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. 1

{2018 – there is no fear in love. but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. the one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 john 4:18. // why still i rise?}

dear january —

i. doom or closed doors… realizing what i should have done months ago wasn’t done, and hoping He’ll make a way when there’s seemingly no way. time is the enemy here. move these mountains or move my heart, Lord.

i. of symphonic melodies and operatic euphonies… and walking up and down the blistering streets in the city, empty bellies and stirring frustrations. huffing and puffing in the cold winter air while interceding and declaring — you are for us, you are not against… He will make you brave. He will make you brave. 

iii. drifting apart but still together at heart. and yet we still find joy and praise together. i see light because of you. 

iii. anxious breaths… there is a wrestling in my heart and my mind, a disturbance and a tension i cannot seem to drive.

vi. thank you for you… thank you for reaching out. for so long you’ve been a role model to me; the special one; my twin; the one in whose footsteps i wanted to follow. you wanted to catch up, and i was thrilled. i didn’t know where to start, fumbling through my words. we spoke of joys, we spoke of pain. we spoke of lessons learned through the hard. we spoke of convictions, and relationships. an hour comes and goes, and we’re still chatting. from an isfj to another — thank you.

viii. of home, hurt, and hospice… i want her to stop screaming, why can’t she obey, why do things come to surface and blow a trigger in my mind, why is there sickness and that evil thing called cancer.

x. clinging, hoping, trusting… 8.28 and attributing God to his sovereignty. flipping back to his faithfulness. refreshing my soul of the beauty that emerged from all the times in asia.

xi. community and family and all the feels… grateful for being able to join in community and laugh together and take part together even many states away.

xiv. i’m just wowed by how God moves and breathes and walks because man – isn’t it cool how he can whisper and nudge the same thing for two different people?

xv. she brings chocolate cookies and all i can think of are digestives and fort canning and ahhh, memories.

xv. late night shenanigans with you are the best… you’re the kaya to my toast and ilyvm. ❤

xv-xvi. college apps are like child labor… painful but well worth it in the end. take a deep breath and surrender the stress to God, you say. yes yes yes… thank you. but oh God please have your hand in this because i can’t see you i can’t trust you i can’t understand why this happened.

xvi. thanks honey for this… and thank You for showing me what i need. surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. they will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

xvi. grief… the first i had experienced. raw emotions, locked doors, and heaving sobs. we’ve sung how you are perfect in all of Your ways and you are sovereign over us but now, help me see that.

xvi. thank you for fighting, for staying strong, for not caving in. for resolving to be better. i miss you dearly.

xvii. sunsets cast among a blanketed backdrop remind me He is still there.

xvii. no i am not okay… when songs bring tainted memories and i fight monsters in my mind. when i can’t accept what has already been done. when the sting of death pangs me and people and feelings get in the way and i snap because i need time and space and i’m not in a good place so can you just leave me to be with God.

xvii. you don’t have to be fine… you don’t have to pretend with Him. take the time to feel it. oh, you don’t know the tears that spill every time i return to this. thank you.

xviii. the songs in my head cause a stirring in my heart… please be my strength and though you slay me.

xviii. we spoke of life late into the night as eleven pm became twelve and the clock showed one. but that was no matter, for you breathed into me. thank you for standing by me, amidst all the tumulting that life brings. even in the valleys He is good. thank you dear, for reminders like these.

xix. i wanted to escape… i felt like i was suffocating, buried under the deep. there were so many thoughts and emotions going on in me, let alone sitting amongst them. yet you were there and seeing that you understood made me feel better. when you stood to leave you rested your hand on my shoulder for a mere seconds. i hope things will turn out okay. hon, if we were not surrounded i would have broke down right there. thank you.

xx. your sovereign hand will be my guide… thank you for whispering reminders of who you are and who you remain to be.

xx. hills and valleys… He is the God of the hills and the valleys and i am not alone. even in the valley He is faithful. 

xxi. you have a beautiful voice… oh Lord, may i keep singing praises to your name.

