WHERE TO FIND JESUS // A THANK YOU TO EVERY PETTY TYRANT WHO CHANGED MY LIFE

when I was young, I thought finding Jesus was easy, thought it was a one-time event. like, “Oh, he found Jesus, and now he’s saved.” (whatever those christian-isms actually mean?)

as I got older, I realized it’s never that simple.
because, as rachel held evans says, God chose a side when Jesus arrived here, wrapped up in our messy humanity.

so, today I am writing a thank you letter to every abuser, liar, manipulator, fool, and pharisee who changed my life. I’m writing this thank you letter, because they are the ones who have showed me where Jesus is and is not. they’ve showed me where to find him. they’ve pushed me towards him, unintentionally.

thank you.

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to the people in my youth group who made jokes about me every time I was moved to tears during worship, prayer, or someone’s testimony…
thank you. Jesus is with those who are moved with compassion, because the heart of God is moved with compassion. I felt like an oversensitive drama queen for years, until I realized my heart is soft, gentle, and overcome with empathy. and that those are my strengths. and that you can find Jesus with the compassionate.

to the girl who manipulated and sexually abused me as a teenager…
thank you. not for the abuse, which was despicable and vile, but for opening me up to the reality that Jesus is found with the abused. you can always be sure to find Jesus wherever people are being taken advantage of at their core. he was beaten, stripped naked, and hung on a tree for everyone to mock. Jesus is with us. Divine Love has chosen sides, and as a mother comforts, nurtures, and empathizes with Her children, She sits with us, grieving our abuse, collecting our tears.

Continue reading “WHERE TO FIND JESUS // A THANK YOU TO EVERY PETTY TYRANT WHO CHANGED MY LIFE”

A THOUGHT FOR THE ONE LEFT REELING BY A TOXIC GOSPEL

are you ready for the sheer honesty that’s about to hit you right now?

most things religious are a hard pill for me to swallow these days.

when you’ve had the name of Jesus twisted to promote an abusive, toxic theology of shame & manipulation, a pure spiritual experience with Jesus is damn near impossible to come by. and a GOOD, KIND, COMPASSIONATE God seems like a long shot to reconcile with the angry, volatile, shunning one that’s been fed to you.

although it’s felt like it during the most anguished of moments, I know I’m not alone. I’m not alone in the crowd of thousands of exvangelicals or dechurched people, reeling from the pain inflicted on them, and I’m not alone in the select accounts I can still read with comfort in scripture.

I love the stories in the Bible where broken-up & cast-out people are anxiously, desperately, helplessly searching for Jesus.

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I like when the woman who had been turned away by every doctor & shunned by every friend finds actual, physical & emotional healing with just a brush against his clothes.

I like when Jesus protectively stands in the way of power-hungry religious leaders, when they drag a half-naked woman in front of a crowd of self-righteous men and are basically drooling to throw stones at her until she dies… and then through love, He builds her back up and empowers her so she can go live clean and free.

I like when He honors a woman who has been learning at His feet as a student, and says she chose the better thing, when she is chastised by her frustrated, jealous sister for stepping out of her gender’s expected role.

I like when later on, Jesus then defends the honor and wisdom of a woman who is worshiping him with expensive perfume and the intimacy of her own tears.

in those stories, the people always had to wade through a toxic crowd of Pharisees & the religious elite before they found Jesus.

He wasn’t with them.

they were simply obscuring the view.

perhaps you need to keep going, keep wading through the messy parade of rehearsed hypocrisy, until it no longer hides Jesus from your weeping eyes.

keep pressing on. keep coming closer, closer, closer to the center. the closer you come to Jesus, the more you’ll realize that those Pharisees might be tall and obtrusive, but they hold no claim to the Prince of Peace.

DANCING IN THE GREY #notwalkingaway

“I feel like everyone is so busy beating one another over the head with their minuscule black & white opinions and judgements, and I’m just over here dancing in the grey.” I irritatingly sputtered the words out to my husband a couple nights ago, during a heavy discussion steeped in wounds not yet healed and theology not yet set in stone.

my mind still lingers on those words… dancing in the grey.

some people are, for some reason, really, really afraid of the grey areas. but why is that? why is there so much defensiveness in the grey? perhaps the truth is that the people who seem to be so against me as a person, aren’t really against me, but a thought process that poses a threat to a false safety net of black & white beliefs filled with dangerous lies…

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and the lies say things, sometimes implicit, and sometimes truly explicit, like…

you can meet God where you’re at unless where you’re at doesn’t look like what I think it should.

and God is Love, but love isn’t what you think; it’s actually bigotry and anger and eternally torturing the conscious dead masses.

and if you can believe what you want, as long as you don’t believe anything differently from me because then you can’t be a Christian anymore.

and if you question the wrong thing, or grieve for too long, or miss too many Sundays, or are wounded too deeply to heal according to my timeline

well then you’re out.
you’re on the “slippery slope”.
you’ve found yourself on the “wide road”.
you’re “walking away”.
you become the “them” in the us vs them dialogue that has poisoned the people of the Way for far too long.

and what then?

