December 21, 2012

Who are You?

{I want God, not my idea of God}
C.S. Lewis

I wonder sometimes. Why let sin happen? Why let Satan feed us lies? Why destroy kingdoms, let innocents be killed?

I do not have the answer.

Sometimes this bothers me. I want to know why. What is the purpose? And the question so many ask: How can a loving God allow this to happen?

Sometimes my selfish and human heart wishes God were more, well, different. I sometimes wish He would just save everybody. He could do that, right? But I remember He is a God of Justice, and punishment must be given. Consequences to actions, debt to be payed. The best and yet saddest part of the story is that our debt has been payed, and still men's hearts are cold to Him. This leads to other thoughts.

Do we choose Him? Did He choose us? Both? Does every human have the opportunity to choose Him? Is it fair? Is God fair? Who is God anyway? Who is he really?

There are people on the other side of the world who are as, if not more, dedicated to their beliefs than I am. How can I say that I am right and they are wrong? Of all the people to be right, I am not the most likely choice. How can I believe that they have been deceived all their lives?

Because I have been deceived. I have believed lies about myself and other people. We are all trying to fill our void, a void that is only able to be filled by Him. They have filled their lives with religions and beliefs, whereas what I have found, what I have been given, is more than a religion. it is a God, a real God who listens, speaks and loves me. He knows I don't deserve it. Christianity--not in the general known sense of the word, but in the truly wholehearted relationship with God, the Trinity: Father, Spirit, Christ--is the only belief that declares the truth about humanity. We are all sinners; selfishness is our downfall.

Think about every problem in the world. Poverty. Is this not caused by the selfish actions of the rich and powerful? Could it not be cured by selflessness? What about murderers? There is selfish gain whether psychotic pleasure, protecting oneself, or bettering one's circumstances by being rid of a person. Robbery? No-brainer selfishness.

I have been wrestling with God, as Jacob did (check out Genesis for that story). God will always put my hip out of joint , He will always prove His Holiness, His sovereignty   "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5. Some might think it a cop-out to claim that God is so other from us that we cannot understand Him. But they have no faith.

Can you really look around you and claim that everything developed itself? That the endless palette of the evening sky is pure accident? I understand there are complex scientific processes, and I believe God's hand is in those processes. "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deep broke open and the clouds drop down the dew." Proverbs 3:19-20. To say that He created it in a poof, that is generalizing the thought and depth of detail that He created all with.

What I am trying to say I guess, after all of that is that I still have questions. They are hard questions some of them. I also have faith. For whether He answers my questions or not, He is who He is. Whether I am convinced or not, He is God.  He is steady when I am fickle and changing. "I am who I am" He said. He cannot be defined by our words, our thoughts, our emotions, our vision. He is wholly other. Holy.

And I want Him.

Not some god made up by my ideals and wishes. Him. I believe in Him, not my version of Him. And I will follow Him. It is so hard and yet so simple. I don't need answers. I need to trust.

"But as for me, I trust in You." Psalm 55:23b

December 17, 2012

to write

Constantly, I check my reading list of blogs, hoping for something inspirational, moving or intriguing to  appear. I crave the souls of people, and the warmth of their words. No new posts have appeared as of yet, even when I tap the page closed and open again with two minutes. (as we all know, this works... well, never.)

So I decided to write my own warmth tonight.

Lately, the itch to write has been incessant, nagging my fingers to tap out words, phrases, sentences, fragments, run-ons, anything. Yet I have nothing to say. Nothing I want to say.

I do not wish to say this or that because I am afraid of what people might think. Will it sound corny? Tacky? Badly written? Ridiculous?

I try to pretend that no one will read this. I am not fooling anyone. I know I will post a link to this post on Facebook and more people than my usual two or three regulars will soak in the letters I have sent to float on this ocean of white. It makes me nervous. Writing makes me even more vulnerable than usual.

{... only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.}
Anton Chekhov

I fear writing foolish things. 

Dickens, Bronte, Gaskell, Tolkein, and Lewis are mountains of writing I may never reach, a daunting thought. But I have a little hill of my own to climb. I must write. And so I will, I do-- every time realizing that my fear will come true: I will write a great deal of foolishness. It must not matter. I have been blessed with a gift with words in my own way and time. To pretend it to be otherwise is spitting in the face of the One who gave it. He has asked me to use my gift and I will. 

I do not have to be the greatest writer in history. I do not even have to ever publish a book. If I can use my words to lift others up and show them love, then I have used my gift well. I simply have to trust Him. When He asks me to write, I will write and trust Him to move through me in whatever way is best. It is in my hands then out of my hands so mysteriously and beautifully. I can write--be myself, who I am meant to be--and not worry, not fear.  

This is freedom.

December 10, 2012


Procrastination, an art of which I am a master. Whether a Jedi or Impressionist, say I cannot, but a master I am. (Yoda is obviously voting Jedi...) Quibbling specificity aside, the very last sort of words I should be typing are blog words. I should be writing about architecture, Dickens and Noah. Interesting, perhaps only to myself and my sister, but not thrilling.

Instead, my mind wanders to strange ports of thought. I have a running picture of what my mind looks like. Perhaps someday I will explain, but it is an attic. In it are many objects, one of which is a small box, the word HELLO wood-burned into the top. All my thoughts about this funny word are kept in this small, dark box with a sliding lid.

hello. I love this word. I cannot explain any truly deep or philosophical reasoning, except that it seems a cheerful and optimistic word. Hello is always cast from lips with hope, hope of a response. It is a greeting word, meant to acknowledge another person. Stemming from this admiration for the word, I have a soft spot for songs with the word "hello" in them.

