encouragement

When Facebook Disappears

About three months ago, in a matter of minutes, everything changed. My Facebook account was hacked, a steady stream of messages poured into my inbox. As I went to report the security breach, my account was suddenly disabled. Three months later, I still have no access to my personal or writing page. Despite filing numerous appeals and contacting the Better Business Bureau I am still locked out.

I was in the midst of finishing my manuscript and threw myself into that work. Now, that I have met that deadline I am left considering what I have lost and what I have gained since Facebook disappeared.

What I have lost:

Facebook has become such a huge part of our lives, there is a pervading space of disconnection I feel. I wonder what announcement I have missed and what I don’t know. I miss encouraging others. I like affirming others and caring for them through struggles. I can still do this, but I am missing a large group of loved ones and friends that I don’t get to see on a daily basis.

I have lost a number of sweet friends that have supported me in my writing journey through my writing page. Something so valuable I fear it’s forever lost. How will I find them back? For a writer, that page is essential and mine is gone.

So many groups find their home on Facebook. We communicate through the group feature and that connection has been lost as well. The learning, supporting, and communication is very missed.

What I have gained:

A great deal of headspace. I feel open. A steady stream of information is not constantly entering my mind. I’ve had freedom to focus on things intentionally. Something that can be a great distraction has been completely removed.

I have been spared a great deal of heartache. Watching people argue makes my heart hurt. I hate conflict and watching it play out online makes me terribly unsettled. After the election, I had been feeling a great deal of sadness. There was so much unkindness emerging in new and surprising ways. Largely, I was able to miss much of that.

Facebook is perhaps like so many other things in our lives good in moderation and when used to affirm, uplift and connect. In the days ahead I have to decide whether to begin a new account, essentially starting over. Or I can continue waiting, praying and hoping what was taken will be restored. I pray that no matter what happens, God will protect what has already been build with About Proximity and our important work with Kids Talk Justice.

Know that I miss so many of you that I primarily interacted with in that space.

I would never abandon you, I just don’t quite know how to find my way back yet.

When You Are Not Superwoman

When you are not superwoman it is very difficult to keep your life together. In normal life I can’t do Pinterest perfect, but life while working full time and writing a book, and being a Mom looked pretty ugly.

I have always known I have limitations, but they were greatly amplified through this process. I’d love to share some things I learned.

We Can Do Hard Things! 

The learning curve for this first one was steep, but I figured it out. It was messy and ugly. There were times I wanted to pull my hair out or crawl into bed and never get out. We can do hard things! I think what eventually emerges will not be messy!

Small Steps

Some days I didn’t think I would make it. Working at school all day, driving kids to activities, trying to balance everything else. Every day I tried to accomplish one thing no matter how small. Some days that looked like one sentence. Other days it was thinking through one of the topics in my head. That forward momentum kept me going.

Seasons of No 

I also had to say no… a lot. This was not comfortable to me. I’m a people pleaser and saying no makes my stomach hurt. I learned people understand when you have seasons where no needs to come more frequently. People have been gentle and understanding.

God Works Through Us to Uplift Each Other 

Friends mean so much. I have received such needful support at the very moments I needed it most. God works through us to uplift each other. It doesn’t go unnoticed by me to be thankful for those God has placed in my path. Also… even when you are thirty-eight you still need your parents. I also missed my first family trip to Iowa at Thanksgiving to stay home and write. Everyone survived.

Imperfection

I stayed up very, very late at night to get my writing done. I should learn to drink coffee… (it is more fun to eat junior mints though). I did not watch television. Therefore, I have no idea about This is Us, except Milo and Mandy would be enough to make me a fan. I wrote and did little else for the last six months. My house is so messy, it is taking us all spring break to clean it back up. Other people might have faired better, but I was not one of these women. I tried to embrace my limitations, dig in and do what I needed to do.

Kids Talk Justice

Kids are brilliant. Every time I wanted to give up. I’d read their survey’s and quotes. Beautiful. Brilliant. Needful. It helped me realized that this work is important. We need to champion them to be all they can be in the work of justice. They are specially equipped.

Kneeling

I needed God very much. I kept repeating… please be the author of this book God. Give me the right words. He listens. I will commit to keep praying this prayer. It has been a humbling experience. I have so much to still learn about writing, justice and being who God want me to be.

