Experiences.


We walk together
Joined at digits
Trudging and hiking
Braving the slopes
Bracing against the wind
Courageously stepping
From stone to stone
In the muddied rapids
Stirred up by miles
Blown about by distance
But we won’t get too cold
Our bones won’t freeze
Because we walk on
But we walk wrapped up
We walk wrapped up in love
And swaddled warm
By our Father who is Love

Stable.


Stability and protection are fitting for Him

As are love and hope and peace

Because He pours Himself out on broken pieces

And quenches a parched, cracked land

Though your pain is deeply felt

Find His song of joy

Our salvation is here

To hold and to share

And in graceless days

It gives power to rejoice.

Babel.


The miracle of Jesus

Of His death and resurrection

Is the unity and interdependence

Of a people seeking their own

Through Him they are edified

Through Him they build a new Babel

And because He is the cornerstone

What the people build is good

As they build towards heaven

They are strong

But it isn’t like the last attempt

This time, they are strengthened

By the hands of brothers and sisters

And all are rooted in the cross

Planted in the empty grave

This new Babel stands tall

And reaches ever to the love of God

This restored temple is how it should have been

We are the redeemed

And we are taking Babel back for our Father

 

Caged.


I send you on your way

You’ve overstayed your welcome

In the cage in which I’ve put you

You may go now

My door won’t be open for you again

Despair, don’t come around

No more will I entertain you

No more will I open my doors or my arms

To your persuading,

Imposing

Goading

Presence

Now that I’ve set you free

Your friend fear has followed close behind

And he’s taken anxiety with him

I’ve better things to own

Better things to take hold of

And those things are too big

Too powerful and beautiful

To be locked up tight in cages

The road ahead of me looks brighter

It calls me like and old friend

“Come, experience the rocky way!

Build up your muscles, your endurance!

My twists are sharp and my hills are steep

But they’re excruciatingly beautiful

And there is hope in climbing

On to better things, my child

On to a bigger God than yourself, dear one.”

 

Wishes


Wishes

I wish it weren’t true

That wherever I am

There I am too

I wish it could be said

That I’m not always followed

By the thoughts in my head

 

My ideas have great elocution

But they’ve no resolution

I wish they’d lead to absolution

Instead of prostitution to myself.

 

Wish I could escape the drought

But at the same time

Not take the easy route

Wish I could carry only me

But somehow

That wouldn’t make me free

 

My ideas have great elocution

But they’ve no resolution

I wish they’d lead to absolution

Instead of prostitution to myself

 

I feel out of place on this campaign

Too self-centered to be ever free of stain

Thinking only I should gain

Though my life to yours pertains

Don’t want what once was my pain

To force my bruises to remain

I just want tangibility to sustain

Though I know what kept me sane

Is also what I can’t contain

 

How truly human am I

Scraping my skin with pottery

Sitting in the dirt uttering sighs

My friends tell me which way to go

To fake the path till I find my way

But friends, that’s not the way I know.

Urges and Healing.


I’m a college student, so I don’t get the chance to write very often… What I mean to say is, if I have a free moment, I’m vegging. When I get the urge to be empowered by Gungor’s “This is Not the End” and write at almost midnight on a week night, I’m gonna take it. 

My name is Katie, and I’m learning about healing.

I never thought I’d be one of those girls with the stories about struggling with  insecurity and pain, and I never thought I’d understand what it was to truly need healing. But… Here I am.

Several years ago, I wrote a stanza that defined me so well I’m almost surprised it came from my own pen.

My insecurities, my self-doubt

Lie not on the outside,

But on the person within

I only want a lovely heart

You guys can hate me now, but I’ve never dealt with body image issues. I was asked to do a talk on body image for a class last semester and I didn’t feel qualified to talk about that at all, but I could do a thousand talks about what it feels like to never feel like your heart and brain are good enough… I became very good at mastering those things, though. I did meaningful things: I went to different countries, I took care of everyone’s babies, I filled communion trays and made coffee at church every Sunday before the service. Every single day of my life was devoted to something. (Sometimes I had grumpy days, but I still did stuff.) That was my lifestyle: I masked the insecurity in things I did, and shoved them deep deep down… But sometimes monsters come back up when you are just broken enough.

