Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Table

As of late I have realized that our dining room table is showing the wear and tear of 10 years upon its surfaces.  There are dings and dents, bumps and bruises, the upholstery is ripping in spots and the edges of the chairs are bearing marks of being pushed into far.  Theres a chunk missing on the bottom of one of the leaves where Ruby got bored as a puppy and decided to give it a whirl as a chew toy.  

I would easily say we have had more than a thousand people sit at that table over the last decade. That table has heard laughter and tears, been subject to make an instrument with what you have at the table time, housed game boards and paperwork, not to mention the amount of meals it has sat under. We have had birthdays, taco nights, soup feeds, thanksgivings, friendsgivings, Christmas dinners and the like served around it. We have at times had upwards of 20 people stacked around it, many times in dining rooms much to small to the untrained eye.  It holds secrets and stories.  

And so when realizing that maybe it's time to replace or refurbish our table it has brought up much thought and reflection. I have asked myself many questions about why we have had so many people in our house over the years. I have wondered why I do not remember stress or anxiety in feeding mouthes or in some cases doing dishes for days?  Why what I remember most is the joyous and treasured time we have spent around it? I can remember specific tears and specific laughter.  I remember specific meals and menus.  Faces and family and babies and children.  I remember more than I remembered that I did at first.  And it brings so much thankfulness to my father in heaven for always giving us more than we have deserved.  For preparing us to be people who love and desire to share.

There have been questions from others too in the past about the amount of people we have in our home on a regular basis.  How do you afford the food alone?  Don't we get tired?  Don't we need to be alone?  The questions go on and on.

The answer to this is maybe more complicated than not.  I have shared before how we feel about our home in relation to others.  I have shared our vision for our home and the like.  I can tell you that we have been provided for over and over again to share even more each and every time I feel like it may be tight.  Sometimes we can afford to  have nachos and other times we can have prime rib, either way I know that it does not matter much what we are having though its more about the time spent and the memories created and shared.  Sure we get tired sometimes, never resentful though.  There have been nights that I catch myself putting on an evening pot of coffee while I pray for the spirit to be present in our home, reminding myself through prayer that I do not need to be the one to carry the evening, all I am doing is providing a place for others to receive.  As Jagers we have found that although alone time can be good and beneficial, we feel extremely and wholly called to a life of togetherness, a life of shared community.  We want our children to grow up with a noisy house full of people that we love knowing that they can be loved amongst what is sometimes organized chaos.  

There is something quite magical that can happen when you share a meal.  There is so much sharing that can go on when you are all able and sometimes forced to sit around a table and stare at one another.  There is so little time to do that these days.  And I believe that it becomes more sacred all the time. 

We have opportunity in our homes to share what we have so sweetly been given.  There are very lovely things that can happen when you invite others into to your home with Jesus in mind.  Two themes I pray over when people are in our home, receive and experience.  We invite people in so they can share and receive in what we have been given, not just in our things or our food but in our salvation too.  We invite people in so they can experience the great love we have been given and share out of response to our redemption.  That doesn't mean that things are ever perfect, in fact that isn't even the benchmark we are shooting for.  It means that it is real and often raw.  If you are at my table I am loving you the same as I love my little family, that means you are welcome to all I have to give. You are not a guest you are family!  There are no orphans here.  

The things that hold us back from sharing are often rooted in our belief that we are fatherless.  The belief that things need to be a certain way.  That are homes need to be spotless, that we need to be able to cook, that we need to have time to prepare, that we need to have more money, that we need a bigger house or space.  But I can tell you after many years of having my house full to the brim more times than not in many different financial situations, in small houses and in big ones, when housekeeping wasn't a strength and when it was more of a possible priority, that the spirit is not picky.  He need nothing more than what you have already been given to work with.  Waiting may provide you with the things you think you need but your heart will not change on its own.  You will need a savior for that job.  You will need a realization of all of the gifts you have been given and death to your own needs and wants and desires. Because when people come into your home they won't always be gracious or helpful, they will break things and make messes and you will have the opportunity to love them anyways.  And not because you yourself are naturally kind, or humble or gracious but because you have been loved and cared for by someone who made great sacrifice to do so.  And that is when the true blessing will be felt.

 I love our table, I love our home but more importantly I love the one who gave us all of it!
Happy Thanksgiving Friends!  I am thankful for each of you and pray that your home or the one you are invited to this year is full of the spirit.  That you can enter into it with less expectation and more gratefulness, less need and more to give, with a posture that is ready to receive and experience from the one who gave it all.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I walk in, I walk out

A few times a year I have an appointment.  And appointment to talk about my body.

Over the years I have learned that if I don't bring something to keep my eyes and ears and mind and fingers busy I will work myself into a tizzy while I wait.  I walk with purpose,  keep my eyes forward and I check myself in.  Name, birthdate, fill out the aches and pains questionnaire, answer questions such as-do you have trouble getting yourself dressed? Do you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning? On a scale of one to ten how do you feel your diagnosis affects your daily life?- Pay my copay, Back to the waiting room, sit down.  Before I walk into the office I am a 32 year old woman, who lives life without much complaint, is thankful for all that she has, a woman grateful that she can cling to a savior instead of her own understanding. I don't identify myself with my diagnosis, I am in pain everyday period....there isn't a whole lot of thought put into the pain thing, its part of my life period.  When I walk into the office though I am faced with my reality, I am surrounded by folks usually at least 30 years my senior, white hair, canes, hobbling, all of the things I feel but do not say, do not speak because they are true for me too but I very much would rather pretend that they are not. I walk out of the office stifling tears, speaking disgust to myself and resenting the truth.  I deny love for myself in that area and by the time I reach the car I have convinced myself that in order to move forward I will just be stronger, work harder, stand taller. 

I am a shover by nature, things that hurt, things that are uncomfortable, things that make me feel weak or out of control are often shoved.  Shoved and hidden.  Some of this comes out of my past need to survive, some comes from my need to appear strong, some is because i hate being taken care of, and some or a lot of it comes from pride.  And the cause of these appointments is one of things I shove very well.  

