a list of the things my soul forgot.

this day last year, i went to my old high school to speak about my book. and i walked by my old classrooms and through hallways that once upon a time seemed wide. but last year, my soul found that it had grown too big, too lovely, too brave and bold and bright for those old hallways. i walked through those halls believing i was made for bravery and freedom.
but today, it seems like i have forgotten. so i wrote a poem to remember.

a list of the things my soul forgot:

i am still brave
i am free
i am beautiful
i have hope
i am redeemed
i am alive
and my story is still being written
i am worth more than the words i write
and i have worth even when i cannot write
and i am also worth more than the sun
and the moon
and the stars
i can dream
i am not perfect and it is okay to struggle
because even though i don’t deserve grace
it is mine
i am lovely
and i am loved
and even if i forget the truth
that doesn’t change that
it is still true.

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hope. // another freewrite

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i am still here, fighting the waves. fighting for my words.

facebook reminded me today of some words i wrote last year. when i wrote them, i was thinking of a friend going through a hard time. and today when i read them, i thought of myself.

“hope lives in you, too. hope hides underneath your skin, reminding you that this winter of yours is only a season. reminding you that you are not who you’ll be. that you will bloom. that the daylight will make your soul its home. hope is in your bones, reminding you that you are still here. that you are still alive. that your life is waiting for you to grab it by the shoulders and shake it.”

hope is mine. it lives in me, even when it feels like i lost it. hope is mine, because my soul craves it every day. this winter is not the end. my life hasn’t ended. my heartbeat is a song of hope. every time my heart drums, it tells me i am still here. i still have hope.

even when i don’t think i do. even when i can’t find my words. even if i feel lost and small. even if the waves are too strong and i can’t fight them. even when joy hides a little too well from me.

love is on his way. hope is on his way. He will knock on the doors of my heart, and sit on the chairs of my soul. and He will wipe my tears, and call me redeemed and beloved. he will make it rain, and the spring my heart longs for will come.

“and as you wait for your winter to end, celebrate. celebrate that you are still here. that your heart is still beating. that beauty is everywhere you look. celebrate the flowers that are growing down the street. look at them, and marvel at their simple beauty. at the way they reflect their maker. at the way the reflect glory and hope and grace. take one and put it in your hair.”

but in the meantime, i will celebrate. i will celebrate my smallness, even when i don’t want to, because my smallness leaves room for grace. i will celebrate the beauty around me and inside me. i will let the daylight in. i will place flowers on my head, symbols of beauty and glory and grace.

and hope.

fighting waves // a freewrite

fightingwaves

i haven’t written here in five months. last August i wrote about my words, and how they felt far away. they still do. i think i let myself get overwhelmed and lost in the busyness. but i don’t want to be like this. i don’t want to drown. i will fight the waves. today, fighting the waves looks like this little piece.

i miss myself.
i miss my words.
they used to flow like a river.
and now, it feels like i’m in a drought.
i feel lost, and i hate feeling lost.
i don’t want to be lost. i don’t want to be like this.
i don’t want to feel heavy and tired and worn.
i don’t want to drown.
i have swam for so long, and i am so far away.
so far away of who i was, by grace.
but far away of who i want to be.
but i won’t drown.
i will fight the waves.
i will look for joy and for loveliness.
i will make my days count.
i will let grace rain over me
and let it cover every fault.
i will fight the waves,
fight my fears,
the pain,
the sadness,
the words that escape me
and hide.
i won’t hide, i won’t drown.
i will fight the waves
and swim home.

still brave.

today marks six months since A Song of Bravery was released.
the days and weeks and months that followed were full of joy and excitement and just about every existing emotion. i loved waking up to find comments and reviews and book royalty reports.
i felt happy and accomplished. my bravery, my decision to be true to who God made me to be, was being rewarded.

and slowly, with time, the excitement began to dissipate. comments and reviews and book sales were less frequent. college became more demanding and i found myself with less time and creativity to write new poetry. i’ve told you before that i tend to place my worth and my identity in my words, and this season of my life was not an exception. i was discouraged. i felt sad that i was unable to make new art. whenever i managed to get a few words out and write what i considered to be a decent poem, it felt like it was the best day of my life. that’s how bad it was.

and yesterday i sat down to read my book. i felt encouraged and inspired as i read my own words. i read those verses a thousand times when i was putting the collection together. but yesterday i didn’t see the string of words i’d grown accustomed to reading when i looked for typos and mistakes. i found hope and joy in my very own song of bravery. i remembered who i was.

and i asked myself, “am i not still brave? if my words were to be taken away from me, wouldn’t i still have worth? wouldn’t i still be enough? am i not still brave?”

the answer to all of those questions is yes.

yes, i am still brave. yes, i am still enough. yes, i am still worthy. because, oh my soul, you are more than your words. you are more than where you place your worth. you are more than your dreams. you are still brave because you choose to hope. you are brave because you have chosen to believe in your Maker. you are brave because you are still here, because your heart still beats. because you still wonder at the beauty your eyes see. because you haven’t lost all of your joy.

my soul, you are brave. your bravery isn’t big. it doesn’t shine. your bravery maybe goes by unnoticed. but it is there. between your heartbeats. inside your bones. in your glittering eyes.

yes, i am still brave. because i no longer walk with shame and fear. i walk with a head that is lifted high. i walk with grace, the same grace that erased who i used to be. yes, i am still brave. because i am not who i used to be.

i still sing my song of bravery. the melody and the words have changed, but the brave heart is the same.

nineteen wishes.

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i turn nineteen years old today, and i thought it’d be appropriate to make nineteen wishes, and i hope that they come true this year. these wishes are for you, and for me, too.

i wish for beautiful and intentional friendships that stretch you and change you and make you a better person than who you are. for friends who meet you for coffee dates and long conversations filled with laughter and tears and smiles and love.

i wish for your feet to travel to places they’ve never been before.

i wish for grace to fall like rain and make flowers bloom in your heart.

i wish for laughter to be the soundtrack to your wonderful life.

i wish for tears and sorrows to be few, but when they happen, may they help you grow. may you embrace the bittersweetness of life.

i wish for you to find inspiration everywhere you look.

i wish for eye-opening and heart-stretching and soul-growing experiences.

i wish for sunrises and sunsets that remind you of your glorious maker and that bits of that same glory are sprinkled over you.

i wish for bravery to never leave you.

i wish for Love to guide you. that you may look at the world with love. that you show love to every soul you meet. that wherever you go, you leave behind a trail of love and mercy.

i wish for shame to be a dim memory.

i wish for sunny days and skies the perfect shade of blue.

i wish for you to uncover the beautiful work of art your life is.

i wish for words that make you feel. i wish for you to read words that make you laugh and cry and dream and want to be more than who you are.

i wish for you to meet people who bring you light and hope and i wish for you to meet people who need you to bring them light and hope.

i wish for long handwritten letters.

i wish for you to know your worth and how loved and special and beautiful you are.

i wish for moments in which you feel free.

i wish for every day to taste like hope.
and an extra wish: may all the desires of your lovely heart come true.