when love looks nothing like you thought it did

in the nine months i’ve been out of liberia, i’ve spoken countless times of the deep ache that comes with saying goodbye. there are moments when i miss liberia and her children so strongly it takes my breath away, where the loss and all the emotions that come with it feel as real and true as the hot blood running through my veins.

i miss liberia. a lot. i miss my kids. a lot. my arms feel empty and my soul split in two, missing its other half that lies an ocean away. 

sometimes my ache consumes me, and sometimes, i forget.
my kids are hurting, too. they’re aching, too. they’re crying, too.

i recently got a few letters from some of the girls in liberia, and what they wrote nearly broke me. “i love you so, so much deep in my heart.” “i will never stop loving you until God takes my life from me.” “when i sit by myself i think about you and cry.” “please come back to me.”

i read their words and feel the tears sting my eyes. i long to gather them into my arms and press my lips to their foreheads and let love like a hurricane somehow heal their heart wounds. i long. oh, how i long.

and though they be but little, their love is fierce, and i smile proudly at the thought. because i can remember a time when feeling was a risk, and emotions were held at bay, and now there is freedom in love, through love. because of love.

because this:: this is what love looks like. it’s tender words that cut sharp as a blade. it’s longing and aching and waiting and missing. it’s grit and guts and mess and heart, and it hurts sometimes, but it hurts because it’s real. it’s brave and it’s furious, and it’s glory because it gives us a glimpse into a kingdom coming to earth. love anything deep and true enough, and it will hurt you. 

but it’s never a wound that can’t be repaired. by Love.
though it injures, it also heals us. it wounds, and then it binds us up. it’s full of mystery and a beauty that is sacred, and it reminds me that the ache and hurt are holy, somehow, even if i cannot understand it.

the answer to love is always more love. always, always more love.

                                                [Photo by Hamed. Al-Raisi, Creative Commons]

someone once said, “find what you love and let it kill you”, and i agree. let it hurt. let it rip that beating heart of yours wide open. let it spill out and spill over and make you get your hands a little dirty.

and then–allow it to heal you the way in which only Love can do.

a new normal: a SWL post

hi, lovelies! i just wanted to let you know that i have a brand new post up on the So Worth Loving blog + i’d love for you to give it a read. an excerpt from my post is below, and you can read it in its entirety on the So Worth Loving site. thanks, guys! xo

I’d sit alone in my quiet bedroom, staring at the ceiling, trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with me. I felt too much, and I felt it all at once. Too emotional, too sad, too scared, too anxious. It felt like I was going crazy, like I was losing control of my emotions and my mind. I had wanted to come home and find myself again, to resume my normal life, but suddenly I had no idea what normal even was anymore. 



on being human

hello, my fabulous followers! just wanted to let y’all know that i’ve got a new post up on the So Worth Loving blog about emotions and this beautiful mess called life. hop on over and give it a read, why don’t you?

“Each one of is created to feel and experience and breathe and cry and laugh and ache and question and long and love and live.” get out there and do it. life is waiting for you! xo

eat the mystery

a few weeks back, i found myself re-reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Spirit-filled and poetic, her words were like water for my thirsty soul.

and recently, i find myself going back to a particular passage, one i have underlined in ink and even copied into the pages of my own journal::

“when we are despairing, we can choose to live as Israelites gathering manna. for forty long years, God’s people daily eat manna–a substance whose name literally means ‘what is it?’ hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. they fill on that which has no meaning. more than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don’t comprehend. they find soul-filling in the inexplicable. they eat the mystery…and it is ‘like wafers of honey’ on the lips.” (page 22)

they eat the mystery. they choose to trust even when they do not understand. they open their mouths and let Him fill them with what He sees fit.

oh, that my faith were as deep! i so often resent the mystery because it doesn’t fit into my neat little boxes. i strain to understand and, if i cannot, i push it aside, choosing to gobble up instead that which i can explain–even though i know it will not satisfy.

but what if i welcome the mystery? what if i stop asking why and how and when and instead let Him fill me?
i may not always understand that which God gives me. i may not be able to explain ache and the pain, the longing, the discontent. i may not have answers for the things i have seen and experienced and walked through.

but if i trust that He is good, i can trust that what comes from His hand is as well. if i choose to see His goodness and His grace instead of the circumstance or feeling, i too could eat the mystery. and it shall taste sweet. 

in the book of Ezekiel, God gives him the mystery, feeds him the manna::
then i looked, and i saw a hand stretched out to me. in it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. on both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
and he said to me, “son of man, eat what is before you…” (2:9 – 3:1)

Ezekiel’s manna came in the form of a scroll. it took on the shape of lament and mourning and woe. and God still asked him to eat of it.

so i ate it, and it tasted sweet as honey in my mouth. (3:3)

Ezekiel trusted that God was good, and so he decided that what came from Him was good as well. even a scroll filled with sorrow.
Ezekiel chose to eat the mystery, digest what he did not understand.
and God made it good.

so much of this life is mystery. we walk through days and circumstance and emotion, and some of it hurts, and we cry out “why, Lord, why?”
and though i believe He has compassion, and He understands our human hearts,
i also believe there are times when the only answer He gives is to hold out His hand, offering us the scroll, the manna, that which seems to make no sense.

and if we listen closely, i believe we will hear Him saying, “eat the mystery, child. trust me. i make all things good.