11/25/14

moon fog


sometimes it's all blurry
like the moon tonight
warm and sleepy and yet there's restlessness and hunger
to know this is not really home
and that means THANK YOU
thank You that I get to be where I am
wading in the messiness of human hearts and many mistakes and
the fathomless depths of Your Words
stars spoken in a treasure chest with beat-up leather covers.  
it's so not the neat and tidy I am comfortable with
but somehow I love that
because You're rearranging my heart
and there is no good symphony built of resolved chords
and the best music is the beautiful tension,
You transforming dark chaos into the light of hope
and in these moments of 
sweat and elbow grease,
blood and baby skin 
empty arms and full, full hearts
somehow even the ache can be beautiful
because even though I will always mourn my little ones
and all the loved ones too far to touch
my heart continues to swell and stretch, 
and I never knew I could carry so many souls inside my story
washed by the sparkling salty water we spill together
wrapped in the hugs that sometimes are all we have to offer
and the sighs
but laughter
will
come
sure as the rising Sun.


11/10/14

fullness of joy

It's been a really long time since I did a gifts post!  Since last spring, in fact...  Here are a few from here and there.


#3516  A Mom phone call

#3535  Christ, today

#3539  "I trust you"

#3551 A spontaneous trip to WaWa exclusively for gummy worms

#3573  My brother & his girlfriend sitting together in church and the text he sends to his friend's mom "It's official" and her phone isn't on silent

#3589 Opa Brink and his "coffee klaar?"

#3628 Rippled plains

#3634 Evenings of Dutch Blitz and laughter

#3635  That precious weight and the privilege of soothing a frightened baby back to sleep

#3636  Making dinner with the shelter ladies

#3638  Being asked to paint a quilt square for the quilt that kept her hands busy and her resolve strong

#3640  A sweet girl playing Veggie Tale clips again and again and again

#3641  The impossible conversation that happens 

#3643 So much love from my cousins

#3646 Breaking in to brokenness


#3667 Things on the walls in the apartment

#3673  Emma & I going to the shore!

#3680  That Jayne broke a lamp when she cleaned too

#3698  First-time risotto making with Nora


#3701  Coworkers with amazing laughs

#3705  My sister's swelling belly

#3706  A beautiful wedding, friend and cousin stretching the borders of my beloved family a little wider and happier

#3709 Joy in process

#3714  Packages in the mail (New headlight!)

#3716  Live-streamed sessions from the CCEF conference, and friends to watch them with

#3723  My carpool buddies



#3725  A beautiful confession and testimony 

#3726  Phone prayer

#3728  Canadian Thanksgiving, complete with conversation about politics and Sabbath-observance

#3730  Free, very good coffee from a friend!

#3732  Our Canadian party that spins on past midnight

#3735  So many friends in the carriage house for dinner

#3737  How kindly I am treated at work


#3741  Flowers off bushes in parking lots to adorn my windowsill =)

#3743  Amanda wanting to "maximize my Lizzi time"

#3744 A friend who goes above and beyond and invites me to unload on her

#3750  Cris Simpson's Psalm sermons

#3755  Ladybugs, squirrels and birds...  CCEF is a menagerie 

#3756  Opportunities and resources that take me by surprise

#3761 How car trouble makes me miss my Dad so much, and yet God provides friends who know what to do and multiple friends/coworkers who offer to help...  I am cared for  

#3762  "The snare is broken, and we have escaped!"



10/7/14

midnight rainstorm

will you stay up and listen to the rain with me?
silver-gold streets,
pulsing, purring drain-spouts
and the here and there traffic sloshes gloriously
we don't have to venture out
but we could
blinking in it all
wet all through the edges of my worn-out comfy shoes
or we could slide open the windows
let it spatter in a little
either way, let's revel in it's music
smell the concoction of fall and fresh and midnight
the world is humming content
will you soak it in with me?

