Sunday, January 5, 2020

More Questions Than Answers

On January 1, I shared that I felt by this point in my life I would have "more answers than questions."

I also confessed that fear has stopped me from blogging. The Lord has forgiven me for choosing fear and by faith I sit again at my computer, waiting to see what the Lord has to say today. When I start my time with the Lord, I start with a prayer asking Him to meet with me and then I turn on music. I usually choose a "suggested" playlist of worship music, then ask the Lord to give me a song to focus my thoughts on Him.

Today, the first song was "Weep With Me" by Rend Collective. I was about to skip it, the sound is a little melancholy. However, I decided to listen. The third line is "I don't need answers, all I need to know is that you care for me...Lord I will wrestle with your heart but I won't let You go." (deep breath)

There you go, it is okay not to have answers (always). Some things we will release to the unknown. We choose to trust that God cares for us and rest in that truth. Yet, some things may be worth wrestling for. I am now content in having more questions than answers. How about you? Can you rest in not having the answer you desire? And if you are still restless will you persevere in seeking God, waiting for His answer? (Genesis 32:26)

We went to Canada this last weekend and toured the Parliament. This stained glass window "happened" to catch my attention (happened in quotes, since I am thinking there is purpose in every detail...another blog!). It says, "Great effects come of industry and perseverance."

I believe as we persevere in seeking God, He will allow us to be content in the unknown, or He will call us to persevere until He "answers" us. Either way, there is a "great effect." We will be closer to His heart, and isn't that our true longing? Ask away dear one, more questions than answers, what a good place to rest.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1 - Starting Anew

I've been wanting to blog for a long time now.

I have a theory (so many actually...). I think God has created each of us with a longing. A part of us that can only be fulfilled with one thing. For me, I believe that longing is for our Creator, God Himself. We all have tried to fill that longing with all the things of earth, chasing the wind, and while it may temporarily feel good, that desire is left unfulfilled.

Augustine wrote: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

I also think that God created each of us with a way to commune with Him. We each have gifts, strengths, personality types, stories. For me, I connect with God most intimately when I blog. It is a process of working through a situation in my life or a desire to hear His voice or to make sense of a senseless situation. It is a time of worship and searching and resting in Him.

So why have I sat at this computer countless times just staring at that blinking cursor? To only walk away disappointed that the words won't be released from my fingers? When I shared this with someone yesterday, they suggested writing about not being able to write. I dismissed the idea. This morning though, the desire is still so strong, I figured, why not?

Why can't I write?
I don't think I knew that until I just asked myself that question, and waited for the answer...

Fear may be one of the biggest barriers in our longings being unfulfilled. By this age, I figured I would have more answers than questions, my life more "together" than falling apart, more clarity than confusion. What if I don't have anything to say, what if I say something that isn't true, what if my post is riddled with mistakes....what if (fill in the perpetual blank).

Calendar not shown :)
In my office at work is a large dry erase calendar. Each year it quickly gets filled with the details of managing an office. The week before Christmas, I order a new one for the new year. I put it up, and leave it completely blank from Christmas to the new year. I LOVE (like seriously....) having a completely blank calendar on my wall. For some, January 1st is just another day. For me, there is something fresh and hopeful about this day. The old is gone and the new is dawning. There is a clean slate and we can start anew.

How about you? How will you connect with God this year? What is hindering you? Will you take a few minutes now to sit quietly and listen. What is God revealing to you? I'd love to hear what He is telling you for 2020, I know He will meet you as you rest in Him!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lent 2019

Today is Ash Wednesday, many don't understand or even know what that means. Though I grew up attending Ash Wednesday services, having a priest press the sign of a cross on my forehead with ashes, I don't know that I fully understand it either.

I do know it is a good time to pause in my walk of faith and reflect during this Easter season. There are approximately 40 days until we celebrate the most awesome day in history. Over the years I have paused during Lent (Ash Wednesday to Easter), giving up something or adding in something. Giving up chocolate, coffee, TV, etc. Adding a devotional, scripture reading, or blogging. At first, I think my motive was to honor my religious upbringing, it's just what we did, tradition. My motive has changed over the years, truly desiring to prepare my heart for Easter, for Jesus.

A few of us have chatted in the last few days, what will we do for Lent 2019? One Lenten season, I spent an hour every day with God and then blogged about it. It was one of my most meaningful experiences and it caused deep growth in my spiritual life. It was a difficult season, but that time with the Lord brought such healing and godly perspective. I have to admit, I've been nervous about trying anything like it since. What if it isn't as meaningful? What if I fail? What if... Can I just change that right now, what if I don't seek Him? My heart can barely stand the thought of not knowing Him more.

