Does Shaming People Work?

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I try to keep my “opinions” to myself…or at least keep them in environments I know are healthy or engaging and a two way street of dialogue. I rarely blog these days. I have too many businesses and jobs to chronicle life and one of these days I am going to finish that book….

But, I have been quite intrigued (read: disturbed) watching the world so quickly, instinctively, and with complete disregard attack a person for a moment in their life. We all have moments. I have some really fun ones that the world gets to see, I have others that I share with you guys on social media sites (like wearing my pants inside out yesterday), and I do actually try hard to be super honest and vulnerable with my world about the hard, messy seasons as well. Our life accumulates millions of moments in its span.

Not all moments are equal, that’s for freaking sure. Some moments are so devastating and traumatic, we and everyone around us can never go back or take it back. The college kiddo who raped a girl and served three months in jail – it’s unreal. That moment was defining and reflective of a lot of other cumulative moments in his life. HORRID. How is this even real life?? I cannot even comprehend this is our reality and the state of the world we live that we could devalue someone’s actions so much.

The football player making a statement and the world crucifying him because of it….that is not the same moment to me. I say that with complete respect for our military, because this blog has nothing to do with what he was standing for or not standing for. It has everything to do with a culture’s new instinct to shame someone and redefine their value because of a moment. We are like well trained hunting dogs waiting for a new person to justifiably take out. Every year I say I’m going to keep a media tracker of who we kill each week – cause every 7-10 days there is a new person up for some media crucifixion.

We’ve reached a new day in our behavior cycle though. It caught me off guard when everyone was sharing a young kids opinion without acknowledge his choice words and dialogue to get his point across this past week (example: you are the scum of the earth, a low life….and to think you would call yourself a…) Shall I continue? Are you getting the point? All I could think is WE HAVE DONE SOMETHING SO TERRIBLY WRONG. AAANNDDDDD you better hope you’re not ever in the spotlight…or those babies are gonna come for you, too!

Shame is so powerful. It’s so powerful and effective most of us unknowingly reach for it as our first defense in a fight. It’s a worthy weapon, if we’re honest. Shaming someone or aiming to control their feelings to replicate how they made you or someone else feel provides a demented sense of justification because we believe IF THEY JUST FEEL HOW THEY ARE MAKING ME FEEL THEN THEY WON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN? Who told us this was truth?

Not everyone has the capacity to feel what you feel and then be motivated to make different decisions. To let this be the foundation of how we discuss, correct, and guide is creating a generation of kids who cannot deal with confrontation – they are just trying to make you feel what they feel. They have no capacity to feel what YOU feel or to understand the other person could be very wrong….but also very hurting. Sometimes we have to let go of how someone or something makes US feel to help those next to us. We need to teach our people this by modeling it first.

  • Nurses have to forgo how a patient makes them feel to help them get well.
  • Parents have to disregard exhaustion to parent well.
  • Friends have to be inconvenienced to help those in their life who need it.
  • Our finances are inconvenienced to help those when they need it.

We can’t teach our kids the most important relational truth is that someone feels what we feel as though it’s going to alleviate our own feeling or bring resolution. It’s not about being right, but making things right. People over justification. Studies don’t show us that negative reinforcement pushes people to positive life changes, so why is it our first, justifiable weapon?

I’m not an expert in this area, but the last few years of sinking into the worlds of people who have accumulated a lot of BAD, devastating, and destructive moments has shown me to help, to love, to heal, and to comfort those in need we cannot be distracted by how we feel or are inconvenienced by their moments. We cannot shame them for ending up somewhere we don’t like as though it’ll reroute their future.

If you want to help and love someone, then you cannot aim to match your feelings. It’s not a prerequisite to moving forward.

When we make someones moment equal to their value, we lose our access to their heart. I can disagree with someone wholeheartedly without framing my opinion as they they are a worthless, piece of scum who has no value. If that’s all I have to stand upon, then I need to shut up.

