Some Election Day Musings.

Take a deep breath.

That was mostly for me, but you probably need one, too, so go for it.

If you’ve had a single conversation about the election with me over the past year or so, most of this will sound pretty familiar. I’ve been hesitant to post anything publicly out of fear, fear of being misconstrued or misunderstood, or getting in another pointless Facebook comment argument that goes nowhere. But sometimes I just need to tell fear to shut up. So here we are.

The truth is, I’m really tired. I’m tired of strangers I’ve never met harassing me on twitter every time I retweet a news story, or God forbid, express my own opinion. I’m tired of the fear and the anger and the anxiety about the future. I’m tired of the racism dressed up as policy, and sexism masquerading as journalism. I’m tired of seeing people I love spreading information that is at best ignorant, and at worst dangerous.

But I don’t need to tell you that. Because the odds are, you’re tired too.

Somewhere in the combination of my gender, my faith, and my college major, I became pretty political. Politics isn’t just this thing that happens around us; it’s deeply personal. It affects real people, people I know and love, and even those I will never meet. Therefore, I don’t have the luxury to sit this one out.

To summarize a conversation I had with my Mom this summer (Hi, Mom, I love you, you’re the best, go vote!): I am not so naive to believe that there is one candidate, or political party, or policy, or system that can save us. In fact, as a Christian, I believe that nothing can save us and bring the healing and restoration we need apart from Jesus. HOWEVER, I do believe that there are systems and candidates and policies that will stop hurting us so much. And that matters. That is worth fighting for. At the very least, that is worth voting for.

As a very political person, I have strong feelings about who I hope will win tonight (#ImWithHer). The past two days I’ve been a ball of anxiety unable to sleep or focus on anything else. We don’t know what world we will wake up in tomorrow. But the truth is, no matter who is elected, our work will not be over.

No matter who is elected, November 9th will come, and we will still have work to do. If my candidate wins, the work is not finished, but just beginning. And if the other candidate wins, the work is not derailed or defeated, but will continue as well. Because whoever wins, the reality is that people are angry and scared. Something needs to be done. Schools need funding, and criminal justice systems need to be reformed, and institutional racial biases need to be addressed.

Christians talk a lot about calling and mission, this idea that our lives have purpose and meaning given to us by God.

For me, calling often comes down to this passage in 2 Corinthians 5:16-19:

 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Today, go vote. Please.

Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and continue in this ministry of reconciliation. I’m going to pursue justice, and love my neighbors, and pray for healing and restoration for this broken world.

Will you join me?

Adventures.

I’ve always dreamed of adventure.

Sleeping under the stars,

Immersing myself in new people and places.

Stories. Oh, the stories.

Stories I would hear. Stories I would tell. Stories I would live.

Someday when I got out.

Out there.

Wherever there is.

But no one tells you about the adventure of investing.

Committing.

Staying.

Choosing people and a place to call your own.

Abandoning the nomad dreams.

Limiting the fantasies, so you can love the reality well.

Adventure is slow.

It’s small and tender.

And it’s found more in the consistent and routine than you’d ever imagined.

It’s messy and not glamorous.

But it’s rich and full and warm.

It’s fewer fireworks,

And more kitchen tables.

In fact it doesn’t really feel much like an adventure at all.

But oh, is it so worth it.

Love Recklessly.

I don’t hear God often. I feel His presence almost all the time, and I connect with Him through praying and reading the Bible, but in my 20 year relationship with Him, I’ve audibly heard His voice only a handful of times. So when I do, it’s life changing. It rewires my heart, creating new pathways for me to seek God and know His plan.

It was 2 years ago. I was in the Middle East, sitting on a giant rock that jutted out into the sea. And in that moment He spoke my identity over me. Identity is a funny thing. It’s something we can spend our whole lives searching for or building. Even when literally passed down from Heaven it can take a lifetime to unravel and understand. It was a brief sentence, a question really. I heard the voice of the Father, full of love, but with a heart breaking for His child who was so lost and confused and didn’t even know it. He said, “Lizzy, I created to you to feel deeply and love recklessly, when did you become so jaded and cynical?” Ouch. It’s a moment and a feeling I’m not likely to forget. In that moment I felt more loved, but more repentant than I ever had before.

I’ve spent the past 2 years unraveling that question. I’ve come back to it time and time again. Feel deeply. Love recklessly. Feel deeply. Love recklessly. In many ways it’s the only calling I know. It’s led to my passion for justice and heart for my community. The phrases echo through my soul over and over again, and each time I feel the weight of them in a new way.

Love recklessly.

Arms and heart wide open. Unashamed of feeling more and unafraid of rejection.

Love abundantly and excessively, like you’ll never run out, because your source is eternal Love Himself.

Committed and overwhelming. Loving people before they’ve earned it and long after they’ve given up trying to earn it.

Love without agenda. Love without walls or armor. Without fear or safety-nets.

It’s a messy and counter-cultural love that’s often viewed as foolish or naïve.

