Friday, May 31, 2013


One of my two kindred spirits in life is trying to figure out what is God's will for her concerning a job. Karen has a couple of options but how does she know which is God's will for her?? And how do we know what is His will for us?
Very hard to answer-especially when we might have multiple possibilities.

 That is my "go to" in trying to discern what it is He might will for me to do. I don't casually flip thru the Bible hoping to find a verse that will tell me what to do. Most often, the verse will come to me in where I happen to be reading in my quiet times. Other times, as I pray, I might hear the Holy Spirit's very quiet whisper of a book in the Bible.
I specifically remember trying to decide between 2 very good job offers. I was on a walk in my neighborhood, and I thought I heard, or maybe I thought of a particular book in the Bible. I went home, looked thru the book and found a verse that clearly was my answer.
Mind you, that doesn't always happen. In fact, it usually doesn't. BUT, I do believe that God's Word is available to us for answers to most anything we might be facing in life. So, when it comes time to discerning God's will, the Bible is my first priority.

  When God gives us open doors, we are competely foolish if we do not walk thru them. We must explore all the possibilites that are available to us. Just because the door is open, doesn't necesssarily mean that this is God's plan for you. It is just something we must pursue in our quest to find out God's will for us.
Often times as we walk thru an open door, God will show us clearly if this is the right path for us to take. We need to be diligent in our pursuit of seeking God's will.

 We desperately need to spend time talking over this with the LORD. This isn't the one time prayer when we ask God to show us His will and expect an answer right away. These are the times when we need to really seek Him and take the time to listen for God to speak to us.
Surely one of the most difficult things for us to do is to take the time to really listen for God to speak. We are so used to our instantaneous world-where we want answers immediately. If you don't know it already, God doesn't usually work like that. We want the answers "NOW". And He uses the process to reveal more of Himself to us, while at the same time, showing us that waiting on His perfect timing, in His perfect way, is the BEST way to proceed.  Discerning God's will about a particular matter takes time. We are on His time and not ours, so we might as well get used to talking to Him about it, until He chooses to reveal His will to us.

 Frequently the LORD will use the people in our lives in helping us discern His will. I am talking here about those that know us-really know us. Those people that we have let into the secret places of our lives; the ones we share our truest selves with. These people are the friends or family who know us best, know our hearts, know our gifts and will pray for us. These are the ones who aren't afraid to tell us things we might not want to hear. Or the people who give us insights we might not have considered. These dear ones can be invaluable to us in times like this.

I know for me, these four ingredients are necessary in trying to determine God's best for me, His will for whatever decision I need to make.
So YES, it is possible to discern God's will for whatever situation you are considering, but it takes TIME. Its not a quick process, but it is one that is so worthwhile.
May Our LORD lead you to His BEST for your life, at this time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I've read a number of blogs about how sorry people are about the Church in America and how they have lost "young people".
Some are more concerned with their programs and how to attract more people, or concerned about the building project they are hoping to construct, and they have forgotten to relate to the population of our society that have become intensely involved and care about social justice issues .

The statistics are widely reported  of how many young people have abandoned the Church. Some are saying they still love and follow Jesus, and others are walking away from their faith all together. 

A few of the blogs were so apologetic about how the church has not reached out and done more to keep and engage the 20 and 30 somethings.

I must apologize for my generation .
Somehow we have failed in instructing, leading by example of the importance of our own individual relationship with Jesus.  This is first and foremost in any and all our relationships. We must not have stressed the importance of God's Word and the  extreme importance of spending time getting God's perspective on any issue in life.  And quite possibly, we too, have left our own growth up to the Church and aren't invested in the Word either.

As an older, more mature follower of Christ, I have been challenged profusely by Francis Chan in Crazy Love, wanting to desperately be more involved  in social issues because of Shane Claiborne's, Irresistable Revolution, and inspired by Jen Hatmaker in 7 to watch my spending and getting rid of the excesses of my life.

I have often wondered why the LORD had me live in the United States, being blessed with incredible resources, having way more than I could ever need, when I could have been born in sub Saharan Africa, and gotten AIDS from a philandering husband. I don't understand why I was blessed so. What I do know is that I can't waste the life God has given me. I can't take His blessings for granted. I need to be my own personal agent for change. If i want to see changes occur, I must start the change in myself.

