new magazine!

I’ve recently starting writing for a new online magazine called House2House… its geared towards followers of Jesus seeking to live out authentic and simple expressions of church. The first article you’ll see below I actually wrote a few years ago, although it still feels quite fresh in my bones and still quite true of my life today. In the near future you will see new stories from our adventures in Detroit posted. Check out the magazine… its loaded with refreshing posts from incredible men and women!

http://house2housemagazine.com/2013/08/21/paint-me-a-mural-call-it-a-church-by-lindsay-hamby/#comments

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imaginary conversations.

You know those in-between moments?  The moments in between people and places.  The moments when no one else is really around, when one event has ended and another has yet to begin, when the conversations have halted, and I am left only to the voices of my own thoughts.  These moments happen a hundred times a day.  Driving in the car, folding the laundry, taking a shower, going on a run.  Moments in between tasks at work.  Moments when I sit on the couch for a few minutes because its too early to leave, but there is not enough time to begin anything new.  Moments of quiet I might even claim when I am distraught or overwhelmed.  

I came to a realization recently that throughout my entire life I have always filled those moments with conversation.  Conversations with people who aren’t there.  Not imaginary people, mind you.  My conversations are always with very real people that just don’t happen to actually be present, and obviously have no idea what I am saying to them.  Perhaps, actually the realization I had was not so much that I fill all my in-between moments with conversations in my head, but rather that not everyone else in the world does this too. 

I have a deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP desire to be known and heard.  And understood. Its not an occasional need.  Its an ongoing, ever-present, never-ending need.  

I am a well-loved, much-supported woman.  I have an incredible husband who loves me extraordinarily well.  My life is teeming with rich friendships.  I have a supportive family.  I have mentors and counselors who are always available to me.  I have had the privilege of being loved by some of the earth’s most stunning humans.  People hear me out, pray for me, and pursue me.  All the time.  I am quite aware of my vast wealth.  I recognize that most of the world does not have the kind of unconditionally loving relationships that I have. 

But its not enough.  I have a deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP need to be seen and heard and understood every moment of every single day.  I am constantly grasping for it.  Hence the conversations with people that aren’t there for minute.  Hence all of my in-between moments filled with imagined company.  Hence I often blog instead of journal, writing for people to read, instead of writing for my own brainspace.  

The thing is I know in my head that God is there.  I know, and believe, and experience His presence even.  A million times I have begun to engage Him in conversation… and a million times I have replaced Him with an image of a friend or loved one within minutes.  He is SO freaking invisible sometimes.  

 I can look back at every stage of my life and show you the choices I made, the emotions I experienced, the paths I took – so very many have been dictated by an underlying sense that I am alone, that it is up to me to figure everything out, and that no one is there to help me.  When I began to put words to those internal beliefs at the age of 22, I experienced a miserable year of chronic anxiety.  Pressure in my chest almost every day.  Somedays… many days… I felt like my chest would explode and I would die.  

Eventually I got to a point where I could look back on all my live-long days and see how God has been chasing me down since the beginning, determined to convince me of this truth:  HE IS WITH ME.  I can show you how over and over, since I was a little girl, He steps in, how He sends me love, how He gives me alternate paths to walk on.  How He wages a war on the lies that seek my destruction.   

A little over a week ago I had a revelatory conversation with a woman who knows me better than probably anyone on the planet.  In that conversation I felt so known, so seen, so understood.  The kind of knowing that can only come through someone who has walked with you through many years and who carries the grace of an all-knowing God.  In that conversation, I saw a glimpse of that deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP ongoing, ever-present, never-ending need that drives Lindsay.  And I saw that there is not one sacred human soul in the universe that can be with me and available every minute of every day in all my in-between moments.  And for one reason or another, that old, icky anxiety crept back in this past week.  Every day for the past 8 days it has interrupted my life.   I panicked, thinking, “No, God I can’t handle another year of torture.  You love me! People love me!  I’m not alone, why is my whole body wracked with this anxiousness?”    

Last night, as I shared these swirling thoughts with my closest girlfriends here in Detroit, my friend Meghan was nodding her head in agreement.  Okay, I’m not crazy… somebody else talks to people who aren’t there too.  Meg proceeded to tell me that when she prays, she remembers that Jesus IS a Person.  That He came so we could touch Him, see Him, hear Him speak, and watch Him change the world.  She pictures the Man Jesus going to the shore with her, spreading out a blanket, and sitting down to talk.  She is able to turn her conversation toward God because of the humanity of Jesus. 

