Posts in Life

Your reach is bigger than you know.

In November of 2018, I stood in the sanctuary of our church, as I do most Sunday mornings.


That Sunday morning was no different than any other Sunday morning. In typical fashion, we rushed through our Sunday morning routine. We pulled ourselves together and chased our toddler around, all but bribing him to get dressed and out the door. We shoved our vitamins and protein bars in our mouths and poured our coffee….because, coffee.


Our son is very, we’ll call it, independent. He loves to do things his way and we are acclimated to giving him the freedom to figure most things out on his own. It is with great patience most days…but we try our best. However, the act of getting his small body in his car seat takes an all out act of God.


Through all the craziness of a rushed Sunday morning, we made it. We did it. We got our bodies put together enough to be seen in public, our teeth clean enough to speak to other humans, and our son excited enough to go visit his friends in the nursery.


Whew. I was already exhausted.


Once worship started, I could feel the sense of lackluster and distraction fill my mind. I tried hard to fill my head with the symphony of audible delight dancing from the stage to my awaiting ear. It didn’t work. I prayed hard, asking God what was wrong with me.


I tried to take captive my thoughts.


I wasted all of worship feeling distracted and unenthusiastic. But God doesn’t waste anything, does He?


It was near the end of the last song when I very clearly heard the words “Your reach is bigger than you know”.


I gazed around. I searched for the words on the screen. I tried to humanize the sound of this sentence. I tried to say it was some weird comment from the person sitting behind me. In an attempt to deny His words, I turned around to peer at the person behind me and found nothing but empty chairs.


I couldn’t deny it any longer. This was Him. Woah. If God is telling me that my reach is bigger than I know, what does that mean? I took a note in my phone and left it there for months on end, never looking at it again.
Today, during a period of time when my independent toddler refused to nap, God revealed this truth to me again. “Your reach is bigger than you know”.


As I looked down from my laptop during our “quiet time” this beautiful site is how I was greeted. My son could have sprawled over any of the 80 inches of our king size bed to take his quiet time. He instead decided to sit on my feet, just beyond the work I told him I had to do.


I realized in that moment that my reach is bigger than I could ever imagine. I know that what I do today will impact his tomorrow. I know that I am leading by example. I know that he won’t always want to snuggle on me, which is why, today, I cherish his closeness.


You, too, have a reach that is far greater than you realize!


It is time to stop silencing yourself. It is time to stop minimizing yourself. It is time to embrace who you were created to be. It is time to recognize the power in your potential.

I get knocked down…

But I get up again. You’re NEVER gonna keep me down.

Yes – I just quoted Chumbawamba. You’re welcome for getting that little one hit wonder stuck in your head for days on end.

As I got to thinking about it, I wondered why, we as a culture, are so obsessed with getting OURSELVES back up again. We all know the world is going to knock us flat on our backs. (If the world hasn’t knocked you on your back yet, please tell me what you’re doing so I can adjust my course.) What I can’t figure out is why we, myself included, think we have to be the ones to pick ourselves back up again. And better yet, why do we spend so long trying to rely on our own strength to do so?

“The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.” Psalm 145:14 NLT

Sometimes life tries to knock you down…you lose your balance and nearly fall flat on your face. The thing is…we do not have to help ourselves back up. The Lord is there to help us, but we have to be open to letting Him do so!

Psalm 145:14 (NLT) says that the Lord will help the fallen and lift those bent beneath their loads. Man do I relate to this verse. I have felt myself being bent beneath the loads I am bearing. I know what it is like to pile on the to-do lists, the grocery lists, the errands list, the chores, the birthday parties, the incessant barrage of busyness. I know how my knees start to quiver and eventually bend at the pressure of all the tasks I’ve hoisted upon myself.

What I have found is, that when the pressure is off, it’s easier to find the balance. What is it that you rely on to take the pressure off of yourself? I often would find myself relying on social media as an escape from my reality or slamming a handful of Oreo’s or adding to my already pressure cooker style life of busyness by adding appointments to meet with friends and socialize. I would do anything and everything in an attempt to support this heavy load myself. When, in reality, all I had to do was ask Jesus to help me.

What could you embrace about yourself if you turned to Him and turned the pressure down?

I am a former perfectionist. To. My. Core. It was engrained in who I was for as long as I can remember. But when I let God show me that being a perfectionist was ruining me…I could laugh at the lack of balance I had and move forward in who He called me to be.

