Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jesus wears a Mohawk

God found my selfish heart and turned it in-side out on the MAX this past Saturday evening.

I was reflecting on the events of the day as I was heading home well past midnight. It was a great day. I was hanging out with a best friend all day in Beaverton, doing things that girls do best: pedicures/manicures, gossip and sharing hearts.  This was followed by an awesome dinner date, Voo Doo donuts for dessert and late evening drinks at Portland City Grill, overlooking the Portland skyline by night. Life had been good to me this day. 

The max stops, doors open and in walk two men.

 The first man was drugged-out and barely coherent. I would guess he was in is early fifties, but would not be surprised if it turned out that he was 5 or 10 years younger.  The drugs had taken their tole on his body. His clothes barely fit his frail frame and deep, dark circles surround his red, half-shut eyes.  His name is Joel.  The second man appeared to be in his early fourties, dressed well, slightly overweight, sporting a short, bleach-blonde Mohawk and clearly homosexual.  I share the latter descriptive label understanding the risk that is attached. I do not share my speculative judgement of his orientation as a means of degradation of his humanity, but rather to give you greater insight into the interaction I eavesdropped on and the impact it offered to me.

I did not catch the second man’s name, so I will call him Mohawk to eliminate confusion while I describe to you what happened next.

Mohawk leads Joel to a pair of seats right in front of me, close enough for me to hear their conversation even if I wasn’t trying to hear it (I was).

At first glance, they appear to be friends. One friend trying to help another get home safely after Saturday night Shenanigans downtown together. I was quickly mistaken.

Mohawk begins to patiently ask Joel questions that include:
 “Were you with any friends tonight?” (No)
“Do you have any friends?” (No)
“Is there anyone I can call who might know what your plans were tonight?” (I’m not sure)
“Do you have a phone?” (No)
“Do you know anyone’s phone number who might be able to help us?”

Joel hands Mohawk his wallet, and directs Mohawk to pull out the folded napkins with names and numbers written on them.  Mohawk calls one of the numbers.

From what I can gather, on the line with Mohawk is a relative of Joel’s – perhaps a brother or sister. Mohawk introduces himself as a stranger who had just met Joel and was trying to help him find his way home.  After a brief conversation that I could only catch one side of, the person on the other line begrudgingly agrees to pick Joel up from the Lloyd Center Max Stop. Mohawk thanks the person and hangs up the phone. Five Max stops later, Joel gets off as instructed, to be picked up. As the Max doors are trying to close, Joel haults the doors and pokes his head back in to looks at Mohawk square in the eyes and says “Thank you for helping me”.  Mohawk replies with no words – they both know they aren’t necessary at this point.  A grin emerges across his face as he responds with an affirming head-nod back at Joel.  The doors close and the max takes off. This is probably the only interaction that these two men will ever share.

For those of you who know me well, you know I couldn’t help but say something at this point to Mohawk.  I tap him on the shoulder and express as genuinely as I can that I don’t know many people who would have done what he did for Joel just now. I also share that it was a pretty incredible thing to experience.  I also made sure to thank him as well for what he did. 

Mohawk responded with gratitude and invited me into conversation to more clearly understand what had just happened.

Joel was lost and scared.  He didn’t know where he parked his van hours before and had no idea how to get home now. He reached out to a stranger (Mohawk) on the streets of downtown Portland with a cry out for help, like a child lost from his mother.  Mohawk, who was out with friends drinking that night, took the time to help this man. He didn’t have to do this, in fact, he admitted to me that he didn’t even want to. Joel had interrupted his Saturday night plans. I asked him “Then, why did you do it?”  His response was simple. He said that he would hope that someone would do the same for him if he ever needed it, so he did.  

Mohawk was Jesus to Joel that night. He showed love to someone who was broken, lost and afraid.  He proved to Joel (and to myself) that there are still good people in this world and that love does still exists.

This was a reality check for me, big time.  I tend to get so stuck in my own little world that I don’t realize the opportunities God puts before me all day to change someone’s day for the better.  Why do I automatically feel like saying “No” when a stranger asks if I can spare some change?  Of course I can. I can spare way more than that and I should.

I heard someone say recently that when you start to view everything that you’ve been given (money, gifts, time) as blessings from God, it becomes so much easier to give these things away and pass the blessing on. I want to live like that.

