made for His glory

living in pursuit of that

Archive for the ‘Deep thoughts’ Category

Memorial Stones

Posted by hrgarippa on 12 March, 2009


It’s been 11 years since I was introduced the world of Epilepsy and Colloidal Cysts, Nuerologists, MRI’s and EEG’s. Sunday, March 8 marked the anniversary of my first seizure and Friday, March 13 marks the anniversary of my brain surgery.


On Sunday, a dear friend asked me what I was going to do to commemorate the occasion. I hadn’t really thought about it, in fact most years pass without me even realizing, so I said, I’ll probably just thank the Lord.


But then I thought about it…First of all, how sweet that he remembered and wanted to commemorate the day. Secondly, how sad that I don’t commemorate the day…something so significant, so life changing. Third, I thought about memorial stones….Joshua 4.


When I worked at Park Cities Presbyterian Church I had the great privilege of working for Skip Ryan, the senior pastor. I also had the great privilege of typing his sermons and hearing them preached on Sunday morning. Skip would handwrite each sermon in hieroglyphics and then I would translate and type them into English, (I kid…he did have some serious chicken scratch though or genius handwriting). The three years I worked with Skip were so great because I learned so much about service, ministry and God’s word. I sincerely love that man and his heart for the Lord.


So now, whenever I’m in a life-situation my mind recalls much of God’s word thru these sermons. Like on Sunday with the memorial stones. As I thought of commemorating this occasion and the day that will follow, this Friday, I thought of the amazing miracle that God performed as he allowed the Israelites to walk across the Jordan on dry ground. I thought of the 12 men representing the 12 Tribes of Israel, of their walking out of the Jordan each carrying a stone. And of their placing it in front of the city of Jericho and building a pile of sorts as a reminder to all future generations of the Might of God.


“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground…so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.’” Joshua 4.21-22, 24


Skip brought that story to life for me, helped to sear it in my mind and heart.                      


He also reminded me that I am a living stone. My life, my every days tell the coming generation who God is. (1 Peter 2)


I pray that all of my days would commemorate God’s great mercy to me. That I would live in such a way that does show the next generation His mercy and His grace and His love.  


If you have the time and the inclination download Skip’s sermon, here. By the way, Skip has an entire serious on the book of Joshua…all very good.




Posted in Deep thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Hot Jesus

Posted by hrgarippa on 17 December, 2008

Am I allowed to say that?


We (Mindy and I) just finished showing the movie, The Gospel of

John, to our Tuesday Night Bible Study Girls Group (which needs a

better name by the way, any ideas?). It is a great movie that very

accurately portrays that book. I loved seeing what I’ve been reading

come alive. We’ve prayed that it would help the girls better grasp

the things we are teaching, however I think we (or Hollywood or the

devil) might have compounded another issue; lust.


Here is the Jesus from The Gospel of John:



 Yes, That is Desmond from Lost.


At one point when he “laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist”…ya know to wash the disciple’s feet. I was completely distracted. (Ya’ll this is as real as it’s gonna get on this blog.) And the girls they were also distracted…I think Amber might have whooped at Jesus.


The only one who kept it together was Mindy…the only one she whoops at is Garrett.


How is it that I can be so easily distracted? One minute I’m totally tracking with Jesus (God, Incarnate), and the next I am completely thrown off the track by Henry Ian Cusick acting as Jesus and taking his outer garments off…Oh, my flesh is weak, so very weak.


I am so thankful for my Lord and Saviour…the absolute Real Jesus Christ who is beyond any sort of category like “hot”…he is Holy and Righteous and loves me beyond anything I can imagine. I pray that I would be more and more distracted by Him.

Posted in Dear Jesus, Deep thoughts | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Cephas and Me

Posted by hrgarippa on 15 December, 2008

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

          “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs.”


“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

          “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Tend my sheep.”


“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Do you love me?”

          “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go…..Follow me.”


Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.


I really like Peter. Mostly because I can relate with him, he is a real guy with real questions and he’s not afraid to ask them. I might like him because he doesn’t make me feel so bad; misery loves company or something like that.


I feel like these are the very words that are being spoken to me right now. “Hannah, do you love me?” Of course Lord. “Hannah, do you love me?” YES. Then feed, tend, love, clothe, babysit, take to school, share me with, cook for, clean for, drive, give up your life for my sheep. Then follow me. And quit looking for satisfaction in following me AND in following this world. It doesn’t work that way. And quit trying to match your life with the lives of others.


I love when Peter asks about the beloved disciple in John 21.21, and Jesus says, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” You follow me!”


Man I feel like Jesus blows it up in that one statement. WHAT IS IT TO YOU? YOU FOLLOW ME!


And Peter does…all the way to death on a cross. Do I have that kind of faith? I know I don’t. Not right now. But I think I have something that resembles a mustard seed, and so maybe Jesus can take that and make it and my life look like something that will resemble Peter’s life.


Peter had his ups and his downs; his doubts and fears, his days of uncompromising courage and faith. Jesus knew them all before he called Peter to be a disciple. Jesus knows all my days too…knew them all before He called me…to be His.

