Transitions

It is ironic that I like driving alone in my truck. Even a short jaunt from place to place on a sunny afternoon brings me immense happiness. The irony is in the fact that while I adore these physical transitions I struggle with the emotions of life’s most basic transitions. Changes weigh heavily on my heart. Season leaves behind season, years peel away to reveal new decades. I often feel stuck in remembrance, unwilling to let the precious past go.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.~Psalm 126:5&6

I’ll never sit at Grandma’s side, chatting about nothing and about life in pain while we watch the brass pendulum tick the hours by. It hurts that I can’t call her on Fridays anymore and that my phone is slowly erasing all the saved voicemails she left. I treasure these glimpses into a time before her final transition.
My composition instructor who so challenged, bored, inspired, and fascinated me (depending on the day) will not teach me anymore. My heart is tender as I walk amongst classmates down the gray hall. I hear him enthusiastically yelling even now, “Do something worth writing about!” and I am thankful.
I won’t see Tori again. A friend as constant as the sunrise won’t stand next to me in the pool again. She won’t cut the cake at my wedding. She is gone. We won’t talk about our lives or cry over movies together because that time has reached its end. Suddenly, her color in my rainbow is gone, and the childish era when our lives overlapped has passed. A painful wound is left.
Such great, somber hope fills the void.
Spending time on behalf of the outcasts, and using my voice to speak for those without voices, yields less of a paycheck than one might think. How to cling less tightly to earthly security, its a dear lesson to learn. With God’s help, I will rely on Him more fully in time.
Growing into my personal beliefs instead of foolishly adopting those of my culture, another lesson. I am holding more loosely to ideals with which I have been indoctrinated and suspending life long biases in pursuit of personal faith in the better Way, the real Truth, and the abundant Life. There is a Guide who knows the best way. Jesus is my Rabbi, also my Friend. To Him I owe a loyalty greater than I owe to family, country, or friends.
Learning to joyfully count the cost and give it all up for the sake of my King.
Aching as time continually changes the landscape of my life.
Rejoicing in new lives, new days, and memories that speak: I am not home yet.

I drive my truck and I love it, from place to place.

Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may continually come~Psalm 71:31

Hearing, I forget; seeing, I remember; writing, I understand.~Chinese Proverb

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Hot Cheetos

Upon entering the supermarket in North Little Rock, you will see shiny bags of chips. These salty snacks boast vibrant colors and grab-able cellophane packaging. They rustle loudly as shoppers rush by, turning the heads of men, women, and children. All alike are motivated by the color, and by their bellies.

Rumor has said that these chips are made out of potatoes, sometimes corn. But emphasis is not put on the content of these products. Focus is on the instant gratification that comes to the eye when shoppers see that bag and on the tongue when it tastes those savory treats.That temptation is strong and giving into it…tasty.

Human devices and inventions echo these well-dressed bags of chips. Both look so appealing. Both leave emptiness behind. Potato chips leave snackers greasy and unsatisfied. Purely human ideals—thoughts with no intentional hints toward God—leave the world threadbare and unfulfilled.

I find myself consistently drawn to the things of the world. It all charms me cruelly: addictions that spring from abused relationships, goals, foods, and lifestyles.

Imagine spending the night with a guy just once, and feeling no guilt over refusing his calls the next day.

Consider how good it would feel to free my mind, just once…

Imagine living all for me, carrying no burden for the poor, and harboring no guilt over the apathy of my heart.

Imagine guiltlessly chasing my own dreams.

 

But a human without guilt has yet to be found.

And I want no part in a dream that isn’t Christ’s. 

A shiny bags of potato chips,

The world rustles as I walk by.

 

People reach out and

I do not know if they are propelled by darkness or drawn to Light within me.

That confusion makes it difficult, this engagement with the people around me.

I love every one (imperfectly),

And it is alright for my grammar to disintegrate,

But it is a grave issue to see my morals weakened by the pressures of this fluid society.

 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…~Philippians 3:18-20

Tarnished grammar might matter.

Really, communicatively and professionally, it might.

Like that missed payment on my credit account might matter.

Like that broken mirror on my truck might matter.

Like that check list I never get to might matter.

The genuinely important thing to do is to

Start seeing “problems” as opportunities (like Jesus did, when he spontaneously fed 5, 000+ people).

The urgent question is, does what I say coincide with what I do?

 

Mother Teresa, tell me you had doubts while you walked the straight and narrow.

Martin Luthers (both of you), tell me you were not completely certain in the actions you took.

 

I have found happiness and I seek no other way.

My body is weak that I may learn to rely on Him.

His strength is sublime in my shortcomings.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.~1 John 4:15

Perfect weather

People to love

Prince who saved me

Great God who raised me

Sisters I would die for

Grandmother who I cry for

Children I have hope for

 

Delicious potato chips that (eaten in moderation) probably won’t split my soul.

