August

To death!

 

I wonder what it’s like knowing not of death –

Breathing in freely, each being a long, lasting breath.

Not fighting, but staring up, up at the sky!

Enjoying, refreshing, knowing I will never die.

 

Much of my life I’ve thought of death –

I’ve thought about how this could be the last breath.

I’ve looked up and shouted, “take me in, sky!”

Hoping, wishing, waiting, pleading to die.

 

Then, others fear the end as final – death-

They charish every single, little, frail breath.

They shout, “Please! Don’t every take me, sky!”

And wonder why, oh why, do I have to die?

 

Either way, I know – I do not fear death –

Able to be grateful, but not cling to every breath.

We eternal can go fly up, up to the sky!

And know my Father did not create me to die.

July

To Be Found

Who is lost?
Not I! I am found.
So up high, away from the ground
I can’t even see
any near me
I am so found
I can’t hear a sound!

Yet I am alone
with no one, nor home
I have to fight
just to see a light
I think I can go
But I just sink below
I am lost. I need found

But he has come, to gather me up
To give me love, when I can’t get up
To love me (even when no one else does) [bad, elli]
And give me a home no matter what.
Oh, how I long to be found – again, and again, so close to your sound
It picks me up, as I drop down.
Oh Father, don’t ever put me down!

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what is lost.” – Luke 19:10

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

June

Never Good

Frustration isn’t kindled, it’s explosive
That consumes heatedly emotive

Set off by expectations wildly high
That I myself set, but cannot get by

My heart crumbles when I get to see
How terrible I must really be

I struggle and fight and work so hard
Just to be good enough, but I’m barred

I try and try and try without hope
Oh, will good ever be in my scope?

No, it won’t. I never will.
I’ll always, always, always be ill.

May

Some Faith

Sometimes I slip,
Or someone slips,
Or life slips,
All the ways –
I end up on the ground.

Maybe not too bad,
Maybe pretty bad,
But to me it seems
I’m stuck on the ground.

And I try everything –
Over & over –
But nothing seems to work.

I’m stuck right here with no help,
Or so it seems to work.

Yet He calls me to listen,
Even from my lowly position

Calling me to look up.

 

“rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”

Dinner with Prati

Prati walked up to the porch looking like a queen – her golden sari shining. I never imagined I would see her in the USA – let alone in my childhood home!

She hugged each one of us and remembered details about our lives. Oh, how could she? As the wife of the president of a large ministry in India, they have teams from the US over there all the time, but she remembered. 

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There are some people that you connect with, but then there are those that change your life. (I know, I can be pretty overdramatic, but this is true!*) She is one of them. Prati is married to Sam Stephens, president of a flourishing ministry in India that works in rural villages. They reach some people who have literally never heard about God before or never heard the name Jesus. And then they get to see God transform their lives, person by person, ignited with new life. And Prati is God’s vessel for ignition. She heads up “Women With a Mission,” a ministry that serves women in India by giving them the ability to spread the Gospel through training and discipleship. This is TOTALLY revolutionary – women in rural Indian villages most of the time have no purpose.

Prati’s mission is to preach the reality of the new life in Christ. Her ministry is with women who have been told they are nothing their whole lives. They are viewed as objects or inconveniences to those around them, they have no confidence. So, Prati LOVES telling them about their new life in Christ. When they ask God to come into their lives and take away their sin, everything changes. They can put off completely their old identity of nothing and take on this new identity of being everything. She says, “These women need to know that they mean everything to Jesus.” 

This is profound to me. In the USA, whether we try to or not, we’re all about works and success. Even those who have a relationship with God for years can get crushed when we look around and see we don’t have any ministry or that we aren’t highly esteemed by our peers. That’s what we want: recognition, pride, confidence – in what we’ve accomplished. 

So, I think what Prati says to those women in India is very humbling to a woman in the US to hear – instead of trying and striving and shame in failure, the only thing that should have that much impact on my life is Christ in me. The only thing that matters is how He views me. It doesn’t matter what I think of myself, or how I view my weaknesses, I should celebrate Christ in me. He’s the only thing about me that matters… He makes me EVERYTHING to God, and that changes EVERYTHING. 

