Friday, July 22, 2011

Mark 9:24

Looking back now I can see that it was more than anything a failure to believe in the story of who God is and what he is doing in this world. Instead of living that story – one of sacrifice and purpose and character – I began to live a much smaller story, and that story was only about me. I wanted an answer, a timeline and a map. I didn’t want to have trust in God or anything I couldn’t see. I didn’t want to wait or follow. I wanted my old life back, and even while I read the mystics and the prophets, even while I prayed fervently, even while I sat in church and begged for God to direct my life, those things didn’t have a chance to transform me, because under all those actions and intentions was a rocky layer of faithlessness, fear and selfishness.
-Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

There are a lot of these sorts of feelings in my life. You maybe wouldn’t know it if you talked to me, and I try to ignore it because I hate it, but the truths are that it’s hard to work at a job I don’t love in a town I don’t like without a community or a plan. I don’t want those things to be true but they are and I am a poor handler of my own emotions. I pray for rescue, not redemption. I pray for direction, but not to be able to trust. I have been throwing a nearly year-long tantrum. I know these practices aren’t what are best for me, and I know that I am failing, like Shauna, to believe in the ultimate story and character of God. I know. And now you know too. Please pray for me, for the right things.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quiet Steps

I don’t remember one jump or one leap,
Just quiet steps away from your lead
-Nickel Creek, Reasons Why

I have not been a wonderful person recently. I have not been kind, patient or content. I have been mean, I have been selfish, and I have failed to believe things that God has promised: that He is sovereign, that He is powerful, and that He loves me. I have been bitter about being lonely and homesick and have forgotten (of course) the Truth about who I am, and whose I am. I have slowly forgotten the best way to live, and have failed to pray, be still, or love well. I have discovered these things under the veil of self-pitying justification I have been hiding behind, and I am bringing them out to air.

I’ve restarted this next paragraph a dozen times already, because I’m not sure how to go on from here. I can at least report that my heart is softening. Tampa and I have reached a peaceful alliance, and Kyle and I have begun to make friends, small in number but great in significance as we readjust to living life alongside other people. We are confident that we have found a church where we will find a loving, available community. Our life feels to be normalizing in spite of my kicking and screaming, and it seems that God is making something beautiful after all.

Our God is full of grace, especially for me, especially in this season. He is scooping me up and brushing me off and looking me in the face to tell me some things I desperately need to hear.  I am not angry, but I am aware of my own helplessness. I am humbled by the forgiveness He has shown me and sure of His faithfulness. I wrote the following things in my journal tonight:
“Thank You for making saints out of the ashes. Thank You that You have chosen to redeem Your children. Thank You for being a good Father. I love you. I am just small and hopeless and I love you. I think that you are glad to hear it.”

(from here)

Love to all of you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

But He Gives More Grace

Since the last post I have been to North Carolina.

I was most emotional on the drive from Raleigh into Wilmington, but not for the reasons I expected. I was preparing to feel like I was finally going home, and had practiced all the things I would have to tell myself to keep from stubbornly refusing to get back on any plane to go away from there. I was almost looking forward to that feeling, as I think that at some point my hostility towards Tampa had become spiteful. I was mad at Tampa. I didn’t want to give it any more chances. I wanted it to be easier, and I didn’t want to have to try. This was an easy resentment to keep up – everyone sympathized with my loneliness and nobody was telling me to get over myself already.

But I did not feel any of those angry things on the 1,000 miles of I-40 between Raleigh and the coast. I instead was overcome with an intense and unexpected feeling of relief, not because I was escaping something terrible but because I was reminded of something very good. Perhaps sometime in my fight against Tampa, Wilmington had become unreal. It had become a dream or an oasis, and I had forgotten that it was not a romantic ideal, but a real place with streets and people and smells. I think the road signs did me in. I suddenly realized that Wilmington still existed and was surprised to feel, more than anything else, remarkably reassured.

People still love each other in Wilmington. God is still moving there. There are churches there that are telling people the Truth. The gospel is alive, and if it is alive in Wilmington then it is still alive in me and I am not as alone or as unlucky as I falsely believe. I am weary of this lie and I am anxious to learn to trust in the sovereignty of a God who knows more than me. What I am realizing, slowly and reluctantly, is that I tend to not believe in His good intentions. This is dumb.

“But he gives more grace.” James 4:6

There is hope for me yet.

Our weekend was extraordinarily refreshing. I am most grateful for familiar faces, conversations about life instead of work, and being surrounded by people who love and know each other. Also, agnolotti at Osteria Cicchetti.

The week we got home I sat down to unwind and finally prayed for peace with Tampa.  I wrote in my journal, “I feel empty, but it feels like spring is coming.”

I am so thankful for you, friends. Please go hug someone you love. 

