Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Other Side of the Door

My husband Rob got to know this incredible 65 year old woman who has given her life to serve widows and orphans as a missionary in Haiti. Rob went to work with her several times in Haiti and then she came to Bellingham with her oldest son and they stayed with us at our house. When they came, we of course let them know mi casa es su casa- make yourselves at home. We said “Help yourself to the fridge, the hot tub- whatever you need.” One night we stayed up visiting and then everybody went to their own rooms pretty early to get a good’s night’s sleep.  

Rob and I went  in our room and got ready for bed. I was ready and got into bed. What was about to take place illustrates that we should have been a couple on a reality TV show. I was lying on my side of the bed, waiting for Rob to turn out the lights and come to bed and out of the corner of my eye I see big motions and dancing around. So I look up and see my 6 foot something husband in an 1980’s cotton, blue and white striped bathing suit 12 sizes too small, that I had borrowed from a 5 foot short friend. It began ripping at the seams and Rob’s body parts were hanging out the sides of it! It quickly became evident that men fit differently in women’s bathing suits than women do ( just in case you were wondering.) And to top off the outfit, Rob was a dancing around like a ballerina doing hip hop! “What are you doing” I say?  Keep in mind his motions were making a lot of noise and I began laughing hysterically…. “Hahahahahahaha!!!”  I was thinking it was hilarious so I begin egging him on with my laughter! “Hahhaeeeee!!!!!!!!” And then it was like time stopped and we both realized the same thing at the same time-“ The hot tub!” The hot tub we invited the missionaries to use was right outside our window and the blinds were completely open. We freaked out realizing that these missionaries were going to think that my husband was a cross dresser and this was our nighty night ritual. I jumped up on the bed and peered out the window. They weren’t out there. I was like “YES-oh good YES – Phewwwwww!”  Then we realized all of the dancing, laughing, jumping, bed noises and excitement probably sounded like something else was happening in the bedroom, than was happening in the bedroom.  My husband being a cross dresser would have been a better option than what all the commotion was telling them! All night I couldn’t wait to wake up and say to those missionaries: “Good morning! What you think was going on, on the other side of that door, is not what was going on, on the other side of that door! Do you take cream in your coffee?”

doors by laura

It is so easy to misunderstand what is happening on the other side of a door. In the same way that we misunderstand and make huge assumptions about people, we also do this with God. We assume God is as lame is the father who never showed up. HE is the one who did nothing when we most needed it. He is an uptight God who is ready to ground us at an instant. He is here to break up the party. HE is a God who will have nothing to do with real people with real problems. He is a God of the do-gooders and the rule followers but not a God of someone like me. He is an angry God and fire breathes out his noise waiting to blow his fiery snot on anyone He wishes. He is a God who wants to send everyone to hell that lives messy lives. He is a workaholic and too busy for us. God is manic and likes us one day and not the next. We have all these assumptions about Him. And yet God says in Revelations 3:20HereI am! I stand at the door and knockIf anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

There is this sense that God waits at our door and He knocks and He will keep knocking and we can let Him in and He will be with us. But there are so many assumptions that keep us from opening that door. The Bible tells us of a God who wants to be known by us. He wants to be known by us so much so that He reveals himself to people over and over again. Very often Jesus was caught saying “I am”, followed up by a description of who He is.  Maybe if we began to look at Jesus for who He says He is rather than who we assume Him to be or who others say HE is… we might be very upset to realize that we kept the door closed for so very long and behind it was the most beautiful, just, good, patient, gracious, God we could ever imagine! Continue to know Jesus for who HE says HE is and you won’t be able to help letting him
in to all the rooms of your life!

