Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So. Grab my hand, and let's go.

I cannot imagine my life ever becoming a routine.

The work I have done, that I will continue to do, with Invisible Children has helped me come alive, it has taught me how to live, how to love, and how to glorify our living God in it all.

I have driven into so many sunsets and sunrises----the Lord sustains us, and the beauty that stretches through the sky is His alone.

We are all so ignorant of our surrounds, but we can at least drop our fear and run towards the compassion that is forever liberating. And you know what, we can try, we can apply ourselves. We can grab a hold of the glory, the love, the strength, and the might of our Lord. And we can jump, we can run, we can dance, we can inspire, we can grow, we can learn, we can love, we can laugh.

We can exhaust ourselves in His majesty.

How beautiful.

So. Grab my hand, and let's go. Let's exhaust ourselves in our heavenly Father's majesty. Until our breath is taken away by the One who supplied it.

We don't reap the harvest for ourselves.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

God's eyes and our sunglasses

Do you know the times when you’re listening to those songs and they just seem to be causing you to float along in the car, as if you were a part of the story the song was portraying? And in all reality you truly are a part of it, because you make it your own story.

I always connect things to something. I guess I’m more sentimental than the next person that comes along.

I keep writing things in my head and never put them down, and when I finally do feel like articulating them, it’s far too late. However, I scribbled this next connection down so I would find the time to write it out.

It’s nearly fascinating how much more beautiful the world can look through a different lens. Particularly the pair of lenses that are held together as your sunglasses.

And so I’ve been throwing this realization everyone has when they put on a pair of sunglasses around in my mind; that their surroundings just look more alive. And what if this is the way God sees the world? He sees the truly beautiful creation that He intentionally orchestrated, and we get a chance to peer into that once we pick up the sunglasses.

But, the lens doesn’t always have to be a pair of sunglasses. When we embrace this reality that our own vision, our own understanding cannot do us any justice, we begin to view the world in our Father’s eyes. And it is indeed, a much more beautiful world.

However, we don’t always wear the sunglasses and we don’t always embrace His creation. Sometimes we just blindly stumble through, but in all truth, we cannot see the creation fully unless we embrace it. And that in itself involves more than our own sight and knowledge. It takes us picking up the lens, quite literally and figuratively. And peering into a world that is overflowing with His vast strength, promise, love, and beauty.

What a gift He has given us.

What if certain things were created so that we could get a glimpse of this? That we could experience more fully the way God loves us and His creation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Till Kingdom Come.

I didn't bring my camera with me to this adventure of mine here in California, but maybe that's a good thing.

For the first time I am not capturing every waking beauty of God's creation on a camera, I think it's time for me to take the beauty as it is in it's natural state.

I cannot even articulate the incredible might and glory I have witnessed through every single sunrise and sunset here. Sunsets are so rich in indescribable glory, and my heart cannot contain the immense amount of love God has for each of us.

Sometimes, I love to think that God let's us pick what the sunset or sunrise will look like. Like every person who is welcomed into the kingdom gets to swarm together colors on a pallet and create, in the most literal sense, the only pallet of colors that ever meshed together in such a way.

It has been such a weird concept to try and grasp the fact that people have died, and people have already experienced what it is like to be face to face with the Almighty, with our Father, with our Abba. And it makes me tremble to think that some of my friends have experienced this. And it is because I cannot comprehend the Lord's glory. I cannot and will never know how much my Father loves me while I am on this earth because my mind can only process what is transitory and what is conditional.

I can only contain a glimpse of God's love, and that is more than effective. There is so much beauty and indescribable might in God's love, that it breaks my heart when people never look up to grab a hold of His constant presence. Or to acknowledge when the wind weaves through your hair, and you take a deep breath in because you know you are alive by His grace.

I think it is a blessing to not have my camera with me. It gives me a time to capture His love in a new window. Perhaps this will be healing for my heart and strengthening for my soul. To take a moment as it is and smile, breathe in, and thank God for it.

It is just so strange to think about the absence of a friend, the conversations you shared, the memories, the laughs, and the journeys you embraced together. And to face the reality that they are in the presence of the One who cared more than anyone, and who has finally taken them home.

And it is the most beautiful thing to know whole-heartedly that your friend lived for Christ because he knew that He was his source of life. And that this life was intended to embrace His living hope and to run with endurance, to not fear, but to thrive in His love. Because you are who you are by Him.

There is so much to be learned by those who surround you, it is down right bizarre.

But, we were made to refresh each other's spirits and I think that is so special.

Through life and through death there is happiness, and I am continually learning that these two are arm in arm.

To live is Christ, and to die, is gain.

We have such an outstanding ability to embrace a hope that surpasses our knowledge and just run with it. Our potential is incredible. And when we take that and run, it is the most beautiful thing I've ever known.

