Monday, June 15, 2009

Just Grace.

I’m writing this because I feel like I owe a lot of people an explanation. I have been very distant and depressed lately, emotionally drained, and spiritually dead. Let me start off by saying I have an extremely strong personality. I like being in control. I’m the one who when their friend is hurting is the first to ask who I need to beat up. I’m the one who sees the problem and immediately searches for a solution. I blame myself for any possible hurting of anyone remotely involved with me. I believe in justice in a life that’s not fair. I feel very deeply; I relate very passionately; I hope fervently. I don’t trust anything or anyone outside of myself. I hurt people… because hurting people hurt people. I am contentedly a sinner and even more happily forgiven. I know without a shadow of a doubt I am only here by grace. Over the past few days I have come to understand grace in a whole new way. I always saw grace as sort of set aside for the “real” sinners. You know the ones that people look at and say, “Wow, they need Jesus!” To limit grace like that would be doing the world an injustice. Grace is not only for the hurting, but also for those that hurt them. Grace is not only for the judged, but also for the judging. Grace is not only for the proud, but also for the humble. Grace is not only for the helpless, but also for the secure. Grace is not only for the sick, but also for the healthy. See, grace isn’t about what we give; grace is about what was given to us. How we respond to others isn’t our grace; it’s simply the overflowing of God’s grace. I have been so angry and tormented by the plastic, fake, false holiness I continually come in contact with all while being just as plastic myself. I am broken. I am afraid of what others think. I am human to my core and I lose battles with Satan every single damn day of my life. You know what, I think I’m ok with that. I don’t want to be whole. I can reach more people if I am broken. I can’t fix everything. I can’t change the world. I can change myself, and maybe just maybe I can change my corner of the world. You want to be free? You want grace? Here I am-(972)816-6710

Monday, May 18, 2009


I just want everything to be ok
To not have to worry about tomorrows and yesterdays
I want to fight for love and justice and freedom
People just seem to think they don’t need them

People fear what they don’t understand
And I’m just a stranger in this land
I have different priorities
Yet somehow all they see is depravity

I find solace within myself
And with knowing that they’re the ones missing out
Trying to get them to understand
Is just building castles in the sand

It’s so much harder fighting for honesty
Now that we live in a world of hypocrisy
Just because you don’t like the truth
Doesn’t mean you can escape your lie’s noose

Like music announces the ice cream truck
So your cries tell me you’re stuck
Too bad, you should’ve listened to me
The truth always sets you free

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It Takes More Than Ears to Hear

You ask me how I feel
But are you really listening
You ask me to be real
While your plastic face is glistening

It takes more than ears to hear
It takes more than eyes to see
To see what causes my fear
Your self must cease to be

I can’t run
I can’t hide
So I choose to be alone
And hide my pain inside

You can never understand
Why I hide away
You can’t see who I am
Because you cause the pain

I’m tired of trying
I’m tired of wanting
I’m tired of crying
I’m tired of saying nothing

It takes more than ears to hear
It takes more than eyes to see
To stop the flowing tears
Your self must cease to be

