Five-minute Friday: Real.

Go.

I’m sitting in the lounge at SPU, feeling the very real warmth of the fireplace upon my cheeks as my afternoon begins.

Kari Jobe sings though my headphones, “You’re here. You’re real. I know I can trust You. Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart. You steady my heart.”

And I rest in the reality that God is real with me. I don’t have to question that I can trust him or that he is going to tell me the truth. I don’t have to question his motives or if he is going to keep his promises.

People often let us down. They hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally. Hearts break, people break, friendships break. We can feel so sure and still be hurt, still be let down. But God is not like that. He does not disappoint. He is the friend who is always real and true.

Yesterday I had this thought: I hate when people think that when friendship gets hard, it’s over. No, sir. When friendship gets hard, it gets real.

And isn’t it beautiful that Christ’s strength is magnified in our weakness. His love overflows on us when we feel unloved. When my life gets hard, I don’t feel the absence of God. That’s when God is closest. That is when his love is most real.

It’s not over when it gets hard. That’s when it gets real.

Done.

Five-minute Friday: Unexpected.

Go.

I never expected God to take my heart to Costa Rica. I didn’t expect to fall in love with a country that speaks Spanish instead of French, or for my “home” to be so far away.

I never expected strangers living 3,500 miles away to become more like family than merely best friends. I didn’t expect to spend Christmas in the home of this family I only met in real life 4 months ago.

But this is better than what I expected.

That’s the beauty of God’s plan for my life. It’s always more than whatever I could have asked or imagined. It’s more beautiful, more adventurous, more whole.

It’s always more than what I expect.

Done.

Five-minute Friday: On friends.

Go.

I’m a talkative person so I make a lot of friends. I make friends on the bus and on the street, in class and in other countries. If I hardly know you I will still probably call you my friend. That’s just how I am. I want you to know that you’re important and that you matter. Because you do.

But I have best friends too. I have friends all over the world who encourage me in my faith — Japan, Costa Rica, Texas, Seattle — every day they help me fall in love with God more than I could on my own. These are the greatest friends I could ever have in my life.

I love a lot of people and I care about a lot of people, but the ones with whom I share my soul with, those who know my deep love for Christ, they are my best friends. There’s no friendship as great or deep or beautiful than one that can share the love of God.

I love you, dear friends. Thank you for loving me well and encouraging me to love God more.

Done.

Five-minute Friday: In real life.

Go.

I’m the girl who talks all the time; the one that never wants to stop talking and getting to know your heart; the one who wants to talk to everyone about everything, even especially strangers on airplanes, jr. high kids at church, latinos, and people who don’t speak English.

I’m the girl whose heart lives in two worlds, Seattle and Costa Rica, though these worlds have never met.

I’m the American girl with a Costa Rican accent (and not only when I’m talking with my Tico friends).

I’m the girl who takes medication to have the courage to get out of bed in the morning, though you’d probably never expect someone like me to struggle with severe depression.

I’m the girl entering her senior year of college with more dreams than Martin Luther King Jr., or so it sometimes seems.

I’m the girl who checks the mailbox every day because that’s how much my heart loves the words from your heart.

I’m the girl who loves and loves and loves or tries to anyway, because loving people is what I love doing most.

I’m the girl who struggles with feelings of inadequacy and imperfection every day, but who finds strength and worth, life and purpose in Christ my Lord.

Done.

(Prompted by Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.)

Five-minute Friday: Home.

Go.

It’s funny the place your heart chooses to call home… funny how the place your heart may find rest can be so different and far from everything you’ve always known.

You can not choose it for it is not a choice. It is something that happens to you. Something, anything — a person, a culture, a laugh — it captures your heart deeply. Once captured, there is no going back. There is always an ache in your heart for whatever holds it tightly, an ache for that place your heart calls home.

This week my heart feels at home in Ipis, San Jose, Costa Rica. The people of Ipis, the church, the joy — this place has captured me. There is no going back.

This place will always hold a piece of my heart.

Done.

(Prompted by Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.)

Five-minute Friday: Every day.

Go.

Wake up. It’s too early. Get up anyway.

Shower; makeup; breakfast; carpool. School. Class, other class, break. Home. Work. Home; sleep.

But it’s the in between that matters.

Shower; makeup; check facebook and twitter. Laugh at what my friends say; retweet the best ones. Smile at the encouragement left over from the middle of the night that is middle of the day in Japan. Wish I was with my best friend, Mallory, who is too often too far away.

Carpool; drink tea in the car and try not to spill it on myself; catch up with my friend Rachel. We talk about our lives, our frustrations, our weekend’s adventures. Rock out to a few songs.

