Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Give Me Faith - Elevation Worship 
I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to open my eyes,
To see that You're shaping my life.

It's the last day of April.  In thinking back on this month, a lot has happened.  I've been quite busy.  I've been so busy I can barely remember what happened.  I wasn't always busy with work or studying.  This has been a very emotionally taxing month for me.  I journal a little.  I had to go back to remember...

A question that stuck out to me from mid March was... "where is my fuego?"  I don't know why I phrased it like that.  I didn't even take Spanish in high school.  I do remember feeling a bit lost... and wondering what was the point of everything I was doing.  

And then I hung out with my two mentors.  I'm always thankful for them and I never know what our time together would amount to.  That particular day... one of my mentors brought her journal to share with us.  I had given her this journal many, many years ago.  She asked me if I remembered giving it to her and what I was thinking when I did.  I told her I couldn't remember actually giving it to her but I do remember buying a bunch of those journals because I thought they were beautiful.  She told me that it was pastor's appreciation day and since her pastor husband was out of the country, I decided that I should appreciate the pastor's wife in his place.  I really don't remember this... but it doesn't sound out of character for me.  She encouraged me that day.  She told me that she didn't know why she decided to pull out this journal on that day of all days and why she decided to share what she wrote in it... but I think I know why.  God answered the cry of my heart and reminded me why I do the things I do and why I need to continue to do them.  It's doing my part in participating in God's work in other people's lives.  He doesn't need me, but He wants me to join Him.  And... I needed to be reminded of that.  

All I am,
I surrender.

I've graduated from my doctoral NP program and I'm currently working a little bit as a RN and studying for my national board certification exam.  I'll probably take it in mid June.  I'm scared I'm going to fail.  There's so much information to cover and master.  And this is stuff that will affect my practice.  I can't just cram it in.  I really want to know it.  I feel like I can't hold a thought in my head for more than a few minutes.  I find myself walking around... wandering... getting somewhere and forgetting why I started going there... getting distracted so easily.  I really don't feel capable of doing this.  

In reviewing my journal... one of our Unleash sermons... reminded us of 2 Timothy 2:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
  • Power... feels a lot like weakness
  • Love... feels a lot like vulnerability
  • Discipline... feels a lot like insecurity

The Spirit of power, love and discipline in me... means that my flesh will feel weak, vulnerable and insecure... but in that helplessness... His Spirit has the power to shine through.  

Give me faith to trust what You say
That You're good, and Your love is great.
I'm broken inside, I give You my life.

On another day of the Unleash series, the speaker challenged us to:

  1. Be involved with what's going on in the world
  2. Show active grace (meaning...confront issues, call people out on sin, create the context to give grace away)
  3. Reach out to hurting people
  4. Risk being hurt.  My reaction when pain happens in my life will show others what it means to have Jesus in my life and will create opportunities to share about it with others.  
Another line that stuck out to me was that "we will never experience grace in a great way until we give it away.  How can I give grace away unless people have wronged me or hurt me?"

That particular day, I felt overwhelmed by the people in my life.  I wrote that I was drowning in my emotions and in the emotional burden of others.  I also wrote down 2 Corinthians 12:9... "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  

I've been going to Spiritual Formation classes and that day, we went to the Fullerton Arboretum for Silence & Solitude.  From where I sat, this is what I saw.  I know it's not a great picture but... it was a reminder to me.  There are two trees in this picture.  The one furthest away is huge.  It has broad spread, but there are also gaps.  I took it to be... that if I spread myself far and high, I will be spread thinner and there will be gaps in my care.  There will be some people who will not experience the shade of my cover because of the gaps.  There is also another tree... it's closer... it's smaller, its leaves were very dense and this tree had fruit on it.  I looked at those two trees and I decided that... I would rather be the smaller tree... with smaller spread and cover... but with less gaps and with fruit that those who sit under my canopy can rest and enjoy.  There may be a time and a place for broad, gappy spread.  I felt God calling me to prune and cut back so that I could concentrate my resources on a smaller circle... and utilize the resources to give them fruit.  

To prune is... painful.  To cut out or release people or things in my life for a season... it is a difficult thing for me to do.  But I also had to realize that... sometimes I do not need to DO anything.  Sometimes God calls me to act and sometimes He calls me to wait.  I can let the Holy Spirit guide me as things come up and that way I won't be trying to juggle so many things in the air.  I will let Him do the juggling and take things one day at a time... one step at a time.  And make good choices.  

I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me.
All I am,
I surrender.

