• Article,  Featured

    Healing in the Water

    I stood over the water, toes curled tightly around the ledge, and adjusted my goggles again – an old nervous tick of mine. A lone swimmer turned in the next lane, splashing water over my bare feet. I recoiled. It was cold – but I suppose that’s been my complaint about pools for seventeen years. My mom tells me that I was terrified of water as a child, so she enrolled me in swim lessons to help me overcome that fear. Needless to say, I did. I swam nearly every day from the time I was five until I was twenty-two. Seventeen years. It was probably my first love, but…

  • Article,  Featured

    Not Ready for the Yes

    “Bunu istiyorum!” Little Syrian eyes searched upward as a bag of chips was thrust into my hands. “You want this?” I repeated, holding the bag back out to him. “Evet. Bunu istiyorum, bunu istiyorum!” “Tamam – Okay.” I put the bag in the basket and walked on, trailing behind his mother. He ran on ahead, zigzagging down the aisle touching everything in his reach. He plucked another bag from the shelf, this time running to his mother. “Bunu istiyorum!” She looked back at me, holding the bag in her hands. “Bu ne? What’s this?” “I already got him some chips,” I said, holding up the first bag. She turned back…

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  • Article,  Featured

    The Long Way Home

    Dear Despairing Heart, You are in a lonely place. You have traveled so far, but all your eyes can see is the unending road before you. You are parched and wounded. You are burdened and cast down. You have cried out again and again in curses and pleas. But it’s not because you wish to retreat to your old forbidden and frivolous roads to nowhere. No. You, my weary one, are simply desperate to make it home. I know you have not forgotten that at one time you had no home, a cursed pilgrim, made to carry on hopelessly toward a dead end. Your aimless wanderings brought with it both…

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  • Article

    Jesus Is Not Enough

    Red acrylic chimed like Christmas bells as her fingers drummed the ceramic cup cradled in her hands. The ruby sparkled in the morning light that peered in through the window we had propped our backs against, letting our voices drift amidst the rays of light. It was the first collective breath we were taking of the weekend, so we recounted our week’s news. It was not a particularly happy conversation, but there was a peculiar relief in having it in our caffeine haven. And so we confessed our wounded discontentment to the rhythm of her red acrylic nails that directed our pace and filled our pauses.   We laughed and…

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  • Article

    To Be Rooted In Fear

    I looked down into the blue abyss far below. Perched upon the edge of the world – my body screamed in protest of being flung from where I crouched. Adrenaline pumped loudly in my ears as my brother repeated once more from the swirling water below, perfectly at ease – ‘Michelle – just jump. All you have to do is stand and jump!” I wanted to; we had flown on countless airplanes, traversing the world by sky to the edge of an island we could barely pronounce – and I lived for moments like this, moments of reckless abandon. But in this moment I was scared. I was terrified. “I’m…

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    Reflections in Shattered Glass: Failure

    Too short to reach the floor of my white sedan, she scrunched her spider legs up to her chest, chin resting on her knees in a way every adult knows only a child could comfortably sit. Our conversation wove in concert with the winding North Carolina mountain roads. Nothing is straightforward when talking to a child; there are sharp left turns and changing terrain, but there is something quietly breathtaking about it all. She was no exception. I had not anticipated her company- and I had been well forewarned that I should expect more deserts of silence than waterfalls of speech- but as we trekked westward, I found her to…

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    Reflections in Shattered Glass: Anxiety

    *This is post I talk about my experiences with anxiety as a medical condition. I do want to preface that I understand how broad and varied anxiety presents itself. I am not a professional, a doctor, or an expert in the matter. But I do experience anxiety quite deeply and in a very specific way. So if you don’t have anxiety, that’s fine. But if you do, I’m really writing to you. It’s your attention that I want, and it’s you I hope I do not offend or prescribe, but encourage.* I haven’t always had anxiety. I certainly walk with it now, like an unwanted and highly on-edge companion that…

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  • Article

    Year of Foxes

    I wrote the freewrite below while attending a class during my recent season of ‘Quarter-life Crisis.’ It was weird, reading back over it, how even in June it perfectly described so much of the tension that has bubbled over this year, and the passion that has welled up within me. So I post this to reminisce on my personal thoughts of 2016 and my ‘New Years Resolution’ of sorts as we all look forward into the unknown – 2017. Enjoy.  iMessage (June 11, 1:28pm): Boarding! Miss you guys already! I was at 40,000 feet at 2:02 am EST, somewhere above the Persian Gulf when it happened. Approximately 7,000 miles of…

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    The Land of If Nots

    This year I’ve probably uttered a thousand prayers on my knees bridged with the infamous line ‘but if not…’ I’d like to say I’ve prayed them with the confidence of a warrior, unafraid of the unknown, but as I’ve been tested, my heart has revealed they’ve been nothing more than blanket statements to avoid fearing my prayers would not be heard. And so, I have found myself wandering in the Land of If Nots, where nearly everything I feared, nearly everything I prayed against, God has not only allowed, but seems to have intentionally inserted into my life, and I have not handled it graciously. I have struggled to say…

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    My Quarter-Life Crisis

    I think I’m having a Quarter-life Crisis. I didn’t mean to have a Quarter-life Crisis. It was not on the Michelle’s Life Plan plot graph. In fact, in my defense I feel like it was almost an afterthought – like hey, I should probably quit my job because of these very legitimate circumstances, but wait – I’m 25. Oh crap. Why am I doing this? Who am I? What do I do with my life? How do I get another job? What kind of job do I want? And so began my Quarter-life Crisis. Ok, so it hasn’t been quite like that, but laugh as you may, at times I…

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