Sunday, December 26, 2010

battered heart, bruised soul, and a small dose of healing

As usual....I've had SEVERAL avenues of thought going through my feeble brain.

I'd say its pretty accurate that some very strategic seeds of change have been placed in my soul, been nurtured with time, given some food of truth, and refreshing splash of amazing relationships and have now begun to thrust forth something healthy in me.

Its funny how we always assume that once we understand "this one thing", or if we can just "get it", or if we "know this, or that, or why?"....that we will have arrived. Only to discover the train of thought keeps moving as does the destination, our souls carry the baggage of wounds acquired with living life and being in relationship with us. How we choose to deal with that baggage along our journey makes such a difference. Will I carry the weight of this wound with me into this relationship? Will I carry this wound into this phase of my life? Will I carry the wound of "unknowns and mistrust" because of the never ending "whys" that are in my life?

I mean truly why not me? Why not them? Why cancer? Why poverty? Why starvation? Why singleness? Why AIDS? Why life altering disability? Why infertility? Why them and not me? Why....why?...........why?

But Abba, if you were to give me nothing more in my life....could I still look to You and praise you? Is the mere fact of came, you lived, you loved, you sacrificed, you died for me, for my soul....enough? Could I look to you and say, even if you don't save me from the suffering and turmoil of this life, I will still praise you? Will I still believe?


I had an epiphany back in December with my nephew Joel:

gradually over the course of the past year or so, i've had seeds planted into my soul, these seeds have grown a fabric of healing over me. On that December day, It was a seed that nestled its way into my heart. But on December 11th to be exact. It was my nephew Joel's 2nd birthday and I decided to take him out on a date in the morning so that Mike and Alicia could prepare their house to surprise Joel for his birthday. So Joel and I proceeded to go to the store to buy him a few fun toys for his birthday.

Here's where the epiphany occured; as we drove to Toys-R-Us. Now let's preface with the fact that Joel is now 2, which means that life is at the prime of learning. he is really taking in the world around him, wants to know, wants to understand....he wants answers. And in order to get answers we all ask the same question: Why? Joel doesn't have the full capacity to process and decipher all the answers that are given to his "Why?" Question for everything in life.....he's 2. And no matter what answer you give Joel to his "why?" question, it's NEVER enough, he never stops asking why, even if you lead him to the root of the can never seem to satisfy that unquenchable question.......

So as Joel and I drove to Toys-R-Us I looked into the rearview mirror at him and said

" you know that I love you?"

and Joel in the incessant and insistent way that he does as the ripe ol' age of 2, proceeded to say "why?"

"because I love you Joel, I just do"

"why Auntie, Rachel?"

"Joel.....I love you, for no other reason than because you.....are just you"


That was it. He just sat the rest of the way to Toys-R-Us in silence.

It was a break through for me.....

It was such a break through that it actually brought tears to my eyes.

I have struggled since the time I can remember to truly understand, know, and believe, that God loves me. That He loves me without question, hesitation, or reservation.

Now, I get that God loves us, it's a great in theory. I get the Sunday school answers, I know the knowledge of the head when it comes to God's love (to an extent). But what I've never done is take that and truly taste it, to feel it, to breathe it in deep to the marrow of my bones.

You see Brooklyn is 5, Judah is almost 4, and Joel is 2. And I love them. I genuinely, whole-heartedly, unequivocally, unabashadly love them. I love them without hesitation.....and they aren't even my kids. In fact they're not even technically related to me.

And.....if I can love them how deeply and passionately I do and I'm not even related to much more can the God that created me love me?

I've spent almost 29 years of my life asking "why Abba? Why do you love me? How can you me?"

The idea that God not only loves, but likes me, that He DELIGHTS in me, is such an unnerving thought that I've actually been unable to verbally say it about myself. Those words are painful for me to utter about myself. I can say it in reference to others till I'm blue in the face, but to actually utter "God, delights in me" what almost something I was physically incapable of doing.

And that moment in the car brought such a brilliant vision of clarity that it makes me tear up just thinking about it.

See God says to each of us "Oh, how I wish you knew how much I love you, how much I delight it you, how much I cherish you"

Just like i was saying to Joel. and I (in my real life scenario) am Joel; constantly questioning and unbelieving of the answers. I struggled to be "enough", and have never amounted to "enough" in my own eyes, so how could God? I truly wanted to know "why?"

And in that moment when Joel actually heard me say "I love you, simply for the fact that you......are you" and didn't ask "why?" one more time. My walls of mistrust began to crumble. The cracks began to form in the walls I'd worked so hard to build, and the light of truth began its journey into my heart.

I think God for over 28 years has just been waiting for me to ask why? and for the answer of "simply because you....are you and I delight in You" to be enough for me.

The may be old news to most, but for me, like I said I know that God "loves me" I can tell someone all the amazing, incredible, unique things about them that makes them special and why God delights in them, but never in a million years did I think i would believe that idea for myself.

The small doses of healing over my battered bruised heart have begun to take in the soil of my soul.

Here's the the journey. May we all just sit back and be at peace knowing that we are treasured, whether the life around us, or the people around us, or the suffering around us tells us otherwise.

