encouragement

Disappointment

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Your stomach sinks.

Your shoulders give over the the weight of discouragement.

The kind words meant to keep you going and offer encouragement are wonderful, but they still sting.

You were good, but not good enough.

 

We have all been there.

I was last week, I wanted nothing more than to lie down and cover myself up to the world.

Instead I let it simmer on the surface while trying desperately to push the disappointment down.

When I’m with my friends and share something that disappointments me, I always extend a qualifier, but it’s OK. Then they say to me, it’s OK to be disappointed and sad. I forget that sometimes. I feel like I have to be perfect, upbeat and full of faith.

I trust, but that doesn’t mean I always feel that. It doesn’t mean you actually feel it every moment of every day either.

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A couple of weekends ago, I watched the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I immediately grabbed the novel from the library, both were written by Stephen Chbosky.  The characters were so real and broken, but beautiful.

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Sad comes. 

Happy comes.

Hope is always with us though. There is always hope.

For me, that hope comes from my God, I know he’s not leaving me.

Don’t Stay in the Safe

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I love water.

I love the way the waves draw close and then recede.

 

When my brother was a boy he drew a picture of a ship with this quote. My Mom still has it framed on their wall.

A ship is safe in harbor but that’s not what ships are for. ~John A. Shedd

 

We draw back close to our God.

We kneel.

We gather strength.

We accumulate still.

 

And then, we are ready to leave the harbor again on our next mission.

 

Water is life and it is moving. We are moving under God’s hand.

Don’t stay in the safe.

Far More Interesting Things

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Sometimes I go through moments of serious doubt about myself. Confidence is not something I’m able to gather and hold onto for any extended period of time. Many times that occurs on the heels of comparing myself to someone else. This is not honoring the person God made us uniquely to be.

I also love the way The Message puts this, we have far more interesting things to do with our lives.

 

Want something interesting with your life today?

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End 7 diseases by 2020. 7 neglected tropical diseases that affect a half a billion children.

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We are Frangible. God is Not.

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Kneel.

 

When I kneel in prayer I feel my frailty.

 

Each breath is a gift.

The world around us is fragile.

Our well-planned dreams flimsy.

Our hearts vulnerable.

 

We are frangible.

(I found that word in the thesaurus. I like it. Frangible.)

Definition: readily or easily broken. 

 

Even when we feel frangible, we are strong.

Our frailty offered up to God is strength. We are acknowledging that we are not all that, but God is all of that and more.

 

Isaiah 40: 28

… he will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He understands that we are frangible… he’s strong enough to carry us. We need not fear our frailty.

Happy Day!

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About Proximity is 1 year old!

Mostly, I just want to say thank you to anyone who stops by. I am really humbled and so thankful for all of you. Your voices matter and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to hear them and to know you.

My prayer is to continue to work my hardest to give you valuable content for finding renewal in your life.

 

Writing helps me breath better.

Honestly, being out here has been very vulnerable for me. I have struggled. Some days I wonder, there are so many voices out there louder than my own maybe it would be better to stop. That’s the thing about dreams, they are kind of persistent. That is the moment where you push past doubt and your own insecurities and trust God.

Any one else have trouble shaking insecurities? They wrap around my heart and my mind in way that breaking free takes enormous effort. I hope we can keep helping one another push past those moments.

 

Kneel.

That’s what I will be doing this next year.  It is the only place I can really be.

I really hope you’ll stay with me even though my socks don’t always match. You all make my life brighter. You inspire me. You make me a stronger woman of God.

 

Here’s to saying NO to doubt, worry, and insecurity!

Happy Day!

Leave a comment to win a happy day package!  An (in)courage daily inspiration calendar and dark chocolate. (If I could, every book giveaway would include chocolate!)

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so very, very much. it matters.

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I took my snowy boots off in the foyer.

Yes, I was wearing two different socks. Not different in faint shading. Not different in the colors of the stripes or toes.

One white sock and one black sock.

 

Why? Because I had let the laundry build into a mountainous pile over the course of the week. That morning I had two options; put on dirty socks or wear two different ones.

 

I only knew one woman in the room. I felt one woman’s eyes move to my feet and she offered a withering shift of her head. You know the look, one that causes you to feel yourself shrinking. Even though this is not physically possible, suddenly under that gaze you feel smaller than you once were. I tucked my bangs behind my ear, overdue for a haircut. That look and I am shifted to the outer corner of the room and not spoken to.

One white sock and one black sock.

 

I read two articles this past week:

From the Huffington Post What Not to Say to a Working Mom

From Rachel Held Evans Do Christians Idolize Virginity

 

From both, if you read through all the hundreds of comments you can make a pretty clear assumption.

Women are not very nice to one another.

I kind of always thought (or really, really hoped) this might change when you left adolescence.

 

We kind of like assigning other women less than signs and labels like damaged goods.

But in the comments section I love what Rachel Held Evans said, “We are more than that.”

