Archive for January, 2008

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“…and the ground shook…”

January 30, 2008

so yesterday i got home before my roommate did. i started to make myself dinner… salmon and creamed spinach… delicious, no? living in a 2nd floor apartment i began to hear the people who live above us. i noticed it was a bit loud but thought nothing of it. you begin to get used to loud noises coming from all sides when you live in apartment complexes for years. then jamie came home, and the noise seemed to progress. i stood in the kitchen cooking as it got louder and much more noticable. my sweet roommate, jamie, and i looked at each other in fear. there were a number of explanations… maybe an offbeat washing machine, massive dance party, things we chose not to mention, an earthquake, or armageddon.

it was that bad. there began a steady pulsing and everything began to shake. plates rattled and the chandelier shook. and jamie and i continued to look as puzzled as we were concerned that the ceiling was going to come crashing down in moments! i honestly felt like i was in that scene in mary poppins where the cannons are being fired and each member of the household has a job of holding onto something!

so then jamie and i speculated that the most logical explanation would be a treadmill. now, what to do about it? we discussed the best and sweetest way of approaching the subject with our mysterious but loud neighbor. from the seismographic readings in our apartment, we deduced that our upstairs neighbor was no 100 pound blonde college girl. this was either a large man or about 9 middle-aged women running together in time!

so jamie went boldy up the stairs and i stood under the chandelier listening. and then the pounding stopped! and steps went from our dining room to the front door. she had knocked! treadmill indeed! she sheepishly mentioned that we feared for the items hanging on our walls, and gingerly left out that we feared for our very lives!

and the roof didn’t cave in that night. though we wait to hear the frightful pounding once more. we may have to develop an evacuation plan! but honestly… what do you do???

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“come on ride that train…” -quad city djs

January 28, 2008

today i took marta to buckhead church to work with the babies in waumba land. kinda just a trial deal, but looks like i might be hanging out with those cuties more in the future. they really are so cute. and we visited the toddlers too. little elijah stevens is in that class, so i got to hug on him a bit too.
i’m discovering how great mass transit truly is. no, maybe marta isn’t the best system in the country, but at least we have a system at all. and it has felt so great to get out and walk more and interact with different people on a regular basis. i’ve made up a few games too! i challenge you to take marta a little more and play them…
1) pass out more smiles to people as you pass them… try to get them NOT to pretend like you don’t exist.
2) collect characters along the way. there are some amazing ones out there! people are incredibly fascinating!
3) try to calculate how to spend as little time as possible in the station. i love it when i walk onto the platform and get right on the train.
4) conquer the maze of the parking garage between buckhead marta and buckhead church. this is a game i haven’t completely tackled yet… but one day!

seriously, y’all… i’m beginning to think it really is smarta!!

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“make me wanna holler, throw up both my hands…” -marvin gaye

January 25, 2008

Today is Friday. A lazy Friday at that. I’m a home working on some music. I got hungry, and so I went to the kitchen, heated up left over spaghetti, and sat down on the couch for a late lunch. Naturally, sadly, I picked up the remote to flip through the very few channels my roommate and I pay for. I happened upon maury povich’s talk show. Before you judge me, please trust that is not my typical afternoon activity! Something made me stop. Not sure what, but doesn’t it seem that some mysterious thing sucks us into these things?? So I watched for a few minutes. Long enough to watch a woman named Missy tell her husband, Freddie, that she cheated on him twice with two different men and that their children may not be his. Paternity tests further proved that he was in fact not the father of the two children he has come to love and support. And Missy cried and cried and cried. Sobbed in fact. And Freddie cried and cried and cried. And about 100 people sat and watched it all happen and responded with hoots and hollers some laughter and some clapping. And I cried. Honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me, but it broke my heart into pieces. I watched lives fall apart and thought of the hurt those children will go through later in life. Something incredibly dark came into my living room with the realization of how disgusting this world really is in some ways. What is so twisted and destroyed from the way God intended things, that people are entertained by the brokenness of people’s lives? And then there’s this new show about telling the truth vs. lying where they hook someone up to a lie detector machine and sit them in front of people they love and ask such sensitive questions that the answers could ruin relationships, careers, reputations, etc. Now, I’m not stupid. I know these people aren’t victims, since they have chosen and agreed to be on these shows. But. It’s so sad to watch such brokenness and pain and to know that something prompts that despair to be displayed for society’s entertainment and enjoyment. And I can’t even watch the news. Heath Ledger died this week. And the death of this brilliant young actor is swimming in pain and desperation. This world is not my home, and I’m thankful for that. But I hurt so so much for the people who believe that this world is their home. Because what hopelessness must accompany that belief! To watch these things on tv and on the news and see what’s going on on this earth and believe that this is all the hope that we have. But there is TRUTH… whether people believe it or not. There’s more… and all the stuff that hurts here isn’t involved. Seems to take the hopelessness right out of life, right? I can’t wait to go home! My heart aches for it! But, for now, this is we have… and God blesses us in it. Praise Him! His Kingdom come. We are called and charged pursue God’s Kingdom while we are here on earth. And we do and we will. I pray that God always let’s my heart break on Friday afternoons when I happen upon the Maury show. As silly as that sounds… I pray that I am always as sensitive to hopelessness and hurt as God’s heart is. Fight with me?

