Honest

We are more than summer

I think, currently, my life is full of a lot of boxes of “things I shouldn’t talk about”.

My brain and heart feel empty and full all at the same time.

Last week, one of the father figures in my life was in town and as I walked up to him to hug him I automatically felt the need to put on one of the many cloaks in my life. This one was the “it’s fine, everything is fine” cloak. I had enough concealer on my face to cover up the bags under my eyes and the lines on my face and the wrinkles from stress.

(The fact that I didn’t automatically burst into tears when he hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek said enough for my ability to hold it together).

A little later when I was talking to him, he mentioned something he always mentions (if you know who I am talking about you know what it was: “where are all the men?!” 😂😂)

And I responded, “yes, but I am good. Sometimes it’s harder, but I’m good”.

And he responded how he always does with me, “I know”.

But then, he told me I looked stronger.

He didn’t mean physically, I haven’t been pumping iron (just throwing axes, but like that’s another story). I didn’t tell him much in our short conversation, but basically just said that I’ve been wrestling with some things.

I think, well, I know, the reason I haven’t written much this year at all, actually hasn’t been because I haven’t had words. I believe I have.

And it’s for this reason: I am not solely the things I am wrestling with, stressed about, struggling with, dealing with.

I am not just a preschool teacher.

I am not just a single female.

I am not just a Christian.

I am a hell of a lot more than all of that.

I am a person who truly, truly desires to speak things out, to pour out what is happening in my life to support and encourage others.

I honestly just want you to know that you matter and you aren’t alone and above all that you are allowed to take up space.

I want you to know that it’s ok not to talk about things.

It’s ok to have anxiety walking into a church, or meeting with a mentor.

It’s ok to say no to friends, and cry or just not want to talk about it.

It’s ok to not want to be put in a box.

But please, at some point, choose to become stronger, take up the damn space and move.

I think this fall will be me choosing to have conversations with people who know more than I do. It will be choosing to sit and rest more actively than I have and it will be making decisions I don’t necessarily want too.

This summer hasn’t been the best.

And that’s fine.

We are more than one season of our lives.

We are more than our jobs even if it’s all we talk about.

We are more than our relationship status even if it the first question on a form.

We are more than the boxes we can talk about and the ones we can.

You are more than summer.

You matter.

So, let’s do the damn thing, however that looks.

Honest, stateside

Shame is a bitch

An open letter to those who feel like they are stuck in a shame cycle,

I get you.

I get that place you are in that feels like there is nothing new on the horizon.

I get the feeling of standing in the middle of the road while the people with babies and marriages and evolving relationships and new jobs seemingly zoom by.

I get the hopelessness and the desire to not have to make your own magic.

I get that feeling of everything being the same, and not having space to breathe because of the sameness.

I get the pacing and the pondering and the second guessing over and over again.

I get the desire to cut your hair, get a tattoo, move, leave church, change jobs.

I’ve had all of those thoughts in the past month.

I know the feeling of physically carrying burdens and stress and pressure and not knowing how the hell to change it.

I understand what it’s like to not want to put any of that on someone because you don’t want to be that person.

I. Get. You.

But now, I want you to picture yourself standing in the median on a busy freeway. All the cars passing by carry all the labels that you wish you carried.

You’re so focused on those cars that you don’t break eye contact.

And then when you do, you see us.

All of us.

In the same place.

On the median.

We’re all there.

There is a lot of us.

Searching, wanting the answers to jump out of someone else’s story.

Desiring something that in all reality would be a watered down version of what we are truly meant to be in.

There is a lot of us who come and go from that median.

I think that everyone spends some time there, unable to get to the other side as the cars stream past.

Just staring.

I’ve been unable to form words lately, I’ve been afraid to unpack the things I’ve been carrying for fear of what might be at the bottom of the box.

I write this letter to you not to ask for help, but to say you aren’t alone.

There are a lot of us.

Trying to figure out this thing.

I write this letter to you (to me) to remind you (and me) to brush off the shame.

I write this letter to you (to me) to remind you (and me) that shame is a bitch.

Because isn’t that what it all boils down too?

Shame of not being worthy

Shame of not being enough

Shame of falling short

Shame of not hearing god

Shame of being too much

Shame of being alone

So, I write this letter to to you to remind you, right now, in this moment to tell shame to fuck off.

You are so much more than all those things.

And you are not alone.

Sincerely,

Meg

Honest

Running from stillness

Other than the Y and random part time jobs that I have had here and there I have always worked at a church or for a Christian organization.

I’ve almost always been on a church property 40+ hrs a week.

From 2007-2012 I worked at a preschool and for some of the time also worked at the church.

(Basically, I lived there.)

But, in that I found myself among families and people that I could talk to and process with and be around.

Around 2010 the Wayman family came to the church.

And it was lovely.

Not only did I get to see their kiddos grow but I got to lean on and reach out and be mentored by Eric and Cathy.

They are two humans that I am so grateful for. I know that I was in the exact place I was supposed to be when they came to Lighthouse. They are two humans who walked me through some of the hardest, ugliest times of my life up to that date.

