Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sweetly broken?

I don't consider my blog a journal, but one of the goals of this blog is to validate that a Christian person can go through many things and have many emotions while remaining a faithful person.

That said, some days suck. Some weeks or months suck. Over the past few weeks, I have taken a series of blows that have left me weary and deeply wounded.

This morning at church my heart was not there. Instead there was bitterness and anger and sadness. I couldn't sing, couldn't pray, just couldn't engage.

The service was fantastic. Great sermon, wonderful songs... in fact, we sang one of my favorite songs, "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle. The chorus is as follows:

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees,
And I am lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

This is a beautiful song and beautiful sentiment, but today it drove daggers into my heart. All I could think was, "Draw me gently to my knees"? Really? Because it sure feels like I just had my legs cut out from under me, anything but gently. And "sweetly" broken? I feel like someone's taken a sledge hammer to me.

I know the truth of the message in the lyrics, but at the same time, sometimes it just hurts. Yesterday I happened to read the passage from Luke 9, where Jesus promises suffering for his disciples, yet still calls them to take their cross and follow. This song takes that gritty, hard teaching of Jesus and paints it in a much softer light.

Life promises to break us, and I would much rather be broken by God than the world, but that doesn't guarantee it will be sweet. Some days it's a bitter pill to swallow.

PS- Check out the new poll question in the left column.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dangerous prayer

Use me, break me, waste me on You, Lord
Ruin me, take me, waste me on You
For to die is to live...

To starve is to feast
and less of me is more of Jesus
Lord, I want it all...

-Shane and Shane

Be careful when you pray this kind of thing. God just might take you up on it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Days

Each year I have hopes of truly being mindful and reverent of the Holy Season. Some years I accomplish that to some degree, others I don't. This year was a case of the latter. I have allowed myself to become so entangled with human drama and righteous works that I confess I have lost sight of what this all means.

Last night I was thinking of the blogs I wrote last year for Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday. And I think that despite my neglect of the true meaning of these Holy Days this year, God in His mercy and grace is bringing my soul back in line with His.

Tomorrow will be busy. Our church is expecting 400 visitors, and though this is Kingdom work, I have a feeling I will have the heart of Martha rather than Mary by the end of the day. But God has given me today. He has slowed my pace and is drawing me close.

In the Christian tradition, this is a spiritual roller coaster of a weekend- the pain, the emptiness, the joy. Rather than dwelling on one or looking forward to the next, let us embrace the moment in which God has placed us.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. -Psalm 118

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Democracy prevails at Sojoblog

Sojoblog announces a new feature over there on the left column- voting! To start this thing out, I have a fairly harmless question. However, knowing me, you can rest assured that the questions will likely get more controversial in nature.

The blog title is a joke- sorry to burst your bubble, but this corner o' the web is not a democracy. Just think of me as a benevolent dictatoress. ;)

God bless Sojoblog! God save the queen!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The More I Seek You

It's amazing to me how God provides us with what we need before we realize we need it. I learned this song Friday and knew it was something special. Little did I know the comfort and anchor it would be for me since then. Maybe someone out there needs to hear this, too.

The More I Seek You- Kari Jobe

The more I seek you, the more I find you
The more I find you, the more I love you

I want to sit at your feet,
Drink from the cup in your hand,
Lay back against you and breathe,
Hear your heart beat.

This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming.

Thank you, Father, for knowing our hearts, healing our wounds, and providing us with every good thing...

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Yesterday I watched "The Holiday." If you haven't seen it, it's a pretty sweet little movie. I could do without the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law storyline, but hey, if it lets me see Jude Law's beautiful self on screen for two hours, I can't argue. :)

What I truly love is Kate Winslet's character. I suppose she's meant to represent an average girl (which would be impossible for such a beautiful woman, except for her excellent acting), and she is profoundly brokenhearted over an unrequited love who uses her and treats her as an object.

I won't tell her whole storyline, but through circumstance she happens upon an old-school Hollywood script writer who she quickly befriends.

He, unlike the men in her life, see her as she truly is, and in a poignant moment over dinner says, "In the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend."

She responds, "You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life... I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained things to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant."

