Friday, December 15, 2006

The Underground

"This is the sound of the underground, the whisper of history in the making, foundations shaking, revolutionaries dreaming once again!"

Written on the wall of a prayer room by a man who didn't know what he was starting, or what God was doing. He surrendered and the words seemed to write themselves.

Its the Vision, the work of the Underground...a generation called out by God to humble themselves and pray and to seek His face that He would heal their land...though they belong to no nation, no people--only a Creed, a Kingdom, and a King whose rule knows no boundary, no wall, no race, no language, no culture.

And we are called to an army of faceless prayers and servants who work not for their own glory or reputation or success, but solely for the name and renown of Jesus. His redeeming work in the world is the motivation, for that is His greatest glory.

And its beginning...everywhere, its beginning. We pray, we dream, we take risks in faith...we cry out and weep for our cities and countries and for people we don't know halfway around the world. Its the Vision, and the Underground emerges, like a rolling fog--its gentle and fierce, beautiful and dangerous as it spills into cities and towns.

We dream...envisioning cities on their faces before the King...we believe for healing and freedom...we pray for surrender to the movement of God, and that the Underground would only grow in number and courage. We pray...and He hears our cry from heaven.

The it in you? Are you willing to live poor to make others rich? Are you willing to keep less to give more? Are you willing to drop everything and go? Are you willing to lay down a reputation that has taken years to build? Are you willing to dress the part and go into the back allies to bring joy and peace and healing and sandwiches to those hiding in the dark.

You might get your hands a little dirty. You might get sick. You might never buy that house or drive that car or take that trip...people might laugh at your decisions or think you aren't "making anything of yourself" or question your sanity...but the Lord knows your heart...and His grace is sufficient.

And isn't the cross worth your life? Isn't it?

Saturday, December 09, 2006


School is over for the semester! I think it ended well...praise God!

My dad, who is the man, invited me to go with him to Argentina for a week over New Years...praise God!

I found out that Mission Hospital here in Asheville will 98% for sure pay for me to go to nursing school...praise God...real loud!

An amazing man told me that I looked lovely last night...I'll praise Him for affirmation too.

There is a lot of reasons for me to praise His name.

I hope you have some too...if so, PLEASE SHARE THEM WITH ME.

One of my profs in seminary, Dr. Allen, used to say that praise isn't praise unless its public...and isn't the Lord so worthy of all that we can give and say and sing and do and hope for and strive for and long for and seek after and trust and pursue...

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord...

Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Where I've been...

So I haven't written in awhile despite have a great deal to write about...things have just been so crazy here...what with working and going to school and helping with church stuff and FCA at Montreat, I find little time to write. Most of my free time is spent sleeping or studying or buffeting my body (i.e working out with what little energy I might have left)...and yet I find myself missing the opportunity to get out some thoughts that I hope encourage you as well as give you a little insight into the rantings of an almost 27 year old girl/woman.

Its weird to think of myself as such--as a woman. I remember being 14, reading my Seventeen magazine and wondering if I'd ever make it to that age, if I'd ever be that mature...I did make it to 17, and it was a wild ride, and 10 years later, I wonder how much has changed...granted, I know more than I did then, and I've seen and been places that dreams are made of, and I my circle of friends has grown exponentially. But I'm still a little boy crazy, still love fashion and funky hair and make-up (though my tastes have changed, praise the Lord), still love to be active and try new things and meet new people.

So have I changed? Have I grown up? Despite not feeling almost 27, I almost am, and I can honestly say yes, I think I have...

I'm braver now, and more secure. Like, now I can walk into a busy place with confidence, knowing who I am and liking it. I don't need people's attention, but I like it when I get it and smile to myself when I don't.

I think I'm quieter than I was then, if you can believe that...but the value of listening to others presses me often, so I do, and its awesome to hear different voices speaking into my life and sharing their stories.

I think I'm more passionate, but also more focused...its not this crazy passion that can do as much harm as good, but a controlled fire that only burns hotter with the pressure of direction and intent.

I'm more honest in my words, and hopefully more gracious too--and I know now how to say hard things and take risks with my words, especially when what I'm saying involves my heart.

I think now I love more fiercely because I know the pain of loss and grief. I know that people don't last forever here on this earth. I know about sickness and death, and it makes me value every day, even every hour. I tell people how I feel about them, how they are precious to me, how they encourage me, how I see God using them...I can't risk losing them without letting them know that they meant something to someone.

I have grown up, and for that I thank the Lord. He has made me who I am, and will continue to do a good work in me. His grace is responsible for any good that I've done or any love that I have.

At 17 I was all about myself--how I looked, who I was friends with, what people thought about me...a lot can happen in 10 years, and now, by His good grace, I'm a little less about me and a little more about Him, and that is an awesome place.

"Yes Lord, walking in the way of your truth I wait eagerly for You, for your name and renown is the desire of my soul." Isaiah 26:8

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The gospel

I got into a conversation last night after a Montreat College basketball game that hasn't left me yet. Granted, it was at 11:00 last night when I had this conversation, and I got up for work at 5:45 this morning, so not a great deal of time has passed for me to forget said conversation. But, even had we talked about this weeks ago, I still would be thinking about it because it involved something that I think about often, maybe even hourly.

Montreat scrimaged with Crossfire, a team of Christian men who played college ball and now go worldwide playing teams and taking halftime to share the gospel with the crowd and the other players.

Part of me is excited that people exist that want to share the gospel of Jesus with others...but another part of me wonders if this method does more harm then good. I often cringe when people get preachy in public. I think America is tired of preachers...tired of being told what to believe...tired of Christians.

What an awful thing, for a country to be tired of Christians as we are the representatives for Jesus here...we are supposed to be a blessing to the world, not a burden. We should be lights in the dark, not smoke that gets in people's eyes.

Where is the balance? How do you share Jesus in a culture that already has ideas about who Jesus is, whether they are right or not. How do you love people and not love their sin when they consider what we would call sin to be who they are...when the separation between the person and the sin doesn't exist in another's head? How do you not be overbearing? How does it all work?

I don't know...I really don't. But, I think that I might have a few to stop talking so much and start doing. Christians talk a lot...maybe instead of talking we should start giving of our time, our energy, our love. Maybe we should begin to act like Jesus...maybe that would speak volumes? Or if we can't stop talking (I know its hard), maybe we should start apologizing...apologizing for not being like Jesus, for fighting among ourselves and outside ourselves, for being selfish, for being arrogant, for being ignorant, for the Crusades that still stick in the minds of many, especially those who worship Allah, or for being so awful towards the gay population that think Christians hate them. I don't want to hate anyone, but I do hate the idea that someone could possibly consider that I might because of what others within the church have said or done. Maybe we should apologize for loving conditionally...lets be honest--within the church we love conditionally. We easily love and uplift that talented, the good looking, the passionate...but what of the dirty, the poor, the quiet, or the liberal, the seeking, the one who might ask the questions we are all thinking but don't have the guts to voice? Do we just as readily love that person?

And maybe we should go out into our communities and the world as listeners and lovers and learners instead of arrogant fundamentalists that keep trying to tell people what to believe. At the Crossfire game, one of the speakers said that he believed in relational evangelism--that he would get to know someone for 3 or 4 minutes then share the gospel with them.

How awful! That's not loving a person or caring for their needs or figuring out where they are coming from. To me, this idea of "relational evangelism" is an escape...its a lazy man's way of keeping his hands clean lest he actually care for someone different from himself, lest he step down from his gospel pedestal and touch people. Jesus touched people. Jesus walked in the dusty roads and put his hands on the hurting and ate with the outsiders of his community. He loved in a down and dirty way--He loved honestly and without regard to Himself--He offered people something to believe in, something to connect their deepest desires to, but He didn't demand it.

He knew when to stop talking and start praying...start doing. He was relevant, and He loved.

O that we might be like Jesus...Father, make us all like Jesus.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

That thing I forgot to remember...then remembered again

I broke up with a guy just before Christmas of last year. We dated for a minute, and he was sweet and me a precious birthday gift even after we ended our romance. It was a picture of those famous hands painted by Michaelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel--God's hand reaching for Adam's. It is a glorious part of the artist's masterpiece, but it is just that...a part. We see those hands that think, "Yeah, those are really something," but if you see the entire ceiling, with all of its images and allusions and details, it might render even the biggest talker speechless...and we see Michaelangelo's genius, talent, and perseverence as never before, and we stand in awe of him. I mean, how can you not?

