Friday, June 25, 2010

When a writer doesn't

When words don't seem to flow just right, it's called "writer's block". For whatever reason, I am "blocked" right now. I still want to let you know I'm here and I'm composing...but nothing is finished.  So instead, I think I am going to share with you something I wrote just before Christmas for Restore Community Church. Interestingly enough, I wrote this right around the same time I had a nine little words encounter.

Hmmm...I wonder if they are linked? Is there something that I am forgetting to see about our tender Jesus? I wonder if this is a reason for the "block". Maybe.

Regardless, I love the following imagery of Jesus and the setting of summer is timely. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing the invitation.


“I am the gate” John 10:9 (NIV)

During the summer when my husband is outside grilling and invites his friends over to our house, you can hear him say on the phone, “The gate is open. Come on in!”

How easy is that?

When one thinks of a gate, most of us can imagine an entry way to a yard or garden. However, the image we are brought to in scripture is very different. While Jesus was speaking to religious leaders, He calls Himself the gate. This happens at the same time Jesus is using a figure of speech calling Himself the “Good Shepherd”. He was referring to something very familiar to the people of ancient Palestine.

What we know is that at the end of a long day, shepherds would call their sheep into a pen through an opening about six feet wide. There the shepherd would “close” the gate with his own body, a physical barrier between anything wanting to steal, kill or destroy – essentially laying down his life for the safety of his sheep.

The shepherd stays with his sheep. He never leaves them alone and in the early morning hours, he “opens” the gate to lead his sheep out for food and water. The role of the shepherd is to provide nourishment, protection and guidance. The “Good Shepherd” does this everyday.

Jesus says, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10 MSG bold added) We can experience freedom while confident of His watchful loving care. Without Him, we simply cannot distinguish the right path for our lives. Through Him, He calls us in and leads us out, laying down His very life, protecting His sheep at any cost.

This Christmas, let us remember He came to show us how to experience true joy and receive eternal life with Him. Jesus is the gift. Jesus is the gate - He lays down His life for each one of us.

He has called you. The gate is open. Come on in!


Isn't that the beauty of our Lord? He isn't just for Christmas. He is an anytime gift.

Blessings for your day,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Woven together

This week I have been preparing a "nine little words" experience and a "snapshots along my path" moment for you to read. Then while I was out today, I saw the very person whose story I had began to compose. Huh? Seriously?

Is it just me or do you find it a bit "odd" that as I begin to write about the next person in line...I see that very individual? Makes me really wonder what God is up to in these encounters I am having.  I am only just now beginning to see a glimpse of the complexity in how very personal and intimate our Lord can be in relationships. I mean, I know how personal He is to me and how well He knows me...but to see how woven together we are? Wow. It has brought me to tears of joy many times over the past few weeks. 

Beyond extraordinary.

For example, pushing through my fear in asking, "How can I ask God to bless you today?" has really opened me up to talk with almost anyone.  I say "almost anyone" because one of my fears is still that group of moms standing in a huddle at my daughter's school while they wait for their children. Do you know that they have seen me for two years now and not one of them has ever broken "the huddle" and spoken to me?  Soccer moms are me anyway. But I feel God using that too.

Want to know why?

Since I was a little girl, I avoided clicks. Hated them. I was always seen as a nerd and nobody ever took the time to get to know me. I usually had one or two friends at the most...all my life. So here's my thing -- I gravitate towards the quiet person or the one off by themselves. For the past year, while the mothers huddled, I found a teenage girl who would pick up her brother every afternoon.  She always dresses in black, wears metal, and has really cool colors in her hair sometimes. I liked her right away.

I've been talking with her...mostly listening and laughing. She is great. I love her sweet smile and her eagerness. I've learned that she loves her mom and step-dad because they love playing video games and comic books and reading and family time...yeah...each other in their simplicity and complexity. I now also know what her mother looks like because this teenage girl was not there one afternoon to pick up her brother.  And can you guess what happened? I made note that the "mom huddle" didn't break up for her either and I told myself, "one of these days...I'm going to talk to her."

I knew it would be a rare opportunity to see the mom again but I also knew the courage to push through the little girl fear in me was somehow strong because of "nine little words".  Did I mention these conversations I was having with the teenage girl all took place on a playground? Hmmmm...? Playground...little girl fear...alone...playground...? Sounds a little divinely "ironic" doesn't it?

May I take this moment to let you see a glimpse of the golden thread consistently woven in this tapestry God Himself is masterfully creating?  You are going to like this.

Just this week while I was talking to this graduating senior girl, I saw a dog run across my mind in a memory. Weird huh? (Stick with me here.)  Then I saw a woman and her baby coming up my that same memory. It was this girl's MOM! 

All of a sudden, out of the blue, I blurt out:
-"Hey! Do you have a dog?"
-"Ummm yeah?"

Don't judge me. If you've been around me long enough I will probably also blurt out something really random.  Moving on...

-"I think he was in my yard once. And...your mom...with your little brother? I think they came and got him."
-"Oh yeah. He did that all the time. Not so much anymore."
-"That was four years ago!"
-"Yeah sounds about right. That was YOU?!"

Yeah, cool.

Like I said in the beginning of this post...see how woven together we are?

Because of nine little words, God started cracking and peeling away at the most fragile parts of my outer shell. Because of peeling away that shell, I began to see things hidden inside of me. Because of seeing things hidden inside of me, I began to see a need to change my thought process about shallow conversations. Because of needing to change my thought process about shallow conversations, I began to look for opportunities. Because I began to look for opportunities, I saw one God had provided:

He provided a runaway dog, who found my yard out of an entire neighborhood...four years prior. For the past year I have formed a casual relationship with the owner and I didn't even know it! Well, well, well. What a coincidence.

So shy girl me began to stalk and lurk for teenager's momma!

Kidding. Seriously I am. Sort of. But's not illegal in Iceland. (I have no idea what that means and I don't think I want to know. Seriously. Sort of.)


The "rare opportunity" was this past Friday afternoon and I was able to make my way over to where mom sat by herself in the playground. She was only there because her teen aged senior was at graduation practice. I'll just say heart had a huge grin when I told her that I loved talking with her daughter. Then the smile on her face matched mine.

-"By the way. Don't you have a dog that used to run away?..."


Oh blessed and beautiful and good Father! You are rocking my world with these recent encounters. It makes me appreciate how You are always at work and how even the littlest things we do or say matter...because You are our divine Daddy and all You want for us is to love and be loved in return. Your selfless love for each of us makes my heart soar! 

What a glorious tapestry You are weaving my King! Keep my eyes open so I may continue to enjoy what you do!

All my love,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feeding 200 Families One Afternoon in March

It was just a yellow moving truck.

How many times on a Saturday afternoon have we seen them? We have seen them in our neighborhoods, on major roads and highways. We may have even used them ourselves to get our possessions from one place to another. This Saturday afternoon was no different.

Or was it?

For me, on this particular Saturday, it wasn’t. I was actually following a yellow moving truck that had just left a church parking lot where over two dozen volunteers had helped organize, pack, and load 200 boxes with food that would feed families in the area of Annapolis, Maryland for one week. But this was no ordinary week. It was Spring Break. And for these families, no school means little or no meals for their children. Talk about priceless cargo! This truck had it.

So there I was, following this box truck to our next destination at a local school. We would meet up with some of the same volunteers and meet new ones in order to get our routes to deliver the food. It wasn’t a long drive to the school but long enough to reflect on what the volunteers were getting ready to do.

As for myself, I had my children with me and had been answering the age old questions of “why?” and “are we there yet?” during the twenty minute drive. At some point, they had become satisfied and settled into their own conversations. This is when I took advantage of the “quiet” time and started to think over the answers I had given them. Then it hit me.

