of thoughts. scribbling them out in paper, prob post some but for now I just want to say. I am grateful for hard painful truth. for the strange way it gives solid comfort where pretty, nice, but not so much true words leave a bitter taste in my mouth. give me a sword to swing and I will fight to see light. but don't tell me the dragon is in my head. nor that the fight will not draw blood, lest I be overcome.

dang I hate when I get all metaphorical and make no sense.

{updating hours later}
memories flood. Україна. sitting on the cement. several age 8- 12-looking like 8-10 under-nourished children scramble for crafts. they seem happy to have colours, glitter, markers. their faces are hungrier than thier stomachs. hungry for newness, for beauty; mostly for attention. hungry to be noticed. "good job!" & a hug. enough to light up one of those faces. (how rare is affirmation in this place...how can they have a concept of their value?)
I am smiling & praising & hugging & being hugged. but I am aching. overwhelming ache in my heart. tight ache in the back of my throat where liquid heartbreak waits to spill forth. sharp ache in my mind as it struggles to reconcile the reality of God's truth with this place.
what. am I doing?
how can I possibly convey how beautiful they are, these little souls? how can I impress on them their worth...when there is not even a framework of such concepts here. God what good am I really doing? How can they see Your love in 7 short eternal days? How can I tell them You are good? How can this make a difference when I have to leave?

I don't know the answers. But I know God is the same in Ukraine as He is here. I know His love is more perfect, deep & true than mine. {{therefore I know God's heart has cracked greater than mine. I leave. But there is a dedicated team of Ukrainians who will stay in touch. I know my prayers aren't pointless. God sees the orphan. I know there was sheer joy on the faces of children where it might not have shone without us. I know God saves. I know God works through small frail people like me.

so I am going back. (hoping)
going back to hug littles who have probably been hit more than held. Going to bring a smile to tough lil boys whose own smiles are broken. Going to befriend older girls & be amazed at their grace. Going to look innocence-stolen children in the eye & be ashamed at what I think is "suffering" Going to listen to stories, to get beat up, to pray non-stop, to prob get peed & bled on. Going to fight for them. & believe if God has sent us; surely He will give Himself to these. Going to see things that make my heart bleed. Going to feel utterly helpless. Really, to *be* helpless...
I can't fix the system. I can't heal hearts, minds, bodies. I can't rescue. I can't bring them families or bring them home.
But I can love. I can give undivided positive attention. I can bring new clothes & give out gum. I can wrestle & lose at soccer. I can be patient. I can go, and ask God to give as much as myself as possible.


to myself

don't give up.


feb 3 2012

that night, 2.3.12 I will never forget. it was full of ordinary things, the typical weekend night of an american female 20-something. 3 girls met up at Starbucks. took pictures. went to a civil wars concert. sat in the car for hours after; talking about Jesus n life & how those two meet & intertwine.

but for me, it wasn't ordinary.
ordinary at that time was panic attacks. fear, doubting my sanity, doubting my interpretation of scripture, doubting God's promises by wondering if His best for me involved me losing my mind.
that night I felt...not stable. but at least able to fake it. I saw, for the first time potential that I might return to life before January. me & ok was real. in the future.

I laughed out loud that night. damn i have great friends! it startled me. I was shocked i could laugh & yet. also shocked to realize I couldn't remember the last time I'd truthfully laughed out loud...Christmas? surely I laughed that day.

it was one of the first nights in months that I breathed in light. the darkness & heaviness & mental anguish took a backseat. it was hard to smile, but at least i could fight for joy! those 2 made smiles came more naturally. God seemed more caring. seasons seemed just that-temporary.

Zach Williams & the Bellow opened. they were a little band from Brooklyn with a lead singer who hadn't been warned not to admit he didn't know what he was doing except for the music part. they loved music. they sang & played with heart. they were funny & real & adorable & I loved them.

the civil wars were breathtaking. talented musicians. they sparkled & illuminated the stage with personality. beautiful voices combined with wit & humor...songs that were poetry, crafted lyrically as well as melodically. they seemed like friends playing together in a living room somewhere.

Abi and Beks had a convo about the Savior afterward that I merely observed. I don't remember many specifics. but I remember grace & beautiful reality of the faithfulness of God washing over me. wave after wave. as the words themselves caused sane, clean, peace to spill over on me w every paragraph.
I slept, that night.

funny the way God used ordinary moments to sustain us in the darkest of bleeding pain soaked times.
I couldn't be more grateful for that night, those girls, my faithful amazing Christ. and oh how wonderful it is to be far from that time...


i'm sitting here trying to write to a few of my Ukraine orphans...miracle of miracles, one is being adopted!!! he was especially on my heart last year, one that i'll admit i maybe cried a lil harder on the plane about leaving. God hears prayers. He may seem to rescue on such a smaller scale than we ask for, but He DOES rescue and He DOES see and hear the suffering, the weak, the small. He has plans for all of the oppressed. who am i to question what He does with His people on His earth? especially as i know how very good, very holy and ever so much more powerful He is.