May we peace. And may we rest.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Grams

I'll just say right now, this post is neither poetic or well written. In fact it is sure to be neither, because I am tired, my heart is heavy, and my soul is hurting.

The past 2 months alone have made me want to pack my bags and move to New Zealand on a permanent vacation (why New Zealand? Heck if I know, but I hear it's incredible). But anyways this past few months I've had to pack up my life and move AGAIN (after only being in my house for 6 months), all while working 30 hours a week, taking 16 credits (class 3 days a week), and completing 2 clinical rotations for class. Then my pops had a heart attack; that scared the beJesus outta me, but he's doing well and for that I am SO grateful. Then my car was totaled after a girl ran into the back of me, leaving me on the hunt for a car for a month and having to "borrow" other people's cars to still work and go to school (thank you Elaina and Mike - I have gracious and giving friends), which a slew of back and neck problems have ensued because of said accident....awesomeness... Then, the grams. My grams suffered a stroke this past Sunday, this to me is devastating.

My grams and I are close, not just grandma to granddaughter close, but the kind of close that most grandkids don't have with the grandparents. My grams and I have a special relationship, the kind where when I see her she says "there's my girl" or "how my girl". She has these particular ways of letting me know she cares and she's thinking about me.

Like from the time I can remember, my grams has always had gum for me, kind of our special little thing (that and gummy bears). But growing up every time I'd see her, I'd ask her for some gum, and EVERYtime, she'd have gum for me, even after I went off to college she would send me packs of gum while I was at school. Everytime she knew I was coming home to visit, she'd have gum, even when I moved to Colorado, if I was coming to Michigan to visit, or if she knew my parents were going to see me.....she'd have gum for me. I'm 28 years old, and to this day.....she still buys gum for me. Or She still tries to make me rice pudding when she can, cause she knows I love that too. Call me cheezy and sentimental, but it means something to me. It means something to me that she not only hopes that I'll call her, but that she makes the effort to call me. It means something to me that she prays for me everyday.

We still talk on the phone, we catch up. If ever I'm back in Michigan, even for the shortest trip.....I won't leave that state until I get to see her. She holds a very near and dear place in my heart, and right now, to not be sitting by her side while she is trying to recover from a very hard pill for me to swallow. To not be able to hug her when I tell her I love her. To not be able to encourage her while she's doing her therapy. To be a smiling face for her to see when her world seems dark and lonely. To not be there to care for her. It's tough. It's really tough, and I hate it.

It's gut wrenching to talk to her on the phone and hear her say in her muffled slurred speech that "I sure wish you were here Rachel....." it makes me weep.

She's not just my grandma, she's my grams. She's mygrams, and right now she's hurting, she's sick, and I want the best for her, whatever that may be.

I'm not really sure why I felt the need to post of this. Maybe it's just to tell you all about how amazing she is. About how I have countless memories of being at my grams and papa's house, spending countless hours with them, how they were like second parents to me. Maybe it's to express that it gives me great pride to know that her kind, generous, joyful, sarcastic, sassy, God-fearing, God-loving, gracious, tenderhearted, stubborn genes flow through my veins. It's part of her that has made me who I am, it's part of the heritage she created, and the family she gave back to the Lord that has molded me, shaped me, made me. It's her example that shaped my momma, who shaped me. She is a piece woven into the fabric of who I am, and for that I am grateful. I'm indebted to her example of being an Christ-like example, of how she showed me how to be a gracious servant, to serve and to serve lovingly.

I am grateful for not only an incredible immediate family but extended family that God has graciously placed me into. A family that sure does know how to have a great time, a family that uses sarcasm as love language (and I LOVE it), a family that has been rooted in the truth and love of Christ, a family that has a love that doesn't know distance or time.

So if you could, say a prayer for my Grams. That God would take care of her.

With her sister, my beloved Aunt Viola

Down on the farm in Illinois, not all were present, but this is a sign of some great heritage

Time to make the cookies

87 and was still bowlin'! Hot dang Betty's still had it!!

Christmas 2008 up at Bronners

CHECK OUT THAT SHINER!! ;o) This is what I love about her, she's so spunky and has such a good sense of humor that she'll pose and "put up her dukes" for me after she had taken a fall

My two wonderful grandma's. Miss you grandma Lake

With her 4 amazing daughters

I love you Grams. My Grams.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seek God, know God, love God....

It’s 10:41 at night. And the sun set with rain and has now given way to a storm. The dawn of the day has ushered in the darkness of the night. The day has transition to one of hot humidity (well as humid as Colorado can get), to the sound the wind in the trees, the steady hush of the rain, the drops I can hear hitting the porch, the power of the thunder that follows the brilliance of a lightening strike. I have been long pondering transitions in life. The transition into parenthood (no I’m not pregnant, nor will I become a mother anytime soon…..that I know of); transitioning from old self to new self, the transition of friendships, the roles of relationships, how I view myself, how I view others, how I view God, how I serve, how I love, how interact with the world around me from day to day. My life is in a state of transition lately, so much is changing, and I knew it was coming because "2010 is my year of change". Not just my hairstyle, or wardrobe, but of God shaping me more into what He longs for me to be than I've ever allowed him to do so before. And with it, has come some really hard changes...the type of change that hurts the heart most....the change of relationships. I have moments of peace and many moments of ache over it....all in all I trust and know that I am doing what God longs for me....but it aches nonetheless. I love the new relationships He has ushered in (they have been a blessing beyond words), but I still miss the comfort and ease of relationship with those that have known me for years. Relationships with people I know and love and have invested, transition just has a way of making the soul ache even when the change is good.

