Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In my last post I reflected on my Exodus. My journey. Well, I'm on it to be certain. Yeah, there's been a bit of wandering but there have been revelations as well. I can feel deep changes taking place in my life, my self, my soul. Like a deep tissue soul massage. I've got knots and kinks in my heart and in my thought-life patterns. This extended soul road trip has been desperately needed and I'm praising God today for loving me so much.

Going deeper in my relationships with people is what set off a chain of painful yet healthy events over the past year. Stuff's come up. Stuff's come out. I'm getting to know me and the Lord in a whole new way.

Honey seems tasteless to a person who is full, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. Proverbs 27:7

2 years after I gave my life to the Lord I began serving on staff at my church. I loved to serve and I loved my church very much. I enjoyed helping others and it gave me a sense of significance that I was longing for. I met so many people and I felt loved by them. I also enjoyed being busy. Quiet and quality time with God was always interrupted. I typically found myself working on my Sabbath. But it's for the church, right? So it's okay. It's for the Lord, right? So this must be what he wants me to do. What baloney.

So whereas I was loved by many people and I felt love from God. I was floating just under the radar when it came to intimacy. Did people know facts about my life? Yes. Did people know what brought me to my knees and then eventually to the Lord? Yes. Did people know what was going on with me when I would grow down and frustrated about life. Errrrh...sort of. Hmmm. Well...not really.

In the past year that I have not served in ministry, I've had the chance to reflect more deeply on what's ailing me and work with a wonderful counselor. It was then I began to see some patterns in my life. I could see that I had issues with intimacy. I put the connection together that this was probably why I had remained single for so long.

Some of the biggest symptoms were that I couldn't successfully handle conflict or criticism. Which is what marriage is all about, right? Seriously, this is the mark of a healthy, strong relationship. This is honesty. This is authenticity. Yeah, it sometimes hurts when someone tells you you suck. But this dialog can contribute to how we grow. In godly relationships, truth is spoken in love. At the foot of the cross I came to some great truths about myself and my past. I also came to understand the depth and breadth of God's vast love.

I avoided conflict at all costs (not too hard to do when you don't choose to delegate say YES to way too much work then isolate yourself with it even to the point that it's killing you...). Criticism hit me deeply. (after all, a "martyr" doesn't want to hear she sacrificially killed herself for you the wrong way... or to put it another way, no one can bust you on your unhealthy behavior if you're always serving them like a dog, can they?) My behavior was really manipulative now that I think about it.

My name is Danielle
In my life, being a leader was how I received accolades and praise. When I stopped leading, the praise grew dimmer. People criticized me. People criticized my relationship with Radford. Throughout this time, I kept thinking of the meaning of my name, Danielle. It is from Daniel, which means "God is my judge." I kept thinking this over and over and telling myself not to worry about what other people might be thinking. I was living for an audience of one. It was difficult to climb down off my post at church and say that it was going to be all about me, for a time. Well, it was going to be all about me and my relationship with the Lord. Just me and Him. Cleaning up.

Charles Swindoll wrote:

"Hypocrisy permits us to travel both sides of the path--to look righteous but be unholy, to sound pious but be secretly profane. Invariably, those who get trapped in the hypocrisy syndrome find ways to mask their hollow core. The easiest approach is to add more activity, run faster, emphasize an intense, ever-enlarging agenda."

My hypocrisy, my profanity has been that I haven't trusted God with everything and that I was offering my busy life to God instead of my aches and wounds. How hypocritical I was to think that the Great Healer was there for those who hurt worse than I do. How foolish I was to limit the Lord and not take my burdens to him. For my weaknesses and my pains are really my transgressions, the wood plank in my eye.