9/27/14

you had to be there



how can I explain this
so that you understand
how it picked up my world and spun it dizzy
til, now, I see everything differently?
how can I reduce
to a mere few words
something that still keeps me up nights
lately the tears are so close to the surface
and the weirdest things will break the dam
it won't make sense to tell you
that I still keep thinking of the
vodka bottle in the middle of the road
why I want to learn to dance well
how much I miss the 
warm fuzzy-headed weight on my chest?
words fall so flat
if I tell you what I saw and heard
you might be shocked, 
might say
"how awful!"
and you'd be right
(though you probably won't feel it the way we did)
but 
that's not the point.


9/15/14

say yes

say yes to love, my friend
it steals in, frightens you with it's call
to be Loved
and to love
always in that order
always.
It'll be inconvenient
but that's the good stuff
you'll have to learn how to steward your resources
because they're never ever yours.
It'll pull you places you didn't want to go
sit you down with souls you turned your nose up at
who you never noticed
who freak you out
a hand over hand tug of war
"give up comfort,
die to self,
learn how to pray, really pray"
because
they are you
and Love pushes you until you have to say
"i need help."
haha!  Who would have known.
You opened yourself to give love
and all the while you were learning how to receive it.














image courtesy of Google

9/8/14



















So I can be a little sentimental at times.  I like that I wrote a blog post last year on my birthday, because it was fun to look back on today.  So I am going to write another in order to have something to read next year.  =D  

Last year right around my birthday was the beginning of an exciting adventure.  (I won't recap because you can read what I wrote on the link above.)  It was harder than I expected in some ways - but doesn't everyone end up saying that.  It has also been far better than I ever expected, and my Lord has been shaping and teaching me in ways I never knew existed. 

It's still a little hard for me to put a finger on some of what I've been learning.  When 2014 began, I wrote about freedom, and it's good for me to look back on that as well.  Because what I see when I look at this past year is a God who brought me to things I thought I couldn't do and to places I thought I couldn't go and said "I am sufficient for all this."  And even in the many moments where it was painfully obvious that I wasn't sufficient for this He still was.  And is.  Skills, not so important.  Obedience, vital.  Not because He misses out if I run away.  Because I do.

Anyway.  I'm thinking on paper right now.  This is as much for me as for anyone else although if you actually read my blog and interact with my thoughts, thank you for sharing and for spending the time it takes to read what I write.  It is something I do appreciate.


Some meaningful things from this year/summer/lately:

This song.  


Also this one, as previously mentioned - I'll give you the Sam Robson version even though he doesn't get all the lyrics right, simply because his harmonies have stuck with me.


An epoch... My time here

Probably my favorite moment of this birthday, as instagrammed =)



























A theme verse

And another, in classic pinterest style:





















Some hallmark photos from this year (very incomplete)


























I've found freedom
to talk about things I don't have figured out
to cry, at least more than I used to..
to laugh, to be enjoy silliness
to do things I don't think I can handle
to love so many new people
to leave, and to return even when both hurt so deep
to accept and even beg for help
to wake saying "I have no idea how I'm going to get through this day, I need You so!" and know He will be faithful even when I am not.

9/2/14

my summer song for 2014

I need Thee every hour
Because I can't live without Life, without Hope or Love
Most gracious Lord
Without You, Christ, I stand against a tsunami of holy goodness that should burn my dirty self away
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford
Because it's costly, that peace, so precious that no voice but the Divine can speak it into my days - and You do
I need Thee, Oh I need Thee
I need to know that You bought that Peace, it was already Yours but You bought it for me
Every hour I need Thee
Studying, working, job-hunting, cooking, chatting, cleaning, loving, losing, missing, hoping
Oh bless me now, my Savior
I'm terrified but You've promised it a thousand different ways
so
Pursued by Your love, teach me to yield
I come to Thee

 


 
 

7/16/14

just a moment

and soft
she kisses
black eyes blink
sister toddles off
oblivious to the call
her name, but play is imperative
a sigh
soon, she'll fetch the wanderer
but she lingers
with the tiny bundle
drawn back to those eyes
serious, penetrating
and they speak
to one another
silently.


