Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I don't have time to write a lot here, but this one thing is for sure-- God is really challenging my commitment to pray more and to spend more time in His word.

Very quickly... I started at my job at the Training Lofte (www.traininglofte.com) on Wed, Feb. 1st.  I was able to sit down with the owner, Jordyn, who basically taught me how to use the computer program to check players and members in, to accept payment and how to schedule/cancel appointments.

Good thing, because on Thursday, when she went in for her doctor checkup (she's having twins in May!), they sent her to the hospital to get some tests done.  Thankfully, nothing wrong.  Long story short, she had to cancel her appointments for a few days.  It is a Godsend that I started when I did!

Now, she was in today again, and the doctor has ordered her on bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy (not unusual when expecting twins, I've heard).

So I've been praying for her--for safety, for comfort, for relaxation, and for peace.

And I've been praying for me for our clients to be patient and kind towards me as I continue to learn the system and how things work at the Lofte.

Lord, continue to be with Jordyn & her hubby and their two little boys.  Provide healing where needed, comfort in You when needed, and for those little boys to continue growing, knowing that there are so many people praying for their safe and healthy arrivals.  You are God.  You are good.  And we trust in You and Your will.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recovery Road, Wk 2

LCBC is doing a series called "Recovery Road." The description: A new year means a fresh start. But why am I already falling behind with strained relationships, financial uncertainties and spiritual struggles? This January, join LCBC as we face these challenges and together step out onto Recovery Road.
Some of my notes from Week 2

*When we experience pains, burdens, struggles; we have a tendancy to hide it all.  We need to let it "air out in the open" like a bandaid on a wound.

*We will not find healing; we will not find recovery/wholeness until we stop hiding.

Context for this lesson: Galatians 6: 1-3
1) Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
2) Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
3) If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

*Church is a group of people wholly and deeply committed to each other
*We are spiritual together; something formed in a community, not in isolation
*If you are interested in improving your spiritual life, prayer life, etc., don't go get another book, don't go listen to another sermon... get involved in the lives of people.

Person 1: The helper (the person who is "ok" and is doing pretty good in life right now)
*BOLD: we should be bold in our relationships with others
   --If someone is caught in sin (slipping), you should restore him gently and humbly
      ex) It seems like you're struggling, what can I do to help?
   --It's not out of pity; but in humility because you've struggled with it too
   --Not to point something wrong out just because; but because you want them to get fullness out of life.
*INVOLVED: Share each other's burdens... an active, ongoing task.
   --Requires us to become involved; an actual level of involvement that might cost us something (time, money, energy, resources, etc); to sacrifice something.
   --If you go so far as to point out faults but are not willing to help, then don't say anything at all.
   --Getting involved will be messy.  It will mess up your schedule.  It always seems to come at the wrong times, or most inopportune times.
   --We hide behind... "Well it's none of my business..."  or  "I'm too busy to help out..."  or  "Who am I to judge and get involved?"
       *if you think that (above), you are thinking of yourself and not of them.  You are being selfish and you need to know that you are not better than them.

Person 2: The person who needs help (the person who is struggling and needs help)
*OPEN: Need to have an openness to let peole ask about my life.
   --There is a level of relational openness that comes
   --Wise people = open to correction... Foolish people = closed off
*VULNERABLE: to be open; exposed.
   --Only way to have people share our burdens (Galatians 6:2) is to share our burdens.
   --Willingness to put ourselves out there: This is who I am.  This is what I'm struggling with.  This is where I've slipped.  This is what's frustrating me...
   --Being vulnerable is a very scary proposition for many people.  There are 2 forces behind it:
      1) There is an external force at work: Cultural force = society celebrates self-reliance/independence.  This person says "I can handle it.  I don't need help from anyone."  And we are viewed as weak if we ask for help.
     2) There is an internal force at work: Pride = I can handle it.  I got this on my own.  I'm good.
       --Do I really think I'm better than others that I don't need help? (Galatians 6:3)

There is a myth out there that says our struggles, slips, burdens are faults and not to be seen by anyone else.  Thus, we have become skilled at putting on a vaneer, a false front to the world.  If we continue living by this myth, there is a path to recovery that we'll never understand.

There is real worth and power in being real.  Being vulnerable.  And being open with one another.

Challenge #1
If you are person #1 (BOLD/INVOLVED)...
--Have you been hiding?
--Is there someone you know who is struggling, but you've refused to get involved?
--STOP HIDING!  You'll start the healing for them!

Challenge #2
If yo are person #2 (OPEN/VULNERABLE)...
--Have you isolated yourself?
--Have you closed yourself off and refused to be vulnerable?
--Have you been wearing a vaneer (mask), robbing someone the opportunity to help carry our burden?
--STOP HIDING!  You'll start your healing!



Wow.  This one was a tough one to swallow.  I've made many excuses for not getting into friends' faces for something they've done that violates God's teachings.  I've thought myself as "better" than others; therefore, thinking I don't need anyone's help.  I've put on a vaneer... a mask... so others think I'm ok on the outside, even though I'm struggling on the inside.

But one thing I do know, that I need to be involved in a church and a small group/Bible Study.  I have to be around people who are going to hold me accountable.  Who I can learn off of.  Who I can talk to about my burdens.  Who will let me help them carry their burdens.

Who will allow me to be bold.  Get involved.  Be open.  Be vulnerable.

But I also know I have to be bold, involved, open and vulnerable with myself too.

No more vaneer.  No more mask.

I need to STOP HIDING!

Jesus, help me to be BOLD!

Jesus, help me to be INVOVLED!

Jesus, help me to be OPEN!

Jesus, help me to be VULNERABLE!

