Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts

Thursday, April 27, 2017

one day [thoughts on the now & then]



one day a light will click,
and all this waiting will make sense.
all your prayers and cries that you spoke
will finally have resolution.
you'll come to see that the pleas tangled in worries
were actually wrapped tightly in Gods grace.

one day you will wake up
and the fog will be lifted.
you'll look back and see that the valley was much bigger
and the hills much taller.

one day you'll remember the time when you thought everything was over.
even though you were certain,
you were actually, well...okay.
and although it was awful and confusing and the waitttinngggg,
this place you are
just happens to be right where you are suppose to be.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

hey God, it's me, elissa.


Why can't I just learn all the life lessons already?
Like, seriously God.
All this waiting and unknown is getting kinda old; can't you just tell me what you're thinking?

I know dependence on you is a good lesson and all, but I was kind of hoping to be done with it by now.

Maybe we could move on to joy?
Or, say, faithfulness?
I could settle for a real good conviction on teaching Sunday school twice a month, as opposed to once a month.

God, I'd appreciate some clear "how to" manuals, if that isn't too much to ask.
Yeah, the Bible is awesome and all...
but I'm not exactly finding the answers I was looking for.

You see, I was looking for closure on some trauma.
I looked and it told me that trauma is part of the broken world,
and you hold me in every situation.

I was hoping you could take my guilt from me,
but the Bible said that I needed to lay it at your feet.

I asked about a situation that I would like to stay silent in
 (hint: I was looking for some backup)
But then the Bible said something about speaking truth loudly, which wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for.

So okay, fine.
 I'll try to learn grace and contentment and peace and self-sacrifice.
I'll remember: your will. not mine. 

But if you happen to change your mind, feel free to drop of that instruction manual.
It's the second mailbox.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

finding warmth in the darkness


I've built walls.
I've hidden skeletons and covered scars.
my walls are tall and strong;
they're ready to be torn down.

He wispers to me,
elissa, let me tear down your walls

but I am naked.
I am ashamed.

He says,
I have loved you at your darkest

I struggle to hear these words.
for I don't understand this amazing grace.

He calls me perfect,
beautiful child

yet I grip to guilt
and lies

He validates my pain,
and holds me tight.

my heart beats.
walls begin to melt.
a gift was given
 and darkness has no home.

I sit with this wonderful counselor.
the giver of all peace.

and I am held.
I am clothed in grace.
I am safe.
I am warm.
for today, I am held.

so I challenge you;
approach the king,
scared and broken.
for he knows your name,
and is ready to release you from all guilt and shame.
you are loved,
you perfect,
beautiful child.

please sit.
rest.
be covered.

for you are precious and held,
and today,
you will find warmth in your God.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Retreat in the Midst of Chaos




I sit listening to the gentle waves. 

Sunlight beating into my heart. 
I think about the light of Jesus I prayed about this morning.

Inhale. 
Exhale.
Peace. 
Rest. 
Typical 'retreat sentiments'
             {excerpt from my journal, February 12, 2016} 

I skimmed over these words as I flipped to a blank page last night.
Remembering those quiet moments, while I was free to be still.
Asking.
Listening.
Thinking.

I think about the ocean I drive by everyday.
The tides going in and out, compatible with the moon.
How complex those simple moments are.


I have four weeks left of school. A research paper to write. Math to complete. Two science exams, along with my history papers.
My sister is graduating.
She has to decide where she will spend the next four years of her life tonight.

I am Dorthy in our dance school's production of The Wizard of Oz. 
We are going host family and throw a graduation party.
I am going to drink coffee and write papers late into the night.
Enough sweat to fill a lake is about to seep from my pours.

Rest? Calm?

During finals?
While my one of best friend packs to leave?
When I wait in the wings, preparing to dance a full length ballet?

I asked God about peace last night.
I poured out my thoughts, my questions, my heartache.
And although my eyelids were drooping and my mattress encompassed my exhausted body, I read my words from that day.

My 'retreat alone time' journal entry.
My thoughts during that weekend.
And although it was a bubble, it wasn't the only time I experience this peace.

I experienced it this morning as I globed on mascara.
I experienced it as I drove to class.
I was at peace during my test.
My soul is at peace, because of Him.

Today, I pray you will find calm in the storm.
I hope you will find joy in the ordinary.
I pray you will anchor yourself on the peace of Jesus.

