when God wakes you up.

I just woke up – at 5:00. lately I’ve been feeling exhausted. I’ve been wondering whether God still sees me and even cares. 

vulnerability.

sometimes I feel so alone. for the past few years…wow…yes…years…I’ve had situation after situation hit me. a few things spiraled out of my control. a few things I never had control of to begin with. so much loss. farewell friendships. hello sickness. goodbye trust. hello pain. I’ve dug holes I can’t get out of. I’ve said words I can’t take back. 

like David, I took a census. 

I used to rule the world…One minute I held the key/Next the walls were closed on me/And I discovered that my castles stand/Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand. 

I wondered, could anybody hear me?

There are burdens on my heart, so deep, no one could understand but Jesus. And this extends far beyond friendships lost. That’s the least of it all. But this week…there was…change. 

See, this is how I know for certain that God exists: planned coincidence

I said in my heart I don’t matter and No one would miss me if I fell like a star out of space

God interrupted.

And immediately – on the radio – “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5 ESV).

This, after a short story she told about a present she received from a friend’s visit to Egypt – a tear bottle. History on that here.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8 NLT

Day Two

My mom bought me a gift but more importantly a card that read I appreciate you.

Day Three

An email from the accounting team manager. (I reconcile corporate expenses for the DC Office. It sounds more fancy than it is).

Just in case I forget to say it later: I love you ☺️ I look at SF and NY and they have a zillions items not expensed and I’m ready to pass out. And then I look at yours and all is right in the world again. ☺️

And most importantly, Day Four – when God woke me up.

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3 NLT

and these were the songs He gave me to sing…the songs in my head as I woke up this morning…one after the other:

Dear Reader,

Walk with your head held high. You are somebody. You matter. 

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the song series: mine, hollyn

Nothing in this worldNothing in this whole wide world

Could ever take me from your hand

Even if I run away

And I don’t have the strength to make it back home

I know that you will guide me
Cause you are the one who picked me up

Brushed me off and called me loved

You showed me I am yours
You are mine

Jesus, you are mine

I know that I’m unworthy

Completely undeserving

I’m amazed, I’m amazed

That I am yours

And you are mine

You are mine
Even when I can’t feel you

Even when my soul is crying out

And it looks like I have nobody
Lord, you’ll be the one to pick me up

Brush me off and call me loved

Yes, I know that I am yours
And you are mine

Jesus, you are mine

I know that I’m unworthy

Completely undeserving

I’m amazed, I’m amazed

That I am yours

And you are mine
I am home, I am home

I am home here with you

I am home, I am home

I am home here with you
Oh, Jesus I am home, I am home

I am home right here with you

I’m blessed to call you… mine

I’m amazed that you are… mine
I know that I’m unworthy

Completely undeserving

I’m amazed, I’m amazed

That I am yours

Oh, I’m amazed

I’m amazed

That I am yours

And you are mine

You are mine

How to be a Criminal

Good morning Reader,

I recently had one of those God-sent experiences. You know the kind – one of those experiences you hate at the moment, but appreciate in hindsight.

The devotional I read today spoke about self-reflection…and oh, how timely it is.

Criminal Behavior

A few weeks ago, I was stopped by the police. I was infuriated. I tried for a very long five minutes to bite my tongue, but eventually, flippant words formed and fumed out of my mouth like the smoke from an angry dragon and I got hit…with ticket after ticket after ticket. In total, I think there are four charges against me all having to do with a suspended license I didn’t even know I had (in the state of Maryland anyway).

So a few minutes of a defective taillight, annoying police officer, car tow, license capture later…I was left without a car and incensed. I knew I could survive without the car, but it was just so silly to me that my license was taken for my negligence refusal to pay court fees in another state – fees I’d received for contesting a ticket that I believed I was wrongfully given for turning right on a red light in a  no-turn zone. Did you follow that?

Here it is in plain English: right on red –> no-turn –> pulled over –> contested in court –> refusal to pay court fees –> suspended in that state until fees paid –> I didn’t care cause I don’t drive through there anyway –> car towed –> license captured.

Fast forward to last week. I finally paid the court fees and the suspension was lifted within minutes. Seriously, I should have handled this long before the threat of a captured license was imminent.

Math Problems

After doing the math, you know what I realized? It would’ve been less expensive to pay the court fees a long time ago. 

Car Tow: $330.00
Duplicate license: $20.00
Money spent on the bus and train: $100.00

Total: $450.00

Total cost of court fees: $127.00

Introspection

A long time ago I noticed this about myself: I beat myself up about even the smallest mistakes I make and I live my life desperately wanting to make the broken pieces whole. But Reader, you know better. You know we can’t build a time machine that will take us back to the past. This deep desire of mine is rooted in perfectionism. But you know, and I know that making an idol of our ideal of perfection is pointless…futile…a vain pursuit.

