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

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

Advent: Day 8

To you who might be…
waiting and eager to make a move, and don’t know what to do
excited for the new season and ready, really ready for the next season
joyful and full and want even more
on the edge of faith, a step from throwing in the towel or rediscovering god again
ready to let the wonder and joy take over even though you’ve lost the practice of it
scared and barely remembering to take a moment at a time
ready to own your strength, even if it means you’re the first person to do it
waiting —
Here is an album of love, of cheer, of affirmation, of encouragement, of togetherness.

Coming Home

Does it feel like everyone is one stare, one shove, one slight away from a breakdown and/or a lashing out? I feel it on the train. I feel it on the streets. I feel that I’m one of the said folks. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that feels like a false tail end of living our best lives and feels like the shoe will drop any minute now which is why we’re living our best lives. Also best lives? Right alongside all this: Climate change. Afghanistan. Banning reproductive rights. Evictions.

So it feels like champagne problems to say I feel lost and gray and restless. I have so much. I’m alive. I have folks who love me. I have a laptop that allows me to blog this post. But can I just have this moment, like the private good cry I had while watching 30 Rock yesterday during the middle of the day?

I wish I could do the thing I love most.
I wish I felt like all the moments till now are just prepping me for something big that’s about to happen.
I wish I didn’t doubt this calling I keep reassuring myself with.
I wish I would just be grateful and happy that I can crash at my parents’ house instead of feeling like I’m trapped.
I wish I had a place I could call home and buy my own plant.
I wish I knew things will work out, whatever that means. I think it feels like a big OH and WOAH and I SEE, NOW!
I wish I felt more seen.
I wish I didn’t think Christians who throw around — “I have the joy of the Lord,” “I will pray for you,” “The Spirit is carrying me through,” and the rest of those phrases that only seem “real” when you’re at the center of that kind of faith-led blessing — were just faking it and unable to meet me in my emotional gray cave.
I wish I really did trust in being present in the moment.
I wish I knew what my next step needs to be.
Because of all deep well of wishes and desires I feel sad and angry and scared.

Yet somehow in my gray and in my self-pity, I happen to still feel God’s presence. When I allow for the anxiety and control to pause, I feel God’s kind love for me. I get a surge of hope that miracles happen. I remember again that the gospel is it, and if I can show God’s love, then today, this moment is a victory.

Faith and God are my most vulnerable spaces because here is where I hold my most doubts and my biggest hope. With God is where I feel most alive and drives me to live my life bravely. With God I feel the most angry and upset that I am not getting my way! (I’m sure it’s for the best….right?) I write this because I need to remind myself it is okay that I still love God even if I don’t look it on the outside or post scripture in my social media. I need God. I am a desperate skeptical human being, and only by the grace of God am I still here. I may not have a physical home I can safely and proudly call mine. I may not have a career that I can proudly and excitedly exclaim. But I have a home in God that I keep coming back to, and for that I am grateful.

Good Friday: God gives up for us

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53

God offends all of us. To take this message as wholehearted truth — that God willingly died for us so we can be whole again — means we have to accept uncomfortable parts existing together. That we have wronged/wrong God. That God dwelled/dwells among us. That God willingly gave themselves up for us by enduring unjustifiable capital punishment. That we are why God had to die.

If I try to make sense of every detail in this story, my mind will explode. Maybe God’s ways cannot be contained by my human rationale. If I try to convince all of me to believe that Jesus literally died on the cross after being tortured in front of the people who said loved him, my body freezes up and my stomach churns. Maybe the depths of this pain and sorrow are too much for my already fragile body to accept, when I can look out my window and in the news the countless deaths that are taken unjustly. If I really believe that I am the reason why God had to die, I am stopped at my tracks. But not because of guilt. God died to demonstrate their love for me. God gives themselves up so I know I am not important. I want my being to understand the gravity of this infinite love.

I condemn torture and capital punishment, and I believe the Word of God does as well. It has been weaponized to destroy too many innocent lives, especially black lives, especially people of color and those deemed inferior under white supremacy and colonialism. To have God endure such physical and visceral pain is one way God demonstrates they know our pain. They have been through it as well. They have accepted it. They have been put on the witness stand to be stripped, whipped, defamed and crucified. God knows the pain of having their dignity stripped. God wears those scars on their body.

I choose to believe that God did walk on this earth and continues to dwell among us, and in us. I choose to believe this because I need to know that I am not alone. I need to know that there is not one thing I have or will go through that God cannot resonate with. I need to know that God is with us and for us. My clearest sense of this truth is with the story of Jesus. Jesus lived and grew up among us. Jesus was a poor refugee who had a day job as a carpenter. Jesus was a good friend. Jesus lived with purpose. Jesus loved the people society pushed aside. Jesus spoke most against greed and religiosity. Jesus was here to break the systemic structures that held a small group of people up and most people down. Jesus never forgot the goal and the why for existence. Jesus gave up everything for humans to experience God’s love and nearness. On Good Friday, Jesus said we are good enough, we are worthy, we are the goal. On Good Friday, Jesus was good, willing and vulnerable. On Good Friday, I remember that the depths of love are deeper and more unfathomable than what I could ever humanly imagine.

