I am now a married woman,
joined my life with that wonder Myles Hamby.
Changed my last name…
and this ol’ Lindsay Ellyson blog just simply won’t do any longer.
You can now find my writings at
I am now a married woman,
joined my life with that wonder Myles Hamby.
Changed my last name…
and this ol’ Lindsay Ellyson blog just simply won’t do any longer.
You can now find my writings at
I wrote this the day after Christmas, just two weeks after Myles Hamby asked me to marry him. Here I am now, two weeks away from actually marrying him…
Laying here in bed, praying a bit and pondering how
The world says marriage means you are
The world proclaims that “love” without covenant is the free life. It’s a scam. Sure you are free – free to
have your heart broken over and over
become numb and hard
take care of yourself
be selfish forever, and thereby self-destruct
muster up courage every day to believe in yourself
worry about unwanted pregnancies.
When I think about marrying Myles, I think that marriage sounds like
My wedding day will be
a day of liberation.
This past year I have been more seriously committed to one person than I ever have in my whole life. It has been
I have been liberated to fully enjoy the things I love most
like running, because I have someone to run with
like cooking, because I have someone to enjoy what I create
like writing, because I have someone who cares about every word I write
I have run more often, and run harder because of Myles.
I have cooked with more excellence, and enjoyed it more because of Myles.
I have written more creatively, and with freedom because of Myles.
I have been liberated to most fully be myself
to rescue girls in trouble, because I have someone to protect me
to mother orphans, because I have someone to be a father to them
to love lost people, because I someone to care with me
to pray for strangers, because I am with someone with more faith than I have
to be beautiful, because I have some to cherish and guard my beauty
to dream big, because there is someone who believes in me more than I do
to be silly, because there is someone to laugh
to weep and weep hard, because there is someone to hold me.
Crying hard by myself is too painful. But when there is someone to hold me, I can let my pain run outside of me.
My second week of being friends with Myles, I was describing him and our friendship to a woman I love and trust. She said,
“If one can slay a thousand, two can slay ten thousand.”
I am liberated to swing my sword
and do more than just survive.
I am liberated to conquer.
When I marry Myles I will be liberated even more
to love with every ounce of passion, with no holding back for fear this might not last
to experience sexual pleasure with someone who will still be there in the morning
who will still be there in 50 years
to be a mother, full of confidence, because my children will have a good father.
I am not naive. I know that choosing covenant is dying to myself for a lifetime. I know that when I choose marriage, I hand over the right to my own body, the right to my own time, the right to my own priorities.
And I know that when I choose the Perfect Love of God to be my own, I die a death. But I die to rise again to new life. I die to resurrect.
Marriage is an echo. It’s a shadow of things to come. A symbol of a Perfectly Loving God taking unto Himself a people in faithfulness forever.
Marriage is resurrection. It is death of one way of living, and abundant life to a new way.
When I covenanted my life to God’s,
or rather when I responded to His covenant to me,
I surrendered my right to my own life.
And I was liberated
to enjoy my runs, because of God’s joyful presence ran with me
to enjoy cooking creatively, because the Originator of All Food became my Friend
to write with passion, because of Love in my bones
to love hard, because I tasted Love myself
to weep, because I have a Comforter
to laugh, with true joy
to rescue, because I have been rescued
to live a life bigger than myself, because I have Eternity in my chest
to mother, because I have a Good Father and so my children can too
to experience intimacy with Someone I can trust to be Faithful Forever
to win, because all things have been conquered by Him.
I feel free because
I am SAFE
and I am TAKEN CARE OF.
I am free because
I do not have to protect myself
and survive on my own.
“protecting and providing for that which has been given to you as a privilege.”
I am treated as a privilege by Myles
and by my Lord.
I am protected.
I am cared for.
I AM FREE.
And I step forward into more and more freedom. With my God and with my husband-to-be.
The more I surrender myself, the more freedom I am able to experience. The more of my rights I hand over, the more goodness I have access to.
It is an upside down kingdom.
It is a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
I awake this morning to the all-too-familiar sound of loud rap music blaring from upstairs neighbor’s stereo. I stretch my legs out and yawn. At least this morning its not the sound of someone being punched in the gut over and over like I often hear as violent video games and movies are played in the room above mine. I can’t help but think how perfectly lovely this morning could be if it weren’t for the ruckus upstairs. My own apartment is still and the sun is streaming in my one in lone window, filling my tiny room with an amber glow.
