Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm still waiting patiently...

Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don't know how much more I can take

I missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh but I want to
How I do

Slowly counting down the days
Till I finally know your name
Ooo the way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh
The way your kisses taste

I missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh but I want to
How I do, How I do

I've missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh I missed you
I haven't met you
Oh but I want to
Oh how I want to

Dear whoever you might be
I'm still waiting patiently.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Picking up Pieces

I’m a big picture person.

Its not that I don’t appreciate the finer points…. I love carefully crafting icing petals on sunflower cupcakes and neatly organizing tiles to create a vibrant table mosaic. I love the little touches that take something from average to extraordinary… but I NEED a global view. I need to look at the whole picture from 10,000 ft. up and understand why. I need to know how it fits and what it affects and why it matters. I want to know the goal, the destination, the purpose, the vision…

It’s very difficult for me to walk forward without a blueprint. I know that God has a mysterious wonderful plan for my life … but I don’t see it. I can’t touch it, or taste it… or find it. I don’t know what it is or where I’m going. I don’t know what my future holds or what my purpose is.

Without a big picture to hold everything neatly together, things in my life feel Disconnected. Like Partial Floating Fragments of something… All I have are seemingly random experiences. Flashes. Like fireworks that quickly dissolve into a plume of smoke in the dark night sky. Just Traces of something. Memories. Events in the Past.

And it always brings me back to the question… where I am going?

I long for connectivity. For all these glimpses and dabblings to find unity and intentionality. To be nicely knitted together into an intricate and vibrant tapestry. To have more than just a handful of colorful loose threads slipping through my fingers. They might be beautiful threads… but what good are they? What use are they? I want to know the end product.

And my frustration grows. I cannot see the outside of the puzzle box to know what I’m working towards. I don’t know if these threads, these experiences will ever amount to anything. Will they become a quilt.  Will they have a purpose. Or are they just what they are. Pieces without a puzzle. Fragments of fabric. Ever Unfinished.

Even without any point of reference, I continue trudging onward. Picking up pieces, and threads and trying to find places for them. Trying to tie them together or sew them messily into something. Trying to guess what the end might be. I trudge on… picking them up, yearning for an image to appear. Trying to find meaning in them. Hoping for an end product of substance.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Million Miles... and here

Malawi was a million miles away (actually…10,170 miles). It was a place that I never imagined setting foot. A land on the other side of the world, on the other side of the equator. A distant culture. A different language. An unknown people. But now it’s here. It’s closer than next door. It’s hanging in my closet. It’s stuck to the soles of my shoes (and probably still between my toes). It’s ringing in my ears. It’s under every conversation I have. It’s in my memories and it’s in my heart- Forever. Permanently.

At first glace, Malawi was what I expected. Simple. Communal. Rural.

It was dusty- with a dry, red dust that swirled around you, coated your lungs and stuck to every inch of exposed skin. It was quiet- not an eery hush, but the sense of a slower pace of life lingered in the warm air. There was a contentedness and peacefulness. It was desolate and impoverished. Bumpy dirt roads. Thatched roofs. Goats meandering. People sitting in the noonday sun. Children with tattered clothes hanging on distended bellies. Women carrying water from the single village well.

It was the picture I had painted in my mind… except that it wasn’t.

I thought I would be shocked.

I thought Malawi would rock my core and cause me restless nights on tear drenched pillows.

I thought I would feel uncomfortable and forced to confront a radically different understanding of the world.

I thought I would be perpetually fatigued from heartbreak.

But I wasn’t, not entirely.

Because Malawi was more than I expected.

There was life. Real VIBRANT Life. It wasn’t a shell of existence. Or bleak hopelessness. It wasn’t a cracked and barren wasteland. No- there was LIFE. Color erupted from every chitenje and plastic water bucket. Laughter burst forth from the children playing with makeshift balls. Joy and hardship mingled in aged hands and weathered eyes. Vitality erupted from a different part of their soul through song. There was community. Rich. Deep. Community.

I didn’t expect to find so much life in Malawi. I didn’t expect to find such kindness and warmth in their smiles and handshakes. I didn’t expect to feel such love from people with so little. But there it was.  I was reminded that blessings don't only come in the form of development.  That sometimes, less actually can be more.  That family and community is supposed to be treasured.  That God's people are everywhere. That Love is a universal language.  Malawi was beautiful life.

It looked me in the eyes. It resounded in my ears. It held my hand.
And now… it cradles my heart.


Monday, July 25, 2011

When prayer works...

[pre-Malawi:  June 16, 2011]

As I was driving to work the other day I was struck by the realization that my relationship with God has slowly been drifting towards stagnant territory.  There hasn't been any massive chasms in faith or great barriers to intimacy... its just been the subtle, slow busyness of the world skootching my time with God off the schedule.  I couldn't remember the last time that I had enjoyed a day filled with small conversations with my creator- praises, concerns, supplications and confessions.  And so as I drove, I turned off the radio and quieted my heart and sat in His peace.  (why do I so easily forget how good this is?!)

