When you’re weary from trying and you know it’s far from over

For two years, God has given me the same passage to hold onto:

Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new… It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.- Isaiah 43:18

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In 2016, He gave me the word “trust”, to go along with it.

In 2017, he gave me the word “abide.”

a·bide: stand up against, put up with, endure, tolerate, endure

I knew almost immediately, what He meant- what God was asking of me this year: to remain in the struggle, to be constant without change in my circumstance, to stay in the tension (without running, without quitting, without demanding solutions or insisting things be black and white, all or nothing.)

These words- the single words God gives me each year- are like a theme. An overarching plan or purpose for the unfolding 12 months. They’re God’s focus for my life and my heart, should I choose to trust him and obey.

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If you could see my last two years, you’d call it ridiculous-  uncanny, the way these words have thread the 365 days they title;  a bullseye to nearly every lesson and circumstance that follows…

almost as if God knew what He was talking about and was orchestrating the details of my days, right down to the final letter. 😉 

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Truth is, both years have been difficult- the most difficult of my life. And that’s an understatement!

Without Jesus, they would have killed me or at least, made me a mean, pessimistic, cold-hearted woman. Like the world and God owed me- big time, because of what I’d endured. Instead, they’ve remade me, through surrender and refined me in ways I can’t quite articulate in brief.

My suffering has made me better

more compassionate and less judgemental, more patient and less frantic, more tender and less tough, more present and less busy, more confident and less doubtful, primarily in trust of God and His goodness.

Call it trite, but suffering has been the means to moulding and shaping me into the women He created me to be- the woman I need to be, to fulfill my purpose on this earth.

And for that reason, I’ve now count grief and suffering as gift.

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Before you romanticize any notions of what that looks like, let me be frank:

I’ve battled this out on the front lines, hung in there by my teeth and nails. I’ve kicked, screamed and wrestled my way through- physically and emotionally. These two years have been the fight of my life!

What once came easy in other seasons, has become my battleground to claim. And I’m weary.

I feel tired, beaten up and defeated- depression looming on the sidelines, as if to mock me with my former joyful self.

The girl who preaches joy, fighting for every moment of it- who preaches unconditional love, still striving to earn it- who preaches faith, fighting to hold on to hope.

Behind the pretty posture, I feel ugly- my heart heavy and full of darkness. I feel like a fraud.

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There I am on resurrection Sunday (Easter)- the day Christ rose from the grave and defeated death, claiming victory over sin and darkness- and I’d rather stay at saturday thanks! I want to scream in frustration, remain in the dark and hang around the empty tomb weeping.

So, instead of singing, I remained silent- I resented the happy clappyness of Sunday! But why?! I beat myself up, asking…

Like Jesus’ friends on Holy Saturday- the day after his crucifixion- I wanted to sit at the tomb and wail in grief over a dead body… all the dead things in my life. I wanted to question why they were, despite being foretold they’d happen. Like them, I was wrestling for hope, trying to hold fast to Christ’s prophecy-His promise to rise again on the third day. Because my circumstances scream otherwise, just like Jesus’ did!

On Saturday, friends of Jesus waited in darkness. On Saturday they wrestled their emotions. On Saturday they fought to maintain hope.

And friend, that there, is me.

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In church, I begged God to grab me and pull me out of my pit- I was too tired to help myself and quite frankly, I didn’t want to. I needed hope fast.

Back home, I grabbed my phone – an attempt to numb myself; a fact I’m far too acutely aware of. Why, oh why, must I recognize every nuance and defence I use to try and outrun the heaviness, dull the emotions or taste temporary happiness?!

It’s fleeting and I know this– it doesn’t fill my void. Only God can. But today, I don’t care.

I succumb and silently pray that Jesus would do it with me– that he’d show up in the midst of my mindless scrolling.

And he did.

Some things died this year – Friday. Friday requires faith. Then there was the waiting, the uncertainty, the messy middle- Saturday. Saturday requires hope. Then beautiful new things were born – Sunday. Sunday requires nothing but love. Faith, hope, love. First the pain. Then the waiting. Then the rising.

There is no glory but straight through our story.
There is no resurrection without the crucifixion. – Glennon Doyle Melton

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Like lighting, it shocked my heart back to reality- my reality in Jesus and the promise he’s given me over and over and over again- every time I’ve asked him to remind me.

You see, 2016 was a crucifixion- a dying to my life, my marriage, my pride and my expectations.

It was the first time I fully surrendered to God. I stopped trying and gave up entirely. I threw my hands in the air and said, “I give up!” In waving my white flag, I finally gave Him control.

