conviction

Awhile ago I realized that I didn’t have any huge sin standing out to me in my life.

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Which, at first glance, may appear as a good thing. In reality, personally, it mean that I had become complacent in searching my heart to seeing what I had been doing and cultivating that would cause God grief. There was no growth.

There’s a verse about praying for God to reveal the secret sins one commits, (Psalm 19:12, “Who can know all of his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” my paraphrase.) that come to mind quite a bit during that period,

so I prayed about that.

And that week had the full extent of what a selfish human being I am shown to me, how unacceptable that is, and how great and undeserved God’s grace is. It’s a beautiful thing. I am so small and He is so B I G and great and wonderful.

I encourage you to ask that question of God, it’s quite eye opening.

justice, the present, and earthen vessels

Today I woke up feeling burdened and off and not knowing why. Later I reasoned that part of it was due to talks the night before, and flashback emotions from other talks beforehand. The other part of me felt like I was mourning something, and I don’t know what or why. I just felt odd for a good portion of the day. I think part of it is just having a bunch of words and thoughts that I need to get out through writing.

Talking helps sometimes, but often I like to see my thoughts, and that helps me sort them out and process them. So what’s been in my mind these past few days? [This is in Gracie rambling thought format, if it doesn’t make sense that’s probably why]

God is Just. Wow. If something needs to be done, He’ll do it. If He makes a promise, He’ll keep it. If He says He’ll bless you, He will. If He says there will be consequences, there will be. If he says anything at all, He will follow up and carry out on what He said. Always. Every time. Being an inconsistent human, this blows my mind. He is so faithful, and knows exactly what is needed in every scenario, taking into consideration future and past implications. Therefore, if/when you sin, He says there will be consequences. You know there will be. The same for blessings. He always does what He says. Garden of Eden, bam, sin entered the world, and the curse came as He said.

We are living in a world that is steps removed from the original, a shadow, in a world that is under a curse, not what it should be, with people made in the image of God whose hearts have black streams of sin running through them. It’s like a fairytale, but it’s reality, not just a fable.

It was made beautiful, whole, He called it good. Perfection made by the master Artist. There were eyebrows and fresh water and purity. Animals with no fear, the total absence of evil, harmony, bodies that worked exactly how they were created to, sunlight streaming through branches and waterfalls to walk under and fresh fruit to bite into with juice running down your chin.


Enter

temptation,

weakness,

the Fall.

Enter death, separation, twisted souls, sickness, cancers and pain and angry tears and alcoholism, perversion of good and holy things, spiritual darkness, these evil, convoluted things that just show that this world is broken, and not as it should be, and there is absolutely no way for us to fix it, or to fix ourselves. Us with our broken, twisted, pleading, snarling hearts. Lost and bewildered, simultaneously wanting to wallow in the dregs of our sins, but also at the same time having that faint flicker that is terrified of what we’re doing and hoping hoping hoping that this isn’t all there is to life. That this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, that this isn’t all there is.

And it’s not.

Enter my Savior.

Taking my pain,

crucifixion,

redemption,

undeserved.

Because He loves me. And He actively want to know me. And me to know Him, and what He’s done for me. The God that made everything, who uses the world as a footstool and created atoms and fish and the Milky Way and galaxies and gasses and air and who knows what fire actually is and put together the Bombardier Beetle and the Okapi and volcanoes and knows the exact number of hairs on every single head of all 7.5 billion people on this Earth, who already knows what I’m thinking before I even think it, wants to hear me say it to Him.   [And you too. Just talk to Him. You don’t have to talk Christianese or grandly to speak to God.]

He doesn’t want to just read my mind, He wants me to talk to Him. To learn from Him, to tell Him whats going on in my life and to ask Him to show me His hand in life, He can do so many things, and I believe that He wants to show us that. We don’t pray big enough.

Do I think He’s too busy to hear me or to listen to me? No. To think that feels like limiting God to me. I’m pretty sure He can handle His creation.

This Love. My mind can’t wrap itself around it. I’m humbled. And grateful. So so grateful. Nothing like trying to comprehend the incomprehensible to put life back into perspective.

 

 

772 words so far, what else is on the brain?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Sitting on the rug yesterday I found verses that I haven’t read in a long time,

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Holy smokes guys, sanctification. The struggle isn’t pointless, it’s a lesson. It’s for a moment in the grand scheme, we’re continually being renewed as we’re actively walking with Him, whether we realize it or not, as we can’t see things so far ahead. Refer to Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Also verse 7: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

This makes sense. Anything “good” that I have ever done, was definitely not this despicable little heart that wants to hide away from people and take take take without giving. I have a very selfish heart. And that has been painfully revealed to me more and more recently…. big families and mothers are very good at revealing areas that need to be sanctified. šŸ˜‰ By ourselves, we are silly little shells made of dust, who can do nothing. Just that, an earthen vessel. But God works through us… Wow.

