Rescue is coming and his name is Jesus

This is probably one of the few times I’m going to address a cause.  Today, February 27th is the shine a light on slavery day.  You can learn more about it here: http://enditmovement.com/

My sister-in-law was brave and marked her hand with a red X along with me to bring awareness to others about human trafficking.  I say brave, because she was the one going out in public this afternoon and had to answer the tons of people who asked, “Hey, what’s that X on your hand mean?”  Since she’s afraid of nothing, she shared with others about what is actually going on in the world, and what we can do to help.

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Where two or more are gathered…

I get that it’s a small thing to put an X on your hand for one day.  I get that it’s not very hard to pose in a picture and than share it on facebook and instagram.  However, it’s not a small thing to pray for change.  To pray that the Lord would rush in and rescue.  God is a God of rescue, that is his very name, savior.

  1. Definition of savior (n)

    Bing Dictionary
    • sav·ior
    • [ sáyvyər ]
    1. rescuer: somebody who rescues somebody or something from harm or danger
    synonyms: rescuer · redeemer · knight in shining armor · liberator · deliverer · protector

Last year, our pastor shared that the region we live in is highly involved in human trafficking. From the moment he shared that, it was heavy, heavy on my heart.  In prayer I finally had the courage to ask the Father about it.  Here is what He showed me and what He said to me regarding human trafficking last year:

This word picture is a dry gulch, like a deep cavern, where water once used to flow.  It now is essentially completely dry and full of muck, you can almost hear the vultures flying above.  Insects hover above the muck, and it stinks.  This is human trafficking in God’s sight.

A far distance upstream, water is forming.  Not in an of this world, natural way, but in a miraculous parting the seas kind of way.  Each one of God’s saints (the church), is a drop of water that will all at once, without any warning, wash through and restore the gulch to fresh flowing waters, where life is once again.  Rescue is coming.

This part of the word picture also has a sound, it is the sound of very powerful, rushing waters.  This water comes fast and powerful, is is a powerful force that will take out whatever stands in it’s way.

If people are in the gulch, playing in the muck, they will be wiped out.  They don’t stand a chance.

Fresh water will flow here again.

The prayers and actions of God’s people are rushing water to clean out human trafficking.  The prayers of His saints.

That is why I am sharing this, that is why I marked my hand, because the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS MATTER.

In my study on prayer, Live a Praying Life, the author, Jennifer Kennedy Dean shares,

“Through prayer, the enemies schemes are thwarted.  Through prayer, the powers, principalities, and authorities of Satan’s realm are stopped cold.  Through prayer, all of the power and provision of God flows into the lives of His people.  Prayer brings the power of God to earth to do the will of God.” (p.59)

It is God’s will to put an end to human trafficking.

Here is the other strangest part of this word, it happened a day or two later after I received the first word.

My son who is 3, often says he dreams of Jesus in his sleep, sometimes they play trains, sometimes they see animals, but often he speaks of Jesus in his dreams.  Of course I love this and am always delighted when he dreams of hanging out with Jesus and praying for me while he sleeps.

So, the other day he says to me, “Mommy, I dream of Jesus”.  Of course I’m like, “Oh, that’s so precious, my son is so special.” you know, silly mom thoughts.

Then he said to me, “a little man touched Jesus’ privates, Jesus didn’t like it, Jesus threw him in the garbage, Jesus threw him in the water and he can’t swim, he’s drowning, he’s still there in the water.”

Initially, I was shocked at why my son would say any of this.  We shield him from everything. Then I felt like God quickly reminded me of what He had said to me the night prior randomly in the car,  “what these men are doing to these children, they are doing me”.  So I thought, what if this is a confirmation of what God had spoken to me earlier?  It matches the word picture he had just given me.

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The kids wanted to join me. All they can really say right now about why we put X’s on our hand is that, “slavery is bad”, but in prayer, that’s more than enough.

Rescue is coming.  The prayers of the saints will ignite God’s full power to do more than we can even hope or imagine.

Jesus longs to rescue these children, these women and men who are trapped in slavery.

And HE WILL rescue them.

Please join me in prayer.

self baptism and what I am learning on prayer

My question to the Lord when trying to write this post has been: how do I convey, what I am experiencing, even though I don’t truly understand it?

Here is my best attempt.  I pray it accomplishes what he intended it to accomplish.

So, I’m in a bible study on prayer this semester at my church.

And I’m reading a book on intercession.

And although I am not lost, I am feeling somewhat over my head because it is beginning to challenge some of my internal (not spiritually based) beliefs.

