Week Two Begins 1/29/18

Today begins our second week of lectures. Monday here brings excitement and expectation to most everyone. I think it’s safe to say we’re all motivated and ready for whatever these next five days will bring. Last week was incredibly rich and wonderful and so we all eagerly anticipate the coming teachings, activities, and growth ahead.

We are studying Hearing Gods Voice this week. Our speaker is base director, Micheal Bingham. We ate breakfast, some groggily, some fully awake and rearing to go. Then we piled into the community room and sat at our folding tables next to family, laughing, chatting, and maybe still waking up.

Micheal began by sharing his testimony. I really appreciated hearing it. He and his wife are incredibly busy, running this base smoothly and letting Holy Spirit lead them. We don’t have as much of a chance to get to know them as we do some of the other staff. So I liked that he took the opportunity to let us get to know him. He talked about growing up, his journey with YWAM, and how God has been faithful throughout his life. It was an introduction to him, the heart for this base, and to the subject of hearing God. After his story, he jumped right into his God speaks. I plan on posting notes towards the end of this week’s lectures and y’all can see what we’re learning.

I am so in love with these people. They’ve been talking about how it’s a special group (in all honesty, at first I thought, “Sure that’s what you’re supposed to say.”) It really is. Literally every person here has an immense amount of talent and passion and love. So many walks of life and diverse stories but so much connection and so many dreams coming true together. Despite it only having been a week together, we really are a family. It happened much quicker and deeper than I knew to expect. I’m really grateful for all these brothers and sisters. We’ve laughed and cried and dreamed and learned together.

I’ve discovered that living in community is probably my favoritest thing ever. I truly enjoy waking up with 50 other people and eating together and sharing life together. You can only be open and vulnerable and there’s only kindness and growth in this place specifically.

Gods crazy cool y’all.

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When He Partners With You

I’m sitting on a huge, soft leather chair in the covered sunroom of the community house. It’s one of the hottest places on the base but also one of my favorites. It’s bright and lively with laughter and clattering from the kitchen around the corner and people having DMCs (Deep Meaningful Conversations) at tables and sofas all over the room.

This is a family. I was expecting to make some sort of close friendships along the trip but I did not anticipate the bonds that would form so quickly. We don’t know each other well yet. But we’re comfortable. I trust these people. I’m grateful for the way the staff has cultivated such a haven. For some of them, this has been their home for years and I know everyone I’ve talked to feels welcome. It’s easy to share this space and life with them.

Yesterday was our first lecture. The speaker was incredibly inspiring. He shared his heart and his story, got to know us personally, and dropped truth bomb after truth bomb. This week we are studying The Character and Nature of God. There’s no way I could type out all that I learned in that short session but I’ll put up some of it.

Jason (speaker) began by talking about how we communicate and connect with God. He’s talented as a communicator and was very interactive in his talks. We did an exercise of sorts where we sat across from someone and looked them in the eye. Literally that. No laughing, no talking, just looking.

I think it taught us all a lot. At first it was awkward. Intense eye contact is usually reserved for serious moments and even the used cautiously. Then as we got used to it, it became easier. We started looking and not caring about being looked at. I learned a lot about the person I was staring at. I began to be able to tell when she had an interesting thought or when she relaxed or when she seemed to have found something in my eyes.

Jason told us to stop and we all looked it him and laughed partly out of “that was awkward” and partly “oh my gosh that was cool.” He asked us how long we felt like that was and most of us said about a minute or two. Turns out it was almost five.

He then began to explain how we don’t need to use words to communicate. Language is one way, and often a very important way, of communicating but, by no means, the only. He continued to explain how God can use a look, a smile, a feeling, or anything else really to get his point across. The sunrise can say I love you just as well as an audible voice. He knows how to get to you. He knows your heart of hearts. He created you, thus he knows how to speak to you.

There are many attributes to God. He’s so many things at once. Just as I am daughter, sister, friend, artist, etc. I am all of these things but I don’t have only one way of operating. God is many things but works from the place of a father if you need it. Or counselor. Or friend. Or lord. He is all of these and more and he communicates and partners with you and where you are to talk to you.

