this isn’t goodbye.

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‘The leaves are changing,

and so am I.’

I can’t seem to put structure to my thoughts these days. In the past year there have been so many happenings, so many little and big things that have knocked the wind out of me and left me wordless. But please bear with me – it’s been awhile and feel like I’m getting my feet back under me. I want to start writing again.

It’s funny how you write things when you are younger, and how much your perspective changes when you are older.

Not that what you said was wrong, or misconstrued, but you start to see the world a little differently and – my goodness – who is that girl from a few years ago? What happened to her?

God’s grace just rains all over me. And I finally accept it. After so many years of trying to deserve His grace – running to and fro, trying to make sure I do all the right things and say all the right things to the right people at the right times – now, I feel like I’m finally just learning to accept it as the gift that it is.

I just let Him carry me.

It’s amazing revisiting those old posts, and reliving all the feelings and the emotions that I had at the time I wrote them. And – even more – how much I still struggle with the same things I did 5 years ago.

And, still, He just carries me along.

I think maybe it just takes a really, really long time before you just wear yourself out, and you realize you have no choice but to rest in His strength. And – even more – you realize that in all that trying, striving, flailing, you were still depending on Him, even without truly knowing it.

So now, instead of just trying so, so hard, I wake up and I don’t have to pretend anymore. I feel like I can just slip my hand into His, and we walk together in the storm.

So, this isn’t goodbye. But it is a farewell to the young girl who used to think she understood things more than she did. (And who still doesn’t.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

How can I pray for you this week?

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ramblings from my thought-journal

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Right now, these are my thoughts. I have no notebook or computer with me on hand, so I might write this down later.

One of my favorite things is watching the wind blow those little orange leaves gently across the sidewalk. Sometimes I even wonder if someone were to have to time (and the same strange curious bent that I seem to have), if they could count them all. But then, at the same time, I think it’s the mystery of not knowing that makes it that much more beautiful. The fact that you can’t count every single one of them makes you sit back and rest in the knowledge that a) you don’t really need to know how many leaves blanket the edges of busy streets, and b) why take all the time and work to count the individual leaves when you can just sit and admire them as a whole?

More often than not, I pick up one of those leaves, twist the stem between my fingertips, and not notice anything particularly special or different about it, compared to the other ones. And yet when they’re all collected, on the ground, in all their various shapes and hues, then it presses something in me that sees it as special. Like the exact moment you are looking at the whole scope of the street – with the man in a trench coat hurrying to a nearby cab under the promising sign of rain, the old vintage sign at the corner that probably needs repainted, a lovely woman getting out her little red umbrella – all of this to make one single striking picture almost as good to be on the cover of a glossy magazine like the ones in the tear-streaked window of the nearby bookstore. Almost. But not quite. Maybe some moments like this are better untouched by the flash and click of the camera.

So when I have a breath, I sit down for a spell on a wet wooden bench. But I don’t mind. It’s hardly a sacrifice when I get to watch an idyllic October evening unfold like this. Private contemplation is as necessary for me to function as chocolate and wine and bubble baths are for others.

I look down and see that I’m still holding the same leaf I was a half-hour ago, feeling it tickle against the palm of my hand. Strangers quickly pass by with their chin tucked under them, avoiding the rain drops that are now trickling from the edge of their coats. They only give me a swift glance, at first of judgement, I thought, but I think they are only squinting against the mercilessly harsh wind against their faces.

Maybe we are all leaves.

 

twenty years || 04.13.97


It’s been two decades since the afternoon I was born. 7300 days. 630,720,000 beautiful, wild, pulsing seconds I’ve been alive and breathing.

So on my birthday I thought I would share – as a 20 year old – twenty important, more practical lessons I’ve learned.

1) Desire a thousand times more to be a good person, than to seem so.

2) You are enough.

3) Just because he tries to win your heart doesn’t mean he values you.

4) The best way to take your mind off of your own problems is to invest youself into the service of others.

5) Life’s too short not to tell people how much you appreciate them.

6) Love doesn’t always need to be expressed in grand, sweeping gestures – it’s the little things – a kind word, a small act of service, a hug – that people remember for the rest of their lives.

7) Feelings are like visitors – sometimes you just have to let them come and go.

8) It’s ok to not have it all together.

9) Don’t step out of pictures. You’ll wish you were in them someday.

10) Don’t feel pressured by other people to start dating or begin a relationship by a certain age.

11) If you’re not content now, you won’t be content ‘then’, whenever ‘then’ comes.

12) Something will grow out of all you are going through – and it will be you.

13) Choose people over your phone. iPhones don’t suddenly pass away in car accidents. Social media doesn’t have a limited number of days before their soul passes on. People do.

14) Don’t let a hard lesson make you bitter.

15) Strive for wholeness rather than happiness.

16) “If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.” Elizabeth Elliot

17) Don’t change your values just because people ridicule you for them.

18) Be kind. Even on your hardest days.

19) Love on people who are rude to you, even if you feel like they don’t deserve it. However, there are times when it is ok to walk away and cut ties for your own wellbeing. Don’t feel guilty for it.

20) Be the kind of person who can make the best out of a Tuesday. Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for next year. Stop waiting until you’re happier, or for someone to fall in love with you, to be the person you want to be. Be that person.

a psalm of deliverance

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Refine my heart, in the hard and holy places, Oh Lord,

Lead me to the gates of peace.

You give me strength and consolation in affliction,

And never turn Your face from my pleas.

Though the earth trembles under my feet,

And thunder rolls in the mountains,

And the rising crests of waves yonder, as if looking,

Over a vast, greying graveyard,

Though my enemies crouch in my doorway,

And surround me in my weakest places,

You are with me.

Though my knees tremble under the weight of my transgressions,

And I struggle against the bonds that hold me low,

My soul rests in You alone.

I watch towering trees buckle under winter’s hand,

Formidable strength made weak by piles of white,

And they lay their arms along the broken soil,

Still my soul sings, and my heart rejoices,

For He carries me across thresholds of silver,

His almighty hand orders the stars to their heavenly places,

And the fire to cease destroying,

The hands of men to hold back their evil schemes.

Yea, though I bend under the melting snow,

He holds me up, and I take roots where hearts may fail.

Let us draw near to Him,

For every breath is a hallelujah.

(This was a poem that we wrote for our Aesthetics class, which we were instructed to make similar to a Psalm.)

~*~

I have to say, this past year has been rocky and burdensome at best – this poem being an offspring of those struggles. And now that it’s December, I can look back at the previous months and see more and more clearly God’s hand through it all.

So if you’ve been struggling too, I just want to give you encouragement that even though you can’t see how things can get better, they do. And then things will get worse again. And then it’ll get better. Because that’s just how life is – unpredictable.

But you know what? The Lord is with us through it all, and He sees us through.

So goodbye 2016 – God is in control.

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