MY 2018 WORD OF THE YEAR

babes!! it’s 2018… can you even believe it?
there were moments of 2017 that I wasn’t even sure I’d see the light of a new year (let’s be real… so did you). it’s just the truth… it was a hell of a year.

my word of the year for 2017 was WHOLE, and I really dug into that and looked at all the parts of myself to see how I could bring the disjointed pieces into harmony. I started to recognize & affirm each of the places in me and call them into the light: my emotional, intellectual, physical, social, environmental, sexual, and spiritual facets. and SO MUCH HAPPENED, babes. I got so much more whole & free this year. I understand myself on such a deeper level than I did at the beginning of last year, and I really do think it’s because my focus was on wholeness. ❤

this year a lot of things died and a few good things were born.

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in 2017 I…
went from a pastor’s wife to an eXvangelical.
didn’t pray for 3 months.
recreated my entire blog.
brought my abuse into the light…
…and both verbally forgave & cut off all contact with my abuser.
couldn’t bring myself to pick up a Bible, except for some of the content of the gospels, for 4 months.
became a mother through the most torturous, redeeming labor.
became a feminist.
lost friends…
…and gained friends.
gained a deeper knowledge of myself as I discovered the Enneagram.
became a believer in universal reconciliation.
started writing poetry again.
began studying Reiki.
stopped believing humanity is inherently depraved the moment I looked into the eyes of my newborn daughter… but didn’t own that truth until months later.
stepped into my power and owned it personally.
found myself, became myself.
began to find joy in every part of God & my spiritual life for the first time I can remember.
climbed literal mountains.
climbed metaphorical mountains.
read loads of books & listened to countless podcasts.
began meditating more consistently.  Continue reading “MY 2018 WORD OF THE YEAR”

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”

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.

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”

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…”

TO KNOW THE TRUTH…

any of you babes truth-seekers?

ummm duh 🙂 we are all truth-seekers, whether we know it or not. it’s in the blueprints of our soul, to seek it out and find it. only deepest brokenness can convince us otherwise.

even when we are afraid and our minds convince us to dig no deeper, our hearts yearn for it. it is the reason, when we are running from the truth, that our very souls ache and woundedness abounds.

but the ebb and flow of our hearts is a silent compass for truth. we crave it.

because deep down we know truth will set us free.

I’ve found, especially in all of the deconstructing, that it’s a scary and perilous feeling to truly seek after truth… if we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t that what stops us before we begin, sometimes?

because… what if it isn’t at all what we expect? what if it is bigger than we think? what if it grows us out of the comfortable spaces? what if it requires more of us than we think we can give? what if it changes everything?

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oh, but what if it changes everything? Continue reading “TO KNOW THE TRUTH…”