Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's your story? Here's the beginning of mine... & a #giveaway #atlasgirl

This post is a belated part of Emily Wierenga's #AtlasGirl Blog Tour. I will be giving away a copy of her book. Use the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to enter for a chance to win.

Also, this is the beginning of a Wednesday series in which I tell my story...

I grew up on a dairy farm milking cows, or at least helping to. Washing udders and the like. I smelled like milk replacer (the equivalent of formula for calves) when I was at school. I showed cows in 4-H where I would wear green pants and a white polo shirt and had hair as short as a boy. That's why my twin sister and I were often mistaken for such.

It was too hard to leave the farm for a vacation, so we didn't. For the most part I didn't mind. But there was that time we were going to go to Busch Gardens in Virginia. I was so excited that I dreamt about what it would be like. I would have wide open space to ride my Big Wheel.

In the end, we weren't able to go. No one reliable could stay with the cows. So I never found out if Busch Gardens was better than a great area for my hot ride.

My dreams of a big wide world were many years in the making. I didn't think of other countries until some friends I met in my first college level Spanish class talked of their plans to study abroad.

So it was with no little angst and lots of spirit, at 20 years old, I boarded my first plane, a 747, en-route to a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. The first in my family to have a passport.

My mother said I went on that plane one person and came back another. She was right. The fact that I write this in Budapest, Hungary, my home, points to this truth.

But it was the woman who saw her dreams split wide and shatter. Whose hopes of love and career came to nothing. The one who knew she was loved and it was time to move home. The one who saw her life was wilderness wandering until she made peace with her past. The one who had no idea of the next step but trusted God did. The one who accepted the job teaching math even though she knew it wasn't her 'passion'. The one who said yes to life in that same small town where she helped milked cows as a kid.

It's the one who learned love and faith and letting go of striving in the arms of her dying mother. The one who cried in desperation those final weeks for the strength to face the wasting away. The one who met her remarkable husband in the land of the dying. The one who with gasping breath embraced her mother's last words to not hold back from God and love and life.

She's the one that's beginning to hope. Beginning to believe she could see this whole wide world changed.

(sharing with Jennifer, Laura, SoliDeoGloria & Emily)


Friday, August 15, 2014

when the telling ceases... #fmfparty

I am picturing the camp fires.
Israel of old and the stories of love, 
faithfulness and deliverance
Passed down through generations.

And yet Red Sea partings were
Replaced with golden calf idols
Virgins for harlots
The pure for defiled.

And how did the story find such
Tragedy? Was it when it stopped being told?
When The power of a God who loved and cradled
And defeated armies of darkness before eyes
Was not the story on the heart of the child?
But rather the stick that stirred wasn't as big as his?

And how do any of us begin to exchange 
Simple wonder for the dull
And deadened? The greed-bound and the self-centered

Is it when Red Sea partings become fairy tale instead of truth?
And the telling fails to penetrate deaf ears and numb souls?

And I'm thinking of the telling and the hugging of
My heart by yours. And do you know in your dark
Whispering night that I see Jesus in you?

That the telling finds me with your exquisite life?

Five Minute Friday - 4


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pure Passion :: from Goals to Glory

Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

So it was a while ago when I started this crazy series. I've been remembering and re-reading and smiling at the absurdity of it. 

I am sure I am not following the blog rules in frequency or length...or topic? 

I've decided to let go of that goal and others too.

You see, if I cared to do it right, I wouldn't, couldn't do it at all.

That's the point of today's post. Reminding myself and you that it's not about goals, but Glory.

When I started this series with the big dreams (they're all still there), I had all of the ideas how it would unfold, on this blog and in my life. Some of it has been realized and a lot would be considered a failure. The cynical side of me says that the Dreamer should have learned her lesson. The hopeful side of me knows that dreams are full of disappointments and waiting as they take fledgling flight and crash and burn only to be re-born.

And in that waiting and crashing, the ebb and flow of reality, or what I think is reality, is transformed by Glory.

So, yes, this whole Pure Passion journey is not about goals but Glory.

What does that mean?

It means that everything good that has come is to God's glory and not my own. When it doesn't look how I think it should, and there's failure in the perspective of goals, that is actually a very good thing. Because I cannot boast in what I have achieved through this blog or in my marriage, but I glory in God.

Practically, it is a continual mental, emotional, even physical process of laying down goals in sex. It's embracing the less-than-perfect and worshiping the God of Glory and all that He promises sex can be as I see what it represents eternally; a perfect, forever union with Him.

