Thursday, December 30, 2010



Small one, dimpled chin and cheeks
Resting on the cradled arm
Skin deep and dark from muddied paths
Eyes closed to the light of the true world
Opened to another- the light of his mind


Curled tips bouncing forth
Surprise of blue where brown lights should set
Looking at you like you're the map
To the land of aged humor and fantasy.
Her fingers create colored pages
Easily laughter catches air and flight
Toes clothed by sparkly dancers
Shoes found by fairy princesses themselves
The dimpled cheeks bear witness to
True happiness that comes in pink and purple


Cogs turning within a golden watch
Closed-in secrets of history and politics
Beneath a dimpled smile and elegance
Golden curls cascade before eyes dark in though
Never-ending road of mystery
Only Holmes would defeat, or Shakespeare create
An ending almost worthy of her Greatest Design
Envelope of linen and parchment, waxed seals
Doors open to silver keys
Light within the Darkness
She pursues the Truth until it is exhausted


Deep darkness of early morning
Door cracks, line of light, little footsteps
Encircled embrace and quickened heartbeat
Warm tiny body beside her.
Her precious name uttered quietly
Hushed and serene, beloved.


Bronze light heavy under deepened brow
Muscles trained to carry the world
Knowledge defeating paths of mystery
Inspiration found in lines of letters.
Trying to figure out his destiny
Belief in a story, he is but a character
Attempting feats with unknown strength
Tying bonds around his family no one can break
They speak of his life with care and dear
Daring windy waters, a storm of wrath
To carry all of his precious cargo to safety


Life throws her unexpected opportunities
Hidden treasure among mere chaff
A field of Pearl between those of wheat
Her story written with fingers of aged glory
Each letter leading toward depth of color
Too beautiful to express
She holds tight to the beloved strength
And carries her audience to a world of light
No laughter ceases, no tear begins
Her treasure's value lies deep within

Saturday, December 18, 2010


She kneels before the towering pile of branches, needles, and glistening apparel that screamed “Beautiful!” at the top of it's lungs. The room echoed it's silent heaves, laden with as much mirth and glee to rise a city from its knees. But to it, she does not turn an ear.

Ornaments dripping off of plastic pine with golden cord, crystalline lights shimmering eerily above the circlet of holly and red ribbon cascading at every corner. The shine of every cherub's eye and the point of every silver-studded star pierces the air, and everything is perfect.

Outside, oblivious to the green and gold and silver and stone, the salting of snow about the road- not too much to cause discomfort, but just enough to dust the world. Carolers toting semi-sweet notes, of good tidings and joy and mistletoe, their clasped gloved hands bright colored against the white backdrop of sow. Their rosy cheeks and perfect rows of teeth gaping wide to form the words only the pristine windows and snow-laden homefront are attentive enough to hear. But still she does not cast a single thought to the sight. The perfection of the scene, cast by dim lighted candles and the firelight's glow, was not by what her tears poured.

Her hands and knees ached, bend down beneath the curtain of evergreen, hands held out among the sharply wrapped presents of glorious color. Between her cupped palms stood tiny old trinkets; an old crowned man robed in gold, beside two kneeling in purple, extended hands bearing richly wrapped gifts. Three shepherds huddle opposite, upturned bearded chins holding awe and joy for the lifted angel hanging over the scene. It's wings shimmer under the worn old luster of gold paint, and his face was cracked from the many ill-kept tumbles from the tree.

A blue-wrapped maiden kneeling, eyes smiling with the little pink-painted line of mouth. Her husband's hand was laid lightly on her shoulder, their faces all turned towards the babe.

The small wood carved manger- painted straw sticking out from beneath a sleeping child, who's serene face beholds no thought to the wonderland he sits among. The towering tree, crackling fireplace, holly and the snow continue without notice to this tiny silent scene beneath it's boughs.

But she notices. Tears stream down her cheeks as her fingers tenderly touch the seemingly soft wooden cheeks of the tiny child. It was small, old, silent... broken. But it's depth of meaning weighed her heart heavier than all the majesty of her surroundings- in fact, this, instead, was her majesty. The Majesty.

The child. The shepherds. The mother. The angel.

The kings- who traveled miles and deserts following the dim point of light in the sky, certain for the Son of God at the end of their journey.

The father- who by an angel, was told to leave his country, his home, and move to Egypt, and by his faith, obeyed.

The stable- rugged, wretched, rancid... but into it's arms did the babe enter the world.

The city- by its night lights the family was turned aside, though she was griping in pain from labor... full to the brim with people who were called to their hometown to be counted by the Emperor.

The soldiers- who were ordered to witness the slaughter of hundreds of newborn children by their own hand, seeking out the single child who was named the King of the Jews.

The night- silent though it began, brought about the outpouring of such glorious chorus from the heavens that those who could hear ran in fear.

This was the majesty. This was the story. But little it stood beside the presents, wreaths, carolers and the mistletoe. But still she knelt, eyes glistening, for she knew. She knew the story. She knew the majesty. And the expressionless, voiceless trinkets held lovingly between her fingers sang a song louder than anything else in the room. For they were the Majesty of the season.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pride, Part 1 (The Musings of a CB-er)

First of all, I want to apologize for not keeping this up-to-date lately, it's been a rough couple of weeks, and I've just not been on track. Second of all, Im BACK and in full swing. Although I missed last night's CB Biblestudy (well, CB entirely) because of a performance for the choir I am in, I will track someone down who DID attend and find out what happened from them. :) Coming soon!

As for Daniel 4 and 5, it was interesting to notice that they were essentially about the same thing; PRIDE.

Have you ever heard the saying about pride being the foundation of all sin? When we sin, we are taking control of our own life, basically saying to God "I know better than you about what I need to do in my life, I know myself better than you do, and I know what's best for me. I am King, god of my own world." Wow.

I grew up using sin as a coping method. I think, in some way or another, we have all justified our wrong actions and thoughts in order to attempt to make them alright or better than they seem. Some of us might have been lying to ourselves about "white lies" and "small sins" that are "no big deal". Realizing that sin IS a big deal, more important that I am treating it to be, and more serious to God than I am perceiving it, convicts me where it hurts. When I sin, I am telling God that I am stronger than he is, smarter than he is... Pride.

In chapter four of the book of Daniel, Pride overtakes the King Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord warns him through Daniel about the consequences that will incur if King Nebuchadnezzar does not acknowledge God as Lord. "You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High as sovereign... The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules." (Daniel 4:27, NIV) But King Nebuchadnezzar forgets this warning, because just twelve months later, he stands on the rooftop of his palace, saying "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" Such pride!

I know I forget the truth of the words "Be still, and know that I am God." God is God, not I. This has really rung true to me in the last couple of weeks- when Im struggling with pain and perseverance, relying on God's strength seems so much more out of reach. But doing this on my own strength is telling God I am stronger than he is. Lord! Im so sorry!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Psalm of Anguish

To whom do I call out? To the LORD, the LORD Almighty- the maker of the heavens and the earth, the Glory of all Creation, the God of my Heart, and the one who takes away all of my pain.

Lord, Lord, I feel alone! And although I am surrounded by multitudes of people, today I feel so small. SO small. While my knees are pulled up under my chin, I cry out to you, I weep to you, my Lord! My God! My God! Where are you?

I remember accusing you, I remember pointing my mortal finger at you, Lord, and asking you for whom do YOU serve. I remember expecting you to serve me. I remember asking for my own strength, so that I could be strong enough to stand and walk this life alone. I remember asking for the abilities to live without disappointment, to live without pain, to be strong always and to never need anyone.

"Where are you, Lord? Didn't you say you'd never leave me? And yet I look around and find you nowhere." I would say. "Where are you? You're supposed to be working in my life, and yet I feel empty, helpless, weak... I am alone, and you are not here."

But now, O Lord, I am certain that you are near. And although I cannot see you, although I cannot feel you, I am certain that you are close. For the promises of your Word are the foundation on which I stand. I cannot live without them. I cannot breath without them.

Take away my unbelief, my Father! I feel so alone, but I know that I cannot be. You must be here, you must be here. I pray for weakness. Keep me weak, keep me broken- then I will always need you.

Lord, break my heart. Break my heart. Where are you, Lord? Where are you? I wish I could see you, I wish I could feel you.

I praise you, Lord. I praise you. Now, when my pain and my blood rises to my lips, they can still only speak your name.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take My Life (by Third Day)

If you press the "Play" button on the Grooveshark widgit above, sit back and close your eyes, or read the lyrics below, You'd soon realize why this song is my prayer in this season of my life.