It’s one thing to operate in such a way that you are harming others with no option for resolution and with a false sense of comfort that you taught them a lesson by devaluing them because they did something wrong. It is taken to a new level when we have now trained a new generation to do the same….except they have different tools and weapons to annihilate their people and us. They don’t just shame people but they put action behind it.

It’s not too late

Shaming someone and destroying their person and value for expressing something we disagree with rather than just disagreeing is harmful and creates mistrust and division. When is mistrust and division EVER the goal?

Shaming someone because their choices affect you, directly or indirectly, clouds our judgements because we take personal something that might not at all be personal. We lose sight that to be in someone’s life, in the broken parts and accumulate the bad moments, we have to be stronger and more resilient and fight for them with the weapons that help rather than harm their personhood.

Shaming people even for doing good things, but doing them not in the best way assumes the value of their input is measured by an outsider rather than by the impact it is making on the people they are trying to help. Why do we want to tell someone they are loving, serving or helping wrong?


While moments in life can change us, they cannot change our value as a person. They cannot dictate what our worth REALLY is, because the creation cannot tell itself what it is worth. The creator does that and has already done that. God not only told us and but has shown us.

Sometimes the hardest wrestle we have with shame starts with the shame we feel about our own person. The shame we carry unnecessarily. The shame we allow to control and dictate who and how we encounter the world. Shame isn’t ours to carry or live under and thank you Jesus – it’s not our punishment to bear.

How do you fight back in relationships, close and distant? Is shame your go to in confrontation? Is aiming to making someone feel badly about themselves the objective? Evaluate your immediate response and start doing some digging to see what your instinct is and what are we teaching the babies below us!

They deserve better. We deserve better. This is the only world we get!

30 never looked so good…


Well, if you’re reading this then turning 30 did not kill me. So that’s something to celebrate.

You’re either thinking two things right now:

  2. What? The thirties were the best time of my life!

**If you hated your 30’s – no need to share!**

I have been saying for months I was #basically30 when asked my age. I’ve taken this birthday as a journey…. a transition, if you will, out of one decade and into the unknown of another. Leaving behind a decade means you really can’t go back to it. It’s over. You either sucked all the life out of it, piled up those regrets mile high, did a few cool things and made a few messes, crawled the crawl of death to the finish line, or ran right to the end. It really doesn’t matter which of those options we fall into (or if you opted for a different route) because we will say goodbye and hello in the same amount of days, hours, minutes, and seconds as the person next to us.

No decade last forever. It just has to end.

This has definitely been my most reflective birthday to date. My twenties felt like they would never be over. They were going to last forever. I packed a lot of life, college degrees, jobs, vacations, and relationships into those 3,650-ish days. Honestly, we had a killer run.

So, how does one sum up a decade? I’m not fully sure. A few weeks ago, I have a few good cry sessions. I called it my “mourning the loss of my 20’s” moments. The safety net that I have “So Much Time” left to build a family and toss a few kids in the back row of my car seemed like it was deteriorating really quickly and for a few minutes I may have thought I was going to die.

In retrospect this is a bit funny because I don’t have some wild desire to get married right now and even if I was I wouldn’t want to have a kid right now – but for some reason a new decade meant I might not get those things. I think since I’ve learned we always feel young on the inside that when the outside reminds you you’re on a countdown it can feel like waves crashing over you.

I cried it out. I prayed it out. And, I’m over it. {Thank you to developing semi-healthy ways to processing life in my 20’s. Be a healthy person, people. Go to counseling}

I didn’t plan to write a birthday blog, but then last week happened. Trusting Jesus is an adventure. While I have watched him fill my life with so many of my heart desires, I’ve stopped chasing crossing the heart desire list off. It’s way more fun to just chase him. In the wake of a weird moment in our community – a very baffling time –  that such young people who should sense wonder and hope – are so filled with fear and loss they cannot go on. I did think of a few things this decade has carved into my soul.


