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Grieving in Grace

There is one thing at Discovery that everyone I have crossed paths knows about me: I am in love with my hometown. My hometown being a small surfing, ranching, and rodeo community (yes, we do have an annual event every summer called “Surf Rodeo”) by the name of Ventura, California.

I left Ventura in the summer of 2015 to attend college up here in Tacoma. I was ready to be out of Ventura after living there for almost twelve of my eighteen years. I thought I was going to leave forever when I got on a plane to SEATAC that August day.

But Ventura called me back sooner, rather than later. I fell more in love with my hometown the longer I stayed away. I didn’t realize how unique, special, and wonderful Ventura is until I left. I took every opportunity I could those first few years to go home and be in my beloved community.

One of my favorite places in my hometown (as it is for most residents of Ventura) is Grant Park. Grant Park sits on the second highest hill in Ventura and has a gorgeous view of the entire city of Ventura, beach and countryside both. The Cross sits in Grant Park, which represents The Cross placed in Ventura by Father Serra when he founded Mission San Buenaventura. The Cross is a holy place in Ventura. I have seen weddings, funerals, graduation photos, and family reunions all take place there. I have driven to The Cross when I feel the need to cry, have a moment to myself, or to take in the view as I eat my Corrales burrito.

The Cross tells us that we are home when we see it. It’s truly a sanctuary to so many people.

Be Not Afraid…

I’m not sure about you, but it seems that fear is a pretty big issue these days. We are surrounded by people telling us what we should be afraid of and why. The Christian radio is singing about fear not owning us, as if breaking up with fear is that easy.

And Scripture is constantly telling us to not be afraid. God says this to both Moses and Joshua multiple times. The angel says it to Mary. Jesus tells it to his followers. Do not be afraid.

So clearly, it is not a new issue. But simply saying “do not be afraid” doesn’t give us much to work with.

How do we go about overcoming fear in our lives?

Sweet Dreams

“You’ve got to be careful believing what you think.” That’s the statement Andy Andrews made from the stage that began the long, slow gut punch that had me uncomfortable in my seat for over an hour. I felt exposed, and it only got worse as he continued with his next statement: “Open your mind to […]

Exact Same Dad

He and his dad pack days worth of food, cold-weather gear, and shovels and hike into the mountains. They’ve bought special sleeping bags that keep you toasty below freezing. They choose the perfect patch of deep snow and dig out the perfect cave, complete with sleeping platforms, to call home for the next few days. Each cup of coffee is brewed with melted snow over a small camp stove, each meal rehydrated the same way.

She and her dad hop into the truck early one morning, travel mugs full of coffee hot from the Keurig, and set out towards the Olympics in search of snow. Forgetting all about packing a lunch, they drive until they find the old logging roads he used to travel during hunting seasons past. The truck takes them as high as the road will go, where they find a red picnic table and far-away views of Mt. Rainier.  

When I was a young girl, I secretly harbored a curious fascination with incense. With wide-eyed wonder, I watched the priest carefully open the lid of the gold-plated incense burner. Smoke rose from the burning coals held within. His lips moved in silent prayer as he sprinkled the fragrant incense over the coals. He closed […]

Peacemakers

I’m a teacher and one of the subjects I teach is computer science. Not long ago a friend asked me what I thought the biggest challenge for the body of Christ is in this digital age. I didn’t have to think about this one at all. I firmly believe that our biggest challenge is found […]

The Perfect Idol

Twice in the last few months it hit me that most of my prayers for myself could be summed up something like this: God, please make me better. Even the prayers for closeness to the Father and the efforts to read Scripture are consistently invested toward this goal: More holy, less flawed. Both times it […]

Awkward Hugs and God’s Embrace

I am an awkward hugger.

In the short span of a hug, questions fly—millions of thoughts wreaking havoc in my mind:

Do my arms go over or under? Or do I do the side hug? What on earth, do I do with my hands? Do I turn my head? Ugh. Do I smell bad? No? Good. Yes, this is good. Nope. Too long. How long do we hug? How do I end the hug? Who is supposed to end the hug first? Am I supposed to be thinking this much?

 It appears that I can’t seem to simply rest in an embrace.

As Pride Month Wraps Up….

I literally fielded this conversation just the other day (and others like it many times before): “I know I need Jesus. I want to be connected to God. But I’m pretty liberal, so… well, obviously you see the problem.” Clearly the man didn’t know me well – and he didn’t know the Bible at all. […]

Hiding the Broken Things

Here, in your presence, I am not afraid of brokenness.
To wash your feet with humble tears,
O, I would be poured out ‘til there’s nothing left.

I just want to wait on You, my God.
I just want to dwell on who You are.

-Kari Jobe, “Beautiful”

As a child, I hid the broken things.

One Christmas, I accidentally beheaded a ceramic figure from my grandmother’s nativity set. (It wasn’t Jesus, so I lived to tell the tale). I simply placed the head back on and walked away. Weeks later, as we put away the Christmas decorations, I feigned shock and disbelief upon the discovery of the broken figurine.

Another time, it was a bookshelf. I flipped the shelf over and strategically placed items of a specific weight to balance out the offended side. I had forgotten about it until I packed my room for college – I didn’t have to fake my shock, but I did hide my culpability.