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Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm just a summer girl

"Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See?  I am doing a new thing.  Do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland."
-Isaiah 43:18-19

I will forever be thankful for my girlfriends.

Last night, I headed into some shady territory.  Nothing major, I was just a little wary of running into someone who had a hand in breaking my heart a long time ago.  Ages ago.  And though everything is fine now, and I consider myself to be "over it," there was still a little piece of me that was deadly anxious.

Not scared, by any means.  Just anxious.  Like only girls can be.  You know how girls can be.

And would you believe I did see this person out of the corner of my eye when I pulled up at this ice cream shop last night.  They were sitting alone, quietly.  I hopped out of the car, and before I knew it my dear friend had linked her arm in mine and whisked me away.

I didn't even have time to make polite conversation with this person.  Bless my friend's heart, she didn't want to see me hurt so badly, that she wasn't even going to give this person an iota of a chance to mess with my mind/heart.

And as I thought about it later that night over my humongous coffee ice cream (in a waffle cone, the ONLY way to eat ice cream, in my opinion), I realized that it was me who got the better end of the deal.  Yes, this person did hurt me years ago.  And a lot of people would say that this person "won" the game of "love and war" that we played.  But, I was with two of my best friends having the greatest time.  That was not something that I was able to do a few years ago.

My relationship with Christ has been nearly identical to that experience.  I have been blessed by His protection in so many ways.  Sometimes, I feel him saying, "No, Brett, no.  You're not even going to entertain this for one mili-second.  Don't go down that road.  You're not going down that road."

He doesn't want to see me hurt.  He wants to protect my heart and mind from the crazy thoughts girls tend to entertain.  It is so visible how the Lord uses things and people in my life to draw me nearer to him, and to "forget the former things."

I am so thankful.
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I'm just a summer girl

"Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See?  I am doing a new thing.  Do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland."
-Isaiah 43:18-19

I will forever be thankful for my girlfriends.

Last night, I headed into some shady territory.  Nothing major, I was just a little wary of running into someone who had a hand in breaking my heart a long time ago.  Ages ago.  And though everything is fine now, and I consider myself to be "over it," there was still a little piece of me that was deadly anxious.

Not scared, by any means.  Just anxious.  Like only girls can be.  You know how girls can be.

And would you believe I did see this person out of the corner of my eye when I pulled up at this ice cream shop last night.  They were sitting alone, quietly.  I hopped out of the car, and before I knew it my dear friend had linked her arm in mine and whisked me away.

I didn't even have time to make polite conversation with this person.  Bless my friend's heart, she didn't want to see me hurt so badly, that she wasn't even going to give this person an iota of a chance to mess with my mind/heart.

And as I thought about it later that night over my humongous coffee ice cream (in a waffle cone, the ONLY way to eat ice cream, in my opinion), I realized that it was me who got the better end of the deal.  Yes, this person did hurt me years ago.  And a lot of people would say that this person "won" the game of "love and war" that we played.  But, I was with two of my best friends having the greatest time.  That was not something that I was able to do a few years ago.

My relationship with Christ has been nearly identical to that experience.  I have been blessed by His protection in so many ways.  Sometimes, I feel him saying, "No, Brett, no.  You're not even going to entertain this for one mili-second.  Don't go down that road.  You're not going down that road."

He doesn't want to see me hurt.  He wants to protect my heart and mind from the crazy thoughts girls tend to entertain.  It is so visible how the Lord uses things and people in my life to draw me nearer to him, and to "forget the former things."

I am so thankful.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

the humble

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible.  Faith without deeds is dead, now that I've held you in my arms."
-Brooke Fraser, Albertine

*this post has officially taken me one solid week to write because I am perpetually interrupted/don't have the strength of mind to effectively say what I need to say.  Still not sure my point is getting across.  Sorry. 

It's no secret that I am a fan of the fantasy.  Musicals have always been my thing.  Something inside of me peaked with curiosity when I was a little girl.  I remember the first time I ever saw Julie Andrews sing "Just a Spoonful of Sugar."  Where did that music come from?  For days, I wondered why when I sang, there was no orchestra to orchestrate.

