Saturday, April 25, 2015


I feel myself stiffening,the once-pliant wrapping of my skin on the brink of stone.

I have seen Medusa. I have slipped into the yellow eyes and flicking tongues of a thousand serpents, I have been paralyzed by a gaze that reeks of cruelty, I have spun my wings against the bars of her fingers, frantic beats that fade to frail half-whirrings and then, to silence.

I don't want to fight. I want to curl into whatever warmth is left of myself and let the granite shell fill up my ears with silence, encase my slowly dying body in its shield impenetrable.

The world outside is burning. But here, alone with the few shallow breaths I have left, I am sealed from the screams. Protected from the idiocy that spurs me to anger, from the guilt that draws me into misery. My sluggish heart, caught in a thickening stream of blood, exhales a final plea.


I pray for a crack in the stone. I pray He erodes the pride and hatred that have come in with the tide of my selfishness, a mountain built by a flow far greater than its ebb, from which I casually dismiss no less than six billion into insignificance. I pray He peels back the layers of disappointment, I pray He sheds the snakeskin of my fear.

I pray He teaches me to love. I pray if you hate me, I feel it slide off like rainwater on duck feathers. I pray if you hurt me, I fold you into the gentle blanket of my heart. I pray for mercy instead of judgement, for grace instead of self-righteousness, for a gentle spirit instead of an American one. 

I pray He makes me soft. I pray if I die, I bleed from the wound that broke my tender, still-pliant skin. I pray if I die, it will not be for nothing. I pray if I die, I die for you. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

When Jesus Saw Him Lying There.

I'll confess. I sometimes find it difficult to open the Bible. Though I know intellectually that it is living and active, somewhere in my subconscious lurks the lie that I've heard it all before.

Yet on the days when my Spirit proves stronger than flesh, and I pull that brick-heavy book from my bedside to my lap, I never cease to be amazed at the constant treasures that are revealed to me from its pages.

Recently, I've been reading John. It is my favorite of the gospels, and it has become even dearer to me these past few days.

In the initial verses of chapter 5, we are introduced to a man who has been an invalid for thirty-eight years, who is lying beside a pool called Bethesda. When Jesus learns of this, He walks up to the man and asks, "Do you want to get well?" (v.6).

I love this scene. There are so many cases in which people sought Jesus out for healing, and those stories are beautiful testimonies to the promise, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you," (Matthew 7:7). But this is a different kind of story. And it too, is beautiful. Jesus seeks this man out. This man has no idea who Jesus is, but Jesus learns of his need, and finds him. And asks him. Do you want to get well?

Because sometimes we don't want to get well. Sometimes we're comfortable beside our pool. Sometimes we're satisfied in our sickness. We're so well-adjusted to living with our anxiety, our anger, our bitterness, our sin, that we'd much rather continue on in this manner than take up our mat and walk.

It's interesting to note that in this story, the man does not answer Jesus directly. Instead, he offers an excuse: "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me," (v.7).

Of course, this man's excuse is valid, as he does not at this time have access to the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to aid him. We, however, do. Yet, when Jesus asks us if we'd like to be healed, how many times do we respond with an excuse? How often do we pass the blame? "I'd love to be healed Jesus, but I can't help the way I am. It's in my DNA," or "So-and-so made me this way. It's not my fault."

(Please hear me on this: I am absolutely not trying to downplay some of the horrific mental, emotional, physical, and demonic circumstances we struggle with. But I do want to amplify the power of the God we serve. Nothing is beyond the reach of His healing hand. His arm is not too short to save.)

Jesus tells the man at Bethesda to get up, take his mat, and walk. The man obeys, and he is healed. Later, the man is interrogated by Pharisees as to who told him to pick up his mat (it was the Sabbath). The man shrugs his shoulders, "for Jesus has slipped away into the crowd," (v.13).

But, and this is so beautiful to me, in the following verse, Scripture reads, "Later Jesus found him." Jesus didn't just provide physical healing for this man. He intentionally sought him out a second time to give the man what he truly needed--an introduction to Himself.

There are days when I feel like a lost lamb. There are days when I fear I've strayed too far to find my way back home. What an incredible thing to know that there is a good Shepherd, full of compassion and mercy, who will search me out. I pray all of us will answer when we hear His call.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Dangers of the Introvert Movement.

When I first saw the introvert-pride blogs and memes begin to surface on the internet, I was thrilled. I was quick to share these articles and cartoons, happily proclaiming my introversion to the social-media world. Finally, people who understand! People who appreciate who I am! 

I wasn't made aware of the problems of this mentality until many months later, when reading a reactionary blog from an extrovert who felt attacked by introverts. This individual was clearly hurt that extroverts were so often portrayed as shallow, obnoxious, and lacking in intelligence and creativity.

I suddenly saw my introvert-pride for what it really was: just plain old ugly pride. My continual promotion of introverted values had created an us vs. them mindset within myself, and I had actually begun to think of extroverts as "less-than", as people who could never really "understand" or "mesh" with me.

But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 
 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" There should be no division in the body. Its parts should have equal concern for one another.
-1 Corinthians 12:18-21, 25 
And what's worse, we introverts have begun to use our introversion as an excuse. An excuse to not
preach the Gospel. An excuse to avoid reaching out. An excuse to only participate in ministry that is "introvert-friendly." An excuse to remain rigidly within our comfort zone. Because God "made us this way for a reason," and He certainly would never call us to do something "against our nature."