Beliefs such as: strong people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, if I need help, I need to help myself, if I want something done right, I should do it myself.  I’ve picked up some of that as truth, and I’ve incorrectly applied it to my spiritual beliefs regarding the church and my walk with God.   I am finding these not to be completely accurate in the world of the church and God, and it is a very humbling, pride crushing, and completely wonderful experience all at the same time.

I haven’t written on what I’ve been learning on prayer lately, because I keep waiting to get a grasp on it before I put it to words. That sounds dramatic.  I still don’t have a good handle on the depths of prayer, but I feel like it might be quite awhile until I do, so I figured I’d share even if it’s just a little bit of truth.

It’s almost like I’ve been sneaking morning walks into this misty wood, full of fog, yet beautiful and inviting.  I can only see as far as my arm will reach, and it’s as though a comfortable cloud is continually wrapped around me, keeping me cozy and safe in my little space of discovery.  I keep wanting to come back because it is so peaceful and captivating.  It is quiet and I leave refreshed. The trees are inviting, and the further I walk into the wood, the more I see, each few steps brings me to a new revelation of beauty or depth and understanding.  I am deeply fascinated by the branches and the bark, the leaves and new plants.

foggy-woods
Taken from http://bahaiteachings.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/foggy-woods.jpg

However, the last few weeks feel a bit like the fog is starting to clear out a more, and instead of only seeing what is right in front of me, I’ve got a 15 to 20 foot scope all around me.  And it’s kinda been a lot to take in.  I’m not overwhelmed, but I’m just sorta staggered by how much there is, how beautiful, how deep, how connected but unique it all is.

Please be sure to see my discovery through this lens, as this has been my general approach to my spiritual walk/life what-have you.  Here is a girl about to be baptized, those of you church-folk know you’re suppos-to let the pastor/elder church guy actually baptize you, even Jesus didn’t baptize himself but asked John to do it.

I'ma do it myself!
I’ma do it myself! I don’ need no- body’s help!

Oh, how I love that the little girl psyched herself out right before too.  I feel like I do that sometimes, “I have a problem?  Okay, “I’ma ’bout to take this ON!”  “All by MY-self, and with God too!”  “Let’s DO this!”

And that has pretty much failed lately.

I am learning that we NEED other people.

And that God made it that way, on purpose.

And it’s kinda messing with me and my idea of my independent self.  A lot.

Here’s the very brief information I’ve gathered, merely from personal experience over the past few weeks regarding prayer:

A few weeks ago, the Lord gently suggested I ask to be prayed for at church regarding the migraines I’d been having.  I didn’t.  Then I regretted it.  So, a week or two later at church, I felt like I should be obedient, and I inquired about where one would go if one wanted prayer.  I was told that there was a prayer corner, where others in the church could pray with me after service, or I could put in a request to have some of the elders of the church pray for me.  I went home and decided to think about it.

I wanted to do the prayer corner thing, because it seemed less “bothersome” and attention drawing.  BUT, I prayed about it and asked God what he recommended.  While in prayer, I saw in my mind a picture of my friends husband (he’s an elder in our church, the only one I of know actually), praying for me, and putting oil on my forehead and me being healed.  I took that as a go for the elder one, so I obediently put in a request to have prayer from the elders for the migraines.  Even though it wasn’t my first choice.

A few weeks later the Saturday night had come.  Davin was going to go with me.  The childcare was full before church even started and we arrived late to the service.  We wandered the isles looking for seats, when my friend grabbed us and directed us to two seats next to her and her husband – I’m going to consider that as sovereign action number one because we normally sit in the same spot every service.  I won’t list the other sovereign actions in numerical order, but it starts there.  We also ended up sitting next to a mom and her son who was around 8 years old.  During worship, he lifted up his hands just like his mama and a tear might have welled up in my eye.  Towards the end of service, the pastor said somewhat uncharacteristically, “sometimes we need others to lay hands on us and pray for us.”  My eyes got really big.  He asked anyone who was experiencing pain from something in their life to stand up, so he and the church could pray for us.  Which also doesn’t happen very often.  I stood up so fast!  Ain’t no shame in a cooperate prayer!  That’s not a bother to anyone, they are going to do it anyway, why not get in on that?  The young mom and her 8 year old boy along with my husband all put their hands on me.

The pastor prayed for people who were having pain in their minds, among other things, but he prayed a great deal for our minds.  I was like Whhaaaaaa?  I asked the Lord how he could possibly orchestrate ALL this.  Prayer in church the night I am at church to get prayed over?!?  What confirmation!  I thought to myself, God, you are so surprising, and crazy organized.