  1. Your spirituality matters. It drives us from the inside out. From the depths of us, it’s what pushes people to overcome their feelings, social pressures, and to be ok standing out. BECAUSE BEING A PART OF SOMETHING GREATER THAN ONESELF MATTERS. We were designed to wake up to the beauty around us, to be reminded of the goodness in this world, to connect to our creator. It’s why going outside and seeing the world and creation changes us in a moment, God designed his creation and our hearts to commune with him. Get busy communing. No matter your view on God, don’t let your experience with people (his creation) determine who God is to you. He is faithful. He is constant. The craving in your soul will never die down and go away for Him. The sooner you lean into it, the sooner you will experience the ride of your life discovering life with him is the greatest experience on this Earth. Because nothing changes a person like perfect love – LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE.
  2. Your people matter. Seek them out and protect the hell out of them. I cannot stress this enough. Your 20’s means you will drift away from people as you discover yourself and guess what….you’re gonna drift right on back. There is the strangest sense of comfort you will get from forever friends. So end things well with your relationships when seasons pull you apart and if you haven’t ended things well then don’t be too prideful to say you’re sorry. Your 20’s means your line of friends will go through the wildest ride of transitions and transitions are hard on people – throw on top of that the pressure of family and friends and finances and the world and everyone is fighting for the establishment of their adult life. It’s a battlefield, people. If they are not focused on you, it’s not because you don’t have value or worth or they wouldn’t want too if they could. It’s likely they are just drowning a little bit, too. Cut each other loads of slack. Being gracious will win – being right will not.
  3. Say you’re sorry. I repeat, LEARN TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY. This means you’re going to need to be a listener. People will often slip in their hidden feelings into random conversations. Listen well and address them. Don’t let people misunderstand you or misinterpret something – be accountable for your own actions and words. I hate confrontation. I really do. It gives me anxiety in my gut. But, I want healthy relationships more than I want to be passive. Pretty sure I sucked so bad at this for most of my 20’s. LIKE SO BAD. Yay for new decades to do better.
  4. Failure is in these days. Try and try again. Discover what you’re good at. Take personality test. Get to know yourself and seek a mentor to help identify things in you! Those are God-given traits and have a direct link to you living a life that has a sense of purpose. But just know – you’re gonna fail so many times. Maybe in college you thought wanted to be a “insert dream here” but you can’t make the right grades. Maybe you got a degree and can’t land a good job? Maybe you’re drowning in debt? You hate your marriage? You have no friends? You’re home with kids and want to be elsewhere? You left a church on bad terms and can’t face them again but long for community? Welcome to the club of humans! Failing in a moment does not make us a failure, so don’t let your moment name you. Keep going. Own up to your consequences. If you’re seeking Jesus #1 then you can trust that as the redeemer OF ALL THINGS, he can even help you out of the darkest place you may find yourself in. It’s in our worst he scoops us up – you just might be positioned for a miracle.
  5. Your job doesn’t have to be your dream, but it very well may connect you to it. So for the love of all the bosses in the land – be a freaking good employee. No one owes you anything. Owning and growing a business is a tremendous amount of work and pressure that you are likely not carrying, so own your job like it is your own company. Share the weight and trust the journey that even if it doesn’t unlock what you want where you are, it is preparing you to walk into what is next.
  6. Obedience trumps everything. This is my life meter to everything I do. Did God plant me here? If so, then I better not complain and I better dig in. I have said for years, when people start complaining and bad mouthing things – Did God call you here? Then you either are a part of the solution, need to pray for the authority making these decisions, or need to just shut up. Being obedient to where God has planted us has nothing to do with if those are circumstances we like or favor. The bible is not full of people who had great circumstances….btw. It’s full of people who learned to access heaven in spite of them. If you’re not called to be somewhere, get the heck out. You’re prob annoying everyone!
  7. Go on adventures. Lots of them. Eat chicken and corn so you can take a yearly vacation. I’m not talking spring break, I’m talking take a friend or two and discover a new city or mountains and give yourself space and opportunity to create depth in your relationships. Shallow things do not survive. Remember #2? Your people matter, so take time to go deep with a few. If they hurt you and if you’re being vulnerable then they 100% will, that’s ok. Getting hurt isn’t a reason to walk away, it’s a exercise to stretch your heart way past where it wants to go and to learn that forgiveness and vulnerability hurt so good. I truly believe as we let God’s love reign in our life and make him our first love that is releases us to love people and to be ok when we are hurt or disappointed. His love wins in our life and empowers us to let it be the driver in the lives around us.
  8. Shame is FOR REAL and everyone has it. Every person on this planet is a carrier of shame, who they are and how they have experienced God and healing is what determines how shame controls them or has lost control of them. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be in counseling ALL THROUGHOUT YOUR 20’S. It’s ok to not have it figured out. There is no shame in the pursuit of being a healthy person. Counseling is the greatest thing this girl has ever committed to. Value your insides more than your outsides. It’s the insides that kill us.
  9. I guess I can’t skip this one? I did consider it though. Here you go –  It’s ok to be single and also please don’t sleep with the entire world. I know you were just dying to know if I’m on tinder swiping my days away….and I’m not (whomp,whomp). But, I have no public thoughts about online dating I care to discuss. If you’re single, it’s ok! I wholeheartedly believe if your heart is submitted to the Lord and you are faithful with where he has you planted then if he wanted you married that you would be. I’m not saying don’t go on the dates – GO ON THEM. Dates are way fun. But, don’t feel like the expression of attention is a trigger to surrender your heart and be swept away. Guys and girls alike – who you marry is crazy important and the more you know yourself the easier it is to lock arms with someone else. No relationship is going to be easy or problem free, but it definitely doesn’t have to be a train wreck. And I meant what I said about please don’t sleep with the entire world. Seriously, get some self control. Also, being in a bad marriage is way worse than being single. Just get some married friends….you’ll figure that our real fast😉
  10. People are watching. Like you watching me…it’s weird if I’m being honest. People love telling me about how great my life is as if I’m not the one living it! You guys are right – my life is really great. I’ve paid a lot of big price tags you probably don’t know about to be here. I’ve walked away from good and great opportunities out of obedience to God’s voice. I’ve surrendered well and surrendered horribly at times. Imagining how someone’s life feels is a lose-lose battle because it’s impossible. Don’t waist your time on it. Instead imagine how your life would feel empowered by the supernatural power and presence of Jesus – his joy and peace and comfort and wisdom a part of your every day regardless of your circumstance. Then you can win! Watch Him and celebrate others along the way – then we can all win!