Class, other class; say hi to friends; make plans for the weekend that feels too far away.

Break; find friends around campus and sit and talk and wish we had more time together because life seems to be moving too fast. We hold each others hearts and talk about when life will be simpler; dream of summer.

Home; talk with my brother Nathan. Facebook again. More smiles, more laughs, more retweets, more of wishing these friends lived closer.

Work; talk talk talk talk talk. Talk with parents; reminisce with bosses; make plans with coworkers who have become friends.

Home; hug my mom; joke, sing, laugh with, love on my family. Watch too many CSI shows with my mom and Nathan. Hear about Seth’s day and make note to hang out with him more.

Ponder; treasure; sleep; dream.

Done.

(Prompt from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.)

Five-minute Friday: If I knew I could.

If I knew I could, I would…

Go.

I open up a dusty folder and hidden among virtual folders of essays and short stories I find this: Goals. I search for the document labeled 100 Things to Do Before I Die and sigh. I’ve ignored this list for two reasons: 1) I think, “It will happen or it won’t,” and 2) I don’t want to be disappointed when it doesn’t.

Among my dreams lie these: backpack through Europe with the man of my dreams (aka future husband I have yet to meet); adopt a child; write a book; get published; learn to fly a plane; intern with TOMs; run a race; tour a city by scooter; live in another country for more than a year.

Many of them I know I’ll get to one day — like running a race or living out of the U.S. I know I will. But what I really want to do… if I knew I could, I would write a book for all these unformed sentences and sporadic thoughts who are screaming to escape from the confines of my own mind. These thoughts are cramped in such a small space, unshared, hidden, anxious. They’re ready to be set free.

But how? What would I write? Would others read my writing? Would they care about what I have to say?

Would it matter?

I could probably write a book, but I don’t know where I would begin.

Done.

Prompt from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.

Five-minute Friday: On distance.

Go.

One of my favorite quotes is this by Henry David Thoreau: “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

My heart knows the truth of the statement.

Distance is my most loyal companion. I can’t recall how it chose me, but never a day goes by when I am not aware of its presence; it’s daunting, haunting, heart-aching presence.

I hate it. I hate the way it rudely bursts through the door of my heart and invites loneliness in. I hate the way it walks so faithfully by my side at the most inconvenient times. It never leaves, always forsakes, and forces me to be patient though it is never kind.

Distance makes my heart ache in ways I didn’t know a heart could ache. Waiting; longing; more waiting. So many miles between my heart and the hearts who hold her.

I dream of a day when distance is a memory instead of this heart-aching reality. Though I know I will always have friends all over the world, maybe someday they won’t all be so far away. Someday soon, si Dios quiere.

Done.

(Prompt from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.)

Five-minute Friday: If you met me.

If you met me…

Go.

You would know that I talk a lot when I’m comfortable. I get in trouble for it at work and probably make a fool out of myself in class (sometimes), but I just love to talk and want to know all about you, all. the. time.

You would find out so quickly that my heart is overwhelmingly on a long-term hiatus, skipping beats and such in far away places. Actually, my heart hasn’t been settled in my little town for quite a while now and sometimes I wonder if she will ever be back.

It wouldn’t take long to see that I am addicted to tea and drink it way more than most people.

And Mexican food. I love tacos.

And I get excited when I have a chance to speak in other languages. Speak to me in Spanish and my heart will surely melt from happiness.

You would see that my life is really hard right now and it shows, but there is still one thing (or two, if I include my always loving, always faithful God) that brings me more joy than I have ever had. (See: “heart is on a long-term hiatus.”)

If you met me, you would notice that I smile as much as I talk and it’s because I love talking about things that are close to my heart.

Done.

Five-minute Friday: On waiting.

Go.

I watch the stars hover over my quiet city as I walk home from work. The clouds move quickly and I see the moon. I listen to the silence, breath in, and smile with the stars while I wait for you.

And I keep walking.

Home. I leave my things in my room; wash my face; brush my teeth; check facebook; read blogs; turn out the lights; crawl under the covers; think; dream; wish; wait.

And I keep waiting.

I lie in bed and stare at the black ceiling. I hear rain outside, but it is muted by this faint song — this quiet lullaby I fall asleep to while I wait for you.

Always this song, this song with notes, but no words. | your heart. | It’s the song you’re writing that accompanies the song in my heart. And I listen to this distant song while I wait.

And I keep listening.

It’s beautiful. Someday we will be a beautiful melody. Your rhythm; my rhythm; one song. But for now you’re writing your song, and I’m working on my song. For now there is waiting.

And I’ll keep waiting for you.

Done.

(Prompted by Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama.)