You see, it's the only reason I have kept going and have any desire to keep going when I am dry and done. The promise of Glory. The hope of Heaven. And the joy of embracing the WHOLE of life as a journey Home, to His Everlasting Arms.

I am as much of a perfectionist as there is. So none of this is said lightly. And, you know what, it is all magnified in sexual intimacy. Every pattern that stakes claim on life as my own and what I think it should be. 

An awareness of this would certainly lead to despair if I set up deep-seeded standards for myself. I would fail and fail and fail and when that's done, fail some more.

But there is always, always, always the chance to turn away from ALL of that, really the grasping for my own achievement or glory, and turn to the One who is the radiance of the Glory of God.

In Him I find all I need to take the next step towards increasingly pure passion. I have decided that understanding sexuality and sexual intimacy in marriage provides the deepest most honest look I can take at myself and also the greatest opportunity to depend on what Christ has done.

Again, let me be practical. So my idea of a great night with my hubby is NOT going how I thought it would, in fact it's going the opposite. What do I do? Focusing on goals makes me angry and frustrated and I have definitely been there. But more and more I am gazing on the gift, my hubby :) and the God-smiling-down-upon-us sex that is absolutely His desire for us as we cling to the redeeming work of Christ...making all things new. Glory is changing me, us. And I am continually embracing that I would not have it any other way.

This is why I am going to keep taking the leap and living pure passion and writing about it too. I am learning that all of the goals that are in my life are about achieving my own righteousness and glory. But the Glory of God? That's about gazing upon Christ and His work. All finished. Debts paid in full. Every bit of fallen life bought back to become brilliant and His.

And this is where I testify that living, learning and writing in the context of understanding and embracing pure passion is taking me places I wouldn't have gone otherwise. I am seeing God reach into dark corners that I have held back from Him. And every resistance shows me the truth about myself. My intense rebellion against God and my hubby, wanting to keep life for myself instead of laying it down that I might know Christ and so make Him known.

And just this :: to exchange goals for Glory in one-flesh relationship is incredibly fulfilling. I choose Glory and I see it and know it in a spectacular way that is changing me from the deepest places so that I might pour it out... (and with all of my heart and soul I say, you who are reading, this can be your journey too!)

Sharing with Jen, Laura, Kelli and Jennifer

Read the Entire Pure Passion Series here!


Friday, August 8, 2014

On moments and beauty and longings filled #fmfparty

 Photo: Okay ... HERE WE GO! the graphic is up... Tonight's FMF Prompt word is: Head on over to the new home for FMF .. hope you guys like the graphic .. - Karen

Go ::

I'm living in most days...

so caught in the in-between
of demands and wants and 
some genuine little people's needs.

I miss the moments and they
slip so easily through the fingers
of time.

And yet, there is a filling,
a well that comes in moments
of little chubby hands and feet 
that I kiss and play with and tickle
and there's hugs and toe nail 
painting and heart to hearts 
with a little boy about to start school
in a whole different language...

It's the secret, or not-so-secret kisses
that go slow and praise God for 
such a love. It's the twinkles and 
the playfulness of youth that I HOPE 
finds us even more at 80;)

It's the rubbing off of the dismal and the dull
and finding Glory. finding Him.

I don't know when it all starts to 

Because I see a little boy whose not quite 2
and sure he screams in frustration but 
mostly, every little thing is bringing him 

He's filled with young wonder and I want 
what he's got, but somehow it 
promises to even be better than this.

Because to be filled in the story today
means that we trust it is all working together
and that we are going HOME and the love 
we're promised is REAL. And that NO MATTER
WHAT it's been redeemed. 

And it's the Beauty that saves and 
transcends and our souls expand to receive
and eternity touches time 
and we let go and trust and yes,
our soul's longing is satisfied.

(about 1 minute over...;)


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Harried to Home

I’ve have been writing out my crazy journey as a shy Christian girl who is growing up and moving out of confusion and into confidence in regards to understanding sexuality God’s way.

If you are new to this series, right now you are either very frightened or very curious. Probably some of both;) I hope you’ll keep reading, you will be surprised, as I have been, to learn more of what it means to embrace sex from God’s perspective and learn to live it in His bounds and for His Glory.


So, have you heard of the ‘Harried Housewife’?  She can be found the world over with her wispy hairs flying out of that all-too-easy ponytail.  She’s got a spatula in one hand and a broom in the other, children hanging on her knees, something (possibly burning) in the oven and we won’t even talk about the laundry. She may be prone to screech if one more person needs one more thing.

