“You Deserve This”

“You deserve this Megan,” words I’m pretty sure I’ve said to myself since I could talk.

Raised by two wonderful parents who taught me the best they could the meaning of being “selfless” I turned it in my brokenness and became selfish. I thought myself higher than I was, and proclaimed my name louder than others because I honestly believed I was better.

But through it all, I felt like darkness, I knew I was darkness. The things coming out of my mouth, while still being able to be redeemed and used for good by the grace of the Lord, were tainted with a hint of salt so that I could steal some of the flavors of His work and claim it as my own.

“You deserve this,” I said as I laid my head down to sleep at night and as I woke in the morning, thinking that I, in my own power had earned the right to something on this Earth.

And then something changed, I can pinpoint it a specific night. A night when I was suffocating under the weight of darkness and stress. A night when in the middle of it all, for one of the first times, I reached out to someone to show them my weakness more honestly than I had ever done before.

How freeing. How freeing it was for someone to see me in my darkness and still love me and value me anyways. “I value you,” “I will pray for you,” the words came in like aloe to soothe the burns etched upon my skin, like cold water quenching my thirst.

I don’t know what it was about that weekend that changed but it felt like the final bits of pressure were being applied. As if, in that moment, I could either crumble and disintegrate and let all of the work God has been doing me over these past three years become nothing or, I could face it and take my place as a diamond, a precious gem worth more than I could ever imagine, in the polishing hands of the Lord.

It was then I finally started to understand I don’t deserve all the things I thought I did. I have not become the person I am through my own power but through the redemptive power of the Lord doing a good work in me. I have achieved great things and loved others well because the blood of my savior was shed on the cross and I have become whole again.

Because in my brokenness the Lord saw fit to use me.

How humbling.

How joyous.

How freeing.

“You deserve this”, words I no longer say to myself but words others have been saying to me these past couple weeks. Words I am in awe of every time they’re said to me because I”m humbled in all the ways these words show me how God has loved me. Words I know I wouldn’t be hearing except by the faithfulness of my community to encourage and cherish me, to extend grace and patience in my brokenness, and show me what it means to be loved, more fully and fiercely, than I could have ever imagined.

I don’t deserve this but I am so honored and humbled beyond belief to know that the redemptive work the Lord has done in me has put in me in a place of leadership. I’m humbled to be chosen, not once or twice, but three times, to share bits of my story to different audiences in this graduation season. The thought of it all simply overwhelms me and brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Not because I think I deserve this, but because in these opportunities, I see the evidence of my redemption so clearly and brightly.

Christ deserves the glory because He alone is the reason I’ve been able to love. He alone is the reason I’ve been able to change and become someone better than myself. He alone is the reason I can smile, full of a joy so overwhelming, that I cannot contain myself and overflow into others.

I am simply grateful and humbled to be a vessel He has chosen, may it be so for the rest of my life.

Rivers Intertwined

Living by the water constantly reminds me of the ever-flowing river of life.

Once upon a time I was just a tiny stream, I knew few people and was influenced only by family, for that was all who was around me.

But as I have grown older I have met many others, some streams, and some, rushing rivers. My thankfulness for these bigger streams and rivers is unending. They gave me life; they helped me grow bigger and stronger by sending little streams of water my way.

Everyone, I have come into contact with over the past 23 years, in one way or another, has blessed me by pouring some of their own life into mine. I am better for it, especially thanks to those who gave to me even though our time together was short.

I will not forget why I have grown from a stream to a small river.  One day, when I hope to be as mighty as the Amazon, I will still remember all those who poured into me. Even more, I hope that wherever I go, I will bring life to those around me, pouring myself out as I have been poured into. Water is dangerous. It can kill, poison, or cause destruction, but it is the very thing that keeps us living.

I promise to be a river of life ~ it is the only way to properly thank all you have faithfully loved me from the day we first met. Our time together may seem small in the grand scheme of life, but impacts are eternal, and I will be forever grateful for those you’ve had on me.

Patient for Greatness

I don’t always check the little “On this day” tab on Facebook but today I am awfully glad I did.

There were ten things to look through and about halfway down I stumbled upon this post that said the following:
“MEGAN!!
Our most meaningful encounter was brief, but it was enough for me to see that you have an endless amount of love for this spinning sphere we’re all on and its inhabitants. You are impacting the world in such a beautiful way and I’m so lucky to know you”

Brief could not be a more accurate description of my entire relationship with the person that wrote that post on my wall in 2013. I met him the year I graduated from high school and saw him sporadically when I would come from my various adventures for maybe a total of three hours every 6 months or less.

I wouldn’t call us friends, we never had time to become such, but I do appreciate him greatly and think he is an incredibly talented and amazing human being.