How many times have I turned away?
The number is the same as the sand on the shore
But every time you've taken me back
And now I ask you do it once more


Please take from me my life
When I don't have the strength
to give it away to you
Please take from me my life
When I don't have the strength
to give it away to you Jesus

How many times have I turned away?
The number is the same as the stars in the sky
And every time you've taken me back
And now I pray you'll do it tonight

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I love you Lord! I praise you every single moment of the day, with every single breath! Thank you Lord, you alone are worthy of everything I have to give! I LOVE YOU LORD!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three's A Crowd

For the last couple of weeks I have been trying hard to be more proactive in my relationship with my Lord. So often I find myself slipping down the slippery slope into "doing stuff"- trying so hard to do the right things, acting the right way, saying the right things, attending the right places, that I get caught up in that, and I no longer am "BEING", just merely "DOING".

This past weekend (November 5-8) I was visited by my good friend Katie Beer and her friend Lydia. They were on a roadtrip from Detroit, Michigan, where I grew up, to St. Louis and further into Missouri, where Lydia's family lives. In these short three days I have been taught so many things about myself and the life I have chosen to live than I have learned in a long, long time.

On Friday, I was preparing myself to go do Squatter Camp, a homeless simulation that I had signed up for a long time earlier, with one of my good Moody friends, Katie Koopman ("Small One"). Katie and Lydia were on their way into Chicago, and they were only a few hours to arrival. I didn't realize how much I relied on plans and expectations until my RA told me I couldn't do Squatter Camp with my friends here, because they couldn't be in my room while I was sleeping out on the plaza. So change of plans.

"Small One" went off to do Squatter Camp on her own, and I was left sitting in my room, waiting for my friends to arrive. When they did, we meandered over to Ed Debevick's with my friend April, and then around Downtown, the City Night Lights shining bright and beautiful over the streets. Up and down Michigan Avenue lead us back to Chicago Ave, and then back to school, where we enjoyed Midnight Pancake Night on my floor (Smith 7) and I introduced K + L to my RA, Noelle, and some of the other girls on my floor.

I was so worried about my Small One, outside in the cold, so I left my friends up in my RA's room and ran down to Smith 4, where I talked alittle with ANOTHER Katie, Katie Holmes, Small One's roommate. UGhk... caring about people is HARD. I was reading Isaiah at the time, and came across this verse: Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I was dealing with some severe anxiety attacks that day and the couple of days after, and reading that verse gave me strength and peace of heart to not worry about Small One, or anything else. I slept well that night.

Saturday rolled around with alot of things to do. We woke up- THEY woke up late and we skipped out for a day on the town. I gave them a taste of the Red Line and the Chicago busses, caught up with my friends Amber and Small One and went to the Water Tower for lunch at FoodLife, sifted through the American Girl Place and Hershey's World, Ghiradelli's and the Disney Store, and then landed squarely at CB. CB (standing for Chicago's Beloved) is the homeless ministry I do every Saturday afternoon, walking down Lower Wacker, doing a biblestudy in Millenium Station, and eating chili at the Thompson Center are just a few things I LOVE doing with my CB family. K+L, Small One, Amber, another friend of mine named Tayte, and Small One's entire Squatter Camp participants attended CB that day with the other regulars.

After a great biblestudy and a quick bite of chili, K+L went to Navy Pier (with careful directions dictated by muah) and Small One and I went down to Lower Wacker with Pat Hecker, Josh Tikka, John Lee and a new friend named Brian. After a long walk through LW (Lower Wacker), we split off from Pat, Josh and Brian, and we Moody-ers went back to school. I met back up with K+L at the Cheesecake Factory for a late dinner and then took the bus back for a good night's sleep.

Sunday was alittle less hectic. We slept long into the morning again, then went out to Giordanos for lunch (Chicago style pizza! Yay!)... took the SkyDeck tour on the Sears/Willis Tower, and rode the 'L' around the Loop, pointing out landmarks along the way. We took the Blue Line out to Wicker Park for church with my friend Brian, and then back to school to relax and read, listening to the echoing Lecrae Concert in the tunnels. We migrated to a warmer spot in the tunnels and were met by Andrew Webb and Josh Tikka, Small One, and DRoc, and just had a fun time laughing and being together. The night ended with a couple of good conversations, and some more chapters of Isaiah finished.

Monday morning was quiet and after work and a morning class, we meandered around Old Towne in search of a cafe. Tayte and Small One helped me see K+L off, and as they left, I thought all this through in my head.

I know this recount is long, and I intended it that way. Although I'm sure I could have put my point accross through less elaborate terms, I wanted to be honest when I say this- I didn't realize how much of my life is surrounded by PEOPLE until I re-read these paragraphs I've written above.

I'm not saying that the things I did this weekend were in any way wrong, or that I regret them, in fact it's the opposite, I don't regret them, because I am learning from them. I've learned that my life has been made better by people- they litter and scatter my posts like confetti- they speak into my life and change my mind. They make me remember that love is possible, strength is acquireable, honor is achievable, virtue is reachable, honesty is desireable. They keep me sane, keep me level, keep me protected and safe. They help me, they make me, they teach me.

BUT, I also realize that too often do I rely my life on them. Too often recently have I let them determine my days, whether they be good, or they be bad. Not once this weekend have I stopped my business, gone off by myself and spent time just me and the Lord. People were more important. PEOPLE WERE MORE IMPORTANT.

Sure, I prayed. Sure I read my Bible- but to what means? Why? Because I needed to? People, the people around me, they are my world. My LORD should be my world, not PEOPLE. Not human beings. Lord, forgive me!

I love my friends. I LOVE THEM. I would die for them. But I also need to learn how to balance my life- I need to stay grounded and rooted in the relationship I have with my Father, my Creater, my Lover, my Protector, my Friend. He needs to be the main influence in my life. PERIOD.

While I praise the Lord for the people he's brought in my life;

I praise him for the new friends and the new family-away-from-family;

I praise him for the lessons He's teaching me through their interaction in my life- forcing me out of my bubble and my shell, forcing me to be vunerable, forcing me to be proactive in their lives and mine, forcing me to be trusting, forcing me to expect;

I praise him, I praise him, I praise him; every day, every minute, every second...

I also need to praise him because He is God. Just because of that. He is my God. I need to learn to live with him by myself. I need to learn how to be home in him. I need to learn how I need him, I need to learn how I want him... I need to learn how to be in a relationship with him- one that's just him and me. And that scares me. That scares me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Need Some Prayer (Quick Update)

SO alot has been happening since the last I've written- which seems somewhat impossible, because I've only just written on Monday. :) But nevertheless, it has.

First thing, my mom and sisters are coming to town on the 13th- I'm getting the room ready as we speak. :) My good friend is coming to town tomorrow... and my "big sister" (not biological, but sister indeed) is coming in town on the ninth! Im freaking out, Im so busy! :)

I just wanted to pop in and ask for some prayer as I go through this! :) I hope that I survive the familiar faces and dont have too much fun! :) :) Jk, but in all seriousness, some prayer is needed. Thanks! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

I WILL Still Love You

This week has gone by so fast, I dont even know what I did on what days- it's just been a blur. I've been writing my second reading report for my Old Testament Survey class, and it's come out to 23 pages, approximately. I had alot of fun with it, but I'm glad it's finished. :)

Last night was Halloween, and although I wasn't expecting to do anything for it, I ended going to the Halloween Costume Party at Misseo Dei with Andrew "Carl" Webb, J.R. "Socks" Roberts, Josh "One-Who-Jumps-And-Claps" Tikka, Chelsey, Jack (The Little Red Man) and the rest of the gang. I had a ton of fun just chilling out, dancing my toes off (I had bought a salsa dress from Salvation Army just the day before, so I wore that), and just having FUN. These people are my family- legit. More than they know.

On the way to Misseo Dei, J.R. saw a guy he knew, named Dennis, who had just gotten out of jail a week or so ago and is now living on the streets, trying to get back on his feet. I had the privelege and the pleasure of talking him for a couple of hours, long into the night, just about his life, and what his next steps are. As I walked inside, I was in deep-thinking mode, reflecting on all what was said. Life on his side of the fence is hard, but his motivation and determination for a better life, a life he knows he can have, inspires the people around him.

