Monthly Archives: November 2009


I like to read Gone With The Wind every year or two, usually during the holidays.  I can remember catching parts of the movie with my mom on television from when I was a little girl.  At first, it was the scenery and the dresses that I liked to watch so much.  Soon I became entranced by the long-gone, almost magical world of the South.  I loved the movie first.

When I read the book for the first time, it was like time-traveling.  Margaret Mitchell weaves a story with characters so well-crafted and human that I still can’t believe they do not exist.  My old copy of the book is missing page 14 and the section between 83 and 110 is loose.  In this new copy, there is a segment at the back with a quote from Mitchell.  She said:

“If the novel has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don’t. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality ‘gumption.’ So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn’t.”

I began my annual reading of Gone With The Wind yesterday.  This book always provokes so many thoughts, so this time, I think I will write about it as I read it, looking for the appearance of gumption and, as always, for the reason this story strikes a chord so deeply in me.

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Joe, Just Call Me Joe

Meg Ryan is waiting in a park of flowers.  She can see a dog coming up the hill in front of her and then hears a voice calling out, “Berkley! Berkley!”  Tom Hanks comes into view, shrugs his shoulders and walks toward her.  Meg stamps her foot.  “I wanted it to be you,” she whispers, “I wanted it to be you so badly.”

You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies.  I can quote it.  My favorite parts are all the parts.  : )  I don’t think I’m alone.  Meg’s character, Kathleen Kelly is in love with NY152, a stranger she’s never met.  But in the second half of the movie, she falls in love with Joe Fox, quite against her will.  This puts her in a terrible position.  In the last scene, Kathleen learns that Joe is NY152, so what the dilemma about being in love with two different people was never actually a problem at all.

I’ve always thought of God as my Father.  The daddy imagery is easy because I have a wonderful dad: he’s present, he loves me as I am, he is constant, he provides for me, he is strong and wise.  So my prayers have always begun, Dear Father… Dear Abba. I’m thankful that this part of who God is is so easy for me to identify with.

And then there is Jesus.  I’m uncomfortable when people pray to Jesus, when they talk about having a friend in Jesus, about following Christ.  If you were paying attention, you’d notice that all my reference to The Man Upstairs are God, Lord or Father.  I feel like Jesus is this enigma… What did He say exactly?  Who was He talking to then?  Was that before or after He walked on water?  And what does that mean?  And He is God’s Son.  And He is human.  Whoa.  Slow down.  I can’t relate to a God/Man… who is also the Creator (John 1, Colossians 1).

And more than my uncomfortableness about Jesus was my distress at my own uncomfortableness.  I’m a Christian after all.  I’m supposed to know Jesus Christ.  But I’ve always felt like he’s this guy that all my friends know, but who I’ve never met.  So it’s hard to keep all their stories straight, right?

I was reading through a short devotional and one passage was about how Jesus Christ reveals the Father to us:

The true God is no other than the One we see in the person of Jesus. Jesus came to make the invisible God both visible and audible–“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father”. Jesus Christ alone shows us the full and astonishing revelation of the Father. Jesus is the human face of God.

And it suddenly dawned on me that Jesus is the Father.  This personal God I’ve been relating to and experiencing and seeking my whole life is Jesus.  It was Him.  I haven’t been somehow doing this wrong.  If I have seen the Father, I have seen Jesus.  If I have spoken with my Father, I have spoken with Jesus.  In having correct theology about the Trinity, I’d forgotten about the unity of God.  He is One.

For me, this spiritual moment had all the relief and surprise that Meg Ryan portrays when she realizes it’s been Tom Hanks all along.  Something I had read many times finally sank into heart knowledge.  The tension I’d felt for so long melted away when truth was revealed.

In praise of God’s everlasting pursuit of my soul and in praise of His glorious oneness, I’ve begun praying, Abba Jesus…

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Love Bucket and Other Insights

“Isn’t your love bucket just overflowing?”

When I told Kirsten about my dinner appointment last night, she responded with that question.  And my answer was YES!  I was meeting with a couple to tell them about my ministry and invite them to partner with me.  I went over at 6:30pm and didn’t leave until 9:15pm.

Stephen and Christine are young married professionals.  Their house is also home to three dogs, one fat cat, and a Southern mom.  They were gracious, asked questions and decided to join my support team.  And while financial support was the point of the meeting, the most encouraging thing was spending the time with them.  We hit it off, laughed a lot, took turns at teasing each other and talked about philosophy.  I feel like I gained more than ministry partners, I gained friends.

And how incredible is that?  I didn’t expect to make friends in this process.  At times, it is really hard to be raising support; to day-after-day ask people for money, to be rejected, to hear “no”.  At times, I have wondered why I didn’t choose a job with an automatic paycheck… any other job would do.  Why couldn’t I have picked a profession for which I simply had to show up on Monday at 8:00?  At times, I have felt resentful that I have to raise my own support.  I’ve whined and complained and pushed out my lower lip and wrinkled my nose.

There are a million and one reasons why raising support this way is good for growth, good preparation for ministry, precedented in Scriptures and good for teaching me to trust in God.  But apart from all those, what a blessing it can be too!  I would never have met Christine and Stephen if I didn’t have to raise my own support.  I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn about sacrifice from people who give beyond what they are able.

I love to know people.  I love to be friends.  Simple, I know.  But how good is God that He provides more than our needs?  That He literally overflows our lives with good things?  This is crazy.  It is too much.  It’s lavish.  It’s so extravagant, it’s almost unseemly.

Which brings me to the next thing.  I think that Christianity does not make sense.  The Word of God does not make sense.  True disciples of Jesus do not make sense.  Think about it:  God.  You can’t understand how powerful is His Power.  He created the world.  There was nothing.  He spoke.  There was everything.  This same God accomplished the redemption of the world and all mankind by dying.  This is foolishness.  Paul thought so too:  “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

I kept searching for some key to make this work.  For the mental trick that would make weakness strong.  But I don’t think it exists.  I think that dying is actually death and weakness is actually weak.  But in the greatest non-sequitur of history, God somehow makes life out of death and strength out of weakness.  It’s not a mental trick, it’s His power.  Which is actually pretty consistent with the whole making-everything-from-nothing creative act.

“…so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

So we have faith in God’s power, which we don’t understand.  And we believe with our hearts:  “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness”.  What a relief!  And it’s not accidental that we believe with our hearts, God did it on purpose: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

This all meant a lot to me, especially in light of the intellectual struggle, even crisis, I went through the past two years.  It may not have made sense, but this Press isn’t public yet, so that’s okay.  Note to anyone who might read this in the future:  If it seems wrong or absurd, disregard it.  But to me, this was the sweet message from Abba.

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Skype & Cake Dots

Today, I discovered Skype.  Well, not entirely true.  I knew about this form of communication, I had just never experienced it.  But today.  Today I downloaded it.  Video is much better than no video.  I probably amused/annoyed most of the patrons at Panera by talking to my computer.  First I talked to my brother while he played super nintendo (not much of a conversation, but still fun).  Then I talked to my friend Desiree.  And that girl can make sparkles and bubbles and breathe fire! Wow.  I have to figure out if I can do any cool effects on my camera.

Also today I had a wonderful walk to Main Street with my little friend Kellyn.  We ate lunch at Fancy That and I introduced her to the deliciousness of cake dots.  In case you don’t know, cake dots are little spots of cake covered in a hard shell of icing.  What could be better? you might ask.   Nothing.  Nothing is better than popping a spot of cake into your mouth.

Overall, a beautiful day.

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