Last night our church presented a workshop called, "The Bible Reframed, God's Story Moves us from Misperceptions to Passion." The teacher shared the story of 4 blind men and the elephant. I think there are many versions of this, and that doesn't matter, the point is one blind man feels the tail and thinks an elephant is like a whip, one touches the leg and thinks an elephant is like a tree, another the ear, another the trunk. Each blind man decides what the elephant is by what he touches. So we also, with God's Word, decide who God is based on our limited interaction. We don't see (or seek?) the whole of who God is or the truth of who He is. We are content with knowing just a small part of Him, or a satisfied with a false version of who He is based on our own experiences or what we want out of God. Yikes...

I don't take the timing of attending this workshop as "coincidence" the night before Lent 2019 begins. As I prayed last night and this morning, I asked God to show me how to spend these next 6 weeks in light of what I heard in this class. How am I like the blind men, only "seeing" God in part? What truth have I been blind to? What misperceptions do I need to release?

I am committing these next six weeks to know God more, more fully, more accurately, with more passion.  I will journal what God reveals and hopefully share some of those treasures.

There's a song playing in the background now, Simple Gospel, by United Pursuit, so good..."I want to know you, Lord, I'm laying down all my religion" ...and I will trade it for a deeper relationship with the One who already fully knows me.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Becoming Free: Love Letter

The other day a friend walked into the office with these flowers. I could barely believe it when she said they were for me! It was October 24, not my birthday or any special event to celebrate. We actually don't know each other very well, but she said the Lord clearly told her to do this. She even confessed that she wasn't feeling well and had to make a significant effort to bring them to me.

I obviously received them with great joy, the picture does not do justice to the beauty of this arrangement. The colors, the detail, the texture. I walked her out to her car (to get the brownies she also made for me!) I shared some of my story and how God was using this to encourage me. I was still a little baffled why God would ask her to do this for me. There are so many others that have a deeper need for the encouragement. I decided to spend some time the next morning and ask God what He was showing me through this gift.

Isn't this the sweetest?
Well, the next morning was October 25. My dad's birthday. My parents have passed and I have grieved the loss. A while ago, I found a folded up note that my dad wrote to me. I decided to pull it out and read it once again.  I can't remember when he gave it to me, but I am so glad I saved it.

Because of my daughters 
I have a lot to crow about! 
Dad 1:1
To my daughter Nancy
Just because
Love Dad

As I began to seek God and ask Him what He was showing me, He directed me to the song,  Nobody Loves Me Like You by Chris Tomlin. (Morning, I see You in the sunrise every morning. It's like a picture that You've painted for me. A love letter in the sky. Story, I could've had a really different story, but You came down from Heaven to restore me. Forever saved my life. Nobody loves me like You love me Jesus....)

As I pondered the bouquet, read this note from my dad, and listened to this song, the tears began to flow. I felt an overwhelming sense of God's great love for me, His never-ending faithfulness to care for me, and His remarkable provision in my life.

I realized in the last few weeks, I had slipped into looking at my circumstances first and not my God. I started down the road of comparing my life with others (warning: DON'T GO THERE!) My circumstances may not be ideal (really whose are?), but I truly believe I am right where God wants me.

My word for the year has been freedom, my heart longs to be fully free. I want to look back at this year and see how God has walked me down this road of freedom. These flowers reminded me of the full freedom I have in receiving God's love for me. He reminded me that no matter my circumstances, I am fully was like those flowers should have had a letter signed by God, just like my dad's letter. "To my daughter Nancy, just because, love God." That is FREEDOM! Living like and knowing that our Father loves us, not because of our abilities, or accomplishments, or accolades from others. Just because we are His. So simple and so powerful.

Extravagant love from a good, good Father. His reminders are all around us if we'll just look: a bouquet from a friend, the sunrise, the changing colors of fall, the majesty of the mountains, friendships, family, music, His Word (the ultimate love letter). Will you pause to look around and enjoy His love for you? Then walk in that freedom today!

Happy Birthday to my earthly father and thank you to my Heavenly Father for such a sweet reminder of your great love for me. For you were called to freedom sisters... Galatians 5:13  Rejoicing in our freedom!
I couldn't pick one favorite photo of my here are some of my favorites~

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What We Cannot See

The New Year is a time of reflection for me. I reflect back over the previous year and can see a little more clearly how things fell into place. My perspective on this side of my circumstances gives clarity. And quite frankly I can declare that 2017 is the past, not the present. Whether it was good or bad, it is over.

And now I ponder the New Year. Our pastor challenges us each year to set goals. I dug my feet in for a few years and finally submitted to the idea and gave it a try. I still am learning, but God has done some very cool things as I commit each year to Him and all that He has for me. Maybe I'll share those another day.