Posted in Deep thoughts, Hope | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

These are the days

Posted by hrgarippa on 26 November, 2008

When the comforts and the pleasures of my life seem hard to reconcile as I see all the pain and hardships of those in this community and in the world.

In the last week Mentors and staff at Mercy Street have passed out nearly 300 Thanksgiving baskets filled with food and grocery store gift certificates and still there are families out there without. Families that will not have enough food to fill their bellies on the most glutenous day of the year. There are people out there who will be all alone on this family holiday as my family gathers around the table and shares the things for which we are thankful for.

These are the days when I want a magic wand, I want to fix it all and turn 300 baskets into 300 million. These are the days when I realize how impossible this work is, not just my work but the work done all over the world by those who desire to share love with others. These are the days when I must push forward for I know that our work is not in vain. When I must be grateful for all that God has given me and be willing to share it with others and from the love that surrounds me love others. These are the days when I know that God’s love will prevail.

Posted in Another day in the hood, Deep thoughts, Love is life | 1 Comment »

Praying for Perseverance

Posted by hrgarippa on 18 September, 2008

It is easy to be discouraged in this ministry. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ve notice (sadly) that discouragement is a common emotion of mine. We do not have a business model that say, in 6 months, a year or even 3 we’ll see results. There are no guarantees that if we do everything we are suppose to do that we’ll see returns on our investment. We are dealing with humans that make their own choices and so no matter how much preparing, praying and prodding we do it is ultimately up to the person.

About 10 years ago I laid on my sisters bed crying, wondering if I was a Christian. I’d just started to realize that there were these things called Theology and Doctrine. Prior to that time in my life my relationship with the Lord had just been about him coming into my heart and saving me from my sins…oh the bliss of being an innocent child.

Anyway, as I learned about theology and doctrine I learned about Election, and I started to wonder, “what if I am not one of the elect? What if I’m following this crowd of peeps because it seems cool and I’m happier with them, but really all along God’s saying, ‘Sorry, young lady, you’re not one of the chosen.’”

So I lay on that bed, in my sister arms and I sobbed thinking there is no way I’m going to heaven and this is all just a farce.

I tell you that story, because my sister in her great wisdom reminded me of God’s love. She reminded me that God doesn’t want to see anyone perish but desires a relationship with all.

I don’t struggle *much* with the idea of election, mostly because I chose not to think too deeply about it. I trust God knows what he’s doing, and he’s doing it. And I trust He knows what He’s doing here in West Dallas. There are a whole lot of stubborn hearts in this community. Hearts that seem too hard, habits unbreakable. There are masters in this community that are unforgiving, that take it all and leave nothing.

But this I know, He captured my stubborn, hard, unbreakable, million-master-serving heart and since it was captured by his grace, I’ve been compelled to follow after Him…“And of all the masters I have know, he is the only one who is making me free.”

He longs for hearts in West Dallas, this I know, He will have hearts in West Dallas.

We may not have a business model, but what we have is faith.

Please pray with me for perseverance…Thanks friend!

Posted in Another day in the hood, Deep thoughts | 2 Comments »

Medically mandated pause

Posted by hrgarippa on 31 July, 2008

I broke my left baby finger. And now it must stay at a 90 degree angle, wrapped in plaster for 6 weeks so that the fracture does not become displaced. If that happens it will require surgery and pins and more plaster.

It has taken me 10 minutes to type this so needless to say most blogging will be on hold for a while, so to all two of you reading this I’ll see you in September.

Posted in Deep thoughts | 4 Comments »

10 years

Posted by hrgarippa on 14 March, 2008

Yesterday was my ten year anniversary, and it past and I didn’t even know it. Ten years for what you’re wondering? Here is the history.

March 8, 1998 it was a Sunday, I was going to church with some friends, I’d been going with them for about a month and was really enjoying this super large baptist church in Phoenix Arizona. That Sunday I wore a long black skirt, but I can’t remember what top I had on. Most of the morning I’d felt fine, but I was having trouble concentrating. I just thought it was because I was out late the night before. As we headed to the college ministry I chugged some coffee and ate some donuts. When we got there we broke into small groups, and as I pulled my chair into the circle that was the last thing I remember. I started having a Grand Mal seizure. My dear precious brother, Johnny was across the room and the leader of my group was a paramedic so I was in good hands. They called 911 and I believe that was the end of class. Later as I started remembering things, I recall being grateful that I had on that long skirt as I was tossing here and there it covered me well.

I was rushed to Phoenix Baptist Hospital, since I had no history of seizures they did a battery of tests; ct scan, blood work. My dear friend and mentor Pam was there and I remember her sitting with me in the ER room as the doctor would say, “I’m going to tell you three things and I’ll come back in a while and ask you what they are….Orange, Apple, President Clinton.” I could never remember President Clinton. My brain was a mess. After several hours they decided it was a fluke and sent me home. But before I even left the parking lot, I had another seizure in the back of my parents car. My dear mom is useless in a times of crisis like this so apparently she just sat there screaming, “Bob, she’s doing it again.” And my dad ran in and got help.

