Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Celebrate Freedom

Just a few things.

I am a proud member of the Family of God at Quail Springs.

I have never been more excited about the future of the church than I am now.

I am thankful for the gifts the Lord has given each of us and hope we will find ways to glorify Him through those gifts.

I celebrate the freedom found in Christ and His church.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

100 Things Revisited- Part 1

1. I wrote a list like this three and a half years ago.
2. I am a very different person now than I was then. Several of those things aren't true anymore.
3. I’ve lived on three continents in the past three years.
4. They were each amazing experiences that I wouldn’t trade, but I have no plans or desire to live abroad again.
5. I think I would enjoy living in most southern (US) cities.
6. I don’t know if I could go back to rural living, even though it’s how I grew up and I adored it. Maybe when I’m raising kids.
7. Growing up, I never wanted kids. But now I would like to have children one day.
8. I am an extremely private person. It made me nervous to write #7.
9. I don’t like talking to strangers. If I don’t know you and you tried to strike up conversation in the store, airport or whatever, I would completely ignore you.
10. When I get stressed out, I have strong physical manifestations. Bad dreams, dizziness, restless sleep, poor vision, headaches, stomach aches. Sometimes my physical symptoms tell me I’m stressed out before I even realize it.
11. Things that stress me out include driving in poor weather and having to plan social events.
12. My spiritual gifts include encouragement, discernment, intercessory prayer, and truth telling.
13. I am excited every day to see how the Lord is going to use and grow my spiritual gifts for use in the Kingdom.
14. I really like my hair color. I won’t color or put highlights in it.
15. Losing my hair when I was sick a few years ago absolutely sucked. You'd be surprised how it works over your self-confidence.
16. When I taught English, I would get so nervous before each class that I thought I’d pass out.
17. Teaching Bible makes me more excited and gives me more joy than pretty much anything.
18. My natural inclination is to distrust teachers, especially in church.
19. I’ve been a bridesmaid two times, soon to be three. I love each of those couples like they’re my brothers and sisters.
20. Being a bridesmaid is stressful, and I would never do it for someone I didn’t love.
21. I joined eHarmony last May for 3 months.
22. I met a guy from eHarmony. He was nice, but a libertarian. It never would have worked.
23. I am not joining any kind of dating service again until I’m 30.
24. Last fall, I sent a postcard to It was chosen and posted on the website. I almost fell off my couch when I saw it.
25. No, I will not tell you what it was. :)

Stay tuned for the next installment...

Monday, January 21, 2008


There are many, many reasons to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all those who fought and suffered for the Civil Rights movement today. It's a time to remember how far we've come and how far we have to go.

I also think it's a day to inspire us to be willing to dream God sized dreams. Our preacher challenged us last week to be willing to dream dreams and make plans that are so large, they are destined to fail without the hand of God. So today, I'm dreaming as well.

I have a dream that one day I will look around my church and see the ethnic diversity of the surrounding neighborhoods.

I have a dream that service in the Kingdom of God will not limited by one's gender, age, marital status, bankbook, or family tree.

I have a dream that we as God's people will embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to work powerfully for His glory.

I have a dream that our country will grow to a point where no human being will be classified as "illegal."

I have a dream that a Christian influence in politics will mean standing up for compassion and justice.

I have a dream that God will ignite and inspire in me His vision for my life and His Kingdom.

What are you dreaming of today?

Not my baby...

...but I love her! Prettiest newborn ever, Maggie Tryggestad. The Trygg Trifecta!

Sweetest face!

Auntie Ann and Maggie Moo (this nickname not sanctioned by los padres)

Photos courtesy of proud papa Erik. Go to their blog to see more adorable photos.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Small Enough

A few months ago I gave my testimony to my small group at church. The morning I was going to share it, one of my good friends handed me a CD and told me there was a song I needed to hear before I did. It was the album "This Mystery" by Nichole Nordeman, and the song in particular was "Small Enough."

The phrase "personal relationship" is over-used and abused in Christian circles, so I hesitate to use it, but that is truly the heart of this song. God is the God who acts in bold and mighty ways, but He is also the Father who knows how many hairs are on my head.

My friend wanted to remind me that although God has worked visible and powerful miracles in my life, He still cares when my feelings are hurt or have a bad day. I didn't realize then the powerful ministry this song would have for me in the months since I first heard it, but I thank God for His provision before I knew my need.

Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now
There were times when I was crying from the dark of Daniel’s den
I had asked you once or twice if you would part the sea again
Tonight I do not need a fiery pillar in the sky
Just want to know you’re gonna hold me if I start to cry

Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now
Oh great God, be close enough to feel me now
There have been moments when I could not face Goliath on my own
And how could I forget we marched around our share of Jerichos
But I will not be setting out the fleece for you tonight
Just wanna know that everything will be alright
Oh great God, be close enough to feel me now

All praise and all the honor be to the God of ancient mysteries
Whose every sign and wonder turn the pages of our history
But tonight my heart is heavy and I cannot keep from whispering this prayer-
Are you there?

I know you could leave writing on the wall that’s just for me
Or send wisdom while I’m sleeping like in Solomon’s sweet dreams
I don’t need the strength of Sampson or a chariot in the end
Just wanna know you still know how many hairs are on my head
Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Prayers Decoded

It seems to me that when we pray, we rarely say what we really mean. Here are a few examples of common prayer verbiage and what I think most people are actually meaning to pray.

Patience-- We've all heard the cliche that you shouldn't pray for patience if you don't want the Lord to teach you patience. What I think we really mean is that we would like for whatever person or situation is trying our patience to be magically and swiftly obliterated, rather than learning how to deal with the situation at hand with love, graciousness and compassion.

Clarity-- When we pray for clarity, what we're really saying is that we'd like to know how everything is going to turn out rather than trusting the Lord to be good and faithful to us. To me, honestly, this prayer just might be the antithesis of faith.

Peace-- Maybe not everyone thinks of peace like this, but I know when I pray for peace, what I'm really asking for is spiritual morphine. The pain, the trail, the frustration, the stress are all so great that I feel burdened, and I would rather feel numb (i.e., peaceful) throughout the time of trial then be in the moment and grow through the pain.

Guideguardanddirect-- This just means that they grew up in the church and don't know another way to end the prayer.

Any other prayer euphemisms I'm forgetting?


Both Cris and Sharkdog (Alisha?) make good points.

"Be with"-- This is a great one. I think in general, we evangelical Christians have a tendency to pray wimpy prayers. This summer I read "Prayer" by Richard Foster (FANTASTIC book), and he emphasized the importance of praying specific and powerful prayers. To me, this line, "be with", is evidence of our wimpy prayer. What does "be with" mean? I think we should replace this line with powerful claims of faith to our Lord. He is powerful to hear and act on our behalf for His glory! Let's be bold to pray for healing, for miracles, for undeniable displays of God's power.

"Bless"-- Oh, I've talked about this before. :) I think there are those who bless in Biblical ways, truly asking that the Lord's hand be upon people. But then I also hear a lot of blessings for building funds, in which case I'm pretty sure that "Bless this" means "show me da' money." :) Blessings can be dangerous when you begin to mistake happiness for blessing.

"Nourish our bodies"-- I had to think about this one. Jesus teaches us to pray for our daily bread, for sure, but I don't think it was in a strictly literal sense. It is in that we are repeatedly admonished not to put stock in our material things and storing them up, but praying for super- nourishment is interesting... can anyone think of any Biblical prayer for nourishment of food? Very interesting.

Monday, January 07, 2008

American Gladiators and Spirituality

Last night as I witnessed the greatness known as the return of “American Gladiators”, I was struck by a spiritual principle. Some may think it’s a reach, but I think it’s entirely valid and pretty applicable for my life right now.

As I watched my favorite little “spider monkey” trying to climb the pyramid and then being tossed down it like a rag doll, I realized it’s an entirely unfair advantage. Not just because gladiators such as “Wolf Man” and “Toa” are ginormous, but because it is always easy to throw someone down when they are trying to make progress. This plays out very literally as a 150 pound Asian tries to scramble past a behemoth of a man, but even if all things were equal, it’s easy to topple a person trying to ascend.

I don’t know that I have eloquent words to explain what I’m thinking quite yet, but I think it boils down to the fact that it is fairly simple to attack. Honestly, I don't think it takes too much skill. It’s easy to go after someone, more so if they’ve been in the fight for a while and they’re worn down.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't take a strong, mighty, or even a bright person to throw someone down when they're fighting to go higher. However, it takes a special level of courage, tenacity, and strength to get knocked down and keep getting back up.


After I posted this yesterday, I remembered this quote which seemed to be quite fitting.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910