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!