HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE GROWING & MATURING

hey babes!

I so love engaging with you here on this format & getting to hear from you all about your beautiful, brutal stories.

today I wanted to chat a bit about growth. maturity. and that ever-elusive feeling of having “arrived” at some mysterious destination.

actually, if I’m honest… I don’t think maturity & growth are destinations at all, but rather a habitual way of life. 

because I don’t think we ever “arrive” this side of the stars, babes. and that doesn’t have to be discouraging. on the contrary, I find it so very reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who hasn’t “arrived” at this mystical land of pristine emotional perfection. (can y’all holla with me?)

but because it’s not a destination, growth requires something of me in my current space. it requires change, and this kind of real and honest growth, this every deliberate step into maturity, requires that change in each and every present moment. 

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I think that a sure sign of maturity & growth is the discomfort of consistently and willingly entering into unknown and tension-filled spaces in ourselves.
Continue reading “HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE GROWING & MATURING”

SOFTENED LIKE SAND

goodness is doing its work in me, and it’s face looks a lot like trial.

every time I go to the beach I spend the first day clinging to the sand. terrified of the waves and the way they crash, white foam sputtering, into themselves. flinging bits of sand and seaweed into the salty air. thrashing upon the shore like violent fists coming down hard on a pillow of gritty sand.

perhaps it’s childish. perhaps I’m just not very brave.

but they scare me at first. every time. no matter how old I get.

I imagine getting thrashed and pummeled by those angry fists of water and foam. imagine getting dragged like a rake through turbulent under-currents. just thinking about it sends little spurts of anxiety, like lightning, through my chest.

ah, yes. goodness is doing its work in me, and it feels a lot like being drowned, sputtering and gurgling, to the bottom of a swirling ocean.

and if I’m honest… the shore feels so much safer, so much objectively smarter, so much kinder to a battered & waterlogged heart.

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but the sand is only smooth from being softened.

and I am only gentle from being rubbed the wrong way till all my sharp edges are gone.  Continue reading “SOFTENED LIKE SAND”

VALLEY

I’ve been in the valley, fam. oh, I’ve been in the valley.

any wild & strange place is hard to walk through, but the valley can be so incredibly frustrating because you can see those mountain tops all around you, and it feels like you’re the only one stuck down below. alone. trapped, with freedom in sight.

the valley makes me angry and often causes me to slip into the toxic habits of comparison and self-loathing.

why aren’t I on the mountain?
why am I always stuck down here?
why am I trapped when I have searched so long and so hard for freedom?
it’s because I’m too weak to climb. I’ll never make it.
I probably deserve to be stuck here.

the valley feels like a cruel tease… freedom just out of reach, a clear view within sight but too far to grasp onto.

the valley feels like a crash and burn… tumbling down the rocky mountainside, with everyone watching as you go. until you’re left in shambles and bloodied at the feet of all your dreams.

the valley feels like a literal fall from grace… stuck floundering in the shadows and tangled branches of defeat and doubt and fear down below, while gazing up at the shining, splendorous peaks that you thought you’d reached.DSC_0748.JPG

the valley feels like being trapped.

you can’t claw your way up the mountain.
can’t beg or plead or muscle your way out of it.
you’re too small to wrestle yourself out of the crushing big-ness.
your voice gets lost in its own echoes.
there is no exit.
only walls.
closed doors.
hope & beauty & freedom you can’t reach. Continue reading “VALLEY”

LITTLE GIRL, ARISE

there’s a beautiful portion of Scripture that never fails to leave me just a little bit breathless & a lotta bit refreshed. it never fails to ground my soul deeper into the sweetest Foundation and put my heart to flight. seriously you guys. this is one conversation I am PUMPED to have with you, fam!

check this out from Mark chapter 5…

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there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” …and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where
the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking, and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
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okay. lots, lots, lots to unpack here. (major understatement, amiright?) 😉 let’s tackle this.

we’re walking into a family in crisis here. there’s a little girl who is dying, and her family is terrified.

panicked.

desperate.

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ever been there in the total chaos of the soul? ever been there in the dying or the deadness of your spirit? Continue reading “LITTLE GIRL, ARISE”

when faith isn’t the answer

“do you want to be healed?”

I can’t count the number of times Christians have pointed me to the scripture in John 5. ah yes, the man who had been ill for 38 years. the man to whom Jesus so gently, powerfully said “pick up your mat, and walk!

they’ve pointed me there and echoed it… “do you want to be healed?”
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I never really know how to respond. so often their well-intended words feel like a stinging slap across the aching surface of my soul.

do I want to be healed?

oh, gee, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. hmm, let me see…

are you kidding me?! do I want to be healed?

for years, I’ve not just wanted… I’ve pleaded. begged. sobbed, rocking on my bedroom floor to be healed. I believe in the deepest parts of my soul that God can heal me!

and yet I’m told “you need faith!”

oh, Christian, I have faith. through my deepest sorrows and blackest nights of the soul, I have gained more faith than many people I know.

sometimes, faith isn’t the answer. Continue reading “when faith isn’t the answer”

The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people

In our church, we’ve really been practicing that whole weeping with those who weep thing lately. Yeah guys. It’s been rough. We’ve been hit hard.

In the span of a year we’ve held two particularly shocking funerals… Two funerals that were held for those who made the heart-wrenching decision to end their lives prematurely.

Our church has survived two suicides this year.

We are broken people, like any other community. But here’s the thing… I can’t help but think we might be holding fewer funerals if we had simply done our job.

If we had loved as Christ loved. Cared as he cared. Walked in humility as he walked.

If we had spread our arms wide with Jesus-love, speaking authentically, baring even the ugly doubts and reeking losses… When will we bulldoze through the society of singularity we’ve caved to and create a safety net of untidy grace where people are free to struggle with those hard and holy things that make life so damn hard. 

How many more will die before we wake up and realize that authenticity is what will heal our churches?

In the wake of the grief and shock that suicide unleashed upon those left behind, I have found true and authentic community with some of those who have been starving as desperately as I for it. I have bared it all and bathed in the relief it washes over those who plunge themselves into the tidal wave of vulnerability and grace that always follows authenticity. Precious authenticity

I have never experienced true authenticity as clearly as I have as of late.

I’m never going back.

My sweet friend and dear fellow blogger, Simone of The Adventures of Everygirl, and I have been making this our theme lately.
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We’ve realized that this is what we’ve been craving, what’s been missing from our souls. After lots of thought, passionate discussion, and epiphanies numbering in the dozens (because, duh), we finally seemed to grasp what it was that made authenticity so enticing, so addicting.

I’ve taken a few moments to jot down what I believe are the five most important characteristics of habitually authentic people. If you want true community, take note, dear ones.  Continue reading “The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people”