Now, of course, I've learned that there is no magic music that begins when someone special starts to sing.  That Ms. Andrews was lip syncing to a track she had previously recorded.  It just didn't appear out of nowhere.  I've had to settle for the music inside my head when I burst out into song in public.  Which does happen.  Frequently.

It's fine.

And though, I frequently am caught red-handed daydreaming, there's something convicting about my constant desire to escape to a make-believe world.  Why am I always in the sugar-coated "lala land?"  Especially when John Piper is screaming for me to "[Not] Waste My Life," and our time on this earth is fleeting and blah blah blah.  I probably shouldn't "blah, blah, blah" scripture.  Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah (?).

So, while I was in the Dominican Republic, I prayed that I would be exposed to the raw reality of this impoverished (in the physical, and spiritual sense of the word) country.  And boy was I ever.

The people in the Dominican Republic do a splendid job of putting up a front.  They have beautiful tourists attractions, smooth-as-marble beaches, and ocean water that is as clear as glass.  I spoke to a girl in the airport who was returning home to California from the Dominican.  I asked her why she was there, and she plainly said, "for vacation."

Nothing against vacationers.  I like vacation.  But I was sad for her.  Sad that she never got to experience the love of Christ through the reality of the impoverished land.

In our "Los Humildes" location one morning, there was this little boy who have suffered serious burn wounds.  He was playing with gasoline, and he caught fire.  He was scorched from head to toe, and couldn't even extend his arms out fully, due to the burns.  We embraced him, kissed him, prayed over him.  I turned my back to him and cried.  I didn't want him to see how the reality of his life struck my heart.

I felt like in that moment, in that place, I was awoken to reality.  And it was very hard.  And it was very convicting.  Our team witnessed several other very real things that the Dominicans face every day.  Some of my teammates saw a child get run over by a bus in the middle of the street.  We were exposed to the huge and abundant droplets of rain that the D.R. sees every rain season.

We were also told by the people that we witnessed to that they were either, a. Not Christians, b. Going to Hell, or c. Going to Heaven because of the good deeds they were doing.

Never in my years prior to this trip had I ever experienced such honesty from people when they were confronted about their faith.  The Dominican culture is such that people will do and say anything to please everyone.

But, for once, everyone was real with us.  It was a complete answer to prayers.

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the humble

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible.  Faith without deeds is dead, now that I've held you in my arms."
-Brooke Fraser, Albertine

*this post has officially taken me one solid week to write because I am perpetually interrupted/don't have the strength of mind to effectively say what I need to say.  Still not sure my point is getting across.  Sorry. 

It's no secret that I am a fan of the fantasy.  Musicals have always been my thing.  Something inside of me peaked with curiosity when I was a little girl.  I remember the first time I ever saw Julie Andrews sing "Just a Spoonful of Sugar."  Where did that music come from?  For days, I wondered why when I sang, there was no orchestra to orchestrate.

Now, of course, I've learned that there is no magic music that begins when someone special starts to sing.  That Ms. Andrews was lip syncing to a track she had previously recorded.  It just didn't appear out of nowhere.  I've had to settle for the music inside my head when I burst out into song in public.  Which does happen.  Frequently.

It's fine.

And though, I frequently am caught red-handed daydreaming, there's something convicting about my constant desire to escape to a make-believe world.  Why am I always in the sugar-coated "lala land?"  Especially when John Piper is screaming for me to "[Not] Waste My Life," and our time on this earth is fleeting and blah blah blah.  I probably shouldn't "blah, blah, blah" scripture.  Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah (?).

So, while I was in the Dominican Republic, I prayed that I would be exposed to the raw reality of this impoverished (in the physical, and spiritual sense of the word) country.  And boy was I ever.

The people in the Dominican Republic do a splendid job of putting up a front.  They have beautiful tourists attractions, smooth-as-marble beaches, and ocean water that is as clear as glass.  I spoke to a girl in the airport who was returning home to California from the Dominican.  I asked her why she was there, and she plainly said, "for vacation."

Nothing against vacationers.  I like vacation.  But I was sad for her.  Sad that she never got to experience the love of Christ through the reality of the impoverished land.