My mind is already wandering away, even though I have yet to pull the covers off. I am thinking about all the conversations I had at work yesterday. Crowded around a booth, rolling silverware into napkins, my co-workers had started asking me questions about why I chose to live on the East Side of Kansas City for two years, why I actually wanted to live by the intersection of 39th & Troost of all places – a location notorious for shootings and violent crime. Those questions led to all kinds of story swapping. Soon the talk was full of crimes committed against us, unjust court proceedings, crooked lawyers, racial hatred. I saw again what I have seen a thousand times – people stuck in faulty systems, wrong relating perpetuating more Wrong Relating. I saw again how one act of injustice spirals into injustice fifty times over, and how as a result many will be imprisoned – whether by actual incarceration or by being physically restricted by legal proceedings and debt, or by emotional imprisonment by hatred and bitterness.
As I roll out of bed and began to get ready for my day, I am thinking about how different classes of society tend towards different kinds of crime. Violent crime is always associated with impoverished urban areas. And all the people I know who are in DUI trouble are middle-class individuals who have enough money to drink and money for cars to drive. We even have a special name for upper-class felons: “white-collar crime.” My mind floods with the statistics I’ve been reading in a Criminal Justice book* Myles gave me for Christmas:
-Nearly one-fourth of the inmates in the entire world are found in American jails and penitentiaries… but the U.S. accounts for less than 5% of the entire world population.
– U.S. incarceration rate septupled between 1973 and 2003, rising from under 100 inmates per 100,000 citizens to 715 inmates per 100,000 citizens. The crime rate, however, remained unchanged. It was exactly the same in 2003 as in 1973.
– While it is estimated that 89,000 to 141,000 women are raped in the U.S. each year, government reports show that anywhere between 250,000 to 600,000 men are raped in prison every year.
– When we consider only the African American population, there are an astonishing 4,834 inmates for every 100,000 citizens.
The numbers and many others like them disturb me deeply all the time. They scream to me, “This is NOT OKAY.” They provoke me as much as the hundred and one stories I could personally tell you of our justice system failing.
This morning I move about the kitchen, preparing a breakfast for myself. I am thinking about how because so few people on the earth choose to walk on Paths of Right-Relating, that governance is necessary. I am thinking about how such a vast, complicated governing structure has become developed solely because of how many people will not choose to Rightly Relate to each other, to themselves, and to the earth. I am thinking how faulty the structure is, because it is continuously developed by people and groups of people who have no clue how to Perfectly Rightly Relate. I am thinking that this whole epic disaster so ironically named the “Justice System” is in need of an absolute overhaul. I am thinking what I have thought all along these past many years, that there is actually nothing just about the justice system – for anyone. Not for victims, not for society, not for criminals, not for future generations. I am thinking about all the extensive time, resources, and research that has been invested in keeping the citizens of our nation safe from each other, and how our greatest united effort as one of the most “powerful” nations on the earth to simply keep our own people Rightly Relating has miserably failed. I am thinking, “Who could EVER bring true justice to the earth? We are in dire need of a Perfectly Right-Relating Ruler, a Man who knows the very end of all Justice, who is All-Knowing and All-Wise, who wields All Power.”
I am thinking of a Man named Jesus.
I am thinking He is the Perfect One for the job.
I am thinking He is not only the Perfect One, but He is the Only One.
Then I think that Jesus is the most brilliant thing the Trinity ever came up with. A Person who carries complete Divinity in His bones. An All-Sufficient God who is capable of walking on dirt in skin-clad muscles.
A God-Man who subjected Himself to the equally faulty, unjust governance of Rome two thousand years. A God-Man who was Himself a convict, who won His greatest victory over Wrong-Relating for all of eternity by submitting Himself to capital punishment for a crime He did not commit.
Yes, Jesus is the Perfect One to Rule the earth. And how I long for the day when He does!
