Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just Landed!

We are here in Beijing China. We only arrived an hour ago and quickly checked into our hotel. We have been in the air since 6am California time and landed at 10am China time. (which is 9pm in California) Long day. Maybe the longest day ever...cuz it is still going!

I have 45 minutes to shower and change and then our adventure continues as we go to the Healing Unit. This is the location of the children awaiting a chance at salvation, a surgery that may never come.

I must hurry to meet the group down in the lobby, but I wanted you to have an update. I made it to the other side of the planet! And I so appreciate your prayers.

Love to all!


Saturday, April 6, 2013


 On any given day I can trip over a flat surface. I'm talented like that.

Yesterday, I recounted my hiking expedition and the many times I stumbled. The ground just wasn't where I expected it to be. Or, something unexpected was in my way.

So many troubles arise from our unmet expectations.

We quit relationships because we feel others should have done more to help us. We quit on our dreams because we feel the doors should have opened to us long ago. We quit hoping because we have been disappointed. We quit living because we are afraid of the risk. We quit being grateful because someone else seems to have more. We quit moving forward because the path isn't easy. Stumbling through life because we expect a sidewalk and what we have is a mountain pass.

Just because you belong to a church, doesn't mean you won't have to face some things alone. Just because the perfect opportunity hasn't presented itself, doesn't mean you have been forgotten. Perhaps our "problems" aren't really with the people and situations that surround us. Maybe, just maybe, God didn't put them in our lives to prop us up.

Could it be that we have expected more of what is outside of us, than that which is within?

Why do we expect what we expect?

It is a worthy examination, given the fact that misguided expectations are systematic stumbling blocks.

Jesus said, that loving those that love you in return is not noteworthy. Even unbelievers can handle that exchange. It is loving those that cannot do anything in return that really counts.

Therefore, loving without expectation is the reflecting mirror in which we should check ourselves.

On our hike yesterday, I took a picture of this flower growing from the rock mountainside. The simple image of life bursting from such an unexpected place, spoke to me. There is no soil, no shade to harbor this little flower. And yet it blooms.

How many unmet expectations have ultimately been excuses for us not to thrive?

"I need this support structure...then I can do it."
"I need these resources...then I will prosper."
"I need guarantees...then I will try it."

What we really need are lower external expectations and less internal excuses.  If we wait till we have everything we think we need to flourish, we will hold back our harvest for eternity.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Taking a Hike

Each day after breakfast, we take a hike up the base of the Mt. here in Flagstaff. The mountain is surrounded by beautiful foothills and the house is nestled right up in the folds of the granite rocks. So all we have to do is lace up our tennis shoes and get moving.

These hikes are not an easy stroll but neither are they full on mountain climbing. The hike gets you breathing deep and steady and requires that your full attention be on each step you take. (At least that is the case for me.) I am rather notorious among my close friends and family for being a klutz. So, several (ok more than several), times this morning, I stumbled over rocks or roots. It became a regular theme for our laughter and conversation. Even though my family blames the clumsiness, I know the real reason I kept tripping.

I didn't want to spend every hike looking down at my feet, at each step I had to take. I preferred to look up, at the beauty of the trees and mountains. But in looking up, I would miss judge the placement of my next step. The more treacherous the territory, the more focused I became on every step I took. This is how the past year and a half has been for me. The path that God has led me on has not been an easy, walk in the park. But the scenery has been spectacular. And though I have longed to reflect on all of the beauty of this journey, each step has required my full attention. 

One foot in front of the other and you eventually get to take in the best view of all...

The view from the top.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Colouring in Sydney!

Well we have been busy girls, here in Australia!

This morning we woke and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast together at the hotel. Then we were wisked off to the Sydney Entertainment Center for the first gathering of the morning. We arrived a bit late and lost our seats, so we were way up top.

The view was rather magnificent but I'm a front row kinda girl. But in spite of our backseat status, Ms. Beth Moore drew us in with her humor and expository word. It was the first time for her to minister here at Colour and she fit right in. The worship and word are both at the level we are accustomed to but what really sets this conference apart is the media input and the fun, fancy touches of whimsy that float from the brilliant mind of Bobbi Houston. Today there was a spectacular element with Beatles music and girls on bicycles pulling loads of balloons behind them. It was just beautiful and fun, fun, fun!!!

We were given a short break after Beth's session and then the afternoon gathering gave us an update on their endeavors addressing womanity around the world.

We were polished up and ready to be picked up for the evening service at 6:30. One of the young men from Hillsong Church drove us through the bustling city to a close drop off at the convention center. We rushed in to great seats and let out a big sigh. Worship was wonderful then Bobbi introduced my sweet friend, Priscilla. Her word was right on and well received. She sure looked beautimous on that big stage!! Loved her message! Just love her...

