Co-Pilot.

One of the most vivid memories I have as a child is when I would get to sit in the front seat of the car with my dad while we went on a road trip. I don’t remember the first time he called me this or if it was actually only once. If it was only once, it was more than enough because this is one memory my brain has involuntarily hung onto my entire life.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetCo-pilot.

There was something in the way he said it. I felt special, equal, useful and more than anything, I felt like we were in something together that not everyone was invited into. It was our thing. It was our name; a code of sorts that you could say while looking at the other one with a wink and a smile and for that moment it was just the two of you in on some secret mission against the rest of the world.

He was choosing me to be this special Co-Pilot, whatever that was, and it was awesome.

Armed with a pillow to sit on (this was back before car-seat rules existed apparently) and a Garth Brooks or Amy Grant cassette tape to put in the dashboard, my Co-Pilot checklist was checked and I was ready.

Dad in the driver’s seat, me in the front passenger seat, I felt like I was the most special and equal partner to one of my favorite people on the planet. I felt like I could do anything. We’d drive down the long stretches of highway on the way to see family in southern Oregon and as dad drove I was perfectly content sitting and riding along as Co-Pilot. After all, that’s what Co-Pilot’s did. They sang along to I’ve Got Friends in Low Places and dad would try to avoid the question of what whiskey was (I think he actually convinced me the word was whiskers for many years) and there was not a care in the world.

roadtrip 1As I think back on that memory with a smile, and I often do, I’m struck with how much that simple title meant to me without any understanding of what it was. I remember later in my childhood learning what it actually meant and I was baffled that it wasn’t something that was only known to my dad and I. I remember feeling as if a little bit of the magic had been lost when learning that this was a term used for thousands of people and not just for me.

But upon further investigation into my heart surrounding this topic I am coming to learn that it wasn’t actually about the name at all. It was about the one who gave it to me. My dad could have called me a sewer rat (affectionately of course) and I wouldn’t have cared because it was coming from him.

We see this play out in the lives of many children, both on the good and the bad end of the spectrum, and throughout the course of our lives we still hold great loyalty to the ones who said these things to us whether they impacted our lives negatively or positively.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to learn who to listen to. I’ve started to be able to untangle the titles put on me and, even if they were put onto me by people I loved and respected, I’ve started to learn how to cast off the ones that God never intended for me to have.

dad embraceI think we all need to come to a place like this at some point if we’re going to truly step into all that God has created for us.

I don’t need to hold onto the titles of being too much or dramatic or emotional or immature or the myriad of other things that come up in my mind right now as I think of some of the more hurtful titles that have been given to me involuntarily. No. They may have been given to me involuntarily, but now it is my turn to give those back; to ask God to help me strip myself of those that He never intended me to bare, and to have Him replace those with the ones that He has deemed worthy of His daughter.

Now it is up to me. It’s my turn to choose now who I listen to. Will I listen to God or the enemy? Will I live as the woman who only filters my identity through Christ? Or will I continue listening to this world? At some point we’ve got to choose. And once we choose? Well then it’s time to fully commit.

What about you? What titles have been given to you that it is now time to strip off. Which ones remain after seeing yourself through God’s eyes? Which ones truly embrace who you are and free you to go after this life without anything holding you down? Have you asked God recently who He says you are? It doesn’t have to be a common answer. I believe He’ll give you a memory or a word that means something to just you and Him and that is the title to fully embrace right now.

It’s time.roadtrip 3
It’s time to take your pillow and your favorite cassette tape and sit back and be that Co-Pilot like there would never be another Co-Pilot again. It’s time to sing at the top of your lungs unapologetically and trust the one who gave you that name; trust that this was the name you were created for and that together, in your full God-given identity, you can truly do anything.

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Three.

The next morning stands out to me the most from that time.

There was a sweet moment where I was able to convince myself that it had all been a dream.

And yet, even as I laid there convincing myself of this false truth, I wouldn’t allow myself to open my eyes yet.

