Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Fear

As I sit and look at those words, I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t. A year ago, I would have laughed at them. I lived in a constant state of fear. Fear of failure. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. Fear of letting down those I cared about. Fear of the unknown.

And then came Serbia - the beginning of an amazing journey that continues to change me day by day. I have grown so much that I only recognize glimpses of who I was a year ago today.

Today I look at those words, and I realize how far I have come. I realized it a few weeks ago when our church was talking about their new ministry to the Home of Love in India. It wasn’t a feeling of, “Wow. That’s cool. Not me.” It was a spark that told me that it might be me. And, I was okay with that.

I realized it last week when after facing a really long and trying day, I came to the conclusion that I have to be happy with myself. I have to stand by what I believe to be right – and that is enough.

No fear. It’s a new sensation. It’s one that I kind of like. I am still amazed by it.

My heart is a little sad this week. I miss my Serbian friends, and the incredible hospitality of the country. I miss the kids and the fun camp activities, and the heat…well, maybe not the heat…but you get the idea. :) Mostly, I miss the relationships – both with students and others at camp as well as with our own team. Like with any trip, even though our team has tried to stay connected, it is difficult with jobs and life, etc… The plan is to return to Serbia next year. I can’t wait. No fear.

And who knows…maybe one day I will be headed to India. I am excited about the prospect, but I am not afraid. No fear. Can you believe it? No fear!

I am so thankful for my Serbia team. They were patient. They loved me when I didn’t even know who I was. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I will be forever in their debt. Forever.

I love the new me, and I can’t wait to see where God will take me. I only hope that I can continue to walk - and to grow – with no fear.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A friend introduced me to 5 Minute Fridays through her wonderful 5 Minute Posts, and I have been intrigued by the concept. Today is my first attempt, and although I am not sure I will get all the linkage right, you'll get the idea. :)

The Gypsy Mama gives you a topic for the day and you write for 5 minutes on that topic. No editing, no tweaking. That's going to be hard for a perfectionist like me, but here goes. :)

Wonder (Go!)

Wonder is something I don't think I have enough of. It is something I long for though. We always hear about the wonder of a child, and it so cool when we truly see that look of wonder in their eyes.

I think God calls us to wonder. He wants to consider what Heaven will be like and what it would be like to have just a little bit of Heaven on Earth. He is the God of wonder, and I think a lot of times we miss it because we try to put Him a box that we can understand. He is so much bigger than that.

I sometimes wonder if I will ever be the person that I am supposed to be. If I will ever be able to shed the mask and be who I am and not be worried that it is not enough. I wonder if I will ever be confident.

I wonder if I am being a good parent, and spouse, and assistant.

I wonder if I am too caught up in things that don't matter.

I wonder about a lot of things, but it typically isn't the wonder of anticipation. It is the wonder of "if". I could do with a little more wonder...


Ok. I really wanted to finish that last sentence, but I guess you will just have to "wonder" what I was going to say because if nothing else, I am a pretty good rule follower. :)

In the Midst

In the midst of the difficult days...God is there.
In the midst of the anxiety...God is there.
In the midst of relationships...God is there.

It is so easy for me to get lost in the moment and be distracted by the circumstances - to lose sight of God in the big picture and to forget that God is always "in the midst..." It's like having spiritual ADD.

This week was one of those weeks. I found myself exhausted on more than one occasion because I lost sight of God in the equation. And yet, God was with me in the midst of every situation I encountered. He promises that. Verse after verse of the Bible tells us that He will not leave us. He will provide for us. He will be our strength. Those are amazing promises.

On more than one occasion this week, I also found myself longing for the shelter of God, and He was always there waiting. I saw Him in the blog of a friend, in a difficult conversation, in an encouraging smile, and, I met with Him in a much needed time of prayer.

I am so thankful that even in the midst of my spiritual ADD, God is always in the midst of my circumstances and waiting for me to let Him lead - and as I allow Him to lead, I find peace in the storm.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today has been quiet. As normal as that may or may not sound, it is unusual for me. I took a little time at work to reorganize and catch up on some of the back burner tasks that tend to taunt me on my busy days.

I am a huge fan of organization and all the cool file folders, notebooks, boxes and general stuff that goes along with it. So today, armed with pretty new folders I conquered my overflowing inbox. And, it brought peace. I like that.

