I’m back. I’m changed, refreshed, renewed. By the only One who can do that to this stubborn [L]ittle girl.

I’ve been busy digging, hacking away at something so dangerous and deathly to our souls: the root of bitterness.

It was overcoming me, holding me down as I writhed and screamed, and as much as I wanted to get away, I slept with Bitterness. Over and over again.

But I had to get away, get it away. It was stealing the joy I found in just… life itself. In friendships. In celebrating new lives. It was destroying the medicine I found in running, expending energy in the best way I know how.

I’ve given up, given Bitterness to the One who can root it out and destroy it for good. I’m free, released to love people and love myself as I should.

(1) Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! (2) But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; My steps had almost slipped. (3) For I was envious of the arrogant, As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (4) For there are no pains in their death; And their body is fat. (5) They are not in trouble as other men; Nor are they plagued like mankind… (21) When my heart was embittered, And I was pierced within, (22) Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a brute beast before Thee. (23) Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand. (24) With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. (25) Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. (26) My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

~Psalm 73

Sing, saints, sing.

In the last month or so, I’ve learned to just let go of things. Too long have I been a slave to my anxiety and depressed thoughts. I try to claim them as my own, when all along they didn’t have to be called ‘mine.’

I can truly enjoy the moment and be thankful in each day. I feel an obligation to my work but only because I love what I do, not because I’m a slave to Money. I recognize that every good and perfect gift is from the Lord, and to cherish every gift I’ve been given.

I desire to live free of Guilt and Worry, two shadows that follow(ed) me constantly. I no longer live to please men, not because I am against men, but rather for God.

I am learning to snuff out the cynical flame inside my soul, the one that questions and what-ifs even the most noble intentions of myself and my fellow saints.

My mind is free from worldly obligation, which has left a space for God-inspired thought, meditation, and creativity.

The secret to this ‘success’ is nothing I’ve done, at least in the eyes of the world. I’ve lowered and even demolished walls and pretentions that stand in the way of all parts of my soul, barriers that prevented wholeness.

Now there is unity among all facets of my soul, and a joy from walking with Christ. Day in and day out, He enables me to join the saints in their song of freedom, found through our willingness and Christ’s sacrifice.

Sing, saints, sing.

September 14, 2014

El Paso.

It’s a subtle and soft mixture of two cultures, two histories, but one land. Sometimes I feel like a foreigner here.

Years ago in a different place I’d look at the houses tucked into the green whispering woods along the river and think that one day that I would be on the other side.

But now, when the sun rises here, I pluck a petal off of the flower gathering the rays, sitting by my bedside. There are days I want nothing more than for this dry land to excommunicate me. And other days, I feel like my soul has found peace here. A land as barren as it is beautiful. Parched as it is plentiful.

The sun’s greeting lights up the sky, slowly waking up the mountain ranges for miles and miles that hug the earth like lovers do.

I orient myself to the West, always the West, with the Franklins, mountains I’ve climbed and conquered, mountains that have frustrated me.

The smell of the rain is strange to me, and now it smells like home. In the next moment I shield my northern European eyes from the sun: my sun, burning my skin but giving me life. The mountains are my mountains, a geological silhouette  I claim as I approach from the distance.

I race the sunset, tapping the wheel, craning my neck for a good vantage point. I fumble with the camera, but the photo is futile. A painting that lasts for a moment, etched into memory for a lifetime but never to be recreated. A glimpse, a window, into eternity.  A heaven with sunsets and mountains and earth.

Hundreds of trips over the mountain reaffirm my soul’s belonging as I gaze into the still night and capture with bated breath the lights of the city, descending from a mile high.

After my descent, I look up when the moon hides and graciously lets the stars have their fifteen minutes of fame. I see the Milky Way sparkling gently above me, a channel of lifetimes of light blinking in the distance. I cry for the beauty. I can’t look away, but I know I must for sunrise comes again soon.

October 19, 2014