All of the self-convincing in the world was going to run right into my new reality the second I opened my eyes and broke eye-contact with the dream.

writing to heavenBut open my eyes I did. And as I walked downstairs from my bedroom that morning to a house full of people except for the one person I longed to be there more than anyone, I knew that my life had changed forever.

I will never forget the day prior, coming home from school to my dad still in bed (it was the first day that this had happened no matter how sick he had gotten). The house slowly filling up with people throughout the afternoon. The whispers and concerned looks that they tried to wash away as soon as one of us kids would see them.

And then the night that my dad slipped away into a world that we can only dream of this side of heaven. The tears, the disbelief.

I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for a moment such as this one, a moment that is so beyond our ability to understand that our minds and bodies sort of shut down and so we push all of the responsibility of coping onto our understanding of Jesus and our soul’s have to carry the burden.

But Jesus and souls and all of that spiritual stuff is so real and yet so confusing. There’s no way to fully understand it which is why people who go through trauma are never the same.

I know I will never be the same since losing my dad to Cancer at the age of eight. I keep thinking that at some point it will stop feeling so empty when I think about him, and yet my life was altered at that time in a very significant way.

Forever more there will be a before, and an after. A life with my dad and one without.

But the beautiful thing, the thing that keeps me holding on to hope, is that this is not a two-act show.

3It’s a three-act one…

Yes, there has been a before and an after. Most of us can probably point to a time in our lives where things sort of stopped, altered, shifted, something happened that we could never go back from.

…but there is an act that is yet to come, and that is the hope I hold onto.

Maybe it’s because I dealt with death as a very real thing that I have always been fascinated with the concept of it. I don’t mind talking about it at all. I’m sort of morbid in the fact that I always think about who will be next. I am not afraid of it.

Oh, and I love cemeteries.

Like, I love them.

I am drawn to them, spend time in them, I write and read and rest in them.

I think they’re absolutely beautiful.

My dad doesn’t have a gravestone and I’m perfectly fine with that. Because he is not there. As much as the symbolism might have been nice, he wouldn’t be there. He is in the place where Cancer is no longer a defeater and where death and depression and abuse and disease no longer have any rule or reign over the children of God.

And today, on Good Friday, I can’t help but ponder how hopeless the disciples must have felt. If I were them I would be questioning everything.

Did we have it wrong?

I thought He was our hope?

How could He have fooled us like this?

What’s going to happen now?

Why would He just leave us?

How much time have I wasted following Him?

Will this pain ever stop?

 How can we go on?

Many of these questions I have asked myself over the years dealing with the never-ending, just always-changing pain and void that I have to process constantly with the death of my daddy.
And yet.

 

And yet.

 

Act three.

Jesus died on this Friday over two thousand years ago.And. Yet.

In the hopelessneaslanss of the situation, there was a hope that would change hope forever.

There was a death that would change death forever.

Jesus was in the process of changing the way we would live and the way we would die…forever.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that is in each one of us if we choose to receive Him, Jesus rose from the grave.

Wounds and all.

He rose. He defeated death. The one thing that we truly have absolutely no control over, the thing that seems to be the end of all endings, is only the beginning in Christ.

“Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55 NIV)

I found the most beautiful cemetery the other day. And while I stood there It started snowing when just hours earlier it had been warm and sunny.

IMG_3841And all I could think about was how this world was so beyond our control. Death and life and wrong and right feel so subjective that we have no other option than to hope in something bigger than all of us.

Someone asked me recently why I loved cemeteries.

I could only answer in sentences as broken and chipped as the gravestones. I had no complete thoughts, but do any of us this side of death?

“Everything” I finally said.

“The stories that must be there. The lives lived. The reality of death and the hope and tragedy of it as well.

Everything.

The beauty.

The reminder of our mortality.

The reminder of God.

The question of whether hope remains in these families or not.

The opportunity to pray for them.

 

The finality.

 

And yet…

 

The eternity.

Learn.

waitingThere’s a Target about a mile from my new house. I tend to walk there at least every other day, if for no other reason than to just be around something that’s familiar. There are definitely worse things I could do to cope with adjusting to a brand new life, but the effect of Target to cause you to spend money when you absolutely do not need to is something that could become detrimental if I don’t get into a better routine soon.

