Sunday, December 26, 2010

on aching, willing love... 2010 part 1.

i have a love-hate relationship with yearly reflections/resolutions.  every day should be a resolve to Love more, to give more, to yearn for God more.  but nonetheless, i resolve, just as i did at the brink of 2009, and reflect, like the entrance of 2010.  journals and old blogs hold the R's of past years in secret.

it is now the close of 2010.  three outstanding lessons pressed upon my heart, this first one being:
1. love out of the heart of God; because we are weak and He is strong.


i have nothing to give.  i am empty, i am weak, i am worthless.
my words fall like snow, my actions melt within a day, my thoughts take flight with the wind.
i do not own anything, i have no possessions, i can make no claims.

and i say these things, not to insult my Creator
but to exalt that He is everything, and i am nothing - without Him.
i cannot say that i am, for only He IS; only He can say, "I AM."

He is Love.

i cannot even make claims that "I Love," or that i know love, or that i understand love.
but yes, i am learning about Love; i am learning to love - out of the heart of God.

the desire for love is crafted into our individual design.
and for the rest of our lives, we will be at unrest until we find love; maybe we think we have already found love and strangely, are still unsatisfied.
 because we yearn for real Love, that is, GOD Who is Love.

we will forever be confused with grasping the complexity of Love
until we settle it in every crevice of our being:
that God is Love, and every encounter with God is an encounter with Love; every experience of true Love is an experience of God.

i would often struggle with the point of community.
what is it for?  if my existence is meant for the pleasure and worship of YHWH,
why should i be concerned about being open and raw,
knitting heart ties, entrusting myself to another flawed person...
"do not forsake the fellowship of believers" - can we dub that as corporate worship?
i saw no necessity for self-disclosure.

but thoughts like these could only stem from wounds of disappointment, neglect, abandonment.
thoughts like these are petty excuses for the "no trespassing" sign across our souls.
thoughts like these were born after we, in our adventurous naivety, chose to give love, and were bruised when we did not receive love in return.

but is it our place to ask for love?
is it our place to draw attention to our needs?
we don't want to confront anyone with, "when will you ask about me?" or "when's my turn to be cared for?" or "where's my love?"...
because it feels like manipulation.
(it IS manipulation...)
we'd rather they did it out the genuine movements of their spirit, not out of pity.

i wouldn't want someone to love me out of pity.
i don't think we could even call it love.
it's just... pity.

nonetheless, our defense mechanisms fly up in wanting to protect our fragile selves.
because we've trusted(!) and trusted(!) and have been terribly disappointed each time.

The amount of love you have for a person equals the amount of pain or grief that person can cause in your life.

- KV

real love does not rhyme with pain.
no, but real love does mean vulnerability
(yes, that seemingly weak and sensitive word)

for, to be open and vulnerable only means the stabs are fiercer, the wounds are deeper.
the fear becomes greater.
the walls become higher.
the flesh heart becomes harder.

oh where to go from here!
we close ourselves from loving and being loved,
we fade back from hope....

but love believes all things and hopes all things.
and to truly Love,
we must believe fully in God, we must hope fully in God.

i have nothing to give. i am empty, i am weak, i am worthless.
i cannot say that i have loved or truly know love
but i know God, and to know God is to know Love.

if there is one thing i learned in the first third of 2010, it was to Love out of the heart of God.

love should never expect anything in return. in itself, it is Giving alone.
and for the most part, love can be an aching yet willing sacrifice - a resolution - that takes discipline, endurance, faith, and hope.

indeed, there are possibilities that:

your giving won't be valued or recognized
you'll be rejection
you won't be appreciated
you'll be judged.

Real Love is aware of these things... but still makes the choice to give anyway...
because Real Love gives out of the heart of God.
and God is an endless supply of Truth and Love that satisfies.
and not that it won't ever hurt, but to Love for the sake of God more than the sake of self means that the rejection, judgment, disappointment bears on the back of Jesus Christ Himself - it is His love for us.

the rejection of man cannot touch the affirming Love of Jesus...
He is Love. He satisfies.

Jesus loves me, this i know, for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong...

I am weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.



images are photos/sketches created this year.  also seen on facebook here.
listened to: Holy by Matt Gilman & Cory Asbury; Immersed and Majestic by various IHOP-KC artists.

Monday, November 22, 2010

loving the special ones.

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak...

Psalm 41.1

the past few weeks have been very trying on my spirit, for reasons i cannot legally explain.  it is hard being with disabled children in public school as a contracted worker, knowing that the public education system growls at any form of affection.

in the various situations i've worked in, i have had conversations with teachers, and even parents (!) who warn me never to have children ("then again, work with these kids - instant birth control!").  sometimes they talk about abortion.  sometimes they say they wish they aborted that child (yes, that very child sitting there, with a name, a darling face, and a distinct personality).  Hassles!  they say.  Painful!  they say.  oh the time and money put into this child with no future!  ahh my heart, it aches....

this is their great argument against me, a believer in God- "any god," they would add.  the very famous question, What's their purpose?  What are they good for?

i despise that question.
and granted, i am not the one with all the answers.
but having been around different diagnoses, controlling tantrums for 6 hours every day, redirecting a distracted focus every 30 seconds, hushing disruptive noises, changing diapers, and probably being the only person in the world the child trusts to tell the harmful things the child saw or experienced....

