Monday, April 30, 2012

(in)RL Greenville

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This weekend, an amazing event went down. An event that happened in hundreds of locations around the world, with almost 2,000 women. An event that I registered for MONTHS in advance. An event that I swallowed some fear to offer to step out and host in my city.

And I actually really enjoy planning events, so I was pumped! I invited about 20 or 25 women, got my house all set up, made a big table of food, and then...

                               sat here by myself as the start time for the event came and went.

As a very fearful introvert, this was kind of a blow. Everyone had legitimate reasons for not coming. And I'm sure some didn't even realize it was happening, since my only form of communication was a Facebook event. But even this turned into an accusation against myself. It was definitely a moment of weakness and vulnerability that I was not prepared for. {My mother being the only one who showed up, half an hour late, and only because her previous engagement got cancelled, was little consolation.}

And then, around lunch time, my mother-in-law and beautiful future sister-in-law came by on their way around town doing wedding shopping [so much fun!]. I had talked to them earlier and asked them to at least come by and eat some of the food since Matthew and I are vegan right now and none of the food was vegan, since I had made it for other people. 

So while the moms sat at the table snacking and chatting, Jaimie and I got to sit in the living room and talk. We normally just get to chat about wedding plans and current stresses and things like that. But on Saturday, we got to talk about Jesus. I got to hear what He's doing in her heart, and in my brother's heart. We got to know each other a little better and let our friendship get a little deeper. And through all the muck of disappointment and hurt and shame in my brain, a little whisper got through, and said, 

           "This is what today was for. This is why I put it on your heart to host this, and this is why no one else came. Because in what seems like your failure, My plan succeeded."

Why do I still have to learn this lesson? Shouldn't I have it by now? I'm sure Jesus wonders this about me too. When I'm focused in on my weakness in a situation, I'm missing out on seeing Him be strong. When I despair because my plan fails, I miss out on seeing His plan succeed because I finally got out of the way. 

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What a promise! What a loving God! This weekend was a beautiful reminder. Not to mention all the beautiful wisdom shared in the videos from the event. (in)courage is an amazing group of women who really love Jesus. 

What looks like weakness or failure in your life right now? Ask God to show you His strength and His plan, and move yourself out of the way. He is good, and faithful, and loving. He, if given the opportunity, will astound you with His great Love for you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I totally rocked dessert tonight.

Not a great picture. But you have to just believe is amazing.

Tbsp of Vegan Butter + 1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp cinnamon + 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Pop the popcorn, melt the butter and cinnamon and sugar, and then stir together everything.

Almost fat free,  but without all the fake junk in normal desserts.

Plus, the girls love it.

Anyway. Matthew just called from the hall with our vacuum and said "Our vacuum sucks." Then he smirked at his cleverness. :]

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We're doing an extended fast right now, and I say that not to brag on our spirituality [we don't fast because we're awesome...we fast because we need something drastic to get our focus to stay on Jesus!], but to give a background for everything I may say in the next two months. If you've never fasted, you should try it. There's no substitute for it.

God has been uprooting what feels like every part of my core since this thing started. What's funny is that it took me a week to realize that was what was happening.
(See? I NEED to fast. I'm just plain dumb sometimes without it.)

A few weeks ago, I had hit what really felt like rock bottom. And I doubt anyone who has spent time with me even noticed. It was an internal disease, and felt like it was rotting my insides. What was I doing wrong? I was so miserable, all day, every day. I would just sit and watch my two incredibly lovely daughters and plan how to make sure they were taken care of so that I could commit suicide.
And for no reason!
When I talked to Matthew about it, that's all I could say. I was wishing myself dead, and had no idea why. Nothing new had happened. Nothing had gone wrong. Plus, I was fasting - wasn't I supposed to be getting closer to Jesus?

But I was.

Someone at our amazing church felt the need to invite me and Matthew to a leadership gathering [we are not in leadership in any it was a random Jesus thing!] where a man who is a speaker from our pastor's home church in Raliegh would be coming to talk and pray for the leadership team. I did not want to go. I had been dealing with stuff from my past all week for no apparent reason, and just wanted to curl up and be alone. But I went.

And when he prayed for me and Matthew, I was expecting the usual - the focus would be on Matthew, and his gifts, and his ministry potential, and I was going to be his helper. [This doesn't bother me...I think my husband's the jam!! And I hate being the center of attention. So the usual works perfectly for me.]

But he started praying for me, and this guy totally read me like a book. I started bawling immediately [crying in public - probably my least favorite thing]. He brought up the things from my past that God had been bringing to my mind all week and dealt with them. I had assumed that these thoughts had been attacks of some kind, just trying to torture me - but it was Jesus, making me look at the wounds so that I could see them get healed.

God's heart is unknowable, for sure, but it is full of love for us. I do know that.

This stuff had been eating me away, and stealing my joy, and I hadn't even realized it was still there! I'm still processing it, and working through it with Jesus, but I feel completely different now.

I feel content.

I walk outside and look at our yard with the fence almost done and my garden starting to flourish and the mulberries starting to ripen and the huge oak trees filling the woods behind us - and I have peace and joy. Not from stuff. From Jesus. I look up from the computer and glance around our livingroom and just can't not say "I LOVE our house!". It is our forever home [as far as I know - Jesus has surprised us before!], and I just adore it. I've never felt like this before. I've never felt so content with life.

I'd encourage you to try fasting from something - something you think is very valuable - and watch Jesus take its place and start to see the reality that He is the only thing that has any value. It's painful, and beautiful. But most good things are.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Being Humbled.

I'm in a place of transition, of maturing and growing, healing and learning...and mostly, being humbled.

It's really uncomfortable. Can I just be honest? It's incredibly painful.

But I feel more peace today than I have in a long time, because I know it's not a punishment or trial - it's a loving Father walking me through my hurts
and my past
and my flaws
to make me whole - to bring me closer to Him.
To make me more like Him.

I'm learning that there are some things that I treasure that hold no real value, and some things I have tossed aside that are priceless.
I am learning that my plans and His plans do not look exactly the same.
I know that He loves me, and that He is walking me through this out of love.

This has been my anthem as of late. God is good when it hurts. God is Love when everything is empty.

"Though the pain is an ocean, tossing us around, You have calmed greater waters, and higher mountains have come down."