Thursday, December 29, 2011

i came here with a very, very different purpose in writing... haha but God wouldn't allow that. i'll still be honest. i'm learning the art of being able to be honest and not paste on the "everything's perfect smile" but still be content in my God's plan and love.

so being honest: i am sick. not deathly but enough to keep my down and that makes me feel stir crazy. moreover, it makes me miss ben like there's no tomorrow. it makes the 7,000 miles between us feel like 700,000. i just want him to be around so that way i can fully rest. i'm never at as much peace anywhere else as when i'm with him. then not only do i miss him because i'm sick and i just want him around, but his today my tomorrow is our one year anniversary of being engaged... never intended on being able to mark an engagement anniversary but... we have. and he's not around for it. not only is he not around for it but he'll probably be at a coworkers birthday party that happens to fall on the same day... if he was home he'd be with me. i'm so weary of this stage. of feeling like i have to fight for first place in his life.

so i came to this place to vent my hurt and tiredness of this time in my life but before i did i read my two closest friends latest writings. and it reminded me of how much reason i have to rejoice... honestly even if i can't think of a reason because my emotions have clouded my mind. but i know it exists. it exists because He exists. a most precious woman once told me, "you can always find your sense of home. it doesn't depend on where you are or if you're with Ben. you'll have Jesus, so you can be home anywhere." i thought i'd not have to implement this until i move over to japan or someplace new. but more and more as this place does not feel like my home as my heart intertwines itself with my future husband i see now i must start now. Jesus first becomes ever more real to me. As much as i long to be with the man God has given to me (well soon) I must first and foremost bind my heart to my heavenly Savior. How beautifully agonizing the christian walk is. it is not for the faint of heart.

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Do I really need a healer?

I look at myself and realize, I am hurt and bleeding, in need of healing. And I think, what did I do wrong Lord?... wait a minute. Something doesn’t seem right with that question. I realize that is my natural reaction to seeing my need for a healer, which I’ve needed o so much lately. But there is something terribly wrong with that question. It means I expect that I should never be hurt. That if I experience pain I have done something wrong and I have to be punished. Any maybe I did do something wrong, but my pain is not the result of a vindictive God’s sadistic pleasure being carried out on me. God forgive me for even coming close to thinking that way.

I live in a world of sin; from the moment I drew breath I should have expected to be hurt and in need of a healer. If I didn’t need healing, I wouldn’t need a healer, I wouldn’t need God. And if I didn’t need God I’d be God. That answer I know.

As I thought about it more I realized: what would a person look like who never had been hurt at all? What would I look like if I never was hurt? A person I don’t want to be! I would be soft and live in a fantasy and never ever ever be able to minister at all, because those who need to be ministered to are… you know it – HURT!

2 Cor. 1:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”

God’s smarter than me and already said it. We are hurt so we can be comforted and then how we learned from our own comforting directly from God, we can pass that along to others. So I need to lay down my pride, which is all it is when I don’t want to be hurt. It’s pride because it’s saying, “God I don’t need you to come in a fix me, I’m fine.” “God, I don’t want to admit I need help.” “God I don’t trust that you can truly carry away all my pain. Can’t you just let me avoid it instead?” “God I don’t want to have to learn any lessons from this pain and I certainly don’t want to share it with others.” “God, I don’t want what you want for me.”
May this never be my response. I know I will have it again and I will have to confess again but I will press toward that higher goal and reach for the UPWARD call of Christ Jesus, MY Lord and SAVIOR.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On Veteran's Day, I fell in love

Aug. 2010, We drove to Tampa, his mom, sister and I to see him off at the MEPS station. I still have the visitor sticker in my bible… I’m never getting rid of that bible. He had left the night before and had gotten there earlier. We found him and then for hours sat without saying much… what was there to say? Him and I did steal a few minutes to speak about our mutual feeling that a lot was about to happen. But bootcamp we knew was to be our test. From day one of our dating we lived in a countdown until the 6 months of “regular” dating we could have would be up and then 3 months of separation would be the making or breaking of us. It was cause for many tearful nights. But that day had finally arrived when the next countdown began. We sat there knowing the storm was brewing and we didn’t know if it would dash our ship onto the rocks or push our boat to shore. But some good things had happened with the advent of his leaving… we had hope. We clung to it. I watched that Benjamin, who in retrospect seems like such a young boy, be sworn in as a defender of this nation and its constitution. We both were so young. We sat again, in more silence. It seemed all we could do was stare straight ahead but squeeze the other’s hand, clinging to that last bit of time before he was taken from me. He finally had to go. And he left with a brave smile on his face.

