Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Door

The night of April 16th I ran into a college friend looking for a new place with her roommate in Williamson County. She asked for prayers and I replied, "Well, if you find a place with an extra bedroom I'd consider living with both of you. I've been praying for new roommates!"
Only a month later on Saturday May 17th, I saw I had a missed call from my friend and calling her back I learned they'd found a place and it did have an extra bedroom! They were looking at it Monday and I was welcome to join and see the place.

Monday I arrived at a beautiful house in Brentwood with a large yard, a patio, a fire pit, and a lovely garden. I hadn't even gone inside and I was loving this place. The landlord was friendly and agreed to be more flexible about our move in dates. All the logistics were perfect, the price, the space-- so we all decided to start the process.  I felt peace in moving forward and we all gave our landlords notice and applied for our new place together.

As I dreamt about garden space and what I wanted to plant and do with the outside spaces and thought up ideas of gatherings we'd be able to have in our large family room and living areas, I felt this quiet whisper the last week of May. I heard it deep in my spirit whispering, 

"It's going to fall through." 

Knowing how excited I was for a new place, for roommates and how much I loved this house in Brentwood, it wasn't that statement that shocked me as much as what my instant reaction was at this news.

"God, does this mean I can move back to Portland?" I was so excited! Not even slightly disappointed in losing the house. Where did that thought come from? How long had I wanted to move back that badly?

Wait, I thought. I needed to slow down. This hadn't happened yet and as far as I knew I'd still be moving to Brentwood in mid June. So I thought again about my garden, my roommates, but for some reason I couldn't get quite as excited about it anymore.

Monday June 2nd, I looked at my phone to see a message from one of my soon-to-be roommates,
"I need to call you at lunch or after work... let me know which is better. we got some disappointing news abt the house."

With God's little warning that this was coming, my heart leapt for joy. I was giddy and knew I was moving to Portland. It didn't make sense when it was supposed to be bad news, but I was too happy and my stomach was too full of butterflies for me to notice what logic would say.

After officially hearing that the place had fallen through, I wanted to pray about it and think it over. It's quite the decision to leave a place you've lived for four years and although I felt peace about moving forward, I felt I needed to share it with leaders in my life who could tell me I was crazy if I needed to hear that.  Instead of hearing that I had any ounce of insanity, I kept hearing encouragement to trust the Lord with His leading, to trust that He would provide the things that hadn't fallen together yet.

So here I am today, with three days before I leave Nashville, Tennessee to begin my return road trip to Portland, Oregon. I have no official job yet, but I don't have any fears that God will not provide exactly what I need when I need it and that I will find an occupation once I'm there. 

I'm excited as I begin the adventure towards many unknowns with a road trip with my two friends, Bethany Cannon and Deborah Kady. We'll travel through many states (of emotions as well as states in our country) as we celebrate my move, my birthday and the seasons our lives are all in.  I'm blessed to have friends that were eager to join the trip so I have company alongside me. I anticipate great things along the road, memorable moments and funny tales to share. As I have the internet available to update, I will try to keep you apprised of my new adventure :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lost and Found

It is fascinating to me how one moment to the next everything can change.  A word, a step, a move, a story told, a book read, so many actions creating reactions. What if a simple thought changes everything?

I found an old blog today, forgotten it lies in the rubble of unused webspace, while I journey forward on another blog that stays here mostly neglected.  The old blog reminds me of dreams forgotten, fears followed and obeyed and the distance I have gained in freedom from those fears in the years since giving up that blog.

I wrote something in the blog about fears that continue to prevent me most days from writing or sharing. Not sure exactly where these fears root from, but it's difficult for me to sometimes be open with others, to trust them and let them in to hear my thoughts. A fear of their judgement on my opinions. A fear of their response to who I am. A fear of my own response to who I am.

This was part of my first post:

"I love writing, usually I don't like to have people read what I write though... You remember in school when your teacher had you sit and write the rough draft to that paper in class? Well I loved the writing part, but hated whenever the teacher began to walk around the room. I didn't want them to see my unfinished masterpiece before it was finished! So now I'm writing a blog for all to read about everything-- my life as it was, my life as it is and my life as it is going to be :) Let's see what interesting things happen!"

I was trying to open up, to give myself a voice that could be heard.  Most likely, no one heard it.  I am pretty sure this blog was up and then I chickened out and changed the privacy settings so only the author could read it mere minutes after I published it. 

It is sometimes very difficult for me, painful even, like getting a splinter out of the tip of your finger, sharing myself is pulling the splinter that rests deep in my heart.  Despite the pain and fear, I still attempt to open up and when I do the rewards far outweigh the risks and rejections of failed attempts.

Seasons change, trees flower, leaves change color, fall to leave room for snow.

Last week, I met a woman on a plane. I thought it would be inconsequential, we'd sit, read, sleep and enjoy our individual American lives free to be independent and never touch each others lives. Any solitary hopes were about to be crushed by the beauty of being open to reaching out, to listening to a story untold, to hearing the cries of another heart, to knowing the challenges, the pain, the heartache, the joys, the triumphs, the journey we all walk through day to day that we can share.

