Monday, March 30, 2015

you've been bleeding all this time



Do you ever listen to a song a thousand times over but don't catch its meaning until that blessed thousandth and first listen? That happened to me last night at 3 a.m. I won't tell you what song it was, but it hit me hard. I've been so caught up in music, so infatuated with sound, that I've been failing to perceive the poetry of lyrics.

Bands Currently Breaking Me: 

  • Noah & the Whale
  • Freelance Whales

...I promise I'm not obsessed with whales.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

everything changes



I'm feeling particularly nostalgic today. 

It's always weird coming home. Suddenly, it's Spring Break, and I'm no longer in my dorm at college, but back in my bedroom. All of my Bible Institute friends are in separate states right now, enjoying time with family. Last night I went back to the church I grew up, and things were different. Odd. On top of that, my best friend is getting married in six months, and I am the maid of honor. I'm also listening to the Head & the Heart on vinyl, so that adds to the feels. I'm not poetic, I'm not making sense right now. But all I know is life is always moving. You can't expect to leave a place and have the people you left behind to have put their lives on pause for you. 

In short, I don't know much of anything anymore. But God does. He is the constant. And He has a plan. Even when I can't see it. 

"Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen." ~ Psalm 77:19

Friday, March 27, 2015

i will make you believe you are lovely

Oh my glorious God, You have permission to change everything about me and my life. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spirit, eat up my selfishness



Oh, I think to myself 
All I think about is myself 
In my cell.

Anticipating a wicked awesome Spring Break, starting tomorrow morning, right after my last exam. It's going to be stellar jamz, yo. But also really praying that God would break me of myself. I've seen so much selfishness in my behavior these last weeks at school. At the very least, my internal life is all about me. Christ has shown me today that I act as if I am on the throne. It's a very dull way to live. But, I want Him to reign! And I always find that when I serve selflessly through His strength, I am 10 times more joyful than I am when I do whatever I want. Rid me of myself.

"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." ~ 2nd Corinthians 5:13-15

Monday, March 23, 2015

tonight i saw a firefly

There were nine bunnies secluded in a wood.

The first bunny liked observing the others.
The second preferred to sit and observe only the first.
The third bunny didn't like talking to people.
The fourth was personable.
Bunny number five thought very highly of herself.
The sixth fancied reclining upon a tree.
The seventh bunny often found himself pondering pensive thoughts.
The eighth was constantly scheming.
And the ninth embraced the fact that he was a bunny more than any of the others could ever hope to.

"If you are afraid, don't be. I have the whole thing planned. We'll start in the ocean, baby, and when we find the land, we will be thankful to all our friends, that they didn't leave us as we got to the end."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

gold and bright and something like shining

I saw you today.
In my mind's eye.
The music always brings you.
You were dancing on the opposite side of the sunflower field.
Sunlight, golden, fleeting, feeling.
Catch you on the flip side, friend.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

be concerned

Growing up is strange.

I never would have thought that the four girls in this picture would all attend the Word of Life Bible Institute one day. And I am amazed; I stand in awe of God's plan for my life. Whatever He has planned for today, I welcome with open arms. Even though a lot of what has happened thus far is not what I have chosen, He knows what is best. He knows. Sometimes I'm afraid that I just trudge through life instead of dancing through days. My theology professor is constantly stressing that we all just need to enjoy this life greatly. I don't want to be pessimistic anymore. God just wants to bake me better chocolate chip cookies.

"I don't believe You most the time, I'm lying 'cause I say I am fine; You are the pearl, I am the swine, so break my life and take this rhyme." 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

punch me if i stop crying




they heard me singing and they told me to stop
"quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock"
'cause on the surface the city lights shine
they're calling at me, come and find your kind.

uncertainty




// too familiar //
// to be //
// true //

Monday, March 16, 2015

you are a prized painting hanging on a wall



I don't know why we buy into the idea that we all have to look the same. Lately, I have been standing in awe of how differently God has made my friends and I. Between us there is a broad range of personalities, skin tones, hair and eye colors, smiles, heights, body types....it's incredible.

