up to the highest height

Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

On my way home yesterday, I drove past a man on the bridge. He was likely homeless, the childless jogging stroller carrying all of his material possessions. It was a brief glance, but what I saw in him was something I’d not had myself in quite some time.

Determination.

The man was flying a kite. At this point in the seasons, California is not exactly known for having breezes. There was a slight one, but certainly not such that would pick up a kite and fly it high. The amount of room he had on a sidewalk with a divider certainly added amongst the challenges against him.

Yet this man stayed on the bridge and moved and positioned himself as he was able in order to send it soaring as high as he could with what wind he had been given. I couldn’t see his face, but I would imagine a mix of joy, frustration, excitement, and resolve. The wind current and the weather worked against this man, but he flew his kite.

My passion for writing had somehow diminished in recent months. As it stands, I’d lost sight of the goodness of God and believed I had to take on the challenges of the world on my own. I put my kite down and went to work and came home and survived to do it again the next day. Whenever I thought about picking up a pen, I just as quickly pushed the thought away, feeling as though I had deserted my passion and, therefore, had no right to take it back up.

Challenges had begun to arise, revealing survival to be as hollow and unsustainable as was meant to be. I was put on this earth for more than what I’ve been doing. I am most alive when I am following my passion, and I do not have a passion for surviving. It is time to pick up the pen and move forward, adjusting with what I’d been given to work with and pursuing my dream as rigorously as this man pursued his delight.

I don’t know how long the man stayed there or how long he had been there before I’d spotted him, but I would imagine he’d lost track of time, possibly recalling a moment when life was simpler, and he was just a boy with his kite.

And isn’t this the best way to lose the time: doing what you love, what makes your soul soar, and your heart thrive?

Just a girl.

With her pen.

Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

just lucky, i guess

I seriously don’t know what it is, but for whatever reason, I seem to always get into conversations about singleness. In particular, conversations where I have to convince someone I don’t need to be cured from it. It’s the most bizarre thing.

Anywhoo.

At my age, most of my friends are getting married or have gotten married and are starting families. So when there are oddballs like myself around, one of the first things I get asked from people is whether or not I’m seeing anyone.

It’s a seemingly harmless question, but what kills me is when it’s used as a measuring stick. “Oh, good. She’s still single. I’m not so badly off.” “I just need to find someone before she does.” Or, “well, at least I’m dating someone right now.”

(I suppose this entry is a little more tailored to the ladies because well… I don’t know the guys’ perspective on the subject.)

The second most popular question I get asked is “how/why are you still single?” I get it. I’m awesome, and it doesn’t make any sense (just kidding… but seriously). Sometimes people are well-meaning and think a single friend of theirs is great, and can’t fathom why it is that someone that could be a significant other hasn’t figured it out yet.

But listen to that question.

“Why are you still single?”

“Why are you still single?”

It doesn’t ask anything of Mysterious Person X who hasn’t got the brains to be attracted to this person, but it speaks everything of the person you’re talking to.

“What is so strange or incomplete about you that you’re not married yet?”

I’m not saying this is on everyone’s mind when they ask this also seemingly innocent question—chances are it doesn’t even come into thought—but it does linger in the air for the listener and receiver even if we don’t realize it at first. I don’t doubt people have had their confidence shaken up by that question. I know I have. To the point where I had to talk about it to justify myself. But why should I have to?

Why am I still single? I don’t know. Why is it so important for me to not be? I don’t know that either, except that society tells me it’s a big deal.

Now, if any of you have had these conversations, you know what’s coming next.

Consolation.

“I’m sure he’s out there somewhere; you just haven’t met him yet.” “Guys are idiots (I really don’t find it reassuring when we just put guys down either, but I know we’re all guilty of playing the blame game). Someone’s bound to figure out how awesome you are.” And my personal favorite: “God has a purpose for you while you’re still single.” (And yes, He does. It’s called serving God. Which I’m pretty sure is not limited to just me and my single friends.)

And then advice.

“The moment you’re completely satisfied in your singleness is when God will bring someone to you.” “When I decided I was done with guys, I met my husband.”

