Your Once Upon a Time Tale

God of Wonder,
Why do I find it so easy to get caught up in the mundane busyness of life? Why do I allow the tiniest details to become the biggest issues? Why do I get so caught up in going through the motions that I forget how to fully enjoy You?

Sometimes I fear I’ve allowed the little things to swallow up the Greatest Thing of All. Sometimes I look around the clutter of my life and realize I can’t find You. And life is simply too boring when it is not lived in constant awareness of who You are and all You offer me.

And I feel that I’ve lost something I desperately want to reclaim.

I want to recapture the mystery that is You. I want to lose myself in that fairytale wonder where pumpkins turn to carriages and kisses break spells and there’s always that hope of dreams coming true. I want to drink deeply of Your Presence and lose myself in Your love. I want to dance unhindered in the courts of Your Kingdom.

But my happy thoughts have been replaced with an endless list of things I need to do and I’m learning that pixie dust wears off if you haven’t used it for awhile. That Neverland wonder feels so far away when I’m too weighed down by the trivial things in life to be able to fly.

And I know that You care about the little things. I know that You concern Yourself with the tiny details of my life. And yet… Yet I hear You calling me away from the intricacies that consume me. You beckon me out from the mundane and invite me to dance in the realm of wonder and magic.

Your hand extends the good part that Mary embraced and Martha scorned. Today I can choose to be either Mary or Martha.

So I set aside my broken priorities and allow You to sweep me off into the fantastical wonder of Your once upon a time tale.

Wonder Discovered

When All Else Fails… Be Thankful

I’ve got no words, I’ve lost my “muchness,” and there isn’t much wonder in the journey anymore. I’m trying to recapture the amazement I once cradled in my hands, and I think the only way to do that is to dwell on things that never fail to amaze me. Today I determine to be awed and amazed and purposely thankful for…

Family that is never far away, though we live many miles apart.

People who have entered my life for a brief season, but left permanent imprints on my heart.

Bird songs and butterflies (and those other tiny miracles that inspire the largest of smiles).

Little children who shape my heart with their messy, world-changing hands.

Music created by a rippling creek.

Thunderstorms rolling in over the marsh.

The tender, fragile sound of an infant’s cry.

Cool grass under bare toes.

Cheesecake. (Need I say more?)

A world that is much smaller than it first appears.

“Bicycle flowers” and the sweet scent they bring.

Ocean waves lapping against the shore.

The soothing, healing qualities of human touch.

Stories that tell truths.

Things that rock and swing and spin.

A voice that sings and feet that dance (and musicals that set them in motion).

And for a God who lowered Himself into the darkness to bring us a hope that would carry us through each day.

Today, I am thankful.

Thankful

The Night We Lit Up the World

I recently read a book called Permission to Speak Freely, which may explain some of the recent posts/conversations/letters I’ve been writing. There was a lot of the book that I disagreed with. A lot of things didn’t resonate with me or sit well in my stomach at all. But I loved the principal of it. I loved the idea that we all need to be a little bit more vulnerable. We all need permission to speak freely.

But one of the quotes that really struck me wasn’t about speaking freely at all. Toward the end of the book, the author quotes a friend saying, “As we grow up, we learn a great deal about the mysteries that perplexed us when we were small. We learn that the sun doesn’t go to bed after all. Our earth just turns away from her for a bit. The stars that look like diamonds sparkling in the sky are really nasty balls of flaming gas. And bit by bit, we surrender the magic that was our constant companion.”

I stared at those words. Blinked a few times. And then I dared to ask why. What’s wrong with believing in sleepy suns and skies filled with diamonds? What’s wrong with holding onto magic?

And I know I talk all the time about embracing magic and wonder and living that childlike faith that Jesus told His disciples they must have. It’s because I believe in it. I believe in letting yourself be awed by things that others may try to reason away.

Last week I spent an evening with two, beautiful preschoolers who introduced me to the magic of glow sand. We walked outside with our containers of blue and green and yellow and orange, sprinkling it across the ground until you would have believed that fairies had been dancing there.

The world was filled with wonder. The yard was aglow with pixie dust. I had it on my hands and in my hair and even between my toes. We laughed and we danced and we felt we could fly. It was magical. Absolutely magical.

But when you think about it, it was just sand. Gritty, dirty sand that would, in four hours, lose its sparkle. Like Cinderella’s carriage turning back into a pumpkin, the magic would be gone. And I would be in desperate need of a shower.

Most people might have considered that before they threw it in their hair. Most people might have been content to let the sand spill out on the ground, lighting up the night for a moment only to be forever lost to the world when morning came around. And you can probably bet that most people would not have sprinkled it over a friend’s shoulders while shouting, “Think happy thoughts!”

Because most people aren’t such big fans of Peter Pan and Neverland and all that “second star to the right and straight on ’til morning” nonsense. Most people, as it was quoted in Permission to Speak Freely, have bit by bit surrendered the magic that was our constant companion.

But I, for one, am not content to be one of those people.

I, for one, will continue to believe in suns that fall asleep and diamonds that sparkle in the night sky.

I, for one, will continue to light up the world with magic that glows only for a moment and wonder that dances forever in our hearts.

Because God never intended for us to lose our amazement. He never wanted us to walk through life scientifically explaining away the miracles He created.

