Time doesn’t like

To be turned back,

Twisted around,

But twists in my memory 

Keep me playing

Over yesterdays.
Yesterday has come and gone,

Though I’m struggling to leave it 

Where it is.
I’m pulled back to 

A time when 

I thought my today

Would be different. 

And tomorrow seems so far away.

But I’ll take a chance and be strong. 

Take a stand and move along.

Fill these moments as they carry me

Further away from what was,

Closer to what can become.

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I wish I could be the steering wheel

There within your car.

To feel the thoughts

That run through you

As you mindlessly navigate.

To feel your trust in me,

Your entire confidence

As you hold your hands around me.

Here you’re alone.

You’re inside yourself.

I receive your instincts,

I understand your subconscious

As you numbly twist me

Over and over

And over again.

I wish I could be the safety belt

There within your car.

Tucked securely over your heart.

Pulled to the side under your arm.

Pulled across your waist –

My only purpose to keep you safe.

Quiet and secure,

Made to hold you tight.

Made you hold you steady.

Only ever letting go

By your command alone.

I wish I could be the mirrors

There within your car.

Reflecting your world into

Your eyes.

Things will always be closer

Than they appear, I’ll remind you.

The love you’re driving to find

The love you’re driving to forget,

They’re closer to you

than they’ve ever appeared.

Look into me

And see the world

Through a perspective

That is not your own.

Layer your perspective into mine

And maybe your layers

will find the perspective

they seek to find.

I wish I could be the emergency break

There within your car.

Silent.

Strong.

Able to hold you unwaveringly.

Screeching momentum to a halt

When you’re headed the wrong way.

I want to hold you steady.

I long to hold you still.

At least for awhile

Until you know in your bones

That you’re ready to move again.

I wish I could be the radio

There within your car.

Speakers translating melodies

That inspire portions of your soul,

Nothing else has ever spoken to.

To feel your fingers

Turn the volume.

More for your numbness,

Less for your thoughts.

I’ll play for you,

I’ll play what you need.

Give you some rhythm

To remind you

There will always

Be another beat.

I wish I could be the tires

There carrying your car.

Spinning – pulling you into

Places you’ve never been.

Taking you down roads

So familiar in your bones,

Taking you home.

And when home doesn’t

Feel like home and you

Find yourself alone

I’ll keep turning

Through gravel and mud.

I’ll turn for you.

I’ll pull you through.

I’ll take you away

To a place you

can breathe in.

Feel peace in.

Musings on a Wednesday Afternoon

As I’m sure every college student is familiar with on some level, the casual existential crisis is a frequent visitor in my own thoughts. Sometimes the juggling act of double majors, multiple bible courses, a looming fitness competition, piano practice, platform development, volunteering, self growth, community work, family life, and relationships can take a lot more than just a lot of caffeine to handle. Admittedly, it takes a lot more than I even know how to handle.

So, in true Harding fashion, I’ve learned to slide on my chacos, grab a hammock and go escape into a beautiful world of rest and recuperation.

Or I would.

If I had gotten around to ordering that eno I’ve been wanting.. or if I had even gotten around to investing in the chacos I’ve been meaning to buy for months now.

Or I would.. should I not be drowning in the copious amounts of assigned reading I’ve been putting off… Should I have actually planned ahead and carved out time in my schedule for some contemplation and reflection.

Or I WOULD.. should I actually have my life together and not be slave to my crippling faults of procrastination and over-extension. (ENFPs say hey..)

The underlined point here is that this semester’s work load has brought so many personal shortcomings into clarity for me. I’ve learned once you’re put in the fire, you suddenly become aware of how staggeringly human you are, and it’s impossible not to feel the heat. The heat of pressure, expectation, paired with obligation and responsibility…it’s been a bit much for me to handle alone.

But, I’m doing the best that I can.

And I actually told myself this, as my stress continued to build and my mind continued to worry. Don’t we all sell this idea to ourselves in some ways?
Is this perpetual drowning really the mental state my savior intended me to be living in? To be loving in? Am I really in a place to be shining Christ’s countenance and spreading the good news from?

In a heart to heart with a dear friend, I was apologizing for being so petty as to vocalize my recent struggles to keep my head above water, trying hard to “do all things without complaining,” but I was met with no chastisement. I was lovingly received with warmth and affirmation, and told the words, “Amber, not every day has to be a good day.. but you can have a victory in every day.”

I want to exercise the victory I have in Christ, every day, regardless what circumstances arise and what struggles ensue. I want to have the victory to experience His love and peace in not just the good things, but the bad as well. Not just the big things, but the little things.. all things. I want to experience Him in every second, every thought, word and action. And to reap the invariable peace that stems from communion with the Lord most high.

I believe we would do well to step back, examine our souls, and learn how to care for them. Our creator designed the sabbath for our use. Our savior calls us to stillness in His presence. Our Lord has declared himself the Prince of Peace, with a gentle and pervasive desire to share that peace with us, His children.

And I want to start experiencing it.

I am taking some time now to learn to lean on the promise of God’s divine comfort. I’m pursuing Christ’s face, pursuing Him as my Prince of Peace, regardless of my shortcomings and pitfalls.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

But it’s hard.

Yesterday, I was so caught up in my own worries and thoughts, I realized that I had mindlessly left my wallet somewhere on campus.

