Thursday, April 29, 2010


"The great weakness in the North American church at large, and certainly in my life, is our refusal to accept our brokenness. We hide it, evade it, gloss over it. We grab for the cosmetic kit and put on our virtuous face to make ourselves admirable to the public. Thus, we present to others a self that is spiritually together, superficially happy, and lacquered with a sense of self-depricating humor that passes for humility...we have not come to terms with the tragic flaw in our lives: the brokenness that is proper to the human condition -Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust [122].

Humility - a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness. Manning takes it a step further to say humble men and women have "NO opinion of themselves, because they so rarely think about themselves" [120]. How cool is that!? A humble person is completely overwhelmed by our God - so blown away by His creation and left craving more. A humble person's heart, mind and life are CONSUMED with the desire to know the Lord's thoughts, His heart and His will. A humble person's identity does not derive from their profession, their relationship/socioeconomic status, or what they look like - their identity is found in the Lord. A humble person accepts his brokenness - he is authentic with where he's at: his struggles, his fears, the real condition of his heart. While a humble person exposes his brokenness, he finds joy in his weakness, for it is in our own weakness that the Lord's strength is most seen.

Lord, make me humble. Humble me, humble my heart. Consume my life. Lord, bring me to my knees - a true position of humbleness and a place to acknowledge that I am nothing and You are everything. May i kneel in Your awesome presence. Expose my brokenness. Shed Your light into the darkest and most inner places of my heart, that i have kept hidden. I want to be real. I want to see churches everywhere - the body of Christ - cast off their masks and be true to the broken conditions of their hearts. Break us, God. Humble us. May humility invade the churches - let us become so real with one another. Shed your light through any darkness. And through humility, God, may we rest, on bended knee, in Your presence. May we crave nothing more but to bow at Your feet. Let us lose ourselves in our brokenness, cast ourselves at Your feet, and find our identity in You. At Your feet does Your grace and Your mercy consume our brokenness and give us a name. I love You. I want more of You, God. Break me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Painting is my new fix :) All these images and ideas are filling my mind that i cannot wait to paint! The one i finished tonight reflects a place of turmoil and darkness amidst the crashing waves of a brutal storm. It's a mixture of Matt 8:23-27, Psalm 107:28-30 and other scripture. I've found myself in this volatile ocean time and time again in the past few months. And, though God calms the seas and brings comfort and relief, He still allows the waves to crash against my vessel and is leading me through the roughest waters.
As i sketched the piece and Googled pictures, i "stumbled" across this page of poems. The first one was SO dead on - to the image i had envisioned myself painting, and to the place the Lord is calling me through. I could not believe it. Truly, this was no coincidence. It was definitely a blessing and God used it to speak to my heart in this very place.

"The Blessing of a Storm"
by Wendy Greiner Lefko

I did not know His love before,
the way i know it now.
I could not see my need for Him,
my pride would not allow.

I had it all, without a care,
the "self-sufficient" lie.
My path was smooth, my sea was still,
not a cloud was in my sky.

I thought i knew His love for me,
I thought I'd seen His grace,
I thought i did not need to grow,
I thought I'd found my place.

But then the way grew rough and dark,
the storm clouds quickly rolled;
The waves began to rock my ship,
I found I had no hold.

The ship that i had built myself
was made of foolish pride,
It fell apart and left me bare,
with nowhere else to hide.

I had no strength or faith to face
the trials that lay ahead,

And so i simply spoke His name
and bowed my weary head.

His loving arms enveloped me,
and then He helped me stand,
He said, "You still must face this storm,
but i will hold your hand."

So through the dark and lonely night
He guided me through pain.
I could not see the light of day
or when I'd smile again.

Yet through the pain and endless tears,
my faith began to grow.
I could not see it at the time,
but my light began to glow.

I saw God's love in brand new light,
His grace and mercy, too.
For only when all self was gone could Jesus'
love shine through

It was not easy in the storm,
I sometimes wondered why.
At times I thought, "I can't go on."
I'd hurt, and doubt, and cry.

But Jesus never left my side,
He guided me each day,
Through pain and strife, through fire and flood,
He helped me all the way.

And now i see as ne'er before
how great His love can be,
How in my weakness He is strong,
how Jesus cares for me!

He worked it all out for my good,
although the way was rough,
He only sent me what i could bear,
and then He said, "Enough!"

