Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Season, New Blog

Thank you to all of you who have followed me here. Oooh, I have loved this space. My first blog. There are so many unrefined words here . . . incomplete ideas. I've wrestled and found truth in unexpected places. Now, it's time for something new. I'm starting a new season, this post-college journey, so it's time to begin something new.

Find me here as the Stowaway. I blog at:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Finding the Right Parachute Cord

I’m the skydiver who surprisingly trusts that my cord actually will pull out my parachute. The problem is, I’ve got my hands on the wrong cord.

Image from: 
You only think I’m joking.

Okay, I’ve never been skydiving and thank goodness, because the time I go skydiving will be the last time you'll hear anything come out of my mouth. I’m convinced my vocal chords would full-fledge rupture from all the screaming I’d be doing on the way down, not to mention the fact that my heart would probably explode and my eyes would pop out of their sockets and . . .

I do live in a dangerous world though. A tough world. Sometimes, life is more complicated when walking on the ground than falling from the sky (at least if you have a fully functioning parachute you're able to operate).

In this tough world, I am required to trust proverbial parachute cords to survive. Only the hopeless let go.

The problem is, sometimes, I trust the wrong cord.

I'm learning this as Jesus is teaching me the trust lessons, . . . and what cords are actually trustworthy.

I'm learning something kind of surprising to me. I don't think I'm a heretic in saying the following. I'm still forming thoughts and ideas. I think I'm on to an important truth, but beware of heretic-sounding-language:

God's actions are unpredictable and thus not trust-able. 

I know. I almost shudder in posting that, but give me just a minute. 

I look out at the sky today and see what had been a beautiful, blue-sky morning turn into a white-sky, cloudy day. The weather is unpredictable, even with the skilled instruments we have. It is unreasonable to trust something that is unpredictable. It would be illogical of me to say that I trust the weather, that I trust it will be sunny tomorrow and drizzling the next day. It is impossible to trust the unpredictable. It is impossible for me to trust God to act in a certain way . . . He acts unpredictably.

Even with that said . . . God is to be trusted, but if I'm holding on to His actions as the parachute cord I think will get me out of my ugly situations, I'm going to be surprisingly disappointed.

God's character? God's character is predictable. 
The character of God is absolutely trustworthy.

As I wait for a job post-graduation, Jesus is teaching me the ropes, . . . and what ropes are actually reliable. Instead of trusting that the Lord will most definitely have a job for me in the near future (something I would be tempted to trust, thinking that His goodness means He'll act in a way I deem good and best), He's asking me to trust Him to be all that He is for me. He will be good. He will be Provider. He will be Shepherd. He will stay true to His character regardless of whether or not I get a job in my timing.

Instead of trusting that He'll provide a spouse for me and for the friends in my life, I am asked to trust that He will be all He is for me, whether I get married . . . or am always single.

One of my professors at Multnomah taught me that disappointments are sometimes God's way of destroying the lies we believe about Him. Disappointments can often be good indicators that we're holding on to the wrong parachute cords, that we're trusting in something that is not trustworthy or that is not trust-able. When God doesn't act in the way I think He should and I am disappointed, it's a very good possibility that I was trusting Him to act in a certain way instead of trusting His character, trusting Him to act however He wishes but all out of who He is.

As I learn to trust Jesus with my present, with my desires, with my pain, with my future, with my friends, with my family, with everything, He asks me an important question. 

For what are you trusting Me? 

Am I trusting Him to act in a way that I think He should?

Or am I trusting that He will be GOD in my life and that Him being God is just enough for me? 

Life is tough. We need Someone to trust because to be honest, we're free-falling in a broken world. It is not just enough to trust Him. We need to trust Him rightly, to allow Him to be all He is in our lives instead of expecting Him to be all we want Him to be and do all we think He should. This lesson isn't easily learned, but right questions need to be asked. What are you trusting Him for today? 

Friday, May 2, 2014

I Am Loved; I Am Human

This post is dedicated to Renee, a woman who has so lovingly and carefully counseled me through this semester. This is such an incomplete picture of what you have taught me and how I've learned from the safety and kindness you've offered. Thank you for teaching me how to be human. It's setting me free.

Okay. I won't lie. I was sitting in Intro to Counseling, and it took me several minutes to decide whether or not I would really sign-up for the extra-credit counseling my professor was offering. It would take an hour a week for the next ten weeks and the extra credit was extremely minimal. I tried to sincerely consider it. I really didn't feel like I had any major crisis or problems going on in my life currently (ha!), but I supposed it would be good to learn about counseling by being counseled, and I figured that it could teach me to be a better friend and walk with hurting people, and plus it would help an MAC student get her hours. I went back and forth, and my friends laughed at my dramatic anxiety over such a little task of choosing whether or not I'd take counseling. Finally, with the sign-up sheet in my hand and my professor already into her lecture, I just decided, "Why Not?!"

