Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that’s celebration.
Shauna Niequist
This quote has sparked a lot of thought the past hour...it won't be a logical progression but here's my attempt to put mind-heart muddle into words:
Oh look, its that familiar place again... condemning thoughts lie so well, i make myself sick before i realize i've fought all these and i know all the answers: "i'm a waste of space" + "the timeline of my plans is past so why bother" + "why dream?" + "why didn't i do________" + "why did i waste time pursuing *insert door slammed shut of choice here*" + "so wait. i genuinely tried to follow God and it led me...here? or i screwed up, which is it?" + "maybe i am just not achieving material" 
shut up. 
seriously mind? we've been on this merry-go-ride so many times. God's yanked me off. i've jumped off myself even. i haven't destroyed my life. i'm not suffering consequences for sin. failures are covered by Christ. but i still.end.up. __making myself sick__. letting go of past decisions is a dragon with the genes of Medusa--so often i've thought it was slain, only for it to come roaring into my thought process. again. now with more flame-spitting heads! see i'm repeating myself with different words...case in point! & i think i'm starting to see the root. ultimately, it's a surrendering control issue. (yet another "i've got this defeated--just kidding!" dragon) but a facet i've never realized...
 i have all these standards in my head that i can't live up too, all these dreams & plans that i want to fulfill; (so i'm ok with myself). God loves me too much to let that happen. He set me free from the tyranny of getting what i {think} i want. His plan isn't actually about me. He's included me in the most epic story ever dreamed! but i'm not the focus. He wants to define me...but i want to define myself. i want earthly approval. maybe not even that so much; i want to live up to my own ideal of who i should be. i've swallowed this ridiculous american culture that says i need to be OBSESSED WITH SELF! i fight. i keep trying to cut out all the parts i despise in me & change what offends others. but its a miserable failure. constantly. i can't do it. in fact, some of the things others disdain about me are things God values. & that is not a new revelation, personal holiness is not sexy. self-control, discipline, loving fiercely with all of you, loyalty...those things ain't valued. my strengths are reflective of God. my flaws even glorify Him, cause they drive others toward God & keep me from being sufficient & keep me humble & show what a marvelous God who uses such broken messy vessels!! but His approval isn't enough. not right now. (says my life) i can't bear to think that but my actions yell it every day. 

there was a season when i was rock-solid in my identity. rooted in Christ. when i thought more on Him than on how others viewed me. when these battles of image were smaller, immediately engaged & victorious more often than not. but now...i can't even. i believed God saw me as beautiful? as His precious daughter? i walked in forgiveness & received His gracious love? & yet i was actually less in my head and more aware of others? say whaaaa? 

He hasn't changed. I have. It's as if God is holding out colors He wants to define me with, but i sit here afraid they won't look brilliant once on me. i'm like a slum child seeing silk fabric. i can't touch, or i'll spoil it. but how i want to wrap myself..in cheerful yellow of joy, the aqua of peace, classic gray of courage. rich crimson of redeemed, stronger & bolder than all else. clear green of purity, playful orange of humility sparkling blue of discipline, sky blue of self-control, the iridescence of being fiercely loved. rich purple of loyalty. mint green of trust. deep earthy hues of forgiveness, long-suffering, servant love. He holds these out & says look Daughter, look what Christ died to buy you! Can you not see how I see you? Will you not accept my gift? those best things you think you hold, baby they're trash. faded, dirty, used up." but i'm trapped. in tension. i cannot let go of my rags for fear.

spoiler alert: God's going to win. in the end. i am going to learn to accept all from His hand as beautiful. i'm actually going to let myself recieve the grace i so do not understand. i'm going to stop fighting so damn hard. i'm going to see the Jesus in me and marvel at how cool God is. I'm going to have the courage to say no, actually; i don't regret the choices i made trying to follow Him. i'm going to believe God's path for me is different, strange; but lovely and not wrong. no, i will not be bitter about the pain of disappointed dead-end hopes--they had a sweetness in making me desperate. "life abundantly" "goodness in the land of the living" "fruitful & abounding in good works" "full of joy"  will. happen. partial taste here, full realization in eternity. 


sea longing*

(photocred: beks)

A thousand miles beyond this sun-steeped wall
Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand,
The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land
With the old murmur, long and musical;
The windy waves mount up and curve and fall,
And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow,—
Tho' I am inland far, I hear and know,
For I was born the sea's eternal thrall.
I would that I were there and over me
The cold insistence of the tide would roll,
Quenching this burning thing men call the soul,—
Then with the ebbing I should drift and be
Less than the smallest shell along the shoal,
Less than the sea-gulls calling to the sea.

Sara Teasedale: Sea Longing



I just read this article http://natepyle.com/confronting-the-lie-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/

I agree. wholeheartedly! the verse taken out of context has always bothered me. isn't the whole point of life that we can't handle it alone?

it's where I am. I have questions I need to ask. not bc I need answers, but bc admitting them bringing them into the light will expose the lies I'm believing. I need to be gut-level honest with God about all the doubts I've been trying not to think. 