I was thinking about this idea in light of God's plan for the world...asking questions like, "Why did He create such different cultures (see the Tower of Babel story...), different people with various values and customs and histories and songs and dances? And why does He want their worship?"

The answer lies in the Sistine Chapel--just as the print of the hands is beautiful and glorious, so is the worship of each culture individually--its precious to God and a sweet smelling incense. But, just as that portion of the chapel is nothing compared to the ceiling as a whole, which leaves you breathless and in awe of the artist, so is the worship of each culture collectively, in their own, unique way. The picture of every tongue, tribe, people, and nation worshipping their heavenly Father leaves the world breathless and in awe of the Creator.

That is why He created nations and languages and customs and cultures...because each one's worship reveals another facet of who He is and how He is. Each culture brings its own dance, its own song, its own instrument, its own beat, its own wisdom and humor and love...and when all of those are brought before Him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb, every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and seas and all that is in them worship. The worship of the nations reveals to the world His greatness.

If you care at all for the worship of God...if you think that He is worthy of our praise, then you must, I repeat, MUST, care about the nations, as their worship is just as precious to Him as your's. If we are living for His name and His glory and His renown, then our hearts should break that He is not being worshipped worldwide. Our hearts should be jealous for His worship among the dark places of the world...places where His light can bring healing, love, peace, restoration, deliverance, and the joy that is found in the worship of the living God.

Just as in the picture, God is reaching...will we be His hands? Will we be is feet? Will we...?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What in the world...?

Sometimes I sit down to write a new post and I have no idea what to talk about...I mean, I got nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. I reckon that I have plenty to talk about, but its stuff that I don't necessarily feel the need to share with everyone. There exists a fine line between being authentic and using a public forum to say things that I am too afraid to say in private conversation. This blog could easily become my crutch to get a point across without having to look a person in the eye, without having my heart connect with their's, without risking too much, and I want to guard against that...not because I'm that noble or brave or honest, but because I treasure the private conversations and those that I engage with more than any other human to human interaction. Talking and knowing those that I deeply care for is my joy and peace.

When I don't get time with those people, two things happen.

One, I get insecure, wondering if they want to spend time with me as I do them, wondering if I've ticked them off or overstepped or gotten on their last nerve...its an insecurity that I haven't been able to shake yet, but God is at work, teaching me to trust Him and trust in who He has made me to be, to not believe lies from the enemy, and to be honest with people to let them know that I miss them when they are not around or when they peace out or lay low. Maybe others need to know that someone misses their company just as much as I need to know that.

Two, I get bummed out. Quality time with dear friends is so precious to me, and when its lacking it makes me sad. I get bored, and that's really dangerous because then I get antsy and frustrated and curt...and something exists within me that needs to be encouraging people often, and if that doesn't happen then I start to feel useless and purposeless...and that sucks, real bad.

And if you knew my friends (as some of you are!) you would know why I long to spend time with them. Those closest to me, and its just a handful, are some of the loveliest, kindest, most passionate people that I've ever known. You love and laugh and cry and serve with great honesty and simplicity. You do your thing despite fear or weakness. You are more beautiful in your words and actions and motivations that in your outward appearance, and that's saying a great deal. You are ever faithful to the Lord and to those He has put in your life.

You are scattered all over the world, yet you will always remain in my heart.

Monday, October 23, 2006

And so I will pray...

There are times in my life when God seems to be teaching me so much I am almost, I want to say, "Uh Lord, this might be a little much..." But I also don't want it to end because its so sweet and so precious and, while the flood threatens to bowl me over, I also want to lose myself in it, drowning in the presence of God.

This thing that He is teaching me is to get on my knees or in my bed or while I'm driving and pray. Pray about everything. Pray for pray like Solomon, asking for HUGE things like the end of famine and disease and pray like David, that God would ease my heart and be with pray like Jesus, early in the pray like Paul, for churches and cities and pastors and people.

And He is answering! He is, and its amazing. He has eased my heart, reminding me over and over to bring my desires to His throne. He is moving in the world and bringing people to Himself. He has seen my tears and heard my laughter and seen my supplications, rising like incense to Him.

I hope it smells sweet, for my time with Him is so...

Saturday, October 21, 2006


If you are happy, revel in it, for happy days only last so long.

If beauty overwhelms you, let it.

If you are thankful, then sing your gratitude.

If you long for something, ask for it, because your heavenly Father hears.

If its precious to you, then its precious to Him too.

If someone is worth the risk, then take a chance.

If you are angry, talk it out, because yelling never gets you anywhere.

If you wonder where Jesus is when you hurt, remember that He hurt too.

If you cry, rest in Him, for He cried too.

If you doubt, ask for faith, for His grace is sufficient.

If you dance, dance like nobody's watching, even in public.

If you love, love without fear, for perfect love casteth out fear.

If you love, love hard, for love is worth dying for.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Ok, so I'll be honest...I love beautiful things. I love the mountains at dawn in October. I love milky white pearls. I love to see daddies with their kiddos. I love people's hand, no matter how worn or callused--those might even be my favorite. I love seeing people in love who aren't afraid to be fools for it. I love colorful paintings. I love gorgeous shoes. I love seeing my friends all dressed up. I love my orange scarf, compliments of Nicolette. I love seeing grown men on their knees in prayer. I love seeing mothers being mothers to their babies. I love Mozart and his Marriage of Figaro. I love hearing horses hooves on concrete, carrying them in all their majesty. I love the sight of a girl on her wedding day...and I love the groom's tears when he beholds her. I love Looking Glass, I love Black Balsam, I love Craggy Gardens, and I love the wild scent that resides there year round. I love the old hymns and the way my grandma sings them to herself.

Beautiful things capture my eye and, in some cases, rivet me for hours, seering a permanent image or a tune or an idea into my mind.

Beauty captures and frames all that is good in this world, and sometimes it is simply irresistable.

I think that we love beauty and are held by it because all that we hold as beautiful is but a taste of the Savior, and when He is beheld, He too is irresistable. It is His beauty that grace reveals, and we have no choice but to fall for it...He is just that lovely.

In Revelation 5, the Lamb of God takes the scroll to open it...the story goes like this...

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders...and He took the scroll...and when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb...and they sang...

The heavenly court beheld the beauty of the Savior and it caused them to bow before Him and sing...there was no other response. What an awesome picture of being overwhelmed by something so lovely its painful to behold. Its almost too much...and a posture of worship and humility is the only appropriate response.

I think that when people fall in love with Jesus, its because somehow they have seen His beauty and are riveted by Him.

So I guess that if you feel like your faith is failing, fix your eyes upon Jesus, like that hymn my grandma sings. Maybe she knew the secret...and she is always reminding herself...

For who can compare to the beauty of the Lord?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How do you see me?

A few years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as a result, had a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and 4 months of chemotherapy. The surgeries and the chemo left her tired, pale, and bald. She wore those cute bandanas on her head, or a baseball cap, but nothing could really hide the fact that her hair, among other things, was gone. Still, every time she walked into the room, my dad would look at her, then look at me and say, "Isn't your mom beautiful. She is just gorgeous. She's about the prettiest woman I've ever seen." And he meant every word.

I love that my dad saw his wife, my sweet mom, as this gorgeous creature, despite some physical issues...and now that her reconstruction is complete and her hair all back to normal, she's just lovely as ever.

While my dad thinks my mom gorgeous, its not just her physical features that he loves. Its her spirit, her kindness, her attention to detail, her servant heart, her dedication to family and work and learning and the Lord...its so many things that make my mom beautiful. Dad never lets her forget it, and it helped my mom get through such a rough chapter in her life...and I certainly haven't forgotten how it made me feel knowing my dad loved my mom so deeply.

I think there is some sort of need within every girl for someone to tell her that she is lovely...that something about her is sweet, gentle, kind, pretty, even gorgeous...that she's worth a little time, and that its alright for her to be a woman.

We tend to call this affirmation or encouragement, but what it does for a girl goes far beyond any word or idea. When someone lets a girl know that she is all those things she longs to be, its like getting a letter in the mail written by a long lost friend recalling precious memories...its the shyness in a first kiss...its discovering the secrets of Grandma's attic...its the smell of fresh honey on your tongue...its the sound of children laughing...its a taste of future love.

Peter Gabriel captures this desire in one of my favorite songs...

