Monday, September 26, 2011

this is the way; walk in it.

As a student at Tabor, Judy Harder (a communication/theater professor) introduced us (a class) to her prayer labyrinth.She welcomed us at any time to come and walk the labyrinth if we needed it... if our soul needed it.

What's a prayer labyrinth? Looks like this:


But Judy's was just made of grass that had been mowed or beaten down. Something a little more like this: (not exactly, but closer to this)


The described purposes of prayer walks or prayer labyrinths vary, and I won't pretend to be a specialist. Instead of copy and pasting a description from google, I am just going to recall what I remember from it. The path is not straight to the center, and often one must make a u-turn in order to get closer to the center and follow the path. When you walk the path with its many unexpected turns that cannot always be seen up ahead you allow it to symbolize your walk with Christ. You can pray, meditate, or simply listen for the still small voice of God. The walk to the center allows you to quiet your mind and your soul and your body. For me, when I reached the center, it symbolized meeting God in a sacred place.

During a very difficult time at Tabor--a difficult time that would seem so little less than a year later when life really did take a turn for the worst--I took Judy up on her offer and I went to the prayer labyrinth.

I took my Bible with me and walked the path. Some of the walk I cried out... other parts of the walk I just stepped quietly... I took every step rather slowly. When I reached the center I sat down on the ground and opened my Bible. I very simply said to The Lord, "I do not know where to turn. I do not know where to start. Please... just show yourself to me."

I was led to the following passage in Isaiah 30.

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

This was in 2005 that I stumbled across this passage and still today they remain my 'life verses'. In fact, after I was in the car accident in January 2006 and struggled greatly with PTSD and Depression it became even more pertinent in my life. In the spring of this year I even had the opportunity to speak on this passage at the RMBC High School girls' retreat and I was ecstatic to share the amazing teachings and promises found in this passage. In 2007 I got a sunflower tattoo on my right foot to represent this verse and my daily effort to identify the way and to walk in it. I chose a sunflower because of its history and its characteristics.

In the late 1800s the sunflower was seen as a weed. People worked diligently to destroy it; but were often unable. It wasn't until 1914 that the state of Kansas recognized it for its beauty, resilience, and its resources. When I discovered these facts I knew right away... I was that. I was a sunflower. Satan may have tried to destroy me, and though he may have wounded me, My God would never let him complete his goal. Also, the sunflower got its name for two reasons. The obvious one is that it looks like a sunwith its bright yellow pedals stretching out like beautiful warm sunbeams. The other, less known, is that the head of the sunflower moves; at night, its head hangs down waiting. But when the dawn breaks, it faithfully raises its head and follows the sun all day long through the sky. When the night comes again, it waits, because it knows. The sun will return.

And so this passage remains with me and continues to be alive in my life. Though I know it was written for all, I often think of it as mine. I am so much like the Israelites; I have ran from God, disobeyed him over and over again, and relied on all of the strengths of this world. Yet, HE has risen to show ME compassion, over and over again. Even when I did not  have the strength to go to Him, he rose and met me. I vision Him leaping from a chair to run to me as a mother does when her child takes a bad fall.

So what stirs up these memories, this passage? Apart from its daily relevance to my life.

Well... we are at Tabor now. The location I was when most of my difficult journey began. The place I first discovered this special passage. During my years at Tabor, its 'theme' verse or whatever it may be called, was Micah 6:8.

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

And now.... it is this:

 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It brings me to tears that God cares enough about me to guide my path so closely, to take me and lead me exactly where He wants me, and to lovingly remind me that I am where I belong.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


July 18th was the last time I posted... just 2 days shy of Lydia Jane's 1st birthday. Since the 18th. . .

....Lydia Jane turned one

... we celebrated Lydia's birthday by having a slamming huge pool party at Carl & Stephanie Warkentin's with over 100 guests. It rocked! (but she is never having a party that big again until her wedding day)

...said our sad goodbyes to RMBC

....said even sadder goodbyes to Lee's family

...loaded up all of our belongings into a trailer

...filled our Pontiac Torrent with our family of three plus our two dogs and drove halfway across the country

....Lee started his new job at Tabor College

....unloaded our trailer (while Lee was at work) and were totally bummed to find quite a few things were damaged. (It was a good lesson of "it's just stuff")

....started putting our house together (still working on this but we are having a great time making this house look just the way we want it... I love it!!!)

....hosted the Wilker's for a weekend while they moved their two kids into Tabor (Trent a freshman and Alexa a transfer Junior)

...Lee's sister had her sweet baby Kenneth Eduardo Zamora and we can hardlly wait to meet him when we go to Bakersfield in November for Kelly's (Lee's mom) wedding.

....meanwhile I wrote and turned in my 35 page thesis for my masters: an action research plan for determining how improving the work enviornment of Houston, Texas CPS agencies could potentially increase efficiency. It was A LOT of work and is the main reason I have lacked in my blogging. I turned it in on Aug 21st and just got my grade yesterday... drum roll please..... 95%. Dr.Dixon said I exceeded expectations across the board. This was awesome to read after putting in so much time and energy.

I recently read a friend's blog and she was catching up after over a year of not writing. She expressed how, due to her job, she often felt overwhelmed with having to deal with any form of communication. Her feelings resonated with me. While working on my masters there have been many times where simply looking at the computer, checking my email, or browsing facebook has just been too much. In fact, it's why I mostly check email or facebook on my phone instead of the computer. But today is the official first day of my last class in my Masters of Public Administration. In 12 weeks I will be officially done!!

...I started watching Alexandria Lee on August 22 and I take care of her from 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday. It's going great.

That is a brief summary of all that has happened since my last post.

We are loving this new journey in Hillsboro and I am so thankful that it feels so right to be here. There was a time when Hillsboro, while full of wonderful memories and the start of many important friendships, was a place that reminded me of heartache. It stung with reminders of a painful break-up and washed over me the feelings associated with the car accident on Jan 2 of 2006. But somehow, over five years, I healed. Thanks to God of course. And now, He has brought me back to this place, and it, along with me, has been redeemed.

We are attending Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church (aka: The Big MB) which is the church that Dennis Fast pastored at while living here. Dennis is the pastor of RMBC where we just moved from. I love the Mennonite connections. :) We are in a great Sunday school class and Lee is already getting plugged in to help with teaching at Wed night youth groups during this transition time while the church looks for a new youth pastor. God just continues to bless us.

I am eager to post pictures of our wonderful home, but truthfully, I just haven't had the time. Some pictures have been taken, but they are not on the computer yet, and even then once they are on the computer I need to put them on photobucket in order to put them on here more quickly. There just isn't always a lot of time for that in between child care, normal house work, and the additional housework of painting projects, et cetera.

So I promise that soon I will post pictures of our new home and of my sweet Lydia Jane. She is doing so much. Her favorite words right now are: No (this is the one she says the most), Sit (which she has heard us say to the dogs and she now says it to the dogs, as well as Lexi), and Duke. She is quite the talker and also says Hi Puppy, Hi Papa (which we have been practicing and will be very fun to share with both of her Papas), Mom, Dad, and she frequently sounds like she is saying 'What is it?' But I don't think she really is.

Any day now she will be walking all on her own, but for now she wants us to hold her hands so she can walk everywhere or she pushes her dinosaur or cart around to walk.

Here are some links to a few of my favorite videos of her:

Lydia Jane goes on a walk
Going for a ride
Lydia Jane dancing and playing with Lexi

I will post again soon--less broad and brief--but just doing this is a huge accomplishment!! Next time there will be pictures. :) . . . . .maybe