Sept.-Nov. 2010, Many tear stained letters and some letters that could have been novelettes were sent back and forth. We did our best to share our lives with the other though we were over 300 miles apart. The letters I received showed a different person than the one I started dating. But he was different not in how I feared and had been warned the military can “warp” men. He was honest, and honorable; hardworking and always faithful. He was listening to those perversely blessed DI’s. Honor, Courage, and Commitment was their creed and “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was their motto. They were shaping the man I had left on hold, the man I might have waiting for me at the end of 3 months to start a life with after that… His letters were filled with stories that made my heart soar with pride in the man he was becoming, never giving up and sharing his faith even in that hell hole. I began to wonder, could it be possible? He will be even better than the man I left in Tampa? Could this possibly be the man I could give my life to forever? More scary confirmations came. Once a Sunday morning sermon convicted and showed me areas of my life that needed work. And what happened, Benjamin’s next letter came and he always included a scripture that had impacted him that week he wrote to me. That week’s scripture… you have no idea how accurately it spoke to my situation. I was not the only one to think it more than uncanny. Then I got my last letter before… I saw him again.

Nov. 10th, We road tripped up to Parris Island. No one had even been as excited to travel somewhere as I was on that trip. Nothing could touch me. I was going to meet the physical representation of the man I had come to know in these amazing love letters. I came to give an answer to the question asked many times in those letters, “will you marry me?” But I had to see, was this man real or only on paper? He told me that very thing when I heard his beautiful voice for the first time in 3 months, the Sunday before we came to see him. “I’m real Wesley. I’m not just that man on paper. All I’ve written to you is true. And I have a few things I need to ask you when I see you…” We arrived the night of the 10th, the Marine Corps Birthday. The next day we would be reunited with him at Family Day. I would see him on…

Nov. 11th. I barely slept and awoke with ease. No matter how little I slept, I was going to meet this mysteriously perfect man who claimed he was not fiction. I got ready, wanting to look perfect. And we left before the sun rose. It was cool, perfect weather. It had a sparkle, if it’s possible for air to have such. We had a 20 minute drive ahead of us. I took in all the sights out the window, eating it all up knowing it got me that much closer to him. We made our way from the car to meet the boys who had gotten there much earlier to see the colors ceremony and get every detail of the new Marines getting ready for their Motivational Run, where we could catch a glimpse of our Marine… our Marine. As we shivered in waiting, we strained out eyes searching for ours in the sea of green sweatshirts and shaven heads. They all looked the same but I knew that was far from true. There was one whose heart beat for me and I would find him. And it began; their cadences rumbled the ground in unison with the drumming of their feet on the pavement. My spirit sailed in the strength of their cries. I felt at home hearing their chanting. It was the cry of warriors, of a warrior… my warrior. And then that form I had not seen in 3 months ran right past all of us. His family jumped for joy and yelled his name. I could only stand in dumbfounded amazement… he exists. He was there. He is real. Then we had to wait for two more hours. But I didn’t mind. I had seen him. And in just two hours I would actually be able to see him face to face, speak with him, hear him, feel him. We were directed to a building. On our way we passed much of their training apparatus, buildings he had been in, lived in these months. I felt I was a in a story book. That day had a magic of its own. I was on cloud nine; not even these words can express how it felt. But it felt too real and wonderful to be true. And I passed those hours basking in the glow of the glorious sun that warmed my face almost as much as my heart was warming me internally. Finally we were moved into to arena where we would see him again and be able to have him at long last. It was a huge stadium seating arena. The masses of people were indescribable. We found our seats and sat tensely. And then the ceremony began. They played clips of the boys in training and we heard heart wrenching songs that moved our now military hearts. As we fought back tears, slowly they entered. And in all the prestige the military, nay the Marines can muster, in came our boys marching in perfect unison. Every movement was as a unit. They were one. As we searched the crowd to now find a uniformed man I could barely contain my emotions, a new sensation for a very stoic girl previously. A voice boomed over the speakers, they were released to their families… to us. Suddenly the sea of heads became a stampede of people bee lining for their Marine. I was stunned. My tears stopped. The world started to slow and my vision became zeroed in on one target: a tall, slender man standing very quietly, his eyes softly searching the crowd but not far enough to see what he was looking for. He looked away after a minute of his failed conquest and I desperately wished I knew what he was thinking now. He was such a somber figure. Is this who I was looking for; this calm and contained person? Humbleness poured from his serene figure. I had to move. The boys were faster than I pushing their way through the crowd. I was too in shock to push. I only quietly and courteously made my way past people. I wanted to will myself to shout, “MOVE!” I looked up through the few people left in my way and saw Peter hug his brother... It must be him. I saw his old smile break across his face as his friend embraced him. His baby brother was just behind him. I had to focus back on getting through this crowd. My heart was screaming, “Please, I miss my Marine too! Let me go.” It’s as if they heard me. Just as miraculous as the Red Sea, the mass of people parted and in my peripheral vision I saw the people I knew. I felt as if all eyes turned to me. But I only saw one face… quiet and older but ever so assuring, gentle and loving. I looked closer… into those beautiful blue eyes. Benjamin. The last thing I remember when I was still on my own two feet was uncontrollably taking one step toward him. The next thing I knew, somehow, I was in his arms. My feet wrapped behind his back and my tears stained his uniform. All I heard was his voice, “Shh, it’s ok. I’m real. It’s ok. I’m here.” This can’t be real can it?! He is real?! I had to step down back into reality, literally, but only for a second. I slowly came to grips with how marvelous my reality was that day as we walked in a crowd. I hung back, partially not wanting to demand his attention and partly still in disbelief. He continually would come back and get me. “There you are, I wanna talk with you” he’d say and take my arm and wrap it around the crook of him bent forearm. We delighted in the privilege of whispering and giggling again as we caught each other up on funny little stories. He squeezed my hand at the lunch table. His hand or eye was never far at any point that day… He was real. This man straight from a dream, from love letters was living and breathing and in love with me… and I knew from the moment I saw his eyes for that first time again… I was in love too. He said on the night he proposed to me almost two months later, “We fell in love through these letter”. And he was right, he stole my heart there. On November 11th I knew I could give it away. On Veteran’s Day one year ago… I fell in love.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Along the Hwang Ho Valley where young men walk and dream,