In your eyes, the light the heat
In your eyes I am complete
In your eyes I see the doorways
To a thousand churches
The resolution
Of my all my fruitless searches
O I see the light in your eyes...

Peter gets it...he gets what a girl wants to hear, maybe even needs to hear.

When I was in seminary, I was so insecure about who I was, how I looked, how I many things. Two godly men, Pedro and Caleb, began to speak to me in love and grace and truth, and with the kindness of the Lord. Caleb asked me one day, "Katie, what about you do you think is attractive to guys?" I instantly burst into tears because I my first thought was, "Nothing...are you kidding me?" He then said, "Your laugh--its like you laugh from the deepest part you of...and your eyes--they are windows into your soul..." and he continued on. Pedro joined in this conversation, too, and it lasted for weeks...and by the time I graduated, I felt pretty and desirable, and it was because these guys weren't afraid to encourage a sister in a way that was honest and without pretense or expectation. It was affirmation in its purest form.

And while its true that God sees us girls as lovely and gorgeous daughters, and that His grace is sufficient, and that He is our ever loving Father, and that He is the lover of our souls, and that He is ever sure feels good when someone else thinks we are lovely too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I'm tired of being single. There, I said it...this single thing has been alright for the past 26 years, but now its getting a little old. Ok, a LOT old. Some days I don't mind so much, especially when I'm super busy or exhausted or when I see a screaming child in the grocery store lying on his back and writhing in a hissing fit because his mom won't buy him that pizza lunchable...I mean for real, people...

But then there are other days...those days when my phone doesn't ring much, when all I need is for someone to hug me good, when I see myself in the eyes of every little one that looks my way, when I see couples holding hands, when it seems that everyone in my life is married or getting married or seriously dating...those are the days when the wave of singleness washes me out to a rough sea--into a storm that I've weathered before but am not sure I have the strength to endure again. And if one more person mentions that they have a brother or a nephew or a cousin or a friend that they'd like for me to meet, I just might take a vow of celibacy to shut them up. "No thanks, I've decided to be single forever."

Sometimes I wish I wanted to be single forever--at least then I wouldn't struggle so much with it and could accept this lot in life with a little more grace. But no matter how badly I wish I felt that way, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. I'd rather lose an arm then be single forever. I'm not kidding...

So of course, I wonder why I want to be married in the first place...why give up a ton of independence? Why tie yourself to someone who could cause you immense pain, who could die or become paralized or sick and totally depend on you for everything? Why share everything you worked so hard for yourself? Why have kids that could break your heart and suck your bank account dry?

I think the answer is because in a great marriage, the Lord is there. I mean, yes, He is with you always, but I think He is evidenced in the way a husband loves his wife and in the way a wife respects her husband. His heart for us is expressed in a couple's love and desire for one another. Marriage is the closest physical example of our spiritual relationship with the Lord. It exemplifies His passion for us, His love for us, His desire to know us and see us and be with us. Marriage is something He created (crazy!) and requires a level of commitment second only to our commitment to Him, and His to us. Marriage is a beautiful picture of grace, forgiveness, mercy, love, passion, honesty, peace, is the Lord.

I know marriage is not easy, but neither is being single. Loneliness is a hard road walk and a ragged pill to swallow...even when the Lord is in your life.

So I'm tired of it, of this single thing...really tired.

However, lessons learned--God is still good, even when I don't feel good, and He is faithful, even when I am "ye of little faith", and He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, and He is the lover of my soul, my Lord and my King, my great sustainer and my peace. Jehovah Shalom--the Lord is my peace--and if He wants me single for awhile, I'll trust Him...I might not always like it (and I might, at times, totally HATE it), but He is good and His love endures forever...thank you Lord that your love endures forever.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm alive!

I asked a friend of mine--a strong and talented brother in the Lord--what the next chapter was for him, as one is drawing to a close and a new one is opening. He responded, "I have no idea...but there are so many needs, I feel like I could go anywhere and do anything."

So often we look for the need that's around us and try to fit into that...and sometimes I think that's a good thing, but usually I don't think its enough just to meet a need. Even doing that can leave a person feeling empty or burned out or frustrated. Is there drive in just meeting a need? Is there love? Is there passion?

There is this one quote that I think of probably more than anything else I've ever heard...honestly, it has stuck with me for years. I read it in a book called the Sacred Romance by John Elderidge back in college. He got it from somewhere, so neither of us can really claim it as our own, but I think I've subsequently tried to own it because its just that profound.

It goes to the very heart of a person's desire. It digs past obligation and duty and religion into the realm of passionate pursuit--to the very things that bring us to tears, make us laugh, and expose the raw reality of the self. It's an idea that free us from what we think we should do and moves us into what we were created to do--what we were made for. It transcends personal preference and, instead, draws from the very image of God that still resides within each person. It's an idea that drives us to be as honest as possible and to glorify God with all we have.

Don't ask what the world needs, but ask what makes you come alive, because what the world needs are people who have come alive.

For so long we've been dead in our "duty"...we've been doing what we think we ought to do, ignoring the truest and deepest desires of our hearts. Scripture says that God gives us the desires of our heart, yet we so often ignore those, instead serving in ways that might be really good, but really not for us. We say yes because it seems no one else will. We do the things that other people think we'd be good at...and they might be right...but is that really your passion, your love, your desire?

So if you love hiking, hike for Jesus. If you love music, sing for Jesus. If you love kids, play for Jesus. If you love to act, act for Jesus. If you love to cook, cook for Jesus. If you love football, play or cheer or watch for Jesus. If you love people, be social for Jesus. If you love building, build for Jesus. If you draw or paint or sculpt or write, be creative for Jesus. If you love to make money, give for Jesus. If you love to sell, sell for Jesus. If you love to laugh, crack up for Jesus. If you love to teach, teach for Jesus. If you love to heal, doctor for Jesus...

And boast about these things...glory in it up as you do them. LIVE...BE ALIVE! Why boast and glory and live? Because He bought these good things for us on the cross...He died that we might live, and He gives us the desire of our hearts so that we might live full, and He longs that we live full because it makes Him look so good, and He looks so good because He is so good.

So if you are starting to feel outrageously bored or seeking direction or wandering what the in the world is next for you, ask yourself what makes you come alive. The answer might surprise you...and how He uses that might just be the most amazing thing ever.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


This summer I got my heart broken...really, I cried for 13 hours on a plane ride home because it hurt that bad. And not just boo hooing, but sobbing...loudly. I think that my neighbors on the plane were thinking, "Someone call the Air Marshals--we got some crazy woman on the plane."

Some people told me that I should have guarded my heart more so it wouldn't have hurt that bad, but I don't regret giving my heart away, nor do I regret getting hurt...not one bit. Doing things half way isn't really my style, even when it comes to loving people. This time, however, it did backfire a little...and when you are crumpled on the floor in a puddle of tears, it seems like nothing will feel good ever again, ever.

But life goes on, even when you think you might need medication to get through it.

And life did go on, and looking back now, I see the good that the Lord brought out of a brutal time in my life. Sometimes life doesn't feel fact it sometimes feels like a slow painful death might be better than the pain that defies you into thinking it will never go away as long as you live. I distinctly thinking, "Will this ever end?"

But even when life doesn't feel good, the Lord is still good. His character isn't defined by how I'm feeling, nor is how I'm feeling defined by His character. Truth, thankfully, transcends emotion, and emotion is generally circumstantial. Neither are easy, but both are a reality and must, therefore, be dealt with accordingly.

The fact that I can even say that I'm thankful for getting my heart broken is a testimony to God's grace. There are no residues of bitterness or anger, and I could write pages and pages of how God worked through my broken heart to grow me, teach me, draw me close to Himself, mature me, love me, and direct my life...but I'm not sure I have the energy to do that tonight.

Instead, I will say that I am now super happy, at home in Asheville, loving school, still excited about nursing, playing a ton of music, working a cool job, and more passionate for the Lord than ever before. His goodness is evident everywhere I look--all around me and deep within. Its evident in the gorgeous mountains that channel the mists every morning as I leave the house. Its evident in the music that I witness every Sunday night. Its evident in a Church that is reaching its community in a meaningful way. Its evident in testimonies I hear daily. Its evident in the fact that I can laugh, a lot. Its evident in the struggle against my sin. Its evident in my ability to love people. Its evident in the desires of my heart. God is good...that is who He is, and He shares that with us, often.

