A Simple Blessing to Encourage Hope

To end the week, I want to offer you an extended weekend blessing, one I shared at our Hope*ologie Live event last weekend. I wrote it over time, pieces of it come from years ago, other pieces I wrote specifically to remind us of hope in the areas where we are perhaps most often discouraged – home, family, and soul.

A Simple Blessing for your Home, Family, and Soul

In the regular rhythms of home and play, of work and washing, of listening and slow conversation, may we see God even though we can’t see God.

May our home be a place of quirky delight and may we open our eyes to the gift of living inside her because of all the ways we’ve made her our own. And if our home doesn’t yet reflect our own personality, may we have the courage and moxie to make it so.

May we be people who hang pictures, paint walls, light candles, build forts with blankets, and try new things.

May we save our apologies for when we do things that hurt people and stop giving them out over messy living rooms and outdated drapes.

chatting at the sky

Toward our families, may we be full of hope – able to move beyond our fear and insecurities into the lives of others, willing to release the right to control the outcomes.

May we be open to finding a gift in an unwelcome situation, hearing wisdom from an unlikely person, and receiving grace in an unexpected place.

May Christ be my security when I care too much about the small things and my salvation when I care too little about the big ones.

May my heart be soft enough to know the difference.

Of all the things we give to others, may we never forget to give them hope.

A benediction from Chatting at the Sky

In my soul, may I not be surprised at my own contradictions, how I long to be alone, yet crave community; wish for attention and also anonymity; want my independence but secretly wish for someone to take care of me.

May I stop trying to smooth out my inconsistencies by the strength of my own will, but may I bring them all like a child into the changeless and unmoving presence of Christ.

May we not despise the small space we take up on earth because it is this very small place where Christ delights to make his home.

May we not be surprised when we discover the fixed point from which he longs to move into the world is not from some nebulous place out there, rather it is from an intimate place within us.

May fear, discouragement, doubt, comparison, envy, and failure not have the final say in our homes, our families, or our souls.

Instead, may we live into our truest calling as people who give and receive grace, forgiveness, and love. May we turn toward hope on purpose and begin again today. And then, again tomorrow.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom.15:13).

When Recovery is Slow and Invisible

Remember that Friends episode where Phoebe and Rachel go running through Central Park and Rachel gets embarrassed because Phoebe runs like a lunatic? Her arms flail about and her legs look like frog legs and Rachel just didn’t want to be associated with Phoebe and all her elbows. (Below is a clip of that scene I love so much.)


When Phoebe confronts her and asks why she cares so much what people think, Rachel responds, “Because they’re people!

And so it has gone for me.

“If you wonder what gives you the authority to define me, I will say it is because you exist.” page 17, Grace for the Good Girl

It isn’t true, that you have the authority to define me. But I wrote it in present tense on purpose, because when I’m listening to that good girl in my head, that statement feels true.

A while back, a friend told me about another friend of hers who she thought might like my book. “She’s a good girl like you,” she said.

“Well I’m a recovering good girl now,” I said, wanting to distance myself from that identity as much as is possible.

She looked at me, firm smirk, head slightly tilted forward, unblinking. “You’re still a good girl, you know.”

Grace for the Good Girl

Sometimes it hurts, this having you read my journal, this everybody knowing all my junk, my insecurities, my shortcomings, my lessons. It feels risky because as the reader, it feels like you have the advantage. You have the high ground. You can still protect yourself. You can still hide. You can point to the things I write and then point at my life and the ways I forget and tell me I haven’t changed a bit.

She’s right, I still struggle with this good girl. I still have dark lies to slay when it comes to knowing how to live free even when you don’t like me, even when it hurts, even when I wreck it all up.

I still need to be reminded of the truth, especially when my feelings shout in no uncertain terms that it is time to hide and it is time to hide right now, woman; get your face behind a mask before somebody sees.

You can point to my outside and you might not be impressed.

But the wonder and the miracle is that I am learning how to care less about impressing you. I am changing on the inside and you may never know how much. And the fact that I don’t care if you know how much?

Well that’s a victory all on its own.

Grace for the Good Girl

And besides, this isn’t about me, anyway. Women ask me all the time – So what now? I know you’re telling us to let go of the try-hard life, but what does that even mean? What am I supposed to do? What does that even look like?

What will you be doing when you get up from the computer? Because whatever that is? That’s what it’s gonna look like.

Pulling out the laundry basket, heading up the board meeting, putting on your work shoes, taping up the skinned knees, praying in the darkness, laughing with your lover, seeing how they’re hurting, reaching for a friend.

It looks like life. Boring, normal, spontaneous, busy, hilarious, full, heartbreaking life. And it looks like you and me, living in the presence of Christ, one small moment at a time.

Grace for the Good Girl

This reputation thing? It is a hard road to learn to release my reputation into the hands of God. Because what about when someone thinks something about me that isn’t true? Or what if they misunderstand something I did or said? My character may be in tact but my image isn’t, and that is a place where good girls start to lose our Ever. Lovin. Minds.

Maybe it isn’t people-pleasing for you. Maybe it’s something really different but just as powerful. No matter what it is, I’ll bet you one thing is for sure: it has everything to do with fear and not much to do with love.

Fear drives, pushing and shoving. But …

“God can do anything you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

Ephesians 3:20, Message

Fear pushes and shoves us around, but Love leads deeply and gently within us.

I’m on a long road of embracing my whole, in-Christ, complete person. When I feel pulled apart and fragmented, it helps to remember that’s what fear does. It helps to notice it, call it out, turn away from it towards Love instead. It helps to remember that Love holds all things together even when recovery is slow and invisible.

I wrote an entire book about this stuff (and sometimes wish I could take it back! Just kidding. No, really.) Today is the last day to download Grace for the Good Girl ebook for only 99 cents. I hope you will. Grab your copy here for Kindle,  NookLifeway Reader or anywhere ebooks are sold.

Grace for the Good Girl ebook Only 99¢ (!!)

Grace for the Good Girl only 99 cents

It's a rainy Monday in Greensboro but the sun is shining on the internet because the ebook for my first book, Grace for the Good Girl, is on sale today and tomorrow for only 99 cents! (I know. I'm too giddy about this. Bless my heart.) Grab your copy here for Kindle,  Nook, Lifeway Reader or anywhere ebooks are sold. Here is a four minute video of some of my local friends sharing about their own personal try-hard life stories. I tear up every single time I watch - and I've watched it a … [Continue reading]

For Your Weekend

God Made Light

May this weekend be a time to . . . "Sing songs ‘round campfires. Make marshmallow s’mores. Let Grandpa tell stories. Wage flashlight wars! And if you ever feel scared in the darkness of night, remember the shadows are no match for God’s light." - from God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner, a  lovely addition to your child's library. And, truth be told, great for grown ups, too. Enjoy your Saturday, friends. … [Continue reading]

How to Make Time Stand Still

Fil Anderson

They say time flies but it doesn't always have to be that way. These words from John O'Donohue give the recipe for how to make it stop. Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself. Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world. Gradually, you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within … [Continue reading]

for your weekend

Greensboro, NC

May your weekend be slow and full all at once, and may you be thoughtful and free within it. Enjoy it, friends. Here are a few good reads along the way. Slow and Quiet by Adam S. McHugh When it Doesn't Feel Like Plenty - podcast with Leeana Tankersley How to Stay: A Sense of Place for the Tent-Loving Nomad by Christa Wells What Brings You Life? by David G. Benner … [Continue reading]

When the Mega is Praised at the Expense of the Small

fall in greensboro

It seems like lately we are all rooting for the remarkable and brave within one another and for that, I’m thankful. I'm thankful when I hear from friends who are finally agreeing with the Trinity that they bear the image of God and have something to offer. I'm thankful when I listen to people I admire speak the truth they are living into. I'm thankful when I remember the timid, try-hard way I used to live and the gracious way Jesus walks with me through that. I'm all about noticing what is most … [Continue reading]

Let’s Share What We Learned in October

What We Learned in October

Hello, friends! A few days into November, it's time to share what we learned last month. Remember, this is a place to share all kinds of learning, both the silly and the serious. I lean toward sharing the silly since I tend to share the serious every other day. But any and all learning is welcome.  Here are six things I learned in October in no particular order: 1. Gerbils are extroverts and also would make great tributes in The Hunger Games. I didn't learn this from experience, but I did … [Continue reading]

for your weekend

home

Today, may I see the abundance of what is rather than the emptiness of what is not. May I learn to receive the simplest gifts as a daily grace and go with Christ as he brings me to his fulness, over and over again. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Thanks for joining me this month as we celebrated Artists who Influence. I look forward to adding to the list in the weeks to come! Here are some good reads from the week: "In puffy coats and matching nothing …" This post from Shannan Martin that I … [Continue reading]

Jesus, Good Timing, and the Ministry of Mums

emily p freeman

Often I remind myself of the importance of speaking out and writing words, not because they’ve never been spoken or written before but because our saying or writing them may be the first time someone finally hears them. I recently heard two simple sentences that had a deep impact on me, not because I’ve never heard anything like them but because I’m in a season where I needed to hear them now. A few words Preston Yancey recently spoke came at just the right time for me, so right that when he … [Continue reading]