He raised His hand and said, "Be still!"
He made the storm clouds cease.
He opened up the gates of joy
and flooded me with peace.

I saw His face now clearer still,
I felt His presence strong,
I found anew His faithfulness,
He never did me wrong.

And now i know more storms will come,
but only for my good,
For pain and tears have helped me grow
as nothing ever could.

I still have so much more to learn
as Jesus works in me;
If in the storm I'll love Him more,
that's where i want to be!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Oh my goodness, how i have missed painting. I took a class in high school and LOVED it! But it's one of those things i didn't have much "time for" after the class ended. I'm sick of the busy body-ness this world has come to accept and encourage - always needing to be on the move or working or doing SOMETHING. What about our passions? I've been hoping to learn the guitar (hoping since a mission trip to Poland), grow in photography, paint, and read MORE - as many books as i possibly can before i die. Many of these passions and acts of worship have been put on the back burner, as i've grown accustom to this busy life.

So tonight, I finally bought some water colors and sweet water color paper and painted. I spent time listening to worship and went to town. It is SO amazing. I feel the Lord calling me to stay off facebook for awhile, and just focus on Him. Seriously, what a conviction - facebook satisfies me in a way. It's a place to connect and "get filled" almost, by connecting with people. But i can get so lost in the facebook world (as many of you do too ;P) - when i could spend that time lost in my Savior and dwelling in Him.

Painting is so...symbolic. It takes time and patience. It requires vision. The painting comes together slowly - as you add each brilliant color, and allow the water to seep together, colors colliding and mixing and filling the page. Each form takes shape, slowly but surely. The painting becomes more and more complete as you work on it, spend tedious hours pouring out your heart and your mind and hoping your vision comes to life. Sometimes, your painting is not quite what you imagined. Sometimes, it's better. But either way, it's a work of art. An original. Can you picture our Creator God 'painting' us, the water color? The Potter behind His wheel, shaping us and refining us until we are a useful and sturdy vessel? Something to marvel at, something that reflects the Creator Himself?

Lord, create in me a clean heart. Be the Potter at Your wheel. You want it all. Teach me to slow down and rest in You. Give me a passion to seek you and dwell in Your steadfast love. There is no place I'd rather be. Thank you for art - for painting, for photography, for music, for worship. Thank You for creativity, a tiny taste of You - the most creative and imaginative Artist.

P.S. I'm graduating in two weeks and can't even believe it!! The Lord is merciful and the only source of strength that could've possibly gotten me through!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bits and Pieces of Understanding

1) "You Can Never Really Have Something Until You Give It Away." Once upon a time my fortune cookie said that. And yes, fortunes are silly and random, but i do keep them from time to time. I think this fortune cookie had it right on, even from a Christian perspective - as followers of Christ, we are taught that "...whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" - Matt 10:39. In giving our life away, we find life in Christ and through Christ and for Christ. Not just life, but an abundance of life, full of the reassurance of God's promises. We can't really have life until we give it away and lose it. Recently, I've been learning this about love. Several months ago, i had to do one of the hardest things i've ever done in my short, teeny weeny lifespan: I had to give up someone i love. The love i had was true and it was good, but it was also stunted and tarnished. When I finally relented and gave in to the Lord's leading, He affirmed the truth within that love. He also convicted me of the futile areas within my heart and my life: I looked to other relationships to fill a void (in which God could and can fill alone, on purpose). I let anger control me, selfishness have dominion over me. I did not truly trust the Lord - following Him in this decision and letting go was one of the first steps in learning to trust in His faithfulness. Eleven months ago, I was a disgusting, sinful wreck. God called me into the wilderness, He begged me to leave that life behind and seek Him.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone..."

-Song of Solomon 2:12-11

Boy oh boy, did God and does God have a plan for my life. In these past months, He's matured me, refined me, grown me more into the woman He created me to be. It has been a painful, exhausting and weary journey. To be honest, I've loathed parts of it. I've questioned Him and whined and groaned for much of the way. But God's work is perfect and spans further than the human eye or mind can comprehend. I realized, eleven months ago, that i wasn't able to love the man i loved wholly and selflessly and as he deserved; as God intended love to look like. And God used this desire for that man and that "true" love to be restored as a catalyst to this journey on which He's led me. It was an indicator that things needed to change, a reminder that we cannot fully love another creature until we love God. He taught me that we must be complete as individuals, know who we are in Him, and have a firm foundation, rooted in Him before we can fully love another.

