Thursday, January 27, 2011


So I've been writing songs again. It's felt good to be back at a piano in a more creationary aspect than I generally do in the conservatory. This doesn't have music yet, but it will.

I think I'll make a sign
Beware this heart of mine
Cause I know that in time
You'll find out all of me

I'll warn you to take care
Red letters say beware
You say that you don't care
But you won't like what you see

This is your only warning till you walk in, eyes open wide
My heart's a danger zone of fears and shame and pride
But if that doesn't scare you, if you don't run away
Then promise me despite my scars that you are here to stay

These signs are warning you
What comes if you break through
The walls up shielding you
From what you shouldn't know

Think you can handle me?
Not scared by what you see?
Hold my heart carefully
Cause I could still explode

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I want to write poetry like T S Eliot, song lyrics like Mumford and Sons, prose like a cross between Charles Williams, G K Chesterton, and Jane Austen, and letters like Paul.

I want to write music like Jonathan Jones, play the piano with the passion of Rachmaninoff and the technique of Bach, understand music like a theory nerd, and love music like a little child.

I want to love eternally like God, unconditionally like my family, generously like my best friends, wisely like John instructs, and with abandon like a girl in love.

I want to dream big, never look back, have no regrets, reach for the stars, fly fearlessly without recoiling from failure, fall down without staying down, trust the trustworthy, love the beautiful, make the ugly into something beautiful, and find something to love in everyone.

I want to fall in love, find my dreams, go where God sends me and stay where He puts me, write what's on my mind, sing what's in my heart, and live with abandon. Love with abandon. Always hope. Always persevere.

I want to be there for my friends, love faithfully and freely, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I want to be a new creation. I want to live like I know I've been forgiven of the greatest sin. I want only to know that I am a great sinner, that Christ is a great savior, and that love can redeem everything.

These are my dreams, my goals, my hopes. This is who, by the grace of God, I hope to someday be.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I hate change. I really do, and I always have. Change is unsettling. When life is good, and things are comfortable and going well, there's no need for change. And when things are bad...they can always get worse. Change, in my mind, is almost always for the worse. And so I fight change and cling to tradition, cling to old friendships and old loves and old habits, grabbing on to weathered and worn weapons to protect me against the terrifying unknown. But sometimes, spring cleaning needs to happen. Sometimes the worn-down habits and strongly-held ideas need to go, need to be cleared away to make room for better beliefs, better friendships, better loves.

So at the beginning of a new semester, because I am a new creation, it's time for some changes. It's time to clear out the cobwebs of my soul and let in a little light.

1) I need to rest. Hectic hustle and bustle is killing me. Stress and anxiety about things I can't control is wearing me down. Rest restores. Rest relieves. But rest is also something I honestly don't know how to practice. So this semester, even with an 18-unit load and on-campus job, I'm going to make it a habit to deliberately and daily rest in the Lord for everything, but also take specific moments in the day to stop. Be still. And rest.

2) Spaces. Because not everything in life is a life-or-death situation, and little things matter. One space between sentences. Because I don't have to be right about everything.

3) Love. I don't get it. But I need to accept it without trying to be worthy of it. I need to give it without wondering how and if it will be accepted. God loves me. And I tend to forget that. But that's where everything starts. If I don't know that He loves me, if I don't remember that His love is unearned and constant, then there's no possibility that I can either give or accept that love. This semester, I want to love God, and remember that I am loved by God, so that I can love the people God has given me to love, and not doubt their love for me.

4) Humility. I may not act like it, but I am a ridiculously prideful person. I don't accept help easily. I don't change easily. With this pride comes a great deal of stubbornness and refusal to change, simply because I have to do things my own way, for myself. And this has hurt not only me, but a lot of other people. To everyone who's been hurt by my stubbornness and refusal to listen, I'm sorry. To everyone who's dealt with the consequences of my refusal to change, I'm sorry. To everyone who's borne with me throughout this past semester and interterm, thank you. The only reason I am a new creation is because Christ has made me so. The only way I can change is because God has given me the desire to change, and because He is making a beautiful thing out of me. This semester, I want to submit. Submit to God's plans for me. Submit to my professors' and mentor's corrections. Submit to my friends' wise insights into my flaws and failings, and then change.

Change is hard. But good. And it never stops, but I am confident of this: that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

one step forward, half a mile back

Worn out, falling over, grasping at the last straw
hoping it'll hold me up for just a moment longer
hoping with each step I take I'll somehow come out stronger
breaking down, giving up, heart cracked in two through a fatal flaw.

each step forward feels like another mile run
on shattered legs, with rasping lungs
death of everything i thought was given back to me
losing sight of everything I thought I'd finally learned to see

a whirlwind spinning out of control, sweeping away the pieces of my life
dust and debris and dirty broken secrets
regret for all the words I couldn't hold back
feeble apologies, bandaids to hide the knifes I twisted in their hearts
why am i so tired?

stop. peace, be still. rest in the center of the storm,
the still center of the whirling world. do not lose heart
let the wind batter, the world rage, the weight of glory fall
heavy on tired shoulders. He gives me strength to bear it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hindsight is 20/20

2010 was a weird year. Less of an emotional roller coaster than the previous few years, it was nonetheless a year of change and confrontation, two things which I avoid at all costs. A year of transition, of endings and beginnings, of old relationships fading and new relationships springing up in their stead. A year of changing from a child to an adult, from a high schooler with classes planned for her and easily accomplished workloads to a college student with decisions to make and her own schedule to balance. A year of changing dynamics in relationships with both family and friends, and a year of confrontation over the difficulties in many of those relationships.

Far more important and far more lasting than any of these small tweaks and turns in my life are the lessons I've finally begun to learn. Each year, different issues have begun to surface in my life, and each year, I've tried again and again to perfect myself, to conquer my vices, to overcome my struggles by my own strength. 2010 has been a year where God has complete stripped away everything that is not of Him; my pride and insecurities and the lesser goods I've refused to loosen my grip on. (Yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition. Deal with it.) The various issues I've dealt with all throughout high school finally came together at the end of this year, crashing over me in such an unavoidable manner, like a tsunami raging through a defenseless village, that I could do nothing but surrender completely and give up everything. You won't relent until You have it all, will you God? He wants everything I am and everything I have to be wholly devoted to Him. And this year, He finally broke through to me.

2010 began uneventful but with promise. A relatively smooth senior year, acceptance into both schools of choice, a newly forming band, and a return trip to the DR (Dominican Republic for those who haven't been) gave me something to look back on and something to look forward to. But between the beginning of January with its new beginnings and February with the promised return to a place where for once in my life everything felt right, something snapped. A relationship gone sour, an involuntary relinquishment of the peace and stability I had only held for a few short weeks, and I was back where I had been at the end of 2009: anxious, constantly tense, and emotionally exhausted.

Through a combination of clashing ideals and personalities and multiple misunderstandings and miscommunications, one of the friendships I prized the most was on the edge of a knife, only maintained by my sheer refusal to let go. This affected the missions trip I had looked forward to so much, turning it into a nightmare as I was constantly with one of the people I both respected and hated the most. It also affected the band which was to have been my creative outlet and emotional release during the year, turning it into a battleground for personal problems; a battle which I eventually lost and made a hasty retreat to avoid being unceremoniously booted off the playing field. In less melodramatic terms, I was an emotional wreck during the DR trip, and I left the band I had formed so I couldn't get kicked out. Throughout the tension of this particular relationship, I also had to deal with the decisions regarding college which I had pushed aside until this spring. Being accepted into the Torrey Honors Institute, and later on, the Conservatory of Music as a BA was a strong pull for Biola, yet I could tell that my parents still favored Providence. Wavering back and forth between schools and majors, waiting for a friendship to collapse completely, wondering when I would ever have complete clarity in my life and wishing for that unrememberable time when I was young and free of worry (unrememberable because I'm nearly positive that time never existed, at least not later than elementary school), there was absolutely nothing I could do. And yet I fought.