I really love that about him. He meets you where you are. In all of his glory and vastness, he takes the effort to know you. He sees you in where you’re feeling, believing, operating and moves accordingly.

An Overview 1/21/18

Today will just be a basic overview as my third day in Toowoomba begins. I woke up to a slightly chilly morning and walked to a table on the edge of our cliff to watch the sunrise. It was incredible. Never have I seen so many colors in the sky at one time.

It’s so incredibly easy to connect to people here. The staff has done an incredible job of cultivating safe space in this camp. There’s so many walks of life. So many ways of thinking. I’ve talked with people who believe things that I believe and others who have given me completely new perspectives. I’ve seen tears and laughter and freedom in me and in others. We’ve had multiple jam sessions. There’s so much talent in this school.

Yesterday we walked up and down hills in the heat to a garden park. It was beautiful and the weather slowly but surely became cooler and we played and danced and ate barbecue. Some of us went to a coffee shop and got black longs (which most of you will know as americanos). We got excited about the Holy Spirit and the Bible and who he is in our lives. It was good and a lot of clarity and freedom happened for me in that coffee shop.

Worship at this school is so good. It’s all completely led by the Holy Spirit. I’ve had so much fun through these leader’s singing and playing. Im excited to see all of these artists and musicians grow over the next few months in this area. The amount of growth I’ve seen in just two days, even before school actually starts, has been incredible. I can’t imagine what it’s going to look like in a few weeks.

Lectures and homework begin Monday. I am so ready for that all to begin. But today is the second half of orientation and a rest day that we’ll all enjoy.

In Flight 1/16/17

Nearly done with 14 hours and 30 minutes of flying. I can lean against the cold window and watch clouds above the wings of this monstrous aircraft. There’s an empty seat between me and a grandmother from Bangladesh named Rahla. Through a slight language barrier, she told be about her children; a scientist, an engineer, and a neurologist. She’s proud. There’s lots of young children on board this plane. Three babies are being passed around to different cooing, grinning adults. I don’t think they’re all family, or even more than acquaintances, yet babies are cared for and played with until they get tired and restless and return to mama’s arms.

I’ve seen a majority of this flights passengers pray at specific times, bowing, humming and rocking peacefully. Rahla told me a little bit about what the Korah means to her. I told her a little bit about what the Bible means to me. She didn’t know I was praying when I was.

There’s been two meals so far and I believe breakfast is on its way as the flight attendants begin rushing back and forth through the aisles. They smile, nod and dodge the parents who are calming small children through the walkways. One of them I haven’t seen lose his smile this whole 12 hours. He’s been making friends with the passengers near his station. Another one hasn’t smiled very much this flight. I’ve been trying to decide whether it’s her resting face or she’s not having her best day. There’s an old Indian man across the aisle from me who makes her laugh though. He’s been cracking jokes for anyone who will listen.

I am ready to stand up again. My knees are beginning to feel like they’re screwed permanently bent. My lips and fingers are dry and clammy. I could probably use some more sleep. But ultimately I’m really happy. I love traveling. I love getting to meet people who’s lives I don’t understand and they don’t understand mine. People always find something to relate to on though. Always. Rahla and I both come from big families and both of us are interested in arts. I met a man while in line for boarding who was from Kenya. He was traveling for the first time in his life at 46 years old. He asked me if I’m a friend of Jesus and when I said yes he told me he could tell because Jesus has a way of putting His face in others faces. We related on our savior and I’ll most likely never meet again. But most likely we’ll always remember that conversation. How cool is that?

Just a couple of hours from Dubai. Completely man made. I’m excited to see a city that is pioneered and built on ingenuity and engineering. Millions upon millions of minds have been a part of the process of building Dubai. Artists, architects, futurists, scientists, travelers work displayed at every corner. Cities get me excited about people. People get me excited about God.

The War Is Over – A Testimony

“The war is over”

A perfect way to describe my night. Sabrina texted that sentence and it kinda wrapped the whole experience up with a bow. Tonight was quite a victory. I’m still processing it and don’t completely understand it, but yet here I am.

