When you start healing and becoming more emotionally and spiritually healthy, you’ll find a fair amount of kickback along the road you’re traveling. Continue reading When the Doubters Come Knocking (After You’ve Cut Contact With an Abuser)
Let the haters go. They are too heavy to carry very far at all.
Let the abusers go. They will only teach you to drown yourself. Continue reading Let The Heavy Things Go
Abuse is sin. And all sin is a lie. Continue reading 11 Effects of Abuse and the Truths That Will Help You Heal
One of the lasting effects of abuse is lack of identity. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, long-term exposure to manipulation and shame…they all leave you empty and deeply insecure. Continue reading How to Find Your God-Given Identity in the Aftermath of Brokenness
I took a walk to the sea-salt water with my daughter today. She is 9 months old. And a year ago, when I first learned I was having a daughter, fear overwhelmed me. Because I had deep dark scars and mothering a girl terrified the still-broken parts of me.
We walked along the road. Mercy riding on my back in a carrier, gravel smacking together under my boots; the soft sound of mud too. Dirty drips of water squeezing between blades of spring grass.
It was a perfect evening for a sunset walk. And my soul padded along to the pace of my steps, perfectly present in that moment.
Life happens in the now, a friend of mine said. Right now, this very moment, this is your life, your next breath is the future, your last breath was the past.
I drank in the moments. The feel of a baby against my body. The way I could tell how she looked back and forth at everything. Is there anything more sacred to watch than a child delighting in newness?
I thought about my healing. And how sick I felt over the repeated jargon we use describe the immensely spiritual and emotionally painful wrestling with abusive people. Abusers, toxic people, narcissists…it all falls so horrendously short.
Soul-stealers I thought. That’s what they are. Like the dementors in Harry Potter.
We turned a corner. And Mercy spun as best she could to watch a black cat laying flat in a patch of sun.
Down the hill. And there we saw the water, heard the hum of boat engines, laughter from across the water.
I walked to the edge, you know, where land meets shore? It’s always such a reverent moment. Like even the dirt doesn’t dare get too close to the sea, it keeps to the edges of the sand and watches in awe at all the happenings of a small beach. Earth contains the sea, cups it into the deepest crevices and lets it fling itself into the depths and shows it all the deepest parts of itself. The sea knows things about earth we never will. Earth and sea. They are intimate friends.
And there we stood, Mercy and me, drinking in the smell of the salt stuff in the air on our skin, the way the birds were settling in for the night. It’s all for you to enjoy, whispered the Holy Spirit. That voice I’ve come to love and crave.
This is what I know: there is an unspeakable joy present in the lapping of water on a shore.
We turned to walk home. Already, the sun felt lower, cooler.
And Mercy sung softly in her little baby voice and I knew she felt it too: God, here with us. It has taken me a long time to learn how to welcome God into the everyday walks. He hovers, ever-present in the air around us, like a bright-winged eternal friend.
And then I smiled, because I just knew deep, deep down, something in me healed…
Fear is rarely release all at once. It is the daily, momentary surrender that changes us so. And it is the daily, momentary choice to refuse to hate, to turn your face to the Son and let him carry us.
We are not just persons. We are souls. And if souls be pained, then they must be healed by an Eternal Healer.
And to be healed we must let him heal us…
It is OK to live the life you want. And it is OK to say “no” to everything else.
It is OK to live a calm life, a life free from trying to live up to someone else’s idea of how your life should look.
Are you striving to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength?
Are you striving to love your neighbor as yourself?
Then go and be free, dear one. Because loving God and loving Others actually matter the most in all the busyness of this loud and opinionated world.
Everything else is debatable…
Today was Sunday, and like so many other Sundays I spent my morning thinking about and preparing for church.
I have been to church almost every Sunday of my life.
Some of the seats I’ve sat in, I’ve loved. Some, not so much.
I’ve been to Catholic services, to liturgical Baptist Churches on the East Coast, to mega churches, famous churches, tiny churches, churches with professional musicians and churches that literally do not believe in instruments being inside a church. I’ve been to church in the middle of a field in a third world country. I’ve been to churches where I am the only white person, and churches were I didn’t even speak the language. I’ve seen pastors speak with so much pride and I have wondered how anyone could follow them. I have seen humble pastors. And I’ve heard testimonies of changed lives beyond what is comprehensible. I’ve seen healthy churches. And I’ve seen unhealthy churches.
But in all those churches…Between all those walls and stained glass murals. Between the notes of the hymns and the smiles of the faithful, you start to get a feeling for what is real and what is ceremony…
And that is the giant wall that faces so many with glaring condemnation: the false gospel.
Oh! We don’t like to call it that. But for every church striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus, there are five ahead of it so introspective that “missions” haven’t changed in two decades and salvations are mere conjecture.
What on earth are we doing? The point of The Church is to G R O W! The point of church is to live vulnerably in community. The point of church is to change your heart to be more like Jesus while walking through life alongside the Body of Christ.
This is why I love The Church: because Jesus loves The Church. Because the Bible is riddled with story after story of the importance of The Church. I don’t love The Church because it’s “perfect” or because of a type of music or because of a hipster pastor. And I’m well past the notion that church needs to look or feel a certain way.
Church was NEVER meant to fulfill you: God was. Church was NEVER meant to be empty of sin…it was meant to be a Gathering of Souls striving relentlessly toward Holiness, toward furthering the Gospel, toward discipleship.
It takes an immense amount of work to sustain a healthy church. So, if you happen to be part of one…thank your leaders for all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Why does church matter: honestly, because the Bible says it does.
And because God knows what we need.