Dancing Heart

I just got back from dancing! Well, not literally, but allegorically my heart went dancing. Ironically, my dancing heart resulted from some much-needed alone time. I had plans to meet a friend, but on my way to meet her, I cancelled. I needed to be alone! I felt bad, but it was a must. Sometimes, each one of us has to say, “No, I’m not going to make it.”

On the other hand, something I rarely say no to are books. One book I’m currently reading for seminary is The Leadership Ellipse, by Robert Fryling. Fryling’s forth chapter is titled “A Dancing Heart.” Hence, where I get the allegory of a dancing heart. In the fourth chapter he mentions a story about his friend explaining in order to be a “present” for others, we need to be in God’s “presence.” For me, I cognitively became aware of His presence in my alone time while sitting at PF Changs. I have to admit once in a while I have special nights where I retreat to a bar with a book and bible. I refer to these “special nights” as my book, bar and bible nights. They make me happy!

Anyway…reflecting back on the idea of being a present, earlier this week I wanted to buy some gifts for various friends. Although I wanted to buy certain presents, my bank account was telling me I shouldn’t. My obvious thought was in order to give I should have enough money to pay for each gift. Even though this is an obvious dilemma it got me thinking how bankrupt our society is physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If we don’t have anything in us, we have nothing to give. No one can give on empty! Tonight, being alone, I got something. I got revived, rejuvenated! I feel alive. I have something to give.

Overall, it was mandatory that I stop and take a moment to bask in nothingness. Although, I was alone, enjoying my nothingness, I was receiving so much in return. In my nothingness I gained peace, a bundle of joy, and a whole lot of happiness.  Going back to Fryling, he describes when one is in God’s presence there is a natural enthusiastic response. For example, Acts 3:8 “Walking and leaping and praising God.” Walking and leaping is the best analogy that describes my dance after being in His Presence.  I hope you can take time to be alone and rest in His presence too.


My personal definition of grace is – Jesus covers me.

Last summer I recognized God working in my heart allowing grace to replace shame.  I began to notice how frequently I talked negative toward myself.  Sometimes I even caught myself saying negative things out loud in front of my children.  When I finally realized I had been shaming myself for years, I was sad that I lacked grace.  It sounds funny, but I’d like to say I met grace.  And, once I met grace, I slowly started to change.

One way I learned how to experience God’s grace was from Pastor Wendell Smith.  He once said something like, when you ask God to forgive you don’t make it a statement; make it a question.  For example, don’t say, “God forgive me of _____.”   When you say a statement like that you often don’t hear a yes back.  Alternatively, when you ask, “God will you forgive me of ________?” You will always hear yes! It is really nice hearing God say yes.

A Little Piece of My Spiritual Journey

Part 1:

Life can be hard sometimes; 2008 and 2009 were two of the hardest years of my life.  I had been sick my entire pregnancy with my baby and then he was born and my life turned upside down.  My oldest had always been sick as a baby, but not until he was 15 months-old did we understand that he had life threatening allergies, asthma and eczema.  Then when my second son was born I didn’t even know what sick meant.  My second son was also born with allergies, asthma and eczema but I thought his illnesses were going to cost him his life right away.

