The Learning of a Language

Hola! Como’ Estas?
When I was in high school we were required to take two years of a foreign language. Spanish was my choice. I enjoyed it so much that I actually took three years. Nowadays I don’t find much use for it since I live in a primarily English speaking community and surround myself with like-spoken people. However in the past couple years I’ve been to both Mexico and Puerto Rico and enjoyed rejuvenating the language of Espanol.

During our trip to Puerto Rico, my husband and I met a woman named Laticia. She worked at the resort we were staying at and over the coarse of our stay she quickly turned from an acquaintance to friend. So much so, that on the last full day of our trip she offered to take us around the island. The day included shopping, beaches, and authentic cuisine. She even took us to her home and showed us her lemon, orange, banana, and avocado trees. Oh, delicioso! My favorite part of the day though, was when she took me into a small music shop and bought me a CD of her favorite Puerto Rican musician. With love, she handed it to me and with her hand over her heart she said “You may not understand the language but you will feel it!”

If you know me very well you know that I’m captivated by dreams. Not the goal setting type(although those are great too) but rather the ones that come to you during your state of sleeping. I’m often inspired, perplexed, and have even been tested by them. It hasn’t always been this way but the Lord works in mysterious ways. For me, this is one of them!

In my previous entry I shared a very raw piece of my past but what I didn’t share with you is that several months prior to my final surrender to alcohol I received three very vivid dreams. Each of these dreams came exactly one week apart from each other. Sunday after consecutive Sunday they came. Although they played out differently the message was the same. Death.

Do you believe God can use dream language to speak to us? I certainly do! My forefathers, the pilgrims of my Christian faith have declared it throughout the pages of the Bible. I will be quick to note that this is not some pie in the sky subject matter. The language is real and like any other requires careful study. Initially you may not understand it but, with open hearts and minds, focused on the Lords guidance and protection you will feel it!

I will venture to say that you can expect more from me concerning the mysteries of God’s divine dream language and the impact it has in my life… so…until then…

My Surrender to Rebellion

Rule breakers catch my attention. Not to be confused with law breakers which would most certainly constitute an internal frown. I’m attracted to the stick your neck out there, fighters for causes, sort. Although I may not agree with the “cause” I can appreciate an honest person going to bat for what they believe in.

My past is filled with rebellious rule breaking. Now days I like to coin the term feisty when describing a characteristic of myself. I think it sounds nicer than rebellious and, to be honest, I’m getting too old and tired to be so rebellious anymore. Or am I?

At church we have been tackling a sermon series concerning Adam and Eve’s choice to rebel against God and how to find hope in the genetic downfall that they have since passed onto you and me. The timeliness of these messages curiously strikes me since I too have recently questioned my very personal genetic downfall.

When I was 14 years old my dad confessed to being a closet alcoholic. For years he hid behind the clutch of alcohol. In adolescent awe I witnessed my father lay down alcohol in his life and morph into a solid, God fearing man. It was surely a wonder.

Somewhere along the way I remember overhearing conversations about my grandma who was quoted as saying that she too could have easily slipped into the bottle. Then there was my great-grandfather who was found face down in a Minneapolis gutter clinging to life and the bottle simultaneously. Most family reunions continue the same old silent story. I’m left wondering how could this happen? What I’m beginning to realize is that this specific thorn is one that has been passed down to me by those who have gone before me. In the book of Exodus, God specifically told Moses that He will punish the children for the sin of their fathers to the third and fourth generations.

I took my first drink when I was 12 years old. I took my last at age 31. Years of attempting to conquer alcohol consumption by myself, by my own power, ultimately left me in a broken heap. For me, most drinking experiences left my soul in significant spiritual torment. I’d end up sliding down a slippery slope of selfishness and wind up breaking a lot of things along the way.

TIME OUT: Do I personally believe that consuming alcohol is sinful? Absolutely not! If I am who I say I am, a follower of Jesus, then I choose to live my life following His footsteps. During the last supper, while Jesus was with His friends, he took the cup and drank from it!

My choice to surrender to this personal rebellion is a matter of life or death. Drinking brings me to a state of death. I realize that some may criticize me for trying to “be good.” This makes me laugh because I believe that attempts at being good are man-made and ultimately leave you feeling empty anyways.

