mercury

mercury. n. also known as quicksilver.
fickle, erratic, liable to sudden unpredictable change.

God knows, I am dissonance,
uneven, untamed, unsure
of the ground beneath me
it shakes with the weight
of the world
and I cannot catch up
with my own breath.
thoughts teem within me
I talk in circles
can you hear me?
(if you could
would you listen?)
this middle ground
is waging war against my soul.
I cannot even tell myself
where I will go next.
life swirls in a galaxy
and all I can see is
the space between
and all I can know is I’m
waiting to be swiftly pulled into tune.

 

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Martha, Martha

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But the Lord answered her,

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Martha.  Martha.  I love you.
You are worried, troubled, riddled with anxiety about meaningless things.  Chasing after control over sand that will fall through your fingers.  Trivial things.  Believe me, none of that matters.  In your heart you know this.  Trust me now!
Only one thing matters.
Me.
Come to me, Martha!  Taste this sweet surrender.  This freedom and grace you can never lose.  You are mine forever!  All your sin, all your strivings and fear, everything that separates you from the Father, all of it means nothing when you understand what I am here to do for you.  If only you knew now the depth of my love for you!
Believe in me now, my Martha.
I am the good portion which will never be taken away from you.  Choose me.  Chase after me.
Abandon your worries.  I am peace and purity and justice, and I want you in my arms.  I alone am Lord.  I alone am worth your worship.  Come to me.

umm…

Remember when I said I was going to start posting twice a week?  About that…

When our plans become casualties of getting through the day, we begin to know our weakness,” sings Will Reagan in the United Pursuit song “Looking for a Savior.”  I know exactly what he means.  My blogging plans have been pushed aside in favor of school, work, dance, socializing, sanity.

Why have I not blogged?

I have no great inspiration and no time to come up with great inspiration.

In short, I don’t think I’ll be doing the biweekly posting thing.  I’m sorry to everyone who signed up anticipating great posts twice a week.  I’m sorry to my family who wants to hear from me.  Whoops.  I am weak.

Summer is here, and that means one of two things: 1) I’ll actually get a blog post in every week or so, or 2) I will have no time to write.  So bear with me.  Please keep following me.  (Or don’t.  I need to learn to not care as much about my follower count.)

Instead of trying to cram in writing, what if this summer I am intentional about being with people and forging meaningful relationships?  Writing is great.  Blogging can be encouraging for others.  But as much as I am an introvert, I am a people person.  My life has been changed by the people and events around me.  I want to be a force for change in the people I care about.  God is very good and very kind, and I want to be like him.

Kudos to everyone who blogs regularly.  That is a considerable feat as it turns out.  Maybe someday I’ll come back to it.

Is this a goodbye post?  I don’t know.  Let’s see.

moving hearts

Moving is a difficult thing.  Sometimes you move to a different house in the same city, or to a nearby city, but sometimes you move across the country — or across the world.  No matter what, moving means change.

Friendships change, people change, and I change.

This is something I had to learn young.  When I was seven, we moved from Maryland to Ohio.  And inevitably, ties with my MD friends were weakened and severed.  Suddenly I had half a dozen long-distance friendships, which were slowly replaced by new friendships here in Ohio.  I’m still dealing with some pain from that, but at the time, it was okay.  The church here was so welcoming.  I was young and eager to make friends.  In fact, I believe I have made some lifelong friends in my time here.  (But who knows?)

When we moved to Kentucky for half a year when I was twelve, things changed once again.  We were thrust into a necessarily tight community of men (and their families) coming to learn how to be pastors in an intensive school year.  We only had seven months together, none of us knew many people in our new city, and we became something like family in that short time.

