still i rise | no. 9

dear september —

i. hi i love your pfp that is all… which became a “why are you up” and “you alright?” and exchanges of assurance of His peace when thoughts wage war. even when lies come, you are altogether worthy and loved and understood by the Father and that’s most important. He understands your hurt and replaces it with peace. 

i. memories… my eyes glue to the huge movie right in front, as familiar scenes and familiar accents play before me. a part of me, a part of my heart still belongs in that little corner of asia.

ii. chubby wubbies and little miss sunshines fill my heart to the brim.

ii. driving lesson number one in the books… grateful for a patient instructor and opening this thrilling season with prayers of safety.

iii. seeking wisdom… we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. you don’t hide yourself to tease us… the spiritual person judges all things. we have the mind of Christ.

iv. thank you for the grateful and blessed. ❤

iv. more decisions… i want so badly to stay. i don’t want to move on, to walk away from where i’ve belonged. but now i don’t know… things just don’t sit right and though part of me says seasons change and this is a changing season i just don’t want it to be this way. why do i grow up and grow old…being an alumni is just awkward and weird and new and i don’t particularly like this churning of feelings that has been pulling me to wayward directions. help me to move, help me to see, help me to do whatever you would ask of me, help me to go… God help me to stay

v. i won’t be there… all these exciting things seem to be happening and i won’t be here. all these things are changing before me and i am still here. but also my shoes being filled, my place replaced… and i am still here.

vi. questions… they overwhelm. dreams and spirits and gifts and He beckons me to 1 Corinthians and i devour it and spit out questions on end. the spirit of God never leaves us, never abandons us, always fighting on our behalf… the spirit given to us is a spirit of wisdom, that we may understand the things freely given by Him. 

vi. attack… fear knocked at my door today and i didn’t dare let him in but somehow he started getting the best of me. she said don’t be scared, there’s nothing to be afraid of but here i am heart pounding, chest hurting. fear got the best of me. trouble won’t throw me, won’t break me, won’t scare me no more. fear must have thought i was faithless when it came for my heart ‘cause I got a song that will never die… tell the devil no not today

vii. our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You… in the middle of the confusion You are here with me. for God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

vii. dinner date… thank you for you. thank you for being someone i can trust to share things with. thank you for prayer huddles and chats in the car, for tender hugs, for transparency and strength. for reminding me there isn’t the presence of shadows unless there is light, so even in the moments that feel dark as can be, even there there is Light if we seek.

vii. i want to flee… somehow with the fact that i’m graduated all these things fill my brain with frustration and annoyance and exhaustion and i want nothing to do with all this anymore. maybe i don’t want to feel the hurt of leaving so i am doing this to myself or maybe this is part of the hurt of leaving but these transitions are hard, man. why am i resisting the very place and people i’ve grown to cherish?

vii. yesterday’s a closing door… that i don’t want to close.

ix. fighting warfare through worship… when it may look like i am surrounded, i’m surrounded by you… you go before i know that you’ve even gone to win my war.

ix. prayers before i leave… thank you for the encouragement, care, and love. for being family who supports and uplifts. and thank you, for the big red umbrella.

x. when you walked into the room… it was good to share with you. thank you for listening and not judging, and bringing me to next steps. grateful.

xi. i paid $1.88 for lunch today thanks to you but better yet was spending rare time with you and getting to catch up before i go.

xii. emotional and moody… i want my last days home to be full of happiness and lovely lasting last memories and yet they have been full of me keeping the house in order.

xiv. He gives what we truly need… lies were pulled like stubborn roots that had made their home too comfortable deep into the ground. i go in with one agenda in mind, yet He reveals so much more. she plays, i write, the tears flow, and the healing begins. sometimes the mark of wholeness needs to be made with a little pain. our hearts need to burst and break open to make way for all that needs to be made whole. it’s paradoxical, it’s painful, but it is mystically beautiful at the same time.

xv. #1 (move-in)… i start a new journal just as i start this new season. grateful for all the little things that make my heart start to settle and make its home — little fairy lights that light the dim, mason jar bouquet of flowers that fill me with happy, and first of many expected gorgeous sunsets that swell the soul.

xvi. goodbye… all moved in, and you all gathered around on my bed in my newly furnished and decorated room, joining hands and lifting prayers. parting words were few, emotions were many.

xvi. should we take the shuttle idk should we or not i’m glad we didn’t… oh Sam. starting off the year with friends made on a whim and staying up till 3am.

xvii. take me out to the ball game… out of the eight of us, only a couple of us even knew the game. truth be told, we went for the free food. and i enjoyed the shared experience that made for bonding.

xvii. Anjel… you are a dear. tonight as i hunker down i think of the day spent with you and feel so blessed as i scroll. i am so glad i found you. i am so glad He brought me to you.

xviii. testify… i shared with you my journey and how i got here. grateful for times of sharing.

xix. missing people… i wanna go home. then realizing home is in a million places because my heart has made its home in so many people.

xx. super uno and bible study… we toiled all night and took nothing! but at your word i will let down the nets. thankful for spiritual insights anew.

xx. feeling overwhelmed and out of place… and things back at home are insensitive and i want to run away from it all.

xxi. breakfast with em… talking psychology of people, personalities, relational intricacies, transitions, an actual conversation with a newfound friend.

xxi. campus wide worship… the first song is surrounded and i am low-key shook. i turn around mid-way during worship and see a fellow floormate. yes, i am surrounded.

xxii. chinatown with you all was filled with such joy and fun. it feels like i’ve known you all forever but it’s merely been a week.

