Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I never learned to Edit

The sun beams melt around my ankles and spill onto the slatted floor below. Feeling them reminds me that I am awake and alive with blood pumping through my vains. I've been so lost in my head that the thoughts became a steady beat, I entered into the trance of each pounding thought until the colors and sounds around me blended into the likes of ice cream soup at the bottom of an abandoned bowl.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways."

If only I could be cleaned and stuffed with that pure white fiber that's of You. They could see my shell and glassy eyes, but I would no longer be heavy with what's inside.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quasi Vacay

Are you familiar with the ways in which you act differently when on vacation? Suddenly, when we are in a new place with no chance of seeing anyone that we know, our senses are heightened and we investigate the world around us with childlike eyes, eager to know everything about our environment. We take pictures of things that might otherwise seem mundane, we people watch with an even further intensified curiosity, smells are captivating, and it's almost comforting to hide in the new domain feeling somehow removed as we drink it in while the bustle hastens around us.

I hadn't anticipated finding this in the concrete oven that is Carrollton, Texas; but alas, I was in for quite the surprise. On Sunday's Sabbath, I had hoped to retreat to some place that offered me bubble tea, instead I found an entire Korean Universe, just down the road.

I decided to investigate the shopping center, be it unassuming and quite frankly plain from the outside. On the far left side of the center, I wandered into the Market where I was instantly entranced by what I found. I had entered what I thought to have been one building, but instead, there were more than a dozen other shops and stores, lining the edges of the huge market. Korean families, dressed in their Sunday best, moved quickly around me and the hum of their language wrapped around me, to a soundtrack of beeping checkouts and an assortment of what closely resembled video game music.

Before making my way to the marketplace, I quickly turned into one of the stores, where rows of polka dotted journals, Hello Kitty Merchandise, and french note cards awaited me. Everything was inexpensive, and I had to keep reminding myself that I could easily return, that I needn't buy every sticker that was smaller than the size of my pinky. After gathering my treats, and trying to continue on my journey, I checked out (where my Hello Kitty debit card was finally rightly appreciated), mesmerized by the origami roses which crowned the cash register in a rich assortment of colors.

In the market, I found over 30 kinds of Korean pickle, fast food stone bowls and the best samples of your life. Say goodbye to Sam's Club, and hello to fried rice, Chilean Sea Bass, pot stickers and sushi for sampling! I gobbled them up, entranced by the myriad of flat screens broadcasting underwater scenes from atop each fish case. The smell of raw fish was very reminiscent of China Town, without the heat (thankfully). My appetite, however, only increased as I made my way through the isles of tiny treats and perfectly creative packaging.

After pursuing a bit longer and trying on some authentically out of my price range jade jewelry, I made my way out of the market and continued toward my ultimate destination. I passed by Yogurtland and maintained self control as I made my way to Mozart's Bakery, where I found a carb lover's paradise. The glass cases were filled with all kinds of pastrys. Some were your typical almond croissant and cream cheese danish, but I could barely contain myself as I noticed red bean bread, sticky rice puffs, sweet potato bread, and an entire assortment of mousse and tartlets which were a work of art in appearance alone! I was recommended the Ganache moose and plan to have it next time with my cappuccino.

For the day, I was perfectly content to spread out my new treasures and sip on my bubble tea, as others sat in the booths with the pull down shades, whispering over their tea and almond cookies. If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend this universe that I sort of stumbled upon. We could have a hot stone bowl, and top it off with some tart yogurt with fresh lychee.

Location Station (Link to map)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Idol of Acceptance

The first page of my current journal reads as follows:

"March 7, 2009

If purpose be found in the world around me, Then purpose shall be missed with each change in the wind. I've been given the gift of adaptability, but the curse of resistance to change - it is the anticipation which nearly kills me every time.

How would one prepare and yet be fully invested in the things given? How can you continually consider the future without lending yourself to it, and missing where you are - and the possibilities of it?

I wish to be ready to move to Dallas, and to leave this home in Denton, for my true home is not on earth at all. I wish also to be ready and prepared for life overseas, but foolishness begs of me to consider it when I get there.

Denton has been a sacred home, a place that has raised me and the time is coming to an end - it is time to grow up and take large steps into another unknown world.