It was a simple recommendation really.  One I know I have heard before.  But her words rode on the wind of the Holy Spirit and pierced my heart.  In that moment I felt utterly challenged.  Do I actually, truly, honestly, deep-down, with all my being believe that Jesus is a Man, that He is God, that He is alive?  Do I legitimately believe that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving, and that He cannot lie?  Do I seriously believe that when He said, “I am with you always,” that He would hold true to His word?  

20 years into following Jesus, and somedays I still feel like I just heard the gospel for the first time.  

In the midst of examining my heart on this sunny winter morning, God’s voice comes to me.  Again.  He is so kind to speak.

I want to be your Friend.  

Your ongoing, ever-present, never-ending Friend.

 Invite Me into your in-between moments.  

Talk to Me.  Vent to Me.

 I see you, I hear you, I understand.

 I am able to meet your deepest, deepest need. 

Here I am, living in a new city.  With beautiful, but new friends.  With a wonderful, but new husband.  They all do their absolute best to love me, to know me, to listen and to hear me.  They do a supremely excellent job.  I need, really, really, really NEED a Friend who KNOWS me.  Who knows the perfect questions to ask, who has all the right words of comfort, who knows how just to get under the surface to what’s really going on.  And I have One!  

I will not be ruled by anxiety.  I will no longer give so many of my in-between moments to people who cannot respond because they are not really there.  My choice to engage in imaginary conversations has only served to reinforce the lies I have always believed that I am alone.  No more!  By the grace of Jesus, I want my life from here forward to be FILLED with prayer, conversations with One who IS there, who WILL hear, and who will certainly respond.

 

 

The Staggering Question.

The Staggering Question.

June 1st.

“Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel 37:3

Can that sinner be turned into a saint? Can that twisted life be put right? There is only one answer: “O Lord, Thou knowest, I don’t.” Never trample in with religious common sense and say- “Oh yes, with a little more Bible reading and devotion and prayer, I see how it can be done.”

It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we mistake panic for inspiration. That is why there are so few fellow workers with God and so many workers for Him. We would far rather work for God than believe in Him. Am I quite sure that god will do what I cannot do? I despair of men in the degree in which I have never realized that God has done anything for me. Is my experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never despair of anyone I see? Have I had any spiritual work done in me at all? The degree of panic is the degree of the lack of personal spiritual experience.

“Behold, O my people, I will open your graves.” When God wants to show you what human nature is like apart from Himself, He has only to show it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He only does it when His Spirit is at work), you know there is no criminal who is half so bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” God’s Spirit continually reveals what human nature is like apart from His grace.

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

I have to say that the man Oswald Chambers and our Holy Spirit Friend made a killer team.  This past week I borrowed my mom’s ancient copy of the classic devotional “My Utmost For His Highest.”  This little book was originally published in 1935, and every page is so RICH.  Each devotion is only a few paragraphs, but the depths ol’ Ozzie plummets in each one is enough to send you digging for a week.  I have never been a fan of devotional books at all… but this book is in a category all of its own.  Somehow the man grapples with the same churning in my own heart and soul.  

Today, I simply had to share.

BAM.


stories I cannot publish

Friends and Readers,

Due to the sensitive nature of much of our involvement in people’s lives in the urban core of Kansas City, there are occasionally detailed stories I write that I do not wish to publicize on the internet but am happy to share privately with interested readers and friends.  If you would like to regularly receive stories that may not appear on this blog or be available on other public sites, please email me personally at lindsayleighhamby@gmail.com and request to be added to the list.

It is a pleasure to share my life and the stories of God’s good work in our city and nation with you.

Blessings,

Lindsay

so long Tracy Ave, hello the rest of my life

In the summer of 2009, Poppa led me and handful of friends to a house on the corner of 39th and Tracy Ave.  Our new home was quickly dubbed the Tracy House, and our Friend Holy Spirit showed us our destiny that lie hidden in our name.  “Tracy” means a road or path; to harvest or to reap; brave.  We knew right away that He was asking us to show our broken neighborhood the path to the Father, to labor with Him to bring in the harvest, and to live with bravery & courage in the tumultuous East Side.