Well, that’s great, and I’m glad that’s how God decided to provide for some of you, but that’s not the formula for all of us. There is no formula. God doesn’t work in formulas. If we’re all unique, and God created us to be so, why would He impose formulas to blanket us with?

Also, there is some really bad theology going on.

For those of us who do desire to be married someday, we will never be completely 100% satisfied in our singleness. And Scripture doesn’t tell us to be. We are called to find our worth and satisfaction in God alone and desire God alone above all else (Deuteronomy 6:5; Romans 12:2; Psalm 139:14; Psalm 62).

Besides, it seems cruel for God to suddenly give me a boyfriend the moment I’m fully satisfied in my single status. What a jerk! (I’m sorry, I guess that should be “Jerk,” capital J.) And should that not work out, then I have to go through it AGAIN? Yikes.

What I’m trying to communicate is that we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by our relationship status. If we did, what would happen if or when that status suddenly changes? We cannot allow the world to define us because the world has no right to do so. The world did not create us; it does not provide us with purpose.

Only God can define us.

We’re not more or less holy because we’re single or married. We’re holy because God has set us apart for His purposes. We were all created to bring God glory. The purpose of our lives is to serve God and give Him glory, and we can do that no matter what our relationship status is.

The purpose for single people is to serve God. The purpose for married people is to serve God. That doesn’t change. The only thing that does a little is how.

Single people, God does have purpose for us at this point in our lives. He doesn’t need to bring us a significant other before He can finally use us to our fullest potential. But only He knows if “this point” will ever actually end. Will you still believe and trust that God is good even if He decides not to change your relationship status?

One of my absolute greatest fears in this area is settling. “Well, he’s close enough.” I’m deathly afraid of rationalizing all the reasons some guy may not be right for me.

And for me, for all of us, the greatest defense against that is being rooted firmly in the God who created us and everything beyond us (Jeremiah 17:8). He defines my value and worth, and if I believe that I am worth the death of God, then I will behave as though I do. From our heart, from our identity, will flow our actions.

The advice that often follows that last one is to “wait for God’s best.” Okay, yes, but don’t leave it there. Waiting is not a passive verb; it can be as active as we want it to be. Yes, absolutely wait, but don’t wait for God to sit a husband in front of you and part the clouds to tell you he’s the one. We deserve more than to just twiddle our thumbs and wait for our soulmate to suddenly appear. We deserve to live and be alive before we ever meet someone.

Another meaning for “wait” is to serve.IMG_3113

Serve God because that is your purpose. That will always be your purpose. But don’t play games to try to get God to submit. Reverse psychology doesn’t work on Him (trust me).

Don’t do great godly things in hopes of attracting a great godly guy. Do great godly things because you were born to serve and belong to a great God.

We’ll never be able to “trick” God into doing what we want. He does not exist to make all our dreams come true. We exist to make His.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have absolutely made my relationship status my idol at some point in my life.

But I don’t live for men, I don’t live for marriage.

I live because He gave me life. And I won’t waste it waiting around passively for someone to finally see my worth. God has already seen it. I will submit to Him and wait on and for Him because He deserves to be praised and worshiped for the sole reason that He is God.

So single people, rejoice! Married people, rejoice! Rejoice because we have one God, and that God is good and gracious and pours love and grace with a generous wrist (Ephesians 3:19).

wake your dreams

“A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”

I came to Seattle in chase of a dream. I was positive that this dream was in my future, so I looked for reasons to be up there. The ones I found were so good that I myself was completely convinced.

In my time in the Pacific Northwest, I’d grown leaps and bounds spiritually and emotionally. I attributed the growth to being far away from home and therefore having only God to rely on and no one else. So I thought I needed to stay here in order to keep growing. But really… God is all I have no matter where I am.

I wanted to have more experience in my writing and learn more in order to use this gift properly, so I decided to check out a graduate school. I fell in love with the Bothell campus of UW. Then I got my first student loan bill for my Bachelor’s, and the honeymoon was over. While it’s not as bad as it could’ve been, it is enough to rethink grad school and postpone it indefinitely.

