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. 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]

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

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. 12

dear december —

ii. cling on to hope — you will come out of this stronger. you are okay. it will all be okay.

ii. smile fries and “burning the house down”… thank you for joyous moments. and thank you for covering us with Your hand.

ii. grieving over what is no longer there… nos and whys and sighs. yet i must rise, pick myself up. mend the bruises and clean the wounds. it scars deep. sending a big hug your way, she says. in my weakest moments, light still flickers and dances in the wind.

iii. from northern lights… saw northern lights in me and in you tooever felt just compelled to do something? yup, that’s what this was. a child of my soul. smears of beauty emerging from deep within.

iv. cp prayer… may the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day / by His love and power controlling all i do and say

iv. Bonnie… God bless you. you are my angel; despite it all, you were sunshine and light. light shines bright on darkest nights. 

iv. looming clouds… i look heavenwards and gaze at the supermoon with its looming clouds and they usher in strained cries of “i feel like i’m dying.” oh baby. thoughts fill my mind, fear ushers himself in. life is but a vapor…

v. oh my flipping goodness, heart bursts, and peals of sheer laughter… i have the best sister and the best friends. uncontainable is my love. 

v. my patience is spent and my mood is in the trenches. can you not grow up?

vi. sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom, sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom, by waters still, o’er troubled sea. still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

vii. worth more than sparrows. over and over again. His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches over me.

iix. fish congee makes my heart warm.

ix. chaos just erupted over the pregnant white sky finally giving birth. and it’s beautiful. so, so beautiful.

xi-ix. the Lord is my shepherd, i shall not want.

x. worry is trying to deal with tomorrow’s problems while standing on today’s pasture. little sunshines and lead me to the cross. rid me of myself, i belong to You.

x. everything came together… but most importantly, love. love God, and love others. spreading holiday cheer.

x. do what you’ve been doing… you always brighten my day. as do you, my dear.

xi. prayers and praises lifted up… choosing to lift our eyes to the One who lifts our weary souls. it is well with my soul … and i will build my life! how firm a foundation… 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.

xii. i c-u and you see me… excitement flurries and brussell sprout arrangements.

xii. 8.39 and camp memories… she came in playing asad and sweet recollections came over me. and then oh God

xvi. alphabet chains and random text exchanges that bring fun and belly laughter

xvii. the way to your heart… surprises from behind and clawing your back, calling you nicknames. you swooned and my heart grew warm. i love how happy making someone else happy makes me feel.

xvii. waking up to gracefully broken and walking in to do it again.

xix. a slip of the tongue felt like a knife in my heart. wouldn’t it be nice to live out of your own fantasies? my heart soared seeing you again. oh how i’ve missed you. but still, i am faced with reality. maybe it was never meant to be. we will know — in time. 

xix. i am bing bong, wrapped candies shooting out of my eyes. do i laugh or cry?

xxi. wabi sabi… the art of finding beauty in imperfection.

xxii. Prince of peace… the joy of being together trumped above the frustrations of coming together.

xxiii. you’re so strong, girl. those words and the ones that followed… certainly wasn’t me. blessed to stand by you and empower you with words from above.

xxiii. it’s an interesting feeling when you realize all you hold are memories, and what’s there is there no more. when you stand in the same place she stayed for years, except that she’s no longer there to see. so eyes gaze to the glaring tv, and conversations become college, and me, me, me.

xxiv. this is a true story [imagine all caps but i won’t do that]… i died from laughing during dinner. that is all.

xxv-xxvi. leong crazies… in a little cabin in the woods — there’s no hot water, the power went out. his tire is leaking, or is it? kayu and significance of one’s name. back rubs and massages–the way to my heart. frozen toes? not. “how many leongs does it take to get dinner?” grateful for the uniqueness that makes me cherish + embrace being part of this family.

xxvii. my mind is a puzzle and pieces i didn’t know were missing are coming together. what it is now is messy. unreal. yet i am reminded — en — “grace.” all by His grace. truly, only by His mercy and grace.

xxviii. waking up to even if. wanting to go back to another time, where anxiety did not fill my daily breath, where thoughts did not haunt or scream.

xxix. she asked me to give you a hug. oh oh oh… thank you for you. looking up and meeting your eyes — though my eyes were searching, yours met mine with encouragement and love. it’s okay, you’re okay–it will be okay. ❤ 

xxx. there are northern lights in you… words. what a gift. ahhh i write for myself as much as i write for sharing with others. there are northern lights in me too. will i, do i choose to see it?

xxxi. it wasn’t me… but God! you are my angel. you are a doll. thank you for being a radiant face of the Lord for all to see.

xxxi. your last day has drawn near. goodbyes are hard but you’ve been swell. hopefully this is a so long. one last high-five, one last claw-digging back scratch, one last… at least for now.

xxxi. you are faithful, faithful to the end… my heart swells as they tell their story. Your story. oh what a joy to see their faith and Your faithfulness.

eph. 3.20_21, rom. 15.5, rom. 5.3_5, ps. 62. 5_8, ps. 71.14, prov. 10.25, is. 58.11, rom. 8.11, matt. 10.29_31, 2 peter 1.3_4, ps. 138.3, ps. 46.1_3, job 37.5_7, ps. 24.7_10, is. 43.2_3, hab. 1.5, is. 41.18_20, jer. 31.25, 1 chr. 16.11