Since then, a whole slew of people of different colors, ages, and family backgrounds from both the Boiler Room family and the urban core have come to call the Tracy House their home.  Along the way, we’ve made bucket-loads of friends here on the East Side, many of whom have had powerful encounters with the love of Jesus at the Tracy House.  Some of those individuals have chosen to follow Jesus with their whole lives, while many have chosen to leave His gifts by the wayside.  We’ve experienced both incredible joys and serious heartache during out time at the Tracy House.  Meanwhile, our relationships with the Jesus have exploded in grace, we’ve learned enough to fill at least a few books, and we’ve formed friendships to be treasured for life.

Through a series of shifting circumstances, many conversations with our family leaders, and much prayer, Poppa has made it clear that the season of the Tracy House has come a close.  It’s good, it’s right, and it’s time.  At the end of August, all the current members moved on to the new beautiful things Poppa had prepared.

Even while we ache for each person who has met Jesus and walked away to return Home again, we adore our Friend Jesus the extravagant grace He continually pours out in our house and in our city.  Regardless of how each person that has been encountered by Love has chosen to respond, we still want to honor our Friend Jesus.  We remember the time that He miraculously healed ten lepers when only one returned to thank Him, and we want to jump in line with that one grateful leper and say, “Jesus, You are ALWAYS GOOD!”

We invited the whole Boiler Room community to the Tracy House the day before move-out to celebrate 2 very fully years’ worth of beautiful lives that Jesus has loved.  The Boiler Room family has largely contributed to the stream of love flowing in our home and we wanted everyone in on the festivities.  We partied properly with delicious food and laughter, told powerful stories from our experiences here, and worshiped Jesus together.  God was in our midst that night.  They were many beautiful tears around the room.

I myself have cried many more tears before then and since then.  The Tracy House has been so precious to me, such a significant part of my journey to wholeness, such a place of discovering the nearness and greatness of God.  Never has a home simultaneously held for me so many intense moments and so many delightful ones.  But I know the time is right.  I know it is His time.  And I am convinced these two years are just the beginning of the beginning of the adventures the Father has for Kansas City Boiler Room family in the East Side.

In the process of this all, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about both His friendship and my identity, neither of which will change with shifting circumstances.  He has become to me my dearest, closest Friend.  I know that He goes with me, and that our friendship only deepens so long as I remain surrendered to Him.  I signed up for life-long adventures with Him years ago, and that contract is not about to end.  I get to be with Him forever, joining in His grand schemes of Love.

As for my identity, I’ve begun to cling to the words He spoke so very clearly: “This is who you are, Lindsay.  You will being doing things like this for the rest of your life.”

I do believe He is right.

and Jesus healed lotsa people. BAM.

All of these stories are from the last few weeks of the Kansas City Internship and Simple Church Planting Experience:

-Jesus healed a young woman named Justine of extensive skin allergies.  Justine used to be allergic to just about every soap under the sun, and would even break out in hives from her own sweat!  After we prayed for her, she went home and showered with her sister’s soap and was absolutely fine!  Justine was also relieved of a breathing problem she’d wrestled with for 2 years.  She was so full of encouragement, that upon returning home, she prayed for her mom’s collarbone and back as well as her step-dad’s knee, and both of her parents received supernatural healing as well!

-Another young woman named Melissa had suffered from a severe peanut allergy for 6 years.  The slightest exposure to peanuts would cause her throat to constrict, making it impossible for her to breathe.  Melissa couldn’t even be in the same apartment as someone opening a jar of peanut butter!  During her stay with us in Kansas City, Jesus completely healed Melissa.  People who were unaware of her condition were  accidentally eating peanut butter right beside her and she was elated to discover that nothing unusual was happening to her body.  After asking the Holy Spirit, Melissa took a leap of faith and ate a huge spoonful to peanut butter – and she was perfectly fine!  After a lot of cheering and eating more peanut butter, Melissa and half our gang of interns promptly ran across the street to all the bus stops on 39th & Troost to tell people the good news – Jesus heals!  They spread the story of Melissa’s healing and prayed for more sick people.  The rest of the week Melissa had such fun ordering peanut butter treats at every coffee shop and cafe we went, always telling people the good news that Jesus had miraculously healed her.  She even got to return to Peachwave, the local frozen yogurt shop and tell the cute Asian woman who works there, “Last week when I was here, I couldn’t eat peanut butter, but look Jesus healed me and now I’m eating all the peanut butter frozen yogurt I want!”

-Marten’s sprained his ankle playing ball in the hood, and Jesus healed it.

