Honest, Spain g42

it just comes to us

My journal is a scary place right now.

And I’m starting a new one tomorrow.

It’s mainly notes from 8 weeks or so of class here in Spain with bits and pieces of thoughts and revelation intertwined in the pages.

I’ve sorted a lot of it out through asking questions and conversations over coffee, tea and wine. But the pages of my journal are a mess of words, phrases and scribbles.

And if there is one theme that weaves it’s way through all of it, it’s the theme of identity.

We talk about identity so much in this world. And as someone who has spent most of her Christian life in bible studies with groups of women it’s a topic that causes me to roll my eyes.

I don’t think we need to SEARCH so hard for our identity.

I think it just comes to us.

That’s why my journal is peppered with talk of identity.

Because as I learn more and more about this new face of Jesus I’m seeing who I am.

We live this life where we strive to find identity in everything that we do. In everywhere we go.

But what if we didn’t need to strive? What if we didn’t need to search for things that give us clues to who we are but what if instead we searched to learn about who Jesus was and is presently.

I’ve been learning something beautiful the last 2 months: I’ve been learning about who God IS. And he definitely isn’t a lot of what I’ve heard all my life.

He’s joyous. He delights in us. He gives us keys to the plans he has and tells us to run with them. He does not want to check our every decision.

He just wants us to be who he created us to be. Because those creations are vibrant and lovely already.

So while I’ve been searching for this identity it’s honestly been right in my front of my face.

I am who God created me to be.

I don’t need bible studies or books or anything to figure that out.

I just need to walk arm and arm with God and hear what he tells me, through so many varities of ways and I need to pick up what’s meant for me.

Nothing more, nothing less

hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

Cake with Jam

Before coming to Spain I had the vague idea of what I wanted to do. But mainly I just had this large pile of things that I wanted to be involved in. Passions, gifts, talents, words. Just in this bag of tricks that I lugged with me over an ocean.

I had no idea what to do with it.

A few weeks into my time in Spain we held the inaugural g42 reunion. Alumni from the first five years came from all over the globe to remember and celebrate what God had done and was doing, to lift one another up, to visit this place so many people still call home and of course to establish more vision in the next years of life.

The house I live in is the bigger of the two so we hosted ten alumni and in that group was the Harder family. Steve and Jo Harder and their beautiful boys who are missionaries to Ukraine.

Jo is a kindred spirit.

She is a powerful, strong, vibrant woman who hears wonderful, beautiful truths from God.

At the reunion kickoff we had a time of prayer and prophecy and Jo shared a word she had. She wasn’t sure who it was for but she knew she had to share it.

She shared a picture of this person who was holding all of this JAM. It was dripping out of their hands and the person wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Jo reiterated that she didn’t know who it was for, but if it was for you then to come see her.

I didn’t give it a second thought. Mainly because I was in an incredibly emotionally, overwhelmed place and also because I didn’t WANT to hear it.

(you see where this is going don’t you)

So that evening after worship was over I had two people come up and say they thought of me when the “jam hands” picture was given. Why? The week prior I had made a wedding cake and the filling? Raspberry jam.

But, like I said I wasn’t in the place or the mindset. And also like I said in this last blog; I feel as if God has been “saving thoughts” for me and this thought; this picture was one he saved for me.

A couple weeks later during class we were doing the process of identity mapping and while Zach was getting his done I suddenly had this thought:

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore?

There it was. A random thought in the middle of class on a Thursday morning.

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore and taught creative writing classes?

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I wrote a little more and then stopped.

What if I taught story? Through everything in this little bookstore.

Through creative writing, through baking, through book clubs, through sharing and laughing over good food.

 Wow.

Since going on the world race I’ve known that for the rest of my life I want to sit across tables from people. I want to hear story and see what is going on the lives of those around me.

I am honored that I get the privilege of hearing what God is doing and being able to speak into what God is doing and where he is going in someone’s life.

I’ve also known that I want to tell my story and let other’s use it in their lives.

