Saturday, November 22, 2014


I find myself grasping for more grace these days, wanting to be filled so I might be emptied, again.

and…I reach. I reach out with my feeble hands and I attempt to unearth what grace is, what it does. 

I take my seat at the head of the table in my classroom and I relish the feeling, the honor of being able to teach, the honor of being able to plant seeds. 

and the meaning of grace falls from my tongue.

grace, it gives people the benefit of the doubt. 

grace, is an open heart, an open door. 

but grace, is misused and misplaced. 

and i find myself reaching and reeling, longing that my every student might know, might truly experience grace, the grace that understands the unfathomable, the grace that welcomes the weary, the grace that says nothing, when nothing is needed to be said. 

I struggle. I struggle, because I know I can't fix what is broken. 
I can't reach deep into hurting souls and turn on the light to wash away the darkness.
I can't always have the words to bandage the heartbroken, the salve to lessen the scars. 

but I don't think grace focuses on what can't be done. 

i think grace is always enough. 
i think grace is always overcoming. 
i think grace is always forgiving.
i think grace is always grasping. 

I think grace is beautiful, it leaves me in awe, because grace is what brought me here. You see, I, I was just an innocent girl with a crazy dream. I was just one of those that rarely attempted to be someone else, to do something more, to speak when it wasn't required was something I all, but avoided. 

I hid in the face of confrontation. 
I hid behind the pages of my books. 
I hid from pain, from heartache, but it eventually found me. 

and well, grace found me, too. 

it found me battered, bruised, and left-behind. it found me on my knees. grace found me when i least expected that any hope could be left for me, because i started looking for grace and love in all the wrong places, in all of the wrong people. 

i found myself stretching to please those around me. i found myself opening the forbidden doors of the past, just because i thought i deserved, i needed to be loved by a boy, and not by God, alone.

i started quietly, fiercely demanding that a boy's over-promised love would finally be for me, that i might have a hand to hold. but this demand ended in torrents of tears for years. it ended, just as it begun, empty hands and a failing heart. but you see, my reaction and the common response to our hurt is claiming that jesus, that he had something to do with it. but i knew all along, that grace and love couldn't be found in this boy. that my expectations were far-off, i was leaving God out of the picture. i was telling him what i wanted, what i deserved. 

but grace. His grace looks at these failures, and says "oh, child, you walked right into heartache, what you thought to be enough, was just a way of settling, barely getting by." His grace looks at the homes we build, the short-cuts we take, and He whispers, "oh child, will you just put down your tools, will just sit down with me and trust that I have complete control."

and grace, it's enough.

my hands are still empty, but my heart is full. because everyday, i get the chance to give grace to my students, my children. because everyday, i get the chance to tell my story and miraculously God uses the heartache, he uses the past pain and he accomplishes something. he accomplishes something beautiful. because unlike the people our hearts long to please, our God's words never return empty. 

He will fulfill what he has promised.  

His grace is enough. 
It always will be. 

so let grace find you, today, you, wherever you are. whatever you are standing in. let grace find you and let grace heal you. let it fill you. wrap your empty hands around grace and refuse to define life by what you can't do, but rather seek out what you can do, give grace.

make it a point to realize the house you are building for yourself, the people you are pleasing are ways of settling, it's your way of telling jesus that you have everything under control, but dear child, you are one step from breaking into a million pieces, your God knows exactly what you need. unclench your controlling fists and cling to grace, it's enough. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

moment by moment.

I had a moment. 

One of those God-entering moments and I'm sitting here on the other side of it, amazed. 

You see, somedays as a teacher, you just don't have the gusto, nor the gumption to speak up to battle against the giants that your students face. 

Sometimes, you just want to give in. 

You just want to do things halfway and reckon that when it all is said and done, it's okay, and you decide that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter if you do enough, if you are enough. 

But the beauty of it all, is that grace is enough.

God is enough. 

And even on the days when our pale faces reflect what we lack, He is enough. 

and he lets us in...on beauty. 

My last class had more empty seats than students, so rather than forging ahead with grammar; we found ourselves with more than twenty questions and answers. 

and some of the questions were simple-what kind of animal would you be, should Spanish be spoken in English class, but among others were how did you meet God and what was an experience that changed your life. 

before we knew it our fifty minutes had passed, but out of comfort and being settled into my second home i told my students that they could decide if they wanted to stay. and the majority stayed. we found ourselves wrapped up in an inexplicable comfort, a safety in numbers..but one by one they left. until fifteen or so minutes later there were just four.

four with tear-stained cheeks. four hearts tethered to mine in a God-ordained moment reckoning with abandonment, death, divorce, and coming alive again after almost giving up. 

four sets of hands clasped with i prayed for each of the sweet four.

and i. i am the changed one. i am the blessed one.

you see so many people think that this is all about the grandiose escapades of a girl on foreign soil, when really it's about a girl that never spoke up, that kept to her books. the same girl now, being blessed by moments such as these when God's presence is something tangible, blessed by students that ease into telling their stories and opening their hearts that were once left under lock and key.

you see. i'm just a girl. 

a girl that is wordy and lacks words simultaneously, because this place, right where i am, is the more i prayed for when i was just fifteen. 

and what i'm learning is that you can't love empty. i think that's been my problem, here lately, losing sight of the importance of meeting with my Maker to fill me up, and attempting to fill others, while i am lacking. 

but i can't love empty. 

my heart needs to be filled, just like yours. and when we set aside time, when we leave the dishes in the sink, when we refuse to give into closing our eyes and stumbling into sleep, when we go to Him, our hearts will be filled. 

and full hearts can love deeply.

i don't want to traipse through life without loving deeply. i don't want to live this life without loving fully. 

my students need me.