Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If only . . . .

This requires some participation from the audience. Please finish this statement in whatever way pleases you.

If only . . . . .

Monday, August 28, 2006

Something to think about

Suppose God proposed to you a deal and said, "I will give you anything you want. You can possess the whole world. Nothing will be impossible for you . . . Nothing will be a sin, nothing forbidden. You will never die, never have pain, never have anything you do not want and always have anything you do want - except for just one thing; you will never see my face."

St. Augustine spoke these words in a sermon long ago. He went on to say that if a chill rose in your heart at the mention of the words "you will never see my face" than you possessed the greatest thing and that was the pure love of God.

All I know is that I want to see His face.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Putting the "ick" back in sick

Ugh, I'm sick.

The can barely move off the couch for fear that I will make it three steps and then wish I had one of those stupid "I've fallen and I can't get up" buttons where I would summon help to pick me up off the floor kind of sick.

I've caught my good friend . . . . THE STREP. See the strep and I have a lifelong friendship, he shows up in my life about once a year for a fun-filled party for him. No partying for me.

So I'm on a mission right now to secure the little pills that will send the strep packing for another year or so and had to wait 30 minutes for the lady behind the counter to count out 20 little pills. I offered to help but she turned me down. Doesn't she realize that her pill to minute ratio is pretty sad, no gold medal for her in the pharmacists olympics.

Ok now that I've rambled on in my sick-induced state of idiocy, I will bid you farewell as I leave to pick up my magic pills and crawl back under the covers.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fortune Cookie Faith

I like fortune cookies; anytime I’m at a Chinese restaurant I grab a few. One of these reasons might be because I like the taste of fortune cookies, but the real reason I grab more than one is that I like options with my fortune. If the first one doesn’t suit my liking, then I always have a backup fortune.

The funny thing is that sometimes I wonder if my faith suffers from the same indecisiveness. It seems when life is fine and dandy faith isn’t a problem, I’ve got it in spades. But throw me a curveball and my faith quotient seems to hit the skids and I start grasping for anything around me to keep me standing. This got me thinking about exactly what faith is and where it is placed. Faith in circumstances leaves me on slippery ground because circumstances change every moment. Faith in people is a dangerous place to go, because well, we are all faulted. Faith in me is just plain stupid because I know what a screw up I am.

So what is faith, where does it lie, and what is it all about?

Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

I don’t trust God because of His promises, because of what He says. I trust the promises, I trust what He says, because I first trust Him. Faith looks beyond the temporal, the visual, and the known, to believe not in the whats but in the Who. That way when silence overtakes me, when I succumb to blindness and deafness, I will still have faith in the One who is always there, working, moving, loving, even though I may not see the fingerprints of His hand, hear the echo of His voice, or feel the brush of His movement, I know that He is still there, I know that He is always there, and I wait in faith for my ears to hear, my eyes to see, and my flesh to feel Him. But faith is true, faith is firm, faith is there even when evidence seems to say it should not be.

Faith is not built piece by piece upon experiences, it is not gained in small increments eventually adding up to the whole. Oh it increases, it becomes deeper, but it is never “more” than it was at the beginning. Faith, true faith, is whole at the beginning, it is sufficient at its inception, is all that is warranted as soon as it comes to life. Faith can falter, it can become hidden among the questions, the doubts, the valleys; but faith, true faith, is always there, beating in the deep recesses of our hearts.

Faith isn’t trusting in the promise, but in the promise maker and promise keeper.

Our faith is proven by God’s promises but it is not formed in them. Our faith brings us to the promise; it prepares our hearts to hear the promise and to trust in it. Without faith, the promises are empty words from a powerless god. Without faith, promises are just things we hope will happen but hold no conviction of trust they will come true.

Promises are the place faith goes into action.

Sometimes my faith is in direct opposition to what I feel. Emotions are deceiving, in fact I think my emotions might be my greatest enemy. They lie, they cheat, they manipulate, and their one goal is to drag me into their presence where I can’t see anything outside of them. Often times, I have had to make a choice to have faith when my emotions screamed insanely at me to not have faith, I have had to choose to believe in something that my emotions tell me is not true, is a lie, is a farce, and will not solve any of the problems that I currently find myself stranded in the midst of. Faith is beyond emotions.

Faith is also beyond knowledge. I’ve had to choose to believe things that can’t be true. I've had to choose to believe that a man can rise from the dead, that this world, in all its intricacies and wonders could have been created out of nothing. I’ve had to believe that someone I’ve never met, never spoken to, never seen, could love me and want me even though I am messed up and use to hate Him with every part of my being.

