Tuesday, February 23, 2010


There is not one answer of "Yes" to what the Lord asks of us that won't cost something.  Some "Yes" answers may even cost us everything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boaz and Ruth

There is an interesting phenomenon that happens when a new man comes around a group of women....all of a sudden the women start dressing really nicely, doing their makeup, and showing up at things they normally wouldn't.  I know this because I have done it myself and I have had an opportunity to witness this again lately.

I recently watched a man, all alone at a kitchen table, surrounded by no less than six women.  It looked, for lack of a better description, like he was holding court.  This man probably has his pick from this group of women at this point.  I stood there and wondered whether I was doing the wrong thing by not being a part of this group of women....am I losing out by not "throwing my hat in the ring?" How does one woman stand out in a group like that?   Does it really have to be about beauty and looks first?

The book of Ruth has long been a favorite of mine.  I have loved her humility, her servant's heart, her love for Naomi, her compassion, her commitment, and her absolute trust in the Lord.  The book basically is a love story about Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is serving her guts out and being the kindest friend to Naomi she can when Boaz comes along and has heard all about what Ruth has done.  Ruth just happens to be working in Boaz's field when he offers her protection and kindness of his own in the form of extra food.  Naomi, in turn, hears all that Boaz is doing to help Ruth out and she instructs Ruth to basically throw herself at Boaz's feet to fulfill Levitical law and marry her.

I think what I have loved about this story is that Ruth is doing what she's doing for Naomi and not thinking about a husband at all.  Boaz takes note of her superior character and what she's done. Nothing is mentioned about Ruth's looks....just that she has been kind to Naomi and that she is working hard.  It seems Boaz's protection of her while she is working and his leaving her extra food is his way of making the first move.  Naomi seems pretty confident that if Ruth presents herself to Boaz, he'll do the honorable thing. She even says at one point that "he will not rest until the matter is taken care of." 

I know that men, initially, are attracted to outer beauty. They are wired this way.  Men, for the most part, are visual creatures.  And I know to honor the Lord as a temple where He dwells, it is important to care of myself.  Yet there is a longing in my heart to be known. I have always groaned at the thought that somehow I have to compete with every other single woman, like some sort of vulture ready to pounce on the fresh meat, or win some sort of unspoken beauty contest first before anyone bothers to look below the surface.  The role I play in being "out there" and "available" to be won has always been confusing to me.  How do I translate Ruth into modern-day application?

I had a dream a number of years ago about my wedding day.  The dream took place at the altar during my wedding ceremony with my groom (a tall, dark-haired man with glasses and a goatee, decked out in his tux and a top hat (the meaning of which I'll explain perhaps someday)) and I listening to the pastor give his message in front of a large group of friends and family.  It is a typical wedding scene, save for one thing.  My future husband, instead of listening to the pastor, cannot stop talking to me and whispering to me.  At one point I lean over and say to him, "Shouldn't we be listening to the pastor?"  To which he replies, "I can't stop talking to you.  I can't wait to hear what you are going to say next."

This exemplifies everything I would ever want a man to say to me:  "I can't get enough of  you.  I am enthralled with you.  Everything you say is interesting to me.  I have seen everything you have done and who you are."

I have always longed for a man to be like a Boaz; to see my heart and my actions at the same time as my beauty.  Maybe this is fear or passivity with regard to my part in the whole dating scene.  Maybe I have unrealistic expectations.  Maybe I am the one who's wrong and I *do* need to be the seventh woman surrounding the new guy, so-to-speak.

I'm praying for the Lord to bring me a Boaz, to set up a divine appointment in which I am found gleaning in the field and serving those around me and praying that he will come quickly.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Walking Away and Walking Towards

A little over a month ago I posted a one-line blog post about dreams.  At the time, I was just beginning to have revelation about what it would mean to move on from my life here in Tacoma and on to something else.

The last week or so, however, the tangible reality of this has struck me.  I have started giving some of my things away. There's a very real possibility my car could sell sooner rather than later. My mortgage company has almost completed their loan modification so that I can rent my house.  The chance to leave the life I have known for a different life is starting to be more than just a dream and is becoming a very concrete reality.

This has been harder than I thought it would be.

My stuff is just stuff.  My house is just a thing.  But the truth is that these things are physical representations of dreams that just might have to die for me to move on.

