Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Note to Self

This is your life.

30 years old and nothing is as you imagined it would be.

Hope is exquisite, and at times, exquisitely disappointing. The love you always thought was love is shadowy and elusive. Dreams you dare to dream feel like wide-open doors to giant letdowns.

Teetering between the person you were, and the person you are becoming...

And this...all this in-between...is your life. It is you.

And you know...it's pretty darn awesome to be you. Because in all of your teetering, imbalance and frailty, something Solid has found you. And He's not about to let you go.

Dare to let your hope be solid, your joy sure, and your heart complete. Trust me, it's going to take an act of defiant bravery to do so.

It's time to cut yourself loose from what you thought you wanted. It's time to celebrate what is. Birthday donut surprises at work. Days off with a roaming friend. Phone calls from little brothers halfway around the world.

Your life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

On The Road

So, I'm munching on an organic vegan donut, floating around the internet in a wi-fi boat on a sea of fair trade coffee...which can only mean one thing. I'm in Seattle. Pal says I can publish a review of coffeeshops on Greenwood Ave. with all the experience I'm gathering. This may very well have been true a day ago, but I think it's too late now. I've found my favorite resting spot.

So, other than overcoming my fear of coffeeshops day by day, what have I been up to in the last months? Well, let's see. A whole lot of smiling, crying, and in short, just a whole lot of being alive. It feels good, you know? I've played global hopscotch: Portland-Seattle-Thailand-Seattle. (Next stops: Missoula-Russia, or Finland, to be exact.) I feel incredibly, incredibly blessed to be here. To be anywhere. To be living this story with all it's crazy and beautiful characters. To be on a lifelong road trip with God. I've taken some pictures. I've seen some faces. I've read alone and read outloud. I've sent letters and received some. I've spent money and had the humbling experience of being given it too. I've gone without music and internet, once considered vital to my existence, only to find out it's not...though I'm grateful to have it again. Pretty simple stuff, really. I don't know what I--or anyone else--was hoping for when I set out, but I don't think I'm disappointed. If there's a place on this earth with the name 'Home' written on it--a place to pitch my tent--I guess I'd still like to find it, but it doesn't seem like such a worry anymore. I guess what they say about Home and your heart is true. My heart is with God, and I can be at home with Him anywhere.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Carriage Ride

A few weeks ago I was praying with a group of women I don't know all that well (I have since come to know them better), and one of them who was praying over me said, "I see an old-fashioned carriage. I don't know if that means anything to you." This is the image that came to mind. The truth is, I don't know what it means. I only know that I have been praying fervently about a place called home, and if ever I could say I had felt I'd found that place, it was right in this moment, in the middle of (seeming) nowhere, in the middle of God's great plan. Do I see God sending me back to Africa? It would be pretty ironic, since I am the girl who was known to say I only wanted to get married so I'd have someone around to kill the spiders (yes, I have since repented). But maybe. The point is...Home is me in the center of God's will and God in the center of my life. And I'm gonna run like the wind to get there. Even when it feels like nowhere. Will you pray God keeps me strong to run when I see the path, and patient to be still when I don't? I'm praying for you too.

We're goin' home!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Few of Too Many

Incohesive thoughts that I feel the need to express:

Love: Am I ready for God's love for others to make its home in me? Just look how 'far' it got Jesus, right? The Bible tells us he was moved with compassion for multitudes. Am I ready to be moved to broken-hearted tears when His love in me identifies with their suffering? Am I ready to be moved into radical action? Am I ready to give up everything that's comfy and safe when His love is pursuing, and still expect nothing in return? Am I ready to look like a fool? Ready to be misunderstood? Ready to be rejected and betrayed? The answer: Probably not. But that's okay. I don't know anyone who would be ready for all of that (how would one prepare?). It is enough for me to be weak but willing. Willing to be made strong. Willing to let all-sufficient grace do its work in me as opportunities arise to be God's love. Think of it. We are vessels for His glory. What an amazing and precious gift we walk around with every day. Does anyone else get to see that? Do I see that in myself?