 

And what else? Living in the here and now. I like to dream. I like to think ahead and look at the future and where I will be. I also tend to get tunnel vision and so focused on one thing I forget to look at the big picture. But I’m not in Spring 2018, I’m right here in Spring 2017. I’m living at home with my wonderful crazy family, with two great jobs, my person is 25 minutes away from me, with many many many blessings all around me in my life, and many transitions and learning curves. The future can worry about itself- I have to research massage zoning laws and sleep deprivation effects and food budgeting and what my Lord is trying to teach me right now. There’s always something.

You have to really be intentional and rejoice in where you are at each season, living each moment as intentionally as you can, because who knows how many seconds you have left? The moment may be hard, but someday you’ll look back maybe and understand why that had to happen in order to get you where you are today. Also attitude. Happiness is a learned habit. It is a choice, and no one else is responsible for your happiness. If you dump the responsibility of keeping you happy on someone, you will crush them. It’s all on you. Choose the joy. Write down things you’re grateful for. Gratitude is a great mood booster and perspective giver. Notice all of the little things. Make it a game.


Life is a really odd thing. It’s so short.

1,288 words.

That went much longer than I expected it to, and I feel better. If you’re still here, I thank you for your time and attention.

Blessings,

me

Peru- pt. 1

Yesterday I got home from Peru.

It feels super weird to write that….it actually happened. I was there and now am home. I’m so grateful to have been able to go on this trip, I learned a lot and saw a lot, prayed a lot and laughed and cried and talked and played and listened. I am thankful and my heart is full.

I’m trying to find words to put down so that I can share this with you, but there’s so much and proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated, so bear with me as I section it out.I don’t want to forget things, so some of these posts might be novels… consider yourself warned..

After over 14 hours of travel, we arrived in Cusco, Peru. The elevation there is over 11,000 feet, so when we got off the plane some of us felt like we had stepped off of a boat, the ground felt shaky. There were also lots of very chapped lips and headaches and nosebleeds over the first week or so as our bodies adjusted.


There was culture shock! Spanish was being spoken everywhere, the weather would change from thunderstorms to sunshine rapidly, there were very few trees (this PNWesterner was a bit taken aback by that), household habits were different… but it was all interesting and good.

We met our host and his family, the missionary and his family, learned about drinking coca tea for elevation sickness, and a while after went to the church for service. This was the church we would be working at for the time we were here, so it was fun to see, and I was surprised by the friendliness and joy of everyone there. In my journal it says that I had wished I studied Spanish more, and I had that thought quite often through the entire time.


Later we had the devotional and meeting for the night, talking about being purposeful and intentional. James 1 says to count it all joy WHEN we have various trials, not if. So when these trials come, let us be purposeful to rejoice. Let us have purposeful prayer. Let us examine these purposeful trials. Because honestly, God already knows what’s going to happen and has a plan. In every aspect.

The end.

There’s no need to fret about it, just listen to Him and see what He’s trying to teach you.

Afterwards we explored Cusco a bit, there are soooo many stairs, legs for days. We saw a beautiful cathedral, so much intricate artwork, but it’s so empty and hopeless at the same time.

The next morning was spent working at the church, cleaning and organizing, and we got quite a bit done, which felt great.


Afterwards we got into a bus and drove to where our first VBS location is in a village called Tambomachay (TAM-boe-ma-chai), just to see the work being done there and to meet any kids who were around. We prayed over the area, awkwardly hung around for a few minutes, made friends with a tethered lamb and dogs (that we apparently aren’t supposed to pet because of germs and such) then the kids started coming. We exchanged names in stumbling Spanish and they played hand clapping games, which some of us joined in on, which then led to us showing them Quack-Dilly-O-So, which then led to us all playing Duck Duck Goose, which here was called Pato Pato Oveja (Duck Duck Sheep). Not sure how we got sheep, but whatever works… When they got tired of that some of the girls were trying to talk to me, sayingĀ  what sounded like “chapas”, and eventually we figured out that meant tunnel tag, so we played that for a good long time. Funny how much you can communicate even with a language barrier. I showed them how to make birdcalls with your hands, tried to talk a little with my meager spanish vocab, and they giggled at it quite a bit.


