Posts Tagged With: hope


I think too much at work. Think about how, as I get older, life just keeps getting more complex, about how such complexity has stolen some of the light from (my once jovial friend and coworker) Kacey’s eyes. About the stories of each person I meet in the store. And of the people I used to meet in the hallways. Another one of my coworkers asked me that: “Do you remember walking the halls?” Yes, yes I do. I remember thinking about the stories as I surveyed the sea of faces. When the halls were empty I walked by the lockers, I thought of the souls and cried. I remember…

It’s sad how sensitivity dulls with exposure. There are lockers at work too. I’m far enough in now to have begun hearing the stories. People like to think that those who are depressed or self harm are the exceptions. Really, if you dig deep enough, they might be the rule.

“You look happy today.”

“I’m good at faking.”

“I think most people are.”

Sometimes I kick myself for not noticing it in their eyes. You can nearly always catch it there if you watch. Sometimes I hate that I say too much; other times I stay quiet when I should speak up. Occasionally, I get it right. Like last week. A simple not saying essentially “I get it. I’ve been there. I care.”  A brief break from my earthly work to pursue my heavenly calling. “I’m just going to hand this to you and awkwardly walk away. Connecting later on social media. It felt so good to get it right for once.

I miss the school. I miss the little things, like windows. Being cooped up in windowless backrooms in a large rectangular building without so much as a peek at the beauty outdoors is torture. Can I make a difference? I know less and less of the answers as the days go by. I cannot impart a hope I do not possess for myself. It’s easy to lose my own spiritual walk in the fray, to become “Much-afraid” again, even after The Shepherd has changed my name, for those of you who get that reference.

But I think and hope that I won’t be caged in the brick building forever. I think, I hope, that I’m making at least a bit of a positive difference there. Even if it’s just bringing a smile to brighten a coworker’s day as they dub me “Janice Joplin” (Joppie for short), “Robin Hood” or “Minnie Pearl” because of my outlandish hat.

Maybe someday I will work with the people and age group of my passion again. There are hopeful signs: Being friended by a member of the Apache Youth Ministries team that I’d love to work with someday, a mention of a possible student teaching opportunity next year, the camp counseling week in June that I am so looking forward to. It is these things that make my heart skip a beat; It is these things that bring me hope. I pray that I may walk worthy of the calling even in the long, frustrating transition stage of my journey. So…that’s me. Where are you today on your journey, my friends?

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

For Good

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI prayed so hard that this day wouldn’t come. I never wanted it to come to this. That one of my very closest friends would hang himself…I had hoped that he wouldn’t have the nerve. I had prayed for him more than I’ve prayed for anyone else ever, even years before I knew he had had these thoughts. Now there is denial  and anger and there were tears, but mostly I am okay now. I am here to love and help the people, to be their safe place, to point them to God. Because that is who I am. That is what I do always.

I have few regrets. I wish I had checked my Facebook sooner, wish I had stopped and chased him that day. That was what he wanted–for someone to chase him and prove he was loved. But we talked about God, and that is what matters. Take it from me…don’t chicken out. Life is short and fragile and uncertain. Fulfill the great commission in a good and gentle way always. Make the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil. Love the people. Point them to God. That is the only thing that really matters in the end.

God is using this. It is one thing to say that God uses evil for good, but it is another thing to  see it all around you. God has opened doors for me to minister to so many more beautiful, broken people through this. He is reaching them. And there are Christians praying against the darkness which still wants to use this for its purposes. This is a very real battle here, but what God is doing is nothing short of amazing. I serve a great, powerful, and very good God.

The story isn’t over yet. I don’t have a conclusion for this post. I am still in the midst of everything: mourning the loss of a friend, hoping he made the right choice about God in the end, watching open mouthed as God brings both people I had been working to love and people I had subconsciously labeled as nearly hopeless cases to Him through this. I pray that He gives me the right words to say. Right now I know that I am undoubtedly right where he wants me to be, and I know that he is using me. And that is amazing. Now I just pray that my humanness doesn’t get in the way and mess things up, though God works in weakness.