Whenever I get in a rut, when my side of the fence gets covered in dirt and soot and dung, I run to God- "Aren't you supposed to be helping me in this? Why don't you love me? Why aren't you taking care of me? I'm dirty and sooty and smelly and gross... I'm slipping into this pit and I can't get out. I'm hurting and bleeding and in pain- aren't you supposed to help me? You're my Daddy- where are you?"

And in every single instance, he doesn't answer my questions, he doesn't change my circumstance... instead he asks ME a question. "Will you still love me?"

Will I still love him? Will I still love him? What sort of question is that? I'm hurting here! I need help here! Will I still love you? What about me? Do you love ME?

But the Lord doesn't answer that- perhaps because the answer is obvious, and I know it full well in my heart. Perhaps it's because I don't really need the answer, the answer wouldn't change anything.

"Will you still love me?"
"Yes, Lord, I will still love you."

And then it comes again. I don't have any money, and I have to pay for school! My computer breaks and I have to write a paper! My phone is drowned, and I have to call home! My friends are asking me questions that bring back pain... I fight with my parents and bring a bad day... I'm caught in depression and just don't have the strength- Lord! Lord!

"Will you still love me?"

WHAT kind of QUESTION is that?! Dennis' problems are greater than mine. He needs a place to live, he needs food to eat, he needs to be warm. The families on Lower Wacker need new hearts, new wills to live. They need to surrender and live in you. They're lost, Lord, they're dying- and I can do nothing but watch them! LORD! DO something! They are breaking my heart!

"Will you still love me?"

Will I still love the Lord, if he does not help me out of my pain?
Will I still love the Lord, if he does not save my friends?
Will I still love the Lord, if I have to go through every single day fighting depression, fighting my will, fighting my sinful nature, without any rest- Will I still love him?

LORD! I will, I will, I WILL still love you! You cause me to breathe every single second, my heart does not beat excepting you take hold of it and cause it to beat! LORD- sometimes it's hard to love you, sometimes I cannot. BUT HELP me love you! HELP me want to want to love you.

As I made my bed ready to go to sleep last night, my heart burdened from all that I had heard from Dennis, his story still breaking my heart, I heard those words clear in my ears again. "Alisha, will you still love me?"

"Yes... yes, I will still love you. It's hard. But I will still love you. Help me love you Lord."

:) Will you still love him? Easy to say, harder to do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Window of Your Heart

The Window of Your Heart

…to the Brides of Christ…

You sit there, against that Wailing Wall of your room, wondering if you are ever going to make it though this mess they call Life. Everywhere you turn someone puts you down, and the tears that stain your heart mark the pain and the burden of your rejection. Love… you are yearning for love.

But wait! Hope is coming like the Spring’s beauty after Winter’s frost. You have not been abandoned, you are not alone. There is a Lover who pursues you, and longs for you to notice Him. He is waiting.

He loves you so much that he knocks at the door of your heart, and stands in line patiently with the others. He longs for you to pick him; invite Him into your heart, and His heart shatters each time you choose someone or something else to be the love of your life.

He loves you so much He puts His strongest, fastest angels to take care of you, and watches your every move. Tears spring to His eyes when you don’t accept His angel’s help and protection, and instead accept the strength of some mortal protector, who, in the end, cannot shield you from the Enemy’s attacks.

He loves you so much He wants to give you the whole world and He does. He gives you the moon, and the stars, and lies in the grass with you, pointing out every little point of light, His heart soaring because you like it. He took so long to paint the sky so it would be beautiful for you, hoping, knowing, that it would touch your heart.

Flowers? He loves you so much He brings you flowers, millions of flowers, and shows you his sense of humor by bringing them even in the form of dandelions or ragweed. He beautifully packages His flowers in colors of green and yellow and red and purple, orange, pink, blue, white… all the colors of the rainbow. He knows you love them, and they are labeled “From your Secret Admirer.”

You’ve always longed for a Secret Admirer, someone who pursued you because you were beautiful, alluring, lovely… well, you do.

He is so much in love with you that he doesn’t care about your past. He gets down on His knees and begs you: “I love you, I have loved you for as long as I remember. Please tell me that you love me,” He pleads.

He is valiant. He fights the demons that hold you, the addictions, the obsessions, the sin that has you in chains, a phantom of fear cast around your heart. He hears your screams to be rescued, loves you so much to throw Himself at the dragon and fight for you. He could have left you to die, there are other girls who are easier to come by, who would love it if He even gave them a glance. But no… He gave them up for you. He loves you, and will go to all lengths, all risks, to get you, to prove to you His love.

He is close, and sensitive, embracing us when your heart weeps, when your life breaks apart into a million pieces. He carries you when you get scared in the storm, and comes looking for you, crying out your name, when the hurricane of your thinking separates you. He tears up about your pain when you open up to him, and with gentle hands He heals you.

He is thoughtful. In the morning He wakes you softly with the rays of the sun and the melodious songs of birds. He whispers you good morning and kisses you with the soft breeze coming in through the open window. Even on a gloomy day he has a special surprise only for your heart to know and understand. He tells you of His plans, of His purpose, about His struggles and how much He desires to be with you within the pages of His love letters to you, and is downcast and so dejected when you pass up reading His words to you for some other book or method of leisure. You allow someone or something else to romance and allure your heart, and it brings tears to His eyes and pain to His heart. He knows how weak that someone or something is, and how weak you are.

He cries out to you, longs for you to look at Him. But your gaze is fixed on someone else. The Enemy. The Enemy has captured the gaze of His beloved.

He loves you so much that He waits, even though you left Him. When you realize that the Enemy’s tune-less murmur in your ear is taking you away from He who cherishes you, you will cry out to Him. He will valiantly rescue you again. He loves you so much He will throw thousands of angels up against the Enemy, only to get you back. And he loves you so much, he will rescue you again, and again; and again, and again. Nothing you can do will make Him get angry with you enough to leave you. And He will never let the Enemy harm you. He will not leave you, He will not desert you. Although you might reject Him, He will wait patiently, pursuing your heart until you return to his arms, safe once more.

But He does not wait motionless; no. Every single moment you are away, in the Enemy’s lair, he is resless. He calls for you, runs to you, trying to make yu notice Him. He does not rest until you are rescued, safe. He pleads with you, begs you, trying to gently tell you that the way you are going leads to destruction, and heartache. His heart breaks when you let the Enemy plug your ears. He screams in anguish when you let the Enemy lead you, knowing it is towards Destruction.

“Take anything else!” He cries. “Take anything else! My home, my creation, my crown, even myself, if only you would spare my beloved! Take me instead, not her! Please!”

He loves you so much He ran into the land of Shadow to bring you out. The Enemy tied Him up with the chains destined for you. He was blamed for your addictions; He felt the pain of your abuse; He cried out when the burden of your sin was thrown upon him, wrung around His throat. He looked at you, His starry eyes tearing, as His Enemy pushed Him into the abyss, instead of you.

He loves you so much he took your past from you- your impurity, your abuse, your pain, your ugliness, your infliction, your depression, your loss, your disability, your weakness, your arrogance, your ignorance, your poverty, your nakedness, your embarrassment, your unloveableness, your scorn, your hurt, and ultimately, ultimately… your brokenness.

But… He is powerful. He is strong. So powerful, He defeated the Enemy. He defeated your sin! No longer does the Enemy’s lairs have power over you. Your addictions have been taken away from you… you are free!
Your anger has been vanquished… smile- you are free!
You are whole, perfect, pure- the scars of abuse have been taken away… you are free!
The traces of darkness, ugliness and depression have been washed away… He is victorious; rejoice! You are free!
The loss, the wounds of that which was ripped away from you by Death, by Poverty… by the forces of the Enemy, are restored… You are free!

And He runs, galliantly, towards you, arms open wide, ready to accept you into them. Tears streaming joyfully down His face, the light and beauty of His Kingdom filling the defeated darkness of the Enemy, He throws you up into the air, and catches you, embracing you. Finally you are together, free.

And when you are with Him, you are who you were made to be. He completes you.

Hand in hand He walks you down a glorious path in the woods. Butterflies, wild flowers, a shimmering brook rushing over smooth rocks and stones and cascading over them into a deliciously cool pond… Rabbits scamper as you swim and bask in the sunlight.

Then He pulls you up, out of the Valleys and into the Clouds. Up over the trees and into the mountains. The sunset sets the rocks afire. A warm, crackling campfire, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs and talking softly… You lean your head against His chest and even the chill of the starry night air cant get to you, because He is holding you.

With Him, you are whole. You are free He shows you many things, talks to you. And He wants you to talk to Him, about everything. He wants you to let Him know you.