Part of me wishes and wants to believe that transitions begin to fade with age. That, however, as I have reached a mere 28 years of age, is not truth. We are constantly growing, constantly changing, constantly adapting, AND, if we are not….then we are ceasing to exist as God has called us to exist.

Allow me to clarify. The Biblical goal of life is: to seek God, to know God, to love God, to become more like Christ. And we are called to do these things through these commandments: To love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength AND to love our neighbor as you love yourself (Luke 10:27) Now that last one is a bit messy because we as a human race tend to love ourselves poorly and as a result we love our neighbors poorly….true fact, I promise. We think we love ourselves well, because we “look out for #1, we take care of ourselves, we essentially, are selfish. I would like to bring up the point that if we TRULY loved God with our entire beings, we would then love ourselves as God created us to be, and in turn we would love others as though they were precious creatures of God, no matter who they are. Anyways, the last way we are called to seek God, know God, love God, and become more like Christ is this: to follow TRUE religion which is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27)

We are called to love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8)
Onto how this links to transitions. If we really are trying to seek God, know God, love God, and be more like Christ, then we will NEVER stop transitioning. Because until I am on my face before the throne of God with my face bowed to the ground for the sight of him in inconceivable, until I meet my maker….I will not have arrived. I will not, should not, can not stop moving forward in the transition of life. Without growth of life, of self, then we (I believe), are ceasing to seek God, know God, love God, and become more like Christ.
So maybe I’m asking myself: Rachel, WHAT are you doing? HOW are you trying seek God, know God, love God, and become more like Christ?


On another note….I’m leaving Colorado for the first time since Christmas ’09. I leave on a red eye Saturday morning at 1:10 a.m. I arrive in MI at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and leave MI the next day (Sunday) at 4:30 a.m. to travel to West Virginia with a group of great middle school and high schoolers for a week long missions trip and we will be joining up with about 130 other high school and middle schoolers from around the U.S. I get the blessing and privilege to lead the worship for the entire group for the week and I. am. Nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited and can’t wait for the opportunity, but there is a big piece of me that is really nervous. I love love LOVE being a part of worship, of participating in it, in having the opportunity to facilitate and lead part of the body of Christ in a state of worship. But nonetheless….I am nervous.

If you could, please keep us in your prayers:
For safe travels
For cohesiveness amongst the group
For hearts to be soft and open to the Lord and what He longs to show and teach each of us
For me to not get in the way as I lead worship, that it would not be about me, and that there would not be any distractions or hiccups.
For the group to have a fun time
For my body not to give out from exhaustion. ☺

I covet your prayers. I'll hopefully have a chance when I get back to fill y'all in about the trip and share some pics.

love the least.....

Friday, June 11, 2010

living in the "to-day"

I've been having a lot of "is-this-really-my-life" moments lately. Not always in a bad way, not always in a good way.

Like when I'm standing in my bare feet in the grass and my 18-month old nephew (well my surrogate nephew) Joel comes up to me as I'm blowing bubbles and to get my attention he throws his arms in the air, and cries out in the most desperate plea as saying my name like Rocky screaming for Adrian: "NAH-NAAAAAAAH!!!" (yes, that's how he says Rachel, "nah-nah" - I LOVE IT!)

and I reply.... "Yes, Joely?"

and in THE sweetest, most tender, raspy little voice he can muster, he looks at me with a smile on his face, a glint in his eye, and joy in his heart, he utters ...."baaah-bulls....."

"Yeah, Joely, they're bubbles"

WHACK!!!! I've been walloped with a stick like apparatus that Joel now possess as his "this-gets-me-attention club"


"Yes Joely"....


.....he melts my heart


Yeah those are the great "is-this-really-my-life" moments

And then there are the other "is-this-really-my-life" moments; when time keeps ticking and life keeps moving, and the mundane, in and out, gotta-do-what-you-gotta-do days occur, and when 3 a.m. chimes and I'm still lying in bed awake wondering about the nature of life, the way the world works, the wounds we all receive, and the way we try to work around the abyss they create in our souls. I lie there praying, aching, and loving over those that I hold dear in my feeble heart.

I wonder, "will it always be like this", and then I have a moment of hope knowing "no, it won't". It won't always be like this. Someday I'll know fullness in every extent of the word. Fullness of life, of love, of joy, of peace, of patience, of kindness, of goodness......someday. And then I long for the "some-day" instead of living the "to-day".

And when I do that, when I long for the "some-day" instead of living in the "to-day", I can miss the "THIS-is-really-my-life" moments, when Judah (my other nephew), out of the blue says "Auntie Way-chel......I love you".....yeah, it really does melt my heart.

Those moments, when I remember not to get caught up in the enemy of my own thinking and the waywardness of my own complicated soul, they help me love deeper, wider, higher. They help me know, understand, taste the sweetness of God's love and presence in the right here....right now. And when I live in the right here and right now, I begin to get a glimpse, a feel, a touch, a taste of the fullness of "someday".