Story: I heard a Donald Miller quote the other day. He was quoting Henry David Thoreau, who said "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation", and he interpreted it something like this: Most people's stories suck, and they know it. At first I laughed. Then I laughed in the 'It's funny 'cause it's true' sort of way. I think he's right. He played this little game where he imagined that the movie trailer guy voice was following him around and, in thrilling intonations, describing all the dull details that no one would ever pay to see on film. I imagined the voice following my own life, and Mr. Miller is right. It's annoying. The truth is that everyone's life is always going to be full of little mundane details that would never make it into a script. But the truth is also that we all long for our lives to be a good story. We want to be characters that people actually care about. And this is a good thing. I'm massacring his sermon (It's called Story and it's in the Imago Dei podcasts on itunes) with all my rambling, but here are some things that stuck with me. 1. God wants to write a story with our lives, and He will, as long as we don't try to take the pen from Him and write it ourselves (I did this once, and my computer crashed...one of the most happy disasters of my life). 2. Our story is part of a much bigger story, which points to the glory of the greatest storyteller and the ultimate hero (these are my own words...they are not nearly literary enough to be a quote): God. I'm challenged and excited...for me and everyone I know. No one else can live out your story, friend (self...). Let God write to the glory of His name!

All right...I did pretty good...I only used one exclamation point! (Okay, two). I really do love you, friends. You challenge me and inspire me more than you know.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Better Things, Part II

It's me again. Back because you can't have a part one without a part two. Paul Harvey would not approve. I would say there's just a few things to add before I move on from what God is teaching me, but I guess I don't ever really want to move on from what He is teaching. That being said...I don't want anyone to feel dumped on or ranted to. I guess it's just here to be taken for whatever it's worth.

The overwhelming feeling I have right now is that of being thankful. Thankful for emptiness, because only then can I know what it is to be filled. Thankful for the opportunity of pain, because it is then that I experience His complete healing and perfect love more than at any other time...It is then that I can choose to humble myself and bow down...to go a little deeper in this walk of faith...to scratch the surface of an infathomable God...to slow down in a frantic world...to crawl like a child into the Father's arms...to wash my eyes, my face, my soul with tears...to be silent and listen...to surrender control and my ability to understand...to trust in His sovereignty...to share in the sufferings of Jesus...that one day I may be God's light in someone else's darkness.

I'm thankful. For the raw material that is life, and the tool that is sometimes pain. For the jeweled crown that He is helping* us to make, so that one day, when we catch that first holy glimpse, we may have something to cast down at His feet in worship. I read a book by Elisabeth Elliot once (you know the one) and in it she said something like 'God gives us material for sacrifice'. When we understand how worthy God is, and all that He sacrificed for us, then the most painful things become something to be thankful for. Material for sacrifice.

That's it for now...Thanks to everyone for bearing with me...and making it through even without pictures. Until next time...

*(The image I have in my head is of a mother 'helping' her 3 year old to make cookies. She probably ends up doing 3 times the work, but she is somehow blessed to share the mess.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Better Things, Part I

Pain is the washer fluid that clears my vision, and my unwillingness to walk through it is the clog that keeps it from doing its work. Wash away, God. I want to see you more clearly today.

A Fate Slightly Better Than Death

They say that without pain, we'd die, because we wouldn't be aware of what was killing us. I suppose it's true enough. I know I've refused to feel pain before and ended up dying inside. I guess the worst pain we can feel is still better than the unfeeling-ness of death. All the same, pain sucks, and it's getting old.

Talk to you soon when I have better things to say.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sabbatical, or Something

2007. One year you roll out of bed with a terrible ache to go home, and you don't have the slightest notion of where on earth home is. So, you begin to set your heart on the journey. Not a journey with a destination to be settled in, but a roadtrip, flighttrip, floattrip, biketrip with the ones who make you feel like home along the way. There's only one home and it's not found here...but there are many steps to take and perhaps a few places to pitch one's tent along the way. Ben Harper says, "Life's the longest picture you're ever gonna take". But it really does move so fast. I don't want to wait for the perfect opportunity anymore.

Here I am...Ready to travel light, smile at strangers, make some friends, share some burdens. To talk about just where it is we're going until I can see the lights of home shining on all of our faces.