There hasn't been a day in the last 9 years that I haven't been in pain.  My original diagnosis was Rheumatoid Arthritis.  The name or label didn't really matter to me because I wasn't going to rest in it.  I wasn't going to let myself simply just live with that "opinion" I was going to fight it.  Because if I acted as if the pain wasn't there, if I lived a life that was healthy and "good" than surely I could escape the reality.  I mean someone who exercises regularly, runs half marathons,  eats organic-locally sourced food, avoids packages and preservatives and fills up on leafy greens, couldn't possibly be affected by an auto-immune disease.  Right???? And so I ran, and I threw out a freezer worth of packaged foods and I learned to cook well and proper.  And the denial, it worked partially, inflammation is very effectively treated with diet and exercise and in the beginning those things provided a very great amount of relief.  But then I got injured a few times and my Dr. said no more long distance running, less than 7 miles.  And so I would run 6 miles instead of 10 and I continued to eat well and that carried on for some time.  Every time I went for my check up the Dr. would suggest remedy for my inflammation that was out of control and medications were discussed and treatment plans were laid out and I would listen do my duty in the imaging world and move forward.  Denial became comfortable and resting in my own understanding became easy.  I continually refused all treatment, stating that when it became a need and the side effects were outweighed by my condition we could explore it more fully.  I became my own hero. 

Than the past year happened.  My lower spine and hips began to hurt something furious, I couldn't sit or stand or lay down without pain.  And pushing through, pretending became more difficult. Sleep was non existent, I was feeling the pressure of my inability to accept myself.   I had reached a point of taking 600mg of Ibuprofen every 4 hours and that was just taking the edge off.  I had reached the point I had spoke of so many times and although I had told myself I would be ready and that I would take care of myself, the truth in that was hard to stomach and the pattern of fighting continued. The summer before last I was still traveling back and forth across the state to my previous rheumatologist. At my last appointment my Dr. said you have got to come to grips with your diagnosis, You have to take care of yourself, the exhaustion and fighting to accept what you think you want to be true has to stop. I came back to spokane and I made an appointment with a new Dr.  On my first visit he looked through my chart and looked at me and said you are a brand new patient today, we are going to start completely from scratch.  

Over the last months I have learned that i do not in fact have RA.  I have a genetic abnormality that causes issues in my lower spine and sacrum.  It is in fact very much part of me.  It is very much something that I can not change stop or get rid of.  There is no pretending, it is in my genes.   And I resent the hell out of that.   Most days I do not have a great outlook about it, most days I do not want people to know I struggle with chronic pain, most days I do not want to go to the Dr. regularly and further more I do not want to be part of any treatment plan that includes medication.  I've been so incredibly good at taking care of my body, I don't do drugs, drink to much or smoke, I eat properly and stay active, I'm not overweight or lazy. I've been good!   But the truth is I was created this way from the day I was born I had this abnormality.  And so no amount of my striving or justifying why I should not be experiencing this will provide me with a different outcome.

This past summer though that had to change.  I had a very real appointment with my Dr. after having a very real conversation with my husband.  Things are continually getting harder for me to hide, there are more days that getting out of bed hurts and hurts bad, if I sit for any amount of time I resemble that of one of those people in the Dr.'s office, I hobble and have to loosen up.  I've had to cancel plans on occasion to sit in the tub or just lay on the couch.  So the question has come up, Is it worth it. Is pretending that I've got this more important than treating my body with medication?  Were my choices actually doing me more harm?  What was going to win my pride or my need to care for my body?  So I walked into that office and asked my Dr. those hard questions and he replied, yes you are causing harm.  And so we formed a treatment plan I agreed to follow, I was prescribed a medication and agreed to take it.  And it hasn't been easy, and I still catch myself fighting it.  I still catch myself trying to claim a different reality.

I have a friend, the farmer, she has been telling me for years that the tree of life is not self-pruning.  I have rejected her statement, knowing full well its true but not wanting it to be true for me. Hoping that I would be the exception not the rule.  My prayer though lately would be that I would accept that truth that I preach in every other area of my life in this area too.  I don't get to be in charge of my weakness, I can not combat it on my own, my sin is not solved on its own, and I can't simply ignore it and be a good girl as I walk away.  Nope....I have many options thats true.  There is one though that is actually going to provide relief.  I can lay this resentment, this weakness at the foot of the cross and I can take my eyes off it and look up in order to see the face of a creator who loves me and accepts me wholly and completely.  I can move forward boldly knowing that it is part of me of me but it doesn't define me any more than the red hair upon my head.  That someone died for me specifically so I would not have to be self absorbed in worry and resentment.  

And so the cats out of the bag.  I am in pain daily.  My body hurts and I often feel weak.  I am currently waiting to get prescriptions for a weekly series of shots that will combat that pain, inflammation and weakness.  And my dealing with it signifies a love for a creator that made me with a plan and a purpose.  He is strong so that I am able to be weak.  And when my resentment takes over I can remind myself that I am free from a need to prove my worthiness for good things.  I will never be worthy on my own right.  Jesus died so that I would know that I am so very loved and accepted for who I am, And out of that I can love and accept myself for who I am.  

I walk forward as I do when I was pretending there was nothing wrong a 32 year old woman, who lives life without much complaint, is thankful for all that she has, a woman grateful that she can cling to a savior instead of her own understanding. A woman who can be bold and transparent.  And admit that sometimes stuff is tough and acceptance for myself is a struggle but I am not alone.  I am free from striving, free from proving, free from earning.  Loved, broken and completely renewed.

Walk in love friends- You too have been set free from your earthly woes.  You have a way out that is so far beyond your own understanding.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hey Weird Kid,I See You.

You are worth it.   Those 4 words would make a difference in most kids life.  They would have made a difference in mine.  They make a difference for my kids.  And they are very much Gods heart for each of us.  "Hey weird kid, I see you and you were worth the sacrifice."

I was a weird kid.  I was a weird kid that never fit in.  That was separated by my life experience at a very young age.  Wounded and broken.  Serious and intense.  Wise beyond my years. Those were the polite words that people would use to describe me or my situation as a child. And for most of my life I believed that it was just me.  That my experience was what set me apart. I tried hiding from myself, hiding my story, "acting normal", keeping silent, being invisible.  What I realize now is that people use those words for things they do not understand.  They make up phrases to cover their misunderstanding, their judgement, their own guilt for how they really feel.  I was not set apart in this.  I was not a victim of my life experience, I was not a victim at all.  In fact there was nothing that happened to me that was not seen by my Father in heaven.   

In most of life we are only as different as we allow ourselves to be.  Because we are unaware of what connects us all in the first place.  We are unaware that we were created on purpose, that God determined us worthy when we were merely only a thought in his mind, before were even born.

Being weird though in the worlds eyes or being seen differently has the ability to wreck you.  It can easily typecast you.  It can easily stunt you if you believe in the category.  It can easily become truth in your heart.