Tomorrow I will do some of the gotta-do-what-you-gotta-do stuff, but then I will celebrate with friends, have some great times with some other great friends, and then I will lay my head on my pillow....and rest.

So here's to living in the right here right now of "to-day", instead of the longing of "some-day". For if we live in the right here right now "today" the "someday" will be present, and will be, so, very, good.

These are some of the people and that help make my life great

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm adding some "maybes" to Summa to do list

1) Play in a sprinkler (Hopefully with some really fun kiddos!) ---(CHECK!)
2) lay out amongst the stars on a lawn with a blanket
3) Go camping ---(CHECK!)
4) Snuggle a baby ---(CHECK!)
5) Eat ice cream at several locally own ice cream shops (this will be done NUMEROUS times)
6) Eat summer fruit until my belly hurts ---(CHECK!)
7) Celebrate the marriage of friends ---(CHECK!)
8) take a late night walk
9) Enjoy great conversation over some hooka and a good drink ---(CHECK!)
10) Fill my tummy with homemade strawberry shortcake
11) Participate in a sprint triathlon
12) Go on a missions trip
13) have a late night jam session
14) walk in the grass in bare feet ---(CHECK!)
15) enjoy a picnic ---(CHECK!)
16) blow bubbles ---(CHECK!)
17) give plenty of kisses to kiddos I love and hugs to all my friends I love dearly (I can never do enough of this to check it off!)
18) Read 2 books
19) Go see the new Twilight ;o)
20) Embrace the beauty, mystery, and quirks that

21) go to zoo ---(CHECK!)
22) Summer BBQ's ---(CHECK!)
23) lose 15 libbys
24) Lunch date(s) with dear friend(s)
25) Celebrate the birth of the amazing Hudson Van de Casteele
26) Turn 28 (not really looking forward to this, but it'll be checked regardless if I "want" to or not haha) ---(CHECK!)
27) Hike, hike, hike!
28) Jog Jack Quinns on Tuesday night(s)
29) Give my grams a squeeze - this may or may not be possible because I may not being going to MI anytime this summer :o(
30) Take each of my (surrogate) niece (Brooklyn), and nephews (Judah and Joel) out on a "date"
31) Laugh until I cry and my stomach hurts ---(CHECK!)
32) Soak up the sun ---(CHECK!)
33) Drink in each day
34) Dry some of my clothes on the clothes line ---(CHECK!)
35) Give more, spend less
36) Go Mountain Biking
37) See a concert at Red Rocks

These are "maybe's" but definite "I want to do's"
38) Sky Diving
39) White water rafting

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summa, summa, summa....sum-ma time!!!!...take dos!

I've added to my list and have "checked" off the ones I've done (however that does not mean I won't do them a bajillion more times this summer)

1) Play in a sprinkler (Hopefully with some really fun kiddos!) ---(CHECK!)
2) lay out amongst the stars on a lawn with a blanket
3) Go camping
4) Snuggle a baby
5) Eat ice cream at several locally own ice cream shops (this will be done NUMEROUS times)
6) Eat summer fruit until my belly hurts
7) Celebrate the marriage of friends
8) take a late night walk
9) Enjoy great conversation over some hooka and a good drink ---(CHECK!)
10) Fill my tummy with homemade strawberry shortcake
11) Participate in a sprint triathlon
12) Go on a missions trip
13) have a late night jam session
14) walk in the grass in bare feet ---(CHECK!)
15) enjoy a picnic ---(CHECK!)
16) blow bubbles ---(CHECK!)
17) give plenty of kisses to kiddos I love and hugs to all my friends I love dearly (I can never do enough of this to check it off!)
18) Read 2 books
19) Go see the new Twilight ;o)
20) Embrace the beauty, mystery, and quirks that

21) go to zoo ---(CHECK!)
22) Summer BBQ's ---(CHECK!)
23) lose 15 libbys
24) Lunch date with dear friend(s)
25) Celebrate the birth of the amazing Hudson Van de Casteele
26) Turn 28 (not really looking forward to this, but it'll be checked regardless if I "want" to or not haha)
27) Hike, hike, hike!
28) Jog Jack Quinns on Tuesday night(s)
29) Give my grams a squeeze - this may or may not be possible because I may not being going to MI anytime this summer :o(
30) Take each of my (surrogate) niece (Brooklyn), and nephews (Judah and Joel) out on a "date"
31) Laugh until I cry and my stomach hurts
32) Soak up the sun
33) Drink in each day
34) Dry some of my clothes on the clothes line
35) Give more, spend less
36) Mountain Bike

more to still come........ :o) I. love. Summer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summa, summa, summa....sum-ma time!!!!

Since I failed miserably and doing the "27 things to do before I turn 28" I'm scraping that list and going smaller scale.

