flurry

something’s amiss
it’s simply out of order
even my fingers lay
listless on the keys
if they were to move
I worry they may be
brittle and crumble
for what’s amiss
is deep in my soul
and that soul is
deeply connected
to every word that
escapes me no matter
the form, whether
spoken or written
or typed or sang
or whispered –
even thought of
I often feel lost in
who I want to be or who
I think I’m meant to be
and when lost I tend
to drift along hoping
for a flurry of the soul
for here I am
bewildered and left
to fend questions I
do not have answers to
and lost I find I’m
asked to hold a brave face
to appear indifferent
for emotion mixed with
confusion is surely
an uncommon taboo
and why oh why would
you possibly feel lost
in a world where you are
fortunate to have
access to anything simply
to make your dreams
come alive
and yet…
and yet I’m often lost
in who I want to be or who
I think I’m meant to be
and for now I’m out to see
if there’s anything alive
inside of me and I will
drift along until I find
a flurry in my soul
that speaks deep truth
and love and justice
and mercy and understanding
and all of those things
our souls seem to gravitate
toward for somewhere
we must know truth
for it is built into the
unswerving beat of our hearts.

When I started school last fall I had just a smidgen of direction. I wondered how long it would take before things began narrowing into what I really felt like God wanted me to do with such a fancy little piece of paper. I’m sure as heck not doing it for the “oohs” and “ahhs” (or even the “what the heck does that degree even mean?”). I’m doing it because I’m passionate about justice. I’m passionate about doing justice through communication. I’m passionate about doing justice through my love of writing. That, I believe, is God’s beautiful gift to me.

Of course through this season of discovering this passion of mine I feel a little part of me has died. Amidst the research I’ve been doing about injustice, the stories I’ve heard, the documentaries I’ve watched, and even reading some parts of the bible I’ve found my outlook on this world has dimmed. Honestly? It’s probably for the best.

…But I miss the part of me that was unwaveringly optimistic. I miss the part of me that would wake up and never lack hope or faith in what this world could be (but never will be). That part of me, however, has been replaced with a firm belief that eventually, justice will be had. Eventually my life will have fulfilled a purpose greater than I can imagine – not because I want to be great, but because I want injustice to cease. I want justice for the woman who’s been raped and birthed a child that will every.damn.day remind her of a horror she lives. I want justice for her child who will quite possibly be neglected and unloved for the sheer fact that he or she exists. I want justice for the little girl and woman that’s beaten and drugged and “broken in” to become a prostitute and trafficked around the globe without even a glimmer of hope. I want justice for the slave. I want justice for the oppressed. These people have names and faces and horrific stories…somehow, some way, we must hear them and allow them resonate in our souls that we may do something to help.

No, I cannot fix everything. No, I may not be able to fix anything. Ever. That I understand. I cry for that. However, I will do what I can do and that is write, speak, educate, empower. I know now after a few months of even deeper searching and research that my field has narrowed – even slightly – to women. I don’t know what that means. God does. I can rest in that. I also know that doing justice permeates the whole of my life. It is finishing a degree. It is writing. It is this silly, unknown little blog. It is the book I am writing. It is the research that I pour over and cry about. It is the daily goings on. It is drawing near to God.

A note of thanks to my big sister – the one that’s known me the most consistently for the longest period of time in one particular place. Thank you for helping me see my soul and my heart in a beautiful, God-ordained way that I might have otherwise passed by. You are a gem (more than the server at the bar who poured us delicious beers…so much more). Love.

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The Cutting Room Floor

I often feel I need the answers
to the deepest longings of my soul,
the unknown, the unknowable
I search them out as if they sit perched
on a lovely tree branch around the corner
just beyond the bend of the path
my feet happen to be walking upon

I often feel my heart beating to
escape the fortress so carefully built
to protect it during times of war
and this, my dear, is not a war
tis but a dance of life,
brimming with promise
and possibility and adventure
this my dear, is not a war
and vulnerability is not a crime

I often feel terrified of becoming
what I have been, something I once was
not to any true fault of my own
but a commodity, a thing for simple pleasure
it is not the way intended
but wouldn’t it be beautiful
to shed that reasoning and simply be

I often feel the residue of cynicism
darkening my expectations of what could be –
the burns and the scars have not gone away
and I wonder if they ever will
and can I be free of or redeemed from
something that wounded the core of my being
so horribly and thoughtlessly

And yet I often feel hope
and I desire trust above all
to live a fulfilling, awe-inspiring life
that speaks of Greater things
that declares love and freedom
redemption and potential
that nothing we are is thrown carelessly
to the cutting room floor

Thoughts on the Big Two Five

slow reflections coursing through my mind
joy
heartache
gladness
melodic enthusiasm beating through my heart
anticipation
anxiety
wonderment
a twinge of excitement embraces my toes
curiosity
destiny
adventure
faith that envelopes the three
gratitude
praise
life

Next week marks the big 25 for me. Whoopty-doo. It’s just another year, really. As the years pass the markers get a little less exciting. I can vote, I can buy a pack o ciggies, I can fight for my country, I can drink a beer after work, and this year my car insurance gets a little less expensive and I can rent a car. Thrilling.

I genuinely love my birthday, though. It’s a time I can guilt trip my friends and family into being with me and not feel guilty about it. It’s a time that I use to look into their faces and see what a beautiful impact they’ve made on my life; I couldn’t do it without them.

I’m grateful for where I am. I’m thankful for the mistakes and successes, the joys and the times of grief. I’m glad that God continues to show me more of Who He Is as He shows me His faithfulness. I’m pleased to say that adventures are always on the horizon, whether they are a life change such as school or a random night time ski trip with a friend. I’m excited to enjoy the years ahead as I learn to deeply love others in a way that pleases God. I’m scared of some aspects of the life God has marvelously planned out for me; I realize it will not be easy. Like C.S. Lewis said, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

Pain has become something I fear less. Joy has become more difficult to grasp, but something deeply treasured and sought out. Life at any stage I admire with great intensity. Hearts lost in pain or filled with hope are the truth we live. Grace must abound, it was not created for us to simply receive. Human connection is poignant. Community is weighted more than gold. Success is not to be ours, but glory for God and service to Him. I regret nothing, instead I choose to be thankful for everything. I have yet to see certain dreams come to life, but I am not sad they seem to be delayed; I choose to wait in hopeful expectation.

Life has three beautiful parts: the has been, the will be, and the moments we choose how to fill now. I hope my heart continually remembers the importance of these.

Exhale of Joy

Do you ever wake up from a night of silent, dreamless sleep, and there’s nothing you can do except smile as you prepare for the day? You feel an overwhelming sense of peace, a rightness in the world that scarcely makes itself known, a silent rhythm of perseverance.

I had that morning. It lingers. I am exhaling joy.

Granted, there is a story behind this that begs telling.

Justice has been served. In a world teeming with corruption and malice where horrific acts take place more often than we care to ponder; one case of injustice will be set right, at least in the eyes of the law. Words can scarcely make an appeal to my elation. A little girl and her brother will (hopefully) never again be molested. They now have the chance to heal, to make a clean break, and I pray to God that they are given the fullness of that opportunity. Innocence was ripped away without permission and smothered as if it didn’t matter. It was concealed and denied. And now the oppressor faces his due punishment, for that I am thankful.

So much is affected by injustice. There is so much to consider. Injustice is not only an act, it is not only a series of: injustice, investigation, justice served. Injustice lingers. It follows lives to their end like a black cloud and sometimes lingers over the following generation of those originally affected. This breaks my heart more than I can elude to on a blog. I simply cannot begin to try.

And when I cannot find the words to speak, to tell a story, I will pen a poem in hopes that some expression will come from my heart that sends the message I intend. For my friend Michelle and all of her courage:

Magnificent is the beat of the heart of Justice
Riding in stronger than the armies of old
Wielding a sharper sword and farther reaching weapons
Than any injustice could imagine
As they creep and hide and commit their crimes
Denying and conspiring that Justice is not great enough
In the darkest corners it ruins and smothers and sabotages
Innocence and rights are laid waste
and left to suffer silently, endlessly, without hope
Until Justice makes a fool of its powerless enemy
By lighting the concealed atrocities and
Ripping apart the haughty enemy
To give due diligence and freedom
healing and hope
to the victims and to the wounded
To sound the song of victory
Making known the all-consuming power
of Justice at its best
A foretelling that injustice will never have the last word
And this time injustice has not seen impunity
It will not be the last
For Justice rides on in triumph

 

Expressions of passion

I often find myself going through artistic phases: I draw, I sew, I turn old things into new, and sometimes, but more often than not I find myself writing. I have a countless number of journals, four of which I write in consistently (each journal has its very own purpose, of course). The pen to paper is to me romantic, whimsical, meaningful, beautiful and almost forgotten in this era.

I have found myself falling deeper into a love affair with written (even, spoken) expression. To my mom that is no shocker. For as long as I can remember, she’s loved reading my papers in school, the blogs that I now write and everything else that fell in between. For me, I never really noticed how much I loved writing. It is simply a part of who I am. And then I realized it’s a part of who I am. It seems the realization was something I desperately needed.

Admittedly, I am not a very practiced writer, nor do I feel I always have something important to say. There are many times where words are not necessary; the silence, a soft touch or a look might be all the communication that is needed in a moment. However, I have found that there are many, many words that need to be said. There are millions of people every day who do not get to say or write or express what needs to be communicated. Their voices are smothered and silenced. These are the voices of the oppressed. The enslaved. The persecuted. The tortured. The forgotten. I’ve discovered that more important to me than any silk, any beautiful design, any poem is this raging passion to speak for those who do not have the chance.

In order to cultivate this passion I am headed back to school. This is kind of a hand in hand announcement, I suppose, because this also means I’ll be closing up shop. That’s right, I’m bidding adieu to Ania Designs (and silk, and marketing, and business, and lace…). I have come to realize that when you take time to discover your passion, what truly makes your heart beat, what really sends the blood coursing through your veins, you must take time to cultivate and follow that passion.

Here is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. I was having a stunning conversation with a friend of mine about love and risk, and even though that was the subject matter in mind when writing, somehow it seems this string of words may fit a number of scenarios. I hope you enjoy.

Life seems to be shades of grey
Seemingly imperfect visions of
What is or is to come
The warmest sun
The coldest wind
Are reminders of truth and reality
Amidst the confusion
As life gives nothing we expect
But all that we hope for
It’s all greyscale
And struggling to find the eye
In the ever pressing storm
The yes and the no
And into the water are only my toes
When deep inside my heart
It screams I should simply jump in
To the dark, the depths, the unknown
That I might explore and taste
Only the most beautiful adventure to be had
A complete surrender and lack of fear
To immerse my life in love and sacrifice

Growing Pains

“Growing Pains”

As soon as you read that phrase, I’m pretty sure your instinctual reaction is, “Uuuugh.” Well, it’s mine. It’s a groan of frustration and underlying tones of excitement. You see, right now I’m in this phase. With my life and my business…it may as well be stamped on my forehead for all to see.

One thing is for certain: I’m off to Africa. Right now most of my free time is spent planning and praying about it. Moving forward one baby step at a time. The other things: ministry in Bend, my career, whether or not I’m headed back to school next year (gasp…), all of the above…all I see is a BLANK. WHITE. SLATE.

I don’t know what God wants me to do with my company. I’ve literally given it back to Him until He either returns it to me, or strips it from my life entirely to give me new purpose. Either way, I’m thrilled. I am glad He guides me through this decision. It’s a big deal. I have people ask me all of the time how Ania is doing, and if the company is progressing, and I can’t give them a logical answer. Not even close. I shrug my shoulders and tell them for now, my life is about serving, and if God decides to wrap up my passion for Africa with my company after I get home, then fabulous. If not, something more beautiful is about to unfold in my life.

Here is my poem for today, I wrote it as I passed time in a meeting before I was needed (my head was swimming with questions and thoughts and I wanted to cry…so I had to write):

Growing pains

my mind reels
through the night
as the morning arrives
and dawn breaks through
the darkest night

decisions swaying
slowly at the front of
my ever wandering mind
how this, when that
and the questions
I am asked
I cannot seem to answer

it’s that place I’m in
growing pains
not knowing
only seeing a white slate

and the immediate is
all that I can hold onto
grace is all that I can grasp
and Christ is my only
sure answer
satisfying to my soul

The Unsearched Soul

Lost, downtrodden, empty
She aches
Forgotten, oppressed, confused
She agonizes

Forgiveness she’s never known
Embittered, her heart
She stands tall, shaking
Facing evil, staring at death

The eyes of her enemy show no mercy

The unsearched soul begs comfort,
Petitions justice,
Pleads healing,
Implores saving

Afflicted, abused, unknown
She cries
Alone, sobbing, lacking
She longs

The unsearched soul
Feels a breeze
Catches a glimpse
Hope that shines
Healing that cleans
Love that fills
The greatest void

Firm she stands
Truth she holds
Love she exudes
Forgiveness she extends

I wrote this a while back after a massive influx of information on FGM. It breaks my heart and absolutely fuels my desire to go and offer my life and all that God has given to me to women across the world. This CNN article also played a role in the poem.