Monday, September 30, 2013

Make-Believe and Flying Free

When I was a little kid my favorite make-believe story was Peter Pan. I remember my dad reading me the J.M. Barrie novel over and over, laying side by side on the floor, heads resting on big pillows as his deep fatherly voice read me my favorite story of the boy who never grew old, the boy who could fly.

My siblings and I loved to play make-believe games, our afternoons full of adventures on the seas and high up in trees, never leaving our front porch. My dreams were filled with fantasy, with flight.

As I've gotten older I have outgrown make-believe swordfights and dressing up like Peter Pan, but I've never stopped loving this idea of flight, this beautiful freedom, high above and beyond and away from everything. Flying free.

I love birds, I love feathers. In every questionnaire or get-to-know-you game asking what your superpower would be, I say flying. Wings or no, I don't care, I just want to fly.

A few weeks ago I was talking to God about this. My soul felt so heavy, I felt weighed down by the stress, drama, and unknown of life. I told God I just wanted to be free, just wanted to live and love and not worry and stress, but I didn't even know where to start.

He told me He wanted that too, for me to be free. He told me he wanted that for me even more than I wanted it for myself. And He told me what I already knew, but had never fully heard or accepted...

That the only way I could ever be fully free was to know His love.

Just know it.

Just be loved.

I know God's love is the most important thing, the driving force to my life. I know that. But I also tend to more use God's love as a means to an end. I know that God's love provides freedom.

By knowing God's love and accepting myself as loved by Him, I am free to unconditionally love others, because what they think, how they perceive me, whether they like or love me in response, ceases to matter. I'm loved for who I am, not because of anything I've done to deserve it, simply because of God's great grace, and so I am free to love others in return, whether they deserve it or not. But I often see accepting God's love as a means to do this. I have to know I'm loved so I can love others better, so I can serve better, so I can be more selfless. It's not about God, it's about me and what I do.

So God tells me, "Katy, you just need to know I love you!"

And I say, "Yeah! So I can love and serve and be a better person, right?"

God told me no. No, I don't need to know I'm loved so I can do things, so I can be a certain person, so I can accomplish goals. I need to know I am loved to know I am loved.

Here is what I know now.

It's not about accepting love so we can become something or someone. Yes, God cares about what we do and who and how we love, but that isn't the ultimate thing He cares about.

Quite simply, He loves us. And He wants us to know we are loved. Fully, unconditionally.

I believe our greatest desire as humans is to be fully known, and completely loved by someone who knows us fully. But I also believe that is our greatest fear. It is terrifying to be fully known because that means someone sees and knows every single flaw, every bad moment or tendency.

But when we have that love, we are really free. There's nothing you can say or do that will change the outpouring of love you have received because that person knows you can loves you all the same, all the more.

When we know we are freely and fully loved, we are free to be loved. And that's the point. That's what it's all about, being loved by Someone who knows every flaw, every weakness, every imperfection, and says, "I love you. You are beautiful, you are precious, you are Mine. And I died for you to know that, that I love you."

And so we live to be loved. And in that love, we are free.

I'm flying.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hole Reinforcements

I had a few of
those notebook paper fixers
Hole Reinforcements
five-hundred and
forty-four in count
if only hearts were
so easy to mend
but beneath that self-adhesive white hole reinforcement
still a tear

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Blood poured from head, hands, lacerated skin

Water flowed from stabbed side

Love filled eyes instead of tears

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Realizations and Reflections from Thursday August 22

I journaled this a few weeks ago, rediscovered it as I was flipping through old pages. Thought I'd share...

"I've been realizing a lot about me recently. I've been feeling so aware of my inadequacy in the bad, self-centered way.

And God showed me that I'm afraid. 

I'm afraid of letting go, of not looking at the waves and just clinging to His hand. Like I think so poorly of myself that I don't think He'd want to hold me if I actually fully let go. But then I know in my head He loves me so much, I so deeply believe in His unconditional love...but I'm still afraid. 

Like if I stop looking at the waves and reach out to grab His hand, I'm so broken and heavy I'd pull us both down. Which is so silly and I know it's not true...but I'm still afraid. 

I'm so afraid of not being enough I can't accept that I am enough

I want that gone. I want to accept, know and fully believe in my heart that I am enough, not for what I have done, but because of who He is

I will sink no more. 

My prayer is for God to reveal to me who I am in Him. Loved, redeemed, forgiven, beloved, His."

