Thursday, May 21, 2015


What happens when you don't recognize someone that you should?
Are you embarrassed? Taken by surprise? Bewildered?
Does it happen to you? It has happened to me and I think all three of those adjectives have described how I felt at that moment.

I remember looking at wedding pictures of one of my daughter's friends. She was stunning and breath-taking beautiful. But I didn't recognize her. She did not look a thing like herself. This bride was beautiful in her "normal" self, but with her hair and makeup done professionally, I did not recognize her at all.

There are those moments too, when you meet up with a friend that you haven't seen in a long time, and they have either lost or gained weight, or their chemo treatments have re-shaped their looks and you are silenced by your lack of knowing them.

If you are my age, or if you know an incredible amount of people, you might see someone that you know, but for the life of you, you can't remember their name or where you know them from, and quite embarrassingly they remember you. (best tip I ever received in dealing with this type of situation is saying something like I forgot your last name! and then hopefully, that will help you remember their first name!! and please God, don't let it be somebody I really should know).

But don't worry; you are certainly not the only one who has not recognized someone. Fear not, there is actually an example or two from the bible of this.
In John chapter 21, (this is after Jesus has died and been resurrected) a number of the disciples had joined Peter to go fishing. They had fished all night and not caught a thing. Meanwhile the sun comes up, and on the beach is Jesus. And these guys did not recognize Jesus.

Here is the story from the Message Translation:
 1-3 After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”
3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.
5 Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
They answered, “No.
6 He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”
They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”

So I read this and have questions.
1. Was Jesus' resurrected body completely different from the body He had while living?
I assume that it must be different. Otherwise, Mary Magdalene would have recognized Him by the tomb. And these disciples, the ones who walked with Him for 3 years, day in and day out, they didn't recognize Him.
2. Does that mean I often fail to recognize Jesus too?
Obviously yes, and you probably do as well.

Obviously, Jesus doesn't appear in bodily form here on earth presently, (although someday soon He will!), but I wondered how often do I miss seeing Him in people, in situations?

We have a "thing" in Young Life that we call, "Jesus sightings". These are the examples that we see Jesus in our daily lives, that normally we might miss or quite possibly never even thought that Jesus was in that situation.

Do I see Jesus in the homeless person I see on the street? That needs my help and more often than not, I ashamedly turn away from looking at them.
Do I see Jesus in those who might suffer from mental illness? Or do I view them as crazy and mixed up? Do I ever wonder what I would be like having that form of disease? Do I ever seek to understand them?
Do I see Jesus in the impoverished people of the world? Do I help clothe them or feed them as He has asked us to do?
Do I see Jesus in the members of my family? The ones who might need my help or support? Or am I bothered by them?
Do I see Jesus in the young mother, with screaming toddlers, seeming overwhelmed? Do I ask her if I can help? Or do I criticize her in my mind for not having children who behave?

Do these type of questions make you wonder how I could possibly link them to Jesus?
It is because this is what Jesus has told us we must do. In Matthew 25, Jesus told us:

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

So I don't want to miss Jesus. 
I want to recognize Him in the faces of people I encounter everyday. I want to meet their needs if I can. 
I believe that in doing so, I will see Jesus.
I will see how He has done similar things in my own life.
He wants me and you to be looking for Him throughout our days.
Ask Jesus to give you the vision to see Him each day, to recognize Him, to open our hearts to those we might normally not.

We might not see Jesus physically, but we can see Him everyday if we just keep our eyes and our hearts open to His leading.

Brandon Heath wrote a song just about this

These words from his song, completely say what I wanted to convey:
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

May we each have the eyes of Jesus to see who He wants us to see.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Re-post from Last Year

Mother's Day 2014

Tomorrow is Mother's Day-you know the Hallmark manufactured day to celebrate moms in America.
I actually have always like this day because it is the one day of the year that is just for me. I know I am selfish-that's a given. But I share my birthday with my husband-so birthdays aren't really special-especially the last one we celebrated.