xxiii. church visit and i see you ❤

xxiv. i feel like i should miss things more… but i don’t.

xxiv. first day of classes… isaiah 43.1_5 brings His word close to my side and reminds me i have Him as my shepherd and my guide.

xxv. bumping into billy from Philly… you made my day. sometimes i shake my head in wonder how i only meet a person once or twice and they are able to remember my name and greet me with such enthusiasm.

xxv. mail from mama. if we were face to face i’d tell you just what you mean to me, i’d tell you these simple truths. be strong in the Lord and never give up hope. you’re going to do great things, I already know. God’s got his hand on you so don’t live life in fear, forgive and forget, but don’t forget why you’re here. 

xxvi. hope… cling to it, never let it go. i sort of question why hope came to mind, but it brings such a new fragrant reminder echoing in my soul this season.

xxvii. divine meetings with strangers continually remind me that i am surrounded by a Family here.

xxvii. random love and encouragement notes make my heart glad.

xxviii. faith or friends?… i wrestle within myself but feel peace about spending time with friends. we paint a skyline against a sunset sky and it was a fun night.

xxviii. we call, and memories flood. i am worthy of love. i am loved. i am accepted. i am enough. even here i am blooming. 

xxix. oh how He loves… it’s amazing how my deepest heart cried for love just the night before and then the prayer vigil today claimed His love as the focus. i sit in my bay window as i soak in truth once again and tears stream forth.

xxx. every. single. day. i’ve met/talked with a believer since coming here. oh, He is good. so good. worship sings of do it again and holy ground and my heart brims of Motion memories and how His faithfulness reigns again and again.

xxx. are my rules keeping me away from people?… i don’t have to go to His house to seek His presence so i need not be guilty about faith over friends for His presence is omnipresent. thankful for reassurance over my struggles from this week.

you go before i know that you’ve even gone to win my war. you come back with the head of my enemy, you come back and You call it my victory. your love becomes my greatest defense, it leads me from the dry wilderness

and all i did was praise and all i did was worship, and all i did was bow down and all I did was stay still

and hallelujah, you have saved me. so much better your way
and hallelujah, Great Defender so much better this way

you know before i do where my heart can seek to find your truth
your mercy is the shade i’m living in, you restore my faith and hope again

when i thought i lost me, you knew where i left me. you reintroduced me to your love
and you picked up all my pieces, put me back together. you are the defender of my heart


still i rise | no. 8

dear august —

i. i can’t get enough… oh, He is faithful and good. ps. 145

i. Lord, help me to live with a will that is bent towards integrity and wholeness in all areas of my life.

ii. you’re the bomb dot comb… you are an awesome and amazing hooman bean.

iii. as Your love, in wave after wave crashes over me, crashes over me… ’cause you make me brave. grateful for deep thoughts amidst searching for sea shells, sifting through sand, singing in the eye of the storm, and then seeing a rainbow stretched across the sky.

iv. huggie huggos and blessedness. ❤

iv. pain seared and anxiety bubbled as words met memories that i had tucked away. i love too much.

v. ms… i enjoy every moment i spend with you. the conversations as we discuss the realizations of us growing old and out, and all the feels of that, as well as the times we sit and talk about just anything. and laughing together and holding hands together… knowing though we part ways we are not far apart. miss much. but so grateful for today in so many ways. ❤

v. You say i am loved when i can’t feel a thing / You say i am strong when i think i am weak / You say i am held when i am falling short / when I don’t belong, oh You say that i am Yours

vii. spontaneous calls… love my tower girls.

viii. prayer in the hall… fear + anxiety bow at the feet of jesus. thank you for your kind, caring, and sincere heart.

ix. emotional doubt… doubting God’s goodness. God, i don’t ever want to doubt your goodness anymore. 

ix. sports time and small world… i sit myself down, back to a tree. you come and sit right by me. it is neat how connections spur conversation. and you, i don’t think you know how much value you bring into the world. thank you for emojis, text in caps, and the way you are able to encourage and empathize yet bring joy at the same time. and lastly… it was so dang fun to look up and see you tonight. a friend from home.

x. over tea and coffee… again – i thank you. i needed this. as you shared your story tonight, one thought rang clear in my mind — i want to be like you. i want the strength i see in you. i want to be known and seen for shining beauty through all the brokenness like you do. i want to seek the face of Jesus like you do instead of falling into tasks, and routines, and legalism. i want to love and favor and treasure people just like you do too.

x. how do you connect with God? talking deeper in conversation over dinner and grateful to hear some of your story.

x. you’ve been quiet… tell me about yourself. hey, thanks for that. you are so sweet. though i wish more became of that ten-minute hallway chat, i do think of you. i noticed the faraway look in your eyes, strewn across your face. of pain, of hurt, of longing. i pray you know there is healing in the process and we have a redeemer on our side.

xii. rafting along the river bend… He guides us along the waves, He warns us of the bumps, and leads us safe to shore. when the waves are crashing over me… rescue me. 

xiii. and henceforth starts the elbow bumping.

xiv. happy mail and northern lights. </3

xv. sitting and watching the sun rise and standing surrounded by the glory and majesty of His creation. baby, the sun will rise… 

xv. liberating sisterhood and one-thousand gifts. ❤

xv. breaking down barriers to break through with Him… fear and fearlessness. you hit the nail right on the spot. and thank you, thank you, for putting yourself out – real, honest, and vulnerable. i don’t know what happened tonight but the Spirit was here. 