As I miserably lapped campus alone in the dark, in pouring rain, searching for my wallet (AKA debit card / student ID / cash / life), I was thinking through the events of the day, the impending deadlines, strained relationships, mental/physical fatigue I was experiencing, and I was finding it hard to console myself with this blatant lack of closure.

I’ve gotta say, it wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had.

But I found myself praying to God to show me some kind of victory in this. I asked to receive some kind of comfort. All while still returning to my dorm from my search empty handed, waiting for an RA to let me in.

He was faithful to that prayer, and His spirit touched mine, rendering my thoughts subject to a monumental paradigm shift in those moments spent with Him out in the rain.

It’s possible to praise him in the storms. The storms of personal shortcomings, the storms of anxiety and the storms of uncertainty. It’s possible to praise him in the storms that sweep across campus. It’s actually possible to feel the “contentedness in every situation” that Paul’s spoken of, because that is the kind of God we serve. One who longs to connect with us and who is deserving of perpetual praise.

I’m comforted by a love that provides peace and rest.

I’m comforted by a love that transcends even my understanding.

I pray we learn to fix our eyes to the Prince of Peace, and allow His love to satiate the restlessness in our souls. I pray we tangibly experience the Spirit’s work in us, through every circumstance that comes our way.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Stop Looking for Happiness in the Same Place You Lost It

Circumstances have recently pushed me into a place in my faith I’ve never been at before. Change is never fun, and I’ve been dealt quite a hand of it. I’ve had to pull myself together and decide which foundation I’m going to build upon moving forward, and in the process I believe the insight and revelation our faithful God has given me these last few weeks has equipped me with some knowledge I would feel selfish not to share. Hence, the first and {most likely only} blog post I’m ever going to type out with friends and family in mind.

“Everyone thinks it’d be easier to be somebody else.” – Words from my older brother, disclosed to me after a long and intimate heart to heart in the Heritage Lobby (which is increasingly becoming a stomping grounds for heart to hearts since my time spent at Harding).

I had been venting, ranting, complaining and crying about a recent disappointment in my life, begging my brother to give me the emotional closure I so desperately needed. Maybe with a touch of unrealistic expectation, I asked him in so many words to tell me things were going to be okay and all my frustrations were going to fade away into smooth sailing and untainted happiness.

What he did instead was gave me the unconditional love and acceptance that only a brother can give, and pointed me back into the pursuit of seeking God’s face in the midst of trials.

He listened to every word I had to say, explained to me where I was looking to others for validation rather than the Lord, and explored some options for the best way to learn the lessons God had invariably layered into my experience.

You see, I’m wired together to be an extrovert. It’s in my nature, in my heart and mind. I seek so much energy and validation from the external friendships I have formed, sometimes I forget to step back and understand where my true spiritual nourishment is supposed to come from. This is something I see time and time again in my life, as well as in the lives of others. I think extreme extroversion is a wonderful quality in some regards, yet it’s ignorant to be blind to the potential emotional pitfalls that inevitably will come out to play at some point in every young extroverts life: loneliness.

Loneliness is a recurring theme in my thought life. On paper it doesn’t make sense, I have wonderful friendships, an encouraging family, I live in a dorm with 300+ girls, on a campus of over 6,000 brothers and sisters in Christ. Where is this loneliness coming from?

I’m still wrestling with the concept, shaking out more and more insight through time, but it dawned on me this week that this recurring and cutting facet of loneliness was one of the loudest answers to prayer I’ve ever received. I had asked God for this.

To preface, as an avid journal-er, I get a lot of sentimental nostalgia from sifting through past journals time to time. I enjoy seeing the still-shot of the past captured in the old entries, and thinking about how much growth and depth has occurred since those points in my life.

So this week, with so many friends fundraising and rushing around to get deposits put down on mission trips, I decided to pull out the old journal entries I wrote out on the first mission trip I’d ever taken. I had just turned 15, we were working with children from the inner city slums, and God had allowed me to see and experience so much within the first couple days of the mission, that I wrote out the words:

“Lord, I never want to become comfortable in this life. I’ve seen the danger of complacency, and I pray for a fire of insatiability in my quest for your Love. Please give me a constant reminder that this world is not my home. I pray for the discomfort, welcome the loneliness, and encourage the ache that will constantly push me towards Your arms. I pray my heart only find its rest in You.” – July 2, 2011

I was almost floored by how relevant that prayer, 4 years prior, suddenly became. God works in mysterious ways, and I can’t help but smile and feel such a surge of love when I think about how faithful He’s been to me. He’s been answering that prayer in my life ever since that day, and I had just forgotten to thank Him.

My life is in transition, a lot of big changes in life, in love, and in family have been occurring, yet God has never let His face turn away from me. I lean heavily on the promise given to me in Matthew:

Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

My soul does find my rest in Him. I find happiness, stability, contentedness and satisfaction in my times spent with Jesus. He eradicates the loneliness from my heart in such a way, that I know there has never been a second of my life I haven’t been loved. I cannot ever imagine a life source more transcendent and complete, and am so thankful He chose me first that I may choose Him. Love abolishes the stronghold of loneliness.

As a recipient of the Love of Christ, I’ve decided to aggressively pursue happiness, beauty, love and God’s glory in every connection I make. In every decision, every thought, every word and every action. That is our responsibility as stewards of the love we’ve been given. I pray that God may satiate the loneliness in your life, and fill in all the gaps this world never can. Have a blessed day!