When you feel alone, head in your hands, back against a wall, He comes walking up the aisle with His hands shoved in His pockets. He gives you a small smile and squats next to you, eyes searching, asking you to tell Him what is wrong.

When you are happy, rejoicing over an accomplishment, He throws you a party. He breaks out a grin and invites all of your friends. “Look how fantastic she is… I don’t know what I’d do without her!” He exclaims.

When you are stressed, and cant seem to get anything right, His arms embrace your world and your heart, and just holds you. In His hands, you will be safe, and your heart will be healed. Your pain will soon go away, and in His hands you will be healed.

When the end seems to come too soon…
When you feel as if life is not worth living…
When you cant cope…
When you feel sick, or alone, or ugly…
When you cant do anything right…

He’s waiting. He’s longing for your voice. Restless He waits. In His hands He can heal. In His hands he can free.

When life is going right…
When you are encouraged…
When you are victorious…
When you look in the mirror and you are beautiful, and radiant…

He wants to know. He is waiting to rejoice with you. He’s the first one to pop open a bottle of champagne. He’s the first one with the party hat on. He dances with you.

You see, He wants you. Just like you want Him. He could do it without you, of course, but He loves you so much, there’s a special ache in His heart for you, that only you can fill.

He would look awkward dancing by Himself. You make the dance glorious, beautiful, graceful, and purposeful. He loves you, and you love Him. You are one.

He would look strong paddling a canoe in the rapids alone. But with you… it looks like an adventure. A team. A fight between fear and valor. You help Him. He could do it alone, but together… ah, He would only do it with you.

He shows you the sights, the smells, the sounds… together… you are one.

He loves you so much. He longs for you to love Him back. He throws pebbles at the window of your heart.

Wake up and let Him in…


Friday, October 22, 2010

Enduring a Media Fast


If you haven't already heard, I was doing a media fast this past week, just trying to cut back on some things that seem to take over my life. With all of the ministries and work and school and THINGS I am doing throughout the week, a good friend of mine urged me to let something "GO". I protested at first- Ill admit it here and now, I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO. I don't like saying "No" to people, most of all me. I don't like causing myself more uncomfortability than I am already in... I'm a normal human being when it comes to that kinds of stuff.

But something about what he said, about how I was doing too much, and that I just needed to let some things GO tugged at my heart. I was convicted, and reluctantly but definitively, started my Media fast on Monday. I didn't expect many results. I didn't expect anything but a little inconvenience. FALSE STATEMENT.

Let me just tell you, starting a media fast was the hardest thing Ive done in a while. I love being on the computer, I love facebook, I love watching my shows. I watch WAY TOO MANY shows. House, Burn Notice, Castle, Bones, White Collar, NCIS... the list goes on and on and on... I didn't want to see how much garbage tv shows I watch instead of living real life. Who am I?

At first I found things to do. I'm not a crafty person, but since I had the time, I made some creative, crafty things- a prayer guide out of an old Harriet Tubman book, a couple Sunshine Jars (Ill explain those in a different post. :) ) and even a sign holder made out of a book that hangs next to our door in the hall. But as soon as I ran out of ideas of things to do, the temptations set in.

"Oh, Ill just LOOK, see if someone posted on my wall, but I wont do anything else, Ill just LOOK." Laugh all you want, it was a real thought. I thought I could handle five days without a computer easily... and here I am grovelling for just a PEEK?! Who am I?!

And here I am, at 102 am, after counting down the hours I could get back on the computer, I feel stupid, childish, almost immature here in my seat. The forefront of my mind isn't "What have I learned" but "What have I MISSED?!". When have I been so shallow that living simply minute by minute isn't enough, that I have to constantly be in the world and mind of others in order to be important, and that my significance comes from the amount of notifications on my facebook profile instead of the quality of my relationship with God. When did reading the Bible come to a last-resort activity to consume time because I can't watch movies or House, instead of the inseparable life-source of my world? Where can I go where I roll out of bed and land on my knees instead of squinting over a laptop and checking messages? Where is that person? When can I meet her? Will I ever BE HER?

Yes, my Media fast was a pain in the BUTT. But LORD, I praise you every single day because of it! It has not only convicted me of so many of my warped, sinful priorities, it's also reminded me of how powerful you are! SO MANY miracles have been performed right in front of my eyes this week that I wouldn't have seen if I had been fixed to my computer screen. So many awesome opportunites I would have missed, so many people I would have never met, so many things I wouldn't have learned... How is that possible? And yet it is!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You are worth MORE than that! (or, Learning Lessons)

I stood cold against the wind, though I tried to hide it. My navy blue and golden-rod yellow University of Michigan sweatshirt was the warmest non-coat item I had in my closet, and it still didn't suffice. Katie Koopmann, my right-hand girl it seems at times, stood beside me, laughing at some random joke that I had just retorted, or some random dance I had just danced. I was hyper, perhaps from the cold, and restless. The concrete ground reached out from the tips of our shoed toes out and around us. A couple of other girls completed our circle, but beyond us stood more circles and squares and lines and oblong shapes of people.

Josh, the tall, blonde, one-who-jumps-and-claps, was making his way through the groups of people towards us. His face bore a worried, frusterated, intense look, and when he reached us, he looked at me and said "Can I talk to you for a second?"

My heart stopped. Whenever I heard those words, from anybody, it usually means I was in trouble. What had I done this time, that I merited a talking-to? Josh was the proclaimed (or self-proclaimed) leader of the Biblestudy we put on in our homeless ministry called Chicago's Beloved. Today we had been a little late from our routes, where every week we walk down a street, handing out sandwiches and just hanging out with the homeless brothers and sisters who live there, so biblestudy was cut short. After Biblestudy, we cross the street to this little stretch of concrete under a great, stadium-dome looking building called the Thompson Center where another ministry serves chili. People from all over come to have some chili and some conversation. As my heart raced through my mind, in search of anything that I might have said or done that merited Josh's face and tone, the laughing and dialogue of the people standing around us rang in my ears. "Sure." I said.

"I want you to talk to someone..." He then went on to say that he had witnessed a guy from our Biblestudy being abusive to his girlfriend just a few moments before. Although he didn't want to confront him directly, for fear of antagonizing the guy into a fight, he was frusterated and worried about the girl. He asked me if I would talk to her discreetly; let her know that she was worth more than how her boyfriend was treating her, and that she was not bound to him. That she was valuable, and didnt have to deal with that abuse anymore. And that perhaps my own story's relevance would cause her to listen.

As I nodded in mock confidence, my fingers felt numb. Why me? I was scared. I didn't think I could do it. I wasn't ready. As he walked away, those doubting, scared thoughts sifted through my mind. I prayed to God, turned to Katie and asked for her to pray for me, too, and dove in.

Walking over to them casually seemed like the most awkward, obvious thing I had ever done in my life. Every second I anticipated for them to turn to me and say "I know what you're up to and we won't have any of it!" But that never came. I asked them how their week was and the answer was "Not that good." Subject of conversation, okay I can do this. Taking a breath to ask why, the guy interrupted me. "Do you have some change? We gotta get on the train, I gotta job interview tomorrow."

I shook my head. GOD what are you doing? I screamed in my head. Will she listen to me if I give her money? Are you asking me to buy them a train ticket? I dont know what to do!

"I just need some change. I gotta get on the train..."

How will I get the chance to talk to her alone if he's right there practically hanging on to her, his arm wrapped protectively around her? LORD I need help! I shook my head again. "Sorry, I dont-"

"Do you have a phone I could borrow, then?" He asked again. I nodded, pulling out my trusty purple phone and handing it to him. "Use it as long as you need. I have unlimited everything." (Praise the Lord for Metro PCS!)

He smiled slightly, grabbed the phone and walked away to sit down, leaving his girlfriend behind. I swallowed. What now?

"Y-you wanna get in line for chili?" I asked.

She shrugged and nodded. Anthony, a friend of her boyfriend's, walked over with us, picking up a conversation with her. My heart sank. LORD, I dont know what to DO!

In line, Anthony turned to me. "So, what's your story?"

NO. NO. What do you want me to do, Lord? Tell the truth? This wasn't supposed to be personal. I can't relate with these people... their stories are probably worse than mine. They probably think I'm just this white chick that has had everything alright with her life. They'll never take me seriously. Say something SAY SOMETHING.