Granted, it’s not appropriate for a 25-year-old woman to take a drug addict’s hand and drag him onto the MAX with you in order to help him get home. We definitely need to use caution when we feel the Holy Spirit nudging at us to make a move. But we shouldn’t be afraid when we’re called to action. 

Mohawk inspired me to share his story in an effort to infect others with his same heart condition.

To not be afraid to say “yes” when asked if you can spare a dollar, or even a few.
To go out of your way for someone you don’t know.

In its simplest form, to leave someone better than you found them. Not for selfish ambition, but because you’ve been blessed so much – now its time to pass that blessing on, to pay the blessing forward.

To be Jesus to someone today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bucket List

So I thought it would be kind of fun to publically announce my bucket list items for this year.  This will allow me to hunker down and focus in on that which I would like to accomplish for this season.


 Complete my first year at Multnomah Seminary (May 2013)

Complete P90X and Insanity all the way through

 Run another marathon, possibly two this year. Portland Marathon in October?
My initial gut response is to say that its too soon to do it, but that’s also all the more reason why I want challenge myself to do it.

Participate in SEVEN: Seven days of prayer and fasting for the city of Portland September 30-October 7th this year.

Join a tri-club and do my first triathlon by next spring/summer

 Start a blessing fund where I put $50 a month into it, and spontaneously use it as I see needs in peoples lives.

Continue Blog Ministry: writing posts once/week

Visit Becca in Virginia

 Visit friends in CA in October and January


Volunteer at homeless shelter

Missions trip this year

Run my 22 mile training run in Forrest Park.  How I’ve lived in Portland for this long and still have never explored Forrest Park is beyond me.

Explore a new restaurant in/around Portland every month with someone new
Immerse myself in Portland culture, to live on mission for God.

Send more handwritten letters.  Everyone loves to receive a good, old fashioned handwritten letter

Go vegetarian for at least a month

Go vegan for at least another month

Plan a trip for spring break

Plan a trip for 26th birthday in June/4th of July

Read the bible in a year: commit to reading the bible every day. I really want to be more disciplined in this area of life

Follow through with tattoo ideas – I have three or four ideas in mind J
Be more like Jesus in my every day life.  Live out love. See the needs in people. Be bold in my faith. Radiate God’s love. Live confidently and fearlessly in who I am in Christ.


Ok.. seatbelt is fastened tight, running shoes are double knotted. Time to start accomplishing these! Any one of you are more than welcome to join me for any of these bucket list items.  Dont everyone jump at the tattoo or skydiving line items first ;)

Let the prayers/hopes/dreams for this next year begin!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Solitude, stillness and silence

Hi friends, I'm back.

I took a nearly two month hiatus from writing and I wish I could say it was because I was off on an adventure of sorts, or swept away to a tropical island by a tall, dark and handsome.  Nope, not at all.

 In early June I ran for the hills, away from the public eye out of fear and panic that I was exposing myself "too much too soon" and afraid of what was at stake in doing so. I was experiencing burn out from the pressure of keeping my life exciting enough for these posts to keep an audience drawn in and captivated for three posts week. You cant blame a girl for being exciting, inspired and amitious about her new blogging hobby, but the ramifications were inevitable.  Writing had chewed me up in its mouth and spit me out raw, leaving me tired, anxious and feeling like a failure.

I have reassessed my goals and have come back to play in the sandbox with you all, but just once a week for now.  I believe that I can realistically hold to that as well as juggle full-time work, full-time grad school and maybe a social life in there, too.

While these past two of months made for a challenging season to say the least, I was able to grasp onto some valuable lessons that God was teaching me through trial. I would like to share these lessons learned over the course of the next few blog entries (I promise to not let two months span between again). Its on my heart today to share with you what God has been teaching me about solitude, stillness and silence.

There's something profound to be said about being still and quiet.  To shut ourselves up every once in a while and just listen.  Not necessarily to anyone or anything, but just to listen in to the present moment. It is in this stillness that I have often found God's presence clearer and hear His voice louder. By nature, we like motion and noise; we live at a ridiculously fast pace. going a million miles a minute in our minds, overdosed on caffeine and never allowing ourselves just to sit and enjoy a moment of silence. Whoa, breathe Kathryn. In fact, we have made up the term "awkward silence" to justify how silence truly makes us feel.  But what makes silence awkward and uncomfortable to us? We do.  We feel the need to push silence away because our past has collectively taught us that it is distasteful, uncomfortable and that we should not allow silence in.