Let’s start from the beginning. For my entire life time, I don’t remember not being in pain. Pain in my joints and muscles, constantly. I was often foggy-brained and lethargic. My physical health seemed to only deteriorate for the longest time. I’ve been frustrated and angry for so long. So so long. I was frustrated that I was so young and so incapable of feeling young. I was angry that we couldn’t find a solution or figure out the issue. I was angry at myself, at modern medicine, and really at God. I had not realized the extent or impact anger makes on you until I wasn’t angry any more.

Tonight I was healed. After 17 years of pain and frustration. Tonight I was healed in body and spirit and soul. Tonight I was healed and it’s my turn to pass it on. Tonight I was healed and I receive it.

Church began. I walked into the sanctuary as worship started and stood in my usual place against the back wall where I had room to move. As I worshiped, soaking in the tangible anticipation, I asked Jesus for hope. This morning I’d accepted that maybe I’ll live the rest of my life in pain. “I guess that’s okay. I guess that’s who I am,” I thought.

Abba began to show me a sort of flashback on the past two years. There have been many very hard moments and many very wonderful moments in these past couple years. He took me gently through seasons and circumstances, showing me where He was in each one. I gained some understanding and peace about places where I’d missed Him. Then He took me through a vision of the next two years, sharing His heart for me and my ministry. He broke my box I’d placed on my future. He shared His excitement for me and the people in my life. He showed me specifics and He showed me holy ambition.

After this I was feeling pretty good. I was excited and intent on being in His presence. I continued to worship, now smiling, and then listened to the message. Throughout all of this I’m in pain, as the last whole of my life has been. Nothing new. But here I am and I’m happy. I’m grateful. I know who I am. I’m sitting with Jesus.

God loves surprises.

Honestly, it’s all a blur right now. Probably because I’m still in shock. But after the message, we were praying together. Pastor John Arnott begins to talk about healing and I lose it. I then realized I’d lost all hope for healing. I didn’t believe it was for me. In my visions He’d shared how I’d be a healer, which is truly my heart. But I thought that must look different than I’d thought because I don’t get healing.

“He wants to heal all of you,” says John.

I tear up, thinking, “God, I want healing.”

Then he starts to talk about forgiveness and prompts us to forgive those who hurt us and owe us. I do so. And I decided to give up the anger and hurt I was holding on to. I said “God, I need you to take this” and forgave. That’s when the healing occurred.

Ooohhhh.

My anger and hurt were getting in the way of me letting Him in. To be healed, I needed to let myself be touched. I’d been hurt and angry and put guards up. I had no idea they were there but that doesn’t make them any less strong. To forgive I had to take those down. I had to let the intimate, raw places in me be opened.

My Jesus is gentle.

My pain is gone.

Then he walked us through forgiving ourselves and I forgave myself for having walls. I realized my pain was gone. I could move my fingers without aching. I couldn’t feel it in my chest, my joints….it was just gone. It was new. It was freeing.

I lost it. I started sobbing mostly out of shock. I didn’t know until that moment what it’s like to not be in pain. Sabrina prayed and asked me what happened. When I finally got the words up, she helped me to the front so I could declare my healing.

The declaration of healing in front of a congregation was important to me. The fact that I could have confidence that this is it was overwhelming and exciting. The war is over. I can be at peace. I can rest in victory.

After that I was prayed over and Jesus continued to love on me. I’m still in shock and processing. I probably will be for a little while. I’ve got a lot to learn about this experience, about healing and about sharing what’s been given to me. But right now I know all that I need to.

I know I am healed and pain free. I know I am whole and who I’m meant to be. I know He sees me and loves to give good gifts. I know I am at peace. I know the war is over. I know this is for good.

I’ll be writing more about this in the near future. Damn, God is good.

A Night in White Sep. 30th, 2017 Part 1

Here I lay in my bed, swaddled in blankets, listening to music and settling the words I heard tonight deep into my heart. My mind is still but my heart is racing, it’s so much better than vice versa. So much easier to breathe in, rather than endure. Heart racing and mind slowing is a sign of peace and passion. Mind racing and heart slowing is resistance and stress. 