And may you know how loved and valuable you are in the chaos of this crazy life.




Friday, April 1, 2016

in sickness and sunshine


I have been seriously sick with what I am confident was the black plague. My Easter was not spent wearing a cute little sundress, immaculately decorating eggs with so much detail they could easily be swapped with those on Pinterest. I didn't eat the Hungarian Dobos Torte that my aunt made and posted all over Facebook so I could look at it while I was sitting by the toilet. I was a heathen and didn't go to church. However, that might have been for the better because our church had a bunch of baptisms and I cry uncontrollably at baptisms.  

the dobos torte

Instead I've been consuming cough drops and adivil, every vitamin under the sun, and so much water that I pee every hour. It's exhausting peeing this much. 

But, on a less tmi topic, the yellow thing in the sky came out?!?! 
'what?' you gasp!
It took us Washingtonians a moment to remember what it was because...well...it's been a while. However, I quickly remembered and grabbed my tank-top and sunglasses before heading to my favorite local smoothie shop with the windows down. It may or may not have been 59 degrees. I explained I had been sick and needed something with lots of good vitamins pronto, and the lady gave me a cucumber grapefruit smoothie. Sound weird, but it was so yummy and lite. 

Now you want to try a cucumber and grapefruit smoothie. Your welcome.

Spending the past days (almost week) suffering with the black plague, I've contemplated life. 
You know. 
Laying in bed at 4:17am wondering why you never appreciated being able to breathe through your nostrils.  
Getting in a nice hot bath with a fever and then getting the chills. 
Asking what you did to deserve this near death experience.
 (okay, maybe it was just the flu but that is beside the point...)  

Over and over the past week, the phrase 
it was my sin that held Him there 
has been running, running, running through my head.

The miracle, the good news, the reason for my hope and life, was accomplished. 
                              His dying breath has brought me life. 
I live in the new life I have been given
                              I know that it is finished. 

Friends, let's choose to live together in the confidence knowing that it is finished. 
The work has been done.
Our ransom has been paid. 
There is nothing we can do be loved more then we are right now.

In sickness and sunshine, it is finished. 


Thanks for visiting Letters to Jayna today! Please take a moment to leave your name in the comment section below and let me know what you think- I reply to each and every one. Also, if you like what you see, please take a moment to find me on Google+, Bloglovin', and Pinterest. Have a wonderful day! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

our daily bread


Every day of their journey, God kept on showing his people how well he would look after them, if they would trust him, and obey him. When they were hungry, God made the sky rain food--bread coming down from heaven! "What is it?" they asked each other.
 -Taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Text copyright 2007 by Sally Lloyd-     Jones

After the Israelites had been brought out of Egypt, they were walking.
 Stomp, stomp, stomp.
Day after day, night after night.
And they got grumpy and whinny. They were tired of walking, of setting up and taking down camp. They were tired of traveling, of extreme weather, of blisters on their sore feet.
      They were like a 4 year olds who haven't had a nap, food, or their blankies.

They finally made their camp; and they were hungry.
  So God sent down manna from heaven every night, and instructed them to take only what they would need for each day. Their were told to take no more, to take no less, than what they would need for that day.

I would have been the whiniest manna hoarder in the camp.

After God had rescued the Israelites from slavery, from cruelty, from abuse.
God brought them to a huge ocean where he made a way.
He lead them through a ocean on firm ground.
God saved them hunger, from thirst, from more then they could handle.
He made a way, when there was no way.  

God, give us today our daily bread. Give us no more, no less than what we need. Teach us to look back on our running from you, and your rescuing of us.
Show me the oceans you have parted,
the paths you are paving for me.
Remind to ask and receive.
Show me how you make a way, when there are no ways.

 
Thank you so much for visiting Letters to Jayna! I am so glad you dropped by! Please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Also, if you like what you see, feel free to follow me through Blogger, Google+, and Bloglovin'. I look forward to hearing from you!  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

730 Days

730 days ago I gave you a hug.
     A long, but oh-too-short hug.

And in these 730 days I have done lots of things.
I started high school.
I watched my aunt die.
I've spent a lot of nights dancing.
A lot of mornings dressing.
A lot of school days working.

  I've won two science fairs.
I've practically failed Algebra out of laziness.
  I read To Kill a Mockingbird which is my new favorite book.
I've been to sleepovers, learned to drive, and re-organized my room.
 