God had to show up, because I was done saving myself – and everyone else, for that matter!

I learnt trust and through it, cultivated faith with roots down deep- faith build on a solid foundation, unshakable in Christ Jesus.

2016 was my friday; a death that required faith.

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2017 has been my year of waiting and uncertainty- of wrestling the messy, awkward tension- of holding fast in the in-between. Of not anymore but not quite yet.

2017 has been my Saturday. The dark tomb of waiting.

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s cultivating in me hope- an unwavering hope, grounded in his promises. The one He’s given me, two years in a row, that he’s doing a BRAND NEW thing, building rivers in the badlands- Don’t I see it?! (no, FYI: I don’t see it yet!.. okay, maybe a little.)

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Do you see what this means, friend?!

My sunday is coming and so is yours!

This hard and heavy season comes with purpose. It too, is part of the process- part of His plan.

It isn’t a result of anything I’ve done or failed to do- it’s not another thing I need to fix or “heal my way out of.” I can let go and stop trying to make it what it’s not-  stop striving to fix my heavy heart and just trust God. Not my circumstances, or even myself, but GOD!!!

What has come to me, has come through God. This darkness is God appointed and it comes with great intent!

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It also means my heart is still living in Saturday…. There’s a reason I want to stay there and honour it.

I’m all in it- fully immersed in Saturday, sitting by my tomb waiting, grieving and wrestling-  all while fighting for hope.

And that’s very much ok. In fact: it’s necessary.

Because in order to experience the joy of resurrection, we must first grieve the death.

Both are an act of worship and surrender. Both an act of trust and faith. Because our hope isn’t in the tomb, but in The One who raises from it.

And He too, shall raise us to new life!

Our sunday is coming….

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Wherever you’re at this Easter season- a painful Friday of death, a dark Saturday of waiting or a victorious Sunday of new life- be all in it, friend! God will honour and accept your worship, however it looks. He sees you and He’s proud of you- you’re exactly where you’re suppose to be…This season comes with purpose.

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing and Setting up a Blog

This post was inspired by a reader and friend of the Seeking Grace community. After compiling this information for her, I realized there may be others who could benefit from it.

It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a starting point. And where I lack, I’ve pointed you to others who can take you further than I.

After all, I am no expert, but a sojourner on this road.

Q: Have you created your own website or do you know a good resource that’s not costly.

After blogging on multiple platforms, such as wordpress, weebly and vistaprint (among others), I recommend creating a website using wordpress:

  1. I’ve found it to be the most successful at acquiring and building an audience (people finding you)
  2. For me, it’s been the most compatible with google search engine optimization (SEO)
  3. While more difficult to navigate and use than other platforms, it has better functionality and customization. When you run stuck, a quick google search will offer tons of advice and tutorials on how to do things
  4. There are thousands of gorgeous templates to choose from, with drag and drop features; minimal-to-no coding or tech skills required
  5. It grows with you, customizable to the degree you want it to be. As you learn more and grow in your blogging needs, so too can your blog, without having to start over from scratch.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org 

1. wordpress.com 

  • Self hosted (you can get a template and host in one spot)
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Preset templates with drag and drop features
  • Customizable using their exclusive features and plugins
  • Caveat: You cannot use 3rd party plugins, therefore it can be limiting with intermediate and advanced functionality needs (ex: online shops, email marketing, e-course integration etc.)

Recommended for those brand new to blogging, with limited-to-no experience with wordpress

2. wordpress.org 

  • 3rd party hosting required (such as blue host, go daddy etc.)
  • Easy to learn, but will require some training and/or assistance to set up 
  • Preset Templates available- some require manual setup or you can build a completely custom template using a hired graphic designer
  • Unlimited customization – much requires manual setup 
  • Unlimited growth potential 
  • Advanced customization and functionality (ex: online shops, email marketing, e-course integration etc.)

Recommended for those with wordpress experience and/or the ability to hire a graphic designer, developer or coder to set up blog and maintain aesthetic changes

 Pros and Cons

This website was designed and is maintained on wordpress.com. I didn’t actually realize the difference  between the two, when I set it up 8 years ago! But for the sake of everyday blogging, it has served me just fine. Only now, as I’ve launched a bible study and look towards a book launch, do I find myself toying with starting all over on wordpress.org, for functionality and customizations sake.

My other website- a service based business was set up around the same time, but using wordpress.org. I used a graphic designer to design a custom template, as well as, a coder/developer to set it all up.