I guess, for now, if you take anything from this post it should be this: God is good. God is good absolutely positively all the time.


Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Guilt, Despair, & Freedom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have it so good. This has struck me before, but it struck me again this week with greater clarity. I am so lucky, or blessed, or privileged, or whatever word you want to use even compared to the neighbor kid down the street, let alone impoverished children in third world countries. I don’t deserve what I have: parents, house, food, job…I deserve none of it. It’s not fair that both of my parents love me, and express that love well. It’s not fair that my sleepless nights aren’t caused by anxiety, hunger, or an argument in the next room. Life isn’t fair to anyone, I know, but isn’t it ironic that after having randomly drawn the longer straw, after having been given blessings which I cannot control I feel guilty? I have health, relative wealth, and the ability to acquire knowledge. I have so much more than I could ever need or ask for.

But guilt isn’t the right response. I know that. The proper responses are joy and generosity. I’ve tried to exercise both of those and lose the guilt, really I have, but most of the truly misfortunate don’t want my pity. Handouts or apologies on their behalf won’t go over well. And joy doesn’t coexist well with guilt, so I’ve failed on both counts– joy and generosity. Sometimes I wish I could just switch, that I could take their panic attacks, and sleepless nights, and the burden of the fights they’ve had to watch. Because maybe then the guilt would go away, and I’ve always been fascinated with the aesthetic of despair anyway. I have to be careful or I’ll soon become a masochist, though I’ll be seeking out pain not for it’s own sake, but because it leads to meaning (which may or may not be true). There’s a reason lyrics like “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.” have always been appealing to me.

Now you probably think I’m a whacked out overly-empathetic freak.Oh well, you’re probably right. But maybe soon I’ll be a recovering whacked out overly-empathetic freak. Maybe soon I’ll realize that I can’t save the world because Jesus already did. Maybe I’ll see that all I’m called to do is to take the people and their burdens to Him. I’m not to don their millstones myself. I hope so. Because I know it’s not healthy to feel guilty for having it so good, or to feel the pain of others more than they do. I want to represent Christ well, but I can only be Christ to the people to an extent. I can’t take their sins. I can’t mentally bear the whole of their collective afflictions. I have it so good, so I need to be thankful, and un-guilty for that and move on. So much easier said than done.

Categories: Journey Prologues., Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Sun Also Rises

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoy and Spirit fire do not come back all at once in a flood of sunlight, but rather as small rays piercing the darkness through the boards of an ancient wall. They come back when I am not focusing on myself; they  come back when I am forgetting myself and focusing on others: when excitedly preparing a lesson for the young lost, when praying for people I care about who are far from God, and when sadly reading about the fate of destruction for those who don’t receive His gift.

The sun sets, but it also rises, and it is important to acknowledge both. Yes, even as a Christian I go through times without the feelings, but if I didn’t have faith I would be separated always. Now there’s a scary thought. Without God I am nothing, and life is meaningless; with Him there is hope for a thousand tomorrows of joy. Even when the rain comes there is hope because Heaven is waiting full of Jesus and people that I love. I serve an amazing Savior.

So even though it is not yet mid-day and I haven’t yet basked in the awesome light it is coming.  After a long night this sunrise is a joyous time. I am not yet taking the emotions for granted. Everything is new and fresh bathed in the radiance of light. People. I know my cup is filling because I am passionate about the people again. They need to see this. They are living in a darkened world, exchanging eternal pleasure for the temporary. God loves them intensely.

The sun is rising. I hope you can rejoice with me at the beauty of this new day.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Winter Hope


Winter. Cold dreary days push back the sun without respite for months on end. Life is hidden. The battles’ result is set from the beginning, but that does not stop the one who shall be conquered from fighting hard: clinging to the branches; covering wellsprings, and cool blue depths with inches of ice. Winter. Not so much seen as felt deep within the soul. Old dreary days with no release from the chills steady hold. Winter- it is my favorite season. Alas, I don’t know why. Maybe it is the battle to see who can endure the longest, or those nights of happiness in the form of sledriding. Laughing in winter’s face. It is a long season, but it makes that which lies on the other side all the brighter, and for an instant makes us treasure that which is given.