A flower boat with singing girls came drifting down the stream.

I saw the face of only one come drifting down the stream.

You are beautiful, small and shy.

You are the girl whose eyes met mine

Just as your boat sailed by.

This I know of you, nothing more,

You are the girl whose eyes met mine

Passing the river shore.

You are the girl whose laugh I heard

Silver and soft and bright;

Soft as the fall of lotus leaves

Brushing the air of night.

While your flower boat sailed away,

Gently your eyes looked back on mine,

Clearly you heard me say,'You are the girl I will love some day.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

makes all the difference

And I remember that fight

Two-thirty AM

As everything was slipping right out of our hands

I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street

Braced myself for the "Goodbye"‘cause that’s all I’ve ever known

Then you took me by surprise

You said, "I’ll never leave you alone."

You said, "I remember how we felt sitting by the water

And every time I look at you, it’s like the first time

I fell in love with a careless man’s careful daughter

She is the best thing that’s ever been mine.

Having a man who will hang on no matter what, tell you "just take me hand and I'll do the rest"; that makes all the difference in the world...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I have no cutesy plan or inspired revelation to share right now, just a mish-mash of emotion I want to vomit onto the screen. I feel like a bi-polar personality whose manic and depressive stages come in bursts of seconds. Or they somehow exist simultaneously. I don't even know. I just know my brain is astir and can 't rest until I throw up something on this bleach white screen.

I went through a stage for about a month where I was on a mountaintop. Everything felt right and great. Nothing dimmed my view, even hardships. Now here is the valley. Yet, I have been through so many valleys much darker than this one that this seems only like a road-side ditch. I think that's the reason it doesn't seem so bad. God has prepared my heart for valleys so as a song says "the valley's lookin small when I'm with you/ don't land us til I see a clear view". I know I'm on His back and that's why it's not as dark and deep. He's got tall shoulders. He's walking in the valley with me. And the valley is partially by my own sin... how great and gracious a Father we have who will carry us through the consequences of our own sin.

That was a manic spurt. Sound too clean and neat? Yea, well here comes a bitterly honest depressive wave: the idea was presented recently to me that I don't share enough of my woes. People don't know what's going on in my life. They chided me for it. And perhaps they're right. But one, at the time that was my mountaintop stage. Two, now not at that stage, I don't even know how to begin explaining it in terms anyone can understand unless they have experienced it themselves... I feel a part of me has- well not died, it will come back, gone to sleep? No, too sweet. Yes, it has died. I promised to be honest. Part of me is dead, only I have a promise of it coming to life again. Forgive my cryptic style. I'm so used to not sharing personal information readily. I'm talking about the man I'm promised to. He's gone. And has been gone for too long. It's hard. That statement is an assinine replacement for what I actually feel but again this type of thing can't be explained unless it's experienced. Sadly I am alone in this (in the flesh, I know God can sympathize with all my weaknesses hallelujah Heb. 4:15). Only two people come close to being able to relate, one of them is the other half of me, my love and life, the man I will marry and my heart is already so bound to.

