It’s what we really want, isn’t it?
to love & be loved.
Be free to let that sink in a moment. Even typing these words finds a deep sigh rising in me.
A few nights back a crew of FLI students and I went up to Boulder Theater for an evening with indie artist Ingrid Michaelson. She’s become a recent favorite of mine. Her lyrics poetically expressing the longings, desires, tensions, hopes, and fears we know all too well:
I will live my life as a lobsterman’s wife on an island in the blue bay
He will take care of me, he will smell like the sea,
And close to my heart he’ll always stay
And we are so fragile,
And our cracking bones make noise,
And we are just,
Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys
I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today
Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts
But all that I know is I’m breathing All I can do is keep breathing All we can do is keep breathing now
I want to change the world
Instead I sleep
I want to believe in more than you and me
I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of, I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of, I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of, I won't fall out of love, I fall into you
Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
It’s where we land. It’s where we live from. It’s not a surprise, and it’s surprising all the same to stand side by side in a theater full of men and boys, girls and women and realize that when it all comes down we long to love and to be loved.
And it’s all in shambles.
If we are one ounce of honest we know we’re all incredibly skilled at messing up love, bad. We’re bent (that’s how Dan Allender puts it). The very thing we long for we thwart and block and hide from. We love and long for love out of the wounds and lies we’ve incurred along life’s winding path. We’ve never known love in its pure form. We’ve never known Love himself.
And so, He allures us.
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. [hosea2]
Such beauty. Such strength & tenderness. It’s His brutal kindness, really, that Love would allure and lead us to a desert place to speak tenderly to our hearts.
May you and I know what it is to be allured.
To be led to a desert place.
And spoken to tenderly.
May we know what it is to be loved by Love himself.
A group of students and I went up to Boulder last night for Ingrid Michaelson’s concert. Good times, late night, but good times. Here’s some footage. Turns out the iPhone isn’t the best at capturing the essence of a performance with stage lighting. Nonetheless, it’s Ingrid. So, enjoy!
“Whatever you desire, ask in my name and you will have it.” -Jesus [KJV meets KEV-Kjersten's Expressed Version]
Uh, oh. Did I really quote Jesus as using the “d” word? I sure did. You know, it’s quite intriguing to notice the controversial nature of desire in today’s Christian sub-culture. Some say let the heart go wild, while others camp on the heart’s deceitfulness. I’m not here to resolve this debate. However, in our attempt to honor God, may we not kill desire nor let it clobber us.
“Rather, may the seeds of desire God plants in our heart become unbridled, infused with His Spirit in such a way that they begin to burn with unquenchable flame.” – Pastor Gary [again, my loose gathering & interpretation]
And now, verb number two: ask.
We all have a plethora of issues around asking for things – perhaps we’ve received angry or annoyed responses at our requests, or maybe it seems like no one listens, or even cares.
Whatever the wound, there’s no qualifier here – we’re still invited to ask.
And so, Christ, would you give us the courage to let you place a burning desire in us? And would you give us the gumption to ask you for it?
That would be great.
Before I knew it, my seeds became seedlings, which grew & grew and became actual, real-live plants! It became a daily ritual to peak outside to see my little window-box garden.
And it made me smile.
Tiny leaves and thin little stems soaking in the sunlight day in and day out. Drinking in the water and stretching their little selves skyward. All was well in their little world.
Until. the. day. of. the. worm.
A hundred-and-some-legged creature? In my garden?! I promise, it wasn’t more than half-a-moment before I began repetitively flicking this repulsive invader until it landed in the bed of rocks below. Nasty little thing. Eating my babies for breakfast, the nerve!
How long had that gastropod-esque creature made my flower bed his abode? And who said he could munch on my budding life of green, anyway? It was time for him to go. And never come back.
As all the flicking and slight amounts of shrieking were taking place, I was reminded of something. We all have worms, metaphorical worms that is, munching away at the beauty of our inner self. The lies we believe not only keep us tied up in the shadows, they intentionally eat away at our very being. They steal our freedom, kill our joy, and destroy our ability to live the story God desires for us.