Faith is not definable by man’s terms. It isn’t even a quality we can have in ourselves, because faith takes us out of ourselves. It reaches both inward and outward, somehow existing in this place of divinity and wonder where the impossible and the possible intersect, where love and hatred are reconciled, and where grace and justice co-exist. Faith begins with God. He is the author of faith, He is the creator of it, the perfector of it. Without Him, faith is wishful thinking in something we hope will be proven true. With Him, faith is the absolute assurance that He is true and anything and everything He says and does is also true, so that we REST in knowing Him and everything else revolves around Him.

Phrases and thoughts get stuck in my head. One of these is a statement a friend made, “Lord thank you for giving me the opportunity to show You how faithful I am.” I remember thinking that is should say, “Lord thank you for this opportunity to show your faithfulness.” I wanted the action to be on God. I wanted Him to shoulder the work so I could sit back and accept His faithfulness. But now, I see that wisdom and the humility in thanking God for the opportunity to show Him my faith in action, to worship and honor Him by trusting in Him, by waiting on Him.

That is a hard thing to say to God, because it usually comes in the moment of crisis, in the valley. We don’t thank God for opportunities to prove faithfulness on the mountain tops, no we thank Him for the valleys, for the dark roads we feel we walk alone. Those are the moments when we realize that we must believe not in the promises that aren’t realized, but in the Promise Maker, the Promise Keeper, the one on whom our faith resides.

Re-reading this post reminded me of a quote I carry around in my wallet: "We learn faith by having to walk a road that is much too hard for us."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Circling but never landing

That pretty much sums up how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, and my inability to be able to express it in any clear form. Not a bad thing, there is purpose in the "in-between" time. Just ready for clearance to touch down somewhere.

Since I tend to be fairly cryptic when it comes to talking about myself and what's going on in my life, here is the rundown (although you might think this is cryptic too).

It was about this time last year that I felt a tingling about leaving my current job. I was starting the fifth year at a school that I intended to only stay at for a year or two while I pursued youth ministry. Oh how plans change. At the end of two years I wasn't in youth ministry anymore, funny how things like that happen. So here I was entering year five and feeling restless (feel free to read through old posts to confirm this) and struggling with the idea of leaving. My plan might have initially been for two years but God knew better, oh so better. I have never worked somewhere and with such people that has stretched me, molded me, challenged me, supported me, and changed who I was. When I look back on all that has occured in the last 5 years I can't imagine not being at my school and with my co-workers and the families that I have come to love.

And yet, there it was, this feeling that the door was closing. I struggled with this, it was an emotional thing for me, one because I would be leaving something that meant so much to me and two because I had no idea what the future held. The amazing thing is that confirmation and peace came pretty quickly. Things outside of my control began to happen that pushed me forward. I was confident in my decision, well I thought I was.

Now this is where the circling begins. I was ready to go, I'd begun to pack up the boxes so to speak, to start the going process. I gave my notice, I was ready to move on. And then things started changing, stuff started happening, and I waffled on my decision. And yet the same confirmation kept comming, "go" but there was a problem, the "where" had yet to be determined. It's a little hard to "go" when you're not sure which direction to point your feet in.

And so I waited . . . . and waited . . . . and waited . . . . and well I'm still waiting. Oh there are options; there are some wild, crazy, not normal Katie type options, and then there are the safer, easier, more practical options. And depending on the day you ask me I will tell you I'm leaning toward one . . . . . or the other. Because the waiting, the circling continues. I have my orders to "go" but I'm missing an important part of the package, the destination. And it's as much of a location thing as a purpose thing. I want to know where God wants me but I also want to know what God wants from me.

Now I would love to tell you all that I am extremely content and patient and this waiting process is one of the most refreshing and greatest learning experiences of my life. But lightening would strike and I wouldn't be here to complete this post. In fact, I hate waiting, I struggle with patience, and it is one of the tougher positions I've been in a long while.

I know I'm supposed to go. I know that this door is closing. And yet I feel like I'm standing in a hallway, looking at automatic revolving doors that keep opening and closing.

I know this time is here for a reason, and just as I thought I would be at my school for two years and just started on year six, God's plan is bigger and more farther reaching than mine. It's uncomfortable, it's hard, and yet it is what it is.

So I'm circling and waiting for clearance to land. Hopefully I won't run out of gas.

Melting . . . . . . I'm melting

No, I am not the wicked witch of the west (stiffle that laughter) but upon arriving at work today I find myself in quite a predicament.

100+ heat today.

No air conditioning in half our school.

Looks likes we'll be releasing kids at noon . . . . the big question is: Do I get to go home early or should I resume my "sweat monter" status?