You can't even fathom how agonizing it is. Day in and day out living life apart. I was reminded by a dear friend, which is why I bear them no ill will, that he will now have a part of him that won't ever come back. That made it evident to me that this is a part that I will not have of him. Not that he will keep it from me. Just how could he explain something so foreign to me, so different from where I am right now? This does not mean I bemoan my choice, which people cautioned me about when I first chose to be here. Another friend, bless them, was almost upset at him for wooing me because they knew this day would probably come. I know they only thought of me and my welfare. They saw in me what I think most people see, this apparent weakness of mine. And yes I am weak, too weak to those who know me very well, in mind, body and spirit. Yet, what many don't see and I didn't always either is what Benjamin and I believe God called out in me- a dormant tenacity. I am strong in the midst of all my fraility. I know I am, and it must be only by His strength. I feel Eph. 3:16 lived out daily in me.

Yes, I don't feel whole anymore. Yes, I cry at night sometimes. Yes I feel an ache all too often and a buzzing of his name in my brain that feels it shall bore a whole in my head one day. I feel I am going mad sometimes and on the verge of suffocating when no one can understand and I just have to swallow it and smile, "He's fine. I'm fine. God is good." Still, in the end, I know I am not cracking. This is far from the end. I know our Lord, the only One keeping Benjamin and I together, has great plans for us. Don't fear friends, Ben and I are alright. We are not in any danger of going anywhere in relation to each other in case my honesty has you wandering. I just let you peek behind the curtain to see just how humble and small the wizard of Oz is. She is not all flash and smiles. Only her God makes her so. She truly is fine. Wesley Dara Casey is ok. Not even hanging on by her fingernails ok. The kind of ok where once I finish this blog I will slide down under the covers, and smile at the thought of Benjamin being somewhere out there, knowing he loves me more than any other human does and points me ever and always to Christ. And I will sleep peacefully because the thought of how mighty and loving my God is to have given me the strength to walk this road I know I am called to. It is my commission and I sense with suriety that as 2 Tim. 3:17 says we are equipped with all we need to accomplish every good work planned for us, so too do I feel I have and am being given the specific tools and measures of strength and grace to live out what God has ordained to be my life: the future bride of a distant Marine who waits in hope and faith of who her groom is and when his return shall be, living in faith that their God "is able to guard what [they] have entrusted to Him until that day." 2 Tim. 1:12b

So good night all. I pray even in your valley if it's anything like mine you can still sleep at peace like I have faith I will because you are being carried on the Father's shoulders.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grieving Grace

I've been battling, fighting thoughts of fear, guilt, inadequacy, like i totally missed my exit ramp on Wesley's Life Highway. I "knew" it wasn't right what I was thinking, "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)". But I wasn't feeling it. Driving to work my brain was working it over and over. I messed up. I've sinned. Made mistakes. How can I fix that? I'm not perfect now...

I was listening to some worship music. Suddenly something in the song on at the time made it click: I'm not perfect now... When have I ever been perfect?? I've sinned. I DO sin. I need grace, constantly! I realized I wonder if God let me mess up like that because my pride is so darn invasive in my heart (sad but true) He had to let me fall just so I could better realize that state of grace that I should claim as His child. Now hear me! I am NOT saying made me sin, James 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." But because of Romans 8:28 which we all know I believe He knew my pathetically weak state and I'm sure with sadness in His heart knew I had to be given some leash to choke on a little.

This probably sounds rather dismal right now doesn't it? But it isn't! Yes, my sin is grievous. I abhor it YET my God is a Redeemer! As Job cried I too join in screaming in fear, shame, doubt, satan's face, "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth!" (Job 19:25) HALLELUJAH! I saw, He allowed me to fall so I can better understand my need for grace. I will completely abase myself at the moment and tell you: I am one of the more prideful persons. I can't stand it! I was even so arrogant some time back to think I didn't have a pride problem; "that was a sin I don't struggle with", HA! Let me tell you God has been knocking me off my own pedestal quite a bit - like this morning- but I am so grateful. My pride was so strong I needed to fall a little deeper to see how awful I am so I can better praise Him for His gift of grace.