I am a self-starter and eager learner, thus I’ve spent hundreds of hours googling, reading and taking webinars, learning basic coding and back end work, so I could update my blog myself. Over the years, I’ve made thousands of changes with functionality and design of both this blog and my service website. Even still, I worked with coders and developers, from time to time, when I ran stuck (or was ready to punch my computer screen in frustration.)

If you have the time and patience, there’s nothing wrong with going the route of wordpress.org. It WILL be trial and error, but you’ll eliminate the middleman and save yourself some money.

If time is precious, you’re easily frustrated and if you struggle with troubleshooting and logistical analysis, then do yourself a favour: hire a graphic designer or a developer to set up and manage your wordpress.org site OR use wordpress.com depending on your long term goals.

Best of Both worlds 

Jeff Goins is a professional writer and educator.  I can’t remember how I stumbled upon him, but suffice it to say, he had me at hello!

His free education, resources and blogging tools were exactly what I needed, without realizing it. 

Before deciding, I recommend you check out the following… it’s worth the time (and money):

Be sure to sign up for Jeff’s newsletter at the bottom of his website- it has proven to be one of my most valuable assets!

Q: Where do I host my blog? What if I already own a ‘domain’ name? Can I merge it with a website hosting platform?

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a blog, hosting, and purchasing/transferring a domain name. (again, courtesy of Jeff Goins)

Q: I feel overwhelmed with blog templates and styles. Should I consider what I’m writing and offering/ selling when choosing my template?

 In short yes, but don’t get too hung up on this one. Whatever platform you use, there will be pre-designed templates to choose from. Short list ones you’re drawn to aesthetically and then check out the live demo’s for each- see what they look like in use.

Finally, read each templates descriptions for built in features and functionality. Many times, they will say what use their intended for, such as blogging, photos, online shops, etc. 

Q: Any advice for those starting out with a blog, in terms of frequency of posting, copywriting and image use? Any ‘need to knows’ or do’s and don’ts?

Frequency of Posting

The key to finding your voice is simply to write! Don’t worry so much about the topic or even who’s reading it. Just get used to writing from the heart and posting is publically for others to see. This takes some getting used to. As often as you can, make writing a habit, even if it’s just 15 – 30 minutes a day. If you don’t have that time, aim for 2-3 times a week.

Images and Copywriting

Whatever images you use, be sure to give credit and source the owner (not just where you found it.) For example, if you find an image on pinterest, instagram or facebook, be sure you click the links and follow the trail until you find the photographer who took it. Personally, I use all my own photos so I don’t have to worry about this. But if you find that idea stressful, stick with borrowing images.

If you know of a photographer whose photos you like, try reaching out to partner with them. Ask if they’d be willing to provide you with images in exchange for credit and link backs. Ps: I’m totally open to this

There’s also a great website, unsplash, with free stock photos that are contemporary and professional, no credit required.

If you quote writers or other blogs, credit them and provide a link back to their site. (Bonus tip: Email them, to let them know.)

Quick tips and Advice

  1. You’re most creative and open in the morning, so if possible, try writing then. You’ll likely find it’s easier to be authentic, without fear or reservation.
  2. Write and edit in two different sessions- they use two different parts of your brain. Plus, the time and space between gives you clarity and fresh perspective.
  3. If you’re worried about what others think, don’t connect or share your posts to social media right away. Simply write for an audience of one until you’re ready to take the leap.
  4. Find a community of writers you can learn from and possibly collaborate with. I personally like (and am a part of) The Influence Network, A Little Light Community, Our Village and Tribe Writers.

Welcome others in

Invite your trusted friends and family to read your blog. Send them the link once it’s live and welcome feedback.

Don’t forget to post your website in the comments below… I’d love to see what you’re up to and cheer you on! 

 
 


Note: I did not get paid to endorse Jeff Goins. 


When you fear what others think as you walk in your calling

Joshua served alongside Moses, invisible for years, during which, he developed faith and faithfulness that would lead a generation into The Promised Land. – Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove.

I read ferociously through the book before stopping dead in my tracks. It was as if the line had jumped right off my page. I knew it was for me… not in an egotistical, I’m special kind of way, but a quiet knowing.

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Since I was a child, I’ve known I was a healer- always drawn to helping people emotionally and seeking out Truth, wherever I could find it. I’ve been hungry my whole life, always learning, wanting more; my appetite cannot be satisfied.

I would dance in front of large auditoriums and theatres, feeling at home and like my truest self on stage. And I still feel that way- only now, I feel it when I’m sharing Jesus in front of crowds. I know I was born to do this. It makes me feel, alive at the centre of being and connected to my creator. It feels like worship.

I do it naturally because I want to, not because I have to. Whatever the season,wherever God has me, I will serve with my gifts, to the best of my ability.