So Lord, thank you for your faithful goodness, for bringing amazing things out of difficult situations, and for new mercies everyday. Your grace is sufficient. Thank you that it is sufficient. Continue to mold and shape your children...not matter how bad it has to hurt.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Its a little past midnight, and I have to be at work tomorrow at 6:15am...When I can't sleep, my first thought is, "This sucks..." Not a real spiritual thought at all.

My second thought is, "Ok Lord, what's up?" Perhaps a little more productive than "This sucks." So as I lay in bed tonight, I wondered what was up and what He needed to say to me.
I'm sure He needs to say a lot, but He knows that I can only handle a little at a time, so this was the thought for tonight...

"Rest under my wings."

Having read Psalms over the past few days, the psalmists present this picture--being beneath God's wings--over and over. It's a picture of the Lord's gentleness and His desire for us to be near Him...and I kept thinking that beneath His wings means being near His heart.

It's a picture of safety, peace, rest, security, comfort, kindness, warmth,'s a place that I long to be always but cannot stay. Just as a mother hen must eventually push her chicks out of the nest, so I cannot remain beneath God's wings. It is not a place to live, but a place of refuge when the storms hit or when it's just too cold to be anywhere else. It's a place of rest and rejuvination in preparation to once again go out into life with purpose and with strength.

He does not have to let us in that close to Himself, but He does. He does because of His great love and mercy. He does because, I think, it brings Him great joy as well. He does because it is His very nature to draw us in. He is a God who keeps His children.

So Lord, keep us...keep me...close, especially when it's cold...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Very Thing...

Earlier today I talked with one of my best friends for awhile...our conversations are always such a fun blessing! She's seriously dating someone, and she said that he mentioned for the first time the "M" which I responded, "Is that 'M' for Monkey or Movie or Mustard...?"

What an amazing feeling it is when someone you love so much might have just found that one person that they will be with till death doth part them. This man wants to marry my friend, or is at least thinking about it, and I love that. She is so worth it! She is a godly, kind, funny, beautiful, sweet, sensitive, loving, talented girl, and its about time that someone noticed those things and fell head over heels for her. He better treasure her...that's all I'm she is priceless.

So if this friend gets married, then there are only a handful of single girls left in my life...well, that are my age. Its funny how the Lord works sometimes, because being single is not easy, especially when you are 26...but I am so thankful that its me that bears that load and not the other girls in my life. let it be me that deals with nights by myself and loneliness and questions. Not that my friends aren't strong enough, but I wouldn't wish the sometimes all-consuming feeling of being alone on them for anything. They don't deserve that, and God, thank you for protecting them!

Some days I'm so thankful that I'm single...other days it totally sucks and I wonder if it'll ever feel better and if God's purposes are being fulfilled in me despite the emotional chaos I sometimes feel.

It makes me wonder why I long to be married at all. I mean, you hear about how hard it is, and how the honeymoon ends, and how its work work work, and that its not always the answer to your problems and what not...and the divorce rate is sky high so apparently people give up on marriage as quickly as they jump into it. Marriage doesn't have the best PR right now...

Still, despite all the warnings, why do we want to be married? I think there are two reasons. One I heard on a movie where a married woman says that people get married because they need a witness to their lives. What a lovely thing to say. Its so true...we want someone to tell our day to, who we can be our complete selves around, who we trust to love us in good and bad.

But that, then, begs the question as to why we want these things? And therein lies the second reason...because we were created to want these things. Maybe the Lord made us to want a loving, loyal witness to show us that this is His heart. Maybe marriage and the desire for it is a picture of God's desire for His relationship with us individually and with the Church. I think John Elderigde is right when he talks about God as the great pursuer--the one who woos us and romances us into His arms.

So when things start to get hard as a single girl in a world of "marrieds", when girls talk about their husbands (does he have a name?) and their babies and their wonderful married lives, instead of bumming out, I smile to myself and remember that the Lord is my pursuer and my great romance...maybe one day He'll let someone else work with Him in that, but for now, I'll hide in His arms. Sometimes I might cry there, but mostly I just rest...He knows just what I need.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


In the Dallas Museam of Art hangs my favorite painting--a huge landscape depicting the far north, complete with cliffs, the cold sea, and icebergs, from where this work derived its title. If you sit and stare at the painting, scenes start to emerge from the rocks and ice--faces in great agony, screaming for help--longing for someone to notice them in their pain. The artist put them there, hidden beneath layers of ice and paint, frozen forever in time. This painting inspired the following short poem. I hope you like it...


Beneath ice painted layers hide faces that cry
To be seen, to be loved, to be…

Treasures so missed for the beauty outside
They beg down to die, to be free

Trapped in alone that stifles their eyes
To dreams and crevasses they hold

And wonder aloud if any will see
To discover their story untold

Remembered by One that’s love in disguise
Who breathes fair upon frozen skin

And touches their tears that flow under ice,
They begin to again heal within

Through crying cold nights a new treasure they find
A joy they could never foresee

Still, a face buried deep that so wants to be seen
A face that’s a face—that’s me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Expert

Do you ever just need to hear the words of someone who really knows what they are talking about? Like if you have a dinner to cook, look to Martha Stewart...I mean, sure, she's a criminal and has a reputation of being not the nicest person in the world, but she's the expert in home and garden, and people listen. In fact, they can't get enough! Or this guy I saw on Oprah a few days ago who read the entire encyclopedia, and seemingly retained it all. He knew everything about anything--it was crazy, and I just sat there, riveted by his knowledge. I mean, who knew that the average person loses 50,000 brain cells every day after the age of 25? We watch Sports Center because those guys know their stuff, and they are hysterical...we read magazines and books where the experts weigh in on workouts, diets, fashion, merchandise, music, movies, trends, stats, economics, politics, religion...etc, etc, etc. Just today I stood in line at Target and flipped through a magazine where the fashion people gave their opinion on celebrity style, and I totally took mental notes.

They're the experts, right? They talk and talk and spout off their opinions, for good or ill...and we listen. We soak it up. We wear the cool jeans and buy the right car and go to that movie because it got two thumbs up.

As much as I like hearing the experts (except Martha...I kind of think she's boring...), there are times when their advice seems so...lacking. Honestly, if someone can talk about the right jean for your body for over an hour, they really need to expand their spectrum of knowledge. And as much as I love Sports Center (really love it), on a worldwide scale, what these folks say really does not matter all that much. They aren't talking life and death, love and passion, kings and servants, wars and worship...and I find myself wishing someone would.

Why do I feel like that? Why isn't the expert advice enough? I think its because I'm not willing to die for a pair of jeans or a particular sports team, though sometimes I think some fans might (have you been to a State-Carolina game?). None of these things make me cry or make me stand in awe. They always fail me eventually--jeans wear out, teams lose, casseroles burn--things fall apart, no matter what the experts say.

And when I find myself wanting to shut the experts off because they start to seem petty or pointless or just too small for what I really am longing for...that's when I read the words of Jesus. Literally...I open the New Testament, find a gospel (there are a whopping 4 to choose from) and I read about Jesus and what He said.

The funny thing is that what He says and what He does--they seem big. They pertain to people's lives, to people's belief, to communities, to nations, to the world. From the children He embraced to the Rabbis He rebuked to the leaders He confronted, Jesus was one expert that did not lack. Things with Him didn't fall apart. Well, it might have seemed like it at one point, but that all came together in the end. His words and actions have worldwide consequences--its a story far bigger than me, my wardrobe, and my team.

Its a story that might just be worth buying in to, even dying for, because its full of those things that, I think, most people really long for--passion, love, intrigue, death, life, battle, worship, sacrifice, a King, His kingdom (it even has a white horse...), and His people. It transcends language and culture and time. It is far bigger than the weekend wrap-up or a fashion emergency.

So if you find yourself wondering why the experts suddenly seem so silly (who made these rules anyway?), maybe you could see what this other expert said. I promise, He doesn't talk about jeans or teams or cooking or celebrity fashion faux paus. His talk goes far deeper. If you want it, its there. If you aren't quite ready, that's ok. It'll be waiting...

Monday, September 25, 2006

No more in darkness

When I was younger, I was so afraid of the dark...In fact, I would go into my little sister's room every night, counting on her to protect me with her crazy fierceness. I mean, what monster or alien or intruder wouldn't run, screaming for the hills at the sight of a roly poly 8 year old whose skill in battle was honed over years of playing cello, reading Laura Ingles, and singing in the shower. Terrifying, really...?