My son Elliot has been viewed as the above.  Much if not all of his life.  He has dealt with bullying, judgement, being left out, and the like on more than one occasion.  By kids, by teachers, by other parents, by strangers. Subsequently I have seen him deal with this in a number of ways.  I have seen him cry, lash out, act in the way those expect simply to prove them right, remove himself from fun and I've watched him become as others describe...wise beyond his years.  I have heard him describe himself in ungodly ways, I have heard him repeat the description others have placed on him, I have heard him tell me that his life is not worth living.  He is 11.  But the good is equally real and over the last year I have seen beauty come from ashes. He is sensitive to the needs of others, willing to help the underdog, loving and kind beyond measure, and accepting of just about anyone.  He is smart and wise, tender and good. 

This isn't my rebuttal to the world or my declaration of my son as a victim.  It may be my declaration that we miss out.  That when we judge some as different often times it becomes bad overnight.  We often times categorize these people as not worth the time, not worth the effort, exhausting, and unworthy.  And my favorite weird! 

I could give you the argument of weird people make the world go 'round.  I could name countless "famous" folks that were considered weird or outcast.  I could tell you that we are missing out by typecasting the fortunate who are bold enough to be who God created them to be, but I assure most "weird" people would rather just fit in.   Because thats what society says we should do.

But mostly I want to tell you that God has purpose in each of us, you were made on purpose.  And God sees your tears, he sees you when you are left out, he sees you when you are judged.  He wants you to know that you belong, that you are wanted, and that you were worth the sacrifice of His son on the cross. 

I went to my sons conference last night.  We just finished a couple of years of tumultuous experience of schooling.  Home was fine the public sector was less than.  I became shell shocked by the amount of complaints I heard about my son each week at school.  It was hard.  It was real.  He did not fit in. Some of it was on him, some of it was on others.  Some of it was on me.  So this year when we decided to put Elliot back in the school system I was more than worried.  I was petrified.  Brian and I had prayed and pondered and prayed some more and felt led to send him and so we did.  I have prayed until I have had no words left to pray each and every morning, that he would be loved, that he would be accepted, that he would be heard and seen and known. And God has softened my heart to realize that Elliot was already loved, accepted, heard, seen and known and he is worthy.  Praise be to God.  When I walked into that school last night I went expecting the worst - its a theme for me-  and what I heard humbled and blessed my heart.  There weren't any complaints, in fact the words were....Elliot is a perfect addition to our class, he is helpful and kind, the first one to offer a hand. And my son beamed.  I remembered and reminded myself that God is good in the good and the bad. He was good through the complaints and he was good when we received praise.  

The difference of me expecting the worst last night compared to times in the past was I did not need those words from Elliot's teachers to validate how I felt about my son. He did not need them to define his worth.  God had taken care of my heart through the hard times. And had we not gone through the amount of judgement and hardship we have gone through over the years I am not sure that moment would have rung as sweet. Because without the hardship I rest assured that there would have been far less talk of Jesus in our house, the credit would have been easier to accept as our own. There would have been far less vulnerability and tears in my home, which would have left less room for God to dig in deep.  And the healing...oh the healing.  There has been much.  And what I am left with is an immense faith in the one who truly heals.  The one who determined our worth so long ago. 

God created us all weird, because we were all created incredibly different on purpose, but in that we can find that we have far more in common. We have the same creator who looks at us and says you are beautiful, you are loved, you were created for good, on purpose, I see you, and you are worthy. And that folks is our identity, those are the words we get to walk around with, that not only describe us but save us from the judgement of this world.  

Walk in love friends-

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Love and the Crazy that comes with it.

The longer that I am married the more I realize that the times I feel most loved, the times when I feel like my husband is most for me are very rarely found in grand gestures or perfectly planned out romantic evenings....although I love those things too.  Real life does not leave much time for those sorts of things to take place regularly. I find the most love and the most acceptance in Brian knowing me and loving me anyway.

We are all quite unlovable on our own right, aren't we? We are most often selfish and self-seeking, it is easier to take care of ourselves than to allow our hearts to be loved by another because there is risk involved there.  I mean what if we are let down, hurt, mistreated, not thought of....what if?  I have lived a lot of time in the what if.  It has at times made me a hard person at best.  An untrusting, self protected, crippled woman.  Much of that baggage and response was created from relationships with others too not my relationship with my husband.  My natural tendency to self protect and hide has caused a lot of damage to that man and in the end to myself. But we are learning. 

I am finding the more I allow myself to be loved by Jesus the more I can allow Brian to love me. And the more Jesus can be found in the center of our marriage as well.  The more Jesus is in the center of our marriage the more I can more fully love my husband.  It all seems so simple.  The truth is  the last couple of years have been anything but.  There have been a lot of torn scars and scraped out hearts.  Confession and honest humbleness has been granted and given and that has been hard. Pride has had to melt and I have had to come to grips with how awfully sinful I really am on more than one occasion.

This morning I woke up to the sound of water, this is very rarely a good thing.  Brian had left extremely early for Boise and I was alone.  And now I had a roof leak, awesome.  But then I smelled the most pleasing aroma and that roof leak turned into the smell of coffee coming from down the hallway.  My first response was fear, my second feeling was love.  It was a simple gesture anyone could set the self timer to make sure that they have coffee in the morning.  But my husband took an opportunity this morning to make me a pot of coffee because he knew it would bless me.  Not to earn anything because he will be gone just simply to bless me.  To most this may seem mundane maybe but to me it made me feel like the most loved woman on the planet.

You see the Jagers are entering into their 13th retail holiday season.  I know that not everyone can relate to this but I think the holiday season alone and all that comes with it can be a common thread in what I will share here.  The holiday season for us does not bring a ton of parties and joy and all of that what it does bring are countless hours of work, unrealistic sales goals, crazy schedules and not a lot of family time. In most ways we are used to it, we know what to expect, but can't say it is very comfortable.  And I can not most honestly say I do not handle it with a lot of any grace.

About 6 weeks ago I started feeling the affects of PTSD.  I felt myself beginning to self protect, to prepare my heart to not feel in order to push through. But I could feel the spirit prompting me to pray, to ask for something different and as I did, my heart began to soften. And the prayers that came out were not for my survival but for my husbands.  I began to pray that he would not feel the incessant tugging that comes from both sides of his life.  Work and family. That he would feel love and acceptance, that he would rest in the truth that he has been given, that he would not feel the need to strive but that he would feel the peace that comes from his salvation in Jesus.  I prayed that the spirit would remind me of my own freedoms when I would feel the need to nag and complain or pressure.