I had adult responsibility long before I was actually an adult, and now I’m at college… where there are people who are kids (which is super weird for me. I was home-schooled, so I’ve never really dealt with actual teenagers before), and about 15 times the amount of stress anyone needs to experience at any given time. My journey to college was a tough one; I’ll be completely honest about that. Three weeks after I came home from India after living and breathing India and babies and grownup jobs for 4 months, I was enrolled at a Christian university in the middle of nowhere Tennessee (If you don’t believe me, look up Henderson, TN). A lot happened to me while I was in India, and some of it was stuff that hurt… really bad… I’ve continued to deal with that over the past 1/2 year, and since I’ve always been the type of person who can jump in and learn to swim after drowning for a few weeks, I thought I could handle re-entry, a wounded heart, being a college freshman, being in a long distance relationship that was also my first serious relationship, and simply figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And because of the lifestyle I doggedly kept to, I thought that was completely normal. I’m wondering now if it’s just because I’m totally off my rocker.

I’m realizing that in all of that, I never stopped and took time to heal… partially because healing feels selfish.

Taking any amount of time to recognize that I hurt feels like too much looking at myself, and taking any amount of time whatsoever to explore my brokenness and discontent feels selfish and burdensome to others and therefore, myself. I’m a very impatient person and I want all my problems fixed right now, so when they aren’t magically better because I’ve decided they will be, I get angry at myself. I just want to jump back into life, and I want to be okay, and I don’t want the painful things to still affect me. I don’t want to spend that much time devoted to myself.

Since I’ve only ever experienced coping, I’m not sure exactly how to go about healing, and I’m not even entirely sure how God fits into that picture.

I do know this, though… When I just stop and let God’s beauty be bigger than the crap I’m dealing with, I’m rendered completely speechless. On Saturday night, I sat on a dock by a pond with some ducks and a dog named Daisy and looked at this:

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I was running my mouth, telling God about how I was struggling, and how I wanted to be done struggling, and for a moment I stopped just to look at the sunset and I had no more words other than, “Can I take a picture of how pretty You are?”

I don’t know how long healing will take, and I don’t know that life will pan out the way I want it to, and I may not have all my crap together, but I know that Jesus will still be bigger and more beautiful, and that alone begins my healing.

Scattered


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My thoughts have been extra scattered lately, therefore, bulletpoints.

  • The God we serve works His restoration in the context of relationship, and therefore it follows that our faith is lived out in that same context. God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for  each another is expressed within community as we grow together and build each other. (That’s where the encouragement comes in)
  • Isolation is a form of division. It’s also selfish. And stupid. Disembodied arms aren’t terribly effective. They just kind of sit there and stink and rot and stuff.
  • God created us with the intention of allowing us to be creative with our lives, just as He is creative. (It’s that whole idea of ‘created in His image’)
  • Paradigms are hard to rebuild and restructure, and sometimes the God we were taught to follow looks a bit different from the God we discover in living life away from that with which we are familiar.
  • God values the honesty of His people. Take a look at Moses for that one: Moses mastered the art of the honest prayer and told God exactly what He was thinking. One particular exchange between them in Numbers 16 is especially beautiful to me. Go read it… See for yourself.
  • The point of the story is the point of the story. When the point of the story becomes the pursuit of the minuscule, time is wasted. Sometimes those minuscule things are important, but that doesn’t make them the point. (I’ve spent a lot of time learning this one over the last 6 months.)

Lavished


Warning: This post is a bit long. If you aren't patient, I probably won't judge you for not reading it all.

Warning: This post is a bit long. If you aren’t patient, I probably won’t judge you for not reading it all.

Can I tell you guys a story?

Two nights ago, I was afraid. I mean, I’m still afraid now, but two nights ago, my fear overwhelmed me. I got a grand total of 3 or so hours of sleep, and I was so anxious, my stomach turned itself into a bottomless pit. I spent the night eating to satiate the hunger as well as listening to Patrick Mead and the soundtrack for the HBO miniseries The Pacific.  The main theme ‘Honor‘ makes me feel like I can fly. Sue me. (If you click on the link, it’ll open a new tab that will play the song and make it sound like you are reading something monumental.)

We all have fears and want to control things so that our fear becomes irrelevant because we are human, and since I’m not some strange alien and I’m writing a human story, I sometimes allow the fear to move in and take over.

I’m afraid of loss.