all i know is that they teach us how to love.

they teach us how to love!!  oh how the fruit of the Spirit must ripen within you!  to be patient, to be kind, to control your anger, to be gentle.  to suffer long.  to be at peace.  to be joyful!- because maybe you are the only true joy they will ever know! when there is no other safe place, you become a safe place- you must carry a joy!  you learn true joy.  you learn to love.  and you learn to be faithful. because they've seen unfaithfulness, and when you get angry and they use that to authenticate that "everybody hates me, they're all going to leave," you want to prove them wrong.. not to spite them, but only because you love them, and you are a safe place...

yes.  they teach us how to love.

a love, i assure you, i am still learning daily.
but then goes the thought, should not everybody teach us how to love? absolutely. yes, they should.  except it is a much trickier route to learn love via the most-everybody-else group. because, what we call "love" is more often an economy: giving to receive.  it's very different with the special ones.  most of them cannot help how they respond to you.  they cannot return to you a love that validates every sacrifice you have made for them.  perhaps you've invested your resting, your resources, your sanity for the sake of putting the child at ease.  and in return, they may bite, scratch, throw tantrums.. some are nonverbal, some need total physical assistance.  some are completely verbal and physically able, but their issue is mere delinquency.  and how much will you love, then?

oh it's so easy to take it personal!  their tantrums make you feel like a failure, their angry words make you question your inability to raise children.  you offer every proven incentive, and they cry helplessly, unable to communicate their needs and desires.. and in that moment, how much will you love them?

they are special.  you sacrifice yourself, with no incentive but the sake of a Father's Love, with no reward but knowing you can give Love. and after you have toiled this ground, you shall see the fruit of the Spirit grow bountifully within you.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

-Paul, Acts 20.35

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1.27

My student and I made this together.


currently listening: Will Reagan & United Pursuit Band - Live at Bank's House
* do yourself a favor and get this album.  and yes, i do realize that it seems i am always "currently" listening to upb, but what can i say, the Spirit speaks through them!

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Justice.

In three parts.


Laws do not create core values, laws perpetuate core values.

And what a shame for those who claim to have and know the One who is Truth
(that is to say, the I AM, the Way, the LIFE), to be lame about their voting rights and forego the opportunity to perpetuate LIFE.

How one votes is a blatant expression of his or her core values.
You say one candidate upholds the prime fiscal policies or educational reforms, and mutter under your breath his or her support for partial-birth abortion or assisted suicide...
Ah, this too is a reflection of your core values. Something else apparently matters more than the issue of sparing a few thousand babies from their innocent deaths.

How will you explain to the next generation that you perpetuated a death culture in order to protect your pennies from being pocketed? I would hope that the Spirit of God would so move your heart to the rhythms of Heaven... Heaven holds many babes in her arms, and how she loves them! But have they fulfilled their destinies before the rights were stripped from them?

God, restore righteousness in our government! Would you place someone in position who would perpetuate the the laws of Your Kingdom, and distinguish between the holy and profane.

Endow the king with justice, O God, the royal son with righteousness... He will defend the afflicted among the people, and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor... For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy, and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

- Psalm 72


O shepherds, ministers of the Word! I ask: where will you lead your flocks? Or where will you avoid? Do you not speak of truth and justice and reformation because of protocol, because of status, because of fear? Do you finish your sermon on God-ordained frivolous prosperity, close the door to your office, and say a passing prayer (a mere thought!) that your sheep will choose the best path? Not to say that the outcome is upon your heads, but leaders will be held accountable.

And flock, do not blame your leaders for your laziness. May I propose that voting is tithe and offering too? It is both your responsibility and your willing gift. Laws will be made! Core values perpetuated! What are you standing for? Are you fearful of persecution? Blessed are you who carry the name of Christ! Blessed are you who are not ashamed of His Name before men!

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - JUSTICE, MERCY, and FAITHFULNESS. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.

- Matthew 23.23


My spirit groans, it aches - not in fear for the turnout this upcoming election - but it aches for an awakening of the church, a maturing of the church. We have lost our mandate to care for our fellow bretheren: and I refer most especially to the little ones, the 50+ million in America... we did not vote to save their lives, we put them in the foster care of heartless abortion clinics, we did not wash our hands of guilt (oh, did we know our hands were dirty? and yes, we have licked our fingers after eating processed/preserved/dried religion... these germs! They make us sick.)

We have been unmoved, passive, bland. We are gray walls in an empty castle, we are a prodigious landmark that has gathered moss. How deplorable that the nations should pass us! And forbid that, as though in tourism, they should say, "And herein lies the great church, she has stood throughout history, and she exists today, without inhabitants, without influence."

The grievances of my heart perhaps seem numerable, but I am hopeful.
This is why I pray for justice. This is why I pray for revival.
What is faith, what is a prayer, if I do not believe these things will come to pass?
What is it, to cry out for justice, if I do not have hope for the church, hope for government, hope for LIFE? These words may have been brash, but I speak from a heart that loves LIFE, and it would not be right to cry out on behalf of the dead and dying if I did not contend for those who have survived this holocaust.

This is our moment to perpetuate righteousness, to perpetuate LIFE. There is no HOLY excuse for the murder of innocent babes. So let the conviction in our spirit be for love, for God is Love, God is life. Though we may have been inactive or silent, there is always a greater and unfathomable grace.
My friends, VOTE. PRAY. Move. Shift.

Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth... Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim His praise in the islands. The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior He will stir up His zeal; with a shout He will raise the battle cry and will triumph over His enemies.

"For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp, I pant... I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them..."

- Isaiah 42


Monday, October 18, 2010


There is no way I am anywhere near close to this.  Hence the reason I pray it.


Jesus, how you so deeply desire for me to be ablaze!  And O, that Your jealousy would burn me into pure zealotry- a fervor fueled by a longing for Your heart.  Make the achings of Your heart become the aching of my heart... still,

A life of consecration always comes before a life of love.

- Watchman Nee

I must know You as my King before I know You as my Lover.  I must know You as my Master before I know You as my Friend.  And not that You are exclusive to this, but I nearly demand it of myself, because these sacrifices of servanthood are my acts of love before You.

Beautiful Christ!  When You washed Your disciples' feet, John said of You,

Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love...

- John 13.2

Ah!  The groanings of my spirit cannot comprehend this!  The full extent?  And so what are my weak words before You? I sputter out these immature, incomplete, and still completely innocent words "I love You..."  Yet how have I showed You the full extent of my love?

No.  This is not about religion: about working or purging myself to gain Your love, about performing as a servant before a King, a slave before a Master- oh this would defy the power of the Cross that tore the veil between us!
This is not about the necessity to do these things in order to earn Your love, but this is of my willingness to be a servant as You have been.

This is about giving my offering.  This is not about the tithe that You commanded, this is about the free-will gift that I choose to give to You, the humble sacrifices - taking treasures I have long held close to my soul, and declaring that they are no longer my treasures, for You are my Treasure.

Because the elements of time and resources and earthly gain and ego, what will stand the heat of Your gaze?  What will endure into the eternity we spend together, what will last forever?  I must be consecrated!  Willingly consecrated!  A willing circumcision of my heart!

O the circumcision of the heart!  I must be willing for You to make the painful incisions in every hidden part of me!  Little Heart, you love as much as you know love, but you are wounded and offended and bitter and scared, Little Heart, He must make the careful, excruciating severance...

But willingly I do this, my loving Master, I want to be set apart, marked by my King, separated from the world, consecrated... willingly consecrated... Serving out of love, different because of love, giving out of love, giving giving giving...


And all the while You know my heart.  You know my heart only longs to be closer to You.  I wait on Your every word, I rush to satisfy Your requests, Your demands.  I love Your commands, Your law.  So I find myself in Your presence more oft, and I learn Your ways - the way You like things set, how You want it done.  I learn Your favorite things.  And I would go above and beyond what You ask of me, solely because I love You, and I delight in seeing You delighted.

I know You intimately, just being Your servant, and in the fullness of Your grace, You know me (fully)... You love me.

And He talks with me, and He walks with me, and He tells me that I am His own

- "In the Garden" C. Austin Miles

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

- Jesus.  John 15.15

I am a friend who chooses to serve my Friend.
I know You, my King, in Your chambers.
I have found that I am Your treasure.


Currently Listening: IHOP Prayer Room
Currently Watching: The Phantom of the Opera (because "All I Ask of You" is much like Jesus)
Currently Reading: Song of Songs, by Watchman Nee

Thursday, September 30, 2010


from my post here.

i wish we found beauty and joy as often as it yearns to be found.

i think this would make for a much happier, content, grateful life.
i think it would mean that both our curiosity and angry wonderings will find answers that preface bigger, more meaningful questions.
and i know that in finding beauty and joy, we will find God,
because God can be found in the purity of His creation- and He makes people too.
everyone has even one reason to be loved, and i think when we find that one reason (plus the countless more), we find out why they are beautiful.

i wish we found beauty and joy in people as often as they yearn to be found.

towards the end of today's work, situations set off my student's rude and disrespectful behavior, incidentally making me boil unnaturally.  i went home irate.  maybe i was hungry.  maybe food will make me forget.  maybe food and a movie will make me forget.  maybe food, a movie, and my cat will make me forget.  or maybe i need to remember.  maybe i need to remember that she's quirky, that one, that there are reasons why she makes me laugh.

earlier at lunch, before the crazy outbursts, i was watching my student eat her sandwich.  that is to say, i watched her take apart her sandwich and eat layer by layer individually.  oh wait... rephrase.  i watched her take apart her sandwich, lick each individual layer free of the mayonnaise, re-stack the sandwich, and then eat it - layer by layer.  i wanted to laugh while i gagged my own poor lunch of carrots, granola, berries, and sky flakes.  my stun made for weird noises to add to the viable reasons why most students believe that i am either: A) sixteen, B) an ageless vampire, or C) a gazelle (because, you see, i'm too child-friendly to be a vampire, so i must be 9,999,999,999,999,999 years old.  therefore, next year i'd turning " it billion?  trillion?  gazillion?  is that a word?  maybe it's gazelle... miss k, you're gonna turn into a gazelle next year").  anyway, i made sure my student washed her hands, and i wish i had the rights to cut her nails too in order to prevent a new cozy bed for future and existing mayonnaise globs.  it was disgusting.  but it was funny.  and if i forget something after my food and movie and kitty-cuddles, i want to forget her disrespectful words, her whining, her ridiculous behavior.  i want to forget that i was so ANGRY (with caps!) at her.  and i want to remember that there's beauty and joy in her, and that God enjoys her, and that she is so worth loving.  she is worth loving because God enjoys her.  at the end of the day, THIS (with caps!) is what i should remember.

