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

(there might be wine in this teacup)

I have a confession to make:

I have an aversion to Christian women ministries and speakers and all of the things that come along with that.

The first time I was asked if I wanted to go to a Beth Moore conference I cringed. I did not want to go. The last thing I wanted to do was sit for a weekend with thousands of women and hear things that were “I am woman hear me roar”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great. It’s wonderful. The fact that there are women that speak and write and be means that I too can speak and write and be. I was the president of an all women’s choir in college and was on all women teams on the world race and have been for most of my life been surrounded by strong, powerful women.

So really, I should love the concept of women’s groups and ministries and speakers and conferences.

But I think honestly, we are made for more.

I think as women we sell ourselves short. I think that we sometimes allow ourselves to be ok with the sugary sweet. That we only believe we can speak to each other about women’s issues and kids. That we focus on walking with our broken pieces and frailty than walking out of them.

That we compare ourselves to the ornaments on that we place on the back of the Christmas tree because they are ugly and broken.

I’m not a freakin’ ornament.

Why does it have to come back to us being women? I know that there are pieces of us that are different and there are parts of our femininity and the femininity of Christ. We need to talk about those things for sure. But why do we wrap it in such pretty packages? Why do we use soft voices?

Why don’t we raise our voices?

Why don’t we raise our voices in the presence of men as well?

(Now, don’t get me started on women in head pastor positions or in authority and whatever. That’s an entirely different soapbox. Don’t read into all of this that and hear me saying we need to be in charge and loud.)

But what I am saying is we have things to say that aren’t about marriage and femininity and kids. We have a lot of things to say.

I’m saying sometimes we need to look at things as a human being, not as a woman. We are individuals not defined by our sex but by who we are uniquely created to be.

I think that the women in the kingdom of God need to do a few things. We need to realize we are fierce. We need to raise our voice. We need to realize that we have things in our femininity that can be balanced by the masculinity. We need to realize that bible studies for women and conferences and all of that are so good, that they are needed.

But we need to stop sugar-coating them. There needs to be ugliness and there needs to be rawness.

We need to stop being fake.

One of the words of life I got when getting prayed for my last week in Spain was that I shouldn’t diminish myself or shrink back; that I should unfurl myself to the fullness that I am.

So I too, need to stop being fake.

So here’s what I am going to do: I am going to submit writing to all of those places. I am going to write on the questions asked, I am going to write as myself and only myself and not who I think I need to write for. Now, I’m not saying that I am going to blatantly write things to offend others or write against everything that people stand for.

But I am choosing to be ok with writing in who I am.

I’m not sugar sweet. I don’t like cotton candy that much. So I’m choosing to bring that into the mix more. I’m choosing to bring the salt.

I’m choosing to share that I have wine in my teacup.

hope is a verb, To dream

epiphanies in a mozambique marketplace

One of my favorite things about being in dark, rainy Mozambique last July was days where my ministry was to cook.

I mean that makes sense right? I love to cook. But cooking in Mozambique was no joke. To cook in Mozi meant spending 2 hours at the market haggling, bartering, trying not to smell all the meat, then coming back and chopping vegetables for more hours then I would like to admit. Then cooking for 19 people on a coal fire.

To cook in Mozambique made me feel super accomplished.

mozicook

But that’s not why I loved it.

It was the trekking to the market normally in mud, sometimes in rain and buying from the same women I bought from every 3 or 4 days. It was just a moment to smile with them, talk in broken Portuguese/Spanish and try to find out how their day was going.

It was always a highlight to me. Something that always brought me joy.

And as I look back on my life in missions and of course just life in general it’s the talking to and encouraging of women that has been a streamline in my life. From women’s bible studies in Mexico when I was in high school, to talking to moms daily tn the preschool and church where I worked, to walking alongside my friends each day.

spainblog(four of the women I did life with this year and the ways God rocked and changed them)

There’s something in me that’s always had a heart, even as a high school student for story, for hearing dreams, for seeing what people wanted to do with their lives. When I look at my circle of friends I’m amazed by the strong women that with whom God has surrounded me. My best friend Jess is a nurse and a mom of three. My forever roommate Leah works daily with autistic kids to better their lives. Kaytie and Lisa sit and hear stories of people who are hurting and help them through life as therapists. The list could go on.

