Monday, December 31, 2012


Dear You,

I have a few words for you, as this year comes to a close. We are mere days from the New Year and as always my heart tends to need a release of words, a regrouping and recollecting of all sorts.

You spent ten months of this past year reveling in life beneath the Mexican sun, loving to the tips of your fingers, and at times clinging to the tightrope of life- refusing to lay down- no matter how tempting.

You moved to the middle of nowhere, Baja California with a girl you barely knew- amidst the utter loneliness and culture shock- you two girls made it. You defied odds, developing a program for the kids you literally carried a couple weeks out of the year and then carried in your heart the rest.

You created a haven, breathed life into your dreams and bared the scars of struggle on your heart. You quietly suffered missing and began to go through the motions.

Fear became your worst nightmare; your heart wasn’t in it. So you packed your bags and celebrated time with your dear ones a last time. Tears of goodbyes intertwined themselves with tears of hurt, because you were told you were a quitter for not finishing what you had started, that you’d regret this move, because you were walking out of God’s will.

Your pieces became a little more broken, your need for home a little dire.

You were a shell of a heart as you walked into that gate. Your worn eyes fell upon your extended family and relief washed over your being; your soul was home again.

And so began the healing... Stumbling onto hope, buying a plane ticket to return to that big city that swept your heart away in just a matter of three months. You learned to run. And you waited with expectant eyes as the days fell from the calendar.

January would come and your life was tucked to the brim in two large overbearing suitcases, boots graced your feet and your heart held no fear, it held nothing but hope.

Customs and immigration would come easy and with one quick glance you saw those precious, familiar hearts gleaming beyond the gate. So you dropped your purse, your suitcases fell at your sides, and joy leapt from your eyes. You paid the onlookers no mind, because you were home. 

Seven months would pass, gracing ninety students a week with your presence and you would feel the refining. Seven months waking to the cowbell reminder for trash, the sudden downpours of rain that would chill you to the bone, relishing your students as if every moment with them was your last, and settling into being home again.

Your heart fashioned itself to become a little more vulnerable, you had to leave some things at the cross for good, and your second language would no longer hinge on fear.

You’d laugh and love and the time would come to call you home. Tears had you spent that entire weekend, and so you held your students a little closer and hugged your sisters a little tighter, because you knew the inevitable was knocking at your door.

You left with swollen eyes, a heart not ready to leave, but even still you were ready to see those darling faces that called Indiana home.

Before Southern Indiana welcomed your well-traveled soul, you went to Portland with your first class and saw them experience your country with wide, joyful eyes. You reunited with a kindred spirit and packed in as much time as possible with the ones you love.

But those days would pass quickly, and it would all end in a huddle- praying over the class that changed your life, that spurred your heart to return.

And since these days, you’ve spent time stateside loving on your family, reveling in sweet simplicity.

You just finished running your 300th mile in six months and so your blossoming into the woman that fear won’t conquer, the woman that could.

You’ve found the strength to hold your own in seven different schools with students from a number of different countries, all the while seeing to the hearts at the Goodwill.

Your words for 2012 were refining and resilience.

You’ve held your own. Hope hasn’t escaped you; just look how far you’ve come.

I know you’re scared, that there’s this tug on your heart that just never seems to give. You’re scared that Mexico won’t come soon enough and that your dreams might gather a little dust.

But I think 2012 will help you realize that there’s still hope for you, yet. 
That somehow there’s a need resting right where you are, in the right here.

So don’t relinquish your dreams, but don’t deny yourself the present.


The woman that always could

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wrestling with REST

Sometimes we revert back to being doers. We fix our eyes on what’s being done and what’s being left undone. We tell ourselves that if we aren’t accomplishing something worthwhile in the moment that we are gradually losing our worth.

We run our ragged selves into the ground, just trying to pay the bills and get by.
We earn money to spend it, and the cycle returns, with or without our approval.

But haven’t we forgotten something?

Our Father labored for six days and then put down his tools, closed his wearied eyes and told the work to wait.

He rested.

He refused to let work define him, but rather was defined by his love poured out over coffee with the wounded and the whores.

By his love poured out in tepid water, washing the feet of his few good men, dirtied by selfish sins, that followed him at times, and then ran from him at other times.

He was defined by love poured out through spoken word among the shoved aside, the broken hearts deemed second chance-less.

He wasn’t defined by his work.
He was defined by his love.

And when his spirit needed to rest, to shut down for a while, he put down his tools and chose to just be.

I’m the guilty one.

I often refuse to let myself rest. I tell myself that if I’m not crossing things off lists that I’m taking up space.

And while lists are made to be crossed out- there is a time for everything.
No matter how much I refuse to lay down, to rest, my body was made for it.

My soul will give.
I will break.

My feet that are quick to run to and fro will stop.
I’ll have to choose to sit and be still with coffee instead of wracking my brain over the undone.
I’ll have to rest.

We are battle-scared, but battle-ready and sometimes the best thing we can do is choose to lie down when there’s still light, and let the Spirit intervene on our behalf.

We have to rest. Something has to give.

You weren’t made to be superwoman, carrying the entire world on your shoulders, heaving baggage after baggage of others upon your heart, and tending to heart and home every single minute.

You were made to be a bearer of love, love poured out.

You were made to realize that some days you just need to not even try to reckon with your weaknesses, but rather release them into your Father’s hands- to be all the more used.