No, I think He wanted us to live a little more like the children who kiss the sun goodnight and marvel at the endless amount of diamonds in the sky. I think He wanted us to hold onto wonder and light up the world with our belief that the world is magical after all.

I Refuse to Wait

My roommate and I have decided that we’ve missed half of the year. What I mean by that is, it’s the last day of August and I hardly remember experiencing the first. Thus far, 2012 has been one, big blur which is kind of disappointing amidst all my “live the journey” talk.

Because I haven’t been living the journey. I haven’t been embracing the moments like I should.

I’ve been getting caught up in the big things and allowing the rest to simply slip by. But the problem is, life isn’t comprised of the big things. It’s the little things—the everyday things—that I’m missing. And there went most of my year…

Sometimes living Beyond Waiting is easy, but lately it’s been hard. Sometimes I can lose myself in wonder without even realizing I’m doing it, but recently I’ve had to remind myself to be impressed by the little things. Recently, I’ve been repeating the phrase, “I refuse to wait.” Because living—truly living—it would seem, is a choice. And waiting—merely waiting—comes far too easily.

Time and time again, I find myself getting caught up in anticipation of the big moments, forgetting that each day is a gift. That the day I’m living right now will never be lived again. (And some days I’m thankful for that, but for the most part…)

I’ve spent most of my life waiting for tomorrow and missed far too many todays.

But right now, in this moment, I have a chance to change that pattern. I can choose not to spend my time waiting. I can turn my mind from future worries and live—simply live—today.

God gives me a handful of moments and it’s up to me to decide if I’m going to cradle them to my chest or watch them fall around my feet.

Today, I can boldly say that I refuse to wait, as I take my first step toward embracing wonder anew.

Foolish Enough to Change the World

If you all haven’t heard of Hannah Brencher, you should check out hannahkaty.com right now. …Or maybe you should wait until after I finish my introduction. I think Hannah is me in a more poetic form. I think she’s me if I were living freer and dreaming bigger and daring greater than I ever have before. Hannah believes in beauty and wonder and sacredness.  She believes in living with her heart wide open and loving deeper than most would dare to love. Hannah is my inspiration. Because Hannah reminds me that I’m not the only one foolish enough to believe she can change the world.

You know what our problem is? We try to make sense out of life. We try to rationalize things and define things and pretend we know exactly what is going on all around us all the time. We like to be in control, and we content ourselves with living an illusion of control because we will never actually have a handle on our lives. Never.

And we call ourselves “realists” ~ say we’ve “grown up” ~ when really we’re just control freaks who don’t want to imagine that there could be more to life than what we know. We’ve forgotten that Jesus commanded us to be like little children. We’ve forgotten that our sense of wonder is something we were never meant to lose.

We clench our fists around the details of our lives and watch them pour like sand through our fingers when, all the while, God is asking us to live with open hands and watch His will unfold. It’s so much easier to cradle sand in open palms. But in our desperation to control our lives, we forget to cherish the moments. As God’s perfect design explodes into being around us, we forget to stand and gasp in awe like a child on the 4th of July.

And we quietly live our infinitely small lives, never dreaming that something better could be out there. Never hoping that maybe we were meant for greater things.

Well I, for one, will not go gently. I’ll not remain silent as life passes me by. I would rather fail believing I was meant for world changing than live knowing I wasn’t brave enough to risk it. And in the words of Hannah Brencher:

“If I have only one quality for the rest of my life I hope that it is foolish… Foolish enough to think that I can make a difference in this world and then go out and do the things that others say cannot be done..”

May God make us all foolish enough to believe we can change the world.

Embracing the Fairytale

I won’t be Rapunzel sitting in a tower,

staring out the window and dreaming of the hour

I’ll be free from my gilded cage.

I’ll rewrite the story. I will turn the page.

I’ll be the Little Mermaid stretching out my hand,

reaching toward the surface and dreaming of dry land.

I’ll be Cinderella going to the ball,

escaping from the everyday and standing there in awe.

Part of that world, more than a dream,

more than a life of espressos and cream.

Somewhere, somehow,

I’ll live the life I’m merely dreaming of now.

Faith, hope and trust, second star to the right,

straight on ’til morning, I’ll fly through the night.

Fairytale endings, dreams coming true,

and I’m lost in wonder – glorious wonder –

experiencing the mundane with You.

Espressos and Cream

the shape of each leaf is a mystery

too deep to comprehend.

a million miracles surround me

while i complain that there’s

not enough room for cream in my espresso.

-Steven James

This quote struck a chord in my heart, reminding me that I’ve misplaced my sense of wonder somewhere in the mundane routine of my life. I’ve failed to let myself be captivated by the beauty that surrounds me because I’ve immersed myself for too long in the trivial.

And I find myself having to repent for being so hard to impress. For being shallow enough to think that the cream and espresso sized things actually matter. For being too distracted to even take notice of the glorious surprises God creates just for me.

It’s time to return to that “once upon a time” adventure. To recapture the wonder of the fairytales. To allow myself to be fascinated by the familiar.

As the Little Mermaid wanted to be “part of that world”, as Cinderella wanted “more than a dream”, I want so much more than days that are filled with espressos and cream.