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.

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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. 😉 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

january things

well, it’s a new year, a new january, new things, and so far they’ve been pretty great.

These first few weeks have been full of new faces, learning new routines, aching wrists, earlyish mornings, yummy foods, adventures, late night talks, long walks, snapchat filters, laughs and after work cuddles, kombucha and kitchen floors, smelling like massage lotion and not being able to open things (thank you to my friends who open my grapefruits for me!), little sisters coming into my bed at 3 in the morning because they wanted to snuggle more, more Bible reading and getting into habits and routines that I’ve been working at.

I started two new jobs; one making use of my massage therapy license at a spa in Everett, and the second is nannying a sweet baby that’s a 90 second walk from my house. 🙂

Those have both been great, it’s been fun to work in massage again, nurturing and relaxing people through touch, watching stressed faces melt into smiles… it’s always funny to me, because halfway through the massage I have people flip from their stomachs onto their back, and I see their faces, and they look like an entirely different person than when they first got on the table… it’s caused quite a few double takes on my part.

also nannying. it feels like playing house, which makes me think of childhood and also the future all at once…

the future has always been a little daunting to me. Exciting, but daunting. I was always the kid that never wanted to grow up (but also wanted to get married, so I’m not sure what I was thinking.), who swore to myself I was too scared of driving to learn (turns out I love driving) and Peter Pan was one of my heroes. Turn out, God knows best and I’ve learned that He stands behind me and holds my hands like I hold a toddlers hands when they learn to walk.

The future could be scary. I could fret about it. I could fret about my future love dying, last hugs. I could dwell on thinking that I’ll be the last to die out of my loved ones. I could fret about being alone. I could fret about my siblings getting hurt. I could worry about everyone’s emotional health. Or, I could pray about it. God is trustworthy and has a plan.

The future could be joyful. I could find my person and raise our family and have pancakes on Sunday mornings and look at the stars and have big tickle fights. I could have many roadtrips and adventures with friends. I could have nights with people I love spent sitting on the kitchen floor with the lights off, talking about life and family and many other random topics. I could have sweet snuggles with little loved ones. There are far too many happy things to look foward to, it’s not even worth fretting about the bad ‘could be’s’.

It’s been a season of happy hearts, and it’s only the beginning of the year.

 

Peru- pt. 2

Along with the VBS’s, we worked on the church of the missionaries we were staying with and that our church supports. We cleaned, painted, swept, mopped, captured a baby tarantula (that we named Andrew. We weren’t allowed to bring him home. Wonder why…), built shelves and desks, reorganized the rooms and helped sort things, tried Peruvian snacks (fresh passionfruit is tasty and nicknamed “snotfruit” down there), did some maintenance work, and built some new bathrooms and did housework for some of the church members.


We prayed in this church, with our team and with the locals. Listening to passionate prayer in a language I don’t speak was a pretty incredible experience. You can feel the gratitude and longing even without understanding the words being said.


We worshiped in this church, learning familiar songs in an unfamiliar language, or singing while we worked.

We played with children in this church, whether during VBS, during church services, to keep the littles entertained while others worked on construction.

We laughed and ate meals and prayed and wept with each other in this church, and I am grateful to have gotten to be a part of it.


It’s funny, as we’d make plans, and then they’d completely change, and everyone would roll with it. You don’t find that in many teams, such flexibility, but we all kept it to some level, and I’m proud of them for it.

Along with the Tambo VBS, we had one in a sport court a few minutes walk from the church. We’d arrive and play music, and slowly children would trickle in, exchanging “buenas dias” with us. We’d do all the regular VBS activities, and play “Chapas” (tag), and some people would play soccer, and some would head over to the swings. They called us Tia or Tio, auntie or uncle, I was Tia Gracia.Still one of my favorites out of everything I’ve ever been called.


One of the kids in particular stuck out to me, Renzo. He was one of the giggliest, most talkative little children I’d ever met. He was one of the reasons I was most sad to not know the language. He look up at me, all aglow, and throw out some long thought, wait for me to nod in acknowledgement of hearing him, smile, and then either keep talking or turn back to listening to the VBS teacher. He would be shy for about 5 seconds at the beginning of each day, and then after that he’d be all about hugs and songs and games and talking. I miss him.

