Monday, January 26, 2009

Lord, take my life, all I am
Lift me to the heavens
Where you are present, ever being
Waiting to sustain and restore

Lord, take my will, all my desires
Make them yours
Not my own

Lord, take my being, all I am
Make me a light to shine in darkness
Where hope and love will prevail

Reign in me
Take control
Make your Kingdom known

Answered Prayers

1. Growth in "being" rather than "doing"
2. Sharing life
3. Opportunities to take chances, risks in knowing and being known
4. "be okay" motto
5. Students growing in love for others and God

Monday, January 19, 2009


There is so much to be thankful for, number one being the beautiful sunshine we are getting here in Seattle. It's amazing how much my mood improves when the sun is out. I just came in from a jog as the sun was setting over the Olympic mountains and was so perfectly at peace with the day. Now on to finishing invitations and writing finals! but with a thankful heart.

This is a picture from December, the day of the Jingle Bell Run/Walk...the beautiful sunrise was captured from the Sarah's car as we were driving past greenlake.


I had such an unbelievable night yesterday. We had some quality roommate time, outside of Bible Study. We all packed into Megs car and drove down to her parents house for dinner. mmmm. so good. We had salad and spaghetti pie and skookie!...a delicious dessert of fresh baked cookie and ice cream and all the toppings. Then we all went to the living room and were entertained by Aiden and Dover, their two welsh corgies. Dover is just a little guy and he waddles around the room barely off the floor and he would wrestle with Aiden who is like 5 times his size! We just laughed and laughed. It reminded me of our Hoogestraat Christmas where we watched my cousins dogs wrestle in the living room for what felt like hours! On the way home, we busted out Mariah Carey and sand "Always be my Baby" at the top of our lungs! It's amazing how we all remembered all the words and dos and dahs. I felt so free to be me...felt like I was back in high school hanging out with my friends without a care in the world! how good it feels. We went to the stube after and met up with some other friends, enjoying good company and drink! Already...a favorite memory of 2009.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

a new reign

I'm glad I made it to church today. I woke up with a stomach ache and missed the originally planned 9:30am service, but was able to catch a ride with Malia and Peter to the 11:15. I have just been in a dark place these last few days...ever since Wednesday. It's funny, because I felt fine on Monday at Bible Study with my roommates, but in the course of two days became completely overwhelmed and frustrated with life (see my post from Wednesday and you'll understand). I am frustrated because I think of all that I am "doing" trying to impact my students, friends and family for good, yet I am utterly and completely exhausted feeling as though I am missing the point of life...even though I am praying for the power of the Holy Spirit, for wisdom and direction. I want to give up and move to the Bahamas...however I know that will not accomplish anything in the long run.

Today in church, the pastor spoke of the same feelings...feelings of inadequacy, that I continually want to be more than I am, yet I feel I fall short consistently of who I think I should be. FAIL. One of my most frequently experienced emotions....that and JOY, which doesn't make sense to me at all. (kind of bipolar, I know). As he was talking about the Pentecost, he spoke of the receiving of a new gift, negating the old law, the Holy Spirit, and how it is the Spirit that enables you to be what you cannot be without Christ. But I realize that, I realize I can't be the person I want to be, that I expect myself to be on my own...that I need help. I get the broken part. I am continually broken and in despair. I think my fault right now is that I am unable to see past myself and what I cannot do or fail to do.

I am missing the big picture, because I am so consumed and busy with the details of my own life and my inability to do it all well. I am running around in circles because I am living my life to please others...planning stimulating lessons for my students, encouraging my friends, leading a mission trip to the DR, so that our students can experience God in a new culture, helping with a mentorship program so that Freshman students can be loved and accepted, trying to disciple young girls in a Bible study so they know who they are in Christ and will be able to take on the world once they leave High School, coaching basketball because I love the sport and the way it builds teamwork and work ethic...but can you see how easy it is to become wrapped up in all of this? Because none of these things are bad, they are so so good, meant to help others by giving of myself and my gifts and talents.

