meditations for the moment

for the lonely hearts
the ones wrestling with the funk, the spiral
clawing up a hill that only seems to get steeper as you climb
may these meditations be a salve
may they be love letters to those needing a hug
may they be reminders of your worth
may you recall who you are and whose you are
trying your best
with new mercies and graces abound
my broken heart to yours
maybe together we experience a new kind of wholeness

11:11 by nancy ma

today’s prayer to surrender

help me to surrender my timeline
the sequence of my plans
the ideas of who my people need to be
when i am overcome by expectations and this ticking clock
can i trust in your miracles and your majesty
that your vision is brighter, greater, wider than what i can see
when i sink in my disappointment and fear
can you remind me that against your plans for me, i am exactly where i need to be
when i feel
oh help me to find power in that ability
to experience what it means to be human
with a god who will catch me even still

a heavy heart & the light

when my heart feels stacked with lamentations, i reach for the salve of your psalms, the refuge and the mirror, i have permission once again to demand and expect revelations and proverbs that crack me, the parables can transform to new meanings once again, the good news can penetrate the spaces in me no letter no song no commandment can reach, in the beginning and till the end it is your quiet hovering spirit that lit up the dark

in-between faith

in the valley of the in-between
after letting go of former things or finishing well something proper
waiting for the next right thing
inhaling the weight of this unpredictable life
exhaling the fear of nothing coming again
inhaling the emptiness
exhaling the ambient loneliness ever present
i find faint comfort in darling phrases
this too shall pass
the lord is my shepherd I lack nothing
what is mine will not pass me by

instead of accepting and feeding the wallow
instead I dare to fan the flame of my pale faith
until it deepens and darkens
roots in my body so the truth
of my enoughness has already arrived even if nothing is to change
of my hope of what is to come is about to change everything

Warriors of Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

Suffering creates perseverance. Perseverance builds character. Character leads to hope. Hope is a byproduct of work, experience, and self-understanding. Hope is the thing that comes pouring out after all the striving, pushing through, climbing up, getting free. Hope is for warriors and survivors.

So for those of you out there, that continue to hope, you are brave. For those of you out there who dare to hope, you know how risky it is to keep your heart open and expectant. For the hopeful, you are an inspiration in this world that wants us to dream small and stay in our lane.

It takes a lot of courage to have hope because it’s scary to keep your heart open still.
It takes pain to still stand in hope because disappointment might be on the other side.
It takes character to be hopeful because it means choosing faith over circumstances.

I pray that even as your shoulders hunch over and you lie fetal position in your bed, you dare to ask for hope. I pray that even when your heart is broken, you dare to hope again. I pray that even when it feels like an uphill battle, you dare to hope out of the trenches, up the mountain to see what awaits. Those that hope in this dark world are the lights we need; we need you and your hope.

Blessed in the Mess

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change — he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.

Psalm 55

Exhaustion brews in the air. Dreaming of escaping the exhaustion takes even more work. How can I rest right here? How can I rest in the midst of my heart feeling anguish? How can I rest in the center of fear and trembling?

Try not to run away. Try not to flee. Cry out, yes, but escape, no. Cry out every hour. Cast the burdens. Cast the fears. Cast the things you care about down. Those are weighing you down. Those are holding you back. Those are trapping you in the exhaustion and the circumstances.

You will not be shaken even as the waves come crashing near. You will make it even when it feels like your legs might give way. You will be carried because that is the kind of God that is looking after us. God is unchanging even as we storm in with all our mess. He takes that mess and shows us how we can be blessed.

Conscience-stricken Action

After Saul returning from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi.’ So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. Then men said, ‘This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way. Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, ‘My lord the king!’ When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

1 Samuel 24:1-8

What does it take for David to let Saul go even though if the places were reversed, David would probably be dead? How does David have this level of faith and compassion, the faith that Saul might receive him after this pardon and the compassion to not kill the person who hates him? Even with Saul’s aggression and hate, David never fell into that bitterness, spite and violence. How did he do that?

