Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Journey: Part Two

Over six months ago I wrote a post about 2014.
December. Oh December. You were good to me. One of the most challenging years of my life ended. The first year of the greatest adventure I have ever been on came to a close.

2015. I welcome you. I welcome restoration. I welcome your resting in the assurance that God will fulfill every promise. I welcome the hope and life you will bring to my heart. Already you have been wonder-filled. Already, you have amazed me. Twenty fifteen, I face you with courage, knowing that you won't be easy, but I can rest. God will fulfill every promise, I can rest.
 These words were written back in January. I read them now and can't help but giggle.

Let me rewind and tell you a little about the whirlwind that has happened in the last six months.

Some time back, I decided to jump off the cliff and give online dating a try. I signed up for Match dot com and paid for a three month subscription. I didn't have a whole lot of success for the first three months. I talked to a guy or two, but no one I was really interested. My subscription was supposed to end right at Christmas and I was going to go ahead and cancel my subscription before I was charged for another three months. I was thinking about giving another dating site a try, but wasn't sure yet.

On my way home for Christmas I got stuck in the airport for around 10 hours. Because of the chaos of being bounced from flight to flight, I totally forgot about cancelling my subscription. A couple days go by and I realize that I had forgotten and had already been charged for the next three months. Frustrated, I decided to keep it for the next three months since I had already paid for it.
Unbeknownst to me, I would end up cancelling my subscription before those three months were up anyway.

December 27th I got an email from a guy named Alex. He was pretty cute. It was easy to keep an email conversation going back and forth with him. I still wasn't sure though. I wanted to move slowly because to be honest, I was a little freaked out about meeting up with someone I met online.

December 31st I decided to meet up with him at a Starbucks I went to often. I chose that Starbucks because I was a regular and I new that I had friends who worked there who I could trust to look out if need be. I also brought and set up my work laptop so that if things were awkward or went poorly, I had the excuse of needing to get some work done.

The computer and the friends were unnecessary.

Over the next couple months, Alex became my best friend. We laughed. We were serious. We cried.
We sat in silence. We laughed some more. I began to fall in love. I fell in love with my best friend.

Here I sit. The month is June. Almost six months to the day that we began to talk.
There is a pretty, sparkly ring on my finger.
Save the dates are sitting on the table next to me. I talked to the florist this morning.

I will be married in  just over four months. Wow.

I met the love of my life in December.
I realized he was the love of my life shortly after.

Oh, this journey is a good one.

Letter series: To the girl who was raped

One of the most vile things I can think of. 

One out of every six American women 
has been the victim of an attempted 
or completed rape in her lifetime. 

1 in 6.

In a college class of 60 women, 
10 have been raped. 

In the coffee shop I am sitting in right now, 
2 have been raped.
2 people I am less than 30 feet from.

1 in 6. 

That is 17.7 million American women. 
Every 107 seconds, another American experiences this horrendous trauma. 

Precious heart, Brave soul,

Hear me.
Please, oh please hear me now.
You did not deserve it. 
It was NOT your fault.
You did nothing to deserve it.
You weren't raped because of where you were. You weren't raped because of the number of drinks you had. You weren't raped because of what you were wearing. You did nothing to cause yourself to be raped. It was in no way your fault.
Dear heart,
even if you invited the man into your home, even if you consented to one thing,
The moment you said "No" it was rape.
Even if you didn't say "No"... If you didn't say "yes"... it was rape.

You didn't deserve it.
Even if you led him on, you didn't deserve it.
Even if you invited him in.
Even if you went to his house.
You didn't deserve to be raped.

Brave girl,
You are not worthless.
You are not damaged goods.
You are not wasted.

You are a survivor.
You don't have to let him win.

You can report him.
You can choose to not report him.
You can choose to not go back to him.
You can choose to go back to him.
(Please sweet girl, if he is unhealthy for you, make the brave choice to stay away.)

You have power. You are not powerless.
You have control. You are not out of control.
Your world is shaking, but it doesn't have to crumble.
Your work is crumbling, but you don't have to fall.
You can fall, but you don't have to stay down forever.
You can proudly stand up.
You can move forward.

Your story is not over.

Dear heart, hear me, 
You deserve kindness.
You deserve tenderness.
You deserve true love.

It may hurt like hell now, but you are a survivor.
Your story is not over.

You are loved.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Journey

This time last year I heard the Father say I am leading you to a place where your trust will be without borders. Did you know that God never lies? Don't believe me? Ask and I will give you specific examples. This year I have learned more about trust than at any other point in my life. This year has been one of the most difficult, but beautiful years of my life. I have trusted Father with wild abandon, even when it didn't make sense. I have trusted. And because of trusting, I have received a great reward.

In January, I set off on the greatest adventure thus far in my life... I moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I followed a dream that I have had on the back burner of my heart for many years. I moved in with two complete strangers who quickly became sisters.
February I went to the hospital because the depression that I have battled my entire life almost became too much. Pain and shame filled my soul, but lingering close was a hope that is greater than my desperation. I continued to trust God in the middle of my brokenness and was overwhelmed with love beyond belief.
March brought clarity as the snow began to melt. March also taught me how beautiful winter is.
April took me to the job of all jobs. I began working in the safe house with Exodus Cry. I got to do life with women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. I was amazed as the Lord proved himself faithful to me time and time again and my heart began to come alive. Spring. My heart began to mirror the budding going on around me.
May led me to Jesus. I began to taste of His goodness in the land of the living. It was not without pain of its own.
June taught me about suffering. June taught me to embrace Jesus in the middle of painful suffering. Almost homeless, I learned that Jesus will not fail me. I surrendered and trusted and yielded over and over and over. Many nights sleepless and tearful. I clung to my Living Hope. He did not fail me.
July I fell in love with the Father all over again. He again, proved himself good and faithful in the middle of pain.
In August, I allowed my dreams to begin to come back to life. I began to write again. Vulnerability encountered wild abandon. I chose to trust Him with my story.
September, things began to die. The leaves began to turn. So did my heart. I clung. I clung still. Pain and sadness surrounding, but joy permeating every place.
October I turned 24. I had a beautiful birthday month. The Father surprised me with love and goodness on all sides. October also brought a really deep, darkness. I am not ready to share what this darkness is. I am still processing the hurt and anger.
As a result of October's darkness, in November I had a lot of learning to do on the goodness of God. I knew He was good. I declared His goodness. But I had to allow that belief to permeate my being. I had to let go once again and trust. No matter where that trust leads.
December. Oh December. You were good to me. One of the most challenging years of my life ended. The first year of the greatest adventure I have ever been on came to a close.

2014. You were hard. You hurt. But you taught me to trust. I do not have it mastered, though I am closer today than I was in January. I am glad you are over though.

2015. I welcome you. I welcome restoration. I welcome your resting in the assurance that God will fulfill every promise. I welcome the hope and life you will bring to my heart. Already you have been wonder-filled. Already, you have amazed me. Twenty fifteen, I face you with courage, knowing that you won't be easy, but I can rest. God will fulfill every promise, I can rest.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter's Rest

Gentle Winter
You whisper sweetly in my ear
Your wind refreshes my soul and brings healing to my heart
Winter, you bring me such peace

Fall is gone
Summer is just a memory
Winter has come to rest

Back home, winter means rain
Soggy, yucky, wet days
Being wet and cold is so different than just being cold
I never loved winter at home

I have seen the beauty in winter
I have felt the peace that winter brings
I have experienced winter's rest

Winter, have your way in me
Sing me your song
Teach me your dance
Bring me into your rest

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hope that Winter Brings

The last leaves have fallen to the ground
Dry and brown, they crunch beneath children's feet
Tree branches look like fingers stretching, pointing to the sky
It's clear the direction the wind blew all summer, the branches are all twisted that way
Really, it kind of excites my heart to see

The sky is grey, the ground cold
Summer is over
Flocks of geese fly in perfect v's
Winter is here

Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

The holidays are busy
Hurried people
Grumpy cashiers
Giggling children

Oh, the traffic

Winter is here

Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

Winter reveals what other seasons hide
The fluff is gone
All is still
All is sleeping

What remains

What is seen

The tree weathers the blizzard
The branches bare, bear the weight of the snow
The quiet moments
The stillness

Hearts can hear the flicker of the fire burning
Flames dance in each heart
Peace fills each soul


Oh, the joy
Oh, the peace
Oh, the stillness that winter brings

The trees may sleep
but the fire, oh, the fire

This is the hope that winter brings

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Winter in the Oak

Strong Oak,
Your roots reach deep
Your bark is weathered from the seasons
Your leaves have fallen to the ground and you feel so bare
You fear the cold. You fear the judgmental glances towards your naked branches.
Every flaw in your bark is exposed for the world to see.

As the cold wind rushes through your branches, you shudder and covet the pine, the evergreen, who keeps his green throughout the year.

If only I were more like him. I would be welcomed into homes on the coldest of winter nights.
Children would adorn my branches with all that glitters and families would sing round my whole.
I would want for nothing.
I would be beautiful.

But you Oak, you are strong and wide.
You have seen many seasons. You have weathered many storms.
The wind has blown. The freeze has come and gone and come again.
And still, here you stand.

Lovers have carved their initials in your bark
Boys have climbed your branches
Little girls have squealed with delight as they swing back and forth
Families sit on a quilt in the shade that your branches yield

You don't realize your strength or your beauty. You don't see your majesty and grace.
Your roots reach deep, your branches stretch tall and wide. Your bark tells the story of the battles you have fought.  Your rings sing the song of the victories have won.

You, great oak, are strong.

Though your branches are bare, there is a beauty that winter brings.
Embrace this season as you did the last.

You are strong.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trust Without Borders

At the beginning of this year, I heard Papa tell me that he was taking me to a place where my trust would be without borders. There have been many times in this season where I have sat back and said, "Yeesh! God, you weren't kidding!" I have lost count of the number of times that I have looked to my Father and said, "I trust you, that's all I can do here".

Here I sit again.

Abba, I trust you. 

I don't know what you are doing, but I trust you.


A belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

An assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

One in which confidence is placed

Dependence on something future or contingent: Hope

A charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship

Something committed or entrusted to one to be used r cared for in the interest of another

Care, custody

A hope is more than resolve, and it is based on trust in a divine faithfulness that operates not only within history, but also beyond history.-John Polkinghorne
I told Abba that I trusted wholly and completely. Tonight I sit here and that "Yes" to Him echoes. It rings loudly and clearly in my heart. I declare it loud and proud once again. YES.

I do not doubt the goodness of my Father.

Not too long ago I did. I knew He was good, but my heart was overwhelmed and I grew afraid and doubted, as Peter did when he saw the waves. I feared and panicked as the disciples did when their little boat was taking on water and the Master was sleeping peacefully.

But I have seen time and time again the faithfulness of God. I have looked upon the the faithfulness of a really good dad. So while I do not know what He is doing or how He is going to provide in this situation, I know that he will provide. I know that He can be trusted.

I do not regret a single step I have taken with my Father.
I do not regret a single time that I have trusted.
That I have relied.
That I have depended.
That I have said "yes".

He has never once let me down.
He has never once failed to come through.
He has never left me unsatisfied.

He always comes through.
He always amazes.
He always is faithful.

He never gets tired of providing.
He never gets bored with me.
He never refuses to come through.
He never breaks a promise.

I will say "yes" every day for the rest of my life.
No matter the circumstances.
No matter the sacrifice.
No matter what fear hangs over me.
No matter what popular opinion screams.
No matter what peers think.
No matter what family says.

I will say "yes" to my King because He cannot fail.
He is the only one who truly has my best interest in heart.
I have nothing to offer Him.
He does not benefit from anything that I do.
He has no selfish ambition.
He truly, completely wants my good.
My good brings Him glory.
Me thriving glorifies Him and points to His goodness and faithfulness.

My trust has no borders. There is nothing limiting it or enclosing it in. I trust Him in all areas.

I am a zero resistance zone to His work in my life.

How can I trust Him in this way?
How can you trust Him in this way?

The Holy Spirit lives inside of me.
The Holy Spirit never doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God.
The Spirit inside of me trusts wholly.
I trust wholly.

I have seen His goodness in the land of the living (time and time again).
He doesn't change. Yesterday, today, and forever- He is the same.

Since He came through last time, He will come through again.
Since He was faithful last month when I needed a roommate, He will be faithful this month.
Since He provided when I needed a job in April, He will provide again.
Since He answered when I has no where else to turn, He will answer again.

My God does not change.

My God does not fail.

My God does not disappoint.

My God rests in the middle of storms.

I will join Him on that pillow below deck. I can hear the wind and the waves pummeling my ship; so I think it's time for a nap. 

The only storms you have authority over are the ones that you can rest in.