Monday, November 7, 2016

Finding Solid Ground in the Janitor's closet

Some days are purely emotional.

There's that odd combination of work-related and life related stress that just puts your senses on overload.
Think about it: you have a crap ton of work on your desk, and there's some sort of random beeping noise coming from a malfunctioning fire alarm. Throughout the course of the day, the most ridiculous things happen. Some are good, some make you angry. Some are laughable, some bring you to tears.

You have conversations with your boss and there's more work to do.
Life at home might be a little crazy....
And relationships, who knows what's happening anymore?

Today I had one of those days.
Life was on overload and I couldn't quite keep up with its supersonic speed. I was limping, time was strolling slowly through the day like it was a Sunday afternoon instead of a Monday.... but the life things. Like bullets that I could see from a mile away but couldn't dodge, they just kept coming.

None of them hit me directly. But I still broke a little.

Naturally, I found myself sitting on a bucket in a janitor's closet of our building.
You've got to do strange things to find quiet sometimes- but sanity is important.

A few deep breaths, in and out.
Finally the tears streaming down my face, what a relief.
Thoughts still swirling in a confusion around my head, and I settle on one thing,


With a breath the headache is gone.
Leaning my head against the concrete wall, I look at the line of dry, clean mop heads.
They know their purpose- they hang, spaghetti-like, ready to immerse themselves in bleach water and floors marked by the passing of parents, kids, staff...

That's it, I think.
I have never once doubted the Lord. My whole life I have trusted Him, and trusted who He is.
I know that His opinion of me has never changed, and that His love for me is unending.
I know that He has claimed me before all of time. I even saw it once- the Lord, mighty in power and sitting on his heavenly throne. He stood up before all of creation and all of time. In righteous anger and perfect firmness and truth, he confronted my enemies. With a mighty stamp of His staff He sent ripples through space, declaring once and for all, "She is mine!"

He claimed me, He claimed all of us who would also claim him.

This I have done my whole life. I have always claimed him.
I am not perfect, but I have run to him and lifted him high.

But I have been guilty of one thing.
I have embraced a false humility, and allowed myself to be trodden upon.
I have embraced my king, but I have not stood up and declared who I am.

By His blood, I am:
         Not Alone
            Marked with Hope
                A Prisoner of Hope
                    Redeemed from all my sin and shame- ALL OF IT (even what I still struggle with)
                        I am set free, liberated
                          I am no longer a slave
                            I am not an orphan or a castoff
                               I am uniquely created in the image of the Uncreated Creator
                                   I have been brought into His presence
                                      By His love I have heard His voice
                                          I am one who knows God
                                             I am His, and He is mine....

The list goes on.
And it isn't just for me, you know.
It goes like this. Some friends of mine have been using the hashtag #where'smyground?
What is your foundation, your "worth living for," your "this is who I am, and nothing you say or do can change it?" Where is the place that you will make a stand?

In the janitor's closet today, I realized that my ground can't just be knowing who God is, or even just knowing Him. You see, He stood for me. He stands with me. He goes before me and behind me....

I am not going to sit quietly anymore.
I know where my ground is.

It starts here:


Now, Where is YOUR ground?

Monday, October 24, 2016


On the surface again...

A gasp for air- not desperate, but refreshing.
Into the lungs it goes, ignoring the wetness all around.

Out of murky depths I had come.
Now I tread, enjoying the fresh air...
each breath a gift.
Finding myself again- surfacing from the depths.

Had they been all that bad?
No, the explorer cries.
We saw great wonders.
The colors down there.... *sigh*
....and the sights!

But it got murky after a time.
I got distracted-
Forgot who I was with, where my line was.
I lost myself in the mire.

A tug brought me back.
Like a call to the heart, and my body remembered.
My lungs responded- a need to breathe, to feel, 59 see...

My feet found the bottom, the depth of the pit.
Beautiful sights- how can these compare?
To sweet air...

In, and out it flows.

And I am myself again.

No longer distracted.
I remember the cord,
I see my lifeline.
And I see... the horizon, ahead.

Unseen, but still it calls-
Home awaits. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RVs 'n things that shine in the sky

Sometimes it's nice to climb things.

Ladders, mountains... steps are ok, but they don't quite hold the same challenge.

And not job ladders.
To be honest, those don't impress me at all.

I'm thinking more of the kind of where you have to pull yourself up,
Make yourself breathe hard.

The kind of climb that has a view of the top.
Preferably one including mountains.