Instead my pursuit is simple. To listen to God’s leading in my life. I know that He wants me, and my children, and my great grandchildren to have a life that is ultimately filled with all His best and most abundant blessings. Musician, Sarah Groves writes the following words in her song Generations. My thoughts could not be more beautifully expressed.

“I can taste the fruit of Eve. I’m aware of sickness death and disease. The results of her choices were vast. Eve was the first but she wasn’t the last. If I were honest with myself, had I been standing at that tree, my mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit. Things I shouldn’t know and things I shouldn’t see. Remind me of this with every decision. Generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know. She taught us to fear the serpent. I’m learning to fear myself and all of the things I am capable of in my search for acceptance, wisdom and wealth. To say the devil made me do it is a cop-out and a lie. The devil can’t make me do anything when I’m calling on Jesus Christ. To my great-great-great-granddaughter, live in peace. To my great-great-great-grandson, live in peace. To my great-great-great granddaughter, live in peace. To my great-great-great-grandson, live in peace, live in peace.”

A New Set Of Eyes 20,000 Feet Above Ground

Several months ago I flew down to Florida to visit a good friend of mine. She’s had quite a down and out year so I felt that, if anything, I could offer some encouragement with a few days of good girl time. On my flight home I had a very unexpected, life changing encounter. The following comes from my journal.

9/24/2008
Once I arrived at the airport, check-in was smooth and I found myself boarding my 6:10am flight within minutes.

As I settled into my seat I began sipping my 8oz. – $3.50 cup of coffee. Thinking of the tiny airport shop that sold it to me and their clever marketing campaign. “Free refills”, the lady behind the counter proudly proclaimed. As I buckled myself into my seat, taking my final sips, I thought “A lot of good those free refills will do me thousands of feet off the ground bound for a destination a million miles away.” I smiled and laughed at the brilliance of it all. Within moments a woman approached my row. She glanced at the row behind me, which was filled up, and then turned to me and said “I think my seat has been taken. Do you mind if I sit next to you?” “No Problem” I said with a smile. The woman sat down. Her coarse blond hair, which could be equated to the length of Crystal Gale’s, began to wisp my arm, as well as, the perimeter around us. She held a book with her plane ticket and boarding pass stuffed into the pages. In her other had she held a cup of coffee. The same 8oz. – $3.50 “free refill” cup as mine. “They got her too!” I thought.

The initial moments of her getting settled were quite tornadic. She dropped her book, spilling out all its papers underneath the seat. Both of us reaching and contorting to gather them up. All of which, in a flurry of hair. Then, in an effort to gain composure, she unlatched the table top to set her coffee down. She then bumped it with her knee spilling her hot coffee all over her leg which caused a knee-jerk reaction sending her book flying, once again, into the air. Papers everywhere. “Oh my goodness” I think to myself. We were both gathering up items strewn about and as I’m watching her I realize her jitterness. Her hands are shaking as she fumbles through her black, tattered purse. All the while she is pleasantly talking to me through her wavering voice. “My name’s Chris” she says warmly as she extends her hand to mine. I notice that she is missing some teeth. “I’m Rachel” I say smiling, wondering where on earth God is going to take me with this. Chris is wearing a gray tank top. A tattoo on her left bosom is peeking out. I notice right away that her light blue wind-breaker pants are filthy. She begins to role up her wet, coffee stained pant leg. I see 3 tattoos cascading down her leg. This make 5 tattoos, including the one on her right shoulder. For a split second I recall watching a documentary in which the expert on the show stated that a high percentage of individuals with multiple tattoos tend to have mental health issues. But that thought is irrelevant. I’m fully captivated by her regardless of appearances and first impressions. That would be judging and I hate judgements!

I ask Chris about her destination and that’s when I notice her wet eyes. She wasn’t crying but it became more clear that her spirit had been shaken. “I’m on my way to Denver for my fathers unexpected funeral.”

Our flight seemed to last 5 minutes. There was not one lull in our conversation. She told me about her 7 children. Two biological and five step children. At age 42 she was now a grandmother of 4. She told me about her near death experience after a motorcycle accident. They had to take a piece of her hip bone for reconstructive surgery which later caused some of her teeth to fall out. Her frustrated expression led me to believe that she never had the means to fix them. She told me all sorts of dysfunctional stories concerning ex’s and clients with horrible diseases. I discovered that she and her husband own a tattoo shop outside of Pensacola. Which explains why her pants were so dirty, soiled with ink!

