Monday, July 9, 2018


I've been a struggling soul lately.  I've been moving through the motions with as much grace as possible, yet, I feel cracked and bruised.  It's been a series of events--the collateral damage type that really dominoes out over the course of months.  With each tile that falls, the weight has pushed me deeper and deeper.

I've been doing the best that I can in the name of self care to keep my head up.  I've been reading a lot.  This morning, while filling the dishwasher, I was thinking to myself: I've been reading a lot.  This might be the summer of books.  I'm always complaining that I don't have enough time to read, now here I am reading close to an hour a day.  

And it fills me.

I've been running about 4x a week.  It's the first time that I've been regimented this way.  I'm finally making some speed and distance gains.  On the days that I'm struggling hard, I crank up the worship music.  I've had some interesting conversations with God while on the treadmill, road and trail.  There's been times when I've wanted to ditch the worship music and turn on Black Eyed Peas, instead, but because I often cling to the thing I most want to avoid, I keep the worship music cranked.  And what do you know?  God always gives me a word.  It might be the last 200 meters of my 4 mile run, but He shows up.

Yesterday, I took my oldest two downtown Portland to see a Pastor speak.  Pastor Frank was the lead pastor at the church we've attended most since Nate and I have been married.  He has dramatically changed my life in the way of Christian living and my relationship with God.  Last year, he stepped down as President of City Bible Church, and now spends his days writing, travelling the world, speaking and training up other pastors.  I went to Portland yesterday to hear from him.  I knew it would do my spirit good to hear from him.  And it did.  His sermon was on Expecting Supernatural Turnarounds.  Yes.  Exactly what I need, exactly what I'm praying for.  Being in the presence of God, hearing worship, worshiping, singing praise eased the weight on my heart--as rigid as it felt.  I could have stayed there all afternoon.

At the close of the service, Pastor Frank happened to come to the side of the ballroom where we were seated to give away some of his books.  It didn't seem that too many knew he'd be signing and giving the books away, as many had filtered out of the room before he made his way over.  I was the third in a short line and when I met with him he took my hands and offered to pray with me.  His words were comfort to my tired soul.  We agreed, I knew what to do.  Before I stepped away, I told him that his was the first church that I attended when I left the church that I was raised in.

"The first time I attended, I felt like I was home," I said.

I've thought about my saying that many times in the last 24 hours.  How many times has he heard someone say that?  How many people have finally come home during his years of preaching?

A multitude.

Today, while scrolling Instagram--not long after the fleeting thought that I should step away from social media for a time, I came across a post from a woman I went to grad school with.  The image showed her on top of a steep, rocky, mountain ridge with deep focus.  In her caption, one particular line stood out to me--"We train our bodies, but if we don't train our minds, we are missing an essential part of being successful at whatever challenge is in front of us."  It reminded me of all the years that I've pushed my body to conquer my latest challenge.  A half marathon, a Crossfit Hero WOD, hot yoga in a dank 105 degree carpeted room.  Gross.  I've always expected more from myself--the most from myself, and perhaps the cracking comes when I can't control the external.  The shitty hands, and having no recourse.  It's in this place of surrender that I fight so well, that I'm forced to wait, cling to grace and eventually, whisper Jesus.

God is training me in the area of my mind.  I know there's strength being summoned, and it's the strength that will carry me through the rough spots--now and in the future.  I've held some real shitty hands, and been in some terribly low places, and I know there is a silver lining.  The ability to connect with others, a compassion that has been placed within me for struggle when I see it, but also a toughness that pushes back and refuses to be taken down completely.

I'm not sure that the last domino has yet fallen.  The collateral damage is still fresh.

But like Pastor Frank said:

I know what to do.

Right now, it's self care and quieting the voices that don't sound much like grace.


“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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