Wednesday, August 24, 2011

from glory to glory

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.                     --2 Corinthians, 3:16-18

I read a devotion today from Dine with Me by Jana Spicka. It's about a woman with an alabaster jar of perfume, thought to be Mary Magdalene, who poured out all the perfume on Jesus. Really expensive perfume. It cost a year's wages. Think $30,000, $50,000. Not cheap. She poured this perfume all over Jesus in front of loads of people who thought she was trash. She was weeping, sobbing, in front of all of them. And she didn't care. She was there to pour out on Him, cry out to Him.

In her devotion, Jana talks about how she (Jana) was ardently praying about all the people the Lord had given her, about wanting to pour His love out on them, to be faithful, to take care of them-- she ended her prayer saying, "Lord I want to make a difference." What she heard in response stopped her in her tracks: "I want to make you different."


I had forgotten that glory starts with poverty, nakedness, desperation, confession. It starts with pouring out all you have on the Lord. It's so easy for me to allow guilt to drive me to that place of works, of striving. Of making things prettier than they are.

Yesterday I got together with Stephani to talk about money and budgets, to really hash through it. I can make a budget like a champ- the numbers look awesome on paper, and all the numbers work out. But I never do it. I never walk it out. And one thing I started to see yesterday is that I have a ton of guilt where money is concerned. And that guilt drives me to hide. And hiding with money drives me to do things with my money that are wrong. I misuse it, abuse it, overspend it, and spend it foolishly. And before any of this offensive behavior happens, I make a budget that covers over all the sin. But it doesn't work. Stephani looked at my online bank statement with me. We added up all the money I brought in and all the money I spent on food. It was thoroughly embarrassing. I know I can do good things with money; I've walked that way before. If I have something to save for, I can be really faithful with my money. But if I'm just living day to day, if I have nothing I'm pushing towards, or if I'm just lazy and out of shape with my money, bad things happen. There's something going on in my heart where money is concerned. I feel entitled to it. I want more of it. I want to do what I want with it. To write this, to know this is true about myself right now, disgusts me.

So today I was reminded that glory starts with poverty, nakedness, desperation, confession. Even some humiliation and disgust. And unveiling the ugliness is the first step on the road to glory. It's just so... ugly. 

Lord, please reveal all the lies that I believe about money, how I relate to money, and how I relate to You. I am desperate and helpless. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the best debt collector ever

I got a call this morning. It was an 800 number. Not the usual number from SunTrust calling about a late payment, but I looked at it and heard very clearly that it was indeed SunTrust. I answered without fear.

And there was a woman on the other end- a real person! She was upbeat and cheerful, and she totally brightened my day. We chatted about which day to withdraw the funds from my bank account, what had happened, and a girlfriend of hers who lives in Nashville. She was the most genuinely pleasant person I'd spoken to in a while. And she was a debt collector. I hope they pay her a lot of money, because she deserves it. I don't even remember her name. Thank You, Jesus, for the amazing SunTrust woman today. I needed to chat with her. How odd this life is sometimes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hello Nashville!

Here I am! I got to Nashville and walked straight into a house of adults and children cleaning up after dinner, eating dessert, and playing. Very chill. Very easy. After the kids were in bed, I got a movie at Redbox and Josh, Jenelle, and I watched He's Just Not That Into You. The perfect Valentine's movie! More people joined us, we did some pull ups, and hung out. It just... flowed.

Now my teeth are finally brushed after I assaulted them with sugar all day, and I'll be ready for bed once I post the final blog in my 40-day devotion.

So much fun stuff to do tomorrow! Applying for a job, checking on some demo gigs, planting the first seeds of the year, checking out an apartment, biking around the city. Exciting and amazing how things come up and fall into place.

It's now I want to know the difference between making my plans and dreaming dreams with Jesus. It's so easy to get stuck in the rut of my own plans. But I've asked Him. I'm eager to see & hear His response. Dreaming dreams... Our dreams. Show me how it's done, Lord. I have no idea. Thank You. Amen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ready... set... launch!

What a weekend! Everything's really coming together right now- my Daniel fast is wrapping up; tomorrow is the last day of my 40-day devotion and the day I move to Nashville. And I'm not stressed out at all! YES!!! I was telling some friends of mine on Thursday that this is by far the most graceful transition I've ever walked through... at least this end of it has been graceful. So much peace, and welcomed change within!

