Don’t Stop Believin’!

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Recently, I was spending time with some dear friends and we chatted about life over salsa and margaritas.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

For one friend, a dream was coming true.  For another, true confessions of living in the state of hope deferred which really does make one’s heart sick.  And for me, living in the in balance of waiting for a dream to be fulfilled and the possibility that this may not happen.  For two of us, the tension of the now and not yet.

Which led us to the encouraging words of Journey from 1981….just a phrase but it was enough to encourage us. “Don’t stop believin’…Hold on to that feelin’…”

But it also led me to think about that tension.  God is good and amazingly kind.  I believe that He does place desires in our heart that He will bring about, in His timing. We partner with Him when we see an opportunity but also realize that those times are few.  When you are either in the hope deferred stage or in the in between stage, hoping that the time is NOW to fulfill that dream – how do you carry on?

Questions stir up in our souls, like dust in the wind.

“Am I making this up?”

“Am I delusional?” Don’t answer that one.  Ever!

“If God put this in my heart, intentionally, then where is the glimmer of this being a reality – ever?”

“Where is the sign on the horizon that says this dream is down this path? Am I even on the right path at all?”

Those are unanswered questions that we all wrestle with.  It doesn’t matter what the dream is, the questions are the same.

So, in the tension of the now and the not yet – we wait. We pray. We worship. We trust. We remain fluid and flexible in the everyday every day mundaneness that can be our life, at times.  We find joy, service, community and more in each day. And we trust in the One True God, Maker of Heaven and Earth!  The One who loves us the most and is so close in our moments of doubt.  He is really all we need in the waiting, and in life, anyway!

 

The Power of Choice

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healing-heartLately, it seems that God is teaching me what I am cleverly calling, the power of choice.  Doesn’t that sound like one of those self-help talks that just gets you all revved up.  Chanting to myself, “I can do it! I CAN choose wisely! I want to do that!  Let’s go!”  When really, it is not all that exciting, or glamorous.

The power of choice.

In my every day everyday.

The power of choice to believe that what was good, noble, righteous and hopeful yesterday is still all that today.

And tomorrow.

The power of choice to smile and be gracious when I really want to say where is grace and kindness? That’s how I treat others.  Why isn’t that some universal policy that is mystically enforced?  The power of choice requires of me to be gracious, anyway.

The power of choice to:

Believe the best at all times

Call out the treasure in people

Go to the gym…again

Choose wisely in character, nutrition, health and life

And, most of all, to believe that the love of God in and through me does really make a difference.

Ah, the power of choice.

Choose wisely, grasshopper.

Reflections

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 Reflections…

As I look back on my year, and my blog posts, I am overjoyed with how much I’ve changed!  Little by little, God has been healing me and I’m not as fearful as I was.  I look back at my old self and think, ‘Why were you so afraid of so many people and things?’  “Well, old self,” I reply, “Remember how many people and situations caused you pain?  You thought it was easier to self-protect.  But what you did was really wall off your heart.”  And, then I remember the pain and the situations and, how over time, the walls of my heart are coming down.  This truth fuels my rejoicing.

As 2014 comes to a close, I am thankful for so much:

  • My amazing husband of 32.5 years – David YB Normal Bradbury
  • Our Vineyard Church that has loved me into wholeness
  • The dream I held in my heart since 1999 – working with Byron came true this year. There’s more of that dream to unfold in 2015 but, oh, such rejoicing at what I have been invited in to!
  • I get to oversee an incredible ministry at the Vineyard called Sozo and interact with such beautiful people – both on our Sozo Teams and those who come for ministry. I see the wisdom and kindness of those I serve with and the tenderness of God the Father as He heals people!
  • Great health for the both of us
  • David’s kidney is 14 years old and is very healthy!
  • My journey into health this year
  • A good job at The Salvation Army
  • Our super cute little bungalow
  • Honest relationships that sharpen me and invite me to step up – and into more
  • Sweet neighbors in our hood
  • Kingdom friendships around the globe
  • My old yellow VW Beetle, still going strong after 14 years
  • The ability to dream…again
  • And, of course, the extravagant love of My Jesus who loves me!!!!

Dreams for 2015…???

Such a Contemplate…

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There are times of contentment and there are times of longing.  Right now, I am in a time of longing.  Maybe you are too.  Are you longing for a job, a spouse, a baby, a move?  A shift of any sort?  Seasons come and seasons go.  The trick is to stay present in each one.

