breaking free.

if you are familiar with the group HILLSONG UNITED you have probably read a lot recently about Mike Guglielmucci. he wrote the song "healer", which has been exploding around the church all over the world with lyrics proclaiming God's healing and that "nothing is impossible". the song is really powerful..hear it here.

each night before singing the song, Mike would tell his story of battling terminal cancer, and God's power to heal. then last week he confessed that he had been lying for the past few years...he had never had cancer. this article is a speech Mike's dad gives in response and provides more insight into the situation. there is also an interview on youtube here.

it really breaks my heart...obviously Mike has been dealing with addictions, shame, and darkness for a long time. he wrote the song because he wanted God to set him free from his addiction but instead hid behind the lie of a fabricated illness.

"The pain of this addiction was so deep that he started something he couldn't stop and proceeded on a downward spiral that led to him experiencing pain and suffering that resulted in constant vomiting and many other symptoms of a genuine sufferer."

wow. how easy would it be for any one of us to get sucked into an addiction, fed by isolation and shame, creating a life of misery and suffering. i'm reminded how vital it is that we walk in the light...inviting others to shine truth on the lies that shadow our hearts.

"if we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. but if we walk in the LIGHT, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, as the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from ALL sin." 1 John 1:6-7

i'm so thankful that Jesus breaks through the darkness...and that the truth really does set us free. may we live as people who are free..."because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8)


no mo' stain.

so i've been carrying around a "tide to go" pen in my purse for the last 2 years or so, and occasionally have found it helpful for a coffee stain here and there. but last night i fell in love with this thing. so here's the situation: marisa is at a fun party, holding a glass of red wine (reason #1568 why i prefer white) when an unobservant male happens to bump said glass. you can picture it: red wine all over marisa's shirt. yikes. so as soon as i get home, i whip out the tide to go, and go to town on this red wine stain, then hang the shirt up to dry. this morning, the stain was GONE. i'm not even kidding - it looks like there was never a stain! what?! is this thing MAGIC?! i don't know what kind of chemicals they throw in that little stick, people, but it works. do yourself a favor and pick up one soon...especially if you enjoy red wine and crowded rooms.


smashed cars and fried things and mullets... oh, my.

this past weekend i survived the county fair. and not just any county fair, the wilson county fair, voted #1 in the state of tennessee!! it was all you imagine it could be: bright lights, cheap rides (we risked our life on the "zero gravity" ride), livestock, fireworks, contests and shows galore...and the FOOD: fried twinkies and fried oreos...chicken on a stick and corn on a stick...fresh squeezed lemonade. yum.

but the highlight of the night was definitely the demolition derby...picture old cars in a mud pit slamming into each other...last one still running wins. and people get INTO it...seriously.
welcome to america. :)

the people-watching wasn't too bad, either...gotta love them country folk. (i wore my camo to try and fit in)

you won my heart, wilson county fair...see you next summer.


deep joy (cont.)

obviously the Lord likes to really hammer in themes in my life. i found out this morning at midtown we are beginning a series on philippians, and today was entitled "inviting you into a life of joy". seriously, God? ok, ok, i get it.
so here are some continued thoughts on what i'm learning about joy...
--> we encounter deep joy by REMEMBERING.

remembering what God has done in the past - the great works in others and the great works in us. (phil 1:3-4)
remembering we are not alone today - He blesses us with community, with those who can partner with us for the gospel (phil 1:5)
remembering God will complete His work - in us and through us. He knows the future, and He will fulfill His purpose for us.

and i love john 15:11, where Jesus tells us this purpose - that His joy may be in us, and may be full and complete. we don't have the power or ability to get it on our own. we gain it FROM Him...from seeking Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.

...what a JOYFUL journey :)


deep joy.

the 2 verses God kept whispering to my heart while I was in Africa were psalm 16:11 "In Your presence there is fullness of joy" and nehemiah 8:10 "The joy of the Lord is your strength". the joy I encountered was deep. not based on circumstance, not resulting from situational happiness...but deep joy rooted in relationship with God. time spent in His presence meant a constant dependence on Him, and a continual praise of Him. and that brought joy. then when (not if) trials came, that joy birthed a strength. strength to trust. strength to rest. strength to endure.

back in America, I keep coming back to this theme. to seek the Lord and His strength; to seek His presence continually. (psalm 105:4) what does that mean for me...?

well, today is means going to my favorite coffeeshop. today it means noticing the little gifts of life. today it means searching truth from His Word that speaks straight to my heart. today it means wrestling through my desires and my doubts and my future and my failures. today it means music that makes my soul sing. today it means being still, knowing He is God.
it means reminding myself continually that He is the joy-Giver, and He is the strength-Provider...and that is enough for today.


best of nashville.

so the local nashville weekly paper, the nashville scene, does a yearly "best of..." readers poll. there are over 250 categories -- everything from the best margarita in town to the best place to take pilates to the best place to meet single guys (note to self).
all you nashville peeps can VOTE HERE
(you have til Weds, Sept 10!)
--> i'll have some results mid-October!! :)

see the 2007 RESULTS


it's great to be a georgia bulldawg.

have you read THIS yet? you should.
only 11 days til georgia football season... yes, i'm a little excited!

some past games...





friday fun.

did i really go to this tonight? why yes...yes, i did. and i think i have now entered the world of a nashville socialite.
(and we're famous)


hope amidst heartache.

last week on good morning america the chapman family shared about their grief with the loss of sweet maria. get out the kleenex...it's a beautiful picture of hope and joy despite circumstance.

i choose community.

everything in this world tries to pull us away from community ...pushes us to choose ourselves over others, to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together.



(so i have been playing around with my photos on PICNIK if you can't tell...very fun.)

i'm continuing to process my trip in Africa...specifically uganda...and how i'm feeling and adjusting back here. this song keeps coming into my mind. (i mentioned it in this blog) ...brooke fraser wrote it after her trip to rwanda...and it just resonates with my spirit.



with articles like this i've been wrestling in my own heart whether i want to support the olympics this year.
but this story gave me a glimpse of redemption in the whole thing.

so some friends are having a party tonight to watch the opening ceremonies - dressed as your favorite athlete. i, of course, am going dressed as a gold medal (i like winning, ok?) :)