The blessings that have been poured on us and through us in the last six weeks have been immense. My tendency to first love and accept, to forgive as God forgives, to not hold grudges or base my actions off of past experience has been freeing to both of us.  As I allow the grace of God to fill in my wounds and holes and cracks and crevices the grace is more freely given to those around me. Because its not about me anymore or what I need, its about Jesus and what I have been given.  And it feels incredible to even be able to say those words but even more to mean them.  When wrapped in the spirit I have need for nothing more.

And so even though a pot of coffee would seem like something so small.  To me it was an incredibly sweet act of love as I know that making a pot of coffee for someone else at 4:30 am is not an easy thing.  I know that for my husband when he gets out of bed he is for all intensive purposes already at work.  It was two seconds he took to bless me before he entered into the other half of his life, his work.  Because it wasn't about him in that moment.

This posture is so much more valuable to me than a ten step process to be a better wife.  Truth is I pretty much stink at it on my own.  And if there was a ten step list I would only feel more failure as I am positive I would fail all ten steps at one time or another.  Without Jesus my love for Brian is easily all about me and what I receive, with Jesus my love for Brian is all about Jesus love for Brian and what has been done for him on the cross.

I am sure to many of you this seems simple.  I pray that you would know that if you too struggle with these things that you are not bound by your failure to love.  You are freely forgiven and not expected to get your poop in a group.  You are free to love others because you are incredibly loved and sought after.  God never once has turned his back on you.  You can love your spouse out of this very place and it will not be easy but it will be good and full.

The disclaimer here is that I am by no means an expert on any of this.  It is a daily struggle to claim this truth.  But I am thankful and humbled by the forgiveness I receive daily as I struggle to accept the love I am given to move forward. And for a husband that loves me in light of it all.  We are not perfect and I am so very glad!

Walk in love friends you are loved enough that someone died for you, not for the perfect put together you.  But the severely broken and sinful you.  You were loved in your very darkest state to be loved into the brightest light imaginable.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On our own.

When we went into our home buying process here in Spokane we went into it with all sorts of desires and hopes and false senses of pride.  One of which was that we were so happy to be able to do this on our own.  We are in a place financially that we are able to make these sorts of commitments, we had money stored away, we had wits about us to make wise decisions, you know we had it all figured out ;) And per the usual as soon as we decided to depend on our own understanding we started to drown.  And then we remembered to pray.  Confessing such things is quite humbling, I am free from shame but quick to remind myself that there is not any amount of time that I can be free form the arms of Jesus.  

The first thing that happened was that our timing wasn't working in our favor.  We had no place to live.  We had come to the understanding that I would move home with our parents and the kids and Brian would couch surf in Spokane.  This was unnerving, it didn't feel right for us to live separately, in fact it felt to the core wrong.  But what were we to do?  I am a fairly open person and do not hide from sharing our story, but I am not a very vulnerable....asking for help has not ever and does not still come easily to me.  And so asking anyone here in Spokane for a place to stay seemed like a major inconvenience.  And like I said before we had it all figured out.  We were able to do this on our own, so to be perfectly honest asking for help was far from our minds.  

But God knew better.  

One morning before our gathering service on a Sunday my friend looked up from his place of prayer and point blank asked me what was on my mind.  That was rough.  I couldn't hide, I couldn't change the subject and it was so far out of my control that the words - we don't have a place to live - fell from my lips.  What came next was harder.  What came next was a gift I couldn't escape.  My friend Scott replied - you can live with us - .  Now I must tell you my friend Scott has a wife and 3 small boys, they already had another couple living with them, they already had another family on the back burner waiting for the aforementioned couple to move out and on top of it all we weren't even friends at this point.  And what I began to learn then about this family (the Cooleys) and what I know to be very true  now is they have big hearts, they have much faith, they are broken, lovely, and humble people.  And that rolled over me that morning.  And we said okay.  We were supposed to live there for two weeks, instead we ended up living there for six.  We lived upstairs, we lived in the basement and then we moved upstairs again, to make room for others.  People would ask sarcastically - how's that going? - can I stop here and ask why we do this?  Why do we ask people questions hoping to hear negative, hoping to get dirt, instead of simply loving and encouraging?  My reply was always the same - this is great, we love the Cooleys, it couldn't possibly be better - .  And let me tell you why. In those 6 weeks God made room for us to cut off the rest of our lives, to live with another family and not only share meals but share life.  We had nothing but our beds and our clothes with us and we literally made ourselves at home. Through our experience we learned to pray together, laugh together, spur each other on, speak truth to one another, and love one anothers children. And to be perfectly honest some of the most broken places of my heart were healed in that place.  I will forever hold those 6 weeks in a special place in my memory to draw truth to support my purpose here.  My purpose being to live in the light of God's glory, proclaiming the good news not only for the benefit of myself but for others, humbly praying that the one hope we have will be apparent and true and evident in our lives not just in our own goodness, but also in our failing that others may see us cling to Jesus for forgiveness and strength to move on.  Our time at the Cooleys was very much that.  
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The second thing that happened was financial. Over the weeks the bank changed the amount of money they would need to close our loan four times.  Each time the number grew and it became evident that once again our savings would be gone.  It was very clear that we couldn't do this whole new house thing on our own.  Most people have reacted with the idea that that would be a sign to not move forward.  I am not sure that it is my place to decipher the will of God.  I can tell you his presence had been so very palpable through this whole process.  We saw him provided over and over again.  He had already begun growing our heart for our new neighborhood.  But in the end there wasn't anymore magic money showing up, the tree had been picked clean by the time we got there ;) And to make matters worse or maybe better in the end we found that we couldn't go back to where we started, we were at a point that if we gave up on the loan we would lose all of the money we put in and not that it matters because money is money but it was quite a sizable amount.  And so once again I believe we were shown that we wouldn't be doing this on our own.  I don't know when we will be too old to ask for help in fact I am not sure that we are supposed to ever be too old to ask for help.  What we needed was a very short term loan for a very specific amount of money.  And so we prayed heartily that our pride would be melted and we sent out an SOS. I can tell you that in the end we were leant what we needed and very shortly there after the money appeared in some pretty unexpected ways and we were able to pay the money back.  But the true gift wasn't in the leant money it was in the knowledge and the ability to ask for help.  We knew that it was safe and if the answer was no it didn't mean anything.  In family we have the freedom and the safety to ask.  In family we have been taught that we can freely give, we can freely share, and freely love each other with all that we have. And we felt this in a very real way.

