Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Thank You!

Last night I had a conversation with a new colleague and woke up this morning with a conversation hangover.  I realized I word vomited on this new person in my life and was regretting the first impression I know I left. 

 Its not a one time occurrence either.  

I'm pretty sure I've had either a conversation hangover, or as Brene Brown puts its a vulnerability hangover on a reoccurring basis my entire life.  

I know I talk a lot.  Its not something I'm unaware of.  I have a ton of words.  When there is a lot in my head, it can often come out at once and be overwhelming to my message receiver.  In a text world I'm a "let's talk" girl.  I have too many words for a text unless I'm on my MacBook and can message you on a keyboard.  

My poor quiet husband must at times wish he were deaf, but then that wouldn't work either because I know sign language.  I covered all my talking ability options! Its who I am.  Its not the only aspect, but its definitely a defining trait.  

As I thought through all of this,  I realized, I have a lot of people who have to sort all my words on a regular basis and still love me!  You send a one line text, I send a paragraph.  You take 10 minutes to share your day, I take an hour and a half.  You are a saint! 

So this is an official, "Thank You!"  

Most of this is me being humorously self-deprecating but in all sincerity, I'm grateful for those who process all my words and love me in spite or maybe because of it!  

Who do you need to thank for adoring you in the midst of your weak points?  Do you even know what it is you do that annoys people?  Being self-aware is both a gift and a curse, but I think its imperative for a good life.  

You can't go anyway or move forward or even embrace who you are without it.  God made you with purpose and yet you are and ever will be, human.  Good, bad, ugly all wrapped up in one human.  Time to embrace and acknowledge so you can figure out what needs to change and what needs to stay.  Its a process, but we need to be in it! Happy Wednesday! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Last week, I sat in a hospital room with a family I've known for years.  The mother lay in the hospital bed in her last days, actually hours, as she died two hours after I went home that night. 

 Two weeks ago, I was on vacation and got word that a missionary friend got sick and took a sudden turn for the worse and died without notice it was coming.  

Three weeks ago as I left for vacation I was missing the funeral for a friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and died two months later.

If you ask me, that's a lot of death to cross my path in one month.  I am an empath, which means I feel things.  I love and hate that fact about me.  It allows me to reach out to people and be a comfort in hard times, it allows me to see both sides of issues and find common ground, but it also can overwhelm me.

 I in no way ever want to make someone else's pain about me and take attention away from their grieving, but I still feel the suffering.  The reality is, as one who works in pastoral care for a church, my business is to be there.  I love to be there for others. I want it no other way, but as I sat and looked at a woman I had conversations with, and shared life with, I realized, I need to be careful.

I can't let the grief around me swallow me whole and leave me in depression city, but on the flip side I also can't let it turn me into someone heartless.  It could be easy to flip the switch and just stop feeling, but that would help no one.

I love this song by Adrien Reju! I heard it on a Hallmark movie, searched and found the song and artist.  I learned to play it on my guitar and sung it for a voice recital several years ago.  I think her words remind us of the importance of finding that balance in life between letting the turmoil around us take us down or alternatively, harden us.

Instead I have to find the balance. It takes work.  For me the relationship I have with Jesus and time in scripture help me.  My relationships with others is also a crucial component to my mental health and lastly, all things funny, help me keep my balance.  I have to be encouraged, loved on and laugh.

Have you ever thought about the extremes you are prone to?  What helps you live in balance?  What do you need to be careful of?  Are you paying attention to those things or just ignoring them and then getting discouraged when life seems to crash and burn?  Maybe its time to find what that looks like for you.  I know finding it for me, is crucial in life! Happy Wednesday! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seeing God

I have a wonderful relationship with God and have given my life to serving him, but trust has been an issue for me since I was little.  Facing divorce, disease and an abusive step parent at an early age, created this fear.  Even though I see the hand of God through it all and even have gratitude for some of the worst moments because of what they birthed, its still a knee jerk reaction - fear.  Bad things happen in this world.  John 16:33 tells us that. 

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As I navigate real life, I find I have to remember that I have access to peace. 

We just got back from almost two weeks in Texas.  It was family time, it was fun, it was exhausting.  We landed in LAX right in the peak of evening rush hour.  We got in our car and got the 405 ready for the long drive home, because we were ready to go home.  As we merged into traffic, our car check engine light came on and then it started to rev loudly and wouldn't shift into the upper gears.  We managed to get off an exit pretty quickly in Culver City off Sepulveda.  We pulled into a parking lot and my husband tried a few things to get the car working.  His attempts didn't work.  

I grabbed his hand as he got back into the car and we prayed.  I asked God for help because my internal panic mode was kicking into gear much better than the car transmission. 

