How Our Praise is a Pathway to God’s heart

Perhaps the wounds that are felt the most are
the ones where the scalpel
cuts the deepest.

But sweet one
this
IS where God’s presence is felt the nearest.

Because the truth is,
I’ve never felt so close to God as when he’s carrying me through the valley.
….and life calls for this sometimes.

I’ve been learning this a lot these days.

It’s here where the whispers of God have been sustaining me.
Because faith reminds us that he is carrying us through while fear attempts to steal our peace.
But when we choose to keep the voice of God as the One who speaks INTO us,
we find it so much easier to exhale praise in.

Because we need his soothing reminders to drive out all fear.
And this is when we drop our heart inside the pages of his story and his words find their perfect way of fitting into our story
…because this is the relevancy of God.

It’s strange friends,
before the diagnosis,
before things began to change,
the anxieties were rising…
the pain of loss were strung over our days and
the hard that life brings was feeling extra heavy.
But somewhere inside all of this
-God’s been putting his hand inside my chest and massaging my heart…
giving me peace.

The biggest thing we’ve been learning these days is the blessing of walking with God. 
And although we are continually comforted by his presence beside us,
the truly amazing blessing is woven in how he’s leading us…

Joe and I have felt like we’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotions these days and everyone surrounding us has been in the cars beside us. 
Many times we don’t have the explanations or answers for others nor for the ones we’re asking deep within. 

So, this morning as we woke up with a headache from the craziness of yesterday’s circumstances and all of the emotions it brought us through…
I felt a leading from the Spirit to rest today. 

Not just a physical response of rest but an emotional and spiritual one. 
I felt God’s Spirit urging us to rest in him today.

And you know what happened?

God showed up!

Several people who have been surrounding us in prayer and in worshiping God have been echoing this very same message to us. 
Reminding us that God hears and sees us each one of us. 

God’s leading to ‘stand still’ is a request for us to stand in his presence in prayer and in worship…to not be tempted to try and fix this thing but to trust and worship him in stillness. 

This is hard for us, isn’t it?

Because when things are wrong,
when cells are out of order and when they’re mutated,

the last thing we think we should do is press pause. 

Because urgent times call for urgent measures, right?

Well, this isn’t so with God. 
Because it’s in our stillness he powerfully works and it’s when we’re out of the way
he is clearly seen the most!

I used to think he needed me to ‘fix’ things and then ask him for his covering in what I did.

But in the midst of this battle we are currently in Joe and I have been finding the best work we can do is to praise God in the midst of difficulties and allow him to work. 
You see, when we praise him for WHO he is others recognize him in our lives and they meet him in our pain. 

You know perhaps all the brokenness we so often concentrate on has nothing to do with it’s shattered pieces….
Instead maybe, our response of praise is what he’s looking for. 

Because sometimes God whispers for us to stand still,
to remain in this place so we can see firsthand how he powerfully responds on our behalf.

Because when battles are unleashed in our lives our stance is essential to the outcome.

Our declaration of who God is in those hard seasons shouts out what we truly believe.

I saw this in a very real way at my Mom’s funeral when my Dad confidently raised his hand in worship of God…

Because we tell the world that God is good regardless of what happens inside the details of our lives.

It echoes the steadfastness of our hearts, no matter what!
And this friend is the security our hearts need in our ever-changing lives.
We need to know God is God, no matter what!
-Because there is nothing else in life that can sustain this kind of place in our lives.

You see when this all began,
Joe and I had a decision to make.
A decision to worship God for how good he’s been and will forever be
or we could wait for a diagnosis and treatment plan to pass through and then choose to worship him depending on the outcome.

We chose to praise him in the middle of our struggle and to worship him for who he is every.single.day!

And what happened has been amazing as God’s army is surrounding us in this worship.

You know sometimes as Christians we become convinced that we can only experience this kind of community in heaven.
But I truly believe, it’s here for us if we will become vulnerable and call out to others to stand with us on the front lines, vulnerable and all.

We tap into a heavenly battle, Friends!

The Church awakens and lives get re-born, young and old!

