almost at meltdown

the truth is, they won’t all get it.
they won’t all listen through it.
they won’t all call you up a month later on the day.
they won’t all ask the hard questions.
they won’t all hear your heart through gut-wrenching breathes and understand how words carry the weight of a thousand pounds.

nah, they won’t. maybe most won’t. maybe all won’t.

But. maybe your thoughts, racing with fire and empty rhymn – all at once- maybe Someone does hear them.

maybe they wait with tender arms open as memories flash and sirens wail, and so do you.

maybe you don’t even need to speak the words into the air nobody comprehends. maybe that someone is already there – here.

and maybe, just maybe, when you’re on the edge of collapse, and you know they think you’re crazy and making up too much but you know that’s not true and so you forget what they think and erase their words and faces as much as you can, and you get this awe-realizing panic that you’re just a lost vapour, floating through life, and this isn’t what you signed up for – being unrecognizable to your very self – and you don’t want to go forward or back or stay here —

so you run.
you run into that Someone.
you run hard because hell is chasing behind.
you slam hard into the hands of that Someone, and you ask for peace, for truth, for a fire extinguisher to melt the lies.

and maybe, just maybe, that Someone comes through.. every single time. if only you’d open the door. if only you put words on paper and heart on type, you’ll feel His heart beating strong + fierce for you.

And suddenly nothing else in the world matters. just Him, here. where Hes always been: with you.

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I’ve been busy

Yea, I’ve been too busy.

I’ve been thinking. I’ve been wondering. I’ve been stressing. I’ve been sleeping less. I’ve put walls up and I’ve stayed away.

On purpose.

My heart is all over the place. My dreams aren’t yet blossoms, they’re still so, so small, and in the dark, deepest parts of the soil – hiding. But they’re there. Seeds waiting to be birthed. Crouching real, real low – waiting for something, anything to spring up – chest-deep, sleeves rolled up, mud on my brow, waiting. Waiting for enough Son, enough Water, enough time. I’m not there yet. And that’s perfectly okay.

And if anything, I hope you know – it’s okay to be messy. To ruin the plans you had. To toss them in the trash and get up from the desk-path you’ve been carving in the woods all this time. You’re allowed to turn 180 degrees to your right and go the left way instead. You’re allowed to breathe in and out, slowly and hesitantly. You’re allowed to be unsure of what the future holds and how He’ll redeem the past. You’re allowed to wallow, to question and to hope.

I guess what I want to say is this: you’re allowed to be human.

And sometimes we’re just so busy, praying we’ll stop being so busy one day. And until that day, I’ll try my best to not being as busy-visioned, and love those around me instead of focusing so much on the numbers that pop up on screens, on scales, on clocks, on phones, on calendars.

I’ve been busy – trying to love to the best of my ability in the hardest and in the darkest. So, I’ll keep being busy for now.

much love + hugs, C.

A love letter to my body

Dear body,

Hi, it’s me.

I wanted to start off by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry for taking you way too seriously. For thinking you’re something you’re not. For saying mean words to you in the mirror. For comparing you to others and shaming you when you don’t measure up to the impossible standards I set. For telling you you’ll never be good enough for me or anyone else.

But I also want to thank you. I want you to know how great I think you are—and through this letter, I hope that appreciation shines through a little brighter. From head to toe. Let’s go:

Dear head, you have wild hair. It’s a surprise every time; you’re so unrestrained I never know what you’ll look like. I like that. Hey head, you know you have a brain inside you—and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for getting me through countless tests I started studying for way too late. You always come through. You give me a craving for all things creative, and I know you fuel that passion because it’s such a constant in my thoughts. And because of that, I made some huge changes in my future— I decided my career, my relationships and every moment from now on will reflect the things I love to do with the people I care about. And hey, brain, you are so wise, even when you’re a jumbled mess. You dream in such vivid colours.

Dear eyes, you’re a hopeless romantic for pretty things and places. You swoon over sunsets, clouds, flowers and Christmas lights. You choose to see the world in such pretty colours.

Dear ears, you listen to really good music. We have the best moments together in the car, blasting the music so loud we turn the heads of every passerby. You’re so good at picking up the small things, and you like silence too. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Dear lips, thank you for forming beautiful and encouraging words to others. You see the best in people and you constantly point it out. You have a great laugh. I know you’re capable of so much goodness, and I hope I let you say kind things to yourself too.

Dear heart, I cannot thank you enough for how faithfully you keep beating. You remind me I have purpose, especially with that piece of titanium in you. You may be imperfect, but you remind me of my second chance and to make the most of every moment.

