in every case, a miracle

little girl,

If you took a walk by the fields near my house, you’d be greeted with many grazers. In all my daydreams about what this new village life would look like, I definitely did not imagine these grazers to be cats. Yes, cats. And before you say anything, I’m well aware cats do not, in fact, graze on grass so oddly abudant this time of year. They lie there in wait for creatures I am yet to meet. But yet, this would be your view and I am sure you would chuckle at first glance before, like me, trying to (unsuccessfully) befriend them. Perhaps it is the unusualness of this situation that seems so amusing.

And in these uncertain times, these cat overlords of the green riverside expanses seem also be a symbol of sanity. The tabbies, the black cats, the milk colored cats with chocolate faces – all wordlessly and intently focused on exactly this moment. It is a lesson I am trying so desperately to learn. I remind myself of it as I cross the fields to the riverside. It is a lesson that doesn’t stay very long; I have already moved on in my mind from this village and this lesson to so many other places.

And there I am suddenly – 18 years old, innocent, naive, with starstruck eyes. A world always just out of reach of her fingertips, but she swears her hands are still not done growing. I blink a little, and walking down that riverside is the 18 year old aged a few more years. She has met a friend. They have become sisters. She knows now how to choose to know love, the feeling. And yet moments later, as if to finish this hastily drawn circle through time, I am myself, all of my years firmly in my hands; a new village girl with the fields of herself ploughed through and through.

And though my feet walk through the fallen leaves, damp from the river spray, and my mind walks through this autumnal garden of memories, my mistakes still stay shining.

Little girl, my mistakes are sterile hospital gown white against this blood red arena of their consequences. They have bitten nails to stubs over the seemingly impending guillotine crash of judgement they wait for. They burn inside themselves, with enough force to set a concert hall alight; they condemn every beautiful instrument singing praise to eternal silence.

And if not my mistakes, then my doubts. They are the roots my feet grow into the concrete – who said only dandelions and weeds are chained here? They reach through all the cracks I left for the light to get through. They reach through with ice pick hands to crush these daisy bright vases of the hope I carried inside me.

And if not my doubts, then my fears. They call to me, soft siren of pessimism and terror singing a demon’s lullaby. Fear is soft, a waterfall of darkness. It covers with ease sometimes these candles of hope I struggle to keep alive on my own. It is a devil’s promise of safety, colorful as the sunset – it pulls me into nightfall with ease.

And if not my fears, then my anxiety. And if not my anxiety, then my laziness. And if not my laziness, then my weakness. And if not my weakness, then every other ugly thing still not yet dead in this life.

I do not doubt you will feel it too. I am sorry that in this one precious life, I could not give to you the peace and guiltlessness of purity and innocence. And yet I also know I never could. We are all sinners, all falling a ocean short and then some more of the grace of God.

But I do want you to remember: you are, in every case, a miracle. You, with your own suitcase of doubts, of mistakes, of fears, of anxieties, of every ugly thing – you are still a miracle.

That day you stepped into the salvation Christ offered you, into the freedom bought by grace stretched as wide as they sky, that day you were born again to be miracle. Yes, I know God is still busy making you into the spitting image of Christ so when you look in the mirror you can only behold the Son, the brightness of His glory. And yet today when you stare at yourself in this mercury glass, you see all the humanity, all the self, all the ugly, all waiting to be perfected.

I promise you, little girl, you get there one day. Christ does not lie. But until you do reach that heavenly abode, until you get home, until you are fully transformed on this side of heaven, you aren’t any less of a miracle. You still are walking, talking, testimony. Your lips still sing of His praise when they feel like they do not take His name enough. Your hands still hands of peace, hands extending healing, hands working out love, His hands on this desperate earth. You feet still those of a messenger of hope; they are still running with this gospel of grace when you feel like you’re standing still. You are a miracle because the Miraculous has become one with you.

And there will be many times over where you feel as though you’re falling short of whatever ideal Christian life you’re chasing. You can feel like you’re not repenting enough, like youre not enough heartbroken over your own sin, like you spend too much time wallowing in your mistakes, like you still want to keep sinning, like you are the worst of all sinners because of it. I feel it too. And yet, my friend, none of it matters.

You have given your life to Christ, and you don’t get it back no more. And He has saved you. He came down from heaven knowing all of you – your beautiful and your ugly, your past, present, future sinfulness that placed Him on that cross. He saved all of you. And He has a plan for you. Not just perfect you, but you with your past and present and your future – the glowing and the unkempt. I’m not here to tell you why this happened, why you fell. But the most comforting truth is that your feelings won’t ever change His plans, His love for you, or His truth about who you are now in Christ.

As for me, I’ve walked home already, nodding in recognition to the cats in the field yet again. They ignored me still. I walked home the same kind of miracle I walked there as.

You too, little girl. You do not need to wonder if you are ever good enough to be where you are and to be used by God and to be His, because the truth is that on your own, you’re not. But in looking at your past and the parts of your present still to be changed, don’t forget to also notice that you are new creation; you are holy, heart cleansed with blood and body washed pure with water; you have already become His – there was and is no proving necessary. And someone being in all ways human has never stopped God from using a single person in the Bible, least of all His Son, so why must it change with you?

This life has never been about you, my friend. It has never been about you in your strength and in your weakness. It has always been about the Divine in you, working out what man looks and calls supernatural, unto the glory of the Creator. Moses walked into Midian a man objectively suited to be Savior – strong, (probably handsome,) self-confident. He left old, stammering, and totally unsure of himself. But what He left with was the power of God. And this man, this new man fresh out of Midian, he was used to save a nation. And in the very place of his weakness, God’s power was perfectly displayed.

