Saturday, November 7, 2015


I see signs of life in her twinkling gaze. I can't look away. She slowly transfers life from God, to her, to me, and I can feel it in the depths of my innermost being. 

She makes me cry tears of joy because I don't have to explain myself. No justifying, no words needed, just deep sighs of relief from being understood. I slowly exhale and let out the breath I didn't know I was holding in. 

She restores my hope in humanity.

She has eyes like wildflowers and a heart like shattered glass with small shards missing, but rays of sun shining through.  

"Keep your head up, you will be alright," she reminds me, with no words at all. 

I will never understand why God uses people to speak to us. Why He uses broken vessels to carry around His living water as if it won't leak everywhere we go. 

"Stop trying to patch yourself up with temporary adhesive and a subpar bandage, it doesn't work. Make more room for me, I want in," He says. 

I hear God clearly as I type these words, inspiring me to love people more. To love them when things get hard, and when things come naturally. 

Throughout this season, I've asked God more than a handful of times where He's been. Lately, I have existential crises more often than not, and more questions than answers, but every time I begin to even slightly doubt His presence, He gives me someone's eye contact. It reminds me that He never shifts His gaze, that He is always near. He opens my own eyes to see someone's grace-filled dance, someone's contagious laugh, someone's precious tears. 

Sweet wrinkles in her face remind me to smile more. Heaven comes to Earth when we laugh together and God reminds me that it'll all be okay. 

Maybe God actually wants us to leak wherever we follow Him. Maybe He's chosen to use broken vessels as His disciples so that we leave drops of His faithfulness and evidence of His grace wherever we walk. Maybe it's to remind us that we are not enough, but He fills in where we are not. Or maybe it's to remind us that if we were enough on our own, we wouldn't need Him. 

I think I need to be broken in order to glorify God. In order to let God be glorified. I think I need holes in order to allow His rays of sunshine to pierce through the cracks of my heart. The light of the Sun breaks into my heart and I can feel it in my spine. Shivers flow quick down my back and I wake up from deep sleep. I am made whole by this scandal of grace, this manifestation of God's will done through Jesus. 

Thank you Jesus for the Sun. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, death is simply that, a shadow. Where there is a shadow, there is also the Sun. Where there is death, there is also life. Thank you for using people, your beautiful and intricate creation, to remind me that the warmth of the Sun is always near. Thank you for creating eyes that restore my faith in you and allow people to see into the depths of who you've made me to be. Thank you for being more faithful than the warmth of that morning Sun.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

you're invited

Sometimes, I pretend I'm brave. I laugh loudly and act bold. I use jokes to hide my fears and stand tall in hopes that it will prove to people that my confidence comes from within.

But He makes me brave.  

Redefining brave is a hard thing to do. All my life, I thought being brave meant being loud and outgoing. I thought it meant being first at everything. Turns out it just means complete surrender to the Maker of the universe and letting go of anything that this world may think of you. Being brave is all about accepting. Accepting the fact that your fears, insecurities, and anxieties were drown in an ocean of perfect love by the One who sees us, knows us, and loves us. It's a great realization - one that has transformed my heart and lifted a heavy burden off of my shoulders to be something I'm not. It's allowed me to extend grace to others and myself. It's allowed me to come and sit at the table with confidence. 

Being brave is having confidence in something much bigger than yourself - it's having confidence in the fact that everything will be okay with Him on your side. 

At the table - we laughed, we ate, we worshipped, we loved. 
There's something really special about being invited to someone's home. When someone invites you over, they go out of their way to prepare their house - all to make you feel at home away from home.

We are invited because we're wanted and requested by Him. 

When we share a meal, we share our lives. We tell stories, we laugh, we eat. There is nothing more beautiful than being at a table sharing a meal. Jesus is constantly showing me here that I am invited to share a meal with Him. He doesn't invite me out of pity, but instead actively seeks me out because He died on the cross just for that reason. In order to invite me. To prepare a place for me. For us.

While being in South Africa, I've shared many meals with many people. I've shared chicken curry and rice dinners with my home-stay family. I've shared pasta dinners with my cohort that fills up our stomachs just a little too much, but never enough to skip dessert. But that's not all. Sharing a meal with someone doesn't necessarily have to include food. All it calls for is a listening ear, a willing heart, and a brave spirit. Being invited is about engaging. It's about taking the time to hear someone's story and the lessons they've learned along the way. Fellowship. It's about engaging with a God who pursues us and wants us to come to the table in confidence. 

We are all invited. Always. Despite the constant voice in our heads that tells us we aren't worthy and aren't wanted at the table, we are always invited. We are not only invited, but we are called, to engage in the lives of the people around us, regardless of their background. Our hearts were made for it. 

