Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The soulmate myth tugs heartstrings because of its possibility that there is someone who completely understands you, loves you, wants you, fulfills all your needs, and was perfectly made for you. It pervades the modern mythology of chick-fliks, tv shows, pop music, and cheap paperbacks. It factors into dating patterns and divorce rates. It is not, however a modern phenomenon, but was first told by the ancient Greek playwright, Aristophanes, in Plato's satire about love, The Symposium. His lie is still whispered through the ages, because the heart of his story is no myth. The need for a soulmate is real. The problem lies not in the need but in mankind’s deceptive solution.

To understand the need requires an examination of who humanity is and where they began. Therefore, Aristophanes based his myth on a Greek origins story. He weaves a tale of man originally being three types of beings: male, female, and a “hybrid” of both sexes. The gods eventually decided to split the “hybrid” into male and female as well. Aristophanes's theory surmises that descendents of these separated “hybrids” still long for their other half. Their other half has the the other half of their soul and therefore longs for them just as much. The deception of soul-mates begins with an origins story that is a lie that yet addresses man’s foremost need.

Examining a different origins story draws the lie into the light. Moses retold an age old story in the book of Genesis about the God who spoke man and woman into existence (1:26-27). He placed this first couple into a perfect garden (Gen. 2:8). The couple walked with and talked with God daily (Gen. 3:8). They had no shame, no barrier, and no separation from God (Gen. 2:25). One day the couple disobeyed God and separated themselves from Him (Gen. 3). The couple was then cast out of this perfect garden forever...or almost forever, at least until the Seed came to mend the separation.

The need mankind longs for is not ultimately for each other, but to be one with God again (Jn. 17:21). Our souls long for what was ripped apart in that garden. True, separation from God also damaged our ability to love one another and created separation between man and woman, but humanity’s separation from each other cannot be mended without there first being restoration between man and God (1 John 2:10-11).

There is no human soul who can ever fill the void punched out over 6,000 years ago. The search for this will only lead a soul from one lover to another, from one breakup to one relationship to yet another relationship. The rare connection that Aristophanes described of being “lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy” is not the result of finding a matching piece of one’s soul but of simply finding someone whose personality does not clash with yours and who might have similar interests. This phenomenon is called finding a friend, not a soul-mate.

Once a person’s relationship with God is restored, he is called to love his enemies and to honor all men (Matt. 5:44; 1 Pet. 2:17). Love is not limited to soul-mates; love is limitless for all who breathe. Love does not begin when the other person becomes exactly like you; mankind’s “Soul-mate” died for us when we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). He, Jesus, also taught that it means nothing to love those who are like us (Matt. 5:47). That is the easy way out. Mankind is called to love the opposite, the antagonizing, the unloved, and the unlovable. Over 2,000 years ago a veil was rent top to bottom to bring us to our singular Soul-mate (Matt. 27:51). Mankind need search no more. They were lost and have been found (Luke 15:24).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


An unedited snippet from my journal of 10/12/15:

"The Lord is my light..." - Psalm 27:1 

...when I am trapped. 

How is He a light when I'm confined to myself? When I don't have answers? When I can't see change?

He is beyond me. He spoke and there was light. He plays among the stars, in every pretty galaxy. He is light. He is faster than the speed of light  because He is outside of speed, outside of time. His love travels to me constantly in every dimension and every time-frame because He is LOVE and LOVE dwells outside of time. It transcends this moment -- this excruciatingly years long point of pain -- to permeate.

Why don't I see this permeation? I live in time. I experience the paradox of fragmented permeation which looks more like shards and shrapnel to dig through. But, sometimes the shards are of glass and reflect the light once again. A friend who excavates the good of my life for me in the midst of my angry rubble. Another friend who shows me every kindness and consideration, indeed cherishing me in my inability to reach out socially. A child who wants to "adopt" Miss Ana. A mother who valiantly pursues the well-being of her child. Shards of grace.

