Enough

This morning was unique. Instead of a house full of women. I had one.
We talked. We shared our hearts.
We were raw. Honest with one another.
A discovery? We’re a lot more alike then we knew.
 
The struggle and the reality?
The #1 thing we fight…self-hate, self-doubt, negative self- talk.
From our maker? NO.
From the enemy? Yes.
 
It’s a cultural epidemic. Stemming from  generation to generation. We pass it down to our own Children. And to boot, we living in a culture that pours barrels of gas on the fire daily. Magazines. Social media. Sometimes, our own community of people. 
We allow outside voices to become our internal one. We buy into the idea that we have to have it all together. Look a certain way. Wear the right things. Weigh the right amount. Eat the right things. Say the right things. But the painful thing is at the end of the day, when I lay my head down on my pillow is when it starts…”I didn’t do this right. I should have done this. I don’t think she likes me. I feel alone. I feel fat. I feel…I feel…I am…I am…”
We translate our feelings and our negative self-talk into our identity. It’s a downward spiral. It aches. It hurts. It can suffocate us.
Last night I caught myself. I literally heard myself headed down the steep slope. And I stopped. I took a breath. And I cried out to God.
“Holy Sprit. Maker of heaven and earth. This is NOT what you think of me. This is not how you see me. This is not how I should talk to anything you have created. Lord, help me. Help me, please. I can’t change my thoughts on my own.”
And it stopped. This barrage of lies. I MUST turn my internal voice into one of truth and freedom…one that is guided by my Creator. I have to shift my thinking…chase the light, be the light, listen to the one true Light.
Set my fire on Soul Lord.
And Friend. Whoever you are. Where ever you are.
Let me tell you the most important thing you will ever hear. The most important thing you MUST know.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Just as you. Period. Nothing else. Just you. As you are. Are enough.
And you are loved and treasured by the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
And if you feel anything different than that, it’s a lie. Don’t buy into it. Don’t. Your life depends on it.

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The Great Debate ~ {My Hope}

If you’re alive, and anywhere near the North American continent, you might be aware of some political issues currently going on. And if you’ve talked to anyone with an opinion, you might be ready to move to a remote island and live off of locus and leaves.  There’s also a chance that you’ve heard a lot, if not all, people say something along these lines.

“How did we get here? How is this all we have to choose from? This is the best our Nation has to offer???!!”

And I’m not gonna lie. I feel those exact same thoughts. I have to ask myself, how did the self-proclaimed ‘Best Nation in the World’ cough up these two candidates as options for the Leader of the Free world? Of all the Harvard Scholars, and Self-made entrepreneurs, the geniuses and the public servants…this is what we have to offer? And all of the sudden I’ve lost all my hope. I feel despair and fear about the future.

But then…

…I take literally 15 minutes in my back yard. Just 15 minutes. And I find all this. Through my lens I find a kind of truth that can’t be put into words. I find beauty. I find the small details that our Creator has taken time to perfect. And these are just the small things. The tiny details. And I realize that the Creator of the Universe. The Creator of all these perfect little details loves me. Loves humanity. And HE IS CONTROL. Not any political party. Not the left or the right. Not the loud or the quiet. None of them. Only one controls the future…and then I find my hope again.

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Creating Space

It’s a cool and misty morning here in Bucks County. And life is a journey. A crazy, changing, wild journey.

If you had told my 20 year old self what I would need to know and have learned by 37, I would have curled up in a ball and said, “Um. No thanks!”. And I’m sure if my 50 year old self could sit me down today, I’d do much of the same. BUT let me clarify: I lead a good life. A really privileged one. I daily rest on the shoulders of many, many hardworking people ahead of me. My Husband and I are blessed with Grandparents and Parents that have worked hard their entire lives to give us the life we now live.

Ok. With that fully known and understood. Life is still life. And it is still challenging. And it challenges all of us in different ways. The point here, is not to negate someone else’s struggles, or claim that mine are bigger, or worse, but to say mine outloud. To take away some of their power. Because brokenness loves to be buried and hidden in the dark.

