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.