Sunday, July 1, 2012

Here and Now

I recently wrote a song that I am really passionate about. The lyrics can be seen here. As I was thinking back on my explanation of it's background to a friend I realized there was so much more I wished I could have added. The song came out of an irritation. Everywhere I looked I saw people running from place to place, never slowing down to breathe. 'Beauty' explores the idea that we keep ourselves busy as an escape from the pain. There are so many escapes that people condemn, the use of drugs, for example. But the one I believe most commonly overlooked is the one most of us use. It's easy to forget what we're running from when we never stop to think. However, we also miss so much that God has put there for us to enjoy. We miss opportunities to spend time with loved ones, we miss the way the birds chirp in the morning, or how the clouds spell out "I ♥ U". In the midst of cussing (in our heads) at the other drivers we miss what God is trying to tell us through a song on the radio. We miss the ways we can help out a friend having a rough day, or a stranger who just needs to know there are still people who care. It's incredible how much we miss when we get wrapped up in ourselves. I know. I've done it. I do it. It's why I'm so passionate about it.

God has given us a beautiful world to live in. He gives us a new backdrop in the sunrise/sunset everyday! He brings up new flowers every spring, and fresh snow in the winter. He colors the leaves in the fall and heats up the beaches/water for us in the summer. But we miss it! We forget to look because we're running through life. They say "Live life to it's fullest" but full does not mean fast. To live a full life we must learn to be content with who we are. We have to face up to our past and see how it has made us who we are. We have to look into our future with bright eyes, trusting that God will lead us where He wants us to go. We must live in the here and now: not in the past, though we see how it changed us, not in the future, though we look forward to the places we may go. But in the here. In the now. Because only when we live in today can we see the beauty that is all around us. Only in today can we appreciate the little things and allow them to shape us into who we ought to be.

I challenge you, tomorrow, instead of seeing only the things that go wrong, be intentional about looking for the little pieces of joy. It might just make your day. God bless!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It's around your junior year in High School that people begin to ask the dreaded question: "Do you know what college you're going to?" The answer for me is no. But that is not the point of this blog. This time is so stressful for majority of teenagers because it feels like our whole life is resting on this decision and if, like me, they don't know what they want to do post-college, it can be even more stressful. I tend to cope with that particular issue by ignoring it. However i've realized that I've been assuming that more is riding on this decision than there actually is. You see, my natural response to the college question is that I don't know what I want to do with my life. But as I was praying the other day, it became clear to me that it's not my whole life I need to figure out. God has a plan for me, and likely it is not my plan for me. So if I attempt to plan out my whole life (which I would never do...I hate planning) but if I did, it would likely change as God calls me elsewhere and then all that planning would go to waste. So in this decision coming up here, I don't need to figure out my life, I only need to figure out what to do NEXT. Only God knows where my life may lead, and only He sees how it all turns out. All I have to do, is trust that He will lead me in that direction. Granted, that's easier said than done. But God is God, and God is good. And no matter where He directs my life, He will be with me. And with that in mind, I find it really difficult to stress about anything. Why would I? God is in control and He "works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28) Rest in that knowledge today. God Bless!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Too Short

Some of you may know I was in a car accident recently (not to worry, no one was hurt) but i'm not writing this for your sympathy. I'm writing out of this place to inspire you. If there's one thing that my accident brought to my attention it is the fragility of life. It's like the angels in heaven are walking around caring glass vases, if they drop the life is lost, like the vase. I think my angel tripped. Caught me just in time. I don't think that's actually what happens...that'd all seem rather pointless. However you get what i mean about the fragility. Life is fragile. It can be lost at any moment. You never know when you or someone you love will be taken, so why hold back? Why keep the truth inside? We so easily retreat to this place of security where we pull our armor around us and only let in the people we trust the very most. I have always been terrified that the people i love will exit my life before I get to tell them how much I love them, and my goal is always to be honest even when it's scary. I don't always succeed because, let's be honest, sometimes it's just easier to hold it in. But the goal remains. If I respect someone, I tell them. If i'm grateful for someone's hand in my life, i send them a text or write a letter. Life is too short to hold back. So use what you've been given to help those around you, because you never know how it will affect them or how long you have left with them. If you died tomorrow, what would you regret not saying? What love would you wish you had shared? What relationship would you wish you'd repaired? Don't blow this off. Really think about it. And then go DO IT! Life is fragile. Life is short. Don't hold it in. Let go of the fear of rejection, and open yourself up to the love that comes from loving others well.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


(Picture by Jeff Myers)
Over a somewhat random course of events, I happened upon my Chicago journal from the mission trip last summer and I wanted to share some of the thoughts I learned from that week. There are so many memories from that trip that stick out to me, that added clarity to my life and my walk with Christ. One of these is pictured above. We were helping out at a camp ground called "Riverwood," and one of the tasks they gave us was to pull this "log" out of the river. Anyway, there were just a few of us to begin with, but when we realized this log, which was more like a tree, was too heavy for us we went out and grabbed some more people. I'm not going to lie, when we got went back with everyone, I had it in my head that it would suddenly be easy. But you know what? It wasn't. We had to push it out in spurts ("one, two, three!" *pick up and shove*). But we got it out. And it felt so good to be a part of that. I realized that it was a great analogy for our walk through life. This world we live in is messed up. We are messed up, and we mess up, often. And there is stuff that will be thrown at us throughout our life time that is rough. Stuff that we can't go through alone. God has put people in our lives to help us, but that doesn't mean it'll be simple. Life is still going to be difficult, bad stuff is still going to happen. Trusting God and the people He has put in our lives doesn't make it easy. It just make it possible. And with Him, with them, we can get through the crap thrown at us. We can overcome the downed trees in our path, climb the mountains that appear in front of us and defeat the Goliath's that stand in our way. Because with God all things are possible. And one heave, one step, one stone at a time, we can get through anything. And we will be stronger because of it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Letter to a friend