I know I’m young, and I definitely don’t want to play the martyr, but I’ve lost some stuff in my life. I’ve lost very significant pieces of myself–Things that tore my heart out. Sometimes I get to this point where I just don’t want to hurt anymore; I just want to stop losing things, so I take the things I feel the desperate need to keep and I pull them in as close as I possibly can and control them, and squeeze all the drops of security out of them as I can. When I stop being able to control them and when I lose my sense of security, I end up in bed at 3 in the morning tossing, turning, and sobbing at how completely alone I feel, because I just want arms around me– holding me and telling me that it’s going to be okay. And in that place, my world stops existing outside of myself. I get trapped inside my own head, and and realize that life has become solely about me. In that place, I’m stuck inside myself, looking at the person I am, and being so completely unsatisfied. I get anxious, because continuing on the road I’m on is too safe and predictable, and how can I ever make anything of my life if I’m boring? How can I ever be someone amazing if I don’t stop to listen to other people?

When I realized I probably wasn’t going to sleep much, I nestled in, and started thinking of and praying for people like LaQuinta that I met several weeks ago at a church I’ve been to a total of 4 or 5 times. She’s a single mom with a daughter in a children’s home (She goes to church so she can see her daughter). She is a fiance to a man who goes to Wally-World on Sunday, because that’s his day off. She is, most of all, a shoe and purse lover. She was beautiful and funny, and I absolutely cannot get her out of my head. I prayed for people like beautiful Maria who inspires me to love Jesus more, people like Emily who is so strong, and has so much more going on in her life than you’d ever guess, and problems that you often forget about because she never complains, people like Nikki who is so incredibly beautiful but doesn’t know it yet, and people like Logan who is so far out of his comfort zone for a week, and you just want to tell God how much you love him because it’s 3 in the morning and you can’t tell him for fear of waking him prematurely… Now I’m rambling…

Something cool happened, though. The minute I stopped thinking about how alone I felt, and started thinking about how alone other people might feel, and the pain that other people were experiencing, once I stopped paying attention to my emptiness to tell Him that I loved these people He’s created, I felt full.

I fell asleep praying– In my Papa’s arms.

The next morning I went to church, of course irrational, very hungry, and wanting to shed tears about everything, even the apple I never ended up eating. I sat in the car with my brother Drake and told him part of the story of my restless night. When we got to church, I was reminded over and over and over of how much I’ve still got.

During this video, God talked to me. Sounds crazy, I know, but it happened. ( Go ahead and watch it. It takes a lot for me to actually include media in a blog post.)

As the video rolled, I held back happy tears as God said, “Sweetheart, let Me make you new. Let Me restore you. You can’t do it on your own. It’s too much for you.”

It’s such a relief that I don’t have to fix myself, and that’s not too say that I won’t work at changing things, but it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to control my own redemption, because if we face it, I’m sure as hell not even close to being strong enough to be something incredible. I’m breakable, and it’s a relief to know that I’ve got Someone who will help me walk with grace and love, who will redeem the messes I always seem to make.

One final thought, and then I’ll go away. An acquaintance of mine posted something about Psalm 18 on her Facebook, and I felt compelled to go read it. What I found was beautiful. It was a poem about a Father that becomes indignant on our behalf and saves us from the things that try to tear us down and beat us up. He loves us so much, that He hears us and comes down and wraps us in His arms while He rebukes the hatred and death that try to advance on us. I, for one, feel lavished when I read that.

Is not my very life at risk if I am clinging so tightly to security that I forget that He has given me the gift of life, and lavishes me regularly with His huge love? Am I not wasting myself if every step is not an adventure because I am too afraid to feel pain? I often forget that He uses the pain and makes something beautiful out of it. How? I’m not entirely sure. He’s just really talented like that.

Worth Dying For


~

Yahweh,

You are worth dying for

Do as You will with my heart

My whole being

Is Yours

~

Yahweh,

You are more than worthy

Of every bit of dignity I want to own

So let my very image

Shine Yours

~

El Shaddai,

I am undeserving

Of Your great power in me

Let it be used to glorify

Your mighty name

~

El Shaddai,

Take this sacrifice

I offer up my total self

For you, oh, Adonai

Are worth dying for.

~

God honors love


I told a baptist of my problems

She listened quite intently

Then told me some of hers

~

I told some Mennonites my pain

I shed my mask and tears

Then we poured out souls together

~

I conversed of the works of God

With my Seventh Day Adventist friends

And God continued moving

~

Church of Christ has seen my heart —

The rawness of my anxiety

And God reveals His love

~

I spoke the meaning of life

With an Atheist I know

God’s hand was working all the same.

~