brave can bring growth...

"Being brave and courageous isn’t the absence of fear, but as many have said, it’s the willingness to fight that fear head on. It wouldn’t be courageous if there wasn’t something a bit scary about it."
I was just skimming over some of my old posts, since I haven't written anything on this blog in months and was in need of some inspiration. I found the above quote and it just struck me. Again.

Because when I wrote that post, I was smack dab in the throes of uncertainty and fear when I looked ahead to my future. A future that I was excited about, yet wasn't sure if I really wanted to do it. And the crazy-awesome thing is, here I am a year and three months later in the middle of that future that looked so scary!

And I am in awe. Sheer pleasure and awe at our Father God who nudges and encourages and nudges harder until we finally (hopefully!) get the picture and leap out. Because this trip to Thailand? It was a LEAP let me tell you! A scary and challenging leap that I wasn't certain I was capable of. But our Father...oh, friends, He has shown Himself SO incredibly faithful. Over and over and over and over again...

I am here, now in my fifth month in Thailand. FIVE MONTHS, PEOPLE. (Yes. That is still strange to my brain. And it feels normal? I never, ever thought I'd say that. I could not imagine ever feeling at home here. I really couldn't. But just go on a couple trips elsewhere a few times, trips where you're stuffed to overflowing with food and more food, trips where God challenges and stretched you through experiences that you don't know how to interpret or how to feel about them, trips where you and your team have to stumble your way through figuring out how to operate in a culture so vastly different than your own... Go on some of those kinds of trips and then just see if you won't cling to the familiar yourself.)

I am here and able to look back at the past five months and see actual growth. Growth! Things that took all the courage I had within me (like stepping onto a plane that was headed to the other side of the world, to a whole different country) back in August? After my third trip out of Thailand...it's a whole lot less scary.

I have been pushed so far out of my comfort zone, I'm not sure I even know where that zone is currently... (Except, nevermind. I totally know where it is. With a book in my hand! :) My mind and heart have stretched and I never knew I had such capacity for love. Also, pieces of my heart are now missing. They are left behind in places and with people I may never see again on this side of Heaven.

I have been challenged and encouraged and inspired. I have had to lose and let go of so much of what I thought I had to have to survive and turns out...I didn't actually need it after all! Go figure.

And most importantly... I am beginning to form a goal inside. A dream. One I hadn't expected. Not really. A surprising dream! Things that make me come alive inside are drawing clearer boundaries. Becoming more solidly certain. Refusing to let me forget them because they fill my mind constantly!

I am growing and learning and breaking and remaking and resting in the hands of the One, the Ever Faithful, Who is ultimately doing all of that for me. Because one thing is certainly clear after this many months and this many new experiences...

I am not capable of anything. But God is. And with His strength and power inside me? I can do anything.

So can you.

Trust me. No no no, actually trust HIM. He's worth it. :)


:: Him ::

"Beautiful beyond description", I marvel at these words
Amazing & Incredible in my heart is heard

In awe of the Infinite, Humbled at His Love
delighting in His handiwork my eyes are drawn Above

Beyond these trifling moments, beyond these daily cares
beyond this joy or heartache lies Jesus for all who dares!

Lifted out of this life though trodding still the ground
the Glory of the Heavenly inside my heart is found

For though this life seems bitter or difficult or weak
His Presence calms the chaos as we joy to hear Him speak

Cling hard to His Foundation no matter what may come
extraordinary courage helps guide your heart to Home

Home is full of happy for Jesus lights that place
making our devotion worth it to see His face!

