Saturday, December 29, 2012

At the end of this road

It was a dark and stormy night...

Unlike the previous uses of this one-liner, this tale is one of warmth and victory, not horror nor tragedy, though I initially thought it would happen that way.

I gazed out the window of my workplace with worry gaining a restrictive hold on the easy breathing of my lungs and the free beating of my heart. The white fluffy stuff that usually crafted a winter wonderland was creating a nightmare; it rained down so furiously it seemed that the night sky was filled with more white than black, and its residence on the roads was accumulating at an alarmingly fast rate, and the parking lot served as an ice rink for out-of-control cars and screeching tires.

And I still had 3 hours to go before I could leave and attempt the looming terror of the slippery and dangerous drive home.
 If was bad now, what would it be like then?
 Would my workplace mind if I just slept over?


As the time came for me to venture out into the freezing night, I took on a new spirit I knew was necessary to make the drive: one that was not my own, one that was stronger, better, wiser, braver. One that trusted that God can do all things if I even have a small ounce of faith that He will deliver me.

I drove carefully, not exceeding 25 mph. A slip here, a slide there, carefully maneuvering my wheel, each move having an intention of safety, a spirit of caution. I acknowledged that spirit of courage each moment, with each rising wave of fear about to crash my calm, it was subdued.

I believed every second, and every second He saved me.

As other drivers far less fearful and cautious than I whizzed past my vehicle on the highway, nearly sending me into snow banks, sending my pulse into wild flutters, I stayed focused and faithful in something I could not see, but in a warmth I could feel far more than the icy winds and frozen droplets from the sky.

As I drove through miracle after miracle of being saved from frightening circumstances battling invisibly in the air, I finally reached my driveway. Spirit shaken, I steadily let a sigh of victory escape my lips.  

Greater still was the welcome I received.

Before I could even exit my car, my door swung open and the smile of my anxious father waiting up into the wee hours of the morning confronted me. The door swung open as I carefully worked up the steps, and before I could enter the warmth of my house, the warmth of an embrace surrounded me. "I am so glad you made it. I was worried about you."

And all I could think was, this is what it will be like at the end of this scary and daunting life journey; after a lifetime of believing I will more than make it through and staying focused on faith; when the doors of my Father's kingdom swing open and I am welcomed into His arms. When I am home.

Home at last.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Story

I hear the story of the cross and I slowly let a truth more sparkling than the lights clinging to my Christmas tree shock my heart.

I think not of an innocent child in a manger, babbling the nonsensical language of an infant, reaching towards a clear night sky.

I think of a whipped and bludgeoned man. I think of blood and gore strewn across flesh so severely it makes me cry. It makes my stomach churn. It is not the image we let inhabit our minds in this most jolly of seasons and cheery of times.

I let a single, shivering tear drip down my face; a gush more warm than the fire crackling beneath stockings hung and Santa figurines displayed on my living room mantle.

How have I forgotten?

How have I lost sight?

How have I denied myself the true joy of Christmas, resting not in a baby boy, but a man mangled beyond repair, a man who felt more pain than any other on earth as he felt the sins of every human that would ever walk this planet.

So this is it. So this is where it comes from!

That sought after joy. That hope that we all long for. We race around the mall in search of it. We have lists upon lists of expectations for the season: I have to bake the cutest Christmas cookies this world has ever seen, I have to watch those animated films I used to love as a kid with hot cocoa in hand, I have to be crafty and have the most dazzling of trees, the most gorgeous of decor. 

Those things are all sweet when simply done, but sweeter still is the heart behind it.

The heart that began to beat that day we celebrate and the heart that would cease beating after being crucified.

And the heart that would beat again, anew, resurrected in all of God's glory, stirred with the salvation that will bring that fulfillment we seek every Christmas. The disappointment is gone. The expectations are so belittled, so insignificant. 

Christmas lies at the cross. Rejoice! Emmanuel! The joy has been found!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Favorites

'Twas the Friday before Christmas and early morning in her house,
One creature was stirring, and it wasn't a mouse,
It was Rachel, who had just begun her Christmas break,
Sipping her coffee, wondering why she was already awake,
'Oh well,' she sighed, in her snuggie with a mug of eggnog,
'I suppose I should write a post on my blog.'

Here are some of my favorite things from this week!

Psalm 94:19
My encouragement in this crazy and wonderful week was Psalm 94:18-19.

I got a bottle of this sweet-scented perfume and I have been getting compliments ever since! Jessica Simpson's "Fancy Love" is a winner in my book!