This is what I want to preach to those around me, too. So many are broken, defeated and left with no hope. I’m seeing it younger & younger as I get to work with high schoolers – they feel they are nothing since they are treated as such and they look for significance from anything. It causes much more hurt when they do this. (When I do it, too!) I don’t think I do this enough: preach new identity in Christ. I want to! Just having this reminder has pushed me to pursue God on another level – it connects the gap between us because there is no gap! He is in me! I want to pursue who is my heavenly Father and what he wants to do through me! It’s Ephesians 1:1-14 – all of those blessings, all of those truths about Christ and what he’s given to us. It is a powerful fact that changes entire lives. 

—> The time with her was warm and honest. Were we back in India, again? We ate, laughed, caught up a little and then she told us about how the Lord is moving in India. She spoke of four new regions of India that God has allowed India Gospel League – and specifically her ministry, Women With A Mission – to enter to spread the Gospel of Jesus. She spoke of amazing things such as women never knowing that they could have a purposeful relationship with the Lord, never knowing of their significance to Him, and women’s prayers answered left and right. She spoke of God giving her the ability to preach in a language she only studied in school 40 years ago! 

Someone should write a book about this lady. This was the second time I have met her, but the more I learn about her walk with the Lord, the more profound my view of Him becomes. She is so faithful to God because she has a very deep, emotional, close relationship with Him. She is human – she has been through many struggles! She has encountered many sins! But she always seems to go to God first. She’s been through much hurt, too. The way she speaks to the heart of the insecure makes so much sense. She’s seen her lot of hardships. But she also knows how diligent the Lord is to come through on his promises. 

—> She shared with us what she has been learning about prayer. She is always learning something as she walks with God! She realized that every time she prayed, it’s as if she swiped her credit card – “God, I need this. Please & thank you.” But as she studied Luke 11:1 and Matthew 6, it became more apparent that what God wants from us in prayer is constant, honest, reliant communication spurred from a close, intimate relationship with him. Not only asking for our daily needs, which are SO hard to see past! But for the greater things! Because if we really knew him, we would be ABLE to SEE that HE is ABLE to accomplish MUCH more than just: “Please, help me pass this test, provide me a job, etc.” He is able to change eternities. 

And then, we got to pray with her. Her prayers are deep, emotional, hopeful, and encouraging. She knows God so deeply. She prayed for so many things I never thought to pray for. But she had such confidence God heard her and already had a solution because that is how much he cares for us. 

My goal is to be like Prati. I want to know God this closely – close enough to pray to Him like she does. Close enough to want his glory more than my own. Close enough to kneel before him in reliance. Close enough to have joy in EVERY circumstance. Close enough to praise him for every good thing…

Close enough to be able to look a woman in the eye, as she did to me, and tell her: “You are significant and important. You are right, not because of who you are, but because you have a Father that invested into you. You are here for a very great purpose – DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” 

*Prati changed my life in a few ways, no lie. But the largest way is this: while we were in India, she had all the women at the conferences pray that I find a good husband and get married. At the time, Zak & I had been broken up and going through much breaking. She told me this later, but she knew Zak from his time in India and prayed we could be together, if in God’s will. So, I owe this lady a LOT! – Isn’t that cool?! 

Getting caught

Voices shoot past, incomprehensible.

Screams, laughs; flying by so fast.

Some faces you catch, others keep going

Always moving, never slowing.

 

Lives, just ending. Running into darkness.

No one can stop us, no one can save us.

Here we go, into the dark.

To death we race, our lives we pace.

 

But I got caught.

Before the pit, was a net

And it caught me in its soft threads

Before I hit that endless pit.

 

I landed and there were others

All around me! Looking around, free.

We laughed, we leaned, we breathed

It was so good, so good we could.

 

Suddenly, I remembered again:

The fast faces, missing the graces!

Others thought, too. They reached, grabbing

Hoping for some to just grab and come.

 

Few did, more didn’t.

It was hope making, and heartbreaking.

Some rejected, but some grabbed hold,

Happy to stop, happy not to drop.

 

And so we are, safe, but sad.

Reaching for those who reject,

Hoping they wake up,

And stop soaring to death.

January

“Positive Poison”

 

Stop poisoning ourselves!
Unfortunately, this may be seen as an anthem
for the poor & beaten down
to rise up for themselves
and own their thrown.

But it isn’t.

Who else is sick of ppl
Lying themselves into a “better” reality
Who should rather take a look
Into what their actual reality is —
Really closing down this fake reality —
And realizing — reality is needed.

The way it really is.

