When I look at the stars.


The ever cleansing beautiful pouring of a heart. The pieces of our hearts that we try to deeply to keep within us, not because we don’t want to let them out, but because we’re afraid of how they’ll be dealt with by the hands that are around to catch them. They prove the realness of our humanness. For whatever reason they come, it is of a deep ache or pain or fear or anger. And they express what our words simply cannot. And when someone who looks into those glossy eyes cares, we find the realest, most deep understanding that we will find on this earth. It is in a set of eyes that cares to look into ours through the tears that we see the reflection of the look of our Abba from His cross. We see a love not of convenience, but a love of things unconditional.

Sometimes there isn’t a set of eyes to see my tears. And sometimes I can’t be there to see through yours.

But when I look at the stars, I remember that there is always Someone for us both.

…because love wins.

I live.

I live in the most beautiful of places.
I live next to fresh flowers.
I live in a house with roommates that fill my home with laughter.
I live near my mom, dad, and sister with her family.
I live open eyed, where I can see the blue and green of the world around me.
I live next to fountains.
I live under rainbows in rain storms.
I live with nice clothes.
I live with best friends who will do anything for me, any time.
I live near a courtyard filled with oxygen giving trees.
I live near an airport, surrounded by freeways.
I live in a place where I am free to praise my Jesus.
I live with while tennis shoes.
I live near a hospital that could save my life.
I live outside those hospital walls these days.
I live in a place where I can have money.
I live in a place where I can learn.
I live in a place where I can work.
I live in a world so incredibly blessed.

The past few days have been once again, revamping my life perspective.

Last night, I attended a choir concert put on by ten Ugandan orphans. They have no parents, because they died of various reasons that are easily solved here in America. These ten smiling souls travel America singing and performing wherever they can to tell others that there are families across the world that cannot afford any food, or shelter if they are not helped.  My heart broke as I bowed my head, helpless, but able to pray.

An email from my mother shared the news of cancer moving further through the body of one of my favorite friends that I have met through the cancer world. I remember sitting in the rooms where he’s hearing the news he is these days. I know the doctors and nurses that are there to save his life. I know the look in their eyes as they share the reality that this family faces again.

As I curled up in my safe bed last night and prayed for so many, peace met me with the knowledge that I live.

I live freely, abundantly, and with parents, and opportunity, and hope.
I live without cancer, on days that they said I would never have had.
I live eternally, for I have a Savior who has saved my soul.

I have a song that’s been playing on repeat these days at the start of my last semester of college.


The lyrics are:

Can You hear when we call?
There where we fall?
Standing our backs against the wall?
Top of our lungs…hallelujah.
Where pain and love bleed into one.
Baby when all you see is darkness,
we all need forgiveness.
Coming round now.

He is there when we call. He won’t let us fall. He stand with us, and breaks down the wall.

So we scream hallelujah.

We live.

…because love wins.

You, good friend.

I think about what it will be like the day that you are not with me all the time any more. Each and every one of you, play such a specific and beautiful role in this life.

You paint the sky with your words, and you are among the funniest people to ever live, I am sure. You will notice the simplest beauty to remind my heart what it sees every day, without fail, each time I see you. You will smile that smile across a circle of friends that will light up my mind with the way you understand. You will email, and call, and even facebook chat to create the most perfect of moments. You let me love my life. With your jokes, and with your dreams, and your passion. You light it up with the way you listen, and the way you long to be more like Jesus.

And, you are so incredibly special. But those are not the reasons that you are most special. You, dear friend, form a special role in my life, because you were special before you had a role here.

You were bought at a price. As you fought through your childhood, your mistakes, or your agony, you were paid for. You had dreams that were created specifically for you which laid the path where you would walk. Jesus has been watching since you took your first breath, and before that even. Your toes are numbered, the size of your feet and eyes are precise, and your finger prints were painted upon you with the most incredibly hands that hold the universe. You are beautiful. You are handsome. Those are not definitions the world got to lay upon you, but instead, who you were made to be. Because as you are made, you are most perfect. You are so bright. You will not falter and fail. You have messed up before, just as I have, and you have learned. You have learned your worth, your smile, and your hopes for life. And you have been so perfectly protected all these years.

You, are so special.

You have always been so special.

Now, why would I care to write such a thing? Yeah, I know, we’re all unique. No, see, that’s what you don’t get. You are perfectly you. That is why you are special. What you don’t understand is that you are continually on a journey to be more yourself each day. You were created you, but as you realize who you are each day, you realize how much more special you are than you thought, each day too. You are just so special. As you are. Where you come from.

You just, are.

You make my life a special place because of this. Not because you are something specific to me, but because when you are truly the you you were made to be, you shine a light in my life that I cannot ignore. And when you see the special that lives within you, you push me to remember that I was made special, and that I am special too.

