Five-minute Friday: Quiet

Go.

“Sometimes,” I said to Juan, “sometimes I need to turn off the music and just be still.”

I told him that somewhere between Dallas and Albuquerque on our way to Seattle a couple weeks ago. We did the drive in three days on the way there and in four coming back, finally pulling in to Dallas at 5am, twelve days after we started our adventure to move across the country.

Not having realized this about me, he smiled, turned off the radio, and kept on driving.

My heart swooned. What a man. So selfless, so pure, so kind.

It wasn’t the only time he did that either. Sometimes he could see that I was frustrated. He saw that I needed silence. And in those times, he turned off the music and gave me space to be still. To think. To find quiet.

__________

It’s hard to find quiet these days. So difficult in a world of noise. Maybe the only answer is to stop looking for quiet places, and instead, to create them.

Turn off your radio. Shut down your laptop. Lock yourself in your house. Or get lost in a park.

Breath, think, write, be still. Repeat.

Done.

Five-minute Friday: Look.

Go.

“Look, what I’m doing!” He squealed excitedly. “Have you ever seen something so wonderful?” He couldn’t contain his joy as he looked at the new project he was working on. It wasn’t finished yet. In fact, it was just beginning. But the plans had been done for years now.

He looked over the blueprints that he had drawn up long before I was born, and he smiled. He told me again, “Look! Can you see how perfect it is! And this baby is all yours.” He said it as though he was fixing up a 1957 Camero for me, but it was more than that.

I looked at him and smiled too. “I see it, Lord,” I said.

I looked at the blueprint I had tried and failed to draw for myself and chuckled a little to myself. He’d had his plans drawn before I was born, yet it wasn’t until now that I decided to ask for them. I thought I would try to design something myself. Turns out, I’m not an architect.

“You’ll love what I’m going to do next,” he said.

I looked at him and smiled again. I knew I would love it. I always did.

Done.

Isaiah 43:18-20

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen…”

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: Grow.

Go.

Sometimes I feel like my heart could explode. I’ve been anxiously waiting for nearly five months to return to my church family in Costa Rica.

Every day it’s the first thought in my head and the last thought before I sleep. Sometimes I think that’s great and sometimes I wish it wasn’t so. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, but I don’t want to get so wrapped up in Costa Rica and the “going” that I miss the One who is sending me and the reason for going in the first place.

I want to wake up with Him on my heart and go to sleep dreaming of my beautiful Lord. I want for Him to be my first thought and my last, but it’s so hard to get my heart to that place.

Right now there is so much wanting and wishing and waiting. He whispers to my heart as she sits at the window waiting, staring out the window at fall leaves, wishing for a sweet summer breeze.

“Wait patiently,” he says to her. “Just wait, my little girl. I know it’s not easy, but it’s in the waiting that you’ll grow.”

She falls asleep on the window sill while waiting there, and as she sleeps she dreams. And as she dreams she sees. Her Lord is with her, holding her, loving her, and singing her the lullaby of these Costa Rican dreams.

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.