Priscilla and Beth will both be speaking again tomorrow so I'm jazzed about that. I am falling into bed right now after a beautiful, full day! This is a once in a lifetime trip and we are soaking it all in! Maybe we can bring a group of ladies in the future....:))

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Journey Begins!

Well after two flights equaling 16 hours, we are finally in Sydney. We left Dallas at 10pm on Monday night and arrived at 9:15 Wednesday Morning, skipping over one full day on the calendar!
I'm not worried, we get that day back next Tuesday, when we fly backward in time.

Our trip has already been wonderfully exhilarating. I plan to climb the
Sydney Harbor bridge (picture #1) tomorrow morning, so I'm gonna be brief for now. I am READY for some serious shut eye. I am super motivated to climb that bridge. Probably for the reason of a million calories in the picture to the right. Hey, we were drinking cappuccino and eating sugar to stay awake! At least that's what we keep telling ourselves.

I will post a video tomorrow. I just wanted to let you all know that we arrived safely. The Hillsong Women's Conference begins tomorrow evening, so there is much anticipation! I cannot wait to share it with you.

Love to you all!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Go Throw Yourself Into The Sea

Trust is a subject from which I will never graduate or accumulate all knowledge. Understanding that is the essence of trust. Most subjects are taught and learned before mastery begins but TRUST, is mastered before the explanations are given. We don't learn 'trust' by hearing alone, we learn it through practice.

I thought I had a handle on trusting God, that was, until June 2nd, 2011.

I had trust in the fact that God had led me to discover the mass. And I had trust that His providence made provision for me to walk through a few weeks of instability. I remember the morning I went in for the follow-up sonogram. The Dr. spent a long time rolling the gel covered device over my chest, taking pictures from various angles. I ask her if this was routine, given I'd never had a mammogram before, I didn't know. She said, "No this is not routine. I am very concerned about this." She informed me I would need a biopsy and then left the room.

After she left, I sat up on the bed and thanked the Lord for leading me to this place. All I could say was, "Thank You Jesus. Thank You. Thank You." At the time I thought this was an odd response. But it was unbidden. In my heart, I knew that I had heard a warning and I was grateful for His word and for my own obedience.

A few days later, following the biopsy, I asked the Dr. what she thought I was dealing with. She said, "I think you have a small breast cancer, you'll have a lumpectomy and radiation and it will all be over. Thank God you caught it early."

My heart told me that her preliminary diagnosis was correct. And I hoped that my path would be as simple as she suggested. Although I was shaken, my trust in God was complete through the span of MRI's, total body Pet Scans and even the double mastectomy on June 22. Although the process was much more costly to me physically than the first Dr. suggested, I still had a complete and resonating faith that God had my best in mind.

My biggest battle came when Chemotherapy was suggested. Until then I saw all of this as just a small bump in the road, a minor detour in life, a molehill. But when the "C" word (Chemotherapy) was mentioned the pruning cut deep into my tree of TRUST. For the first time since this ordeal had begun, I started to question God's purpose for my life and that was a Mountain.

"What if I trust God and His outcome for this situation is not what I want?"

"What if His purpose for me here is nearly complete?"

Essentially I realized that I may be trusting Him to get me to my destination (86 years old) and He could have a different destination in mind. This was definitely a mountain I couldn't get around.

After Chemotherapy I experienced the most hellish days of my life. The first few days were fine, then on day three, I felt as if my bed was propping open the gates of Hell. More torment than I can define or describe came upon me. I rocked back and forth in the bed and moaned and wept for the deep sadness and hopelessness that covered me. My mother cried with me but for her own nightmare. She described looking into my eyes in those days and seeing me go away. Like an astronaut, I was sinking into the space around the backside of the moon, where for several black moments I was completely out of range of communication. I have never felt so separated from the peace of God. I now know the nuances that shade the depths of the "shadow of death." There are dimensions of feeling and emotion that I will never forget. By days I was drawn into the the valley and by days I came out.

One week and one day after Chemotherapy I emerged with victory. It was a Saturday and I spent most of it in bed crying. My parents came over and spent a few hours with me, laying on the bed, encouraging me. My dad finally got me to agree to go to dinner with the family. After dinner I came home and got in the bathtub. I knew my family didn't need to hear me crying again, so I hid my sobs under the sounds of the faucet on full blast. As I sat there weeping I had a conversation with God.

