1.14.2018

let's go

"Behold, I am doing a new thing." 
Isaiah 43:19





A new chapter began this weekend.



I'm still piecing together what exactly happened, but I am absolutely in awe of what God has done.



On Wednesday, I was struggling with grief, struggling with what seemed like ever-present darkness. I went for a walk to try to breathe in the woods behind Trinity. I wrote this:



We talk about living in tension. I liked it because it helped me reconcile with the lack of answers. I'm living in the tension between trying to be real and trying to choose joy. Between needing help and not burdening. Between everything feeling huge and everything feeling insignificant. Between knowing why and accepting why. Between gratitude and ingratitude. Between conviction and frailty. Between giving up and loving hope. Maybe this is like getting a tattoo. I asked for it, and the artist is doing it, and I'm just complaining and crying and being angry about how much it hurts. I don't care about the art, the beautiful image. Not yet.



But I went from there to a beautiful dorm meeting, setting a vision for a year. I went to bed feeling kind of okay.




The next night, I went to hear John Mark Comer speaking at a church in Langley, speaking on dreams and the big, beautiful things we have asked God to do in our lives. And as we closed in worshipful singing, I realized that God was truly changing me, shaping me, and molding me in the ways I had asked Him to do for years. I wasn't grateful for it, but I caught a tiny glimpse of what it might look like.




The next morning, I headed off to Pender Island with my RA team for our spring retreat. That afternoon, I was telling one of them about the previous evening, and how I wasn't grateful yet. But something felt different in me. Like maybe... I was?




That night we all shared our testimonies, and I shared how my life has shaped me to be passionately logical, inwardly thoughtful, decidedly faithful, prophetically prayerful, and hesitantly emotional, essentially in that order. But as I was getting ready to share. I realized that I was ready to add one more. I added the one that most truly describes where I am now: painfully grateful. I finally was starting to feel again what I've always known: God uses suffering to shape us, grow us, and bring us closer to Him. And I finally felt again how much I want that more than anything.




That night, I wrote this:


Two days ago, I was so ungrateful. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of what God might be doing in me, a tiny hint of what gratitude might feel like. And today, for the first time, I am able to say thank you. I honestly didn't expect it to come so soon. Oh God it is beautiful. And I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. 


The next morning, we were all given solitude time. I went out to the ocean and found a place on the rocky shore where the tide was just far enough out to let me climb up. I read some Scripture, sat in silence for a bit, and then wandered onto the rocks in the water. I began to pray Psalm 139. I pictured Jesus standing on my right side, next to me on the rock. Even there your hand will guide me (v. 10), I took his hand with my right, wanting to honor him with my right hand. Your right hand will hold me fast (v. 10), I started to move over on the rock, thinking Oh, your right hand, let's switch. But he said, "No," and instead flung his right arm around me in a full frontal embrace. And in that instant, before I could even realize what was happening, a wave of the ocean crashed over my rock, and I had to scamper upwards, though my feet still got wet. It was like that fling of his embrace was so strong that even the ocean had to join in. I couldn't stop smiling, I was overwhelmed by how much he loved me. How he loved me more than I had expected. How when I was content with him simply being present, even honored by holding his hand, he wanted more. He wanted me more. I went back down to the rock, like he was still standing there. And holding my hand again. Lead me in the way everlasting (v. 24). And in that moment, still standing slightly in front of me, he took my right hand again and smiling said, "Okay. Let's go." And I realized that he was talking about the ocean. Out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail, as the song goes. Now I know what it feels like when feet fail, when we sink and cry out, "Lord, save me!" I don't like it. I don't like the grief that feels so much like fear. I've experienced the agony of heartbreak, the crushing answer to prayer for deeper relationship. And he wants to go deeper. He is almost so eager that it feels like he's pulling; I've just barely gotten to the place of saying "Yes," and he is saying, "Come on, let's go!" with the smile of a lover about to take his beloved on an adventure.








And I want to go with him.




My eyes have been opened to the cost. I realize that I could lose anything or everything. I could lose more people, or my vocation, or my health, or anything. I could go through deserts wider and drier than I can even imagine. But it is worth it. If all of this, the sick and evil effects of the world, can be used to bring me closer to the one calling me into the waters, I will go. It didn't seem worth it on Wednesday. It might not seem worth it a week or a year or a decade from now as I struggle through the valley of the shadows. But today I can see clearly. Not that it is clear: the dark water leads right into the fog. But I can see Jesus, I can see more of His love than I maybe ever have before. He goes with me into the waters, he holds my hand, he hears my cry of "Lord, save me!" and answers.




