I love coming here to write.
As time passes, I find myself on this journey continually picking up breadcrumbs, and putting them in my pocket. And I love coming here, because this is the place where I get to sit down and piece them all together.
I want to give more details to everyone about my upcoming book … which I am SO pumped about. By the way, can I say that I love how you all so warmly responded to my video? I seriously went straight home after uploading it and cried to Jonah. Putting my face on display for all to see has been such a tender spot for me. But you all have helped to prove my fears wrong, and for that I am extremely grateful. Anyway, more about the book later in this post, but first I wanted to share with you all about the last few weeks, and what led to my impromptu video earlier this week.
Like I wrote last time, recently there have been opportunities opening up to say “yes” to sharing hope to people, and “yes” to putting myself out there in all the most uncomfortable ways imaginable. And while each place I have stepped into has been more vulnerable than the last, the past few weeks I have felt the draw again from the Lord to go deeper.
Last weekend I attended a conference at my church for creatives. I went into it expecting to gain more knowledge on how to approach my writing, and other mediums I can use to share the message I’ve been given. What I didn’t expect, was to have full on emotional open heart surgery.
During the first session we attended, Jasmine Tate was speaking. She talked about the boxes we often use to filter our creativity through. It was a beautiful message of her personal journey of finding and sharing the gifts God has given her, and realizing when the landscape of those gifts was shifting. It was incredible. At the end of the session she asked us to take out a piece of paper. She asked us to take a moment with the Lord and write down the boxes that our creativity is currently being filtered through. Before she even finished her sentence I felt a huge lump rise up in my throat. As she continued to speak, I immediately drew a square on the notebook in my hand. Through welling tears I looked down at the paper and scribbled one word in the center: “Disability”.
Every expression of my being whether as a wife, Mom, friend or writer, have all bumped into and consulted with this false reality of disability in my life. And even as my body has gained health and strength, I’ve continued to carry shame around my neck like an ID tag. I have valued my testimony, but regarded my face as a constant reminder of injury, trauma and an imperfect work.
I prayed, sitting there with a pen in my hand and notebook in my lap, that someone would turn up the music and turn down the lights so I could lay on the floor and belt out the cry that was already climbing up my throat. I sat there trembling, holding back my emotions.
As I sat, holding my eyes closed as tightly as I could, I suddenly saw in my mind this word, “disability”. It was all alone, surrounded on all sides by a simple glass box. Sitting there watching from the outside looking in, I saw a hammer come and tap on the glass, shattering it into a million tiny pieces. As the pieces fell to the ground I saw hundreds of butterflies fly out. They were beautifully colored, and swarmed around each other, before eventually disappearing from view. I sat there silently weeping and shaking from the deep part of my heart that was being touched in that moment. Sitting there I asked the Father, “What are you doing? What does this mean? I want out, but I need help”.
His response came in a whisper. “Caterpillars go into cocoons, but even they get to come out as butterflies”.
With my eyes still closed, He proceeded to show me how even in my victories, even in the joy I’ve experienced in this journey and sharing with all of you, I’ve still regarded myself as “disabled”. And in that moment I knew the Lord was gently inviting me to shed that skin from my heart, and come out.
Recently the Lord has been showing me how I have partnered with shame in my life. Listening to a message recently by Kris Vallotton he referenced a TED talk by Berne Brown, he said, “Condemnation says I’ve done something wrong, Shame says I am something wrong”.
I think many people struggle with this thought. Something happens and we get trapped by this feeling that we’ve become the object of disappointment. What I was being shown through this moment with the Lord was that, yes, I had gone into a process, but I was always meant to come out… and if you are in a season of process in your life, then so are you.
The Bible says that Christ is the head of the Church, and that we collectively make up the body. If I’m the body, then that means that when God looks at me, He doesn’t see the imperfections of my face, or reservations of my heart… He just sees Jesus. When I share my journey with others, they see my body and hear my story, but it is Jesus they are receiving.
Because of the very social, very visible world we live in, I believe we often become preoccupied and worried about being seen or heard in a certain way. We forget that while yes, we are the vehicle, Jesus is the head. He is Who we’ve received peace from in the trials of our lives, and He is Who we give away when we embrace those journeys.
Maybe you’re reading this and you don’t believe. Thank you for reading this far. Maybe you’re just reading because you’re my friend. Or maybe you’re in a place of searching and picking up the breadcrumbs on your own journey. My encouragement to you today is to echo what God said to me this past weekend.
“Caterpillars go into cocoons, but even they get to come out as butterflies”.
Maybe you’re in a really difficult process in your life. You don’t have to look any further than nature to see that creation is wired for good. And if it’s not good, then it’s not over. And just because it hasn’t gotten good yet, doesn’t mean that you have become something wrong. Instead, sometimes part of things not being “over” is us finding ourselves in a new place of vulnerability and having to choose to embrace it fully.
And that’s where I’ve found myself lately. Knowing that there are more vulnerable places in me that need to be faced. More bravery that may look small and insignificant to someone else, but to me is a declaration that I’ll never allow what was meant for harm to throw me from the purposes of God in my life… and today I encourage you to do the same. Find the places where you know fear and apprehension are taunting you, and go after them. It’s scary, it can feel silly, but take it from me, I know that small steps of bravery on the outside, are really large leaps of courage and resolve of the heart. And if I can do it, then I KNOW you can too!
So, I know that was a lot of words. And I hope you’ve stuck around for my update on things to come.
I’ll be posting about “Beautifully You” in the coming two weeks. I’ll be launching a campaign on Facebook and Instagram that I think you are really going to love! Some of these thoughts are still coming together, but if you sign up to get updated on my site, then I guarantee whatever I decide, you’ll be the first to know!
Again, I think you all are amazing. I’m currently also working on ways to hear YOUR stories, because I know you have them. But in the meantime I do not take it lightly that you’ve come to hear mine, and I can’t wait to take you all along further on this crazy journey!
Until next time :)…