Sunday, November 28, 2010


Tonight's one of those nights that no matter how hard I try, I cannot fall asleep. My mind is reeling. All bets are off. The stability of the past nineteen years of my life is out the window.

Two years ago the biggest problem I had was whether I was going to get asked to a dance by a certain boy or not. Then I went to college. The harshness of life and complications of decisions has radically changed my life view from proud, snobby, and shallow, to tentative, confused, and vast.  Oddly enough, I'm comforted by the fact that my world got bigger than Suburbia. I don't feel confined to norms and standards anymore and I have finally given myself permission to look beyond normal. It's arisen so many questions that I could easily give the answer to, but only from my tunneled, sheltered knowledge.

But I'm over that. I'm surrounded by two thousand people who all know the answers. But why doesn't this seem right? I'm not talking about the need for another "radical" change to happen. And honestly, I'm completely okay with the fact that I seem to be the only one questioning the norms.

Maybe this is a newfound streak of independence, but I don't want to be growing and challenging in the same way everyone else is, I want what I do to generate from a complete heart of desire and wonder rather than a burst of passion from those around me. I don't think change comes from bursts, but from slow going.

I watched Batman: Dark Night with friends this weekend. At one point, the Joker says, "You have all these rules and you think they'll save you." That's been me. I would dare to say that's been most of us. We have rules that we create because they make sense and seem safe. But what happens when someone else breaks our rules and we're left vulnerable? What happens when A + B doesn't equal C? My rules stem from fear. Fear that the cycle I've been living, this systematic plan isn't the only way. What if there's more or less to it that I am not willing to look and see? I'm afraid that in the end, my way won't prove itself. And if it doesn't, then what?

I've become an honest believer that God is going to prove Himself to be Himself regardless of what we say or do. So I don't think it is wrong to question "normal" every once in a while anymore. In fact, it gives cause for reflection and I think it shows the Lord even more. It's a humbling mentality, as if to say "okay God, I know You're big enough that even if what I'm doing isn't exactly the best, You'll show me what is, even if it hurts". My mentality changes from self-preservation to a belief that all things are used for good. Maybe pain isn't bad all the time (we'll get to that another night).

My view of things has been topsy-turvy lately. I don't really think anyone has jumped on board with me, nor do I think they need to. I've learned I accept truth best when I have a point or purpose to relate it to, a reason, a why. For me to find that I have to go through the back door on things, and sometimes that looks like rejecting basic concepts completely. It gives me fresh eyes to see if the matter is one of personal bias and tradition, or is one based on Truth. Sometimes it's both, sometimes it's neither, and sometimes it's one or the other.

I kinda like the idea that I do Christianity different than everyone else; that sometimes I'm on the same page as them, but others, I just can't seem to find the "why" for myself. I believe there is a lot Christians do that isn't wrong, but it's not the only way either, and it's then I ask for the strength to carry on with what I have found to be true for me. I pray we as little Christs can give each other grace as we attempt to walk the best we know how.

May we not be encased by self-protection, but be courageous to seek Truth. May we be willing to break down walls and question norms and not be fearful of instability. May the Lord keep us close to Him so we are seeking Him rather than the next new thing. And most importantly, may Truth be discovered that grows in us a love and desire to pursue Christ, regardless of circumstances and feelings.

Keep Seeking God.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


There are just some feelings that no matter the effort, cannot be replicated, such as the feeling of being home.

Now I admit, come Janurary 7th when everyone else is back at school, I will mostly likely be half bald and ready for my small, slightly disheveled dorm room. But for now I'm soaking in the joys of being back in the Burbs.

The little rituals I became accustomed to now draw me back in. Some families have dinner together, others have family game night. My family does coffee. For years now, every Saturday and vacation day has been spent sitting in a Starbucks around their little round wooden tables, or if we're lucky the slightly overused, purple velvet "comfy" chairs (which sadly, recently have been replaced). Such as it is, this was one of those mornings. I find a peace that comes from being around someone else's busyness while enjoying my own idleness. Armed with my bag of books and a non-fat zebra mocha with whip, I sit and embrace the flurry of people bustling in and out, attempting to reach their destinations on time while still making time for a triple-shot, extra foam, venti vanilla latte that will give them the boost they need to make it through.

