So, the pain has passed but I still can not hear out of my right ear. I alternate between wanting to just wait it out, feeling sort of crazy because everything is a struggle to hear and I can't quite triangulate where the phone might be when it rings, and being a little concerned something might be wrong.

I have so many things I want to write about, even a few notes I actually jotted down in the silence.

But tonight I'm just gonna be real and honest and exposed. Well, as exposed as I can be.

I have a lot of really big stuff going on in my heart, in my head, and in my world. And I am struggling to make sense of it all, let God have dominion over it all, and allowing God to move in me. Changing my world view to match His.

Anyone who's ever been to church more than a handful of times has probably heard of, or heard preached, 1 Corinthians 13...The Love Chapter.

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Even typing it out here makes me want to groan with all the frustration in me. In every way I want to be someone who shows the love that God has shown me. Pure, Redeeming, Unwavering.

I want to give a love that comes without strings. I want desperately to endure, hope, and persevere.

I just don't always know how. How do you keep from being a doormat and chasing after relationships that don't exist on both sides...and still demonstrate this kind of love?

When your head steps in and reminds you to guard your heart?

Even now, as I type these words and come before My Great God, I am reminded that these issues are not new... they go as far back as Philipi.

Philippians 4
Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner,to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And still I don't know how this looks. What does this scripture look like with legs and a heart? Yet my heart is heavy at knowing it doesn't look like me.

I want to reflect these words, but I don't know how.

So I am here, crying out to God and admitting my own weakness and folly at knowing I am not reflecting him, yet wanting to with all that I am.

Please God, show me to love how you would love...
Blogruary fun is temporarily on hold until the searing pain from a rather serious (feeling) ear infection abates...

Tonight, sitting around a table of friends, laughing and sharing in birthday celebration, I couldn't help but reflect on the stark contrast of the moments before I left my house.

My son, just on the cusp of middle school, is starting to see some things in people that his tender heart just can't understand. It seems like for most kids the ideas and activities of social manipulation come all too easy, but not my boy.

I remember his struggle to understand how someone could say they weren't friends anymore and not mean it. He believed that at that moment the relationship would be severed.

It seems that he is once again learning the nuances in speech and action of relationship, and while it hurts my heart to see him navigate these waters, and get hurt along the way, I grow increasingly impressed at the young man he is.

I see a boy who would give so much to people around him, who doesn't choose friends based on "coolness" or age or toys...just people he enjoys spending time with, be they older or younger. I see a boy who longs for responsibility and hungers to care for others. A boy who would exhaust himself jumping up and down to bring a giggle to a small baby. Who wonders how he can help a home for children recently homeless, asking if he can give them his beloved stuffed animal.

I remember him anxious to read stories to his younger brother, the one who likes to just lay on him because he's a cozy big brother.

I am ever grateful that God blessed me with the kids he did. I wouldn't trade them for the world. Even on days where I long for just a little more time to myself, and maybe an uninterrupted potty break, I am blessed that it is these three knocking on the door.

This past weekend I had the great privileged of being at a district leadership conference for my church. It was great because it was a conference for women leaders, and there was no watering down what our role in the church could be. Should be.

It took the position of of helpmate and esteemed it.

It looked at the "younger" leaders as invaluable. It gave us all a voice and a calling. A destiny.

Sitting in that place, surrounded by women working to serve Jesus in their churches we were able to meet with a number of missionaries we support. Home missionaries to broken cities and neighborhoods, and missionaries to lands I can't pronounce.

I have never felt called to leave my native country to preach to others. I have always been very fully convinced that God had called my family to stay and live lives that pointed to Christ in our everyday. Wanting desperately to give the gift that I embrace so fully to everyone I know.

And now with a family, a debt, and regular responsibilities that window feels closed... but sitting there I surprised myself by the deep desire I had to go and serve in that way. To pack what we could in a suitcase and head to a land I've never seen and preach.

I can't say God is calling me that way. I can't even say I'd know what to do ar have the stick to it-ness to make that kind of life... but for the first time it seemed like a beautiful, and not overwhelming, option.

Today was a good day to be crafty. (And yes, I do realize that I am technically not osting on the right day, but being off by a few minutes still counts.)

I'll spare you all the terrific details but lots of exciting things were scored for free today that got my creative juices flowing. As I flipped through my loot with a friend she gave me the push I have so often heard myself give... "Ok, I want you to stop talking about these things and do them, though."

Like a punch in the gut.

I seem to forever be an idea girl and rarely a launch girl. I think that is why I love working with a partner or team. It's all to easy to put my own stuff a step behind.

That can't be me being the woman that God wants me to be, can it? To ignore all these things I am so passionate about.

