Today’s Theme is Brought to You By…

A few months ago I told a couple of people that I knew God and I were entering a new season. I felt like God was going to start speaking to me again, but totally differently than he ever has before. I was excited about it, and felt like it was just going to be this really sweet season between God and I.

Then, as if to confirm my feeling, over the last couple of months I have had several different people either pray over or speak into me about how they feel or see God doing a new thing with and within me. – Some of these people trusted and close, one stranger, and a few people who were oblivious to the inner workings of my heart.

While I was ready for a new season, and I felt like it was going to be “sweet,” I was also a bit worried about entering into a new season. Because the last time He warned me a new season was coming, it was incredibly painful and I still refer to it as having put myself in an induced emotional coma to survive it… So I was anxious, and journaled my prayers to God about it a couple of times because, I am an external processor if there ever was one!

Don’t get me wrong, I so much love and enjoy my life.
I find joy in life every day, I love my community, friends, family, ministry.. Life is rich and full to overflowing with so many blessings!… But, I also live in reality, and that means that life is sometimes hard; as in, really incredibly heavy, full of sorrow and words that cannot comfort adequately. Sometimes, life feels more like just putting your head down and trying to weather the storm with as little damage done to you and your heart as possible.

(Anyone else feel like lately the world seems to be hell-bent on pain, destruction, divisiveness and sorrow?)

I also believe life should be lived authentically, and that while our stories are intensely personal, they were never meant to be kept private. So much of God’s power and help is experienced through people’s incredibly personal stories (just read the Bible, it’s full of these stories!).

When life is hard, I think we should admit it to people who ask that actually care for an answer. We should allow people to love us and help us (ok, so I am actually not always the best at this, but truly working on it).
When life is full to overflowing with joy and happiness, that needs to also be shared. – It pushes back and fights off the darkness.

While I can confidently say that I would not describe this season with God as “sweet” in the moment, I believe that after the fact, when I look back I will be content and find joy from this season. However, IN this season, it is hard, painful, challenging, and actually re-wiring me internally. It feels like a mental, emotional, spiritual breaking down of muscles, being intensely sore, and then finding yourself slowly getting stronger in the process. It also takes intentionality, determination, and a whole heck of a lot of hard work. You can read more about the Perseverance and Grit I am also learning in this season.

My heart is changing, growing, healing, and finding a healthy balance with my head. I am finding more and more that I am first seeking our Lord in moments of questions, uncertainty, thanksgiving, frustration, or any need or emotion really… It is good, it is refreshing.

In fact, I have discovered, that when I take time lately to process, read scripture, and journal, a theme almost immediately bubbles up to the surface.

I have started referring to my day’s like it’s a Sesame Street skit: “Today’s theme is brought to you by….”


These words (and others) have bubbled up, and subsequently created a place for me to dig in and find out what the Lord has said throughout scripture on these topics. It is interesting, intense, convicting, challenging and comforting all at the same time. I find that many of the passages I am aware of; some vaguely, others are common, but then, there are these little gems that I have somehow never seen before! It has begun creating anchor points in my rock foundation for me to wade through these very hard, intimate, and difficult topics… I know that one day these Sesame Street style themes will also be able to be used to help create anchors for others, but for now, they are creating a space for breaking and healing my own heart and mind.

I tend to use so that I can easily pop between a couple different translations, re-check words and other possible translations for those words, and see which translation speaks to me the most… But, I prefer to also use my physical Bible so that I can write all over it! Then, of course, I copy the passages of scripture that speaks to the theme for the day into my journal and have therefore begun to compile a list to reference as I continue through this “sweet” season.

And, of course, like any good researcher, I also google the definition for these words, and find their synonyms to expand the words I use in my journey through scripture.

What a unique season I find myself in; one with so many emotions, so much mulling and thinking through things, loads of prayers, and lots of sitting in silence… But also some processing with people.

One of the daily themes recently was Hope, as I worked my way through the different passages on Hope, I came upon one of my life verses, and I saw it anew:

“Sustain me according to your word, that I may live;
and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.”
– Psalm 119:116

In this season, I have found that I am being sustained, and am so much better able to weather this season because of the words of our Lord. – I also know that I am struggling with hope in a particular area of my life, and have a tendency to rationalize things away rather than choosing faith and hope because it feels too risky for my heart… It feels foolish to choose hope.