Our praise is the pathway to the heart of God!

It’s in these places
-hearts get healed, families experience restoration and lives find God. 

So, sweet Friend if you’re in the midst of your own hard struggle, know that our praise is the weapon to call upon heaven to fight for us

Believe me, I get it…I understand the upside-down reasoning this feels like.
Because I don’t have any idea how all of this will work out.
In fact we’ve been asked if our stance to
Worship Over Worry is one that can sustain the battle ahead.
And all we can say in response to that is…
our choice to
Worship Over Worry
-is truly the only thing getting us through these days.

Choosing to raise our tired and weary arms is our declaration that we trust God,
even so…

And until then…
We’re
standing still in prayer and in worship
as we
rest in God.

This is not a position of surrender or defeat,
but one of victory!

Turning Our Worry into Worship

These past few weeks have been so crazy…
from walking into the Dr’s thinking we were dealing with one thing
and leaving with another….

the more this thing unravels,
the more we see God working.

And I think the hardest part of this, outside of trusting God to hold us no matter what, has been waiting for all of the results.

In fact today I really felt the weight of it all as I was ready to post my blog only to realize I had lost the whole thing and had to start over.
..and then to be told by Dr’s that we’d have to wait another day to hear any news…

I felt it mostly in my stomach as it was all twisted up in knots so I did what I knew and talked to God about it all and told him I was at my wit’s end and needed his peace to flood me and for him to give me the patience to wait another day.

It’s been two weeks for this one biopsy and I’d reached the end of what I felt I had, but God washed over me and flooded me with his peace and my insides began to settle down and rest when my phone rang…
it was Joe.

This time he brought the news we’ve been praying for.
Although he has a very rare form of Lymphoma his cancer has not spread.
The Drs are shocked and we are worshiping God.

….

Do you know that story about Paul and Silas singing in the prison cell?
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately.
I once thought they must have been so much stronger than me to respond like that in a prison cell.

And yet as we’re facing our own kind of difficulty, the deepest part of my soul gently resonates with their response.
Because as I’ve been meditating on their story, I’ve been uncovering what might have caused their hearts to pray and sing that night.

You see when darkness hovers over our lives and anxiety tries to steal our joy, when brokenness seems to surround us there’s something we must hold onto.

Paul and Silas knew there was ONE that could loosen all the prisoner’s chains and they knew that same ONE could empty prison cells.

Friends, our fears get quieted when we lift them to the heavens and hold them up to God.

I never quite understood the power that came in worship until the last few weeks.
I’ve experienced it’s blessing and even held onto it in both the hard and holy days, but walking through these difficult days lately
-worship has found a new ministry in my life.
One I truly believe is what led to Paul and Silas singing that cold dark night.

You see when we raise our hallelujahs fear has no place in us because we can’t worship and worry at the same time.
Because as we worship God our worries get carried to heaven’s throne where God receives and massages our hurting hearts.
And as people gather alongside us they also lift their praises to God beckoning for his mercy and grace.

It’s so easy to become discouraged and worry when life hits a hard moment, it can cause us to lose our way at times.
….because it’s not always easy to remember how God’s goodness has followed us all these years and walking into unknown territories can be hard.
But when we choose to stand in God’s love and leave our fear behind we find there’s a whole lot of people fighting their own brave battles
-worshiping right beside us.

And I believe this is what Paul and Silas knew as they chose to pray and sing in the middle of the night.
They knew their suffering was just another opportunity for them to lead others into worship…to see God work.

That night as they sang with the prisoners listening something crazy happened…
God showed up.

And as they worshiped every prisoners chains were loosened and they were all set free…because when we sing a spontaneous song from our story others get moved as they see God move.  

They hear as God whispers every so gently to us…
‘I see you, child and I’m the One who carried you here and I’ll be the One who carries you through this.’

I think we walk through these things because God wants to gather broken souls and he wants us to know he is the ONE we need. 

As we’ve been turning our worry into worship God has been ministering to our souls and I am learning a new rhythm of grace. 
Because we can either spend our whole lives chasing worry or we can step into the presence of God where our fear gets taken by God. 