The story in 2 Kings 4 hit home for me. It's about believing in God's blessings and clinging to him in disappointments. The woman of the story is inspiring and her actions are certainly relatable to anyone in their walk of faith!

The fact that this exists makes me happy! I tried Chocolate Tea at my young adult's group and it was divine!

 Taylor Swift's "Begin Again," is such a sweet music video. Definitely satisfies the hopeless romantic in me!
In my quiet time I've been listening to a lot of Sara Groves while I write. Her music is beautiful.

Easily one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time! "It's a Wonderful Life" indeed!

I had a lovely dinner date with my mother at Olive Garden, and ending it with a tiramisu dessert could not have been more scrumptious!

I was elated to receive my copy of "Darling Magazine," today. It's a refreshing change from the sometimes materialistic, shallow stuff you see on newsstands.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Gift of Tears

Joy leaked from my eyes this morning for the first time after today's doctor visit.

With each drip of the happy tears, I felt overwhelmed by the miracle of my living, belittled in the greatness of what God had accomplished.

When we say miracles do not happen today like they once did in the Bible stories;

that fairy-tale-like talk of parting seas and feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread;

we are missing something.

We miss what our eyes fail to see these days: the miracles all around us,

masked in our cynicism

clothed by the tired attitudes

we shield our hearts with as disguise the fleeting moments of wonder that stitch this life together, calling them things like,




My  miracle came today in the form of a blood test that acknowledged the return of health and nourishment to my bloodstream after housing a drought from these simple nutrients which allow my body to live.

My miracle came in the realization that my bones no longer stuck out at me when I gazed at myself in the mirror, when they once pointed at me like daggers threatening inevitable death.

My miracle arrived with the flowing gifts of rational thinking that come with a brain being fed by a healthy diet, and acknowledging that God had made me a warrior equipped with the weapons to defeat the disordered thoughts that try, and will eventually fail, to break through my armor every now and again. 

My miracle was the ability to share in those happy tears with the one who fed me my "medicine" of food: a mother whose love goes beyond the expanses of what I deserve or could ever imagine receiving.

We drove home from the hospital that day laughing at our spurts of emotion, and as the real world passed by with each wheel turning, the same world I viewed on the way to the hospital, I could not help but feel like I was in a different reality.

One where anything is possible. That was the moment I felt the truth settle in and call my soul its home.

That was the greatest miracle of all.

Monday, December 17, 2012




The simplest form of praising You, and accepting Your gifts to us.

And in that marvelous moment of vitality, we feel the miracle of life being blown into our lungs; the fundamental reminder that the most powerful moments of You are felt and not seen, just like our invisible breaths. 



It is then that I realize these breaths that belong to You are the most subtle indicators that we are made for You!

As I draw You in and let you escape with these blessings of breaths, I silently plead You to use them, let me acknowledge that they are Your work. 

I am suddenly ignited, all oxygen in me combusts with a longing, a joy, a realization that this love is where I belong, and the way I was meant to exist, and the steps that I must walk in. 




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace.

How sweet the feeling.

Knowing that I am held and kept by love in the form of a being

That I am chosen to be a vessel of light, like the glow of a midnight vigil candle flickering  by the miracle of the moment. 

That my breathing my carry words more beautiful than my human heart could conjure, that I may indulge in the whipped cream that floats atop the warm, melty hot cocoa of a life in God's presence.

That my thoughts might bubble up toward the heavens in praise, 

a joy so explosive it's sparkling fragments overflow from my own soul's capacity, in such a way I cannot keep it to myself.

That God's life is visible and felt in such a stunning variety of thoughts and colors, interactions and soft touches, gentle and moving, sounds and silent sensations, 

and all I must do is dance through this earth, the playground He created for His children, searching for Him everywhere, 
playfully discovering His wordless love letters one by one from the simplest hints to the most undenyable giants.

How lovely, how invigurating and alive, is the feeling of being chosen by God. 

"Remember that the Lord has chosen the righteous for His own,
                               and He hears me when I call to Him."
                                                                            -Psalm 4:3

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Thank-You Note to My Protector

"But You, O Lord, are a shield around me;
                    My glory, and the one who lifts my head."
                                                    -Psalm 3:3 (GNT)

As I sit engulfed by your sudden sunlight, thrown at me through the window like your revelation shines in my once darkened mind, I realize how You work in all Your might to protect me.

How You busily fight off all that threatens my heart and soul and body; they swarm at me like unseen wasps, darting more swiftly than hot bullets, yet they evaporate before they reach me. 

