Monday, February 28, 2011

Social Media Melancholy

Social Media is both a blessing and a curse ... in my book, anyway. I love the fact that it allows me to keep family and friends updated on the happenings here [my family life] and that it allows me to keep up-to-date on those I call family and friends. Without Facebook and Twitter, time would win the game of life's-details-lost.

But then there's the days, like today, when the same sources that keep me 'connected' also make me feel horribly disconnected. I look at the gatherings that take place, the photos of smiling friends enjoying each other, and the connections that so many people have with 'so many people' ... and I realize just how tiny my circle of connections is.

While there is something in me that yearns to have the volume of friends that so many women I know have, there is that other side of me that realizes I will never have that. And then I wonder if I want it because they have something I don't, or I want it because I really want it.

The word friend is a perplexing one to me, and maybe that's where this all falls apart for me. I tweeted one day last week this very statement:

"Random Realization: I'm really good at being a deep, intimate friend, but I'm lousy at being an acquaintance. Surface is hard for me."

Having a large group of friends requires either (1) a lot of time to commit to getting to know them, or (2) being able to commit to knowing a little bit about each person but not really knowing any of them deeply. Knowing how I'm wired, option 2 does nothing for me and option 1 is just not an option for me right now.

My day time is committed to being a mom, home school teacher and care taker of our home; and always allows for flexibility for my SisNBff. My nights are committed to being a mom, cook, chauffer and wife. Can anyone carve out time if 'something' is a priority? Absolutely. But if I stack too many priorities on my plate, nothing is a priority anymore.

So, therein lies my conundrum. The desire to be connected but not the time (option 1) or heart (option 2) to possess it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Expectation Without Expectations

After a day filled with conversation and lots of thoughts (some I blogged), I went into tonight's Habitation service a bit run-down physically. I was tired and feeling like I could have just gone to bed and slept until tomorrow. So glad I didn't. God was waiting to meet with me.

Lots of golden nuggets from the service itself--and so much anticipation for what the year holds in these gatherings--but the end is what I have to focus on right here.

Heads bowed. Question asked, "What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you right now?"

  • Immediate vision: Jesus holding a heart in His outstretched hand. (If it was a photograph, the heart would have been in focus and Jesus' arm/body would have been blurred from the depth of field.)
  • Twice I shook it out of my head thinking I was coming up with it myself because a new heart has been the only thing on my mind for the past 9 days.
  • Twice that vision came immediately back to me after "letting God know that I was ready for what He wanted to show me". 
  • Then, layered over the image of Jesus with the heart in His hand, the word Monday came into focus. Huh?
  • Again, I shook my head, rebuked my mind for what it was conjuring up, and told God I was "now" ready for His word to me. 
  • That vision didn't go away. Now, the time 12:00am came into focus layered with the other two parts. Midnight? Okay, God. What's this all about?
  • Instantly, I had the 'knowing' that Jesus wanted me to meet Him at midnight in my living room. So I said, "God, I know what the image of Jesus holding out a heart means. But why Monday and why 12:00am? I get that 12:00am marks the beginning of Monday, and that's tomorrow by the way, but I don't get it." [This was all telepathically spoken to God so no one else would over hear me and think I was a bit loopy.]
  • Then God asked me: "What's tomorrow?" Me: "Monday." God: "Yes, but what's tomorrow?" Me (again): "Monday!" God: "What's the date tomorrow?" Me: "The 21st." God: *smiles* Me: "The 21st???" And then my heart melted right there. 
  • Tomorrow--February 21st--will mark 4 years to the day that Anthony and I "met" through e-Harmony.

As soon as I got over the shock of the moment, everything in me wanted to doubt. This sounds to good, to set up. And then I heard a prayer from the stage, "God, let us hear you clearly. And when we hear you, let us believe. And when we choose to believe you, let us obey."

And then God spoke to me, "Come with Expectation but without [expectations]."

