Yes, No or Wait!!

Jesus will hold your heart.

These words shared with me by my friend DB are echoing in my heart, head and mind as I wonder what God is calling me to.

Am I going to meet my Mr. Right? Am I suppose to adopt?
Or do foster care?

Really I have more questions than answers these days.

I know that God hears my every prayer. But as a friend reminded me, God often says Yes, No or Wait!!

What, wait? God doesn’t always give an answer all the time. I know that but sometimes that is so hard to hear especially when you are waiting for God to answer your prayer. I want an answer other than simply wait.

We Hunger

“We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good and bad times that for better or worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for every season there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger.”–Frederick Buechner from “Secrets in the Dark”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Buechner. My call to ministry, as a Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran church in America (ELCA) is best captured in this Buechner quote “The place God calls you to be is the place where the world’s deep hunger and your deep gladness meet.”

Yes, that place where the world’s deep hunger and my deep gladness meet. The thing is, my friends, that hunger is all around us. We all hunger in some way or another. Yes, there are many who literally hunger. God calls us to reach out to them and provide food for them. I am proud of organizations like Backpack Buddies in our community where backpacks are filled with food and given to families who are struggling to get them through the weekend.

I don’t know what it is like to hunger in the way these people do. I have a roof over my head. I have a refrigerator full of food. I have a warm place to lay my head at night. I can go out and buy more food if I need too. So I have never truly experienced hunger in this way, but my friends, we all hunger…

We hunger to find that special person to share life with.

We hunger for peace to be brought about in this world.

We hunger for the end to violence and war.

We hunger to know that there is enough.

We hunger to know that we are enough!

And in that hungering, we begin to truly hear the words from Frederich Buechner because we are truly not alone. We are all alike in many ways. We all have things that we hunger for and need in our lives. We all hunger for God’s love, grace, and forgiveness. And in that promise, we know that we are truly never a lone; that we are truly never strangers.

Sunday Blessings 64, 65 & 66

Hi friends! Can’t believe I haven’t posted for a few weeks. So here’s three weeks worth of Sunday Blessings.

(1) Getting back into a workout routine

(2) A Vox from KA

(3) A shout out from my friend JN on her blog as well as a thank you note from her

(4) Texting with my friend STM

(5) A Vox from DB

(6) Being told how much of an encourager I am.

(7) Having lunch with the ladies at church after a funeral. So nice to not have to walk home in the crazy cold.

(8) A good Confirmation class

(9) An awesome DaySpring flash sale! 🙂

(10) Voxing with TM

(11) Starting a Nashville trip countdown with my sis

(12) Texting with my sis

(13) Return of FMF Twitter party after a two week break. I’ve missed these people!!

(14) NDSU four peat!! (I’m a UND fan but will always cheer for ND teams when they are in a championship game etc)

(15) Golden Globes

(16) A great YouthWorkers gathering

(17) A new nativity for my collection from my friend CT! Love it!!!

(18) A late Christmas card with a nice surprise inside

(19) A colleague calling and picking my brain for ideas.

(20) A late Christmas gift from one of my Confirmation students; a pretty bracelet.

(21) Voxing with TM for over an hour

(22) A post of mine being linked to on a friends blog. Thanks Melissa!!

(23) A couple of beautiful above zero (34 actually) days

(24) Finding some great deals at Maurice’s and using a Christmas gift card

(25) One of my Confirmation kiddos parents giving me an awesome compliment

(26) Spending time with my momma

(27) The return of American Idol

(28) A sweet message from another blogger. Thanks CL!

(29) Starbursts

(30) And so many more. (I missed some since I haven’t posted for a few weeks and forgot to post to my phone app)

Someone to Share Life With

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Share.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

Anyone who reads this blog knows how deeply I yearn to be a wife and a momma.

Now there are things that I don’t want to share with anyone.

I dont want to share germs.

I don’t want to share a half eaten piece of bubble gum.

 But my friends, I do want to share life. I want to share life with that special someone.

I want to share the joys and even the struggles of being a family together.

I want someone to hold my hand and share in my tears when I am sad.

I want someone to share laughter and love with.

I want someone who will hold my hair and wrap me in nice warm blankets and take care of me when those germs someone shared with me enter into my body.

I want to share so much but I am trusting in God; trusting in God who hears my prayers and shares the desires of my heart; who knows exactly who I am as a child of God.

I believe in this God who reminds me that God is boss and is orchestrating my life into a beautiful symphony; where every note comes into perfect harmony  with the instruments around it.

And I patiently wait for the day when those notes come into perfect harmony and God brings that special Godly man into my life who I can share life with.