But so often I -- along with everyone else on the planet -- look in the mirror and wonder why it is that I don't look like someone else. This kind of thinking is not only discouraging, but it's also something of a slap in the face to the Lord who formed me! I'm essentially telling Him that He made a mistake.

I imagine two paintings hanging on opposite walls, both scrutinizing themselves as they admire the other. It's ridiculous. Why should van Gogh's The Starry Night envy a Monet painting? Are they not both masterpieces? And could you imagine the Mona Lisa wanting to trade her sassy smirk for someone else's smile? COME ON!

In the same way, we are each created and formed exactly as God wanted us to be. Before time began, Jesus knew what we would look like -- different and special and each one of us carrying the signature of the Master Painter. (Check out Psalm 139 for more on this.) Knowing that I am actually art helps me appreciate others' unique beauty, instead of envying it.

Even so, I will forget this truth in a matter of moments. I am human. I fail. I struggle with body image every day. But what amazes me is that even while I continue to carry these images around in my head of what I should look like, these lies about what is ideal and perfect, God carries me. When I was weak and in the womb, and even when I'm old and grey, He will carry me. And His love does not depend on my own beauty or ability, or on anything I can offer Him. Christ loves me in my most vulnerable state. Baffling -- and beautiful.

"The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." ~ Isaiah 46:1b-4

Saturday, March 14, 2015

visions & revisions

Currently I am learning that God is in control of my plans. He not only changes them, but makes them better than what I originally had in mind. Even when I get irritated and rebel against what He has for the day, it is still His day. I'm trying to look at each day and moment as times of grace, opportunity and enjoyment, no matter the circumstances. Joy depends on Jesus. So easy to write, so hard to live out.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

seven songs for somebody

5. "Always Where I Need to Be" -- The Kooks
2. "Houdini" -- Foster the People 
3. "Step" -- Vampire Weekend
1. "You Know What I Mean" -- Cults
7. "The High Road" -- Broken Bells
4. "Friction" -- Imagine Dragons
6. "Change Your Mind" -- The Killers

i've been trying to reach You

Burning Inquiry: If tonight, right after sharing this blog post to my Facebook page, I was to make a conscious decision to never pray, to never again pick up my Bible and leaf through its pages, and if this very night, I were to cease going to church all together, and if I never wrote a single song more praising God, would I incur lightning bolts upon myself and lose the favor of the Lord that I love?

Well....would I?

Let's back up a little. This week at my college, we are reading through the book of Galatians. If you've never read it, I would encourage you to do so; it's only six short chapters, but boy, that book is a fighter. #packsapunch #jabcross The book of Galatians is actually a letter from a pretty cool guy named Paul to churches who have started to become unsure about what they believe. They are being thrown into confusion about what it takes to truly please God.

There is quite a lot of debate about this issue in our culture today. Some people believe that all paths lead to God; others believe that man can become like Him. Others still believe that they can please God by living pretty good lives. Some people figure that, having never done anything super horrible, God will let them into heaven based on the amount of good works they did while on Earth. Then there are those who depend on religion. They believe they will get to heaven because they attend church faithfully, pray frequently and read their Bibles every day. They may assume that this puts them on good standing with God.

We all know people like these. We may even be them. And although all of these lifestyles sound vastly different, they actually have something massive in common: all of these ways of approaching God rely on what we can do for Him. It's called works-based salvation. Works-based salvation is when we think that we can do or be or achieve something that will make us "right with God". It's believing that salvation is based on our own efforts. But our own efforts (and I'm sure you have found this to be true) ultimately fail us.

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." ~ Isaiah 64:6a

So, the bad news is that we can't reach God (or heaven) on our own merit.
But! The good news is that God chose to reach us. 