Peace Playing Hard to Get

Don’t be a runner,
I constantly tell myself
For runners break down & destroy.
Nomads move towards while runners move away.
Away from people, places, experiences, the earth, God: everything we were meant to embrace.
Be a lover and a leader,
A never-giver-up-er.

Through the hardness,
Through the wandering,
Through the hate and ignorance and hurt feelings,
Through dark and light;
God lifts His children up.
He offers immense hope.
His peace is an elusive, yet everlasting one.
His love is home,
His world a declaration of glory!

Remember me, O God, for my good~Nehemiah

Religious Drivel

He turned my mourning into dancing;
My sorrow into joy.

I asked for God to show me Himself and He did.
Darkness and distress was in my heart and mind and after 3 hard days of holding onto His promises like a lifeline,
He lifted the veil from my heart, revealing another taste of His glory to me. JOY exploded within me and I smiled, sang, and would have danced if not for the pain in my feet.
God is real. He seeks me out. I am the lost coin, the silly wandering sheep. Yet He LOVES me. He loves that my request was to enter His presence. I could feel Him rejoice as He shared his magnificence with me.
Why does He love me so? Why would He choose to call me out and water me when thousands would rather die of thirst?
I don’t know the answer to these questions that make my head spin. The one thing I do know: His love is infinite. I’ve “used up” a lot of it, but He won’t run out. Come to the river and drink life. His love is not human; it is otherworldly and grand. All the things that bring you joy in this life (yes, you)…all the people who make you smile…add that up and multiply it by 1,000. His love leaves it all behind.
Bask in the light of His love with me.
Taste and see that my Jesus-our Jesus-is good.

We.

In this generation (I call my own) there’s a minority who refer to themselves as “believers.” A small band, capable of much, yet so easily distracted. For many of the number lack clear sense of the right and wrong. The message around them, snuck into their textbooks, blaring through their car speakers, is TOLERANCE, more than that: ASSIMILATION INTO IMMORALITY. It’s such a blinding darkness that these young people, even those planted firmly, cannot help but be sorely shaken, clear to their roots. Though they stepped out, well meaning, these “believers” now toe the line opposite of all that sets them apart. It’s difficult to see for their enjoyment and peer approval fogs holy vision. They need to be free. Immorality, preached by some boy on some girl, as you hear her bed thump-thump against the wall. TOLERANCE, shouted by the group of homosexuals around whom you can actually relax. It all seems suitable, you’re trying! St. Paul speaks of taking on the chameleon’s ability to adapt and fit in, right? That’s what I’m doing, correct? Looking like them so you can witness, or witnessing their message by forfeiting your own?
There’s a Spirit out there seeking to give you clarity.
Stop shutting it up.
Relentlessly pursue Truth, gently turning from that which puts distance between you and the One in whom you believe.

This Year

This year, so full. The action, unending. Now that I have suffered, suffered in a multitude of ways, I can enjoy-happily-all that there is to love about life. Late nights with friends, hearts on sleeves. Sweet, grassy smells. Incense, burning. Hammock, hanging. Boys and the way they taste-different, each. God and His majesty, revealed in a rainbow of ways. Thrift stores and NO HOMEWORK! Time to paint fingernails, toes. Maps Arts Gifts Waffle Fries. The library, the constant motion. Depositing checks $, going to concerts. Networking, knowing people and a place-exploring the depth of both. Frustrations with family, feet, feelings, sure. All the awesome cannot erase the awful. Yet, what joy is mine! In spite of surgery…and struggles, there is such sweetness to living.

This, my appreciation of it all.

Good jobs, great bosses, gracious friends. Outreach, outdoors. Long drives, lakes. People. People. People. Pulsation in my fingertips-I feel the veins against your skin. Being, growing, stretching. Life in all its’ wonder. Me, in all my imperfection. Pain, poignant, presses its’ finger on my everything. It wills me to snap. It encourages anger and abandonment of all that is lively and lovely. Happiness holds it at arms’ length for now. Fear(you dog!), today is not for you. This day is for nice, earthy, companionship…worship. Today is real. Pain, an illusion of yesterday and tomorrow.

Highlights

A menagerie of memories from the 365 days that we labeled, “2012:”

Teaching kids to read.

“God created us because He wanted to love us.”

Finishing the Radical Experiement!

Seeing my favorite band (Page CXVI) in concert.

Highschool graduation!

MEXICO!

“I wonder what homeless people talk about….”

“He does not try to pass the time but sits down and lives.”-Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”-Dumbledore

Anything this side of Hell is pure grace.

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”-Lamentations 3:27

“We could get into trouble,” Isabel.  “That’s how you know it’s an adventure!” Hugo (Hugo, the movie.)

“Quiet your mind, hear what the land has to say,”-Zac Brown

Don’t cry “peace” in the good times only to yell for war when something doesn’t suit you.

It’s not that I am crying,  it’s just that hot tears are falling from my eyes because it hurts so bad.

