Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Earth and Sky (part 2): Cloud Shadows

Cloud shadows rumble across my face. Out of place fences reign in teeming green and jagged crests. Somehow, this violence preserved is a peaceful sanctuary. Angry earth crust can never really be tamed, just enough to inspire wonder and rest. Maybe this is because the mountains have faced so much over the years, yet remain stable and confident of their mark on the world.

Cities and businesses are built around the mountains. Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is one of 58 fourteeners – mountains that jut 14,000 feet above sea level. The chiseled granite rock anchors the eastern slope of the state, and even the streets of downtown Denver were constructed to provide the best view possible of the peak.

Isabella Bird with the third lady to climb Longs Peak in 1873. She was an English lady who spend her life traveling in America and other countries and wrote extensively about her adventures in letters to her sister. She was one of the first travel journalists. After her ascent of Longs Peak, she penned these thoughts:

“From the summit were seen in unrivaled combination all the views which had rejoiced our eyes during the ascent. It was something at last to stand upon the storm rent crown of this lonely sentinal of the Rocky Range, on one of the mightiest of the vertebrae of the backbone of the North American continent, and to see the waters start for both oceans. Uplifted above love and hate and storms of passion, calm amidst the eternal silences, fanned by zephyrs and bathed in living blue, peace rested for that one bright day on the Peak.”

Explorers can never resist the call of a mountain. But mountaineering as a profession is more about sharing a common experience than lone conquering. History is chuck full of men and women on a conquest- even at the risk of seeing the highest mountain in the world as their last glimpse of life.

hat is it that calls the human heart to such risk? Creation screams the glory of God, but how we all respond to that scream is personal and deeply spiritual.

After attending college away from the mountains, I found myself severely infected with mountain fever upon graduation. This summer I wandered everywhere I could, taking pictures and just filling up on the wilderness, a staple of my growing up years.

It is funny how people are attracted to different types of wilderness. My father lived in Moab, Utah when he was very young. Even though he has lived in Colorado longer, he dreams about the red dirt, desert and arches. He remembers every street of the town and wants to retire there. How can one place have such a sway on him?

For the Israelites, the wilderness was not a comfort. From their perspective, it was a place of broken promises and failed attempts to measure up to God's standards. But over and over, His love reached out to them and offered them redemption. The only problem was that they didn't take it.

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
Hebrews 4:2

The Israelites even had an opportunity to meet Him on the mountain but were too afraid to face working out their secret sins. Yet, God met Moses there and offered a way to relationship. The 10 commandments can seem harsh and unforgiving, yet I see them as God saying to His children, “I crave relationship with you! Rely on me to guide you, to move you forward in life.”

On top of Mount Siani, God reached out to heal a nation. Perhaps summits still represent God's desire to heal nations and even our deepest personal violences. Perhaps battle can turn into peaceful respite. Perhaps the wild way is far richer than the safe. You won't know until you strap on those hiking boots and move forward up the trail.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sky and Earth (part 1): The Tree of Life

The waning leaves of fall inspire mystery. My camera craves to capture these moments, especially when the quaint historic neighborhoods of my home town play backdrop.

Trees haunt when listened to, like an echo of a past image. Sturdy limbs thicken through storms and graciously allow squirrels to bury treasure among the roots. Bark toughens through adversity and blossoms intoxicate the senses. But the glorious ending of a tree’s seasonal cycle fulfills the mission of the tree. Like the last tragedy of an opera or the quiet release of a loved one, the drama of autumn stirs deeply in my heart.

The Tree of Life centered the Garden of Eden in the beginning. It sat in direct contrast to the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-
and-evil, whose fruit represented humans judging God. When thinking of the Genesis account, I often only examine the knowledge tree, greatly aided by my mental picture of the illustrated children’s Bible version of the story. The artist did a clever rendition where a green squiggly snake dangles an apple from the tree for the fashionably fig leaf draped Eve.

But what of the Tree of Life? Surely this center of the Garden reflected eternal life through plunging anchor roots and golden life divine flowing through branches and leaves. The tree stood as God’s heart for humans — relationship and fruitful dependency on eternal substances. One taste of pride and judgment produced banishment. This swift cut off of communion with God was like a loss of deep breath.

The tree of life haunts the prophets in the Old Testament. Those in exile dreamed of the new Jerusalem, God’s city, with rivers of life and a tree of healing. And even though God’s people repeatedly abandoned His love, chose the lust of this world over the Kingdom and rejected His overtures for relationship, God boldly promised and fulfilled the Tree-of-Life mandate.

This tree punctured reality with redemption on the road to Calvary through Jesus. The tree of life was revived by His blood, love and sacrifice. This is why the bruised and battered gentiles will walk in the light of the Holy City.

In the glorious end, the Tree of Life makes a triumphant return.

“Then he showed me the river of the water of life clear as crystal coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of the street. On either side of the river was the tree of life bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse and the throne of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him, they will see His face and His home and His name will be on their foreheads... He will illume them.”
Revelation 22:1-5

Pure flesh and spirit can again fulfill each other, fully recovered from the greatest divorce case in history. The Tree of Life offers unfailing light and truth. Destruction makes way for transformation in the end. That which caused damage will be no more, irradicating all doubts that God’s Kingdom life is a gimmick or another hope that will fail.