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“sometimes i feel like i never been nothing but tired…” -patty griffin

January 25, 2008

(written on December 8, 2007)
i celebrate the life of Christ everyday. i celebrate it because it is my own life. so i guess it’s “Christmas” all year round for me. but what is it about this season? call me scrooge all you want. my heart is not black. i, in fact, do have a soul. and i do not believe it is a sin to hate the Christmas season. i do. i hate the traffic. i hate the stress. i hate the hurriedness of it all. i hate the extra money spent. i hate the pressure. the traveling. the on holdness of everyday life. the people you disappoint because you can’t be everywhere or do everything. i hate the greediness. i hate expectations that are not lived up to. do i sound bitter? i’m really not. i’ll admit i’m a bit hurt by this season, sure. watching people throughout this season makes me long for another home even more. 

BUT.

i will choose to love. and i will choose to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. and if someone else’s justice calls for my broken heart then so be it. i’ve been in awe of the beauty of nature the last couple of months. how amazing the colors have been, and how great the cold air has felt at times. and at some point God whispered in my ear that it was all dying. that some of the most breathtaking scenes i was taking in were beautiful because of pain and death. and He is the only one i’ve ever known or loved who can make anything beautiful out of my pain and out of my death. and so i will love this season. perhaps it will always be painful. maybe it won’t at some point. but i will watch, like a kid watching for santa, for the beauty that is on display due to pain and due to death. i love how creative He is. i can’t wait to see what He does next.

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“i see Your face, You’re beautiful…” -phil wickham

January 25, 2008

(written on November 4, 2007)
so, i was tagging some friends in a facebook album… (yes, i realize the ridiculousness of that statement. what can i do? it’s the world i live in…) and for some reason something odd struck me. i realized that i had the option to put that square wherever i wanted to to tag that person, and yet i always choose the person’s face. so that got me thinking… in my own quirky roundabout way… about how we identify people. i wondered why we identify people mostly with their faces. “never forget a face” the old adage goes, right? but why? the face is where we find someone’s emotions i suppose. the mediator between our heads and hearts and others’ heads and hearts. i love pictures… especially laughing ones. i love to see the faces of loved ones that i haven’t seen in a long time. it’s their eyes and their smiles that remind me who they are. and so that, naturally, made me think about how i long to see God’s face. and what does that mean? if i say it, i should be able to explain it, right? wrong. so on my drive up to browns bridge community church this morning as the sun rose, i was listening to phil wickham’s new cd and thinking about this. and the song “Beautiful” came on. “i see Your face in every sunrise…” and i did, and i do. i long to identify God, though i know i am too feeble to do so. i long to see favor in His eyes and see laughter on His face. and i realized on that long drive watching the sun rise and the purple wildflowers to my left and the beautiful changing leaves… that i do see God’s face all around me. He espresses Himself in so many beautiful ways. and so i pleaded with Him to continue to show me His face. while i am grateful for His hand and His gifts and His actions… i simply long to look into His face. i long to know the little ways He expresses Himself. my friend bites his lip when he’s thinking… that’s how i know he’s thinking. another friend’s eyebrows get all crazy when she’s stressed… that’s how i know. today i watched a woman watch her husband and there was that look that i don’t know how to describe… but that look is how i know that she adores him. and so i long to know those characteristics about God. to see lightening and know that He is mighty, to see the sunrise and know that He is faithful, to hold someone’s hand and know that He is the God of all comfort. 
last winter i remember standing on a porch in north carolina and looking out on the snow and the bare trees. i remember thinking how beautiful it all was, and then it hit me. it was all dead. and the death was beautiful. and so perhaps God’s face is in that too. in the hard things. in the cold things. in the dead things. He is so mysterious and yet always so beautiful. may i always search His face in everything…