Father, You see me and know me. Lord, you guide me and discipline me. Jesus, you see my wickedness and you still persist in Your love. Holy Spirit, You keep me thirsting. Savior, You bring me rest."

Little did I know that only five months later, my world as I knew it would be completely tossed into the cement truck, driven down the highway, spun and tossed about for what seemed like an eternity, and slowly/carefully poured into a foundation far away.

I have seen several of my close relationships come to an end, and even those which were never in firm soil. I have left the family and sense of security in the city where I resided for six years. I left the constant community of the girls with whom I lived, and entered into the mission field of my 85 yr. old grandmother. I left the community group which I had led for over two years, and the church campus where I felt I knew nearly every face. While this may sound devastating, the ties started to break, even before my bedroom was in Farmer's Branch; it was as though I was nearly kicked (by providence & action of the Lord) out of Denton.

After wrestling, struggling, crying out to the Lord and trying to find my sanity in the midst of extreme pain, extreme rejection and extreme discombobulation (to say the very least), it finally occurred that Denton was not safe at all! Comfort we seek, and comfort - I am certain - will lead us to death. The thing that we do not realize is that when a place so readily accepts us, when we find our confidence in others' opinion of us, we are just as doomed than if we had no community at all! My false sense of security led me to trust in my control over the lie that I carried. The Lie? That I am rejected. The self contrived remedy? To receive as much acceptance as possible, from as many people as possible.

Today, I stand misjudged, unknown, hated and despised by ones who used to be rather close. While only a few have turned from me, on account of my sin and theirs, it only took an ounce of rejection to reveal where my worship has been. I learned that, in my wickedness, I would rather have death, than rejection. I have fought every day of my life as a believer, to seek acceptance from humans, rather than acknowledging fully, my acceptance from my God. In Ezekiel 16, the Lord says of this:

" 'I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.

15 " 'But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. 17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you—the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign LORD."

"Yet," He reminds us,"I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you (60)."

This is so emblematic of His love for us, and our natural response to Him; to use the gifts He brings, and to make them into idols. I have Jeremiah as my prayer, in seeking a right heart before God. If you use your best friend, your boyfriend, your husband, your old friends, your city, home, or reputation as your security, beware and flee from evil! For your Father is a jealous God, and will return your affections to Himself, at whatever cost!
God's words to Jeremiah 17:

"This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

10 "I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve."

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
is the man who gains riches by unjust means.
When his life is half gone, they will desert him,
and in the end he will prove to be a fool.

12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning,
is the place of our sanctuary.

13 O LORD, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust
because they have forsaken the LORD,
the spring of living water.

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise."

No amount of suffering is in vain, for as I become more aware of my sinfulness, and suffer the pain of those who are also in need of a savior, I am reminded, by grace, that none is in vain. For as a wise puritan once prayed:

"Make me an instrument in thy hands, ready to seize every opportunity of usefulness, and willing to offer all of my talents to Thy trials have been fewer than my sins...all Thy work for me is perfect, and I praise thee."

Monday, May 4, 2009

If these tunes don't getcher boots a'kickin, I don't know what will:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another thing gone wrong and there was nowhere to escape my madness. I slid on my yellow rain boots and grabbed my long black sword, in the case that I needed shelter along the way. I made it up the hill and through the churchyard; there was not a soul in sight. The clouds clapped above me, and the sky trembled as though it could weep again at any given moment. Hurriedly I walked, though I knew not where I went, until I found the place where all was seen. In full revelation of the city, as well as my self, I sought to hide though I knew I could never escape His gaze.

I searched for the perfect tree, but all seemed against me. Each curvy limb and inviting branch was high above my reach and I was forced to wander further, though I all I wanted was to escape the reality of my misplaced feet. Finally, I found her, the perfect one to cradle me in the sky, as though I was her very own. I climbed and climbed as if I could make it high enough to reach my maker. But alas, the ladder ended, and I was still in this wretched place.

