"Some part of that island grew in us, like our hearts, still wild, untamed, and still clinging desperately to an unapologetic innocence."

be warned, i usually mull these entries over more before i publish them, but here goes....

today, like many days, i find myself longing for something a little strange, and perhaps a little silly.

there is this part of my heart, buried way deep down inside, that is just burning with love. a love for the past. its a silly cycle that i fall into on occasion. i enjoy reeling through the thousands of memories. of days that were just right. of places that were more beautiful than i could ever imagine. of people, of friendships, that i held so dear. call me reminiscent, and you'd probably be right, but its almost more than that. its a longing for a season of life that was so, so good.

like the time my friend matt and i sat at the top of a mountain, completely stunned by it's power and beauty. i can't tell you another time i've felt God in quite that way. or the weekends of my childhood, when all the marina kids would gather in the parking lot for massive games of kick-the-can and street hockey until we could no longer see in the dim parking-lot lights. or the time cara and i went running in colorado. we ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. and when we were done, collapsed in complete exhaustion on the early morning dew. or the time when ali and i took the horses to the back pasture, and let them truly run, and gunner ran so fast i could feel my heartbeat line up with the pounding of his hooves against the soft earth. or the time rachael and i ran through an icy parking lot laughing so hard that i truly though we would never stop. and the perfect summers, all eighteen of them. waking up late, and sailing out to the beach. laying on the warm sand, and letting the sun turn my skin to bronze. or the times last summer when we played ultimate frisbee in the field with glow bracelets to see each other in the dark. and when we were done, the coolness of the summer night set in, like a cool breath of relief from God. or the times in ludington, when we didn't have a care in the world, but how early we could get to the beach. when we basked in the glow of one another's company, just pleased to be in the presence of friends we cared so dearly for. or how about the summers when we walked for hours across the manitous. and how during those walks, dad bestowed his wisdom on us through the telling of stories we had heard a thousand times. but we listened anyway. and we loved it. and we grew to know that island like the back of our hands. and perhaps we loved it so much because some part of that island grew in us, like our hearts, still wild, untamed, and still clinging desperately to an unapologetic innocence.

those people. those places. those feelings. i carry them with me, and perhaps that is why i continually find it so hard to move past them. to understand in my heart, that i can never live them again. that although they were good and were precious moments in the expanse of time. i will never regain them. i get so frustrated. sometimes i feel as though i will never be that happy, that in awe, in wonder, at peace, passionate, in love ever again. and the truth is, i won't. i will never feel that way again because i cannot regain or recreate a moment so destined by God. so perfect in every format possible. those moments were for then. they were perfect because of who i was and who i was becoming. and now. they might not fit so perfect, like trying to make two puzzle pieces fit in my desperation, that i know, simply will not fit.

and its a cruel reality to wake up to. that things won't be the same. they won't ever be the same. but that doesn't mean i'm settling. i'm not settling for a half-life, but one different than i imagined. and its not filled with the places, people, and things that i once thought it ought to. its a life overflowing with brilliant, vivacious color. its a life filled with friendships more deep and meaningful than i ever thought possible. its a life filled with the beauty of a sleepy mid-west coastal town. a town i tried so desperately to run from. its a life more full of questions, affirmation, and possibilities than i ever thought possible.

and it terrifies me to step into it. to step into this life, this day, this moment, knowing full well that it will be very unlike anything i have ever experienced before. it will be scary and daunting. and i will often feel as though i'm teetering on the edge of a very high cliff. it will be full of people unlike any i have ever known. and they will challenge me. they will force me to grow. we will share memories and feelings and times and places. we will chase after God together. and some of them will let me down. and i will let them down. i will fail them when they need me most. i will fall so desperately short of the friendship they give in return. but. oh, there will be the rare occasion when i will rise. i will in God's strength be there. i will say the right thing, at the right time. and somehow fulfill that small part of God's calling for my life.

and when i visit those places i won't feel the same things because they've changed, and in many ways, so have i. that doesn't mean the the things i feel, the places i go, or the people i share them with will be less real, less important, or less meaningful. no, if anything, they will mean different things. i will cherish the late night talks more. i will be at peace in the strangest places. i will breathe deeper. i will rest harder. and i will love with more compassion.