So then, where does that leave me?

I’ve enjoyed this past half-year in Washington. God taught me a lot about trusting Him and growing with Him. He taught me truly what it meant to have faith in Him when all that was around me made no sense, and I had no way of providing for myself.

I’m waking from that dream now, but the end of one dream allows the birth of a new one.

I’m going home.

It’s time to go back to California.

Four years ago this month, I set off on a quest to finish college and get a degree. I’ve gained so much more than an expensive piece of paper in these four years. I’ve become emotionally healthier (though there will always be room for more growth); I’ve healed from wounds I’d numbed myself to and hadn’t realized they’d never properly healed; I gained new family; and I learned to love deeply from the part of my heart that I’d thought was too broken to love at all. It’s time to put that healing to use and stop running from the past.

I love who I was in the Northwest, and that person will always be me in some way, shape, or form.

“Times change and so must I. We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives and that’s okay. That’s good. Gotta keep it moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

I was uneasy making this decision. I was so sure I was supposed to be up here; if I was wrong about that, I could be wrong about this. But when I could finally see past my pride to remember the dream that brought me here, it did not seem such an ordained step after all. Still, I can’t call it a mistake, not after all this place has given me.

Sometimes you have to take the long way home to know that you belong there.

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?'” —Hebrews 13:5-6

One of my life verses of this year has been this: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9

I will wake and live this new dream and do so bravely. I will trust in God’s sovereignty and believe that I cannot escape His will. I will take this step into a future known only to Him.

See you soon, California.

“Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it.”

cosmic fantasy

I am convinced that stars were born in dreams.

One of my favorite things to do is stargaze. Stars speak to me in ways people can’t. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a relationship with the night sky, and as with any relationship, it grew and changed through time and work. Then, the stars were pretty and sparkly, and they taught me that beautiful things exist in the dark. Now, they humble me and remind me how small I am, and they give me hope because if they can keep burning and shining for so long, I can keep living for so short in comparison.

With each twinkle, stars whisper secrets to each other, and whoever’s listening is graced to hear as well. With each whisper, stars give praise to the God of creation.

I am convinced that stars were born in dreams.

Only one imagination is brilliant enough to turn trillions of gaseous balls billions of years apart from each other and from me into works of art. How much dreaming did God do before He created stars? How did He decide on a canvas? How did He decide on the hues? How did He decide on their placement? How did He decide to create them?

I think God dreamed up stars knowing that someone(s) will look up at them and think of Him and smile. God made stars for kids like me to have something to praise Him for.

And for me to know that beautiful things exist in the darkest times.

I am convinced that stars were born in the dreams of one gracious, imaginative Dreamer.

And He’s not finished dreaming yet.

urban lullaby

When a city closes its eyes at the end of the day, I wonder, does it dream? Do the thoughts and conversations of the previous hours marinate in the deepest part of its mind before blossoming into life as the imagination awakens to a world of possibilities? Sleep shakes off the weariness of the day and dreams the dreams not dared dreamed when the sun still ruled the sky.

What does it dream about? The complications of managing it? The people pushing it toward what they believe it should be? The policies and rules surrounding its operation? Maybe. On a bad night. Those are what we call nightmares.

On any other given night, I think it dreams the dreams of the common. It dreams of music, of poetry, of art. It dreams of deep meaningful conversations shared over tea, of friendships birthed and friendships matured. It dreams of walks in the park, of hikes in the mountains.

It dreams of dreams.

When a city closes its eyes at night, I’d like to see the dreams it dreams.

love begets creation

Before there was time, there was a dream. Amongst all that He was planning, He dreamed of her, birthed her in His imagination. Hair painted with ebony and crimson, cascading as though it wanted to run forever. Skin like parchment, a canvas all His own.

And the eyes. Oh, yes, the eyes that speak without vocabulary. He dips His brush in several shades until He is pleased with His creation: deep brown eyes that encase a secret treasure in their depths, eyes that tell the entire story of His grace and faithfulness.

