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

name your shields

Over the last week I’ve had to mark off “single” on forms and applications and surveys.

And each time I’ve cringed.

Today, sitting in church, about to do communion, I was waiting to hear a phrase I’ve grown to loathe “grab one other person”.

(99% of my friends are attached to one other person).

I am pretty great on my own. I’ve written about being single. I can sit at bars and restaurants by myself. I can travel by myself. I can make my own decisions. I got this.

But, if I’m being honest; being single isn’t a flag I wave.

I wear my singleness as a shield.

I wear my singleness as a shield because if I’m being honest- I’m terrified.

(My head is full of disclaimers right now and I’m choosing not to write them)

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier then having to admit that I still have stuff to deal with in regards to the opposite sex.

I wear my singleness as a shield because I know I’m enough for myself.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s less heartbreaking than feeling left out.

I wear my singleness as shield because I’d rather a shield than shame.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier to use it then have it use me.

The thing about it though is this: I am not the only one.

And it’s not just being single. It’s whatever box you have to tick, identifier that others place on you, comfort blanket you throw on your lap to protect you from what’s happening around you.

While those statements were hard to write, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that I’m not the only one.

I am not the only one who uses something that isn’t a bad thing as a protection.

Hell, there are times in my life that I use my Christianity as a shield.

And I can hear you out there.

Shield does NOT = excuse.

That’s not what this is about.

This is me choosing to tell you that there are things in my life that I am well aware I am doing. There are places that I haven’t gone and walls I haven’t scaled and journeys I haven’t chosen to walk into because I will have to set down that shield (whatever it may be) and be willing to take the arrows.

This is me choosing to tell you for as much as I am “man up or shut up” or “do the damn thing”, that you are not alone in needing to feel defended.

If this was Meghan circa 2012 I’d probably tie this up with a statement about Jesus. I’ve reached the point in my life, to know that Jesus is not the answer to the question.

Meghan of 2018 knows that I’ve been given the tools, the mind, the heart and the spirit to get through and work through the things

I am going to say to you- encourage you, to name your shields.

Name those things you use. Those words, those jobs, those people, those places in your life you need protection,

That’s all I’m encouraging you to do.

Name your shields.

stateside

an example of how I can turn anything into a sermon illustration

I have a confession to make.

It’s kind of (really) embarrassing, but I just wanted to put it out there.

I like….I mean, LOVE fan fiction.

Fan fiction (noun): written by a fan of and featuring characters from a particular TV show, movie etc. …

It started slowly, with Vampire Diaries and lead into Hart of Dixe with a smattering of Criminal Minds and now I’m full blown into the Mindy Project. I don’t read every single one and I can usually tell within a paragraph if I am going to read the whole thing. It normally has less to do with story and more to do with grammar and spelling.

I love reading stories and stories that are focused around characters I already love? Even better.

Let me tell you there are some talented people out there, some crazy storytellers. I myself have never really dabbled in it (she says as she remembers college and stories written based on a red headed pop star) mainly because I suck at dialogue and my creative mind doesn’t normally work that way.

For some fan fiction is a way to see two characters actually end up together and to “right a wrong” the writers did by not having them end up together in the first place (klaus and Caroline-am I right?) and for others it is a home to take already created characters and twist them into something new (ladies and gentleman I give you the fan fiction that made millions of dollars off of the characters Edward and Bella- fifty shades of grey).

Fanfction is the ability to create a universe for yourself.

It’s creating something out of bits and pieces of something already created.

Really, if I get down to thinking about it- it’s kind of how I feel about my life.

I’ve already been created. My story has already been written.

And then God said, “create!”

But wait haven’t you already done that? Haven’t you already created? Shouldn’t I….

And God said, “create!”

Here is what baffles me about that. God didn’t create us out of something already created. He didn’t add on. He didn’t take characters someone else had formed.

He created us, formed us- out of NOTHING.

WITH HIS WORDS.

How do you even live in the same realm of creating when God himself the creator of creation is the one who tells you to create?

It’s hard for me to grasp that I create with words. Sometimes I don’t like to place my writing into a form of creating. God used words and BOOM universe.