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“everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades…” -joel houston

January 25, 2008

(written on July 25, 2007)
so, i’m incredibly busy these days. incredibly. running from one thing to the next getting very little sleep. having a blast. that’s kinda how i like it. and it’s painful to a degree, but that good kinda hurt. the kind of hurt you could get addicted to, ya know? the kind of hurt that makes you keep biting a sore on the inside of your mouth. so, i was just now upstairs in our office sitting at my friends desk leaving her a note telling of my love for her. and to the left of her computer is a picture of her and her husband. she loves her husband a lot, and never ceases to sing his praises. it’s really sweet and encouraging. so i was just sitting there looking at that picture, and my mind wandered to the first and only time i’ve ever met mike nelson. (follow me here, it’s a strange process of thought) i had just spent a week with the catalyst team in orlando promoting catalyst at another conference. we had just pulled back in town on what was the last night of an event called Q that catalyst had coupled with another organization called relevate to put on. we literally stopped into the tabernacle (my very favorite venue in atlanta) minutes before rob bell began to speak. and then we took communion. and then we worshipped. and that was one of the top moments of worship for me here in atlanta. and for a few moments, my world slowed down and moved at normal speed. the speed at which God intends for me to move. and then. it picked right back up. i tried to say hi to everyone i knew and hadn’t seen in a while, and tried to help clean up, and tried to meet new people, and tried to catch up with my friend, and tried to leave all at once. and that’s when i met mike nelson. and while looking at that picture just now, i tried to recall the picture in my head of that meeting and that person. and i couldn’t. it’s blurry. like i am sprinting through life trying to take pictures as i go. every single one will be blurry and without distinction. and, for some strange reason, that picture just now reminded me to slow down. that i want a series of beautiful and detailed still frames in my mind and heart throughout my life, not just blurry shots of people blinking and opening their mouth. i want to be intentional and carefully capture the people around me with precision and art.

the other day was my 24th birthday. and i didn’t ask myself how i got that old. i was blessed to realize just how young that number really is. it was the best birthday i’ve had in a long long time… maybe ever. on my acutal birthday, my best friend came into town and we went to buckhead church for a night of worship. i couldn’t think of anything more perfect to do on one’s birthday than to celebrate the One who created him or her. and we sang “from the inside out”. and that song has always been powerful to me, but i had a crazy thought during it that night. God is the only thing or person i know who encompasses every meaning of the words “everlasting” and “all”. they can mean the exact opposite of each other, and yet the same thing. the Bible says “from everlasting to everlasting You are God”. that means that from forever behind us to forever to come. not only stretched out over time in one direction, but the other as well. and “all”. i realized about a year ago that He is all that i am and all that i have. not only is He the only thing that i am and have… but He is everything that i am and have. (does that make any sense? because it blew me away) and so, as scatterbrained as all this most certainly seems, it strikes me that God doesn’t move at my pace. that i feel like i’m racing everywhere and He goes with me to all these places. but the truth is that, in a way that i may never comprehend, God moves at His own time. and perhaps instead of pulling Him along with me, i should just focus, breathe and intentionally move at His pace… whatever that may be. i slept 14 hours last night. it was well needed. and i’ll be at the beach next week. i can’t wait to soak Him in and lay with my head in His lap and rest. but more than that, i shouldn’t have to take vacations with Him. He is my rest. all the time. i love being on the go and being busy, but i need to love being intentional and precise with every moment i’m given. be careful then how i live, for the days are evil…

my character is defined by my intentionality, NOT my intentions.

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“one life, we’ve got to do what we should…” -u2

