Tuesday, September 27, 2011


sunday, i sat among 20something strangers with a sense of anticipation that almost split me at the seams. i didn’t know if it was the rest of shea’s lavender americano, or the lingering endorphines from my morning run, or the fact i had just met a mentor of mine in an industry i’m loving more and more every day, maybe a spiked temp from the cold i’m fighting. i attributed it to a combination of the four. it wasn’t until a few days later i realized - circles changed my life. i don’t know if it was the structure of the program, or the people i met through it (slices and leaders), or the season of my life - probably all three. all i know is somewhere between my first blog post and our grilled cheese sandwich party i exchanged a selfish, fearful, broken, knower of Jesus for a less selfish, less broken, lover of Jesus. i think back to our first few meetings as i struggled to remember names, and pair the faces with the blogs and random life facts. it happened so fast and it was so subtle - all the sudden they weren’t names and faces. they were family. i carried their burdens and danced at their delight. i experienced such a wide range of emotions with this group, i should probably be admitted. when it came down to it we committed to press on, to love limitlessly, to be available, ultimately to point each other toward the face of Christ and spur one another on to be better lovers of Jesus. this experience taught me what it means to be a christian - love jesus, love others. 
i couldn’t be more exited for the journey you have ventured on. it is beautiful and painful and exhilarating and exhausting. you will laugh and yell and cry and laugh again. be open, be available, be honest, be real, be selfless. 
:), 1.0 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

home sweet home

it all started last sunday when i walked into church not wanting to be a christian any more. well, lets be honest, it started waaaay before that but for the sake of your time and sanity, i’ll start there. ok, i lied. i’ll back up a little. background: the biggest thing i have learned from being involved in circles is how to be part of the body of christ. i’m still not totally dialed in on what my role or my place is or how we can have the same ends in mind with such seemingly diabolic means, but i’m learning. needless to say, it has been a challenge for me. my identity is in christ not in being a christian but learning how to be part of His church is a process i’m still stumbling through. thanks for baring with me. so, back to sunday. i walked into the center not really knowing why i was there. i was not looking for an “experience” that would change my mind. i didn’t want a stream of tears to fool me into thinking something had changed. i just wanted this to be real. i wanted consistency. i wanted authenticity. i wanted a genuine outpouring of His power and authority that came from death to myself and submission to Him and His will. not a hyped up pep rally to get others to join the Jesus train. i want us to experience the fullness of Christ out of the overflow of our surrender and the consequent emptying of our lives and resources and dreams and expectations. i’ve been burned by more christians more frequently and with far more intensity than any non-christian i’ve ever known. i see christians (myself included) and frankly, we aren’t living up to the example of freedom and authority and authenticity that Jesus set for us. our prize has become souls on the scoreboard of eternity or seats filled or tears shed or holy fist pumps or frequent use of spiritual idioms. no! 
our prize is Jesus. 
it isn’t what we can get from Him. it isn’t how He can change us. it isn’t the ways He chooses to use us. it is Him. just Him. if Jesus were to never allow us another “experience” with Him on this side of heaven would we still follow Him? i’m not devaluing the times we experience God or neglecting the ways He faithfully and graciously answers prayer but i’m wondering if that is what we desire or if what we desire is simply Him. 