I asked Chris if she had a church home. She told me a story about one church she attended with a great pastor. The pastor had gotten bit by a spider and later due to an infection had to have his leg amputated. The church members felt that this pastor was now incapacitated to do his job so they made him leave. Ousted by the church because he no longer fit the mold.

Then she told me about the time a friend invited her to a Bible study covering the book of Revelation. Intrigued, she accepted her friends offer. When she got to the church the woman leading the Bible study told her that because of all her tattoos she would likely go to Hell. Chris met with the pastor of this church who backed up this position by saying that if she continued to get more tattoos she would be sinning and God would never let her into Heaven.

Chris looked at me and said “I’ve always believed that my body is just a shell and its my soul that goes to Heaven anyways.” I was amazed by her. You would think after 42 years of disappointment and rejection that this woman would be so angry and bitter but I could not find a hint of it anywhere.

As our flight made its final dissension I asked her if we could pray together. I’ve never stepped out of my comfort zone like this before but it just seemed so appropriate. To my surprise, she grabbed my hand and before I knew it was leading an all out prayer to the Lord. It was so beautiful. As we said our good-byes she just kept looking at me. I can’t describe it other than to say her eyes were filled with a sort of twinkling bewilderment.

In this life, its likely, I’ll never fully grasp the full scope of what really occurred during that flight. All I can say is that I have been given a new set of eyes. Eyes that consider my role in loving rather than judging. Eyes that find worth and value in each and every soul I encounter.

Insights on The Shack

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to attend a premiere event for a new organization called Nudge the World. The featured guest was William Paul Young, author of the best selling book The Shack. For those of you who have read the book, no doubt you’ve walked away with a different image of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Some have claimed this as the best book they have ever read, life changing. Others have closed the book with a throbbing question mark pounding in their head. While a select few get to a certain point, slam the book shut, and cry out “Heresy!”

Currently an unprecedented 6.1 million copies of The Shack have been sold. The numbers according to media and publishing gurus are staggering. Something profound is happening to the Spirit of its 6.1 million readers. What could one book have to say that could cause such a movement?

If there’s one thing that gets my goat, its when someone messes up my kitchen. I’m a baker by ancestry default. The passion of pastries has been weaved throughout past generations for as far as my eye can see. I know all the basics when it comes to baking but what I enjoy most is the process. It’s become a ritual for me. Choosing the ingredients, mixing to my desired consistency, then baking to perfection. The process fits so nicely in my soul. If your a baker, you know what I’m talking about. The same could likely be said for any passion that you hold dear.

I must admit however that when my kids come into my kitchen and mix up a batch of something, I have a hard time with their process. They are so messy. The whole thing sends pangs of uneasiness through me. I know, I know they are just kids. Thankfully in the end, their cookie dough kisses make up for all my internal anguish.

In Young’s book he has created this vivid imagery of God that does not conform with our traditional thinking minds. His adaptation of God through the pages of The Shack allows us to see a man faced with unspeakable loss and brokenness enter into a real relationship with the living God. I think I can understand why, for some readers, it may have felt like someone just came their kitchen and messed it up. Some of us have spent our entire lives believing that God is this distant, pie in the sky, divine person who may or may not be fully engaged in the details of our lives. Gaining a perspective like the one The Shack offers leaves us asking the question “Could I have a REAL relationship with God?”

For a long time I’ve searched for finding that perfect place that would continually feed my soul. I’ve attempted to fill it with wholesome friends, a loving family, and a close-knit church. I can’t tell you how many times while talking about church that I would say something like “It just feeds me.” I’m beginning to sense that something has changed in me. In part were always looking to be fed but what’s the actual driving force behind the desire to be fed? Hunger! Maybe its time that I dig a little deeper within to discover what’s making me hungry. Hungry for what Papa wants to teach me, hungry for a life that hinges on going where He leads me, and hungry for a REAL relationship with a God that loves me for just being me. Are you hungry yet? I am!

Hillbillylily’s Growing Up

My eldest child is no longer just a child. She is growing up. Lily, formally know as, Lillian is now 11 years old. She is my break-through child. No pun intended, although she is habitually known for breaking things. With any first born child, we (as parents) tend to experience a certain euphoria when a new milestone has been met. Yet on the flip side, with each new break-through, a piece of ourselves cracks and breaks off as we lend ourselves to the natural cycle of raising up and eventually letting go.

