One Of My Greatest Fears

I get scared, talking about my life sometimes. I get scared that people see a shadow of the truth in what I’ve done, in how I’ve chosen to live, and say, “I want exactly that.”

I am scared that people will hear I’ve sold everything I owned this year to travel the country in a little car with a man – and decide that THAT is the best way to live.

I am terrified that girls hear the story of how I met my husband on Twitter – and start scouring the Internet for the perfect man who blogs, is wickedly clever, and wants to talk to them too, a pretty girl online.

I worry about sharing how I decided to drop out of college (temporarily) for a second time, and chose to leave my 9-5 job – not wanting for a moment for any woman to trample the sparks of opportunity she’s been blessed to receive.

Yes, I have been inspired, moved, pushed, refined and bettered by listening closely to other women’s stories; by observing other women’s lives. Life gives birth to life. Fullness swells to create new fullness. Iron sharpens, truth speaks, love heals.

But please. Do not be tricked into attempting to replicate life in order to escape death. You are not a clone.

God is too creative with his daughters. The heavens plan and whisper and lay foundation for you, your life, your story.

My life has become more beautiful, my awe of God’s work has increased beyond measure – as I hear story, after story, after story of women who live utterly opposite lives as that of mine. What a God we serve. No one could weave a story like Him.

Rarity increases value.

There is not a woman walking this earth who has an existence identical to yours.

And there is not a woman in the world who can fulfill the Creator’s intricate, intentional plan for you.

By plan, I do not mean a clearly marked path in which you choose to walk daily until the day you die, with a pre-determined life-story utterly outside of your control.

By plan, I mean your birth, your childhood, your brokenness, your character, your personality, your hopes, your passions, your gifts [ trust me, they are there, whether you see them or not yet ], your body, your mind, your spirit – – – all of these things fall perfectly into place to make possible a life that could never be lived by another human being.

We do not serve a God who wastes resources.

You are not wasted.

We are beloved children of a God who treasures and counts carefully – who rejoices in indescribable pride – over the value of his sons and daughters.

And all these little things? Every detail, every heartbreak, every rush of joy, every word He has whispered to you in the dark places – they make you a resource that would break His heart to waste.

You are rare.

You are of value.

Where we see our worthlessness, He sees an entire life composed of endless spaces to fill with his overflowing Love.

“You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of human beings.” (I Corinthians 7:23)

Do not become the slave of another human being’s life. Of another human being’s story. Of their success, of their failure, of their talent, of their beauty, of their skill.

You were bought at a price.

“Live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to you, just as God has called you.” (I Corinthians 7:17)

I am a believer. A believer in a furious love, a scandalous grace, and a God I do not understand.

I am a believer. A believer in a Savior who walks with me daily, who leads my feet to places only mine can go, and who holds your hand through a life that I could never live.

We are beautiful. Bought at a price. Claimed for freedom.

And asked to live as believers in the places that our Father has powerfully created for us.


Why You Shouldn’t Read My Blog Unless You’re Friends With Me

Okay, well. I didn’t really mean that. I adore that people come to this little space and listen to my rants, my confessions, and my lessons. It is nothing short of a gift to me, and truly – I covet your time here. So thank you.

But, I had an epiphany today, and I want to share it with you.

I’ve been struggling this month, kind of a lot. Yep. Because saying Yes to God this year for me meant marrying an amazing new man in my life, leaving everything behind to travel the country, and starting Good Women Project.

Oh, I know how blessed I am. My life sounds perfect in that pretty sentence. And my life is incredible, because grace makes it so, even when I can’t see it that way. Because Jesus daily gives me the life that is everlasting. The life that I cannot find in the gaps of an imperfect marriage, an imperfect life plan, and my imperfect leadership skills.

And so, I am so grateful. I am.

But it’s still really, really hard. Did you know that? I want to talk about it.

Did you know that no matter how amazing something seems from the outside, it gets pretty un-amazing really fast when you take responsibility for things that are God’s?

The potential of my life is infinite with God, but it has been dying quickly with a lie that I’ve bought into.

A little lie that says “this depends on you.”

I fell back into that lie’s little sister that says, “you delivered something people love, now it’s your job to deliver it every single day.”

