Written on the Subway Walls.

I had a dream the other day that I was on a riverbank with Him. Sins were patches on my sleeve sewn with black thread. Sitting beside me, He began tearing at the patches, only to find the seam had woven its way into my skin, hunting for my bloodstream. IMG_1790.JPG

Tears filled His eyes as my own dull means of sight grew watery from the pain of His knife. I was silent. There was nothing I could say – this clearly hurt Him more than me. Having removed the patch, He worked His pruning blade through my flesh until only fragments of the former parasitical cord remained.

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“They will grow into new burs,” He warned me, “and this operation will be needed again, but you will be stronger for the fresh oxygen which now can reach your veins.”

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All we could long for lies in the hands of surrender. Maybe not every answer will be explained immediately. But He is good. New doors are opening before me, and with each door comes questions and fears filling my mouth with bitterness. I feel it as it rushes from my lips in the form of self-pity, pungent as the Kolkata sewers. But He is good. Self-pity only has room when surrender is absent. If my life is truly surrendered to Him, it will uproot those burs. When their weeds rise again then, forming their way into black threads becoming another patch of sin on the arm meant to bear the seal of His love, it’s proof that something is dwelling outside the realm of surrender. Even as I write this, self-pity is fighting to worm its way in, proving there is an element of me that doesn’t trust God to use this. But He is good. And He has promised to use those who make themselves available to Him, no matter how broken we are. So I write. And I sit on the riverbank and allow Him to rip each black cord from my dying skin. Because He is good.

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“Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up into glory.” – Psalm 73:23-24 

Until next time,

XOXO

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Seasick.

More times than I can recall in this past week I have abruptly changed subjects from depth to superficialities, and I’m ashamed to admit it. With oceans raging inside my own brain, any drop of water outside felt forceful enough to drown me. This morning the Lord confronted me with the simple truth that until I unloaded on Him, it would always feel that way. Salt was drying out my skin and coating my tongue till it was all I could taste. Thinking it was a way of moving on, that it would help me forgive because I wouldn’t be as focused on it, I had stopped bringing it to Him. Instead, it remained in the forefront, growing ever larger and darker outside the light of His power.

“Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11 


How often do we do this? We fill our minds and conversations with fluff to cover the jagged rocks our waves of consciousness don’t dare confront. Meanwhile He’s standing in the depths, longing to teach us to walk on water. It started out as a joke between friends, but the continual punch line of “Our God is an awesome God” inserted after any frustrating event or act of clumsiness has become a sweet reminder that Yaweh remains stalwart in the midst of what we’re facing; He is good in the midst of the storm.

“Though a thousand fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.” – Psalm 91:7 

This storm is wilder than any I’ve yet sailed. Looking out my window all I see is surging black tides threatening to wreck this young ship. The scent of fish ravaged by the tempest assault my senses, auguring their fate upon me. I am not much stronger than they. Seasick, I return to my bunk. Maybe I can sleep, and when I come around it will all be over. The clap of thunder wakes me from this dream. He’s teaching me to handle things I never thought I would face.

“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever.” – Jude 24-25 

The irony of it all is that, for both my husband and myself, this is the most amazing season either of us can remember. For the majority of the day we dance to the ebb and flow of the flood. When the water rises, knocking us to our knees, it is sent to strengthen these tired muscles, to train these bones from the art of running away. This is the life we were called to, and in the midst of these gales it has proven to be more fulfilling than either of us could have imagined. 

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.” – Psalm 37:5-6 

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Our God is an awesome God.

 

 

Ataxic Kiss.

As the music plays, I let the words wash over me like wet concrete strengthening these broken bones. I keep the playlist on because after replaying it somewhere near a hundred times (if not more) over the past four years, it’s become mindless, yet continues to say everything I can’t right now. Sometimes emotions and thoughts run so deep inside your bloodstream that vocalizing it is an impossibility, and yet their lyrics belt it out with such eloquence that I can through them gain the necessary relief. The sound of the synth helps me order my thoughts just enough to gather the week’s notes and write this post.

The mess means He’s rebuilding. In the midst of this war zone coated in blood and dust don’t let yourself become a shadow. The enemy seeks to break you through whichever method he can find. Yahweh has me in a place right now of simply watching Him fight for me from inside the hospital tent. Because of this pain of healing there are pieces of me considering the old apathy. Then, I could turn on emotion like a switch. All it took was a few drinks. They tasted like the poison they were, but they made me feel everything that was bottled up tight. But I was a shadow of a person then. After a while I began to feel the emptiness. And when He knew it was time, He restored me. Now I sit in the midst of a beauty so vibrant it’s overwhelming. This time I’m not giving up. If it takes forever, I’ll be screaming “hallelujah.”


