July 31, 2014


begin--Five Minute Friday

Well, it seems I don't know where to begin. Yet I know I am at a beginning. The truth of it, the promise lingers below my language, below my awareness sometimes. I am standing on the edge of a beginning. He is standing beside me, holding my hand, reminding me to stop squirming, to stop straining my eyes trying to see where we are going.

Endings are always beginnings.

I ended college, and summer slipped her restful evenings into my lap like a good book. But not before worry planted weeds in my mind, cluttering up the wildflower thoughts He grows for my good. So I tend to my mind, weed out thoughts that don't belong, and pray that whether rain (a job) comes or not, the garden will grow.

Maybe there are bigger plans. Maybe there are smaller plans for bigger good. But I am learning patience, choosing trust, living uncertainty, finding joy. Beginnings seem muddled to the ones who are in them. But peace does is not dependent on or provided by my understanding.

Peace is Him.

And if peace is Him, and He is with us, we cannot fear to begin.

July 25, 2014


Five-Minute-Friday: Finish

Finish--I think of the finishes my mom coats on her art, the finish she puts on to echo age, a brown varnish, a walnut dye. And I think of how He is finishing me.

I wait here, watching the opportunities fall to those I love--jobs, interviews, fellowships. And I wait. Still being touched up, while He is painting that patience and trust, finely adding shadows, that small flower in the corner, that little stroke of courage.

But this work in progress is learning to enjoy the process, this leg of the journey that moves so slow. Waiting for the finish of this part of the story, this summer of struggling to find myself in Him. But here in this shallow valley, there is inspiration. There are words that flow unchecked, marking white pages and typing patterns and being written alive by His story. There is painting and the careful mix of colors, the smooth strokes of love for the canvas that create something humble-beautiful. Even the carving of wood--hard cuts, frustrating grains that run the wrong way, a bird growing from what was once tree.

So as He puts the final touches on this chapter, adds a finish to make me shine, I find something more encouraging and life-altering than a job or a published book: Him.

July 23, 2014


We print it
on our coffee mugs,
tattoo it
to our skin,
slather it
on social media,
but do we really believe it?

Does it sear into our very souls?

Does it burrow in our bones?

Does it soak into our skin
like a watering rain
down in the deepest roots
of the oak
that stretch into the dark soil?

I want that.
I want it to be the
and blood that paces
in ceaseless rhythms around
the hollow tunnels of my heart.

I want the truth
to be more

than tarnish.

"I think it is virtually impossible to honestly say that knowing God, as God intends to be known by his people in the new covenant, simply means mental awareness or understanding or acquaintance with God. Not in a million years is that what “knowing God” means here...You can know about God by research; but until the researcher is ravished by what he sees, he doesn't know God for who He really is." John Piper

July 17, 2014


Five Minute Friday: Bloom

It seems so perfect, so planned by a great Orchestrater. I spent time with the flowers today. Smelled them. Arranged some in a vase to replace the sagging, wilting crew dropping pollen and petals on the table. A fresh bouquet so that mom will feel a little loved when she gets home. To remind me to go outside and let the flowers bump my shins and thighs and nose when I get too close.

To remind me to live. To remind me that this state of limbo, between college and (hopefully) finding a job is not a conveyor belt taking me to the next place. No, wherever we are put can either be a garden or a pit of dirt.

I've been digging, taking off the sod, preparing the ground for a patio. It really doesn't look nice, that rectangle of dirt littered with hacked grass and an annoying abundance of small rocks. That stretch of dirt will be something else soon, but right now it is ugly and barren.

I want to be a garden. "Bloom where you are planted," people always say. Yeah, that's something people get right, at least in the head. Even if you are in a tiny, plastic pot instead of a gorgeously landscaped raised bed with stepping stones and sun--bloom.

I am learning to make each day count in small ways--a kind note, an encouraging text, praying for and thinking about friends in hard places and good, showing kindness instead of retaliation, patience instead of frustration. It is hard work--gardens usually are. But He has the greenest thumb to ever exist.

July 12, 2014


The words flow, and I speak to myself, write pictures of what I need to hear. But the poem bursts, and blossoms, and though humble, perhaps in need of more tinkering, I tremble and lay it in your hands.

Perhaps you need these words, too.

There is a darkness ahead
that eludes my endless scrutiny.

The future is in black white,
and we are painters,
stroking with the colors we choose.
But we can only paint
This moment is our canvas—
woven and gesso-ed,
and we can paint
as many blockades,
as many closed doors and blinded windows,
with as many shades of dark
as we please,
but only the Master painter
can paint the open ways.
He will paint our paths,
and we may recount the susans,
black-eyed and cheerful
in sunny shades of gold,
or sage trees stretching praise,
and even paint our own lips
in the midst of
Or we can paint the rocks in the road,
cast grey over sky and perpetuate
our own kind of rain.
As frantically as I try,
I cannot paint the curved road straight.
I swerve in haste
and end in crippling decay.
So I learn in challenging, small strokes
to paint flowers
and sunsets and the beauty
of dying trees, fallen down barns
of storms that rage,
and the gentle hush they leave behind.
To paint that which does not
strive to be beautiful,
but is good,
sometimes hard, uphill good.
To paint without words
my thanks
and my joy—my life.

There is a brightness ahead
that eludes my momentary scrutiny.

"The cynics, they can only speak of the dark, of the obvious, and this is not hard. For all it’s supposed sophistication, it’s cynicism that’s simplistic. In a fallen world, how profound is it to see what’s broken?" 
Ann Voskamp

July 10, 2014


Five Minute Friday: Belong

I miss it already. The slight curve of the rows of soybeans that rose and fell faintly toward the tall stand of woods. I miss it because of what was behind me as I stood watching the sun rise through hovering mists. Behind me was a place I had been petrified to go to, because a lot of past hurt dwelt in my heart. I was used to being the outlier, the one who stood a little away because most people just tolerated me and weren't sold on the idea of being my friend.

But somehow, I ended up at camp.

It was all in the small things, really. Small kindnesses of negligent importance. A small golden bear full of honey brought just for my tea. The hugs that were scattered across days. Spontaneous side-comments of honesty.

I thought I was too introverted to be a camp counselor, too shy, too weird, too nerdy, too un-athletic.

But when God is at the center, everyone belongs. Because when you belong to Him, you belong where He is. And on that small plot of land, He was in charge, and with every breeze through the wide windows of the tabernacle I knew--I belonged.

Where God calls is where I belong. "You must run the risk of fearlessly loving without running away." (Jason Gray) When I did that? When I loved with all I had? When I went where He called? I belonged. And the people around me did, too.

July 3, 2014

pennings from the plot of land

These are a few of the poems I penned at camp. I cannot claim them to be brilliant, but they are mine, because they were His, and so I present them as the gift they were to me. May they bless you in small ways.

Also, none of them have titles. I just haven't gotten there yet.

I am an emptiness,
a hollow shell
that echoes all I pass
and all I crash into.

I was
until I found

the ocean.

Soul trembles
like aching muscles
that strain
to hold fast
to the rocky places.
No strength to
go higher
only to put off the fall.

But we’ve already

The sun melts
into gold
that runs into tiny
cracks in the rock—
in myself—
I didn’t know existed.
There is light in my veins
and hope rises,
a pale moon,
as though shadows were silver.
The trembling
has not ceased,
nor the task made easier,
only possible.

A thousand
tiny blades of grass
            and I am counted
                 more than a