The eagle – Gladys Aylward

eagle

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Cleansing

I need this, as I embark today into uncertainty. I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan, but I guess I still need to…let go.

Letting go is hard. I don’t like it. Because I want control. I need it. I crave it. My humanity seems to starve without it.

But He demands it.

All I want is a little piece. I can try to hide it from him, my little corner of my life that I refuse to give over to him. The area that I continue to hold onto with clenched fists and white knuckles for fear that my grip will slip. But that’s the thing–God doesn’t want just a part of me. God wants my all.

I guess that’s why it’s so hard.

And I mean, I’ve been down that road before. I know that a lot of times, it’s a struggle. It will be hard. I know that a lot of times, following God means the road might feel broken and twisted and thorny–but I also know what it feels like to bask in the light, what it feels like as he chisels away to be made new. And, well, that’s the one thing I want more than control.

It’s beautiful, really. For those of you still searching, take it from me: it is worth it. It is so worth it. And he will come through. That’s the glorious thing about God: God doesn’t depend on how I feel, but on who he is. And he is faithful, and he is in control.

But surrender, it does have to be intentional. These feelings of closedness, these walls around my heart–I have to lower them on purpose. Sometimes I hold onto my own pain just because I want to feel something, not wanting to risk letting him in even though I know that he brings something so much greater. Something holy. Something powerful. Something that will make me whole.

Sometimes I call it love.

But these are the same feelings I was having a month ago when I wrote this poem. It’s not much of a poem, really; it doesn’t rhyme or anything. But I need this, as I embark into my mission this summer, sharing God with kids all season–I need a cleansing. I need to know my heart is whole and wholly his. I need his refining fire to make me pure. So I let go, and call down the Name of God in this place today. Change me.

Take all of your guilt;
hold your shame in your hands–
and squeeze.
Draw out your fears,
and condense all your grief.
Take hold of despair
and crumple your worry,
hidden in your clenched fists,
like a ball of newspaper.
Throw your sin on the pile too.
Hold them.
Gather them and cup them in your open palms and shape them into a leaden ball.
Heavy.
Dense.
Compact.
But at least, at last outside of you.
Feel it’s weight–
and like a lantern, let it fly.
Release it all into the sky.
Relax your tight and desperate grip.
I know you’re afraid to lose it,
for it feels like all you have.
You thought it was a part of you,
and, yes, it was:
it’s made you stronger.
But now it’s started crippling you.
And it’s time
to let go.
Release.
Light it up and watch it disappear
like a blue balloon.
And now,
breathe.
Unfold, and let your colors loose upon the world.

Blessings,
Bre

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Letters to Me

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I found a letter I wrote to myself more than a year ago:

Dear Bre,

I know you’re scared and depressed and so desperately in love that your soul is screaming at the thought of losing it all. I want to tell you that there’s so much more than this out there. God has a plan, He’s in control, so no matter what you do, no step you take is irreparably wrong. You have a purpose, you’re meant to be, you have a wondrous destiny! All you have to do is let it go! “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” Offer Him your everything. Rid yourself, ask Him to take it all away. These idols, these lies, these voices that hide inside, they’re not from Him and you don’t have to obey.

Train yourself now in the way of the righteous–form a habit of holiness. Teach yourself by letting Him teach you. Pray constantly, pursue persistently, speak purely, love sincerely, live passionately: fearless and free. Let the truth wash you clean.

Throw your whole heart into His will. Rid yourself of the weight of these worries, these fears, these questions, lies, and tears, and trust in the one thing that remains when all else is stripped away. Clear the stage. Smile, and let your heart believe in joy, hope, light and peace, an infragile truth that will never be taken away. Dedicate yourself to the Lord, and train yourself in His ways with diligence. Don’t be deterred. Throw yourself wholeheartedly into it, and trust.

You want control, you want answers, you want surety of self. You seek pleasure and delight, a greater fate and yet want easy. Let it go. Give it up. And watch the magic happen in your very own heart. Let him chisel, even when it hurts.

When I say hurt, you put up your walls. Barriers return. Knock them down! You’re scared now and apprehensive and full of doubt and fear and frustration and worry. But you know you will find the light and rejoice. Only one thing remains. So be strong and courageous–fear not–do not be discouraged! For the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go!

If you tell yourself something often enough, you start to believe it. Don’t ever, ever believe you can’t.

Take in all the little things around you, and take joy in them: the way the rain patters on the roof, the ink flowing from your pen, the way things have their quirks and inconsistencies. Notice.

Don’t let things bother you that shouldn’t. Be patient with your siblings. See past the masks and respect people for who they are without deindividualization.

Set your values and strive toward them with all your beautiful heart. Know your standards and stick to them. Fill yourself with joy. Remember that what you put in is what will come out. Never forget the things God taught you–in Philly, at camp, through trials and hardships: these lessons are part of you. Keep learning them every day. Pray often until it becomes a habit. Knock down the walls and destroy the idols. Don’t forget to seize the day. Be a dreamer, a maker, a seer, a changer.

