Dear World... Sincerely, Hannah

"'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.'"
Isaiah 6:5

My heart is heavy. It's several reasons. For one, God has allowed me to feel a deep guilt tonight.  Not so He can leave me here in disgust, but so He can refine me.  So He can remind me that I am dust, and so He can teach me the art of losing myself.

Out of a broken and repentant heart, I feel the need to write the world a letter of apology.  Yep! I'm writing the world a letter.  Here goes.

Dear Six Billion Other People on Earth,

I am so sorry.

I am sorry that I have lived nineteen selfish, prideful years of life.  I'm sorry that all along I've claimed to have my eyes fixed on Christ, when they've really been fixed on my self. 

I'm sorry that I stereotype you, judge you, and ignore you. I see your skin, your clothes, your past, your present, your actions, and your failures. I don't see you for who you are; you are a precious soul made in the image of God.  You were made to be loved and cherished.  Yes, you are a soul who just so happens to be in a certain body and in a certain set of circumstances.  I am so sorry.

I'm sorry that I take everything for granted.  Good grief. I complain about going to class when I have been given an education you only dream of!  I play on my laptop and text on my phone to keep myself awake during lecture.  You are allotted one piece of paper and one pencil a year.  You thirst for knowledge, but don't have the opportunity to even learn to read.  I played school with my twenty baby dolls when I was six years old.  When you were six, you mothered your siblings and worked all day to bring home money for food to survive.  That's grossly unfair. We are both souls; I just happened to be born rich and you were born poor.  I'm sorry I am so ungrateful and snobby.

I'm sorry I waste my time. You know what? It's not even my time.  It's God's time, and I waste it!  In my "busy schedule," I Facebook, text, watch football, go to movies, and all kinds of other stuff that is simply meaningless.  You're desperate for someone to bring you a meal.  To invest time and love in you.  To just be with you.  I forget that you are out there in desperate need of relationship because I am too busy watching crap on YouTube. I am so sorry.

I'm sorry that I have a closet full of clothes, and I don't care that you only have one shirt.  I'm sorry that I'm shopping for a cute winter coat when you don't have a pillow to lay your head on. I'm sorry that in my culture, we all worry about our weight because we eat all day long.  You're starving. I'm so sorry.

I'm sorry that my world is so small.

What I'm mostly sorry about is the fact that I call myself a "Christian." In taking on that label, I have tarnished the name of the Messiah Savior.  You watch me do stupid things with a selfish attitude, and that gives you every right to be confused by Christianity. 

But please listen. Jesus is not like me.  He rolls up His sleeves.  He cares for, even dies for, the lowliest, poorest, meekest.  He provides. He loves you and sees you for the beautiful soul He created you to be. I am a poor display of Christ, but by His grace, He uses me anyways.  

One more thing I'm sorry for.  I'm sorry that even though I'm hit with guilt tonight, I'll spend tomorrow much like I spent today. But God promises He began a good work in me and He'll carry it on to completion. He began the process of refining my heart for Him, and He'll purify me. Slowly but surely, He'll remove my heart of stone.  I'm gonna fight for you.  I promise.

With love,

..."'See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.'  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here I am. Send me!'" Isaiah 6:7-8


God on the mic.

"Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, 'Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.'" Zeph. 3:14-17

Do you hear Him?

In the midst of your...
wilderness... do you hear Him sing?

Shout aloud. Be glad! Rejoice. We have a God who weeps from His heart when we weep, laughs from His heart when we laugh, and rejoices over us in singing. He has taken away our punishment and turned back our enemy. He will quiet us with His love.

No matter if the tempo is slow and solemn or upbeat and toe-tapping. No matter if the lyrics are those of tender compassion or of power in victory. No matter if you're listening for His every breath or you don't even know there's a God. He rejoices in you.

Can you hear His song?


Star struck.

"He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." Ps. 147:4-5

IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not condone drinking and/or partying, but it's not my place to condemn it either. 

I'm really afraid of offending someone, but I promise I'm just sharing some Spirit thoughts :)

Tonight I went with some girl friends to several frat parties.  Since we're playing big ol' Florida tomorrow, the parties tonight were rumored to be awesome and have really good music.  It was pretty true (ex. Corey Smith!).  If you know me, you know partying is not my thing.  I mean, when I go it's because I find the whole concept hilarious.  And because if I'm going to form my opinion on how I feel about all that stuff, I need to have experienced it, right?

I did have fun! And of course, the Spirit was crazy teaching me in the midst of it. (Tangent: I do not believe Jesus would have shunned parties.  I think He would have pursued them. He would spend Friday nights on New Row in the midst of it because He loves His people.)

If you wonder what a college party is like, the movies actually get it pretty right. They are dark and loud, there is smoke everywhere, people are dancing and stumbling around, etc.  It's funny though.

On the surface, it's people drinking and dancing away a long week and relaxing for the weekend. It's socializing and having fun! But let's be real.  Beneath the surface, it's all empty.