24. “Jesus Christ is my Savior, my world and my aspiration. His grace, mercy and provision has blessed me beyond all imaging through the most amazing group of family and friends, experiences, dreams and love. I want to extend even a small glimpse of that unending agape love to anyone I can in the hope that they will be able to know the freedom I know in Christ, to know that this place is not home, and life everlasting is only to be spent in adoration and complete awe of God and his majesty in heaven. “-Chris

We don't reap the harvest for ourselves-

our love is bound in each other.

And that is the beauty of life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


There's been a lot of consolation in my life right now, whether I am willing to accept it or not, whether I am able to comprehend it or not.

I just have these unsettling feelings sometimes, and sometimes I wonder how people can be so certain of something so completely beyond any of our understandings.

And sometimes I wonder how to take in the consolation.

I feel like it is is always an easy resort, an immediate comfort, when someone passes away, to say that they're in a better place. And I don't say this to question or doubt God's indescribable might.

But, sometimes, I feel like people are deceived. Because in all truth, where is the line drawn between fact and hope?

When our friend Will passed away, I became infuriated when someone would say "Well, God has already determined his destination." When everyone who was listening knew that the person was sugarcoating his actual thought..."I really think this kid went to hell."

What am I supposed to think now? As I sat at the funeral and I listened to his former youth pastor times I felt like the youth pastor was forcing himself to believe himself when he said "I know he's in a better place."

Why have I continually been walking around with the unsettling feeling?
I visited Will's grave today, to see the new addition.

It had been cloudy all day. I drove my car over to see it right after I got off of work. I parked. And made my way to him.
As I stood over the addition of his grave, I began to read it and observe the pictures that captured him.

And suddenly, as my eyes continued to race across the display, I noticed faded streaks of color that swept across the deep grey.

I fixed my eyes on the colors, only to realize that a rainbow reflected perfectly over his name.

I looked up in the sky and couldn't find the rainbow, when I looked back down, the reflection was still there.

I glanced up one more time to look thoroughly, and sure enough. A glimpse of the arch of a rainbow was visible.

I looked back down and laughed and all I could think about was God's promise.

He never leaves us.

And while I continued to stare at the streak of color on the deep grey, I thought, that perhaps this was the consolation I had been searching for.

Taking a deep breath, I laid down to close my eyes toward the sky and to fill my lungs with all the things I couldn't comprehend, and to simultaneously feel the joy in the greatness of God.

However, only continuing to take in small doses of the consolation.

Because, sometimes, that's all I can ever do.

And while God is sufficient. My own two feet make me stumble.

Perhaps that was it. Perhaps the faded color over the grey pallet was a further restoration.

And comfort.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the gardener.

Occasionally I am baffled, at the occasional, complaint "well, there goes millions more of OUR money."

Especially when it is pertaining to the betterment of others.

However, I think to myself, what is OUR money and what does it ENTITLE us to?

I applaud the stability of America, we are blessed with a democracy that truly works, where individuals are a key asset to how things are carried out. And this alone already makes us privileged.
And I don't think we're just privileged for the sake of the betterment of ourselves.
Sometimes I think we are so far out of line when it comes down to the entanglement of our society's standards, or rather the own standards we ourselves place on us thoroughly on the fact of who we are lead to believe we are as a nation.

Who even said that the limitations our society(mainly ourselves) placed on us meant that the "boundaries" that were built as a result determined what we could and couldn't do?

That privilege doesn't entitle us to ourselves, we're stable for a reason and it doesn't revolve around the walls of our state or even our nation.

Jesus' love is supposed to surpass ALL of our boundaries.

I know that every generation proclaims something that they feel like collectively they're good at.

And when I have literally witnessed 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands of young people coming together all over to world to show that WE truly care about each other, despite where we are from, I know we are doing something right, I know we are doing something beyond ourselves. We know and we embrace the truth that comes with equality and worthiness. And that is something that our generation is good at. Not just knowing, but carrying out the truth that we are no more valuable then anyone else.
Something that our generation is getting right is that Jesus' love does infact surpass all of our boundaries and beyond.

I am appauld to continually hear people say we need to do more here. What? What do we need to do, how much more can we better ourselves, how much more power can we contain before it's too much?

There is a great deal of respect that I have towards the work that has been put forth towards our country, and towards various systems, but when did that mean we were only entitled to ourselves?

It is our selfish motives that we are breaking. Which to me doesn't mean irresponsibly doing things. It's not about being fiscal with our money.

But when you object to the betterment of others with or without the knowledge that there are things in the states that we fuel with way too much money or the notion that we need to take care of ourselves first. I cannot feel anything towards you but heartache.