Beautiful day. Moving truck. Traffic.

I was in traffic behind what others were seeing as just another truck. I thought to myself, “Nobody knows. Nobody.” Not one person we crossed or traveled alongside knew what cargo it carried. To them it was just another Saturday and nobody noticed anything different about this truck. Then my heart heard the words,

“Take care of the poor. Feed the hungry.”

I started to sob. My silent tears burned against my face. Sometimes I don’t see it either. Sometimes I overlook the obvious. Sometimes it’s too easy to look away.

I call myself a Christian who lives my life as best as I can. Serving in my church, loving on people, forming relationships, but somehow I get it wrong. How can I get it so wrong sometimes? Maybe I get discouraged by what’s on the news and feel I have no impact in this world but this is what Christ said:

“I was hungry and you fed me.” (Mt 25:34-36 MSG)

He’s not asking us to solve world hunger, but feed the hungry. We were in the process of doing just as He asked and I became overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of the hungry in our area.

We live in one of the most important cities in the world and we have people, families, and children in our own neighborhoods that are hungry. No, maybe they are not the starving of Africa but can you imagine having your child look at you, tell you they’re hungry and you have to respond, “We have to wait until I get paid tomorrow.”


Isn’t that what some of us always say? Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do this. Tomorrow I’ll do that. But what about today?

Let me tell you about today.
  • Today, volunteers packed enough food to feed 800 people for a week.
  • Today, volunteers drove all over some of the poorest and roughest areas of Annapolis trusting in God’s protection to make the deliveries.
  • Today, volunteers walked into a home with no furniture.
  • Today, a mother cried when she was offered an additional box of food.
  • Today, children jumped up and down when they saw the food.
  • Today, seeing my children’s inquisitive and willing hearts reminded me that anyone can make an impact.
  • Today, families knew Jesus was moving in their community and He cares about them.
  • Today, God blessed me, this volunteer, with humility and thankfulness and a deeper love for His people.
Take a chance on today. I did and it gave me a whole new meaning to beautiful Saturday afternoons. So maybe the next time you are thinking you cannot possibly make an important impact, remember this day. Hunger matters. People matter. Relationships matter and so do yellow moving trucks.

Maybe next time, you’ll be the one moved.


Feeding 100 Families Again!
Revolution has partnered with the county schools to provide food to families in need. This time we've promised 100 Annapolis families that we will provide them with a weeks worth of food, which translates to feeding 400 people for a week!

How you can get involved:

Get Involved in the Packing and Delivery - On Saturday, June 26th we will meet at 8:30am at New Song Bible Fellowship (11911 Lanham Severn Road Bowie, MD 20720-4551) to pack and sort the food into boxes. We'll load the truck with the boxes and head back to Annapolis.

For Delivery- We will arrive at a local area school (TBD) and will divide the boxes and put them into cars for delivery. We estimate our arrival on location with the box truck to be around 12pm.

Donate to the Cause - For $35 you can feed a family of 4 for an entire week, for $105 you could feed 12 people for a week.

You can make checks payable to: The Orchard Group with Feed 200 in the memo and send them to 626C Admiral Dr. #224 Annapolis, MD 21410. We will forward these on to the Orchard Group (our sponsoring organization) and send you a receipt. All gifts are tax deductible.

To get plugged in send Josh an email and he will send you updates at or call 703-304-8326.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Enjoy this day!

It's been a good day. As a matter of fact, it's been a great day. I continue on with the "warrior princess" mentality and am finding much joy in everything I do...yes, even the mundane. I feel alive and loved and like I can accomplish anything.  I am singing and praising out loud. (So if you hear a strange sound as if someone is putting a cat through a meat grinder...that's me singing.)

I feel like I am seeing God at every turn and I just want to hug the Jesus love right into every gloomy face I see. Am I high you ask? Why yes I am!  It's all because of...well, feeling like I've been invited to feast in a banquet where the guest of honor is THE BIGGEST ROCK STAR EVER!