God tells us a different story.

Psalm 46:7-11

The Lord Almighty is with us, the god of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breasks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, "Be Still and know that I am God;
I will exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

Not only does God allow us to be still, he commands it. He is our God who can stop the chaos of the world, stops wars and breaks our weapons to emphasize the importance of pausing in all of our business, self control and independence to reflect upon the truth that HE is God and WE are not.  He is above all and is all. He is lifted high above all else. God calls us to stop, be still and know that He is who he says He is.

I love The Message translation of verses 8-10:

Attention, all!  See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."

That certainly convicts my heart when I read it. It forces me to really check myself: Am I so busy that I forget to acknowledge God throughout the day? What is more important than my God who has provided the food in my stomach and the shelter above my head? Or put in other words, what am I making more important than God? I admit that there are many days that it isnt until Im laying my head down for sleep that I think to give acknowledgement to my Creator. What is that?? Admitting that out loud makes me nervous, so I am trusting that you're not judging me upon it :) What is that though?! Simply put, that is the traffic of our lives - the business, chaos and hyperindependence that we live in - that we put above our God.

But God graciously calls us out of that, to live set apart. The truth that keeps coming up in various conversations lately is that "We are in this world but we are not of this world" as laid out in John 17:14.  If we believe that, it should cause us to live differently.  What does different look like? For me, it looks like taking moments to be still and stand in awe of Him. To lay aside agendas and plans and bask in His Glory. To acknowledge that He is God and I am not;  that He is worth our time, our energy, and even our silence. And that type of silence, my friends, is not the awkward kind.

I pray that this lesson comes to you gift-wrapped exactly as you need it to be today. I am hopeful that it hits your heart and stops you in your tracks a bit, as it did for me. I love you all and it feel so good to be back. :)



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stand Up

I've been on a country music kick lately.  There's just something in the heartfelt lyrics that I've been drawn to lately. This song in particular stopped me in my tracks today..

 Stand Up

All the lonely people crying
It could change if we just get started
Lift the darkness, light a fire
For the silent and the broken hearted

Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?
Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

There’s a comfort, there’s a healing
High above the pain and sorrow
Change is coming; can you feel it?
Calling us into a new tomorrow

Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?
Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

When the walls fall all around you
When your hope has turned to dust
Let the sound of love surround you
Beat like a heart in each of us

Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?
Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

I love this song and the message it screams.  It encourages me to get up and do something. I feel like God has been putting this in my heart alot lately - to just get moving on something; anything.  Its continuously like a cry of desperation from God in my heart. A rally cry for a different tomorrow.  Its too easy to think that we, individually, cannot make much change. I will not settle for that thought. I believe we can and will make a difference in this generation, but we have to start somewhere and take it one step, one day at a time.

Humor me for a minute and check out this website to Matthew 25:36 Ministries.  Its founded and ran single-handedly by an amazing woman named Kim out of her home in the East Bay Area, CA. God has placed in her a specific calling to minister to prison inmates through hand written letters from followers of Jesus who want to share love.  I stumbled upon her ministry and the volunteer opportunity to join her in this last year.  This is how I met Robert, the inmate I currently write to.  He's ministered more to me than he knows and has blessed my life beyond words. His story is crazy, heartwrenching and has God written all over it.  With his permission, I would love to share it with you all one day.

Dont worry, this ministry is totally safe.  You dont share your perosnal information with them and Kim has set up strict guidelines that each writer (inmates included) must commit to abide by to maintain the heart behind this ministry. I, personally, have set up a local PO Box that I only use to send/receive letters to Robert. 

 In the least, I encourage you to check out the website and if your heart is stirred up by what God is doing through this ministry, send her an email for more information or to get linked with an inmate.  You can chose to write to an inmate of faith or who doesn't yet know the love of God.  Obviously, it would be more challenging to write to an unsaved inmate.  Pray on it.  If not this ministry, I urge you to stand up and get involved in God's kingdom work in some different way this season.

Thanks for always tuning into my crazy rants :)


Friday, June 1, 2012


A good friend of mine gave me a gift last night that inspired today's posting.  She gave me a  wall decal with a quote from Emily Dickinson written on it:

Dwell in Possibiliites
For those of you who are wondering, it isn't just a random gift with a random quote on it that happened to bless me enough to blog about.  She saw this and remembered back to an activity that we were asked to do at our women's retreat weekend at cannon beach.  We walked out to the beach and were asked to think of a word or phrase that best describes the chapter of life that you are currently living in. 

