Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The perspiration of inspiration

The reaction to  my posts about my 30 by 30 goals have been surprising. I’ve been so encouraged by people who have reached out to tell me that my list inspired them—people from all different seasons of my life have taken the time to reply to my posts.
 And yet, that ugly voice of insecurity has reared its head this week, attempting to steal the joy of impacting others. While the comments were a celebration, my insecure heart saw them as an expectation—a weight to carry.   I felt the weight of the gift of impacting others, and suddenly I understood why the men in the parable buried the talent/money given to them—they let the expectation paralyze instead of propelling them to action. They saw it as a load to protect instead of a foundation to build on; forgetting that the talent given to them was a gift of grace.

So tonight I took a deeper look and realized that Inspiration has many meanings such as:
1.  the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative: "the history of fashion has provided designers with invaluable inspiration" with synonyms like : creativity · inventiveness · innovation · ingenuity · genius · imagination · and :originality · artistry · insight · vision · finesse · flair a person or thing that inspires:  synonyms: guiding light · example · model · muse · motivation ·


2. the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

The irony in all of this is that I wanted my list to inspire others, because life has meaning when we spend it with and for others-using our God-given gifts in the world around us.  Even in completing the list I didn’t do it alone—people shared their need for financial support, went on the underground tour, all over New York City, and ran a 5K with me. The encouragement from you has been grace—a God-given gift reminding me of his love for me by the love shown by others. I want my life to show others’ God’s love for them.


"then I had an inspiration"
synonyms: bright idea · revelation · flash · brainwave · brainstorm ·
[more]eureka moment

For me personally, the 30 by 30 list was more of the second definition-a drawing in of breath and life into my heart, mind, and soul that had been so wounded and silenced by spiritual abuse. It was an opportunity for me to re-engage with life and the community around me. This list brought new joy and life—helping me to focus my time and energy on others, as well as regain spiritual, mental and emotional health. Looking back, I am so thankful for the goals that guided me the last six months. Before I wrote the list I prayed FOR inspiration—that each of the 30 would be intentional and life-giving for myself and others—a way for me to step out in faith again. Inspiration is contagious.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reflections on my 29th year

Reflections on my 29th year.
              Tonight as I baked and cleaned, checked off my to-do list, I began to reflect on my 29th trip around the sun. Each birthday year, August to August I take time to pray and think of a theme phrase or words for the next year. Last years’ were “trust boldly”, which, to be honest, were the last two things I wanted to do. I had just lived through the hell of spiritual abuse, skeptical and timid were more like it.
But today, almost 365 days later, I can’t help but sigh with a sheepish smirk that those two words were exactly what this year of life was about. On my birthday last year I started my job at a new company which has been one of the greatest joys of this year. I didn’t even know how much the stress of barely having enough clients and hours as well as driving all over the city was affecting my quality of life until they were no longer a part of it. My current company has been a prime example of one that is proactive about taking care of employees and seeking to deal with problems instead of hiding them. I have grown much in my practice as I have learned from others around me, and I’m so grateful.
Another way I learned to trust boldly was by beginning to attend a new church. Every brunch and bible study I either sulked in like an emo teenager, or tried to quiet my racing heart. Everything in me told me to run, to shut them out before I could get hurt. But one genuine conversation at a time my heart began to hope, then trust that this place could be different. I’ve made new friends that embody weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. I’m allowed to be where I am, because everyone else is responsible for themselves—we are alone together—responsible for our choices yet sharing our troubles. These new friends have enabled me to trust boldly.
Today, I trust boldly that I am where I’m supposed to be—my life is not in limbo because I’m single, it’s not less or “cute”—it is purposed and full. I can’t believe I ever felt that way.  In both my work and church I am equipped and trusted to use my knowledge and gifts for others. My career isn’t seen as a hindrance but a gift. I can trust BOLDLY that I have been called to this vocation and it is my joy.
Lastly, around mid-february, with 6 months left in my 20’s, I started a crazy list of 30 goals by 30—they were divided into categories-head & heart, hope, and health. Some were one time things like funding an adoption, buying a stranger’s meal at a restaurant; others took more planning and time-hiking, reading 10 new books, completing the whole 30. (check the facebook page 30by30 for more details). With days left, I’ve completed around 25 of the 30 but I’m content with my progress. I’ve been humbled by others who have helped me in the process—going on the underground tour, cousins spending the day with me in NYC, and so many others have encouraged me along the way. 30 by 30 has taught me to pace myself and enjoy the process. Because the goals weren’t about completing—they were about becoming. Becoming the woman that is intentional with eating and exercising, taking time to be with others and using my resources for them. It was about becoming who I want to BE in my 30s-mindful, balanced, and intentional with my time, talents, and present in the lives and community around me.

So, as I look ahead to the next decade, I want to have peace in the process. I am not responsible for the choices leaders and others make. I want to have peace in the in-between—tangible grace to be imperfect and humble, working to improve where I can and accepting my limitations. I want to have peace in the process of dating, working with my clients, equipping teachers to educate children with disabilities. I CAN have peace in the process as I trust God boldly-one thing at a time. Thirty and Thriving, indeed.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Heart of a Mother


Her arms may be empty
The tears flowing fast
She cries out from the barreness,
How long will this last?

Each month that passes,
Every test that's not blue,
Makes her ache to be a part of the masses
Wondering how long she'll ache for you.

Yet her waiting is not in vain,
Her mother's heart is being refined
She's learning to love with hope
Even if her womb is denied.

