Metamorphosis

I came to College in July of 2012, thinking I knew who I was, and I was confident about what I was going to do with my life. Right from the start I was given some pretty cool opportunities to be involved in TV & Media projects, and everything people could observe about me seemed to indicate that I was ‘living the dream!’

But through this whole process, I learned there is a massive difference between what appears to be and what really is. Everything on the outside seemed to be fine. I would attend my classes, do all my assessments, serve throughout the week... I appeared to be alright on the surface, but on the inside I had become a total mess! I can remember locking myself in my room sitting on my bed alone with my face buried in my hands, and amidst the tears crying out to God from that tiny bedroom I called home. The dream I was living seemed more like a nightmare. 

I was brutally aware that the person I thought I was, had become entirely foreign to who I was becoming. Like the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, I was caught in the metamorphosis. It seemed as if my future was hidden from me and I could barely see.

Yet in the midst of disappointments and despair, through the uncertainty and periods stained by fear, I found someone to whom I could cling. The one constant through all of time, the one whom my very existence defines! In Jesus I found light for my darkest days, strength for my weary legs, peace in the midst of the storms I faced. I began to see that God was doing a new thing in and through me, that where I came from is not where I am going. That despite my insecurities and failures, I can stand here today and say, not for a moment will You forsake me!

Fully Awake

Pathetic mysteries and all too familiar places.

The darkness is invaded by an overwhelming light, the shadows crack and break as they fall lifeless and exposed. 

The riddles lie dormant before the creator, as do our lives. 

We walk forward into all that is to come knowing that where we have gone does not determine who we will become. 

For all things pass in their season, both the new and the old will fade; so why chase what cannot sustain, the life you now contain? 

The mysteries we face are but shadows that will break, as we walk into the future that is at stake.

Beautiful is the face of the one who chooses joy as his burden for today. 

For who understands life’s mysteries and could say, what could happen today, if you choose to live fully awake.

Urgency

Desperation. The look on the faces of those confronting a situation so outside of their control that only the most desperate actions can remedy. 

Riding home in the back seat of my parent's 4-Runner, a white car passed us on the opposite side of the boulevard headed in the opposite direction of traffic. There were two guys hanging out the windows of the car screaming at the cars to 'move out of the way!' as they made their way into our lane. I have learned to expect almost anything when it comes to the chaotic Dominican driving, but something in the tone of their voice told me it wasn't the usual case of being late for lunch. There was a sense of extreme urgency in their manner that said their desperate actions were called for. Something was driving them to respond in this way but I was oblivious to the reason. Traffic was moving at a brutally slow pace and these men didn't have time to lose. The guy in the back seat jumped out and began running between the cars attempting to clear a route, but for what? I turned around and that's when I saw it, a silver-colored pickup truck with three men in the back and one of them was holding above his head a medical IV. My heart melted as I recognized their pain because I too have felt the fear of losing someone that I love. The truck made its way by in a hurry as I watched through the camera on my iPad. I did the only thing I knew to do, I prayed. 
A few cars behind a police truck was following with its red & blue lights flashing but even though it's their job, they did not feel the weight of loss pressing upon them to make a way for the man in need, they were content to follow. After all, it's not their problem right? 

It happened in a matter of seconds but it reminded of the story we find in Mark 2.

"And when Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”"

Rest

Despite the dreams, tears are never far. Laying on the floor in the midst of company my eyes become heavy and release, slowly down my face. I'm the character and I've met my conflict. You may not see it because this war is fought within, deep beneath the skin. Stuck in a world inside my head, searching for rest. But rest is not something I can do but the ceasing of all doing, the abandonment of task and the warm embrace of simply being. Change is coming and I've never wanted it so bad! But the cross comes before the crown and He promises his strength to the weary, I'll take it. Goodnight.

Small Beginnings

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...” -Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

I've been on this journey for twenty-one years now and I've come a long way. When I think back even a few years; the memory is often accompanied with a feeling of disgust. 'Who I am, hates who I've been.' The childish egoism that dictated the majority of my early life is something I can't take back, and the time I used pursuing my own selfish interests is time I will never see again. I'm not the kind of guy to hold on to the past because I don't see the point in using this time in the present to try and undo what has already been sealed into the vaults of history but there is great wisdom to be found in reading the part of your story that has already been written. If you can't change it, learn from it. But most importantly, don't repeat it.

So often I find myself dreaming about what's to come. I am caught in the tension of reality and what I hope for.

I recently read this in, "The Children of Húrin" by J.R.R. Tolkien (speaking to Túrin):

"A Man you seem in stature, and indeed more than many already, but nonetheless you have not come to the fullness of your manhood that shall be. Until that is achieved, you should be patient, testing and training your strength...fear both the heat and the cold of your heart, and strive for patience, if you can."

I may appear as a man in stature but the truth is, even though I've come a long way; I still have a long way to go. It's hard to measure success without comparison because everyone has their own journey, but I for one am committed to give myself fully to the plans and purposes God has for me during my short stay here on earth. Not to be the best at whatever it is that I do compared to others, but to be faithful with what is in my hand and work diligently to establish God's Kingdom here on earth, in me, as it is in heaven. It sounds elegant but what does it look like practically? It actually starts in my bedroom where I spend many hours mostly in a state of unconscious dreaming or long periods of assessment and study (when I'm not on my computer). I love this place because it is here that I begin my day every morning and end at every night. It is here that I am completely transparent, here that I let my guard down, and here that I dream of the future. It is my own portal into God's presence, where I meet with Jesus in His Word through the Holy Spirit. It is here where battles are fought upon my knees, here where tears flow freely as I learn to let go, here where I am reminded this world is not my home.

