Come as you are

2019 was a year of transition.  Personally, most of my focus was given to my relationship with the man who started 2019 as my boyfriend, became my fiancé and ended it as my husband.  There was obviously an amount of adjusting in those seasons. Professionally, my church also entered into a season of transition with leadership changes which we are still in the midst of seeing through.  And in other spaces of my life there was too much going on for me to comment much publicly. I still wrote a lot and someday those pieces may see the light of the internet, but not right now.  

For now, we pick back up here with Lent and some resources that I’ve chosen to help me focus my observation of Lent.

Every year, Lent looks a little different for me.  Some years I join up with a community to observe in a specific way.  Other years I’ve needed to seek specific answers and voices in my life and so I observe it more personally.  And some years, if I’m honest, Lent sneaks up on me because of the busyness of Advent leading into the Retreat season into the never ending February.  

This year though, I’m feeling a sense of fatigue from all the aforementioned transitional seasons.  I’m also feeling a need to take deeper roots in my faith and hopefully grow through this season. I’ve prayerfully considered how to dive in with Lent this year, and I’ve come up with a short list of resources I’m planning on using.  Feel free to join me!

Here’s What I’m Adding In:

Bread for the Resistance

I kept seeing this book pop up in my various timelines and decided this was just what I needed for this season.  Justice work can be very tiring. As can living as a person of color in today’s America. Both of those realities in my life have made me realize that I need to do a better job of filling up my bucket with voices from POC and especially WOC.  This 40 day devotional is just what I was hopeful for. I’ll be reading this to start my day Monday – Saturdays of Lent. 

Every Broken Thing 

This is a new Lenton resource by Erin Moon, who I follow on Instagram.  I’m intrigued by her voice and the use of the book of Ecclesiastes in her study.  She’s created this devotional for all the days of Lent (47 days in total) and is also including an audio version that you can put in your podcast app.  So I’m doing that and each day I will listen to the episode while I’m driving.

Here’s what I’m hoping to maintain:

Exercise (via our Peloton bike)

I’ve spent the last few months digging into working out on a Peloton bike that my husband had before we got married.  It’s been a pretty life changing move for me to dedicate space and time in my week to riding the bike. Exercise has always been a way for me to get out of my head and work out my anxiousness or unease. I’m hopeful to continue doing this practice 3-4 times per week.

Cooking with my husband

We’ve found this really fun rhythm of cooking alongside of each other at least three times a week. On these nights, we talk about life and work while we cook and then enjoy a healthy, home cooked meal together. It’s been a good rhythm to keep us connected and trying new things.

Here’s what I’m “giving up:”

Guilt surrounding boundaries around unhealthy/unsafe spaces

This one is obviously less measurable than the others. But I’ve noticed that in 2019, I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about needing to enforce more boundaries in my life. The boundaries started as a necessary coping mechanism and my literal lack of extra space and capacity. But I’ve noticed that while the boundaries have made me a healthier person, I often feel guilty about prioritizing my own mental and emotional health. So my hope in this season is to say goodbye to that guilt. I’ll be doing this through prayer and journaling through those feelings. My hope for this is to stop the thought pattern before it takes hole. We’ll see how that goes!

Feel free to join me in any of these practices, or leave a comment on what you’re practicing this year! Follow me on Instagram as we journey this season together!

I'm in repair – I'm not together but I'm getting there

There are these moments when I’m driving, cleaning, working, talking with someone, or whatever I’m doing with my day/time.  These moments when an idea pops into my head for a post.  Something to write about and publish.  Then I usually mull it over for a while, sometimes it even gets put into that Word document I keep on my desktop called “new writing.”
But lately, those ideas, those baby posts, those truth telling moments that flow from my fingertips when I just need to process the world, they have not made it into this space.  They never get to see the “New Post” page for me to hit the publish button on.
And I’ve been trying lately to understand why that keeps happening.  Why am I editing myself so much?  Why am I so afraid to put them out there and let my voice be heard?
It could be that there seems to be so much noise on the internet these days, so many posts and open letters.  Every day it seems I see more and more writers putting their two cents into the world.  Some of them are good, some of them I disagree with, and some feel more like a plea for publicity than the gut wrenchingly difficult out pour of one’s story.
It also could be the fear of being misunderstood.  Sometimes the life of a writer means you put all this effort into writing something and then it gets misconceived or someone pulls out one part to dismantle and disagree with.  Or they misunderstand and therefore place pity on the writer.  There are so many ways to be misunderstood and the people pleaser within me can’t stand that possibility.
So for a season I turned down my own voice and started to turn up the voices of other writers in my life.  I’ve intentionally diversified the people I’m reading and listening to in order to find my own space in this writing world.  The thing that I keep coming face to face with is the need for shared stories.  For the world to see the various perspectives that we each bring.
What I’ve started to see in this time is that no one out there has my voice.  No one has lived this life quite the way that I have.  It doesn’t make me less than or more than anyone else, just uniquely and specifically me.  And if this is the story I’ve been given, entrusted with, isn’t it time I stopped caring so deeply about what others think of me and actually started to use this voice God gave me?
Not for my own boasting or show boating.  And not because I think I’m the one who has it all right.  But because my voice matters.  All of our voices matter.  If I’m going to complain because I’m tired of reading the same opinions from the same people of privilege and power, then I better be willing to put my ring in the hat.
So I guess this is my declaration of writing independence.  I will no longer be deterred by the “what ifs” of the world around me.  I will ask for people to hold me accountable to my writing (and posting).  I will shake off the fear that I am not doing it right.
Here’s to hitting “Publish” a little more often.