So I blurted out whatever my mind could think of. With each word my heart grew heavier and heavier, and my throat grew tighter and tighter. The truth wasn't shocking enough, I needed more shocking. The truth wasn't painful enough... I needed more pain. The reality isn't drastic enough... I need more drastic. How was she going to listen to the things I needed to say to her if I didn't relate with her? I've only tasted the pain she's gone through. I'm inadequate, Lord, IM INADEQUATE!

After I stopped talking, Anthony gave me a hug. "Yeah, God is good." He said. "You keep it up. God loves us no matter where we are."

I swallowed and averted my eyes. I was supposed to be helping this girl, and I was lying to her. How is that helping? I just wanted to walk away, my guilt almost heavier than the words that slipped into my ears "How can God use someone like me? I'm a liar. In the process of trying to help someone, I've lied to them. Who am I to do that?!"

Anthony patted me on the back once more before walking away. It was just her and I. I swallowed again.

"What's your name again?" I asked.

"Brandy." She answered. "BABE! BABE! Come over here!" She yelled at her boyfriend. My heart sank lower. I had missed my chance. "Babe!"

"WHAT?!" He yelled back. He scowled at her and started yelling at her, calling her names and telling her to leave him alone, my phone still pressed against his ear.

She closed her mouth. "Why does he gotta be so mean?" she whispered under her breath.

"You know you dont have to stay with him. You're worth more than that." I said quietly. "I've been there. It's not worth it, it's not worth it."

She didnt say anything at first. Then she pursed her lips. "We just been together for so long..."

"I know, I been there. It doesn't matter if you're with them for four years, four months, or four days, you dont have to put up with that."

"He's got good days and then he's got bad days..."

"Why dont you want all good days though?" I trailed off. Maybe I had said too much, too quickly. She didn't respond, and moved down the line alittle more, quiet. We stood there for a split-second, saying nothing, and then she looked away and walked back towards her boyfriend. They left a couple moments later.

Looking back, I rejoice that the Lord gave me the opportunity to speak into Brandy's life, if for a second, but I grieve because of my sin. I realize that stretching the truth was not distrusting God's power to move her spirit, instead of the power my own story. And even though I eventually had the chance to say the words I was to say, I could not fully rejoice in the Lord's providence and miracles, from getting the boyfriend away for awhile, to giving me a moment to say the words "You are worth more than that." It hurt me. Lord, I need help with this telling the truth thing. Honesty... why do I hate it? Why do I think the story you've written for me is not as good as the one I've written for myself?

This post started out as a "Praise the Lord for His miracles", and turned into a "I confess, Lord, my sins." I am struggling with this, not because I love to lie, but because I hate the truth of my life. My pain- I dont want to feel it. My experiences- I dont want to admit. My sin- I pretend it doesnt exist. And although I am not a compulsive liar who says whatever anyone wants to hear just to get ahead, I am NOT a compulsive truth-teller. I WANT to be! LORD I WANT to be!

Would you guys pray for both Brandy and I, one for her abusive relationship with her boyfriend, the other for her abusive relationship with herself? Why dont I just let myself be free? Why dont I just walk away? Why do I have to lie- I dont have to! It hurts me, causes me so much pain, ruins my friendships and builds walls in my relationship with God. It hinders me from being all of myself, it turns me into a cowering, angry, scared, little girl. I need to pull myself aside and tell myself those words "YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THAT!"

I am worth more than that!

:) PTL

Friday, October 1, 2010

Revised- Meeting Me

I was afraid to ask what I knew I should ask. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but they were stalled by the fear that God would actually give me what I was asking for, and I was scared of that. I stood there a moment, and looked at my feet. What did the words "break my heart" mean to the Lord? How would that feel? Did I want to know?

I was already straining myself by going to this ministry every week- seeking out the faces of people I could relate to was different for me; my first instinct is to flee. My mouth kept captive the words of the still-born prayer, and I searched my heart for some strength. Every week I am faced with the same thoughts and feelings- of dread, of pain, of protest... why did I go? Why didn't I just stay at home? Why didn't I just say no for this week... said "Ill catch you guys next week"... what was so significant, so powerful about this week, every week, that Satan was going to such lengths to keep me from wanting this?

"This" was the homeless ministry I partook in every Saturday afternoon. Every week I stood alone out in the little courtyard in the middle of campus, sometimes a half-hour, even an hour early, wondering if I should go. The others usually filter in around three thirty, and every second before that time I battle with the desire to just slip away and go back upstairs to my apartment, like I was never there.

The breeze pushed the trees around a little as I mounted some strength, and let the words "Lord, break my heart for these people" fall out of my mouth and into the air. As soon as they were free I felt drained. I wondered what great thing God was preparing for me- I almost hoped that the wind had swept my prayer out of his hearing, or perhaps he was occupied on some other, greater task, and won't notice the little prayer that I had let up.

People were scarce, inevitably working on papers or homework or something- not even aware of the little me standing out amongst the island of grass and trees in the sea of concrete between the buildings. I liked it that way, and hated it that way- but I was used to it, my heart had been so hard for so long. I walked around life like a brick wall, too afraid to absorb love or fear or anything remotely emotional... I didn't know if I had the strength, or I knew I didn't and was afraid to admit it. I was terrified of being invisible, yet longed for it, and in that moment, I felt like I was.

The chill was growing as the others approached. I put on my best happy face and tried to match eveyone's mounting anticipation and excitement. A couple holding hands walked past, oblivious to the motley group that left campus in the middle of the Saturday afternoon to partake in another world... hopping on the Brown Line like it was the vortex to another dimension. And as I readied myself to enter that world again, I couldn't help but feel a little fear- fear of the unknown, fear of the known... afraid that it would be as intense as last week, and afraid of my prayer for a broken heart. Who prays for a broken heart? I trembled.

Linked arms with the only other girl in the group, named Sarah, I pushed the fear aside. I tried not to think about anything in particular, and went along with the conversation, keeping my legs moving in time and in step with hers. I found myself standing amongst a score of people, all joined hands and bowing their heads, some from other campuses around the city, some from high schools and some too old or too young for either. The glass windows and doors of the entrance of Oglivie, the train station that graciously accommodated nearly thirty boisterous, laughing, praying, random Christians brought a weird glow onto the tops of our heads. Security guards looked on silently, and uniformed soldiers stood outside, waiting for loved ones, or a taxi, their suitcases leaning against their legs.

Josh, the leader of the group, raised his hand above the heads and we quieted. He was tall and hard to miss, eclectic and smiling lopsidedly, he announced the routes and asked for group leaders. Grocery bags and garbage bags of sandwiches stood against the display window of the expensive clothing store, the well-dressed mannequins posing idly before bottles of water and backpacks, and college students preparing themselves for the long walk. I stood silent on the outskirts of the circle, waiting for the group to Lower Wacker to assemble.

I had gone down Lower Wacker the week before, and the sights hit me like a ton of bricks. It dipped down, steady orange lights illuminating the road before us, cement columns holding the concrete ceiling in place. The rustle of the plastic bags and the footsteps of our shoes across the concrete tunnel's floor echoed eerily against the walls. The occasional rush past of a car or a truck or a semi pushed a sheet of air against us, and even the air bounced against the wall and came careening back.

We hop one of the barriers and walk around another. Behind lies two men, their blankets pulled closely to their neck and ears, their bodies thin and shivering. The stench is unbearable at first, but we push through it and set the brown paper bag that holds the sandwich and a bag of chips, and a bottled water next to them. One of them, named Roc, glares at us and yells at us to get on our way, but the other is silent, smiling and nodding slightly. A little further lies a family, their cardboard box wall separating their little make-shift home from the dirty ground. Their shoes sat neatly on the border of their area, and she gives us a smile, recognizing us from last week.

As we moved on to the next, and the next, the little piles of clothing and blankets moving to reveal a different, new face, each one unique from the last. I couldn't help but be silent, my usual boisterous, out-loud self quieted as I was shown again and again the reality of life. Any where else I wouldn't have stopped to think that these were real people... real people. And my hard heart, void of emotion, couldn't handle that reality.

I held some sort of hidden pride inside. I remember wondering where I would be able to sleep, when I would eat, where would I be able to take a shower so I would look like a normal person. I never pushed a grocery cart around, never carried my things in a garbage bag, never slept in an alley... a back pack is no garbage bag, under the overhang of Target is no alley. Inside... inside I felt empty. I was only given a small taste of homelessness a year and a half ago, far away in Michigan. Here, on the streets of Chicago, it was different. I was different. I've eaten, I'm warm, I have people who care about me, I have some place to sleep. And as I walked before the dim lighting of Lower Wacker, the bag of sandwiches hitting against my leg at every step, I told myself that I couldn't relate with these people. They were real people, yes, but some form of destitute that required emotions and understanding still too far out of reach.