A week ago I got to hit send!

The next time I see that puppy, it will be bleeding red. That will help shape it into something infinitely better. Something that used to be so scary to me, is welcomed now. I can hardly wait to share the finished product with you all!

I can’t wait to share the voices of kids concerning justice. Their words will inspire and challenge us all more than anything else. I can’t thank you all enough for your love and support. We have a long way to go, but the hardest part has passed.

And I do love writing so much. My friend Julie at work asked if I would want to do it again. Yes, I answered without even thinking. Writing my heart is so much easier for me than talking it out.

Clearly, I am not superwoman. I’m thankful God still uses me in a small way to make a difference.

I’m looking forward to being back here more to share all I can about justice issues in the world, engaging our kids and offering all the encouragement I can find. We need it right now, so very much.

Greatly Loved

Happy New Year!

I’m getting closer and closer to my first big deadline over here- less than three months and counting. Everyday it’s prayer first, second, last and a hundred times in between. I surely would never be doing this on my own. Even then, I’m constantly fighting away the not good enough feeling that follows me wherever I go. I keep pushing forward and I am on my knees.

I am so thankful for all your encouragement and also for the surveys so many kids filled out! (I am still accepting them, if anyone else is interested!) Kids are the best and they are brilliant.

I want to encourage you in this new year. I am giving away three books I have recently read.

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Wild an Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan 

 

“God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live . . . loved.” Lysa TerKeurst

I am praying you can dwell in that space of being loved greatly.

Set apart to do what God specifically has designed YOU to do.

What are looking forward to in this year of 2017? Leave a comment here and I’ll enter you for the books!

Love Mercy

 

action

We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing wings on the way down. Kurt Vonnegut

You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe. Leymah Gbowee, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

I am thinking about these quotes this week.

It has been a long one- I’ll leave it at that for now. The world does not need my thoughts- it needs my actions.

 

For now some encouragement in the form of fiction. I have these four beauties to give away this week. Fall and winter is a perfect time to curl up with some great reading.

The Light Between the Oceans, Brooklyn, Little Bee, and All the Light We Cannot See.

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Here are some exciting book releases coming up that I also have to give away… 

Amelia Rhode’s Praying A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for your Community

Amy Sullivan’s Gutsy Girl Book Three: Fanny Crosby dropping December 1!

and newly released…

Leslie Manlapig’s STEAM Kids Christmas

Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way

Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited 

 

 

To be entered to win just leave a comment…

What are you reading? What is giving you encouragement right now? 

 

 

believe you are worthy

worthy

I had the blessing of attending Breathe Christians Writer’s Conference for the third time this weekend. I’m so thankful to live so close to this space of great encouragement.

I wanted to share some of that encouragement.

 

 

Brenda Yoder shared that when we honor God by honoring our stories, we become whole.

It is so important that we embrace who God made us to be.

We can embrace those things that make us uniquely who we are.

We don’t need to bury our talents.

Or ratchet down our successes.

Lynn Austin reminded us to give our families the gift of encouraging us in our dreams.

 

I have always loved these beautiful words from Lupito Nyong’o during her 2014 Oscar acceptance speech. “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

 

and from the keynote speaker James Scott Bell

fall in love with the gift God has given you.

 

Today, I give you permission to hold the frailty of your dreams and the beautiful ways God has created you close. Take them to heart. Share them. Believe you are worthy,

because you very much are.

 

 

Expansive and Immense

expansive

This is what I know…

God’s love is not a skinny love.

 

Lineation: the action or process of drawing lines or marking with lines. 

Unravel: to separate or disentangle threads

Draw

Erase 

Design a plan

Shred a plan

 

His love melts into the narrowest of passages

Expansive and Immense

 

 

 

Out in the Open Air

typerwriter

Since December I have experienced four large rejections.

A goodbye to the work I have known for three years.

And silence.