This Tree of Life blazes with gold refined by fire, its truth offering healing to all nations and atrocities, and humanity redeemed will never abuse the power of freedom again. The water flowing under its canopy is without cost, covered by grace.

Most of the time I see these images through half open eyes, only sort of registering the transforming power of redemption. God desires to plant us like trees by His river, rooted in His flowing life. And this Revelation song was written during dire crisis, encouraging receivers to look at the Big Picture — Jesus. His love and care are unfailing, ready to sustain when evil is certain.

May autumn leaves stir the eternal strength of the Tree of Life in your heart.

“I often say to myself that, in our religion, God must feel very much alone: for is there anyone besides God who believes in the Salvation of the world? God seeks among us sons and daughters who resemble Him enough, who love the world enough so that He could send them into the world to save it.”
— Louis Evely, In the Christian Spirit

Final Surrender

From my Utmost for His Highest:
"Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will; when that is done, all is done. God never crushes a man's will into surrender, He never beseeches him, He waits until the man yields up his will to Him."

How many times have I left you waiting, and only complained about how I am waiting on You?

"It is after we have begun to experience what salvation means that we surrender our wills to Jesus for rest. Whatever is perplexing heart or mind is a call to the will - 'Come to Me.' It is a voluntary coming."

Too many times I forget what it means to work out salvation with fear and trembling. It is my job to surrender for His rest.

"Surrender for devotion. The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, my self with His rest at the heart of it. Once surrender has taken place we never need suppose anything. We do not need to care what our circumstances are. Jesus is amply sufficient."

I still worry about direction, about how to really take up this new life start with a Kingdom perspective. Life is nothing but the surrender of giving the right of myself up to Him. What does this really mean?

"Beware of a surrender which you make God in an ecstasy; you are apt to take it back again. It is a question of being united with Jesus in His death until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him."

When do the destructive lusts of this world lose their appeal? Somehow my heart just knows the absolute truth of Heaven. When disillusionment and weariness weigh, I must remember that surrender is choosing what His nature stands for - holiness. Responding, not reacting. Really judging situations by the Holy Spirit.

"The whole of life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God."

Best beef in town

It all started two days ago when I was editing copy for the Health Line magazine. My editor does a humerous piece each month. I was just strumming through the words, looking for grammar and general flow when this word jumped out:


I quickly surrounded the word with question marks and promptly forgot all about the moment.

Today we are getting the story ready to print. Jade casually looked at me and said, "Beefalos are real. We used to raise them."
So apparently there are such creatures in the world as Beefalos.

This has turned into a mini-obsession for me.

According to wikipedia, 'Beefalo' are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American Bison (generally called buffalo). The breed was created to combine the best characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production.
I guess Bison are very aggressive but produce succulent meat. Cows are just...cows. Why not have the best of both worlds?

The article continued:
"It was found early on that crossing a male buffalo with a domestic cow would produce few offspring but that crossing a domestic bull with a buffalo cow apparently solved the problem. In 1965, Jim Burnett of Montana produced a hybrid bull that was fertile. Soon after, Cory Skowronek of California formed the World Beefalo Association and began marketing the hybrids as a new breed. The new name, beefalo, was meant to separate this hybrid from the problems associated with the old cattalo hybrids. The breed was eventually set at being genetically at least ⅝ Bos taurus and ⅜ Bos bison. A USDA study showed beefalo meat, like bison meat, to be lower in fat and cholesterol. The association claims that beefalo are better able to tolerate cold and need less assistance calving than cattle while having domestic cattle's docile nature and fast growth rate; they are also thought to produce less damage to rangeland than cattle. In 1983, the three main beefalo registration groups reorganized under the American Beefalo World Registry. There are now 2 Beefalo Associations, the American Beefalo World Registry (ABWR) and the American Beefalo International (ABI). Beefalo raising has not become widespread. The high price of this meat, partly due to low supply, has done little to generate popularity. The ABWR reports registering 1,000 head a year."

Perhaps I should join such an association. I have figured out a way to do it- mail order a Beefalo, sell my car, ride it to work every day and save gas.

I appreciate all feedback, art work and comments on this curious subject.


My heart is a little heavy today.
I ache with the deep desire to see His freedom and redeeming love truly restoring my family, close friends, even myself...
I have never really experienced the de-valuation of a close friend until now. I am sad at the loss of confidence and the complete take over of stony lost remorse.
Does true restoration ever completely happen on this side of eternity?
The kind that rebuilds a forest from splinters, completeing every work ever started...

In Hosea, God called Israel no longer deserving of mercy, worthy of bloodshed an no longer His people; yet all He could see was who He made them to be.

"Yet the number of the children of Isreal shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there is shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God."
Hosea 1:10

The way I see life is that we either respond to disapointements and hurts through hurt and anger or love and affirmation. Numb hatred and a foundation lacking love tears healthy life into pieces.