I thought long and hard. I etched a few things in the sand, then would quickly brush it away.  Finally, I decided to draw a picture of a girl in a mirror with the word "dwell" written in the mirror.  I chose this because I feel that in this season, God is constantly reminding me to fix my eyes on Him and no where else and dwell in that. Dig into the Word, keep Him as my number one and to not concern myself so much about the little things. I find myself worrying way too much about who my husband will be and when I will get married. About what I will be doing in a year, 5 years, 10.  Im not the woman I was - Ive gotten much better about not worrying about the future, but I'm not yet where I'd like to be. Add up every minute spent dwelling in those things and that's a whole lotta wasted time that could and should be devoted to my Father and what really matters in this moment.

I can simply repent and move forward. Every time I am reminded of that word, I pray that it inspires me to take action on fixing my eyes on God and living today on purpose. Spending quality time with God, with friends, with family. Sharing meaningful God-centered conversations, laughing with my best friends and meeting new people. Doing things that make me happy. I believe that He wants me to remember to do those things more in this season.

And now I have a wall decal to help remind me to do that more and more. :) You are amazing, Sierra!

What word would best describe this season of your life, and what are you doing about it?  

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything
    1 For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven.
   2 A time to be born and a time to die.
      A time to plant and a time to harvest.
   3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
      A time to tear down and a time to build up.
   4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
      A time to grieve and a time to dance.
   5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
      A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
   6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
      A time to keep and a time to throw away.
   7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
      A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
   8 A time to love and a time to hate.
      A time for war and a time for peace.

   9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Happy Friday,


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Freedom, Justice and Bold Faith

This picture convicts my heart bigtime today.

How many years have I let this holiday pass without giving much thought to the real reason to why we get Monday off at the end of every May?  Many years.  More years than I want to admit to you.

This picture displays the harsh reality of the "holiday".  See, I even feel guilty calling it a holiday when I look at this.  Wives are husbandless, husbands are wiveless and children are fatherless or motherless because of those who put their life in harm's way so that we can live without having to think twice about our freedom in this country.

Im convicted because I dont often think about the blessing that I live in every day because of what these men and women have died for. One easy example would be that I can post this blog, full of my heart's openness with absolutely no fear of what someone might think. I dont worry about being arrested or even worse because of my public display of faith. Praise God.

We can go to college, we can find a job, we can accomplish basically whatever our heart's desire. There's no question in my mind that we have the freedom now to accomplish all of these things and much more.  Imagine with me for a moment how different our lives would be without this freedom.  Imagine having the dream of becoming something that everyone told you would never happen. Imagine living within the confines of what others told you was acceptable. Imagine being sold in slavery and taken away from your loved ones and everything that you know.

I lift my head, raise my hands and give thanks today for the gift of freedom that we have been given.  I thank God for those men and women who are not here today to enjoy what all they have laid down their lives for.  I am incredibly grateful, but also know that the job is not finished. Injustice is all around us: we live in a world where too many children will go to bed starving tonight, sex trafficking is currently victimizing 27 million and slavery is still a true story. 

I know that many more innocent lives will be taken in order for these sort of kingdom-sized changes to be made. That's the honest reality of the phrase "freedom isnt free".  But I am thankful to God for those who's holy discontent include these injustices to the point of action; for those who are not willing to settle until something is changed even if that means their lives are at risk.  The heart condition of bold faith that these folks share is beautiful and admirable to me. I raise my glass to them today.

Happy Memorial Day!


Saturday, May 26, 2012


My dear friend Michael Sagun takes one day a week to live "unplugged".  Some would call this his Sabbath day. He allows himself to live free of facebook, twitter, instagram, email, smartphone, etcetera for one day a week in order to enjoy and live in the beauty of God's creation around him that are so easily forgotten because of said distractions.

