Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Called Out of Darkness

As Anna has recently informed you, one of her Christmas presents to me was a book by Anne Rice.  Called Out of Darkness was the title.  It's a spiritual memoir.  It's a story of a girl who grew up steeped in Catholic tradition in New Orleans, rejected her faith for almost 50 years, and then returned very late in life.

I had never read anything by Anne Rice.  Ever.  This was a great kickstart at a point in my life when I needed a little bit of a jolt.  

There is one quote in the entire book that I cannot get out of my skull.  

"I stopped talking to God long before I became an atheist."  

Although surrounded by symbols and Mass and reminders of who Jesus was, she stopped talking to God.  She stopped praying.  She halted the connection that she had with her creator God.

In the world of someone who works at a church, it's easy to assume that you're talking to God just because you spend so much time talking about him.  I realized that I go a long time asking God for stuff.  Then I spend a lot of time talking about God.  There are long stretches, too long, that I don't actually talk to God.

That scared me.  That revelation also challenged me.  It's crazy that I do that.  It's even crazier what happens when you actually make it a priority to talk TO him.  Sometimes it feels like he's not even there, but others he reveals himself to you.  In those times that he does reveal himself, I know he's there.

All the time.  

Does that make sense? Or does that sound like 60% of the time it works every time?


Friday, January 23, 2009


I have known of Jesus for a long time now. I would even go as far to say...I know Him well, or so I thought. For the last 2 months now, I have been on a journey of knowing Him better. I have known for a while now that my perceptions of Him were not accurate. While, we can never fully know and comprehend who Jesus is...my perceptions of Him have been off. There are people in my life and things that I have heard that have pushed me to see God as someone that likes to push me around and tell me what to do. I have also had this intense feeling of not being good enough. Now, while I must say--we will never be good enough...forcing myself to try and be good enough takes away the need for God sending Jesus and for His redeeming grace.

"Be still and know that I am God" has been a verse God has shown me for the last year. This year I feel like He is calling me to "be still and know Him." That's right--learn to know WHO He is instead of who I perceive Him to be in all of my insecurities.

I have tried to put into words the way that I feel sometimes. As I watched a beautiful sunset this week, the vision came to me. I am a bride at the alter waiting for my husband to show up. In this vision--my husband is Jesus. I wait anxiously, nervously, wondering if He will show up. Am I good enough, did I do everything right, am I beautiful enough, did I wear the right dress, did I say the right things? What if I am not.

Then the most beautiful words were spoken to me. "Anna, I will always show up. You will never be good enough but that's okay. Enter into this love relationship with me. Let me be the lover of your soul. I've covered all the bases..I sent Jesus."

And then...I opened up my Bible and this verse was there on the pages...in all His glory.

Hosea 2: 14- 16

"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her form her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes, "says the Lord," you will cal me 'MY HUSBAND' instead of 'MY MASTER.'

So, this year, I long to continue on this road of seeing Jesus as a husband instead of a master. How freeing to take the pressure off of me and how good I am and place it on Him--the only one that is perfect and loves perfectly.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be Strong and Courageous

(This message is posted by Russ, the other member of the Polsgrove family. He doesn't post very much, he knows, but is glad to do it whenever he gets a chance.)

I've vowed to take a detailed look at the Old Testament over the next year. I actually started around Thanksgiving instead of New Years Day. Every day there is more to read, more to look at, more to learn. Interestingly enough, this morning's passage was one I've read lots of times. It's one of my favorite passages of scripture.

Deuteronomy 33-Joshua 1 tells the story of Joshua taking over for Moses. It's a passing of the torch. Joshua faces a tremendous task. He is now the leader of an enormous amount of people. He must be scared. God tells him to "Be strong and courageous" three times in a span of four verses. It's God's promise that he will be with Joshua through the massive change in his life.

No matter what you feel about the man who became President today, you have to admit that a massive change has happened in this country. Whether you believe it's for good or bad, God's message is this. "Be strong and courageous. I am here for you whenever you need me." I know this is true for me. Because I have set my feet on the rock that is Jesus, God says to me that he is there for me. There is nothing to fear. I will celebrate change. Because I know that nothing falls outside the eye of Almighty God.

Friday, January 16, 2009

From Ashes to Africa

I am pretty much obsessed with blogs. I spend way too much time reading them and am currently having to learn "time management" skills to ensure that I don't stay up all night reading them....which I would never ever do :)

I had seen this blog before but not until after they had gotten back from Ethiopia. I saw that they had a book coming out on their adoption so I ordered the book. I received the book on Wednesday and had finished it by Thursday. From Ashes to Africa is an amazing story on going from extreme hurt and pain to a joy so amazing they could have never dreamed it for themselves. Please check out The Bottomly's blog here and order their book here. This book will stir up many emotions in you but leave you with a hope and peace that only God can provide.

While I do not know the pain that The Bottomly's went through, I do know what it is like to know that you have a child out there (or soon to be born) and want them home. Reading about The Bottomly's getting Silas made me excited about the day that we get our child!! My heart is becoming more and more ready.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

hope, love, and cards

(Copied from www. givecards.org)

Give Hope:
Impact the world. Shape the future. Give hope to the hopeless in a very real way. How? Give Cards.

Give Love:

Love. A simple word that means so much. Give love to the needy hundreds of miles away and in your own community. How? Give Cards

Give Cards:

GiveCards, a registered non-profit, specializes in collecting unused gift cards and converting them into cash, which is then donated to selected charities.

Charities they are now giving to: Salvation Army, Blood: Water Mission, American Heart Association, and then urgent disaster relief.

It was estimated that over 8 billion dollars were left on unused gift cards last year. 8 billion dollars left on cards in such small amounts that people either forgot about them or threw them away. I KNOW I am the worst about wasting gift cards. Sometimes, I use them and they still have several dollars left and then I never spend the remaining money. Well, this makes it easy. YOu can go to this website and see how to donate your leftover giftcards. They even give you free postage to send it!! All they ask is that the card has at least enough to cover the cost of postage.

Click here to get directions on how to send in your leftover gift cards!!! If we spread this word, then slowly the 8 billion could be used for something amazing!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A look at 2008

I cannot believe that it is already 2009! 2008 was a great year. It was a year of traveling and learning more about myself. I LOVE to travel. Seriously, Russ jokes that no matter where someone is going ....even if it is an awful place, I want to go. But, I had never been able to travel outside of the United States. I began to open myself up and trust that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. So, this year I was able to travel to Africa (Ghana) in April and Asia (China) in October. Russ and I also went to California in September. What a gift to be able to see how God is working in all of these places. Russ and I are praying about going back to one of these places this summer. Seeing the people, the places, really opened my heart and eyes to the people of this world.

I also celebrated the one year anniversary of giving up teaching and working at the girl's home. Switching from teaching into this field was a difficult transition. It was one of the first times that I stepped out in faith, scared as can be, but completely trusting that God had a new job for me and that teaching was not it. He has blessed my life so much by working with the girls.

2008 was a year of many firsts and I look forward to 2009!!!!! Happy New Year! ap

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20