Ghosts of Time.

Life is never going to work on our timetable. In my twenty years of life, I feel like this has been the hardest thing for me to grasp. We can plan and organize and crunch and do everything we know how to do in our earthly power, but time is not ours to hold or control.

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I have a post in my drafts that I was intending to post two Mondays ago. I started writing it finally last night. Each weekday, generally without fail, I wake up at 8:00 on the dot, slip into some grey slippers and fluffy robe, grab my yoga mat, and pad out into the living room as quietly as possible so as to not wake my sleeping husband. From there I pour a cup of already-made coffee, prepped the night before. The dishes are done, the house is straightened, and I can just open the windows for the morning breeze and ease into my green velvet chair for some time with Jesus. At precisely 9:30, I switch to exercise gear and begin the day’s workout. From there, I can take on the day. But those two hours never change. Until this morning. Having slept through the alarm, eyes didn’t open until 9:38. Instantly, I felt control lost. I walked into the kitchen to discover more disarray- the dishes undone and coffee unmade. Jesus time was rushed, and everything just felt off. As I type this post at 1:30, feeling like it’s 11 AM, aware that it’s over a week late, I am reminded of the simple truth: control is an illusion. Things come up. We do the best we can, but some days we slip and forget our routine, sleep through the alarm, post a few weeks late, and life doesn’t care. Because the reality is, it is not the end of the world. As minor as these things are, they served as the heralding chorus that we are only human.

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We can be the best time managers in the world, take the utmost care of what the Lord has given us, be the most devoted friends, children, spouses, and siblings, but time won’t care. Time will keep going. Beloved ones will pass away, and time will keep on, and we will have to rise again the next morning feeling their absence. Deadlines will pass and victories will either be won or lost, but time will keep on.

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This is not our final destination. Each moment here is only a fleeting shadow, the best along with the worst of them. What was once pain so deep I thought it might overtake me now is only a distant memory. Days I thought I would forever feel the adrenaline of are now simply a sweet fragrance from somewhere far away. This entire earth is a ghost of what’s to come, where the knives will be utterly forgotten and the scars removed, and the joys will hold the permanence we were designed to wish for. Sooner than we can grasp, time will crash to a halt and we will stand before the glory of our Maker. At last we will taste the colors with the fullness He designed for us. We will dance without fear and drink from the crystal remembrance of all He’s already done, He who even time is forced to submit to and loves us with a passion beyond comprehension. Until that day, I will strive against time to glean every ounce of beauty and fire this life has to offer. He isn’t finished with us yet.

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Until next time.

XOXO

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Roads of Rhododendron

“You’re safe now.” As my emerald voile curtains waved in the morning breeze, He whispered this quiet assurance. There was a vague unrest in my spirit as I had communed with Him that morning, and when He spoke those words it became clear. My heart was still running. Not from Him, but running nonetheless. For a moment stretching along more years than I can now recall, I’ve been running for one reason or another. Always, there was a sense of something to be fixed, and I was either the one to fix it or was the broken one. I didn’t realize how true it was until I shared this revelation of safety to a sister, and her exhale was audible even over the phone. At last, I am safe. Trials will come again, but I have reached a point of security unique from any I had known. Before, the peace was that of “He will carry me through any trial, even if I can’t see how.” Now, it is the peace of “He has carried me through every trial I thought would conquer me, and there was joy in the midst.” He has, quite literally, carried me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and led me to the stream on the other side. Had I not been through the Valley, I wouldn’t have known the Mountains that lay just beyond it. The whirlwind of change that so wrecked my sense of peace has started to take order now.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19 –

I know as I write this, however, that some of you reading it are still in that Valley. Please know, that’s okay, too. That’s where His love met me most deeply.

“The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.” – Psalm 31:15 –

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple.” – 2 Kings 20:5 –

“Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.” – Isaiah 58:8 –

Now that I’m safe, I can’t coast, no matter how tempting. I must press on towards deeper righteousness in this freedom and joy. It’s that of remembering in the light what you learned in the dark; now that comfort has set in, I can’t neglect the One who rescued me. Now is the time when I choose Him, because without Him this is all worthless.

“Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1 –

“A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the redeemed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
– Isaiah 35:8-10 – 

“The Lord values those who fear Him, who put their hope in His faithful love. ” – Psalm 147:11 –

When His whisper reached my ears, it was like a dam breaking. Years of pushing against what felt like wall were erased in that one moment. I am safe now. There is nothing I need to fix, and in His own time, He will restore me to the perfection He intended for me. No more running, no more striving. Seasons of struggling to breathe will come again, because the battle on this earth will never fully stop. But for now, I have a season of celebration and rest. When the time comes to fight again, a foundation of peace and former victories will be under my feet. But for this season, it is time to rejoice.

Ending the Cancer of Comparison.

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye! Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.” -Matthew 7:1-6-

When I was younger, I used to love this passage because I pictured two cartoon guys, one with some dust in his eyes, the other with a massive tree coming out of it. While the guy with the dust was complaining how his eye hurt, the one with the log would turn around to take out the dust, and, unaware of the log, completely knock out his friend, and then wonder what happened.

So it is with comparison. Whether you come out on top or see yourself as the guy with the log, somebody gets knocked out, and the other is left wondering what happened. Recently my husband bought me the planner I’ve been lusting after for ages, Passion Planner. Beginning with mapping out your dream life, it then walks you through breaking it down into achievable steps, complete with deadlines. At the start of each month there is a space to make another mind-map, this one using each specific month’s “game changer,” broken down into week-by-week goals, which will ultimately help reach the year’s goal. Personally, this year’s main resolution is to discover on a clear and tangible level what Christ designed me for. January’s game-changer, then, is to stop comparing myself with peers.

As I prayed through the steps necessary to reach this, this is what the Lord showed me. It will look different for everybody, but as we can all agree, I think, that the old adage of “comparison kills” is brutally accurate, I thought I’d share. Maybe one of you can take my “passion plan” for the month and tweak it to suit your own life and pursuit of ending this societal cancer of comparison.

Keep your heart set on Limber-Lost. Limber-Lost is a beautiful and iconic swamp in Indiana, and the setting for some of my favorite books. Because of how these books shaped me and my writing, I’ve begun using the name Limber-Lost for that place inside myself which remains concrete, no matter how circumstances alter or how I grow and change. It is the garden in which I meet my Maker, the place from which all these ramblings you read flow. Each person’s “Limber-Lost” is unique to them, but I would argue that we all have one, a secret core of our identity none can touch besides its Creator. By keeping my heart set on Limber-Lost, my gaze remains fixed on Christ and His unique plan for me, outside of what my friends are doing or what society says I should be doing.

Pour into what you love for the sake of Christ, forgetting the outside voices. The Lord has an individual plan for each of His children, and to forsake that to fit in with those around us is a waste of a beauty and art which never truly belonged to us, but Him who designed it.

Weekly ask: Why am I doing what I am doing? Is it to prove a point? For some sort of status? Is it out of a sense of obligation or striving to look more like my creative role models? Because the reality is, any aspiration founded on this will breed pretension. For each piece of writing I produce, the prayer is that it be an overflow from talks with the Lord, that each post is centered on bringing Him glory and reaching others for His name’s sake.

Regularly ask the Lord to give you His eyes for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Once we see each other through His eyes, comparison becomes nearly impossible. He created us entirely unique, without rival.

When thoughts wander there, remember the individuality and beauty of the rest of God’s creation. In the same way a deer isn’t meant to sing like a bird, so I’m not meant to have all the same traits, strengths, and gifts as those around me. “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!” -Luke 12:27-

Be real with Jonny about how I’m doing with all of this. Jonny has always been such an agent of growth in my life, inspiring and encouraging me to chase passionately after anything the Lord places on my heart. However, he also has always reminded me to then keep my eyes on the Lord, because if He’s not in the center of whatever I’m doing, it’s worthless. By having him regularly keep me accountable with all of this, I’m more apt to follow through and will have his wisdom to both call me out when comparison creeps in, as well as encourage when it feels a hopeless endeavor.

As we walk forward into this new year, I invite you to join me in this war against comparison. Because it’s so subtle we don’t always realize we’re doing it. However, once it has been called out in ourselves and a plan has been made, we can change the mental track and run more fully along the path He has uniquely called us to.


In the morning stillness
Your voice whispers
“I’m here,
Come away with Me
Back beyond the trees
Where we once danced among the leaves
As the sky turns green
In the January breeze.”

