Sunday, June 28, 2009

Because I made her...

Have you ever really taken the time to look around when you are in public to see the people around you? I am often amazed at G-d's endless creativity in creating so many people who look so different.Sitting in a service this morning where my husband was the guest speaker, we watched a slideshow of women's faces as a woman sang a song entitled, "The Real Me." I was struck once again by G-d's creativity as seen in His creation. He made us women: He thinks women are beautiful, and they are... Let us be mindful to thank Him today for creating us, and let us strive to see ourselves as He sees us. Don't ask someone else to tell you how you look...ask your Creator. Surely He knows best.

The following was given to me by a dear friend a few years ago, and as I read it today, it really touched me. So much of it sounds like it was written for me. Maybe you can relate as well.

"Because I made her. She's different because she's unique. With love I formed her in her mother's womb. I fashioned her with great joy. I remember with great pleasure the day I created her. To me she's beautiful- I love her. I love her smile. I love her ways. I love hearing her laugh at the silly things she does. She is herself and no one else... this is how I made her. I made her pretty, but not beautiful, because I knew her heart, and she would have been vain. I wanted her to search out her heart, and learn that it would be her and Me that would draw friends near. I made her in such a way that she would need me. I made her a little more lonesome than she would like to be, only because I want her to turn to me in her loneliness. I made her a little more dependent than she would like to be, only because I want her to learn and be dependent on me. I know her heart. I know that if I had not made her like this she would go her chosen way, and forget about me... her Creator. I have given her so many good and happy things... because I love her. I have seen her broken heart, and the tears she has cried all alone. I have been with her and have had a broken heart too. Many times she has stumbled and fallen alone, only because she would not take My hand. So many lessons she has learned the hard way, because she has not listened to My voice. So many times I have sat back, and sadly watched her go her merry way alone, only to return to My arms, sad and broken. And now, she is mine again. I made her and I bought her. I paid a high price for her... because I love her. I have had to reshape and remold her to renew her to what I had planned for her to be. It has not been easy for her... or for Me. I want her to be conformed to My image. This high goal I have set for her because... I love her."

Ponder that carefully: He loves her! Do you love her today?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Silent Shabbat

"O G-d, You are my G-d; Early will I seek You;

My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You

in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water..."

Psalm 63:1

Seek Him.

Shabbat Shalom.

Resting on Shabbat

Another Shabbat (Sabbath) is almost here. It is amazing to me how much significance G-d puts on honoring the Shabbat in the Scriptures, and how he speaks to hearts even today about that significance. I would love to go into more detail in a later blog about Shabbat and its mention in G-d's word, but for now I just wanted to post this quote I received in an email from because it is short and simple and gets to the heart of G-d's command to rest on Shabbat. In my own family life, I am still in the process of uncovering the layers of the beauty of the Sabbath and how to truly keep and guard it as holy. It has been a wonderful journey thus far, and I look forward to sharing more of it with you. Until then, let's rest...

"Exodus 23:12 "And on the seventh day you shall rest"
Look at a globe or a map and spot an island.
Do you see that bold brown patch of land amidst the surrounding blue water area?
It is clearly visible, existing peacefully and calmly, while the waves fling themselves against its sandy beaches.
The seventh day of the week - Shabbat - can be compared to an island.
Not a geographical one, but rather an "island in time."
The days before and the following week are busy and full of weekday activity. They are like those tossing waves in the sea. Shabbat is like that peaceful island.
We are commanded to stop all our work and rest on Shabbat.
On Shabbat, we do not concern nor involve ourselves in our weekday work and occupations."

How do you honor the Sabbath?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thank You!

Thank you for the comment, L.A. Any encouragement or feedback is always welcome! :)

And thanks to everyone who took the time to answer my poll question. I will post another one very soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


"1,2,3,4,5,10! Ready or not, here I come!" Sound familiar? I think we've all played hide-n-seek in our lifetimes. Notice how much small children love to be pursued, to be sought after, to be chased, to be found... That is an amazing fact for a couple of reasons.

For one, we as women are also born with an innate desire to be pursued, to be sought after, to be chased, and to be found. We want men to ask us questions (or better yet, discover the answers to those questions), to study us, to take the time to truly know us... Women were born to be pursued just as men were born to take up that pursuit. As a young believer and a young woman, the very few relationships that I attempted to pursue all fell apart. It was not until my husband came along that I realized the significance of being sought after to a woman's heart. He watched me (and yes, sometimes stared!) , he studied me, he waited for me... and he chose me. As women, sometimes we fail to see a good thing if it is right under our noses, but I will never forget the day that I felt G-d whisper his name into my ear and ask me, 'what about him?'... It was only then that I understood I was to accept his pursuit, and now we are happily married.

