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.

YOU ARE NOT A LIABILITY // THE MODESTY MYTHS THAT BREAK & BURY US

MODESTY.

okay babes. can we talk about this word? please?

purity culture, which is a whole massive discussion that can’t be contained in just one blog post (though I made a decent effort here), is rife with the sub-culture of a twisted view of this word “modesty”.

church youth groups are constantly talking about it, from the old catchphrase “modest it hottest!” (let’s all just admit this one was poorly thought through) to the more recent rise of the Great Yoga Pants Wars. for some reason, people are completely obsessed, to a likely unhealthy extent if we’re honest, with modesty.

from the wildly inappropriate comments regarding my body & sex life I received while I was pregnant, to the damnation of the vast majority of swim suits (and often the people who wear them), to suggesting women are to blame for their own objectification, to the brushing off or blaming of sexual abuse victims, to the repulsion with a woman breastfeeding while not hidden in a corner… as these few examples show, so much of the evangelical community is disturbingly obsessed with female bodies.

I think it’s time to destroy some modesty myths here, because beautiful woman… you are not a liability. Continue reading “YOU ARE NOT A LIABILITY // THE MODESTY MYTHS THAT BREAK & BURY US”

MY RITUALISTIC SOUL

I did a bad thing.

well, I did an “oops” thing.

I slacked off on my daily rituals.
I eased out of my sacred moments of self-care.
I somehow lost my sight of the details, in the scope of the big picture.

and disaster struck.

you babes know how often I talk about self care, and soul care, and personal, sacred, daily rituals that help you grow & heal. well… I stopped doing those things. yup. I stopped living what I was preaching. I’m so very very human.

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and, to only prove what I tell y’all on the daily… it. messed. me. up.

the thing about these beautiful daily rituals (the lighting of a candle, the sitting with a cup of hot tea, the time spent journaling or with Jesus, the breakfast carefully crafted…) is that they keep our heart elevated to a place of peace & willingness. they keep our hearts safe enough that they become brave enough to reach out.
when I forget or dismiss these rituals, I become anxious, easily agitated, stubborn, and defensive. that’s why rituals can be especially important for those who suffer from anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses.

we all crave the things that remind us that we can be at peace, grounded, and in connection with ourselves, God, and the world around us. that’s why those daily rituals are SO important. they remind us not just of what’s important in life, but how to find access to those things.  Continue reading “MY RITUALISTIC SOUL”

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN TOLD TO BE AFRAID OF GOD…

hey loves!

today I just really want to talk to you about something a bit heavy that has been weighing down hard on me. it’s something that just recently became oh-so-clear to me, and I think it might be just the thing that sets us all a little bit more free. ❤

there’s a disgusting habit among people of corrupt power, to instill fear in the people they feel the need to control. usually this happens through very manipulative & subtle ways. and when these people creep into houses of worship & our spirituality, it can be downright abusive in the most life-changing and soul-deep ways… particularly because their un-Christlike biases are often handed down in teaching under the guise of absolute truth. (how do you think the church managed to condone slavery for so long?)

instilling a crippling fear in one’s victims is an age-old abuse tactic that every manipulator everywhere uses. but it isn’t one that God uses.

if you grew up in church, you’re probably quite familiar with the famous verse from proverbs 9… the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I grew up believing that this meant I should be forever in fear of God. and yeah, you’re supposed to love Him as a father and follow Jesus… but in the very core of what I learned, at the foundation of my very faith… was fear.

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and when I realized that virtually everything I knew about my faith, and everything that made up my theology, was built upon this foundation of “fear and trembling“, I was crushed. horrified. and yes… afraid.

Continue reading “IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN TOLD TO BE AFRAID OF GOD…”

WHY YOGA?

so… why do you do yoga?

I get this question aaaaallll the time, babes. it’s asked in a thousand different ways by a thousand different people with a thousand different motives.

and I love this question! the truth is, no matter who’s asking it for whatever reason (yup, definitely had people ask me this to try to prove their anti-yoga point), this is a question that never fails to spark some kind of excited flame in me… because oh, why do I practice yoga? let me count the ways, sister. 😉

because it soothes the mind

as someone who has lived with mantal illnesses, primarily anxiety and depression, for roughly 18 years of her 23+ year life, anything that calms my mind without a slew of negative side effects is my best effin friend. putting your physical body through postures of precision, steadiness, and intentionality has a profound calming effect on the brain. the signals sent through your nerves and your breath when you do something as intentional with your body as yoga, tell your brain that you’re alright, that you don’t need to panic. just a few minutes into a practice or flow & I can already feel my mind settling and my thoughts gaining clarity. and that’s priceless!

because it’s really good for your body

there are countless ways that yoga improves your overall physical health. increasing flexibility is just awesome for your body- you’re less likely to injure yourself in accidents or falls, you’re less likely to pull a muscle during another workout, and you’re less prone to stiffness/tension if you’re consistently stretching out your body. teaching your spine proper alignment (especially for those who sit at desks all day!) can make leaps and bounds of change when it comes to healing back, hip, and shoulder pain. alignment can also help clear up issues in the neck and head- for me, personally, my migraines dropped in amount significantly when I began practicing yoga and implementing proper alignment.


because it boosts confidence Continue reading “WHY YOGA?”