Dear hands, you are so strong. You have held and hugged so many people. You have written so many words. You have drawn so many pictures and letters. You have learned so many new things this year, like how to work that expensive camera I splurged on this summer. You are the thing that helps me do the things that make me feel so alive, and I can’t imagine what I’d do without you.

Dear belly, you remind me of what’s really important. I’m always tempted to call you a lot of ugly names, but I’m learning to appreciate you for what you are—you remind me of what life is all about: it’s living, loving and how food is the always the absolute best treat. You pushed me to go out of my own way and learn how to cook. And to appreciate that sometimes, ice cream is honestly the bomb diggity for that occasion. So, thank you for pointing out the lies I tell myself and how they’re not true.

Dear legs, I love you. You are so able and so powerful. I beat my personal best in swimming yesterday because of you. 400 metres in 7 minutes and 58 seconds. Thank you for the countless times I get achy muscles after a long, hard run. It’s easy to look at you and call you boyish and too big, but I think you’re elegant and you remind me I’m capable of a lot more than what I and others think. You help me push myself past my limits.

Dear feet, you’ve taken me so many beautiful places. I travel the world with you. You take me to coffee shops and sip tea with my favourite people. I hike mountains with you, I dance with you, and I tap to the beat of songs I love with you. And by the way you look great in fuzzy socks and flip-flop tan lines.

So, body, I think you’re pretty great. I’m honestly so thankful for all you’ve allowed me to do. Thanks for putting up with me. I take advantage of you a lot, and learning not to do that is a process I’m willing to go through, because I’m seriously gushing of gratefulness.

Love,

Christine.

hard truths

“I guess it comes down to this,” I winced in anticipation of saying the words which were about to tumble out, “you have to believe that, for this moment, this is God’s best for you.”

I remember my reaction reading these words the first time. Shock. Disbelief. Relief. A radical shift ensued.

Who God was changed for me in that moment. And who God is became closer than my skin, my breathe in that moment. More real and present in my brokenness and mess. Purposeful. Grace-filled. Freedom. Love.

Who I thought I needed to be changed in that moment. And who I am now is continually reminded of this simple, somewhat hard-to-believe joy.

And now, here I am telling the same words to someone dear to me, someone I respect and look up to and never imagined we’d be having this conversation. Standing in the forest on a Sunday afternoon walk, this individual took me into a fierce hug and said,

“That’s exactly what I needed to hear.”

Do you need to hear those words too? Because I do:

Regardless of where you are, this is God’s best for you in this moment.

He loves us too much to give us anything less, to not draw us closer to His heartbeat, to not pull us into His waters of intimacy.

Discover Him in His best for you.

the oxymoron

Fear. It riddles me, humours me, laughs at me. And I shake in my boots and $10 jeans.

But you know what? It’s a new version of fear I actually welcome.

A fear of being a being so small and insignificant with Someone so big, so deep, so richly and ridiculously good living in my heart. A fear of knowing that through Him, I am capable of things so big, so deep, so rich and ridiculously good.

It’s a mixture of fear and this explosive, interstellar hope. A hope and excitement so wide and so awestriking, I’m not sure what to do with it. I hold it in my hands now and play one-man hot potato, juggling secret dreams, my talents and passions; waiting for the time to tick down to the last numeral, and for them to burst into a million celebratory pieces. To come alive. To be finally here. To be put into action. To be all shades of colour, all lovely, all joy, all God.

Boil it down to simplicity: I want to live a life of constant God-inhale. I want to live a life of constant Love-exhale. I want others to know of His relentless chase after our muddy, messy hearts.

And decisions and opportunities and questions are knocking at my door, waiting for an answer. And I’m standing here shocked my life has come to this.

You know what I’m really afraid of? I’m afraid He’s going to make all my dreams come true — and what was once a figment of imagination has been long-becoming, long slow-twirling, long-reaching into a reality that surpasses every thought I fathom. Because maybe, deep down, I don’t think He would care about the short, quiet longings I whisper up to heaven. Maybe I didn’t believe He would use me, or want me, or delight in me because I wasn’t able, enough or the right person for the pursuit of these desires.

But the more and more I throw myself into the ocean of Grace, and let His waters saturate my lungs, the more and more I realize I am at the once-invisible crossroads I wrote about — and this moment really comes down to Him asking me this one, pertinent question: “Do you trust Me?”