He was illuminating my blog from earlier today where I stated that human love is nothing but selfish, full of expectations and conditional. I'm not to come with expectations of how I think [this] will happen, what it will feel like or look like, etc. because I'd be bringing my human love to our date. Instead, I am to come with Expectation, believing that what God promises, He fulfills.

I heard God. And I believe Him. And at midnight I will obey Him by bringing an expectant and belief-filled heart to my date with Jesus.

But for the next hour or so, I'm gonna lay my head down and hopefully get a little sleep. I am still so physically worn out and I want to be fresh for my date! :)

[my] Love

Since the days of the Love Revelation: "Real love is not having a human reaction to failure", God has been using my days to show me exactly what [my] love looks like. Today I was able to speak the words, "My love will always be ugly because it's human. And love birthed out of me--and not Jesus--will always be selfish, full of expectation and conditional."

It's like a veil has been pulled back and [my] love is being exposed for what it really is. It is full of [I]. I want, I expect, I believe, I feel, I see ... and it all revolves around what love [is] and is [not] according to ... duh duh na na ... ME!

Even the parts of love where I would have said "Yeah, I love well [there]" isn't what I thought it was because it's still my definition of how I love. The missing piece? Human love (and all we define it to be) can never be compared to the love Jesus can--and desires to--implant in our hearts. It is the antithesis of 1 Corinthians 13. No matter how much we try to fool ourselves, we do not personify this chapter of the Bible:

  • Human Love does not bear up under anything and everything that comes.
  • Human Love is not always ready to believe the best of every person.
  • The hope of Human Love fades with circumstances.
  • Human Love does not endure everything without weakening. 

And those four things don't even cover all of the attributes of the Love chapter! What??? There's MORE?!?!

What about "not keeping a record of wrongs"? Oh, how human that one particular trait is of our love. I know this because God tells me that [he keeps no record of my wrongs]. But how often our human hearts deliver the blow of "I remember, and I'm not going to let you forget".

What Jesus is doing is showing me that everything I thought love to be is not love. He's blowing it all out of the water--burning it away with Holy fire--so that He can replace it with His love.

1 Corinthians 13 was not written about a love we should attain to, or replicate and live out the best we can ... in and under our ability. It was written to describe Jesus: Love Personified. We're not born with it. We can't learn it, no matter how many books we read. We will never figure it out, no matter how many days we're given. We will only receive it by the power of Holy Spirit and a supernatural heart transplant.

Random RootsCoffee Heart Songs

Sitting in RootsCoffee this Sunday morning ... solo. An incredibly restless night of sleep had my eyes barely able to open, even at 9:30am. Wanting quiet s.p.a.c.e and not finding it anywhere (virtually impossible when all 6 fill the place on these weekends), the laptop took a walk with me and my tired eyes downstairs to RootsCoffee.

After placing my order--a double cappuccino this morning--I took a seat on the red sofa and opened my laptop and iTunes. I'm choosing to let music be the washing of my soul this morning. Random shuffle on. Let's see what will speak to me:

"And only You can see the good in broken things. Take this heart of stone (present tense) and make it whole. Set this prisoner free." Hallelujah [Bethany Dillon]

"The calmer of the sea. Here in this room with me. So gently welcoming. The weakest parts of me." Let Your Light Shine [Bethany Dillon]

"Love of God overflow. Permeate all my soul. Love of God. Overflow. Permeate. All my soul." Fill Me Up [United Pursuit Band]

"Jesus. The name above all others. The center of my worship. You're the God of all things." Let's Worship [Deluge Band w/Kari Jobe]

"Feels like I'm tied up. What's holding me? Just praying today will be the day I go free." The Way I Was Made [Chris Tomlin]

"...drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes." How He Loves [Jesus Culture]

" In the times I weak, You come rescue me through the words that You speak over me." Every Breath [Gateway Worship]

"Your power is limitless." Great, Great God [David Moore]

"No sickness. No secret. Is strong enough. To keep us from your love." Healing Is In Your Hands [Passion Band]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

[i] versus I AM

Late Sunday night, as I so often do when I go to bed, I put in my earbuds and scrolled through the messages on my iPod to choose which one I would listen to before falling asleep. Having recently discovered the depth of Seven (Gateway's Young Adults Ministry), I selected the one message I had downloaded and plugged in.

