Friday, March 29, 2013

The Most Radical Writer's Block

Fingers rest unmoving weakly on a keyboard for what seems like hours.

It is Good Friday.


I pray for humility this week, and God does not simply pour it into me from some golden, Spirit-filled pitcher today.

Today He overwhelms me with a tidal wave.

What could I write on this day that would do it justice?

What could I say that could capture with these pathetic words the grand, most tragic miracle, most humbling moment, most refreshing tears my eyes have ever cried in the remembrance of something centuries old?

Something I brought on. Something we all did.

The nails in flesh.
Tearing at a Savior.
Tearing Him apart.
My sin.
Ripping and shredding Holiness itself.
The crucifixion of Love.

I shutter.
The brutality, the gore, all my sin in the form of this violence. This violence on the one who did not deserve.

Humbled today? Understatement.

Despite all this sin like a cold winter gust biting my face, like this force thrusting me onto knees, crying unworthy to my Father, I do not grieve as if all is lost.

Because today all is won.

Does it feel that way when sin still encircles my heart, trapping it unless I let my King win? Not always, I my human nature stands ashamed to admit.

But it is the believing: it is the saying, what I work on day in and day out.

The digesting of words, the new life found in words, the true taming of the tongue that is not just speaking positively, that is not just living a life that is pure and clean: it is knowing this fact amidst this humble and saddened day, the only words that matter: His words.

"Freedom is what we have-- Christ has set us free. 
 Stand then, as free people, 
and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again."
-Galatians 5:1 (GNT)

As I shed the tears at what a Savior has done, I allow the good of this Good Friday to spread throughout my being, praying that is could be all I am in Christ Jesus. 

All I am now is undeservedly Free. 
By the most incredible selfless love ever displayed, displayed today on a cross.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Comfort as the world crumbles

Coffee mug lets steam sift through the creamy beverage, and candle flame flickers jolly, bouncing up and down. In silence the clock directs each second onward into time with a ticking, and I curl into comfy couch.

For a moment with you, all is still.

"There is nothing good man can do when everything falls apart."
-Psalm 11:3 

And then this truth punctures my soul deep.

I am a helpless babe. Truly in control of nothing. A trifling, fragile insect crawling, a flimsy, frail autumn leaf that stands no chance against even the gentlest breeze. Too small to mention. Next to nothing, if not nothing at all.

This makes His goodness so miraculous in comparison. This makes His care for me and all others like me so immense and grand. This makes His love so extraordinary, with no need for reason or return.

And as I look around at the glowing snow that rests on the lawns of this tranquil neighborhood that He happened to let me live this life in, and as I realize it could all crumble around me with any ticking of that clock on the wall, I feel a strange smile rise on my face in this soft vulnerability.

For He is all things.
For He is unyielding and enduring.
He is abundance and warmth in comfort.
He is deepest healing and redemption and renewing.
He is everlasting though this world and all the good things and I am not.
I am not.
But Christ in me is.

Just as the sun illuminates this beautiful and crazed world, His promise reaches into my darkness, none of it too far.
And I wear this brightness about my soul as I face this life, smile not wavering for I have Christ, and I, alone, am not enough.

But He is more.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just a Poem of Need

I need You every moment,
Every heartbeat, every breath,
Whether I dance for joy or sorrowfully lament
I need the one who conquered sin and death.

This life dwindles slow and sad
If days go by without your life
Your renewal, all the wonder, make me glad,
I know no true pain nor no strife

Once I've made this life a desperate dance,
Pursuit of graces, blessings given fierce,
May every move be intentional, lovely flowering romance,
Utter devotion like bond-servant's pierce 

Knees hit ground, spirit shaken dramatic like dust in air,
Solid in peace, the world doesn't stand a chance,
For my dying I've found an amplified life taken, faith my heart's flare
This is life. This is my song. Carried through every circumstance.

Avert the Eyes

The hands scrubbed sudsy-breakfast leftovers from a dirty dish, and down and down was my head and my gaze as I vanished into work and buried my head in worries.
Worries about the coming day, that chemistry midterm.
Worries about the coming weekend, the week, the next month...


By accident my gaze made a jail-break for the window above that sink, and I paused and froze and let awestruck conquer the furrowed brow and the tension among face muscles melt. God has surprised me this morning,


A purple haze pillowed the sky, only broken by God's pink-dipped finger streaks stretching across sky in heavenly contrails. Trees reach for this beauty in vain, mourning doves howl to the rising sun, and I live in the blessing of this solitary moment to realize:

how much i  must be missing, burying my head in the toil and worry of life;

why, if I just raised the eyes to my Creator, and the splendor, and the pure, and the grand, and the truth,

what a life could be had!


 To avert the eyes to
a life worth living,
a praise beyond worthiness of giving,
the prayer worth whispering in perfect awe,
to intimately know love, and to be made extraordinarily small.

Lifted to Jesus Christ. Welcome Home.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just along for the ride

"But seek first His Kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
-Matthew 6:33

Seeking the Kingdom. 

Sounds like work to me on days when the rain falls heavy and freezing, and the car is sputtering labored breaths to warm up its engine and turn the wheels, and fighting words are exchanged between mother and I, and its mostly my fault, and I am late to class and there are five essays to write and six hours of work to be done and a room to clean not enough hours in the day to live in this way.