The theme of my life right now, besides Target, is learning. I have been trying to take in as many lessons as I can and not allow the overwhelming task of moving across the country to cause me to become unintentional about this season of life.

I was disappointed in myself after one week that I didn’t have a whole new life worked out already.

I rush everything.

But I can’t do that here. Busses, metros, unpacking, looking for churches, making friends, finding a way to invest in my new community and make a difference…it’s all slow stuff.

collection of vintage alarm clocks

I’ve been doing a bit better this week, letting myself sink into my days, not putting expectations on myself. I’ve been working on memorizing scripture and taking time to slow down in my studies to really allow myself to feel and know and rest in the Word of God. It’s one of the hardest disciplines of my life, and I can already feel it shaping my bones and my heart and my mind and my skin. It’s seeping in, and that in itself is a slow process, but it’s one that remains with you, one that changes you. It prepares you to be ready for what’s next, which is in itself a practice of active faith because you don’t get to see what He’s preparing you for.

It’s painful, it’s beautiful and sometimes it is just absolutely necessary. The discipline of waiting and listening to the Holy Spirit is a big one. The discipline of letting Him take control; of submitting every moment to His will—the when and where and how and what of His will—that is true battle training right there.

An intentional slowing down and season of preparation is one of the most effective things I believe any of us could do in order to glorify God.

I have very high expectations for my life–that it needs to be big and loud and impactful–and I genuinely believe that God has called me to big things, but who am I to define big?

waiting1Who am I to categorize the slow stuff as less than loud and powerful? I’m opposed to slowing down because I equate it with being ineffective. And I’ve come to learn that I don’t think I could be any further from the truth if I tried.

Jesus waited and learned and listened and prepared for 30 years before He started His public ministry. John the Baptist waited for the arrival of Jesus whom he had been prophesying the coming of in complete faith. Abram and Sarai waited for that promised baby. Joseph waited for justice for most of his life. Paul waited and prepared for years after his conversion to start actively spreading the truth of the Kingdom to those he had persecuted. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of hardly any stories in the Bible of people who didn’t have to wait in faith and the stories of the powerful results of that faithfulness are some of the most inspiring promises and gifts that God has ever given us.

 

IMG_3755The other night as I was walking home from one of my recently regular treks to Target I saw the most beautiful cloud in the sky. Now I definitely am someone who regularly appreciates nature, but there was something in the site of this cloud that made me so incredibly joyful in my heart that I stopped to take note of what the heck was going on inside of me.

As I stared at this cloud there was an overwhelming voice in my heart screaming at me (joyfully) “It’s going to be ok! Everything’s going to be ok!”

I almost laughed out loud. In fact, I thin I did! I kept wondering why this cloud was evoking such a stir of excitement and adventure in my heart on a lonely weird afternoon where the highlight of my day had been, once again, Target, and I realized it was because I was focused on the beauty of the moment I was in and as a result was completely free from the angst and stress of what the next moment was going to hold.

I was in that moment fully, and it was in me too. I was at total peace and that space of peace was exactly what I needed to be released from the pressure of making that moment anything but what it was.

 

stopwatchesIf I could sum up all of what I’ve been learning right now into one phrase, it would be that adventure is found by giving each moment the worth it deserves.

And in so doing, we find ourselves experiencing all that we don’t deserve but have been offered freely by our God if we choose to accept it, which is complete freedom to live out every different shape and size of a moment being able to fully trust Him that He’s going to be in every other moment that comes after it as well.

Be in it. Let it be in you. No matter what it is. Joy, sorrow, fear or peace. Dive in and invite God to come into it with you.

It’s going to be ok.

Move.

societyBeing uncomfortable can do one of two things. It can either give you an excuse to move out of the uncomfortable position as quickly as possible, or you can choose to stay and sit in the discomfort and allow the situation to move you.

