Tuesday, August 31, 2010


There is a lot on my mind.

There is so much on my heart.

But as I sit at these keys, I’m unable to type what I thought would so easily flow.

So I won’t force it.

I’ll simply share where my heart has landed amidst all my processing tonight.

Three simple lines:

There are some things that matter.

There are some things that don’t matter.

Sometimes death, or the possibility of death, has its way of revealing the difference.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Growing Pains.

When I was about nine I had bad growing pains in my legs.

My legs were growing really fast and my body was having a hard time keeping up with the rate of growth.

For awhile, it seemed like my young body was literally two-thirds legs and one-thirds torso. A little awkward. And painful.

There was nothing I could do to stop the growing. It was a good and necessary development. But it in that season, it just kept growing and growing and growing and then when the pain got overwhelming and I couldn’t escape my body, I’d lay on the cool sheets on top of my white, IKEA bunk-desk bed, and just cry.

That’s sort of how I feel in life right now.

For the past few years of my life, I have been growing and growing and growing. It seems that I haven’t even finished absorbing the first lesson before the second and third and forty-seventh start pushing at my heart.

My eyes never stop observing and my heart never stops feeling. Even when I try to make them stop. I am constantly aware of the lessons life is teaching me. I am constantly processing the experiences surrounding me and involving me.

I love processing. I really enjoy learning lessons. And although it can hurt, I don’t mind that much when my eyes are opened about my flaws and I’m the one that has to change.

But the fact that I haven’t taken a breather from new lessons for lots of years keeps catching up with me. There are times when it's overwhelming.

Sometimes it’s painful, like my leg-growing pains. There are times when I can’t get away from it and it hurts and I just have to cry. How can I reconcile all these new ideas? How can I know what truth is if I was sure something was true and I find out it's not? How can I trust when trust has been broken?

But sometimes, this process is glorious! Everything I am constantly learning is showing me more of who Jesus really is and there are times when I feel it all bubbling up inside me. I can feel my joy and gratefulness growing deeper and deeper inside me.

And just when it seems I couldn’t take more joy, I’ll see something beautiful, like when I'm driving down the freeway and beholding a gorgeous evening sky with puffy pink-and purple-hued clouds and the sun behind it all illuminating the colors and streaming out beyond the edges. Those are the moments when my tears again pour out and spill down past the biggest smile my lips can form.

Maybe this is how life will always be as an adult. It’s been my only experience of adult-life so far. Perhaps I will get more and more used to these constant growing pains.

But I wouldn't rather trade the lessons and the joy and the deep satisfaction when God finally illuminates the answers for anything, despite all the pain involved.

Has God been expanding anything in your heart lately? Do you ever feel overwhelmed with observations and lesson-learning in life?

Friday, August 27, 2010

She's Not Impressed.

With my blue, plastic cup in hand, I walk down the long aisle past all the grey cubicles and head towards the break room.

Outwardly, it looks like I am just thirsty and want some more water. And that is partly true. Inwardly, however, I am processing.

As I walk the long hallway, I am thinking about a recent conversation I had with an old friend and I am trying to figure out why the remembrance of that conversation is sweeping over me with a feeling of total satisfaction and rest.

I open the door to the break room and I smile at the lady eating her salad. I glance over at the group of people making small talk at the far table.

I head across the room to the water cooler and I can feel my inner self getting closer and closer to understanding the source of my satisfaction.

I position my cup under the water nozzle and tip the black-colored lever down. I watch as the water flows into my cup.

As the cup gets to be about halfway full, it comes to me.

Resolution! I finally know why I feel so satisfied in remembering my time with my friend.

It was because….

She wasn’t impressed by me.

What? I was surprised to realize that this was the reason for my satisfaction.

It’s true, I thought. She doesn’t seem impressed by me. She doesn’t think I’m oh-so-holy and she doesn’t want to be just like me. Okay.

But she LIKES me. She likes me for who I am. She enjoyed our time together just as much as I enjoyed it.

I don’t feel the need to try to impress her in the next facebook message I send her. Or in my actions the next time I see her.