I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure, because that’s where I currently am. I guess you go find your people, the people who are willing to create a space for you to meet with Jesus in the unique and glorious way that is yours alone to know and understand.

but I do know a few beautiful, solid truths, and one of them is this:

grey is made from black and white.

grey happens when black and white soften and make peace with one another’s existence in the universe.

when they recognize that they are both a part of this messy, terrifying, stunning world, and choose to blend into beauty instead of stoically creating a barrier of hostility.

when they discover the holiness in unity, and lose the individualistic pride of right vs wrong in every anthill.

grey is made from strands of black and white woven throughout everything, merging to create an acknowledgement of the complexity of life.

a dear dear friend of mine posted a brave thing just the other day. she claimed the grey and owned her suffering & anger in a moving, holy public display of humanity. and she posted #notwalkingaway with it.

there she was, claiming all the questions and woundedness and frustration as her own, making loud her anger at a God who seemed to fail her… and claiming Divine Love as her own, too.

that’s what grey looks like.

to dance in the grey is to accept the gift of humanity and divinity wrapped up all together in chaos and delivered in sorrow, somehow releasing from your lips a gasp of peace.

yeah, it’s a mystery.

but all the mystics will tell you that’s where the beauty lives.

dance in the grey, loves.

THE THING ABOUT #METOO THAT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM

hey babes!

if you haven’t read my last post or you have nooo idea what this whole #metoo thing is all about… go read it now! I’ll wait 😉

as I’m sure you can tell, I am a thousand billion percent on board with the genius bravery that is the #metoo movement. I’m thankful that finally, a platform is being given to every woman who has ever suffered the humiliation of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse.

I’m thankful for the push to share my story.

but something happened on Tuesday as I pressed publish, and as I scrolled through my newsfeed, and as I talked with suffering survivors, that chilled me to my bones and set a wild fury in me. something started coming to light that left me physically ill and shaking with a holy rage.


I started noticing a common theme among those who chose to share their story.

shame. embarrassment. a need to explain themselves. covering their tracks. plentiful recognitions of “but so many other people have t worse”. an over-emphasis on why their abuser/attacker/harasser isn’t that bad of a person.

do you understand how utterly disturbing that is?

as women we are trained to be in a constant state of lowliness. we default the blame to ourselves because that is what we have been taught to do. 

we literally end up carrying the shame & guilt for the dehumanizing actions done TO US

we carry the weight of the abused and the abuser.

and it’s wrong. so wrong.

it was an astonishing amount of women who felt guilty posting their story or even those two simple words: me too. 

why would we feel guilty? we didn’t want to make our abusers look bad, didn’t want them to be embarrassed, didn’t want them to have to deal with the torture we’ve been enduring, surviving, silently for years.

it’s conditioning. it’s rape culture.

as I pushed published, my stomach lurched. I was terrified. not that people would know what happened to me, but that people would question me, that people would attack my abuser, that people would roll their eyes at my “need for attention”, that people would suggest I wanted it to happen, that proof of some sort would be demanded of me… the list goes on.

I. should. not. be. the. frightened. one.

the abusers should be the ones afraid & embarassed to let these secrets find the light, NOT the ones abused. 

the abused/assaulted/harassed should feel SAFE in the exposing of this darkness, not condemned, not afraid, not embarrassed. 

this disturbing twisting of who is to blame in the event of abuse/assault/harassment is one of the most blatant views of rape culture.

until we remove the blame from the battered shoulders of the victims & survivors, and place it on those who actually committed the acts of violence and violation, we will never succeed in respecting or elevating women… or even at the very least recognizing & honoring their humanity.

do. better.

if you’re silently whispering “me too”, know you are so loved, so believed, and so innocent of this evil that has been done to you. 

you are worthy of your healing.

