look smooth around the edges. we have been fooled into thinking that getting involved and making appearances is enough to truly satisfy the one who died for us all. as c.s. lewis said, we are far too easily pleased. too pleased with ourselves. too pleased with the happiness around. too pleased and content to pick ourselves up from the low place we find ourselves in and actually look at the life of Christ and return to him the raw and honest love he daily showers on us.

i think that we've all together lost the meaning of what a true disciple looks like.
i know that often times my life is void of the qualities of a true and steadfast disciple.

you know the cliche but incredibly true saying...the Lords ways are better than ours
this is a hard truth to live out when "our" ways aren't bad ways. in my selfish heart i find that it's hard to be denied doing the 'good things' josh and i want to do when in return we get less 'exciting' plans placed before us. i don't want to deny Christ his authority in my life but i wrestle hardcore with the flesh. it's not an easy fight but it's not one i will give up. we don't want to succumb to the lie that if we do my own thing, it'll be more fun than His.

"but at the same time I keep having visions about Jesus coming back and heaven and it makes me scared to face him having not done as he asks."

i received those words in an email a couple of weeks ago. i couldn't agree more. we will face Jesus and we will be responsible for what we did/did not do. the cost of following Christ is great. i fear that the Christianity i see all around doesn't truly please the Lord...doesn't take His words as seriously as He meant them. there is a great and glorious weight in those Words. Jesus, come. Help your people. Help us to remember that you are returning. Help us live with eternal mindsets.

"'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"
matthew 25.35-40

friends and brothers and sisters, we are responsible!
and what a responsibility it is. what a HONOR.

"Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses,
just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Hebrews 3.3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

it's that one thing.

"yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous."
romans 5 : 18 & 19

no way am i putting myself on the level of Adam and definitely not of Christ but this convicted my heart and God seemed to allow my heart to understand the significance of our actions. my words and actions, all of them, have so much power in them, for the good and for the bad.

we seem to belittle certain situations by playing them off as unimportant but we all too easily forget that to someone, that ONE thing could make the world of a difference.

it wasn't my life that introduced sin and it isn't my life that will make many righteous but...
my one action could cause someone to fall into sin
my one action could spur them on to gaze upon the Beauty of their creator.

i pray the latter would become truer in my life.
what a road we walk, huh?

"they are like trees planted along the riverbank..."
[training my heart to soak up that which is good and refuse that which is not.]

Friday, March 12, 2010

sunrise to sunset.

" He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.

God has set his throne in heaven;
he rules over us all. He's the King!
So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at his bidding,
quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!"

these verses have been going through my head and heart over and over again. just today a friend blogged about them and i just took that as another gentle reminder that God is wanting to really use these passages in my heart because world: i need transformation. i feel as though i have lost so much of who i was...communing, truly and deeply communing, with the Lord has been such a lost art in my life in the past months. it's been a pretty deep valley in this heart but somehow, i didn't completely dive off. somehow my heart knew that there is always a light. even if i can't see it, even if i don't "feel" it, the Light is always present. i couldn't give up. and ohhh there were days where i wanted to throw the towel in. completely surrender to the ease of life and forget the TRUTHS my heart knew weren't changed.

josh and i are on the edge of something big. we have been a bit lost over the past 7 months but transformation and clarity are coming to us. something...big may be on the horizon for us. we are praying and seeking and desiring direction. marrying a citizen of a different country [i'm american, he's canadian] has surely spun us in a different direction than most couples. things i never imagined having to do/wait for are having to be done and waited for. general scoop? josh and i care deeply about the orphans of this world. before we were even engaged we felt the pull towards adoption. adoption can't happen without both parents being citizens/residents of the same country. so, as i told josh last night, one of us is going to have to become the "other". this is a long and complicated process. we aren't sure which way its going to go but it'll happen.

we really believe that this "same residency" thing is worthy of our time and effort. God knew us and it's no mistake that we're married but citizens of different countries. he created our hearts and has put within us a deep deep desire to serve. we both feel as if our feet are to tread elsewhere at some point. and how we would LOVE for that "at some point" to be NOW, this waiting game for residency for the sake of adoption really is important to the Lord...therefore, important to us. but don't fooled. just because it's important doesn't mean it's always 'easy' (:

here is to the process to come...

the immigration waiting game to come...

the LOVE to come...