 

I have moved from despair, sadness, feeling like an utter failure, to peace around and around again. This is what I have been learning:

  1. The stories we tell ourselves are not always true. It’s easy to go with the failure route… but deep down I know failure is not the story of any one of us, including myself.
  2. “I’m not getting what I want.” I told some friends. Afterwards, I thought about that. I’m like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Maybe, this time it’s not what I want, but what God wants.
  3. Waiting is hard. Be kind to yourself.
  4. Sometimes, we don’t know. We just simply don’t know. I have no idea what my life will look like this fall. The answer to that may be a beautiful beginning or it might be a hard space. Either way, I have learn for it to be well with my soul.
  5. Even though you know God cares for you and has a plan, it sometimes feels lonely and desolate, and that is all right.
  6. Trust your heart. I guess I never had a huge sense of clarity or ambition about my career. I just want to love people. Too simple, probably. But me… always.
  7. I’m a control freak all over my own life. This desert period… not even an option. I couldn’t control this train if I wanted to. I’m pretty sure when I meet Jesus he’s going tell me that I sucked at this part… trusting him to know what’s best for my life.
  8. I have had to admit that I’m thirty-seven and I have absolutely no clue right now. I have re-occurring dreams of packing, not being quite ready, and being in two spaces sometimes three. It has to be alright to say I don’t know. If you ask what I’m doing next, what God is doing in my life, where I am heading, I will say, “I don’t know, and not only do I not know, I haven’t the faintest clue.” It makes people uncomfortable, but maybe we need to become more comfortable with not always having an answer.

and I came across this line from Dr. Seuss

It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.

9. We don’t always get what we want. We don’t always get the easy path, the quick answers, the beautifully packaged clarity. And somehow we learn for that to be okay.

Out in the open air… it’s wide and expansive and scary. But, in that openness we learn to breath in God.

And somehow it is beautiful.

 

leading us deeper

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What is God doing in my life right now?

Closed doors and a lot of uncertainty.

It raises in up in me all kinds of demons of fear and not feeling good enough.

 

I’m learning to lean into the uncomfortable of not knowing.

To give myself grace when I feel completely lost.

This quote brought me much comfort this weekend, and I pray it might to you as well.

The spiritual life does not remove us from the world, but leads us deeper into it. Henri Nouwen

Be encouraged that God hears your prayers, knows you, and loves you well.

 

True Joy

truejoy

I’ve been struggling to stay at peace this past week.

Being a Mom, working full time, writing at night… I just can’t find a balance that I can tie up in a neat bow and declare that I can have it all together. This is my third year navigating, and I think I finally realized the perfect balance will never come.

I think I have known all along, it was just the act of accepting it.

I don’t know what it is that makes us feel like perfection is so needful in our lives. Jesus was perfect, but no one else was or is or ever will be.

 

Ellie had a fluke fall on Sunday morning and fractured her wrist. As we passed hours in the emergency room, getting her fixed up, I realized why I could accept imperfection.

If what I am doing is caring for the people God has put in my life, it is enough.

And no where in the Bible did God tell us to do it perfectly.

 

The special needs students I work with at school, don’t need a perfect helper. They need one that loves them unconditionally, and is there when they need encouragement and love to keep growing.

My kids don’t need a perfect Mom, they need one who is present. Sometimes, that might mean moving my computer to the table and working together there. That might mean I leave the writing for that night and play soccer outside instead. Sometimes, it means saying no to a game and finishing something instead. They need independence and to see me doing things I love, so they can do the same.

Anyone who reads my writing, already knows I’m terribly imperfect. But if I am using it to care for God’s people, I can be assured that God will do what he wants with it, even if it does not always align with my ambitions.

 

If what I am doing is caring for God’s people, I’m going to be OK.

I can trust God with my life. I can be at peace that he will use what I give him in a way only he can.

Know that I am praying for your peace as well.

What can you trust God with this week? 

 

 

Enough

enough

 

perfection:

the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

 

I ran into the lawn mower in our garage this winter and now it is busted. busted.

I wear clinical strength deodorant. clinical.

I never make my bed. never.

Sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed. totally.

I always leave the laundry until Sunday. always.

Awkward. I feel this way always.

Not good enough. I feel this way always.

 

Perfection. Trying always.

Reading that definition. Why do we do that to ourselves?

It is not happening. Ever.

 

His grace is enough. It really is when I slow down long enough to think about it.

It is sufficient. Everything we need.

 

Love to you this Monday.