There is nothing Love cannot face.

Before I got out of bed today my kids were fighting, my husband and I were frustrated with each other and one of my children was vomiting in the toilet… I didn’t want to face the day. I didn’t want to face another doctor’s appointment. I didn’t want to face frustrations that had built up with my husband. I didn’t want face my kids fighting and their disobedience. I didn’t want to face my bills. I didn’t want to face anything! Then I thought of a picture in one of the bathrooms at my seminary. Yes, in the bathroom – it is where God speaks to me the most! The picture in the bathroom is a delightful version of 1 Corinthians 13 it says, “There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, its endurance. Love will never come to an end.”

As the day progressed I was able to determine what I really didn’t want to face is fear, lack, sickness, and frustration, but in reality those things were closer to me than my breath. I was facing all those things, and maybe some others I don’t even know about – without love. The truth is I can face fear, lack, sickness, frustration and anything else that comes my way because “There is nothing love cannot face!” So whatever you are facing – sickness, death, loss, rejection, hopelessness, failure… look it straight in the eye and say, “There is nothing love cannot face.”  Jesus conquered it all! Let’s live it out friends.

Why God, Why?

Last night, I was complaining to God asking, “Why God, why?  And how much longer …?”  I don’t understand why people have to suffer.  So I ask God, talk to Him, or maybe I should just call it complaining. I think it is healthy to complain to God.  I think it is healthier than complaining to a friend or relative.  God can handle anything, people can’t.  God doesn’t mind us complaining to him.  I mean truly, why would He not long to hear the honest cries of His people?  John Goldingay author of Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel  says, “In such times of crisis, Yhwh listens to Israel’s cry, helps and delivers, so that the people triumph. “[1] God longs to comfort us just like a mother comforts her newborn.  Newborns can fuss and fuss and fuss, but a healthy mother longs to comfort and sooth her baby.  God too, longs to comfort us.

Reflecting on how God wants to comfort me this week I dwelt on the thought, -God longs to comfort me like a mother, and protect me like a father.   God can comfort me in the night, and correct me in the day.  Goldingay speaks of Yhwh being “a passionate and therefore jealous and angry lover.”[2] He was upset when the Israelites followed after other gods.   He desired all of them “the entire person, inward and outward”[3], and He desires all of us.  I am glad God longs for us.  I am glad He desires to hear our hearts whether they are sad, happy, excited, frustrated, angry, etc.  He wants all of us, and I hope you can say with me, I want all of Him.

[1] Goldingay, John. Old Testament Theology Volume One Israel’s Gospel. Madison: IVP Academic, 2003. pg. 623

[2] Ibid., pg. 633.

[3] Ibid., pg. 624

I Want to Sit on my Daddy’s Lap

Today I sat next to a dad who was holding his little girl in church.  She probably was around 6 years old and it made me think how I would like to sit on my Dad’s lap.

Earlier this morning I woke up pondering the difference between seeking and praying.  I feel as though I have been praying a lot, but not truly seeking.  This afternoon I spent a little time looking up scriptures on prayer as well as what it means to seek.  One definition from ( caught my eye as it said “go to or towards.”

That is what I want to do when I pray this week.  I don’t want to just say a prayer.  I want to go towards Him.   I want to sit on my Dad’s lap.

Love is Looking at You

I don’t know about you, but one thing I really like is to be noticed.  I grew up as an only child.  I have a half-brother, but he is twenty years older than me.  We never grew up in the same home, so we joke that we are BOTH only children.  One thing you probably know about only children is they like attention.  They like to be the center of attention!  I’m no different from any other only child, as I like attention.

Some of you might not have grown up as an only child, but you too like attention.  Who really doesn’t?  Most women I know love attention, and probably would be classified as high maintenance.  I therefore am a high maintenance only child!  My husband is well aware that I need lots of love and affection.  Just the other night he said to me, “you don’t have just one love language, you have ALL FIVE!”  Yep, I think He’s right.  I have all five, and I’m in continual need of never-ending love and affection.