This list is not all inclusive. I have 10 more points I could make, but no one wants to read a book on a Monday night.

Thanks for the most fabulous 3 decades a girl could ask for! This life is the dream my heart wanted but didn’t know how to dream up and that has built my faith tremendously to expect only the out – of – this – world, Heaven coming to Earth, kind of adventures aheads. It’s all worth it. Don’t give in. It’s worth it. It’s worth it. It’s worth it.

PS: My friends threw me a totally rad DANCE PARTY for my 30th which I post pics of as soon as I get the real ones back. We literally danced all night. It was the perfect reminder why #2 is so important because good friends don’t need to be schwasted to enjoy life and celebrations. Being real with people gives them the freedom to just have fun and enjoy life without feeling all freaking bound up. For the love, people. GO DANCE AND HAVE SOME FUN. DON”T BE A BORING PERSON.

How We Write | From Expert to Ordinary

I’ve been sifting through lots of words the last two years. I stopped writing for a quite a large portion of that time. I sensed God calling me into stillness and intentional silence. It’s been pure love and hate.

Silence can be deafening and stillness uncomfortable.

I have asked the Lord more times than I can count, “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO WITH THIS STUPID SPACE IN MY HEART?

It felt like I lost my words for a time. I doubted myself and questioned the Lord, because how exactly does someone feel like they lost words? I confused myself. Did I do something wrong?

I love when God speaks into our questions and exposes our hearts. A sweet and honest exchange happened and he began posing questions and challenging my heart motives.

Why did I need to speak?

Can he move without me?

What’s wrong with silence?

When he’s working in us, silence can be our friend as we learn to trust not all seasons are made for shouting. You wouldn’t serve a cake with half the ingredients, would you?