Secondly, G-d created women with this need because He Himself has this characteristic. As G-d is neither male nor female, He has the ability to pursue and to be pursued. He pursues us unceasingly and sometimes relentlessly, whether we choose to accept it or not. However, as a woman, I sometimes have trouble pursuing Him as a man would pursue a woman. I have to remind myself that I first have to accept His pursuit of me and then also turn around and pursue Him back. His Spirit, known as the Comforter, has many feminine qualities. He wants to be pursued, to be sought after, to be chased, to be found, to be chosen... When He speaks, He whispers softly. He yearns quietly and passionately for us to truly know Him. He wants us to pursue Him, and in that pursuit we will become better women, wives, mothers, and servants. He will also teach us how to be pursued by the men who need to pursue us. So let's pursue Him...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Visitation (written 10/16/03)

I saw a vision

the sky dark

yet still afternoon

where is the great Light

that brightens the day?

nowhere to be found...

the lightning flashes

before me, a crimson mass,

possibly a face

beyond recognition

another strike of light

confirms human countenance

----------who are you?

soaked with perspiration

bruised and beaten

naked and striped

----------are you alive?

suspended, on display

outstretched palms

reaching for the unreached

I tune my ears

to the silence of the Lamb

laboring for every breath

now closer to death

----------who did this to you?

darkness returns

the earth seems to quake

with another bolt

the red-caked eyes

are opening

blinking away blood

and tears

flames of pain

----------what is your name?

cracked swollen lips quiver

thunder, the only reply

lightning bolts revolt

darkness has pierced the Sun

the clouds now diminish

I can no longer see...

----------It is finished.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I am a writer...

I am a writer. What does that mean? I really don't know, but sometimes I just feel this undeniable urge to write. ( I found a quote by Thomas Mann, who said that "a writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." That sums it up well!) Sometimes what flows from my pen is actually pretty good, and at other times it is not.

One of my favorite things to do is write, although I took a long break from it recently. If you know me personally, you know I am usually a very quiet, shy person. I'll never forget my classmates back in elementary school asking my mother if I knew how to talk. By the time I was a teenager, I discovered that I could better express myself through written words.

Even though I have a love and desire for writing, it doesn't always come naturally. It's more like giving birth. Instead of labor pains, I have writing pains. The whole writing process can be very frustrating and emotionally draining. You pour your life, emotion, and passion into a poem or piece of literature onto a piece of paper, and then you can take a breath... until you let someone else read it. You can only hope it will be as beautiful to them as it is to you, if that is even possible.

I find it difficult to just sit down and write at anytime. I need first something to write about, and it has to bounce around in my head for a while before I can even try to write about it. Some of my best work has come after major events or tragedies in my life: the shootings at Columbine, the death of my father, becoming a believer in Yeshua, meeting the man I would marry...

Now that I have begun blogging, it is amazing how ideas come to me throughout the day. It's putting the words together in a coherent manner to go with the idea that is the hard part, but it gets done somehow. W. Somerset Maugham said that "we do not write because we want to; we write because we have to" . So be it...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Silent Shabbat

May we bloom where You have planted us, HaShem. Shabbat Shalom!

Fierce Devotion... in pictures...

These pictures illustrate perfectly what I last posted, "Fierce Devotion"!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fierce Devotion

Have you ever watched a mother animal defend her babies against some kind of intruder or trouble-maker? A mother duck, for instance, will fight fearlessly to protect her ducklings. Living next to a lake littered with multiple sets of new ducklings, I've seen it happen many times in the past few weeks. Being a mother for a mere seven months, I have a lot to learn about mothering. But this fierce devotion seems to be present in every mother, and oftentimes in women who have no children of their own. After giving birth to Elisheva by means of an unplanned Cesarean section, I can't say that I really felt like a mother right away. It took some time for the reality to sink in. Gradually, it became my new identity: mother. I was now responsible for feeding, comforting, and caring for another life, and it is a great responsibility indeed.

Recalling those first days home from the hospital with a newborn, it seemed more like a dream at the time, probably because of the pure emotion combined with lack of sleep! Getting used to having a baby in the bedroom (The first night home, I remember being able to hear nothing but a screaming baby in my head, even when she was asleep!), and listening intently in the dark to every sound she made, trying to decipher what she was doing or if she needed something. If she even moved ever so slightly in the bassinet, I would wake up. My husband lovingly told me that it was a gift from G-d for mothers, because he slept right through it. I had developed overnight a new radar, and all of my senses were focused on one tiny baby girl. When a baby is born, a mother is as well.