So I am going to try to take a small step each day towards doing.

It's like a New Month resolution. :)

This morning, out running errands with my kids and realizing that my oldest is now in the largest "boy" size pants. That the next time he rips a hole , or two, in his pants knee, we'll not head to the cheapie kids section but will have to contend with a greater array of style and price

While being grateful that the struggle with my daughter and swimwear is her beautiful standards of modesty that are hard to find in even a child's suit.

This morning as I remarked at how much they had grown and how quickly they change, I was also insanely frustrated by bickering and whining. So frustrated that I drew from my deep well of parenting skills and turned the car radio up loud enough to drown them out.

It was a very sweet relief and I did shortly hear them all quiet down and my daughter started to sing along.

The music filling the car allowed my mind to wander and I began to reflect on the many roads I have been down these last few years. As the music changed to a "getting over you" break up song I giggled as it made me reflect, not on lost loves, but of friendships that have changed or ended. I laughed that good "couple" songs can often fit the special bonds girlfriends develop.

I tried to imagine my husband and one of his friends getting sappy over a song. If you have never met my husband, let me tell you, the image is beyond laughable.

But as I sat there with the music and all my thoughts I was reminded, again, that that intense love and bonding thing we women do, is a very large part of the image of God. The relational part of Him that just wants me to sit with Him and some tea and visit.

He's not always out for my confession or needs, He just wants to know me. to share in my everyday. To sit at my table while I do dishes and reflect on His love and the beauty in the citrus tree outside my window. To feed my hopes and dreams and wild desires. To hold me up on a rough day.

I was honored once again to be able to have the tiniest glimpse on earth of what that perfect relationship will be like in eternity.

I marveled at the amazingness of God to just hang out with me in my car, running errands with cranky kids and my crabby mom self.
But it gives me a chance and excuse to post this little gem. If this blog were just 50 words...


In the past two years I have come to know deeply that life holds no guarantees, except that God is who He says He is...and that, if you let Him, He is faithful to show up.

And while it is not the pretty church face to admit it, sometimes knowing that life still can throw great and amazing curve balls scares me to death. Just because I know God will be magnificent doesn't make jumping into the fire a easy.

I also know that my family is not safe from tragedy.

So today when my daughter complained of pain, and I noted swelling, in the area around her underarm lymph node something deep inside me began to panic. I tried to imagine what I would say if her pediatrician had bad news. I wondered how long until we knew anything for certain... my mind just spun.

Instinct had me wanting to reach out to my friends and my support people but the small whisper called out to me instead. In my panic I had to turn to God. I had to commit another daughter to his hand, to his will. My mind went to the story of Job we had just read this morning, and then to the episode of Extreme Home Makeover that my daughter was watching... was God setting me up to be prepared?

I wish I could say I immediately went to my prayer closet and heard from God...instead I choked on a plea for help and waited. I went about the next few hours in ordinary everyday. I lived in a place of hope. I didn't even default like I tend to do, and start rationalizing the what ifs. I simply said "God, this is what ever you want it to be and you have to be glorified"

The short version is, it is nothing. It is not the worst case, it is not even a lymph node. It looks like a muscle has be strained or hit.

When we were in the car my daughter confessed that she had been afraid she might have cancer. I think that broke me the most. There is something that seems so wrong about an 8 year old thinking she might die...

Please continue to pray for us all, as I think there are many years of emotions and steps of faith we all will continue to wade through.

This parenting thing is tough.

What does it say about me that blogging has become a vital part of my mental health? It seems that with the quiet of January I was allowed just a little too much time inside my own head... and it really wasn't pretty.

I can't say that blogging is like prayer, exactly, but I find the openness in my writing allows God a different way to speak to me. That He is so good to show up as the thoughts are processing and my fingers are typing away.

Rarely do I sit down with a post already mapped out. Generally I just sit with my thoughts and it allows me to sort through the giant pile.

I do my best to be open, to be transparent, here. I am a very real girl with some very human flaws, but still I want to show the real and authentic me. The me that tries to grow a little everyday.

So here I go again... one month straight of reflection as I continue my pilgrimage here on this earth.

And I am very excited.

I have spent the last three days sitting at the feet of my Abba and, once again, schucking off the shell of what once was and getting new clothes and a new me. I am not yet sure what this means, but I have taken a solid and sure step forward and I refuse to step back. Not by an act of will, but an act of surrender.

I hope to look back with a very clear understanding of some of my recent and current trials. But even if I don't walk away with answers, I know I walk away grown and that will be enough.

I am submitting a larger part of who I am and what I desire to Him.

So feel free to walk with me, or watch me walk. It probably wont be the most beautiful journey but I am hoping the new creation reflects more of her father's image in the end.