Saturday, April 18, 2015

From Nothing

Over the last two months I have been in 12 different states (I think… maybe more). But definitely 12. For work and for travel, I have been all over the continental United States.

I love traveling, new places, and exploration. There is nothing more satisfying than going to a new places and learning all that I can about it. And there is nothing more rewarding than seeing friends in all of those different places. 

But recently, I think it would be safe to question if I still live in Colorado? (The answer is yes. And I still work at Crooked Creek Ranch.) But my Instagram would not reflect that recently and neither would my heart in some moments.

My roots have not been digging down deep recently. They have not broken any ground, they have been hanging on the surface as I explored Portland, drove across the country, fell in love again with the Blue Ridge mountains, and spent time with some of the dearest friends. 

My roots have not been growing here in Colorado mostly because of my heart and my fears, not because of my traveling. It cannot be blamed on the busyness, but more on the fact that I know that as my roots grow deep they take me places where I do not want to go. 

Because when I am here in the valley, living my day-to-day life I have to face some realities that I just do not want to: 

Most days I am lonely and feel like a crazy friend that is way too sensitive and a smidge bit dramatic. Loving Jesus just isn't the same as it used to be and I don't know that I am really good at it. There are things to be grieved in my life that I just do not want to because that hurts and well, I don't want it to. And amidst all of this I am asking, "Jesus, where are You? Do You care?"

Those are all hard things for me to admit. Like really hard. And I haven't had to admit them when I fly out again in a week and I am over committed throughout the week. 

But today I woke up with not a lot on my plate. My next plane ticket is not booked until June and I am living the simple life here in Fraser, Colorado. 

After a few months of running (and some really awesome adventures) I have succumbed to the fact I am poor in spirit and don't know that I really have much to offer, so in order to stay safe I haven't offered much at all. 

But the poor widow, who had not more than a penny, gave all that she had to Jesus. 

"And he called his disciples to him and said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.'" 
Mark 12:43-44

A lot of what I have right now feels messy and full of doubt, so I have been scared of giving anything to Jesus. But He wants it all, everything: the questions, the loneliness, and the confusion. 

So I am going to try to give it all to Him, to be laid bare before the Author and Perfecter of our faith. And to trust that the Lord is not upset with my sad, little roots, but that He is guiding me in safety. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hope of a Dreamer

I am a dreamer. I am the hopeless romantic that always wants the guy to get the girl. I imagine life's sweetness with really good coffee in the morning and a fine glass of red wine in the evening. I always want the underdog to win and my heart gets a little sadder when they don't. I believe and yearn for reconciliation in nearly every sense of the word. I think hard conversations should have redemptive endings and that grace should always pour out from our mouths. I am the one who always wants to believe that it will all work out. I fight against broken hearts and tears of sadness. I look for the fairytale "happily ever after" in nearly every situation. I cry out for justice.

Those are the things I want. I want to start and end the day with butterflies and a good hot beverage. I want there to be no such thing as unrequited love. I want freedom for the captives and joy for the hopeless. I want reconciliation.

But what happens when those things don't come true or aren't the reality?

What happens when your coffee just sucks? When it doesn't work out? When the girl likes the guy and he likes her best friend? When conversations are just hard and nothing actually changes? When you cry just because your feelings are hurt? When the underdog loses? When there is no such thing as prince charming?

Or what happens when you have been praying for healing and nothing happens at all? Or when you were sure God assured you something was going to work out and then it doesn't happen? Or when you realize that young girls are being sold into slavery in the very country that you live in? Or when you see the brokenness of this world in the senseless murder of three students in Chapel Hill?

What happens then? Because if we're being honest, it's absolutely not what I want. Or what anyone wants really.

Our trust is this: we can know that God is still God. He is the great I AM.

And that is enough.

Our hope is in Jesus and in nothing else. It doesn't work to hope in the happily ever after, good coffee, good job interviews, fruitful conversations, or in that one thing he said two months ago. There is no hope in those things alone.

There is only hope in Jesus Christ. It is in Him that our hope becomes an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

In Him, we hope for reconciliation, redemption, justice, truth, and love; but only in Him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Power of With

Moving across the country definitely makes life look different.

There is something about being with someone to experience it with them. Like really being with them. Like in the thick of it when something really sweet or really really hard happens.

But recently, life has not gone like that.

Life keeps happening and I do not always get to be with my best friends when those big things happen. I am the friend that is a phone call or a plane ride away. So as friends are experiencing many things, I stay in my snowy home of Fraser and do my best to be "with" them.

I want to be there when they come home from a date with a new boy and are experiencing all of the butterflies. I want to be with them as they plan their wedding and get ready to walk down the aisle. I want to host a celebratory dinner as friends find new jobs and move closer to where the Lord has called them. I want to sit with them on the kitchen floor as they sob because maybe life is a little harder than we all wish. I want to be in their new city and discover all the really sweet spots in that place. And I want to go to coffee to just talk about the day.

And I want them to be here too. I want them to experience my new favorite Denver coffee shop that is enough to make your heart beat outside your chest. I want them to know the snow that glitters. I want them to ride in the passenger seat of my new car as I drive around aimlessly. And I want them to be here when the day is hard.

But that's not how it goes anymore. There are now 1700 miles between me and Chapel Hill. Somedays those 1700 miles feel like nothing and then other days it feels like our lives with never intersect again.

Sometimes it is easy to get stuck in this sad feeling of monotony and distance and "will this ever end?" mindset. Sometimes a phone call just does not do it and you feel alone in a place that is supposed to be your home.

But then I am reminded of the power of with. We limit the idea of what it means to be "with" when we think it has to do with location. We forget that sometimes just hearing the words "I am with you" is enough to remind us that we are not alone.  It is way more than just a physical description, it is trusting in the God Most High whose name is Immanuel, "God With Us."

The God who is with me in snowy Colorado is the same God who is with the bestie in Louisville fighting for high school kids to know Jesus at Fern Creek High School. I do not get to walk the halls of the high school at Fern Creek with her, but I trust that our God is walking beside her and carrying her on the tough days.

And it is the same God who looks at my friend sobbing on the floor and reminds her that He is El Roi, "the God Who Sees Me". I know that because He is with me and He is with her, that we are together in those moments of feeling so incredibly alone.

My prayer is to know more the power of with and to have greater trust in the God that is with us. I hope to be a friend that no matter the distance, can say "I am with you" because sometimes that is all that we need to hear. And I hope to be a friend that goes the distance too.

And today I am grateful for a phone that allows me to be instantly connected to friends all over. I am grateful for airplanes that take me to best friends [**insert excitement for many upcoming trips**]. I am especially grateful for all of the friends that are here too, in Colorado, in the valley, doing this life thing every single day with me. And mostly, I am grateful that God never, ever leaves us alone for He is always with us.

because we will all be back there soon. mcmansion, let's recreate this photo.