She is most definitely tired. She is most definitely beautiful in her messy glory. 

She is longing for a Home that she doesn’t have to clean or cook for or keep track of all of her children’s and (possibly;) husband’s things. But she is also longing for a Home where she feels free to sit and look in the eyes of those she loves, to share life and story, without time constraints.

If you are a mother who has sought to balance home and child-raising, marriage and ministry, 24 pitifully short hours in a day, then you know this sweet woman quite well. She is you and she is me. No matter how many people look at our lives and see competence, beauty, even dare I say? a woman who has it all-together, we know the truth.

And where on earth is there the space for this woman to cultivate pure passion towards God or hubby? (I really am going to tie it together;)

These past 3 months have spun me right around into a woman who doesn’t know, sometimes, which end is up. We’ve traveled thousands of miles over an ocean and back again with a 6, 4 and 1 year-old. Our necks are crinkled from trying to fit the shapes of too many beds. And right now we’re in the thick of the English Camp we help to organize. 

My brain, between packing for us all, planning camp-wide programs, sharing the Gospel in words and life through all times of the day with 100+ Hungarian teenagers… is spinning.

And before this greater understanding of Pure Passion and its expression through sex in marriage dawned in my life, I would have preferred that sex, in its duty-bound state, come to a screeching halt during travel, because it is just-too-much to think about…

But, God revealed through flesh, full of Grace and Truth, is showing me a better way, in the here-and-now of my humanity.

He is taking me, in all things, from harried, which the Free Dictionary describes as “troubled persistently especially with petty annoyances;” to Home, which I will simply say means (to me) the peace and promise of God's Arms and Enveloping Love Forever.

At first, that definition of harried rubs me the wrong way. I don’t think it’s fair to say the Harried Housewife who-I-know-so-well is getting worked up ONLY over petty annoyances. The troubles are real. The burdens of so many moments of demands are exhausting and she feels abandoned, like no one cares about her genuine sacrifices.

And these feelings of isolation that Thief wants to use to push her, let’s just say us, towards self-focused paths of resentment and bitterness. And all of this destroys intimacy and kills desire erecting walls that cut us off from God and most definitely our husbands.

Yet truth is truth and it is full of Grace that restlessly pursues. The truth is that God calls it all, this whole mess of a fallen world and its vast effect on our lives, light and momentary trouble.

How can God say that and not be callous?

Because we ARE going Home.

And knowing we are walking towards a glory far beyond imagining, a love beyond description and life-as-it-is-meant-to-be without end has EVERYTHING to do with our approach to sexual intimacy in marriage.


Let me be practical. As I said, we are traveling and have been away from our home (in Budapest;) for three months now. I can so easily be weighed down with a disordered life of chaos that when finally (10 or 11pm?) ministry is done, kids are in bed and asleep, I resentfully choose to fold laundry or sweep the floor, or plan a camp activity instead of being with my hubby.

When I choose the momentary trouble of physical exhaustion and work left undone, I live like the things of this life are what matters and I become tired and angry.

But, the better way? It remembers I am going Home and there is beauty, incredible beauty, promised through sexual intimacy that points towards face to face with Jesus and Heaven. And, will I choose this?

This better way, too, is infused with hope. Sex, pleasure, or even God-honoring intimacy with my husband is not the goal. God is the goal. At the core, I am choosing Him.

So, peeling back another layer, in our nomadic lives these past months, the reality has been very hard to make space for all levels of intimacy. But, it is sweet too, to see beyond our mutual disappointment in this.

My hubby and I are being changed individually and as a couple. There is great hope and understanding between us. We make plans in hope that we can find time for each other; to enjoy each other in every way.

But, when the needs of family or this incredibly precious month-long English Camp are the choices we are asked to make? Our hope is not lessened, it is increased. Because all the goodness of sex points towards Heaven and so do many other things.

So, we rejoice in hope, and the twinkle stays in our eyes and the intimate moments still happen whether they lead to sex or not. Soon we won’t be traveling, we’ll be home, and things will be different. 

Soon we won’t be in this life, and it will ALL be different. 

We are going Home and that changes everything…

(I *hope* you know that I am writing these words, preaching to myself. We are home now, from Camp, and there is no doubt I have lived more harried then home, but it. is. ALL. still. true.)

Read the entire Pure Passion Series here!



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