Friday, February 24, 2006

beauty for ashes

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
-Isaiah 61:3

i found this week that i have lots of ashes in my life.

lots of remnants from my past, my present that leave soot on my heart and my hands. and these remnants are from memories, from events, from broken dreams and misshapen heart-spots; from disappointments and regretted self-disclosures, from far and distant friendships. even remnants of thoughts dust the soles of my feet and seem to smear grayish black on whatever i touch. thoughts of the future. thoughts of life, of family--mine now and my own. thoughts of idealism. thoughts of peace and joy and hope and love.

i am not quite sure where these remnants and thoughts turned to ashes. perhaps its my own tendency toward pessimism. perhaps its the world that has conditioned me to think practically instead of prayerfully. or perhaps its the safeguard that God has so generously glazed around my heart. whatever it is, i keep watching my ashes. i keep watching and wishing they would be what i want them to be, that they would spontaneously take shape in the form of renewing serenity and answered prayers.

but my wishes are in vain.

because it was God who allowed the ashes--whatever the cause of them. it was God who sacrificed my dreams and hopes and heartfelt desires. it was God who lit them on fire and watched their brillance fade into grayish bleakness.

am i angry? no. am i scornful? no. am i purposeless? absolutely not.

do you know what happened after mt st. helens blew? ash was everywhere. for miles and miles inches of ash fell. the brilliant spectrum of green on the mountainside instantly turned to gray. the snow capped peak blew into a million bits and left a gaping hole at the mountain top. it was gray. it was ugly. for months.

but then something exciting happened. little green shoots peaked their heads out of the gray. purple wildflowers baked in the sun. animals left footprints in the gray ash. the mountain was changing again....God was repainting brilliance on the mountainside. He was renewing serenity and beauty.

and you know...i figured something else out: that God is doing that in our lives too. you see...all my ashes--all the remnants of hopes and dreams and memories, the things i once held dear--have turned to ash for a reason. because God wants to send little green shoots and purple flowers up through my ashes. because God loves. because God cares. because God knows.

and despite all the ashes i have in my life right now--for all the black marks of soot i've left on every tangible being in my life....i've already noticed that it is beginning to smell fresh. something like purple wildflowers, maybe.

God is working. He's making beauty from my ashes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

not ready

realized it tonight. i think i've been in denial for weeks--months, even. realized that i graduate from college in 3 months. that spring break is in 3 weeks. that easter is in 5 weeks. that i have been in college for almost 4 years. that i am getting old.

okay okay. maybe not so much the last one...but i feel like things are changing. i can finally look at the amazing people in my life and realize that i won't always be next door, down the hall, or 15 minutes away. i can look at the buildings and benches and favorite places on campus that have become so familiar and realize that in just 6 months there will be new things, unfamiliar things that will take their place. i can finally look at my incredibly supportive family and realize that i will be thousands of miles away from them while their lives continue as they have been. and i can finally look at my own life and realize that after graduation in May, nothing will ever ever be the same as it has been the previous 21 years of my life.

wow. life is moving so fast already--and i hear it just gets keeps getting faster. i'm not ready. not ready for the real world. not ready for bills and life insurance and college funds for my own kids. not ready for next steps and big steps and road blocks. not ready for more school, bigger school, board exams. not ready.

but i was journaling last night and realized something else. that in the midst of all these changes--friends, family, life, relationships, location, school, comfort, finances, etc.....the same God is in control of it all. the same God that has been in control since the beginning of time is in control of my life--my little measley life. He's gotta be my rock--thank God (quite literally) i can be confident that 1 thing will never change.

on a much lighter note...had an incredible SEARCH reunion tonight with 6 of my favorite people. wine and spaghetti and bread and salad...yum. AND (drum roll please.....) the Bachelor was on. holy cow i can't quite express how freaking excited i am for next week. could be the most intense Bachelor season yet. my vote is totally on Sarah (Tennessee). can't wait 'till next monday!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

ultimate author

Some say it’s a milestone
The territory is unknown
Shadows call out my name
Wanting me to play their game

My ribbon flies to kiss the moon
The cow has left all too soon
Funhouse mirrors warp my face
What expectations in this place

This giant hole I won’t forget
Reminding me to not get wet
In the flood of materialistic things….
Now what remains to give life to me?...