Love the heart of God.

Knowing God has a crazy amazing plan,
–Bre

Wow. This is amazing. I have been struggling a lot over the last few weeks, with a lot of different things. Well, really a lot of different life things that are really all one internal issue, I guess. I can’t yet share the most recent thing that happened, but it’s really weighing on my heart and I don’t know how to deal with what God might be asking me to do. It’s something I’ve done once before, and I really, really don’t want to go through it again. I’m really scared. I’ve been asking God for help trusting him, but–it’s hard. It’s really hard. Especially with what this means for me. And while this doesn’t make it any easier, it is a reminder that He’s still faithful. And I’m grateful.

Wishing all the mothers out there a happy day, and with a special gratitude for my own mom–I don’t know what I would do without you. If I can ever figure out this whole life thing half as well as you have, my kids will be pretty darn lucky.

Blessings,
–Bre

Adkjhskdjflmagh!

I have to wonder if it’s worth it, this busy life we lead.
If because of it we’re missing out, on what we really need.

I am so sick and tired of all of this, sometimes. Of all the running around, scrambling to get everything done, my mind split into a million pieces all wondering what’s next, losing the now as I stress over the next thing. How do I have time for it all? How do I get it done?

It’s a cultural phenomenon: we’re all becoming busier. I have so many different things pulling at my attention, I don’t know which way to turn. So many demands to be met, so many expectations to be reached, so many responsibilities to carry out, so many options tugging at my mind, so little time to do it all.

The simple thing would be just to say no to some of it, wouldn’t it? But no–I can’t do that. I don’t want to miss out.

Besides, I like it–don’t I?

Yeah! Yeah, I enjoy all the things I’m involved in–but I keep myself from fully enjoying them, because by the time I get there, I’m already stressing about how to fit in the next thing.

Imagine.

Just. Taking. The. Time. To. Breathe.

This craziness might also have to do with a major indecision in my life: namely, what I want to do with it. I am passionate about so many things…

Writing? Oh, yes, I have a passion for writing. I am absolutely and irrevocably in love with words, the beauty, the majesty, the music of them–of the English language–of all language. Oh, yes I have a passion for these written words. But…I also have a passion for the spoken word: for theatre, its lights and its drama. And I have a passion for the visual arts, the swirl of a paintbrush and the footprint it leaves behind. And I have a passion for science, for biology and genetics. For books with crinkled pages and people with smiling eyes and a world full of wonder waiting to be discovered, yes–I have a passion, for all of these, and above all I have a passion for my sweet and powerful Jesus. So really, you can’t blame me, for not knowing which way to go, not when there are so many beautiful options…

It doesn’t help, you know, the pressure from, well, everywhere, to know. I get asked it often: “Where are you going to college? What are you going to study? What career are you going to?” I’ve been being asked since FRESHMAN YEAR. It instates a kind of learned panic in me, now, the uncertainty of it, because the nature of the question implies that other people–they know. And if you don’t you’re behind.

And frankly, it’s hard, not knowing, because you don’t limit yourself. I’m involved in so many things, it’s hard to focus on just one. But really, should I have to?

My whole family is busy. Today alone there have been four different sports games people have had to get to. This week is tech week for my show (For those of you not familiar with theatre: tech week basically = chaos. At least in that it’s a very time-consuming process). So even when one of us has a moment–like me, this afternoon–the rest are out and about.

And there are times. My family, especially my parents, is actually really good at getting in quality time, something I really do appreciate–more than I act like it a lot of times, because I am so stressed. And it’s not fair that life is slipping away from me, and I feel weary already.

Isn’t this supposed to be the time when I’m at my peak, vibrant and full of life? No wonder more and more teenagers are developing anxiety disorders and depression. In fact, I’ve been there too. And if that’s you, right now, can I just take a second to encourage you: don’t give up. The fight’s not over yet. You’d be amazed at what can happen, if you just, keep, going, even when its hard. Especially when its hard. When it hurts. Those are the times, honestly, for me in my life, that I look back to, and that inspire me to keep going now. The times from which I learned the most. It’s a beautiful thing, restoration, redemption–so keep going. I want you to see it.

Because I know–some days, it feels like it will never end.

It would be nice if we could all just take a single day away from it all, all at once, all together. It would be nice, for a moment, to focus on each other, rather than the next thing on our to-do lists. Isn’t that what really matters?

This weekend was my mom’s birthday. Have I mentioned how amazing my mom is? I don’t know how she does it. If I’m half as good at parenting as she is, my kids will be lucky. But you know what? With rehearsals and schoolwork and projects and exams and tech week and commitments–I didn’t even make her a card. It slipped my mind, and I didn’t have time. But hey, I shot her a text, right? That’s something!

I don’t know. I just challenge you–this week, to take a moment to do something for someone else. Just something small. It’ll change their day. But even if it doesn’t–I guarantee it’ll change yours.

Just a thought.

–Bre