And so the story of our little house is a big one, one that delivers much glory to our father in heaven. A story that is full of repentance, redemption, giving, gratitude and love.  What a wonderful story to start a new chapter with.  We are called to live in community.  God calls us to use all of the gifts each of us have been given to build one another up, to help grow his body of believers, to love one another to point each other to him.  And the only way this can happen is if we accept the love that he has given each of us to be able to further love one another freely without expectation.  There is no place in the word that it says we should be able to do this life on our own.  
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Monday, September 22, 2014

On Buying a House

So we bought a house in Spokane.  There are markedly pieces of this story missing.  I am struggling with writing about some of the most lovely parts of this story because I very much want them to be felt not just read and stored away.   The last months are nothing short of Gods very goodness stretching us and blessing us beyond our wildest dreams and writing them down here for you to read rather than inviting you into my living room to hear the very tales seems like I am selling them short. So please come over and sit and I will start from the beginning.
 photo IMG_6148_zps8e516e18.jpgIn true Jager fashion we found our house in two weeks time.  However the journey was not easy.  We felt challenged in what we "should" choose based on preconceived ideas and emotions versus what we now claim to be true in our lives. When we bought our first house nearly 10 years ago we searched for pretty yards, white picket fences, nice neighborhoods and the like.  We found all of that, added a dog and two kids and started what I thought was a fairytale and it really was in so many ways.  And so when we started looking this time we began looking for the same thing.  We wanted something that "made sense."  We wanted something that  I would ashamedly say would bring us pride and represented who we were. 

Maybe I should start off by telling you when we moved to Spokane 2 years ago we shopped for our house based on what we could afford and also fit our family as at the time we needed room for my grandma too.  So we ended up renting a nearly 5000sq ft house that overlooked the entire city.  It was beautiful but over time I began to resent that poor house.  I hated the  looks on peoples face when they came in the front door, I hated the attention it brought, I hated the ideas of our financial situation it gave to people.  And really us Jagers are not McMansion people.  We are people that value community, we like to be able to commune and love on people with our house.  I want you to feel like you can throw open our fridge and grab yourself a beer, spill milk in our living room without feeling shame and put your feet up on the coffee table.  And that house made that difficult. 

So the hunt began.  I knew I wanted at least 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  I wanted room for people to come and stay, but I wanted it to be comfortable and cozy too.  We saw all sorts of houses big, small and in the middle.  Fixer uppers, and finished and when we thought we found the house I came home and felt sick.  Although many of our motives were for good things, and very much not for own benefit I realized what I was searching for was not aligned with the newness we have adopted for our lives here in Spokane. I had failed to pray and really ask God to show us where he wanted us to be.  What i wanted was safety, in Christ we are safe.  What I wanted was home, in Jesus my home will never be here in this place.  What I wanted was pride, without giving Jesus every part of me I am nothing.  What I wanted was beauty, without Jesus my heart will not only be ugly but empty.  And so we prayed.  We prayed with humble hearts knowing that once we opened that door we would have no choice but to follow his leading.  Half longing to be free from our own desires but half afraid to see how he would answer.  And in time it was very clear where we were supposed to be in the Shadle neighborhood, where we would be close to those that we love.  In a place that we could truly love our neighbors and hopefully be light and love to them.

Here are some observations others have made as they have watched this take place.  Wow, this isn't anything I would have thought you would choose.  Did Brian lose his job?  Are you guys okay?  Why there, why Shadle?  And I will tell you these questions do not offend, but they comfort because they give me opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with those who are bold enough to ask.  The truth is I don't know and you are right, in the past we would have run from Shadle.  This makes me sad and has created a deep repentance in me, but it has also brought me joy that I have been delivered out of a sin that was very deep within me.  The sin and wanting to not only keep up with the Joneses but be them.  The thought that what I  need is to be comfortable not just content.  The idea that what I need to be me is to be surrounded by people who have the same values and desires as I do.  Well you know what I did that for the first decade of our marriage and it didn't work out the greatest.  It looked awesome but it didn't always feel awesome.  

So when you drive into our neighborhood you will be greeted by the sights of folks living life.  Some of them care about their yards, some don't.  If it is past 3pm you will probably see the two guys a couple of blocks down working on their go carts and taking Coors light breaks on their folding chairs in the front yard.  You won't be able to miss our neighbor across the street with his lime green race car that he parks in the yard to wash and dry.  There is a young couple that lives next door with a toddler and a dog whose bark is reminiscent of Cujo, there house belonged to her grandmother and they have a gate in their backyard to allow them access to their parents yard directly behind ours.  There is a man who walks his dog without any shoes  every morning.  And another that walks with a stick that I assume is meant for self defense but I haven't asked him yet so I don't know maybe he just likes the weight of it in his hand. A woman who walks with 3 young kids who seems nervous to return my hello but I am determined to continually show her love in that every time I see her.  And so far I have counted 11 people who have stopped to read the sign on our front door, I think half wondering if it is a declaration or an invitation (its both).  At first glance I can see the need for confusion from our friends and loved ones. But in my heart I know we are right where God wants us. I am humbled that I am loved enough to go forward with living here, and in the beginning I too was wary of what we had done.  But I can truly say that I know if I am honest of how this all transpired we have done nothing.  All honor and love and praise is to him who calls us His own.
 photo IMG_3464_zps3bf083ac.jpgSo what does life look like for the Jagers now that we are here? You may notice I did not mention the names of the folks above.  We are praying to change that.  We desire to not only know our neighbors but to have them in our home and in our lives. Praying that amongst our shortcomings Jesus would be able to be that much more strong as we move forward with pressing in.  That Jesus would be present and recognizable and not because of us or our own greatness but because of the love he has for us.  That we may live transparently and openly, realizing that none of us deserves a place to belong but in him we all have access to family.  And so we have made several pledges or commitments to put us in deeper contact.  Everything we do regularly...groceries, the gym, schools for the kids, and the like is done within 10 minutes of our front door and hopefully within the Shadle neighborhood, this is limiting in some ways but also so good for us to build community.  We meet with two other couples and their children once a week to support one another in one anothering.  Praying that God would use us to not only further the love of his kingdom but to support one another in life.  To pray with and for one another in the mundane and the unreal, to spur one another on amongst weakness in hopes of pointing each other to the cross so that it can become larger and more real.  We remind one another of the truth that Jesus is real and his sacrifice was large and we are simply here to bring His glory to light and to life.  And all of this folks sounds real good on paper but in all truth it is real hard.  That doesn't take away from its greatness though.  

I know you all want to know about the house and from my above description you are probably expecting the worst.  It is not a janky little house as I once called it.  My heart is continually changing as I seek more of Jesus.  What we bought is material it is simply a house but it also where we welcome people in to share the love that we have been so freely given.  It is a 1954 brick rambler.  In all actuality it is a u shape brick with a basement.  It has extra bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It is lovely and warm and Jesus has blessed it already with comfort even though I am completely content with all that he has given me thus far.  We have already started ripping down walls to make it more livable.  One of things we desired was to be able to welcome others in, to be able to give folks a soft place to land or a family to be adopted into, super ambiguous but we already have a girl that wants to move in in January while she does an internship here.  So in preparation for our first tenant we are adding on an extra bathroom to provide a bit more space for coexistence. And I would be lying to say I am not excited about all of this.  We have fireplaces and original hardwoods and a tiny little kitchen with appliances that are much to big but fit our needs quite well.  The backyard is dead and there are cosmos growing in the place of the grass that used to reign there. The front yard is shaded with the love of a giant oak that is inhabited by squirrels.  The grass in the front is green and lush, I love to mow it.  

We are happy and most pleased with all that has transpired.  I know I talk of much change in our hearts, and friends from the past years are quick to email me and remind me that the old us was loved and appreciated.  And so I must say that I have no condemnation for myself , I love myself more than I ever possibly could have but it is all by his grace that I have the ability to say those words. All I had or I did before was to simply earn my place in the kingdom to prove my goodness and worthiness for a place at the table.  And honestly it doesn't look much different from the outside.  Except that all that I have and all that I do is out of response for the forgiveness I myself have been given and we all have been offered.  I am free from shame and free to live. 

More to come on marriage, and friendship and mothering and love. It will continue to be real.

walk in love friends-

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Suckin the marrow

And so it's been a bit.

I have said it before but I have a hard time writing when I am amongst struggle. Not because I don't want to share but more because I find writing those struggles down can be overwhelming at times.  Being quiet and still have been learned behaviors in the last years and I suppose silence in writing just comes a long with it. 

But with all that has happened around here in the last months I believe a lot would be lost without a bit of a rehash and explanation and hopefully in the end an arrow as bright as you have ever seen that points you straight to Jesus.  Because with out the final mentioned it would seem that what has transpired was a huge waste.

About six months ago Brian was presented with many new options professionally.  All of which would bring a move upon us.  And we are not talking just across the state this time but across the country.  This was difficult for us to contemplate and weigh.  We prayed so much for clear wisdom, leading and provision.  Really trying to leave it at the foot of the cross.  It's so easy to let your brain get the best of you in these situations, especially when you have been through the situation before. Last time we sort of went through this alone. Really keeping it to ourselves in an attempt to not disturb the peace in our lives or in others.  But this time we really felt called to live this out within our community, openly confessing our struggle, and allowing others to gain perspective through our experience.  

In the beginning I was quite fearful.  It was a lot to think about and contemplate. But my heart
changed overtime.  I was given vision and hope in heaven, reminders of where our true home is,
grace for others and new locations, but maybe mostly reminders of gods grace for us thus far. It is not been so long since we made the move to Spokane that I have forgotten what he had done for us here and the remembrance of that gave me peace to know that wherever we ended up Gods presence would also be, that he would prepare a place for us.  Just as we believe there are no bad people we also believe there are no bad places, god created  it all and so as much as others placed there own fears for us into my view I felt at ultimate peace about where we would end up and that is when some miraculous things started to happen.

Two years ago I started praying for trust and patience.  I began to realize that I was lacking in these abilities and that the lacking was creating craziness and unrest and scrambling.  Scrambling to surround myself with stability and hope, neither of which we're coming from a well of the gospel but more from my own capabilities.  My own ability to get my poop in a group and push forward.  Instead of a humble realization of my shortcomings followed and repaired by more Jesus, more admission and confession of need for less of my own thoughts. what I thought I wanted was a step my step process to make me better.  What I got was a stripping, a wrecking and a rerouting making me completely unable toa be capable on my own and instead allowing me to realize that all I have is really not mine it belongs as I myself do to a heavenly creator who knows me completely and  not only loves me anyways but because of it.

And with all that being said when we were presented with the option to move it gave me a perfect opportunity to prove what I had seems I had still not learned a thing in light of it to all.  God was showing me that I had nothing to prove, he knew my heart and my longing and instead of me becoming more capable I became more dependent upon him for peace that comes without the need for understanding.  And once that was realized I declared to Brian that I was no longer going to live with the thought that we may be leaving something, I wasn't going to live afraid of what may happen to my heart through all of this but I was in fact (excuse my language, I was in fact raised by fisherman) going to suck the marrow out of this shit.  That I was going to live fully, allowing pain and suffering but even more so joy and love and healing to come through this and I would sit back and relax and watch it happen.   If you know me even a little you would know that that thought alone is nothing short of supernatural, I am not a truster , i am in fact a control freak because I feel if I don't know what is happening next I won't be prepared and if something bad happens it will be my fault for not seeing it coming.  But what I banked on and what I claimed was eternal hope which is in no place rooted in me but in what has already been done.

And so we moved forward.  Brian had 9 interviews, each one more grueling, I watched him fear, I watched him hope, I watched him struggle with earthly stability and that which  is promised to us in heaven.  We were faced with questions that we couldn't answer, why would you leave this, what do you actually need, what are you searching for, what is this actually about?  To be honest we are still praying over many of these questions.  But in the end we were given option to compromise, to claim something that wasn't true to go somewhere that we would have had to trade Jesus for and  it didn't fit.  And so as our pastor said in the beginning you may choose not to do this and it might not make any sense.  We blew that statement off in the beginning thinking that our options would be obvious, and as much as they were they also weren't.  I have learned that even when you feel at peace in circumstance you can still be swayed by others misunderstanding.  And that is where the struggle has been.  Thankfully we do not need to prove, or explain or be justified, that has all been done.  In the end this position was between two, Brian and another, we could have taken it.  My husband could have led us into "financial abundance," "professional security," instead he followed what didn't make sense and I believe it still goes against what makes sense to him.  But I have never felt so loved and cared for in my marriage as I did that day.  It had nothing to do with moving to a different state, leaving my friends and family or being uprooted. It had everything to do with where we are and what God is doing  in and around us.

You would have thought the story was over there.  That we would just go on living in our house on the hill. Surrounded my glass and views that stretched for miles but when I let go when I started sucking the marrow out I prayed that we would feel able to put down roots free to live out side of what makes sense. Free to plug in knowing that nothing earthly  is forever and who even knows what that means.  And so once again God has provided and I am not the least bit surprised.  We have move forward in faith and we are in the process of buying a house here in Spokane.

