Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Our Dreams Aren't Dead


We all have them...some just tucked in your pocket for another day.  Sometimes we pull them out and gaze at them longingly...praying that they will someday be a reality.  However, as we get older, I would venture a guess that they have been tattered and torn...the picture fading.  It is too hard to make out the image...the image that you thought you were going to be.  So, instead of carrying them with us, we have put them in a storage box with the rest of our memories.  When we have time and are encouraged to clean house, we get the box out and open it to find the treasure.  However, it is now a relic, one to reminisce over just like the note from Chrisse, your best friend from 1st grade. "What a wonderful time we had together!  I wonder if we will ever meet again?"   We don't think we will ...but deep down we hope we do.

I have pulled out the box.  I look at the picture.  I wonder if I need to mourne the loss of my dreams like a friend of mine has said he has done.  I don't want to.  There is still a pulse. 

How do I reconcile the life I currently have and share with so many with a dream that I had when I as just a child?  A child with few worries, responsibilities, and attachments.  To be completely honest...when I became a NEW child of God, my dreams grew and took on more meaning.  They were intense and resulted in what some would call neurotic behavior.  I would do crazy things like get up a t 5:00 AM (I didn't have to be there until 9 AM) to meet a coworker that had a reputation for partying like a rock star...just so I could catch him alone to give him the Gospel of John.  I was courageous and not afraid to do things on my own....I would sign up for the prison ministry.  I would talk to everyone I knew about Jesus...even my family.... *gasp*!  But I wanted more...I wanted a radical life shaken up by the dangers of serving God...by trusting him for my bread...daily.  Trusting Him that he would save my life when I travelled to 3rd world countries.  For His wisdom when I spoke to teen girls who were giving themselves away for a night of love.  I would change the world.  

Here is an essay that was published in Francis Chan's Book, "Crazy Love".   I have included some of his comments as well:

“Since I Have My Life Before Me”
By Brooke Bronkowski
I’ll live my life to the fullest.  I’ll be happy.  I’ll brighten up.  I will be more joyful than I have ever been.  I will be kind to others.  I will loosen up.  I will tell others about Christ.  I will go on adventures and change the world.  I will be bold and not change who I really am.  I will have no  troubles but instead help others with their troubles.
You see, I’ll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age.  Oh, I’ll have moments, good and bad, but I’ll wipe away the bad and only remember the good.  In fact that’s all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest.  I’ll be one of those people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan, a world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back.  I’ll set an example for others, I will pray for direction.
I have my life before me.  I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy.  I will do everything God tells me to do.  I will follow the footsteps of God.  I will do my best!!!

Brooke Bronkowski was a beautiful fourteen-year-old girl who was in love with Jesus.  When she was in junior high she started a Bible study on her campus.  She spent her babysitting money on Bibles so she could give them to her unsaved friends.  Youth pastors who heard about this bought her boxes of Bibles to give away.  During her freshman year in high school, Brooke was in a car accident while driving to the movies.  Her life on earth ended when she was just fourteen, but her impact didn’t.  Nearly fifteen hundred people attended Brooke’s memorial service.  People from her public high school read poems she had written about her love for God. Everyone spoke of her example and joy.  I shared the gospel and invited those who wanted to know Jesus to come up and give their lives to Him.  There must have been at least two hundred students on their knees at the front of the church praying for salvation.  Ushers gave a Bible to each one of them.  They were Bibles that Brooke had kept in her garage, hoping to give out to all of her unsaved friends.  In one day, Brooke led more people to the Lord than most ever will.  In her brief fourteen years on earth, Brooke was faithful to Christ.  Her life was not wasted.  

I pray that I will not squander the time I have been given!

I have to be completely honest here...I am being biased and one sided as I write.  This life I currently have is wonderful.  I am so grateful for all that I have been given.  The Lord took a tattered and torn teenage love affair and turned it into a beautiful marriage.  One of trust and true love.  He took a heart of obedience and turned it to a insanely cute two year old daughter.  I have a nice and safe home with 2 cars in the garage and friends and family that most would be envious of.  I have a truly blessed life.  I have been given much.  The gratitude for all I have brings me to the place where I want to share it with others.  God calls us to this.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)
The Lord is asking...am I willing?  Am I willing to break out from my everyday normal and dare to be the person i want to be...to look at my picture of my dreams daily and believe...no matter how tattered and torn they may get.

I am really interested to know if others have mourned their dreams and have moved on or if they too have found a pulse?  Please leave a comment:-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Am I Willing to Give Everything for One Thing?

It has been two weeks since I walked into that prison.

Two weeks since heaven brushed close against me.

I have been to the women's Franklin Pre-Release Center (FPRC) many times before with Epiphany Ministry, but this time I left with an uneasiness that has been by my side ever since.  My restless spirit that is trying to tell me something.  Something important.  This is the treasure found at the bottom of the ocean...the one that divers spend all of their time and resources to bring up.