its harder to write than i thought it was. what do i say? that i pray for you still, that your pictures hang from ribbons in the corner of my room so i will not forget? that my heart aches to free you, how can i say that?! how can i speak of light, hope, love; when their circumstances are entrenched in darkness, soaked in seeming hopelessness and full of abuse?

hello world that i wanted to change,
i am very small and you are very large. what good can a white girl of 24 really do? there is a "god of this age", the devil is alive and real. hard to believe at times to my western logical mind. but it's true. why he is allowed to roam so (seeming) free i do not comprehend. i know appearances are liars. but oh how weak are my eyes. how fragile is my faith. how very prone to cracking is this heart. how very quickly the abounding love God fills it with pours out & seeps away wasted, getting caught on the jagged edges of my doubts my selfishness my fears. it all seems too much. "all" meaning the evils many americans can shut their eyes too or look away from or forget exist. i used to do this so well. we live in a fantasy land compared with much of the world. our reality is like living in a pinterest world; how often we forget to see beyond. my life is not touched by the cruelty of cold harsh evil. but i can't forget what i have seen. there is so much, it's overwhelming.
"all" is human trafficking and toddlers sold into sex slavery. "all" is wealthy politicians, doctors, successful 'decent' men who abuse the innocent in other countries. "all" is the mafia that seems to influence culture more than the church. "all" is the version of feminism that tells us women to take back sex as a power tool without telling us the great cost to our hearts & souls. "all" is a society where the men who objectify women are tolerated, encouraged; but gentlemen with honest-to-goodness decent masculinity are chewed out for chauvinism. "all" includes everything from childhood bullying to childhood murder.
the god of this age is NOT in control. the enemy is not as strong as he appears. i have read the end of the story. he loses, and the Lamb comes riding in just in time to save with white horse, sharp sword & blazing eyes.my God is greater. He is stronger. He is the God of angel armies. He sees all--and He knew these things would happen before I ever had an inkling. He created the innocent and the wicked. Before His throne there are victims & perpetrators; but there are none wholly innocent. that is hard to swallow... but none of us are perfectly holy. None of us deserve everlasting life. And He is so gracious, so loving, yet so unwilling to compromise His justice that He PAID the price of salvation. He does not just hand out innocence--He suffered the cost of created it for us. He offers pardon, He cleanses, He restores, He saves. He will bring forth justice in due time. He is not willing any should perish--how much more merciful is He than i would be! it feels as if i cannot say these words to children who have experienced more hell in their shorter lives than i can even fathom. but it's truth. God loves these children. far more than i. His heart breaks for them when mine is empty, numb & not caring. when my heart does beat, when it aches for the empathy of their own heartbreak--His heart breaks still more.

so yes. i am small. i am frail, i am inadequate, easily overwhelmed, scared. i am not enough.
but i am not alone. i am upheld, i am filled, my weakness is an opening for the strength of Christ to expand within. i am not taking myself to the broken. i do not just give positive thought patterns that can be worn down in the face of stark reality. nor beautiful things that will fade nor new things that can be stolen. i bring Christ. I bring hope, light, everlasting joy. He gives peace that may not end chaos (yet) but peace that exists amidst chaos. i am a vessel for the Everlasting Most Beautiful Warrior King. I can offer Jesus. He brings life everlasting. He brings a promise of a forever that is clean and devoid of all evil-hurt-darkness.
that. is how i take you on world.

God only allows Satan to accomplish the very opposite of what he wants to accomplish.He only gives Satan enough rope to hang himself…God hates evil.He’s against it.He didn’t create a world in which evil existed. But He permits it.Why?He permits Satan only to bring evil into Job’s life in such a way, in such an amount, that actually completely defeats Satan’s real intention.Satan is only allowed by God to actually defeat himself and achieve the very opposite of what he wanted.…He permits evil and suffering to come into your life only to the degree that it defeats the actual intention of Satan for you.Only to the degree that it makes you a [more like Christ].Only to the degree that it actually defeats itself.”

ps. i share this video because i know what it is to look into the eyes of children who feel like God does not give a fig about them, who ask questions that are raw & deep, and make me speechless. i know the truth can heal. i know we should believe where we do not see. but i also know there are times when truth comes out like a sledgehammer and grace would extend more gently in the form of a listening, a hug, & a silent prayer.



I write letters in my head all the time. if I actually followed through on them, the outgoing pile in my mailbox would look a lil like this:

Dear NFL mobile,
The season is over. I am ok with admitting my boys played with heart but still lost. so why do you keep sending me "why did the packers struggle?" "what's wrong with green bays defense" articles. please stop.
Sincerely, packs fan

To the boy who walks around campus singing at the top of his lungs: nice pipes. bro, seriously, you should be in musicals bc you've got a classic broadway sound. thank you for sharing it. thanks for pulling me out of survival mode & into really living mode.

