Thursday, January 28, 2010

What you really want to read...

I have a blog post brewing, but my Classics teacher assigned this reading in the Iliad...

That doesn't mean you don't have something to read, though. Head over to Randy's blog and catch up on his Haiti journey. He arrived on the ground there today to search out everything he can possibly find out about how best to take care of the thousands of orphans left in the rubble.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just a Reminder

Today, don't forget that your hope is alive. He's a Man, and you will see Him, very soon. And guess what? Until you do see Him, the power of God is guarding you -- at your left, your right, behind, and before, making you ready for the coming Great Day.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ~1 Peter 1:3-5
Don't forget that you are on His mind, and He is praying for you.
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. ~Hebrews 7:25

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Russian Steppe was Reinhabited...

I would like to say something profoundly interesting, but I'm not sure what it would be.

I could tell you about my class about the Russian Revolution. The professor is fantastic and says things like:

"Being a professor is so hard sometimes. It's like being paid to be constantly confused."
"And then, of course, his daughter Anastasia ran away and lives in Cleveland somewhere."
He also basically called me a Marxist. I reject this notion because 1) I'm not 2) I know I'm not and 3) the teacher took back what he said. I just happened to voice an idea that Marx may or may not have agreed with.

I have also decided that I want to visit Russia on the New Earth. It seems like such a wholly wild place right now, with all that cold and all those bears and all those trees (a quarter of the world's forest is in Russia!). I want to know what the Lord was thinking when he designed it, and I want to see what it's like after He restores all things.

Let me finish this short blog with this a hearty endorsement for this message. Danny Lehmann is part of YWAM leadership, and visited Tacoma a couple weeks ago. The message is packed with seriously awesome stories, funny jokes, and (best of all) some hard core truth about doing what the Lord tells you to do. Ready, set, listen! (For the record, he's so engaging that I listened while multi-tasking and feel like I was able to take in everything! Turn it on while you cook or something!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Have a Living Hope.

For my work-study job at school, I have been going through obituaries. Pleasant job, I bet you're thinking. It's not usually what I do, but for now I am going through, searching the names to see if any of them have at some time been connected with our university. This task is not the easiest; yesterday I started to cry.

There are some I read that begin with something like: "Jim was welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus Christ..." Those are usually the ones where tears gather in my eyes. The ones where the family can say without a doubt that the man lived his life for the glory of Jesus Christ and they know where he is now.

Then there are the terribly sad ones that grieve me deeply on the inside but don't usually move me to the kind of tears that are, in the previous instance, usually mingled with the joy of the knowledge of salvation. These second ones are instead like brick walls of terribly tangible reality. I read one yesterday that exalted the way the woman had given herself to "transcendental meditation" and how that was what she had passed onto her children. These ones about people that did not know the Lord - they are the difficult ones to read. Their lives are over. Their chance to say yes to Jesus is gone.

Today, as I finished up my task, I decided: should the Lord tarry, and I die and have a funeral, I want people to get saved at it. I don't want to die simply having "made the world a better place." No, I have a far greater legacy I dream of. I want to point people to Jesus. I want to finish my race having given everything I could to love and serve Him well. When people think of me, whether I'm alive on this earth or truly alive, I want them to in the next breath think of Jesus, and how He was what my life was for, about, spent on, everything.

I know a blog about death seems at first uncharacteristically sorrowful. The truth is, however, that if you know Jesus, there is no fear in physical death! Philippians 1:21 says that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Only in recent years has my heart begun to yearn for the day when I am with Him fully. He has written eternity on my heart (like He has on yours), and so here I am, caught between the now and the not yet (as my sister would say). Because Jesus died on the cross with me in mind then defeated death in rising from the grave, I have heaven to look forward to, rather than the hell my sinful soul deserved. Now, life is Christ, and oh how sweet it is! But then? Then is perfect peace, seeing Jesus as He is, touching His scarred hands with which He bought my life, being welcomed as one of the Father's own into His house. Now is good, but then...then will be great.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The impurities in your faith are strikingly similar to snot in a baby's nose.

Tonight, I watched my friend hold Zoe, the little almost-1-year-old I live with, and try to wipe her nose. She could hear that Zoe was having a hard time breathing easily, and knew that if only Zoe's nose could be clear, life would be much more comfortable. Zoe, however, had no intention of letting her nose be wiped. She arched her back, squished her face, and screamed like the world was ending. She flailed. She screamed more. And finally it was over.

