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Calling me from, calling me out, calling me to

Posted on: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This past thursday I experienced a little victory.  I ran my first "workout" in 5 months. This past fall I suffered a stress fracture in my hip, so I've spent the past 5 months aqua jogging, swimming, ellipticaling, and biking. 

Doing a lot of this....



So I can hopefully be able to do this...


Most days I grab my swimsuit and head to the pool, wishing that I could grab my spikes and head to the track.  But a few days ago I was finally able to do what I love and have missed for so long.  It was tougher than cold Airheads, but by the grace of God I got a taste of what it's like to run hard again.

During my cool down, I was praising the Lord for filling my heart with joy as a was able to run without pain.  I started thanking Him for other things as well, and next thing you know I can't stop.  

I repeated these words "thank You for being my..." over and over.  At first in my head, and then out loud through panting breaths.  Each time I would praise Him for being who He is to me.

Thank you for being my...

Redeemer
Savior
Rock
Healer
First Love
Confident
Confidence
Strength
Hope
Joy
Father
Lord
Guidance
Song
Life
Author
Example
Provider
Teacher
Refresher
Peace-giver
Sustainer
Protector
Inspirer
Advocate
Fighter
Reminder
Truth
Light
Pursuer
Listener
Voice

When I couldn't think of new things to praise Him for, I repeated the things I had already said.

Finally, I stopped when I heard Him whisper to my heart.

 He softly spoke this words, "I'm calling you from, I'm calling you out, and I'm calling you to."

To which I responded (with the two words my dad always makes fun of our generation for saying too often), "wait what?!" 

What was that God?  What do you mean? From where? Away from something?  What are you calling me out on?  Where, who or what are you calling me to? 

CALLING ME FROM

CALLING ME OUT

CALLING ME TO

The Lord is calling me from something. He is calling me out on something. And He is calling me to something.  I'm just trying to figure out what those somethings are.... But I trust that as I continue to listening to Him, He will make it clear.  In His way and in His time.

Our God is not a God of confusion, so I can rest assured that He will make it clear.  He will guide me in paths of peace. 

"the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7


What might God be calling you from?

What might God be calling you out on?

What might God be calling you to?

Ask Him, He will surely answer.  You simply must be available to listen to His still small voice.


"Thanking God in your trails turns burdens into blessings." - Paul Vangorder

Greatness never seems fragile until it is

Posted on: Monday, February 24, 2014

For the last two and a half years, injuries have prevented me from finishing a season.  I still have not run in a race on our home track.  Most recently, I suffered a stress fracture in my hip this fall, and was unable to finish the cross-country season.  This spring will be my last season of eligibility to compete as a collegiate athlete. 


It is my heart and hope that my teammates will never have to sit out as many seasons as I have because of injury.   As athletes competing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation for our sport, we want to be competing against other athletes, not our own bodies. 





Be Light

Posted on: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mission: Travel light. Be light. Spread light. 

More and more of me is developing a growing eagerness to travel, and to travel light. I want to just go on an adventure and spread light to dark places.


Maybe by train...


Or by boat....


Or by tracks;)

I was thinking about some of the things my dad has taught me over the years.  One of them is how to travel light.

Although my dad has spent a lot of his life packing heavy things, he has always been a very light packer.  

I grew up in a skiing family, and going to the mountain every weekend required packing a lot of heavy bulky gear into our suburban, while still making sure there was enough room for the cat's litter box and food to be perfectly set up in the back.  My siblings and I however, wanted to pack every blanket and pillow we owned so we could build forts in the car while we were driving.  We were not deemed "light packers" in comparison to my dad's mailbox sized bag with a toothbrush, and a couple pairs of shorts.

As we got older we learned how to be light packers, since we were managing our own gear and traveling all over the northwest for ski races.  Although I improved my packing skills, and no longer packed every stuffed animal I owned, I still would not call myself a "light packer."  I'm more of an extremest when it comes to packing.  I either pack everything I own, or nothing at all.  However I prefer the second.  I get really annoyed when I have way more than I end up needing.

"For the sake of those you love, travel light.  For the sake of the God you serve, travel light. For the sake of your OWN joy, travel light."

For others, for God, for ourselves.

I want to travel light.



A few summers back when Jeremy and I were just friends, I went with him and few of his buds up to the Ape Caves in Washington, Oregon.  After a while of wandering through the long, dark, rocky obstacle course, we decided to turn off our lanterns and relish in the utter darkness. With my eyes wide open, I might as well have been starring at the back of my eyelids. Pure darkness... But the second we struck a match, the entire cave was glowing.  

One simple match was all it took to cast out the darkness that had us captivated moments before.

Psalm 36: "For with you is the fountain of life; in your LIGHT we see LIGHT."


Light always wins. And Jesus is the light of the world. With Jesus we will never have to walk in darkness.