One thing I’ve learned is that my husband can never fully satisfy me with all the love and attention I need, but I do know someone who can – Jesus!  I didn’t come into marriage thinking that my husband would fulfill my needs, because my needs have always been met by Jesus.  Truly, no one else can meet them.

Even though Jesus is the only one who can fully meet my needs, I really like when a friend, acquaintance or someone I don’t even know acknowledges me.  Acknowledgement can occur in various ways.  For instance, one way I like to be acknowledged is by a simple hello or smile.  I usually don’t need a drawn out “Hey, how are ya?” but a simple hello when passing is nice.

The thing I like most about a simple hello or smile is it usually involves eye contact.  When you make eye contact with someone, you are noticed!  When you are noticed, you feel valued in the fact that someone took the time to acknowledge you exist.  A simple acknowledgement can do wonders.

We all know Jesus did wonders in the Bible.  However, have you thought about how he did wonders by just looking at someone?  There are a few stories in the Gospels where Jesus made eye contact or looked at someone and great things happened.  In Mark 10:21 The Message says, “Jesus looked him hard in the eye and loved him!”  The story goes on to say how Jesus told the man to sell whatever he had and give it to the poor.  This man was holding on tight to his earthy possessions and couldn’t let go.  It is sad that he couldn’t let go, but it is delightful to think that Jesus took the time to look at him.  He looked him right in the eye and “loved him.”  Could you imagine being looked at by Love?

The great news is Love looks at us every day sometimes I think we just don’t look back.  Luke 13:12 mentions a lady who was sick and was so bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t look up at Jesus.  However, Jesus could look at her.  I love these words, “When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman you’re free!”  He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall.”  So even when or if we can’t look up, Jesus looks at us.

I believe that Jesus is looking at me and even when I’m sad or struck by some thing or circumstance in which I can’t even look up, He sees me.  He never takes His eyes off me.  He cherishes me.  He wants to make eye contact with me and show me love.  If you can, look at Him, and show your affection back to Him.  If you can’t look up, revel in the fact that He is looking at you.   Love is looking at you.

Grace Extended

I recently wrote and discovered that my personal definition of grace is Jesus covers me.  Since that discovery, I’ve realized that my definition only pertains to Jesus because that is the only person I’ve learned how to receive grace from.  I haven’t completely learned how to receive grace from myself or others.  That doesn’t mean I’ve never been given or shown grace toward myself or others.  Alternatively it does mean that I’m familiar with grace, but defiantly need to know grace more.  I said in a recent blog, “I have met grace.”  Now I want to get better acquainted with her; grace and I are going to hang out.  I am going to give myself to grace.

One of the ways I’m going to give myself to grace is by letting my house go, and be okay with it when it is not in perfect order as I would like.  Truly my house is never in perfect order, but I like it to be presentable when guests come over.  Recently my husband and I had plans to go on a date and a friend was coming over to watch our kids.  That morning my plan was to wake up, make the bed, vacuum, fold clothes, put away dishes etc.  I did get the dishes put away and my 5-year-old vacuumed our living room so there was some progress.  However my active two-year old decided to participate in whatever he could find available.  In addition, the 5-year-old got distracted from vacuuming and started to play.  So there were messes being made faster than I could clean up.

Due to four hands making messes and only two hands cleaning up, I started to cry.  My thoughts were, “I just want a clean house!”  I felt so overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry so I decided to call a friend.  My friend has four kids, and totally understands.   Her conversation to me was beautiful and grace filled.  She said “You can’t shovel snow as fast as it comes down.”  She continued to say words of grace and encouragement and I started to cry more.

As tears came down my face I got more acquainted with grace. I started to allow the grace to replace the shame I had let build up.  I had shame for getting upset with my kids making messes faster than I could clean up.  I had shame that I wasn’t going to look my absolute best for my friend coming over that night.  I had shame for having shame.

In that moment as grace replaced shame my friend showed me how I could practically hang out with grace that day.  She said, “Andrea you can clean one room, – only one room, and it can’t be the messiest one.”  Leaving my house undone that day made me feel vulnerable.  Daniel my friend at GFU has an excellent definition of grace. He says, “Accepting grace requires that you accept that you are inadequate in some area.”  I am defiantly inadequate to keep my house spotless.

