BEING LOVED IS BRAVE

hey babes.

we’re living an incredibly painful & difficult season over here in the Avrick house. that sounds like a broken record, doesn’t it? yeah. well, to be honest, the past three years have been both the hardest & best of our lives. and it just keeps going.

but I’m learning things. oh, how I’m learning. there’s nothing like a trial to plant you deeper, darker into black soil and then revel in your wild growth.

and here’s one of the freshest, most in-process truths I’m starting to tentatively sink into… being loved is brave. yeah.

letting yourself be loved. like, really sacrificially loved. it’s hard for me. it takes everything in me to soften and allow hands of love to be opened in my direction.

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it opens years of wounding, years full of fear that I’m a burden, that I’m too much to carry, that maybe I’m a waste, that I’m just a troublesome human clinging to affection. it’s close to impossible to be loved in big, mountain-moving ways without me feeling those old haunts coming back to wrap their toxins around my fragile heart.

it feels like an insurmountable task- to be fully loved. Continue reading “BEING LOVED IS BRAVE”

DEAR FRIEND

Dear friend…

if you are feeling lost, alone, marginalized, heartbroken, or hopeless, know this:

I AM FOR YOU.

JESUS IS WITH YOU.

you are not alone. there may be those who would desire to rip you apart, but sweet soul, they don’t win.

we who hold true & cling fast to the heart of our precious Jesus will always find those on our side. we will always find hope when we need it. we will always find sweet peace & a gentle home for our weary souls when we feel we cannot go on.

so when you are living in fear and looking around at a world broken with pride & hatred, remember this…


come back to your breath. this is the core of your physical & emotional self.

recognize that growth involves mourning. saying goodbye to the old things is painful, and it’s really really good.

release the toxic things. they stunt your growth. they break your will.

cling to what is good. this is your lifeline because all good is from Jesus.

remember your inherent worthiness as a daughter of Divine Love. you’ve been filled with a brilliant breath of glory. and yes, you’re worthy. worthy. worthy

know that your wild can also be your holy. 

love yourself fiercely, the way your are SO LOVED by the Divine, and let that love spill over to soak everyone around you with that fearless, brave, intentional LOVE.

we will make it through this. together.

SPIRITUAL ABUSE // WHAT IT IS & HOW TO GET FREE

hey fam!

today I want to chat with you about a topic that can be really triggering and scary for some of us. it’s been weighing on my heart & I want to just get this truth out of me and shed some light on it okay?

many of us are probably familiar with the terms of sexual abuse/domestic abuse/emotional abuse… these are all deeply dehumanizing and disturbing behaviors that need to be called out & shut down. but something that so many people I know have been a victim of, and which most people don’t even seem to realize exists, is a despicable thing called spiritual abuse.

what is spiritual abuse?

spiritual abuse comes in many forms and wears many disguises. it can be subtle and hard to recognize or loud and blatant. here are just a few ways it can read its ugly head…

MISUSE OF SCRIPTURE

spiritual abuse most often happens when people throw around scripture incorrectly and without reverence, such as using it: out of context, to shame, to ostracize, to excuse or perpetrate cruel behaviors, to prove a point, to shut down a conversation, to silence, to blame, to mock, to build their high horse, to belittle, to brush off, to shrink your pain, to avoid the topic, to divert attention away from their own faults, with condescension, with anger, without kindness… the list could go on. the bottom line here is this: if you have ever been belittled, shamed, brushed off, silenced, or made to feel like your pain was irrelevant with quoted scripture, you have been a victim of spiritual abuse.


THE NARROW ROAD COMPLEX Continue reading “SPIRITUAL ABUSE // WHAT IT IS & HOW TO GET FREE”

FOR THE BRUISED & BUSTED UP

hey there family.

how’s your heart doing? how does life feel against your skin? how’s the weight on your shoulders?

heavy?

yeah… me, too.

because I’ve been struggling real fierce with the weight lately. with the heaviness of all that the world is. all that the Way is. all the healing and woundedness in the world.

I’ve been taking more pauses for deep breaths meant to cleanse and pause and bring shalom into my heart. more because there’s more to breathe against. more to fear. more wounds to bind up.

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the world is heavy, and the weight is fearsome, and the depth of the rawness of our humanity is leagues and leagues more so than the ocean. and we must find a way to breathe through it, to surrender to the healing, even as the arrows pierce our hearts.

and all the bitter hypocrisy, all the callous & graceless acts of others, all the hard work for more disappointment, all the exhaustion and survival, all the confusion and frustration of WHY IS THIS THE WAY IT IS… sometimes it just leaves me bruised & busted up in my soul. Continue reading “FOR THE BRUISED & BUSTED UP”

MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD

maybe you know that my husband & I were surprised by a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, sweet-natured, PERFECT (of course) little baby girl who was born just over a month ago. her name is Iola, and we love her to bits and pieces. though not literally. cause that would be odd. and unfortunate. 😉

maybe you also know that I have generalized anxiety disorder & clinical depression. the first time I remember experiencing a very-not-normal type of anxiety, I was only five years old, although it really came at me like a punch in the gut the summer after I turned 16.

if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you probably know both of those things. but here’s something you might not know:

mental illnesses like these run in my family.
and my husband’s family.

