Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We Pray for the Students

I wrote this poem, loosely based off of the format for "We Pray for the Children" in response to the tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

We Pray for the Students

We pray for the students
whose tears are on our tv screens
who are afraid to be on campus
whose worst nightmare became a reality

We pray for the students
Whose cries are heard by God
Whose courage saved the lives of others
Whose hope gives strength to us

We pray for the students
Whose families were worried
Who close their eyes and can’t fall asleep
Who lost a best friend
Who will be scarred forever

We pray for the students
Who will find forgiveness
And for those who won’t
For those who will turn to faith
And for those who will never stop feeling the loss

We pray for the students
Whose hearts are broken
Whose lives are shattered
Who are existing only in fear

We pray for the students
Who didn’t get a second chance
And for those who will live in the shadow of the memory of those who died
And for those who will feel guilty for being survivors
And for those who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel
And for those who can and are clinging to the hope that it provides

We pray for the students
Whose wounds are open and raw
Whose emotions are overwhelming
Whose hearts are broken and hurting
Whose minds are racing, raging, reliving
Whose lives were shattered
Whose future will never be the same

We pray for the students
Whose faces break our hearts
Whose loss makes us count our blessings
Whose strength provides an example

We pray for the students
Who will walk the campus again
Who will sit at desks again
Who will attend lectures again
Who will live in dorms again
Who will look one another in the eye again
Who will believe in their future again
Who will find hope in the promise of tomorrow.

We pray for the students.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Same God

I got in Karen's car today around 1:30pm, and she greeted me and then asked if I had heard what happened. Uh...I wanted to say...that's kinda vague. At Virginia Tech, she continued. Nope, I still didn't know. I wondered for a moment, though, because her fiance lives and works at VT. It's not as though I'm an uninformed person. MSNBC news is my homepage, and I read world and US news daily, but as of the time I left my room this morning, there was nothing particularly newsworthy regarding VT. Karen then told me what had happened.

I wanted to cry but the tears never came. But my eyes got swollen and puffy just the same. And I wanted to cry out and ask God why this happened, how He could allow this to happen...and why so many people that I loved and cared about, though not killed, were still emotionally scarred from this. The rest of the day, I wrestled with how it could be that my campus was safe and secure, that I was out of harm's way, that I had been spared when it could so easily have been our campus. And I wrestled with how the same God that ordained snow in Virginia this morning could allow this to happen. And that's when God opened my heart to try to understand... that the same God who ordained snow may have let this happen, but He is also the same God who will be glorified in this, who never left those classrooms when one individual was wreaking havoc on so many innocent lives; yes, the same God who overcame sin on the cross is precisely the same God who was present on the campus on Viriginia Tech today amid the horror, and He is the same God who cries with His people and who will hear their sorrow and will heal them.

And no, I don't understand why it happened. But I understand that God doesn't ever change. And God also doesn't disappear in the "dark" places, where evil is present. And so amidst my sadness for my friends at VT and for the loss of life and for the loss on innocence on that campus, amid the fear and the anger, and the confusion, I found comfort. I found comfort in the Comforter. I found peace in the Prince of Peace. And I found hope in the Almighty.

My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God...
My tears have been my food,
day and night,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul...
Hope in God; for I shall again praise
By day the Lord commands His steadfast
and at night His song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?"
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.

(Parts of Psalm 42)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I am posting so infrequently. There's a lot on my mind, from school to family, to friends, to God, etc. I applied for leadership with IV and was offered a position, but I'm still in the process of praying about whether or not to accept it. Karen has graciously understood this and told me not to worry about making a decision and to simply listen to God. I got chosen as an alternate for a CA/RA position, which is good and bad I suppose. School work is stressing me out. In fact, I'm stressed about a lot of things and I think sometimes I am easy to hold myself to the world's standards, especially the standards of my family and friends, rather than allow myself grace. It's so very difficult to learn to do this. I am really working on putting my identity in Christ and not in people.

I found this song by Bethany Dillon that I think pretty much sums up how I feel...

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep
'cause I cannot keep their attention

I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make You stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear You say
who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

I want to be beautiful
Make You stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear You say
who I am is quite enoughJust want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart,
and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love
and beautiful

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I go constantly. I know I do. There isn't any denying it or pretending that it doesn't happen. From the time I get out of bed in the morning until my head hits the pillow, I am usually going about 100 miles an hour. And even when I am sitting down, like in class or at a meal, my thoughts, at least, are still racing and usually I am fidgeting and antsy until I can move around again. But mostly it's not the physical moving around and busy days, it's the emotional and mental craziness that is my life.

I got a pamphlet thingy from the IV office entitled Silence and Solitude. The title alone was enough to "scare" me. I don't like to think about my life minus the craziness or what it would look like to give myself a break. Robert Howe came to IV last week and talked about the Sabbath. I have a really hard time with the Sabbath because the way it was first presented to me was as a list of rules (this was not Robert's talk, however), and rules, although I like the structure they bring, are very stressful because rules get broken and that equals disorder and chaos and a failure to live up to something. The other problem with the Sabbath is that I have this notion that the world will inevitably stop turning and things will fall apart if I am not holding everything together every second of every day. That's not true, and somewhere I know that it's not...but I also like the idea, however false it may be, that I have some control over whether or not things fall apart.

Anyway, Robert talked about how the Sabbath is a celebration. In Ezekiel it also says: "Moreover, I gave them My Sabbaths, as a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them." -Ezekiel 20:12

Hebrews says this:
"The promise of entering His rest still stands...let us therefore strive to enter that rest." -Hebrews 1,11

I realized that by assuming that I needed to be busy every day of the week in order that nothing would fall apart, I was saying to God that I didn't believe He was sovereign and powerful, almighty and perfect. I was basically saying that He needed me to help Him out. Learning to rest is hard. Learning to rest is humbling. Learning to rest is renewing. Learning to rest is something we are called to do.

Psalm 23:3 says: "He restores my soul." It doesn't say I can restore my own soul. It doesn't say that my soul will restore itself; it doesn't say that things of this world will restore my soul. God will. God is faithful and merciful and He calls us to sit at His feet and celebrate the gift He gives us of rest for our crazy lives.