This Is Not a Graduation Post

Up, down, left, right–
black and white, directions four.
But as I walk and learn and grow
I am discovering directions more.

Last month was National Poetry Month, and myself and three other friends engaged in the National Poetry Month Challenge, where you challenge yourself to write a poem every day for the month of April.  I thought it fitting to begin this post with a poem, since my head has been in that genre for quite some time, and poems have the unique ability of being able to help the author process something while also communicating an idea in a deeper way.  Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of processing and communicating.  Through poetry and in person.

Like the title says, this isn’t a graduation post, but graduation did happen and this picture is amazing and has some really great friends in it who I’m very proud of, so look at it.

On Friday, May 4th, I graduated from Southeastern University with two bachelor’s degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education.  As you can imagine, the time leading up to this moment was a flurry of activity and emotions.  I wrapped up an incredible internship at Rochelle School of the Arts, where I was sad to leave kids and teachers whom I had grown to love very much.  I turned in my last SEU assignment — it was over 100 days late (it was due in January…whoops) but hey, what a way to go out, right?  I started interviewing for jobs, trying to figure out my summer plans, scrambling to hang out with friends one last time, and in the midst of all this craziness, Jesus came a-knockin’ on the door of my heart to say “Whassup? Haven’t seen you in a bit.”

I know I’ve written about it before, but God’s faithfulness is probably the one characteristic of God I am consistently in awe of and immensely thankful for.  The past few months I have been ABUNDANTLY blessed in terms of educational goals and achievements, professional connections and opportunities, and supportive friendships (both old and new!).  And despite all this blessing, all of these reasons to be praising the goodness of God daily, I allowed my Bible to become dusty and I decided that my relationship with Christ could take the backseat.

Despite my unfaithfulness, God never stops pursuing His own.

Thank God that I’ve chosen to follow a God who is in every way perfect, forgiving, and all-loving, because I’d be sick of me by now.

You Love Me Still (April 30th)

I have ran more than ever
You wait for me still
I have doubted more than ever
You believe in me still
I have closed my eyes more than ever
You watch me still
I have rejected more than ever
You love me still

I have sought more than ever
You know me still
I have longed more than ever
You cherish me still
I have asked more than ever
You answer still
I have felt you more than ever
You love me still

So what kind of post is this?  It’s sort of a life update, sort of a challenge, sort of a ramble, and sort of a way for me to process some of my thoughts.  If you’re into that kind of post — lol.  Keep reading.

Going into 2018, I knew it was going to be a big year for me.  I’d graduate college, finally ending my time as a student, and enter into a career I’m incredibly passionate about: teaching music to elementary students.  Farewell to my last moments of dependency and childhood, independence and adulthood is fast approaching.

I think I became so caught up in the excitement of the external changes happening, that I started neglecting the heart changes.

One of the things I struggle with as a believer is feeling an emotional connectivity to my faith and relationship with Christ.  Yes, I know, faith isn’t built on emotions and our emotions can deceive us, but I’ve always been a little jealous (and, if I’m honest, a little skeptical) of the believers who profess astounding emotional encounters with Christ.

This can trip me up sometimes.  If I dwell too much on my “lack of emotional intimacy” with Christ, my mind falters.  And like many a pastor has said, “Don’t give the devil a foothold!”

Side note: as I was looking up the Scripture reference for that quote (Ephesians 4:27), I read a saying that I hadn’t heard before — “Give Satan an inch and he’ll be a ruler” and despite its clear meaning, all I can picture is a wooden ruler with a pointy tail, horns, and a trident.

Suffice it to say, I succumbed to some old sin patterns and a general headspace that wasn’t glorifying to God.  Maybe I’ll save the details for another post, or maybe you can ask me about it, but here’s the lesson I learned:

Whatever you are struggling with or however great the issue is that you have with God, it is not worth trying to figure out without Him.

I thank God pretty regularly for my parents and their faithfulness to Him.  Thanks to their sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s prodding, they tag-teamed with Jesus in the wake-up call I needed.

I started talking with God again…and hot dang, it felt good to have that conversation.  It may sound a little crazy, but it was so refreshing to engage in dialogue through prayer again.  It was like returning to an old friend, only the old friend is an omniscient, and omnipresent being who we can’t see with our physical eyes so the conversations can happen at anytime, anywhere, in the middle of any situation.

I imagine Jesus just smiling and nodding knowingly as I spilled the news of how my life had been going and what I had been thinking about.  I was welcomed back with listening ears.  And it was good to be heard.

Since then, I’ve been learning a lot about God and about others.  I started attending a Bible study of sorts — it’s more like a group of believers that are seeking God earnestly and living in community authentically, rather than the structured format that comes to mind when you say “Bible study” — and these people have challenged me to rethink how I love and serve others, how to live out an authentic faith, and much more.

I settled on a church home, which has been crucial in planting my roots here in Lakeland.  Sunday mornings have become encouraging and convicting again, pushing me towards Christ in uncomfortable and thrilling ways.  Just this past Sunday we had a lesson on judging others; here are two little tidbits from that that convicted me:

Love always identifies WITH someone, but judgement always distances FROM someone.

God, give me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that it’s me.

I’ll wrap this all up now with a challenge, as I occasionally like to do.  Got to make this worth your read, right?  However, this challenge is sort of for you, but also for me.

Talk holy to me.

One of the ways that I’ve found I’m much more inclined to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Phil. 4:8), is when I’m regularly engaged in conversations with people about matters of faith and life.  I’m not talking about deep theological discussions here.  I’m talking about conversations centered on growth and understanding, on shared hurts and burdens, and ultimately pointing to Christ.

And I’m definitely not talking about conversations only with people who think the same as you.  My faith has been challenged from many conversations, and I have become all the more certain of my desire to belong to Christ because of it.

Ask me what God has been doing in my life.  I’ll tell you.  And then I’ll ask you.

Jesus went out of his way to talk with people about their lives — and LISTEN to their stories.  If we truly desire to be more like Jesus, we will do the same.


leaving the listen (April 23rd)

they desperately try to hear–
crying and clawing and commanding
longing for a phrase, a word
to ease pain
to bring hope
to choose right
to know wrong

“it’s a still, small voice”
boom the mountains, shout the boulders
“it is everywhere, just listen”
murmur countless, layered hosts
“in the quiet of your heart”
pound the ever-beating drums
speak the unhearing masses.

in this effort to hear–
preaching and praying and processing
spewing empty phrases, calloused words
to ease pain
to bring hope
to choose right
to know wrong


I stopped trying to hear–
rejecting and running and repeating
ignoring all the phrases, every word
to ease pain
to bring hope
to choose right
to know wrong


“I’m still here”
sigh the floorboards, whisper the rooftops
“We are here, just be”
chorus the few, gathered friends
“In the chaos of your life”
sings the never-ceasing Leader

and I heard.



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