Christmas & the brokenness of my 2017.

For me, Christmas is about love. Not just the love between family and friends, but the radical, relentless, illogical, scandalous love of a God who dared to come to earth in human form to die for broken, messed up people.

We’re all broken, messed up people. No one is perfect, even the best of the saints. Human depravity is real. We all fall short of the glory of God and are all wildly undeserving of this unconditional, unmerited love and favor – this grace.

Some say that this way of thinking is damaging, hurtful, unnatural, and I agree, it can be… IF it stops there. It can’t stop there. Coming face to face with our brokenness and sinfulness is not an easy revelation to make and if that is all we see, it will lead to a life of hopelessness, self hatred, and confusion.

And yet, I’ve come to realize that often times, that is indeed where I stop. Sure, in head knowledge I believe that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and that in Christ we are fully forgiven, redeemed, and made new – I “know” these things and can recite them to you like the alphabet. But this year I’ve discovered that my heart knowledge (the knowledge that truly manifests into life-change) stops at, “We are all wildly undeserving of this unconditional, unmerited love and favor” or perhaps more specifically, I am undeserving of it.

I’ve discovered that I have a really, really hard time with accepting unconditional love. And I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve experienced a lot of unconditional love in my life from people. But for some reason, as I look back, I see a pattern of me feeling so undeserving of this unconditional love that I try to make myself feel like I do deserve it. Undoubtedly this is where my impossibly high standard of “perfection” for myself comes in as well as my fear of failure & disappointing people. Unable to accept unconditional love, I try and try and try to earn something that’s already been freely given to me, which in reality is actually just straight up dumb.

And I’ve done the same with God’s love – especially this year. This year has been an extremely difficult year full of hardship and loss and I’ve experienced more doubt, fear, hard-heartedness, and feelings of emptiness and confusion than ever before. There have been times that I don’t recognize myself or have questioned if I ever really knew who I was to begin with. I’ve come frighteningly close to throwing in the towel and giving up on my relationship with God. There have been times that I have felt absolutely disgusted and angry with myself. Why can’t I just figure this out? Why am I failing in my faith? How did I get here? God, there is no way that you are still with me and still for me – why would you be? 

But don’t I believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God? Don’t I believe that I’ve been given this wonderful free gift of forgiveness? Don’t I believe that God could love a sinner like me?

Somewhere beneath the noise, I hear the small, still voice that says, “My grace is sufficient for you in all your weaknesses, in all your failures, in all your pain. I love you, my child. Don’t you believe me?”

And even further beneath the noise, I hear myself say, “I do.” I do.

When I’d been telling myself that God could never love me after the way I’ve been, He used Christmas to remind me that He left heaven to pursue me. The God of the universe came to earth as a newborn baby, born for the sole purpose of dying on my behalf. He pursued me to the point of death on a cross. If that’s what He has already done for me, how could I think He couldn’t still love me now?

Even if it feels like I’m just barely hanging on by a thread, I will hang on to His love.

A song I’ve sung a million times but feels so fitting now:

Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling.

Have you come to the end of yourself?
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling.

O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

And a video I’ve watched a million times:



Every summer for the past 4 summers now, I’ve participated in the Jubilee Project Fellowship – a two-week mentorship program for aspiring filmmakers. Once as a Fellow, once as a team leader, twice as the director. It’s a great chance to gain technical experience, to grow as a filmmaker, to find your voice, and to meet new people.

But this program has always been about people for me. Never about films. I love seeing people open themselves up to each other, learning to trust one another. I love the tear-jerking laughter and the soul-baring heart to heart talks. I love the triumphs, the failures, the learning experiences, the teachable moments. The high highs, and the low lows. I love seeing people’s true selves – the beautiful parts, the broken parts, and the messy parts, because it reminds me that we are all imperfect, and that we are all human.

And each year after this experience, after everyone in the program goes their separate ways and back to their respective realities, I feel the same – a sense of both heaviness and emptiness. I wrestle with feelings of intense joy and yet immense sadness. Spending 14 consecutive sleepless nights with people and then facing the question, “When will I see them again? Will I ever see them again?” It knocks the wind out of me every single year.

This emotional rollercoaster is just one reason why I sometimes have a hard time genuinely opening up to people and letting people in. It’s one reason that I’m much more comfortable trying to keep up my “perfect” persona than taking a risk to love and be loved. But each year, when I am forced to let people in during these two weeks, I come out knowing it was worth it.

So to everyone I’ve ever met and worked with because of this program – thank you. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. Thank you for loving me in ways I often don’t feel I deserve. Thank you for your small (and big) acts of kindness. Thank you for all the things you’ve taught me, in both your words and your actions. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journeys. Thank you for the laughs, thank you for the hugs, thank you for all the memories. Thank you for showing me that daring to let people in is indeed, worth it.

Two weeks is all it takes for 12 strangers to become family. For lives to be changed. To see the world in a new way. To grow attached to people, to genuinely love people, to go through the fire and come out victorious with people. Before this, I didn’t know this was possible… it feels like the Fellowship program has some sort of secret magic.

But maybe the magic isn’t much of a secret at all – maybe it’s just love.

I love you all, thank you for everything!



#WVW (Thursday, 3am edition)

In my pride, it becomes so, so, so easy to push people away when I come face to face with my brokenness. It’s easy to withdraw, easy to hide, easy to put up the walls. Perhaps it’s part of the growing pains of becoming an adult – as my circle becomes smaller, as I become more independent, as I spend more time thinking and less time socializing, it’s easy to close myself off and tell myself I can and should handle things myself. People don’t need to know. They have their own things to worry about and their own burdens to carry. And in some ways, I think it’s a natural progression. As we grow older, we have more things to take care of in our personal spheres and we spend more time actually taking care of them than sharing them with our friends.

