Monday, December 31, 2007


In the Christian community the phrase is thrown around usually only in reference to abortion. Christians say, “we are pro-life” which to most just means “we are anti-abortion.” But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time…and I’m thinking heavy on it tonight. To be pro-life means so much more than being only anti-abortion (though it most certainly includes it).

To be pro-life is, I believe, to carry the light of life, the hope, redemption in Christ, belief in the quality of life, to all individuals everywhere. Being “pro-life” demands that we fight for life on all fronts. It means that we must consider what our response is to people, institutions, ideas, laws, and beliefs that do not value life. To be pro-life means that we must look to the issues of abortion, adoption, human trafficking, poverty, genocide, murder, and injustice with incredible conviction and fight for the livelihood of those who suffer. We cannot be silent. We must not be silent.

I think being pro-life requires faith, hope, and love. I’m finding more and more that I don’t want to toss this phrase around lightly. I want to believe in it, definitely. I want to be pro-life…but I want to recognize deep within myself that when I say it, I am really believing and fighting for life; that I won’t simply vote “pro-life,” but that I will act “pro-life” and if I really think about it, it will affect every area of my life. It will (or ought) to change everything about the way I think, act, feel, and live in this broken world that is in such desperate need of a Savior.

Being pro-life ought to affect the way I relate to everyone…saint, sinner; poor, rich; educated, uneducated; dirty, clean; religious, non-religious…

Mother Teresa said “the more disfigured the image of God is in that person, the greater will be our faith and devotion in seeking Jesus’ face and lovingly ministering to him.” I think she identifies the difficulty of standing true to the claim of being pro-life: seeking to uphold and redeem the image of Christ in one another. It requires faith. It requires hope. It requires love. It is so hard…It requires grace.

Sometimes I think we go about our days living as if this were it. Actually, I know we do. We struggle to live with eternity in mind. C. S. Lewis once wrote that “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” For me, this puts a whole new spin on being “pro-life.” Maybe this doesn’t really make sense to anyone else. If not, that’s ok. These are the tired but heartfelt ramblings of a simple girl who, now on the other side of new experiences, finds herself faced with some good but tough thoughts.

There’s a whole lot happening in this world, my friends. Sometimes I shudder to find that I know so little of it. I wish we would fight to know more. I wish we would seek to be deeply affected, that God might use us more effectively in this world. A good friend shared a Tozer quote with me shortly after my return from Africa. It hasn’t been far from my mind since: “It is doubtful that God can use any man greatly until He’s hurt him deeply.” I ask that God would stir His people deeply—break our hearts for the things that break His. I pray that He would make us heart-sick over the injustice in this world. I also pray that He would give His people everywhere a transfusion of HOPE, because I believe that Hope is essential. I believe hope is reality. Too many people have lost sight of reality…we have to help them find it again (or maybe find it for the first time).

Sometimes looking into the face of incredible sin and suffering paralyzes. I say this from personal struggle and experience. I am finding, however, that the first step—indeed, the decisive step—is prayer. It is much more powerful than we really seem to think. We must stay awake in a world where many are numb and asleep. We must keep each other awake! What is the hope we affirm? We must build our lives on it!

Many of you have heard me say or write this before but it just gets to me…so I have to say it again. I think its one of those things that, as I say it “out there,” I say it to myself… and I have to: over and over again.

The Church is dripping with grace in a world that hurts and hungers for it. So how then will we live?

Friday, December 28, 2007


I miss it! I miss it. I miss it. i MISS it!

I have that weird, empty, hollow feeling inside. It's the same brokenness and sense of loss I felt when my plane took off on the Joberg runway.

it's funny how i can have such a peaceful day and all of a sudden WHAM. I just miss it. And I feel like part of me is missing. And it hurts. Sigh...

I hate headaches

what the heck is going on!!!?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Several Years Too Late

It's is official. I am about to start the Harry Potter series. I bought books one and two at Bookman's for $3 each. Good deal. I figured it was about time...even though I am already a million years later than everyone else. The "craze" is sort of over, and yet I begin :) I'm looking forward to an easy, fun read. I'll let you know...

Merry Christmas, all! Check out Luke 1:78, 79. It's my "favorite" verse for right now...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feeling like I tripped and fell down the mountain...I can explain more in person if you want to hear...

This song "means" more to me right now than ever before...or, rather, it makes more sense to me now...

Bebo's "Walk Down This Mountain." It's a fabulous song.

