Wednesday, July 2, 2014


On May 10th 2014 I did something that I never thought I would. I completed a Marathon. When I say I never thought I would do that, it was honestly not even on my radar at all. I have never considered myself a runner, jogger, or even much of a walker. I enjoy sports a lot and try to stay in shape, but running was just not on my agenda. I’m not sure I can pinpoint when I decided to do it, but I do know I like accomplishing things. Last year I completed a half marathon, and I figured, what the hay why not do a full one. It is not something I think I will do again in the near or even distant future, but it is something I learned a lot from. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and experiences with it.

Shock and Awe

As I said before running was just not something I do, or did rather. But, I decided a year ago that running a half marathon seemed feasible. It was. I completed it without any problems. I was by no means competitive when it came to the race, but I didn’t come in last, so that’s something. On the course they provide water and Gatorade and some energy stuff (really sticky and goopy stuff). I stuck to water and Gatorade and had no real problems. I was tired at the end, but not wasted. I actually felt like I could run more, which might have been part of the weirdness that led me to go ahead and sign up for the marathon. Going farther than 13.1 miles proved to be an important lesson for me.

I had it all planned out. My parents live very close to a running path called The Centennial Trail in Spokane Washington. So, I spent the morning with them and planned to run that afternoon. I was going to run 2.25 miles out and then back and get a drink of water, then run another 2.25 miles out and then back to get a drink of water, repeating the cycle until I completed 17-18 miles. I didn’t make it. Water was simply not enough for my system to work that hard. I know there are some runners who can do that with no problems, I’m just not one of them. I made it back to my parents home after a little more than 16 and half miles. The last bit I was jogging so slow I should have just walked. But, I felt the need to finish it out running. Luckily I was at least aware enough that I knew not to push it any farther. I got home sat on the couch and promptly refused my mom’s kind offer of dinner, I felt like I was going to throw up. She immediately got concerned and shortly got me in to lie down. That is when the clammy cold sweat started going and the sick to the stomach feeling increased. I started shaking and my speech got a little slurred. I was headed into shock. I’m blessed to have parents who know what is what and they took care of me appropriately (since I had so miserably failed at doing that). I made it through the experience okay but it was certainly a wake up call for me.

Lesson learned: I have limitations and if I am going to try to overcome them I absolutely need help. From then on I started paying more attention to my nutrition before after and especially during a long run. I got myself some of those sticky gooey energy packets and tried them out. They became a good companion for me. I followed the recommendations for use and found it to be beneficial. I also continued to rely on the help of others who knew more than I did and made it through a couple of other draining though not shocking experiences. I paid more attention to my system and responded more appropriately.

The Witch Doctors

I have an amazing and fun family. That starts with amazing and fun parents. They have always been there for me. They were very instrumental in helping me complete the marathon. The last several years they have been very into learning about and sharing about essential oils. I was a perfect candidate for their expertise in working with sore muscles and building up sustainability. I jokingly called them my witch doctors as they used their various brews on me. Truth is, it totally helped. After the marathon I had some difficulty getting out of the car and walking, but within the next couple of hours I was actually feeling well enough to go chaperone a dance for my young women.

Lesson Learned: Your parents never stop being your parents. They continue to show me such compassion and are there for me whenever I need them. At the very end of the race my mom was there jogging along side us and taking pictures. And my dad was just across the finish line, so I ended the race with a big ol hug from him. I’m very blessed to have the parents I do.

Angels to Bear Me Up

I decided that I wanted to have purpose in the race. So every half mile I dedicated the run to someone. I started with my nieces and nephews, then my parents, siblings and in-laws, then for my young women. I am so glad that I did. It was a unique experience. When you are stretching your body to its limits you have a tendency to tap into the spiritual side of things. That, I think, is why fasting can be such an effective form of worship. As I ran that half-mile I would ask God to help me see those individuals as He sees them. Starting with the kids I had sweet and cute memories that popped into my head. I came to understand that He sees them the way I do, just to a greater amount. He loves them and they make Him smile. I felt that about everyone. Getting through the last half especially was difficult. I began talking about these loved ones out loud which ending up not just helping me but also my running buddy. The love that I felt for all of them really did give me the strength I needed to continue on and finish the race. They were like my angels who kept me going.