I slowly learned seeds don’t sprout when they’re planted. It’s ok to be quiet.

As a well developed human, this has led me to be annoyed {read: Confession time} at others who write when their tone has reminded me of my old one. I am very mature, I know [Feel free to just call me an eternal work in progress]. I’ve rumbled with this for a while. During these spaces, I felt God peeling away old perspectives I had learned from around me to write or speak with an expert tone. It makes my skin crawl now when I see it. I don’t think it’s ever intentional or that I ever really knew that’s where I was coming from, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t actively participating.

Writing is an actual skill. Words and tones are expressed in how they are paired and presented. Writing “truth” takes a special level of care.

I see now why I needed some silence. You cannot handle something with care until you can really see it’s value and potential and until you’ve let go of it having any impact on your own value. Our words are weapons. If we use the right ones, we will pierce the darkness.

He wanted me to write with space left for him to move, so he let me take a time out – to watch, to sit, to be refined for the millionth time, to be examined, to check my motives, to observe. Refining a skill takes time.

I’m still learning to speak with space and confidence while letting go of the need to have all the answers or solutions or steps. I’m discovering new rhythems to write from where he has moved in my spirit, from what he has done and shown me in such a way others are stirred to venture to their own place with him. He may tell you something different than he told me when you find him there. That’s how he is all sufficient.

We have good days. I’m so thankful this journey is filled with space – I’m sure there are many more breaks and spaces ahead as he’ll keep refining me and teaching me new ways and depths to discover more of who He is with each passing season.

Love Big or Go Home

Grown up love is all kinds of magical. It’s hard. It’s committed. It’s relentless. It forgives so many times it loses count. It keeps showing up – in smile and in tears. It pushes through. It plows through the uncomfortable and messy. It disregards self and chooses someone else, regardless of how that someone will respond. It’s the real deal. It’s generous. It trust something else SO MUCH that it justifies this kind of love is worth it.

This concept of loving others with abandon has felt hard for this single girl. My lie – the one just for me – was that this was ok because once I got married I’d love that guy with full abandon because FINALLY I could expect someone to love me and not leave me. I promise, this is not a pity post because writing that last line felt all kinds of pitiful. It’s just how I’ve managed my expectations (i.e. a coping mechanism or filter to not be disappointed)

I have great friends, but grown life pulls us all (me included) in a million directions. The truth is when we surrendered to the God dream, we didn’t get the option to request we stay in safe quarters next to those who feel like home to us. But, sometimes our heart just wants comfort. It just wants to be held. It just wants to be ok and our head cannot reason our way out of not having someone next to us – no matter how valid the reasons stacked up are.

Loving Big is hard. It hurts like hell to love and let go. It’s indescribable until you keep writing out passes to others letting them off the hook – not so you can be run over, but so you can be free. So you can be more gracious than expecting. So you can love well and trust that for every time life feels like it’s failing me, I can have access perfect love that is everlasting. Perfect love that never runs out.

I have to discipline myself to want his love more than others. I get so distracted sometimes.

But loving big brings healing and life though. It reminds us that this life isn’t the real deal. We’re not loving big here so we run out, but so we together run to the next one. So this side of heaven catches all the glimpses possible of what’s ahead on the other side.

Fullness of joy

Fullness of peace

Wholeness on the inside regardless of how broken the outside may be

That’s my favorite miracle to live out on this earth. No matter what the outside looks like, God’s power and presence can still make a miracle out of the inside.

When our insides are strong and deeply rooted in the right things, the hold people have on us dissolves. We can stay after we should have been offended. We can see through wounds and reactions to find the roots and real reasons. We become victors for the powerless when someone else’s coping mechanism don’t deter us. When we see the outside as powerless and the inside as our mission.

It’s the best kind of love I’ve found.

Love Big today! People need to know the when God says he is Love and it is his perfect love that cast out all fear and that we are representations of His love because of our encounter with him – that this is the love they have been looking for. Because we’re not seeking them to love us but to discover His love for them. The greatest of love. The love that changed it all just to know them.