Who is Boss?

Sometimes God has this sneaky way of confirming things to us, doesn’t he? The other day I picked up a devotional off of my dresser to read that day’s reading. This devotional is a book my friend Sue shared with me last August and I have been enjoying it ever since. The devotional is “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in his Presence” by Sarah Young. Each devotional reading is written from Jesus’ perspective.

And these were the words that I read that night: “Approach this day with awareness of who is boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of my sovereign presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with me, accepting my way as better than yours. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust me and thank me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you and they are good.” (Sarah Young; Jesus Calling Devotional)

BOOM!!! Mic drop!!!

Yep that is exactly how I felt when I read that devotional the other night. God whispering to me, “Do not be afraid! Trust me!” As “brave” chose me, I have found myself wishing another word had found its way into my heart and head. In fact, every time I type my one word “brave” I find myself shaking in my boots *a little* or maybe *a lot*. Yet these words are confirming to me that God is with me on this journey of being brave. God is the one who orchestrates the events of my life. God indeed knows the plans God has for me and they are good.

And my friends God indeed knows the plans God has for you too and they are good!

Here I Am Lord, Send Me!

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Send.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

“Here I am Lord, Send Me!”

Do we truly believe these words? Or do we run and hide as we say them for ourselves? Yet there is such a gift in trusting in the call to be one of God’s disciples in the world.

Earlier this week, I shared about the 5th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake and the death of my camp friend Renee’s husband Ben. Ben, Renee, and Ben’s cousin Jon were in Haiti because they had been sent their to help teach about the Lutheran church there. They were staying and volunteering at St. Josephs School for Boys when the earthquake hit. Renee and Jon somehow were able to get out of the rubble but Ben breathed his last breaths as it was believed he sang the words “God’s peace to us we pray.” Today Jon and Renee are married and both serving as Pastors. In fact, they are expecting their first child any day now.

“Here I am Lord, Send Me!”

My friend Nicole and her husband Rob were sent to Bulgaria last year to pick up their newly adopted daughter. This adoption process began over three years ago, but now their daughter is at home with them. What if they hadn’t heard the words proclaimed to them to be E’s family…

“Here I am Lord, Send Me!”

Being sent to seminary, starting my last call, leaving that call and starting this new call….were all times when I was afraid to take the next step. Yet God kept urging me to say those words and to trust him fully in saying them…

“Here I am Lord, Send Me!”

God continually calls us to be God’s Servants in the world.
God calls me…God calls YOU!

“Here I am Lord, Send Me!”
“Here we are Lord, Send Us!”

A Little Wednesday Music

A little bit of music for your Wednesday afternoon. It is amazing to me how much more aware of my #oneword365 “brave” I am aware of than I was before I chose that word as my word for the year. I recently heard this song and smiled when I saw the title. It is called “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music.

Happy Wednesday friends!

To Remember….

Remember=”to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of (something or someone from the past)”; “to cause (something) to come back into your mind;” “to keep (information) in your mind;” or “to not forget something.”

This morning I woke up and immediately began to “remember.” Five years ago today, the earthquake struck in Haiti. My friend Renee (we worked at Bible camp together), her husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Ben lost his life that day. It is believed that his last words were breathed as he sang the words “God’s peace to us we pray” and then it was silent.

I was in Gettysburg Pennsylvania that January day. I was a small group leader for the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event (all diaconal minister candidates are required to do the formation event.) My small group and I were talking about prayer that Tuesday morning when one of my students said she wanted to share a song with us. She pulled it up on her laptop and we strained to listen to this beautiful song. The song was song by Jon and Ben and talked about “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.” (The words were  words of a poem that a seminary classmate wrote). So that morning we listened to the song and than later that afternoon we found out that the earthquake had taken place. Immediately my IM box was popping up with messages from friends letting me know that Ben, Jon, and Renee were in Haiti for a J-term class and that they had not been heard from yet.

For several days after, as you can imagine, there was much confusion. On Thursday morning, one of my students and a dear friend called and asked me where I was. I told her my hotel room and she asked if she could come to me. The minute I hung up the phone that morning I knew that something was wrong. Shera came to my door and informed me that it was confirmed that Ben was gone. We cried and held each other. We proceeded to breakfast where we were asked by the rest of our group if we had heard anything. Shera couldn’t get the words out. I was on auto-pilot and all I could keep repeating was “Ben’s gone.” From breakfast, we gathered in the chapel and worshipped together. When it came time for communion, tears welled up in our eyes as we recalled the words from the song we had heard just a few mornings before “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.”

