Category: heart

doing it wrong

March 1st, 2013 — 12:18pm

I was standing in Starbucks the other day waiting for my drink and I overheard a conversation happening at the table behind me. Two college students were sitting there having drinks, a boy and a girl, and the boy was very analytically trying to talk the girl into believing in God. In Christianese this is called “witnessing.” I felt a stab of shame in the pit of my stomach, hoping that back in my more zealous, naive-Christian-days I never tried to talk someone into Jesus.

I wanted to turn around and tell him that he was doing it all wrong. That we can’t talk people into believing that God is real with books and statistics and the “Romans Road.” I wanted to say that we don’t talk people into Jesus with threats of the intangible hell or promises of a heaven they can’t see. We can’t talk people into Jesus at all. But what we can do is engage their hearts. We can tell them how he saved us: from hopeless marriages and heartbreak with second chances and plans bigger that we could ever imagine. How he gave hope when there was none and light when things seemed very dark and comfort to endless tears. That when life was really, really bad he whispered promises in my ear – promises that he knew what he was doing with me and that he was holding me safe in his hand. Promises that there would be better days, full of joy. Promises that came true.

I wanted to tell him that people can’t be talked into believing in God and that by trying to do so, we’re having the opposite effect, pushing them farther and father away. Dear college student, people can’t be talked into God, but they can go searching for him, inspired by how he rescued you.

3 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs, heart

Dream boards 2012

December 21st, 2012 — 9:18am

This was the 4th year of dream boards. I hope that 30 years from now, I have a stack of dream boards from every year. And I hope that Amy, Carrie, Rickelle and I will make it a priority to always get together, once a year, no matter where we live, to do this.

I love how each board is such a statement of where I am every year. I love this little piece of creative history. And I love seeing the contrast between my life and the lives of my friends. We are all at such different places in our lives, yet certain threads weave through each of our lives, connecting us to each other.

I can’t say how overwhelmingly thankful I am for these girls and the community we’ve formed around us. We’ve created a culture that says it’s OK to be connected to our hearts and to each other. I become more and more aware of how special this is… that this doesn’t just happen to everyone. I am lucky. I am blessed. I am SO thankful.

Dream board 2012

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from my journal 12.4.12

December 20th, 2012 — 9:14am

Just like that, every thing changes and now I’m looking back on a past that was such an all-consuming reality at the time. Life is different now. Life has expanded…yet again. Now I know love in a way that I never have. My eyes are just a little bit more open than they were before. Suddenly everything looks a little bit different. All of the loneliness and questioning and waiting and wondering seems that much more worth it because of what came out of it.

Josh is more than I asked for. He is just amazing. There is still such a part of me that is scared… scared of making a bad choice, scared because he isn’t what I expected, scared because I know what’s at stake and exactly what I’m risking, scared because the future isn’t written yet… and with all of that fear, he still surprises me in ways that I never knew were possible. All those times my friends told me their hopes for me… what COULD be… what to hold out for, I heard the words and hoped too, but couldn’t imagine what they were talking about, couldn’t picture it for myself because I had never known it. THIS is what they hoped for. THIS is blowing my mind.

THIS feels like redemption.

2 comments » | heart

on being the Bravermans

November 9th, 2012 — 5:26pm

My darling friend Amy had her third child this morning, a sweet baby boy. Rickelle got to be with Amy and her husband during the birth, so I got text updates throughout the night as her labor progressed. As each early-early morning text came through, I was so happy to roll over and snatch up my phone, hungry for the news of what was going on. Laying in my bed, I could feel the sacredness of what Amy was going through at the hospital. And when Rickelle texted that it was time to push, tears came to my eyes. I was so thrilled for Amy and what another child means for her. When Rickelle sent the picture of this perfect boy laying on his warrior-mamma’s chest, tears came again… there really is nothing more special. This is the thing that I am most acutely aware of about living in community: we really do get to share what happens in each other’s hearts. Sometimes that’s really, really hard things… sometimes it’s the most amazing joy.

