Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Picking a Plan & Recent Readings September 9, 2013

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Bible — Amy Scott @ 2:09 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about books and I now intend to remedy that. First off, I wanted to share with you about my Bible reading plan. I decided a few months ago that I was going to get “ahead” in my one year plan so I could be finished by the end of the September. My logic was that I didn’t know what October would hold and I really wanted to complete reading the whole Bible in a year. Getting the plan finished before the baby arrived made sense. I guess it’s a good thing that I can read the Bible like it’s a novel because… I actually ended up finishing my plan in the middle of August. I just got carried away. Not a bad problem to have. This left me with the question, “what to do next?”  I’ve liked being able to use my YouVersion app on my phone to track my plan, so I looked there for a new whole Bible plan. After a lot of tempting options… I decided to do the same plan all over again! I know. I totally lack creativity! However, I decided that heading into a new season, that maybe something familiar would be a good idea. I like that the OwnIt365 plan is a 6 day a week plan. It gives you a day off or a day to get ahead. I like that it reads through the whole Bible only once. Some plans have you read multiple sections twice and that adds to the amount of daily reading time. It takes me about 15 minutes a day of reading with this plan and that is perfect. I guess that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it! I am happy to stay that on September 1st, I started my Bible reading plan again with the hopes if finishing in a year or by the end of 2014. We’ll see how that all pans out!

As for other reading, I’ve been in a re-reading phase. I’ve re-read many good series in the last couple of months – The Hunger Games, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Love Comes Softly Series. I did re-read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis though it is not a series. It’s about Heaven and Hell and very thought provoking because it’s done through fiction. It’s a good read and I would highly recommend it. I was torn between a couple of different series to move on to, so I decided to go a different direction for a pause and started Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. I have great respect for Dr. Dobson and the Focus on the Family organization, but I will admit that I am couple of chapters in and I’m contemplating not finishing the book. At this point, he hasn’t said anything that I didn’t already know about boys. Maybe working with kids the last 7+ years has given me a better education into the male mind then I realized. I’ll give it a few more chapters… I’ll especially read the one chapter on mothers and sons. I don’t like to stop reading a book it the middle. My perfectionist nature usually compels me to complete every project I start thoroughly… but… I have more novels I could be re-reading on my bookshelf and they seem to be calling to me and drowning out the voice of Dr. Dobson. Poor guy. I’m sure he’ll recover.

That’s what’s been on my bookshelf and nightstand as of late. What books have been reading? Anything good? I’m always looking for new recommendations!

 

Trying not to be morbid… October 4, 2012

Filed under: Bible,Recollections,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 8:57 pm

Remembering family time…

Okay, I’ll be honest… this post might freak some people out and I’m not trying to be morbid. I don’t know if it’s because at 26, I realize that I am not invincible and really any day could be my last. When I go on long car drives I sometimes wonder what would happen if I got in a car accident and died. How would people respond? Oh I know. They’d be sad. They’d cry. At least I hope so. I randomly plan my memorial service in my head. What songs would be played, what photos I would like shown. I also realized that unless I tell people what these songs and photos are they very well might die with me. Not that it matters. At that point, I really won’t care if the right song is played and if photos I hate are seen by one and all. But… I thought I would share the brief amount of thinking I’ve put into this. So in just in case I die tonight or tomorrow or next week, someone knows what I wanted. If it happens great. If not, no biggie!

Remembering true love…

A couple years ago when it seemed like Jeremy and I attended more memorial services then our hearts could handle, I started to process why I would want a memorial service. I decided that I didn’t want one. I thought a whole program dedicated to celebrate my life felt weird and I really wasn’t comfortable with it. Jeremy informed me that memorial services aren’t for the person, but for the friends and family. He said it helps with the grieving process and saying good-bye. I’ll be honest… memorial services don’t give me much closure. They just make me feel sad. My closure comes in quiet moments when I’ve wrestled with my pain and sobbed and said good-bye in a private way. Usually it’s a dramatic monologue where I know that God is listening and sees my pain. So yeah, memorial services and I just don’t click.