I can only think of a few songs with the words hello in them now, but I know there are more. Hello is just a word meant to be sung.

hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer....

hello, it's me again, a whole lot's changed...

and all I did was say hello...

Of course I don't like just any song with hello in it. But still, I like the word hello. It is simple, yet sometimes takes all our courage to say. Perhaps these are just the incoherent ramblings of a weary college student who feels as though school withdrew an enormous sum from her brain and ran off like a vagabond into the sunset. Perhaps not.

November 12, 2012

Who I am...

"I'm the one You love, 

I'm the one You love,

That will be enough.

I'm the one You love."

Remind Me Who I Am
Jason Gray

Be reminded friends, and never forget.

November 1, 2012

I know that You can give me rest...

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him. (NIV)
Psalm 62:1

I found this verse etched in white across a sunset on Pinterest just now. The meaning it holds for me now is indescribable. My body, mind and spirit have never before been this exhausted. To find rest. It sounds delightful. It was another reminder to just be, with Him. "to run away, to find a place quiet to pray, a place that's lonely, where I can find You only." Jeremy Riddle "Always"

As is usual, I scrambled for my Bible to underline the verse. I was surprised after fighting with clingy pages when I finally arrived at the 62nd Psalm. It wasn't quite the same...

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation. (ESV)
Psalm 62:1

"Waiting? No, this version must be confused. Am I in the wrong chapter? I want to rest, not wait." My silly heart, and the words it feels. For Pete's sake. 

As soon as the words had been felt and flashed across my mind, I realized what was happening here. First of all, that there is a Greek word I need to look up. 

But even before I looked it up, I wondered, pondered. Waiting and resting. Why are these interchangeable? Waiting for me is a trial. Waiting in line, I dance, tap my feet, nervously tap my fingers on my can of soup (I eat a great deal of soup) and sigh as the man in front of me drops his coins all over the floor. Waiting is exhausting, I thought. Perhaps, it isn't supposed to be.

Perhaps waiting is supposed to be restful. How? Well, there is no time like a time of waiting, to learn trust and contentment. To understand that He is enough, more than enough really, more than I could have ever hoped for, is to rest. For waiting then becomes a time to bury yourself in His vast love.

duwmiyah, the word in question means  "silence, still, repose, still waiting" according to Strong's Concordance. True rest isn't found in bringing our problems to God. Yes, we MUST bring them to Him, but stopping after that is missing out on the rest. Rest is sitting in silence, waiting for Him. Content to simply be with Him. Yes, we have prayers, requests, confusion, frustration, but we have to trust Him. I have to trust Him. Whether He answers my questions, today or in 30 years, I have to learn contentment in His presence. 

Wait. Rest. Be silent. Dwell on the blessedness of your salvation, not the pain you are feeling. Don't ignore the pain, but don't let it be the tent you live in. Live in satisfaction. Just be. With Him.

October 7, 2012



Selfishness won again. 

In my foolishness, in my gullibility, I hide from Him. I feel ashamed. For I am believing lies. 

The number of lies I believe is astounding. I discover more everyday. I have been living in defeat, mourning and condemning myself harshly for my mistakes. 

{Shame, also known as self-condemnation, is one of, if not the strongest, weapon Satan likes to use against us. It is the one tool he has to keep us bound to the shackles of our past even though we may have sought redemption in Christ.}
A Girl Like Me

I am clinging to my chains: insecurities, mistakes, failures. Sometimes it is for their familiarity. If I let them drop, my hands will be empty, free. I want to be free. Yet I put off my freedom because it is frightening to think of how uncomfortable and unfamiliar it will be to walk unimpeded by chains. It means I have to trust God, trust in what He is going to ask me to do. 

{Lord I falter, 
and I fall down, 
then I hold on to the chains You broke 
when You came and saved my soul.}
The Struggle, Tenth Avenue North

How ridiculous is that??! Holding on to my chains- chains that would freely fall if I just let go?! He broke them so long ago! What is this?! Pretty darn ridiculous, to put it plainly.

I have to let go. So do you. That means a whole lot of trusting is about to begin. Trusting that who I am meant to be will fit me better than who I have been, who He has overcome; trusting that through Him I can do anything.

I am scared. But also excited. He has overcome, and long ago set us free. I want to live like I believe that. Don't you?

September 23, 2012

a certain slant of light

Dusky violet in the east, warm coral in the west, goldenrod between up to the shadowy treeline: early autumn's palette. This is the backdrop of my walk, a walk with the One who hears even what I cannot put into words. I sang to the soul-less fields, filling their air with my own battered soul.

I have come to understand that God speaks to me through light. He uses His word, other people and music a great deal to tell me what I need to do, but when He reminds me of His love, it is through light. I see a shooting star, and I feel overwhelmed by His love. When the slant of the sunset light is just right, glowing through the goldenrod or between the grasses, I feel His love. When I see the sunrise, piercing the misty morning, I feel loved. I see the overlapping leaves of mid-afternoon filtering the strong sunlight, or the stars winking in the navy darkness, and I feel the love that I know He gives.

It is from His word I know He loves me, but in His creation, His artwork, I feel His love. The brush of the wind sometimes feels like the brush of His fingertips across my cheek, and the warmth of the sun gently rests as His hand might on my head, reminding me that He sees me when I feel most unseen.

"He is jealous for me..."

August 25, 2012

Prickles & Petals

{Some people complain that God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses on thorns.}

I have many thorns at the moment. They prick me right where I have the least patience, love and hope. Some dig deep and make me bleed, others simply tickle my flesh mockingly. Oh how I detest these thorns!