the future is not better, but its not worse either. its different. different in a way so unmistakably beautiful it catches the breath in my lungs. and for a second, i put those times back into their small place in my heart, and i get on with life. i get busy stepping into this life i'm called to live. i step into the brilliant, vibrant life set before me, knowing it's the only one i've been given. it's the only one i've been called to, its all my own, designed just for me. so i throw it over my shoulders, like a coat, worn by time and good use. i carry it, because it fits. it reminds me of where i went. where i am. and where i'm going. and its comforting to carry with me. to know that those memories, unrecoverable, are still with me, guiding me towards a tomorrow filled even more so with love, passion, and beauty.

ordinary moments become extraordinary lives

as i woke up this morning, and the sun kissed my face for the first time in ages, i drew in a breath of warm air.

it's the kind of day when the breeze is warmer than the air. where the breeze is so soft, so gentle, and brings with it the promise of spring, even when the ice still crunches like glass beneath my feet. today is the kind of day when the sidewalks are cleared not by shovels, but by the strength of the sun, and the warming of the earth. today is the kind of day, that when the sun hits my skin, it drives deeper, and the rays touch my heart, and my soul absorbs them like a hungry child. today is the kind of day when the splash of water from roof tops does not bother me when it hits my hair and rolls down my face. today, the drops of water are promises. the promise of life. the promise of rebirth, of renewal. today is the kind of day that i walk the two and a half blocks to the doors of a building where the people of God meet. today is the kind of day that when i walk, i arch my neck out, and i reach toward the sun. today is the kind of day when i see God's covenant with Noah. when i know that my God is a God of truth, that he holds firm to his promise. today is the kind of day when i know that spring will come. that this time of waiting, of slow, painful growth will soon come to an end. and i will burst forth from the ground, renewed, re-birthed.

today is the kind of day when God reveals to me the spiritual nature of his physical creation. that when the sun is out, my soul is deeply moved. or that when i am near water i feel so terribly close to the heart of God that it frightens me. or that when i stand on a mountain in colorado, the rocks cry out his name. all of creation longs for renewal, for rebirth, for the spring-time green of new life.

i am terrified. not so much of dieing, but of never having truly lived.

this life, this one small life we have been given is so throughly filled with abundance. we have only to experience the promise of spring or the power of creation. this life. this one small life is worth living. but not half-heartedly. if this life is a life of abundance, then this life is worth living out every small moment. this life is worth living out the insignificant moments, that become significant lives. this life, this one small life is worth every breath we are given.

the hebrew word for "breath" is "ruah". but the english translation loses it's depth. ruah means air-in-motion, life, spirit.

every breath we take is filled with motion. the motion of a God who is among us. who dwells is every small moment of our lives. every breath is filled with the motion of a God who drives our roots deeper, our arms wider, our hearts larger. every breath, every moment.... our lungs are filled with the living God.

every breath we take is filled with life. not a half-life. not a life meant to trudge through. not a clean orderly life. not a life that is merely an ends to a means. no. our breath is filled with abundant life. a life so worth living that we are designed for it. a life so worth living that God put his son on a cross for it. we are given this life for a purpose, to live it. to live it abundantly. to live in a way that we dare to collect the ordinary, well-lived moments, and gather them into an extraordinary life.

every breath we take is filled with the spirit. the very spirit of God. the spirit that empowers us to live a bold, full life. the spirit of a God who wants more for his people. the Spirit of the sovereign Lord who anoints us to preach good news to the poor. to bind up the broken hearted. to proclaim freedom for captives and release prisoners from darkness. this is the spirit that calls us to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. this is the spirit that gives us a call. to rebuild the ruins of a broken people. to restore hearts long devastated. to renew the everyday moments that have been devastated for generations.

so this day. this breath. every day. every breath is worth living. you child. you are an oak of righteousness. you. you are a planting of the Lord, for the display of his splendor. spring is upon us, and the year of the Lord is urgent. so i challenge you. not to live a loud life. a crazy untamed life. or a life that glitters and gleans. but a life that is average in the eyes of the world, and beautiful in the eyes of God. God wants to work in you. in today. in this breath. in this moment. in every day. every breath. every moment. these moments are becoming an extraordinary life. live it abundantly.

Isaiah 61

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.

8 "For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed."

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.