imagesource

6/8/14

sing on, sing on

My brother's voice was one of 300, earnest and focused
so the praise rang powerful, and stilled our hearts
but I wasn't riveted until they took the stage
some in wheelchairs, some shuffling and fidgety,
broken bodies and broken minds. 
in between, the 'helpers', perhaps the only ones who could really sing
but the helpers were not the serious ones, oh no
those who made the less beautiful noises
were much more serious, earnest, eager
and in all this beautifulness there was a lady in one of the wheelchairs
not much hair, a bright pink bow
perhaps a little frightened
and when the spotlights fired up she winced
cowering under so much glory
it hurts our eyes, you see
and my heart sank as she covered her face with her arm
if I could, I would have said "don't!  you're going to miss out on so much!"
ah, but I know the feeling
it's just too much
I am broken too
I just can't handle glory
like an Israelite cowering at the shining face of Moses
I can't even think of the glory of Yahweh!
"One day," I said to her in my heart,
"One day our eyes will be remade
and we will look on God together."
But I am not so wise as the woman in the wheelchair
just when I thought she'd sit with her arm over her face
amidst the chaotic tambourines and shakers of praise
I saw her shift
pull out a pair of sunglasses
(they were pink too)
and turn to her songbook. 
I think the angels cheered. 

5/15/14

My Seven Steps for Valley Days



I am posting this because I am tired of studying and found this in my papers.  You can find my professor's version of this assignment here.

1.  Look up.  Be honest with the Lord, and give Him your questions, your pain, your fear or anger.  Remember that He is sovereign and allows nothing by chance.  As you turn to Him, you turn to the One who has experienced the most extreme suffering eternity has ever witnessed.  He is powerful, purposeful and patient, and He is your gentle Shepherd who is intensely affected by your pain. 

2. Don’t suppress the urge to weep; allow the tears to come.  The brokenness and pain of this fallen world should affect us.  Suffering is proof that something is dreadfully wrong with this world, and pretending all is well doesn’t make it well.  The fact that we know that the Healer has come is our hope, but while we are in this life, we still feel the effects of sin.  It is still a heart-breaking thing.

3.  Allow and/or request company.  Hold on to people who hold out the hope that God is still good, especially those who will persist in holding that hope out to you whether you take it or not.  Be open about your struggles.  We cannot help each other if our wounds are hidden from the body of Christ.  Suffering can be very isolating, so try as best as you can to be proactive in working against this.

4.  Find words to express what’s going on.  Can you write or speak about it?  Perhaps someone else’s words fit your experience.  Scripture, prayers, poetry, music, even art can all communicate and can also help to connect you to others.

5.  Look for ways to minister to others.  This doesn’t have to be an intense organized ministry movement – start by praying for others.  See if you can find someone struggling with similar issues to yours, and find a way to let them know that you are beside them.  See if you can find someone who is joyful in something where you are able to join them in their rejoicing.

6.  In everything give thanks.  Keep looking for ways that God’s love is displayed to you daily; especially when you feel the farthest from it.  Seek beauty; seek joy even when you’re convinced that life is an unending pit of gray fog.

7.  Remember that pain will one day cease.  You may never experience a pain-free day on this earth, but you have the promise that the day will come when your tears will all be wiped away.

5/5/14

helping relationships



 

I asked, ‘will you tell me your story?’
and they said yes
invited me into their hearts
what an honor to be welcomed into their hurt
and my breath catches
to realize the responsibility
to feel how very much I could hurt them
and the richness God has for us in this place of honesty.
tell me more?
heal us, Lord!
what was this like for you?
and I must cling to Him
afraid of what sinful self can do to relationships
do I really understand you?
but the blood of Christ washes over
and as I bumble around in a sensitive heart
I could cause such destruction unless
I live on incessant prayer and humility
I’ve put my finger on the pulse of the Spirit’s healing
oh, there’s joy throbbing through our veins
and we’re washed in the sunbeams of awe
I see God.

4/27/14

Anyone got any spare brain cells for me?

 Why is it so easy to live life numb and believe I am self-sufficient?  Why do there seem to be so many obstacles to loving people well?  Why does an element of uncertainty guarantee that I will be obsessed with said topic?  Why can my phone not handle uploading 40 minutes of Kevin DeYoung video onto the internet?  What happens if this broke student doesn't fundraise enough to cover all my costs for my summer internship?  What if I don't find a job this fall?  What if the truck that hit the car my brother was in this week had been going a little faster than he was?  How do I grow in realizing my need for God's Word, and managing my time so that it is priority?  How should a Christian worldview assess the diagnosis of PTSD and what am I going to focus on in my paper on said topic?  How am I going to pack up all my things in time, and are we going to have an apartment to move into next fall?  How am I going to retain all the other things that have rocked my world this semester?

