I can't wait to fly on this swing set

in only four days.
KNEE-CAR-AGUA....I'm coming for you!!!

from this world to the next

In the book "The Amber Spyglass", twelve-year-old Lyra and her friend Will are on an incredible adventure that takes them through different worlds. At one point, they make it to the Land of the Dead. Everyone who has ever died, good or bad, goes to reside there, in a valley where nothing ever changes and nothing ever happens.

The Land of the Dead is guarded by Harpies, terrible creatures with bird bodies and faces that look like human females. They feed off the misery of the dead by reminding them of every dishonest, horrible deed they committed in life. They are nourished by darkness and pain. The Dead are constantly taunted by them.

And then Lyra comes. The Dead start begging her for stories from the living world, because they have started to forget. So she tells them about smells, and the feel of the sun on her skin, and about moments of fear and joy and adventure, and about touch and taste and sound. The Dead are entranced. There is utter silence when she talks. And it becomes even quieter when Lyra stops her words and looks up into the trees, to see the Harpies still and tame, soaking in her stories. For a moment, they weren't on the attack.

"You", Lyra says to them. "you flew at me before, when I tried to tell you something. What's stopping you from doing that when I speak now?"

Everyone is confused. The Harpies have never stopped their taunts before. There is silence, until they say:

"Because it was true. Because you spoke the truth. Because it was nourishing. Because it was feeding us. Because we couldn't help it. Because it was true. Because we had no idea that there was anything but wickedness. Because it brought us news of the world and the sun and the wind and the rain. Because it was true."

Because it was true.

In the minutes that follow, Lyra and the Harpies make a deal. The Harpies will no longer feed on the misery of the dead, but they will ask them for stories. Stories about beauty and truth and the world. And in return for the stories, the Harpies will lead the Dead out beyond this barren World, where they can become a part of everything living again.

An entire hellish wasteland was transformed. An entire group of creatures gained a purpose. All because someone spoke up. All because she told the truth that we don't always want to believe - that there is more than misery to this world.

broken things

Within the span of about two weeks, my left side-view mirror broke, my computer charger broke, my iPod dock broke, my right side-view mirror broke, my cellphone broke, a favorite pair of earrings broke, and my car battery broke (well, died and had to be jumped). Needless to say, it was frustrating. And as I was venting to my house-mate Leigh Anne about not understanding why my whole world just decided to crumble into pieces, she gave me some advice that had not once occurred to me, but ended up being exactly what I needed to hear. She said, "pray".

Have you ever felt like God REALLY wanted you to know something, but that you were too air headed to notice when He was blatantly screaming right in front of your face? If you have - welcome to my life the past couple of weeks. It has taken me a ridiculously long time to realize that it is no coincidence that so many things would start breaking around me all at the same time. And so, after praying and realizing that something was up with all of this, I've been thinking about broken things.

I often think God hates broken things. I mean, it seems as though He's just always just in the business of fixing. When the world wasn't what He wanted it to be, He sent a flood. When it was broken again, He sent Jesus. And yet, what I'm learning is that God is not simply one to loathe the broken. I think that in some ways, He welcomes it. Because every single time something is broken, there is the opportunity to pause and ask "what isn't working here?"....and that is a great opportunity for the Lord.

I hope I'm not ignoring this point - I do think that God ultimately desires wholeness for us. He wants us to be complete in Him. But I can't help but think that God also is big enough and good enough to use brokenness to His advantage, even to make something sort of beautiful out of being in a broken place. After spring break last year I wrote a blog post about hope and breaking things down before they could be built into something meaningful. It still makes sense, and God has done that and continues to do that in the world. If something isn't right, He won't stand for it.

And I've seen that in my life - even just the past few weeks. All these broken things...I have seen God telling me "No, no, no....I refuse to let you live your life in fear or insecurity, in any other way than trusting in me. I will break those chains from you. I will break you down until you listen. I will break away every distraction until I can have your full attention, and then I will build up something inside of you unlike anything you could ever dream."

God is building something out of me - a broken, messy, air-headed twenty-one year-old girl. My brokenness is His best opportunity.

And we never have to fear the breaking, because then we are simply in a place where the Lord is pulling us toward Himself, a God who is unshakable, our firmest foundation.

He is never broken - not now or yesterday or tomorrow.

Hallelujah for that.