Thursday, November 25, 2010


Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and who are my people,
that we should be able to give as generously as this?
Everything comes from you,
and we have given you only what comes from your hand."
1 Chronicles 19:13-14

I broke a tradition this year at my house. Until this year, I have been pretty set against any decorating or listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. It just seemed wrong.

Last year; however, I have to admit that I really didn't enjoy Christmas at all. It was nice, but I never experienced the peace that is supposed to be so much of what the holiday is about. We hurried to decorate and rushed from here to there, and we gave gifts (which is my FAVORITE part of the holiday - not the receiving but the giving). But the joy was lost in the to do.

This year, we have already started decorating our home (just a little bit), and I have enjoyed listening to, and singing along, with the Christmas music that some of our local radio stations have been playing to start the holiday season. And you know, that is exactly what it is...a holiday season.

As a culture we have no problem going from basketball season to baseball season to soccer season to football season. And these seasons each consist of more than one game, right? So why can't our holiday season contain more than one holiday? There is overlap in our sports seasons - just ask any mother. So why when it comes to celebrating all that God has done for us, are we so adamant that there has to be a very distinct difference. In fact, as Christians, aren't we supposed to be thankful and celebrate what God has done for us every day of our year?

But today, instead of writing a letter to Santa, I would like to write a Thanksgiving letter to God, and I would like to share it with you.

Dear God,

I wanted to take a minute or two today to thank you for who you are and for all of the blessings that you have given to me, and my family, and my friends this year. I know that we do not deserve any of them, but in your grace and mercy, you have chosen us to be part of your family, and I think that is pretty cool.

I am thankful for my family, both close and extended. I have thought many times this week about how they have impacted my life and made me the person that I am today. Some good - some not so good, but each a part of me.

I am thankful for my friends. Many of them have faced obstacles this year that I cannot imagine, and yet you have been with them, and continue to walk with them, through it all. I am thankful for that. I am also thankful that you allow me to be part of their lives. They are all unique, and I love each one of them.

I am thankful for the blessing of my home and my country. I know that I am sometimes frustrated and discontent, but I know deep down how very blessed that I am. And I know as a nation that we are not walking a path that you approve, but I am thankful for your mercy.

I am thankful that you walk with me every day. I am thankful that even in the times when I struggle, you are always there. I would like to say that I am thankful for the struggles, but I really can't. I hope that they will ultimately make me a better me than I am now; and I am thankful that you work all things for good in me as your child, but it would be a lie to say that I am thankful for the struggles themselves. Because of that, I am thankful there is forgiveness.

I am thankful to be blessed that my job is part of my ministry, and I am blessed to work with an awesome staff of people who love you and who want to serve others. I am thankful for the blessing of Eric and his leadership. I am thankful for the blessing of seeing you through his leadership and commitment to serve.

I am thankful for Amanda, Melanie, Chris, Pam, Becky, Sue, Susan, Denise and Annette. I am thankful that you have brought each of these people into my life in a meaningful way. That you have used them to support and encourage and to, at times, kick my butt, in my walk with you. I am thankful to you for the gift of their friendship.

I am thankful for Jay and the boys. Michael, Ryan and Jaron can drive me to the edge of insanity at times (as can Jay :) ), but they are gifts from you, and I am thankful for the opportunity to watch them grow and develop into the men that you have created them to be. I am especially thankful for the glimpses of maturity I see in each one of them from time to time - the promise that they are yours and that I have not totally screwed them up. I am thankful for Jay, for his love and support. For his dedication to providing for his family and to being there for us.

I am most thankful for Your Son. I cannot imagine what it was like to for You to send Him to earth to die for a people whose every inclination was to turn away from You. I am thankful for Your sacrifice. I am thankful for His willingness to die for me, and for Your persistence in drawing me closer to You. I am blessed.

Thank you for these things and so many more that are too numerous to count. You are amazing and awesome and holy and righteous and just, and I am thankful that I am Yours.


Regardless of the decor around your table today, I hope that you will take a few minutes to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday season - God's best gifts given to you. I am thankful that I can share my random thoughts with you. Your willingness to read my ramblings has helped me to process many things that until this blog I had been unable to put into words. So whether you realize it or not, you have been a blessing. And, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who am I?

Sounds like a pretty simple question, doesn't it? One would think so. And, I would think that I would be the best person to answer it; because, who would know me better than I do? Right? I wish I knew.

This has been a difficult few weeks for me. In my Points post, I mentioned that I had set out on a plan to get healthy, and it has been going really well. I have lost weight each week (although I did struggle last week) and instead of cutting back on the caffeine, I have given it up altogether. I have yet to really see a difference in my appearance (although others have said they can tell that I have lost weight) and I still struggle with my lack of caffeine. I know that very little of it is a physical struggle though, it is an emotional one.

I fully believe that I am at a crossroad - not so much with my decision to live with or without caffeine - but at a crossroad that will determine whether I win or lose this battle with insecurity. The circumstances of the last few weeks have brought me to a place where I see myself reverting to the old me. The one that disconnects and hides to avoid being hurt. The one I promised myself I would never be again.

I went for a long walk tonight, and while it was cold, it was quiet. The sky was clear and the stars bright. I had hoped it would clear my head. Instead, I wrestled with my inner demons. I know that I am a child of God. I believe with all my heart that God created me to be who I am. I believe that He has a plan for me. I am good with all of that. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that one day I will be in Heaven. Again, all good.


