Monday, June 27, 2016

On Watching (And interesting imagery about armpits)

My hair has been getting caught in my armpits lately. If all 600 pounds of my locks are loose and untethered, I will go to turn my head or look to see if it's safe to switch lanes on the interstate and it will pull because it's caught in the crease of my armpit.

I've been trying to grow my hair out for some time now. I was always that girl in school who would SWEAR she wasn't going to cut her hair and then would watch some reality show like Dancing with the Stars and Julianne Hough would cha-cha across the stage with her perfect coif and I'd be furiously googling photos to send to my best friend, who also manages my mane.

"I thought we were growing it out, Stephi," she'd say.

I know. I know. I changed my mind.

But recently, I've stuck to my guns. I've only gotten it trimmed and when people see me who haven't seen me in a while - or anytime I FaceTime with my favorite married couple in Cancun - they remark on how long it is.

A few months back, right before I left my previous position and transitioned to my new job, I got lice. The school I worked at is filled with sweet babies who love loving on you, but they sometimes come with friends... I'm not going to not hug a child and so I was found with lice. After several treatments of olive oil and shower caps and frying my skull from washing with Dawn dish soap, a coworker suggested I cut my hair.

"NO!" I semi-shouted. I'd worked too hard to get my hair this length. There was no going back.

And so, with my mermaid hair, I got rid of the lice and now am prone to getting it caught in my armpit.


I am reaching my one month anniversary at Back2Back. And it is a job filled to the brim of everything I've ever hoped for. I am learning new rhythms, gaining new sleeping patterns, and attempting to figure out what it looks like to output creatively approximately 8 hours a day. It's glorious and exhausting and I've never felt more full, professionally.

But I come home to an empty house at night. Sometimes Saturdays come and I stay at home and read into the night. And most of the time, I love it. Like I love my long, and still growing, hair.

But sometimes, I feel like I'm stuck in the armpit.


That's the thing about chasing after what you want and having the privilege of holding it in your hand; it's not going to make every other pain disappear. There will still be moments in your days filled with the aching for something that didn't come along with the bigger dream.

You still might struggle with depression. Or painstakingly complete homework assignments from your therapist. You will more than likely have to admit that it is not all sunshine and pure joy all the time.

I would like to be naive about how to treat hair with lice. But I am not.

I would like to know what it's like to have someone else to consider when planning, or not planning, a meal. But I do not.

And it's okay. Most every day, it's okay. Because my hair is growing. Because I have my dream job before I'm 30. Because there's a little boy in India I get to return to in a little over a month from now.

And ya'll? It is good. It's so sweet.

But, I have to remind myself there is space for me to still desire and pray and hope and watch for. I have to whisper to myself there will always be something more. Because if it were all to be mine, then what is there to look forward to? How could I trust in a King who delights in being all I need. Because He is. I don't like admitting it sometimes. There are moments I cover up in my stubbornness and think, "You won't be enough. I won't have it."

And He laughs. I'm sure of it. I'd like to think it's His pleasure to watch us being every inch of stubborn and controlling as possible, all the while thinking, go on, girl. We'll come to agree on this eventually.


What do you want - this very moment? Is it a new job? Or a new car? Maybe it's to be someone's Mrs. or to hear a developing voice whisper Mommy into your ear.

Maybe you want a dog, or to write a novel. Maybe you want to travel the world, learn to speak Spanish, fill up your passport.

Or perhaps, you just want to be able to rest.

Keep hoping for those things. Pray hard and diligently over every molecule of your desire. And watch for it. Watch for it as if you're expecting it.

Because isn't one of the best pieces of living for Him knowing that you can thank the Maker before He's gifted you this part of the story?


You're not alone in the wanting. I can promise you that. There will always be more. Always one more mile to go. And it's good that way, I think. Even when I pull out strands of my hair or end up falling asleep at 8.45 because I don't have someone to talk to.

I'm learning to be okay with what I have before me and within me. He's created me for just this very moment. You, too.

But let's keep watching.


Friday, June 10, 2016


Her face lit up my screen as I typed out words, lacing together a story, attempting to illustrate for future readers just what makes this little girl come alive.