xvi. talking and singing together… we talked of life, you and me, beside that tree. we talked of worship, of a million reasons and how he rescues me. we talked of oh how he loves… wasn’t it amazing how when the worship set opened and the intro started it was the song and we turned to each other, wide smiles stretched across our face?

xvi. pre-conference prayers… my heart brims. He knew. it was good to come here.

xvii. a broken hallelujah… last-night hall traditions. dancing and talking with you. i admire how you worship. that means a lot and it is good to share His goodness. i could have danced all night. it feels like a faraway dream now.

xix. cascading colors streaming through glass windows that make my heart dance in delight

xx. five minutes from erie… oh, what a joy. grateful for belly laughs over good food and good fellowship.

xxi. high on high altitude… and coming down and seeing you, em. then there was the, i was thinking of you… love my people. ❤

xxii. rainbow promises in the sky… a reminder of the significance of perspective and endurance and living in the moment. the ones who go ahead point the hope to those behind, and those behind look to the ones who go before.

xxii. wonder in the wild… running up the trails, breathing in the crisp mountain air, taking in all the splendor. gazing at views in the middle of the wild, through the mist and the fog and overgrown brush. there is always always something bigger and grander if you only keep breathing, keep climbing, keep looking. have you ever seen the wonder. 

xxiii. bird in a cage… the fearless and liberated me flying back into my cage of fear. my heart brims. heading home should feel safe and secure. yet it feels exactly the opposite.

xxv. qt on the porch… in the morning when i rise, give me Jesus. 

xxv. quality time with one of the best… catching up over quality conversations and quality food equals quality time well spent. thank you for you.

xxvi. now my soul cries out hallelujah praise and honor onto thee… oh, the memories.

xxvii. this is my fight song and believer… and i sink into sleep.

this month brought me to places i never thought i’d go. my heart settled with people i never thought i’d find connection with. my soul soared free and took on heights i never thought i’d reach. and my eyes and ears took in beauty i never thought existed.

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.

still i rise | no. 4

dear april —

i. you are a pastor’s dream and you have a servant’s heart… it is not just what i do, it is who i am. thank you for placing value and worth on me and reminding me of my gifts. more often than not i am quietly at work in the shadows. and today you reminded me, in the presence of others, that even there i am seen.

i. thank you, you said… i returned the hug and asked, for what? maybe my short memory had no remembrance of anything in particular because after a bit you replied, oh then it’s all God, my dear. you speak of God just by being you. 

i. the day’s happenings brought a swirling, a myriad of hard feelings and i can’t help but ask why. what good has come out of this and what more good will come? i sat in the cushioned-lined seat today thinking of what would have happened if it weren’t her by my side but you instead. would things be different? i can only wonder. i can only imagine. what are you running from? …stop running from it. let that pain become your inspiration. 

ii. chats with the former… i can’t say that i am surprised to hear you step away. but i will say that you will be missed. your praise and support have made me enjoy the work i did with you. grateful for emojis and prayer exchanges and the blessing of you.

ii-iii. chats with the new… you, my sweet mrs. – you fill me with such joy. you are so fun and i love you so. i savor our chats about life and our texts peppered with love.

iii. throw out your old, preconceived ideas about what a successful life should look like and restart with a new perspective. grieve your losses and look for a new path as you accept the things you never expected or wanted.

iii. hello cat… yes, you. 🙂 thank you for you. this made my day. i love our more frequent check-ins and going deep in pursuits together.

iii. what is your heart telling you?… i cringe as you pull me closer. what is my heart saying? i don’t know. and my silence in reply does not warrant silence in response.

iv. are you free now?… treasured connecting and hearing your voice again. you mentioned a fog and oh what a beautiful picture. love thinking how fog doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining. somewhere on the other side of this veiled view, light is breaking through. love you, Care Bear. ❤

iv. hearts and congrats and prayers… aside from my momma, i would give you #1 teacher. getting to text you, even for a bit, made me so happy.

v. unpleasant dreams… i made us late. you got mad at me, and i felt shame. i cried and apologized over and over, and you admonished me.

vi. fear is the name of the game today… yet i cling to hope. i’m no longer a slave to fear. i am a child of God. 

vi. you made us late… they called to make sure we were on the way. we pulled in and were received with smiles and hugs. we just wanted to make sure you didn’t change your mind. oh the comparisons between today and the previous night. i felt like a prodigal. did you?

vi. expectations… and with great expectation we await the Promise to come. everything that You have spoken will come to pass, let it be done.

vii. prayer walk… being content in sitting in the stillness of His presence and opening myself to what He says to me. He makes me new, and it is a continual and ongoing process. for all that i am, worship Me, He said. did He not start a good work in me? am i going to be bothered by the thorns on roses or see the beauty that is there? He redeems my story. i am strong and full of life. i am steadfast, no compromise. 

vii. bathroom side talks… hey – i’ve only known you for less than a year and i wish now that i’ve known you longer. you sprung a question, a simple question, and i took a plunge to answer honestly. you replied in frank, but now looking back frank is what i need sometimes. you know, do it for you. 

vii. free time… spending free time with you and you made me happy. you – in the midst all the trembling and worry somehow i can say, by grace, i enjoyed your company. nothing really changed, but peace ushered in. and that somehow makes everything else fall away. and you – i slipped away and went to find you (the others thought they lost me… whoops). we talked and laughed and snatched some spoons. i think back to the youth we once were, the cliques and the non-cliques, the popular and the lonely. i remember you coming to me and the sorry that you uttered. i always had thought of you as the other – belonging to the one where i felt no belonging. and yet there we were, talking and laughing and having fun. you probably don’t know what it meant but thank you. next comes prom… then graduation.

