30 December 2007

letter to a friend

Dear Friend,

As I write this, I think of how it's just the kind of day here that you say you love: overcast and cloudy, raindrops pelting the pavement, forming ankle-deep puddles in the landscape outside my window. It's an introspective kind of day and I wanted to share some things with you.

I suppose it's natural that as this year draws to a close, that I pause to look over my shoulder and remember what has been. 2007 has been full for me: two break-ups, a completely funky and undiagnosed stomach condition, a new job, a new house, having my dreams for writing come to the fore, and cutting this brush through the wilds of faith. I think of how our Yahweh brought us together again after years of not seeing one another and how what we have now is deep and amazing and baffling and so full of love and higher things. I have been considering what all these big changes and transitions are in my life, and I can't help but think of how instrumental you have been in helping me move through them: you have been loving, available, and walked beside me even though neither of us understood. Your heart journeyed closely beside my own somehow, mysteriously but unmistakably across the miles. You invited me to walk beside you too, a privilege that is not lost on me. I am honored to have a place beside you, to be witness to the grace and mercy and love that is unfolding and blooming so beautifully in your own heart. How this all happened I can't really know, except that your being here made the going better and kept me moving when I was most in danger of losing steam.

I can't help but think that had it not been for your presence, your ability to be a vessel for Christ, that all those things would have me assuming a fetal position some days, utterly overwhelmed and cowering under the covers, losing hope and faith and lessons and the grace that was mysteriously lavished on me through it all. Watching you helped me to give my own heart and mind and messiness to God with open hands, trusting with the smallest measure of faith that He'd bring something out of it. And now He's truly given me beauty for ashes. Because I've seen God give us abundantly more than we could ever ask or dream or imagine in return for what pathetic little offerings we give to Him, I believe with greater certainty than ever that He truly has us at the center of His heart. It is all too magnificent to comprehend, and this is only a shadow of what we look forward to. I'm in utter marvel!!

You friendship was a buoy when I felt otherwise lost at sea. I know you also encountered plenty over the past year that must have made you feel this way, too. If we had to feel shipwrecked, I'm glad we were together in it, trusting that we'd be swept home by heaven-sent currents.

God is great, my friend. So great. And I just wanted to let you know that you have a lot to do with the fact that I know that for sure.


  1. You write very well. I wish I had a friend that would write about me like that. I agree, God is Great.

  2. God is very great. I am glad to be getting to know in 2007 and more. Keep writing and inspiring.

  3. Wow.

    This is one of those posts where I feel like all I can say is that one word, over and over again.

    Except then, of course, I go on and say so much more. :)

    Kirsten, I would never assume that you had me in mind when you wrote this beautiful letter to your friend, but so much of my own experience of this year and our friendship together is echoed here in these words. I am thankful to God so much that He crossed our paths again after seven years. I would have loved to sit by the window in the cloudy, overcast, rainy day and share coffee and reflection time with you yesterday. And the journeys . . . oh, the journeys. So full of mystery. So full of confusion! But also so beautiful in the aftermath of surrender. "Heart" seems like an appropriate word for 2007, for both of us, don't you think?

    So, I had a dream about you last night. Both of us, actually. We were on Biola's campus. There was a church right around the corner from campus, almost on the same lawn, and it was your church, Christ is King. Even though we were both visiting for the weekend on campus, somehow it was your home church! (Funny how dreams do that to us.)

    The amazing thing about this dream is that it was like real-life: you had been away for about four months, and this was your first weekend back. People kept coming up and saying hello, so glad to see you again, and I enjoyed meeting all of these people in your life.

    And when the service started, you did dance. People were moving through the aisles in a dancing line, like they do in the Hasidic synagoges, waving their arms above their heads and dancing before their Yahweh God.

    And so did you. You looked radiant.

  4. You know, once you tell a story in public it becomes the story of the listener in some way. Even though I've only been around for a couple of weeks I want to say, "Oh Kirsten, the feeling is so mutual. Thanks for what you have taught me my friend. Let me warm up that coffee for you."

