Grey.

Coffee shop laughter
Evening skies taste cold
We are just merry outcast stones
Reminding you of lonelier souls
And so we left home.

The world turns
Meet under trees
Soon we’ll all leave
Find those lonely souls
Say you’ll remember me
When the day is done.

Left all to come here
The future’s road remains unknown
Meet me under the banyan tree
We’ll laugh at the days to come.

Mercy bearers born
Out of hometown misfits
Midnight escapades formed
Joy for endless journeys.

The world turns
Meet under trees
Soon we’ll all leave
Find those lonely souls
Say you’ll remember me
When the day is done.

Ice in the bones
Clouds overhead
Pray for rain to cool
Burning souls fighting for more.

Coffee shop laughter
Evening skies taste cold
We are just merry outcast stones
Reminding you of lonelier souls
And so we left home.

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On Sisterhood.

Genuine sisterhood is still a new thing for me. Coming to YWAM and the prospect of living with about twenty girls, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, scared the daylights out of me. Despite my fears, though, it has become one of the most beautiful times of my life already.

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Taken during portrait practice. This is Hannah, my lovely Norwegian suite mate.

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Jadon capturing Fernanda, my beautiful bunkmate.

Tonight we were invited to join the amazing Abby Beard and celebrate Thanksgiving by making cookies and laughing a ridiculous amount.

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Tonight with Abby was a clear example of a principle God has been impressing upon my heart a lot lately: most of the discipleship happens in those tiny moments when you make yourself available. It’s a concept I’ve always known in my head, but as I’ve been considering the prospect of leading teams in missions myself on a smaller scale than what we do here at YWAM, it has truly sunk deeper into my heart. This is when the magic happens, over too many cookies and coffee brewed to perfection.

Having grown up with a more conservative background and a love-language of donuts, I found in Abby a spirit I immediately admired. Prior to coming to Youth With A Mission, she never considered being a missionary, but now she epitomizes what it means to be a strong Christian woman on the field. Her life is a testimony of joy, which she brings with her wherever she goes.

And she is just one of the women here, and the one I’ve known for the least amount of time; literally less than five hours. My beloved sister-in-law Isabelle has always been an amazing advocate of sisterhood, and while I would agree with her in all her views, women still scared me. While the amount to have wounded me are few, the knives were deep and consistent. Thus, I’ve been more jaded than I would have ever liked to admit before coming here.

But God is good. He placed me in a suite with twenty girls, where I couldn’t run from my social anxiety or even cover it; for the first time I was forced to truly face it. Perhaps that’s the main theme of my YWAM story; conquering the crippling crutch of emotional seclusion I’ve always leaned on. Even if my separation from my peers was never seen outwardly, in my head it was always them and then me. I was never joined with them. Until now.

In these girls I have witnessed such grace, beauty, love, forgiveness, strength, and passion. They have wiped my tears, called me out, cheered me on, and utterly welcomed me when the entire time I was honestly terrified of them for no other reason than that they’re female and within my age range. Words cannot begin to describe the love and respect I have for the women of Voice for the Voiceless DTS. All my life I mourned not having a sister. Now, I have over twenty.

So, specifically to the girls of K 203 and 204, thank you. I love you.

Until next time.

XOXO

Break My Jaw, Give Me Life

Realizing the girls sipping coffee beside you are suddenly some of your dearest friends as gently as the sun slides into the Pacific’s blanket of blue. Giggling about the boys you secretly (or not so secretly) admire. Dreaming of weddings and shores yet to be kissed by our nation-worn feet. Writing letters. Discovering every flavor of Top Ramen. Waking up at 4:30 AM for morning yoga in Himalaya hiking prep. Phone calls to home. Redefining “home.” Realizing it’s a concept none of us will ever see the same again. Tears on staircases. Sins confessed over lunch. Broken stories and shattered hearts shared as the evening’s breeze drifting from the ocean chills our bones. Discovering our rythms have suddenly found us.

Faith being stretched in ways I could never have imagined. Miraculous healing that could never be faked. And over and over again Christ whispering in my ear “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

Outreach is getting closer, and I feel the Holy Spirit working overdrive in all of our hearts. How is this already the end of week seven? While sometimes it feels like I’ve only arrived yesterday, others it seems like YWAM is eternal and home was only illusion. And yet the first quarter is already through. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Old, weary relationships rebuilt and restored. Shaking in my Birkenstocks one moment, the next utterly wrecked by God’s exquisite purpose for the lungs wrapped inside these ribs. He has expressed and confirmed to me several times now that I am to go home after outreach. Somewhere in my innermost heart, part of me had firmly believed that wasn’t going to be the case, at least not for about a decade or so; that first my ministry would be brought to some unknown nation where I would reside with only the one my heart loves, the people we are ministering to, a camera, and a Bible. But no. I am going home. And I am so stoked.