I can just be me.

No pressure to please. No expectations to fulfill.

Just mutual enjoyment of one another. Admiration for one another. Receiving from each other.

Walking out of the office and heading towards a break room table outside. Sitting under some beautiful trees and sipping my water.




An hour of work left to go and then the weekend is mine to enjoy.

I’m starting the weekend off tonight by meeting a friend of my husband’s and his wife over dinner.

And now, after my afternoon epiphany, I am much more excited to meet these new friends than I was earlier because now I know I don’t have to go to impress.

I just have to go and enjoy.

So to my friend: Thank You!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where will Willingness Lead?

God is realigning my heart.

I know it is Him because my human heart does NOT naturally think the thoughts I have been beginning to think in the past few days.

My heart has been revisiting the concept of willingness to literally go where God sends me. Whether He is sending me across the room to apologize to my husband, or whether He is sending me to Uganda to hold 3 little children in my lap, I want to be willing to go.

I really do not know where God will take me in my life. Honestly.

I am not writing this post with any clue or hint of where I might be going in order to follow God’s will. (And to my family who reads this blog…NO. This is not my indirect way of telling you I am moving to Africa. :-)

Part of the reason that my heart closes off to being willing to “give up my life” to follow Jesus is that I want to LIVE! I want to live, and thrive, and flourish! If I give God a willing heart, what if He makes me sacrifice all that I hold dear?

My husband said something so powerful to me the other night. He said, “The reason it is hard is because we were created to thrive. We were created to live! But we aren’t home yet…real life hasn’t even begun.”

Jesus said, “He who seeks to gain his life, will lose it. But he who loses his life, will find it.”

What if I was willing to give all my desires, my dreams, and my securities for God to rearrange as He desired? What if my life looks nothing like I originally intended it to look?

Guess what?!

I have ETERNITY to live!

Think about it.

Eternity in Perfection.

No sin, no pain, no separation from love.

Think about this ratio: Giving up six months of your life here on earth in order to live 75 years of doing exactly what you want to do. Wouldn't 75 years be well worth the six months of sacrifice?

Now think of 90 years compared to 1 million years. Compare 90 years to 1 billion years. To a trillion. To FOREVER..............

I know. My mind can’t wrap around it either.

Do you believe this???

Do you believe that you will live forever in the perfect presence of your Savior?

Are you living like you believe it?

Or are you living like this life is all you’ve got?

I am asking myself the same questions.

But I know Jesus has more for us. I know He has more for me.

I’ll be honest. I’m a little scared to start heading down the road of opening my heart to complete willingness.

But even more than scared, I’m excited.


His Love, the entire essence of who He is, is too entrancing for me to ignore.

Next time you are in church and the song "I Surrender All" starts to play, ask your heart if you really mean the words you are allowing your voice to sing. I will do the same. I promise.

"All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him, I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him. In His presence daily live. I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all."

Monday, August 23, 2010

When the Truth Hurts.

Are you willing to listen when someone tells you some ugly truth about youself?

I’m not talking about just sitting there and taking it when someone is simply discouraging you, or guilt-tripping you, with a lack of truth.

What I mean is, are you willing to listen when someone has been honestly hurt by you? Are you willing to receive when someone lovingly, maybe quite firmly, points out something negative about your character?

Do your ears shut off when something negative is said about you? Does your heart harden when someone shows you a flaw about yourself?

You know that they are revealing something about you that is rooted in truth.

You know what they are saying is true.

You know you were wrong.

What is your response?

Anger and defense?

Haughtiness and cold silence?

An instant attack on the other person's sins?

Or could it be.....Humility? Perhaps a soft opening of your heart and a willingness to hear how you may have hurt or wronged others? An admittance of the truth of your faults?

This is not an easy one for me. But I have experienced it recently, so it is fresh on my heart.

A few days ago, my husband and I had a difficult conversation. I came prepared to share what was on my heart but the conversation took a turn I hadn’t expected. And it was a necessary turn.