In our home we are on the cusp of entering phase II, otherwise know as adolescence. Still a tween, physically and socially I am beginning to see the teenage sparkle in her eye. Lily’s heart wants to be all grown-up.

During a recent mother-daughter date day we decided to go shopping and use up her gift cards from Christmas. We had so much fun together. The ultimate bonding experience. After all her pieces had been tried on and picked out I noticed that it now was the time to upgrade from her training bra to the real deal. So with a quick sweep through the personnel department we found a simple, white bra. A real one. As I put it into the cart, I felt the tears start to well. I can’t believe it. Another milestone…the bra. Or maybe the tears were out of jealousy seeing that her cup size was nearly that of her dear old mom. Uggg! Lily was of coarse embarrassed that I was making a big deal about it, which actually made me smile. Never the less, Lily is growing up.

In addition to her “gift card” Christmas she was also given a generous gift from her other family who lives down in Texas. A lap top. With that, came a whole new set of guidelines in the Britz home but for Lily the ultimate prize was establishing her very own email account. It’s been the 5th grade debate in our home. Did you know that EVERY 5th grader has email? So after spending much time creating her personal email account and carefully laying out all the ground rules Hillbillylily11@gmail.com now exists to communicate with the outside world. Or at least that’s what she thinks.

The Plate Spinner

The other day, while driving in the car, I heard a man on the radio talking about one of his favorite late night television moments as a child. On this particular show the host had invited a plate spinner on to his program. During his segment, the plate spinner began by spinning one plate faster and faster and then quickly adding another plate. Repeating the same procedure by spinning each new plate faster and faster before adding the next. By the time the segment was over the plate spinner had 9 plates spinning round and round. All the entertainer could do at this point was run franticly between each plate and continue to spin them faster and faster to keep them from crashing to the floor. Hearing this story got me thinking.

We’ve all seen an act like this. They make us smile and often leave us saying “How do they do that?” But in an interesting comparison I imagine we could consider ourselves acclaimed plate spinners as well. Our marriages, our families, our careers, the PTA, soccer club, church commitments, and the lists go on. Each plate representing one more thing to spin into our crazy lives. It seems like the priorities that reign in our hearts (marriage and family) tend to get the same attention as the rest of our plates.

During a recent Woman’s Gathering for church I was given an opportunity to share an inspirational story for the event. Believe it or not, as I prepared, I found a perfect example in the Bible of a Plate Spinner. Let me share with you how the story goes (interpretation mine).

Jesus is a grown man and is in the prime of his ministry. He has already done a few healings and the buzz concerning who he really is has made headlines around the countryside. While traveling one day he comes into a village where a woman named Martha opens up her home to him. As Jesus is talking and telling stories to the guests Martha is franticly running around trying to get everything ready. I assume she is making all the preparations for dinner along with all the other responsibilities involved with hosting a special event. Just then, as she is running around, she glances over and sees her sister Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him. Irritated that her sister isn’t helping she later says to Jesus “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all this work by myself?” Jesus then replies by saying “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I think that there are a couple very important things to point out. Its obvious to me that Martha really loves Jesus. If she didn’t, all those preparations wouldn’t be that important to her. Secondly, Jesus isn’t saying to Martha that her sister is a better person. He simply says that she has chosen what is better. Similarly, I think that if we take a closer look at our plates we would find things that we love about each of them. But the real question is are we choosing to spin the plates that will not be taken away from us?

This plate spinning scenario can apply to us spiritually as well as literally. Once we slip into our “doing” mode, it’s often hard to downshift. Being quiet and contemplative makes us feel guilty- shouldn’t we be doing something for someone somewhere? I believe that as we enter the New Year we should all resolve to stop spinning our plates for just a moment. Take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and really hear what he is trying to say to us. Maybe just maybe He is trying to walk with us down a path that is better!

Fear: Part Two

In my previous entry I offered a glimpse into my personal foundation of fear. Yes, it’s true. It has always been that small, scurrying creature that has reigned in my minds-eye as the ever clutching base of FEAR. Through the years I have attempted a variety of means to overcome the ridiculousness of it all. I have even received counseling over the matter. Thankfully I did not have to pay for the session since my good friend is a psychologist but I did bake her some cookies for compensation.