And when we came back to OH, again change was waiting, because everyone here had not waited for us to come back but had continued in their lives.  We had to adjust, knowing that we would probably never see many of our KY friends again, and had to throw ourselves back into the routine of Ohio church, school, weather, relationships.  To this day, I am hardly ever in contact with most of the people from MD and KY.  And that’s something I’ve had to accept.  It’s so hard.  I am a fiercely loyal person by nature, and I want to hang onto relationships as long as I possibly can, and when I can’t, something inside me changes.  I have had to learn that very few friendships stand the test of time.  I know that’s a lesson learned naturally in life — it just feels like moving was the accelerated course.

Places change and grow in my memory.  As years pass, I remember more little random details about my childhood in MD.  I remember the boardwalks, the ocean, the rhododendrons, the afternoon walks, the carpet in our house, the dandelions, the shopping trips.  These are sweet memories, and I long to visit MD again, but I know that being with the people won’t bring the memories back.  In fact, someday I want to go back with some of my new friends and not tell any of my old friends.  I want to go to the ocean just to see it again.  I’ll make entirely new memories.  I’ll see the Chesapeake Bay again and have ice cream and wade in the salty waves.  And while I’m at it, I’ll visit Kentucky too.  I’ll go to church and peek at my old backyard and take a bike ride and visit Churchill Downs once more.  (yes, it’s important to see my old friends again, and I love doing that! but not in this scenario.)

Sometimes I can get so caught up in the memories, the sadness.  I MISS EVERYTHING SO MUCH!  But I know that because of the hardships of moving, of having few real friends every time, of leaving people behind, of forgetting things, I have gotten stronger.  I’ve learned how to say goodbye, and I’ve learned how to treasure where I am.  And I’ve been given unique friendships with people who have moved as well.  Yes, I have known loneliness and pain.  But those are pretty essential things to know as a human.  I’d say God knew what he was doing when he moved my heart around!

Not everything lasts forever.  But we can learn some amazing things when seasons change.  Unlike the constantly shifting winds of this world, our God is UNCHANGING!  And he is transforming us from glory to glory!

the birth of Christ

Read Luke 2:1-21 here.

A story most of us have heard for years… What if we try to see it in a new light?
Starting at the beginning.

So it’s been a little over 400 years since the last recorded sign from God. Messiah has not come. Maybe many people have given up hope and secretly think he will never come.
The Greeks have come and gone, and now the Roman Empire is steadily taking over. Herod is placed over the Jews to manage them for Caesar. In the past four centuries, history has been moving without the people of Israel: Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, and Spartacus have lived and died. Perhaps the Jews are aware of the events happening around them. Then again, for the past nine months they’ve been unaware of the GREATER history growing among their people!

Then, Octavian (Caesar Augustus) orders a census to see how much he’s controlling. People are switching towns. Inns get a lot of business. Roads are full. Days of travel in both heat and cold. A young couple finds themselves in Bethlehem and all the inns are crammed full. One innkeeper is gracious and lets them have his stable for the night. Stalls full of horses, maybe some belonging to Roman soldiers. A couple cows. Probably there are quite a few lambs for sacrifice.
Of course, some of those sacrifices are just going to be ceremonial. Where has God been the last four hundred years anyway? he hasn’t spoken up. Will he care if they move on from religion?

Some shepherds are on a nearby hill with their sheep for the night. They are thieves and criminals, and this is basically the only job they are seen as good for. As dew descends, they settle in for a long night of watching the sheep in their pens. They’ve gotten used to living together. No one else pays attention to them, and they’re learning to be okay with that. It’s just the way the world works.

And then suddenly a blinding light appears in the sky! What is happening?? No natural phenomenon can explain a brilliant sun at midnight! not only light but color! Sounds! GLORY all around them! And in the middle, a massive, majestic angel of God. So God is real! Here he is, speaking to His chosen people through an angel! Doubts flee in the face of his glory. And the shepherds know that even if this glory was not meant for them to see (the angel is obviously in the wrong place), at least they have seen it, and it has changed their lives. They know. They know God is real. They know of his majesty and kindness. He has appeared to man!
And it is terrifying. Blinding, swirling, trumpeting light. Who can stand before the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob? The shepherds fall to their knees and cover their eyes, unable to look at the glory, all thoughts of sheep thrust from their mind.

