About Me

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I'm a wife, a mom, a singer/songwriter, an author, a public speaker, an abolitionist, an encourager & freedom coach, a seminary student, a worship leader, a lover of life and joy, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation: Turn to Me (Psalm 25 Series)

Here is today's passage in the Psalm 25 series (v. 16-18):

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
Do you ever feel as if the troubles of your heart have multiplied? Like you already had enough troubles, and suddenly, you find yourself with exponentially more?

Turn to me, O God.

Have you ever found yourself lonely and afflicted (the NLT says "deep distress")? Drowning in anguish?

As I write this, I have just completed the Yakima (WA) Relay for Life. I chose this location to support my friend Eva. I chose this event to honor my father, who I lost to cancer 7 months ago.

It was a beautiful and emotional time. I am now facing flying home with 2 sick kids. It's a long plane ride and a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to the airport.

"Drowning in anguish" is a bit extreme for how I feel, but distressed is sufficient.

Turn to me, O God.

I am reminded that God is near. One of the themes of this psalm is hope. "No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame."

I rest in that promise. God is able.

Feeling overwhelmed? Pray with David (and me):

Turn to me, O God.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation: It's Okay to Dream

On September 22nd, I ran the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon.

It was an amazing race. Still brings tears to my eyes.

Redemption. Read about it here. Amazing.

We had recently found out my dad didn't have long to live.

I run because I can. I ran that race for him and so many others who cannot run.

On race weekend, we stayed at a little resort where my husband Roy stayed growing up. I found this postcard in the gift shop:

My father loves JFK, so I bought this with the intention of promptly sending it to him.

There was one last possibility for saving my father's life (besides divine intervention): a new chemo. Within a couple of weeks, it became clear that the chemo was making him too sick to continue.  When I found this out, this postcard showed up a day or two later, stuffed in a book. I filled it out, shared some psalms, and encouraged him: It's okay to dream.

And dream he did. When I arrived a few days at the marathon, as they had given him a few weeks to live, you could see it in his eyes. His eyes would slowly drift up, with a faraway gaze.

He dreamt of heaven. 

I recently had the privilege of speaking to women of our church. As I prayed the morning of the event, I flipped through my Bible to read various psalms and came across Psalm 126:1 (NIV1984):
When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,we were like men who dreamed.
Are you allowing yourself to dream? Have your recent struggles and trials made dreaming seem unrealistic, or even painful?

My oldest son Bear, Me, and my dad, March 2012
Yesterday, I ran the ZERO Prostate Cancer Challenge, a 4-mile race on Father's Day, in honor of my dad. He taught me to aim high, and open my heart to what life might bring me.

He taught me: It's okay to dream.

It's time to dream your own dreams again.

"You know a dream is from God when you can let go of it, but it won't let go of you." Darlene Zschech, Kiss of Heaven

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation: Off the Snare and On the Lord (Psalm 25 Series)

Here is today's passage in the Psalm 25 series (v. 15):
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
In times of trials or problems, what do you tend to look at? On what do you focus?

This is easy for me to answer. I tend to focus on my problems. In the past, this was my typical pattern:

First, I would stare at the trap or potential trap.

Second, I would try to think up a solution I could do myself.

Third, I may begin to think about how the God of the impossible could probably help me out with this situation.

Fourth, I generally end up talking myself out of God being able to really do anything because isn't this problem just too big for God?

When I say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

But this is what we do all the time.

Today at church, my pastor said, "What is impossible for God?"

And all of us good Christians answered, "Nothing."

If only we acted as if we truly believed this.

We say it, but we don't live and act as if we believe it.

We limit God.

As I read this passage a few months ago, I realized how often I fix my eyes on the snare. I analyze it. I imagine all possible outcomes and how I can avoid it or fix it. I lament at the difficulty of the situation.

And often I end up expending so much emotional energy evaluating the snare that I practically fall into it.

"My eyes are ever on the Lord...."

What would happen if we instead fixed our eyes on the One who is able to release us from the snare?

God does not tell us to evaluate the snare. God calls us to look on Him. I've included some past blog posts at the end to encourage you in looking to God.

Pray this with me:
Lord God, forgive me for trying to fix things all the time, as if that is within my power. You call me friend, and yet I am slow to ask for help. Your Word says, "You have not because you ask not," and so, I ask. Help, Lord. May my eyes ever be on You, the Rescuer, and not on the snare. I pray this in the mighty, powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Several blog posts that might be helpful:
Seeing with God's Eyes
Look Beyond Your Mountains
Watch for God

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation: Friendship with God (Psalm 25 Series)

Here is today's passage in the Psalm 25 series (v. 12-14):
Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
What is fear of the Lord? We addressed this a bit in the Psalm 34 series. One commentator on Psalm 25 says fear of the Lord is "an attitude of reverence and awe toward God, which is transformed into an appropriate manner of living." This goes hand in hand with the ESV's translation of verse 14:
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
To those who approach God with an attitude of reference and awe, He extends His friendship, his "secret counsel," as a footnote says "friendship" can also be translated. According to the Hebrew, that word can also be translated "confidential talk."

What an encouragement to get close to the Lord!

Lord Jesus, empower us to draw close to You today. Help to revere You by living lives of awe and obedience. Teach us in the way we should go, as the psalmist prayed earlier in Psalm 25, "for You are God my Savior and my hope is in You all day long." Thank You, Lord.

Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1–50. Vol. 19 of Word Biblical Commentary Accordance/Thomas Nelson electronic ed. (Waco: Word Books, 1983) 221.