Because this life, this constant running back to Him and pointing back to Him and jumping and shouting giddily with joy when I turn every stone and take every small, seemingly pointless step– it was never going to be a “normal” life. It was never going to be typical. It was never going to be something the world would understand, but my heart would. It was never going to be about security or money or fame — it was always going to be about trusting in a perfect, holy God.

My life is being splattered in all directions, and these questions, these decisions and opportunities I have to make and choose which to take and where to go with this one, precious life — this is it. This is the moment I step off the boat, like Peter did that one stormy night years ago, and I walk onto the unknown. This is the moment where trust overthrows fear like a tsunami.

And. I. can’t. wait.

And maybe I accidentally disguised hope as fear until I realized God’s holy glory wants to fill this entire place I call my heart; carve out everything that isn’t needed and fill it to the brim so lovingly it overflows, rough edges, quirky personality still intact — I’m ready to be myself.

“Do you trust Me?”

sleeping pills

So, I was pretty proud of myself of the fact sleep has come real easy in the last couple of weeks– up until tonight that is — when I swallowed the minty Melatonin vitamin/pill/thing. Back at it again.

But you know what — it’s not for the same reasons. I mean, sure: restlessness, wide open eyes, waking up early. Those are all there again, yes, but this is nowhere close to a repeat of the past. This is not going back to sinking deep in despair and hopelessness, struck with fright over future-thoughts and holding this head in my hands as I tried to sort out the present.

That chapter of this life closed, and something new has been birthed.

I’ll tell you what it is: excitement. Awe. Hope. Peace. Wonder. Joy. Trust. Dreams — big ones. Hundreds of oceans wide, roaring like lions so loud I can’t hear slumber’s lullaby. I stare at the orange-lit walls through crochet curtains late at night, counting crickets singing and counting blessings. I dream consciously, past the past-pain and present uncertainty; because my life is at crossroads so ready to be splattered in whichever direction He commands, I can’t even predict where the Painter’s brush is about to touch canvas.

It’s a surprise, and I’m scavenging all around, trying to find my party hat and wearing the biggest grin.

There was a time not long ago when I fought to open my hands from the fear-fist they formed, begging and pleading to be free from this kind of soul-paralysis. I’m now no longer willing to even reach for His brush and grab it away from His steady, steady hands.

Somewhere along the way, I finally gave the paintbrush back. I let Beauty back in.

So I sit here, clock ticking toward early morning hours again, waiting for the chemicals in this body to lull me to sleep and close these heavy eyes — but I’ll say this–  my prayer consists of small sentences and such fragmented thoughts, they can fit into 120 characters: Wring dry my identity of anything that doesn’t speak Your name in the silence, and drench me with Your spirit so heavy I seep at all edges.

These whispers consist of constant surrender. That His will be done. That I am not too hard-headed in this outer shell to see the whisper of how He hides Himself in every moment just to tell me He’s watching out for the girl with the sleeping pills. That He knows exactly what He’s doing. That the future unfolds as it should and my expectations are completely shattered to ash — that each moment is a gift, a surprise, and a joy — nothing more, nothing less.

So, I guess you can say, in some way or another — I’m glad I go back to deja-vu roads with new perspective, new experiences and a heart more in tune with His song. A heart more broken, more able, more grateful and more willing to sing with Him.

Even if that means dreaming together, fully awake, long after the crickets finished their song.

Precious

precious (adj.) — ˈprɛʃəs/
1. of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.
“precious works of art”
synonyms: valuable, costly, expensive, high-priced, dear, irreplaceable
What will you do with your one, wild and precious life?
What will you do?
How will you spend the gift of time you’ve been given?
Will you live like it’s a gift?
Because it’s all His, and we are the borrowers, the ones in debt.
The ones with so much, so much to give.
Just take a look around, you’ll see it.
—–
I’ll ask again, how will you spend this life?
How will you use the air in your lungs, the shift in your feet, the gesture of your hand?
How will you tick away the hours, the minutes, the days?
Will you smile plenty? Will you stretch out an arm? Will you say words with grace + heavy conviction?
Will you spill your heart all over the city, so all see Love?
Will you give more than pennies to the poor, and more than cheap advice to the broken-hearted?
Will you spin with Winter and hold hands with Spring?
Will you cherish every moment, big or small?
Will you tell those closest to your heartbeat how much they mean to you? That you love them?
Will you dig deep into your God-given talents and fill the heavy ache of this world that only you were made to fill?
Will you follow your Creator to the ends of the Earth, seeking for Him everywhere you go?
Will you laugh? Will you cry? Will you let yourself be carried by the Lover of your soul?
Will you dream? Dream bigger and wider than ever before?
—–
Today, death was at the footsteps of my grandparent’s apartment building we are currently staying at. And today, death didn’t come knocking on our door. But it went elsewhere. To another family my grandparents know well. And hearts are heavy, and eyes are sore. Grief can be felt in the thick air, and we are all shocked. Memories play in our heads, but faces are already becoming splattered-hazy.
We all feel the sting of life’s reminder shaking us in our boots — this life is precious. This life is short. Every moment is a gift. He gives and takes away. We will one day return to dust and a reunion will sound loud from trumpets in the heavens.
—–
But not today.
Today, we live.
Today, air fills our lungs and heartbeats pump.
Today, muscles move and minds think.
Today, our hands are perfect to hold onto.
Today, our mouths have the opportunity to speak peace and grace.
Today, our ears can listen to heartbreak and joy.
Today, our shoulders are strong enough to be leaned on.
Today, our eyes get to see beauty all around.
Today, our knees help us walk up mountains.
Today is our chance.
Today, we live.
Today is our gift.
What will you do with your one, wild and precious life?

