he held me

October 28, 2014

I am weak.

I wanted to let you know… not that I expected you to think otherwise.

See, the thing is, today was great. I hung out with friends, ate chocolate ice cream, watched little snotty kindergarteners screech with excitement at science.

But now I sit in my dorm room, and I’m trying to be strong and hold back homesick tears. And I don’t want anyone to see me crying, but I don’t want to be alone because I fall to pieces when I’m alone.

But I have to face the pain because holding back only makes it worse.

Because now the tears fall onto my cheeks, and my nose sniffles.

I miss home. I miss my family and friends and knowing people.

I miss saying “hey, I know so-and-so!” and “Look, there’s so-and-so; they got married last month!”

I miss my hometown and my people.

This world is big, and I miss the small simplicity of hometown, Mississippi. I miss having a backyard and a kitchen. I miss singing to my dog and making my little brother dinner.

And that’s okay. Because the thing is, I have to remind myself that it’s like going college a year early, and I can’t expect to be strong every single day when I feel alone.

So today, as I pray that Jesus uses this time to prune my sinful heart, I am reminded that He felt this pain.

He knows alone. He knows longing. He knows desperation. He knows heartache. He knows sickness. He knows weeping. He knows oppression. He knows persecution. He even knows those pains that I do not know.

He knows the pain of being human.

And He will use moments like these to bring me closer to holiness and closer to His heart, which is closer to joy. Because I am completely dependent on Him, He is using this moment to remind me that I am weak. I am more than weak, and He is more than strong.

And, really, I don’t face it alone. Because He knows pain, and He will use this pain to bring me closer to His heart.


I wrote this a few months back, during a series of weeks when the world seemed so dim and lifeless. And homesickness (more like security-sickness) might not seem so hard to some, but for me, it was definitely difficult, more than I let people know.  I had moved towns, schools, and what seems like lives in some ways. As a result, I missed security and familiarity. (Apparently I don’t do change very well.)

And here I am, six months later, thanking Jesus for letting me experience the pain of homesickness and the sinking feeling of seventeen years of familiar faces and places out of sight.

I thank Him. Because without knowing that pain, I could not comfort next year’s juniors, who come to me, glassy-eyed and homesick. I could not appreciate the place I came from and the childhood Jesus blessed me with. I could not be as thankful and joyful as I am in this moment. I would not be able to say “He held me during that time.”

And, guys, that is part of this joy. Not just to say, “Today I am okay” but to say “I am okay because He held me during that time.”

He held me during that time. And He will continue to hold me.

And I am so thankful.

– Mary Madeline

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. – Romans 5:4

The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. – Isaiah 41:17-18

it’s okay to dream

Inspired by a Delta car ride home and a post shared on my favorite blog, Phylicia Delta.

water-sunset-nature-winter-season-snow-1680x1050-hd-wallpaper

March 6, 2014

Spring break began today, and I must say that I am very excited to be home.

One the ride here, I watched the fields– dark mounds of mud in extreme contrast to the bright glaze of ice– and I could not help but marvel at the magnitude of beauty. Beauty is too overused– the word is meant for moments when the mind has no ability to describe what the eyes and heart behold.

The view stirred my heart. As I watched flocks of geese glide through the baby blue sky, and I saw why poets are a little obsessed at times. Nature is more than art; it’s a tangible masterpiece.

As I observe the small wooden country houses with wrap-around porches and dogs chasing children, who giggle until they can’t breathe, I imagine the what lies ahead. Imagining might be my favorite pastime.

I dream of a white wooden wrap-around-porch home with a family of my own. I wake up, work a hard day as an engineer or doctor or missionary or mother or whatever else Jesus is calling me to be. I imagine being a good steward of every blessing He pours out, giving gifts to family, and investing in the church. I dream of sunny afternoons and teaching little ones to ride bikes and blow bubbles. I imagine adopting children and making them my own. I imagine telling my children about all that Jesus has done for all of humanity. I tell them that He died because He loved each and every one of us that much– and that He is coming again, and that one day we will be fully separated from every evil and completely surrounded by His love and grace. I imagine describing to them how we get to participate in bringing Heaven to Earth, how He is reconciling all of creation to Himself at this very moment, how we have the honor of being a tiny part of His great masterpiece. I imagine caring, cooking, cleaning, caressing, and all that comes with careers and homes and such. I imagine a house with guitars, laughter, love, a welcoming spirit, and hope of life through Christ.

And it all sounds a little silly and fairy-tale-like, but does it not seem so wonderful?

I have realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting these things. God created humans to imitate His glory, and His glory includes loving and laughing and hoping and singing and praising and building and imagining good things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with desire for more of God’s blessings. He wants us to embrace his miracles. We were made to enjoy companionship with God and others.

It’s so freeing to know that we were made to enjoy his blessings and what He has in store. 