But it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on God, because He is the one who promised to carry out on to completion the good work that HE began in me. (Philippians 1:6) And when we focus on the “me,” everyone and everything else fades out from our periphery. When we focus on the “me,” we begin to isolate ourselves, and the expectation falls on ourself alone.

I accidentally put the burden back on my shoulders, for the hundredth time in my life.

I forgot that there is a world of Life behind the dullness of the digital to come alongside me and shout out that they’ve found the same Source of all this Life.

I’ve used the I-Can’t-Be-Your-Friend-Because-I’m-In-A-New-City-Every-Week excuse for not investing in the unbelievable women I’ve brushed fingers with in my life. And the We-Can’t-Talk-Because-I-Have-Too-Many-Emails thing, too.

I’ve had the joy seared out of me with the disagreements, fights, hate, differences, conflict, misunderstandings and crap that comes so easily from people that we’ve never known personally.

And man. I’m exhausted. My heart is pretty worn out. You guys, it took me three hours to get out of bed this morning. Two more hours to get off the sofa. I don’t want to write today. I don’t want to edit posts, and I don’t want to design, and I don’t want to answer people’s questions, and I don’t want to sift through the bottomless pit of the Internet that daily reminds me I haven’t learned even 0.0001% of what I wish I knew.

I don’t mean to complain, but today is the day that I have found no life in anything I am doing.

And there we have it.

There is no life in anything I do.

There is only life in what God does through us.

There is no life in what we do alone.

There is only life in what we do with others.

My heart needs a witness to all its good and all its bad, just to be alive. Can I get an amen?

So, I chose to accomplish nothing today.

Instead, I unloaded my problems and my complaints on Haley and Kelly. I sat at the table with my husband and we dug and scraped pieces of debris out of one another’s hearts as best we knew how. I picked up my phone and called – YES CALLED – sweet Amber to ask her advice on an issue with Good Women Project because I can’t do this alone. And I emailed back and forth with Lore about the busy-ness of life and the beauty in resting, while I struggled to silence the voice in my head that was wrangling me back into believing I had too many other emails to reply to.

And in that, I found SO MUCH LIFE that I had to write, and tell someone out there about it.

Somewhere in the midst of my mistakes and mis-prioritizing, God has given me the grace of women (and an incredible husband) who have made their hearts and love and support available to me, even when I don’t return it well. Even when I’ve put so much weight on my own shoulders that I’ve had no more joy left to give. Even when the dread of unwelcome comments has kept me from writing what has been trying to push its way out of my heart.

So really, what I said about not reading this blog unless you’re my friend? I just meant that friends you can unload on are necessary to survival. That asking for advice is exponentially better than making a decision on your own. That talking to someone – real, human connection – is much more beautiful and life-giving than we give it credit for. I meant that no amount of reading other’s stories of healing can come close to the rawness of sitting in someone’s presence and putting your own heart on the table. I meant that your friends’ opinions of you mean infinitely more than an anonymous commenter.

I meant that I’ve been reading and doing more than I’ve been being and loving – and if you’re overwhelmed and feel alone, if you feel that the online world has sand-papered your heart – maybe you have too?

– – –

They asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered them, “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29


An Apology For My Christianese, And Other Things.

Have you ever stood behind a couple in the check out line and been so disgusted with their indecipherable love-speak that you wanted to smack them back into the harsh reality you and everyone else is living in?

I have. Hundreds of times. And now I’m that girl on a daily basis with a man I’m crazy in love with.

He’s the person that knows all my secrets, and somehow still thinks I’m sexy even though the first thing I want to do upon waking up in bed is try to teach him the lyrics to “Zippity Doo Dah” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers.” He’s the one that knows I’m raging inside when no one else can tell the difference, and genuinely thinks I’m beautiful when I’ve refused to get out of bed to shower because my cramps are so bad. He’s the one that’s promised to never leave me – so he gets to see all sides. My girls-just-wanna-have-fun side, my business woman, my sexy in bed, my quiet introvert, my little girl, my intelligence, my stupidity, my confidence and my insecurity. All of it.

This kind of intimacy breeds a language that baffles everyone else.

