Sunday, October 2, 2011


  Are you really gone? I know you are because there is this terrible ache in my heart...but somehow this doesn't even seem real...keep thinking you're coming back will give me a big hug, tell me how much you've missed me, tease me about my curls that day and we will have a long talk. I found myself thinking about how much you love this time of year...this beautiful October sky and the crispness in the air...The Holidays and how much you loved the festivities. I found some flowers from the last "birthday bouquet" you gave me... I know you often doubted what you contributed to this gave those around you so much but above all,  you have left a legacy of love. You loved and valued all those around you. You were a faithful man, a source of stability in this world of so many changes. You made those you came in contact with feel special and cared about. You pointed them to the love of the Father by simply caring, listening and serving.
  I get angry when I think of what you endured. The unfairness of it all. And then  I think of your sweet face. Your calm acceptance of your trial. Your unwavering assurance in the strength of your Creator and His love for you and your family. Your conviction that even when you couldn't see it, He was working and would continue to work for our good and His glory. Oh, how I wish I had your faith right now, Daddy...Thank you for all you gave us...thank you for inspiring me to dream...and to make my dreams happen. To live my life for find fulfillment in Him.Thank for inspiring me to write, to laugh, to have fun...Thank you for treating me like a princess...Thank you for loving me unconditionally...thank you for pointing us to Jesus...I love and miss you Daddy...more than I can say...forever and always...

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Someone brought my attention to this prayer they found online...It pretty much sums up my heart lately.

"Lord, undo me"

I don’t really worship these days
I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
Or prayers or actions
or with anything
I am full of all the right moves
I am full of all the right words
I am full of all the right religion
But it is all just illusion
I am really
Too religious
Too realistic
and well really just to lazy
to worship you anymore
I have lost my first love
I have lost the joy of your presence
But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory
Father I need to see you again
Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
To fall down at your feet
To come face to face with your
I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
and me for who I am
I want to be undone
I want to know me for who I really am
I want to see the depths of my heart
And know that you are the only way
You are the only truth
You are the only life
I want to see me and understand
What it really must have taken for you to
Love me
Care for me
See me
Speak to me
Want me
Communicate with me
Die for me
Die for me
Die for me
Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
And my sin
Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
Lord, undo my heart
break down these walls that I love so much
No, wait don’t,
I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
But I can’t live this way anymore
I can’t stand here in this half-life
this going through the motions life
this not really alive life
Father, I need you so come in and do what you must
Cut out the tumor on my heart
Break down the walls that I love
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
let me worship you again
*Blake Williams

I identify with the author. My cold heart scares me. But probably less than it should. I am doubting the core of my faith, and the very character of my Father. Like Thomas, half of my heart refuses to believe until I have proof I can touch and see. The other part wants deperately to live according to the truth I have always known and believed. The classic war of Spirit and Flesh wages within me and I am terrified of the outcome.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I do not like it. Not a bit. I am a creature of habit, and when the things I am accustomed to are suddenly changed I do not handle it well. By God's grace I am trying  to make progress in this. I am trying to learn to "roll with"  various inconveniences. I thought I was making a little headway...until major, painful "changes" occurred that made me stop (more often than I would care to admit) and wonder if life was a big Divine joke. Seriously. I wish I had more faith. I wish I could believe with my whole heart in what I know in my head. Trust eludes me these days (or maybe it's vice-versa). I find myself wanting to curl up into a ball (literally and metaphorically) and just not feel.
   Some days I think a little more clearly--I know without a doubt Who is holding us, Who has been holding us and I have a peace that comes only from Him. More often than not, however, I am simply numb. Maybe it is part of the "grieving" process. I wonder at my ability to move with normalcy through each day. In fact, it concerns me. And sometimes, when the pain is so sharp, I question whether God really cares, and if our lives really matter in the grand scheme of things. Forgive me if I sound melodramatic. I hate that pain causes me to doubt the character of God. To question His love. I suppose I thought I was beyond asking these questions. Obviously, my rather sheltered world has been rudely awakened.
 Which brings me back to the subject of change. In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus is teaching the people.  We are told his teachings are "hard".  They are foreign.They are not what the people are accustomed to hearing. They would require a change. Unfortunately most of the people aren't willing to risk Jesus. After all, their is at least  well-defined. What Jesus is saying is just a little abstract.  It doesn't seem very safe. They want a God who specializes in giving them what they want and no challenging our hearts, thank you very much! So when it gets uncomfortable, they bail.

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 

       John 6:67-68

Lately, my mind comes back  to Peter's words: "To whom shall we go?" It's either fish or cut bait. Sure, this life isn't pleasant,and more often than not, it pretty much sucks. Yet He loves us. He always has. We are the ones who reject. Yes, he allows pain but it is because he wants us close to Him. We were created for that, and to show His glory. Often, that means dying to what we want and the way we think things should go. However, there is unimaginable freedom when we are "slaves" to Christ.
Though I haven't physically spent years running away from Christ, I have "walked away" in my mind, just like the "other disciples". Frankly, it is a dark place. I don't like where I would end up. Though I've  seen so very little in my lifetime I have seen enough to know it simply isn't it worth it to wander. No, "He isn't safe, but He's good." (Lewis).
 I can trust that though there will  be days that I doubt, get angry and want to just give up that He won't give up on me. He passionately pursues His children and longs that they know the depths of His love for them. His love is not human. It is completely "other".  So, by His grace I hope I continue to say with Peter:
"You have the words of real life, eternal life. We've already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God." (The MSG)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today has been bittersweet. The circumstances that Dad is enduring break my heart and I wish that he could have felt like celebrating father's day. Because if anyone ever deserved a day to be celebrated, it is him.The day has been sweet because my mind has been filled with memories of good times with Dad and a profound appreciation for the man that he is.
He and Mom married very young and he probably didn't see himself down the road as the Father to eight children . But he learned. He really parented. Sure, he made mistakes. He's human. But his love never wavers. It doesn't matter what we do, say, or the way we act. We can always count on our Dad's love.  Sounds trite, perhaps, but he has always been there for us. He has always been present. He has that rare skill of listening--really listening--to what a person is saying. His advice is wise and his standard is the word of God. He has the ability to diffuse a situation and bring peace to conflict:; a quality that is much needed in a house full of kids =)
 Some people might think that with "so many" kids, one might be tempted to play favorites. Not so with Daddy. He has an acute understanding of what each one of his kids needs and makes each one of us feel special and appreciated. Daddy-daughter dates are a prime example of the kind of tender-hearted and thoughtful man he is.Some girls might mind if their Dad gives them a hug in "public" or puts his arm around them, but I never did. I was always proud to be seen with my Daddy.  Every birthday that i can remember, he has gotten each of his girls a bouquet of flowers and a special note just for her. Sometimes if a slow song would come on the radio he would just dance around the room with us. He made us feel like princesses.  He has special nicknames for each one of us, and though they are "silly" , they are just an example of my Dad's sense of humor. His dry sense of humor and good natured teasing keep us laughing. His character "voices" while reading aloud to us when we were little or his "horsing around" with his boys are treasured memories.
 He is fiercely protective of his kids (to which all of his daughters, in particular, can attest). His primary concern, however, has always been for our hearts. He wants us to fulfill our dreams and pursue our passions, yes, but he is more concerned with our fulfilling what our Creator designed us to accomplish. he recognized the true source of love and joy and leads us to our heavenly Father. Some of the most precious times I can remember were sitting together as a family reading the Bible and praying in the evenings. Often, deep discussions would result which kept us up long past our intended bedtime when we were little (sometimes intentional, sometimes not =)  There is not a more comforting sound to me than my Daddy's voice.
 His generous heart is evident in all that he does. His steady personality and constant love are a rock. I have never doubted his love and have always known that I could go to him with any particular matter and have him listen with understanding, love and wisdom with no ulterior motive of his own. That is a rare and precious quality in a world where everyone has an agenda.
 These are just a few of the things that I love about my Daddy. Though I know at times he feels as if he has accomplished very little of real importance, He has given his children a beautiful gift.  He has brought us up to desire to fulfill our individual purposes for God and to live solely for His glory. Has has encouraged our hearts and built us up. And He has pointed us to the love of our heavenly Father through his own unconditional, faithful love. 
  'thanks' doesn't even cut it, Daddy. I love you with all my heart. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holding On

“Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” – Isaiah 43:1-3

I'm clinging to this truth lately. Admittedly, my grip is weak some days. Most days. It's agonizing to watch the strong, comforting, tender, intelligent, hardworking man I am privileged to call my Daddy lie in a hospital bed, losing the battle with the cruel enemy we call cancer. It is unfair. It isn't right. He had so much to see and do. I wanted a lot more years with him. He didn't deserve this sudden blow. I can't imagine what he is feeling. He wants desperately to live, but it seems as if he realizes he doesn't have a lot of time left. All we can do is spend each day loving him, letting him know he is not alone through this. 

I'm not giving up hope for healing. I believe our God is Healer and Restorer and could change this with a single word. However, as Dad gets weaker, it seems as if God's answer this time might very well be a "no". I pray that Dad has some good weeks and months left with us. I pray that he can enjoy his family pain-free and alert. It appears as if the answer to that prayer might be a "no", as well. 

The heartache doesn't go away. Sometimes when recalling a memory, looking at a picture or imagining special days and occasions without Daddy,  the pain comes so suddenly it takes my breath. I know there will be more of those days. It is only by God's grace that I'm not a useless mess most of the time lately. He has consistently "shown up"  through this. He has given my amazing brother(who not only has handled the logistical matters, but has been there for us to fall apart on), the stamina and compassion to get through this and bring untold comfort to Daddy. He has been in the countless words, phone calls and hugs from people all around us--some, who barely know us. He promised to never leave us through the pain, and He hasn't. He won't.

But the pain is still pain. We still question why it has to be this way. This cancer, though it seems like the enemy, is only the symptom of the real issue. This world is marred by sin and the death--spiritual and physical. We know we have hope through the one who overcame sin and death once, for all. We know because Daddy put his trust in Christ long ago, that this is not the end for him. It is a joyful beginning. 

But oh, how hopeless it feels. 


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Victory is won

"It's justice and mercy the old dichotomies,
All along the front lines of my heart in both doubt and belief
The sinner and saint, the old arch enemies,
All at war, in me"

 To me, this song epitomizes the eternal struggle of man upon this earth. "Born depraved, yet created for the Divine", we struggle between the desires of our flesh and those of our Creator.

I am acutely aware of my tendency to choose the former. I would rather trust my own wisdom than listen to my Father. I would rather choose the "instant gratification" of what I want rather than wait for what my Creator has for me. I would rather reason away, justify and make excuses rather than going with that "still, small voice" that tells me the truth. My Father paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring me into the truth of his Love, yet I would rather live in darkness, self-pity and hopelessness.

I believe that somehow, since life is so hard for me, I have the right to act just as selfishly as I want. I am a hypocrite at best--I speak great words, act holy and then in the hard, raw moments do whatever I want to do.

faith is not faith until there is a reason to trust.

Lately, that song, "Manifesto, has been running around inside my head.

"We believe in the one true God, We believe in Father Spirit Son,We believe that good has won
We are free He died and lives again,We will be a people free from sin,We will be free a kingdom with no end"

When life gets tough, we need to get back to basics. God is God. We are not. He loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and eternally. He will work everything to His glory and our good. He will never forsake us. We have a hope that transcends physical circumstances. He is making all things new. We will one day be forever free of the battle within us and be restored to perfect fellowship with the Lover of our souls, as we were always meant to exist.

Because He has experienced our every pain and loss and separation we will find comfort in Him. Until we are with Him, He will hold our aching hearts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The beach is a great place to reflect. I love to watch the waves lap against the shoreline, breathe in the salty air and ponder the great mysteries of life. On this particular vacation I have a bit more to ponder, it seems. However, this time my mind isn't working quite like I expected.I find myself napping in the sun (I hate naps), staring blankly out at the waves and doing very little of much importance. hmmm...I think I just described the average individuals vacation....Suffice it to say I have never been very average (not a great thing, honestly), and tend toward the "nervous idiot" side of things; rarely sitting still, needing activity and purpose of some sort and "planning my fun". This time I find myself in a perpetual "mellow" state, and surprisingly, I'm OK with it. I am enjoying myself...
  wait...should I do that? really?
There is much to be said for relaxation. Granted, it is easier to rest and be still when you are surrounded with little responsibility and beautiful sunshine. It is a lot harder to be at peace when you're caring for and running after little kids, working a stressful job, dealing with painful circumstances, and simply trying to survive one day at a time.
I know from observing the lives of others(and from personal reflection) that some of us, though we have even  a small window of opportunity at times to be still, have fun and enjoy ourselves,prefer the constant chaotic activity of which we complain. There is peace and comfort in the familiar mayhem. We are afraid of the answers if we take the time to reflect. We hate the illogical guilt if we let ourselves have fun.
  I've heard it said that sometimes the most "spiritual" thing we can do is have fun...not sure if that is entirely theologically correct....however, I don't think God wants us to keep ourselves in a constant state of stress, guilt and hyperactivity....i don't think it brings us closer to Him, and many times works the exact opposite. If we are never calm and semi-at-peace with ourselves, resting and secure in who we are in Him, we can't reflect on Him, and, as an extension, we can't discover what He wants for our lives (Excuse the run-on sentence)
     I think that will be the struggle of my life. I am my own worst enemy in so many ways. My conscience screams my guilt on a daily basis.That is not as holy as it sounds,by the way, because the focus is still on my own works. In Christ, I no longer have to worry about my works affecting my spiritual status. In Christ, it doesn't matter what I do, because He will always love me. In the words of Paul, does that mean I should "continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Absolutely not. Christ will love me no matter what, absolutely, but why would I want to remain enslaved to the behaviors and thoughts which characterized me before I knew His love? There is much freedom to be found in being a "prisoner of Christ". I am free to live the life for which He designed for me, knowing that when I fail He will still love me. He will never forsake me. His plans for us, though painful at times, are for our eternal good and His glory. And He is forever deserving of all glory. Though at times I am not sure if I care about glorifying him if it means such pain for me and those i love, who else would I want to glorify? I will worship something--it is ingrained in the human soul--and I certainly am not worthy. The God who made the oceans with a single word, entered our world, cursed by our own choice, lived a perfect human life and paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring our hearts back to Him through His extravagant love. Why would I not trust His heart? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He always loves, protects and pursues.
  That makes for peace of mind, regardless of the circumstance.

"I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught." John 14:27 (the Message)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

It has been a quite eventful past couple of weeks, to put it midly. Honestly, I feel as if I've been existing in an alternate reality. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer. He had a malignant brain tumor (which was removed exactly one week ago) and cancer in his lungs. He faces three weeks of radiation therapy for his brain and, after that, Chemotherapy for his lungs. Needless to say, this is a scary time for him. I would do anything to ease his pain and take this disease from him. Yet my strong Daddy is handling this in his predictable "one day at a time",easygoing manner, despite the worries that plague him. If it were me, I would be angry, defiant and depressed. Yet God has and continues to give him grace for each moment. The outpouring of love and support for him has been overwhelming to see.
      The above lyrics pretty much say it all for me. These days trite words simply don't "cut" it.  I feel like a little kid...this hurts and I don't like it, so get ready for my fit. It is unfair of God to let this happen to my Daddy and our family. Yes, I know He has a plan and will work it for good, etc....but sometimes I simply don't care. It comes down to the choice which Adam and Eve had to make. Do I trust God?
   Do I believe His plan is best? Do I believe that He loves Daddy more than I ever could? Do I believe He is good and loving regardless of the answer He gives?
   I don't know. Some days I do, some days I don't. Sometimes I feel his love like a warm hug. Sometimes I know it so strongly that there is not room for doubt in my mind. The next minute I wonder if He even cares.
I know my doubt breaks His heart. I know He loves us. I know His plan is beyond this world, and our lives lived here. I know in the end, He wins. He has final victory. I know, but I don't feel.
    "Lord I believe; help my unbelief".

Friday, April 15, 2011

Who Am I?

In case anyone would like to know, my foremost struggle at this point in my life is self-esteem. It seems it always has been. If a person had asked me a few months ago what I liked about myself i would have been hard-pressed to really find anything. I am my own worst enemy. That is not as humble an attitude as it sounds. It is actually a very arrogant one. God is working on me, however, and ever so painfully slowly, I am learning to change...i hope....

i am made in the image of God. He created me with gifts and abilities that are unique to me. I have a purpose on this earth. Sin mars this world and creates an eternal battle between what Christ wants to do in and through me, and my own desires for comfort and my pleasure.

However, Christ gave me ultimate victory through His death. I am His Princess.

So why can i not believe it? I hate my physical appearance. i hate my arrogant, selfish heart. Satan whispers the lie that I will never overcome the battle that wearies my soul. I must try harder. i must be perfect. i tell my soul, guilty and feeling the shame of falling short of the love i have been given. This battle to live up to my own expectations depresses and slowly paralyzes me. Eventually, i will grow tired of maintaining this game. Stuck in the cycle of pleasing, failing and trying the harder still, i will become so imprisoned that, though I am gloriously set free in Christ, I will remain a prisoner to my own fear and pride.

I must learn to love myself. Yes, that sounds very humanistic. Yet, "they" have something figured out. If an individual does not feel loved, they will not change. if they can't learn to like themselves they will be no good to anyone else.

I must realize-- truly realize--the love of Christ for me. How? By immersing myself in His word. A verse at a time, if need be. I must be reassured of His value of me. He died for my soul. There was obviously nothing in me to deserve such sacrifice. Yet, the Prince of Glory suffered and died for my rebellious heart.

I must learn to see who he made me to be. without him i am nothing. I must spend time with Him. i must listen to his heart. His desires must become my desires. Only in knowing who HE is, can i know who I am.
I must learn to abandon what I think is best for me and learn to trust my father's heart for me. I must do the next right thing, keeping my mind focused on Him. i must do the hard, painful things and reject the need to feel validated by anyone other than Him. I must learn to accept the things I hate about myself and humbly ask Him to give me the desire to change the things that keep me from being what he purposed me to be. Ironically, I will be the most "happy" when I am denying myself. For only in doing His will for me, will I find true fulfillment. Satan cannot take my salvation, but he will keep my eyes so focused on myself that i will lose my joy and love for others. It must break the heart of Christ when we passively give up what He died to give us--fellowship with Him. Lord, take away anything that quenches my thirst for You.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Smile and the whole world...ignores you...

Whatever happened to smiles? Hardly anyone smiles anymore. I try to be a cheerful person and put a pleasant look on my face but I know i am not always conscious of how solemn and depressed I look sometimes (particularly if i am in deep concentration or completely ticked off). Still, there seems to be a general lack of cheerful people in the world. Obviously everyone can't go around with fake smiles on their face if they're having a bad day. Yet people just seem so generally miserable. Has it always been like this? I spent nearly 5 minutes talking to a random elderly lady in the grocery store once simply because I made eye contact and smiled at her. I'm not calling myself Mary Poppins, and plenty of people can attest to the fact that I can have a rather cryptic, ornery manner if i am crossed. It just breaks my heart how many people  don't care to have any kind of personal connection anymore. It's almost as if it would take too much emotional energy. I love technology just as much as the next person but replacing the human connection with the next bigger and better advance of technology is contributing to the death of society. No one knows how to spell. No one knows how to have an intelligent convesation. No one knows how to engage their brain enough to see their children playing dangerously close to an oncoming car (believe me, I've come incredibly close to snatching a few kids away from their if I end up in jail, you know why!)

         Why this random rampage? Why do I sound like an indignant old person, wishing for "the good old days" ? I'm not sure, but the state of society bothers's a symptom of a deeper I'm too tired to analyze, please excuse me while i go watch some TV =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Roughly a year ago, I had the opportunity to go with my brother and the youth group he pastors to serve at the Bowery Mission in New York City. We spent the week helping the residents there prepare and serve meals, clean the mission, organize donations and various other tasks with which they needed help. Make no mistake, running such a place takes tremendous patience, hard work and dedication. I was privledged to serve these people and I can firmly say it was one of the best weeks of my life.

I struggled with feelings of inadequecy on the trip there. What would they think of (comparitively) sheltered, Christian kids who knew little of "real life" hardships? Would we be a nusicance? An inconvenience? All my worrying, turns out, was needless. (It was pride, really, but more about that in another post, sometime ;). I have never met such thankful people in my life. The staff was incredibly grateful for anything and everything we did and the residents acted like we were doing them the biggest favor in the world. In truth, it was they who blessed us. They always had a warm smile for us and words of encouragement. Scripture was always on their lips and they had a genuine love for Christ. These men had been through truly hard times and were passionate about Jesus and the way He had resuced them. Certainly, it wasn't all hearts and flowers once they recieved Christ. People are still people. There are still day to day struggles that come from living in a sin-cursed world. However, these  men now had real Hope and their words and worship refelected that.

That week Christ broke my heart. As we served meals to the homeless that came thorugh the line the faces cut me to my soul. Some wouldn't meet our eyes and you could tell they were very embarrased. Some gruffly took waht they were given and you could tell that their callous and sometimes confrontational spirits were well-honed habits that covered up their hurting souls. Still others smiled into our eyes and had a cheery "good morning" or "how are YOU?". (I normally can't smile until at least 8:30 am =) 

I had a fabulous time in the city itself that week. Central Park, Battery Park, Times Square, (Starbucks on every corner), beautiful works of architecture, museums I could spend years in...(did I mention Starbucks?)...We attended the Brooklyn Tabernacle on Sunday Morning. We saw the place where the Twin Towers once stood. (An experience I will never forget). I will be going back in the future...mark my words...

Yet  it was the hope and love I saw that week that will always live with me. I saw the Love of Christ being practically displayed to hurting and lost people. Through the hard, messy, day to day stuff they lived out His command to love others. I was privledged to be a part of that.

As I said before, I am a sheltered, homeschooled teenager. This expreience could be chalked up to the mission trip "high" of a kid who has seldom been anywhere outside of Knoxville. True, there is a thrill when you work with other believers toward a common, Christ-honoring goal.However i saw firsthand that life is hard, tragic and completely unfair. Yet there is a Hope found only in the love of our Creator. He has given us an incomparable gift and each and every one of us is meant to spread that gift of love through our own unique abilities. That week I experienced not a "high" that quickly subsided when I came home to "real life", but the peaceful hope of knowing that joy exists in stepping outside myself and loving others. No matter what else i accomplish in this world, I want to be used by my Savior to spread His love. Pure and simple.THAT, my friend is real life. I can do no less.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eloquence? Not so much...

You know those people who absolutely cannot say a simple "I'm sorry" ? As if to say the words, they would be conceding that they were *gasp* wrong! Heaven forbid! To prserve their image they would rather hurt and alienate those around them rather than humbly admitting a wrong and seeking forgiveness. Ironically, their "image" would be much better if they would merely admit they aren't perfect.

It hurts, doggone it. I'm tired of opening up about struggles and hurts (however "silly" they are), and have them thrown back in my face and feeling like dirt that I even dared to communicate I was anything but happy.I'm tired of walking on eggshells. Tired of feeling like half an adult and half a child. Tired of selfish people that endlessly hurt, manipulate and beat down those around them because of a sick need for control. I'm tired of that need for control scarily creeping up in my own life. Tired of the perfectionism. Tired of a mind that never sleeps.Tired of having to try so dang hard and getting no return for the effort. Tired of no one understanding. Tired of retreating yet too tired to come out of a shell. Tired of feeling strange, out of place and unloved. Does unconditional (human) love even exist? I wonder....

If this post needs a definition, I will officially define it. It's a complaint. Tonight i don't feel like being eloquent, spiritual or very nice at all. I feel like cussing, crying and curling up with a big tub of ice cream. Am i being overdramatic? Most assuredly. As i write this I am sitting with a calm, pleasant look on my face saying the right things and nodding at the right moments. Am I too sensitive? Probably. This day is nothing compared to the tragedy in Japan and the hurt and pain so very prevalent in the world. It has actually been a fairly pleasant day in some respects (And that makes me feel like even more of an ass. It IS all about me, you know ;) Am I hopeless? No. Just hurting and having "one of those days".The sun will come out tomorrow, Charlie Brown. I'll be fine. I'm not going off the deep end.

So sorry for the complaints and "emo" attitude tonight. But what is a blog for?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain and is as follows

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! "

Isn't that the truth? Your heart fairly burts with joy, and you're not quite sure why...Everything is new, it seems. The air is intoxicating. The delicious rays of a Spring sun upon bare skin warms the soul.

For a time, life is good. Though our problems threaten like the proverbial April showers, for a time, things are right. A reckless enthusiasm and an intense contentment invade the soul, making one forget the sorrows of winter.

 It seems God is playing with His creation.Painting magical sunsets simply to see our reaction. He splashes  yet another color upon the canvas of nature and takes our breath away. Our God is a creative, beautiful, romantic God. He is far bigger than the methodical, sterile, robotic Being we try to shove into a box. After all, if we understand and contain Him, we have it all under pain, no fear, no change. Yet our God has a passionate, unyielding love for His creation that goes far beyond our finite minds.

Spring, to me, is a glimpse into the heart of God. He desires to make all things new. He delights in romance. He enjoys beauty and love. We, created in His image, do the same. Though tainted with sin, we are still made in His image. We love the things he loves. He is a just God, we thirst for  justice. He rojoices in truth, we are liberated when we are honest. His heart is a lover for His bride, and our hearts thrill at romance.

Spring. Come with your beauty and leave us breathless; forever in awe of the Great Artist.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

True Beauty

Last week i went to see my Grandmother (my dad's mom) for her nninetieth birthday. I love this woman. To begin with, she is, and always has been a fireball. She is one of those people that you have to force to sit still; she is always going and doing. In recent years her circumstances have slowed her down, yet her characteristic optimism and energy has never left. She still drives (better than some adults in their "prime" ;) and aside from the toll that the years have taken on her hearing and eyesight, she is in remarkably good health.
    She grew up hard. After her mother died, her father married again and essentially abandoned her when she was 14. She had to quit school to support herself  but she is one of the smartest women I know. She worked hard cleaning and cooking for neighbors until she married at a young  age. Though my grandfather undoubtedly loved her, her he perhaps didn't know how to best show her true love (especially in their early years). She was not a "doormat" in any respect (though many today would say that she was).She was determined to drive and  taught herself  after she was married with children,surprising her husband one evening with her license. From accounts I have heard she kept him in line, though no one remembers her acting out of spite or anger towards him. She retained her self-respect, had definite opinions and didn't "cow-tow" to anyone, but she didn't demand her own rights. She faithfully served her husband and children, because, "what else would you do?" To her, loving God and loving others was and is her life. The family recalls huge Sunday lunches that she would spend hours (joyfully) preparing. She rarely missed church and has always kept herself immaculate, though she is certainly not afraid to get her hands dirty. She maintained a garden for many many years and there is nothing she loves better than working with plants and soil. She has maintained a zest for life. She absolutely loves living. Though she has certainly had her times of feeling down and perhaps had a pity party or two (like the rest of us) she has always been "others focused".I don't think she has ever held a grudge (though she certainly had occasion!) She doesn't demand attention; she takes what is given and loves unconditionally.She just thinks life is too short to do anything but love one another. Some would call her view of life and people simplistic and old fashioned. Yet there is more joy to be seen in her spirit than many people today who are socially and politically "correct". She is an unselfish and caring individual and I am beyond blessed to have her as my "mamaw". If, by God's grace, I become  half the woman that she is, I will be grateful. She will do anything for anyone and you will never feel unloved in her presence. She has succeeded in making her family and all those with whom she has come in contact  feel loved, un-judged and special. As followers of Christ, are we really called to anything else than to "love God and love people"? Her life is a lesson in the joy of a forgiving, grace-full and sacrificing spirit.
       I love you, Mamaw .

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


That's the title of a new Pink song. (Yes, i listen to "pop" music on occasion...well, more than that, but that's for another post....=)
Now, while I don't advise a steady "diet" of Pink I do enjoy a few of her songs. This one in particular caught my attention. In it, the singer is reassuring someone, despite their mistakes, wrongdoings, and different-ness (I suppose that's a word....) they are "perfect". The song is a celebration of each individual's uniqueness and renunciation of the culture's idea of "perfect" and living life in the confidence that comes of embracing said differences. I like those thoughts. A lot. A little too much, perhaps. Why? Because they all get back to ME. I am BEAUTIFUL. I am GIFTED and UNIQUE and if you don't like me for me, you can buzz off. I am CONFIDENT and EMPOWERED.

Now I think Pink's intentions were good when she wrote that song. After all, there is nothing wrong with reassuring someone they are special and don't need to be "normal" as defined by the culture. There are many that need to hear that they are loved, despite their differences and apparent imperfections. The problem comes when we start looking to ourselves for significance and confidence. "The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it" (Jer. 17:9) comes to mind. We are torn between what our sinful nature wants and what the Spirit of Christ desires. We will never be "perfect". Even our best intentions and kindest deeds are motivated by selfishness...a rather depressing thought, actually, until you realize that despite all that, Christ loves us anyway. He gave his perfect Son so that we could have the fellowship that we were designed to have with Him. He LOVES us. We will be His perfect Bride (2 Cor. 11:2).

we are IMPERFECT. Our default nature is to behave selfishly. Even if we don't say it, we believe that we are "grandiose" (watch Charlie Sheen lately, anyone? So sad...)
BUT. We are loved, regardless. Is there anything more confidence- inspiring or empowering than knowing you are loved without condition? Sure, let's celebrate the unique way that our Father created us, but lets not forget it was the Father. True and lasting hope comes when we realize that our only hope lies in Christ and HIS perfection.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Boy is it ever messy (the understatement of the year, ladies and gents!)
People are hurting and experiencing more pain and tragedy than I want to think about.
Once, again my spirit feels tired. I cannot begin to comprehend the pain of some, yet I still feel the ache in my soul. Oh, Lord, when will you "make all things new"?

 This morning Sean spoke about fear. He said giving into it is like "trusting in the enemy". Legitimizing his threats. But Satan will have no final victory. Christ has won the war.
Mr.Durfee recently pointed out that God is not bound by time. Time is His Creation. What, to us, will happen in the future to Him simply is. He will have the victory. He has defeated sin and death and will make all things new. He will restore His creation. He will come for His bride. Soon, all pain will be gone.
In the meantime He wants us to draw closer to Him. Nothing He does is without purpose. If we were to understand all His ways, He would cease to be God. I don't want to put my trust in anyone else. No, i don't understand what He does, but I know enough to know He is the only answer. To look anywhere else for answeres is futile. Even in my realtively few years of life, I have seen enough to know that. Does that mean I won't do stupid things or constantly struggle with wanting my own way instead of His? No. I want only to try to stay close to Him. Even that, will be through His grace alone.He is the Hope of my soul. In Him I have the strength to love. The motivation to forgive.

"I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain. Come quickly and abide, or life is vain"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Great Romance


What comes to mind when you see that word? For me, it's a giant silk heart that contains chocolate candy, such as you might receive on Valentine's Day. (Random, I know, but that is me =)

Speaking of Valentine's Day...I always used to hate it. I hated seeing people acting "stupid" over their current girlfriend or boyfriend and saying things they retract a few weeks later or going way too far with their emotions or spending way too much money (yes, I am a little "tight"). So now that everyone is feeling all toasty warm inside...That was cynical, I know and I probably wouldn't feel that way if I was "in a relationship". I just have a problem with giving too much of yourself to someone else. Mainly because I'm an insecure person (But more about that in another post =)

I said I USED to hate it. By God's grace my viewpoint is different. This year I saw the beauty in it, because it reminded me of something very important.

As so often happens, God really got my attention through a  book, songs and conversations.

From the beginning, Creation chose to doubt God's wisdom and do what they thought would fulfill them. The snake brought into question the very nature of the Father when he tempted Adam and Eve. Isn't that still the struggle? We are given a choice. (Because love isn't love without choice.) What God says, or our desires? So often choose to ignore the very relationship that will bring lasting joy. We were created to have intimate fellowship with our Creator. But our hearts are torn between what we were meant to be and what we think will fulfill us. The beauty of The Great Romance is that Christ is always "pursuing" our hearts. He possesses a passionate love for us. He is a jealous God and will do anything to have our complete and unadulterated devotion.

Yet we have done nothing to deserve such an unyielding, forgiving love. Like Gomer (in the book of Hosea) in the Bible, we run from His arms to those of other lovers, refusing to acknowledge the gift  that is ours. But still He pursues. Still, he rescues. Still He lavishes love, forgiveness and healing upon us. Incredible.

 Human relationships are supposed to be a picture of his pursuit. His forgiveness. His relentless love. Yet, we fall so short. Still, there is hope because out of the glorious love we have been given by Him, we find the strength to forgive. The motivation to love selflessly. We love because we are loved.

 To me human romance is beautiful (or has the potential to be so) simply because the idea of it is straight from God's heart. Though we screw it up royally, it is a beautiful, tangible expression of the love we have received from the Father.
Simple, yes, but it was a revelation to me.

So(though it's a little late for this), Happy Valentine's Day.  =)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stop, and play

mmmm....This weather makes me come me a little over-eager for Spring but 60s and sunny in February gives one a little hope for an early Spring.

The writing class I am taking has centered around a trilogy of books that contain a lot of Christian symbolism (Ted Dekker, anyone?) Our assignments are to think (deeply) and to write. In the stories there is a Creator (Elyon) who represents God and His creation which represent us. In the stories Elyon turns the world upside down on his creation for a day (The sky is the ground, the trees are above their heads, etc.).The creatures  tell the stranger in their midst (who wonders what the heck has happened) that Elyon  is merely "playing" with them. They delight in His creativity and simply enjoy his "games".

The thought of God "playing" with His creation was a new one to me. Certainly he lovingly guides, protects, and always acts with purpose. But does he "play"? hmmmm....

Beautiful sunny days when the air smells of promise and pleasure. Those "What? I thought I was the only one?" moments (of which Lewis speaks) with a friend. A hug or a smile that seems straight from the arms of Christ. The moment when your heart once again realizes the incredible hope which is His love and all you can do is weep. Yes. He plays. He loves. Though His creation is marred by sin He gives us glimpses of beauty and pleasure and his infinite creativity.

Maybe this seems naive and overly simplified. However, for a person like me who cannot sit still, and tends to be a little too analytical, the concept of God as the Divine Artist who delights in the reactions of His creation at His creativity was a much needed Revelation (yes, that was a run-on sentence=). You can give yourself all the "pep talks", sermons, etc. in the world but they're not going to make a bit of difference in your life if you don't "feel" loved by someone. When God sends a beautiful day or a caring person into your life it is like a "hug" from Him.

So that's my thought for the day.

Now, excuse me while I go enjoy the sunshine =)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


So. Here it is. My blog. I've been unsuccessful at starting and continuing with one before now. Perhaps they are one their way "out" of popularity (I sincerely hope not). One would think it was a monumental task to create one of these and do a daily (or so) entry into it. However, for a perfectionist such as myself it requires brainpower and sometimes, I'm just plain lazy. I do, however, want to have a place to express my often tumultuous thoughts, and, for what it's worth, my opinions on, and revelations about life in general (terrible sentence structure, I know). Granted, I've not lived long enough to have any observations truly earth- shattering and perhaps I am narcissistic to assume others would want to read my musings. I do, however think it is a good thing to express one's  thoughts through "journaling" (and online journaling :) and the skill of thinking through a given matter and "saying the thing we mean to say" (Thanks, Mr. Durfee ;) is sadly lacking these days. Often, I am the worst offender. Perhaps this will help me. If no one else ever reads or gleans a single thing from this, it will not be in vain because it is a sort of "therapy" for me. Please excuse the imperfect grammar, sentence structure, venting, raging, melancholia, over-excitement and anything else which might offend or annoy =)
    I drew inspiration for the title of this blog from one of my favorite bible verses. Since I enjoy running (perhaps it would be better termed "jogging"?) i understand the concept of "endurance" a little....

"... let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12 :1

My primary goal for my life is to grow closer to my Savior and in turn "be love" to others. That means whatever I do, whatever he has planned for me, I give love to others without agenda,serve without promise of reward and point them only to Christ and His love. Wears me out just thinking of it. However, it cannot be in my own power. Christ  will have to be the "oxygen" to my spiritual "muscles" (pardon the "cheesiness") if I am to posses any sort of endurance.

this blog will serve primarily to (hopefully) sort out the muddle mess which is my brain. If someone gets something out of it, wonderful! If's all good....

I'm tired as I write this, so I don't even know if any of the above made sense. Oh well. Take it for what it's worth...

So ends my disclaimer. G'night, ya'll =)