There is a winter of the soul too. Days without joy, or pain, just continual rebellion against the bitter cold that tries to steal, and pillage our hearts. There are long days, and longer nights filled with little but the battle for life. Physical life doesn’t mean much when the spirit is dead (or at least appears dead, all symbols of life tucked away like the jagged trees), but it means there is hope. There is a chance for a better tomorrow. Hope…if there were a theme for this season of my life that would be it. Clinging to hope in glimmers and snippets;

Today there is an indian summer. The weatherman said that it could get up to sixty degrees; the snow has melted off to mud. There is a smell of new life in the air. Today I found a dandelion- a tidbit of hope stubbornly fighting its way through the chaos. A dandelion in January. There are indian summers in the soul’s winter too. Days where the end is in sight, and inklings of the hope of rebirth (messy, but welcomed after the endless torment) appear. Here’s to surviving the long days yet to come, and one day walking into the glorious sunlight which we will never experience in full until the New Kingdom. Here’s to clinging to hope with white knuckled fists during the long nights, and rejoicing in the joy that comes with the morning. We must never forget that there is hope; for the battle is already won.

*Dedicated to my dear friend Nastya as she fights her way through this season of her life.*

Categories: Poems, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tho’ Hope is Frail

“Tho’ hope is frail it’s hard to kill.”   That quote hit me hard the first time I heard it, and it’s hit me hard every time since. Though hope is frail it’s hard to kill…the song is about miracles, and believing. The struggle-praying when you don’t feel anything, fear, distance. Looking back and seeing that it’s so worth it through the hard times. The walk isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s so hard to just stand, to just pray, because I can’t always save the day. That’s kind of where I am at right now. Standing, and searching for the others that stand with me. Often I am disappointed. Often it feels like I stand alone with tears, and pray for the world below, although I know that there must be others somewhere.

We abandon the meat of Christianity. We despise the things we call morbid. Finding one of my favorite authors who wasn’t afraid to expose the brutality of dyeing so you might live mixing his metaphors; losing his purpose. Dissapointment. I want to find the meat, I want to meditate on truth. I don’t want cotton candy Christianity. Give me truth, make it applicable now. So many times I don’t think the older generation has a clue what they are sending us into. So many come unprepared and fall. You can never be fully equipped. I’m hoping, I’m trying to be the phrase love always hopes. I’m trying to expect the best in people, and be vulnerable, but it’s hard after being let down so many times. “Tho’ hope is frail it’s hard to kill.

Loving fully, hoping deeply, believing with all of my beng. It’s a high calling. It can’t be done without Christ. Joy through the hard times is a precious thing. Family to return home to after a long day in the cold dark world. Going to God to rejuvenate the flame when hope begins to flicker. Trying to rely on God every step of the way, and failing miserably, then coming back to open arms. It’s a beautiful broken road that we’re traveling. The ancient path may be difficult, but it is not without fulfillment. If I look hard enough there are others out there. The world tries to hide them. Satan doesn’t want us to know there is an army around us. But sometimes he doesn’t succeed, and sometimes there are late nights of laughter, and prayer. Tho’ hope is frail it’s hard to kill” so I will carry on.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Me vs. World

I hesitated to post this for fear of coming across as self-righteous. I added this to assert that this is not my intent. The following is in regards to something that scares me very much; I’d love to hear your thoughts.  

I’m beginning to think that I live in a world of mindless fools; a world seeking personal petty pleasures, and nothing else. A place where people refuse to work for their rewards. a place where we refuse to look at ourselves in a negative light and thus are obsessed with intense assessments of each other- after all it wouldn’t do to look, and discover that our own faults are much more rampant than theirs.

Sometimes I think this place is all too similar to the horrors depicted in books like Uglies, or Lightening Thief. Books where everyone looks forward to being teenager, a pretty, someone under the influence of a lotus flower, because it is depicted as the world of dreams. Reality check: it is the world of nightmares. I look around me at the brainless masses who demand that everything be given to them on a silver platter, and I am appalled. To think that could have been me.

