Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Well, at least it hasn't been a whole year since I last blogged, but it has been awhile. I have neglected my writing (along with a few other passions of mine) but I have good reason for it... I have a TWO year old! As you can see above, he is the cutest most fun loving little boy in the whole wide world. (In my humble opinion.) But he also takes up a lot of my attention. But that's not the reason why I am blogging today...
Every year, at the beginning of the year we have all become accustomed making a "New Year Resolution." And every year we always seem to break them. Whether it's to lose weight, quit bad habits, eat healthier, do more in our community, exercise more, blah blah blah, they all seem to fall apart by June. So with that being said, the past few years I decided to not make any more resolutions. Why set myself up for failure? Why disappoint myself by not finishing something I've started (yet again?) But this year is different. This year i needed a change, this year I really wanted to evaluate who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are. Why? Because I'm crazy! Not really, only a little...
So here's what the Lord has been challenging me on. At one point in my life I had friendships that were so deep and intentional that we knew the ins and outs of one another lives. We did ministry together, we hung out together, we had what I like to think of as "true community." Now, 4 and a half years ago when Kirk and I moved out to Escondido I was faced with some major changes. Not only was I a newlywed, getting used to having a boy in my house all the time, but I was plucked out of my fish bowl and thrown into the big blue! I was the opposite of Nemo! It's terrifying moving to a place where you know no one and your family is no longer two minutes away. Don't get me wrong, it's the best decision that Kirk and I ever made (with God's prompting) and I couldn't imagine life without Escondido and EFCC, but here's where the struggle came in. I didn't have a job for the first 3 months or so that we lived here and we didn't have children either, so I was home, alone, while Kirk was at work. I didn't really have an area to develop relationships because I had never been anywhere where nobody knew me or my family. So I got in touch with my inner-introvert as I like to call it. (Most people who knew me in the desert would not say I am anything close to introverted, but there it was.) I was definitely lonely and really missed my friends and family in the desert so every chance we got, we were back there. Then slowly, family moved out of the desert, some friends even moved out this way, and people moved on in their life back home. It was no longer the place I needed to go to feel refreshed because I didn't have relationships like I used to there. Now don't get me wrong, the desert is still my home and I miss my Southwest family so much, even now, but things have changed.
Moving forward, slowly but surely I was able to connect with people out here, I have met some amazing people that I consider my family and could not imagine life with out them. Kirk and I have couples that we both connect to, which is super rare. And the friends that I had in the desert that are out here, truly an added bonus. We love our Esco family.
The challenge? Why am I not closer with those that I feel are my family? I love these people with all my heart, but can't seem to break through, or rather let those walls down to become open and honest about who I am. I started to ask myself how many people really "know" me. Of course people know aspects of me. There are some that I am more comfortable sharing with than others, but who is the true me? I know who I am, my husband knows who I am. But beyond that? Who are the women in my life that know my struggles? That can read me like a book? That can challenge me with out fear of offending me? The same goes for me. Who do I feel comfortable doing that with, or even allowing them that access in my life?
So what I feel God telling me I need to work on in my life is my relationships. By being intentional about who I surround myself with and also learning to be more trusting rather than scared to open my heart to others. I have a huge fear of rejection and so I suppose that's what drives me to keep most people at arms length. But I don't want to live through fear. I am a strong woman whom God has given many abilities to use to His glory.
It's been amazing seeing the confirmation that God has put in front of me, or really slapped me in the face with, because I know now that I am hearing what he wants from me so clearly that I can't turn away. The messages at church; confirmation. Leadership teams; confirmation. My husband; confirmation. And through those I have shared this desire with already; confirmation.
I really look forward to seeing how I am going to grow over these next few months. And at the same time, prepared that it is not going to be easy.I have already been on an emotional roller coaster these past few weeks and I know God hasn't even scratched the surface of what he's going to do in my life.
I share this all to ask for prayers, and through the appropriate people, accountability. Like I said, this is not a new year resolution, it's me. It's my life. And I want to honor God in all aspects of it.