It is important to know that this wasn't an ordinary weekend.  Epiphany (and all its name implies) never is.  Miracles of lives being resurrected from the dead happen here.  Broken hearts experience healing and restoration..desperation turns to hope...bitterness is overtaken by forgiveness.  Yes, this happens in the world around me all the time...but not in such a small concentrated period of time...not that I get to witness.  The power overwhelms me.  The power of Jesus Christ.   Which brings me to the point of the treasure.

It is a truth that I already know...that I have already found.  However, it will cost me something if I want to truly posses it fully.  It will cost me everything.  Just finding this truth, doesn't make it mine.    

A deep sea excavation is dangerous and costly.  Will it be worth it? 

I am usually not affraid to dive in and start exploring the depths of myself.  I want to make changes and knowing is half the battle.  However, this truth isn't that pretty and a little scary.    

You see....I think I am going to have to REALLY CHANGE!  I think God is showing me that I have been playing at being a Christian.  That I have talked the talk but have rarely walked the walk.  My husband and others would say that I am am being too hard on myself...that I am a perfectionist...one who is never enough.  

There might be some truth to that, However, I don't want to stop reaching for the Life that I am supposed to be living.  Especially when Jesus Christ gave all he was and had to reach for me.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.   Matthew 13:44-45
I am the treasure and Jesus is the man who sold everything.  Gave everything...His life on a cross.   Shouldn't I be willing to give all in return?  With Joy!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finding Beauty

From Ann Voskamp's "Beauty Challlenge" :

This week, the first of greying, raining November, I'm seeking beauty, gathering grace, seeing if I can fill the emptiness with bits of the found glory, bottles becoming vases for unlikely loveliness. ....[to] find evidence of His Daily Art, become aware of His presence in the improbable and common.
Here are a few places I have found beauty:

Ann's Post of Beauty in Vases

I will tell others that I have been Redeemed!

No Words....just happiness!

Sometimes the beauty is found in soft wrinkles and a tender God filled heart...Corrie ten Boone.

Blogs I am thinking i might need!...even though they might be Shabby.

Pretty Bluebird Notes here.

I hope you find beauty in your day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Did I Miss when I was Unaware and not Listening?

You danced?...You were singing?

Lord, I am amazed by You

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord, I'm amazed by You
Lord, I'm amazed by You
Lord, I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

You paint the morning sky
With miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For You hold me in Your hand

How deep, how wide
How great is Your love for me

If you have the time  May I encourage you to click on the link and dare to be aware!  

Dear Lord, I pray that you would help me (and all of us) to be aware of you and the beauty of your love.  That we would be filled to overflowing and share that love with others.

Music and lyrics by Jared Anderson
© 2004 Vertical Worship Songs
CCLI# 4221021 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lifting God High ...

...means I must go low.  

I realized this morning that I haven't had a good conversation with God the past couple of days. When I bent my knees and bowed my head... instantly, I knew there was something coming between me and my God.  I have been trying to worship and be in the presence of the King without confessing my sins to him.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Why is it that I am so prone to forget that am a sinner in need of a savior?   Not just for my salvation from hell, but for my daily salvation from the hell I can create for myself here on earth.  When I exalt myself and start to think I am capable of being in control of my life...when I start lifting myself high..I will fall.

Here are some verses:

Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

1 Samuel 2:7
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!

Job 36:7
He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Hebrews 7:26
Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens

Friday, October 16, 2009


God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
   But never knew I this;
   Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart, -- Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me, -- let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Childhood memories are flying around like the wind, today, ...stinging just a little.

Alone.  Behind my grandparent's shed.  An 11 year old girl and already having a hard time being known.  I watched the "popular kids" from my class playing basketball down the hill about 100 yards away.  Yet...I kind of enjoyed just snuggling with my kitten.  Loving her so much it hurt.  Thinking I could hide there forever.  

Sitting on the end of the dock.  Feeling the warm rays of the sun on my face and my toes swirling in the warm water.   With my parents as owners of the restaurant and floating marina, it was my playground in the summer.  And as much fun as I had playing and laughing I also have the memories of solitude and reflection.  I don't know what I thought about as I looked across the great body of water.  I just remember the beauty in the gazing.

The morning sun would pour into our living room through huge glass sliding doors.  In it's illumination, I would sit in awe of the picture painted for me to take in.  The lake ran in front of our house about 100 yards down the hill, the trees cleared out just enough for a beautiful view.  Sun danced like diamonds and trees would change their leaves with the seasons.

I told my mother that I felt like the rainbow in that great Missouri sky was made just for me.  She assured me it wasn't.  I knew it wasn't JUST for me...but it was for me.