-Ben’s dad had a football-shaped floater in his eye that was impairing his vision.  Ben knew Jesus was in the healing business, prayed for his dad, and the floated had completely disappeared by the next day.

-Thomas Tucker, a homeless guy who hangs out in Westport and always sings people songs was walking with a limp last week.  The interns asked him if one of his legs was shorter than the other, and one in fact was.  They asked Jesus to grow his leg out, and He did!  Right before their very eyes!  Later that night, two of our interns with back problems, Sascha & Tommy, realized that their legs were uneven as well.  After prayer, their legs grew out too.

-Rosalind was in line at the DMV and noticed a guy on crutches.  She asked if she could pray for his leg, and after doing so, the man walked to his car without his crutches!

– Our friend Asa’s knee was all jacked up, so we prayed for it.  It wasn’t healed immediately, but Asa went to spend an hour with Jesus in the prayer room right after that we prayed for him.  As he left the prayer room he realized his knee was completely fine.

He just likes me so much : The Summer of LOVE

My Friend Jesus likes me so much.  Do you know that He lives in my house?  Do you know He lives inside of me?  Do you know I carry about His death and resurrection in my chest?  He goes everywhere with me.  He loves me so well.  And we have such fun together!

He was swinging with me on the swings with me the other day in Gilham Park.  We made friends with two college-age girls who were just trying to pass some time waiting for their cousin.  My Friend Jesus, He had things to tell these girls.  He wanted them to know of His extravagant love for them, that He is with them in the midst of their tumultuous, stormy summer.  There was squeals of delight and looks of astonishment as we showered affection on these girls.

My Friend Jesus, He likes to hang out on my roof with me.  The other night, I was all worked up about a number of things.  Fear and anxiety was creeping up on me. I was pouring my heart out to Him, because He is such a good listener you know.  Sometimes, though you know, I really like to have a sister pray for me when my heart is all messy.  I was laying there on the roof, considering going downstairs and asking my sis Meghan to pray for me.  Moments later, I was still on the roof, still messy inside, and quite reluctant to go ask for prayer.  Just then, Meghan popped her cute little face out the window, crawled out onto the roof, and plopped down beside me.  “Our mutual Friend told me to come out here and pray for you.”  I began to cry.  My Friend Jesus, He likes me so much.

Sometimes when I ask my Friend Jesus, He tells me about treasures in the city for me to find.   The other night when I asked Him that, He showed me a picture of my favorite pub McCoy’s in Westport and a red shirt.  Two friends and I meandered towards McCoy’s with Friend Jesus… and sure enough, standing right outside the pub was a young fellow in a red shirt canvasing for some save-the-children organization.  Before I could say a word, this exact fellow had launched into a speech asking me to donate to save children.  I stopped him short.  “Do you wanna know something crazy?  An hour ago, I was with my friends asking God if there was anyone He wanted to speak to tonight and He told me ‘red shirt at McCoy’s!'”  The guy looked stunned for half a second, then exclaimed, “Do you wanna know something crazier?  That is the second time this week that has happened to me!  Why do you think this keeps happening?”  My Friend Jesus and I – oh man, we loved that moment!  I couldn’t contain my excitement over this fellow’s life, and proceeded to explain that the Holy Spirit was after his whole heart.

My Friend Jesus likes to hoop it up in the hood.  He was there with me and handful of friends as we played a pick-up game of basketball against group of neighborhood guys… and proceeded to whomp on ’em.  We won three games in a row.  Thanks to my baller of a sista Meghan, one of the fellows jacked up his knee during the game, so afterwards we laid hands on him and asked Friend Jesus to heal him.  As we headed down the street back towards home that day, I joked with my pals and my Friend Jesus about the new missional strategy we’d stumbled upon:  Play ball. Kick their butts. Play hard.  Get ’em injured.  Then supernaturally heal them by the power of the Holy Spirit and lead them to salvation.  We all laughed.  My Friend Jesus, you know, He laughed too.

Last night, I had a hard conversation with a dear girl I love.  Sometimes love is really hard.  Sometimes the pain that comes with love feels like too much to bear.  I was angry and frustrated, and my Friend Jesus said, “Why don’t you put on your running shoes and we’ll pound this out on the pavement together?”  Out the door I went, down the street, and sure enough my Friend Jesus went too.  He gets it, you know.  He has loved the hardest, and the pain that came with His love is insurmountable.