This year though, Mother's Day seems a bit harder to accept.
I think about those who have lost their moms this past year, and how tomorrow just emphasizes the loss again; as if you weren't grieving enough.

I think about those who have lost their child.
They may have other children, but they lost one and their lives will NEVER be the same again.
There will always be the empty ache of the deep longing for their child.
My heart aches tremendously for them.

There are some women out there who have given up their child for adoption because in reality, that was the most loving thing they could ever do. They didn't have the resources to care for this child, and so they entrusted them to someone who could love and provide for them. They never stop remembering. This day brings again the sadness. Someday they might just meet the one they "gave up" but really "gave more" so that their baby could have life.

I think about the women who will suffer greatly tomorrow for they have lost their children to child slavery, or sex slavery.
The mothers of those sweet innocent Nigerian girls are aching and hoping.
Mothers throughout the world are missing their children who have become lost-or mostly kidnapped by very evil people for their own monetary gain. I am praying with you.

I think about the women who have suffered miscarriages and those who are unable to have a child.
Both are CRUEL. Both leave an emptiness that most of us can't comprehend.
But I know how hard it is for you on this day. My heart really hurts for you.
I pray that God will someday give you a child-whether it be from your own body or thru adoption.
And until that happens, that you can "mother" others children. Afterall, one mother just doesn't seem enough.

I have been gifted with four children, three from my body, one a gift from God.
They have blessed my life. They have challenged me and made me a better person.
I am so grateful for Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan.
Thank you LORD for letting them be their mom.

For those of you who are hurting and grieving, know that there are plenty of us, who will be praying for you tomorrow.
If you have a mom-thank her for her sacrifices and love.
If you are a mom, thank God for the privilege.

Whose Voice are you Listening to?

There was a time when I could not differentiate between two of my children's voices. Yes,I said I couldn't tell my kids voices apart.I think they were about eight and ten years old. I would call home from work to see how they were doing, and would listen to them tell me what they were up to, before I knew if I was talking to Kristi or Todd.
Indeed, it is strange for a mother to not know her own child's voice, but I really could not tell them apart. 
Thankfully, as they grew, it became much easier.

We hear so many voices. We are bombarded with countless voices that come our way. Whether it be on the radio, over the phone, on the TV or even through the internet, we are constantly hearing so many voices.
And what about the voices we hear in our heads. Our minds replay people's voices over and over again. Some of them are great words to hear. Last night I went to sleep hearing again the voices of our dear friends Jimmy and Sarah. We spent a wonderful evening together, just the four of us for our last time when we live in the same place. There was affirmation and encouragement (and quite a few tears), and I know I must have had a smile on my face as I drifted off to sleep as I recalled things they said to us.

Mostly though, the voices we hear in our heads are not so positive. We tend to replay the negative voices. We remember how we have disappointed or failed someone. And it keeps playing over and over again in our minds. Why do we tend to remember and replay the negative words and don't remember the positive? Wouldn't we be so much better off if we concentrated on the good things people have said instead of the bad?

There are other voices we hear.
Often times we don't know where they come from.
Is it our own thought? Is someone else inside my brain?
And it is in those type of thoughts, and the negative words of others, that we too often stay.
Are they real voices? We seem to believe that they are. Because we concentrate on them, dwell in them, and then fall victim to them, thinking they must be true.

EVERYONE in life fails. 
We all make mistakes.
We all have heard negative comments.
But do we need to live in them? Believe them?
Those we view as successful have heard negative things, have doubted themselves, BUT the difference is they start anew, begin fresh and go after what they are pursuing.

The past two mornings, I have been reading in the book of John (chapters 9 and 10) from the Message translation.
In both chapters Jesus asks a question and makes a statement about His voice.
In John 9, Jesus asks: 
                       "Don't you recognize my voice?"