Dear student who cannot see past his emotions & is incapable of separating other's mistakes from their actual intent,
my heart aches for you. I wish I could give you new eyes. I wish I knew how to reach you. I wish you could hear me when I try to show you the positive outlook of a bad situation. I wish you could change your thought patterns & have more happiness as a result. I wish you could see being an underdog as just a fact of life. use it to fuel your drive. rather than seeing obstacles as other people's failings & believing it to be the defining factor of your life. I love you.

Dear Biology prof,
thank you for your Canadian accent, for saying "holy shit" anytime you make a mistake, & for being excited about your subject. you make me laugh.
one of your students

to the bright eyed, camo-hat chick,
You're adorable. stay that way. hold on to your innocence & don't believe the lies that boys tell you--if he really loves you he can wait. dump him if he's not. life single is preferable to life with somebody who doesn't really love you. it's possible to be treasured. don't settle!
love, a fellow country girl


so very much inside

where oh where to begin.
i apologize in advance for the condensed rambling about to spew forth.
i've wanted to write about 2012 and this song for months, actually. long before the new year. differing threads of connected thought have been tangling and aligning themselves in my head but i've had no time to write them.
and i still don't. so in betwixt fixing mistakes already made in the first week of class (screw technology why can't i just use pencil & paper like the old days?!) i'm throwing a little mess here so i don't drown. usually i run out of words but these days, with no time to write and not truly conversing with anyone i have more thoughts-words in my head/heart than i am used too.

i've also been a little bit... hesitant. vulnerability has not been my thing as of late.
i've been reverting back to let's-protect-ourself-and-life-is-a.ok-but-not-amazing-as-it-could-be. its hard to see beauty when Christ is not center. there is beauty still there but He is the source, so beauty for just aesthetic reasons, beauty for its own sake is not lasting. certainly not life-giving. it may bring a smile but it doesn't bring a heart-song.

this is where i have been. not at all depressed. not sad. happy--but not joyous. ok--but not content. just [here] existing in space. no excitement no passion no depth no feeling. 

that's going to change. in the same way the air crackles before a thunderstorm, there's a crackling in my heart. i can smell rain on its way. oh Father drench me in grace & faith & consuming passion for You anew?

jan 2012. well i certainly would NEVER have pictured myself here. i thought i'd be having a rough time, possibly; jan of 2013. or i thought maybe i'd be in a mind-blowing new season or off in a foreign country. or i thought perhaps i'd be the same with no major changes. i'm not either of those things. i'm just here. drastically changed but quite static at the moment.
i certainly *never* thought i'd be looking back, missing the wild abandonment that comes from having (literally) nothing left to lose. i don't care to repeat shatterings but i miss the reward.

ugh how terribly vague and silly this all sounds. i do intend to make proper use of my words one day. i feel i can write specifically about the whole thing now without fear of judgement. not because people will think any differently than they would have then. but because i know where my heart is and I know where my God is bringing me (well the rough outlines of course not the colours in between) so i don't really care what is judged or thought about me.

so this song. tear down the house. how i relate. how it is my year of dismantling myself & falling apart and then rebuilding only to have to face heartbreak that i hadn't processed because i was too busy trying to live. i know i'm not making sense. this doesn't fit without bridges. i don't have time for bridges but suffice to say. there is a house of doubt & unbelief & fear & peeling paint with a cracked heart that has been torn apart. and will not be rebuilt. and the ghosts may float n linger. unbelief may still be mingled in my faith...but. never ever again will it be my dwelling place.
Tear down the house

That I grew up in
I'll never be the same again
Take everything that I've collected
And throw it in a pile

Bulldoze the woods 
That I ran through
Carry the pictures of me and you
I have no memory of who I once was
And I don't remember your name

Park the old car
That I love the best
inspections due and it won't pass the test
It's funny how I have to put it to rest
And how one day… 
I will join it

I remember crying over you
And I don't mean like a couple of tears
And then I'm blue
I'm talkin' about collapsing
And screaming at the moon
But I'm a better man
For having gone through it
Yes, I'm a better man
For having gone through…

Ever since I learned how to curse
I've been using those sorry old words
But, I'm talkin' to these children
And I'm keeping it clean
I don't need those words
To say what I mean
No, I don't need those words
To say what I mean
by the avetts.

and yeah i just scribbled this all in about 15 min with no proof read. a terribly wretched mess.


pretty colours, 8 solid classroom hours, & an excellent song.

so much I could (& will) write about where Gods brought me in a year etc.

but tonight I just want to say He is beautiful. number one .01. reason that my life can be! I'm so grateful for a God who delights, who is happy, who is not just good but perfectly Holy & Sovereign.

grateful for His work in friends hearts & lives.
grateful for the ever patient forgiveness of my family.
grateful for target clearance & $4 sky blue backpacks replacing the torn brother cast-off.
grateful for the past taxes I paid that I'm getting back via school money.
grateful for education even when I disagree w my profs.
grateful for an imagination that can spark curiosity in the boringnest classes.
grateful for physical therapists
grateful for bicep tendons (please heal quickly little guy!)
grateful for littles
grateful for theme songs; today was desert soul by the rend collective. (they're Irish! folksy! love Jesus! what's not to love?)