They’ve always welcomed me back with open arms, even when I wasn’t sure of up and down.

I mention them because I randomly decided to listen to one of Eric’s most recent sermons.

It was about solitude and noise in our lives and essentially how we are surrounded by it. Now, this isn’t new.

We all know this. We know that there is an immense amount of noise in our life. We are engulfed by it. (As I write this I am listening to music and texting two different people).

My mind is full of to do lists and assessments and assignments and 18 different tiny humans (probably more if I’m being honest). I’m thinking about what I can do to show my friends I care. I am trying to be present in people’s lives and present 40 hours a week in my classroom.

I’m trying to make space to be creative and to write and make good choices for my body.

So, today when I decided to sit and listen to Eric speak, I thought of sitting on the couches at Eric and Cathy’s house and I realized I would probably just sit down and burst into tears. It’s one of those few places that I would sit and stop.

Now, I have been stopping here and there. I’ve been learning more and more to saying no and staying in and eating apples.

But…sitting WITH God?

Not as much.

I’m slightly terrified of the quiet right now. Mainly, because quieting all the things would take a lot of work.

Opening my Bible stirs something in me. Praying is a little too close for comfort.

I wrote something for an online magazine a couple years ago. And I know I’ve quoted this exact section before but it resonates once again.

“Everything in me wanted to run.

I couldn’t handle Jesus any more.

He was being silent.

But it was a weird silence.

It was almost like Jesus was playing the part of the man in a horror movie, who just after the power goes out, calls your house phone, so you can hear him breathe and then when the police track the phone call you find that it is coming from inside the house.

Jesus was still in the house, I apparently just needed to go find him.”

Jesus is still in the house. He still lives here. My relationship has morphed and changed even since I wrote this piece. My life is ever evolving. My beliefs and truths are morphing and become more refined.

But, sitting in stillness still terrifies me. It isn’t something I’ve ever done super well.

So, I go back in my thoughts to sitting with Cathy on their couch or walking into Eric’s office on my lunch. My life wasn’t all roses and sunshine then. I was going through depression and sickness in my family. And whenever I stopped with them, I would almost always cry.

And that’s ok. But, I sat. And I stopped.

There are so many things I’m wanting to say right now.

I think what I want you to know that if the silence and the quiet scares you; you aren’t alone.

If sitting with whomever your deity is terrifies you because of the intimacy of it; that’s ok.

If stopping will make you burst into tears-let me pass you the Kleenex.

And if you have something in your mind that is changing, then explore.

Today, I disposed of the shame of feeling far from God. The shame of not being able to hear Him.

Today, I disposed of the shame of running. I didn’t stop running-I just stopped feeling shame.

Today, I disposed of the shame of a changed mind.

Deep breathes to the toes friends. We’ve got this.

Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

washington whimsy

so, I can store the suitcase?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel the urge to write because normally what follows it is the unbelievably annoying nagging feeling that I cannot give up until I put words to a page that aren’t backspaced or deleted.

Writing is something that comes so naturally to me when my brain is working in the proper creative way that it is supposed too; but then again when I just let my mind and fingers directly colliding with each other with the middleman of an outline I find that I get the truest words out.

I’ve been in Bellingham for 13 days now. Thursday starts week 3. And I don’t think–outside of emails– I’ve written anything. A friend asked me today what I needed prayer for in this transition and I said “a creative space”.

But I realized a little later, after cooking dinner and folding clothes that I need to start realizing that I create all the time. That just by my spirit being in this place it is a “creative space”.

It’s difficult to realize that sometimes. It’s difficult to realize that our presence in a room brings something to it, that who we are changes the atmosphere. I think that it has been the most difficult for me in this place because for the first time in about 3 years I technically do have ownership over a place. My name is on a lease.

That’s a hard thing to wrap my mind around. That this place, that I wake up in and come back after work, this place that has already been flooded with Holy Spirit and laughter and food and joy, is mine.

I’ve missed that. I’ve missed laying my head down in a place that I can call my own. I’ve missed feeling ownership over a place.

And I think all of those things is why it took me a moment to realize that I’m no longer in a place where I am preparing to leave.

We move through our high school, college and post college life mostly preparing to move. Preparing to change schools, go to grad school, get a raise. We are so quick to get out of a season and go to the next.

I’ve always grab the phrase that was spoken to me so many times by the wise Betsy “present over perfect”, but now the hit me because in all honesty there is nothing my mind is grappling with outside the everyday (family, friends, work, etc.).

I’m not preparing to leave.

I’m just living.

Living in my own space, with my people.

LIVING.

That’s a big word, that has rolled around in my head more then I’d care to admit.

I think I had forgotten how to just live.

Bellingham is different then any other place I’ve ever laid my head for an extended period of time.

And that’s wonderful.

And I think it’s perfect for me to begin to live in this way, in this place, as who I know I am to be.

