to each a season

It’s funny how people come in and out of your life. How some people are there for longer seasons and others for just a short while. Some people haven’t ever left. And some have never really came.

Whenever I travel it astounds me how many people there are in the world. Every driver that passes me on the highway. Every passenger on a crowded metro. Every waiter, waitress, cashier, shopkeeper, officer, musician, artist, chef, mother, father, student, child. Each one has their own life. Their own piece of reality. Their own struggles. Their own triumphs. Their own families. Their own friends. Their own moments of joy. Their own moments of sadness. Their own loneliness. Their own thoughts.

It’s humbling to think about. To think about how big the world is that it contains so many other lives. How small my problems and my own piece of reality are compared to it all.  How diverse, and yet how truly similar each story is.

As I look back on another year passing, and another year (my 24th to be exact) on the horizon — I wonder at the people that have been part of my story. My earliest memories. My childhood friends. Those I looked up to. Those I still do. Those who aren’t with me anymore. Those who are just entering in. Those who have seen me at my worst. Those who have seen me at my best. Those who have only just scratched the surface. Those who have challenged me. Those who encourage.  Those who caused hurt. Those who have loved me deeply. Those I see daily. And those for whom my heart aches.

I count myself blessed because of these people. Each one has changed me in some way. Has helped me grow. Has pushed me. Has spurred me on.

I know that life will continue to usher people in and out of my life. That they will continue to break me down or build me up. That each one will have their season.

So, I pray that I never lose sight of the big picture. That I never take a season of my life for granted. And that I continue to marvel at those people who make up my story.

What a beautiful life I have been given so far!

I can’t wait to see what this year will hold.



Going after it.

In the great words of Kid Cudi, “They gon’ judge me anyway, so whatever.”

Recently, I’ve been on a sort of rethinking-my-life-and-wanting-more-adventure kick. It started as a whisper in my head earlier this year as I thought about whether I want to stay at my current teaching job or not. It grew into a quiet conversation as I began to hash things out with close friends and family. A book (“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed) and a talk with my aunt catapulted it into an actual life question. Where do I want to go from here? Am I happy where I am? This overwhelming sense of wanderlust… what is it pointing to? Questions have been swirling in my head ever since. And frankly, it’s terrifying. Absolutely why-do-I-want-to-rock-my-safe-little-boat terrifying.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been blessed to have the life I’m living. I have a job. I have a job doing what I think I love (teaching). My family is intact and supportive. I’ve gotten plugged in at my church. I have a good group of friends. I’m on a rugby team, playing a sport that I love. I am healthy. I have a car. I have a place to live.

But, there’s a deeper yearning for something more. Maybe it’ll pass. Maybe it’ll be like the one day I thought I would quit and become a flight attendant, but then realized I’d go crazy with that job. But maybe it won’t. And honestly, I don’t think it will.

So now, I have a choice to make:
Do I ignore the questions? Or do I take a risk and start answering them?

This post is, in a way, the answer to that question. And also, a plea for accountability. I want to answer those questions. I want to make steps to live a beautiful life, where I don’t live in fear.

At the dinner table the other night, while talking about things we were thankful for from 2014 or things we wanted to achieve in 2015, one of my siblings simply announced that they were going to stop living in fear. Stop shrinking under the weight of the judgment of others. Stop hesitating and doubting. And start living. Start listening to what God has for them. To live adventurously. To be willing to step outside of their comfort zone. To be free from their own fear of failure.

I want that. I want to live free from fear.

How do I do that? What are the first steps?

Writing this post was surely one of them. And continuing to seek out new things, to ask questions, to make resolutions and do everything I can to keep them. To visit new places, to read about new ideas, to say yes to some things and no to other things. To look at what fills my cup and go after it. To plan adventures, not just dream about them.

I don’t know where these questions will take me or what 2015 has in store for me. But I’m ready to find out. Terrified, but ready. Pray that I don’t live in fear of those answers. Or in fear of asking.