  I've danced in weird, extremely long performances,
toured collages with my older sister, and celebrated the baby of the families 9th birthday.

It's been joyful and beautiful, messy and complicated, lonely and full.

 The past 730 days have sucked up energy, motivation, perseverance, and grace, only to have God fill me when I ask.

  I have asked and revived.
I have forgiven, and been unjustly forgiven.
   I have been judged, and judged others.
I have cried out to God asking for direction.

Life has moved on.
Storms have passed.
Sunshine has radiated.

Rain has fallen
and flowers have grown.

 
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned in life; it goes on."
                               -Robert Frost

God is faithful, and has unending love.
He will guide our steps.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

2 feet + 2 bone caps = Bad News

   Dear Jayna & friends in blogger land-



NOTE: This post is going to be about........drum roll.............Feet!! If that totally grosses you out, you might not want to read on. But don't worry; I wont be showing any pictures of toe nails coming off. ;)

 So you made it mast the gross introduction, ignored the fact that I haven't written in a month, and are sitting reading what I have to say. Thanks!


To begin my story:


  In April and May of this year I started having some pain in my calf/heel area. It wasn't bad, but it was obnoxious. It increased as my rehearsals got more and more intense, and was really painful after doing any foot movement. I wrote it of as achilles tendonitis from overuse, and that after the show in June it would be fine. Babying it outside of dance, and icing it fairly often was my plan. BUT, then summer came and went and it still wasn't totally better. Frustrating.


   
  Went to see a PT, PT sent me to orthopedic surgeon/ podiatrist and said it is a impingement in my heel. Basically, a little bone that sticks of my bone is rubbing a lot and is mad. It's supper inflamed and irritated. So now, I am completely benched, stuck applying cream every morning and every night, icing three times a day, and going to physical therapy three times a week. So no Nutcracker for me this year either. Agggggggggg. Can you just feel the peace oozing from me?





  So here we are with painful feet, no Nutcracker, and no physical activities. After I had auditioned, gotten cast, and learned my parts I was told no. Called into the dance center office and told no. No Nutcracker, and no dance. Hopefully it will just be for a month. But it still is obnoxious.


  So here we are sitting with Nutcracker withdrawal symptoms. Again.


But I am learning how to be at peace. Learning the importance of grace. Learning the dangers of jealousy.  I wish God could have just been like, "Hey Elissa, experience my peace, live with grace, and don't let jealousy come close to your heart. And I love you." But no, He didn't.


  But I will learn. Learn the importance of  having faith in something bigger then myself.
But that also means learning how to fully feel the not-so-peaceful things.


          Love,
                     Elissa


Question: What has God's grace looked like in your life lately?

Monday, September 8, 2014

February 14

            The following is a journal entry I wrote February 14, 2013:

God, this one goes to Jayna;
May her travels be smooth
May she be able to say goodbye peacefully and calmly
May she have a peaceful heart about where she is going
My you bless the house that they move into; will you fill it with joy, with laughter, warmness, hospitality, and a welcoming glow.
May it me a place where Jayna can grow in her independence
May the dance studio be filled with the love of dance
May it be a place were dreams are formed, and grown rather then cut down and shattered.
May it be a place of calmness, and a place where Jayna will be able to worship you with her dance.
May it be a place where Jayna can remove herself from the dramas and stresses of life, and be a place that she will feel your peace in.
May the teachers there see all of the talent you have given her, and may they see how hard she has worked these last few years.
May they enjoy having her in each class, and may she be a fresh breath of newness to the studio.
May the teachers help her grow in her dancing, rather then slowing her down.
May the teachers give her dreams and goals, and Lord, may the girls welcome her and treat her kindly.
May they help her figure things out in a way that is honoring to you.
May they enjoy there company and want to hang out with her.
Lord, may you help them see what a great friend she is.


              God, please hear my prayers. Please God.
__________________________________________________________________________


 Out of all the praying I did for you before you moved, this was one that I wrote out. I was scared for you; that everything would be a disaster, and Hawaii would be a horrible experience. I prayed and prayed about it, because I wanted God to protect you from anything bad that might happen.


