Friday, March 24, 2017

What Wondrous Love

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."--Mark 12:30-31

With everything in me, I do my best to love my lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. But when it comes to loving my neighbors as myself, that is way harder because I'm not always good at loving myself fully. I too often compare myself to others and feel like I'm not worthy. She's prettier than I am. She's so much better at that than I am.

Yet the truth is I am worthy. I have been given wondrous gifts by God; gifts that are meant to be shared. The truth is when I truly am seen, known and loved, I can love my neighbors as I love myself much easier.

God sees us.
God knows us.
God loves us...
Which is why God sent God's son to die on the cross for each of us.

Oh what kind of wondrous love is that: the kind of wondrous love God calls us to share in this broken world.




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Embrace Who You Are

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday.  The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "embrace." I love spending time with this crew. They bless me beyond words. We'd love to have you join us.  Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! 

Tears fell from her eyes as she sat and told her story. Every time she begins to unlock this story and tell more people; tears fall from her eyes as she embraces telling her story. She cannot help but live out her new mantra; words from Brene Brown "The bravest thing you'll ever do is tell your story." In telling her story, she continues to embrace who she is.

Her fingers tap across the keyboard as she tells yet another story or writes another poem. Her soul is bursting as the words travel onto the page. Words are her love language and it is words that gives her so much life. In living out these gifts, she again is embracing who God created her to be; a writer--a bearer of the Word made flesh in this broken fractured world.

She wraps her arms around her friend's shoulders as she grieves. She isn't afraid to be the shoulder for her to cry on. She wont let go until she knows her friend is ok. In this loving embrace, she reminds her friend that she is not alone in her joy and her grief. Another of the gifts God gave her as she embraces this gift in her life.

There are so many communities that she embraces; that bring her such beauty and grace. She embraces each of them with their unique gifts. There is wine, gin and other beverages spread out on the table. Snacks also for her friends to enjoy. At the table, we sit and break bread. These are communities where we embrace each other in all of our uniqueness. They are places where we are all truly seen, known and loved! 

Convicted

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."--Luke 11:23 (New Revised Standard Version)

"This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse."--Luke 11:23 (The Message) 

Convicting words, are they not? As I read this passage this morning, I found my body paralyzed by these very words. I have been guilty of being the one who scatters rather than gathers. I have been guilty of not helping. I have been guilty of sitting quietly and not saying a word. And how many of you are with me and feel very convicted by these words from Luke too?

Does God not call us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Does God not call us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Does God not call us to live out the Gospel in this world? 

The Gospel is scandalous yet God calls us to trust in God's love for the world in the life, death and resurrection of his Son. Walter Brueggemann captures this well when he writes, "The Gospel is a very dangerous idea. We have to see how much of that dangerous idea we can perform in our own lives. There is nothing innocuous or safe about the Gospel. Jesus did not get crucified because he was a nice man." (Thanks for sharing this quote Slate Project)

Jesus was the first to sit with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was the first to forgive. He washed Judas' feet knowing that Judas would betray him before evening was over. He still welcomed Peter at that same table and broke bread with him and washed his feet knowing that he would deny him three times. Jesus stood with the woman at the wall and offered her life giving water; the life giving water only Jesus could give. Jesus was all about turning over the tables and welcoming all especially those on the outside to the table.

In hearing these words today, I am convicted. I want to be the one who gathers God's people together. I want to help and not hinder the mission of God in this broken fractured world. I want to be on the side of love, and grace, and mercy and forgiveness! 

Yet it is because of my sins and the sins of all of us that Christ hung on that tree as he breathed his last. It is because of our actions and God's love for us that I am indeed convicted; convicted because of God's love for this broken fractured world.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From Captivity into Freedom

Standing in front of the television, tears fell from his eyes as the wall separating east and west crumbled to the ground. His heart yearned to be with his family and friends yet this day found him miles away celebrating with his new American friends. 

This scene unfolded as one of our foreign exchange students watched as the wall between East and West Germany finally crumbled to the ground. He watched with joy-filled eyes as he watched his people freely walk between each side of what was once the wall. 

I remember this story well. It is a story that reminds me of the power of what it means to let people in and not keep people out. I find myself deeply yearning not to see a wall put up to keep people out. Our God calls us to welcome one another with open arms. Our God calls us to love one another and not fear one another. 

In Psalm 78, we hear the words that we are to teach our children; the next generations so they will set their hope in God and remember all the good works that God has done for us. Yet oh how easily, we forget the goodness of our God. We get sidetracked and derailed by the evil one. As I read this text, my heart sank as these words so easily capture what is happening in our broken sinful world today. We forget to trust in the hope of God. We forget to share the good deeds of God that have happened and will continue to happen.

What do we want the next generations to remember and be known for? Do we want them to love our LGBTQ friends with open arms and not question who they are in this world? Do we want the world to be known for proclaiming that #BlackLivesMatter? Do we want those immigrants who have come for safety to not fear for their lives? I believe that every day God calls us to live out the words to Micah 6:8 "But what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness/mercy, and walk humbly with your God?" to the best of our ability. We will indeed fail. But we are called to pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off and try again tomorrow.

God calls each and every one of us to guide with a tender upright heart just like David guided his people. As God's people, we are also called to do our best to love and serve our neighbors and pass on faith and values from generation to generation. I am reminded of the words from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

For every time we love God's people, the wall crumbles and another soul is able to walk freely from captivity into freedom. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

To Forgive and Be Forgiven

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." It is not at all easy to forgive those who have done wrong to us; who have harmed us. As a little girl, as I had mean words hurled at me, my heart broke. I was not going to easily forgive those individuals who were teasing me. Yet when we forgive others there is a holiness that happens; a holiness that comes only in the forgiveness given to us by God.