Rickelle has been talking lately about how our tight-knit group is the Bravermans. I laughed and nodded, but the other morning as I was waking up, I realized that we really ARE the Bravermans. I can’t tell you how much I’ve longed to be a part of a family like the Bravermans. It’s one of my life dreams and I’m actually living it. Sometimes that means that the fab-five gets together to have a pow-wow about my love life (much to my chagrin) and sometimes that means we get texts in the middle of the night about how labor is going. What I’m living in right now, this community, is truly something special and that fact is not lost on me. I am overwhelmingly thankful for it Every. Single. Day. I can’t imagine life without this community. It has saved me. I’m a better, more whole, more alive person because of it.

I’ll leave you with Rickelle’s words on being the Bravermans… so tender and true.

have you watched parenthood? we have eaten it up…best show since friday night lights.

the culture of the bravermans has struck me these past few weeks.

we are walking very closely with some friends who are dealing with really important things in very different seasons. and it seems that if one person knows something, then the whole community knows.
and the only way this works is because every single person is safe. and trustworthy. and FOR each other.
i think our community is embracing that secrets keep us in the dark……vulnerable to the evil one. and if we are brave enough to put forth our mess into the light, to lay it on the table, to invite other people to share in it, then Jesus pours over it in the way only He can. and He weaves and guides and speaks. we are trying to get better at listening to Him. which is a daily discipline. but we know He is beyond FOR us and cares about our stories and their outcomes even more than us.
so if sarah wants to keep a secret from crosby and julia, ultimately adam and zeke and christina find out and gather around that person and that problem and they just tackle it together.
i love the bravermans and i love the culture of such safety that we just lay it out and go to battle for each other as a tribe; as keepers of each others hearts.

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D-day +1year

October 6th, 2012 — 5:33pm

One year ago today I got divorced. I had to look up which day it was which I think is a pretty telling sign of how much I’ve healed. I don’t even think about my past life or husband and sometimes someone will mention something about Jim and it shocks me… oh yeah, I was married.

This last year hasn’t looked anything like I expected it to. I generally liked my life before and was wanting so badly to get back what I lost that I thought God would just fix that for me and I could get back on track right away with a replacement husband. I thought I’d immediately start dating someone who would turn into my future husband and life would just be easy and wonderful and I could pick up where I left off 4 years ago. Instead God had some things to teach me and over these last months he’s gently been telling me that I can’t just get back what I lost… that I have to start looking and believing for something new. Something that will shock me a little.

I always joke with my friends that I’m living my life backwards. I got married and had kids, THEN I was single, started dating and had roommates. Dating and being single in general has been such an interesting experience for me because it’s something I’d never done before… also because nearly every one of my friends is not in this life stage with me. I’m the only one and I’m pretty sure I provide lots of entertainment for them. Over this last year I’ve gone out with lots of dudes, some of them pretty wonderful and lots of them not-so pretty wonderful. Entertaining IS a good word to describe it. But now I have such a clear picture of exactly what I want. I’ve been surprised by things that I never knew I wanted, things that I now know I can’t live without…so much so that it kind of scares me that I’ll never be able to have it.

Trust has been, as always, the cornerstone of my existence. Any time that I start to find myself in a downward spiral, I realize that I’m not trusting the plan that God has for me. Now more than ever, I realize that I have NO CLUE what the next year will look like. What will I be writing a year from now? It could be ANYTHING. I see how good this uncertainty has been for me. I’m the one who always has to know the plan, and see twelve steps ahead. And I don’t get to do that right now. And that’s exactly what I need.

Over this last year I’ve developed some really deep friendships. Even though I was married for 12 years, I never knew true intimacy. Through these friendships I’ve learned intimacy. I’ve learned to lay myself wide open and let people see all the scary corners of me. I’ve learned to take risks in safe relationships and let myself be known. And I’ve learned how to seek that same openness in others. I’ve allowed myself to depend on community without the all-consuming need that could never be filled. (That’s because everything I really need is within me.)

Being a single parent is still something that I forget that I am. And the really weird thing is that even Jim isn’t a single parent. I would have never thought he would be the first one to be un-single. When things get hard my friends have to remind me, yes, you’re a single parent… this should be hard. But the kids and I are finding our ways though and overall things work pretty smoothly and everyone is doing pretty well.