Two weeks ago I finished applying to go to graduate school in the fall. I want to pursue a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. Although I’ve been toying with the idea of more thoroughly studying Criminal Justice since I finished my undergraduate four years ago, a few months ago I found myself challenged to get serious about actually doing just that. I can no longer be content with my limited knowledge. I want to learn everything that has already been discovered about the interplay between poverty, racial discrimination, mental illness, crime, and justice. I want to learn how courts determine Justice, and everything that our prisons do in attempts to correct people who are Wrongly Relating. I want to know exactly what methods have been already tried, which one are working and which ones are failing. And while I sit in class, and while I read articles, and while I write research papers, I want to ask that Man Jesus about His Great Ideas of justice. I want to ask Him about His plans to Rule the nations of the earth with His Perfect Right Relating. I want to examine His ways of Right Relating that He has left for me to unfold in Scripture. I want to KNOW inside and out His Perfect Paths.
I want to because I can. Because Jesus is my Friend. Because the path He walked has made it possible for me to be Perfectly Right-Relating right alongside of Him. I want to because the more I study and observe the theories and methods of Criminal Justice and the more I take in the REALITY of the ways of Jesus, the more I fall absolutely in love with Jesus.
He is The Very Best.
A few months ago, I sat down in the park one day, and asked God very directly, “Should I go to graduate school to study Criminal Justice and why?” He immediately gave me a vision of Jesus on the cross, tried as a criminal, dying a death of punishment with two criminals next to Him, spending His last words conversing with thieves. He showed me the criminal who died with Jesus who was promised eternal life. In all my seeking out of these matters over the past six years, I had never once considered that scene. In the moments that followed that vision, I felt God inviting me to go on a journey to discover Him as the Perfect Right-Relating One, to discover the paths He has inscribed for men to follow Him, and to begin to Rule the earth with Mercy as He does now and as He will fully in a Coming Day.
So I say YES. Yes, the Perfect Jesus. How could I resist Him? And why would I ever want to? He is the Best in Every Way. There is No One like Him – not even one.
-Did you know that “righteous” means “right-relating”? When I learned that, it changed the entire way I view the world.
-The book I refer to is called, “The Convict Christ” written by Jens Soering, who is serving a life-long prison term.
– Isaiah 9:6-7, Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 21: 1-8 are all Scripture that coincide with this post.
Friends and Readers,
Due to the sensitive nature of much of our involvement in people’s lives in the urban core of Kansas City, there are occasionally detailed stories I write that I do not wish to publicize on the internet but am happy to share privately with interested readers and friends. If you would like to regularly receive stories that may not appear on this blog or be available on other public sites, please email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the list.
It is a pleasure to share my life and the stories of God’s good work in our city and nation with you.
Let’s paint a Puerto Rican single mom and her toddling half-Mexican daughter. Let’s add a teenage black boy. And his two sisters, one twelve years old, the other seventeen. Let’s paint a Nigerian doctor, and a white nurse who was raised in Hawaii. Let’s paint a white college student studying fashion, and a black one studying audiology. A Brazilian soccer coach, and his newly wedded dancer wife. A Colombian railroad worker. A black rapper. A white guy who owns his own computer business. A black teen mom who has been separated from her daughter. Let’s paint a half-Argentinean guy from California and his roommate from Kansas. And let’s add one more white girl into that mix.
Stroke that brush and depict them sharing a meal. Someone makes some soup. Someone brings some bread and cheese. Sandwiches are made. A pretty cake appears, and someone else traipses through the door with homemade mint tea in hand.
Let’s paint this small crowd sharing this meal in the living room of a two-bedroom triplex located on the border of the impoverished and crime-ridden part of the city. Let’s paint a scene where the fifteen-year-old black kid leads the whole group in remembering Jesus’ great sacrifice by offering them a broken piece of a pita chip dipped in glass of Coca-Cola. Stories are told from the week, stories of how the God who upholds the universe by the word of His Power invades each of their own little worlds.
Paint a book with words of life, and everyones hands held open on their laps. Paint understanding pouring out in the form of simplicity off the lips of the twelve-year-old. Paint tears in a few eyes. Paint light dancing in many hearts. Let’s be sure to paint smiles. And great sobs. And uncontrollable laughter.