oh and one more thing... sometimes i reward this girly-girl by letting her paint my nails - with crayola or dry-eraser markers - because they come OFF.  occasionally, she'll even put stickers on my nails.  she really wants me to paint my nails hot pink like hers, but i protest.  she can't make me do that.  today, however, was a coupling of placing star stickers on my nails, and because of her excellent work, coloring them too!  what i failed to notice, to my loss, is that she snuck a SHARPIE to use, and i was stuck with two ugly black nails!!!  the stars peeled off to make a cool effect i would have liked when i was sixteen (adding, yet again, to the different options of who students believe me to be), but not now.  and i am stuck.  with these nails.  i must find remover.  or be forced to paint my nails.



currently watching: Bright Star (oh. yes.)
currently listening: a worship playlist titled "Hello, God!"
currently reading: the book of James

Thursday, September 2, 2010


nothing was outstanding about today.
i went to work.  i read a book.  i did paperwork.

but at the end of this ordinary day, i feel unbelievably dissatisfied.
did i find God today?

did i at least try?

i'm so thankful for His mercies...
they are new every morning.

i'll try again tomorrow.

i want to be found faithful.


currently listening: "Found Faithful" by Justin Rizzo
currently reading: C.S. Lewis

Sunday, August 8, 2010

on rebukes.

The first requirement in God's work is a pure, not a powerful spirit.  Those who neglect this, though their work may be done in power, will find it destroyed due to lack of purity.  Though they may truly possess the power of God, yet because their spirit is mixed, they are destroying what they build... 

- Watchman Nee, "The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit."

The topic of powerful and pure spirits can stream into multiple directions - but now we will talk about rebukes and judgments.

I think that before you rebuke someone, you should be willing to fast and pray for that person.  That is to say, fast and pray for a purity of spirit - the purity of your spirit.

You can approach someone with a rebuke and say it in a powerful spirit, but if it is an impure spirit, the person ends up touching the soul of man - your soul - and not solely the Spirit of God.  This is also why it is not fasting and praying in order to find justification for your rebuke.  An unbroken soul, an impure spirit, will approach the Word of God to justify their causes, instead of approaching the Word to find God.  In doing so, we profane His Word.  (May God forgive us for searching His Word to make us look right.)

A simple example: seeing a fellow brother or sister in a gradual reversal - supposedly in their spiritual walk.  And you'd like to break off the dark cloud over his life..
But- how do you truly know it's depression?  Is it really a sense in your spirit, or a sense in your soul?  Is "depression" a word of knowledge, or your personal disagreement with this change in character?

There have been occasions in which we have made assumptions, that turned into judgment, that caused an offense in our hearts - and out of this un-clarified offense, we present a rebuke.  And even if we will never approach them with a rebuke, to even hold an assumption or judgment in our heart - would we still be willing to fast and pray for that person?

Are we willing to fast and pray for our enemies?

It's somewhat of a pride/ego issue.

I think we forget that the verse "pray for those who persecute you" was actually preceded by "love your enemies."

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemies."  But I tell you: Love your neighbor and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

- Matthew 5.43-48

Christ did not say this with the primary intention for our persecutors to stop, or for our enemies to become our best friends - but He did it for our own change of heart.  For the sake of forgiveness, the sake of compassion, the sake of love.  To go above and beyond.  To be set apart from the world.

In fasting and praying for purity of spirit, we are praying for compassion.  If you are going to rebuke someone, you had better be willing to provide that person with a safe support to restoration.  Have we not seen it too often?  Quick to rebuke, quick to walk away, quick to be offended, quick to slander.  Where is the compassion?  Where is Jesus in all of this?  And rebuke is necessary - it's said in the Word. But better a rebuke from the wise, than from a fool...

O that we would learn what true rebuke is - that we would rebuke out of a pure heart, not for the sake of pride, not for the sake of friendship, but foremost for the sake of Christ...

God!  Teach us how to love!  Teach me how to love.. I judge and assume too, I am in need of grace too.

As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore, be zealous and repent.

- Revelation 3.19


"A Demand" by Fuco Ueda.  2002.

Currently (finished!) Reading: "The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit," by Watchman Nee

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

redefining grace

i didn't fall off the planet, i've just started a truck-load of drafts that i never seem to finish writing.  this, for example, was started in April 2010.  cheers.


you do the work, you get your wages.
you do the math, you get the answer.
you pay the price, you get the product.

and if you don't do the aforementioned conditions, you don't deserve the results.

fortunately, none of the above are rules.  they are theories, but they're very breakable.

if we're the hard workers, we like the thought of getting what we deserve.  and we grumble about those who enjoy the pleasures they've done nothing to earn.  because it's not fair, right?  why should they be eating the fruit of our labor?  i do all the work, they do none, and we split the reward?  where's HR!  or someone to audit this business!  growl!

in matthew 20:1-16, a landowner hires workers at different times of the day, morning, noon, evening.  they all finish at the same time, i.e, some worked much longer hours than others.  and they all get the same pay.  WHAT.  yeah.  exactly.