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. 7

dear july —

ii. we talked about our feelings about the upcoming week. and he leaned over and said — hey, it’s gonna get better. and sitting side by side, my heart felt light. and for a second, i was sure that indeed it would… get better.

ii. names were called and a bullet went through my chest – sinking deeper and deeper, causing the already scarred walls of my soul to bleed all the more.

iii. you showed me how to risk being vulnerable and to open myself up to others. now, she is a safe sister i can vent to and one whose words are so quotable i write them up for keeps.

iv. i’ll be brutally honest and say sometimes my heart spills over with fury. but somewhere, in that wee little corner so far and yet distinct whispers that tugging command… to love.

Continue reading

slipping by | pt. 6

dear june —

x. belly laughing until you’re gasping for air — the best kind of nights.

xii. i love you… the best three words given and received.

xi. he asked me if i was generally happy with my drawing, to which i nodded. he asked, “how about in life?” to which i was taken by surprise. thankful for little reminders to always stay positive.

xiv. my world was rocked upside down. i felt shattered. alone. broken. i could scream forever and still not be okay.

xiv – …. thanks for being there. for being “a ray of hope in my heavy and dark world”. for “paving the path to my recovery.” for listening. i still go back and read your words when i feel like i can barely hold on.

xvi. thanks for your gentle presence. for not saying anything superficial to fix things, but always being there to listen.

xix. thank you for my twinnie. she is in tune with the Spirit and on fire with You. she constantly and consistently points others to Christ. she listens, and when she speaks, it is Christ through her. thank you for her love and her courage to speak the Truth even when i didn’t want or know it.

xx. my stomach wrenched. i wasn’t sure how i would survive that day but i did. standing there, my toes wiggling in the sand … i wished it all away. i wanted to drown, to die in the waves. the sea – it called me home. but somehow, someway, that call was not answered that day.

xxiii. thank you for sisters who drop everything to make it all better. who can tell when something is wrong before i even have to say it. thanks hon for spurring me on, for lifting my head, for telling me that everything may not be okay, but it will be okay someday. you are so strong. you and me – we will keep plowing ahead. one step after the other.


and when the night is closing in, don’t give up and don’t give in. this won’t last, it’s not the end. you’re gonna be okay. 

ps. 28.7 / 2 thess. 3.13 / ps. 105.4 / is. 26.9

slipping by | pt. 4

dear april —

iii-vi. you’ve shown how sometimes the highest of highs foreshadows times of brokenness and weakness. moments that cloud my head with pain, that heave my chest with despair. you’ve shown how every death leads towards a resurrection. you gave me just enough strength to endure.

vii. thank you for wonderful conversations in the middle of the unknown. your marvelous hand was over it all, and it’s so beautiful to see. sometimes we just have to look back to see everything lead up to direction. it is in the things of the past that shape us and lead us into everything good and perfect of what’s ahead. and i think that this day might make it into the books of the glorious life ahead. because it sure was an amazing one. dare to dream. dare to pray. dare to believe. ❤

xiii. it’s a weird feeling when you find out someone admires you, not in an inspirational sense, but an infatuated love sense. and it’s a weirder feeling when you don’t feel the same way. but you know, sometimes it takes a gap of separation to see how hindering a person can be, and how some people are just never meant to stay. no matter how strong the infatuation.

xv. thank you for beautiful souls like this one. whose words, saturated with such love, make me cry to no end. whose words are a testament of his faithfulness. so beyond blessed to see his goodness at work.

xvi. the early morning dew, the colored streaks painted across the sky, the birds singing their song, the glimmering peaks of gold shimmering through the flowering trees. every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.

xix. i went from loneliness to pride. awkwardness to enjoyment. it felt so good to talk. to ask questions in a lighthearted manner. and to be open and honest with each other. he’s the best i could ask for.

xx. thank you for heroes of courage, of bravery, and of faith. standing in her home of long ago filled me with a surge of power — that i too could do anything i put my mind to. lakeside views and four hour road-trips… remembering all the stories, all the advice, all the wisdom. i will forever hold this weekend with you in my heart.

xxvi. he met me in my anger. he shouldered my lows with his grace. he replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. he put a new song in my mouth… i won’t be overwhelmed…

xxix. ahhh i consider myself humbled to know such a precious and priceless gem. she is so much more precious to me than i can ever express. her faith inspires me. her joy excites me. her words encourage me. my love for her runs deep, and i miss her ❤

xxx. love poured out this month. it ran deep, and i am blessed. from all the how-are-yous, hand waves, sweet texts from new acquaintances, as well as chats from close ones. they have made me smile, laugh, cry, in all of the bestest ways. and in some of my lowest days, they all remind me to keep my eyes up. this is what love looks like

God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!” ez. 37.5_6

heb. 6.10 / matt. 21.22 / eph. 5.14 / matt. 10.31 / heb. 12.12 / ps. 34.7 / is. 55.2_3 / john 6.27 / ps. 42.11, ps. 73.28 / jonah 2.2 / ps. 18