Lesson Learned: God loves who I love, way more than I can comprehend. Knowing that He loves us is amazing. My emotions and spiritual feelings were certainly heightened during the run. It was a great blessing for me to feel that. We love God first and He expands our ability to love others. Love really does bear us up. We can be strengthened by that love, I certainly was and am.

Someone Who Has Gone Before and Knows the Way

My training/running buddy was my Uncle Myron. He also happens to be my boss. Our training jogs often became our unofficial office staff meetings as we would discuss the needs of our clients and where the company was headed. It was fun bonding with him through all of that. Myron is more than just my boss or uncle. He is quite a bit younger than my mother and so when we would spend time with him growing up he sometimes almost felt like an older brother. I have thought that about him for a while, but as I was training and especially during the marathon I became even more aware of a special bond that we have. He had run a marathon before. So, I ended up relying on his knowledge and experience to help me through the shocking/draining experiences and getting through those long hours of training and of course for the race itself.

Lesson Learned: Having an Older Brother Who Knows the Way is a Life Saver. Myron probably would be a little chagrined at the comparison, but he reminded me of The Savior. He is our Older Brother who knows the way and how to get us to the end of our race. The more we rely on Him the more successful we can be.

The Last .2

I had gone from training in the super cold (I jogged out in single digit temperatures) and snow, to training on a Mexican beach (funnily enough just a few weeks after the super cold run), and it came down to that last .2. I have heard that the last .2 is very important to marathon runners because they want to make sure people know just how long they have run, more than 26 miles. As I thought about those loved ones each half mile I decided that the last .2 I would run for me and to ask The Lord to let me know how He felt about me. I was quite exhausted by the end, and had done a fair amount of walking by that point, but it felt important to run that last little bit. As I rounded the corner I ran and asked The Lord to let me know how He felt about me. I was overwhelmed with a sense of love as I pictured The Garden of Gethsemane where He took upon Himself our every pain and suffering. The feeling was quite intense and as my emotions were already close to the surface I shed a few tears (I guess I hydrated well enough :)

Lesson Learned: We are Loved. The most important lesson of all.

It was a great experience. I am so grateful for the support I received and the love that I felt and continue to feel. I am truly blessed. I’m not sure that I am going to repeat the experience again any time soon. But, I know it was a great experience for me and I am glad I did it. 26.2!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Journey Home

Two of the most formative experiences of my life occurred as a teenager. The most important decision I ever made in my life was at sixteen. My father was speaking at a Church meeting and his message struck my soul, “Before you can truly have a testimony of any part of The Gospel, you must first have a testimony of Christ.” So powerful was the impact of that message that I decided then and there that I wanted to know Christ and to spend my whole life seeking a relationship with him. I believed The Gospel and tried to live its teachings before that experience. But, afterwards I went forward wanting to know, praying more sincerely, studying and not just reading Scripture. I came to know Christ and to grow in gratitude for what He has done and continues to do for me. He became my best friend. His influence is the most important in my life.

The other formative experience was that right after I graduated from high school my family moved from Richland Washington to Boise Idaho. The decision to move was prayerfully made as a family. Every one of us felt the inspiration that it was right for the family as a whole and for each of us individually. Trials and blessings came out of the move. My biggest trial also turned out to be a huge blessing. I was left without a home. Anytime I was with my family I felt at home. But, while they were settling in, forming relationships and roots in Boise I felt like a stranger in a strange land whenever I visited. That was hard, however it also took away any fear I might have had about leaving the nest to fly. Had I always had Richland to go back home to I don’t know that I would have gone much further than Richland. It was a great place to grow up, but I guess God had other plans for me.

The move also taught me a lot about what home is. Home is where you love. So, Boise has become a home for me, because my family, whom I love dearly, is there. I’ve also found a home in Pullman Washington, Israel, Southern New Jersey, Phoenix Arizona, and eventually back to Washington. All because of love.

I’ve heard a metaphor before that life is like riding a bicycle built for two. We often operate under the belief that we are steering only to be reminded that God is actually in the front and our job is just to pedal.

I’m eternally grateful that He leads my life. I would have never guessed that I would be living on a farm in Loon Lake Washington. Nor would I have guessed that I would find a home by getting to hang around a bunch of teenage girls, but that is what has happened. God’s answers are always infinitely better than anything I could come up with.