I leave with this verse from The Message:
"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It has been so long since I last blogged and I feel ashamed. But that does not mean I haven't been following your lovely blogs. I've got all of my fellow bloggers on Google Reader and so that has become my only stop when it comes to blogs. And I swear, if it weren't for google reader I would be blogging a lot more because the "NEW POST" button would contantly be staring at me. I'm half way tempted to get rid of it so I can force myself to come to my blog more often... then again, that probably won't happen, I know myself to well.
As I look back on my last post I realized that so much has gone on in our lives. The most mind consuming and at the forfront of our prayer lives has been the major step Kirk has taken to become the Contempory Worship Pastor. About a week after we decided to accept the job we got the worst new possible. We found out that Kirk's pollup had returned. (If you didn't already know, a couple of years ago he found out that he had a pollup. We were told it has been caused by excessive singing, acid reflux, bad allergies and a few other things. So we changed our habits and eventually it went away, oh and he also couldn't sing for 6 months.)So you can believe that finding out that he would have to take another 6 months off of singing, in the midst of being promoted as well as launching a brand new service, was mind blowing. Well, I can't say that things have become much more positive, with the exception of finding out that instead of having a pollup he has nodes. (The difference being that a pollup is more like a blister and the node is more like a callus.) Since the node was found, Kirk has found out that he has GERD and then got Strep Throat out of nowhere! The only thing that can explain this all dumping down on us at the same time is that this is a huge spiritual attack on Kirk's ministry. You see, everything that has been happening has directly been affecting his throat. No where else, just the place closest to his vocal chords. Ugh! So the reason why I write about all of this is to say, we need prayer. We know that God has something amazing planned for the EFCC congregation thought this new transition. And although some aren't the most excited about the change, we know it is greatly needed. So our prayer is that the Lord protect him from any further attacks, to get his reflux under control and most of all prepare the hearts of EFCC for this change. God has something amazing in store for all of us and I can't wait to see what it is, I just want my husband to use his amazing voice again.
Other than that, these past few months (wow months! I can't believe I haven't blogged in months!) have been wonderful. This past weekend we spent some time away from life and relaxed with our baby boy and family. We had a rejuvinating weekend and are ready to hit these next couple of weeks head on. June 7th is the Launch of the new 11:00am service at EFCC and I am also running my very first 5k that morning. So, pray for my family, we need it! And if you see Kirk, give him a word of encouragement... he deserves it. ;)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Ok, here it is. The news that we have been talking about, yet not talking about for a week now.
Contrary to certain hopes (mainly from my mom) we are not pregnant, no, not yet.
Last week Kirk was offered a "promotion" of sorts to become the Worship Pastor for our Saturday night service and the future 11 a.m. service at our church. This week, we accepted the offer. The decision is bitter-sweet for us because we have been with Resonate since it's beginning and our core group of friends go to that service. The move offers Kirk a wider range of people to minister to and allows him to be apart of a big change that the church will be going through. We are very excited about this step in our lives and are excited about how God will use Kirk through this process.
So, there it is. I could go on and on about it, but I won't. I'm sure there are a lot of questions that people have, so feel free to ask. But most of all, pray. Pray for Resonate and the person that will be leading at that service once the change happens. and pray for Kirk as he enters into a brand new world of ministry.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
I just felt the need to share that I have recently discovered that my son is a complete Spaz! Growing up, my step daddy always called me a spaz and never understood why, I thought I was pretty normal. ( As normal as a teenager can be.) Anyway, the other day I was washing our sheets and threw my down comforter on the floor so Elijah could lay on it (he loves soft things) and he started rolling around on it. So I thought, I'm going to enjoy the moment and lay down there with him. So as I did Elijah stopped rolling and just stared at me. It was such a sweet moment. Then he started rolling around again. :)
Yesterday we were upstairs playing and he, for no apparent reason, started running around in a circle looking up at the ceiling. He babbled for awhile and then would fall to his bottom, then would start rolling around. His new favorite thing is to crawl backwards and he does it until he runs into something.
So that's it, I just wanted to share some fun events from the past week, also, enjoy the awesome photo taken by JonnyUps.com.
Also, I now understand why I used to be called a spaz and where Elijah gets it from. :)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Love. Forgiveness. Redemption. Relationship.
These are all things that I was challenged in with this book. For those who have not read it, I will provide what was written on the Back Cover:
"Mackenzie Allen Phillip's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone around you to read this book!"
