something beautiful

something beautiful



Did you mean it when you said you want to
see all the thoughts that I bury so deep?
Did you want to hear the screams? They’re bouncing
off the walls of every crevasse in this
place. What is this place? I’m not sure. But it’s
dark and cold and all I want is something
beautiful to come in and stay a while.

I hear you sometimes. You’re walking outside
the halls of this place, whatever this place is,
and I’m banging on the doors, begging for
light and air, but I don’t think anyone
can hear me. Maybe it’s silent, maybe
there’s no noise at all; but then why are my
eardrums bleeding from all the screaming?

It’s not as bad as you’d think, in the dark.
I keep a flashlight in my pocket; if
I search the walls for long enough I can
find a poor crack to let in the warmth. Warmth.
It comes when I see that flicker behind
your eyes that means you understand, that
you found something extraordinary

In this dark place. And now, look at you, I
wasn’t expecting that. You’re pulling up
the floorboards, revealing beams of light
underneath. We’ll make this place our own; we’ll
put in glass so the light gets through, put in
windows. And now I can see that the screams
weren’t screams; they were birds singing.

Something beautiful was already here;
I only lacked the light to see it. I
let the darkness change songs into screams. Your
screams were a song all along, you tell me.
You heard my song, opened the door to this
place, showed me how to let the light in. We
dance on glass floors and revel in its grace.



- MaryShelley


i know what you're thinking

i know what you're thinking



I know what you're thinking
beautiful thing
as you lie awake in the dark with your shining eyes
rivers of gold stardust tears running down your cheeks
dripping onto the floor and making it glow
like your heart did
before the world broke your trust

I know what you're thinking
glorious thing
as you wonder what the point is
why we wake each day
and go to work
or go to school
or go to parties
or watch videos on the internet
a n y t h i n g
to numb the pain
to take away the feeling
the sharp edges
of the broken things

but you,
beautiful, glorious thing
you are better off getting hurt
you are better off crying
you are better off when the broken things make you bleed
because it means you can feel
it means you haven't lost that wondrous gift you were born with

it means you haven't lost your soul

I know what you're thinking
beautiful thing
as you lie awake in the dark with your shining eyes
I know that you want to give up

d o n ' t.

the world needs you
because you are
our only
h o p e


- abbiee

verbs

verbs



this is for you
whether you're the
adventurer
dreamer
romantic

//

pray
pray for yourself, all the mess you're wrestling with
pray for them, all the broken hearts and bravest souls in your life
pray for our nation, because God can do a work in any situation
& when you're done,
learn to pray for God's will above all else.

be
be thankful for what you have
be full of hope in the silence around you
be full of passion when the noise is crushing you
& ultimately, be faithful, available, and teachable.

grow
grow in your strengths and foster creativity
grow in the Lord - learn His Word and His very nature
grow in your relationships with other humans
& grow enough to get outside of your comfort zone.

give
give of your time and talents - they're not to be hoarded
give from what you have
give without expecting anything back
& give beyond what you could give in your own strength.

love
love the other
love the broken
love the family around you until they see Him in you
love the friends and acquaintances surrounding you
& love until your heart grows three sizes.

go
go to school, work, or your own home
go to the places God has called you
go to the vulnerable places in relationships that stretch you
go into the wild unknown
& go be a light in a dark world.

trust
& trust God to grow what you have planted in faith; it won't go to waste.

~Madeline

Make Art

Make Art




Make art.

There come times in our lives when we hit a dry spell in creativity.

We may not write more than a few lines at a time.
We may not paint, or draw, or take photos.
We may not create music or write songs.
We may not dance.

The older we get, the more our focus can shift away from making the art that awakens our spirits, instead scattering toward the dozens of responsibilities and tasks required of us as societal beings.

From high school, in which we often feel pulled in five different directions (school, family, friends, activities, work), to college, in which the number of directions increases (add internships, rushing, a new environment, facing the world by yourself), to early adulthood, in which we wonder how the adults in our lives ever made it past twenty-five, we feel ourselves slipping into patterns of mundanity and routine. We make the sacrifices of our time that we feel are necessary. Education, paying bills and providing for a family or sustaining yourself, taking care of others—these are our priorities. Creating beautiful, moving, or joy-inspiring things are nice, yes, but unnecessary to life. Or so we think.
But we forget that art is not just about creating a tangible piece of work—a creation of colors, a world made of words, a melody of our own madness. These things are beautiful, and needed, but they are only the product of the essence that is art.

Art is love.

It is helping a little girl feel safe.

It is teaching a boy the difference between bravery and bravado.

It is treating people with less wealth and social standing with respect and honor. It is treating people with more wealth and social standing with respect and honor.

It is the honoring of all races.

It is the honoring of your mother and father.