so there i was in the back row, slightly distracted as i brewed on the injustices i had recently seen and experienced within the figurative four walls of the church. the sermon spoke directly to what i was wrestling with. if you weren’t there-listen to it online. but for the sake of this blog, it was essentially about how Christ has set a standard of excellence in the use of divine authority that we as the church have on several accounts failed to meet. it was a sobering check to our spirits, begging the question why we follow him-because he is God and worthy of our all or because of the cool things He does and can consequentially do through us? at the end darin apologized to those who had been on the receiving end of the shortcomings of the church. i bawled. i was so broken and honestly kinda frustrated. i felt like i had been on the receiving end of so many burns by people who claim to be passionate lovers and followers of Christ and i know that i myself have been the culprit of burning others. what are we doing? where are we missing the point? i know God met me there and reminded me of the human-ness of the church and myself. 
i left for NYC. bright eyed and excited for a change of pace and brief escape from that which was causing so much frustration-it was a much anticipated trip. i took a cab from the airport to the studio i was working at to arrive at what can be described as nothing less than absolute chaos. the reality that the men and women in this room functioned in was one that has become absolutely foreign to me. within the first few minutes of being in that studio i was given a much larger responsibility than i had signed up for and was faced with darkness at its very core. i felt like i was walking among corpses. i don’t know. people void of life. they walked and talked but there was nothing in them. nose bleeds were common among the models who’s cocaine habits seemed to not only be accepted but encouraged. the little rails of white powder might as well have been a ball and chain wrapped around the ankles of their souls. it was a place where people have no value and pleasure is god. the currency for success is measure in “good times” as defined by an ambiguous high or strung out passer by. unfortunately, many aspects of this scene used to be part of my story. if you were to tell the dannah four years ago that i would be raging with high ups in the fashion/beauty industry in an all expense paid trip to NYC you couldn’t have gotten me there fast enough. today and only by the grace of God, you couldn’t have gotten me out of there fast enough. someone asked me if i was “feeling tempted”, knowing this is something i struggled with in the past. and in some ways, yes, i was and in others i wasn’t at all. yes because this is my industry, this was supposed to be my scene. i love doing hair. i wanted to fit it. i wanted to have a good time. and in that atmosphere it felt like a good time was unattainable without getting wasted or strung out. on the other hand, i feel like God gave me the ability to see drug use and the over indulgence in alcohol for what it really is. i always saw those things as a gateway to a good time rather than a self destructive mask to disguise the pain and fear and pride in my heart. i finished the two runway shows and the editorial shoot i had committed to and got on the next flight to LA, two days before i was scheduled to come home. as we taxied the runway before take off i literally felt like i had been punched in the stomach. i really had no idea what had just happened-the trip was a whirlwind of darkness and fear and temptation and loneliness. the flight home was a sweet time of reflection thanking God for protecting me while i was gone, thanking him for bringing me out of the lifestyle i was in bondage to, thanking him for the flawed but faithful community he has allowed me to be part of, thanking him for grace, and thanking him for reminding me what life without him looks like. oh, and i apologized to God. i've got to stop threatening to walk out. i'm His, He's mine, nothing (not even my failures or being at the receiving end of someone else's failures) can change that. thanks, God, for sticking with me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

i know He is working.
i don’t always
i rarely know what He is up to. 
it’s ok though.
i trust Him completely. 
i trust that He is using my circumstances, 
He is using you, 
He is using this place, 
to cause me to become a better lover of Him. 
my eyes are on Him.
my heart is in the palm of His hands.
i still ask why.
i still cringe at the discomfort.
i still shed tears.
but i’m learning.