(Side Note: When our pastor prays over us, it feels like a present from God all packaged up just for each one of us.  Like Jesus saying, remember, “I love you.”)

The little 8 year old boys fidgety hand wiggled and tried to stay steady on my side.  Tears welled up again in my eyes thinking that I could be so special that a precious 8 year old boy would pray for me.

I was standing in God’s grace.  Right in the middle of it.  Doing nothing to deserve it, doing nothing to actually make any of it happen.  Just standing there, receiving it, not pulling myself up by my own bootstraps.

After service, we walked to the hallway and were greeted by four of our churches elders.  My friend’s husband was totally one of them and I was relieved to see a familiar face.

They were all so welcoming and friendly.  I was nervous but Davin was there, so that made me feel better.  I can’t tell you exactly what I expected when I thought of meeting the elders and having them pray over me, but it was completely different.

First off, they were so humble. They didn’t act like they were boss over anything, or know-it-alls or authoritative.  They reminded me of what maybe Jesus’ disciples might have been like, all different, but of the same heart.  They acted like Jesus was there, and that he was in charge, not them.  They didn’t act like they had the power to heal me, only that they had the authority to ask God to do something and intervene on my behalf.  I sorta felt like I was back in bible times hanging around his disciples. I know, it’s probably over-imaginative, but that’s how I saw it.  And, I was secretly glad to have imaginarily met four of his disciples.

Then they asked me what was going on.  I explained that since September (after the worship, prayer and healing night at my church), the migraines have been better but are not gone.  I shared how a few weeks ago, the Lord led me to be prayed over at church and I didn’t listen.  I explained I was there to be prayed for out of obedience.  I explained a word picture the Lord gave me when I asked him why I had to pray for something more than once, how he showed me my hands, full of arrows, and a large haystack target in front of me.  He told me that with this specific type of prayer or healing, it isn’t enough to just hit the bullseye once, but that the whole target had to be filled with arrows.  It reminded me of the scripture where it says in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  It was like the Lord was showing me there was a lot more to why I was allowed to experience migraines than just a simple one prayer answer.  And although I don’t know or understand all that is behind it, he does.  Each prayer that is prayed, he can interpret before God the Father on my behalf until I am healed.

Having the elders pray for me was shooting more arrows at that target.

Each elder prayed for me.  The first one, the oldest, put some frankincense and myrrh on my forehead.  It wasn’t ceremonial or serious, he was like “Ummmm, should I put some oil on her head?  The other guys were like, “yeah, sure”, “yes, good idea!”  He then read the label and said, “Ohhh, Frankincense and myrrh, this is the good stuff!  I’m totally paraphrasing, but hopefully communicating the gist of it.  We all laughed.

Then we got serious.

Each elder prayed something different and specific over me.

I remember the last one praying protection over me from the enemy.  Because so much of this experience has felt like a spiritual attack.  That was when I felt like the Lord showed me how he has given authority to men, in this case to the elders, to intercede and provide spiritual protection.  I felt shielded.

When my friends husband prayed over me, he said he saw that the the arrows were also about me teaching other people about prayer, that I would take other people’s arrows and shoot them at the target because they did not know how to aim.  That these migraines are not just about me, but will be used to show other people about prayer.  I started tearing up again because I could hardly believe the words he was saying.  This guy doesn’t know me.  He has no idea I’m reading a book on intercession (praying for others – shooting their arrows) and he doesn’t know I’m in a bible study on prayer right now, and that I’m writing all about it on the internet!

Again God was showing me that he was bigger than me, and had orchestrated this whole night.

He showed me that he is sovereign.

When we finished praying, I felt so full of life.  The last guy to pray over me said he felt like prayer and fasting was what the Lord put on his heart to share with me.

I asked God about it later, and I really felt like God put it on my heart to fast this blog, facebook and instagram last week.  I know that sounds like a lame fast, but it’s what I felt like he said.  I wanted SO BAD to write all about this whole thing the minute I got home.  But I’m glad I didn’t because more happened.

That night, I started to feel a very, very slight pinch near my right eyebrow where I typically get a migraine.  That’s all it was.  I could almost see in my mind, Jesus holding it back, pushing it back and saying, I AM keeping this from you.  I thanked him.

The night prior, Davin and I went on a date, and it was the first date in I don’t remember, when I didn’t get a migraine.  We even went go-cart racing.  Not any pain at all.  I felt like God was already honoring my obedience to be prayed over before it even happened.

