We Can’t Go Back to Our Childhoods–But Maybe That’s a Good Thing

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“I wish we could be 10-years old again–back when we played as little princesses and life was simple and easy.” My friend sighed wistfully as she said it, and my heart echoed the sentiment. We were discussing the myriad of different challenges and choices in life, and she was a little overwhelmed by it all.

Haven’t we all felt the same at some point? There was a time long ago when we were young, when everything was beautiful. We were sure everything would be simple and easy; we were convinced everything would work out alright. But we’re grown now, and we’re not quite so sure anymore.

Because as life went on, it also became harder. Dreams have died. Loved ones have been ripped away too early. We’ve stumbled and fallen. Life is no longer full of play and enjoyment; there are decisions to be made–big, life-altering ones–and we’ve known failure enough to fear its coming again. We’ve let love in, only to let it wound us, and are left wondering if we’ll ever find it at all. We’ve lost friendships and trust, and wonder if in a way we’ve also lost us.

Because we’re not those happy little children anymore. Growing up is hard, and we bear the evidence that we’ve learned that through experience. Our toy crowns are long gone, our shoes are scuffed and scraped, and our eyes have seen some tears. And sometimes we wish it all away, that none of this had ever happened, and that we could go back to being those children again.

But maybe it’s a better thing, to be more than merely innocent.

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4 Things To Remember When Your Spiritual Life Stalls

4 things to remember when your spiritual life stalls

I’d love to travel on a sailboat. To hang out over the railing, the wind whipping the rigging, flying fast and free over the foamy blue. Sun, salt, and sea-spray lightening the red of my hair, utterly unbridled joy and excitement. This water-daughter has lived most her life by the sea, and would love to sail upon it, to reach glorious lands yet unknown (at least to me).

And in a way, that’s what I’d like my spiritual journey to be like too. To fly along blown by God’s Spirit, utter and complete joy in everything, each day bringing a new cresting wave of truth and knowledge.

But sometimes the wind stops. The sails droop. And you’re caught in the doldrums—the place feared by sailors of old, where the wind disappears for days, even weeks, and only oars can take you anywhere. It’s a stifling hot still, where everything is numb and the same. You can row and row, but each pull is agonizingly hard and there’s not a glimmer of change on the horizon.

And sometimes, we can get into spiritual doldrums too. Bible reading just doesn’t excite us as it did anymore. You don’t feel overwhelmed by God’s greatness in worship. Prayer seems like a chore, not a privilege. The wind of excitement seems to have completely disappeared, and you’re wondering what happened. You keep rowing, keep on going, but there seems to be no change, and you’re tempted to throw the oars overboard in defeat.

But there’s some things we need to remember when we get caught in the doldrums of life.

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Hospitality When You Don’t Have Your Own House

hospitality when you don't have your own house

None of us are strangers to feeling outside.

I’m a military daughter, I’ve moved from one coast of the country to another; so I know what it’s like to walk into a room full of pre-existing circles—circles that you aren’t in. Alienation isn’t a new experience for any of us, nor an unusual one, but there is one experience I’ve had that I think encapsulates it.

It was a large Christian event, held at a lovely venue with bright windows, benches in each, and open hallways large enough for chatting to the side, while able to hail friends passing by. Perfect for socializing, and that’s exactly what everyone was doing. A buzz of laughter and chatter filled the room, as stories were swapped.

Yet I stood quietly in the midst of it. I offered an open smile to those passing by, which they returned, but didn’t stop to discuss the trade. It reminded me of standing in the midst of Chinese traffic, everyone driving and weaving about in a frantic dance that somehow they all knew the tune to, except you. Everyone knew everyone else, everyone wanted to see everyone else, everyone had their own circles–and I was standing outside of them.

Now none of those people were doing anything wrong, and I don’t begrudge them for it. It’s good to have your own friends, and special friendships must in some sense be exclusive. But still, it’s hard to be the stranger in the room full of friends.

The Heart of Hospitality

Hospitality has become a popular discussion in Christian circles, from multitudes of articles on Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition, to Rosaria Butterfield’s book on it, The Gospel Comes with A House Key making the rounds (quite deservedly). But for us young people, it can seem rather abstract or out-of-reach.

After all, we don’t own our own house, our schedules are rarely our own, and a college student’s budget can barely handle feeding one, let alone others. The full house and fresh bread of hospitality seem unattainable for us. But perhaps we’re confusing certain results for the real thing. Perhaps we’re equating an outpouring for the heart. Perhaps hospitality is more about how we live than how many people come into our living room.

The Greek word for hospitality, philoxenos, comes from the words both for friend and for stranger. Pulling those two in, and making them one. In a sense, it means to draw in, to take those who are outside the circle, and including them.

The Hospitality of the Gospel

Isn’t this at the very heart of the Gospel? Before, we were aliens and strangers. But now he has brought us “nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:12,13). Christ took those who were different, and reconciled them together. We were standing out in the dark and the cold, but he threw open the door, welcoming us. He prepared a place for us at his table, gently took off our heavy loads, and crouched down to wash our feet.

When I think of hospitality, I’m often reminded of that iconic retro Thanksgiving photo, where the whole family is gathered around the table, eagerly watching the father carve the turkey and passing it down the table. And maybe that’s what the heart of Christian hospitality looks like. The whole family of God, gathered around the table together. Different ages, different races, yet one thing is the same, we all have our eyes fixed on Jesus. And in that, we beckon others to come join us at the heavenly table, even if we don’t have our own.

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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

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.

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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…

Can You Interchange Live and Love.png
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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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