So, these words came out of my heart.  Thought I’d put them here.

Why do you allude me so?

I catch glimpses of you,

Darting here and there.

I know you are out there,

Because I have seen you.

We have had moments where

We have walked,

Side by side

And you whisper to me,

Hold on.

Have hope.

Don’t give up.

But some days,

It is so hard.

I tell myself that you do exist,

Although, I have no guarantees that what I hope for,

Will actually come to pass in my life.

I am not in control of those decisions.

There are others who get to make those.

My role is to live my life,

Fully,

Now,

Even though where I am is not where I want to be.

Where I am is good.

It is a place of growth, maturity and stability

But, it is truly not where I see myself with you.

And so,

I wait.

But waiting is not passive.

It is active.

I will take thoughts captive.

I will overcome negative emotions with joy.

Because You, My God, are really everything I need,

And You are my Joy,

In the midst of my every-day every day.

And to you, Dream of My Heart,

Even though you allude me

I will rejoice in the One who holds my heart.

32

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This week, David and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage!  That’s a long time!  That is longer than many of our friends have been living.  I was thinking of what I could write about.  I came up with fun facts about D&D.

  • The first time we met, I was 15 and David was 19.  Therefore, there was NO dating!  We just became good friends.
  • I would go to the Mall with my Dad, and I’d often see David there.  Does that mean we were “cool” back in the day if we hung out at the Mall?  Probably not, since my Dad had to drive me.
  • We lost track of one another when I was in High School.
  • I started attending a new church when I was 20 years old.  That’s when I saw David, again.  Suddenly, a 4 year age span was not an issue!
  • I knew he was an avid bike rider, so I asked him to come over and fix my bike.  It was my only form of transportation, besides my feet.  Honest request, btw.
  • He came over the next night. We talked for hours.  I noticed he wasn’t make any moves, of any kind.  Nice.  Not even to fix my bike.  Suddenly, I didn’t care, because, that would mean he would have to come back.
  • Inside his head, he was thinking – ‘If I don’t fix her bike, I’ll have to come back’.
  • We were brilliant, in our passive-aggressive way.
  • He didn’t fix my bike until after we were married!  True story.
  • We started dating in 1981, but we broke up all the time.
  • We obviously had things to work through.  Glad we worked through them then, and not after we got married!
  • I was skinny then, because A) I was young. B) I cried all the time. Also because I didn’t know how to cook! (Future blog post)
  • Now, I am A) not as young as I used to be and B) VERY happy.  And, I have turned into an excellent cook.
  • We got married on July 3, 1982 so that we could always have a day off to be together – July 4.
  • I received my Daddy’s blessing right before our wedding, even though he passed away before David and I started dating.  (Blog post for sure, someday!)
  • We’ve owned 3 yellow VW bug cars. One of them we won in 1994.
  • We’ve only lived in 2 cities but our hearts have taken residence in many other cities.  Yes, I left my heart in San Francisco, Vacaville, Redding, Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara.
  • After all these years we still laugh together.
  • A lot.
  • Oh, at our 25th Anniversary, David said that the next 25 were going to be all about him.
  • He reminds me of that.
  • Often.
  • Married life hasn’t always been easy.
  • But it has always been worth it!

Here’s to another 32, David YB Normal Bradbury!

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My husband, David, is a quiet man full of wisdom and insight.  If you have the privilege of knowing him, then you have seen this attribute.  I can talk all day long.  Wisdom is mixed with many other words that may, or may not matter.  David, however, chooses his words wisely.  His words have weight.

Last night we had one of those treasured conversations.  He was talking about how we make life so hard.  We love God so much that we don’t want to get it wrong.  Therefore, we often don’t do anything.  We don’t step out because we fear we’ll make the wrong decision or end up on the wrong path.  So we stand frozen, with hearts full of love for God and that want to partner with Him.  But, we are not moving.  Our feet are glued to the pavement with worry, fear, and an endless amount of ‘what ifs’.

In his wisdom, David went on to say we have the benefit of Scripture to see what the Disciples did.  We can look at their lives and see how they got it right.  Doesn’t it just seem like they knew what they were doing?  When we read Scripture, we know what happens and we talked about how we read those stories with the end in mind.  Like – they knew this or that would happen as they did ______.