But where will I be standing when He returns from fighting for me? Choosing apathy would be to kiss the enemy. Some things I’ll never know, and I had to let them go. But I know He’s working, and is at the door even now. Will He find me screaming “hallelujah” or with my tongue in the enemy’s mouth? His tent seems so clean, but the chaos is only hiding down below. I’d rather face the wreckage with the King holding on to me than be swallowed by it, and thus turn rancid myself. For such is the end result of all those little sins we acquiesce. I’d rather face the mess than become ataxic.


Do you hear the footsteps? The King is waiting outside the tent.

 

When I Sat down to Write, This is All That Came.

I have nothing to write today. The only note written throughout the past two weeks is the concrete reminder that without Him, I am nothing but a broken well of bitter gall. This post is a testament to that.

“He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:24 –

“This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
– Romans 5:5 –

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I was challenged by my devotional this morning to truly ponder why I have hope during different times of my life. At the moment, I am in a place where unanswered questions serve as a brutal alarm clock ringing like cymbals in my ears each morning. Daily the same queries are brought before the Lord, ones of “why,” and “when,” and “for how long, oh God?” I am so grateful He is a Father who doesn’t get frustrated with my unending need to be reminded! Today the answer was the verses above. He will take care of it. He is working on it. He will solve that which is beyond my human scope of ability.

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“The Lord guards the inexperienced; I was helpless, and He saved me.”
– Psalm 116:6 –

So I swallow my pride and I wait. With each breath I force these electric bones to be still. At twenty years old, I am growing increasingly cognoscente of my own inexperience. Things like overcooked pasta-mush for dinner faithfully remind me of this. But He promises to guard me, so I lean on that. That is the reason for the hope I have: I am capable of nothing, and so He carries me.

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I am nothing but a contentious woman seeking fame without Him. When laid at His feet, though, He takes this bumbling mess of a ragamuffin into His arms and continues on with His purpose. My questions don’t weary Him, however repetitive. My bare feet blackened from walking in the dirt and even my constant coffee breath are nothing to Him. All He sees is the creature He fashioned for His Kingdom’s glory. There is nothing left to prove.

“Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one. For now the winter is past; the rain has ended and gone away. The blossoms appear in the countryside. The time of singing has come, and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.”
 Song of Solomon 2:11 -12 –

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Until next time,

XOXO

Becoming Beacons

Often, I find myself craving the days when all the Christians around us knew their faith could cost their life. Many were already forced out of their homes into shacks along the feces-filled grey-watered Ganges river, forced into the lowest rungs of society and unable to move up because their beliefs were discovered by their neighbors. They had a fire to them, they were willing to do anything for Christ. Cross the Pacific, and here we are debating whether Sunday morning worship is worth trading the extra hours of slumber and pancakes for, as we pour over Instagram stories, strive after appearances, aesthetics, and vibes. As if any of it mattered… Yet I’m one of them. We idolize this life more than we realize in the West.

Meanwhile, wisdom cries out in the streets…

“Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates.”
– Proverbs 1:20-21 –

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
– Proverbs 9:10 –

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As a generation, we millennials speak as though we want wisdom, yet as a church, we fail to do those things which she calls for. We choose bagels in the cafe over sitting in service, or to watch service from the comfort of our cozy couches, coffee in hand and fuzzy socks on, over truly attending and fellowshipping. With that, we think we’re good.

“So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:12 –

Please hear, I am one of them. Without fail, each Sunday morning as my husband gets ready for church, I have an extended debate with myself regarding if I want to go or stay home. “I could take an Uber to the 12:30 service,” I argue, telling myself I don’t really need to be there for the first two; I could do homework instead. Now, for some, this is true. They will actually get homework done, and truly have no reason to be there for the other two services my church offers. For some, this is actually the wiser, more responsible choice. Not for me, though, and I know that. I know that if I stay home, I’ll sleep until it’s time to come in for third, if I even make it for that. Chances are I’ll come in just in time to honor the commitment I’ve made which takes place each week after all the services have ended. So I pull myself out of bed, slap on some makeup and clothes in the dark, and stumble into the passenger seat of my husband’s car counting the minutes until I have a coffee in my hand.

This all has to do with the comfort factor, though. What about the cost? What I witnessed in India was just the upper crust of the surface of what goes on there, much less places like Sudan or Afghanistan. The other day, the Lord slapped me across the face with a truth I had never considered. I was spared so much- this I’ve always known. However, I never considered what it cost Him. Without diminishing the reality of what it was, I don’t only mean the Cross here. I mean the spiritual battles afterward, throughout the past twenty years of my life, and even before. The continual battles, because time is different for Him, even if I can’t fully comprehend how or what that means with my human brain. Flooded into my mind like a waterfall of flames were blood-red images of Him fighting brutally on His white horse, amidst the odious smog of sin and death; fighting Lady Babylon (Revelation 17:3-6) to shield me from her immorality, the destruction she brings, and the end she comes to. I saw the beads of sweat on His forehead, the anger in His eyes.