Monday, March 23, 2009


This weekend was a rough one for me. Between work, school stress, and friend drama I was worn to the bone. Seeing this, one of my friends decided that he was going to cheer me up. So he gathered up my close group of friends and we all went to the park. Yes, that’s right, we went to the park… needless to say we’re all kid’s a heart. We brought sandwiches, played some sand volleyball, enjoyed some basketball, and eventually started playing with the slide and monkey bars. Now, this slide at the park is no ordinary slide… it is the mother of all slides. It’s so big that my friend Eric could slide down in sitting up. Well we were up at the top of the tower talking- him with his back to the slide, me leaned up against the tower wall. I got called down because my phone was ringing and Eric decided to stay there and wait for me. I finished up my phone conversation and am about to head back up when I hear Eric scream, “WAIT! NO! AHHHHHHH!” This was followed by a thump at the bottom of the slide and a burst of laughter from the top. I look over to see Eric gingerly getting up from his lumped over position at the bottom of the slide. Up at the top of the tower I see Matt who says, “Dude! You should never turn your back to a slide! Those things are dangerous!” Eric just rolled his eyes and swore Matt would regret that move. Eric looked at me and said, “Jess? What’s wrong? What are you thinking?” All I could say was, “Hello, Jesus.” I’d been fighting God all week… well really all year. He’s been telling me to go down the slide and my only response to Him was, “well, it’s a long way down and it’s kinda scary… I don’t want to.” Every day he nudges me a little bit closer to the slide and I say “no” a little bit louder each time. Well this weekend he pushed me down it. The world could hear my scream of, “WAIT! NO! AHHHHH!” as I slid down. Then as I pull myself up from the bumpy trip and look up confused at God He just says, “Don’t you know? Never turn your back on my slide.” Ha, I love how God can use a prank between my guy friends to make my focus shift back to Him. Hello, Jesus.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I hate expectations. I hate being boxed in by what people think I should be. What do you want from me? You expect me to be strong and just move on like everything’s ok? Well it’s not ok. I’m not strong. Death affects a person in ways you could never imagine. Knowing that one day she was hugging me and telling me that she was praying for my safe trip and the next she’s laying in the morgue hurts me. Knowing that I was 10 hours away when I should have been in that hospital tears me up inside. Realizing that there is no one else on this planet who will understand me like she did; who can read me like she could; who will fight for me like she did- that’s incredibly heart dropping. Every time I help someone with a math problem or see a Nolan Ryan picture or even eat at Subway, I think of her. Do you have any idea how impacting those feelings are? I’m tired of people telling me that she’d want me to be happy or that it’s time to move on! It’s not that easy! I wish it was… oh, I wish it was. I don’t want the attention it brings when I’m hurting. I don’t want the world to know that I could ever care about a person that deeply- but I can’t hide that. I don’t want your pity; I just want to be allowed to hurt. I want to be allowed to still cry when I think about her. I want to still be able to wish she was here to be proud of me. I want to be able to be vulnerable. Just this once. Just let me cry over this one thing. I can’t express how I feel with my words or explain to you why the smallest things bring me to tears. I just can’t. That doesn’t mean it isn’t real. That doesn’t mean I can just flip a switch and be ok. That’s just now how it works. I’m sorry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All We Need Is Love, Love Is All We Need

Time for a life reevaluation… that seems to be happening a lot lately. The current question in my mind is- what is worth fighting for? Growing up I was always very aggressive and, well, I tended to get in fights. It came mainly from the bitterness that I had stored up against people in general from being made fun of and towards my parents for making me move schools. I have always been a tomboy and having all guy cousins didn’t help my aggressive nature one bit. My initial reaction towards problems was anger. I can remember one distinct moment at the sixth grade Christmas party. One of the boys was making fun of my friend. I could tell it was hurting her and I knew that she wouldn’t stand up to him… so I did. I grabbed him by the collar, pinned him up against the wall, and probably would have started beating the crap out of him had the teacher not stepped in. That’s just my nature. I take up for the weak because I know what it feels like to be weak. I’ll admit, attempting to beat the crap out of that kid probably wasn’t the best way to handle that situation, but it did get the point across to leave my friends alone. So what separates what I did from Jesus flipping the temple tables over? What are the things worth getting angry over? When can we flip tables? I’m going to have to say nothing. Radical, I know. Here’s the thing, Jesus was perfect. We are not. Jesus could flip tables and get angry with completely pure intentions in his heart. I don’t think we as human beings can do that. I think there is always I shred of bitterness in our heart when we get angry. I’m not by any means saying that I don’t get angry, oh no! I’m one of the worst. I fight daily with my self-control issues and heart’s detour towards anger. It’s still wrong. How do we spark change then? One word- love. One of my favorite Martin Luther King quotes is, “Darkness cannot conquer darkness, only light can do that; hate with never conquer hate, only love can do that.” The word “love” is mentioned 697 times in the Bible! I’m thinking that makes it pretty important! If people see us respond to our problems and pain with love how different would the world be? How much change could we spark? How many more of our conflicts would be resolved? Just simply by shifting our response to love instead of hate. I think our perspective on life as a whole would radically alter. Love has a way of changing things in extreme ways- perspective, attitudes, actions, and purpose. Let our life’s purpose be to touch everyone that walks into our lives with love. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Aroma Therapy