I struggle with depression. If you know me well, you know this small fact about me. There are varying levels of depression. Varying levels of intensity or lack there of. But it’s forever a part of me and who I am. And like most things about us as humans, there are parts of us that display themselves as weakness, and those same parts can also be our strengths. Most of the time my depression feels like a weakness. A crack in my structure. A fault in my geographical foundation that cause earthquakes at the most inopportune times. It can bury me alive. Become suffocating and feel insurmountable….and on rare occasion it causes me to be still. Which I’m not good at. It makes me stop. And listen to my own pain. This quote from Glennon Doyle Melton literally caused me to stop in my tracks.

“Oh my God—what if the transporting is keeping me from transformation? What if my anger, my fear, my loneliness were never mistakes, but invitations? What if in skipping the pain, I was missing my lessons? Instead of running away from my pain, was I supposed to run toward it? Perhaps pain was not a hot potato after all, but a traveling professor. Maybe instead of slamming the door on pain, I need to throw open the door wide and say, Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.
I’ve never let myself trust love because I’ve never let myself trust pain. What if pain—like love—is just a place brave people visit? What if both require presence, staying on your mat, and being still? If this is true, then maybe instead of resisting the pain, I need to resist the easy buttons. Maybe my reliance on numbing is keeping me from the two things I was born for: learning and loving. I could go on hitting easy buttons until I die and feel no pain, but the cost of that decision could be that I’ll never learn, love, or be truly alive.”

What if running from my depression was what it wanted? What if it causes me to lose the lessons that might be learned? Imagine an entire life spent not knowing what might have been done or learned? Simply because I just never knew to stop and sit with it…

I know this to be true. I have MUCH MUCH still to learn on this journey. But starting small is still a start right? So what has depression taught me?

To create space. 

See. We are all broken, in different ways. But still broken. And I’m still working on this lesson, cause, it is NOT an easy one. Being the sort of soul the allows space for other Humans to just be. Be real. Be honest. Be silly. Be broken. Be afraid. Be excited. Be.

This is a huge. Have you ever been with a person, and after you walked away, you thought…wow, they took up every ounce of space in the room!? They suffocated me! I have. In fact I’ve walked away from Friendships for this very reason. People who were so wrapped up in their own flesh that they couldn’t see past their own selfishness. People who were so lost that they were trying to find their hope in anything they could get their fingers around. People who’s only joy is in tearing others down. I want to be the opposite of that.

I want to sit with my fears, my cracks, my flaws…in such a way that people feel welcome to just come and be. As they are.

I want to be a space maker. I want to be a soul feeder. I want to love. Love so deeply that people feel understood. That they see a glimpse of light shinning through their own cracks.

God has his mighty hand on me pretty heavy right now. He’s been literally tearing me down to the core. Asking me to simply let go, and let Him. Cliche, maybe. True, yes. He’s trying to remind me that without His strength, I’m a shell. A broken and depressed shell of a person. But if I want to be a soul feeder, I must first be fed. If I want to love people deeply…I must first accept His love. If I want to be the light, I must first find the Light.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love. Zephaniah 3:17

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{Zone Sicura} ~ The Story of a 160 Year Old Farmhouse: Our Newest Adventure

Dear Friends, far and wide, close and across oceans…meet Zona Sicura (also known as Casa Bianca).
 
These names are subject to change…but will serve as placements at this time. My Husband and I have been to busy discussing dry wall, plumbing, and heating issues to land on a final name. 🙂
 
Zona is a 160 year old Farmhouse. Tomorrow she will officially belong to us. All her beauty and craziness. We are both excited and terrified.
 
Here are the only facts I can offer you at this time.
 
~ I love her. Not sure why, but I fell in love almost 2 years ago..and have been dreaming about her ever since.
 
~ She’s gonna be full of blood, sweat, and tears. Most of the sweat will by Franco Salvatori‘s, the tears will probably be mine, and the blood? Well…probably both of us.
 
~ She is only 5 minutes from our current home. So for any local Friends who were about to succumb to ash and sack cloth…don’t yet. We’re sticking around.
 
~ I plan to share our adventures, before and afters, etc. on my blog periodically. Feel free to come hang out.
 
Prayers greatly coveted as we embark on this crazy new adventure!! #yolo

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Why I don’t Celebrate Halloween {No judgment zone}

It’s me. Not you.