Trust me, it'll be okay. Go. Be bold. Be humbled. Be brave. Stop thinking that you're not good enough or you're too good for the people at the table. Taking my seat at the place that Jesus shed his blood to prepare for me was the best decision I ever made. 

I'm constantly humbled when I come to the table, thinking that I might bless someone when really I'm the one being blessed. 

There's something really beautiful about coming to the table in our brokenness. We are raw, we are pure, we are ourselves. Despite the kinks that we might have to work out, we are called worthy by God. Whether it's sharing a meal or just having a conversation over coffee, we are called to engage in our brokenness. To engage in something much bigger than ourselves. When our hearts are broken from what breaks His, there's so much more space for Jesus to shine His light through the cracks. It's amazing the things that He does when our hearts break for the people around us and we get to carry their burdens with them. 

Being invited means to be sought out by someone to engage in something. How beautiful is it that the Creator of the universe invites us to be known by Him? Being invited to the table is all about grace. Unchanging grace - His grace. Coming to terms with the fact that we're not perfect and never will be makes coming to the table so much easier. It makes life so much more joyful and moments so much sweeter. 

Don't be fooled, coming to the table is not the perfect life you always imagined. Sometimes, you'll hear hard stories from the others at the table or maybe you'll come with some scratches and bruises yourself. You can't un-hear these things. You can't un-see what God has put in front of you. Once you sit, you have a responsibility to do the stories that you hear justice. They are a testament to God's faithfulness. They are a sign of His hope. They are a love letter from Christ Himself. 

Good thing there's no dress code for engaging with others and living life in the light of His glorious creation.  

Scratches and all, He waits for us to come. 

When I get to the table, I look for Him. I don't see His seat. But then I realize that He's in each person around me. I see His light spirit and contagious joy in the person sitting right across from me. I smile at the beautiful exchange that happened at the table. His blood for my seat. 

I want to actively choose to engage. Put my phone on silent and look up. Notice the people around me that God has so intricately designed for His glory. Let the sweet melodies around me be a new song in my ears. Smile at humankind a little more. Laugh at myself often. Never take for granted everything that God has made the community around me to be. 

As the semester ends, I want to be fully present. Listening to the people around me and hearing what they really have to say instead of the bits and pieces of their stories I choose to hear is a good start. They are worth it. We are worth it. 

Today, give God a chance to show His unfailing faithfulness by accepting your invitation. 

Be brave.

Friday, March 6, 2015


I want to be a mountain. Built on a solid foundation – unmoving, unwavering. In a fire, the outside may burn, but it never crumbles. In the wind and rain, they still remain without hesitation. 

They are inspiring. They are majestic. They push people to climb further, to try harder, and to strive for more.

When you finally get to the top, the view is beautiful. It’s breathtaking.

Mountains restore my faith in the One who created them.

No mountain is the same – it is one of a kind and truly splendid. 

Mountains are confident. They stand tall.  

I’m slowly learning how to follow Him up the mountain this semester. Even when I don’t know what’s at the top, I am reminded to never give up.

“Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on Me,” He says.

When I ask myself if it’s worth it to keep going and when I’m ready to call it quits – God is with me.

“Stop worrying – you will not be shaken, you will not be moved. I am teaching you to be a mountain.”

God has been teaching me that I simply need to trust. Trust that I will make it to the top with His strength and in His timing. Trust that He will provide. Trust and be still.

The mountains are still. They stand steadfast in all their magnificent wonder.

Today, stay where you are a little longer. Simply be with the Father. Look around you and take in the beauty of our Creator in the mundane – in the daily occurrences of life. Embody the inspiring confidence of the mountains just for a minute. Learn from the way they point us to the Father and be humbled by their majesty. 

I get to the top and I swear I found my heart up there along with something better - the heart of God. 

I sit at the top and smile. 

He reminds me to take a breath and enjoy the view. 

View from the top of Lion's Head

Sunday, February 1, 2015

finding peace

It's been a little over two weeks since we first stepped foot in this beautiful country called South Africa and wow. Life is different. My soul is different. God is slowly teaching me something that I haven't figured out yet. But that's okay! I'm okay with not knowing. Something inside of me is just shaken and I'm realizing that I'm definitely in over my head. 

I do not know what I signed up for. In every aspect of life in South Africa currently, there has been laughter, beauty, confusion, chaos, and so much more goodness. 

Last weekend we went on a hike. A really hard hike. The kind where I realized just how out of shape I was. I got some alone time for half of the hike up and started to pray. As I was hiking up the trail, I asked God to teach me something. Something new, something radical. 