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If I daily saw the war going on for His church, His bride, how would I fight differently? This isn’t about legalism, this is about engaging fully in the purpose for which we were created. I’m not saying that purpose is sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, either; but rather that the fellowship and strength and respite that offers, that of sitting in community at His feet, is what prepares us for the battle we have been called to.

“Furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
– Proverbs 2:3-6 –

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 3:13-14 –

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It’s not about whether or not we’re in church. It’s not about going through the motions. It’s about how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the call He has placed on our lives. Slowly I’ve been coming to the conclusion that when there’s so little we have to give up in this free country for the title of “Christian,” it’s imperative we then, even if only as an exercise, give up things as love offerings for the sake of honoring Him. Things like Sunday mornings at home to be instead at church, at His feet. Not because He needs it from us, but because we do. In these tiny acts of trading comfort for clout, we allow ourselves to be strengthened by Him into the warrior Bride He has called us to be. We grow into beacons burning bright in this world doomed for darkness.

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Until next time,

XOXO

We Are the Good-For-Nothings.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites: They are wandering around the land in confusion; the wilderness has boxed them in. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yaweh.’ So the Israelites did this.”
– Exodus 14:1-4 – 

We had just all gone out for Starbucks, and I had finally revealed to my friends that there was a boy, and I might be in love with him. As their slightly amused faces gazed back at me, seeing as how I was always the girl who thought every crush was her future husband, I shared with them the Spark-Notes version of our story and that we were currently fasting to see if this was the Lord’s will. After finishing our coffees, we went together to Calvary Plantation for the Wednesday night service, and the study was based around this verse. My stomach so filled my lungs there was no space for oxygen to pass through. First one sister grabbed my arm, then the other. The one thing holding me back from pursuing this guy was YWAM on the horizon. I felt I was caught between the two, between Migdol and the sea. Beads of sweat forming on my forehead, the Lord told me He was going to part the Red Sea, and I was to continue talking to him, and everyone would know it was an act only of Yaweh.

When I came back from YWAM, it was like walking into a desert storm. Everything was changing and had changed in those six months I was away, and because of the effect the illness in India had on my hormones, I felt trapped inside my own body. A voice would be hurling insults at the man I loved, but it didn’t feel like my own. I was just as outraged as he at this voice hurling insults like bullets towards him, but it was coming from my lips and I didn’t know how to stop it. Daily I would return to this verse, begging for the reassurance that He would carry us through to the Promised Land. After seeing a hormone specialist to get my body back to normal and working through the fears hiding behind the outbursts, I began to see the trees in the distance, and know they weren’t the mirage I had so often envisioned.

We’re walking through life in our Promised Land now, and each step is a testimony to God’s grace.

“But Moses said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.'”
– Exodus 14:13-14 –


With all the disapprovals and continual concerns regarding at a nineteen year old girl marrying a twenty two year old rocker she met on a phone call being voiced, not always so lovingly, the last part of that verse was something I had to learn over and over again, as much as I understood where they were coming from. Now I can say with confidence that the concerns of those who matter were quieted, and the curious commentators have at least grown silent. But issues always arise. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Through it all, I have to remember that I’ve no stones to throw. The courtship between Jonny and I is simply one example, but as I prayed over this blog post what I felt the Lord most pressing on my heart to share is that He who promised is faithful. When we’re caught between Migdol and the sea, that is when He will part the waters for us just to use the same waves to crush the Egyptians.

“He said to His disciples, ‘Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.'”
– Luke 17: 1-2 –

“Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
– Luke 17:33 –


We cannot waste our time worrying about where the next attack will come from. Time is running out, and we have a job to do. Sometimes choosing heaven over earth as a priority will reek like sweat and blood, and sometimes it will be as serene and comforting as eucalyptus’s ever-potent perfume. Fighting is never pretty, but the joy and glory of reaching Home is worth it. With the passion of Odysseus, we are called to wage war on this world’s brokenness for the sake of saving all we can for love. One day the brutalities we’ve felt here will be just a distant memory, like the days I spent in a fever-dream longing to be back safe with Jonny.

“But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.”
– 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 – 

“In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.”
– Luke 17:10 –


Until next time,

XOXO

Remembering in the Light.