When I bought my house it needed work done both inside and out.  As I lovingly picked out tile for my counter top I had visions of all of the meals I would make in the kitchen for my family someday.  When I drilled hundreds of screws into the deck I added in the back yard, I dreamed of family dinners sitting out there in the summer sun.  Each season as I have walked around my yard, pruning and planting and weeding, I wondered what it would look like three, five or ten years from now as the plants I have painstakingly put into the ground reach their full size.  At night as I have gone to sleep stroking the soft fur of my purring cat, it has been with dreams of holding my own child someday; the cat helping to fill the void of physical affection in my life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the life I've been leading and the dreams I have been dreaming.  Yet, there is a real possibility that I will be walking away from these things within the next year.  I am realizing the likely chance that not a single one of those dreams will come true.  I am walking toward something, which is at the same time walking away from something.

Honestly, there is a part of my heart that is breaking over this and I there is a dull ache in my chest, on the verge of tears at all times.  As I walk around my house I think of all of the work and love put into it and wonder if the next people who live there will care as much as I do, or hope that whoever gets my cats will love them the way I do.  The pain of leaving these things behind is harder than I thought.

And so I am trusting.  I am trusting that by letting go of these dreams that I have held on to, that there will be something even bigger, and even better for me and that I will not be disappointed. It's not easy, but it's all I can do.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knight on a White Horse Ideal

My friend Tiffani posted a blog link the other day to the "Top 25 Romantic Comedy Cliches That Need to be Retired."  One of 25 was the typical scene at the end of a Rom-Com where one of the characters is going on a wild sprint to catch their beloved before it's too late (think Notting Hill, or The Wedding Planner).  A lot of women have this ideal of a knight in shining armor riding up to them on their big white horse to sweep them away and live happily ever after.  Little girls dress up like princesses a lot, dreaming of castles and fairy tales.  The romantic comedies we women line up for today often play into this very fantasy.  Many of those movies end with the woman being chased after by her man as the climax to the movie.  We all swoon when we think of the man we love not letting any circumstance deter them from running after the woman they love.

Men, whether they admit it or not, enjoy this fantasy just as much as us women...they long to be the dashing, daring knight riding in to the rescue, fighting off the dragon....it's just as much their fantasy as it is ours.  How many of the movies men are drawn to have plots that surround a savior/warrior type character?

I think this idealized ending of a romantic comedy plays into the very basics of who most of us long to be: men the heroic savior/pursuer, and women the beautiful princess in the tower waiting for her knight to rescue her from the evil dragon who's put her there.

I wonder though, when held up to real life, if this cliche really "works."  I mean, I can't think of a single friend I know who has had someone rush off to the airport to stop them from boarding a plane whilst confessing his un-dying love for her. 

Movies and popular culture can be hard enough to overcome whith an ideal body type to live up to, much less an idealized version of how our love lives should be.  Women are expecting to be swept off of their feet in a grand gesture of romance (so much pressure on the men!) while men are looking for the proverbial damsel in distress in need of his rescue.

What happens, though, when the princess gets tired and hungry stuck up in her tower waiting to be rescued by her knight? What happens when the dragon has come over and over again and there hasn't been a knight available to slay the dragon and the princess has had to pick up her sword herself to slay the dragon herself?  Will her knight ride right past, missing out on a partner in life, distracted by the needy cries of someone he has to continually help?  Is she disqualified in the eyes of a potential suitor because she's left her tower? 

Don't get me wrong, I think almost every woman wants to be pursued.  I think most every man wants deep down to do the pursuing.  I don't think those things are wrong.  I just think, sometimes relationships with are hard enough to navagate without all of the added pressure of some ideal version of romance that may not mesh with reality.

Maybe I'm totally wrong.  I'd love any thoughts or feedback since I am certain to be biased a little on this topic.  (smile)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Possible Blog Name Change

As a lot of you know, I have been fund-raising for Sozo Kids inner-city ministry and so that I could take inner city kids from Tacoma on missions of mercy, like the trip that had been planned for May in Kenya to the AIDS orphanage there.

This has been a s-l-o-w process, mostly because of how much I love love love my current job.  My motivation level for fund-raising has been sorely lacking.  The plan had been to continue to work at the zoo until I had fund-raised enough to go full-time with the inner-city ministries I have already been doing, plus some other ideas for working at some schools on the Hilltop and East Side I had had but had not had the time to do with my current schedule.

Though I life has been hard the last few years here in Tacoma as a whole, my job has been the one bright spot going for me.  My heart has always been, however for the last the least and the lost, which has been my motivation for helping with the inner-city ministries I have been involved with like Kids Sozo.  I have never wanted to be a Christian who says we should help those in need and then not DONE something about it. 