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~ Romans 5:8

If I am in Christ, believing and trusting in the fact that He died and rose again to pay for my sins, relying only on His effort to make me right with God and get me to heaven, than I am seen as blameless before Him, no matter what I've done. God sees me as Jesus, if I have put my faith in Him. I am covered. I am cleaned. (1st Corinthians 6:11) It's never about what I do for Him, but what He does for me.

"Don't base the success of your salvation on your performance." ~ Dr. Matthew Vander Wiele

God's gift of grace is never works-based. That means that the good things I do for Christ now don't change how He sees me. I have no more favor with Him if I sin today, than if I do good things. He never looks at me based on my actions, because my identity is now in Jesus (Ephesians 1-3). Since I am saved, He simply sees me as His Son. So whether I lead a Bible study or instead decide to gossip about my sister behind her back, I am still dressed in His righteousness. This is the beauty of grace.

Disclaimer: God's grace is not a license to sin, but rather provides me with the glorious freedom to love and serve and dance before my God with all joy and excitement. It's a delightful, colorful, passionate, freeing grace. We who were once mere corpses before the Lord can now sing before the Creator of skies!

So, no lightning bolts. Just love.

To learn more about you can have a relationship with Jesus Christ, click here.

-- Super rad photo (sadly) not my own. Found online.

oceans contained in arms





Do you ever stretch out your arms in front of you, particularly in a sunlit patch of light, and look at the blue green rivers underneath your skin? We are masterpieces. We are crafted out of the Earth, with God's breath of life in us, with currents and oceans raging and billowing  inside of us on the daily.  

Your skin,
Your skin and bones
Turn into, something beautiful.
And you know
For you I'd bleed myself dry.
For you I'd bleed myself dry.

-- Photo found online.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

holding forth the word of life

I've hit that point of exhaustion that brings along feelings of despondency and defeat. {Note: you know you're tired when it takes you a good five minutes to realize you have a granola bar wrapper stuck to the inside of your leg....and you're in public.} Basically, I can't form coherent statements and/or thoughts right now, but I'm sharing this verse with y'all because it's what I'm meditating on:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength! ~ Philippians 4:12-13

Friday, March 6, 2015

if you don't know what to make of this, then we will not relate







There are bands, and then there are your bands. The Head & the Heart became one of my bands while repeatedly listening to their first album on the long morning drive to my college two years ago. They are the perfect blend of folk harmonies and too-real lyrics. It was LITERALLY just yesterday that I was thinking how wonderful it would be to own this darn perfect album on vinyl. I've never seen it as a record in any store before today, but lo and behold, there it was waiting for me at Books A Million this afternoon. God just blesses the socks off of me sometimes. No, scratch that -- all of the time. #riversandroads

gem of the day

Memorizing this glorious verse today because, exhaustion {see also: craving joy}:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." ~ 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18

>> If you like your joy in song form, check out this beaut.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

pancake picnic

If you ever wondered whether or not chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and whipped creme and strawberry syrup were wonderful, wonder no more. I am here to tell you that I could steadily consume this delicacy every day and never tire of it. So thank you, glorious and awe-inspiring National Pancake Day, for coming into my life and sharing this wonder with me. #onedayiwillhaveapancakepicnic #underatreesomewhere #withstrawberries #andmyman #hashtaggame

Monday, March 2, 2015

flea market brigade



Today I got to go to the flea market and do some ministry with these "dummies", haha. On the left is my friend Caleb, who grew up as a missionary kid in my home church, and on the right is my sassy sister. The three of us got to pray for some people and talk to them about Christ, including one interested Muslim man who was selling sunglasses. My sister and I also got to share with a sweet sixteen year old girl about Word of Life camps and give out a Bible. I was so nervous about going out with my ministry team today, but God still moved. I want to be bolder in sharing my faith with people, because sometimes I shy away from opportunities to do that. I feel like He is calling me to some sort of music ministry. One of my friends suggested I share a link to some of my songs, which I might do later. #workingupthecourage #artispersonal

Anyways, hope your Monday was splendid. THOSE PUPPETS THO