Not that I'm picky. It's just nice to be sometimes:
To get somewhere and know that you made it,
Full of thankfulness hat your body could, that your mind doesn't have to...

To just be.
That's not the question, it's the joy.

It lets you be who you really are.

One rung, and you feel your muscles pull.
Two, and the cars go by, wooshing tire on gravelly pavement.
Three, and the light sinks behind the hills.
Four, almost there....

......a few more,

And there it is....

The top.

Does anyone else appreciate the view like I do?
Or is it just me-
Me and the lights shining on quiet small towns already asleep...
Me and RVs with rooftop seats to view the night sky-show.
Me and the dogs....and the cars....and my thoughts.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'm judging you.

I'm judging you.
Just that phrase probably made your blood boil.

Angry yet?
At least a little annoyed?

If you aren't, think for just a few minutes about the last time your blood really boiled.
Maybe it was a righteous anger. If so, good for you.
I'll be the first to say that usually my anger is not super 'righteous.'

Whether it's something on the news or in politics or work or some other instance, we all know what it is that makes your blood pressure spike and the wrinkles on your face to get deeper.

Maybe it was Hillary or Trump. Maybe an 'insensitive' Facebook post... maybe a 'bad call' made by a sports referee.

"So,"  you say. "So what if  I get angry," you say, (feeling defensive yet?). "Why are you bringing it up? I'm only human..."

Sure. Defensiveness, anger, frustration, callousness....hatred... these things are all very human of us.

Sadly, routine doesn't make anything easier. Or acceptable.
In other words: You, me- we're called to something More.

One of my favorite quotes is the "love them anyway" quote by Mother Theresa. To summarize, Mother Theresa basically says that another person's actions will never give you an excuse to do anything but love them- "because in the end, it wasn't between you and them anyway." In the end, 85 is between mankind and their Creator.

So often in life we are tempted to look at one side of a situation and make a quick judgment... this is in all aspects of life- from politics to civil rights to what your perspective is like on where you are at.

I know I'm still a work in progress.
I'm not judging you, because I'm guilty of the same.

 But we're called To more. We exist for more than some carnal rage burning within us. We have a greater purpose than to just be frustrated or upset or depressed or apathetic to/about the world around us.

     "....We  have a responsibility to succumb to empathy. To lay your pride and will down and attempt
         to understand the pain and suffering and happiness and banal emotions of your fellow humans. I
         say responsibility because you don't have to do it but it will make you a better human to do it.

         ....We've replaced turning the other cheek and rising above with wallowing in our own self."
        (Walter S Dyer IV)

I'm  not judging YOU.  I am just as guilty of disregarding others as the next person....I'm judging your fruit, and mine- what we produce. If we continue to preoduce violence and strife in the world around us (or in our own thoughts).... then we're doing something wrong.

So stop.
Practice empathy- start by listening. Don't say anything the first few times a response occurs.
Listening is an easy way for you/us to love one another.
Listening tells the other person- "you're valuable."

Let's rise above our instincts and value others above ourselves.

Start by listening to those you despise, and considering the heart of the "other side." 
Maybe you'll learn something. final note: 
Who is on the Throne? 
I tell you this, that though the earth moves out of its course, He will not change or even be shaken. 

So be still. 
Live as children, not as slaves. 
Speak in love, not fear. 
Or don't speak at all- and just love. 

Listen well....

What is the sound? 

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Stage is Set

Today I was guilty of letting all the little things distract and disgust me.
For a moment, I forgot who I was...
And I let the world around me dictate my actions.

I have worshipped in the past, even when the night was heavy and the pain was great.
Why is now any different?

The dawn is about to break.
The battle is upon us-
Now is not the time to sit and mope.
Now is the time to unify, as sons and daughters.

A united front focused on Him will become
An impenetrable wall, and darkness will
Shrink from his light upon our eyes and faces,
Though we are but reflections of Him,
Darkness will not stand.

To war, let's go!
Not of flesh and blood...
To dream, to gaze upon his face, to know him.
To hope, to share in peace, to unite in love,
To see the broken restored...

Yes, this is why we fight.

For to love is not to take,
But to lay down your life for another.

Take up your arms, oh soldiers of the faith!
Stand strong, prisoners of Hope!

Arm in arm we will stand,
Hand in hand and love on all,
His bride has come to battle.
Arrayed in splendor, with restoration in hand,

She calls aloud, and the earth listens-
"Look to the King!"
For He is mine, and I am His.

