My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Konnichiwa to Peace

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Our son  and his friend were going on trip of a lifetime, a two week vacation in Tokyo. Beholding all the sights and sounds of a rich culture, not to mention it being an electronic mecca. A virtual treasure trove  of all things “arcadic”  that would be video arcade + archaic =  arcadic  my creative liberties for the day.  If anyone knows me in the ever so slightest way they would know  this was not going to be a cake walk on my part. In all the years of  being  a mother  I have battled fears, foreboding  thoughts of  possible abuse, kidnappings, accidents or sicknesses  and all the alarming stuff in the middle.  In fact, if you can name it I  probably have feared it.  Been there done that.

Any loving  mother no doubt has  combated most of all of these same fears for her children. It is a natural desire to nurture and protect our babies no matter how old they are.  However, for me it went far beyond normal trepidations that come from a caring parent, but rather  becoming irrational and larger than life ones. Going so far as to  crippling me from releasing our sons to go anywhere with their dad or anyone else.  Words cannot begin to express  how incredibly hard this was for my husband, children and even me.

Now  looking back, and having come to greater depths of healing in this area,  I marvel and am utterly humbled that Kevin stayed married to me.  Through those layers of  painful growth came revelation to why my fears where at critical mass, some were fostered  from past personal sexual abuse I was aware and unaware of.  Buried deep, pushed down by stratum of shame, denial and  trauma, manifesting itself through unhealthy behaviors.  Perhaps some came from  being  carried in my mother’s womb only three months after burying her 9 month old son Brent, he died unexpectedly from compilations due to anesthetic from what was suppose to be a routine hernia surgery.

Personally, I cannot fathom my mom’s fears and grief as she carried me… what a bitter sweet time for her.  It’s important that I make this very clear, I’m  in no way blaming anyone  for my behavior, we all have personal  choices to make regarding what we with do with what has been given us.  For whatever reasons my fears were real, intense and even when prayers like, “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” * did not bring complete relief;  I would want to run away from the visible pain that I was causing my husband  and children.  Fighting  my fears seemed fruitless, freezing up and paralyzing so my only final option was to flee. Fortunately these were only fleeting lies, for I knew I could never ever leave my family that I love so dearly.

Today, I’m so thankful to God who has shone me His perfect love that casts out fear, for my husband and  children that endured the strain of my intense struggles for freedom with their love and forgiveness.  Plus, where would I be without the love and support of mentors / friends that have also walked with me through it all.  And though they did not  wrestle the same degree of debilitating demons as I, they chose to stand by me in my brokenness.  Loving me without judgement, offering me compassion and grace that became a breeding ground for my healing. Whenever  I mustered up strength to take a  baby step they applauded with such exuberance you thought I had run a marathon being the first to break the finishing line ribbon.

My boys are grown adults now and yes I still worry too much  I know.  It’s hard to know what is normal when your pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction.  I do know I’m walking in more freedom than ever before and I’m trusting God that it will only increase.

Currently, our son Derek is thoroughly enjoying Tokyo, a dream of his fulfilled.  Counting down the days to see him and hear of his grand adventure.  Mindful of my tradition to keep a memento, a dated trophy if you will, of how God helped me walk in peace as my children soar to new heights. Just like I did many years ago by saving his glass Yahoo milk bottle from his first purchase, a walk to the neighborhood market with his friends… a huge triumph back in the day !.

Recently, I started rereading “Mountains of Spices” the sequel to “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by  Hannah Hurnard’s.  Even though it has been over  twenty years of reading these two books, I still can relate to her preface to this allegory.  She writes about herself as follows,  “I can speak with the most authority.I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave to the Fearing Clan ! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a “Craven Coward” for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant “Fearless Witness” to his love and power.”

For this writer I’m so not there yet, I will no less continue to “seek peace and pursue it “, falling down and getting back up again and again, spurred on by the ground I have already won with God’s help… turning my weaknesses into His strength.

Whether your taking quantum leaps of faith or faltering  baby steps, God applause’s them both .  He delights in each step or leap you take towards Him. Cheering you on not matter where your starting line begins and rejoices with you at your victorious finish.

Father, we praise you, in awe of your delight for us and the comfort you bring in our storm tossed seas . Providing  perfect peace as our mind stays on you, trusting you over the mounding waves of fear. Learning to say  Sayonara  (Goodbye) to fear and  Konnichiwa  ( Hello ) to peace..