Ponder: think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.


          After the birth of Jesus, there was a whirlwind of life and activities and events. So much busyness. Guest and celebrations. Honor and reverence. Recovery and adjustments. I cannot imagine the blend of feels going on. New life as a mother, trying to comprehend being entrusted with the Savior of the world (can you even imagine???), the simple task of adjusting and becoming a family in an unfamiliar city with far than ideal accommodations and having guest from afar find you – simply because of who you birthed. I would imagine they broke every last one of the “Rules for Visiting New Moms”.

If Mary and I are any thing alike and I have no clue if we would be, I would have had a real love-hate relationship with the fact I was entrusted a gift so great that it could be found by those searching regardless of my efforts to protect and hide it. What an immense loss of control. This is probably reason 328 I was not Mary.

I imagine she wasn’t anything like me, lol! She was probably deeply composed and so kind – just like SO, SO KIND. One of those, “how are you human?? You are so nice people.” It would have driven me wild if I had heard Herod was going to be killing all the babies boys. I would have devised a very good plan. Then people just showing up at my doorstep… “Hey, I followed the star to see the Savior” That would have never been in my plan. SOMEONE QUICKLY TAKE DOWN THE STAR, I WILL NOT LOSE THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD ON MY WATCH.

I love Mary’s response though. In fact, I adore it.

It says after all the events and stuff going on But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

That’s exactly how I feel about this year. I have stored up deep in my heart all of the events, all the celebrations, all the tears (no joke, I have never cried so much in a year – bless my sweet friends who let me drive around and cry in their car [thanks, amy]), all of the victories, and all of the hard days. There were so many soul piercing and spirit soaring moments bottled up in the last 365 days. I’m treasuring them all dearly and still pondering their purpose and place and positioning.

When you’re in the middle or riding a curve in life it’s hard to draw a conclusion when you know you’re no where near the end. Learning to ponder and ponder well isn’t always natural. It’s easy to think we need words but it’s ok to not have any.

You may not know what’s brewing in your heart and life and family, but I hope you sense it. I pray this year you sense the power of Jesus present even if you can’t see exactly what he’s doing and how he’s realigning your days and steps and relationships. Let us ponder well what he has done, so we can be prepared for what he’s getting ready to unleash.


There were many years in my life I just wondered what God was doing. Sometimes I was pretty sure he wasn’t doing anything. Now, I see what he was/is doing – more fiercely than ever. I am experiencing what it means to be a vessel of this sort – I have no words to explain it. If you’re waiting and frustrated just keep waiting. If you were ready or if he was ready for you, you’d be there. Not everything is so personal to you (excellent life lesson). We don’t determine when we’re ready for what’s next – he does. His timing is perfect, a little painful, but still so very perfect. We can miss how good and perfect timing feels when we try to rush or prematurely make it happen. We miss the magic and delight of letting God be God in our life.

Normally at the end of the year I write a long blog about what I experienced/liked/did. I love going back to read them. It’s really just for my own benefit so I can remember my life. I have written them religiously. But, not this year. This year I’m still pondering as the waters in my soul are brewing up a new season and while I can see little pieces of its birth arising, it’ll be a while for others to get a glimpse. So until then – we can just ponder a little bit longer.

He will quiet you with His love.

He will quiet you with His love.
I wasn’t going to write this post. I’ve preached it on stages. I’ve shared it at coffee shops and on sofa’s and dinner tables with ladies around me, but I haven’t “publicly” written in a while. I’m not sure how to explain the why, but I wanted a season to myself. There is a time to sow and a time to reap. It was my time to be quiet. I have loved every second of keeping these words hidden my heart.
You don’t need to me to discover truth. You just need Jesus. In Zephaniah it says, He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.

Let’s just repeat that together, “He will quiet Renee with His Love”. I call this the feeling of Home. You know the people in your life who have access to your heart and can calm it with no words at all. Their presence is calming and their embrace soothes your soul instantly.

He will quiet **Insert your name here** with His Love.