Right now, I want to share some wisdom a friend gave me yesterday. I shared with her that I had spent some lengthy time asking God for a verse for this year. The first two mornings of 2018 I woke early to spend time with the Lord. The first morning as I gazed out the window, there was a thick fog. I could only see maybe 50 feet out. The rest was pure white. There was no telling what was beyond. I felt like that was how this new year looked for me. I just don't know what is in store. Will it be joy? Sadness? Trials or Triumphs?

The next morning I again woke early, but even earlier. It was still pitch black, nothing at all was in sight. I turned on the porch light so I could see a few feet out, but beyond that, nothing was visible.

As I searched the scriptures, the Lord finally showed me the verse for the year. I realized that I still cling to fear at times. That I am not totally living free, though I long to. How is it possible to live free? I think the Lord is showing me that to live free, is to live by faith. Faith in the One that gave Himself up for me...

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."    ~ Galatians 2:20

After I shared this process and verse with my friend she told me a story. She had been at Cannon Beach on a very foggy morning. Now if you don't know, Cannon Beach is famous for Haystack Rock. Here is a fun picture I took this summer. I don't know if you can tell, but that rock is HUGE.

In fact I just looked it up, it is 235 feet tall. Back to the friend walked to the beach that foggy morning and took a picture of Haystack Rock. However, all that she could see was fog, it was that thick. She took the picture though because she knew Haystack Rock was in the fog, though not visible at all. She wanted to be reminded of a truth she realized. Even though she could not see what was beyond the fog, she knew what was there. Just like those two mornings I experienced, the fog and the darkness. We cannot see what is ahead, what is in front of us, but we do know Jesus is there.

This year is unknown to us. Sure we may have some plans in the works, but there is so much we do not know yet. We can speculate and worry about all that could happen, or we can fix our gaze on Jesus and ask Him to lead us through. We are equipped, armed, encouraged by all of the truth that is in God's Word for us. We know that the Lord will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He will accomplish what concerns us (Psalm 138:8). He is our Portion, our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Strength, our Hope, our Joy, our Healer, our good, good Father.  Do you see clearly now?

Am I asking us to put on happy faces and pretend life doesn't hurt? Absolutely not. That is living fake, not by faith. What I am asking is that when that "bad news" comes to us and life looks foggy or dark, that we choose to believe that God goes before us. That He sees beyond our circumstances and that He will walk closely with us through it all.

I don't know what this year has for you, for some of you, some big changes are coming that are overwhelming. You just can't see what is ahead and that may cause fear to well up. Can I ask you to join me in living by faith and not fear this year? While there is much we do not know, there is even more that we do know in Christ. This is the life I long to live, by faith in the Son of God who loves me.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Prepare Him Room

Sunday we had about a 4 hour gap in time. When you have a busy life, a gap in time can be like a gift of gold or a black hole. You know what I mean? Plowing through a long to do list feeling so accomplished or completely wasting it sitting on the couch staring at your phone.

I had a choice how to spend those few hours, my list of how they could be filled would have taken that long to write.  I feel like my life is one long undone list right now.  So what thing to cross off the list Sunday?  The first Sunday of Advent. Wouldn't it be nice if I showed you my great advent wreath I created, or to share the wisdom of a beautiful devotion.  No, I spent those precious hours cleaning out our attic.  Really, that hits about #147 on my to do list, but why not randomly select something that definitely could have waited until next summer?

The motivation for this actually came from my son. We had cut down a Christmas tree the day before and didn't have time to put it up when we brought it home. (this sounds like a bad theme in my life...) Sunday we rearranged the living room to create a space for it. We ended up with too much furniture for our small space.  I decided it would be a good idea to get rid of an old love seat that we had taken from my aunt's house when she moved to a nursing home. Daniel would not have it.  He tried every which way to convince us to keep it.  Did I mention it is missing a leg and it is white...who buys white love seats? I was getting slightly exasperated and stopped the conversation.

"We are getting rid of it, we don't need it, it's broken, and doesn't match anything else in our house." I said very matter-of-factly. Then a tear slowly escaped his eye. What in the world, why was he crying over this?

"It was Dee Dee's. I remember going to her house and sitting on this and looking out the window with Maggie (her beloved cat). I don't want to get rid of it." I hugged my son as I realized this was not about a worn out couch.

We have experienced an unusual amount of loss these last few years.  And it takes its toll.

As much as I love to get rid of stuff, he won me over. I couldn't get rid of this tattered sofa. And then the light went on for him, "Let's clean the attic so I can make a hang out room or a music room and put it up there!"