“Your soul finds rest in Me alone.” After pouring out my soul to the Lord this morning on everything I was thinking and feeling, from friendships to constipation, these words refilled me.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28 –

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He doesn’t say rest for your back in this verse. The work on this earth will never fully stop. He’s referring, I firmly believe, to rest for the soul. When I first realized this, spoken by my surrogate uncle and high school math teacher, I almost wept. At this point in my life, my back was sore, my spirit near breaking. Perhaps it was already cracking. Death was at every corner, to the point that each time my mother got a phone call the first response in my mind was “Who now have we lost?” Coupled with this was the natural senior year stresses and the weight of being a ministry kid, which began to feel a heavier and heavier burden as I grew more and more aware of it and the difference between my life and those of my classmates’. When I heard these words, then, I was done, and I knew the load on my back was nowhere near letting up. But now, spoken from the voice of one outside the situation, someone I loved dearly, looked up to, and knew I could trust wholeheartedly, I had the assurance that in the midst of this chaos there would be rest.

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Fast forward a few years, and that storm is a mere memory and testimony. Whenever I read that verse now, I hear it in Uncle Don’s voice in an 8:00 AM math class, but now pertaining to less back-breaking worries. With it I sense His whisper:

“I will take care of the one you are praying for.”
“I created time- don’t you think I can stop it long enough for you to be with Me this morning?”
“Have I ever not taken care of one of your needs?”

Our peace ought never be in the circumstance around us, but only in who He is.

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“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, ‘Destroy!'”
– Deuteronomy 33:27 –

In this season of simplicity, painful memories remember to arise. Our minds are often so brutal to wander exactly where we wish they wouldn’t when we forget to purposefully occupy them elsewhere. But that is when He commands, “Destroy!”

“He lets me lie down beside green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
– Psalm 23:2 –

“I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.”
– Psalm 62:1 –

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Before, and in the beginning of, that awful storm I often refer to on here, I would tend to invalidate my own feelings because my situation was still so much better than those of the ones my parents would counsel. In the middle of the season, I realized that no, mine are just as valid. A broken heart is a broken heart, whether it was a twig or a sledgehammer that broke it. However, now that I’m past that season, I’ll catch myself being so relaxed in this time of rest that I will forget to bring my little cares to the Lord and watch as He deals with them. Instead they pile inside, only to spew out all over Jonny at one wrong word, and I miss the blessing of watching my God work. This morning, I finally let the ink flow with every care, no matter how petty they feel. Within fifteen minutes, He met one of the requests. My challenge to you then, dear reader, is to remember in the light what you learned in the dark. The lesson which was total openness and dependance on the Lord for me is likely something different for you. Hold onto it, remember it. And should you still be in the midst of your storm, take heart. Rest is waiting for your soul to take hold of.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield.”
– Psalm 5:11-12 –

Adjusting to a Life of Simplicity.

I’ve begun to realize I have been so focused on running the race that I have lost sight of the destination. Now He has me in a season of simply being; no more running, no more time-crunching, simply being. Days spent altering clothes, doing dishes, running simple errands. In this I’m sort of rediscovering Serenity, this time as a wife.
 

“He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” – Psalm 18:19 –


For years I have subconsciously believed that if I wasn’t so busy it was almost overwhelming (or completely overwhelming), I was unproductive. I had to be performing as a good Christian- namely, a good pastor’s daughter- 24/7 or I felt I was becoming a sluggard. While asserting that it’s not about how much we serve, but rather our hearts, I lived as though that wasn’t the case. 


I wonder for how many ministry kids this is the case, ever trying to live lives bigger and brighter than the pedastal we tend to be put on, or choosing instead to run in the exact opposite direction. 

Either way, lately in my life He has been slowly drawing me back to the beginning. Verses about “forgetting your first love” showing up repeatedly in my quiet time had me praying “Thank You so much, Jesus, that that isn’t me.” After the seventh time it showed up in two months, He hit me over the head with it, and it smelled like the crushed roses it was. “Stop. This is you. You watch the women down in Oasis from your sound booth thinking of who you’re going to pray with, who you’re going to talk to, how to better be that good little Christian girl; you sign up for altar team because you’re so loving and sweet and evangelistic, but you’ve lost sight on the Garden because you’re too busy working to get back there.” 

I resigned from the altar team. 


“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10 –

It’s not that these pursuits aren’t worthwhile. It’s that the motives weren’t always in check. Altar team was to fill my time, get back to this place of running I’m so comfortable in so I can be just frazzled enough to feel like Wonder Woman in a winning battle. 


But that’s not where He wants me right now. He wants me focusing on school, even when it’s easy. He wants me taking care of the house, even when it leaves me with more extra time on my hands than I’m used to. The habits I set now, when it’s easy, are what will carry me through when busyness returns. 


Even as I write this I’m aware of how often I’ve mentioned this before, that of “returning to the Garden.” It’s a perpetual lesson for me. But I’m so grateful He’s a patient teacher, who will bring me back to the place of crystal rivers and dancing trees where I first met Him.  

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

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.