Lean In

I’ve been on quite an Allison Vesterfelt kick lately. After multiple people had prodded me to read her book Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage, I finally picked it up and devoured it in a few short – but profoundly challenging – days. I finally understand why my friends were so persistent in recommending this book. They knew it would mess me up in the way only a good book can.

Allison – or Ally – and I have a lot in common. We both went to Whitworth University, we both studied English, we both have felt at home in weird cities (Portland for her, San Francisco for me), and we’ve both struggled to call ourselves writers. And yet, as both of us have discovered, we are because we do. We’re writers simply because we write.

In reading another one of Ally’s books Writing to Find Yourself, I’m finding so much encouragement to keep writing. Writing, like most things that are worth doing, takes effort and vulnerability. For me, writing is the process of putting little pieces of me on a page. Every word I type makes me vulnerable to criticism and has the potential to be misunderstood or to step on someone’s toes – I’m sorry if I ever step on yours! But these words also have the power to speak into someone else’s story, to allow that person, as Anne Lamott says, to speak the two most magnificent words you can say to another human being: “Me too.” Continue reading

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

2015 and I got off to a rough start. I feel like we kind of got off on the wrong foot. I mean, when your relationship comes crashing down around you on New Year’s Day, that can’t be a good sign of things to come, right?

Well, it certainly was a sign of singleness to come. New Year’s marked the very sudden beginning of the end of a relationship that held so much promise and hope. A few days before New Year’s – heck, even on New Year’s Day – we were learning to do yoga together, planning little trips, and talking about grateful we were for each other. A few days later, the relationship was just done – it simply vanished – but so many questions remained. What had gone wrong in the matter of a day? How did we go from brunch and a long walk in Golden Gate park on New Year’s morning to tears and confusion in the Potrero Hill Safeway parking lot that same evening? To make matters worse, I was caught so unprepared for that conversation – “I’m not feeling like we’re connecting” – that I was tissue-less. Tears, no tissues. Not a pretty picture. And none of it made any sense.

For a while, I held onto my frustration and a subtle sense of bitterness. It felt like I had to maintain my grip on those feelings in order to make some sense of the situation. If the relationship had to end suddenly with no real answers and no real closure, then I’d make my own. I’d do the relationship justice by holding it up to the judgment of my own sadness and hurt. I’d wrestle meaning out of it by concluding that God just had something better for me. Continue reading

Hidden Things

FreeIt’s been a week. A week since I’ve written anything down. My prayers, my thoughts, the things I’ve been learning. And I miss it.

But even though I haven’t memorialized all the things that have been happening, I’ve still been increasingly aware of God’s presence. Because he truly is always present – omnipresent. And yet, I’m discovering that it’s in seeking him that I find more and more of him.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“…to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.” (Ephesians 3:8-12)

So many verses like these are peppered throughout the Scriptures. Why? Continue reading