I wrote out the following a year ago but I did not have the nerve to share it.  I just find it so appropriate for what I recently went through.

Read on warrior princesses. Enjoy this day!


Princess in love with her King
Wants to delight in the banquet
Wants to hear the sound of His voice
Longs for Him to gaze into her eyes

He had sent invitations long ago
Time and time again
He always included her
But she couldn’t be bothered, she didn’t care

This time so different from before
She had caught a glimpse of His gaze
And now can’t turn away
A love so pure, so full of joy

She’s frantic to go to Him
What holds her back?
Those jealous and angry
Keep her busy and distracted

Will she get to see her King today?
Unseen sword pierces her at word “No”
If only she could leave
Instead of being trapped

The angry taskmaster checks his list
"You haven’t done this or that"
"You haven't a thing to wear"
"You’re not worthy to see the King"

Just as her hope was shattered
The servants announce a visitor
It was her precious King
Gazing at her softly with the gentlest smile

“My darling” He said
I felt the sword pierce me too
And decided to come looking for you
To remove the task master’s burdens

And so you would not despair
I brought you something to wear
I bought it with all I have
And I've washed it white as snow

Come my darling sweet
There’s nothing you need to do
Enjoy this day I give
I’ve made it just for you


Yes, He has. Feel His joy. Spread the love. Ask someone, " How can I ask God to bless you today."   They just may have been waiting for your invitation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cookie Cutter Words - The Final Part

If this is your first time reading this series of posts, may I suggest you start at Cookie Cutter Words - Part I.  It has been an amazing story.

For those of you who have been reading along and anxiously waiting...come back tomorrow.


I have been waiting for this moment.  I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am.  From the previous posts, you understand I went through a couple of weeks trying to wrap up a story I felt was unfinished. However, I didn't realize it was because God still needed the lesson to hit home.

Hang on! This is going to be good.


Friday morning started out amazing.  I had finally let her go and went about my morning chores in beautiful conversation and praise for our heavenly Father.  I couldn't imagine the day getting any better. But I knew it would be. My heart had been lifted to that place.  You know. It's the feeling that no one person would be capable of stealing any of your matter what.

I was expecting company that Friday evening to help me celebrate my birthday.  I was making a Neopolitan cake for the first time and about one hundred fifty flowered Mother's Day mini-cupcakes for church.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that means some last minute items at the store.  The problem while out doing errands was that I wasn't near a grocery store and I had a six minute window to run into any store.  Why? I had to be at my daughter's school to pick her up and nothing was going to stop me from being there on time.

Did you catch that I said I only had a six minute window? Hold onto it. 

Those six minutes had to include walking speed walking through the store AND purchase of items. The race against the clock was on! I quietly asked God to slow down time and help my eyes scan the store. Walk. Walk. WALK. Yes! I found what I needed and they were on sale. BONUS!

Now I need you to slow down for a minute and imagine with me of a moment in time recorded in scripture.  It is in the Gospel of John when he writes that Jesus "had to go through Samaria" (Jn 4:4)  If you know anything about the story, you know this is the time when Jesus (seen as a good Jewish rabbi) spoke to a woman (a despised Samaritan) at a well. Jesus, being a proper Jewish man, was supposed to go around Samaria (much less talk to a woman) but He didn't.  The implication of the word "had" suggests purpose. Christ had a purpose. There was a woman He had to see. There was a woman He had to speak with.  There was a woman who had to hear what He had to say. He had to go through Samaria. 

Still with me?

What we do not know as we read the story of the Samaritan woman, is how Jesus must have felt when He finally saw her. He was getting ready to reveal for the very first time His purpose. Who He is. He was going to tell her...a woman, a despised Samaritan woman, who because of her shame was out in the middle of the day getting water -- alone. The very Messiah she has been waiting for all her life is going to ask her for a drink! Can you imagine? His joy must have been difficult to contain when He saw her. She was the one He needed to speak with...and there she was. She was the reason He had to go to Samaria.