Several years ago, I was serving on a synod council when one of our synod employees was caught embezzling money. It took everything in me to not hate this man. I finally can admit that this man was a broken sinful man who made a choice that has consequences. Yet I will never forget a story that happened in the beginning days of this case. His neighbors invited this man and his wife over for dinner. They sat and broke bread together. These neighbors wanted this man and his wife to know they still loved him despite what he had done. They knew it was the sin and not the sinner. I don't know if I could have sat at that table knowing what this man had done. Yet there is a beauty in this forgiveness.

Jesus himself sat and broke bread with Judas and Peter knowing full well what was yet to come. Judas would betray him. Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed and Jesus breathed his last. Despite his unfaithfulness to Jesus, Jesus still washed Judas' feet; the ultimate example of love and sacrifice in this world. In these moments, we are once again reminded of the power of forgiveness.

Forgiveness takes everything we have in ourselves. I think of the text from Matthew where Peter asks, "How many times shall I forgive a brother or sister; seven times? To which Jesus responds, "No seventy times seven." In other words, we are constantly going to be asked to forgive others and to also be forgiven for our own sins. We will fail, but we must continue to try again and again.

On the cross, Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." In those words, God's people are freed to forgive, not seven times but seventy times seven times. We are freed to forgive and be forgiven.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Who Are We?

Do you ever wonder if you are being deceived OR that you are deceiving others by not fully being who God created you to be? There are many days when it seems part of me aren't being unveiled; that I'm holding back who I am with the world. And it hurts. It hurts to deceive and be deceived by others; to keep locked inside huge pieces of who I am. I want to be known for my gentleness but I also want to be known for the broken pieces of my heart too.

And then I wonder, am I alone or are there others who are hurting and feeling deceived or that they are deceiving others? Sometimes that deception comes because we are afraid. Afraid of how we will be perceived. Afraid of showing the vulnerable pieces of our heart. The thing is we all yearn to be loved and known as your beloved children--complete in who you have created us to be.

There is a holiness and freeness that comes when we are known and loved; when we don't hold back any pieces of ourselves. When we are loved because of and not inspite of who God calls us to be, there is an openness and beauty to being known by the world. Yet it's not at all easy to sell ourselves and our gifts with the world.

Love opens our hearts to love each other for all we are created to be; to not hold back those damaged pieces of our soul; to not be someone we are not; to lean in to the fullness of who we are created to be. God loved us so much that God sent God's Son into the world to "save the world and not condemn it."

Is this the kind of love we are willing to fully lean into and embrace as 100% of who God calls us to be? I believe so with every fiber of my being knowing and trusting that love will open my heart, soul, and mind to be everything God calls me to be and calls you to be too!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Justified

As a good Lutheran, I can fully proclaim these words about our faith; "You are justified by faith." Justified by God's love for us by sending God's son into the world for our sins. In that act, we are reminded that we are justified by faith indeed.

Sometimes we do things that God sees as sin; in the way we treat (or don't) treat one another.  We think our own actions are justified. But a lot of times they are not justified at all. We don't "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us." God wants us to treat each other with love and respect; to show each other we are loved and known. 

In the midst of life's trials, we know that we are not alone; that we are justified by faith in God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. In Romans 5, we are reminded "And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5: 3-5) 

These words always hit me straight in the gut. I have a feeling each and everyone of us has suffered in our lifetimes. At the time, it seems impossible; that we won't get through it. But when we see the other side, we see that those moments make us stronger and change us. I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't share a huge piece of my story; living as the daughter of a woman who daily lives with a mental illness. 

Suffering does produce endurance. And endurance does produce character and character indeed produces hope. Hope had this power; this way of absolutely changing us. Hope hangs on the tree of Calvary as Jesus cries out "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." Hope is found in the empty tomb. Hope is raised on Easter morning as a declare "Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!"

In God's love for the world, Gods love is justified by faith; a faith we trust in through Jesus' life, death and ultimately resurrection. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Depths of the Sea

Have you ever found yourself on a cruise or on a boat on a body of water? I remember the first time I saw the ocean. It was so gigantic to me. But it also was a beautiful sight to behold. The vastness of the water reminded me of the power of water.

If you've ever lived through a flood, you understand how quickly water can overtake our possessions: homes etc. So the story of Noah makes a lot of sense. God was protecting Noah, his family and the animals. God knew how quickly the land would be flooded.

God is a God of compassion. God is all about forgiving us of our sins. It's why God sent Gods son to die on the cross for our sins. God casts all of our sins into the depths of the sea. At the very bottom of the sea, lie the sins God has casted aside for us. They will not be easy to find and for that I'm thankful for our God who loves us so deeply.

Yet water also can be holy. In the waters of Baptism, we are washed clean and claimed as beloved children of God. These waters remind us that on their own, they are just water until the words are spoken at baptism.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blessed by Friendship

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday.  The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "friend.". I love spending time with this crew. They bless me beyond words. We'd love to have you join us.  Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! 

May God give you for every storm, a rainbow.  
For every tear, a smile.
For every care, a promise
And a blessing in each trial. 
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song, 
And an answer for each prayer." (I just had to share this Irish prayer for today. It's so true) 

I was a kid that was picked on and teased so making friends was hard. I will never forget the day I met my best friend Mandy. She had been held back a few years because she had a kidney transplant. We grew up together. Her grandma and my mom good friends. I remember flying home for Mandy's wedding and standing next to her as she married her best friend. I also remember deeply the day my phone rang and Mandy's mom shared with me that Mandy had passed away. A piece of my heart taken with her.

Mandy was one of my first really close friends. I went off to college and began starring in plays where I made new friends. We shared in the joys and sadness of the characters we immersed ourselves in. One day our friend Chewy brought each of the girls a rose. It was an act of kindness. A few years later, Chewy moved away. And within months, we learned that he had taken his own life. A loss of another friend. 