But [the landowner] answered one of them, "Friend, I am not being unfair to you.  Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?  Take your pay and go.  I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave to you.  Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?  Or are you envious because I am generous?"  So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
- Matthew 20:13-16

"Are you envious because I am generous?"  ouch.
i am no theologian, but i imagine heaven.  and we're all getting that reward of the lovely encounter with Christ, regardless of when we got "saved."  it doesn't seem like the nature of God to say, "person A: you have been a Christian, following all the rules since you were in your mama's belly.  you get to enjoy 100% of heaven!  and person B: you got saved on your deathbed, so you get to enjoy -ehh- maybe 0.01% of heaven."

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 
- Ephesians 2:6-9

maybe it seems so basic to talk about grace in the likes of salvation, but the reason i do this is because of the true difficulty of grace.  "they haven't said sorry."  "they didn't put as much work into it as i have."  "they haven't treated me right."  "they use and abuse me."  they don't deserve anything!  

my life's honest context: i chose to extend a sacrifice of patient love that left me sore.  "this person treats me like dirt, this person deserves dirt."  yet, each time i'd become resolute in my fair trade organization, God would tell me, "Go back.  Love more."  and i would get the same generic appreciation, if not "less," than others who did nothing but kiss a*.  sorry.  it was so unfair.  it kind of felt like the lottery, and i detest gambling.  it was as if i worked endlessly and gained nothing, and this person did nothing and received bountifully.

written March 23, 2009 (Journey).

We like incentive from God. We like incentive from anybody. We like giving if it involves - receiving. Some of this mentality has been perpetuated by the independence of our age, that has taught us about "sowing and reaping." We learned that we earn what we have worked for, and therefore, work to earn. It's a cycle that has its place, but which we have unfortunately abused and sprinkled with selfishness.

i'm learning to love without incentive, without the hope of an incentive, without false hope.  i'm remembering my Kingdom inheritance and all the unseen and eternal promises which i've never had to work for, but will enjoy forever... i'm learning to love for the sake of love, to give grace for the sake of grace - and never for the sake of reciprocation, which is a premise likely to fail.  i'm learning to give freely, to give willingly, to give joyfully.  and i'm realizing that whatever love i have to offer ought not to be reserved for the ones who already love me, but especially for those who love me the least...
i am learning to re-define grace.


currently listening: the sound of heavy rain
currently reading: The Prophets by Abraham Heschel and Psalm 46

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

But God...

I realize I have one gargantuan list of drafts to finish writing; on love, on grace, on forgiveness, on the yearning spirit.

But this post could not wait, simply because there is an immediacy of testifying to the goodness of God.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

- Psalm 62.1-2

I am thankful for the Love of God.  He is unlike the majority of mankind.  In the deepest, darkest hours, He runs to us, not away from us.  Many people speculate the reverse, but really, those assumptions-turned-beliefs often stem from being too proud to receive His love.  And what I mean is, sometimes, when God extends a direction, a command, or even His mercy and grace, we respond with, "No, God, You don't understand... You don't understand what I'm dealing with, how incapable I am... I just can't."  And we recount our past life, our failures, our sins, our inabilities, our issues, our narrow-focused identity.  Basically, we are telling God, "My weakness is stronger than Your strength."  It's really a pride issue.

It was my issue.

Not that I would blatantly confess my refusal of His love, but unintentionally, I would turn down His offers to help me.

Example 1:

God says: "I want you to pursue [this one dream]."
I say: "But God, I need to take care of [these weighty things] first.  Because if I don't, how will I be able to support my life?"
God: "Um... Me."
I say: "But God... You don't understand, I have these bills to pay..."

Example 2:

God says: "You messed up, but I love you anyway."
I say: "But God... I promised I wouldn't do it again.. and... I do it again. and again.  I feel bad, like I'm abusing grace..."
God says: "My grace is sufficient for you."
I say: "But I feel bad."

Pretty much.
It's saying, "My weakness is stronger than Your strength."

It's a pride issue.  What is it in me, though, that makes me think I'm perfectly capable of doing everything on my own terms?  Why do we keep slipping into that?  I suppose mankind has struggled with that since Eden, and debating whether or not "God really said."  But regardless, it should never become a tolerated excuse.  I'm tired of doing everything by myself.  I want to believe that "God really said."

I think about the ever-present verse, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" Phil 4.13.  would then the opposite be true?

Jesus gave them this answer, "I tell you the truth, [even] the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all He does...."

- John 5.19-20

[Jesus said], "...Apart from Me, you can do nothing."

-John 15.5

There you have it.

All that being said, I surrender.  Sure: as much as we live and breathe and accumulate, we'll have multiple and constant points of surrender.  But I'm reminding myself to surrender now.  I'm reminding myself that I can't do it on my own.  I can't do it without God.  I'm reminding myself that I am not in control.  And actually, believing that is completely liberating.


Currently Listening: Jason Upton's message, Satisfied By God.  like 50x in two weeks.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confessions on Being Relevant

This was written on May 30th of 2009.  I don't know why I never published it; it's weighted, it's true.


Once upon a time, I prostituted my worship.

The covenant with God requires a full heart and no other idols.  But once upon a time, I chose to share the devotion of my heart with the world - no, not just the world.  I chose to take the gaze of my eyes off of my God to look at the expectations of man-pleasing churches.  I chose to verify my actions with second, third, fourth parties, instead of acting on behalf of His Word alone.