  5. Greg, thank you for sharing. God is so good to us!

    Carl, thank you so, so much. I am thankful for the little community that we've formed in this virtual space. I can hardly wait to see what unfolds in 2008!!

    Oh Christianne. Oh my word. I must confess that I had you chiefly in mind when I wrote this post. I made it generic because I feel like this little blogging community has banded around me to buoy me, pray for me, & give me just oodles of support. But you were really the one I had in mind when I wrote this.

    "Heart" is such a key word for us this year, isn't it?! It wasn't until these last several months that I realized how much I limited my heart. It wasn't until I cut it off completely that I became so painfully aware of the need to engage it fully. Even though I find myself back in the same place with my Church home, I have changed, so it is altogether new. I feel like I'm finally starting to "get it" in terms of not leaning on my understanding, in surrender, surrender, surrender, of my heart to the God who so desperately wants it.

    And oh my goodness ... the telling of your dream gave me such CHILLS!!!! What a beautiful and true illustration of my journey over the past couple of weeks (and months, really). My heart dances and my body must follow suit; I dance like never before. This is true, real, worshipful, and beautiful and God is in it (no matter what someone else's doctrine may say). :o) Thank you so much for sharing that -- it blesses me inexplicably that God gave you that dream & that you were so good as to share it with me. :o)

    What a beautiful slice of heartache this has all turned out to be ... :o)

    WOW to you, and thank you!! I can't wait until a few short weeks from now when I can see your face, hear your voice, and grab that latte with you for real.

    Terri - I thank God you came to my little space here and made yourself known. I so love seeing this community form around us in this virtual space, but God does SUCH amazing things through it (as He so often does). I am utterly delighted to have met you, and if we are ever in closer proximity to one another geographically speaking, we are SOOOOO getting together for coffee. :o) Always ... thank you for stopping by!

  6. This is me when I read your comment back to me: "AWWWW---OHHHH!!!!"

    Said in my very highest pitched squeal voice, of course, getting higher and higher on the octave range as it went on. :)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, my friend. I had such a strong connection to what you were saying, but I had to keep tempering it because I hate presumption! I had to walk away from the post and think about it for a few hours, even -- and even through the night, from which I woke from my dream of you. Anyway, such a confirmation to hear you say it. Thank you for writing this letter. I absolutely love it.

    I'm so glad the telling of my dream did not weird you out. That it, in fact, blessed you, as it did me.

    We have so much to talk about, my friend. I'm beginning to think I need to be keeping a list of all the questions I want to ask you, which will start us off and running on whole huge new tangents of conversation . . . in just a few short weeks! Squeal again!! :)

  7. right back at you, terri!

  8. Well, Kirsten, such a band of friends you DO have! And it is beautiful. Thank you, thank you for putting your heart and soul here for me (and others) to begin to know how things have been this year. Also, did you attend Biola? My parents met at Biola, and I attended a three-week course there this summer. :)

  9. Suz -- I am so profoundly thankful for the friendships that have formed through this blogging world. I am baffled & in utter wonder at what happens here!

    I did attend Biola!! I graduated in 2000 with my BA in English. What a small world. :o)

  10. Thanks for the comment - and the new years kiss was great - the boy is definitely smitten - and I am getting there - i think he's a bit more of a romantic than I am :)

  11. Ilse - it sounds as though it's how it should be (him being so smitten & all). :o) *sigh* Thinking good thoughts for you ...

  12. I was wondering if I'd seen that parking lot before in Florida. When I went out to dinner with someone you call friend. Maybe?

  13. Or maybe these parking lots just all look alike! 'Cause I just noticed your "countdown to Florida" widget.

  14. LL - Still not in Florida, sadly! I do love the winter here, but simultaneously long for warmth. The parking picutre is, in fact, adjacent to a coffeeshop I frequently haunt. :o)