ME TOO // A PORTAIT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ASSAULT & ABUSE

TRIGGER WARNING: this post is a true personal portrait of twenty-three year’s worth of sexual harassment, assault & abuse. what’s worse… this story is far from rare.

some things may be painful to read, so please, friend, read with caution.

statistics tell us, that…
1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault.
2/3 of rapes go unreported.
every 98 seconds, sexual assault occurs in our country.
1 out of every 6 women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
90% of all victims are women.
the amount of stress & disorders like PTSD reported by victims is drastically higher than that compared to any other major crime.
((ALL STATISTICS ARE FROM RAINN.ORG))

there are some very clear reasons why I write this post. 

contrary to the victim-shamers, it’s not for attention. (the attention victims gather is nothing anyone would covet.)

I write this to shine a light onto the state of how women are treated.
I write it to give a clear, personal account of real things that real women experience.
I write this as a privileged, white, Christian good-girl.



I write this because someone needs to.

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I write it because it’s my story, and mine alone, to write. Continue reading “ME TOO // A PORTAIT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ASSAULT & ABUSE”

RESCUE. POWER. STRENGTH. // THE TRAGIC, MARVELOUS STORY OF WOMEN

being a woman is a mysterious, beautiful, tragic, marvelous, wild, unique adventure. I love being a woman, and I think it’s a wonderful, incomprehensible gift. but at the same time, the world we live in is not female-friendly.

the world we live in mocks what they consider feminine and celebrates what they call masculine. (of course, everyone seems to have different ideas of what those terms even mean…) the world puts men in the spotlight and women behind the scenes. women are seen as simply bodies with a service-oriented attitude, while men are seen as conquerors and victors, (basically mini gods) deserving of pride and all respect.

in fact, a man (or even woman, it seems…) doing anything “like a girl” is seen as a huge insult. and it is- it’s an insult of the most gross kind to every woman that has ever drawn breath on this planet. it’s an insult because throughout their brutalized, silenced, and struggling history, women are possibly the most resilient, brave, and powerful creatures who exist.

the “role” of women may be vastly different than what you’ve always thought. for me, it goes all the way back to the book of Genesis in scripture. in fact, it goes all the way back to the very creation of woman.


because God forms this beautiful human from a part of Adam, and then God calls her the helper of man. for so many people, the story just stops there. “yeah, woman is helper. okay.” but no.

because there’s a richness and a depth in these verses that’s only revealed when you look a little closer into the actual language in which is was written.

because the word translated “helper” is actually a Hebrew word that has no English equivalent.

because, of course.

of course God is doing something deeper & sweeter & more glorious than simply creating a human assistant. Continue reading “RESCUE. POWER. STRENGTH. // THE TRAGIC, MARVELOUS STORY OF WOMEN”

THE HOLY TENSION

oh, have I got some real-life stuff for you babes… grab that coffee and a snuggly blanket because we’re about to get real like woah.

I’m learning some wild things right now, things I never wanted to learn. and as my perspective & viewpoint shifts, I’m finding heart-wrenching lessons about the reality of God, the identity of myself, and the breath of the whole world.

and here’s what I’m discovering: the magic of life, the maturity of the soul, and the strange comfort Jesus displayed with contradictions-that-aren’t-actually-contradictions are all wrapped around one thing… living in holy tension.

tension.

probably one of our least favorite words. we avoid it, lash out at it, stuff it under rugs and behind closed doors, all the while not realizing that tension is a precious ally. all the while not realizing that our fear, avoidance, and anger towards it, is making it into a monster it never was.

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we, unfortunately, see tension as inherently evil, when in reality it’s an invitation. an offering of welcome into a space where we can begin to heal as deeply as we’ve been wounded, begin to find peace. Continue reading “THE HOLY TENSION”

10 AFFIRMATIONS FOR SURVIVORS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE

hey loves!

I announced a bit ago on instagram that the blog would be slowing down due to unforeseen & life-uprooting circumstances. perhaps someday I will be able to shine a bit of a light on the horrifying, healing, disastrous, delightful, unwanted, unbelievable journey we’re currently on… but as a wise woman once said (love you, G!): write from your scars, not your fresh wounds.

so… I’m just gently taking this journey day by day in the most loving & grace-filled way I know how. we shall see where it leads. 🙂

I’ve talked a little bit in the past about what spiritual abuse is and how we can recognize it & combat it in our faith families.

but today I woke up and decided all I wanted was to offer up a bit of encouragement and hope for those who might be leaving a situation where they experienced spiritual abuse… to those who are trying to heal from the hell they experienced, to those who have walked away & feel completely disillusioned by it all.