With that being said, if Jeremy is right and they are for others, I don’t want to deny the “others” in my life a chance to grieve and say good-bye. I’ve decided after much thought that I want the song “This Is Home” by Switchfoot played for the photo slideshow. I’ll finally be home at that time and I like the message of finally arriving at the place you’ve been looking for, longing for. I thought it seemed fitting that Switchfoot be played since they’ve been my favorite band for over a decade. However, I did have a bit of a failing out with them, but I have since decided they are my favorite again. I often pondered playing “Amy’s Song” by Switchfoot since it’s about death and a girl named Amy, but I think that Amy and myself are too different for the song to work.

Remembering time well spent…

As for the pictures… I don’t want all of them to be just of me. I want tons of pictures of the people I love. I want group shots where I am not the center. I want my life to be a testament of the relationships I’ve built. I want lots of pictures with my family, friends and the kids that I’ve invested in. Showing my life in photos and film won’t mean anything if I’m not with people.

I guess that’s all the thought I’ve really put into it. I haven’t thought too much about what Scripture. I think the verses that got me through my hardest deaths might be appropriate. Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” God sees the big picture and can bring good out of any situation. Celebrate the good even in the moments where it unseen because it will come. I believe this deeply. Revelation 21:3-4 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” There are happy times ahead and if I’m gone, I’m enjoying them now and my prayer would be that would comfort those in a time of loss.

I’ve been listening to a sermon series on the book of Ecclesiastes and it’s been blowing my mind because it’s right where I’m at. I think that if I could could embody any passage of Scripture this would be pretty cool:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Remembering long time friendship…

I pray that my life will reflect friendship and love. I pray that I would not walk each day, each precious gift alone. I hope that I will have relationships in my life that pick me up when I fall down, that warm up my soul when I am cold, who take on life’s battles with me. More than that, I pray that I am able to offer that kind of friendship to others. Knowing that with God on our side, we will not be easily broken. I want that strength. I want that life. I want to give that and receive that.

Okay, I know writing and talking about death is taboo and makes people feel weird. I get it. I just wanted you to know. In light of this joy and all this life, I can’t help but think of letting it all go and what kind of impact a life well lived will leave behind. I don’t know. I won’t see it this side of heaven, but I do know I will do my best to be someone who changes the world – one relationship at time.

Sorry if this freaked you out. It’s what’s been bouncing in my head the last couple of weeks and I finally thought I’d share it!

 

 

Being Rewritten! October 3, 2012

Filed under: Bible,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 10:58 am

I’m been thinking about this post for a while. I’ve been wrestling with it and letting it sink in. I’ve been praying and letting the Lord really speak this truth over me before I went and shared it with the world. It might not seem like anything major to you. In fact the change might be so small that you can’t even see it yet. But I can feel it starting in my head and in my heart. And it’s growing!

The major theme that I am feeling right now it is that the Lord is rewriting me. I feel like things that have been a long time part of personality are being changed and drawn out of me. It literally feels like a rewrite. It’s crazy to feel like part of who I have been for so long is falling away.

For so long I have been stressed and up-tight. I have been controlling and I have been crazy fighting for order and sense.  It’s been a process and I’m not saying I’m completely there yet, but I have learned that I really have no control. I do believe that I have free will and there are consequences both good and bad to my decisions. I’m not saying I’m a mindless robot. I’m just learning that so much of my life is really out of my control. I’m learning that there is so much of life that I just have let go and trust God to take care of it.

You would assume this realization of how out of control I am would send my stressed out, up-tight self into a tizzy. You would think that I would fight harder to gain control that I spent years trying so hard to keep. However, instead of holding on tighter and continuing the fight, I’m releasing it. I’m letting go. Instead of being freaked out, I’m learning dependence. Not independence and looking to myself. I’m finding that the only one I can turn to is the Lord. I am realizing just how much every moment I need him to show up.  I could chose to raise my blood pressure and drown and in a sea of over thinking or I could give it to God. I can honestly say that I don’t know it all and I don’t have the answers and sometimes life is messy and I can’t clean it up. In these moments, I have felt a powerful connection to my savior. I have realized how hopeless I am without him. I’ve walked some pretty sacred and holy ground the last few months and I’m feeling the peace. I can feel my muscles loosen and my heart rate slow down. I am thankful for each deep breath because it is enough.