The sad part is that far too often the lies we discover seem to be more true than not. It’s like the worm in my garden- I almost didn’t find him he matched the plant so well.
Still, the choice is ours.
May you and I be like I was, when I found the worm – appalled at the devastation and quick to repent, flicking that dreadful thing out of the garden, and turning to Father to receive Truth that ushers in redemption & a depth of beauty, in time.
My thumb is anything but green. It’s true. Yet somehow, in late-hours of winter, two thousand-and-ten I effectively convinced myself this would be the year my garden produces more than 2 carrots or a couple dozen green beans. This year would be the year of purple and chartreuse.
The seed package had me smiling at first glance and before I knew it, these tiny garden seeds made their way into my ruby-red Target cart, and [at the risk of being a bit sappy] into my heart.
And so the story begins, of my window-box garden, 2010.
Join with me and soak in the timeless words of Jean-Pierre De Caussade,
`Is not a picture painted on a canvas by the application of one stroke of the brush at a time? Similarly the cruel chisel destroys a stone with each cut. But what the stone suffers by repeated blows is no less than the shape the mason is making of it. And should a poor stone be asked ‘What is happening to you?’, it might reply ‘Don’t ask me. All I know is that for my part there is nothing for me to know or do, only to remain stead under the hand of my master and to love him and suffer him to work out my destiny. It is for him to know how to achieve this. I know neither what he is doing nor why. I only know that he is doing what is best and most perfect, and I suffer each cut of the chisel as though it were the best thing for me, even though, to tell the truth, each one is my idea of ruin, destruction, and defacement. [Sacrament of the Present Moment, 56]
Let’s imagine standing at the foot of a grand impressionistic painting, wondering how the mess of all the brush strokes could create anything significant, meaningful, or even recognizable. How could anything of beauty rise from such apparent disaster?
Yet, as we begin to step back our eyes are enlightened to the entirety of the piece, and we begin to see the value of the wisp of gray-green there and the essential nature of the yellow-bronze stroke just below the horizon line.
Each. and. every. stroke. has. meaning.
Each and every stroke, has a name.
As you ponder your life’s canvas, what strokes strike you as odd? Seemingly out of place? What colors are appearing in this season’s brush strokes? Yellows of joy, browns of melancholy, reds of anger, blues of wonder?
May we be blessed with the wisdom to sit nice and close and gaze at each stroke’s intricacy. May we be wise to step back and begin to name each stroke that has made its way across our canvas.
And may we find Redemption’s heart at our very fingertips.
Or shall I say, eight months, seven days? That’s how long it’s been quiet around here. Whew. And while I won’t write a novel on what happened between then and now (that’s a scary thought!) I will attempt to catch you up on life here in Colorado. I’m still an RD at Focus Leadership Institute & loving the students I journey with each semester. It’s incredible to walk with them and than watch them go and continue to become the women God created them to be. In all my spare time, I did also open the doors to my private counseling practice, LifeJourney International, renting an office downtown and seeing a few clients here and there.
And how could I forget?! I made it out to the Big Island of Hawaii
Lately, I’ve begun quite the collection of bargain-priced vintage items (I’m half-convinced it’s God’s way of celebrating my 30th-which I’m def. stoked about!) I’ve started to do hand embroidery as well. No doubt there will be more on those to come. My brother, Aaron, is getting married in December to his amazing woman, Jenn.
And, what else do you need to know? I have not left the country for three entire years. I’m asking Abba-God to provide a way for me to simply get my feet on the soil of Africa. Ideally it would be a visit to Mozambique to see the work of Heidi and Rolland Baker-talk about an adventure!
Last, but not least… I am proud to announce that I am back on twitter (@beloved_she) and still on facebook (kjerstenjoy). And I think that’s about all. It’s good to be back, y’all, it’s good to be back.