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.


at times you feel like a ship at sea
when the waves a crash and feelings and emotions become uncharted waters
too wavering

may you be reminded of the Master of your seas
who sees it all, feels it all, and knows your greatest pleas

when you are in over your head
that’s when He grips your hands
and when things creep up like wildfire in the night
remember there is wonder in the wild in the middle of the fight

may you remember that this too will pass —
that even here this place is and will be your blooming space

in the wild of all that screams and follows, let yourself be still
rise in confidence, for the One who holds you still, dear, and tight
will also give you the strength to rise


still i rise | no. 7

dear july —

i. who am i?… why does it seem my work is so tied to who i am? yes, my work ethic draws characteristics, but who am i and what am i at my core? what makes me…me?

ii. just allow yourself to be… just being you, whatever that looks like. learn to separate yourself from the things that you do so that you can thoroughly know, understand, and believe that you are enough without any of the extra stuff that you do. if God loves you before you were even born, before you had the capability of doing anything, He loves you the same even as you have the capability of doing everything.

iii. we aren’t very good at resting… what does it mean to be at rest in this restless spirit and world of mine? what does rest even mean? doing nothing leads to laziness, filling my mind with busy thoughts leads to an ill spirit. do i just sit in solemn silence? 

v. they flaunted me as a mom too… and yes my flesh does feel proud, but inside, i cringe. what happened to team? 

v. royalty… we are royalty, yet i don’t feel like royalty. am i royalty? then that still but present whisper reminds me, i’m not entitled to feel or be treated like royalty. i simply am.

vii. it hurts it hurts it hurts… they ask if i’m okay and i say yes but how can i, when my insides are stabbing searing pain and all i can do is curl into a ball and squeeze my eyes shut. but even when it hurts like hell, i’ll praise You. 

x. sanctification at work… in progress of healing, yet looks and feels better. so maybe we need to push through. the breaking of us can truly be the building of us. He makes us new…

xi. turn your worry into worship, pain into praise… through it all my eyes are on you, there’s nothing i hold onto, i want more of you, God. i believe you’re my healer, i believe you are all i need.

xii. feeling like Job and juggling hope and despair… i am sorry to see your face twisted in anguish, fighting the pain, crying with questions. but it amazes me how even so, you choose to praise. when hope seems far, you choose to speak His name in faith. your praise will ever be on my lips.

xvi. it does not suffice… i got a bomb in my inbox and my shields go up. questions fly and i become disengaged, no longer even pursuing or hoping or believing. if He made a way when there was no way, will He really do it again?

xvi. are you attending college or not?… your words always have a way of stabbing a knife into one’s back and that’s exactly what i feel right now. stabbed, and pinned to the wall. hope you have not given up. 

xvii. You will stay true, even in the chaos… Your word remains truth even when my mind wreaks havoc…

xviii. meeting up… i trust and i pray that we were divinely orchestrated to spend the next year together.

xviii. sunflowers… we brought you sunflowers and honestly, they made my day. i can’t imagine all the questions or thoughts you had to wrestle within yourself to say yes to what today entailed. but you are brave and you hold a lot inside.

xix. learning to trust in the mist of unexpected uncertainty. peace, bring it all to peace. 

xix. how are things?… melting into hugs, coveting prayer, letting off the load in His presence. i rush out of the room… she sees my tears. it will be okay. i’m here for you. 

xx. knowing Papa’s love in a whole new way. i am so thirsty, so desiring, so yearning, so quenching for love. when all you see is pain, you lose sight of Me… yes, the garden is a mess. it’s wild and wonderful and perfectly in process. this mess is you. 

xx. i always marvel at His timing. like that night he talked of Sean, this night seemed so divinely timed as well. and maybe so well timed because i haven’t yet gotten over it yet. you’re not stuck because you can’t, you’re stuck because you won’t. have i? will i? please give me strength because i know this is all from You and i can’t do this alone. you don’t have to do this alone. I’m here with you… 

xxii. utterly low and utterly broken… oh God, meet me in this place that i’m in.

xxii. faith is not by sight, you said… why am i wavering like the wind? why am i losing sight of the promise of Your faithfulness? when all i see right now is looming clouds, where is the Light? thank you for speaking truth to me. for hand-in-hand prayers. for being a tall pillar of faith when i am weak. ❤

xxii. will you say yes to God or turn from His call? i felt a tug, and obeyed. would you like me to pray for you? Charise, she said. and then her hands in my hands, i prayed. God blesses our yes.