Because when we exchange our worries for worship we choose to call upon the heavens to fight our battles for us. 

And this friend is where God works the mightiest of his work. 

This friends is where I’ve been standing 
with hands lifted high before God…
And if you’re looking for me
-meet me at the feet of God worshiping his holy name…

 

When life suddenly changes, but God doesn’t

It wasn’t at all what I expected it to feel like….

Fearing it.

Hearing it.

Saying it.

Having it.

Even though I know it’s so much Joe’s story, we both got written into this narrative recently…
And somehow you did too!

Because when we break our hearts open and share our stories with one another we get invited into each other’s journey.
And I don’t know anything more powerful, outside of God himself,
that heals more souls and brokenness than the coming together of people in hard times.

This past week has felt like such a blur…and so much of it still seems surreal.

And yet, not for one millisecond of it, have we felt alone….but rather surrounded.

Both, as prayers from all over our beautiful planet are being offered and as worship songs continually bing my phone.

It’s truly been humbling for us and so inspiring to link arms with all of you.

You see, through all the texts, emails and messages we’ve been invited into thousands of your stories.

And friends,
it’s truly moving all the battles people are fighting out there.

Like the sweet Starbucks worker who washed my table and told me about her son who fought against addiction and how it cost his life.
And yet that precious Momma shows up every day to make our coffee and even chooses to smile all the way through it.
Because she knows the One who’s carrying her through her brokenness.

Or many of you out there fighting depression and your own battle against disease that is decaying your body.

With all the crazy headlines running through our feeds it’s easy to get lost in it all and forget how we’re all in this battle of life together.

Just like this past week when you so beautifully showed us this….
As you agreed to surround us with your audacious prayers and joined us to worship rather than worry.

And you know what’s happening?

God’s showing up!
Oh friend, maybe it’s in different ways than we’re looking for in desperate times like this.
Because truth is, I don’t know exactly what God is going to do.
There’s so much still unknown…

But what I do know
– is he’s been doing something in the depth of our souls and its been so amazing.

Because sometimes we can get stuck in our spiritual lives and forget that our ONE life really does matter.

I saw this in the way you came along side of us this past week.
I cannot even explain what a blessing it is that we can show up in some of our most ragged clothes and receive this kind of affection and love
-You’ve truly shown us we aren’t ever alone in our battles!

Because its easy to forget that when we unfold what’s deep inside our heart how
it has a special way of touching what’s deep inside another’s soul.

And as Joe and I’ve been walking through this journey lately we’ve been seeing how
one little text…
one big prayer…
one BIG hug…
and one beautiful worship song can help shift our eyes from what is temporal to what lasts forever!

And if I’ve learned anything in this life,
it’s how there will be days when we won’t want to climb some mountains.

But knowing
who is climbing with us, really makes a difference.
Because the climb upward always leads us closer to God. 

When life doesn’t make sense but God does

Sometimes life hits and you’re left wondering if what just happened is real or it’s just a dream…

It was Tuesday afternoon, the day after our thirtieth anniversary when Joe called me and
he softly spoke the words,
‘The Dr called and I have Lymphoma…’

I couldn’t believe it.

Even though God had been giving me bite size portions of this over the past week, my heart didn’t want to receive these words.

‘Oh, Joe I’m so sorry…we will get through this…’ were the words I repeated over and over until I arrived into the church parking lot and walked in to see him.

My gas tank was on empty and it mirrored my emptiness within…I felt like someone had let the air out of my lungs.

Once I reached his office, I held Joe as tightly as I could.
Because sometimes holding onto the ones you love feels like coming home.

He’s always been the strong one and I’ve fed off his strength for years and now I felt like the roles were reversing….

I’d be…
The one he’d lean into.
The one to remind him of God’s truth.
The one who would pass courage on when he feels worn down by it all.

I wondered if I had it in me….But life somehow awakens us in moments like these.

Something’s been changing in us over the past couple of days I feel it deep inside…

The next morning I spent countless minutes with God letting him minister to my soul.
In those moments I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt.
I saw the fight ahead and knew the one who’s been fighting battles through warriors would fill us with everything we needed to get through the days ahead.