Then the angel speaks: DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Immediately the shepherds realize two things:
• the angel is speaking to them. This is not a drill or a mistake!
• they need not be afraid, God is on their side. Not only is his glory amazing, but it is also good.

and then with ears that can barely take it in, they hear words they can’t register fast enough: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the LORD.
THE MESSIAH! the Messiah is coming! Tonight! On a night overrun by people obeying the Roman Caesar, the Messiah has arrived.
Did they understand he would deliver them from more than Rome? “Great joy for all the people.” His kingdom lasts forever!

Then before they even know what’s happening, the sun multiplies into thousands of suns! THOUSANDS of angels, singing the most beautiful song creation has ever heard:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!

Their song seems to go on forever and at once seems too short. Time stands completely still, for time is not a thing God is limited by, and heaven opens to the shepherds for eternity until the angels depart.

The shepherds stand in shock until they remember the things the first angel said. Look for a baby in a manger, a feeding trough! So they move. This is the Messiah! Among the horses and lambs and cattle they find two exhausted young people. A young teen girl who has just given birth for the first time. Her protective betrothed, who sits a respectful distance away while gazing adoringly at the baby in the girl’s arms. The baby is unremarkable, not particularly cute as far as newborns go, but they know who he is. He is God with us. All of a sudden he is glorious, not just a crying, red baby!

what is man?

the stars are carried in the hands of the Almighty Lord, expanding and contracting, full of intense heat and intense cold, stretching across our sky in colors beyond our imagination.

the comets streaking across the sky are guided by our God, set upon their course before time was created, brilliant balls of fire and ice hurtling through space, brushstrokes of light across the starry horizon.

the clouds, the stars, the sun, the moon, the galaxies, the auroras — all tell us of God’s glory and majesty.  When we look at the heavens, the skies display the work that God has intricately, carefully, beautifully done with his own hands.

and there’s you.

there’s you, standing under the stars, marveling at the sprinklings of light that have taken thousands of years to reach you, worrying about tomorrow.

what is man, that the Lord would love him?

please, please know that against all odds, against all expectations, you are loved with a love that lasts beyond time’s boundaries.  The one who guides meteors across the sky is our God, who is on the throne, who has claimed you as his own!

“To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.”  
Deuteronomy 10:14-15

“if you will”

And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.”  And immediately the leprosy left him.

Luke 5:12-13

 

This was a leper, an outcast, with a disease that wouldn’t just go away.  He was sick, unclean, for life.  But he had faith that Jesus could make him well.  And that was what changed him.

In his love and compassion, Jesus touched him.

It’s almost as if Jesus said “I will” like it was obvious.  Of course I will, my love.  I made you.  If you were the only person on the earth, I would still take your sin upon myself and die for you.  You asked; of course I will make you clean.

What amazing mercy Jesus displays!  He is the manifestation of God’s love for us.  He reaches out to those who beg for his power!

why do I write?

Why do I write?  Is it for the attention, the insight?  maybe.  I think I write to get my thoughts out, to share what I learn, and to figure out my thoughts at the same time.  Sometimes I write for pages and pages and end up scrapping it all.  Sometimes I come to a conclusion.  Sometimes I like how it sounds and I think others will want to see it.  Sometimes it makes no sense.  Sometimes it’s just catharsis. Continue reading “why do I write?”

such a lonely soul.

