Wednesday, October 1


Yesterday was rough.
As in, crying off and on throughout the day.
Pretty much every time I talked to someone, the ever-near tears came streaming down my face.

I live at Oasis...a restoration facility for boys with behavioral or drug related issues. This means, the requirement to coming to Oasis is that you have a problem. You have some kind of brokenness in your past whether at the hands of others or by your own choices or, as in most cases, both.

Yesterday, probably due to some exhaustion and some stress, I lost it. I was talking to my friends/coworkers, who live out there full time, about a particular situation which led them to sharing about the boys with whom we live. Sharing some of the scars and baggage and brokenness that they bring to Oasis, along with their own anger-issues or drug-addictions. Most of these boys have experienced abuse whether sexually or physically by the very adults who should have protected and nurtured them.

The greatest issue I have at Oasis is learning how to show love with boundaries. I have learned (am learning) that when I naturally and purely want to give hugs or kisses to the boys, that very often, they, in their brokenness, do not know how to receive that love without sexualizing it. An hug or kiss from me can lead to them believing lies or fantasies about "us."

I was overwhelmed by this yesterday. This boys are so broken that they cannot receive or understand natural motherly, unconditional love. And yes, some of it is from consequences of their own actions, but a lot of it has to do with homes in which they lived and the broken parents that raised them. For them, I grieved. And grieved. I could not stop the tears. How can I, who has no understanding of this kind of life, who had a safe Christ-fearing godly-parents home, be a blessing to these boys who can't comprehend what a pure hug means due to their brokenness? What can I possibly say to them? How does God desire to use me in this ministry when I feel so inadequate?

I was reminded that God may want to use me in their lives to teach them what a healthy family looks like, what a healthy person looks like...without the baggage, without the give them hope and a vision for personal change and how their own family could look one day in the future. Broken people do not need to beget broken people. The cycles of pain that was "normal" in their home, at the hands of their parents or guardians, doesn't need to be the cycle in their home, with their kids. They can be the one who can change and they can be the one who loves well, with the healing power of Jesus! And I can be an image of this. A word of encouragement. A hope aspired. I can show them real love...not manipulative abusive love...but unconditional Christ-powered love. Yes, with boundaries, but I can still show love. He who is mighty is able to heal and restore the broken-hearted and for this season of our lives, I get to be a part of their healing.

After a sound sleep, this morning, at breakfast, I announced to the boys that I had good news for them. When I had their attention, I said, "The mercies of God are new every morning and His love never has an end." I needed to hear that. They needed to hear that. I'll start with this promise and trust God to continue teaching and using me in the days that follow in the lives of these beloved boys.

Thursday, May 15

Another birthday, new year!

I found myself not looking forward to this birthday because it's a mile-marker that I'm not quite ready to be at, as a single woman. Even thinking about it still makes me want to breathe a deep sigh.

But ready or not, the birthday came and went and as for celebration, I had a great was relaxing and fun, with good conversation, good food, and a good friend!

However, despite my lack of enthusiasm at yet another year added to my age, I found myself thinking about what I wish for my life in the year ahead and came up with the following list:
  • I wish to become more like Ruth (Bible figure), which means loving and serving others more, walking with humility and having faith that God is in control and will work everything out, even when all odds may suggest otherwise.
  • I wish to be a positive influence in the lives of the Oasis boys, which could include helping lead a boy into a relationship with Christ or speaking Truth into their lives, but ultimately providing hope and love that allows for the healing they need.
  • I wish to learn more Spanish and to be able to speak more confidently and clearly.
  • I would love to go on a date and be excited about the possibility of dating a man of God. (I've downgraded this wish over the years from "marriage and childen" to "a date." :) But please don't tell the Mexican pastors about this or they will excitedly ramp up all efforts, which would scare me!)
  • I desire to practice more self-discipline and self-control. I once read a quote, that has stayed with me, that said "I am not a man controlled by my urges." I was immediately convicted by that thinking over how many times I allow my urges (sweets, things, etc) to control what I do. The areas I specifically want to focus on is time with the Lord (both daily and Sabbath) and monitoring food choices (less sugar, carbs, fat).
This is my heart for the year ahead. I'm confident there will be times of success and times of failure. But hopefully, and prayerfully, the year ahead will culminate with me knowing and loving the Lord Jesus more. If not, then everything else is for naught.