I watched her and thought: that's me. I feel sometimes like my soul gets stuck in its limited vision, and I cry. Sometimes, inside (let's be honest here), I scream. But his strong arms are there, holding me, not offended by my screams. He knows I don't understand. Go ahead, I dare you, try to explain to Zoe while she screams the concept of clear sinuses and oxygen saturation. She won't get it, and she'll probably scream louder.

Through this time of transition to life in Tacoma, in the midst of aching for my sisters and warring in spiritual battles at school, 1 Peter 1 has been ringing true:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

For a little while...if necessary...various trials...

but then? love inexpressible.

I can't see. I honestly can't see the things God can. I can't see the dross that's in my imperfect faith right now, and I can't see the missions and plans the Lord has ahead, which He needs my faith and trust to be at a certain, more mature spot for. So I trust Him. Love does not insist on its own way. I will bend to Him and believe that He does great work in His plans. Love is patient. I am okay with not being able to see, because I love Him so much that I trust Him and I will be patient to see what He is working. In reality, I already know the main picture: "the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

Monday, January 18, 2010


The time has come. I've returned to Tacoma and school begins again tomorrow. Today, I charged the bookstore, ready to take on every aisle of words and emerge victorious. Homer's Iliad was out of stock, however, which can always leave one feeling somewhat...un-Iliadish, I suppose.

As sad as this is, the past three days have not been without tears. Don't worry -- this return is going much smoother than the one in the fall. The trip over Christmas break, however, left me more sure than ever that Kansas City is a home for me. When I'm in Kansas City, I know my way around town. I can walk into the coffeeshop and greet a handful of people I know within a few seconds. I can walk into the prayer room and hear the familiar rhythm of prayer leader - singers - prayer leader - singers. In Kansas City, I can head to Amy's house any time of the day or night and curl up by her fire (after having raided her chocolate stash or drunk some of her raw milk that she gets from the farmers every Saturday at 3 o'clock) with either a book or with a simple desire for warmth. In Kansas City, I can merely begin the word "snuggle" and have at least one of five cuddly children thrown into my arms. In Kansas City, I can be teased by sisters while I make them dinner. I can go on midnight runs to HyVee with Christina for $1 ice cream. I can knock on the Bohlender's front door even though I know I could walk in without knocking.

Kansas City is home in an instant. My home in Tacoma is still growing.

This verse has been touching the tender part of my missing-home heart the past few days:

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also planted eternity in men's hearts, yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

So if you find yourself in a place where you know the Lord has placed you, but today - just today - the circumstances hurt for a little bit, remember that He makes everything beautiful in time. Your faith will be tested, but it will be more precious than gold refined by the fire. It's going to be worth it. The things you do now out of love for Him, regardless of pain or discomfort, they will last. He sees all, and you are safe. Utterly, completely, totally safe.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time to Go

Tomorrow (well, today) I leave home to go home.

It's like being caught between two oceans, but being on the most perfect little island you've ever known.

Sometimes you forget it's so perfect, but then the Lord reminds:

"Love does not insist on its own way."

So here I go, my offering in loving Jesus: to obey, to follow, to not insist on my own way. There are moments, like just now leaving Christina in the car after a midnight ice cream run, where my heart aches. Let's be real: those moments happen.

But somehow, the Comforter wraps your heart in peace, every time. When it feels victorious, I exuberantly shout praise. And when it aches (like it does a little bit right now), I whisper: "It's all for You, Jesus. I'm still all in. Anything, anything, anything to obey You and love You more."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

{Read it!}

I just have to put in a shameless plug. If you are a parent, you know a parent, or you are thinking of ever becoming a parent, this is for you. My sister Suzanna has just started a one-week blog series on parenting. The first one alone will blow your mind, and I have no doubt that the rest will too, once they are written. Things she writes usually blows minds, if I her sister may say so myself.

Read it HERE. Need the link again? Here, here here!

It's gone

When I got to Kansas City, people's comments, strangely often, centered around my hair and how long it was. Hair is a funny thing, because you never really part with your own hair, so its growth doesn't shock you. All that to say, my hair was very long. See here:

But now? Now it's gone!

My head feels strangely light... The last time I got my hair cut, I loved the lady who did it so much that I told myself I would wait for Christmas Break and come back! If you are in Kansas City and need the best hair cut you've ever gotten for $20, let me know. :)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Go Climb That Mountain!

There is so much snow in Kansas City. SO MUCH SNOW. Since that seems to be the theme of most Kansas Cityians' social networking these days, I figured I would join in.

Yesterday, driving around through the snow, I realized that there will most likely be no snow on the ground when I get back to Tacoma. This is sad.