"men and women don't live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, but a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here."

keeping this in mind,
we seek out all that He would have for us in the glimpse of a life.

what a complex and beautiful life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

small things.

here's a newflash that's not new to many:

marriage is hard.
marriage takes more effort than the typical human WANTS to put forward.
marriage is a blessing that God has GOOD intentions for.
marriage breaks me down EVERY day.
marriage takes you to the lowest low and highest mountain.
marriage is a teacher who REFUSES to let you settle.
marriage must have its CENTER in the life of Christ...or it will fail.
marriage is being loved when NOTHING you do or say is loveable.
marriage is walking through life with your BEST FRIEND beside you.
marriage is a picture of Christ.

i really want Christ to be more and me to be less.
teach me Jesus.

[[bronze summer loving in uganda 2008]]

Friday, March 5, 2010

i know where i'm found.

"none of us brings the same fears into relationships; but whenever there is conflict and distance between two people, it’s always worth opening yourself up to what might be revealed about you that can bring freedom to the one you love."

oh sweet Jesus of revelation, thank you for bringing these words to me this morning.

these are the thoughts that accompanied that thought. a marriage is to look strikingly similar to the relationship between Christ and His church, yes? matthew 20.28 says that just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

ransom - the release of property or a person in return for payment of a demanded price.
when someone gives a ransom, they, in one way or another, are paying for your freedom, yes?

Jesus came to serve us...and His biggest act of service was that He gave His life...He gave us freedom. freedom from ourselves. freedom from the world. freedom. freedom. freedom. under the freedom He gave us falls so many fruits.

if our marriages are to mirror that of Jesus Christ, wouldn't it only make sense that we do things [within our ability] to bring the other a certain freedom? and in this case freedom takes on the face of humility.

it comes in opening myself up to the ugly and the nasty and fear in my own heart and asking Jesus to replace it with the fruits of the Spirit in order to set Josh free from my own face what most darkens my heart and replace it with light so that I can serve and love Josh better...that he may feel even more freedom within our relationship.

it's about realizing where i fall short and asking God to come and complete and fill me instead of settling comfortably into where i'm currently at.

friends, let me be a bit transparent and brutally honest: these things i'm saying are so much easier to write than they are to live. day in and day out i struggle with the place i'm in and the actions and words that come out of me. constantly feeling as though i am falling way short of mark of a good wife but knowing, all in the same breath, that where i am at is RIGHT and the path i'm walking with josh right now is RIGHT. the journey we're on holds more lessons than we could ever grasp. it's things like this that keep my heart alive in the dark times...because i know this isn't the end of line. it's only the beginning. how much JOY comes in that!

i love sharing this crazy life with josh. i love walking with him through the ups and downs. and with the Lord? i choose Him. i fail over and over and over again but my heart wants Him...desires HIM. though i feel so far at times, i am found in Him.

[snowboarding for the first time EVER for me this week!]

Friday, February 26, 2010

Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

galatians 4.7

"I think about what a privilege it is to get to talk to God like my children talk to me. To feel FREE to ask questions that might be silly, make requests that might be selfish and share my heart, my dreams, my hopes without embarrassment. Too often I don’t just have open dialogue with Him because, well He’s God. But when I see it in the context of this verse and am aware of the conversations I love for my kids to have with me, I realize I don’t have to worry about being silly or foolish or shy or embarrassed or selfish or fearful or censored in my dialogue with God. I am His child. We just talk. Being CHILDLIKE makes every thing so much more simple." [taken from here]

oh how far i fall from the truth of this all. how far i am from the understanding that i am heard and loved by the God of all creation. i know my heart...i know its evil all too well.

i was inspired this morning to write down the things i am afraid of...
the things that cause fear. here is what i have so far in textEdit:

"what am i afraid of? . . . . .."

that's all i have. i can't seem to work past that.
it's as if i'm afraid to put to words the things my heart most fears.
because then i feel as if i'm responsible to do something about those fears.
it's as if i am scared to put myself out there and work through them.

the majority of my fears lie in relationships.
and disappointment in myself. and not being made right.
but i do know that i am made right in the presence and power of Christ.
so where is the disconnect?

friends...what are you afraid of?
have you worked through it?
have you attempted?
have you avoided it all together [much like myself]?

i know it's a healthy thing to do. yet i feel as though to work through all of these things, that 'privilege of intimate conversation with God' needs to surround me. and it's not. i want to be there. i want to know that again.

sweet Jesus. take this hard hard heart and make it soft.
speak to me Lord but also...let me speak to You.