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Poem For Some(Every)one

dear friend,

it's not just me

everyone says
you're beautiful

the way you are

makeup removed
mask slips off
falls plunk to the ground

the way you are

a joy,
a glorious sight

outside merely reflecting
deepest beauty within

true love's eyes
are open and they see

you just
the way you are

true love's desire
that one day you'll
too see

you are beautiful

the way you are

loving arms reaching,
to hold you tight

spin you, twirling
a dance

because you
were made to dance with love

for you are beautiful

the way you are


Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Humble Road

I've found myself especially enjoying exploring words recently. Humility is the one on my mind at the moment. 

a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.
synonyms: modesty, humbleness, meekness, diffidence, unassertiveness;
lack of pride, lack of vanity;
servility, submissiveness
But we'll get back to that...
A few weeks ago I watched The Passion of Christ for the first time. 
On a short (but probably at least mildly related) tangent, I told myself I would never watch this movie. I decided I couldn't handle the violence, and was pretty sure I didn't need to see what Christ went through on that intense and bloody of a level, I had read my Bible, I knew what He went through. Wrong. I was so wrong. Honestly I got to a point where I just felt so convicted that I needed to see this movie, and I couldn't reason my way out of it any longer. It was so prideful of me to think I knew, to not need to be reminded on a constant basis in numerous manners that I am broken, messy, desperately in need of grace and love, and that I've done nothing and can do nothing to earn redemption. Suffice to say, in conclusion to my tangent, I'm glad I watched the film. It rocked my world and taught me. 

I didn't learn it all right away, however. I needed a little reflection time, and gentle prodding from the Spirit. 

A few things stood out to me as I watched The Passion. The film documents the last hours of Jesus' life, from His betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to His resurrection three days later, with a few flashbacks to His childhood and time of ministry thrown in. 

From the get-go, Jesus is being beaten, harassed, spit upon, judged, insulted, and betrayed. He is being treated as less than human, yet just as the prophet Isaiah prophesied, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth."
I was struck by Christ's incredible humility throughout the film. I couldn't quite put my finger on precisely what made Him humble, but the humility shone from the character's portrayal of Jesus. Humility is something often difficult to pin down and understand, and thus a concept difficult to portray. But it was there, so clearly radiating from Jesus. He didn't just do something with humility, He was humble, everything about Him, His actions and His words. 

Another thing about Jesus in the film that stuck out to me was how Jesus didn't defend Himself. He was given so many chances to speak up against the lies spewed about Him. He had numerous opportunities to set the records straight, to explain who He really was, to get out of the situation, but He didn't. He didn't defend Himself, He allowed the Pharisees and Sadducee and people of the community to walk all over Him, to whip Him almost to death, to hurl insults, to kill Him. 

Now you might have put these two things together already, realized the connection between my perception of Christ's humility and His lack of defensiveness. I, however, can be on the slower side at times and failed to recognize the connection. 

Then I went running. I talk with God a lot when I run, and during this particular run I had quite a great deal on my mind. One of these was humility, and a few ways I had recently been challenged to respond with humility rather than defensiveness. 

When confronted, rather than explaining my side of the story or putting forth my point of view, the humble response would simply be to say, "I'm sorry," if that was the proper response, or simply listen and not fight back. 

See my desire to fight back, to defend myself, is rooted in pride. I want people to know my side of the story so that I look better, so I am heard. Maybe the stories being told are lies, or not complete truths, maybe it does feel unjust to not have my perspective out there, to hear me out. But it's prideful to be so defensive. Because why does it matter that people know the best about me? Why does that matter so much? Because I care far too much what others think of me, and if I allow that to rule me, then I am living in a pool of my own pride, into which I will sink deeper and deeper until it swallows me whole. 

The only hope is humility. In humility I can choose to not defend myself, because it doesn't matter what others think or say or do, what matters is that I am a child of the One True King. What matters is that I serve Him. What matters is that I am so confident and sure in Christ's love that what others think ceases to matter. 

As I ran and thought and prayed God helped me see, often humility is taking the road less traveled, the road of being trampled on, the road of not defending yourself, the road of letting people attack and not attacking back, sometimes not even putting up a wall or defensive shield. 

It's such a counter-cultural concept. We're told to stand up for ourselves. Letting someone take advantage of you, that's unheard of, that's weak. But maybe weakness is strength, and defensiveness-less is humility, and surrender is victorious. 

