To The Broken Ones: Don’t Let Shame Strangle You

To the Broken Ones

She sat across from me, clutching the coffee mug tightly in her hands. This was supposed to be a normal conversation in a café, yet quickly became anything but. As her words and then tears began to trickle and then gush out, I quickly came to sit beside her, letting the torrential rain of hurt and grief flow out. When the storm had slowed, she looked at me with broken eyes. Her hurt is not mine to share, but her words then and a hundred others’ could have been paraphrased thus: “I’m not even worthy anymore. I have to be perfect, to be so good, and I failed. I’m broken forever.”

Those words cut me.

I wanted to weep and scream and fight those words. Even now, I still tremble and my throat tightens at the remembering. I hate them. The choices that led to them, the beliefs that fed those conclusions to her, and the ravages they had done to her. This was my friend, and she was being destroyed. Shame was strangling her life away, and not only metaphorically. She had been pierced, so deeply wounded, and I hated that she had done it and I hated that she had been told to just throw a Band-Aid over it and I hated that she was dying inside because of it. If I could have physically walked up to her shame and thrown myself punching at it, I would have. My soul screamed and grieved at the brokenness of it all.

And the worst part is, she’s not the only one. Different words, different girls, but I’ve heard so many echoing the same conclusion. I’ve messed up. That’s it. I’m not good enough anymore, and I can never go back. Everyone, God included, is disappointed with me. I can’t go to Him after what I’ve done.

And I want to scream, No, no, no, and do something drastic, anything to take away this hurt from them. But I can’t. You can’t fight something that’s not physical. Continue reading

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Why Writers (And the Rest of Us) Need Poetry

Why Writers Need Poetry

Poetry is difficult for me.  I can’t identify the rhythm scheme of a stanza to save my life, and I was never very interested in doing so. Yes, I did the required reading for school; yes, I memorized The Ride of Paul Revere; but if you asked me, the style got in the way of the story. It would take up so much less space if we didn’t stack the lines. And at least that was a story-poem, the best kind in my opinion. The poems for just poetry, of snow and leaves and fog creeping in on little cat feet– I could do without them. When I left highschool and Edward Lear behind, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had no time for all of that.

Perhaps it’s not odd that I had this view, all things considered. After all, we live in a  scientific, straightforward, and practical culture. Lines section our sky, from towers to plane trails to power lines. We live in a world of checklists and traffic lanes, everyone always rushing by with something to do. We live in a reality where things have an exact place and a strict definition. A house is just a dwelling for people. A pen is just an instrument for making markings on paper. A star is just a globe of gas billions of cold miles away.

But poetry asks, what if we’re wrong? Continue reading

We Don’t Like to Believe God

We don’t like to believe God.

Yes, He knows all things, so we probably should believe Him. Yes, He’s the truth, so we should probably listen. Yes, we’re Christians who have already believed Him in the most imperative thing of how we gain eternity and salvation. But still, we don’t. Sure, we’ll believe Him when He says, “no man comes to the Father but by Me,”(Jhn. 14:6) but some other parts of His Word, some other facets of His plan, we’re not quite sure about. We’ll follow His logic, but only so far.

God tells us we were sinners, separated from Him; and we’ll nod our heads and mourn. (Rom. 5:8) He says Christ Jesus has come to save sinners, and we shout Hallelujah.(1 Ti. 1:15) He declares He makes sinners new, and we clap our hands. He tells us we are now saints, and we shout, “Amen!”(Rev. 21:5) But then He starts to tell us who we are as saints–and we hesitate. We shuffle our feet. We become uncomfortable, unsure if He’s right.

We Don't Like To Believe God

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You’re Not Behind In Life

Have you ever felt like life was leaving you behind?

We see so many stories of Rebelutionaries seeking after God, doing hard things, and changing the world. It’s amazing to see the work other young people are doing. Writing books. Graduating college early. Starting ministries. Starting businesses. All of those are good and beautiful and amazing, and we applaud and rejoice with each of them. But sometimes, there can be a twinge of hurt mixed in.

Because we look on those things from afar. We’re happy for them, yes, but we’re not there with them. We’re not doing what they are. We’re not in that same place. Everyone seems to be flying past us, and the years are too. Rebelutionaries are teens doing hard things for God–but some of us realize we’re not teens anymore. There’s a frantic whisper in the back of our minds, saying we’re behind our peers, behind our expectations, and behind in life. And that’s hard.

I know. I’m in this curious stage of life where most of my friends are engaged, married, or pregnant. They’re getting professional jobs, graduating from college, or moving across the country. But I’m sitting here. Still the same. Perhaps you can relate, even if you’re in a different age demographic. Everyone else is graduating high school. Everyone else is going on exotic mission trips. Everyone else is going to fancy colleges.

But we’re sitting here, still the same.

Have you ever felt like life was leaving you behind? Everyone seems to be flying past us, and the years are too. Rebelutionaries are teens doing hard things for God–but some of us realize we’re not teens anymore. There’s a frantic whisper in the back of our minds, saying we’re behind our peers, behind our expectations, and behind in life. And that’s hard.

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Can You Interchange Live and Love?

My autocorrect is a passive-aggressive menace. Most days he follows along, a faithful butler who sees my needs and quietly corrects my errors. But, much like most movie butlers, autocorrect is not entirely compliant in his place.

He takes sideswipes at my past spelling mistakes by innocently including them in his suggestions. He won’t let me forget that one time I kept caps-lock on for an entire paragraph. He even presumes to know what I want to say, when in reality I want much the opposite. An exasperating fellow, that autocorrect. Still, I wouldn’t be able to get by without him. And sometimes, much like most movie butlers, he makes me stop and consider my ways.

