wild strawberries

Opening eyes early, unfolding leaves

Heart already aching:

How did I get here?

Where did these roots come from?

 

Wild things are beautiful things

Growing where they were not

Planted

Planned

Pruned

 

Wild things are lonely things

Growing

Alone

Away

Apart

 

Blossoming fruit that is

Unseen

Unpicked

Unenjoyed

 

What would life be like in a field,

With fertile soil for my roots,

Towering trees for my shade,

Fresh water for my flowers?

 

Wild things.

Beautiful things.

Lonely things.

All are growing things.

a thought

I had a thought the other day that felt so novel, so entirely foreign to me in its simplicity:

What if it isn’t about what God is doing through me as much as it is about what God is doing in me?

Why does that feel so strange and new?

Why does it feel so liberating and terrifying and like ground giving way under my feet?

Why does it feel like this could change everything?

drifting, anchored

I started to scribble out these thoughts while sitting on the porch of a cabin in Perkins Cove, Maine. Some friends connected me with a family there who offers up their “studio”, right on the water, to people serving in ministry to use for a few days of retreat.

Olive and I spent three nights there in May--a sort of post-spring, pre-summer retreat.

On my second day there, I woke up too early...but I did manage to catch this.

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As I sat on that porch later in the day, the sweet springtime sun on my skin, I listened to the sailors, busy at work on their ships; I watched the unmanned boats drift ever so slightly in the cove. It brought me to a familiar passage in Hebrews which describes our faith as an anchor.

“And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakeable hope! We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone in before us. He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.” - Hebrews 6:19-20, The Passion Translation

I guess that I’ve never really thought much about how an anchor works. I mean, it isn’t that complicated but I’ve never really used one. The anchor is fixed to a static point yet doesn’t keep the thing it is anchoring completely static. The anchor cable, the line tying the boat to the anchor, allows for changes in the tide, for water rising and falling.

I think that as the water has risen and fallen, as I’ve felt myself drift along life, as the waves have pulled me to the furthest reaches of my anchor’s cable, I’ve been paralyzed with the fear that it won’t hold, that my faith isn’t true or pure.

Lately, I’ve been confused because I’ve felt disappointed. Disappointment is a feeling which which I am well acquainted. I feel it towards myself often; I can never do enough or be enough.

But this disappointment has been different, this feeling foreign. It’s been not directed towards myself, but towards my life and I suppose towards my God. And I know what they will say, what you will say: Jesus never promised easy. I just don’t understand so much of what is or isn’t happening in my life.

It’s brought fear because I don’t understand the things that I’m thinking or feeling, the impulses and fears that I am experiencing. It’s brought shame because I don’t know what to do with them.

And I haven’t doubted, and yet I have asked

Is He really good?

Is He really working all things together?

My life often feels composed entirely of frayed threads. The weaving together feels impossible.

But here I am, looking over water, feeling like I’ve been pulled to my very limit, and yet the anchor holds. A boat never strays too far, never wanders for too long. And as it reaches its end, it is already pulling back towards the anchor.

I love the way that The Passion Translation frames this: “we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness.”

Even when it feels like we’re drifting, we’re still tightly secured.

Drifting, gusting winds, shifting sands--they are the reasons that trees have roots, that houses are built on foundations, that boats have anchors. It’s the reason that God grants us and grows in us faith. It is holding, He is holding.

created in complexity

Isn’t it strange that we can look out at something so big, unknowable, and beautiful and still feel sad or anxious or shameful or wounded? Sometimes beautiful things spark in us a gratefulness and awe; other times they remind us of the emptiness or loneliness that seethes under the surface. 

As I took this photo, I asked myself, “How can I look at this and not be filled with wonder?” But the truth is that there is beauty in the not-so-beautiful, in the sadness and longing. They point us to a place of wholeness; they remind us that this is not the end of our journey, that the story is still being written. They remind us that we were created in complexity—as body, mind, and spirit. 

I am learning to sit in the undesired places, to not immediately try to fix it...or me. But sometimes that means finding sadness in the beauty and beauty in the not-so-beautiful. 

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choosing my choices

Sometimes I live as if I don't have the power to choose, like I must blindly accept everything and anything that comes to me (because, faith).

That's not true.