I'm going to make a list of all the fantastical, whimsical, merry summer things to do before October 1st. Some I have already done and shall do again :o)

So drum roll please, and in no particular order:

1) Play in a sprinkler
2) lay out amongst the stars on a lawn with a blanket
3) Go camping
4) Snuggle a baby
5) Eat ice cream at several locally own ice cream shops (this will be done NUMEROUS times)
6) Eat summer fruit until my belly hurts
7) Celebrate the marriage of friends
8) take a late night walk
9) Enjoy great conversation over some hooka and a good drink
10) Fill my tummy with homemade strawberry shortcake
11) Participate in a sprint triathlon
12) Go on a missions trip
13) have a late night jam session
14) walk in the grass in bare feet
15) enjoy a picnic
16) blow bubbles
17) give plenty of kisses to kiddos I love and hugs to all my friends I love dearly
18) Read 2 books
19) Go see the new Twilight ;o)
20) Embrace the beauty, mystery, and quirks that

.....more to come

Saturday, March 27, 2010

looking for my hopeful heart

I'll apologize now. This post is going to be a little disjointed. I don't really know why I'm apologizing though, I don't think very many people read this in the first place.

I sat tonight on the phone with my mama. And as I sat there, and I listened, and I talked, and I cried, and my heart began to ache. My heart does aches over things.

I think that's part of God bestowing upon me the gift of mercy. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I really hate that my heart aches so much that it feels like it's just going to come apart at the seams like a tattered flag. That has been through so many storms, and been beaten on by the sun, and the wind and the waves so much that it can no longer continue to be....its just going to disintegrate. Yeah, sometimes it feels like my heart is coming apart at the seams.

Abba, what?! What is it that you want? What do you want for my life? What do you want in the life of those that I know that are broken, hurting, and desperate for understanding?

Tonight I sat on the phone and I felt two very distinct, but very separate and different things - a sense of hope and a sense of despair.

Let me further explain:

I desperately ache of certain people in my life that are facing hardships that I can neither explain or understand why they are going through what they are going through. I. Don't. Get. It. My feeble heart can't wrap itself around what God is doing, what He wants, or even what to say to them. So.I pray. I pray, Even when I'm crying and screaming and aching for them - I am praying. Praying for understanding. Praying for an understanding of what God's will is. Praying that God, in the midst of the very dark storm and this very dark season of life, is protecting them from allowing satan to plant the seed of bitterness and despair in their hearts. I pray that God would be gracious, and will give them a taste of hope, that He will soften their hearts and in turn reveal what His will is for them - because none of us understand.

And then the line from this song
: "Break down our pride and all the walls we’ve built up inside
Our earthly crowns and all our desires, we lay at Your feet". And then this is the chorus that follows:
Let hope rise and darkness tremble
In Your holy light, that every eye will see
Jesus our God, great and mighty to be praised

It's so humbling to me as I listen to this song the idea: to truly lay down what I desire and ask God to give me the strength to pick up His desires and that in the midst of my anguish, of even their anguish, to sing "let hope arise and darkness tremble...that Jesus our God, great and might to be praised".

That is such a tough pill to swallow. It's the pill. It's the blue pill.

I say that because I feel as though God has brought me to a place of wholeness. And in that wholeness He has brought a sense of peace. A peace and contentment that I cannot describe in pretty and perfect words wrapped up in bows, only to merely say that I feel that I can on my worst day look up into heaven and say "Abba, I do not like what You are allowing to happen, in fact, I don't really like You, and in reality I am so angry because I can't fathom what You're doing, but I choose You. I choose You. Even if my life shall be met with disappointment and heartache (which it will, let's be honest), I will choose You.

Let's think about this: Not only has God chosen us, but we must in turn....choose Him. And to choose Him is the blue pill.

To sing his praises with a tear stained face, and a heart full of doubt and misunderstanding

For those that know me really well, they know that this statement is not an easy one for me- the idea of choosing God, even on my hardest day, because 6 months ago....I didn't choose Him. It's not that I couldn't, it's that I wouldn't.

So as sat there on the phone I stared at this picture on my wall:

It's as if the dawn so desperately wants to break through and seep through the cracks of our broken hearts. Embarking on the horizon of a better day still to come. Embarking on a dawn of hope.

So even in the midst of my tears, my despair, I hold fast to the hope that God is bigger. That God not only weeps over me and over them, but with them. I hold fast to the idea that God is weeping with us like He did with Mary when Lazarus died. He wept not because He was unaware that He would raise Lazurus from the dead, but because those he loved were hurting, because His heart ached with theirs. God knows what He's doing and so tonight I pray:

Abba, make it evident to us that you are weeping with us. May the dawn of a new day bring hope. And give us the strength, the mercy, the grace, and the courage to choose You. Give us beauty for ashes, garments of praise for our heaviness. May the tears we've sown in pain, reap our joy again. amen.

(I hold fast to hope of a God who is big enough to create this):

You're beautiful Alice. God knit you together perfectly, all 8 lbs 12 oz of you. Welcome to the world. I love you and I've been waiting a long time to meet you, and it was worth every minute. Love, Your K-Auntie (Kgroup auntie) Rachel

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learnin' from and keepin' the old and in with the new

It's nearly 1 a.m. I have to be awake again in 5 1/2 short hours, and yet I don't want to lay my head on my pillow yet.

I have been rather overwhelmed and overcome at the loss and the gain of relationships in my life recently.

I sit back and ponder the beauty of the ugly that speckles our existence through our relationships.

If I could take an actual look at my soul I'd see so many beautiful scars from wounds that have healed over the years. I'd see the finger prints of those I have boldly, and not so boldly let into my heart to come and make their mark of their existence in my life. I can see the track marks of those I have loved and whom I've allowed to love me......God, it's so beautiful.

I think so often we push out the old relationships to bring in the new, when it's so unnecessary. don't get me wrong, I think there are only so many people that should truly know the depth of your heart and soul...that's something that isn't meant to be given away easily. But we seem to think that there is only so much room to love so many people. <------------false.

All I want is for my heart to grow bigger, so it can love bigger, and know more love.

I've lost a key friendship in my life recently, and I won't lie. That sucks. It sucks bad. But I have hope and faith that with a dose of space, a dab of healing, a dash of forgiveness, a bit of grace and baked for some time......a beautiful friendship may come around again.

I feel like my heart has opened again. I had closed it off for so long. But there is SO much more in life meant to be lived.

I had a good talk with a friend last night about how "there's got to be something more". We get to feeling so suffocated by where we are in life. We begin to feel like "this is it...." But is it?! It this really it?!

No way! I mean who says we have to give up on the passions God has instilled in our souls? What is it about time, age, and life situations that chain us to "reality". Where and when did God say....stop dreaming, this is all you get?! I mean don't get me wrong, life gets in the way, but what if in the midst of our reality we made our really big dreams come true? We never know the possibilities if we don't test our limits and our current situations.

What if we just chose to live big? What if we chose to wake up truly alive, get ready and boldly face the day, to live the "everyday" with greatness and reaching for the dreams and beautifully horrifying things that everyone says "that time has passed", to spend my time with those I love with passion and fervor, to live my everyday as though it was the last great day?

Wouldn't it be great?!?! Man it would be. It would be ideal. And I'll probably walk away after posting this and be bothered because I don't live my life this way....but what if?

What if I tried to? What if everyday I read this:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

And in turn, as I grab my keys, pet my pup molly on the head, and walk out my front door and greet the day with an open heart......

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I want to drink it up!

This past week I get glimpses of "it", I smell it, I feel it all around me, I taste in the air, its warmth envelopes me, it's breeze surrounds me, I see it with my feeble brown eyes, and hear it with my sensitive little ears. Its like music. Music you can touch, taste, see, feel, smell, hear. It's beautiful, and it is spring, and its coming!

My life has not only felt cluttered, but actually been cluttered. Cluttered by work, going back to school, the mundane tasks that fill life, by overly committing myself, by the emotional and spiritual battles that rage within my soul. I look around and I see my life whirling around me like someone has thrown a ream of paper into a tornado. and it'

And then in the midst of winter grey and cold comes this little bird of hope called spring. She just appeared this past week and like I's like music to me. The sun feels warmer, the air smells like life is trying to spring up from earth, it tastes so sweet I want to pour myself a glass and drink it up! I want to envelope myself in its very essence and breath so deep that my lungs burst because they cannot contain the sheer magnitude of the delight of spring.

Maybe it feel so powerful to me because its feel so symbolic. Symbolic of where my head and my heart are at. A heart that has felt such sorrow that tastes bitter and chalky like soot on my tongue. A heart that has tasted that and the seeds sown in my wounds are springing for through the earth like tulips in the spring.

I felt overwhelmed by it today, and the day before that....and the day before that. This past week I took my dog molly to Palmer Park here in the springs, and we ran. We ran until our lungs felt like they'd burst through our chests. We bounded through the trails like gazelles (and nearly took a couple of spills too!). We stop and breathed deep and took in the majesty of the mountain sky line as the sun was setting. And there along the trail as I slowed my pace to a standstill at one point to take it all in.....hopped a little robin. The first one I've seen this spring. I won't lie....I nearly cried....and I....have no....idea....why.

I want to take this life and gather it. Gather it into nice pools of crisp fresh water and then pour myself a glass. I want to offer up a toast "to spring". The "spring" of the soul. May life abound and push through the ashen dirt of souls and sprout something beautiful.

amen. the least

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I felt for some reason today (for reasons that will make no sense if I try to explain it because my mind runs in rabbit trails all the time, and things correlate that shouldn't correlate and find connections that shouldn't have connections) that I needed to look up in some book of the Bible the verses 33:3 so I went to the 2 books of the Bible that I was certain had 33 chapters and went from there.

Isaiah 33:2-3
"O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. At the thunder of your voice, the people's flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter."

Psalm 33:1-8a
"Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true' he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. he gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord...."

Its interesting to me. The Bible is God's word, it's God breathed, it is truth. And yet....sometimes I sit and read this truth, I look it dead in the eye and say...."I don't know if I believe you", or just blatantly say "I don't, I really don't believe you"

I'd had hopes that 2010 would be a much better year than 2009. It still holds the ability to be so, but right now. It does not. Right now it has put such a bitter taste on my tongue and such angst in my heart that sometimes I'm not sure I want to try and stand underneath the weight of it.

I've watched, listened, and stood alongside many in the 36 days of 2010 who have and are deeply grieving, aching, and trying to withstand what this world is handing to them by bucket load. And my heart weeps.

And then, God reminds me at 1:20 a.m. as I'm getting in to bed, that I need to look up some random verse...."go on" He said, open it up.

And the TRUTH tells me.....:

That we should continue to ask God to be gracious to us
That God is our strength EVERY morning and our salvation in times of distress.

