Casualties of Change

I took the long way home the other day, and it brought me past my childhood house. I didn’t have a Miranda Lambert moment and knock on the door, but I did notice I dropped below the speed limit (probably to the annoyance of the driver behind me) and took in the view.

Everything about the exterior is different. The fence is now made of wood, not the low wire fence that my basset hound used to be able to jump… well, not really jump, he would lean on it until it bent down for him to step over. They painted the house brown. Not a nice brown, but this kind of gross tan. And they tore out the lilac bushes and Asian pear trees that my mom had planted. They probably replaced the front doorknob that didn’t even lock… neighbors and friends always just came and went, and sometimes the wind would blow in a squirrel… or a bird… and that dang basset hound did nothing about it… he was still a good dog, though.

I don’t blame the new inhabitants for making it their own. It’s theirs now to make memories in. They are unaware that the improvements they made to their house would make someone passing by feel a little bit sad… And the neighbors that used to barge right in have all moved, so it’s probably best if they got a doorknob that locks… who knows who’s living in that neighborhood now…

I’m not reminiscing for the sake of reminiscing… this was just one more thing lately that reminded me of the cost of change.

Maybe it’s just the visual changing of the seasons, but it’s beginning to dawn on me how much has changed… in the last month…year…decade… 25 years I’ve been on this earth… The funny thing is, most change in my life, I haven’t been consciously aware that I’m changing just as much as the people around me…

I don’t know if this is going to sound weird, but in my head, I’ve always felt like a stepping stone for other people… like I’m always there to take the weight of their latest problem, and then they just walk away… But lately, I’ve had a new way of looking at people as stepping stones in my own life, not in a “I’m gonna walk all over someone” kind of way, but in a “people in your life help you make it to where you are going and it doesn’t have to always be forever” kind of way…

I guess for me, I just have always seen people as cornerstones, foundational parts of my life that aren’t supposed to move or walk away… but things change. Lifestyles change, relationships change, needs change…

And it’s taken all this time for me to realize that I’m ok with being a stepping stone in someone’s life, and it doesn’t have to make me feel small or unimportant… Because I can’t be anyone’s cornerstone… and I don’t want anyone to be mine… except for Jesus… because after all, He’s the only one who is never going to change, and never going give up on me. He’s the safest choice to build my life around.

But even though I’ve come to this revelation in my own heart, it doesn’t mean I still am not sad when things change… when people move on… when I move on… Change always comes at a cost, even happy change means we are leaving something behind… pushing someone aside… And we’re not always aware or concerned with the “old” parts of our lives, apart from the fun stories we tell around the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So I guess there are really two reasons for this midnight blog…

1. To recognize that there are casualties of change, and that they often go unrecognized, so I should remember to see the value in each person in my life today, because tomorrow one of us could be pulled in another direction…

2.  To remember that even when someone walks away, that it doesn’t have to shake my whole life… because they were never supposed to be my cornerstone anyway… and if I treated them as such, I need some repentance and time in the Word…


Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
    a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
    Whoever believes need never be shaken. —
Isaiah 28:16




It’s that time of year again (it’s still January, right?), when we all look at our lives and get real about where we’re at. The gyms are filling up and the amount of sugar being consumed is going down. Last year, I decided that I wasn’t going to look at all the bad habits I needed to change, but rather would look at my good qualities and do what I could with them. I don’t know if that was a better way to go or not, because it’s always harder to think of our own good qualities (unless you have narcissistic tendencies). In fact, we did an exercise in one of my Bible studies, where we had to go around the room and name one good thing about someone else, one thing we’d like to change about ourselves, and one positive thing we see in ourselves already. The first two were easy and we went around the room in under 3 minutes. The last one took us about 15 minutes for everyone to say something. I don’t know if it’s a learned skill in our culture, that we can’t say nice things about ourselves. Maybe we think we look like we’re bragging or something. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to see good things in yourself, as long as they don’t keep you from examining areas where you need a little more work.