3 POWERFUL & PRACTICAL WAYS TO INSPIRE HABITUAL SELF-CARE

hey babes!

I know I talk a lot about self care on here, and I also know how difficult it can be to either just start (I see you, fellow procrastinator) , or to continue a habit instead of relying on emotional bursts of self-care.

so I thought I’d share with you some incredibly practical, one-time things you can do, that will have a long-term effect inspiring enough to keep you on track.

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3 POWERFUL PRACTICAL WAYS TO INSPIRE HABITUAL SELF CARE  Continue reading “3 POWERFUL & PRACTICAL WAYS TO INSPIRE HABITUAL SELF-CARE”

HOPE & BRAVERY | A PROPHETIC MANTRA

“GO IN WITH HOPE & WALK OUT WITH BRAVERY.”

I texted this to a friend in a split second of her nervousness & need earlier today. it wasn’t until just a few minutes ago that I realize it was one of those moments.

you know the ones.

you say something, text something… and later, it comes back to haunt you. the very thing you spoke over another person drifts back to you like a gentle mist and begins to manifest in your life. it chills you with realization, wakes you up a bit, and stirs you with its power.

I happen to have been given the grace of a prophetic gift. I’ve always felt more… spiritual? I guess?… than people my age. more connected to the universe & to the souls of the people around me, while simultaneously feeling detached from the hum-drum and buzz of everyday concerns. it manifested in an eerily accurate intuition, a gift for encouragement, and a sensitivity to the still, small Voice. it took me a while to discern that this was a prophetic gift.

it’s taken me still longer to really participate in my own gifts. but I’m learning. I’m always learning.

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but there are times when I’m surprised by it- like today. Continue reading “HOPE & BRAVERY | A PROPHETIC MANTRA”

EMBRACING THE LIFE YOU NEVER WANTED

EMBRACING THE LIFE YOU NEVER WANTED

life has a nasty habit of socking you in the mouth just when you’ve managed to get back up from the last time you fell on your face. or is that just me?

didn’t think so.

oh, sweet souls… life is hard, right? well, today, in the midst of a 30+ minute car ride, during which we had to pull over and pop some pills so I wouldn’t vomit up the small amount of food I’d managed to pack away, I had a revelation.

the past few days, which were supposed to be a vacation, have instead been full of sickness and emergency rooms. for the past three years, it’s felt like crap has rained down on us and broken us every time we thought we would catch our breath. and here’s the first part of my revelation:

you can’t wait for it to stop. you can’t even expect it to stop. 

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because, while it may sound depressing, the truth is that this world is desperately broken. the truth is that this world will take and take and take; it will break you into pieces, and, if you are looking for it, light will shine through those pieces and that light will be relief to your soul.  Continue reading “EMBRACING THE LIFE YOU NEVER WANTED”

WRESTLE WITH GOD

oh, babes…

it seems that these days, each 24 hour cycle is one of absurd ups and downs that are a dizzying pendulum of heartache and delight.
and I’m coming down from an upswing into a canyon.

it’s easy to demonize myself. it’s easy to shame my doubts into silence, to lock away my frustration into a box marked DANGER! FLAMMABLE! it’s easy to push it all away.

until it isn’t so easy anymore. 

until there’s so much grief and so much unfairness and so much frustration that just burying another box of it simply won’t do. and when the old ways of brushing off & under these wounds no longer do, there is only one thing that will.

the only thing left to do is wrestle.

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I have a very wise, wild, warrior-sister in a cousin of mine. she has felt the depths of loss, and she has dared, as few have, to wrestle with God.

wrestling is hard.
wrestling is brave.
wrestling is essential to the survival of those who stare down mountains. Continue reading “WRESTLE WITH GOD”

LIONESS

I am a lioness
I am rising with a roar
and I will shake you.

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I have no mane,
no mark of power
only the courage in my veins.

I hold my ground
I defend my pride.
on those who endanger, I bear down.

I am a lioness
I am feral; I am graceful.
I am full of beautiful, dangerous wild.

I am protector
I have not been reborn
only to be tamed and made small.

I am soft & fierce.
never one without the other
I am a force of healing and of power.

I am a lioness
I hold creation in my womb
and I will bear it.

I am unrelenting
I do not give up.
I do not crumble when the weight is heavy.

I carry my tribe
on the curve of my spine,
on the curve of my awakened learning.

I am a lioness
I carve trails in wasteland.
I lead my pride to safety and hope.

I pound the dust
with a powerful tread
and all the desert knows my steps.

I do not hide
I have no reason for that
I am the exalt-er of those who shrink

you are a lioness
you are rising with a roar
and you will shake us all.