I moved to the DC area 12 days ago, and just about 12 hours after I arrived in my new home I found myself in a series of meetings that lasted two days in which people who are changing the world one precious life at a time convened and prayed, planned and processed the role that faith communities have when it comes to giving children the right to a quality education.

This is  A HUGE topic that I am very passionate about (without education of some sort we all live in a state of blind-spots to the world around us that can be very detrimental), but we will save that for another time.

 

raceI found myself sitting around this table with 25 other people and I was uncomfortable. Not only was I most likely one of the youngest ones there and had less experience in advocacy work than anyone else there. But I found myself being uncomfortable to be white. Much of the discussion surrounded the very horrific truth that children of color are incredibly more likely to be deprived the right to a fair and full education than white children are. There are also many other issues that face children of color that causes them to miss out on experiencing life in a way that liberates and empowers them rather than the reality for so many that ends up placing them in a metaphorical prison of stereotypes that follows them for the rest of their lives.

It’s tragic. And uncomfortable. And I had a decision to make. Would I swallow my naivety and pretend to care while all the while silently defending and justifying myself? Or would I allow myself to sit in the discomfort of the truth and humbly learn and experience and grow in a world that I don’t know nearly as much as I should about?

Over the past year or so God has allowed me to get in incredibly uncomfortable situations, and the more that I have spoken out about them, the more my heart has slowly been breaking. It has been breaking over the realization that justice does not always prevail, it has been breaking over my own naivety and how many times I’ve looked the other way when I should have been a voice to the voiceless, and it has been breaking for what breaks Gods heart, which is the worth of all people, of all colors, of all genders, of all of all of all of ALL to be fought for and stood for and counted as worthy of love and grace and truth and embrace.

 

race1Advocacy is uncomfortable because we will be asked to stand up for that which we do not understand, which means we must become constant learners. Moving out of our comfort bubbles is scary and unknown and causes us to be humble and kind and patient with others who are trying to step out of their own bubbles, but how else are we supposed to be Jesus to this world?

My discomfort was not caused by anyone targeting me, which is a privilege that I have as a white person, but rather it was caused by me realizing just how much I do not know and how blind I have been to the fact that there is suffering all around me that, as a follower of Christ, I must speak out for.

The past few months have been a transition season for me even before making a physical move across the country. I have been questioning so much; the Church, my self-worth, the role of the body of Christ for each other, and I do not have the answers.

I do not have the answers.

But Jesus does. And Jesus made people uncomfortable. I’m afraid that as the Church we have sat in our comfort and labeled anything of discomfort as wrong or something to avoid. But Jesus embodied discomfort! He asked his disciples to follow Him into crazy situations. He was not what people expected. He healed on the Sabbath and stood in front of an adulterous woman and stared her oppressors in their faces until one by one they broke eye contact. They were uncomfortable, and as far as I can tell, Jesus came to create that discomfort.

He shook things up, and as long as we are simply staying within the walls of the church and praying and singing to God and yet not fighting for anything to change in the hearts of those around us who are hurting – NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND – then we are at the very least missing a huge part of who God has called us to be to this world, and at the worst we are actually completely misrepresenting Him.

Advocating for someone—anyone, your neighbor, your sister, your enemy, yourself—is uncomfortable because it forces us to actually respond to someone instead of just pray for them (what! Controversial comment alert).

But seriously.

I chose to stay in that room and learn.

I CHOOSE to stay.

 

screaming faceI choose to stand with my God right beside me moving and shaking and stirring up something in me that is filled with more discomfort than I’ve ever known and yet it’s as if the discomfort is acting as just the spark that was needed to cause life to well up inside me that had been sitting idle for way to long masked by the illusion of comfort; by the illusion of avoiding making other people uncomfortable at the expense of my voice.

Maybe discomfort isn’t really the thing to avoid at all. Maybe we should revolt against the dreaded comfort bubble.

Maybe it’s the place where we actually meet Jesus. Where we actually start to experience abundance in this very heavy world. Maybe it’s where we start to take full breaths, deeply inhaling the true life that Jesus showed us while He was physically present.

What causes you to move? What moves you?

What awakens a fire in you that screams that’s not right! That’s not Jesus!