In the first decade of this century, a rising body of young adult believers began demanding "We need to tone down our Gospel." This popular trend declared that the zeal of the evangelistic church has damaged the name of Christianity, and that Christians nowadays need to be quiet and relevant and unitarian in order to reach this generation. So, I chose to take up the bitter and judgmental ranting sessions with fellow Christians, rather than unwaveringly boast about the Love and Truth laid out in black and white.

Once upon a time, I chose to be a relevant Christian.

I did not want people [aka, the Christian friends that I have / the people I know] to bash me for being radical, for being a Jesus freak, for being so forward with the Truth. Surely, to openly talk about loving Jesus, to bring out my Bible and read verses amidst a casual coffeehouse chillout, to suggest we stop what we are doing to pray and worship - this steps on people's toes. Oddly enough, doing this in front of a lot of other Christians makes them feel awkward.

I became a part of the relevant church because I did not want to be opposed. I wanted to stay liked. I wanted to be on everyone's good side.

But watering down my beliefs only made me unstable. And what good did I personally do to help the harvest by being a relevant Christian? Honestly? Did I bring people to the saving Love of Jesus by being relevant? No! The only thing that being a relevant Christian did was justify my lifestyle. It made it okay for me to indulge in the pleasures that the rest of society does. It made it acceptable for me to saturate myself into culture and all the glorified idols of self and infidelity and aesthetics. I did not expand the Kingdom by being relevant. It only made me able to stand beside the world, and look no different.

In the end, what will matter is the fruit. Do we pick our church because it will take us where we want to go, or are we really surrendered to where He wants us to go? Does what we do bear fruit?

I didn't bear any fruit. I wasn't a vessel that caused anybody to want to yearn for Christ. In fact, I didn't even bear fruit that edified myself. I was just another humanist with a God I could call on whenever I needed a boost. I wasn't sold out to Him. I didn't surrender everything, I didn't say He could have it all. Maybe He had my heart, but He didn't have my mind. He had my Sunday but He didn't have my Friday night. He had my closet prayer but He didn't have my sidewalk conversations. He had my journal entries but He didn't have my spoken words. He was my resting, but He wasn't in my dreaming. He had my communion, but not my covenant. He was my breathing, but He wasn't my living. He was my song, but He wasn't my worship. He was an idol, He was not my God.

My life is different now. I am in a relentless pursuit of Him. And it will cost me. If He took away my talent, my hands, my sight, my voice.. If He took away the people who are closest to my heart, if He asked me to stay single, if He told me to do the most radical things in the world, if He told me to love my neighbor, if He told me to say sorry, or even to forgive... these are all costly.  Like David said, I will not offer something to God that didn't cost me anything. This is going to cost me. But I am ready, and I am willing.

I am purging my life - not because of religious demand, but as a freewill offering to God..
"This is no sacrifice, here's my life."

I will never be the same.
I'm finally going to speak aloud.


currently watching: "Babel"

Monday, May 24, 2010

bread of adversity

Makes enough for one tired soul. Double the recipe if you've had personal intercessors that have scraped their knees in prayer for you. They deserve some reward.


1. In a golden bowl, mix equal parts of these dry ingredients:

  • frustration (can be substituted with anger, whichever one is more fierce)
  • pain/heartache
  • hopelessness

2. Gradually add blood-sweat-tears until it becomes cohesive. (BST can be homemade... or workmade. if you are out, ask Jesus to use some of His.)
3. Throw it onto a well-floured surface and beat the crap out of it until it forms a homogenous ball.
3a. If you find this process difficult, put the ball underneath the golden bowl, take a moment, and pause. Sigh. Yawn. Hum. Close your eyes. This will make it a bit more loving and cooperative.
4. Lightly smooth the golden bowl with the Oil of Gladness; return the dough into the bowl to make sure it is completely covered and saturated in the anointing.
5. Leave this madness and insanity alone for some time. Let it rise. Let your praises rise. Let your worship, gratitude, and affections rise. It'll seem like the dough is doubling in size, which it is.. but God's love is working in it. I promise. Don't freak out.
6. Punch the air out of it. Release. Let go. Exhale.
7. Turn your oven onto its hottest temperature. Put the dough in the center of the flame.
8. Bake until golden. Purely golden. Purely irresistible. Pure and holy.
9. Let it cool off in the peace and tranquility of God.
10. Smile. Enjoy the yummy goodness of the Lord.
11. Share.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are those who wait for Him!  O people of Zion, you will weep no more.  How gracious He will be when you cry for help!  As soon as He hears, He will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying: "This is the way; walk in it."
-Isaiah 30.18-21



Currently listening: "You Are My Hope" from Holy by Matt Gilman/Cory Asbury

Saturday, May 15, 2010

for the moments of dreaming

we stopped asking ourselves, "wouldn't it be nice if we were older?"
because we're older now, a little wiser, a little stronger.
we're different now, a little braver, a little sharper.

our jokes are yet silly, while witty and sarcastic
our rhymes eliminated "you" + "too" and we converse with prose.
we stopped picking yellow dandelions and putting them in old glass jars,
we grow gardens with herbs and kale and peppers.

