Friday, June 14, 2013


     Fathers' Day. Just the thought of the holiday can conjure a multitude of emotions. This day can make you feel burdened by the thought of daylong festivities and expectations, joyous at the promise of being celebrated, grieved while missing a father who has passed, or even angry at the absence of  a father who you felt owed you his presence.
     For most of my life, my experience was this last emotion. My father and I, while close when I was very young, only seemed to grow apart as I neared the end of elementary school. I could never quite figure out why, only knowing that as time went on, his role and interest seemed to lessen in my life. Once discovering his withdrawal from our family had to do with alcohol abuse, our indifference for one another became hostility- we only communicated in selfish spouts of emotion, never possibly considering what the other may have been feeling.
     My perspective first changed towards my father once I learned that God desires us to view Him as a father. I wasn't sure how to do that, but the intimacy and trust described in this relationship made me desire not only to understand it with God, but also my own father. God really gave me a compassion for my dad at this point, and I felt ready to choose this compassion instead of anger.
     Our relationship didnt change right away, but my approach had. I was no longer interested in vindictive arguments that demanding apologies for the past. Instead, I apologized for my part in the disfunction and asked if we could start over. Of course, it wasn't that easy right away.
     My dad went through my mom and I moving out, two rounds of alcohol detox and seizures before he said yes to recovery. Watching someone detox from alcohol in their system is wildly different from sobering up, and pretty scary actually. It wasn't until I saw my dad in this withdrawal state that I realized how serious a problem it had been.
     After detox, my dad went to a Christian recovery center, where we wouldn't hear from him for the first three months of his stay. Since I had chosen to become Christian, my dad had not shown much interest in the topic, and I wondered how he would do in a Christian facility. I knew my dad, a fairly stubborn and methodical man, but God told me to be faithful.
     A week before my birthday, I received the first call from my dad- informing me he not only had remained sober and in recovery, but he had decided to begin a relationship with God, and had even been baptized to symbolize this new life he had begun. This amazingly epic news, the best birthday gift I have ever received, was a chance for a new start with my dad.
     That was seven years ago. Today, my dad is someone I can't wait to see, love spending time with, and miss often. Of course we're still human, we bicker and get annoyed with each other on occasion, but I ask myself what I have possibly done to deserve this much healing in my family.

"God has saved us and called us to a holy life- not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace." 2 Timothy 1:9

     I am so thankful for this reconciliation. To have an amazing relationship with my dad is something I never really thought about or pictured happening. But the only reason I even have it is because of God, who filled in the role of father when my dad didn't. As much as my dad and I work to make time for one another now, we can't take any credit for this new season we enjoy. We both know that the generosity of God is why we have what we have today.
     I don't dread Fathers Day anymore, but I know a lot of people who still do. My heart is sensitive to those who feel their situation is painful, undeserved and unfair. I share this story not to grieve those who have experienced estrangement like mine (or worse), but to show that hope and fulfillment in God is possible, no matter what our circumstances.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Time to Build

I have experienced a huge amount of change in my life in a very short period of time, which has left me feeling uncomfortable, confused and at times very alone. Some of it has come from my own choice, but some has been completely out of my control. While there is always promise of fresh, new beginnings during seasons of change, I could care less.

Until now.

I had been very reluctant to spring into this season of newness because quite frankly, it was stretching the crap out of me. I was being asked by God to enter into new, uncomfortable territory and leave behind my familiar routine, and I wasn't ready. It wasn't fair, I wasn't happy and I wanted to have control over my world and all the things in it.

I knew logically that things in life need to grow and change; when we are comfortable it is easy to become complacent, and that's just not what God has in mind for me. Or anyone, really. I also knew it was stupid to stubbornly resist moving on from the past, yet continued to cling to my attitude of feeling "wronged" and that life was "unfair".

But then I saw something. Words from people younger than me, but so much more jaded. I don't know everything they've been through of course, but one thing was clear from their words- they had given up a little. Maybe not forever, and maybe not on everything, but their serious lack of faith that things could get better really scared me.

Because I don't want to be like that. While there are a million things in our world to grieve your heart, there are a million more that bring redemption. I'm not Pollyanna-ing you, sometimes life is really hard and horrible and sad. But that isn't the end of it, and certainly not where God ends the story.

"...A time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh..."
Ecclesiastes 3:3-4

I'm done focusing on the things that suck, and I'm gonna be focusing now on dealing with my issues, and growing in the process. I plan on seeking the purpose God has for me, and joyfully so. Not because I am ignoring the hard things in life or because I'm faking it, but because my time of mourning is done, and it's time to heal, mature and begin celebrating the amazing blessings in life. Because there are so, so many of them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Easter morning, there have been the usual traditions- plenty of candy, balloons and a potluck brunch.

There were new traditions created, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids (complete with Resurrection Eggs to tell Jesus' story), Easter napping, and Mae Leah, Heather and I tying tying balloons to friends' cars (you're welcome). We also offered a balloon to an elderly stranger, to which he obliged and happily strolled away.

The less traditional event that happened for me this year was a message that really moved me. I feel like sometimes churches expect a lot of people who don't regularly attend church (true), so the sermon ends up being vague rather than powerful. But, to be fair, I also haven't attended our sunrise service in a few years, so I could have very well missed out on some excellent messages from Tim.

This year though, I did attend the sunrise service, and Tim spoke about the Resurrection through the disciple Peter's eyes. Peter was kind of a mess. He loved Jesus passionately and full-heartedly, but still had trouble when it came to understanding restraint and fearless devotion on occasion. Over identify much? I sure did.