Recovery Road, Wk 1

LCBC is doing a series called "Recovery Road."  The description: A new year means a fresh start. But why am I already falling behind with strained relationships, financial uncertainties and spiritual struggles? This January, join LCBC as we face these challenges and together step out onto Recovery Road.
Some of my notes from Week 1

*God is not surprised by our circumstances... We will have many trials in this life, but God has overcome the world.

*Psalm 119:105-- ("Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path") I will lead you.  I will be your light.  I will be your guide.

*Jesus will lead, but I have to follow.  Why should I follow Jesus?
   -- The cross is proof that Jesus is worthy to be followed.
   -- Mark 14:32, Jesus didn't want to die on the cross: Jesus to God, "Yet not what I will, but what You will."  (aka, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak).

*Question for me (and each of us) is: Will I follow Him?


This has been the question of my life since college.  In college, or shortly after graduation, I realized and finally admitted to myself that I am scared of fully surrendering my life to God.  I like being in control.  I was raised to take care of myself.  And at times, to take care of my brothers.  I was raised to do my chores without complaining or arguing.  I was raised to eat dinner, or to go to bed without.  I've learned how to be self-reliant.  To do things on my own.

So giving up control to God is oh-so-hard.  I know that He's in control.  I know that He has my best intentions at heart.  I know that He only wants the best for me.  And that He wants me to live an abundant life through Him.

So why is it so hard to surrender to Him?  Fully?  Not in just one area of my life right now.  And this area two weeks later.  And then this area 3 months from now, and so on.

Honestly, I'm scared of what He'll ask of me.  Demand of me.  Call me to do.  To sacrifice.  I know God's given each and every one of us different talents and skills, and that's how He'll use us.  And I know He promises that if we completely surrender to Him, we will live happy, fulfilling and abundant lives-- more than we could ever ask of or imagine!

But I still hesitate.

My challenge: Will I follow Him?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reflection and Intentional Living

bottom line: i've been living a lie.  unknowingly (and more recently, knowingly), i think i'm better than everyone else.  because i'm a good kid.  because i don't drink.  because i don't smoke.  because i go to church.  because i mainly listen to christian music.  because i don't swear or curse.  because i drive the speed limit.  because i'm a coach.  because i give to charity.  because i'm viewed as a perfect person.

but honestly, at the core, i'm not all that.  i'm broken inside.  i don't talk to God often.  i rarely pray.  i rarely follow through on my promises to catch up with a friend.  to catch up with my little siblings.  to send a package in the mail to someone.  i end up doing things at the last second (which makes me stressed out), or late (which makes me feel so guilty and less of a good person).

but i'm learning.  i'm learning how to be a good person.  not through my eyes.  or the eyes of society.  or of the "mennonite circle" i've been growing up in and living in.  but through God's eyes.  God doesn't see me as better or worse than someone else.  He sees me as equal.  why can't i see that in other people?  why am i so judgmental?  why do i think everything should be given to me on a silver platter?

i've never liked the phrase "practice makes perfect."  because no one is or ever will be perfect.  i choose to say "practice makes better."  because no matter how good you are,  you still need to practice.  because you can still get better.  if we could be perfect, professional athletes wouldn't need to practice.  doctors wouldn't need to practice for their surgeries (yep, just stole that from last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy).  personal trainers wouldn't need to get recertified every year.  lifeguards wouldn't need to have refresher courses.  teachers wouldn't have to keep taking classes and going to seminars and conferences to "enhance" their experiences.  and the list goes on and on.

reality: no one is perfect and never will be.  so "practice makes better."  and even more accurately, "disciplined and correct practice makes you better."  so this year is dedicated to doing the little things right...

*pray when i first wake up
*read from the Bible at least 1 time each day
*be intentional in bringing up God with friends, family and coworkers
*take 15 mins of each day to simply do nothing.  as in no music, no tv, no computer, no phone.  just quiet time to refocus and just be.
*to work on relationships: visiting.  calling.  writing.  being.
*to get involved in a church.
*and to daily ask God what He wants of me.  where He wants me.  and what He wants me to do.

please keep me in your prayers as i embark on this journey.  not that i haven't been trying to do these things before, but that God will give me the desire to do these things.  because he commanded them, but more importantly because He first loved me.

A great reminder...

1. When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

2. Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear,
Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

3. Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

4. But we never can prove
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

5. Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do;
Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/582#ixzz1jMKk8g9z

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


As Saturday approaches, I have bittersweet feelings. Upon learning that Grandma was getting weaker once she stopped taking her chemo treatments, we planned to have Christmas on Dec. 3rd. Usually, Grandma was more energetic and hopeful around the holidays, so we figured she'd make it through then. But God had different plans. Thanksgiving without Grandma was not as much of a "shock" as I know Christmas will be.

Thanksgiving (while valuable in its essence) was a time with family and lots of food. Plenty to be thankful for, yes.

But Christmas was different. Grandma was a HUGE part of Christmas. Before Grandpa died (a few years ago), he would say a wonderful (VERY long) prayer. And he would make chex party mix and fresh fruit salad. When he passed, Grandma took the reigns. Her prayers were not nearly as long (though still special), but the chex mix and fruit salad continued. On top of that, she would also hand out the USA state quarters to us grandkids. She bought us the book and first 5 coins when we turned 13. Then, each successive Christmas, she would give us 5 more coins and some cash. In cute little boxes or mini yellow envelopes with the tiniest bows on them!

The email that went out to everyone attending Christmas on Saturday, had a list of food for people to bring. This is what it looked like:

Chicken Corn Soup: Grandma's freezer
Popcorn: Grandma's cupboard

I must admit, it made me laugh :)

Grandma, we will miss you dearly this Christmas holiday. You always brought a smile, encouragement and love to all. So comforting knowing you are in Heaven, celebrating Jesus' birth with Him and the Father :)

Grandma learning how to play UNO Flash, with help from Mark.