My Friend Jesus, He really likes my friend Myles.  And my Friend Jesus, He really likes me too.  And we all really like Loose Park, so sometimes on Sunday afternoons we relax there, just the three of us… just all enjoying each other.  And Friend Jesus, He always has kind things to say.  Powerful things.  He tells me, “I live among you.  I am a mighty savior. I take delight in you with gladness.  With My love, I calm all your fears. I rejoice over you with joyful songs.  Though you get overwhelmed by your sins, I forgive them all.  I have such joyous things up My sleeve for you, such festivities awaiting you in My Presence.”*  I can’t even describe to you what His words do to me.  They shake me on the inside.  I can’t even explain it.  His words are just like delicious, invisible chocolates that explode once I swallow them and fill my whole self with vibrancy.

A few months ago, my Friend Jesus told me that this summer was going to be The Summer of Love.  Sometimes I think I know what He’s talking about when He says things like that to me.  So I immediately began scheming up what He must have meant – His love pouring out in the streets and parks, lots of lost people finding Home, lots of sick people finding healing, miracles and baptisms, and wondrous things.  For months, I’ve been certain this is exactly what He meant.   Sometimes I am so clueless.  The other night, up at Liberty Memorial, as I looked out over the city in anticipation of summer, my Friend Jesus said to me, “Lindsay, when I said ‘Summer of Love’ I meant soooooo much more than you thought I meant.  I meant abundant love for YOU and abundant love for this city.”

My Friend Jesus. Wow.  He just likes me so much.

*Zephaniah 3, Psalm 65

the whys of my raw food endeavor + my very own recipe for kick-a raw granola

I recently went on a raw food endeavor during the entire Lent season.  It was a life-altering experience I would highly recommend to anyone who is serious about achieving health and wholeness 🙂   Because I was very conscientious about the array of vegetables and fruits I took in, I found raw food to be an incredible way to both cleanse and re-nourish my body.  I quickly shed the extra winter pounds, dramatically improved my performance as a runner, and even saw the nagging cysts on my face shrink.  All my cravings completely changed, as did my entire perspective on food and eating.  I had more than just the health of my body in mind though when I embarked on this little journey.  Here’s an explanatory excerpt from my journal:

“I CHOOSE LIFE: The Whys of My Raw Food Endeavor

The primary dream I have in venturing on a raw food journey is to heal my body of disease – specifically the cystic acne that has been wreaking havoc on my face. 

I am choosing to do this little raw food experiment during Lent.  Lent represents the season during which Jesus journeyed to lay down His life that we may have life to the fullest.  By choosing to eat raw & living foods only, I am making every meal a prayer and a prophetic statement that I am choosing His LIFE for myself, my body, and my future. 

I am seeking healing, but I am also seeking Presence and Perspective.  I will not ever truly be alive without His Presence, and there are a myriad of things that cloud my view of His nearness.  Just as I choose to put my belief in something unseen, so also am I choosing life determinedly with every bite.  So much has been murky in my mind these last months, and I crave nothing more than to have the clarity of His Presence.  

In describing her raw food journey, my friend told me,  “The veil between eternity and here has become so THIN!”  I am clinging to these words.  With each meal, I want to be declaring to heaven, “You are so welcome in me.”  I want this fast to be a slap in the face to death and destruction.” 

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Lindsay’s Kick-A Raw Granola

As I am an avid runner, I happened to be training for a half marathon throughout the duration of my raw food experience.  Shortly into the experience I found myself looking for ways to increase my caloric intake, as well as boost the amount of healthy fats my body needed.  Hunger propelled some experimentation, and along the way I discovered a way to make raw granola.  This raw granola was loaded with the substantial energy I need for long runs.  It is so simple to make and so very delicious that my housemates and I now eat it nearly every day.  (Even the raw food skeptics in the house will gobble this granola up!)

First, mix together equal parts of:

-raw cashew butter OR raw tahini OR organic natural peanut butter

-raw honey (local is best of course)

-coconut oil, slightly warmed so that it is in liquid form

Stir together in a bowl until all ingredients are well blended and all clumps have disappeared.  Add a sprinkling of sea salt as you are mixing.

Now add the following:

-organic raw rolled oats

-organic unsweetened shredded dried coconut

-organic raw sunflower seeds

-ground flax seed or chia seed

Use this general guideline for measuring: Add equal parts of coconut and sunflower seeds, but 2-3 times as much oats.  Stir the dry ingredients in with the wet mixture until all everything is well coated.