Monday, April 25, 2011


i realize i haven’t blogged in quite a while and as i sit here to write there are so many things i have at my fingertips begging to be documented. 
my mom came and left california. two weeks. it was a whirlwind. the visit had great times and rough times. all in all, i love my mom and i am trusting that God is going to heal her in His time. 
i got to host a fundraiser for relief efforts in Japan. the event was tons of fun, i learned a lot about the value of team, about how much i enjoy event planning (which was cool), and what amazingly talented people i’m blessed to know. the whole process was a great perspective shift and grew in me a heart of compassion for those who are hurting (hurting in every sense: spiritually, emotionally, socially, physically). plus we raised just over $3,000! thank you for all of your support!
i went back to hawaii for a week to see the closest thing i have to a sister get married. she is beautiful from the inside out, she made an exquisite bride and will be a wonderful wife. spending time with my girls was AWESOME! we surfed and ate and danced and slept then did it over again for about a week straight! i also got to have a really healthy and productive conversation with my family. difficult but really allowed me to let go of some things and turn my expectations for them into anticipation of what God can and will do in my parents as individuals, them as a married couple, and us as a little fam! 
those things are great and i’d still love to talk to all of you about them but all i want to write about is sunday. easter was different this year. the air was thick with excitement and awe at the miracle of salvation and forgiveness of sin and new life and power and the majesty and all-encompassing greatness of our God. there were a few moments throughout the day i had to take a step back and remind myself to breathe. 
sunday won’t make as much sense without knowing what preceded it.  well, i just mentioned what the last month looked like in a nutshell. but it started when i went for a walk on the beach by myself at home. God speaks to me so clearly through His creation. i watched the sun rising over the ocean and the sky is slowly painted in colors that took my breath away. i heard the waves surging in and out around my ankles and my toes were buried in the billions of grains of sand that have been hand carved by the same hands that hung on a tree to pay for my sin and i just wanted to fall over and call it a day. is this real? breathless, my smile said thank you to God as i had just interpreted the scene as His love letter to me. he whispered back, you think this is beautiful but you are the apex of my creation. i’ve never felt so secure, so loved, so willing to give it all to just be with Him. i got on a plane and came back to california later that afternoon. 
wednesday came quickly. He is worthy. and i have never been so blessed to exalt His name with so many other recklessly abandoned worshippers before. i saw breakthrough and freedom and adoration in the hands and faces of those i was surrounded by and it felt like a little taste of heaven. wow. 
thursday night was dark. hey dannah, remember what a scum bag you were? remember the people you hurt? remember the mess you made? it’s unlovable, it’s unforgivable, it’s unforgettable. ah! in and of myself those things are true but it’s almost friday and i know exactly what that means...
what’s better than good? great? awesome? aljhfliuajfliduahefliaewukjhlkjh? lets call it that. aljhfliuajfliduahefliaewukjhlkjh friday! it’s beyond good. it changed everything. it took all the things i am accused and guilty of on thursday night and disarms them and restores a right relationship with the creator of the universe. wow. friday is an ever more beautiful love letter to me than the walk on the beach was on tuesday morning. as i left the house for the good friday service. carlee (the beast) asked where i was going. i told her i was on my way to church and she said but it isn’t sunday. i explained what good friday was and asked if she was still gonna come with me sunday (wondered if she had changed her mind since her mom said no). she said she would come and asked, wait, isn’t easter when Jesus was born? i explained christmas was when Jesus was born and easter in when He raised from the dead. she was freaked out. what?! he was dead, then he wasn’t dead?! thats weird... knowing she perceives death as the worst thing that could possibly happen to her i told her Jesus has power over death. she said she wanted that. i sat down to chat but she wanted to talk about it later. so i left for church blown away by how God draws us to Himself. Lord, let it be so for my family!
i’ve never thought about sad saturday much before. this particular saturday i was working all day. i was listening to music and a song that says, “the same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me. You’re love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me”  came on. wow. He has given me great power that has come with a great responsibility/capacity to love. i want my family to know this power and this love. this power that breaks the bondage of sin and can raise death to life and can mend brokenness. this power that knows no bounds. this love that takes on every sin and hurt and injustice and hangs on a cross to pay for it. this love that accepts me exactly the way i am but loves me too much to leave me that way and transforms me to His perfect, beautiful will. this love that knows no bounds. saturday my aunt realized sunday was easter and apparently that and christmas are the two times she will go to church. so she decided her and the fam would come on sunday! :)
sunday is finally here! it started before dawn. 
think about that again. 
i want to be as awestruck as the beast was on friday. this is huge and i’ve allowed the resurrection to become common. it is anything but common. it is everything! 
i got baptized sunday morning at the beach. i met Jesus a while ago. i’m developing a relationship with Him. i’ve accepted Him as the only one who can save me from my sin and myself. i’ve surrendered my everything to His will. i’m committed to Him, to bringing His name glory, and to being emptied of me so others can see Him in me. baptism just seemed like the right thing to do. there is no other name i want to be associated with, there is no other cause i want to live for. i’m His and He is mine. it was an honor to publicly display the commitment i’ve made in my heart. i came out of the water with a renewed commitment to Christ and walking as the new creation He has made me. dannah, breathe.
through the creativity of nick benoit and the arts team, caleb and the worship team, and francis chan-Jesus hit this one out of the park! i was excited to hear the message before my family came for the eleven o’clock service. 
eleven o’clock rolled around i met my family in the parking lot. we sat down and the service started with a beautifully creative display of how when Jesus shows up-things change! the redundant purposelessness of life is broken and new life and freedom burst forth in colorful and often unexpected ways. dannah, breathe. i believe God spoke so clearly through francis chan. Lord, give us ears to hear. when the opportunity to respond rolled around my heart was about to beat out of my chest. it felt like my stomach was in my throat and i just wanted to know if they “got it”. i peered out of the corner of my eye. no one stood up. honestly, i was disappointed. i felt like i got kicked in the face. i was confused. Lord, why? He reminded me that their salvation is not my responsibility. He is drawing them to Himself. i will continue to love Jesus-they will see Him. 
the baptism started and my family left. bayley and her family were in the row in front of me and her family left at the same time. with the row to ourselves, we worshipped. my body couldn’t catch up with what was happening in my heart. dancing, tears, laughing, shouting, singing, stillness. he is worthy. dannah, breathe. 
exhausted-it was time for bed. bayley left and as i was brushing my teeth to hit the hay chase came back. he asked if we could talk. i had a feeling he wanted to talk about girls (something we have long talks about often...) and honestly wasn’t in the mood. there was a long pause and he broke the silence with “will you pray with me? i want to know God.” dannah, breathe. i started bawling. we sat on my bed and i told him what Jesus has done in my life and we read about when nicodemus sought Jesus in john 3 then we prayed together-a declaration of his need for Jesus, an acceptance of His gift of grace, and a commitment to live for Him. 

ok, so i wrote about more than sunday, but my point in all this is that revival is here. 
it starts in our hearts. 