And so the shaking begins.
Who will stand?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

When its just one of Those days, and you can't win

Sometimes there are days when moving on seems impossible, and time just gets you down. So keep trusting. It's worth it.

Remember what our God has done. He is the one who promises rain to the barren land, who stopped the enemies of His people and cut them down. He is the one who is with us in our exhaustion and our struggle. He's the one who set the stars in the sky so we would see light in the darkness, and the birds to whistle in the day to remind us of the beauty He has made.

For most of my life I have asked myself who I want to be when I am 5 years down the road, where I want to be and what I want to be doing.

Now I am at a crossroads of life.

Moving on and pressing forward.
Every day I have a chance to quit. Or to keep going Anyway.

I wish I could say that I keep going.
But on my own usually I quit really hard.
I end up flat on the floor, staring up at the ceiling, wondering where my life is going.
.... Crying in the laundry room...

An emotional wreck, really.
But then...
.... Then comes that voice of Someone who loves me, despite all of my mistakes and failures and plain old stupidity. Despite all the hurts that I carry like a dirty bandage that just needs to be thrown away, He loves me still.

In the midst of my every day, petty frustrations- you know them, the ones that drive you nuts and make you lose sleep and... and the ones that you don't quite remember what it was you were frustrated about. In the midst of THOSE, this gentle Man comes, in all His Divine State, and speaks to me.

His Spirit witnesses to my spirit.

WOOSH- a breath, a rush of air. Sweet relief, and peace returned.

Focused on my Jesus,
Hand in hand with Him-

So I get up, and I move forward.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What Love Has Done

This isn't a post about romance, even though I'll admit I'm a diehard romantic.
 I love slap-happy, tear-jerking, totally cheesy love stories.
And I love real ones.

Can I tell you what love has done to me?
Love gives my eyes power to look past just me, my concerns, my hopes and dreams and worries.
Love sees hearts and delights in them, as they are.

Love makes me tell my best friend that I love her 7 times just today (her count, not mine)...
Love causes me to be that crazy person that doesn't hate very many things in life, because each joy, even each trial, points me to even more love and even more joy.
Love keeps me awake at night, petitioning my Beloved for the ones on my heart.
Love causes me to look at insecurity, at sickness, at trauma, and bless the One who reaches out a hand to help...
Love allows me to forgive the ones who brought on the pain, and
even to hope the same Life for them, that now finds itself in me.

Love makes my heart bloom.
But my love is not forced.
It was a gift to me-
One that I chose first to receive.

And I do! Oh so joyfully! This love has given me breath. It has given me hope and dreams and a Reason. This love has given me definition, purpose...

But this love is also mine to give (& yet simultaneously to keep! What a joy!)
I choose to love.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Goodnight Moon!

Goodnight moon, goodnight stars!

Such meaningless and silly words from a kids book that the little ones I watch Love for me to read to them.
But is it really meaningless?

Think about it.
"Good" "night"

There's an idea stirring in my brain. Perhaps even the darkness can be good. There can be beauty there, not just fear. I mean, I know I sleep the deepest, hardest, and longest nights when I am in the darkest rooms- those completely void of light can bring the greatest rest.

Could this literal idea of rest in the darkness translate to our spiritual lives? Or our mental, emotional ones?

How would one regain that childlike innocence to look the Darkness in the face and say "goodnight," dismissing the evil with a sweet carefreeness?

Then my mind wanders again.... I find myself sitting in a dark room, eyes about to close, comforted by the storm.

But it wasn't always so. I remember when the storm used to terrify me. I remember when the dark nights used to paralyze me, when I couldn't sleep without a night light.

So what's changed? Is it just that I grew up?
No, there's something more. I learned to trust my foundation. I have learned that even if the storms cause power outages, I will never be lost in the dark, for I have a light. I have learned  that even if the storms come, my good shelter won't falter from the moisture or the wind. The roaring thunder will not shake the protective walls of a well built refuge.

A storm rages outside my window.
I find myself in utter darkness.
And yet, it is a good night.
The moon, the stars, whether or not I see them, stand as silent witnesses to something beyond the storm.
The walls around me stand, unflappable.
The sun, half way around the world, seems to whisper a promise.
The light will come back at its appointed time.
But the dark has the same Ruler as the day.... So I will not fear.

It IS a good night.
Rest is surely a gift....
One that can come even in darkness.
....perhaps, especially in darkness.

And my mind remembers the poem- you know, the greatest ever written.
"...through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me...."
Could one be comforted in darkness? Could rest come in despair?