My husband, gently, but firmly, talked to me of a character flaw he has noticed in me. And it's a biggie. And from all the information he knows of me and all that he has been able to observe in our relationship, he logically deducted where this character trait could lead. He talked about how it could affect me as an individual and how it could affect our marriage. He shared this with me in love.

I didn’t like his observations. Or his deductions.

I hated it because what he was saying was true.

And as I was listening, I KNEW it was true.

Ouch. MAJOR ouch.

It hurts to have your eyes opened about yourself. But it is better to know your sin so that you can allow the Lord to heal and change you rather than just getting angry and creating a harder heart within yourself.

I didn’t admit to my husband that night that he was right. I didn’t tell him that I had listened and I was really thinking about his words. I took more of the “haughtiness and cold silence” approach (another character flaw of mine) that evening.

The next day, however, I was able to call him and tell him I was thinking about what he had said. Willingness. Step one.

I started letting my mind admit to myself that he was right. Admittance. Step two. I honestly thought about the examples he gave and I saw a pattern emerging right before the very eyes of my mind. Gosh, he was RIGHT!

Step 3. Confession. I confessed to him that he was right.

But it CAN’T STOP there! What are we going to do about things that are brought to our attention? Do we just sit and think, “Wow, that’s not good. That’s really not good. Bummer.” Or.....do we take steps to heal and to change?

I am now merging into Step 4. Repentance and Healing. This will take the longest because healing takes time and hard work.

This event in my life just happened. Hot off the press. So I'm definitely no expert. I'm just hoping that my heart stays soft. I'm also hoping that it gets a lot softer.

I say I want a humble heart but am I willing to walk with humble actions? I can't have one without the other.

What about you? How do you react when someone tells you something you need, but don't want, to hear?

Friday, August 20, 2010


About a year ago, one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Sarah Markley, publicly shared on her blog the story of how her marriage was completely broken and then completely restored.

Her honesty and willingness to share such personal details and emotions has not only blessed me but also so many other readers who are refreshed by her openness and find hope in her healing.

Today, she posted a video clip that CBN did of the story of her marriage.

It is SO worth 7 minutes of your time.

Click on the link below and be amazed at the glorious ability for God to bring restoration to two surrendered and broken hearts.

Video Clip

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Forgiveness is like Killing a Spider DEAD.

One morning about a month ago, at approximately 5:19 in the morning, I sat down with my freshly poured cup of coffee ready to start my morning devotions before getting dressed for my day at work.

I set my coffee on the side table, cross my legs on the couch, put a pillow in my lap, put my Bible on the pillow, and pick up my coffee.


Then I see it. A big, brown, thick legged spider sitting on the wall above the window directly across from me.


I HATE spiders. My husband and I live on a hill with a good amount of nature around us and these horrid things seem to find every which way to crawl into our house. One would think that I would have gotten used to the appearances of this scary, little creatures since I moved into this house but it has really only increased my fear of them. And my utter detest.

So I watch the creature. I keep one eye on it, keeping track of its location, as I sip my coffee. I need to fuel my body and turn up my energy if I’m gonna kill this thing.

Then it starts moving. My eyes follow.

It starts crawling on the ceiling and stops right above my coffee table.


I grab lots of tissue paper, stand on the coffee table at the perfect angle to not be directly under the spider but enough to let my hand have the perfect amount of leverage to kill it dead on.

I brace myself. I count to three under my breath. Then I shoot up my hand as hard as I can, squish the paper against the ceiling with all my might, and then jump away as fast as possible.

It was a sure shot.

I tip-toe over to the paper. I gently turn it over so I can see the dead spider.

Only, the dead spider wasn’t there. Or anywhere.

There was no sign of a spider, dead OR alive, anywhere.


So, somewhere in my living room, this thing is still creeping about.

“Oh well,” I thought. “Live and let live.” (basically, I was too tired to try again, and I really wanted some devotional time before work. Plus…I still needed to drink the rest of my coffee.)

So, after getting back into position (pillow on my lap, Bible on my pillow),
I started to read my Bible and sip my coffee. I was nice and calm.


