Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blowing in the Wind

My thoughts are often consumed...

sometimes I think I can feel three thousand little hearts beating...

and I want you to know their story.

I will fight for them.

But not just for them.

I will fight for humanity.

For all the ones Jesus loves.


All day yesterday, I saw people walking around campus with green t-shirts and backpacks on. I'd smile, quietly, knowing that I'd see them soon. They were one of us, we were on the same team, whoever they were, wherever they were going. I could tell just by watching. I want Christians to be this way. I want to look at you (not what you are wearing, not the music you are listening to, not the bumper stickers on your car - just you.) and be able to identify you as one of Christ's loved ones. I want to know you... because you love the world. I want to recognize you... because you are full of grace.

I walked into Triangle Park and was nearly blown away by the wind.

Bob Dylan played over the loud speakers, "Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry? Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..."

We struggled to put up the tents, to secure them into the lawn so they didn't blow away. My hair was in my eyes, the leaves rustled over my head.

The forecast had said: 80 degrees, sunny, and lots of wind.

For some, it was a nuisance.

For me, it indicated the presence of God.

God was with us... because He created those three thousand little hearts that I can feel beating.


I stood with pamphlets in my hands, waiting for them.

The abductees.

We kept getting phone calls that the ceremonious walk had begun.

They were coming.

We waited in anticipation. I imagined their footsteps were like drum beats... creating a rhythm all of Lexington could hear, could feel.

Then I saw them.

A mass of people. All in green.


Our project had begun.

We laid out our sleeping bags, filled out water bottles. Some rolled up their pants legs and waded in the fountains.

We registered people, collected money, started making phone calls.

Together, we were waiting to be rescued.

We needed some to come and see us. Find us worthy of saving.

To ceremoniously lead us out of captivity.


Periodically, one of the volunteers in blue shirts would get up and announce some form of progress. We raised one flag after the other - indicating a step completed, a goal reached.

The celebration that would ensue was strongest amongst those of us who understood what was happening. Loudest throughout those who were invested, who were in love with the abducted soldiers of the LRA.


Then we were rescued.

By a man, who not only represented our government, but believed personally in our cause as well.

The media showed up - whether out of obligation, annoyance, or curiosity. Tonight, on the 11 o'clock news, the footage will be shown.


And our waiting turned into a celebration. Shouting, clapping, pictures, ceremoniously raising flags, hugging, and at one point... a group of people gathered in the middle of the park to pray.

But there were hundreds of people still waiting.

In cities around us, in neighboring states, there were people gathered, rallying, raising awareness just like us.

Waiting to be rescued.

So we sent a few of our people... with an address and a GPS... up to West Virginia.

Rescue Riders.

Coming to the rescue - adding to their numbers. Joining forces, voices, hands.

All over the country last night and this morning, teams have been rescued, and have sent others out to help rescue more...


We would spend the rest of the night in the park.

With the trees illuminated with lights.

The fountains gurgling, casting dancing shadows on the sidewalk chalk drawings.

The wind would blow all night long.

And as the city of Lexington slowly fell asleep, so did a few of us.


But I laid there. In a sleeping bag.

I drifted between alertness and a light sleep.

I heard as the people around me slowly wound down, crawled under blankets, laid their heads on pillows. As a guy from Asbury slowly picked away at his guitar, as the buggies flew by with their sirens on.

At some point in the night, I rolled over and looked up at the sky.

I felt so protected.

Not at all like I was laying in an open park in the middle of downtown Lexington.

But like I was enclosed... safe and dry and warm.

I felt my heart beating in my chest.


When the sun rose, I rolled over in my sleeping bag and watched the morning light crawl over dozens of sleeping bodies, scattered randomly across the park lawn. One person stirred. Then another.

Before long, we had the park back to normal. All tents disassembled, all trash thrown away, all sleeping bags rolled up and loaded in cars.

We left the park better than we had found it.

There was no trace of us.

Except for the sidewalk chalk drawings...

"If we don't save them, who will?"


I never expected to have enough room in my heart for this.


As Nikki and I walked away from the park today, all I could think was how last night changed my life.

How my first experience with true advocacy, might only be the very first time... the beginning of a journey.

And how I hoped the next time we all gathered for the sake of 3,000 children from Africa, it would be to rejoice their homecoming.