***** UPDATE *****

The temperature in my office is currently 89.8 but they got the A/C working so goodbye sweat.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

If only by an act of will

If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time then you know that I am a “thinker” in that something will roll around my head for hours, days, even weeks. This often happens with a fairly fleeting thought or idea that gets stuck in my head and begins to sprout into deep thought. The funny thing is that it is often something that I give little notice to at first and then realize that my mind has been contemplating it for an eternity.

A while back a friend asked my opinion on some questions presented to them by a person taking a pretty close and personal look at God. I remember thinking that these were not the questions of a person kicking the tires on a relationship with God, but someone who had moved past the “does He exist” to the “do I want to know Him with what I know of Him”. This girl asked questions that I come face to face with every day in my relationship with God. In her search to know Him, she had moved to the heart of who He was, His actions, His motives, and His people. As I went through my answers I realized that by her questioning I was reaffirming for myself what I really believe. I also realized that so often we give the blanket answer to tough questions . . . . . you have to have faith. And while this statement is often true and the only answer we can in our limited abilities give, we speak of it as if it is some spiritual band-aid to cover all your wrongs.

Faith isn’t a band-aid, it’s the cure. And yet there are times when faith is lived only by an act of will. Faith isn’t always filled with warm-fuzzy feelings. It isn’t the immediate result of a really good sermon, or an emotionally filling worship service. It isn’t the by-product of an answered prayer or a penetrating piece of scripture. That cheapens faith to an experience. It says that faith is dependent on our surroundings, our status quo.

Faith is saying “because I can’t, I believe You will”.

It is often against everything we feel, we think, and we know. It is a willful choice and often it is lived by will alone. If faith was driven by emotions we would find it and lose it at the whim of our changing state of feelings. If faith was dependent on our state of answered prayers (and by answered I mean to our own liking or personal preference) than many believers would have punted faith a long time ago when they found out that God doesn’t seem to work by our game plan. Some think of faith as just an intellectual belief, the conclusion of a well thought out argument where you reach the conclusion that belief must occur from the evidence alone, yet faith exists somewhere outside of “knowledge” and “reason” for it cannot be contained in a human hypothesis.

So when you remove emotion, intellect, and being, you are left with the will. For faith will be strengthened and supported by all those above, but it can’t be based upon those shifting sands.

And so this thought tumbled and turned in my head as I answered these questions of a searching girl. While I gave her the answers she was looking for and I gave her the evidence and rational she wanted, I wish that I had said to her what I often come to realize.

There are moments, far too many to count, where I don’t feel like I can believe, where the evidence just doesn’t match up, and where I doubt because I don’t see the outworking of my faith that I selfishly think should occur. And yet in those moments I find my faith is at its deepest core, because with all those shifting sands piling against me there is a moment when I believe and choose faith if only by an act of will.

I find myself looking to God with all these doubts and questions piled high and saying “because I can’t, I believe You will”.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I Am...

I AM: too many things to list here

I SAID: a lot, I have a tendency to be proficient at the talking

I WANT: to know what is planned for me in the near future

I WISH: I saw myself like God does

I MISS: the wonderment of being a child

I HEAR: the air conditioner running and a train horn in the distance . . . . and then my phone

I WONDER: who I would have become had I made different choices in the past

I REGRET: hurting those I’ve cared about

I AM NOT: as strong as others think I am, and yet not as weak as I think I am

I DANCE: any chance I can get, and sometimes by myself in my house because I can

I SING: by myself

I CRY: because my body needs to release things somehow

I AM NOT ALWAYS: nice and sweet and kind like people perceive me to be

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: the best cookies you’ve ever tasted

I WRITE: what I think, sometimes without a filter and often for no other eyes to see

I CONFUSE: supposively with supposedly

I NEED: a good kick in the pants most days

I SHOULD: be doing something else right now, like work

I START: talking without thinking more often than I should

I FINISH: hopefully better than I start

I LOVE: more deeply than I’m sure even I realize

Feel free to edit any of these with an anwer you more think suits me, or maybe is just funny to you because I'm always open to people bringing the funny.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First day of school

This post will be a work in progress, so I'll be adding to it throughout the day (that is the plan at least).

I find it wildly ironic that most of my life has been spent preparing for and then encountering a first day of school. Since the first day of kindergarten to today my years have turned on and been marked by this grand event. Life is so different for me now than at the age of 6 and yet I find myself 22 years later facing the same day.