My move to the farm has been a tremendous and unexpected blessing providing the opportunity to work more intensively with families working on attachment issues. I also have really cool neighbors whose inspiration and generosity led to this move.

Moving also afforded me the opportunity to join a new Church congregation. Rather quickly I was asked to teach the 14 and 15 year old Young Women’s class. Right off the bat I felt a bond with these young ladies. I found them to be funny, random (we had discussions about a plethora of interesting things), incredibly insightful and spiritually sensitive. I was supposed to be teaching them, but I always came away from our lessons having learned from them. I also was able to witness an inspiring amount of kindness and compassion for each other, for me, and just people in general.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints our congregations are divided into wards based on geography and number of members. Within each congregation are organizations for children, young men and young women (12-18 years old), men and women. I was part of the Young Women’s organization as a teacher. But, the leadership consists of an adult woman who is called to be the Young Women’s President. She also has a 1st and 2nd Counselor and a Secretary who serve with her as The Young Women’s Presidency in that ward. The President at the time was a fantastic leader who seemed well organized and had a great love for the girls. But, her time as President was going to come to an end over this past summer and a new Presidency was going to be called.

Months before the change was to happen I kept getting an impression that I was going to be called to be the President. To be honest I thought the idea was pretty far-fetched. I’d never been asked to be a President of anything and I also thought that it would be better for these remarkable Young Women to be led by someone who is a mom. But, there was a part of me that was quite excited at the prospect of spending more time with these impressive girls and getting to know them better. Thus began an inner struggle between fear and love, a struggle that became intensified over the summer when the Bishop sat with me and extended the calling. The conversation went like this:

Bishop: “So, you been keeping busy.”
Me: (thinking he was just making conversation), “yep, keeping busy is better than looking for something to do.”
Bishop: “Well, we are thinking of making you busier.”
Me: (thinking ‘uh oh’)
Bishop: “How would you like to have a family?”
Me: (thinking ‘is he trying to set me up with some guy he knows?’)
Bishop: “We’d like to give you a bunch of daughters. We are calling you to be the Young Women’s President.”

Its probably a good thing I had had some pre-inspiration that this was coming, it was not as much of a shock as it could have been, but it was still a shock. Fear versus love. I chose to love and accepted the calling. Then I found an empty classroom, knelt down and cried. I was overwhelmed with love for the Young Women I was asked to serve. But, I also felt the weight of it and feared to mess it up somehow. I didn’t know how to be the Young Women’s President and I told God so. But, I knew that He knew what He was doing, because He told me so.

The weeks that followed I experienced bouts of peace but a whole lot of anxiety. The peace would come when I would think of the girls and some random funny comment or a witnessed act of kindness. One of the weeks between the calling and the actual switch of Presidencies I got to spend a lot of time with them at Girls Camp. I got to know them even better and enjoyed playing apples to apples or uno in the hot sun, or watching them go out of their way to serve each other. Amazing and inspiring.

At some point during the wait I was traveling with my brother and his family, they were playing their music and a song I’d heard before came on but this was the first time I actually heard the words, it was “Home” by Philip Phillips. The words were like the voice of God speaking to me, ‘settle down it will all be clear, don’t pay no mind to the demons they feel you with fear, just know you’re not alone, I’m gonna make this place your home.’ I calmed down and trusted that God had me and the girls well in hand and that I would feel like I was coming home.

When the switch was finally made I was grateful for the graciousness of the previous Presidency and of the women called to serve with me in our current one. I was also filled with even more love for the Young Women of the Chewelah Ward, a love which has continued to grow.

I am having a blast! I get to hang out with the Chewelah Ward Young Women every Sunday and Wednesday. Plus I get to go to basketball games, cross country meets, concerts and whatever other activities might come up and have my girls to cheer for. I get to laugh with them, have more serious conversations with them, play ridiculous games like pickle ball and charades, and I get to be inspired by the remarkable youth that will be my future leaders. I am a changed woman for knowing and loving my girls. I’m more compassionate, I have more fun, I have more love for everyone I come in contact with. I feel more purpose and more grateful. I know The Savior more now because I know them, they remind me of Him in so many ways. Knowing the impact they have had on me, I can only begin to imagine the impact these remarkable Young Women will have on the world, all for good.