The Spider appeared OUT OF NO WHERE on the arm of the couch right next to me, less than 12 inches from my hand!!

I stand up, almost screaming, my Bible falls from my lap, and my coffee spills over my hand and the couch blanket.

I was NOT gonna let it get away this time. I couldn’t handle the fear of knowing it was around and could, at any moment, appear and scare me half-to-death again!

I cornered it. And killed it. With a remote control.

End of the spider.


Now onto forgiveness. And how it is like killing that spider.

When I was at the Beth Moore conference over a month ago, one of the (many) things that she said which struck me to my core was this,

“You cannot forgive just enough until some of the pressure is released and you can simply manage or endure. You must forgive ALL the way and go through the whole process of forgiveness so that you don’t have to keep dealing with that same issue popping up again and again in your heart.”

Do you sorta see how that was like the spider?

Ok, I will explain.

~I saw the spider on the wall.
~This is like becoming aware of an issue I needed to forgive.

~I watched the spider on the wall. I couldn’t rest until I killed it and knew that it wouldn’t hurt me.
~This is similar to how it feels when you are stewing in unforgiveness but you haven’t taken the steps to actually move forward and forgive.

~I got up to kill the spider. The spider got away, but at least I couldn’t see it anymore.
~This is like making those first moves towards forgiveness. And those first acts of the forgiveness process can really release the pressure. But just like the spider that got away, the issue is still there.

~The spider came back. The scare was worse the second time.
Because the spider wasn’t completely killed the first time, it was able to come back and do more emotional damage.
~That is how it is when we just go down the process of forgiveness “enough” instead of all the way. That issue, or issues, will keep coming back and will keep tearing at your heart until you roll up your sleeves to do ALL of the hard work and walk down the end of the forgiveness road.


I am struggling with forgiveness. As in, struggling, present tense.

I am struggling with forgiving certain people. Certain life circumstances. And sometimes, myself.

And I am finding myself in different stages of the forgiveness process in each item that I need to forgive.

I’ve been thinking about this concept for a while now (spider included). But I wrote this today because I need to stop just thinking and start making some progress towards actual forgiveness.

Because that is where the healing comes.

What about YOU?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Writing REAL.

The past couple days I have attempted writing blog posts.

Obviously, those were failed attempts as nothing actually made it through to the final “Submit” button.

It has been quite the past week-and-a-half for me. Lots of life activities that don’t normally take place in my regular routine. Lots of motion combined with lots of relaxing. Lots of positive and also some negative. But mainly – lots of DIFFERENT.

And “different” always causes my brain to run a little slower until it is finished processing all the observations, activities, lessons, conversations, etc…

Anyways, in the midst of this “processing” state of my brain, I tried to write a couple posts. But they turned out to be fluff. Not like cotton-candy-fun-to-read-and-enjoy fluff but more like take-a-bite-out-of-the-chocolate-bunny-only-to-find-out-it’s-hollow-on-the-inside sort of fluff.

Not that I don’t like hollow chocolate bunnies. Because I do.

The point is, I was trying to write something of depth and it was coming out hollow. Empty.


Because my heart didn’t really believe what I was attempting to write. I was trying to make a point that I am still wrestling with internally. To post my attempted writings would have been an act of fake-ness and would have rung hollow because it is not a true representation of what is actually in my heart. Like I have said here, my heart is full of more questions than it is answers.

When I started this blog, I determined to only write from an honest heart. An authentic heart. And, if there’s some days when I can’t actually hit the submit button and post because I can’t write from that type of heart, then I will wait to write until I can.

Because I would so much rather read and write something REAL.

Wouldn’t you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning to Sit Back.

I'm learning to sit back; just to sit back and let someone else do the work.

More specifically, I am learning to let Him do the work.

Him being my Redeemer, My Lord, My Lover, My Father, My Provider, My Deliverer.

Yes, that would be Jesus.

I am learning to let Jesus have His timing with my heart. When I try to conjure up change, it doesn't stick. When I try to conjure up an emotional spiritual experience, it falls flat at the end. When I try and try and try, I just seem to get tired.