vii. love and expectations… God doesn’t expect us to take what He gives, He simply invites us to receive. He brought it all to mind, and i realize where i was and where He was and is. i expected and did not get. He doesn’t expect us and loves us anyway, no matter what.  here is all my love, it’s Yours, no conditions. 

vii. saturday night… they said the saturday night session is always where it’s at. the climax. it’s where the deep stuff gets laid out and open, and the emotions come. i don’t know what i was expecting. perhaps a slight shed of tears and some profound revelation. but then everything came together and hit. saturday night. the band came and the floodgates opened, a mighty rush breaking chains. one by one we cried, wept, sobbed. my mind thought back and i fought the crowd and walked up to find you. you opened your arms, pulled me close. i searched your eyes, and you searched mine. i am sure deep inside you could tell there was more to tell. i confide in you, whisper to you, plea with you, tears squeezing out the corners of my eyes. and you say yes. head nods and head shakes, you assure me that i am beautiful and redeemed and forgiven. oh my soul how incredibly healing it is to hear that from you. you carry the Spirit in you like a vessel and all i want to do is have you hold me tight as i sob into your chest the whole night long. i leave your embrace and the room is empty. i step into the night, heading to find the others. the sky is clear and the air is crisp. i feel free. oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God. 

viii. learning to love yourself first… i open to the day’s reading and am wowed by His timing. once we get ahold of the truth of the grace, not only does it empower us to forgive and love ourselves, but also do the same for others. you can’t love much until you understand the depth of His love and the depth of which you have been forgiven. surrender to me, and don’t pick it up until you can view it with the right view of love. this may mean filling your own void of love first. 

x. starbucks debriefing… we each went around sharing our stories and our experiences. you said you came home not knowing the nagging feeling, and then identifying as missing us when we leave. my heart swells as i remember the journey i’ve been on and still tread, and how much of a part you’ve played in that. oh how far i’ve come. sipping coffee next to you all filled me with such belonging. how good and beautiful it is to share our stories. oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him.

xi. Phil. 1:6… we sat on the couch and shared with the jh. we closed in prayer and the verse came to mind right before you said it aloud. God is pretty cool, i should say.

xiii. birthday wishes and warm encouragement… i am blessed by your caring spirit, inner strength, deep-rooted wisdom, and beautiful words and artistry. thank you for words exchanged and well wishes.

xiii. 4:13 day… after the 4.12, it’s been reminders to rise and rely on His strength.

xiv. grace upon grace… in spite of it all, today reminded me yet again that life doesn’t always go how we expect. i am humbled. here’s to cheerwine and making memories.

xiv. first place… you told me you secretly wished i would have the honor of receiving it. i am so wowed hearing that from you.

xv. you are trustworthy… those are the words you tell me with such sincerity as i tell you of school and life and worries. grateful and thankful.

xviii. great job… you whispered. thank you for those two words, after all these months of what went on. your random text after coming home was random but thank you for reaching out and checking up on me. it means a lot. you are quite something. quite special.

xix. thanks for checking in and reminding me of what is really important, despite the longing to be together.

xix. overcoming obstacles… it is through overcoming obstacles where our true beauty emerges. i went over and asked if you needed anything, and your deep gratitude was so heartwarming.

xix. you have a voice… oh, how i gushed at your words. i’d love to join you on stage one day. i admire your voice and your gift, your strength and deliverance.

xxi. i went hoping the deciding would be easier… but it is only harder. will this be my home the next four years? idkkkkkkkkkkk.

xxiii. dear apple… i shared of the school search and the deciding and the woes. you shared encouragement, tips, support. i miss your family. you all make me smile.

xxiii – xxvi. emotional wreck… every time someone turns to me they wear a blank question mark across their face. i am literally crying on and off all day. why is this so hard?

xxvi. there goes the bell… and behold, it’s you! isn’t it like you to be spontaneous. ugg, i love you.

xxvii. another no… i go for a visit, and jokingly wonder if i will fall in love. nevertheless, this one is a sure no. yay.

xxvii. adventure or safety… those who say ‘yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have. those who say ‘no’ are rewarded by the safety they attain. closer and closer, this brings the answer. will i go for adventure out of faith, or safety out of fear? i am beginning to be at peace.

xxviii. falling into place… decision in mind, and potential roommate just after. God is good and overwhelming me with peace.

xxix. you have a nice voice… oh you sweet child, you are a sweetheart.

xxix. unexpected – leave fear behind, move forward in faith, embrace the adventure… trials don’t mean we are out of the will of God. they often mean we are exactly in the will of God — right where we’re supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. 

xxix. daddy’s heart… my heart melted and ahh i don’t want to grow up. can i not?

xxx. i became a dragon… or a unicorn. taking a leap, saying yes by faith, this is me.

still i rise | no. 3

dear march —

i. why does healing take so much time? and this thing called time — will it ever come?

i. big yellow umbrellas and northern lights… i’ll just sit with you in the dark and hold a big yellow umbrella over your head until the sun can shine again and we can see the best yellows. thank you for you a million times over.

i. joy is there, trust me… we are walking in it in spite of the storm in our life. we are taking our thoughts captive, trusting Christ, staying in prayer, and in His word… that secret place — joy can be found there.

