We Are An Easter People

I recently had a really good conversation with someone. You know, a really good one, where you’re left with more to think about than when you first started. The kind of conversation where certain words or phrases stick out like a fresh neon highlighter on a bright white page.

We were talking about the subjectivity of suffering and pain. We talked about pain but also of the good and growth that can come out of a painful experience. In the midst of our conversation, the woman I was speaking with began to talk of how life will, a lot of times, throw us circumstances where it is hard to see God at work. We spent a moment recognizing that our God is not just “good” but that He is the Good. Good, with a capital G. Ultimately, we spoke of trusting the Lord, trusting our Good God, when life appears to be anything but “good.” She noted that, despite any form of suffering, we still have Good because we still have God. One specific phrase continues to play through my mind. She spoke with confidence and joy, reminding me that all things will work together for good saying

We are an Easter people, we have hope, we know that death–that pain–is not the end.

That phrase stuck out to me and I have pondered it for too long over the past three days.

We are an Easter people.

We have hope, we have peace, and we have joy. Death is not the final say because Christ defeated the grave! Suffering is not the end and pain is not the last thing you will feel because God is at work and God is Good. His plan is unfolding and it might seem chaotic but He works with a Perfect Peace and a love that rolled away the tombstone. I hope these words give you encouragement to seek out The Good in whatever you might find yourself tangled in this day.

We might find ourselves in the middle of a struggle that seems endless. Or in the middle of a time that seems hopeless. But take heart! This day, and always, we are an Easter people.

Reflection (maybe part one)

Let us not proclaim the Lord’s life and living with our lips. Let us instead proclaim the victorious risen Lord with our lives.

And let us live in such a way that we can not help but get immersed and entangled in interactions with those the world classifies as “the least of these.”

Because it is the “least of these” in whom I have seen and felt the presence of the living God. And it is by the “least of these” in which my heart is softened and my mind grows more understanding. It is by immersing myself in the lives of the “least of these” in which I realize that they are not the “least.”

I am.

A Dangerous Prayer . . . (but aren’t most of them?)

Rise up in me Lord a heart of compassion. a heart of courage. one that is full of love. Rise up in me Lord a heart that sees the best in people and loves them beyond the surface. Rise up in me Lord a heart that is sympathetic and empathetic. one that loves until it hurts. Lord give me the grace to have a heart of compassion. Give me the grace to enter into situations in which i can see the best in people and love them deeply beyond their surface. Lord give the grace to show sympathy and empathy. Lord, give me the grace and humility to love others until i am empty and have only the strength to come boldly before Your throne to be filled again.


This word. It’s like I can’t escape it and it has been following me everywhere. I’ve been grappling with it and fighting through it yet it seems to be engrained into my mind– especially as I turn my lamp off and attempt to go to sleep. And I’ve been challenged to continue to work through it but to those who challenged me, I would challenge them back:

what does compassion look like?

What does compassion look like? In its most complex, intricate, over-the-top form. In its most simplistic and down-to-earth form. In its purest form, when it’s shown so rawly that it hurts. What does compassion look like?


your words matter and they make a difference
so don’t stop speaking
and in this instance, i need them
so don’t stop speaking
because mine sometimes fail me but yours seem constant
reliable, eloquent and full of truth
so i need you to yell it and scream it from the highest mountain top that you can scramble up to
and do it quickly without hesitation
because others need to hear them too
so do it quickly without hesitation

because your words matter
and they are making a difference in my life.

Yesterday I got home from a summer program up at Eastern University. In short, the program is run under the Templeton Honors College and is designed to challenge high school students through rigorous course material and give them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a college experience. It was absolutely fantastic!

When I sat down to think about what I could possibly say about this program, I had trouble trying to find the right words. Gosh, I’m still trying to make sense of all that I just accomplished and how that will impact me in the next few weeks and months!

I spent the last nine days learning and laughing, asking and answering, conversing and questioning with others. And over those last nine days, I’ve done more than I ever thought myself capable of. I studied, read, and thought about a lot of challenging works. I wrote papers and discussed subjects of political theory, religion, humanity, theology, ethics, and history.

Between the professors and students there, I don’t believe I have ever met more genuinely kind and intelligent people who have a passion for learning and a joy for life. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to learn from them and to have spent a week of my life with them. I can not say enough good things about this program or the people that helped put it together.

Inside the classroom I learned that its okay (in fact, it can be a fantastic thing) to read, write, study a lot and come out of something with even more questions than you went into it with.

Outside of the classroom, I learned about myself- a whole lot about myself. I was stretched and I would like to think that I grew tremendously through (and because of) this entire program. I learned about how people learn and about how to learn with and from them. I learned that everybody has a story worth listening to and that I still have a whole lot to learn. I learned that people are awesome and authentic and that life with them is anything but “nasty, brutish, and short.”
I learned that God can make some great things happen for You if you’ll let Him. And I learned that He cares so incredibly much for every single one of us.
I learned that the future holds a lot in store. And that it’s looking pretty bright from down here. I learned that the future is much more attainable to navigate with the help of others. I learned not to act too cool for their help because it’s worth far more than I have been valuing it at. I learned that I need other people and there is no point in trying to act otherwise.
I learned that it is important to be curious, but also patient in the search for answers. I learned that asking is not a bad thing but that apathy is. I learned that the world is a big place but that it is within reach. I learned that it’s important to surround yourself with positive people and to always give your best.

Above all, I recognize that I have learned a lot over the last nine days, but I also realize that as time goes on, I’ll pick up more lessons from my time at Eastern. I don’t say this often, or lightly for that matter, but I truly believe that this program changed my life.


Well, that was awesome.


In the last twenty-four hours I’ve done a lot. And yet, not enough. I’ve thought about a lot of things, yet not about enough. I’ve managed my time well and accomplished a lot of things I had needed to get done yet the time has passed.

In the last 24 hours I:
Found out that a good friend of my friend’s got a call from her doctor– telling her she is cancer free.
Found out that my brother-in-law didn’t get the job he applied/interviewed for.
Wrote my first college-level paper.
Beat myself up over not doing enough in a situation that could have ended much more positively had I taken more initiative.
Found out a friend of mine got to take the “job” that I so desperately wanted.
Had to make a decision that I hope doesn’t put me in a bad situation later on and,
Found out that my friends 11 year old brother died.

Wow. All that and I still have had the nerve to get caught up in the little, trivial, unimportant things of this life. All of that and I still found a little too much time to be: angry, upset, disappointed, jealous, worried, scared, selfish, and unappreciative.

I guess know that the Lord has a reason for everything but right now things feel confusing. My mind is clouded by What Ifs and Whys and Hows.
I was reminded of His faithfulness and constant grace for us yesterday with these amazing words from one of my favorite bands, All Sons & Daughters:

With every breath I breathe
With every song I sing
I want to shout it out
Lord I am listening
To every word You speak
I’ll go where You will lead
To love the least of these
My greatest offering

May that be my pray as this week goes on, as this week and year and life goes on. That I would draw so close to Christ that I’d be able to distinguish the voice of God from that of the world. That I’d want to shout it out with every breath. That I’d have the boldness to go wherever He is leading me. And that my heart would grow so large for His children in order that I may truly love the least of these.