So, please stop.
Stop “changing today” and
“Choosing good vibes only” and
“Cutting out negative people” —
Aren’t we ALL negative ppl ?? —
That’s why we hit against each other oh so hard
(Didn’t we learn about this in high school?
Two negatives don’t attract –
I think. Never was good at science)

Negative can’t fix another negative
Without an extra-outside-positive source
(Sounds like I passed)

Why can’t we all stop PRETENDING
and admit, we need help.

We ARE NOT strong enough to face everything.
LIFE SUCKS – stop painting it prettier
DEAL with your problem.
SEEK help –
From someone
who can actually
help you,
Son.

I May Be Creating Fireworks on a Blank Page?

Recently, I’ve been looking forward to a trip I am taking to – drumroll – ISRAEL! I cannot believe we get to go there in less than a month – and by “we” I mean with around 40 of my friends! I have always wanted the opportunity to travel to another country with a group of my friends. Whenever I have gone somewhere, I think of how certain friends would react. So, going to Israel has me so excited for that reason… SO excited that I thought I’d write a pre-Israel blog, like the one I wrote before going to India last summer, but different.

When this trip was first proposed, the above excitement was all that I had: I was excited to go somewhere with all of my friends! But that’s it. I never felt the desire to go to Israel… I mean, in all of the children’s books and portrayals of Jerusalem I’ve seen, it seems like a dusty, plain place. (Although, that’s the reaction I had to India before going: it wasn’t anywhere I could imagine myself enjoying.) Since actually and financially committing to this trip, I’ve started to do some research into what this land is that we are travelling and spending much mula to go. Why, again? I know Jesus was there, or whatever, but why?

And so, this is what I’ve been asking God lately – what’s the point of going to Israel?

I’ve started reading this book (I am not nearly done, but will finish!) called “The Israelis”. It’s not about Israel’s past, rather, about its present. How do people live day to day in Israel – a country full of history, culture, and turmoil. What surprised me is the tremendous amount of differences you will find in the people of Israel… I forgot – they’ve come from all over the world! Literally! Even Lithuanian Jews moved to Israel when it was birthed. This is amazing!

As I thought about it, why I want to go to Israel now: to be where Jesus was.

Life’s been hard, lately. Not anything tramatic – just, hard. I’ve found myself looking to the past with longing – why can’t life be as exciting or fun as it was two years ago? Why can’t I go back to India and stay there? It’s been a suffering-ish long, low period with little to look forward to, except this trip. On my desk I have Psalm 9:1 posted so I must see it every day: “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds!” Sometimes I read it and laugh – HA! Nothing is wonderful right now! Everything is hard. Nothing is going the way it should. Life lacks excitement. It’s hard to keep hope without having much good news in ministry.

But, as my wise, younger sister reminded me: Paul didn’t have much good news, either. Neither did Abraham… Nothing they really wanted to happen actually happened. Paul was in jail for a few years at a time – that must have been bleak. But he kept hoping! Even Peter, messing up so drastically, (same, Peter, same) was able to rebound and continue in triumph.

What makes me different from them? I’m only looking at the surface results while they were able to experience the joy of being suspended in God’s plan of goodness. They were able to know God so closely, they celebrated everything because he was worth fighting for… And that’s what I’m looking forward to with Israel. I look forward to getting a deeper understanding of the life of Christ, which could not have been filled with many “good things” – I mean, we know this. Yet, in the midst of a world that hated him, he pressed on knowing how good his Father was. That brings me to tears. I see how hard it is to continue when it looks like everything’s falling apart. I see the doubt creeping into my day to day. I see how enslaving these thoughts and feeling are – how restricting they are in keeping us away from knowing the true goodness of our Father – I WILL give thanks to you! I WILL tell of all your wonderful deeds! I won’t let my faith in His goodness die just because it’s getting harder.

I wrote this a few weeks ago and since have started the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4 I was reminded that entering God’s rest means having faith… Rest in the midst of hurt, pain, storms – all happens from faith in who God is, what he wants, and how he has created us to be. I want to get there. Every time I read it, I realize I’m so far away from resting in God, but it’s comforting knowing that’s an option.

Thank you, Lord, for dealing with me so gently and so patiently. Thank you for giving me a chance to learn what I need to learn – even if it takes awhile. Thank you for showing me who you are again & again & disproving my thoughts that affect my life that say: you are not good. Because you are so, SO good.

 

 

Well, that kills my one-blog-per-month goal… so here’s a pic of the cutest kitten you’ll ever see:

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Look at that fuzz….