Salvation- That's a term that I didn't fully understand in this terms of this text. so I looked up the different meanings of it (thank you Dictionary on the iPhone)<-----shameless plug, sorry.

Anyways, I have always thought of salvation as the act that saves me from sin, from evil. BUT it can also mean "saving someone or something from harm or from an unpleasant situation". BINGO! that's the term of salvation I needed to hear.

So what is it Abba? What do we need to ask for you to be our salvation as I even type these words, today, right here, right now. Because I look around Abba, and I see distress........

The other truth told to me tonight:
that the earth is FULL of his unfailing love
and that I should sing to him a NEW song.

Abba, what is it that we are missing? Because the song is missing from our souls. Through the fog we fail to see the unfailing love that the world is FULL of.

In the dark night we find ourselves in Abba.....what song shall we sing?

Abba, I pray that tonight though, that YOU would be our salvation in our distress, that YOU would be gracious to us. Help us to see, to taste, to touch, to hear, to feel, to know, to believe, that your UNFAILING love is all around us, and in that Abba, even in the dark, may we sing a NEW song.

Give us our song....for we ache to hear the melody in the chorus of your presence.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My mama is awesome

My mama recently did a semi-surprise sewing project for one of my nearest and dearest friends, Mel.

Check out her work, my friend Mel blogged about it.

It makes me smile. I'm so proud that she's my mama.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sometimes its just better if you have nothing to say....

For a week now I have been dreading that tomorrow would come. Not just any tomorrow, but tomorrow in particular. Tuesday January 26, 2010. But I've only been dreading this day for a week, I don't usually go about fearing for days to come.

But tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 10 a.m. I will be attending a funeral. A funeral for an 18 month old little girl. Tomorrow her parents will see her for the last time and lay your tiny body in the ground. Even typing those words sends an ache through my being. I can't even imagine this type of ache as my own.

Grief is such a paradox. We yearn for people to understand how we feel, and yet, its infuriating and it stings when someone tries to give a comparison. They turn the situation on to themselves, because it's more comfortable, its easier. It is the consistency in human nature that we feel the need to say to someone who is grieving "I understand what you're going through". Do you? Do you really? Can you fully taste the bitterness of what that my grief tastes like?!

Why are we incapable of just sitting, of embracing the silence, of embracing the ache. Why can't we just wrap our arms around someone and say, "I'm so sorry, there are no words...but I'm sorry."

Why do we feel the need to give stories that have no good comparison? Why do we feel the need to fill the silence? To muddle the ache with frivolous words and insensitive phrases.

My pastor said it perfectly that we "over estimate our words, and underestimate our presence."

when we grieve, when our souls ache the most, when we feel the most broken, all we really want is someone to embrace us, to hold us close. To let us scream, and cry, and beat our fists into the ground, and to say nothing, except....I'm sorry.

So tomorrow I pray that I will have the grace to do just that. To let Shelby's parents grieve how they need to, and that I will have less words to say and more presence to give.

So if you happen to read this, please pray for her parents. Their ache I cannot fathom, no parent should have to bury their child.

May God be gracious to us....and make His ways known. And for that which we cannot know, may we be at peace to let it be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

God is bigger than......

No, I'm not quoting cheesy lyrics to a worship song.

I'm trying to remind myself that God is actually big than _______________

Here is where I fill in the following:
- the death today of an 18 month old little girl I know and have been working with
- Stage 4 liver cancer in a 2 year old boy I work with
- a missing husband and father of 2 adopted boys I know
- the cancer invading the body of a 2 1/2 year old little girl
- Earthquakes wrecking havoc over a 3rd world country leaving millions who had nothing to start with, with even less

God....Abba....what is going on?

You're bigger than ALL of this, but right now, in my finite world.....You seem so small with me.

I mean no irreverence, honest. But what Abba is going on?

You can calm the storms of raging seas, you can move mountains, I've seen you remove cancer from someone's body, I've witnessed you saving a soul, you breath life into every living being, you conquered your own death......

It's all so fragile. All of it. Every moment. When I wake up and leave my house and get in my car. God, you could snatch the life right from my lungs.

God, you're bigger than this. You're bigger than me, bigger than cancer, bigger than earthquakes, you're bigger than life, you're bigger than.....death. I just wish I could feel and believe that right now.

Abba....I do my unbelief.

Tonight I will choose to be grateful for life. I choose to be grateful that rescue workers are still looking for David amongst the ruins of Hotel Montana because there are still signs of life.

Abba tonight I pray that you will perform a miracle and save David. I pray you will remove the cancer from Hezekiah and Eleanor's body.

And tonight I pray Abba that you would break my heart for what breaks yours, and stir me on towards passions of You. My hands are feeble and frail, but with You, they can do much. the least

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I've been listening to a particular song on repeat lately simply for one line and is used at the climax of the song, and its so powerful that it's literally brought me to my knees at one point.

"...You have a way of turning winter to spring....make something beautiful of all this suffering....."

I want to first say that there are many suffering far greater than I am, but I will admit, its hard not to get stuck in your own stuff.

