Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the spirit

I am filled.

With a desire.

So sharp I cannot adequately express.

So desperate, I don't even know how to ask for it.

I am consumed.

With a love.

A new love I've never really felt before.

For a savior who has put a seal on my forehead and hidden me safely under His wing.

I am understanding.

What it means to struggle.

The pains of experience heal into the strength of wisdom.

Where I have fallen, He has come.

I am overwhelmed.

Filled to my fingertips it feels like, sometimes.

Heavy and raised up.

Tender and exhausted.

I am hopeful.

Knowing I have been emptied.

Only to be filled.

Saturated with the spirit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Hold on.

This is the message of Revelation.

Hold on, help is on the way.

I am overwhelmed tonight.

I am not sure that words will ever be able to express what my heart saw during worship tonight.

Or the way that my self was filled up.

Or why I cried... thinking about judgement day.


I close my eyes.


And I am overwhelmed with this mental image of a strong Jesus that the church has forgotten about.

Of a Jesus who is wild.

And strong.

Why do we not teach each other about the protector Jesus?

The one who will mark us.

And hide us safely away while He destroys everything, which has hurt us.


I walked up to our coffee shop one day in September of last year.
He was sitting on the patio with my sister.
He was a boy.
He was a stranger.
We smoked his first cheap cigarette together.
And he became ours.
He taught me how to love unconditionally.
What it meant to have a little brother.
I watched him see the world for the first time.

I woke up on morning to a skinny, long-legged boy walking through my hallway in his boxers.
His smile was just as big then as it is now.
But today, he is full of light.
Happiness once radiated through his inquisitive face.
A handful of years later, it is now joy.
He taught me about plants and the Kingdom of Heaven.
About the sweetness of words and childlike enthusiasm.


I did not anticipate shedding any tears when I walked into the house last night.

But as I entered the room and my eyes found you, I realized I was not prepared for this.

For you were no longer a little boy. You were no longer a stranger. You had rubbed up against the world and gained some wisdom. Your face shows it.

In your eyes, I saw some fear. Not the paralyzing fear that inhibits most of us. But the healthy sort that propels you forward, wide-eyed and breathless.


Our lives collided.

Intertwined, we have grown.

Gaining and taking and providing.

We have opened each other's eyes to the many dimensions of Heaven, to the thousands of faces of God.

We taught each other what it means to share.

We needed each other.

A family.

Brothers and sisters.

I would not have survived without you.


What happens, though, when our growth carries us away.

When what once fit, is now too tight.


Last night, it was time to leave.

You were not the only ones leaving.

You see, I was leaving too.


So I told you I was proud. Because I am.

And I told you I will always love you. Which I will.

But we don't say goodbye, you and me.

So I walked away - tears were hot and salty.


I found you.

And my cracked heart broke into pieces.

Sitting on that sidewalk, I listened as your tears turned back into breathing.

We went to the throne room together.

But the prayer I prayed was just as much for me as it was for you.

I'll call when I need a holiday in Spain.


The wind was blowing.

Catching our breaths and the smell of our tears and carrying them away.

I walked away...

But I had to stop at the corner.

Because the wind kept blowing, and the streetlight glowed warm and yellow in the humid night air.

And I turned around and whispered goodbye.

But you didn't hear me.


Always before, He's taken away and left me empty for a season.

Teaching me how to love Him with empty hands. To be faithful through loneliness.

This time, He has taken away and handed me something new.

Something unfamiliar.

Something blooming.

Something beautiful.

Because He knew I wouldn't survive this hurt alone.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Character Development

his time last year, I wrote down my bucket list.

A list of things I wanted to accomplish during my life.

Small things. Abstract things. Big goals. Silly ones.

Any and everything went on that list.

I was on a quest to achieve them all, however long it took.

I also knew along the way I would add and subtract from that list.

One year later... I have done just that.


That is what this life is all about.

I am a writer.

And I think of my life in terms of a story.

With a plot line.

I look back on what my life has been so far,

at the ways our stories intertwine.

The irony and serendipity and intentionality of it all.

And I am blown away.


So when I look back at my list, I laugh a little.

Knowing some things are no longer desires.

Some things were not nearly as interesting as I thought they'd be.

And the new desires that have grown in my heart... I dont know where they were hidden before, but they have come full force and taken over my life.

This was the point of the list.

To gain perspective.

To compare.

To scale personal growth and accomplishment.


Think about your favorite movie.

Why is it your favorite?

I never could pick one movie as my all-time favorite. But I have a few.

And the one thing most of those movies have in common, is the character development of the hero.

A scene where change occurs.

Where music plays and time passes and you watch your quirky, faulty, insecure, incompetent, unattractive, or cowardly main character ... transform.

In the good movies, they maintain most of their quirks.

In the good stories, this transformation scene is a process of changing their perception of themselves.

Wax on, wax off.


We are all the main character in our own stories.

Our lives are laid out like a plotline. Unbeknownst to us, everything we do and everyone we meet and everywhere we go make up the bulk of our stories. Our lives.


I was hit hard with this realization.

That the story I was living, was turning into a boring one.

Mia Thermopolis.

Daniel Larusso.

Cleveland Heep.

My story... as a matter of fact... was not really worth telling.


God sent me into a growing period, then.

Take a right turn, He said.

I balked.

But that's a mountain, I protested.

But that's where the adventure is, He whispered.


You may not be able to see it.

My transformation as been internal.

But it's about to be seen...

I am about to act on it.

There has been a fire lit under me,

and I am about to move.


You see,

this is about character development.

What happens to us that makes us stronger.

What we do that rubs us, the turns us, that polishes us, that refines us.

We change color and shape and consistency.

Because we were not created to stay the same.

We were born with potential.


I danced a lot this summer.

And I helped grow a garden (well... Liza might disagree. But I am still marking that off my list).

Last Christmas, I cut down my own Christmas tree.


I am full of motivation right now.

Itching to learn something new, to try something different.

To meet you.

And help you.

And love you.

I have wiped my slate clean.

Bid farewell to my plain self.

I am simple.

But I will not be boring.


I will be gentle.

I will be patient.

I will be trustworthy.

I will be kind.


My list has reduced to one thing.

Condensed might be a better word.

I am ready to go. And do. And see. And feel. And touch. And create.

We were made to glorify the Father. To live according to His purpose, to do His will.

And I do not believe He meant for us to have an ordinary life.


My Bucket List?

Live a life worth telling about.

To live a good story.

Heart of Worship

5:30 am blared loudly from two different alarm clocks.

At that time in the morning, it is still pitch black outside.

Everything is still.

I stumble blindly out of bed, trying to find my way to the shower in the dark.

This morning, I wasn't even out from under the covers before my mind was filled with these words.

"I'm coming back to the heart of worship/ when its all about you/ its all about you/ i'm sorry for the thing I've made it..."

I haven't heard this song in months. I don't know why, this morning in particular, the melody was stuck in my head.

But it remained.

As I got ready. As I prepared for my day, I kept hearing this song.

I walked out of my apartment this morning, 6:20 in the morning. Most of Lexington had not even stirred from their beds yet. Most of the little community on Brookewind still lay quiet in darkness.

I stepped out onto the sidewalk and my eyes were immediately drawn upward.

To the sky.

To the fingernail moon.

And the thousands of stars dusted across the early morning sky.

It was as if, as the world slept, the stars had come out of hiding.

Peering in on a world at rest.

Be still.

And I was privy to it... I had snuck out. Caught them.

I paused for a second.

And heard the song again.


Tonight I walked down to a church less than a quarter of a mile from my house.

To spend time in community. Worshipping.

People bared their hearts. Expressed feelings and told about what God was doing in their life.


I've had an image in my mind lately.

Of what happens in Heaven when we worship.

I imagine God on his throne... surrounded by beasts singing holy, holy, holy.

And then above their praise, something rises.

Of a different tone. A different rhythm.

And God becomes the Father.

Leaving His throne, crouching low, leaning closer.

To be able to hear better.

To overcome the chasm we have created.

Between us and Him.


We are worshipping.

Calling Him to us.

Asking Him to come close, come quickly.


In that moment of true worship, we have chosen Him.

His jealous heart aches for us.

So that when our voices rise, so does He.

When we call, He is waiting.


We have turned worship into a production.

But it's not just a song.

It is a call.

A request.

A plea.

It is a recognition of all the Father is...

an invitation to draw near.


We are called back to the basics.

To that moment when we walk outside and catch the Heavens in full display.

Or roll out of bed with a song on our lips.

It is grace and trust and risk and beauty and pain and devotion.

Holy, holy, holy.

Our voices rise to the Heavens,

our prayers as incense.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Inner Beauty

I watch people all the time.

I notice body language.

I take note of scars and retainers and freckles.

I see the way their eyes shift when they're uncomfortable, or when they're lying.

My favorite is when their eyes light up...


And I have been thinking a lot about what makes people beautiful.

Particularly, women.


I grew up with four other women in my house.

I am surrounded daily by women in my office.

I have dozens of girl friends.

What I have noticed, throughout the years, is a heartbreaking desire to be beautiful.


Maybe it is not so much to "be" beautiful.

But to feel beautiful.

To be seen by others as beautiful.

To captivate.


To be seen.


Our perception of what is beautiful,

society's expectations and standards,

are skewed.


No longer do we look at someone's character,

but instead,

our attention is focused on a woman's waistline.

Her bra size.

The way her pants fit.


These standards have groomed women to spend their time and money and energy on "looking" good.

Seeking attention where we know we can get it.

Going to drastic measures to keep it.

Unintentionally absorbing harsh, negative comments or criticism that our ears never should have heard in the first place.

Remembering the times men walked away, ignored, or abused us.

Because we've been told over and over again we are not good enough.


But I've been watching.

And the things I see that make you beautiful...

have nothing to do with what you might expect.


As Christian women, we are given instructions on how to achieve beauty.

But it's not what you might expect.

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."


Nothing I can say will be enough to convince you that you are beautiful.

No words I use will be right.

But you are.

I see it.

People see it.... everywhere you go.

You carry your beauty in the way you hold yourself.

The way you love on others.

The way you give.

The way you hold those children.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I can't call this a desert.

Neither is it a valley.

I am being cared for.

I can see the sun. Feel the warmth of its rays on my back.

This -

this journey I have been on for the past year -

this has been an ascent.

I am climbing a mountain.

Taking steps towards a summit.

With a heavy pack on my back and blisters on my heels and sweat dripping down my face.

I feel close.


I know I will reach the top and realize there's only a resting place there.

But it is a goal.

Today, that summit is what I strive for.


Because I see His face.

And I hear His voice.

And I feel Him moving.

I'm just ready for an overlook.

For a place to stop and rest and enjoy the beauty of His creation.


I understand that I would eventually need to get moving again.

But I have a deep desire to rest.


This has been one of the hardest summers of my life.

I understand I am being tried and stretched.

All for a purpose.


I have been climbing for a while now.

And it keeps getting steeper.

The way keeps getting harder.

I am tired.


But this is not a valley.

This is not a dry season.


This is a climb

summer skin

Time used to creep by.

At fifteen, I thought I would never be an adult. Walking through the cold rain, hood over my head, I was ready for life to happen. For things to get going.


I don't know when it happened.

But life got a move on.

And days are melting together now.


It has been years since I met you.

And years since I loved you.

It's been years since I visited there,

and months since I've seen you.


I fell asleep one night,

and when I awoke,

it was September.


Tonight, I am dealing with mixed emotions.

I am mourning the loss of summer.

I am not the only one who took for granted the days of wavering sun light and iridescent heat.

The only one who failed to take advantage of long evenings and late mornings.

Of watering holes and soccer fields.

What happened?

Where is the time going?


I am also rejoicing in autumn.

Arriving gently, on the wind first.

In the clear, starry night sky.

We feel the difference in our bones.

And we know it is coming.

Because there is nothing like fall in Kentucky.


I am shedding my summer skin.

I am trying to remember what happened to me this summer.

Who I met.

What I did.

How I changed.

And suddenly, the last three months feel like a lifetime.


May this next season in all of our lives leave us changed.

May time never go by so quickly that we fail to experience, to taste, to see, to feel.

May we risk.

May we trust.

May we love.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Slowly -


Submerged -

Body covered, ears filled.

Breath is stolen.

Watery world -

Murky with guilt, dark with sin.

Noises amplified.

Voices of the past whisper and chide.

Struggling for the last word, to get ahead one last time.

But their efforts are in vain.

And through the echoing,

beyond the grips of the watery grave,

you are called out.

A voice -

demanding revival.

"Come out," He calls to you.

And you rise.

Peeled away from the very grips of death.

Extracted from a tomb,


He calls you by name as He reaches.

And you are reborn.

Alive again -

the grime left behind in the empty burial ground.

Gasping for air -

a new breath to fill your lungs.

You are clean.

And you are free.

For you have been called by name.




I was weighed down.

Heaviness. On my chest, on my shoulders, on my heart.

A pressure I felt upon waking,

A burden I carried, even as I laid down to sleep.

I moved slowly under the load.

And as my world slowed down,

I began to hear.

I was being challenged.


Pressed further /

Risk, the quiet voice encouraged.

But I tried to untangle my own mess.

To lay down my own load.

Only to tangle it further,

to trip over my pile of "stuff", I had not successfully gotten rid of -

but only off-loaded /

I found myself questioning:

The motive of the Father.

The purpose and existence of that, which acted as my burden /

But I listened.

To the still, small voice /

Listening is not easy.

Listening does not always relieve you of a burden or a load.

But tonight, all He was requiring of me was attentiveness.

To hear Him and act upon that /

And in the very moment I did so,

acknowledging my incapability,

risking that, which I valued too highly anyway,

entrusting Him /

A butterfly,

orange and black wingspan,

floated by my face on the wind

Delaying, hovering, before flying away

Disappearing from my sight /



Transformation /

It was never about the burden itself.

It was about trust.

Risking what was most precious to me,

allowing the Lover of my Soul to take care of my life /

It was He who called it a wellspring

And He is a guardian /

I awoke this morning



one thousand years older /