To celebrate their rescue.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I am coming off a crazy busy weekend.

And am currently procrastinating, waiting until the very last minute to take my poli sci test, staying up too late, somehow convincing myself the later I stay awake, the farther away Monday morning is.

I had a conversation on Friday night, sitting at the tables outside Common Grounds, with one of my favorite men in the world. He and I don't do much interaction when it comes to big groups. Even when we're with our family, we hug and say hi, but don't exchange too many words. But every once in a while, I get him all to myself. And we have had some of the best conversations, just me and him. Listening and talking, give and take. His eyes light up when I talk, and I know he hears me. This means the world to me... and causes me to delve deeper into my heart, leading to understanding and change.

One of the lessons I learned? A realization I caught and internalized, sitting there on High Street?

We claim to have faith.
"Everything works out for the good..."
"For I know the plans I have for you..."
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
"But He knows the way I take..."
"Do not be anxious about anything..."
"Do not worry about tomorrow..."

But then we become nervous wrecks when our worlds turn upside down. We are disoriented and consumed with thoughts of the future and worries about our well-being.

But if we never give God the opportunity to take care of us, how will we ever come to understand the lengths to which is Glory extends?

How would we ever know how powerful He is, how much He cares about every small aspect of our lives, unless we give it to Him to take care of?

This is a trust issue.

One my Father and I are working out even as we speak.

So, tonight, I urge you simply to let go.

When it is all too much and your eyes cant see far enough and you are too weary to continue....

open your hands.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Rock's Cry

I am heavy.

It took many men to roll me into place.

I sank into the ditch, hollowed out to keep me from shifting.

One side of me basks in the sun, is caressed by the wind. Whitewashed, I am passed by mourners, touched by the grieving. My every crevice can hear them weeping.

The other side is dark and cold. It is quiet on this side. A resting place. Unclean and still.


They carried another inside.

Rolled me into place.

I shifted, with a thud, and settled.

My job was only to keep what was outside from coming inside.

To keep what was unclean inside.

The dark side of my face slept.


Night came.

The sun rose.

Crossed the sky - morning, noon.

Night came again.


Stillness on the inside.


The sun rose again.

My external face began to feel the first rays of morning light, my solid matter filled with heat.


But suddenly


What was dark became light.


What was still, moved.


The quietness was filled with the sounds of breathing.

My every sand-filled pore could feel the beating of a heart.

Slowly at first.

Gaining rhythm.


What was this?


"Holy, holy, holy"


I did not know I had a voice.


I was suddenly filled.

I felt myself shake.

Something inside me

was compelled to cry.


Dead men did not wake.

Dead men did not move.

Dead men did not speak.


But he was waking.

He was moving.

And he spoke.

With a voice, which had been quiet for three days.


A voice, no longer forsaken.

Filled with spirit.

And authority.


The I Am.


He reached out and touched my cold, dark side.

I thought I might shatter.


"It is time," he whispered.

"Holy, holy, holy" I whispered.

His hand lay flat on my grey, cold surface.

And I filled with overwhelming heat.


The tomb, which I guarded, suddenly was filled with light.

Light, very much unlike the light from the sun.

On the outside, the trees began to hum.

And the blades of grass whistled.


I was rolled away.


And the two worlds met again.

Two beings, dressed in radiant white, bowed on their knees as He stepped out into the sunlight. From their lips came the same words I had uttered.

I could not stop.

From the very depths of me, my most solid center, the words would not cease.

I would be whispering the words for the rest of eternity.

"Holy holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come..."


I watched Him walk away.


The two beings laid their hands on me and urged me to keep a secret.

"You will sing again," they assured me. "It is their turn now."

And I saw as the mourners came...

I longed to tell them.

"Do not cry. He has risen! Do not grieve. The Messiah has risen indeed!"


Holy, holy, holy...


He had told them exactly what would happen.

You will betray me.

You will deny me.

The rooster will crow.

In three days, this will all be over.

Everything will be alright, I love you. In three days, just three days, we will be together again.


Then the sky turned black and the veil ripped and so did His body.

One betrayed.

One denied.

The rooster crowed.

And they took His body down from its hanging place, and they buried Him.


And much like we do, when we've lost a friend, a loved one, they mourned.

They probably gathered together. Couldn't eat much. Didn't sleep much. They were probably angry; at the system, at the Romans, at Pilate.

Their world seemed dark without Him. They had dropped everything. Forgotten everything to follow Him. To be with Him. And now He was gone. Their worlds were shattered. Had everything been in vain?

In their grief, they forgot His promise.


But three days later, the sun would rise.

The rock would roll away.

The angels would be stationed... waiting. Laughing, I think, with joy. Maybe they waited in heaven to hear from the Lord, anticipated the call to tell Yahweh's precious ones a secret. I doubt after all these years the angels had gotten tired of terrifying people; of bringing huge news that no one believed at first...


"Why are you looking for the living among the dead?"

The women would race home. Leaving their spices and oils at the graveside.

And no one would believe them either.

Except for Peter.

Who would race to the grave. To see for himself.

Jesus had been right. Peter had denied him three times.

Jesus had been right. Judas had betrayed him.

The rooster had crowed, his body had been broken.


Three days ago, Peter had watched his best friend die the death of a criminal.

Today was the third day.


Peter probably counted the days on his fingers.

Counted the hours. The times the sun had set and risen.

Yes, three days.


And there He was.

Holes in His hands. Holes in His feet.

He was hungry.


The Rabbi was the Messiah.

Christ was a man with carpenter's hands.


With the sun that morning, hope rose.

It was hope, which swelled from inside the grave.

Overwhelming it.

Just as Yahweh's love had overwhelmed the holiest of places.


Death was not strong enough to contain.


Peter had, for three days, known a world without his Lord.


And he would spend the rest of his life fervently pursuing the kingdom.

Compelled by the hope, which rose with the sun.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Veil

I represented your separation from God.

A physical reminder of how far you fall short of glorifying Him - of being good enough - holy enough.

Until that day.

When Yahweh's love became too big to be contained behind my folds.

Too powerful to be constrained by my length.

I was privy to the workings of both the world and the Holy of Holies.

I saw all who were deemed worthy to enter into the Lord's presence.

I saw how much the world needed Him.

As if the Heavens had erupted
Suddenly all the light either world knew-
radically transformed.

I, being the manifestation of separation, could no longer contain the love which swelled from inside.

Which began in the holy place

And needed more room.

In agony, in utter devotion, in purest love, the Almighty stepped down.

I saw Him reach.

He reached for you.

I was the symbol of the I Am's separation from the ones He loved most.

To get to you, I was torn. Rent, from top to bottom.

He came down to meet you. Stretched beyond the ancient and sacred confines to love you.

Two Thoughts.

Thought One:

"Ever since happiness heard your name, its been running through the streets trying to find you..." (Hafiz of Persia)

Happiness is not the goal.

Comfort is not the goal.

Exhaustion is not the goal.

Discomfort is not the goal.

Pain is not the goal.

Fame is not the goal.

Invisibility is not the goal.

Need I go on?


I heard His name... felt Him in between my shoulder blades... felt His breath on my skin.

And ever since, I've been running through the streets. Looking under rocks, knocking on doors, peering around corners. Trying to find Him.

Abba Father.

I heard Your name, caught a glimpse of You as You passed by.

And nothing has been the same since.

You see, this life is about the pursuit of Him.

And the glory of turning around and realizing that, in fact, He is pursuing you.


Thought Two:

The social work class I am currently enrolled in requires 25 hours of community service.

Never before in my life have I found it so hard to help people for just a few hours a week.

I am not a certified-anything.

I am not a trained-anybody.

I am not a skilled-someone.

I am an undergrad. With an Associate's degree and a weird bank of knowledge. I am good with kids. ( Sometimes. Really, it depends on the kid. ) My heart hurts when yours hurts. I want to know your name and I want you know you are loved. I want to help you recognize God and beauty's presence in your life, and watch as you fall in love with both.

That... doesn't look so impressive on a resume.

So I am working in a few different venues, getting in these volunteer hours. Like clockwork, I walk into an organization, tell them I am a social work major and I need community service time. Do they need my help? They say yes. And hand me a baby.

This just thrills my little heart. But I will laugh at the end of the semester if for some reason, it doesn't "count". ( Some say social work is about more than that. I say, social work is about doing what needs to be done.)

But something I realized tonight, after finishing some volunteer hours in Winchester, is that Read to Succeed is a dual blessing for me.

Since about the end of February, beginning of March, I have been driving into Winchester every Wednesday afternoon. I spend some time with my little sisters (who really, aren't so little anymore). I go and tutor. And then I go to the library.

Not to get more books.

To see my mom.

You see, on Wednesday nights she works at her own little desk. In the back of the library. Away from everybody.

I get her all to myself.

For once.

It's my strategy. Corner her. So she can't get away. So she really has nothing better to do.

She has no choice but to listen to me. I'm the only one there.

And then, apparently, my subconscious self decides that Wednesday nights around 7pm in the back of the Clark County Public Library, is the best time to let a week's worth of tears loose.

I cried tonight for a lot of reasons.

I cried because we didn't get to say goodbye. I cried because he cheated. I cried because his first experience with life was that people can be cruel. I cried because they are good people. I cried because she is leaving. I cried because she is grown up. I cried because he doesn't see me. I cried because I want to hold someone's hand. I cried because she is pregnant. I cried because they are getting married. I cried because I am tired.

I cried because... tonight, more than anything, I want an adventure. I need to "break the chain of routine". I am here, waiting in anticipation for the change that is sure to come.

And in the mean time, I feel like the most boring, dull person in the world.

I just laughed a little, thinking about that statement. Because I know it's not true. Because I know, in about four or five weeks, that said change is going to start happening. And I will have not even a little bit of a clue as to how to deal.

My life does not look like yours.

I don't want my life to look like yours.

I want whatever it is this crazy, loving God of mine has planned.

But even those thoughts didn't stop my ocean of tears tonight.

And I realized, I needed to be in Winchester on Wednesday nights more for myself than anything. If only so I could corner my pretty, young mom in the back of the library and steal her attention. And talk through all the crap that tends to clutter my head.

My life doesn't look like yours.

And it certainly doesn't make sense right now.

But it is 10:40 on a Wednesday night and my legs are sore from running and my heart is aching from searching and my soul is stretched to capacity it seems.

And there's nothing I can really do to change anything tonight.

And I am okay with that.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Lightening illuminates the sky.

One Mississippi.
Two Mississippi.
Three Mississippi.

Thunder rolls across the earth, coming from inside somewhere.

Sky is black and long. Stretching farther than it did earlier in the day... clouds and arms outreached over the horizon.


I was driving to work on Friday morning when Katherine called and proclaimed her newfound love for morning time. "I'm a morning person, I just didnt know it!" And I felt a twinge of jealousy.

I don't know what the world looks like in the mornings. What the new sun feels like when it's low in the east. What early morning dew feels like on my bare feet. What bright morning sunshine might feel like on my skin.


It feels that way, when the only light I know is light that is on its way out.


On Sunday I went to church and sat through service with the best man in my life.

We watched one of our favorite men play the drums.

And I watched art being formed on the stage.

Then I went upstairs to take care of babies.

I held him in my arms. Fed him. Rubbed his bald forehead as he fell asleep.

He sank in my arms as I rocked back and forth on my heels.

And I knew, on some level, I was meant for this.


We didn't have a scheduled meeting tonight.

Two of us missed our family desperately. So we made a few phone calls. Drove down the street and met up with our sisters and a brother. Ate and laughed and walked through the rain.

Spontaneous. Intentional. Beautiful.


Rain pelts down on the asphalt.

Shoes off.

Pants rolled up.


Body falls into line.

Limbs move in rhythm.

Rain pelts on my face.

I feel connected.


One Mississippi.
Two Mississippi.
Three Mississippi.

The sky is full.

Our lives are full.


We must learn to see.

In anticipation of thunder, which rolls beneath our very feet.

What is beauty?


Beauty is life.

Being drenched by the rain.

Holding life in your arms.

Understanding, for the first time, that life is short.


Beauty is the Mississippis you count between the lightening and thunder.

When your breath is captured in your chest and you watch the sky...

And instead, feel all you know rumble beneath your feet.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I am a vessel.
Created for a purpose.
But without You I am not full.

Broken, I am shattered to pieces.
Whatever I carry, spilled to floor.
Counted as loss.
Of no real worth to me. Or the world.

I am pieced back together by Your gentle hand.
Though empty and scarred
Uneven and cracked.
I am whole.

Faced with a decision.
To return -
To be filled again with that which shatters me.
That which has no meaning.

But instead I turn to You.
A vessel, I am, begging not to be filled.
But to be full.
To carry within my walls something of worth.

And You pour into me.
You do not stop.
Until I am not full,
but overflowing.

I am full now.
Of light.
Overflowing with love.
A vessel, saturated in Your presence.

A vessel.
Broken and emptied -
Again and again, only at Your feet.
I was created for a purpose.

To carry Your light.
To be a place in which You dwell.
A vessel.
A temple.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Answers (Part Two)

"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

"Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous."

"Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

"But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified."

"But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God."

"Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him."


I walked into church tonight, hoping for a miracle. I even voiced this to my sister before leaving my house. I was hoping for a silly little miracle. A serendipity... Turns out, my expectations were low.

You see, I walked into a series at TSB titled "Miracles".

Tonight, we talked about Peter.

A simple man.

Who stepped out of a boat.

And in the face of fear,

he fell into the waiting arms of Jesus.


Through the windows in the Atrium, the Jessamine County sky was growing dark and lightening flashed and the clouds raced by.

Steve stood in front of the windows and said, "I've heard it said, faith is about going to the end of all the light you have. And taking one more step."

This definition of faith in essence means we are always taking steps forward. As believers, as little Christs, we carry our light with us.

Then Steve said, "It seems to me that every time God, Jesus, or an angel shows up on the scene and says 'Do not be afraid', something really big is about to happen."

I sat in my seat and my mind ran through the though Esther and Ruth and Moses and Abraham and Joseph and Mary and Peter and Daniel and David... of angels who appeared to shepherds. And then I remembered the Bible I had been handed just yesterday.

I had opened up to the passage in 1 Chronicles... "Be strong and courageous... Do not be afraid".

I claimed this verse as my own.

"Do not be afraid..."

That was my answer.


Something big is about to happen.

It's been building for a while.

I've been in a state of preparation and growth...

I am, even now, seeking my true identity. Looking for my purpose.

Growing up.

I have been residing in this middle ground for a few years now.

In betweens and transitions and gray areas.

Getting ready for what comes next... always anticipating.

This season is coming to an end.

I am reaching the end of all the light I have.


It will soon come time to take a step beyond.

In faith.

In the face of fear.

To fall into the waiting arms of Jesus.


"Be strong and courageous... Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you..."


This has been, by far, one of the strangest weekends of my life.

Saturday morning, I woke up on a king sized mattress on the floor in Winchester. We ate pancakes and drank bad coffee. And five women took showers and got ready without quarreling for the first time since living in the Long Avenue house.

Around 11 o'clock, I took the keys, got in the car, and drove my mother to her wedding.

That is another story entirely... for another time. It's not even been a week yet. I am nowhere near digesting all the thoughts and feelings I have experienced the past few days. When I do... well, the words that come will be a milestone.

I have a different story.

I was standing in my mom's kitchen yesterday, visiting for her 43rd birthday. She came into the room with a few things in her hands. She and her new husband have been cleaning out the closets -- and the closets in the Long Avenue house are quite full of surprises and lost treasure and some trash.

She distributed a few items between us and then, in passing, handed me a Bible. "You want this," she said as she walked away.

Time stopped there in the kitchen.

I had been waiting for moments like this. When I start receiving sentimental things that no longer belong in that house...

It was a Jerusalem Bible.

I opened it. Knowing what I would find might break my heart.

And on the front page, in his familiar handwriting, I read:

"July 10, 1989
This Bible was bought in Pigeon Forge, TN. [We] were here in search of an answer from God. I will write later if we get one."

There wasn't a single thing written anywhere else in the book.

No answers?

I put the Bible away with my purse and keys and brought it home with me.

When I got home, I thumbed through the pages. Unread? Untouched?

Then it fell open to a page, somewhere close to the middle.

"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you..."

Almost twenty years later...

I closed the book again and felt like an answer from God had finally been found.

Maybe not an answer for the two, twenty-somethings who purchased the book a few decades ago.

Today, it no longer matters what questions those two were asking.

For their daughter... who was just over a year old when they went seeking those answers...

God would leap from the page.

God would seek me out. To give me an answer.