I soon found myself listening to a guest speaker, which (at first) bummed me out because it wasn't Preston Morrison, but it didn't take long for the words to grab my heart and pull me in. 55 minutes later, I knew God had guided my choice. It was no act of coincidence that what I had listened to was hand-chosen for me for that very night.

In a recent blog post [A Heart Without Love], I was brutally honest about what my heart looks like without the L word, and it's not pretty. On Sunday afternoon, my necrotic heart dished out venom that I justified with the excuse: "Well, now I don't have to pretend anymore or hold it in".

On Sunday night, God came a-calling, and He had a plan to stop me in my tracks before I got too far down this road of destruction.

Although there were plenty of golden nuggets in the message I was listening to, there was one particular zinger that had me stand up and take notice:

"We find it so hard to understand forgiveness because the people we know [and love] remember our sins and use them against us [to manipulate and control us]; but God doesn't remember them at all because He's thrown them into the sea of forgiveness, never to be found again."

How are we supposed to understand God's forgiveness when it's not [re]presented on earth for us? It's almost impossible for us to wrap our human brains around a spiritual concept we rarely, if ever, receive from others or offer to them ourselves without condition.

And then this verse in Isaiah was referenced:

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn." vs. 17

I know this verse references Israel and God's promise of peace and protection to them, but when it was spoken I clearly heard God talking [to] me, except I wasn't the one He was protecting, I was the one He was protecting against.

Nothing God says to me ever provokes condemnation. It's not HIS way. But when I heard His voice telling me that [I] was using my tongue to rise up against [one of His children], He immediately filled my heart with an understanding:

I AM will protect His children, even if it's from another child. When I use my tongue to remind [anyone] of their sin and use it against them, I am putting myself in opposition to God. I am basically declaring God my enemy--my opponent in battle--because [i] am placing I AM in a position to protect a child of His [from] me.

WOW! Why would I ever want to purposely place myself in opposition to a God I don't stand a chance against? I wouldn't ... EVER!

So God, in all His loving-kindness and mercy, came to me the very night I had made an ignorant decision and showed me the reality of my heart decision: [i] versus I AM.

[i] got it! and [i] backed down immediately and begged forgiveness. [i] will never look at sin and how [i] use it against anyone, in the same way, ever again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

These is [my] question

What do I do [then] when I'm doing what I love [now]?

Maybe [tomorrow]

Why is it than even when we can admit that "one day" change was inevitable, that when that "one day" comes sooner than we thought it would, it's not as easy to embrace as we would have fooled ourselves into believing it could be?

Today, the kids and I had a very serious conversation about home schooling that ended with the admission and understanding that my retirement from Wellspring Academy (the name I gave our home school back in California where home schools had to be registered) is most likely coming 'sooner' rather than 'later'.

I had this niggling in the back of my mind for months now that this school year may very well be our last at home. Not because I was growing discontent but because there was change I could see on the horizon that didn't look like it could be met from our living room; change that I'm not sure even the kids would have recognized had today's conversation not happened.

It was hard. There were tears. And I can honestly say that the reality of September 2011 hasn't even begun to soak in. I can't let it right now. The surface ripples are enough for me. Diving in to the full weight of this is not something I can choose to take on [today].

But this I know because I've lived it many times before: When what's ahead of me is so foreign that I can't possibly create a future reality in my own mind, I quickly process the emotions and then dig into the details. Gathering information is easy for me. Making plans and doing what's necessary to carry them out is easy too. Allowing that change to take up residence in my heart so that the emotions of it can be processed is something else; that takes vulnerability and a willingness to surrender to the feelings of change and not just adapt to it.

Maybe [tomorrow].