You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God - C.S. Lewis

And so, now, eleven months later, I am still on a journey. Only this time, it's into the unknown future, with a hope in the Lord's glory and power and wisdom. I am still a disgusting, sinful wreck, as i was when i first embarked on this journey. Only now, i hold more steadfastly to the promise of God's salvation and a hope in the Lord. I am learning to trust Him whole-heartedly and long for the day He heals my heart completely. I want to seek Him and pursue life for His glory alone. I had to give a mini, stunted version of love away to find LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. The true, divine, perfect, unending, unconditional source of Love; the kind that comes from God alone.

2) You make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We face temptation, struggles and hardships so we can encourage and share in the struggles and painful journeys of others. Though every situation is different, our struggles provide doors to sharing God's grace and mercy. Our hardships, temptations, sins, and conquered sins are areas that allow us to boast about the Lord as the Redeemer, a source of Strength in our weakness, and a God that makes all things new. He conquered the grave, He conquered our sins, we just have to surrender to Him and feel His overwhelming power. In that previous relationship, I understand that temptations presented themselves and i reacted out of weakness. Even at the cost of that relationship, i wouldn't have it any other way. The Lord has provided an area to relate to students in junior/senior high, even to adults that have given in to temptation, struggles, lust. And in the journey that has followed, He has led me through times of sorrow, of broken heartstrings, and other temptations. But, oh my goodness, I find joy and peace that i may share in the deepest hurts of others and point to God's unending, unfailing love, forgiveness and faithfulness. Thank You, God.

"As Henri Nouwen once remarked, "One of the most arduous spiritual tasks is that of giving up control and allowing the Spirit of God to lead our lives." On the other hand, presumption is such an insidious perversion that trust is not merely tainted but corrupted by it. In presumption, we assign to God the task of doign for us what we should be doing for ourselves." -Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning [115].

3) I know jack squat. Nothing. NOTHING. I don't "feel" like i trust God more or that He's really been working in me. But i can sense it. As i draw close to Him, He draws close to me. When i am willing to surrender, to allow the Lord to do a work in me, He does and He will. WOW. I don't get to know the big picture, the whole reason why. And i finally accept that. In some twisted way, i've found peace in that. I must keep my gaze so steadfast on the Lord and Him alone. He reveals things to us when our hearts our ready. And that, my friends, is beautiful.

Truly, you are a God who hides himself... -Isaiah 45:15 (ESV)
Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways -Isaiah 45:15 (NLT)

Keep me trusting, Lord. Keep me focused on You. Your will, God, not mine. Your way, Your heart, Your love.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

-Isaiah 55:8-9

"Often trust begins on the far side of despair. When all human resources are exhausted, when the craving for reassurances is stifled, when we forgo control, when we cease trying to manipulate God and demystify Mysery, then - at our wits' end - trust happens within us, and the untainted cry, "Abba, into your hands i commend my spirit" surges from the heart." - Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust [117].

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Thanksgiving II: Chicago and 'My Place'

Into your hand i commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God -Psalm 31:5

Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and i walk in your faithfulness.

- Psalm 26:2-3

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of the drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit"
-Jeremiah 17:7-8

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"And behold, i am coming soon...Surely i am coming soon." - Revelation 22:7, 20

I heard Hillsong/Brooke Fraser's song Soon for the first time yesterday. What a song full of promise and reassurance of the Lord's power and glory and honor. I look forward to the promise, the Lord is coming soon. Until then, my heart holds fast to Him, hopes in His salvation and will strive to bring Him glory. Nothing compares to His steadfast love - do you realize how often those two words appear in the bible? In the Psalms alone? Steadfast. Love. His love holds strong and true. And He is coming soon.

Bless the Lord, O my soul...who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy..." -Psalm 103:3-4

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. - 1 John 3:2-3

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. -2 Corinth 3:18

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So i will bless you as long as i live; in your name i will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied... -Psalm 63:3-5

Can you picture the glorious scene in Revelation? The elders and angels gathering around His throne, casting down their crowns and their own glories in awe and reverence. I think this is my favorite verse in the song: the procession of the elders and angels.At His feet i lay my crowns, my worship. Laying down our crowns at His feet and acknowledging His awesome glory, soon united with the one we Love, the one who Loves us wholly. Can it get any better?

