I travel the country full time from the west coast to the east coast and everything in-between. I visit small towns, big cities, thriving churches and some congregations that are just barely hanging on.
I see joy.
I meet women and hear their stories. I see bits of their pain, their brokenness, their hurts and their longings.
I see joy.
I hear a woman tell me she wants something new and is leaving her husband. And then I turn and see another women broken because her husband is leaving her for something new.
I see joy.
I see a 50yr old grown women who was locked up and tortured as a child just now learning how to breath. I see her broken and curled up in a ball.
I see joy.
I wipe my face from the tears of a 70 year old women's sobbing because she feels so alone and doesn't know how she is going to pay her rent. I see in her a 5 year old girl just wanting her mommy to hold her.
I see joy.
I see and women, angry at the world and nothing will soothe her, so she hurls insults because that is all that has ever been hurled at her.
I see joy.
Then, I look in the mirror and I see in me a women whose body tires easily, wanting to be home where it is safe and warm in the arms of her husband, but God has different plans and keeps sending her out to hold the hurting, to hear the stories and to be a Herald for His voice. I see a women who carries the pain of others deeply and has to hide away each night and release them to the Lord for Him to carry.
I see joy.
The JOY of the Lord is my strength.
Joy is our ability to see past our circumstances and look into the face of the Son, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame and now sits victorious in honor at the right hand of God. Jesus is our joy. Jesus is our victory. JESUS. JESUS. JESUS.
This is Joy. And it is my absolute Joy to do it, to see past my own circumstances, help others see past theirs and point people to the face of Christ in the best way that He sees fit.
Today and everyday, May you see the joy in all He has called you to do day in and day out. The joy of the Lord in YOUR strength. Keep pressing in!
Mia Koehne- Here to hear, hold and herald
I love starting my day off early. You know, at the trailhead around 5:30 am, head-lamp strapped on and dog in tow (or dog towing me.)
My Charlie-girl loves hiking, jumping up rocks and watching the sunrise with me. This past Monday was no exception. After our trek up the mountain and down, back around the base, and then up and down again, we returned to our car to find the passenger window smashed in, glass all over the seat and the glove compartment open with the contents throw on the floor of the car.
I stood at my car, staring in disbelief and said to Charlie-girl "Well, this sucks!" I then noticed that the car next to me had also been broken into and the thought of this other vehicle being violated caused my heart to ache more than the reality of my own loss.
As I called the police two women walked up. As they approached, the owner saw the reality of what had happened. At this realization, her eyes welled up with tears, her heart dropped and I could see the sadness overwhelm her.
My reflection of this incident leads me to these thoughts. I saw my smashed window, stated a fact, called the police and went on with my day. Was it a hassle? yes, but as I told my friend "It is what it is."
Yet, the very same incident to another women caused tears and heart break. You see, the reality for her was that they had her home address, her car registration, they knew where she lived and were they to show up at her house (which we later discovered that they probably had while we were still hiking...but for the grace of God) they would find her teenage daughter home alone sleeping. That is cause for distress.
The exact same incident caused two completely different reactions, because even in the similarities, the extenuating circumstances that surrounded our individual lives caused their own unique reactions.
How many times does life happen to someone we know and we wonder why they are not handling it as well as we did when the exact same thing happened to us? Why is it that one person can lose a job and bounce back and another person loses a job and their world falls apart? How does one person loose a family member and seem to be resilient enough to wake up and go back to work while another person loses a loved one and they become immobile, bitter and angry with the world?
My car break in reminded me that we all handle things differently. There isn't a cookie cutter way to grieve or process. We may not always know the internal struggles and circumstances surrounding a tragedy or struggle in someone else's life. Today, I am reminded to be patient with others in their distress and allow them to deal with tragedy in their own way, the same way that I hope others will give me grace if I am not dealing to well in mine.
So today, whatever you are going through, may you receive the grace and the space to go through it at your own pace and in your own way, knowing that you do not walk alone, but that you have the outstretched arm of God before you and beside you to comfort you and to guide you. Friends, you are not alone.
Now, as for Charlie-girl... her take way from the whole incident was the great joy of getting to ride with the window wide open. Yep, even Charlie and I process things differently.
