still i rise | no. 6

dear june —

i. no more night… daybreak has come. grateful for technology that allowed for grieving, celebrating in spirit, and joining in heaven’s song.

ii. 1/2… graduation. did it, done it. walked up, walked out, stood among, stood tall, stood proud. yet inside still denying whether this is all real. it will hit soon, i’m sure. here i am, send me. 

iii. to share or not to share…there was that burning nudge that morning, and it must have come from Him. with knots in my stomach and pitter patter at idea, i asked for the platform. insecurity engulfed me as i shared the raw parts of the grace that had carried me through and continues to carry me still. though eyes were casted, questions poked, and stigma lingers, i stand strong knowing i rose in courage and believing i did make an impact. to my, fp, dm, and rm, thank you ever so much for you. you have been my supporters, my mentors, and spiritual fighters on my behalf. and more fondly, probably the most caring, wise, praying, Jesus-filled people in my life. thank you for helping me see truth and see the light when i don’t see it myself.

iv. acceptance… feeling love not because of accomplishments or the joys of the evening, but because whatever i went through brought me to who i am now. standing at my bedside, though i still don’t know what you thought of it all, you looked beyond and spoke in the name of love. and my little heart’s craving felt ever so satisfied, in an ever-hungry sort of way.

v. surrounded by magnificent skies of magnificent beauty… oh, Lord, you’re beautiful. 2/2 is going to be a bittersweet one, but really good all the same. i can feel it in my bones.

vii. 2/2…congratulations, class of 2018 – on a job well done. this is it. it’s all real now. thank you and you and you for coming. to the one whose call to move to the country i grew to love, thank you. i will always remember the smiles we shared as the easipeacc made its appearance. to the one whom i only see every year on this day, thank you for bear hugs and cheering me on in whatever sights my eyes were set on. thank you for your comment on never lose your wonder. thank you to you, whom i tried but failed to pull a fun prank. thank you for the laughs and good conversation we enjoyed after. and to the one who spoke of six o’clock mornings and gorgeous sunsets each weekend, thank you for memories and reminders and encouragement and for you. thank you and broad smiles flow freely out of my made-up and glossy lips. and then over and over again we fling our tasseled caps into the moonlit night. thank you, and more.

vii. not there… i gazed into the audience that night. you said you would make it yet you never did. and she did instead. of course. the night was void of a few. a select few that i thought was always there. every year. but i guess just not this year. my year. my heart dips in the midst of the high and joyous evening as i lay in bed with the feeling like i looked and looked and you had gone.

viii. mornings spent with you… i poised the question, not expecting such a positive response. so that jumpstarted our frazzled and changed plans into motion. and oh i’m so excited.

viii. a little bit of salt, a little hint of bitterness… maybe i haven’t healed. but what is healing anyway? as time passes i know it’s not forgetting. a little but still-present piece of me still wants to be with you. and other pieces wish you away, recalling what went on merely one year prior.

viii. grace abounds… grace is who you are, grace is what you’ve been given, grace is what you’ll become when it’s all done and dusted. thank you for speaking truth, for shining light, and giganticest bear hugs from your beautiful self. ❤

xii. day one… good to be back yet wary of memories and challenges i’ll face.

xiii. changed perception on changing perception… an experience creates a belief that creates expectation that leads to behavior. and now i know this decision was a good one, this community is a great one, and this time will be a sweet one. because after all that is said and done, positive experiences coupled with the negative, i can be one who creates new experiences instead of being trapped in fear of the repeated old.

xiii. how i got to be here… we talked after small group in the listening room. and you listened. not only that, you spurred me on in a godly way. not to mention i got to meet your fun and bubbly self, the one i had heard about but didn’t get to meet until this day. and now i say, the second night here — it does feel good to be here in this place.

xiv. can i go on the store run today instead? we weaved through the aisles, gazed at big quantities, and tried fruit roll ups for the first time ever. it was a fun time. i am so happy we got to experience it together.

xiv. campfire conversations..there’s something about gazing into a crackling bonfire with sparks flying in mid-air and your eyes becoming hazy that somehow stir up deeper conversation. grateful for you and me together, sitting facing the fire and getting deep. thank you for you. for talks of trust as well as transitions. for existing while still trying to be present and a peek into your heart.

xv. teabag truths… he who wants a rose must respect the thorn.