January 25, 2008

(written on April 2, 2007)
everything in my soul is screaming these days. everything in my body is physically uncomfortable. everything in my brain is working faster than my means. and everything in my heart is broken.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: 
 to loose the chains of injustice 
 and untie the cords of the yoke, 
 to set the oppressed free 
 and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
 and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
 when you see the naked, to clothe him, 
 and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, 
 and your healing will quickly appear; 
 then your righteousness [a] will go before you, 
 and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; 
 you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. 
 “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, 
 with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry 
 and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, 
 then your light will rise in the darkness, 
 and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always; 
 he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land 
 and will strengthen your frame. 
 You will be like a well-watered garden, 
 like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins 
 and will raise up the age-old foundations; 
 you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, 
 Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:6-12
as americans we have such a skewed view of reality. the other day, i was driving home from work, and i saw an 18-wheeler going the opposite direction. this large truck had a smorgasbord of foods displayed on its side. instead of thinking, “what’s for dinner?” like normal, i was struck with deep sorrow. it seems so unbalanced. the idea that we could parade pictures like that down our streets, suddenly struck me with the difference between america and so much of the rest of the world. we can throw things like that around and not think twice about it. and my heart, in that very moment, realized that a child was crying from hunger… dying even… while i was on my way home from work. and that sounds so cliche these days. but the reality of it all has come crashing down on me lately. i can call my cell phone company and hoot and holler about how unfairly they are treating me by charging me too much. and i can even demand fair treatment. and i can feel like i deserve it… that it’s my right! and i can even find other parties to get involved who agree with my rights! and yet, there are men and women and children- human beings- who can’t demand anything. there are humans no different from myself who are being forced into nightmares… being treated as someone’s property! and i don’t know how to relay this revelation with as much desperation as is necessary! it’s so unbalanced though. we HAVE to do something. and not just the little things that make us feel good about having done something… but HUGE things have to be done. and how do we do them? and what are they? i’m spending so much of my time everyday learning more and more about the truth of what’s going on in the world of social injustices. and i’ve cried over what i’ve learned everyday. in america, we grow up with a sense of rights and a sense of “it’s not fair” and justice is so much a part of our lives. but we look at justice and demand it when it comes to ourselves. we cling to Lady Justice herself and forget that she wears a blindfold and balancing scales. we even define justice mostly with words regarding punishment and fairness and misdeeds. settling a score. it’s one of the biggest parts of our system in this country. and yet, we forget the other side of that word “justice”. it’s about balance. God’s justice to us, originally, involved our ultimate death. and He is just. He cannot not be just. it is one of His attributes. so! He found a way to balance it out. instead of compromising part of His nature to come to us, He offered us a way to be brought up to Him. and THAT is justice. He evened out our differences in righteousness and holiness and purity. so then… how in the world can we look into situations of social injustice and NOT to everything in our power to bring these precious people up? that is what is just. and we are called to do justly! we have too much and they have too little. i’m not calling for communism here… just justice. we have to do everything we can to even it out a little better. and we don’t! and it’s frustrating that it’s virtually impossible to go about life only dealing with people and organizations who act fairly, and justly, and morally, and honorably. Jesus called for justice. and not punishment-wise… He certainly dispelled that idea of “justice” when He threw out the “eye for an eye thing”. He did, however, call the rich young ruler to give away everything he had and zaccheus was compelled to give back to whomever he took from 4 times the amount he took. Christ’s idea of “justice” was that of bringing down the lofty and bringing up the oppressed to where both parties have and neither has not. and it’s not just about poverty. poverty is a root problem for sooooo many social injustices that are going on today. i mean, there is actual slavery alive and well (moreso than ever!) in the world today. and not just in crazy countries far far away… right here in america! there’s a lot being done already that we MUST support… there’s no question of that at all. beyond that, what do we do? i don’t know. but rest assured i am going to do everything that my body will let me to find out. and if i lose my body in the process, then so be it. everything about my life is taking a turn, and i don’t see how i could ever go back. i’ve opened pandora’s box in my life and encourage everyone else to do so. it’s not an easy box to open, and it’s one that cannot be closed and will forever change your world. but it’s what our life is about. as i was praying and crying last night over the men and women and children who are being oppressed and abused RIGHT THIS SECOND, i realized i didn’t know what to ask God to do. and it struck me, that i am asking Him to save them. and His means of saving them is US. and if we don’t do it ourselves, then we have no business asking Him to do it. we are not called to make a name for ourselves in this life, to make a lot of money, to be happy, to have a great social network, or even to attend a great church. we are called to BE a great church. we are called to feed the hungry, speak for those without voices, love orphans and widows, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him
read these books! they will change your world forever! 1) Not For Sale by David Batstone 2) http://www.myspace.com/lc2lc3) The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen 4) Real Christianity by William Wilberforce 5) Terrify No More by Gary Haugen 6) Disposable People by Kevin Bales. like, i said… there’s so much already out there that needs our support… here are a few:
-Fermi Project
-Invisible Children- there’s an event coming up called Displace Me… find out about it and GET INVOLVED!
-International Justice Mission (IJM)
-Free The Slaves
-Amazing Change Campaign
-Tom’s Shoes
-World Vision
-Compassion International
-Hagar
-NightLight Designs
-Oxfam
-One Campaign
-Red Campaign
and so many more… please please please look some of these up and help support these ministris and organizations as much as you can. and find out what else you can do to get involved. and call me! it’s important that we fight these things together!