I want to teach things that are good for the heart. I want to use the things I have been given to speak into other’s lives.

I want to create a space out of which people can MOVE.

But my thought prior to this random moment of revelation was where in the WORLD can I do this? Is this just a lifestyle that I am going to live? Is this a ministry I will step into?

But there wasn’t enough for me in that.

And then sitting in the class in the middle of the morning I just knew.

I knew I had found something that was more.

I knew I had found something that terrified me.

I knew that I was standing there with jam on my hands

Later that same afternoon I did my identity mapping up front. And one the questions that was asked of me was this: Where do you see yourself in 30 years.

My answer: Standing on my porch.

So what does that mean?

That I own a house.

WHAT?

And suddenly everything that I had ever thought was gone and I was choosing to believe in myself more. Choosing to believe that I could do more then just sit across from someone at a coffee shop.

So that’s where I am going to leave this.

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That’s where I am going to leave you.

With the fact that there is more for me then I ever actually thought possible.

I’m dreaming big, creating a plan to get there. It’s not a next year plan, or even two years, but a long term plan.

Dreaming, thinking and invisoning the future.

I’m here in Spain for 3 more months and would be honored if you would consider partnering with me in further what I’ve learned and done here.

To see ways that you can journey with me check this out.

I’ll leave you with a verse from class today; the prayer of Jabez. It encourages me to dream, hope, and long for more.

1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

It gives me the courage to know that I CAN do more with all this jam on my hands.

 

Honest, Spain g42

hear that your soul may live

Hear that your soul may live.

This has been a phrase that has been in my heart for a few months now.

I first read it when the passage Isaiah 55 showed up in my “guide to prayer”.

The words strung together are beautiful. And I held onto that beauty because I needed it. It was like a life raft for me. A bit of lovely to hold onto. I think in those moments in the coffee shop in Kingsburg it wasn’t about me hearing from God. It was the knowledge that God was there.

When my preschoolers would get super excited and have something they wanted to say; when they were jumping up and down out of their seats to say something but it wasn’t the time I would tell them to “save their thoughts”.

When God showed me the phrase “hear that your soul may live” I believe he then started saving His thoughts for me. He was really excited to let me in on what was going on in his head but it wasn’t the time for me. He was storing them for a time when I would be capable of REALLY listening.

And then I came to Spain.

 A couple of weeks ago we had a week dedicated to learning about hearing God’s voice. We learned through story and through seeing how God moved and spoke and what he was like.

Most every week here, every day, every conversation speaks about hearing from God and what we have HEARD from God.

Because when we hear from God we move.

When we hear from God we live.

And where do we hear from God?

Everywhere and everything.

It’s about opening the senses to touch, taste, hear, see and smell God.

There is no wrong way or right way to hear Him.

And now as I sit in another coffee shop halfway around the world I realize my spirit is so incredibly OPEN to hear from God.

That the thought of hearing from him inspires me.

There is a flipside as God wants to hear from me.

He doesn’t just want to speak. He wants to listen.

What does that look like?

For me it’s been stopping the act of putting headphones in my ears while I walk alone and freeing my mind of noise.

it’s writing my thoughts and words down so that other people can see what I’m pondering through.

it’s being open to speak so that I may hear.

“hear that your soul may live” has become a breathe in breathe out prayer for me.

 

There were days that in order for me to take a STEP forward I had to ask God to walk with me.

And he listened and walked with me.

And I think that without knowing it “hear that your soul may live” became a prayer.

Because I HEARD God.

I heard God one Sunday morning in June of 2009 staring at myself in the mirror.

And I spoke to God.

“Could I just meet you in heaven today? This is too much for me”

And He listened.

And then spoke. He showed me a dark, windowless, doorless room. There was no way out and no way for light to get in.

Then a nightlight came on.

A really small dim light.

HOPE anyway.

HOPE in spite of.

What if I had not heard God that day?

HEAR that your soul may LIVE.

HEAR that I may LIVE.

 Those days are far from me now.

They don’t lay claim on me.

