I've been looking for the words to adequately describe how heavy this month has been, but none have proven to be nearly enough. The storms billowing on the world's stage and the ones in my own heart have left me feeling angry and depleted and constantly on the verge of snapping—which is, of course, the space where I most need to recognize the gifts for what they are.Read More
The truth is, I've been feeling a bit blue -- a bit out of sorts and off-key lately. And on the days when life doesn't look the way I thought it would or think that it should, I try to remind myself of the ways God is showing up where I am with generous extra helpings of shalom.Read More
If we were on a coffee date, I might not drink coffee at all. I've been on a major hot chocolate kick lately, with a couple pumps of vanilla, please. We'd meet in the afternoon at one of our favorite spots, and I'd hope you'd be okay with sitting outside. It's just starting to feel a little bit like fall in South Carolina, so I want to soak in the advent of my favorite season.
If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you I want more than just an elevator speech about your heart. The other day, I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen in awhile, and when I asked her how she was doing, her answer felt like a filtered pitch. I want more for us than that. I feel like we owe it to ourselves and the people who love us to be honest about where we're at. And recently, I've been praying for the courage to go first: the grace and humility to set the tone and create an atmosphere where the people I love can come and know that they don't have to hold anything back. So tell me, friend, how is your heart really doing these days?
If we were on a coffee date, we would probably talk about Las Vegas. I'd tell you that I've had this lump in my throat for a week now, and every time I think about those precious families, my eyes well up with all this salty, liquid sadness for all that is broken in our world. I might tell you about how passionate I am about gun control, and how expressing that conviction in public spaces has occasionally gotten me into some hot water. I used to fold quickly when I found myself in these situations, wilting at the first sign that someone might be displeased with me -- but not anymore. I've been praying for more boldness, more tenderness, more chutzpah if you will, and God has been more than faithful to give it to me.
If we were on a coffee date, I would definitely ask what you've been reading lately. I have several books on my shelf in the to be read stack. Most of them are books on evolving and growing in your faith because I'm finding those are thoughts I really need to hear. They're the kind that make me feel less alone and less crazy, and don't we all want to feel a little less alone and crazy? Anyway, the stack includes the likes of Seth and Amber Haines, Sarah Bessey, Zach Hoag, Preston Yancey, Jess Connolly, and Rachel Held Evans.
If we were on a coffee date, I'd share my new favorite nude lipstick. It's the No. 7 Moisture Drench in the shade Honey Bloom, and it is so pretty. I had never tried any No. 7 products before purchasing it, but after falling in love with this lipstick color and formula, I'm definitely interested in trying more!
If we were on a coffee date, I'd also tell you about my latest B&BW purchase. Oh. My. Heavens. This scent is just so good. I want it on my body and everywhere in my house forever and ever. I asked the nice B&BW lady if it was going to stay a permanent fixture in the store. I don't shop there very often, so a product I like one day is usually gone by the next time I go in, which is really disappointing.
If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that it has been a year since my husband lost his job and we left our church. Honestly, October 3 snuck up on me. I had to go back and make sure I had the date right. In a lot of ways, we are so, so much better off than we ever could have imagined ourselves to be -- but in a lot of other ways, we are still trying to heal and move beyond. One thing is for certain: Jesus has shown up for me this year in ways I never even knew to ask for, and he has proven himself to be more than enough to love all of me.
If we were on a coffee date, I might share the why behind the silence on my blog these days. The other day, an old friend of mine asked if I was writing much, and I told her not really. It isn't that I don't want to write, and it isn't for lack of trying. Every time I come here to write, I sense God whispering not yet. I keep hearing him say there's more I want to show you. And I think before this year, I might have just pushed that whisper to the side and plowed through words that, in the end, would feel so much less than what my heart wanted them to be. But now? Now I just want to listen and be obedient. The words will come when the Lord allows, and that is enough for me.
Now, friend, if we were on a coffee date, what would you want to tell me? I'd love it if you would join this wonderful group for some cyber caffeine.
Few things are better than getting good book recommendations from friends whose taste you know and trust, so I'm taking a beat from my friends Rachel and Erin and sharing a few of the books I loved this summer. For the past couple of months, I have only been working part-time, which allows me long, lazy, uninterrupted stretches to indulge in what has been my very favorite past time for as long as I can remember. In fact, yesterday, a friend noticed and called attention to the fact that this was one of only a handful of occasions he had ever seen me without a book in my hand, and I had to laugh because he was so right. So, without any further ado, let the book recommendations commence.
Letter to My Daughter, by Maya Angelou
I'm so glad that I got to share a planet with this beautiful, strong woman. She wrote that despite the fact that she never gave birth to a daughter, she had countless daughters around the world, and she wanted to leave them with some life lessons that she had learned (sometimes the hard way) throughout her years: lessons on awkwardly meeting new people, politics, learning about different cultures, and how to not be reduced by our circumstances.
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is known for writing books with themes ripped straight from the headlines, and she also does an incredible amount of research. Another unique aspect of her writing is that you find different points of view within the chapters. I was so excited to read this, her latest novel, which is about a black labor and delivery nurse, a white supremacist, and an impossible choice. It took less than 48 hours for me to finish, and while I've only read a handful for Jodi Picoult's work (she has written 22 books!), this has by far been my favorite.
Goliath Must Fall, by Louie Giglio
This past season, I've been more hungry for spiritual growth in my life than maybe ever before. I know that in order to see that growth take place, I have to allow Jesus to come in and set me free from some things. I knew this book was for me before I even got through the first chapter. I've been hearing the story of David and Goliath my entire life, but Pastor Giglio presents it in a way that feels vibrant, fresh, and powerful.
Unseen, by Sara Hagerty
The subtitle for this book is "the gift of being hidden in a world that loves to be noticed." I was fortunate enough to be on the launch team for this stunning work, so I got to read it before it actually hit the shelves. Sara Hagerty is a woman who makes me crave more of Jesus. I trust her voice because I know that she has walked this path for real. Not one word of this book feels pithy or pedantic or filtered in any way -- it's just raw, honest, and authentic, and if you ask me, we need more books like that in the "Christian living" section. In Unseen, Sara shares her experience with finding God in secret spaces when no one else is looking. So much of life is made up of moments that no one else sees. But Sara writes that God has things to show us in those moments.
What were your favorite books from the summer? My fall reading list seems to be growing by the day, and I'd love to know what books have made the list for you!