Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Travel Day, A Year Later

A year ago today a 40 year old woman, who never had a passport, who dislikes flying, made the journey to Israel. That was only possible, because G-d called her to go and made a way.

I had hoped to finish writing about my trip before this date approached, but things are still left to be said.

I was a bundle of nerves waiting to board the first leg of our flight. I was filled with anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. I had not flown in about 15 years. I had never been out of the country.  

 Despite my dislike of being in large objects in the sky, I love the views. My fear comes from take off, turbulence, unknown noises, and wondering if I am really gonna get from point A to point B. Thankfully, the desire to be obedient and step out in faith outweighed my fear. And thankfully, I did not embark on this journey alone.

My pastor and friend was leading our crazy crew on this adventure and was well aware of my fear. He graciously and patiently distracted me on our first leg. He brought out a map of Israel and began teaching me. And guess what, we made it to Canada!

 I loved this structure at the airport in Canada.

This picture shows part of our group awaiting to board the plane that would take us all 12 hours to Israel.

 Our flight crew was amazing. I walked around the plane often and enjoyed seeing how things work. Praise G-d my seat was an aisle seat, so I could get up frequently. The flight was surprisingly pleasant.

 I loved getting to watch movies on this screen, but getting to see where we were and how far we had to go was awesome. I think I watched it more than movies.

 Upon arriving in Israel, I saw this hot air balloon. I love balloons.

 And I was welcomed. During that first day, I spoke with a friend and said I was speechless and in tears. The reply was welcome home. 

I have so much more to share about my time, but on the departure date of April 20, 2018, as I rode in a van to the Ben Gurion Airport tears rolled down my cheeks. I wasn't ready to leave and as my pastor promised, began asking myself when I could go back.  It did feel like home. I left a piece of my heart there and some new friends.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hebrew and Purim

 I have fallen wildly in love with the Hebrew language. It is not just learning a new set of letters, it is so much more. Hebrew is an active and mysterious language. It is powerful, life changing, and reveals amazing insights. The utterance of our Creator, spoken in Hebrew, formed the world.  The original words of the Bible were written in Hebrew. As I have just scratched beneath the surface to this inspiring language, I am left in awe. 

 The day we arrived in Jerusalem, we stood first on Mt. Scopus. I gazed out before me and could see the Hebrew letter shin in the topography of the land.

This picture is a model of the land and depicts what I beheld. This shin is made up of three narrow valleys that run north and south through Jerusalem, all connecting  at the southern edge. Many verses tell us that G-d put His name in Jerusalem.

We stood at this place a few hours before the start of Shabbat, the 7th day of the week. A day of rest, prayer, attending synagogue, food, family, and much more. Our group of Christians had the blessing of participating in Shabbat and quickly checked into our hotel to prepare.

I listened to a song by Joshua Aaron, titled "Shalom", all about Shabbat, as I finished getting ready for synagogue. Attending synagogue was a great experience. I loved listening to the Hebrew spoken and at moments recognizing a word. My favorite part was observing to individuals with disabilities worship without abandon. I don't care what language you worship in, when you witness these individuals worship they are authentic and inspiring.

We divided into groups to walk to the homes of our various hosts for the Shabbat meal. I was with my friends Gidon and Devra and we were hosted by Mrs. & Mr. Samson. The food was amazing, the conversation engaging, and the people delightful. It was the perfect home for a student. Rabbi David Samson was a scribe. His knowledge was incredible and his willingness to teach made the evening memorable. I became more enthralled with Hebrew as I listened. He brought out a scroll he had completed, stating it was the Megillah, and I knew immediately it was the book of Esther, one of my favorite books. It brought tears to my eyes. He graciously allowed me to take a photograph and gave me permission to share it.

Today my Jewish friends are celebrating Purim. It is a celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from the evil schemes of Haman. It is a celebration of their lives both then and now.  The book of Esther tells us the story of Purim and my friends will be reading the Megiallah, the scroll I had the blessing of seeing on this Shabbat evening.

Today may we all celebrate the lives of our Jewish friends, the language of the Bible, and the G-d we all serve.

Purim Sameach

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Word for 2019

When both of my kids were born I would not commit to their names until I touched them, held them, and saw them. Those names were prayed about and picked out long before they were born, but I could not fully give their names until they were in my arms. One took only a little time to confirm, I was able to hold her immediately.  One took over 4 hours, because it took that long for me to hold her.

I feel that way with my word for 2019. I normally have my one word confirmed and wrote about way before the end of January, but I began the New Year sick. I felt behind, but I also felt like I hadn't held it, touched it, and had it validated.

And now that it is February, I hesitate to use the word that I know is now mine for 2019. February seems so late in the game. Despite not penning, typing it on my blog I have spent some time with it, even if I don't feel like I have, there are facts to back it up.

This is my 6th year spending a year with a word, in all the years it has never taken this much time to write about it. Never. However, there are a lot of days left in 2019, and I know the Lord wants me to spend time with this word.

My past words have been:


Deep down, I knew what word the Lord was leading me to, but again with being sick and other things going on, I just never felt confirmation. Like my babies, I just needed to hold it and sit with it. I did get validation while at church on January 13, 2019, but have only spoken that to one person, my pastor. His message verified my word and I told him that day. Yet, until I could write this post, I just could not bring myself to utter it, post it, or hashtag it.

Jesus has finally given me the mental, emotional, and physical strength to form my words and give voice to my one word for 2019.

I think it took so long, because the weariness of some burdens, both health and personal, were making it hard to feel like the word fit into my year. I had so much going on that I wasn't getting stuff done. I am one that takes some time getting use to new routines and schedules. In August, I quit a job, thought I would start a new job in September, but did not start till October. I started a business, and was attempting to keep up my study pace, reading pace, home, kids, workouts, and learning a new nutrition coaching program, on top of the health stuff and personal stuff. I was also helping a friend with his ministry. And lets not forget the holidays. For an OCD woman, this getting use to new routines and schedules kinda shook me. It all felt a little chaotic. I felt because of lack of progress and time or the appearance thereof, that I was being slightly hypocritical in declaring that diligent would be my word.

I think when your weary you realize just how diligent you have been. 

Rather the tiredness is from the exertion of a good workout, positive things, or the result of some storms, one must be diligent to get through. 

Diligent  , according to my friend Merriam-Webster is characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort:painstaking.

If I look at reality and not just my feelings, I am not being untrue to this word. I just need the reminder of what this word encompasses to help me in 2019.

On that day in church, when this word was confirmed, the verses my pastor used were:

"The lazy person wants but doesn't have; the diligent get their desires filled."  (Proverbs 13:4 CJB)

"I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me."  (Proverbs 8:17 ESV)

Not only will diligent by my word, but these verses will be the biblical back up as I walk it out in 2019.

I have numerous ambitions and it is by focusing on this word for 2019 and these verses that I will be more equipped to walk the adventurous path toward those goals, toward any new opportunities, and even walk away from others.

One Word

One Year