Saturday, April 30, 2016

A letter to my dear friend:

[and perhaps, a letter to myself]
I've been thinking a lot about the ocean this week.
It's this constantly changing, very much living, thing. Its power is limitless. It lets no one pass through it without demonstrating its strength and immense beauty, its vastness & depth.
Your immense beauty, the depth of your compassion, the vastness of your strength--these are things that you deserve to show. Don't withhold them from anyone.
Be fearlessly yourself. Swim into the depths of your own dreams, knowing that when you come  back to the top, things will be so clear, so fresh, and so beautiful.
Don't be afraid to change. Day to day, you will experience high & low tides. This is called being human. The water will go in and out. Some days, the tide will be lower than others, but don't worry. It will always rise. It rises because of the constant pull of the moon; the constant pull of the things you value and love--those things will keep you afloat. They will pull you in the best direction of yourself.
Know that you hold beauty inside you. Beautiful things make their home inside your heart & mind, just like the beauty hidden beneath the waves of every ocean.
And love--you don't have to go very far or even very deep to find that beauty. It's there, just below the surface. It's aching to be seen, to be put on display.
Treasure that beauty like a prize everyone should want. Your compassion, your love for the world. Your creativity, your perspective, your selflessness--these are things that you should value.
You are vast & deep, strong & calm, bold & beautiful. Remember the ocean. Give yourself grace to plunge into your own depths. The things you will find there will surprise you, but they will not shock anyone who has already seen your own true & unique beauty. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Irish Blessing

The site we were seeing lay yards behind me, but I wanted to be alone on my last day in Ireland. Away from the crowd on my bus as they wandered through Glencree.
I saw an old Irishman with a cane walking toward the bend in the road.
Naturally, I decided to follow him.
He kept walking past the bend--he knew where he was going. I stopped just before it though because frankly, I was too overwhelmed to go any further.
The beauty of the view below me, the meaning of my solo Ireland trip, Holy Spirit's presence and goodness, the gratitude for my life, and the knowledge that the beauty in the land around me was something akin to the beauty inside of me. I felt all of it and more when I looked out at the countryside.
It was too much to keep going, so I stopped. I climbed onto the top of the fence behind me, sat down, and cried. I cried for the hardships I've pressed through, for the bravery that has pushed me further up and into grace, for the beauty I've been fortunate to see and experience.
I didn't have much time to cry or to be overwhelmed though because I had to get back to the bus. I had to keep moving. There was more ahead for us. More wonder to see that day.
Once everyone was on the bus, we set out on the same road I had just walked.
We passed the bend.
I remember being so disappointed as the bus turned the curve. I was so mad because the view beyond that bend? God, was it marvellous.
Why couldn't I have just kept walking? Why didn't I believe for beauty on the other side?
I can't help but think about that day now as I am walking toward another bend in my life. My life, which has basically been one long transition since graduating high school.
The thing is, the past months, the past year--they've held some overwhelming things for me. So much beauty, so much growth, so many realisations of my worth and my gifts. I've been able to see a really stunning view.
There's a bend ahead though, and I just know that I have to keep going. Because there's even more beauty on the other side. I want so badly to sit on the fence here and cry because of all the wonderful, hard things I've seen and done the past year. I'm so proud. So excited and nervous and eager and terrified.
I am overwhelmed.
But I have to keep going forward. I have to, like the old Irishman, trust that what I'm hoping for, what I'm expecting, what I know to be more beautiful, will be waiting just past the bend for me.
It will shock me, it will move me, it will be more and less than everything and all that I expect from it.
Here's to the road ahead. May it rise up to meet me.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Harder Lessons, Deeper Love

It's been awhile since I posted something. School and life just consume me and my time. I've had too much fun goofing off with Maggie to find/write meaningful things.
That said, the past month has been incredibly difficult. Full of struggles and confusion, weariness and heavy boots (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reference. Go read it. Now.).
I am still doubting and questioning. But so much of my doubt these days is directed at myself.
I am constantly asking whether or not I am good enough. For Davidson. For my family. For my friends. For anyone to love.
It consumes me. And I become fearful and anxious.
In the midst of a lot of turmoil this week (the details of which I will spare you), my heart was wrung and broken and frustrated and angry and so many different things. Old wounds and new wounds, opened and torn, exposed and ugly, hurting and bleeding.
I told a friend that these wounds never really seem to heal.
I probably sound really dramatic right now (which I am), but this is my heart, and it's the best way I know how to describe what I feel.
In times like this when I am so vulnerable and am just aching for some reassurance of hope and love, I am so hesitant to run toward Christ.
What is that about?
I won't ever understand it, except to say that my broken and sinful heart is untrusting and unfaithful. I cling to the hope that I will be good enough to fix things.
Tonight I grieved over my inadequacy, and that before everyone, and especially before God I will never be good enough.
And yet--as inadequate as I am--He loves me.
Purely. Simply. Completely. Perfectly. He knows I cannot return this love. Not in this life. But He loves me anyway. Beyond my comprehension.
And in Christ, I am made perfect. My inadequacy, my shortcomings are no longer a thought because He makes me righteous.
How quickly I forget these truths. I actually run away from them. But like the perfect Father, Husband, and Spirit that He is, God pursues me. I know that He loves me as a Father--I am a beautiful daughter, one whom He created lovingly. I know He loves me as a husband should--I am part of the beautiful body of Christ, His bride. And I know that His Spirit, that Being which knows God's innermost thoughts, loves me and interceded for me tonight when I could not move my heart to pray. He spoke to me in my weakness and reminded me of the immeasurable, unrestrained grace and love of God. A dear friend reminded me tonight (praise God for faithful friends!) that "the love of God is stronger." He is stronger than my weakness, His grace is sufficient in my weakness, and His love preserves me.
So humbled and grateful.

"As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!"
--Psalm 40:11

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of the Lord."
—John Paton

Thanks, Kristin.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today I am grateful....

...that my bestie has a car. And that we can get out of Davidson when we need to.

It's the little things, right?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Spirit

"For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God."
--1 Corinthians 2:11-12

I rediscovered this passage on Friday, and it blew me away. The past month or so I have been reminded that my God is three persons--the holy Trinity. I feel like I focus so much on God as my Father and Christ as my Savior, and I just sort of acknowledge that the Spirit is there, but don't really pay much attention to what He does or is doing.
Praise God for grace and that He reveals himself to us.
I am seeing the Spirit work in so many ways in my life and in others. I am seeing people lead Spirit-filled lives. Every sermon at church has talked about the Spirit and His work in us, His presence in us.
So when I reread these verses in 1 Corinthians, the Spirit had already prepared my heart. I was so encouraged. Who knows a person's thoughts and heart but his own spirit? So God's spirit knows all of his thoughts, his whole heart. And God graciously, mercifully, lovingly gives us His Spirit--the One who knows Him best. He gives us the Spirit, and He lives in us, revealing the Father's heart to us.
What a glorious gift! And I know that is just the surface of the power of the Spirit.
Grateful to be learning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Terrible and Beautiful"

“‘Who are you?’ asked Shasta. ‘Myself,’ said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again ‘Myself,’ loud and clear and gay: and then the third time ‘Myself,’ whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.
The mist was turning from black to gray and from gray to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink.
Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.
He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.
Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion.
And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia.
But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything. The High King above all kings stooped toward him.
Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met.
Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared.
He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy in The Chronicles of Narnia (New York: HarperCollins, 1954/1994), 281-282.

Thanks, Nick Roark for this post.
We serve an awesome God.