And then I went to counseling.

And then I figured out I had more problems then I thought I did. *wink*

And that's how this all begins.

Besides figuring out that I have plenty of problems, I also found out that there was a lot more living and freedom to experience in my life than I had known were available. Two of my favorite things are when normalcy is questioned (Maybe trying to live like a superhuman isn't normall?), and when normalcy is defined (Maybe feeling burnt out and lonely are normal feelings?). Both of these happened in counseling, and both of them helped me on my journey to becoming human.


Renee, that was one of the first words that you caught with your mirror and reflected back to me, letting it catch new light. I had said it from my own mouth, but I hadn't heard it. 

"Wow. That's how I feel. I didn't realize that before."

We talked about both extremes of how I see myself . . .

as a small, child-like person who wants to be credible and intelligent and adult


as an indispensable part of people's lives, as needed, necessary and important to all.

Renee, you taught me to shift perspective, to look at my problems as stemming from sin, yes, but also from the vulnerability of how God created me.

Yes, I am proud. (SIN). Yes, I believe that I need to be needed and struggle with platonic friendships, but that pride is deeper than something I could just pluck out of a garden. Roots aren't just a careless metaphor. Sin is a complicated thing, and this sin has more depth than its outward behavior. It comes from a legitimate need to be loved, a need that points to the vulnerability that God created in me. (VULNERABILITY). I cover up the need by trying to do things my own way. I become the special person who pours out her soul with the subtle and subconscious hope of being loved in return. As I fulfill this role for myself, I become untouchable. I create a standard for myself that is far above the standard of being human. I have to be perfect in order to be loved, so I expect myself to be, and I either punish myself when I do wrong or criticize those around me to protect me from facing my own heart. I busy myself in order to not hear the silence, to not hear the possibility that I may not be all that special and because of that, I may not be all that loved.

Renee, you held the shovel and showed me how to dig carefully. While I was trying to cut down the tree from the trunk, you showed me how to dig with gentleness and kindness toward myself in order to understand the roots. You taught me to see that my idea of being "special" or my fear of admitting my own needs isn't just a pride issue to be taken care of quickly and ruthlessly, but it leads me towards a vulnerability of my need to be loved.


It makes me human. Our needs make us human, don't they? What other creatures need to be loved? Sure, all things of earth need to be taken care of, but who else needs the emotional and spiritual act of  love?

Renee, you helped me on this journey of re-routing my identity. You helped teach me to "embrace" my vulnerability of needing to be loved as you led me to the Father. I have always known that God has loved me, but while saying that, I have lived with my head always over my shoulder, hoping He's watching, hoping He's not disappointed in me, anticipating the expression on His face. I have categorized love as sounding like the words, "I'm proud of you." You know what that means though, don't you? That if I believe that "I'm proud of you" means "I love you," than I believe that "I am disappointed" means "I don't love you right now."
Stephen Chbosky says it well: "We accept the love we think we deserve."

I can know in my head that God loves me, but I can also look at my life and see a million downfalls and character flaws that I know aren't pleasing to Jesus, that seem so disappointing. I have struggled to believe I deserve His love. Struggling to believe is struggling to accept His love.

I asked you, Renee, how can we really believe that we deserve love? Isn't that self-centered and self-worshiping? After all, I don't deserve what Jesus did for me on the cross. I don't deserve Him dying, Him loving me so powerfully. I don't believe I deserve that. I know I don't, so how can I accept His love for me as something of which I'm deserving?

And you offered me the kindest gaze of compassion and empathy, and it almost looked like you were about to cry with me and for me . . .

"Danae, you are expensive. Jesus has made you new, and when the Father looks at you, He sees His Son. You have been made to be worthy of His love."

And for some reason, all of the same truth I thought I learned in Sunday School and all I learned in Church and Bible School somehow never taught me that song the way that your words did.


I can actually believe that I have been re-created to be worthy of His love, simply because I am made new through His Son?

I am loved? In a love that isn't about pleasing or escaping disappointing but in just being?

I like to say that often with me, the simplest things are the most profound. This was profound.

I'm learning to live loved, to actually accept the love of a Father who transformed me and rewired me enough to be made humbly worthy of His love in a way that I can accept it. Living with this understanding of a need for love and in the fulfillment of this need makes me human.