*Notes:

-This granola is best after it has set for a day.  We usually eat ours just plain, but it is also quite yummy with kefir or any kind of milk. 

-Most raw foodist-type folks are vegan.  This recipe includes raw honey, which is made by bees and is technically NOT vegan.  (You could perhaps try to make this recipe with a more vegan-appropriate sweetener such as raw agave or something of the like, but I have never tried.)

-Also, it is darn near impossible to find raw peanut butter. If you choose to make the oh-so-delicious Peanut Butter variety of this granola with regular ol’ roasted peanut butter, why just bear in mind the recipe is no longer 100% raw.  Buuuuuut, if you’re not super-hard-core-intense about the rawness of your food, well by all means, make some Mostly Raw Peanut Butter Granola.

summer’s knocking.

Myles & I spontaneously had an egg-shelling contest at the Tracy House Easter Dinner. We're having fun plotting Holy Spirit adventures for our incoming college interns!

In the beginning of February, a fellow named Myles moved into the Tracy House. I know Myles through my involvement with the Student Church movement, and upon joining us in Kansas City he jumped right into all the Holy Spirit fun we’ve been having here with urban youth.  We became quick friends and at once began scheming about hosting a Student Church Planting eXperience (SCPx) for both college students we’ve both served these last few years, as well as the high school students we’re currently living around.  The dates for the SCPx have just been made official, and we’ll be rocking this thing from June 26- July 5.

B-uuuu-t… somehow 10 days of adventure just didn’t seem quite crazy enough for us!  So we also began to dream about combining our experience of planting simple churches on campuses and our experiences of missional living in the hood by inviting college students to come join us for a 2-month summer internship – teaching them the things of Jesus we have learned so far, and embarking on a journey to learn more together.  And boy, oh boy have we been continually surprised by the way the Holy Spirit jumped in the driver’s seat on this scheme!  Since beginning to plan, each week we’ve had phone calls from just the right people at just the right time.  Our dear sister Meghan who has been simple church planting at University of Texas Austin was divinely called by Jesus to move to KC for the summer to co-lead alongside us.  Door after door has opened, students are turning their applications in, and ready or not… we’re hosting an internship AND an SCPx!  Myles & I have also been asked to lead a class pertaining to mission in the urban core as a part of the Boiler Room’s summer school program, so we plan to do that as well, incorporating our interns into that class too.

* Interested in supporting or participating in our summer endeavors?  There’s so many ways to get involved!  

If you’re a local: We need help with childcare, furniture we can borrow for our interns, and assistance with meals.  We’d also love to invite you to join our experientially-based class through the Kansas City Boiler Room!

If you’re a faraway friend: We need heaps of prayer!  We’re also looking for sponsors to send students to SCPx.  For $100 you could make it possible for a student to fully participate in SCPx.  

Email me 🙂  lindsayellyson@gmail.com

Meghan baptizing her brother at a lake in Texas. She is a wonder of woman who has been captured by the wild love of Jesus and we can’t wait for her to come rock the hood with us!  

oh these days.

Things I love about these days I’m living…

I love that a young man was completely and instantly healed from a cold at UMKC yesterday.  I love that a young woman on the track team was completely healed from an ankle injury, and back to running moments after prayer.  I love that another young woman’s whole countenance changed when I interrupted her jaunt down the sidewalk to pray for her.

I love that Jesus spoke to my new 16-year-old friend Josh at Collective last night while we were sitting in the living room, reading the Easter story.  He told me in kitchen as we washed dishes later that he felt God say he didn’t have to be like Judas, but that he could be like the man on the cross next to Jesus that wanted to enter the Kingdom.

I love that God lives in my house.  No, really… He does.

I love telling people who have been Kansas City born and bred that I live two blocks east of Troost on 39th Street.  I love confusing the heck out of people as I try to describe my life.

I love running. Fast. Faster and harder than I have since high school.  I love that running with someone faster than me has made me faster without even knowing it.

I love my kitchen.  I love the million and a half life-changing conversations that happen in the kitchen over dish-washing.  I love making medicinal herbal tea for a teen mom’s tummy ache.   I love the contrast of TV dinners in the microwave and raw food being chopped or blended simultaneously.  I love that there is joking and tears.  Laughing and hard words too.  I love the water fights.  I love the spontaneous hugs.  I love that I have two roommates who sit at the kitchen table at seven in the morning with coffee and their Bibles.  And two other roommates who sit at the same table at 2am with tea and Hawaiian punch – all encountering some form of righteousness.