Would you do me a favor and stop waiting for it to make sense and stop waiting for the “right time” to speak up and out and in and all around about it?

Be on your face before Jesus about it, yes! But then get up and do something!

 

Move.

 

Move with the ultimate mover and shaker, the one who came to earth and turned everything upside down for the heart of the adulterous woman and the soul of the blind man. For you. For me.

Stop being politically correct (or church appropriate). Stop the apathy. Speak up. Now please hear me, wisdom is key. Love is absolutely necessary. But God is still a God who moves.

Let’s be the ones who actually bring about the things we speak about such as justice and reconciliation in the name of God. Let’s move and love and shout and cry and rejoice and repent and apologize and laugh and dance and sing and confront and relinquish control to the almighty God when it’s out of our hands and then get up and start all over again.

God created me with a LOUD voice, and I intend on using it now no matter how cracked it gets.

I intend to move.

Do you?

Stuff.

Just about a week ago I watched everything I own be put into a 6’x7’x8’ metal box and be driven away on the bed of a truck

And I don’t miss any of it.

Knowing I wouldn’t see any of it for at least two weeks I kept waiting for that feeling to rise up of regret or lack or emptiness, but I’m still waiting.

bubbles

I love to fly, even when the flight is like the one I’m on as I write this. This flight has so much turbulence that I don’t even think I’m allowed to have my computer out right now, but seeing as how the flight attendants aren’t even allowed to walk around still 45 minutes into this flight, I think I’m safe from their reprimand. Safe from crashing however is yet to be determined…If you’re reading this, just know I survived.

In nine days I will be boarding another plane, but this time I will be on a one-way trip to Washington DC all the way from my home outside of Portland, OR. I was born and raised in the NW, and other than a 10-month stint in sunny San Diego and as much international travel as I’ve been able to shove into my 31 years of life, I have always lived in the NW, and I have always loved it.

My childhood is here, my friends are here, my family is here, my church is here, and everything I have known that has shaped me into who I am today

is here.

And in just a mere nine days from writing this post I will not be here.

Due to the gentle but firm prompting from my grandpa and parents, I decided against driving a U-Haul truck across the country. My step-dad reminded me that maybe I don’t need that much adventure, especially in February weather, when he asked me, “isn’t moving across the country enough adventure already?”. Touché Brad, touché.

So I went with my logical head instead of my dreamy heart—this time—and listened. So I decided to ship my stuff instead.

Let me just tell you right now, even with my limited amount of stuff, that is not a cheap option! Purging was definitely next on my to-do list after looking at my budget, so I started giving away or selling pretty much anything I could bare to part with. There were definitely things that were easier to part with than others, but it became a quite cleansing process.

freedomfalling

Even with all of the purging, the day the truck came to deliver the empty metal container I stood there feeling a bit discouraged not knowing how on earth all of the remaining pieces of stuff would ever fit into a space that looked so small. I started to quickly decide what other stuff I could actually part with. In the end we made it all fit thanks to some good friends with amazing tetris-like skills.

I was very thankful that they were able to fit it all, but in the end, as I stood there and watched it drive away the next day I couldn’t help but feel as if I would be just fine if I never saw any of it again.

freedom1

That was my tangible stuff. The heart stuff that I’m deciding whether to take with me or leave behind however, now that’s a much harder purge to make.

This move has been a catalyst in my life for facing the previously-avoidable-now-turned-unavoidable-stuff.

I’ve been on a journey in this process of ridding my own heart of a lot of the unnecessary intangible stuff, and that is where the real cleansing has begun to take place.

The real question for me has become, what am I holding onto in my heart that is not meant to fit in that relatively small box of necessities that is making this next move with me?

What is unhealthy for me that it is time to purge?

freedom2

I have realized in this move how blessed I am with relationships in my life, and yet I still allow myself to hold onto doubt and resentment and bitterness toward God for things yet unseen in my life that I have prayed for. Whether it’s for my future husband, for my healing—emotionally, spiritually and physically—or for the myriad of other things that I try and control instead of trusting God with fully.

