The Storyteller

We are sitting across the couch from each other, words and noise and laughter settling in around us. Her flowy shirt is wrapped tightly around her, and she rests her head in her hand as she talks. As others around us murmur in conversation, she tells me of the dreams.

They wake her in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and tears. They shake her to the core. They warn her of what life might be like if she walks down the aisle and promises him forever. They tell her of how her heart might break into tiny pieces if she has his baby.

I’m mesmerized, on this couch. I take each word and I commit it to memory, knowing they will need to be tucked away into my journal that night. I want to remember the God that she tells of in amidst her words, the God that writes our story and that speaks to us in dreams and tears and heartache. That loves us enough to go before us, to light our path, to hope with us, to steer us back when we walk the other way. I want to remember that God, the one that is bigger than the mistakes and the choices that I make, just as He was in her life.

I am a lover of stories, of the way people’s lives entwine and hold joy and sadness in the same moment. I am a story collector, tucking them away into the pages of my journal and the hidden parts of my heart. Later that week I am talking of my love for people, and I say into the busy restaurant, “I just love people and their stories.”

“Of course you do,” the one across the table says to me in her sarcastic way. “You’re Angie.”

And so I think of those words and the dreams, and I think of the stories I hold close. I think of the new friend on the couch, of her words and her heart and the God she loves deeply. I wonder why these stories matter. And then I think of that same God who tells us stories and wrote a Book big enough to hold them with their lifetime of truth and wisdom. And in her stories, in the conversations over coffee and the books I hold across my lap on the bus, I am realizing something about God’s heart: He is a story collector, too. He’s a writer, and he’s a listener, and he’s a teacher, and he does it all in this beautiful, poetic way of using life and words and making them beautiful in their season.

And so I am realizing: this story-loving heart of mine is a piece of God’s heart, a piece of the Image I am blessed to bear. I am honoured to hold it. And I pray that in the conversations that fall into your lap, and into your ears as you wander the streets of this city, that you see this piece of God’s beautiful heart, too.

Jesus in a Theme Park

The sun is setting as we walk along the gravel road to the theme park. People are passing us, smoke is filling the air as people finish up meals for the evening. There’s music in the distance, and finally, the cool air is filling the camp in place of the humid heat.

“So let’s talk about your day,” he says to me as we walk side by side.

I go through the boring list of things I did, and then in a moment of honesty, out tumbles a piece of my heart. “I think I need an adventure,” I say, thoughtfully, and then as in most moments of bravery, I push through any hesitations. “I don’t know. Change is hard … but I am craving it. And I don’t know that that means, or why that is. Do I find adventure in my normalcy? Or do I take a risk?”

He’s thoughtful as he answers. “I think that makes sense. Taking risk and making mistakes is part of being human … and part of being a Christian. It’s how we learn and grow.”

There’s other thoughts slipped into our conversation, as we pass a brightly coloured roller coaster and make our way down a winding path. It’s funny – the moments that you choose to be vulnerable, sometimes it’s hard to stop.

“I think I’m holding back,” I say to him, as the bright lights of a terrifying ride greet us at a turn in the path. “It’s like, I don’t really know how to let myself need God. I know I need Him – but I just feel guilty for it. I feel bad that I can’t figure anything out, and I can’t figure out how God would want a girl like me who doesn’t really have anything to offer.”

There’s silence in the conversation as he holds what I’ve said in his hands, and I’m thankful for the silence. Sometimes silence is better than wasted words.

He opens his mouth to speak, then closes it. Finally, he says, “Do you think that you are craving adventure because really you want to be in a place where you absolutely need Him? Because when everything’s new, you can’t do it on your own?”

The crowd heading into the concert is getting thicker as we near our destination. But the noise and crowd isn’t what I’m focusing on: mostly, I am amazed that someone who was a stranger just 48 hours before has taken a few pieces of my brokenness and given me some Hope in its place.

That’s the thing I am learning lately. Sometimes we need to jump into conversations with new friends, and take the risks in the unfamiliar and we find what we’ve been looking for all along.

“Just keep loving others and loving Jesus,” he says as we near the gate. “And you’ll figure it out.”

And that’s just it: sometimes it really is that simple. Sometimes Jesus is found in a church service, and sometimes He’s found in the ebb and flow of a conversation with a new friend. Sometimes He’s found in the silence of a forest, and other days He’s found in the chaos of a theme park.

But keep looking for Him. I promise He’ll find you when you least expect it but just when you need it the most.

Ask the Hard Questions

“Are you happy, Angie?”

We sat across from each other, our shared pizza the only thing between us. The question had filled the easy silence between us, and I looked at her across the table. My eyes welled with tears before I even had a chance to speak, and I was reminded how so often our bodies know our souls sometimes better than our minds do. Continue reading “Ask the Hard Questions”

It’s Okay.

Twenties are exciting. There’s a lot of change. A lot of hellos, a lot of goodbyes. There’s a lot of learning who you are and who you hope to be.

One of these things I am learning … I guess I just don’t want to be the one who is there when needed but when I’m not needed I am not even a thought. We learn and will prioritize what’s important to us. It’s pretty simple. What we love we will hold onto, and we’ll carve out time in our twelve hours of daylight for space for you to reside in. I wish I had the capacity to love and hold onto more – but my hands only hold onto so much.

Continue reading “It’s Okay.”