But His restoring love works deeper than anything I have ever witnessed, breaking through apathy, mistrust and hopelessness.

I have to believe lives can really be changed.

Corn on the Blog

The corn silk flew at an alarming rate.
"Give me an S!" Jack yelled.
"S!" We all chanted back.
"Give me an H!" He encouraged again as we all did the wave around the room.
"Give me a U!" "U!" "Give me a K!" "K!"
And all manner of corn jokes skimmed across the crowd as the Reporter-Herald staff participated in tryouts for the corn shucking team for the Corn Roast festival here in Loveland in two weekends.
I nervously stepped up to the plate. It has been awhile since I competively shucked corn... wait, I have never competitively shucked corn...There was no time like then to start my blazing corn career.
Then, the BIG BOSS walked in. Um, he runs the whole paper. And it turns out that we were competing against each other to see who could shuck 20 ears of corn the fastest.
Needless to say, my skills are a little lacking, and he out shucked me by 1.5 minutes. Who wants to make their boss lose anyway?
So, I made the JV team. We are the Corn Dawgs.
And we are out for the shucking title.

Ha ha, you know you live in Colorado when...

Realized Dreams

Since moving home from Tulsa, I have really been seeking God about my place here. This city I live in, Longmont, has a tendency to turn fire into apathy and lure people into only fighting for the American way of life. Not that working hard and having a family with a white picket fence is a bad thing; I just have a problem when those dreams take on life’s sole determination. One of the greatest things I was concerned about was losing all of the progress I have made since New Years. God really knows what He is doing.

After graduation, it took me awhile to really come around. Many of you know all that happened this year, and have walked beside me. Thank you!

I have spent the last couple of months re-building and moving past mentalities of misery and apathy. In the middle of all of my emotional-help-myself methods, God showed up with His blazing truth - the Word. Going to school at ORU was one of my best experiences yet... but leaving there is challenging, because there are so many dream runners to live up to. I felt completely drained of all energy to think bigger and move beyond what I could accomplish within immediate reach. But for the first time in my life, I am really sinking in to the power of knowing Jesus. His Word is relationship, a fire that breaks through rocks and the slow restoration of deep waters. His dreams reach into the reality of the spirit realm and pull earth into Kingdom existence. I forgot to long for such places.

This weekend, I volunteered at a huge event in Colorado called Heaven Fest. I was a part of the Burn team there, praying behind the scenes, and I also helped at some tables explaining Get the Word Out and other ministries. Throughout the day, the 70 acres of land filled up with countless people and I crossed paths with so many different relationships, both old and new. The concerts were poignantly focused on worship and seeking God’s face...all 70 of them. The main event of the night was when a worship team showed up on the Main stage with out spot lights or any recognition. They ushered in God’s presence, and His sweet aroma bathed my heart.
While I was standing there, God opened up my eyes to see realized dreams. I grew up with a lot of the people who sponsored this event. Their humility throughout the whole process astonished me, as well as their hunger to give Him fame first. The worship leader, Dave Powers, stood up and spoke about how God had brought all of the people there to honor Him. I looked around, and acres of hungry worshiper from all denominations stood, drinking in God’s presence.
God reprimanded my loss of dreams. Slowly, through just doing nothing, my belief that my God who defeats impossibilities succumbed to rational thinking. I haven’t had the tenacity to dig in and actually seek His face through prayer and the growth of my heart. How can I reach other people if all I have done is drain myself?

Do you believe that I can bring your deep dreams to pass?
Will you wait on My timing and follow My heart first?

Empty Life Redeemed

Today I find myself wrestling with steadfast hope.
Hope that begs to be fully rested on the grace brought to me by the revelation of Jesus -
He is everything. He is Kingdom in life-interrupting motion.
And I grapple with the fact that He calls me to be holy.
Many days I fall so short of that steadfast hope.
I want to creep back into convincing myself that I can't take on the daily problems and the big problems. Too often, relationships are easier to let go then to fight for. I am changing so fast... Tulsa feels about 10 million miles away already. But am I changing as He wants me to?
I was redeemed from the empty life, purchased with precious blood and not corruptible things like gold or silver. I was ransomed with eternity, not the quick fix.
So I am trying very hard to actually let God get past the surface and effect REAL change in me. I am tired of basing my life on the rituals that don't matter and motivations that fail. Sometimes my heart is so full. Other days I feel the enormity of leaving my safe places behind.
But He has called me to live life as a stranger to this world in reverent fear, loving deeply from my heart and recognizing all that is really important.

"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God."
1 Peter 1:23

Colorado Paper = Recycle

As if I now do not write enough, I had a craving to write a blog.
You see, this week I started my first full time job at a news paper as the special sections reporter. I can't even believe how much has happened this summer... I am finally waking up from an intense season of challenges, mishaps and general numb.