For some, home is a hub, a stopping place to grab food and rush out the door again, for some it's a place to do laundry and get free food, but for me, it is rest incarnate. A place where I can throw on my leggings and oversized sweatshirt, and ignore the real world for a little while. To sit, think, rest, and be without the weight of expectations smothering me into a half-witted blob.

This break is needed. A respite from the harsh reality of life, a chance to get my feet underneath me so I can fight through those last three weeks, and make it to the Big Daddy of breaks--Christmas. I know I'm not alone in this. Four months of classes, social events, intramurals, all-nighters, and busy weekends take a toll on a person. The icing on the cake being the change that has happened this semester. It's been my ever-present companion

I suck at change, I'm probably the worst ever at handling it. Coming home I thought I would get a break from that, only to find it inescapable. I don't think I get to just let this one blow over. It seems to be one of those deep-seeded issues refusing to leave, which means the only way out is to dive in and find the root. Only, I'm tired. Even the concept of resting in the Lord sounds tiresome and heavy to me. Maybe that's disbelief in the rest He can provide, maybe it's a striving mentality, either way, it doesn't sound appealing. So I'm at my wits end. Telling Him I don't see it. I don't see how the end all will somehow make this beautiful. I don't see a richness coming from experiencing such ache. I'm holding on to is the phrase, "This too shall pass". I'm praying that's true.

The Truth I'm grasping has everything to do with Him doing big things and absolutely nothing to do with me. It's comforting to be able to just be at a lost. I'm overwhelmed, knee-deep in hurt and confusion, but there is something in me that can grasp the thought that He is fighting for me (Exodus 14:14) and that He will somehow use all this for good (Romans 8:28). It involves knowledge I don't have, and experiences I've yet to go through, but for now I'm holding on to the slight hope that He is bigger than I and that's all that matters. And then leaving the rest to Him and others to believe for me.

That's where I am this break. Needing more than sleep and coffee, needing rest that settles beyond earthly ability. Forgive my rantings and incoherent thoughts. I know I don't always make sense, but neither does the Lord, and somehow that's comforting. Maybe the most beautiful and rich things don't make sense to us, and that's why they're beautiful and rich. Just maybe we don't have to have it all figured out and wrapped in a bow. Maybe there's something to be said about just letting things be hard.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was blessed today by my Bestie. We took a walk in the park, talked, cried, screamed, and laughed, you know, like best friends do. I've been thinking about what makes her my best friend. And here's my top 12 things.

1. She's willing to fight for our friendship. We have had quite the go of it this past year and a half, and we've bit it more than our fair share, but we've also learned how to love each other better through it.

2. She loves Disney movies. Moving to college, I was slightly let down to realize that apparently during those three transitional months between lower and higher education, everyone seemed to have matured, except myself. What a reprieve to find someone who would rather watch Beauty and the Beast than Paranormal Activity.

3. She is independent. She teaches me to be my own person and not rely on her or others for definition. She knows where the Lord has called her, and just today, reminded me that she first and foremost will follow what He's revealed to her, no matter what people say.

4. She holds my hand everywhere we go. And then proceeds to twirl me until I'm about to throw up.

5. She is missing a tooth. Sadly, not for long as she begins the process of having a permanent replacement surgically inserted. But still, it freaks people out and makes me laugh.

6. She uses her fake tooth retainer to clean pepper from her teeth. The girl loves pepper. And it ends up in those hard to reach crevices, to which she pops out her handy-dandy retainer and goes to town scraping out the black specks.

7. She is going to be a missionary. The girl loves people and just can't stay away from sharing how big God is in her life with anyone. She's not just going to be a missionary, she's going to be a soul-changer. Passion is easily and beautifully communicated through her.