xvi. pulled aside advice… you asked me for input and i was humbled that you would view me as one of you. yet i do so want to know your heart. will you let me?

xxviii. ba gua night… the infamous, the crazy, a highlight for sure. moments in the tower closet talking about everything from mid-shift concerns to relationships and sharing funny stories.

xx. we renew our mind… and in doing so, we are able to test what is good, pleasing, and perfect.

xx. serenity… just a year before, the prayer was said, and oh my heart clung to the words, desperately needing it at that time. and now, tonight, i see that prayer typed and laying on a chair in that very same room. and all i can think of now is God is good. imagine my heart leaping with excitement when i see the same prayer painted across those wooden planks outside the tc.

xxi. caffeine crash… i’m overwhelmed, burned out, anxious. the sugar strikes and my mental, emotional, and physical state goes bezerk. there, in the hallway of no return, i bite away tears as physically i explode and inwardly crumble, not knowing what to do. for a community who loves and cares i had wanted someone. and lo, after changed and ready for the night, you came to my corner in the closet. and as i sat there breaking down, your presence built me up. oh, your heart is kind. i love you, my little mei mei. ❤

xxii. there is no fear in love… grateful for reminders in devotions, for daily assurances of His love that is not in pieces.

xxiii. sleepovers… i loved sleeping over with the both of you. there is something different and amazing about seeing each other again a second time. our friendship is a fast one and a fun one. even in the midst of sleepover slip-ups, i loved it. thank you both for sharing your floor with me.

xxiv. dear mrs. freeman… what a sweet, sweet time with the whole team together at the same time celebrating the servanthood and leadership of an incredible woman. precious moments indeed.

xxiv. calls from my Care Bear… you told me the hard truth, and i was distant on the other line. you felt it, i’m sure. you spoke of fixing my eyes beyond, not getting caught up in all of the little things that were going wrong. and oh how i appreciate you. even thousands of miles away, as hard as it is, you’re here, influencing many, influencing me. ❤

xxv. meaningful conversations… sharing about faith over fear, big decisions, and His work through it all. i see tears well up in your eyes as my story intersects with your daughter’s, and feel His spirit guide and move our hearts and minds as we listen and share.

xxv. can we talk real quick?… which stretched into a couple hours, but that didn’t matter because being there in the hallway with you was such a blessing to me. i hope you know that – no matter what. you’re strong. thank you for trusting me. thank you for you. ❤

xxv. back rubs and going back to truth… i love how you tell others they’re amazing. and tonight i saw the amazingness that is wrapped up in you. thank you for asking the hard questions, for being open to honest answers, for giving me space, for speaking truth over me, over my past, and into my future. and hugs from behind and back scratches in the silence. the silence that hurt, the silence that stung, where i didn’t know what to let out and how much to share, but at the end the silence gave me space and gave me breath and was a lovely place.

xxvii. i love you more than more… opening the thin, folded paper to your beautifully written handwriting screaming babeeee and filled to the edges of sweet encouragement, heart words, and so much more filled me to the brim and over. it hurts not being together but here you are all the same. ❤

xxviii. empowering adults… honey and lily, thank you for being those kinds of people to me today. because at the end of our chats, i felt full of life and empowered.

xxviii. i was thinking of you when i was reading and thinking of freedom from our fears… little did you know that i had just started being filled with those queasy, uneasy feelings i label anxiety that is tied to this thing called fear. thank you for reaching out. Jesus, you are the keeper of peace, the liberator of fear.

xxix. once in icc always in icc… my heart breaks as i see you all stand on the platform and become commissioned. you – my people. you – my family. you – my community. and i’m not “in.” but i rejoice for the times and memories and experiences shared. and you and i, with hand in hand under the tablecloth, holding each other tight. shedding tears with aching hearts, then rising and dancing together to one more what makes you beautiful. 

God of Your promise, You don’t speak in vain, no syllable empty or void [so will i]



still i rise | no. 5

dear may —

i. decision day… glorious weather, beautiful blooms, unexplainable peace, bubbling excitement. phone calls with mrs. h in the thrill of the outdoors, imexcitedimexcitedimexcited imexcitedforyouimexcitedforyou

i. i’m sorry you don’t see the beauty in the night. i’m sorry for the darkness that seems to separate us, sending us in our little corners. i don’t like it either.

ii. surprises in the mail… omg i love you. this made my day. you are so full of God’s love, passionate to live for Him and serve the people around you even when you aren’t sparkling. oh, you put a smile on my face that sparkled wide… but not as much as the one stretched across my heart from your words, your friendship, and the way you sparkle to me. ❤

iii. worship night in america… turn your worry into worship. on the mountains i will bow my life to the one who set me there in the valley i will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there

iv. imagine how free we’d feel if we learned to truly believe that in every situation, trust was the antidote to fear, that consciously trusting God would cause our moments of anxiety to be diminished

iv. sun bathing on the driveway, moments reading with my baby, and helping her super-clean. spontaneous visits and joyful reunions, carside chats and making Lazzy laugh. heart-to-hearts half a world away with aa, exchanging encouragement and prayer, all full of love.

iv. if you could pick a song… i love how our hearts are joined in such harmony.  ❤

vi. it all feels so right right now.

vi. backs turned and secluded kisses… leaving glum feelings in my gut. did you know i saw you? you seem distant since that day.

vii. why did you doubt? He said as He reached his arm. So He will do the same for me… reaching into the now-doubtful crevices after commitments and decisions and saying yes that make me feel weak and insecure and replacing with peace.

vii. good things can’t happen without change… oh how true.

vii. Cheshire grins and kaya dates makes up for this dark before dawn day that it was.

viii. finally done with finals… three essays in one night, boo yea.

ix. i had a feeling that would be the one… thank you for being in communication with the Father on my behalf and being someone i always look forward to giving you updates.

x. i felt so exposed, and so ashamed… but i braved it. i thought for sure no one would pick such an artist like this one. and i was right. my artist… so different. but there was something that took place in exposing and raising corners of secret places that led to satisfying peace. peace. a peace because i said yes to being open and transparent and giving more of myself for a homework assignment, a peace because each and everyday He redeems my story. a peace because i didn’t just give more of myself, i gave myself. i used to think i was the strangest person in the world, but then i thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways i do. i would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too…

x. her kidneys are shutting down and she doesn’t have much longer… till we meet, till we meet, till we meet at Jesus’ feet… God be with you till we meet again. 

x. the greatest showman as i lift into the skies and soar among the clouds. this is the greatest show. 

xi. i will never ride a coach the same again… opening my eyes in wonder in the land of Budapest and sitting in cushioned seats, with air-conditioner blowing my hair rapidly. i cannot help but muse on the last time i entered a new land and sat in a now-familiar coach like this.

xii. sea billows roll and dwelling in the river… sorrows can come like how sea billows roll yet peace like a river comes my way. the same God who made the currents in the waves has the power to still it. reflections on the river danube.

xiii. art art art and architecture, coffeeshops, and confluence of the danube bringing me back to memories from the city of muddy confluence.

xiv. sunning on the deck… just me, music, and the expanse of nature and landmarks and Europe around me. being excited and full of glee over the mention of the city of willendorf.

xv. walking the color painted cobble-lined streets of passau… laughing over our (lack of) german and running up and down and through the halls of the glass museum like a bunch of happy six year olds.

xvi. spontaneous shopping yayayayayay.

xvi. stained glass sights… their breathtaking and majestic sky-towering beauty. there is beauty in the “stained,” the tarnished, the broken.

xviii. mrt station vibes, fisherman’s friend, and you bundled up with only your little eyes peeping through your jacket… oh take me back.

xx. it is well… thank you a million times for doing that. my heart bubbles over. He is good today, and everyday.

xxi. last happy dance, last time in my chapter as a chapter member, last of a season of the chapter crew that i know. will we see you again? i realize so much now how much i love these people. this family. this community. this is my story, this is my song…

xxiv. skyline against the golden sunset… thank you for saying yes, for enjoying the night together, and being old knocked-out ladies slumped over together too. your head with mine, and my head with yours, and all the feels.

xxv. return, return, return… to me. signed, fear not. oh what a sweet blessing you are to me.

xxv. bring me back — bring me back to the place where i felt warm and at rest. bring me back to the people, the people who know and love me the best. bring me back to the time when doubts didn’t evade, when there was not a slight glimpse to question my security, my acceptance, my belonging. comparison snatches away hearts and souls, mind and spirit. it cranes your neck, puts hunger in the eyes of one’s heart. that hunger and drive should crave instead for the only Love that satisfies — the One who says this is my child, whom i love and of whom i am well pleased.

