Monday, December 31, 2012

Farther Along

Two thousand twelve... it's been a long year. How does that work? How do some years feel longer than others? Or shorter? They say that as you get older time seems to go faster. This past year... the fog was slow, the walking forward was slow, everything was slow. I don't understand it all... I get glimpses now and then. But I trust that some day "we'll know all about it" and "understand why".

Farther along we'll know all about it

Farther along we'll understand why

So, cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We'll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves 'em both
We're all cast-aways in need of rope
Hangin' on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I've seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin' that line back home

So much more to life than we've been told
It's full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
Wash away all the things you've done
Forgiveness alright

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
So, cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We'll understand this, all by and by

Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin' for my soul
And I've got no place left go
'Cause I got changed by what I've been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin' on

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I'm free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I'll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levees and my bluffs
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
'Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the Son of God is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we're the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon 

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
So, cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We'll understand this, all by and by

(Thanks for the song goes to Josh Garrels)

Look! I Made a Hat!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Lots of people name their years. I've thought about it... tried... One year in college I asked for Boldness and God took me to Japan. Years ago I prayed that I would learn Servanthood. The year before last I prayed for Harvest, and I received. The next year I prayed for Humility and Thankfulness (, again... crushing blows paired with good love and joys. He gives and gives and gives again. And I am afraid. What do I dare pray for? For God will give it to me. This is a frightening thing.

When little Merida in "Brave" asked for her mother to be changed, she didn't know what it was that she really needed and what it was that she was really going to get. In fairy stories people ask witches for things and get what they ask for but it isn't what they thought and they'd be more careful if they thought that they would actually get what they were asking for. How much more should I truly consider what I ask God for?

I've thought of things... self-discipline in the spiritual disciplines... discipline is a big one. But I'm too scared to ask for that, to scared of what form it could come in. I desire grace and wisdom. I yearn to encourage and bless the people around me. I ache to be whole and well without losing compassion and sensitivity to what God has done through Christ in me and in the world. I want to be fearless. I want to be willing to be open and vulnerable to people so that they can see what God has done. Because God gives and gives and gives again. I am so blessed.

So, I don't know what this year will bring, or what I'll name it, if I'll name it, or if I"ll find what it is that I'll ask God for this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crying Snow

How hard it has been not to be returning to Iraq this year... after Christmas... flying out and knowing that in less than a day I would reach my destination and that it would be Nashville not Suly... America not the Middle East. I've cried on and off for the last three days about it. It distracted me... and people ask... and I manage to choke out that it's just so much more real that that life is gone for me. It sinks into my heart another level.

But God doesn't leave me there.

He gives me love. He gives me snow. He turns my tears into crystal loveliness.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Why is this world, these people, so broken?
Sickness, persecution, grief, sorrow...
Hundreds of terrified nightmares will be griefly tread through for months, even years to come.
Children too small to sit in the front seat will jump at at every door slammed.
The sound of running feet will cause quickening heart beats.
Walking into the classroom again will bring teachers to tears.
But for now, they are numb with pain and a fog of the unreal.
And I know this feeling of broken shock, of certain acts being committed where it seems most wrong.
And it weighs heavy.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Special Grace

My phone was run over the other day. What grace!

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;not forsaken;struck down, but not destroyed..." 

This is my grace that every day, every time I pick up my fully functional phone, I am reminded. It was struck down but not destroyed... as I have been and will be. It should have been crushed, but it was not, as so I should have been, but am not.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


In Iraq I learned a lot of new words... they were just not in English. While I miss those words and learning more of them, I have re-discovered the joy of learning new words in English!

Some recent discoveries are:
1. The "Maledictory Oath"--may something bad happen to me if I don't fulfill my end of the bargain
2. Solecism--a grammatical mistake in speech or writing, or a breach of good manners
3. Eucatastrophe--the sudden salvation of a character from some impending doom

The first, made sense in context even though I don't remember having heard it before. The second I actually had to look up and it's been a long time since I looked up a word in English. The third, I admit, I knew before so I didn't really learn it new this time. It's more like I rediscovered an old friend and am so happy to have done so that I couldn't help but add it to the list of words for this week.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Broken Things

My dear mother, knowing of course what I am working through right now in regards to writing something, sent me this video. It was great! I thought it was interesting that what my mom pulled out of it was the appreciation of nature, which is great. But what resonated most with me was the evaluation of how brokenness can create beauty. While this is not a "Christian" talk the point she makes is a very Christian truth. God redeems... he makes beautiful things out of the broken. And those broken places are what can often be used to help repair and make beautiful the broken places in others. These inspire me... because I know I am full of broken places that God is using in the lives of others. The video is a little long, but take the time to watch it!