I can't expect others to change if I am not willing to give up things myself. I must be willing to sacrifice so that others might have a better life. Jesus requires me to to be a lover of people, to think of others higher than i would ever think of myself. 

Maybe its because I am older. maybe its because I was part of the "Jesus Freak" generation, but I believe we are each responsible for our own growth. I can't expect to know more of God and what He desires for my life if I don't spend anytime with Him. It is easy to blame my generation for many numerous wrongs, but I also advocate that we aren't totally to blame for the younger people leaving the Church.

Too many complain and place blame on others; this church isn't meeting my needs, I'm gonna try another one. This church doesn't reach out to help the poor in our community, doesn't care about issues globally.
So instead of trying to be the change that makes the difference, we leave. We look for another church, and then when we don't find one, we just quit going. And we say its the Church's fault  

What I want to know is how are today's younger generation going to help change this paradigm?

Why are you giving up so easily?  Why don't you help us change, to see where we are missing the mark?  Why can't you persevere? Do you think we always have loved the Church, have felt supported? I realize that many of you think we are a very materialistic generation. That bothers me too. But why can't you help us be the change?
Over and over again, Jesus challenges us to take care of each other; we are to look out for the orphans and the widows, we are to take care of the poor, fight for justice for the disenfranchised and love one another.
I admit, so often , I don't.
I don't like that about myself. I am trying to change. I want to do something instead of just hoping someone else will. I start by making little changes. I'm pretty sure that's how it all begins; with little steps.  
We need to be proactive. We need to begin with ourselves and then share with someone-at least one person, what we are trying to do.

We desperately need to take care and love each other. It isn't an option, its a command that Jesus gave us:

"Love one another as I have loved you".

O Lord, teach us, help us, to be the lovers of people that you have envisioned us to be.   

Thankful Thursday #3

I love the idea of #tbt on Facebook.
Seeing pictures of people from recent or way in the past years is such a fun thing to view.

I'm thankful for my new habbit of writing about being thankful on Thursdays, because it reminds me-and hopefully any who read this- that we need to remember to cultivate gratitude in our lives.

Today I am thankful that a dear dear friends mom, no longer suffers and she is in heaven.
I am grateful that I know my God will comfort, uphold and support the Lai family thru this.

I am thankful for a year in YLC Chico of watching my girls -all 15 of them- seek to grow deeper with Jesus.
Thankful too that my 2-3 times/week drives are over for awhile.

Thankful for a visit from our daughter Katie this week.
Thankful for answers for the Hagenbuch's, and that Kaylee will hear again in the near future!!

Thankful for the early arrival of one of the Interns and anticipating the other 13 arriving by Sunday.

Thankful for a good phone call from a friend this morning and that we have been able to be real with each other for over 35 years now and thankful that I have the privilege of praying for her family.

So grateful today for God's redemptive plan in our lives-that He alone can taken the broken hurtful places and heal them.

Thankful that we were able to celebrate Scud's 30 years with Young Life last night.  

Thankful that my life is not dictated by the outcome of my teams.
Thankful that God knows exactly what will happen next in my life and in yours.
Thankful that the Bible is available to read-that I never have to hide it.
So thankful for the women who mentored me in my life- who knows how I would have turned out without them.

That's my five minutes. Please share with me what you are thankful for.      

Monday, May 13, 2013


Yesterday was Mother's Day.
I used to look forward to this "american greeting card holiday" so much.
Because it was MY ONE DAY OF THE YEAR that was all about me with my family.
If you don't know, Scud and I share the same birthday. So normally, my birthday doesn't mean much because I'm always trying to make it special for him. The "decade year" birthdays felt like they were mine, but shoot that's every 10 years. But boy have they been special.
So Mother's Day was my day and I totally milked it for all it was worth-meaning I did nothing but what I wanted. I remember going to Giants games on mother's day. I wish I had done that yesterday, I really miss those times.
I've been to the beach on mother's day. One year, I actually spent about 4 hours by myself at a Barnes and Noble, which was an amazing treat!!