This year hasn’t been without pain and the consequential lessons that come from pain, but it’s been nothing like the years prior. There is a rich thread of hope that weaves it’s way through every day of my life that wasn’t there before. And there is this deep seated knowledge of who I am and what I can do that gives me such comfort and peace. Pain is always necessary for change and learning and I now welcome it (mostly anyway).

This year also hasn’t been without great joy, a multitude of shining moments that I will always treasure. Mostly because I have come into my true self so wholly. Life is open to me in ways it’s never been and I just gobble it up with a voracity that can’t be quenched. I just want to live more and more life and it has been so amazing to be able to do it, on my terms, whenever I want!

What I know is that this last year has been so full. There’s only been a small handful of hard moments compared to the dump truck of good ones. I continue to be surprised over and over again at the path my life has taken and just how GOOD it is. I went into this with eyes wide open, ready for whatever came and it’s all been so amazing. I’ve learned to embrace the seasons of my life, knowing that they will be fleeting, never to be had again. I’ve learned to embrace pain and the lessons it brings as well as treasure every good moment. It feels so cheesy to say that I’ve had a second chance at life, but I really have. Life is new to me in every way and I couldn’t feel more like God knows exactly what he’s doing with me. And that is such a relief!

Who knows what will happen next, but I’m excited for what that might be…

Comments Off | heart, marriage, me


September 18th, 2012 — 2:48pm

What a place to wake up in on your birthday! #sacredground #cimarron

I spent last weekend with the church staff at the YWAM base in Cimarron, Colorado. We spent a couple intense days working on the vision of the church, talking about where we’re going and how to get there. I felt so honored to be there, representing my department – the Good Samaritan Clinic – with such an amazing team. The thing that I love over and over again about my church is how real it is, how each person on staff is so genuinely loving and how un-religious we are. I love that we all desire to help people with no agenda other than just helping them. I’ve longed for years and years for a place like this and I’m just so thankful to have found it and to get to be a part of it.

Ten years ago my sister did a DTS (discipleship training school) at this base before she went to Nepal & India for 3 months. Because Cimarron is only 2 hours away from home, we got to visit her a couple of times, packing 6 month old Eden into our car with every baby contraption we owned. It was such a breath of fresh air to return to this scared space on the mountain. As soon as we pulled onto the property, I could feel peace flooding in. And when the team that runs the school told us over the amazing dinner they had prepared for us that they had been praying for our time there, I could feel it. In the book Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist talks about the Irish folklore of Thin Places. Thin Places are places where the boundary between heaven and earth is just a little bit thinner, where you can feel heaven just a little bit closer. I’m not sure about Irish folklore, but if ever there was a Thin Place, the base at Cimarron is one.

My time there was not only significant for me in my role as director of the clinic but also for me personally. I forced myself out of bed early in the mornings so I could spend some time to myself on the porch journaling. I feel like God always talks to me through my journal and the prayers that I write in there end up being the most poignant. I think maybe because writing gives my ADD brain some space to focus.

That time on the porch was such a good opportunity for me to draw a few lines in the sand. Sometimes I have to make deals with God. A few years back I had to make a deal that I was going to stop questioning his existence. Last weekend I had to make a deal that I was going to stop fighting him, stop fighting what he is doing. These lessons of trust have been so constant in my life. (It might especially be that way for people who are a tad bit controlling…) All I know is that Trust has to be my way of life, that every time I’ve trusted him, it’s been so much better than I could have made it myself and it has always been good, even if the road there was marked by pain. Up there on the mountain, in that Thin Place, I made a new deal: that I was going to stop fighting what he was doing and let go of how I wanted things to be. I promised to start trusting again and stop doing things my own way. Trust can still be a little scary, but it feels so much better to know that someone so GOOD has free reign to do GOOD things in my life.

Journal time on the porch with the sun coming up #cimarron

My favorite #cimarron

Yellow trees are so captivating #cimarron

Bonfire #cimarron

Bonfire #cimarron

Sacred place #cimarron


Comments Off | clinic, heart, trips


August 20th, 2012 — 1:42pm

The beginning of July my roommates moved to Ft. Collins. Because of the work Seth does, it just made more sense for them to be based on the front range. While we understood the reasons for their move, it’s been a little hard on our community. I think that loss can often trigger anger and we all have felt a little anger here and there when we think about the hole they’ve left. We’ve had nights of Stationary Floats (where we all hang out in the raft under the shelter of the boat garage – trust me, it’s more fun than you could imagine… once we even had pizza delivered to the raft… talk about epic) where we’ve missed them so much that we ask Carrie to text us Raft Questions – which she refuses to do if she’s not present.