You will bend.
You will break.

And something’s got to give. You can’t do everything and no one ever asked you to.

So go. Empty yourself to be filled again.

And then when your body and soul cry out to you for rest, heed it.

Sit in stillness, lay down when it’s still light, and remind yourself how beautiful you are, and how worthy you are to be known. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Truth & Transition

I think sometimes we shrug our hearts as much as our shoulders.

We shrug off our hurts and the aches and escape the concerned glances of others.

We step back from our friends, because the friendships out of college, just don’t meet our expectations.

We know the needs,

but we ignore them.

We settle into routines with swollen eyes, from lack of sleep, and patched hearts from constant rejection.

We lose hope and we embrace the loss.

Rather than prepping our souls for battle, we consider it already a lost cause.
Rather that reaching out to those reaching out to us, we sink slowly into hiding.

We deny ourselves the greatest gift of being known.

We consider the friendships don’t suffice anymore. That it’s just not enough.

It’s a maddening transition going from the days of ease, running down the hallway or across the quad, to seek solace in another- to days when your heart’s running on empty and the closest friend you have is hundreds of miles away.

And well, we can either welcome this transition, choosing to overcome it or it will gladly overcome us.

Dynamics of friendships will change and they will keep changing.
You will change and you will keep changing.

Your sisterhood from college dorms has parted- some are mothers, teachers, counselors, learners, foreigners. And while you may feel that you are right back where you started, that isn’t the case.

Plant your feet firmly on holy ground and let your eyes look around.
You’ve changed, precious heart. He is changing you and He is moving in that heart of yours.

You may feel like you are at a standstill and everyone else, those sisters and brothers, have moved on, but that is so far from the truth.

You’re moving, and you’re shaking this world of yours, whether or not you see it.
But even on your best days, you can’t live alone.
You were made to live in the shelter of others.

So maybe your friendships from days past have changed, the closeness has been gathering dust, but just as His mercies are new every morning- there are new friendships to be found.

There are moments yet to be had, but you can lose them if your heart shrugs away the loneliness and you blatantly ignore your needs.

So call up that friend of yours from years ago, allow yourselves to reminisce for a moment, and then let the present usher in its beautiful reality, telling the ‘tales of now,’ that you’ve been bottling up and keeping to yourself.

Or if seasons have changed and you seem stranded on a gravel road, look about you. I’m pretty sure He will surprise you with bonds that come out of nowhere and friendships that begin with limited characters.

Because darling, the truth is you were made to be known, no matter how hard you try to immerse yourself in denial and shrug off the truth; you’ll always find that gaping hole that only your people can fill.

So choose to be hopeful today. Let go of the tempting shyness and stumble onward into the light and you will find others to join you along the road.

I know you will. 

Sure it won’t be as easy as those years when hallways joined you, knitted your friendship family together, but that doesn’t mean the results will be any less beautiful. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lesson Learned?

For so long, I thought I was stripped of everything I knew, of my very home...but I have been learning something lately- that that isn't the case. 

Sure, my days aren't spent beneath the Mexican sun- loving on babies, holding things loosely, and reveling in Spanglish. 

Sure, I'm not there, but God's telling me that I don't have to be. 

He's telling me that wise-old saying, written years before I ever came to be, 
"For such a time as this, Daughter."

He's whispering that I can love here. I can love now. 

Our hearts have the truest, purest ability of being in many places at once. 

Take my two jobs for instance: being spent in the classroom with my students, and then falling back into place with my regulars at the Goodwill. 

I used to ignore life stateside. I didn't think that there was worth to this other life I lived.

But why is it we forsake the mundane; we refuse it to be our ministry?

Why is it that we beg to differ that we are where we are for a reason? 

We think love is only required in the grand scheme of things. 
We think it must come easy, that it must be requited. 
We think we are only being used when we are lost in our dreams, caught up in our purpose. 

But what are you fighting for, and more importantly, what is being overshadowed?
Why are you refusing to be used, right where you are?

There are people to love here, aren't there?

There are moments that become shadowed, by our own mere refusal to let them be seen. 

I am here for the students that need a little extra attention, to sit beside them and spell things out a little more clearly- attaching them to their memory. I am here for the students that get distracted and fight to be known. 

I am just as here for the regulars that come in at night, pouring themselves out to me. The grandmothers that are taken advantage of, the children that I've watched grow up before my very eyes. I am here for the ones that come in for company on a nightly basis- afraid to go home alone.

I am to be love to them, each and every last one. 

I know this comes as a broken record. 

How many times can these words fall from my heart and down to my typing fingers? 

But I guess sometimes the lessons we need to learn the most, are the ones that God continues to rain down upon us incessantly. 

Just as we stubbornly refuse to get out of bed on the hard days, our God stubbornly refuses to give up on us. 

He keeps teaching. He enters in. He makes Himself known. 

He sends a child into your store asking for a Bible, because her grandmother's heart is just too heavy. 
He sends a student into your classroom, because they are always written off as the jokester. 
He sends a patient into your care, because someone chose to look the other way. 
He sends a needy heart into your life through social media, because they have seen all other friends lost with the seasons. 

These are the sent--do you see them?

They are right here. 

Refuse to believe the lie that you have to be miles away from everything you know, to be used. 

It's time to love. Love these. Love the least of these.