The first day of school was always one of excitement and dread. I loved school, I loved learning, and the first day was the start of an adventure of sorts. Face it, in childhood summer was great but there was something about school that made us yearn for those days in the classroom. I think the desire of man to discover, to learn, and to know draws us to school, whether we will ever admit it or not. There was also a newness to each year, new teachers, new buildings, new classmates, the excitement of experiencing something that was familiar and yet so different from what you knew. But all that newness came with a big lump in the bottom of your stomach. Would you be able to do the work, would your teacher like you, would your friends like you, and the time-honored fear of all girls . . . . . would your outfit you wore on the first day be cool? Excitement and dread all mixed together to form this great anticipation as the day approached and then finally arrived.

to be continued . . . .

So my first days of school continued on from kindergarten all the way to the last semester of college. There remained those feelings of anticipation, excitement, uneasiness, and even at times dread. But for me the feeling of excitment always outweighed the others. The idea of starting something new, something to be accomplished, something that I would emerge from different in some way, all these ideas made me anticipate the first day of school with more excitement than dread.

And then I began working at a school. Little did I know in those early days of elementary school that for six more years after I finished my own schooling I would be anticipating that same first day of school in my "real life". The funny thing was that while I now experienced the first day of school from an entirely different perspective, it still brought the same feelings of anticipation. What would I accomplish this year, would I get along with the other staff, would the kids respect me and like me, and again would my outfit for the first day of class be just right. But with this reality of being behind the scenes a new anticipation and excitement came. I was a key player in making the school run, my time, my talents, and even my heart were invested in each school year. The first day marked the culmination of a summer's worth of hard work, the beginning of grand plans to both educate our students but to all the more teach them to be children of character. It amazed me that I might anticipate the first day of school even more by being not a student but a player in the education process. For instead of learning, I was here to teach, instead of being served, I was here to do the serving. And it wasn't just my time and my skills that became involved, but my heart was a key investor in this thing I called a job.

to be continued . . . . . .

And so that carried on for five years. The anticipation of the first day building, the excitement as a new school year began overwhelming me. The feeling that my heart was doing exactly what it should be, that this school, this "job" was where God wanted me (because He knows that on my own I never would have choosen it). Each year, anticipating the faces of the students, the impact that my time and my work would have in their lives. Knowing that new friendships and relationships would be built with each new school year. Knowing that something new would be learned and gained as I worked and served.

And yet here I sit on my twenty-fourth first day of school in my life and all that anticipation, all that excitement is gone. Oh there is still the stress and the excitement of getting things ready but my heart just isn't here. It's moved on. To where, I'm not quite sure.

There is a sadness that I feel because for the first "first day" in my life, I didn't wake with anticipation for today, for tomorrow, or for the rest of the school year. Where excitement once built and overflowed, a resolution that my time has passed remains.

I feel like I'm experiencing the passing of a dear friend, mourning the loss of their presence. First days of school have been a part of my life for so long and now I think I'm experiencing my last one.

The end.

Friday, August 11, 2006



It's been a long week.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Happy thought for the day

Being overwhelmed with joy and excitement for a friend


I'm addicted. I can admit it. Call it a occupational hazard, call it a technological crutch, but for the last three days my school has been without internet and i almost went crazy. This would normally just be an inconvenience on my ability to waste time doing things other than work except that our school database, the thing that I run and work with daily and is the very definition of my job for the month leading up to school . . . . . . it is an internet based system. So for the last three days I have been highjacking whatever wireless signal I can pick up in the building and planting myself in some out of the way places to limp through getting my work done. But today, the internet gnomes got their act together and I am at my desk working (and playing). Hmmm, now that I once again have the ability to post what shall I say? I'll get back to you on that one.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sketchy at best

Internet down at work . . . . stressed . . . . not able to do job

posting via telepathy

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Losing my mind

So much that I actually typed "loosing my mind" at first.


If you happen to see a tall blonde running down the road with her arms flailing in the air screaming at the top of her lungs, don't worry it's just me.

Evidence that I might actually lose my mind every year:


You know you're ready for the white jacket and the padded room (or a nap and pint of ice cream) when you answer your phone and say these words:

"This is Lucy Richards ( i.e. NOT MY NAME)"

I answered my phone and instead of saying my own name, because "I" am me and have answered my work phone. Instead, for some reason, my brain decided that I should change my identity and become a co-worker and thereby identify myself to the poor sould who picked this moment to enter my world of insanity as a different person all together.