Scripture says, "my yoke is easy and my burden is LIGHT." 

Carrying a heavy load into the darkness would be like carrying a full suitcase into the Ape caves.  Miserable. 

< Light loads and bright lights.



Darkness ALWAYS surrenders to light, 
and light will ALWAYS overcomes darkness.

Light represents truth. Darkness represents deception. 

I hope to live by the light, and reflect the light. The light of Christ in me.  Christ overcame the darkness because He is the light of life.  

As the fire in my soul burns for You God, I trust that You will be the lantern for my feet that never burns out.  With You I will know that I will never walk in darkness.  Nothing can extinguish my guiding Lord of light. 

In the same way light casts out darkness. The source of true light is also the source of true love. And love casts out fear.

I've heard it said that fear is...

 F false
       E evidence
         A appearing
 R real

So often dark places, dark times, and dark things cause us fear.  But with the light of Christ we never have to be afraid of the dark. 



Matthew 6:22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will BE FULL of LIGHT."  

I only hope that I might be a beacon of light. But more than that, I hope to make the dark places glow because of the light of Christ in me. 

May we hold each other accountable to be what God calls us to be.  To be lanterns of light, and know that Christ is our everlasting flame, and fuel. 

BE MADE NEW

Posted on: Wednesday, February 5, 2014




It's a time for all things NEW.


As I was thinking about things with the word new… The first thing that came to mind was new moons and newborns.  What could babies and the moon have in common? Other than children’s books…

I came to the simple conclusion that both where created by God, and both signify the end of a cycle. My boyfriend always says, "it's all about cycles, everything happens in cycles." I think there is truth to his perception, but there is a distinguishing difference between cycles that continuously retrace themselves, and cycles that act as stepping-stones for each new cycle that follows.



After a month of moving closer to the sun, the moon eventually aligns with the exact elliptical longitude as the sun. This happened a few days ago on January 30th and now the moon is cycling towards a full moon.   

In the same way, after a 9-month cycle of kickin’ it in a womb, a baby is born.

Every day babies are born, and every month a new moon hangs in the sky.    

The moon repeats the exact same cycle every month all year long. But when babies are born they begin a
new cycle, rather than going back into the oven for 9 months... 

And yet...


Isn't that what we so often do as humans?  We retrace the cycles that we know and are familiar with. The cycles of the past. We live in the past, talk about the past, dwell on the past, award the past, and decorate the past.  And yet we were made to rejoice in the
present. "For this is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)."  I find myself often reminiscing on the past, or longing for the future.  And on the contrary, I also find myself dwelling on the past, and worried about the future.  This is not how God intended for us to live.  He told us not to worry about tomorrow cause we have enough trouble for today. Worrying is like praying for what we don't want.  He told us not to plan for tomorrow because we don't even know if we will be alive.  He told us that His mercies are made new each day, yet we still live lives that are constrained to reminiscing, longing, dwelling, and worries. Yet He calls us to be free from that and live rejoicing, content, delighting, and trusting. 

I read a quote once that said, "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."




This is hands-down my favorite verse in the Bible 


"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

There is just too much goodness to this chunk of truth to emphasize in one blog post, but the promise of "being RENEWED day by day" is the reminder that I need to engrave on the palm of my hand. This unseen renewing is revealed to us when we fix our eyes on Christ.  My most inspiring thoughts, and faith-induced decisions, result from times spent reflecting on the Lord's refining, revealing, refreshing, and renewing

We need to tune into the renewing that is happening day by day.  The reality is that a fresh start and a clean slate are offered to us each morning. But we need to actually live in that reality!

New Year's always reigns in a refreshing start. It motivates us to reflect on our lives and set resolutions that will help us better ourselves. For many Americans this is simply an annual occurrence, much like telling people that you are thankful for them on Thanksgiving.  But what if we were a people marked by daily reflection and God-inspired resolutions? What if we told our loved ones that we are thankful for them every day?  What if we actually lived like every day was a fresh start?




The New Year is quickly followed by the season of lent (the surrendering of our dependence on things that are seemingly necessary, in order to deepen our dependence on God - our one true necessity. Although lent originated from Christian/Catholic traditions, people all over the world participate in lent as a way to break an a viscous cycle/old habit, or start a new one - aka more resolutions).  Lent is always a time where I am inspired to start, quit, or renew something.  In doing so, I have to set my lens on "high-resolution" focus.  What I mean by this is that I have to focus more on the tool used to "capture" my resolution (or accomplish it), rather than the resolution itself. In simple terms, I need to focus more on God, and trust that in doing so everything else will fall into place. Matthew 6:33 says,"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." During this process I always learn new truths, grow in new ways, and deepen my heart for God.