When I look in the mirror, I see -
  • the chubby girl - a giant who struggles to fit in.
  • the ugly girl.
  • the burden.
  • the reason for Jaron's disabilities.
  • the failure.
I share this not in a "woe is me" kind of way, but in a "this is me" kind of way. I want to live in the freedom that comes with knowing that I am loved unconditionally. I want to be secure in who I am in Christ. I want to be confident. I want to be this amazing person that I am not. I can put on the mask and sometimes see a glimmer of who I would like to be, but the real me is a mess.

I have a great support system. I am surrounded by Christian friends and family who encourage me and who pray for me and who are pulling for me to win. I am surrounded everyday with a group of authentic, talented people with whom I get to serve. I am blessed - and yet I struggle. It's crazy.

So who am I? I am really not sure, but I believe that the choices I am making right now, which road I choose to take, will make the difference between becoming who I want to be and continuing to be the girl in the mirror. It's a scary place.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kindred Spirit

Disclaimer: The views shared in this particular blog post may cause you to be concerned about the life of the author as she is this passionate about an idiom. You may wonder if she even has a life as she knows that it is an idiom and what an idiom is. She does indeed have a grammatical soap box, and this is one of the times that she will boldly step upon it. It is her hope that you will read on, though, because she has learned a very valuable lesson that she would like to share.

Definition: Someone who feels and thinks the way you do.

I think that sometimes we take the meaning of kindred spirit a bit too flippantly. We think, for instance, that because we share the same taste in coffee shops with someone else we are kindred spirits. It is quite possible, however, that maybe we just haven't been introduced to the next best coffee out there. Once that happens, we will leave our kindred spirit in the dust and find another with whom we share our deep love of coffee.

I am sure that I have been guilty of using the term in this way, but this week I believe God opened my eyes to what a true kindred spirit is. It is Amanda.

I have been friends with Amanda for several years, but recently I asked her if she would be willing to be my accountability partner. I love spending time with her. I thought that she was someone that I could confide in and learn from, and I hoped that in some way, maybe I would be able to speak into her life as well. Plus, she has 4 adorable children whom I would love to spoil, three of which are GIRLS.:)

This week we were able to spend much of Thursday together. It was so much fun. We talked about lots of things. She taught me how to make home made laundry detergent. We talked about work and family stuff. I shared some things that I had been struggling with, and then an odd thing happened. She asked me a question with such detail that I thought she had read my mind. It was something that I had never shared with anyone, and yet she knew EXACTLY. It was almost word for word the thoughts that I deal with on a daily basis. I asked her how she knew, and she said that she used to feel the same way.

This isn't the first time that Amanda has shared something with me that struck a chord deeper than I could have imagined, so I am not sure why it came as such a shock. Although in some ways our pasts are similar, in many ways they are very different. Yet, we deal with the same personal struggles - and in much the same way. Amanda truly understands who I am in my scary places - and she is still my friend. That is my idea of a kindred spirit.

I am so thankful for Amanda. Her friendship has been a blessing to me in more ways than she could possibly know. I love that we can be honest with each other. I know that she faces her own struggles, and I hope that I can be the strength for her that she needs as she has been for me. I am also thankful that she will not let me stay where I am but that she encourages me to grow.

Do we like our coffee the same way...yes, but I believe our friendship runs way deeper than coffee. It has its foundation in Christ. And, I believe that He will continue to guide our friendship as we each grow closer to Him in our spiritual walk. I am blessed to have an accountability partner, a kindred spirit, and a friend in Amanda.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Day Off

This Thursday, I will be taking my final vacation day of the year. It's not that I have a special getaway planned - or that it will actually be a "vacation" - but my youngest son doesn't have school on Thursday, so in the interest of not going to jail, I am choosing to stay home. Just kidding - kind of...

If you have read this blog before, or if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE my job. I am a ministry assistant at my church, and I believe I have mentioned a time or two that I believe I truly have the best boss in the world. :) Is he perfect? No. (Sorry Eric. :)) But he is an excellent leader, and it is a pleasure for me to serve as his assistant.

The problem with loving your job and having a great working relationship with your boss is that it can be easy to become a workaholic - something (contrary to popular opinion) that I would like to avoid.

I knew that being a pastor was a 24/7 proposition; but I never really thought that it would extend to administrative staff - and maybe it doesn't for some. For me however, it is such a joy to serve, that I can get lost in doing for others at the exclusion of some pretty important things - like home and family and friends.

I will admit that when I first realized that I would need to take Thursday off, I was frustrated. Having a limited number of days off can make one quite particular about how those days are used. I had visions of using it to get away and do something special - maybe take a trip, or spend the day shopping, or spend some needed quiet time by myself. Pretty selfish, huh?

The more I thought about it though, I started to embrace it for what it should be. A day to be at home. A break from work. A day to spend with my own personal SpongeBob who has a day off from school.

I often remind my children of the following:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
since you know that you will receive
an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

I love having the privilege of serving in the church as my job. I love working for Eric, and I want to serve him well because I am called to do everything I do as for the Lord. But, I love my little SpongeBob, and his siblings, and their daddy, and I want to give my all to them as unto the Lord as well. They are the first priority. Unfortunately, I think sometimes the latter feel like they are lost in my ministry to do list.

So Thursday, I am going to take a step back, regroup, and try really hard to take a break from being a ministry assistant to be the mom that God has called me to be first. I already know that I have God's (and Eric's) blessing. Now it is up to me to let go of those workaholic tendencies and enjoy it. Who knows, maybe SpongeBob and I will do a little shopping. :)