Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Vision that Leads

I've had "vision" on my mind lately. No, not the one related to eyesight. And not the one related to prayer or prophecy. More like the one that guides the actions of an individual or organization. It's the overall purpose from which mission comes. (That said...this might just be interesting to me...hahahaha!)

I have some pretty strong opinions about vision. First, especially in Christian ministry, I believe God gives the vision, and we serve it. I'm VERY cautious about working with/for people who feel they "own" a vision...especially because such a notion can give them permission to change it absent the weight of its seriousness/importance or have that vision serve their ideas/motivatons. No, no, no...we tend it until such a time as God directs us to change it. Second, I wholeheartedly believe that vision is NOT the same as structure. The overall purpose or driving force in a ministry does not mean that certain programs or arrangements are always necessary. Structure can change to better serve vision as resources change, needs change, etc. I've been thinking about it a lot. I guess I've been aware that within a ministry there can be a clash of vision. Well, a clash when the vision hierarchy is out of order...maybe that's a better way of putting it. A ministry likely has an "overarching" vision AND the individual (or smaller group) visions of some of the stakeholders within the ministry. I call those "niche" visions. Those people expressing their particular calling within the ministry is awesome and necessary...but so long as they don't expect the "niche" to become the "overarching". The "niche" should hopefully serve and be an expression of the "overarching".

So when it's time to transition to new leadership with a ministry, I wonder if we have to pause to consider "overarching" vision-bearers vs. "niche" vision-bearers. Who is likely to serve with the broader purpose of the organization in mind? Who more needs to be released in a "niche" calling? And if it's a sea of "niches", who directs/oversees them so they are a harmonious "body" of many parts?

Just has me thinking...interesting stuff for this girl, to be honest. Strategy on the brain...projecting ahead in hopes of success.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Attack

I have to of the most challenging things about working in a job that involves kids and their parents is the "attack". Any teacher or youth worker knows what I'm talking about. It's the moment, for whatever reason, when the parent/guardian treats you as if your heart towards their child is evil. Woo!...that's a hard one for the heart to take...especially when you know that your love for their kiddos is one of your greatest priorities.

Come to think of it...anyone who works with...well, people...knows what this is like. And I guess I understand that accusers generally do this from a place of their own hurt...still, it's hard. Sometimes I want to just ask where all of this assuming comes from...because it doesn't have to automatically be that way with everyone else in the life story...


Great opportunities for God abound.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Food for Thought

My church had a women's retreat this weekend at a fantastic facility in Wisconsin. (Highly recommend Oak Forest Center) We used Beth Moore's "Retreat in a Box", studying the notion of "Loving Well". (Highly recommend this series) There were SO many great concepts to think about. She went straight for the heart. Here's one that struck me...

God didn't make you free just to be free. He set you free so you could love.

I love that. We step into the position of receiving God's love and of course it doesn't stop there. He loves us and we are enabled to powerfully love...

Good to think about.

How much am I willingly receiving His love and then freely offering it to others? Hmm...

Going to the Mattresses

A man was talking about grief today in church. A friend passed away. A good man. A man who actually invested in humanity. The man at church talked about wrestling with God over the matter....choosing to enter into the grief and the mystery.

I find that quite admirable. Someone who is willing to "go to the mattresses" with God...and hold up a broken and confused heart.

It's amazing how some become so threatened by such a notion. Some who think we should never wrestle with Him about anything...either because of an idea of unapproachable holiness or a belief that God isn't responsible in the first place. Some who think that the questioning supposes that God isn't good.


What I heard this morning was a man who wrestled because of the very fact that he DOES believe that God is good. The notion of relationship allowed the bold honesty and the expression of grief. The journey, while perhaps yielding no answers that can soothe the heart, will undoubtedly resolve in an experience of more "presence" and great peace while walking through the mystery.

And I have to admit...