xxii. you are sovereign, Father… being reminded of constant themes until my heart resounds, yes Lord you are sovereign! if you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to trust me in all situations. and then, God is sovereign over all things and can be trusted in all He does. 

xxii. he is still good… thank you that you are immutable. in the midst of the push and pulls, He is still good. He is still here. He is still speaking. He is still faithful.

xxiii. walks in the frigid cold, basking in the warmth of his love and worship while praying with eyes wide open.

xxiv. there is purpose in our pain, healing in our hurt… little did i know one week after my own loss i would be telling of His faithfulness and comforting others of their loss with the same things i was clinging to. as we huddled on the floor listening to sovereign over us i couldn’t help being grateful for how He is able to use all things. 8.28.

xxv. ms — i love you. i love the fact that we can talk for hours about the most random things and have so much fun together. i love the fact that we can laugh for hours about the slightest things. i love the times where we’re delirious and low in sleep… they make the most wonderful times. i miss you so.

xxvi. fake news and chinese accents, reality tv and where are you from from. your lake superior is greater than my lake superior. my aslt is greater than your aslt.

xxvii. i’m overwhelmed by you… joy in the city and a one-percent miracle, yet unsettling thoughts and frustrations creep in. grace, grace, grace

xxviii. God not only loves us but He really really likes us.

xxix. rejoice always… not possible? with Christ, all things are possible! ah thankful for reminders like these. though young in years, he is not young in faith.

xxxi. even when it hurts, i’ll praise you. even when i have no song, i’ll praise you.

there is strength within the sorrow, there is beauty in our tears. and you meet us in our mourning with a love that casts out fear. you are working in our waiting. you’re sanctifying us. when beyond our understanding you’re teaching us to trust

you’re the God of the hills and the valleys and i am not alone

zech. 2.5, ps. 27.14, 1 thess. 5.16_18, rom 4. 20_21, gen. 4.7, is. 46. 3_4,10_11, is. 58.11, is. 40. 10_11,25_26, ps. 31. 19_20, ps. 84. 11_12, ps. 17.6_8, ps. 112.7

slipping by | pt. 9

dear september —

i. paralysis… worry and fear paralyzed me. oh no, Father… not again. but yes, it seems. yes… again.

iii. pride… pride got the best of me, and i could feel it. i was running on a performance cycle rather than a serving heart. i wonder if hamsters get exhausted once in awhile or maybe that’s just me.

iv. memories… bowling alleys and bbqs. cannolis and laughter. lighthearted conversations, but also bittersweet ones. sitting on the pink carpet, posing for a last picture, with our faces forlorn – all i think about is how dreadfully short life is and how whatever we have now we won’t have forever.

v. mr. nice guy… i understand now. my heart cringes at every menacing act and now i’m just as fired up as before.

v. voice… gonna help you find your voice… 

vii. prayers… when you realize the prayers you utter for someone else become your heart’s cry too.

viii. midday encouragement… i had one person in mind, but when God gives you an idea, he likes to make things as big as he can. so out it went. and wow God. it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

viii. wifey… you helped me be myself tonight. you filled me with laughter and silly antics until we had to be shushed. but girl, if i had to be shushed for once, it’s a good sign indeed. in fact, you made me feel safe. and most of all, you helped me break loose and be free. free to finally be me– in a place that’s supposed to be home and feel like family. and for that, i thank you.

viii. victimized… i feel like the victim. she broke down, and all of a sudden tension broke loose. and i got so annoyed when he came over and invaded my personal bubble. there is therefore no condemnation… 

iv. mornings texts… i genuinely appreciate that mixed with promises of truth and sending angels your way make my heart just a few ounces lighter.

xi-xii. heartache… here i sit, writing a date at the top of my page. flashbacks, numbers, anxiety. is this what depression feels like? i wrote for therapy; some cared to ask, some didn’t. and sadly enough, some of those who did ask, didn’t seem to really care for that matter.

xi. just listening… that’s all i did. but what came out of it was so beautiful. so beautiful that it could have only been arranged by Him. it’s not me — it’s God.