Perspective is what I sought when I began to read my quote journal today. I have seen this quote a hundred times, nestled on the very first page. I skimmed it intently looking for other inspirations many times. Today I read each word carefully, spaces and letters each flinging themselves painfully into my heart, convicting my conscience and doing what I love and yet hate: challenging me to do better.

These thorns, you see, are very trying in that they are thorns  cannot yank out of my life's garden. No, each day, I must brave the briars and sometimes I do not even get to the flower beds beyond. This tiring daily trek has been a test, one I have been failing. As I read this quote, I realized my ingratitude. There are but few roses on my thorns, but the few pink and yellow petaled jewels should be treasured. Would I but stop to snatch a whiff of their faint scent, the power of the scratches might fade a bit.

He always knows just what I need to hear. It is stunningly beautiful, my brokenness and His healing. I am by no means through my briars, but I have begun to listen again to His blessed whispers.

Find your roses. Let their beauty renew your weary spirit. Let Him show you what you have to be grateful for.

August 4, 2012


"That was the real you running through the fields of gold wide open,
standing in places no picture contains."

Learning to Love Again
Mat Kearney

How I long to stand in a place no picture contains. To exist momentarily in a place no one has captured and drug back to their world of electrifying pixels. Perhaps no such place exists.

Pixels can be astounding. But they can never encapsulate entirety. Pixels can represent a perspective, a moment, but never the whole. I love photographs. I love capturing a moment of time that will never be seen again elsewhere. But it isn't quite the same.

I see their photographs popping up under the blue bar, thumbs up ready to be selected. I see their faces, people I know. Yet the photos are such a shallow depiction of what I know to be behind their smiling eyes. Their pictures create in me a feeling of distance. I was not there. I do not know what they felt before and after the flash of light and click of shutter. It tells me nothing of their souls. Nothing like the times when they sat before me, hearts bleeding vulnerably in my hands. Tears falling from their eyes and filling my own. Even the moments when their eyes clear and joy tumbles invisibly from their lips are more real to me. Moments when the thoughts or judgments of others alter not their course and they become something rare: themselves.

The song above is one of my new favorites, one that reminds me how blessed I have been to see the real people inside my friends-the deepest darkest and brightest.

July 14, 2012

who am I?

"I am changing, less and less asleep
made of different stuff than when I began."
Brooke Fraser

What astonishing truth. Drawing closer to Him feels like waking up, my head clearing, thoughts and actions becoming more transparent. My skin loses numbness. My eyes lose blindness. Mist seems to drift away, and yet I see that there is more mist ahead. The mist isn't quite so frightening anymore.

I feel so utterly different, yet similar. As I draw in close to Him, as I am changed, it is as though I am becoming someone I met before, or is it someone I dreamt about? Maybe it is someone He told me about-I cannot be sure. I am still myself, yet I am constructed of better flesh and blood, purer and stronger.

That is what He does to us. for us. in us.

July 8, 2012

Quality battles Quantity

Thousands of words. If not more. The alphabetical representation of thoughts and musings poured bravely out to be seen by ten eyes, if even that many. So often we measure success in numbers. How many people like your facebook statuses? Retweet you? Follow you on tumblr? Read your blog?

What if we realized that numbers are not always the most clear measurement. I have watched the number of people who read my blog steadily...flatline. Never change. But God doesn't measure in numbers, but obedience. And I have learned that my words are used by God in the hearts of the few who do read it.

Rather than mildly amusing a hundred people, I am able to use my words, my gift from God, to really encourage and speak to at least two people. What an amazing thought, to think that anyone should be touched by my words! To think that God really does work in my selfish heart and inspire phrases and thoughts that express not only my own thoughts but the thoughts of others, thoughts that help other people along, maybe even people I am unaware of.

Some days are more difficult than others. I get discouraged, and stop trusting in His plan for this blog. But I try to remember that even the humblest word can be used for His glory, and whether it is before two or two thousand people, it is still for Him and He loves it. My blog's value is not in the number of people who comment, read or share it, but in the value Christ has given it, in His fingerprints left between the letters and the imprint on the hearts of those who read it.

And so my value is not in the number of people I reach, but in the obedience to Him and the value He gives me by loving me. I am valued not for my works, but for the simple fact that He created me, that He loves me. And so I cannot lose my value.

{The world screams: "We are what we do, we are what we have, we are what people think about us!" Christ whispers, "You are mine and I am yours."}
tweet by Mike Donehey

July 2, 2012

summer's wash

A haven of repose. Those are the best words I can think of to describe my summer. Though I have not been idle, the rest this summer is bringing is overwhelmingly marvelous. My mind has been at ease, not fretting over projects or desperately trying to remember what I have to do tonight. The end of the school year was a time of flurried farewells and dizzying amounts of work that poured a burdensome cloak of fatigue about me.

Of course it isn't perfect, there are troubles and small worries that must be prayed over and fought. Yet these seem unimportant and surmountable in the glaze of the summer sun.

In an inexplicable way, I feel as though I am learning so much. I haven't really a clue as to what it is that I am learning, but I feel the gears turning and the thoughts being fashioned by greater hands than my own. It is the first summer that has not been one of drifting, but one of drawing near to Him. He helped me, kept me going through the year, and now has let me fall back into His hands and rest, rejuvenate, prepare for what is ahead. I am grateful for this repose. My sweat is drying, my face is being washed, my muscles are healing and my energy is storing up for the things I will have to do this next school year: not only school responsibilities, but people responsibilities.