It's a better place
Standing high upon this mountain
I've seen your face
Full of the light that only this height can show
A blistered hand is what you've given
But you've been given all you'll ever need to know

So walk down this mountain
With your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your make
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life

It's a common ground
And I see we're all still standing
Just look around and you'll find
The very face of God
He's walking down into the distance
He's walking down to where the masses are

We're standing in a place of peace
But this is how the world should be
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with your heart held high)
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with you heart held high)
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with your heart held high)
How the world should be

Friday, December 21, 2007

He is not safe

"So often we try to make it our job to make the Gospel easier for us to preach and easier for other people to hear--in order to not get into trouble and in order to not be confrontational. But here's the truth. You just can't preach the Gospel and not get into trouble. You just can't do it, hard as you might try. You can dress it up any way you want. But if you're really preaching the Gospel you are going to get yourself into trouble, you are going to be in trouble as well. Because the cross is both beautiful and offensive and it must be both. It is both. There is no other Gospel for you to preach...It's not safe to boldly preach the Gospel. it is dangerous work we are in as believers, perilous work that we have before us to preach the gospel not only to each other but to the outside world, the unbelieving world. Not safe work. Safe is not a word that I would believe characterizes Christians or Jesus or the Gospel. It shouldn't. If it is then it might not be the Gospel we are preaching. Jesus is not safe. He is not manageable. He is a wild lion. You cannot tame Him. He is not safe. But He is good. He is king. You can trust Him. the Gospel that we carry is not safe. It is not manageable, not efficient. Loving people is not efficient. But the Gospel is good, it is true, but it is not safe."

We are called into community together. If you divorce the people of God, if you divorce local community from the Gospel, then it ceases to be the Gospel. There is no other context for your faith as a christian than to be in community with other people. I've heard a lot of people say to me over the years "Its just me and Jesus and that's all i need." Well that's not the Gospel in Scripture. If you are going to be those who claim to love Jesus, you will be compelled to love also the things that he loved. And he not only loved, but came and gave himself up for the church, and that makes it our concern as well. And if that's not hard enough--that we live in community together--we are also called with a mandate that we preach the Gospel to each other. We mistake the Gospel for the thing only that we preach to non believers. It certainly is that, but much more than that, the Gospel must have, necessarily has, a primary place in the life of believers. We've got to heard it every week, if not every day.

-Derek Webb

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My uncle told me something today that he heard somewhere recently...

"a good journalist comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."

i kinda like that. hmmm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pushing Aside Angels

I stepped out of the beat up old Venture and put my feet onto the dusty red road. This was it. I felt excited deep inside but feelings of nervous fear were all that seemed to surface. What will today bring, Lord? I thought. What will I see? Walk with me through it all.
I was about to go out to do home-based care in Masoyi Community (South Africa) with one of the volunteers, Sandy. Her role was to visit the sick and dying with the hope of the Lord in her pocket and the weapons of prayer and encouragement in both hands. I followed her down the dirt road, leaving a trail of red dust hanging in the air behind me.
We wandered the dry paths up and over hills, behind decaying mud houses, between make-shift fences, until we rounded a corner and found ourselves in an immaculate front yard--the dirt packed and swept in front of a small house. At the open door, I saw a young woman on hands and knees, working. (I later found out she was waxing the cement floor of her small living room).
I met her. I met Gladys. I held her thin, boney little hand in mine. She was skinny as a rail and had lost all her hair. She was beautiful. She smiled constantly, a deep hope radiating from her face. I was reminded of Psalm 34:5: "Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."
Gladys motioned for us to sit on her couch while she sat across from us in a chair. Before arriving, Sandy had told me that this young, single mom has AIDS. She had been very sick the week before and Gladys was not expected to live much longer. Sandy expected Gladys to be very sick, possibly in bed. To the surprise of both of us, she was not. She had green hands from her meticulous work of waxing the floor.
Sandy shared a few verses that seemed to be common between them. To be honest, I do not remember what they were. I was too deeply inthralled by the beauty of this small, decaying young woman. Her face was full of light. "Is she supposed to be so happy?" I thought. It was a breath of fresh air in a land of "hopeless conditions." She was holding onto something; living for something.
It is a common practice with Sandy to sing with her patients. Sometimes she lets the patient choose, other times she chooses. On this particular day we sang "Gladys' song." It was one of those rare moments you encounter when you whisper the promise "I will never forget today" and you know immediately that everything about the moment is burned in your mind and heart forever. The soft notes were started by Sandy but I heard them coming out strong from Gladys. Simple words with a rich store of meaning for her: "I will never give up." Throughout the song the words are repeated over and over.
Gladys sang. It was obvious she was singing for someone. I wish I could have seen who it was, though I knew beyond a doubt who it was. It was as if she saw Him seated before her. Her frail yet rich voice was raised and her arms outstretched. It looked as if she knew He was calling her home and she was anxious to meet him, arms open.
"How can we pray for you, Gladys?" Sandy asked. Her reply startled me: "I'm happy to be living!" That's it? I thought. Nothing more? That wasn't even a request! Her face was full of light. I could see a little fear in her eyes but it had not gotten the better of her. She was holding onto hope. There was no denial; she knew she was dying. She also knew that there is hope for eternity. The hope we have for eternity is just as much a hope for every day we are living here on earth.