I tend to be a pessimist in nature. Due to that, I struggle with depression on a regular basis. Somehow I always find some way that my life isn’t quite right. The struggle is harder when I’m all alone in silence. I think it’s because when I’m working a lot and my life is constantly in motion I don’t have time to pick apart every piece of my life. This weekend my roommate was out of town and I only worked until 1 on Saturday. Can you say hello depression central? I found myself sitting in my room and missing my family and friends. For some reason a wave of homesickness crashed over me. I grabbed my covers and snuggled deep into my bed. I have this electric blanket that a friend of mine gave me, and due to my cold naturedness it’s always on my bed. When I pulled the covers over my head; I took a deep breath to try and calm myself down. With that breath the smell from the blanket filled my nose. It smelled just like my friends house and almost instantly I felt at home again. It’s amazing what one aroma can do. Have you ever seen those aroma therapy candles? Different scents are supposed to spark different emotions. They have a scent for everything- happiness, relaxation, sensuality, peace. Aroma has a lot of power. In 2 Corinthians it says that, to God, we are an aroma of Christ among the saved and unsaved. The Bible also says that our attitude is the aroma of our heart. I have to admit… my heart smells like crap. I definitely haven’t been giving off the aroma of Christ nor has my attitude been one that gives off a pleasant smell either. So how do I fix it? Do they make little air fresheners that I can hang on the rear view mirror of my heart? I think it’s a little bit more like my blanket. My blanket smells like my friends house because it sat in her house for forever. Maybe if I leave my heart in Christ’s hands it will gradually begin to smell like him.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Prettiest Girl At The Ball

Growing up, I wasn’t one of those little girls obsessed with the princess stories and ball gowns. I would rather go climb a tree or play football with my cousins then sit down and watch girls in pretty dresses. Even so, I found that I learned something from those stories. Remember the Cinderella story? She’s this poor girl, dressed in rags, and stuck being a maid to her evil step-mother and sisters. Then the price is holding a ball to find his wife. So her fairy god-mother comes and transforms her into this beautiful princess so she can go to the ball. There is just one itsy bitsy problem… the magic only lasts until midnight. Sometimes I feel that way. Like when I’m with certain people, actually pretty much all people, that I have covered my rags with fake elegance. Eventually though, the elegance fades away and I’m left running from the ones I love, afraid to let them see my plainness. Reality for me has always been something I try to mask. I find it very hard to be real with anyone. It’s not always because I want to be liked by everyone. Sometimes it’s because I want to be taken seriously and the more I watch the world move around me the more I realize that people wearing rags of weakness and vulnerability are often tossed to the side. Until now I’ve been complete content in my mask. I think the clock just struck midnight though. I don’t think I can be comfortable anymore. Recently, I’ve felt like God has been pushing me towards something. I’m not sure exactly what yet, but definitely to something less comfortable than hiding my rags. A friend of mine sent me a text today with lyrics from a song. “We were meant to live for so much more; have we lost ourselves?” I thought about those words the rest of the drive back to college. I was meant to live for so much more than where I am now. Sometimes in order to find satisfaction you have to give up things. To find your real purpose you have to forsake the shattered life you’re trying to hold together. We were meant to live for SO much more! I believe that; I have to believe that. At the end of the Cinderella story the prince sees her for who she really is and something amazing happens… he loves her just as much. Life never does turn out exactly how we expect it to.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vine and Branches