So, this summer, I am choosing to make choices--some of them are hard, some of them are easier, none of them are comfortable. I mean, what's a summer without all of the ice cream in the world and spending hours sitting in the air conditioning scrolling through online dating profiles? That is not the summer that I want--not again.

So, this summer I am making choices. Here are the five that I'm focusing on:

I am choosing to choose health—physical, emotional, & spiritual—over comfort & convenience this summer. Our lives and emotions and hearts are silly, slippery things. We can’t always tame them, appease them, or change them, but we can take time to hear them, hold them, & care for them. Living your life well is hard but a well-invested life is precious, friends. 

I am choosing to choose health—physical, emotional, & spiritual—over comfort & convenience this summer. Our lives and emotions and hearts are silly, slippery things. We can’t always tame them, appease them, or change them, but we can take time to hear them, hold them, & care for them. Living your life well is hard but a well-invested life is precious, friends. 

1.) I'm Whole30-ing.

Whole30 has been my go-to food reset for the last four years. It's taught me to listen to my body and has helped me as I struggle through my self-medicating, self-rewarding, self-destructive relationship with food. Since the New Year, I've tried to choose plant-based meals and proteins whenever possible and yet I hadn't really felt like I was properly fueling my very-sensitive-to-grains-and-legumes body. So, here I am: Whole30-ing again. I'm 14 days in and feeling good.

2.) I'm running again.

I've been Couch-2-5King for the last six weeks. It's giving me a reason to move my body and push my body. I've never been one with athletic ability or physical strength so I usually just choose to avoid these things because I don't want to embarrass myself or increase my desire for self-loathing. I'm finding, however, that I can usually do more, go further than I often give myself credit for. I ran for 22 consecutive minutes the other day. Big deal.

Also: Doodle's winter belly is gone, so that's a bonus. (Still workin' on my winter/always belly.)

3.) I'm not dating.

This is one of those things that has always just happened. I've never chosen to not date, it just literally never happens. It seems dumb to say that I'm not dating, especially when there are no prospects, but I felt like I needed to make this conscious decision and effort. This summer, I am choosing not to date and (attempting to) not think about relationships. I'm off online dating apps and trying to focus on cultivating health relationships with myself, my friends, and Jesus.

4.) I'm using "What If..." language

I'm a pretty big fan of certainty and playing by the rules so facing (or fantasizing about) change is always pretty scary for me. This choice is in its infancy but I'm learning to use What If language and not be afraid of what that might mean.

It's okay to have dreams. It's okay to have longings. It's okay to not be sure all of the time.

5.) I'm seeing a counselor.

Do you know that feeling of like, "Is this normal or is this just normal for me?" I feel that way a lot. I wonder if everyone feels and experiences and processes life like me. Seeing a counselor has been something that I've wanted to do for a while and have just never made happen. The pressing desire always comes in the darkest moments, when motivation is low and fear is high. By the time I feel like I'm bouncing back, the idea fades into the distance for another dark day. So I'm finally doing it and I'm already super grateful to be talking through and crying through and thinking through so much.

So, here's to health! Here's to growth! Here's to dreaming dreams!

one year ago

I wrote this last year and it feels even more true now. This life of discipleship is a constant laying-down, a constant handing-over.

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Gospel-living doesn't seem to make much sense. Over the last few years, as I've entered my late twenties, I know that, as far as the world is concerned, I should be coming into my own. I should feel more self-assured, more independent, stronger. But really, as I continue to walk with Jesus, all I feel is more and more helpless, less and less strong, less and less self-sufficient. Even here, laying by a pool with my mind in a million (often dark) places, I am reminded that I am dependent upon Him for ALL things - even for rest. This helplessness thing seems ridiculous, seems foolish but it is in my helplessness that I better understand His strength, His provision, His care for me. It is in this helplessness that I find true rest and true life.

"At that time Jesus declared, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'" - Matthew 11:25-30

 

strong woman

People keep calling me a strong woman.

The woman that I know, who lives in this skin,

she is many things,

minus strong.

She is petty and picky; too big and yet so very small.

The woman I know is weak.

She can’t make a decision without second-guessing or triple-checking.

She can’t, doesn’t, won’t trust herself.

She feels many things: fearful, empty, tired, frail

But never beautiful.

People keep calling me a strong woman.