Him alone

A startlingly humbling realization I came to yesterday started to piece together the last 7 months. However, I don’t think we humans, feeble minded and so limited in time, may ever truly understand God’s ways to a T. And why He does what He does. And that’s why God is God.

I revel in moments like these, where He reveals His glory and a tiny part of how His plan is at work in the hardest season I’ve ever walked through. A year of fear, doubt, gripping tightly onto control, isolation and grudgingly choosing to trust, to yell when things don’t make sense, to sit in a mess and feel stuck.

I don’t think I’ll ever know exactly why God put me here, but through this, He is refining me and redefining our relationship. I am undoing everything I knew about this One I serve and stitching together a new tapestry. And it is the most beautiful process I have ever witnessed. I stand in awe of this kind of intimacy I didn’t know possible.

I’m a doer. I love to work, to help, to be busy — to feel needed, to use my talents and to have a sense of worth in what I do, making me who I am.

And in December, God took my hands, clasped them together and said, “Enough, stop.”

Everything came to a screeching halt. Everything. The ministries I was involved in. The titles I had. The extra time I put into my job trying to get promoted. The writing. The effort I put into school (I type this hesitantly, haha) and my interpersonal relationships.

It all slowed down to the slowest of motions, and I couldn’t wrap my head around why a good God would do such a thing as this to me. I’m stubborn, and He would close doors and slam them shut in my face.

He whispers all kinds of lovely to me. He tells me He is in control. I fret and worry about the decisions I make, what people may think and the way I spend my hours, these precious days that won’t go on infinitely. And it’s so easy to get caught up in old ways of thinking, but He repeats in the same, loving whisper just to say: I am in control.

He doesn’t pour new wine into old wineskins — Jesus doesn’t come and just rearrange a few of the places in my heart and say, “Ok, well.. that’s better”. He reinvents completely. To an unrecognizable degree. He discards all old things, puts it to death, and breathes to life a completely new being.

Can I be honest with you, I don’t recognize myself anymore (and I’m pretty sure those who knew me before all this don’t either).

I go to a good church. I know good people. I have a great job. I love what I’m learning through my education. I love investing in the Kingdom and His people. I hold close the friends He has put in my life.

Why am I telling you this? Because I would whisper this to the ceiling as the snow pit pattered on the roof, “if I have made an idol to anything above You, remove it please. I want to know Your heart. Raise me up in a holy passion.” — and God took me up on that.

Nothing ever happens the way we imagine or like. Our plans aren’t above His plans.

I truly believe He wrecked everything — even the good things — and emptied my hands and my heart just so I can see myself the way He does and see I still matter, regardless. Even when everywhere else I had put my worth in disappeared; especially the things I truly believed I’d only matter to God if I’d do them.

So here’s the revelation: I’ve been under this illusion that I only matter when my deeds add up. That just as I am is not enough for a God to love and to know. That my version of how He sees me is warped, but, girl, it’s about time you know just how much I love you when you are empty – watch me love you even harder when you’re completely empty. I dare you to come deeper to this ocean of intimacy you’re scared of drowning in. Watch how you’ll walk on water. Step towards Me.

He continues to shake my world upside down and ask me who I serve.

I still don’t believe Him a lot of the time, and His patience astounds me ridiculously, but here’s what I’m learning:

Sometimes, God asks us to let go of everything, not because they are necessarily bad for us, but because He wants us to find fulfillment in Him and Him alone. 