All that is left of them are tear stained journal pages and the memory of a night spent crying on my phone in a parking lot.

I heard so that I would survive.

Now I hear so I may LIVE.

Hearing from God is met now with life. Met with hope.

Not met with grasping at a shred of light.

 HEAR that your SOUL may live.

My soul is living a lot these days.

Living and listening to the joy, the color, the vibrancy, the light of life.

I’m realizing the God can speak in and through everything.

From the winds that sweep through Mijas, to conversations my roommate Katarina and I have before we go to bed each night, He speaks through His word, and through prayer and conversation.

I’ve met with a new beautiful Jesus here in Mijas. One who is life bringing and who longs for me to dream and have vision. One who wants to speak so that I can hear.

One who trusts me with the plans he has created.

I can’t wait to continually learn about this lovely, light filled Jesus, to speak and listen to what he may have for me and others. To change the way I see things.

I can’t wait to continually, daily live.

Hear that your soul may LIVE.

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Honest, hope is a verb

chapter titles in my book of life (part 2)

(To read the first 2 defining moments in my life check them out here.)

Now, lets just continue with the last three:

Defining moment numero tres:                                                                                                      

For four years in college I was in the University Women’s Chorus. Basically a beautiful, rambiunticous, sometimes sarcastic, always singing (just not on the bus) group of 50 or so women.

Every year we would have officers and at the end of each school year we would nominate new people to be voted on. My junior year I was in leadership as a librarian and honestly didn’t think I would be in the running for anything the next year.

And in the midst of nominations, one of the exiting seniors spoke up, “I nominate Meghan”

And a couple weeks later I was made the WC president for the 2006/2007 school year.

I was flabbergasted. The summer before senior was epic. I worked at hallmark, lived with Hosanna in Newport, went to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall, made a lot of dinners with Johnny and ate an amazing amount of sushi.

And as the weeks crept up to music camp I started to get nervous. Because one of the duties of the ensemble presidents (there were 4 of us) was that we had to give the devotions at Music Camp.

(This is the part where I remind you that I was/sometimes thing I am painstakingly shy.)

So the thought of giving devotions in front of 200 or so of my peers was not on the list of things I wanted to do.

Now, if you’ve never attend a music camp at a university just know it’s insane. Besides practicing music we were running around like crazy playing games, getting to know the freshman and then practicing music some more. I was going from early in the morning to late and night (because of course the one other job of the ensemble presidents besides leading a team was to host and set up the desserts after night rehearsal every night).

image-11(after this moment I’ve found myself on stage with a mike a lot more)

So the day before my devotion, I grabbed my roommates Hosanna and Kari and our friend Johnny and we practiced worship and I realized what I wanted to talk about.

The next morning I got up and spoke of passion. And living with passion.

And now almost 7 years later I think of how that moment was so thematic in my life.

The year of WC presidency impacted me in many ways but the main one was I realized I wanted to serve Christ, serve people and live passionately. It was a rough year at times (I was in tears after the first rehearsal), but it was empowering to show me such a beautiful piece of who I am.

piclab-16

 

                                                                                   (a memory I will always have)

Defining moment numero quatro

Fast Forward to the hell that was my life in February 2009. My mom was in the hospital, my dad was recovering from a triple bypass from the previous November.

I was living minute by minute since I broke down in October of 2008.

I was on antidepressants and probably spiraling faster than I realized.

The October prior my boss had given me a business card. For a therapist. I think I might have emailed him, maybe called him and left a message since then, but between the holidays and the hospitalizations I hadn’t done much with it. But apparently somewhere in those months I had left him my phone number because in the midst of calling people to take care of our animals there was a beep on my phone.

And it was him.

I remembering standing in my kitchen in front of my stove and answering it.

He asked how I was. I said my mom was in the hospital.

He said to call him back.

I did. I made an appointment (one which I had to cancel because I stayed at the hospital for a week) And then I rescheduled.

February 25th, 2009.

