Notes to My Sisters

January 19, 2017

Spiritual sisters, career sisters, traveling sisters, biological sisters, sisters I have yet to meet . . . to the ladies I love, respect, appreciate and admire, I have a few words for you.

Deepest gratitude for the off-hours texts and just-because calls. You never cease to amaze me with your heart, your wit and your ways of knowing where my heart drifts. Every prayer and every sweet hug are fathomless in my book of life.

Never, ever, ever give anyone the power to degrade you. Your joy, your trajectory and your very breath are for you and the Lord to command. Knock down the harsh words, judgmental stares and doubting intentions that may mar your path. Sweep it away swiftly.

Embrace your roots, smile forward and be present now. The past is a lingering lesson not a tether. The future is a glimmer of hope not a destination. Now is your gift and everything it should be. Love it, celebrate it, learn it and sink into it fully.

Resist measurement. Your eyes will break you down, piece by piece. Your worries will hold you captive. Your presumed obligations and expectations will throw you off balance. Accept the glory of you and the gift of exactly how you are wired, created and forged in faith.

Laugh as much as your cheeks and belly allow. Humor is grace let out. It lightens heavy burdens. It quells arguments. It puts thoughts into perspective. When paired with compassion, childlike curiosity and bubbly effervescence, it is the answer to oogley moments.

I welcome your wisdom below in the comments. May hope, love and light be yours today!

What If We Stopped Asking Why?

September 5, 2016

Here is a guest post from the phenomenal Sherri Martin of LiveWonderstuck.com. Enjoy:

What if, just for today, we didn’t worry about why we are here? What if, just for today, we stopped asking, “God, why?” What if, just for today, we said, “I am open to Your wonder.” Then, what if, just for today, we paid attention to only what is right in front of us. What might we see, hear, and feel?

We might see how the light shines through the window like a spotlight, how it highlights the gentle curve of the couch arm. How have we never noticed this thing that we use every day? This thing that is both soft and sturdy. This thing that holds us when we are weary, that holds our loved ones.

We might see the mess of shoes by the door. Rather than fretting over tidiness, we might notice how each pair represents someone we love, how some lean on others and some laces intertwine. But isn’t that what family is? A mess of different styles, of different fits, jumbled together, being okay with showing their wear and tear.

Outside, we might see the flowers standing tall, boldly declaring their colors. And if we get closer, we will see how their petals are imperfect, asymmetric, dappled with holes, frayed at the edges, and still these flowers have the audacity to be seen. Do you?

What if, just for today, you stopped asking God why you are here and instead said, “I am here, God. Give me the audacity to see and be seen. Not at some future point when I think I am perfect and ready, but now, God, when you know that I am imperfect and that I am ready anyway.”

What might today look like?

Seeking Transformation

January 19, 2016

So often, we find ourselves looking for information, answers and basic yes/no confirmation. There is nothing wrong with wanting simplicity or closure but, sometimes, there is more to be learned in the seeking than the solution.

As 2016 unfolds, I find myself celebrating a blessed birthday for the first time as a shepherd to my little girl, for the first time as the final year to my third decade and for the first time as a soul completely aware that I will always be a beautiful work in progress. These firsts are blessings. These firsts generate emotions I am navigating with vulnerability. These firsts bring a mix of excitement, humility, joy and solemnity.

What I know more now than ever is that I need my faith, need to grow in my wisdom and need to welcome the transformation that God offers freely every day. Whether it is a softening of my spirit to show more tolerance or a hardening of my resolve to face the tough conversations, I am constantly and utterly transformed by powers much greater than myself.

I am not a linear thinker and lean on whimsical tangents more than most, so shaping me must take more love and grace than I can fathom. I am grateful for that effort—that unending promise to keep working on me and keep working in me.

What I share in this moment is the knowledge that you can be both “enough” and completely whole as you are and, yet, be “transformed” every second of every day. In fact, it will happen without you having an ounce of control or say in the matter. In that way, it is reassuring to know that despite the moments of exhaustion, confusion or stress, you will still be transformed.

Ah, and the true miracle happens when you seek out that transformation, graciously hoping and accepting it in your life. That, friends, unlocks deeper truth, greater joy and more profound understanding than you may have ever thought possible. I wish that for you and look forward to transforming along side you.

When God Calls, It’s Not a Misdial

August 26, 2015

So, I took an e-hiatus for the birth of my baby girl, Calia, who entered the world in early June. She is an immense blessing and a humbling gift.

My recent transformation into momhood came with delivery trauma, breastfeeding woes, postpartum anxiety and a surge of can-never-do-enough motherly guilt. Every new mom seems socially compelled to blanketly say, “All worth it,” to avoid judgment over their humanity and a feeling of, “I’m doing this wrong if I don’t feel blissful.”

I love my daughter endlessly. In fact, I was inspired to invent our own little ILY testimony: “Do you know how much momma loves you? Around the whole wide universe and back + the space in between (opening arms to demonstrate this space and welcome her in for cuddles).” I soak in the precious coos, big baby stretches, expressive faces, simultaneous hand-feet motions and new capabilities (this week was blowing raspberries and folding hands in a prayer-like pose). I’m all in with my baby girl.