When I gave my life to Christ, I was transformed in a very dramatic way. A lot of the anxiety I had felt was swept away. Much of my depression was gone. Knowing I was loved by God, that I was no mistake and that God has a purpose for me life was cool clean water to my thirsty soul. And I was a woman who was so broken. Christ's touch was soft and loving. Understanding and saving. But the causes of my anxiety and depression were still within me. I've been dealing with these issues for the past year with Radford's encouragement and the encouragement of my closest friends and mentors. I am learning it is going to take some work to break free from those strongholds. It begins with forgiveness of those who have hurt me. This is where I'm at right now. My prayer is that I can forgive fully and be rid of the hurts. To even get to this place has been tough. I am in the beginning of this process.

Oh Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? don't you know that the LORD is an everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or wear. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find strength. They will fly high on wings of eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31

One thing that attracts me to my husband to be and to my closest friends is their desire to grow. I connect with them because they also understand there's a freedom in Christ but that we won't get there unless we take some necessary steps to break free from these strongholds. Practically speaking, this involves examining our relationships with people and identifying where things went wrong or where thing are going wrong. And then trusting God to walk with us on the journey of conflict, confrontation and forgiveness.

I want to be strong for the Lord and allow him to strengthen me and direct my life. I believe I am still on that Exodus away from slavery. The promised land lies ahead. Or maybe to the left. Or maybe to the right. Hmmmm...I'm not too sure but I have faith that after I've finished my wandering and fighting these battles, I'll be with him forever. I'm learning too that sometimes in the wandering there is a plan, there is a purpose and even sidesteps can bring us one breath closer to the Lord. He's just cool that way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What am I doing here?

I've been in Northern California for close to 3 months now. I'd like to say that the majority of my time has been spent looking for work. But actually, the majority of my time has been spent worrying about finding a job and worrying about my finances.

I do look for work. I've been on several interviews but nothing's panned out yet. Meanwhile, I spend a lot of time in my apartment just thinking...

I'd like to say that "the Lord's got me in this place" but I think instead that "I've got me in this place." And this is just a sick way of thinking. I'm just being honest here with what's going on in my head. This pity-party is what I'm fighting right now.

I battle worry and concern. I'm asking God for guidance. This is supposed to be my Exodus, right? Not the MOVE up here, friends. The exodus of my life, the exodus from my old-self to the new creation I am in Jesus Christ and that means getting away from the slavery of my anxieties and worry. That's what I long to break free of. That's what has kept me bound. That desire to control. That desire to know what's up ahead. Eish, I hate it.

David wrote in Psalm 34:

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

I have deep issues when it comes to my financial security. It was an issue for me growing up in a single parent home. I won't go into the full story here but I began working at an early age and I've always been determined to provide for myself. But it is the Lord who provides and who will provide for me. The Bible says "the love of money is the root of all evil." I haven't made money my God. I believe my worry over it is what's lording over me at the moment. I ask that the Holy Spirit would help me break free from this worry.

To start on that path to breaking free, I sing His praises. I sing in a loud and somewhat akward tone. I sing with a dry throat and shaky voice but I'm singing and I know, God, you are listening...

Lord, I praise you for this day
for your unending mercy
for being so BIG that I kept running into you
for being so loving that you'd forgive a wretch like me
for calling me to rest
for cancelling my debt
for teaching me what love is and helping me turn from my old ways

Lord, thank you for my blessings
for my fiance' who called to read me an inspirational devotional this morning from his car before he went into work
for my friends who write and ask "how can I pray for you"
for my friends who text message me notes of encouragement
for the chance to become a step mom soon and grow as a woman
for my new church
for all the new people I am meeting and enjoying


So you might be wondering why I put up a photo of a squirrel eating a pancake. Well, something about it appealed to me. Maybe because squirrels aren't supposed to eat pancakes but the pancake showed up none-the-less. I think that's what I'm waiting for. I'm waiting for the Lord to do something unexpected.

I'm waiting for my pancake.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I had in mind an idea for a post tonight. It was going to be about "being thirsty" and the "living water" that is Jesus Christ. The theme of being thirsty and desiring a drink from the living water has been in my head a lot lately. I think of how thirsty I am for God. How parched I feel at times. And no matter what I drink, nothing quenches like God.

