uncharted…

As the plane took off, all I wanted was for the pilot to dim the lights so my tears could fall unnoticed. Staring at the city below, my chest tightened. I wasn’t sad to be leaving Nashville, I was sad because I knew I’d be leaving LA.

As the slideshow in my mind began, I saw my parents at Sunday brunch, my nephew talking non-stop of airplanes & wild animals, my niece sharing her deep thoughts on why the world works as it does, my brothers and sisters laughing and teasing each other… the tears fell. Then I thought of my friends that I love and cherish, and my Disneyland pass… Oh, how I’ll miss Disneyland. More tears. By the time the sky turned black, those tears had dried and I felt the tensed muscles release. I was finally able to catch my breath.

Now I could say it. It was okay to think it. Perhaps not yet share it, but it was time to feel it. I was moving to Nashville.

If Nashville were a man, he’d be my Bubba. He’s the man that was comfortable with his flaws & his strengths, both cuddly and studly, a trustworthy good ol’boy. The man that didn’t take it personal that it wasn’t love at first sight, but a gradual attraction. The man that opened the door, pulled out my chair, called me a lady, and invited me to relax and just be me. He was a calm man, no need to be pushy, or prove himself worthy. He smelled like home to me. He felt like home to me. He looked like home to me. He invited me to come, be at home with him.

I’ve been released into uncharted territory. I’ve been given the nod, the go ahead, the wink, and the wave of the hand. My God said “I’m with you.” I have no more ideas or plans. I’ve run out of strategies and assumptions. I’ve figured all that I can figure and instead of pushing for answers, I’ve decided to trust the unknown. This is new territory for me. It’s exciting and maddening at the same time.

The steps I’ll take to get to Nashville are obvious ones, not much strategy required. I’ll share the news with my family and friends, and ask them for insight and prayer. I’ll obtain a job, most likely as a nanny, thus becoming the Nashville Nanny;) I’ll begin the hunt for an apartment and decide how I’ll be lugging my stuff across the country. Then I’ll pack up and go. Makes sense. The rest, well, I have no idea. And I’m okay with that. Because God said He’s with me and Bubba said he’s leaving the porch light on.

*this post was written and edited while aboard a 737 BNA>LAX

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An Open Letter to the Secretary of Christ:

I don’t feel rebellious. I don’t feel uneasy about the course I am on. I just don’t agree with who we’ve become.

I don’t believe that the 10% we require is what He meant. I think we hang on to it out of our need for checks and balances.

I don’t believe in loyalty to the institution. I think we require it out of our insecurity.

I don’t believe in the priority of the ‘Service’ itself. I think we push it because of our need to control.

I don’t believe in competing with the world. I think we do it because we lack a revelation of identity.

I don’t believe in the necessity of being ‘cutting edge’ or modernizing. I think the truth never needs adaptation, just clarification.

I don’t believe in puffed up salaries that are funded by people’s sacrifice. I think we are taking advantage.

i am bothered by our show when there is no sign of righteous living.

i am bothered when our song leaders are passed off as worship leaders.

i am bothered by sermons that are doctrinally incorrect and double minded.

i am bothered by the needs that go unmet because they aren’t a part of the institution’s focus.

i am bothered by the fact that ambition goes unrecognized and is often misrepresented as passion.

i have hope that we can do better.

i have hope that we will discover who we are in this world and to our God.

i have hope that we will grow in utilization of all we have been given.

i have hope that we will speak truth and exemplify grace.

i have hope that we will one day give up our ideas
and our control and allow ourselves to become
the Church,
a Bride,
and no longer a Secretary.
i have hope.

Isaiah 1:12-27

*repost

a sunday school prayer…*(repost)

ever since i was a little girl in sunday school, there was a prayer i’ve prayed, a certain request i’d make, a deep hope i had developed, a desire that i couldn’t seem to let go of; “Dear Jesus, I pray that they would see me how you see me. I pray that they could hear your voice clearly. I pray that you would help them to be nicer, sweeter, use softer words, and be kind to me. I forgive them and love them. Amen.” i prayed this prayer in regards to nearly every influential male in my life… i prayed this prayer for 30 years. last year i let it go. it was the prayer of a little girl desiring softness from hard men. it was the fantastical prayer of a little girl that may as well have prayed for piano playing monkeys for Christmas or to one day marry a prince. in a moment of sobriety, i let it go.

i don’t pray as some have prescribed. i don’t ask for change in others. i am not arguing whether or not that is biblical, i am stating that i don’t do it. “Dear Jesus change their minds. Help them see your truth.” in my life, people haven’t changed from my prayers. harsh words didn’t soften, and apologies weren’t offered. but i grew colder and sharper from my frustration. i questioned God and the limitations of His dominion. it wasn’t good for me to pray this prayer. this prayer sucked the sweet and tender nature right from my heart.

i don’t pray that the Church would change their mind, or see truth. i don’t pray that they’d see us how He sees us or hear His voice more clearly. i don’t pray that God would help them to be nicer, sweeter, use softer words, and be kind to us. i just ask Him for strength, His grace and wisdom, His perfect peace and unwavering mercy. i ask for His presence, His provision and His protection as we walk out this journey.