Ride to Redemption: Brenton Lafeen

 If you have ever wondered if bigger dreams were possible for your life and how you could possibly travel from where you are to where you hope to go- take a listen to this story. I remember meeting Brenton in the back pew at the INN University Ministries in Bellingham, WA. The first time we sat down to chat (in a Sunday school room) he shared his feelings of unworthiness to do anything spectacular or even out of the ordinary. He had resigned to working in tire stores and packing meat. Though there is nothing wrong with either of these two things, Brenton was miserable doing them and had begun to believe he was capable of little else. Jesus got a hold of His life and as an intern this year, Brenton has literally transformed right before our very eyes. He has begun to believe big things for himself! And that is an amazing sight to watch unfold in someone’s life!  I am impressed by the courage it took for Brenton to tell this story! How good it is to hear stories that remind us-God is evolving who we are becoming! I am excited for the ride ahead!
– Willow

A Prayer: by Elisabeth Moore

 I met Elisabeth after I spoke one night and she immediately opened her journal and read me a poem she wrote. I loved that she so openly and passionatley was trying to put words to her story in her own way. A week later we sat on a park bench one sunny afternoon looking out at the bay in all it’s splendor. She began to share with me her story. She has been through so much and she finds herself in a place with God where He is showing up right in the heart of her dorm room and speaking to her in the midst of her anguish, memories and pain. Everything she wanted to throw out about faith, Jesus has invited her to do just that. And now she writes about her collision with God as HE rewrites His collision with her. – Willow

Now

I lay me down to sleep

I pray

The Lord my soul to keep

Things were constant. Familiar.

One accustomed to the grinning

To the bearing it.

Song and Dance

Bow your head

                        Bend
your knees

            Close your eyes

Were we taught to love?

Nature or Nurture

I wrote my essays in the language of love

I learned that it was all a lie

            To learn?

To believe?

He left us seven fold.

Homeless and breathless.

Less Home. Less breath.

I refused to go.

Does a child regret?

8 years

Was I to be surprised?

I feared the chaos. The pandemonium.

Everything was coming together

From sunniness to doom to order

CRASH

A cloth pulled from under the table

Lectured for two hours under the table

Told to be this

Taught of that

All things were made of lies

His throne is built in a house of lies

            Did He exist?

                        No

 “Eli, you know you will go to Hell.  I don’t want you to go to Hell”

Is it so wrong to doubt? To ask?

I doubted.

I denied.

I still do these. I lie to myself.

But He spoke to me.

In flesh

In person.

In Bellingham. In Washington.

In the USA. In North America. In the world. In the universe.

It was in my time of pain.

He willed me while the whole thing was falling apart.

God’s oath fulfilled.

Now

I pray

Get Off the Bus

Sometimes you hear stories that inspire you to act. This story is one of those for me. 

Last year after returning from a mission trip with me, a young college girl new in faith, named Sabby was doing her recycling job at Western one morning. She had a specific route she had to follow and found herself at the bottom of Nash Hall doing just that, when a young man’s body fell through the trees and landed on the tennis court right in front of her. This man, Tim, had lost all hope and jumped out of 7 story dorm building and Sabby was the first responder. She called 911. She saw the blood gushing out of him. He was still alive! It was the absolute worst nightmare anyone could ever experience. When the medics got there, they pushed Sabby back. She saw him take his last breath. For months, Sabby replayed the horror, the images and sounds, wishing she could go back and erase the whole thing, wishing she could have done more to save his life or others like him.

Struggling through all this, Sabby was on a bus two weeks after Tim died. As she looked out the window she saw a guy crying. Then the next time the bus stopped she looked out the window and saw him again!  She kept seeing this man who was foot even though she was in a moving bus. She said to a girl she didn’t know “If we see that guy again, we should get off the bus and help him.” I imagine that girl looked at Sabby like she was crazy! She kept seeing him! She knew God’s Spirit was telling her to do something, so she got off the bus by herself and went up and tapped him on the shoulder. Crying, he said “what do you want?!” She said “Do you need anything.” He responded with confusion and skepticism, “what do you want from me?” She said “I just want to make sure you are ok- do you want to talk?” And so Sabby sat on the curb of some sidewalk downtown while this man poured out his life story. Two and a half hours later, he said, “I was on my way to kill myself before you came after me? Why did you?” She said…..

“I believe Jesus takes care of people when they are hurting and He sent me.”