In our "Los Humildes" location one morning, there was this little boy who have suffered serious burn wounds.  He was playing with gasoline, and he caught fire.  He was scorched from head to toe, and couldn't even extend his arms out fully, due to the burns.  We embraced him, kissed him, prayed over him.  I turned my back to him and cried.  I didn't want him to see how the reality of his life struck my heart.

I felt like in that moment, in that place, I was awoken to reality.  And it was very hard.  And it was very convicting.  Our team witnessed several other very real things that the Dominicans face every day.  Some of my teammates saw a child get run over by a bus in the middle of the street.  We were exposed to the huge and abundant droplets of rain that the D.R. sees every rain season.

We were also told by the people that we witnessed to that they were either, a. Not Christians, b. Going to Hell, or c. Going to Heaven because of the good deeds they were doing.

Never in my years prior to this trip had I ever experienced such honesty from people when they were confronted about their faith.  The Dominican culture is such that people will do and say anything to please everyone.

But, for once, everyone was real with us.  It was a complete answer to prayers.

SHARE:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

good news, bad news


"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us."
-Logan Martin Band, Beautiful Things


Everything is so simple in the Dominican Republic.  The people of this astoundingly beautiful place are easy to love and cherish.  They don't complicate things.

They have the sweetest, juiciest, almost coco-nutty pineapples (and don't even get me STARTED on their mangoes) because they are planted and purchased from the same place.  They don't complicate their coffee with too much sugar (they don't dilute it with water either, making it thick, rich and sweet).   More importantly,  they don't complicate their lives with excessive possessions, or by being too busy.  They don't have the opportunity to. 

Christ's message is simple, in and of itself.  These words that we worshiped together every night under the beautiful tiki hut remind me of this.  When we shared the gospel with the people of Santo Domingo, we presented it as "bad news, and good news."

The bad news: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  This sin separates us from God.  There is nothing in our power that can release us from this sin.  Nothing in this world that we can do to rid ourselves of it.

The good news:  God love us, and takes care of us.  He sent His son to die for us, offering us eternal life.  If we confess with our mouth and believe with our heart that He is Lord, we are promised eternal life.

And there it is, the Gospel.  Plain, simple, uncomplicated.

SO the opposite of how I feel right now.

The good news?  I'm back from the Dominican Republic.  Spent time with my amazing church and Dominican families.  We all are so close when we are working together.  Tengo gozo commo una fuete. My heart feels so full of life, love and promise.  We made it back safely, and we all shared an amazing, life-altering experience that we are surely never to forget.  Some great blogging material also surfaced, and that's (hopefully) what I plan to dedicate this week to (I don't really know if that's good news for any of y'all but, it's good news for me, anyhow).  Further, I always felt like I didn't have an interesting story to tell, or anything of substance to write for a story.  Now, I do.  I don't know if it will ever pick up off the ground, but I've been inspired nonetheless.

The bad news?  I'm back from the Dominican Republic.  I left behind another piece of my heart.  I also left behind my brand new camera that I bought solely for this trip and have no pictures (I did, however, find my camera in the first carry-on bag I packed before I switched "everything" over into a bigger bag.  I swear, I'm so absent minded I could scream).  I won't see my Dominican family for a year.  My church family spreads apart over the year. 

Less importantly, but still very bad news: American coffee stinks.

All things being said, it was a wonderful and convicting trip.  Those wild horses will have a heck of a time trying to keep me away next year!

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good news, bad news


"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us."
-Logan Martin Band, Beautiful Things


Everything is so simple in the Dominican Republic.  The people of this astoundingly beautiful place are easy to love and cherish.  They don't complicate things.

They have the sweetest, juiciest, almost coco-nutty pineapples (and don't even get me STARTED on their mangoes) because they are planted and purchased from the same place.  They don't complicate their coffee with too much sugar (they don't dilute it with water either, making it thick, rich and sweet).   More importantly,  they don't complicate their lives with excessive possessions, or by being too busy.  They don't have the opportunity to. 

Christ's message is simple, in and of itself.  These words that we worshiped together every night under the beautiful tiki hut remind me of this.  When we shared the gospel with the people of Santo Domingo, we presented it as "bad news, and good news."

The bad news: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  This sin separates us from God.  There is nothing in our power that can release us from this sin.  Nothing in this world that we can do to rid ourselves of it.