If you have experienced a C-section, you know how difficult it is to lie down flat on a bed afterwards. I thought I was ready to go home from the hospital until I realized that I would have to sleep in the recliner because I lacked a hospital bed in my bedroom! There were no buttons to push me up or lie me down, no red button to push for help, no nurse.... but I did have a husband. He had to lie me down and help me up so that I would not have to use any abdominal muscles. One night I awoke out of a dead sleep to Elisheva's coughing, and before my brain could even register anything, I was up and standing next to her bed. It was only after that I realized I couldn't get up like that. You've heard about bumblebees: they can't fly because of their body proportions, but nobody tells them they can't fly, so they fly. Well, nobody told me I couldn't move like that with staples in my stomach, so I did, and I didn't feel a thing... because I thought something was wrong with my baby. There was no room for other thoughts in my mind at that time. I have a sneaking suspicion that no one would attempt to tell that mother duck that she can't fight off whatever it is that is too close to her ducklings. She's a mother with a mother's instinct. She's going to fight.

Mothers are gifted with amazing abilities. They are beautiful pictures of G-d's loving kindness, His gentleness, comfort, nourishment, and compassion.... and they burn with His fierce devotion.


It is amazing how we can look back and see what G-d was doing in our lives even before we believed in or accepted Him as our Savior and Messiah. I was blessed to come across this poem I wrote just about 4 months before I became a believer in Yeshua, a time when my spiritual yearning was greatest in its intensity. It is entitled "Part Cherokee." Here's an excerpt:
"...take me away from this civilization; I want to touch my roots, know my foundation; take me somewhere, the air is fresh; I want to feel the earth, the womb of my flesh..."
Being a "mutt" genetically (a Caucasian with a mixture of a little bit of everything European and not knowing exactly the who or the where of my ancestry), used to cause me a lot of fumbling for words when I was younger and people would ask what my background was. They were usually baffled when I told them I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, so then they would proceed to asking me where I got my accent because it was not what they knew to be a southern accent. My reply was always, "I have an accent?" I've had people ask me if I was from Czechoslovakia, South America, and Israel to name a few. Upon discovering that on my mom's side of the family, I am part (probably a very little part) Cherokee, and on my dad's side, Blackfoot Indian. This gave me an interesting outlet, and it made me sound like a more interesting person (in my mind anyway). Because I didn't have any real roots of my own, I joined myself to roots that meant much more to others. Looking back, I now realize that searching for roots is a very human, and also very spiritual, activity. People, like trees, need roots to thrive, and I would venture to say, the deeper the roots, the better off we are.
Transitioning into messianic worship has shown me my real roots. I worship the G-d of Israel and the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, whom He sent first to the nation of Israel. I have been grafted into the Olive Tree. Amazingly, G-d answered what I asked of Him in my poem above. He helped me to 'touch my roots' and 'know my foundation'. Maybe not the answer I was looking for, but the answer. So now when I tell people I am messianic and what that means, I understand that Yeshua is the important part of the equation, not me. Yes, I'm part Cherokee, and, yes, my accent might be strange because I pick up accents from others, but let me tell you about my background...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Apparently, I have a publisher...

Just a book project update. My Rabbi just told me that when my book is finished, his friend/publisher in Israel will publish it! Baruch HaShem! Praise G-d! This is very exciting news for me, and I am even more inspired to continue the work. Because the project that I posted on here (Click on the post entitled "My Book Project") will probably take a while (months, years, I don't know??), I have already started putting together a more devotional type book, covering the same topics, that will take less time and research. Please continue to pray for this undertaking and please comment on the writing and answer the questions that I post, even if you choose to remain anonymous. Also, list any good books that you've read dealing with women's issues. Feel free to forward my blog address to all of your female friends as well! Thank you! -- Joanna

Monday, June 8, 2009

a time to be sick...