Anyway, I would say overall, the good outweighed the bad this past year. There were days when I woke up and wondered how it was that I was so blessed. There were days when I had to drag my butt out of bed. But lately, I’ve been feeling just a little bit off. For a while, I thought I was just in a bad mood or hormonal. I would look at things in my life and just feel… dissatisfied. Maybe someone would look at my situation and just say “first world problems” and roll their eyes. For a long time I thought I was just being ungrateful or uppity. Sometimes I would just tell myself that I was being tested by God, and that it would all go away if I just stuck it out… but I don’t think that’s what’s happening anymore… I think I just don’t fit into my life anymore.

That sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I can fake a smile and pretend like I’m enjoying myself in the same surroundings with the same people I’ve known for years, but not for very long, and not without going home and nearly having a break down. Even when I’m with my family, I feel like I’m somehow on the outside. Not that I’m being excluded… just that I don’t really fit there anymore, either. I don’t understand how I can feel like this, even with my own family… but I do.

I think that because I made the decision to change my heart this year, rather than my habits or my body I outgrew the life that I had been living. The past 5 years have been a huge leap in my spiritual growth. I went from a crawl to a full-on sprint in my walk with God in a very short amount of time, and for the most part have kept that pace. I don’t feel like I’m tired… I just feel like I’m not going anywhere. Like I’m wasting time and energy on something that doesn’t change.

Nothing ever changes.

But I need more.

If God has promised me a hope and a future, and has plans for me beyond just plugging holes in the sinking ship I feel my life is becoming… I need more.

So how am I going to fix it?

I don’t know… but maybe I don’t need to know.

Stick with me.

When Abraham was still Abram, God called him to “go to the place I will show you (Gen 12:1).” God gave him such a big promise, to make him the father of many nations, if he would just start walking. I like this story for two reasons. 1: It reminds me that I don’t have to fully understand what God is doing in order to be fully obedient. And 2. that God reveals Himself when we are actively walking with Him, not standing around looking around for something to happen. Maybe I’m completely missing what He’s trying to show me… Maybe I feel like I’m walking in circles because a wall like the one around Jericho needs to come down around my heart. Maybe I’m on lap six, and I’ve just got one more to go before something happens… until I’m no longer a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

Ultimately, that’s what it means to have hope, to believe that what you are doing today will make a difference tomorrow. As Christians, we talk a lot about faith, but not so much about hope. I think sometimes we think if we have hope for something down the line, it means that we don’t have faith for today… but in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 the Bible says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

So whether you are hoping to fit into a new, smaller pair of jeans, or you’re like me, and trying to figure out where the heck you fit into your life anymore… don’t lose hope. Keep walking (both figuratively and on the treadmill). Lap 6 might be where you get tired, but Lap 7 is where God hands you the victory.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. –Galatians 6:9

Shields High

“I want to fight.”

The most beautiful words I’ve heard come out of Buck Sexton’s mouth (whoa, feels weird to not put an “@” in front of his name…). I want to fight, too. Almost 2 months ago, I wrote a post about King Josiah. I ended with the words, “I want to fight. And I want to win.” So when Buck said those magic words during his show, I felt like a match was struck. For so long I’ve been waiting to hear someone else, someone who has an actual voice, say those words. (You can listen and download Buck’s show from September 21st here.)

I think most of us are tired. We hear all that’s wrong, but we don’t hear solutions. We see the corruption, but we can’t see a clear answer. We’ve been driven to our knees, but we don’t know what to pray for anymore.

I tried to get involved during the primary process last year. Usually no candidates come to Washington state. I thought it was exciting that Rick Santorum made a trip out here. Too bad we got him the worst venue, right smack dab in the middle of the armpit of Washington (oh, hey Tacoma!). It also didn’t help that there were Occupiers camped out, either. Aside from my sister and I, the occupiers were the youngest people there. I made a comment about how embarrassed I was by my generation. A dude gave me a hug. It was kind of cool.

