Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Seen and Heard


I stared at the sky. This was one of the few, maybe the only time of year I could see the night so clearly. Even with the bright lights around the field, the stars glowed, more and more appearing as I kept watching. The stars came after I walked down the edge of the lake, watching the last of the day's sunlight reflected on the water and wondering at God's creation.

I thought of the girls in my small group, and the rest of the girls in our youth group. I thought of the girls who I wished were there. I thought of the hearts of the people I know, their words, their faces, their lives. I thought of my own life, the things I've been through. In the moments of the sunset, the light of the stars, the wonder of the magnificent, I wondered why.

Why did God step down, leaving behind the robes of majesty, the worship of angels, and the glory of Heaven, to touch our sickness, heal our disease, redeem our lives? Every sinful heart offered salvation. Every good girl given grace. Every heartbreak connected to healing.

We are so small. We don't think God, in all His majesty, His glory, His hugeness would ever see tiny, invisible us.

But He does.

He sees us. He doesn't make awkward eye contact and then look away as quick as he can, unimpressed by what he sees. He doesn't avoid us, or evade our phone calls.

He sees us. He doesn't look down or turn up his nose. He doesn't walk away, judging our weakness.

He sees us. Invisible us.

He hears us. He doesn't sit next to us and then check His phone for more important things every two seconds. He doesn't excuse Himself to get another slice of cheesecake (though I would understand if He did; cheesecake is pretty fantastic).

He hears us. He listens to the out pour of our broken hearts, the tears flowing from pain.

He hears us. Small, tiny, insignificant us.

Because to Him, we are not small. We are not insignificant or invisible. We may be broken, battered, bruised. We may have secrets and a rotten past. We may not be perfect (we aren't).

But, in Him, we are seen and heard.

And we are accepted and loved.

The creator of the stars, painter of every sunset, feeder of every sparrow, sees you. He hears you. He loves you.

Look up at the stars and know you are known.

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Friday, October 09, 2015

The One Thing I'd Tell Her

The high school girls small group more than doubled when last year's eighth graders moved into ninth grade.

I didn't know how going from three or four girls each week to 8-9 would go. Would we have to start over the book we'd been working through during the summer? How would the new girls and older girls get along?

That first night we sat down, all squished together on the sofas that have been in the youth room for as long as I can remember. About five of the new ninth grade girls squeezed together on a couch made to hold three people. I've known most of them for two or so years, but some are brand new to the youth group. I make sure to remember all their names though. Names are important.

We start off with an ice-breaker. Age, school, favorite book, kind of shampoo. A few times, I want to get on my soapbox and rant about how they really ought to read more books, but I hold back. I probably shouldn't traumatize the newbies on the first night.

Once the fun parts are over, we start discussing the book we're going through. It's at this point I start really watching the girls faces. I imagine what they've been through to reach this point, though I don't really know much of their stories. There's so much I want to say to them. So much I want to learn about them. So much their hearts need to know.

I let the actual adult leader in the group do most of the talking. For now, they don't need to hear me ramble on about how much God loves them, how beautiful they are, how much they matter, how amazing they are as they are. Later, yes. But right now I just want to know them, know where and who they are, know what they're passionate for, who they love.

But what if I had only one chance to speak to these girls? No chance to hear each of their beautiful hearts? What would I say?

I think I would start with you are loved. You are valued, accepted, treasured, and wanted by God. Your worth is not based on your grades, the the number of inches around your waist. Your beauty isn't defined by your height, weight, clothes, hair color--your beauty is made up of the life inside your soul, the heart behind your words, tears, and smiles. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of acceptance. Not because of what your friends think, what a boy thinks, what your parents think, or what your grades are, but because of what God made you to be.

You are valuable because you were made valuable. That will never change.

Hopefully, I'll get more than one chance to tell them that.

This post was inspired by this post. Check it out :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

September is Over, October is Here

I was up until one the other night, so there was a moment when I looked down at the clock before going to bed and saw this:

This small box in the bottom right corner of my laptop screen was the biggest relief. Not that September was the worst thing ever, but there was so much going on the whole month and, unlike most months, it did not go by fast.

But it's over now, and I can look back and say I did productive things! September is one of the busiest months of the year for me, and October is one of my favorite months, so I'm going to share what I learned in September and what I'm looking forward to in October (spoiler alert: it's not Halloween).


What I learned

1. I work better with a deadline

If I absolutely have to get something--a speech, a novel, a blog post--done by a specific time, I will get it done. Loose deadlines leads to procrastination and scrolling Pinterest and watching Once Upon A Time reruns. And then when I realize I should probably do the thing I should've done a week ago.and it's a big mess. Solid deadlines are my friend.

2. Sometimes I have to take a step back

If I spend too much time worrying about things that ended, things that won't last, or things that will never be, I can't think about anything else and I get really overwhelmed. It affects my entire mood and actions towards other people and then I feel even worse. I have to take a step back, write a journal entry, take a break from what's worrying me and move on.

What I'm looking forward to

1. Sweater Weather

It's 71 degrees outside right now and I couldn't be happier. Fall fashion is my absolute favorite. I wore boots for the first time since March yesterday, and I swear boots make me feel more confident and just happier in general. Jackets and booties and scarfs and oranges and plums (the colours, not the foods). I'm so done with 95+ temperatures and I am so ready for leaves to fall and for 65 degree weather.

2. Writing Freedom

I had a writing deadline for the last of September, so for like, half the month I was panicking about finishing a bunch of things with my novel. I basically couldn't do any other writing related thing because all my writing time, including blogging, was devoted to editing my novel  Now that September is over, I get to take a little break from my really important novel and have fun with blogging and working on different projects instead of edits until 2am. 

3. Fall Retreat

One week from day, I am going with my youth group to Sky Ranch and I'm so excited because I didn't get to go last year. There'll be a shaving cream war, sleeping in really cold cabins, amazing services, and decent enough camp food, not to mention my ah-mazing friends. (Plus none of my friends will have phones so they won't be snapchatting the whole time like usual.)

Autumn is my favorite season and I'm so glad it's finally here after a deathly long summer (in case you didn't know, Texas summers start in April and don't end until October/November). That's what's up with me, so why don't you tell me what's up with you? Let me know in the comments and I will love you forever.