This morning as I tried to make sense of everything that’s happened in the past few weeks, I tried to cheer myself up saying – At least I’ll get to change the less-than-flattering photo on my driver’s license. Well, Reader – turns out I can’t. The MVA will just send me a new old one. I can’t go back and change that photo. I can’t change the less than perfect pieces of my life. But I can change today. I can’t do anything about the minutes that have passed by. But today I can be new. I can be different today.

New & Improved

They say personality is a stable characteristic. Your personality will never change. Your character, however, can. Your morals and the guiding principles of your life can change circumstantially.

The driver’s license I’ll get in the mail won’t exactly be new. It’ll be a new card with the same old information.

When we first give our lives to God (or when He sends jolting experiences that remind us Who our focus should have been on all along), we’re like my driver’s license card – new spiritually although the same old information still remains. There’s nothing we can do about who we were before we met Jesus. There’s nothing we can do about the poor decisions we make even with the full knowledge of Jesus in our hearts…aside from confessing, asking for forgiveness, and relying on the grace of God to bring about true change.

Unlike my driver’s license, the information on our “life-cards” doesn’t have to stay the same. God is and always has been in the business of creating new things out of dark and desolate situations. The deepest, darkest, dirtiest aspects of us are not a deterrent to God. satan wants us down, defeated and discouraged. God wants us to rise. He wants us to experience the new information that He longs to share with us – that we can go to Him boldly, without fear, knowing that He cares so much for us.

My Favoritest Parable in the World

How much does He care? Read me.

Reader, do you understand? You and I are – before Jesus finds and rescues us – lost coins. Here are some things that are coming to mind:

  • As coins, we’re valuable with or within the ‘fold’. The lost coin is still a coin and something that’s clearly of worth to the Seeker…otherwise the Seeker would have stopped seeking.
  • The Seeker doesn’t stop seeking.
  • The Seeker is willing to disturb the seemingly perfect order of the coin’s surroundings in order to find the lost coin. It made me think about chaos. What if the chaos we
    think we’re experiencing has a deeper meaning? What if it looks like chaos on the outside but it’s really God’s way of diligently seeking?
  • When the coin is returned, rejoicing is heard.
    Not embarrassment. Not shame. Not guilt.
  • We’re never told how the coin was separated from the ‘fold’. We’re just told it happens. Our focus is just directed to the response to the return.

The Change

Okay, so what can I do today? I can diligently pray about my shortcomings. I can rely on God’s grace to help change me into an obedient person. I can’t afford to be passive. I’m a Christian who has an active enemy.

“God’s word will only be effective in you, if you have a will to see it work.” – Louie Giglio

As a Christian, I don’t take Christianity seriously enough. I start off seriously, slowly wander off from the ‘fold’ (skipping devotionals/speaking too quickly/hearing too slowly/not guarding my heart, etc.) and then before you know it, I’m the lost coin – again! I thank God for being a patient God who is constantly and actively pursuing us.

So, You Think You’re Alone

You’re not alone. Grace can reach farther than you’ve wandered. Don’t listen to the voice of your insecurities about whether or not God will accept you. Listen to God’s.

Closing Prayer

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[a]
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

early morning.

the last few minutes of my lunch break are tick-tocking by and I’m struggling to focus on what’s important..to put God’s will before my own. I’ve learned some hard lessons and need to swallow my pride. I need to trust God’s plan.

it’s just difficult. difficult to trust what I can’t see..and surrender all that holds me back.

I should be flying..soaring.

I can do better than this. I am better than this.

Outside.

Outside I put on a tough face and resolve to hold it all together. I am mentally strong.

Inside.

I’m still that girl..and i feel so small..there’s still that little voice inside me that whispers “I want you to know me..I want to share everything I am with you. And I don’t want you to run away. I don’t want you to leave.”

I hate feeling…knowing..I’ve been here before..and failed.

My confidence is wavering.

But there’s something within me that can’t give up..I feel like it’s not going down the way it’s gone down before..I feel optimistic..I’m hopeful..these aren’t the old days..today is brand new🌻

Alexandra And The Very Big Bee

early this morning I dropped my mom off at work. I’m pretty sure I’m a morning person because I feel energized when I wake up early…what I mean is – I feel like I can conquer the world from that moment forward.