One stormy night we went to an end of the year service at church.  That night, our children’s pastor and senior pastor prayed for him, but when we got home it was the worst/best night ever.  It was around midnight when my seven month-old began to cough and wouldn’t stop.  We gave him a breathing treatment and he didn’t respond, so we did another one.  He still wasn’t responding and I thought he was going to turn blue.  At that time I was thinking how will an ambulance get here in the snow?  I wanted to go outside and scream!  “God, haven’t I gone through enough!”  My baby had been so sick the past year.  My two sons were and are sick a lot and that means they are prescribed 15 prescriptions between the two of them when they are really sick.  At that time I was so tired from doing continual breathing treatments for months, let alone nearly having a mental break down when my baby had Rota Virus and his diaper had to be changed every 20 minutes.  It’s truly amazing he lived through that!  I was exhausted in every way.  I was emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and financially exhausted!   We had so many medical expenses that I thought for sure we would lose our car or our house, but now I might lose my son!  I wanted to go out in the snow and scream “What the f>!k God?”   I’d never cursed to God before, and I couldn’t believe those words were coming out of my mouth.  My heart was so raw.  I didn’t understand why God was doing this to me.   I had wanted to be a chaplain in a children’s hospital for some time now, and I thought that night, why would God make me go through this?  Then my baby began to breathe ok, and I experienced God, like I have never had before.  Even right after cursing to God, He took me in, and so loved on me that I felt like I was His.  I gave up everything that night; I gave my all to Him.  If my son was going to die, then so be it.  If I was going to lose my house, then so be it. I laid down every part of me that night, and I have never been the same since.

To say I found God that night feels like an understatement to me, I really think He found me.  I have known Him all of my life.  I asked Jesus in my heart when I was three and about 50 other times growing up in church.  I had grown up in a pastor’s home, graduated from a Bible school, actually been to numerous bible colleges; but that night was different I gave up things I had never given up before.  That night I gave all, and realized that He gave all for me.  I experienced God’s assurance like never before.  I knew I was His child and belonged to Him.

Part 2

Now I will  go back to another great experience that happened when I was a baby.  When I was born, like my children, I had breathing problems, but experienced God’s amazing healing.   I was born weighing 3 lbs and 7 ounces and my lungs were not fully developed.   I wasn’t a preemie; my mom had just lost most of her placenta and I hardly had any nutrition in the womb.  The night after I was born a doctor told my mom and dad that I probably wouldn’t make it through the night.  My dad reached in and read the 103rd Psalm to me and prayed.   God touched me, and I ended up staying in the hospital for a month but lived.  I had a lot of oxygen go to my brain, and my parents were told I would have brain damage, but I seem to think I’m normal.  I think being in an incubator for a month made me lose bonding time with my parents, but my mom has told me there was music constantly going by my incubator.  I think the music playing gave me great comfort, healing and security.

My next experience also involves music which continually touches me.  During the trials of my kids being continually sick and doing countless breathing treatments worship music is pretty much going nonstop at our house.  I need the presence of God!  One day I was listening to Kim Walker sing He Loves Us. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoC1ec-lYps)  In the interlude she starts talking and says, “His Presence, His Love is so thick and tangible in this room tonight.  And there are some of you here that have not encountered the love of God.  And tonight God wants to encounter you and wants you to feel His love. His amazing love…  The love of God changes us, and we are never the same after we encounter the love of God.  And right now if you haven’t encountered the love of God you would know because you would never be the same.  If you want to encounter the love of God, you better just brace yourself because He’s about to just blow in this place and we are going to encounter the love of God.”[1] I began to cry right in front of my kids playing.  My oldest son, who was four at the time said “Mommy why are you crying?”  I said, “Oh honey it is a good cry, Jesus is just touching mommy’s heart.” He said, “Yes, He is cleaning it out.”  Then I was sobbing, literally mascara running down my face saying so brokenly, “Yes, Jesus is.”  My heart had been so broken and I never knew what it felt like to be loved by God.  It was such an amazing experience.

After these moments my husband and I were preparing to move back to Colorado so we could live by family and have support.  Jason and I desperately needed help and we felt like we had to go home.   I had never felt so stripped in my life, I felt like I was walking around completely exposed.  However, God amazingly provided for us!  Despite having nothing we had the biggest Christmas ever thanks to our neighbors, my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) totally reached out and helped us, our neighbors paid for our mortgage and we had numerous daily blessing.

We thought we were on our way to Denver, but doors closed.  We were both planning on going to go to Denver Seminary, live with my parents and both work part-time.  Jason couldn’t get a work transfer with his current company, and the one he interviewed with in Colorado said after his interview that they were going to be able to hire anyone due to the economy.   So here we are still in the NW where the economy is worse, but we have persevered.  We’ve made it, and actually my husband has had an significant increase in pay since he started in 2006.   God has truly blessed us.