I’ve always wondered what my place was within those strong women. What I was meant to do. How I fit. I worked as a preschool teacher for five years so I thought maybe what I was meant to do was enrich the lives of kiddos in that way. But then I realized something:

I wanted more.

This past year I spent time in 11 different countries doing life and doing ministry. But some of my sweetest times were those moments sitting across tables from women on my squad and hearing their story, hearing their life, hearing what God would have for them. I remember sitting across the table from my friend Chelsey at a coffee shop in Brasov, Romania as she told me her dreams and her call to move.

sb2(Jo, Abby Tiff and I. 3 women who move and call me to move)

I want to be apart of that. I want to forever be apart of others call to move.

While in South Africa last year, discussing dreams and heart story my squad coach Betsy asked me a question. Did I want to be in the classroom or build the school and run it.

1003789_10151841959050479_2101645836_n(Fuji, Kacie and Jesse. 3 more women of movement that I team lead with in Swaziland)

There are so many answers to that question. One being YES I love being in the classroom. I love literally being apart of the story that God is writing.

But I want to help YOU be in there. On the ground floor. Realizing what you want to do, where your story is and how you want to move.

We all have things in our stories that need to be heard. We all have hurts and pains and joys and happiness. All of these things combined are what makes us who we are. What leads us to move.

Maybe you are a full time mom who wants to group together other moms and have bible study or do yoga together.

Maybe you are single working female who just needs a community and want to find a way to make it intentional.

Maybe you just need someone to talk too.

That’s what Hope is a Verb is about. Empowering women. Realizing truth in story. A call to movement.

sb3(Emily. A women I sat across many tables from all year)

And that is why I am going to Spain.

To be equipped. To help people to movement.

To help myself to movement.

I may have sat across tables from so many different types of women, with different stories, with different hurts and different dreams. (All of the women pictures have changed my life. And the all have their own call to move)

And I’m finally realizing mine.

75207_10201511441850082_1743706677_n(Cassie and I were together every day last year. She’s going to change Uganda and the world)

But I also know that I have parts of my story, parts of my heart I need to fully realize more. I need to place myself in an environment where that is possible.

And that is where G42 comes in.

A place to heal, to learn, to grow, to be surround by a community of people who are in their stories, with passions and hearts to move in the ways God is calling them.

I’d love for you to join me in this journey.

Here are a few ways:

  1. Subscribe to my blog and follow my heart. I try to post about once a week (hopefully more while I am in Spain). It’s a place where I lay down what I am learning, what I am going through. ( you can find my blog here: https://awindlikethis.wordpress.com )
  2. Join me in prayer. If I’ve learned ANYTHING from time on the mission field and just life in general it’s that we need to support one another in prayer. We need to rally behind one another and lift each other up.
  3. Last year in the midst of rainy Africa as I trailed around our host for the month, walking miles each day to visit widows, God spoke pretty clearly to me again about the fact that I truly needed to trust Him. That I wouldn’t be done raising support. I kind of hated that. But I tried to get out of it. But he didn’t relent. So I bow my head ask if you would consider joining me in the ground level of Hope is A Verb by contributing to my time in Spain. I have to raise 6300 for 6 months at G42 (covers all the things except a plane ticket which is already covered for me). If you have 10 dollars or 100 dollars every bit counts. Click here to donate to my support account.
  4. Ask me any question you want! Contact me below.

Thank you for reading and stopping into to my little space on the Internet. Thank you for blessing me and coming alongside in all of the things God has done, is doing and will continue to do in my life.  Thank you for helping me apart of God’s call on my life to live nothing normal and everything Christ.