But right now, I know He is working in my heart. And this time, rather than asking and asking Him what He is doing, or rather than taking the tools out of His hands and trying to finish the job myself, I am going to try to just sit back and notice.

Notice the changes He is making.

Notice the state of my heart.

Notice what jumps out at me as I read His Word.

I want the work that is being done in me to be done by my Lord and not by my flesh. So, instead of thinking of all these ways that I can draw closer to God, I think I am just going to make myself more and more available to following His leading. Making time to be in the Word, yes. Spending time in prayer, yes. But doing these things out of love and not out of a striving heart.

I think I will just, "Be still, and know that HE is God."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Time to Say Goodbye.

My wedding anniversary isn’t the only anniversary I am experiencing this week.

This week also happens to contain the anniversary day of when my first baby was taken from my womb and delivered to the arms of Jesus.

August 6th, 2009, I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my mom.

We knew something was very wrong because the nurse wasn’t finding what she should have seen on the screen of the ultrasound. My mom and I sat there, trying to smile in the sterile, off-white room and talk about anything other than the news that I was waiting to hear. I could tell by my mom’s gentle and carefully chosen words that I should be expecting the worst. But I didn’t want to believe it until I heard the final answer from the doctor.

As I tried [and failed] to occupy my mind, all I could hear was the music from the radio floating above me. The song, “Time to say Goodbye,” was pouring out of the speakers in a rich, orchestral arrangement. Although this version was only instrumental, I knew the words of the song by heart and as I heard the stirring, melancholy melody of the violins crescendo, it felt like the music entered my soul and swirled around me like gust of purposeful wind.

And then that wind drifted away….

And the doctor walked in.

But my heart already knew.

I remember all the details from that day. Every reaction, every location, every feeling.

But as I write, those details are having a hard time coming out onto the page. Perhaps I’m too afraid to look at those precious details in black and white. Perhaps I am worried that no one will understand the weight and importance of each specific memory. Or perhaps my heart just wants to hold onto the preciousness of those secrets for a little while longer.

These details are too painfully beautiful to me. Too important. I’m not ready for these memories to lose their depth by typing them onto a flat page. Perhaps someday I will be skilled enough to communicate those memories in a way that does justice to their value.

But for today, I will simply remember.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Doing the Same Things. Differently.

Before this week started, Adam and I had a fun using the weekend to celebrate our anniversary.

In two days, we did all the same things we love to do including:


Laguna Beach.




But this time, we did these things differently.

We didn't mean to throw a twist on our plans, but it just seemed to be the flavor of the weekend.

As we were headed towards the water for our romantic walk along the coast, the Laguna Beach Trolley pulled up right next to us and we thought, "Hey, why not?"

So we hopped on! We headed down the south side of PCH, enjoying the trolley ride, observing people, pointing out different things that we hadn't before observed. The ride back up the coast was especially fun as loads more people hopped on the trolley after a-few-too-many drinks and all crowded in together. Interesting people watching for sure.

The next day at Disneyland started normally. Space Mountain. Matterhorn.
But then, I got an itch to explore. And, as a annual passholder, I could explore without guilt of not doing all the normal stuff! I had never been on the Mark Twain Steamboat, so we road it. It had been years since I had been on the island, so we rode the ferry over and explored the caves and crossed the bridges. It was so fun to see such a familiar place in a whole new light.

Then we went out to dinner. We had received an anniversary card. And, instead of a gift certificate to a specific place, it contained money. So, we had our complete choice of where we wanted to eat. Normally, on an occasion such as an anniversary, I would choose a place along the lines of Macaroni Grill, Cheesecake Factory, or El Torrito Grill. But, to fit the flavor of our weekend, we went for the full-of-fun option and went to Red Robin! So much fun.

We ended the weekend enjoying ice cream and cake while watching the movie Pilgrim's Progress.

What made the weekend perfect was not about how fancy the celebrations were, or how many activities we were able to fit in, or about the plans that changed as we went along. It was about being together. Listening to each other's desires and going along with it. Paying attention to what was making the other person happy.