I am socially secluded here at home, seeing mostly my family and a few old friends made of the dearest stuff. At school, I am socially bombarded, surrounded, immersed. There are many people that God has called me to care for, to support and listen to. Here, I am left to wander amongst familiarity and comfort. I know that my comfort will not last long, so I savor it as I would a good piece of dark chocolate. God will spring me right out of my comfortableness and into the introvert's exhaustive insanity of meeting new people all over. My rest has its' purpose. Even Jesus withdrew from the crowd to pray and rest.

{Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.}
Ada Louise Huxtable

June 27, 2012


Leaf latticework covers the ceiling of our yard. Each layer is thin, like tissue paper, creating imponderable shades of green, all surrounded by blue and laced with twiggy brown.

She sits, to the unfamiliar eye, in a relaxed position, but beneath her voluminous grey fur, paws tensely hold the ground in place. a breeze sweeps over her waving fur, but she does not move. The sunlight dapples her back and reveals rivers of orange, resembling marble, and lakes of white, a white necklace, two white socks in front, two white boots behind. Still, she remains. Careful observation reveals the flicking yellow eyes, the sole deliberately moving part of her.

Her tail begins to slowly curl side to side, as though making sure there is no one creeping up behind her. Then it happens.


A small object made of nothing visible to the human eye is chased, then captured, escapes, is pursued again, then finally vanquished with a triumphant flick of the tail.

{There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person.}
Dan Greenberg

June 15, 2012

wrench me away soon

The sun gently laid his warm robe on my shoulder as I looked to the light emanating from the flat screen rising tilted before me. Black words swam in white and blue waters and mesmerized me. I gave just a glance at the annoying reflection of the window that rested comfortably in the wall. Minutes passed, the words greedily hogging my eyes. Finally, the reflection wrenched my eyes back again: a perfect image of the window, the curtain, and the trees outside. I spun around, astonished by the clarity of the reflection. I rose and left the laptop to rest for a while and simply let my eyes wander about the picture in the window frame, my eyes focusing and refocusing between the graceful and eccentric curves of the wavy glass and the brilliant scene of golden sunlight on the trees. The laptop fan woke me back into the realization of what I had been reading. With a quick turn I re-seated myself, the reflection still consuming my retina. With a gentle hand, I closed the lid, slipped off my shoes and let my feet become reacquainted with the grass, my skin resuming its old friendship with sun, and my eyes making new friends among the leaves.

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
Kahlil Gibran

June 5, 2012

my hours

A delicious kind of silence has overcome the usual humdrummity of the house. No distant boards creaking in response to a footstep, however light. Only the whirling mechanics of the refrigerator hear the snappy keys as I type. I am alone but for the dog who is napping, and the cat who has commenced outdoor adventures.

All day I have looked forward to these two or three hours of the house all to myself. Each car that slows makes my heart beat in disappointed anticipation, fearing the worst: someone has come home. Not that I don't want them home. No, indeed, I love when our house is full and lively, singing and footsteps echoing through the halls. After a while, it will get too lonely here anyway.

What is so enticing about having the house to myself? I honestly don't know completely. Part of it may be the freedom. I can dance (which I do), sing at the top of my lungs, take the stairs two at a time, explore nooks and crannies without fear of another voice to interrupt my doings. Memories come to life, drifting around my vision like misty rain. Each movement is a secret, no one seeing or hearing in our far from soundproof house. It is nothing I would ever hide, yet, the secretiveness is thrilling in a small and enjoyable way.

I must, however, take my leave; songs are impatient to be sung and the kitchen has asked me to dance...

"Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone."
Paul Johannes Tillich

May 31, 2012


A new kind of reflection--response to a picture:

Fiddling with new tools and gadgets is always a grand adventure. There are trials and triumphs, challenges to hone courage with. A fancy camera for my mom's business is the latest machine I have been learning to cooperate with. While photographing my new blog header, I also captured this beauty.

I don't think I have ever taken quite such a lovely picture, but I cannot take all the credit. My parents and grandparents, my grandfather especially, have cultivated a fondness for old things, glass in particular. Even more particularly, inkwells.

The fascination with inkwells is rather obvious...writer, feather pen, inkwell. They just simply belong together. The glass is so beautiful and there are so many different shapes. The cobalt blue one, the one I focused on, is one of my favorites, its bubbles seeming almost as though they might rise from the glass and float away in the breeze.

It is a striking color, and among the other blues that I love, it stands out proudly. I adore the deep shadows, the rich mid-tones and bright reflections of light. Altogether it captures a spectrum of light few inkwells or bottles do. It seems to have a depth rarely displayed.

And so 'tis with people. Everyone is deep, whether they dig to find their depth or not. Some stand out, proudly displaying their depth, going against the shallowness so encouraged by society. Others simply remain shallow and colorless, accepting what they are told to accept and rejecting what they are commanded to reject. Still beautiful in their own humanity, but never coming close to the deepest cobalt of a thinker.

May 24, 2012

Scoop, scoop...

{To a poet, nothing can be useless.}
Samuel Johnson

Moose Tracks ice cream is arguably among the least romantic flavors of ice cream. (Cookie Dough is probably the first on that list.) Even the name is positively lacking in eloquence and grace.

Yet who realized today the lesson, the poetry of Moose Tracks ice cream? Yes, I confess. I am guilty as charged, and plead as such. I have been learning from ice cream for years now.

But before you stop reading, keep reading.

