my smile

In the valley,

it is hard to love 

your neighbor-those

that are your immediate 

family, much less yourself. 

How can I love them or any

one outside of this house if 

I can not love them or myself 

well, God. It starts slow, when I

take a pause from what I’m reading to 

listen to a laugh 

from my sister about a balloon

hat my mom made, a flower, my sister 

turns into a hat and we sit there and 

laugh. And then when I turn on a kids 

movie about singing and dad, her and I 

watch it and then dad and I watch 

another show about books, the librarians. 

And at the end of one episode there is 

rainbow. I think of you and what you may 

be trying to tell me again. That you are 

faithful, you love me and you will not 

stop making me and all things, your 

children, new. Keep my heart steadfast, 

Lord, because your beauty is captivating. 

Your love 

makes me hunger for more 

And more of 

you. I want to be still & know, you are God 

& you will be exalted over all the earth. Be 

my rock I run to now to declare now: you 

are beautiful, my neighbor, my friend, my 

father, the One who has wonderfully 

made with his breath 
fmf: neighbor

Really I saw this prompt and thought: won’t you be my neighbor? Mr. Rogers anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‚ I totally went over the 5 mind with the poem. I have the timwe ser to stop when music stops playing for 5 mins. But it went to a commercial and then quit. Then when music played again, I forgot I had stopped the timer too, but was already on a roll in the words. I stopped midway and was like, oh..went over. But it’s okay. This was good to write, a sweet reminder God is working. May not be what I’d like all the time (anger can get on you after a while), but God really does promise to make all things new and beautiful in his time. His time. Not mine. 

Loving myself well looks a lot like digging into his word and praying. And this. Writing. It makes me feel really good to get everything out. Speaking I’m a mess but here I can think and breathe and ponder. Next month..it’s going to be another step of loving myself by going to a conference and spending time with Trisha and her family at the beginning of the month. Cannot wait. I mean I can wait because the fear has been creeping in like, what are you going to this for? What if nothing comes from it? You sure you’re not going to be a burden to this friend? I mean you can’t even talk to her well on the phone.. But then pure joy that I know is Jesus inside is all, it will be fine I hear all your prayers. You can’t wait. I know you want a hug. I know. You saw her before and it was fine. I was there and I’ll be there again. I know the peace you feel over there. I’m going to surprise you. 

And then my grandpa is looking to come and I haven’t seen him since last year. Maybe a movie and popcorn will be in order. 

And if God couldn’t get any funnier, one of my favorite singers is coming here toward the end of October. And VIP tickets are really cheap. And the thought of seeing her and being like, your music, JESUS MEETS ME THERE EVERY TIME! And I write too many poems to your song titles, like they are in the poem. And here I wrote you one.. Can we sit and talk for a few hours? Could we make a music video to Fighting Words, please? Also, would it be possible if we could write a song together?  I’ve written one, but have no idea how to put music to it. Yeah, I know lots of questions. I’d feel super crazy but it’s a burning inside just to ask. Her music has carried me through this valley. For years. So it’d take some bravery on my part. Just seeing her sing in person would probably make me cry. But I’m curious to see if God will add some extra special delight to next month. Especially to go with Megan, who knows if you put Ellie on I go in a zone of, “I’m just going to sit and sing now.” ๐Ÿ˜‚ seriously, writing all that out feels like a fire just burning me up inside.

Jesus, you are good. You understand all these crazy dreams I have inside. Crazy ones that don’t make any sense to me. Ones that I’d like to just dismiss and forget because they scare me. And seem quite impossible without you. Make a way Jesus. Lead me by your song. And let me stay in this dream space and fill up on you so I can love my neighbor well. I’ve gone a bit into the crazy zone but it’s okay. You love me still. Don’t stop showing me. Please. Amen. 

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at encouragement can be

I try, God , to digest what

others have asked

me this-my opinion

of his music and a dear

friend’s want for advice. 

In both instances, I’m stunned

into silence, what can I give? Can I be that 

honest? Really, my opinion? The joy of 

both asking marvels me-both are 

following their dreams & for a second, 

I’m brought to see wh

fmf: try.

This week has been seriously interesting. From Sunday meeting a new friend, Kelly, I met through Instagram. And the awkwardness of it that God melted away through sharing of stories and Wonder Woman. I still can’t hold back wanting to laugh remembering how the woman taking tickets asked if it was one child and one adult. I kind of just stared a minute before Kelly goes, no we’re both adults here. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I don’t know if the woman was referring to me, but Kelly is a little taller than me. I wanted to be a little mad, but I find it too funny. In a way, it’s a reminder to me that I’m God’s child. 

