Thursday, August 28, 2008

. be merciful.

Out from the deep I call
To Thee O Lord to Thee
Before thy throne I fall
Be merciful to me

Be merciful to me
Be merciful to me
Through shadow dark and valley deep
Be merciful to me

From the garden to the cross
Thy mercy did endure
My soul purged from all dross
In blood made pure

Be merciful to me
Be merciful to me
Through shadow dark and valley deep
Be merciful to me

Thy mercy Lord is true
As ever truth will be
But still I cry for you
Be merciful to me

~Caedmon's Call

today I cry mercy on behalf of those i love who are in shadows dark and valleys deep. my heart's burden is really for those of my dear friends who have siblings in the midst of struggles. it is a place that can be daunting and hopeless to feel like there is nothing more you can do to help a sibling who is hurting. all we can do is ask Him who is Mercy to be merciful in the face of life's uncertainties and in our questions to recognize HE STILL IS. i will pray just enough hope for today and that His mercies may be "new every morning". may His blood be enough to heal the wounds.

Monday, August 25, 2008

.daily integrity.

there is a part of me that has always been called to live a life of integrity. it's as if it was there when i was born - i was the kid and am now the adult who feels incessantly compelled to do what's right. now, i'm not trying to say that i always do the right thing or that i am perfect. i claim nothing of the sort. i mess up more often than i'd ever like to admit, but i do feel compelled to tell the truth when i do something wrong and to be accountable to trying to fix it the next time.

yes, i was that kid in elementary school who fessed up even when i could have gotten away with it, that kid who cried when teachers were disappointed in my behavior or my grades, that kid who always wanted to get along with my friends because that's what good kids are supposed to do. i was and still am the "good kid."

this is why my heart is not settled when i see people living without integrity. i mean, if we claim to be Christians our calling is to a life that represents Christ, right? and if we're representing Christ then we should be living with integrity, living a life "above reproach" where people can't point fingers at the way we live. of course, we're fallen, imperfect people, but if we truly are succeeding more times than we're failing and if we are 100% committed to being Jesus to others, then our choice is not a choice that we make once in our lives - it is DAILY.
"Then he (Jesus) said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." - Luke 9:23

I like this tid-bit on self-denial... "You have the freedom to determine what self-denial looks like in your own life, but are warned that you will have to give account to God for your conclusion." - Walter Henrichsen

So this is where I land: denying myself, taking up my cross and following Jesus is a daily decision. By doing this, I am choosing each day to live with integrity and I'm convinced it's more than once each day - it's probably more like once each hour that I'm asked to make a decision based on my ethical compass and how I think Christ would have me act in that situation. I pray people will know and respect me as someone that lives out my life with integrity and purpose and that when i fall (not IF, but WHEN), that those who love me will have the grace to forgive me and pick me up and that I will do that for others - daily.

Monday, August 18, 2008

.trust. (the sequel) - .sweetly broken.

for me, learning how to trust means letting go. it means being broken.

i am one of those people who has everything under control, all the time. my superiors, my friends, my parents genuinely don't worry about me because they know i'll figure it out somehow, someway. and i usually do, except when it comes to matters of the heart.

i hate things over which i have no control - i.e. my heart and my emotions - so i typically try to avoid all things that involve that. this is not to say that i am incapable of deeply loving others or having legit relationships - this is never an issue for me. i'm willing to give of myself and to share my life like an open book. it's when my emotions get involved that i start to freak out.

i'm not a cryer by nature. it happens maybe a half a dozen times a year, but when it happens, i mean it happens. this is when i know that i'm letting go of something or that God finally has control of something that never belonged to me in the first place. last night, following the sermon at church, it happened. me = a pile of tears during worship. we're talking the kind of tears that won't stop (thank God for waterproof mascara and my dear friend,erin). I was in a place of being "sweetly broken, wholly surrendered." words i was unable to sing because there were so many tears.

but what relief. i left there feeling better than i've felt in weeks - having clarity on what needs to be let go of, knowing exactly how to take the steps to do that and now just trusting that God knows what He's doing and that He ALWAYS has my best interest in mind. how much easier would my life be if i had done that weeks ago? oh, sweet surrender.