and in letting go, they are released to their conscience and the freedom of their will…

the lactose intolerant christian* (repost)

i use to like cereal and milk, but it gave me tummy aches. and then one night i had a piece of cheesecake after a lasagna dinner and the pain in my abs was so intense i wanted to die. i was diagnosed as lactose intolerant. after further study, i discovered that as you grow older, your digestive system’s less likely to be able to digest milk. milk, as i had always suspected, was for baby cows. baby cows need milk, just like baby humans need their mother’s milk. humans do not need cow milk. it makes sense.

i weaned myself off of dairy products for 2 years and then slowly worked in some yogurts and solid cheeses. i still can’t drink a glass of milk, but i can have a little ice cream or cheese on my sandwich. truth is, when i didn’t eat milk products, i lost weight, my skin looked radiant, and i just felt a lot better. turns out that those cultures that have less dairy in their diets have astronomical percentages of intolerance. one study noted that 100% of native americans that were tested for lactose intolerance tested positive. my grandmother is a navajo. it makes sense.

i haven’t regularly attended church services for a few months. i do feel healthy, quite radiant, and lighter than ever. so many say that we need it, just like the government says we need milk, yet the word “need” seems misplaced. we need calcium and we need God, but perhaps as our digestive system matures, the medium also matures. can i get my calcium from greens and forgo the gas? can i get my God from community and relationship and forgo the turned stomach? it’s just a thought… but probably not. guess i’ll pop in a lactaid and work with what we’ve got;)

i like you…

seems strange the way two strangers meet. seems to be destined due to root word origin.

you and i weren’t any different. we were strangers and it was strange and we’ve yet to lose our peculiarity.

i was willing to lay low, watch from afar, conduct an investigation and see how the scenario would play out.

you seemed somewhat interested. you smiled, you answered, you made some simple efforts.

and as far as i knew, i, like you, was open to what may be and what may come from this little spark.

and as far as i knew, i, like you, wanted to find love, a warming light, welcomed relief from the dark.

and as far as i knew, i liked you.

seems as if space crept in as silence and i can’t remember what it was i’d seen in you.

you were bright, i know this. and kind, most generous too. funny, clever even, but still this space is vast.

i was dropping hints, spending smiles, making it simple, waiting and watching this scenario as it played out.

you seemed indifferent and distant. you smiled, but you were silent. you made no more efforts.

and as far as i knew, i, like you, was open to what may come and what i may discover in knowing you.

and as far as i knew, i, like you, had hoped to find love and have it forever, to witness dreams become truth.

and as far as i knew, i liked you.

i like you…

Never Beyond: we all have a present

“we all have a past.” these words are offered to those that are repentant.

“we all have a past, but we are accepted.” these words are afforded to those hesitant in trusting forgiveness.

more and more people are sharing their stories these days, telling their dirty tales with redemptive endings.  more and more people are willing to present their past as an example of God’s goodness, His grace, and His miracle working power.

i have a friend. she got caught living out a shameful present. i asked her how she’d been received by the Church, how they were handling her reconciliation. she said they’d accepted her and encouraged her that we all have a past. i looked her dead in the eyes and asked her “did anyone tell you that they had a present? did anyone mention the sin they now carry and cover up? friend, there’s no doubt that i have a past, you know that. but admittedly i have a present. i can offer you grace today, because God offers me grace today”. this grace is fresh and potent, new everyday and most necessary for my survival. His grace is steady, ready, and able to cover our past, our present and our future.

The team at People of the Second Chance (POTSC) has begun the Never Beyond Poster Series and i am offering my blog space to engage conversation on the matters of Forgiveness and Grace. this week’s Poster is in the likeness of Casey Anthony. i know her name best from the flood of facebook statuses and twitter updates that came during her trial and of course the wild river of opinion that covered my feeds on the day of her verdict. i do not know the condition of  Ms. Anthony’s heart. i haven’t listened in on her prayers or noted her silence. so, from the stand point of not knowing, what then can i determine concerning her position and her standing with God? whether she be innocent, guilty, repentant or indifferent, one thing is obvious… she is still very much in her present.

and in her present, i ask YOU this, what then can WE offer her?

On Disappointment… A reflection.

i’ve never been very good at knowing when it’s a reasonable time to be disappointed, on account of patience and hope.  i have avoided the term disappointment with every bit of my paranoid self, for fear of appearing weak, or faithless, or less than what i may have been perceived as.  but i found myself in a state of disappointment. these scenarios seemed to make sense to me, expectations seemed reasonable, but on the other side, i was left questioning my perception, my behavior, my actions, my desires, my silly hopes.

disappointment isn’t about placing blame, but about identifying the origin of hope. i didn’t stay there, in my disappointment. it’s not a comfortable place to settle into. but disappointment is the part of the journey that i could no longer avoid, fear, or deny.  sometimes hope can feel so childish, so fairytale, so female, but discovering what God has and has not promised us leads to our freedom. hope developed on a deluded foundation will never be satisfied. hope developed on truth and wisdom may seem bitter at first taste but is sweet and soothing to the soul.

disappointment interrogates the soul on what it was hoping for? it intrudes and asks, where did your hope come from? why did you surrender your hope? disappointment is the break between the giddy and the groan. it is the strong drink that can cause both intoxication and inhibition. disappointment is necessary for the shaping of a sound mind. i was disappointed, but i was also determined to discover the truth of my hope’s foundation, the root of my heart’s desire, and the peace that comes in letting go.

Ecclesiastes 12:10 GNT