xii. grateful… and forever thankful for thoughtful hearts like yours. i am so glad God brought me a gem like you. your love you mores and sorrys mean the world to me as all else fades away.

xv-xvi. resuscitation… today, an extra bit of fresh, living air was pumped into my heart through the mouth of the beautiful brokenness of another and through the reviving power of one of my favorite bands. your failing heart is never actually failing. when God claims you, He will never fail you. 

xvii. Joyce… its meaning – cheerful and happy; bringer of joy. oh tis so sweet; what an angel! you gave me a quick hug, and reached over and gave me another — this time hugging even more tightly and longer than before, then facing me with your bouncy manner and smile so broad. that was the love of the Father! 

xvii. reminiscing… celebrating accomplishment, community, and the incredible power of cheerwine.

xx. trying to understand… in the midst of this chaos, open up my eyes in wonder. show me who you are and fill me with your love to those around me.

xxiii-xxix. serenity… grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to know the difference.

xxvii. walks… thank you for walking life with me. for guiding me in wisdom and truth. let’s make this a daily thing, shall we? from now till the day i embark to the next place i’ll be for four years. alas, senioritis. it is real. i am going to miss you so much.

xxvii. sweet friend… with statistics as a conversation starter and personalities as a common bonding, we started sharing of each other. oh sweetheart, thank you for being real with me, and letting me be the same with you. counting down the days till we meet again…

xxviii. words… they bleed. the pixels and ink — they smear the torn, wrinkled, scorched pages. they haunt too. repeated event after repeated event, not sure whether to laugh at the devil’s schemes or cry in defeat.

xxix. bitterness… holding it together until i could stand no more. where’s the sky when i hit the ground?

xxx. i sat there on the couch, holding back tears. you take my hands and beckon me to look into your eyes. my small frame melts as yours envelops me — things are going to get better, baby

xxx. i feel alive… i’ve come alive. the joy of the Lord, yes it’s been restored in me. the peace of the Prince, yes oh yes… it’s come over me.

walking around these walls, i thought that by now they’d fall…waiting for change to come, knowing the battle’s won, for You’ve never failed me yet. 

col. 2.6_7 / ps. 37 /  dan. 12.3 / ps. 125.1 / is. 45.2_3 / is. 46.4 / ps. 30.5 / ps. 94.18_22 / jer. 17.7_14 / 1 pet. 1.6_7 / 2 cor. 4.7_11 / is. 57.18_19 / ps. 77.16,19_20 / job 11.13_19 / ps. 37 nlt / ps. 55.22

slipping by | pt. 2

dear february —

xii. i was lost in my worshipping. when she wrapped her arm around me and held me in tight embrace it was a rather pleasant surprise. she rested her head on my shoulder and remained for several minutes. all the while she didn’t utter a word — just stretched the sweetest smile across her face. warmth glowed from her eyes. i felt cared for and loved for who i was. i don’t even remember receiving a hug like the one during that moment. there have been passing ones, yes, but far has there been one with that tender feeling.

xiv. thank you for second sisters who point the way, who empathize, who care, who affirm, and who drop a “hello” at just the right moment. the amount of love i have for her is overwhelming. ahhhh. iron sharpens iron and this girl is such a blessing.

xiv. precious moments include waking up and watching the sun rise. treasured moments include doing something for the first time and totally bossing it. memorable moments include, after succeeding, people surrounding praising you but most of all your dear father enveloping you in a papa bear hug and saying “well done.” treasured moments include your teacher telling you did a perfect job. oh, to feel loved. oh, to feel affirmed. it’s moments like these that i enjoy life.

xiv. “i consider you one of our leaders,” stated the voice on the other end of the phone line. wow. this person of authority saying such a statement about me? this blew me away. thank you for surprise guides who spur me on to reassure me in what i’ve been doing and to keep living out.

xiv. hallelujah for confirmations and blending in with a bunch of nerdy thirty-year olds. what a road paver.

Continue reading