Along with all of our work and ministry things, we did get some exploring time in. We went and walked around Cusco a few times, and that’s a lovely city. Lots of cathedrals, and they are beautiful and hopeless. It’s neat, because the town and country where we were is very brown or tan, but people wear colorful clothing and have colorful textiles and paint and patterns, its a beautiful balance. We drank Peruvian coffee (it’s great, not too sweet)


We also did get to see Machu Picchu on our last day or so of being there! We hiked all around there, up to the Sun Gate (which some of us ran back down) and the Inca Bridge, saw many llamas, beautiful stonework, the Andes are mystic and inspiring.

Takeaways by then?

-The main one recorded in my journal at this time was the thought sparked by our leader’s teaching, that we are not to be quiet or stagnant in our growth or walk as a Christian. We are to share our faith, to spread the light, to be a river and not a reservoir. We have to either pick to live for God, or the world. You can’t be living fully for both, and lukewarm/mixed is not acceptable. Go full out or go home, it is a choice. One to be intentional about.


It’s been something I’ve been pondering lately. I knew when I started this trip that it would either be a one-time-good-experience-thing, or it would lead to more. So far I’m feeling that it may be the latter. But not sure yet. Lots to pray about.

-also, where our focus is to be. We are to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. This verse helps me when I get too wrapped up in my limited perspective. Sure, I feel gross and dirty and my clothes do not match or look aesthetic and I’m worrying about that, but am I showing Christ’s love to others? Which one is going to last longer? Do the kids I’m playing with care? Do they see love through me? Am I really supposed to be worrying about what my peers think of me?  It’s kinda a trivial thing, and not saying that looks aren’t important, but as an example sometimes I get too wrapped up in the little things, verses having an eternal perspective.

there was a girl 

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. 

weekend wrap up

This is a new thing that I’m trying in an attempt to trick myself into blogging more regularly, 😉 because I’ll procrastinate on blogging, but when I actually sit down and start, I normally end up coming up with a whole bunch of posts, so I just have to make myself sit down and do it. #queenofprocrastination. Who knows if this will actually be interesting or not, I apologize if it bores you, but it’s breaking up my writers block, so hey. Better than nothing. 🙂

this week: My older brother came home on leave for a week! He’s in the army, stationed in Fort Carson, CO, so it’s always happy to have him back . When he got here I was working, so he and mom stopped by the bakery and surprised me. 🙂 That was a happy day. Always surprise people at work, it makes days 1000x’s better. I’ve also been getting tips at the bakery, and as someone who’s never had a job that tips, it’s a beautiful thing! Always tip people. That also makes days 1000x’s better. Apart from work, it was a pretty peaceful week, lots of time either at home or schlepping siblings all over the place. We have two football players playing for two different schools, 5 kids going to two different schools on three different days, plus Awana and church and my Peru prep and shopping… Lots of driving. But I really like driving, so it’s good. Two of my friends are leaving/have left for different states this week for various reasons, stargazing goodbye parties happened…I really really hate goodbyes. I’m grateful for technology, because we can all still stay in touch super easily, but not having the option of just being able to go see them whenever is sad.

 

goals and to do’s: 

  • start and finish packing for Peru
  • keep writing, in my notebooks and on here
  • get the couch moved out of my room
  • get meals cooked for the fam
  • write letters to people
  • going on a seattle adventure with an old friend!
  • go on runs with the sibs

a few favorites:

  • daily mixes on spotify! They now have a feature where they take what you listen to, sort it into genres, and mix your music with other songs that they think you’ll like.
  • The weather has been getting all fallish and moody, lots of late night and early morning rain, and the air is chilly now. Sitting in bed beneath warm blankets listening to the rain, in the dark , with cold air so you have to be all snuggled up, is one of my all time favorite things.

a few facts:

  • I color songs in my head, quite a few of my playlists are organized by what color I feel they fit… Idk if anyone else does that, but sometimes music and moods feel like colors to me.
  • turns out two of my siblings have the same personality type as me, and when they get depressed the best way to fix it is with lots of snuggles.
  • I have a really hard time watching violent movies, always have, but especially after massage school. #1. because I was made as an empathetic little person with a pretty great imagination, so I can almost physically feel the pain I’m “watching” (I know it’s fake, but that really doesn’t change much for me if I’m into the movie). It’s odd and Idk quite how to explain it… It’s like sympathy pain. #2. because massage school taught me so much about the body, it’s art and my job is to fix it, so when I’m watching it get “beat up” it’s painful. Like watching lovely architecture get broken down.

on repeat: ‘ophelia’ by the lumineers, it’s such a perfect fall song.. so happy yet also kind of melancholy, it’s murky purple and deep yellow to me. Working on getting a piano version made, and I got the ukulele chords going.

quote: To make living itself an art, that is the goal -Henry Miller. These words speak to me, make everything art, do it intentionally and to glorify God. It’s convicting and something I’m working on.

And that’s a bit of my life this week! that turned out a lot longer than I expected it to, and this was a quiet week… Huh. That’s happy 🙂 I hope you all have a lovely rest of your saturday. ❤

blessings,

me

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

 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

brought out

So, I’ve actually started quite a few blogs, and I literally just “refound”, if you will, one of the ones I had last year.   I still like it, so you all get to see it today. 🙂

 

Lately I’ve been thinking about beauty. I’ve been seeing posts and tweets and pins about this, and normally I don’t pay much attention to them, but as of late they caught my eye and got me thinking about this subject in more depth. I noticed that much, if not all, of what I saw labeled as beautiful was flawless, photoshopped, artificially enhanced. Altered. Which I’m not saying is bad, I love editing pictures and appreciate perfection and aesthetics.
But it made me think of beauty that normally isn’t recognized; the painful, the small, the overlooked type. The melancholy sort of beauty.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the happy beauty; the perfect symmetry of someone’s face and a flawless smile, a perfectly arranged bouquet, photoshopped eyes that are absolutely breathtaking, a textbook perfect moment, but I also love the other types of beautiful things.

The beauty of holding someone as they cry, seeing their tear stained face, and all of their emotions churning just below the surface of their reddened and moist eyes. The rawness. The realness. When someone trusts you enough to pour out all of the ugly problems and messes in their life, that is also beauty, just a different type. Little flowers growing on top of boulders. Patterns in the mud, an imperfect smile, a homely face but a beautiful soul. Crooked teeth, large noses, lips that are “too big”, different shades of skin, eyes that aren’t symmetrical. People rambling on and on about completely random things, vulnerability, shiny glints in granite, vocal and “clumsy” prayers that are completely honest and open. These are beautiful.

Weakness, there’s just something alluring about it.Watching someone break and realize that they can’t do it alone and that they need to lean on their Savior. Brokenness.
Emotional goodbyes. Sadness. Even though it stinks, it still shows you that you can care and feel, that you’re alive. Abandoned houses, broken windows, peeling paint. Imperfectly sanded objects and ripped jeans from being on your knees. Calloused hands. Graveyards with crumbling memories and strong
emotions. Scars, they show that you’ve overcome. Worn and broken books, specifically Bibles, coffee stains and taped pages. An open manifestation of grief. The moment when you honestly don’t care what people will think and worship and pray with wild abandon. The hard times that shape your story and mold you into who you are.

Missing friends, the heartache that is evidence that you care. Broken down cars by the side of the road with windows smashed in and glass glittering, fallen trees that were once majestic but are now giving back, muddy riverbeds, swamps with all of their secrets, when a fictional character dies and your heart goes through an emotional blender. Piles of leaves gathered up like old memories, chipped teacups, and gruff voices. Finding bones in the woods, cleansing tears, shattered mirrors.

I love those happy, perfect moments and people, but I also love this melancholy beauty. I like imperfection and odd things as much as I do perfection; being different makes you irreplaceable, and so often we’re told to be the same as everyone else. But rawness is intriguing. Such a mystery.  I love it. So wild and imperfect, and yet it is perfect in it’s imperfection, and I’m grateful.

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.