At seminary, I made new friends too. These were people who understand the pain and agony of getting through these hard classes. We stood with each other on our days of ordination and consecration. We wiped each others tears. We prayed for one another. And even today, as the miles separate us, we still lift each other up in life's joys and sorrows and pray for one another.*

Meeting online friends is such a joy filled moment too. My sister and I rode down the elevator at the hotel. I Dane around the corner to find Val and Janel standing there. The moment Val spotted me she ran to me and embraced me in a hug that I'll never forget. The four of us drove to a restaurant where we did indeed break bread together. That week, Jen, my sister and I did too. Sitting at a restaurant with complete strangers, gathered at a table, where we would soon be served family style. A memory forever engrained in my heart and soul. 

Losing friends is never easy, but friendship prepares our hearts to love. I wouldn't be who I am without these friendships in my life. Friendships that remind me what life is about--joy, love, laughter, being together in the pain etc. I am so grateful for the ways that God has blessed my life with friends in this world--those in real life, those online etc. I cannot wait for the day that we all sit and break bread together. 

The truth is that "friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them (some old school Point of Grace lyrics)." God indeed provides faithful friends who are with us; sometimes those friends are for a season, or for a lifetime. 

Love you all dear friends!

*Where my five minutes ended, I just had to keep writing.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Joseph and His Life of Unfairness

The story of Joseph and his brothers gets me. How can Joseph's brothers treat him the way that they do? How can they want to kill him? There is something that just isn't right about this story.

Joseph really isn't doing anything wrong, yet his brothers feel he is being favored. It reminds me of other stories in the Bible involving siblings--Cain and Abel, the Prodigal Son and his brother, etc. It never seems to fail that their jealousy gets the best of them. They go to all costs to get what they want.

I teach a 2nd grade milestone class titled "Life's Not Fair" because at that age, nothing is fair. Why does my sibling get to do that and I don't? The story of Joseph and his brothers is the story we discuss. A lot of times life's not fair but the truth is God is with us even in the uncertainty and unfairness.

Killing--the shedding of blood is not the answer. Yet God sent a God's son as the ultimate example of unfairness. Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. Jesus' blood was shed for the amazing scandalous love that God has for all of us.

One of my fave Holy Week hymns is "Where You There?" Where You there when they crucified my Lord? Where you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Where we there..NO! But are we willing to live like we where? Like we truly believe in the sacrifice Christ made for us!

Aimless Tumbleweeds

“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows."-- Jeremiah 17: 5-6 (The Message) 

In the dry breath choking air, a tumbleweed blows aimlessly across the prairies. It never fails that the tumbleweed gets in the way blowing across the highway or through the fields. The tumbleweed is thirsting for water and life. Growing up on the prairies of ND, I have seen my fair share of tumbleweeds aimlessly blowing across the land. They are more of a nuisance then anything else. 

"But blessed is the man who trusts me, Godthe woman who sticks with GodThey’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts,bearing fresh fruit every season."--Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (The Message) 

Aimless tumbleweeds are a sure sign that the air and land are dry thirsting deeply for water to quench their thirst. In summers like this, one fervently must pray for God to send rain to water the land. As a farmer's daughter, granddaughter, and niece, I have seen the lines of worry across my family's faces as they wait for that rain to come. In moments like these, it is incredibly hard to trust in God, but it is exactly what we are called to do; to trust that the rains will come. Or that certain crops will still bear fruit even in the midst of an arid summer. 

"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are not as they pretend to be.”--Jeremiah 17:9-10 (The Message)

In the midst of our own uncertainty, it seems it is so easy for the world to turn to other idols. Yet the truth is that God searches our hearts and examines our minds to get to the very heart of each of us. Lent is a time for us to examine our minds and to search our hearts too. Even in our brokenness, God transforms us; making, in the words of Gungor, "beautiful things out of us."

Yes, sometimes we will wander aimlessly like tumbleweeds. But God always directs us back to the very heart of who God calls us to be. Are we willing to let God truly see who we are; with all of our flaws and imperfections knowing that even with those flaws and imperfections, we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." And as a result, God calls us to search our hearts and examine our minds to love all God's people.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Servant Who Points Beyond The World

"Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”-Matthew 20:26-28 (The Message)

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a servant is "one that serves others"; or "a public servant especially one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer."

As one called to "Word and Service" ministry, the texts about Jesus as a servant and serving others always hit me straight in the gut. My call to ministry isn't about being the greatest, but reaching out to wash the feet of all God's people and welcoming all to the table. My heart is to serve others for Jesus' sake. My prayer is that it never comes across as being about me, but that everything I do for the glory of God and serving others is for ALL God's people.

When I first went to seminary, I didn't feel the call to ordained ministry, but didn't know much about any of the other rosters; Associates in Ministry, Diaconal Ministers, and Deacons/Deaconesses (which are currently now one "Word and Service" roster). I went with the intentions to receive my "Youth, Culture, and Mission" Degree (Wartburg Seminary's Youth Ministry degree). During the course of a Master of Arts colloquim class, we began to read Duane Larson's book "From Word to Sacrament: The History of the Diaconate." As I began to read, phrases began to jump off the page at me "bridging church and world," "basin and towel" and "word and service." Those words brought me a sense of peace.

The next week, I walked into my Spiritual Director's office and said, "I think I am called to Diaconal Ministry." She asked, "What makes you say that?" I looked at her and replied, "All my life I have seen the ways that my mom has been treated because of her mental illness. I believe God is calling me to pick up my basin and towel to wash the feet of ALL God's people especially those like my mom who are often seen as being on the margins." My spiritual director looked at me and smiled; "That is exactly what Diaconal ministry is." I left her office that day knowing that this was where God was calling me. There was never a doubt in my mind.

I am reminded of the words of Frederick Buechner "The place God calls you to be is the place where the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness meet." For me, serving God's people especially those who society often deems unworthy is the place where my deep gladness meets this deep hunger.

