Ok, as I begin this post, I frankly have no idea where it’s going to end up. Sooooo, here goes.

Today began with the word “change” for me. I noticed that in the word “change” is the word “hang” and I realized that so often change feels like your life is hanging in the balance. Right now, my life feels like it’s hanging in the balance. I’m on choir tour with my school, and things started off pretty well, but something today went out of whack. I’m not sure when or how it happened either. I do know this: God kind of warned me that He was going to wreck me. I also know that from the outset of this trip, I was looking forward to talking to all kinds of different people in order to see how God was going to move in different ways. Maybe I’m just short-sighted. It’s day two of four but I feel like I already want it to be over because I am being forced to interact with certain people much sooner than I was anticipating.

In a sense, I guess I’m really complaining about control. I am definitely NOT in control of the situation here. The question is now, “Can I control myself?” If I am going to be completely honest with myself, I knew there was this possibility before tour even started, but I’m not sure I could have done anything to prevent it. Ok, enough complaining. I’m sorry. I do have something more meaningful to share.

I’ve been keeping record of my thoughts lately. Over the last six days, every time I have a thought that is particularly profound in a personal sense (I am blessed to have quite a few), I write it down. I have filled an entire page in six days, and the results are interesting. I am able to read through it and be reminded of lessons that I have learned and perspectives that I desire to maintain. I am also becoming more aware of questions and longings in my heart. Something I have particularly enjoyed though is the ability to stop thinking about ideas that I want to remember. Writing everything down has allowed me to clear my head for my thoughts to continue to flow and lead me to some logical conclusions and some questions that dig even deeper into my original processes.

One of the conclusions I have come to that I believe God lead me to was that if I am in the center of God’s will, I have not missed a single thing that He has planned for my life. If I continually set my face to seek Him, then He will bring me into the best He has for me. Here’s the hard part though: His best is not always what I think should be His best. In the words of a deeply meaningful song: “I want Your best, but what if Your best is brokenness, would I be broken? I want Your best, but what if it’s less than what I ask, and what I’m hoping. What if Your best is here in the waiting—here in the going through the motions?” (What If Your Best by FFH) Ouch God. I just want to cry because I know He is so good, but He is asking me to let go of control—to let go of my death grip on what I want for my life so that He can lead me into something truly needful and enjoyable. I think I forget so easily that if I haven’t developed my relationship with God in this life, then I haven’t done anything eternal. It’s a challenge almost. What if I could aspire to be the most normal, average, unnoticed person? What if I managed to avoid all fame and notoriety in this life completely? What if I pursue the purpose that I believe God has called me to and no one ever cares except God and myself? Can I be okay with that now? Will I reap the benefits of that in eternity? I am in so much emotional turmoil over this right now it’s not even funny. I’m scared and bitter and despairing. I don’t know what to do with this. Here God, I offer this pitiful, pathetic, fearful wreck to You. I fear abandonment. I fear loss. I fear the empty spaces. Yet it is the wide open spaces of the unknown that continually call my name. It is in the unknown that I find freedom to define myself and explore the depths of relationship with God.

Here I am, caught between the best and worst that life has to offer; and the only thing that I can think to do is fall on the floor and weep.

My thoughts over the last six days.

Transition: that’s what my life has been about it seems. From as early as I can remember, I have always had changes in my life. Sometimes they were small things like the variety of food on the dinner table. Other times, it was big things like parents divorcing or moving out from under my parents’ roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture at all; I just am keenly aware of the rhythm of change in my life. It’s funny: when I feel like there isn’t anything changing, I feel stuck, stagnant, and purposeless. I wonder if I’m simply made for change? Change and transition is what first inspired me to write poetry (take a look at my works page) and I believe it is still what I write primarily about.

These flowers will soon die, but they will come back. It's all apart of the rhythm of change.

I’m currently going through a BIG change. I have moved out from under my parents’ roof and am learning and experiencing life in an entirely new way. As I continue to unpack and adjust to my new living environment, God has been faithful to provide for my financial needs and has been teaching me just how sweet it really is to trust Him. In the words of a favorite hymn of mine, “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus / just to take Him at His Word / just to rest upon His promise / just to know thus saith the LORD.”

God is breaking down walls of fear and pride that I have built within myself. They are nothing more than idols which I have willingly bowed down too, blinding my eyes to the reality of who God is and just how big His plans for my life are. Yes, the winds of change are blowing. Transition is sweeping through my life like a breath of fresh air, like the pound of the ocean surf, like orbit of the earth around the sun.

A park nearby my new home. These trees bear witness to a world of change.

Lately, I’ve been consumed with looking up. Literally. Here’s a picture for you.

Beams from a converted warehouse (i.e. Jessup's dormitories)

I think my obsession with looking up has some meaning to it. I’ll get to that in a little bit. I’ve also been enjoying gazing at vast expanses such as this one.

The preserve behind Jessup's campus

There’s something inspiring about wide-open spaces—something freeing that beckons you to run wild and take ownership of and responsibility for all that you see. Maybe that’s just me, maybe it’s not.