stick figures progressed to blueprints, and a piggy bank fueled an international cause
our puppy is wrinkly and lazy on the porch,
we look wrinkly, and only lazy on Saturday mornings.

we look wrinkly.
only a little.. if you look close, you say.
i like to believe you.
you're a lot wiser now.

and our younger dreams now look like furry stuffed animals that we pat on the head
and place in the corner of our twin bed,
inside a room painted with dandelion-yellow,
inside our aging mother's house.

we dreamt beautiful dreams.
of a large treehouse in a large tree, with a giant ladder and a giant tire swing
of flying bicycles with baskets full of blueberries and sweets
of desserts before dinner and dinner was pie
of rain when we're sleepy and sun when we're sunny

of marshmallow pillow fights and big red balloons,
of neverending sheets for our neverending fortresses
of running beside you and catching every rainbow
of loving forever and laughing right now

we dreamt beautiful dreams.

we put them inside a room.
we're a little bit older...

hand on the doorknob.

i don't want to close the door to this room, you can close it.
no, you close it.
but i can't.
i don't want to.
you don't have to
i don't think i will.

hand on the doorknob.

would you close the door?
you're hand is on the doorknob.
but would you close the door?
so why are we here?

to look at our childhood dreams.

wouldn't it be nice if we were younger?
we are young.

i like to believe you.
you're a lot wiser now.


God, that I would worship you with exuberance in the moments of dreaming, that in the appointed time of fulfillment, I would not forget my Maker.


currently listening: "Declaration of Dependence" by Kings of Convenience
currently reading: John 1-3

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


i've been slaving away at writing blog posts that never finish... and this one probably doesn't fit anything i've written here before.. life happens.


this is not about my student (just so you know).


i attribute any calm i have at work to the miraculous peace of God, because this classroom can be a jolting ride. it's like the spinning teacups at disneyland. they look cute at first, but once you're in, you're just going in circles, repeating yourself tirelessly, and in the end, you feel like throwing up. i'm constantly wondering if what i do has any effect on these children.  

God knows we need affirmation. 
there's one particular child who is a real pro at drama:  

K: stop hurting me! 
me: bro, i'm like 30 ft away from you.  

K (to me): UGH, if i eat this school lunch my gurgling intestines will explode all over your dorky FACE. gimme your lunch NOW! (i have to give him some points. he used a million-dollar word. "gurgling.")  

you should see him fake injuries to skip P.E.  

but even in the middle of the negative behavioral spurts, mockery, intentional non-compliance, and oscar-winning performances, i'm now starting to see how much he takes on to me.  

he used to pester me about my age. i tell the kids, especially the boys, "rule #1, you never ask a lady how old she is." and then one day, in the cafeteria (because i have no breaks), the other children kept poking me about how old i am. he got up immediately and shouted, "YOU NEVER ASK A LADY HER AGE!" i was proud. i gave him a high-five.  

yesterday he was a real pill to the other teachers: hiding under the furniture, picking on other student's disabilities, complete refusal to do his work. it was near end of the day, and i was trying to get things situated with my own student. the teachers were trying to get him to write sentences, giving him the option of working with this EA or that one...  
and he just blurted, "i want to do it with miss karen! she's actually nice to me! and she listens!" so the teacher promised to work one-on-one with my student if i could get him to work, "alright k, you better get your work done - with your favorite teacher."  

we got it done, eventually, even if his sentences included: 
1. "agitated" - "I get agitated when commercials interrupt my tv show." 
2. "hopefully" - "Hopefully, i will go to my friend's house and play video games." 
3. "giant" - "Ms. Karen has a giant purse."  

he actually got his work done. and in the end, he asked me to draw a tree frog for him. "He really likes you," one of the teachers said.  

he patted my back and said, "thanks, ms karen."  

and then i realized i've been had.

too bad he spelled it wrong.


currently listening: The Question by Emery
currently watching: Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.  Happy Earth Day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


i know this will be strangely vague... but i need to get it off my back.


Something in me just realized - "I don't want that anymore."  And not that I ever really had it - I mean officially and externally - but I did have it somewhere inside of me... somewhere in my thought life I owned it, somewhere in my emotions I owned it, somewhere in my daydreams I owned it.  And it wasn't a bad thing to hope for...

But I don't want it anymore.

I think you can liken it to eating at a new restaurant.  You've seen the pictures, read the reviews, and loved ones have incessantly recommended it to you.  The hype whets your appetite - only to realize that the wait is too long, everything's overpriced, the service is terrible, and they drizzle their desserts with Hershey's chocolate syrup (ultimate FAIL by the way).  Oh and you're under-dressed for the stoic atmosphere.

Well... I've never been to "the restaurant," never eaten the leftovers, but inside of me, I just don't want to go anymore. I no longer have that craving, that hunger, that desire - the thought or idea of it no longer seems appealing.  I'm not appalled by it, just... uninterested.

Perhaps the restaurant was a bad analogy.  Now all I can think of is food service.

But really-
I don't want this anymore.
I don't want to spend my hopes, my anticipation..

And I know that these feelings stem from the fact that I just want God.
I just want God.
I don't want to focus on anything else besides Him.