Because that's what Jesus did!
He was oppressed. He was afflicted. He was led to the slaughter and He did not open His mouth. He did not defend Himself, and when He cried out, it was to say, "Father, forgiven them, they know not what they do." 
Forgive the ones who were mocking, beating, torturing, and killing. Forgive them, turn the other cheek, surrender. Walk along the road less traveled, because it is the road to freedom. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Girl Behind the Mask

Crushing weight
Of a secret kept

Haunting fear
Someone may find out

Voice whispers
None ever can know

Always life
Hidden and veiled

Longing to
Be known but, fearing

To be seen
Girl behind the mask


Love descends
Breaking down the walls

Voice gently
Whispers, “I love you”

Cover ears
Blocking out the sound

Can't believe
Say, “I'm not worthy”

Louder the
Voice repeats, “you're mine”

Run away
Retreat to darkness

Return to
Familiar burdens

Secrets still
Hidden safe away

Still longing
To be known and free

Afraid of
What that would mean

Voice above
Again gently speaks

“I love you,
Girl behind the mask”


Eyes seeing
Tender love and care

Crack open
Doors of heart so closed

Light shined
On burdens long borne

Darkness dies
Light of life defeats

Truth is now
Believed, “I love you”

Secrets gone
Fears now wiped away

No longer
Girl behind the mask

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Always a question
Something oft inquired
Wondering and whying in those
Get-to-know-you games
Any superpower, yours to have
What would you be?
Seems a simple query
But just as the Titanic learned
Icebergs seem much
Smaller from above
Answering to “what
Superpower would you want?”
Speaks so much more,
Runs so much deeper
It's a fight or flight response
Invisibility, teleportation
What are you hiding from?
Super strength, unlimited power
Why, do you feel weak? Unworthy? Small?
My response to such
An inquiry
Wings or none, I don't care
Simply put, I long to be
What are you? Who do you wish to be?

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Positive Qualities of Destruction and Defeat

-cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and surrender to their authority 
-give up or hand over (person, right, or possession) typically on compulsion or demand
-abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to 
-put an end to the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking it
-defeat utterly

At face value, these don't seem like exceptionally positive, enjoyable, or really even moderately inviting terms. To hand oneself over, to abandon to emotion or influence, to be utterly defeated or put to an end...these are not things we generally want, pursue, or desire. 

But maybe destruction is beautiful, and surrender is sweet. 

There is a lot of destruction in the Old Testament, lots of battles and utter defeats. In one part of the book of Joshua, the Israelites are fighting the people of Ai. 
The book says, "For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai."
This verse does not sound or appear to be exceptional or spectacular or anything out of the ordinary at first glance. Joshua held up a javelin and the people of Ai were destroyed. Why does his arm matter and why are we glad a bunch of people were defeated? The awe-inspiring part of that verse is found at the very bottom of the thin, slightly crinkled page of my Bible after a little letter "a"  written after the word "destroyed."
The footnote reads, "The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them." 
To wholly surrender something to God, the Israelites destroyed it. It was an irrevocable act because the thing was gone, utterly defeated, obliterated. There was no going back, no taking back the thing from God. They fully gave something over to God with such an act of trust as destroying it and knowing God would come through when they could not come through for themselves. Wholly surrendered. 
Throughout the Old Testament the Israelites displayed a striking pattern of halfway following God's commands, ignoring God's commands, saying they were surrendering, and then going back on that and taking life into their own hands once again. Sound familiar to our lives today? 
Often God would tell them not to plunder, not to keep anything for themselves, yet time and time again they would keep a few cattle, some sheep and donkeys, saying it was "for God," so they could sacrifice it to Him, when all along the sacrifice He desired (and desires) is a contrite spirit, surrender and trust. 

God wanted total destruction because that meant total surrender, because then they couldn't take it back. 
How often do we do this in our lives? 
I see how often I do, especially with dreams and desires, future, friends, family. I open my hands, hold them open, my wants and life held out to God. I surrender. But the dreams are still in my palms, I can close my fists tight and take them back, the act of surrender not complete.  
It's about total abandon, giving in, handing over. Being utterly defeated, dying to ourselves, so that all that is left is God.
Because ultimately, His desires are greater, His dreams are brighter, and only when we completely surrender, utterly defeat, completely destroy, can we actually trust, can we actually give Him the sacrifice He desires.