It’s okay to dream.

There’s nothing wrong with desire and hope.

But I can’t sit around just waiting to be a career woman or for a family or a house; I have to live and embrace life now as well!

I can also be joyful in and grateful for my current, numerous blessings!

I have a loving family, a wonderful education, amazing friends, a cozy dorm room, a million precious memories, plenty of laughter to go around, and a God who calls me His own. He rejoices over me with singing and gladness.

My heart is presently full with His many blessings, and my cup overflows with abundance.

But there will always be a natural longing for more, more, more as long as we are on this Earth because we were made for perfect communion with the Father, without separation from His love.

Don’t be quick to worry: a day is coming soon where every thirst for something more, more, more will be quenched far beyond our imagination.

So yes, I long for future blessings.

But I am also so very content with my present treasures. I am at peace with the beauty of now and dreams of the future because I have hope in a Jesus who will fulfill His promises of this life and a world to come.

It’s okay to be joyful now.

And it’s okay to dream.

” I will exalt you, my God the King.

I will praise Your name for ever and ever.

Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and most worth of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation will commend your works to another;  they will tell of your mighty acts.

They will speak of the glorious splendor of you majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.

All You have made will praise You, O Lord; Your saints will extol You.

They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might so that all men may know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is faithful to all His promises, and loving toward all He has made.

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

He fullfills the desires of those who fear Him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him, but the wicked He will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.

Let every living creature praise His holy name for ever and ever.

– Psalm 145

undeniable

Awe.

It’s all that can describe my feeling.

Speechless.

This is the thought that comes to mind.

Zero.

These are the words that leave my lips as our speaker finishes his message.

He must have been truly sent from God… honestly.  The Lord just spoke through a mere man, and I can feel it tingling through the room.  It’s in the air, it’s in the incomprehensible eyes… in the hearts.

This is what was just plunged into my heart, my mind, and my being:

Powerful… it doesn’t even begin to describe our Maker.

Omnisciente… cannot begin to touch the surface.

Unfathomable… that’s it.

God is almighty, so almighty, that the angels of heaven—who weren’t even dirty humans, who had not sinned like we had— had to have wings over their faces to hide from the power and sang praises in the presence of the Lord in Revelation. John, who had walked with Jesus when He was a man, fell to his face when God revealed Himself in full glory.  John described himself as “torn apart” or “broken.” He couldn’t handle it.

And we walk into church sometimes, with a prideful heart. Without a generous spirit.  With greedy eyes.  With black sin, unaware.

How? How can I?  Ponder the Father.  In all his majesty, if only for a second… how can we?… He who made us? Who gave His son for our sake, when we don’t even deserve to experience a single part of His majesty?  Who are we to make this God a God of convenience?  We aren’t.

So, here I am saying this: God is all powerful, all knowing, all forgiving, and loving. So say “yes” when He calls.  Shout “I WILL” from the top of the mountains.  Sing his praises until your lungs burst, and run to your Maker.  He is beautiful, majestic, and worthy of our hearts and our lives.

open eyes

I could definitely say that my life has taken a U-turn in the last few months.  In March of 2012, I  went to St. Louis, Missouri with my youth group. I was expecting maybe an hour… stretching  to two hours of “Jesus-talk,” but mostly a “good time.”  Plans did not go as expected.  Each day was a crazy new adventure.  From the moment we woke up, we were committed to service.  Every day was an challenge to heal broken hearts, tend to the widow, love the homeless, give hope the hopeless.  Even if it meant raking leaves in the inner-city, or hanging out with homeless people.  And get this— we actually enjoyed it.  Together, we learned more about God and ourselves than we ever expected. We learned how dead we are to our sins.  But also, how jealous God is for hearts of sinners like us. We would stay up past midnight talking, singing, crying, praising, and laughing, only to wake up at 6:30 every morning. It was life-changing.  Not just changing lanes either, but totally different highways.

We could not keep it to ourselves.  Such love calls us to spread the news, and we couldn’t help but do exactly that!  We were on fire for Christ (and still are.)  It turned out, that we were actually dead to our sin.. BUT by God’s great mercy and love for sinners like us, he gave us eternal righteousness.  A newness of life, as long as we trusted Him with that life.

However, trusting Him with my life had alot more that met the eye.  Everyday, I discover how dirty I am. I discovered the selfishness of the human nature. But the more I notice my sin, the greater God’s grace looked.  It is breath-taking.  Such abounding, indelible love however, calls me to radical abandonment.  I cannot simply sit in the pue every Sunday morning, listen to the words, and not allow it to change who I am.

Such love calls me to serve others, to give something of myself.  To sacrifice.  It calls me to love others more than I love myself.  Everyday, I am challenge to deny myself, and take up the cross. (Luke 9:23)

And in that, I have never found greater joy.