Smiling gently at us, He'll gather us all tight
& oh, the warmth that's felt there! Oh, what glorious sights!



gifts I didn't ask for...

but I received anyway
  • rainy days that bring refreshing and coolness
  • new friendships
  • cheerful birds that make me smile
  • quiet neighborhoods
  • being sent with love and support from unexpected places
  • smiles from strangers
  • window seats
  • American food
  • chips    mmmmm :D 
  • sweet birthday cards from new friends
  • unexpected hugs
  • understanding teachers
  • solitude time that allows for creativity
  • coffee shops with yummy drinks
  • beautiful flowers, trees, plants
  • spontaneous hugs from children
  • moments of understanding parts of my heart better
  • finding joy in early mornings
  • unexpected new friends on my long flights
  • bright smiles and enthusiasm that's contagious from classmates
  • heart connections with new friends
  • mentor time for sharing hearts
  • finding brave for things big and small
  • appreciation for my poetry
  • hearing people's journeys and where God has taken them
  • the ease of opening my heart to so many new people and places
Thank You, Jesus


unsettled truth

It's overcast & drizzly
the weather uncertain what it wants
Likewise my heart
Uncertain plans
Uncertain feelings
Uncertain life
The yellow truck whizzes by
a bit of happy in a grayish world
& my soul stretches out its arms
seeking rest & peace
A gentle reminder
just when I need it
God's got this!
Truth words given by a dear friend
who understands this unsettled way of being
The rain continues
pouring out of the sky
bringing crispness
& clarity?
Weakness is strength
Yet True
OUR weakness
HIS strength
& when can't He work mightily
when I'M out of the way?
Letting go
Prying my fingers
(joint by joint)
off of my life
Owning that I'm not capable
(of anything)
Yet HE is strength
& Peace
& Calm
especially in the midst of rain
He sends the yellow trucks
& the happy laughter behind me
& every tiny reminder that
(no matter what it looks or feels like)
It can feel all willy-nilly
but it's not
It never is with Him
Remember that



kindred spirits

I just walked into my usual room at the library and as soon as I sat down, I noticed the person sitting across from me. It's a Quiet Room so we weren't allowed to chat, but we instantly recognized each other and he mouthed that it'd been a long time. And it has! It's actually been a few months since we've run into each other here. For a period of time a few months ago, we met often in this room. Never actually talking, but always acknowledging and smiling. It's felt like a strange but awesome "friendship". Like we actually know each other, when we really don't.

Seeing him again tonight made my mind spin with thoughts (naturally :). The extent of our interaction has only ever been seeing the other and acknowledging their existence in the realm of the Quiet Room. We've never arrived or left at the same time, we've never seen each other anywhere else, we don't know anything about the other at all, we've only just spent an hour or two at most in this same room at the same time. Isn't it funny these little connections we humans can have? Because, like I said, we've never even really talked, yet when we saw each other tonight it was an instant acknowledgment from both of us that "Hey! I know that person!" :)

Doesn't that mean something to us? I do believe we were created to seek connections with our fellow humans and, crazy as it may sound, even a small connection such as this one can make one feel less alone in the world. If that makes sense?

It's like that Anne of Green Gables quote that I love: "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."

What's the definition of a kindred spirit anyway? According to google, it's "a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own." So doesn't that mean that someone can be a kindred spirit just because you both happen to love the library and spending time there working on projects?

Jumping off of that definition and into the deeper end of things, that really must mean that we have a lot of kindred spirits in the world! I mean, isn't that a comforting thought? That it doesn't take a huge amount of effort on anybody's part, it simply takes being around one another in some capacity and finding a connection. Even a small, teeny, tiny connection such as the Quiet Room.

And when we find it, don't we tend to look forward to it then? I remember when this person and I were seeing each other on a fairly regular basis, I did look forward to it. Mainly by wondering if we'd run into each other again that day or not. And it's just a really pleasant thing to have a smiling face welcoming you somewhere, even somewhere as comforting as the library is for me.

I think that's all any single one of us wants. Isn't it? To feel welcome? To feel happy? To feel like someone else sees us? Even if only for a moment of time?

It matters, is what I'm saying.

We thrive when we have connections. So here's my challenge to myself, enjoy them! Treasure them! And search them out. Small ones can be just as joyful and happy as the deeper ones we have with our lifelong friends.