So we went up and grabbed boxes of total random stuff that needed to be tossed. We filled the garbage can with trash and the back of the car with donations. The photo here includes a few of the treasures I still need to sift through!

Some treasures from my attic :)
We ended up taking off the 3 legs that were left on the love seat and carrying it up several flights of stairs.  We spread out the carpet remnant and dusted the cobwebs away.  It's pretty "rustic", the walls aren't finished and the floor under the patch of carpet is plywood.  I have to admit though, it is pretty comfortable. It is a quiet space that Daniel loves...and calls his own.

So why am I telling you this story (besides confessing I have lots of issues)? Since Sunday I can't get the phrase out of my mind:

                   Prepare Him Room

You know the Christmas Carol: Joy to the World! The Lord is come, let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing.

Just as we prepare our homes to celebrate Christmas, with Christmas trees, lights, and decorations, we also prepare our hearts for Him.

As I think back through these last few years and some difficult moments, I can easily think that I didn't "need" the pain. Just like I didn't think we needed that old sofa. But as we prepared the attic, we noticed a perfect place for my aunt's love seat, it really fits perfectly, like it was made for that space.

And as I reflect on those words, prepare Him room...I see how He has allowed some brokenness into my life.  Some things that just don't seem to belong. If I just look at my hurts, disappointments, grief as items that are worthless, then they are just occupying space in my life, treated as trash. However, if I truly want to prepare room in my heart for the Lord, I can look at these "tattered pieces" of my life with value. In His hands, He can re-purpose my pain for His glory, creating something I can value and share.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come into our lives to take the broken and make something beautiful. May we prepare Him room, room for healing and hope and peace and joy. Clearing away the shame and guilt through His forgiveness. And as He does His work in us and through us, we can sing with all creation and marvel at the wonders of His love.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


I will lift my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

It's a funny thing. Why do we want what we don't have? If we have straight hair, we want curly hair. When it's too hot outside we long for winter. When it has been grey for too many days in a row, summer cannot come soon enough. After we place our order at a restaurant, we want to change our mind as a delicious dish is delivered to the table next to us.

I know many lonely people that long for community, and yet I find myself (one steeped in a great community) longing for some time alone.  I find guilt creeping in as I try to figure out how to escape the beautiful chaos that is my life just for a few moments.  Tonight I took full advantage of a free 45 minutes to be alone. It was glorious and guilt free!

I dropped off the kids at an event and walked one of my favorite paths, Chambers Bay.  Many of you know this route as it is one of your favorites as well. It sits on the shores of Puget Sound, with amazing views of several islands and on a good day the Olympic Mountains.

I asked the Lord to quiet my heart and allow me to hear from Him.  My schedule (or scheduling) doesn't allow for much time to exercise...well, it probably does, I just haven't figured it out.  The point is I don't exercise nearly as much as I'd like or need. This particular walk is a 3 mile circle.  It takes you along the water, up a steep hill, along the road, and then back down to the water.  The hills are challenging when you don't exercise daily!

When I came to the uphill section, I tried to figure out the most effective way to conquer it!  I figured if I just focused on the pavement right in front of my feet that I would not get discouraged by how far I still had to go.  Face down, focus, whatever you do, don't look at the hill!

But then Bebo Norman came on Spotify, with "I Will Lift My Eyes." And this face down plan wasn't cutting it, it was discouraging.  So I listened to my pal Bebo (isn't that a great name?) and lifted my eyes. There was beauty all around, the sky was blue, the trees were green, birds were flying.  It gave me perspective. The shade was a welcome friend on this 90+ degree day.

From my walk today
My journey was so much more enjoyable, the struggle of the hill lost its weight as the scenery became more of my focus. I had a new perspective, a new point of view.  You see where I'm going right?

Our journey with the Lord is similar.  We hit the pavement running in the mornings, nose to grindstone. Our view is narrow, often only "seeing" our own circumstances, our own troubles. If we lift our eyes we gain a new perspective.  We are not alone.  There is more happening in our little corner of the world than we realized.  Yes, there is sadness and trouble, but also joy and beauty!

Are you struggling? In a rut?  Lost perspective?  Lift your eyes.  Look around.  Breathe in. Pause. Breathe out. (Seriously, do it now, it really helps!) Maybe you don't want to see the uphill struggle you are facing. Ignoring it will not make it better...just sayin'. Keep moving forward friend.

Why do we want what we don't have? Maybe it is because we don't realize the greatness and depth of what is ours already. Lift your eyes and see all that is yours.

More Questions Than Answers

On January 1, I shared that I felt by this point in my life I would have "more answers than questions." I also confessed that fe...