We took the stairs up out of Lower Wacker and hour or so later, a little late for the biblestudy we attended every week and had invited some of the people to. I was breathing a sigh of relief, happy somewhat, that it was over. We walked down the street, just talking and laughing, exchanging stories, when we passed her.

She was standing on the corner of Randolf and Michigan, her big brown eyes filled with unspilt tears, a little paper sign in her hands, her lips pursed shut. "I left my abusive boyfriend for a battered women's shelter that was scarier. Help me get home." was what it basically said. She wore a green shirt that did no damage against the wind, and her brown hair was pulled back into a half pony-tail. She looked... normal. I looked at her, and my heart broke. In her eyes, I saw me.

There stood me, a mere year and a half ago- maybe not holding a sign, maybe not standing on the corner of Randolf and Michigan, but there I was, no where to go, no where to stay, no one to love me. There was me, standing cold against the wind, and wishing there were people in the world who cared enough to send me somewhere I could call home.

As the members of our group listened to her story, I could hardly hear her words over the cracking of my heart in my ears. She was normal- I was normal. She was normal. I pulled off my sweatshirt and handed it to her. She was normal... why was this so hard to understand? Why does it keep running through my mind? When someone hears homeless, they think of the residents of Lower Wacker, not this girl, not me. They think garbage bags and alleys... not backpacks and Target. They think dirty and smelly, not clean and done up. They think sitting on the side of the street, not a normal girl with make-up on, holding onto a sheet of paper with dear life, hoping and praying that someone, somewhere would understand that just because she wasn't dirty or smelly doesn't mean her story isn't validated.

Over the screams of the city I laid my hand on her and cried out to God for her- keep her safe, Lord, keep her warm... give her not a doubt in her mind that you love her. Take care of her, Lord, take care of Kelly.

I didn't have to wonder what she was thinking- I didn't have to wonder what she was praying for. I remember screaming those same words, asking him "LORD, why don't you love me? Lord! Why don't you care? I'm out here cold and unhappy and broken and bleeding and homeless, why aren't you taking care of me?! Where are you Lord?! Why don't you love me?" And as I remembered those words, and I gave her a hug, walking away was almost too hard to bear. The few dollars we had on us seemed so small compared to the pain and the need she had. I walked across the intersection holding my head, remembering that place, the wind pushing the chill around my now-bare arms. I went faster, hoping that the group following behind me wouldn't see my bitter tears as I wept. I wept. I never cry... I never feel. And yet I wept.

Lord! Lord! I didn't ask to be faced by my brokenness. I didn't ask to be given a mirror- I didn't want to see my own pain. But yet, that's what happened. I had spent so much time and effort and heart ache trying to forget who I was, what i had come from, what I was feeling... I didn't want to know. I didn't want to feel it. I was afraid to. And yet here I was, faced with another me... Kelly... Kelly.

As I wept, my group caught up with me and one of the girls, named Anilysa, put her hand on me and cried with me. A complete stranger, we had only known eachother for the short time I have been here, walking with me in silence. And when she asked me what was wrong, I had nothing else to say but "I just met me!" The reality was so sharp, so vivid, so close, that I could grasp it, and it cut me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Meeting Me

I was afraid to ask what I knew I should ask. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but they were stalled by the fear that God would actually give me what I was asking for, and I was scared of that. I stood there a moment, and looked at my feet. What did the words “break my heart” mean to the Lord? How would that feel? Did I want to know?

I closed my eyes and let the words silently fall. The inner-sanctuary of my heart trembled, wondering what great thing God was preparing for me- my heart had been so hard for so long. I walked around like a brick wall, too afraid to absorb love or fear or anything remotely emotional... perhaps because I couldnt handle it... perhaps because I didnt know if I would have the strength. Or I knew I didnt... and I didnt know how to handle that...

I was waiting for the others to come, the trees waving slightly under the weight of the breeze, and the chill picking up and whirling around the people standing motionless alone among the brick and concrete. People were scarce, inevitably working diligently on something, writing papers, doing homework... not even aware of the little group that left campus in the middle of the Saturday afternoon to partake in another world... hopping on the Brown Line like it was the vortex to the other dimension. I was silent, half wishing the wind had taken my words and swept it away... or that the Lord would have been occupied with some other, greater task, than to answer the small prayer that I had let up a couple of minutes earlier.

We walked alittle, the anticipation mounting. Satan hated what we were doing- I could feel it in my bones, in my soul. I had been wrestling with him all day, reminded of the massive work load I had waiting for me at home, and yet I still went, although my heart did not want to, I went. I had millions and millions of excuses running through my mind... yet I still went. Why did I go? Why didn't I just stay at home? Why didn't I just say no for this week, and just said “Ill catch you next week”... what was so significant, so powerful about this week that Satan was going to the lengths to try and keep me from going?

We arrived at the meeting place where there were twenty to thirty people standing in a group. The glass doors that stood before us let out into the Downtown Chicago street, soldiers in uniform standing outside, waiting for someone- loved ones, taxi... A wall of windows set side-by-side towered up over the doors, and we could see the rising line of the surrounding buildings, tapering off. We stood in the glow of the un-seen sky and prayed. Bags of sandwiches and cases of bottled water sat against the wall beside an expensive clothing shop. The well-dressed manniquins stood idle before garbage bags and backpacks, and college students preparing themselves for the long walk. I stood somewhat quiet on the outskirts of the circle, waiting for them to quiet down, listening for someone to announce the groups.

I had gone down Lower Wacker the week before, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. And as I readied myself to enter that world again, I couldnt help but feel a little fear- fear of the unknown, fear of the known... afraid that it would be as intense as last week, and afraid of my prayer for a broken heart. Who prays for a broken heart? I trembled.

Lower Wacker dips down, steady orange lights illuminating the road before us, cement collumns holding the concrete ceiling in place, the rushing sound of the occasional car or truck or semi echoing against the walls. We hop one of the barriars and walk around another. Behind lies two men, their blankets pulled closely to their chest, their bodies thin and shivvering. The stench is unbearable at first, but we push through it and set the brown paper bag that holds the sandwich and a bag of chips or pretzels, and the bottled water down next to them. One of them, named Roc, glares at us and yells at us to get on our way, but the other nods his head and smiles alittle. A little further lies a family, their cardboard box wall separating their little home from the dirty ground. Their shoes sat neatly on the border of their area, and she gives us alittle smile, recognising us from last week.

As we moved on to the next, and the next, the little piles of clothing and blankets moving to reveal a face, I couldnt help but be silent. My usual boisterous, out-loud self was quieted as I was shown again and again the reality of life. These were real people... real people. And my hard heart, void of emotion, couldn't handle that reality.

We took the stairs up out of Lower Wacker an hour or so later, a little late for the biblestudy we attended every week and invited some of the people to. I was breathing a sigh of relief, happy, somewhat, that it was over. We walked down the street, just talking and laughing, exchanging stories, when we passed her.

She was standing on the corner of Rudolf and Michigan, her big brown eyes filled with unspilt tears, a little paper sign in her hands, her lips pursed shut. “I left my abusive boyfriend for a battered women's shelter that was scarier. Help me get home.” was what it basically said. She wore a green shirt that did no damage against the wind, and her brown hair was pulled back into a half-ponytail. She looked... normal. I looked at her, and my heart broke. In her eyes, I saw me.

There stood me, a mere year and a half ago- maybe not holding a sign, maybe not standing on the corner of Rudolf and Michigan, but there I was, no where to go, no where to stay, no one to love me. There was me, standing cold against the wind, and wishing that there were people in the world who cared enough to send me somewhere I could call home.

As the members of our group listened to her story, I could hardly hear her words over the cracking of my heart in my ears. I pulled off my sweatshirt and handed it to her, and over the screams of the city, I laid my hand on her and cried out to God for her- keep her safe Lord, keep her warm... give her not a doubt in her mind, Lord, that you love her. Take care of her, Lord, take care of Kelly.

Inside I remember screaming those words. I remember asking him “LORD, why dont you love me? Lord! Why don't you care? Im out here cold and unhappy and broken and bleeding and homeless, why arent you taking care of me?! Where are you Lord?! Why dont you love me?” And as I prayed those words for her, the breaking of my heart brought a pain in my throat, and as I gave her a parting hug and we parted with the few dollars on us, walking away was almost too hard to bear. Why didnt God give me more money to give? Why did I have to be poor- that I couldnt be the someone I didnt have when I was there for her? I walked across the intersection holding my head, the wind pushing the chill around my now-bare arms. I went faster, hoping that the group following behind me wouldnt see my bitter tears as I wept. I wept. I never cry. And yet I wept.