And I am not saying all of this to shuffle towards the thought that we need to pump all of our money towards everyone else. That is the last thing I am implying.

I am just saying.
How can the complaint be valid when it is purely tied around selfish motives?

There are a lot of things we got right, but there are a lot of things we got and continue to get wrong. And there are a lot of things that we get right and continue to get right.

There is always room for improvement in the fact that we are they and they are we.

We are the salt.

And we have responsibilities.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

इ वों'टी बे लेट.

sometimes you just have to ask me questions.

and i've realized that i'll always be there to answer them.

i've began to learn a couple things about myself these past 2 months.
i have this new incredibly strong desire to meet people and hear their stories.
if i begin to get comfortable with someone, i've started to see that i slide my heart right around them and often times i get away with it.

but people start asking me questions now. deep, intimate questions, and i start handing them my heart.

what i've taken away from this is that it makes me cringe when i feel like someone isn't listening. but, when someone asks me a question my cringing drifts and i begin to speak.

i think i'm continually clutching onto this vulnerability of mine, and sometimes it makes my heart ache when it's not with the people that know me inside and out.

perhaps that's a part of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


my life goal:

to continually find the common good in others and embrace it.

because. everyone is incredible.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"just go out and get it."

what's your story?

harsh weather, sleeping on the floor, and the thought of no food doesn't stop the motivation to keep on going.

i came here expecting to starve and was only amazed at the hospitality here.

it is true to say that what you experience and all that you do can never be fully celebrated unless your laughter, tears, and smiles are collaborating with others.

i am humbled. i am touched. i am so incredibly grateful.

i wish the entire world could have seen this and shared this.

it is good to know that there are those of us who are here who are the fire-starters. who cherish an unspoken promise to do all that they can for others.

i wish you could have been here with us. all of you.

i can't fully express all of this or i may brake the keyboard with a flood of tears streaming down my face.

community. desire. rhythm. perseverance. persistency. humility. laughter. love. respect. integrity. friends. family. friendship.

we never complained. we slept out on the concrete for 11 days because we all knew that this is how it ends.

we were here in oklahoma city to end the longest running war in africa, who would have thought?

as people began to trust us and respect us, they came to ask us questions, they came to bring us food, they came to bring us joy and laughter. and they came to join us.

i can't even put this entire thing into words. i am out of words, i don't know which ones to use.

i have never been a part of such a loving community.

we came here because we promised those kids that we would never leave them. that we would stand by them. that we would be their voices. we came to stomp over the limitations our society places on us. things that are out of reach are reachable when you reach for them. when you reach really. really far for them.

we came to show those kids that they are worth it and that there are people here who care very deeply for them.
we came to love them and to love each other.

we sang. we danced. we laughed. we cried. we hugged. we became exhausted and found fuel in others who helped bring us joy.

we all have these insane stories. we all have this opened door that continually leads us to even more open doors. we can all do something.

we can do it with love. respect. and integrity.

we have all of this love to pass on because we were loved first.

after holding original former child soldier drawings in my hands. tears strolled down my face as a child drew his mother being chopped up. and when i dried my tears, they only started again when i saw a child's drawing that was completely smeared because he wept as he conveyed his story.

these children are real. and this has been going on for 24 years.
and we closed our eyes for so long.

now that they are open and they continue to open. we can never close them.
we can never separate ourselves from loving one another.

we did it. we did it. and we are not finished.

as jordan, liz, and i heard the news that senator coburn had released his hold while we were speaking at a college, we rushed back to everyone to celebrate.

we ran out of the car before it rolled into a complete stop. tears strolling down my face in happiness and laughter, i felt proud as i sank down in hugs. we did it.

as we talked with coburn on the phone. he told us thank you.
for being so respectful and peaceful.
for doing this the right way.
for making him feel pressured to find a compromise.

we finally did it.

and the lra bill is now passing unanimously in the senate.

it took so long to get here and we did it.

now it's time for some representatives to get on board.

i can only pull away from this campaign knowing that people are so absolutely, incredibly wonderful when given the chance.

people bring you joy and it fuels you.

and you can do it. we can all do it.

we just did it.

we all want peace.

so. just go out and get it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

height and depth, length and width of this abundant love.

and what if we didn't take chances? what if we don't take chances?

do you ever meet those people who just won't ever jump? it almost breaks my heart to see them only focus all of their energy on the faults and all on the corruption. perhaps times when corruption is nonexistant.
isn't our lives about taking chances, isn't it about jumping, isn't it about loving, isn't it about being vulnerable, isn't it about sacrificing?
what kind of love are you giving if you're not taking chances besides selfishly motivated love?
what good is it to just sit and watch? it's not enough to just believe in something, you have to take action.