Yet it is not like some magic trick where they disappear into thin air with the greatest of ease ladies and gentlemen! 

                                      You take the shots fired at me!

Letting all the pain of the steaming metal drill into your flesh, leading you to bleed, injuring your blessed body, injuring your beautiful vitality.

You continuously take the pain for me, unbeknownst to my naivety as I bound through a world searching for ways to trip me with misfortune.

                                     Yet you do even more than spare me.

You lift me higher, a springboard of all the things that would propel me; all the things I cannot possess myself:

Your noble confidence

The strength of a Warrior

The glow of Your royalty

The dignity of a Hero

The joy of a Child

                                               and the saving knowledge that it does not all end here!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Safe and Sacred Place

I crawl into our quiet time like a child into her pillow fort.

A nook,

A hideaway,

swaddled in You as I face the storm that batters at my window pane.

Then, light.

Cool, gray misty light pours down upon me like your grace,
flowing like rain,
as Your delicious silence is lapped up by my ears.

I am uncovered,

You pry open my heart in saving intensity and see all the ugly;
All the stains and scars I've caused myself.

Then, You gently wash with the waters of your Word,
cleaning me out so I may attain a level of blissful intimacy and purest comfort in knowing

that you withhold nothing and there is nothing I can hide from You here

Where the air is scented with holy,

Where the climate is peace,

Where the noise is the melody of soothing solitude,

and all I can see is You.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Miracle of Mornings

Wow. I slept for almost 10 hours last night.

I don't even know how I got tired enough to sleep for 10 hours!! Maybe it was the craziness of work or the warmth of my cozy bed restraining my will to get up, but man did it feel good!

"I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me."
-Psalm 3:5

10 hours is a long time. 10 hours is a full day of school plus a track meet and dinner when I was in high school. 10 hours is a road trip to Virginia. 10 hours would make me enough money at work for almost two tanks of gas! A lot could happen in 10 hours.

When we sleep we lay down in utter vulnerability. Think of all that could happen in a night's rest, especially my mammoth one that lasted for 10 hours. In 10 hours a tree could fall on my house. In 10 hours my house could have been broken into and everything been stolen. In 10 hours I could have had a sudden health issue come to the surface in the form of a stroke or heart attack.

Now, I'm not trying to sound all doom and gloom here. Quite contrary, I'm rejoicing in the fact that I woke up. When you think about how the Lord guards us in the night, when we are completely vulnerable and helpless in our slumber, it could potentially blow your mind and change your day!

Even better than that concept of incredible protection is the waking up part: the morning. Upon opening our eyelids, we are subject to the lovely phenomenon of being reborn while still in the same body.

We are refreshed, made new, not only blinded by sweet sunlight (or darkness if you wake up at 5:45 like me!!), but our trials and tragedies from previous days are blinded by today's redeeming promises.

We begin our day with God's promise to lift us up, the chance to walk in His ways, the chance to know His joy and have the blessing of encouraging someone else with His presence about your being.

Each day is a gift, a blessing, a new opportunity for adventure!

We are saved every morning!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Favorite Things

Thank God it's Friday!!

As I head into a pretty busy weekend full of family and fun, I hope you enjoy the little things that kept me smiling this week.

I love driving around this time of year admiring the glow of neighborhood Christmas lights!!

Christmas in your heart : )
Love this quote!!

My new favorite blog: Ann Voskamp's "A Holy Experience" blog is full of beautiful writing and great messages.

Clean pumpkin pie oatmeal
There are few things tastier than some warm pumpkin oatmeal in the morning!

My new lip gloss C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint in Pink Mint tastes like candy canes and feels like butter!

My favorite verse from this week is Hosea 14:4-6a: "I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, and he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree."

I love my job!! My coworkers are some of the most charismatic and unique blessings I've ever met ( :

I now proudly own this whole outfit! Lauren Conrad's clothing line at Kohl's is very chic!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Miracle of Prayer

Where the longings and secrets of the human heart may be consoled and kept

The searching will reach a point of discovery, every chained spirit will be set free of their bondage

How wondrous, how thrilling the mystery is that is found in seeking your perfect answers

Answers that exceed expectation, that work on us, that take root firmly and change our faith 

Answers that draw us higher, lifting our feet from the earth so that we might come closer to Your greatness which we could never fully know here on earth

How unbelievably gracious, how inconceivably loving is Your promise to always listen

How phenomenal that the King of Kings does not keep to himself, though it would be so easy and fitting 

No, you are constantly pouring Your knowledge into our upturned hearts, feeding us wisdom, nourishing us with the hope that You will do this again and forevermore


The Question

How do I want to leave this earth?
To leave it smiling would be a blessing indeed.
How far have I come since the day of my birth?
Has my living and breathing planted a seed?