But my pride brings me to a place where I close the doors and don’t want to come out until I have things under control, have things figured out. I’ve been here before. Is it because I don’t want to burden people? Maybe. But I think it’s mostly because I don’t want to show my weakness. And if I have to show it, I better at least know how to fix it or have already “fixed” it. The completely unattainable standard of perfection that I set for myself looms somewhere in the background, even though I know I’ll never reach it and I know that I do not have to reach it. 

But I’ve also been in the place where I invite people in to my brokenness – vulnerable, messy, without answers. But somewhere in the midst of “growing up”, pride has taken over and said that that place wasn’t necessary. People don’t need to see the broken, ugly, vulnerable, messy, far-below-perfect parts of me. People don’t need to see the process, just the end when I’m able to neatly sum up what I’ve learned. I can’t fall short of expectations. I don’t want people to think less of me.

But oh, there is one that comes uninvited and sees all. There is one who understands my brokenness and frailty much more deeply than I do, and there is no hiding from him. And he says that I need to think less of me – think of myself less, that is, and to instead think of him. And to not only think of him, but to look for him, to fix my eyes on him, and to never look away. Because every beat of my rebellious heart has been covered by his grace and every shortcoming I’ll ever have is met with his sufficiency. His power is made perfect in my many, many weaknesses. So may these weaknesses point me to Christ, the redeemer of all things, who is able to somehow use unworthy things to bring glory to himself. He is able to use the ugliness to point to his beauty. But in order for him to do that, I must let him. I must be willing to show and to tell, but most of all to surrender.


So, clearly, #WordVomitWednesday isn’t what it used to be. It was fun while it lasted, and I’m so thankful for all of my friends who constantly encouraged me to write. But who knows, sometimes you will get random Vomits in times such as these. Enjoy. 🙂

Unity in the Body of…Politics?

It’s no question that this Presidential campaign season has been a rough one. Tensions are high, anxiety is rising, and it’s been hard to watch everything unfold. I’ve been uneasy as I’ve felt the nation’s frustration and fear grow..but more than that, my heart has been heavy as I’ve seen division and bigotry within the Church. The body of Christ. Children of God. Hands and feet of Jesus.

I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ get into heated and less-than-gracious arguments with each other via Facebook in the form of fiery comments and politically-loaded posts and shares. I’ve seen name calling and insults replace words good for building up (Ephesians 4:29), and condescension and condemnation instead of speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And honestly, my silence is no better.

I’m glad that Christians are engaged in politics. I’m glad that Christians care about this nation and who leads it. But I fear that our focus is blurry and our agenda is skewed. I fear that the enemy will use this election to break down our witness by creating a rift between us, by distracting us, by puffing us up with pride and compromising unity in the body of Christ for being “right”. Continue reading “Unity in the Body of…Politics?”

#WVW 41 // Anxiety

anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Anxiety – a word I try not to throw around lightly because I know it is often referring to anxiety disorders..something I do not have and cannot pretend I know anything about experientially.  But the feeling of anxiety is something that is often present in my life. I attribute this to my need for control (which you can read about in my last #WVW….3 months ago…) Continue reading “#WVW 41 // Anxiety”

#WVW 40 // Control

I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of control, perhaps many of us do. I don’t ever wish for my life or a situation to be out of control, and I strive for that safe stability of things being ‘under control’. I like to feel like I’m in control, but don’t like it when people are controlling. I dream about living a life characterized by freedom – from expectations, from fear of failure, from opinions of others, and yet by remaining bound to those things I find this false peace that comes from the calculated risks and overthinking. I hate the things I can’t control, and they make me so uncomfortable that I try to control them anyway.  Continue reading “#WVW 40 // Control”

#WVW 39 // Nostalgia

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who loves to go back through old pictures of me and my friends. And I will admit, it doesn’t just stop at pictures. It can be Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, blog posts…honestly, I could do it for hours. That’s kind of embarrassing..? But, it’s even more fun with friends (good save, Taylor) when we get to reminisce on old times and long for the simpler days, while simultaneously laughing at how silly and immature we were.  Continue reading “#WVW 39 // Nostalgia”

#WVW 37 // Adventure

Oh, adventure. Ever so glamorized, highly idolized, and passionately sought after. We all love the feeling of adrenaline rushing through us and the feelings of happiness afterwards.

Some people would probably say that I’m an adventurous person, but I don’t think I’m all that daring. I’ve lived and traveled in different countries, I’ve done things and sought opportunities I didn’t think I would, but I’m honestly not much of a risk taker. I like my safety and comfort. I like trying new things…but only to a certain extent. Adventure usually involves a little bit of danger, and if you know me you’ll know that I do not run head first into danger. I’m always that overly concerned ‘parent’ friend standing far away in the corner saying, “guys, maybe we shouldn’t……” (I have definitely had people use “goody-two-shoes” with intent to hurt me, but..hey, they ain’t wrong.) Continue reading “#WVW 37 // Adventure”

#WVW 36 // Destiny

Destiny is said to be the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. We say people are “destined” for greatness, that your “destiny” awaits, and when things (usually favorable) happen even when it seems it shouldn’t, we call it fate.

“Destiny”, and “fate” are two ideas that have been a bit tricky for me. At times, it is confusing to try to reconcile our freewill with an omniscient and sovereign God who “saw my unformed substance; in [His] book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me” (Psalm 139:16). God has numbered my days, but what about what happens during those days? I believe that God knows and is never surprised, but how much do the decisions I make actually matter? Do my decisions and actions change things, or am I headed for a single “destiny” that is unchanging? If my individual decisions didn’t matter so much, boy, my life would be a lot easier – we all know how indecisive I am. Continue reading “#WVW 36 // Destiny”