* * * * * * * * * *

I wrote these words in my journal that night:
September 17, 2007
We must anchor our lives on the hope we have in Christ. Future grace. Joy in our ultimate sanctification--our glorification; the new heavens and the new earth; new bodies, new selves. Hope is in the resurrection of Christ--and hope is in His return! Where there is vision there is hope; where there is hope there is life.
There is joy in the midst of suffering. It is rich. It is, perhaps, the "truest" experience of joy: real, full joy. A smile through tears...a hug through pain...a new day to live...the enjoyment of little pleasures: a sunrise, birds singing, little children playing...
Life is a good gift. Today I was actually able to see this to be true for a beautiful young woman infected with HIV. How can this be? By the grace of God...because of hope and because He is the source of all joy--even in the midst of great suffering.
"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!' the Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him."
-Lamentations 3:21-25
These verses are very "real" to me tonight, as I remember Gladys, sitting in her chair, gaunt and thin yet illuminated by her striking smile, arms outstretched, singing quietly and confidently "I will never give up."

* * * * * * * * * *

Walking through those neighborhoods was incredible. As we kicked up red dirt, making our way through alleys, around small gardens, and under mango trees, angels were around. I don't know if I've sensed their presence so much in all my life. It was as if we had to push our way through them to get by. "Excuse me, pardon me." All the while, I walked with a big smile on my face because I knew God had not forgotten these people. Psalm 121 says that He who watches over us does not sleep. In that place, in the Masoyi Community of South Africa, God is not sleeping. He is sending His Spirit out into the neighborhoods and into homes to whisper to His hurting children, "Never never never give up."

(below: Masoyi Community, South Africa)

Death Penalty Bust

New Jersey abolished the death penalty. The first state to do so in over 40 years.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Big Smile

I love my friends. I feel like I am constantly, every day, in awe of the people God has placed in my life. I am so blessed! It is really neat, too, because I feel like this break is different than all the other ones...there's something about it that is sort of a quiet sweetness. It's hard to explain. I will try...
I think it is, in large part, due to the fact that we are older now. We've grown up a lot in recent months. God has brought each of us through unique experiences to grow and mature us. Through it all, we have maintained our friendship(s). I feel like this is it. We've passed some "test" and now we have reached a new level in our friendship. Does this make sense? I feel like it sounds mixed up and silly. I guess what i mean is that we really are friends for life (cheesy, maybe, but true). Maybe we won't always be AS close or in as close of contact, but are hearts are knit in a way that won't ever really be undone. God has joined us deeply together. I am grateful.
They say you meet your "life friends" in college. I believe it. In the case of tonight's group, I am especially excited (blessed? grateful?) because we are high school friends that have maintained friendship through college. I think its something special. It is a unique bond.
Tonight was the same dear friends I spent my last birthday with...and we even ended up at the same place! Oregano's (Me, Allie, Hannah, Mark, Kyle, Isaac, Eric). We went over to Eric's for a while after. It was so wonderful. I am honored to call each of these people FRIEND.

I can't even slightly express my love for each of you. I just have a big smile :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have had such a hard time sleeping lately. It takes at least an hour for me to finally fall asleep. This is so unusual for me. I am finding that my mind is running wild with thoughts, dreams, doubts, longing, memories, questions, etc. Lot's of questions in my heart lately. It's a little hard. Mostly just frustrating. I find myself praying simple prayers often like "help me calm my mind," "help me make sense of this," or just "help!"