You look to Jesus. You see who you are. And you remind me who I am.

I am so thankful for you, good friend.

…because love wins.


What exactly are we doing to ourselves, world?

Riots. Famine. Orphans. Greed.

What must God think when He looks deeply in compassion within His heart, at His children who have gone astray?

For we are all like sheep, and have gone away.

If only we would throw off all these things we do all day that distract us from His heart.

Then we’d know the completeness we think we’ll get by these distractions.

Let it go, world.

Remember why you live.

Let Jesus hold you close. It’s what He wants. And it’s what you want too.

…because love wins.

I like boring.

Yesterday, I had my thirteen-year-out cancer check up. That means, just like I’ve done for so many other days, I spent a day getting poked and scanned, and tested for various things. They’re not really sure what happens when someone has chemo for 49 weeks as a seven year old and lives to be twenty. Why? Because there haven’t been very many of us, so we’re kind of making waves in a new pool. I don’t mind that at all. What’s 5 more tests so that someone else can live from what they learn from me?

Beyond that though, is the fact that the waiting room outside a meeting with my oncologist is a less than calm place for a heart. I’ve had many years to practice staying calm, and not worrying. And I don’t outwardly worry. I smile, and read and talk with other people in the pediatrics section, and spectate on the walls, and mill through books. But, on the inside, I wonder and remember many times before when going in that room meant news that was not good.

After my name got called, I sat down, shook the hand of the resident that was on his rounds for the day, and we chatted for a while. He looked at me, and said: “Well, your blood pressure was pretty high.” I immediately got more hyped up than I already was. It’s an interesting thing, how when one is in a room waiting to hear if there’s something wrong with them, that they just can’t handle even talking about anything else that’s not right. I took a deep breath, “Yeah, that’s probably because I’m pretty nervous.” He just responded, “Yeah, I can’t even imagine.”As I sat there, I thought, “You know, sir, you probably can’t. And I’m so content with the fact that you can’t. I just never want you to be able to understand how hard I pray for a boring day when I’m sitting in a waiting room at the Mayo Clinic.”

In the last 13 years, I have come to appreciate the days of the expected. Because if nothing drastic changed, that means that I’m staying healthy, and alive, and that the hospital won’t be my home again.

I didn’t actually get the results for the one test I wanted the answers for that day, but I went home, away from the waiting room, and my heart slowed its pace.

This morning I got a phone call saying that I was completely healthy.

I just smiled. And smiled. And danced a little bit around my room. And was completely content with the rest of my day.

I didn’t do much. Just talked to a few people and laid in my bed for a long time.

Some would say that’s a boring day.

I’ve come to love the boring days.

Turns out any day I’m alive, isn’t boring at all.

It’s perfect.

…because love wins.

Who says?


“You’ve got every right to a beautiful life. Who says? Who says you’re not perfect? Who says you’re not worth it? Who says you’re the only one that’s hurting? Trust me, that’s the price of beauty. Who says you’re not pretty? Who says you’re not beautiful?”

Sometimes, pop music can be cool. I won’t give credit to it very often, but then sometimes, there are songs that come on, that just scream what the world needs to hear in a way that they’ll listen to. So, above, is a summer song that I’d listen to with you, if you wanted to go on a car ride. I like the song for a few reasons. First, she’s beautiful. And, she’s just skipping along in the streets telling the world that they are incredibly valuable. And, she’s beautiful, actually not because her make up is nice or because she’s got a lovely dress on, but because her heart is fighting for something beyond herself.

In years of making friends, shaking hands, standing on stages, sitting in hospital rooms, and breathing deep at sunsets, I’ve had an immeasurable amount of time to see what someone believing they’re not valuable can stop them from doing. First, it stops them from smiling. And there are few things in life that break me more than a person who has them-self convinced that they have no need to smile. Any smile, I assure you, is one of the most beautiful things on this side of Heaven. More than that, once in a pit of lack of value, one cannot look beyond themselves. And when looking at oneself, there is no time to see the brokenness is every person all around them. Only when we look outside ourselves do we see the sets of broken eyes in other beautiful people that tell us we’re not alone. And, finally, when one believes they’re not valuable, they do nothing to help another, because they believe they can’t.

Let’s blow all that up with some truth, shall we?