I have been overwhelmed lately.  Stress and Anxiety has been draining me like a swarm of hungry mosquitos.  Turning my joy to frustration.  Causing me to bark at my friends instead of speak with love.  Pulling me out of community and into an emo-esk state of self-dispair.  There is such a clear parallel between my walk and my mood. 

On top of life's normal encroachment, I have felt under fire the last couple days. The proximity to our trip, the amount of work still to be done, the simultaneous barrage of past wounds rearing their heads could not be coincidence.  This was an attack.  And at just the moment when I thought I was going to crack... when I couldn't take the strain of the burdens being heaped upon my shoulders... when I knew, just KNEW, that everything was going to fall apart and there was nothing I could do... i remembered that it was Prayer and Worship night at Flood. 

I had signed up to be on the pre-event prayer team and upon arrival Linsey asked me to lead the group.  How was I supposed to help create a space for people to shed the day and experience God when I was up to my eyeballs in life's muck?!  But I had no where else to go... so I stepped into that space.  Out of obedience I took one step at a time towards righting my heart and surrendering my cares.  I invited the team to first pray for our prayer team before we presumed to pray over the multipurpose room.  And moment by moment layers began to fall from me.  I journaled His trusts and felt the stress begin to melt.  Anxiety turn into submission. And His peaceful presence envelop me again.

Today, I got up with a smile and praised Him. (even though i wanted to stay snuggled in my warm cozy bed). I signed on to my computer at work to find emails working out the problems that had felt sufficating yesterday.  I recieved a call from the automotive center saying my car was not only fixed- but the cost was cheaper than orignally quoted! 

If I don't pray, how can God answer my prayers?  If I don't turn to Him, how can he comfort me?
Today I rejoice!  My mood is restored.  My joy secure.  If God is for us... who can be against us!?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

move me...

"Forgive us for the ways in which we are 
too settled,
at ease in false places"

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Storms Will Come

The storms will come.

Its not a matter of If…
                             Or Might….
                                 Or Maybe……
No, the storms will come.

The waters will rage
The winds will batter
The rain will pound
The earth will shake

And it doesn’t matter
if you thought you were impervious;
if you believed you were strong;
if you convinced yourself that all your days would be tranquil and calm

The storms will still come.

But why do some people have to endure
        ferocious hurricanes
              and torrential tsunamis
                    and life shattering quakes
while I “suffer” mild ripples of inconvenience.

Why do some people experience
         frost bitten nights
               unending hunger pains
                    and dreary, dismal futures
while I complain of too many opportunities

Why do your storms painfully ravage
While mine lightly d

Yes, the storms will come
     And Yes, on this Rock I will stand firm
           And Yes, He can shelter and secure you too…
But that doesn’t mean that the tempest is fair
It does not rage the same everywhere.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glimpses of Beauty

I recently attended a women's event at my church focusing on finding the beauty in hard, foreign, strange places.  We connected over sharing areas in our lives that were difficult, desperately trying to search for the beauty hidden in them.  As part of the event we did a stream of conscious/free-write list of things that give us life in the midst of challenging circumstances...things that keep us from giving up... that give us a glimpse of God's grace and goodness when it seems near impossible to find a silver lining. 

Here were mine-(written within the 3 (or so) min time limit)

sunlight sparkling on the ocean
the soft band of peach across the horizon before the sun dips out of sight
fields dotted with golden pools of water at sunset
the coolness of grass on my bare feet on a warm day
the warmth of a good hard hug
the intoxicating smell of perfectly ripe tangerines
thin whipsy clouds in the stratosphere with thick billowy cumulous clouds in the forefront
the linger of dark chocolate on my tongue
the crash of waves against the cliffs....
               (there is something beautiful and soulfully soothing in the violence and turbulence of the water)
worn pieces of sea glass
a perfect cappuccino
the hide and seek of sunlight and shadow against mountains and canyons
sea gulls floating on the breeze
the sight of worn and weathered hands
Truth in unexpected places
candles and Nora Jones
sharing a full-bodied glass of wine on with good friends

Undoubtedly there are countless more things... but these are at the top of my list.  On a hard day, drinking a cappuccino while staring out across the ocean allows me to breathe a little easier.  It gives me perspective.  It gives me Hope.  It reminds me that God is Love, and Good, and Creative, and Amazing...  It makes me stop- even if only for a moment- and remember that I am surrounded by blessings and grandeur.  In the midst of my tumult there is rest for my soul.  These things keep me alive when I am fading and give me strength to face another day.  He has surrounded me with glimpses of beauty when I feel lost in darkness.