free indeed

head of household
turned by the neck
in a fight for control
in the body of Christ
leader follower passive aggressive fighter for
God’s perfect design
as Christ loved the church lost in
submission rebellion confusion resentment
authority helpmeet stalemate

But isn’t it beautiful how, when my strengths
support your strengths,
and we fill in the cracks left by each other’s weaknesses
we change the world?



I’d like to believe
that you find me fascinating
her most vulnerable moment
enough that you want
to spend time with me
that I’ve ever been a part of.

She wants to be loved,
to be the one who draws people in,
gathers and holds them
with magnetic charm.

The problem is:
charm is deceptive
and rarely dips beneath the surface
to the place where souls collide
– or at the very least –
touch fingers
and look each other in the eye.

Recognition happens
in the shadowed places of the heart
away from the sunny-safe sidewalks of facts and figures,
a darkening flight down from light conversation
to something deeper-

She’s fascinating-
the way she defies logic,
flies in the face of time-honored tradition,
offers the ungraspable:
a deep and meaningful friendship
from an arm’s length away.

or maybe:
she’s just another little wounded girl
who hasn’t found the words to ask for help.









family portrait


Family Portrait

I remember the background more clearly than the people
lined up in a row
– already fascinating
to my new and forming mind.

My aunts and my uncles,
still mysterious,
still unknown,
and the swarm of cousins
loud enough to keep me tethered closely
to my parents’ familiar legs.

I was memorizing faces.

Behind the eyes and the smiles and the voices
was the foreign emptiness of a house not lived in
but filled with people-
bare walls, unfinished floors
an unfamiliar coldness.

And there were two fireplaces back to back,
beside a woodbox that opened
into both rooms,
new and intriguing-
perfect for hide and seek.

Even then I observed,
started forming tiny judgments-
maybe even started choosing
who I would love,
who would be safe.

long before I had words to understand
or express the feeling,
a piece of my character had formed.
I was restless,
lonely in a room full of people.


I don’t have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood. I was a solitary child in a peaceful home, with no trauma to seal in the memories. 

I do remember spending time in an old house somewhere with all of my mom’s family, but I never knew where this fit on the timeline of my life. Recently I was looking at some old pictures with an aunt who was telling me about one Christmas when we had a family gathering at a house that another aunt and uncle had bought and were getting ready to remodel. All of a sudden this memory of being with my cousins in a scary old house made sense to me.

The thing that doesn’t make sense, doesn’t feel possible, is that this Christmas gathering took place 3 months after my first birthday. I remember the feel of that living room, of being surrounded by cousins who were still overwhelming to me, of being interested in my mom’s family – four brothers and four sisters. I imagine my eyes wide and watching as the eight of them posed for a photo. It must have been a lot for a quiet little girl to take in. 

It was probably a little ambitious to try to capture that memory in a quick poem of the day, but here’s my best shot before midnight.



In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve let myself be roped into writing a poem a day. Not that my friend had to try very hard to get me to commit. All it took was one link and a little bit of flattery. I’ve been in a dry spell and was needing some inspiration.

I’m posting these here instead of on my normal blog because, well… because too many people read that blog. First drafts of poetry feel too personal to share with hundreds of people who know me. (And who aren’t necessarily into poetry.) But sharing with the general poetry-loving public? Sure, why not. 

In the spirit of the title of this blog… let me be honest. It’s been a very bad day. The kind where I want to run away from 90% of my life. Not a great poetry-writing day. I had most of this written already and I found enough creative energy to finish it up and rename it. Enjoy! 


Being the object of your desire
is like being mowed down
by the double beams
of a loaded coal truck
in the middle of a dark road
on a night with no moon.

But it’s more like
being swooped up
from the jumble of the forest floor,
lighter than dandelion fluff,
to be cradled in your hands
and carried carefully out of chaos.

Mostly, though, it’s like
coming home at the end of the longest day
weary all the way down to my soul,
lonely for comfort, and finding
everything I’ve ever wanted
wanting me.


The challenge: Write a story poem inspired by this picture:

(This is a rough draft – probably. Assuming it ever feels important enough to go through again.)


okay, you win.
but not because i didn’t give it my best shot.
i tried every way i knew
to fit the formula,
to follow the rules-

i made new friends,
put together a new wardrobe,
changed my daily routine,

i paid attention
and did everything that was expected of me.
they said i was the prime example of a life remade
the perfect convert.

their success story.

but it wasn’t enough.
when it came down to it,
he didn’t want the girl
who compromised her life for him.

he could see what i hid from myself-
that the defiance was only skin-deep
and i would never belong in his world of rough edges and spontaneity.
he knew exactly what he wanted:
a mind that never stops working and
never backs down,
someone who will make him fight for everything he believes in:

i’ll go now.
back to my whitewashed life in the suburbs
and try not to think of you
speaking softly in the shadows.

.midnight confessional.

sometimes late at night,
lying close to you and comfortable,
an unseen hand applies graphite
to the aging lock
that guards my airtight heart.
something about the darkness
and your consistent acceptance of me in my every shade of gray
opens my mouth
and I tell you the most important things about me
speak words I never meant to say out loud,
try to explain my beliefs
and unbeliefs,

for a moment believing
that another human being cares about my soul.

you listen quietly
and as I finish, I wait for your response.
your words in this moment
could make or break me
(though you are the master of building me up.)

but, more often than not,
as we lie there in the aftermath of my explosive soul-baring,
I feel your body twitch
and realize you’re asleep.

for just a second, I’m offended – hurt
but then,
ah, well… those words didn’t need to be made real.
and your sleeping body is as effective as the priest
hidden away behind his own set of closed eyes

you, both of you, are cleverly formed decoys,
drawing me in and giving substance
to the God I can’t see
and can no longer feel.

all of the words intended for your ears
washed over you,
but unwasted.