This morning I was driving to work with a Scripture playing tirelessly in my mind and spirit:
Seek the LORD while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.
-Isaiah 55:6

About a month ago, I came out of a treacherous 6 month dry-spell.  It was more like desert + dark valley.  And the search for His voice, for His face, His affirmations - they seemed pointless, fruitless almost.  So now, as I am out of that desert season and watching His love unfold, I want to take advantage of it and delve into the depths of His glory.  Him and me, hand in hand.  Reveling in the nearness.

I rather have the home-cooked meal than paying for something He can make better.
With the unspoken trust that He created it in reliable Love.
With the comfort of jeans and a hoodie.

That said, I feel like all this other "stuff" can wait... If He brings it to me, so be it, but I'm not going to make it happen, I'm not going to put time and effort into it, I'm not going to twiddle my thumbs in anticipation.  I'd rather spend myself at the feet of Jesus, hearing Him, seeing Him, loving Him, and being loved by Him.  Dining with Him.  Communion.

Maybe one of these days Jesus would want to go out to eat at that restaurant.  But the nice thing is, He's such a gentleman - He is wonderful company, deep and lighthearted, and kind enough to get the tab.  And anyway, no one can make a recommendation like He can.  I'll trust where He takes me.

Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.  But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.
-Psalms 73.25-28


Listening: to absolute silence.

Monday, March 8, 2010


we could all use a little (..a lot) of forgiveness.  to have and to give.

and forgiveness never means that what happened is acceptable, nor does it mean that trust or camaraderie will be restored.  but forgiveness does mean that we've released the right to bitterness - unfulfilled revenge.

and what a hard path that is, to ache restlessly from a deep wound, to burn in anger from an offense, to have plotted a victorious comeback that would inflict twice the damage; and then to make a clear resolution, "i will no longer hold it against you."

surely life is not without tension, conflict, wronging, or being wronged.  these are all things that we can liken to the human walk of Jesus.  and He felt anger too - but He always responded with love, forgiveness, and grace.  He truly is.. unconditional.

it's a chore to take forgiveness and tackle the large traumas of our past, but if only we could start with the smaller battles.  luke 17:1 NASB says, "it is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come."  stumbling blocks never refer to gargantuan boulders; you stumble on cracks in the pavement, misplaced rocks, unseen objects in your path.  similarly, let the forgiveness start with minor discrepancies, slightly noticeable inconsistencies, unintended faults.

because especially then, when the heavy offenses come, the tension won't have to escalate by the resurrection of their small irritable habits.  you know what i mean.. when you're angry with someone, every little thing they do that you once tolerated now makes you want to punch their face.  or perhaps something less violent, but just as impacting.

sometimes we think our love is more valuable than God's.
that is to say, God gives His love so freely and so willingly, without demand, without requirements, so full of pure grace...
but we feel that people need to work their way up, meet a standard, and earn our respect, earn our love.  and if their performance has been less than satisfactory, they don't deserve our attention, much less our affections.  and not that we hate them, but we don't truly love them... maybe we do.  maybe it's just cold love.  maybe we could use some forgiveness too.

"So watch yourselves.  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.  If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."  The apostles said to the Lord, "INCREASE OUR FAITH!"  He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."
-Luke 17:3-6


currently listening: Immersed, by Various IHOP artists
currently reading: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
currently watching: Once.  and listening to the soundtrack.. Falling Slowly is played repeatedly throughout the week.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


in case you were wondering
if you mattered to anyone
if your thoughts mattered
if your feelings mattered
if your dreams mattered

if the things which are important to you are important to anyone else
if anyone would care so much to make these things important to them
if you are valued, or thought of, or desired

if you've been waiting for someone, anyone, or a certain someone(s)
to ask you how you're doing (and genuinely, intently wanting to know)
or to ask you how you're feeling (and sincerely empathizing)
or to hold you accountable to the dreams you've once had
(and selflessly making sure you don't shrink backwards)

or to pursue you, because you've run so far you forgot your way back
or to fight for you, because the battle has deeply wounded your confidence
or to cry out on your behalf, because your tears have been spent on searching

or to break down the walls you've built
"not to shut people out
but to see if anyone cared enough to knock them down"

if you mattered to anyone so much
that they would knock those walls down...

in case you were wondering if you mattered to anyone,
you matter to Him.


it's so elementary.... but it's so true... maybe we forget that He wants to be the first one we run to. maybe we make ourselves forget because our flesh longs for the tangible... (after all, i am not crying on His shoulder, i cry on my pillow. i do not feel His strong arms surround me, i feel the warmth of the layered blankets.)

yes His love is supreme - He is the comfort of our spirit, the soothe of our soul, the balm for our heart, the calm of our mind. but because we matter so much to God, because we still long to FEEL that embrace, He has given us the BODY of Christ - extensions of His love. "Isolation won't be your protection." You matter to people. And even though we've been hurt a million times over by them, here's where we must find the deepest security in the love of God, then step out and LET ourselves be loved by others too.

Go. Be loved. Your faith has made you whole. His love has made you whole.


Currently Listening: "Daughters of Jerusalem" - Immersed by David Brymer (IHOP)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


LORD, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill?

He who keeps his oath,
even when it hurts.

He who does this will never be shaken.

Psalm 15:1, 4, 5

currently listening: BURN Knoxville - May 2008, United Pursuit Band.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


To keep me from being conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

II Cor 12.7-10

For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God's power, we will live with Him to serve you.

II Cor 13.4


Currently Listening: Praise Is Beautiful, by Suzy Yaraei