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne saying, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." -Revelation 4:9-11

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tear Down the Walls: Hillsong Concert Reflections

Seeing Hillsong in Chicago was a dream come true! What an amazing worship team, anointed church and men and women of faith! I had the opportunity to visit one of their church campuses when i was in Sydney the Christmas day before last. And i secretly wish i could go back in time and attend their college in Sydney...i guess there's maybe still time for that, huh? :) Anyways, the concert was absolutely...NEEDED. A breath of fresh air, an encouragement, amazing. I love when concerts become about glorifying God and worshipping God with fellow brothers and sisters, and less about the group themselves. What an act of humiliation and worshipping our Savior! Though i just returned from a seven hour drive and have much more to reflect on, I felt an urgency to write a few things that God has been revealing to me, changing in me and things He affirmed at the concert.

1) The concert - the worship was astounding. Joel Houston and the Hillsong team are truly inspiring! To see how they "made themselves available" for the Lord to work in them and through them is AMAZING! There were times during the worship God just really broke me down. Literally - i was moved to tears. Like, i could not stop crying if i tried! It was so LIBERATING and FREEING. Tears of joy in knowing the Lord was breaking me and continues to do so more as I "make myself available". I don't think there's much that is more beautiful than worshipping Our Creator and Beloved Father with thousands of fellow believers, striving to know HIM and MORE OF HIM!

2) One of the songs that absolutely hit my heart was "Tear Down the Walls". Wow. I can not describe the...fulness i felt in that moment. Just pressing into to the Lord and lifting my hands in sweet surrender and worship brought a sense of wholeness. Truly, i could and would stay in that moment for eternity. Worshipping Him, trusting Him, and seeking Him is where i want to be. During that song, I just felt a lot of my own walls crash down. I felt an overpowering reassurance and a desire for the walls of people all over this world to be torn down and replaced with the unshakable and unfathomable love of Jesus Christ!

Look to the skies, hope arise,
see His majesty revealed.
More than this life, there is LOVE,
there is hope and this is real.

I was reminded of a thought that had plagued my mind a couple of years ago, and a discussion i had with someone that was very dear to my heart -why do people stop loving each other? How does that happen? I had this image of each of us - whether it be in a romantic relationship, friendship, etc. building up walls of hurt, anger and fear - brick by brick, unknown to the other person in that relationship until it was towering between the two of them/us. We build walls. To "protect ourselves" or even to isolate ourselves. I have to pray and dwell more on why the Lord brought this thought back to me in that moment, but this is the facebook note that i wrote a couple years ago that briefly touches on this idea HERE

Lord, no more walls. Tear them down, in Your name. No more darkness, no more isolation. May we see You in Your glory. Tear down our walls. Break any barriers that inhibit us from loving our brothers and sisters. Our friend. Our spouse. Reveal Yourself to those that have built up a wall isolating them from YOU, the One True Source of LOVE UNENDING!!!

3) In that time of worship, I had this image involving focus. Yes, it may have been sparked from looking through and figuring out my new lens during the concert (haha), but whatever the case, the idea of "focus" was laid on my heart. As i praised God with my eyes shut, truly "focused" on Him, I pictured the entire room and all that surrounded me go in and out of focus - the hands raised in adoration, the band, everything. It was as if I was looking beyond that - seeing past the walls that enclosed the venue, and just picturing Christ - His hands outstretched and opened towards the heavens, taking in all His creation. As everything around me continued to zoom in and out of focus, the image of Jesus never did. He remained the center of the image, everything revolving around Him. He is the only constant, the only thing we can rely on for eternity.

...let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith... -Hebrews 12:2

4) I had a weird dream a few nights ago. I'm not usually one to study my dreams, as a lot of them are absurd, silly ones that seem to be nothing but compilations of thoughts, ideas, and people that are on your mind. But this one was different. While a couple people in it may have been on my mind that day, the idea of the dream was different. I dreamt Scripture - that's DEFINITELY a first for me. Since this was new, I didn't just forget about the dream. After talking to my mentor, I feel an affirmation that the dream was about of one my biggest fears - a fear i haven't been able to let go of. And, while my biggest fear came true in the dream, the Scripture that someone spoke into it was an affirmation of God's power and truth and love. While someday, this fear may very well come true, God is so much bigger than my fears. I'm not going to get into the dream, but the scriptures that were so clearly spoken in the dream were: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" -1 John 4:18 and "Even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" -Psalm 23:4

5) I want nothing to stand in my way and inhibit me from following God to the ends of the earth. Wherever He leads, I want to go. No hesitations, no second thoughts. I want to follow Him. A year ago, I wouldn't have wanted to leave the familiarity. Now, i want nothing more but to seek Him wholeheartedly.