A few times this week, I’ve started to feel the very beginnings of a migraine.  Instead of me just praying for it, I’ve right away told Davin, and he’s laid hands on me and prayed, and it’s disappeared.  One night I even texted my mom and she prayed and it faded right away.  This doesn’t just happen.

This didn’t ever used to happen.

It used to be that the pain would only get worse the longer I waited to take drugs.  Until it was almost unbearable.  It used to last thee days, with drugs.  Every 6 hours the pain returning until I took more drugs.

Then, the other day, we went out to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  I had started to feel the beginnings of a migraine a bit earlier in the day.  Davin prayed over me and it mostly (but not completely) went away.  I thought about texting my parents, but I didn’t want to bother them. Then at the restaurant, it started to get worse very quickly, so much so that I was beginning to feel nauseous and couldn’t’ really concentrate.  Not wanting to be a bother, I went to reach for my stash of pain reliever (which I haven’t taken since my last post on migraines) and my mom asked what was wrong.  She said, let’s pray right now before I could even pull any out.  She told my dad, and right there, in the middle of a bar during happy hour, my parents and husband prayed over me.  It wasn’t loud or attention drawing, just a quiet prayer.  I started to feel better, but when she asked a few minutes later how it was, I told her that it wasn’t completely gone.  So they prayed again for me.  And again, twenty minuets later.  Then, my migraine was gone.  The nausea was gone, the throbbing gone, the sharp grip on my skull was unexplainably gone.

How can I explain all of this?  If I weren’t the one experiencing it, I’m not sure I’d really believe it.  I would want to rationalize it, saying things like, “oh, she must have stopped eating something that was causing it, or oh she took the proper mix of supplements and that aided it.”  My mind would keep looking for a physical solution that occurred to explain it in my own reality.  Because in my reality, if I have a problem, I must do something that costs me to fix it.  I must try hard, or make it happen.  I must do something.

But I’m not the one doing anything.

Others are.

But mostly God is.

This experience is stumbling.  All my realities and truths of how things work are stumbling all over it.

Guys, God wants to heal us.  From REALLY BIG stuff.  From stuff that doctors say we can’t be healed from.  From physical pain, from emotional pain.  From our past.  From the very things WE think we can never, ever, ever fix ourselves.  Because we can’t.

He can.

And he might not even use you to do it.

He might use others.

I am learning that the reason he created the church, is so that we would be connected.  I was never meant to be able to pray for myself all the time, to baptize myself or to teach myself about God’s word with just him and me by myself all the time.  We were designed to be connected.  This is a new concept to me.  It probably shouldn’t be, because I thrive so much due to my very deep and wonderful friendships in Christ, but it is.

Sometimes God wants to use others.

Sometimes he wants us to feel the grace of being prayed over by a fidgety, adorable 8 year old boy.  To have my mom stop in the middle of her birthday dinner and pray for me, four times. So that when I walked out of that restaurant, I walked home with a gift, and it wasn’t my special day.

So, that’s all I have so far.

I am learning tons in the books, but nothing teaches quite like real life experience, which is why I am probably still in shock, because it’s easy to read about something and think, “yeah, that’s how it should work, that sounds right.”  It’s another thing entirely to live it out.  To have pain gone, for no reason other than prayer, and to not be the one making it disappear.  I haven’t bled my eyes out in prayer over this, I haven’t starved myself and fasted and tried really, really hard.  All I’ve done is TRY to be obedient (which I wasn’t even that good at), and try to ask for prayer from others when I start to feel pain.  That’s it.

That my friends is a crazy, crazy, reality altering experience, and I still can’t fit it into my box of how things should work and be and go.  It makes NO sense, not to this control loving girl.

I’m sure I will write more as I learn.  But until then I’ve figured out that God is sovereign and he intended for us to be connected and that I am not the boss of my world.

Thank you for reading.

Bandwagons and a Smoothie Review

I’m just going to start out by saying I am a fan of bandwagons.  Whether they are a real bandwagon or I make them up and get other people to join me is besides the point.  When I get excited about something new, I’m ALL IN.  I’m not saying my bandwagons are always current either, it could have been a bandwagon in the 70’s and if I just discovered it, it may as well be from the future (Bill and Ted style) I’m so stoked.

Recent bandwagons I’ve hopped onto partially or completely: the plant strong/vegan bandwagon, the essential oils bandwagon (that stuff smells amazing!), the all natural bandwagon, the homemade house cleaner bandwagon, the smoothie bandwagon, the gardening bandwagon, the buying stuff that benefits other people bandwagon (Toms, Noonday, Three Strands, Orgins Coffee).  I could go on.

Bandwagons are stinkin’ awesome because everyone on them is like, “YEAH! OUR BANDWAGON IS THE BEST!”   Apparently I like it when other people around me are enthusiastic about the same thing.

I totally get that bandwagons fade, because you can’t be on very many at once.  You have to get off one to jump onto another.  It’s possible that I  jump from two or three bandwagons to two or three more, every couple of years, with little easy ones in between.  I’m thinking about jumping onto fitness bandwagon, but we shall see, it’s still just in thought form and that one has been around FOR-ever!

On to the fun stuff!  I gave myself a time limit on writing today (because Davin and I have jumped on the yard work bandwagon).

I am on the smoothie bandwagon.  I’ve been making smoothies for about two years now, but for Valentine’s day my husband gave me a super fancy blender.  Things just got way better in my smoo-me (as the kids say it) world, they actually are drinkable through a regular straw. Prior to this I was using a Cuisinart food processor… sad face.

Here’s the thing about smoothies; there are like 3.5 million smoothie recipes out there.  My blender even came with a giant cookbook and like 1/4 of it was smoothies.  BUT, it is super lame slash borderline infuriating when I take a bunch of precious time to make a smoothie and it tastes like a compost heap or is pointless health wise.  I get that I can blend up ice cream and chocolate chips and that will taste delicious, I know how to make things JUST taste good, but that’s not the point of a smoothie in my mind.  I’m referring to an ACTUAL healthy breakfast, with like natures vitamins and stuff.  The general point of a smoothie in my mind is to:

1) Taste delicious

2) Make me feel and actually be healthy, add good choices to my day

3) An easy way to eat vegetables that take too long to cook/prepare or are boring as salad everyday

4) throw in some healthy greens to the beginning of my day to get me energized in a way that Lucky Charms won’t.

A smoothie is not a side drink to a meal in my mind either.  It IS the meal.  Smoothies also don’t generally tide you over till lunch.  I typically need an early lunch at like 11:30 or a snack till late lunch.

Now that you are real clear if we are on the same smoothie page, let’s continue.  My point of this post and any smoothie posts that follow is to review only smoothies I would make myself on a regular basis, which is why you will probably only see a few, because I repeat them.

The first one is from Oh She Glow’s sister page, The Green Monster Movement.  Here is the link to the smoothie page, it is the third drink down titled, “‘Amazing’ Cantaloupe-Banana Green Monster”

I feel like putting the actual smoothie recipe here would be blog-world cheating, and since I don’t know all those rules yet, I’ll just let you click the link and have the recipe there.  Here is the review and modifications:

‘Amazing’ Cantaloupe-Banana Green Monster” Review

This smoothie is mild and goes down easy.  It’s a good starter in the world of healthy smoothies.  The cantaloupe gives a surprisingly refreshing aftertaste to each sip.  I prepped my cantaloupe the day prior and froze it because it was starting to rot/mold on my counter and I love freezing as many ingredients as possible before I make a smoothie.  My bananas were already chopped and frozen as well.

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What-up freezer organization? I did this yesterday, and I am so proud, like almost as proud as I would be if I had taken 7th in the biathlon at the Winter Olympics. I like using dollar store Tupperware because if I crack it from stabbing at a banana configuration, I’m like, “oh wells that sucker was only 25 cents!”

I didn’t have any wheatgrass, and I tried that once at a Jamba Juice and said never again, so that was left out.

I did however add olive leaf extract because it’s another bandwagon I’m testing out.

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Reviews: so far I favor the now brand (alcohol-free and Amazon prime) is better than the Elliott’s which has 45-55% grain alcohol. It also smells like nature and looks thicker.

I doubled the original recipe and added extra almond milk (the Trader Joe’s Original) to thin it out a bit.

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One of TWO almond milks I will actually drink or use.  TJ’s Original tastes the least like almonds and most like cows milk.

It took two go-arounds on the smoothie setting with some extra milk sloshed in on the top to thin it even more.  This fed both Davin and I, and made little cups for the kids.  I like this one because one serving is 3 cups of spinach!  THREE!  Foloic acid all up in He-Ah.  And, bananas and cantaloupe are good for us and not tooooo terribly high in sugar.  It also was BRIGHT green, which made me even more happy to drink it.

So if you’re thinking about jumping on this bandwagon, this one is an easy start.  I’m going to add one of my favorites in a day or two, so keep an eye out for that if you like chocolate and pretend milkshakes.

As always, thanks for reading.

College Days

I woke up early from a weird dream, so then I lay there, praying for my family and what-not, and then my mind began to drift to days of long ago.

