wind and current

for the people of kaleo church

i washed up on this beach
my ship splintered by the storm and sea
myself bruised and broken

someone carried me into this village
and you watched while i got stitched back together
you didn’t need to know what happened before
just that i needed looking after

you let me sit at your table
you let me sing with you by your fire

and when the thunder and lightning
sent me screaming for cover
you were the shelter i needed

and when i got brave enough to tell my story
you were the ones who listened
and then you showed me your own scars
and told me how you got them

and now we all go sailing toward other islands
in search of other places to make our homes

wherever the wind and the current may lead you
may you land somewhere as kind as you have been to me

brief follow-up.

Thanks for all the love and support that came from that last post. We’re all obviously in a pretty tough season right now and I have no idea where I’m going to end up church-wise. I’m also working through some issues that have risen in my own heart over the past few weeks that I didn’t realize were there, and that’s less than fun. But I trust in the good hand and the good heart of God, and where He is leading I want to go.

It’s a strange thing, too–I feel like, right here at the end of my church existing, I’m starting to relearn what it means to love Jesus and love people. Not that I didn’t learn that while I’ve been here, but the past few years I think I’ve forgotten, for a number of reasons. (See also: Issues.)

We’re all going to be okay. Some of us aren’t right now, though, and I hate that for them. (I hate that for you, if you’re reading this and you’re one of those folks.) So please keep praying for us, if you’re the kind that prays.

the gracious and terrible “no”

This is what happens sometimes: You plead with God for something for years and years, and He keeps letting you ask until finally, painfully, He says “no.” I don’t pretend to understand the mechanics of this, or to have some hidden insight into why God does this (or does anything). I do know this: The “no” is not because He doesn’t love us, and neither is the drawn-out asking.

My church‘s last public service is next Sunday. After nearly thirteen years of existence and prayers for growth and health and for His kingdom to come to Houston through our being there, we’re closing. We voted about it this morning, after about a month of discussions and real, gut-punched grief.

This is the end of my having been a member of a church for nine years, of having worked for said church for three years and some change. This is God’s gracious and terrible “no” after having said “yes” to so many other things.

There’s much that could be said here, and there are stories around that are not mine to tell. What is my story to tell is this: While my church has been a source of love and healing to me, for the past few years it’s also been a cause for anxiety and sadness, and a great deal of me is breathing a sigh of relief. We’re not closing because of sin or disunity or anything like that, which is a small miracle in and of itself. The choice was made by people I trust, and I believe God is using this to send us out into places where we can grow and flourish in the gifts that He’s given us for the benefit of the church in ways we’ve not been able to.

But that being said, this is still a heartbreaking thing, and there are people I love who are very upset about it, and I want to give them room to be upset about it. It’s going to be pretty hard for a while, even after our last service.

So pray for us, if you’re so inclined–pray for healing of hearts, pray that my pastor and his family can find a place they can settle into, pray that we all find new churches where Christ is exalted. And pray that we will continue to love each other well.


All your doubts in the dark
Friction into a spark
That burned into a light
Now you see all the ghosts
From a past you’d supposed
Out of mind, out of sight

So if you have to break her heart
At least the break’ll be clean
It might just heal in a week or so
And if you see her in the street
At least she’ll still say hello
But only ’cause it’s too late to say goodbye

It’s too little, too late
She kept saying to wait
For the results to show
For a year, maybe two
She kept looking at you
Like somebody she knows

Goodbye, goodbye
You knew her when
And you wore her thin
Didn’t even try

Goodbye, goodbye
She’s out the door
Should have been before
You believed the lie

So if I have to break your heart
At least the break will be clean

If I have to break your heart…

right now (july 2017)

(format stolen from Mighty Girl, who in turn stole it from someone else, I don’t remember who)

Making: Still cranking away at that blanket and scarf. Lots of garter stitch, lots of a mindless thing to do while I’m watching TV or whatever.

Cooking: I made some pretty decent barbecue chicken to take to community group on Sunday. I threw together a thing the other night: ground turkey, rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and green onions. Not fancy, but it was pretty good and did the trick.

Drinking: I got a stomach bug a while back and got some ginger ale, and now all I want is ginger ale and Sprite and other clear soda. This is maybe not the best thing for me, but it’s doing the trick right now–it’s kind of refreshing while it’s so hot outside. And bad work coffee.

Reading: A lot about the congressional health care shenanigans, which is kind of making me crazy and isn’t helpful, but that’s life in 2017. *shrug emoji* Just started 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You and The Leavers.

Trawling: For a couch, still. I’m thinking I’m going to wait until the Labor Day sales come around.

Wanting: A better storage system for my coffee mugs, because they’re out of control, y’all.

Looking: For churches in the Houston area; I’m compiling a list so I can recommend places to folks that I know. If you know of good ones, please feel free to pass them along.

Deciding: What to eat for dinner.

Listening: Lots of podcasts, including a new one called 36 Questions that’s a three-act musical starring Jonathan Groff(!). The new Sho Baraka EP, Pianos & Politics.

Buying: Boring things, mostly. I need to go get new filters for my Brita pitcher, for example.

Watching: Father Brown on Netflix, based on the G.K. Chesterton books and made by the BBC.

Marveling: How in the world did the book of Esther get into the Bible? I mean, I’m glad it’s there, but it’s such an odd duck of an episode in the biblical narrative.

Cringing: I think my jeans are past due for a wash. And there’s something in my trash that smells like death.