I love you in the Lord, Mia
There are a few rules of etiquette that I have learned for hiking. For instance, hikers going uphill have the right of way, if you hear someone on your tail, step to the side and let them by, keep your music confined to your headphones and it's always a good thing to acknowledge those you pass.
Not everyone follows these unwritten rules, but when they do, it makes for a great experience.
I was making my way up the Piestewa Peak Summit trail in Phoenix yesterday morning. For those of you that are not familiar with this area, it is a nice 1.2 mile, 1,200 ft climb to the top. As I hiked, I was reminded that not everyone is aware of hiker etiquette, as evidenced by the fact that I found myself giving the right away to hikers that had already made the climb and were on there way down with no intention of stopping for those of us making our way up, panting and dripping with sweat.
Others, though, kindly stepped to the side as I made great strides and stretches over the uphill rocks. For that, I was grateful and squeezed out a smile in the midst of my exhaustion.
There were moments when I thought, "I have gone far enough, I should just turn back now" but, the fighter in me doesn't like to quit until I make it to the top (which last week almost got me into some trouble). After making the 1,200 ft ascent, I was able to rest and take in the view.
There is that exhilarating feeling when you make it to the top, when you reach your goal and have survived to conquer your mountain. For me, I think about the fact that 1.5 years ago, I could barely make it to the top and if I did, it took me twice as long with many stops along the way. This day, though, being in better shape and living a healthier lifestyle, I pushed through without stopping. I made it and I made it well.
After a nice break on top of the summit, I made my way, with the grace of gravity pulling me back down to where I started. I smiled at those making there way up and I stepped to the side to give them the right away as they struggled upward. I allowed those who were descending faster than me the opportunity to go on by and at times I was afforded the same courtesy, as those who were going a bit slower than me, let me pass.
And then it got me thinking (as hiking always does) about the difficulties in life that we have, the mountains that we climb and the "etiquette of struggling" that we so easily forget.
There are times when I, one who has been through the fire, see others going through the same battles I once went through and wonder why they are not conquering it as quickly as I did. There are times when I know people are struggling and I fail to give them the "right of way" in their pain and I expect them to move out of my way and "get over it" so that I can continue living my life. There are times when people are making uphill strides in their situations and I forget to acknowledge them.
There are times when I, because I already made it to the top of a certain mountain, forget what the struggle was like to get to a place where you have a birds eye view and greater perspective.
There are so many times that I am simply the worst hiker in the world.
It is good to be reminded that we all hike (through life) at different paces, we all have mountains to climb and battles to win. When I am more conscious of those around me, it makes this hike of life a little more doable, a little less difficult and a lot more encouraging for everyone.
I can't climb someone else's mountain for them, but I can step out of the way and not be a stumbling block in their journey. I can reach out a hand and give encouragement. I can allow them to feel their pain so they can move to a position where they can see the view of the joy to come.
I pray that we all will be a bit of the grace that gravity brings in someone else's life as they are struggling uphill.
Let's go hiking! I love you in the Lord!
Aside from being a wife, mother, singer, songwriter, traveling worship leader, speaker, writer, and newspaper editor, I have another job. My official title is Business and Community Relations Director. It's a fitting title as I love building relationships and I love the organization, Extreme Faith Productions, that I get to work with.
One of the biggest events that we do is this week! It's called ELEVATE and it's a three day music festival in Prescott Valley, AZ, with some of the top artists and bands in the Christian Music Industry. It's a blast and extremely exhausting. As part of the planning team, this event can also test the limits of one's patience.
This past week I came across a powerful quote on one of my favorite social media platforms,Twitter, and it has been running through my head like a tape recorder. And honestly, the playback feature on these words have made me a much nicer person to be around.
If you are struggling to be patient with others this week (or anytime in the near future) may I share these words with you.
"Patience means adjusting my speed to someone else's pace.
It's another way to show God's love to another."
I have found that when I want to move faster with the vendors and businesses that I am dealing with frustration subsides when I simply slow myself down and adjust my pace. When we walk at the same pace it is miraculous how in-time we are and how well we communicate. That's the pace where harmony happens.
May you hear the sweet melody of patience this day, the harmony as you slow your speed to another's pace. And through it, may you show God's love in simple and magnificent ways.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12
I love you in the Lord, Mia
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.