That being said, this past week I sunk into a pit of despair as I contemplated the post-grad life that is looming before me. I got stuck in the mire of “if I don’t become someone as soon as I graduate, I will never become someone great.”

But that is a lie for a couple of reasons.

The first is that becoming great doesn’t happen over night, at least not in the sphere of greatness that I aspire to. The greatness I am seeking comes with developed character, humility, grace, peace, wisdom, and abundant, radical love and that can only come with time and trial. I don’t know how long it will take me to fully accept this fact but as of today I will be consistently reminding myself of it until I can believe it with my whole heart.

The second is that I already have been great in the past and as long as I focus on my true joy – loving God and loving others – I will continue to grow in greatness. Not because I am perfect or because I am amazing at loving God and others (for I am not and I almost always suck at it very very badly) but because it brings me joy to serve the Lord in such a way. Developing character in one-on-one situations, serving at my church, encouraging my co-workers, offering a homemade meal, all these things help me love others well and bring me joy. And all of those things are great and they remind me that in the past, and even now, great things come in simplicity.

That being said, I still hope I can become greater than I currently am, that is the hope of growth and development but for now I will rest peacefully in the fact that I am great and so are all the other people around me. I will rejoice in the small feats of my peers because we are great now and we will only continue to become great as we continue to pursue Christ. Based on the character of the people I’ve come into contact with here it would be absurd to limit them to un-greatness for their hearts are redeemed and their dreams are Kingdom bound and those things will always signify greatness to me.

Iridescent

What I wouldn’t give to be iridescent.

Iridescent: (adj) producing a display of rainbow-like colors

But as the chrysalis of childhood slowly sheds from around me and the victorious shouts of “be anyone” and “do anything” turn into whispers I wildly grasp for in the gusts of winds the melancholic reality of averagity threatens to blacken my vision.

The proclivity for life’s tendency to be evanescent looms as I sink into believing that the quiddity of my journey up until now is characterized by nothing more than an opaque existence.

So quickly crestfallen in world where everyone yearns to be the cynosure of another, the suffocating unknown of the future filled with apocalyptic predictions of alienation becomes the only thought in my head. Who? What? How? Persisting questions flash across my brain like the unavoidable sickly neon signs of the Vegas strip are stained into the eyes of its residents.

The hope of becoming iridescent, resplendent, although inspirational, is cumbersome to those struggling to burst forth from the chrysalis, I pray I can make it out myself.

Camping in the Concrete Jungle: Florida

It comes when we least expect it, one cloud at a time. On the days when the sun has blistered our backs and made us sweat through our denim shorts. The palm trees, never reliable for shade from the sun, shy away even more from the role of protector as the first droplets of rain begin to sprinkle the ground; they are only here for the looks after all.

The few birds that reside in the city tuck themselves away and silence their calls as the first crack of lightening shocks the skyline and I know, without a doubt, I am trapped behind these flimsy concrete walls.

Prayers for solid foundation comes in the midst of the thunder as the misty haze of droplets turns into a full expulsion of the world’s tears that were stored up for so long in the clouds.

Maybe thats why the rain has been so consistent lately, the world is hurting and the clouds are finding it difficult to put on a happy face. Grey skies from morning to night are the ambiance of most days leaving sun seekers defeated in their scourings. So the nights come only to bring grey days and the world hurts and the clouds continue to cry.

But through it all, the sun rises and sets. Pink, orange, yellow, purple, blue; the clouds seek their rainbows and illuminate the sky in soft reprisal against the darkness. Storms that come in the night are never thought for and storms in the day provide the best golden-hour canvas.

Hope stands tall through the storms even though everything else might fail.

Peace

Slowly, surely, and all at once
peace has come
to rest its head on my shoulders
and curl up in my lap.

Many days, weeks,
months and
years
have passed since its last visit.

In that time I reached out
thinking,
hoping,
that I could find rest in idols
in people, ideals
perceptions…
appearances.

But now as I sit
and feel the soft fingers of your grace
run through my hair
while your melodies of mercy
tune my ears
back towards your life

I finally feel at peace.

Treasures

Why does God allow our treasures to be taken away?

Not Idols…

We all know why He allows our Idols to be wrenched out from our grasps:
They’re the poison that keeps us from truly living.

In order to survive they have to be removed.

But treasures…

the things we hold up to light so we can see their full glory,

the bundles of joy that we can’t help but share with the world
because they’re too good to be kept secret,

the gifts, the beautiful blessings that fall into our laps.

These are things that we didn’t deserve but somehow they stumbled upon us
and graciously allowed us to call them our own.

And we knew,

we always knew they weren’t ever ours to keep,
but because we thought we were polishing them to bring before a king

and yet…

it feels like they’ve been stolen?