Jesus was all about sitting with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus wasn't afraid to get down and dirty. Jesus also was about sharing God's amazing scandalous love with all the world. Jesus came to "save and not condemn the world." Or in the words of our Scripture today from the Message translation, Jesus gave his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage. This is an incredible act of love that defies what love often looks like in our broken fractured world.

Yesterday I was reading Anna Bree's piece from the Slate Project blog and a quote she shared from Evelyn Underhill in her piece The Divine Condescension captured so well the beauty of who Jesus is-a servant and Jesus' power in this broken world. Underhill writes:

"And indeed it is above all when we see a human spirit, knowing its own power, choose the path of sacrifice instead of the path of ambition; when we see human courage and generosity blazing out on the heroic levels in the shadow of death; the human agony and utter self-surrender of Gethsemane, the accepted desolation of the Cross, that we recognize a love and holiness which point beyond the world."

I am linking up with Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday.

 

 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Silent Broken World

The Silent Broken World
By Tara L Ulrich

The world is full
Of so much brokenness
But do we see it?

Do we see
Those in trouble?

Do we hear God's words
For all God's people?

Or are we blind to it?

Are we willing to interpret
Our neighbor's actions
In the "best possible light?"

Are we willing to
Admit our own privilege
And our own part
In creating this world's brokenness?

The world is silent;
Often deaf
To what we hear.
Our own silence
speaks volumes.

Jesus' death on the cross
Pierces this broken silent world;
A megaphone to rouse the world
From its own complacency.

Are we willing to
Journey to the cross
Experiencing, hearing and seeing
All that God has to offer us?

God sent Jesus
As the ultimate example
of God's scandalous love
For all the world.

Are we willing
To trust in that promise
Before this broken fractured world
Gets itself into more trouble?

Monday, March 13, 2017

God's Covenant Promise

"O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say. Yet we have sinned in every way imaginable. We’ve done evil things, rebelled, dodged and taken detours around your clearly marked paths. We’ve turned a deaf ear to your servants the prophets, who preached your Word to our kings and leaders, our parents, and all the people in the land. You have done everything right, Master, but all we have to show for our lives is guilt and shame, the whole lot of us—people of Judah, citizens of Jerusalem, Israel at home and Israel in exile in all the places we’ve been banished to because of our betrayal of you. Oh yes, God, we’ve been exposed in our shame, all of us—our kings, leaders, parents—before the whole world. And deservedly so, because of our sin."--Daniel 3: 4-8 (The Message) 

Have you ever been asked by someone to keep a promise or asked someone to keep a promise for you? In asking or being asked, we trust that they will keep the promise for us or that we will keep the promise for them. Yet sometimes we sin and break that promise. Breaking a promise doesn't feel very good, does it?


God make a covenant promise with each of us. Yet every day we screw up and sin--in every way imaginable. One doesn't need to look far to see the evil things that have occurred. Or to see the ways in which we have rebelled in the world. Or the ways we have taken detours instead of your clearly marked paths. We are guilty of turning a deaf ear to your servants the prophets. We are guilty of having blind eyes to our neighbors who are in need of our love and protection.


In watching the daily news, my heart breaks because of how broken and sinful our world is. I wonder why we fail and don't seem to trust in the covenant promise that you have given us. Often you send a rainbow in the sky after a summer rain to remind us of this very promise. Yet much like the rainbow vanishes quickly, we too quickly forget and begin to sin again and again.


We are in no way perfect. In fact, there is no way that we can be "perfect as our heavenly father is perfect." Yet we can do better. We can fully trust in that covenant promise that you gave to Noah, and to Abraham and to each of us. Help us to turn from evil ways. Guide us as we stay on the path you have clearly marked for us. Open our eyes to see those who are in need of love and protection in this world. Help us to turn to you and rebel against the ways of this world. Open our ears to hear your servants the prophets. 


God sealed this covenant promise when God sent God's One and only son into the world; not to condemn it but to save it. Perhaps it is high time that we cling to that promise and trust that God will never break God's promise with us even when we screw up because we are simultaneously saints and sinners in need of God's grace given to us in this covenant promise.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Blessings 163

(1) Voxing with KA

(2) Praying through my FB friends list

(3) Chatting with #chsocm friends

(4) The awesome women in my life

(5) Two of my fave kiddos LL and HL following me around before Wednesday worship

(6) Zumba with my faves

(7) A lazy day off

(8) PD and KL knocking on their windows to get my attention and to wave at me.

(9) A Twitter friend sharing how much he enjoyed my sermon.

(10) Yummy Veggie Lasagna

(11) Neighbors who shovel my
Sidewalk without me asking.

(12) An amazing 2 hour PLN

(13) Finally tackling Mt. Laundry

(14) All the coffee!!!

(15) Twitter friends that were touched by my latest blog post.

(16) Surviving flying solo at church this weekend.

(17) Mint Hot Chocolate

(18) Comfy LuLaRoe leggings and an Irma on this snowy day

(19) The absolute joy in praying through my FB friends list. I'm so humbled and honored that you trust me to pray for you and those you love. Thank You!!

Modern Day Beautitudes

In our text from Genesis, we are reminded of the blessings that Abraham is promised and receives from God. Abraham is "blessed to be a blessing!" We are called to be "blessed to be a blessing" too. In hearing this text, I'm also reminded of the beauty we receive in the words of the Beautitudes. So today I thought I'd write my own modern day beautitudes...hoping these words will bless many.

The Modern Day Beautitudes
By Tara L. Ulrich

Blessed are the tired; for they will be given rest...and all the coffee.

Blessed are the outcasts; for they will be invited to the table.

Blessed are the mentally ill; for they shall know healing and peace.

Blessed are the children; for God beckons them to come.

Blessed are our brothers and sisters of other faiths: for they too shall know acceptance.