Don't you think so too?


brought near

When disappointment tangles
along shallow reasoning
& my heart feels adrift with "but..."
I am gently reminded
to seek Gratitude
Then shame rings loud
causing my heart to shrivel
& twist at such selfish hopes
So I curve my fingers
round warmth, cinnamony & sweet
Seeking rest
& redemption
from my own questionable motives
The enemy presses hard
persistence his game
But what he forgot?
The tenacity of Jesus!
Who reaches down
into my momentary sad
& makes glad my heart that's His
Yes, He is mine
But even greater...
I am His!
& His are never forsaken
(especially in moments of shame)
What can't I give up?
What can't I surrender?
When the Ever Faithful has Given
relentlessly in pursuit
of ME
of my heart
of my selfish motives
that can but turn to sacrifice
in comparison to HIS sacrifice
Heart pursued
Heart won
Gratitude melts my emotions
spilling over cheekbones
& nose
& ultimately
that knows no bounds
& hears my smallest whisper
of thank you



do it afraid

"Sometimes fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid."
~ Elisabeth Elliot

I think I'm finally accepting of this fact. Because that? That right up there is a true statement. A scary statement to be sure! But a true one.

Back when I was barely twenty-one and decided to move all the way across the country to California (again), I was fearless! I was ready for the grand, new adventure! I was certain it would be exciting and amazing and everything awesome....and I was right. I'm sure I had some fears, but they were of the normal, garden variety. You know, the wondering if I'd find a more permanent place to live than where I was starting out, the wondering if I would find a more permanent job than where I was starting out, the wondering if it would be as exciting as I anticipated or even more so? Nowhere in my thought processes do I remember wondering if God knew what He was doing. At no point do I recall ever really feeling scared. Ah, the fearlessness of youth!

But now I'm an adult. Now I'm a lot closer to 40 than I am to 30. (How wild is that?!) Now when I anticipate making a HUGE CHANGE to my life, there's a lot more fear involved!

Why is that?

At what point did I lose my fearless sense of adventure when contemplating change?

At what point did I begin listening to the enemy instead of my Father? Why do I tend to believe him over Him? (I know better than that.)

I don't know those answers. All I know is that somewhere along through my twenties, something changed inside of me. I felt it four years ago when I moved from California back to Virginia again. And I am definitely feeling it now when I'm anticipating a move to Thailand!

{Yes. You read that right. I am planning to move to Thailand in a few months. That is my Big Thing. (And trust me, it's huge!) But it'll only be for eight months or so! So it's a limited time adventure. But still a big adventure nonetheless!}

But back to fear. Or should I say un-courage. (Yes, I know that's not really a word. But I like it, so let's just go with it, shall we?) Or botheration! Whatever the word, I feel it. I have felt it all! (Well....maybe not all, but a whole lot of it!) That has been one of my biggest struggles in working through all the decision-making for Thailand. My own inability to just stop thinking so hard about it. I conjure up all manner of fear about this huge, new, adventure that I've never experienced before! And just when I conquer it in this corner of my heart, it springs up anew over there! I tell you, the enemy is seriously working overtime with this. He needs to STOP IT.

And yet, funnily enough I can find comfort even in that? Because if the enemy is working so hard, it must mean that God's got a really great plan in place for this new journey. A plan the enemy is out to stop at all costs. Only I'm not going to let him win this one! I'm determined to battle it out to the end! Because in grabbing my Brave and moving out, in spite of the fear, it's there God can work. It's there that amazing things can happen! It's there that I learn to let go of my self and let Him do it.

As one of my favorite author friends says, "Fear is just a flashlight to help you find your courage."

So I'm going to choose to do it afraid!

I'm probably going to quiver in my knees every single step. I guarantee there'll be some sweating anxiety in nuisance-y places. I'm certain my heart will be in my throat and it's gonna take an awfully long time for it to settle down again.

And yet...

I also know my Father will be with me every single step. (Last September, He gave me the most vivid and clear picture of His hand reaching down and holding mine. Proof that I won't be doing it alone! I won't be doing anything alone.) I know that where He's guiding (and He so clearly has been guiding this journey and not me! I'd've never imagined such a scenario actually happening in my wildest dreams.) will only lead me to places that will give growth and closer intimacy with Him. I know that it will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Because when God is involved? When Jesus steps out first and says all I have to do is simply follow Him? When the Holy Spirit continually gives scriptures to remind me that God's got this?

Why would I ever choose anything less?