ii. don’t wait it out… pray it out. prayer is the force that makes all hell quiver in fear and causes heaven to stand to its feet with joyful applause.

iii. nián gāo and dòu fu flan… safe from the storm.

iv. limited power doesn’t limit the power of the Holy Spirit… candlelit worship center, huddled in the cold; communion in huddled coats. overflow in this place… the spirit of the Lord is here. and indeed — where there was alarm and loss of power, He poured blessing and peace. loss of power became the Father’s great gain.

iv. you saw me sitting there, wrapped up in my coat. you beckoned me — bid me — to move towards the fireplace. and though i was okay where i was, i shed my coat and moved myself closer. i sat there on the floor, the warmth of the fire dancing against my back and giving heat to my cheeks. sometimes shedding and moving out of what did provide warmth is necessary for experiencing the next level of the warmth of His goodness. thank you for inviting me to draw closer… draw nearer.

iv. the paints won’t behave, the shading doesn’t look right, the gradients are simply awful… and yet what matters is the progress, not perfection. and reminders to give myself grace, to admire the beauty that is there, and not be too hard on myself. oh, the journey of an artist. this is what makes artistry — not so much as to perfect as it is to understand and grow — from within.

v. invigorated by the power of the Holy spirit… we’ve got the Holy Spirit and all of His power in us. in Him we have peace, joy, and hope and He will finish what He starts. confidently flawed. 

vi. learning the secret of being content… striving to give the glory due His name, for i deserve none of this.

vi. out of the heart the mouth speaks. so though my brain wanted to say one thing, You took it away and replaced it with my heart. don’t let what you don’t know about God hinder you from believing what you do know about Him. rejoice in hope, be patient in trials, constant in prayer.

vi. it started with a cat… and then the crazies came out and then we fell off the floor… and i became a laughing bobbly head. (falling rn, actually… rereading texts again)

viii. heaving all my cares away with each heave and agonizing shovelful. hot dogs in the cold, and blasting praises all the day long. the snow never bothered me anyway. 

x. in pursuit of becoming fearless… maybe God is letting all this happen so i may experience a breakthrough of all that is tying me down. maybe this is a year of fearing more so that i can be fear-less.

x. marks of the true christian… share with the Lord’s people who are in need. practice hospitality. a wake up to love — i need a change of heart.

xi. the power and influence of prayer, and the awe-inspiring hand of God in even the littlest of angels. pray, pray, pray. trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey. 

x. have you ever seen the wonder and spending time with little sunshines. Zay-Zay and Phyllis — thank you for allowing me to squeeze you tight, peck cheeks, make silly faces, and stand in the cold for you in such a love-doing way.

xii. from the journal: “the gentleman seated on the plane in front of us chewing his gum with such vigoration (yes idek if that is a word but it is now) made me laugh so much and i wanted to just swing a bat around at life because hey everyone should do the simplest of things like chewing a piece of gum with such satisfaction that all who watches them just can’t help but smile. kinda like the lollipop effect. wow… i’m deep. thanks, gum-man.”

xiii. more trust, less fear. and may purity line the spaces of my heart and mind.

xiv. random texts, gifs that say you’re rooting for me, and reminders to take courage. ❤

xiv. what if i didn’t complain but stuck through it? what if i didn’t question it as a sign of weakness but knew that God must think i’m strong enough through Him to come out of it? what if i didn’t mumble saying this is the worst, but changed my perspective, knowing God only gives me His best?

xiv. 2/4 now and i put this one aside with barely a second thought.

xv. mid-day spontaneity brings joy and laughter to my day. milkshakes and strolling with you leave me feely but mixed.

xviii. nothing i hold onto… heaviness in my heart but not knowing why and “feeling weird.” i walked out of the room, needing some space. you said it’s okay to let it out. oh God, it’s so hard to surrender. i lean not on my own understanding, my life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven. 

xix. God-given brain lapses remind me to fix my eyes ahead and remain steadfast. i need to trust His heart with all my heart.

xix. not everything in life has to show a rose in bloom, or a light at the end of the tunnel. sometimes the greatest ministry is to establish connection, showing the darkness in the tunnel or the thorns on the rose, sitting by someone in the dark.

xix. desktop wallpaper reflecting, “i will climb this mountain with my arms wide open…” and amazed at His way in nudging this theme to me over and over.

xxii. 3/4… oh happy day. plus two jars of kaya.

xxii. feeling cingulomania for you, kalon. 

xxiv. even after so much, you never stop loving… oh thank you for you.

xxiv. even here, there’s still grace… thank you for your warm hug that made me melt in your embrace.

xxv. seeing the early morning sun rise… a canvas of Your grace.

xxv. God you are sovereign… in sickness and in death. grateful for soulful anthems that we are not alone even in deep waters, and chats of wisdom and guidance. brokenness cracks open a soul so the power of God can crack the darkness in the world. 

xxv. broken seashell… along the edge of the shore; with the tide lapping in and out over it. even in the low and high tides of life, the waves don’t overtake me – there are people speaking into me, praying for me, and thinking of me. through emptiness and brokenness, celebrating life that comes after death while also taking time to grieve… through it all it will be alright. He makes use of the broken pieces of our shells and makes us vessels for Him.

xxvii. i will trust here in the mystery… i will trust in you completely.

xxvii. love — a continuing debt we owe others. may we love as You love. 

xxviii. people and places and all the like… things are changing, and it’s all so bittersweet.

xxviii. convictions… figuring out what it means to love as He loves and follow through. grant us the courage to give as You are calling.