Once I was warned with my fellow young believers who've also grown up in the church that we were in more danger of pride and falling into sin from the standpoint that we had not fully been mortified over our sin and realized the depth of our depravity like an ex-druggie or party"er" possibly could have. They committed society's and the church's "big" sins. Where we "good little christian kids" had not. Ours were and are the private ones and sadly and erroneously the one's classified as "not that bad". We need to stop doing that! James 2:10 says I'm just the same as the druggie. But that danger is valid and true. I fell and fall into that pit. So God reminded me, "Nope, Wesley, not true. Look you sinned. Yep, you failed. You're not perfect. Shocker! Realize you are in just as much danger of being a dirty, rotten human - HUMAN, and accept that you NEED My grace."

When I let go as accepted this, my heart was nothing but filled with thanksgiving for my God who saved me from the pit. His grace is so beautiful and I don't deserve it. Even after being His child i chose, CHOSE, to spit in His face with not choosing Him, a.k.a. sinning. Yet, He was longing for me to come back. How long suffering and loving is our Father and Lord! I am with Paul completely:

Romans 7:15, 18-25a

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who will set me free from this body of death?! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

And he continues his thought process in chapter 8 which I already referenced, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the laws of sin and death!"

Praise be to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! What more can I say? God gives us grieving grace so we can then truly understand grateful grace. "O to Grace how great a debtor/ Daily I'm constrained to be/ Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee/ Prone to wander Lord I feel it/ Prone to leave the God I love/ Here's my heart Lord take and seal it/ Seal it for Thy courts above"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

l.o.v.e. this song

O everytime we say goodbye I die a little

Everytime we say goodbye I wonder why a little

Why the gods above me who must be in the know

Think so little of me

They allow you to go

And when you're near

There's such an air of spring about it

I can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about it

There's no love song finer

But how strange the change from major to minor

Everytime we say goodbye

Monday, June 27, 2011

Taking off the bell

My best friend, Abby, who is pursuing God in the Ukraine this summer, said it perfectly: to grow, you have to be stretched. And does stretching feel good? After approximately 18 years of dancing, let me tell you the answer is not all that much! Sometimes it feels good but many more times it hurts!! You are forcing your body and limbs into places and positions it is not used to going and it is screaming at you, "What are you doing?!" But we dancers did it anyway because we knew the end results would be better for us. We'd be stronger and more flexible to be more capable of executing dance moves.

Our spiritual walk is just the same. In order to grow, God must lead us down paths that often feel unnatural, are painful, and are difficult to get to. Our physical muscles actually tear when we work out, that's what soreness is; so too do our spiritual muscles. To gain strength in and for our God, we have to be torn. What a conundrum: to be better Christians and closer to our Lord, we must experience that breakdown of something in us. We must experience trauma to a degree. This doesn't sit easy with our Western Culture image of the Christian life: warm a pew on Sunday, give your 10%, if you want to really experience His "blessing" get involved in children's ministry. Do this and you will have the American Dream... errr. Wait a second, somehow I missed the verse that promises a two story in the suburbs, a shiny new sedan (let's not get greedy, we are Christians afterall), and our hardest dilemma is deciding on what movie to see Friday night. What I read is verses like James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produce endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Sound comfy? NO! Consider it joy WHEN, when not IF you encounter various trials. So difficulty, hardship, pain, experiences and people that are less than our definition of perfection, pretty sure this all falls under normal and should be expected happenings. Somehow this lesson escaped my notice for years.

I, until recently had lived under the wrongful assumption that if something didn't go as I figured it should, that automatically meant it bad, wrong, not of God, you name it. Time to recalibrate. God finally decided I was ready to be refined of this immature perspective. I realized that sometimes what God wants, has planned and is the right thing to do is like a tantalizing tight rope. Not too far to the left, not too far to the right, just there perfectly balanced in the middle. Sounds kind if like Goldilocks taste-testing the Three Bears porridge. God asks us to do a balancing act. Come be a Christian it's like running away to the Circus! Woohoo!

Also, for growing up in the Church, I had some funky views of God. I see now my whole life I've struggled with expecting the worst from God so to speak. If I wanted something automatically I assumed God was either not going to give it to me or make it really really hard and difficult to get to it. I always expected second best from Him or pain and torture basically (like Purgatory, I couldn't have the best because I had to pay for my wrong-doings... yea that whole grace thing hasn't penetrated yet). I failed to take to heart the verse I had read a million times: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11) To make it even worse, though, I also thought if He was going to give me what I wanted it had to be perfect (aka on my terms... you all laughing with me?). I looked for the wondrous, amazing, mind-blowing, Jesus-level awesome to be answered in my prayers. Again I overlooked one of my favorite stories for the lesson it teaches that I so badly needed, 1 Kings 19:11

So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing."