For the most part I was completely in control with the purging of my possessions, however the purging of the heart stuff? Ya, that job has got to be given completely to God. To give Him control of purging and deciding what’s junk and what gets to go with me is not an easy thing to do.

It’s one thing to proclaim that I trust God and His heart and plan for me, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to get to a place where I could watch a lot of my emotional stuff drive away and say to God, “I would still be whole in you even if I never saw any of those unanswered prayers come to life”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Woah. That’s even hard to type.

But I’m determined to only type words on a screen that I’m willing to live out. So that’s what I’m doing. I am here, on this bumpy plane, asking God for an increase in my faith. This move is not simply about embarking on a new adventure. It definitely is about what He’s moving me forward into, but it’s also just as much about what I’m willing to leave behind. Perspective is a very healing thing, and although the only thing I can see outside of the plane right now is white fog, my heart is feeling clearer than ever.

What do you need to allow God to purge you of? Seatbelt signs are on, it will be a rough ride at times, but will you commit to trusting God with me on this incredible invitation to freedom?

It’s time to purge the stuff.

 You’re not alone.

Maybe.

alice41I truly do believe that God is all I need. He fulfills every desire in me, and even though I don’t understand that fully and I struggle with doubting it at times, I do believe it.

I heard one of the greatest quotes once from a professor of mine. He said, “Truly living as a follower of Jesus means following your deepest desire rather than your strongest one.”

I live in a constant state of volleying this strong-willed heart right back over the net from the side of my strongest desires to the side of my deepest desire, but this is not always a game I win. That being said, I do believe that God is the truth, the way and the life. I believe His heart for me and I desire him deeper than I desire anything else.

As I round the corner to my two-week mark before I embark on a new season of life on the East Coast, I’ve been asking a question that I can’t seem to find the answer to.

I know that God is all I need. And I believe that.

But what is ok to want?

Sometimes my strongest desire does win out over my deepest. I allow myself to act a certain way, make a decision that does not invite the full blessing of God over my life, etc… And those actions and decisions are usually based out of me acting on a desire of mine. A want.

But I’m afraid that in the process of trying my best to invite God more fully into my life on an ever continuing basis that I have started to fear the wants as if they are all going to lead me astray.

If God is all I need, what is ok to want? I don’t believe in a Christianity that restricts us from asking questions but I do know that sometimes we must rest in the unknown and be at peace with the fact that we will never fully understand this life on this side of heaven.

So where does that leave me? As far as I can tell in this very moment sitting in sweats in my favorite coffee shop in Portland (side note: I’m actually nervous about the fact that my sweats will not be acceptable in DC, but that’s beside the point), here’s where I land:

I believe that my desires, if they line up with the heart of Jesus, are ok to have. I can honestly trace back almost every act of rebellion that I’ve ever done toward God and trace each one back to me suppressing a want of mine because I thought it meant that I was claiming that God was not enough for me. Instead of being honest with my pain or struggle at a sense of lack, I got mad and just reached out and grabbed what I thought He was holding back from me.

My dad passed away from Cancer when I was eight years old. I didn’t grieve for him until I was 21 because I always felt as if grieving over him meant that I didn’t have faith that God was good and that He was ultimately in control of things. I’m not sure where this idea came from, that to trust God meant suppressing my needs and desires that I had from this world, but I don’t know that this concept has been a struggle for most of my life, and as well meaning as Christians can be at times, I think we get this part of our walk with God wrong…a lot.

What does God “being enough” actually look like? God has the ability to act and speak through everything and anything that He desires. How does God relate with us? He created us in this world to be in community and relationship. He speaks through our brothers and sisters, He speaks through His creation, He acts and fulfills in the most creative of ways, most of which we will probably never even fully know about! So what do we really mean when we say that God is enough for us? I have a suspicion that it doesn’t mean what I’ve believed it to mean for most of my life.