So my next great spiritual experience is attending GFU.  Before I started school, I was praying and God told me that he was going to work on my heart.  I again said, “God haven’t I had enough work done in the last year!”  Then He said, “No Andrea, I am going to heal it.”  So I have sat in class this semester and the previous one and God has continually healed my heart in each class.  He hasn’t stopped.  I am so thankful that He wants to heal it, as there is so much to heal.  So although these might be only a few experiences they are ones that have changed my life, and I know I have so many more to come.

[1] Walker, Kim. “How He Loves.” We Cry Out. Cond. Jesus Culture Music. Comp. Mark McMillan. 2007He Love\’s Us.

A Gay Activist:“For the very first time in my life, it seemed, I felt welcome among believers.”

You have to read this article: http://ow.ly/1barx (To view the article scroll down to read: “The truth about Ted Haggard, from a gay activist’s point of view.”) It is well worth the read.  I’m so proud of Ted and Gayle Haggard showing the love of Christ.  In addition, God bless the people at Great Lakes Church for welcoming a gay activist into their service.  God let more churches welcome all who need You in their lives.

Are you Welcoming Jesus?

Matthew 18:1-5 NIV
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5″And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

I like how Jesus references someone who is humble like a child is the greatest. I think anyone can get to this place of humbleness, no matter what age they might be. In addition, if we welcome someone who is humble and returns to God like a child then we are welcoming Jesus. Therefore it doesn’t mean that we exclusively only welcome children or that Jesus exclusively only welcomes children, but Jesus welcomes everyone who comes to Him! Jesus called the child to Him and the child came. He responded to God’s voice of acceptance. Jesus welcomes adults, teenagers, and children who have messed up their lives, but are going back to square one relying on God’s grace and forgiveness to make them new like a child. I love that! It doesn’t matter how old we are, Jesus can still change our lives and make us like a child!

The most important thing I got out of this passage is we need to change! We need to change, if we are not like a child. In addition, we need to change if we are not welcoming people like this passage describes. We can’t change on our own. We have to respond to Jesus; come to Him, and He changes us. We need to become like a child; someone who is humble. The Message says, “that unless you return to square one, and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” In order to get in we have to change! In order to be accepting as Christ is we have to change. That change is a new beginning, like a new birth; a brand new baby! We can all become like children.

Overall, I think often children have more spiritual understanding then we give them credit for. I want to stay like a child. Do you need to start over like a child? Or do you need to accept someone who is like a child? I want to welcome Jesus and I will welcome anyone who is willing to change because that is what Christ calls us to do. Here’s to being like a child and welcoming all those who want to be children too! ♥

No Wonder Why Wheaties is the Breakfast for Champions!

I was driving to the beach with my mom & we saw so many wheat fields. Then as we are passing by my mom quotes Mt 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (NIV). I have heard that scripture numerous times, but it never occurred to me until yesterday driving by masses amount of wheat fields that there is a lot of wheat out there! The harvest was and is so plentiful. As I continued to drive, I thought if one piece of wheat represented one life wow- that is a lot of lives. What a BIG harvest! In my mind, the harvest represented millions of people, and as I write this, I am thinking I just drove by. I don’t want to just drive by any more, & pass so many people in life. What I want and wanted to do yesterday, was get out of the car & run & grab the biggest amount of wheat I could carry. I wanted my hands to have a HUGE amount of wheat – more than I could carry & then I wanted to do it all over again.

There is so much harvest & there are few laborers. Let’s be labors. In The Message, it says, “pray for harvest hands!” Mt 9:38. That is what I want – harvest hands! Then in Mt 10, Jesus calls The Disciples, The Twelve Harvest Hands. He gives them this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.” Mt 10:5-8

I want to be the hands that are working in the harvest taking piles of wheat to Jesus. I am going to be this! Let’s be this together!

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