pausing with Jesus

i find myself reading blog posts, skimming past the parts about Jesus without even thinking about it.


Jesus.  Jesus who actually matters.

Jesus.  Jesus who changed and changes everything.

Jesus.  Jesus who is everything.

Friday at youth, our theme was Pause. Play. Repeat. Amidst the reflection of the past lessons we’ve covered during the year, Ramona went over Matthew 5:4-8, pinpointing people whom she saw the verses majorly representing.  That was a push I needed, direct application of scripture.

4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

And these things, certain people are evident in all of them.  And these things are things that we should strive to have evident in all of us.

I was shocked, though, because I was the first example.  The Message translation puts it this way, and I feel connection in this:

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

Ramona phrased it as that I “mourn” with people–work through struggles and tough stuff with them.  I see the second translation, though, linking my past with my future once again.  Having identity in nothing was previously “dear” to me.  It’s true.  Being stronger alone was who I was.  God took that from me, forever.  And I was embraced fully by His LOVE.

Moments of blessing appear so often.  I am blessed that people allow me to intertwine into their stories, engage in their stories.  I am blessed every single time I engage in worship with one of the girls I do inclusion with.  I am blessed every time my other girlie looks at me and holds onto my arm and says “I love you” because that is exactly what’s on her heart at the time.

I do a lot of playing and repeating.  I need to do more pausing.

Pausing like this.

Pausing with Jesus.


the beautiful letdown

A couple years ago, my friend called my other friend and invited us to his youth group.  Now, I love youth groups, but this is one I’d never been interested in going to.

Megachurch.  Youth building.  It has a food court.  Indoor basketball.  I know, sounds awesome right?  I am slightly a contradiction.  I have nothing against these things on principle, but they also were exactly why I was against going–said youth building cost two million dollars.  Which, you know, could have fed and clothed and medicated and sheltered a lot of people, near and far.  God does not need to be sold to youth with cool video games and bonfires outside of garage door walls.

Yes, money is what fuels us in many respects.  It’s a rough concept—empowering and demeaning depending on who is the possessor of the money, and how much money they are the possessor of.

And that night, as one friend and I sat in a church where we couldn’t even find the guy who invited us in the throngs of people, where nobody reached out to us, where nobody reached us, where we were asked if we wanted to purchase various things, where the material things of the world took precedence over the God that the youth had just listened to a pastor discuss.

The beautiful letdown.  I still want, and at the time I still wanted, a church that’s full of realism.  People who have been the victimized, the distraught, the depressed, the desperate.  The desperation that has ultimately allowed them to experience healing, the desperation led them to the people they are now—these are the people I feel I can identify with most.  Because they are not trying to be what they’re not, only what God wants them to be. 

Who are we, letting society decide our coolness, attractivenss, who is to be idolized, by random unknown standards?  Who are we, using these things to divide ourselves further than this great big world has already divided us?

Walls . . . breakdown.

It was a beautiful letdown / When I crashed and burned / when I found myself alone, unknown and hurt / It was a beautiful letdown / the day I knew / all the riches this world had to offer me / would never do. / in a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubts / I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in / until I found out / that I don’t belong here / I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong

It was a beautiful letdown / when You found me here / yeah for once in that rare blue moon I see everything clear / I’ll be a beautiful letdown / that’s what I’ll forever be / and though it may cost my soul / I’ll sing for free / we’re still chasing our tails / and the rising sun / and our dark water planet’s spinning a race where no one wins and no one’s one

See I don’t belong here / I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong / I don’t belong here / I’m gonna set sight and set sail for the kingdom come, Your kingdom come! / Won’t You let me down / Let my foolish pride forever let me down

Easy living / you’re not much like the name / easy dying, hey you look just about the same / won’t you please take me off your list / easy living please / come on and let me down

We are a beautiful letdown / painfully uncool / the church of the dropouts, and losers and sinners and failures and the fools / what a beautiful letdown / are we salt in the wound? / and let us sing one true tune

I don’t belong here / no I don’t belong here / nah, I don’t belong here / feels like I don’t belong here / won’t you let me down, come on and let me down, you always let me down, I’m so glad that i’m let down, come on and let me down / cause I don’t belong here, come on and let me down

The Beautiful Letdown, Switchfoot

This song went through my head all night.  Because I didn’t belong there.  In the small sense, I did not belong at that church.  My church now?  It’s so full of love.  It’s in debt, but it’s full of passion.  Full of prayer and tears and hope and big, big love for each other, and most importantly, big big love for Christ.

But after sitting at that table in silence with my friend thinking about it . . . I don’t belong here in this world either.  There are greater things beyond it when the journey here is done.


School is awesome.  I dropped a class already as intro sociology was slightly sucking the life from me.  Not as much as developmental psych, however, I cannot drop that because it’s apparently rather required for my major.  THAT prof?  I have had one class with him and I wanted to bang my head against my desk.  Evan wants to drop it.  After one class.  Whatever-his-name-is says four words . . . then pauses for thirty to forty-five seconds . . . and says four more words . . . Repeat.  All class long.

On a bright point, his syllabus says to bring a cup for tea during office hours.  Which is kind of rad I guess.

My kinesiology courses kick butt.  I am highly enjoying them.  My profs are awesome.  I only have one course Monday, Wednesday, Friday now and it’s Adapted Physical Activity, and then I get to go home and be home before noon.


I’m doing some youth-leading stuff at church, which I am pumped about.  It still doesn’t feel like home but I’ll get there.  It takes awhile, it’s a big place.  Took awhile at the old one too, which was so small that the youth program literally fell apart.  And at which we only ever sat around in the lounge and drank hot chocolate and spent an hour discussing our weeks, and then everybody stopped going, pretty much.  I’m totally digging it though, digging the real-ness.  Digging the fact that they seem to realize God is not just for Sundays.

So this morning I woke up with about three hours of sleep in me [apparently neither Tara or I slept well last night in her living room.  Weird times.], went to Starbucks and made the baristas decide for me what I was getting—pumpkin spice latte—went to an awesome service that made me all pumped, hung out with the other youth leaders at 2.1 for a bit, which is the youth thingie between services that we really don’t quite know what we’re doing yet, headed down to the basement to play with the three-year-olds for 11, had some form-filling-out-timez and children’s ministry team prayer, and then got to play-with-slash-console-crying-children-and-inspect-shoe-injuries.  Also: sing children’s songs about God.  Fun times.


Also been seriously digging Trust Company and Falling Up lately.  Still.  The Trust Company version of Rock the Casbah is epic.