Girl, do you love Me? Not the things you can do for Me. Not My people or my blessings and provisions. I want to show you a kind of love you’ve never dreamed possible. And I’m going to flip you inside and out to show you exactly where your worth lies.

Sometimes, we get so jaded by our full calendars, Christian accomplishments and good intentions that we forget Jesus died on a cross for the sinner, the lowest of the low — and that, at the end of the day, when the self-protection of self-distraction has died down, we are that being.

I write this in the thick of this daily battle — to choose what He says of me and to leave behind the old wineskins.

Courage, dear heart.

Deeper, brave soul.

Do you want to know Me?

Let go.

Surrender.

Be poured out like water before the Lord.

Be empty.

Know true fullness.

made for relationship

Hiya, darling human!

I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I hope you feel God immensely in the small moments + life graces you with a really, really good, restful + joy-filled day. And if today didn’t begin on the right foot, start skipping + hopping so you can land on your left — because if there’s one thing I’ve learned lately, it’s that it is never too late to change things around.

Here’s another thing I’m learning, that you and I were made for relationship — with God, with the Holy Spirit continually breathing life + speaking truth into your heart, with others + extending love to our own selves as well. On your good and bad days, you are still worthy of love. You are still worthy of loving + being loved.

You were stitched together intentionally by the Creator of this magnificent universe with the very intention of being in relationship with Him and those who make your heart feel so, so full. So take this promise — grab a hold of it and begin recognizing just how worthy you are, and just how evidently God is already using just about everything to love the hell (literally) right out of you.

I turn twenty tomorrow. The big two zero. Two whole decades. *take a deep breath*

God is so good, gals + gents. He puts people in my life that encourage me, lift me up, listen when I need to “just get it out” and make me laugh.

So I choose today to give back and remind those certain people, my people, just how much they mean to me. Here’s how I decided to go about it:

image

I dare you to do the same. It may be through a text, a hug, a whisper, a letter — whatever the medium — I dare you to express the gratitude + gifts from God that sometimes get overlooked in our lives.

Remind them you love ’em. Remind them you believe in them. Remind them they’re important. Remind them how much they mean to you.

hugs, C.

stitching together raw words.

Hey human, can I be honest with you for a minute? Maybe you found your way here somehow and just wanna know what I’m all about, but I feel the need to spill out my heart to you. I hope that’s okay.

This winter was a hard one. A really, really hard and long one. I don’t think I’ve ever hurt so bad in such a new way where I wasn’t afraid of what the future held, but I was so scared I’d lose myself in the darkness forever. I still feel like this sometimes (read: most times), and I still don’t like talking about it. As I drew a circle around my heart, I gave only a few people the key with one, small-but-vulnerable plea: please love me well. Please love me as I am, not who I was or who I may be or who I could become. Please love me even on the days when I can’t bring anything to the table except my exhausted self and a grouchy spirit that’s ready to give up.

Have you been here before? My first instinct is to desperately try and grab a hold of anything, anyone familiar — to steady myself. I like to pretend like change + storms + failure + doubt never happen. In between the shows I orchestrate for all to see, I walk no man’s land, trying to grasp what this new “normal” means to me. This kind of “normal” is one where on most days all it is is an extra weight I carry with every step.

I’ve learned this: it’s okay to retract. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to stop for a while and rest. It’s okay to yell at God and shove your closed, white-knuckle fists in the air and beg Him to open your hands for you. Because sometimes we can’t do this on our own. (Well, all the time I can’t do this thing called “life” on my own.)

It’s hard going through fire, knowing you’re being refined for something greater, something bigger and something more holy than all human righteousness and achievements combined, but still feeling the burning sting every day. My road is littered with confusion, self-depreciation and fear. Walking in the dark while being confronted with the ugliness in your heart is the most terrifying and uncomfortable thing in the world.

But … if the sixthgrade version of me was watching my life on a movie screen, she’d be doing backflips cause she’s so excited to see who I end up becoming. I don’t know how or when, or who will come along and grab my hand, but I know hope is out there, and I’m willing to walk through fire to get there.

*the plot thickens. It so thickens*

Here I am, in the process of learning to love myself and others well.

So, human — for now, for today, for this moment– choose the few who stay + choose you, as you are. The few who can echo His voice into your life and love the hell right out of you. Throw yourself into God’s arms and hold nothing back. (I hope you feel Him all the days of your life.) You are adored by the Creator of dazzling sunsets, after-rain smells and butterflies. You truly are. He is enough. I hope you experience His kind of crazy, loyal love.

And if you know someone who is hurting or feeling all the feels, please please please just do one thing: love ’em really spanking well.