Oh, God, may I never stop loving this way.

March 23, 2016

I really like the idea of writing. I think a lot of people do. I like the idea of expressing myself beautifully and eloquently by pouring out word pictures all over the page. I like fancy journals that make my words look profound when I write in them. I want to be a person with so many thoughts and feelings and original ideas that they burst out of me, forcing me to write them all down before I explode. I’ve spent most of my life wishing I were the sensitive, creative, artist-type. And sometimes I am. But most of the time I’m loud and often shallow. I’m not as introspective as I want to be, and I don’t look at my life’s experiences and draw any kind of universal meaningful conclusions about the world. I like trashy melodramatic TV shows and One Direction and selfies when my eyeliner looks good. I let other people’s words run in my head and let them define myself when I don’t know how to. My narrative is littered with retweets and anecdotes about other people, because I don’t believe I have anything new to add. That would be fine, if it didn’t stress me out so much. I have mini existential crises every three weeks about the war I’m waging in my soul between consuming and creating. Sometimes I forget that the story I’m actually writing will never be read, because it’s more like a tapestry I’ve woven out of the life I’ve chosen. I’ve sacrificed the unwritten novels and poems for taking time to invest in relationships, and I have no regrets. But at the same time, sometimes I wish I could pause everything else just to document who I am at this exact moment. Who I am and what I believe and where I hope my dreams will take me. Because writing it down makes it permanent and concrete. It’s a method to capture the nebulous life that I live and classify it. Sometimes I’m afraid of that permanence. I allow the moment to pass, because I’m afraid to commit to the thoughts and dreams that I know are subject to change. Occasionally, though, I take the leap. I dive deeper into myself and let the waves of emotions and thoughts and real life crash over me. I pause for a moment to reflect and connect and maybe even pull something out of myself I’ve never thought or understood or said before. And in those moments, I finally write.

An Ode to Soul Friends.

First of all, hello. Welcome back. Happy September! Yes, all my funds were raised, praise God! He provided in miraculous ways, and my funds were raised before the semester started. I’m back in Boston, working on campus, doing the thing I’ve been thinking and praying about for months now!

Being back has been overwhelming and exhausting and sometimes frustrating and confusing. I love interacting with students. It’s been beautiful to connect with new freshmen and reconnect with upperclassmen. In a lot of ways it has felt like coming home, starting another semester, even with this new role as staff. But there’s something kind of weird about hanging out in a place after you’ve graduated and said goodbye to the people who were your family there. Since being on campus, I’ve felt out of place, emotionally disconnected, and more than a little confused. Eventually I realized it wasn’t just the chaotic schedule or new job. I felt disjointed because I was missing a huge part of my life in Boston, my core people, and without them everything feels a little bit wrong.

Last night thanks to the gift of technology I was able to Google chat with three of my dearest friends from college. They’re my soul friends. The people who know and love me best. The people who know what’s wrong before I even say it. The people who I can jump in with even after going months without talking or catching up. Talking to each of them, even through a screen, makes my heart soar and leap for joy. They are each pursuing new adventures, some as far as Australia and others as close as the other side of the city. Talking to them last night reminded me of how blessed we are that we all ended up in the same place at the same time for a season and that the Lord knit our lives and hearts together in such a unique way. A glorious thing begun in our time in college, and it’s not over now that we’ve all parted ways.

I have been fortunate to be saturated by community my whole life, and I am so thankful for each of these women. I am never more amazed by God’s goodness than when I stop and take note of the incredible people He’s surrounded me with. Catching up with each of them reminded me of how deeply known and loved I am. When I begin to comprehend that their love for me and my love for them is just a minuscule fraction of how much God loves each of us, I am blown away. Simply remembering that each of one these women exists, even so far away from me, and that they are each pursuing what the Lord has called them to, is enough for me to praise God every day.

These women are not just friends or sisters, but have also been my partners and teammates. They encourage me in ministry and gently nudge me closer to the center of God’s will for my life. They spur me on with truth and grace. They celebrate and cry with me (often at the same time). The grace and love of Christ is reflected and magnified through them in ways I can’t possibly explain adequately.

Honestly, the whole thing makes me pretty weepy.

My theme and prayer for this year comes from Psalm 103:2 —

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

Forget not. Remember. It’s an active command.

I’m focusing on the act of remembering this year. Remembering who God is, what He has done, and what He has promised to do. Remembering is an act of worship.

These are my people. My forever friends. I am so thankful for them. And when the nights are hard, and I feel all alone, I can remember that the Lord has given me these beautiful humans who bless me immeasurably. When I remember these friends who have meant so much to me, it forces me to remember the great and marvelous things that God has done in our lives over the past four years. And that is worth celebrating.

❤ Lizzy

The August Whirlwind.

Where am I now?

