Thursday, October 14, 2010


I wandered down the road this morning, hoping that the chilly fall morning would wake me up and give me energy to go about the day. I am still not sure if it did or not but what it did do was awaken me to the beauty even on such a dreary day of autumn and the brilliance that is brings.
As I walked I looked at the leaves that were above me, the road was surrounded with trees each bearing their own bright color. It was as if the dreariness of the day made the colors stand out in even more brilliance.

It reminded me that even when life seems to be gray and dreary in its own sense that their is still brilliance that surrounds me. An hour ago I probably wouldn't have written this, seeing the glory in the midst of gray isn't easy and most of the time is not what I want to do.

I was reminded this morning of the words that Paul penned when he wrote to the people of Corinth. He told that that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I don't understand exactly what is happening around me. Its crazy, confusing, and frustrating but I know that His grace is sufficient for me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Memories of Gone Days

What do you do with past times? How do you hold onto memories that overflow from the cup of life? That come out in moments when you least expect them.

Days of laughter and childhood bliss. Runs through fields, wading in creeks, sitting on top of hills and singing in the falling dusk, gallops on horses, dinners of joking with brothers and sisters, reading books on long front porches... I remember with a smile, but it feels like a lost life.

I see his smile, the bright blue eyes, the childhood innocence, and the way he made you laugh. Little brothers now turned into men, foreboding strangers who I can barely recognize and whose lives are separate from mine.

Goodbyes unspoken, no last touch or even eye contact. Nights of tears and sorrow, dreams dying, and grief overflowing. At nights when I am trying to sleep my dreams are haunted by faces I have never said goodbye too, memories of them rising and falling.

Pen in hand I write. And write. Does healing come with letting my life be penned onto paper?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Where To?

I was excited to read this article that was written by a good friend and my college professor. It made me return to the questions of church that I have long been pondering. I have been fascinated by the movement of the modern church, the possibilities that are being embarked upon, and the most fascinating of all questions of the theological embodiments that the church is going to take upon itself.

What is the church becoming? Where is the church going to head in a few years? Is the church to be a place of discipline and growth? Or a place of healing for brokenness? What is the path of the western church going to look like? Age old questions that need to be asked by the body of Christ today.

I find myself pondering these questions a lot lately, wondering of my own role within them...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

sometimes it catches your breath

What does love look like? Can you see it in action? And I don't just mean in the romantic way that our culture is obsessed with, but something beyond that, something a bit deeper. My first witness to someone finding love happened in an unlikely place. It was where peace reigned in the nickers of horses and the laughter of children, where there was the sweet smell of hay, and the shy shadows of the sun shining in a barn. The barn and horses in it became a place of healing and restoration for people who suffered from mutiple different physical or mental disabilities.

His soft smile and bright voice were always things that I looked forward to seeing and hearing on a weekly basis. Every student that I encountered was special to me but there was something more stirring in my heart for this little guy, it was like a hope rising to give him the nurture through the horses that he couldn't recieve at home. The compassion I felt for his situation triggered an even greater desire in me to have his limited time at our barn be one that was life changing for him.

It was his school group's last lesson for the fall session when I began to realize that maybe there had been a change in this energetic, blond guy's life. The scene that I witnessed brought tears to my eyes as I watched it. Never had I seen love like this.

The bright reddish bay mare seemed to know exactly what the needs of the lonley boy in front of her were. Her head hung lower then normal just so he could touch her face and allow him to scratch the white patch of hair between her eyes. The nature of this animal was incredible, sensing this boy's need for love but knowing she how to meet them when I did not.

They walked together around the ring, just the two of them, while the rest of the class remained in the center of the ring either riding or waiting to ride. Somehow this unlikely pair had escaped into their own quiet world. He led her to the corner of the ring, farthest away from everyone else, as if here they could go unnoticed and communicated without interruption. They stood there for quite some time, her head hanging by his side. Sometimes he touched her face, letting the physical touch bring them closer but mostly it was just the presence of this mighty creature that filled his need for love. This special horse could love him without talking, her majestic presence was powerful but gentle, her breathe was warm on his cold skin as they just stood together basking in each other's presence like a cat stretches out in the most sunniest spot in the house just to have find the best place to enjoy the sun's presence. It was love, a deep love unlike the love that the world or humans could offer. Somehow, this beautiful animal could meet the need that his parents weren't giving him. She offered presence when his family couldn't, she offered him a powerful gentleness when the only power he had seen in his home was anger and rage, she didn't blame him when he couldn't quite get the communication clear but waited patiently until he figured it out. When the horse breathed onto the little boy's chilly face on that cold day, it was if the warmpth of her breath created a sense of love for this love hungry boy to bring into his own lungs.