A song lyric from my friend Allan’s song entitled “song of inheritance” punches me in the face every time I hear it

So scream out what you want and from chaos create because he gave you HIS voice and it’s filled with HIS power

Woof. I’v read, referenced and listened to this line hundreds of times. And yet it still gets me right in the knower when I think of what God created with words.

And I- whether I choose to believe it or not- create with words.

Oooof.

CREATE.

What’s really stopping me?

Because this parallel terrifies me.

Now let’s hit the brakes for a second. I’m not saying I can create exactly like God and abracadabra here’s another universe.

What I am saying is if I took the power that God has nestled in his pinky toe and used that to create what could I do?

We are ALL creators. All people have the ability to create something lovely, beautiful and God-breathed.

So why the heck don’t we?

Why the heck don’t I?

Why do I allow the silence around me not to be filled?

Maybe because I don’t necessarily know how to use that power.

I’m working on it. Figuring it out. Delving into the mystery that is creating things, making things alive with words.

That power was awakened in me in full force last summer amidst the unrelenting Mijas heat. It was nurtured with a some shabbas and a tough cookie or two.

This creative power, these words bubbling up inside of me are ones of which I want more.

I don’t know what I am going to create but I am.

So why don’t you?

Why don’t you find that thing that one thing where the power of God’s pinky toe is nestled in you and use it to create lovely and raw and life giving and changing all in the same breathe.

Use it.

I am.

(And yes, I will also still be reading fan fiction because I need to know what happens in 60 years when Bonnie dies and Elena wakes up and I need 200 different versions of Mindy and Danny’s life after baby)

Honest, ramblings, Spain g42

more to you than this

I’ve had a lot of trouble putting words to paper the past few days. I’ve tried to write multiple times. Tried to put together a thought or two. I’ve started I don’t know how many blogs, backspaced, deleted and closed my laptop.

I’ve tried paper and pen, my phone, anything just to get a word out.

And I always have to stop.

The thought won’t finish, I don’t come to a conclusion, I don’t HAVE a conclusion, it’s not flowing right or I just don’t want to share.

Last weekend I watched Little Women for the first time. (Yes, I’m a horrible English major.). But in it there was a moment where the German Professor had just read Jo’s manuscript and he didn’t really like it. It wasn’t enough of her heart.

“Jo, there is more to you than this; if you have the courage to write it”.

Whitney promptly told me that it would be my quote for the week.

(She was right.)

It’s been turning in my mind since that night.

I feel in regards to writing I’m pretty honest. I share what I’m learning; where I’ve been, where I’m going. I let the “raw” come out every once in awhile even though that’s a bit harder and takes a moment more for me to press publish.

But there’s more to me. And that more I don’t really know how to share.

So here is a piece of my more:

If there is one statement about myself that I’ve never had the courage to attempt in print it’s this:

I belittle myself all the time.

Things I’ve gone through, places I’ve been, hurts I have.

Which is why when I sit down to write a blog and can’t see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel or any kind of peace in the midst of chaos I choose not to write because I feel it must not matter.

It’s a problem I have; choosing to brush under the rug feelings I have, hurts I have and places I’ve been when I think it’s not worthy of telling.

I am advocate for story. I supremely believe every nook and cranny in our life is a story to be told. Be it the story of the people who watched Grey’s Anatomy at my apartment every Thursday or eating tuna sandwiches at my grandma’s in high school or the hours I spent in the Bakersfield hospital when my mom was sick.

Everything big or small leaves an imprint on our hearts.

We need to not push the bad and ugly parts aside. Or even the supremely joyful.

I need to not push those parts aside.

So all this to say I’m choosing to share one of those things that I have been belittling myself up and down about. The thing I found myself with tears running down my face because I was beating myself up for feeling this way.

Selfishness.

In a myriad of ways and moments. I won’t share the why or the what, but every time I’ve had a feeling or emotion or reaction to this specific major thing that just occurred I bat it away because I feel selfish.

It’s a vague thought, but that’s the spot I’m in. It’s not necessarily something sacred that I can’t share; but it something ugly I don’t want to share.

There’s more to me than the shiny. And that’s ok.

I’m not perfect, I’m not glue, I’m Meg.

Yes, there is more to me than “this”.