You taught me, Renee, that sometimes, loving people is enjoying them. Because I've lived my life secretly needy and have been urged on by my own neediness to fulfill the needs around me, I've equated fulfilling needs so much with love. That is such a restless and inadequate picture of love because it means that when love isn't reciprocated out of my hard work to meet people's needs and make them happy, than I'm anxious and frustrated and feel unappreciated. Love isn't like that. Love means that I enjoy people, who they are, not simply in what they can give me in terms of fulfillment of being needed or in the identity I feel they give me.

I'm learning that being loved means being enjoyed too. This frees me up to having platonic friendships that aren't need-based but are love-based. What if I were vulnerable and brave enough to let myself be in relationships where I wasn't needed? What if I gave others the chance to love me instead of protecting myself in a way that de-humanizes me and forces me to be superhuman and walled in?

I'm learning that God loving me means that God enjoys me. Sometimes, believing this makes it a little less scary to hang out with Him. Sometimes I'm so afraid of being still, of hearing Him speak, so terrified that all I'll hear is the angry and dismal drum of His voice beating "You have dis-ap-point-ed Me." Instead, I can live safe in His love and face the things that He wants to turn around in me and make more like Him because Him chastising me is not withdrawing His love. It's actually a way for Him to express it.

I am a needy person too. Sadly. I've been trying to avoid that most of my life, being so very careful not to be an inconvenience, a burden, a disappointment.

But how else can I be humble except to realize that I am needy, that I too have cares to cast on God (1 Peter 5:6)?

How else can I really let myself be loved without accepting love?

How can I root out pride in my life without realizing the source of the issue: my view of love?

Long before I visited Renee, I have been a firm believer in counseling for others, especially because I've had relationship and interaction with the different counselors that work at Multnomah University. Chris and Lisa are incredible people, as are the interns that have lovingly given their time to Multnomah students. I think of Andrew and Eva as well as Mike who have been working here this year. Even though I believe that only Jesus heals, I firmly believe that sometimes (often), He has to use other people to be conduits of that healing. He has made humans in a certain way so that there are certain patterns to healing. As a doctor is trained to heal the broken patterns in a body, so a counselor learns a skill of helping rework broken patterns in our hearts. They're not the end-all, be-all, but they sure can be used by Jesus.

Renee helped me become a firm believer in counseling for myself and helped me experience the potential and healing of it. It was very, very much God's Spirit leading me to scribble my name down so impulsively on that extra-credit counseling sheet. It was most definitely Jesus' careful guidance that placed me with you. Thank you for playing a part in making me more of whole person. Truth does set people free. Jesus is right. You were an instrument.

I am still far from living into the gift of my humanity or of my beloved-ness (as Henri Nouwen likes to describe it). I really am. I'm a little closer though. :) I'm a little healthier and a little more aware of His love. I am beyond grateful for that progress.

What is the need in you that God has placed in your life? Maybe you'll find it in the places that make you feel most vulnerable. Vulnerability isn't comfortable, but how freeing it is to actually learn to embrace that vulnerability in a way that helps us live the life that we were designed to live, to make new patterns of a healthier normal and to embrace the parts in our lives that are who we are, to accept those parts as normal and loved?

This is what I leave you with.

Counseling: If you get the chance, do it. No matter how healthy you think you are. *wink*

Being human: Living into who you are meant to be will translate into living a free life. A full life. A more holistic life. It is good to be human. After all, weren't we created to be?

Being loved: You are. You have been made to be worthy of His love. Seek it. Enjoy it. Enjoy others. Love changes everything.

Monday, March 24, 2014

John Doe

This post isn't something theologically profound. Instead, it's basically just very human. Human emotion. Human cry. I'm learning about being human . . . sometime, I'll share more, but for now, I'll leave you with this short expression of a heart, needing to write itself in words . . . 

I don't often share or listen to songs like this, but this song really impacted me. Deeply. 

"John Doe, I just want the John I know. 
Once you put the drinks on hold,
Maybe you could come back home?" 

The cry in this song is more real and more human than I've heard in a long time. This song resonates with something in me a little too deep and difficult to explain . . . But if we take a step back, isn't there someone we all know who we wish would come home? Isn't there a part of us that wants to come home ourselves, that wants to stop running in our own fear and rest safe in Love?

To all the John and Jane Doe's in my life and in yours . . .