I was determined to be productive. today I plan to finally fold the clean laundry that’s been piling up for months. you know when you get back from a trip and you don’t unpack your suitcase the very minute you step through the door so you just keep picking the clothes you need for the day until your suitcase is empty? living out of a suitcase – yup that’s me, except the suitcase is two large couches in the basement and one in the living room. I think the living room is where it became evident to me that i needed to get this done…

I turned on the VBS DVD. I’m practicing the songs and half folding laundry when a large bee rises from who knows where and makes its presence known. Immediately a wave of terror flooded over me. What was I to do? It was me against the bee. Mano a mano (or mano a bee?) – man vs. wild…

I hit it with everything I could find, making sure to stay away from its thorny weapon of warfare (because obviously this thing was out to live whether I liked it or not…and in case you’re wondering – I did not). 

Don’t call PETA…

I was determined to get rid of the bee…there were moments I thought – its wings are broken – it will not fly. But I couldn’t leave it to chance. I had to summon the courage from somewhere to press on in my pursuit of the pest. When I thought I’d lost it I noticed a flicker at the corner of my eye. There it was – basking on the edge of the sunlit windowsill. Then came the sweater.

Sneak…tiptoe…

THUNK!
I SMACKED it!!!

Or at least I thought I did. 

My target was off!

I smacked five or..I don’t know..seven more times until I guess the sweater came in contact with a wing and it flew to edge of the door.

Then came the broom…the next weapon in my artillery. 

I hit and hit until it vacated its position and retreated to the side table. 

I wanted to give up. I didn’t see it and I was sure it was injured…a goner..I was sure I could leave it to rest in peace..a dignified death..it had done its best, but I…

I was simply too strong for it.

But I started this post by describing how energized and productive I felt. So you know what I did, Reader.

I mustered the courage to finish the fight. 

I mounted the couch and began to sweep that bee out of its hiding place.

I had a territory to protect after all. 

I swept and swept.

I thought it would bury itself in the carpet and give up.

I opened the French doors expecting it to crawl out – wounded and ashamed at having lost the battle of all battles.

And then, Reader – something strange and excitingly unexpected occurred…

The bee breathed in fresh air and began…to rise.

Bruised…beaten…but alive.

It flew away an overcomer.

I hadn’t let it win…but it had won all the same. 

Reader, as long as you are breathing you will have opportunities that test your patience and resolve. If you’re Christian, you know that all things are possible with God. I once hear a pastor say 

If you’ve lived the best life on earth and your life has been a breeze – great! You know that it only gets better from here. If your life has been filled with hardship and challenges – that’s great too. You know that the best is still yet to come.

Reader, no matter the challenges you face today keep your head up. Battles you may lose but Jesus Christ has won the war.

You might be beaten.

You might be bruised.

But you, too, will rise. 

life. writing. food. 

do·mes·tic

dəˈmestik/

adjective

1. of or relating to the running of a home or to family relations.

  • “domestic chores”
  • synonyms: family, home, household
  • “domestic commitments”

I guess I felt like a chef today. I guess I felt domestic. I almost cleaned the house but I think my body felt it’d be much more beneficial to catch up on some sleep. 

Now, I must  admit to you, Reader, just so you don’t get your hopes up – I’m not sharing this recipe. 

The lighting was just good and I  suppose that’s somewhat deceitful considering this post is tagged with the word “recipe” (maybe I should remove that altogether…?)…but the purpose of this is simply to free my mind of the heaviness it feels when I am not writing regularly. 

homemade honeybees🐝


I don’t really want to go to work tomorrow. I’m not in the right mindset. Fortunately I’ve got nothing much to do since I’m taking a vacation soon and decided to do all my prep work last week.

We’re blessed to have groceries every week. I order online. Today I saw a “sugar free pie”…

so bread…I saw bread. 

And life…oh how the hands of time tick-tock, tick-tock by…

Twenty six…the year I decided to do all I am able. 

I am not concerned with winning; I’m concerned with underestimation. 

Not only will you see that I can. You will see that I will

I know nothing of love. I know nothing of wisdom. 

I thank God for vision. I thank God for purpose. I thank God for direction.

time.

because the rain pitter patters down the windowsill..I am urged to write.

it’s so quiet and peaceful right now..

not just inside my house but inside my heart.

the fear had taken hold of me. 

it’s not that I have conquered fear in its entirety..

“you’ve got the wrong girl” – I want to say.

but I don’t think it’d be useful right now. in a matter of seconds, any life can change.

for a minute, I felt like the old me again. I don’t want that girl to rise. leave her where she is..dying although not yet dead. 

yesterday – spineless.

today – courage-less.

tomorrow- a leader.

and I…I am always pushing boundaries..and I feel very sad for that. 

but I could do better..

but I will change.

there’s hope for me yet.

hope.

there’s hope for you too.  
no..it’s not a coincidence. it’s definitely on purpose…

but I’m afraid to dare to believe my prayers were answered. 

mustard seed faith. 

even me.


James 5:17