I remember the night before filling out the intake forms, while watching whatever reality show, every once in awhile asking my roommates about something on the form. (they are both women with an MA in Clinical Psychology).

So the next day after work, clutching my paperwork, I tromped up what are now incredibly familiar stairs for the first time. I open the door to this tiny waiting room and sat my shaky legs down on the couch.

photo 2(this is more symbolic waiting as opposed to the actual waiting room)

I remember stepping into that room for the first time. The minute I said yes to that my life changed. The minute I said yes to delving into the dark parts of my soul, to the hurts, to what made me cry, I changed. It was a small moment that turned into something bigger.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat in that room over the course of 4 years. I can’t tell you how many times I cried or how many times I yelled. But I can tell you that I would not be sitting here today had I not chosen to seek help and to open my mouth.

Defining moment numero cinco

February 9th 2012.

It was pajama day. I was wearing my favorite purple sweats, my favorite peacock toms and I was heading to work early because I was subbing for Peggy. It was a beautiful day out as I turned my bike down Santa Ana on my way to work.

I saw this kid coming towards me on the sidewalk, I’m sure to heading to the elementary school down the road, and I saw a woman pulling out oh her driveway.

It was probably only a minute in time; but in that I realized she didn’t see me, she wasn’t going to stop, I couldn’t stop fast enough and then I collided with her car. I hit the car, the cement, the asphalt, my glasses flew, my toms flew off and the blood started to flow down my head.

photo 1                                                                                  (the ACTUAL spot where I got hit)

What the hell had just happened?

The next hour was a blur. An ambulance was called, I called my boss, a preschool parent saw me and plopped down next to me. I ended up in an ambulance with no Kleenex.

When I got to the hospital my “sisters” (aka Leah and Lisa) found me and my pastor/older brother Eric had been called by my boss. I was in shock. It took awhile for me to get stitched up and sent out. By 11 I was sitting in my apartment on the couch by myself bruised, in pain with uneaten animal style fries in front of me. I called my parents, my therapist, my best friend.

I cried.

A lot.

Nicole brought me cinnamon toast crunch and milk.

I went back to work the following Monday (it happened on a Thursday)

I went through so many emotions after that day. Anger, hurt, more anger, more hurt, sadness.

And then I had clarity in the chaos.

Because getting hit by a car made me realize the thing that I had been putting off for weeks.

I needed to quit my job. I had literally been moved out of the path I took every day for five years. Everything God had been speaking to me about since November was moving into a new path, taking a new path, taking a leap.

You can read more about that here; but just know that getting hit was the best/worst thing to happen to me. It defined the ending and the beginning of the next part of my life.

image-10                                                                     (the helmet I got AFTER I got stitches in my head)

These are just 5 defining moments in my life. I’ve obviously had more; because each choice, each circumstance can become defining if we allow them too. Some we shouldn’t while others we should.

I leave you with my favorite quote about moments that define us.

(and the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom // anias nin)photo 3

Honest

chapter titles in the book of my life (part 1)

My second overseas mission trip was to South Africa with my church in Orange County. There were 22 of us going and every other weekend for a few months leading up the trip I would leave my Sunday morning job early and haul over to the church for training.                                                                                                                        In an effort to hear story and to get to know each other better we would share “defining moments”: a way to share our heart and apart of story without having to sit there for hours upon hours hearing about each detail of each others lives.                                                                                                                                                    Since that summer I’ve always had that in my head. The concept of defining moments; going back through pivotal moments in life and seeing and realizing how those lead you to where you are now.  I’ve realized that all of these would be the start of new chapter in my life, of a new lesson I was to learn.

image-9

In an effort to share more of how I’ve gotten to where I am now I want to share five specific defining moments (in two parts) . Now, I feel as if I have more than that but these specific four speak volumes into who I am and where I’ve come from. (Mind you; I’m not even touching on 2013 and the world race because that is a defining year and we’re just not going there right now.)