xxx. seeing you after i had dreamed about you last night filled my heart with so much joy. God is good.

xxx. our lives a tapestry of Your grace… it is finished… yahweh. so humbled and blessed to serve You with such amazing artists before a packed house and an audience of One.

xxxi. following through with convictions… let’s love in that crazy love He’s shown us, one that He gives so extravagantly and freely. 

xxxi. when God’s children obey, the enemy preys… thankful for that recognition. this. this comes through following through.

i will climb this mountain with my arms wide open… there’s nothing i hold on to. [nothing i hold on to]

may your love cause us to open up, cause us to open up our hearts. may your light cause us to shine so bright that we bring hope into the dark. all that we do without love, it means nothing. grant us the courage to give as you’re calling. make me an instrument of your peace. where there is hatred let me show love. where there is darkness let me shine light [open up]

11:23 p.m.

over clouded emotions and looming worries, she lifts her sights.
she speaks in faith and thinks in faith and chooses faith.

faith – above the mountains of fear that stand in her way.
for she’s come to realize this very thing:

fear – it enables her to tread on higher heights.
for it is in the process of fearing more that she becomes fear-less.

so though the climb is hard, she keeps going.
keeps choosing. keeps pushing through.

some days she stands tall – determined, emboldened, and full of life.
other days, her journey is but a crawl.

and that’s okay. she’ll be alright.
she has His strength —
all the way.

still i rise | no. 2

dear february —

i. happy mail from cc… shrills of delight, tears of joy, tugs from the heart. thank you. ❤

i. oh deer… he says i must get it in, everything there or not. i give in and comply. later, another bids me to join. and there i surrender all. all of me and nothing less, Lord have your way. strip me, take me, now i have empty hands.

i. build my life… thank you for rich reminders like these. thank you for your heart, your sensitivity, your following of His prompting.

ii. come here. *snarky grin*

ii. thank you for your application… weeks and weeks had passed and this morning it went through. thank you Father for teaching me what it means to wait. you were waiting for me all along.

ii. hey beautiful… my heart went out for you in the late of the night, so i scoured scripture, interceded, and sent words + songs. you are so strong, my love. and even now in your weakness, in the unknown, in the sickness and pain, you are still strong. why? because you are allowing others to surround you. thank you for allowing me to do that, dear.

iv. you put your arm around my shoulder and it felt nice.

iv. you don’t realize the significance of a day until it becomes but only a memory.

v. those who watch for the providence of God will never lack the providence of God to watch for.

vi. tainted heart… thinking about anything and everything. but no, i will keep myself from fading. i am strong and full of life. 

vii. the storm that’s brewing… we mustn’t forget the beauty. each drop of moisture, each drop of precipitation — they’re beautiful because He made them and He makes all things beautiful.

viii. burned out… please give me strength for today and joy to face tomorrow.

viii. hey thanks for your comment; i needed it. every seed buried in sorrow, You will call forth in its time. 

ix. exposing and expelling fears and bringing them to light. i fear i tarnished our relationship yet again. but i thank you for your grace.  fear not – if i could say it any louder i would. 

ix. breaking bread together, sharing in community. raising our voices, laughing as one. oh praise the One who paid our debt and raised this life up from the dead. 

xi. for it’s when we break a little — we come alive. it’s in this space of feeling, we get to expand.

xi. v day approaches and all sorts of muddled feelings come with it. but with it, comes wisdom, laughter, learning to say no, and hey – it’ll be okay.

xii. there’s sunshine beyond. yes there is. yes there is. yes there is.

xiii. i sat there paralyzed, struggling to calm down. one hour went by, then two. i shared i was going under and you did everything you thought of to help. and i just want to tell you i appreciate it.

xiv. be my song when i have no song. be my melody when melodies seem lost. You are my song. be my song again.

xiv. i don’t know what is going on… and i feel so far gone. one, two, and then now three. breathe, breathe, breathe. breathe, honey, breathe.

xvi. she says she is dying… oh poor baby.

xvii. the early morning fog – when you can barely see or feel around you, only what is directly in front; and just barely. and yet the coolness of the air is breathtaking and comforting because you have faith that things are stirring in the mist.

xvii. you ran away and into my arms. so precious.

xvii. i must freely, lavishly, generously, completely give grace. and grace will enable me to do so.

xix. consider it all joy… through it all my eyes are on You. it is well with me.

xix. nothing, no nothing takes Him by surprise. focus on the master of the work, not the work of the master.

xx. we should patiently abide, rest in the rivers of who he is. choose hope and joy in the waiting; in the in-between; in the space between the paragraphs. so i will speak in hope and think about hope. i will use hope as the anchor of my very fragile soul.

xxi. how is it that the weather can change from beautiful heaps of snow to all of a sudden warm spring-like day? how is it that the atmosphere of our hearts can go from full of life to all of a sudden dormant?

xxi. could you just leave me alone and let me be? respect for others, respect for me?

xxi. hey i just want to thank you. for speaking out and speaking up. you are pretty amazing. really. a true giant slayer.

xxii. the engine stopped and stood to a still. rememberconsider it all joy. yes, even this. and the engine lurched and jumped into motion.

xxii. we’ve got a treasure that’s not like any treasure. it’s Jesus! my heart melts when i’m around you.

xxii. championing diversity and icc… a diverse culture means an innovative culture. ah, it feels so good to be introduced to a culture that models and values the same language.

xxii. beast it. find your voice. rise above. break beyond.