Let’s paint the picture of these beautiful people praying for the sick in their midst. Show how some are healed immediately. Let’s not forget to add the scene where one girl’s leg is shorter than the other and grown miraculously on the spot. Paint the prophetic words that fly around the room, and the ones that fly across the city via phones and laptops. Depict the teenagers helping the single mom distract her little one, so she can have a twenty-minute break.
Paint that picture in such a way that we know that a few of those individuals have not yet made decisions to follow Jesus. And several just started following Him a few months ago. A handful more have known Him for just a couple of years. Only a few have really known Him long.
In the middle of the painting, show the highschool students breaking up fights at their strife-ridden schools. Show the Nigerian doctor sharing the good news of Jesus to a pregnant girl in his clinic. Paint the nurse praying fearlessly over each of her ill patients, at the risk of losing her job. Paint a few of the crowd driving their dear friend to the emergency room and taking her tiny kids home for the weekend. By the way, their friend is a stripper & addict with sickness ravaging her body. Let’s paint a scene where the computer business owner takes flowers to the eighteen-year-old while she recovers in the hospital after being shot in a drive-by shooting.
Paint these beautiful people crowded around a fountain nearby, as someone who just experienced the forgiveness of Jesus gets baptized by someone who has never baptized anyone before.
I wanted to paint a picture. I suppose we painted a mural. I suppose if we painted all this it would take up the whole side of one of these dilapidated buildings I can see out the back window that faces Troost Avenue. If we paint with broad strokes it might cover a few.
What shall we name this lovely mural?
Let’s call it church.
(Note: This is not a far-off dream. This is not a bunch of nice ideas. This is my present reality. I have personally experienced all of these things happening within the last month, both here with my local spiritual family and as I have spent time with spiritual families on the other side of the nation. I am in awe of what can happen when people begin to encounter the love of God for them. I’ve tasted the miracle that Jesus called “church.” And all I want is MORE. This times a million, doused with even greater hope, greater faith, greater compassion.)
It was the start of another scorching summer day in Austin, Texas. I was sitting on the stairs of some ridiculously large tower in the middle of UT’s campus, listening to Erik Fish* animatedly tell stories about the all-importance of disciple making. Erik was doing that thing that spiritual dads do best – persuading us that we are more than we think we are and managing to soundly kick our butts at the same time.
When the dust had settled, and the weight of his words had just begun to hit the small crowd of college students to my right, I watched with swelling admiration as a handful of my friends, some long-time and some brand new, began to dart about. They grabbed the shoulders of those experiencing conviction, commissioning them to make disciples just as Jesus commanded. They hugged the crying students, and joined the laughing ones. Not a person present could withstand a grin at the sight of the few students who couldn’t even stand up under the joyful pressure of the Presence of God. My friends are courageous little freaks, all very young twenty-somethings who have encountered the power of God and His Family sometime in the last few years, and have boldly stepped up to lead their peers down the Path of Life. The whole crowd next to me that morning was a sea of tears, and slobber, and hugs, and dancing. The kind of mess that makes every lover of Love truly happy.
But rather than join in the fun, I was chilling out on the sidelines, throwing myself a royal pity party. Erik’s anointed teaching had the usual affect on me. I was struck to the core, and all I really wanted is to follow Jesus 100% for the rest of my days. After I whined for a bit.
Waaah. Waaah. Waaaaaaah. I suck at making disciples. I can’t do anything right. I shouldn’t even be here right now. I should have had more boldness in that situation last spring. I didn’t love that girl this summer well enough. I’ve only ever failed and there is no hope for me to ever…
In the middle of my whine session, I noticed three Asian-looking girls had wandered over to the far side of the portico where we were located and were observing the slobbery-hug fest happening amongst the students. I had an inkling I should go over and speak with them, but as soon as the thought came I saw a few students go over and strike up a conversation. “Great, they’re covered,” I thought and went straight back to my pity party.
I’ve only ever failed. All I do is fail. I don’t even know if I am a real follower of Jesus.
Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Friend was completely disregarding my pathetic little shin-dig.
Maybe no one I invest in will ever become a true disciple. Maybe I will never learn how to love right…
“Right knee. Lindsay, right knee.”
Seriously, Holy Spirit? Right now?
“Right knee. Right knee. Right knee.”