Back in the hospital they did more tests, this time an MRI, and an EEG and this is when they found two separate diagnosis.

The first; a colloidal cyst. The second, abnormal brainwaves…which equaled epilepsy.

The colloidal cyst was at the base of my brain. It was small, and I was told that most likely had been there my entire life. It’s location though was dangerous, if it moved even the slightest it would block the flow of spinal fluid and threaten my life. There suggestion was that it would need to come out.


But let’s back up a bit more on my life at the time. I was 20. Had no job. Was not in school. Had no insurance.

But still we said okay, trusting that all would be okay.

I spent a few more days at Phoenix Baptist and then was transferred to Barrow’s Neurological Center. The time we spent waiting was like a party. And I say we because my family was there and all amazing. My sister, Christy took the entire time off work and stayed with me almost 24/7. She painted my nails, brought me food, laid with me in bed. And it wasn’t just Christy, Rachel stayed with me the night after my surgery, and my friend Marty flew all the way from Boston and slept at the hospital. He was such a sweet guy…hmmm, I wonder what happened to him??? My parents were there, so supportive, my dad…constantly worrying in that great dad sort of way.

***Warning this part is not for the faint of heart***
Then on Friday, March 13, 1998 they wheeled me into the operating room, strapped me down on the table and the rest I’m relaying second hand. They locked my head into a device to hold it still. Shaved off about one inch of my hair from ear to ear and cut from ear to ear, pulling back the skin to reveal my beautiful skull. Then they drilled two holes, (your welcome to feel them if you’d like), I’m not entirely sure why they needed two holes, but I know one was for the instrument that sucked out the cyst. Then they pulled the skin back together and stapled me shut. When they stapled me back together they pulled one side tighter than the other so it took a couple weeks for it to straighten out.

I was in the hospital another five days. Went through the same battery of tests as before and then got a clean bill of health. Except that now I’m leaving with a nasty scar on my head, a seizure disorder, and ginormous hospital bill. So what else is there to do in Phoenix but celebrate at Fajitas. That’s right straight from the hospital to our favorite family restaurant, Fajitas.


It is hard for me to believe that it has been ten years. I hardly ever think about this event in my life. When I was 20, I hardly saw God at all. I knew Him, but was not intimate with Him. Now, though I can look back and see how awesome He was through all of this. How he carried me. I can see His protection, His humor, His love, and especially His faithfulness.

How thankful I am for this experience and these past 10 years.

Posted in Deep thoughts | 3 Comments »


Posted by hrgarippa on 15 February, 2008

Yes, Thirty happens. And I’m actually glad that it has happened. I know that several posts back I was throwing temper tantrums about this number. But I like thirty, it has some character to it. I love my life, and all that it is in it. If I was choosing the road, the journey, this certainly isn’t the way I would have chosen…so I’m grateful that my Father in heaven knows better than I because I love the place where I am, the people that surround me, and the hope I have in Him.

Here’s to 30 and Happy Birthday to me!

Posted in Deep thoughts | 3 Comments »

Jesus, I come

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 January, 2008

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light, Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health, Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failure and loss, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm, Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm, Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love, Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove, Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold, Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold, Jesus, I come to Thee.

Posted in Deep thoughts | 1 Comment »

The Tantrum

Posted by hrgarippa on 25 January, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before I’m Italian. But I’m not just Italian, I’m Sicilian, which means I’m… passionate.

When I was younger I had a hard time controlling this passion. When passion would seize me I would rage. I would scream at the top of my lungs, punch holes in walls, throw tantrums, throw things at people. I’ve mostly learned to control myself, but much to my surprise the other night I found myself, my almost 30 year old self throwing a tantrum. I was throwing pillows, throwing clothes, slamming doors, making as much noise as I could…making sure anyone within a 10 mile radius of me could hear that I was impassioned.

Afterwards I sat on my bed and surveyed the damage…and here is what I learned:

  1. You will probably have much nicer stuff at the age of almost 30 and so when you throw it remorse over breaking it is much greater.
  2. When you’re almost 30, your body cannot take a temper tantrum. I had a splitting headache and I’d practically thrown my arm out of socket slamming or throwing something and I did something strange to my wrist.
  3. There is no chalking it up to being a teenager…at almost 30 you definitely should know better and no one cares what your reason is for making such racket.
  4. Cleaning up the damage sucks.
  5. There are much better ways to express yourself…like blogging!!!!

So maybe you are asking, why is she so angry?

  1. I’m not sure I want to turn 30
  2. I’m a sinner and I just hate that about myself.
  3. “Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality of presence. An awareness of worth” (The Bluest Eyes, by Toni Morrison)
  4. The realities that we see in the lives and community of West Dallas are hard…really hard.
  5. I am a woman of little faith, which makes anything on any list 100 million times worse.

But in the end, I realize that anger is not better. God is better. And he is forever faithful even in the midst of my craziness. And even though I feel like the anger will last forever it doesn’t, and forgiveness is offered.

Posted in Deep thoughts | 2 Comments »