We texted our kids and asked them to join us in turning our worries into worship.
Just the day before as one of our son’s prayed over us asking God to let this test become our testimony and our mess be our message, something courageous arose within us.

We sent out songs of worship to those near and far and asked them to join us in worship to God. We knew worship was the thing that ministers to brokenness the most.
The response was huge as we began receiving songs of praise from all over the country. People joining us in worshipping through worry.
Many with piles of worry of their own.

And last night the most beautiful thing of all happened.
As close friends and the leadership of our church gathered together,
God came even nearer to our souls.
We sang out together, hearts wept and we prayed.

We cracked open wide our hearts and our wounds and bled with one another.
And you know what happened?
Jesus met us there…
He cleaned up our wounds and mended our brokenness.
And in the ache of it all, we felt empowered to walk ahead…surrounded by armor bearers beside us.

And truth is I think we all will be different because of it.

Even this place we live will be different.

Our kids will be different and their places will be different too.

Because something that invades this deep can’t help but change us and change those surrounding us.

.

Just yesterday, I read the verse on my daily calendar that I had picked out in November.

The black ink simply stated…

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4

This verse foreshadowed where we were headed yesterday…as I read the words in the morning.

‘The darkest valley…’ struck me.

But it also gave me an enormous comfort as I continued reading…

‘I will fear no evil, for YOU are WITH me…’

God is with us through our darkest valleys friends.

He is with us and he is with the ones we love who are suffering too.

There is no greater comfort than knowing he walks beside us and even carries us through some of our hardest days.

I’m reminding myself this truth as it feels a little harder to breathe lately and when I’m afraid of what’s ahead-God is WITH me and he’s WITH Joe too.

And friend he’s WITH you in the dark valley you’re walking through too.

The thing with valleys is they’re always sandwiched between two hills. To get into the valley we will have to descend into it and yet to walk through it we must make the ascent on the other side.

You see, even people who live in a geographical valley have to make a climb upward to get anywhere.

And perhaps this picture is more about our climb upward than it is about walking through the dark valley.

Maybe it’s who we climb upward with…and about making it through the valley, so we can make the ascent up that will prove meaning-full.

.

It’s still dark outside this morning as I felt nudged to crawl out of bed on this dark and stormy morning.

But God began writing this story on my heart,

because that’s what he does.

He writes words upon us so we will speak them and revive another’s hurting soul.

Our stories are just that.

They’re our journey, our ascent upward.

They’re the stories people really want to hear but we all too often hide underneath.

People want to know we hurt like they do, they want to know we wrestle inside and that we’re scared like crazy too.

Because this is what makes us real.

It’s what authenticates our stories.

And you know what I’m finding…the more we tell our story the more it’s not as scary as before, and our pain eases some too.

Somehow in speaking our brave words God heals our brokenness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Your Story Matters

It was a random day thirty-two years ago when a high school friend and I met up.
We both had went our separate ways after graduation and we’re meeting to reconnect.

I secretly wondered if she’d found her way yet, because I felt like I was doing more wandering than anything else. 
Even though I’d spent the last year serving in the inner city of Philadelphia, I felt like the more I learned about myself the more I became confused.

As we sat face to face, across a small table in our local Pizza Hut she openly and unashamedly unpacked her story for me.

We’d been good friends in High School, I really thought I knew her well.
We had hung out at each other’s houses, we shared favorite songs and even dressed alike.
We did all the things teenager girls do but sometimes even then we can bury secrets.
The part of our stories we’d both hidden in fear for being found out, even in the presence of a good friend. 

But this day was different. 

She chose to rip the covers off the part of her story she’d been burying for years and told me of how she was now living freer of all its shame. 

Something shifted inside me as she exposed her soul.
It wasn’t what I expected.

I’d been hiding my stuff for years, so far down I hadn’t even taken the time to sort through it myself.
I’d been protecting it, hiding it and armoring it up. 

But that day something within me was awoken.
Like a valiant warrior ready to meet their foe.