That day even though I just said I was going to make the bed, vacuum, fold clothes, and put away dishes, I had SO MUCH MORE to clean up.  To give you a clear picture of our home that day, I had stacks of bills on the table, crayons, coloring books, plastic Easter Eggs, Bendaroos, sandwich meat all over the high chair, a  cup of coffee, and much more.  Do you get the point there was absolutely no room on the table?  In addition, I won’t dare to describe my kitchen counters or the 1000+ square feet of mess that was surrounding me.  (I hope your laughing because you can relate.)

So although my house sounds messy, I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to keep ones house a mess.  My house really does get cleaned most every night between 9 and 11PM, and then everyone wakes up and it’s a mess all over again.  What I am saying is that I’m going to give myself grace when I don’t look the best, when my family doesn’t look the best, when my house doesn’t look the best, when my church doesn’t look the best …when anything or anyone doesn’t look the best I want to represent grace.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself – even if they are diseased

I have been progressively sick for over two years for no apparent reason.  At first, I was determined that it was because I was pregnant.  However, my baby came out and I haven’t stopped being sick.   A funny story throughout this is when I was pregnant  my older son often would imitate me when people would come into our home.  As soon as people would walk in, he would show off by demonstrating what mommy does all day long.  He would run into the bathroom, and make this awful noise and pretend to vomit.  Ha funny, – but not so funny after you have been dry heaving for over 2 years!

Often on the days when I spend more time in the bathroom then I would like, it really makes me sad.  One day, I was driving and asking, “God, why did You make me if I was going to end up with a disease?  I feel defective.”  I was so sad, and didn’t understand what purpose or value I had if I was going to be a person living with a disease.  Then God spoke to me, as I drove past these beautiful trees.  (Something you need to know about me is I LOVE TREES!  Seriously, I like them more than flowers!  I love trees!)   As I passed by these trees I was mesmerized by their beauty.  They were so big and beautiful.  It seemed like they could kiss the clouds.  They were simply majestic.   I happen to notice some of the trees had  moss growing on their trunks.  I wondered if the moss hurt the trees?  Then I thought even if the moss was hurting, or will hurt the trees they remain beautiful.  Truly, I think when people drive by these beautiful trees they don’t see the moss; they just see the trees magnificent beauty.  You can’t help but see it.  Seeing these amazing trees radiate with life and exuberance showed me that even though they might have a disease or a defect they are of great worth.  I was amazed to think that these trees still have purpose even though they might have a disease.  Driving by these beautiful trees gave me such a smile, and I’m sure they continue to bring smiles to onlookers alike.  That day I learned something meaningful.  Even lives that are flawed are still beautiful and valuable.

Tonight, I was reminded of that incident.  Again, I was driving asking God, “Why would you make me if I have a disease?   I don’t like diseases!”  Then I heard “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  The problem with that verse for me wasn’t: love my neighbor, I LOVE my neighbor!  Well do I?  Can I love my neighbor if I don’t love myself?

That verse sunk deep into my heart as I was thinking if I don’t love myself with a disease how am I going to be a chaplain and love people in a hospital who are sick and diseased.  I want to love them.  I think I do.  Something I do know is that I don’t love myself with a disease.  Therefore, how can I love my neighbor as myself?  I realized that I have some work to do!  If I have a disease, then I am going to be on a journey loving myself even in my sickest state because I want to love my neighbor!  I want to love each person I reach out to, and show them the hand of God.  I want to have compassion on all who are sick.  God help me.

So in writing this I stumbled on some great news.  Some trees “500 to 700 years old, support quantities of moss and are still healthy and thriving.”[1] I don’t want to live 500 to 700 years, but I would love to be 99 still healthy and thriving.  I think I can….

[1] Sprunt, Jr., Alexander “Sandy”. Emerald Kingdom. January 1961. (accessed March 29, 2010).

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. (  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: (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! ♥