Anyways, tonight I went to a Night in White for Bochy’s Place. It was an all white gala fundraiser to support a ministry which is a restorative home for girls who have been rescued from the human trafficking industry. They focus on reimplementing them into society, giving them the tools they need to get steady jobs, education and community. They teach the girls how to date, mother, and be a wife by teaching them how they should be loved. They instill the mindset of knowing the value and worth that is already there. They cherish and befriend and parent the girls. 

Tonight, as hundreds of men and women elegantly piled into the hotel, hearts began to stir. Laughter, confidence, and hunger to learn filled the halls and, as the gala began, soon tears fell, decisions were made, and hope restored. It was a night of change. 

I learned a lot. I learned things like 90% of girls who are rescued, brought into rehabilitation homes and given families return to the streets after they finish the programs. That’s why Bochy’s Place exists. They stand to equip and empower the girls for success so they can move on their own.

I learned that people -dear people whom I love incredibly- are in danger of trafficking and that it does indeed affect my life and the lived around me much more than I imagined. 

I learned that there is hope. And that personal choices matter. When I take a step with a ministry, when I give my resources, these girls are offered another step of their own. 

There’s a lot of power in saying yes. There’s a lot of power in forgiveness. There’s a lot of power in hope and trust. These are the things that make a leader and I have been given a heart and a position to lead with my action. When I say yes, I give up my rights. When I forgive, I let go of all offense. When I trust and hope, my expectations come to fruition. 

Its Okay To Not Be Okay

This has been a week of discovery. Breaking and being broken will teach you an incredible amount about yourself and the world. Letting go of someone very dear to me, I let go one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. It was important to both of us that we move forward and on, even though neither of us completely understand why. We’re learning to trust Abba in a deeper way than we’ve yet had to.
Its been a week of comfort food, dreaming, crying in the car, mourning, laughing and hugs. I’m learning to remember without sorrow but with no less fondness. I still have hope that I’ll be with him again someday. But to continue I know we have to lay each other down, let go completely.
When we broke up, it was very sweet. I expected a short conversation that was sad, abrupt, and painful. Instead we had closure, sweetness, and yes, it was sad, but we were able to say what we needed to say and that was good. We cried, held each other and prayed. We gave each other’s hearts to God out loud and expressed what we wanted the other to live by as they move on. I’m grateful we could lay it down even when it hurts because we trust our Good Good Father.
I learned its okay to not be okay. Not masking hurt allows for it to heal. Trying to be okay for other people holds no benefit, it just requires digging. I’ve learned that God is my refuge. He’s sweet and intimate, He doesn’t poke or prod, he just opens Himself up to you completely and lets you be safe when you’re ready.
I’ve learned there are days where I’ll be fine and it’ll be easier to laugh and be with people and listen. Others won’t be so easy and I’ll need to lean on God, Butterfingers and a good cry. And that’s okay. Being strong all the time isn’t healthy. I’d have no time to process or mourn or discover; all of which are good things.
I realized how much identity I put into being the strong one and being okay so others can process, mourn, and discover. And through that, I never let myself collapse into these emotions I so desperately needed to feel.
Our youth group, a strong group of brothers and sisters, has a bunch of young ones joining and older ones (me) graduating. Its a transition in the family and its good but there’s some ache. We are studying identity, our own, God’s and the connection of the two. Its powerful to go through this again, having learned as much as I have. Yet there’s always more. There’s always new ways of relating to God and finding new, wonderful sides to Him. I am excited to help these young ones go through what I have and watch them glean and grow. I’m excited to learn how to fall back into God daily. To daily say, “I am Yours, You are mine and that’s all I need.”
There’s so much change happening in and around me right now. I’m job hunting, fundraising, learning to take care of myself physically and emotionally, learning about boundaries and healing, teaching, sewing, reaping, sweating, planning a future, creating newness, cleaning, feeling excitement, sorrow, joy, fondness, missing, dreaming, making new friends, valuing new things and old ones like never before.
I’m not always okay. Its hard to go through these things without him. I will not sugarcoat what hurts. But I know I am loved and, because of that, I am capable of these things. I have my God holding my head up, my Creator pulling me up and forward, and I trust Him to do the same with those who have touched me so deeply.