It’s been strange though… Being one way for so long and watching that person fade. It’s almost like an out of body experience. Is this really me? I’m happier… joyful! It feels so weird, but it’s so good. I feel like when I’m not stressed out about my crazy world, I have the energy and the freedom to love people better. It’s not about me. It’s about them.  The joy of serving and giving is so real.

I wonder if this is what Paul meant when said, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) The renewing of the mind has always been a part of this verse that I’ve struggled with. I’ve wondered what was wrong with my mind. I seemed to have a good head on my shoulders.  How does one renew their mind? Sounded like a yoga phrase to me. But I’m starting to get it. I feel the transformation in my heart and I know it all stems from making an intentional choice to depend on the Lord.

I’m no longer fighting for control. I’m letting go of the tight grip I had on making things perfect.  It’s warm and peaceful and crazy and weird, but it’s right. I feel it from the top of my head to the tips of my toes – I am being rewritten. I am being undone and remade. I’m giddy with excitement. I am daily reminding myself of this transformation, because I don’t want to go back. I want to keep walking forward in this renewing, this rewriting, this being remade. It’s a deliberate decision because I know how easy it can be to fall back into old habits and old patterns.  My prayer is that this transformation will take root in my heart and that I will never be the same! Amen!

 

The Small Things Matter Most September 13, 2012

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18

Thanks to my wonderful mentor and friend, Vicki Judd, I found myself sitting and listening to a podcast by Jonathan Martin entitled “The Gift of Being Small“. Seriously, it was an amazing sermon on Ecclesiastes. I had a major light blub moment while listening to it. In fact, this sermon hit so close to home. It’s right where I am at! God’s Word is so powerful and a well time message is confirmation from the Lord. It was a beautiful thing. So let me try to explain! I have included the link, so you can listen in as well. It’s worth the time! Please try!

Okay, the book of Ecclesiastes is always really cheery. I mean who doesn’t love being told everything is meaningless? Makes you want to grab some pom-poms, right? YAY LIFE!  But as I listened to the Word and Jonathan’s explanation, it just came alive right where I needed it. You see getting smarter, filling your mind with more, trying to always achieve the next level – in life, at work, wherever – it’s never going to satisfy. There will never be enough. There will always be more that we want, that we need. On this side of heaven, we will never achieve it all. We will never arrive. We can spend our whole existence chasing after more. More money, more intelligence, more skills, more responsibility. Our desires for more will never be fulfilled. In fact, the higher up the ladder of more we climb, we find that it’s harder to be satisfied. Every new thing loses it’s thrill. A new phase of life, a new toy, a new job – nothing stays new forever and the need for more creeps in. This is the life most live. It’s considered chasing after the American dream. Really – it’s meaningless. It will never satisfy. A chasing after the wind.

Now that we’re all built up and feeling awesome about life – the Teacher says “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). It comes down to the simple things. Enjoy a meal because it’s from God. Enjoy the small things. Enjoy the things in this moment. Looking back – meaningless. Looking forward – meaningless. Enjoy the moment – God’s perfect gift.

As I count 1000 gifts yet again, I  am so aware of the small things. How each one of them is a gift from the Lord. Each breath, each meal, each laugh, each smile. They are all priceless and yet cost so little. These are things that make life worth living. They can not be enjoyed apart of God and the knowledge that he is the gift-giver. Jonathan said, when you think you’re BIG – you expect big things, you need big things. When you realize how small you are, you can be satisfied by the simple pleasures. It’s not about having it all figured out. It’s not about being the greatest. It’s not about how awesome we are. It’s about God. It’s about the fact that he loves us. He is in each moment. Especially the small moments, the ones we tend to overlook. Life is so much better when we are satisfied by the small things. The things that are free and precious and vastly unseen.

While I have known this in my head, for the first time in my life (in my heart), I am living each day with two questions in my mind. The first is – Am I loving God? Have I given him my time, my praise, my worship, my adoration? Is my love for him growing and deepening? The second questions is – Am I loving people? In my actions, in my words, through my decisions and choices? Jesus says these are the two greatest commandments and they go hand in hand. If I can answer yes to both of those then it’s a good day. I’m on mission. I’m living life on purpose. It’s not about to-do lists and achieving and reaching goals and cleaning bathrooms. Love God. Love people. Find joy in the small. See God’s gifts in each moment.