When I was a kid I remember dressing up as a Cowgirl for a Halloween event at our local Church. It happened once. And only once. The event was so terrifying, scary, and over that top that my older Brother was traumatized…and that was it. My Mom made a call. She’d never subject us to being scared in the name of a social holiday. That was the same year that I saw a moving face covered with blood at a local Seven Eleven. I had nightmares for years about that image. Not kidding.

After that year, we lived in Congo for the most part. Where Halloween is not a thing. But it is a country cloaked in deep deep Spirituality. Things there are very clear.  Good and evil are real. Evident. Out in the open. I saw demon-possessed people. I witnessed it first hand. I came face to face with Witch-Doctors. I saw the power of Satan in very real and evident ways. A lot. I was never afraid. I always knew who my Protector was. I knew I was covered by the all-encompassing grace and love of Jesus. It didn’t scare me to see those things. But it made me aware. Certain that when scripture talks about the ‘kingdom of darkness’, well, it’s real. And it’s not really a laughing matter. It’s not something funny to use as the plot line for a movie, or for entertainment. It’s real. It destroys lives. Lots of them. And when we take something that real. That dangerous and make it a commonality…a normal thing. Well. I feel strongly that we do ourselves a serious disservice. We open the door to a world that we simply do not understand or fully comprehend.

Fast forward a few decades to a Youth Group gathering where my Husband was the Youth Pastor. One of my dearest Friends took the chance to share her testimony about Halloween. About the research she had done, the former Witch she had talked to, and all that she had learned about what actually takes place on that night. The truth of what happens behind the cute costumes and carved pumpkins. It was eye-opening. Jaw dropping. And sickening. I was stunned to have an inside look at what the Holiday was really about to those to celebrate it for “religious” reasons. I knew right then, that I couldn’t ever be apart of it, in any way at all. I couldn’t even touch the idea. It was too real. To gross.

Fast forward a few more years and now I have Kids of my own. I live in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Halloween is a thing. A BIG thing. It’s everywhere. 3 months before it even happens. I find myself having to walk out of stores in September because of the vampire with blood dripping from its fangs, because my 4-year-old is screaming and crying from the sight of it. I have to censor EVERY SINGLE thing on TV. Because fear is funny and it’s everywhere. Even on G-rated cartoons. The joy people find in fear is weird to me. And the fact that it has to be everywhere, even grocery stores, is beyond me. Even my local YMCA has had ghosts hanging for over a month in the hallways. Cause, ya know, the spirits of dead people, that’s totally fun. And completely belongs at my local gym. OK. I’ll lay off the sarcasm. 😉

I don’t find skeletons cute. Ever. They stand for death and toxicity.

I don’t think ghost are funny. They are the spirits of the dead.

I don’t find witches to be endearing. I’ve met real ones.

I don’t think fear. Death. Blood. Demons. Witches. Spiders. Bats or Zombies are entertaining. I just don’t.

I am not owned by fear. But neither do I have to celebrate it.

I have heard all the arguments  a 100 times.

“It doesn’t have to be scary! It doesn’t have to be about fear!” But it usually is.

“Just let your kids dress up in cute things, it’s fun to pretend!” I encourage them to pretend. All the time.

“What about opening your door to your community? Loving on your neighbors?” I have 364 days a year to do that. And we all should, daily.

Now let me state a few things. I hold zero. And I do mean zero judgment for those who choose to celebrate Halloween. In fact, some my closest, most cherished Friends call it their favorite Holiday. I don’t judge them. I don’t fear for their souls. We just have a different stance on the issue. We’ve lived through different experience. And that’s ok. I’m not looking to make my convictions theirs or yours.

It comes down to this. I have to live out my convictions. And they just might be different from yours. Or even my close Friends. But I have to stand by them. Because if I don’t, then I do my children a bigger disservice by teaching them to compromise their values. And that might be worse than celebrating a holiday I despise.

Why waste my time writing this? I’m not sure. I don’t have a strong reason. More to share my heart than anything. I’m not trying to turn anyone. Or make anyone feel belittled. Simply sharing my experience. Take it or leave it. But it’s mine. And it’s helped me to make the choices that I make with firm confidence.

Happy Weekend Friends! I hope that whatever you’re doing you soak it and enjoy those you love! And if you live anywhere where seasons are a thing…I hope your view is as gorgeous as mine!

S

 

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