Friday, August 15, 2008

.gas prices.

it's random to blog about gas prices, but they are eating me up today because they are preventing me from doing things i want to do.

for example:
- i've driven down to "south county" everyday this week be it for meetings or to hang out, i've done it daily and i had to say no to a friend today because i just can't drive to south county again and use that much gas. it's taking its toll.
- i would love to go to vegas or pismo or santa cruz or go wine tasting for the long weekend, but am not seeing it happening because gas is too much, maybe more than flying to those places.
- i am stressing about and dreading driving to pasadena twice a week for school because i know the toll that the 2 hour plus commute is going to have on my pocketbook.
- i would be thrilled to be able to go visit a dear friend and her new baby in williams, arizona, but i just can't justify spending that much on gas.

i know this is a season of cutting back for me being that i'm a full time student again and i have essentially no disposable income, but i hate that this is my life. i hate that the people that are my community, my dear friends are taking the brunt of me not being able to afford gas right now. i'm not adjusting well to my new way of life and i'm not adjusting well to the rising gas prices. so there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


this is what God has put on my heart today. don't be afraid, just trust.

why is this so flippin' hard? i can't do it today. i can't trust because that would cause me to relinquish my control. it would cause me to surrender any power i have in my life and live with blind faith. i lived with blind faith the day i met Jesus and decided that i believed that the Bible was true and that Jesus could save me and forgive my sins. why can't live with that same child-like blind faith today when i am confronted with situations where worry and fear pop into my mind and heart first?

why can i not trust that He will provide? hasn't He always? has He not proven Himself to me time and again and allowed me to see in all situations of my life that HE IS GOOD?

because i failed at it today, my goal for tomorrow is to trust that His character is good more than trusting my own ability to understand my circumstances. He will hold me in His strong arms and love me regardless of my inability to do what He's asked. because He loves me, tomorrow i will choose to trust (and i'll let you know how that goes for me)...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

.making changes.

team, i am determined.

i am determined to make some changes to the way we do family vacations around here. i have now been in san diego for the better part of 2 weeks with my family, vacationing at a beach house.

now, if you don't know me, let me take a moment to explain something. when i say "beach house" and "vacation" and "family", remove the picture from your head and replace it with 7 beach/bay houses filled with crazy, loud, home-grown, farmin' dutch people, likely around 60 of us in all, in and out the last few weeks. you think i'm kidding, but i'm not - ask margie, sarah & justin or dustin. they can attest.

we thoroughly enjoy getting together and this is just my mom's side of the family (think "my big fat greek wedding" but without the wedding and with dutch people" - scary). we have made a few changes in the right direction the last few years, i will be honest. the boys have started to drink a little less hard alcohol, we've added about 6 small children on top of the 20 who are now "big children", some married, some single, some students - probably attributing to the decline in alcohol consumption & sometimes earlier bedtimes. we have begun to focus more on my grandparents as we realize that time is precious and they are the reason we've all remained so close-knit. we've started going to church together on sunday mornings at "church on the beach" (that's a sight to see).

but here's what i'd change - if i had things my way we'd have
- more apples to apples game nights
- more time with all of us sitting listening to my immigrant grandfather tell stories (bring the beer if you must)
- more sailing, windsurfing & bike riding excursions with my 80 year old grandpa who we all seem to think will live forever
- more early morning coffees with cinnamon rolls in the patio listening to the waves
- more "divine appointments" and intentional meetings with cousins i haven't caught up with in a while
- more nuzzling sweet week-old babies while watching a movie together
- more boogie boarding with my 50 year old parents, just because we can
- more time walking with my 3 year old niece, finding shells and singing "i have decided to follow Jesus"

- more of a push for everyone to make it happen again next year and not let one person say they can't come, even if it's just for a day.

i'm grateful for 2 weeks on the beach, for a family that values time spent together, for grandparents who've been the glue and foundation, for this place that is peace and joy to my soul.