Her eyes are this impressive combination of dark brown and creamy caramel. And they're laughing eyes. Her smile isn't one that stays on her lips, it spreads all the way to the pupil of her eyes. As I was sharing her story I couldn't help but think, stay glittering just like this, sweet one. Stay sweet and sure  of what you want out of this life.

Because you see, against the backdrop of a culture that is hell-bent on taking what does not belong to it, I can't help but look at the faces of the children I'm serving and not think of all the promise they have and how deeply I want them to be able to carry it through their lives. I want them to be on the cusp of 29, at their dream job, and not have to worry about how damaged they are and wonder if it shows in the cracks of their smiles.

I think about the college student who was raised within the confines of a life that set him up for success and somewhere along the line, he got the misconception that a passing stroke across his back was permission to enter where one must really hear a firm yes on before penetration. I think about the mugshot of his, flashing across news stations and social media outlets and all the ways people are rising up against and on behalf of him. 

I am disturbed.

In the midst of this I look up at the pictures on my desk and see a picture of the sweet boy I love that lives in India. There are days when I go before the Lord and I am so speechless with privilege of being able to love him that I just have to say, "Father, help me pray well for this boy, even when I can't find the words." These last days, though, I just lay verbage on a hamster wheel and let it spin and spin and spin - it's still spinning. Dear God, let him choose You. First, last, always. Let him chase you, Jesus. Allow him to be so enraptured by Your love for him and his love for You that he would only ever think and act, say and perform pure kindness.

I am not a parent. But I think about G and his dreams and his capabilities and I want them so desperately for him. I want him to remain good and kind and whole.

Last night I was watching a video on Facebook of a man who decided to attempt kidnapping a young, teen girl from her mother in a grocery store. I go red just typing that out now.

When did we become a race of humans that think everything is up for grabs?

I am a woman who, by the grace of God has never been snatched or stolen, beaten or physically broken. No one has mistaken a pat of friendliness for permission to assault. 

Yet I maintain my fury.

I've had just about enough of the taking.

Young man of privilege, from an area of my current city, do you feel remorse? I read her account of what you did to her, the ways you broke what wasn't even intended to be bent. Your forceful approach on something so sacred makes me ill. Are you sorry?

Will she ever go  out at night, again? Ever trust another man who looks at her for longer than .2 seconds? Will she ever be able to be intimate with a man who does, actually, love and respect and treasure her? 

Why did you feel it necessary to rob her of something never meant for you to begin with?

Man who certainly should know better, what were you thinking when you attempted to snatch a thirteen year old child from her mother

What made you think a mother, fierce and protective, fiery and in love with her child, wouldn't rip entire limbs off your body before she let you leave with her baby?

When did we become a society that welcomed entitlement in and slid into it like a second skin? Just who do we think we are?

Sweet girl, with the liquid chocolate eyes and dreams of being a chef - keep going. Because you are what you Father says you are. Valuable.

Young woman, recovering from assault of not just the body, but of the heart, soul, spirit - keep fighting. Surely you are one of the most prayed over women in the world right now. Keep fighting. Because you are not what the world says you are - disposable.

Thirteen year old child, doing what I used to love doing with my own momma - try to trust, again. Because you have lions protecting you.

Women - victims and advocates, fighters and frightened, voiceless and pissed off, we have names. And they have nothing to do with our hair color or pant size. Not one thing to do with the tightness of our clothing or the measurement of our cup size. We are not to be identified by our promiscuity or our virginity, by our self-defense skills or our affection. They are not associated with the level of sass we put out or whether or not we take shit from people.

We are not a product of our pasts or what someone else has decided we deserved. We are not an ornament for someone else's enjoyment and our soul's and their sparkle will be what change this world. And if we are going to continue to have to live in a world that is broken and abusive and insists we must listen to whistles and cat calls, "hey baby's" and risk the chance of slaps on the ass, then we better pray high and loud for Jesus to return - because, oh God, we need Jesus' return; we are crippled until His return. And we need to start speaking up for one another. I want to leave this world better, and more in love with the Savior, than I found it; I want to take part in a generation of women who stand on the front lines for each other and know brothers who flank their sisters on all sides. Let's stop slut shaming and name calling and fighting over who gets what, or who, and let's defend. Let's protect. Let us honor one another.

She is not a dog, stop whistling.

She is someone's child. Someone's best friend. Someone's sister. She is someone's future wife. A child's future mother. She is the daughter of a King.