God does not often show up with fireworks or in this case a hurricane, earthquake or a holocaust but in a breeze. He is in the small. Just like how Jesus appeared on earth, nothing special, average, no flash or verve about Him (Is. 53:2). What He did and said was the frill. It only makes sense that He does this because of our flawed nature. If He came with bells and whistles, that's what we would focus on and miss whatever He was trying to teach us that just happened to have bells and whistles attached to it.

For too long, I've been expecting bells. What I didn't know was what looked like "frill-less" things in my life would bring about and grow in me the most beautiful peals from the bell He crafted in my heart and it's the most beautiful, frilly thing I've ever seen... because He built it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Once again

I'm in that mood again...
I'm ITCHING to dance!
I feel I shall go mad.

I need a studio and hours to just blast music and push my body to it's old extremes;

the kind of pushing that will leave me worn out and in pain.


that's what I long for.

Abandon on the dance floor.
To completely let go of myself, physically and emotionally.
Disconnect from social norms and my usual way of expression thus being able to say more than I could before.

I could always find a quiet, secret and beautiful world within myself when I danced.
I think each person who has a dancer's heart, and not every dancer has one and some people have one and are not "dancers", understands this concept.


I felt it there. The only place I ever experienced that kind of limitlessness.

"If you don't dance, you die" a past dance teacher told me.

She was right. I feel a part of me has died.
Now no one freak out, it's not something that shatters my existences. Yet, in moments like this, I feel it's hard to breathe not having dance in my life anymore.

Dance unlocked a hidden part in my heart and soul.
I could lay emotions, thoughts, and motions (yes I said motions, I'm a dancer, I think in movement) out on that marley floor that I didn't even know how to express anywhere else in my life.
It was a private freedom though, if that makes sense. I could dance out and express my deepest feelings for anyone to see as I moved across a stage, yet I never had to explain anything.

Dance is its own language. Each dancer speaks her own dialect. Some people can read yours, some can't. But you'll never know if they do or not and it doesn't matter. You lay your heart on that stage through your body and someone else can even understand a glimmer of it than hoozah for them. But you spoke your heart language to yourself, and that's a comfort nothing can replace.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Is. 30:21 ... you will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it"

more to come...

but one quick thought before i fall back asleep after waking up early to talk to ben who's 13 hrs ahead: at times God is BEHIND us. aka we can't see Him and know where to step. we have to step out and be alert to feel His touch edging us right or left, quiet to hear His whisper in our ears guiding us down our path that will eventually lead to Him. It's eerie, scary, mysterious; it's faith. "Here's how you get to me, come find Me. Now move, beloved."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who Knew?

Hello friends,

Thank you each one of you who have made your love and support tangible the last few days and weeks as Ben and I face what seems to some crazy and daunting ordeal. But I'm writing to you all, one, to tell you remarkably I am ok and, two, and what God has done to make me feel that way. And in case you were wondering, I was not always like this and I am not saying I can guarantee that I'll be this strong for the next 14 months but I know I'll always be able to come back to the knowledge that I hold tonight that has made me feel like this.

What is that knowledge? Wrong question. More like WHO? Who is Jesus Christ. He has made His word very much alive in me and I feel I am living proof of His promise that He can supply peace that passes all understanding and it will guard our hearts and minds. I feel His love and assurance has built a bulwark around my heart. I am excited to go through something seemingly tough to the average mindset simply to show off how strong my God is for being the reason I get through that time, and not just limping along but full out running my course strong and confident!

So how did I get here? Well of course Jesus, Himself, did it but He used one channel in particular, my future husband, Benjamin. This man who God has graciously brought into my life is the reason I stand here not just coping, not falling apart, not even OK; I am excited for the next 14 months he and I will be apart. We won't be able to talk as much as we're accustomed and we have over a year to wait until we are finally married, Lord willing, on top of our previous 5 months we've already been engaged yet I have an unshakable confidence God is and will use this time for His glory. And when we do come together in marriage, it will be for the right reason: to form a more perfect unite to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As we spent the precious few hours we had left together this afternoon, he freely began speaking to me about our time apart that stared us in the face. His words ring in my ears, "Look at Paul and Peter, the great men from the Bible, why were they considered great? Not because they had easy, prosperous lives. But they are called great because of the hardship they endured and how they endured it. They were remembered because they didn't quit." As a dear friend and mentor said about her husband, "If there were such a thing as a Prov. 31 man, he would be it!" I heartily agree about my husband to be. His steadfast confidence of God's goodness, his strength to get through each day in his world filled with men and women utterly opposed to the things of God who lambaste his faith and morals, his bravery to face days that are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually hard without hesitation, his witness that never waivers, his unquestioned faithfulness to me, the stability he gives me even when I know he is worn thin by the day, the fact that when he talks Jesus shines from his eyes and his voice's cadence echoes with reflections of the Father all bring me closer to the Father and make me love him more. But my greatest gift is to hear him pray. My man is not only a modern day warrior who defends our country, but he is a warrior on his knees before the Throne of Grace. His prayers humble, move and inspire me. His never ending reliance on the Father has taught me I can rely on his leading me to the Father. As his hand totally engulfs mine, so to does his love that never ends and his diligence to draw us closer to our King.