In taking a deeper look I’m beginning to realize something about myself that I wasn’t aware of before. My entire life has been governed by this fear. In a closer evaluation I discovered that in almost every area of my life I have some fear driving factor. When I run outdoors I fear I’ll be chased down by a dog and bitten, if our first floor windows are not locked and sealed I fear that someone will break into our house, and when driving next to a semi I wouldn’t dare pass them for fear that I will be crushed beneath its massive frame.

A few years ago I had a very candid conversation with a good friend of mine concerning God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty, its such a big word. Weather it rolls off your tongue or is overheard in conversation it seems to belong to a special club. But what does is really mean? It seems the full comprehension of “sovereignty” falls into the gray area for most of us. We think we know what it means but what the heck do we do with it? As my friend further explained, this sovereignty is the definition used to describe a peace-filled state of mind where we rest in God’s complete and total control over EVERYTHING. The good, the bad, and the ugly. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that he is Almighty (ALL MIGHTY), the possessor of all power in heaven and earth. No one can defeat Him or His purposes. He is the Governor of all nations. He is absolute and completely infinite.

I’ll have to admit that if we truly put these matters into our heart its all too overwhelming to comprehend. Its easy for us to see God’s face painted upon the pictures of good but when it comes to the bad, rotten, and ugliness of this world it really challenges our hearts and mind to step outside of our faith-filled comfort zone and proclaim “God is Sovereign.”

I believe that in order for us to be freed from fear we must begin to see the healing elements that sovereignty has to offer. The pieces of our fears, our failures, our joys, and our sorrows all must join together with God’s Sovereignty. When we embrace the “sovereignty” puzzle in our lives we have the potential to see a much bigger, clearer picture through the eyes of a peace-filled heart.

Fear: Part 1

When I was 9 years old I saw my first mouse. Growing up in the city did not foster the kind of appreciation for creatures, critters, and dark open spaces that the country so easily provides. Thankfully my childhood wasn’t completely void of these certain experiences.

My grandparents, Roy and Dorthy Rohlik, grew up and raised up their ten children on a small farm in southwestern Minnesota. Going to the farm meant feeding the chickens, milking the cows, playing in the grove (it’s a wonder we never contracted an infectious disease from all that debris), rolling in the hay which included an onslaught of asthma attacks, and then of coarse; the late night game of kick-the-can. Among all those beautiful early childhood memories on the farm; seeing my first mouse has achieved substantial ratings in the memory department.

There is no big story to tell other than this; it was a typical warm summer afternoon on the farm. As I was strolling along the gravel driveway in search of that afternoon’s mischief I decided to poke around in the cow barn. Maybe I would watch Grandpa milk a cow or maybe I could feed a bottle to one of the babies? That would not be the case on this particular breezy manure scented day. In fact, on this day I would see my first mouse scurrying across the floorboards of the barn. In awe of what I was witnessing, I froze in amazement.

Definition of Amazement:
Bewilderment; overwhelming wonder, as from surprise, sudden fear, horror, or admiration. Frenzy; madness.

The later two definitions could easily sum up my thoughts concerning the subject at hand. Fortunately, the remainder of my city-life childhood offered little opportunities to face this certain fear but that is not to say that the feelings have dissolved. In fact, as a grown adult I find more and more paralysis over the issue than I care to admit.

Mice, snakes, spiders … they may be small but they often pack a powerful punch in the fear department. The popular book series “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” offers thousands of simple suggestions designed to shed those little fears and anxieties so that we can finally have the happier more harmonious life we long for.

But what happens when the small stuff snowballs into the larger and larger stuff. How does one stop the frenzy that often ensues from those mere small, seemingly innocent fears?

Let’s face it; you just need to face it. Look at it square in the eye and tell it what you think about it. Seems easy enough but when it comes down to it, it’s just not that simple.

About seven years ago we rented a small farm house just outside of Cannon Falls, MN. At the time, my husband was just getting his financial practice off the ground which required some overnight travel on his part. This particular night, after a day at the office, I intended on curling up with a good movie for the night however; after I took one step into our cozy little farm house I realized that there would be a change of plans. Evidence of the furry visitor was everywhere. From contentment to sheer mental hysteria I would need to muster up the courage to face the deep seeded fears of my youth.

So that’s what I did. Mustered something, trapped it, and the following morning looked it square in the eye and told it what I thought.

If My Life Were A Bank Account…

If my life were a bank account, many times I would be considered bankrupt. Withdraws titled “life’s monotonous hum-drum”, “broken expectations” and “misguided judgments” are highlighted in crimson red as I look upon my statement.