And another line.... "He restores my soul...."
And the final line- "...shall follow me all the days of my life...."
They don't specify- on good days or bad? During the night or the light?

Could it be, that our bodies are made to rest in the darkness of night, so that our spirits can understand a deeper truth?
If He is Lord over all, could He not give rest in the darkness....?

Amazed by the thoughts coursing through my head,
Of One who can use darkness? Does this also mean He can use chaos, despair?

Hm. Enough to think about tomorrow. Now the night beckons.
I hear the whisper of the Ruler of the Day and the Lord of the Night- "Rest, little one...."
And I'm back to where I started-
       "Goodnight moon. Goodnight stars. Let us all rest together, knowing that even when the moon and stars fail to govern the night, it is yet good. For Another King reigns over all, and He is good! So good night, good night, for it is indeed just that kind of night!"

Thursday, February 18, 2016

and He spoke

I lift my head up.
Air has returned to my lungs.
My heart remembers You--
It has not forgotten Your promises.

A friend sees and asks.
They look to my care, and without noticing touch my heart.
In that gentle moment, I see You,
And my heart remembers its Hope.

Make the hope firm.
Tread again the steady paths of the wise.
He says, "Listen, I will speak to you."

My heart silences its noise, its fears are quieted.
With the eager anticipation of a child, the desperation of one who knows I'd be lost without Him, I sit.

I am still.

I wait on my God.

He is my Hope, my Deliverer.

And then He speaks.
My head lifts to listen better.
From somewhere in the distance I hear a song
.... it is my heart singing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The day I lost control and it was the best thing ever

So, yeah. I'm not in control. And I'm ok with that.

Before I start, can I just clear something up?
Feeling humbled does not mean I feel less,
only that someone Else has become more.
Someone greater than myself has risen in my esteem,
so my thoughts are turned towards Him.

This isn't a classic romance, ok?
It's a sweeter one than the world can give.
And my heart has been touched in the deepest places.

Want to hear?

The Lord has humbled me.
He took me up from the places I had set myself.
He took the control out of my hands, and in its place gave me freedom.
I know it sounds contradictory, but it is the truest thing I've ever said.

The Lord took me out of control and gave me freedom.


He humbled me.
He turned my thoughts from me to Him.

In my arrogance, I thought I could control them.
I could tell the people what to think, and they would listen to me.
And they did- many were swayed by my fancy words, my 'wise' speech.
But the sound of my wisdom rang with a pang in my ears.
It was not true, but somehow off pitch, off kilter, lost..

He humbled me.
He closed my mouth and opened my heart.
He is teaching me to listen, to love, to really truly LISTEN.
And I am learning...

I'm finding that my word is not the final word, nor is it always the best.
I'm finding that I really just don't know it all, and that is actually a good thing.
I'm finding that I still have a lot to learn.

But that's not all.

The Lord humbled me again.
He turned calmed my rage and ministered to my soul.

In my pain, the hatred and violence came from my breast.
In my anger, I wanted to destroy, to loathe, to conquer, to shun.
I wanted to hate.
But the hatred left a bad taste in my mouth, the bitterness made the bile rise up, the anger made me swoon.
This too, was not of God.

So the Lord humbled me.
He spoke to the unforgiveness, and He called out my folly.
He challenged me to more, He said I was capable of more than hate and mindless rage.
He said I was capable of love.

Then He loved me.
He showed me love through people- even those I was supposed to serve, they began to speak words over me. The Lord used those I was 'supposed' to minister to- He used them to touch my heart.
He reminded me that He saw, that He cared, and that He had made me for more.
He cleansed me, washed me in water, and made me new.

So I gave my rage to him.
I gave up control.

But still He humbled me.
"Your hard work, your image, those are Mine too," He said.
So He took them, and He molded me into something.
He took the determination I had, and gave me a perseverance to endure past exhaustion, to even find rest in the storms.
He took all my skills and talents, and melded them with His.
He discarded the waste- it fell off in the fire.

What need have I of image? of status? of recognition?
I have been recognized by the Most High God.
Called His Own, given a place, trusted with His work.

He has humbled me to my core,
and He has made me His.
I am not my own, I was bought with a price.
Yet what freedom is mine! What Peace! What love!

I have lost control.
I cannot do it.
I am humbled by my smallness.

Yet the Lord!
He stands enthroned on High,
and He- He cares even for me.
In the valleys and on the mountains He has walked with me.
Through the storms He has carried me.
He has tended my heart.

I am not in control.
I don't think I ever really was...
But today, I recognize it again.

