For Your Weekend

for your weekend

In the midst of our plans and our people, may we remember to breathe. May we be patient as we consider the colorful mess of joy and grief, understanding our soul may need a little space to sit quietly in the shadows before she’s ready to embrace the light.

May Christ be real to us in small and big ways, and may we be open to the ways he might want to be real to others through us. Enjoy your weekend-before-Christmas, friends. Here are a few good reads for a long the way:

  • Finally, here is a 5 minute clip of Dallas Willard talking about the connection of joy and sorrow, words that I’m sure are a great comfort to many who are grieving this Christmas. He passed away in May 2013 which makes his words even more meaningful here. (subscribers may need to click here to view the video).

At the end of every month I like to share what I learned that month, both the serious and the silly. Since it’s December, I thought it would be fun to broaden it to share what we learned in 2014, sort of a year in review.

If you plan to write a year-end post sharing the things you learned, I’d love to have you link up! The post will go live Tuesday December 30.

One Thing My Soul is Begging Me to Do

Early last week I sat down to write my post for (in)courage and managed to finish it in less than an hour. I found a few photos to go with the post, titled it, saved it in drafts and didn’t think again about those 500 words.

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Days later, I get an email reminding me my (in)courage post is due and would I kindly let them know when it’s ready? I got that dread in my stomach that comes after writing on the internet for nearly 10 years, the memory of words written, words lost, and words having to be found again.

Sure enough when I checked the drafts, the post had disappeared, no trace remaining. Turns out the (in)courage site had a little hacking incident last week and some drafts and comments were lost.

And y’all? I couldn’t remember one word of what I said. Not a photo, not a topic, not a drop of memory. Can I tell you how losing those 500 words dug into my soul like I can’t even explain? Even while the world is still reeling from tensions in Ferguson and New York, with the sorrow in Sydney and Pakistan, with people all over the world and in my own city starving and cold and sick – I was hot and bothered about losing 500 words for a post.

What bothered me most was how bothered I was about it.

lamp

In the past I would move from here into a place of shame. I would recognize that I was being ridiculous and try to shame myself into different behavior, never taking the time to recognize why losing the post bothered me so much to begin with.

But knowing how Christ came so we could be free, I hesitate to move so quickly to shame these days. Even in something small like this, I think he wants to keep company with me. It was in the midst of that tension that pieces of what I wrote about began to come back to me. I remembered I used this quote:

“One of the most important lessons I have learned over the past few years is how important it is to have time and space for being with what’s real in my life — to celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, attend to my loneliness.” – Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms

That’s just it. I think the reason losing that post bothered me so much was because I hadn’t spent much time with what was really going on beneath the surface. And so the lost post landed like a heavy burden in my soul.

I don’t think we pay enough attention to the silent cares of the soul. We ignore her for long periods of time and then when she starts to flail within us by becoming overly emotional, getting frustrated too easily, or being bothered in an otherwise neutral interaction, we try to shame her into better behavior.

I’m not saying we should allow ourselves this bad behavior. I am saying we need to pay closer attention.

That’s when I remembered Tuesday was the day the post was set to publish. Tuesday is where we live our ordinary moments in our regular lives, the kind of moments that sometimes carry small irritants in our souls that we overlook because they aren’t “real” problems. It’s true, in comparison to the heartbreak in the world, they aren’t a very big deal. But Tuesday reminds me the importance of being with what actually is even if it feels minor.

Tuesday reminds me to attend to the footnote irritants that linger beneath the surface so they won’t later turn into headlines. Tuesday gives me permission to bring those irritants into the presence of Christ so I can ultimately release them into his care.

Recognize the fluttering anxieties as they come. Don’t give them a place to land. It seems simple which may be why I so often overlook it. But taking some time to “celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, [and] attend to my loneliness” creates space in my soul.

A spacious soul makes room for others. A week before Christmas, I can’t think of a better gift to give.

By the way, I finally re-wrote the post and I would love to invite you to read it over at (in)courage. And then, let’s unwrap our Tuesday gifts together.

For Your Weekend

my corner office

Thinking of you this morning as I sit in my corner office (ha! I'm so funny) and share with you some favorite links from the Internet this week. I admit there are some days when I want to burn the laptop right up and become one of those people who doesn't know how to spell "blog." But today is not one of those days. Today, I'm deeply thankful for this space to connect with you, to talk about the gracefulness of the everyday and the sacredness of our inner lives. Am I making up words by putting … [Continue reading]

Simple Gifts to Encourage the Soul

Woodwick Bonfire Nights

Here is a collection of some of my favorite things in my house right now. These are things that help my soul breathe, some in more obvious ways than others. But I wanted to share them with you incase you have someone in your life who might enjoy one of these simple gifts. Or maybe that someone is you! Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers and Reflections by Macrina Wiederkehr - My spiritual director reads aloud from this book nearly every time we meet. Macrina's words have been a kind companion for … [Continue reading]

Choosing Connection Over Competition

morning

The trees on the left live in our front yard in North Carolina, as seen yesterday morning from our front porch. The trees on the right live in Fort Lauderdale, right outside my hotel window. I'm currently in South Florida for my last trip of the year, one I've been looking forward to for many months now - not necessarily because it's my last, but because it's here, among women I've been praying for for many months. It's an honor to serve them and worth every bit of nervous twitching before I get … [Continue reading]

Let’s Share What We Learned in November

What We Learned November

It's that time again - time to share all the things we learned in November!  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 kind of learning is welcome. Here are five things I learned in November in no particular order: 1. How to make a yarn tassel with just my hand and a pair of scissors. The girls and I have been winding up yarn all month! 2. Siri … [Continue reading]

For Your Weekend

for your weekend november

In a brokenhearted world, I want to remember God's love in the morning and his faithfulness at night. Maybe you'll join me. Maybe it will help. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few good reads along the way: Favorite Indies :: Christa Wells shares some of her favorite Indie tunes. Love these! Then Came Jesus :: A four-week Bible study for Advent written by my friend, Lara Williams. The Anti-Hustle :: by Sarah Sandel saying good, important things. What I'll Be Giving … [Continue reading]

A Simple Blessing to Encourage Hope

a benediction from Chatting at the Sky

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. 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 … [Continue reading]

When Recovery is Slow and Invisible

Grace for the Good Girl

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 … [Continue reading]

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]