So then, even though I was slightly discouraged, I went to the caucus. It was held in a nursing home. I was the youngest person there by 40 years. I wasn’t upset that I was the youngest person, but I was upset that no one my own age cared enough to show up. So then things got started. We talked about this issues, went down the list and took a survey. When it came time to discuss the candidates, I was ready to leave. We had to pick 3 delegates, so we all had to talk about who we were going to throw our hat in for. Aside from a couple Ron Paul’s, the majority of people said Romney. I would be cool with that, if they thought he was the best candidate for the job, but here’s what they said, “Romney is going to be the frontrunner anyway, so we might as well vote for him now.”

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that the primaries are where we fight for who we actually want, not just who we think is going to win. I’m not ok with merely winning seats for people with an “R” attached to their name. This is supposed to be a representative government, but I don’t think most Americans feel represented in the government. We like to complain about how it’s “politics as usual” but we keep doing the same voting as usual. We don’t look at all the candidates, just the top two. Why? Why do we keep letting these phony, career politicians buy the election because we are too lazy to actually do our own homework. We only scan the items listed on the ballot for things that tickle our ears, but we don’t read through the entire proposal to see if it’s actually a good or bad thing. That’s why politicians can capitalize on our ignorance and take away our freedoms and continue to rob us blind in the form of taxes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being told that I need to compromise my principles to win elections. I hear people talk about how there is no in-fighting amongst the democrats and that’s why they keep winning… well good for them. They are dumb enough to not know that they aren’t actually being represented. But I am not dumb. I know what’s going on. I can see it.

Here’s what I’m going to do about it.

First, I’m going to keep praying. We’ve been so busy trying to not offend people that we’ve been taking God out of everything. We’re not supposed to mix religion and politics. Too bad. I’m getting God involved. This weekend we had a lesson on Nehemiah. When he saw that his country was being destroyed, he prayed this prayer:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:6-11

It’s not fun to think about repentance. Even when we think about not being perfect, we like to think “well, it wasn’t THAT bad.” If you read further in the book of Nehemiah, you see that he kept getting God involved, in every step of the process. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Then, I’m going to stop waiting to hear what the experts have to say and start doing my own homework. I’m still going to keep an ear out, but I’m not going to let their analysis hold more weight than my own conscience. I’m not going to apologize for the decisions I make on the ballot. I’m not going to feel that twinge of regret that comes when checking a box next to a candidate that doesn’t represent me, just because everyone thinks he’s going to win. I hated it when people said “A vote for anyone but Romney is a vote for Obama.” No, it wasn’t. Do I wish we had someone who isn’t Obama in office right now? Yes. But telling people that their votes don’t matter is wrong. It’s not wrong to vote for someone who represents you. If we don’t start being more selective, every election is going to be a “better of two evils” battle.

Also, I truly believe that thinking we know the outcome determines how hard we’re willing to fight, whether consciously or sub-consciously. I like the story of Elisha talking to King Jehoash. His enemies are closing in, so Elisha tells him to get an arrow and strike the ground. Jehoash struck the ground three times. Elisha then is like, you dummy, you shouldn’t have stopped, because for every strike, God would’ve handed you a victory. You can read 2 Kings 13 if you don’t love my retelling of the story. Basically, the point is that God does crazy things and we can never know how things are going to turn out. We’ve just gotta keep pounding the ground. Maybe we’re going to lose, but I say all the time that I’m #RideOrDie. I would rather come back on my shield, than be someone’s slave, but I have faith that if we stop doing what we’ve always done, we’re going to start winning.


My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
–Psalm 7:10


Life is hard. It’s a truth we all think we’ve accepted, but sometimes we forget that life is hard for other people, too. Over the last school year, I had the privilege to serve as caregroup leader. It is probably the most eye-opening experience I could ever have at the age of 23. I’ve had the opportunity to see people’s potential through the eyes of God. I’ve had to see people struggle. I’ve had to learn grace and forgiveness, even when I was right and should have been on the receiving end of an apology. I also had to learn how to answer tough questions.