I'll give credit where I think credits due

As you can tell, I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of writing more, so I’m rejoining the link up over at  Today’s prompt for the Friday Five is Men I admire.  I should have started last week – her prompt was women I admire, but since I’m constantly talking about those women out there that I follow,  we’ll start here.
I’ve decided to take some liberty with this week’s prompts – I’m choosing characteristics of men I admire.  This is not to say that the list I include within each category only fit into that category, but they are the people who I think really encompass these traits that I admire.  These will be both people I know in real life (whose last names I’ll leave out for privacy purposes) and those who I follow online.  So without further ado:

Friday Five: Five (Types of) Men I Admire:

World Changers

I admire men in this world who are trying to leave their spheres of influence better than how they found them.  They know that they have influence and power and they use it to challenge the way we see the world.  I admire this because I aim to do this as well and I’ve learned from all of these men in one way or another.  Included in this category: my dear friend Dominique who challenges me daily to be better.  Propaganda.  Cameron Strang.

Artists (mostly Music)

I’ve always had an admiration for people who are creative.  I love artists who can take their craft and create something worth listening to, looking at, watching … I admire people who use honesty and vulnerability to create something beautiful.  Of course this includes Ben Rector, Matt Wertz, Lin Manuel Miranda, the men of The Fray.

Good Fathers/Husbands

This category I can only fill with people I do know.  I think it’s hard to look at people you don’t know and say that they are really good at this, but I also think it’s been so important for me to see what this looks like.  As someone who grew up with a complicated relationship with her own father, I really value the people in my life who have retaught me what it looks like to have a healthy marriage and a positive relationship with their kids.  This list is long, which is only to say that I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the best men (and women) there are out there.  This includes both Papa Curt and Kurt, both Tims, Fredrik, Chris, Lee, Mark, Nate, Gary, both Adams, Tyler… the list could go on and on and on…


I obviously learn a lot from other pastors who have taught me what it means to be in this role.  It’s one of those types of positions where everyone who holds it is the same but at the same time so vastly different.  I have learned a lot from past mentors, colleagues and others who have poured into me.  This includes Curt, Tim, Nate, Mark, Russ, Bill, Josh, Nate, Paul, other Tim, Eric and countless others.


Lastly, those who I aspire to be like in my writing and teaching.  Men who have taken topics and given them life through words and deed.   This includes Brandon Hatmaker, Donald Miller, Nathan Albert, Klyne Snodgrass, Soong-Chan Rah, James Bruckner.  Some of those men I now personally but I want you to read there stuff or take their classes, so I’m including their full names.

our whispered words are louder than bombs

I have a very clear memory from a solitude retreat I took my second year of Seminary.  It comes back to me frequently, like a still voice from the Spirit reminding me to keep myself in check.
I was taking a walk through the neighborhood by the church I was currently attending (that I now work at).  I was walking past all of these cute houses with kids playing in the yard and I felt that feeling that most single girls of a certain age feel… I want that.  I don’t want to be stuck here in Seminary.  I want to be in my call.  I want to know where I’ll be spending the rest of my life (or just the first chapter).  I want to know who I will be spending it with.  I want to have the wrap around porch where I can sit with my friends and watch our kids play.  I don’t want this – I want that.
Then a line from the Shauna Niequist book I was reading at the time rang through my ears, “Don’t try to fast forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned.”  (From Bittersweet).
I didn’t know then that that neighborhood would be one I would drive through several times a week once I received my first call.  That neighborhood would be one I would take prayer walks in with our kids on our All Church Retreat.  That neighborhood would be canvased by me, alongside our leadership team and staff.
That moment floods back to me a lot.  When I see someone or some situation that I wish I had in my life, Shauna’s words continue to ring true in my ears.  It reminds me that I still have a great life to live right here right now.  All that stuff awaits me in the future – maybe, who knows?  I know there are things in life that I want to have, that I want to experience.  And I know that my God loves me and wants to give me the desires of my heart – in his way, in his timing.
I know someone who says that when we’re waiting it’s because God still has something left to teach us.  The immature person in me wants to tell God I’ve learned enough – I’m ready for my hearts’ desires.  But the mature person in me tells me that there are mountains of lessons to learn before I’m fully ready for that next step.  I’m still in process, as hard as it is to admit – it’s true.
Jesus tells us not to worry in the Sermon on the Mount (See Matthew 6).  He tells us to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, live righteously and he will give you everything you need.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Some days I need to repeat this to myself multiple times.  Some days I live it out without reminders.  And plenty of days fall in between the two extremes.  I just continuously remind myself that in a world where I’m told my worth is determined by whether or not I have a ring on that finger and kids in tow, those messages are not from God.  That is a future that I have not yet earned.  For now, I will seek the Kingdom of God above all else, try my hardest to live righteously and trust in the fact that He will give me what I need, when I need it.

band-aids don't fix bullet holes

A few weeks ago I talked about being in the rough.  About feeling like I was lost but at the same time mere feet from where I wanted to be, where I knew I needed to be.
Last weekend I went home, a quick little vacation to reconnect with myself.  This weekend I reconnected with those around me.
Last weekend my Friday night consisted of family dinner and bed time snuggles.  This weekend it was a warm dinner on a cold night alongside some great friends and catching up on our favorite shows.  A low key night for Halloween while texting with my family.
Last weekend my Saturday was a pumpkin patch with my nieces and goddaughter and one on one time with my mom.  This weekend it was a craft/nails/netflix day with a new friend who feels like an old friend.
I’ve always been really tentative with friends.  Letting people in has always been hard for me, but not letting people in is harder on me.  That’s why I’ve become pickier with who I choose to let in, who I allow to be in my inner circle.
I was once told that when Jesus compared us to sheep it wasn’t always a positive thing.  Often times sheep get packed in close together and end up biting one another.  The person sharing this wisdom told me that when sometimes as human we bite each other – we cause pain accidentally, because we are imperfect people.  We’re just sheep being sheep.
In relationships, we bite one another.  Sometimes accidentally, sometimes not so accidentally.  This is why relationships are so hard, sinful people hurt other sinful people.  We rely on the grace of God to fill in the gaps, to help us to forgive and try not to get hurt again.  We need God to help protect our hearts and to give us guidance along the way.
In ministry, it’s important to surround yourself with safe people.  People who you can be real with and who you can let in.  It’s for that reason that I’m so unbelievably thankful for my friends.  For those I spent this weekend with, for my Best Friend, for Roomsmate.  For My People in CO.  Thank you all for standing by me and for walking this path with me.  Thank you for being my circle of trust.

quit these pretentious thoughts and just punch the clock

There’s a quote from 30 Rock that has been rolling around my head for the past week.  Jack’s boss says to him, “You’re in the rough Jack, you got to get back on the fairway.”
Sometimes I get in these modes when stuff gets tough.  I just tell myself to put my head down and get to work.  And then I do just that, I put my head down, get the job done and when it’s over I look up and realize I have no idea where I am.
You’re in the rough, Jack.  You got to get back on the fairway
I’ve never played golf but I know the difference between the rough and the fairway.  I picture Jack in the rough, trying desperately to hit his ball out from behind trees, thick grass and weeds.  Swing after swing, just using up his energy and hoping for that one good hit that will chip the ball back to the plush green of the fairway grass.  The carefully manicured lawn where the golf ball is meant to be.  To get back to where he feels in control of the situation.
I can imagine the frustration of someone pointing out to him that he’s in the rough.  That where he currently stands swinging is not where he is meant to be.  He knows it, you don’t have to point it out to him.  He knows where the ball is supposed to go, and he’s got to figure out how to get it back there.
I looked up recently.  Pulled my head out of the work and took a look around.  Thick grass – check.  Weeds – check.  Trees blocking my view – check.  A few wrong turns, misguided hits and suddenly I’ve landed myself right in the middle of the rough.
I’ve lost it.  The momentum that got me here, which is maybe a good thing because here is not where I’m meant to be.  Here is not good.  Here is not the life intended for me.  But I got here.  I chose the wrong club, didn’t square my hips, just swung wildly and landed myself here, in the rough.
Luckily for me, each day is brand new.  Each morning the sun rises and God’s riches and mercies are renewed for me.  The fairway’s out there and by the grace of God I’ll get back out there.  Because He is strong when I am weak.