THAT sort of person...who has the courage to go in and come out the other side...becomes someone that I would trust for insight, revelation and challenge when it comes to matters of my heart.

All because of "going to the mattresses" with God.

Side Note: Admittedly, I actually don't think God necessarily directly causes the suffering around us. We live in a broken world with broken people. Earthquakes and car accidents don't need God's manipulation to occur. Although I can see Him doing things that don't make sense in our limitted perspective but for a greater purpose. I'm looking forward to seeing those played out in heaven. Either way, I guess...I do believe that He technically does "allow" things to happen because of His sovereignty. I guess I know that I think that because I have prayed for Him to intervene in some scenarios and have seen it happen. It's the ones that I've prayed for and haven't seen an intervention that have caused my struggles. I have absolutely wrestled with those "why" questions. I have to say, though, that in a similar "entering" as the man in church, I have walked out with that very sense of presence and peace...and humility.

Everyone Needs a "Martha"

So here's the deal...there's a lady in my life that is a blessing. I am absolutely convinced my life would have been seriously deficient for lack of her. She's my Martha. :)

You know what I will always remember about her?

This word.


Live right now. Don't live from then. Don't live for later. Be fully present in this moment.

So often we frame our sense of self and subsequent path of life from the standpoint of what we lack. "I wish I had..." and that therefore means a whole lot about who I'm not, what I'm not, etc. It's not that it's wrong to have desires for change, for new, for more... Nor is it wrong to work towards those things... BUT if those things define, we form wrong self-concepts and make wrong choices...

Martha was married later in life (Later compared to the notion of some that marriage should happen as soon as possible), but she didn't live those single years as a "flawed" lady. She simply lived! She pursued other legitimate passions, went on grand adventures, and was a student of whatever God and her interests brought her way. She lived!

Still does. :)

And I'm privileged to know her story and learn...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Women's Conference

This weekend was the Women's Conference "Become Who You Behold". Rebecca Dezurik Ministries put it on. It was a great time! A great experience!! I would totally do that again! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ballsy Communication

Ya...after the past few weeks, I'm convinced. It's time for "ballsy" communication.

The truth is that it's not really all that courageous. In reality...our misuse of "relativism" has made us into unfriendly friends. We watch as people we love stand in the burning house of their particular issues...telling other people about what we think about them...but never having the guts to LOVINGLY address it ourselves.

We can't stand the conflict.

And heaven forbid someone get mad at us...because of course the negative feelings we could receive back are totally worse than the person getting swallowed up in their own destruction. (sarcasm absolutely intended).

(And honestly...they do end up hearing about your thoughts on their matter...either from someone else or your own fed-up rage. Umm...that's ridiculous.)

It's inappropriate.

We need to be humble receivers of the concerns of loved ones. Yes, it's possible to absolutely disagree with the critique and still lovingly receive their communication. It's possible to still be friends! Far more open ones.


We need to be humble givers of concern. If we are fully aware of our own struggles...and communicate such...and if we are marked by great love for each other...we can AND SHOULD step into each other's worlds.


And as a person to experience the dysfunctional non-ballsy a perpetrator and a victim...I'm not doing it anymore.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sigh No More

I just love the words...

MY Blog

So...apparently my blog causes a bit of drama from time to time. I guess it's one of the bummers of writing your "life" and thoughts. You get a couple "maybe she's talking about me" readers, and it's downhill from there.

Seriously...umm...I don't blog to send top secret messages. That's...well...weird. My blog is my thoughts...right or not. MY life...right or not. ME. I don't know who all reads it...and those that do?...well, good grief!...I certainly wouldn't send messages in passive-aggressive code.

For a split second I contemplated taking my blog down...but then I realized that'd be a punishment to self based on drama. Nope. Then I thought about making it private and doing that "invite only" thing...but then I realized I'd have to invite (and not invite) people. Let's be honest...that'd crack open a GINORMOUS can of worms that I just plain don't want. Nope. Then I thought I'd change it and only write what never rocks the boat. Holy crap!...that'd be a trip back into a nightmare. NOPE. So then I decided that I'd still keep it open and be as real as I want...and "damn the torpedoes"...