As I got older, I didn't care as much. And once I became a grandmother, I really understood how much of a gift having children is, not that I didn't know that before.  So now, on Mother's Day, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that the LORD blessed me with four unique human beings that have allowed me the privilege of being their mom. 
Being a mom is the hardest job any woman will undertake.  I used to think that those toddler years were the hardest. NOPE, they are just tiring-often sheer exhaustion that one might never feel again.   
Then there is the school years, when for the first time, your child leaves the safety of your home and the world around them can begin to bring changes you never expected. 
And the middle school and high school years? Well they are filled with your child's search for independence and autonomy that I truly believe we never expected. Plus all the hormones added to the challenges of what they might be tempted with-seriously we should throw parties when our children graduate from high school for us-that we survived!!
And then comes the empty nest years and you wonder where has the time gone. You miss the noise of your home that sending them off to college brings. Soon after comes college graduation, and you marvel at your child's accomplishment.
But don't think you are done then. I truly believe now, that this being the year my youngest turns 30, you never really are done being a Mom; it just changes. And that's a good thing too. Its fun to become friends with your adult children and be involved in their lives. Those times when you all get together are not as often as before -but so very special when they do occur.

Yesterday at  church, our pastor talked about Mary, the mother of Jesus and what it might have been like for her. Try to even imagine that. Your son, the SON of the Most High God and actually God Himself. Talk about being on your best behavior. Shoot I probably would never ututer a cross word or threat.
Pastor D mentioned what it would look like to have your 30 year old son living with you and then taking off for 3 years. That part I can imagine!!
Did Mary have any idea what would become of her Son? Probably not. I think God might have spared her the anguish of knowing what lay ahead.

What impressed me so very very much yesterday was Mary's last words recorded in the Bible. It was at the wedding in Cana. You know, the story of the wedding that ran out of wine and Jesus performed His first public miracle by turning water into wine (that's one wine I would love to have tasted!!).
Mary asks Jesus to help out and He chides her by saying "My time has not yet come".
Mary then tells the servants at the wedding:
" Do whatever He tells you."

Those were her last recorded words.
What PROFOUND words. 
Scud and I talked about those 5 words most of our way home from church.  

Those are the words I wish I had known earlier in my mothering role
Those 5 words are the BEST advice any mother could tell her children.

Do whatever He tells you.
Obeying God first and foremost.

Those 5 words are now going to be part of my prayer life. For myself, for my children and husband and for you.        

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thankful Thursday #2

It is a wonderful thing to be thankful.
But so often we forget to be thankful. We think it in our heads, and sometimes for me and not often enough, I return and thank God for the answers He has given for the prayers I have prayed.

Two years ago I had the privilege for 3 weeks to be the summer staff boss of the most amazing group of college kids I had ever met. For 3 weeks, we worked hard, played just as hard, got real, cried, laughed and enjoyed each other's company. It was incredible the bonding that took place in just 3 short weeks. One of the girls who came was from the South, She had lost her mom over a year before but she had the MOST sweet spirit. Babs told me about the book "1000 gifts" and I quickly ordered it on my Kindle.
I got home and started to read it, but somehow it didn't "grab" me. Must have been what was happening in my life because for the life of me, I don't know why I didn't get it.
But this winter I picked up the book and WOW...I was blown away by this sweet midwestern farmer's wife who challenged me to become aware of all the blessings I have been given. Thank you Ann Voskamp for sharing Eucharisto with me.

So its Thursday again and I am glad to be share with you what i am thankful for at this given moment.

. Babs-for introducing me to this life changing book!!
. Scud-for loving me and knowing when I need that extra hug. for putting up with my tears.
. Cody and Riley- ok you might think I am crazy for being thankful for my dogs-but I love them.
. For the rain we had the past few days-our grounds need it desperately and it kept the fires from going completely out of control.
. My Chico girls. Our year is at the end and I have learned so much from them and am thankful that God has allowed me glimpses into seeing the women they will become.  
. My YL region of NorCal/Nevada and the generosity they showered on Woodleaf.
. My 2 staff friends who I mentor. Who knew how quickly I would love them and be changed by them.
. That I will get to be with one of my kids on mother's day. Hasn't happened in quite awhile but so looking forward to Katie's visit.
. That my 4 kids love JESUS. What more could a parent ask for? But I will still keep praying that each of them will go deeper.
. For my 2 son in laws who both love my daughters so well.
. For strawberry season!!! Need I say more.
. That I will get to have a vegetable garden again this year.
. For the amazing blue sky I am looking at right now and the sun that will warm the day.
. the elliptical machine-its keeping our hearts pumping.
. For an amazing visit with 2 friends last weekend-so great to grow still in our faith in our 60's.
. And looking forward to a wedding in 2 weeks where I will see so many of the NINTERNS again. Scud and I can't wait.