As she sat down, I would have never guessed we would have anything to talk about or that we had anything in common.  I was sorely wrong. This woman was beautiful, her seeking eyes, her hunger for truth, her love for others.  My prayer for her is that she will find the true source of the fruit she hungers for. The fruit that never withers or dies, that she will find a well of living water in her search.  It is so close to her, but so much is all around this well of hope she can't seem to find it. So many false fruits that carry poison that bring sickness and death.

Her words, her cares, her life, her worries, her hopes, her desires, her prayers... all touched my heart. I felt more blessed by her presence in her searching than I feel I could ever bless her.  I know He was there, it was His presence I felt, invading our conversation, deeply desiring to declare Himself despite her trifles with giving Him any name.  No matter what destiny she was shirking because of her busy schedule full of unfulfilling work, He was there wanting to bless her anyway.  His desires for her were to be where she has joy, peace... yet there she was living a life of worry and busy schedules forsaking the two gifts she once knew. But for a moment, there with me, I could see her joy, her peace. Two gifts returning as she expressed her experiences in the heavenly realms through music.

In allowing me to speak some into her life and opening up my heart for her, I feel I rediscovered something I had lost. I had forgotten what brings me joy. I had forgotten what brings me peace. Sometimes this journey gets so difficult to walk, so tiring, so lonely, so painful... I forget. I know the Peacemaker. I know the Giver of Joy. He has blessed me with my own experience of Him. He has given me things I find great joy in, here on this earth. He has given me places to draw near to Him through my own music, my own voice. I felt challenged by this women to realize that with the little faith I have, if I truly embrace it -  I can conquer mountains. I can even conquer that splinter in my heart. I can open up. I can let the wounds heal. I can share myself with a stranger. I can even share my deep thoughts and opinions with a trusted friend. I can learn to trust again.

If I truly have faith in a good God and a savior, what need do I have with worry? What need do I have to stay trapped in a season of mourning? Why shy away from the world, from myself, afraid to step out, to have dreams and to have a voice?

It all begins to snowball. With my faith as big as a mustard seed...
Everything becomes possible.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


This year has brought me an abundance to be thankful for and yet I think I rarely stop to be thankful and say thank you and show gratitude for everything I have been given that hasn't always been deserved.  So here is the day and the moment to stop, rest and share everything that I am grateful for.

I am thankful for...

Last year, I was blessed by a roommate for a season.  I met Barbara in a class at church and she was looking for a place to stay while I was going through a very lonely season and we were able to share a place during the holidays. God used both of us to answer each others prayers. She blessed me more than words can describe, with her gifts, her service, her company and her grace for me when I wasn't always having the best of days.

In December when moping about how I wouldn't be able to go home for the holidays, I decided to stop sitting back and complaining and instead take action with what I could control and I invited my sister, Anna, to come visit me in Nashville. She was such a blessing!  God used the time to heal our relationship and bond us closer together. She had a blast being in Nashville and we loved our quality time together amidst the busyness of my life at the time.

I was blessed this year by many new friends and fun events full of laughter and joy.  I was blind to it however and I have realized how little I have shared appreciation for each of my friends and their support for me this year as I have walked through new challenges and found their support and hope and laughter medicine for the difficult times I faced.

In late March, I was invited to join a community group at church and sharing meals on Thursdays with that group of friends has blessed me more than I would have imagined initially. We have had fun together and cried together and they have helped me when I was sick. It was such a blessing to find a family in such an unexpected way this year. The immediate love and acceptance I felt especially the first week we met at the Morgan's house brought me such an immense feeling of joy. I felt I belonged and like I had stepped into a place filled with the embrace of a family. I could probably write a book about how each person in the group has positively influenced my life and created safe places for me to process through so much this year.

This last month, I was able to go to Florida for the first time with my friend, Deborah.  We camped at the keys, had a crazy fun road trip and explored the Everglades.  I was so thankful for the rest and time away-- it is amazing how much we forget to explore in our everyday lives and experience the joy that discovery brings. I am determined that this new year will be one of discovery, rest and joy!

What I am most thankful for this year is something I barely have words for or know if I can write it:

God's infinite grace and how it washes over things in our pasts and shines light to restore the beauty of broken things.

Just this week, I have experienced God moving in my heart in ways I hadn't thought would be possible and I feel like I am more than just a conqueror, but with Christ in me I could take on the world and be victorious, full of His life, His love and His grace. God loves restoration of relationships and healing the places of our hearts that are full of so much pain.

This year has been difficult allowing God to work pain out of my heart so more of Him could be present, but today I declare that all the painfulness of letting pain leave was worth having a place for more of Him to fill.  For pain is heavy and full of sadness and difficulty, but His burden is easy and His load is light! How bright that light is and how it penetrates the depths of our hearts to bring healing and life!