After worship, we all went to our small groups. My small group was in charge of leading worship that night. The girls decided that they still wanted to continue with our original plan; to sing the song “Freedom is Coming” etc. We made one small change; to play Ben’s version of Psalm 30 as individuals entered into worship that night. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Now you understand why this verse has become one of my faves). The next day, at the airport, we found a blog post where someone posted Ben’s sermon from his senior year at Luther College. It talked about how the song “Freedom is Coming” was one of the most influential songs in his life. (Anyone else get goosebumps. I know I did that day…and still do!)

It is hard to believe that it has been five years today since the earthquake hit. I found myself waking up this morning. My cell phone clock confirmed today as January 12th. Grief has a way of swooping in and declaring to us the date even before we realize what day it is. Today I was reminded of that again. Immediately I took a breathe and began remembering.

And throughout the day I was continually reminded of the promise of hope and Resurrection. A couple of friends texted to say they were thinking of me today. I went to start my car this morning and an envelope was taped to my driver’s side window. I opened the envelope. Inside was a note talking about how it wasn’t it much but hopefully it would brighten my day. With the note was a McDonalds gift card. Then from there, I got to spend the day with one of my dearest friends and dear colleagues as I headed to our YouthWorkers meeting. We spent the day talking about the ELCA Youth Gathering this next summer and tips we wished we knew when we went for the first time. Tonight at Curves, I shared the story of Ben, Renee, and Jon and the promise of hope and Resurrection.

And today Renee and Jon are married and expecting a baby. What a beautiful promise of hope and Resurrection! Ben’s music still lives on. (Check out the website Ben Still Sings) Another reminder of hope and Resurrection! And for me Psalm 30 especially Ben’s version will always hold a special place in my heart. It is currently playing as I type this post and it is such a breath of fresh air for my soul. It is a song that continually reminds me of the power of hope and the power of Resurrection. (However sometimes grief does sneak in and cause the tears to flow…today is one of those days)

Mourning into Dancing (Click here to listen to Ben’s version of Psalm 30)

Fallon, Kidman, and Clooney

Earlier this past week, Jimmy Fallon had Nicole Kidman as a guest on his show. The whole piece was about how he blew a chance to date her. If you haven’t watched this, you must watch THIS! (So funny! It totally is worth it to watch the full nine minutes)

And then later this week, a friend introduced me to a piece by Annie Downs. Annie’s post was totally a post that touched my heart. (Thanks for leading me to it KA!) Annie talks about how God hears us. God sees us. You can read Annie’s post here: What I Learned about God from Nicole and Jimmy

Then tonight another celebrity reminded me that it’s never too late. George Clooney got up to accept his Cecille B DeMille Lifetime achievement award. He was talking about how everyone in the room is a winner. But then he got kind of teary eyed and talked about how incredible it is to find someone to love. He then proceeded to say “especially when you have waited 53 years for that someone to love.” George’s words reminded me that God does hear our every desire and our every word. Yet that is so easy to forget sometimes especially when you ache and yearn for something SO DEEPLY!!!

And this week it was three celebrities who reminded me again that God DOES hear me. God DOES know every  desire of my heart. And sometimes God needs to send simple reminders through people I see every day but also sometimes through simple conversations from people who I love to watch on the big screen.

Thank you to George, Jimmy, and Nicole for reminding me that life is a roller coaster and sometimes you miss the opportunity if you don’t get on the ride. But most of all for reminding me that it is never to late to find that special someone to love. So I am continuing to choose to be brave and to trust in this one who indeed HEARS me!

Welcome (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Welcome.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

There is a welcome mat laying in front of my door. A simple reminder that my door is always open. And my table is always ready to welcome another friend or family member. There is always a place for them to pull up a chair to the table. These friends and family members are always welcome here,
yet there are things I still want to welcome into my life.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love babies. My arms are always open to welcome a little one into my arms and to snuggle with them. There is something so holy about holding a precious infant in my arms. At at thirty six years old, I am so ready for a family of my own. I am so ready to be a mom and a wife. I yearn so deeply and my door is always ready to welcome these people into my life. Yet God hasn’t welcomed those things into my life yet.

I know that I need to wait on God’s timing and not my own. God will welcome my deepest desires into my heart if that is what God desires for me. Or God will show me new dreams to welcome into my life. And perhaps these dreams will be welcomed as I cling to my #oneword365 for this year “brave.” This word is a word that I didn’t really want to welcome into my life, but it is the word that chose me and that God chose for me.

Being brave, I trust that God will welcome what God knows that I need.