The fact is that communities often change. I knew that the time of them living with me would be short and therefore I determined to soak up every single minute of it. I feel that I did. I enjoyed every single second of having Seth and Carrie as my roommates and just as the seasons change, a season changed in my life too. And the good thing is that they’re back often enough that we don’t end up missing them too badly.

I think that something really good has come out of their absence too. We’ve been forced to look for new community. We were always so comfortable to be the Fab-Five or the Super-Six (depending on who was around) and it’s been good to be pushed out of that. Recently we’ve seen the addition of some really special people who have changed and brightened our community. We’ve come together for so many meals and (not so) quiet times around the campfire or patio, we’ve played badminton in the dark with a floodlight strapped to the pergola to illuminate our game, we’ve gathered in Caleb and Rickelle’s house for community worship, I’ve made countless bowls of popcorn and served up river pops and beergaritas as fast as I could, and we’ve started to live life together, connecting in new ways.

Something really special is happening and I can’t help but feel that my little group is at the center of it. Rickelle is so good at teaching people to connect to their hearts and I’m starting to see that catch on like wildfire. We aren’t just a bunch of friends who get together and bullshit, we want to know what’s going on in each others lives and hearts. Community feels very safe when you know that everyone cares about and honors who you really are.

As always, things change and I take those blind steps forward trusting that there is a plan bigger than me and that it will be good. I’m seeing the fruition of that in my community. And I think as the months progress, I’ll see more and more good things come from gathering with these people that I love. And even though we all feel a little bit of loss, we know that Seth and Carrie are still part of us and that there will always be a place for them that no one else can fill.

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freedom and life

July 5th, 2012 — 4:56pm

I’m not sure how to write all that is swirling around in my heart. It’s been so hard to contain what’s going on inside of me, to define and explain it. All I can say is that I continue to find myself over and over again becoming so overwhelmed with the thankfulness I feel about where I am. The journey God has taken me on is so amazing and the way he has orchestrated even the small details of the lessons I’m learning, the changes in me, just delights me in ways unexplainable.

I think about my life now compared to years 18-28 and I am struck with the contrast. It was like I lived those ten years asleep, not enjoying this incredible gift of LIFE. I can’t explain just how ALIVE I feel now, how awake I am compared to then, like sleeping beauty finally kissed by her true love. It’s like life sprang new in me and it’s bubbling out, uncontainable, onto the floor, into the cracks, dripping into the basement, filling up every room to the ceiling, pouring out the windows into the street. I feel like everywhere I go it pours out of me in ways I can’t help… it just bubbles and flows out, on and on. I feel like I’m about to burst with the LIFE flowing in me and it just amazes me.

I think that in losing my marriage, and in that, getting torn down to the very core of myself, God has slowly whispered to me about who I am and who I’m not. It’s so freeing to embrace yourself, your true self. It’s so amazing to throw away the untruths you’ve believed about yourself, pulling the millstone of all of those lies from your neck and tossing them into the depths of the sea. It’s so freeing to just LIVE in who you are, not apologizing for your self but embracing it. I am starting to see that all the tools that I need to accomplish the jobs set before me are hidden in my true identity. And that identity is so GOOD and so special.

Yesterday, independence day, I kept thinking about my own personal independence. This gift I’ve been given has not been lost on me. I was saved from the depths of fear and loss and abandonment and disgrace…from heart-wrenching pain that went on and on and on. I am just SO, SO, SO saved. It is so good. Life is so good. I’m just reveling in the freedom. And this is just the beginning…

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June 19th, 2012 — 2:34pm

One of the things that I think is easy for “Christians” to do is to expect certain things out of God. We’re told that God will make our lives so much better… that following him is a cure-all for everything that ails us and that if we don’t get what we want out of him, we are somehow at fault… not holy enough, not full of enough faith. This is definitely the way that I grew up believing. And to a point, yes, it’s true… God does make everything better. But he also has a grand master plan that we can’t always understand, especially when we’re living right through the middle of it and sometimes that plan involves a lot of suffering and questioning and pain. It’s kind of like child birth. There’s a WHOLE lot of suffering involved, but in the end, that pain was the only thing that could get us to the happy ending. I think God sees the long view when we are stuck right in the middle of our stories, in the doldrums of life. He sees what the outcome will be, he sees what a tool pain is in our lives and that’s why I think he doesn’t mind if we suffer a little.