The night has lately become a haunting time for me, when my demons come out to play.  I’m not even being dramatic by saying that.  My mind has felt like the devil’s playground before, yes, and in a much worse way, but now that my mind has rearranged a bit, there are new weaknesses, new ways to play…

everyone else is so nice, and I’m just not good anymore
“what have I become?
I’m sorry.”

everything is black and white, all my fears on shuffle and repeat, scrolling through the list of things I should’ve said, the times I should not have laughed, the things I should have done, I am on trial and I am not going to make it.

then last night I read these words, from a song called “Ghost of a King.”1

met a ghost of a king on a road
words of fire
he said you are a lonely soul
with a heart of stone
that rakes against your thirsty bones
such a lonely soul.

In my heart I wanted to scream.  a heart of stone raking against thirsty bones.  I am a lonely skeleton, and when I realized that I started to cry.  These words cut straight to my core like nothing else has for a long time.  I wasn’t even listening to the song, I was just reading the lyrics, and I was crying.

I didn’t want to keep reading, I knew what came next.  But my eyes traveled involuntarily to the next words.

I can show you what can save you
but we need to go
where no chariot can take you
where the river meets the sand
there is water there
that can quench your thirsty bones
and make you well

“I can show you what can save you.”  my shoulders and chest feel so heavy right now under this incredible truth.  Something can save me from myself.  Something can save me and make me well!  make me well.

but we need to go.

that’s the clincher.  We need to go.  I need to take my Savior’s hand and find this water.  what is holding me back?  why do I not want to do this?  Why do I not want the thing that can quench my thirsty bones and make me well?

it’s because I am afraid.  fear is just as blind as love.  I am afraid of going in over my head, of losing myself, of giving up control of my life.

why do I want to control my life?  I know where that’s gotten me.  To the edge of a cliff.  When I think of how well I’ve managed my life on my own, I want to swear.  Excuse me.  (That’s righteous anger.)

this line comes to me: “I get caught up in all these petty things, losing sight of what matters to You.”2  God, is it true that my character is, for now, a petty thing?  Is it true that what matters to you is that I seek your face and your kingdom and trust that your grace will come with it?

can I take one step, beyond the eclipse?


  1. “Ghost of a King,” by The Gray Havens, 2016 
  2. “Gravity,” by Jenn Johnson, 2017. 

Partnering with God

What does it mean to partner with God?

It means working together with God.

Kind of like business partners, God works with his people. Partnering with God means doing his will, furthering his glory, and seeking his kingdom and his righteousness, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). God gives us power in his Spirit to do his will. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 and 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul says that believers work together with God. How amazing! I am so struck by the goodness of God, that he would work through his chosen people to glorify him!

It means intimacy with God.

To put it bluntly, marital intimacy can’t light a candle to the intimacy God wants with us! This blows my mind. In Job 29:4, Job says that his relationship with God was “intimate friendship.” Paul considered all his worldly gains a loss compared to the worth of knowing his own Savior Jesus (Philippians 3:8). This is so much more than knowing about God: it is spending time with him and truly knowing him. Learning more about him. Talking to him. Think of someone you know who you think truly walks with God… don’t you want that? God does — with you! “Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you,” pleads Moses in Exodus 33:13. This is a partnership way beyond business.

It means dancing with God.

As a dancer, I must admit that when I first heard the phrase “partnering with God,” I thought of this kind of partnering. Dancing together. This kind of partnership is a lovely thing. We, Christ’s bride, are guided and supported by him as we work in his power to do his will — and this makes something supernaturally beautiful that the world can’t help but stare at. This is a unique blend of working together with God and intimacy with God. It requires trust, flexibility, and grace, on both ends… lucky for us, God is infinitely trustworthy, flexible, and gracious — and he will give us of himself when we ask!

This isn’t optional.

But it’s what we should desire anyway.

God wants us to be with him, to work with him. This is what we were created for. “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:31. But doing all for the glory of God isn’t just a command. It is the flaming center of life. The gospel is the proclamation of God’s amazing glory and love. And what comes naturally out of the gospel?

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands… this is honor for all godly people.” (Psalm 149:6, 9)

In other words… partner with God. This is real joy.

Continue reading “Partnering with God”