To be continued....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A boost

My prayers have been much wrapped in my parenting, in my mothering, in my friends mothering. I have been searching for a definition, a purpose, an idea.....basically I have been just pleading for God to throw me a bone, but more on that later.  I suppose I am always contemplating these ideas, the feeling of bewilderment is not a new one.  Perhaps though this tween stage is really throwing me for a loop.  Gone are the days of the naughty step, replaced by days of back talk and really "bright" ideas.  There are quite a number of days that I feel incredibly exhausted when my head hits the pillow, nights where my prayers are also filled with tears, the good news in this is that I am also experiencing a love that is the closest form of how our Father in heaven must love us.

This prayer of, God, how can I most glorify you in my mothering has been constant for some time but concentrated much more heavily in the last month.  The truth is I stink a stench of rottenness at this most of the time, but in contemplating it I have found myself reminding my children -and then reminding myself inadvertently- of their need for grace, of their ability to obtain it, of the fact that they have been chosen for redemption much more often and much more freely.  It has been humbling to feel the work of the spirit, and reassuring to know that i am not alone in this role, in these days where I feel as I have lost all control I too have been promised goodness, God is ultimately for me too in all things.  He is much  the opposite of what I can muster most days, he doesn't sit pleading for me to get my poop in a group, or yell or shout at me when I get it wrong.  He is a God of mercy and love.  A Father with opened arms not closed fists.  Those reminders alone are a good representation of my need for the spirit to lead me in this journey.

This past week with the remembrance of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice for me was a pivotal moment in all of this.  The kids and I traveled across the state to visit family for the past week.  We traveled over Palm Sunday and Good Friday.  On the way west I found myself retelling the story of Palm Sunday in my head.  I have taught that lesson in Sunday school a countless number of times. Bu this time as I replayed the series of events all I could think of was Jesus, the sight of Jesus.  And as I fixated on that I begin to picture our whole little family standing on the roadside that day as Jesus was parading through on a donkey and I began to let myself imagine what that would be like.  Being amongst the crowd, striving for a peek at this reported Son of God.  Laying out our jackets on the ground for the said donkey to walk upon.  And I began to think about wanting my children to be able to see him too, just to catch a glimpse of his face, and I pictured myself allowing them to climb upon my shoulders, i pictured myself giving them a boost just so they could see.  And then it occurred to me that the Holy Spirit had given me my answer in a vision.

My ultimate purpose as a mother is to be a dwelling place for the spirit so I can give my kids a boost to see Jesus.  And that purpose seems very fitting to me, as well as humbling and exciting and quite lovely.  And I know it has very little to do with my own ability, that in order to succeed I ultimately need to die to myself in order to let God shine.  I also have the opportunity and freedom to share with my children in my failings, to teach them first hand of our need for grace and all the while revealing my own fault.  Its okay to not always do it right the first time, we were in fact created with Jesus in mind, God knew our need and had a plan in mind to welcome us out of our filth.  The offer is as good for me as it is for my children and for each of you.  

Your Love Remains 
the brilliance

Through the darkness
Through the fire
Through my wicked heart’s desire
Your love remains, Your love remains
Though I stumble
Though I falter
Through my weakness You are strong
Your love remains, Your love remains

Oh my, my soul, it cries
Oh my, my soul, it cries out
Soul, it cries out
Soul, it cries, it cries out

Through my failure
Through my heartache
Through my healing
In my pain Your love remains, Your love remains
Though I stumble
Though I falter
Through my weakness You are strong
Your love remains, Your love remains
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Hiding and being known

I feel as if  I refer to the past year in a half a lot.  I catch myself starting endless conversations this way.  I suppose it is because my family and I are still on this journey that really only started in the past year and half.  The other part of it comes from a much deeper, darker space within me.  It could be that I never want to be where I was or who I was prior to this.  I suppose I had led myself to believe that I was okay with it all, that the past was the past and now is just now and the future is nothing we can even measure here on earth.  I do believe all of this whole heartedly except for the past part.  I didn't know until about a month ago that  I was quite ashamed of the past.  As it turns out I wasn't truly accepting my redemption yet.  In fact I believe that I didn't even want to be seen anywhere near that light.

One of the best parts about moving to a new town 6 hours away from the place you thought you would always call home is that no one knows you or your crap ( or what they think they know about you and your crap).  This alone is a fairly fabulous freedom that I had never known.  However anonymous existence only lasts for so long and it isn't really what I believe God intends for our lives.  God used this time to not only free me but to break me and it was effective.  The problem is that this freedom still lingers, that freedom unleashed an unbridled existence within me and for the first time in my life I began to live out my life for an audience of one, that one being my heavenly father.  

Recently I heard others perceptions of me in rather public forum. I wanted to run so fast from those words, they were embarrassing and very much not true, and perhaps the worst part was that although they didn't describe me now they weren't far off from where I used to be.  From who I used to be.  And maybe in the past these feelings would have made me feel a step up in the world.  Now they made me want to hide.  I had forgotten who i was living for and quickly allowed myself to believe that these other persons feeling should be become part of my own.  Instead of adopting my true identity.  

My fault beyond the shame and hiding was that as soon as these emotions came across my heart I began to question God for what he wanted.  I immediately started to pray and ask God what more he needed to strip, what more he needed to take.  What more can I give?  At the same time take it all.  

But the most surprising emotion was the embarrassment. I can't even pick a time in my life where I have been embarrassed.  I am what you would call an open book.  I am quick to point out my ridiculousness.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I really believe that my life and my experiences are not mine to hold but rather are meant to be shared, they don't belong to me.  So the fact that I felt so embarrassed was not only shameful but foreign. Our Sunday gathering was the absolute worst.  I felt as if I couldn't even lift my head.  Making eye contact or engaging myself in conversation was impossible because I was full on invested in not being seen.  I had confused the message I had been sent in my interaction to mean that I needed to be invisible.  If no one saw me they couldn't have opinions and if I disappeared I wouldn't have to feel this way anymore.  P.S. it didn't work.  