Lent Day 44: I give up because I am Loved

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 58:11-14

I can give up because I know I will be picked up. I can give up because I know who guides me. I can give up the parts of me that I have put my identity in because I am making room for a better and more exciting purpose. I can give up my grip on the results and outcome because the Word of God promises hope and renewal are the final say. I can give up and fast and give away because God never gives up on me, because I have been given much and because I will always be provided for. I get to give up. I get to give up the small dreams. I get to give up the small outcomes. I get to give up the need to win today because I have already won. I am not alone. I am loved. I am enough.

Lent Day 36: I give up Hiding that I want to be Loved

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:8-9

I give up not admitting, all I want is to be loved. I give up pretending that my biggest desire in the whole while world isn’t to be loved. I give up hiding the truth that I want to be seen, I want to be loved, I want to be wanted. I give up the lie that this need, this want is bad. This need and this want drive me to be most human, most generous, most vulnerable and most available. I want my desire to be loved and my desire to love, love, LOVE to be a fireworks show of care, healing and good ‘ol fun.

The Undeniable Pleasure of God’s Ways

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self; created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:20-28

It’s not enough to tell someone not to do something without giving them what to do. It’s not enticing enough to tell someone to let go of their former ways without presenting new ways that are magical and mindblowing. Without what’s possible and what’s waiting on the other side of no, we don’t have the fuel and hope to keep going when things get hard. Without the yes and renewal that are our greater possibilities, it feels like mere muscling and work to keep turning away from the former ways that make our minds smaller and our dreams dimmer. I need to be turning away INTO something that takes my focus and expands me. I want to be looking at, feeling, grasping the way of God that feels so much yummier than my old ways that force me to armor up, wall up and separate from others.

It is not enough to tell someone to be vulnerable, trust, feel safe, think of something greater. We must also make connection, community, unity, intimacy, hope, renewal, righteousness, the ways of God undeniable. The ways of God lead to a purpose that is beyond words. They lead to a peace that throws everyone off in times of suffering. They lead to a grounded place that is surrounded by shaky circumstances. The ways of God are possible and beautiful, and by the Spirit, we have access to these renewing, grounded, free ways of being. I pray that we stop doing the former ways because we can’t help but do the new ways. I pray for an opening of our hearts and our minds for a healing and a togetherness that are beyond anything we can make up in our minds. It has to be from God!


Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:14-16

It is love that helps us be grounded. It is love that roots us and helps us stay connected to ourselves and to each other. It is love that prevents us from being tossed back and forth. It is love that will overcome the constant messaging we receive from the world. It is love that will protect us from other people’s manipulation. It is love that holds us up with integrity. It is love that helps us to be brave in our words. The goal of our brave words is to help us grow.

What is love? Love is patient. Love is kind. Love rejoices with those rejoicing. Love finds gratitude in the midst of blessing. Love honors others. Love cares for the whole and the relationships. Love listens to anger to grow and become more attuned to what’s not right. Love forgives. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I pray that we pursue and live out a kind of love that heals relationships, builds our integrity, and pulls us through these difficult times. In moments when one aspect of love feels too daunting, how can you fall back on another? Maybe you don’t have the strength to speak; can you find the faith to be patient? Maybe you feel overwhelmed by anger. Can you also find kindness for yourself and for those also hurting? There is always a way into love and it might require courage to make new pathways into it. As you keep up this work, your spectrum and vessel of love can only grow more multi-faceted and secure.

Prayer to Expand Love

I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:13-19

This, too, is my prayer for that. First, that you will know that God is with you, for you, in you, and that you know this by faith, a faith that surpasses understanding, circumstances and feeling. Second, once you trust this truth that God is with you, for you and in you, you can feel the presence of love and the Spirit establishing and making home. Here, you never feel alone. Even when you feel stuck or stagnant, you can trust that each moment the Spirit is spreading more of their presence and roots in you, with bloom on the horizon. And finally, as you become firm in this truth that God is with you, for you, and in you, shining through you, marking you, renewing you, those around you can see your expansion of love. I pray your expansion of love spills out and shines through so that those around you can sense with more certainty and wonder God’s presence. May you become so full of God’s love and presence that the boundaries between you and not you blur, so that love permeates throughout. This is my prayer for you. This love expansion is not a muscling or doing; it stems from a belief that God is with you, for you and in you. Your love will expand if you allow for your surrender to God’s love. Surrendering to God’s love is scary and requires courage. I pray courage for you.