All I truly wanted was to not wonder what every bump or scratch or creak might be. I wanted someone to tell me that everything was ok...that I was safe. Maybe that's why little girls love their daddy's...because if they are good dads, then they become our protector, our hero, our savior. They can slay monsters and run off intruders. They draw us close and keep us. To be a little girl in your daddy's arms...

There was such a girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old, last week at the Drip who sat in her dad's lap as he told her a story. She snuggled there, riveted by him, hanging on every word, sucking her thumb in complete peace.

It was a lovely picture of what I long for with the draw near, riveted by Him, hanging on His every word, in complete peace.

I remember during a particularly tumultuous time in my life, I lay in my bed and sobbed...It is Well with My Soul played in the background. At that moment, I truly felt that I was under His wings, close to His heart. I was safe.

When my faith fails and the dark becomes frightening again, the Lord, in great grace and faithfulness, still welcomes me back with strong arms.

He is God, and He, oddly enough, longs to hold us in those arms. He longs to hide us beneath His wings. He longs to be our refuge. When the world is shaken and nothing stands, I will run into Your hands...O that He might be the one we hold to as our protector, our hero, our Savior. His love is great, and love never Him, the dark isn't dark anymore.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Short poem #1

Forsaking a lifetime of plunder
As I leap and fly off my throne
And tasting the glorious wonder
Tumble into the sweetest unknown

Fear, though belied and unchanging
No longer entangles my feet
I see all my self rearranging
And fear, running scared, in retreat

For love is the fiercest protector
And love is the kindest refrain
Tasting of manna and nectar
It will always, and always, remain.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Romance

Some of you know that I'm slightly obsessed with Sex and the City...for those of you that don't, well, I am...and though it can be a little crass at times, it is filled with real life truth experienced by anyone whose been in any sort of meaningful relationship, romantic or not.

Anyway, this post isn't about why I like the show...its about a song I heard in the last episode of the final season. Just as that episode captured the beauty of love realized, this song moved me to tears. I watched that part of the show like, 10 times.

Now, I know that I write often about the words in songs and how they speak to me. No such luck this time being that the artist is a French rapper and I am just a lowly American who can sort of crank out some Spanish. But I know that there is something in his music that moves me, transcending language. In fact I'm listening to him right now.

This happened again just a few weeks ago. I was driving back to Asheville from Apex and I stumbled across a radio station that played some local folk music. This one song struck me and, of course, I cried. This guy, Malcolm Holcombe, sang a dear song, and I loved his lyrics, but it wasn't the words that got was the sadness in his voice. It was just that honest, and I wanted to be his friend.

I sat outside a few nights ago with a friend of mine on a stone wall, just outside a little chapel. It was chilly and the stars were out. We just talked and God was with us, somehow, and I think we both knew it.

Earlier that day I sat on the front porch of the house where I live, surrounded by trees and birds and mountains, and I rocked. I also read some Psalms.

Last night I went to a contra dance, and I'll be the first to admit its a hot time. People swirl and swing and sweat, laughing as they stare into their partner's eyes. Bodies are everywhere, together, dancing beautifully. No one wants the night to end.

I drove in to Black Mountain tonight in a soft rain. It was just light enough to see the peaks, and only the peaks, as the fog moved mountains floating on a misty sea.

A new song, one by Josh Groban called Alle Luce del Sole, just started as I sit here in the Dripolater. This word...I always say its what falling in love should be...passionate, desperate, almost despairing, hopeful, lovely. In fact, I'm going to listen to it again.

These things that I write about, these moments in my day--that's all they are, really, just moments--they matter. They are glimpses of beauty and longing and honesty, and they make my day. Its amazing how a conversation or a song or a view can make my day.
Its the Romance...that sweet Romance that is the Lord's generosity, the Lord's faithfulness, the Lord fingerprint on this world. Without Him there wouldn't be songs that make you ache. There wouldn't be talks that go far deeper than comments on the weather. There wouldn't be lovely days or chilly nights. There wouldn't be anything good. The Romance wouldn't even be an idea.

But it is an idea, and more than an idea, and we all know it. We know what it feels like to stand in awe or be moved by a sad voice. We want to love and be loved. We want to share our lives with others, whether we want to admit it or not. We want to stop and smell the flowers and hold someone's hand, just because.

And so, to the Lord I offer thanks...thank you for the Romance. Thank you for tastes of goodness and sweetness. Thank you for songs and music and mountains and dancing that, if we really think about it, point to You. Thank you for friends that encourage us in You. Thank you for people who love us--You are in that too. And thank you that even in the hard things, the suffering, the grief, the Romance can come and sweep us away. You are our comforter and our peace. Your eyes are on the nations, and your eyes are on us. Please God, never look away. Keep us, dear Lord, as You've wooed us to yourself, and continue to fill our days with the Romance, for it is sweet...

The return

Do you have a person in your life that you always call and tell your day you can burp and poot in front of and its not who gets your jokes and loves your style and would tell you, "I'm sorry darlin, but yes those pants make you look fat," and you're ok with that? For some people it may be their spouse or their mom or their college roommate...for me its my sister. My dear, dear, DEAR Connie.

She got back to the States yesterday after spending 5 weeks in Guatemala learning Spanish and soaking up the culture. Now, as amazing as this expierence was for her, and as excited I was that she got to go, I don't ever want her to leave the US without me again! I could not believe how much I missed her. I mean, we usually talk everyday, and I think we spoke 5 times in the last 5 weeks, and that was usually with a difficult connection and it was a hurried conversation. I hate hurried conversations! We did email, but hearing Connie laugh is just about the best thing ever. And as much as I loved hearing about her crazy experiences, the longing in my heart to be experiencing those with her drove me nuts. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I'm also being honest, right?

So yesterday I was eating lunch and my phone beeped...the message said "SIS", something it hasn't said in ages, and I just about fell out of my chair. She was in the States and able to call me from her very own cell phone, and we're on the family plan so we can talk for hours and no one cares. Thank the Lord my sister is home! She got back to Raleigh last night and went out for Indian food with Justin (her man) and Mom (yeah, I was a little jealous about that too...I ate cold, leftover Spaghetti...). Regardless, Connie, I'm so glad you are back, and though I love that you go for the adventure, I love when you are home too. Hurry on up to Asheville, my dear, ok?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where are you?

Tommy Nelson told a story years ago at a Conference that I attended, and I remember it, nearly word for word, and I'd like to share it with you. Apparently the former president of a big and thriving ministry raised a "rebellious son". When his son finally straightened out, he was tragically killed in a car accident. The man was heartbroken, and in a desperate moment of grief he cried out, "Lord, I take better care of Your children than you do of mine. Where were you when my son died?" The Lord answered, "The same place I was when My son died." In that statement was peace for this man.

I remember this story so often because so often really really bad things happen...things like divorce, death, rape, depression, cancer, and even things that sound innocuous but can be devastating, like lonelineness or stress or fear. These things shock and beat down and paralyze, leaving a person stranded, naked on the floor in that strange silence that resounds with screams and wails. Its awful...and its not uncommon.

People ask, "Where is God?" or "Why did He let this happen?" "How can He be loving and let me hurt so badly?" When I think about these questions, I usually don't have a good answer to them. I know that God is there and that His eyes are on the nations, so He sees. I know that He can be trusted even if it seems like He's playing Russian Roulette with your life...He's pretty wild a lot of the time, but He's good...He's always good. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Maybe the crazy King David, who surely had every reason to wonder what in the world God was thinking, said it best in a song he wrote...

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not raised too high for Thee
I do not think on things too great or marvelous
Or matters too difficult for me
But I have calmed and quieted my soul
Like a weened child is my soul within me
But I have calmed and quieted my soul

Like a weened child with its mother is my soul within me.

O Israel, trust in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Not having any children of my own, my closest image of a weened child with its mother is when horse breeders ween their foals. The babies are separated from the mares and placed in their own stall or pasture, and for hours, even days, they will pace and cry and scream for their mothers. All they want is to be together again, safe and secure at their mother's side.

And David understood that when things got too hard and the questions he was asking would only make him crazy, he trusted the Lord, and drew near, and found a baby finds peace with its mother, so David found it in the Lord. Now I'm not saying don't ask the questions or seek the answers. I am saying that some of the questions will remain unanswered for a long time because only the Lord why He does some of that which He does. And when you can't handle things anymore, and when really really bad things happen, picture our Father as a mother, and find peace there. Find peace there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"I'll be waiting"

A friend of my roommate during seminary got married after a lot of "should I/shouldn't I" drama that took its toll on her and the man that so desperately wanted her to say "I do". When she finally made her decision on the morning of the wedding (no kidding), she requested a particular song to play as she walked down the aisle. My roommate, Jenny, who was in charge of the music that day, came home, played me the song, and we both wept. Though it wasn't a new song for me, its ability to cut to the deepest desire of my heart remained as sharp then as it had the first time I heard it.

I heard it again today on a mix CD that showed up in my car, and of course, it brought me to tears once again. The singer/songwriter, Tracy Chapman, captures the fear, sadness, joy, and hope wrapped in the promise of the promise that someone makes to always be there waiting for you, to hold you and keep you close and safe.

If you wait for me then I'll come for you
Although I've traveled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart
If you think of me
If you miss me once in awhile
Then I'll return to you
I'll return and fill that space in your heart
Remembering Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
If you dream of me like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

My Jenny and I cried that night, I think, because both of us, deep down, want someone to say to us, "Yes, I think of you. Yes, I miss you when you are gone. Yes, I dream of you, and I'll be waiting. Come home." Maybe its the cry most girl's hearts, or everyone's heart, though a lot guys might not admit it. I'm not sure about that, but I know that just about every girl in my life desires with every fiber of her being for someone to think on her like this.

And when that doesn't happen, she wonders why. She wonders whats wrong with her. She wonders what those other girls have that she doesn't. She wonders if there is anything in her that is desirable, that could be valued and considered precious. She wonders if she'll be alone forever. Even the most confident and secure girls struggle with these questions and with the emotion they carry. That's one of the reasons we tend to cry a lot.

What's amazing is that these desires, I think, are from the Lord...that He made us girls to want, maybe even need, someone to say these things to us. And what's even more amazing is that when all the men in our lives are silent, and when we're alone at home night after night, and when all our friends are getting married, and when the questions are screaming in our heads, our Father in heaven has His eyes on us. He rejoices over us with singing. He comes to us and whispers, like a gentle breeze. He says to His daughters, "Yes, I think of you. Yes, I miss you when you are gone. Yes, I dream of you, and I'll be waiting. Come home."

And just then, that's enough...

Monday, September 18, 2006

A quick pic...not all too recent but close enough...


I got a phone call from this guy, Jazz, yesterday that I have to tell you about. He left me a message that went a little something like this. "KATIE CARRINGER! I was in church when you called...we started at 2:00 and worshipped for 2 hours! I had to leave early at 4:00, and the praise was just ending! IT WAS AWESOME!!!" What a great message...seriously.

Jazz leads worship at Montreat College's FCA every Sunday night. Well, let me rephrase that. Jazz is the lead worshipper at Montreat College's FCA every Sunday night. He sits at the piano, closes his eyes, and what happens next is the closest thing to magic that I've ever experienced. With a gentleness that belies his "other" career as a baller for Montreat, he plays, and with great humility and honesty, he sings, and with sincere passion, he worships a God so far from himself, yet so close that this desire to join in worship invades the room, like a thick fog that each person fearlessly loses themselves in.

Jazz gets it. He gets that the Lord is far bigger than even the biggest idea our minds can consider. He gets that bringing honest worship to the Lord means coming as himself, without pretext or pride or position. He gets that worship doesn't begin with the first note of a song but is everything leading up to that and everything extending past the final chord. Jazz gets it, and its contagious. When a guy like Jazz--who has every right to kind of consider himself "the man"--can come before the Lord and publically ask God to purify his heart, that is humility. When he can say that the Lord is his heart's one desire, that is love. When his face is alight with the glory of the Lord, that is authenticity. When he can sing at the top of his lungs, "High King of heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven's joy, O bright heaven's Son, heart of my own heart whatever befall, still be my vision O Ruler of all," that is passion.

And its catching...

Its a passion that somehow connects the desire of a person's heart to the reality and promise found in Jesus. Its a passion that is sweet--that stays on the tip of your tongue long after a meal ends. Though it doesn't ignore emotion, its something far greater that embraces and then transcends a feeling. It comes close to satisfying, but always leaves you wanting more because it reveals that there is more to be had. This is a passion that will effect change, that will help restore the reputation of God, that will move the church forward into all her glory. Its a passion that is so far removed from a person's own name, renown, and reputation that is can only be a passion imparted by the Lord's great grace.

So my prayer today is that God would grant a great number of people such grace, that they might discover a passion for Him second to none and totally unique to them individually--an "authentic passion," I reckon, is a good name for that. And I pray, too, that the Lord would use this passion--this willingness to represent even unto death--to bring His kingdom to earth. That He would help us to love mercy, to do justly, and to walk humbly with Him for His name's sake and for the good of all people.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Capacity to Hurt

Several years ago, when I was a freshman in college, my second week there I kissed a boy. In fact, I spent the night at his house and slept in his bed. All we did was kiss, and I told him straight up that I wouldn't sleep with him. He never called me again.

Last night, as I sat at Barley's with two friends, one old and one new, I saw that guy--the one who didn't call--and to my surprise, it still stung. Now, I hadn't thought of him for YEARS (yes, its been awhile since I was a freshman), and I remembered that it hurt when he didn't call.

Earlier this year I started dating a great guy, and I sort of dropped out of another friend's life, something I swore wouldn't happen but sure as salt did. This friend confronted me one night at church, with love and courage, and asked me what happened...where I'd been. He told me he was hurt and angry that I'd disappeared. I had hurt someone...not the first person or the last person, but perhaps one of the most precious. I realized so fully at that moment that I had the power to hurt and bring destruction in someone's life. How awful, how true, how unavoidable.

I hate it that I have and will hurt people. I hate it because I know what it feels like to hurt. I know what it feels like to be betrayed and ignored and forgotten and invisible. How could I do that to someone? But I have. How can I put a person through that terribleness that I've known as well? But I do...and I'm sorry.

The ugly selfishness that wields its way from my heart into someone else's reality is awful and wretched. But praise God that He is gracious to His children. With Him there is forgiveness--forgiveness available for the one doing damage, and the ability to forgive for the one who is damaged. My friend, the one that I hurt earlier this year, forgave me and accepted me back. What an amazing thing. He wasn't bitter or angry or disappointed after we spoke. He was himself, and he welcomed me to be myself as well. In a picture of grace, he forgot about my sin.

"With You there is forgiveness, therefore You are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning--more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130

This potential to hurt someone and be hurt by someone is reality--there is no escaping it. The risk increases with each relationship forged. And it doesn't seem right, does it? It doesn't seem right that the more love in your life the more hurt as well. What in the world is that about, and how we try to avoid it!?!? How we try to make things right and keep things right and WANT things right. We WANT love without hurt perhaps because that it what we were created for, and we unfortunately find ourselves in a world that doesn't line up with our desires.

Maybe that is why the Psalmist was waiting for the Lord so fervently--because he felt the dichotomy between his desire and his reality. He wanted things to be made right more than the city watchmen wanted the morning to come...and they wanted morning desperately. It meant they could go home, that they could rest and eat and see their families and lay down the armor and weapons that burdened their night. They could let down their guard and be at peace for just a little while until the sun set and they took up their positions at the city gates and towers once again. And at 5am, after hours of watching and worrying and wondering, their desire for morning was overwhelming. "I wait for the Lord...more than watchmen wait for the morning." O that things would be made right--no more hurt and no more damage. What a day that will be...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Woman of God

For any woman who has struggled with loneliness, with insecurity, with fear, I reread this passage from Captivating by the Elderidges given to me by a dear, sweet friend, and I wanted to share it--for encouragement that you, my sisters, will step into your role as a woman of God more fully, and that you, guys, will better understand and care for your sisters.

"You are woman. an image bearer of God. The crown of creation. You were chosen before time and space, and you are wholly and dearly loved. You are sought after, persued, romanced, the passionate desire of your fiance Jesus. You are dangerous in Your beauty and your life-giving power. And you are needed.

As a woman who has been ransomed and redeemed, you can be strong and tender. You speak to the world of God's mercy, mystery, beauty and His desire for intimate relationship. You are inviting; you can risk being vulnerable, offering the weight of your life as well as your need for more because you are safe in God's love. You labor with God to bring forth life--in creativity, in work, in others. Your aching, awakened heart leads you to the feet of Jesus where you wait for him. The eyes of His heart are ever upon you. The King is captivated by your beauty.

We need you. We need you to awaken to God more fully and to awaken to the desires of the heart that he placed on you so that you will come alive to Him and to the role that is your's to play.

And that is crucial, dear heart, whatever your particular calling. You are meant to grace the world with your dance, to follow the lead of Jesus wherever He leads you. He will lead you first to Himself, and then with Him, He will lead you into the world that He loves and needs you to love.

It is by invitation."

I didn't write this because I am woman, hear me roar. No, instead I wrote it because it is all that I long to be--lovely, tender, persued, merciful, kind, passionate, creative, gentle, obedient, at the feet of Jesus--and I need to be reminded that there is one who is the Lover of my soul.


This word evokes so many questions, so many memories, and one HUGE smile. After a weekend at home, I've come to appreciate and understand this word, this idea, more than ever before.

What does it mean to "be friends"? Perhaps the details vary from person to person and relationship to relationship, but I think there are all-encompassing foundations upon which all friendships are built. Friendship is based, I think, on love and respect, on authenticity and forgiveness, and on a mutual, genuine appreciation. With friendship there are risks, but upon becoming friends, one is saying that these risks are worth taking--that there is something within this person that is precious and worth knowing. What a beautiful idea it is when someone wants to become friends, for they are really saying, "I want to know you and be known by you because there is something in you that is precious to me."

But what of relationships that go from "more than friends" to "just friends"? What does that mean? What does that look like? It happens all the time. Perhaps this is where the foundations of friendship are put to the test--love, respect, authenticity, forgiveness, and appreciation. In order to truly be friends, both people have to move past anger and confusion and hurt, and step into the foundations, especially authenticity and love. Why these two? Because being yourself, being honest, with someone whom you have hurt and/or who has hurt you is so hard, but so worthwhile, for there are then no questions, no things left unsaid, and nothing hidden. It is you in your most vulnerable, and I think it is when the image of God is most recognizable. And why love? Because with love comes forgiveness and respect...with love comes the ability to laugh together again and the courage to cry if you need to. Love destroys bitterness, and from love can spring forth the small flower of friendship threatened by the winter of a breakup.

So as the theory is fleshed out, what of the practical? This is where prayer begins--prayer for peace, joy, and wisdom...and grace. Always grace! Grace lifts you off the floor and walks you out the door. Grace makes a smile genuine and grants courage to the disheartened. Grace is what allows us to love, to laugh, and to call other people our friends. Grace is what we so desperately need in all friendships, and it is so graciously bestowed by the Lord that I am overwhelmed so often at His goodness. I see Him in my friends--in Dan's loyalty and forgiveness, in Elizabeth's constant journey and "realness", in Jason's courage to ask me the hard questions, in Diana's understanding and readiness to listen, in Neil's strength of character and consistancy, in Connie's precious and loving heart, in Justin's humor and steadfastness, in Heather's kindness and mercy, in Jenny's prayers and laughter, in Kylah's undying love from afar, in Amy's challenging statements, in Steph's passion, in Alan's love for people and penchant for adventure, in sweet Lana's constant and expressed love of me that I treasure...I could go on and on--John, Eric, Erin, Lindsay, Caleb, Nic, Bubba, Dave Atkins, Ashley, Jane...

The Lord has blessed me with such fierce friends whom I love dearly. I hope ya'll know how much I love you DEARLY! You are always on my mind and in my prayers. I wish I could see you everyday and know you more with every minute we spend together.

There are some friendships where we are trying to figure it all out--what does it mean and what does it look like? I don't know, but I will say that I am excited to find out...

With all my love, respect, authenticity, forgiveness, and appreciation--

Thursday, September 07, 2006

As tall as I can...

This morning on my way to school, I heard an old, familiar song and the lyrics continue to run through my mind and out my mouth even now, as I sit in Atlanta Bread Company and softly sing. Its a song about being as much of you as possible as praise to the Lord. My favorite part goes a little something like this...

If you made me to be a cloud in the sky
I would find the perfect place way up high
Where I could hover
And maybe I would pray for skies that were blue
And for a sunset or two to show Your colors

Or maybe I might be
A mountain tall and steep
I would try and stand as tall as I can
And I would sing my offering

And this is my favorite part...

And the sun every morning cannot wait to shine
And the stars every evening are all standing by to light the sky
You give the rocks and stones voices of their own
But we forget to sing praises to our King

I love the line about the mountain standing as tall as it can--being the very thing that it is with joy. O that we might be the same...that we would be ourselves with joy and confidence to the praise of the Lord. And I love when she says that the sun is so excited to shine...its doing its job to the praise of the Lord and for the good all that encounter it, and it cannot wait. How I wish my life were like that every day...that I could wake up and be so excited about being me for the sake and to the praise of the Lord and for the good of all that I come into contact with. Instead I am often selfish, not even wanting to get out of bed, let alone love anyone. So I guess my prayer for today is that each day would be filled with praise and anticipation of the next opportunity to love, and that I would regularly be myself to the best of my ability for His name's sake.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The High Places

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the mountains are. Every morning when I leave for school I drive down this curvy, sigogling road that guides me into a national graphic photo just before it spits me onto hwy 40. Some mornings its misty, other times its so clear I think I could see to Raleigh, save the peaks blocking my view, but really, I don't mind a bit. Up here, it seems I am closer to God. Maybe that's why they built the tower of Babel, or maybe it was to see the mountains in the distance. Regardless, my time here is awesome, and as I look to the mountains, my help has come. I've been in class, which I love; I've been contra dancing as much as possible, which I love; I've found a great church, which I love; and I am desperately homesick, which I love, because it makes leaving Asheville for Raleigh in a few months easier. These hills draw you in, and if it wasn't for homesickness, I might not ever leave. The Lord works in funny ways most of the time, and I think any loneliness and homesickness I feel is only for my good. I know now that He wants me in Raleigh for awhile--an idea that has taken me a long time to accept. I know that He wants me to be a nurse--an idea that shocked even me. I know that He wants me here now--an idea that I'm totally cool with. I know that my friends and family in Raleigh mean more to me than I ever could have known had I not left--an idea that rocks my socks off. Yes, I miss you guys and I love you guys, and I'm coming back. I have to...there's work to be done! And it looks like there will be more surgeryto be done too--another reason to return home. I'll find out on Friday if and when I'll be having surgery on my left shoulder to repair the same damage done to the right one back in June. It'll probably be over Christmas break, followed by 6-8 wks of recuperation and months of physical therapy. During that time I'll be in school at Wake Tech, Lord willing, finishing my 2 prereq classes and applying to UNC and Duke for nursing that will start in May or in Aug of '07. A year later I'll be a nurse...awesome! I'm thinking Labor and Delivery right now, hopefully learning at some point how to deliver babies with HIV positive mothers. Lord, let it be...for I miss my friends, my church, and my family, and I want to bring Your kingdom to earth by doing some good for as many people as possible. Make my hands healing hands, my words kind words, and my life a sacrificial life. Even though these hills are lovely and the Lord is here, I think He's just as present, perhaps even more so, in hospitals and streets and not so lovely places. So no matter where I am, He is there to be discovered, to be enjoyed, to be worshipped, to be served, and that is perhaps the loveliest idea ever.

Monday, August 14, 2006

How much change can a girl handle?

Last week I went to Asheville for a job interview and it was awful. While they found me a likely candidate for the job, I would have rather lost a finger than worked that job. Still, I truly believed that the Lord wanted me I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis. I had to face the question of what I really want to do with my life and what I can do since getting hurt.

Ever since I was in seminary, and even more since I've been at my church here at home, my desire to serve people in a real, tangible way has grown and grown. As I've learned about the world and God's work in it, it seems that bringing people more than the gospel is necessary for the sake of the gospel. So the question that plagued me is how do I do that? What can I do?

Then I got hurt and need time to get better before going overseas, hence the job interview in Asheville that was a disaster, and the question that plagued me for so long hauled off and hit me like a ton of bricks. What can I do? Then I was hit again, by an answer. It was something I'd pondered for years, voiced rarely, and finally had the guts to tackle...I am going to nursing school--yes, nursing school.

With a BA, I can get my nursing degree from UNC in 14 months or from Duke in 16 months. Before that, I have to get a few prerequisites out of the way. So, tomorrow, I am moving up to Asheville for 9 months to take said classes before applying to nursing school, which means I can be a nurse in 2 years, and then go overseas as a nurse soon after with a skill that can meet so many needs, give me a way to reach the unreached, and have time to heal up and be 100% physically.