Monday: Day 1
I am introduced to people. And more people. Then meetings on benefits and all of these silly things we Americans must possess in order to stand as successful. I started brain storming stories and the day ended promptly at 5 p.m. As part of my HR orientation, the department manager informed me of the Reporter Herald's push to recycle and join the general Green madness. In fact, for a BBQ Expo next weekend that will be hosted in the parking lot, all of the plates, forks, napkins and cups will be made from corn and are bio degradable. The event will be completely trash free, which excited me very much (but I digress). I also watched my co-worker Jade consume 10 cups of coffee. He already has enough energy to fill a coffee pot, but I suppose a little more can't hurt.
And who can argue with an unlimited supply of the juice?

Tuesday: Day 2
I am in the middle of the advertising department, and I must admit this is very exciting. Today at a planning meeting we discussed different campaigns and selling ads for a new bridal magazine. They asked me about my life and I told them I have a dog and an emotionally disturbed cat. Sometimes the information I chose to reveal about myself astounds me. Currently I am working on stories for a men's health issue of our Healthline magazine. And Home and Garden stories. And a back to school insert. But when I started layout today, that is when I really felt in my element. All of those hours at the Oracle are actually paying off...every last late minute of them.

In short, I love Colorado. I love newspapers. I love recycling. And I love you and miss you all...

Finger Slide

My dog always makes it first to the front door, eager to catch what ever adventure exists inside. The kitchen waits for us to walk through with all of our luggage and my grandmother usually sits at the table ready to visit. I grabbed a bag, smiled hello and walked up the familiar stair case. The air conditioner blew my hair one zillion directions as I turned to set everything down in the study where I usually sleep when I am here.

As I stood in the door frame, my papa sat on the couch playing the guitar. His eyes were closed and his head leaned back on the navy blue couch.

"I will always love You, I will never leave You..."

His new song filled the room as his fingers slid up and down the guitar in praise. I realized this is one of those moments... a snap shot in time when you realize the beauty of another person and what they have done for you. After all of these years, His greatest priority resides in praising his faithful Maker. Papa has left me a legacy that I will never be able to turn away from letting define me.

Yesterday we sat on the lawn in white garden chairs and talked about the Kingdom of Heaven. Christians focus too much on the church, which is only a small aspect. We need to ruminate on the Kingdom inside and how to share such riches with others. Just Jesus. May this simplicity guide me as I step into all of this mess called post-graduation.


I recently saw this really corny advertisement in a magazine for a ministry school. The headline of the page was, "Get Wasted." The underlying theme of the message was to give your life for causes that the world considers foolish.

For some reason, this message always makes a crunch inside of me. Shane and Shane sing a song begging God to waste them and use them for His name. Misty Edwards sings in the song Mystery: "I want to waste my life to search You out," and in the song Let Me Love You More, Edwards sings "I want to take my passion and put it in a bottle just to break them at your feet. I want to take my affections and put them in a bottle and waste them at your feet."

I am starting to get this idea now. He has anointed my life with certain characteristics, not just moments or certain songs. My heart longs for personal encounters, to find Him and not just the footprints where He
has been. A truth I heard last Sunday will not stop ringing in my ears: Jesus didn't die for humanity.
He wasted His life for individual relationship.

He calls us to a life of "Just Jesus."
Absolutely nothing else will do.

So my cry to God?

Break my heart for this community. I am tired of waiting for someone else to step up to the plate so that I can follow- what if no one else comes? Move me at the right time. I don't want to burn out from mis-placed passion. I don't want to miss the song this city needs to hear pour out from me. You have healed my brokenness and now I move forward. Bring me into a season of growth at Your pace, questions that always burn and an assurance that increases with each step.

I don't want to be a singer- I want to be a messenger of God's anointing. One who listens to His heart on the matter, not afraid to sing to Him in an empty room for the rest of my life if that means finding His presence.

Perhaps waiting in the mundane is not the worst thing to happen. In fact, this is often an important place to be, as it can prove to be a time of posturing to hear His voice or letting hopelessness and dis-belief take control.

Machine Expectations

The machine never puts out like expected. I handed my card in for a stamp, breath held for the future painted in my mind. I followed every step with calculated punctuation. I took risks at the expected times, not anticipating the deep marks other people could leave. I never realized how much the world would change or how the awareness of reality would creep into life perceptions. Oddly enough, many grand moments I thought would grab an epiphany from my soul turned into rituals and the nooks and crannies of experience have held the most definitions over the past years since high school.

Now I find myself frozen. Mapped confidence needs a push from the starting gate to actually take affect. All I can stand to focus on is one stage at a time, while struggling to not play the victim. Why do I mourn the cookie cutter life?

I never planned on conventional living. But when faced with the uncomfortable brink of forever un-knowns, I wish I could crawl into a normal sleeping bag instead of sleeping bare naked on the cliff. Poisonous expectations. How do I differentiate you from dreams actually happening?
I work to offer the world something of substance and reciprocation in the form of change. Youth catapults me forward as I ponder the age-old desires of belonging and contributing. For the first time, I am experiencing over stimulation for which path to choose. Part of me wants to live in the excitement of crashing title waves. Another craves the security of predictable sugar cookies at Christmas time.