Let us make ourselves available to the Lord.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I've Found a Love

Lord, I am reminded by Your unfailing love each and every day. Your mercies are new every morning. My soul makes its boast in You, my hope and joy is in You alone.

Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him -C.S. Lewis, Prayer of Praise

"When i call on Your name, You answer.
When i fall, You are there by my side.
You delivered me out of my darkness.
Now i stand in the hope of new life.

By grace, I'm free,
You've rescued me.
Now all i am is Yours.

I found a love, greater than life itself.
I found a hope stronger and nothing compares
I once was lost, now I'm alive in You.
I come alive in You.

You're my God and my firm Foundation.
It is You whom I'll trust at all times.
I give glory and praise, adoration
to my Savior who's seated on high."
-I've Found a Love

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scissors, Prayer & El Salvador

My dear friend, Lindsay Stadler shared with me a truly accurate representation of us (well, me in this case) giving God control. Her pastor used the analogy of his grandson holding a pair of scissors. When the pastor asked his two-year-old grandson to give him the scissors, the grandson put the scissors down. Right by his side, still within his reach. Do you get it?! A lot of times, when God asks us to give something up, to surrender something and give it over to Him, we don't comply. Or we're convinced we've given that thing, that situation, or that person "over to Him" when really, we have "put them down" right next to us, where they're still within our reach and able to be picked up again whenever we choose. As scissors are dangerous to a two year old who does not fully know about the sharp edges, how to handle and hold them, a lot of the things the Lord asks us to give up are dangerous to us and where our hearts are at. The things we hold onto inhibit us from trusting Him truly, letting go and letting God have it ALL. This image was right on; it matched my heart and what God has been calling me to do. I've been holding the scissors. They have cut me, deeper than i know. What I've held on to has wounded me. And though there have been times where I let it go, it's always been set right next to me. Within reach. Time to place it in My Father's hands. Time to lay it on the altar. Lindsay came over today and just prayed with me, in my favorite place at the U of M campus (by the river :P). She even brought a balloon over and i "let it go" :). What a sacred place - a place I've built my altar, a place where God has exchanged beauty for ashes and is creating in me a clean heart. Thank you GOD, for new life. And for dear friends like Linds.
"Even the weakest saint can experience the power of the deity of the Son of God, when he is willing to "let go." But any effort to "hang on" to the least bit of our own power will only diminish the life of Jesus in us. We have to keep letting go, and slowly, but surely, the great full life of God will invade us, penetrating every part. Then Jesus will have complete and effective dominion in us, and people will take notice that we have been with Him." -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (April 12)

This weekend, I've really felt God calling me to examine how i pray and commune with Him. I love love LOVE to worship, to dance around my room and just feel His presence in music. Sometimes, I cry out and plead with Him, call out to Him, tell Him what's on my heart and the desires in which i hope in. But sitting in silence, in reverence, and just taking Him in is SO hard for me. I think if we all looked at our lifestyles, sitting in silence and BASKING in Him is a difficult concept to grasp for us busy bodies. But it is necessary and absolutely essential in coming to know Christ and His heart. When we sit in silence, when we truly DWELL and take the time to let all worries, concerns and preoccupations fall out of our heads, we are able to find His peace. Sometimes, i think we don't "hear" the Lord because we don't allow Him a time or place to speak. He knows what's on our heart, and in those moments when we sit in silence with Him, He is able to have His will. His way. He is able to bring us His overwhelming peace and truly do a work in us. I'm spending the next couple weeks focusing on a Centering Prayer: repeating one WORD about God or a phrase from scripture and whispering it for fifteen minutes or more, allowing God in (for example, peace, Jesus, Lover, Redeemer, Healer, and i chose Beloved). BAHHH it's so hard to make my brain just STOP sometimes. But i know prayer is a discipline and it will take time; it will truly be worth it to know Him more. I encourage YOU to take time to dwell in Him. In silence. Thank you, lovely mentor for lending me this handbook :)
In other news, tonight the El Salvador team met for the first time! Oh my goodness, I am so excited to see the Lord move - in each team member as we prepare for the trip, in uniting us as a team, and in the hearts of those we'll meet during our time in El Salvador and Guatemala. I'm leading the trip with Brie and Nathan - two amazing followers of the Lord, who are so passionate and welcoming. I CAN NOT WAIT! And the team - 16ish high schoolers just opened up and poured out in fellowship after minutes of knowing each other! Mmm God, you're doing a work in them, in each one of us. Prepare our hearts. Let us trust You will provide the funding and are paving the way. May we follow after You and seek Your glory alone. Mm, what joy this meeting has brought me. What a reassurance and a peace to my heart :) I'll definitely be keeping you guys posted - we leave in the middle of July! If you are interested in praying/giving/ANYTHING don't hesitate to contact me :)