Tell All My Friends by Will Reagan and the United Pursuit 

Processing Summer 2017 (in short)

Its been a long time. I have done a lot since I last blogged and I’ve missed it a lot. I’ve known for a long time about the importance of writing/spilling my thoughts as process. I let myself be too busy to process though and I can see the effects it has on me, spiritually and emotionally. There’s a lot I need to process at the moment. I’ve done and been a part of many good things the past few weeks; big things with big impacts but I didn’t let myself rest and glean from it till now.
This is the end and the beginning of seasons. Summer is closing and it truly is bittersweet like never before. The last four months held so much newness and growth. I’ve met people who became family, strengthened relationships and worked hard. I’ve learned about commitment, the way people think, and more of who God is. I am rooted deeper in who I am and what I can give, knowing Who’s I am and what I’ve been given.
There’s also been much hardship and spiritual warfare that I’ve kept all too silent. When I didn’t process these wonderful things, I avoided warfare and thus have not conquered.
So here is my Summer processing. This is probably more for me than for anyone else, but seeing other’s sowing/reaping is encouraging so take what is yours.
Camp Thurman is my favorite place on earth. I’ve truly fallen in love with that place. Every year from now till whenever I’m called somewhere else, I’ll be eagerly anticipating going back to the beautiful 14 acres where fears are conquered, identity is found, and God is discovered around every corner. Its a place where you can’t escape Jesus if you tried. Every day we pour into kids. We teach them, love them, play with them, listen to them, laugh with them and cry with them. Its a summer camp but the impact it has on these kids and staff alike can only be God-driven. I love the people there who love like crazy. I’ve learned a lot about how to love well from them.
GetAway is the only stay-away week we have at CT. I had the honor of working it and its safe to say it changed me quite a bit. I worked with a counselor and our 12 eleven to thirteen year old girls. Each one of them taught me so much. Our bible studies and one-on-ones were heartfelt, sometimes teary eyed, and always ended in hugs and a sense of peace. They taught me how to love when I don’t understand or can’t relate to a circumstance. The counselor I worked with taught me patience and how to have an ear to hear at all times. I learned how much I need to be poured into when I’m pouring out as well as how important processing is. Worshiping with kids who have no hesitation to love their Abba is so refreshing. I decided there that I am committed to this place and to loving kids in this way. I am blessed to be a part of such a beautiful ministry and I will be for years to come.
Multiple times this summer I’ve had the chance to catch up with old friends. Each time brings something new to the relationship as we each grow separately. I love being able to love someone far away and come back with old love and refreshing words. I’ll probably post separately about what I’ve learned from these people. They have blessed me beyond measure.
Through the summer I’ve developed quite a hunger for the word of God. This is relatively new to me. I’ve grown up with God and church. I’ve known the importance of reading and understanding it. But for the first time, I’m genuinely interesting and craving it. Its fun and way more adventurous than I ever could have expected.
This summer has been chock-full of big future decisions. In 6 months I’ll have held a job, finished highschool and started college, began my journey to YWAM, made important choices for the No Fear in Love conference and pursued music and people more than ever. All of this is sometimes overwhelming. But through it all, as long as I give myself time to process, I am excited and in love with life and God.

Declarations 5/8/2017

Recently, as specific choices, consequences, and circumstances occur, I’ve been forced to take a closer look at what I truly believe about myself. The things that I’ve firmly believed are questioned and even some things which I was adamantly against are softening in my heart. There are certain things that I know and other things which I am learning whether it is a right or good decision to trust.
I have learned the power of declaring. To speak over yourself what God says about you is to take the authority you have as daughter or son of the Most High God and proclaim it as truth. It unites body, mind, and spirit to do what they are intended and to be connected as He created. Also, a declaration is not kept secret. Declarations are loud and heard and meant to be remembered and respected. This past week there has been multiple instances when a declaration of who I am was called upon by God, friends, by parents, and my own realization.
This is a public personal declaration of who I know I am. This is my testimony thus far. This is my belief and trust that God is a good, good father. I highly recommend everyone make and write down their declarations in a place where others can see/hear them.