This freedom I couldn’t stop thinking about transformed into a prison of wondering. Wait. Try hard. Wiggle around a little bit. Think too much. Let the hard times shape life’s outlook and then wash away. Try to realize that the best times are behind only when allowed to stay there.
I can’t keep the dreams from expanding. I can’t help but hope for His Kingdom, fulfilled and racing to cover the earth with unfailing expectations. My heart is forever marked with this restlessness. Someday the time will be right, and all of these desires will unleash with bright fury. All I am left with is the whisper of Your direction. The noise is draining away, and I can’t help but listen.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Somewhere along the way, my heart started to ache from not “hearing the voice of God.” Perhaps I only sought big clanging action words like “BAM!” and “HUTAH!” Or perhaps I craved someone reading my life like a book and just telling me what to do. 

Little by little, God has started to reveal the small and big ways He speaks: Community Daily people around me Common sense
Waiting Corporate worship People singing over my life  
Church leaders World around me  

This fear that I can’t hear Him or that I will miss Him somewhere along the way has got to diminish.

You fulfill even the deepest of dreams- this truth shatters me and leaves me vulnerable. There is always hope for redemption and change- the unexpected future will be worth it with You.  

There are many things God has fulfilled. He ushered me into His overflowing rivers of mercy, even when I was too numb to feel Him there. He opened my eyes to understand new perspectives and to see first hand what it means to be a leader in crisis. He opened the door for me to really sing over people and to come alive.  
Even though I have to start over, I know it will not be out of stripped brokenness. Rather, I move on through fulfilled seasons. His richness and hope will carry me. I pray He will connect me where ever I go next, and place beauty in my life like never before.  

The foundation has been established for You to declare new things over my life. You show me a picture of the future and then bury the seeds deeply in my heart. I open up my vision to hope again in impossibilities. Fulfillment ushers in a need for sensitivity for the next chapter- You never call me to a season of question marks. When You speak, You go past my mind and emotions and drop hot fire into my heart. May I always feel this strain, even when interference is more tangible than Your truth.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


They sat in row H.
Both in black, her red scarf matched the red stripes of his tie.
They looked comfortably married, like typical Opera patrons. 
Nearly all patron wives wear black dresses and bright scarves.
Nearly all patron husbands wear a tie and pin stripped pants. 
What would it be like to spend such evenings, dining on rooftops and drinking decaf coffee together? 

I sat in row G, very close to the orchestra. With goose bumps, I listened to soaring music with Alina and Crystal. In one song, love is found. In the next, the star crossed lovers are threatened with death or jealousy. In the next, one dies needlessly, but all for the dramatic sake of temporary passion. The lovers die for each other without ever realizing what it means to love for a lifetime. 

I am sure the thrill of such dangerous romance would cause me to soar. But honestly, I would prefer a love story not absolved in untimely death. The quiet daily life of building dreams together, following God in the big and small moments... these are all qualities I would sing in French about. 

In reference to the lovers in the Opera Lakme-
Me: "When did they ever have time to discuss newly wed budgets? Or what brand of microwave popcorn is preferred?"

Crystal: "If the gods want them to be together, I am sure they already like the same brand." 

Birthday Song: February 18

You unravel me.
I only hope my eyes are one year wiser, my song one year sweeter.
For 21 years of breathing Your grace are matchless to how much You deserve.
After a tough time of searching, blaring sirens and shifting-
Show me the deep desires of my heart
The ones You planted there
To yield in due season
Hear Your voice
Never withering

To know Your love
Always better then what I remember

May this year be a time of refuge under Your wings
Fulfillment, restoration, re-connections, vibrant community, discipline, direction and fight
Where will I be at 22?
I hardly dare to dream
But Your hope is around the corner 
God-realities ready to take FLIGHT

I know You heal the broken things, because I no longer mourn them.
They are just hallow, a part of my story.

May this be a year of redemption.

I never want to plateau and be "just fine." 
I don't want to be afraid of conflict, risk or preparation.

May this be a year of simplicity.
Un-locked beauty.

Open Sky Communion

The quiet at the ranch was as wide as sky. I could hear my notebook scratching against my jeans as I walked down the hill. The crunch of November grass was deafening. Such silence is a rare treasure. 

“What do you have for me? What song will rise up in me?” I questioned the blue. 

Perhaps the words I will someday speak will be a healing force. Or maybe their power will be formed in contemplative silence. As I sat on the hillcrest, hundreds of prickly little thorns poked through my rough-and-tough pants and death gripped my shoelaces. After noticing this, I bumped into a tendency of mine. I have a habit of innocently ignoring myself. In my desires to open my embrace and to learn, listen, and digest culture, I have developed a pattern of losing myself. I get excited about someone else’s vision and try to picture myself in the middle of their dreams. Sometimes, I try very hard to fit into someone else’s life.

I tried one time to picture myself in the high heels of an Oklahoma pastor’s wife. There I was, gallantly greeting each old congregation member every Sunday, week in and week out. But sadly, many of the old religious ways and polite church community curiosities do not wage war on the darkness pervading the little forgotten towns. 

Depression, apathy, and wasted dreams run rampant. Such places are a mission field in their own right, struggling to move forward as the world changes. I should never go in as a missionary lightly, unaware of what battles could be stirred up, even in a conservative and religious town. 

Then I wanted the society of a New England housewife, a low-hanging fruit of adoration. There I was, running the race to have the greatest garden, best clam chowder recipe, and most volunteer hours at church. Tea parties and social circles were the name of the game. But soon, the possibility of running in those circles for as long as I had to draw breath began to lose its luster. Give me the freedom to think and to move, to wander the mountains, and not have to pretend I am someone else. Then maybe I will finally find my place. 

I lay back on the hill to ponder the horizon. That color of blue cannot be found in the city. The daylight expanse stretched endlessly. With wounded pride, I found Him there. In the very work of His hands was where the true life of the universe stood. I knew I wanted God’s life breath to intervene. “What do You dream for me?” I silently wondered. Perhaps I haven’t heard because I haven’t really listened for whom I am. I sometimes feel unworthy to approach Him with my heart’s emptiness. 

Then I was called back to the campfire to join my group of friends. With them I sat dreaming of the future, next steps to be taken, and upcoming holidays. The endless silence of the ranch was slowly broken by familiar smiles and joking. Then Chris opened his beat-up guitar case and tuned the strings to a perfect outdoor pitch. He sang a song we all remembered, the one with a melody that has the ability to fill any amount of space, even the infinite atmosphere. After awhile, Preston rummaged through his bag and brought out a water bottle of grape juice and a zip lock bag of crackers. There, with no church organ or ritual garments, a stone was set up as a communion table and the Saturday afternoon air became sacred. 

An act of open sky communion inspired new freedom in me. For one moment, time stopped, and all that I could think about was God’s faithfulness. I was done with championing other people’s God dreams. Small hope poked a hole through the numb haze I had been walking in. I opened the door for His penmanship to freely compose my life story again. This slight inward adjustment made all of the difference. I felt a new fierceness to battle fear. The grape juice tasted sweeter in the mountain air and the precious cracker more somber as I stood there, not even hemmed in by clouds. 

What infinite possibilities His blood has bought for me. They are as wide as sky, and as grounding as earth. Silence is no longer a burden and waiting is not a practice to be feared. My hope is found in the ancient sustenance that has preserved His Bride for generations. My strength is found in the unexpected moments of His presence interrupting daily routine, but only when I am sensitive enough to find Him on a hill or in my kitchen. Such an unconventional communion moment only solidified the covenant that makes me who I am in Christ. Such a moment finally cut through confusion and hurt, preparing my eyes to see His open sky in my life. 

Anywhere You Are

From house church one Thursday night:

One moment is not enough to hold You
You call me to see life from Your perspective
Time is not fit for our love
Only forever can hold You

Sometimes I struggle with how to love You for a lifetime
A paradox when time is not enough
My heart waits in eternity
Catching the song of longing the remnant sings

My inadequacies in reaching out to others comes to the forefront
Because spending forever with You means people too
Gouge the layers of self: satisfaction, indulgence and stipulation

Any where You are
Is where You will find me
Anything You ask
Nothing is too much
Until my body finally leaves
My heart will wait in eternity

Eternity is:
just one breath away
starting now
continued moments with the King

I must position myself to know 
God will fulfill what He has laid on my heart
There is reality. And there is Your truth.
Perhaps life is a process of reaching for what is right in front of me.
I either believe He will come through or go crazy. 

You push me to live through all life seasons
Running to You means finding eternity in every moment
I belong to You
You fight for my future

I don't have to do that on my own anymore.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sapphire Steps

My feet are paused, looking to start down this path of
Another last semester book end
One year brings changes I could never imagine
Perhaps dreams I never allow myself to think about
Or myself as completely different, a present for next New Year's Eve

They are unsure, my toes
Of where to lead my legs
I wish I were no longer in bed with hesitation
But Your simple, undergirding love never changes.
Grace is always enough.
How can is be that every step You take transforms the ground to Sapphire?
My heart longs to see such clarity and beauty,
such steps of purpose as when Your feet
hit the dust of planet earth.
God I N T E R R U p T I N G

People wait a lifetime for one glimpse of You
But seem to miss You in everyday
Your Sapphire steps are just enough promise of redemption
The transformation of clay and darkness
You have given me loving gazes

This life with You: Such a risk
I would not be anywhere else
In fact, Heaven could flow everywhere
At any moment
Busting through the cracks
Help me to see Sapphire steps
Because mine are shaky enough

Day 7,614: Stuck on the Side of a Mountain

Even though my dad had his pedal to the metal, Ophelia the 1987 Honda Accord was decelerating up the mountain. We pulled over to the side of the road and sighed. I sat in the front seat, making GRE root word flash cards with the remaining sunlight of the day. My mom and grandma sat in the back to provide a mattress for our sleeping dachshund. The trunk was packed with opened Christmas presents. 

"We just need to wait for the car to cool down," my dad said.