You are incredible. The world is completely wrong in the way that they value worth, so whatever they said to you that keeps you from feeling alive, is probably wrong. You need no man to hold you to be beautiful. You need no woman to affirm you to be a provider to the world. You aren’t a mess. Your past is not too much for others to handle. You can try. You will fail. And then you will get back up. We all will. It’s what makes us human. You were not made to be like the people in magazines. Every pop song does not define what life is supposed to be. Alcohol does not fix anything. You can deal with what’s broken inside you. Because when the light meets the dark, it disappears. You can dance. You’re even good at it, because you are who you are. You were made with that color hair and that eye color, it’s striking on you, because it’s you. Stop trying to be someone other than who you are, because you’ll never be happy as anything else, because your pretending only keeps you from actually letting people love the real you. No one has the same standards for you as you have for yourself. You are responsible to live only to what God would have you live for. You are strong enough to say no. You are able enough to say yes. You will not falter and fail over and over again simply because you have before. Have some respect for yourself. You are not just someone’s dirt rag. You can smile when everyone is mean. You can hold firm when everything else is falling apart. Jesus will never leave you, ever. Driving the speed limit really isn’t that uncool. It’s actually right. You don’t need to spend money to keep up with everyone. They can stop spending it, and find the freedom you find in watching a sunset. Your gentleness is extremely attractive. Wanting something you don’t need and wanting it bad, is not good for your soul. Anyone who you should be with, will build up your soul, and will find Jesus in you as the most attractive part about you. Relationships aren’t a matter of choosing someone you choose to have for a while, but a matter of honor. Laughing at jokes is absolutely beautiful. You can run fast enough. You don’t have to make sure everyone else is happy all the time. You are hurting over the same things that everyone else is hurting over. Try hard in school. Learn everything you can, so you can help everyone else. You are valuable. Stop thinking you’re stupid. We all have all of eternity to learn. You don’t have to speak in perfectly painted elaborate sentences to be heard. I like your corny jokes that you make when you’re comfortable and are letting your soul be alive. Everyone does, because that is Jesus for them, in your honesty. You don’t need to be trapped in things that aren’t fun, because everyone does them. You aren’t a failure, ever, just in case someone lied to you about that before. Please, don’t date someone that wants more than they give. You’re worth more than that. It is not your job to do anything but abide and know Jesus. Jesus, He thinks you are so much more incredible than you think you are. He knows what you did, and will do, and simply wants to save you from the things you do that you do because you think that you must because you think you’re not worth anything more. Stop it. Breathe. Smile. Dance. Dream. Listen. Laugh. Try new things. Do all the cliche things that everyone in high school was afraid to do and deemed “uncool.” Travel, and answer your phone, and call people, simply because you can. You know, they probably really want to talk to you. Because someone reaching out to them makes them remember that they’re beautiful. You speak loudly when you’re silent. You don’t really have to hide behind your arrogance. You can talk about what’s hard, and find a life you’ve never had before. Your pride is the only thing that keeps people from helping you. Remember, you’re not weak when you need help, you’re human. And are beautiful. It really doesn’t matter what people say, when you’re living it right.

You’re right. You’re not perfect. You’re imperfectly perfect, just like the rest of us. Give yourself a break, and know…

You are so full of worth.

Their opinions are all nothing compared to the truth.

Thank you for being here.

…because love wins.

I am the second.

I have one more semester of my undergrad study left.

What is it about time that seems to change when something is ending? All of a sudden, when the end can be seen, one freaks out as though time sped to erase things so much faster than we ever could have moved the pencil to write what had happened. Immediately, all the challenges are worth the things that made us smile. And we thank God for what happened, and want nothing to change, just as we were getting used to this thing that used to be a “change” for us.

I think back to my first days at Fall Retreat, and the time I first shook my best friend’s hands. I think about those nights with the laughter, and every single time we climbed those stairs to the 3rd floor. I think about the heartache and the tiredness, and the way our adventures always pushed something great out of each other. I think about how you would never have let me settle for anything less than best, and I think about the beautiful sky that we always saw from up on those cliffs. I think about the snow in that courtyard, and that night that we ran in the dark for hours until we just couldn’t any more. I think about the night we threw each other in the snow for hours until we were so cold that we had to go in the house and watch a movie with hot chocolate. I think about your kindness. Your boldness. Your gentleness. Your ability to change anything. Your eyes of hope. Your smile.

And I think about how thankful I am that years ago, I learned that time will always feel this fast. I thank God that I remember my first steps, and I thank God for the times I fell out of trees and was tackled in football. I thank God for the first fish that I caught, and for the nights of mosquito bites and long hugs. I think about the times we flew our kites until we were sunburned. I think about the nights in the hospital, ready to throw up at any time. And, I think about how I knew then, that it would go fast.

These days, I remember to take it slow. Not that I don’t move with initiative, but I am not wrapped in the days months from now. I think about one day at a time when we will sit up too late and talk about everything and nothing. I think about the way that we’ll grow more in love with God’s Words every day, and how we really will change the world. I think about the wonderful things that we will see, and the nights that will hurt us in compassion. And, I smile. Because time will go fast. And we know this, because we have learned it in these moments in our lives. And I smile, because love makes every day remind us that there is an eternity ahead of us.

I am the second. He is the first. And He is with me even until the end of every age.

Let’s live.

…because love wins.