Monday, April 13, 2009

Painting pictures of Egypt

What will it be like to be back in MN? I’m not sure. I’m very excited to be home again to spend time with people I miss. Yet, I’m unsettled. Six months has gone so fast. Time flies. Yes, it is a cliché. But I’ve now experienced it. Six months can fly by. So can a year. So can a lifetime.

We only have so much time…and we don’t know how much. I don’t want to waste it. That doesn’t mean I want to be busy all the time. It means I want to be intentional about how I spend the time I have. I think that is one of my concerns about being back home. The noise level. Will I fall back into old patterns of wasting time? What is a waste of time? What isn’t? Did we make the most of the past six months? Are there things left undone?

And then there is the question of what is next? Where do we go from here? I don’t know. And I need to be ok with that. This is when trusting God is put to the test. Will I wait . . . or will I figure it out and make something happen. My heart’s desire is to wait. To trust. To believe that God is at work preparing a place for us. I do believe that.

Yet, it takes a real willingness to stay in this place. There are times when I’ve “painted pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks” – as Sara Groves says. I’ve thought of our life in suburbia with our nice house and our nice neighbors and our nice lifestyle and wondered…why am I leaving again? Isn’t that the life most people dream of? Do I really want to give that up?

These are the things I ponder…and Sara says it well…

Friday, March 6, 2009


This is the story of our harrowing adventure through Houston. We left Gulf Shores, AL, on a two day drive to Austin, TX, with a handful of Walmart addresses thinking we’d drive as far as we could and then boondock for the night. In hindsight, it would have been well worth the money to book a night at a KOA. We drove along passing most of the Walmarts on our list thinking we could go a little further. Then when we did decide to pull off, we missed the exit due to road construction. We had one store left on the list, but by now it was dark and it was becoming clear that we were getting way too close to Houston.

We pulled into the Walmart parking lot, but knew immediately we would not be staying long. It was all I could do to get Rich to stop for even five minutes so we could formulate a plan. We ended up going back the way we came remembering a nicer area about ten miles back. We stopped to get gas and thankfully some friends called so they prayed that we would find a place to stay for the night.

Our next move was to see if we could park at a hotel if we booked a room. “Sure” they said. But the reality is that a 42 foot rig plus a 20 foot minivan does not fit in a motel parking lot. We freaked out for a few minutes trying to find a place to turn around. Thankfully a large parking lot appeared before we drove into the night on a country road going who knows where. We drove by another hotel, but it was the same story. We were way too tired after driving way too long through rain and road construction.

We were getting to the end of our rope when out of nowhere we stumbled upon a Cracker Barrel. I jumped out to read the sign which said “Bus and RV Parking”! Praise God!!! I cannot tell you how relieved we were to find this safe haven – plus it was 9:30 pm, we hadn’t eaten, and they were still open. So we ate dinner and asked if we could stay overnight which we did.

What did we learn that night? Houston is a big scary city at night. Walmarts are iffy places to stay. Reservations are good. Winging it in the day is ok. Winging it at night is not. Driving the beast for six hours a day is more than enough. Driving at night is too much. Being tired and stressed is not a good combination. Rich reacts by moving into action. I react by wanting to sit down and make a plan. Through it all…God provides.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thoughts about education

What does it mean to educate my children? This is a question I pondered deeply for a good solid year. I wrestled with this. I read. I prayed. I wondered. What am I really trying to accomplish with my children before they are grown and gone? It is a question not easily answered. In fact, it opened a can of worms that led me on a contemplative journey about life itself.

For most of my life, I equated education with going to school. What was unintentionally ingrained in me through my own experience was that I go to school to get good grades so I can go to I can get a good job with a great I can achieve the American dream - buy a house, drive a new car, take exciting vacations, and climb the corporate ladder so I can buy a bigger house, a newer car - and on and on. I lived most of my life with that paradigm.

But is that paradigm the right one? Is that the way God intended for me to look at life? Is that really what I am to aspire to? Does that sum up the hopes and dreams I have for my children?

Or is it an empty bag?

As I was typing this post, a song came to mind called American Dream by Casting Crowns. I didn't know if there was a video for it, but there is. I'll have to continue my thoughts on education another time...for now, I will allow myself to ponder this song as I examine my own heart, once again, in light of truth. Video at:

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Tale of Two Kingdoms: Reflections on a day at Magic Kingdom

A few weeks ago we spent a day taking in the sights and sounds of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It’s a place where “dreams come true” so they say. Everyone looks so happy (at least in the commercials) and there is always something blooming, something to smile about. For a mere $75 you can pass through the gate of this kingdom becoming a royal guest.