So, Lord, do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

It is so interesting to connect to one of my life verses in a new way, and see it suddenly differently than I have for well over a decade. What a beautiful example of how God breathes new life into scripture and all of a sudden it has fresh life directly connected to where we are in our journey.

(Also, just for kicks and giggles, my other life verse is Colossians 1:10)

This season is hard.
This season is painful.
This season is beautiful.
This season is forever changing who I am at the very core and foundation of who God made me to be, and I am grateful beyond words.

Choosing Vulnerable…

Back in February, I was talking with one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and we were somewhere in the middle of a late night conversation talking about relationships. I was talking through my thought process on a few things, some of my fears, insecurities, and she was listening and giving me the perfect insights into my world.

One of the things she mentioned was that she wanted to challenge me to be vulnerable in a few of the situations. Appropriately so, but instead of trying yet again to control anything, just choose to show all sides of who I am, and not just the areas that are comfortable or that I am secure in.

To say I disliked the thought would be an understatement, and to say the concept did not scare me is laughable. But, I bounced the idea off of a few of my other best friends, and I realized after quite a bit of laughter and straightforward comments, that it was probably a very good idea for me, and my dislike of it was probably an indication of just how good for me it would be.

So, I did… And continue to choose to be vulnerable.

Appropriately so for the person, situation, and relationship I have with whoever I am talking to. And, what I have discovered is a weird mix of fear and security.

I have also found myself in an increasingly frequent number of large group situations where I clearly feel the choice in front of me to be vulnerable, and possibly insecure or choose to shut off a portion of my emotions and convey confidence and my ability to handle what is going on.

Each time I have chosen to be vulnerable.

Each time my heart has freaked out.

I have even allowed myself to cry when my heart was so overwhelmed with how I was feeling… Each time it had to do with Jesus or someone doing an extreme act of kindness. If you know me, you know how huge that simple concept is.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have actively chosen to be vulnerable and allow various people to see my heart. There have certainly been instances where the outcome was not at all what I would have hoped for, and sometimes it was just incredibly painful… Yet, in other instances, I walked away feeling completely safe, secure, and like I was taken care of.

Over the last month or so, I have left conversations with the person I was talking to, and I felt like they saw me. As though they truly saw my heart and cared about how it was doing, and what God was doing in it. I walked away feeling as though they could be trusted, that they would call out things in me I needed to hear, and like I was secure in my vulnerability with them. What a special gift to feel that way, to feel protected and safe even though I had chosen to bare my heart’s contents.

This week, I spoke to a group of senior high teens, and I had prepared an entire message, and while I gave about half of it… I skipped huge portions that I had planned on sharing, and I sat and focused on another part that I had planned on merely skimming through. I felt like God just parked me halfway through and made me sit there and describe what He has done in my life in this one point, and how dramatically it has altered me and who I am.  Thankfully, I feel as though the teens connected, mostly because they did not move, stir, talk, shift or really do anything but make direct eye contact with me the entire 20 minutes I spoke.. I have no idea what connected them to what I was saying, but what I do know is when I was done my heart was totally wrecked and I needed a moment (or few) to compose myself. I have no idea how I made it through without crying because my heart literally hurt, and I was completely overwhelmed with how much God has changed me, and how humbled I am that He moves in my heart so much…

But, mostly I am thankful that I know what it feels like when God is moving my heart. It is a distinct feeling that I only get when He is working in me, it is incredibly painful, but I so love those moments when I feel His presence descend on my heart.

I also was asked (and maybe somewhat coerced) into singing this week.. Which, would be the first time I have sung in front of others in more than a decade. To say I was nervous and insecure would be a gross understatement. Thankfully, the guy who asked me to help him lead worship was very encouraging, and helped relieve some of my nervousness by making fun of the fact that I was so obviously uncomfortable.. Something that he was fairly certain he had never seen from me before… While I am not not at all secure in my singing ability, what I do know is that I worshipped, and I did not mess up horribly at any point.

So, it has been quite the last month or so.. A little on the scary side, and a lot on the uncertainty in being vulnerable side, but entirely worth the risk and the growth that is taking place… It is just not easy.

“Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.”

– Psalm 119:116