A few years ago, I picked up a copy of “Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Toughest Hour.” by Gayle Haggard, the wife of Ps. Ted Haggard. Before I read the book, I had actually never heard of him or the scandal. I don’t know why I picked up a copy, the title just kind of spoke to somewhere down in my heart. After reading the book, something changed in me. I always thought that if my (future) husband were to ever cheat on me, I would walk away. I would hope that would never happen in the first place, but having read this book, I found a new level of grace.

I am more willing to accept that people are just people. We all fall down, some of us just do it more publically. We all would hope that the leaders of our church were immune to the temptations of this world, but the simple fact is that they are not. I had someone ask me if they should still listen to Benny Hinn’s sermons even though he and his wife had marital trouble. Instead of answering, I asked them this question: Does this trial in his life negate the truth of the words he has spoken? After all, isn’t that what they wanted to know? If a person does one bad thing, does everything they have ever done go into the garbage?

As humans, we love to hold grudges and keep the upper hand. To tell you the truth, I really had a hard time listening to people sing the praises of Joel Osteen after I heard some remarks he made on Larry King Live. I thought, as a pillar of the Christian community, the fact that he could say that he doesn’t know if Jesus is the only way to Heaven is just crazy. But then God reminded me about Peter denying Christ in a moment of fear, and I realized that I could forgive Joel Osteen.

In the same way, we treat our political champions like they are God. We love when they say things we like, but if they go off of our agenda in even one way, we drop them like we’ve been burned. But I have to tell you, Americans, that people are just people, and there is no one out there who will agree with you 100% of the time. No one is going to always make you happy. I have done it. I loved Chris Christie when he was yelling at the teachers union thugs. I loved Marco Rubio until he joined a gang. I loved Rand Paul while he was filibustering against drones. But they all have their faults, and I was ready to leave them in the dust. Maybe I don’t want them to be president anymore, but I definitely want them on my team. I don’t want to put them down just so that I can feel like my opinion is better and more “right.”

I don’t want this to seem like a “you have to settle” post. I really don’t like being told that conservatives need to change their core values to get more people into their camp. I agree that there are more outreach opportunities, but to change who you are to get what you want will never end with satisfaction. I just want people to realize that we don’t have to be 100% in agreement with everyone in order to stand beside them. We are all going to say things that sting a little, or rub us the wrong way. We need to learn how to react better, then maybe things will start to change.

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19

A New Year’s Revolution

It’s crazy to think that 2012 is nearly over. I still have my list of resolutions hanging up on the wall, and only a few of them have been checked off. I thought that the changes that happened this year would have manifested outwardly, but despite my disappointment that I didn’t lose weight AGAIN this year, I’m happy with the changes made within.

I’ve always known there was more to life than being liked, but this year, I realized that I no longer cared what other people thought of me. I adopted Glenn Beck’s motto of “Question with boldness, hold to the truth, speak without fear.” Although this has proved to be costly on my Facebook friend’s list (down to only 125 friends), I have become more outgoing and more willing to engage a person who challenges my ideals and values.

I also learned what it means to truly seek God. I am in a very good church family that has built a solid foundation and a welcoming atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to move… but I took for granted what it meant to be in the presence of God. But after a couple of really good retreats/camps/conferences I learned that I don’t need to be in church to feel the tangible presence of God, and that He is ready and waiting for me to call on Him. I guess humbleness is also something I learned this year, because I’ve had to admit that I cannot do anything apart from God.

So, what am I going to do with all these changes in the coming year? I’m going to have a New Year’s Revolution. I don’t want to sit down and analyze all the things I’m doing wrong or hate about myself. I want to focus on the good in me, and use it to change the bad around me. I want to keep pressing in and holding on to the things that matter. Someday, when I look back on my life, I want to know that I pushed to be the change I wish to see in the world. If you feel the same, I invite you to join me on this journey.