I then searched for autobody shops near us.  The closest one was Rony's.  I dialed and a man answered, it was Rony.  I asked when he closed.  He told me 5 o'clock (an hour before this call), but he was still there, what did I need?  I told him what happened and where we were and he told us to come on over.  Rony checked out the car and promised to make this a priority so we could get home.  He recommended some hotels and told us when he opened in the morning.  He would start working tonight on what the issue could be based on the reading he got from the computer.  

We managed to take our car down the couple blocks to our hotel.  In the morning when my husband took the car down, Rony gave us one of his own to drive back to the hotel.  He promised to have an answer by check out so we would know what our next steps would be.  

The two options were pricey and it looked like a rental car was in our future while the car got fixed.  I prayed again and in the midst of my questions and fear, I also found that peace.  Why? Because as I looked online, Rony's had amazing reviews.  He was honest, decent prices and quality work.  I didn't even look at that before pulling into his lot.  He was close, he was open, we were desperate.  Yet, God led us to this awesome place.  God had his hand on us through the hardship and I saw it.  I decided to thank him and recognize him for it.  I decided to trust.  

The option was in, $1200 and we would have to drive home in a rental car and come back for the car later.  Then ten minutes later came another call and a question about the battery.  Turns out, our newish battery didn't hold a charge while parked for two weeks and it was talking to the computer correctly.  Resetting the code could work.  Rony tried it,  he tested it and all seemed good.  He seemed reticent to let us leave since, he wouldn't be able to do anything if it didn't work, but he was pretty sure the car was good.  He was right.  We went home that day in our car and because it wasn't rush hour, we did it under three hours! The bill was under $200 instead of $1200.  

God is always there, even if the bill had been $1200, but seeing that God was caring for us and directing us, allowed me to understand the peace he gives us.  

I could have focused on the fact that our car broke down in the first place and why couldn't God just let me get home Tuesday night, but instead I chose to see his provisions in the midst of life.  

I hear people misquote I Corinthians 10:13 all the time.  They say, "God won't give you more than you can bear," but that is not what that passage is saying.  Its talking about temptation not hardship.  John 16:33 is a much better passage to hold onto.  This world can suck but God is God in the end and he is with us in the middle of the suck.  

You can trust him and so can I.  Let's focus on that.  How have you seen God in the midst of real life?  Have you been paying attention?  Look for the clues that his there.  I promise you won't be disappointed! 

P.S. If you live near Culver City - go to Rony's! He's a good guy and a mechanic that won't take advantage! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


I went into work last week to hear that the night before a local girl had died in a tragic car accident.  Due to a suspicious tweet posted earlier that night, there was question as to whether it was an accident or intentional.   A few minutes later, a girl in my youth group walked in the door with tears in her eyes.  She knew the girl who had died and it was hitting her hard.  It wasn't a best friend, but a person she looked up to.  She noted that she had just seen the girl from the accident a few days ago and the reality of the finality of life, hit hard.  

I remember being her age and getting the news that a friend in Ohio had been in a bicycling accident and died.  I had just moved to Germany but had seen the friend just before leaving.  I wasn't able to attend the service and I was grieving for my friend from a distance.  

We all have suffered loss.  Some of it we see coming and other times we are completely taken off guard.

As I sat next to the my youth group girl, I found myself in a sea of deep thoughts.  I am a Christian.  That means that I believe in a God who created us to be in a relationship, and when something got in the way, He made a way for us to be restored to him - all because the center of Christianity is love!  

The restoration process means there is more than this world we live in.  When we die we go to a place that has been prepared for us.  That life is eternal which is a drastic contrast to our finite life on earth.   Thinking about this girl, I am reminded there is more than just this world.  

Francis Chan compares it by taking a white rope and painting a quarter inch red.  He says life is the red and the rope is eternity.  We should live for the rope instead of the red end. 

 Living with that perspective should make us more loving people because we aren't as concerned with whether someone wrongs us or whether or not we got what we'd aimed for in a certain encounter.  Instead we are focused on the things that matter beyond this life.  The last thing we want is to become short-sighted and miss the whole reason we are here. 

I Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  It doesn't say our wealth will last.  You can't take your stuff with you when you die. Its deeper parts of ourselves and the way we lived that last.  Being people who love others, who have faith against the odds, and hope in the midst of doubt, those are the things that last.  

My faith in God isn't blind faith.  

The faith we are asked to have as Christians is the same faith I have every day that my house won't collapse on me when I walk inside.  The building was tested and proved sound, so now I live with faith because of the evidence.  The same is true for my faith.  There is evidence in history and archaeology that prove the people in the Bible were real.  There is evidence that Jesus was in fact, who he said he was. 

I can look beyond the 90ish years I have on earth (I mean I have no idea how long I will live) and see the eternal perspective.  I can share that hope, love and faith with others and help encourage them in life.  

Its a reminder to look beyond what is right in front of us and change our perspective.  Get the big picture when we need it to help us and help us encourage others too.