I've Moved!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The suns rays have just begun to peak above the horizon.  Coffee steams in mugs.  Laundry has already begun to spin, some waiting to be folded on the dining room table.  After my shower, my mind has already begun to silently race, planning the list of things to be done for the day.  The house is quiet.  Until a small voice begins to echo down the hallway,

"There is powah, powah!  Wonder, wonder, powah in da bwood..."  to the tune of Power in the Blood.

Leave it to God to remind me to start the morning walking in grace...by the power of His blood--out of the mouth of the two-year-old.

Good morning, Beloved.  

"The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness."

~Lamentations 3:22,23

Monday, October 28, 2013


Driving through my little neighborhood development, I stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways.  Oh, no.  A cop was at the stop sign the next street over, just waiting to bust somebody.  I knew it would be me...for something.  You see, I've been pulled over twice-- BOTH times in my own neighborhood.  And, you'll understand my paranoia based on the fact that the first time I was pulled over, it was because the cop thought that I wasn't wearing a seat belt...but I was.  Let's just say Little Town PD is bored.

Anyway, so here I was, paranoid because I hadn't come to a complete stay-at-the-stop-sign-for-a-full-ten-seconds-until-the-whole-car-jerks-because-your-wheels-have-stopped-turning stop (which is no big deal in the major world of driving, but to Little Town PD could be considered a terrible offense), since I noticed the cop after I had already started turning. Ugh!  I continued to drive, making my way out to the main drag of the development (driving EXACTLY 20 mph)...and he wasn't following me.  Hmm.  Next thing I knew, he was riding my tail. (He would have to have sped to catch up with me for how far I came without him following me.  Just sayin'.)  Ugh!  No, no, no!  I was frustrated.  I can't get a ticket!  I can't afford it.  My parents can't afford our insurance going up...ugh!  I was venting my feelings at my sister in the front seat. as the cop continued to ride me without turning on his lights.  "Why doesn't he just turn his lights on and get it over with???" My sister tried to soothe me, "Amy, you didn't do anything wrong.  He's not turning his lights on because he's not going to pull you over."  (Consequently, she was in the vehicle with me both times that I got pulled over, so she knows the boredom as well as I do--but since her record and bank account weren't at risk, was not nervous or paranoid like me.)  Ah, the voice of reason.  But that didn't stop me from my frantic glances in the rear view mirror.

All that to say, I did not get pulled over. Having committed no offense, that's not a big surprise.

I made a prejudgment about the cop before I had any sort of interaction with him to judge how to respond.  I automatically assumed that all cops are the same, that they are all bored, waiting to bust somebody for some petty offense.  That they enjoy ticketing people, that they like to watch me squirm over nothingness.  

I went to a Leeland concert at a church about a week ago.  Lines of kids and teens laughed loudly, pushed and shoved each other obnoxiously, waiting for the doors to be opened to get into the concert.  Some started chanting, "Let us in!  Let us in!" I just rolled my eyes and felt old.  (Yeah, almost 20--surrounded by junior highschoolers...) When I got up to the door with my conservative looking entourage we were greeted by the youth leader.

I observed him as he informed me of the concert situation...  He had shaggy, longish hair, a beard, two nose rings, tattoos on both arms, and tight denim shorts.  And he wasn't the only one.  Everywhere I looked there were adults with piercings, and covered in tattoos...many of them Christian tattoos.  I felt awkward and out of place. (Well, until the music started :P)

I prejudged them all.  

Poor dears, they haven't been informed yet.  

Oh, poor thing.  He's going to regret those tattoos once he's convicted.

Poor girl in that miniskirt!  She hasn't arrived yet.  Doesn't she realize it's not attractive anyway?

Wow.  Instead of seeing past the outside, instead of judging according to word and deed, I prejudged them based on their physical appearances.  And what's worse: I assumed that I had arrived.  That God had "enlightened" me, and that they had simply not "gotten there yet".  Ouch.  If that's not convicting, I don't know what is.

I was smug and skeptical as the youth leader got up on stage and preached Jesus.  And the opening band, lead guitarist covered in tattoos, proclaimed His name.

What was I thinking?  Anyone who preaches Christ and Christ crucified, and the cleansing power of His blood is my brother or sister--regardless of how many tattoos or piercings cover their body.  It's not my job to prejudge appearances!

My dad reminded me, "These are people that we will be shoulder to shoulder with in heaven crying, 'Holy!'  Dare we judge them because they are different from us?"

Sure, God has convicted my family of certain things.  We have our standards of the way that we believe that God would have us to live.  But when we get to the point where we want to throw our convictions and standards at everyone else and expect them to comply, or else they're not saved, is a dangerous position.

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." ~Romans 12:3

"But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."  ~Romans 14:10

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.  ~James 2:1-13 (NKJV)

Do you think that James was merely talking about the monetarily rich or poor here?  Could it be that he could also be referring to the spiritually rich and poor as well?

It is God's job to convict, it's my job to love.  Is there a time that we may need to rebuke a brother or a sister in Christ on something? Absolutely.  But each situation is to be handled carefully, correctly applying the concept of Matthew 18, and should be addressing a direct offense against the objective Word of God.

None of us have arrived.  I will continue to be sanctified until the day that I reach the pearly gates.  I have so much yet to learn, to be convicted of, to raise the standards of, to continue to be refined in the way of holiness in Jesus Christ.  How dare I try to "fix" those around me by forcing them to comply to the little that I know, when God is already at work in them?  God has called me to love the brethren and leave the refining up to Him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013



Just when I think I have it all figured out.  Just when I think I'm beginning to understand.  That word rocks my world.