 

Even when I received that shrinking glance last week, I knew I was more than that. But, the impression of that moment was difficult to shake away from my heart. I felt less than, even though I knew it wasn’t true.

How you treat other people matters so very, very much.

 

We should be each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

We should be holding one another up on this journey of life.

A journey that is not so beautiful every moment. (Hence, the socks in white and in black and various other things that make our hearts hurt.)

Wise and Funny Words

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Rachel Held Evans : super smart, super funny, and super courageous. (Click on her name to visit her website and widely popular blog.)

This book is no joke. I’m telling you the girl was on The View and NPR!

This sister in Christ took on a challenge to take the Bible’s instructions for woman literally. Each chapter of the book is a month where she focuses on one aspect of biblical womanhood.

 

My favorite parts:

  • The month of January where she found the mystical woman of Proverbs 31 is actually better suited to be described as a woman a valor.  “The Proverbs 31 woman is a star not because of what she does but how she does it- with valor.” We can all be woman of valor.
  • Her friendship with Ahava an Orthodox Jew whose insights spark the words of the Bible alive in new ways.
  • Her honest humor while she sleeps in a tent during “her visit from Aunt Flo” all you girls know what she means :), sits on a roof in repentance, tries to be silent during a stay in a monastery, calls her husband master, and conquers homemaking like a regular Martha Stewart. (She includes lots of funny pictures.)
  • The partnership she and her husband Dan exemplify through the year long journey. His journal entries add another layer of depth to the project.

 

And here we can rejoice from her experiment:

“… the notion that it [the Bible] contains some sort of one-size-fits-all formula for how to be a woman of faith is a myth.”

“Among the woman praised in Scripture are warriors, widows, slaves, sister wives, apostle, teachers, concubines, queens, foreigners, prostitutes, prophets, mothers, and martyrs. What makes these women’s stories leap from the page is not the fact that they all conform to some kind of universal ideal, but that, regardless of the culture  or context in which they found themselves, they lived their lives with valor. They lived their lives with faith.”

 

I say thank you to Rachel for a fresh perspective and the invitation to go forth exactly as God made us and pursue our faith with valor!

Leave a comment and win a copy of The Year of Biblical Womanhood. 

Overturn

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I am a heart girl, not a theology girl.

There are a lot interpretations about Jesus going into the temple and overturning the tables of the money collectors. (Matthew 21:12)

 

I am struck by that image. Overturning tables was a passionate response. I have been reading through Beth Moore’s journal for her book So Long, Insecurity. A part in one prayer reads- Overturn every single thing the enemy meant for evil into something good.

 

A little story: I am not made for social media. These little boxes keep coming up trying to entice me to do something that would allow me to see who has ‘unfriended’, ‘untwittered’, ‘unpinned’ me. Why can’t we just all be friends? Talk about insecure, I sit here pouring out my heart and up pops ‘three people have un-friended you.’ I want to type back to this robot thing, ‘something not suitable for me to say.’

This little story is my humorous attempt at conveying that the world can be unkind. I think we all know that pain in different layers and in different ways.

 

So take your worries, your insecurities, your fears, unkindness that you have felt, heartbreaking moments and lay them on the table.

Letting go hurts, its a sacrifice. Sometimes we cling to these things because they feel safe and comfortable.

 

Imagine overturning the table and watching what you laid there knocked over to fade away into nothing.

Like a pile of leaves burning to nothing.

Attached to heavy weight and sent to the depths of the sea.

Ripped to pieces so small they are not discernible.

Painted over in a mess of vibrant colors.

Simply, let go into God’s bigger hands.

 

This week overturn the unkind things that are stuck on repeat in your mind.

Replace them with the things that bring you into the proximity of renewal.

 

You are strong enough.

Reach Deep

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January stands gray and cold. The days stretch long in Michigan with darkness falling in late afternoon.

Sometimes my mood travels right along with the pattern of the seasons.

 

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 

They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. 

Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried about long months of drought. 

Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

I want to be one of these trees.

In the heat of difficultly, challenges,  and the gray discouragement of life… I don’t want to be bothered.

In the long of months of dry, sad, lonely, worry… I don’t want to be bothered.

 

I want to remember God is my Hope and my Confidence.

That hope is an anchor that tethers me to life through the cold and gray days.

 

When I sit in a room, I usually pick one object to focus on. It grounds me to that place in time. I feel more secure in the moment I am in and this stills some of my anxiety. (I know I am so weird.) When I write at home, I always make sure to be close to a window. I focus on whatever tree I can see, they are secure because their roots run deep. I am drawn to their strength. What holds them upright are the roots that you cannot even see.

 

The roots grow where you can’t see them…

Those are those quiet moments in our own lives, were we do things purely out of love and obedience to Christ that no one else will ever see or know. These are the moments we get up from the ground and choose to live in hope and confidence, not in the dark and gray.

Reach Deep.