My mind is clouded by failure, depression, seclusion, sadness, imprisonment, grief, and hopelessness. I am not writing this on the other end but lost in the darkest of Middle Earths. Grappling at how to teach beyond this, to redeem my lostness, and to reenter community, I still just don't know. But, tonight, I choose to start climbing. Again. I've climbed out of this darkness before, why do I have to fall and climb again? I don't know. But, I'll climb anyway.

Because not only is "The Lord my light," but "The Lord is my light and my salvation." Whether I see it yet or not, even when my faith has yet to sprout eyes, I know that He already saved me from all my enemies -- even myself and my personal darkness that I clutch without abandon.

"Whom shall I fear?" Me, of course -- the one who drags me down and apart and alone. Failure, disappointment, never changing, never knowing community, always being a less than. Of course I am scared when these suck my lifebreath. 

None of those are God's name, His presence, who He is, or who He ransomed. I know this and yet I'm paralyzed. But, I know He's not; instead He "is the strenth of my [Ana's] life." While terrified, tonight I choose to remember this.

I have feared when armies camped against me and have held no confidence when war rose against me (Ps. 27:3). I haven't seen my enemies stumble and fall -- indeed they have eaten up my flesh. But, if I'm honest, if I choose to remember, my God has crushed my enemies at other times and I haven't seen the end of this battle yet. Amazing above all else is that He somehow still loves me in my petrified doubt and my screaming silence.

This psalm ends with a call to "Be of good courage," and I wouldn't need this courage if I wasn't afraid. But, if courage is doing the right thing even when scared, then I must choose to start doing.

Tonight I choose to see light -- I choose faith.

Friday, August 14, 2015


“There is no feeling more terrible than loneliness,
no feeling worse than the sensation
of being locked inside your own heart.”
- Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok

“Alone, as if enduring to the end
A valiant armor of scarred hopes outworn,
He stood there in the middle of the road…
He set the jug down slowly at his feet
With trembling care, knowing that most things break;
And only when assured that on firm earth
It stood, as the uncertain lives of men
Assuredly did not, he paced away,”
-“Mr. Flood’s Party” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

“Face down in the desert now there’s a cage locked around my heart
I found a way to drop the keys where my failures were
Now my hands can’t reach that far”
“Brother” by Needtobreathe

“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
-Proverbs 13:12

Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. Aloneness is a choice. Loneliness is a state of the heart.

“Alone” is derived from the Middle English word meaning “wholly” or “all one.” A person may be part of a community and yet choose to sometimes spend time by themselves.

“Lonely” was born from the word “lone,” which was a division of the word “alone” in the 14th century. It’s meaning after this division was “having no companion, solitary.”

Depression makes wholeness seem impossible and loneliness appear inevitable. Because hope has been so long detained and “knowing that most things break,” barring doors against other hearts seems the only protection against them seeing the depressed distortion of our sick hearts. We can’t see the “tree of life” or the brother’s “love that brings me home.”

It takes an immense amount of courage to outwear the “valiant armor of scarred hopes” and face the companionship that is the only hope of moving us from lonely to alone.

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;”
-Psalm 27:14

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What is History? A Letter to My Students

The first thing I want you to understand about history is that it is messy. History is not a simple list of names, dates, people, and events. History is the family drama of the human race. History is messy because humans make history, humans sin, and humans create massive disasters.

But, history is also beautiful because God did not give up on our horrific mistakes and purposeful attacks against those around us. History is beautiful because it didn’t start with a mess; it started with a God proclaiming truth, painting with light and dark, and playing in the dirt. It started with the community of the Trinity who loved one another before time began. This community was full of so much love that it spilled over into the universe, the Milky Way Galaxy, the earth, and to our parents Adam and Eve.

History is beautiful because it started with a garden to work in and to worship God without any sin or messes. God is taking us back to this garden. The moment Adam and Eve spoiled that first garden, God had a plan to redeem us. Ancient history is what happened in the world while God was working out this plan. We live on the other side of this redemption plan. We are redeemed. We are building His kingdom and rebuilding His garden.

History is mysterious. Details in history require documents and artifacts which verify each other. In the 4,000 years that make up ancient history we just don’t have much. Ancient history is studied in chunks of hundreds or sometimes thousands of years. Because of this, there are many mysteries yet to be solved.