What a night - a night of letting go, trusting in the Lord and marveling at His ways and works.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


"Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."
-C.S. Lewis, Hope (from The Joyful Christian).

Lewis goes on to explain that the offerings of this world include the greatest marriage, the most beautiful sites and scenery, a job that is the perfect fit for you - the "best possible [things]". Even the greatest of these would leave us wanting more, hoping for more. Lewis emphasizes the importance of allowing our minds to be "occupied with heaven". For if our thoughts are focused on the hope of the next world, the everlasting and perfect after life spent in the presence of the Lord, our temporary lives here on earth will be lived more fully.

What are my hopes? What are my sincere hopes for something more, things that are not yet seen? As I meditated on the works of Lewis, paired with John Piper and Scripture, I dwelled on this thought. Introspectively, I hope for the day God will "wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away [Rev 21:4]". I long for the day the Lord will make all things new [Rev 21:5], the day He will create in me a clean heart. I ultimately long for a wholeness that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. While i accept my present conditions, I hope for the day I am free from heartbreak, from sorrow, from pain.

I hope for a steadfast and unshakeable union - the lifelong journey a single wedding day celebrates. I hope for a love that goes so far beyond the white wedding dress, the flowers and that diamond ring. I want a love that wouldn't mind being celebrated in burlap sacks in the middle of the street with nothing but a string tied around my finger. Okay, yes, that is slightly exaggerated, but the love-everlasting is the love i hope for. Not the day. And for now, my heart is at a place where only the Lord can satiate this desire. It is Him, it is Him tying the string around my finger, clothing me in white. For isn't a marriage just that - a hope in and tiny piece of the most unconditional, perfect and everlasting source of Love that exists?
I hope for our eyes to look to heaven, for our hearts to find rest there, for our souls to find a passion and a longing to live for the day Hope comes to earth. I hope for chains to be broken, for the Spirit of the Lord to bring freedom, and for us to truly crave the single source of Hope. To know and follow hard after it.

What do you HOPE for? What are the things not yet seen that you HOPE to know? To see? To experience?

"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience - and with joy (Romans 8:24-25). Therefore, "rejoice in hope!" (Romans 12:12). This will prove to be your strength in the Lord. " -John Piper, [Taste and See, 256].

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. - Romans 12:12

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wordless Thanksgiving...sort of

I love the idea of blog posts that are solely pictures - pictures i've taken, artistic shots, recent happenings, photos that bring me joy...the works. So, picture-only posts may come up more often. This 'wordless' post is full of the blessings and fun times i've captured in the past three weeks :). I had the honor of taking engagement pictures for a beautiful couple and brother and sister in Christ: Luke Olsen and his fiance Macai. I went to Hawaii with the family. I went on a night photo shoot with my dear friend Kelli. A quick overnight trip to spend some time with my cousin at St Bens. I spent some time with two beautiful ladies who have absolutely touched my heart - Emily and Kylie :).

But i would also like to post a prayer my counselor showed me on Friday that brought me to tears. It's so where i'm at, it's my plea and the prayer that God has been preparing me for. I hope it reaches anyone of you in a similar place, those of you in need of letting go of something :)

The Welcoming Prayer
(Gently become aware of your body and your interior state)

Welcome, welcome, welcome
I welcome everything that comes to me in thi moment
because i know it is for my healing.
I welome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations and conditions.

I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.

I let go of my desire to change any
situation, condition,
person, or myself.

I open to the
love and presence of God
the healing action and grace within.
-Mary Mrozowski (1925-1993)
The creator and spiritual mother of the welcoming prayer practice