Monday, May 31, 2010


[Written on a paper napkin, by me, today on my way home from our family trip.]

Bringing me up from rock-bottom,
Your forgiveness is a cooling rain to the parched ground of my broken soul.
You are my love, my heart-cry.
Soiled hands made clean,
Impure hearts restored to newness
Under the flood of Your sacrifice.
I am now finally able to raise my head in Your presence.
Nail-scarred hands,
Costly freedom.
Death for life, war for peace.
You lowered Yourself
So that I might rise.


Flowers for no reason.
Jewelry on special occasions.
Long walks under the moonlight, kisses in the rain under a wrought-iron street light.
Conversations late into the night about everything and nothing.

Is it being caught up in the magic, the wonder?
Is it the stuff you see in movies?
Or is those little things you do that no one else sees?

Running your fingers through my hair during yet another episode of The Office or CSI.
Holding me in your arms as you fall asleep.
Slow dancing in the kitchen to my cell phone ringtone.
Holding me in your arms while I cry my heart out.
Staying up too late on a work night just because I was struggling with something and needed to talk.
Seeing chick flicks with me and my girlfriends.

Loving me as your own body, as Christ loved the church.
Being willing to die for me.
Loving me just as I am.

You are a blessing. You are my hero.

I love you, Jonathon!

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. --Song of Solomon 8:6

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I have four amazing friends who are currently in the midst of a very difficult waiting period of their lives. It is, honestly, an inspiration to me. I am amazed by the strength they are showing in this chaotic and occasionally heart-wrenching period of their lives.

Two of them are waiting together for God's timing in their lives together. They are dealing with family struggles, school decisions, and other complications. However, the strength that they are showing together is amazing to me. There have been tears shed, plans rearranged, and finally, lives surrendered to the will of God. That is true love.

One of them is struggling with a major hardship in her own personal her words, "[has] a love-hate relationship with the one thing [she] needs to survive." After a lot of prayer, tears, and frustration, she has made a hard decision. She is taking a massive step that will change her life forever; it won't be easy, and it won't be a swift process. However, the strength and faith in her Savior that she is showing to the rest of the world is incredible. That is true endurance.

Another is working through personal confusion and life decisions. Where does God want him to go; what does He want him to do? Love seems to be ellusive, work and school decisions are stretching him in so many different directions. The ghosts of his past are still pursuing him with a vengeance. And yet, he is still relying on God to direct his path and lead his future. That is true manhood.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Actions speak louder than words.

This statement is truly one of the most stale and unimaginative cliches. But in my life, right now, this simple sentence is extremely true.

I think this is why God brings friends into our lives -- for those moments when the world seems to be moving backwards and nothing makes sense. They are the splashes of brilliantly-toned paint upon a shredded, black canvas.

It's not always a conversation or an aptly timed word.

You can find it in the gestures.

The silence.

Phone calls where not a word is said; the silent friendship is assurance enough. The ability to communicate volumes with a simple glance. A simple touch - a gentle hand resting on an arm, the perfectly timed hug, the soft bump of a foot under a table, an arm around the heavy-laden shoulder. Not merely a shoulder to cry on when times are hard, but someone whose heart will break with yours.

Even in the distance that can separate the closest of friends, there are some things that can cross state lines, even half the country. Late night movies where only the telephone and mutual television screens tie you together. Skype conversations that tie together two best friends from north to south.

It doesn't always take words. Sometimes, it just takes a gesture.

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Heaviness pressing on my chest,
Harder and harder to breathe.
Days blur together; will I never be well again?
Father's worried eyes stand out knife-blue in his wind-scarred face;
Mother's pale face speaks of nights without sleep, filled with yet unspoken prayers.

Woolen blankets cover me, and yet I shiver;
My mind will not slow, my heart will not beat.
Breathe in....breathe out...breathe in...breathe out...bre---...

My eyes are open. I see nothing.
My heart is still. My breath is lost.
A scream.

...eyes snap open.
Dark wood, green light.
Trees that block the sun...
...nothing moves.
My heart is thudding in my chest; fear begins to creep over me.
Someone laughs. Deep, chilling -- the most frightening sound I have ever heard.
Something is pulling me -- an invisable rope of fire and ice.
The sound grows louder.
I am not moving, but I am falling.
The voice is a hiss and a scream all at once....
...I am dead...

One. Word.

White light, one single beam.
The voice is thunder. A rushing stream. A sunrise. A storm.
A hand reaches out, pulls me...
Strong. Warm. Safe. Terrifying.
The hiss melts, fades.
The terror has died.
Only peace.
Only love.
Only His face....
In that moment, I know.
I am His.
"ARISE!" eyes open.
Mother is holding my hand.
Father is weeping.
He is there, standing beside me.
I sit up.
"Give her something to eat."


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The simple fact of peace

Maybe it's just me, but peace seems to be a rather elusive yet coveted phantom these days.

In these days of economic crisis, everyone is seeking to find that quiet place...that secure job that will bring them and their families' security, that religious awakening that will reignite their stagnant souls...and it's just not there right now.

Yes, the world's peace is a mirage these days. God's peace, however, never changes and is not dependent on the economy or your current life's circumstances.

I myself have been struggling with one particular area of my life...struggling is actually a pretty decent understatement. I have been panicking and even seriously freaking out, at times. Fear has been ever nipping at my heels, a weapon of the Devil's, constantly reminding me of everything that I am not and could never be, even if I tried.

Physical pain -- actually, a lot of physical pain, which I do not handle well, as a general rule. Complications in money -- in fact, our entire budgeting system would have to be completely redone. Uprooting and changing locations. My own personal inadequacy to complete the enormous task that would be required of me.

It was last Saturday evening, on my way to Rockford, that God finally got hold of me. He flooded my mind with a verse: "You will keep [her] in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You." (Isaiah 26:3)

It was as if He was saying, "Rachel, I've got this. You are worrying about something that, as of yet, is not definite, and may or may not happen for several years. And even if I choose to allow this to happen in your life right now, I am in control. You are safe with Me."

That is my reality. I am more than a conquerer. I am in His arms, and I am safe with Him.

You will be safe in His arms. You will be safe in His arms. 'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart. This is the promise He made; He will be with You always. When everything is falling apart, You will be safe in His arms.