Her legacy is in her loving today,
In the way she tries again after each fall.
As she dreams for the future, answers today's call.
She knows that she has gifts and value, so today she gives her all.

Her pain is one we all can feel,
For each of us is tied to a mother.
We all weep in disappointment,
Every person longs for dreams made real.

Today let's let her know she is loved, no matter what happens tomorrow.
Her mother's heart is celebrated too.
In the way she embraces those around her,
Even as she waits for the new.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The lessons of loneliness


              Loneliness isn’t a place of lack—it’s a lesson.
A year ago my life pretty abruptly went from weeks of scheduled out activities to a blank slate. Weekly meetings were now a blaring reminder of painful decisions by others instead of community. I didn’t ask for things to change, I wasn’t given a choice. Sure, my actions made a difference, and I take responsibility for them, but they were not decisive, I was uninvited and it felt like I was unwanted.
              But over the last year, I realized that time of loneliness was a lesson. An opportunity to live loved when so much around me shouted rejection. People who had spoken words of life for years stopped calling in a moment. Vibrant friendships wilted with harsh words and misunderstanding. The death of friendships hurts because you mourn someone who is still alive. In the throes of upheaval its easy to forget that the ones who hurt have been hurt themselves, that they are not the enemy. When a friendship dies, no one wins.
              As I look back, I know I wasn’t perfect. Could I have fought harder--probably, had more humility—always. But one of the many things I’ve learned is to have grace—that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Maybe someday when the sting has lessened we can try again. If they’re reading this today I hope they hear my heart and hope for reconciliation where we can meet in the middle instead of drawing lines in the sand—to listen out of love and assuming the best.  But for now, I will pray for their flourishing, for their growth and joy. Does it still hurt- absolutely—faithful are the wounds of a friend. And yet, new life comes from ashes. I’m slowly re-entering community at a new church. I’m putting one feeble word in front of the other trusting that the God who brought me through last year is faithful. I’m trusting Him to be faithful and protect my heart and words—even if they’re misunderstood today. He knows and understands. If anything this last year has taught me that He alone understands my heart. He alone loves unconditionally, He alone defines my worth and my value no matter how full or empty my social calendar.

              He led me beside still waters as a means of restoring my soul. The glassy lake of loneliness was not a punishment, it was provision. I am loved when I am lonely. I am heard when friendships grow silent. I am valued when gifts are decried as idols. I am surrounded by His presence when none go with me. The truth sets you free even if no one else hears it. I know I’m not the only one who feels alone—who’s been rejected, who’s been misunderstood. The still waters were an invitation that I never wanted to receive, but I infinitely needed. Living loved in loneliness is based on who He says you are—no one else. Let the still waters of loneliness restore your soul as he speaks in the silence, walks with you in the solitary, and loves you in the abandonment. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Love them anyway-- a poem


“When people hurt you, love them anyway”
Doesn’t mean you excuse their sin away
Say “no big deal, it’s okay”.

To love them anyway means so much more
It means calling them to His way
Tell them the truth, open the door
Call them to see, let Jesus their hearts sway.

Love is patient. Love is kind.
Does not translate to silence, assuming like-mind.
Love is kind because it calls out sin.
Love is patient-knowing change begins within.

Love them anyway
Love them enough to know when to walk away.
Love them by forgiving what they wont say.
Love them by trusting Jesus, Him obey.

Love them anyway-love is a verb
Love is action-and spoken word
Love is truth-a God-given ability
Love is pure when given in humility.

When people hurt you,
Use you, lie about you, shame you—
How can you love them anyway?
Know that one day He’ll make it okay.
God will wipe the pain away
He will speak truth, change hearts
God will mend what they’ve torn apart.

Love them anyway
His love is the only way
By His truth a hardened heart is swayed.

Jesus died—so you can love them anyway. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

A poem for the misogynist

My word should be enough.
My stop! No! Listen to Me!
Shouldn't be seen as a challenge
They're not a question, His word has set me free.

My words should be trusted--
not discounted because I am a woman.
Don't patronize out of misogyny
Even if they mean your reputation is busted.

Don't you know, brother,
He trusted women with the tomb,
That our Savior always values woman's words
He entered the world through the womb.

Blinded by your fear, ego, and pride,
You let boys' actions--emotional rape, slide.
While your sisters cry in agony,
"Won't someone listen and see?!"

That the savior you claim to follow
Didn't die so You could rule.
No, He died for all that are equal
So no woman's words are hollow.

Listen, brother, to His words that can set you free,
From a life of misguided fear--
that silences instead of loves.
For when you listen to your sisters, it allows you to truly lead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Hope-- a poem


Snowflakes dance
The Holy Spirit speaks,
"The new is coming,
I work as you seek

This year has been marked by pain and tears--
Loss, brokenness--at times nothing quieted fears.
Oh beloved, I make all things new
My grace covers all, cleansing you.

I know at times my voice seems faint.
Precious one, I delight as you wait.
I work all things for you good.
One day it will all be understood.

As you trust and move forward,
Know I lead each step you take.
Just as I have sent my son,
I will guide the decisions you make.

I love you just for breathing,
Nothing done diminishes my love.
Winter reminds you of death's sting.
Yet, dear heart, next comes spring.

Trust me to work where life seems bare.
Christmas reminds I brought my son with infinite care.
I have worked. I'm moving still.
Trust Boldly, walk humbly--that is my will.

Now rest, dear one.
The snow settles,  winter's begun.
My loving will is moving swiftly.
My heart is for you--come, follow me.