Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stuck in the Unimportant

Sometimes I get this sinking feeling that we're a world full of people who are largely stuck in the umimportant.

And I find myself playing two roles. One is perfectly at home in the oblivious majority of people. I am vaguely aware of the absence of something meaningul, but am too buried to bother to look beyond myself and realize the bigness in the purpose of creation...this role of myself thrives in the unimportant.

But then there is another part of me that is sometimes awoken. It's the part of me that seems to be standing in the middle of some crazy busy place-where thousands of people pass every minute-a street or subway, perhaps, and I'm frozen. Completely and utterly frozen. I know I've had a glimpse of what they don't. And so I try to say something to one person, but it's ignored, almost as though I'm not even here. As if I haven't been standing and watching for all my life. So I start to scream with such passion that I know it can't be from me, "What are you DOING?"

But I'm in a vaccuum. No ones seems to hear.

And the urgency picks up. I can feel the weight of the unknown impending doom we're heading towards, but I'm unprepared to fight it. So I kick and scream all the louder because I just can't let person after person pass by, but I do and they are...more and more and more, and I'm helpless.

But I can't stop.

And I don't want to be stuck in a world of unimportant.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Miles and Days and Years

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6

Contentment is a struggle for me. Sometimes daily.

It feels like running a track for miles and days and years, all the while never knowing that there are oceans and mountains and rivers and forests to run through. Although, this isn't a problem if you've never ran through a forest, but once you have, a track will never be enough.

And so I find myself in this constant battle of repeating said verse and pinning things like this:

And this may not seem like a big deal, but it starts to penetrate and makes me question what I'm doing with my life...even when I'm perfectly fine. But is perfectly fine what we're here for? And when did life become about my adventure? I am completely confident that if I tried to control my life based on what my idea of adventure, I'd lead a very empty and meaningless life.

But that doesn't change the fact that this idea of pursuing our happiness and our truth is everywhere and draws me in often. And makes it seem like this life I've been given isn't enoough...and I find myself unable to muster any contentment and get mopey comparing my life to others.

This far from godly contentment.

But on the other hand, discontentment isn't always negative. It extends outside of comfort zones. It opposes indifference. It provides excitement. It confirms we're alive and are made for something bigger.

But then again...

I'm an extrovert. For better or worse.

This means that when I'm alone for more than an hour, I get a little stir crazy. I like people. I feel connected, and connectedness is something that I need to feel complete. And I'm better than I used to be, but sometimes, oh, sometimes, being alone triggers an onslaught of overwhelming, suffocating lies that try to consume me.

I'm not enough.
I'm too much.
I should be more...less...further along...somewhere else entirely.

And this type of discontent is when I find myself repeating 1 Timothy 6:6. And this is when I get away to beg God to quiet my insecuries with his peace and reassurance that I'm exactly where he wants me.

And he always does.

And I'm reminded of the truth that so often our strengths are often our biggest weaknesses.

Maybe this is God's way of keeping us humble.

Maybe this is His way of breaking us to teach us this is His story, but He chose us to play an important part.

And maybe this time in my life is to prepare me for something else..something different, and this is His way of showing me the value of being patience, all the while reminding me softly, "Godliness with contentment is of great gain."

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the sun..."

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." — C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 5, 2011


I get in the mood to write often. It’s provoked by a lot of different things. Most of which never end up here…I never know if I'll post it when I start.

I write when I feel. And I feel a lot.

I just left a movie in which the only purpose had to be to further cripple any sense of morality in Americans because, as far as I could tell, it was a long cry from being entertaining.

And as I was driving home, somewhat annoyed, I was listening to the radio and I heard this mixed in with the news,
“Over 29,500 children under the age of five have now died because of the famine in Africa.”

There doesn't seem to be enough air in the car. And I’m struck dumb in my naivety. How is this possible? How do we live in a world where this is happening..? How does my heart even begin to process, let alone understand, this?

And then I remember,
“Do you want a box for that?”
“No…it would make my car smell, and I probably wouldn’t eat it anyway.”

There’s too much not right. And nights like this I realize why it’s so difficult for me to research Literature from Russia or make lesson plans emphasizing literary devices. Because how can I teach something that seems so insignificant in terms of eternity? How do I connect the two?

And when it comes down to it, sometimes I catch myself wondering, "What am I doing? Really."

My heart hurts tonight. That’s why I write.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inadequacy: My Response to Haiti

I struggle with how to write a response to my trip to Haiti.

I could recount the poverty we saw. But what's the point in trying to describe something that's beyond words?

I could try to explain the massive range of emotions I experienced. But I'm afraid they would sound empty and overdone.

I could tell you about the labor we did, but without feeling the heartbeat, it's unimpressive.

So I choose to tell you one lesson. Just one of many I'm learning. Because that's all I really know how to do. So hang with me as I work my heart into words.

I'm going to go back a few weeks to a conversation I had with a very good friend. She quoted this statement to me,
Adoption apart from Christ is meaningless. No child needs to be more comfortable on their way to hell.

This is a brash statement. And when I heard it, it didn't set right. Even as a Christian, I'm so tempted to say that a caring family can give a child a better life with more opportunity in America than some of the circumstances I saw last week. But that, of course, begs the question, "What is my definition of better?" Apart from Christ, isn't everything hopeless?

The walls God has been working on tearing down came flying back up as soon as I was faced with blatant injustice. I realized that when I said I wanted to help, I meant from a distance. Because I didn't want to feel their pain. Or my conviction. So I put up this wall claiming in arrogance that "it's just the way it is" or "it's all they've ever known." And even so bold to say that they're the lucky ones (in some ways, maybe.) But mostly, this is me being a coward and unable to cope with the weight of reality.

The first night in Haiti, I remembered the conversation about adoption in light of the reaction I was having to what I was seeing, and it dawned on me. I'm so uncomfortable with anything that shouts my inadequacy. I am inadequate to do one single thing that is worth anything apart from Christ. Because at the core of everything,everything, it's Him.

If I gave every single penny I have. And sold everything to devote my life to these people. And carried bucket after bucket of concrete. Or put shoes on every child. Or raised money for education, clean water, hospitals, freedom for sex slaves, the list goes on and on...It wouldn't touch it. Because I am terribly inadequate.

And thank God nothing relies on my ability to be adequate in anything. That realization is the only thing that gives us freedom to have joy or peace or comfort.

His supremacy.
His kingdom.

This is my new prayer.
"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."
Colossians 1:28-29

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I’m thousands of feet off the ground stranded on a round rock about a foot and a half in diameter. It’s almost completely dark. I can hear waves below me, and I’m literally terrified of taking a step in any direction. I think there may be a narrow path somewhere, but I can’t make out where it is. And the fear of taking a step…in any direction is paralyzing.

This was how I pictured myself. And I felt with my entire being.

“Baby, you’re not stuck in some box with no options. You’re still young enough to change your mind and not be miserable. No one’s going to be mad at you.”

And this was my dad speaking truth into my confused state-giving me permission to release myself of all of the pressure and expectations that I thought were placed on me-that I had given myself. This was the beginning to the slow end of the version of myself I had created.

What do you do when you don’t want to do anything because nothing seems right? But you know staying put isn’t an option.

In that conversation, a teeny tiny light shone to a teeny tiny walkway off of the rock that I had stranded myself on. But the longer I looked, the more I thought, the harder I prayed, and eventually the truth hit me in the face like a fierce winter wind. This is grace. This is the answer to the questions I’ve cried out in prayer. This is the way out-but nothing about it is easy.

Why should it be easy?
If it was easy, how much value would I place in it?
And what kind of weak faith would that produce?

So I’ll tip-toe confidently until I’m able to run wildly.

Friday, July 1, 2011


If you think America is your calling, congratulations! You love 5% of the world.

My friend, Stuart, made this comment to church Sunday morning when a team was sharing about their recent trip to Haiti. Needless to say, he was a little fired up and trust me, this was just the tip of the iceberg of what he had to say-it was real and brilliant and raw and God-breathed and beautiful. I wish I could have broadcasted it. It was just another piece to this puzzle I'm working on...

You ever feel like there's a theme to your life? Things that stick out here and penetrating so deep there, that it feels as though it's suddenly no longer just a part of you, but it has somehow become you.

I watched this the other night, and if you haven't, please do. It will change your life. It's all about the poverty and injustice in our world and a desperate cry to DO SOMETHING There was a quote in it that said,

You may choose to look the other way, but may you never say that you did not know.

This hurts and makes our chests tighten and beat a little harder because it either calls us out or calls us all to action.

This is our world.
Those are our brothers.
The truth is simple.
The evidence is overwhelming.
And the need is great.

But I'm afraid, too often, we don't rise to the occasion because we had a long week...our favorite T.V show is on...we can't miss church...we have plans-we always have plans.

Don't get me wrong, things aren't bad. But am I the only one who thinks that we're missing something? Surely there's more to life than what I've been doing? Surely...surely this ache in my chest is for something bigger.

This is a quote that I read from Radical. It is from Jim Elliot's journal. And if you don't know who Jim Elliot is, here's a short bio: He and his missionary team were killed while taking the gospel to hostile tribe that had never heard. His wife eventually led that chief to the Lord after Jim's death. It's an amazing redemption story. But before he left he wrote this in his journal:

Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His...So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and the dust on their Bible covers.

This quote won't leave me alone. It's haunting me. I pray that I can have this kind of faith. And even now, as I sit here writing this, it's almost more than I can handle. My heart stirs and my conscience begs me to answer why I spend my time doing this or a million and a half other meaningless things that manipulate my days.

I know that the need is great.

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." Matthew 9:37

Thursday, June 23, 2011


"All I need is You, Lord"

Over and over and over and over again, with the music rising and falling. I'm in a room with thousands of people with their arms high and voices screaming to the heavens. And at some point all I could do was simply stop.

Stop. And breathe in truth.

Because there comes a time when you have to let the truth of those six words overwhelm you. And when you do, they will. That's the only thing they can do.

This past week I've realized how many times I use the word "need"

I need new shoes.
I need coffee.
I need to go to wal-mart.
I need ice cream.
I need to see my friends.
I need gas.
I need...I need...I need...

And where does it stop? What I NEED is perspective because the everything else will eventually fade. And I'm left with only You.

And that is all I need.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's Left...

More questioning...always more questioning.

This could sum up my last 3-5 months.

God has shown me, me. How he sees me. And it wasn't pretty. It hurt. It wasn't who I wanted it to be. More importantly, it wasn't who He intended me to be.

So I've let go.

"You see that? Your needs to go. Your need for them. You have a problem with vanity. And you want your wants more than mine right now. Your plans, they aren't mine-they never were. And above all, you have this problem with pride that we need to get under control."

Ouch. And I'm left with this...this knowing, this unattractive revealing of who I am and who I've become and two choices. His way or mine.

I once had a good friend who I knew had some major problems in her life, and I knew she needed to confide in me, but there was a part of me that wasn't ready to know exactly. Because once you know, YOU KNOW. And you can never unknow. And you can't pretend like you don't. It changes everything.

So I said OK.

And He started chipping away. And there were (are) times I can almost feel a literal battle going on within me. And all that's left when all of the stuff that I've been hiding behind is gone is a raw version of myself that's almost unrecognizable--but there's a peace that I haven't known in so long.

And with a sigh of relief and smile, I can almost hear an audible, "Now we're ready..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little of home

I never saw a key to the house I grew up in. Surely we had one-but there was ever a need for it; the doors were never locked.

Huge Oak at the end of the driveway. Tire swing. A rock waterfall in front of the garden...Front yard, home to dozens of touch football games(and injuries), just beyond the stairs leading to the front door of our home with the wooden porch swing. Images of home, built by daddy's hands and momma's love.

I knew the dog whose paw prints are in the cement basketball court. And I learned to shoot on the faded orange lines. There were countless nights I'd crawl on top of my car when the rest of the house was long asleep and find myself completely lost in the vast stars. It was those nights that I began to understand God's pursuit after me. He'd show off with those stars and make me feel like I was the only one who could possibly see the world as it was at that exact moment...and I knew, the stars always shine brightest at home.

My name is signed upside down on the window sill in my old room. And there's a hole in the carpet where I once spilled bleach. And if you want to know how tall I was when I was 11, it's on the wall by the pantry.

I liked to look out our kitchen window, through the pasture, across the creek, and up the hill to see the house where my parents met.

It may not be perfect to you with Pepto Bismol walls and holes hidden by frames. But it was.

I drove by it the other day. The grass is grown up and there's no longer vegetables in the garden and the water is drained from the pool...and I comfort myself with cliches-this isn't my home anyway and all good things must come to an end and something about chapters ending and beginning (which is where I always cut myself off)...

But some days, my arms ache climb the oak with my brother or spend an entire summer by the pool with my cousin or walk through the French doors to momma and daddy's room and crawl in bed with them.

They're just four walls,I know, but on overly sentimental days like this, they are much more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Passion in Paint

I was once asked what my greatest fear was. My answer was that I'd somehow get lost in a routine and go through life without a passion and purpose. That someday I'd be all grown up and settled and realize that I didn't make an impact-I didn't live up to my purpose. That person responded by saying that if I was aware of that fear, then I wouldn't fall to it.

I think he was wrong.

Because IT IS SO EASY to go through one day without passion and purpose, so stringing them together one day after the next-it's really that much of a stretch when you think about it. It no longer bothers you.

Tonight I got a message from my best friend. She was talking about one of our favorite subjects to discuss in great detail-passions.

More specifically how easily it is to get lost in the mundane and think our passions are nothing more but silly dreams. We don't let each other stay there long because one thing we do know is that even if everyone else, the rest of the world thinks we're foolish, we push each other forward. I'm thankful for a friend like her.

So whatever your passions are. Do them. Don't lose them. You desperately need them.

Photograph this rain.
Join a bible study.
Start a bible study.
Write a letter to a friend who moved away.
Take a trip.
Throw pottery.
Sing really loud (and off key).
Read a book cover to cover without getting up, drinking coffee out of you favorite cup.
Jump on your trampoline.

Whatever it it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

books. backseats. blockquotes

When I read a book, I almost always rush through it to get to the end. I think I'm just too impatient, (and it's a habit carried over from middle school when I didn't want anyone to think I was a slow reader) but, inevitably, when I realize there's only about 15 pages left, I slam on the brakes. I'm just not quite ready for it to end.

Even though my youngest brother is practicing for drivers test as we speak, I still think of him as the cutest little boy ever. He has so much life and always has. When he was younger and all six of us would be in the car on vacation all of a sudden Daniel would get really excited about something he saw and he would yell, "Hey! Hey! Guys...everybody, whoa-did you see that??" And by the time we finally got out of him what he was talking about, the thing that had captivated him to such excitement was long gone. We missed it.

Sometimes I think this same attitude carries over to our lives. And I think sometimes God is like a little kid in the backseat that's so excited and is exclaiming, "Hey! Did you see that? Look-hurry!" But we're driving too fast and we're too focused to even notice the disappointment He feels at missing out on what He's excited about and wants to share with us.

Isn't life so much more than that? Isn't there so much beauty left to be seen? And why wouldn't we take the time to see the bright colors and strange sights and things that make us thankful and things that confuse us in their complexity? Life is more than we give it credit for. I'm afraid God intends for us to get more out of it than we do.

I just finished Cold Tangerines and I want to leave you with a quote (one of many highlighted) that I really like.

Because it seems like that's what God is saying to us, over and over. "What can I do today to remind you again how good this life is? You think the color of the sky is good now, what till sunset. You think oranges are good? Try a tangerine." He's a crazy delightful mad scientist and keeps coming back from the lab with great, unbelievable new things, and it's a gift.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Oh honey, there are so many things in life worth your tears, but this just isn't one of them..."

This was a converstation I had with one of my players, who was also a cheerleader, that had a cheer competition and basketball game on the same day earlier this year.

For some reason this scene that played out in the weightroom months ago popped into my head and got me thinking.

I'm not ashamed to say that it the past 12 months I've had my far share of crying, and honestly, I could probably justify the majority of those tears-heartache, frustration, growing, change, confusion...very few people would fault me for it. As my mom says, "It's more that ok to have your moment, just don't let it become WHO you are."

But when I'm honest with myself, how many of those tears were shed for the hurting and the hungry?
For the lost?
How many tears led to positive action rather than self pity?
Were any out of brokenness or humility?
And when I get to the heart of it, what does that say about my priorities?
And how do I even begin to justify that?

I'm running in a marathon in a couple weeks. Well, actually a relay marathon-which is far less impressive, but still quite far. I committed to run a couple of months ago and have had ample time to prepare. Yet, here I am, two weeks away and can still barely make it two miles without stopping. Sad, huh?

There are so many times when I'm humbled by how far I have to go (not that I ever thought I was close to where I need to be, but wowzers!). Is my lack of preparedness, motivation, and commitment a trend in my life? Or in my walk with Christ?

But the good news, no, the BEST news, is that Christ consistently and subtly calls our attention to the things that matter. The things of Him. He puts people and things and memories and stories and movies and a baby's laughter and snow capped mountains in our lives, and all of these somehow beckon us sweetly and softly back to Him.

And suddenly the beauty of mountains and the pain of running and the memory of a conversation from months before make me more acutely aware of my passions and priorities in a wonderfully intricate way. A way that only my Father could weave together to make sense in my life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Long Time, No Blog


I tried to leave today. I didn't get far. Chalk that up to me being a chicken driving on ice or the fact that I didn't have a whole lot of motivation to get to practice or that that I kept sliding and getting stuck, either way-it didn't last long.

The snow has been rather nice though.

So for my first blog in 3 months or so, I thought I'd leave you with some pictures.

This is Gracie and me sledding on 1st snow day :)

And this is me trying to leave...

Ice Skating with the boyfriend :)

Picking me up on the scooter. We got lots of laughs and honks and pictures taken.

Sweet fort we built while we were snowed in.

I hope everyone else who's had snow days have taken full advantage of your days off!
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