“You could write about your real thoughts on marriage.”

One simple sentence caused an explosion of my inner monologue.

There couldn’t be a worse topic for me to write about.
How is that even helpful?
People don’t want to hear my cynical thoughts on marriage.
I have absolutely nothing helpful or positive to say. 

So I didn’t say or write anything.

After a few days it started to eat at me.  It started to creep up in my day, invading my mind while making dinner for one.  It filled the empty space in my bed that I attempt to fill with a cozy cocoon of pillows.  As subtle as those reminders are, nothing makes the ache more evident than the season of Christmas cards. The glittery notes with hastily written addresses that unintentionally scream look what you’re missing out on.  Those cheerful red and green envelopes that land in my mailbox with updates from college friends, pictures of their beautiful families, and wishes for a happy 2015.

Why don’t you write about your real thoughts on marriage?

What are my real thoughts on marriage? 

It’s not a safe answer.  It’s not a pretty answer.

As a single 26 year old, life is more of a balancing act than anything else.  Balancing between two completely different worlds and attitudes:

  1. The bitter and single female who refuses to start a life without a husband. AKA: The girl who complains about being single so often, everyone is constantly irritated by her.


  1. The overly cheerful cat lady who swears that being alone is an incredible gift from God and makes sure everyone knows how happy and content she is.

Like a pendulum, I’m constantly trying to find equilibrium.  I want to be confident in an adventurous life without a spouse while at the same time being real about how miserable it can be.   And then someone has the nerve to ask about my real thoughts on marriage. And it begins again.  Back and forth.

The deepest part of my being believes in marriage.  I believe in what marriage represents – love, commitment, and a promise between two people who want to do this whole life thing with an adventure buddy.  I believe marriage is one of the most creative ways the Lord describe His relationship with us.  I believe there is a good way to do marriage and a bad way to do marriage. I’ve witnessed both.

My real thoughts about marriage?

Marriage hasn’t been very nice to me.

Marriage dressed up in a fancy tuxedo and a beautiful dress and made life really complicated.

See, when two people get married, they start something new.  They have a first dance, celebrate with friends, go on an expensive vacation, eventually come home and decorate their first home, spend quality time together (let’s be real… quality time and sex), and life as they know it is forever different.  It’s hard. It’s a transition. It’s an adjustment.  But it involves two people dedicated to making it work.

So what happens to everyone else in that couple’s life?

I think it’s easy to forget that everything changes for them too. 

I understand that newlyweds need to focus on their marriage and be intentional on where they spend their time, money, and energy.  They’re adjusting to a new life that looks, sounds, smells, feels, and works differently than it always did before.  It SHOULD be a priority. It SHOULD be different.

But I also think it’s easy for married people to forget what it’s like to be on the other side.

They forget what it’s like to go home to an empty apartment after a wedding.  They forget what it’s like to be single in a group of happy, hand-holding couples.  They forget what it’s like to invest in someone that eventually chooses to love somebody else more.  They forget what it’s like to continuously receive gorgeous wedding invitations for their dearest friends yet dread showing up alone.  They forget how hard it is to fight off the presence of jealousy. They forget how unbelievably INSULTING it is to hear “just give it to God,” implying that single people obviously don’t have the ability to trust Him enough.  They forget how much it hurts to be demoted from “best friend” to “just a friend”.  More than anything else, they forget what it’s like to not have a number one person.  The one human  being that gains the closest access to the deepest parts of a heart.  The person that would, without fail, tackle anything in the world to make all the bad things disappear.

A really good friend of mine wrote a blog post once about how much it sucks to be left behind.   She wrote about how she was happy for those people and their life changes, but while celebrating with them, it was (and is) still painful to be left. She mentioned how sometimes it’d even be nice to do the leaving.

It’s similar to how I feel about marriage.  It steals my friends.  It makes me feel like a third wheel and causes nights that involve me crying myself to sleep.  Marriage makes me feel unworthy, misunderstood, unknown, and damaged.  Marriage makes me feel forgotten by the people who promised to never change.  Marriage reminds me of a guy from the past who promised me the world but eventually decided he wanted something different for his life.  Marriage looks at me and gloats about the friendships I was forced to give up and surrender in the name of their eternal love and happiness.  Marriage infuriates me when I think of the people who wanted it so badly and never got it… yet divorces and broken families happen all the time.  Marriage exhausts me through the messiness of transition and working through new boundaries of “appropriate” relationships. The word marriage makes me feel more alone than the word single.  That doesn’t seem okay to me.

What do you really think about marriage?

After reading all of that, it might be hard to believe that I think marriage is incredible.  You might think I’m lying when I say I am constantly amazed at what the Lord can do through people who have dedicated their lives to each other and to Him.  Marriage is a powerful gift and I hope that one day I’ll get to say “I do” to some crazy cool guy.

Unfortunately, I know part of my heart will be breaking that day.

There’s a good chance someone I love will be feeling sad, lonely, and completely left behind.