I am set on being the rebel,. I will not become that. Just as all the books focus on the heroes who seek to turn the tide, so I will focus on them, surrounding myself with rebel friends to dare to think. Without thought it is too easy to be let away by the Antichrists Paul speaks of. Without thought the Pied Piper can lead us off with his tantalizing music far too easily. I am not the first to realize that society needs to wake up, or that we are (as C.S. Lewis puts it) “far too easily pleased.” I pray that I will not be the last, I pray that this rebelution can wake up the world before it’s too late. But I don’t know.

Sometimes when I’m surrounded by the crazies I doubt it. Sometimes I almost let go of hope; that is when I must run back to my God, and my rebel friends. The way is hard and long, but the pleasures at the end of this road are so much better than the ones this world gives. When the lines between gratefulness and obsession for things that were meant to be foretastes in this world blur then I cling more tightly to the hope of the pleasures in the next,  for I will not let myself become like them. I will not let myself become a zombie.

Categories: My Life, rants | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments


I can preach virtues all day long, I can rant on and on about people helping people, and having the answers, and all that jazz, but the truth is at the end of the day I’m still imperfect. I’m a screwed up human too, and half the time I don’t even know how to talk or communicate well with other humans. I fail so many times; sometimes I don’t even want to get back up again.

It’s so easy to present the gospel as a fix all, happy all the time, easy three step solution, but the truth is it’s not. This God thing is no cut and dried explanation.  On the roadmap to this journey the directions can be rather vague, and so many times I don’t understand why I have to go this way, or through this valley. Sometimes I don’t even understand looking back from the other side.

Sometimes I question, sometimes I falter, sometimes I flounder, and sometimes I fall. The fact that all of this is a part of the symphony that God sees as beautiful amazes me. Can I stop and say that? The outflowing of our hearts onto the paper of the great story; the lifting of our weary souls in a song… As I step back and look at this I too can see it as beautiful. I fall on my face and worship the Author, Conduction, Mapmaker who put this all together. Can you see the wonder of it?

When the rain falls and the world is caving in around me I have hope. Call me weak, call me strong if you like. Honestly? I don’t really care; I need hope. If you can live, and get along fine without it kudos to you. I still believe you need a healer I think everyone needs hope, but if you choose to believe otherwise, well, I won’t stand in your way.  I hope in my life that you’ll see and want what I have. I hope that despite my lack of answers, and my imperfections Jesus is seen in me, but I’m  not going to fake a fix all to entice you to believe what I do. Here on my blog you’ll see all of me, all of my journey: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. I’ll leave you to decide which this is.

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments


I can’t tell you where my journey has led me lately. I’ve tried writing it, but the words just ring hollow in my ears. I can only show you what I have learned for myself; that has been the motto of this blog since the beginning. But when it is revealed to me how very much I forget, how much I have to relearn, and how much of the old nature I must unlearn again I feel altogether inadequate.

I can’t tell you much; I can only share those simple truths that have proven infallible of the days and years I been following this road. I can tell you “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” perhaps that will prove to be true once again here with these imperfect, and faltering words. I can tell you “His love endures forever.” Through everything, through all  my fears and failing He’s never given up on me. Even now, when I feel like I’m standing alone on this mountain He is singing love over me in His impossible love.

I can tell you without a doubt that there is hope and healing for those who seek to find it. There is a living water to quench the thirst within. And there is, in fact, someone you can trust-one who will never leave you or forsake you. I can tell you of this, and something you probably don’t want to hear as well: taking up your cross, and following Jesus will not be easy. Long trying  journeys marked with tears, struggles, anguish, and desperation have marked this road before us. But not only that, for these journeys have been filled with passion, commitment, fulfillment, and laughter. Yes, laughter. There is hope on this path.

There is hope. That is the reason that I trek onward over these complicated miles. That is the reason I have to see this journey through. If His strength is made perfect in weakness, then I must go on to see how He unexpectedly manifests His work through me. I don’t have to understand; I just have to go. Maybe that is what I’ve been learning lately. Maybe that is the song of my heart.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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