On Palm Sunday, the message presented 3 points:

  1. Following God will sometimes lead us into harm's way, into failure, into deep hurt.
  2. Jesus was not pursuing success, He was pursuing purpose. Purpose > success.
    1. On my death bed, how will I face Jesus?  With regret and fear or with peace and contentment?
  3. Fulfilling my purpose requires the death of an alternative vision of success.  What vision of success do I need to be unleashed from in order to bring me into greater alignment with God's purpose for me?

I made a list.  Of fleshly visions of success versus Spiritual visions of success.

Fleshly: marriage, kids, to pass my boards, to find a good job, to have a nice house

Spiritual: to be a woman after God's heart, to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ, to love God, love God's Word, love God's people

None of my fleshly visions of success are bad.  They are good things.  Last Sunday's sermon actually went over this point as well.  These are good things, but we are not to make them ultimate things.  

If I never have the fleshly vision of success... will I be content?  I am fairly certain I will pass boards eventually and I will find A job... not sure if it'll be the best job ever.  I may be able to have a nice house eventually too... but what about marriage... what about kids?  Everyone around me seems to be getting married or having children... first children... second children... third children... and sometimes it doesn't bother me but lately it's been weighing on my mind.  
I know there is nothing anyone can say that will make me NOT feel loneliness anymore or to make it feel OK that I may never have my own family or children... and will I be OK with it?  Honestly and truly?  If at the end of my life... if I never got married again... if I never had my own children, if I failed in my career... but if I lived a life of purpose... if people would be able to see that I was a woman after God's heart and lived a life worthy of the gospel of Christ... I would be able to stand before Him at the end of this life and be filled with peace and contentment.  So what does that look like in my daily life?

I may be weak, but
Your Spirit's strong in me.
My flesh may fail, but
My God You never will 

What does it look like?  I had been having this conversation with a friend the entire weekend... what does it look like to learn a truth... to meditate on it... and integrate it into my daily life?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were confronted with two choices?  One choice was to do what you wanted and the other choice was to help someone else instead?

3 quotes from Dumbledore
“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are.  It is our choices.”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – Dumbledore 
“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) – Dumbledore 
“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – Dumbledore 

Sometimes loving my friends... being there for them... is super fun and easy.  Sometimes it requires a great deal of sacrifice.  But perhaps... I was meant to be in that difficult situation... or I was placed strategically at a certain angle to be able to see something that no one else appears to see... or perhaps a very special combination of circumstances brought me to be somewhere that God wanted me to be... for such a time as this.  So in those moments when I am presented with an opportunity to step into my calling and leave myself open and vulnerable... in order to do what is right over what is easy... it is in those moments where I feel that I am living my life with God's purpose and intention... over what I would selfishly choose for myself.

Give me faith to trust what You say
That You're good, and Your love is great.
I'm broken inside, I give You my life.

I found myself crying a lot over the past few days.  Crying over lives that are not my own.  There were moments where I wished I didn't care.  I wished I could escape and just be selfish... but... this is part of life.  Living life with people means that sometimes I get hurt... sometimes I experience things that break my heart... and I would rather feel for others and cry for them than not care at all.

In the midst of my emotional turmoil... in dealing with my own loneliness, my own low self-worth, my own inadequacy... and also lifting up the burdens of a few people around me... God also sent other people to encourage and affirm me.

He reminded me that He is in control.  That I needn't worry.  When my eyes were focused intently on the people right in front of me... I got news that He was taking care of a few other people back at home.  And the fact that someone in my community saw what was happening and told me because they thought it would encourage me... made me really happy to know that in my current community... people know the things that make me happy and would take the time to share them with me.  God has His own plan and His own purpose and it is I who am invited to participate and share in His joy... not the other way around.  I had breakfast and the message on my mug told me to take a break... and I felt that God was telling me to take a break as well.  Just rest in His presence right now.

I may be weak, but
Your Spirit's strong in me.
My flesh may fail, but
My God You never will.

I'm sorry things are super vague.  Oh yeah... I also got asked to speak at a women's retreat next month.  Scary.  But I think scary in a good way.  Another opportunity to push myself to grow in new and different ways... to feel weak, to feel vulnerable, to feel insecure... and yet another opportunity for His strength to shine through my weakness.  I don't know if I found my fuego but I have been crying and crying means I'm feeling something very strongly... so... maybe it's a type of fuego... who knows.  I'm tired.  I'll let you know if I figure it out later.  

much much love,

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