I wrote this letter to a dear friend of mine and wanted to share it with you. I've heard before that when you feel the fullness of God's love you can not help but share it with others. I've prayed "God break my heart for what breaks yours" Tonight both of these happened. My heart broke for those living outside of Him, God knows I wouldn't survive. I'm so blessed to have been born to my parents, and grown up at my church, surrounded by all the wonderful people I have around me. This letter was my expression of the pain I feel for those who have not opened their eyes/hearts to the gift God has offered them.

"How does one explain color to a man who's been blind since birth? I long for you to understand why it is I have so much passion about my faith. But I don't know how to explain something that is such an intimate part of me. As one of my closest friends, you know my struggles, my mistakes. You know me. Does the transparency draw you in or turn you away? I get so nervous that being open about my faults will turn you away from this completeness that I want so badly for you to have. Never before have I wanted you to understand this, as much as I do at this moment. You know as well as anyone, and better than most, that I still have doubts. You know I still get lonely, sad and dejected at times. But in those moments, God shows up. Everytime. I get to feeling like no one cares and He puts someone in my life to remind me that He still cares. And I can't count the number of times that's been you. I am so blessed to have you in my life. You have been the best friend I could possibly ask for. And knowing how well you have loved me, I want more than anything for you to feel the peace that God has given me. The joy even when life sucks. And knowing that when I can go on no longer, He will be there to pick up right where I left off. And even as I sit here in tears thinking about how you have to deal with life on your own, I have every confidence in my Jesus who loves you even more than I do.  And as hard as it is to let you go, I know that He will take even better care of you than I ever could. I want you to have a confidant when you can't tell anyone else, to feel the warmth of being loved even when you're alone, be able to laugh at nothing and everything even when your world is falling apart. I want you to feel this love that is so great and undeserved that you can't help but smile. This grace so sweet and all-encompassing that you feel you're drowning in it. I want you to have it all. I want you to know that God is on your side even when the world seems to be against you. I pray constantly that you will finally see this Truth i've come to know and love. I've never felt this strongly about anything. He loves you so much and I can not wait for the day when you open your arms and accept what is offered to you.
Always in my heart,

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Last night as I was journaling, I realized something I wanted to share with you. Life can be really really difficult. Obviously, that wasn't the part i just realized. And we live in a world where our expectations, whether they be of people or experiences are often too high. Hunter and I were joking the other day about Penn, saying "At Penn you set your expectations low and even then you might be disappointed." Kind of a depressing outlook, I know. But I can't help but wonder if we don't actually live by that. It's not uncommon to be disappointed by things and people and experiences that we had previously put our faith in. We expected it to be wonderful and it just didn't live up to those expectations. Or we trust someone to be there for us and they check out.

And call me crazy, but I don't like pain. It's not uncommon and probably even natural for me to shy away from things that may cause me pain. And I don't think I'm the only one. I think in the American culture we have been conditioned to draw back from the experiences that will hurt us. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing. But there are situations where this tendency does more harm than good. And I find my walk with faith is one. I have become so used to lowering my expectations, to hoping for only what I know has a good chance of happening, that now I find it difficult to hope for anything. Even snow days I don't let myself hope for because there's no way to know what's going to happen. I'd rather not hope and be surprised, than hope and be disappointed.  This kind of terrifies me. I don't want to become so jaded that I no longer believe in anything. And I'm finding that that's who I've become. I have a hard time praying about things that are bigger than what I think are possible. And praying for a miracle? That's rare. I say I trust in God but do I really? Do I believe deep enough inside that whether I get the answer I want or not, God hears my prayers? Do I believe that he really works for the good of those who love him? Do I believe that he can do what I ask, regardless of how big? Do you? Because James says clearly that "when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" How can I ask God for something I don't even really believe he can do? How can I claim that he ought to answer me because I threw it out there, when I have set my expectations so low that I don't even really believe he will come through. Because it's better to be happily surprised than disappointed. But is it really? I'm not so sure. 

I want to believe in miracles. I want to believe in the people I love. I want to believe that God can heal my hurts. I want to believe that my prayers will be answered. I want to believe in a brighter tomorrow. I want to believe that the world isn't hopeless. I want to believe. And you know what? I think I do. I choose to believe. Even when the pain is too much for me by myself, even when the world seems too far gone, even when everything points to hopelessness. I believe. Mumford & Sons lyrics are brilliant in general. But one song speaks to this topic, they say: "Hold on to what you believe in the light, when the darkness has robbed you of all your sight." This I will do. God is good, even when my world suggests otherwise. He can perform miracles, he can do what I can not. So when my world is dark and there seems to be no hope, and when the sun is shining and I feel like I'm on the top of the world, I will hold on to what I know to be true, and He will get me through. God Bless.