xxiii. if the wind goes where You send it so will i, if the rocks cry out in silence so will i, if creation still obeys You so will i…

xxiv. do not be afraid, do not be discouraged… you are looking at uncertainties, letting them unnerve you. fear and discouragement are waiting alongside your pathway into the future — ready to accompany you if you let them. grateful. and i woke up to thy will be done and you texted me the same. ❤

xxiv. they’re blowing up outside and i’m blowing up inside… steady my heart. 

xxv. 365… i’m grateful for so much. i’m grateful, ultimately, for how the Lord brought us together. i’m grateful for shared loves and shared passions – for our Savior, worshipping Him, and crafting words into art that express and heal the soul. grateful for trust, heart to hearts, accountability, and soul sisterhood. for the times our hearts resonate and are bound by the Spirit. for times of prayer, reading Scripture together, being in agreement with Him. you encourage me, inspire me, and sharpen me in so many ways. we rise and fall and learn and grow together and it’s so worth it. i love your squishie Care Bear cuteness for you. your beauty, your artistry, your strength. and the way we can laugh, cheshire grin, and fall off floors together brings such joy. thank you for stand by you and the broken beautiful and listening to them together. for always being there to listen, and trusting me enough to share your open and honest heart. thank you for grace, for seeking joy, for planting seeds, for being light. you are my honey bun, and you drizzle my days with sweet honey each and every day, you are the kaya to my toast, my bugaboo, and my little monster. and i love you mucho than muches and moster than mostest, babes. ❤

xxvii. in the crushing, in the pressing, You are making new wine… the worship screamed surrender and trust and the weight of the world came off as tears streamed. she spoke of return to surrender and it was then i said, okay God – your will be done, i will return the glory to You – whatever happens. and in the beauty of it all, despite shaky reception that whole weekend, one bar wavered to two. texts popped up, emails came in. all was well, the situation had passed through. worship came on again, this time screaming You are worthy and i’ve seen You move, You move the mountains and my heart and my lungs screamed out with abandon along with the thousands of others shouting His name. God you’re so good, you’re so good to me.

xxviii. being donned the mom… plus times with my wifey and pouring salt on my fam. sharing roses and thorns and belly laughing just because. and triumphing in my first battle of laser tag. though the day was full of hard conversations, needed reminders, and wretched tears, at the end of the night it felt good because this is the body.

xxix. sunrises and morning worship… and crazy dance parties on the bus. where there is new wine, there is new power. 

xxx. incredibles ii… spontaneously. my family is incredible. ❤

xxxi. encouragement spoken to another yet needed as much for me… courage and being brave don’t mean there will be no fear or no longing for something else or somewhere else but it means pushing through boldly making His strength your strength each step of the way

i know you’re good but this don’t feel good right now and i know you think of things I could never think about it’s hard to count it all joy, distracted by the noise just trying to make sense of all your promises. sometimes i gotta stop, remember that you’re God and i am not so thy will be done [thy will be done]

make me a vessel, make me an offering, make me whatever you want me to be. i came here with nothing, but all you have given me, Jesus bring new wine out of me. [new wine]

sincerely, me.

dear, me —

time is a precious thing and the people in your life maybe more so.

remember that rainy day under the shelter of that train stop? when she whispered grace and assurance, strength and encouragement? do you remember that day? and music. there was music that day, and days and weeks to follow. it was security. it was your breathing space, it was your happy place.

then there was that other day, or days for that matter, when your heart got snatched and stomped on and all you wanted to do was run away and scream, just you and no one else but the blackness of the night sky surrounding you. do you remember?

how about that night sitting in the car, just you and mommy, lights-out, realizing how deep and ugly and wretched your humanity is but how lavishing and beautiful and swooping His love is?

remember that day when you were in such despair that you wanted to drown in the ocean, washing away all the ugliness inside of you?

there was a week, i think you can recall… that was just so hard. you felt alone yet you weren’t alone. and the people there, or rather the presence of a person there gave you such an awful pit kind of feeling. when you thought things just couldn’t get any harder. and they did. and she said you had been looking miserable all week.

but remember? it was that same week when courageous and heart-pulling conversations took place. when the tightly closed flower began to open up its bud and the people who saw it embraced you with open arms. it was that week when gushing vents and pouring of heartaches at 2am brought you to tears and you fell into the love of your sweet momma. you valued the people you did have and treasured their presence – whether they are still with you now or not. but they were there.