This is manna! This is the meal that sustains me. This is the good life. I am so blessed. Tickled down to my toes over the little things. Why? Because they are signs that I am loved by a BIG GOD! It’s mind-blowing! I am humbled! As Ann Voskamp says, I may never wear shoes again. This is sacred ground!

 

Making Scripture My Foundation August 30, 2012

Filed under: Bible — Amy Scott @ 4:33 pm

As I’ve grown up and learned to make reading God’s Word a part of my daily routine, it’s amazing how scripture comes to mind and gets me through the day. When I was kid people would tell me that if I put God’s Word in my heart and in my mind, it would be there for me when I needed it. I guess I thought I would reach this level of instant memory recall. The weird thing is… it’s true! The more I read the Bible and become familiar with it, the more easily passages come to me during the day. Now I don’t have things memorized and I can’t tell you exactly where the verses are found. I’m grateful for tools like Bible Gateway that allow me to do key word searches so I can quickly bring up the Scripture I’m thinking of. I really don’t know what I do without these scriptures in my head. When I start to make myself sick with worry, they pop up. It’s better than breathing in a paper bag. God’s Word brings fresh air, it breathes life into my soul. It keeps me going when I think I’m on the brink about to go over.  So even though I’ve mentioned these verses before and I will probably mention them again, here are verses that are sustaining me today:

  • “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) – I am continually learning that my Plan A or what I think should happen doesn’t always pan out. I can see forks in my life story where I am telling God “Let’s go this way” and he is pointing at a different path.  I’m trying to learn obedience first. This means doing what God asks right out of the gate. The second he changes my direction, I must abandon my current path and follow him (sounds Biblical, huh?). I don’t want obedience to follow a temper tantrum or obedience to follow a heated argument. I want obedience first. I can plan my course, but God is the one ultimately who establishes my next step. With his track record, you’d think I’d trust him by now.
  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) – Over the last two years I would say this verse has become my one life verses. It’s a good follow up to Proverbs 16:9. When God sets me down a different path, I know that he will work it out for my good. Again – trust. I must trust him. Even in the though hard moments, I know he is growing me, strengthening my character. No experience is wasted unless I chose to ignore it. I’ve learned to look for the good in the bad and if I can’t find it, I know that God will use it, even if it’s in a way I can’t see now. This gives me hope. It’s a bright light in a dark place.
  • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7) – These verses have been my life verses since my college years. Becoming an adult brought a whole new level of stress to my life. I need these verses. They are my paper bag. They are the verses I repeat to myself. Over and over again until I believe it. Until my heart rate slows back down. These are my put-it-all-in-perspective verses.

These are the words that God is whispering in my heart today. He is so good. When I think about how he knows me, how he sees me right where I am at, how his love is so specific to my need… It’s hard to put into words what it does for me. It loosens me up. Instead of living with my hands tightly grasped around my way and my plan, these words help me let go. They bring surrender. I know that I am far better off trusting these words then trusting my emotions and my feelings. These are my bedrock, my foundation, the ground on which I stand in a shaky world. Amen!

 

Worth Highlighting June 24, 2012

Filed under: Bible — Amy Scott @ 1:24 pm

I was reading my Bible this morning and I come across a couple sentences that I had highlighted a long time ago. I’m always amazed that something I’ve forgotten about years ago continues to jump out at me. Reading the Bible isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a life long experience. It still speaks to me even though I’ve already read it. It reminds me of where I’ve been. It reminds me who I am. It gives me hope and makes me feel less lonely. I went through this before and survived. I can do it again. I’ll forever be a student, learning these lessons. So here is the verse that gripped my heart this morning. It was too good not to share. It spoke right to me today!

My troubles turned out all for the best—
      they forced me to learn from your textbook.
   Truth from your mouth means more to me
      than striking it rich in a gold mine.

Psalms 119:71-72 (MSG)

 

My Day at the Briar Rose June 22, 2012

Filed under: Bible,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 8:22 pm

The Briar Rose Inn

I headed down to Vancouver, WA this morning for a day at the Briar Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast. I attended a day retreat put on by our network for women in leadership. The setting was so sweet. It was in downtown Vancouver, very historic. The house was quaintly decorated and fitting for the period of time it was built (1908). It had creaky floors and tons of charm. I honestly could have stayed there for days and pretended to be someone from days gone by. But that was not the purpose of this day.