I have found immense solace in this season of being silent. Jesus quieted my heart. I have learned am learning to lean into Him – to trust that just how he is moving in my heart and shaping it into new forms, he is wanting to do the same for yours. My words are not needed for him to move in your life. Isn’t that lovely? I think so. I don’t want to downplay the role we have in each other’s lives and sometimes we do need to speak, but as my life has welcomed waves of influence, I have learned sometimes my best stewardship of that influence is to deflect to Him at all times and in all things.

I don’t have to have a public stance on all things. I don’t have to make known my thoughts on hot topics. I don’t have share my story or opinion at every bump and discovery. I can be quiet. I can let him speak.

For HE is the giver of life, healer of the broken, light in the darkness, friend to the lonely, lover to the one who wants to be desired. I am the recipient of all of those things and giver of none.

Ironically, the very weapon I have been given as a worship leader is my voice. The worlds I get to sing are melodies of praise, declarations of all he is, and prayers for those at a loss for words. To be quieted seems counter productive, but it has been wildly productive.

But, today I’ll speak. In a carefully written and intentionally mapped out series that has brewed to overflowing in my heart: Finding Beautiful. They’ll be coming soon…out of hiding. Words of old finally given life. You can love them. You can hate them. But mostly, I hope you skim over them and bury your heart in His word because of them and see and discover the beauty crafted into your heart, your story, and your song.

Let Him quiet your soul and sing over you with rejoicing.

A Summer of Feels

Summer time has always been my favorite. Even as a full time working adult (you know where summer is really just a mythical part of your past you know existed at one time, but now you’re not sure – DID I DREAM ALL THE GOODNESS UP OR WAS IT REAL LIFE – WHY DO JOBS NOT HAVE SUMMER BREAKS), I still love the feel of summer.

Sunshine, friendship, breaks to soak in blue water and beaches and boat rides, weekends of laughs and memories, time to look up, cold drinks and books, and deep breaths. For some reason summer makes me want to take a big life deep breath.

Last summer was so fun and so hard, a blur of unknowns and oncoming trainwrecks my family knew we couldn’t stop and at the same time it was still full of midnight boating and late nights with friends to distract my heart for a few seconds from the little to larger life blows happening in so many areas. There were laughs in sorrow last year. Grace amidst mistakes. Opportunity to sink deep and explore the deepest and freshest of waters I had ever tasted in the presence of the Lord for relief from life’s circumstances. Good and bad blended together, I remember the hard and scary, but today I smile at the depth carved in my soul.

I doubt I would have signed up for the road. It’s not far enough away from me that there isn’t still a sting I feel when I think back, but it ended with a monument built to honor a King who has never left my side. The road is far from over though, so this monument I revisit almost daily for one reason or another to build my faith.

It’s where on the hard days pain is exchanged for beautiful purpose to grow his kingdom and expand hearts and open my eyes to the different kinds of pain infecting so many on this earth. This pain I knew existed, but lacked the ability to really know and feel the depth of the heaviness accompanied with it – until now. I had to feel the fullness of the weight to experience the height of freedom. New levels up and new levels down.

Summer 2014 changed me because it gave me no option to stay the same. It wasn’t passive in its approach or regarding of my life’s responsibilities. It came full force, stayed, settled, and is slowing finding it’s way back out into the sea of life. It forever changed our shoreline though.

What will Summer 2015 bring? I just really didn’t know. I started by chipping away at the 10 books I have purchased and not read. I am so great at buying books. SO GREAT. I am far less great at reading all of them.

Summer 2015 is my time to dig in. So I thought. It’s becoming more of a digging up than digging in. Isn’t it crazy how there are so many layers to our soul. Lifetimes of choices and habits and perspectives linking together to our today. Good and bad and messy and chaotic and lovely and memorable. The digging up touches all of it.



First up – a beautiful gem I randomly purchased at the suggestion of a random blogger I follow on instagram. The title drew me in “Every Bitter thing is Sweet  – Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things”. Yep, that sounds like I need to read it. Amazon prime’s app & fingerprint pay allowed me to complete my purchase in 2.3 seconds and delivered it to my doorstep in 48 hours. Magical.

