Psalm 30

There is something so incredibly holy about this day for me! Three years ago on Jan 12 the earthquake hit in Haiti. I remember wondering if my friends were ok and so much more!

I remember getting a phone call two mornings later (this date three years ago) from a friend! I remember her telling me that Ben was confirmed dead. I remember standing outside and crying together! I remember walking into the refectory and not being able to get the words out as our new friends asked if we had any news!

But what I remember most was the worship that my small group planned and led that evening. It was such a holy worship filled experience. I remember walking into the chapel as Ben’s version of Psalm 30 piped through the speakers. I remember goosebumps as we sang the song “Freedom is Coming!” Little did we know that it was one of the most influential songs in Ben’s life! I remember feeling a sense of peace as I was surrounded by old and new friends!

To this day, Psalm 30 holds a special place in my heart. Psalm 30 reminds that life does come out of death. Psalm 30 reminds me to continue to pray for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Psalm 30 reminds me that God does eventually take our mourning and turn it into dancing!

Mourning into Dancing

Three years ago on this day,I remember sitting at the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event with my small group that day. We began our day listening to music from Ben and Jon Larson. Sitting in that room, we strained to listen to the words “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive!”

Later that afternoon, the news broke about the earthquake! Little did we know that ours and so many lives would be changed that day! I am thankful that I was with friends on this day as we mourned and grieved together!

Three years later there is still so much to do in Haiti! May we always remember and never forget! For I truly believe that God will one day turn our “mourning into dancing!”

The Resurrection; Here and Now!!

My cup is absolutely overflowing today!!!! I think so often it is simply so easy for life to get in the way! We get so caught up in the busyness of life that we can so easily see the darkness in our midst but we have a hard time seeing the light. This weekend has been absolutely full of light for me! Yesterday with about 500 other people, I witnessed new love…and new joy at the wedding of my friend Renee. Now some of you, my blog readers, know her story but others of you may not so I’ll give a quick snippet. Renee, Renee’s husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were all in Haiti in January of 2010 when the earthquake hit! They were all seperated and Ben lost his life in the rubble. Ben spent his last moments of life singing! Over the course of the past two years, Renee and Jon have found their way to each other and formed a new love! This to me is light! This is the Resurrection in our midst; here and now!

Then yesterday morning I met up with a good camp friend over Breakfast. As we were visiting, she was telling me about her foster child. She does “parent support” fostering. As many of you know, it is something I have been praying about and thinking about for a little while now! I couldnt help but smile and think about how smart the Holy Spirit is; showing me another opportunity. More light…more Resurrection in my midst here in now! Then later that afternoon, I Skyped my mom for the first time! So much fun to see the light in her as she saw me and got to talk to me at the same time! Perhaps the Resurrection in my midst yet again?!?!

This morning I went with a good friend out to the church Renee serves at. We met up with another camp friend and her family who recently moved to town. The church is on the campus of the youth correctional center. We gathered with the boys and girls who are currently staying at YCC! I couldn’t help but wonder what their stories were! While at Heart River, I got to hear a dear Diaconal sister preach (She preached a rockin’ sermon that inspired this blog today!)More signs of light….more joy….more of the Resurrection in our midst here in now!

The weekend isn’t even over yet. I will get to see college friends later this afternoon who I havent seen in forever! We are gathering for an adoption benefit for a college friend and her family who are adopting from Bulgaria! I am sure I will see more light…more joy today!

Hard not to see the Resurrection in this Easter season as I look around this weekend yet it also is so easy like the gospel story we heard from Mark last week to be afraid, to let fear creep in, to doubt, and to see the darkness. May we spend more time always looking for the Resurrection in our midst! And in the midst of seeing the Resurrection, may your cups begin to overflow with love, joy, and countless blessings!!

Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Remembering Two Years Later….

It seems hard to believe that it’s only been two years since the Haiti earthquake happened. I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when the events of that day and week unfolded. I was a small group leader at the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event in Gettysburg PA. We began that morning talking about prayer (if I’m remembering correctly) and one of the girls in my small group shared one of Ben and Jon Larson’s songs. Little did we know that hours later the earthquake would hit in Haiti. And then only two days later would we learn that Ben was gone! And as I think back to that week, I am fully aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the midst of this tragedy.