Fear versus love. Back to those formative experiences I had as a youth. I could have looked at life with fear as I did not feel like I had a home to go back to. Instead I embraced the love of The Savior and discovered that I was always in His arms. That gave me the courage to face everything being first centered in His love. Fear doesn’t win when love is present. And He will always help us feel at home.

What I want most of all for my girls is for them to feel the love of The Savior in their lives. Perhaps they will be able to feel a glimpse of His embrace when they feel my love for them. If they can be filled with His love and trust in Him then their journey, like mine, will lead home in more ways than any of us can know. I’m grateful for the many homes I have been blessed with, and right now to have a home where I am, and with the remarkable Young Women of the Chewelah Ward. One day we will all return to the home of all homes, right there with The Savior. And oh how I will rejoice in that day when I can be in His presence, and I will rejoice even more to be in His presence with the people I love.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fear versus Love

We do not remember what it was like to be born. I for one am rather grateful for that. Birth must have been an absolutely terrifying experience. I have been thinking a lot about the problems that our society is facing right now and my thoughts turned to birth, so I wanted to share a few of those thoughts on the subject. To help with my understanding I first examined what would be the ideal experience. The safest place for a child is within the mother’s womb. Their every need, ideally, should be met. There are no concerns or fears to face. There is a steady stream of nourishment to aid in the growth experience. There is constantly a familiar heart beat and the familiar voices of mom and dad and other loved ones. At birth a child is suddenly thrust out of the safety of the womb into an unfamiliar world, and the senses explode with new and frightening experiences. Taking a first breath for instance, how must that have felt? A child is born with a will to live, and along with that a fear of death. Imagine feeling hungry for the first time. No wonder they cry like they are going to die, they feel like they will. Fear of death, that is a condition of humanity. But, there is a way to quell that fear and it should occur at birth. Amongst all the noise and other sensations that the baby experiences there should ideally be at least one, and hopefully more voices that they recognize. Mom and Dad are both hopefully there. The love of their parents calms what felt like overwhelming fear for the newborn child. Love casts out fear. That experience of being afraid and then having love overcome the fear happens repeatedly in the life of a baby. Every time they feel hungry or uncomfortable or just out of sorts, the loving arms of their parents envelop their child and casts out the fear. That is what the ideal experience should be like.

If we do not experience a loving relationship than we are left with a fear of death and a will to live. Our focus then becomes survival rather than connection. Now, no one has experienced a perfectly ideal situation in life. We face trials, that is another condition of humanity. So, we all have times when we focus more on survival than we do on relationships. But, our emotional and spiritual health is dependent on our love being more powerful than our fear.

The natural state of mortality, this temporal world of ours, is decay. A while back I felt the need to purchase a new car. My old one just was not going to cut it for long in a snowy mountain area. So, I drove home in this shiny new car parked it in the garage and thought about how cool it is. The next morning I go out to the garage open it up and see how dirty it got during the drive home. I just laughed as I realized that is just the way it goes in mortality. Mankind makes all sorts of shiny new things and then nature gets it dirty, pretty quickly. That is the way it is with everything that is manmade. It starts to decay as soon as it is made. Then we start the battle of trying to stop the decay. I put it through several car washes the first several weeks. But, it just got dirty again. Because of this natural decay there is that tendency to become fearful, that we we are going to lose all of this mortal stuff including eventually our lives. Its true, but we need not be afraid of it.

The natural state of the soul, the spirit is growth. However, if we are caught up only in survival, the fear of death, than we stunt our ability to connect with the spiritual side and the growth that should come with that. To focus on the soul is to recognize who we really are, children of God, and who everybody else is, children of God. If we could see ourselves and others that way that would change everything. We would focus on our relationships and really love each other. We would also love our Creator and be able to feel His love for us. Can you imagine the difference that would make?

If we stay focused on mortality, fear and decay then we will be constantly trying to stop the decay, and trying to do it in man made ways. If instead we focused on the spiritual, on relationship and bond we would face each trial that mortality presents us with gratitude and a desire to learn something from the experience. We would turn to God, our greatest bond and be able to find His purpose for us and have our experiences sanctified for the benefit of ourselves and others.

