Tag Archives: Christianity

Do Not Be Confused


My plan was to post photos of our great Christmas party and discuss White Elephant antics but I can’t bring myself to that point quite yet. Something tragic happened in Connecticut and there is nothing Christmasy about it. There are tragedies that happen daily causing no direct effect on my life, but, I am sure you agree, this one is lingering in our hearts. With a feeling akin to September 11, I fought the urge to weep all weekend. My husband pointed out the overwhelming nature of this event lies in the overtness of the sin. The plain evil. It is crushing. And it can also be confusing.

As I washed dishes on Friday afternoon, I turned on worship music to battle the sadness. Halfway through the dishwasher loading, my iPod shuffled to talking instead of worship. I walked over to hit the skip button and stopped when I heard my mom’s voice. I hadn’t heard her strong voice, her “I have something to tell you people” voice in years. I’ve been wanting to hear it for so long. And all of the sudden, on a sermon file stuck in a random iPod mix, I hear it. She spoke for two or three minutes and I wept through it, of course. And then replayed it to actually listen to what she was saying. Oh, and it was good.

She had just returned from a trip to California with my dad. God had blessed her and refreshed her and given her words of hope and she was sharing them with Living Stones Church. And she said it in her “Let-me-tell-you” voice that I love.

“You know, it’s really simple, but I didn’t know this. God is GOOD and the devil is BAD. God shuts bad doors. He doesn’t open them but he is the shutter of evil doors. And it is such an amazing thing …and we just need to praise Him to the heavens today because that’s what he wants to do. We get so confused. We think he may not want to shut this door. But God is good and the devil is bad. He is good today. That’s what we need to remember. GOD IS GOOD. Let’s not get confused! And praise God I’m not confused anymore! God is good….”

I listened to this several times over and then I did praise God to the heavens for reminding me that he is good. My mom is not confused on that issue anymore. Sometimes I ache for that clarity and that face-to-face assurance of Jesus that she is basking in every day now. And I know there are parents and families in Connecticut with that same ache today. They know the overwhelming desire that everything be set right, for God to obliterate these evil doors that are open once and for all. We, the nation of bystanders and onlookers into this tragedy, should have hearts full of tenderness and compassion, but not confusion. God is GOOD. Jesus came to take on our tragedies and thank God that one day, all WILL be set right.

This Christmas, don’t be confused. Celebrate that God is good. And come alongside the people in your life that can’t quite see the goodness through their own tragedy just yet. God is good…Praise him to the heavens.

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Vanquish the Normal


A brief word on when to be normal and when to not.

In nursing school and now in nurse practitioner school, it is emphasized to us, the eager and teachable students, that we must know the normal to identify the abnormal. We need to know what a normal sinus rhythm sounds like in a typical heart to identify the murmurs, the irregular beat, the extra sounds. I need to know the ranges of electrolytes to know that a potassium level of 1.0 is probably a pretty bad thing and I should look at a whole bunch of healthy ears so that a bulging membrane looks different from all the rest. We gotta know the norms to know the abnorms otherwise we could catch ourselves looking at a very sick patient with crazy blood tests, nodding and saying “Mmm hmm…looks good.”

In marriage, I have decided that I need to know the norms so that I can be anything but normal. Roger and I have received a veritable plethora of wise wedding words, kind counsel, and sometimes simply been on the confused receiving end of a knowing married nod in our direction. The last one is a move that seems to say either “Get ready, this is awesome” or “You think this is going to be awesome? I know better.” We haven’t quite figured out which one so we just nod back in engaged bliss. Amid all the suggestions and comments, we most appreciate the words that include a knowledge of God’s sovereignty and the uniqueness of each couple.

We know that there are struggles that all men and all women deal with but we are also determined to meet these struggles with our unique gifts and personalities. We are determined not to agree with the statement that “Women are just like that” and “Boys will be boys” when it is applied to a weakness that we want to improve. If it is referring to the way that women cry at inopportune times such as every day last week or the way that men enjoy shooting small to large rodents in the Kona area, then we agree.  Otherwise, we are determined to be abnormal.

Adam and Eve and their official punishments, along with males and females throughout history show us that there are similarities in men across the board and there are shared tendencies in women in general. But the rest of Scripture also points to our unique standing before God and the consistent call that we have to rise up, go forward, conquer, overcome. We are called to bravely do what is difficult. We are called to vanquish the normal.

So, know your norms…and then attack them. Push through them. We are called to abnormalcy and it is possible. And I see that nod. And I am nodding back in engaged bliss.

 

 

 

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Have Some Pride. Or Don’t.


Yesterday I learned a thing or ten about pride. Ok, so when someone talks about struggling with pride and how we can get better, I usually tune out. Even if it is my dad/pastor/best preacher in the world. I tune out because I don’t think I am prideful. I may not be the most humble person, but “struggle with pride”? Nah. Let me explain.

In a room full of people, I don’t think I’m the coolest. No ways. The models and the doctors. They are the coolest.
In a line at the grocery store, I don’t think I’m better than the clerk. I served shrimp for four years at a restaurant with a movie theme. With trivia. And ping pong paddles.
In a conversation, I am fascinated by people’s stories. I want to know why they are in Hawaii, where they work, what their parents’ names are, and if they have ever gone sky diving. Others first. Or insatiably nosy. I mean curious.