Half an hour later, Ophelia still would not budge. Ski traffic started building up and the sun set as my dad popped the hood to investigate. A melted cap or something was his consensus. Car lingo is usually lost on me. Then, we all took out cell phones, only to discover that no one had service. Finally, I got the insurance company to come through. But after 20 minutes of dropped calls, my mom dialed 911 and they contacted a State Trooper. 

He came with flashing lights and all, just as cousin frost was painting a design on my window that looked like it should have been on a T-Shirt from Urban Outfitters. Because there were four of us and a dog, the towing man who arrived told us to stay in the car. He wore a green beanie and icy blue eyes, as well as a beard that would put any experienced ORU grad to shame. He chained us onto the truck bed. I felt as if we were clanking up a slow roller coaster, except of our car had rolled down the hill, no tracks or hidden cameras would have caught us, only SUV's racing on the highway to get back to Denver. 

"This is true faith," my mom said. "We can't see out the window, and we don't know this towing man from Adam."

Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the towing shop in Silverthorne. The towing man was nice enough to cart all of us around town in search of lodging, even when my dog kept barking at him. Hotel after hotel was stuffed to the gills. New Year's ski trips, you know? Dear Life: Would you please let up a little?

"Maybe we could find a stable," my mom said. "There's no room in the inn." 

"I hope this means you aren't pregnant," I said.

"Well, I had you 20 years ago," she laughed.

We did find one room. The last suite in town, priced at $350.00 with only one bed. We settled on the towing man taking us all the way back to Longmont, 100 miles from the breakdown site. 

"What is your name, towing man?" I asked.

"Adam," he said.

On the ride home, we discussed extreme winter sports, what it was like to sleep on the side of a mountain, the dangers of drinking tap water and the conspiracy of drug makers to kill everyone. Wheat grass was also a predominant topic in our traveling conversation. He also made me try the water he collected himself from a fresh spring above Breckenridge. It was delicious, and pork is evil, we concluded.

My toes are still kind of cold. But we made it home. And again, Ophelia sits dead to the world. WAKE UP CALL!!! It's time for a new car. 


Moon shadows are stolen evenings
A sliver of time God forgot to tuck away
The earth should never have witnessed
Such quiet begging to be listened to

Any time you chance upon a moon shadow
It is written in the book of "How to Live Life Right"
That you must dance on a frozen lake
And watch your breath float away like fairy dust
Or crunch in slippery cold shoes
Across snow that is six days old

The constellation I always find is Orion
He often sits by the moon, ready to shoot an arrow
Through the star orchestra reflecting
Heavenly singings of angels recorded in long ago light year history

Moon shadows will turn a tongue to bluntness
And reveal the cold hard truth
Or, they will make the ordinary a moment never to be forgotten
Like cinnamon rolls eaten in 25 seconds flat
Interrupting life conversations about worship and Nintendo

I would chase moon shadows with you.
To the end of the earth, perhaps
Or even your back yard

Life of Living Hope

I have a philosophical corner in my room. I sit there and think about the deep meanings of life while listening to an inspiring play list on my Itunes. Or, as many of you know, I am philosophical all of the time. So much so, that when roommate date came around for my floor, Amber jokingly told me not to talk about the cosmos with my date. When I made up a list of possible topics to bring up, they included communion, the answer to the question (42), drug trafficking and the meaning of art. 

Sometimes such beautiful thinking does a great work inside of me.

 Today I wandered into 1 Peter 1:3-9. This chapter is about the continuous power of redemption and love. 
Kept by that power of God, salvation is secure, a living breathing force of transformation. And even though I do not see Him with my eyes, I believe. Through His resurrection, a life of living hope has been given to me. May that hope be continuously my motivation. 
Genuine faith, when tested by fire, is found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus. Just knowing Him should be enough. Beyond fringe benefits, following in His footsteps is leaving everything else behind.

I have just started coming through a season of questioning. What is the motivation of the church? What is my motivation? 

The shocking realization: Jesus. 
If there was nothing else, would I be willing to stick things out with Him? 
Such faith creates a purity of heart like none other.
 Because I can't give up.
 Not when I have tasted and seen real life- that dream within a dream, those peculiar people who sit around His throne, complete in His life giving. 

And the salvation groaned for in the hearts of people and the very fabric of the world?
 It is fully here and fully at work in my life, if I allow myself to be convicted by the anointing and accountability of the Holy Spirit.

 Because it is His anointing that breaks every chain. Only when I have submitted myself to this process will I be able to exude the freedom desperately needed to minister. He will make a way.
 He will help me to fight for my future. 
I belong in His Kingdom because He has fashioned a place for me there with His grace.

 We are a people who have seemingly lost so much. Really, we have gained everything. 
I rest my hope fully on His grace. 
I exist in a life of living hope. 

Pieces- By Red


I tried so hard

Thought I could do this on my own

I've lost so much along the way 

I've come undone 

You make sense of who I am

I see your face, 
I know I am finally yours 

I find every thing 
I thought I had lost before 

You call my name 
I come to You in pieces

So You can make me whole

 I tried so hard

Recovering Evangelical

The past couple of months have been some of the hardest I have gone through yet. For the first time in my life, I am realizing that all I had planned for my future from my elementary days at Aurora 7 is coming to an end. I never really thought beyond college, other than ambiguous plans of wanting to be wonder woman and eventually have a family. But it seems I am now unraveled at every point. 