8. She steals my clothes. Bestie has at least 7 things of mine currently in her room 3 doors down. She's my little kleptomaniac.

9. She doesn't give up. She is the most tenacious woman I know, and is willing to fight for Truth no matter the cost. She is courageous and smart, following the Lord wherever He leads her, bravely walking into hardness, armed with Truth, and Trust.

10. She's a child. She spews drinks when she laughs. She giggles uncontrollably when I quote our favorite movie lines. She's spacey. She runs around in circles uncontrollably. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I know.

11. She chooses to see the God in people. She loves completely and without qualms. She is completely beautiful with Christ emanating into every aspect of her life.

12. She is hopeful when I am cynical. She is patient when I am rude. She is calm when I am fuming. She is compassionate when I am hurting. She is restful when I am tired. She's honest when I'm a butt. And regardless of what I say or do, she loves me fully.

This is my Bestie. I love her dearly and my life is sweetened by her presence. I admire her so much and grow by watching her graciously and peacefully walk through life.

May the Lord bless her and keep her, may He make His face shine upon her and giver her His peace, and may she always love the Lord first. Above all else.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Sometimes I think Christians obsess to much with learning. There is so much to be said about hard things growing us into wisdom, but I don't want to go in expectant. I don't want to be digging around in the hardness saying, "okay where's the lesson, make this worth my time." I imagine this began from someone with a genuine heart to remember that the Lord purposes things and doesn't waste hurt, but it's been exacerbated into a strangling mentality of selfishness and results.

I had a wonderful conversation with my sister this week. It was filled with grace, compassion, and understanding from her which has given me cause to reflect. My sister graces me very well with not trying to advice me through things, but to speak truth and then just let me hurt. During this conversation she was telling me that she KNOWS God works all things together for good. All things. Even when I hurt this badly. The thought of this drained me, I don't want to try to believe God, I'm drained and exasperated. And she told me that was okay. Because the heart behind community is that she could believe it for me, when I have no ability to know it's true myself.

It brought me to tears. Knowing that it's okay for me to just be hurting, to ache, cry, and let the hard things be hard, and also to know that she is choosing to believe truth for me. She's holding me up when I don't have the legs to stand on.

And maybe that's what it comes down to. I've heard so many ideas on community being about loving people, and walking through life together. The abstracts. They try to narrow it down to things like having meals, and going on walks. But really, my sister's right. It comes down to believing truth for other people, and letting them hurt when they need to. Not looking for the lesson, not trying to fix them, not trying to make them feel better. Letting them be where they are and trusting that God knows what He's doing, and being with them when they walk through the process. Whether it be good or bad.

It makes sense. It makes it about rest, not responsibility. Compassion, not control. Healing, not Band Aids. It allows people to be where they're at and not take anything from that, or add anything to it.

Talking with a friend this morning, I saw the beauty of true community catching wind. It's been a rough go of it for us, and this morning was such a sweet time. We filled each other in on the goings on, realizing that while it was sucky not feeling connected these past months, the Lord still used it for good. We didn't need each other for Him to work. Neither of us consider ourselves out of the woods, more in the thick of it than when we began actually, but it was beautiful to see the compassion that came from each of us for the other through having walked things alone.

It's humbling for me to realize my place isn't to fix. My time is better spent abiding in Truth and claiming it for those I love rather than trying to conjure up the wisest response to problems.

May we learn to be about believing things for other people. May we learn to be about compassion and grace. May we learn that we don't have to feel good for us to be where's best for us, and to love others when they're there too.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I want to write today, about what, I'm not really sure. We'll see what spews out.

I'm honestly spent emotionally. I'm not used to feeling so deeply, so often. I hate the false pretenses emotions provide. It's a constant battle of truth versus what I feel, trying to see what feelings are substantiated and what I should just let dissipate with time. And it's gotten to the point where I just don't question, and my emotions are having the run of everything. It's ugly, tiring, depressing, and it's not doing my mascara any favors.