David was conscience-stricken. He was so aware of his body and how the Spirit was moving within him. He responded well to what was going on in his guts. David also never lost sight of Saul’s humanity. It takes stripping another’s humanity to enact heartless violence and pain. David still saw Saul as his master and as God’s anointed. David saw Saul better than Saul saw himself. David wasn’t threatened by Saul’s identity and that gave him the trust and love to hold space and give chance to Saul.

How can we hold onto our own identity and humanity while holding space for another’s, especially when the other doesn’t recognize our humanity? How can we extend compassion especially to those who hate us? How can we not lose the heart and compassion and the awareness of the Spirit that is aching within us? How can we assume the absolute best for those who don’t do the same for us? It is scary. It doesn’t make sense in this world. It didn’t make sense in this scene. But this kind of radical, lack of tit-and-tat, intentional forgiveness and unworldly humility change this harden landscape.

Character over circumstance

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

Circumstances and waves are forever. They will surround us. They will try to frustrate us. They will tempt us to be unkind and to act in ways that divide us rather than bring us together. Circumstances and things outside of our control are givens. They will want our attention. They will want us to give in and be anxious about the future or ashamed of our past. Circumstances and events will try to pull us away from the core that matters.

What grounds us and centers us are the things mentioned here: perseverance, character and hope. If we can filter out circumstances and unexpected waves through these pillars, we’ll realize that taking a breath before responding is always helpful. We’ll see that it’s harder to hold to hope and persevere in character, but the results lead to much better sleep. Come back to character. Come back to the love that is in our hearts that is made possible through the Holy Spirit. Come back to not having to justify yourself. Come back to immutable worth. Come back to the truth that if you can persevere through unwanted circumstances with character, your hope for the world, for others and for yourself feel way more tangible.

Dare you to Hope

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about your clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

There is a comfort and a familiarity with worrying. There is an acceptance to stress, especially at a time like now. There might even be an expectation to think about all the what if’s and have nots because that aligns with the vibe of the world. I have experienced the guilt of enjoying a moment, of receiving a generous gift, of having a genuine beautiful explosive moment during times of collective sorrow & grief. It feels selfish. It feels inappropriate. It feels like I’m living in a bubble, under a rock and oblivious to how the world is going.

Here’s the truth: the world is hurting. The world has been hurting and the world will continue to hurt. And I pray that our heart will always align with that heartache which drives us to hope and to impact. I pray that the grief and sorrow of this world would propel us to make it better and to make ourselves better. So if this is the reality, can we allow ourselves to also find moments when we don’t have to worry and instead look up at the stars and have an explosive faith that reverberates, I will be okay. Things will be okay? Can we give ourselves permission to enjoy the lilies of the field? Can we give ourselves permission to hope SO BIG that it pushes out the anxiety and fears?

So my exhortation is beyond not worrying. I dare you to enjoy. I dare you to have faith that all things will work out for your good. I dare you to know with all your heart, you will be provided for, especially when it feels empty and lacking right now. I dare you to look at the stars and at the flowers and trust that God loves you even more than those. This is scary. This is vulnerable. To not let worry be our guide but instead to spark the faith and hope in each of us is radical and will make this hurting world a bit more joyful.


And [Hannah] made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look at your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’

1 Samuel 1:11

Why would Hannah want something so much only to give it back to God? What’s this immense desire coupled with outrageous promise of surrender? How can one want so much and also keep that want connected to the larger picture?

There is a faith, love and trust required to hold something you love loosely. Each moment is precious. Each moment is meaningful. Because every moment might be the last moment of holding this thing so close. Hannah knew that whatever she received was from God and therefore belonged to God’s purposes. Hannah didn’t just want a son; she wanted a son who’s life was going to be magnificent. She wanted her dreams fulfilled while the world was also impacted by her blessing. She knew that her blessing was to exist to be shared.

So what if it’s not that our desires and wants are too big, but actually not big enough? What if we dream so big it is inevitable that it would require faith and love to endure? What do you want that is so big that it will not only impact you but call into power and presence the purposes of God? Can we dream so so so out of this world that it would feel like God made it happen? Can we dream so big that it would require our priorities and focus to shift towards faith?