Under Construction

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Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

We are his workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

 

I have officially reached the halfway mark of my mission. Gosh, where has the time gone? Feels like I just got here.

Regardless of how many people have or have not listened to our message, the reality of my service is that a huge transformation is taking place – and that change is within me.

Caution: Under Construction
At some point in service, every missionary hits the hard hat zone. In the last few weeks, I’ve hit mine. This is when you find the Lord beginning demolition so he can rebuild you. Funny, before his ministry, Jesus was a carpenter, and he seems to be continuing his trade (this time on my heart). Continue reading

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Rise Up

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“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in Rising up every time we fail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Sometimes in life, soul is called to Rise even if it’s alone, leave all behind and Rise anyway!”
Coletha Albert

“Your life is yours alone. Rise up and live it.”
Terry Goodkind

Listen, I’m all for decompressing and relaxing, and mental health days.  I believe Italy has it right with taking 2-hour Pranzos in the middle of every day for food and family.  And, for heaven’s sake, a 4-day work week would do wonders for the collective human spirit, and therefore healthcare.

But this humble pep-post isn’t about kicking back or taking it easy.  No. This is about another form of well being:  Giving it your all. Continue reading

The Lord is Pleased

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“When you find your path,
you must not be afraid.
You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses
to show us the way.”
― Paulo Coelho

“Have no fear of perfection –
you will never reach it.”
― Salvador Dali

I have been keeping up with some of my missionary friends since being home from my mission. One in the field told me they were feeling down because they thought they weren’t doing enough to talk to people and that they were failures because of this. Hearing this, I dusted off my soapbox and gave my two cents on the matter. I thought the advice was equally important for those who aren’t missionaries to hear as well. So here we go –

Continue reading

Peace, Be Still

Master, the Tempest is Raging by Walter Rane

Master, the Tempest is Raging  by Walter Rane

“Fearful heart – Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance…and save you.”
Isaiah 35:4

“He who commands the sea
has command of everything.”
-Cicero

Hello, my name is Julie.  I am a recovering worry-aholic.

I worry about health, finances, the future, and about my kids’ safety.  I worry about computer crashes, brain glitches, and what people think of me.  The older I get, seems each season brings fresh reasons for fear.  Ugh.

Now, the other half of me isn’t quite as unravelled.  On the flip-side I am confident, composed, enthusiastic, and faithful.  This is the side everyone sees. Yet, more often than I’d like to admit, clouds of worry billow in, getting the best of me.  And I am fearful.

Can a person be full of faith and full of fear at the same time?  In my humble opinion – Yes.

The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith.  Fear comes to everyone.  Even Jesus was scared (Mark 14:33-35).  And it feels horrible.  Fear puts gray in your day, sucks the life out of you, and robs you of contentment.

But what if you could change that?  What if faith – not fear – was your knee-jerk reaction to troubles?  How would that be?  Being stress-less.  Imagine – a day, a week, or a month with absolutely NO fear. Continue reading

Eclipse

While we look not at the things
which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen
are temporal;
but the things which are not seen
are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

“I believe in God like I believe in the sun,
not because I see it, but because of it –
all things are seen.”
C.S. Lewis

A few weeks ago we experienced one of nature’s spectacles that was best seen here on the west coast of the United States: a solar eclipse.

What causes an eclipse?  Good question.  A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves directly in front of the sun, blocking its light and casting a shadow on earth’s surface.

It’s really quite a phenomenon when you consider the fact that the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, and 400 times further away from the earth than the moon.  Yet, when the moon sneaks its way in front of the sun with such perfect symmetry, both solar bodies appear to be the same size.  Amazing.

And, just a few Thursdays ago, the moon made a partial sweep across the planet, turning the sun into a crescent (a partial eclipse) and leaving strange shadows in what normally would have been the brightest hours of the day.  In rarer cases of a total eclipse, the sun vanishes into a mere halo of light, casting darkness below.

It’s no wonder that the word eclipse comes from ancient Greek and translates as “I vanish.”

Has some light in your world recently vanished? Continue reading

Thorn in the Flesh

ThornsMy daughter Ashley wrote me wanting advice for some sister missionaries suffering from depression. Here is part of her letter about one sister:

Mom,
[This sister] has been very frank with me about her struggles with depression. Says it’s a family thing – something to do with neuron transmitters or something. I need advice on how to help her.

She has a hard time with feelings that she is not good enough, not doing enough, not lovable enough, or is not perfect enough to be saved. We’ve had some good talks. Most of the things I say she already knows anyway, but it’s something that has to sink in to her heart, you know.

It will probably take time. We all have trials, but she just happens to be one of those people that Satan works on in a certain way. But she really is a very good kindhearted person. I just need to figure out ways to make her happy, I guess. Which is hard to tell because even when depression sets in, she still smiles…she tries to hide it all away.  Got any words of wisdom?  I’d appreciate it.
Love you, Ashley

For all the it’s worth, here’s My Letter of Advice
Ashley,
About this dear sister.  You cannot cure her of melancholy, no matter how many nice things you say.  If this is a chemical imbalance, then meds will have to suffice. But you can inspire her to channel the sadness into productivity. Continue reading

Terror of the Flames

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“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
C.S. Lewis

Westmont High School is mourning today. Over the weekend, Saturday, 22 March,
a 17 year-old fellow student drove to Santana Row around 5pm, parked her car atop the six-story parking structure, walked to the edge, and jumped.

She was a cheerleader, the head of the Red Cross Club at school, and my son’s classmate. Continue reading