That is the question I now put to us. 
Do you know and recognize the true voice of God in your life?
With so many voices coming at us, in all sorts of directions, do you know the voice of Jesus?
I am confident that if we don't spend time with Jesus everyday, we may not be able to tell His voice from all the others. If you know me at all, you know that I am a HUGE advocate for reading the Bible daily. For me to know Jesus' voice, I have to know His Word.
Because it's in His Word that He most often speaks to us. I am extremely grateful for one woman who emphasized this to me (
You could also look at the Archives heading in my blogs and click on God's Word to see how much it means to me.

But for me, to be in the Bible, to know God's Word, helps me know the voice of Jesus, helps me discern whether that thought in my mind is actually true and from Him or from any of the many voices I hear.
In John 10, Jesus begins to talk about how sheep know the Shepherd's voice and then He calls himself, the Good Shepherd.
                      "and the sheep recognize His voice. 
                       He calls his own sheep by name and           he leads them out...He leads them 
                       and they follow because they are 
          familiar with his voice. They don't
          follow a stranger's voice but will
          scatter because they aren't used to
          the sound of it."

Do you know the SOUND of your Shepherd's voice?
Do you have trouble differentiating between His voice and others?
Are you a bit like me, wanting to hear more from my children, so that you can decide if it really is Jesus' voice?

PLEASE don't assume the voice you hear inside your head is from Jesus. Check it out. Look at His Word to see if it aligns with what it says.
LISTEN to Him. Spend time with Him, so that you can know His voice.
Don't you want the true voice be the one you really pay attention to?
I for one, certainly do. And pray that you will too.
Too many voices vie for our attention. Be careful, very very careful. Listen for the Voice of Truth. 
As Jesus has said:  "I am the way, the truth and the

The voice of Jesus will always be life giving.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

ONE of those NIGHTS

Last night was one of those nights.
Except last night was the end of an era.
It was the last night of my small groups.
For seven years now, I have left my home and made a 110-115 mile round trip to Chico, anywhere from one to three times a week to meet with college and post-college gals to talk about Jesus. To learn more of His deep love and concern and care for us. 30,000 miles on my cars, new tires, crazy mountainous driving, all to experience life with "my girls".
I remember my first group. There were seven gals who were Young Life leaders in Chico that just wanted to grow in their walk with their Savior. We met in Christie's apartment that she shared with Tiffany, who later joined us. We studied the Psalms and we got to know each other and share our stories. I remember vividly deciding to share my story first so that they would learn how to be vulnerable and not have to worry about "what will she think if I say this?".  Their leader had a sordid past, so they could be as honest as they wanted.

The following fall, we began a study of frosh girls that I asked Christie to help me lead. I had the name of one gal from a friend who was an Area Director in San Diego. That gal brought five of her friends from her dorm and we had three girls from Chico that stayed in town to attend college join us. We investigated Jesus and His claims to be God through the Nooma videos. Half of the girls did not know Jesus, so the discussions were lively and I tried my best to answer their questions.
I also continued to meet the gals that I started with in another bible study.
Sometimes we would meet at 7AM and other groups would meet at 7 pm and then I would try to meet with these sweet girls individually during the weeks as well.

Can you imagine what it would be like to meet for seven years with girls that are in college, really trying to figure out life for themselves, often for the first time? To share life, the ups and downs, the trials, the struggles, the questions, the joys, the happiness and the sorrows.
What a privilege I was given to walk with them, encourage them and offer suggestions when asked.
There were also the times when it wasn't fun. When I had to confront them about areas in their lives that were contradictory to what their Savior desired and/or commanded of them.
It's alot easier to be their friend than the bad cop. Sometimes I wish I could have ignored their behaviors, but that wasn't what God had called me to do. But I also was privy to their secrets, their fears, their hopes, their questions about the future.