Think of a fresh carton of regular old Moose Tracks ice cream. A rough texture created by the strangely adhesive quality of the lid, but purely white in most cases. When you carve out your scoop from that perfect iceberg of frozen creaminess, the possibilities are endless. There could be four peanut butter cups in your scoop, a prize indeed for some. Or even better, the biggest swirl of chocolate fudge that ever was tracked into Moose Tracks. On the other end, there could be just an endless vanilla avalanche. (always a tragedy)

All sarcasm aside, every time I dig into a carton of Moose Tracks, I wonder how many people are like that? Beneath their frozen skin, is there a swirl of intriguing qualities? Is there a peanut butter cup of humor or joy?

There is so much we cannot see beneath the frosty vanilla outside everyone presents. Vanilla is the default, very few people hate vanilla. But some people don't like chocolate or are allergic to peanut butter. So we cover our colorful insides to please a majority.

We only have one to please, and He is the one who gave us chocolate swirls and peanut butter cups. It is we who frost ourselves over avalanche style, making me want to dig deeper into people, find out who they really are.

I am tired of vanilla everywhere. Show me your chocolate swirls, your dreams and don't let people fool you into thinking they are all vanilla. Face value is worthless to me. True value is what I seek.

May 9, 2012

cloudy mountains

I am at a loss for a name, but I suffer from a syndrome of sorts.

Staring down the road ahead through the glass, I am lost in thought. my eyes wander to my left, always the left, and shadowy forms rise from behind the forests of trees or buildings. Deep within, my soul stirs for a moment, a flash, as my heart sees mountains. I am left with the bittersweet reality that my eyes merely see clouds.

What is it about the mountains that captivates my heart? In sorrow, it is to the mountains I long to flee. If I could but sprout wings and fly there, I think.

The reality of the clouds is not heartbreaking, however, for the clouds are beautiful themselves. Though they are not what I thought them to be at first, they are still preciously lovely.

And so 'tis in my life. My expectations are not always parallel with reality, but it makes reality no less enchanting. I think he is going to be the one, but he turns out to be a friend. A beautiful friend whose love I needed. I think that this might be a great opportunity, but it turns out to be a great lesson.

My expectations are not half as glorious as His plans. So I trust that the absence of my expected mountains detracts not from the beauty of this place.

{But as for me, I trust You} Psalm 55:23b

April 26, 2012

a moment or two of clarity

{all I need is You Lord,
is You Lord,
all I need is You...}

All I Need Is You 
Hillsong United

The curiously familiar chords played, stirring in my heart memories I could not yet see. They faded in and out of my mind's seemingly fifty year old television screen--blurred, discolored and speckled with age. The words flashed upon the screen and in an instant I was watching in HD the screen in my youth group's church. The room was dark but for a warm light on the band and the glaring of the white words against the dark background. It had a picture, but what that picture was, I do not recall. I was in the back, my usual spot, hands resting on the last row of chairs.

I stood as if I was there, two or three years ago at youth group, wondering how to sing those words honestly. Would I ever be able to sing those words and believe them in their utter abandon? Please, Father, let me sing them with my whole heart.

Back in the present, I realized He really does answer prayer. I sang utterly abandoned, wholeheartedly.

Then came the bridge...

{You hold the universe,
You hold everyone on earth,
You hold, yeah You hold...}

The past flashed upon my mind's screen again, higher definition than before. This time, I was seeing my past and my present. Why this bridge? It seems sort of disconnected. Out of place. Why would the artist write these words for the bridge, often, for me at least, the most impacting part of a song.

Suddenly, the screen flashed to my room on that sunny day as I read Psalm 55. The last part of verse 23 magnified, whispering its truth. "but as for me, I trust in You."

I trust You to be all I need. I can because You hold the universe and everything on earth.


April 21, 2012


John 8:32 (NIV) "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

While digging for a pencil in my drawer, I noticed a thick layer of dust on my shelf. I brushed it off, sending a portion flying into the air, the rest sticking clumsily to my fingertips. The airborne particles hit my eyes, nose and mouth. I teared up, sneezed and coughed for a couple of minutes, the dust sticking to my lungs. 

Lies remind me of dust. They collect in the corners, on the shelves and on the window sills of our lives. We avoid them or are too busy to notice until before we know it, the lies are everywhere. We brush them off, only to sting our eyes and scratch our throats. The lies aren't removed, in fact, sometimes they are more believable and painful. We breathe them constantly whether we know it or not. Before we know it, we are tossing white sheets over furniture, turning our lives into abandoned mansions while we live in the cramped spaces of the smallest, most comfortable rooms. We dare not explore beyond for fear of disturbing the lies. 

We cannot remove those lies alone. Our fingers and flimsy feather dusters are useless, foolish. Sometimes what we need is a good wet rag to cleanse us. Truth feels like a wet rag sometimes. Especially God's truth. 

But after we are cleansed, when the lies are swept away, we don't have to walk around on eggshells, trying not to disturb all this dust in our lives. We can dance and run around without worrying that we will sneeze, cough and cry as soon as we take something off the shelf. We can wander from room to room, each filled with His light and with potential achieved fearlessly. No more white sheets, our mansions are alive and we can have guests, and be able to make them comfortable, sitting together in His light.

His truth.

We cannot dust the lies from our lives. But He can. 

April 7, 2012

What do I want?

{Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me.}

Keep Making Me 
Sidewalk Prophets

What is it that I truly want? What do I desire? More than anything else, what do I long for?

Truly life-defining questions.

I could answer "to find love." It is a simple answer that I used to believe without knowing was what I wanted. I could answer "success" and define what that meant to me, basically meeting the expectations of the world or my family. I could also answer "to help people" which is a good and noble thing to want.

But it isn't enough.