1. Twins 2. The Zoo 3. Friends & Burritos 4.The Sky

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let The Bones You Have Broken Rejoice

I think I post so infrequently because I am unsatisfied with what I have to report. There is so much happening in my life that no one knows about, but it feels like so little as I’m living it, and so normal. People’s lives are really crowded, always, and when you live around them and know them and share with them, all of the crowdedness gets overlapped and understood and lifted up. Since I am gone, it feels like the crowdedness is just contained here, like Kyle and I are changing and growing and no one knows, and it’s hard for us to measure.

I’m different than I was when I left Wilmington. I wear flats now, not sandals. I have a lot of cardigans. I own a bedside lamp and I plan meals for the week so we can go to the grocery store just once. I have a designer handbag. I wake up earlier. I’m lonelier. I cry a lot more, not because I am depressed but because I am fighting and I am changing. I am more aware of my selfishness. I am more thankful for my friends. I am more amazed at Kyle’s patience and contentment and more grateful for his calmness in the face of all of my emotion.

I think that I am mostly homesick. I sometimes indulge myself in pretending that the tree branches outside our bedroom window belong to the tree that stood in front of our apartment on Ann Street. It’s nice to imagine that there are familiar faces down the block or that if we go out we might run into someone we know and be glad to see them. I am often sad about this, but also really pleased with my time in Wilmington, and proud of how much I learned to love, and how much I learned at all. It is hard to be gone but it is sweet to remember. I sometimes feel like an old person at the end of a movie who has lived a blockbuster life of adventures and montages and the credits are about to roll and the old person is just so sweet for living such a feature film sort of life. I know that this is ridiculous, since I am not an old person and I am not nearing the credits, but I think I feel this way because I am having a hard time looking forward or letting go.

I don’t know where we will be in six months, or a year, or five. I have hoped to be in Austin, or anywhere but here, but the truth is that we don’t know. The prospect of going to Austin with the company is a carrot that keeps getting pulled away, and I am tired of putting my hope there. There is a better place for it.

Thanks to those of you who have visited, called, and otherwise reminded me that I am not alone or forgotten. I love you more than you could know.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore me to the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:7-12

via onedayIsaw

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rainy Week

It has been a rainy week. I have spent more time than usual in a snuggled position. I have felt small and sleepy and sad and lost and found. I want to be content here. It is hard. I am thankful for Kyle and prayers and friends that visit.

(Caleb, Eleanor, Grant, Jason, Hannah and Chandler: thank you for coming to us.)

1. AnnaMoan 2. Back to the Future Project 3. Brookish

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have a lot to share about my what has been happening in my brain, heart, and life over the past few weeks, but I will put off telling you all about it for a few more days. I will blame the fact that it is Sunday.

In the meantime, here is something I am currently excited about:

Today, Kyle and I went frolicking through the shelves at the Borders going-out-of-business sale. We have bought nine books this week. Right now, our book shelf looks like this, not including a row of textbooks on the bottom:

Today we grew our collection by this much:

I think we are headed down a path that ends up looking something like this:

via design is mine

Bring it on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calm Between the Storms

I am so very sunburned. I am embarrassed about this, because I feel like I am smarter than the sun. Unfortunately, Saturday got the best of me and I was asleep before I was SPF protected and here I am, three days later, my face slowly peeling away in layers of skin.

On the inside I am less irritated, at least for this week. I say that in a tone of celebration, since it’s been a jerky ride so far, but not with any expectation of permanence, since I can feel that the Lord is shaping me and He is not close to being done.  I have felt like a mine field especially recently, exploding unexpectedly, unfortunately for Kyle. I am not adjusting well to being a business woman and I fluctuate significantly between “fine” and “disaster.” I feel like I am growing, and that is good. I haven’t been able to identify why I am so unpredictable, or why I feel so unstable. I think it has a lot to do with learning how to practice unfamiliar habits.

As a leader, my sensitivity was a good thing. I was allowed to empathize and love freely. In an office, I am encouraged to do things like improve processes and be on time. It’s not that processes and checklists aren’t satisfying for me (let’s be honest…) but under the surface I am searching for something that is beautiful instead of something that is a machine. Instead of being told I am loved, I am being told I am a valuable asset. Instead of being encouraged, I am being praised. Instead of being poured into, I am being utilized.

The gospel isn’t a machine or a process. Faith is not a philosophical ascent. It is more important to know God than to know about God. So I am focusing in this season on remembering His character, and believing that He is who He says He is. He is more sovereign than I understand, and more Good than I give Him credit for. He is planning things I couldn’t dream of, and He is not holding back. He is relentless in His pursuit of me. He Loves me. He has rescued me. It is Good News, and I don’t want to ever grow out of it.

Also, I bought these shoes.

For work, of course!

Aren't they the best?