It is you
You’re the everlasting
The never changing…
Eternal guider
Story writer
Author of my life

So write me story
That magnifies your glory
Shine the Son all around
So all I meet will be found
I dedicate this manuscript to you.

[written (by me!) may 29, 2005]

Thursday, February 16, 2006


can't believe its been 1 week since i've written. a full 7 days. a blur of 168 hours.

funny thing is...of the 168 hours i've lived in the last week, i've only slept for 30 of them. i kind of feel like God is testing me right endurance and general functioning on minimal sleep. but you know what? i love it.

for how much i complain about being tired...for how much coffee i consume...for how red my eyes is worth it.

worth it to learn. worth it to spend time with and take time for people....even if it means staying up later and getting up earlier. worth it to risk. worth it to test myself.....because guess what?!?! this is a preview of what my life will be like for the next 6 years: crazy good. crazy tired. crazy worth it...for me, for God, for people.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

notes of interest

i was listening to music last night. lots of it. good stuff--really really good stuff. i was listening to it surrounded by some of the women i love the most; and it was then that i realized something.

i LOVE music. i love it.

not especially musically inclined. can plunk out a few notes on the piano and have managed to learn a few chords on the guitar. played the recorder once, even. but i can't imagine music--God didn't give me that piece of Himself.

so this is a shout out to all those who do have that piece of God. i hope you realize how much of a gift it is. how incredibly lucky you are to create something straight from God's imagination--something in beat with the rhythms of God own heart. i hope you realize just how much talent you have....and i hope you want to share it. God, quite literally, put a song in your heart.....and the world is waiting to hear it :)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


in order to compensate for my lack of responsibility toward this blog in the past week, i decided to be daring and post twice in one day. the "wow-factor" is huge, i know.

i just needed to announce how extremely excited i am for spring.

new sky. excited for blue skies and clouds and constant sunshine.

new air. excited for rain....REALLY excited for spring rain showers--they are my favorite. and taking a walk in the rain sounds delightful.

new animals. excited for chirping birds and new life. something magical about God's kingdom waking up after a long winter.

new growth. i LOVE love love love all the new growth spring brings. new leaves on the trees. new flowers in the ground. especially excited for tulips and daffodils and daisy's---they are my ultimate favorite flowers ever.

new feelings. i think, in a sense, spring brings us out of our hibernations too. don't quite know what it is exactly---but spring brings a sense of hope, a sense of satisfaction, and a sense of reassuring comfort that God is in control. that He will once again fill the sky with sunshine and heat and blanket the earth in green.

and He always does :)

Monday, February 06, 2006


wow. can't believe it has almost been a week since i wrote last. been a bit busy lately--talking and writing and spending time and enjoying and thinking. about life...about futures....about potential.

and i've realized some things. realized that i would be desparately lost without God. that i would be horribly depressed without faith.

realized that i would be much worse off without family and special friends--support and encouragement and trust in who i am and who i can become.

that i would be much more reserved without taking chances, much more enclosed without being honest, and more naive without making myself vulnerable.

i realized that i would be in a different place entirely if God's timing wasn't as it is and that i would probably have taken a different path. realized that asking questions is almost as important as searching and praying and listening for answers; and that answers come in silence, too.

i've realized that over-analysis usually lends itself to misinterpretation and that patience truly is a virtue; that my flaws don't confound the nature of my character and that dreams don't restrict it.

and i've realized, too, that where i am in the here and now is exactly where i want to be...talking and writing and spending time and enjoying and thinking.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


the sun is shining today. and it rained last night.

just wanted to pass along the message that it is one heckuva happy day today.

because of people and finished talks and good food and coffee this morning and rain and interesting science class (me=nerd) and visiting special friends later tonight and hair cuts and sunshine.

God deserves to see your smile today. don't ya' think?!??

that means step out into the sunshine...and give Him a big ol' grin :)

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