10 AFFIRMATIONS FOR SURVIVORS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE. 

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  1. I am loved by someone Higher than my abuser.
  2. I am safe.
  3. I am healing, and I will heal.
  4. I am not their perception of me.
  5. I am a human being- more precious than their theology.
  6. I am full of hope.
  7. I choose to reclaim my beliefs, separate from their lies.
  8. I choose to believe that God is for me.
  9. I choose to deconstruct.
  10. I choose to be who I am.

DEAR CHURCH, YOU’VE GOT IT BACKWARDS

I hear a lot of talk about how we should be anti-culture, how we should be against the world, how our good Christian churches are the small door holding all those depraved sinners back from hell, how we need to listen to all our deeply revered leaders and tell everyone else that even though we love them, we hate everything about them,  how we should be better than all of “them”, whoever the ever-elusive “them” is (usually I gather that it means “the gays” and people who drink and/or cuss and anyone who attends a women’s march).

I also hear a lot about persecution, about how the culture is out to get us because they’re evil and always have been, and how Jesus was persecuted by His culture, so we should expect the same

there’s just one problem with all of this talk about being against “the culture” (which, again, isn’t actually ever defined… it feels like we are usually just supposed to think of the most depraved thing that comes to mind and paint the world with that brush): Jesus did the exact opposite.

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like… the exact. opposite.

yeah, Jesus definitely calls out people on their self-destructive & sinful lifestyles, and he definitely aligned himself closely with other people… it’s just that the church has somehow managed to get the recipients of those two kinds of interactions completely reversed in our thoughts, teachings, and theology.

let’s sort this out very plainly.

people Jesus aligns himself with/spends time getting to know: tax collectors, a demon-possessed woman, a half naked woman dragged by an angry crowd of strange men out of bed from a man who isn’t her husband, a woman divorced multiple times and likely taken advantage of, the politically incorrect, desperate people who didn’t know anything about God, children with never ending questions, radicals, sick people, a woman who reached out because she had nothing left to lose.

people Jesus called out for their damaging & sinful lifestyles: religious elites, prideful people, gossipers, spiritual abusers/manipulators (I believe Jesus used the terms snakes and vipers).

and the problem with the idea of being persecuted by the culture?

Jesus wasn’t.

yup. one more time for the people in the back.

JESUS WASN’T PERSECUTED BY “THE CULTURE”.

now, obviously he was persecuted. I am in no way denying this. I’m pointing out that we have it wrong when we say who it was that persecuted him.

because it was never “the culture”. the people of the world loved Jesus because for them, he was the embodiment of good news in a world that was trying to spiritually enslave, cast out, and marginalize them. Jesus was their hope in a religious establishment that showed them no mercy.

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so who was it who persecuted Jesus?
it was the religious elite.
the ones with all the answers.
the ones with a god complex.
the ones who were privileged and took advantage of it.
the well-respected false teachers.
the ones forcing tithes and offerings.
the ones quick to pick up a stone.
the ones who made alliances with evil political powers.
the ones who shamed & silenced victims.
the ones who had the religious power, endless respect, and who knew the right answer to every theological question that could be thrown at them, but whose religious prestige was threatened when Divine Love, the servant King, the kind God who loved the unloved and celebrated women and elevated the marginalized came into the picture and began turning the tables of their theology into one of love.

those are the ones who persecuted Jesus.

and if we can expect the same persecution Jesus faced, we can expect to face rejection, condescension, and accusations of a “Jezebel spirit” or “heresy” when we act out of love to those who have been trampled, abused, and unwanted.

members of the religious elite have always been jealous for power and married to their self-destructive, unloving theology– this is what drove them to being hungry for the murder of the most loving, most kind man in the history of the world. this is why they killed Jesus.

when unselfish love is met with “but you might accidentally affirm their behavior…”, you have found a persecutor.
when kindness is met with “well the Bible says…”, you have found a persecutor.
when grace is met with “but what about their sin…”, you have found a persecutor.
when good news isn’t good news for every culture, race, age, and sex, you have found a false gospel.

our job has only ever been to bring the good news, and to stop any who might defile the good news in the name of Jesus.

stand firm, you brave and kind women of Jesus.
go out as prophetesses and healers and ezers, the Divine rescuing help of the world.