Earlier in my trip home, Christina picked me up in a borrowed 4WD, and it was fantastic. You could climb a mountain in that thing! We, however, merely drove to Chick-fil-a. There was this guy shoveling all the snow out of his driveway onto the main road, though. We crossed that pile, but it was more of a large hill. Okay, a small hill. As we drove, I started to trying to tell her how much fun driving in snow has been. I started saying something about our breed: "Midwest girls, we just..." and she burst in: "we are the STUFF!" I heartily agree.

My sisters all live within a few streets of each other, but those streets have been covered with snow for quite some time now. Driving with Amy, we would turn onto her street and kind of head straight for the lightpole and then turn just in time. Then, we almost kissed the bush near her driveway, but yet again the nose of the car got pushed toward the basketball hoop and pulled back into perfect alignment with the garage door. When you have peace, slip-sliding like that can actually be quite fun. I wish I could count how many angels there are around the Midwest during winter. In fact, I felt like our car was less of a vehicle and more of a ping pong ball, just getting tossed from angel to angel. Perfectly safe, but not in control.

Yesterday an emergency run to the store was needed just as a storm hit. Elizabeth, the kiddos, and myself had just returned home from the doctor and we needed Pedialyte. When you need Pedialyte, you need Pedialyte, so I headed out a few minutes after the snow started. It took me almost 40 minutes to get to Target (whoa!) but I made it there and back and had fun doing it. You haven't experienced Midwest driving until you've started to fishtail in slush as an oncoming car gets closer and closer. You straighten out (hehe, get straightened out by that angel who is concerning you), and breathe thankfulness as your tires finally grip something. Then you (well, at least I) smile.

A while ago, someone gave me an encouragement from the Lord that He was going to take me into an understanding of and affection for the part of His heart that loves adventure. At the time, I had no idea what it meant. I mean, no idea. Adventure? Fun, Lord! I guess that's, um, cool. But did you see? I have all these other pressing questions -- honestly my heart wondered why, of all things, He chose adventure to speak to.

I've thought about it since moving to Tacoma, though. Adventure. It's like the word itself is made of mountains. Adventure! God loves adventure; He made adventure; He made me to love adventure. (Are you allowed to put 3 semi-colons in a sentence?) Moving to Tacoma is the biggest, newest, boldest, hardest thing I've ever done. Guess what it's full of? Adventure. It is one big adventure.

I've come to learn that adventure throws off all the fetters of control. When you climb a mountain, there's a point where it's doubtful whether or not you can even make your legs move or your lungs breathe, much less prevent an avalanche. When you go on an adventure with God, you learn that everything goes wrong if you try to take charge. When you decide that you're willing to put everything on the line to obey Him, you find the eye of the storm. Perfectly safe, but not in control.

So whether I'm driving in the snow or finding my footing in a new city, adventure is the name of the game. I'm glad that God has much higher visibility than I do. I don't have to know anything, because He knows everything. Trust me, if you're willing to give everything of you to obey Jesus, you are going to be on some pretty grand adventures. If you find yourself slip-sliding around in a car but an ear-to-ear smile on your face, I think you're seeing that part of you that's made in God's image, loving adventure right along with Him. Sit in peace and enjoy the ride.

If you actually ever do find yourself fishtailing and don't know what to do, turn your steering wheel (gently) in the direction your back tires are skidding. If you're like me, your driver's ed teacher told you "steer in the direction of the skid" but never gave you a definition of what that meant. Now you know. :)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

This poem brought to you by mom, who hauled my files of old "stuff" to Kansas City.

I don't write poems.

I don't read poems.

I am, in general, not a big fan of poems. (Unless they're canonized) I want to write songs, but that is a whole different story.

That being said, I have written two poems in my lifetime which I deemed successful. I would like to introduce you to one of them.

Distress came to a maid of Tyreame,
But she had a beau who answered her scream.
It was caused by a mouse
Who was loose in her house,
And he gave it a whack with a beam.

Now that I have shared this with you from the deep recesses of my heart, oh wait...I forgot the picture.
Where was I? Now that you have read this expression of the deepest parts of my soul, don't you feel like you know me better?

Yes, I thought so.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Thoughts on all things Wedding-Planning from the Sisters

Dora: "No matter how hard you try, you cannot de-stress your wedding. There is no de-stressing."

Dora: "Next time I get married, there will be NO centerpieces at my wedding. Unless Jesus says 'No, we are having centerpieces.' 'Okay, Jesus, we can have centerpieces.'"

Suz: "No, there will be NO WAL-MART in heaven! Eternal fire forever."
Dorth: "What about Target? They're way more evil than Wal-Mart!"