So that means I am not prideful, right? Not according to the irritatingly awesome sermon. Here is the simple test presented at Living Stones Church yesterday.

1. Do you long for a lot of attention? Um, yes. Who doesn’t? I may not be the coolest in the room, but I better get some attention.
2. Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? The models and the doctors may be the coolest but the models are starving and the doctors have no lives. Pssh, who wants to be them anyway.
3. Do you always have to win? No, if I know I won’t win, I don’t play. That’s not competitive…is it?
4. Do you have a pattern of lying? No. No, really.
5. Do you have a hard time acknowledging you were wrong? No,  because I’m never wrong. Easy.
6. Do you have a lot of conflicts with other people? Only when they are dumb.
7. Do you cut in line at the store, airport, on the freeway, etc.? I try not to but sometimes I am more innovative than the people in front of me.
8. Do you get upset when people do not honour your achievements? No, I just make sure I mention it in my blog more.
9. Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness? In all seriousness guys, I can say I feel overwhelmingly grateful for and undeserving of  the good things in my life. Finally, one that I can check the box NO on.
10. Do you honestly feel you are basically a good person and superior to others? Not every other.

So, I think I scored a 9/10. Which is a 90%, which is an A. In Pride. Awesome. I guess I can work on it a little more and tune out a little less.

How do YOU score?

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Speechless


I haven’t been able to find a really good way to say this.

I have met a man that I want to spend every day with. Good thing he seems to want that too.

I can’t explain it. The timing has amazed some, stunned others, confused all. Definitely me. In a super fun way.

I don’t deserve the favor that the Lord is showing me. I wasn’t patient or good or “satisfied in singleness so God can bring someone” like the perfect married authors seem to insist upon.

God just busted out his big gracious love.

I can’t wait to see where this adventure goes. It’s scary, like most things are to me. But I’ve gotten braver lately and there’s a crazy peace that’s following me around. So I think everything will be all right.

Ok, so I guess I’m not ever totally speechless.

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A Lot of Good


There’s been a lot of good this week. Fall has begun. We are easing into the holiday season and I have a feeling that baby steps are best.

I bought a few candles and I’m ignoring anything red and green. Not because I don’t like early Christmas (Merry Halloween is my motto) but because I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not be as emotionally teflon as I had hoped when I start to hear those holiday melodies. The Macy’s homeware section is already off-limits.

Brother came over from Oahu for his 20th birthday and brought the sweet and lovely Jen with him. Games were played, movies were watched, and Oreo dirt cake was eaten. We passed another bittersweet milestone as we celebrated the second family birthday since Mom died. Megan found something a few weeks ago that we knew would bust the tears out but we did it anyway. It was just too good.

She’s been reading through Mom’s journals and mining the treasure trove of thoughts and prayers Mom recorded. Okay, it’s not all profound. There are a lot of grocery lists, corny jokes, and half-written recipes. I haven’t been ready to dive into it yet but I’m grateful for the gems Megan has discovered. Several weeks ago she happened upon an entry written on October 4, 2001. Sam’s tenth birthday. The pages recorded his party and his presents and what his little ten-year-old self was like. And then she started praying.

“For the man he would be in ten years, on his twentieth birthday.”

She praised God for her son, this gift. She asked that he grow in strength of character and wisdom. She trusted he would be a man of God as he entered his twenties. Sam read it out loud as long as he could. Then Dad gave his best effort. We all cried the good, shared kind of tears. God knew we needed it. And Sam will have those words to treasure the rest of his life.

Then we all ate a lot of chocolate pudding with crushed cookies. Because we have dirt every October 4th.

On Friday, I ran somewhere between 5 and 6 miles with some marathon trainers. Those women are beasts. The really sweet, beautiful, kick my butt at running kind of beasts. But I will keep going back for more because the trail was along the coast and nothing gets your mind off of burning pain like paradise to the right of you.

My precious ex-roommate Karisa and her new and improved roommate Husband Shaun came for a whirlwind Kona trip. We woke up ridiculously early on Saturday to see people begin a ridiculously long race – the 2011 Ironman. Every year this town expands by five or six thousand people for two weeks in October. Two thousand of those people are wearing spandex and riding bikes most of the time. Driving is hazardous and shopping is nuts. But it’s good for the economy so three cheers for triathletes.

Waking up at 5 to see the start was hard enough...actually doing the race? Yikes.

On Sunday, we baptized 40 people after church. Baptisms always get me choked up. It’s such a tangible representation of lives changed and mission fulfilled. I always flash back to being 12 and hearing Mom and Dad talk about the Great Adventure we were embarking on as we moved to Hawaii. When I see people of all ages and ethnicities emerge from the bay to the south of our church, I see the fruit of a hard fought great adventure fulfilling the greatest commission ever given. And I know that God does work all things together for good.

So, there’s been a lot of good this week and I am a grateful girl. Brother entered the twenties, thousands of triathletes will start exiting our little Kona roads, forty people entered a new season of Jesus-following.

And I ran 5 miles.

 

 

 

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