For the past two days the truths that I am finding the need to CLING to are found in Psalms. Chapter 18 has been a challenge and comfort. Also, Psalm 131 daily challenges me to pick myself up, entrust my weak self to the One who is strong and true, and not ask too many questions that are so "high above" me or trouble myself with thoughts "too lofty" for me...because I tend to put myself in a paralized state simply because I am bombarding myself with so many "hard issues." So much so that I can't very easily distinguish between them in a way that promotes healthy ACTION.
Does this make sense?

I guess I am just trying to say that I am trying desperately to quiet my heart but am having a hard time of it.

This morning I was feeling like I'm drowning. Splashing around but unable to save myself from anything--or move myself to "higher ground." I've been functioning out of my flesh, not in the Spirit. No wonder I am feeling weak, sick, and exhausted. For a moment, I took my eyes off the One who saves. I need Him. I need Him so badly. I am reminded of Paul's words in Colossians: "set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Walking around in this stormy, raging, wild world requires a definite FOCUS. Where is your hope? Do you have any? If so, what is it in?

I've learned (and learn daily) that hope is a reality. Hope is (or ought to be) the mark of the Christian. So, I ask you, where is our hope? If we don't live it and understand it, how will we offer it to a world that cries for it?

I was hit by this reality a few months ago while I was in Mozambique: The Church (Christ-followers) is dripping with grace while the world is thirsty for it. HOW THEN WILL WE LIVE?

I'm rediscovering grace. What a gift. Jonathan Edwards once said that the whole of the Gospel is captured in and between the words, "Grace, grace!" Incredible. Really. Grace has changed me eternally and continues to change me daily. It is not simply "over and done." No, no. He loves us too much. It was done once and for all but is done always and forever. He is that deep. He is that rich. His ways are that unsearchable.

And now...I quiet myself :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It's been a good week overall. Not too many "exciting" things happening, just some small, good things. It's been nice to catch up with people. I cherish these long conversations with friends whose hearts I've missed sharing!!

Hannah and I went to 4th Ave. on Sunday. It was so much fun. We each got a red rose from a guy...because we were "matching" (same necklace I gave her). The guy after him wanted to take our picture because of the matching necklaces AND matching red roses. Ha. slightly weird and awkward...we really didn't realize we "stood out." After all, a blonde white girl and a brunette asian don't usually get compared like that.
We enjoyed looked through beautiful skirts from Nepal in a tent full of Hippie smells and colors. I loved it.

I've been having headaches rather frequently. I'm trying not to get a little bit alarmed. Is this normal?? Sometimes it sort of makes me uneasy. I've had them off and on for a long time...I'm officially going to rule out some possibilities by drinking LOTS (make sure its not dehydration), watching my coffee drinking (make sure its not the caffeine), and keeping a watch on some of the foods I eat (mom wants to make sure its not an allergy or low blood sugar). Anyhow, I would appreciate your prayers. I am praying it isn't serious. I won't alarm any of you with thoughts I've had because I tend to have a wild imagination sometimes. So I won't speak :) But I would greatly like prayer.

Luke gets home tonight! We're picking him up at 11:30 and the Sommitz boys are coming with. I'm so excited to see him!!

It's been nice just being home with mom and dad but I look forward to Luker's return. Friends start coming back tonight also...yay!

I turn 21 on Saturday. It's sort of hard to believe. the big 21. ha.

Talked with Hallie today for well over an hour. It was wonderful. Tried to study for OT but couldn't focus on the pages. My headache made me feel like I was going cross-eyed. Oh. which reminds me of another possibility for headaches I need to rule out--I should start being more diligent about wearing my glasses when I read.

Here's my new and improved schedule for next semester...I'm getting quite excited.

Cultural Anthropology
Intro to Disciple-making
Bible Intro.
Intro. to Mass Communication
Christian Missions
and (get this!) Violence and Grace in the Novel (with an uh-mazing prof!! I am SO excited).

17 credits. Lots of work. Lots of writing :) We're reading Cry, The Beloved Country and I can't even begin to explain to you how thrilled that makes me! woohoo.

I went into my high school today to say hello to a teacher/friend who lived for years in Kenya. It was wonderful to see her. We're going to plan a lunch date. I can't wait :)

I think i might go take a nap before we leave for the airport to get Luke. my head hurts so bad.

Derek Webb is back...

...somedays its overwhelming to have my music back. Too many options. Much too much...