“…an aesthetic voyager struggling to destroy the beast within,” Chris MccCandless.

NOMADS.

“The compassion we feel when we see the bad things going on in the world is not humanism, it is God’s spirit,” Jamie Zumwalt.

A glowing jellyfish-larva fight on the beach late in the evening.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

We cannot take back the way we treat others.

“You are waiting. I am smoking.”-Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows.

I feel the sun. It soaks into my bones. My toes curl with gravel between them. The thoughts in my head are as transparent as the cloudless sky. Wind whips hair sharply around my face. Literal truth: I am on the floor in my bedroom. Soul truth: I am on a great red peak in the midst of a canyon wonderland. Ah, imagination power.

We cannot apply the distraction of politics to our faith.

Watching old friends struggle through ancient issues, and holding them while they cry.

“Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other too…”-George Atkins, “Brethren We Have Met to Worship.”

“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.”-J.D. Salinger

“You’ve got such an old soul to you.”

My prayer is for the people who have decided that death is preferable to life.

“The Christian, when he dies, catches hold of Christ’s garment, and Christ bears him into Heaven,” Charles Spurgeon.

“Sad parting promises fresh adventure.”

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller.

“No Heaven will be so sweet as a Heaven preceded by torments and pains,” Charles Spurgeon.

“All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbours was, that if scrubbed with lye soap, in very hot water, his skin was white,” To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

She who loves life can do anything.

I care about you more than I coud ever care about me.

“…that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” 2 Kings 19:19b

“They don’t recognize you asl the adult that you are, but you probably just need to submit right now,” KimT.

“This too shall pass,” the Sadler.

The nearly-tangible blanket of peace that God wrapped around me as I left the children whom I loved with my entire heart to the care of their Jamaican school-teachers and caretakers.

Buying my truck.

“And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” John 6:51b

That’s my life; my year. Thanks for reading all the way down! I am being shaped for something big. Odds are you too are being shaped!

spoopsandyoyo@gmail.com

Do I Care?

Would I really?….

My grandmother has back pain. Terrible, crippling back pain. She literally must sit all day; sometimes she lays down if it gets intolerable. So my grandma, after a lifetime of working hard, and constantly being in motion, sits on the couch and watches TV. Unable to work full time as she always has. Unable to be comfortable. Now, her only joy in life is her family. The 5 minute phone calls that come once or twice a day; the Christmas visit. A once-independent woman now relies completely on others to take time from their busy schedules to stop by and make her smile. That’s her life.

I am young. I have much hope for my future: college, a career, kids, adventures. I have great friends, a handful of good jobs. I have a church community as well as my own truck and the ability to come and go wherever I please, whenever I please.

Would I, given the chance, trade with my Grandma? Would I turn away all the hope of my future for the sake of relieving her pain? Do I care that much?

Is she more important to me than…me?

I like to think so, but I know that I could not take on her burdens without sinning against her, and God, in the midst.

That’s the difference between me and Jesus. He did what I am incapable of doing. He looked down from perfection, saw pain and swirling torture. From my shoulders He willingly lifted the weight of Hell, and for 33 years He lived far from the perfection He deserved.

All for me.

All to free.

Dry Up For Me the Jordan

I am strong and Titan, she said.  She looked in the mirror and there was Strength.  A girl with no loyalty, only power.

I can do anything.  Here is what I can do for You, God. Let’s go!

Then God showed her a bit of Himself…twice.   She cried out:

All. All for and to You! Draw me nearer, You are the wind in my chest, the breathe behind my sails.

He stretched out His Heavenly hand and touched her.  She believed she was ready to go, sold out for His glory.  He knew it wasn’t time yet.  She was not broken enough.  He weakened her, let her be torn apart-limb from limb, dream from dream.  Physically, emotionally, socially, financially:  all fell away like sand in an hour-glass.  He wanted her to let Him take over in order that she become 100% His servant-slave.  But doubts crept into her heart; she looked in the mirror and the demons told her:

Weak. Undesirable.  You’ll never be happy, worthless girl.

She believed them for a moment and the pain rolled over her like a cement truck until her Saviour renewed the Divine hope within her soul:

Don’t give up, Beloved.  There is so much more to come.

He whispered to her heart:

This too shall pass.  Press on.  I am a God of miracles.

Life.  Real, extraordinary life is around the corner!

Faith Is

Faith looks different in every stage of life. It morphs and changes each day. Life keeps us on our toes as we try and figure out what today’s faith looks like.

Right now, my faith is…

Believing that a perfect chain of events has led me where I am today.

It is not my fault-or any fault at all.

It is a Divine conspiracy.

Right now-here-is the destination.

Something great is going to happen.

This is not a dead end.

It is only a  rocky start.

This is not a preview of all the sorrows and struggles that my life shall be made up of.

Faith is getting affirmation from a God I cannot see because He alone understands what is going on.