However, I would not be a truth teller if I didn’t admit that the last three months came with lots of tears, sleepless nights, painful body aches and a feeling of being adrift. I prayed a lot. Micro prayers, help me cries, gratitude shout outs, watch-over-my-sweet-baby pleas and lots of show-me-the-way requests. Those prayers showed me that, as a mom and an individual, my knees was the best place to show up.

At times, I felt like the Lord was sitting quietly in wait for me to suck it up or rise to the occasion of motherhood. I felt moments of distance from God in a time that I was sure would bring me closer to Him. I even wondered if I was just so fractured from giving birth that I was no longer worthy of hearing the Spirit. The deceiver knows how to plant doubts and foster fear in times of weakness.

The key for me was to remember that I can call on Him at all times but that does not necessarily mean I will get more than His voicemail, until He is ready to reveal Himself or His plan. What God was doing for me—although I was too exhausted to see it at the moment—was remind me that He was in charge, that my well-being needed nurturing too and that His gift of my daughter was “enough” for that period of time. He was there in her. He was there in me. He was there in my husband’s support. He was there in my friends. He was there in each new dawn. He was there when I kneeled. He was there when I broke down in tears. He was there listening and loving through it all.

As I returned to work last month, my hybrid life of new mom and bold freelancer collided into an internal conflict of where to focus and how to function. Again, I called out to the Lord, asked for clarity and direction, begged for wisdom and hoped beyond hope that I would do right by my daughter. I waited for an answer. I waited some more. I checked my spiritual inbox and felt like all I was hearing was silence. I felt depleted and uncertain how to achieve the dream I had envisioned—holding my baby as she drifted peacefully off for long naps, as I typed in a sunlit room and streamed classical music to enhance her learning slumber . . . or taking calls as I played on the floor with her, immersing her in shapes, colors, textures and smiles. Instead, my intuitive little girl stirs for every call, has food intolerances that trigger gassy distress and bats away technology with her knowing little hands. She’s smart, quirky and perfect exactly as she is. And, as God often works, she is helping me paint an entirely new reality, where I optimize my 2-5 a.m. work time, put away technology while I’m breastfeeding or playing with her, and set boundaries. This allows me to show her that momma works, momma cooks, momma talks to others . . . but, most of all, momma is there to comfort, feed and laugh when I need her.

With the threads of enlightenment slowly emerging and some small pattern in place for now, I took time to reflect on my purpose and path. My giftings (hope, wisdom, mercy and faith) were stirring in new ways, calling me out to do more. But how could I do more if I was already struggling to parent, work and sleep? Ah, but in that vulnerability, God called. I was sure for a moment that it was a wrong number, that He was pranking me or that I just imagined it. Nope. When God calls, it’s not a misdial.

Why is He calling me now? Well, that’s oddly simple. He wanted me to be at a humble place, ready for His direction. He knew I needed to truly be hungry for His guidance. He had to show me that at no time in life within this fractured world will everything move out of the way to fall comfortably into place. He had to let it sink in that Calia is His child first. He helped me to see, by calling me now, that His grace is sufficient. The Spirit is always there breathing and pushing me toward His greater purpose, not based on my calls or timeline but His.

What is He calling me to do? Well, that’s between us. But I can say that it’s not so much do as embrace. I hear the call to be a light worker, to find new ways to share hope, to help the grieving to heal and to share Spirit-driven insight. Like any good parent, He’s calling me to be still and truly listen . . . because He said so and knows best.

Bumps on the Journey

April 14, 2015

Every road in life, at some unknown juncture, has the potential for bumps. As I sit here literally bumping from pregnancy on the morn of my 33rd week, I can honestly say that life has given me a bunch of blessings and a few more bumps in the last year than I saw coming.

Now, I love cliffhangers, surprise twists and new experiences, so it’s safe to say that God loads me up on such things. I also know that being Scottish, tinged with reddish locks and an eldest makes my approach to life direct, independent and often feisty. Admissions aside, I’m finding that calm, spiritualism, support, understanding and joy are far more of what I seek to cultivate now than anything else.

I look at all the ways I express love to others—cooking, long listening sessions, playful banter, coffee or wine delivery, little notes of encouragement, concierge style question answering at odd hours, funny faces, virtual hugs, supportive advice (when requested), prayers, and trying every day to be a better me who is more Christ like.

This ride is not easy, nor is it filled with ticker tape parades, bouquets of flowers or constant attagirls. It’s rough, messy, painful and often draining . . . but it’s a gift. I need to chant that to myself every night and every morning, through marriage struggles, distance from loved ones and the physical trials of pregnancy.

Humbly, as you face your bumps, remember the following:

  1. What you say, do, show and share sets the tone for what you get back
  2. Starting from a place of love always leads to a better destination
  3. Hurtful words are often a cry for support from others, but don’t accept abuse
  4. You deserve a break, a quiet bath, a coffee escape, a movie or a moment away
  5. Surround yourself with those tuned to God, to love and to hope

I’m bumping with you, friends. For me, finding solid ground is as much about looking up in surrender as planting my feet firmly down.