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." -
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Having two close friends who are currently pregnant and having had a baby myself only seven months ago, pregnancy is something that is never far from my mind. To be with child is to be a walking, breathing miracle... walking for two, breathing for two, and of course, eating for two!! You have this constant awareness that you are never alone. Everytime you look down, you may not be able to see your feet, but you are definitely never without a view of that belly... and what's (or who's) inside. Strangers offer to carry your groceries, let you skip in line, bend down and pick things up for you, even feed you, but these gestures don't even come close to the miracle that is taking place in the darkness of your womb on a daily basis for 9+ months.
Carrying my first miracle was, unfortunately, like a walking nightmare for 3 and a half months (from about week 6 until week 22) of my pregnancy. I was blessed with a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, let me translate into English, lots of vomiting! I will spare you the gruesome details, but nothing would stay in my stomach at times, and I had to be hospitalized twice before I was set up with home health care so that I could have an IV at home and also a mobile pump that would slowly release anti-nausea medication into the tissue of my thigh 24 hours a day. It was a glorious time to say the least. My diet consisted of banana popsicles, gatorade, crackers, cheese puffs, and tic tacs. While being a great way to lose weight (I lost about 18 pounds), it was no way to celebrate my first child being created inside my womb. And I was not very celebratory. I spent weeks and weeks asking G-d why....why did I have to be so sick, why couldn't I have an easy pregnancy like so-and-so, etc. Then I stopped asking Him anything. I was angry and sick and there was no end in sight... the days seemed eternities in and of themselves, and every morning I wished it would be different that day, but it continued.
I recall a bit of a turning point at around week 12. I was viewing an ultrasound of my little miracle, and it hit me that perhaps G-d wasn't punishing me. Perhaps He was teaching me something .... that there is a time for everything. There's a time to be sick and a time to be well. Countless other people were sick, and they did not have the joyous blessing that I had to look forward to. They were sick because they were sick. I was sick because I had a baby growing inside of me, and in a matter of months, I would be holding that baby in my arms and I would feel much better. I needed to look outside myself and think about what I could do with this suffering in the future. The author, Chinua Archebe, wrote, "Suffering should be creative, should give birth to something good and lovely." I was going to give birth to a baby, but what was my suffering going to give birth to? At the time, I did not know of anyone who was as sick as I was during pregnancy, although my mother came close. Therefore, no one's words could console me. However, now that I've been there and survived (and have a gorgeous baby girl to show for it), how can my words console another woman's suffering?
A song also had something to do with my healing. During my sickness, I watched many movies, and my dear husband made many trips to Blockbuster or Publix to make sure I had something to watch! After watching (and crying through) Charlotte's Web, I left it on during the closing credits, and heard the song that I had been needing to hear. You've probably heard it on CVS/pharmacy commercials: "Ordinary Miracle." I needed to stop thinking about how I felt and start thinking about what was going on in secret, the knitting together of my daughter, Elisheva (Hebrew, "G-d's solemn promise) Ruth (friend, companion). "Isn't it remarkable that things just work out after's just another ordinary miracle today...

Friday, June 5, 2009

to be his helper...

In March of 2007, I married a nice messianic boy. I never anticipated what an incredible blessing and an incredible responsibilty marriage would be.
Biblically, wives are called (in fact, created) to be their husbands' helper. So many take this to mean something that it does not, that the woman is somehow inferior to the man. We are created equally, but with different roles and responsibilties. G-d intended it to be that way, and in my own studies, I have found that He knows what He is doing! Being my husband's helper has brought me unspeakable joy, but it has been harder than I ever thought it would be. It takes much more than submission or a smiling face. It is more like an intricate discipline that must be practiced and intentionally executed. I am still learning...
Probably one of the greatest compliments I've ever received is, while holding a discipleship class in our home, one of the women told me what a good wife I was (and I thought to myself, "wow, have I got her fooled"), and then she explained that I "allowed my husband to be and to do what G-d has called him to". He is a teacher, a father, a son, an employee, a husband... and I am his helper. The most convicting book I've ever read on this topic is "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl, and though it seemed extreme at first, I found it very difficult to refute her using Scripture. The first question that captured my attention... "If G-d created a special woman perfectly suited to be your husband's helper, would you be that woman?" I want to be able to answer 'yes'. How about you?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Poem: Beauty

is beauty a gift or a curse?
sometimes hard to tell
but I know for sure
I'm nowhere near as beautiful as my Creator...
the Author of all beauty
now, He is beautiful...

my brother, don't let it cause you
to stumble or fall
that burden, that guilt,
I cannot carry it at all

my sister, don't let it stir up
jealousy or strife
it's not worth it
beauty is not better than a beautiful life...

L-rd, let Your beauty be seen in me
outlasting age, through all eternity
that undying, unchanging beauty
cannot be bought or inherited
it's only found in You

and L-rd, don't let my eyes
chase after the beauty of this world
torn away from You by lust
and longing...
grieving Your Spirit with jealousy and envy

L-rd, keep me from falling in love with my own reflection
made in Your image, designed by Your perfection
when I look in the mirror,
L-rd, please help me to see
Your beautiful face looking back at me

my only desire, my object of adoration
Yeshua, let me see Your beauty in all Your creation

made in Your image for Your delight
may every living thing be beautiful in my sight...


My Book Project

I will be posting questions related to the topics I plan to mention in my future book for messianic women. Please post any suggestions for additional topics, title for the book, etc.
Here is my rough outline of what I want to write about. It should give you a better idea of what the book will cover:

Journey into Womanhood
Torah for Women
Roles of Women/Impact
Courtship & Marriage
Feminine Sexuality/The Body
The Future Generations
Women & Work

Poem: New Every Morning (written 10/20/03)

Your love is new
new every morning
morning after morning
I awake
covered by grace
that flows
from the unseen
when I cannot touch Your face
I dream about it
when You leave
I am miserable
I cannot live without You
You are in every breath I take
in every beat of my fragile heart
my own obsession
proud to be Your possession
my everything is Yours
let it be known
that I am Yours
just to speak Your name
just to feel Your touch
You are worth any sacrifice
Your love is new
new every morning
morning after morning
I awake...
because of You...