To Sleep Per Chance to Dream

Today I took a nap. One of those glorious fall afternoon naps with the sounds of college football being emitted from the television and just enough coolness in the air to warrant snuggling under a blanket.

Maybe it is just because it eludes me so often, but I find sleep to be interesting.

Have you ever considered all the things you could accomplish if you didn’t have to sleep? I have. Those ideas usually come while I am laying in bed staring at the ceiling or counting sheep. I am certain if sleep wasn’t necessary I could have solved a multitude of the world’s problems by now or at least be a master artist or some other awe inspiring thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep… especially to dream. Friends who have to endure stories of my vivid dreams usually gain the benefits of lots of laughter. For example when I dreamed I was a giant, walking mozzarella stick or the time I dreamed I was swimming in tomato soup and was chased by a cow made of crumbled crackers.

Of course I have also been shot at, pushed off buildings, chased down by mob members, jumped on and off moving trains and a host of other things in the dream world. Let’s just say watching the movie Inception this summer was kind of like watching my own dream world displayed on a movie screen. It was interesting.

But this afternoon no one chased me down and I didn’t morph into anything odd, instead I just drifted peacefully off to sleep for a couple of hours. . .

and it was nice.

I highly recommend you enjoy a relaxing, afternoon nap sometime soon.

Skinned Knees

skidding to a halt
tumbling in the leaves
slipping sliding
stopping on skinned knees

a path of tears
courses down cheeks
a path in the dirt
leaves egos weak

standing again
wobbly at first
running to You
Living Water i thirst

Hide and Seek

knowing you seek
yet trying to hide
retreating further
into the shadows

silliness
this game i play
for children
which i no longer am

why would i run
why should i run
you always seek
you always find

Blind Spot

Oh Steph, why can’t you see what everyone else who knows you sees so clearly?

“I don’t know,” was my initial frustrated thought. “Probably because I know the inner workings of my mind.” But I didn’t say that part out loud.

My dear friend/adopted mom/pastor/mentor Cathy and I were discussing leadership, specifically my coming year of volunteering with CCX. I made the mistake of mentioning the inner turmoil I have over knowing that I will be up in front of large groups of people and seen as a leader. I didn’t expect Cathy’s response but it has been on replay in my mind for a couple of weeks.

Does everyone else really see it so clearly? Why? How? What am I missing?

I don’t have answers and the questions still plague me. I do know that for years people have been trying to get me to take on leadership roles and I have no issues declining.

Maybe I have wrong ideas about leadership. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe the responsibility scares me. Probably all of these and more.

Maybe I need to accept the invitation and stop trying to tell the Creator how I am created and work. Something tells me He is far wiser than I am.

 

If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more and become more,
you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

Three…Two…One…

Three years ago. . .

I was an intern at the International House of Prayer in Atlanta, praying and worshiping nightly from midnight to 6 a.m. I didn’t consider myself an intercessor and many evenings wondered what God was up to asking me to be there. I was confidently unconfident,  defiantly independent and intensely imploring God for freedom from the shackles of self-injury. Face down on the floor of the prayer room I fought a battle and came away dusty from digging in the ashes but delivered.

Two years ago. . .

I was at training camp in the backwoods of Georgia with no idea how drastically life was about to change. I didn’t consider myself missionary material and didn’t even know how to set up a tent. I was terribly timid, perpetually frozen and completely convinced I was in over my head. It was a stretching week and a half that would become a mile marker in my story. When camp came to a close, I breathed a sigh of relief until I  had to attempt removal of red clay from the clothes I had been wearing for ten days.

A year ago. . .

I stumbled off a miserable platscart (3rd class) train ride and, with soil from a Romanian Gypsy village still clinging to my sneakers, I entered the country of Ukraine with no clue that God was going to use this time to alter any ideas I previously had about my future. I didn’t consider myself a social butterfly and hated large cities. I was feverishly sick, unfashionably dressed and needlessly nervous about university ministry. When the month came to an end, I cried crocodile tears until I was almost sick. Now I am moving there.

And I can’t help but wonder. . .

What will next October hold?

Leaving Behind the Wilderness

I keep journals so that I can occasionally pull one out, wipe off the dust and read the highs, lows, praises, questions, and random moments of this life I have been given. Usually my only regret is that I don’t write more.

Earlier I sat down with one of my World Race journals and these are the words I penned a year ago:

I sense the Lord saying to me, “Give Me your life. Rise up woman of God and walk in the authority I have already given you. Stop sitting down! Get up! You are here to bring Kingdom, to bring LIFE. Stop listening to the lies and send satan packing back to the pit of hell where he belongs! Live out the truth you already know. You don’t need all the answers, you don’t even need any. You need to stand up and walk in the knowledge and revelation you have. Stop living for everyone else and live for Me.”

My response to this encouraging rebuke? Christ lives in me. I am a temple for the Holy Spirit. I am God’s representation on earth – an ambassador – and I will NOT be silent any longer! I have worth. I have value.  No longer will I look away when people speak truth over me but I will stare them in the eye and receive truth when it is spoken.

 

This came after my dear friend, Michelle McBeath, looked at me a few days before and said, “God has placed so much in you. Others see it and you hear it all the time, but you are going to stay in the wilderness until you choose to leave.” Ouch! I still remember the sting of those words.

What is so awesome to me now, gazing back upon a year ago, is that I can see a change. Sometimes I look through my journals and I see the same struggles popping up over and over, but when I see change, progress, then I also find hope.

At this point I was seeking God for some major changes in my life. Sure I was on the Race, living the dream, but I was stuck in a rut that had been dug to the depth of a grave and I needed God to break in. People would speak the truth of God’s love for ME and I could only look at the ground or look away. I was supposed to be sharing His love with the world and couldn’t even receive it myself and that made me feel even more ashamed.

Oh but NOW…. look me in the eyes and tell me about God’s love and I am NOT looking away. I may even jump up and down and shout a little because I KNOW it is TRUTH. I still struggle, have my pity parties and, boy, do I get it wrong sometimes, but God is teaching me my identity in Him and it is sooooo good!

Michelle… thanks for that kick in the butt. I love you friend.