The purpose of the day for me was to meet new people. I have expressed before how few women in ministry I come in contact through our network, especially our section. My hope was to meet maybe some other credentialed ladies in our network or connect with some leaders that I might encourage in that direction. I wasn’t a walking advertisement for credentialing. I just wanted to meet some ladies and let the natural relationships head that direction. I would say my overall goal was accomplished. What I experienced with these ladies today was a stepping stone. A connection was made. That was the goal.

The spiritual elements of the day retreat were great. Lots of solitude mixed with sharing. I feel like a lot of people live such busy lives that moments of solitude are scarce. I, however, am no stranger to solitude. It’s my preferred mode of operation. My schedule and pace can also be super busy, but as an introvert, I’m constantly making time for quiet moments. I will cease to exist without them.

My Special Spot!

The best part of our quiet moments was I got to spend them on a beautiful window seat with sheer curtains looking out over the street. I have a soft spot in my heart for window seats, so this location seemed made for me. I quickly snatched it up before anyone else. For the first part of the day, I read articles of about solitude and silence. I prayed about what God has been laying on my heart. I took a walk around the block and then ended up in the garden to do my daily Bible reading.

Lunch was a time of sharing. We talked about what we thought about during our solitude. I shared how I looked out the window and noticed the diverse group of people walking by. My life has been so focused on my story as of late, that I stopped to think about others and what their story might be. Who are they? They matter to God, so they should matter to me. The mix of homeless and urban professionals, students, joggers… They each are special and unique.

After lunch we went into another quiet time. This time with two tasks. One was to read the Scripture and let it minister to us. The other was write a haiku. Now those of you that know me, know I’m not big into poetry and being all flowery with my words. The point of the exercise though was the power of less. To say more with less. To limit our words and still make a statement.

My heart was drawn back to Philippians 2. I’ve been camped there this week as I’ve contemplated what it means to make myself nothing. As I read the passage, I wrote down these key phrases:

  • Being united with Christ
  • Comfort from his love
  • Fellowship with the Spirit
  • Tenderness and compassion
  • Joy Complete = being like minded, same love, one in spirit, one in purpose (not just as the body of Christ, but with Christ)
  • Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped
  • He made himself nothing
  • Humbled himself
  • Became obedient

Taking a quiet walk!

As I wrestle with this passage, I am reminded that Jesus’ obedience lead to death. In a lot of ways I see how my obedience leads to death of self. It’s Christ’s death that lead to his resurrection and so the glory was given to God. I know that God’s glory will be seen when I get out of the way, die to myself and let him do his thing – not my thing. I’m realizing that while my dreams are not bad, if they are not God’s dreams for me then they need to die. I need to get them out of the way. Just like a seed that goes into the ground, it might seem like dying has no purpose, but once it sprouts new life it reaps an even greater harvest. Letting go now might just reap an even bigger harvest than I can imagine in this moment.

My haiku deals with this Scripture. I realize that I have too many syllables, but it’s hard to track the syllables when you can’t say them out loud and talk it out. We were all in the same quiet room for this activity. So for those who would have noticed, yes, I did it wrong. Oh well! Here is my haiku:

Do I dare to dream

To be made into nothing

Fully united with Christ

The Garden

The first line talks about my own wrestling with my dreams and God’s dream for me. I so badly want his way over my way. The second line is where his way leads – to be made into nothing. This is the non-glamorous option. However, it leads to being fully united with Christ, which is far better than my own dream.

We closed by writing encouraging notes for everyone in a card that was provided. We read the words of encouragement to each other as we took communion. It was a good way to end. Despite what each one of us might have been dealing with, I feel that everyone left encouraged. I know that I did. I’m starting to learn more and more that I don’t need to be understood by people. So even if this group of ladies didn’t get me, I still feel like the day was a win for me. It’s nice to getaway to a new location – outside of home and church. It was nice to meet new people and to share a few moments together. The smallness of the group wasn’t awkward. I felt like we shared great depth for just meeting. It was a good experience and one I would repeat if given the opportunity.