I desire nothing more than to be a light...a "sign" as our pastor put it in a world where God's reign has begun. "A new reign, God's reign" has begun on earth, starting with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. A new reality, a new king, a new order, which we have been called to participate in be a sign that we can bring hope to those who have not yet entered this new Kingdom. As he was speaking all of this I couldn't help but think of Narnia and the signs of the return of Aslan and the his new reign...the snow was melting, the foliage was growing, the witches hold on the land was fading and people began to hope, to believe that there was more to believe in and trust in. I love the imagery. It is the same idea with God's Kingdom here on earth...his regin has begun...but is the hasn't come to fullnes. And his people are the ones he is using to bring about his kingdom. We are light, signs, bringing hope and peace, love and joy to a broken world.

But life in the Spirit is the wind blowing. We don't have control over God's plans and purposes or how we fit in to those plans. So what can we focus on? what can we cling to? It's amazingly simple, yet easy to miss...too easy to not live out. We are filled with the Spirit so that we may please's all for God, it is primarily for God...yet even though we live for God alone, men see the reign of a new kingdom in our living for God. We are filled with His Spirit, we are directing it toward God, but as a result of that inward our lives for an audience of one...we become people of hope, that bring reconciliation, peace, joy and God's love to the world as a result. When I focus on that simple purpose of living my life to please God instead of intentionally living to help others...I forget about my inadequacies and failures and instead focus on God's strength, provision, and peace. It's like I'm running a race, running toward the breaking dawn, the King of this new reign on earth, I'm going deeper in until his reign explodes over this entire land and all of the people will see and know that he is God.

Philippians 3:12-21
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature shoud take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

I can't say it any better than Paul. He got the point...God made it clear to him...I pray he will do the same for me the entire length of the race, however long it may be. Just showing up...asking the tough questions, asking for answers...God will speak and the His Word will speak directly to you through his Spirit.

Saturday afternoon bike ride

Yesterday, my dad and I went on a long, refreshing bike ride. The weather was beautiful! The sun was shining, but not fingers were still ice cold. But it was still so good to get outside. I love my new road bike...I can actually keep up with my dad (or pass him on the hills!). I'm excited to use it this summer in a few triathlons. We had beatiful views of the country (I can call it that because I live in Seattle) and the water as well. I'm hoping we'll go to the San Juan Islands this spring. I've heard it is a great scenic place to bike!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"We will only find the best that God has for us by rediscovering in the Great Story a profound sense of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. It is only as we merge our story with God's story that we find the purpose for life we seek and a rhythm of life that is renewing instead of exhausting." (Living on Purpose, Sine/Sine)

This afternoon I opened up the book Living on Purpose as I was looking for some inspiration for leading a Bible study and I was struck by the above statement and questioned myself, am I doing it all wrong? I know I am a part of God's story...yet I am constantly running on empty and exhausted. Usually, I credit it to my job, teaching, that it zaps all my energy because I am continually giving of myself...but isn't that life? Maybe I'm not getting enough sleep, not exercising enough, saying "yes" too much, not alone enough, not in God's Word enough, not reflecting enough. The negativity of the statements make me cringe. My life has no rhythm, no fact, much of the time I feel as though I am running in circles, unable to accomplish anything of any importance. Is it just my perspective or attitude that needs changing? No...the physical exhaustion is always there. Am I missing the point? I always thought I understood, do what God calls you to do, do the best job you can and God will use you in his grander story that is larger than your life. I've lost the vision...I don't see niche, my fit. How will I ever find the "rhythm of life that is renewing, not exhausting.

Chapter 1 starts off with "Psalm 23, Antithesis," by Marcia K. Hornok. She states how I feel so perfectly, yet this is the opposite of what it is supposed to be...

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to deep depression, it hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity's sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done, for my "ideal" is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines, my in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

How am I supposed to lead a Bible study, when I don't have it figured out?
I pray for power, rest, and wisdom....why do I feel as though I'm hanging by a thread?


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