25 June 2016


It’s late and the city looks different.
Of course it does—our neon signs and traffic lights
Are nothing compared to the ball of fire in the sky.
Still, the brake lights spill like blood over the highway,
And it gets me thinking about grace,
About all the dreams that died on the way,
About all the stupid mistakes and mess ups—
I should focus on my driving.
I want to feel sad. I want to mourn again.
Or something, God, let something break through the hollow echo of my heartbeat
Thudding at a steady pace,
A dull rhythm to life
Everything’s changing—
Does it ever stay steady?
Is it just when I look up that I realize with what speed I am hurtling through time
And the dizziness makes me sick and I—
I pull the wheel to stay in my lane.
I always dream that the light turns red
And I slam on my brakes, but feel no pressure under my foot,
And I lean back, as if I could pull a semi with my mortal strength,
And I hurtle into the intersection.
You can’t actually stop.
Every minute ticking by is me getting older,
Each motion is another step forward,
And each breath is another intake of grace.
So I stop fighting, and take a moment to let the wind rush through my hair,
And let the spatter of rain on my windshield be the only noise.
It’s as if, I think to myself in defeat,
It’s as if I’d forgotten how to pray.


I grip the wheel, I dig my nails into the rubber,
“God!” I say, and the Spirit groans the rest:
I want to cry, but I don’t need to—
I don’t need to feel it because I already know it.
I know it.
For let me tell you about my God.
When He hung on the cross, I don’t know what His emotions were doing,
But I know what He felt—
He felt a torn back, pierced hands and feet,
Thorns slicing into His forehead.
He felt the mockery, the jeers, the life slowly ebbing from His lungs
While every pore was screaming, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”
Soul, love Him back.
The best way to defeat darkness is turning on the light. 

22 June 2016

June Twenty-Second

Dear You,

It took you all day, but maybe you're ready to say it now. Maybe you're ready to hold out your hands, wherein there lies the broken pieces you caught when they fell. 

They sparkle a little in the light now. 

You broke open a little, didn't you? Maybe a lot? You staggered backward and you tried to grasp at the threads of something steady, but you fell to your knees--and believe me, girl, that was a good thing. Because you needed to feel the ground like that again. You needed to scrub carpet with your palms and then raise unsteady hands to the One who knows your hurt all too well. 

And then...her words raged like a wildfire, yet it was a blessed heat. She was always afraid that she didn't have the words or couldn't say them right--just like you. How blessed you are to have another one who stammers, another one who grapples with that same fear of failure every time she opens her mouth--she knows. 

She was brave enough to say it when you weren't.

Don't lose heart.
You are not alone.

Because in the depths of the night, when you were too afraid to speak it, she spoke it for you--

You're still loved.

You're still loved.

Oh, kid, you're still loved.

She didn't know you needed it--

But He did.

Admit it, you're weak. You can't do it. You're afraid. You make a lot of stupid mistakes and you beat yourself up about it until you're lying on your bed in a mess of bruises and tears and shredded knees and trembling hands and He comes and He says, "Who did this to you?" and you're afraid to answer because you're afraid that He'll be disappointed, that He'll get fed up with you, that He'll turn His back and walk away, that He'll--

You're still loved.

Shut out those voices in your head--they have no place. They're a cluster of well-aimed lies, but you've got the armor of God and He's impenetrable. 

You're still loved, even when you feel like... even when you feel like...

Even when you feel like the most miserable wretch that ever walked the earth. 

It is finished.
And it was signed in His blood.




He knows who you are.

06 June 2016


The other day, I grabbed my camera and set out to wrestle God in prayer and to see if I could scrape some pictures together. I don't know. The camera was my afterthought--though I don't think it was God's afterthought. For as I stepped out the door and trudged down the street, gravel crackling like a radio with static, I was heavy with the weight of hefty decisions, life as an adult, and feeling like a thorough failure. 

I began, as I do so often lately, it seems, with not knowing what to say, yet feeling the Holy Spirit's groaning within me, longing to pour out in words, yet unable to form them--whether because they hurt to speak or maybe even because they didn't hurt--and I wanted them to. 

It was about halfway down the street that I saw my first lilacs. 

They lined the white picket fence, and I breathed their scent in deeply (is there anything that smells better than lilacs? I don't think so), letting all of the broken attempts at words fall out of my mind.

After I had taken my fill of these particular lilacs, I continued to the edge of the street, looked left and right, and turned left, because the road was lined with more lilacs. Follow the lilacs, I whispered to myself.

Because I was drowning, man. And I was scared. I was scared that if I prayed, God would answer with another no, a trial, a test to see how much I trusted Him. Oh, weary heart. How you deceive yourself.

When did I forget that God gives good gifts, in abundance? Just as He plants a thousand lilac bushes to line my way back to Him--it's almost as if I can see Him laughing and beckoning me to follow as purple and white and pink flowers burst into bloom behind Him.

The love of God is so overwhelming, so fathomless, so beautiful--I can't wrap my mind around it. My heart aches with the fullness of it. Because I had been trying to bear all of it myself--trying to be somehow good enough, to somehow fit everything I deemed spiritual into one day, trying to fabricate piety in my own strength.

Come, and let us flee to Jesus and hide ourselves in Him until we are clothed with His humility. That alone is our holiness. --Andrew Murray

It's not about what we do. It's about who He is. Always, always, always. Let not my mind be corrupted from this simplicity! For every good thing flows from Him--it cannot be formed within myself. Every good work, every good word, every good thought flows from a heart that is so obsessed with Jesus that it cannot beat for anything else.

Flee to Jesus. Hide in Him. He is enough. He is always enough.

(I literally took like 100 pictures of lilacs. And then I accidentally deleted like half of them. But I figured that I probably had enough anyway.)