I’ve found that when I am depressed, the still small voice of God tells me to look up. He never tells me why, but I think I understand. You see, when I look up, I see the heavens and realize that life is comprised of so much more than I am experiencing right now. I begin to reflect on the tapestry of my past and all of the places I’ve been as I pursue relationship with God. I realize that things are currently not as they used to be and things will not always be as they currently are. Did you hear that? Change is a foundational ingredient in life. You cannot have life as we experience it without change. Praise God!

I think the sight of wide-open spaces reminds me to look at the big picture of my life and not become utterly consumed by all of the details of why my life is or is not working right now. This is where hope springs up. This is where the future inspires goals and dreams. This is where the tragedy of the past loses its power to control today. Thank You, Jesus!

Okay. Spring break is over. It’s a sadness and relief wrapped up into one. Sadness that I couldn’t have more time to rest my mind from schoolwork and delve more into creativity. Relief that the semester is almost over and that my circumstances are continuing to change. I like this about life—things will always change, sometimes painfully slowly, but consistently nonetheless.

This first week back after break has been fascinating so far. I came back a day before school started and took advantage of the [mostly] empty campus to pray over the school and rededicate myself and the school to God’s purposes. It feels good to tear down strongholds of spiritual oppression, and there is so much more work to be done. I take joy in knowing that God has established His own stronghold here too!

I think that’s what I really love about life right now: I am seeing the kingdom of heaven break open increasingly often. From the glory-fall (sunshine) to the hopefulness of flowers to the endurance of the man-made buildings around me, I’m beginning to see that a huge part of living in the kingdom of heaven is all about intentionality. When you live and move and interact with other people, the important thing is not necessarily what you do but why you do it. Are you intentionally living to please God in everything you do? Are you intentionally living to pursue goodness, love mercy, and do justice? Amen and amen! Let it be so in my life! I want everything I do to speak life in someway. Renewal. I want my life to be a testimony of renewal from hopelessness and abandonment to joy and belonging.

So, for now, it’s back to the grindstone, but this time with an undercurrent of abundant, renewing life.

Flower bed behind the student union
Here's "hope" for today. The flowers look expectantly toward the sun as we look expectantly toward the Son.

Hey there! So, today felt brand new. This has been my fourth day on Spring break and, lest I become complacent, today came with a sudden change of pace. I had to leave the house actually because my mom was doing childcare. Anyhow, I decided to walk to the Bayside Church Cafe (because I don’t have a car) and work on homework. So that’s just what I did. I left the house at 9 AM and made it to church at 9:45. I even finished a whole paper while I was there! Then I left around 2:15 PM and as I was walking home, I stopped to take this picture:

Power Lines
I really love man-made objects.

I don’t know why, but it struck me as particularly picture worthy. It’s just so expansive. I like wide-open spaces. At this point, I was almost home, but instead of going home, I decided to walk through Maidu park nearby and I ran into a guy I know from school who I had no idea lived there! How cool. Then I saw these clouds and just had to take another picture:

Clouds
Another "Wow" moment. This scene caught me by surprise.

You might be wondering at this point why I’ve bothered to tell you every little detail of my day. It’s because I never used to think this way. Something in me has changed. I don’t really know how, but living at school for nine months out of the year has caused my perspective to change a little bit. Honestly, I don’t like being back at home. I wish I was on my own. I wish I had a car. I wish I had lots of friends that I could go do things with. I wish I had a steady source of income. But that’s the wrong way of looking at things.

I used to be dominated by routine. No longer am I stuck in my circumstance. Somehow, all of the lessons I’ve been learning about seeking Jesus every day has caused me to see that it is possible to live above my circumstances. This whole time that I was walking, I was also praying. What I noticed about today is that, although I am in a familiar environment, my interactions in it have changed. Maybe there is hope after all that change can happen. Maybe there is hope that I bring a little bit of the kingdom of heaven to the world around me as I renew my mind. Maybe there is hope that good things will come of all my desires. It’s a little change, but I’m beginning to feel as though that’s a misnomer because even a “little” change takes a great deal of effort, sometimes more than we can humanly exert. That must mean that God is moving!!! Thank You, Jesus!

I struggle from making mountains out of molehills. My natural tendency is to be overly emotional about the things that I think I need, and very jealous about the things that I don’t have. It’s kind of like my reactions to the weather today. When the sunlight is shining brightly, I feel at peace and productive. Then clouds come casting their shadow over me and I become unsettled and depressed. Huh, I guess that just means I’m human.

I had a chance to talk with my friend Brittany today after choir rehearsal and I have to say that it was one of the most refreshing conversations I’ve had in a while. Now that I think about it, I seem to have a tendency to feel refreshed by my conversations with practically anyone who lives off-campus. I have a feeling it has to do with the maturity that comes from the responsibility of total independence. Perhaps that’s why I crave responsibility so much. I want that maturity. But for now, all I can do pray for change, so that’s what I’ll do. After all, with God all things are possible.

Ha! Come to think of it, I had a chance to talk briefly with another off-campus student today at lunch as well! Guess what we talked about? Maturity. So weird. I think God is telling me that He is about to begin a work of great maturity in me. Let it be so, Jesus!

Path in front
Oh yeah, this is my inspiration to be encouraged today.