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Having the  Japanese symbol of peace painted on my big toe …. A beautiful reminder to stay in a place of peace.

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My  friend Kelli ordered this mug for me and it arrived the day I was starting to worry about the Typhoon that had hit Japan.

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You  .Isaiah 26:3 AMP bible

*  II Timothy  1:7


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Finding Your Joy

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After we positioned the desk in our bedroom it came with high hopes of it becoming a cozy little nook for me to write and study God’s word.  This snug little creative and emotional get away  morphed into a clutter “catch all” invoking in me no sense of calm or creativity.  Simply put, for two years its’ smooth top tempted me to lay unfolded clothes and disheveled stacks of paperwork on its inviting surface.  Sad to say I yielded to this temptation repeatedly.  Finally, on one particular day I decided it was high time that the desk was returned to its former glory.

Now cleared of its jumbled confusion it was off to the kitchen to fetch some hot tea. The cheery red letter “JOY” mug seemed like the perfect choice to steep my decaffeinated green tea. Plop went the teabag into the steaming hot water while I swirled in  tasty agava nectar.

Next on the list was to go about gathering my Bible, devotionals and journal. Though I was able to find both my Bible and devotions rather quickly, my personal journal was nowhere to be found. My joy was now cooling as quickly as my once pipping hot cup of tea. “Where is it Lord ?”  I asked needing  clear direction and resolve in  finding my missing journal.
Still nowhere in sight, trying very hard to savor the moment seated at my newly clutter free desk. Even though I had my bible, devotionals and lukewarm cup of tea, they were not comforting my nagging thoughts that my personal journal was lost. Just about then  my husband called on his lunch break, I proceeded to lament my dilemma  to him, he suggested perhaps it could have slid underneath  the back car seat…just like his Bible had done on Sunday.  After we finished our conversion I again headed out to the car this time hoping his suspicions would be correct. Now the weather was a heavy down pour as I began to trudge to our van. While leaning into the side opening numbing cold raindrops doused my lower back where my sweater and pants separated at the waist. Thus, spurring me to purposely lean in further, delving into a deeper more deliberate search. Sure enough right where my husband had suspected was my precious  journal. Displaying “FINDING YOUR JOY” boldly on  its cover, making me chuckle at its very appropriate and forgotten title. Usually the front cover is  hidden, bent back, journal pages open and ready to pour my heart onto.
Immediately my mind thought about joy the way James chapter 1 vs 2–4 writes about.  It reads: “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.  Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed lacking in nothing.”

My idea of joy is not always God’s idea of finding joy.  It’s more than a flashy, splash of Joy written on a shiny white mug  and everything is going as planned. Rather, it is about being joyful even when your joy mug seems empty and your plans have went awry.  Happiness is based on circumstances  while JOY is found in the Lord. True joy is experienced and known in our hearts regardless of what our errant notions of it are.  Ever so slowly I’m learning the difference, experiencing joy that comes from the Lord and not my happenings. Finding joy when circumstances waver from my picture perfect scenario, trusting in a God whose way is best.

Thank you Jesus your word promises us everlasting joy and gladness shall be upon our heads. Fresh, abounding, overflowing joy from you, our strength and place of refuge. Holy Spirit may our lives be ripe with your love and peace, filling our cup with a continual supply of joy spilling over. Which by the way….sounds like  my cup of tea!

Galatians 5:22, 23  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.


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Beautiful Feet

Image“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  
Isaiah 52:7 NIV Bible

Beautiful feet, I can honesty say I have never looked at mine and declared that.
You see in the flesh, they are wide and my toes are a tad on the stubby side; and when placed along side friends for a photo after my first pedicure they quite resemble Fred Flintstone’s feet AKA twinkle toes. Perfectly capable of pounding the dusty road with Barney Rubble after they lifted their prehistoric vehicle on route to Mr. Slate’s rock quarry.
But God’s word is talking about feet that travel to share good news. Dusty, grimy feet that ran to declare captivity is over, that freedom is on its way.

Those formally offensive and disgraceful feet become messengers of hope, peace, and the promise of a new beginning. That is my hope and prayer for you today, that somehow these soiled-chubby feet will aid in declaring God’s good news to you, proclaiming His peace in every one of your challenging situations.Your heart swelling with joy at the good tidings God has for you. His love touching every hurt, fear, and heartbreak. “Your God reigns”, and that truth deserves a hallelujah and If I might a yabba-dabba doo!