I'm inspired to follow his trend. For this long weekend I am "unplugging" myself from technology in order to seek God's face, to fast and pray over what God's showing me and doing in my life and just be. Haha I feel like this sounds kind of hippy, but call it what you want. Just dont be suprised if I throw you a peace sign if I run into you this weekend ;)

This lifestyle seems so foreign and uncomfortable to me, but I know it's important; important to myself, but I would argue its also pretty important to God.  Lately I've felt so busy and distracted.  Like the video I posted Wednesday, I often feel like God's waving his arms in my face for attention, but Im too busy being caught up in the world's ways to realize it. That imagery breaks my heart - I dont want to continue living like that. 

On the same token, I was reminded this week of how dependant we have become of technology.  Our server went down at work on Tuesday for no more than an hour, but it blew my mind how lost everyone in our office felt - as if the world could not go on until the computers were fixed.  This sounds so crazy as I type it out, but thats the honest reality we live in. Earlier this year, I was watching my boss' four-year-old son at work.  We were playing a childrens game on the computer and he kept trying to touch the screen to activate the buttons - the idea of using a mouse was foreign to him. He couldnt comprehend the screen not being a touchscreen. Welcome to the 21st century.

We can have basically anything we want, in a moment's notice, at the click of a button.  When I say "we" I dont mean all of humanity.  Not by a long shot.  The shocking reality is that "we" as American's own 80% of the world's resources.  Thats insane.  That leaves only 20% of resources to be shared by the rest of the world. That makes my stomach hurt.  That also makes me wonder why we are so unhappy and never satisfied. Could it be that we've gotten so accustomed to having whatever we want that having our needs met is not considered a blessing or a gift from God any longer?  I would argue YES.

So here's to powering down this weekend, getting back to what's important and living simply and quietly. If this post speaks to you, perhaps its a good idea to unplug with me this weekend.  Power down your electronics for a day or two and just bask in the beauty of our Creator and all of the blessings he has flooded your life with. Spend a day fasting and praying over the decisions you have to make in the days/weeks/months ahead and about what God is knocking at your heart and wanting to lead you in.  I believe that when your heart and mind is quiet and "unplugged", the spirit is able to speak more clearly because you are tuned into the right things.

Im excited to hear about what God shows us through this experience and I believe He will bless this comittment to seek Him and dwell in Him in new, unique and creative ways this weekend. 



Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Happy Wednesday, everyone!  The week is half over and we're only three days away from the long, holiday weekend - score! I wanted to share something that is near and dear to my heart that I've been thinking about quite a bit the past several days.

A group of 15-or-so women from my church went on a retreat to Cannon Beach about a month ago. We agreed that we should have called this trip more of a "workshop" than a "retreat" because God was definitely at work within us and we were busy doing His work that weekend.  He wrote the agenda.  He led our bible studies, activities, free time and our worship sessions.  Say what? I mean that I dont think much went according to original plan because of how clearly and emphatically He directed each minute of the weekend. When God said to move, we moved. We even forgot about the bottles of wine we had smuggled in with us - not one bottle was even opened.  Now that is crazy..

I want to share a video with you that was shared with us that weekend at the beach.  It was Saturday morning, just before an hour of personal worship time. Lets just say, it set the stage for an unforgetable time of worship with the Lord. 

 We were warned to grab a few tissues before the video began, so I am going to pass along that same warning to you, my friends.  This video impacted my heart SO powerfully. So much so, in fact, that I have privately replayed it a number of times this past month to reflect upon and embrace what it stirs up within me:  It takes me away to a place of just Me and God.  It helps me to see those places in my life that I have made (and often still do make) more important than Him.   It inspires me to focus, direct and channel my motivations back to Him and surrender everything else. And it always brings me to tears.

 I feel like it shares the story of my life - maybe you can relate. Go ahead, press play. :)

Tearjerker, or what??

I'd love to hear your feedback, reactions and what this video inspires within you. 

Happy hump day and I pray your week is going beautifully!



Monday, May 21, 2012

personally romantic

I love it when God romances our hearts. You know, when something randomly unexpected happens and you cant help but stop for a second and wonder "Wait a second, was that God?!" and sure enough, it was. It always is, but we seem to always have to question it and most of the time we end up chalking it up for a coincidence. Whatever you want to call it, that sort of thing happened to me over a coffee date with an old friend/teammate from college on Friday afternoon.

I received a message on my phone early last week that simply read "we should probably get together soon". I hadnt seen this friend since I moved away in 2009 and I couldnt agree with him more. This catch up date was long over-due, so of course I responded with an immediate "yes".