I love the beautiful image of the potter with clay that hasn't been formed into anything yet. It's just a lump of clay waiting to be formed, shaped, and made into a beautiful vessel. That's how I see God teaching me, molding me. 

So on this hike, He taught me that this is going to be a long and hard road. It's not going to be a walk in the park. At times, it may seem like a constant uphill battle that leads to nowhere and I may even feel like there's no hope - like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. But through it all, there is peace that surpasses everything. Through heavy breathing and sweat ridden faces, God is literally pushing me through this semester with His strength and presence. 

I have found rest for my soul in Him. Peace. 

He keeps repeating to me, "I'm right here. It's okay. I am constant when nothing else is."

As I was reading the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, I was overwhelmed by the perfection of Jesus' timing. How beautiful to see someone hear of the living water that Jesus offers us all because of a small encounter?

This is so beautifully timed by God! How often do I wish I was somewhere else when God has so perfectly placed me exactly where I need to be? He has put each person in my life for a reason. Every person I smile at on the street, every peer I sit with at the dinner table, every student I sit next to in class was placed with a purpose. 

It's funny how God provides everything so faithfully, even the things we don't know we need. Even the unexpected encounters. 

He is faithful. 

What if that person you sat next to needed encouragement or just needed someone to listen? What if that encounter that you had taught you something about the character of God?

I constantly struggle with not being fully present. Life is so busy that I rarely like to sit and acknowledge the person to my right or left. Whether I'm thinking about what I could be doing with my friends back home or what I'm missing just in the next room over, it's hard to simply be. 

This semester I've challenged myself to be completely present - to stop thinking about everything else I could be doing while having a conversation with a human being. I've challenged myself to simply love the person in front of me, whether that's through a smile, a hug, a listening ear, or an encouraging word. 

I've also challenged myself to go on more hikes. Maybe God will teach me something new every time. Build my stamina. 

Don't miss the beauty that's right in front of you, even if you technically haven't "reached the top" yet. The journey is just as beautiful as the view at the top. God has placed it there so specifically and perfectly for you to see, for you to encounter. Remind yourself that it's worth it, it's so worth the hike. 

Yes, it's hard. It's a process. We don't just change overnight. God prepares our hearts and slowly molds us into the perfect creation He intended for us to be. 

You are exactly where you're supposed to be. 

The view from the top of Elephant's Eye!

Friday, January 16, 2015

new adventures: south africa

As I sit on my last flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa, I can't help but feel excitement and nervousness all at the same time. I already love my cohort and I'm beyond excited to get to know each person over the next four months! To say the least, I am excited for what God has to teach me this semester and terrified of the lessons altogether.

I sat teary-eyed on the bus to LAX and remembered what a friend said to me. She looked me in the eye said something that I will never forget:

"Do the things that scare you."

It gave me chills. Right then I realized my responsibility. The kind that none of us can escape.  

I laughed and mumbled to myself "crap, what did I get myself into?"

You know that feeling when God reveals something so radical and insane that requires a complete change of life styles and all there is to say is WHY GOD?! Why did you reveal this to me? Because now I will be held accountable.

Accountability sucks sometimes. It forces us to do challenging things and stay committed to ourselves and the people around us. But it also calls us to a better way of living and a renewed sense of God's calling. It's truly beautiful in the end.  

Now, I'm sitting here on an extremely turbulent airplane sitting next to people I just met a couple of days ago and I guess you could say that I'm off to a good start. Starting with my extreme fear of flying, I have already begun to do the things that scare the shit out of me. 

Weirdly, I feel an amazing sense of peace. I keep repeating to myself that His presence is all I need. Even in situations where He seems to be distant or not there at all, I whisper to myself that all I need is God's presence. I wrote it on my hand as a reminder.

I'm singing and proclaiming it over my day, week, month, and year. 

Receive His presence. Be comforted from the fact that He goes before us and beside us and all around us. He is with us constantly.

It's funny how God hears our plans and knows our hearts. I like to think he chuckles at our pathetic attempt to plan out our entire lives because of our need for a sense of peace. Just three months ago, I would have laughed if someone told me I was going to South Africa for four months. This semester, I will be redefining peace. It no longer consists of my organized schedule but instead is filled with God's perfect presence throughout my journeys and adventures in life. 

So Lord, I trust You on this incredible journey of a lifetime. 

This trip, I am praying for the opening of my eyes and the breaking of my heart for God's people. God seems to be teaching me much about this new definition of ministry. One that requires a different life and to be honest, requires me to be uncomfortable. 

This is good for you, I repeat to myself, this is good. 

If you're reading this, do something that scares you today. What is there to fear? His love has already covered us completely.

Two blocks away from home in Fish Hoek!

Our day in the city today consisted of this beautiful view!