You have been made to be worthy of all the love in the world. Please come Home.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Domestic Samaritan"

"Farther up the same road [author is describing the flow of his book], we will visit those amateurs who have intentionally risked getting hurt - hanged, gassed, or shot - in order to help their neighbors in times of oppression. The fascinating thing about these people is that the most heroic turn out to be homebodies. Their help is based in their homes. Of course, even in times of peace, the role of 'Domestic Samaritan' can be harrowing- for the simple reason that the people we love most are often the very people we find it most difficult to help." -Garret Keizer "Help: The Original Human Dilemma"

I'm only on page 12, but I'm digging this book.  This is so confirming and comforting to me. I have so little idea of where Jesus will take me after grad. The smallest of dreams I have is to have a home, an open, welcoming home, marked by grace, laughter, tears, peace, healing, just raw, honest living. I don't want to need a home, but to think that Jesus has used "Domestic Samaritans" for His good was confirming excitement that maybe He could use this silly dream in whatever context He chooses for His glory.

What dream has He given you? Even the smallest of smalls? He can bless and break even fish to feed thousands. What might He do with our smallest of offerings?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the Wind of Twenty-One Breaths

It's been my Multnomah tradition since year one that I sit and blog the night before my personal new year.

So here I am. :)

I'm in a different dorm this year. A different stage in life. A very different state of mind as I type.

And I don't know what year twenty-two holds, but my prayer is that it's marked by Faith and More. More of Jesus.

Much, much more of Jesus.

And less of whatever it takes . . . to have more.

I hope to blog more soon, but tonight, I sign off for the last time as a twenty-one year old with my last  Facebook status that shares what's been ringing through my heart these past few days. He is up to something!

Much love!

"You call me out upon the waters . . . "

Jesus, please call me. Call me to come to You. Call me to step foot into the indented earth Moses walked on. My feet are smaller, but surely these footsteps can lead me to You? 

I won't lie. I can't. I'm translucent, and You see through the tunneled arteries and veined lies. I'm scared. You call me out, and it costs all. I'm afraid of the cost, but I'm also afraid that I'll step out and turn my eyes toward the people in the stands . . . instead of You. Instead of You, my Love. I'm afraid of what is in my own heart.

This is a new season, isn't it? Open-ended unknown, and You call me to lay down, to speak from the inner parts I unknowingly hide. To let the unheard monsters, silently destroying, find light and die there exposed.

I am all in for radical . . . the faithful, persistent, visionary kind, what Ann Voskamp calls the "gritty radical." I'm all in. I'm in for seeing His kingdom really come. I know there is no other way to live except to live by the "Yes, Lord." These monsters need to die. The fear cannot keep me away from You. This thirst for affirmation will not steal my love for You.

So please, please call me to come. I'll trip on the way . . . I know it. I'll forget who I am, and I'm bound to forget who You are, but if You'll be patient (You are) . . . if You help me be brave and firm (You do) . . . if You'll be slow to anger, merciful, gracious (You will be) . . . I'll sure try.

Today is a new day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Name of Twenty-Fourteen

Once upon a time, the world turned 2014, and somehow I celebrated her birthday and forgot to write the card -- the January blog post.

I lost myself and the words in the whirlwind of January and now a blizzard of a February just arrived, and it's time I take a few minutes to breathe, reflect, focus.

The snow slows everything down. I love that. My school has been closed since Thursday afternoon due to snow, and while a bunch are getting a little stir crazy, it is the sweetest thing to be together, to just sit and pause and watch the Olympics on a Saturday night or to try sledding or snow-angel-making or hot-chocolate-drinking . . . together.

And as the snow slows me down, I take a break away from the togetherness to be together with you, to share with you about this new 2014 and the gift I've been given in it.

The gift is in the word. Several bloggers have chosen to pick one word for their year. To mark and measure their year by their one, handpicked word. I'm pretty sure I've done that before, but I don't remember what my other words had been. I know I often take a long time pondering (aka over thinking) such things . . . it always has to be perfect. The right word. Right nuance.

But this year, the word given me was given clearly and simply and quickly.

The word of 2014 is nothing remarkably unique or creative or controversial.

But it's the bridge that bears me up over oceans.

I am called to possess it, to choose it when those oceans rage anger.

Or even when they seem hauntingly, beautifully calm.


I've walked the Bible way since I was old enough to read and think. I'm learning to walk the Jesus way, intentionally and purposefully, and sometimes, all the Bible words I danced with when I was little have been misunderstood and seem too quiet.

But faith is no bland word. It's not self-defined by my Christian-ese.

No. Faith is powerful.

It's active and difficult and strong, and without it, there is no way I can even please my Father God.

There is NO WAY! Yet I admit bashfully and somewhat shamefully . . . I'm not even sure I know what it means.

I think I've learned a little in these past few weeks.

I'm excited to share and yet to also keep extending myself into this powerful believing and trusting that I don't fully understand yet but for which I am grasping. Come with me? Maybe we can figure some of this out together. In the snow. Or the freezing rain. Or in whatever way sweet Oregon ends up displaying her affection.

All God's peace!