I know I won't get answers. it's not all going to get from head to heart in one night. but. there will be peace. and God can fill my unbelieving terrified aching heart with hope. he can get me to the place of expectant waiting, the one the article ends with & where I, quite frankly, am sick of being. right now I don't want to go there. but bitterness is a pair of glasses that blocks all the good & beauty in life. all the quietly redemptive works.

psalm 38.8-9, 15,18, 21-22
am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
O Lord, all my longing is before you;

my sighing is not hidden from you.
v.v.But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
Do not forsake me, O LordO my God, be not far from me! 
Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

He sees the deeps of my heart, even the things I've been not admitting to myself.

also, there is a magnificent thunderstorm right now. grace drenches like rain, no?


weary & exhausted (or, I'm a wimp at 25)

sometimes, people say i'm strong. ha. i'm not. really. it confuses me when my close friends say it, bc they see more of my frailty than anybody else! 

now, when i was a little girl, i wanted to be "strong" so much. i had a faulty definition. i thought "strong" meant "unaffected", as if i were strong enough i wouldn't hurt or feel or be vulnerable. strong people were protectors & safe themselves. but my definition has since changed...drastically. that process spanned almost 15 years. short story version: i molded myself into my idea of "strong" only to find that i was actually killing my heart. i locked myself into a fortress that not only failed to protect me, but also held me prisoner in her own walls. much of this blog the past 3 yrs has been written from those varying places; as God shattered & remade me. 

I define strength as the ability to let go, from trust not despair. it's refusing to believe God is anything but what He says He is--no matter how circumstances paint Him. its abandoning self-protection (though not wise judgments). strong people are faithful in the everyday, not whining about circumstances. they're humble & quietly secure. strength is honestly feeling without succumbing.

thats not me! i default to questioning God. i'm more insecure right now than i have ever been since high school. I can't remember my identity in Christ for 30 minutes! & tired. I can't imagine living another 25 years this exhausted.
but as i was recalling times i really sought God & He proved Himself I had a thought...i often think ppl have an elevated opinion of how "real" & "authentic" my walk with God is. bc they don't know why He had to be real. if they did they'd see how much deeper it should be. 
in a similar vein, maybe folks mistake depth for strength. like calling Harry Potter perceptive when bc sees thestrals others can't. but he only sees them bc he's seen death, not bc he's wise. it's only that he's had experience earlier than most. maybe ppl just think I'm strong bc they don't recognize experience.

or maybe thats's why when folks call me strong, i feel like a hypocrite. unintentionally--I don't try to fake it. i try to be open about my struggles. I think of all my battles & want to say "if you only knew how often I lose..." if they had any idea how much of my life i spent terrified, running & doubting. how i learned real prayer in long dark sleepless nights at 16. how much shame & hurt & confusion I wrestled with far longer than i should have. how small the situations that wrecked me were. I compare my life to those who've endured real tragedy. I've only seen it from the sidelines, but i forget that some people haven't even had front row seats to real suffering. they haven't yet reached a point in their own lives when they literally had nothing left, actually gave up; & were surprised to find your body still wakes up. you keep living. without anything inside. been there before. feel like I came out only emotionally bc Jesus saved me...but the rest of me is like aahh life takes so much effort.
I'm exhausted. I'm weak & weary. "done" came and went, 20 months back. I'm beyond dry, I've been in a desert for so long I've lost count of how many times I thought a respite at an oasis was actually a change of scene. I can't take any more mirages of refreshment. I don't know how I am not a hysterical mess again. i know I've been drained & knocked down by things so small compared to what others have faced. & they keep running!! don't get me wrong God is SO FAITHFUL. He pours out grace! g emotionally, I'm stable. I'm empty but not depressed. too worn out spiritually, mentally, physically to have energy to feel. I cannot keep living is what I think, every few weeks. but I do. I'm not sure my body or mind fully recovered since that "done" season but I act like it bc what else can I do? I tell myself "this is real life. this is 25, God's prepping you for grown-up responsibility." but I think that's quitting. I'm tired 
of hoping & lazy. I think I stopped listening & seeking. 

it's freeing to admit I. am. drained. I cannot imagine not being exhausted. cannot imagine being whole-meaning feeling good & on my game mentally physically spiritually emotionally at once rather than a few or just one.

(I know it's good to be weak, i shouldn't complain, know all the verses about Gods strength & I believe them I just need a space to admit I need Divine Intervention on a deep level. & I'm asking for it.)


why it's ok if I'm lost

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger 
In the presence of my Savior ((hillsong united))

i thought this song was a picture of where I was going. but it just looks like transition to gray. an empty, grayscale season of life is all I see stretching before me. time to suck it up, knuckle down & get through it. wildernesses happen. 25 looks to me like those 20 minute warm summer sprinkles. not lovely like a real rain shower, its not enough wet to do any cooling or watering; yet makes you damp enough to add humidity & make you uncomfortable. _but_ 
God has a purpose. He doesn't send random seasons. uncomfortable in any form--even mundane--is Him giving time to grow, change. it IS a new ocean. it doesn't have to be empty. or gray! I can choose to trust what I don't see. I don't have to fake it, i can admit if it looks gray all around...but. I can always add His color. His beauty & presence will be available. after all, i don't know what these waves truly hold. but i know He won't leave me dispassionate & apathetic for long. He's leading me deeper. always.