Oh, the life He has planned for her. The Artist’s heart breaks seeing her heartbreaks, rejoices seeing her rejoicing. This work of art will be His masterpiece.

And hasn’t she become just that? A woman not defined by her sufferings but by His grace; a woman relentless in her conviction that He is good when the world tells her He is not; a woman ruthlessly trusting in Him to give her healing and comfort; a woman after His heart.

The heart. Now that is what He will take the most pleasure designing. The heart He gives her will love intensely, loyally, investing in all things dear to Him and to herself. It will pour itself out till there is nothing left, be filled by Him again, and pour out again in a never-ending cycle of hesed.

It will be a throne fit for a King.

And He will seal it with His Name.

A slow, lazy smile curls up the corners of the Artist’s mouth. Though incomplete, already deeply loved; so loved that He will continue to perfect her until her scars can be worn with pride. And He will share her with His other dreams, that she may love them and be loved in turn.

through my eyes

As a little girl, I’d believed that all dreams can come true if you just believe enough in them. I wished on as many stars as I could, hoping to scope out the first one every night. As I got older, I believed they can come true if you believed enough to work toward them. At this point in life, I’m seeing how impossible they both are.

Some dreams should never come true.

With each dream’s birth comes the destruction of other dreams. Dreaming is a dangerous thing.

The dreaming never ends; just seems to mature. In the last almost-decade, I’ve been seeking my dreams in the realm of “wills.” My will. Society’s will. The heart’s will. The mind’s will. But ultimately, God’s will. Sometimes the wills collide, sometimes they are galaxies apart. Still, no will has any meaning if it doesn’t collide with God’s. I’m too small, frail, weak, and human to ever mess that bad boy up.

I just turned 25 a few days ago. I’m still a dreamer, and the universe is my limit. I think a dream died today. I wonder which one has come to take its place.

Masterpiece

Born from an idea of the most creative God, she first existed in the corners of His imagination. A smile drew across His lips as He pondered the life He would give her, the blessings He would shower upon her, the pride He would feel to call her His. She is a lump of earth, full of potential, in His skilled hands – hands that molded the stars and hold the universe in place. These same hands were molding her into being, leaving His fingerprints in every aspect of her life. Fingerprints barely visible unless she really searched for them. He left them in the mold that she may follow them back to Him.

As a smile stretched across His face at the thought of blessings He planned to lavish on her, tears escaped His eyes and traced trails down His face when thinking of the heart breaks she will undergo in order to make her perfect, as well as the heartbreaks He will endure for her sake.

Clay does not choose how it is to be molded, what it is to become. The sculptor is the master over his clay. If He is not satisfied, if the creation is not perfect, it is in His power to crush her and begin again. Shattered to pieces, crushed beyond recognition, there is still a bittersweet hope. He does it because she is not yet perfect. He will continue to mold her however long it takes, however many times He must begin again. He will make her perfect.

In the scream of silence, the caress of a whisper brushed across her face. Born from the imagination of the Most High God, He seals her with His promise.

She is His masterpiece.

The Butterfly Circus

The Butterfly Circus – HD from The Butterfly Circus on Vimeo.

I was re-watching this short the other day, and it always tends to make me cry.

“A perversion of nature. A man, if you could even call him that, whom God himself has turned His back upon.”

He hears this over and over everyday. Constantly. And then braces himself for the laughing, the shock, the pity, and all the difficulties that come with people. When this is the only truth you’ve ever known, it’s easy to believe it.

The names the world has given us, the names that we have given ourselves, the names that the enemy has used in his lies… why do we believe them? Why do we give them control over our lives? When we allow the world to name us, we take all of the world’s junk and rub it all over ourselves to the point where we are nothing more than dirty, smelly, putrid things. Our identity is lost, and we ourselves cannot find it.

But God has a name for us.

Child.

He calls us His child. His son. His daughter. This is our identity.

Somehow, it is easier to believe the lies, no matter how horrendous they are, than it is to believe the truth even though it is so extraordinary. Maybe because it is so extraordinary.

We hear it all. Over and over. Everyday. The world calls us useless and broken. God calls us His.

Which one will we believe?