Guilt quickly attacks the heart. 

How selfish, your problems are nothing. There are children starving, wars terrorizing lives, and you complain about silly things like this.
 You aren't doing enough to seek the Kingdom.

Failure is imminent and I lower my head in this shame.

But I can't see His Kingdom with a head lowered like that. 

His Kingdom is to be lived. It's for my eyes to breathe in the world taking in the fragrances of God's simplistically grand glories everywhere. 

The light reflecting off the linoleum classroom floor.

The door held by a stranger.

The sound of crows "caw-ing" in the early morning.

The sizzle of eggs on a fry pan.

Prayers said while driving my car, sweet words said alone.

Seeking His Kingdom is feeling out for the pain of my brothers and sisters with the compassionate feelers of my Savior's heart in me. The searching for ways to be God's blessing.

The elderly student at my school struggling to carry her bags because of her arthritis. 

The friend exhausted from hours at work and the loss of a family member.

The mother who made dinner, did laundry, and is just about to do the dishes.

The girl sitting next to me who just spilled an entire mug of coffee on the floor.

But this hunt for Jesus need not be added to the list of things I do inadequately, the laundry list of things I need to achieve, accomplish, and strive to be. 

He's already done it.

I found this beautiful truth praying with a best friend in a chilled spare bedroom on my favorite night of the week, my Young Adult's Group. She felt out for my hurting heart, seeing my need to be refreshed and renewed. And we prayed for the truth.

The truth that I just need trust the Savior and Creator of all this fantastic planet. 

The truth that this grand hunt for goodness and Jesus and holy and beauty is done through me, not by me.

And I suddenly get the thrill, the pure joy of being whisked away on this grand adventure, this phenomenal Safari in a world born anew with blessing after blessing.

Why, if I put in my own effort, wouldn't all the fun and joy be taken away?

Just trust.

Just believing His words when he says to me with a patience that bursts with grace:

I have begun a good work in you, and I will carry it on until my coming.
-Philippians 1:6 (paraphrased)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

So, what are you hiding?

So, what are you hiding?

The Word nudges my heart awaiting answers.

Tell me, it beckons, will you roll around forever in this painful wrapping of lies like swine roll in the muck and mire?
The exposure makes me tremble.

Like I trembled on Sunday, as my sisters in Christ and I explored these treacherous waters, our boats of comfort being rocked and flung by choppy thunderous waves of truth and revelation; our fearful hearts afraid to shed the facade we'd worked so hard to construct, like a child clings to a blankie.


Me, Jess, and the young ladies. Steaming coffee and tea mugs shot steam up into air filled with dangerous genuineness threatening to conquer whatever feeble protective armies guarded our doubts and fears and insecurities from the God who sees all.

We hide from this God.

Hide doubts. 

Hide true feelings.

All the while Jesus Christ walked on water, calling to us from our pathetic vessels of comfort, shouting in furious pursuit, "Come, follow!"

Yes, this Jesus, the man who conquered sin and death. Who knows every fiber in our being. Who promises all to those who don't deserve. Owner of all glory and light.

Yet, we still resist.


Praise for the surrender. For the uncovered prayer we prayed that day in my living room, air saturated with vulnerable honesty, poking at the invitation to surrender all as if it were some alien creature, but all the while confessing our doubts and things we wanted to work on and fears and anxieties,

 and knowing God. 

knowing Freedom.

knowing our Help.

Seeing a golden glory sunshine-y horizon amidst the storm.

And taking that step of faith onto water once so yielding, now solid when the goal is the open-armed embrace of a Savior.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Death and Rebirth of a High Achiever

I used to be nourished by the milk of High Achievements.

I let it be my heartbeat, my smile, my surging energy. In fact, I considered it my identity, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly.

I scurried from club to club, climbed from title to title, persevered in the testing to get high letters of the alphabet and good reports.

Honor roll.
Track captain.
Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper.
Never-miss-a-mass Catholic girl.
Noble Air Force Academy appointee.
Half of the cutest high school couple.

I was the queen weaver of a masterpiece woven into a flawless resume, but it all hung on fragile, twisted thread.

What is more, I count it all as loss compared to the surpassing greatness  of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
-Philippians 3:8 (NIV, emphasis added)

Here now, knowing my best friend Jesus Christ a little better since the days of an achievement-defined life, I see that list above and see them as mere inked up lines in my journal, measly words empty, strung together in a superficial compilation of just stuff.

How little, I laugh, How little is this compilation of feats compared to the story of my life at this moment, this very moment where I am saved. Alive and saved through Christ.

Once again, it sings beautiful harmony with the verse that I have appointed as my own personal verse to hold near and dear, a verse that was the strong roping of the lifeline God threw me to pull me out of near-death anorexia:

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
-1 Corinthians 2:2 (NASB)

New purpose.

New meaning.

Those accomplishments once so sweet and pleasing are only so if they are filled, brimming with Christ. Yet at the same time they are so hollow and dead compared to the life that Christ offers. How beautiful to be insignificant in my actions!

Not at al to say I've renounced trying or doing or achieving. On the contrary, I do these things fueled by the whirlwind of living and breathing and smiles and laughter and grace and forgiveness that is Christ's new liberation as I follow the Lord who is and does all.