It's consuming poison to feel accepted.  It's drowning pain and worries in a drink.  It's seducing the opposite sex to feel cheap love. Maybe it's just boredom or amusement. Whatever it is, it's about pleasing fleshly desires, searching for worth, and living in the moment. It's entirely earthly.

Again, I'm not casting judgment! I'm not trying to offend.  I have my own sack of rocks too, and I definitely pursue all of the same earthly things in my own way.

Here's the thing! At one party, I looked up at where people were on the roof and holy cowww.  The stars grabbed me!  Mystified me. It was like God was just smiling!  I wanted to stop the party and have everyone look up into the sky.

The stars tonight took my soul to a new place.  I saw God as so high above all of us doing our own stupid stuff.  We act like sheep without a shepherd, but we have One!  The One who arranged the night sky to take my breath away, and then sat back eagerly waiting til I would take notice.

As people, we're living in our own selfish little worlds.  The stars light up an entire galaxy.
We're restless and compulsive.  The stars know peace. 
We're pursuing our own glory.  The stars SCREAM God's glory.
We're broken and ugly. The stars are breathtakingly beautiful.

God is calling us to something astronomically bigger than ourselves. Tears are welling up right now because I am so sure. God is calling us into His love. And it's wider, deeper, longer than the farthest galaxies. Brighter and more beautiful than the clearest night sky.

We are stuck in our tiny, self-centered, moment-by-moment worlds, and God is inviting us into HIS world. His world. There, we will find pleasure, worth, and true life in abundance! That's not me being a dreamer, that is truth.

God is calling me and you to something higher.
He's calling this campus to something higher. Even a generation of goofy college kids.
He's calling this city, this state, this country to something higher.

Can't you see?! He's using His stars to woo us because He's hopelessly in love with us!

Hey, look up.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Ps. 8:3-4



"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1: 14

Once upon a time (about a month ago), I sat down in Chemistry class and found a book next to my chair, The Life of Jesus.  Maybe someone else was meant to pick up that strategically placed book, but maybe it was placed there just for me.  It's been rocking my world.  Basically The Life of Jesus is all four Gospels combined into a chronological book. 

I prayed for fresh eyes to read the story, and BOY! did God answer.  I've never experienced Jesus like I'm experiencing Him now.  I have a kajillion things I want to say about that, but for now I will stick with this one tangent...

Jesus' death means everything.  Without His sacrifice AND His resurrection, I am hopelessly bound for Hell.  That simple.
But what the Spirit's recently helped me consider is that the real miracle of Jesus is His life.

Have you ever really considered it? 

Jesus was fully God, fully man.  He was the fullness of the Creator of the universe, the Keeper of time, constrained and bound into human flesh.  He chose to leave Heaven and plant His feet on this earth where He knew He'd face nothing but opposition. THAT is sacrifice. THAT is fierce love.

It's kinda like how Harry Potter is constrained and not allowed to use his magic among the Muggles!  By entering Mary's womb, Jesus knew He could not be everywhere at once anymore.  He knew He would be exhausted at times and sick and hungry and abused.  Jesus was willing to live in this crap for more than thirty physical years because He loves people in spite of the crap. 

I am a selfish and prideful person with a tiny heart. I am. But I'm so confident in my own salvation and so passionate about the Kingdom that I think I would take a bullet for someone if it'd mean they would come to know Christ. That's coming from my tiny, selfish heart.  How much MORE willing was Jesus to do the same for us?!  Again, MIRACLE.

BUT where the rubber meets the road is living. I would die for the sake of Christ, but more often than not I'm not willing to live for it on a day to day basis. To pull up my roots I've planted in the earth and carry my cross and live in surrender to the will of God. THAT's the miracle of Jesus. He did that. He lived three decades in total surrender to the will of the Father. Think of what He put up with. Christ certainly died for us, but praise God! He was willing to LIVE for us, too.

More to come...


I'm really nervous about this post...

I love Alabama football.
It is an absolute passion. A hunger. A way of life. A culture. A tradition.
I LOVE IT. I love the tailgating experience, the lights and sounds, the cheers and chants, the stats and play-calling, and even the drunken fans. It's Sweet Home Alabama, the Million Dollar fight song, chills at the sound of Bear's voice, pregame video memorized, 4 fingers in the air, Rammer Jammer love.
My daddy raised me on Alabama football, and it's just a part of me.

Yesterday was my first gameday as a STUDENT! Whattt? This new perspective was stranger than expected! I could talk about ALL of that, but honestly it's not the purpose of this blog. I learned something huge yesterday.