Until then, I am here, and there is no where else I would rather be. Discovering the reason I have such a hard time with regular photoshoots is because I am built a photojournalist, and that’s simply different. These thoughts are a tangled mess, and I’m having a hard time unraveling them. Through prayer, nineteen years of liver issues that had crippled me in so many areas were healed in five minutes. Insight was given through the Spirit as to why my jaw refuses to heal: it’s my broken hip, so to speak. I’ve used my mouth to speak so much death, and words are my main form of ministry. It’s time only life flows from these lips.

Thus was week seven. Sorry there are so few pictures; it was an insanely busy and beautiful seven days. Until next week.

XOXO

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Return to the Garden

Here You find meweek five (7 of 33)
Broken and restored
Here You hold m
Wholly abandoned to Your love

Fighting and tired
I lay in the mire
You rescue me, wash me clean
Till I am white as snow

Striving against gloryweek five (5 of 33)
Giving fear my soul
On silver plates of agony
Feeding deception’s monster

In righteous fury
On clouds of fire
You race in, a rushing wind
Of jealous adoration, pure and holy

In Your arms I find myselfweek five (2 of 33)
Clothed in righteousness not my own
The beast is slain, set in dust evermore
And You carry me Home.

Here You find me
Broken and restored
Here You hold me
Wholly abandoned to Your love

In Your arms I find myselfweek five (22 of 33)
Clothed in righteousness not my own
The beast is slain, set in dust evermore
And You carry me Home.

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week five (3 of 20)

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Psalm 81

When we were wanderingweek five (18 of 33)
Alone and afraid
You rescued us
Kept us from shame

In pillars of smoke
In clouds of fire
You whispered Your name
You gave us hope
Daily, we sang Your praisesweek five (19 of 33)
Adoration was hourly upon our lips
Upon our lips
To the Unknown God who saves
New moon rises
Sound the horn
We were lost and lonely souls
Now we’re found in You, Lord
Then as a storm, fear roseweek five (20 of 33)
Thunderclouds swallowing hope
Stealing breath from our lungs, so from Your arms
We run, run, run
And You say
Darling, come home
Darling, come home
Taste My love once more
Remember when you were lost and lonelyweek five (24 of 33)
In My arms, I carried you to safety
We lived in harmony
My bride and I
I long to drench you
In My love, fill your cup
I long to hold you
In My holy embrace
Remember how I led you
Through the desertweek five (32 of 33)
Pillars of smoke, clouds of fire
Singing joy to you all the while
Why have you gone?
Let Me hold you again
You’re tired and afraid
Let me keep you safe from harm
I’ll keep you safe from harm
Darling, come homeweek five (28 of 33)
Darling, come home
Darling, come hom
Taste My love once more.

You Are a Garden Enclosed, My Sister, My Bride…

The rain gently dances on my cheeks to the music of the girl singing below. The balcony has us lifted above the earth, beneath the stars. In a bag riddled with memories, I let her worship lull me to dreamland. With morning’s light I’ll waken, prepare the coffee, and enjoy Hawaii’s Saturday with women becoming sisters.

Legs are soaked. Drizzling turned to rainstorm, and the sleeping bags weren’t as waterproof as we thought. Open door couch dreaming is chosen instead. Except the fan, all is silent. In the morning I’ll wake with the same sisters, prepare the same brew in the same morning light. All is well with my soul.

Monday morning. Lectures begin, and I’m grateful for the ever-present Kona coffee. Within fifteen minutes I’m in near tears. It’s as if with the dawn, anxiety also wakens. Where do I fit here, I wonder? Am I getting the full experience? What if my lecture phase isn’t everything I dreamed of? Am I doing something wrong? And then the speaker states: “It is not about you. It is about serving Him for His sake.” 

A few days later, “It’s not a task of something we need to do, but a revelation of what we have.” When the speaker said this, it pierced deeper than I could have expected. I thought I understood the depths of Christ’s love for me, at least as much as I could. I thought I had grasped that it would never fail me. Until he said this.

All week we have been learning about how the fear of the Lord is entirely intertwined with intimacy with Him, and how it’s not a “check yes if this applies to you” type of thing, but rather it’s area-specific. While I may fear Him in areas of my physical well-being, but I didn’t in the area of my emotional well-being. Thus, there was a blockage of intimacy within that realm of my heart.

However, it still isn’t about me “doing” anything. In a room full of political activists and injustice fighters, this was hard for all of us to take in, it seemed. Instead, it’s about recognizing He is Lord in every area of my life, and accepting the love He has freely given, along with all the connotations of what that means. If He loves me, He will fight to protect me from utter emotional ruin. I may get hurt, yes, but then He will be there to comfort me and carry me through it. If He loves me, then I must be as intricate and beloved as He says I am.

“You have stolen My heart, My sister, My bride; you have stolen My heart with one glance of your eyes, one jewel of your necklace.” Song of Songs 4:9

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love.” John 15:9

This is a shorter post, but it captures the essence of my week: basking in the love-light of my Redeemer. Take some time to let these words soak in and over you. Remember how intensely and entirely and eternally you are adored by a relentless God.


Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures this week besides the cover photo, but I promise I’ll get more next week!

Until next time!

XOXO