Lord! Lord! I didnt ask to be faced by my brokenness. I didn't ask to be given a mirror- I didn't want to see my own pain. But yet, thats what happened. I had spent so much time and effort and heart ache trying to forget who I was, what I had come from, what I was feeling... I didnt want to know. I didnt want to feel it. I was afraid to. And yet here I was, faced with another me... Kelly... Kelly.

As I wept, my group caught up with me, and one of the girls put her hand on me and cried with me. We walked in silence, and when she asked me what was wrong, I whispered through my tears “I just met me!” The reality was so sharp, so vivid, that I could grasp it and it cut me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Lord Convicts

SO the third week (I think) of school is beginning, and Lord, I have much to do. I have been kind of blindly doing things, taking things for granted, and getting caught up in the whirlwinds of life here on campus, that I almost forgot entirely the reason I was here! Oh, Lord, why do I cause you so much pain?

I'm entirely broke, now- it's pathetic to see how I used the few dollars I have left in my name after making that first payment, there were so many things I could have relied on God for instead of relying on my own strength and spending money to acquire. A computer, for one... it died a week and a half ago, and I prayed but did not trust that God would deliver me a computer... so I bought a used one for alot of money (it was cheaper than new, but more expensive than free) and then God miraculously fixed my computer, and now I have spent/wasted money.

LORD- I dont know what you want to do with me, your plan is opening up for me in front of my eyes.

If it's not the Lord's will that I get a student loan, then what is his will? If it is his will that I work my payments off, then how can I accomplish that? Lord, give me more faith!

I may sound like I'm struggling, and in reality, I am... but not in the extent that I should be. Sometimes I take for granted that whatever's going to happen is going to happen, and I do very little to change it. Maybe I should be more proactive in dictating what sort of life I want to pursue, what sort of person I want to become. Sitting and watching will turn me into a woman of procrastination, of hesitation... and I want to be a woman of determination, of faith- who shows it by stepping out and fighting for what she believes in. Lord, I have failed you in so many ways, these past few weeks... give me the strength to tune my ears to your voice, give me the will to want to obey you.

:) I love you, God. Thank you for taking me thus far.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Dear everyone- The Lord has really been working miracles in my life, both little and big. Although I havent found a co-signer yet for my student loan, I am starting the first day of my new job tomorrow morning at seven (rise and shine!)... so Im really praising the Lord about that- and ONTOP of that, I talked to my school and they're willing to give me an extension on the payment I owe them, until I find a cosigner for my loan. So PRAISE THE LORD! :)

Moody Bible Institute has really become a home for me, in the mere number of weeks (or days) I've been here. The community has really been a place where I can be challenged and yet accepted. :) I've been doing nothing but meeting new people for the last week and a half! Last night I went to see the fireworks at Navy Pier, sitting on the edge of a parking-structure's wall to get the best veiw possible... it was amazing. The swells of people everywhere... and the city sounds fill me to the brim with joy!

Yesterday morning I got up early to make the traditional Gneco-style Saturday morning breakfast- Eggs with broccoli, and mushrooms, and onions... and potatos and sausage... and orange juice... MMmmmmm I love our little kitchenette! :) My roommates both told me that it was delicious- thanks mom and dad for our little traditions! :) <3

All in all, life has been good, despite the little bumps along the way. I thank and praise the Lord everyday for bringing me here, and pray that he might help me stay here. :) Thank you for your prayers and I will update ya'll as soon as something worth updating comes along! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Praise the Lord

Hi everyone! SO- alot has happened in the few days that has passed- one, it's SATURDAY PEOPLE!!! :) No classes, minimal homework, and lots of time. :) Two, yesterday I GOT A JOB!!! Im working as a cleaning lady ON CAMPUS in the Phys Plant... so EXCITED. :)

Also, I have to get a loan because I haven't been able to get a job til now. Just pray that I find a co-signer because I cant get it on my own. :(

Thanks so much for your prayers! Ill talk more later. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finally it HITS

SO today turned out to be a borderline Epic Fail/ Epic Win day. :PPP I was really happy when I woke up this morning, got some stuff done (all my homework was finished the day before) and was excited that we were blessed with a printer last night off of craigslist. BUT then I got home from class and my computer was dead/broken, and I cant turn it on... and then I find out that Tech can't fix it, and that Im going to have to spend more money on something. :PPP And then it hits me that the deadline for my school bill is just around the corner and my attempts at finding a job, however vigourous or determined they are, have been futile... and THEN I have a job interview (finally) where I have to be escorted around the city by my roommate and two guys from our brother floor (and if you dont know already some of my problems with guys, Ill explain later), and the interview went well but it wasn't for the job I wanted or expected... and then I just got home and was TOTALLY STRESSED OUT.

But LORD LORD you humble me further. I felt awful today to begin with, and after an unplanned, accident-of-a-nap, I felt even worse because I feel like I lose time when I "nap"... and now that I have no computer I feel like I can do NOTHING... so I was just lying on the floor of my dorm, feeling sorry for myself, when I was invited by one of the members of my women's choir to their dorm for some hot chocolate and a good conversation. I didnt feel like going, but I decided to go... and IT WAS SO AWESOME.

Lord, the ways you make me feel so loved and accepted here makes me cry- I'm tearing up as I write this. The testimony of the young woman just down the hall, as we sipped our tea and chocolate, broke my heart and strengthened my passion. I feel so refreshed and at peace, and as we prayed together before I left, I felt so relieved that I joined Women's Choir, because I would have never had met her.

Somethings we take for granted. I hope that this is NOT one of them. I love you, Lord, and I will trust you with everything. Lord help me in the relationships I have here, especially the mixed gender ones. Especially the ones with guys, here, with my brother floor. Lord, I'm really struggling in everything. I don't know how I'm going to get through this, but LORD you have this under control! And I TRUST YOU.

Finally it hits me how much you love me and how much your will on my life is apparant to me. Please please PLEASE NEVER let me go. Thank you, I love you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

WCC Retreat! :)

Well, I got ACCEPTED into the Women's Concert Choir of Moody Bible Institute (such a stately title :) ) along with my two other roommates... aaannnnnndddd this past weekend we all went on a retreat BACK to Michigan (after I had finally left there of all things!) and just did some hang out time together.

Oh my GOSH. That retreat was the best retreat I've been on in a long time! The bonding and openness we had as all girls there was so uplifting and refreshing... I actually took the time to rest from the anxiety orientation was putting on me. It was alittle obscure going on a retreat in the middle of the first week of school, but now that I've gone I realize now why they do it that way!

Some of the thing's Im really learning and grasping is that I need to hold onto and cling to God for EVERYTHING in my life. I need to realize that I have limits and boundaries to how much I can handle and need to stop pushing myself to do EVERYTHING and be EVERYWHERE. Im starting to get first-day-of-school nerves, and I just cant wait for classes tomorrow! :) First class is at nine o'clock, and Ill keep going until around 5 in the afternoon it looks like. And although I'm going to have to slightly rearrange my schedule to fit in Choir practices, it looks like this semester is going to be consistently in the morning rather than in the afternoon (besides that one afternoon class :) ). Also, Im going to have to start making breakfast up here in my dorm during the week days because I only have the fifteen meal plan! So new things here and there, some little and some big...

Pray that I GET A JOB! Or else Ill be back in Michigan without a Moody education come September! Not cool :) (or as I also say, EPIC FAIL)

And finally, just pray that I dont get too nervous/worried when it comes to classes and everything. Thank you so much for your support! Love you guys! :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Today's Briefing (lol)

Took a break from stressing out and watched Bolt today. :) Awesome movie to watch to pass time!

Tomorrow I'm going to a retreat with the Women's Concert Choir all three of us (my two roommates and I) were accepted in. I'm looking forward to just hanging out with my roomies and the girls from the choir.