Blessed are our LGTBQ family and friends; for they shall no longer feel fear.

Blessed are our brothers and sisters with different skin color; for they will no longer be treated wifh disrespect.

Blessed are the anxious; for they shall know calm in the midst of the storm.

Blessed are those who love unconditionally; for God sent God's Son not to condemn but to save the world.

Blessed are the artists; for their art makes the Word flesh in this broken fractured world.

Blessed are....
What else would you add?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Holy Cleansing Rain

"Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect!"

Are you kidding me? There is no way that I can be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect. I'm a sinner. Every day I sin. I don't always see my neighbors in need. I don't always love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. I'm indeed a sinner who is in no way perfect and is definitely in need of God's grace.

And because I'm not perfect, I'm thankful for the rains that reign down on us. Rain is holy and cleansing. It washes the ground clean and takes away the dirt. It makes all things new again. It gives life to the ground so new life can spring eternal.

And like the rains that reign on the righteous and the unrighteousness, God claims God's people through the holy waters of Baptism. Those Baptismal waters wash us clean and remind us that we are forgiven and loved.

I don't know about you, but rain reminds me of the promise of God's love for the entire world. God did not send God's son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. And so every time I stand with rain coming down on me and the smell of rain permeating the air, I'm reminded of the promise of God's love and forgiveness for us all.

On the cross, as Jesus uttered "I thirst" and breathed his last, God's love for the world was embodied as Jesus died for our sins. But then three days later, Jesus was raised from the dead. In that moment, we are reminded that life not death has the final world. The final word that reigns down on the earth through refreshing cleansing rain--a reminder of God's redeeming love for the world.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Carefree Abandon

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday.  The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "abandon.". I love spending time with this crew. They bless me beyond words. We'd love to have you join us.  Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! 

The little girl twirling, twirling, twirling...not a care in the word.  She is filled with carefree abandon. She joyfully lives her life as if no one is watching. We can learn so much from her. What if we too lived with carefree abandon?

She sits on the shores of the lake, a gentle breeze blowing on her back. The sun shines down on her body. She reflects and knows that in this moment she is never alone. God will never abandon her. 

She cries out in pain as she waits to give birth to her child. Her love standing at her bedside; holding her hand. He will not abandon her. He will stay by her side always and forever. They will not abandon their child's side either. Soon their babies cry pierces the room. 

She sits at his bedside holding his hand. 70 years of marriage together, they don't know anything different. He breathes his last and a tear trickles down her face. Even in this loss, she knows she is not alone. Her family and friends by her side. They will not abandon her. 

She sits at the table with her computer; tap tap tapping away at the keys; spilling words onto a page. She no longer cares what others think. She will continue to be truthful and share her story knowing others will be blessed by her words. A carefree abandonment that comes only when she lets her words spill out from her heart onto the page. A beautiful reminder that even in telling our stories God is with us. God will never abandon us. 

And because God will never abondon us, we can live with carefree abandonment. Or in the words from Live with Abandon from the Newsboys, "Let us live with abandon."

A Place for Us to Begin

I have all the feels from today's reading. I think forgiveness and reconciliation are so important. Yet there are times when forgiveness seems almost impossible. In fact, in difficult situations, it takes time. We can forgive but we won't forget.

Over a year ago, my purse was stolen in plain daylight out of my office at church. I'll never forget the sinking feeling I felt when I came back into my office and saw that it was gone. The thieves didn't waste any time. They went straight to Walmart and used my card for over $400. The weeks and month following left me with feelings of uneasiness until they were caught. The thieves; a white man and woman finally where charged and still almost a year later, the woman has pled guilty and the man is still in court. I don't understand why they did what they did, but I finally feel like it's coming to an end. Yet that night a year ago was one of the most violating experiences so far in my life. It's hard to capture that feeling into words.

I have forgiven them, but I won't soon forget. God calls us to reconciliation. Many years ago, I was serving on synod council in NWMN when our treasurer was caught for embezzling. I'll never forget that feeling either. How could he do this? Feelings of deep pain and anger surfaced throughout the time of him being convicted etc. I remember my friend and I saying, "I just can't forgive him. I'm not there yet." Sometimes it takes a really long time to get there.

But I'll never forget an example that was set in the midst of that whole ordeal. Some of this mans neghbors invited him and his wife over for a meal. They sat and broke bread together. The neighbors did this because they wanted him to know that it wasn't about this sin he had committed, but about who he was. They still loved him as a brother in Christ.

Im not sure I could've opened my door and let him in to my house. Yet their example is an example that I want to strive for in my life. What if we all followed their example? Yet I know that is easier said than done. But perhaps it's a place for us to begin!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Paralyzing Anxiety

Queen Esther standing before the Lord crippled by her own anxiety, dripping with beads of sweat from that very anxiety. Dressed in black; the clothes of mourning, her voice cracking as she prays to the Lord. This very sight is a sight that is not easily dismissed for me.

I find myself thinking of all of my friends and family who too suffer from anxiety and/or depression. I want to take the pain away for them. I want to make things better. I do my best to pray for them and to reach out to them; to let them know they are not alone. Yet I wish I could do so much more because I hear and see the ways they are paralyzed by the anxiety that attacks them when they least expect it.

Anxiety brings about a darkness that one cannot easily shake. A darkness that is also evident as we journey to the cross and stand below the cross watching Jesus; a crown of thorns on his head, hanging on that cross. Night falls and soon we hear Jesus' own words "I thirst" and "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." And then Jesus' breaths his last as he is crucified on Good Friday.

In his final breath, I cannot help but think of the anxiety that must of penetrated in that place as Jesus' followers waited to see the prophesy fulfilled. Jesus would die, but three days later he would rise; reminding us that life not death; light not darkness has the ultimate word. Charles W. Hall says, "Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won't stay there."