I declare that I am a daughter of God. I am created from a creative God, therefor
my ideas and aspirations and creativity are holy and made priority in His mind. I declare that I have a strong desire to love everyone and love well, to take sacrifices as they come if they benefit those around me. Though I know the importance of loving myself as He does and I will not take unnecessary or hurtful sacrifices. I will love with abandon to my own pleasures and comfort but stay steadfast in sturdy, growing, strengthening relationships with the people around me and His word and the Holy Spirit.
I trust Him to teach me to love well and to know the desires of my heart.
I declare that I know I am royalty and will use my position as daughter of the King to carry hope, wisdom, and passion wherever I go. I will not put down these things in hard times but rely on Jesus to carry them for me.
I declare that my passions will never take back-burner for a moment’s pleasure. This is sometimes difficult and I expect to fail at times. I also expect to continually grow and lean on God and learn how to put passions first. I trust Him to remind me and hold me accountable. I know I am pure and holy despite.
I declare that my passions are: God and my relationship with Him. The relationships with the people around me, pursuing and persisting. The subject and abolishment of human trafficking. The importance of creativity and wonder in everyone’s life. Pursuit of both health and joy, in correlation though not always in symbiotic.  Relationship before rules. One-on-one talks and discipleship as well as congregational conversations. Worship as a life style. Keeping passions alive in myself in others. Curiosity. And helping younger girls put into my life that they are worthy of real love and real passions.
I declare that I have a strong desire to honor people in where they are, to validate their emotions, positions, and timelines as they are. Their past or their future have no effect on their wonderful humanity, minds, and hearts. They are loved, they are holy, the are pure. I have learned this for myself and promise to share this understanding.
I declare that I refuse to settle for anything less than what is given me. He has given me, His daughter, the kingdom, certain loves and desires, so I will not settle for one. I have many loves so I will not settle on one career, one path, or stay stuck in my ways. I love change and embrace newness and this is a good thing.
I declare that romantic love is important to me not only for the person, but also for the image of God that it is. I intend to value it, the other person, and God in this relationship. I want Him to be the One who holds us together, our gaze fixed on Him. If we stumble, we will realign with Him, accepting His forgiveness as well as consequences. We, together and individually, will seek guidance and advice from those in our life because we want our focus to be on loving well. Cherishing, protecting, dreaming, loyalty, and openness will be important aspects of our relationship.
I declare that people are priority. I love the people around me. I have a strong desire to build deep relationships with the ones put in my community and family. I desire to be available to be called on at any hour for any need. I want to know and be known. Even in the places I have been hurt, I will give second chances over and over for the priority that is to build long lasting, loving relationships among family, friends, partner, peers, employers, leaders, younger people, etc.
I declare that I will not be afraid of hypocrisy in the places where I have been appointed leader. I will not fear failing, nor success and those having a negative affect on those who I am leading. I will trust God to keep my walking like my talking because it is a strong desire of mine and His. Mistakes will not define where I am supposed to be. If I make one bad step, I will not stop walking towards my goal. I will lean on Him.
I declare that Jesus is my first love and always will be. He comes first, before any other relationship, circumstance, or lie. He is in constant pursuit of me and I of Him. I love Him deeply and always will.
I declare that my art will always reflect truth. Sometimes truth is sad and painful, I will not sugarcoat anything. But I promise to always reflect truth and reality, in my art and my songwriting. There is goodness and there is pain, there is wonder and there is reminiscing, there is fiery passion and there are dry seasons. All of these are real and I will not forget one or the other because truth is vital to a well-lived life.
I declare to always pursue healing. I am never stuck in one place. Healing is a gift which He loves to give. It takes pursuit and trust, which I give to Him. I will do what I can to heal others as well and share His healing, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
I declare that all of these declarations are core values. My declarations will be added to and changed in various ways. But these are my core truths. These are all especially important to me. I will not stray from these desires and core beliefs.

