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.”

 

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.

Stones.


Judgements are stones

That we hurl to kill

Though we forget

It should’ve been us.

It should’ve been us

Nailed to the wood

Paying our price

Because though we deny,

And as well as we hide,

That we are slutty servants–

Caught in adultery

It should have been us

That was mocked and beaten and scorned

Us…

Self righteous

White-washed tombs

Throwing in our money

And making our own voice heard

While the voice of Jesus whispers

Softly, steadily

“I am Love. I am Life.

Come. Follow me.”

So, my friends, I will ask you this:

Who is without sin?

You may cast the first stone.

 

Communion


“So, you bring all your history, I’ll bring the bread and wine
Oh, and we’ll have us a party where all the drinks are on me.” 

Derek Webb

Henderson, Tennessee was covered in ice on Sunday, and getting to church wasn’t terribly plausible. Some friends of a friend suggested that a few of us meet together for worship. We ended up worshiping together for almost three hours after which we moved the party to McDonald’s. It reminded me of camp back in 2012 when we sat around and told the story of Jesus and passed  bread and juice while we did so. It was a time of family, and it looked like what the world should look like all the time — People from several backgrounds, with different ideology, living different stories, stopped for a moment and intersected each others’ stories and shared a beautiful experience with a beautiful Jesus. I’m telling you, that room smelled like Jesus.

As I sat in the room absolutely caught up in the Wind that was obviously blowing as the unplanned service moved from thing to thing flawlessly and effortlessly amid copious amounts of laughter, words formed for the end of a poem I had started a few days earlier but hadn’t finished because the words that came out at the beginning weren’t what I intended them to be.

Communion

Life is a story full of mountaintops

And gashes formed in plummeting from the heights

To a certain supposed death

But along the way, and despite the bruises

We become subject to the art of sacrifice

We submit to the art of servanthood

On the mountaintops ans etched into the scars

Are brothers and sisters and love

And written on those etchings

Is the very name of Jesus:

The Unity that binds us

The definition of eternal life

Our life’s desperate pursuit

So, break bread with me

As we break ourselves to love

And pour out this wine with me

As we shed our hearts together

Come walk in Love with me.

Brave.


Brave

I want to be brave: brave enough to look at the disgusting things straight in the eye, brave enough to approach the monsters that look too scary to face, brave enough to live a beautiful story worth living.

I want to have courage enough to hurt in order that I may love, because love is not easy — it’s excruciating.

This story I am living is bigger than keeping people happy, it’s bigger than following authority, it’s bigger than being careful, it’s bigger than being watched and keeping in line.

Life is something wonderful that was created to be shared, and I don’t just want to share the pretties. I want to share the struggles and bumbles. Truth is, what I am living is messy. I don’t want order, I want beauty.

The beautiful part is this: In the mess, in the struggles and bumbles, I’m just struggling to figure this thing out, and frankly, I don’t always do such a great job of it, nor am I usually beautiful on my own. I wake up some mornings and want to kill my roommate for leaving a wet loofah on the sink in our room. Some days, I just don’t want to do what I have to do. Some days, I let a bad test score or someone laughing at me for the fact I’m praying for my mother who had bronchitis completely destroy my day. On those days, when I can’t see past myself, I pray that God will give me enough of His strength and grace to be beautiful in spite of myself.

Life is a challenge and a struggle. I intend to live it with all that I’ve got for the sake of loving and looking like Jesus, and bringing the Kingdom here: my life’s purpose is not to impress anyone.

Child of the Earth


DSC_0754-2

Child of the earth

My beloved,

When you cry

My heart cries with you

And when you smile

Your face dances

And my heart sings the song

 

Sweet gift from heaven

Darling one,

Though you have no steps

Your feet are so twisted

Let me dance for you

Though you’ve not met life

Its waters already flood your brain

Help me learn to swim

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.

~

A letter to America


Dear People of America,

I am trying to figure out what the big deal is. Are we not allowed to be civil? Are we not allowed to get along because we believe different things?

I kind of wish we could all be like the little toddlers that hang around my house during the day. They are simple.

They simply love.

They simply have fun.

Sure, they fight over toys sometimes, but once the dispute is solved, they go right back to playing together. They forget completely they they were ever arguing… They are pretty much incapable of holding grudges and harboring hate.

Can’t we just love each other?

 

I have been blessed with the most incredible group of friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We come from several denominations.

We have among us:

  • Mennonites
  • Church Of Christ
  • Non-denominational
  • Baptists
  • Presbyterians
  • And more

The cool thing about our group is this: We never argue over whose opinions are right. We just love Jesus and the people around us. I think that’s so cool… Sometimes, I wish the whole entire world knew what that was like. Just sayin’

 

People, I went to China a few years ago. I taught at an English camp. One of the things that we taught the kids that came was unity: When we all band together, we can accomplish great things. I think we should all learn that too.

My honest opinion: Instead of fighting over which fast food restaurant chain owner has the ‘right’ opinion, why don’t we like… Make peoples’ lives better?

Unless of course you want to keep fighting… If that’s the case, go ahead… Suit yourself.  But, it will most likely not make your lives very fun.

Okay. That’s about it.

 

Love,

An insignificant citizen.

These


These ears

They’re not blind

They smell the poverty around them.

They taste the hunger

And feel the need

~

These Eyes

Oh! These eyes have never been deaf

To that most distinct scent

Of hurt and loss

And hopelessness

~

My senses aren’t numb

To the world’s great lack

I possess awareness

Of what I have

And others don’t

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More than anything, I long to be here:

I long with all my heart to be in all these places, but I know that more than all of that, I want to be where God wants me to be. I don’t know where I will end up, but I do know this.

I am to radiate, to reflect, to spread God’s beautiful light as He refines my heart.

The world in all its fragility


I wish the world weren’t so fragile

I wish it wasn’t so broken.

I wish we could find a way to glue it

But I know that my wish’ll never come true

We’re too fallen

Too broken

To make sense of the mess

That we’ve all created

I suppose the only thing left

The only thing left to lean on

The only thing we can hold on to

The only thing that might help

The only thing is love.