I am tired of looking for love. I am tired of expectations burdening me as though I were a mule. I am tired of reaching out to help people and being turned away, remaining un-thanked, and being taken advantage of.

What do I really want? What should I want?


The most valuable treasure, He is what I should want. He is what I want, well most of the time. Sometimes I become disillusioned with His ability to satisfy. But always I come back, only to find love I sought elsewhere. I find the power and strength to meet His expectations. I find fulfillment in helping people despite their ingratitude and arrogance. I only have one person to please: God. What a relief.

I never prayed for loneliness so that He could be all I want. I never thought to be that selfless and devoted. Loneliness came, but I found many an occasion to complain to Him and beg Him to end it. It was the perfect time to find pleasure and peace in His presence, to draw near to Him, but I was blinded by my selfishness and my pride. Lonely people are seen as misfits, outcasts and my ego couldn't handle that. I still see myself as somewhat an outsider to the world. I am grateful for the distance sometimes, though.  It is a distance that very few understand. He does and there is nothing more safe than explaining myself to Him. He made me-He knows me, but it must be hilarious and tragic and beautiful all at the same time to hear me talk about myself. About my hopes and dreams and fears.

I love to meander around the park in solitude, whispering stray thoughts to Him, crying, laughing and singing to Him. I never knew, never realized how real a relationship with God could feel. I always thought it to be this distant sort of touch-and-go thing that I would have to guess at. But it is real, the most real part of my life. At least the most stable. I want Him to be my priority. I want to live for His glory and not my own. I want to do good things not because they are good or right, but because I love Him and He asks it.

I want Him.

What do you want?

March 24, 2012

Spring's Strength

There is nothing more energizing than potential. It buzzes like a hive teeming with bees, just waiting to burst out and fly away. Perhaps the only thing more beautiful is realized potential. Walking in the warm darkness of Spring,  realized potential still glows with loveliness in the lamplight.

Spring is the season for using potential. Trees are teeming with buds, bursting into flowers, then leaves. So often I find the potential I uncovered in the reflection of Winter's solitude being  developed in the Spring. 

Lately, there has been a theme of strength in my life. God has put people and verses and songs across my path that emphasize how, even though we are weak, because of Him, we can be strong. We are strong, with  His strength. This potential to be strong, if we rely on Him, is something I have struggled to accept. In my utter depravity, I feel so weak, so fragile.

I am.

But He tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that ”My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.”  The song Give Me Faith declares in the bridge "I may be weak, but Your Spirit's strong in me." We were created to be  strong, "we were made to be courageous." (Courageous, Casting Crowns) And so I have seen His strength in me this Spring. Potential for tasks I never thought I could do. But through God, anything, ANYTHING, is possible. Let Him use you, for He has made you with potential to do great things with His strength.

March 9, 2012

"my heart is like a prisoner of war"

{I've got voices in my head, they are so strong,
and I;m getting sick of this, oh Lord how long
will I be haunted by the fear that I believe?
My hands like locks on cages of these dreams I can't set free.
If I let these dreams die...will the letting go let me come alive?
Empty my hands, fill up my heart, capture my mind with You.}

Empty My Hands -my favorite song of all time
Tenth Avenue North

tug-of-war. I never liked that game. I always got trampled, and usually I let go because I didn't want to get rope-burn. Ironically, my relationship with God has been an ongoing tug-of-war since the beginning. Fortunately, He wins. Every time.

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that if I make enough plans or dream enough about something, God wouldn't dare take it away. He loves me too much to hurt me like that, I tell myself. This is the one thing, God, the one thing I really want. 

I have said that about a great many things, dreams both small and big. Tonight He finally wrenched another one from my stubborn grasp, painfully. My hands are red and raw, but the cool air in their empty grasp is comforting. He will bandage my poor hands until they are strong enough to receive what He has for me.

It isn't easy to think that I will not get what I wanted. Why did I want it?

To make me happy.

Why did He take it?

So that I could realize that joy comes from Him. That his plans are good-hard, but good. That what I really wanted, all along is Him. Not the dreams, not the things, just Him. Nothing else could ever be enough. It still hurts, but I am peaceful.

March 7, 2012

a challenging virtue

Anticipation has slowed the second hand. Gravity seems to have lessened its pull on the grains of sand that usually glide so rhythmically through the hour glass. This is the challenge of waiting. 

Imagined stills of the dreams and hopes for which I wait swirl hazily through my mind. These thoughts decrease my patience, making each dream more real and vivid. Other times, the thoughts are blurred and seem distant and impossible. 

I wait for an adventure in the near future. I wait for journeys in the far future. I wait for dreams to slip into my life unannounced, or parade in whenever God wills. And so I pray for patience, each time I think of the things I wait for I ask Him to calm my restless heart. 

"While I'm waiting, I will serve You, while I'm waiting, I will worship...I will not faint...even while I wait."

John Waller

February 29, 2012


{So I was listening to At Anchor, and I thought to myself, "I should post these lyrics." Then I remembered that the song has no lyrics. Yet it seems every time I listen to it, I hear more than can be heard in most songs which employ the use of words.}
the wisdom of my wonderful sister

This hauntingly beautiful song has captivated my heart since the first footstep. I have listened to it time and again, letting its sound waves roll over me gently. Each time, its story refocuses, some parts becoming more clear, and others blurring to the background. I cannot really define my fascination with this song, but the words of my sister have made it more clear to me. It feels as though there are words, but all I can hear are the sounds at anchor. It is perhaps the most beautiful, speechless song I have ever listened to...

February 20, 2012

Something remains

{They say if it still hurts, you still care.} Adam Young, quoting someone else I am sure, or perhaps just one of those sayings everyone knows...