This ultimate word reminds us that when our bodies are paralyzed with fear, God is with us. That when we are crippled with our own anxiety, waiting to find any way out, God is with us then too. That when it feels like we are being handed over to the enemy, God is standing right there with us too.

Trusting in that promise, I find myself crying out to our God like Queen Esther "O my Lord, you only are our king: help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, for my danger is in my hand." (Esther 14:3-4 from the Apocrypha). Yes, there are more days than not that it feels like our anxiety and fears are paralyzing us from getting out of bed or speaking our own truth yet the reality of the cross is that love, light, and life ultimately win. Some days that is easier to trust than others. But at the foot of the cross, God sees each of us standing there and hears the cries of God's people; the cries of each and every one of us.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Loss, Love, and Hope

A picture hangs on my fridge of my Mom and another lady; the mother of one of my parishioners. This picture was given to me by this gentlemen to remind me of the joy of my Mom. However, I'll admit most days when the picture catches my eyes, I find myself sad; grieving for the mom I now no longer have. Over the last several years, my mom's health has deteriorated.

About a week and a half ago, my sister came to visit me and we made a trip to see mom. Neither of us had seen mom for several months. We actually still had her Christmas presents to deliver her. Upon walking into the nursing home, my sister and I had to track down a nurse to let us into the area where Mom now resides. The area is a locked unit for dementia and Alzheimer's patients.

Once inside, we knocked on Mom's door and entered. Mom was laying on her bed. She looked up at us and smiled; a smile that looks much different than the smile of a few years ago. It no longer holds the same joy and exuberance it once did. My sister handed Mom her Christmas presents. And within moments, a nurse was handing my sister and I our presents too. The presents Mom gave us were very simple: a gift card for Applebees and flavored chocolates (mine were orange filled chocolates). They were simple, but we both know that they were given with much love.

After opening our presents, we got ready to leave the building. Mom put on her coat and we walked to my sister's car. We drove around for about an hour while Mom questioned the both of us; asking us basic questions about life. Our drive led us to the camp I worked at for many summers, then back through town, to the shores of Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audabon and then back into town.

Once in town, we stopped at Mom's favorite stores. My hands became accustomed to grabbing her walker and placing it in front of her. I spent that afternoon folding and unfolding Mom's walker. As I unfolded her walker, I found myself reflecting on how our roles have changed. Mom is no longer taking care of her children, but we are taking care of her.

We stopped and got ice cream at Dairy Queen before dropping Mom back off at the nursing home. As we left the nursing home, snow lightly began to fall from the sky. My sister and I looked at each other and drove home mostly in silence. Our loss of words only magnified the loss we both continue to feel.

The time my sister and I spend with Mom is indeed precious, yet there is so much of me that grieves what we have lost. I grieve that Mom more than likely will never get to go wedding dress shopping with me someday if I ever find my Mr. Right. I grieve that Mom doesn't call weekly like she used to do regularly. There were days in the beginning, I would wait for my phone to ring at that 2:45 pm mark on Sunday afternoons. But now I no longer wait for those phone calls. I grieve the Mom that used to sit with me when I was sick and the Mom who rejoiced with me in all my joys.

But I am also thankful that I can still share these moments with Mom, because I have several friends who would give anything to spend time with their moms again. Losing those we love is never easy. In fact, it is harder than one can imagine. Yet it is a part of life. On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our own mortality "You are dust and to dust you shall return."

So as we journey to the cross, may we cling to the promise of the Resurrection and that light not darkness and life not death ultimately have the final word. And in this promise, may we find hope; a hope that rings eternal.

Sackcloth and Ashes

Last Wednesday we gathered and had the sign of the cross marked on our foreheads. This dusty ashen cross reminds us that "we are dust and to dust we shall return." This dusty ashen cross is also a reminder that we are sinners, in need of God's grace much like Jonah and his people from Jonah 3:1-10; the recommended text reading from the Slate Project's Lenten devotional.

As I marked the sign of the cross on individual's foreheads, it quickly became apparent how fast the ashes spread. I started with a small speck on my finger, but by the time everyone came to me, my finger and some parts of my hand were completely covered in ash. Ash is stubborn too. It doesn't wash off easily but lingers until you scrub it off.

And then today, as I read the text from Jonah, I can't help but picture Jonah, covered in sackcloth, sitting in that heap of ash. By the time, he got up I am sure Jonah was covered from head to toe in ash. Another reminder of how ash reminds us that "We are dust and to dust we shall return." Like the people of Nineveh, we constantly make mistakes as we are indeed sinners.

Yet ash is also a reminder that we are not on this journey of faith alone. A dusty ashen cross for all the world.

A dusty ashen cross placed on the foreheads of all those who daily struggle with depression, anxiety or a mental illness. This dusty ashen cross is a sign that these individuals are never alone.

A dusty ashen cross placed on the foreheads of those who are often seen as those on the margins. This dusty ashen cross is  a sign that God walks with them and pulls up a seat at the table for each of them.

A dusty ashen cross placed on the foreheads of the little ones in our midst. This dusty ashen cross is a sign that sometimes death comes way to soon. This dusty ashen cross reminds me of Alexander Scott and Kaia Gene and so many other beloved children of God.

A dusty ashen cross placed on the foreheads of those who a year from now may not be with us. This dusty ashen cross reminds us again of their mortality. 

But most of all our dusty ashen crosses remind us that life not death and light not darkness has the final word. I will close with a poem I penned last Wednesday after our noon Ash Wednesday service. 

Our Dusty Ashen Crosses
By Tara L. Ulrich
(Written 3-1-17)
The weight of the world
Relentlessly
Weighs on my shoulders.
So much brokenness and heartache.