The cause of such strange thoughts on autocorrect? A simple switching of vowels.

Almost every time I type the word “live” on my phone, this butler switches it to “love.”  You might not think this is a huge deal. But this slight change can become quite a problem when you ask a friend if they want to go see a live show.

But though it may cause a few mishaps, I wonder if my autocorrect is actually correct. Perhaps those terms should be more interchangeable. Perhaps they should be more the cadence of my life…

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Why I Write

Why do I write?

The question stares at me tonight. The span of time since I’ve written stretches far back into days, weeks, months even. A pulsing emptiness, the great void of silence. It asks, why should I attempt to bridge it? Why pick it back up? After all, there are plenty of other things to do. I could be studying. Or earning money. Or cleaning house. Or doing something, tangible, physical, real even. It warns me to back away from the canyon, to settle back into the normal life.

Because it’s hard to live the writer life. Making words is like giving birth–I don’t know how it works. It takes concentration, focus, and an undistractedness I rarely have.

So why do I write?

Because every word I write stands as a silent protest to this most chaotic world…

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Abandoned Succulents and God’s Love

I don’t quite understand the current succulent craze. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, perhaps it’s only a Southern Texas trend, yet all over, succulents are spreading. They’re in house. In magazines. In photos. On wrapping paper. In weddings.

Now perhaps this fad is a small act of defiance against this harsh climate we live in. Yes, we’ll live with the cacti, but we’re going to live with the small ones. Or perhaps it’s because succulents are small, and thus we project onto them that they’re cute. Regardless of the reason, I still don’t fully understand why people love succulents.

But one succulent helped me to more fully understand love.

Abandoned Succulents and God's Love

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Toddlers and Our Dirty Hands| Guest Post at For His Great Name

I’m delighted to be guest posting on Alyssa’s blog For His Great Name today. Alyssa has such a heart for the Word and for proclaiming it to the world through missions. You can read my full post here, and be sure to read and follow her blog while you’re there!


“Bell-wup, Bell-wup!” my little brother calls, his toddler feet pattering across the wooden floor. Almost four and talking so well, yet my name has retained its babyish suffix. “I have dirty hands!” he proclaims sadly, holding them up for me to see. So I’ll help him up onto his stool in front of the sink, turning on the water and providing soap at the correct times.

But I sigh good-naturedly as I do so. Because this is the third time he’s done the exact same thing in fifteen minutes. And each and every time, no matter how hard I look, I can’t find anything on his hands. There’s no dirt. There’s no mud. There’s no smudges. He’s been playing with a mask, so maybe he brushed some glitter off, but even that I cannot see.

Yet he’s insistent that his hands are dirty. And if his hands are dirty, he knows they need to be washed.

Now, a toddler wanting to be continuously cleaned isn’t a big deal (in fact, I should probably be thankful, because the next little one will likely be the exact opposite). I’ll laugh at him and let him splash around and delight in the water that flows so freely out of the tap. But he’s not the only one who gets messy.

Because my hands are often dirty too. Not with physical dirt and germs, but with sin. With mistakes. With wrongs.

And yes, we know we all sometimes slip and land in the mud, the mire coming up to our elbows. We know we need to be washed then. But often it’s the little dirt that we pass over. I tell a little white lie (as if such a thing exists). I allow my anger to make me snap out, to just cross that line for a moment. I cut those corners because I just don’t feel like it today. I slip into gossip and condemnation. But we don’t see those as big deals. If someone else looked, they couldn’t really see it. But it’s still there. We still feel it. We still know our hands are dirty. Yet we allow it.

“It’s not a big deal,” we tell ourselves. “It’s just something little; I don’t need to go wash.” But that’s not true. Finish reading at For His Great Name

Toddlers and Our Dirty Hands

 

Going To Church Is Useless — If

It was Easter Sunday, and I had no reason to go to church.

It was nine degrees outside. Nine degrees. This Southern girl had never experienced that before, not even in the darkest depths of winter. All I wanted to do was bury myself deeper into my bed, resting under my white covers rather than braving the white snow drifts outside. And I should have. I could have taken my time waking up, and eaten a nice warm breakfast, rather than scoffing down cereal. And I should have. I could have slowly and thoroughly prepared myself for the day, rather than rushing about in a flurry searching for gloves and scarves and tying shoelaces for my little brother. And I should have.

In fact, I should save myself the trouble of having to go to church every week, I should do away with the discipline of reading my Bible every morning, I should dispense with the whole of my faith — if.

If Christ is not risen.

Going To Church Is Useless -- If

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Surviving Leviticus: 3 Tips To Persevere in Your Bible Reading

Leviticus.

That dreaded name in your Bible-in-a-year plan.

“In the beginning” of January, you start off just fine. The Creation of existence, the Garden of Eden, the ark of Noah — we’ve heard these stories since Sunday School, and comfortably sail through our two or three chapters every day. Then comes Exodus, and it’s full of adventure and intrigue. Burning bushes, massive plagues, attempted coups within the camp of Israel — you can almost hear the echoes of The Prince of Egypt soundtrack playing as your read.

But January turns into February, and the white of winter turns into slushy brown, and you start to drag. Because all of a sudden you begin to read every detail about how the tabernacle was built. And I mean every detail. Use this many rings on the left wall. Use this many rings on the right wall. Use this many rings on the front wall. Use this many rings on the back wall. Put this many pomegranates on the left curtain. Put this many pomegranates on the right curtain. Put this many pomegranates on the front curtain… And so you trudge through these last few chapters of Exodus, convinced you can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then you’re hit by the train of Leviticus.

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