As much as I, as an introvert, would like to believe that, when I look at Scripture, I simply can't. The true children of God act first and foremost not from some nature they were predisposed with from birth, whether introverted or extroverted or whatever else, but from the nature of the Spirit of God, which is love.

Some claim that Jesus was an introvert (personally, I tend to think of Him as somewhere in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum--the perfect balance). But let's imagine for a moment that He was an introvert. Not for a moment did that nature keep Him from reaching out to people. Long after His disciples were exhausted and ready to go home, Jesus had compassion on the crowd and continued to minister to them.

On the flip-side, let's pretend Jesus was an extrovert--would that give Him the excuse to avoid spending time alone with God, because it wasn't "in his nature" to be away from people? Certainly not!

We're all different. We have different struggles, different temptations. We are all prone to disobedience in different ways, but the propensity of our natures does not give us the excuse to indulge in that disobedience. God will call both introverts and extroverts alike to behave in ways that go against our natural bent. It is in those circumstances that it is most clear that we must rely not on ourselves, but on His Spirit within us.

That is the true danger of the introvert/extrovert dynamic. It causes us to look at ourselves. It spurs us toward selfishness. But this life is not about us. It's about following the voice of God wherever He leads, with the trust that His power will see us through.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Be Served.

"No," said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet."

I've known many beautiful, servant-hearted people. People who are willing to pay for your meal, give you the shirt off their back, surprise you with gifts for no reason at all. People who are willing to get down on the ground and scrub the scum from beneath your toes so that you don't have to.

But I've noticed something else. Oftentimes, whenever I attempt to serve these dear, dear servant-hearts, I receive a reaction much like Peter's--You shall never! I find my own hope to serve squelched by their unwillingness to accept it.

We imagine that when we refuse someone's service, it is out of love. Oh, allowing them to wash my feet is not a nice thing to do! I would be a much better person if I never let anyone ever make any kind of sacrifice for my sake.

And yet, Jesus said, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me."

Jesus' illustration wasn't just about serving; it was also about being served. In fact, the only reason we know how to serve, and more importantly, how to love, is because Jesus first served and loved us. If we don't accept that gift, we are condemned for our pride.

Do we really think that same pride is acceptable among the members of His Body, the Church?

Because that is truly where I believe that refusal comes from--not from love, but from pride. Love is humble, and self-forgetting. Pride keeps tallies, and feels "better than" when at the end of the day, it has given more service than it has received. Pride says, I don't need anyone's help! Not a free meal, not the shirt off your back, and certainly not a feet-washing!

Dear lovelies, do not be deceived. We are a Body, bound by love. We all need each other. To serve, and be served.

So let's lay down our illusions of self-sufficiency, and take our part with Jesus. That we may be washed. That we may be new.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

David's Son.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

For a long time--and by long, I refer to the large majority of my (albeit meager) lifespan--I never really cared that Jesus was David's son.

When people called Him the Son of God, now that was something. That was power and beauty and majesty.

David was a cool guy, sure enough. Man after God's heart, and all that. But in the light of God Himself, David was nothing--a broken, sinful wretch like the rest of us.

Why appeal to Jesus as the Son of Man when you can appeal to Him as the Son of God? It seemed to me, the Son of God would be much stronger to save.


(It's funny how that word changes everything.)

One day I fell, in a way I had never fallen before. I felt the weight of dirt and blood settle on my struggling body and I knew it would crush me. I knew I would lose, and I did, and I lost again and again and I couldn't

look up

anymore. Shame, and fear, smothering me.

I couldn't look at God. I was so far away from holy.

That's when I understood that cry.

Jesus. Son of David. Son of Man. Son of a broken, sinful wretch like me. You who were born into this same mess of a world. You who bore the curse of your flesh and endured every temptation. You who dwelt among us. You who became us. You who understand weakness, who have experienced frailty. Please. 

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tidal Wave.

I glimpse their arms parting the sea with solid strokes before I slip back under, a half-gasped breath cradled in my starving lungs, and if I could keep my head above water for just a fraction longer, I might ask how it is they manage not to drown.

(I long ago lost strength to stay afloat.)


The world is large and full of shadows. I think the secret is (everyone knows but no one knows), we're all stumbling.


I once heard of a believer who built a boat, and though it rained for forty days and and forty nights, the flood could not touch him.


I once heard of a people who walked across the dry bed of a sea that was rolled back like a scroll, and made it to the other side.

I once heard of a prophet who was tossed into stormy waters, and a great fish swallowed him whole, and later spat him onto a safe shore. 


I once heard of a man who told the churning waves to be still, and they obeyed.


I once heard of a disciple who stepped on the water's swirling surface, and it held him like solid ground.


(I'm only trying to say, these oceans are as inevitable as they are impossible.

But even if we cannot swim, we have a God who can keep us from drowning.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

i hate everything

what if all we needed
was one day
to go absolutely
at the end of that day
we would have
their forgiveness
at the end of that day
we would
be loved

when did love become so weak

when did we learn 
to lock up
the passion when did 
we learn that we could 
never be both
we could never 
be honest if 
we wanted to be loved