Oh, the power of truth tellers in our lives. I believe any person who lives a Spirit filled life can be a truth teller to those who believe lies about themselves. Speaking truth over a person- naming them with the names and gifts God has given them- is a powerful and freeing gift.

I know the problem exists as much in men as in women, but I am a woman so that's my perspective. :) How much do we long to be the leading lady, but often settle for less than they desire or deserve. Moreover, so many women are in denial that a) they truly desire to be a leading lady and b) that it is okay to want that.

I speak on behalf of myself about a personal metamorphosis that has taken place in my own life over the past several months. Through a bizarre series of serendipities, circumstances, and the power of the Holy Spirit, God has been teaching me so much about who God created me to be and how He wants to use me through the unique creation He made me. It's been a difficult and painful process, but honestly I don't know that I've ever felt more peace about who I am or where I'm going.

One of the hardest things to learn is to stand up for myself, whether it is to other people, to the lies Satan tries to tell me, or even to myself. I can't lie about how hard it is (especially when you're not really too convinced of the truth yourself), but thankfully, the Lord seems to have blessed me with an extra measure of conviction. :) Other words to help you better understand my "conviction", if you don't know me, are things like passionate, headstrong, opinionated, etc. :) I think that's the first step.

At the end of the movie :::spoiler alert:::, Kate Winslet's thorn in the flesh shows up begging for her to return to him. She, now aware of her true "role", is now empowered to kick him out of her life. When he asks what has changed, she replies, "I don't know, but I think what I've got is something slightly resembling... GUMPTION!" :)

I love that! I know seeing this movie again was a good reminder of what so many people need. First, people to speak truth into their lives and second, a the courage to stand up for themselves.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gonna party like it's my birthday!

Happy belated birthday to me! 26 years, wow. It seems the last couple of years I become increasingly grateful for each year of life, realizing it's truly a gift. Anyway, it's hard to believe I have gone from this little chick:

To this grown chick:

Thanks to all of you for your many kind words, well wishes, and pretty much a lifetime of love and friendship.

To see more pics from my birthday dinner, click here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Vision of You

Tonight I went to a concert I've been excited about for a while, featuring Shane and Shane and Bethany Dillon!

Bethany and her fiancee even sang one of my favorite songs. Here's a snippet:

Shine on Me from Ann W on Vimeo.

And it was tons of fun to go with my friends, who have great musical taste and always make my life much sweeter.

This picture cracks me up. :)

Tender Tennessee Wedding, part 2

And the fun continues!

One of the groomsmen and I had a birthday this week, so they had a cake for us at the reception. So thoughtful! Note- I'm really not a midget. I'm actually wearing heels in this pic!

Bridesmaid Log 5 from Ann W on Vimeo. Trying to find the hotel.

Pretty in pink. Three bridesmaids ready to go!

Bridesmaid Log 6 from Ann W on Vimeo. Pre-wedding.

I get a lot of hits from JettyBetty's blog, so I wanted to be sure to post a picture of how lovely she looked!
Just me and the bride!
The church was gorgeous. I really love this shot.
The bride, MeredithOur OC Honors girls had an awesome reunion at the wedding. Seven of us got to be there!

One last shot before we all go back to our different parts of the world. I love you guys!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tender Tennessee Wedding, part 1

What a weekend! I went to Knoxville, TN last Thursday to celebrate my dear friend Meredith's wedding. It was a whirlwind, busy trip, but I had a ton of fun and was so blessed to be included in their celebration. Pictures speak louder than words, right? So here ya go. I even did some video logs (vlogs?). Stay tuned for part 2.

Bridesmaid Log 1 from Ann W on Vimeo. On the way to the airport.

A fondue bachelorette party is the best idea ever. :)

Bachelorette party attendees

Bridesmaid Log 2 from Ann W on Vimeo. Primping.

My first pedicure! I'm addicted.

Bridesmaid Log 3 from Ann W on Vimeo. Trying to decide on a toenail color. More difficult than you'd think.

Bridesmaid Log 4 from Ann W on Vimeo. On the way to the rehearsal with the bride.

Bryan and Mer's toast at the rehearsal dinner

Reunited and it feels so good! Amber, Traci, Mer, me