xxii. you looked into my eyes and i looked into yours. you gave me perspective, you gave me courage. you made me see how my family is a treasure, and how i am empowered, equipped, and emboldened to act. to not simply be okay with okay. i am indebted to you – the woman you are to all and to me. your ability to have such strength – through Him. how you make your faith evident and strong to all. how you carry your head high. how you stand as a lifeline, as a support, and second mom.

xxiii. i have sought joy and found it. He’s in the waiting and the sun does rise, painting colors in the night.

xxiii. sometimes after a storm’s passing you go back and recount the storm. my mind lurched into cognition and words and phrases became a line and then another… overcoming, overcome, overcame. grateful for the gift of words.

xxiv. adrenaline rushes and essays, rococo and impressionism. i am so so happy.

xxv. when everything goes array but everyone gives you grace, you realize how hard you are on yourself and how desperately you need to receive that one thing — grace. it’s okay. it’s okay.

xxvi. sunsets and new beginnings… even the end can be beautiful. the sun will rise again.

xxvii. Easter – it changes everything. we carry the resurrecting power of Jesus every moment of our lives. how can i keep from singing your praise?

xxvii. some dreams feel so real you wish they were true. then exchanges that bring all smiles and grins and i miss you.

xxviii. we tried again. i couldn’t tell if he understood, but at least he listened. grateful for those who pulled chairs to make sure things were alright. for those who spoke, and for those whose quiet presence gave security to me. and even for those who weren’t there but made sure to check if things went alright.

there’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up coming after me. there’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.

You’re my hope in the shadows, my strength in the battle, my anchor for all my days.

deut. 32.3_4, matt. 11.28_30, ps. 55.22, lam. 5.21, job 33.4, ps. 34.5_6, job 36.15, 1 thes. 5.16, zech. 4.6, job 42.2, is. 46.3, is. 40.28_31, ps. 34.19, rom. 15.13, micah 7.7, luke 1.37, jer. 31.25, dan. 12.3, heb. 13.8, rom. 5.5, is. 9.2

slipping by | pt. 11

(a lot has happened this month… so i apologize in advance for this book. oooops)

dear november —

i. lies… and feelings. thoughts. they all mix into a myriad of a tight heaviness – none of which i should be experiencing right now. he was pushing me in a corner, making me feel smaller than the thin five-foot frame that i really was. and he was succeeding. the events all still rolled out before my eyes as if on instant replay — their eyes searching, pleading at me, giving me a stare down on my performance. and all i did was shrink back. i feel small. insignificant. incapable. and alone.

i. memories… my mind goes too, to the closing of the twelve, not too long ago. her embrace, then seeing her eyes look deep into mine and glistening with tears. she said an i’m sorry to which i managed a slight half a smile and mustered a reply. and then, as everything comes tumbling down, that i’m sorry taunts me and brings more to surface. no’s and whys stir up from within me all over again; not accepting the past and dear God, why did this have to happen

i. dizzy and faint… i stood there in the kitchen, hacking at the pineapples and feeling their prickliness pierce into the walls of my soul but i resolved to grit my teeth and bear it. and next thing i know, it is as if the knife is whisked away and they insist i lie down. so there i am — lying horizontal in bed as the world whirs and tosses me around, while my head and my heart screams for a halt.

i. serve and not be served… the verse comes to mind and i wrestle with my place in this. i came to serve – not be served. and here i am, weak. needy. and being served. 

i. babe… i remember gazing faintly into your eyes, weakly reaching for your hand, then asking you the question. and you said you cared for me too much. then i felt bad and pushed you away, to go join the rest. and you replied, saying no — it’s okay; i will stay. knees drawn to my chin, i sat there on the floor. you wrapped your arm around me and wiped my tears away. your presence was a treasure – though words were few.

i. yam seng… my head tremors and shakes, but my cheeks are spread broad in a smile and pride and joy make my heart swell. grateful for the gift of media, for hearty toasts of good cheer, words breathed with gusto and crafted with intentionality, and prayer huddles in the hallway.

ii. when thank yous don’t sit right… you came over to my corner at the couch and with your usual way of deliberate speaking, you tell me thank you. it was one of those slight smile moments again, and inside i shake my head in wonder. i guess i am not understanding? later on i regret all the sharing, for i merely received adulting advice and a firm suggestion that i couldn’t question. i’m still shrinking. shriveling. shaking. 

ii. the human bobbly head… i stumble into the building, shaking until i could hear my teeth chattering with it. i try to stop it, but no – i just keep trembling. the oilers, they come to my aid. she raises it to my nose, another rubs my feet. and they pray. someone tells me to look, and i lift my head to see them all – encircled in prayer.

ii. team checkin… the whole team assembles around the dinner tables. i sit there, gripping the table, as not to sway. she brings soup, another spoons it. blessed souls. claim a promise, she says. i sit there, searching for one that sticks. the ones that go before me, their promises resound and i nod in my heart. my turn comes, and with a wavering flicker of hope, i proclaim, all things work together for the good… 

ii. i’m fine… but my claims are met by hesitant doubts. soon enough she and he come to meet me. i jabber and talk, happy to see them. we’re brought in, and he looks me up and down. drugs? neurological illness? my head shakes furiously, and it takes a good bit of effort to stifle my laughter. no — when medical professionals have no answer, i know it’s because these forces that we’re up against are stronger than any ones professionals can diagnose.

ii. you don’t have to feel bad… thank you so so much for obeying the voice of God and reaching out over seas to tell me that. thank you for validation and encouragement; for swiveling my head back towards the eyes of Christ and kicking the enemy in the shins.