A smudgy ashen cross
Placed on our foreheads
A sign of our own mortality

"Remember you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."
An imperfect reflection
That this ashen cross
And these 40 days
Leading to the cross
Matters.
A love embodied
In this dusty cross
A sign that we are linked
Imperfectly as the body of Christ.
In the darkness and imperfections
Of our ashen crosses,
We journey to the cross
Where we finally see
That life not death
Light not darkness

I am linking up with Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday.

 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Deliver Us....

Lord, deliver us from our fears.

Deliver us from not seeing our neighbors.

Deliver our tongues from speaking evil words and our words from deceit.

Deliver us from the times we fail to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you.

Deliver us from not welcoming the marginalized in our midst.

Deliver us from all of those things that keep us from turning to YOU!

Deliver us from the times our praise is not continually on our lips.

Deliver us so that we can "taste and see" that the Lord is good.

Deliver us so that we will hear the cries of the brokenhearted and save the crushed in Spirit.

Deliver us, Oh Lord, so that we hear the call to be your servants sent out into the world.


Lord, open our eyes to see our neighbors.

Open our mouths to speak kindly of our neighbors.

Open our hearts to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you.

Open our lips to praise you continually in this broken fractured world.

Open our hearts to welcome all of your beloved children.

Open our ears to hear you calling and to turn to you alone.

Open our tongues to taste and our eyes to see that you are good.

Open our ears to hear the cries of the brokenhearted and the crushed in Spirit.

Open our ears to hear the call to be your servants sent out into the world

I am linking up with Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, and Jennifer and Tell His Story.

 

Monday, March 06, 2017

Tear Stained and Dirty

"Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves."

Unfortunately it seems to me that the world has forgotten these words from the book of Leviticus. Every day, the world is full of things that we take as our idols: money, electronics, etc. The world would rather worship these idols. Too often, the world forgets about God who is holy and who calls us to follow Jesus.

Yet Jesus was the first one to sit with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus wasn't afraid to turn the world upside. Throughout the Bible, it seems to me that Jesus was all about getting down and dirty. Jesus often had to defy the law in order to get God's message of love, grace, and mercy into the world.

However, that is not an easy example to follow. In fact, I have always been a rule follower. Yet sometimes I wonder if, in order for all God's people to feel loved, we need to make exceptions or at least understand where our neighbors are coming from. In all actuality, the world is meant to be a place where all the world can stand and feel loved and accepted. But the reality these days is that often too many in our world are filled with fear. They yearn to be loved and accepted. They yearn for the day they won't be questioned for who God created them to be. They yearn to feel that the world is a place where they can stand and proclaim, "This is holy ground."; holy ground that reminds the world that God calls us to be holy and not to defile one another through our words and actions.

"You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and alien."

Who are the poor and alien in our midst? Who are our neighbors?

The truth is that the poor and alien in our midst are also our neighbors. Are we willing to leave the edges of our fields and gardens so they can glean from it? Are we willing to share our resources with those who are in need?

Too often, my eyes are not fully opened and aware of the poor and alien in our midst who are in need. And to be honest, I think the world's eyes are blind to seeing the poor and alien in our midst too.

"You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord your God."

These words from Leviticus are a list of things God calls us to do. They are much akin to the words we read in the Ten Commandments. We are sinners in need of God's grace because we fail. We don't always leave gleanings for our neighbors. We do take vengeance against our neighbors. We do hold grudges. Every day, we find ourselves turning and asking for God's forgiveness because of the things we have done or failed to do.

I read these words and I don't feel very holy. In fact, I feel pretty dirty and tear stained. I want to do better. I want to interpret my neighbor's actions "in the best possible light." I want to leave the edges on my fields so the poor and alien can glean from it. I want to be kind to my neighbors. I want to share God's love with the world.

More days than not, I will fail at being perfect and holy because I am a sinner in need of God's grace. But as we journey to the cross, I will do my best to reflect on what Christ does for us when he dies on the cross. I think of the words Jesus uttered the night of his crucifixion and death when he uttered "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." Friends, these words are pure grace. But you and I both know that we do know what we are doing. So are we willing to let God change us as we journey to the cross?

Because when we are standing at the foot of the cross, hearing Jesus' utter these words, our hearts will break knowing the magnitude of these very words. Words that remind us that Christ died for us and promises to piece our hearts back together as we proclaim, "This is the Lord our God." For wherever two or three are gathered in his name, sharing God's love with the world, we also declare, "For this ground on which we are standing is holy ground."

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Sunday Blessings 162

(1) An email from my friend KA

(2) An Awesome mail day. I love days when I get real fun mail instead of just bills.

(3) Getting to Curves later than usual and seeing Curves ladies I haven't seen in months.

(4) Zumba

(5) Messaging with STM

(6) Texting with my fave MW

(7) A new sassy cut and color

(8) People volunteering to bring soup for Tuesday.

(9) A great phone conversation with DT

(10) The joy of praying through my FB friends list for Lent

(11) Finding out that a friend shared my
poem as part of their Ash Wednesday service.

(12) Seeing seminary peeps and synod colleagues I haven't seen in a long time.

(13) Centrals 9th and 10th Graders production of Emma (the musical) So much fun!!

(14) Seeing the joy in my youths face as they performed on stage.

(15) A beautiful Sunday--almost 50 degrees

(16) Meatballs and gravy at CLC's annual dinner.

(17) A fantastic PLN

In the Wilderness

Six summers ago, while attending a continuing education class in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, one of my new friends Scott offered to lead a "family friendly" hike. I jumped at the chance to hike through Rocky Mountain National Park. I laced up my shoes and prepared to get ready for this hike. We drove to the trailhead and began our journey. As we started out, I thought everything would be great. But then the realization that the elevation was way different than where I came from quickly became apparent. Half way through that hike, I seriously thought I was going to die. Thankfully others with me encouraged me, but most importantly, provided me fuel through trail mix and other items. Those last parts of that hike seemed to drag on forever. But eventually we did make it back to the trailhead.