And how can God’s child give adequate advice? On Wednesday my brother’s friend, Ruben had so much joy in telling me he released his first music video. His excitement had my attention right away. Maybe because I haven’t seen someone in a long time so excited come up to me and ask for my opinion. The whole time I’m a mess of nerves because I don’t want to say the wrong thing or crush his dreams. But he did ask for my honesty. And the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, it’s good. Because I’m afraid and don’t know how to give positive feedback while also being honest. Later on, I tell him how I love the scene with him and his mom at the table. How it’s different than a normal music video. I don’t know how to describe other than it feels like I’m watching someone’s home video. 

I don’t love all the swearing, I tell him, and once again am shocked by the fact that though my our views are different, it is okay. I guess I’m coming to see in very small ways we are all struggling, trying to reach for dreams that have placed inside us. One very small step at a time. We need life spoken into us. That is what keeps us going. Not condemnation. Which I think is where a lot of my fear  comes lately. That being honest, saying what I do and don’t like, deserves condemnation. And I think when faced with telling someone what I honestly think of their work or something else, I hesitate  because I never want to come off as rude. Ever. And I myself shrink back a little when someone says you could do more or says it’s good. Never want it to go to my head either. 

I don’t know where I’m going with this except I don’t see what an honor it is to speak into another’s life and how to receive life-giving words without being so skeptical and ask, really? or be too stunned to speak at all.

And oh Jesus, help me. Help me receive and meditate on the life giving words instead of the doubt and not question the encouragement I try to give to others. It comes from you not me. I really do like watching someone smile and be given hope while I wait here in this valley. I don’t think I’d even have the opportunity to share if I was rushing around. Not that I can but you know in my head, it’s a really good time. Being still I learn how you are patient and kind. Wanting me to give yes, but also wanting me to not brush away the good things. Please help me. Amen. 

It will forever amaze me the moments God uses to show me more of who he is and how he may have to sing this over me forever. I want to cry every single time. 

No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Must remember this. 

o comfort all my woe

Steady me, Lord,

It is hard being loved

when my heart is broke 

& I don’t want to show 

the floods of anger that

flow out of my mouth with

out regard. I feel I give too much, Lord. 

That I have to fix 

what I can’t but I can’t. All I know is this 

hurts. This throbbing in my chest I don’t 

know what I’ve done, why this

distance is big, not in space physical but 

heart. I want to scream and shout, but I 

am too tired, so I’ll breathe in the wind 

imagine it’s your hand coming t

fmf: steady.

This week has been very hard. Hard in the sense my heart hurts. I’m going back through Bonnie Gray’s, Whispers of Rest because I signed up for the book club she’s hosting. I didn’t think I would because typically when I read a book it takes me a long time and I don’t want to read it again after I’m done. But with this, I’ve felt God move through it when I couldn’t really feel anything the first time. I still can’t but here’s how God works.

Yesterday, I pretty much lost it. I was losing it on the inside and then on my mom (bless her, Jesus. Seriously. Bless the way she sees the fact I’m going to blow, and reassures me a mother’s job (okay one of many) is to comfort me. She’s not going to leave me crying. I love she let me basically watch all of Miranda last night and made vegetable pizza with me. And softened the butter for the lavender sugar cookies we will make again), who really brought to view this verse: โ€œI will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.โ€โ€


^^ these will be making a reprise very soon ๐Ÿ˜‹

โ€ญโ€ญI’m taking the out of context with Jerusalem (since that’s a city. I will forever think God is talking about an actual person or to me directly), but if God’s way of comfort is food and laughter, then my mom pretty much nailed that this week. Always seems to, too. When I’m in a sob fest rant of epic proportions about the unknown, the fear, feeling like I’m losing friends, losing myself, no motivation, unsure about my dreams, she is there with a hug. And singing Ellie Holcomb until I stop. And Sara Bareilles (serious flashback of my second concert with my mom and getting a battery operated fan stuck in my hair ๐Ÿ˜‚). 

Sorry I told you, that’s not helping! quite a few times yesterday, mom. And my testy. And yes, I know my tone has been all wrong, but thank you for loving me through this and giving me truth. You’re a real somp. ๐Ÿ™‹

Thank you, Jesus, for your love and reminding me of a song with this prompt. (You just love to sweep in. With love. Keep on please.)

find the tears fall.

God,

What is my worth to you? It isn’t in the things I do. Or don’t do. But maybe in the way I let myself hear, let me care for you. Care for me in the ways in the ways I need most for my soul. To sing to you, Lord, means more when I’m alone. Because I know in this quiet space with the cat, okay so maybe not alone, but absent people, I feel you sweep into the room. You are rushing to be near, to hear me open my mouth and proclaim to the closed window, I need you, I need you, I need you. I love you. And I 

fmf: worth

I sometimes hope that when I get to heaven, I’ll be like, God, Your love for me is fantastic. All the ways you pursued me through music. I felt like even in the broken body, the stillness at the table with the cat, You always found a way to make me dance inside and cry. It was beautiful. And now I can hear it forever here without ever turning it off and I can see your face now.