But you know what? Hard stuff still happened.
Three dance studios, and a lot of tears latter, you made the decision to quit dance.
    I asked God why was this happening to you? Did he not hear my prayers? Was I wrong in asking for all this? Why were people so mean and discouraging to you?


At the time of your decision, I really supported that. It was the right thing to do.


  But why was God telling you to quit something that had given you so much joy? Was it to much of a idol, and taking your focus of Him? Was it controlling your emotions to much? Where you so post to be doing something else, or tough it out?


I don't think it was an idol, and I don't think it had much power over your emotions. Yet I don't think you were meant to be toughing it out either. So why was there all that drama, when my prayer was seaming to be met with a no?


This is why: http://letters-to-elissa.blogspot.com/2014/09/restored.html


  You needed to be restored. You had to experience hard, hard things in order to be restored.


When we talked on the phone after that first class, I was tearing up. Not just because I was so happy for you (which I was!), but because God said yes.


  He was doing what I asked Him to do over a year and a half ago. He was planning this before I asked; before you where born.


That prayer was written on Valentines day; a day about love. Valentines day is celebrated by showing love between people; but does God limit to showing His love just on Valentines day? Nope, nope, nope and no. God is the ultimate example of love, because God is love.  He is a loving God.


 He wasn't sitting up there looking forward to hard stuff coming your way; He was sitting up there with the knowledge that your life would be an example of His love. What a amazing thing to be.


  My friend, the word restored is a good word. A very, very good word. :)


     Love,
                 Elissa


Question: When was a time you felt like God wasn't being loving?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Year

 
 


Tuesday, April 15, 2013 was the day.
The day written all calendars, with dread mixed up with anticipation.
   The day the car pulled into the driveway, and "Jayna and Skyler, your dad is here," was yelled up the stair case.
   So we walked all over the house, making sure you wouldn't leave anything.
Stalling, really.
  And out into the driveway we walked.
Loaded stuff into the car.
Said goodbye to Lilly and Wyatt.
     And then.....it couldn't be stalled any longer.
We had to say goodbye.
 
It was hard, but is wasn't really a goodbye. It was more of a 'see you later'.
    Because even though it's been a year, it wasn't the end. It's was a beginning of a bigger story; one that hasn't been finished.
   I don't know what will happen, but our friendship has still continued to grow and change. I would be lying if I didn't say I miss how it used to be, but I am excited to find out what happens next.
 
   kisses your way
 
     -Elissa

Saturday, December 21, 2013

christmas blues



                                              
Dear Jayna,
 So Christmas is here, again.
And it comes with party's to go to, gifts to buy, and food to make.
All on top of a room to clean, school to do, and recitals to survive.
Add in friend drama, stomach flu, and a girl who tries to do it all.
And Christmas.....well.....is just kind of there.  Not very much piazza.
        
  God, why is Christmas like this, for me this year? Like, why am I so.....well, kinda depressed.

     And even though I am trying to put on my just keep-going-and-everything-will-be-fine kinda look, stuff just looms there.  Nutcracker was  hard to survive: and I miss you, I miss my aunt, and I miss my Awana leader who died of cancer. it just kind of hangs over me, like a little sadness cloud.

And you know what God, the Lord of the entire universe, has to keep reminding me, his stupid little sheep?
  
                                                   Elissa, it is ok to feel sad.
                                  it is ok to say that things have been a little rough.
                      you are allowed to sit with your feelings. Because your daddy, your
                                        savoir, the one who rescued you from the darkness,
                             Loves you.
you. you you  you  you  you  you  you  you  you  you & you
 
   
You, the girl who yells at her mom.
You, who is mad at your brother for nocking over your nightstand, therefore creating a mess that was never cleaned up.
You, the girl that is jealous at her friends.
You, who is a angry, selfish, stressed, moody, and hormonal human being.
you.

                          I am not very good at remembering that.