Ancient history is also mysterious or odd to us because it was an entirely different world. Reading ancient history is a bit like reading backwards science fiction. History is divided into an Old World and a New World. I don’t mean North and South America versus the rest of the world like modern history refers to. The Old World was pre-Jesus and the New World is post/with-Jesus.

The Old World was full of sin without attention to law, consequences, or love. It was filled with demons wreaking havoc, kings with unchecked power, and technology mixed with selfishness. The New World is still a mess with remnants of that Old World. But, you can also see new inventions of our world: entire cultures who support compassion, hospitals and orchestras, churches and orphanages. They simply didn’t exist before Jesus and His followers turned the world upside down.

History is your story. Although the stories we’ll learn this year took place in a world that felt and looked different than yours, they still took place on the same ground you walk on today. Your ancestors created these stories. Bible “characters” were real people who missed it colossally and lived alongside other cultures. We study ancient history to see what the tiny nation of Israel was up against, to study the other “Goliaths,” and to see how amazing it is that a family chosen by God changed the entire world.

History has consequences. Who won and who lost battles affects you today. Drive through Fort Payne and you’ll see Greek architecture in the church buildings and the courthouse. Do you like to watch the Avengers? Thor and Loki are straight out of Norse mythology. The names of our days and months come from ancient stories. Pythagoras and Euclid, two Greek men, figured out your geometry rules. Our calendar came from ancient systems. Suzanne Collins wasn’t very creative when she wrote The Hunger Games. She took the Minoan story of the labyrinth, the Roman colosseum, mixed them with teenagers, and threw it all into a dystopian future. The same lies believed in the Old World are still told today only with different faces, but the consequence of Jesus coming to our world means that He’s already conquered these lies giving us the power to fight them and to conquer them.

You make history. History is made up of man’s choices, natural disasters, spiritual warfare, and God’s amazing intervention. The choices you make, the buildings you design, the work you do with numbers, and the battles you fight or choose not to fight write the next chapter of history. To make history wisely you have to know your story. This year we are going to crack mysteries, tell stories, and thank God for how well He has written ours.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Our culture has pretended that it is advanced and civilized. Our culture pretends to care for the downtrodden--for the minority. Granted the very idea of civilization serving others wasn’t seen until Israel and then not again until Jesus and His followers turned the world upside down. There is far more raw compassion shown today than 2,100 years ago.

But, this compassion seems diluted by frauds in our culture. This true love appears to have been crippled by the perversions that call themselves progress.

Compassion and love for a baby means boundless hope, care, and time spent for a tiny human being. They have toes that “go to market” and hearts that beat with yours. Their minds soak up your sounds, smells, and tickles.

When a baby enters heaven, he or she deserves to be grieved, cherished, and honored. This person is not tissue to place underneath a microscope or an organ to research.

Compassion does not resemble pagan child sacrifice and abandonment. It bears no mark to 20th century eugenics or to Nazi experimentation, but there are pseudo-medical facilities in my country that do.

Loving another woman does not mean providing health services alongside infanticide in the same building. It does not mean giving her more “rights.” To love her is to tell her that she was bought with a price, adopted by a Father who will never abandon her or her child, and made His pure and radiant Bride.

If we are to be a culture who cares for minorities, we have to start loving each and every individual as they are in front of us. Classification into sociological groups, monetary donations, and rallies and riots will not magically transform into love. Masking murder as mercy will not change hearts.

Jesus does. He has not given up on His church although she has stumbled and transgressed countless times. He has given us the power to strip facades from ourselves and the enemy surrounding us. Somewhere along the way we forgot that Jesus is setting His people free forever to live in His kingdom. His compassion is here and has the power to overcome every sting of death.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Mouth of Flower - Octavio Ocampo 
Octavio Ocampo

God keeps gifting me with faces:

The face of grace found on a child who should have died; a child who is beautiful, loving, and hungry to learn.

The face of hope found on his mother through her exploding love for Jesus and the tenacity of her life as a new person found through redemption.