It is the honoring of yourself.

It is the honoring of God.

It is calling beauty forth where it was dormant and hiding.

You want to know the meaning of life? This is your highest calling: You called into the dynamic co-creation of the cosmos. This breath is your canvas and your brush. These are the raw materials for your art, for the life you are making. Nothing is off limits. Your backyard, your piano, your paintbrush, your conversation, Rwanda, New Orleans, Iraq, your marriage, your soul. You’re making a living with every step you take.

Jon Foreman

                                                                                                                                            ~Hannah W.

boys.

boys.

















there's been something on my heart for a while now. boys. they've been on my heart and in my mind but not in the way one would assume. i am friends with them, they know they have my trust. with trust comes vulnerability and heaviness. they know i will hold them at their weakest but who will hold me when i can't bare all their secrets anymore?

let me share something with you that they share with me.

boys are insecure.

like girls they worry about the way they look. it's the little things they do that i've picked up on that have triggered me to point the gun at them and ask if they are insecure. the way they look in the rear-view mirror and adjust their hair as they say, "my hair looks bad." or the way they tilt their face when we're taking a picture together to get the perfect angle. "take it again, i look bad in that one."

are you happy with who you are? the way you look? are you confident in who you are?

their answers are long. always. but more often than not the answer is no.

i've been going to the gym, i want better arms and thicker legs. my body needs to look amazing because my personality isn't that great. society makes me feel like i have to have a six-pack. i wish it was okay and i didn't have to worry about these things. there's a huge demand for girls ages 21-28 and that's a small amount of the population which means I need to step up my game. i know i'm good looking but i'm just okay. nope, im not handsome. my personality sucks. i could always look better and be better. i need to work on who i am as a person.

i've heard it all. it's all sad. before i starting paying attention to this matter i thought boys were confident. i didn't think that they cared as much as we do about self-image.

boys. 

who can they tell these things to but themselves and the girls they trust? living in fear that their buddies will be boys about these kinds of things, so they don't bring it up. that's why my heart has sunk. boys have all these insecurities they hold within themselves and no one to talk about it with. girls have other girls to talk about these things with but boys don't have boys.

if boys talked about their insecurities they fear they would sound like girls. "stop being such a girl." don't blame boys for being emotionally unavailable and guarded. they have their reasons. but if one of them ever comes up to you and starts talking. listen and support them. that is the most vulnerable thing they could do.

everyone deals with self-image and self-love issues. it's hard to love yourself in a world that points out your flaws and tells you that you can't, and won't, couldn't and shouldn't. but that's what the world does. it points out your flaws, you must yell to the world that you are beautiful, no one else is going to do that for you.

it'll mean more when you yell, "I'M  BEAUTIFUL!" from the mountains than if the world were to say it.



- vanessa 

suffering, doubt, and the peace that surpasses it all

suffering, doubt, and the peace that surpasses it all














It is the first week of October.

I am crying in the parking lot of Whole Foods. My best friend has just lost her infant nephew.

He had made his entrance into the world far too early, but he came out fighting. He was so little, barely a pound, but there were so many people praying, nothing bad was going to happen to this baby. He was going to make it and time would fly and he would be a chubby-cheeked toddler, an absolute miracle, and a testament to the healing power of God. No one thought otherwise.

We were so sure.

He was here ten days, but then he went home.

Beautiful things tend to do that, you know.

My forehead is pressed into the dashboard, body over knees, my whole being a tangle of hot tears and sobbing because this wasn't supposed to happen. The world around me has taken on a daydream feel, but one with nightmare edges that curl and twist with the weight of a broken reality.

My heart is aching. I long to do something, be of some comfort to my friend, but she is hundreds of miles away, but not even the distance can contain the devastation of an outcome that makes you feel like hope slipped right through your fingers and left tremblings whys in its place.

It's been a few months and my friend still hurts because that kind of wound just doesn't heal and I want to hunt down the answers for her questions, but I've walked that road of wondering and wandering and I know it's like fighting the current. Exhausting.

She asks how my sister-in-law and her unborn baby are doing. And I flinch because “They're doing great. Oh, what are they having? A boy. Yeah. I'm going to have a nephew.” We both rejoice in the good news, but my words taste like salt and sting my lips because I remember how excited we were that we both would be aunts at the same time.

My mother takes pictures of twins and their happy parents. I remember when these toddlers came too soon, barely born and yet on death's doorstep. I remember how myself and everyone I knew hit their knees to intercede for these little ones and they made it.

They made it and I'm so happy, but the balloon of joy bumps the edges of a ceiling full of questions.

And my friend still hurts.

