light, words, and lovely things

"'Dear old world,' she murmured. 'You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.'"


Sasha DiGiulian warming up on “Dominant Species” at Wolf Point, Wyoming (Kyle Duba)
Disturb us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

- Francis Drake

1 month ago
Senior Banquet Reflections

How long has it been now? Eighteen months, give or
take. For my brother, my sister, my fellow race-runner:
three years, a decade, a time.
When from the dark You took us,
and in love You sent to save us.

You placed these words on our lips,
to taste and to speak
(a sweetness we did not expect):
love, glory, mercy, grace,
Emmanuel, Redeemer, our cross-bearer,
God with us.

You opened the fists we’d clenched so tightly
around what we’d believed was worth it, showed
us how to reach after words and treasure and
love too lofty for our little hands to
have held, all fingers now outstretched
to receive..

You have raised our eyes, raised
us to life, raised the dead to reveal new
life - eternal life, you see:
A home and a hope and a
fight we did not have
before.

What can I say but that these words did
not come from me? You taught them to me;
I did not know them before.
These: Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
These: God, you are my God
I have no good apart from you.
These: You have saved me.
These: I love You.
These: I am Yours.

The church. One Body,
in the good fight declaring:
We are His, and no longer who we were -
by this one name:
Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 months ago
from last year

i have a thing
for hands with long fingers
where the sun plays hide and
seek between the wristbone and knuckles, hands
that look like they were meant to hold the
brush they were painted by, could brush
away the shadows and make
light.

i have a thing
for men with soft voices
who sound like they’re hiding secrets I
may find if I try, words low
and quiet and safe like summer dusk,
when the grey half-light wraps itself around
me and promises it can
cover.

i have a thing
for grabbing hold of things,
for idols it seems I can touch, just
barely
for golden calves and pretty earrings, the
stolen good of a city I do
not believe I inherit, as
if when melted they might approximate
the whole I do
not think will be given, as
if enough things can stop up the
loneliness that does not stop
to knock, just
enters.

i have ten thousand things all
gathered and arranged on
display in the hall, see -
it’s proof we’re somebody.
i have fleeting glances, imagined chances,
gilt mirrors that tell someone
else’s face, one
long hall to wander when the
nights grow longer.
i have nights spent counting the
things and counting the
things and counting the
things and counting the
things and never finding
enough.

Father, my Father, i give them all to you,
here -
i lay them at your feet;
you can have them.
i am sick of counting.
here -
i am yours to keep.

3 months ago
Sunday morning

When I sat down to pray today all I could say was I’m sorry I’m sorry God I’m sorry and after that I sat and stared for a long while and realized I had nothing else to give. I spent the weekend buying into self-pity and loneliness and lies and the same the same the same idiot problems I create for myself and at the end of it I’m left tired and empty and angry, no love or gratitude or strength to offer up to the One who saved my soul.

Come, everyone who thirsts
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
(Isaiah 55:1)

And all I can do is cry out my God, my God, could it be true that your love is free? We say fight the good fight, run the race, press on, and it’s apparent to me right now that I am a pretty useless soldier. When my head becomes a battlefield and the lies line up like armies against me, my white flag heart gives in. I’ve got nothing. 

I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
(Hosea 14:4)

Apostasy: backsliding, turning, departure, desertion. I will heal them. I will love them freely.

Time for Sunday service.

3 months ago
2 Peter 3:11-18, Matthew 7:13-14, Psalm 18

Sometimes I sit before him and the words don’t come so easily anymore, or I guess they don’t seem to satisfy quite like they used to. Sometimes I need to back up, be quiet, catch the words I spill every-which-where - love, glory, mercy, presence, grace - and be reminded to know what they mean. To look more closely, go more slowly, and wait for him to make them sweet.

Father, I belong to you
and you did not say it would be easy
and the narrow gate was never meant to be so. But
God, I know
what will be dissolved
and what will stand -
You
will stand
at the end of the narrow path, and
You
will welcome me home, and
I
will enter
into the wide, wide place
You always meant for my feet to find.
do not
be carried away, but
grow.
according to his promise we are waiting
for a new heavens
and a new earth
in which righteousness
dwells
and Lord, I
will be found in you
waiting
for you
waiting
for me
at the end
of the narrow path.

3 months ago
"My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define what is true. God’s word defines what is true. My feelings are echoes and responses of what I perceive to be the case, and they are regularly lousy, inadequate, half-baked, no-count, misguided, feelings. And when that happens, I gotta get on my face, lift my heart and my hands, and say, ‘God this is in the Bible. Bring my affections into line with it…’We need an impossible thing to happen to us. We need to like what we don’t like, treasure what we don’t treasure, enjoy what we don’t enjoy, be thrilled about things we are bored by. That’s why we need a miracle in our lives. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. This is daily Christian living: reading our Bible, discovering at the moment as we are reading our Bible that my heart is not in sync with that truth, and then shutting the Bible—or leaving it open—and saying, ‘Fix me! Change me! Alter me! Go down! Kill me if you can, but don’t let me live out of sync with the Bible. Don’t let my heart stay out of sync with the Bible.’ … That’s my battle."
John Piper (via imtheonewithtwoleftfeet)
What I prayed last year

In a fit of nostalgia, I picked up my first journal tonight and read what I wrote last year on my birthday. 

3/3/13

Let me look forward to this year, God, without fear, but with true and abandoned joy for all the ways I know you will work in me and around me, all the ways, Lord, that I know you will transform me and grow me in you. And I pray that that will be my heart for this year, God - joy, not fear; confidence, not doubt; and just an ever-deepening striving for you. Lord, let all my other concerns fade in light of your promise - trusting that, when in all ways I acknowledge you, you will make my paths straight. Let this year be a time of growth and intimacy with you, my heavenly Father.

I’m at a loss for words. How he answered that prayer! I asked for growth and for intimacy, and how he answered! I flipped back one page, and I found what I wrote when, coming off of the high of meeting God for the first time that fall, I started to struggle to feel God’s presence.

3/1/13

God, I don’t know what this is. It just seems harder to quiet myself before you, like whenever I try to sit at your feet there are a thousand things pulling me away. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired or busy or because I’m pulling away from your will. If I’m just scared of what you might ask of me. It’s probably all of the above. Lord, I feel off-balance. But you are more than feelings. It doesn’t matter what I feel, God. It matters what you did in sending us your Son. God, let me always remember that. Place that truth on my heart, Lord, and let it anchor all my ways. Let me dig deeper in you as I struggle, and thirst even more after your fullness. Let me not turn away from you and try to bury this gnawing feeling. God, I lay this uncertainty before you, and I know, even if my fickle heart cannot always feel, that your grace is sufficient to cover my weakness and my faithlessness. Let me run after you all the harder, at the same time knowing that it is you who works in my heart and you who saves - that you will bring me to completion. Let me just quiet myself before you, Lord, and trust in the power of your grace.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. I don’t know how many more times in this past year I’ve prayed this prayer, or how many times even in this past week I’ve forgotten about grace in midst of struggle. This year has seen so many ups and downs, but when I look at the way my life has changed there’s no denying the growth and intimacy he’s given me, the way he’s taught me to love his presence even in the absence of it - to hunger for him and to come back to the truth of how much I need him. I am foolish, I am faithless, I am weak, and I have no idea what nineteen will bring, but I’m praying as I did 363 days ago that he will help me to face it with joy, not fear, trusting in my faithful Savior - the one who answered a thousand times over.

I love, I love, I love your presence.

I love, I love, I love you Jesus.

5 months ago

themorningstars:

I’ve been thinking about making this post for a while, and I finally decided to make it.

At a certain point in my life as a pro-choicer, I discovered something: In order to be intellectually honest in my pro-choice thinking, I had to be willing to look around at all of the people I knew—my family, my friends—and be willing to say, “It would be okay if you had never been born.” And I had to be willing to say the same about myself, too.

And I actually was willing to say this. While my mother was pregnant with me, my father tried to pressure her into an abortion, and you know what I thought when I found out? I thought, “She should have gone through with it.” I was a burden; I made everyone’s lives difficult; I wasn’t worth loving or sacrificing for; I didn’t matter. I had so completely internalized this message about myself that finding out that I had almost been killed in my mother’s womb was no big deal. I mean, hey, it would have saved us all a lot of suffering. The cost-benefit analysis seemed perfectly clear: I just wasn’t worth it.

I wasn’t quite so obviously callous in my estimation of other people’s worth, but, had they asked me if I believed that they mattered in any real way—mattered in some way which did not include some reference to my thoughts or feelings about them—I would have had to say no. I would have had to say, “I am overjoyed that you were born because you have contributed so much to my life, and you make me so happy, and I think you’re wonderful, and look at all of the people who love you, but, ultimately, if you had not been born, it would have been okay. At the end of the day, there is nothing necessary about your existence. You are replaceable.” Those were the consequences of my worldview—the worldview which says that each and every child conceived in his mother’s womb is theoretically disposable; the worldview which can talk about “what you have to offer” and how “useful” you are, but can say nothing about the worth of the “useless.”

And I think our society has done a pretty decent job at living out that vision: the Vision of Replaceability. We don’t just treat the unborn this way. We treat the born this way, too. We give up on our spouses when our marriages stop being “useful” contributions to our lives. We give up on our families when the going gets too tough. We give up on our romantic partners when “the spark is gone.” We give up on our friends when we’re not getting what we “need” from them. We’re a culture of quitters. We love when it’s convenient for us. And people are often inconvenient; they demand our time and attention and care; they’re not perfectly suited to our desires the way objects are. So, we objectify them. We pay attention when it suits us and then tuck them away on a shelf somewhere where we keep the rest of our “toys.”

Is it any wonder that we don’t think that we matter? We’ve never seen it. Is it any wonder that many of us cannot even conceive of true selflessness? That the notion that someone might actually want good things for you and might actually not expect anything in return and might actually not just be doing it because “it feels good to do good things” seems so foreign and strange? Should we be surprised? It’s all we know.

And this is the root of the culture of death. This is where death starts. It doesn’t start in war zones or brothels or abusive homes or abortion clinics or execution chambers. Those are its manifestations, but that’s not where death starts. Death starts with people as things. It starts with “you are only as necessary as you are useful.” It starts with “you are not precious; you are replaceable.”

So, we leave ourselves with no resources when we are truly confronted with death. We have nothing real to offer to the suicidal, the eating disordered, the self-injuring, the depressed, the lonely, the abused. Nothing but empty words. We may say, “You are irreplaceable,” but do we mean it? Do we know what it would mean to truly mean those words? I don’t think we do. Not as long as we see each other as “choices,” as “options” in a sea of options. Not as long as we cannot honestly look one another in the eye and say, “It would not have been okay if you had never been born. You belong alive, and you matter, not because of what you do, but because you are you.” 

And for those of us who call ourselves pro-life, that has to mean something. It has to mean that we see people as people; that we treat them like people; that we love them. Maybe the reason that the pro-choice movement so often accuses us of “only caring about fetuses” isn’t all unwarranted hyperbole; maybe they’re responding to the very real lack of true, genuine, selfless love in our society, and maybe we’re all in that battle together. How on earth are any of us supposed to know that that’s possible—that we could matter in that way—unless someone shows us? That’s where the culture of life starts: the moment when we discover that we’re loved.

(via liveasloved)

5 months ago
6 months ago

Oh God, the glory is yours! The kindom is come; the battle is over.

(Source: Spotify)

6 months ago
6 months ago

From Matt Chandler’s A Theology of Struggle

6 months ago
eatsleepdraw:

Heatwave self portrait.
Acrylic, pencil and crayon on canvas board
20x20cm
http://mudulun.tumblr.com/
madeleinelpeters@gmail.com

Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes, and Lemons Light the Sky // Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

6 months ago
penelopesloom:

4 | 2, Melbourne
7 months ago

Jimmy Needham’s testimony

7 months ago