God is really amazing to me. I think it’s funny, the circumstances he chooses to use to show himself. Last night a very good friend of mine was rushed to the hospital. He went into shock after having an allergic reaction of some sort. His girlfriend called me in emotional distress and confusion not knowing exactly who to call or what to do about the whole situation. To really understand how much God was working here you have to know some of the background of these two people’s lives. Todd, the one being rushed to the hospital, is an amazing man of God. He’s in the small group that I lead at the college. I was one of the first people to start coming and his non-traditional worship style got us kicked out of the dorms. His parents died in a car accident while he was in high school so he’s grown up pretty much on his own. His dad was a lawyer, and since Todd is an only child he inherited all of his family’s money; something you would never know unless you really got to know Todd. His passion is kids. He wants to be a foster parent and help get kids out of the system. He volunteers at orphanages over the summer; he just loves kids. I think the only thing he loves more than kids is his girlfriend, Angelia. Angie and Todd have been together for going on 3 years now and he would like nothing more than to marry her. There is just one problem. Angie was saved when she was very young, but when her grandmother died last year she started hating God. She has so much bitterness and anger towards him that she won’t have anything to do with him. Todd has talked to me about her and how much he wishes he could get through to her. He told me that he prays everyday for the opportunity to talk to her more about the love and grace of God that she has forsaken. I told him to be careful what he prays for. He didn’t listen. God decided to use his hospital extravaganza. When Angie called me the first time it took me a while to get her settled down and she was waiting to hear back from the doctors. I got off the phone and told her to call me when they figured out exactly what happened. Within the time that I hung up the phone the first time and she called me back the second time; a prayer net of over 200 people was created. When she called me back I told her how many people were praying for her and Todd. She couldn’t believe how many people that she didn’t even know would pray for her and her boyfriend. Not only that but she began to open up to me. We talked for quite a while about her and Todd and at the end of the conversation told me how much she appreciated me dropping everything just to talk to her. She couldn’t understand why I would do that. I told her that we are a body of believers and we take care of each other. When Todd called me this morning all he wanted to talk about was the door that was opened for Angie. I told him, “See I told you to be careful! God doesn’t always answer prayers the way we think he will!” All he could do was laugh; his faith just baffles me. This situation brings me back to a verse that the youth were looking at last night. It talks about how Christ is the vine and we are the branches. The more I think about that verse the more it come to light that as branches we are connected to the vine that is Christ but also, through Christ, we are connected to the other branches. That’s why so many people joined me in prayer for my friends; we were created to share each other’s burdens and experiences. We were created for community.

John 15:5-8 (The Message)
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Be Near, Oh God

It’s a new year and I’ve made a resolution. Well it’s not a really a resolution; I never really understood the point of a resolution. It’s more like a new focus. This past year the one thing that I’ve been in a constant struggle with is my relationships. I tend to “inhale with great force” at relationships and I’ve never really understood why. I mean I pretty much put everything into my relationships. The way I show people that I care about them is by investing my time, heart, and service to them. So you can see why it always surprised me when my relationships fell apart. Being at college and away from all the friends I’ve ever know or had has not helped out my relationship issues one bit. It frustrates me and I find myself falling apart because of it. After being home and having some down time to slow down and reflect, I’ve discovered the reason behind my failure at friendships. The problem is rooted not in my relationships with other people but rather in my relationship with God. I’ve strayed away from him quite a bit. See, I got a little frustrated with him and pulled away from his embrace. I’m beginning to realize that if I don’t get my relationship with God straight then the rest of my relationships will follow that pattern. Jesus is the center and everything else flows out from that. So, how exactly do I fix my relationship with God? I think it actually requires me taking more of a passive role, because every time I attempt to control the situation I push God out of his place and mess everything up. I have to be willing to let go. I have to do the opposite of what I naturally want to do. I give up; I allow for weakness; I ditch fear; I follow instead of lead; I make mistakes; I become humble. Humility is what it really comes down to in the end. Humbly coming before Christ, everyday, and acknowledging my inadequacy. It is a constant refocusing of my eyes onto Him and away from me. I think that might mean that I lose some things in the search for Him, but I think I’m ok with that. I will wake every morning with one prayer- Be near, oh God, Be near, oh God of us; Your nearness is to us our good. Be near, oh God, Be near, oh God of us; your nearness is to us our good, our good.