The Day-After-Love-Day

Today is February 15th, which means yesterday was Valentine's Day. In the most unexpected way, it turned out to be one of the most special days for me. I was treated to a fabulash lunch (yummy avocado rolls and pear endive salad, {our} constant go-to even though we always look at the menu first) by the one person who just has a natural way of drawing me into God's presence while still carrying on conversation. It's what I treasure most about her.

Yesterday showed me, even though I wasn't looking for it, that a day centered on Love Commercialized doesn't have to be something to retreat from--it can be conquered in new ways by shifting all that Love Focus in the right direction ... Jesus.

Four hours sitting on the patio of Cheesecake Factory, while the sun warmed the deepest parts of us, seemed to whiz by. Without a call from my daughter at 4:30pm, I think we would have still been sitting there when the dinner crowd came and went and probably only noticed the time when the sun began to set. Seriously ... that's how deep and unaware of the outside world our conversation was. It was revelation after revelation. Almost too much at times. I'm not sure today how much I actually took in versus heard and agreed with.

So today, the Day-After-Love-Day, I need to process and sit before God. I need to know what He said that applies for my 'now' versus what was a seed planted for my 'tomorrow'.

Thank you, friend--my Heart Treasure--for giving me a Love Day that was just the beginning of future years filled with a different perspective of what LOVE is REALLY all about.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Heart Without Love

So, there it is ... a heart without love is like flesh with necrosis. It's ugly, rotten and eats away at the very thing that once contained health, vibrancy and life.

The Gap Between

When death is finally acknowledged and admitted, and resurrection is still yet to be spoken forth, the reality of the gap that remains is palpable.

What did I expect? Understanding?
Would I understand?
What did I expect? Empathy?
Could I empathize?
What did I expect? Instant Transformation?
Would I wait graciously?

Expectation is a word that is never used positively when it comes to marriage, or relationships of any kind, for that matter. Yet, I believed if I shared the deepest part of my reality, in its most naked form, it would break a barrier; that the baring of brokenness that I had admitted only to Jesus would help connect the dots. My flawed assumption? I overlooked the very thing I was admitting to: Death.

Jesus' death without resurrection is just painful--sucking the life out of a person and leaving the void without anything good to fill it.

There was a miracle waiting just days away, but the broken hearts had no idea. Their gap was palpable too. I know there's a miracle waiting to be deposited. I believe it with everything inside of me because the proof was put before me. It's the gap between now and then that concerns me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hope Is ...

finding myself in limbo between admitting the death of [this] while believing in, and waiting for, its resurrection above and beyond what my heart could ask for or even imagine.
When she finished telling me the story of her heart transplant, tears began to immediately form. She couldn't have known, but God had brought her here not only to share her miracle but also to answer a question [with proof].

Although it was not the immediate response she may have thought she'd receive from me, I had to tell her the reason behind my tears. Her experience was the "Yes, I can" answer from God to a question I had been asking Him for two years.

So now, instead of asking Him "can You?", I am changing my plea to "will You?".

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Revelation

We sat in two, high-back, green chairs at Roots Coffee -- she with her peach/strawberry/banana fruit smoothie and me with my double shot cappuccino -- talking about the parallel journeys on which we found ourselves; journeys where love was the catalyst and Jesus was the answer.

For days leading up to this one, we read posts on each others' blogs where deep questions about love were asked without answer, and we had phone conversations about what it could all possibly mean. On Thursday, "I blamed it all on Valentine's Day". And then Friday came.

She surprised me by showing up without notice. And what a sweet surprise it was. A friend is never not welcome, even when I am still in my pajamas. ;) She told me to get dressed. "We're walking down to Roots." Coffee and my BFF? Yes, Please and Always!

As we cozied up with our drinks and rearranged our chairs so we could face each other, I could sense that this would be no ordinary meeting. She had something big to share with me. And God was stirring the heavens as she began unraveling the events of the past weeks.

Over the next few hours there were moments when it felt like time paused long enough for me to understand that the words that had just come out of her mouth were God's and she was simply the conduit. Thoughts like:

"Love is like a Rubik's cube. ONE solution, but many ways to get there." [Really Catchy! I should have a t-shirt made.]