The one, and maybe only, thing I know about God is that he is good. Only good. All the time. Whenever I find myself riding the wave of uncertainty (almost always), wondering where he’s taking me, I remind myself over and over again that he is only good. And also that he knows better than me, that he’s looking at the whole picture when I can only see a tiny corner of it. When my marriage was falling apart, I fully expected God to fix it because in my mind that was the only thing that could be good. And since my marriage being fixed was good + God is good, that should equal me getting my way. Gosh how thankful I am that I didn’t get my way. (Don’t count on me saying THAT sentence very often.)

I’m starting to get tiny glimpses of the long view, the big picture and I just can’t get over how thankful I am that I had to endure some pain to get to where I’m going. Stuck right in the middle, I couldn’t see how much better things could be if only I’d let go of my stubborn determination to have things the way I thought they should be. Now I just think of God as this really patient and totally brilliant father who says, “Yeah, sure we could go that way, but the story is going to be SO much better if we go this way. It might be hard, but going my way will change the entire outcome for the rest of your life and it will be SO worth it.”

Um, it is.

And all this time I had been stamping my foot, demanding my own way when his was so much better. I kind of think that God doesn’t like to be told what to do. I think that when we set up all these expectations for how we want him to move, he just has to blow our minds a little by doing it totally different. (Hello, theme of my life.) I think it’s his sense of humor and adventure. I love that about him. It’s like he, himself, is a little irreverent.

What I’m coming to believe is that I don’t want to know how my story is going to turn out anyway. I want to be surprised by the outcome. Every surprise so far has been SO good and SO fun and SO remarkable. I don’t want to read the end of the book before I finish the middle. I’m finding myself getting so content to ride the boat, not knowing where it’s going but that the adventure is going to be epic, that I’m going to be surprised over and over again, and that in the long run it is going to be SO good because the guy I finally let drive is SO good.

Giving up control over my life has been hard and it’s a lesson I have to remind myself of daily. But it’s been worth it… every single time it’s been worth it. And it will be worth it tomorrow and the next day and the next. THAT is something I know.

4 comments » | heart


May 13th, 2012 — 1:32pm

On the day of your birth

The Creator filled countless storehouses and


With rich ointments

Luscious tapestries

And antique coins of incredible value

Jewels worthy of a queen’s dowry

They were set aside for your use


Armed with faith and hope

And without knowing of the wealth which awaited

You broke through dense walls

of poverty

And loosed the chains of ignorance which

threatened to cripple you so that you

could walk

A Free Woman

Into a world which needed you

My wish for you

Is that you continue


To be who and how you are

To astonish a mean world

With your acts of kindness


To allow humor to lighten the burden

of your tender heart


In a society dark with cruelty

To let the people hear the grandeur

Of God in the peals of your laughter


To let your eloquence

Elevate the people to heights

They had only imagined


To remind the people that

Each is as good as the other

And that no one is beneath

Nor above you


To remember your own young years

And look with favor upon the lost

And the least and the lonely


To put the mantel of your protection

Around the bodies of

The young and defenseless


To take the hand of the despised

And diseased and walk proudly with them

In the high street

Some might see you and

Be encouraged to do likewise


To plant a public kiss of concern

On the cheek of the sick

And the aged and infirm

And count that as a

Natural action to be expected


To let gratitude be the pillow

Upon which you kneel to

Say your nightly prayer

And let faith be the bridge

You build to overcome evil

And welcome good


To ignore no vision

Which comes to enlarge your range

And increase your spirit


To dare to love deeply

And risk everything

For the good thing


To float

Happily in the sea of infinite substance

Which set aside riches for you

Before you had a name


And by doing so

You and your work

Will be able to continue


-Maya Angelou

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