Adventure is out there. Let’s go get it. :)

p.s. A little resolution remix that helped finally spark this post…

a beautiful story

“The melody made me hungry for the source, for where the beauty came from.

I saw that a story was being told, a story where every single moment mattered. Where every second was vital to a divine poem more beautiful than I could even imagine. A story where two things you could never think were connected were bound together…

And I could see that I was a part of this story, that all of us are… And I had to respond.”

Music has always touched my heart in a special way. An unexpected song has often given me the exact encouragement I need in my hardest moments. Some of those songs have been written by a man named Joel Ansett. Joel was quite a campus name during my time at school. He sang at the coffee houses and helped lead one of the student worship teams. Joel’s name was always accompanied with a positive comment or story. And while I didn’t know Joel personally, I was impressed with his humble, yet life-loving spirit.

Joel had a song called “Idols” that was on a mix CD that our school put together. I remember the first time I ever heard it. I was driving myself into Pittsburgh, listening to my friend’s copy of the CD. It came on and I was so struck by the words that I listened to it over and over until I could sing along with it perfectly. It so simply captured the struggles of my heart at the time in my life. Senior year, I bought a copy of his EP (The Living Room). While I loved the whole album, one song in particular continually spoke truth to me in moments of loneliness and uncertainty. It’s called “Known & Loved”. Here’s just a few opening lines: “You’re in a place you think you know, surrounded but you feel alone. You have a place to rest your head, but not a home. Feels like you’ve lost yourself again, sit in the silence of a friend. When you are fully known and loved you have a home.” I can be fully known and loved. I am fully known and loved, despite all else going on in my life… I am sure of these things.

Time and time again, Joel’s music has spoken truth to my heart.

Right now, Joel is working on recording his first full length album. His kickstarter has six days left and he has about $5,000 more to raise.

God has worked in incredible ways through Joel’s music in my own life and I’m sure in the lives of many others. So, I’m asking you to consider joining in support. Joel has reminded me of the beautiful story that we are a part of, and I think he would remind you also, if you gave him the chance.

Take a moment to watch his video… listen to his story.

“And if in my writing I can encourage that response in others and if I can lead others into the knowing, to the place where they are cherished and valued, if I can write songs that lead people into an awareness they are a part of the most beautiful story that will ever be told, a story where the divine has reached down and touched humanity and we have to respond. If I can move people to see that they are part of that story then I’ve done my job well… Even if that’s just for one person, that’s worth it.

But I can’t do it alone.”

A letter to the church kids.

Some great thoughts from my sister…

Rebekah Bissett.

If I could say anything to the kids growing up in Christian homes it would be this—you don’t need to be perfect. I grew up in a loving home founded on doctrine—convictions—and Biblical teaching. I was surrounded by immovable boundaries and high standards of morality. These are good things, and as children we need to have standards to strive towards. But for me, they began to weigh heavy on my heart. They pulled me deeper into the darkness of self-doubt and personal attempts at sanctification—I lost my ability to see myself as anything other than wrong. I became so focused on trying to obtain this golden image of a godly person placed before me that I grew hard and merciless towards myself—forever reaching towards a bar of perfection raised so high I could never obtain it, but nonetheless beating myself up when I failed to meet it. I never had a…

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music in the wind

“There is nothing above, under, or around you that is not determined by his counsel and will… I strictly hold to the doctrine that God has decreed all things that come to pass and that he rules over all things for his glory and good. What have we to fear?
…At sea, when the waves dash against a ship and toss it to and fro, some panic because they think that this is all chance. But believers see order in the waves. They hear music in the wind and are at peace because the tempest is in God’s hand. Why then should we fear?
…In all this world’s convulsions, in all temporary distress and danger, we can remain calm, collected, and boldly say with confidence, ‘I know God is here and all this is working for my good.’ ‘Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling‘ (Ps. 46:2).
…Think on these things.”

-C.H. Spurgeon