xxvii. you understood, you didn’t ask why… and didn’t bring condemnation either. and you, of all people. thank you.

xxvii. strip me, bruise me, wreck me. i want You, i miss You, i need You… so i will chase You, find You, hold You. even here You chase me, find me, hold me. i am Yours, Yours, Yours and you are Mine, Mine, Mine.

xxvii. oh the treasure of those you love… to hear heaven gained a faithful servant today swashes the grief with joy that you are home. death is real, death is real, death is a real deal yet on this i will hope and on this i will cling — God will be with me till we meet again. 

xxx. another last… but oh, worship was on fire as much as ever tonight. so thankful i get to part of this community. never forget where you started.

grateful for people and places… and places with the people i love.

overcoming, overcome, overcame

her heart stirred violently inside of her chest
her weary hands, trying to push it all down,
all the while choosing to breath in with hope and exhale with grace.

she didn’t settle, no she reached for more —
more than just existing, more than just breathing.
she was made of cells and atoms and matter so she knew she had to matter… somehow.

finally, with each labored breath
her shaking slowed and came to a cease.
now she walked step by step,
allowing her hand to be pulled by the King’s,
making His strength her strength and living with peace.

minute by minute, moment by moment,
the battle in her soul –
that was His battle now.

and then heaven met earth with an unforeseen kiss.
she felt a push and a pull –
it was the love of the King.

she thought to herself that battle that rages, oh the battle inside –
that battle within her, it’s already been won.
for the One that is in her is far greater in power
than the monsters and demons that tease to devour.

so she takes courage in the waiting.
she knows dark comes before dawn,
and the pain she feels is a catapult to an ever greater, ever bolder
chasing of peace
though night surrounds her, the light still shines on darkest nights.

the battle that rages?
the battle is her victory.

she’s an overcomer. 

yes she is, yes she is, yes she is.
it’s what’s painted across, etched into, and engraved on her soul.

i’m an overcomer. i’m an overcomer. i’m an overcomer…
i’m overcoming. i’ve overcome. i’ve overcame. 

peace, bring it all to peace, the storms surrounding me. let them break at Your name.

(anxiety attacks are hard and painful and awful but hey, i’m an overcomer and this poem just sort of came from that high tide/low tide and i just sort of had to get it out, you know?)

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. 5

dear may —

xii. something sprouted in the garden. a newfound desire, an unquenchable hope. barefoot, my toes wiggle in the goodness of the fertile soil. arms high, i receive the refreshing pouring out of rain. i’m free, i’m free, i’m free to dance and sing

xiii. in the midst of chaos and unexpected worries, his gentle command retuned our hearts to center. why don’t we pray. with open hands and heads bowed low, we called out for deliverance. for revival. for courage. sitting there, in the garden, something beautiful had manifested and taken root.

xiv. her random love notes fill my heart to overflowing. grace comes like a wave crashing over me. the fact that we’re still friends at all is a miracle in itself. so hon, no need to apologize. because really, we’re still going strong by nothing other than the wonders of his love and grace. i love your beautiful soul with every fiber of my being.

xviii. for unanticipated conflicts and frustrations along the way, you taught my heart to tune to yours. in the quiet of the day, you reminded me to live out the very words we were proclaiming.

xviv. here’s to heartfelt, bittersweet goodbyes. my spirit is unwilling to let go. so instead let it be farewell. farewell to beautiful soulmates and gorgeous gems. farewell to treasured mentors and sisters who hold your hand in the darkest of days. farewell to missed opportunities to be that someone for someone else. farewell, till we meet again.

xx. ‘i’m sorrys’ and ‘i love yous’ calm my fear and anger as tears stream down my face and scars sting as they fester in my battered soul. and here i say to you: i’m sorry.

i know the night won’t last, Your word will come to pass. my heart will sing Your praise again. Jesus, You’re still enough. keep me within Your love. my heart will sing Your praise again… 

jer. 32.26_27 / job 8.21 / ps. 24.7_10 / 1 samuel 15.29 / daniel 4.35 / ps. 63.1_8 / ps. 27.4_5 / ps. 31.21_24 / ps. 86.5_6