So…here I am…laughing at my imbalance and the allowing His grace to center me!

Then we worship

I had the incredible privilege of attending the She Speaks Conference last weekend. It was life changing and overwhelming, in the very best way possible. It has taken me a week to really reflect on what I experienced and attempt to put it in to words. To be honest…I still have a great deal more, upon which I need to ruminate but I needed to share the most important thing that I took away.

On Friday morning, minutes after the commencement of the conference, I glanced around the grandiose ballroom.

Initially, I saw a room that had been impeccably decorated with an inviting color palette, simple-elegant floral arrangements and classically beautiful decor. I was excited to see what this weekend was going to unleash. I was nervous at the thought of claiming this call God had placed on my heart. I was freaked out to admit…”I am a writer”. Being in that room, simultaneously made me feel like a fraud and substantiated the feelings I had been pushing down into the depths of my soul for far too long.

Then my gaze settled over the crowd and I began to see the other 800 women.

Eight. Hundred. Women.

I saw all the perfectly curled tresses, the beautifully manicured nails, the expertly applied makeup and the fashion that could walk with the likes of Beyonce.

Then my eyes meander their way down to my own body.

Insecurities began to swell in my soul.

My hair is too short. My stomach is too large. My fashion is too simple. My makeup is inexistent.

I felt the overwhelming feeling that somehow I was far too different than these women; that somehow I didn’t measure up to them. Lies that I thought I had left far in the past, began to consume my brain.

But then we worship.

As the harmonies and lyrics began to fill the space around me, I shifted my gaze back to the other women. Then it happened. I saw hands uplifted. I saw tears. I heard voices singing, praising, and crying out to Jesus.

And then suddenly….we were ONE.

We all love Jesus and because of His love, we all loved each other. I no longer saw the glare of my own insecurities. I no longer saw the other 800 women as perfectly curled hair or impeccable fashion. I saw only an army of women.

Women of valor.

We walked in to the room as strangers and left as champions for each other.

Thank you Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries for this weekend. Thank you for She Speaks Conference and the freedom it provides. Thank you for taking a room of 800 women who all battle insecurities and lies and allowing them the freedom to see themselves and those around them as women of valor.

Christian cliche garbage

Sometimes the waves splash gleefully at my feet and other times they crash intensely over my shoulders. The ebb and flow of everyday life can be a challenge to overcome. 

The phrase “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” is garbage.

Complete.

Garbage. 

The concept isn’t wrong in reality but the phrase is garbage. It is the farthest thing from the truth I have ever heard. Funny thing is, I have been repping that phrase for as long as I can remember.

Isn’t that ironic?

You’re welcome for the song that will now be stuck in your head for days. Thank you Alanis, for Jagged Little Pill. The entirety of my 1995-1998 self has immense gratitude for you.

I’m embarrassed to say that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” was my go to phrase, but it is true. I firmly believe that way too many of us helpful, go-to girls reach for this phrase when we are at a loss for other words. When we have no idea how to help our sweet friend that reached out to us from a place of distress.

Let’s face it though – this phase is just BOGUS.

It is not based on biblical principle, whatsoever. In fact it is the exact opposite of biblical principle. God doesn’t give us the hard stuff you guys…God carries us when we can’t go on because the weight of the “hard stuff” is a consuming force that we, alone, can not overcome. It is when we are at the weakest place, the place where there is absolutely no way we could handle this journey, that God can shower us with love. It is in this darkness that He can show us that we can not do this alone – but we CAN however, do it all through HIM. (Phillipians 4:13) 

Life gives you more than you can handle…alone.

God gives you the strength to conquer the things that, on your own would have destroyed you. 

Don’t let life’s waves get you down…let Him help you above the waves.

Don’t put anything on paper…

that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.

Books.

Words.

History.

For centuries our only form of documentation was words on a page. In the age of technology, YouTube, selfies, boomerangs, and cell phone videos; it is the words on the pages of these books that I often ponder.

I procured my love of words from my linguistically dazzling and all-together remarkable grandmother. Her name was Lucille, but she answered most frequently to “Lou” or “Louie” in reply to the beckoning symphony of my adoring grandfather’s cheerful voice. She taught me so many things, for which I am perpetually thankful. One of the most important lessons I ascertained from her was that words on a page were more than simply ink on paper, but rather a written history that would last for centuries.