Needing: To get up and go grocery shopping and do some laundry, but I also don’t want to leave my apartment.

Questioning: Why I have not done anything productive today. (Well, mostly. I did load the dishwasher earlier.)

Smelling: See “Cringing.”

Wearing: Lots of dresses, even though it also means having to shave my legs every other day, but it’s so dang hot outside. Also, I bought a pair of red pants not long ago and I’ve worn them a lot this week because they’re bright and happy and go with more than you’d think.

Noticing: “Hey, brain, why does my head hurt?” “You haven’t eaten anything today, dummy.”

Ever-Faithful One (The Hebrews Song)

Download here!

words and music by Amanda McClendon, 2013

vocals and acoustic guitar: yours truly
electric guitar: Austin Dobbs
bass: Chris Doss
drums and production: Michael Brown

Higher than the angel hosts
And greater than the prophets
His is the name in which we boast
The Son of God who loved us

The better King and Priest of God
And sacrifice appointed
Let all the saints with joyful heart
Come praise the Lord’s Anointed

Jesus, ever-faithful One
What do we have apart from you
Keep all your people in your truth
Oh, ever-faithful One
Oh, ever-faithful One

How could we leave behind the Lord
To cling to lesser glories
We know his promises are sure
And he holds redemption’s story

So let us raise our hopeful eyes
To the Author of salvation
And to the Father’s heavenly throne
Come without hesitation
We come without hesitation

right now (june 2017 edition)

(format stolen from Mighty Girl, who in turn stole it from someone else, I don’t remember who)

Making: In the middle of a scarf and a blanket.

Cooking: Just made a giant thing of rice for community group (used this recipe). I have some pork chops in the fridge for dinners and lunches this week and will probably also work up a batch of these meatballs

Drinking: SO MUCH COFFEE. I’m also curious about the new mango-pineapple frappuccino, but they were out of the syrup at the Starbucks I went to today, so I’ll have to wait. (Have I confessed my frappuccino weakness here? I love them so much even though I know they’re terrible for you.)

Reading: Let’s see–still in the middle of Lectures on Revivals (it’s good, but that nineteenth-century prose is not fast reading). I just picked up The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, who wrote a book you may have heard of called Room. I’m also reading An Extraordinary Union, a Civil War-era romance novel, which I wouldn’t have picked up except my Twitter friend @emilyjanehubb read it and recommended it and it’s really good. I’m reading Finding God In My Loneliness for an online book club and Still Life as part of wading my way further into mystery novels. I’m waiting for Lord Peter Views the Body to come in at work, too, and I have The Underground Railroad waiting for me to pick up as soon as I get done with one of these other ones.

Trawling: For a couch. I inherited my old roommate’s sleeper loveseat and it’s doing its job, but I would like something in a grey. Also still looking for a desk.

Wanting: This t-shirt.

Looking: At all the pictures of my friends’ new baby that they keep posting on Instagram. *all the heart-eye emojis*

Deciding: On where to go on a road trip, and whether or not I should go to the Canvas Conference in August.

Listening: Not so much listening as perpetually stuck in my head, but “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen. Also, the new Jason Isbell album, but especially the song “Anxiety”.

Buying: Not so much buying as window shopping, but I’m definitely looking at blouses and shirts for work.

Watching: The Bible Project’s series about how to read the Bible–the latest video is on the different literary genres and it’s just lovely. (Watch here.)

Marveling: Two things: The Tony performance from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. (There are so many people! Oh yeah, and Josh Groban.) Ben Folds writes a song in ten minutes with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Cringing: My nail polish is so chipped, you guys.

Needing: Probably to go to sleep soon so I don’t hate everything in the morning, but here I am writing this blog post anyway.

Questioning: Lots of things, most of them too weird to write about here.

Smelling: I have this basil mint candle that I got from Target that is pretty strong and so I can smell it all the way over here even though it’s not lit. It’s really nice, though–really summery and herbal.

Wearing: Shorts and a plaid shirt. As hot as it is already, and as hot as it’s probably going to get, I’m of a mind to just wear skirts and shorts for the rest of the summer, but then I also work in a building with very strong AC (books don’t like heat or humidity), so I dunno about that. 🙂

Noticing: I’ve been using this app called Headspace to help me fall asleep at night, and y’all, it works.

[i can’t think of a title for this one]

(based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Romans 10:8-9)

Let all God’s people hear
The Lord, He is our God
Let all God’s people hear
The Lord our God is one

And may we love the Lord our God
With all our heart and all our soul
So may we love the Lord our God
With all our mind and all our strength

So bind Your Word upon our hearts
That we might walk in all Your ways
So form Your truth around our lives
That we might love You
That we might love You

Let all God’s people say
The Word is near to us
Let all God’s people say
He made His home with us

So we confess with our mouths
That Jesus Christ is Lord
And we believe in our hearts
That God raised Him from the dead

for you and for your children

I don’t remember the day of my baptism.

I don’t remember much of my childhood–
not in the usual way, that you just forget
as the years and days get scattered behind
you like breadcrumbs leading to the present.
No, I remember my childhood as a form full of blanks
that were never filled in–one day passed over
to lead to another.

So I don’t remember being dipped underneath the
water, white-robed, little girl, nose held,
immersed for half a second in the chaos of death
before being pulled back into light and life.

Somebody once told me that the correct answer
to the question “when did you get saved?”
is “2000 years ago in Jerusalem”
or “before the creation of the world happened.”

I don’t remember.

But I don’t really need to.