If Not…

Throughout this week in California visiting Jonny’s family, there is a specific theme I’ve realized the Lord has been impressing on me. Be it through my father-in-law’s sermons, conversations with my new sister, and various other random circumstances, He has been whispering this consistently: And if not, He is still good.This isn’t an “it’s okay, I forgive you, Lord,” saying. It’s “Your ways are higher than my ways, Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts.” He wastes nothing. Through it all, He is sovereign, working in His church, in each of His individual children. Even in the pain, the disappointments, the times it felt like He didn’t come through. But are your ears and eyes going to be open to the Spirit so you can learn what the reason was?

We won’t always know. We won’t always get the answer. But Christ knows, and maybe in Heaven it’ll be revealed. We’ll have the mind of Christ, then. But for now, trust in that He is still good. He knows what He’s doing.

When I was little, my father would warn me not to buy certain cheap toys, but save my five dollar allowance instead. I remember clearly buying the toy, having it break within a few days, and then crying because I wished I had listened and saved it for the next toy I wanted and bought a better quality one instead. So it is with the Lord. Maybe that job you so desperately wanted was withheld because within a few years the business would tank. We never know. There is always a million more factors in each tiny decision than our human eyes can perceive.

Your life won’t always look like those around you. That’s okay. It isn’t supposed to. It’s supposed to look like the one He designed uniquely for you. The joys will be different, the trials will be different, and the day to day schedule will be different. I find myself getting so caught up sometimes in comparing my life with those around me. I catch myself wondering if I’m doing enough to somehow pass as a productive adult, if I can handle as much as they can, be it the fires they walk through or the loads they carry. But they were trained for their unique loads, certain muscles hardened for specific weights. Mine were hardened for others requiring a different set of muscles, and that’s okay. That’s how He designed it to be. God’s grace will always meet you where you’re at. There is a special measure that will be given to you, when you need it. Until then, you won’t have it. You ONLY have grace for today’s leg of this journey through earth, and the strength it will require.

Even as I write this (January 2nd) I’m anxiously wondering if everything finally worked out and I will actually be able to start classes January 4th. Honestly, if it falls through, I will be extremely disappointed. Studying English Literature is what I know I want to do, at least for this season. It’s the field I have always wanted to be involved in, and I’m tired of sitting around waiting to immerse in it. Diving in on January 4th seems like the best possible route for this time in my life. But if not, He is still good. If I never study English Literature and spend the rest of my life a little housewife (not that there is anything wrong  with that lifestyle, it’s simply not the one I desire), He is still good! Because the reality is He knows what’s best for me and my husband more than I ever will. He knows the secret desires of my husband’s heart, of my parents’ hearts, and even my own more than I ever will. He knows how my being or not being a full time student right now will affect them and every other area of our lives more than I do. He knows what will fulfill the heart of His daughter more than I do. So if I don’t start classes, if I end up in an entirely different major, if I never become the writer I dream to or am involved with words in any sort of capacity; if my ministry ends and I can no longer engage with the young girls I so adore and speak into their lives, if we move from Miami never to return, if these aching feet never again kiss the dirt of the mission field, He is still good. 

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 HCSB

Until next time,

XOXO

Seven Days of Thoughts

I’ve run out of ideas to write But it was never really me, was it? At least it shouldn’t have been.

I find my inspiration in my grandfather’s words

Tales of a time too far gone and forgotten 

But that made us who we are, whether or not we choose to believe it.  
I wonder who we would be if we could see each other through clean eyes 

Untainted by this earth. 

 

We read dreams from other’s bloodstreams

Think thoughts of greatness like stolen originalities 
And through it all we strive for happiness to kiss us with all her might 

As if she had a choice

We give our emotions 

Strength and courage and credibility 

When all they are

Are fickle creatures blown about by the wind

Until we take hold of their horns and decide to choose 

Joy when the world sinking

Life when all is dying.
I can’t help but remember

As the flame burns slowly

Nagaland ablaze 

In celebration as those twelve and we eight

Danced on a rooftop to

Firecracker music.
Each year it’s own joy

It’s own excited hailing 

Of years around the sun

And all each mile will bring.
This year won’t alter unless your attitude does.

I understand the pain 

Of circumstances you can’t change

I’ve been there, too

Death after death, endless cycle

As spirit meets stomach 

Still choice remains

Where will your eyes focus? 

Joy when the world is sinking

Life when all is dying.