I clasped my damp hands around the bark and enjoyed the pain, as my skin was left upon her. I climbed fearlessly and then rested with a view of the city. I found myself escaped from my routine, but not at all from the agony of those who haunted me. Round and round in circles I went, as my mind tried to catch up with my heart and my heart tried to find my mind. There was nothing to be said for my blatant hypocrisy, as I wretchedly left every bit of faith that had so quickly professed only hours before. There was no a single bone in my body which did not bleed from my utter imperfection. I was waiting away into the hollowness of my own mind.

Suddenly, the clouds broke and the sunlight began to appear on the horizon. I beat my head against my own wooden cross, as I saw the death I had to die and accepted the life of Him who won the battle for me. It was not as though I was not given every ounce of strength to endure, but I was afraid nonetheless. Loneliness like I have never felt, in all my years of being alone, fear like I had never felt, even since the terror of my youth, but this was the crescendo of every doubt that plagued me.

I loosed my grip and shook my open hands at the sky begging “take this from me,” I knew that my job as ruler was finished. I made such a poor king, and my counterfeit control led to nothing but chaos. I needed Him now, more than ever, and yet I so hesitantly relinquished my weary will.

Forgive me, Father, and take back from me this life, which you have already claimed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

See Et Al.

Et al. is a scholarly abbreviation meaning "and others." Seattle, and the surrounding area is flled with many others, whose souls are of the same creator, but whose minds are so different from those fiery Texans who so fiercely run from the truth.

Sharing with my mother and her favored company is mind boggling. The conversation loops in strands with new words, but unaltered meaning. They seem to accept the absolutes of God's person, but then delude them until He is nothing short of an inspirational story, relevant only those who prefer the name Jesus above any of the other seemingly suffiecent titles for good luck deities.

I found that my words were lost, except for these ; to my creator, my maker, my intensely powerful God who sets the times in His hands and yet graciously waits and has mercy on those who so boldly deny Him. Oh potter, make malleable their hearts, and bring them unto Yourself.

They have trained themselves not to doubt,
For doubting is their sin,
"We must never allude to the attitude of the
discontentment that lies within."

They struggle in secret, while their bodies
grow weak,
A hidden illness for the outwardly brave
While they die alone, no one suspects a thing
Just that they found their home amid their cave.

What do I say? For I can not change
I have no words, I fear
It is only the voice f the Holy One,
Which can turn their distant ear.

How dare I think that it rest in my hands,
I've never been one to convince,
But on my knees I will trust in Thee,
For it is with You that their hearts will commence.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

coming back

I abandoned this blog almost as quickly as I had I had commenced it, noticing that my only temptation was to blog in sorrow rather than in praise. I have decided that my mind was not at ease for that season in my life and that, though sorrow still finds me, I am ready to engage this world of blogging for the sake of release and not another way to try and impress the world around me.

I want to share my heights and depths and I want to remain in communication of the stuff that fills me and not just the paint on my shell.

There is something to be said of the springtime. While most feel the pangs of loneliness in the winter time, it tends to be the anticipation of summer which leaves me most despaired. However, last spring my agony devoured me, whereas this time I see the healthiness of the season. It is a time for shedding layers. For releasing myself of the skin and scales which built in the short days of cold air and winter skies.

I have a custom of connecting with others, and taking the gift as a supplemental lifeline. It is the IV that pumps into my veins, giving life and breath artificially, until my time runs out. Then, it is guaranteed to fail me; to crumble and I am back to square one. This sin morphs into a variation of degrees, intentions, and executions, but always the same heart and the same result.

On my worst day, I can scream in anger that all who love run, but this is the truth exchanged for a lie. Instead, I have a loving Father, desperate for my attention, and yet also giving me over to my sin by seeing to it that I live out my greatest fear; brought upon myself by the expectation that I misplaced on those who can sustain me not.

Today, I am thankful. Today, I am overwhelmed to see the faces of God's affection change, but the enduring love persists. Today, I can breathe again, not knowing what the future holds, but trusting in His sufficiency for this moment, and not tomorrow who has enough worries of her own.

Nonetheless, the process of letting go will never be an easy one:

Hurriedly, I shuffle, not going anywhere,
Desperately I extend my arms and choke the morning air,
Longingly, I think of times when intimacy was mine,
I mourn among these empty tombs,
and the dust of fallen shrine.

-Jade Winter