I too held a story within the walls of my chest.
A story that needed to be spoken.
But how?
Would I be rejected because of its shame-full tale?
Would it determine a destiny of failure for me? 

These were the nagging questions telling me to bury it deeper.

Yet as I heard my brave friend speak with such passion and life as she uncovered her wounds, I realized none of her story was ugly or repulsive. 
But rather it strangely yet powerfully drew me in…closer. 
Her story connected with something living deep inside me.

As she told her story it brought forth my story. 

I didn’t share mine that day I just sat on the edge of my seat as hers held such mystery and meaning.

.

Our stories are powerful like that.
They’re painfully beautiful and who we are.

And yet we can spend countless years running away from them.

I wanted to stand up that day and scream…
‘me too’. 

Because my soul felt so alive,
as if it’d been given words it was longing to speak. 

I spent the entirety of the next few months getting acquainted with my story. 
At first I saw myself through a rigid and judgmental lens. 

I think times of introspectiveness can easily become clouded by the images of comparison blocking a clear view of ourselves.

My reflection was filled with scars full of pain.
And the more I stripped away the uglier they became…. 

-I’d spent years worrying about what others thought of me.

-I mirage my pain with humor and being the center of attention for fear of rejection. 

-I often spoke my inadequacies out loud because I feared others might speak them if I didn’t and that seemed far too painful to endure. 

-I lived my life never feeling like I was enough…smart enough, tall enough, skinny enough, talented enough or good enough to ever become noteworthy.

-I deeply longed to be known and seen.

.

As I ran my fingers over my scars for the years to come and uncovered them one by one…I found something noteworthy…
I found that my markings beautifully told moments of authentic living.


And we all possess them.

Every.Single.Human.
They’re our stories.

They tell where we’ve come from and were we’re headed. 
They tell broken tales of rejection and brave moments we’ve overcome.

And although our stories describe us, they don’t define us. 

They’re powerful when shared and heal hearts when told.
They give our souls life and breadth.

So friends, 
no more hiding and covering them up. 
Our story’s are not meant to be left untold, they’re meant to be re-told
….again and again. 

Because it’s a person.
Who’s beautiful…and it’s YOU!

Our stories contain strands of God’s story and he’s given them to us to carry into our broken world.

Speaking your story inspires other human beings to tell their story and soon these brave messages of hope reach the ends of the earth like they were meant to do.

Stories do travel, they travel with us wherever we go-they go too.

I thoroughly believe in the power our stories hold…

do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How losing someone adds value

As I reflect back on this week just a year ago, there’s so many emotions that come to the surface.

Feelings and words left unsaid mixed in with a handful of gratitude for so many beautiful moments.

I’ve often been described as having a heart-full of emotions, as if my heart could be defective because it felt so deeply. 
I struggled with this for years embarrassed of how feelings seemed to be woven into every chord of my inner being. 

And I spent a lifetime becoming whatever someone else thought I should be.
I became a filler of empty souls.
I became the one who strived to bring peace into unsettled places.
I became a soundboard for broken and wounded hearts.
Mostly in some strange way to find purpose for the enormity of feelings I held within my heart. As if I could possibly find a useful purpose for my emotions, then others would accept how I was designed…and perhaps even deem me as ‘normal’. 

But now as I’ve walked through this past year, missing my parent’s conversations and their sweet presence, I am reminded how God has re-membered my heart. 

That God sees our value through the condition of hearts and not in our outward appearance. 
And our hearts which were created in the image of God, also contain the attributes of him. 
My heart isn’t defective, it was given a plethora of emotions to experience others through it.
We experience God through our hearts too.

I truly believe this is what we were given this amazing organ for…
to cry with others,
to feel their pain and their joy with them,
to fully feel the depth of love and loss, 
and experience things alone we would never know.

And I’m reminded- it’s truly an extra-ordinary thing to be moved by people…

To see humanity reflected in moments of extreme living and be invited inside them.

To look within a heart, as it’s peering inside yours.

To watch a life breathe its last breath as you gasp for air.

Both lives fighting to live their own version of brave inside one another.