It was perfect :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Three Years!!!

Today, I have been married three years!

Three years ago, I was getting my make-up done by my mom, having my mom's best friend do my hair and all my sister's hair, and I almost didn't get to my wedding on time! It had something to do with a car breaking down with my best friend, most of the bridesmaids (my sisters) and the bride (me) in the car. That fiasco included nice men at the gas station helping us fix my friends car while my husband-to-be raced down the freeway 40 miles away to save me from the "evil" man with the chocolate milk. (who my friend and I still think was an angel in disguise.)

Point is, I made it (although a little late) to the little, old-fashioned church in Orange, Ca.

There is so much to say about that wonderful morning three years ago. It would take more than quite-a-few posts to fully describe all that I experienced and remember from that day.

But here are a few things I am thinking about today:

The feeling I had when I heard the music start to play for me to walk down the isle. That feeling was SO incredible and quite too impossible to describe. During my walk down the isle, it felt like time literally slowed down for me so that I could absorb every face, every emotion, every tear, every smile, and every flutter inside my heart. It. Was. Wonderful.

Walking out of the church with my new husband and realizing we had absolutely no clue what to do next. We hadn't rehearsed that part! So we just stood there watching everyone come out of the church until we were wisked away to go sign our marriage license.

Dancing with my dad. I had always looked forward to that and it was so special.
Watching Adam dance with his mom and realizing "that man is my HUSBAND!"
And, of course, dancing with Adam, as his wife.

Leaving our reception, and being so hungry that we pulled through the Burger King drive through down the street still dressed in the tux and wedding dress. Too bad we didn't realize that there was SO much delicious chicken left over at the reception.

Being stuck in traffic on our way to San Diego and getting TONS of honks because of our Just Married flags.

Getting to our hotel in San Diego and......enjoying ourselves. ;-) Room service was AWESOME! My honeymoon is where I learned to love eggs benedict and where I first got to enjoy Adam's awesome jet-ski skills.

Yay for Marriage!

What, if you are married, are some of your favorite memories from your wedding day? Or, if you aren't married, what are you looking forward to the most?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Three Years Ago Today. My LAST day of singleness.

This is the fourth post of the LASTS series.
For the first post, click here.
For the second post, click here.
For the third post, click here.

Three years ago today, I was single.

Well, I had a fiance. But my name was still Heidi Choate - unmarried. And for all practical purposes, I could have remained Heidi Choate for a longer period of time with the legal right to do so.

But there was no way this girl was gonna wait another day to marry Adam Mark Stephen.

Three years ago today, I wasn't focused on the "last"-ness of that day. I wasn't really thinking of how it was my last day to bear the name Choate. I don't remember thinking too much of what I wouldn't be able to do since it was the last day of my singleness. I didn't have any anxious thoughts about how it was the last day of being a virgin. I didn't have any unwavering thoughts about how it was the last day for me to consider all my "choices" of men out there in the world.

None of that was on my mind.

All I could really think of were the FIRSTS up ahead.

That night was the first night I was finally able to give my husband-to-be a box of letters that I had prayed over and written to him for years before I even knew who he was.

That night was the first night I was able to practice saying my vows.

That night, all I could think about was how the next day, for the first time, I was going to fully give myself - heart, body, and soul - to one man. For the rest.of.my.life.

And as I lay with curlers in my hair in my old bedroom in my parents house for one last time as an unmarried woman, I fell asleep with full peace of what my day of firsts would bring.

On that LAST day, August 3rd, 2007, I thought I knew what it was to be in love. But I learned on my day of FIRSTS, August 4th 2007, how much more it was possible for my heart to love. And my heart has been learning ever since.

As I look back on my last day before I said "I do," it seems like the love I had in my heart for my fiance was a only a crush in comparison to the love I now have in my heart for my husband after three-years-minus-one-day of marriage.

And I am so grateful that this journey gets to continue. Grateful that I get to keep learning to love. Grateful that I get to keep learning how to be loved.

I am so happy that I get to love you, Adam Stephen. Thank you for almost-three wonderful years!!!