Oh, how many little girls we saw that day– hair up, glitter all around, and dressed as if they were going to the ball. How they delighted to stroll among the peasants wearing their gowns and looking forward to everything the day would bring – including exploring every nook and cranny of that glorious castle where – if only for a day - this was home. For a castle is where a princess lives! I can only imagine the anticipation in their hearts as they spied the castle from afar. It’s quite a sight to behold with its towers and turrets.

Being a princess is a special thing you know. It means your daddy is the king! Oh, what a privilege to live as a daughter of the king.

I can only imagine what a little girl could have been dreaming of that day. Perhaps she had thoughts like this: “I’m sure the king will be expecting me – even waiting for me. I can’t wait to run into his arms and he’ll twirl me around with my feet off the ground. And then I’ll run off and explore this wonderful castle – this palace I’ve only seen in my dreams”.

But there was no king; there was no twirling. And there was nothing to explore. The castle, you see, is nothing but an empty shell. (I’m serious…you can look at the outside, but you cannot go in). It is a facade – meant to impress. And impressive it was! You should have seen it all decked out for Christmas – dripping with lights from head to toe, a glistening ice castle all lit up! It was magnificent!

But there was nothing on the inside.

The empty castle caused me to ponder some things. Like how often our lives are like empty castles. They look really great from the outside, but inside there is a terrible void – an emptiness. What a tragedy so many of us spend our days…years… lives, making sure our empty castles are dressed to impress lest others discover our life is nothing but an empty shell.

It’s a sad way to spend a lifetime – living in an empty castle.

How I rejoice that it doesn’t have to be that way! The truth is we were born to be princesses (and princes) – daughters (and sons) of the King! And the desire to be one was put there on purpose by the God who longs to be our King and fill the void in our empty castles.

When Jesus is seated on the throne of our lives, He fills our castle with meaning, purpose, substance, depth, richness, beauty, love, and joy. That’s what I want.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thy will be done...

It has been nearly three months now since we set sail from MN. Though we are still enjoying the journey, we are feeling like the honeymoon is nearly over – meaning the novelty of traveling is fading away. And now the hard work of persevering in what God has called us to do – and learning the lessons He brought us out here to teach us – is what is at hand.

We are in a season of leaving things behind - moving away from what was. It is a process of letting go of what we’ve known – good and bad. The words Jesus spoke about a grain of wheat having to fall into the earth in order to bear fruit resonate with me.

"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. – John 12:24-25 (MSG)

It reminds me of baptism...allowing myself to be submerged under water where I can no longer live - and then being raised up again to new life. It also reminds me of the Israelites who were delivered from slavery by passing through the waters of the Red Sea. Passing from death to life requires us to trust God.

This is my hearts desire - to cooperate with what God is doing in me in this season. I want to allow my selfishness to die. I want to be refined and transformed - to have the mind of Christ. I want to bear the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me. I cannot do this on my own.

I want my life to accurately reflect who God is - to glorify Him.

Letting go is one part of the journey - the other is being raised up to new life and moving toward what is to come. What that will look like, I do not know. But I’m willing and excited to find out.

Thank you for praying as you think of us. Pray that each of us will embrace this season of repentance as God refines and purifies us and that we will take hold of and prepare for what lies ahead. We pray the same for you. While your journey may not look exactly like ours, it is a journey nonetheless.

God’s desire is for each of us is to become who He created us to be and to do what He’s called us to do so that we can participate with Him in bringing the kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. That is a huge calling – one that takes each member of the body of Christ doing their part and working together.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done...on earth as it is in heaven!

PS Isn't it cool that while God refines us, He does not destroy us. His love for us is so extraordinary that He gently leads us to repentance which results in transformation. He does not condemn us - He rejoices over us! Thank you, Lord, for your kind and gentle ways and for your patience.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finishing well

I am thankful for people who develop the talent God has given them - like engine mechanics. (We just had our RV serviced today.) I am thankful for a wide variety of people with a wide variety of gifts and callings. We are each unique and necessary.

I believe having the character to finish a job is of utmost importance. The engine people were very nice to stay late to finish the job yesterday. But when it came right down to it, they rushed through the finishing touches - and it was costly. We had to spend the night in a rest area with an overheated engine. They had to send a mobile technician and spend more time on it again in the shop.

Finishing well is a character trait.