I had an opportunity to go to Kona Hawaii for five days last week and had a meeting with some folks from Call2All while I was there.  This was *not* the purpose of the trip, however, their main headquarters are located there and I had dinner one evening with Holly, with whom I have kept in contact since my I went to Hong Kong for the Call2All conference last spring.  I have also been helping with some administrative work on my days off from the zoo for this organization with no expectation of anything coming from it.

Holly, however, would like for me to consider moving out to Kona to work full-time with Call2All.  This both freaks me out and excites me.

A LOT would have to happen for me to end up there: sell or rent my house, get serious about fund-raising, pay off my credit card debt, and a whole lot more. 

I have not decided for sure what I am going to do.  I cannot see me ending up in Kona any earlier than Fall, should it happen at all.  I am committed to some things here in Tacoma through the Summer and I don't feel comfortable leaving after having given my word.  There is a LOT of practical details that would have to fall into place for it to happen as well.

It's funny though, because I have been thinking that continuing to work part-time at the zoo and fund-raising for the inner-city work I have been doing could be enough.  Yet at the same time I have been so restless and hoping for some major changes in my life.  Now, this possible "major change" has sort of fallen into my lap.  I have to admit, it has me intrigued.....the thought of being somewhere different for more than just the few months I have been gone on past trips (like the three-month Europe trip) brings up a whole slew of emotions within me.

It will be an interesting journey in making this decision.  All I know, is that this blog might not be "Erin In Tacoma" coming this fall...


Thursday, February 04, 2010


I was born with a scientifically-wired brain.  I was one of those brainy kids in school who was always really good at math and science.  It just always made sense to me.  There was something about the laws and certainty of these subjects that I liked.  There was some predictability, there was order,  and there was stability.  This is probably why one of my Bachelor's degrees is in Biology.

In math 1+1=2.  Always.

In science, it's the scientific method that intrigues me.  A person can come up with a theory, gather information about that theory, and then design an experiment with data to draw a conclusion.  Repeated often enough with the same conclusions, the theory becomes accepted scientific principal.

In "real life," however, 1+1 sometimes equals 932, or sometimes it equals 57, or at other times it equals -10, metaphorically speaking.

I am realizing that I have a tendency to apply the scientific method to circumstances in my own life.  I develop a theory about why something is happening in my life, and then I go about gathering the "evidence" as to why this is so.  Most of the time this "evidence" makes complete sense to me.  I can even point to "experiments" (aka events) and data that prove this theory correct and then draw conclusions.

I have so ingrained in my head the logic and analysis of scientific ways of thinking that the thought of something in my own life not following a set equation feels, well, a bit like a foreign language.  But, this is a foreign language I am being asked to learn.

God is the author of the scientific laws and principals that govern our planet.  But, He is  not bound by them.  He supersedes them.  He is above them. He doesn't think the way we think, feel the way we feel, nor see things the way we see them.  He created the laws and principals of science for order and peace.  These laws are good things, but I have gone too far and applied the same a+b=c logic to the way the Lord works in *everything.* 

If there's anything the Bible proves over and over, it's that His choices and ways of doing things do NOT always make sense.  He doesn't always make what we would call the logical choice or do things the way we would expect.  His conclusions and feelings on a subject are not the same as ours much of the time.

I look at men like Gideon (hiding in a cave before the Lord sought him out), David (a young boy when anointed king), or women like Ruth (a foreigner) and I realize just how off my thinking is about how the Lord works.  I mean, He has this very real tendency to do things pretty opposite of any way I would ever think to do them.  He uses people I would never have chosen.  And in fact seems to deliberately pick people, events and circumstances specifically because they DON'T make sense.

When I look at the conclusions I have drawn about my life, I have to wonder....are my conclusions all wrong?  *I* think a+b=c, but is that really the truth?  Are the conclusions I am drawing about my circumstances really the same conclusions that the Lord has?  When I have decided that something in my life is a certain way because of some evidence or data I have, is it possible that my logic is all wrong?

I'm not referring to Biblical principals...those don't change. Truth is truth.  What I am referring to are the conclusions I draw about other things in my  life.  For example: I am single.  There's evidence to "prove" that I am not the ideal type for most men in a lot of ways, and thus my conclusion is that there's something "wrong" with me.  Maybe, just maybe, even though I think I have lots of "evidence" to back up my conclusion, my conclusion is faulty.  This is just one example of how the Lord has been speaking to me throwing away my evidence and data and conclusions and start over from scratch.

When I say it feels like learning a foreign language, that's not an exaggeration.  To look at my circumstances and force myself not to look at evidence and events that seem to prove my conclusions feels like I am being asked to rewire my brain all over again.