But today I am encouraged to be listening to Derek Webb--and understanding it (or seeing it) in a new light.

(Remembering Pastor Peter's words last spring...we must be kingdom workers: with a radical sense and awareness of future judgement)

“This Too Shall Be Made Right” by Derek Webb

people love you most for the things you hate
and hate you for loving the things you can’t keep straight
people judge you on a curve
and tell you you’re getting what you deserve
and this, too, shall be made right

children cannot learn, children cannot eat
stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
children dream of wishing wells
whose waters quench all the fires of hell
and this, too, shall be made right

the earth and the sky and sea are all holding their breath
wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
we say we’re just trying to stay alive
but it looks so much more like a way to die
and this, too, shall be made right

yes there’s a time for peace, there is a time for war
there’s a time to forgive and a time to settle the score
a time for babies to lose their lives
a time for hunger and genocide
and this, too, shall be made right

oh I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
and I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder, it’s suicide
and this, too, shall be made right

oh this, too, shall be made right

Friday, December 07, 2007

Soul Swelling

In the midst of all "this," I feel the expectation and excitement rising inside. Don't you feel the wonder growing in your soul? It's the Savior...COME.

As I grow older, Christmas is less of a "holiday" and more of an expectation and celebration. I appreciate this. It's because Christ is progressively more and more my true Treasure. I am understanding more and more my NEED for a Savior...and I am discovering more and more my great SAVIOR for that need. It is beautiful.

This is one of my favorite "christmas" verses...such incredible and exciting Messianic expectation. Hear the joy and wonder--the complete PLEASURE and HOPE--in Zechariah's words: "Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace" (Luke 1:78, 79).

Reading these words makes my soul swell. I smile deep, my heart beats a little faster...there is some inexpressible emotion that comes out only in a whisper "He has come!"

Breath of Heaven. A thrill of Hope. Quiet Joy. Sweet wonder. Desire of Nations.

.Soul Swelling.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seeing Faces

A few things hit me in the face today.

1. Holiday bath confetti. Small green and red christmas trees to sprinkle in your bath water. $3.99.

2. Premium pet beds.

I've been seeing so many faces in my head...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pray for the Broken Places

So much heartache and uproar in the Congo right now...

a little history

key figure(s)

Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees

Christ is enough.

The sky is grey and the light is far
The sea is a rage within my heart
I turn my sight to the crashing waves
I cry in the night just to be saved

I need eyes to be my guide
I need a voice that’s louder than mine
I need hope I need You
Cause I can’t do this alone

Grace I call Your name
Oh won’t Your smile fall over me
I’m cracked and dry on hands and knees
Oh sweet grace rain down on me I need You grace

I pray for dawn a new day to live
I pray for mercy only Jesus gives
Though darkness falls and a million cry
I believe over all there’s a greater light shining for us

Monday, December 03, 2007


Email me your skype. I am not going to be getting a new cell phone. I'll have a tracphone for emergencies and "can you pick this up at the store" kind of calls. Otherwise, skype and the room (or home) phone. This will make expenses much less, also, which is fabulous.
I have faith. Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifeerence, the most insidious danger of all.

--Elie Weisel

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What is Consumerism?

...and is it a sin?...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tanzania (by Alli Rogers)

It's eight hours later in Tanzania
When Jen lays down
Mary's just opening her eyes
Her child's feet land on the ground
And dirt scatters
And she feels left out in the open
Always left out in the open
She says, "son, wear my shoes to school today"
He turns and smiles and walks away
And she thinks to herself...

Someday I will wake
Where the earth is clean and safe
My children have a place to play
Not here in Tanzania
And someday I will live
In a house that's built by
Hands that hold the world

It's eight hours earlier in Chattanooga
Mary sits down and Jen's just put the coffee on
Katie Couric is talking news and fashion
And Jen feels pushed into a corner
Always pushed into a corner, she says
"Baby I know what girls at school are like"
And her daughter rides off on her bike
And Jen thinks to herself...

Someday I will wake
Where my children get a break
And there are chances that they'll take
Not here in Chattanooga
Someday I will live
In a house that's built by
Hands that hold the world

Well it's hard to be mother
And it's hard to be a woman
And it's hard to live in Africa sometimes
It's hard to be mother
And it's hard to be a woman
And it's hard to live in America sometimes

But someday I will wake
In a body that won't break
On ground that doesn't shake, not here
And someday I will live
In a house that's built by hands that hold the world