And boy, did I need to read it. The premise is around fertility and adoption and waiting an eternity for something, demolishing the lies woven into your heart during the wait, and turning the spaces into lakes of fresh water for your soul full of God’s presence and voice. It’s hard waiting. It’s hard tasting pain. It’s hard waiting some more. It’s hard celebrating others when you wait. It’s worth it though. Our head knows it’s worth it, but when pain lacerates your heart you cannot always connect the two. Is there really purpose in all pain? I sure hope so. It’s worth it to keep going for the dream of God for your life – that I know.. It’s worth knowing that you know that you know he is with you in the darkest hour. That truth alone changes you and makes you thankful the road you wish you could rip to shreds has done something in you you have now found immense value in. Only God can do what he does. That pain or wait opens your eyes to knew sights. You can recognize the sting in others then our pain finds purpose. It meets another in solitary or deep valleys. It loves and cares and soothes and reminds the soul to fight – because there is always a dawn coming.

unafridaNext up – Unafraid. This book was referenced in passing on social media and since I was all “Yeahhhh I’m gonna read so many books this summer” I bought it too in 3.1 seconds on Amazon. It’s about fear, I hope you drew that conclusion yourself, but if not – there you go. You’re welcome.

I never thought I dealt with fear. My friends do. I’m constantly telling their spirit of fear – to – go – the – freak – away. But, not me. Then I read the book. Dangit. While I don’t deal with a fear that controls my daily life and choices, I had **unknowingly** allowed my past traumas to create a fear (really a lack of trust in the Lord in the unexpected big events) to let little worries become controlling lies. This is a crazy world we live in and fear is a powerful tool used to control and manipulate us and debilitate us. But, His perfect love cast out ALL FEAR. Not some. Not a little baby bit. Not justifiable fear. ALL FEAR. Goodbye.

I have spent quite some time soaking in this truth. I don’t have to shrink back and wait for the rug to be yanked, because my Jesus is bigger than that. His peace is greater. His joy never ending and my promise is secure. God is my protector. God is my provider. God is my friend. God is my deepest love. I do not have to fear and I do not have to brace my heart or head or soul for pain. What a truth to live upon in this crazy, messed up world.

forgiveAt the recommendation of another friend who repeatedly told me, You need to read this book, The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness, to which I said, “No, I don’t”. I finally picked it up at their house one day and just didn’t put it down for two days till I finished.

I didn’t think I needed to read a book about forgiving people because honestly I didn’t know of anything I needed to forgive. Forgiving people or letting them off the hook is not an issue I’ve had.

The book is far more about processing pain and experiences than it is about forgiveness though. I was really caught of guard reading it. I connected with so many descriptions and it really painted such a clear picture of the fine balance of allowing ourselves to experience the reality of something in our present or past in order to be healed from it – instead of disregarding it or even just quoting scripture to push there. There are times for that, we are not called to sulk, but the expression of emotion is real and so very good and not to be disregarded as faithless living.

It has been a real summer of feels. I’ve found myself busier than ever then all of a sudden by myself for two days in a row. But, the feels are good (well, there not all good) but they are all real. I prayed a few months ago that God’s heart for me in this season would be so clear. I heard him speak clearly and these last few months I know he has taken me on a recovery ride. When life seasons are hard and compact like last summer/year involving every one of the closest people in my life, it’s a balance to make it, to walk in victory, but to also let your heart grieve for the loss and find his purpose in the middle.

I am thankful he isn’t afraid of pauses in life. He isn’t afraid when we’re so very honest about the thing in our heart that stings the greatest. We can tell him. We can put words to feelings and let him in. He is ok if we’re disappointed and he’s ok if we don’t like something. (Thank God for that one)

What’s your summer like? Has it been in a summer of feels or a summer of bliss or summer of discovery? A little of all the above sounds like heaven on earth to me. Also, more book recommendations to come…I’m working on another set of three now.