Drafts Need Endings

If I could turn these letters into coherent thoughts and tie the stars together to form constellations, I would feel much more at ease.  The truth is, I’m not really on much of a writing hiatus at all.  Instead, I’ve been collecting fragments and scattered ideas to form something that will hopefully make sense in the end.  I’ve been building deep studies and piecing together the puzzle of my heart.  It’s been a rather messy process and I think my hands have come out with quite a few cuts and bruises, but I’m excited about the outcome of it all.

It’s much like cultivating an old garden.  I’ve been working the ground for a while now, but I’m finally starting to get to the end of all the rusty pieces and broken pottery.  Flowers are bursting forth, and it’s time to write their story.  My mind is full of eraser crumbs and scratched out ideas, but the horizon is endless and I can barely catch my breath as we dance through the sunset of this chapter.

Santa Monica Pier, March 2015

 

~Tori Lynn

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Light and Momentary Troubles

That Sunrise

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you thought that this would mean that our troubles would always feel small, and we would be unfazed.  And if that’s the case, like myself, you’re in store for a very rude awakening.  In the very same passage, the life of a disciple is painted through words like “hard pressed” and “struck down” paired with hopes of not being destroyed.  However, as Jesus stated very plainly in John 16:33, we WILL have trouble.

Now, there is a clear difference between trouble we get ourselves into by sinning and trouble that disciples face for being disciples, but I won’t delve into that right now.

I suppose what I really want to say is that I’ve learned a lot about fighting the fight, and I’ve been struck, but not knocked down as well.  Depression has been a battle of mine for as long as I can remember, I just didn’t quite know what to call it.  Since I was small, there would be days where it was just hard to get up, where I didn’t feel motivated to eat, move, talk, and essentially live.  When I became a disciple, I fooled myself into thinking that this struggle was finally over.  Yay, no more depression!

But I was wrong.

Though it’s still a battle, it’s on an entirely different field.  Not only has God given me the grace of His help, but He’s surrounded me with people that are here to help me.  The struggle sometimes, though, is asking for help.  Pride is killer, and we aren’t meant to fight alone.  There will be months when I can easily forget about ever being depressed, through wonderful Bible studies and grand adventures, the journey seems to remain in the peaks of the mountains for a time.  And while the summits are beautiful, I wouldn’t learn very much if I remained up there.  Even Jesus himself had to suffer to be made perfect;

Hebrews 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered

So don’t lose heart, and if you feel like you aren’t really fighting, maybe it’s time to start.  If you want to study the Bible more, get deeper into the heart of it all and find the hope that drives us heavenward, contact me, I’d love to study with you.  Though these troubles are light and momentary compared to the hope that we have, without that hope, they can kill.  Believe me, there’s a huge difference in fighting them with the hope I have now.

Don’t give up, keep fighting, the Son is coming.

~Tori Lynn

My First Year

One year ago, my life changed entirely.  However, it was truly just the beginning of a new journey.

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When I said the words; “Jesus is Lord.”  I realized that life would always ask me, “Is He really?”

I can genuinely say that I’m not the scared little girl I was when I went down into the water, but I’m not necessarily the girl that came up out of them either.  Though I died to myself a year ago, I have learned the truth in this verse:

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Daily.  Every single day from here on out I am becoming more of Him and less of me, and it’s been fantastic.  There are the obvious changes, of course, learning what it means to be a woman as well as living as a Disciple.  But a friend of mine asked me the other night, “Besides those, how have you changed the most?”

It caused me to think deep, but being able to answer that question was evidence enough.

I used to carry a thick notebook with worn pages and a cover that was falling apart.  I called it my “Thoughts” notebook, but secretly referred to it as a “Breakdown notebook.”  Every time my mind could no longer comprehend things, I would write frantically, hoping to calm myself down.  Shortly after this time last year, I simply stopped using it, and one day took it back to North Carolina and left it behind.  As I was explaining, I realized what caused this difference.  Openness, the freedom to express the depths of my heart with people whether or not they will understand.  As I poured out my heart with the brothers and sisters this weekend, the reality of this beautiful truth set in.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Perhaps I no longer need this form of therapy because now I have learned to trust God and talk to the people He has given me, and to listen to what they have to say.  Honestly, I know these are still my first steps, but the mountains ahead are thrilling, and my heart can only harbor so much hope.  Sincerely and truly, I want to thank all of you who helped me get this far.