In 2003 the book “Beautiful in God’s Eyes” completely captivated me. Elizabeth George’s portrayal of the Proverbs 31 woman, whom God sees as pleasing and beautiful, was a woman that felt I could reach out and grab a hold of if only I stretched myself a little further. By my side, with George as my literate cheerleader I became filled with joyous anticipation of this new discovery and charge upon my life.

At that time, two major life events spurred on this venture. First, I bid farewell to my professional “corporate ladder” management career and secondly, I welcomed the arrival of my second child Walker.

Today, I realize that the simple stretch I set out to accomplish five years ago has become increasingly far fetched. You see my intention was simple. I was eager to earn the trust and respect of God and my husband in such a way that their pleasure in me would and could be used to do some really great and powerful things for my family and God’s will.

Looking back on this journey, I have found that I HAVE grown and I AM better today at some things. I’ve taken some of the books ideas and invested them into my own family. For example, a deeper evaluation of Proverbs 31:17-18 (She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night) inspired the birth of my cookie business. Today these cookies still provide my family with simple, extra pleasures we would otherwise do without. In addition, I’ve worked hard at being more conscious of commitments I make for myself and our family.

This leads me into my synopsis for the recent overdrawn statement. Over the past five years I have become increasingly consumed with one’s pleasure in me. The way others view me has become an almost anxiety ridden ordeal. My ability to talk and thing big has frankly been consumed by how and what the most important people in my life think.

Instead of getting the results I’ve longed for, which would be a reciprocated feeling of joyous approval and verbal appreciation for me; it has been met with, in my eyes, significant failure. At times, I’ve felt like Rachel’s authenticity has been compromised. All of my passions and feistiness is futile when I consider the loss of myself.

What should one do to regain herself? The thought of ceremoniously burning that book has come to mind yet it would be unfair to blame a book for ones feelings of loss-of-self. In fact, maybe the book will prove to be the greatest forge of rebirth after all. It may be possible that my approach and attitude was all wrong to begin with.

God being the master behind life and death has encouraged me to think outside of myself. 1 Samuel 2: 6-8 provides an offering of peace and comfort that propels me to rise up.

“The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the Lords; upon them he has set the world. “

The Essence of Pearls

In July of this year my 89 year old grandmother passed away. She was one of those women that we often hear about; one who was faithfully devoted to her husband (70 years I might add), family, and the church. When we think of these certain special people and the impact they have had on our lives our memories tend to lead us into an abyss of sensory overdrive. For example, my Grandma Mabel carried the scent of Irish Spring within the fabric of her being. It’s been said that when Grandma gave you a bath she would about take your skin off, scrubbing so hard. I assume that years of her own bathing regiment had enabled this fresh soap scent to naturally permeate her body. A hug from Grandma was always sealed with her signature smell. The list goes on. Her homemade apple pies, a game of Scrabble, and watching bowling on TV are just a few more that come to mind. Most of all, I believe that I will miss that sparkle in her eye. She always knew more about life than she let on and her eyes (not her words) spoke loud and clear.

After her funeral I was given one of her necklaces. It is a genuine cultured pearl necklace. For me, it offers a tangible reminder of the woman she was and the legacy that she has placed within me. Her life was simple. She wasn’t renowned for any major accomplishments according to this world but her presence in my life has left a mark that will undeniably run within me the remainder of my earthly days.

Clinging to this delicate necklace has sparked my curiosity about pearls. What I’ve discovered is beautiful in it’s own right. Did you know that the formation of a pearl takes years? The journey first begins when a foreign substance slips into an oyster and begins to irritate it. It’s kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. Over time the oyster secrets nacre, this shiny substance that coats the “foreign substance”. Then, in a process that takes years and years, a lustrous pearl finally forms.

I love the beauty of this process because in many ways I see a sweet, simple comparison of how God takes those irritations or pains in our own life, covers them with a little bit of His “shine” and over time turns us into a rare, organic gem.

This blog, The Essence of Pearls, is a document of discovering those gems through my own life’s experiences. In the book of Habakkuk, God tells him to record his visions and inscribe them on tablets so that when the time comes the message will bear truth to the recipient (Hab. 2:2). This year God has given me a precise call to write. The foundation of this platform is fully intended to bring glory to the work that God plans to do in and through me. I pray that you may find familiarity and comfort in my “work-in-progress” life.