I don't trust him to make my life awesome, full of pleasures and comfortable. He never promised that. But I trust him to be with me. He did promise that. And that is better. Far, far, far better.




Let's go.








1.07.2018

the word made flesh

I wrote this poem a few weeks ago, inspired by Ken Gire's Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel. 





The Word made flesh
And in that flesh
Disdained and shamed before your birth
A bastard child, 
Must be defiled, 
Yet come in flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh 
Growing teeth and hair and smiles 
The God of all
You learned to crawl 
Begun in flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh
Your hopes and dreams and calling sought
A healing hand,
A clear command,
Given in flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh
The heart of God etched on your face
The grieving tears, 
Gethsemane fears, 
Felt in your flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh
I hear the snap of a jagged whip
Tears you apart
Just like your heart 
Now made of flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh 
You chose to die in agony
The nails and thorn
Are why you were born
To die in flesh like me




The Word made flesh
And in that flesh
You opened up your grave and left
Forever raised
You paved the way
For life in flesh like me




The Word made flesh 
And in that flesh
Such unexpected depths of love
All hope in this
The life you lived 
My God in flesh like me










12.31.2017

2017 to 2018

It seems impossible to capture this year in pictures, but a picture says a thousand words. 


At the end of February, I went on a trip with a group from Trinity Western University to Alert Bay, a First Nations community off of Vancouver Island. I learned so much, especially learning what it means that the body of Christ includes all cultures, peoples, languages.



My favorite subject for two years finished up in the spring, Biblical Hebrew. I look forward to studying further in the future, but even the bit I have learned has changed my life. I have dreams regarding this that you will hear more about in the future!






There still aren't any words to describe May 23rd, and the experience we never prepared for of losing Dad. But any of you who have been reading this blog know what the journey has been like. We just miss him.






Dad's coworkers at Iridio - these people have become like family to us. We hurt together and remember together, and here we celebrated Dad's birthday together. 

This girl was a gift from God this summer, someone to talk with a adventure with and pick cherries with.

Ben and Lauren were a rock for me over the summer, two people who were so beautifully hospitable, willing to ask questions, and willing to be silent. I'm so lucky to know them.

My dear coworkers from Singer Hill who also were such a gift from God this summer. They made me look forward to getting up in the morning and knowing we would laugh and "accidentally" break scones and do life together.

Oh, I counted the days all summer to coming back to this little boy, Remi! 



This is my dorm, 2/3 Upper! I'm an R.A. for the 2017-2018 school year. It seemed overwhelming coming out of this heart-wrenching summer and knowing that the struggle was only just beginning. But these girls have been, yet again, God pouring out His love on me.

2/3 Upper - We managed to read the Bible together in 14 different languages! Man, God knows how to bless me.


Speaking of blessings = this family. They have been hope in flesh. They have been my Canada family, and more and more just family.
This was my favorite place to be this fall. Milo, thanks for causing your mom to be on maternity leave so that I can just pop in any time to be with you all. They have been with me through so much, the highs and lows, the laughter and tears, and everything in-between. They've allowed me to be part of their life, their struggles, their hearts as well.



OH Remi, every bit of your chromosomal enhancement has enhanced my life. Thank you for your joy, tears, cuddles, and crawl. 

I didn't know if I could be as crazy about any kid as I am about Remi, but Milo has stolen my heart. Those giggles, those smiles when I talk to you - I'm in.



Yeah, Rem.


And Kelly, oh Kelly has been tangible hope. She has jumped into the pits with me. And she has pulled me into the light.   


Her intentionality overwhelms me, her insight marvels me, her passion impassions me. I want to be with her and like her.  



And so it came to Christmas, the first one without Dad. It was hard. But it was more necessary than ever to remember that Jesus is hope, and hope fulfilled. God keeps His promises, and He promises and end to all crying and death. He promises that He will dwell with us.


And so these five are everything.


Sisters and Star Wars. Can it get better? 







2017. Some people are in a hurry to leave crappy years behind. But I'm not. Even though this has been the most painful year of my life, I don't want it to go away too fast. Dad is there. And we miss him so much.



But God is still with me. He is my first and last, my future and past. He will continue, and this coming year will take me closer to Him, I know. So it is worth it.



2018. In you, I want to know God more. I want to praise Him in the middle of the questions, before the victory. I want to know hope more, peace more, joy more, and love more. I want to know Jesus more.



And more than that, He wants me. I believe. And so I move ahead sad but confident in the knowledge that each moment forward is a moment closer to Jesus.




12.24.2017

advent - love


Advent – Week Three
Love

Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival,” it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Each of the four weeks of advent encompass a theme; this week’s theme is Love, God-with-us, Restoration, and Fulfillment. Use these prayers and Scriptures to prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth.