Who is it that they see?

god's best for me today

For as long as I can remember, I have done my best to control moments, to take each one captive and determine the outcome in some way. At 30 years old now, that’s been a lot of moments and a lot of days and a lot of minutes and a lot of control.

A lot of control and very little surrender.

So often, when I look back on these controlled moments, I feel empty...or at least unhappy. Each time I’ve attempted to assert control, I’ve only managed to make myself feel more out of control.

I have done a pretty good job convincing myself that I’ll find contentment once my circumstances allow contentment instead of LEARNING what it means to be content. Right now, God is stirring up this question in me:

How can I be content in the places where I am, rather than trying to change the places where I am so that I will be content?

I read this article recently and this one quote has really stuck with me. The quote was in the context of singleness but I feel like it captures so much of my Christian experience. The author said, “Singleness is God’s best for me today.”

Don't I truly believe that God is a giver of good gifts? I can thank Him for the sweet moments that I get to share with friends and family or a sunset or a good book or a glimpse of His kindness, but do I think that God is withholding other things BETTER things from me? Do I believe that the things that I have and the places where I find myself are God’s best for me?

Maybe God’s best for me today is singleness.

Maybe God’s best for me is a life of pouring out.

Maybe God’s best for me is a two bedroom apartment filled with three people.

Maybe God’s best for me is wrestling with where I fit in the church and life and friendships.

These bests press hard against the idea of how easy or great life is when we follow Jesus. I don’t want to admit that I believe those things...but I think that the theology that I’ve taught myself actually preaches those things. I’ve allowed my discontentment to color my image of God. I’ve colored Him as a God who withholds.

And yet, don’t I believe that God gave up all things, even His very own Son, so that I could have the things that I take for granted everyday?

So that I could come before him in prayer and be heard by him?

So that I could sit in church and eat the bread and take the wine and reflect on the mystery of a body broken and blood poured out for me?

So that I could have a conversation with someone in which I model the ministry of reconciliation that I’ve been given and that's been entrusted to me?

If I believe that my God gives good gifts to other people, wouldn’t that mean that He gives them to me too? I suppose that might mean that some of the gifts that I’ve been given, ones which I haven’t treated with much gratefulness...those must be good gifts too.

Jesus, give me eyes to see them. Eyes that see cause for celebration and surrender, eyes that see gifts.

Jesus, give me a heart which holds those things up as a reasons for worship and thanksgiving.

old words, hard things

I am trying to be more vulnerable, trying to share more. It's hard...even when you know that no one is watching.

I wrote this post three-ish years ago. I wanted to share it but I couldn't. Sometimes words cut deep and sometimes they're just too real and too harsh to share right away.

A lot has changed since I wrote this: I've moved, I've changed jobs, I've healed and grown. Yet, these words still sting. I can still feel their intensity - so much so that it scares me.

But here's to sharing the hard things. Here's to feeling the hard things, too. 


There is a knock on my door, feet shuffling outside. Boots banging off snow and ice.


My heater rages. The tractor runs outside because this is my life: surrounded by noise. Stifled by scurry.


Never alone and yet always alone. When you live where you work and work where you live, there is no life apart from work and no work more difficult than life.

And my boss is a good man, a good friend. He cares about me so much and that’s all I can feel as I bite my lip and blink back tears because I refuse to let him know how bad it really is.

“I just don’t want to you get discouraged…”

I see the pain in his eyes because he has been there and felt the sting, the deep, grinding pain sliding through your live like a carving knife. He wrestles with himself to try to cover the scars.

I don’t have the heart to tell him that it’s much worse than discouraged. That discouraged was eleven months. This month, this season is called depression.


I am not discouraged. I am breaking, broken, in a million pieces on the kitchen floor.


Our eyes dart to all corners of the room. We are both hurting too much to share.


“I can see how it’s affecting you.”


I’m shaking off his attempts to talk deep. I am shrugging my shoulders and crossing my arms and
muttering, “I know.” I sound like the people that I hate.


If only there could be truth. If only I could bleed out all of this misery that I’ve been trapping inside. If only I could uncork this always-bubbling chaos inside of me.

If only what I wanted to say wouldn’t send him reeling, wouldn’t level him to the place where I am.

If only it wouldn’t leave him breaking, broken, in a million pieces on the kitchen floor.

Because I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I am ready for change and I am waiting on what that means.