The good news:  God love us, and takes care of us.  He sent His son to die for us, offering us eternal life.  If we confess with our mouth and believe with our heart that He is Lord, we are promised eternal life.

And there it is, the Gospel.  Plain, simple, uncomplicated.

SO the opposite of how I feel right now.

The good news?  I'm back from the Dominican Republic.  Spent time with my amazing church and Dominican families.  We all are so close when we are working together.  Tengo gozo commo una fuete. My heart feels so full of life, love and promise.  We made it back safely, and we all shared an amazing, life-altering experience that we are surely never to forget.  Some great blogging material also surfaced, and that's (hopefully) what I plan to dedicate this week to (I don't really know if that's good news for any of y'all but, it's good news for me, anyhow).  Further, I always felt like I didn't have an interesting story to tell, or anything of substance to write for a story.  Now, I do.  I don't know if it will ever pick up off the ground, but I've been inspired nonetheless.

The bad news?  I'm back from the Dominican Republic.  I left behind another piece of my heart.  I also left behind my brand new camera that I bought solely for this trip and have no pictures (I did, however, find my camera in the first carry-on bag I packed before I switched "everything" over into a bigger bag.  I swear, I'm so absent minded I could scream).  I won't see my Dominican family for a year.  My church family spreads apart over the year. 

Less importantly, but still very bad news: American coffee stinks.

All things being said, it was a wonderful and convicting trip.  Those wild horses will have a heck of a time trying to keep me away next year!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

quien so yo?

"I won't find what I am looking for
if I only "see" by keeping score.  'Cause I know now you are so much more than arithmetic.  'Cause if I add, if I subtract...If I give it all, try to take some back...I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact that you are the sum.  So you are the one I want."
-Brooke Fraser, Arithmetic

Let me begin by saying, I cannot believe it is that time of year again.  The time when I pack my big purple suitcase (lovingly named "Barney") and head for the Dominican Republic.
The time when I try to cram as much broken Spanish into my vernacular as possible so that I may at least partially participate in this ministry.  The time when I wish with all of mi corazon (see? I do try!) that I could relish the rest of my life in rich missions.  That I would be anointed by my Lord to spread love and life to other nations.  To be a blessing to His Kingdom.

A whole year has gone by.

This trip is my yearly wake-up call.  And even though I have experienced the beauty of this country and their loving and welcoming hearts twice before, these experiences are shamefully easy to be swept away in the depths of my mind.  Only to be dwelt upon when I am in the purest of places (which, by the way, is still not so pure, and not so often).

Perhaps lessons from the Lord are like lessons in arithmetic.  And, arithmetic is something that I struggle with. never was good at math.  I was strictly a literary baby.  I forget.  I forget algorithms.  I forget sin and cosin.  Even on occasion, I forget the most basic multiplication tables.  I'm sure that if I drilled them into my hopeless brain, I would remember their use and purpose.  But, I mean, why were calculators even invented if we weren't allowed to forget these things?

But there is no calculator for God.  You can't cheat your way through your lessons.  You can't take an easy way out.  These lessons I have learned can't be forgotten.  The must not be forgotten.  The must be drilled into my mind and my heart so that I may be reminded each day I wake up that I am a child of God and that I am seeking His glory and renown, not my own.

I'm just thankful that I have the privilege of being reminded of this annually.  I'M SO EXCITED!

Blog ya later!

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quien so yo?

"I won't find what I am looking for
if I only "see" by keeping score.  'Cause I know now you are so much more than arithmetic.  'Cause if I add, if I subtract...If I give it all, try to take some back...I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact that you are the sum.  So you are the one I want."
-Brooke Fraser, Arithmetic

Let me begin by saying, I cannot believe it is that time of year again.  The time when I pack my big purple suitcase (lovingly named "Barney") and head for the Dominican Republic.
The time when I try to cram as much broken Spanish into my vernacular as possible so that I may at least partially participate in this ministry.  The time when I wish with all of mi corazon (see? I do try!) that I could relish the rest of my life in rich missions.  That I would be anointed by my Lord to spread love and life to other nations.  To be a blessing to His Kingdom.

A whole year has gone by.