There is more, but I gave myself 5 minutes of typing.
I hope you can take at least 5 minutes and give thanks for the blessings in your life today.             

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I have always been known as a flexible person.
Not flexible as in a gymnast-this older body is not what one would call flexible and adapting to new positions of body contortion.

Flexible in the sense that I can adapt to change. I don't know how many managers I had during my nursing career; all I know is that there were plenty of them. I would miss some of them who were phenomenal, and breathe sighs of relief from those who seemed to be marginal. The change of a boss never affected my job-how I performed my everyday tasks.

I would miss dear friends who would move away, or the ones who never lived close I would decide that distance would not affect our friendship.
When my own kids left to go to college, I would have an ache in my heart that I no longer was needed as an everyday mom and miss their physical presence in our home, but I learned to adjust and kept going on.

Probably the most significant challenge I had in being flexible was moving to Woodleaf. I never anticipated how hard it would be. I mean, I knew I was moving to an isolated place, but what I had not expected was the deep loneliness I felt. I came here as a wife with nothing to do. I had no kids to take care of and I didn't have a job. I didn't have much of anything to do and that was extremely hard on me. Eventually, in His graciousness, God took me thru the painful period and gave me something to do in ministering to college kids.

We've had numerous changes here at Woodleaf in the 6-7 years we have been here (Scud has been here 7 next week and I have been here 6). 
In Young Life camping, people come and go. They come and we get to know them and adopt them into our community, and then they might transfer to another camp and we say good bye and our hearts hurt a bit, and then someone comes to replace them and the process starts again.
From when Scud began his job here, there is only two people that are still here and I can think of at least 24 that have come after us and since departed.
So you learn to adapt-you have to.
And I anticipate a few more changes in the next year.
I anticipate one in a month that will leave me with the biggest hole.
My friend Tiffany, who I met five years ago when I started doing Young Life College at Chico, quickly filled in and became our office summer intern when one of the employees quit suddenly. Within 3 months of leaving, she came back as our Retail Manager, a position she has filled absolutely incredibly for the past 3 1/2 years. But now, being the beautiful, fun loving, people loving person that she is, she has felt an itch for awhile now to move on, which I understand. I mean afterall, how is she going to find someone to love and cherish her here in the middle of nowhere??
Her leaving will leave a HUGE void in my life. We have done life together, I have been her mentor and she has been my confidant and the one person I absolutely trust (besides Scud) at Woodleaf.

I know this change will be wonderful for her and I truly am excited for her. I will anticipate the stories she will share with me and I know we will continue our friendship and see each other. Its just that she won't be my neighbor anymore. I can't call her to come over for dinner and a glass of wine. We won't be doing bible studies together. I won't have to or won't be able to comfort her in a break up like I have done. I will miss her beautiful face and her cute outfits, and Scud and I will have to watch the CMA's without our favorite country girl.

But she is going to a new adventure that will be challenging and exciting all at the same time. She will get to see and even live for awhile with her very best friend and her husband and hopefully will meet the man I have been praying for-for her, very soon.

Me? My life will be the same here. The excitement of the Woodleaf summer and getting to know and love the interns is on the horizon. But this time, the change will be very hard, very lonely, and yet I anticipate that God will use this in my life to reveal even more treasures of Himself to me.
Flexibility is not what it used to be. Maybe I am "old" because old people don't adapt as easily. Or maybe I will just miss the dear dear gift that God blessed my life with abundantly these past 5 years.

Here's to you Tiffany Lynn!! May God bless you as you transition from here to there.