I experienced the Unhindered retreat yesterday, and that was a huge blessing! I'd never had anyone wash my feet before. I would love to say more about it, but it's hard to do that since the experience was so stinkin personal. Just go to the link above and read about it. God is good.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

For Colored Girls

We knew it wasn't your ordinary Tyler Perry movie. Drama. No Madea. But WOW is it harsh. You could get PTSD from watching it. Just when you think a situation couldn't get any worse, it does.

And I guess it's a reality for a lot of people- abusive, alcoholic husbands; cold, dead relationships; a crazy mother tortured by her own pain into treating her two daughters like scum; date rape. But it's so much worse than all that description. You can see all the darkness and death everywhere- it seems to be eating people alive, flouting life, mocking even sunshine. It makes me wonder how similar this movie is to the reality that I'm about to move into in Nashville. How much of this stuff happens in Chestnut Hill? Will I recognize my neighbors from this movie?

All that's left to do is go. Go and shine Light into darkness. Pour out to be filled up again. God, teach me how to be broken bread and poured out wine. Teach me how to love extravagantly. Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

small changes

Sometimes it's the little changes that really let the Light shine through. I just experienced one of those. Whee!

I was revisiting a yoga DVD I haven't been acquainted with recently, Yoga Beauty Body by Ana Brett and Ravi Singh. Really nice but also decently challenging today. It was near the end of the video, and we were doing an exercise where, sitting cross legged, you hold your arms out to the side and rotate them in big circles backwards. With your middle fingers pointed out, eyes closed, and doing breath of fire.

So there I was, moving in the pose. And of course on the video, they're chatting about how this exercise is helpful for the lymphatic system that drains through the shoulders as well as for the heart. They added that there are lots of emotional blockages in the shoulder and heart region, and that this can help them, too. La la la. Heard it all before...

...but it caught my attention this time because I noticed something that wasn't there. A blockage has been removed since the last time I did this (it's been a while). A big blockage. An important one. It's funny how we're all one piece, and what manifests in your body is coming from what's going on in your emotions, will, etc. In the past when I had done this exercise, there was a point where the arms were going up and back where it was like a snag every time, especially on the left side. It was slightly annoying, slightly frustrating. But I'd push through it because it wasn't physical pain, it was... odd. And while I was pushing through it, I could feel my face contorting because of this snag; I felt the internal struggle presenting itself on my visage. (How often do you get to use the word visage? Score.)

And lo and behold, I just finished that very DVD tonight, and there was NO SNAG!!! Totally clean. Amazing! But it wasn't like there was just the absence of a snag- this is God at work, and He gives. He is completely generous. Besides the gift of my awareness of this development, I discovered a growing light, and it effortlessly danced onto my face in the form of a smile. And it kept growing. And in my spirit, I saw a picture of a heart, previously broken, now bound up and healed, with rays of light shooting through it. YES!

And I just kept smiling and smiling. God is so good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Transition in process

I have to say I'm really thankful for this week in limbo. It's given me some time and space to spend with friends, finish packing... and let it sink in that I'm really moving. Really. There are big changes ahead, and I am excited... and the tiniest bit nervous. I rarely have such an overarching feeling of peace and YES in moving forward. It feels so graceful, and I am so grateful. Makes me wanna laugh and jump up and down on the bed!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I had my first recording experience today. Just me and a fancy microphone with my young friend Justin at the computer. It wasn't scary like it could've been. I didn't get any sort of physical signs of nervousness like if I'm performing live. But I didn't get energy from a crowd, either. Give & take, I suppose.

We did Sweet Georgia Brown first, and it was a fast arrangement, and high. But technology is amazing, so he dropped it 2 steps and slowed it down a little, and that made it much easier! The next song we did was All of Me, one of my favorites for sure. I must say, I'm a little intimidated by ballads. By negative space, by slow tempi. But we found a great arrangement of this tune, not a ballad by any stretch, but definitely slower, inviting. And I rocked it! Especially the third take.

And I learned a couple of things. Closing your eyes while singing helps. It really does.
Another thing- there's something to that jazz diva thing. Not diva in the temper tantrum sense, diva in the commanding sense. But not selfish either. It's hard to explain, but in my mind's eye, there was a sharp little black dress with a belt, black heels, and a sleek hairdo. And it made a difference you can hear. How awesome is that! Can' wait til I'm wearing the little black dress.