I was graced by some Truth today, the freeing kind, the kind of big revelations followed by a quirky happy dance. I didn't really dance, but the freedom was there. The cycle of expectation has been running alive and well in me recently. This cycle has become a familiar companion to me, but for your benefit here's what it looks like;
Expectation placed---expectation not met---frustration added to expectation---disappointment settles in---rejection replaces disappointment---and so on.
The most manipulative part of this little sucker for me is the fact that it allows me to place external blame.

It's not MY fault so and so didn't do such and such. I deserve an apology. They didn't apologize? Oh well, I'm the better person anyhow.

Every once in awhile I catch myself talking through the cycle, and can follow with due apologies and a loosening on my tight grip. That was today.

In light of this, I spent some time sitting with the Lord. It was a time where a little healing took place.
I'm prone to placing Band-Aids on my wounds.  My Band-Aids include car rides, Starbucks, and conversations with the people I love. They are things I immensely enjoy, and in the proper context provide comfort, and rest to me. But when used to cover up something that needs much more attention, I'm screwing myself out of true healing. It's easier to not have to go through the process, but in the end, it looks a whole lot worse than before, and takes longer to heal.

I want true healing. I don't want to fear that kind of pain. I don't want to paste on a pretty smile when things are eating me up, and I don't want to vomit emotional distress on everyone either. There has got to be a balance between thinking and feeling, where both are appropriately embraced, and neither exacerbated. Lord doing I'll find it.

And what matters is the nature of the change in itself, not how we feel while it is happening. It is the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God. --C.S. Lewis

Amen brother.

Deep breath. Release.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I played hooky today. Or is it hookie? ....Hookiey?

Anyway, I'm not at school. And it's nice. I need to slow down, and ironically I have the time to, I just choose not to. When I slow down, I recognize the things I'm trying to handle myself, my emotions shrink from the ugly green gremlins I allow them to become, I actually rest in the Lord instead of worrying like the mother of a sixteen year old, which has been the essence of myself this month. It's pretty annoying.

Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, or powerful enough, or loving engouh to take care of what's happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.
-Crazy Love

Ouch. You know they're probably right when you feel the sting on your cheek like you've been slapped.

That's me right there. I can say what I want and be as "Christian" as I can, but in the end the way I've been living has been screaming, "I DON'T TRUST YOU OR BELIEVE YOU CARE. LEAVE ME ALONE, I'LL TAKE CARE OF MYSELF!!" It reeks of self-sufficiency, or at least an attempt for. Yuck.

I've had umpteen conversations with people I love lately, spilling my guts again and again, and the catharsis or answers are never there. In fact, I tend to end up more irritated than before. When I sat there with a dear friend this weekend talking through my woes again, I came to the realization of why these friendships, which are supposed to be so rich and comforting, haven't been so. Because I'm not depending on the Lord to handle it, which in turn strips the people I care about of their freedom. I strangle them with expectations and dependency, and they end up just as drained as I am.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Man, I need the Lord.

Oh, but the cycle continues. I don't know about you, but the more I see my ugliness of my flesh, the more insecure I become. I hear myself saying, "Man Em, you messed up again, are you ever gonna get it right? If you were more like _____ then this wouldn't happen. If you hadn't have done _______, this wouldn't be an issue." It debilitates me to the point of hopelessness.

But then I'm reminded of grace.

Oh yeah, I did screw up again, but He loves me the same regardless. Nothing's changed from His side. He brushes off my backside, pats me on the butt, and says, "let's try again".

I'm rereading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore (or as I fondly call her, Bethie), and there is a lot of truth resurfacing, and I feel all too ready for it. In the coming weeks, I'm sure you'll get some tastes of what that is. But for now, I'm going to head back to school.

Here's to Grace, and knowing He's big enough, powerful enough, and loving enough, to handle a mess like me.