Sometimes, those of us who have experienced it think it’s adorable, but most of us can’t wait to get away from people who just can’t use their words normally.

And so, I want to apologize not for my embarrassing behavior in the Starbucks line, but for my Christianese.

I’m not going to apologize for my love babble, because you’re not really invited into my marriage, so it’s pretty great that you don’t understand me and him.

But I do want to apologize for my Christianese, because you ARE invited into a bigger Love. And I never meant to turn you off. I never meant to pick up that weird language that makes grace-filled kids a strange variety of humans. I always swore to be first a human, then a woman, then a-Christian-who-didn’t-act-like-a-perfect-one.

But you know what? Jesus knows all my secrets, all my sides, and I get more love from Him than from anyone else. And I’ve fallen into a language that I know seems way too church-ish. I can’t help it. It happened on accident, even though I promised myself to not be that girl.

A lot of days I hate it because I can just feel people staring at me through the Internet, reading what I write here and on Good Women Project and saying, “Dude. That’s not me. Life is rough and dirty and I can’t just transform a hymn into a paragraph and have all my problems solved by Waiting Upon The Lord For He Is Good.” I mean really, when was the last time we waited upon someone, besides our part time serving job last weekend?

So what I want to say is this: I am first a human, and my life is just as great and just as terrible as yours. I’ve tried to be better and I’ve tried to be worse. I’ve barricaded my heart with self-help books and New Year’s resolutions. I’ve dated shitty guys, I’ve had my heart broken, I have parent-problems, I cuss and offend people, I feel 1/10th as talented as everyone else I meet, and I need triple-strength Midol.

I’m not a better Christian than you. I don’t visually see God actually walking hand in hand with me every single day. I don’t treat everyone with love and grace and forgiveness as my new default personality in Christ. I have a handful of verses memorized, but that doesn’t make me more impressive than you being able to recite lines from Harry Potter because you’ve seen it 8 times. I don’t miraculously know what to say when I pray out loud in a group of people. I get uncomfortable and self-conscious when I visit a new church. I read the Bible and get confused. Starting a Beth Moore or Kay Arthur or Mary Kay – whatever – Bible study program with women I don’t know sounds terrifying, and I’m putting it off for as long as possible.

I get so angry at Christians and I get so angry at myself, and I hold the whole planet to standards that are outrageous.

But. I’ve fallen in love with Jesus because He loves me.

And I’m sorry for accidentally speaking in vague sentences about blood of lambs, power of crosses, and lights in the darkness. Particularly when I’m just trying to tell you how much I love him, and you want to squirm because of my Holier Art Thou vocabulary.

I’m sorry for telling you simply that “I trust in God” when really I should tell you I freak out every single day, but I read a verse in the Bible that tells me to “Trust In The Lord For He Is Good”, so I tell myself every day that God is good and if I keep believing that, I’ll see it soon.

My love affair with Jesus is simple. And I don’t want my embarrassing words and actions to get in the way of you having the same love affair.

Trying to get to know Jesus better doesn’t require you to add 18th century words to your sentences. I promise. The way I see it, I read the Bible when I can. I pray and ask for him to forgive me when I realize I’ve messed up. I read about other women’s lives and try to replicate the grace and love that I see them living out. To hear what my same Jesus is speaking to them, because we need to interact daily with other people who have found hope in Someone bigger than ourselves.

I choose to believe that His words written in the Bible, and whispered to me in my heart, can and do slowly transform me into a version of myself that is better. More like the Person I’m in love with.

But mostly, I’ve decided to love and chase after a man who died a very painful death to prove how much He loved me, and to make it possible for God to see me as a beautiful daughter. Permanently. No matter what.

I love Jesus. And I want you to love Jesus.

And I’m sorry for everything else that’s gotten in the way.

– – –

PS. My husband Max writes fiction, and he just published a book of short stories called “We Can’t Go Home Again.” It’s only 99 cents, and it would mean the world to me if you went and got it! You can download it to iTunes/iBooks (if you have an iPad or iPhone) or from Amazon/Kindle (if you have a Kindle, or want to download the free Kindle app onto your computer). It’s really, really, really good. Click HERE for iBooks and HERE for Amazon..