To watch these amazing, life-loving girls grow into the women God envisions them to be is one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever been given.  To watch them fall in and out of love, to watch them marry their guy, to celebrate their marriages is a wonder to behold.
To help them pick up the pieces after a break-up or comfort them in the loss of loved one are examples of times where I could only rely on Jesus to give me words (when appropriate) and just hug and be in the moment present to them.

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't always good times and wonderful.
There was heartache as I watched some of my girls walk away, instead of, to the Savior. Or see them choose to marry a man who didn't share their faith. And then came the feelings of inadequacy and failure. Life is full of disappointments with tears, but also full of surprises and laughter and joy. Why would I not expect to encounter both in these years of sharing life with my college friends?

The bible studies we did (OH Beth! we your SISTERS love you!), the books we read, were all geared towards strengthening their individual relationships with Jesus, but also fostered community and vulnerability and deep friendships. What a blessing to see these young women form lasting friendships.

My drive home last night was etched with  the memories of each small group, each girl. I was reminded of how full my heart is -even right now. What an awesome privilege I have had.

So to Christie, Erin, Co, Chomps, Sam, Hilary, Dana, Carlie, Morgan, Bri, Robin, Casey, Katie Mann, Emily Brooks, Cambria, Katie Mesa, Molly, Julia, Sarah B, Lauren, Katie Lee, Caitlin, Kristin, Kendra, Emily Green and Sarah LaSalle, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the extreme privilege of walking with you through such critical and forming years of your lives. I will NEVER EVER FORGET YOU.

A very special shout out to Brianna Lea, the only gal I have had with me the entire time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Deeply Challenged, Profoundly Affected

Books. What is your first reaction to that word?
I have loved books since the moment I could read.
At seven years of age, My favorite books were "Sammy the Seal" and "Last One Home is a Green Pig". I read those books over and over again. I love them still. Recently, I gave them to my seven year old grandson Kellen and very happy I report, that he loves to read too!!

My dad was a voracious reader. I always saw him reading. I know that was one of the greatest gifts my father gave me, the wonder of transporting yourself into someone's story, whether it be fiction or true. I cannot even begin to fathom the money I have spent, well really invested in books.
I love mysteries, spy thrillers, romance novels. I love books that inspire me, those biographies of people I might never have heard about but have given me an appreciation for the story of their lives.
I love books that teach me things I haven't thought about, that transcend me to places I might never get to see, and that give me hope.

I can't count how many books I read in a year. I wish I could. But usually, I read 3-4 different books at a time.
This year I  read a book that was very hard to read (The Hardest Peace: 
But this book gave me hope for what awaits.

I have read spy thrillers and books that have challenged me.

One book that I just finished, is one that has profoundly affected me. I have read books by author Henri Nouwen, that cause me to stop and contemplate and listen to God in ways that I never would have imagined. Nouwen has impacted my faith , along with Frederich Buechner like no others.

BUT this recent book is one that I wish I had read 30 years ago because it has challenged me, convicted me and left me wanting to be the person God envisioned me to be when He created me. Unfortunately the author would have been 15 years old to have written this book that long ago.
This book is about life with God. What it is meant to be. What being in a relationship with God is supposed to look like.
I read this book and realized I have failed often, but rejoiced also in how the Holy Spirit has led me. To me, this is a book every follower of Christ needs to read. You will be challenged, you will be convicted, you will want more.
Already I have bought copies of this book and given it-or about to give it to 12 people. I was about one third of the way through the book when I knew I wanted to share it with others. I didn't know what the rest of the book would be like, but what I had read, I wanted to pass on.

Yesterday when I finished the book, I told my husband that there hasn't been a book that has profoundly affected me like this in a very long time. It is one I will give and use in small groups, and will read over and over again with as many people as God lets me.

So what is this book?
It is " All In " by Mark Batterson
I hope you will go out and purchase this book. Or get it for your Kindle or Nook.
Just get it. I am pretty sure you won't be disappointed, you won't have wasted your money, and you will be encouraged to pursue Jesus in ways that will honor Him immensely.