As I reflected in the mountains this past weekend on the year before, my heart was overwhelmed with a joy unspeakable.  Standing in the same places I had cried out to God for clarity the year before welled up gratitude within my heart.  Where last year I was filled with questions, this year I have been immersed in a deep love.  From the depths of my heart, God, I am grateful for Your kingdom and Your salvation.  When people ask me how it’s been, my answer remains: “It’s the hardest life, but it’s the best life.”

Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

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It’s been a wonderful journey so far and I can hardly wait to see what this year holds.  Somewhere along the line I realized that it’s no longer a trip or  simply an adventure, but the life I’ve been given, and a splendid one at that.  And I want to say, thank you Lord for loving me! ❤

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~Tori Lynn

Holding Back

Some things are difficult to write- not because the author does not want to portray them, but because life is delicate and words are clumsy.

Yet, there’s something beautiful in the mess, something to treasure in words that were too valuable to time perfectly.

Whilst digging through the depths of caged up thoughts and unspoken words, I’ve come to the conclusion that holding back is rarely worth it.

Once the rusty words and muddy thoughts are being excavated, you’ll find that the playground of your life is much more open for friends to stream in.  And as the open fields start to pour out, take in the view.  It really is extraordinary, and I’ll never forget the ones that helped me get here.

~Tori Lynn

(Not) Looking Back

I used to thrive in nostalgia, but it always seemed to choke me.  There’s just something about reminiscing that would turn my stomach at the last moment, leaving me feeling sort of empty.  The more pages I turn, the wider my history, yet the more of it I’d rather not read.

I’ve given up a lot of things, but in a similar manner to pulling thorns out of my sides and putting down my own knives.  Holding onto the “good old days” is often a poison, and one I can surely not afford, because in all truth and honesty, it gets better.

Luke 17:32-33 Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

In studying such a painful story, I’ve come to see, my life surely doesn’t belong to me.  Yet, it’s better this way, and I couldn’t be happier.  How could I return, what could I now long after?  I’m grateful for change because change offers hope.  Living the same is much like living alone.  When you’re comfortable, eventually it all grows dull, and I couldn’t live like that because the greed in our eyes will never feel full.

And so this is why I love to give it all.

~Tori Lynn

Rainfall

Psalm 147:8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered that rain is one of my absolute favorite things on this earth.  However, as I now live in Long Beach, California, rain has become a rare luxury.

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Strange as it is, I’ve had several days where I just prayed about it, telling God how much I miss the rain.  Perhaps it comes from the long mornings on the Gilroy’s porch in Costa Rica, watching the rain fall as I poured out my confusion to God, it’s something special to me.  Regardless of why, something spectacular happened today.

As I woke up, I heard the familiar sound of rain pattering on the roof.  At first I didn’t believe it, but with a childish hope in my heart, I ran to the door.  Sure enough, there was a steady pour of rain to greet me this morning.  Nothing could hold me back from running into the rain and spending my morning prayer walk in it.  I’m ever so grateful for the little things, my God loves me so much that He made it rain.  When I found shelter underneath one of the trees outside our apartment, I recalled my prayers and hope for rain with a smile.

My God, why do I ever doubt?

~Tori Lynn

Love of Thousands

As a former introvert, you can imagine my amazement at a long weekend conference of over a thousand people who not only truly love God, but each other as well.  As I wandered through the delightful fellowship every morning and evening, I exchanged numbers and hugs with countless people.  Not only did I constantly find myself in conversation with previous strangers, but it didn’t matter where I ended up sitting.  It sounded a little scary at first, but I tell you, there’s nothing like it.  

Hebrews 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

 

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This verse truly reminded me of the beauty of every moment.  Some embraces were new and warm, others were overflowing with excitement as old friends were united, but every one was filled with pure love.  Never have I seen anything like this before in my life.  Ah, to imagine that this is only the beginning, and to think that not every single one of us was present.  As the beautiful voices echoed through every room in that hotel, a mental image sunk into my mind that I shall remember in the most difficult moments.  

We are Family, to the End.

~Tori Lynn