still i rise | no. 9

dear september —

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

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

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

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

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

iv. thank you for the grateful and blessed. ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxiii. church visit and i see you ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

[defender]

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]

still i rise | no. 5

dear may —

i. decision day… glorious weather, beautiful blooms, unexplainable peace, bubbling excitement. phone calls with mrs. h in the thrill of the outdoors, imexcitedimexcitedimexcited imexcitedforyouimexcitedforyou

i. i’m sorry you don’t see the beauty in the night. i’m sorry for the darkness that seems to separate us, sending us in our little corners. i don’t like it either.

ii. surprises in the mail… omg i love you. this made my day. you are so full of God’s love, passionate to live for Him and serve the people around you even when you aren’t sparkling. oh, you put a smile on my face that sparkled wide… but not as much as the one stretched across my heart from your words, your friendship, and the way you sparkle to me. ❤

iii. worship night in america… turn your worry into worship. on the mountains i will bow my life to the one who set me there in the valley i will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there

iv. imagine how free we’d feel if we learned to truly believe that in every situation, trust was the antidote to fear, that consciously trusting God would cause our moments of anxiety to be diminished

iv. sun bathing on the driveway, moments reading with my baby, and helping her super-clean. spontaneous visits and joyful reunions, carside chats and making Lazzy laugh. heart-to-hearts half a world away with aa, exchanging encouragement and prayer, all full of love.

iv. if you could pick a song… i love how our hearts are joined in such harmony.  ❤

vi. it all feels so right right now.

vi. backs turned and secluded kisses… leaving glum feelings in my gut. did you know i saw you? you seem distant since that day.

vii. why did you doubt? He said as He reached his arm. So He will do the same for me… reaching into the now-doubtful crevices after commitments and decisions and saying yes that make me feel weak and insecure and replacing with peace.

vii. good things can’t happen without change… oh how true.

vii. Cheshire grins and kaya dates makes up for this dark before dawn day that it was.

viii. finally done with finals… three essays in one night, boo yea.

ix. i had a feeling that would be the one… thank you for being in communication with the Father on my behalf and being someone i always look forward to giving you updates.

x. i felt so exposed, and so ashamed… but i braved it. i thought for sure no one would pick such an artist like this one. and i was right. my artist… so different. but there was something that took place in exposing and raising corners of secret places that led to satisfying peace. peace. a peace because i said yes to being open and transparent and giving more of myself for a homework assignment, a peace because each and everyday He redeems my story. a peace because i didn’t just give more of myself, i gave myself. i used to think i was the strangest person in the world, but then i thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways i do. i would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too…

x. her kidneys are shutting down and she doesn’t have much longer… till we meet, till we meet, till we meet at Jesus’ feet… God be with you till we meet again. 

x. the greatest showman as i lift into the skies and soar among the clouds. this is the greatest show. 

xi. i will never ride a coach the same again… opening my eyes in wonder in the land of Budapest and sitting in cushioned seats, with air-conditioner blowing my hair rapidly. i cannot help but muse on the last time i entered a new land and sat in a now-familiar coach like this.

xii. sea billows roll and dwelling in the river… sorrows can come like how sea billows roll yet peace like a river comes my way. the same God who made the currents in the waves has the power to still it. reflections on the river danube.

xiii. art art art and architecture, coffeeshops, and confluence of the danube bringing me back to memories from the city of muddy confluence.

xiv. sunning on the deck… just me, music, and the expanse of nature and landmarks and Europe around me. being excited and full of glee over the mention of the city of willendorf.

xv. walking the color painted cobble-lined streets of passau… laughing over our (lack of) german and running up and down and through the halls of the glass museum like a bunch of happy six year olds.

xvi. spontaneous shopping yayayayayay.

xvi. stained glass sights… their breathtaking and majestic sky-towering beauty. there is beauty in the “stained,” the tarnished, the broken.

xviii. mrt station vibes, fisherman’s friend, and you bundled up with only your little eyes peeping through your jacket… oh take me back.

xx. it is well… thank you a million times for doing that. my heart bubbles over. He is good today, and everyday.

xxi. last happy dance, last time in my chapter as a chapter member, last of a season of the chapter crew that i know. will we see you again? i realize so much now how much i love these people. this family. this community. this is my story, this is my song…

xxiv. skyline against the golden sunset… thank you for saying yes, for enjoying the night together, and being old knocked-out ladies slumped over together too. your head with mine, and my head with yours, and all the feels.

xxv. return, return, return… to me. signed, fear not. oh what a sweet blessing you are to me.

xxv. bring me back — bring me back to the place where i felt warm and at rest. bring me back to the people, the people who know and love me the best. bring me back to the time when doubts didn’t evade, when there was not a slight glimpse to question my security, my acceptance, my belonging. comparison snatches away hearts and souls, mind and spirit. it cranes your neck, puts hunger in the eyes of one’s heart. that hunger and drive should crave instead for the only Love that satisfies — the One who says this is my child, whom i love and of whom i am well pleased.

xxvii. you understood, you didn’t ask why… and didn’t bring condemnation either. and you, of all people. thank you.

xxvii. strip me, bruise me, wreck me. i want You, i miss You, i need You… so i will chase You, find You, hold You. even here You chase me, find me, hold me. i am Yours, Yours, Yours and you are Mine, Mine, Mine.

xxvii. oh the treasure of those you love… to hear heaven gained a faithful servant today swashes the grief with joy that you are home. death is real, death is real, death is a real deal yet on this i will hope and on this i will cling — God will be with me till we meet again. 

xxx. another last… but oh, worship was on fire as much as ever tonight. so thankful i get to part of this community. never forget where you started.


grateful for people and places… and places with the people i love.

139.

O God, you know everything about me.

you know when i’m fully engaged and full of whimsy and when I am frustrated, beaten down, and exhausted. you know when I am excited and when i am upset. you know when I am content and when i just feel like throwing myself on my bed and sobbing. you don’t need to read my blog, or my journal, or the last text conversations i had with my best friend, or even the last scripture i highlighted to find out what’s on my mind. you know full well what makes me tick, frustrated, and annoyed even better than i do, because sometimes i don’t even know what to think!

you, Lord, cast the vision. you go before me and know what will come along my way. you go behind me watching my back. you place your hand on me even now, making sure i am okay because you, Father, always want the best for me. let me not, Lord, ever run away. if i were to run away let me run to You– because you, the king of my heart, are the mountain when i run and the shadow where i hide. because really, there’s no such thing as running away. 

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