Driving home today, I was overwhelmed with a sense of blessing. Not because of the file folders or the clean desk, but because of the people that come around that desk on any given day.

Take my friend, Becky. She is the Women's Ministry Director at PCC. When I look at her, I see a glimpse of a woman I have read about in Proverbs 31.

And then, there is my friend, Melanie. She and her husband are adopting two adorable little boys from Haiti. When I look at her I see the heart of a mom who is sacrificing her comfort zone to make a difference in the world.

Take Chris. Chris has come through some very difficult situations - situations that could have destroyed her, but she has turned those hurtful places over to God and is now helping others to grow. When I look at her I see a prayer warrior.

Next is Natalie. She is our Director of Care Ministries. I can't even imagine dealing with the situtions she deals with on a daily basis and yet she always has a smile. I see in her a balance of wisdom and mercy that this mercy challenged girl could learn from.

I could go on and on. God has given each person on our ministry staff unique gifts and talents. These gifts not only work to shape PCC, they are glimpses into the heart and character of God.

I am blessed to work this amazing group of people - guys and girls - and I am thankful for days like today when I can be quiet enough to savor the gift I have been given in them.

Yes. I am blessed. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A First

Today is a rather unusual day for me. I am taking a "personal day". It's not a vacation day -not a sick day - not a day so that I can attend a field trip or stay home with a sick child. I am taking a mental health day.

I will admit that I feel a tinge of guilt for slacking. I have things in my "to do" basket at work and e-mails to get out, but yesterday I felt like I hit a wall. I knew it...and others picked up on it too. (It's been awhile since I've had to own up to being a hammer. :) ) Anyway, I felt like a "donkey on the edge", but instead of Donkey, I was feeling more like Eeyore.

I had let my responsibilities as a wife, mother, employee and friend - added my chronic pain and fatigue - drain me of my peace. I had done it. Overloaded schedules abound, and (although I have been doing better) I haven't been doing a very good job of sitting at the Master's feet and resting in His peace.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

I am not sure where I came across this verse this year, but it seems to be an underlying theme in my life right now. It has appeared in almost every book I have read, and it seems every speaker I listen to has referenced it. I am thinking God may be trying to tell me something. :)

So today, I am going to step back and ask God to replenish my spirit. My life runs hot - hotter than I would like at times - and because of that I have to be sure that the things that I put my energy too are life sustaining. Sometimes that decision is one of better vs. best because often all the things set before me are good. I just need to step back...and breathe...and follow. Follow the one who leads beside the still waters, refreshes my soul and guides me along right paths.

Today is one of those days, and I'll be honest. I am loving it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


It's amazing what can happen in the course of a year. Last year at this time, I was preparing to leave the US for the first time to visit Serbia, a country I knew very little about. I can't even begin to describe to you the insecurities that I had going into that trip. Many were personal. Some were based in ignorance. Most were unfounded. All showed my lack of faith, although I would not have admitted that then.

My trip to Serbia was truly nothing short of AMAZING. I made some wonderful friends whom I miss terribly. The country was beautiful, and their food is WAY better than ours. I became a fan of Jaffa Cakes, and Serbian pizza. And I learned a lot about myself. I came back with an entirely new reality. (...and a few Jaffa Cakes. :))

The plan was to return to Serbia this year, but that opportunity has been postponed until 2012. I thought I was okay with it, because it would give me more time to save to cover the trip expenses. But this week, I realized in a new way how much that experience expanded my world view.

I had always heard that once you have had a cross-cultural experience, it changes you. I just didn't realize how much until I found out recently that two members of our Serbia team are headed to the Dominican Republic next month with another team. And...if I am honest, with myself and with them, I am a little jealous. The trip is different. It is shorter, and the work to be done is totally different. But, I now know what an incredible experience this will be for them. I know a little of what I will be missing by staying home, and I am a little sad.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled for my friends. I know that God will use this trip in a mighty way for them. There is just a part of my heart that longs to board that plane and learn some more - to experience more of life outside of the US - to build relationships with people of a different culture - to grow in my faith and share that experience with others.

It's a 180 from this time last year. And it is a positive 180. If I had known then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of stress. But I think it took that experience to help me grow into the person I am today. Kind of like a butterfly breaking out of a cocoon.

I still have my moments when I revert back to the safety of pre-Serbia; but those moments are fewer, and I am excited about that. I am so thankful that I was obedient to God's call to go. I will never be the same. And, that is a good thing. :)