Here is what you have been waiting so long for...

I think I may have experienced a very small sip of that overflow of joy when I saw...her.  This beautiful woman who I prayed for and carried and finally let go. On this Friday afternoon, just a handful of hours after feeling joy being poured on me, I had to go to the store...and there she was. Oh my heart! I felt like it was going to burst and by my calculations I only had three minutes left in the store!

Trust me, I didn't find anything in that moment to be a coincidence. Not even that I had asked God to please slow down time for me...because I had somewhere to be. All the while, He must have been smiling knowing full well there was someone I had to see. This was not going to be a detour in my day. This was going to be a moment I would remember and praise Him for the lesson learned. It was going to be as Christ said to His disciples in the story of the Samaritan woman, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (Jn 4:35)

I casually walked up to the woman who had captured my heart so long ago. And letting go of any expectations or the need for cookie cutter words:

-Hello. Is your name _____?
-Yes (with a skeptical look)
-You have no idea how happy I am to see you. I had asked how I could pray for you about five months ago right before Christmas.

Her eyes opened wide. She remembered. She recognized. Her eyes told me she had been waiting for me. So I told her:

-You have no idea how you have impacted my life. I have prayed for you and prayed for you and now I see you! Oh please tell me, how are you?

You may think me a horrible mother at this point but those minutes I needed to get to my daughter's school meant nothing at the moment. I knew she would be safe in the school if I was late.  As a matter of fact, I had forgotten about time completely when this woman tearfully answered me by saying:

-You have no idea how much you have impacted mine.  What is your name?
- Lisa
-What church do you go to?
-New Life Christian Church.
-Oh how I've been wanting to go there. I drive past it all the time but I'm too scared to go by myself.
-Please come with me this Sunday! It's mother's day and you can come as my guest. I go by myself and I would love to have you join me! I'll be at the 9:30 service and I'll meet you at the door.
-Ok. Yes. I'll meet you there.

That was a simple snapshot of our conversation. I was so overwhelmed with joy and had a grin from ear to ear as I left her that I started praising my Father as I walked out of the store.  He had been so patient with me and prepared my heart to properly receive a gift He was so willing to give. But first, He had to go there with me.

I had to discover through prayerful dialogue, that what I say to one person may not fit another. I had to discover that my personal experiences in life can cloud my judgement of another. I had to discover that well thought out words spoken through that cloud can still hurt.  I had to discover that no matter how honest and good willed my intentions may be, it is only God who writes the script.

You may think to yourself that I should know all these things already. I did. I knew them well. I knew them in my mind. It wasn't until I experienced these things in my heart that I gained full knowledge of them. God had shared His wisdom with me and it was a beautiful gift.  I can look back on that day I first met her and see how all the puzzle pieces were laid out. It was months of my Lord giving me little pieces and guiding me in placing them where they belong. The only problem was that I kept looking at those little pieces and felt I knew where they were supposed to go.  Unfortunately, I didn't know what the whole picture was supposed to look like and I had to let go of my desire to finish it on my own.

Jigsaw puzzle piece. Cookie cutter. Same concept. They both are only going to work one way. And no matter how much we may try to make it go the way we want, it's still only going to be what the Master intends.  Looking back, I am thrilled I did not see her again right away during Christmastime. I'm so thankful I chose to keep in prayerful waiting.

Speaking of waiting, remember the six minutes?  I returned to my car with a minute to spare. I'm happy to say that I was not surprised but absolutely delighted in a seemingly impossible prayer request answered. Time to be slowed down by the Creator of time? Why not?

I'm sure you would also like to know if "she" showed up on Sunday.

Yes. She did.