Yet I have hope.
I look to my Jesus, the One who is glorified over all!
Surely, the greatest reward is to be with Him.

So, "Return to your fortress, you prisoners of Hope!" (Zechariah 9:12)
The Lord Himself is coming.
Today is His day.

Not mine.
Isn't that the best?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Confessions of a Total Control Freak

Yeah, so I'm a control freak.

Don't think so? Get this: I've been freaking out about my future. Why not? I mean, I am a senior in college, I'm starting a new job this summer, and I'm leaving the places I have known for things that are totally new, and that I have no idea how God is going to use.

Still not seeing the control freak? Well, in my need for a feeling of stability, of control, I completely rearranged and redecorated my room, got frustrated with every person who even partially disagreed with me on anything, and considered all variety of insane things from getting another tattoo or piercing to dying my hair crazy colors.

Yikes. Like, maybe this is not a big deal for half the world, but please understand I am the girl that hates change. My parents got a new car when I was a kid, and I wept, hugged the old car, and wept a lot more. I hated the very idea that our sweet little red minivan was going away. It was a constant, a norm. So I freaked out, and I cried. OVER A CAR.

Pathetic, right?

Yeah, well, the thing is... I realized today that I've been doing that all over again. Seeing change coming up and freaking out about what is beyond my control. And honestly, I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

Want a diagnosis? Ask yourself a few questions: have you been feeling empty, frustrated, dissatisfied, or ridiculously exhausted, even when you aren't sick or sleep deprived? Feeling anxious over nothing, furious over the littlest things, or disgusted over aspects of life that aren't the way YOU would do them?

If you said yes to any of the above, you are potentially either depressed, sick, or struggling with a case of the control freak. If you feel sick, please just get some sleep and go to the doctor. If you feel at the level of depression, you need to talk to a counselor. Trust me, it will help, and there is no shame in seeking help. For the rest of us who are struggling to control EVERYTHING, well, we also need help. Again, trust me. This is my honest confession from real life struggles. You will not be able to fix everything on your own. The fact is, when we try to control things, we are trying to operate outside of where God put us.

In our frustration, we try to have things ordered just so. But here's a tip about God: He's not a fan of dictators (which is why He GAVE us freedom, rather than mandate that we serve him... but let's not go there, that's a whole other discussion).

Look, I am a visual person. So let's visualize. No one ever pictured life as an iron or a stone wall, right? That would be hard. The smooth edges are just too much to picture life happening on. I mean, you can't rationalize this video of a gurgling baby with a WALL. It just doesn't look like life. Yet, when we try to control, we try to create this perfect thing....

Guys.This control thing- it just won't work. STAHP. (I see all of you who cringed at my spelling. Your disgust has been noted).

So what is life? Well, generally, life has been associated with water, wells, rivers.... Flowing water is not just important to where men have settled their homes,  but it has come to represent what life looks like. Rivers are my favorite- they are messy, windy, straight, crackly, bubbly, and emotional (seriously). They can be smooth and calm, and the next second raging, frothy, and beautiful. And sometimes the rivers even fall -- for most of us, this is our favorite part.

Niagara falls. Anyone want to go? SO BEAUTIFUL.  
And I'm getting sidetracked. BUT THEY ARE SO PRETTY.

We're all afraid of the fall. This is why we complain so much about life flowing like a river. We long for adventure but freak out when it actually comes with all of its high mountains, smooth rivers, low valleys, and waterfalls.... Because when we get to the valley or the falls, we can no longer control the course of our river. 

So we set up camp, and we stop. Like stupid, stubborn idiots we stick in the valley or at the top of the falls because we are too afraid of what we can't control. 

But what if we gave up the need to control? In the Church, we call this humility. Its this insane process of acknowledging that you can't, or maybe that you aren't enough. 

Incredibly painful, but so worth it. It will help the frustration, ease the anxiety. You'll be able to be content, instead of pacing your room or feeling like some crazy unknown MUST change. 

You'll be able to sit, and be still. 

It's when you are still that you hear the babbling brook, winding its way through the deepest valleys. For those who are walking with the Spirit of God, this rush of life comes as a soft whisper, a worship song, a scripture, a word from a friend, or any variety of ways that our awesomely creative Creator chooses to use. 

So please, join me in laying down that ridiculous need to control. Calm down for a while. Take some time away from the busyness of the day to relax, to let go, and to worship God. It will be worth it. 

Seriously. So pretty. Calming pictures help too ;)