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
As I was walking home from the gym today, I came upon this flower. It was outside a fence, next to the sidewalk, no garden, no other plants, just this lone, rogue, beautiful flower. It sprouted up in the middle of the rocks near a busy main street.
What was it doing there? Why was there such a beautiful thing all alone in the rocks? What if someone walked by and stepped on it, what if some kids passed by and pulled it out? How was this flower going to survive?
Yet, there it was. I wondered if it had been there the other day when I walked by? I couldn’t remember. How could I not have noticed it? But today, as I walked home in the Phoenix heat, tired after working out at the gym and fatigued from my battle with #ValleyFever, I stopped. This flower made me smile, it made me pause and it reminded me of Jesus and His love for me in the midst my exhaustion.
This flower chose to bloom. This flower didn't care that it was alone. This flower didn't say "I want to root in a better location." This flower didn't worry about it's own safety. This flower did the only thing it knew how to do.... bloom and grow.
What I was reminded of today and what I so joyfully want to share with you is this: it's not always the best and prettiest place, it's not always the safest place and it's not always the place we pick to root and grow, but may you (and I) always remember to bloom where you are planted because you never know who will be blessed because you grew roots in the rocks in the middle of the desert.
My weekends tend to be pretty full with traveling, music, airports and hotels (I know, I know, life is hard.) It's not strenuous, but I do pour out everything I have and being away from home and on the road consistently can be mentally exhausting. So, when I am home during the week, I tend to hunker down, throw on my yoga pants, hibernate and refuel.
Today, I slept in late...really late... had my coffee, did my Bible study, answered emails and now all I have to do is learn 3 new songs for this weekends services that I am worship leading at.....again, I know, I know my life is so hard (in case you missed it, that was sarcasm.) My husband finds it quite amusing as he typically works 6 days, sometimes 7 days a week...He feels no pity either as I'm sure you don't and shouldn't.
However, today I do have errands to run, things I have been putting off for WEEKS, mostly because I simply do not feel like moving myself out of my house where it feels so safe. SAFE....this is the word I use as an introvert who has trouble being out in public around people in mass and would love to be a hermit who simply came out of her cave to eat, hike mountains and sing songs! I think this is another reason why I have an unhealthy relationship with Amazon Prime...but that's another story.
Still, the fact remains, I have to get things done...TODAY. In order for that to happen, I had to verbally psych myself up, talk myself out of my pajama's and say outloud "COME ON MIA, GET YOUR BRA ON, STRAP UP AND LET"S DO THIS!"
And that's what I did! As ridiculous as the method sounds, it works for me! I'm strapped up and now I'm heading out the door!
In life there are times where it's easier to simply stay home and stay out of the game that God is calling us to. God will give us the strength to do things, that on our own seem difficult and impossible. For some, it's a simple errand, for others it's packing up and moving across the country, and for many it's learning to go, serve and love wherever God tells us.... near or far.
Whatever it is, strap up and get going. Peace out friends! I got my bra on and I'm getting things done!
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
I love you in the Lord, Mia
We are called to listen, love, and obey. I am fully aware that we may not always see the fruit of our love and the fruit of our obedience, but what I marvel at today is how God sometimes allows us little glimpses of the seeds we plant and the investments we make in others lives as we live out Jesus.
Today was such a day for me. I decided to run into the Fry's store near the high school where I was making my after school pick-ups. I normally don't go there, mostly because I like my local Frys, the one by my house where I know how to find everything, but today I did.
After grabbing a few thing and loading my car, I was approached by a man selling his jewelry. He asked if I wanted to buy any. I looked at him with a big smile and said "I know you!" Confused, he asked me how. I shared with him how some time ago, I met him in a different parking lot and he was asking for some money so he could purchase some inventory to sell.
Since I typically don't hand out large amounts of cash to strangers, I offered to meet him at the shop and buy the perfume for him as an investment into his business (an investment into his life). Suddenly he remembered our fleeting encounter.
He was able to then share with me what that meant to him and how important that investment was, because what I did not remember was the fact that at the time he was homeless, struggling to make ends meat. That little investment in his life was pivotal when he needed it most.
Today, he is no longer homeless, but thriving, working, creating art in jewelry and still smiling BIG.
I was reminded today that sometimes we are called to pour into other's lives simply because God says so, even when it is inconvenient and others think we are crazy. Sometimes, like today, we get to see a bit of the fruit of our obedience, but most of the time we don't. But still, we obey, love and pour into other's SO THAT they can turn and pour into someone else.
I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to see that Aaron is doing well. If you ever see him, make sure to say "hi" and grab a bracelet.
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!
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.