The best thing though was that even though Peter denied Christ and want to brawl on occasion, his shortcomings were not the point of the sermon, nor the point of his life's story. The theme that is underscored throughout Peter's life is the grace and never ending love Jesus had for Him. Peter made plenty of mistakes (as we all do), but each time he screwed up, Jesus saw not his mistakes but his earnest and apologetic heart.

This is such an encouragement to know that someone like me, like Peter, can have confidence that how God loves us has absolutely nothing to do with what we do (or don't do).

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Growing up, I was thoroughly obsessed with superheroes. Power Rangers, X-Men, Batman, Star Wars. If I'm honest, even to this day there's just something I love about movies based on superheroes.

All personal dorkiness aside, I think there's a real draw to superheroes for a lot of people. We love stories, and we love seeing good triumph over evil in those stories. There's something so satisfying about watching a noble character fight tireless for the cause of good.

God has given me a huge passion for justice, a desire to see those oppressed liberated and those doing wrong convicted. Because of this (and because designing a costume and learning to leap from rooftop to rooftop is too involved), I am pursuing a career in criminal justice.

Here's the problem. God always gave me a soft, mushy heart. The kind of heart that weeps through Toy Story 3 and ridiculously cheesy marriage proposals in movies. While in those scenarios it's laughable, there are others where it's not so funny.

The darkest parts of the human condition and the things people are capable of leave me horrified and depressed. Afraid of what could happen to me, or people I love. Heartbroken for families who go through such horrible events. Disgusted by the extremes people will go to and unable to comprehend why. I want so badly to be brave and pursue justice, but often feel myself shrink away in despair any time news of a child abduction or senseless murder is heard.

My fear of the evil committed in our world sometimes makes me ask myself a hard question- if I can hardly handle hearing the news of such acts committed, how can I handle it's detailed case file? Or the family that have had to endure such acts?

I was sort of down about this last night, wondering how I could operate in a job with such heart wrenching subjects, and God brought this verse to me: "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Our world is very, very lost. And the capacity people have to hurt one another is truly horrifying. But, I know when I'm experiencing that fear, it's not from God. Fear is crippling and disabling- the exact opposite of God's desire for me. And the exact desire the Enemy has for my life.

I want to live with a spirit of power and confidence in God. Not so I can feel heroic or righteous, but so I can follow where God calls me completely unhindered by fear or doubt.
I'm not totally there yet. And even once God conquers my fear, I'll still have a sensitive heart. But as much as I hate it sometimes, I think God uses how easily I can be affected by things in our world. As much as I would love to have a thicker skin sometimes, I know I don't ever want to become desensitized or used to certain things we hear about every day.

I've gone back forth feeling called to a job in such a dark field, but then, I read this:

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; not does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March is Madness

I enjoy lists. and more than lists, I really enjoy a good number breakdown. It is not in any way creative or original but, because I am weird like that, here is my March in some fun (most of them) numerals:
954. Miles I will travel this month for various fun-having.
60. The math level I will be grumbling my way through.
30. Days I will need maximum levels of caffeine.
13. Birthdays of people I love (at least, that Facebook has made me privy to)
10. On a scale of one to ten, my excitement level about Ashley visiting from Portland.
5. Guys I am fortunate enough to lead worship with at Hume Lake.
3. Number of Jurassic Park movies I hope to watch with said guys.
3.Conferences I get to attend that will help me grow in leadership and my relationship with Jesus.
1. Best friend getting married! Congrats, Nicole :)
March is exciting! And so it begins...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eleven for '11

I proudly told Paul I wasn't going to make any New Year's resolutions. I said it shouldn't take a new year for someone to make a change, and we should always try to be motivated enough to grow and so on, so forth... See, I've got this all figured out.

Then Paul pointed out most people need a catalyst. "Is it easier to say you'll keep your home clean when you've already lived there for eight months, or right when you move in?" he asked, totally proving my point useless- and thereby inspiring me to actually make some New Years' resolutions.

Ha. I love my husband, he's quite wise. So in light of this (and my cousins' post about her resolutions, which I am copying), I have decided to list some goals (accountability). Don't worry, this won't be a bucket list repeat. Okay, here we go 2011!:

-Get my moneys worth from my gym membership
-Make more time to read
-Finish decorating our home
-Pass Math 60 on the first try
-Strengthen my prayer life and spend more time in the Bible
-Carry out God's vision in my job and children's ministry
-Find an artistic outlet to utilize more often (painting, music, crafts, etc)
-Learn to play guitar
-Change my last name (I know, I know.)
-Start saving money for a trip to Paris
-Become so confident in who God sees me as, that I fear nothing.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

Monday, October 11, 2010


I'm watching a really facisnating documentary about the MPAA and how they have used extremely nonuniform practices to censor films.

While I neither condone nor enjoy gratuitous violence or sexuality in films, I do realize filmmakers are given the right to express themselves through free speech. Yet, the methods used to brand a film R vs. NC-17 are quite open for interpretation.

As this documentary was released four years ago, there may have been changes since in the method of rating films. Yet, I think we all have had an experience where an R rated movie has been significantly less explicit or offensive than a PG-13 rated movie. I feel that PG-13 movies will often push the envelope in every raunchy sense, while another movie exploring serious thematic elements involving war or abuse may receive an R rating (on that note, I recommend Screen It [], which breaks down a rating easily for you in numerous catagories).

Some kind of rating system must remain in place for those of us who do want to keep certain images far from our eyes and minds, and such rating system should be fair and completely objective. Numerous board members in positions to rate and view re-edited films appealing for new ratings were found to be film buyers, studio executives and even Catholic religious leaders- not "everyday American parents" as a representitive previously stated.

As much as I avoid films containing excessive violence and sex, I do want to know these films are being rated for informing the general public, not covertly as some kind of power play in Hollywood.