Tag Archives: Religion

26 to 26: Growing up & knowing that you’ll never be grown up.

creative commons; veganbaking.net

creative commons; veganbaking.net

Your mid-twenties are weird. I’m only half way through but I’ll tell you what I know.

At some point you start talking to your best friend about cutting sodium of your diet because you feel bloated.

You start putting flax seed on your oatmeal.

You realize that your parents’ actually know what they’re talking about and this prompts you to listen to their advice.

You start finding gray hairs. Not just one hair. Several.

You lose your ability to stay up late, wake up early, and still function normally.

You use clichés like, “That’s for the birds!” And find yourself wondering, “WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! AND WHO AM I, MY GRANDFATHER?!”

You begin to refer to college freshman as “babies” because 18 is sooooo young and they’re so naïve and don’t they know how good they have it?!

You start worrying about health insurance and how many cavities you probably have.

You start saying things like, “I really need to start saving for retirement,” and, “I need to establish some credit.”

You start watching HGTV and thinking, “I should buy a fixer-upper while the mortgage rates are still low!”

And then, at some point, you stop saying things like, “When I grow up…” because it hits you—like  a brick to the face, like a kick to the gut, like a —that you are indeed “grown up.” You have a job and people actually trust you enough to give you responsibility over things, important things and you’re buying your own toilet paper and probiotics and coconut oil because it’s supposed to be good for you, right? and you just adopted a dog and what were you thinking, embracing this growing up thing?!

It’s just a really weird place to be. You’re only 10 years from 16 but you feel like you’re 46 pushing 106.

But then again, being grown up, you start to realize that you’re never really fully “grown up.” You’re still uncertain of the future, still unsure of yourself.  You’re still a little scared of the dark and all of the scary things out there at night. You still long for adventure and passion and love. You still want to laugh and be silly and shed all of that responsibility on a Friday night.

You still spend time thinking, “What if, when I grow up…”

But, you know, it’s actually better. It’s actually nice to know your credit score and buy yourself something nice with the money you’ve earned at the job where you’ve proven you’re responsibility. Or just to sit in the home that you’ve made for yourself with your little dog and your hand-me-down furniture and that coat rack that you hung yourself. I don’t think I’d trade it. I don’t think I’d go back to the simpler, naïve.

There’s some peace in the process of wisdom. There’s some strange beauty in the knowing. There’s something charming about growing up and knowing that you’ll never be grown up.

Ah, the mystery, the intrigue, the flax seed. You’ve just got to go with it.

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26 to 26: No one is thinking about you in your bathing suit.

creative commons; jonny2love

creative commons; jonny2love

I’ll be honest. This is not a post about my bathing suit.

In fact, I’ll be doubly honest: I haven’t shaved my legs since some time in late September. I am definitely not thinking about swim suit season.

Truthfully, this has nothing to do with my bathing suit and everything to do with the fact that I live my whole life as if people are staring at me, judging eyes wide open.

We all think that people are looking at us, when really we’re just looking too hard at ourselves.

I read a book this summer, Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. I loved it for so many reasons. I loved it because I am a person of Bread & Wine—a Believer in a Jesus that offered up broken bread and broken body; poured out wine and poured out blood. I’m also a person of bread & wine—a lover of food and table-side community. But mostly, I loved it because Shauna was bold and honest and funny and raw. She was ruthless with herself and transparent with her readers.

She shared this story about spending summers on the beach and missing out on memories and moments because she’s consumed by what people might think of her in her swim suit.

She said:

“But my friend Sara always reminds me, on one’s actually thinking about me often as I think they are. Probably my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if I’ve finally turned into a supermodel. Probably they’re thinking about their own lives or current events or any number of things that have nothing to do with my chins.”

I have to laugh because we all think this way. I think this way. Too often, I think that all eyes are on me.

All the critical eyes gaping open, refusing to blink lest they miss it—my failure.

“Shame whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are.” –S. Niequist

The truth is that no one is paying that close of attention. No one is as critical of you as you are of yourself. It’s time that you stop projecting that onto other people. It’s time that you stop desperately clawing at approval and recognition.

Everything is not about you. The world is not spinning in motion around you, orbiting around the circumference of your fears and failures.

Trust me, no one is thinking about you in your bathing suit.

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No One & Naan

It’s only been 4 months since I posted last & 3 weeks since I started writing this. I wish so whole-heartedly that I was better at all of this that I am. Regardless. I finished something.

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bread dough

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I came home tonight and I felt alone.

For the first time in the two weeks that I’ve been roommateless, I felt really alone. Maybe it was because I had no to-do list to keep me company. Maybe it was because I knew that I was exiting a car with two people whom I love dearly and entering an empty house.

My co-worker’s father died this week. Tonight was his wake. Tomorrow they will put him in the ground, whisper long goodbyes.

Death stirs up so many questions, and still for me, illuminates so many fears about family, friends, and self. And this haunting thought—it is coming for those I love.

It’s on nights like these- lonely, quiet, fearful- when you need something warm and hopeful and home.

So I mixed the flour and the sugar and the yeast and the water. I formed thin, round circles. I covered with a cloth. I waited.

There’s something about yeasted bread that gives so much comfort. The perfume of dough rising smells nothing less than home.  The feel of a loaf proofing puts magic at your finger tips.

Yeast is a magical thing. It lies dormant in our refrigerators and pantries, awakening to life with a little warmth, a little sugar. It’s comforting. It shows evidence of life—springing up, bubbling over— where there seemed to be nothing by dry, desert death.