His reminder to me today has made the world of difference to me. It made me think of Elizabeth Elliot's thoughts on angst and longing for something God wasn't giving her (the freedom to marry Jim when she wanted to) "If the yearnings went away, what would we have left to offer up to the Lord?". So this time is Ben's and my offering. This is our prayer, "If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad." God has placed a faith in both of our hearts that there is a reason for our separation and wait and we can't wait to see what He does. I am in awe at the transformation power God has to work on our hearts. I had seen this phase we have now entered as a time to dread and fear, just grit our teeth and get through. Now, who would have thought, it's a huge source of rejoicing in our God's power and unfailing love. I praise Him for this faith I know only can come from Him. May He be glorified through our lives!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Luck though does not exist. It's a blessing from God. But can I just take a minute to brag about the man God has given me? He spoiled me with this:

and he still insists it was nothing. Goodness! He gave me a rock. Also last night we were talking, talking about somewhat heavy stuff. He's been battling a cold/flu and as we talked he said he started to fear a stomach bug was hitting him. So at the very least you can say he was not feeling well. Yet when I asked if he wanted to go to bed he said "No! I promised you we'd talk." Wow... I can only live up to his love and determination. However if you are wondering I was not so cruel to make him honor that promise last night. I "made" him go to bed.

But with just that one small incident it shows what a man I have. It blows me away.

Resurrection Reflections

Yesterday concluded Easter weekend... to my everlasting shame I must confess I have never given this holiday weekend the reverence it deserves. Last night I believe I finally began to taste how I should have been viewing it all along.

Good Friday service was good, it always manages to touch me. Yet somehow in the crevices of my heart I know some of it is tied into the fact that I am melancholy thus can rely on the sorrow and depth of emotion associated with the cross to reach me because of my tendency to lean towards the somber. Then Easter Sunday came! And I felt pretty much the same as ever. People greeted me with large smiles, "Happy Easter!". All I could do was manage a smile. If I felt gutsy, I'd chance a "hi". I knew something was amiss.

I enjoyed being spoiled with my church's special holiday treats of our talented brass glorifying God with their talent and our youth and children's choirs performing. Their innocent voices filling our sanctuary, I must be honest, pulled a chord among my heart strings that my pride doesn't enjoy being tugged on. But it was worth it.

My surrounding social circle continued in their joy and festivities that seemed so illusive to me. My parents treated my bosom friend, their prodigal, and I to a lovely lunch. Then the two of us were going to indulge in some nowadays rare face time. As we did our usual indecisive routine, "What do you wanna do? I dunno. Where should we go? I dunno...", we saw two friends waltz up. For two dancers of too many years, we very "ungracefully" stumbled up to them and from there a wonderful afternoon commenced.

We talked and talked and talked about too many things to list but they all revolved around life, emotions, being female, our futures and our faith. It was a most precious afternoon. Finally it was evening and time for our church's tradition of having a handful of people from our congregation share what the resurrection means to them. I've been with this church for nearly 6 years thus attended about 5 of these. So it was nothing new however some of what was said that night brought a perfect revelatory conclusion to my Easter weekend.

It began with one of my "babies" sharing. Again that chord I don't like to be touched was being yanked and the world looked a little liquid for a minute as I listen to a young woman, who was once one of my little girls in jr. high, share from such a beautiful and pure heart all that God meant to her and had shown this past year.

Then one of the men of our church shared the stages of life God has brought him through and now how he is in a pruning stage. I don't know anything about that... heh. He paraphrased the beloved C.S. Lewis (where would we be if that man never came to know Jesus? let's now think about it) as he talked about this place God has brought him to: "You asked for a loving God: you have one... Welcome to the Consuming Fire." Can I just saw WOW! His fire we must walk through is His love. Heb. 12:29 Our God IS a CONSUMING fire! To be loved by my God means who I am will be destroyed, eaten up, absorbed and cease to exist. This may not seem like love but here's another C.S. Lewis quote: God gives "what he has, not what he has not; the happiness that there is, not the happiness that is not. If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows - the only food that any possible universe ever can grow - then we must starve eternally." Mmm mmm good. And this is so much more than Campbell's Soup. It is love to be stripped of the nasty, perverted parts of us and to be made to look more like a perfect being.