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and for this reason, I was never really sure I wanted to have my own children.

so…
sweet, freshly-diagnosed girl looking out into her future with these fears, this is for you.
strong mama in the double trenches of mental illness & motherhood, this is for you.
tentative pregnant gal who never had to think about this until you had to go cold turkey off your meds, this is for you.
anyone who loves a mama with a mental illness, this is for you. Continue reading “MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD”

IOLA GRACE // THE BIRTH STORY

hi there sweet souls!

I ducked out on a month-long hiatus from untidy grace (and most social media) for the month of february after our sweet Iola Grace was born… speaking of which…

yes! she is here! our darling girl is finally in our arms and it’s both easy and hard and beautiful and terrifying. we are completely overwhelmed in all the best ways, and we are equal parts out-of-our-minds exhausted & happy. ❤ she is the perfect addition to our family.

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((just after she was placed on my chest for the first time… be still my heart!))

it’s really important to me that I get to share the story of her birth. I think birth stories matter hugely because they are the stories of how we came to be, how we joined humanity in this wild flood of wild and holy chaos. they are the stories that contain the first moments of our lives, our first breaths, the first time we were touched and held and hands-on-loved.

birth stories come with waterfalls of emotion, too. there is always a bit of fear and panic entwined in the joy and expectation that surrounds the birth of a child. it isn’t all rainbows & butterflies, and sometimes that pain & panic can turn into trauma, deep physical ramifications, or postpartum anxiety & depression. I think ALL of it matters- the joy, the newness, the happy… and the fear and disappointment. all of it deserves a voice.

I will insert here a TRIGGER WARNING for those of you who had traumatic birth experiences. mine was, too, and I want to be sensitive to what you may have faced.

Continue reading “IOLA GRACE // THE BIRTH STORY”

10 (MORE) NOT SO TINY TRUTHS

a long time ago, I wrote a blog post called “10 not so tiny truths”, and it is still one of my favorites. it’s chalk-full of small, easy-to-remember truths for the days where you just can’t, you know?

well a lot of you really seemed to find a sense of solidarity and hope in that post, and today when I woke up totally askew & feeling all off, I realized it might be time to not just remind myself of those sweet old truths, but bring to light some new ones that I want to always remember. 

to read the previous list of ten not so tiny truths, all you have to do is click here.


here are TEN (MORE) NOT SO TINY TRUTHS:

1) there is enough grace (or forgiveness, or hope, or love, or _______) for all of us, and you don’t have to fear it running out.

2) it’s okay to stop watering the dead things.

3) you have been called “good & blessed”.

4) Jesus doesn’t regret saving you.

5) if you feel abandoned by churches or spirituality or religion or just love in general, remember… God seeks what has been driven away. 

6) you are allowed to change.

7) truth often divides before it binds.

8) nothing is ever wasted on Jesus.

9) just because you are soft does not mean you are not a force- honey and wildfire are both the color of gold. // Victoria Erickson

10) mercy triumphs over judgement.

tuck these small & powerful truths into your heart. save the link. share the post. copy them into your journal. write them in sharpie on your arms. you do you, sister. 

but remember them well, and recall them when you are floundering in doubt, in fear, in shame, in loneliness, in insecurity, in forgetfulness, in depression, in the in-between.

remember them always, and repeat them to your heart and to the hearts of your sisters and brothers. breathe fresh air into these truths as you turn them over and over and manifest them in your life. 

I’ll be here with you… repeating, ruminating, manifesting.

xoxo

LET’S ALL STOP USING “MENTALLY ILL” AS AN INSULT

yeeaahh… let’s all just agree to not do this, okay? 

for those of you who haven’t had to walk this road, please allow me to humbly explain to you why this phrase can really wound when used incorrectly. I know that as our friends & family, you care about those of us who have to battle monsters like anxiety, depression, or another disorder, and we want to communicate to you how we can all best live in harmony! sound good? good.

here’s the thing: some of us are mentally ill. it’s a fact of life. sometimes our brain chemicals just aren’t doing their job, and it leaves us in the dust trying to figure out which way is up! or perhaps it was a traumatic event in our past that has significantly screwed with our emotionally sanity. either way, our lives look a little different from other people’s. 

here’s thing #2: mental illness is exactly what it says it is… an illness. like cancer or arthritis, it’s a sickness that takes lots of time, care, and sometimes medication to begin to heal. and while some mental illnesses can cause things like outbursts, momentary lapses in judgement, and the like, it’s not something that makes people terrible human beings.