We were with this group of kids for 4 days, and they were the ones that were hardest for me to leave. They were so hungry for hugs, touch, love, to be listened to. We had tickle parties and snuggle piles and big hugs and they’d all pile into my lap or hold onto my back or arms so I could swing them around, they’d tap on my face and make funny noises and braid my hair and sit on my feet and hold my hand and show me things they found. So much laughter and love for and with them. Later in the week we’d do crafts and sing and dance with them, I learned quite a few more words through asking them (“que es…?”) and they’d laugh when I mispronounced it, and tell me the right pronunciation. I showed them how to blow kisses and they showed me hand clapping games.


It hit me how big God’s love is with them.

He loves me at home in Washington, and everyone there. Then I travel down thousands of miles to Peru, and still He loves me and everyone else there as well. And all the people that are in the surrounding countries, continents, the entire world.


He loves each one of us infinitely and perfectly, and there are so many people… That is so much love. It blew my mind. And with that thought, we are to love people as well. And how are we to love them? The goal is to love through His love, in agape. And what does that look like? That’s going to be a future post here…

The largest thing that frustrated me was that I didn’t know Spanish (which was my fault) , so I couldn’t directly talk with them. We had translators, and they were a HUGE blessing and I was so grateful for them, but when you talk with a kid it’s best if you can talk directly to them, having a middle man changes things. There were tears at the final goodbye, and maybe someday I’ll come back and have learned the language and will be able to talk with them.


The takeaways that I had by day two of the trip were:

-God’s love is huge, I had felt a part of it, and I wanted to share it.

-prayer is so so powerful and so underutilized.

-I take so much for granted. Pretty much everything. It makes one grateful.

-I am not to show partiality in anything I do or to anyone I interact with. This came from a devotional led by a teammate, and sparked a lot of thought. Anything I do I should be doing as to the Lord, whether the job is large or small, gets noticed and recognition or not, whether the person is rich or poor, friendly or intimidating. I am not the one who is supposed to judge. That’s God’s job. I’m just a hand.

Thus ends part 1 of the Peru adventure, more to come later.

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there was a girlĀ 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who kind of didn’t like herself. She was very pale (therefore she could see almost all of her veins), very long limbed (and having long limbs while lacking coordination isn’t a great combination), her face was odd, her laugh and voice she thought were irritating, her nose had a bump at the bridge, she had a widows peak, and she thought differently and looked at things differently, and would say things that left people looking at her kind of oddly, which she was self conscious about. As she grew older though, she started to like all of those things; she grew into her limbs and liked her pale skin. The other things she sometimes didn’t like, until one day she had the thought that God had made her exactly how He thought she should be made, and He said it was good. He doesn’t made mistakes, and that quieted her heart and she became much more ok with all of her quirks. Saying that she didn’t like this or that part of herself was in essence telling God He messed up on her and that she didn’t like His artwork. 


So now she was ok with herself, but she had friends who didn’t like themselves. And this made her sad, because she could see their smiles and their individual hearts, and the way their eyes crinkled when they laughed and how their lip twitched and their eyes get sparkly when they’re about to make mischief. And they’re beautiful in many senses of the word. People are art. 

But often times people don’t like their own art and want to look like another piece. 

more new roads

Two weeks ago, we sat in a movie theater parking lot at 2 in the morning and threw out an idea for a road trip. Two weeks later, we made this wonderful idea happen. We traveled from Marysville, WA all the way down to Crater Lake, Oregon.This was the first road trip we had ever all taken together, out of state, and without the rest of our families. Such excitement.

We crossed bridges, looked at fog, doodled on paper and skin, got coffee and looked at art shops, got soaking wet on a foggy beach.

We found jellyfish drying on the beach (i refrained from touching the mesmerizing globs),I skipped and ran around because the ocean is a beautiful thing and i’m young and alive and for once didn’t get that cold, and a friend adventured with me and made sure I didn’t accidentally die or get swept away.The others held the valuables and got drenched and laughed and wrote in the sand and we walked the wrong way up a stream and jumped over the waves. We wrung salt water out of our socks and poured coffee onto our faces instead of our mouths because the cold numbed our face and hands.

We snuggled up in blankets and drove to the sunshine, booping noses (that kept on happening through the whole two days), taking turns napping and exploring each others music tastes.

We pitched our camp and looked at views off the side of the road (and a llama in a parking lot. I wanted to pet it, but alas, not that day.) Inside jokes were formed, we explored crater lake in the dark (couldn’t see the view, but we could feel it), took personality tests and discussed those, laughed at weirdly named streets, and made a campfire. Later we went out to the stars and there were so. many. My mind was blown a little bit, and we were all giddy and overwhelmed. Stargazing is funny; one moment everyone is completely serious and talking about life and struggles and God and eternity and physics, and the next everyone is madly giggling and mispronouncing words or sleeping.

The next morning was lazy, a yummy breakfast, I journaled, we talked over shared teabags and coffee and looked at the wasps that had found us and a friendly chipmunk.