My thoughts turned to some examples. I was thinking about this in terms of war, a rather drastic example. In war there is usually an aggressor and and a defender. The aggressor seeks power, which is driven by fear, the fear of not having enough to survive the way they want to. The defender could also be driven by fear, losing power, losing lands, life, freedom etc. Or the defender could be driven by love, love of God, country, family etc. I was recently reading in The Book of Mormon about a fierce battle between the two major sides of the Book, the Lamanites and the Nephites. The Lamanites were driven by a desire for power, the Nephites, led by Captain Moroni, were driven out of love and to defend their rights, families, and lands. Let me share a bit of what is written in
Alma 43
:39 And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee…
:42 And the Lamanites did flee again before them, towards the land of Manti; and they were met again by the armies of Moroni.
:43 Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly; yea, never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage, no, not even from the beginning.
:44 …yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea , for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.
:45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their Church.
:48 And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts-yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea their freedom from bondage.
:49 And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage.
:50 And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them.

Love wins. Not that it is not a struggle. But, love will win, it casts out the fear and changes our focus so that we can grow. And while fear did bring the Lamanites to fight like dragons and with great courage, it still lost out to the love the Nephites were fighting for.

Another thought I had about war is in the many wars this country has fought. The last time we actually won a war was World War II. The other wars since then have just ended without The United States being a clear victor. What drove us in World War II, sure there was a strong element of survival there. But, it really was love. We loved our freedom and fought to defend our freedom and our families. There was a mutual focus on prayer and beseeching the help of Our Creator. It was a horrible war, and so very many paid an ultimate price. But, the love won. Since then we have been battling out of fear. Fear of communism, fear of terrorism. I will always honor our soldiers, I believe that the majority of them do fight out of a sense of love for their country and for their families. But, while they fight, what are the people at home doing? There is not that united purpose, that connection to our soldiers and causes and mutual love of God, family and country.

When we get caught up in mortality, survival mode than we tend to just look for mortal answers. All of the problems that we face as a society can really be chalked up to this perspective. The more we look to ourselves for the answers the more man messes it up. We can certainly look at government interference to see that reality. This desire to “do something” and look to the government to do it has caused so many unintended consequences.

The Progressive mentality is one in which there is a desire to perfect man, a man made utopia. It is driven by fear, the fear that man as is, is just not good enough. There is a fear of pain and suffering and yes of death. Progressive politicians play on the fear of man, telling us we must do something to stop all the wrongs that occur. In a way I agree with them, something must be done. But, to continually look to imperfect fear driven
mortally minded mankind for answers is ridiculous.

To stop horrendous violence we look to the government. To improve education we look to government. To improve our health care system we look to government. And it gets worse and worse and we keep looking to them over and over again expecting some different result. One day the decay will be too much to overcome and collapse will occur.

The answers are staring us in the face and always have been . We need to love. I know that may sound cheesy and unrealistic. But, its reality, we need to let our love be in charge of how we respond to trials. We need to let the love of God fill our country again. If we truly did that, if we truly felt His love for us it would conquer the fear. And if we truly loved Him back we would trust Him and start living the way He has asked us to. He did not give us commandments as a way of trying to control us. He gave them to us because they provide the best way for happiness and bond and love. We would feel connected again to our families. Wouldn't that be amazing. The family would be in charge and kids wouldn't have to feel so damaged and trapped in survival mode so much so that they shut off their humanity and are willing to cause harm to others.

The answer is love and bond and family and God. Choose love.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Come Ye Disconsolate

A song that my amazing sister Shanelle sang a while back has been running through my head and heart as the events of last week unfolded. I know I joined with countless others in having Boston and West in my prayers. I was touched to see the outpouring of love and of faith that occurred in our nation. I was reminded of the unity and faith we felt following the events of 9/11. The song is called Come Ye Disconsolate and I think it really hit the spot for me. God Bless America.The intro song is sung by Chelsea Echols, Shanelle Hess sings Come Ye Disconsolate

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Remember Who We Are

We have forgotten who we are. That is the real problem. There are many symptoms and many an argument on ways to mend them, but no one is talking about the real problem.