I began thinking about all I had been able to witness, days after it had happened. For some reason the scene stuck in my mind, repeating itself as something beautiful and needing reflection. In my pondering, I heard the gentle whisper of my most faithful companion, Jesus. He began replaying pictures of my life in my head; times of him offering me a presence to rest in, of acceptance, of patient waiting; time for me to figure things out. Not changing, getting angry or running away. Just the bay mare. Gifts, with no expectations or strings attached. A love experience, just like the one my student had with his horse.

Being a witness of that love experience was humbling. Watching a horse be used as the means of love that this child needed was amazing, touching, and inspiring. It stretched my imagination, my own sense of love, and made me realize just how deeply people need to be loved. Sometimes it may be people doing the loving or maybe even a horse.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gratitude on a Rainy Day

"When good is found and we embrace it with abandon, we embrace the Giver of it... Every second is an opportunity to praise. There is a choosing to be made. A choosing at the moment. This is the raise habit. Finding God moment by revelatory moment, in the sacred and the mundane, in the valley and on the hill, in the triumph and tragedy, and living praise erupting because of it. This is what we were made for." - David Crowder Praise Habit.
The good I've be blessed with is to vast to name, but here is a few:

rainy days that inspire coffee and writing.
husbands that blog beside you.
quiet nights when all is at rest.
memories of children and horses.
the community of those that surround you in the past and present and those even who live at a distance.
finishing a book and starting a new one.

holy experience

Witness of Love

Her dark eyes spoke of compassion and kindness, as soon as the children walked into the barn she would hang her head out of her stall ready to greet them. She had left behind a world of blue ribbons, traveling, large crowds, and high expectations to enter into this world of loving children and offering them a way to experience the world. She did her job without complaint, even when an angry child would kick her or hit her. Nothing fazed this beautiful mare even though her name was Scooter it spoke nothing to her personality. It was as if she knew that her impact on the children was great and was willing to give it. When I introduced her to a high energy young boy who was excited to learn how to ride and wanted to become a cowboy, I wasn't sure what the outcome would be. He wasn't sure how to communicate very well with people and hated any sort of touch but this little mare seemed to be different. The young boy soon learned what the social cues were that Scooter was giving him. A ear cocked behind meant that she was listening to what was behind her, a snort might mean that she was curious about something, and a flick of the tail usually meant there was a fly. Soon the on his way to being a cowboy student could read the sign and then tell me. It was remarkable. We began to explore how humans have social cues just like Scooter did. As time progressed so did his relationship with Scooter. They soon became buddies and he looked forward to his time with her once a week more then almost anything else. It was apparent that she had taught him something else. I noticed that one day when he came in and went straight to the horse that something was different. Instead of just petting her soft nose he was wrapping his arms around her neck giving her a hug and she was hugging him back. She had wrapped her head him and it was if she was holding him close. It was at the end of that lesson that he gave me, the instructor a hug to say thank you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Change, Part I.

Defined by the Webster dictionary change is to alter or make different. For many of us change is an everyday reality in our lives in both sorrowful and joyful ways. Our lives are constantly being altered and we are always experiencing differences. Some larger then others. In the last three years of my life I have been shaped by changes, some dramatic while others slow and not always easy to see. I have fought change, cried because of it, and glowed in the joy of it. While it has been difficult and beautiful, each in its own moment I have learned so much from change. I want to share what I have learned about change because while in the midst of change its often easy to get discouraged and to lose sight of what is being created. Change has taken parts of me that were fearful and shaped it into courage, there have been parts of me that were angry and bitter that are still working on being shaped into forgiveness.

Families changing in numbers and shape, academia coming to an end, leaving friends and moving into a new phase in life, marriage, new jobs, all of these are some of the change that we face in life. All of these changes I have experienced in the last three years.

When things began to first shift it was like I got punched hard enough to get my breath taken away. It was painful to face the reality of what was when my family changed in shape, I had to recognize lies lived with for years and decide what I was going to do about them. This change ran into my identity and was wrestling with it to see who I was at the deepest core of my soul. I walked away bruised and bloody but knowing that my truest self was not based upon lies or broken pieces but upon the truth that I was the beloved of God. This face of change was the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life but the beautiful transformation of identity that comes from tragedy hides behind the shadow of pain.

And then there is change that soars like the peak point of music that is played by an orchestra. The change that happens when you open your heart and life to someone, when together you make a decision and commit to face life together, and then begin a life as a couple – that change is incredible. Beautiful in many moments, hard in other moments, but in the end the most life giving change I have made.

Many of us are experiencing change at this moment, even though we may not feel it. The waters may feel stagnated but I promise you they are not. Our God is the Creator God, the one who makes, shapes, and transforms us into the people He desires, people whose hearts are open and vulnerable to love. There is much change and transition in my life now, so much that it feels overwhelming but my desire is to allow the shifts that are happening to be molding a heart that is overwhelmed by love so much so that the only possible thing to do is love back.

Friends, let us feel change. The pain, the joy, the heartbreak of change leads us into the depths of being transformed by love and into His likeness.