"There is no reason I should love {you} like this, but now I love {you} for no reason." [Made my heart stop and take a breath. Selah]

These thoughts weren't directed at me. I was simply the one getting to hear the process of her heart.

And then she shared with me the miraculous transformation ... uh, more accurately, transplantation her heart had submitted to while she slept the night before. (Dead Man Walking) The only word I could find to describe my thoughts was "Amazing!"

And then it happened. The answer to the questions. The truth behind the mystery. The Love Relevation:

"Real love is not having a human reaction to failure."

A Picture Is Worth ...

In the midst of this LOVE Fest [for lack of a better phrase] that is holding me hostage, I felt compelled to Google 'love' in its visual form. These are the images that stirred me, for one reason or another:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Blame It All on Valentine's Day

If there's one thing people who know me know about me, it's that I am vigilant when it comes to expressing my dislike for Valentine's Day.

My reason #1: It's a holiday made up by corporate America (and Hallmark and flower companies and all businesses involved in chocolate making) to milk the snot out of all the romantics' wallets. Commercialism at its finest, I say.

My reason #2: I don't want to participate in a holiday where people are obligated to show love.

But over the past few days there have been unfamiliar thoughts and questions roaming around my head and heart regarding 'love'. Some of them I blogged just to keep 'em from taking up realty in my brain. (Love Really)

Today, as I was discussing the L word with my BFF, another thought rolled out of my mouth without giving my brain any fore-warning, and I had to stop and take notice:

"Do I really detest Valentine's Day because it's all about commercialism and obligation, or is there a deeper-seeded reason that's not centered around either of these two answers?"

Ahhh, another thought-provoking question to add to the others I blogged. What's up??? I told her (my BFF) that "I blame it all on Valentine's Day." Love, or what we make of it, is everywhere you look. Obviously I've fallen prey to the vast array of commercials on TV and aisles devoted to V.D. in every store. I'm sure this will pass when Monday turns into Tuesday. Phew!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love Really

Sometimes I wonder if I had the chance to sit with the wisest person on earth who is alive today, if he or she would be able to tell me what love really is?

What does it really look like?
What does it really sound like?
What does it really feel like?
What does it really behave like?

Do we really have the choice of who gets to be a part of our lives, or is that one choice man made up to form the never-seen document The Doctrine of Relationships in order to ignore the chaos of the heart that accompanies people ... like religiosity allows us to ignore the chaos of the heart that accompanies knowing Jesus?

As far as that goes, if Jesus brings someone into our lives, do we fool ourselves into believing whether or not they stay is really our choice, not His, simply because we can't handle the emotions or circumstances that come with that person?

Since 70x7 is Biblical, do we really have a choice to side-step that verse and set our own number that determines I've loved you enough but will no more?

Love is one thing to me and something different to you. Doesn't that mean that in reality we all make up our own definitions of what love is ... and isn't?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It's 2:11am.

I'm tired but can't fall asleep.
I'm tired of being awake when no one else is.
I'm tired of listening to the sound of silence when all I wish is that I was asleep.
I'm tired of being so tired in the morning that I can't get up because ... I'm too tired.

Tonight my brain is churning and won't turn off.
My heart feels betrayed and won't let my brain stop churning.
My soul is angry, which feeds my heart, which, in turn, feeds my brain.
My spirit is weak and feeling defeated, which in turn ... well, you get it.

Just when you think you can trust, she proves you can't.
Just when you want to believe in change, she proves you wrong.
Just when you let your guard down and relax, she proves the foolishness of your choice.

I know we aren't what we do because God doesn't create us to be liars and manipulators.
But sometimes--like now--the line between who and what becomes fuzzy.
We aren't the sin we pour out onto others.
But tonight I can't even say her name without attaching "liar" and "manipulator" to it.
And the words she so carelessly throws about without thought for the damage they will do make me shake my head in disgust.

Most importantly, they make my heart hurt.