Many times through my trial I heard individuals quote the scripture, "It rains on the just and the unjust." This statement was my gripe with God. My argument was that as I understood it, this scripture basically meant, "the same consequences come to the righteous as the unrighteous." And I just could not square that with my knowledge of God. So I said, in a rather pitifully demanding tone, "God, you are gonna have to explain this to me. If the same bad things happen to your children as they do to those with no covenant, what hope do we have of ruling and reigning in your name?"

As I sat in the depth of my valley, staring up at Mt. Cancer, He simply said, "The JUST are joint-heirs. With my authority, you can say to the mountain, "MOVE!" and it will be cast into the sea. Yes, it does rain on the just as well as the unjust but the JUST live by faith. In My name you can speak to the storm. The rain may fall, Amie. But you will not."

In that moment, I was the prodigal child. Not in that I had foolishly left the comfort of home but in regard to the realization of how out of place I'd been. I was a favored child found wrestling with miry thoughts. With the instant clarity of remembering my way home, I began to speak to the mountains my friends were facing. I'd like to say that I'm just unselfish in starting with them and not with myself but honestly I was just more fearless on their behalf. One by one as I spoke my authority increased until finally I felt strong enough to look at my mountain: Mt. Cancer.

"Mountain's stand in the way, obscure perspective and block vision. I speak to the Mountain of Cancer, "'Move.'" You will not be the first thing I see when I open my eyes. Cancer will not obscure my perspective nor will it block my vision of the future."

It was so simple. And yet I knew the Mountain was gone. The real enemy had been fear. Not cancer. And I felt no fear. I had come through the valley of the shadow of death and I could finally say, "I fear no evil."

The shadow was gone with the mountain.

When I was done speaking to all the mountains, the wind of my breath had cut a path through the mounds of bubbles in front of me. I stopped crying and started laughing. The mourning ended right then.

The part of this battle that I truly believe can change your life is the dissection of trust and confusion. I had been hearing "it rains on the just and the unjust" and I had been interpreting, "the consequences are the same for the righteous and the unrighteous." My misinterpretation was primarily due to the way in which this scripture is quoted. This scripture IS saying that the battle for the just and the unjust are the same but it is NOT saying that the outcome is the same.

It rains on the just and the unjust. We cannot control what comes to us but as joint-heirs with Christ, we do have input in the victory. It rains on the just and the just, reign.

Take a look at what is blocking your path, obscuring your view. It might be time to name that mountain so you can tell it where to go.

Mark 11:23
"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Darkness Begins The Day

As I prepare breakfast in the darkness, I contemplate the cozy, deep sleep that avoids me like the white bit of egg shell being chased by my spoon. I have many things to contemplate about the rhythm of my life during this season and the profound effect the changes have made on every part of my being.

When the darkness of my diagnosis first shadowed my life I was bombarded with possibilities, then surgery and at the darkest point, chemotherapy. When I didn't think the night could go on, my hair decided it had had enough of my company. There has been plenty to contemplate during this season. Some thoughts were not welcome but came anyway. How do you refuse to think about hair when its hitting the floor like petals from a flower past it's prime?

Not only must the loss be contemplated, it demands a resolution. Nothing brings resolution to loss like the beginning of a bright, new day. But I have learned that new days don't begin bright.

Darkness begins the day.

My life over the past few months has been what most would call a season of darkness. Figuratively darkness can denote a cluelessness, loss of sight or direction. And a few times through this season I have felt like a child awoken away from home. With exhausted tears I would ask, "Where am I? How did I get here?"

Sleeping through the night makes it go by quickly. But when you toss and turn, awaking many times throughout the night, you wonder if night will ever end. As I watched the clock creep by, the next day introduced itself, black hour then blue. Finally deciding that rest would not return, I rose to meet the day. As I quietly made my way around the kitchen, I thought about the fact that it was dark when I went to bed and dark when I got up. But just because it was still dark didn't mean a new day hadn't begun.

You might still be in the dark but that doesn't mean you are stuck in the pattern of yesterday.

When we are enveloped by darkness that seems to go on forever, we will undoubtably find ourselves eager to see the daylight. It will come. There is no doubt. Whatever the darkness may be, it cannot last forever. Great things begin with darkness. Even God put the night first in the cycle of days.
Genesis 1:5

"God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day."

So according to God, the moment darkness fell in your life, it was the beginning of something new. During the darkness, a shift has taken place. What was moving away from you yesterday has already begun it's return to you. The season has changed even if you cannot see it yet. It's all coming back to you. Bigger, brighter and better than ever! A new day has come!!

Genesis 8:22

“As long as the earth endures,

seedtime and harvest,

cold and heat,

summer and winter,

day and night

will never cease.”