It's nuts. I pride myself on being part of a group of outrageously passionate fans. On gameday, Bryant Denny hosts over 100,000 fans, and the city of Tuscaloosa balloons with tens of thousands more. Each ticketholder spent anywhere from $40-$200 or more, depending on the game, JUST to have a spot on a bleacher. Factor in the money for gas and food. Not to mention the people who bring steak and chips, beer and coke, tents and chairs, and plasma screen TV's for the tailgate. On this one day, the amount of money being handed around in Tuscaloosa must be astronomical. Think of what each person spends, then add it together. I bet a hundred million dollars wouldn't touch it. And that's just one weekend!
You get the point. That's a lotta dollas.
Think of the emotion poured out. The energy. The hoarse voices. The fear of showing face at church the next morning because of the smack you talked.

Listen, this is why I'm nervous about this blog. I'm about to spit out some Spirit words in faith.

Yesterday, I experienced the same excitement in tradition and passion as I have my whole life. But I had a godly revelation and it's bothered me since. Isn't this idolatry? Before you go thinking I'm a closet Auburn fan or looney liberal, hear this. I don't believe there is anything inherently evil about football, tailgating, cheering, or loving gameday. But I do believe that for many of us, we are misplacing our worship. Not that we bow down to the Bear's statue (most of us) or curse God for a loss (IF that were to ever happen).

This is what's unexcusable:
  • With the cost of just one $40 ticket, we could provide an impoverished child with food, clothing, education,and spiritual development for an entire month (http://www.compassion.com/). That is one of thousands of options. The point is, on gameday we throw around $100 bills like confetti, but then we turn away from children in need because "the checkbook's tight this month." That is not okay.
  • While tailgating, we're happy to give away our burgers and beer to complete strangers in red and white because "we're all part of the Crimson Tide family." But when we see a man by the side of the road who needs money for food, we lock the doors and refuse to help. He'll probably just use it to buy alcohol. Hmm. He is our brother. That is not okay.
  • We sport our T-shirts, decorate our cars, even paint our bodies to be as loud and proud about our team as possible. We wanna be Roll Tide freeeaks! We are never afraid to wear our Bama gear, even in the midst of a room full of orange. We are never afraid to voice our professional opinions on playcalls. We are never afraid to bet our money and pick the upset. We'll argue football til we're blue in the face. But we'd never stand in a room and defend the name of Christ. We don't even know what we'd say anyways. We're too afraid of what others would think. We don't want to be that Jesus freak. We would never want to offend anyone. Oh, but we'll talk some football. That is not okay.
I don't want to suck the fun out of Alabama football. I love it too much! I just think that if we're claiming to be disciples of Christ, we need to rethink where our time and money goes. Because that is the root of our devotion.

Just think about it.




"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Psalm 84:2

I'm home for the first weekend since I left for school.  And let me just say, it's WEIRD. It feels like I'm in a time warp, like I've been asleep for the past three weeks and have just waken up, even though life has moved on.

I love Bama. I love being on my own. I love the atmosphere. I love the ways God's working down there. But it feels so good to be home for a little bit.

It takes leaving to realize and appreciate some things.  I realize how comfortably I lived the last few years of my life. I was blessed with a solid group of friends always by my side, a church where I was completely comfortable, a school where I could be a slacker and still be on top of things, and a home with love, laughs, and laundry service.  And comfort is good. It's a sweet gift God wants us to enjoy in His time. But there's only so much growing we can do if we stay comfortable.  God also calls us to a radical life, not a comfortable one. He calls us out of what feels "safe" because He wants us to know we can trust Him. He wants us to step out on the water, trusting that He'll grab our hand if we start to sink. And when we need comfort, we know we can rest in His arms. I didn't understand that a few months ago.

That was kinda a tangent. Ha.

Here's the thing.
Driving up the interstate, I literally felt home getting closer. I felt my heart relaxing and my lungs breathing. In Tuscaloosa, everyone always puts on a face.  There is a certain pressure to always be friendly, always be punctual, always tidy up after yourself, always eat healthy.  In my hometown, I feel like I am known. I can be quirky, sarcastic, giggly, wild, upset, real, even rude.  And people who know me get that because they know my heart.

I have missed hugs! Church Sunday was a beautiful overload of hugs and affection from my cloud of witnesses. It's nice to step back and realize how MANY people have influenced my life by chaperoning a trip, giving me a ride, opening their home, speaking encouraging words, or just giving me a hug. It's such a gift to come home to these angels!

All of this makes me realize anew that I yearn for my heavenly home.

When I turned onto my street, I saw this precious image:
my sweet dad

I yearn for my heavenly homecoming.
To arrive at the gate and be fully embraced. To be in the place where I will know fully and will be fully known. Where all is love and nothing is straining. Where I will be eternally surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, a league of people from the history of all time who have shaped me. To live to praise! To see my Father on heaven's driveway and receive His precious kiss on the forehead.
Lord, come quickly!

But you know? We press on here. We step out of comfort, holding to His unchanging hand. We go into Babylon with news of Zion! We go where He calls, even if it doesn't make sense. And if the journey's hard, we cling to the fact that we're already on our way home. Closer every day, we can breathe more and more because we're almost home.

Praise God.