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, Spain g42

on becoming noticed.

There is this beautiful chapel up on the hill here. You can see it from just about anywhere in Mijas and it’s a relatively easy mountain to hike. I’ve gone up there in the middle of the day, in the morning as the sun is cresting the back of the mountains and at night when I have to use my flashlight app to not trip over the rocks. There is something beautiful about this little mysterious church. It is only open once a year on Good Friday and the rest of the days it stays locked up tight just a beacon looking down over Mijas.

Over the last three months I have looked at the chapel daily as I walk into the Epi for class. It’s become a picture of something that I’m not sure I want to believe.

I’ve written a lot about voice over the past weeks. My voice, helping other’s find a voice and hearing God’s voice.

Recently I talked about choosing to believe that I have something to say, choosing to believe that I am strong, choosing to believe in who I am and what I bring to the table. That’s been a lot of believing in myself.

The last couple of weeks I’ve had to step into a new belief. One that is so hard for me, one that I might fight against still. Let me quote myself:

“I honestly believed before this week that I am not seen, not in a bad negative way, but in the way that my presence does not cause ripples on a group, just individuals. I believed that I didn’t need to be noticed. I just didn’t realize that I am supposed to be noticed.”

Oof. Since I made that statement I’ve been being noticed. In ways that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with completely. It’s something I struggle with daily.

The idea of being noticed.

The other day I was walking with Tiffany and the conversation of voice came up and I immediately cringed and stated that I don’t like being the one who is seen. The one with the voice. I want it to be others; I see it in others, I want them to step up and be loud. And she essentially responded with “Tough cookies”.

I almost felt defeated. Like there was this thing that I didn’t want to have in my hands but it was glued there.

It’s a beautiful gift that I always don’t feel strong enough to take on .

I’ve prepared, in my most of my life, to be a behind the scenes person. I like it. I’m good at it. But good heavens I’m meant for more.

I KNOW I’m meant for more.

So everyday I look at the chapel on the hill and feel peace. And every time someone talks to me about voice I have a picture of that little chapel. And I’m standing on the hill and shouting down to the people in the streets of Mijas.

And they’re listening, not just hearing.

That’s heavy.

I think I’m ready to be heard. Ready to open my mouth. Ready to live my life that way, but something in me always holds me back.

My open and honest moment of the day: I’m scared to be a voice. To be heard. To not control the attention put on me.

That’s where I am today.

That’s the place I’m in as I step into this next term of G42.

A little bit scared. (Maybe a lot a bit scared.)

To own this new part of myself.

Scratch that, to own this part of myself that already was.

I speak through my fear, through my moments of being afraid. That’s the part though, that gives me peace in the midst of being afraid.

I know I will always speak.

I might stand shaking on the mountain;

But I will always speak.

cover photo taken by the always lovely Whitney Gorbett

Honest, Spain g42

it just comes to us

My journal is a scary place right now.

And I’m starting a new one tomorrow.

It’s mainly notes from 8 weeks or so of class here in Spain with bits and pieces of thoughts and revelation intertwined in the pages.

I’ve sorted a lot of it out through asking questions and conversations over coffee, tea and wine. But the pages of my journal are a mess of words, phrases and scribbles.

And if there is one theme that weaves it’s way through all of it, it’s the theme of identity.

We talk about identity so much in this world. And as someone who has spent most of her Christian life in bible studies with groups of women it’s a topic that causes me to roll my eyes.

I don’t think we need to SEARCH so hard for our identity.

I think it just comes to us.

That’s why my journal is peppered with talk of identity.

Because as I learn more and more about this new face of Jesus I’m seeing who I am.

We live this life where we strive to find identity in everything that we do. In everywhere we go.

But what if we didn’t need to strive? What if we didn’t need to search for things that give us clues to who we are but what if instead we searched to learn about who Jesus was and is presently.

I’ve been learning something beautiful the last 2 months: I’ve been learning about who God IS. And he definitely isn’t a lot of what I’ve heard all my life.

He’s joyous. He delights in us. He gives us keys to the plans he has and tells us to run with them. He does not want to check our every decision.

He just wants us to be who he created us to be. Because those creations are vibrant and lovely already.

So while I’ve been searching for this identity it’s honestly been right in my front of my face.

I am who God created me to be.

I don’t need bible studies or books or anything to figure that out.

I just need to walk arm and arm with God and hear what he tells me, through so many varities of ways and I need to pick up what’s meant for me.

Nothing more, nothing less

hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

Cake with Jam

Before coming to Spain I had the vague idea of what I wanted to do. But mainly I just had this large pile of things that I wanted to be involved in. Passions, gifts, talents, words. Just in this bag of tricks that I lugged with me over an ocean.

I had no idea what to do with it.

A few weeks into my time in Spain we held the inaugural g42 reunion. Alumni from the first five years came from all over the globe to remember and celebrate what God had done and was doing, to lift one another up, to visit this place so many people still call home and of course to establish more vision in the next years of life.