Fast Food Grace, Love Like a River, and Humility in Our Tied Up Hearts

Its been a little while. A lot has happened since I last posted. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to write about in this post but here I go, typing away. Maybe this is a sort of update. Probably I’ll end up running down a rabbit-trail and decide to stay there. What is life without rabbit-trails?
One of my current favorite songs is Let You Go by United Pursuit (feat. Will Reagan). Listen to it. Seriously. The whole album is amazingly written, recorded, and will completely entrance you if you let it. It’s a fantastically relatable collection of songs and none of them lean on “feel good-God loves me-I’m gonna be okay” mentality. It’s real and raw and a representation of God in all His realness and rawness.
Some of the lyrics in Let You Go are,

We have sought the truth when we’ve felt the pain

Even wandered beyond our faith in the name

We cannot pretend we are always ok

We cannot depend on fast food grace.

I realized how often I hand out fast food grace and also how much I expect only fast food grace. It’s the kind of grace that says, “Yeah that’s okay, you screwed up, try again.” This comes with a side of lost trust, a pang of hurt, and sometimes a touch of do-gooder. It’s not the kind of grace that says, “Yeah you messed up but I’m not looking at that, I’m looking at your heart.” This kind of grace is unconditional, unconventional, and does not see a deliberate mistake as from you but as to you.

You are molded by the life you live. Your plans, completed or changed, chisel at your personality and heart. The words, powerful in all their subtlety, said by those who affect you, can rub you the wrong way or smooth your ruffled feathers. The unexpectedness of life shapes you in intricate detail. This is all because we are perfectly designed to be unique in person and humbled by Creator. It’s the beauty of humanity. So mistakes and wrong choices are not a reflection of you but of what is surrounding and holding your heart.

This is not to say that every mistake is innocent. And it doesn’t shift blame from your shoulders or make you unresponsible for the things you do. It is just a different mentality than we are typically used to. It means looking at the heart when someone hurts you, not at the wound caused by them as a reflection of their person. People are never wounds.

Fast food grace is short-lived, un-nutritious, and leaves you wanting. Real grace is loving. Sometimes loving means not tolerating. Sometimes loving means trusting when it’s hard to. Sometimes loving means, “How are you?” Sometimes it means space. Loving is relationship with the One who created loving. It’s not a code to be cracked because love acts as a swiftly moving river. There will always be a steady current. But sometimes it falls heavy and powerfully. Other times it moves slowly and peacefully.

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast.
It isn’t proud.
It does not dishonor others.
It is not self-seeking.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Nowhere does God say love is fragile or timid or “give what you get”. Love is extravagant and personable and trusting and strong. Love isn’t easy. But it’s natural. Humans were not made for easy.

   Another song from United Pursuit that I am enjoying is Looking for a Savior. I had a hard time choosing a portion of lyrics from this song, so just go listen to the whole thing. Here are the first verse and chorus,

I abandon my addiction to the certainty of life
and my need to know everything.
This illusion cannot speak, it cannot walk with me at night
as I taste life’s fragility

I am looking for a savior I can see and know and touch,
one who dwells within the midst of us.
May a broken God be known within the earth beneath our feet,
let our souls behold humility

In the last season of my life (I feel like I am transitioning into a new one), I learned that life doesn’t go as planned probably more than it follows what you concocted to fit you perfectly. Certainty in a fallen world is a difficult thing. Certainty in God is easy as pie.  Life and the plans placed within it are fragile and unpredictable. We learn this as we grow and often it is one of those lessons we learn multiple times throughout our life. So we collapse with our crumbling plans and search for a savior to pull us out of it. The kind of savior who is tangible and real and raw. One that breaks when we break because he knows the incredible weight and emotion that we go through.

   In that we find humility, knowing that our savior, Creator of heaven and earth, of birds, stars, music, and emotions, knows our hearts so well that when ours break His breaks too. What a wonderous thing to think that God has personally tied His heart to yours. He feels every stab and every laugh. In that place of simply knowing, we find a connection to our Creator so unbreakable, a bond so indestructible, that no broken plan, heart, or dream can loose those strings.