I become overwhelmed, overcome, and my human weaknesses and satan take hold of what little faith my body possesses and I break. I begin to make a list, a tally sheet of sorts in my mind, of all the ways I feel like God is smiting me. And then I just begin to feel like....well just get it over with God! I may not be Job, and I'm not sitting in ashes scraping sores with broken pottery, but by golly....I've had ENOUGH! ENOUGH ALREADY!! Enough....please.

And then....God reminds me that He has the capability of turning winter to spring. Of making some beautiful....out of all this suffering....

Again, I know there are many suffering greater hurts than my own, I'm not trivializing them....I recognize this, in fact quite often, and I'm not kidding, I get angry and God for you, because you're suffering. But in the midst of each of us we reach this dark place at times. And maybe its just me. But it's the chasm that lies within my chest. the place where i let my faith fail, logic has no hold, and life loses hope.

What an ugly place to lay. What desperate place to lay your head on your pillow at night.

Winter is different for everyone. The time, the depth, the cold, the desperation, the darkness. It varies for each person. I hope to be able to blog sooner rather than later from this point about being in my "spring". To look back and say....God can, God does, God will..... Now if I could just convince and say those things right NOW. I'm sure that's what God is looking for, but i think I'm just too stubborn to say it...then again, maybe this has gone on long enough and I AM ready....maybe.

Because whatever "this" is that clinging itself on the edges of abyss in my chest....needs to flee from my being.

I read a passage once by Henri Nouwen about "working around the abyss" work around it I shall. The abyss is my woundedness, and working around it, is God soothing the ache and healing the soul. Cause this chasm isn't supposed to be there - God said so. He came so that I, you, me, all of us may have life, and have it to the fill the abyss, the chasm. Now....if I would just LET him.

So today although the chasm is there. I will be grateful for the following:

1) An amazing family, sometimes when I think about them, my eyes start welling up with tears....yeah. its true

2) Amazing friends, who are family to me.

3) A semi-warm house and bed to sleep in (semi because we keep it between 55-60 degrees due to the gas bill hahaha) the least

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why going to a community college ridiculous

(Just a forwarning...this blog is said in jest, I'm laughing just thinking about all of the following)

I have discovered several reasons why I hate going to a community college, in particular Pueblo Community College. they are listed below:

1) Your website blows! When I already college graduate, can't even find the Spring 2010 class schedule....there is something wrong.

2) The fact that in the fall when I tried to register....your system sucks so bad that I had to actually drive a total of 2.5 hours to actually MEET with someone so THEY could register me. your "high tech" system of registration wouldn't let me do it like a big girl. We're in the 21st century....time to update!!!

3) Its amusing when the professors forget that they are neither a Harvard graduate nor are they teaching at Harvard....bring down the intensity a few notches.

4) The level of "quality equipment" is lacking..... especially when it's being held together by duct tape or looks like its circa 1970 something.....

5) The lack of committed college students is lacking and you can clearly point out the ones that "don't care" and are there on MY dime...through the taxes I pay and they don't....ick.

I think that's it for today....all done.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bring in the new....


2009 is dead and gone in my book, and thank ya Jesus for that.

Needless to say, I'm sure you've picked up on the fact that I didn't enjoy 2009 and I have been ready for it to be over for quite some time now.

2009 decided to hold a lot of heartaches and hurdles and all the things in life that just make your soul ache....

With that said, I'd rather this not be a COMPLETELY depressing blog, especially since I haven't blogged in ages.

So here are some highlights from my year:

1) Friends....I love my friends, especially the girls in my kgroup. They are my family here in Colorado. They have loved and supported me, even when I've been at my ugliest....thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

2) Starting school again....this has been exciting for me because I love to learn, but it has made my life extremely full, and mostly stressful. 14 credits + working 40+ hours a week + too many other social commitments= a very stressed Rachel. But I do enjoy learning again. I've missed it, and it's brought along some fun friends in my program.

3) I already mentioned friends, but I need to make particular note of one set, because I met them in 2009. a little over 2 months in to 2009 brought along Mel & Ben. They joined our small group in February and haven't been able to stay away since :o). For these two, especially for my friendship with Mel I am very grateful. She's been a very unexpected blessing in my life. Thanks're truly great. You and Ben will be incredible parents... you really will. I can't wait to meet Alice!

4) In these uncertain times, I am very grateful that I have a job that not only pays my bills, but that I enjoy.

I'm ready to move on past the ache of 2009.

I've recently begun a process of healing over things in my life and in my past that I was pretty sure I'd already healed from, and if I hadn't, then I'd managed to bury it deep enough that I could try to forget it.

But like most wounds that don't heal properly (or at all)....they make us sick. The infect us from the inside out....and I discovered that my insides were so sick that it was showing on the outside - and lordy be it was oogly.

I'm finally ready to start healing, and to stop living my life out of woundedness. In this process a lot has already begun to change, and that....can really suck. It's human nature to hate change, especially when it comes to relationships. But I'm having to close the door to things so one day....I can be whole. Something I can say I don't think I have ever been.

So I hope and pray for each of you that read this blog, and even those that don't, that 2010 will bring hope, blessings, and joy. That each of you may find healing from your wounds instead of burying them deep in your soul.

I'm ready to start believing that God can and will do and be who He says He is. So here's the 2010. May it be a year of great changes (no matter how difficult they may be), and may you taste the goodness of a great God.