College days.

The main reason I’m actually writing about this, and not just putting it into my dear old diary, is that I tend to write better when I think other people are actually going to read it.  And, I know at least my mom will read this post, and that is more than enough fantastic audience if you ask me:-) Also, writing for others forces me to better concise my thoughts and reflect on them with purpose and intention rather than just letting my writing drift all over the place from one thought to the next.  And lastly, because when Pioneer Woman had nothing to blog on, she wrote about falling in love with her husband, which led her to write a delightful little book, so I’m taking her advice and writing on whatever flits my fancy because it’s fun to reminisce.

I graduated from UC Berkeley.

Normally when I tell most people this, they pause, and then look at me different, like “OHHHH, you’re SUPER smart and I had no idea.”

No, you actually had a pretty good read on the situation, I want to say… but I don’t say it, which is why I try to avoid telling people where I went to school.

Instead, I typically say, “I went to school in the Bay Area.”  It gets me off the hook from people thinking untrue things about me.  But since this post is about college, it would be weird not to state the school I went to.

When I got accepted, I didn’t know how to spell Berkeley correctly.

I wish I were joking.

But I’m totally not.

And I was slated to be an English major.

Fortunately they had invented the red squiggle line by then, so they weren’t any wiser to my terrible flaw.

I attended junior college near my home for the first two years of college.  It cost $1,000 a year to take a full load of classes and live at home.  And since I’d received a $1,000 scholarship from the Frozen Foods Foundation I figured it was a sign from the Lord.  I think I may have sworn to uphold the integrity of the frozen food business, and I feel I’ve fulfilled that dream by using a deep freezer in my garage and occasionally buying frozen pizzas and fruits and vegetables. Besides that, attending a public University at the time would have cost $11,000 a year, so it was 100% a financial decision.  The college counselors at my high school said that we could go to the local jc and then if we maintained good grades, transfer to a better University then we would have been accepted to straight out of high school, AND save a bunch of money.

I applied to Pepperdine, Cal Poly, and ON A WHIM, The University of California, Berkeley, because I thought since I applied to a CSU, I should even it out with a UC, and Berkeley seemed the least likely place to be accepted.  I wanted desperately to go to Pepperdine.  It is literally ON a beach.  I was going to be an au pair for a family friend.  It was all set.  It was going to cost $33,000 a year and I didn’t care, I at least had room and board covered.  The ocean was calling me, I was going to finally live my dream of becoming a surfer.

Because that is why you go to college.

To become a surfer.

I didn’t get accepted.  I had a 3.9 from my jc (stinkin’ art history!) and Pepperdine said NO.  I was crushed.  When I got the tiny envelope out of the mail and knew it should be thicker or bigger or look happier, and when I read the letters the said the words that told me I wasn’t good enough, or smart enough, I was crushed.  I remember following my dad around the Osh Home store, moping about among the outdoor plants section, contemplating the meaning of life.  I was sad for a whole 1/2 a day.

Then I got over it.

I found an apartment down in beautiful Cal Poly.  I put $400 down on it, and planned to live with three other christian girls.  In my mind, Cal Poly was lame, because all my friends were going there, and I wanted to make new friends, and do new things.  To go out on my own and not follow a bunch of the same christians around for the next two years.  Barf city!

You’ll have to forgive me, christians are fun and all, but I grew up in church, everything I did was saturated in church.  My dad was the pastor for goodness sake.  I started the bible club at my high school.  Two other kids and myself sat in the atheist principal’s office and stated that it was our legal right to start a bible club.  We had like 50-75 kids in that thing and we didn’t even have a CLUE about what we were doing.  There were no intelligent grown up’s leading us.  We led worship with one guitar and sometimes a cappella.  A CAPPELLA!  Can you imagine?  Who wants to come hang out with a bunch of christians over lunch and sing without instruments? WHAT WAS I THINKING?  But kids still came, and heard the gospel, and I think even a few kids might have considered that God was real, and maybe liked them, and perhaps it got them thinking about the whole thing.  Who knows, it kept me out of trouble and I was informally voted “most likely to marry a minister”, except the yearbook teacher wouldn’t allow that category, so it got nixed.

Needless to say, I’d hung out with enough christians to realize I wanted to start hanging out with people who weren’t like me – because I didn’t know anyone like that up close.  I had lots of friendly classmates who were non-christians but when I’d try and hang out with them outside of school they’d always say stuff like, “Oh, you don’t want to come to that party, it’s not your thing”, or “You should stay away from me, I’m a bad guy, I’m not good for you.”

