Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Letter from Me.

It has been a long time since I've sat down and just wrote directly to you. I've been working on a series of letters these last couple months as part of a bigger project I've been dreaming of and praying over - and those will continue to show up - but I think I needed to just write and be extremely raw.

I've been looking at this screen for some time, watching the cursor blink in and out of vision, attempting to formulate a letter for where I'm at right now; it won't come. The words aren't particularly cooperative lately . . .

If you were to find my journals lost on a sidewalk somewhere you would hear a girl who is desperately praying for a break in the darkness, for a change of season, for different desires. Because this season feels heavy. There is a weight to these days.

So I probably could've sat here a little longer and come up with a letter subject with which to disguise the feelings I'm having behind it, but I won't.

I leave for India in twenty-six days. In exactly twenty-six days I will be doing something I swore I would never do; if you would've told me at 18 that I would one day willingly go across the world to share Jesus with Indian children I would have laughed in your face - or vomited. But it will be a reality in less than a month. And I am feverish with prayer that the Lord just explodes - that He just wrecks me in the most incredible way. Because, guys, I want to want His plan and story and authorship for my life more than anything I could attempt to desire for myself.

And He's slowly doing it -- as I knew He would. For the first time since I can remember in my twenties a relationship is not something I am losing sleep over. I still desire it, but it feels so much less urgent than it ever has. And I feel free.

I wish I could say every area of my life feels free . . . but things are dark right now. There is purpose, I know. I also realize, for the first time in maybe ever, that He is good - even though things don't feel really good right now. I find myself looking for Him in these days. And I find Him.

I suppose I didn't turn this into a letter of some sort with a fancy, spectacular title because most of the time I do not feel fancy or spectacular. And that's okay. I don't need to feel those things, or be those things, to have a good life.

I also think this letter is the most bland I've written because honesty can't always be flowery and vast in its vocabulary. I want there to be freedom in being able to say "this is incredibly hard right now" and people hear and understand it the same way as they would if I engaged that Creative Writing degree I worked so hard for.

In this season right now, writing feels harder than it ever has -- and I think there is a lesson to be learned in that. And I'll be honest -- sometimes the lessons overwhelm me and I just want to throw my hands up and say "Just quit with all these things I am to be learning, please." But who really wants to be stagnant and unlearning?

I don't know what the days will bring. I'm unsure of what the school year ending will lead to. I am unaware of how India and its children and my King will change me. I don't know when the darkness will lift - but I know it will.

Life can hurt. Be kind to each other. We're all fighting a hard battle.


Monday, May 11, 2015

I Wish My Students Knew . . .

I remember, not so long ago, walking into that classroom and believing that I had everything within me to teach and mentor middle-school aged students with ease. How hard could it really be?

I was so terribly wrong.

Stepping up to the front of the classroom I was convinced I would teach them so much; I would help them grow; I would help mold them into better boys and girls.

Who knew the stepping up would entail the breaking down of an attitude that claimed to be the wise teacher. Who knew the stepping up would mean becoming the one who was taught.

I could write one thousand letters to the students I've worked with the last three years and it would never wholly cover all the important and invaluable things I've learned.

Because here's the thing - when you decide to teach, when you decide to graduate from school and return to the classroom, you will educate, but you will continue to receive an education, too.

There will be more like this - because there are just too many small humans who've wrecked me in the best ways to only write one; here's where it will start, though.

You are every kind and good thing I've ever hoped people would see in me.

You pulse talent with every flicker of your hand and stomp of your foot.

You have the sort of infectious smile and laugh that I am sure tunes the soundtrack of Heaven.

I see me in you. In the way you don't want people to see you cry, in the way you want to make sure your tribe is good and secure, in the way you listen when we ask you to.

You have the voice and style and grace to live in the spotlight. I surely hope you change the world with it.

Meeting you was one of the greatest occurrences of my little life.

You challenge me to be kinder, to be wiser, to think of myself far less than what I do.

Did you know I admire you? The way you love people and want people to know they matter -- because they matter so, so much.

Sometimes I'll hear you laugh or give grace to your classmates and I choke up a little -- you are the little sister I never had, the child I love the way I imagine a parent does, the heart I want to protect and nurture and help tend.

I want you to be a game changer; for the East side of Dayton, for our heart of a state in this country, for our world.

I believe you will set this place on fire with your determination and wildly free love.

I love you. I appreciate you.

Thank you for changing my heart, making me better, helping me to know what love actually is.

Fight for who you are.

Stay true to the desires of your heart.

Don't conform. Dear God, don't fall in line.

I am wholly convinced your creation was on purpose, full of purpose, and laced with world changing abilities.

I cannot wait to see your heart light up this small spot on the map.

I believe in you.

Goodness, I am for you.

Thank you for changing me. Thank you for trusting me.

Thank you.