Both a revelation and a remembrance. A discovery and a realization. 

All relationships, friendships and all else, were never meant to end. God created them to last forever, and we instinctively act on that intention. 

I am left speechless by these thoughts, and can only feel the emotions they provoke. 

February 2, 2012


{you walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself
it's been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope}

Sara Groves
It Might Be Hope

The wind no longer howls drearily around my building. It instead hums cheerfully and dashes about, flipping my bangs playfully. It revels in the sunlight of this odd winter. My mood reflects the weather sometimes so exactly that I am astonished. Today was beautiful, and to walk out without a drop of rain or muddy puddle to trip into was like breathing a sigh of relief.

My burdens are held by mighty hands.

Recently there have been a great number of people depending on me, sharing deepest hurts and struggles. This is a burden I do not take lightly, but one I feel blessed to share with these beautifully broken people. As blessed as I have felt, a sneaking sadness crept along. Sharing such hurts takes a toll on my heart. Hope is dimmed by these sorrows. But hope comes unexpectedly. One night I rested in bed for two hours before falling asleep listening to worship music and pouring out my troubles and the troubles of my dear friends. I hadn't really given Him any time, hadn't let Him in on my burdens. Foolishly, I admit. I couldn't handle it alone. I was out of breath and out of joy.

That night I felt better, but still not fantastic. Hope was slow to return. Then the next day, after working out, of all things, I came back to my room, and peace fell on my shoulders like veil, gently brushing my shoulders and settling gracefully. I suddenly knew that I would be okay. That my friends would be okay. That God had all in hand and though my eyes were muddied by sorrowful tears, there was still beauty, still hope. I knew there was all along, but it was good to feel it again.

One of my fears is that my joy, my sense of wonder, will someday be so darkened that it will extinguish. My ability to find joy in such small and unnoticed things is one of my favorite qualities of myself. (I can say that without fear of pride because it is one of the very few qualities I appreciate.) My inner child, the youth of my heart, is fragile at times and I could not stand to think of living without such joy. It has taken a beating in the last few weeks, in the last few years, really, but I am not too worried anymore. That joy is God-given, and He has an endless supply. I want to be the character from Martin Chuzzlewhit who wanted to defy everyone and every circumstance by finding something to be "jolly" about. I hope that nothing, no matter how dismal, can stifle or thwart my joy.

Have unconquerable hope. Breathe it. See it. Feel it when you can. Pray.

January 28, 2012


{Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.}
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

This is beautiful-and it is exactly what I want. I don't need a sudden rush of adoration for someone. I want love to creep up on me and then reveal itself so it felt as though the most natural thing in the world had occurred. It does not need to come with "pomp and blare" and I do not need a knight. I want a friend, a chum, a kindred spirit. Someone to walk beside me-not carry me or follow behind me. I cannot hold his hand if he is not beside me.

I want our hearts to entwine, to let the ivy of our souls slowly creep together until our thoughts and desires are inextricable. I want to share thoughts with him, the ones I never think to share with people. He'll share his with me and we'll admire our dreams and thinkings by the light of the snowy moon.

Some days are brimmed with patience and anticipation, others with frustration. It boils over and leaves me lonely. But we are all lonely-there is not one person in the world who has never felt lonely at least a bit. If we weren't lonely, we wouldn't know what pure bliss is the companionship of other people.

God has a plan for me. There will be a man who understands me, someone I will have the privilege of understanding. No pomp and blare. No frivolous gowns and cloaks. No trumpets or flashing signs. Just me in my blue jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt with frizzy hair strolling through life. Lots of people will be around me, some of them will come and go, some will just go, and some will just come. One of them will walk beside me for a longer while. He will talk and listen, think and sing. He'll take my hand and run after God with  me; sometimes pulling, sometimes being pulled and other times matching my pace, but always filling my empty hand with his hand.

January 23, 2012

Let this be our prayer....

I have found myself believing that communication with my Savior must be deep and intense every time it occurs. I have also found myself realizing through the words of a friend, that this may not be healthy, wise or true.

Perhaps that is my stumbling block, that every word to God has to be the deepest, best word my mind can utter to Him. Honestly, He doesn't want that. He wants us. Real, raw, vulnerable; every stutter and un-eloquent phrase of mind without effort, without pre-planning. He wants us to be as real with Him as we are to our closest friends, as we are to ourselves.

I desire eloquence. I always have. While watching the Lord of the Rings the other day I wished to myself to sound like Galadriel, the quintessence of eloquence and grace in voice, words and appearance. But God doesn't want me to be Galadriel. He wants me to be me; quirky, a little awkward, gooberish and utterly imperfect.

So instead of focusing on how I say my prayers, I want to be concerned with what I say. Sometimes I don't need to say anything at all. Sometimes I just need to feel before Him, to let the words fall away and the raw feelings speak in a language unknown, unutterable.

"Even a 'thank You that I survived' will please Him," my friend said.

So "When you cannot pray as you would, pray as you can." Dean M. Goulburn.

January 19, 2012

Kindred Spirits

{Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.}
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Kindred spirits arise in the most unexpected places sometimes. I remember sitting in my first dorm room, a fresh wave of homesickness running through my eyes. I despaired that kindred spirits would ever come. It is curious how I learn all the time that they come in unexpected packages.

I met a freshman this year who is a hilarious quirky girl. She doesn't always say the brightest things, but she is very intelligent, without a doubt. Honestly, I think that sometimes people don't see that. It makes me angry sometimes that they don't see how deep and truly thoughtful she is. We have had many a great, vulnerable and deep conversation. In person and over facebook.

