Tag Archives: the journey



if you were one of the lucky readers who tried to read my last post and found it disappearing off and on today…blame it on the author’s rather lame blogging/computer/html skills. i use word2007 to publish and it is sometimes f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g!

i really enjoy writing and the creative outlet blogging provides is wonderful, it’s just that my blogging platform or process or whatever you want to call it is f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g!

i took a break from blogging a while ago b/c i got so f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.e.d.

i am not ready to take another break…but there has to be an easier, more efficient way to get a blog post out there!
Any suggestions, thoughts or encouragement???



Filed under laughter, memory monday, the journey, thoughts

The Truth About Me…part 2

The first time I learned The Truth About Me was the fall of 1993 and I was a single mom and a student at Colorado State University. I had made friends with Allison, who other than her annoying habit of bringing every conversation back Jesus, was on all accounts “normal”. Our personalities seemed to click and we often sat for hours chatting while our children played together. Over the course of time, however a significant contrast between us became apparent. She had something I did not and I could see the difference lived out in her life and family…and on her face. Allison radiated Christ. Something happens when an unbeliever (me) spends time with someone who has the living God dwelling inside them (Allison). Either you are drawn the presence of the Holy Spirit in that person or the Presence is so uncomfortable for you that you find ways to avoid them or even end the relationship. I was drawn into His Presence.

Unbeknownst to me, God had been preparing my heart and He began to reveal Himself through my conversations with Allison. I had begun an inward journey and was searching for answers to the Big Questions. I was able to understand a lot about God but I had a hard time understanding on a deeper level I was separated from God. I knew I wasn’t perfect, a quick survey of my present circumstances revealed that quite well, but understanding my “goodness” wasn’t even close to being good enough for God…was disturbing.

My search led me to scripture and I was met by a holy God. Since I did not grow up “in the Church” reading the “great stories” of the Bible were fresh and new for me. Yet, I wanted to know why Knowing God made Alison so different from me knowing about God.

God met me in my little apartment in the evening hours as I read His Word. I remember the very moment when I realized I would one day give an account of myself to God…it was if time stopped. Every moment, every decision, every s.i.n. would be laid before me and I would be held accountable. I’m no mathematician, but on a deeper level I finally understood [my sin] > [all the good stuff I will ever do]. I was broken. I was afraid. I cried. I could feel my heart aching because I could see there was no way I was going to be able to fix the situation I was in.

It was Romans 14:11, 12 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.'” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God
that brought me to my knees. I was absolutely powerless to remedy my situation. There existed a chasm between a holy God and me I was powerless to cross. There existed no action I could do to change this Truth and there was not one person on the planet that could help me. And in that moment I sensed I was alone with God.

I continued to read, flipping pages from Old Testament to New Testament…hoping to find something in the pages of scripture that would soothe the very real ache I held in my body. I quickly scanned Psalms and Proverbs. Nothing. I looked in Revelation…it was if it was written in Spanish. I read a little in Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah. It was fear that gripped me…the chasm could not be navigated by my good deeds, self-improvement techniques or promises to straighten up. I feared I was too late…and I feared God was too holy and I was too sinful.

With breathless hope I turned to the first chapter of Matthew and began to skim the pages. And then I read “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I read it again. And again. And once again. I knew a moment of decision had come and I agreed with God about The Truth About Me. It was settled the chasm was closed and I ran to Him for the rest He promised. The ache was no longer there, it had been replaced by a sense of peace I had never before known. I was experiencing the unmerited grace of forgiveness from a holy God. I rested there, on the floor of my apartment for hours, in complete silence and awe.



Filed under faith, i follow Jesus, joy, the journey

The Truth About Me…part 1

In our small group we are reading a book that is having a rather profound impact on my heart and my relationship with Christ. It’s called True Faced: Trust God and Others With Who You Really Are. This post won’t really be a book review, but rather how God is using this book to teach me the Truth About Me.

In addition to reading Scripture, I can sincerely tell you I have read every “how to be a better Christian wife/mother/sister/hostess/football fan” book ad nauseum since I decided to follow Jesus in 1993. I am a full on kind of person and when I pursue something it is with passion and intention, thus the extensive reading list. But over the last couple of years, beginning probably around 2004ish I began to sense there must be something more, something I am missing…my relationship with my God seemed…distant. I wanted change, growth, maturity, holiness, godliness…to be like Christ, to be Godly, to live the disciplines…I wanted to please Him above all else.

For those of us on this journey of following Christ, the journey is one of choices. At some point between 1993 and the early 2000s I made a choice. I made a choice between two divergent paths in this journey with God: on the left– the path of Pleasing God and on the right– the path of Trusting God. There is no third choice; no “door #3” and one cannot jump back and forth between the two paths. These two paths represent the inner motives of the heart, the purpose behind the practice. Ultimately, motives become values and values become action. I chose the Pleasing God path. For me, the Trusting God path seemed so esoteric, so “out there”, so intangible…and kind of scary. But the Pleasing God path is one of action, it is about experience, to many it’s the sold out for God way to go! Passionately, I set my foot on this path and the journey began.