I can't tell you how excited I am...its the first time I've been excited about something in a long time. I can't wait to live in Asheville with my dear mentor and to hang out with my friends there, to go to school and to become something that can really make a difference in people's lives. I'll be back in Raleigh, hopefully, by May--back in my beloved church, in school, and in the Lord's will.

So things are great...really great. Its unbelievable.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Faithful to the end...

So I haven't been quite so faithful in my postings on this website, nor have I been faithful to many of you, but mostly, I haven't been faithful to my Lord. Thankfully my standing with Him depends not on my faithfulness but on His, and He is so faithful.

The past 6 weeks have been trying, I won't lie, but also so full of joy and gladness that I wouldn't trade the tears predecing for anything. Despite not having full mobility in my arms, or a job, or much money, I do have amazing friends, a loving church that is seeking God and moving forward in Him, and I have a Savior that never lets go.

This is a quick post, but I'll write more soon...right now I'm in Asheville looking into some job opportunities here. I'll let you know what you all!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bring on the Percocet

If you've never woken up from an anesthesia-induced slumber, then you truly haven't experienced the twilight zone. I woke up today from said slumber, burst into tears and cried, "How am I going to pay for this?" referring, of course, to the surgery just performed on my shoulder to repair an anterior labral tear. After several hours, 2 Percocet, and a nap later, I found myself propped up in a huge lounge chair watching the FIFA World Cup at my folks house, wondering what the next few months would entail. There are a lot of question marks right now, but also a few certainties. I know for sure that I have amazing friends that love me, a family that will never let me fall too far, and a God that I worship who has to have a plan for me and without whom I would just die and just be dead on the floor, killed by deadly chaos. I also know that, right now, life without Percocet would be unbearable, so thank the Lord for a good prognosis, for a great doctor, and a tiny white pill that is making my day.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Body shots

For the past 8 days I've heard the word "body" in more contexts then I knew possible. My dad teased, "Your body is just falling apart," after I'd commented, "Gosh, my body just hurts everywhere." This was in response to my little accident in the river and the subsequent injuries and what-not caused by said accident. At church we took communion, hearing, "This is my body, broken for you," a phrase still drives me to my knees in humility and gratitude. Since Hungry announced that we're becoming a church plant, over and over I've heard, and said, that the church isn't a building but a body, a group of people living life together. Awesome, and how grateful I am to be part of that.

And I've seen, more then ever, how these three bodies all fit together. My body isn't right, so I have surgery tomorrow to fix it. Yet my pain is minimal compared to that which Jesus suffered for my sake. His pain, both physical and mental, was anguish, and I don't know anguish...I just know pain. And he bore it all willingly so that eventually all the pain that I feel will end. His body was broken so that my broken body, and soul, might heal.

And through His brokenness a new thing started, this thing called the Body, the church--a group of people living life that isn't perfect and screws up all the time, but will continue to be driven by love for Him and one another. I've seen this body at work at a time when I needed it. Through emails and phone calls and gentle hugs and kind words, the Body has loved on me and reminded me that I am not forgotten.

So I say thank you to my friends who have so graciously and even sacrificially loved me through the shadows and the deep valleys. I love ya'll and am so so thankful for you. And now we're on this new adventure with Hungry that I pray will only allow us to know and love each other more as we seek out the face of our Lord, for His name's sake.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I shall not want?

Everyday I many things! Not necessarily material things, though a new laptop would be right nice, and it seems the cravings for hummus and wheat thins will never cease. But most of those things that I want lie in the emotional or experiential realm...I want to hear a little one call me Mama, I want to love someone so deeply that it seems knit into my very being, I want to once again play my fiddle at the Todd General Store on a Friday night, I want to see my grandpa and stand with him in heaven before the God we both love. So many many many tears when longing overwhealms the patience and hope that, most days, keeps me stable.

Why this longing for love and moments where all seems right? Why this longing to see those whose bodies decay and whose souls reside elsewhere? Why this overpowering desire to see a God that I simultaneously love and fear?

Perhaps its because that is what I was created for. Perhaps "want" is a product of the imperfection, brokenness, and chaos in which my world exists. I guess as a follower of the Lord, I believe that at one point this world was perfect, whole, and peaceful. Love never hurt. People didn't die. Music played on and was the world at the end of fairytales we all wish for every now and again.

Is the very act of wanting evidence that we live in a world that is not the one intended for us and that perhaps the hope we have for a different world drives us to find it--to find that happy ending...King David wrote, "The Lord is my shephard, I shall not want." That does not mean stop wanting, and it does not mean that suffering is out of the simply means that, eventually, wanting will end, love will make things whole again, and all will be right with the world. Maybe that is why John wrote so desperately, "Come Lord Jesus." He, too, knew what it meant to want and who could satisfy. Thankfully I am not alone. Thankfully hope exists, else all would seem lost.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Under the knife

Something happened for the first time today...something that has never happened before. I scheduled a surgery to rebuild my shoulder. Yes, this is my first time under the knife. Am I scared? Not really...I think I'm most afraid of all the rehab I'll have post-op, but I'm even more afraid of dislocating my shoulder again. This surgery will minimize those chances.

Its an odd thing to hear that you are broken and in need of fixing, and usually I hear it in the context of my soul or the state of the world...not in such a physical way as my anterior something-or-other tendon is completely torn and won't heal without intervention.

So, intervention is happening...faster then I expected, but that means I'll be on the road to recovery sooner. And what a road it'll be...but we'll make that turn after Tuesday. Until then, I continue to look to the Lord for peace, which he's granted, and for help...and for just a second, let me say that help showed up in the form of my dear sister who helped cut my clothes off in the emergency room, dressed me for two days when my arms couldn't move, has driven me to every doctors appointment this week, and has made me laugh, even when I was crying. Connie, you are like rain in late July...

Tuesday morning will be a long one friends, as they cut into my wee shoulder to fix all that is broken...its not all that needs fixing, but its a definite step in the right direction. Perhaps this experience will not be unlike being under the knife of the Lord...painful at first, but always leading to greater adventure (and makes for one heck of a story). One can only hope, right?

Unseen promises

So I was driving home yesterday after eating with my parents, slightly depressed and wondering what I'm going to do with my life, and just as I was exiting off 440, the most lovely rainbow appeared over the hill. It was, to me, a sweet reminder that the Lord I follow is one of promises...promises of a hope and a future, promises to always be around, promises of an abundannt life. For a moment, my eyes were off my issues and my worries as I looked to the heavens...

There is an old song that we used to sing that comes to mind as I write:

I lift my eyes up, to the mountains
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from you, maker of heaven
Creator of the Earth

So I'll continue to look towards the heavens, where my help comes from...and the Lord knows how much help I need right now.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

When it rains...

My sister walked into the emergency room last Sunday, looked at me lying in the bed hooked up to machines and unable to move my arm and just started laughing, "When it rains in pours, huh?" I laughed keep from crying!

How right she the span of 8 days I had left my boyfriend in Japan, both of us confused and clueless about the future, gotten sick with a sore throat, hit an undercover cop car, was diagnosed with pink eye, dislocated both shoulders, found out I have to have surgery on one of them, and had to give up my "dream" of becoming a firefighter. I had two thoughts running through my head, "What the crap?" and "Lord, what the crap?"

During those times in life when you are figuring stuff out like, "What am I doing?," and you think you've got a plan, all seems well. Then when the Lord just throws you for a loop as you dislocate your shoulders kayaking, those dreams go down the toilet, and you are left wondering, "Couldn't you have just sent me a note? Really, I would have listened." Of course He answers with, "I had to wrench Jacob's hip, my dear, and you don't want to limp the rest of your life, do you?" Should that make me thankful?

So again I find myself wondering, "What am I doing?" Well, for the meantime, I will be having surgery in the next few weeks on my right shoulder to repair the damage I did on Sunday and to prevent further dislocations. I'll be taking time off of work, looking for another job, and continuing to seek the Lord for His voice and for the sake of my community of fellow followers.

I won't lie, things aren't easy right now. There are financial concerns, emotional concerns, physical concerns...but the more I step back and trust God, the more hope I have that He has a plan much greater than the one I hoped for. Granted, His might not be easier or quite as secure, but its His, so its good. The question that now remains is how much of His plan will I accept without a fight. I just hope that He doesn't have to wrench my hip to get my attention...really Lord, you've got my attention.