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]