Sunday, September 20, 2015

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.

| Psalm 27:8 |

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You are so loved and you matter more than you could ever know.

Friday, August 28, 2015

God reminded me how beautiful we all are to Him, 
after all, we were created in His own image, 
and He looks at me, at you, in all our sweat 
and dirt and brokenness, and says, 
I choose you. You are beautiful.

-Katie Davis

How easy it is to forget that even in the midst of my relationship with God, the sweat and the dirt and the brokenness will always be there, and He will always continue to choose me in spite of it. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An Ode to the Ache

"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage"

To anyone and everyone who has ever shared their story with me, this is to you.

At 21, I have seen and felt more hurt and loss than I thought I would have. But the older I get and the more people I meet, I appreciate the strength of the human spirit more than ever. I am amazed at how much we are able to overcome. Hurt and loss that should not have to face, but that we do face and then go on to operate as seemingly whole hearted beings in a world that does not allow us to do so. But at the end of the day, what breaks my heart and what stands out the most is the need that we feel to be so strong during the times of hurt and loss. We all know and have felt these things, yet we do not want anyone to see our weakness in the midst of them. We close up and walk tall as if everything were as it should be, all the while we are coming apart on the inside.

In thinking about all of this, one particular experience from a couple years ago always resonates with me. I was a few months into what felt like a ridiculously long time of loss and hurt, when a mentor that I had in high school reached out to reconnect with me. I met with her and when she asked what was going on, I candidly told her everything, as if I was talking with her about the weather. I didn't need her pity and I was doing just fine accepting that sometimes shit happens. It wasn't even a second after I finished speaking that she gave me a hug and then looked me straight in the eyes and reassured me that I did not have to be "okay". She gave me permission to grieve and to be angry and to face all of it for what it was. I don't think it was until that moment that I gave myself permission to grieve and be upset about the things that were happening in my life. I will always be thankful for that meeting we shared.

To the person who is still hurting, you do not have to be strong. True strength comes as a product of experience and is not self imposed. To be strong in the midst of hurt is to be numb, and there is not life on the other side of that. You are not alone. There are many things in life that we have to face alone, and grief is not one of them. We all have experienced too much of it to not be able to lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. There is a season for everything and sometimes the season is sad and painful, but better and brighter ones will come.

To the close friend or the relative or the loved one; show up. It feels uncomfortable and comes with a long list of doubts... "I don't know what to say.",:What if I'm smothering them?", "What if they want to be left alone?" The list goes on, and despite how insignificant you think you are, it took less than a minute for someone that I hadn't talked to in months to help me more than any counselor could. I'm not sure that we realize how much weight our actions carry and the potential benefit they mean for those around us.

The point I'm meaning to make is that we must not mistake grieving for weakness and strength for numbness.  In order to properly grieve and in order to properly support the grieving, we have to let ourselves be seen by those that we love. We have to get comfortable with vulnerability and trust those closest to us, whether it is with our truths or with our help. In the words of Brene Brown, vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

To the handful (okay, probably more like two handfuls) of you that have inspired this entry, know how thankful I am for you.You are the bravest people I know, with more strength than I knew was possible. You have helped me get through things that were by no means easy. You listened to me tell you about the not so easy things and helped me work through them. You opened yourself up to be honest and vulnerable with me. You trusted me to know your hurts and your losses. You inspire me to cherish human connection and embrace vulnerability everyday and you will always have a very special place in my life and my heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"It is not the critic who counts; not the
man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could
have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who
errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and
shortcoming; but who does actually strive to
do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself in a
worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph
of high achievement, and who at the worst, if
he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..."

Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Romans 1:1

I graduated college and got mono, which has been the biggest blessing in disguise because I've had time to do things like this, a close study of the book of Romans. Below are some personal notes I figured I would share. The underlined terms are stated as they were defined in the ESV footnotes of my Bible, the italicized portions are my own notes.

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God"

A bondservant, a slave
Paul, a bondservant, a slave of Christ Jesus

Twelve men chosen by Christ, who had seen Christ, to establish and govern the Church with the authority to write and speak the words of God. 
Paul, a vicious human being before his conversion, was made an apostle. Paul, a man who had formerly sought out to kill Christians, was made equal with the men who dedicated their lives to Christ, and given the authority to establish and govern the church and communicate on behalf of God. 

The Gospel
The "good news". This included not just a call to initial saving faith, but how Christ's saving activity transforms all of life and all of history. 
Paul, a bondservant, a slave to Christ, called to establish and govern the Church, set apart to be transformed by Christ throughout his life. 

I think there is a reason why the ESV footnotes did not put transform in the past tense. If it was, Christ's work would have been complete. He would have transformed all that he was going to transform, he would be done with his transformation of life and transformation of history. Through a call to the saving faith, your transformation would happen and end. 

But the word is not in the past tense and there is much grace to be found in that, because even in the small things, like the tense of a word, we see Christ whispering that he is not yet finished transforming me, or you, or the world. He is still at work and there is plenty left to be done. That, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The New Year

"These are whole-hearted people, living from this deep sense of worthiness. 
These folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. 
They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, 
because, as it turns out, we can't practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly. 
And the last was they had connection, and this was the hard part 
as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were"


My last semester of college starts in two weeks and what a journey it has been.
The nostalgia has opened my eyes to evaluate it all.
There's been lots of good and there's been lots of bad, but thankfully my regrets are few.