And I am gaining the courage to write more from my heart with each passing moment and realizing what that looks like. The feeling of not writing for anyone but myself and knowing that it probably actual is for someone

So amidst my ramble,and my wacky thought process and what came from a simple quote in a movie I want to leave you with another lovely quote that is a favorite of mine. It is something I hold onto and will take into the next.

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ramblings

(maybe one day I’ll make you cry over a vampire baby)

I had the privilege and the great joy of living an amazing story in 2013. I set foot in 11 countries, I had conversation that superseded language and religion. I climbed Table Mountain in South Africa and dropped down waterfalls in Ecuador. I watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean from the balcony of my flat in Mozambique. I got a tattoo in Romania and held lots and lots of babies EVERYWHERE

I know what you’re thinking: How in the world do you top that?

I have so many stories to tell from last year. Like the time a babushka gave me a sweater in Ukraine or about how much I love Bangkok. Or how in Mozi we ended up on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by fishermen.

But when I really think about it, when I really delve into it; my stories about life were pretty awesome before then. They just weren’t wrapped up in foreign countries.

Like how I once changed 30+ diapers at an event at a church in one day. Or how my preschoolers say the best things. Or that one night when my friends and I ran into Dennis Rodham and he bought us drinks.

Piclab-3                                   ((a piece of story//extreme home makeover South Africa))

I can tell stories upon stories of heartache, of loss, of joy, of laughter and stories upon stories of how Jesus always heals us.

We ALL have jaw-dropping stories whether we believe it or not.

It’s just whether or not we choose to believe them or tell them.

Stories don’t just have to be encouraging or heartbreaking.

Story telling is an art form. Whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Whether they are about you or not.

I appreciate all forms. For instance last week I watched the finales of my two favorite show. (The Vampire Diaries and the Originals JUDGE ME I DON’T CARE) and those writers, MAN, can they weave a story. I’m still easily emotional over a magical baby and the death of a character whose redemption is 5 seasons in the making. I had all of the feels and emotions over vampires who don’t actually exist because their story was told so well. I can appreciate that greatly. The heart and creativity that goes into making people cry over murderous vampires.

What would happen if we took that ability, that gift to tell our own stories as well?

What do you think would happen?

Piclab-2                                                            ((a piece of story// COFFEE))

We all have story. Some we choose to tell, some we hold close to our hearts. I’ve told a lot of story over the years, I’ve written a lot down, shared them in classes, with friends, in bible studies. Like how I finally in this blog talked about Joe or how I wrote my heart into a fear piece that I sent to a lot of my friends. We were meant to do that. To share our hearts, our experiences with each other.

I don’t think God used the written word to reach so many because it was the “easiest” way. I think he used it as an example to us. For us to share our stories, to share what he taught us, to share what we’ve been through. To share how we need to come together.

It’s ingrained in us.

Why do you think we cram on couches week after week to see if Caroline ever shows up in New Orleans, or if Damon is going to come back from the dead (#toosoon) or are Wade and Zoe FINALLY going to be together for heavens sake! (that’s all just me? Once again; judge away)**

Because we are a people who long to be involved in story. And sometimes we think that those stories being told on a TV or in a book or on the big screen are bigger and more important than what we walk in daily.

Spoiler alert: they’re not.

Every action we make, every minute in our day is filled with good story whether we know it or not. It’s just whether once again we choose to make it be so.

If you ever want to hear more from my life, or read my piece on fear, let me know. I’ll tell you about holding babies into all hours of the night in South Africa or scraping paint of bathroom tile for hours on end. I can talk to you about working with kids from the foster system, or all of the ridiculous things that were said in the pink room the year Em and I had all boys in JK.

And I can tell you lots and lots about Jesus.

IMG_8117                                             ((a piece of story// jay leno california perfection))

We need to step into telling stories more, make it a practice.

I’m going to try to be better at it: writing them down, typing them out.

Even attempting to fix the fact that I suck at creating dialogue in story and working on some fiction pieces that are floating in my head.

I’m going to continue to live a good story whether I am sitting listening to the train go by in Kingsburg or whether I am sitting next to the Mediterranean in Spain.

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Story is story and our lives are the same wherever our feet may lie. It all lies in the telling. And if choose to allow others into them.

**if you understood ANY of those references….we should talk.

(to learn more about my story and where I am off to next check this out)