So many questions are rising up inside of me, centering around a discontent with how my life has been lived and a philosophical shift from all my misconceptions. The lawsuit happening at ORU set something off inside of me. Beyond all of the mud slinging and God siding, I see an issue of people. Valuable time is being wasted. How sad is it that we would go down this road yet again, integrity called into question and effort spent on issues other than love? My heart breaks for the state of the church and longs for the real meaning of life, waiting breathlessly for what it means to live in His Kingdom.

Most of all, I long to feel the inward collision of the old life with the new. The slave of the American dream is not enough to live for. In evaluating my intentions and aspirations over the last couple of years, I can see my self inching towards emptiness. Comfortable life. Passionless loneliness, afraid to take the high road because of the risk involved in giving myself to others. People use and take and usually don't know how to give back or appreciate your heart being put on the line. But ultimately, not giving results in life suffocating breaths. May I never be found in such a position.

What does it mean to live richly? To see beyond big projects and actually care for people? I have to confess that my heart has not been in the right place. Too easily I am concerned about finances, being taken care of in the future or making a statement with my life. In fact, the most comfortable thing to me in the world would be to live a life of church affluence and housewifery. My tendency is to not fight for my community when the road gets hard, when sacrificing means laying down everything within me. Or when the ideal does not measure up.

What does it mean to build community? Caring for people should flow out of being in community. I long to see the church be the skin of Christ, more than a one hour weekly pit stop and masked smiling session. Breathing redemption and exuding the life of Christ happens when servant hood launches into friendship, authority stands as a beacon of hope and holistic community operates on a daily rhythm, not just a one time trip of selflessness.

As money comes more and more into play, may I be known as a recovering evangelical. As the temptation to stay comfortable becomes more and more enticing, may I run even harder. Yes, His Bride is still alive. Now I just need to find how that translates into my everyday life. 

Oh, that I would love God daily, never giving up. Never ceasing to trust in His future by setting out with the sunrise to be the healer of the blind, deaf and imprisoned. 
"But that doesn't mean community is easy. For everything in this worlds tries to pull us away from community, pushes us to choose ourselves over others, to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together. The simple way is not the easy. No one ever promised us that community or Christian discipleship would be easy."
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistable Revolution

On Finding my Song and the Goth Momma

On Friday night, my mother and I set up the TV room for our hair dying ritual that occurs every time I come home for a break. We use the same plastic tarps and trash bags to cover all of the furniture and the floor. Then we burn this candle that smells like Boulder and melts into massage oil. We turn on a chick flick, this time it was "Mistress of Spices," a rather odd Bollywood movie that I am not sure if I liked or not. 

This time I picked up some natural hair dye from Vitamin Cottage. I have used the brand once before and enjoyed it. When it was time to rinse out the dye, both of us were a little nervous. Things looked a little darker then expected. Needless to say, I got a drastic hair change…and as for momma Muncy, well, things were a little out of control.

(Sound effect: Hair Dryer on High Setting)
Momma Muncy looks wide-eyed and mystified.
"Well, nearly black isn't too bad," I said. "I think it will wash out pretty fast. Should we call Jamie?" 
Momma Muncy stares blankly. 

Then we started laughing. Kind of a nervous laugh. And I felt really bad, because I had picked out the color. And my hair didn't turn out as dark as midnight like her hair did. 

I have been nervously laughing on a regular basis. I haven't quite known how to handle everything that has been happening, or how to give when running on empty. Honestly, I was kind of scared to face this week at home. I had a lot of time on my hands. Kind of a forced sorting through of the dark places I have been avoiding. 

I hate running on autopilot. I hate silence. 

But I heard something today. In an interview I did this past week for my senior project, a worship leader from Denver told me this simple statement:

Sometimes, God does not speak to us in the ways He always has. 

I have not known how to run back to the Healer of the broken. Stalled out, I haven't known how to pick up the shattered pieces. Or how to even feel. How could I not feel Him anymore? Especially when so many around me look to find Him in me. 

I think I have not wanted to be continually broken. I placed a time schedule on when I should be resilient again. Well, that train has not come in on time. 

Only God can teach me to trust again. Only God can really put a future together for me. But those words have been empty to me. Perhaps I need to learn to sing again, one note at a time. Slowly He will erase the nervous laughter. Slowly He will restore all of the broken pieces. 

I need You so much closer. Because I don't know how to just be myself again.

I am no longer afraid of the song that the broken sing. Because it is a song of hope and future redemption. When I feel left behind, shut out and unable to move, You meet me there. And You show me what it means to live again. Even when half of me was given away and then returned, mismatched and a little rough for the wear. 

Someday I will be absolutely strong again. And worth discovering.

For now, momma Muncy, I am proud of you, black hair and all. Just in time for Halloween. You are always beautiful to me.