I have finally returned to my dear city of Boston, and I’m beginning to settle into the place I’ll call home over the next year. I’m living in a big house filled with people (there are 13 of us) intentionally thinking about ministry and community and how they intersect. It’s been so fun to spend quality time with my housemates and to remember what it’s like to be in the same place as all my friends. I am so excited to build deeper relationships with each of them throughout this next year as we live and grow together.

Where have I been?

After moving all of my belongings from CT to Boston, I immediately left for New Hampshire. I spent three days in Hampton Beach, NH for our August Intern Briefing. There were 21 Cru interns and part-time field staff from the Northeast region in one house, bonding and learning more about what our lives will look like this year as we work for Cru. It was such an encouraging time of rest, fellowship, and refocusing. It was a great reminder of what we are actually working toward on each of these campuses and why we spent all summer raising support. We heard from several Cru staff about what our jobs will look like, and how important it will be to depend on the Lord through every step of this next season. We also spent lots of time connecting as a team and learning more about each other’s stories. It is such a blessing to work alongside such amazing individuals, and I know that the Lord will do incredible things through each of them this year on their respective campuses.

Cru Northeast Interns/Part Time Field Staff at August Intern Briefing

Cru Northeast Interns/Part Time Field Staff at August Intern Briefing

What are my needs?

Last time I wrote an update, I was at 50% of my goal for all the funds I have to raise my internship this year. I was praying that I would meet my goal by August 1st. Well, unfortunately, I did not meet my goal, but I was granted an extension. Even without meeting my goal, the Lord was incredibly faithful in that time, and I have seen His provision so clearly over the past few weeks. I am still raising my funds, and I hope to be done as soon as possible, so I can fully jump into planning for the fall. As of right now, I am at 80% of my goal, and I still have about $700 in monthly support to raise, before I can start working on campus.

Where am I going next? 

Over the next week, my team here in Boston will be having meetings to plan and prepare for the semester, and I am hoping to finish fundraising, so I will be able to participate fully in those meetings. Then the following week, August 23-28, if all my funds are raised, I will be flying off to Colorado to meet up with the rest of my Cru Justice team and receive training about the International Justice Mission component of my internship. It will be so wonderful to finally meet in person everyone who I have heard so much about over the past few months! I am excited to dig deeper into the justice focus of my ministry and receive training and input to guide me as I work this year.

Once I return from Colorado, I will be staying put in Boston for a while. It has been great connecting with friends and family all over the country through the support-raising process, but I will so appreciate staying in one place for an extended period of time. After moving over 7 times this summer, I will be overjoyed to not have to live out of suitcases again for a while. I will immediately jump into working on campus at both BU and Northeastern, and I am so excited to finally get to do the thing I’ve been talking and thinking and praying about all summer! I know the next few weeks will continue to be busy, but I know the Lord will provide the funds and energy and wisdom I need to begin this next stage. Thanks to all of you who have been praying and encouraging me throughout this whole summer! You all have blessed me more than you can know.

❤ Lizzy

Approaching August. (A Brief Life Update)

You may recall that I was doing this crazy thing this summer, where I would spend 10 weeks raising all the funds necessary for my one-year internship with Cru and International Justice Mission in Boston. Well the official deadline for my fundraising is August 1st, which is…tomorrow. And I am, well, not even close to finishing. I’m about halfway there, and (as of writing this) I still have a little over $1500 in monthly support to raise by midnight tomorrow night. That is an insane amount of money. And I honestly find it hilarious that I spent 10 weeks raising 50% of my goal, and am praying that the other 50% will be raised in 32 hours. But the incredible part is, God often does the hilarious, unbelievable, unexpected, impossible thing. I’m not stressed about it, because I know that He will provide. It may not all come in when I want it to, but it will all come in. I have already seen Him move mountains in my own life to get me to this place, and I have no doubt He will bring me to the finish line. I am so excited to see the miracles that He will do to provide the funds I need.

This summer, my Mom celebrated her 40th year on staff with Cru. That’s almost twice my lifetime that she has been raising every cent of her paycheck, benefits, and ministry expenses. Everything I have ever known or owned has been provided through the faithful, sacrificial giving of others, and the miraculous, often hilarious provision from God. People have bought us cars, and money has dropped into our laps at the exact moment we needed it for my entire life. So I have no doubt that God can and will do this. I am so confident that this internship is the step of faith that He has called me to in this season, and that means He’s the one who is going to have to make it possible.

Even from the midst of this somewhat overwhelming sprint to the finish line of my fundraising process, I am so excited about what lies beyond that goal. Because my goal isn’t to raise 100% by August 1st. My goal is to raise the funds necessary, so I can show up on campus at BU and Northeastern this fall prepared to engage with students, help them understand who God is, and point them toward His work of justice in the world. Though I often feel like I’m going to collapse at the end of this challenging season, I know that finishing this season means launching straight into the next one. And I am really excited for the next one. God is doing amazing things in Boston. I can’t wait to finish raising all this money, so that I can jump straight back in and be a part of it.

❤ Lizzy