I love cleaning big, fancy houses.  I love praying for the upper-middle class mid-towners while I scrub their floors.  Then traipsing back over to the “other” side of town, home to my beloved ghetto people.

I love green grass. And green leaves.  Especially edible green leaves.  That turn into green smoothies.

I love teamwork.  I love praying for strangers with my friends.  Planning summer adventures with my friends.  Strategizing about interventions with my friends.  Processing and venting with my friends.  Grocery shopping with my friends.  Washing dishes with friends.  Cleaning houses with friends.  Sharing the gospel, sharing smoothies, sharing everything.  The word “co-laborer” is like music to my ears these days.

I love communion.  I love that Jesus couldn’t wait to share the practice of communion with His dearest friends on the night before He endured the most epic tragedy of all time and successfully interrupted history.  I love that I get to partake in communion with friends at least once or twice a week.

I love Angel.  She is the shiny spot in my days.  I can’t imagine how a child could be created more beautifully or more dearly.  She is absolutely delightful in every way.  I love Bubba.  I have yet to meet such a handsome little man.  He constantly surprises me with the incredible amounts of strength, courage, and sense of adventure that are packed into his buff little 18-month old body.  I love the way their little arms wrap around my neck, I love to hear their newfound words, I love kissing all their boo-boos away.  I have never enjoyed any children in the world as much as I thoroughly enjoy these two.  I never even knew it was possible to like kids as much as I like these ones.

I love BBM.  So much grander than texting.  Blackberry Messenger tells me when my message has been delivered, when its been read, and when you are in the middle of writing me back.

I love salad. So much salad.  Gobs and heaps and massive bowls full of greens and sprouts and red peppers and green onions and seeds or nuts and citrus dressings or salt & pepper.

I love that He leads us in paths of right-relating for His name’s sake. Truly.

I love the young people in our home.  I love the teenage guys and girls that come through our doors each day.  I love meeting them, making them feel like they’ve come to a real home, hearing their stories, and speaking courage into their vulnerable lives.  Every last one is a treasure.  I feel so honored each time a new one comes, especially when I get to see a glimpse into their pasts and their destinies.  Who gets to see the wealth of humanity in the urban core like this?

I love feeling good.  Thank you, raw food.  I love having energy and stamina to own every minute of my days.

I love my dates with the Lord.  Of late, we’ve been rendezvousing for an hour or two a day at various places in the city.  I am finally remembering what it is to just enjoy being with Him.  I am finally remembering what it means to be in love with His Presence.  The days that seemed so long-lost are finally being revived.  These are the moments I live for.

I love that my hairdresser thinks I live in a commune.

I love that when I get into my car, some kind of gospel rap is blaring on the radio.  It reminds me where I live, and who I’ve embraced… (like I could really forget, ha.)

I love my Dyson vacuum cleaner.  Except when it sucks up a whole sock and stops working. Like today.  Oops.

I love that I have people who love me enough to be direct with me.  Who will voice what I need to hear, whether or not they think I will like it.  I love that I have friends dear enough to let me cry, let me be angry, hold me, and make space for my messiness.  I love that I have friends who think I’m funny and will just willingly laugh at my silliness.

I love that the Holy Spirit loves trippy.  I love that He enjoys freaking me out with the random and the bizzare-o.

Oh these days….  There is just so much life just spilling out everywhere.  He is invading our every space, our every last nook and cranny.  Look!  Look, there is more room now and all the new spaces have been filled with Him.  Look… He is here.  And He is coming.  But He is here already.  And He is coming more and more and more.   The boundary lines HAVE fallen in pleasant places.  And yes, I do have a good inheritance.  He HAS brought me into a broad place, a wide open space.  He has rescued me because He has sheer delight over me and my life.  I am much loved.

I AM MUCH LOVED.

And bounty is accessible to me.  Here I live, in the midst of a dark night in a barren wasteland… and yet I sit in the middle of a fire that burns more brightly by the minute.  I am a Friend of Jesus.  I am a Friend of the One who willingly put Himself into a hell-hole and stayed in perfect, continual conversation and heart engagement with His super-loving Dad the whole entire time.  I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but I fear nothing.  I am having way too much fun walking through this valley of horrid oppression, because I am tucked into the arm of the OH-So-Good Shepherd.

Its a story that feels too good to be true, but is absolutely my present reality.