Today Ben’s wife/my friend Renee and Ben’s cousin Jon are in Haiti; walking with the people of Haiti, that still two years later is trying to rebuild. I began my morning this morning listening to Ben’s version of Psalm 30. Even after his death, Ben still sings! Ben’s words are still heard! Today has been a busy day; conference meeting, conference call, etc, I find myself  FINALLY just taking a moment to reflect and remember Ben and the other 300,000 people that lost their lives that day. I cant help but think of Ben’s words, “God’s peace to us we pray.”

May God’s peace be granted to all of us! May God’s light shine during this season of Epiphany!

Living Lutheran: Trying to Figure Out How To Respond in the Midst of Varying Opinions?

I frequently like to read www.livinglutheran.org! It is a great website that declares our Lutheran heritage and has many different views on world events etc. Recently my friend Renee was featured in a video on their page about “Resurrection Faith.” What an amazing witness to God’s grace, love, and mercy!

Today I happened to be checking out this page when I came across an article about Bin Laden’s death from a personal blog that was featured on this website. The author talked about how people weren’t celebrating Bin Laden’s death but rather our defeat over him. (You can find the article here:http://www.livinglutheran.com/blog/2011/05/celebrating-our-enemys-defeat.html)Now that makes sense to me. However I still am having a hard time wrapping my head around all of this. As a woman called to pick up her basin and towel, I know that God has called me to wash the feet of all God’s people. Now I’m not saying that Bin Laden’s feet should be washed because Im not even convinced that he should have been allowed to live on this earth. But what I do know is that God often reached out to the lost, the least, and the lonely among us. How would he choose to react? What I am also saying is that I don’t believe that hate or even joy or celebration is the way for us to react. It seems to me that hate only feeds off of hate and creates more hate! What does that do for us in today’s world? Is that what the Resurrected Jesus looks like?

I understand that people need to celebrate their enemie’s death and I will let them do that. I don’t hold that against them at all! I just can’t choose to do that myself! I understand that we all have varying opinions on this subject but for me it is not about the death of this evil one or the victory over this evil one but rather for me its about choosing love over hate, forgiveness over holding a grudge, peace over violence, etc!

We Are The Lords

Romans 14:8; “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords.”

I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot lately. I think of Christina Taylor Green the young girl who was killed in Arizona. I think of Ben Larson and the people who died last January in the Haiti earthquake. I think of my cousins two little babies. I also think of those that are battling cancer and other illness. It seems every day I hear another story that reminds me how blessed I am to have good health, good insurance. But yet these individuals remind me of why this verse is so AMAZING! You see,things happen in life that we can’t explain or understand. We still ask that age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But the beauty is that God loves us so much and in this verse, God reminds us that we are God’s beloved children and that we will always be God’s children. God will never leave us or forsake us (despite how hard we may try to escape him when we cant understand why this or that is happening to us or our loved ones!)

My newsletter article focuses on this Bible verse. Check it out at the link below!Romans 14:8 Post This verse is an amazing reminder for us all!

Remembering…..

It is 11:30 pm on Thursday evening January 13th. Tomorrow is January 14th; two days after the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Now you are probably wondering why that is such a significant day but the morning of the 14th was the morning I along with many others received the news that Ben Larson had been killed so this day is also a sad anniversary. However I am reminded of the beauty of the worship service my small group put together for that evening. Little did we know that the songs we chose, the service, etc would honor Ben’s life. You see at the beginning of the two weeks we were given which night we would lead worship. It just happened that my small group got Thursday evening Jan 14th. As we prepared for this day, we decided to do a service based around MLK Jr Day since it was on Monday etc. One of the girls decided we should sing the song “Freedom is Coming” because she liked it. We picked the MLK Jr Service out of the “This Far by Faith” hymnal etc. My group was ready to lead worship but then Thursday morning came and we received the news about Ben. Many tears were shed that day. I remember one of the girls letting me cry on her shoulder. That afternoon as we were preparing for the worship, we decided to play some of Ben’s music as a prelude as people were entering into the chapel. We also would tie Ben, MLK Jr, and the Diaconal Community all into one as we explained why we chose that service. The song we played was Ben’s version of Psalm 30. Then we entered into worship, we sang, we danced, we worshipped. Then later the next day, we found out that one of Ben’s most influential songs in his life was the song “Freedom is Coming.” Talk about a Holy Spirit moment! I am forever grateful for all the people gathered on that night in the small chapel at LTSG. I was blessed to know Ben and am glad that he made my friend Renee so happy. So tomorrow I will remember with fondness that worship service. I will remember listening to Ben’s version of Psalm 30 and will probably play it a few times tomorrow. I will always hold that service in my mind as a special worship I experienced in my life and I am thankful to all those that experienced it with me. It still gives me chills even just thinking about it!

The Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

Well today is January 12, 2011. Today is the one year anniversary of the earthuake that shook Haiti. I can’t help but think of them today. I think especially of my friend Renee, her husband Ben, Ben’s cousin Jonathan and their families. I also can’t help but think about where I was that day. I remember sitting in small group on Tuesday morning Jan 12 listening to one of Ben and Jon’s songs during my small group at the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event. That day is a day forever stuck in my mind. It seemed so impossible that this could happen to friends. Today I wasn’t sure how I would feel but I find myself remembering that day and praying for the people of Haiti.

This morning was an unusual morning for me. I hardly ever wake up before my alarm but at 7 am this morning I was awake and had a hard time falling back to sleep for about another hour or so. (The church office doesnt open until 9:30 am) As I lay in my bed, my mind kept returning to a year ago but it also made me think about all my friends scattered near and wide. You all are so important to me!

May we continue to pray for all those shaken by the events of a year ago today now and always! And in the words of Ben Larson, God’s Peace to us We pray.

Moments that I Cant Seem to Shake or Forget

Our lives are made up of moments….moments that are forever captured in time. Sometimes those moments are happy moments, Sometimes those moments are sad moments, sometimes those moments are joyful moments etc. I remember the moment I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. There are the moments that I treasure spending with my friends and family. And then there are those moments that I can’t seem to forgot about, no matter how I try. I think of Representative Gabrielle Giffords as she and many others were shot yesterday in Arizona. But the one moment that I think of is last January and the Haiti earthquake, realizing I had friends there. As we remember the Haiti earthquake this week, may we remember all those who lost their lives there…the Haitian people, my friend Ben Larson, and so many others. This Wednesday Jan 12th, the one year anniversary of the earthquake, take time to tell those you love how much you love them. And in the words of Ben Larson,” God’s Peace to us We pray.”

A Good Samaritan and a New Year

So today has been a crazy day. As blizzard one came to an end and before the start of blizzard two, I decided to venture down the block to the local CVS to grab a few items. On my way there, I got stuck! YUCK! Luckily a gentlemen stopped to help me but in the commotion, I locked my keys in the car with my CAR STILL RUNNING AND IN REVERSE!!!! I called the locksmith and waited an hour for him to get there. Luckily the kind man let me wait in his van. Tonight so happy to be back in my nice warm apartment and soooo soooo soooo thankful that there are still Good Samaritans out there. (I was actually shocked by the number of people who stopped to ask me if I needed help!)And so after today, I am glad for a new year to begin!

I can hardly believe that the end of 2010 is coming to a close tonight. Wow…2010 has been a year filled with so many emotions…happiness, sadness, joy, pain, etc. 2010 begin with the earthquake and Haiti and finding out that my friend Renee, her husband Ben, and Ben’s cousin Jonathan were in Haiti during the earthquake. Renee and Jon made it out but Ben was killed during the earthquake. So glad I was with WTS people during this time and also am thankful for the many people who surrounded us during these difficult days. There has not been a day when I haven’t thought of Ben, Renee, Jonathan or their families. Myfriend Sarah was also in Haiti but wasnt in the direct hit of the earthquake. So glad she was safe too! I also got to spend some time with my mom this summer sharing why CCM is one of my favorite places in the world and means the world to me. Life at work was busy and crazy but oh so good….so happy to still be in a place where I feel my gifts are so used there. 2010 also was spent with dealing with the many churches etc who have left the ELCA because of the homosexuality vote. It has been so difficult but I for one am thankful for the gift this vote was for my friends who have long awaited this. So much has happened this past year, but I am ready to put it in the books. I hope that 2011 brings you all happiness, prosperity, peace and joy! I also look forward to seeing what 2011 brings us all…maybe Ill finally meet my Mr. Right!!! 🙂 I am ringing in the New Year in my apartment; probably watching Carson Daly or Ryan Seacrest. Im not venturing out after my adventure this afternoon!Happy New Year to my blog readers and my dear friends!!!!