 It was so refreshing and familiar to sit there on campus, on the same stomping grounds that we dragged ourself through for practice, class, and study hall day-in and day-out for so many years and catch up about all that's new/exciting in our lives.  It made me thankful for so many things: for memories, for friendship, for reconnections, and for growing up. Time had done well for us both.  We were figuring out this crazy thing called life and it showed in our faces. You can't deny the happiness that exudes from a life that's fulfilled.

I found myself quickly opening up to him about why I was back in Portland and what brought me back home. I expected that these questions would come up, since I had urgently jetted for California within days after taking my last final in college three years ago. I couldn't help but feel like I owed him an explanation, although I know his kind heart would argue against that. I don't even remember saying good-bye to this particular friend when I left, or many friends for that matter. I just took off. Anyway, as I was catching him up on what had been going on in my heart and life over the past few years, something hit me hard. So hard that I almost lost my train of thought for a moment.  This is what I'm talking about when I say God personally romanced me that day.  He did it in a BIG way; He did it by revealing an answered prayer.

I moved back to Portland at the end of October after a 2 1/2 year stint in the SF Bay Area. Life in California was fun and I learned and grew up a lot, but it wasn't the "home" that my heart was missing so badly. I remember one particular night last Spring that I couldn't hold it in any longer.  I got down on my knees in my bedroom and began pouring my heart out before the Lord.  I was tired. Work and life had completely worn me out and I didn't like the way my life looked anymore. I wanted a deeper relationship with friends, family and with Him. I was so ready for change in every category of my life and that was exactly what I was asking for. It didn't matter to me how it was going to look - whatever doors God opened, I was ready to immediately respond with a "Yes, Lord" and walk through them. 

 So when one of my good friends from Portland came to visit me this past summer, she could tell that something was up with me. I wasn't my usual smiley, enthusiastic self. After some probing, prodding and maybe a glass of wine or two, I ended up opening my heart up to her about how I was praying for absolute change in every category of my life and how I was just unhappy - plain and simple. She humored me for a moment by asking me to think back to the time in my life when I was truly happy, and all I could picture was my life in Portland. I had no other response for her. It sounds kinda cheesy, but thats exactly how I remember it happening.  I wrestled with God about the idea for a few months, but all the while I knew that it was going to happen.  I was being called back home and God was beginning to show me why.  It was time to go back to school. 

So on October 29th, I packed up my possessions in a Budget truck, gave my car to my brother, picked up my partner-in-crime/roommate from college/good friend Katy from the airport (in the Budget truck - she was so embarrassed, but I loved it haha) and made our way through 13 hours of maneuvering this stupidly large truck to Portland. I was coming home.

Fast forward six months and here I am: gearing up to start my graduate studies Multnomah Seminary in the fall and head over heals in love with my life. I can confidently tell you today that my cry out to God for change in every avenue of my life has been answered over this past year. It happened subtly and slowly.  So much so that I didnt fully realize it until now. That's the romantic side of God for ya.  He could have made it clear as day to me as this prayer was being answered; as each aspect of my life was being gorgeously transformed. He could have brought it to my attention each time I met a new and amazing friend this year, or each time an old friendship was rekindled, or when I met my half-sister and her family for the first time or when I first fell in love with my awesome church out here. I could go on and on about the various ways that He could have revealed how He was answering this prayer this year. But no. God stood in the background through all of this, knowing that it would be on this random coffee date that what He had done in and through me would hit my heart in package form, like a ton of bricks, as His answer to my prayer. What a romantic God.:)

 It would be a big fat lie if I told you this year was all bubblegum, cotton candy and gumdrops. Haha, not at all. It was hard a lot of the time and some really painful things happened this year. Change has been hard, but it has also been soooo beautiful. This year has been full of refinement, pushback and anxiety. It has also been filled with more beauty, love and more of God than I ever thought possible and it's only getting better every day. 