After lent comes the spring, which brings forth new sounds, new smells, new skies, new flowers and (for me) always reminds me of new love.  The newness that is evident all around me in the springtime is always such a soft yet constant reminder that God is in the business of continuing to relentlessly renewing ALL things.

Getting the theme here?


Newness and renewing is all around us, and within in us! Yet we fail to live like we are
made new each day. 



The Message (a translation of the Bible) uses the word "renew" a lot:

He renews his covenants Deuteronomy 29:1
He renews our vows Deaut 26:16-17
He renews our vigor 1 Samuel 14
He renews our youth Psalm 103:3-5
He renews us by His word Psalm 119:113-120
He renews our inside Ephesians 4:23-24
He renews his promises Hebrews 4:3-7
He renews our minds Ephesians 4:23

The last verse on this list says, "to be made new in the attitude of your minds," and another version says, "and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds."

The mind is a powerful place. It can hold us captive to what it already knows, or it can persistently seek answers to insolvable mysteries. Both ways leave the mind discontent. I think that it is our innate human craving to be "all-knowing" because we were made in the image of God, and God is all-knowing. If we don't know something we are less likely to embrace it.  For example, it's easier to love the people you know, talk about the things you know, go to the places you know, and do the things that you know how to. We are hesitant, and often resistant, to making decisions that lead to unknown outcomes. And so we continue cycling around and around on an axis of familiarity.  We continue comfortably riding the ferris wheel around and around, rather than standing in line for Space Mountain. 



I want my life to be more like Space Mountain.

I want to embrace the coming cycles of life.

I want to my resolution to be set high on Christ.

I want to live like I am made new each day.

One of the devotionals that comes to my e-mail each day is called, "The Spirit of Prophecy Bulletin." As I was finishing this post, I thought to reread the devotional from January 1st to see if it had anything about resolutions or being renewed in it. 

Wow. It couldn't have pertained more...


"This will be a make-it-or-break-it year. You have all the tools you need to make it, but if you get lazy or stubborn, you will be broken and humbled. You will not move forward one inch if you refuse to let go of the past and hang on to things that are no longer relevant to where you are now. You will be challenged to progress, but you will have to provide the initiative by faith. It's up to you; your will is vitally connected to what you make of this season.

If you choose to move on, there will be plenty of grace to enable you in the process. The difficulties that you faced in the past have slowly chipped away at the foundation of your hope and faith. But, this can be a time of restoration and a time of rebuilding your faith and trust in Me, says the Lord. It all depends on where your
focus is.

The old
cycle has ended, and a new cycle is beginning. It will be like a clean and blank sheet of paper ready for you to write your destiny. Keeping your heart and soul in alignment with My purposes in righteousness will write a destiny of a close and intimate relationship with Me. But, you must keep yourself undefiled by the flesh and the world." 

Last weekend I got to watch my beautiful friend Stephanie get baptized. There is no better image of being made new than getting washed by the water.  



BE JOY-FILLED

Posted on: Thursday, January 2, 2014

JOY TO THE WORLD THE LORD HAS COME...

and

I think this song should be sung year round.


Last week I hosted a Christmas party at my house for my community of friends.  BEing around these people brings me so much joy because of the joy that they carry within them.  In addition to the redneck wine glasses, I decided to spice things up a bit by hanging a strip of brown butcher paper on one of the windows in my kitchen that read this:

"Joy to the world the LORD has come! What brings you joy?"

Throughout the evening of soup, hot buttered rum, dessert, white elephants, catching up, games of families, deep talks, laughter, and Christmas music, each of us wandered over to the window to scribble out things, people, relationships, places, ect. that bring them joy.  Of course humor ran it's course and we ended up with quite the array of answers.  We had everything from cats to God's grace.  It's still hanging in our kitchen and for the past week I walk by and read a couple and my heart smiles.  The things that I would never attribute to bringing me joy begin to fill my heart with joy because I'm made aware of the joy that it brings to the people I love.



(plates made by my besties when we were in the 2nd grade together... and they are still my best friends)



JOY is non circumstantial.  It doesn't depend on any other variables except it's source, God.  God IS LOVE, and although we are unable of loving completely, perfectly, and unconditionally, this is what we are commanded to strive for.  Scripture even says that we are to keep his commands, and love like He loves, in order for our joy to be made full.

In John 15:10-12 in The Message it says "That's what I have done- kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.  'I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy and that your joy wholly and mature.  This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.  "

Jeremy and I were having a conversation about joy the other day.  I asked him how he would define joy.  He attributed joy to the presence of peace in the human heart.  In our attempt to come up with the most basic definition of joy, the peace of God was unavoidably at the center of its origin.

If only we could accept the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, then we would be able to experience the Joy of the Lord who came to earth.  Let heaven and nature sing songs of joy-filled praise to Him!

Now these are some joy-filled humans playing the classic game of families....


video



Coming soon... how shall we usher in joy and peace in 2014!?




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