Monday, December 6, 2010

Longsuffering

As I sit in the dark and quiet,
He comes to me
Whispering so quietly
I cannot differentiate his words
From my own breath.

He tells me things I used to know
And once believed
Before daylight had broken.
“Child, why all this pride and confidence?
What makes you special?”

…Have I lied to myself about me?
Am I nothing?
The insignificant.
I share my brokenness with humanity.
Enough with self-pity!

His chanting closes in about me.
I cannot escape
But begin to whimper.
“You are valueless, not priceless.
Get over yourself.”

Long ago, before the lights were dim,
Someone promised me
Everlasting day.
But now I feel this rescue is but
A fairytale.

Hours later, I discover his threats
Had numbed my heart.
Consciousness returns!
Masquerading as a knight, this dragon
would eat my soul.

I call out for lights and candles.
None are brought here.
…My wavering voice!
My hope falters and I atrophy
When light pours in.

Then someone picks me up gently
I am found.
With my ears deafened,
I hadn’t heard someone proclaiming
I am precious.

I'm not taking this silence any more.
Someone is singing
And my voice shall join.
It is a song of longsuffering love.
This song ignites me.

~

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

fall

Leaves turn,
Wind blows,
Voices echo.
The end is near.

Staunch the pain.
Close up the clouds
That rain down tears.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?

In vain, do I mourn
The close of things
That must be closed.
For tonight, I am golden.

I wish for eternal summer
Frolics in a green world.
[I cannot return to a month
Once its been torn from the calendar]

Instead, winter advances daily.
The empty trees watch
As silence and I grow closer.
We bond in the windchill.

If I were hollow and numb,
None of it would matter.
But spring lives deep in my heart.
I cannot surrender this hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Illuminate

It grows darker here, day by day.
I thought it would get brighter.
I was wrong.

So young, so hopeful, so happy
I tossed some scattered sunshine into the air
It was a lovely sight.

The glistening droplets danced in the sky
Falling to the ground
Dull

Undaunted, persistent, curious
I reached into my pocket for more
It was empty.

Oh, where can I replenish my pockets?
How shall I be full enough to try again?
I wept in silence.

I go about my days in search of light,
Despairing of it ever being found.
I am a wandering heart.

I tried spreading about some colored stones
That I found in my book bag one day.
People only tripped.

But meandering through an empty field,
I found light thrust upon me:
“You are the light of the world.”

Suddenly changing, reforming, redoubling
My pocket exploded in a thousand directions.
There was no stopping this light.

I cried, “Let me illuminate this world!
I don’t want anything else.
My life in exchange for your light.”

~
Light up! Light up!
(as if you had a choice)

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

(I really do care)

I wanted to comfort you
(I really do care)
But all that came to mind
Were words,
Meaningless and empty.

I wanted to encourage you
(I really do care)
But all that I could see
Were my inadequacies,
Paralyzing and hurtful.

I wanted to heal you
(I really do care)
But all that I could find
Was my broken heart,
Confused and yearning...

I wanted to love you
(Nothing else really matters)
But all that I could do
Was love Him first,
Trusting and hopeful.

I fall in love with the ones that run me through,
when all along all I need is You.

Lord, save me from seeking You that I might love others better.

Let me seek You for Your sake alone.

Lord, purify my heart that I might depend solely on You.

Let my love be replaced with Yours.


Wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

an author

I'm the author of a book.
I call it "How to Fail at Life."
Its a pretty simple guide...
I've tried it, maybe once or twice.

I'll never get it published though:
People tell me that, in life,
There's only space for one Author
and that author isn't me.

~

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

...every breath is a second chance...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

only and already

We’re all dying to love,

While being loved is the only way to life.

We want to prove ourselves,

When all that matters has already been proven.


~


...I remember two things, that I am a great sinner,
and that Christ is a great Saviour.
John Newton

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

offerings

I bring you the pieces of what I called my life.

This frustrated rebel finds peace only in humility.

Praise be to the One whose scars cover my rebellion.


~


And I realize the reason You came
{hallelujah}

Monday, September 27, 2010

With every victory, comes defeat.
Praise be to Him who has overcome the world.

We are a world of broken hearts.
Thanks be to Him who heals all wounds.

~

In other news, I've missed blogging. Perhaps, my blog will live again. And perhaps, I will learn to write poetry.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

everyday restoration

Sometimes, I live inside of myself, lost in my little emotional world. I take everything personally and find meanings where none existed. Everything relates back to something else that makes me more miserably far away from God.

Other times, I live externally, focused on the things and people in the world. Everything I do is fun and happy, but I know the joy is hollow. Today was one of those days. Nothing was wrong, except that I couldn’t feel God.

Now, I don’t always have to feel God to know He exists. Just it is a whole lot easier to believe in somebody you can experience or are experiencing. I don’t care if it’s His love or His reproof I feel: I just want to know He is close. I hate being far away.

All the same, sometimes I am far away. My internal life makes me depressed. My external life is a hypocrisy. I somehow I want to combine my inner thought world and my outer action world… like where soul meets body?

{The further I’m from You, the harder I try to exist.}

Today, I was mad at God because I didn’t know where I stood with Him. I couldn’t feel Him and it was my fault. It’s always my fault if I can’t feel God. God is always there, so it can’t possibly His fault. But… why am I supposed to do all the work for this relationship? I thought He was supposed to save me!

But seriously, this has been annoying me for a very long time. Do we come to God? Or does God meet us where we are? Are we supposed to seek God and beg for forgiveness, even when we don’t know what there is to seek or repent? Or will God find me and whip me into shape?

{Take these blinds from my eyes and wake me from the inside}

Today I got an idea about the answer. It’s not about coming to or being met by God: it’s quite simply about needing Him. When it’s finally clear that you can’t keep your life together, call out to God and you can see Him. When you don’t how you’re going to get through, God appears and you can see Him.

The thing is, for any of that to happen, I need humility. Unless I am aware of my need for God, I can’t experience Him. And, this week, that was my exact problem. I read my Bible, prayed, encouraged others… all under the impression that I was okay and remembering that God was vaguely somewhere around me. Just, I didn’t need God. God was kind of my buddy that I hung out with for a bit in the morning and talked about with other people. This has been a week of unintentionally insincere love, coming from myself and not from God.

{I'm sorry my love failed again}

I don’t know how long it would have gone on like this, but tonight I took a walk outside and decided to talk it out with God. I told Him He was lame for making me do all the seeking. I told Him I didn’t know where I stood and He should hurry up and tell me, because I didn’t like the uncertainty. All of that didn’t make me feel much better. Instead, I just felt farther away from Him.

He gave me this verse (yes, again) and told me to be content with not always feeling Him.

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
–Ps 116:9

I don’t have to worry about feeling Him… just keep walking before Him. But, if I am walking before Him, I have to be aware of what He wants in everything. I have to look at Him, know Him, serve Him. And thus ended my pride and began my restoration to the land of the living.

I am humbled. I can’t be close to somebody who I don’t need or love. That should have been obvious, but it took a while for me to discover that. Now, the question remains: how to need and love God every moment of my life? I don’t have that one down yet, but when I do, I’ll add the answer to this story of everyday restoration. Thanks for listening and loving.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

fearless [confessions and rededication]

This week, I thought I had it all together. Many things in my life finally began to make sense. I realized that God knew what he was doing with me. During my times of confusion and separation, God taught me about hope and told me He was my home.

Everything that had been wrong about this semester was suddenly okay, because I understood now. It was happy.

Until I fell.

I don't even know what I mean when I say that. It's like I fell back into everything I was before Masters: insecure, alone, and unwilling to be helped.

And, I don't even know why. Wait. I do. I think it was realizing that I really don't know how to reach out to people. I am such a listener! If people want to talk to me, I am there for them. But if people don't want to talk, even though it might help them, I'm no good. I don't know what to say what or what to ask.

I'm not any good at taking an interest in people either. If we share something in common, I'm better... but plain old "being friendly" and asking people about their day to day life is hard. I live inside of myself. I want to be focused on others, not just focused on how others relate to me.

And, so, realizing the areas I fail sent me spiraling downwards into everything I never wanted to be again. I hated everything about myself and hated that people existed. People are such a problem for me. While they encourage and love me, I can never do anything for them!

Eventually, I was okay again. Sort of. I was guilty for letting myself get down that far. I don't like it down there and thought I was past that. I'm not and don't know if I ever will be.

That realization hurts. It makes me not want to even try. I want to stay asleep so I don't have to face life. I want to live in the dark because remaining in the light is too difficult.

And, I don't like that this is how I am. And, I don't like that I'm telling you this, because now you'll know that I'm an everyday failure who forgets the truth. I'm afraid of what you'll think of me and I'm sorry I haven't lived up to everything you thought I was. Why am I telling you this then? You didn't have to know. I am telling you this because:

With my victory, comes my defeat.
Praise be to Him who has overcome the world.

Truth matters and I am telling you these things because I wanted you to know that truth is beginning to matter to me too.

I still have questions. I always will. But God loves me and that's enough.

I'm not afraid now. I choose the light. Again.

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
-Ps 116: 9

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Loving the alone and sick

If I had to describe my thoughts and musings from my fall tour with CFC in one song, The Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole would be it.

Don't let your lights go down
Don't let your fire burn out
'Cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out
That's how the lost get found
The lost get found

For as long as I can remember, loving others has featured as one of my main life goals. Tour took that desire to love others to a whole new level. I didn’t just want to be kind to the people I was with; I want to help them, save them.

Each year, CFC has a theme for all of the workshops and presentations that they do. Our theme was “Lead the Escape.” Every week on tour, the team and I did an hour-long presentation one evening about our theme. We discussed many reasons for and types of bondage: physical, spiritual, emotional… poverty, insecurity, lies, apathy, and hatred. In the end, we encouraged the audience to step beyond themselves and go out and help people who are trapped.

Even though I helped to present the program every week, it affected me a great deal. I got so tired and frustrated with telling people to lead the escape and doing nothing about the people around me who I knew were hurting.

So, I began having long chat conversations with people and praying for them regularly, always feeling like I wasn't doing anything to really help them break free.

One day on tour, I was talking with Michael about how I could help lead the escape for others.

Michael: So, what's been on your mind?
me: a lot
mostly, how do i love others?
and how can i help people who are broken?
Michael: so "how can I help people?"
;)
me: yeah
why the winky smile?
Michael: because.
everyone is broken.
so "how can I help people who are broken" might as well be "how can I help people"
me: i guess so

I really didn’t know what to do with Michael had said. In my mind, I was the person who was “okay,” who knew that joy exists and believed that God saves. As a Christian, it was my job to pull everybody else out into the light. I was “whole;” they were broken and lost. And, I needed to help them escape from that. It was always one-way love. It was always about me reaching down into a pit of lies and sin and showing people the sky and world above.

This sometimes made my conversations with people slightly awkward and every time I knew I had to say something, otherwise they might never hear the truth. (Don’t be afraid to stand out. That’s how the lost get found, right?)

-----

Right before the CO conference, almost the whole entire team came down with swine flu, me included. I was asleep almost all day on Sunday and was dizzy and headachy for maybe four days afterward. Some of the team got sick a day or two before me and some a few days after. Josh and I were both sick at pretty much the same time. I remember commiserating with him and hugging him a lot since we couldn’t make each other any worse. Another thing I remember is telling people who weren’t sick not to hug me because I would get them sick too. Tim didn’t listen and hugged me anyway.

I often tell myself I need to love like Tim did when the team had swine flu. I need to love unconditionally, no matter what the cost. I imagine myself as the one who is well helping out the one who sick.

But maybe…

I am sick too.

Maybe it isn’t my role to find people to save them as much as I should be a friend to those around me.

Learning about my own brokenness has somehow changed the way I seek to love others. Now, I want to sympathize with them, understand them, simply be with them.

During and after tour, my life’s motto was “Love must be sincere.” I thought about that phrase all the time and tried to live by it. Of course, I failed. As I learned more about sincere love, I saw places that my love was insincere. I couldn’t love my family and I hated myself for it. I came back to see the team over New Years and found I couldn’t love the team any better.

It was my failure at loving others that drove me to push God’s love for me away.

Through the course of Masters prep, God showed me that my love cannot be sincere unless He is the source of that love. God is the definition of sincere love and in order to love sincerely, I have to look to Him.

Learning that, along with finally admitting my own brokenness, opened my eyes to what it really means to love others. Now, I am at the same level as the rest of humanity. I can’t save people. I’m not any better than them. Sometimes, all I can do is be there for them and be there with them.

During Masters prep, I learned that God loved me enough to save me. I didn’t particularly appreciate being saved, seeing as I didn’t deserve it, but that was the truth and I couldn’t argue with it.

God’s love didn’t truly break through to me until the middle of Masters. When I found that he was on my side, willing to be with me through everything, caring about every detail in life, suddenly I could see that He loved me. That whole week, I had been dreading the end of tour. I simply did not think I could survive leaving the team. They were people I could trust, people who I knew loved me. On the day this all clicked in my mind, I was crying on the floor, telling God that I was lame for having such an emotional response. He said He didn’t care. Even though I was being stupid and not trusting Him, it didn’t matter to Him. He told me He would always be there for me, even during my small, lame problems.

It didn’t matter to me that God was better than me and willing to give me joy if I let him lead my escape. It was the promise to always be with me that made all of the difference.

I can’t ever love the “alone and sick” the same now. I’m done with being right and I'm ready to be there.

It does annoy me that I don’t think about loving others half as much as I used to, but now that I’ve experienced God’s love, I know I just have to keep abiding and let Him do the rest. After all... We love because he first loved us.

I am so thankful for what God has done in my life. This is never what I expected when I went on tour. There is no going back to before; I am changed forever. Now the task at hand: living like a changed person. Maybe one day soon, I will write about college and all of that. Or, maybe not. But at least now you know some of what the team, tour, Masters, and mostly just God did for me. Thanks for listening.

I am full now, not empty. I am in Love and out of it I will not go.
-The Great Divorce, CS Lewis

Monday, March 15, 2010

alone and sick

At one conference during the course of tour, I had a cough and so I stayed in a room all by myself at a host home. I remembered being really lonely, sad, and crying myself to sleep on several of the nights. A lot of other things were going on then too (like my computer screen cracking…) so at the time I told myself that I was stressed and that I would be okay in the morning.

I hate being alone. Now. I used to be okay with it.

During the course of tour, I was reminded all the time that I wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t do it all. I wasn’t competent enough. I wasn’t a good enough friend or Christian. I was too prone to failing at life… I was broken. So, I shut myself in a box all by myself. I didn’t want to burden others with my problems or embarrass myself by letting others see inside me.

I remember being lonely often on tour. I spent a great deal of time outdoors where ever I was, so I wouldn’t have to deal with people. Sometimes, I avoided asking people how they were because then they would ask me how I was too.

I barely knew the people on tour, so I told myself that I was an introverted feeler and that it would be okay once I got to know them better.

In reality, I isolated myself. It’s not like I had deep, dark secrets. It was more that I never told any one about what was going on in my life, heart, and mind. I reasoned that I shouldn’t have to open up to others because all I needed was God. I tried to love others without letting others love me.

It was my own fault that I was alone. It was so much easier that trusting somebody else: I wouldn’t run the risk of them hurting me or of me relying on them. It allowed me to avoid working through my own insecurities: I could just keep them all inside at the bottom of myself.

If you hide yourself deep inside, deep inside
In time you’ve got nothing left to hide
It’s all dead inside.

So, throughout tour, I continued to keep to myself. I think the team didn’t know what to do with me. A few of them told me later me later on that couldn’t connect with me at all. A few of them saw that I wasn’t completely okay and reached out to me, but I wouldn’t open up.

I refused to be loved.

Eventually, my refusal to be loved by others developed into a refusal to be loved by God. I could see so clearly that I wasn’t worthy of love and so I told God that he shouldn’t be loving me either. I wanted to pay for my sin. I wanted to be hated. I wanted to be alone, because that is what I deserved.

God didn’t leave me like that though.

Choice is the only thing we’re given
For one will live, another dies
One road says hello the other says goodbye
And the roads that you don’t choose begin to die

During MASTERS prep, I decided to believe that God loves me even though I don’t deserve it. It was the truth and I had no other choice. I stopped arguing about whether or not he should love me and began to see that God didn’t want me to be alone.

God loved me and there was nothing I could do about it. But it wasn’t until the middle of MASTERS that I became thankful for that love. I found out that there were things I simply could not do without God and, only then, was I glad of the love that I could not understand, that would not let go or leave me alone. Ever.

Since MASTERS, I have become ridiculously dependent on God. Not always in a sane, confident way, but many times in a completely needy way. I am terrified of being alone and without God. God is still teaching me to be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ.

I will always be a sick and broken human being. But God demonstrates his own love for me in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.

I don't have to be perfect to receive love and I am done being alone. Nothing I can do will ever change God's love for me. Now I believe it and live by it.

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
-Ps 66:20

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

snow

Earlier today, I was thinking how beautiful the world would look if it was snow-covered and then... it snowed! So, I took a walk in the snow with my wonderful mother. At 1AM. :)

The flakes danced in the street lights as they drifted down and around me. The thin layer of snow beneath my boots crunched ever so slightly. I turned around and looked at my footprints, zigzagging down the road in the direction I had come from. Then, I faced forward and continued to walk where no man had ever set foot before - okay, where no man had ever set foot that evening - until I started skipping and spinning all over the empty street.

This has been a happy day.
{and hope does not put us to shame}