And he’ll smile and move in for a hug  because yes please and thank you โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ™‹

But God seriously knows that I can lost in a song or artist for a while and I think I found a new one:

This drawing the cat finds better to sleep on is a visual for me to these lyrics: I know this might sound crazy/you’ve got the freedom to fail. – who cares–Carly Bannister (also, Ellie Holcomb’s sister. Serious talent and truth and good stuff from these two. Ugh.)

It’s like Jesus is singing it right into my soul. On a swing set.  To try and if I fail, it’s okay. It takes a long time for my heart to grasp things, especially that. I feel like I go slow enough the first time because I’m anxious to the point I don’t want to get it wrong or that I have to know things when I don’t. So this is basically like a reminder it’s okay to ask for help, need a friend. It’s okay to try again. 

And I really need to rest in that today. 

Help me, Jesus.

want to trust you.

God,
I didn’t expect to say no. Or get the email. It feels so weird saying no to something I know won’t give me joy. Like I’m supposed to do it because if I’d like it as my job one day than that means I have to say yes to all the books. Every single one. But you know it will make my soul heavy. This is weird space. This no. This waiting. This peace. And yet feeling like maybe I just denied your blessing. But I don’t want to be pushed by the fear of missing out. And granted I’m tired and may not feel this way tomorrow and will immediately want to sign up, but I 
fmf: expect.

Today I said no to the opportunity to be on a launch team. It’s so weird in the space of: I don’t actually want to read this. Then: shouldn’t I want to read it? I mean, what if it’s really good? Then I’ll be missing out..and I don’t want to miss out. 

But it’s not like God hasn’t continued letting me do this, even when I’ve said no 3 other times within the last few months. 

I need to remember this. He is always faithful. In the waiting, wondering, hoping. He is faithful and I will not miss out on what he has, even if there’s waiting, tears and panic. Resting is good. I want his best.

 The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead/But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead.

Looks like I’m singing this for awhile. Or all her songs. ๐Ÿ˜‚

to untangle such disarray.

What joy can I find

in today – when my

inner dialogue & those

around me are all screaming,

won’t you be by my side? Why 

did you do this, do that? 

and I wonder, Abba, if 

right here is enough. To

let you hear these cries and

bring them once again to Your

feet. I need you, Abba, & so do 

they. We all do. & I don’t know

what else I can do 

fmf: joy.

Christmas, or leading up to it, really makes me see and hear and feel pain of others that just shocks you still. Or makes me want to hide away. Because I  want to help and fix it, make it stop. But I  can’t find helpful words and I  don’t know what to do. And I’m not sure if Jesus is really hearing my heart cries or if it’s enough what I’m telling him outloud. If the continued lie that brokenness is all there is, will continue to whisper louder, the more truth seems to pour out though i’m distracted every few minutes. And want to cry and get so mad: Jesus, I’m done! That’s it! This hurts. Can’t you wipe it all away? Can I hide away forever? In the shadow of your wings I am safe right? You are refuge. You are the hope that doesn’t disappoint because of the love you have poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit? Did I say that right? All this time getting into your word and reading is bringing about something beautiful? Can I experience your joy for me this Christmas? You coming into my need that I won’t miss it?

Maybe the joy is the knowing Jesus knows my heart and wants to hear me express it. He knows neediness and doesn’t mind it. Believing he wants to help is a little harder, but he says he holds me by my right hand, do not fear. I will help you. So, okay. But I’d be lying if I said I feel covered in darkness and he already passed me by still.

May your consolation bring me joy that you know my doubts. About Christmas. About your plan for my life. Friendships. Family. Everything.

Through the joy of every morning 

My love will be yours. (okay, Jesus, okay.)

give quietness of heart

On a love seat 

in a hotel room,

I sit. A fan blows

to my right while

to my left music plays 

I can’t make out. A door

opens. Wheels moves.

Feet. God, I’m tired &

weary, but somehow 

still present. Today,

I will visit a friend I’ve 

not seen in months,

years & I will wonder 

what the wait has done

for my heart. The surrender 

to 

fmf: surrender.

Surrender. Very interesting prompt for today. After surrendering to my fear yesterday and being still, waiting, God gave me yet another opportunity to the thing I still struggle with: asking for help. It was weird how after writing this poem, He swoops in with something he only could’ve planned. As I sit here, realizing how well he knows me (this I’m sure is going to be life long), how he knows I’m scared and wondering when, the littlest thing makes me ๐Ÿ˜ญ or ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. More ๐Ÿ˜ฎ than anything else. And because I’m tired and don’t have a whole to say, other than I shouldn’t even be afraid of God or worried he’s forgotten me at all, I’m going to leave this.

Heal me deep within, God.