Who says that?  People who maybe like you, but don’t want to screw you up I guess?  I say, thank goodness to that, because it was nice to be sheltered in high school, I left feeling happy about life and not addicted to anything, and feeling a bit like a nerd because I’d never kissed a boy – but I had a future husband I was waiting and praying for, so it was acceptable in my book.

Then I got a huge envelope in the mail from UC Berkeley.

My parent’s were so excited for me.

Well-meaning christians told my parents not to let me go there.  They said it would change me. They spoke words full of fear and good intention.  They were extremely hesitant about my parents decision to trust me.  To trust God.

But because I have parents who trust God at the base of who they are, they gladly helped me pack my bags and my mom even went with me to orientation day.

The pastor’s kid goes to UC Berkeley.

Scandal.

I was still in shock that I got accepted.  I was really wondering what God was up to.

The cover letter said the words, Congratulations with my name on it.  MY NAME. The folder was thick with information about financial aid and registering for classes.  It had flyers about clubs and parent day.  It had pictures of super smart kids sitting on lawns and talking.  I was in disbelief.

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The font of the folder had the beautiful words, “fiat lux”, which means “let there be light”.ucberkely

God was sending me to a liberal, non-christian school with the motto, “let there be light.”

God has a sense of humor, and apparently a lot of faith in a little bible club starting girl.

This is the school with the third tallest clock tower in the world.  

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photo credit: wikipedia

The Campanile, or Sather Tower plays the carillon every day at noon, challenging students to strive for academic greatness.  If you’ve never heard a carillon, it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world, especially surrounded by the history of this school, and the beauty of the Bay Area.  Go sit on the lawn in front of Doe Library and have a listen, and then get an expresso brownie from the Free Speech Cafe attached to Moffitt Library.  Yowza, you’ll be set for the next 36 hours of life excitement.  

This is also the school known for political protests and academic-amazingness.  Some of professors are Nobel Laureates, and fancy award getters.  There are 7 Nobel Laureates, 32 MacArthur Fellows, and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners among the current faculty.  Berkeley is known as the number one public university in the nation, last I checked.  What was I doing here?

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Cal crew (rowing) days, that’s me on the left and my bow partner, T on the right. It was the best of times!

When I was in 3rd grade, I was not a great student.  I have a vivid memory of a Monday night when I was forced to stay home from church baseball night and work on a report about dinosaurs.  This was sad to me and made me do some serious thinking.  Church baseball night was super fun as a kid, all the dad’s would play baseball, and all the kids would run around, and usually regardless if they won or lost, we would go out to ice cream and the kids would eat their weight in frozen dairy, and then I unfortunately would throw it up later that night, but that is another story entirely about my stomach not tolerating a bunch of sugar.

Needless to say, missing out on ice cream and fun gave me some time to ponder my future.  I always knew my dad wanted me to go to college.  When I was really mad at him, like SOOOO mad, I’d loudly announce to him, ‘FINE, then I’m NOT going to college!”  It was irrelevant, and he’d let me say it and mean it and he’d love me anyway and knew I wasn’t serious, but I knew he was serious about me going to school, so it was that night I decided it was time to think about my academic goals.

I sat and thought about who I was (in third grade, yes) and who I was going to be.  That night I decided I wanted to go to a really good college, the kind that was in the movies, the kind that was old, and had history and prestige.  I pictured myself on some carpeted old steps in a beautiful old library, walking down the stairs to go to my next class.  I can still see it now. That was a college where really smart kids went, and someday, I was going to walk up or down those fancy old steps and be apart of it.  I wasn’t just going to go to college, I was going to attend a really good college, one of the best.

I should share that the junior college I attended had fake bells, on a loud speaker.  And I’d walk up the steps to the library and hear them and think, someday I’m going to walk up steps to at a really good school, that has real bells, not fake ones over a loud speaker.  I’d think that every time I walked up the steps to the library.

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photo credit: UC Berkeley Website

When I walked onto the UC Berkeley campus for the first time, for the intro tour to the school I’d been accepted to but never set foot on, all my very forgotten 3rd grade memories came rushing back to me.  I saw the beautiful old buildings.  I could feel the prestige in the air.  I heard the real bells from the clock tower.  If you’ve ever been to the Bay Area, you might notice it has a beautiful smell, the smell of the ocean, the fog and the eucalyptus trees.  It’s refreshing on almost any day.