I recently have been working through a course on being spiritually centered and enjoying the day by James Cox (I highly recommend it). One of the key concepts is recognizing where our worth comes from. Too many of us (and I certainly have been guilty of this) base our worth on our performance. Our worth should be based not on what we do but who we are.

At our most basic inner core we are children of a loving God. If we truly recognized that about ourselves it would fill us with both humility and a sense of our true worth. Humility and self worth go together. It is a recognition that we all come from God and have great worth in His sight. None of us are elevated above another we are all His and deserve to know it and act accordingly. Pride on the other hand is the search for superiority. If there is superior that means there is inferior. Those who seek for superiority will always struggle with doubt and will struggle to prove that they are superior rather than its opposite.Those who struggle with their self-esteem are struggling with pride.

If we focused on our true identity and humility our performance would be an expression of our gratitude to Our Creator rather than a source for esteem. We would also see others as they really are and treat each other as we ought. Of course none of us would be perfect at it, life is about growth which means we learn from our mistakes. But, to have the knowledge of who we truly are as the base of our operations would make a tremendous difference.

As I was pondering what I was learning about my own individual worth my thoughts turned to the nation and how this same principle applies. At the founding of this nation there was a recognition of Divine Providence, that we are endowed by Our Creator with rights. There was a recognition that we are His, and have great worth in His sight. American Exceptionalism has been turned into a prideful statement about how amazing we are compared to everyone else. The reality is we are only exceptional because of Him. God is the one who is amazing, and as we humbly rely on Him and love and serve Him and each other He will continue to bless and strengthen us in our trials. The more we turn from Him the less exceptional we are. We are neither inferior or superior as individuals or as a nation, rather we are nearer or farther away from Our Creator.

There is in our society now a worship of the carnal, the body. We define and judge people not by the content of their character but rather their skin color, what they eat and drink and what they do for sex. It is degrading and symptomatic of the problem of not remembering who we really are.

The gods are political correctness as defined by some group of people whose desire is driven by greed for money and/or power. Those who stand and speak of traditional values are excoriated as not with the times and phobic. The reality is their, the Progressives, ideas are old, and the results are well documented. If we continue on this path this society/nation will one day end where it always has and always does, destruction and tyranny. We cease to be an exception when we follow the same path as everyone else who have turned to themselves and their supposed superiority rather than to God.

I recently heard that they are now trying to take the word Easter out of schools too, just as they are trying to do with Christmas. I immediately started wishing random people a Happy Easter. How is it that we have gotten to this place? Religion is treated as some sort of hateful thing that we must hide. When the First Amendment is discussed people focus on free speech. But freedom of religion is the first freedom discussed in the First Amendment. The founders made it so, knowing that a knowledge of who we are and where we came from was necessary for the maintenance of freedom. It is so much under attack and it is no wonder. If those who focus on their own superiority want to have power over whom they consider inferior than they must make us focus only on the temporal, they must take us from Our Creator and from our true selves.

There is much darkness in this world. But, I take comfort in knowing that the light always prevails. Wherever light is it rules over the darkness. We just need to shine it brighter. This is not an easy task but it is the most basic thing that we can focus on right now. Individually we must seek Our Creator and then as families, then as communities and on up from there.

This is a blessed country, but we must remember where those blessing have come from. We must remember who we are.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Darkness and Light

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

I think it is fascinating that light is a theme in the Holy Bible right from the beginning. God saw the light, that it was good, and then He divided the light from the dark.

We live in a world of increasing darkness. We live in a nation where 6 and 7 year old children have been massacred in their school. I thought about writing concerning the Sandy Hook massacre ever since it happened, but decided it would be best to get some perspective.

That day was horrific. It was a shock to all of our systems to see something that horrible happen to such young kids. I have 4 nephews that are in first grade. I held them all a little closer and a little longer when I saw them shortly after. They are so full of life and so little. As a counselor I’ve worked with parents who have lost children to tragedy. There is nothing that can really truly fill the void left behind. I’m grateful for the faith that I have that families can be reunited in the next life, that they are not truly lost. But, the separation is painful. I continue to pray for their families. I also mourn for the teachers and other faculty and staff who were lost that day. Their families are also in my prayers. I honor the heroic actions they took to save the children.