She has also spoken with our pastor and has attended some classes offered at our church.  Soon after, I've discovered that there is a need for alot of healing which is the reason I have not placed her name here or where I first met her.  It has been one more puzzle piece put in place and my delay in getting her story to you. I am grateful to our Father that in His wisdom, He had me wait. Her privacy is my gift to her. I trust prayers for her will put her on the right path to peace.

And lastly, the "ironic" thing is that I see her all the time now.  Every time we see each other it is with a huge and friendly smile. There is no need for cookie cutter words used so often in casual conversations. She knows my name and I know hers. And that is a beautiful thing.

So, remember the harvest is ripe. Open your eyes.  Is there somewhere you have to go? Is there someone you have to see? Today just may be the day they have been waiting for all their life...just like the woman at the well.

Blessings for the journey along your path,

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Am a Warrior...(Princess)!

I've been MIA.

Oh if you only knew what I have been battling the whole month of May. It started right before my birthday at the beginning of the month and continued on through almost the end. Trust me when I tell you I wasn't my normal self. I felt like everything I did was pointless.

So no, I haven't given you the update from when I last left you.  As it turns out, would you believe me when I say the story you've been waiting so patiently for has perfect timing in my life?

Yes? Good.

I promise. It's the very next post.  I just wanted to drop in and let you know that I've finally logged back in and I've missed you. I've missed this. I'm back!

So why the "Warrior...(Princess)" title?  Ready to have a little fun...a teeny, weeny bit of fun?  Ok, good.

After almost a month of asking God to help me out of my slump, I felt Him place a verse on my heart.  All of a sudden, I stood tall in my house and said to myself, "You are like Gideon Lisa! You are a strong and mighty warrior!"  (Judges 6:12)  YES! Yes I am! I believed it and proceeded to get ready for my ESOL class where I volunteer teach.  My spirit began to lift but when I arrived I had no students and instead of feeling down, I grabbed the make-up bag I had thrown in my purse at the last minute and headed to the ladies room.

(For those who don't know me, I generally don't wear make-up.)

The music in that hotel restroom was perfect (go figure).  I began to apply my makeup and continued to repeat to myself -- Truth. Over and over I told myself that I am a "mighty warrior" and the only victory the enemy,  the thief, the destroyer of my joy, could ever have is what I allow him to have.  Once I was done applying my make up, I looked at myself and claimed "MIGHTY WARRIOR!" again.  But this time I couldn't help but to laugh out loud...just like this very moment.

I laughed and I smiled and I kept looking at myself. Oh how I thank God nobody walked in! Seriously, I believe He knew I needed that time to myself and kept those doors shut because not one woman walked in the entire time. Now you know that is a miracle in itself!

So there I was, proclaiming myself a warrior looking fabulous! (No shame here.) That is when I looked at the entire package presented in the mirror.  My hair was just right. The color combination I was wearing was beautiful and I had done a fantastic job with my makeup. I was pretty and I was claiming it!

"I am a WARRIOR...Princess!"

Yes, I am! And so are you my fair ladies. Wear your flip flops and hair in a pony tail. Throw on some sweats and a stained T-shirt. Bake a cake. Embarrass your teen. Burn dinner. Go for a walk. Take pictures. Read to your children. Get dirty in the garden. Turn on your power tools. Nurse your baby. Drive the bus. Knit. Sew. Go to soccer games. Eat the cookie. Love your curves. Empty nester, find a young woman to mentor. Sing out of tune. Take a nap. Volunteer. Respect your man. Smile at everyone. Whatever it is that you do -- Love, laugh, live!

You have permission to put on your makeup and wear pink. Carry the matching bag with your absolutely adorable shoes and claim it! You are a WARRIOR PRINCESS and victory is yours in all you do with our King in mind.

And for the few men who read this blog, I love that you are strong and mighty warriors too.

Remember always, when things look bleak and there couldn't possibly be any life coming from anything you do, the Lord is with you. He can make you victorious.

Just look at this:

How awesome is that!?!!

Blessing for your day,