Today we had a Room meeting, my roommates and I, and we got through alot of the basic expectations we have as roommates. We had a great conversation, and a ton of great stuff came up. :)

Who said we couldnt have fun at school? Loving it.
Talk soon. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Address! :)

I just wanted to post and let you all know that I've finally been issued an address at Moody, which is:

C.P.O. 862
820 N LaSalle Blvd
Chicago, IL 60610

Thanks for all the prayers and support! And continue to pray that I get a job so that I can keep going to school here! :) Thanks again...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All IN! :)

Well I'm here, in home sweet home Chicago, in my three-person, apartment style dorm... with my two roommates, and a whole WORLD of opportunities!!! My orientation week has begun today with moving in early this morning (my family drove in with me, all five of them- 3 year old brother, 7 year old sister, 16 year old sister, and mom and dad) and then a parents orientation at 2.

My parents left to check in to a hotel with the kids afterwards, and I got to spend some quality time with my two roommates (which I have already talked quite extensively to over facebook, etc) and then we all went down to our first meal in the cafeteria with our WONDERFUL R.A. Noelle. :) She's a joy to be around (and she made cookies for us freshmen of Smith 7! :) Awesomeness!)

Right now the rest of my room is downstairs on Smith 6 watching a movie, while I stay behind and just take a breather to go through it all. Its alot to take in. I finally got my internet up and running, and I've been just enjoying a couple of minutes of quiet and by-my-self-ness. :)

I love you all, and prayers are still very welcome. Right now, Im just praying that I stay on track and in focus of everything I have to do tomorrow and the next few days of orientation, it's going to be really hectic.

I'm auditioning for the Women's Choir tomorrow NOON Chicago time, (Central... OR 1:00 Eastern), so pray that that goes well, and that if God wants me to do that, that it will work out!

Like I said, alot of things are going to be happening through all of this. Just pray that I stay focused, and to HIM be the glory! Praise The LORD! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Going Away Party! :)

On Saturday I had my going away party, where all of my friends and family (those that could come :) ) arrived at my house to celebrate my acceptance to Moody Bible Institute and witness my transition to womanhood and college life!

I feel so loved. From the little words of love and life, to the great big hugs and the rolling on the ground with laughter, I appreciate every single thing that each and every one of you do to impact my life. Thank you all so much! If I dont see you before I go, I just want to tell all of you that I'll miss you, and that I hope to see you sooner than later! :)

Love, Violet :) :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shining the Light

Have you ever met someone that has such an amazing personality that you just want to take them with you wherever you go? They brighten up the world around you, lively adventures seem to follow them, and they challenge everything that people seem to take advantage of day-to-day.

Well, I met one of those people today, a woman named Ratem, a saleswoman in the mall. At face value, she appears to be just a regular, run-of-the-mill, Im-going-to-try-and-sell-you-something sales woman at the mall kiosk. But she was different.

The first thing you notice is her accent. Her eyes sparkle and her mouth is bright and shining, and the words that come out of her mouth are rich and full. She's selling a product that comes straight out of her home country- Israel. She starts talking about the Dead Sea, and the reason it is called the Dead Sea. Her products are Spa treatments using the minerals and salt and even the mud from the area, and she delights over you, showing you how her products work and exceed their competition. She's not just any saleswoman, she's been to the places she's talking about, she's seen the people who flock to her country to receive treatments for their skin diseases and ailments, she knows how rich with minerals the Dead Sea is.

Bit by bit, as we pry and ask her questions, she tells us alittle bit of her story. She is a schoolteacher in Israel, and is visiting America for "vacation, with working" she says. Her manager is a strawberry-blond, blue-eyed man who's accent puts him from Israel too. She asks us similar questions, too. Her character and culture radiate in her personality, and she is beautiful inside and out. She doesn't know who Christ is, and when we mention him, she asks us "what does that mean, in Christ?". She explains that she does believe in God, and although we don't have time to explain the detailed version of salvation message, we explain how much he means to us.

When we walk away (with 100 dollars of her products in our hands, and smiles on our faces), we agree with eachother that we wish that we could bring her home with us for a day, or a week, or a month... or an hour, and show her what it means to be a Christian, and to know Christ... We turn around and give her one last hug and say one last "God bless you" before turning away again.

How many times do I walk through life with a frown on my face and a slouch in my shoulders! If only I had the radiance and the beauty this woman had- if but only a quarter or a third of it- maybe I would shine the light of Christ better! Is this unbelieving, lost woman doing it better than I am? I should hope not!

I want Jesus to be the person people want to take around with them wherever they go! But how can they, if I do not live it myself? How can they, if they do not see it in me? Jesus! Lord! I want you to be with me wherever I go!

Thank you, Ratem, for being such a testimony to me, and I pray that you will find Jesus as your Savior- that you will understand that he loves you, and all the things he has done for you, because of that love. Thank you for this lesson, Lord. Make me a light, that I may shine for you. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week's Close

The Saturday night rituals have a drastic change here at my family's house. I've had to significantly adapt to their ways of doing things. On Saturday we were up at the same time of the rest of the week (which was pleasanter than it sounds. I can be a morning person when I want to be)... and then we (being my Daddy and little sister) went to Romulus to install a toilet. It was a long ride, and we filled it by singing (all three of us together!) to worship songs at the top of our lungs. :) It was fun, and I had forgotten how well our voices sound together.

On the way home, we stopped by a thrift store where we found a motorized scooter! We took it home and fixed it up (it was merely sporting a little hole in it's rear tire that took ALL DAY to fix. :P ) and its mine to bring to Chicago in a couple weeks! I can't wait... the time is growing shorter and shorter.

Among the business of these past few days, I realize at this moment that I've completely forgotten to read my Bible, slow down to pray... or even think of doing any of those things! Living here has me running in circles sometimes, and the evenings bring me either barely conscious (because I'm exhausted) or feeling rushed to do everything I didn't have time to do during the day. I feel appalled that it's rolling around now to Sunday, and I'm sitting on my seat with my laptop on my knees, thinking back at my week, and cant remember one time that I slowed down to remotely acknowledge God!

Lord! I'm so sorry I've forgotten you! I am torn apart at my own human-ness; getting caught up in the whirlwind of everything happening around me, that I dont even remember the Person who privileged it to me!

Thank you so much, Lord! Forgive me, and help me to constantly have you on my mind.

I want to be sensitive to God in everything I do. Sigh... maybe this will be the last Saturday night that I look back and remember that I've forgotten.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Day on the Jobsite

I feel like sweat is secreting from every single pore of my body~ I'm all sticky and yucky and am in desperate need of a long SHOWER. But hey- Good work feels great in the long run!

Today I woke up at my usual time (720 in the morning), but instead of getting ready for a bus ride, I tied on my work sneakers, pulled on my work clothes, and took a long swig of Vitamin D infused, whole milk (NOT out of the jug, though, just to clarify).

Daddy and I cleaned out his truck from yesterday's job's tools and put in today's tools (we were doing a painting job today). We didn't leave until 1000 but I was already exhausted! I guess Im not used to this anymore!

Well, I'm in line for a shower, so I'll leave this one short. :) Another work day tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The First Post

Well, it's July 21st of 2010, and there's 28 more days 'til I leave Michigan to go to school in Chicago- I'm going to be among the other freshmen of Moody Bible Institute, working towards a major in Urban Ministries and living on-campus in Smith 7.

For the past week I've been EPIC packing up my room, because I'm moving back to my parents for a month and working with my father, who is a carpenter. I have three little siblings who I am going to see 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I'm preparing myself to relearn the definitions of 'patience' and 'role model'. All six of us (including my mom and dad) are a cute bunch; preferring to substitute "quirks" with "traditions" and well known for the smells of chili and the sounds of disco wafting out of our windows.

Since I am the first kid in the family to go to college (I'm the oldest, so it's a given), this whole process has been new and exciting and scarey. I've had to apply for scholarships, fill in the FAFSA, buy things for the dorm, collaborate with my roommates, prepare myself for classes, pack up my room, and worry over paperwork. Who knew college was going to be so hard- and I'm not even there yet!

Last night was the last night of packing and repacking- and because it was the last night there I decided to take a break from the "have-to-do" and start on the "want-to-do" just for a little while. So I celebrated and grieved the move with a little ice cream, lots of spanish music and dancing, and a long bubble bath, reading the Bourne Identity surrounded by foam. Then I got out, put my hair up, and watched the newest episodes of White Collar and Covert Affairs before going to bed.

This morning was pretty tough. I went to go look for something before leaving for work and found everything in boxes! (Of course! lol) My bus driver, with whom I've had a very good relationship with for the past 2 and a half months, talking and laughing every weekday morning at 814 am, gave me a free ride-pass home and a tearful hug goodbye, because it was my last day of work, and therefor last bus ride. Sigh, Change is difficult.