I vividly recall a statement she used to speak over me with intense frequency; “Don’t ever put anything down on paper that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see”. Now, this advice came during the mid 90’s, when writing notes and flipping them to your bestie in study hall was the most advanced form of communication on the market. I always felt these words were a protection for me during the gossiping junior high school days and the hardships that ensue there.

Maybe they were.

Yet, somehow, I know that they meant so much more.

I think today the deeper meaning for me would be…”Write your story, sweet granddaughter. Put pen to paper and share your gift. Don’t ever be afraid to let the world see who you really are.”

These shelves and all the contents within, were hers. This bookshelf was a custom-designed and treasured anniversary gift from her doting husband, my grandfather. With vivid clarity, I recall sitting on her living room floor, running my fingers over the glossy leather bound books and their gold gilded pages, carefully making my selection. I would sit right there on her floor for hours, exploring our nations history or getting lost in the lyrical musings of some great poet.

Now these books are mine. I will forever cherish them, as I do the memories she has bestowed upon me.

My charge to you is the same as my astute grandmothers was to me…don’t ever be afraid to let the world see who you really are. You are here for a reason. You are YOU for a reason. The time is now to stop silencing yourself. Stop minimizing yourself. Stop assuming people are thinking negatively about you. Embrace exactly who you are because the world needs who you were meant to be!

My grandparents and I, at my 10th birthday party (proof I have always been fabulous and I came by it naturally!)

Who cares how old you are?

In Don’t Fear Your Fab(ulous), I talk about the lies I told myself for YEARS. As in, decades. I’m not ashamed to admit that I spoke unthinkable lies over myself. Some of these lies were spoken over me and some I just perpetuated.

The only way I could successfully move past these lies and start flourishing in the glittery fabulousness that I knew I possessed was to get real with myself. I had to do a lot of work unpacking the boxes of lies and life events that I hadn’t processed correctly out of my mental closet space. I had to cry. I had to journal. I had to talk it out with my girls. I had to be honest, which is something I hadn’t been with myself in decades. Dang it – I just admitted to you that I have been living like this for at least 20 years. If that is the case, I must have started packing away these lies when I was about 3 years old. ::Inset bad age joke here::

Ladies…who cares how old you are? Who cares how long it has taken you to accumulate these lies? Who cares how long it will take you to process them? Let me tell you a secret – YOU.

You are the only one who cares.

Literally no one else cares how long it takes you to handle your business. This is true because they all have the exact same “business” to handle. So instead of being ashamed at your age – scream it proudly and don’t be surprised if someone says, “Really? Dang, you look amazing!” Instead of being ashamed that you lived in lies for decades – shout it out and don’t be surprised if someone says “Wow – you are awesome. You are an overcomer. I want to be just like you when I grow up.” Instead of being embarrassed at how long this process takes – shout it out because you will more than likely just get immensely supported in the process. And if someone does try to talk smack to you about your “business”, kindly and lovingly remind them to look in the mirror and that you will love them and support them as they venture down the path to handling their own junk. 

So – stop fearing your fab. For real.

Every one of us has junk. Everyone of us has “business” to handle. Wouldn’t it be so powerful if we lived in a world where we took the time to put our junk to the curb where it belonged so we could go help a sister who needs help kicking her crap out? Now that is where I want to be.

I want to be the woman who has been through the storm. I want to be the woman who collected all the wreckage after the storm and placed it in neatly organized boxes deep inside of her. I want to be the woman who lived like they were glitter and sparkles but on the inside felt dark and twisty. I want to be the woman who then took a real hard look at the lies she was telling herself and knew that she needed to make a change. I want to be the woman who knew it was now or never.

I want to be the woman who sought the help of outlets such as journaling, prayer and the scripture. I want to be the woman who sought wise counsel from trusted friends. I want to be the woman who unpacked all the damage she had so neatly wrapped up and tucked away to rot and fester. I want to be the woman who took out the trash and kicked it to the curb and out of her life. I want to be the woman who embraced just exactly who she was created to be, flaws and all.

I want to be the woman who doesn’t fear her fab. And I want to be the woman who will hug you, tell you that it’s ok.

Then I want to be the woman who smacks you and tells you that you are BETTER than this.