True Faced describes the Pleasing God path as one that leads to the Room of Good Intentions. Over the entrance to the room a sign reads “Striving to Be All That God Wants Me to Be” and to enter this room one must turn the knob of Effort. From the beginning of my walk my deepest desire has been to be the person God intends me to be, to be the person He has called me to be. It makes sense I would grab the Knob of Effort with gusto and walk right in. …I will be all He wants me to be…whatever it looks like, whatever it takes…I want to please Him! My walk with God will be just like in the books I’ve read, it will be like Paul and Peter, Ruth and Naomi. My goal is to be godly, I will persevere, I will be disciplined, I will fast and pray and do Bible Studies…and we will have this close relationship I have always wanted with God. And I became comfortable in the Room of Good Intentions…at least for a while. Then I got tired. Real tired. There seemed to be this rather uncomfortable, but permanent mask adhered to my face and on the faces of others in the room. When we inquire among each other “How is it going? How are you doing?” a pained “Everything’s fine, just fine, we’re doing good, yup, pretty good” echoes among us all in this Room of Good Intentions.

I lived in the Room of Good Intentions for quite some time…a looong time. I invested in relationships that seemed to go beyond the mask, but in Truth the masks remained. My experience in the Room of Good Intentions was littered with half used homeschool supplies, Bible Studies left incomplete, futile attempts at perfect tea parties, gallons of mismatched paints and fabric for decorating, scratched up mediocre Christian music CDs and multiple copies of the Bible in the search to find the most accurate version to carry to church. I began to feel stifled…the mask was on pretty tight. And I claimed to be authentic. I was tired. Very tired…of myself, of the others in the Room and of feeling like I was never doing enough, never getting it quite together. There always seemed to be this cloud over me, this nagging feeling I will never be the person God intends me to be. The intimate walk I thought I would experience after choosing Christ seemed to have faded into the pages of the well intentioned books I had read and placed upon the dusty bookshelves in the basement. All the concepts and strategies I had read about had ultimately left me…unchanged.

NOTE: Over the next few days/week I will be working through The Truth About Me….and I won’t not post for months, I just need to process stuff a little…this is too exciting to keep inside, just getting it out in a coherent manner is a longer process than I thought… Jab


Leave a comment

Filed under books, faith, i follow Jesus, the journey


We have a change in the tide coming to our little corner of the world. I mean, not right away, but gradually little changes have been happening that add up to a big change. We are beginning a new adventure, as a family, as a couple and me personally.


School begins in just a few weeks. I have been gathering school supplies with each trip to Wal-Mart and picking over the sidewalk sales for bargains for my girls. And signing up for classes at the University.

Yes, the perpetual student is back at it. Last summer and fall I was working on a masters degree in Nurse Practitioner in Women’s Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), but after the hullabaloo at Christmas, I was spent…and so was my family. And I actually didn’t really even like the program or the potential for employment as an NP in a doctor’s office.

Now, I could get all spiritual and put a “God spin” on this new adventure, and of course God has His hands all over this, the details are pretty amazing and inspiring, but I will try to just put it out there, how this whole big change evolved.

See, a seed that was planted by a patient I had in labor in Manhattan (KS) in the fall of 2005. In conversation, I had shared with her and her husband that my family and I were moving to Lincoln, Nebraska in a couple of months (January 2006) and I had been thinking about pursuing an advanced degree…but I wasn’t sure in what. The couple had both recently graduated from UNMC College of Dentistry – she was a general dentist and he had completed residency in orthodontics in Boston and they were just opening a new practice in Manhattan. They suggested I consider dental school. I considered it. For 30 seconds. I asked how long does dental school take…they said four years…I said I don’t have that much time…but thanks for the idea.

Not to bore you with all the details…and there are many, but after much consideration, prayer, a visit with the UNMC dental school admissions counselor and the UNL pre-health professions counselor (a former patient), my own dentist (who is of a certain age, like me) and of course my family, the decision was made. I will begin taking classes this fall to prepare for dental school admission in 2010. It is back to freshman biology and chemistry for me!

Eric and the girls have been very supportive as I have been taking an online Algebra course this summer to dust off the math cobwebs. The girls are very excited that mommy is going to be a dentist (Lord willing!)

What I do know is as this big change has unfolded over the last few months, we have asked God to make it very clear what path He desires us (this is so an us kind of thing) to take and to make it very obvious if dentistry is not what He wants for us….so far door after door after door has opened. There have been so many confirmations that we are doing what He desires it gives me goose bumps. I think more than any other time in our married life our spiritual ears on high so we are joining God in what He is already doing rather than striking out on our own and asking Him to support our decision.

For now, probably the biggest blessing in all of this is that I still love my job as a labor and delivery nurse. I am not bailing on nursing because I don’t like or value what I do or that I am burnt out…I just know it is time to move on.


Filed under a new start, the journey

The Journey Inward…

Faith…my response to God’s presence in my life.

Journey…a process or pursuit.

