May 26, 2014

a vague but honest answer

“Busy!” Has been my somewhat vague but honest answer to how I’ve been lately. Sometimes I feel like it is a bit of a cop out, or a conversation dodger. But really, I’m just saving people from the details of what my latest project due is or how difficult juggling my full work schedule has been. It’s a polite question people ask, but I assume they don’t really want to hear the answer. So it’s “Busy. I’m busy.”

But really, who isn’t? Who monitors that title of 'busy'? I know lots of parents with small kids at home that are rushing from work to hockey, ballet, and birthday parties. I know other university students that have a way heavier course load then I do. Then there is emotional busyness and stress that eats up your day. There are those who’s jobs are so intense that sleeping and eating need to be scheduled or they don’t happen. I know people who are walking through a trial or suffering. Literally getting through the storms in their heads and hearts are the only things on the to do list that day- but don’t say they aren’t busy. 

Busyness doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Certain seasons, certain people, that’s where you are. Busy. It’s not wrong to be exhausted at the end of the day, looking at your crossed off to do list, deleting emails, or kissing your babies goodnight. Falling into bed tired can be a great feeling. Falling into bed discouraged is another. 

One thing I’ve found in my life is busyness fuels discouragement. A couple weeks of crazy means I’m far more likely to fiercely protective of “My time” or things done “My way”. I start to dread waking up in the morning. Mutter unkind things at my to-do list, or the person that doesn’t hold the door open for me at Starbucks. I become agitated and annoyed easily. Why? I’m busy. This semester, and if i’m being honest, the foreseeable future is probably going to be a sea of busyness for me. I only have so much control of classes, and programs, sessions and family. And that is okay. I’m in a season of busy, like so many other people. 

But I’m learning that for every season of busy, there needs to be a fresh dose of Jesus. A renewing of my assurance of pardon, a fresh look at his promises to be faithful, a realty check of his command to run with endurance. Not just to run because I'm stressed, or wait on the sidelines because I’m too tired. I'm called to run through that busyness towards the finish line he’s set out for me. 

Busyness isn’t the problem, discouragement is. Keep running, he has good for you. 
[Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.] Hebrews 12:1-2

May 18, 2014


It is my first social work class. I’m excited, a dead give away I’m fresh into my degree. Third and fourth year students look like they might fall asleep before the class has even begun. The teacher walks in and moment by moment, statement by statement I can feel myself sinking. She’s taking about politics, social justice, right wing, left wing political parties, we talked welfare and workfare. 

I left the class feeling for lack of a better word, overwhelmed. Overwhelmed not because I hadn’t heard of any of this before. Overwhelmed because usually, I tune this stuff out. I hate politics, I know politics are necessary, but I just choose to look the other way. Suddenly I’m paying for a class where I can’t look the other way. It’s in my face and it was drowning me. We looked at war, racism, abortion, welfare, poverty, globalization, morals, ethics, ideology. I was being flooded. I stumbled out of class convicted and confused. I found myself asking, do I have to have an opinion about all social topics? Does my uneducated opinion even matter? 

This morning I sat down and read part of Martin Luther Kings, Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Jon Bloom writes about Dr. Kings speech...

“It’s disturbing to think that people of general good will but a shallow understanding of the plight of the oppressed, who have a lukewarm sympathy but no real vested interest in change, just might be a worse enemy of justice than aggressors. Because they do not advocate for the oppressed nor fight against the oppressor. They smile supportively to the former and practically do nothing to stop the latter. Such good will is indifference in its worst form. It has an appearance of doing justice and loving kindness but denying its power. And I have been guilty of it. I still am guilty of it, not only concerning race but many other things that come to mind. And when it comes to love, truth, and justice, Jesus does not like lukewarmness (Revelation 3:16).”
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Father forgive my apathetic, pathetic excuses for staying away from hot topic social issues. You certainly didn't shy away from intense conversations or awkward interactions. Father give me humility to listen and patience to understand what others are saying and where they might be coming from. Thank you that I don't have to run this Country, oh Lord I am thankful for that. Give me courage to go where you're calling me and be ready to speak when words need to be said. Thank you that you are an all knowing, all powerful God. Thank you for your patience, please make me anything but lukewarm. 

May 11, 2014

a prayer for moms.

Many people would agree that Cherry Sczebel is pretty much a legend. 

She’s Mom and Nana to what seems to be an always expanding troop of trouble makers. When my brothers and I got to those fateful teenage years, mom and dad decided to restart with the younger generation of Sczebel’s. They adopted Sam, then Kayla, then JJ and now there is Kitty. Many call them crazy, but it’s okay, we do too. 

A typical day in my moms world starts way too early, and always with a coffee. Rule number 1, really the only rule you need to know... No talking to mom until she’s had her coffee. Then there is packing lunches, making breakfast, trying to feed a very feisty 1.5 yr. old. There is refereeing who is sitting beside who, did you finish your homework?  Then there is school drop offs, doctors appointments, social worker visits and meetings. Then she advocates, oh how this woman can advocate for her children! There always seems to be a problem to fix, or a situation that needs advise. She reminds us older kids on a regular basis that we’re more work then the four younger ones. Though none of us live at home currently- we often stop in for coffee or to eat their food. There is dinner prep, homework, bath, and then finally bed. 