I spent a week in Vegas with Brian 2 weeks ago.  I had planned to write and to read God's word the entire time I was there.  I knew I wanted to allow God to use that time to fill and change my heart. However, every time I opened my bible it was if I was in the middle of a giant auditorium filled with screaming people. And I allowed that to mean that God was letting me sit in my squalor for a bit.  Allowing me to experience my sin.  Allowing me to feel what I had claimed.  If I wanted to be the own lifter of my very head I could try it.  I don't believe God ever gives us what we truly deserve but I do believe he allows to walk in our sin on occasion to ultimately show us the ways of our own hearts.  And the way of my heart was that I was allowing other peoples view points of me to dictate how I felt about myself but ultimately dictate how I thought God felt about me.  I was willing to give the whole year and half up for someone else's perceptions.  

I don't see the message any different now except that I now realize it has nothing to do with me.  I mean this in the opposite vein of pride.  What God wanted me to give was all of me. I believe now that what I was to learn was that God could care for me in all circumstances that his love was enough to lift my head when I felt as if I couldn't.  That I had nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.  Who I was and who I am are all part of his plan.  I am no longer seen in my own light but in the light of Jesus.  Thats the identity I adopt.  

I know this seems like quite the babble and it may not make much sense.  You won't catch me apologizing.  My hope is that within the babble you would find something that reminds you of the very redemption you yourself have been offered.

We have two options we can walk around attempting to hide from the very God that knows us better than we know ourselves or we walk in love, in the truth of being known for who God intends us to be as if we already are.  The latter is much lighter.  The latter is eternal.  

Walk In Love Friends-

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I found myself praising God for my ability to live uncovered because of what Jesus has done for me this weekend.  Over the last months i have become quite comfortable with confession.  But in years past I had come to hate it.   I mean who wants to own up about how incredibly horrible they really are on the inside and hey if we are going to be completely honest,  how horrible we are on the outside as well.

Confessing used to signify weakness to me, which would signify my need for something. Honestly needing anything or anyone had become something that was quite horrifying and scary to me.  Need would lead me to a place where I needed to have faith and trust, these were things that over the years I had been shown that I couldn't have in people. This belief put me a pretty uncomfortable place with my faith in Christ though.  My lack of trust in others translated into a lack of trust in God.  And since I had believed that lie, and because I did in fact still need a savior, believe it or not, I attempted to become my own. Welcome a whole truck load of self righteousness to the scene.  

Now when you attempt to be your own savior a lot of things start to happen.  You become hard, unforgiving of yourself and others, quick to think you are the only one who can fix things, quick to believe that others will be lost without you, judgmental, close minded, legalistic, quick to point out others faults, constantly reminding others of your worth, working to earn and to prove and all of this leads to burn-out, exhaustion and eventual self destruction.  This happened to me.  And you know none of the work I had set out to do brought me any closer to heaven.  In fact I was pretty sure I might just not end up there.  Grace was non-existent to me and really love was too.  

I heard the gospel again this past year.  In fact I hear it every single Sunday.  And not only do I hear it on Sundays, I hear it all week.  Many of my friends are very comfortable hearing my confession and not only are they comfortable hearing it but sometimes they pull it out of me.  This used to signify a time of lashing and pointing out my faults.  Although now we do talk through my faults, the time we spend confessing our sins are wrapped in the message of what God has given us in His son.  The truth of what took place when Jesus died on the cross, and how little it has to do with us and our actions.  And the overwhelming message that I am free to love others and myself because I am forgiven, and loved.  

When we do this.  When we take the time to allow God to remove our sin we are immediately freed from the emotions that come with it. We are free from shame, hatred and the general need to hide. This leaves much more room for love, peace, hope, humbleness and the ability to move forward towards the cross. We are immediately freed from the need to make our stories about us and are more compelled to give the glory to God. 

I find I am in need of a constant bathing of the gospel.  When I distance myself I find that it is easy to stray from what I truly believe and easier to absorb old lies.  The more time I spend focusing on the truth the more I find that it is impossible for me to stifle it.  Confession is an integral piece.  

With the love of Christ we have got nothing to lose friends except our need for self.  

Praise Jesus for the ability to live uncovered.

Walk in love friends-

Timothy Keller: "The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as 'I'm in this room with these people, does that makes me look good? Do i want to be here?' True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self forgetfulness." (The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Perhaps it is only in our ultimate failures that we can truly experience the fullness of God's amazing and abundant grace.  Maybe it is at times only in our anguish of our need that we can accept the offer we have been given in our redemption.  The truth that we do not in fact carry the burden of our need to be holy but that it is only through the holiness of the spirit that we can be restored.  After what is going on two decades of the ever failing message that I would be able to reach my full potential of redemption in Christ through my own strength and effort, I can now rejoice in the fact that I will forever and always be in need of a Savior.  And in good tidings because without that truth I won't be going far, my ultimate reward lies in my ability to humbly rest in my weakness, knowing full well that my surrender is what will make the process of my unraveling less painful.  But in the end not even my surrender is needed for God's will to be done in me or through me.  His will will be completed through the ages no matter my level of willing participation.

This past year has been one filled with a new understanding of grace and my role in it.  Truth is it's not about me.  It's all about Jesus.  My purpose here on earth has nothing to do with my own desires rather to allow God to shine through me humbly praying that in turn more glory would shine upon Him.  I praise the name of Jesus that I don't have to wait another 15  years to feel the sweet relief of my need to save myself.  Jesus paid it all for you and for me.

I spent the last 10 days loving my sister and brother in law and their sweet new baby Paige.  I have been aware for some time that I have been gifted with the ability to love and care for others, willingly able to give of myself to most anyone.  In the past even though I have felt grateful for the gift I find myself feeling burdened with it, tired and exhausted with my need to provide comfort.I was worried in my travel across the country to arrive on their doorstep with my own baggage and tendency to be self righteous in my giving.  Knowing full well that it would be easy to slip into my old clothes, that it would be easy to mask my own pleasure and fight for self worth in the God given gift I have been given to love.  I prayed heartily in advance and in route and while I was in the midst of it all.  I prayed that I would be able to shed my own need to feel worthy and justified and adopt the truth I have been given in Jesus- that I am free to love and give of my self simply because Jesus has done that for me. That I can leave all of my expectations and desires in my experiences behind because I will never on my own be worthy, justified or proven.  I am however and will forever be loved, thought of, remembered and cared for by God the Father.  He has me in the palm of his hand.

This past ten days were plenty filled with the Spirit.  I can count the number of hours I slept in my provided bed on two hands.  But God spared me from sleep deprivation and my own need and desire for comfort.  I caught myself consumed with God's love on more than one occasion.  I set out to bless my family with the love of the father but was in turn blessed beyond anything I could have imagined on my own.

Nothing is wasted in God's kingdom.  He uses even our very darkest sins to bring him glory.

-Walk in love friends