She might not realize the full extent, but she means a great deal to me. I have told her that I appreciate her before, but she probably doesn't see the depth of my gratitude. Sometimes it is easy for me to feel left out, but she never makes me feel that way. She always asks how I am doing and cares about the response. She makes me feel appreciated, and loved. God has used her so much in my life.

Her eyes shine with the light of hidden understanding. Her smile speaks a thousand words of sincere encouragement. Her hands hold worries and sorrows but still have room to share mine and to reach out to me. Her ears are always open and ready to hear about my difficulties, but she will always reciprocate with her own-something I am glad of. We share life. We may be an odd pair, but I am so blessed to have found her. She is, of course not the only kindred spirit I have found, but she is one of the unexpected and most precious.

This may not be the most beautifully worded post, the most intriguing or insightful read, but I mean every word with all my heart. I cannot express it fully how much my kindred spirits mean to me. Don't be afraid to look for them where you least expect to find them. They'll surprise you in the best sort of way!

January 17, 2012


{Some days must be dark and dreary}
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The wind is moaning outside my window, the sound wrapping around the buildings like rope. Sometimes it sounds as though a child is lost, other times as though an engine is roughly revving up to start a race. This is not the wind I call my friend, no, my friend the wind is spirited, whips to and fro with energy and joy.

The rain is cold, its dull splashes like the falling of a million tears. It is not the rain I love-the warm rain of summer and early autumn that cleanses and renews.

The day is neither dark nor light, for the sun cannot decide whether he should sleep all day or stay awake. His sleepy face shines a dull, hard light upon the soggy ground. He is not the sun I love.

Perhaps they are the sun and rain and wind that I love. Should not the wind be allowed to have a bad day? Perhaps we must put up with the wind, with the dull sun and the cold rain. My cheerful weather friends will cheer again. The sun will glow warmly on my face in a waterfall of glorious light. The wind will play gently with my hair and tickle my face and the warm rains will nourish the ground once more. Perhaps even my friend snow will come and visit again. She left and I miss her.

I will have to feel a little down, for we all must feel a little melancholy once in a while. How would we know cheer, were it not for gloom? I will snuggle up and rejoice in my memories of snow, remembering that there must be days when there is darkness, and looking forward to the new and glorious sunsets to be had in the future.

And perhaps it is so with friends. For we cannot be all sunshine, all the time. Some of our days must be dreary. Can we expect sunbeams from our dearests all year?

January 14, 2012


{wonder is involuntary praise.} Edward Young

As I stepped out into the newly fallen darkness, my breath raced away in thoroughbred fashion. I watched a thousand tiny diamonds flutter from the sky, glistening in the light of the golden lamps. The ground was thickly scattered and the trees encrusted with these gems of ice. My first reaction? My arms rose, almost involuntarily, as though it were the most natural and even necessary motion.


That gasp, the deep breath, the faint smile. Perhaps that faint, unplanned smile is the most beautiful of all.

And the most beautiful praise? That which flows naturally, unexpectedly, from our hearts. Raising eyes to the dark sky, lifting arms without thought. Twirling to expose joy that cannot be suppressed, despite straying glances and judging eyes. A chuckle of the most quiet sort, and a cloak of beauty that remains upon us and warms us for a while, even after whisking ourselves inside behind glass.

Snow. Praise Him for wonder-flinging, beautiful snow.

January 12, 2012

a sweet melody

{Music is what feelings sound like.}
Author Unknown

Classical and soundtrack music grows more powerful everyday. Whether it is the cinematic implications, or just the sounds that carry me, I am taken far from my reality. Sometimes the trip is so beautiful that I just want my heart to break, it hurts so fiercely and yet tenderly. I watch the scenes that play out and often that powerful emotion, nostalgia, grips my soul as a zephyr sweeps a ship across the waves. I fly when I listen to music. I sing without moving my lips, I dance without moving a toe. My heart dances in me. Even when I do not think I can bear to hear music for fear my heart will shatter, I must. I tightrope walk down violin strings and dance on the keys of pianos and bounce on the heads of drums. The most beautiful places are in music-I see them in the darkness of my closed eyes, and I am there. Even places that are not so beautiful visually, come, and I see them for their true beauty. Music goes beyond the visual, it goes beyond the surface and digs deep. It pulls from our most secret drawers and rooms the emotions we have locked away, and even heals us a little. It pulls tears from our eyes and smiles from our lips. You have to know how to listen to it though. Listen without reserve-it is safe to listen to music without our walls. The musician may never know, the people around you may never know what the music has uncovered. It will swirl round your heart and tug at it. Music is so personal, and yet so encompassing of people. Whoever does not love music cannot be fully human, or perhaps they are too human. Music feels like the touch of God, a raindrop of heaven. It is the most beautiful and most perfect thing we can ever know aside from God. 

January 7, 2012


"We cannot always be remembering, but neither can we always be forgetting. There are times to move forward and let the past settle like dust on the windowsill, to look past the dust and live. There are also times when remembering is the most healthy thing to do. We must remember the hurt and the joy, feeling and accepting it so that we can live: free from the poking and prodding of old memories that nag us to be released.  We must remember-do not quell the wave of memories that rises inexplicably. Let your memories out of the box entitled 'never open again' and like a thousand birds, they will burst in an echoing rush of feathers: some will peck us, screeching painfully, while some will sing to us with unequaled sweetness, but they will all be free. And with their bittersweet truth, they will bring healing."


Memories and remembering have been a theme in my recent life. This quote expresses everything I have been coming to realize about remembering. What more can I say?