Sunday, March 30, 2008


My dear friend Josh called today to share some fantastic news. He and Sarah are engaged!!!

And, I gotta say, that as a woman, I was UBER proud of him and all the thought he put into how he proposed. Walk on the beach -- fantastic. But even better was that he facilitated a surprise dinner with both of their entire families (folks arriving in Seattle from Montana and California). DANG!!!!

Congratulations, you two fabulous folks. I'm so happy for you!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Specific Direction....

It's actually April 21, but for the sake of calendar accuracy, I'm backdating this blog. :-)

Rissa and I had a great prayer time Wednesday, most of which focused around the question of whether or not I should be a pastor at Franklin Hill Foursquare. The direction was pretty cool. The first two thoughts I had after we cleared the space for God to speak were "I knit you together" (Psalm 139) and "good works created ahead of time for you to do" (Ephesians 2:10). Then came the campfire image from months back when Riss and I were praying about job and career stuff. At that time, I saw a picture of me hanging out with young adults around a campfire and had the distinct impression that it wasn't Link Crew or school related. Finally a thought about my "unique soul" from the Parker Palmer book I'm reading came to mind, along with the thought that God's direction and calling aren't always through trumpets, but that we as humans co-create reality.

Then Riss shifted to the specific question of whether or not I should accept the offered youth pastor position, being the female counterpart to the already selected male youth pastor. No red flags, but rather further confirmation: the first thought was "authority has been given you" and the second... "you're set apart... I have set you apart for this." WOW!!!

I feel that this is in specific reference to marriage (or lack thereof). God was guiding me HERE! SWEET!!! Rissa's next two thoughts were "move forward" and a verse that didn't quite fit: Proverbs 16:25. We actually landed on Proverbs 16:9 (In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.) as we were looking for the other verse, and I was encouraged by God determining the steps of my heart's course. It's like I have in my heart this picture of the life God has for me and God tells me where to step next. Very cool.

Then we found the verse we were originally looking for: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." While this didn't make sense to Riss, I knew immediately that it was referencing my stint as a traveling presenter. Eighteen months ago, I was all about traveling and being a speaker and all of that, but I see know that path did not lead me to life and health.

As we prayed about moving forward in this direction, I was having all sorts of hesitation, like jumping off a cliff. Then a Mary Poppins thing came to mind (who says God can't use WHATEVER He wants to communicate with us!). I thought of the part of the movie when they all jump into the chalk pavement picture. Bert makes up all these prerequisites to getting into the picture, and Mary says, "Why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple?" Then "Hold my hand please, Michael. Don't slouch." And of they went.

Rissa heard, "rest in me and obey" -- SO IMPORTANT as I tend to freak out about such things. Then, as we were praying to close, I thought of the beginning of the aforementioned movie scene when Jane sees the picture and says, "Oh that's lovely. If you please, I'd much rather go there." What an accurate metaphor for these last months a years. I felt like I have seen a picture of who I really am and how it really should manifest in the world, and I came up with all sorts of ways to get there, and God says, "Don't overcomplicate, please. Hold my hand. Stand up straight. Jump."

WOW. Whew... And yikes, right? Off I go anyway!

marah jean

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The power of theme music

I am very proud of myself because this morning, after MONTHS of procrastinating, I finally accomplished a very important task --- disposing of my Christmas tree. Yes I realize March is half over and I probably should have ridded myself of it two months ago, but I didn't. A month or so ago, I finally moved it from beside the steps to the yard waste can in the alley, but the yard waste guys wouldn't take it. Apparently the lid has to be closed, and I'm sorry, but a 6-foot pine tree doesn't allow for dumpster closage.

So I thought to myself, "Bill, we could take it to our old church building and put it in the uber-sized dumpster... hmmmm... not entirely on the up and up, but better than nothing." However, I knew I needed to accomplish this fell mission under the cloak of darkness. One can't just go chucking dried up Christmas trees in dumpsters at high noon with the whole world watching.

So, this morning after cup-o-coffee-number-one, I thought, "Bill, we should just do it now... but we need some encouragement." And so I began humming the theme from Mission: Impossible. And wouldn't you know it, that's what did it! Apparently all I need is a soundtrack and I can overcome any amount of procrastination build-up!