"Memories?", me starting to question my thouguhts.  "Why the tears?"

"I just can't hold thee close enough! I have been stretched apart - the Lord has made the world too beautiful!"

Photo of Lake at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park by Eugene Barnes as posted by Franklin County Metro Parks on their Facebook Page

The Poem was the first I memorized and loved...even though school made me do it:-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A wart!

Three days into my blog and already warts start to appear.

No post yesterday. It was in my head but didn't make it to page. WART!

I wasn't the best worker yesterday. Tired, slow and ineffective. WART!

I might have offended coworkers with my loud and opinionated views. WART!

I waited until midnight last night to do my bible reading...cramming it in. WART!

My outfit, yesterday, ended up feeling like a Halloween costume. I felt like a WART!

Yesterday didn't start the way I had it planned. It really started the night before. Going to bed at midnight didn't give me much energy to get up at 6:00 AM to spend time with God before the day started. I managed to pull myself from the chains of bed just in time to get my physical self ready for the day. My physical appearance started to reflect the inner reality.

I had worn that outfit the weekend before...I got compliments. However, my legs would be cold, so I pulled on a pair of patterned tights that I rarely wear. My mirrors aren't full length, so I wasn't aware of my appearance until I went to the bathroom at work. I opened the door to reveal myself in the ceiling to floor mirror and was... embarrassed. The tights somehow made me look like I was wearing a witch's costume. I told Husband about it later that night on the way home (we both laughed hysterically) and I changed as soon as I got in the door! No big deal, really.

I wish the inner warty self was as easy to get over. It is these warts which can easily make me feel as if I am not a very good Yvette. That God looks down and is disappointed in me and is shaking his finger. It is these warts which keep coming back, reminding me that I have a long way to go. I have taken care of these warts before ...many times...I thought they were healed.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. " (1 John 1:8-9)

Warts...reminding me that I have a long way to go which in turn drives me back to God. Just having them and letting them all hang out for others to "enjoy" wouldn't be very nice. However, what if they are there so that I continue to come back to God. To receive his healing, so that I can then go out into the world and tell them..."YOU CAN GET RELIEF FROM YOUR WARTS TOO! THEY DON'T HAVE THE POWER TO DESTROY YOU AND YOUR SELF ESTEEM!" "God is Faithful and just will forgive YOU and PURIFY YOU!"

Healing, cleansing and purifying...just words...until you experience them from the hands of a generous, graceful, forgiving, loving, tender, hopefull and faithful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord, thank you for the warts...not so I can go out and offend people but that they bring me back to the foot of your cross. Back to your loving and outstretched arms that take me back every time. Thank you for encouraging me by also completely healing some areas of my life, by bringing me further down this road of righteousness. May the scares remain so they remind me of your miraculous works in my life. My love pours out for you because you first loved me.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daily Bible Reading Plan ....Again!

I usually don't start my bible in a year reading plan in October.

The usual and customary date is January 1st.

However, It seems that February is the usual and customary date that I end my bible reading in a year plan. So, I will not wait for that 1/1/10 date to do something meaningful and habitual in my life.

Dear God, help me to seek you and your word every day and to be filled by your fresh and satisfying food for the soul.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why I FINALLY started my Blog

Why have a blog?

I guess there are more reasons than I could possibly immagine. Mine is pretty simple.

First, I need a spot to hold some of my thoughts as I navigate through my daily intake of the internet and world around me. I have favorite blogs I have bookmarked, but it is the interesteing "off the beaten path" kind that I need to keep track of with ease. Hopefully, this will be an effective way to do that.

Second, I also wanted a place where I could record my "1000 Gift List" that Ann Voskamp inspired. I want to be a part of a community that gives thanks and glory back to God. and then shares these blessings for the good of the community. I have gained so much from Ann's lists. She inspires and encourages me so much.

Third, I am hoping that this will be a sort of "accountability" tool for me to sit and talk with God in the morning. He is always drawing me towards Himself and the mornings are really the only time I feel as though I can have uninterrupted time with him. I need His word and his spirit to help me throughout the rest of the day. The time will actually be spend before the post, but I pray that the post will be an honest reflection and response from our time that we spend together.

Here are a couple posts I ran across this morning regarding this very practice which I felt were helpful to me:

Thirsting after God - How can I truly "drink the cup of Jesus"?
Spending the morning with God - I especially liked the passage from George Muller. A great reminder to go to bed early so we can get up early.

One thing I want to stay away from is to come on here daily and say something profound with a goal to change the world with my intelligence or loftiness. I really just want to be me, warts and all. Maybe God can and will use this broken vessel....but it won't be by a post directed on my own. By his Grace, He will meet me here and hopefully I will receive Him and His offer to have our daily morning coffee. Dear Lord, may I always receive your invitation.