Have I sown a change within those I meet?
A change for good, drawn others to God?
Do they feel inspired to accomplish great feats?
Do they see this spirit as intriguingly odd?

I wish to leave a gorgeous mark;
A blemish full of hope and joy.
Through fellowship with God alone 
Will this fantastic mission deploy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giving "Retail Therapy" a Whole New Meaning


Today marked a new beginning in the form of not-so-skinny jeans. 

Today, I found liberation in the form of laying to rest the clothing I had bought when I was at my skimpiest, at the peak of my disease, and at the all-time-lowest point in my health; my mother has dramatically dubbed the numbers on the tags of those jeans my "death size." That's almost what they were, chilling as that is.

As I tried to force my body into the mold that "death size" stubbornly enforced, an old, ruthless part of me, the part that still clings to the disordered ways of thinking, wanted to let me linger before the mirror, scrutinizing every piece of my body that was restricting me from filling into those pant legs more gracefully.

Today, I said no.

I said no to the jeans.

I said no to that number I absurdly idolized for too long.

 My healthy body was not doing the restricting. No, it was the skinny jeans. The health that has clung to my bones since gaining weight wanted to be free, to be welcomed by clothes that fit, and today was the day that would happen.

As I went shopping today, I feared the inevitable trip to the fitting room to confront yet again my old nemesis: the mirror. But today was different. Today was a celebration of an increase in number, not a condemnation.  That increase in number took on a new meaning: a blessing, a reminder that I was beating my disorder. The softness that has been incorporated into my frame represents the richness of God's grace, and a reminder of His perseverance. As I tried on clothes, I viewed these once undesirable body changes as battle scars, as treasures, as signs that God has worked on me.

Today, I walked from the fitting room with my head held high. Today, God won another battle for me in my war against this disease. Today, I was again assured that I can have a spirit of confidence that God will win it all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Writer's Way to "Rejoice Always"

During my the time I was supposed to be doing chemistry homework last night, I found myself occupied on the internet (which seems to happen every time I try to do homework!) However, this time rather than leaving my internet session with nothing but a Facebook status and a few good recipes on Pinterest, I came across a new way to worship that I just can't keep to myself!

It comes from this wonderful woman Ann Voskamp, a Canadian farmer's wife, blogger, and bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts, who takes rejoicing in the Lord to a whole new level by writing her way through each day by writing down all the ways God blesses her, even the most simple and seemingly mundane moments in her days.
Ann's Book: One Thousand Gifts

My inspiration today: Ann Voskamp

Being a writer who feels closest to God when I have the chance to express my prayers in writing, I have decided to adopt her methods for myself, and I can already see it making me a person more on fire with God's joy! Here's a sample of today's list so far:

I am grateful for the clouds in the sky that look like a painting.

I am grateful for the car ride to school because it is time I have to pray in perfect silence with my Savior.

I am grateful for maple syrup.

I am grateful for the snooze button and impromptu opportunities to rest.

I am grateful for my bright pink planner to keep me on track, but even more for my Bible to keep me together.

I am grateful for beautiful words available to me to praise You, like "Hallelujah!" and "Glory!" 

I am grateful for the natural glow of golden sunlight.

I am grateful for Brandi's [a girl who sits next to me in Psychology class] sweet and cheerful spirit.

I am grateful for painful memories to remind me of your saving grace, and how far removed you have made me from those times. 

If you find yourself most connected to God through writing, or are simply searching for a way to be drawn closer to him in rejoicing and praise, I urge you to try this! It's continuous and pressure-free-- it's just a habit for you to form by simply jotting down your thoughts of praise throughout the day.

Happy Writing!!

P.S.- Here is the video from "World Magazine" about Ann and her life story. It's quite inspirational.

Humbled in Praise

In my quiet time with God today I felt truly humbled at how great He is! It's a wonderful feeling, and this was the product:


There are no words,
There is no song,
There is no expression,
To capture You.

My heart longs to try,
My pen works to form words,
My thoughts try to wrap around,
Yet those efforts lay waste.

Do I give up?
Lift my hands to the sky,
Dance free in the wind,
Destroy my fortified struggle?

Overwhelmed by your ocean,
Drowning, sweetly sinking,
Tossed around by your whirlwind,
Sung to sleep by Your lullaby.