iii. sl reception… discouragement over the role robbed from my lap was met with joy from the sound of music. dancing, and singing – turning wilderness to wonder

iii. dead… you slide the computer to my lap and i am able to release all the achy heaviness onto an outlet – even if it was via a pixelated screen. we exchange i’m sorrys and i love yous, and we allowed ourselves to just be held. you remind me again that i’m more than a conqueror. you show me there’s sunshine beyond. and there, from those moments, monsters were born. ❤

iii-iv. truly alive… thankful for hand-written notes, for hugs, for family. that night, i felt truly alive – more alive than i had felt in a long while. and it felt good. the night passed, and i awoke feeling anew. i devoted the day to giving back – giving promises, gifts from afar, hugs. and ah yes, it felt good. my heart will sing Your praise again.

iv-v. time together… we laughed lightheartedly, talked about life and the future, then our conversation plunged into the long awaited topic. the topic i had anticipated after all these months, separated by oceans and miles. grateful for words of wisdom, encouragement, the gift of music, and most of all- honesty. thank you, too, for being my shield when deceitful eyes pierced me.

v. dancing in the shadows… cherishing fanciful lights, friends, and turkish ice cream.

vi. mama is very happy… so i am very happy too. seeing her face light up and hearing her exclaim brought such joy to my soul. then she says it hurts… mama hurts. i walk over and put my hand in hers, whispering prayers of comfort. what a gift, Lord, for me to be here with her. oh, how time is a vapor – a mist in the air. thank you for precious moments like these when i think back and remember. remember the life you gave, and the life you give.

vi. quirks of family… grand-uncle, grand-aunt, aunts, and cousin. trying new foods, running in the rain, discussing o levels, and trudging around with blistered feet and food coma. taking things with a fistful of salt and laughing it all away.

viii. sad movies bring waves of sadness… all the emotions crash and hit, as i journey farther and farther from what become my family and my home.

ix. welcomed back as if long lost friends… yes, it’s good to be back. these people – they’re my people. their greetings and hugs drown out the presence of the one i love and hold still dear. the thought of remembrance mixed in with uncertainty crosses my mind, then fades. time changes things. 

x. jet lagged and congested… three four-twelves, three different countries. perhaps this was a crazy idea to get myself into, after all i had gone through? what would you like me to lead, i ask her. but they didn’t need me. discouragement and frustration started to seep in. not needed, Lord? there i was, lying on the couch with my nose exploding and my lips red from blowing, and feeling again like just an extra body.

xi. His grace covers all… i fumbled through and slipped each of the four times on stage that day. failure was my self-label yet again. but you came to me as we exchanged goodbyes, admiring my confidence and poise. grateful for reminders that He is faithful and still speaking even through my times of weakness.

xii. breathe, call these bones to live… gaining new meaning in lyrics. home after a month. raising hands, singing praise, and wiping tears of emotion away as the thought of what has passed since the last time i was standing in this room come tumulting. saying hi to anyone and everyone, and eating up my little sunshines.

xii. fifteen became ninety minutes… sharing stories of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness and learning from each other over steamy delights.

xiii. heartmelts… it is a joy to stand by you, to show you Truth, and remind you of your beauty. grateful for bubbly moments of grinning like a Cheshire cat in the dark together

xv. who is the Sean in your life? it was the topic of the night. it pained me, but i knew i needed it. then, moments later, the little notification appears. no, not again. yes, yes again? 

xv. i made sure to do it for you… my heart bursted. i wanted to find you and throw myself on you in a hug for your thoughtfulness but i knew you were gone. thank you for making my day.

xxi. grateful for the presence of kaya…

xvii. in the fight… thankful for words sewn together with melodies that help my heart to mend. and the fun joys of jinxes. no one can steal our joy

xviii. time is ticking… in all the frustrations, You bind my wandering heart to thee. You remind me, love is patient, love is kind…

xxii-xxiii. strolling around the city… in the blister cold, sipping hot mocha. dumplings, curry puffs, pumpkin sesame balls, mashed potatoes, and cheesecake — my heart is happy

xxv. dates with sis… and smiling and crying over the wonder and beauty of choosing kind.

xxvi. perfect love casts out fear… grateful for times of sharing and daily conquering.

xxvi. so incredibly loved… watching the sunrise, getting surprised by cherished friends – not once but twice, lovely time of catching up over hot cocoa, and text messages that make me smile.

xxix. annoyances and frustrations… somehow it will all come together.

xxx. what does love look like? we hadn’t talked for months, but we talked as if it was yesterday. thank you for joys over words, for reminding me to love, and being there to listen.

breathe, call these bones to live, call these lungs to sing. once again, i will praise. Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Jesus, Jesus, You silence fear

is. 43.4 / is. 43.10_12 / ps. 77.11_12 / 2 cor. 10.5 / 2 cor. 3.1_3,5_6 / phil. 4.12_13 / romans 4.20_21 / luke 18.27 / job 11.13_18 / is. 40.28_31 / john 15.4_5 / john 15.16 / romans 8.28_30 / romans 8.31_39 / jer. 1.6_9 / 1 john 4.18 / ps. 34.4_10 / ps. 31.20_22 / ps. 20.7_8 / romans 6.5_11 / ps. 119.50 / gal. 4.6_7 / col. 3.4 / heb. 12.3 / is. 55.8_13 / ps. 118.13_17 / eph. 6.10 / lam. 3.19_23

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