I remember standing there, but trying not to look like a fool, in a great amount of disbelief that it actually came true.  I couldn’t believe that God had remembered my 3rd grade dreams.  And I had forgotten them completely and attempted to trade them in for a surf board.  But he wouldn’t let me, and he didn’t forget.  Every time I heard the bells over those next two years, I’d stop and think and remember.  It was hard not to.  They sounded so beautiful, it was a reminder of my dreams coming true.  And I should say, every day there felt like a dream.  It literally felt like I was living in someone else’s graces.

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photo credit: UC Berkeley website

One time our professor put a paragraph on the board in Latin prior to class, and my friend next to me read it and knew what it said.  He learned Latin in his private school on the East Coast.  I knew how to make a skim board and slip around on the water in Santa Cruz.  I was completely out of my league and I loved every second of it.  Plus, no one knew I was a pastor’s kid, so people stopped treating me weird.  It was like an escape from my old life, I could be exactly who I wanted to be, and no one was going to judge me or care.  It felt like freedom.

Sometimes God puts ideas in our hearts when we are little, because that is when we will let them be deposited there.  Our hearts are still fresh and young, and not full of why-nots.  He planted those dreams in my 9 year old heart, only to make them come to pass ten years later.

I feel him attempting to plant new dreams in my heart now, but I so much more resistant.  I have all the arguments of why they aren’t possible and why they are selfish and why they are too good to be true.  Of why money should be spent elsewhere, as though God’s resources are somehow limited.  I keep hearing him say, dream.  Trust me and dream.  Dream.

A lot of my previous, seemingly ridiculous dreams (except for becoming a beach bum surfer) have come true.  So, now I’m starting to dream new ones.

I am doing this 5 day Storyline thing on the storylineblog.com.  So far I’ve completed day one, and it’s been like a month, so in a few months, I’ll have completed it.  I figured I needed some proper organization to my dreams.  I want to live life intentionally, and not be afraid to dream. I am still a bit afraid to dream, because it could mean really big things could happen, and what if I’m not ready, or good enough or smart enough?

But isn’t that the moral of my college days story?

I didn’t have to be smart enough, or good enough, or ready.  I just had to let God plant some dreams in my third grade heart and then say yes when the time came.

So much of christian religiosity and churchie-church talk is about surrender.  Surrender to God. Surrender of our hopes and dreams in place of God’s.  And it usually sounds like giving all the cool stuff up, choosing the road less traveled, taking the poor man’s path, carrying our cross. And I get that, because much of the christian life lived out is a surrender of our will – choosing to love when we want to hate, choosing to forgive when we want to hold on.  But sometimes I think we take it too far – like we think being a good christian looks like giving up all our dreams and living a mediocre life.  If I had taken the well intentioned advice of so many, many christian “friends”, I would have never attend Cal.  But I knew God had something more for me there and I wasn’t afraid to hope.  I learned WAY more about God’s love for the lost hanging out with a bunch of non-christians who liked me just the way I was then I ever could have at a mandatory skirt wearing christian college.  And it’s amazing to see how God showed up in such a crazy spiritually dark place!

What if God’s plan for your life looked super cool and awesome on the outside?  What if it looked more like surrendering YOUR lame ideas of boring-ness for God’s way better ones?  What if he really wants to you live out your 3rd grade dream?  What if churchie-church people won’t like it and it will make them frown?

Here is my favorite song about putting dreams out to the Lord.  I always ask him that I can sing it with 100% honesty, and then trust him to do the rest.  Sometimes I sing it out of giving something up, and sometimes I sing it out of accepting a big dream that scares me.

I’m giving you all my heart, and all that is within
I lay it all down for the sake of you my king
I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my rights
I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life

[Chorus]
And I surrender all to you, all to you
And I surrender all to you, all to you

I’m singing you this song, I’m waiting at the cross
And all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss
For the sake of knowing you the glory of your name
To know the lasting joy even sharing in your pain

Some of the dreams I currently have, scare the crap out of me.  They are way bigger and require much more than I have to offer.  But I feel myself being tempted to dream them anyway.  Because I never had what it took the first time, but God did.

Not to be super cheesy and leave you with a thought provoking question, but what dreams has God planted in your heart, and is there anything holding you back from saying yes?  If so, is that truly from the Lord, or is it’s motivation fear?  Because we know scripture says, “Fear is not from the Lord.” (Perfect love casts out fear – 1 John 4:18.)

Just a thought.

Or a kick in the bum to get you moving.

Come on already, if all us Christians were truly living the dream lives God has for us, this world would be a million times cooler already.  Get on it friend!  

As always, it means literally the world to me that you read this blog, and I know it shouldn’t but it does, and until God fixes that in me, it probably will.  Thank you so much for reading!