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.

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.

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…”

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”

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”

HOUSE OF MYSTERY

babes!

I’ve got some truth bombs about your true identity to drop today. and I’ll be honest… they’re the truths carrying me through some serious mess & trial right now. because, that’s what truth does. it carries us through the bondage into freedom.

here’s the thing: you are a beautiful home.

you’re a precious, precious thing because of the things you house within your bones. because of the Truth that has made its home in your skin. because of the goodness you’ve been given to bear in the thumping thing behind your ribcage.

see, in the Scripture of 1 Peter, there’s a glorious reality that’s spoken: the truths that live in you, the gospel of grace that was prophesied over you and belongs to you, are the mysteries that angels gaze at in longing.

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how awe-inspiring that YOUR body… yes, this one which you mock and disrespect and struggle endlessly to love… is a carrying case for the weighty power of the Divine.

how humbling that YOU are housing the mysteries of the ages and your forever- ageless soul under the skin and between the bones of you?

how marvelous that each step that you take, wherever you choose to walk becomes holy ground because of the constant, reminding vibrations of the Spirit within you.

you are a house of mystery, my friend, and whatever the battering storms that wreak havoc on the outward structure… the inward spirit, the still small voice, the holy home that you are cannot be touched.

I’m just sitting with this and allowing the truth of this soothing tide to wash over my soul and bathe me in peace.
I need it right now, with all those battering storms waging war on my outward life.
I need it when I find myself drifting aimlessly and wondering where the direction is that I thought I had.
I need it when I forget who I am.

make this your mantra: I am a house of mystery, and the holiest of holy homes.

have you forgotten who you are, sweet soul?
be reminded.
be filled with the Spirit.
be who you already are.

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…”

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”

A SWEETER, DEEPER FAST FOR LENT

hey fam!

anyone else totally participate in lent half-heartedly or not at all because you don’t fully understand it, or (like your new years resolutions) can’t seem to stick with whatever it is you decide on? just me?

well, I stumbled across something on facebook today that completely blew those excuses out of the water and honestly just touched my heart.

I just have to say… I was so deeply inspired by the words of Pope Francis surrounding Lent this year. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but these are his thoughts & they’re seriously worth some intense consideration:

fast from hurting words & say kind words
fast from sadness & be filled with gratitude
fast from anger & be filled with patience
fast from pessimism & be filled with hope
fast from worries & have trust in God
fast from complaints & contemplate simplicity
fast from pressures & be prayerful
fast from bitterness & fill your hearts with joy
fast from selfishness & be compassionate to others
fast from grudges & be reconciled
fast from words & be silent so you can listen

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woah. so good, right?
this is one of those times where I’m like… why didn’t I think of that?! 😉

but really. how often do we set aside time to fast from behaviors of the soul that are slowly wounding us? how often do we truly fast from things that matter instead of mediocre things that are really just for show?

so, which one hits you the most? I’m over here like “they all do”. 😉

I want to encourage you, sweet family, to break out of your comfort zone and fast from a wounding habit in your life. let the letting go hurt. swallow the ache and feel it go down. digest it and let the release do its good work in you. go deep and feel the sweetness of surrender.

I’m challenging myself to this, too! we can do it together.