The house I live in is the bigger of the two so we hosted ten alumni and in that group was the Harder family. Steve and Jo Harder and their beautiful boys who are missionaries to Ukraine.

Jo is a kindred spirit.

She is a powerful, strong, vibrant woman who hears wonderful, beautiful truths from God.

At the reunion kickoff we had a time of prayer and prophecy and Jo shared a word she had. She wasn’t sure who it was for but she knew she had to share it.

She shared a picture of this person who was holding all of this JAM. It was dripping out of their hands and the person wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Jo reiterated that she didn’t know who it was for, but if it was for you then to come see her.

I didn’t give it a second thought. Mainly because I was in an incredibly emotionally, overwhelmed place and also because I didn’t WANT to hear it.

(you see where this is going don’t you)

So that evening after worship was over I had two people come up and say they thought of me when the “jam hands” picture was given. Why? The week prior I had made a wedding cake and the filling? Raspberry jam.

But, like I said I wasn’t in the place or the mindset. And also like I said in this last blog; I feel as if God has been “saving thoughts” for me and this thought; this picture was one he saved for me.

A couple weeks later during class we were doing the process of identity mapping and while Zach was getting his done I suddenly had this thought:

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore?

There it was. A random thought in the middle of class on a Thursday morning.

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore and taught creative writing classes?

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I wrote a little more and then stopped.

What if I taught story? Through everything in this little bookstore.

Through creative writing, through baking, through book clubs, through sharing and laughing over good food.

 Wow.

Since going on the world race I’ve known that for the rest of my life I want to sit across tables from people. I want to hear story and see what is going on the lives of those around me.

I am honored that I get the privilege of hearing what God is doing and being able to speak into what God is doing and where he is going in someone’s life.

I’ve also known that I want to tell my story and let other’s use it in their lives.

I want to teach things that are good for the heart. I want to use the things I have been given to speak into other’s lives.

I want to create a space out of which people can MOVE.

But my thought prior to this random moment of revelation was where in the WORLD can I do this? Is this just a lifestyle that I am going to live? Is this a ministry I will step into?

But there wasn’t enough for me in that.

And then sitting in the class in the middle of the morning I just knew.

I knew I had found something that was more.

I knew I had found something that terrified me.

I knew that I was standing there with jam on my hands

Later that same afternoon I did my identity mapping up front. And one the questions that was asked of me was this: Where do you see yourself in 30 years.

My answer: Standing on my porch.

So what does that mean?

That I own a house.

WHAT?

And suddenly everything that I had ever thought was gone and I was choosing to believe in myself more. Choosing to believe that I could do more then just sit across from someone at a coffee shop.

So that’s where I am going to leave this.

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That’s where I am going to leave you.

With the fact that there is more for me then I ever actually thought possible.

I’m dreaming big, creating a plan to get there. It’s not a next year plan, or even two years, but a long term plan.

Dreaming, thinking and invisoning the future.

I’m here in Spain for 3 more months and would be honored if you would consider partnering with me in further what I’ve learned and done here.

To see ways that you can journey with me check this out.

I’ll leave you with a verse from class today; the prayer of Jabez. It encourages me to dream, hope, and long for more.

1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

It gives me the courage to know that I CAN do more with all this jam on my hands.

 

Honest, Spain g42

a powerful voice (in spite of)

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about having my life changed. It came with many epiphanies and realization and honestly a lot of good solid truth I hadn’t chosen to believe for a long time. Which of course hinders so much of what I was doing and who I was.

But here’s the thing: I still need to repent: to change the way I see things.

I’m living my life with the following sentence.

I have a powerful voice IN SPITE OF the fact that it can be hard to understand me.

Notice I carefully worded that to not say BUT because I am an advocate that BUT negates what comes before it.

But so does in spite of.

When I was 5ish I had my tonsils taken out. And for a medical reason I’m not even going to try to explain this lead to me having to essentially relearn how to speak because of a gap that was left in my airway.

I was in speech therapy at school; went to an ear nose and throat doctor; had this surgery where all I can remember is having plugs put up my nose.

I had to learn how to place my tounge and how to concentrate when I speak. If I spoke to fast the air got caught in my nose and mouth and it sounded mumbling. I also (still) perpetually sound like I have a cold. A fact that really just kids tend to point out to me.

And in all of this I got made fun of. A lot. The sound that the teacher on Charlie brown makes is what kids, and sometimes my brothers would respond to me with whenever I spoke.

charlie brown teacher

So I just stopped talking.

For a very long time I didn’t speak out in class or make myself known because I was just afraid I wouldn’t be understood. Because when I spoke people didn’t listen. They laughed.

The funny part is speaking in front of people doesn’t make me nervous. I know I have something to say; it’s just the act of saying it. The act of being understood at a basic level that causes me to get nervous.

When I was in fifth grade I chose choir when it came time to choose a path of music for a few reasons; one being the band teacher scared me; two I remember my speech therapist Mrs. Martin said it might be good and three I can’t blow up a balloon why should I be able to blow into an instrument.