Now except for the rule regarding her morning coffee my mom is always ‘on’, she doesn’t put the mom hat on for a couple hours everyday, it’s who she is, its what she’s devoted her life to. Everyday she wakes up, and chooses to love us, all of us. She loves like I cannot even being to imagine. 

My moms love for us, this ragtag group of people, has always been an amazing reflection of Christ’s love for us. A selfless love, a patient, forgiving love, a love that understands and never threatens. No matter how many times she’s been puked on, or yelled at, no many how many times we wander, mess up, lie, or are just plain stupid she’s there, waiting with that same forgiving love. This is a love I cannot begin understand apart from the gospel. 

Mom, I am so grateful for your humble, patient example of what it means to faithfully serve Christ and glorify him with your life. Thanks for putting up with us- and that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Thank you for loving us like Christ loves us. And faithfully pointing us to that love.

Father, I just want to thank you for days like today. Little Hallmark holidays where we can pause and draw attention to the earthly gifts you’ve given us. Today I want to thank you for all the mom’s. I’m thankful that you know each and every little detail of their lives. I know that today can bring stir up a lot of emotions and pain for some, and I pray that you would come and fill in the gaps of this prayer, meet these ladies where they are. I pray that the Holy Spirit would come and comfort the broken, and bring strength to the weak. There might be strained relationships that are going to make today really difficult. Or maybe death has robbed this day from some, leaving their it empty and painful. For some this day is filled with sticky fingers of the tiny chefs that ate their breakfast in bed. Some might be fighting for joy to see that You have a unique role for them, maybe they can’t see how perfect the plan you have for them is. 

I don’t know where everyone is at, and I can’t begin to imagine all the unique situations, but Father I’m so grateful that you know all the details, all the highs and lows of motherhood. I’m grateful that the cross speaks into every situation, with no exceptions. That through Jesus sacrifice we can come to you, nothing is too big or unknown to you. You are all the hope, all the joy, all the patience we need. 

So Father, I pray for all the moms that are in the trenches right now, dealing with miscarriages, sleepless nights, the terrible twos, the kindergarten questions, preteen angst, and newly empty nests. I pray that you would be the loudest voice in their lives, and that your scripture would be life giving to them. I pray that you would enable them to love, everyday, like how you love them. I pray that whatever change this next year will bring that their hope would be anchored in you, that they would be unshaken by what the enemy might throw at them. I pray that you would bless and encourage them and that this would be a year of them growing more like you. In your name, amen.

May 8, 2014


I'm not much of a dreamer, I don't like Disneyland and cringe at the their magical promise to make dreams come true. I live in a world where my feet are very much on the ground. To my own detriment I have a hard time even letting my mind wander. If something gets too big or too far out there the practical side of my brain gives up and goes back to the drawing board.

This has a huge effect on how I think about heaven. I've always wrestled with the idea of heaven. I know I can't even begin to understand, but I still want to know the boundaries or limitations of heaven. When I try to dream and think about heaven I end up confused and guilty, honestly not being able to feel excited about it.

That all changed a couple weeks ago, something clicked, it wasn't overnight but a gradual, creeping, longing for heaven. A deep pang, a weight that hung on my shoulders. A very clear reminder that nowhere on this amazing earth is my home. A discontentment and eager anticipation for something greater. Suffering makes you a lot of things, and uncomfortable is one of those things. A friend told me last week that grief is clumsy, and I've never heard it summed up better. It's confusing and up and down. It catches you at the worst times, it is committed to robbing you of your joy. In the midst of the past month, my heart has found rest when I find my mind wandering about heaven.

Today was another day of longing for heaven. Today death was close and it's sting was very present. But today more than ever I found my mind in heaven. Getting lost in the hope of Gods promise to restore and renew. I chuckled at how simple some of my ideas of heaven have been in the passed.

[oh that day when free from sinning, I shall see thy lovely face, clothed then in blood washed linen, how I'll sing thy sovereign grace.]

Heaven is a day that I will be made new. Where all the weight and sin that fights to have my heart will be put to death forever. Heaven is the first day I'll experience a day without sin. My first day without emotional or physical pain. I won't wander anymore because I will finally know rest.

I think about meeting little Bobby, he will be whole, with a new body. I picture him with chubby little cheeks and sparkly big eyes. I love to imagine him grinning and playing with his two big sisters. Running to hug his mom.

I think about seeing my grandma, I like to imagine she is young, younger than me. Wearing a beautiful blue dress. I'll get to worship Jesus beside her. Her body won't be slumped with age and her mind will be clear and crisp.

I think about other young lives you called home sooner than I had planned. I think about seeing Charlotte again, reuniting with my childhood friend.

Heaven is everything good I've know on this earth, made whole and new, completely restored. Heaven is greater than I can ever imagine. Heaven is a place my heart was made for and a place I now long for. Heaven is my home.