 I have a lot of friends who are in tough chapters of life or are going through some really difficult changes right now. If you can relate, it is my prayer that this post can encourage you to keep pressing forward. Keep going against the grain and taking one step at a time in the direction you feel God leading. Doors will either slam open or shut; just respond accordingly. From my experience, I've found that God will show you if you're off, will honor your heart of obedience, and will help you to redirect your path. Confide in trusted friends and share your heart openly from time to time. Change may not happen over night, but it does happen one day at a time. It was a year before I saw the full-blown answer to my prayer for change. We serve an unbelievably faithful God who will not let us fail.  Many people thought (and some even openly told me) that I was stupid for up and quitting my so-called "dream job" in sunny California to move back to dreary Portland to go to bible college. That's fine, it doesn't matter.  What matters is His plan for me and not much else.  Please, please do not misunderstand me - I am by no means an expert on what moves to make to find happiness and do NOT want to sound that way at all. But I do know that God will continue to guide you as you persevere, trust and expect. That I can promise. How do I know? Because God says so:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (the message translation)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure everything out on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.

My mantra for this past year, and for years to come.




Friday, May 18, 2012

God's calling: its never about us

After I fearfully hit the "publish" button on my first posting here on Wednesday morning, I was shocked at the mix of emotions that overcame me. I felt scared, nervous, excited, committed (is that an emotion? Well, It is now..) joyful, hopeful, euphoric, but mostly scared for some reason.  So I decided to go on a run to help ease the anxiety and nerves that were flowing through me at a million miles an hour. Running is my outlet. It helps calm any bad feelings I have. It's the best prescription for ANYTHING, in my opinion. But that's a whole nother posting all together. So I took off for a run on this Wednesday afternoon and as it usually happens, God started speaking to me on my run.

To be more specific, God started revealing some things to me about what this blog is going to do. Some of those things I'm not yet ready to share, because I really don't think I can put into words what he was showing me (and its probably because I'm not supposed to yet), but there is one thing in particular that He showed me that I feel is important to talk about this early in the game: He showed me is that the relationship between us is going to get really intimate. We are going to get to know each other REALLY well.  In the least, you will get to know me really well.  It is my prayer that throughout this journey, I also get to know each of you better and better. We are building a community.  For whatever reason, you are being drawn to follow and read what I have to say. And if that' s the case I want to be fully open and honest with you from the get-go.

I want you all to hold me accountable to this relationship.  God is doing something here, and its sooo important that it keeps on going. No matter what. In order to maintain this, I need to be consistent and reliable to you. So I am committing to posting three blog entries per week. It has to be something that you can expect and trust in - like your morning newspaper flung on your doorstep every morning.  You know its going to be there to read with your cup of coffee. I pray that this blog ends up looking kind of like that in its own unique way.  That may sound silly, but I'm being totally serious. What is the point in me starting this with the intention of it being a blessing, if its no longer a blessing to you anymore because its unreliable?   I know that keeping this online journal/blog thing is going to be challenging and not so fun at times for me, but its not about me. Its never about us. Its always about God.  I read something about that last night in Follow me to Freedom. 

"I often have to remind myself that what I'm doing is God's work, not mine.  We have a God who enters the world through smallness --a baby refugee, a homeless rabbi, the lillies and the sparrows.  We have a God who values the little offering of a couple of coins from a widow over the megacharity of millionaires.  We have a God wo speaks through little people -- a stuttering spokesman named Moses; the stubborn donkey of balaam, a lying brothel owner named Rahab, an adulterous king named David, a ragtag bunch of disciples who betrayed, doubted and denied; and a convered terrorist named Paul." Pg. 61

History has proven that God uses the most seemingly insignificant of people to make the biggest impacts. But its never about us - it cant be.  Its always about God and His plan. We cannot take the fame or the glory. God doesn't seem to be a fan of that at all. We are simply his vessel, his hands and feet, to carry those blessings out. I feel like this is important to sit on for a moment.  He is showing me that through this avenue of writing it IS going to inspire others to dream bigger.  It IS going to encourage someone (hopefully many someone's) to boldly come to His thrown and pray for something insanely large with their mustard-seed sized faith and see it actually happen, it IS going to cause some to change the way they view God and how He can show up in their lives.  But, It has to remain about what He's doing and for me to remain consistent to just keep writing.

 Thats my accountability soapbox rant.

I want to leave you with the lyrics from my absolute favorite Jesus Culture song: Come Away. Its been stuck in my head for these past few days, and I definitely don't think its by coincidence. It just so happens to also be the song that launched our church 6 months ago. It beautifully describes God's heart for each of us (no one is excluded), and what He has in store for us if we just open our hearts to Him.  Its different than most worship songs Ive ever heard in that it is written/performed from God's perspective. A very unique and thought provoking song.  If you haven't listened to it, or if its been a while, I strongly encourage you to listen to it with expectation and really believe it.