Friday, March 14


My sister asked me what was my favorite/most-impacting lesson from Colorado. Then when I finished sharing about conflict, she asked about the next favorite.

Near the beginning of our time there, in the midst of our language learning weeks, we were given these wonderful short devotional-like lessons on adjustments to different cultures. One such lesson required a male volunteer who was bequeathed the name "Mr. Feelings." Mr. Feelings represents my feelings. Pretty simple.

Pretty soon one elastic colorful band was put around his waist, with two people holding onto it, on each side of him. They were instructed to pull the elastic band tight. This band represents expectations versus reality. At times our expectations may be greater than reality and therefore when reality is different than our expectations...TWANG...the elastic band snaps against our feelings.

But that isn't all. Another elastic band was placed around Mr. Feelings' waist, this one representing the paradox "Yay duck" and "Yuck duck," which as mentioned before, represents how in any situation we can and will have moments where we like one thing but dislike another thing. At times, it may be more Yuck than Yay...but even then, it's okay. It's good to acknowledge those feelings while they are present. But the Yuck-duck-moments still produce that TWANG...and your feelings are impacted.

Before Mr. Feelings could react a third elastic band was put around his waist. This time, it reflected wanting change or not wanting change. Naturally this comes through our desires and is connected to our feelings. TWANG goes the rope any time something comes your way that you don't want. TWANG goes the rope any time something you do want doesn't work out according to your expectations.

The last elastic band was placed around him, making the circle of volunteers, holding the bands around of Mr. Feelings, complete. This final band signifies other people's expectations on us, whether it is members of our families, friends, church, supporters, those we are ministering to, etc....As we fail to meet someone's expectations...TWANG! TWANG! And our feelings can be bruised from the repercussions of that!

These TWANGS happen naturally, whether overseas or at home. So how do we handle these TWANGS?  Well, we need to recognize that they are there...ignoring doesn't help. Then understand what you are feeling, and where there are core issues, work those out, if possible. They can be worked out through prayer, talking with friends, or readjusting our own viewpoints. Regardless, God is there to help...the Creator of our feelings!

Sunday, March 2

Not just a little

Don't you love it when God sends a reoccurring theme your way?

Today at church the message was from John 15:1-17...the whole "I am the true vine" passage. But the verse that stood out to me is verse 7:
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you."

And then I did a Bible Study lesson which referenced Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the widow who goes persistently before a judge until he complies with her request.

Plus a verse I have been mentally chewing on for some time is Ephesians 3:20:
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."

Bottom line: God loves to give and not just a little. He loves to give big! He loves to bless His children.

Before you get frustrated, I know that there is always the question that if God loves to give and promises to give, then why hasn't He answered my heart's cry? Honestly, I don't know...I'm not God. But I have to assume that even if it doesn't seem that He is working, I can have faith that He is! I can also have faith that He loves to hear my requests and will answer each one, in His good time, according to His good plan!

So I've decided to enter a season of committing to ask big. I'm going to ask for miraculous healings, which my eyes have never yet witnessed. I'm going to ask for spouses (one for me and for a few of my friends). I'm going to pray for salvation, and finances, and jobs, and whatever else may seem hard or "impossible" because I know my God is able.

Saturday, March 1


For every situation there can be two points of view. Two sets of emotions.

I'm currently in Colorado going through a set of training. I am so grateful that I'm here. I'm learning a lot and I'm meeting many great folks. But it has also been tiring and emotional.

When I was in Mexico, there were days I loved what I was doing and where I was, and there were other days when I wanted to drive home to Washington.

Two thoughts. Two feelings. Both occasionally present at the same time. Paradox.

At this training, they have shared that paradox is normal. They used two rubber ducks (a pair of ducks...pair-a-duc...paradox, get it??). One duck was nice and shiny with a friendly happy face. This was the "yay duck!" Then there was the duck that had seen better days. It was messy and worn...this was the "yuck duck!"

We were encouraged to understand that wherever we go there will be good times (yay duck!) and bad times (yuck duck!). And both are okay. Moreover, whether it's a feeling or experience, it's good to validate both the highs and lows as they are a very real part of our experience.

And in that, there's grace. For yourself and for each other.