And I heated oil over flame to transform the dough into bread, the nothing into naan. Four misshapen rounds of dough becoming bread.

I took a round from the plate where it lay cooling. I broke it, still so warm—almost too warm for my skin to take— and remembered a body broken. Remembered a death. Remembered a sacrifice—a remembrance so unexpected.

I took it and ate. I remembered and gave thanks for a life-given for my life-rescued.

I chewed and thought only of communion, thought only of doing this in remembrance of Me. Thought only of the dry, dead yeast springing up dough like my dry, dead heart springing up with new Life, new Hope. I thought only of the death which gave and which gives life.

And I was filled—with warmth, with home, with Hope. I was filled with remembrance & thanksgiving that from death springs forth life; from old springs forth new; from pain springs forth joy; from Christ springs forth communion.

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Spring Breaks and Breaks and Breaks Me

 

creative commons; d. sharon pruitt

creative commons; d. sharon pruitt

 

It’s spring after a long winter. Too long. Too much.

Farmers tilling up dirt, making soil ready for bounty. God is tilling my heart. I am learning, feeling this as I put hands to the dirt in worship this morning, preparing spring ground for summer flowers.

The frost has heaved up rocks, pushed them to the surface. I pull them from beneath the soil and wonder where they come from, how far they’ve traveled only to be tossed aside.

The weeds—they’re so alive. They come up first, pushing through as a glimmer of hope. Toxin disguised as hope. They kill, they choke. I’m pulling up them up and out of this ground but each tug is filled with uncertainty—is this ugly thing only weeks away from radiant bloom? Or is this the poison that strangles out beauty not yet born?

The invaders, the unwelcome, I find their roots so shallow. So weak. A slight tug and they give way.

The flowers, they’re deep rooted, strong. Clinging to dirt deep. Awaking from winter’s long slumber. They don’t go gentle.

Oh, how I wish to be a flower. An iris. A lily. A tulip. A daisy. Dug in so deep. Bursting with beauty and light and newness. A beacon of hope, a pennant of promise.

Oh, how I have longed for spring, for the winter to roll back on my soul, for the Vinedresser to pull out heaved rocks and poison-plants.

This winter of my soul has lasted much longer than New England snow and ice, stuffed turkeys and heart-shaped candy boxes. I found that no jacket or mittens or boots could keep me warm and safe and dry from my own wretchedness.

I’ve waited long for this season—this time of new and fresh and beautiful; this time bursting with life and potential; this time of tearing up dead to make way for life. I’ve waited to feel the Farmer’s hands at work, to feel the plow meet the field of my wintered heart.

And it’s here. Tearing and sprouting and blossoming.

Spring breaks and breaks and breaks me and it feels like life.

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Prayers & Promises

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do but the words formed at my lips, pressed from my mouth before I could grab hold of them:

Can I pray for you?

But…I don’t…I can’t…I…

I am empty of jargon and oft-quoted phrases and trite expressions.

I am silenced. I’ve offered prayers that I cannot utter.

This moment of collision—my empty faith, my thankless heart, this broken world, His hurting people.

My mouth is dry, my throat is tight. I choke out His name.

Father.

One who spoke stars and filled seas and sculpted Adam and fashioned Eve and forsook True Son. Maker of worlds and heaven and these clammy hands and this brain knocking about for words. One who cradles close and promises peace.

Abba.

My voice is quiet and slow. Each word drags heavy and pulls tight.

I’m clawing at Your goodness and struggling to pull it close, to make it real, find it tangible. I’m drawing near, this time not just to Your promises, but because of them.

Come closer.

I’m asking and seeking and knocking. I’m drawing near. I’m offering up these bumbling words and broken heart as an invitation, as a desperate plea.

And another collision— the Giver of good and perfect gifts, my restless heart, His peace.

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” –Psalm 51:17

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A Call, A Promise, & Peace

There are days when I feel like I can’t approach the throne of God.

Today is one of those days.

I feel distant, I feel alone. I feel away.

These are the days when I deny myself grace, deny myself the promise of forgiveness because denial is the path to God, is it not?

I feel like if I’m quiet long enough, if I don’t ask for anything today, if I keep my shoulders hunched and my eyes down in a posture of shame, God will beckon me to come.

I know, I know that I am wrong. I am wrong a thousand times over.

The very essence of God is a beckon to come, a call to communion. The very Spirit of God, alive inside my wretched frame, a seal of relationship. The only Son, by his voice, invites me to Come.

The hand of God, extended always, not to push away but to bring near.

His Grace is crying out into my darkness and it is saying I am here.

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. –Ephesians 2:12-16, ESV

It is finished. It is done. I have won.

And this is his banner over me: peace. A flag of nearness and promise.

It flies high today, just as it does every day.

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Enough with the Enoughs

Today is a big day.

Today is the first time that something I’ve written gets published not just on my blog.

Here’s an excerpt from my post, Enough with the Enoughs. The rest of it can be found on Quarterlife Woman.

“I’ve been teaching myself bad theology, that the only thing that matters is what people think of me and feel towards me- if men find me attractive, if women find me friend-worthy, if my coworkers find me dependable, if my family finds me faithful.

And I’m just now realizing that I am full to the hilt of fear.

I’ve read 1 John 4 just about every day this week, clinging to all of the truth that I can find.

Perfect love casts out all fear.

My fear is not just a lack of faith. It is a rejection of truth. It is the bold-faced belief of a lie: that God is not good, that He is not trustworthy, that He is not enough.

I never feel like enough. I never feel success though I chase it all day long.”

Read the rest of it here!

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