Tuesday, September 22, 2009



It's funny how events pass and you think nothing of them, but then life happens.   And as you look back, you realize that only by those events were you sustained.

I was looking back over my journals--way too irregular--and I saw an entry that I wrote just after last Christmas.  It was when I was in CA visiting Stephanie's church, and I had gone up for prayer after the sermon.  As a rule, I always go up for prayer at her church; I love her church.  It's a place where I consistently feel such tangible love and the presence of God.

Anyhow, three women prayed for me.  The first touched my shoulder and prayed blessing and favor and general wonderful things.  
The second reminded me of a moth (but only the best qualities of a moth) because she had a high, quiet, almost warbling voice and touched my shoulders and back with a series of soft pats.  She didn't stand, she hovered.
And she prayed for wonderful things that I will remember if I look back in my journal--and she sensed that God was doing a great work in me.

The third woman asked if I had been prayed for, and I said, "a little..." because I felt so thirsty and facing insurmountable horribleness.  And she smiled and asked if I wanted more, which I confirmed.  She drew me into a warm hug and rocked me back and forth and prayed over and over, 


Hope for this daughter!

and I was filled.  
I wrote all this down, but remember not thinking much about the 'hope' aspect of it all.  

And then I drove back to Colorado and survived January, February, March, April, May, June, July....  so many times I thought I wouldn't make it.  There was one week that I call the crying week where I just couldn't stop crying.  I mean I'd wake up, cry, make myself stop to wash my face and put on makeup and eat breakfast, cry, drive, make myself stop to walk into school, cry, set up chairs, make myself stop to teach first period.  cry at lunch.  after school.  in the dark on the way home.  especially in the shower.  in the quiet dark frigid night. make myself stop to go to sleep.
It would have been frustrating if I wasn't completely robotic at that point--the tears were the only sign of life.  

But God was there.   

Once on my lunch break I took a walk around the block, and on the way back I felt God wanted to whisper to me.  As I walked on the pavement, I felt like He said, "-I am -with you -I am -with you" in rhythm with my steps.  And on early weekday mornings I just sat and listened to worship music and often didn't even read anything, didn't even pray, but just clung to any scrap of God I could.  And He came... stronger and more real than on weekends, it seemed.  I'll never understand.

Then one fine July day in the midst of summer classes and final thesis editing, I reread the journal.  HOPE.  
it was the hope of hope that kept me going, I think.  I'm still realizing and processing everything, but now I'm finally moving from the hope of hope to HOPE.
And always love, eternal and everlasting.

It's ironic, I wrote a song about hope last summer and now think it's pretty crappy.  I was entranced by a line from an Emily Dickinson poem that I fell across: "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul."  

Songs heal me.  Now the song that's 'my song' is the "Never Let Go" by David Crowder Band; I listened to it on repeat for literally a couple of hours today, and God's using it in me.  AND he talks about when hope takes flight, and when hope had flown.   Interesting... maybe there's something to hope and birds, or at least hope and flying.  Maybe it's a seagull--hope floats. :)
hehe.  Ok I should wrap up, this is getting silly.

I just wanted to write about what is happening in my heart.  another song of 'mine' is on the new Desperation Band album, and the bridge is: "Joy will come, believe, Joy will come, Joy will come."

I first heard it in April, I think, and I couldn't sing it yet.  But I heard others sing it out and I didn't choke on the words as much.

When clouds veil sun
and disaster comes
O my soul, O my soul
When waters rise 
and hope takes flight
O my soul, O my soul              O my soul

Ever faithful ever true, you are known, you never let go

you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go

when clouds brought rain
and disaster came
O my soul    O my soul
when waters rose
and hope had flown
O my soul    O my soul     O my soul

you never let go

What is this hope I feel It's helping What is this peace beyond 
understanding You fix the broken heart
There's healing in Your wings

Your love comes like the dawn 
and spreads its light over me
You thunder in a whisper
As I tremble you speak to me

And all I have known
Bows low in your throne room
and all I think I need
Melts as you rest in me

Your love cried in the mourning
that turned my heart into coal
You broke the winter
and brought Christmas to my soul...

To songs and healing hearts.  I love that God raises the dead

--and He calls us to hope.  
Eph. 1:18-23

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taiwan stories

A few months ago I started writing a few memories of Taiwan, but with life and moving and all, I haven't had much discipline to be consistent.  So I'm trying an experiment: each week, I'll post a short story on this blog.  I've got a few typed up, so if I'm busy or don't want to write that week, I'll still have some material. 

I was reading "The Poisonwood Bible" (fabulous novel) earlier this summer and I think that inspired me to remember random things about growing up in Taiwan especially.  I was also reading a lot of Madeleine L'Engle, and she always makes me want to write.  SO hopefully this experiment works, because they might be fun to read and the more I write, the more I remember.  There's a lot.  And they won't come in order, I promise.

Impoverished Feet

Once there was a man with no shoes.  I noticed him abruptly one night as I navigated my body away from a pathetic stray’s aura of fleas to safety, squeezed between my mother’s arm and her side.  I nearly tripped on his feet, large and smeared with dirty grease, with no plastic sandals resting reassuring by.  I looked at his face for a quarter-second and again from the side as I pushed through the lively sidewalk, and then he vanished.

            He was slumped against a street post, eyes closed.  He had a few measly threads of hair, and his skin deeply bore the customary flogging of age, pollution and heat.  A wife beater hung down his ribs, and the bones in his limbs seemed to have consumed every ounce of muscle he presumably had possessed.  These observations I took in without thought, but was horrified by his lack of footwear.  It was to me the epitome of want.

            Shoes were not a source of fashion for me, but filthy streets made their necessity unquestioned.  Being in the world of heat and financial support, the variety of shoes narrowed for a girl.  I had one pair of each of the following: everyday sandals, sneakers, party-shoes, and sometimes galoshes.  The sandals were not often the plastic thongs that were the surpassing currency of footwear, for my flat-footed mother cared for her flat-footed progeny and was continually on the hunt for “more ankle support.”  However, the suede niceties of Western sandal wear fell far short in the tropics.  Even if they were put away during the rainy season and miraculously avoided every unexpected wet deluge, the wearer’s sweat alone would soon warp them into retirement.  Not to mention the orange stripes they tattooed on their owner.

            Mom had recently taken us to get new shoes because ours were both grown and worn out; perhaps this was the errand from which we were returning, for shoes were certainly on my mind.  In contrast, the old man’s fate was strikingly cruel, to be sleeping out in the open with bare feet and no hope for respite in the morning.

This tired grandpa has clung to my memories with a grip that would have far exceeded his physical strength.  A few years later I was ashamed that I did not immediately think of his other signs of destitution, namely his emaciation and homelessness—how silly to fixate on feet.  I am not sure why this brought me shame.  At any rate, he remains my foremost image of poverty.