when the people we know say things like “ugh what a complete mentally ill moron”, those of us who actually are mentally ill, associate the two. we feel like you must think that mentally ill people are terrible, mean, and ignorant. or worse… that because we are mentally ill, we have no other destiny than to become wicked people who hurt others and cause strife

those are already some of our deepest fears. we’re already scared that we are doomed to become horrible human beings because our mental illness has somehow broken us beyond repair. these are all lies our brains are already assaulted with. these are already lies we are fighting off at every moment. we are constantly striving to be kind & genuine people, despite the fog of confusion that clouds our hearts & minds

people with mental illness may be unconventional, but our illness does not take away our inherent worth, or make us somehow less than, or doomed to a fate where we are brokenly breaking everyone around us.

we are capable of greatness & goodness. but we won’t rise to our height of possibility, unless you believe in us, unless you’ve got our backs, unless we know that you will stand up for us. we can do this… but only with your help! 

can we all agree to no longer use mental illness as an insult anymore?

awesome. I knew I could count on you. 😉

xoxo

TO THE SPICY, AND THE STEADY, AND THE SKEPTICAL // WE NEED ALL OF US

“never touch anything with half of your heart.” // unknown
that quote could easily be the banner over my life. because this girl is sick and tired of being told to half-heart things. to be fair, I have never been very good at it… sometimes to my detriment. I live fully alive. I am all-in or all-out. I knew I was going to marry my husband after our first date. I drop everything if someone needs me… and sometimes if they don’t. I am viciously loyal, even if the sentiment doesn’t go both ways. If you want me, you’ve got all of me. if you don’t, you’ve lost me.

my soul is spicy and expansive and always on full-throttle… honestly, most of the time it’s something I can’t even help and don’t even realize I’m doing. it simply is. and I have come to realize that there are others like me, other spicy and expansive full-throttle-ers, whose purpose in life is to make the world uncomfortable enough through our vibrant love and terrifying all-in-ness, that it will move mountains.

see (as much as we’d like to think otherwise) our spicy, vibrant hearts are perfectly suited & strengthened for the bearing of burdens and voicing of injustices, but aren’t always built to withstand the lifting of entire mountains. we cry out and call attention and walk alongside, but we need help to elevate a church, raise a nation, change a world. we are prophets and prophetesses, but we need the kings and the priests and the armies to rise up and take their perfectly suited place by our side. we cannot be all things- no one is all things except our Jesus. we are made to work in tandem; we are meant to function as a unified family.

in fact, I’ve come to realize there several kinds of us that make up the world- and each of us has a part to play that we will be absolutely held accountable for. we each have a desperate and grave responsibility in this fight for Jesus-like compassion, justice, equality, and basic human dignity. none of us are excused- we simply each need to find our place and our way to be the change… in the perfect and precise way our hearts and minds were made to do so.


so, to the spicy & all-in heart: keep crying out, keep bearing the burdens, keep advocating, keep standing in the gate and prophesying over dry bones and keep being the voice crying out in the desert to make straight the way of the Lord. do not give up when you are discouraged- I know you suffer from burnout and are tempted to wilt under discouragement and rejection, but don’t do it. this cause is too important. love matters too much. your role in this story is slowly & brilliantly taking effect with every stirred soul. you are the ones marching in the streets and posting on facebook and organizing rallies and speaking at conventions and vibrantly standing up for your affected friends & neighbors. you’re the emotional whirlwind that sweeps the world off its feet and teaches it to love again. we need you. Continue reading “TO THE SPICY, AND THE STEADY, AND THE SKEPTICAL // WE NEED ALL OF US”

37 WEEKS PREGNANT // BUMPDATE

I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to be writing this post.

just 6 weeks ago we entered the hospital with my contractions less than 5 minutes apart to find I was at high-risk for pre-term labor, and were afraid we’d have a teeny preemie on our hands; in the 4-5 weeks that followed I was on a modified bed rest to make sure our Iola Grace stayed safely put until she was grown enough to be healthy out in the real world. (you can read the whole story here)

just before Christmas we were in the hospital yet again with more concerns, but (yet again), we were sent home and labor continued to hold off.

the pain has been excruciating. the emotional strain (and yeah even trauma) has been real. the heightened anxiety has been exhausting. and the contractions (now consistently every 10 minutes or less for the past few weeks) have been frustrating.

with each doctor appointment, my doctor expressed the doubt, but hope, that Io would stay put until the end of January. each appointment confirms that I am indeed getting closer to active labor by the day… but our little love has officially made it to term, which we never thought would happen, and we are both so happy & so impatient. (especially this mama who has been in early labor for 5+ weeks!!)

keep us in your prayers! mama is completely worn out and exhausted from the pain.
our girl Io is still looking perfect (as usual!), if a wee on the bit small side. ❤
dad is super ready to see his baby girl… and to have his other girl be less miserable. 😉

we’re a hot mess over here, but we are hanging on! this sweet little soul has been desperately waited upon & joyfully suffered for. we can’t wait to see her beautiful face…

happy 37 weeks of life, Io girl. we love you!