This morning in Sunday School (actually it is called “Discovery Class” individuals considering membership at our church go through this class) we discussed a book titled The Critical Journey by Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich (Second Edition, Sheffield Publishing 2005). In the book, the authors examine the journey we embark upon when we respond to the presence of God in our lives. I have not read this book and this post is really just my thinking out loud…a lot of thought generated by a discussion and diagram.

The spiritual journey, as described by Hagberg and Guelich is based on the stage-model theory, of which I will direct you to this page for more on that topic and a more thorough discussion of the book by someone who has actually read the entire text.

Through the magic of computers, I was able to sort of reproduce the diagram from our handout.

All credit to the authors for the original and this reproduction.

The Wall…as shown in this diagram should really be a dark line only, but the idea remains. Most of us cycle from stage 2 to 3…learning and serving and learning and serving and…well you get the point. But, to grow, to journey deeper with God, we have to get past The Wall. And the only way out…is through.And that is what got me to really thinking today… for some time now I’ve been hanging out at the Wall. The Wall is kind of comfortable, you don’t go too deep, don’t feel too much pain, you coast. I’ve been through the wall before, yes, but only long enough to journey inward and outward and back to learning and serving and learning and serving. In some ways, it has been an easy place to stay because going through the wall is not without pain. But remaining at the Wall is painful, too, because metaphorically you just “bang your head on it” but only hard enough to bruise yourself, not hard enough to actually break through…and that, my friend is misery.

My journey over the last two years (at least) has been a journey through the Wall. I mean I had been hanging out, like I said before, but I got bored, frustrated and miserable. I had been getting frustrated with the learning and serving routine, I did not believe the pinnacle of spiritual maturity rested in my “Christian Activity Resume.” I began to doubt and question what I believed; why I believed what I believed, wondered what was it that was truly essential in my relationship with Christ and what was clutter I picked up along the way. Was I a Christian or a Christ-follower…is there a difference? My quiet times seemed to be another activity to complete, rather than a time to connect with my Lord. I had been unsettled and restless. I yearned for something deeper, but was too fearful/lazy/comfortable/uncomfortable/proud to go through the Wall. It took a crisis to push me through…and then another one…and then another one.

I might not have known I was “at the Wall” but I did know I was not really growing or going deeper with God…and I wanted to, but knew it would take something more than just “wanting” it for true spiritual growth to happen. So I prayed. I asked God to do whatever it takes to draw me closer to Him…whatever it takes so that I would grow and trust Him more…whatever it looks like and whatever it takes…I yearned to be in a new place with Him.

That is a hard prayer to pray, but trusting Him is harder. I knew He would answer that prayer, I had no idea what the answer(s) would look like…I just had to trust Him.

So what happened?

On this journey inward there has been pain, loss, joy, peace, grace, sadness, fear, gratitude…you know, the messy stuff of life we all deal with. As I expected. But in this whole mess, I have experienced a deepness with the Lord I could have only experienced by journeying through the Wall. This place, which I think is stage 4, is hard to describe, it is a place where “heart work” is done…where spirituality and psychology collide. It is a place where Truth is revealed about who I am and who God is. This place is a place of trust…of prayers sent up fervently and with hope, a place where I cannot go forward on my own strength, but one in which I have to believe His promises.

I know He loves me.
I know He is sovereign.
I know He is my Redeemer.
I know He hears me when I call upon Him.

Looking at the diagram, stages 5 & 6 loom ahead…I am not there, I am pretty sure. There is a lot more decluttering of unresolved issues between me & God, between me & me, between me & my husband…I’ll be hanging out here for a while, I am pretty sure.

And that is okay… He promises me this…

“For I know the plans I have for you,”

declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:11,12

Leave a comment

Filed under books, faith, i follow Jesus, the journey, thoughts

Lost!! Well, no I am not currently lost, at least …

Well, no I am not currently lost, at least not technically. I walked daughter #2 to school today, much to her glee! She is an outdoors girl and walking to school offers so much adventure, even if it is just a few blocks. My motivation to walk to school is a little more practical…$3/gal gasoline. Can I get an amen, sister?
So, in my sidetracked way of doing things I decide to multitask and call my accountability partner while daughter #3 and I are walking home.
Our conversation is light, yet purposeful. We discuss what is going on in each other’s lives, share prayer requests, laugh and admonish one another. Giving full attention to the conversation, I walked and talked and walked and talked right past my home! When I realized what was happening I surveyed the scene. Being new to the area I kind of knew where I was…but I didn’t have my van with the compass in it so I needed to stop multitasking (i.e. get off the phone) and focus! Daughter #3 assessed the situation and concluded we were lost. I looked around & figured out where we were which wasn’t really too far from home.
I knew how to get home, but something kind of profound hit me. Daughter #3 doesn’t have a clue how to get home. She can’t read and looks at the world from 36″ from the ground besides not having a built in GPS system. I pondered this thought for a minute. I was once in a situation like that–lost. I didn’t have a clue how to get home. My directions home came from my loving Father in His written Word. He provided the compass, the GPS system…the way home. Today I am not lost, today I have a Compass that lives within me, thank you Jesus, thank you for leading me home.


Filed under Uncategorized