April, everything finally fell into place. I sent in my deposit for Biola and made the official decision to attend the Torrey Honors Institute as a double major in music with piano emphasis and English with writing emphasis (and no, I don't regret this decision for a moment). I had an amazing senior recital for piano, though I had been dreading it since the project began to take shape. And this relationship, such a subconscious strain in everything I did, was finally reconciled and the healing process began. (We went to Disneyland with a few other friends the next day-one of the best days of the year. Disneyland really is one of the happiest places on earth). With a restored friendship, a new band which I came back to as manager, and graduation just around the corner, I was ready for anything.

Summer 2010 was one of the best times of my life. Decisions regarding college had been made and thus were no longer a stress. High school was done forever, and I had three months to spend with my best friends before going to the school I had dreamed of attending for the past several years. Almost every day was spent with the people I cared about most, relaxing and rejoicing (and plenty of Dr. Who watching). Of course, I knew all that would change when I went to college, but I pushed that inconvenient thought to the back of my mind. One friend in particular tried to get me to accept the inevitable change, and not only accept but welcome it, but it was summer. I still had a month of vacation left. I was happy, and I wasn't going to think about people leaving. I hate it when people leave.

As the time for me to leave for Biola (leaving in the mental/emotional sense, as it was less than 20 minutes from my home), I began to dread the actual leaving. Having deep-rooted issues with abandonment and a resulting inability to let go of people I loved which started with my grandmother's death of cancer when I was 12 and was made more pronounced by a traumatic end to a relationship around the same time as my other grandmother's health issues, I resisted any sort of change and refused to admit that things could change for the better. Going to Biola while my friends went their various ways forced me to confront these issues for the first of many times. Compounding the tension was the knowledge that said traumatic-ending relationship was perhaps not completely over, as the friend involved in this relationship was also attending Biola and Torrey, and with the many mutual friends, we would inevitably be forced to confront, or at least re-connect. Having finally come to terms with the fact that I was over things in this relationship, knowing that this relationship wasn't actually over forced me to rethink things completely. Little could I have known that this relationship, with all its attached strain and stress, would be the basis for both the confrontation and reconciliation of some of the issues I had been dealing with all throughout high school.

Coming to Biola was by far the high point of the year. The people loved and the lessons learned have made this semester a life changing one. Although I was studying what I loved and thriving in Torrey, my stress levels increased as my sleep decreased, and with sleep's decrease, so did general levels of sanity and well-being. Considering how good my life was, it was rather odd that my emotional life should have been so traumatic, but then again, re-opening old wounds tends to do that. Seeing this friend again after two years to wonder, wish, and finally attempt to move on brought back a lot of issues I had never intended to confront. As we became closer and old feelings re-surfaced, so did the old fears of abandonment due to my own failures. Over and over again, in various ways and with various people, I loved and was loved in return, panicked that they would leave me and that I couldn't be good enough for them, and was finally reassured by them and God that I was safe. Over and over again, God tried to get me to let go of my fears and failures, bringing me again and again to a point of brokenness, and again and again, I tried to pull myself back together and be good enough for God.

Finally, He won. After a mild panic attack near the end of the semester, I realized how much my stress and strain was killing my joy and love. Physically and emotionally, I was spent. I had nothing left and I knew it. The only option was to die or be reborn. Having to let go of friends, of my own pride and neurotic need for perfection, of everything that was not God, I have gained so much more. Giving up, I have been given the greatest gift of grace and the perfect promise of hope. Seeking and striving for love and acceptance, I wore myself down. Seeking to see God, the only thing that will bring true happiness, I see the face of Love. God is Love, and I will abide in Love, and Love overflows from me.