Advent Collect (Book of Common Prayer)
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Select Prayer (Revised Common Lectionary)
O God of Elizabeth and Mary, you visited your servants with news of the world’s redemption in the coming of the Savior. Make our hearts leap with joy, and fill our mouths with songs of praise, that we may announce glad tidings of peace, and welcome the Christ in our midst. Amen.


Scripture
Hebrew Bible       Psalm          New Testament           Gospel
Isaiah 7:10
-16        Psalm 80     Romans 1:1-7             Matthew 1:18-25





Truly He Taught Us to Love One Another 

12.18.2017

advent - joy


Advent – Week Three
Joy

I got home from school last night (thus the late post), just as we begin the third week of advent, the week of joy. One of the goals I set for this advent season has been to choose joy, even though I'm still not sure if I know entirely what that means. I know it is okay, even necessary, to be sad when there are things worth being sad over - and there are plenty. But this week at least I want to really learn to see the light, see beauty, and learn what it means that "the joy of the Lord is my strength." I'll start by beginning writing a list of things I'm grateful for, inspired by Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. And aside from that... I'm not sure. Maybe staying off mind-numbing social media. Definitely getting daily time alone with Jesus. Maybe just saying "yes" to things. Or maybe just smiling more. Maybe following the liturgy for this week. Maybe choosing to remember that Christmas is the beginning of the redemption of all the brokenness. If you have any suggestions for ways to choose joy, please comment below; I'll be grateful!





Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival,” it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Each of the four weeks of advent encompass a theme; this week’s theme is Joy, Mercy, Redemption, and Steadfast Faith. Use these prayers and Scriptures to prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth.



Advent Collect (Book of Common Prayer)
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.



Select Prayer (Revised Common Lectionary)
God of hope, you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression to the freedom of justice, the balm of healing, and the joy of sharing. Make us strong to join you in your holy work, as friends of strangers and victims, companions of those whom others shun, and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Scripture
Hebrew Bible        Psalm            New Testament         Gospel
Isaiah 35:1-10       Psalm 146     James 5:7-10           Matthew 11:2-11





O Tidings of Comfort and Joy 

12.10.2017

advent - peace

Advent – Week Two 
Peace




Peace is one of the most beautiful parts of Christmas. This advent season always comes in the darkest time of year physically, and often the darkest in other ways as well. But Christmas is the reminder that God keeps His promises and that Shalom is coming, wholeness and fullness of relationship with people, with God, and with creation. I caught a glimpse of that peace on the faces of two of my best friends today: Claire, babysitting with me, and holding Remi contentedly in her lap. When we don't want or need time to move on. When for a moment we are content, despite everything. I'll be looking for more of those glimpses that remind us that full Shalom is coming. 




Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival,” it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Each of the four weeks of advent encompass a theme; this week’s theme is Peace, Repentance, and Justice. Use these prayers and Scriptures to prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth.


Advent Collect (Book of Common Prayer)
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Select Prayer (Revised Common Lectionary)
Laboring God, with axe and winnowing fork you clear a holy space where hurt and destruction have no place, and a little child holds sway. Clear our lives of hatred and despair, sow seeds of joy and peace, that shoots of hope may spring forth and we may live in harmony with one another. Amen.


Scripture
Hebrew Bible         Psalm           New Testament          Gospel
Isaiah 11:1-10        Psalm 72      Romans 15:4-13        Matthew 3:1-12






The wrong shall fail, The right prevail 
With Peace on earth, Goodwill to men 

12.03.2017

advent - hope



Advent – Week One 
Hope





Today is the first day of Advent for 2017. I have been so looking forward to this season of preparing the way to remember Jesus' arrival. I want to be intentional with these next 22 days until Christmas, and perhaps you do as well. Each week I'll post a sheet that I put together for the prayer ministry here on campus in the hopes that it will help you focus on the beauty of Advent. The commercialism and materialism doesn't have to dominate this season for us; we can be culture-shifters who actually need less things and more Jesus. 






What is Advent?
Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival,” it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Each of the four weeks of advent encompass a theme; this week’s theme is Hope, Salvation, Prophecy, and Judgment. Use these prayers and Scriptures to prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth.





Advent Collect (Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.





Select Prayer (Revised Common Lectionary)
Unexpected God, your advent alarms us. Wake us from drowsy worship, from the sleep that neglects love, and the sedative of misdirected frenzy. Awaken us now to your coming, and bend our angers into your peace. Amen.





Scripture
Hebrew Bible            Psalm                   New Testament                    Gospel
Isaiah 2:1-5        Psalm 122       Romans 13:11-14        Matthew 24:36-44




A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn