May 30, 2014


Five Minute Friday
Five-Minute-Friday: Nothing

I throw the word nothing around probably as often as I throw around the word love, both of which are habits I would like to weed from the section of my vocabulary garden labeled "words I use often."

It would be extremely easy for me to say that I have nothing. But it would be wrong. Having just graduated from college, I have no job prospects. Literally, none. I got two rejection notices yesterday, and brushed them off into a filling basket of "things I don't trust God with." I have no steady summer job--just a compilation of odd jobs and some graduation/birthday money to live off for the summer. I live at home with my parents and sisters. I am not really "making it" as they say.

Again, it would be easy to say I have nothing.

But yesterday, I went over and helped a friend hang her cool maps and arranged her mantelpiece while her adorable daughter gave us laughter and joy. It meant a lot to my friend that my sister and I would come over, and it meant a lot to me that she would have us and feed us and make us tea. Today I went kayaking. Except my sister and I, after struggling to find the straps, wrestling with one of the kayak racks, driving forty-five minutes out to one lake, whose parking lot was blocked by construction, then driving another half an hour with detours and confusion to a lake whose parking lot was filled with random people (who were't even kayaking, gah!) simply drove for two hours and then went home. Sounds like we did nothing. But we sang at the top of our lungs, drove slow through gently curving fields, sunlit woods and on winding back roads we'd never been on before. It was anything but nothing, and even though we didn't even get to the water, we had laughs, and a great story to tell when we returned.

He makes beauty out of nothing. He makes the unexpected out of everything we dismiss as nothing but really can be gift. So look out--you might not go kayaking, but maybe you'll get something just a beautiful, maybe more so. I don't have a job, but I have life, a life I can live now.

May 22, 2014


Five Minute Friday CLOSE

"Wherever we are, God is here...Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here..." A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

He goes on to talk about how we are unaware of His presence, though "where can I go from your Spirit?" (Psalm 139). Manifestation of presence, awareness of Him follows obedience, Tozer tells us. I agree.

My distance is really a numbness caused by my own sin. Surrender of pride, repentance of sin, these are the ways to erase that imaginary distance.

Isaiah 30:15 tumbled into my lap last week:

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning(repentence) and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

I need to lean in close, lean in quiet, lean in humble. 
Because I need Him close. 
Ever so much.

May 14, 2014

college senior ponderings

With an exhausted sigh that tastes of denial, I breathe slower--the finals, the classes, the four years behind me.

This end feels like a beginning and a middle and it is and it isn't. A college collage of ripped papers and crafted dreams and shining hopes and already fading memories. My eyes are wells sometimes and I don't always know quite how to feel.

I wrote a speech for graduation--I didn't get chosen, which was honestly more of a relief than a disappointment. And perhaps it was meant to be prose on a page; it seems better in black and white than in vocal chords. These are parts pieced together with my own thoughts that float like Monet's water lilies to the surface.

We began in autumn, the leaves burning like brilliant fires, do you remember? We conclude now in our own autumn, and we are the leaves, burning brilliant, ready to be released into the winds of the world.  If you listen closely to the rustling of robes and whispers like leaves, you’ll be able to tell. We have grown, and are readily not ready for the impending seasons of this life. For who is ever ready for what is to come? 

So many days, so many ordinary moments. If we look closely, they were the truest stuff of this journey, the seemingly small decisions that have brought us to this ending. And the people--they were perhaps the most important part. My friends are not celebrities, but I have had the privilege to know them, a privilege I count more valuable than knowing all the famous and rich in the world. 

I am so grateful for these people, these years. 

I was not always grateful—grey days come to our lives as easily as they come to Ohio. We plodded through the rain, the snow, and maybe, just maybe those grey days were the most important days, those days forgotten but as real as this day. Why? Because we walked on. If you sit here, you pushed through difficult assignments, hard life decisions, maybe illness, fatigue, mysterious motivation crises, and a hundred other shadows. Those days lie to us, and we were almost convinced that this day would never come.

It is the small steps that take us to the future as we keep lifting and dropping our feet to the ground that spreads ahead like a massive world. Lifting and dropping, never giving up. 

These are not all my thoughts on this time. Not even a fraction. But these are the simple thoughts that are those water lilies on the surface of my mind the night I finished my last final of undergraduate college. 

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind,” commented C.S. Lewis. Perhaps a bit hard to believe this at the moment. But I think it is so. 

A final thought: God has been faithful through each grey day, and I never would have made it without Him.

May 12, 2014


There was this rain in the night:
big, splashing drops on the sill,
small, silent drops on the sheets.
There was this arc of gold at dawn
light and hope mingling with friends
the green leaves still fresh.
There was this Love pervading,
a current below the bittersweetness
of having to say goodbye,
of "the end" and trembling curtains
falling shut.
There was this gratitude,
this list of a day just begun
that He used to save her.

thunderstorms, sunrises, hard goodbyes, new beginnings, green and grey, no greater Love.

Linking up with Ann Voskamp for Multitudes on Mondays

May 8, 2014

thanks and many thanks

Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday: Grateful

So I have listed for coming almost eleven months. Numbered, noticed, nudging my eyelids wide to what He does. It has not always been easy--my eyelids droop, vision dims, pen drops.

But today I am grateful for:

~the remnants of the sunset--strange blues and purples feathered and glowing in the drowsy day.
~half-hearted trust in His provision that received more than deserved
~this community of people--mostly moms it seems so often, that welcome even a funny college girl who types and reads and has a heart for those who are so brave and honest in the challenging life of motherhood
~spontaneous adventures with friends
~the best college job a girl with a creative flair could have asked for--one that helped her develop skills that might have gone unnoticed and neglected otherwise
~the gentle whirring of the fan
~His holding of me when I was too scared or tired to notice or care, and how I see so clearly that it has saved me
~lilacs in bloom

May 2, 2014


Five Minute Friday: MESS

I wonder if I will ever find time to clean my room.

College life is great--except for the part when for four years I have lived "home" in a single room--my bed a couch, dining room table, homework spot, and, oh yeah, a bed. Also, I have what I call flat-surface syndrome. It means that flat spaces magnetically (magically) attract stuff. Lots of stuff. But despite the mess, my dear friend came over last night to spend some time with me. I invited her into the mess and she came without hesitation.

I wonder if I will ever have a clean heart.

It seems that I tend to make a mess of things in my life--especially when it comes to my heart. I send it through blenders, shredders, compactors. Yet somehow, He comes in and works it slowly, that clay, spinning it, smoothing it, sometimes digging out debris. He never asked me to come to Him cleaned--because my standard of cleanliness is dirt compared to His righteousness and goodness.

I am learning ever more that my messes are the places He draws near to us through. "Thin places" Ann Voskamp called them--the places when our mess strips us of the pride that keeps Him at bay. The places He wants us to experience healing.

Facing messes is hard. But the more I face them, the more faithful I know Him to be.