This book came to me at such an amazing time in my life. Although it is a fictional story, it challenged me in such an amazing way in many areas in my life. From the beginning of this story I was in tears, just the thought of losing my child is devastating, however, they way God chose his daughter's death was absolutely incredible.
Throughout this book God is constantly challenging Mack's perception on who and what God should be. Mack also interacted with Sarayu (The Holy Spirit) and Jesus (Yeshua.) Each of the characters (weird to refer to them as "characters") in the book had a different purpose in their interaction with Mack as to break him even more of what the world has taught him about God.
The way that WM. Paul Young writes is so incredible that you feel like you are there experiencing everything the main character is. For that alone, I would recommend this book. His descriptions are so thorough and precise, no detail is left out.
There are many parts of this book that hit me at the core, one of which being the way that I relate to God. In the book God is referred to as Papa, because that's what Mack's wife calls God. I thought, what a neat way to be able to talk to God. To feel so close that you could say Papa or Daddy. To be so comfortable in your time together that you don't feel that you have to say the typical names that you have been taught to say in Sunday school.
The other is the forgiveness that not only is shown from the Trinity, but that which is learned by Mack. I think this was the biggest one for me. Why? Well for the past... well, awhile now, I have been struggling with un-forgiveness in my own life. I have experienced a lot of hurt in my child hood and have found it hard to forgive those that needed it. All within the week that I read this book I had four different challenges on forgiveness from four different venues in my life, all saying the same exact thing. So all that to say, God has been pressing on my heart to begin to let go of that anger and pain that I've held onto throughout these past years. Mack pretty much said what I felt when he was challenged to forgive the person that murdered his daughter; that he didn't deserve it, that he needed to be punished himself and that he should be the one to stick it to him. And of course Papa challenges him saying it's not his right to say whether the man deserves forgiveness or not, it's not his right to say he needs punishment and it is not his right to believe he is the only one that can "fix" this man. Whew! This book is awesome!
So overall, I thought this book was pretty amazing. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding it, so here goes my argument.
First of all, this book is FICTION!! The reason why the author wrote this book was for his family, he never intended for it to become some huge phenomenon. But it did.
Second, this is all this authors perspective. He chose to show God as an African America woman. I know right off the bat people will begin the argument that God is not a woman, women aren't even supposed to have that sort of authority over men. All I have to say is "FICTION!" No where did the author claim this to be truth and if God chose to reveal himself to us in some way, if he found us deserving enough to see him, who's to say what he really looks like. It the book, Mack claims to envision God as a sort of Gandalf looking character (side note: awesome LOTR reference.) How often have we envisioned that same thing. People claim that Jesus was a white man, which I think is ridiculous because he so clearly was not from America or was British. I can't stand seeing movies with Jesus portrayed as a white man with blue eyes and flowing blonde hair. It's so wrong, he was from the Middle East!
Third, the writer shows the Trinity as three different beings. I think for the story to have the affect that it did, you needed to show them as three different people, although they never claimed to be separate, they always claimed to be one. I don't want to argue this point too much because I don't think it's necessary, some have heard the audible voice of God, most of us need the urging of the Holy Spirit to make us move. Moving on...
The last argument that I will bring up is the one about the Ten Commandments. I have heard people say that the book tells us to ignore the commandments because they are confusing and God doesn't really care about them. Now, I'm not about to assume what the author meant when he wrote about the Ten Commandments, but what I got from is was that, God put this commandments in place because the people were worshipping idol gods and were going crazy doing what they wanted to do. I think what the author tried to get across was that, we will never be able to live up to these laws, we will never be able to attain them, there is only one who was able to do so and that was Christ, Yeshua. That does not mean that we can throw all caution to the wind and do what we want, it means we still strive to be like Christ and honor God in all we do. Just because we know we know that we will disappoint our spouses or family or friends doesn't mean we just don't have them. No, we work hard at them, we ask for forgiveness when we need to, we grow from the mistakes and we try to do better.
So, that was my assessment of the book, I hope that you do read it, even if you don't agree with it. just remember, it's a fictional story (that does not mean that God can't use it) and it is not meant to challenge your beliefs. Hopefully you can grow in your relationship with the Lord.
By the way, once you read the book, you will understand the title of my blog.
Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts.