the stars ~

I popped a balloon two days ago.

It wasn’t just any balloon, where pressure would release the captured air. No – it was a confetti balloon. I’m afraid I may have forgotten what happens when you pop a balloon, let alone a confetti one. Down went the pressure, and out burst hundreds of itty bitty confetti stars. It was an anger triggered move. Pressure built up and down went that pressure, onto a harmless little balloon.

The most frustrating part was the clean up. My first method was the vacuum. It seemed at first things were cleaned up. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. So I tried using the nozzle of the vacuum. Great – it was doing what it was supposed to do. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. Finally, along came a hand vacuum. It was surprising how powerful this little thing seemed to work. Huffing and puffing, I bent over and zoomed at every little star in sight. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. I would suck some up, then whirl around and see some more somewhere else. Then I started mopping the floor. And I’d see more stars. There I go again, zooming in on them with my evil little hand vacuum. Throwing it onto the couch after doing the subsequent sucking up of the star(s) that lay in my sight.

Believe me when I say I was trying everything in me not to physically scream “F*** YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU!” but also believe me when I say I was screaming it just as loudly in my head.

it takes a lot to get a balloon to pop.

and the clean up? the clean up is even worse.

It takes a lot to get a balloon to pop. Maybe things just seemed stuffed for so long and finally needed to come out, in some way. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re in emotional overload — whether that’s the good or the bad, or both. When you’re used to stuffing but this time you just had to apply pressure because you’ve felt the pressure of it all for too long. People pop balloons for different reasons, but they all do it. For me, the work/life balance is always a hard thing to navigate as an adult, without even the fact that you’re living it out at home. You do the things you would have done at school — all the classes, the extracurriculars, the church events. Yet your feet are implanted not at school but at home. It’s always a whirlwind in all sorts of directions. Time is a precious thing and sometimes you feel victorious and other times you just lose track. You cherish the time and the season, the God-given time it’s allowed as a family where we otherwise wouldn’t have had. At the same time, you know you could be doing better. You also miss and grieve the nature of this season. And maybe dad was right – we always have an evil self-centered creature in each of us, wanting love, care, and attention for even just the space that we take up in this place called home. I think we can all get better at giving and receiving that kind of love – knowing and not knowing how to do it well but doing it anyways. Sometimes you sadly can’t really do that well before doing the gritty work of clean up.

Now for the clean up.

The clean up is hard because it means you lost it. You made a mistake, and now you’re realizing it because you’re bent over trying to get rid of all the traces of damage your poor choice made. Maybe the action was justified — it was done out of anger — but the choice and consequences are detrimental all the same. The clean up is frustrating because it’s plain exhausting and it’s been years by now. Bending down, swooping up, thinking it’s gone but then you whirl around and you see them — again. And sometimes you just want it to be done and you hate the process of it.

This was not the first time this happened.

There have been lots of balloon popping in my life. And honestly by now, maybe I’ve conditioned myself towards it. I’ve conditioned myself that every time a balloon pops, there is a clean up. Sometimes the clean up is more thorough, other times the clean up involves a mere sweep of a broom after the initial pop.

I’ve conditioned myself. I’ve conditioned myself knowing that balloon popping probably won’t stop — not anytime soon at least. In fact, I don’t think they ever will. And I’m scared of the thought of reconditioning. So I get lazy and complacent over changing the cycle because that’s what it feels like — a cycle. Where the initial puncture of a pop would send me in a frightened startle, it’s happened so often that I’m not so sensitized by it… but also sensitized at the same time. But inaction is the same as doing nothing, and we all know how that ends.

So now we come to today. One balloon popped because of another’s balloon popped. That happens sometimes. And we’re trying to change the cycle. It’s hard and painful and not fun.

In the middle of all of this though, I remember Jesus. It all goes back to Him.

Jesus rescued every f***ing little star and loves us anyway. Unlike us, rescuing the stars was an obedience that He didn’t do from duty but of delight. He faithfully and lovingly persisted, even for the most stubborn of stars.

I read something from my friend Strahan Coleman recently that struck me as so profound — that Christ rose with wounds. It went on to say:

We can be encouraged to know that aching from the past doesn’t mean newness hasn’t come… someday our wounds will be fully healed, leaving beautiful scars that remind us of our storied lives. But until then, the presence of our wounds doesn’t negate the resurrection we’re experiencing.

– Strahan Coleman

My God my joy, my delight, my God my joy, my delight

rainy thoughts

today is a “sit awhile, cry a little” day. and it’s okay to feel this, even in the “crying because why am i crying” of it. i told someone recently that i miss writing about pain, and it was mainly because i hadn’t been feeling. oh how fast i’ve been running. running fast and free, yes… running with my guard up saying i’m a fighter, rise like a warrior, go Jesus go Jesus when i was also blocking myself from feeling.

it’s okay to feel this. in all of the unraveling and untangling that is being pulled up from below.

it’s okay if you can’t find the words, let me take your coat and this weight off of your shoulders

it’s okay if you can’t catch your breath, you can take the oxygen straight out of my own chest

it’s okay. hug yourself hard. hold yourself tight. there are a million things running through your brain but a million and one things that remain true in the midst of you. 

// and when the light has faded from the skies, and you can’t see the road ahead, remember the One who paved the path. when the things and people you love and cherish tumble off the shelves and out of your reach, remember the One who’s always just a heart cry’s away. //

slipping by | pt. 8

dear august —

i. our love for each other broke loose as we ventured into greater depths and allowed ourselves to look into into the heart of the other.

ii. he whines and drags his feet, sending her voice to rise and fall with increasing intensity, then snap. and there i sit, bending to accommodate, but whispers cloud my brain. missing out; disregarded; alone; not special anyway. turmoil boils within me. should i have gone? i will never know.

ii. anxiety rose and despair bubbled from within me. things that ought to have been were no longer there. and yet that thought pops up – practice faith instead of projecting with fear – and gives me peace of mind. when disappointments and stress abound, you were my comfort.

ii. she is upset with me. i did it out of love, but i feel she didn’t feel it in return. oh, to think that there will be a time when i will no longer be your mate as i have been all these years. let’s make these times count, dear. i’m sorry.

iii. living a love does life requires daily surrender and conscious effort. thanks for showing me how i need to make love an action verb and not just a state of being.

iii. i feel bleh now that my heart is stable. now i’m not okay with being okay. and life moves on…

v. in the midst of lows and discouragement, you gave me words to say. you put a song in my mouth. you planted seeds of truth that just kept on flowing. and it felt beautiful… and oh, so freeing to be a vessel of assurance. it was not i, but him. keep speaking truth…

v. he answered the bonus question on that quiz and my heart gave way. disappointment. pain. rejection. i’m sorrys won’t make things better… not right here, not right now. why did i allow myself to be hurt in this way. i’m not comfortable with who i am anymore…

v. i wish i could have had a moment to look you in the eye, hold you tight like that time just a few weeks ago, and say how much i would miss you. words don’t suffice. and you knew that. your texts… you showed me you really cared about exactly how i felt. i am thankful for honest exchanges in the midst of bumps and feeling like hell, and when people are being a baka. you’re there. i care. i think you’re just fine. you’re not unloved. i love you and you’re not alone cause i’m here still. those words are my security… even in the midst of the heartache.

vi. the quaking of my heart broke loose as every lie was met face to face with the voice of truth. i sat there, elements in hand, and tears clouded my eyes. you give life, you are love, you bring light to the darkness, you give hope, you restore very heart that is broken…

vii. you can’t walk right; you’re turning in. crooked; like a pigeon… it’s actually cute. no, i know it isn’t. don’t make it sound like it is. but thanks for those gentle reminders of beautiful imagery that comes with crooked feet.

viii. my heart stopped again. i seem to be prone to heart attacks lately, i must say. your questions – they are insensitive. your words – condescending. only when i snap, do you offer some uplifting words. and the comment i utter in return – simple, yet beautiful and profound. when you’re in the deepest pain you learn to treasure even the slightest joyful moments.

viii. you are my rock. with you i will not be shaken. you are so cool and your timing is incredible.

viii. he wanted a facetime and of course i couldn’t say no. and when he told me why, i nearly burst into tears. dang, warm sensations swelled in me. not because of what we had done, but what he did. trust is lovely, when not harmed. he makes beautiful things out of us…

ix. you are a world changer. don’t let anyone or anything come between you and your purpose… oh, my soul. thank you for your heart and your random email. you spoke into me exactly what i need to hear.

ix. i won’t begin to try to imagine what you are going through, hon. but i can see it in your eyes… not just the physical pain but also your heart. i want to get through to you… but all i’ll say for now is that i’m sorry and i love you… through it all, my eyes are on You – it is well with me. yes – it is well with my soul.

x. late night hazy thoughts brought uneasy convictions. what’s been done can’t be undone… i need love to cover the shame and regret.

xi. juggling between surface-level inclusion and real, deep community is oh so hard.

xi. when you pass through the waters, i will be with you. when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… grateful for beautiful melodies hemmed by equally beautiful souls.

xiii. memories came flooding back. i will build my life upon your love… i will not be shakenshe walked up… and i did too. and the spirit of God came down. yet she turned around with dumbfounded shock… why?

xiv. all of a sudden i feel like skipping and leaping like Motel Kamzoil – wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains… that he is God.

xiv. prophetic words – grace upon grace. fresh pouring out of anointing oil, running over my face. art… and a wide and beautiful canvas. relationships too… and peace instead of anxiety. as she said those words, my eyes met hers and gazed deep within. thank you, my angel.

xv. thank you for lunch dates with my fellow twin. her discerning spirit encourages me to come into the light. and he shares his own moments of darkness, assuring me that i’m not alone. grateful for heart-to-hearts.

xv. laughing till tears roll down our cheeks… three hours of catching up and adding bits and pieces does a soul much good. celebrate good times, come on.

xvi. soak in God’s grace… grace, crashing over me. crashing over and over and over…

xvii. demons run and flee, at the mention of your name, King of majesty. wow, God. a force was great upon my chest, i could hardly breathe; my limbs felt numb, and then panic had stricken me. i didn’t know what to make of it. there are still so many questions. but she said, there is no reason to be scared. God’s not scared. my eyes are open now. i do believe.

xvii. disappointments and blame pained my spirit as things didn’t happen the way i had hoped. clinging to the promise of redemption despite seemingly missed opportunities.

xvii. he asked if he could vent and my heart broke for him. suddenly his insensitivities didn’t matter anymore because now i knew his story.

xviii. you called my name and i ran out of that grave. yet i came home and it seemed like i was buried deep again. he is sneaky. but i must stay strong. keep singing that fight song.

xviii. she said she would see him that day and something in me begged to break off the falsehood. no, dear… something happened and all i feel is love. not the kind of love that is infatuated and mushy with feelings, but the kind of love we were meant to have for each and every human soul.

xix-xxiii. prone to wander Lord i feel it, prone to leave the God i love… in the storm we conquer, we fight. we raise our banner high, for we know that He who promised is faithful.

xxi. frustrations abound. what do i do and how.

xxii. taking time to exchange lies and replace them with goodness and truth. i am deeply and immeasurably loved…

xxiii. i’m breathing in your grace, i’m breathing out your praise… forever my heart will sing

xxiv. thank you for the joy of realizing the correct day of the week… it made my heart so happy.

xxiv. he has drifted. gone absent. being sad about the thought is rather an understatement. or am i taking things too personally with my head wrapped in fantasies?

xxiv. hand in hand we walk together. the air is fresh, the talk is pleasant.

xxv. texts pop in and i grow bitter. in pain there is a purpose, in hurt there is a hope… 

xxvi. oh how my heart rejoiced when what was lost is now found. the impossible can always be made possible.

xxvii-xxx. i’m not sure what to do anymore… and honestly, i don’t know if i want to do anymore.

xxxi. panic gripped me by the neck, shook me back and forth, sent me flying. someone said it, and it shot a million triggers in my already crazy brain. i am sinking down in a sea of whys…

xxxi. thankful for three-hour long concerts in the comfort of our home. for the cause of Houston, but more like the comfort for my heart and soul.  in the middle of the storm, you are in control. in the middle of the war, you guard my soul. you alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn… your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm.

there are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall, the cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow. and there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel; we are tempted to believe God does not know. when the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight… bow the knee.
wow thanks for an eventful month. for testing and refining through the fire. for drawing me closer to yourself into intimacy with you.
matt. 11.28_30 / gen. 50.20_21 / john 14.27 / ps. 37.7 / is. 54.10 / ps. 147.14_16 / matt. 7.24_27 / 1 peter 1.6_7 / is. 42_16 / ps. 27.13_14 /  is. 40_29 / ps. 23.1_6

slipping by | pt. 7

dear july —

ii. we talked about our feelings about the upcoming week. and he leaned over and said — hey, it’s gonna get better. and sitting side by side, my heart felt light. and for a second, i was sure that indeed it would… get better.

ii. names were called and a bullet went through my chest – sinking deeper and deeper, causing the already scarred walls of my soul to bleed all the more.

iii. you showed me how to risk being vulnerable and to open myself up to others. now, she is a safe sister i can vent to and one whose words are so quotable i write them up for keeps.

iv. i’ll be brutally honest and say sometimes my heart spills over with fury. but somewhere, in that wee little corner so far and yet distinct whispers that tugging command… to love.

Continue reading

slipping by | pt. 6

dear june —

x. belly laughing until you’re gasping for air — the best kind of nights.

xii. i love you… the best three words given and received.

xi. he asked me if i was generally happy with my drawing, to which i nodded. he asked, “how about in life?” to which i was taken by surprise. thankful for little reminders to always stay positive.

xiv. my world was rocked upside down. i felt shattered. alone. broken. i could scream forever and still not be okay.

xiv – …. thanks for being there. for being “a ray of hope in my heavy and dark world”. for “paving the path to my recovery.” for listening. i still go back and read your words when i feel like i can barely hold on.

xvi. thanks for your gentle presence. for not saying anything superficial to fix things, but always being there to listen.

xix. thank you for my twinnie. she is in tune with the Spirit and on fire with You. she constantly and consistently points others to Christ. she listens, and when she speaks, it is Christ through her. thank you for her love and her courage to speak the Truth even when i didn’t want or know it.

xx. my stomach wrenched. i wasn’t sure how i would survive that day but i did. standing there, my toes wiggling in the sand … i wished it all away. i wanted to drown, to die in the waves. the sea – it called me home. but somehow, someway, that call was not answered that day.

xxiii. thank you for sisters who drop everything to make it all better. who can tell when something is wrong before i even have to say it. thanks hon for spurring me on, for lifting my head, for telling me that everything may not be okay, but it will be okay someday. you are so strong. you and me – we will keep plowing ahead. one step after the other.


and when the night is closing in, don’t give up and don’t give in. this won’t last, it’s not the end. you’re gonna be okay. 

ps. 28.7 / 2 thess. 3.13 / ps. 105.4 / is. 26.9

slipping by | pt. 4

dear april —

iii-vi. you’ve shown how sometimes the highest of highs foreshadows times of brokenness and weakness. moments that cloud my head with pain, that heave my chest with despair. you’ve shown how every death leads towards a resurrection. you gave me just enough strength to endure.

vii. thank you for wonderful conversations in the middle of the unknown. your marvelous hand was over it all, and it’s so beautiful to see. sometimes we just have to look back to see everything lead up to direction. it is in the things of the past that shape us and lead us into everything good and perfect of what’s ahead. and i think that this day might make it into the books of the glorious life ahead. because it sure was an amazing one. dare to dream. dare to pray. dare to believe. ❤

xiii. it’s a weird feeling when you find out someone admires you, not in an inspirational sense, but an infatuated love sense. and it’s a weirder feeling when you don’t feel the same way. but you know, sometimes it takes a gap of separation to see how hindering a person can be, and how some people are just never meant to stay. no matter how strong the infatuation.

xv. thank you for beautiful souls like this one. whose words, saturated with such love, make me cry to no end. whose words are a testament of his faithfulness. so beyond blessed to see his goodness at work.

xvi. the early morning dew, the colored streaks painted across the sky, the birds singing their song, the glimmering peaks of gold shimmering through the flowering trees. every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.

xix. i went from loneliness to pride. awkwardness to enjoyment. it felt so good to talk. to ask questions in a lighthearted manner. and to be open and honest with each other. he’s the best i could ask for.

xx. thank you for heroes of courage, of bravery, and of faith. standing in her home of long ago filled me with a surge of power — that i too could do anything i put my mind to. lakeside views and four hour road-trips… remembering all the stories, all the advice, all the wisdom. i will forever hold this weekend with you in my heart.

xxvi. he met me in my anger. he shouldered my lows with his grace. he replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. he put a new song in my mouth… i won’t be overwhelmed…

xxix. ahhh i consider myself humbled to know such a precious and priceless gem. she is so much more precious to me than i can ever express. her faith inspires me. her joy excites me. her words encourage me. my love for her runs deep, and i miss her ❤

xxx. love poured out this month. it ran deep, and i am blessed. from all the how-are-yous, hand waves, sweet texts from new acquaintances, as well as chats from close ones. they have made me smile, laugh, cry, in all of the bestest ways. and in some of my lowest days, they all remind me to keep my eyes up. this is what love looks like

God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!” ez. 37.5_6

heb. 6.10 / matt. 21.22 / eph. 5.14 / matt. 10.31 / heb. 12.12 / ps. 34.7 / is. 55.2_3 / john 6.27 / ps. 42.11, ps. 73.28 / jonah 2.2 / ps. 18