Then the lie is —  shouldn’t we know like they did?

Here is where David’s wisdom came rushing in the room and flipped on the bright light!  He said the Disciples didn’t always know what God wanted from them.  They just lived their lives and then….that is what was so beautifully recorded in Scripture!

Did you get it?

Was that truth an ah-ha moment for you as it was for me?

Of course, sometimes, they did know what to do or where to go.  But other times, they just lived out their faith in their everyday life.  In Acts 3, Peter and John were on their way to the Temple to go pray.  That day may have been the same as every other day.  They went to the Temple to pray at 3pm.  Acts 3:1, “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”

We focus on what happened next.  They saw the crippled beggar and they spoke to him and God healed him.  We think – hey – that’s neat!

That was one glorious day!  What about all the other days when they walked to the Temple to go pray at 3 in the afternoon?  Did miracles occur on other days?  Maybe?  I am not a scholar, so I don’t know.

Peter’s shadow fell on people and they got healed.  But …. Wasn’t he just walking?

That’s a word for us, today!  Sometimes, we get those moments where we know what the Lord wants from us and for us.  We get excited with that insight and direction.  However, when we do not have those specific insights, our (MY) fears rise up to speak lies of you’ve got it wrong, you are wrong, you will be wrong, you must be wrong.

The freedom that came from David’s words last night was this:

Live your life.

     Do what is in front of you. 

          Do it well. 

               Love purely. 

Pray.

     See others. 

          See God. 

               Live your life with joy.

                    Even in the everydayness that often accompanies your life. 

Perhaps that is part of the mystery.  In our basic, simple, often clueless lives – God shows up!  Like the Disciples.  They lived out their faith-filled lives with epic failures but God still showed up!

As David said, we have a green light.  It’s all good. Just live your life, steeped in the love of God and let God move in and through your glorious mess, which really isn’t a mess at all.  We’re just too close to the pattern to see the beauty of what God is creating in and through us.

We sat, together, in awe of this simplicity.  The power of living a faith-filled everyday life with the love of God flowing in and through us in the everyday every day of how we live.

A Lightbulb Moment!

I Love You More Than Dirt…

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step by stepDavid YB Normal Bradbury and I are quickly approaching our wedding anniversary!  On July 3, we will celebrate 32 years of wedded bliss.  Bliss is a good word.  The dictionary defines it as: supreme happiness, utter joy, contentment.

Of course we’ve had our other moments, as all relationships do.  You know,  the ones where you really don’t like each other very much.  Working through those frustrations only deepens our commitment to each other.

Years ago, we were fortunate enough to have spent some significant moments with the late Rich Mullins.  If you do not know who he is, he was a gifted poet/songwriter.  He wrote about his deep love for God and of God’s unending passion for each of us!  If you get a chance to catch the movie that was made about his life, go see it!  It is called Ragamuffin.  It shows Rich’s struggles, which only deepens the impact of his love of God that is shown through his music.

Rich was killed in an auto accident in 1997.  David and I remember hearing the news of this dear man that we loved deeply.  His life still brings us joy and his death still brings us to tears, all these years later.

So….back to dirt.

At one of the retreats we were on, with Rich, he challenged us to write down 25 things that reminded us that life is good.  His point was we need to remember to enjoy this life that we have been given.  We often take life way too seriously.  Enjoy both the big things and the small things.

Well, David and I began to tackle this task.  It was much harder for me than it was for David.  Probably because I over think things.  Nooooo!, you say!  Anyway, we made our lists and came back to share.  I systematically numbered my paper from 1 to 25.  Again, you declare, “Of course you did.”

At the top of my list was David, of course.  What, you ask, was at the top of his list?

Dirt.

Yes, dirt.

I was third.

I don’t care what was second.

The point is.  David was first on my list and I was third on his!

This is a good example of how we think and function.  I am orderly and systematic.  David is much more of a free-thinker than I am.   Which is one of the fun things about our 32 years together.

This cataclysmic event happened in 1995.  After nearly 20 years of having this conversation and the subsequent explanation and after nearly 32 years of marriage, David still says, “I love you more than dirt” my heart still swoons!

**The pic is the song Rich wrote, “Step by Step”.  He wrote it at one of the retreats that we were on with him.  He sold each copy for $1!