i am a wreck.
your love never fails

Monday, February 22, 2010

it all comes together in the end.

the other day i was feeling slightly...indulgent. i dived head first into a 'full fat' version of red velvet cake. there is something about the RED [favorite!] and the smoothness of the cake that makes me want to gobble the entireeee thing down in one sitting [and then probably go to 6 step&pump classes and 3 iron reps classes at the gym]. all afternoon, while hanging out with the hubby, i was psyching myself up for this didn't take much though. i was soooo pumped!

there is no lying, i have a massive sweet tooth...and i think you can find it somewhere between my mouth and my willpower. it has a hard time deciding who to be good friends with. most of the time there is a good compromise and i either find lower fat/healthier dessert recipes or i modify original recipes myself. but on saturday, i threw caution to the wind and went for the reallll deallll.

here we go!!


yeah..that's all the pictures i got out of this one.
i got a bit flustered and forgot about the camera ):

a couple of steps in, i realized that i only had 1 of the 4 tablespoons of red food coloring that was needed. i got so frazzled and went into a mini panic session. i knew that i could make the cake without the food coloring and it would taste just like normal but that wasn't the point! i looooved the red and i was splurging on the real version of the cake and i'm sorry but i'll be damned if it didn't turn out right! in walks josh wondering what the commotion is all about and bless his heart, though he doesn't understand my freaking out, he becomes my hero and volunteers to run down the street to safeway and pick me up some more food coloring! i love him so much!!!!

so he comes home and i continue and minus the lack of camera, all goes well!

ready to go with some deeeelicious cream cheese frosting ['light version]

topped with a bit of toasted coconut and...

ta da!! soooo good.
a finished cake and a happy husband!
and HA. who am i kidding? a happy julie too!

i don't have much else to say right now so i'll just share this:

God is Love.
Every person, beginning with me, is worthy of receiving Love.
My true identity is Love.
The greatest gift I can give anyone is Love.
Every thought, word, act and expression motivated by Love matters.

[to me this is convicting and inspiring. what does it do for you?]

valentines day flowers from the hubby - still going strong!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

the real voice

i'm still reading a million miles in a thousand years. and i am still enjoying it so so much. this morning, bright and early, i read this and my heart knew it's words too well.

"the real Voice is stiller and smaller and seems to know, without confusion, the difference between right and wrong and the subtle delineation between the beautiful and profane. it's not an agitated Voice, but ever patient as though it approves a million false starts. the Voice i'm talking about is a deep water of calming wisdom and says ...hold your tongue; don't talk about that person that way; forgive the friend you haven't talked to; don't look at that woman as a possession; i want to show you the sunset; look and see how short life is and how your troubles are not worth worrying about..."

josh and i had an argument last night and it was ridiculous. not because i felt misunderstood or that he didn't care about me or my feelings. it was ridiculous because the fight was stupid. in the midst of our frustrations i said something along the lines of "this is absolutely stupid. we sound like effing toddlers" patience had gone out the window and even though what we were talking about wasn't worth anyones discussion, we kept going.

finally, we grew up 20 years, we stopped bickering and my husband, in an effort to get me to smile, offered me a christian side hug [please see this video]. i never thought it was possible but the offer for a pure christian side hug [while laying side by side in bed] healed the past 10 minutes of conflict (:

i tell that story to come back to the quoted paragraph. God knows, without any hint of confusion, right and wrong. he does not get agitated with us but his patience endures even through the worst of our pits. my humanness has never been so clearly told than in the story of our marriage. my mind blurs right and wrong. it confuses beauty with justification. it mixes up patience with stupidity.

but in all of this, one thing remains, when i fail - He prevails.
in my impatience and stubbornness, His hand is all over my heart, calling me to be still...
to be still and know that my husband is a gift.
to be still and know that i don't need to be right.
to be still and know that i am LOVED.
to be still and know that i am so much to be thankful for.
to be still and know that he is God.