So I meander over to the Asian trio, and casually ask if any of them had any pain in their right knee. After a few quizzical looks and head shaking, I began to clumsily explain how sometimes I hear things that God wants to heal for people and then how sometimes I think I hear from God but I just made it up. The girl with huge movie-star sunglasses piped up. “I used to play basketball and I have an injury to my right knee that comes and goes. It doesn’t hurt right now, but a lot of times it does.”
Classic, Holy Spirit… classic.
So I asked her if she’d like to be healed so she would never have to feel that pain again. I squatted down on the ground next to her, laid my hand on her right knee, and commanded it to be healed in Jesus’ name. After my brief prayer, I realized that the girl was fascinated by the scene going on behind me. “Do you know what all these people are doing?” I asked her. “No,” she exclaimed, “Do you?”
I laughed a little. “I do actually! All these people here are followers of Jesus. They are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God.” I was pretty sure that meant absolutely nothing to sunglasses girl, and she looked intrigued enough to listen to more, so I just went for it. “Have you ever had any experiences with God?” I asked. She shook her head, “I’ve been to church a few times, but now I have to work on Sundays so I can’t go.” I loved the slightly-confused look on the bottom half of her face that wasn’t covered by her cool shades when I told her that most people in the crowd next to us also didn’t go to a church building on Sunday mornings either.
Ohhh let the fun begin. If I didn’t rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation, I surely wanted to. I opened my mouth… and out it came. I laid out the whole story of God for her, how He’s invisible and we can’t see Him but how He wanted friendship with us so much that He became a Person to show us His character and personality. How that Person healed sick people, raised the dead, and caused a ruckus with religious folks everywhere He went. How He came to teach us how to rightly relate to God and to each and to the whole world. How He came to make all that is wrong with us right, and make it possible for us to be in His Family.
I couldn’t see her eyes because of those darn sunglasses, but I soon noticed big tears sliding down her cheeks and I knew our words were hitting home. I say “our”, because most of the stuff that tumbles out of my mouth in situations like these definitely does not originate in my brain, but is the overflow of the Holy Spirit inside of me. We’re a team, me and ol’ HS.
The tears on her face stoked the fire burning in my bones, and I began to passionately describe to her the ways that Jesus has changed my life, how He rescued me from the place where I was convinced I was completely alone forever and proved to me that He is always with me. “Look at these crazy people!” I gestured towards the students behind us, who by this point were nearly all dancing, laughing, and worshipping their little hearts out. “You can see for yourself the joy on their faces. They’ve met the God of Love.”
Just then all the student began to gather around Erik to pray for him. He was getting ready to leave town, and they wanted to send him off with a blessing. In the middle of my sentence, the young woman in front of me rose to her feet and headed towards the students with their hands all stretched toward Erik. I had to bite back a giddy laugh as I scurried to join her… This girl wants IN!
When the prayers had subsided, she turned to me with all sincerity, “I want to learn more about Jesus. I have only one thing holding me back. My mom is a Buddhist.”
I wasn’t daunted for a second. I immediately began to point out various people around the room who had parents of differing faiths. I motioned for my friend whose dad practices Buddhist values. She came right over, and soon they were chatting it up. We quickly discovered that the girl was heading to Denton for her first year at the University of North Texas that very next week. And wouldn’t you know it, my friends’ highschool buddy just happened to be a student at UNT already and had just told my friend a few weeks prior that she wanted to start a simple church on her campus.
Classic, Holy Spirit. So classic.
I gave her my Bible. My friend swapped phone numbers with her. The girl with the movie-star sunglasses was heading off for college with the stories of Jesus tucked under her arm, a vision of love, and the potential of friendships at a strange new school. And, I believe, the promise of a place in God’s eternal family finally within her reach. I walked away… no, maybe I was skipping or twirling… Well anyways, I left BRIMMING with joy inexpressible.
I am so glad Holy Spirit Friend disregarded my pity party.
Anytime, any time at all You want to interrupt my days, You just go for it Holy Spirit Friend. Your ideas are waaaaay better than mine.
(*Erik Fish and his wife Jen have been coaches, mentors, and dear friends to me for several years. They train young people all over the nation and world how to plant simple churches and make disciple of Jesus. You can find articles by Erik at his website: www.erikfish.com. You can find the nearest Student Church Planting Experience at www.scpx.org.)