I wish I had stayed in some of the nights I decided to go out. 
I wish I had loved the people in my life better.
I wish I had loved myself better.

But most of all I am filled with so much thanks. 

Thankful for the people that have been put in my life
Thankful for learning that it's okay to not have it all figured out
Thankful for God being so incredibly gracious among all of my mistakes
Thankful for all that I have learned about myself through those mistakes

and the thing is, there is not one wish or one regret that I have that has not taught me something. 

Going out on the nights that I should have stayed in showed me areas in my heart that needed major work. It showed me a facet of life that I did not want to be apart of. 

Not loving the people in my life as well as I could have showed me how valuable it is to treasure your friends and your family and how terrible it is to push those people away. 

Not loving myself showed me how important it is to be patient and gracious with yourself so that you can be patient and gracious to others, because without that it is a miserable existence. 

Above all, the regrets and wishes pointed me back to the path that I strayed from. They pointed me to God's mercy and His grace in a way that I did not previously understand. When I would give up on myself, God never gave up on me and carried me through things and situations that I should not have been able to get through.

 I look forward to what this last semester holds and the fresh perspective that I have gained.
I look forward to staying in more nights.
I look forward to finding ways to show the people in my life how much they mean to me.
I look forward to finding the courage to be true to myself, to be authentic.
In the words of Brene Brown, I look forward to learning how to let go of who I think I should be to be who I am

And today, I am thankful for the regrets, for the lessons, and for the looking forward to's

Cheers to the New Year!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Powerful Play

What’s the only thing in Heaven that’s the same as it is on earth?

 The wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet


Easter weekend I was able to see the film adaptation of the book, "Heaven is for Real". I was not particularly interested in seeing the movie, but that day I walked out of the theater asking myself 

"is Heaven for real?"

If I really believed in Heaven, then my current approach to life was going to need some serious rearranging. 
God doesn't care about whether or not I have a prestigious job, 
how well I am liked among my peers, 
how "good" of a church member I am, 
how much money I make. 

Everything that I  am told to attain, God could care less about. 

So is Heaven for real? Because if it is, then all of these mile markers I have for myself seem pretty useless. My job is not going to get me into Heaven, my faith is. And what does that even mean- "my faith"? My faith in Jesus? My belief that He is God and He is in control? That's not looking so strong considering that I consistently freak out when all of the little things in my life go the least bit wrong...but I know I am a Christian and that I love Jesus. I know that I do. I think I am so used to giving the sunday school answer about Christianity to myself and others that I have forgotten what they really mean. 

If Heaven is real, then that is what I should be working towards- not my education, not where I want to live, not trying to lose weight, not even trying to make friends because none of that is going to help me get there. 

Deep breath, wide eyes... 
What am I doing then, God? 
Because everyone else seems to think that all of these things are pretty damn important. 

They are important. 
It's important to be engaged in the world. 
It's important because it gives you experiences that teach you about yourself, 
teach you about God, 
and teach you about why you need Him. 

It's important because without all of these different interactions you would not have the exposure to all of the people that you are now able to call your friends. 
It's important because it gives you a chance to care about people and care about their souls. 
It's important because it ultimately gives you the chance to impact the maximum amount of people for the better. 

I think the problem is when I focus on the little things and that's when I forget about Heaven. 
That is what causes me to ask myself, "Is Heaven for real?". 
This moment, 
today's frustrations, 
tomorrow's expectations-
they are all a chance for us to see God and share His love. 

"The powerful play goes on, that you may contribute a verse..."

I want my verse to be one that makes the next life filled with more people than it otherwise would be. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fight

It's tough. 
Because the struggles are real. The desire is there.
But God is bigger than the struggles and the desires are nothing but a masquerade- 
a lie that the fruit of the tree will be better-
 that God is witholding.
But God is bigger than that lie and He is bigger than the liar it came from
Let me have the strength to believe the truth.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Simple Things

i want to be a bird & see amazing things & land on comfy clouds 
she says,
& if i were a tree, it'd be a christmas one so i could be bright & beautiful
...i'm just a regular little girl

pop rocks & the park & a pup & some soda pop 
made for a wonderful afternoon with this sweet little nugget.

these days it's been lots of fun little things, peppered with some irresponsibility to make for beautiful times. but the way i see it, is there's gonna come a day, if it hasn't come already, when the mountains we face can't be solved by a plate of cookies, an inapporpriate joke, or singing a song at the top of your lungs, and the mistakes aren't always gonna be so laughable. 

So, I'm treasuring these days when the learning from my living doesn't sting so bad & laughter can be the cure all for my problems. 
embracing some youthful naivety, or you may call it immaturity, knowing there's going to come a time when i'm not going to be able to do that as often. I look forward to those new chapters of life, and for now, am making the most of the one that i'm in.

“Why can't you fly now, mother?"
"Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.""Why do they forget the way?""Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”
peter pan

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