Lastly one of the friends I spent all afternoon with got up and shared. Her simple honesty words spoke to my rhetoric riddled heart and brought what I needed to change in myself home last night. She told a story of herself that sounded a lot like me. She describe herself as "a white-washed casket" pretty on the outside but dead on the inside. Then she told of her realization that what the resurrection meant to her was the fact that she has life NOW and a risen Savior who could be with her in that very moment. A few others shared the same thoughts. We are alive now! We have hope now! We have a living Lord now! We have life! The joy we feel when a flower blooms or that bean plant that your 2nd grader brings home finally sprouts a stalk above that dirt in that plastic water cup and especially the elation we feel when new life enters the world. All that is just a taste of what Easter is all about, what the resurrections is all about. It's about the ability to enjoy life. I did all yesterday: I was touched by beautiful voices from young lives, I enjoyed fellowship with lives, beings like me talking about none other than life. Then God brought it home when people shared the truth I needed to understand: the resurrection is about life itself.

After our Good Friday service I said hi to my pastor as many do at my church. His parting words to me at that time seems confusing for their obviousness (i mistakenly thought at the time): "Remember, He's alive." If I had only known how profound that statement would be.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


"Once upon a time..." in a magical land where every fantasy can come to life, homes are palaces and the sun always dazzles the view from each private balcony. There is always a gorgeous girl, marvelously talented but just in enough need for the boy, a quest-searching knight or a brilliant but sensitive farm boy. Neither have any serious problems or emotional baggage, only the problem of being disgustingly perfect. Eventually, their "horrid" obstacles of an evil witch or biased parents are overcome and that sun is still dazzling their now perfect wedding ceremony and they, say it with me, "... live happily ever after."

What is this? It's a fairytale. We're brainwashed with them throughout our childhood with our parents reading Sleeping Beauty to us as children, having to read Romeo and Juliet in high school lit, and watching chick flicks as young adults. Then we try our hand at this romance stuff and as one chick flick character admits our "love Santa keeps getting stuck in the chimney". We become disillusioned and confused.

The next stage sets in of us becoming calloused and cynical, either taking the loner road and shutting ourselves off from romance, telling ourselves it is an evil institution and we don't need it. Or we choose the second road of letting in some love but convince ourselves it will be just that. Nothing special and we can't expect anything from it because if we do we'll only be disappointed. This ideological pendulum swing is enough to give one cause to see a chiropractor. Good night! Yet somehow most all of us reside in one of these camps of thought or have experienced all these mood swings.

Yes, I am young at just over 22 but I have had a taste of each of these. Yet I am newly engaged. So how did I work out this emotional dilemma? I came to realize where we humans got in trouble was looking first to our emotions and trying to find "that someone" then seeing if God fit into the picture. We have it all backwards! Take heart young people in search of love, it is so incredibly possible to have a fairytale. You only need look to your heavenly Prince Charming first. 1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us. But to my chagrin how I found out this truth was through the love of the man I will soon call husband. And thank God I will! I see what an example of Christ and His love he is to me and it makes me fall even more in love with him. I feel like I am living a fairytale. But I'm not because those aren't real. What I have is real. It's not a fairytale, it's a Godtale.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Maturation ~ the process of maturing.

Mature ~ having reached full natural growth or development

having reached a desired or full condition; ripe

worked out fully by the mind; considered

having reached the limit of its time; due

no longer subject to great expansion or development

this process is both beautiful and painful. two such opposing ideas struggling within the same womb - life. it's that moment of looking up after a beating but knowing you were bludgeoned because you did not move from your position. it's having a noticable scar that everyone demands the story for because they want to pretend it was they who acted nobly to receive such a wound. it's picking a flower from the bush growing in your back yard after you spent hours putting dirt beneath your fingernails. it's taking a step when everything in you screams to sit down; holding your breath when you're about to pass out for want of oxygen; learning the art of love and simplicity.

"all you need is love". amen to that. God's love. it is enough. 1 Tim. 6:6-8

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

"with these we shall be content"... i never knew contentment before until now... i am learning the art of contentment. longing for my mind never to stray "from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." that's what it is. simplicity. that's what i want. the simplicity of devotion {ardent, often selfless affection and dedication} to my Savior.