The face of generosity and purity: She never stops giving; there is never anything too small for her to put her hands to nor anything too great she does not have faith her God will complete.

The face of trust found in a teenage girl who has battled anxiety to find identity and confidence in her Savior.
Look around you. Who are your faces?

Genesis 33:10
"And Jacob said, 'No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.'"

Psalm 80:7
"Restore us, O God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!"

Ezekial 39:29
" And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.”

Isaiah 25:8 
"He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken."

2 Corinthians 4:6
"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Cynic's Guide to Jane Austen

What was romantic or easy about any of Jane Austen's stories?

-Pride and Prejudice: You're snobby about his snobbishness or nieve about someone ditching you. He hates your family, or he takes his snobbish friend's advice and abandons the relationship.
-Sense and Sensibility: You have to hold your family together, or you bring the drama to your family. He doesn't tell you he's secretly engaged or that he got a girl pregnant after a one night stand.
-Emma: You're a whiny, privileged brat who sticks her nose in everyone else's business. He proposes while drunk then when rejected allows his wife to demean you, or he keeps his engagement secret, or he's a wise recluse who was a teenager when you were born and remembers you as a baby.
-Mansfield Park: You're a perfect, righteous, sickeningly sweet creature despite your poor family who kicked you out to live with your snobby relatives. He's a creep, a jerk who doesn't understand "no," and then after your rejection sleeps with your married cousin. Or, he is your cousin who for far too long was infatuated with the creep's sister.
-Northanger Abbey: You're a nieve teenager barely out of puberty who reads far too many novels feeding a wild imagination. His dad kicks you out of the house because you aren't rich or "suitable" enough.
-Persuasion: You're still pining after like 10 years, running to the side of every whiny relative. He comes back filthy rich, all "I forgive you," and "You have no backbone," and "I'm rich now," and "I guess I'll marry you after all."

It's the grace, the humor, the growth and healing of the characters that make Jane Austen still worth reading after 200 years. The stories are relatable because they are messy. There are no perfect first dates, rose petals, candlelight, sparks flying, giggly butterflies, or romantically hot nights. The relationships explored span far beyond boy meets girl to parent and child, siblings and friends, village members and social classes. There is no happily ever after, but there is:

-Pride and Prejudice: You're not so quick to form prejudices or along with your nievity comes the ability to see the best in everyone and never give up on them. He battles his pride and supports your family in need, or he finds the courage to come back to town to win your heart.
-Sense and Sensibility: Your family still loves each other by the end, and you're stronger after the trials and tribulations, or you've matured and learned that love means sacrifice and service. He remains faithful to his promises even when they run contrary to his desires, or he reaps the consequences of his actions.
-Emma: You mature a bit, learn to bite your tongue, love, and serve others. He's stuck with his manipulative wife, or he gets the girl and the fortune anyway, or he's able to reprimand you and win your heart at the same time.
-Mansfield Park: You're pretty much the same because you're the perfectly perfect static character. He keeps being a creep, and your cousin finally wakes up and proposes to you. (If you can't tell, I despise this novel.)
-Northanger Abbey: You grow up a bit and read fewer novels. His dad disowns him because he chooses to remain a poor curate and marry you anyway, and he's very patient with your youthful foolishness.
-Persuasion: He persuades you to marry him.

For more yet slightly more coherent Janeite ramblings: In Defense of Jane Austen

Sunday, February 01, 2015



I have said many goodbyes in the past three years to best friends, my Mama/"rock,"  my baby brother, to home, to family as a whole, to life stolen by cancer, to security, to well thought out plans, to community, to constant depression, to self-reliance, to anger, to bitterness, to a guarded heart. Goodbyes signify grief and healing, death and growth.

To see God as my Abba Father, as my Daddy, I had to first grieve my loss of home and family. I had to learn to see my random sadness as needed grief over those removed structures. Then, I could see Him as the One who holds me when I need comfort, the One who never lets me down, the One who never leaves...never says goodbye.