• • •

Last year when my Dad came to stay with us,
I never realized his coming would lead to his death.
It wasn’t his intention either. He came hoping for greater medical treatment.

Yet as the days unfolded, he went from barely walking until he was forced to lay …completely surrendered on his back.

It was strange to see my Dad, a once strong and active man lying at rest. A decorated military veteran, a real fighter of a guy who didn’t seem to be fighting any more….

He’d lived his life fighting…fighting to survive as a teenager following his father and two brothers’ deaths, fighting to prove himself a man which years later transitioned into him fighting for his family, for his God and for his Country.

My Dad was a fighter through and through.
And boy did he like a good fight too.

But something changed over time….

Dad shifted from fighting against people to fighting for them.
I believe there’s really nothing more powerful than a person fighting for others.

My Dad’s heart grew more tender as he deeply began caring for others.

This kind of living is hard though.
We become exposed and raw.

Where our emotions hover the surface and toughness falls away.

Where Love takes over insecurity and love fights for others.
For the souls at risk.
For truth to conquer lies.
And for brave stories to be told.

Love listens to other’s stories.
It reveals souls.
It tells the hard and holy of people’s lives.

• • •

I have to tell you of my strange love affair with cemeteries. 
I know its quite morbid.
I don’t know if it’s because I realized at a young age that no souls were ever truly buried there or if it’s my love affair with people’s stories and I recognized cemeteries literally contain thousands of them. 

But I once lived in the city across from an old grave yard.
I loved walking along its paths through the acres of gravestones it held.

Call it what you’d like, it was really quite lovely and even quaint.
I strangely found it life-giving to wander through its winding paths reading the inscriptions of people who once lived in the very same streets and neighborhood I was traveling.

Years later when my parents foot steps led them to live in the very same house as I did.
They too became taken by the beauty of this garden of gravestones.

One day while I was visiting my parents I saw a thin white paper lying on their table with a gravestone rubbing on it.
I immediately knew what it was because when I was younger my Mom had taught me how to do this.

Using a pencil with a sheet of paper we would make a copy of the gravestone’s inscription as the pencil rubbed over the surface would make a visible imprint of it. This process renders the natural artistry of the textures and patterns of the stone while also capturing a unique and beautiful print of the engraving.

When I asked my Mom about the significance of the one she’d kept.
She told me the gravestone contained a name she longed to know more about.
We didn’t talk any more about it.
And for the life of me I can’t remember the name that was inscribed on the paper.
I only remember the worn texture it held. I remember how vividly the deep grooves and impressions revealed its age.

And sometimes that’s how it is…
A person’s life leaves impressions and marks on ours.
Ones we want to remember, ones we long to know more about.

Yet when they often leave us far too soon we can feel robbed of this opportunity.

But I’ve been realizing how many lives of my past continue to speak to me.

Much like a permanent imprint on my soul…impressions somewhat unintended left to propel me forward.

Many times I’ve heard my parent’s words whisper from somewhere deep inside as if they’ve been there all along. Whether its words they continuously repeated over me or ones spoken only once, they remain within me. And I carry them close.

Because sometimes as we tread a new territory of our own without those who once cheered us on…
Fear can grow.

We can be afraid because we’re clearing a path of our own and not depending on the footprints we spent a lifetime following.

And I would love to tell you it gets easier and better the longer we do this thing.
But I’m not sure I’m the one who can speak those words with confidence.
Because I’m not entirely sure I believe them.

But what I can say is fear can be something which steers us away
OR it can be the very thing that drives us towards our next brave thing.
We hold this choice in our hands…And since my Father’s death, I’ve been choosing to speak different words of courage to myself.

Because I can hear him telling me to be brave and walk forward.
I hear him telling me to persevere and to believe in myself.
I hear him reminding me to live out the calling given to me by God.
And I hear him cheering me on with every step I take.

Because I believe that’s what he’d be speaking over me if he were still here with me today.
Because words are powerful.
And they move us.

Because friends we get to follow their lives. 
Maybe not living them exactly like they did.
Because we’re different…
But just like them, it’s our turn to carry God into our generation. 
To take our broken pieces and share them with a broken world who needs to know they’re worthy of being restored. 