It all started early one morning, October 27, 1996.  I thought I was destined to be the only child; the only love of my parents' life.  I had all my plans; yes, at almost 3 years old, I had it all figured out... til Grace showed up.

At the hospital, Daddy placed the bundle of pink into my arms.  I looked down at the little face, my arms full.  "Kiss her nose."  Daddy prompted me.  I bent over and kissed her nose; how tiny, how soft it was!  Maybe this change of plans was okay, maybe this was better than my plans...hmm...

As the years went by, she moved into my room, she learned to walk, she learned to talk, she giggled, she played.  I, being 3 years the elder, we weren't ever in the same stage of childhood.  While she was still toddling, I was reading chapter books.  When she was learning to read, I was baking in the kitchen.  

For a while, we were distant; we had a bit of hard time connecting.  It may have also had something to do with the fact that we're opposites.  She did her thing, I did mine.   I'd color in the lines, she'd create a whole creative new picture by coloring oustside the lines.  I'd be reading, she'd be playing outside.  I'd be writing, she'd be drawing.  I'd want to watch Cinderella, she wanted Feival Goes West. But as we grew older, time drew us closer.  We became best friends.  And, because of our differences, she began to teach me about her name, even though she didn't realize it. 

She taught me to laugh at myself; to not take everything so seriously.

She taught me that it's okay to talk about it.

She taught me that it's okay to be your own self; to think outside the box.

She taught me to make friends anywhere.

His plans are always better than mine.

Grace. The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. (As defined by the infamous Google)

As my binary and type A personality cannot fathom, grace is unmerited, free, and freeing.  Liberty in Jesus, no longer a slave to the traditions, the expectations of men.  No longer under the law, no longer under bondage to sin.  Freedom!  To laugh.  To cry.  To talk about it.  To be the person God created me to be, not who the world expects me to be.  To tell others about this gift.

Just when I think I have it figured out.  When I think I know what I have to do.  Grace shows up, and He just smiles.

(Yes, note the tiara, ladies and gentlemen.)

Hannah Grace,

You are my best friend.  Don't let anybody tell you otherwise; you are my bestie.  Thank you for being born on this day, October 26, 17 years ago.  Thank you for everything that you have taught me over the years.  Thank you for listening to my ramblings, for sympathizing with my tears, for dealing with my petty emotions, for just being there when I need somebody to talk to.  You have taught me about grace, God's most mind-blowing gift to mankind.  I love you, Princess.  Happy Birthday ;)


Thursday, October 10, 2013

a kiss

4am.  I wake to Tenth Avenue North, rocking next to my bed through my cell phone speaker.  Slide my finger across the screen to silence the music, and stumble...er, roll, rather, out of the bottom bed of the triple bunk.  Stumble to the kitchen; mindlessly start the coffee, and as that precious liquid starts to brew I step out into the garage and rev the engine of the grainmill.  Thus starts a typical Thursday, the day of the Farmer's Market.

So why am I writing about it?  If it has been such a typical morning, why would I bother to draw any attention to it?

I was adding flour to a batch of cinnamon swirl; the bosch mixer going round and round...that's when I felt it.  A kiss.  It came in the form of a subtle, gentle, and cool breeze.  It brushed my cheeks, caressed my forehead, kissed my lips.  I looked up.  Where did that come from?  From inside the house?!?  Then I saw.  My dad had just opened the front door. 

Here I am now.  Still in my pajamas, I confess, but I didn't want to lose my excitement befrore writing it out.  It's been in the upper 80s and 90s here; humid, stifling...  But as I write this out, I am sitting in the lazy boy next to the open sliding glass door.  I feet the warmth of the sun's beams on my feet, the cool breeze on my face.  Since we moved down south when I was about eleven, I miss more of the cool weather--my memories of fall are my fondest.  Raking Leaves, jumping into piles.  Collecting leaves, marveling at the color.

This morning, when that drift kissed my face, it all came back.

That first breeze of fall brought a gentle whisper,

Do you love it, Beloved?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

great is Thy faithfulness

My head is bowed.  What next, Lord?

I see His hand, stretched out.  "Trust Me."

God, it's so hard!  I'm afraid.

"Trust Me." The hand does not waver.

I look up and see love personified.

"I will never leave You.  I love you."

My hand quivers...until it comes to rest in His.

You have always done as You have promised.

You have always been there; You've never left me.

You are faithful.

Jesus, I'll trust You.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! 

I have been listening to this song recently, my favorite rendition by Chris Rice; pure guitar, violin and vocals, peaceful and worshipful.  It is such a beautiful reminder to me, as I navigate these treacherous waters of life that He is faithful.  When I am tempted to take control, to try to manipulate situations, relationships, decisions or whatever, I am reminded that He has promised that He will take care of me.  And He always does what He promises.  He is faithful; He promises that He will make my path straight if I trust in Him.  He will give me the desires of my heart IF I delight myself in Him.  If I commit my way to Him, my plans will be established.

Many times I find that by trusting in Him, delighting in Him, and committing my way to Him, I begin to focus on His way, His desires--and they in turn become my own.  Sometimes, though, it's hard to let go.  But that's when I remind myself of His promises, and that He is faithful to do that which He has promised.  That He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it...even if it hurts, I know that He knows what is best for me, and best for His kingdom; I will rest in that.