I am convinced that God is doing a new thing in and through me, so I submit myself to his work. I will trust more in his ability to lead me, than my own ability to follow. I walk forward, expectant of all that is in store knowing that for those who trust in Him, the best is yet to come. For where I came from is not where I'm going, and this is just the beginning.

Dawn

This time in the present is but for a season, for summer is coming and with it the warmth in my heart. The rain can't fall forever so I rest calm, more sure than ever, that he who abides through the perilous night will have for himself the dawn of the light, and with the new day, a hope that remains. I am convinced nothing is too great for the Lord of Heaven's Armies is with me. Peace to my soul, all is in his control. This mountain I face is insignificant compared to his unending grace. I will not chase shadows and tastes for mine is the King and his glorious face!

 

Counting Sheep

On the saddest nights I'm all alone, you can find me in the midst of falling tears. Troubled by this lonely place, I'm waiting for the dawn to break. What I want is out of reach, maybe that's why I'm still counting sheep. Brush the falling rain away, it'll all be worth the pain someday. Chasing shadows far away, it's time I let the Master mold this clay.

Memory

There are moments when the memory is enough to bring back the pain. Delirious fragments of a world I created inside my head. It's all a dream until reality wakes me with a blow to the gut, I double over from the wreck and stumble through the shattered dreams gasping for air. I try to pick up the pieces as I make my way towards the light but there's no point anymore, the truth has dawned upon my imagination and all I'm left with is a feeling of regret.

Give Up Yourself

"The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him and with Him everything else thrown in."

-C.S. Lewis

King David and Captain America

After recently watching the movie Captain America for the 3rd or 4th time I couldn't help but observe some of the similarities between the character Steve Rodgers and the greatest king of Israel, king David.

Both started out as the underdog. David wasn't even fetched from the fields when the prophet Samuel arrived at Jesse's place looking for his sons (because he was the youngest). Rodgers wasn't deemed worth the trouble of being admitted into the army even if they were only going to ship him over to die in the war (because he was the smallest). 

Rodgers was chosen by the doctor, David was chosen by the Lord. Both men experienced a transformation; David was anointed with oil and became filled with the Spirit of God, Rodgers was injected with cerium and became extremely strong. But in the end both David and Rodgers were chosen for their outstanding character.

Both guys ended up serving in ways they didn't expect or dream about.. Rodgers became a show boy to raise money to support the war instead of fighting it, and David started out playing the harp to calm king Saul's troubled mind. Both guys were aware of their calling but still chose to be faithful with what they had been given instead. 

A handful of everyday tasks given to him by his father takes David to where the giant Goliath is, and some orders and a tour abroad takes Rogers within range of what seems like a hopeless mission. Both guys take up the challenge with all odds against them. Both defeat their giant and become the hero.

David is loyal to the Lord, God of Israel. Rodgers is loyal to the United States of America.

David hates the enemies of the Lord. Rodgers hates bullies. Both of them allow their passion to move them into action when the opportunity presents itself. Both have prepared themselves with smaller challenges; David killed a lion and a bear to protect his fathers sheep, Rodgers would confront bullies all the time even if they would beat the hell out of him for it.

Both men lived their lives with courage and strong convictions. Both men were more concerned about doing the right thing than their own safety or well being. Both men counted the cost and were prepared to lay everything down for the sake of the mission. 

Both guys had their failings, but both guys sacrificed much to live for a cause greater than themselves. That's what makes them leaders, and that's what makes them my heroes. 

 

The Father of the Trees

Something tells me I should go for it. "Forget the risk, take the fall" is what they say. The sounds of nature awakens in me a sense of not belonging, it's like déjàvu except I can't remember what I'm reminded of. Gravity begs me to bend but something inside me won't relent. The meadows green strewn with sheep and the crystal breeze wrapping around me whisper endlessly of a need to meet the father of the trees. Could it be that he can silence my hearts feeble bleeding? I stumble through the trees and crumble at his feet. The depth of his love from the branches it hung, willing to die for me. Every inch of my skin stands at attention before him. My breath is shallow but hope grows deep as I begin to understand how much he cares. My worth was clear as they cursed his name, for in silence I betrayed him but with a cry he forgave them.

Recesses of My Mind

You were never mine except in the recesses of my mind where I dreamed I could find the way inside your heart.

The moment when you’re caught between what you feel and what you fear

The seconds spin on but time stands still. I begin to wonder if perhaps the silence says more than it should. A pen drops but all I hear is a numb quiet. My train was delayed so I don’t mind the rain. The drops on the window reflect the cabins interior, I don’t like what I see but then again it’s only me. I breathe in the past with the moist, dreary air and turn my attention to the journey ahead. The motion of the train is sluggish and almost sleepy except for my heart's constant beating. I close my eyes and slowly begin to drift off then awake with a jolt and see it’s you, it’s you that I miss.