I’m reminded of when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane and came back to his friends sleeping. He approaches them and says, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matt 36:40). Jesus wanted to have a certain kind of relationship with his friends, he desired things from them to meet his heart where he was at in a trying time in his life and was hurt when he didn’t receive that. He doesn’t hide it, he feels it, he expresses it, and then He still goes back and prays to the Father. They don’t seem to threaten each other or cancel each other out. And I’m pretty sure we’d all agree that God was absolutely enough for him. But I think he still wanted.

And maybe when I give myself permission to want without equating that with a lack of faith, maybe that’s where freedom resides. Maybe being fulfilled with God alone in the truest sense of that concept means that I am actually free to want and hope and dream without fearing that my faith is lacking or that God isn’t truly enough for me.

And maybe this is the place where I start to see God everywhere and in everything and everyone who strives to love me the way He does.

And maybe this is the place where I start to take my own role in other people’s lives more seriously as well, knowing that their desire for a connection with Him is something I should always be mindful of when interacting with them knowing that I am just one of many avenues to how God will fulfill the wants of their hearts as well.

And maybe I’ll start letting my wanting heart be a little more unashamed of wanting.

 

Maybe.

He Will Do It

IMG_1944I am moving to Washington D.C. one month from today. One month from today I will take a suitcase, my cat and every ounce of courage I can muster up and fly across the country into, well, the unknown.

Many of you have asked me why I’m moving, what’s out there and why D.C.? And honestly I have no good answer for you. Well actually I have a great answer for you but it’s one of those answers that you’re embarrassed to give because it’s the one that induces shocked and confused looks from others, which is usually at the very least a minor shaking of your confidence, and at the very worst a look that causes all of the doubts and voices that you’ve been keeping locked up quite nicely to come springing out like one of those creepy Jack in the Box’s which then leads to you being in a puddle of tears on your kitchen floor….not that I have experienced anything like that.

But the truth of the matter is that God and I have this dialogue going, and I have worked for years to be able to hear Him clearly and I am still learning every day. And back in November I heard Him quite clearly tell me that it was time for me to move forward into something new, and that the new was not in Portland. And that’s all I knew. And so I did what any strong Christian woman would do. I doubted and I feared and I questioned and I gave into the fog of confusion for a few days and then I prayed and I had others pray and I sat on my bed one night and spun my globe and asked Him,

Where?

And all I can tell you is that I have a peace about D.C., because that’s all I knew then, and that’s all I know now.

That’s all I know about where I’m going, but I do know more about the one who’s sending me.

The one who’s sending me is the one who’s going with me, and He is. He really is going before me. I could tell you a million little ways that God has partnered with me in this, letting me know He’s with me at every turn, but what I will tell you now is that He is awakening my voice in this move. I know He is releasing a side to me that I have had hidden for years due to abuse, conformity, fear and insecurity. And it is time to break the silence.

I know that His heart is that I would love Him, love myself and love others in entirely new ways this next year. That I would speak up and out for my worth and for the worth of others. That I would find courage and learn how to be bold and respectful at the same time. And that I would never fear adventure, authenticity or advocacy again. These things will come bubbling out of this Brooke a million different ways over this next year and beyond, and I’m just as curious as you are to see what that’s going to look like.

My conclusion is this, for now: that I seek God with literally everything I have. With my voice, with my thoughts, with my body, with my mind; and then let Him take it from there. When He opens my mouth to speak may it be with the boldness that only comes from being soaked in Him. When He tells me it’s time for my fingers to move over this keyboard than may it be done with the respect and faithfulness that any art deserves. When He tells me that it’s time to go for the “more” that is out there for me, first stop D.C., then may I go with courage and surrender that can only come from having the power of the Holy Spirit truly being the one in charge.

It’s a beautiful and terrifying and confusing and exhilarating partnership, mine and God’s. I believe with my whole heart that He’s called you to a partnership in this life that is just the same. Be bold with me?

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thess 5:23-24 NIV

So we must be blameless through and through…spirit, soul, body…and yet the one who calls you is faithful, and HE WILL DO IT.

So I submit. And He does it. I ask for courage. He provides it. I offer myself as best as I can every single minute to surrender, repent and receive all of who He is.

And He will do it.