Sunday, February 24, 2008


I gave a small part of my testimony Thursday at InterVarsity. We have this thing each week at our chapter meeting called "Word From The Heard." Basically, one person in our group gets up and talks about something that God's been teaching them or shares something with the rest of the chapter. I've never done it before, but recently, I've really felt God lay it on my heart to speak.

Let me back up. I'm often saying that I wish people in InterVarsity were more "real" with each other; I have felt like we're really safe, as a whole, especially recently, and I desired for that to change.

So, what God's been teaching me recently is how to love who He created me to be, in all my messiness, struggles, emotions, etc. That's hard to learn, in fact He's clearly been trying to teach me this for a while. I wrote a poem in the last year called "Shattered but Satisfied" about the struggle to embrace your brokenness and grow and learn to love who you are, rather than putting on a facade and pretending to be someone you're not. I'm very guilty of pretending to have it together because I think everyone else has it together, so I need to too.

Anyway, I got up at IV and said that God had been teaching me that messiness is beautiful, that we are broken and that although we need His healing, His grace, His love, we also need to realize that our goal ought not to be to walk around pretending we've got it all figured out, but rather our goal ought to be to get comfortable enough with ourselves that we can wade into each other's messiness. That's the beauty of God's love flowing through us: we get to love others and jump down into the hole that they've fallen into-- not because we have the answers, but because we've been down there before. As Greg puts it, "I'm just a beggar showing another beggar where to find the food."

So, I got real. I shared very blatantly some of the messiness I've experienced and am still dealing with.

Would it set me free,
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be?
Would your arms be open?
Or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay?

It was a really big leap, especially for me. I wanted people to see that I'm not the person I often appear to be-- I have some deep hurt in my life and some serious struggles. But that's beautiful. And the fact that there are people in my life already who are wading into that with me is a testiment to God''s love in them and the power of Christian community. But it was a big risk. It wasn't safe, so to speak.

But regardless, I felt freer than ever and I have continued to feel free-- free to not have it together, to not be super-human all the time.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more."

Nailed to the Cross

In small group on Wednesday night, we talked about love. We looked at a lot of verses, but the one that struck me the most was from Luke 6:

‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.' -Luke 6:27-31

We talked some about how revolutionary it would be if for example, we were robbed, and knowing who robbed us, we took something that they didn't steal and offered it to them in addition the things they had already stolen, rather than condemning them.

For me, though, the material possessions thing didn't really get to me all that much. It was the verse that says "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." As I wrote in an earlier post, I have been struggling to understand forgiveness and maybe this goes along with it. So, I was talking through this with the girls in our small group and I said that it's hard for me to earnestly and honestly pray for someone who has truly wronged me, hurt me, etc. Laura Jo talked about that being a good time for Christian community to help pray for the wrong-doer as well as the wronged. And then I had this moment of understanding: not a standard to which we are held but a standard to which we are called.

I asked my small group what Jesus said on the cross and they thought of the moment when He says "My God, why have you forsaken me?" But I was thinking of the other moment (Luke 23:34) when He is literally being crucified. As Jesus is being nailed to the cross and people are casting lots for his clothing and sneering at him, mocking him, He says: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

So, too, are we called to pray for others, even when they are nailing us to a cross, so to speak. That's really hard for me to understand and harded to live out, but I have the perfect example in front of me that I can look to.

And I wonder, if instead of harboring anger, resentment, bitterness and despair, we were called to pray and stemming from that, to love and forgive... how different might the world begin to look?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I got the privilege of having coffee with Greg yesterday and it was something I'll never forget. Greg is one of the most compassionate, maybe the most compassionate, people I've ever met. For an hour I told him my "life story." He teared up and showed compassion the entire way through. I've never had someone get that emotional over my story and I am quite possibly the least emotional person when I tell my story. It is as though I am reading from a text book.

My story. That's what it is. God made me and everything that I have been through, am going through, or will go through is part of His bigger purpose. And when I look around me, I feel like I see so many people that I perceive as "lucky" or as "having it together." But maybe the truth is that I am lucky. I have seen a lot of stuff in my twenty years and I've got a million stories I could tell, but as Greg put it, "there are only two ways to come out of a story like that: bitter and angry or compassionate and big-hearted." He quickly defined me as the second one. But in being either of those, it means accepting what I've been through and allowing it to shape who I am. That's hard sometimes, because more than anything I want to be "normal." I somehow have confused normal with unblemished. They're not the same. We're all broken in some way, some more than others, but God's not going to not use us.

I feel like I've been living the Stained Glass Masquerade song, by Casting Crowns:

'Cause when I take a look around,
Everybody seems so strong.
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong.
So I tuck it all away,
Like everything's okay.
If I make them all believe it,
Maybe I'll believe it too.

But I don't believe it. I know who I am and where I come from. The journey is learning to love who God made me to be, broken and beautiful. I want to know that "who I am is who I want to be."

Greg said, "At the risk of sounding condescending, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for not rolling over and giving up in the midst of everything and for being vulnerable enough to share your story." And I realized that that's something I've never heard or felt... being proud of myself or feeling like someone was proud of me, just for making it through. And for sure, I didn't fully understand the definition or what he meant by that. But I like the feeling.

Anyways, all of that is to say that one of the big things God is teaching me, quite possibly the biggest right now, is how to love who I am and how to love where I came from, because it has shaped me and although it may not be clear now, God's plan is perfect. Always.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength...
-Ephesians 1:18-19

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Thousand Voices

I was listening to my iPod today (I know it makes me antisocial, blah blah) as I walked around campus, and I was looking at the people walking around me and like so many other days I felt my heart surge as this song started:

We have raised a thousand voices,
Just to life Your holy name
And we will raise thousands more
To sing of Your beauty in this place.

First, I was taken back to Urbana, where twenty thousand students from colleges all over the world came together to worship God, and then just like the third line, I realized that UNCG and other campuses are not places where we should find despair at the darkness that seems so prevalent, but places of promise. They are places where God's goodness will be revealed and places where we can see God's beauty if we are willing to open our eyes.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

All? All.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

-"Jesus Paid It All"


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Uh...I missed something


At some point in my Walk, I missed the lecture, demonstration, sermon, explanation, heart-to-heart, and entire conceptualization of human forgiveness. I can barely begin to wrap my head around God's divine grace and the forgiveness we receive because of Christ's sacrifice. But I truly don't understand forgiveness.

What I have called "forgiving" people all my life isn't really forgiving them. I just don't get it. Sorry if that sounds elementary, but I just don't understand what it looks like, what it feels like, how to do it "right" or even where to begin.

I'm super-frustrated. I've defined it with the dictionary and the Bible... I just can't figure it out. K, I'm done now.