And this Christmas, I am feeling God's love. And his amazing, never-stopping, always and forever love.
 And that Jayna, is what this whole Christmas thing is all about.
                                           
                                                Elissa
 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nutcracker withdraw symptoms

 Dear Jayna,




So, the Nutcracker season has officially begun.
And being on this side of the picture is incredibly weird.
Not doing it.  Not seeing your own personal name on the cast list.
No screaming, yelling, crying;  no power. 
The cast list has nothing to do with me this year. And the thought of "what would I have gotten?'
has crossed my mind many times, but nothing compared to the number of times the thought, 'what will I get?'  crossed my mind last year. And the year before. And the year before that.
Because when I traveled to the Land of Sweets more Decembers then I hadn't, slowly I began to loose perspective.
When I was in first grade, my very first year in The Nutcracker I was a bon-bon. And the biggest annoyance to me was that I had to wear this little cough drop looking costume. And a matching cough drop baby bonnet that always made me summer salt side ways, instead of straight. That was it. It didn't matter what I got, what others got, or what the teachers thought.
And I want that again Jayna.
I want to enjoy the show. I want to do a nice job. I want my friends to be happy with what they get.
But I cant. Not when I cry myself to sleep after seeing the cast list. Not when I feel jelous at other dancers. Not when I ignore my friends because I care so much about what the teachers think and say.

God brought me to a spot and let me know that it was my choice. And I could put my worth and value in Him, or in some other thing that I have no control over.
 And you know what that choice was, and girl you were one of the biggest things that encouraged me to make the decision. And you so get this.

  So here I am, sitting in the mist of Nutcracker withdraw symptoms.  And it's ok.
 It really is.
                                    Love,
                                                Elissa

Friday, May 3, 2013

A reminder


 
 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

(Chorus:)
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

(Chorus)

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Home is where the heart is




Once upon a time two girls named Jayna and Elissa were having a sleepover. It was about 10:45, the time that mothers start telling you to be quiet, and random silly talk is over for a bit...the time when the tears start to fall as you begin to talk about every hard thing that has ever happened to you, dropping a occasional, 'God showed me this', or 'That is when I realised...'.
But this sleepover was different. It was at a time when a lot was going on in both of our lives; a time of a lot of stress, a lot of worry, a lot of panic, and just a lot of asking,        
"What do I do next?"
I remember Jayna telling me, "I am just so terrified of being the new girl....I am dreading the feeling of walking into a room and knowing no one. I am tired of proving myself again, again, and again.....I don't want to leave! I finally feel like I belong hear, I feel like people know me and I don't have to try to build all new friendships. I know who my, friends are, I know who has my back, I know who loves me and cares about me. I also know who I need to avoid, who is causing drama, and who is just stirring up trouble.
I don't know if I can do this all over again!"

The tears were falling, and I was trying to relate. I was trying to understand what that must be like; and she painted a pretty good picture for me. But honestly, I much as I tried to understand what she was going through I just couldn't. As much as I would have liked to, I couldn't put myself in her shoes. And then she suddenly brushed away a couple of tears, and hopped up out from her sleeping bag and grabbed her ipod saying that she needed to show me something. She got on YouTube and showed me the movie that I have up top, Home by Phillip Phillips, here though it is sung by Britt Nicole a bit of a favorite of Jayna and I...(I am sure you will be hearing more about that latter..) but anyways, the choirs of the song goes,
Settle down, it will all be clear. Don't pay no mind to the demeans they fill you with fear. Trouble it might drag you down; if you get lost you can always be found.  Just know you're not alone. Cuz I'm gonna make this place your home.

This song has really spoken to Jaynas life, as she then told me she had been listening to it a lot lately. But it kinda made me think: you could take it in a literal sense, or you could use a little insight. I know that where ever Jayna goes, whether it be Hawaii or Antarctica God has her in his hands, but is he really going to make every single place home to her?
The more I thought about this, the more I started to wonder about what that song was saying. And I really have come to realise that home is a state of your heart. It isn't a house, it isn't a city and isn't even a country. What? Yep, that was my first thought to. But the more I think about it the more it makes sense to me; according to Wikipedia home is this
A home is a place of residence or refuge

Not a house mind you, but a home. Home is a place of peace, a place of inner calmness. It is a place where everything is on the table, and that is ok. It is a place of residence and refuge. Maybe your house is full of fighting, of bitterness and a place of worry and stress. Maybe the place were you grew up in brings back horrible memory's that you don't want to bring up or is full of people you don't want to see. Even if you, like Jayna, 'home' has been so many places and there really isn't one place that fits the definition of a home. 
But God is really teaching me that even though a lot is going on, and it doesn't always feel that fun, I can come home: home to Him.
 
And you know what? Once I do that, I find peace, inner calmness, openness, and refuge.
And that my friend, is the most amazing feeling of all.
 
Love, Elissa
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