- - -

it's friday morning. that means that tomorrow is saturday. that means i go to the gym and take another kick butt fitness class.
but [yay!!] that also means that i get to search my favorite baking blogs to find the perfect recipe for the afternoon.
i'll gather my things in the kitchen and turn on the music, tell my husband i love him and then i'll get to work.
i'll keep you updated on what unfolds in our little green kitchen.

here is something i made the other day.
they taste better a day or two after than they did the day of.
also. i think i baked them a few minutes too long.

do you see that brown sugar GOODNESS?!
i could eat a whole bowl of that stuff if my stomach allowed.
i have to be quick to take it out and quick to put it away when i bake...
other it'd be gone.

have a good day, world. i'll let you know about my baking escapades later (:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

to know Him.

i'm reading a book right now by c.s. lewis entitled, surprised by joy.
only on page 39 but so far so good. as i was reading tonight [with my hubby reading next to me] something caught my attention.

he was sharing various stories from his childhood...more specifically from the first school he attended in england. he said he had his first metaphorical conversation there. they were debating where the future is like a line we can't see or if it's like a line that hasn't been drawn.

when i read that, i stopped. and thought. what did i think the future was like? at first my mind went to the fact that i suppose there are Biblical passages that could support both sides but then kind of came to the quick conclusion that i didn't necessarily care which answer was "right". what i was going after was "what do i think about this?

lately josh and i have found ourselves having many conversations about the future...about what kind of life we're comfortable living and what kind of life would probably make us think twice. we come up with no solid answers. [i think i am thankful for this] the way our hearts think and the way our lives have been lived, we have a hard time grasping the idea of 'settling down'.

we are fully confident that the Lord does call some of His children to 'remain' but what the Lord has showed us and taught us in the past years is that He wants us to go. not to escape life here, not to travel for the sake of traveling, not to work overseas to look like a good person but to GO because he's clearly called us. because in a way, His glory is dependent on his children.

"all of life comes down to just one thing
and that’s to know You, oh Jesus,
and make You known"

because know Him is to love him.

we are searching and we are praying. things are brewing.
we are waiting. anticipating the Lord is going to do great things.

will our feet end up here?

Monday, February 15, 2010

one more time.

here is to blogging more frequently.

valentines started a day early for me. i had found a recipe for skinny red velvet cupcakes on one of my trusty food blogs and i thought it'd be perfect for valentines day! [did you know that one piece of normal, from scratch red velvet cakes is close to 24 weight watcher points?! that's practically points for the entire day! YIKES] so with josh watching the olympics [and with me sneaking a peak from the kitchen every once in a while] i went at it on saturday evening.

nice and colorful and quite festive for the holiday of red and pink! however, must to my disappointment, they didn't turn out quite as nice as i had hoped. whether it's the recipe or my error or perhaps just too high of expectations [though Gina hasn't ever failed me before so i'm leaning towards it being by fault] the color separated [pink on top, brown on the bottom] and they weren't sweet. thankfully my husband is a sucker for cream cheese frosting so once i put a bit on each cupcake, he found them to be good. how? i don't know. i'm still sulking over my failed attempt.

-they look decent though, eh?-

i was awoken around 7:30am on valentines day by josh getting out of bed. he kissed me on the cheek and said he was going to make me breakfast and i should just go back to sleep and he'd wake me when it was ready. about an hour or so later, i wake up and wander out to this...

he'd made me strawberry filled chocolate crepes, went out and got me a bouquet of flowers along with a single rose to represent our first valentines day together and also picked up some of my favorite coffee [transferred to my travel mug]. pretty nice, huh? we laid around watching the olympics and talking about random things. it was a nice morning!

i started jillian michaels 30 day shred last week and since i hadn't worked out on saturday, i did levels one AND two and thought i was going to collapse. haaaard work. josh did some of the workout with me too. funny (:

we decided to get ready and go out to lunch at Pita Pit and then walk around that area of town. very cute, very modern, very nice. it was right near downtown too.

josh made dinner for us too! steak. mashed potatoes [his favorite] green beans. whole wheat baguette. yum. i was craving something sweet and yummy and as i expressed earlier, my cupcakes were not going to satisfied so i decided to make something else! chocolate bottom banana squares it was!

it wassss yummy and it didddd hit the spot! and i healthified the original recipe and cut almost 1000 calories!! sometimes that works out and sometimes it does not. i'm GLAD it worked this time!

tonight for dinner i made chili! extra lean ground beef (:

here are our bowls to start:

here are our bowls soon after:
[andddd decided i wanted a biscuit. so i made them. from scratch.]

here we are. 6:15pm and done with dinner and time to relax.
watching the olympics and probably snacking on the chocolate bottom banana squares.
decent evening i'd say (:

oh. and we rearranged our living room the other day. we like it.
our home may not be extravagant but it is our HOME and we love it here.

enjoy the rest of your week blog world. i hope something unexpected and happy happens.