Friday, April 1, 2011


why does God call us to be in relationship and community with one another? why are we supposed to share life together? i mean, the good times are good, but lets be real, life isn’t always good. its easy to share in the good times. its fun to walk together in life with someone who is experiencing the mountaintops and rose-tinted glasses. sharing in those seasons is seemingly effortless and doesn’t require much dependance on One greater than ourselves. however, it gets tricky when life throws a curveball and all the sudden the sun isn’t as shiny and an ominous dark cloud of reality is looming over head. 
i’d say nine out of ten of us (myself included) have the i want to help you feel better and fix this situation tendencies when faced with challenges and trials. this is where I wonder why we’ve been called to do this life together. wouldn’t it be easier to just hole up, avoid the painful conversations, eliminate the “hands and feet” of Jesus and isolate to a place with just me and Him? there is nothing anyone could do or say that could change the circumstances that have been dealt. ultimately, i am only under the graceful wing of God’s presence while walking though the impossible moments of life. He is God. He sustains. He gives mercy. He completes. 
my fear in doing life together is that others will be tempted to feel the need to make my circumstances better and i will want to fix the unpleasantries in the lives of others. that isn’t my job nor is it the job given to you. we are called only to love one another. sometimes is helpful just to know someone is there, someone is praying, someone cares. sometimes we will have no words, sometimes we will have no actions, always we point each other to Jesus-He is the only one with the authority or qualifications to carry us. 
another fear i have in the vulnerability that comes with being a committed part of the body of Christ is that i will be seen and valued by my story rather than who i am and Christ in me. life is messy (mine in particular). my circumstances may affect my mood or may cause temporary discomfort but i would never ever want my story to define me. i love a God who defies stories and circumstances and does the impossible. i want to be seen as His daughter-not a product of my circumstances.
long in short. i have good days and i have bad days. you have good days and you have bad days. i don’t have the answers. you don’t have the answers. Jesus does. lets point one another to Him and commit to loving each other through the good and the bad.
someone who can be with me through the highlights and through the shit storms is someone who sees me for more than my story and loves me for me and Jesus in me.
approaching someone with my anxieties or excitements before i’ve surrendered it and my heart to Jesus is setting that person up to fail by giving them a job intended for the Creator of the universe.
how much is too much, when are we not being transparent enough, and what are the “rules” of authenticity and vulnerability?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

hope to see you all there!
saturday april 9.
31 bits warehouse.
all proceeds go to relief efforts of the red cross in japan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

it was only a few years ago that i sat on the floor of my bedroom with the very broken pieces of my life scattered before me. at that moment i couldn’t comprehend how God was going to take my brokenness and shame and pain and turn it into something beautiful and something that would bring glory to Himself. in that moment, none of those things made sense and seeing beyond the mess was nearly impossible. two years later, i know it is true. i know that nothing is beyond the reach of almighty God. nothing is too far, nothing is too big, nothing is broken beyond His hand of restoration. i know it because He has proven it to be true in my own life. He took my brokenness and shame and pain and turned it into an identity that is complete in Him and confidence in being a daughter of the King and a heart that is whole and wholly committed to Him. 
life circumstances that have come to light this week have tested my trust that nothing is too big or too broken for the hand of God to make beautiful and bring glory to Himself. i look at the “hand that has been dealt” and am tempted to think this is too broken or too far beyond the hand of God. while my past doesn’t define me, it has played a significant role in shaping who i am and how i see life. in this case, God is using my past to remind me of His faithfulness, of His power, of the fact that He is God and nothing is beyond Him. 
but as is consistent with His character, He doesn’t just want to reiterate a lesson He has already taught me, but He wants more. i am choosing to entrust my circumstances and the corresponding fears and pain that come with that to God not because i know He has the ability to make them beautiful, but simply because He is God. i wrestled with Him this week and came out the other side out of breath and with an eerie freedom that came with my commitment to Him: whatever happens, if You choose to make this better or not, You have my heart.