I couldn't experience the freedom of forgiveness until I pushed anger and bitterness out the door, one little shove at a time and then a final kick-out. A certain person constantly pushing me to the Word showed me life again, but the Word pushes up what you don't want to deal with. It pours turpentine on what you only desire bandaged. It screams what you want to escape from. What you want to say goodbye to, it places front and large in your face. Everywhere I turned, I heard forgiveness, love your enemies, forgiveness, forgiveness, push out the sin, send it out, say GOODBYE!

I could no longer escape to my darkness, to my room, to wandering around town, to movies by myself, to junk food, to wallowing in cold rooms, to rudely leaving social settings, to my best friend--depression. No, she had to go also. I had to fight, not run. I had to deal with, not hide. I had to face, not bury. Day after hour after minute. Relentless yelling the Word, knowing who I am in Christ, talking about the past then letting it go, helping others instead of only myself.

I had to learn to just be there when others grieved. To try to see through their eyes. To let myself fall in love.

I've learned how large my non-biological family can be. How to adapt to living with strangers. That my reliance can be broad but must not be self-focused and ultimately only placed on my Deliverer.
This week I faced another painful goodbye. This one was worth grieving--a person, not a sin. The grief, the constant sadness, the great missing is still here. While my Mama listened to my blubbering and rambling over the phone, I told her I'm becoming quite experienced at saying goodbye to people I love. She responded, "It doesn't become easier each time. But, the grief over that one person does lessen over time." She's right, as usual.

I still have more goodbyes to make: selfishness, fear of relationships and future plans, anxiety, stress, worry. I always will. But, I'll always have my Daddy by my side as I do.


Friday, May 09, 2014


I'm a 23 year old homeschool graduate, never dated, never been kissed, church-goer, nerdy reader, dabbler in history, music, and cooking, and I spend my days going to college and teaching.  I should be a perfect candidate for a moony post about how all my friends are getting married, and how I've just got to learn to be content to wait for my Divine marriage plan to come to pass like the rest of my friends.


I lie in bed at night terrified that my independence driven plans of obtaining a Master's degree, completing at least two years working in my chosen field before marriage, and continuing my passion of tutoring will all be blasted to pieces by the male variety of my species.

I'm petrified of being in a relationship without my growing more.  I wouldn't dare inflict my current self on some unsuspecting fellow.  I can't mix another human heart and plans with mine.  They don't fit!  

I believe that when a Christian is married their second most important job is being the best spouse they can be.  I just as emphatically believe that a Christian parent's third most important job is to be the best mom or dad they can be.  I might want these jobs one day, but only on a hand-picked day on my calendar.

My plans...
My calendar...
My day...
My self...
My growth...
My heart...
My puzzle...

I possess the same problem as the girl dying to be married -- sin, pride, self.  The crippling issue is not the desires for marriage, college, or vocation themselves but that I'm still neglecting my singularly most important job as a Christian.  The one job that will never change its priority position as long as I live: 

Follow Jesus. 
Be faithful. 
Love others. 
Worship my God.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Almost Guiltless Candy Fiction

by Elizabeth Musser

Elizabeth Musser has a lovely writing style that allows the reader to really connect with the main characters.  Set in Atlanta during the Depression, it chronicles the friendship of two young women and their personal struggles.  I almost expected teenage drama, but these girls witnessed real struggles that I could identify with.

by Francine Rivers

This is a rare occasion where I like the movie better.   But, if you can't get your hands on the film, definitely read the book.  This is a beautiful story of redemption and reconciliation with different but thought provoking pictures of the Christian symbolism we often take for granted.

by Francine Rivers

An American Western version of the book of Hosea.  I didn't find the story as powerful as many other women, probably because I have different struggles than the "Gomer" character, but interesting to see this story retold nonetheless.

by Francine Rivers

Beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem of 70 A.D. it follows the fictional stories of a Jewish slave girl in Rome, a Germanic gladiator, and several Roman aristocrats.  Fairly accurate, I found it an interesting read.   However, flipping through the subsequent volumes in the series didn't prove to unearth equally historically involved or exciting reads.