Jesus answered (to the Samaritan woman who was drawing water at a well...) "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14

This truth sounds so good to me. I believe I can taste that clear clean water in my soul...I believe I have seen enough of life to know what bad water tastes like...I believe I know what a dry, cracked soul feels like...and just knowing this promise exists and is real compels me to speak of it...

I searched for a time for a good photograph. I wanted one that depicted someone who was thirsty or taking a drink of water. When I searched on the word "thirsty" I found a lot of different types of photos. Mostly of dogs or cats drinking. I found a lot of photos of thirsty people drinking beer or soda. There were even quite a few photos of monkeys drinking from fountains.

I found one photo of people at a finish line. I thought, I'd be pretty darn thirsty after finishing a race. Yeah. I believe the "thirsty" tag was appropriate for this photo. I could relate to feeling thirsty at a race.
Actually, I'd be pretty darn thirsty while I was running the race. I'd be the one to stop during the race and take a drink before moving on. I get THAT thirsty. I'm not a very disciplined person. I would probably start the race dehydrated and figure I'd get a drink along the way. I would probably have a hard time even finishing the race because I'd be too busy thinking about how thirsty I was. I suppose that's life for ya. I mean, races.
Then I saw this photo of a cat drinking from the toilet. I appreciated this. My sister's cat used to drink from our toilet. Drinking from a toilet is what I can only describe as "practical yet disgusting." One is thirsty and the toilet is unoccupied and unsecured. It would make sense to some...if you're a cat.

I wonder if a cat believes it is getting away with something when it drinks from a toilet. Much like when cats will try walking across countertops or tables they know they've already been shooed off of.

And then there's always the other reason: to a cat, the water probably tastes fresher because toilets are often flushed more frequently than water bowls are changed.

But still, it's toilet water, right?

So I am thinking more about the living water. I am thinking about where I go when I'm thirsty. What am I drinking? When I'm parched for the living water, why do I sometimes find myself head down into the toilet?

the t.v. toilet
the internet toilet
the radio toilet
the anxiety and fear toilet

John wrote: "and the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations." Revelation 22:1-2

Imagine. Water so pure it feeds the trees of life and from such trees nations are healed. Imagine what it would heal in me.

Lord, tonight I come thirsty.


This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrafice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10

My journey changed once I knew this. I came to realize that it isn't about what I can do for the Lord but what he has already done for me. It was tough for me to comprehend the kind of love that had no requirement other than to accept it. The kind of love I was used to was performanced based. And it was usually me performing.


Hi Everyone. Well, Hi Anyone. I'm not sure too many people are checking out this blog these days seeing that I have not tended to it in some time. I thought to start a new blog recently when I had the urge to write. I set it up last evening, but it didn't feel quite right. Guess I needed a bit of the old landscape.

The photo above was taken not to far from where I am living now. I moved 2 months ago from Southern California to Northern California. My landscapes have changed.

Here, the beaches are cold but I would say they are more majestic. But you know, different is different. Different isn't necessarily tough but it IS different. I am slowly getting used to my surroundings. I believe it feels like home, yet I do miss my friends. Heaven help me, but I miss Orange County and I suppose, knowing what I'm going to do when I wake up each day.

These days, I'm seeking work. Radford suggested I use this time to write and seek the Lord. He's right. I'm taking a step of faith tonight believing that if I write...just a bit...God will meet me on the journey up what feels like a mountain.

I am not sure what I'm going to write about. I've had some serious writers block this past year. A thought comes to mind...a thought leaves it... It's been this way for a time. I should write from my heart. I'm asking tonight that God would help me to express my heart.

What I can say is that by God's grace I've experienced an even deeper transformation. I believe this past year for me has been a year of tremendous growth and healing albeit sometimes painful.