Author: Beth
•Thursday, July 30, 2009
When I think about having a “Ripple Effect” – I almost immediately think about action. We are people that are often driven by what we do… sometimes to the detriment of forgetting who we are. God reminded me of this recently, and I thought I would share a little of what God has been showing me through a busy schedule and a well-known Bible story.

With a great sigh, I collapsed into my bed. Every muscle protested in rebellion and my tired brain seemed tied up in knots. Tears stung the back of my eyes, but I was too tired to even cry.

It was the middle of a busy week – Wednesday, to be exact – and it felt like it should be Friday. Already I had reached my limit and my date with my pillow was long overdue.

As I sank back on the disheveled covers that had been forsaken in great haste that morning, my mind flashed the scenes from the past couple of days. Shuffling papers, answering phones, painting walls, cooking food for a crowd, meeting with people, juggling details and learning a new job had taken more energy than I had to give. The fulfillment that used to come from being “busy” had turned into the tyrannical dictator of exhaustion.

As my brain drifted out of consciousness, I had a sinking feeling in my heart. Even with all that had been accomplished, I still felt like I had failed.

What is wrong with me? I moaned inwardly. Sleep overcame before I could answer.

The next morning, the cruel sound of the alarm clock jolted my senses all too soon, I once again found myself at work… still rubbing sleep out of my eyes. The question that haunted my dreams the night before returned. Why do I feel like this? I am doing what I’m supposed to do … serving God. Isn’t that supposed to make me fulfilled?

In the back of my mind, I knew otherwise. I knew that at the end of the day, it’s not enough to have a busy life. Even a busy serving life.

With a guilty sigh, I opened up my Bible … trying not to think about how many days had passed since I last truly read it, beyond just the routine reading. Ouch.

God had someone for me to meet … again.

We had met before. In fact, I could see her profile in much of my life, even though she lived and died around two thousand years ago. She was the one “distracted with much serving.” (Luke 10:39). In my mind’s eye, I could see her slaving over the menus, checking the vegetables to see if they were overdone, making sure the plates were out on the table on time. I could see the pile of papers in the back office, silently screaming for attention. I could see her calendar that was filled with red markings and circled events – trying making sure nothing fell through the cracks.

It all sounded way too familiar.

Jesus had this gentle rebuke for his weary and frustrated child: “You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.” (verse 41) I love the tenderness and compassion that comes through His words. He knows that we as busy people tend to find our identity and affirmation based on what we accomplish. Serving? Yes, it’s a good thing. But He cares more about our hearts than about our actions. He wants us to focus on the one thing: Himself.

As I read through the story and saw the contrast between Martha and her sister Mary, I thought about what it means to live and work in the presence of Jesus.

When we go to church, we enter into a sanctuary (a refuge, a consecrated place) to worship the Lord. Living our lives out in His presence is living a “sanctuary life.” This is a heart attitude that goes much deeper than our “to do” list.

There is a daily battle that is raging inside of us over what we love most – God or something else. If Jesus doesn’t have our hearts, then everything that we do is simply wasted energy. What He really wants are servants who are willing to sit at His feet – to have the continual attitude of communion with God regardless of the activities that surround our day. He then becomes the strength and the joy behind the work that our hands find to do.

That is the kind of life I want to live.

Author: Beth
•Sunday, July 19, 2009
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the day time stars can be seen from the deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett
Picture from the beautiful Oregon countryside - June, 2009.
Author: Beth
•Wednesday, July 01, 2009
(The following is a somewhat belated post which wraps up a few thoughts about my recent travels.)

This morning, I woke up to the bright sunrays dancing off the walls of my bedroom. For the first time, I didn’t have to wonder where I was. After several weeks of seeing those same sunrays dance off of hotel rooms, guest bedrooms, and church walls of India, I am now back in the place I call home.

It’s a good place to be.

Many people have asked about my travels.So, how was it??” Oh, the words can never say…

Did you meet any interesting people on the airplanes?

My favorite was the dear elderly lady during my flight to Portland who was estatic about the possibility of Jesus coming back while we were in the air. :)

How did you like the food?

If I could spend my life eating with my fingers like they do in India, I would.

Did you see anything interesting?

Do mountain ranges, three oceans, volcanoes, and wild elephants count?

I love the questions. Even if I don’t have answers. But one reoccurring question that I can never seem to really answer is this:

Are you back to normal yet?


I’ll have to think about that one.

It’s true, I’m over jetlag. I’m not stared at in the grocery store anymore. I’m not swatting mosquitos, running through jam-packed traffic, or hearing security guard whistles in my sleep. I’m sleeping in a bed, driving my car back to work, laughing with my brothers, and doing all the things I did before (although I’m still taking those malaria pills!) I’m back in the familiar places with the familiar people. I know those dear people mean well when they ask about my physical wellbeing. But deep inside, I know that my normal – my spiritual “normal” – will never be the same… nor should it be.

Traveling is a very reflective exercise. Since my feet have been on solid ground for many days now, I’ve had time to think. I’ve gone through my pictures, re-read my journal, re-lived the memories, and have done a lot of talking with my Father about it all.

Being back home launches me into a new kind of journey … that of reconciling where I’ve been with where I am. That journey alone has possibilities of changing my life all over again.

It’s hard.

In India, I was a person with one mission, one goal. The people there didn’t know anything about me except that I was from America, I had two hands, and I was there for them. The past was irrelevant and the future was unknown, but the present was a new adventure every day with God. I would see new places, touch new hands, look into new eyes… and see Him in it all. I was surrounded by people who passionately loved God and desired to see His Word spread – and it was contagious. In the mornings, He would meet me though His Word on the roof and give me new vigor and perspective about everything in life… in that faraway place where I was undistracted and completely surrendered. I was totally and completely there.

It was beautiful. It was humbling. And I want to be that person…


The problem with “normal” for me is that it is just the opposite. “Normal” means reverting back to yesterday, conforming to what is usual and average, and forgetting the things that have changed. Normal means living a life just like everyone else on the planet, caring about the things they do… living normal lives, experiencing normal problems, dying normal deaths. I’m scared of being normal.

I don't ever want to forget those faces that have woven their way into the depths of my heart…

…or how powerful it is to worship our God together, regardless of race, language, or culture

… or what it’s like to spend every day focusing on proclaiming Christ

… or the humbling realization that God is choosing to speak through someone so inadequate, worthless, and helpless as I am

... or what it’s like to see through His compassionate eyes… to see real people and not just the sea of faces

… or what it’s like to face battles larger than myself and to see His victories

… or how life changes with an eternal perspective

… or that Jesus is enough for me.

It’s that kind of change that keeps me running back to the Cross, continually realizing my own sinful nature and the high calling of being different for the sake of Christ. Continuing that kind of mission vision here on my home missionfield requires a continual surrender of will and a reliance on His grace… but it’s the same, because He is the same God both here and there. That is the sweetest thing in the world.

May I never forget. And may I never be normal again. :)

~ Beth

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you" - Matthew 6:33