bits n’ sweets | no. 1

you take what’s bitter and you turn it sweet, you’re singing melodies over me
so i will worship you at your feet cause you are so so good to me
– (spontaneous) – 2.8.20

changing my posts a bit to be less sentimental and more contemplative/reflective on things that have been on my mind and heart. where time to write has been more like a “limited edition” gift these days, i’ll hold the times i do get as sacred devotion. the Lord is good and He is faithful. He takes what’s bitter and turns it sweet. and i do believe that He will sometimes even use this process of recording and writing to bring about that sweet, like a sweet balm that seals the soul.

on heading into a new year – uncertainty and unknown bring us to a place of fear and doubt. when your present looms daunting and you’d rather go back to the past, the Lord tells His people, fear not; stand firm. why do you cry to me? go forward. [exodus 14:13-20]

on walking and rising – i believe; help my unbelief. but Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. he lifts us up and we are held in his hands. because of him, we can rise from “i think he’s dead” (v. 26) to walking in hope and life.

on the love of the Father – he loves and has loved me. his love lasts forever. he chooses to be faithful to me forever. it’s a kind of love that seeks to build me and rebuild me time and time again. it’s not a love that aims to “build me up” with fluffy words or half-hearted actions. it’s a whole heart, “i died for you” kind of love. it’s a love that surpasses all knowledge – too wide and long and high and deep to fathom.

on breaking free – Jesus breaks free from tradition to break broken people free [mark 7]

on loving when it hurts – if i don’t have space to love that one, what does that say of my love and understanding of the One who had all the space in the world to love and live for?

on the secret to ministry – “the secret to ministry are bent knees, wet eyes, and a broken heart.” [antioch christian fellowship]

on being truly seen – El Roi | “i have now seen the One who sees me. have i truly seen the One who sees me?”  may i truly see, know, and love the one who truly sees, knows, and loves me. [genesis 16:13]

on resonance – in order for something to resonate, it needs a force to pull it back to its starting position and enough energy to keep it vibrating [the things you take away in physics class]

on staying close to Him – “the closer you live to Me, the safer you are. stay close to me.” [Jesus Calling]| stay close to me and shelter me.

on nearing burnout – “we often get so busy doing things for God that we forget to sharpen our axe and we grow dull.” [p. bryan]

on being content where i am –  “you would not grow how you needed if {things were different}.”

on doing ministry – may i never forget the difference of manufacturing and distributing his divine resources for kingdom and for his glory. [p. kirt]

on tuning my stale heart back to His – china facetimes, time in the city, and spontaneous reunions.

on being filled with joy anew – oh make me more like Jesus

on feeling lonely and rejected – imposter syndrome hits and swearing and cursing bring blows upon my ears that i can barely withstand. sometimes the healing comes through crying and singing to the wind.

on recalling His  goodness – 1.23 brings one year. as i sat to write that day, the spirit of heaviness lifted and the spirit of life came upon me once again. the same spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and me. [romans 8:11]

on starts and stops – grateful to God for ordering my starts and stops, even for little things like missing and catching trains.

on reaching burnout and reaching for His love again – “we are beings first, over doers.” [s.s.]
your love will not run empty, your love’s a well that will never run dry. you love will not run empty. your love grows sweeter and sweeter with time. [i am loved, maverick city]
let the heroes rest, let the striving cease. [heroes, amanda cook]

on the power of rest – “don’t work for rest, work from rest. from His delight, not for His pleasure. one of the enemy’s greatest traps is if he can’t keep our hearts burning for God, he’ll try to use ministry to burn us out. burnout happens when our doing exceeds our being.” [the power of rest, jonathan david hesler]

on steph curry and the triumphant entry – would you, oh Lord, encounter your people. those watching and waiting, searching and gazing, and walking by.

on finding Him through finding me – “Jesus’ understanding of His vocation came out of wrestling with himself, God, and the devil in the solitude of the wilderness.” [the gift of being yourself, david benner] the wrestling is hard, but necessary and needed.

on learning to fly – dumbo was created to fly. his burden, and also his gift, were his ears. sometimes, like dumbo, we lose sight of the peanut/feather/key and we don’t let ourselves fly – though we very well are able. we get bogged down, disheartened, unappreciated, incapable. it’s time to shake off the things that hold you down. i have set you free from the things that held you. i have given you wings, i have set you free – so come to me and fly, fly, fly [fly, jason upton]

on flying like eagles – God as the eagle – “he found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, cared for him, and kept him. like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him” [deut. 32:10–12] “you yourselves have seen what I did…how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” [ex. 19:4]. stirring up the nest – “…when parents do return they may thrash about removing the comforts lining the nest. bewildered, frustrated, and confused the eaglet moves, branches out of the nest, and begins to test out her wings out of desperation. frustration, hunger, and discomfort are her parents’ intention. the parents wisely know that without this disruptive environment their young will not grow, learn, and develop the essential skills for survival.” [the gospel coalition] us as the eagle – “but the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent (enemy).” [rev. 12:14] eagles wings – wings are spread straight out – they are big, and they are heavy. their survival mechanism is learning to fly without needing to flap them in order to conserve energy. eagles can die if they spend too much energy flapping during flight. they learn to rely on wind thermals (holy spirit) to come up on them to soar and give them the rushing wind of energy to fly. not by might, not by power, but by My spirit. [zech. 4:6]

on running – why are you running when i have promised you rest? 

on restoring – a house inflamed and the same house untouched. and then it is lifted into the air, like the “Up” house lift. he restores anew. the fires, though they consume, they do not burn. His spirit alone lifts me and gives me life and strength.

on missing people – in the midst of the loneliness, you amazed me with small world connections joined together only by you.

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. 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. 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. 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