oh yes, there were and have been plenty nights with you lying in bed stuffing blankets in your mouth, stifling cries. cries of desperation, of hurt, of pain.

but think of the mornings when you awoke singing His name. when you felt refreshed in His very being, His very nature, His very everything. 

there was that day, when you were being wild and rebellious and immature. that’s really all i know but i remember the day well because it was the first time you saw your daddy cry. remember that day? he cried. he cried because he loves. he loves you.

and then fast forward to a night, one of more recent nature. it wasn’t because you were being wild and rebellious and immature anymore. it was because you were growing up. growing up and entering a new season, taking a new path. remember that night? he cried. he cried because he loves. he loves you.

remember being crippled with fear in that faraway land? you didn’t know it was fear at first. you just knew you were overwhelmed. you felt sized up and brought down. you didn’t feel enough. you felt inadequate. your lack of control gnawed at your desire for control. and a sorry triggered it all. in the wrongest way possible. you had a conversation about next steps that you hated. you wished it all away, you questioned all the whys. and then when you said thank you, you were knocked down. knocked down not by words, but with silence. you felt distant and oh so weak. remember?

remember looking up and seeing the circle of friends praying for you? or sitting in a corner on the coach reading words from the far-but-close — He is your strength when you are weak? remember the hugs and the care and the tear-wipes?

how about that night when he spoke of Sean? of course you remember it. the memory is strong. by chance you opened your phone and the glass vases and bottles you had cautiously drunk from that held your heart together all came crashing together. remember showing it to him? and there he sat, tears in his eyes — i’m sorry, man. 

but you pulled through. you began thinking in colors and shapes and nature, putting feelings into words and words into feelings. you seized the light. don’t you let it go, okay?

and i can go on. if anything though, i hope this has helped you remember how far you’ve come. you are still here. by grace, you are still here.

and each of the memories — hold them tight. day by day they will pass, slipping by. but hold them tight, please, hold them tight.

always remember that this too will pass. keep pressing on, pushing through. you remember always keep singing, don’t you? time passes and people pass too. here in a season, gone like the wind in the next. hold onto your hope. the triumph will unfold.

promise me you’ll never lose your wonder. open your eyes to opportunities, take leaps and bounds of faith. don’t let fear shroud hopes and dreams and passionate pursuits.

but when the days drag on and the nights close in, close your eyes and breathe in. you will be okay. grace carried you here and grace will carry you through. and by grace you will grow here too.

— sincerely, me.

(welp graduation is right around the corner so here’s me being sentimental and feely about the past and the future)

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.

11:23 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

still i rise | no. 2

dear february —

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

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

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

ii. come here. *snarky grin*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

overcoming, overcome, overcame

her heart stirred violently inside of her chest
her weary hands, trying to push it all down,
all the while choosing to breath in with hope and exhale with grace.

she didn’t settle, no she reached for more —
more than just existing, more than just breathing.
she was made of cells and atoms and matter so she knew she had to matter… somehow.

finally, with each labored breath
her shaking slowed and came to a cease.
now she walked step by step,
allowing her hand to be pulled by the King’s,
making His strength her strength and living with peace.

minute by minute, moment by moment,
the battle in her soul –
that was His battle now.

and then heaven met earth with an unforeseen kiss.
she felt a push and a pull –
it was the love of the King.

she thought to herself that battle that rages, oh the battle inside –
that battle within her, it’s already been won.
for the One that is in her is far greater in power
than the monsters and demons that tease to devour.

so she takes courage in the waiting.
she knows dark comes before dawn,
and the pain she feels is a catapult to an ever greater, ever bolder
chasing of peace
though night surrounds her, the light still shines on darkest nights.

the battle that rages?
the battle is her victory.

she’s an overcomer. 

yes she is, yes she is, yes she is.
it’s what’s painted across, etched into, and engraved on her soul.

i’m an overcomer. i’m an overcomer. i’m an overcomer…
i’m overcoming. i’ve overcome. i’ve overcame. 

peace, bring it all to peace, the storms surrounding me. let them break at Your name.

(anxiety attacks are hard and painful and awful but hey, i’m an overcomer and this poem just sort of came from that high tide/low tide and i just sort of had to get it out, you know?)

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. 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.

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