...but say this...

I'm going to say what I want...and I might be inconsistently appropriate...but I'm not using this site for the purpose of "agenda". It's for MY thoughts and MY processing of MY life. So, for those that think it's to be subversive to specific all means...please stop reading! Goodness...I want you to feel better about yourself!

Ok...back to regular programming in my boring life. ;)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I am "Stands with a Fist"

It's true. If you've seen the movie "Dances with Wolves", you know what I'm talking about. When she describes how she was given that name...ya, I felt a twinge of God saying "Umm, that's you." HAHA! I was telling my mom about it, and she said "Well, of course, you are!...You got it from your mother!" HAHAHAHA!

Stands With a Fist: [explaining how she got her name] I worked every day... very hard... there was a woman who didn't like me. She called me bad names... sometimes she beat me. One day she was calling me these bad names, her face in my face, and I hit her. I was not very big, but she fell down. She fell hard and didn't move. I stood over her with my fist and asked if any other woman wanted to call me bad names... No one bothered me after that day.

John Dunbar: [smiles] I wouldn't think so.

The positive is that there is some strength there. The negative...some stubbornness. BUT...that's just determination in the wrong direction. (See, I can spin anything...hehe.)

Ok, then.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It is Well

Misunderstanding Gone INSANE

I'm in one of those moments right now where I literally have no clue what to do. Ever have those? What was supposed to be a open conversation ended in misunderstanding. I didn't know it did. Seriously didn't. I assumed an "agree to disagree"...but, apparently we weren't on the same page. The conclusion wasn't remotely what I was saying. Unfortunately, there's no moving on that. The assumption was made, and there's no hope of getting out of that.

None. Zip. Nada. Nope.

Ugh. It makes me so mad...which, frustratingly, lights off my mouth. I'll leave that one right there...

And then...Ugh. It makes me sad.

I, of course, totally kick myself for engaging in the first place. Well, I wrestle with it anyway. I have trust issues up the wazoo, but I work really hard to not let those rule my reality. I've seen it and I've done it...spun out of control because of the old "grid". Moments like these REALLY push those buttons though. So I grasp around for God's solidity while the tornado flies.

So...we'll see. I'm not hopeful, but I guess I am all the same.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How They See You

What do you do when you can't change how someone sees you? I'm not talking about prideful idiots whose opinions shouldn't really matter. No, I'm referring to people you really, genuinely care for who just can't seem to let you out of the box.

I guess you could...(and I have)...clarify every single thing. Generally...backfire.

I guess you could...(and I can't do this well)...fight back. It makes my heart feel "war" though. Sucks.

I guess you could...(and I REALLY struggle with this)...just trust that things will be alright in the end. Ugh. Not easy for me.

Wake up, sleeper!

Ephesians 5:8-20

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the things that I find interesting about these verses is the punctuation between the two sentences that I've underlined above. That "period" reveals that a person...while positionally "light in the Lord"...can live totally disconnected from that reality. Hence, the "Wake up, Sleeper"... Because of the distinction, I think we need to treat those "punctuation" moments very carefully...for they are moments of invitation into "becoming". Wow...true, real living. Some are delightful discoveries of self and the world through His eyes. Some are challenges to our old ways and patterns. Regardless, all of those moments are encounters with the Father. Holy opportunities...  

Oh, that we'd accept the call...

The Watcher

OK, let's be honest...there are a TON of situations in full spin right now. Stepping back into a world of students, parents and teachers and adding to that the drama in other areas of involvement, I have to say...I'm wondering who will come out as honest, respectful, courageous...and who will come out narcissistic, bitter, small...

I've definitely been mad. Hopefully, He can do His thing. And soon!