Our society has searched for blame, driven by a media bent on their own agenda. The ridiculousness is astounding to me. They keep talking about the government doing something, yes because one of these days they are going to finally figure out the magic law that every criminal is going to follow s/. How many laws did that maniac break? People keep looking to the government for answers when what we really need to do is look to ourselves and to God.

God separated the light from the darkness, and the difference is becoming clearer every day. I’ve written before that times of great light and truth have often been preceded by great darkness. The Exodus led by Moses was preceded by the murder of children, the murder of children also was present around the birth of Jesus Christ. We live in a day of preparation for His Second Coming, and satan is throwing his usual temper tantrum.

The solution for the darkness that is so present now is to seek the light. We must do so individually and as families. There is a healing balm, there is peace, there is light and truth. Life is not going to be easy, we will face uncomfortable and even horrific things. When those things happen we have a choice of where we turn for truth and comfort and light. It breaks my heart that so many turn to man and government. The solution is not there, government screws up every time they try to intervene on our job of mercy. They have proven themselves to be incompetent and in many ways evil themselves (the lies and manipulation and immorality coming out of them is putrid). We must turn to God. We must speak again of His truths and the safety that is in keeping His commandments.

While there is much darkness, there is also much light. And remember that no matter how dark it gets the light always rules, sun, moon and stars. Where there is light it wins. Love and serve each other. There is so much goodness, I see it all around me. I have hope for a better world, and that it is possible because He has made it so.

It feels like it is winter in our society. But, spring is coming. Of that I have great faith

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Change: Can We Become Exceptional Again?

Change. It is a difficult task. Much was promised about change in 2008, with the result that the only change we really saw was the speed and volume of the direction we were already heading towards. True Change is possible but it requires an intense commitment. I have seen it in some rather dramatic ways. I have done quite a bit of counseling work with alcoholics and drug addicts for instance. I have also done work with individuals in our prison systems. Changing from those circumstances is difficult and unfortunately lasting change is the exception. But, it does happen, which always gives hope that it can happen for each individual given enough clarity and conviction.

This past election did not turn out as many, including myself, had hoped. I’m not going to dwell too much on the candidates or even the specific results. It was interesting to watch history repeat itself, I refer to an earlier post about whether or not we are elephants or squirrels (alas that was answered). I would rather focus on the general outcome and what the results will likely be. I was praying and fasting about this past election. I did not ask for a result except that the country would have clarity and wisdom. I feel like the answer to that is still forthcoming. Things are going to be quite a bit more clear and hopefully the majority at least will find some wisdom.

America is certainly on a downward turn. There is all sorts of reasons for this turn, but I think one of the big reasons is that we have forgotten who we really are. America is supposed to be an exceptional nation, but we are trying to be like everyone else. Why? It does not take much research to realize that continuing in the same fiscal and moral trajectory will just end in well an end. We are following the path of so many others before us who have faced their own ends.

It feels almost as if we need to hit a rock bottom somewhere to wake the country up out of its apathy. It also feels like we are imprisoned and addicted. We are imprisoned by our debt, and we are imprisoning future generations with mountains more. We are addicted and even dependent on social programs. Mostly we are imprisoned by arrogance, apathy and ignorance. Do we really believe we can continue on this course? Do we even know how bad it is?
So, what is it that we really need to change? Ill tell you what made the biggest difference for the people I had the blessing of working with and seeing lasting change. Moral clarity and conviction to God and family. Most individuals who are incarcerated re-offend at some point, usually fairly quickly. Most people who are attempting to overcome addiction, especially on a first attempt, turn back to it. Being clean, being innocent of crime, is an exception, they are exceptional individuals.

In order for America to become an exceptional nation again, we must do what those exceptional people who have overcome do, humbly turn to God. We must repent and make amends with those we have harmed with our lack of morals and our apathy.

I believe in miracles. I have seen many. But, in order to have the miracle of being exceptional again we must put ourselves in a position for that. Humility, openness to the hard honest brutal truth of how bad it really is.
Perhaps the clarity will come when we hit some sort of rock bottom. Perhaps wisdom will be borne of suffering. But, I know this, I will continue to speak of and write about truth. I will seek Our God, and supplicate His grace on this nation still. I know I will not be alone in that. Gather together, be His people, love our families, love each other.