This is Joy
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
Fool may be a little harsh for what I am, but... "if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck..it's a duck!"
My middle child, Aaron, has better labeled the phenomenon in our home as "Constant Ridiculousness" and he simply doesn't want any part of it.
"Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling"
Our constant "quarrels" aka ridiculousness come from two insanely competitive people (my husband and me) that draw their son into the middle of these "discussions" to help prove and win our own points.
Now, it would be one thing if it was a debate over something life changing or worthwhile, but ours tend to be over topics like "Which athlete best transcends their sport and is bigger than baseball?" The correct answer (of course) is simply, "any athlete that I have heard of because I don't follow sports, so even if no one else has heard of "said athlete" they must be bigger than the sport itself... this solid reasoning (in my own mind) stands firm, but not so much for my husband.
Hence, the call for Aaron to come in and settle the debates that we find ourselves in, tends to be pretty constant.
I could go on with examples... but suffice to say, these conversations and this "passionate ridiculousness" occurs on a daily basis. And at the end of the day, it truly does keeps us laughing.
But still, Aaron chooses to take the high ground and not even put his gloves in the ring. He chooses honor, while my husband and I choose to act a fool.
Either way, it is a choice.
Is our ridiculousness hurting anyone? No, but suppose it was about things that actually mattered.
What if it was a daily barrage of fights, nitpicking, complaints and quarrels? Those are the acts that become habitual, deliberate and detrimental to relationships, especially in a marriage.
The same way my son chooses to not be drawn into the crazy, we choose to be the crazy. We all have the ability to choose.
We have the ability to choose joy, to choose praise, to choose to encourage, to choose to listen instead of complain. We have the ability to avoid fights and quarrels and to set ourselves in a place marked for honor.
Next time you feel the urge to be drawn into the fight, remember, and remember quickly, to avoid it, to remove yourself and communicate in love from a place of honor that honors and respects those you care about... (and even those people that you don't much care for..yes, even them!)
Let's choose to NOT insist on quarraling. It does a body good! It does friendship good! It does a marriage good!
Love you in the Lord!
PS. Aaron Koehne is still one of THE most competitive AND silly people I know. Go figure!
There is a good chance that these wrestling matches with his older brother, Chris, started over the debate of who had a better haircut, cleaner room or bigger muscles. (True fact) LOL!
By All Means Necessary
I am in the middle of texting my sweet friend in Nashville dates and times for me to just get away, rest, retreat and re-energize at her home. It's going to be a trip with no gigs and no expectations. There will be time alone and time together filled with girl talk, laughter and encouragement.
My husband has given me his full blessing and I have an accumulation of miles to cover my flight so I am ready to go!! Then it hit me... as I talked to my husband, I asked him if he was sure that it was ok for me to leave. He teased me a bit and then reminded me what his schedule will be like that week of finals and graduation at the high school where he is the Executive Director and Principal. Then, I felt a little more at ease leaving.
I think I found myself baulking because I actually felt a little guilty and anxious. Anxious because it is not a work trip, because there is no agenda, because I might actually be still for a solid length of time and that can be scary.
As my husband and I discussed this anxiety, we realized how hard it is to be still when life goes 100 miles an hour for so long, which is why we both love hiking together so often as it sometimes seems to be the one place we can go to get away from it all, even if it's for a moment. Sometimes, being still, in actuality, can put us in shock mode and we don't even know how to act and we sometimes forget how to listen.
So, I have put away the guilt, I embrace what is to come and I look forward to a week in Nashville away from the laundry, dishes, and daily chores and I am ready to receive the gift of stillness, the gift of fellowship and the gift of friendship.
We may not always be able to fly across the country, but pressing into stillness in vital. So whatever you need to do to find that place of quiet, that place of stillness, that place where you can be re-vived, JUST DO IT, even if it's for a moment!
"...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
I love you in the Lord, Mia
PS. Ticket is booked, no turning back!!
The Grace of Gravity
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!
A Day of Learning and Observing
Just one of those days where I felt like I learned a whole lot...some big, some little and some, just a reminder of things I already know.
Observations From My Day
1. It's nice to call people friend. It's even nicer to be a friend.
2. Four hours sitting a talking with someone who you really care about getting to know better only seems like 5 minutes.
3. I can make a cup of coffee last three hours.
4. I love that God meets us where we are and doesn't rush us through our struggles, pains, hurts and hang ups. He is gentle and loving, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. I want to be like Jesus.
5. When I used to smoke, I actually believed that the world was my ashtray.
Today was payback as some smoker who has not yet had that realization that the world is NOT an ashtray threw a cigarette out the window and it landed on my car, bounced around and burned a spot on my car before it decide to burnout and blow off my car.
6. I learned that we see things differently when we are in different situations.
7. I learned that there are times when I hear God so clearly and times when I jump ten steps ahead of Him, but graciously He shows me an escape route and covers my butt...Sometimes though I just have to bite the bullet and deal with the consequences. Today, luckily, I retreated quick enough and learned to be a better listener.
8. After learning a listening lesson, God gave me another opportunity to listen to His voice, this time, though, it sounded just like my husbands voice and I simply said "ok" and didn't try and figure it out myself. It was surprisingly easy and less stressful.
9. My kids are adults. I can give my opinion, they don't always listen and I kind of like that.
10. It was really hot today. How do I know? Once I got in my Phoenix, AZ car, it took less that 5 seconds for my metal dangle earrings to heat up and start burning the side of my face.
11. My kids are pretty awesome.
12. The display mannequin I bought for my merch table needs to wear a bra...just sayin'
13. My husband is a very patient, hardworking, loving and forgiving man and I think he's cute!
14. God's Word is life to me.
15. God loves me......and He loves my husband and my kids way more than I do and I would die for them.
16. God is amazing. His love is amazing.
17. It's really awesome to have family in the airline business.
18. Life is short and no days are guaranteed. Love God, Love others.
19. And if I ever put on my calendar REST and SLEEP, I can be sure that in the mail will come a jury summons for that exact day. #Storyofmylife
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.