Come away with Me, Come away with Me
It's never too late, it's not too late
It's not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It's gonna be wild
It's gonna be great
It's gonna be full of Me

Open up your heart and let Me in.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The meat and potatoes..

I want to start off by saying that blogging totally freaks me out. Like, scares the living daylights out of me.

My thoughts and feelings toward blogging and online journals up until a few weeks ago were as follows:

"You mean to tell me that people actually enjoy that anyone and everyone can read your thoughts, dreams, ideas, goals, worries, fears and all of the other ins-and-outs that make you, you? Wheres the enjoyment in that?! I'm perfectly comfortable lying at the foot of my bed, journal open, pen in hand, writing for hours and getting lost in conversations with God - just between Him and I.  Maybe I would let my future husband read through them one day. These pages are definitely for my kids one day down the road so they can get a good laugh or two at how silly their mom was growing up. But the purpose of my journals are mostly for me to reflect back on in 3 months, 6 months, a year from now to see how God answered prayers and romanced me in the most intimate and personal of ways. That is comfortable and safe to me.  Yep, that sounds good."

But thats just the thing that drove me to begin this blog - I was comfortable.  I know its a weird thing to say, but being comfortable in my life is beginning to disgust me. Seriously, though. I believe God calls us to be uncomfortable; to be pushed out of our comfort zone.  Why? Because its been in my uncomfortability that I've been able to see God work in massive ways and pour out blessings beyond measure. I was on the phone with my best friend the other day and we were talking about the crazy things that God is doing in our lives. I started telling her some big things that are coming up in the next few months for me that I feel that God is directing and opening up doors in, but it makes me sooo nervous (Don't worry, I will spill the beans on all of the specifics in due time). Her response was simply that that she feels like I get nervous alot, but once I get over it and find the courage to follow through with those things, that's when I start to see God really begin to move in crazy, huge, and beautiful ways. I was tempted to be insulted at first, but after I thought about it, I could not agree more.  She's right; I DO get nervous alot.  Maybe that's something I need to work on. I don't really want to be remembered for my fears.  But as long as I have the courage to carry out those things that God is pushing me toward, I am confident that I cannot be defeated. God wants to push us to the seemingly impossible.  To those things that are so crazy for His Kingdom that we would crash and burn if He DIDN'T show up. I dont know about you, but I want to live like that: to see the impossible happen. To change the world. I have crazy plans and ideas, and I have no clue how its all going to happen, and thats ok. I just need to be obedient. I guess what Im trying to say that the way God is showing me that I am going to begin changing the world is by beginning this blog and getting my words out for you to read. I know, it sounds crazy.  But just trust me with this one...

The heart behind why I want to start writing more publically is to be a blessing to others. That said, a blessing is always meant to be shared. It is meant to move forward and be passed along so that it can then flourish and impact others. Thats the real purpose of ministry, according to Shane Claiborne (From his book Follow Me to Freedom. Amazing book. Check it out). I can align behind him on that one. 

That said, I am going to need your help. First, follow my blog.  If a particular blog entry blesses you, I need you to do me a favor and share it. How? Simply hit the "share" button on my facebook newsfeed of that particular blog entry, and encourage your friends to read it. Or, just keep it in mind when your talking with a friend who may be going through something that would benefit from reading one of these posts. Pass it along; pay it forward.  My words do no good cooped up in the diary on my bed, neither do these posts do any good if they remain unread.  Share and bless others.

The purpose of my blog is to share my heart out to whoever I am called to minister to in words.  Its to show love, to encourage, to push, and to laugh with me on this journey of life.  Its to share things that God is up to, what He's teaching me in the most unconventional of lesson plans, and simply to share life together with you. I will forewarn you, its going to get random.  I have a feeling that no two posts will look alike, or follow the same theme.  That's part of the fun - never knowing what to expect :)  But at the same time, It is my hope that this blog gets FILLED with prayers, and just as many answers to prayer. 

Shout out to my dear friends Nicole, Brooke and Earl who are lovingly pushing me in the direction of the public eye with my writing.  Even through all of my excuses, I came out of our 1st SL2 Writing Group this past Saturday with this encouragement carved into my heart:  "Just start writing, God will show you the purpose and direction you are to go with it in the process. Enjoy the process". So here goes nothing.