After the food, we packed up and drove to Crater Lake, and this time there was light so we could see the view, and it was so lovely. I love that God is an artist and also lets us see His work.

Funky colored lichens… šŸ™‚

After thoroughly touring the lake, we drove home. A long ride, but those are my favorites. I’ve always gotten a little sad whenever we reach destinations, because there’s something special about sitting in a metal wheeled box with people for hours at a time, exploring new (or familiar) places and sights and foods and other sensory things. I’d try to describe the ride home more, but it was giggles and sneaking pictures and naps and heads out the window and tickle wars (which resulted in squeaking) and shoulder rubs and listening to new music (I heard Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time) and jeep-beeping, and thinking about it all my heart gets full. Saying goodbye and dropping everyone off was hard, but I’m grateful to have people so great that make good byes so sad.

Photo credit to who it’s due, and I’m not exactly sure who’s is who’s. 

to ground

I hate falling.
From a cliff.
In my dreams.
At the fair.
Into sin.
To uncertainty.
I love feeling solid structure beneath me, whether a physical or emotional assurance. Grounded. Secure. Why I have such an abhorrence I’m not sure, maybe subconscious remembers reaching for a lying branch, falling far, waking up bruised and hanging by my knees who knows how much later. Or maybe it remembers the dirty feeling of falling morally, of missing the mark. That isn’t a bad fear, per se, I should strive to stay strong. It’s the fear that I have of myself (in a sense) that is wrong.
But such is life as a flawed being, falling (whether physically or otherwise) so what should I do with this fear?
I can either dwell in it, entangling myself until I’m a hyperventilating paralyzed mess, a rabbit with wide eyes afraid to move.
Or, I can find my grounding. I can sink my heels deep into my Savior and know that He’s got this. I can cling to His mane when the fears come running toward me, and know that His net is close below when I fall.
He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. There is no reason for me to replay these fears.

open hands

Ā A girl once was troubled, for she held things too tight,
Day in and day out a battle she’d fight.
Clinging to poison she thought would bring joy,
Not realizing eventually it her would destroy.
‘Til one day she tired and released her tight hold,
Her neck she hung, her tears they flowed
Her knuckles grew straight and her heart lost its load.
She strove to stay soft, but her stiffness would return
(You’d think that by now this girl would have learned)
Her fears kept crawling back, grabbing her throat
The things she would lose! On her skin this they wrote:
“You can’t trust Him! He takes all away!
What even for? Clench your hands! He won’t say!”
But the girl had learned, at least this one thing;
When your heart’s filled with Him, only then can it sing.
The sadness was there, but He lifted her up,
He replaces those things she was scared to forget,
His hands quiet her fears, He drank her poison cup.
Her hands too grow soft, unclench, and tears flow
Misty eyes meet His gaze, He loves me?
Tis so.
-e.g.h

almost endings and new roads

i have only 21 days until i’m in my last year of “teenagerhood”; 19.

It’s kind of scary in a way to me; I’ve always viewed 19 as that age in between childhood and formal adult-ish hood, and almost all of my friends have had something huge happen in their 19th year. I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time. On new years i sat in my room rereading journals from the past year, breathless to see 2016 and also terrified of entering this new year.Ā  I love new adventures and doing new things, but I’m also scared of that first plunge to do so.

It’ll be good though. I’m excited for this year.

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Also, I’ve almost finished my first moleskine journal (journal/notebook #68), and have gotten a new one to start on my birthday. That is of no importance to you readers but is simply a little fact about yours truly. šŸ™‚ I think by writing things down, so then the thoughts are tangible and I can analyze, look at, and interpret them. Plus it’s always lovely to look back at them and see all of the memories and previous thought processes.

Turning back to the title of this post, I drove new roads this month! I got to drive down to Cannon Beach, Oregon for the first time and visit some friends. Between the 3 1/2 hour drive (new roads that I’d never driven before!!), the ocean, meeting new people, visiting with old friends, seeing new places, and the ocean and sky and beautiful Oregon coffee… my soul was quite happy.

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My apologizes for the crummy picture quality; my ipod camera is blind and my DSLR is having issues at the moment.

 

blessings,

me

my moon

Tonight I stood outside in the dark and wind, freshly washed bare feet sinking into the grass. My moon was not there because the rain clouds still lingered, and so I said a prayer and decided that I have wind and water entwined very deeply somewhere in my soul. 

how

And I think what I hate most is seeing the confused look in their eyes when I talk. Because even though we’re both speaking English, my language is foreign to them. My brain spins faster than my mouth, causing the words to trip over each other when they leave. My heart and dreams like to stay in abstract images, their very own category of description…how do you harness and translate heart thoughts?