Sigh.  Sometimes your brain just goes round and round.  I am so thankful for spring blossoms and Sunday afternoon walks; for wonderful things that use up most of my brain cells, for people and invitations that come at just the right time.  I have been so blessed lately both by the richness of what I am learning (even my paradigm shifts are having paradigm shifts) and by the people God has been blessing me with - people who offer me food, people who trust me with hard things, people who ask for my story, people who share their precious time and valuable wisdom, and people who invite me to swing dance when my brain is too full for any more homework!

 I think the one thought in all the kerfuffle that I can hang onto is that the cross is what I need.  After attending a book launch for Kevin DeYoung's new book, and spending the next morning at Mrs. Gaffin's place with some wonderful women discussing personal devotions, I am realizing that I often forget to look for Christ in what I read and hear.  One of my professors said earlier this semester (I think it was David Powlison) "all of the Psalms need to be pushed through the Cross."  That stuck with me and I see what a difference this makes.  Just reading Ezekiel 16 this morning, and going through all the punishments that God says He will bring on Israel for her harlotry, I was so struck by the realization that Yahweh is speaking all these awful things knowing that it is Christ who will suffer this, in Israel's place.
I am so blind, and
I am so loved.

"Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."

(St. Patrick's Prayer)
 


4/15/14

richness

Just a few more gifts from my list.  Since I'm trying to be inspired to write a fundraising letter.  =)


#3407  A wonderful lady who calls me "Little sis"

#3416 Someone at church who perseveres in trying to make conversation even though I can see it's difficult

#3422  The carriage house (student center) at school with the morning sun streaming in

#3447 An early morning walk to wake myself up after a late night studying!

#3448  "I will wait on Your name, for it is good." (Ps 52)

#3451  My papers submitted, even if they were terrible

 

#3460  Emails from my youngest brother, who promises to teach me some self-defense when I come home

#3461  Sharing a story that shaped me

#3464  Friends who feed me dinner

#3467  A Starbucks gift card from my Dad! 

#3469  An old friend visiting, and time to be still

#3475  A conversion story and the story-teller's joy




 #3476  A friend whose love of ministry is contagiously tangible

 #3477  Iron supplements =)

3482  Coffee, for the seven hour stretches of class

#3484 Trees in bloom

#3485  Kids with wagons

#3486  Facebook messages with a dear Canadian friend, 
keeping each other accountable in our devotions for the week

#3491  A Sunday afternoon picnic and first bit of a sunburn this year


 

Alright, now to work =)  





3/10/14

rebellious heart




I've been that girl
beating my wings against the bars of grace
desperately restless
I've been that girl
running, running cold
hiding away inside myself
I've been that girl
but it's one step after the other
and it's a wrestling
gasping mercy
drowning in love
and it burns white hot
because I've always been pursued
I've always been hedged in
and even when it hurts, 
I am held
and here I struggle
and today, I am so content
but even when I find myself wearing through my shoes again
on the road, wandering again
always I am home.
With You.


2/26/14

scripture for sufferers



Dear one – yes you with the pain hidden in your eyes
And the shoulders slumped with the weight of it all
Did you know? 
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
I know you ask, what does that even mean?
It weighs a hundred pounds
Yes, but He’s carried millions
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
We belittle; mock Him as He hangs naked and suffocating
We shudder; pronounce Him disgusting
Not seeing – that is us
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The bruises, the lashes, the hellfire, they were yours
Come, weary one, lay your wounds in His lap
He holds you in His infinite battle-scarred hands
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
Yes, peace – in this broken world it is possible
Past this broken world it is sure, complete
And by His stripes
Ah!  The blood spurts, washes over
“See how I love you.”
We are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5
 

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Sometimes I am melodramatic... Bear with me. My favorite thing is finding hope in hard places. If you enjoyed something (or not) I would love to hear from you! You can make me very happy by leaving a comment :)

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