i wonder how much we won't accomplish in our lives out of fear. or the mentality that someone else will do it. which, unfortunately, i feel like goes in a complete circle because someone else is thinking the same thing.
through out everything i'm doing, i'm beginning to see more and more the generation differences between my parents and me.

it's so strange. they think i'm so ridiculous and crazy and they don't understand why i do the things i do and they think it's a waste of my time.

i think i've figured out that i'm more open-minded and more of a visionary then they are.

i can't understand their mindsets, you know?
the world is so huge.
our community isn't just the walls of our town. or our nation. it's the freaking world, how insane is that?

bizarre, wonderful, beautiful.
what a great gift from god.

and so the question is and remains and always will be. what do you do with this gift of life?

sit and watch or get up and dive right in?
do you live a life of selfishly motivated love or sacrificial love?
what do you do with the gift?

photograph by wayne levin

Monday, February 8, 2010


"Laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to others as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of life."- Henri Nouwen

This is my heart's rhythm; it's the beat of my heart's drum.
I've come to realize that I'm not a typical person my age. I don't know what it is about me. I just have this need to embrace this adventure of mine-life. To not sit still because there's so much more to this place that we just don't know about and so much more we can do to make it a better place.

After much contemplation...or the bare minimum-one of the two, I've grabbed a hold of a piece of what kind of person I am. And this is the only way I can make sense of it.
I just have this God given love, this desire to love people as much as I possibly can, doing as much as I can for them. I just don't let up and I keep going and going and going, until I discover that I'm shutting down from exhaustion and I can no longer love the people that I love so deeply. While taking a step back and looking at this problem I run into so often, I've come to the acknowledgement that I need to learn to love people without getting tired. I need to learn and understand that while God calls us to love each other, he also calls us to love ourselves. I just forget to pursue myself sometimes. Or all the time. I forget to assist myself along the way. I forget to make sure I'm healthy before I pass on the love. It's something to work at, cause I hate running out of fuel.

Somtimes it makes my heart ache when people worry about me. Whether it's from what on earth is going on inside of her head, or what on earth does she think she's doing?
I think I have a weird system of going about things/ I have this strange ability to not worry and just jump first. Pros and cons though of course when it comes to being an insane optimist that loves every single person they meet.

I hope to postpone starting college in the fall. There is just so much more to life and learning that a text book can't offer. And I want to dive right in for a while and take a swim. I'm pretty set on the idea and fact that I know I can get an education and there are kids that can't, and I'm willing to put my own life on hold in pursuit of that. Not forever, I know and understand that my education is crucial to be even more equipped to assist people. Educating myself for others has become my inspiration for college..whenever that happens. But, man, does human rights and international justice have a hold of my heart strings.

I kind of just grasped the fact that I'm young...really young. And sometimes I have this insane need to do everything, as much as I possibly can and I forget that I'm 18 and trying to take strides into changing the world as my life. Which it is. But, I forget that I'll continue to grow up. Continue to learn, grasp, challenge, strengthen, and grow along the way. Sometimes, I just forget. But, at the same time. I'm just not afraid to go for it and be an inspiration. Age doesn't mean anything to me and I love grabbing onto my potential and running with it for things that really matter to me and others.

I am content with the heart that God gave me and I love it. And I know that I am something special. I am so special. We all are. And I hope and pray people can begin to grasp this fact about themselves. That they too are so incredibly special.

But, this is the way I live my life. This is why. I embrace this about myself. I embrace the need to lay down my life. I embrace this vulnerability of mine. To put down my own fears in hopes of benefiting others.

There is absolutely no love without vulnerability.

You have to learn how to accept and give love. You have to discover what it is for you to lay down your life for others. You have to clutch onto this vulnerability and let your love grow tall.

However, I feel like this clutching onto is a life process. There's always room to dig deeper.

To learn more.

And I've only reached as far as my finger tips can stretch. But, that's just the surface.

Laying down your life is the search and pursuit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

flip it and fix it.

I feel like I've lost the ability to write, but, I'm sure you know how that goes.

I'm not sure where I'm heading. I just paused my life as I had to take myself out of a study abroad in East Africa. What am I doing? I'm just tired. I've come to realize that I love those kids so much that I need to be healthy before I just pack up and go.
While initially I thought this to be selfish of myself, I can no longer bear any more exhaustion as I am slipping mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I think a break is a good idea. You can only put yourself behind others for so long, you have to do something for yourself once in a while.

So. I suppose here's to accepting the fact that I need some support and some help. Here's to the beginning of the unpacking process of my mind.

It'll be good.
It'll be a bitch.
I just want to feel like I'm living presently again.

My mind needs a chance to catch up to my body. I just need to stand still for a little bit.

That's all.