 

DEFINING MOMENT numero uno.                                                                                                                                                                 (my attempt to practice my spanish)

Kind of cliché’ but here I would like to talk about high school graduation. Back in June of 2003 I graduated from Kingsburg High school. I wasn’t a valedictorian (all my friends were) I did get to sing at graduation and baccalaureate. But I knew as I walked across the grassy football field that I was finally officially walking into something new. I was going to get a chance to become someone new.

piclab-11

And going into freshman year in college I feel like I did.

My freshman year was a jumble of first time experiences and not always making it to my 8AM music theory class. I spent my freshman year as a music major, singing in a choir, taking way too many one unit classes and hanging out with girls I would have never fit in with in high school. We were the girls who broke many of our contracted rules (I went to a private Christian university), we somehow got the mark of the “mean girls”, we generally got what we wanted and we honestly just had a lot of fun. I think that graduating high school and moving into undergrad was everything it was supposed to be for a small town girl who moved to the ocean. It did what it was supposed too. It awakened me to new experiences, to a bigger world, to a different way to experience God and to a person inside of me who never had anyone allowed herself to show. It will go down as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It was my first step into a tangible kind of freedom on the inside.

 

piclab-12                                                                              (melissa karli and I. CH 421 for the win) 

DEFINING MOMENT numero dos,

Freshman year I met a boy. His name was Joe. He was transfer junior; but he was in his first year as well. We had a few music classes together and he was in bible classes with my roommate Melissa. Everybody loved Joe. Including me. Joe made me smile, made me laugh, he called me “han” after he learned I had an H in my name. Joe always showed up to open hours to our dorm room. Joe always found a way to bribe me to get me to go to AM/PM or In and Out at midnight.

When school ended in May and everyone went home for the summer Joe and I still talked a lot. We texted, he’d talk to me on the phone as I walked to my job at the coffee shop. He sometimes text me at midnight and ask me to go to AM/PM even though we lived 3 hours apart, it was mainly a joke but sometimes I wondered if I’d get a text and he’d actually be outside.

Then Joe went MIA in the middle of June.

Needless to say I was pissed. I left scathing voicemails, threatening to never go to in and out with him at midnight, he’d need a new buddy for his Gatorade runs to the gas station. Then on the July 3rd (it was our towns 4th of July celebration day…don’t ask) I got a phone call from “brada joe” (my Hawaiian friend Kaiu had changed multiple names in my phone) I took a deep breath ready to angrily reem him out.

And didn’t get the chance to do any of it. Joe explained how he’d been in the hospital for a couple weeks and all my anger melted away. We talked for awhile about it and made a stupid pact that as soon as I got to campus we’d go to starbucks and not at all before then. And we’d take more pictures, because I informed him, I’d scrolled through pictures and there were hardly any of us.

Joe passed away 3 days later.

That week was hell for me. It was a week filled with tragedy, boating accidents, friends in the hospital and then an instant message from Joe’s brother that brought me to my knees.

piclab-10

The funeral was a week later. My friends from VU sat crammed in a row meant for less people, holding hands and crying. It was the first loss that we had felt without the impact of our family feeling it too.

It was the first time I learned how to be mad at God. How to wrestling with Him, how to yell at Him. My relationship with God became messy after this, more personal. BETTER really.

Going into sophomore year without Joe was rough, really rough. Questions from ignorant people were worse. I got by, learn to walk in God’s strength for the first time.

There are still some days even now though that I miss his voice yelling at me from the 7th floor of Huntington or the times when he’d plead with me to go with him to in and out just one more time. I wrote about that loss in a poem in my creative writing class senior year. It’s thumb tacked in an old poetry blog here.

So there are the first two.

It’s a lot and nothing all at the same time. Just a couple small pieces into the woman I have become and how I got there. Just segments out of two chapters in my life. Themes that still run deep to this day.

Next up will be the moments where I realized I had more to give, that I needed to open my mouth and the moment that made me quit. Look out for it soon.

(my life’s next batch of defining moments will take place for 6 months in Spain starting in July. To learn more about how you can walk with and journey with me through that here)