Since that summer, Scott has been trying to get me to go on one of their big hikes. I cannot muster up the courage to get up a mountain whose elevation is in the teens (13000) or higher. Then last summer, my friend MaryKay and I were walking around Lilly Lake. Together we made a pact to climb a mountain this coming summer. It's something that everyday I have in the forefront of my mind. I want to get to the top of that mountain this summe. I know that once I reach the summit of that mountain, the evidence of Gods goodness and glory will be even more evident. Yet sometimes fear gets the best of me and I wonder if I'll ever get to the top of that mountain.

Now most of us haven't literally gone hiking in the wilderness, but the truth is we have all experienced temptation and wilderness experiences in our own lives. Sometimes those experiences are short but often times they last for a long time. I can immediately think of those times in my life when I've found myself standing knee deep in the mud in the midst of the wilderness. I've experienced the wilderness as the daughter of a women who lives daily with a mental illness. I experience it in the loneliness of being single. To be honest, when I look back over life, I can't think of a time when I haven't found myself, at one time or another, in the wilderness.

But what I'm coming to realize is, that we are all standing in the wilderness. I think of those I know who are struggling to become parents. I also think of the LGTBQ  and trans individuals, black and brown individuals, and refugee individuals; all beloved children of God and so many others. I think of my friends who daily struggle with a mental illness or with depression or anxiety.

The wilderness is a place where we are reminded that God is always with us even when it doesn't feel like God is there. In the wilderness, Jesus was rescued by an angel. "Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him."--Matthew 4:11

What if we are those angels waiting in the wilderness to help those who are wandering in the wilderness? Perhaps together we'll see through the thickness of the wilderness to the beauty of the cross and resurrection on Easter morning. Because it is in the wilderness that Gods love is ever apparent; when we realize we are not alone but rather God is sitting with us on the top of the mountain.

Trusting and clinging to that promise, journeying through these 40 days and nights, may we take in every view along the way and reflect on what Christ has done for us. Then at the end of our 40 days, I hope we all find each other at the top of the mountain proclaiming Gods love for all the world because the devils got nothing on us or GOD!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Finding Truth

When we are little, our parents try to do their best to teach us about right and wrong; true and false. And when we lied when we were little, we faced consequences. Over the last several months, when I've turned on the news, I find myself wondering if the world was ever taught about right and wrong; true and false. How can this leader say that? Or how can that candidate be condemned for a mistake that was made? 

In all actuality, I find myself grasping at what is even truth these days. I've found myself stuck trying to clear my way through the fog trying to see what is right and wrong. More days than not, I find myself wondering what is truth anymore. What I thought I knew is no longer clear! 

The truth is found right here in Psalm 86. "Teach me your way, oh Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name." (Psalm 86:11) If I cling to this truth, the truth of our Lord, then perhaps truth will become even clearer to me in the midst of our broken divided world. 

During these 40 days of Lent, I am going to do my best to find the truth of the gospel in the midst of a world that is oppressed, and broken, and divided. Will you join me in educating yourself and finding that truth too? 

Friday, March 03, 2017

Father, Forgive Us

I read the Slate Project's Lenten prompt this morning and it has been replaying in my mind all day. I can't shake it. I don't need to look far to see all that has been unfolding in our world. Who am I to judge? Who am I to say what is truth?

But then I hear these words from the book of IsaiahIs not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" I find myself clinging to these words. I want to be a child of God who loosens the bonds of injustice and helps to let the oppressed go free.


Every day, I'm well aware that there are many who need to be set free. I know that I fail.  My eyes aren't always opened to the oppression I see in the world. I don't always speak up when I should speak up. I too often stay silent when I should shout from the mountaintops, "Let the oppressed go free."


I can't do it by myself, but I can make a difference if I see the oppressed in our midst. Our world is incredibly blind to the injustices and oppressions that are happening in the world. I wonder what God will say to us one day..."How did you not see my children in need? How did you not help them?


 But God loved us so much, God sent Gods one and only son into the world for each of us. Jesus was crucified by the Empire. With a crown of thorns on his head, he proclaimed "Father, forgive them for they not what they are doing." Three days later, life overcame death when Jesus rose and ascended into heaven.


Father, forgive us....how many times do we choose not to loose the bonds of injustice?

Father, forgive us...how many times do we fail to let the oppressed go free?
Father, forgive us....how can our a President put up walls to keep the others out?
Father, forgive us....how can we not see those who you love but society sees as different?

Help us to open our door to those in need.

Help us to break bread for all your beloved homeless children.
Help us to loose the bonds of injustice and free the oppressed.

Friends, I know I'm not always good at this but I want to do my best to share Gods love so that the light will break forth. So during these days of Lent, I'm opening my arms wide open to say "Here I am, Lord."

Thursday, March 02, 2017

What is Your Purpose?

am linking up for Five Minute Friday.  The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "purpose.". I love spending time with this crew. They bless me beyond words. We'd love to have you join us.  Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! 

What is my purpose?
My hands pen words on a page
Stanzas turn into poems

My fingers run across the keyboard
Typing words into blogposts
Words are my love language
"In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God 
And the Word was God."

My arms hold a sleeping infant
That precious soul settled across my chest
Brings me so much joy.
I still believe one of my purposes
In this life is to be a wife and mom.

That purpose isn't always imminent
In fact, there are days I still wait
And wonder and watch for it to happen.

God gives us each a purpose
A purpose in this world
A purpose that calls us 
To be who God called us to be.

For me,
I am an emotional being.
I am compassionate.
Kind, Caring, Loving,
Seeking justice, mercy, and kindness
In our broken world.

I am thankful for the ways
God gives each of us a purpose
A purpose to share God's love 
In this world

A purpose that can and does
Come in so many and various ways.
A purpose that changes as we change and grow.
But a purpose is something God always gives each of us.

What is your purpose?
What is your purpose?
What is your purpose?