closing a chapter

Everyone knows the analogy that our life is like a book and different events and time periods constitute as chapters. Life up until Jr. High is a chapter. Jr. High is normally its own horrible chapter, high school is another, and I’m getting ready to finish another chapter entitled college.

9 days. That’s pretty much all I have left. That’s not to say I don’t have a few large papers and tests within the next 9 days, but still, 9 days? Am I really that close? I’m writing the last few paragraphs of this chapter, and soon, very soon, it will be done. I’ll move on to the next chapter, to that next phase of my life where the clan will see me as a “real” person and I have to step up and get a job or something like that. But as I finish up, I’ll reminisce. I remember the good (and bad) times, I’ll think about the amazing people I’ve met, the incredible opportunities I’ve had, and the ways in which I’ve grown into this woman God has created.

It’s gone fast. Ask any college student, and they’ll tell you that it feels like the days fly by, the semesters are over before we know it, and soon, we’re all standing in our ugly black gowns with these ridiculous cardboard hats staring at what lies before us. And maybe we still feel a little unprepared. Maybe we wish we had just a little more time to learn a few more things. Or maybe we’re so ready to leave, even though we know in our heads that three and a half or four years doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of everything we “need” to know in life.

So we walk off of the college bubble campus with our little degrees and admit that we’re still a little clueless. I’m not even close to knowing what my parents know. Maybe someday I’ll get there. Maybe someday I’ll be as wise as my mom. But for right now, as life decisions smack me in the face, I’ll seek out those who’ve been there. I’ll not rely on my own measly “education” and instead look to the source of strength that got me this far and will carry me in the future. God knows my future. So even when I get that dreaded question, I can still feel at peace with the idea that I will be in the “real world” in less than a month.

I’ll enjoy these 9 days, and know that God’s guiding me forward into the next crazy chapter of my life.


what i really want for christmas

I gave my mom my Christmas list. The things that were on it are inconsequential. They don't matter at all today.

What I wish for today is wisdom, for my friends as well as me. There have been more moments in this last week where I wish I had something to say to a broken-hearted friend than I ever remember having before. In the words of Emma, "we all suck." And there are days where that rings true. I have seen the hearts that we have for each other in the past few weeks, and yet, we are all still powerless to make a difference unless we pray, unless we look to the one that changes lives.

It's not easy, being a good friend. Wisdom doesn't just come. You have to chase after it.

I just wish today, that I knew what to say and when to say it. I wish I knew when to offer chocolate and when to leave someone alone. I wish I always knew exactly what to do.

But I'm an imperfect person. I don't always know. And yet, that doesn't discredit the fact that I love these people in my life with everything that I am.

So, Father, teach me what to say and how to comfort the way you do. Because I'm sick and tired of the hurt and the pain and the not-knowing. Help me and all those I love to look to you first.


dear obama

Maybe I didn’t know whom I wanted to win the election. Maybe I’m still not sure how I feel about the changes you want to make to this country. But maybe, I then remember that change can be a good thing. And so, future President of my country, I want you to know that I am praying for you. I have felt a little helpless about the whole political situation for a few years. And yet, I have slacked in the one thing that I could do, pray. But no more. Obama, I may not agree with you but I promise you this, I will pray for you. I know my God is still in control. He can work through you or in spite of you. I don’t want you to fail. I want to see good change. And I pray that that is exactly what you will try to bring about.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. I’m disenchanted with America. And yet, I know that this country has provided me with incredible opportunities. So, as I spend your first three months of office in one of the poorest and AIDS wracked countries in the world, I will remember where I am from and that you are know the President, and I will be praying for you.

The red-headed Navajo


chris rayis and little kids

I’ve had this conversation with my mom. That conversation where you talk about music, and how it’s so strange that we can remember the exact words to songs when they come on the radio or a cd player, even if it’s been years since we’ve heard them. It’s crazy as to what strange memory ability our brain has. When you hear songs that you know you know, that you haven’t heard in a while, it’s like a little piece of the past. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s nice.

Songs hold emotional value for me. I attach them to things, to people, to how I felt when I first heard them. Songs are special. They’re more than words. Sometimes they mean more than words. They take you back somewhere to a specific moment in time and help you remember.

This summer held a great many number of songs for me. Most were fun, there were a few that were serious, and I will always associate certain things to Arizona. But the week I came home, I went to church and sat in my seat next to my parents for another “typical” service. And then, Chris Rayis started playing, and singing.

It was a well-known song, and I think I’d heard it before, but I never stopped to listen. That’s when songs take root for me, when I stop to listen. And so that Sunday in August, back home in Ohio after a long and wonderful summer, I listened to Chris. I love this kid. I love the way he plays and sings with everything he has. He touched my heart that day, and I could not keep tears from coming. He sang “Come to Jesus.” The simplicity of the song and the words struck such a different chord from the chaos of the summer. It hit home. Come to Jesus.

I was taken back to that moment this weekend, as I watched and heard a different group of little people sing this song. I took a much needed road trip with Emma to Grand Rapids to visit our dear friend Anna at Calvin. And at Anna’s church on Sunday, this wonderful group of elementary kids stood bravely in front of the church and sang the exact same song. I couldn’t help myself. Again, the tears rolled down my face as I watched their innocent little hands do the motions and listened to their amazing little voices as they sang as passionately as Chris does. It was incredible. It was emotional. And I remembered that in spite of the craziness of graduation and looking forward to Africa and writing a crazy number of papers, and thinking about different people in my life, that what I need to do is crawl back to my Jesus and rest in His arms. And I won’t do that just today, but everyday, until I kiss the world goodbye.

*weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die
raise your head for love is passing by
come to Jesus, come to Jesus, come to Jesus, and live

now your burden’s lifted and carried far away
his precious blood has washed away the stain
so sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, and live

like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to crawl
remember when you walk, sometimes we fall
so fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, and live

sometimes the way is lonely and steep and filled with pain
so if your sky is dark and pours the rain
they cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, and live

when the love spills over and music fills the night
and when you can’t contain your joy inside
then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, and live

with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye
then go in peace and laugh on glory’s side
and fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, and live

fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, and live*

Thank you, Chris Rayis, for the CD you made earlier this year and for recording Come to Jesus. It has been a great comfort to me this year. You have a wonderful talent, and I have no doubt that God is going to use you for his glory with that wonderful gift.