I’ll never forget the first time I met someone who would end up being a college roommate of mine. I was in the elevators in Catalina Hall during music camp and I gleefully introduced myself to Deanna. Because I had chosen to be outgoing and put a new foot forward.

But here, I don’t have to put a new foot forward.

I just have to put myself.

This has been a ramble, an attempt to hit the things that have been circling in my mind.

Bellingham is good.

I’m realizing it’s for me. I’m choosing to live.

And I’m me.

That’s all.

Honest, stateside

Foreshadowing

“God is a novelist. He uses all sorts of literary devices: alliteration, assonance, rhyme, synecdoche, onomatopoeia. But of all of these, His favorite is foreshadowing.And that is what God was doing at the Cloisters and with Eudora Welty. He was foreshadowing. He was laying traps, leaving clues, clues I could have seen had I been perceptive enough.” Lauren F. Winner (girl meets god)

I marked foreshadowing in my AP language novels in high school with pink highlighter. Finding foreshadowing and figure out where it was, is one of my favorite past times.

I’m a literary nerd. Deal with it.

I love calling things in TV shows and movies. I think I’m pretty good at doing it. Seeing what a character says to realize a key plot point it going to occur or more often than not someone is either going to die/come back to life.

In my years of Bible classes and theology studies I’ve found that there is beautiful foreshadowing all over scripture.

God wants us to know what is going to happen. He spells it out. He shows us that the whole time He has a plan. He is going to see it through.

It’s not about searching for the answers or using it like a magic 8 ball. It’s about asking the right questions and figuring out why He tells us certain stories or asks us to learn certain lessons.

I’ve recently come to the huge revelation that Christ was always there; he was ALWAYS in me. It was never about me ACCEPTING him into my heart or “opening the door” to let Him in~ it was about realizing that He was always there. He was infiltrating parts of my life already. God was, is and will always be in my life.

I need to continue to see the foreshadowing of Christ in my life. The foreshadowing of the moment that I would fully realize that He was there. That He was always there. Where He had highlighted in pink in my life story so that maybe one day I could realize and see that He was always with me; even when I wasn’t with him.

It brings my peace now. It brings me hope for myself in ways I can’t really describe. And it shows His protection in places where I needed it and now I realize it was always there.

It shows me that my heart has always been focused on his heart even when I wasn’t defining it by the parameters of Christ.

The good in this world isn’t waiting for Christ to come. The good in this world IS Christ. Even when it isn’t defined by His name.

Honest, stateside

wash & dry in under 2 hours

The appliance I have come to most appreciate after all of my time overseas is the dryer.

Not the stove, or the fridge but the dryer.

(though the stove and fridge fall quick in line behind)

Today, at the lovely home I am staying at, I knew that I needed to do laundry. I’m almost at the bottom of the barrel of underwear which is honestly my key deciding factor in doing laundry.

So this afternoon as I was pulling clothes out and deciding what to wash the thought occurred to me, “Oh wait, I need to wear these jeans tonight so I can’t wash them.”

My mind went on autopilot and already started calculating how many days it would take my clothes to dry. It calculated how long it would take my clothes to catch up to me.

But of course, I’m not international anymore.

I don’t have to leave my clothes hanging upstairs, or be fearful it’s going to rain. “Lavanderia” no longer has to be one of the first words I learn in a foreign country.

Because, next to the washer, in the garage is of course a dryer. My load of clothes was washed and dried in under two hours.

I didn’t have to wait for my clothes to catch up to me.  Didn’t have to pretend those clothes don’t exist for one or two days because they are stuck in the purgatory off the drying rack.

I think that in this world of therapy (of which I am an advocate of) and processing (of which I get the concept///hate the word) we sometimes forget that we don’t have to wait for lessons to catch up to us. We forget that we don’t have to pretend that we don’t “get it” yet and we can just live it.

Sometimes we can just put something new on and be done with it.

I think I’ve been timid the last couple of weeks to allow myself to just step into what I have learned and done. Almost like I took all of the clothes I got in Spain and set them out to dry instead of popping them into the dryer and putting them right back on.

There is a time to let truths sink in, and there is a time to repeat them so they are true.

But why don’t we wear them through that process?

Why don’t we choose to believe that we don’t have to catch up to something that was so truly already inside of us?

I got off to a shaky start here in the OC.

I got a lot of lies spit at me. I didn’t believe them. I put them aside, but also thought I had to find my footing when I really didn’t.

I was told I had to process.

I didn’t need too.

I was choosing to believe I couldn’t just pull my big girl pants out of my suitcase and put them on and live. I’ve had a hard time communicating that beyond text messages and stream of consciousness emails.

I thought United States Meg had to catch up to Spain Meg.

But they are the same people.

I no longer have to let my clothes air dry and catch up to me a few days later.

So I guess my challenge to you today is this:

If you’ve had revelation or truth spoken at you; if you’ve come to the realization that something you’ve known all your life is a lie?

 Walk in it.

Claim it.

It doesn’t have to be something you hang up on the clothesline to dry so you can put it back on again.

Pop it in the dryer and wear it.

It’s for you.

Today.