So it will be with you. I am sure. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and let the things of the world – let your conciousness of your sin, of your doubts, of your fears, of your anxiety – let them fall to the way side. This life is yet long and unexpected and all kinds of beautiful. There are moments you will wish you could take back, and lessons you wouldn’t have learnt otherwise. You will every day look a little more like Christ until you are perfectly like Him on the day He returns.

Until then, little girl, you are, in every case, a miracle. And this world can tell, even if you can’t. I definitely can.

for my friend, j.k.u.

to make an afternoon wonderful

for the friends that have made this new country feel like home, you make me so glad i moved here

she stops by the side of the pacing road.
note 1: find friends that make you look, not just see.
hands no longer glued to the handlebars
that remind the little child of herself
of a home passed by,
she chooses this glory-graced moment to find
in these mountain tops the memory of Divine Beauty.
she has become worshiper.
learn what praise can taste like
from her alpine aster anointed offering.

she is asking you questions in between
short paddles around this submerged forest –
the suspicious sea fronds have always irked her.
note 2: find friends that make you honest, not just polite.
unlike the company of this lake, in yours
she is unafraid to search beyond herself,
see where Divine is not yet formed in her –
and then to let Him there.
learn the sweetness of submission
from her confident Christ christened joy

she counts her change the way she says I love you
i.e. it just happens before anyone has noticed.
note 3: find friends that make you feel safe, not just surviving
and on these ascents to cliffs you both have
stood at, wondering if freefall tasted daffodil yellow,
she has not forgotten to consider you
and consider the Holy love that
loved her first so she could love you after.
learn the intricacies of friendship
from her deliberate delicate dealings with you.

this world offers both wood and stone and cement
as well as the sand no builder would reccommend.
note 4: find friends that make you feel like you have come home.
build your place here with them, borrow from their
hardwon eaves of wisdom, nail into place art made
from their laughter. learn also from their sorrow,
their choice to have let you in
where only the Lord has been busy working –
learn that answered prayer sometimes
looks exactly like these friends.

when healing arrives

little girl,

I have ended many days hushed, in the middle of long quiet moments under night sky sweetly singing to her moonlit lover. Kind of like today. And in these moments my thoughts collect enough to be sifted slowly; a meditative endeavour to find gold amonst all this silt.

And today, in the middle of the chaos of newfound joy alongside the intensity of the decision making process concerning what to eat for lunch tomorrow, I realised something:

I have not yet met a single person who has not needed healing.

You see, when sin entered this world, every kind of cruetly and man-birthed horror awakened from graves to mingle with humankind. Our hearts, my dear, are deceitful, above all things. And from it spews endless gutters of filth no rag can clean after.

I imagine this might shock you. Born with sunflower eyes – always searching for the Son in the surrounding clay crafted crawling brokenness. You thought if you saw Him, the one you still remembered from a time outside of time, in something on this maddening, dying earth, there you will see beauty and an empty basket where pain used to ferment. I am so sorry I cannot be there when you know this not to be true.

I am so sorry for what they do to you.

And yet, I promise you we still heal. Dead bones brought back to life, walking, leaping, taking in the same citrus air that smelt too much like bleach on those fateful days – we are skeletons clothed now in new anointed glory, so holy it makes bushes burn and kingdoms fall to their knees. We are corpses strewn on the bloody field of a battle lost, only to find a Saviour called Son, called Broken-for-me, called this beautiful Jesus, on bended knee asking if we’d like to come alive again. Say yes, my friend; say yes to Him.

You will ask me, I know, when does healing arrive? When do I stop searching for it with every last bit of strength I have left?

Let me tell you this: healing can come loud, like rushing wind on a noonday – strong, silver, breathtaking, belly-filling kinda beautiful. Healing can also come like hushed whispers filled with drawn out syllables finishing the end of the melody you have been carrying inside you for so long. Let this new song of praise out. Watch it take these wings and be shining invitations to come drink from this same unending cup of grace and walk away so full they’ll spill over if touched.

Oh little girl, this – this is your kinda healing.

And when healing comes, you can find it nestled in between dawn’s dew, on the cusp of turning into 10am frost. You can find it in the crook of your mother’s smile watching you look so happy after so long, and the way your father doesn’t tell you but he cries knowing he didn’t have to watch the dust from which you came from become something he knows this side of heaven. You can dig it out from under the all that new melanin covering up the mistakes that you threatened the knives to never tell. You can, everytime you close your eyes, clutch it warm and close to you as God comes to sit with you a while, arms open and heart bursting with love.

And that’s my favorite secret of this whole miracle – you can stop looking now. Little girl, this healing is already purchased for you, ordinarily packed and parceled to your doorstep.

Breathe it in, my friend. It is here, and it is bloodstained, and it is yours.

Did they tell you?

little girl,

Did your grandma tell you these stories? About what lurks beyond chilling ocean depths, and behind the doorway of flower petals?

Did your friend tell you about airport memories? About that potent elixir of hugs from people who exist far more often in your heart’s eye than across the table?

Did your sister’s boyfriend stop for a minute, and quietly explain to you the fairytale of the way winter flew in on a cold wind and liked it so much here, she stayed? About how he heard it from his poetry professor, and checks if you know that one doesnt really trust poets all that much?

Did all these stories make your chest swell with summer air, and your eyes widen like the universe they tell you is expanding?

All these stories, all these people, all these little bits of humanity. Did they tell you?

No? Well, today’s a good day as any other to start.

Little girl, will you allow me this chance to begin with you?