And deep within me is emerging the person I’ve always been. 
One who sees with fresh eyes the purpose of how we’ve each been uniquely designed. 

Because at the end of the day, our worth isn’t what’s changed it’s how we see the value of our one life. 

The lost get found

Years ago as I sat across from my counselor for the first time, I remember her asking me to share a little bit about why I was there…

It’s funny because before I’d walked into her office that day I could’ve told you every reason I needed to be there.
But that day, that question-left me speechless. 

Why was I there, I wondered?

After all how can you wrap words around the deepest places of your wounded soul? Which part of broken does one begin to tell the stories with?
Everything I said sounded so disconnected.
As if I’d shown up unprepared.

I don’t really remember the details of the words I spoke but there was one word I repeated over and over.
It was the word ‘healthy’. 

Up to that point ‘healthy’ was a description that didn’t reflect any semblance of my heart. It was a stale longing within. 

And yet I reminded myself…
Id done the brave thing and showed up that day.
And if you’ve ever had to be brave enough to walk into a counselor’s office with your heart pounding inside, you know what it took for me to be there. 

I suppose its a fear of being known by someone so intimately and even the intimidating work of finding one’s self underneath the wreckage within. 
A fear of what I’d learn and of letting go of things I’d held onto for years.

But after the initial quickening of my pulse there was something freeing about speaking these words. 

Being known isn’t always what we think it is.
Sometimes it can be
as if we’re releasing a valve that our heart is needing.

I anticipated it being much harder and more embarrassing much like the dreaded teenage years. When I was deathly afraid of when my period might arrive and I wouldn’t be prepared…I’d heard plenty of horror stories of girls being in history class staining their pants to know I couldn’t bear that kind of humiliating exposure. 

But as I kept speaking the word ‘healthy’ I remember a desire growing within. 

Why is it we crave to be healthy and yet often remain in some of the most deteriorating states of being?

I suppose it’s because we don’t see it like it is.

We convince ourselves we aren’t digressing, that we’re remaining steady in our holding patterns. 
And yet its those who are closest to us who usually see us most accurately.

Do you know my husband whom I adore and trust with my whole heart has never told me I didn’t need to walk myself into counseling when I’ve felt a prodding to go?
He’s never said, ‘No, you don’t need that.’ 
And I truly believe its because he celebrates growth in every person he meets. 
And he loves me way too much to leave me where I am.
I suppose its because he knows if I grow and become healthier

-we’ll grow and become healthier too. 

I can honestly say I didn’t know what I needed that day I walked into my counselor’s office.
I just knew I was ‘in need’. 

In need of healing. 

In need of wisdom.

In need of empathy and compassion.

In need, because there had been pieces of the wiring of my soul that had been cut off and disconnected…
And sometimes that’s the best place to begin the process of being re-membered. 

What I found that day in that small simple room was something of a far greater magnitude  than the plain white walls encompassing me…I found a piece of myself.

I found that…
It’s okay to be me and to be loved and to find love sitting across from me in the presence of another wise human being. 
And although sometimes its in the quiet spaces of a closet crying out to God I find pieces of my heart, there are other times in the wide open spaces that someone helps me peer inside my wounds that I find the most soulful healing. 

Because our lives are rarely what they seem.
They’re full of beautiful and hard moments and everything in between but they’re also amazingly real.
And what’s even more beautiful than this, is this is the kind of stuff that brings our human hearts together and causes us to seek healing from God.
Because within our heart is a little piece of someone else’s.

I started a journey of becoming healthier that day and I am committed to this road of restoration…
Where healing’s found and where God uses our hard to care for another.

It’s on this road I’ve unraveled some brokenness and even ran my fingers over wounded places I’ve never felt before….
I’ve encountered feelings buried in the depth of my soul and I’ve had the joy of experiencing what healthy feels like and its got me yearning for more…

Because the work is worth it.

Because we’re worth it and our people are worth it.

Because when we live with souls that are wholly given we’re able to whole-ly live. 

Because everything that’s lost can be found.