So I jumped into choir and stayed there for years. I went through high school and college in a choir and on worship teams.

I found comfort in my singing voice because it WASN’T my speaking voice. I don’t get nervous singing anymore because I know that it sounds different.

And I basically detest the sound of my speaking voice.

Why is this coming out now?

I believe in the power of my voice. I also believe it doesn’t need to come in a beautiful package and I think I had come to terms with that fact. That I just need to use my voice IN SPITE OF how it actually sounds. And if people don’t understand me, or think I have a cold, or make fun of how I sound that’s ok.

I don’t need to have a beautiful speaking voice.

(I forget that I have a God that likes to surprise me.)

Sitting in the English tea room this week I had a lady from England lean over her table to talk to me. She proceeded to tell me that I have the loveliest accent she had ever heard and she could listen to me SPEAK all day.

Not SING but SPEAK.

In my whole life I’ve never had someone tell me that.

I’ve confidently spoken out for so long IN SPITE OF being insecure about how it sounds.

That lovely woman in the tea room doesn’t know what she did for me that day.

She gave me beauty I didn’t even know I was capable of having.

What a difference to believe that the voice that I have is worth listening to not just for what it holds but how it sounds.

I don’t know what to do completely with the gift she gave me but I do know it was a surprising lovely gift that bashed a lot of hurt and pain from my life away.

 So my repentance: my “change the way I see things” is this.

I have a powerful LOVELY speaking voice IN SPITE OF the fact it might be hard for people to understand me.

Honest, Spain g42

hear that your soul may live

Hear that your soul may live.

This has been a phrase that has been in my heart for a few months now.

I first read it when the passage Isaiah 55 showed up in my “guide to prayer”.

The words strung together are beautiful. And I held onto that beauty because I needed it. It was like a life raft for me. A bit of lovely to hold onto. I think in those moments in the coffee shop in Kingsburg it wasn’t about me hearing from God. It was the knowledge that God was there.

When my preschoolers would get super excited and have something they wanted to say; when they were jumping up and down out of their seats to say something but it wasn’t the time I would tell them to “save their thoughts”.

When God showed me the phrase “hear that your soul may live” I believe he then started saving His thoughts for me. He was really excited to let me in on what was going on in his head but it wasn’t the time for me. He was storing them for a time when I would be capable of REALLY listening.

And then I came to Spain.

 A couple of weeks ago we had a week dedicated to learning about hearing God’s voice. We learned through story and through seeing how God moved and spoke and what he was like.

Most every week here, every day, every conversation speaks about hearing from God and what we have HEARD from God.

Because when we hear from God we move.

When we hear from God we live.

And where do we hear from God?

Everywhere and everything.

It’s about opening the senses to touch, taste, hear, see and smell God.

There is no wrong way or right way to hear Him.

And now as I sit in another coffee shop halfway around the world I realize my spirit is so incredibly OPEN to hear from God.

That the thought of hearing from him inspires me.

There is a flipside as God wants to hear from me.

He doesn’t just want to speak. He wants to listen.

What does that look like?

For me it’s been stopping the act of putting headphones in my ears while I walk alone and freeing my mind of noise.

it’s writing my thoughts and words down so that other people can see what I’m pondering through.

it’s being open to speak so that I may hear.

“hear that your soul may live” has become a breathe in breathe out prayer for me.

 

There were days that in order for me to take a STEP forward I had to ask God to walk with me.

And he listened and walked with me.

And I think that without knowing it “hear that your soul may live” became a prayer.

Because I HEARD God.

I heard God one Sunday morning in June of 2009 staring at myself in the mirror.

And I spoke to God.

“Could I just meet you in heaven today? This is too much for me”

And He listened.

And then spoke. He showed me a dark, windowless, doorless room. There was no way out and no way for light to get in.

Then a nightlight came on.

A really small dim light.

HOPE anyway.

HOPE in spite of.

What if I had not heard God that day?

HEAR that your soul may LIVE.

HEAR that I may LIVE.

 Those days are far from me now.

They don’t lay claim on me.

All that is left of them are tear stained journal pages and the memory of a night spent crying on my phone in a parking lot.

I heard so that I would survive.

Now I hear so I may LIVE.

Hearing from God is met now with life. Met with hope.

Not met with grasping at a shred of light.

 HEAR that your SOUL may live.

My soul is living a lot these days.

Living and listening to the joy, the color, the vibrancy, the light of life.

I’m realizing the God can speak in and through everything.

From the winds that sweep through Mijas, to conversations my roommate Katarina and I have before we go to bed each night, He speaks through His word, and through prayer and conversation.

I’ve met with a new beautiful Jesus here in Mijas. One who is life bringing and who longs for me to dream and have vision. One who wants to speak so that I can hear.

One who trusts me with the plans he has created.

I can’t wait to continually learn about this lovely, light filled Jesus, to speak and listen to what he may have for me and others. To change the way I see things.

I can’t wait to continually, daily live.

Hear that your soul may LIVE.

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