There was a time a few years ago when my mind was full of relentless questions. These whys and how comes were all I could see and they threatened to consume me. Through the fog of confusion, I lost sight of the heart of God, started to doubt he was for me, not against me, started to kind of wonder if He was really for and not against anyone. Never stopped believing, totally dedicated to Jesus, but constantly, constantly, spinning the question over in my mind; is God really good?

I searched and read through every apologetic text and blog I could get my hands on, but the brush-away answers never seemed to satisfy, only aggravated me because yeah, they might explain away some scenarios, but they weren't telling me who God even is.

The world's aching and brokenness just left me baffled. Was God an angry tyrant, unconcerned with our wretchedness, distant and far above it all because, after all, we do it to ourselves. Or was He the One so many called Abba Father, somehow both sovereign and intimately involved in the life of even the person considered the least of least? 

When I looked around at the state of the world, I found myself altogether, not sure, not sure, not sure.

From somewhere within my tangled heart, the same refrain:

Show me Your heart.
God, please, please.
Just show me Your heart.

The journey of this was far longer than a blog post could possibly speak of. I can't say that I ever got all of my answers. A few, yes, but there were mysteries that haven't been solved for me. But I found myself quietly seeking, even if it meant accepting that I wouldn't get an answer at that point in time.

I dug my way through Isaiah, discovered this powerful God who never gave up on a faithless and wandering nation, found the heartbeat of the story of the world, one of redemption and love, one that starts and ends at the foot of the Cross. I worked my way through the New Testament, read the gospels, again and again, fell so in love with Jesus, this Son of Man, this Son of God who loved so gently and so fiercely that He let Himself die so that we might live.

And it rang so true that those who earnestly seek God, find Him.

Because a God who has all of Heaven and leaves it just so He can have you is not a God who leaves us to our own devices, is not a God who ignores our pain.

In the gospel of John, we find the story of Lazarus. Most of us are familiar with the story, one of Jesus' more famous miracles. There are a few verses that stand out to me in this passage.

“When Jesus saw her[Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.”
John 11:33-35(ESV)


Jesus wept.

Jesus wept.

He wept.

Jesus knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He took a moment to step into the pain of those around Him, to empathize, and acknowledge the grief they were suffering. Jesus dignified and embraced that human experience, even though He knew Lazarus would be alive a few moments later. He didn't tell them to stop weeping, He didn't tell them to get over it, He didn't shudder away from their mourning, from their questions. He embraced it. Just like He embraced the suffering and brokenness of the entire world later on the Cross.

I don't know why my friend's nephew died. I don't know why babies die at all. Or why anyone, especially the most innocent, would suffer. I don't know a lot of things.

But I know Him.

I am convinced that a God who bankrupts Heaven, leaves all of His glory behind, to become flesh, walk among us in this bleeding and broken world, and suffer and die on our behalf...that God? He is good. And even when our prayers don't get answered the way that we want, I believe He is kind.

Echoing the words of Bill Johnson, I refuse to sacrifice the goodness of God on the altar of human reasoning in response to seemingly unanswered prayers.

So, even when our question remains unanswered this side of heaven and the doubt is pressing in on all sides, I believe we serve a God who cups our tear-stained faces and weeps with us. That not a single heartbreak goes unnoticed, not one wrong won't someday be made right.

Maybe you're in a dark night of the soul and battling things you can't bring yourself to speak of. Maybe every day is an endless circle of why and the answers just aren't enough. I can't promise that those answers will ever come. There are just some things that human logic can't justify or explain. 

But I can promise you that God sees and moreover, He cares.

Maybe the point of our doubts isn't to receive an answer to the question.

Maybe the point is to receive an understanding of the One who is so much greater than all of our questions.

Jehovah Shalom.

-ashlyn






on top of the mountain

on top of the mountain



I am sitting on top of the mountain
looking down at the crowd below
my voice is as raw as the wind as it snatches my words away
my desperate, hopeful, welcoming words:
"please come with me"

But they stay in the valley and wait for my return
they can't even see me from where they stand
they look up and find the fog there instead
the fog of their minds and their thoughts and the words of others
the words which scratched my arms and legs on my way up the mountain
and now I stand on the summit, bleeding
but I'm alive
and they are not.

If only they could see
if only they could come
if only they could understand my words and follow
if only.

But they wait for me
and I might return
but not for long.
Because the mountain is my refuge
the place where I belong
and I don't care that I'm alone up here
at least that's what I tell myself.

"I don't care that I'm alone!" I cry into the wind.
But I do care.
Because I want them to see this view.

I have tears in my eyes
on the top of the mountain
because they insist on staying in the valley
where they can't see.

But I won't stop calling to them.
I won't stop screaming into the wind:
"please come with me"



this one is for all the outcasts like me. 
sometimes it's lonely on top of the mountain.
I just want you to know that I'm up here, too.
- abbie

Instagram