I need a nap, and some ice cream, and a lobotomy (but maybe not in that order).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

RIP my dear friend you served me well

Actually I would like to ammend my title. Instead it should read:


My cell phone, the free phone that I received upon the glorious occassion of marking my two year anniversary with my cell phone company, officially died a slow and painful death as the life was sucked from its very battery because it choose to no longer charge when properly suited with the life giving charger. My cell phone committed suicide. This distrubs me a bit but not too much because it's a cell phone and it was hard to hear on most of the time and that means I get a NEW one.

Not only do I get a new one but I decided to take the leap and purchase a phone instead of settling for the junk they offer you for free when you sign your life away to be tied to the company for another two years (actually i like my cell phone provider so I'm not complaining).

So I did some research (code word for looked at pretty pictures and asked a few friends if they liked their phones) and I am now the owner of a brand new Razor. I'm so cool you might want to go find your sunglasses so that the gleam of my coolness doesn't burn your retinas dry.

And in my joyous decision to purchase said trendy phone (to go with my oh so trendy ipod - i told you i was cool) I was faced with a big decision.


See with my old phone I had no choices in color, it came in stardard issue gray (or is it grey - which one is associated with the nose?). Now I have choices of black, silver, blue, and PINK. And not just any pink, but pepto bismol on crack hot PINK that announces "HELLO I HAVE A RAZOR AND YOU DON'T" to the world PINK. I thought about getting the pink and how I could have some fun ring tone like "I'm with the DJ" or "If you steal my sunshine" or even better "Barbie Girl" and then I could buy all those fun phone jewelry that dangle and clangle off of my phone so that it would not only announce by the color and ring but also by all the bling bling dripping off of it that I am a fifteen year old girl who is desperately in love with Travis from "So You Think You Can Dance" (insert apology to any adult female who is offended because she owns such phone).

But after realizing that I am approaching the age of 30 (gasp, shhhhh dont' tell anyone) I probably can't pull off the PINK razor. So I decided to go with the classy and yet jet setting black (which by the way matches my black ipod - I might not be extremely cool but I color coordinate like a champ).

Now I just have to figure out all the new options . . . Ringtones, IMing, ninjas who jump out of the phone if I press the right number sequence.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Evidence, confirmation, commendation; we want it, we desire it, and often we base so much on it. The response of another toward our work, toward our service, and ultimately toward ourselves is used as a measurement for our impact on this world, on others.

I find myself so often wanting and waiting for that approval, for that acknowledgement that I have made an impact. The response of another tells me that my actions or words didn’t fall lifeless into the chasm of non-influence.

And I find this is a popular need in the world of ministry. We want to know that we impact people’s lives, that the work we do in the name of God is actually making a difference. Be it a pastor who puts his heart into a sermon only to watch his church body shuffle out in silence, or the worship leader who lets his heart go desiring to bring others to a place of real worship only to be met with a silent crowd who sings nothing above a whisper, or maybe even a mentor who seeks to lovingly call another in accountability only to be met with an arrogant response of placing blame, or a friend who shares the story of the gift of salvation with a buddy only to be rebuffed for believing such nonsense, or even a blogger who pours his heart out and lets down the walls in a moment of vulnerability only to receive tepid comments.

So often there are no award ceremonies, no letters of commendation, no pats on the back, and no encouragement or stories of impact. Oh they happen; we’ve all received a note of thanks at one time or another, a short story of how what we did or said changed a person’s way of thinking. But are those what we seek. Can a life be built upon memories of comments and tattered notes? Should they?

I am a big proponent of sharing with others the role they have in your life, the impact they make, the way they change who you are by who they are. And yet, my words, my notes can’t speak to the impact they’ve had on my heart. For all the people I’ve told, there are many more names that have inscribed into my heart their presence in my life. Be it the pastor who I never told moved me to tears with his words of truth, the worship leader who never knew the depth of worship I offered up to God by his leading and example, the friend who I so callously responded to but just by her boldness to call me on something I recognized and changed that part of me, the friends who shared a story of what God has taught them that He used to teach me, or the blog post that I read and yet could not find the words to tell the writer how much they taught me in their openness. So many names, so many people, all who have not received verbal or written commendations from me, but who have written upon my heart, leaving a mark that will last forever.

And so maybe we too are written upon the hearts of others. Maybe we do not have letters of commendation on paper or stone but we have left a mark on something that will not burn to ashes or turn to dust. Maybe when we look out at those we interact with in this world we can’t see our signature, our mark upon them, but hidden within their hearts is a mark left by us at some time.

Maybe what we look for, what is seen, is really only temporary. The commendations, the awards, the words, they are but for a moment, tossed by wind and time. But the people, the hearts, the things that are hidden are the eternal marks we leave.

Maybe the evidence of who we are, of what we do for God, is on those hearts.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3: 1-3

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 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: 16-18