Thank you for inspiring me Sabby….It blows my mind what God can do through us when we respond to His Spirit, His
move and the opportunities He puts before us.  I have a feeling that more and more lives could experience hope, rescue and purpose if we pull the stop cord, set aside where we are in a hurry to get and enter pain. Will we be a people who live getting off the bus?

All of Me: by Caroline Williams

Caroline is an amazing young woman that I met while she was in college. She now struts her stuff in Washington DC trying to bring some light to the political world. She has big dreams and goals and is one of those people you know will see them come true. I am astounded by her honesty in sharing about the box that she set aside…Listen to her as she lays out the idea that God wants all of us, even whats in that box. – Willow

My wounded collision happened just before I met Willow. Looking back now, it’s incredible to see how our paths intersected right about the time I was recognizing my own brokenness and discovering my journey towards wholeness (I have found God to be pretty sneaky when it comes to this kind of timing). My wounded collision and its aftermath taught me three things about God:

1) Nothing is hidden from Him

When I was younger I was deeply wounded by men in my life, men whom I placed great trust in. Their actions towards me left me feeling totally betrayed and convinced me that men cared only about satiating their desires and nothing else. In response, I built a fortress around my heart that I would allow no man to ever cross. I buried those memories and hurts deep down in my fortified heart – packed them neatly into a box, shoved them in a corner and forgot about them.

That is, until Jesus collided with me.

I grew up in a Christian home and discovered Jesus – the prodigal, real, and life-changing guy He was – in high school. I was active in my youth group and college ministries and knew that I had an abiding relationship with Him. What I didn’t know (truly know) was that Jesus wasn’t just satisfied with the happy, friendly, go-get-‘em side of me – He wanted all of me. My hurts, my fears, my insecurities, and the box hidden deep in my heart– He wanted it all.

Spring break of my sophomore year of college, I was at a church conference. At the end of the message, one of the speakers gave an altar call, specifically for all those in the audience that had been a victim of sexual abuse or rape. I found myself standing up from my seat and making my way to the front even though I had never been a victim myself. I remember thinking when I got to the front, “what am I doing here? This altar call isn’t for me! Once they find out I was never a victim of sexual abuse they’re going to make me sit back down!” And that’s when the Holy Spirit reminded me of those broken pieces and hurtful memories that I had buried deep down in my heart. Breathless, I heard Jesus say to me: I see you. I see those broken pieces. You may have tried to forget, but I have never forgotten. I will make you whole again.

2) You are never to unredeemable for Him

Let me be clear, this collision was not something I had been praying and fasting and seeking God for. Not. At. All. In fact, I had spent the previous 4 months running in the exact opposite direction of His redeeming love.

I had gotten myself deep into a relationship that was not God’s best for me (I think Christians like to call this type of relationship, “searching for love in all of the wrong places”). To make things worse, I knew what I was doing was wrong. The entire relationship I was sick with guilt. I so badly wanted to be loved, valued, and admired by a man that I was willing to sacrifice everything else in my life to have those fleeting moments of happiness. I had tried praying and asking for direction from God, but every time I just felt overwhelming silence in response.

When Jesus collided with me, He pushed past all the ugliness I had surrounded myself with, knocked down the wall I had built around my heart, and rather than condemning me (which I rightly deserved), He redeemed me. Rather than speaking punishment, He spoke life. Rather than declaring negative consequences, He spoke hope-filled promises. Rather than rejecting me, He reminded me that I was chosen and redeemed for a specific purpose.

3) His promises are better than you can imagine.

The journey towards wholeness is never an easy one – picking up broken pieces, surrendering each one to Jesus, and then letting him put you back together takes time and tears. But the journey is so worth it.

Today, I get to walk that journey with my husband – a man whose goodness, kindness, generosity, and leadership I am completely undeserving of. I assumed this journey towards wholeness would be one I would walk on my own, but God decided that using a man to heal the wounds that men inflicted in the first place would be best. He can be so funny sometimes.

The Bible says that God’s Word will not return void, meaning that it will accomplish what He said it would. Every day I cling to His promise that because of Jesus’ suffering, I am made whole. And every day I am grateful that He collided with me, in all of my brokenness, and dumped His grace and healing and purpose on me.