This trip is my yearly wake-up call.  And even though I have experienced the beauty of this country and their loving and welcoming hearts twice before, these experiences are shamefully easy to be swept away in the depths of my mind.  Only to be dwelt upon when I am in the purest of places (which, by the way, is still not so pure, and not so often).

Perhaps lessons from the Lord are like lessons in arithmetic.  And, arithmetic is something that I struggle with. never was good at math.  I was strictly a literary baby.  I forget.  I forget algorithms.  I forget sin and cosin.  Even on occasion, I forget the most basic multiplication tables.  I'm sure that if I drilled them into my hopeless brain, I would remember their use and purpose.  But, I mean, why were calculators even invented if we weren't allowed to forget these things?

But there is no calculator for God.  You can't cheat your way through your lessons.  You can't take an easy way out.  These lessons I have learned can't be forgotten.  The must not be forgotten.  The must be drilled into my mind and my heart so that I may be reminded each day I wake up that I am a child of God and that I am seeking His glory and renown, not my own.

I'm just thankful that I have the privilege of being reminded of this annually.  I'M SO EXCITED!

Blog ya later!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

rise and sing*

You manipulate the keys well
beneath your nimble fingers.
The melody is pure and bright
a carousel against the backdrop of night.
It's the fall of rain on a sticky summer sidewalk.
And the light that breaks my morning eyes;
the color that makes them swim and dance.

And I've seen the dark of your heart.
The heart that floats and bubbles on the water,
like trash that finds each other.
Its murky maker hides, sinister.

I pray that you learn to throw your voice to the sky.
That you shout to the clouds
That it echoes among the fresh, crisp blue.

That your wounds rip away.
That your scars vanish.
That what remains is truth.
Only the most pleasant and risen tune.

*for CSAS 





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rise and sing*

You manipulate the keys well
beneath your nimble fingers.
The melody is pure and bright
a carousel against the backdrop of night.
It's the fall of rain on a sticky summer sidewalk.
And the light that breaks my morning eyes;
the color that makes them swim and dance.

And I've seen the dark of your heart.
The heart that floats and bubbles on the water,
like trash that finds each other.
Its murky maker hides, sinister.

I pray that you learn to throw your voice to the sky.
That you shout to the clouds
That it echoes among the fresh, crisp blue.

That your wounds rip away.
That your scars vanish.
That what remains is truth.
Only the most pleasant and risen tune.

*for CSAS 





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Sunday, July 4, 2010

happy fourth!

"To the oceans white with foam."
-Best line from God Bless America, also fitting because I just got home from the beach.  More on that later, I hope. 


Oh dear blog, we have so much to catch up on.

It's so hard to keep something up when you feel like you have no readers and that no one really cares. Sustaining something that is purely for your own enjoyment, a little treat for the end of your stressful day, tends to take the back seat of the priority carpool.

But then, I think about nations of people who don't have the privilege to say what they mean and want to say (did NOT want to quote John Mayer there) and to publish it instantly.  Even if they do have that privilege, perhaps they're fearful of persecution.

I'm sitting in my air conditioned den, typing on a machine, afraid of nothing.  Well, nothing having to do with what my words might mean to the government or something crazy like that.

Anyway, sorry I've shoved you into the trunk of my little "priority carpool."

And HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!  Eat a burned hot dog for me!

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happy fourth!

"To the oceans white with foam."
-Best line from God Bless America, also fitting because I just got home from the beach.  More on that later, I hope. 


Oh dear blog, we have so much to catch up on.

It's so hard to keep something up when you feel like you have no readers and that no one really cares. Sustaining something that is purely for your own enjoyment, a little treat for the end of your stressful day, tends to take the back seat of the priority carpool.

But then, I think about nations of people who don't have the privilege to say what they mean and want to say (did NOT want to quote John Mayer there) and to publish it instantly.  Even if they do have that privilege, perhaps they're fearful of persecution.

I'm sitting in my air conditioned den, typing on a machine, afraid of nothing.  Well, nothing having to do with what my words might mean to the government or something crazy like that.

Anyway, sorry I've shoved you into the trunk of my little "priority carpool."

And HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!  Eat a burned hot dog for me!

SHARE:
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