Have my motives been questionable at times? Sure! All of ours have and I won’t pretend otherwise. But in the quiet of my closet, barefaced and broken before God, I know with every fibre of my being that I seek to serve from a genuine place – in response to His love and in recognition of His calling.

While not everyone is convinced, I am certain this is how God wired me:

To write, to teach, to speak, all for the purpose of healing – of leading people to His heart, through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For me, it’s not about quantity, but quality.

I want to profoundly touch another soul, in ways that feel like a lovers stare from across the room.

I want to arrest people’s hearts to Jesus.

And yet, I struggle hard…

I feel the need to prove myself.

I want the world to know what I know about myself, as if their understanding and recognition will set me free to do the Fathers will.

It’s a lie and yet, I’ve believed it for years, unknowingly.

Until today….

1-2 Later Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn’t want to travel in Judea because the Jews there were looking for a chance to kill him. It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.

3-5 His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.

6-8 Jesus came back at them, “Don’t crowd me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.

9-11 He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. – John 7: 1-9 (The Message)

Like the veil was finally lifted and the lie could no longer deceive me, I saw the Truth in the light of day.

Jesus’s own brothers doubted The Father’s Will for him- Jesus’ calling. They didn’t believe in Him and they masqueraded it as care and encouragement!

Behind their carefully crafted words and sly smile, lies a silent waiting to expose Him as a fraud- their unspoken thoughts lurking in the dark corners: “See, I knew it. It’s all in your head. Stop trying- stop trying to exalt yourself or prove your someone special.”

How often do I sense this in the hearts of those around me?

If I’m honest, a lot.

I sense it when I’m around them, in my resolve to be quiet and contentment not to share. In the way I avoid what’s going on with me or what I’m doing with my life right now.

I hide…. I want to leave, because I don’t feel safe.

Like Jesus, I sense their desire to crucify me.

And yet Jesus responds, without defense, without apology or even, agreement! Because He knows…. and that’s enough!

Oh, how I need to adopt this perspective – to accept what God has shown me and stop apologizing or trying to prove myself.

How I need to stop fearing the unknown thoughts and silent assumptions about me; particularly the ones masquerading doubt, as care and encouragement.

 

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What I love most, is Jesus’ response: “I’m not ready. It’s not my time.”

The world will tell us that time is ours to seize! That if we’re serious about what we want to do, then we need to stop playing small… We need to GO PUBLIC, make it official and show the world what we’re made of. Then, they’ll see and believe! Like it’s our job to make that happen- to prove ourselves… for God’s sake though, right? And for His glory, of course!

Jesus, in one line, debunks that lie with Truth.

Timing is in the Father’s hands- a sacred tool to be used discriminately by Him, for His purposes.

While the world perceives time as an opportunity to seize at our discretion, Jesus invites us to see time as an opportunity to shed light on our hearts desires. – Beth Moore

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If our desire is to do God’s will, we will wait for His timing, even when the wait feels forever- even when ridicule and rejection feels unbearably painful and our circumstances uncomfortable – even when the world doubts or disdains us, including those closest to us!

Because our faith affects our view of time.

If we really believe God, if we trust that He knows best, then we will also believe God knows when is best.

We won’t clamour to prove ourselves in our calling. We won’t fight for public approval or recognition.We will show up and quietly go about our business, careful not to draw attention to ourselves.

Because in the wait, God is still using us- we are still walking in our calling then, too! He is preparing us for the appointed hour. And when that time comes, we will know it!

God will get us there, God will make it happen – we can be sure of it! We cannot miss our callings….

God made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but A SURE THING thing determined by HIS DECISION, flowing steadily from HIS INITIATIVE. – Romans 9:11 (The Message)

Friend, do you see THE GOOD NEWS IN THIS?

WE CAN STOP TRYING!

…stop clamouring our way to our calling

… stop grasping for our position

… stop proving ourselves to others

… stop gaining acceptance and the world’s stamp of approval

We can fully let go and simply go about our business as usual, trusting God with the results and their timing.

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If you feel the weight of God’s calling on your life, I want to say, I get it … I understand the grief that comes with God given burdens – I know what it’s like! They’re heavy- far too heavy for us to carry! And learning to walk with them, without letting them buckle us- allowing God to carry the yoke– is a process and a wrestle. It’s a constant tension, that takes daily dependency and intimacy with the Lord. And that too, takes commitment and discipline!  Sometimes, I feel like my faith is a full-time job!

But I want to affirm what you know down deep- what God made you for. I don’t believe you know this by accident. I believe, it’s God’s gift of mercy and hope- something to hold onto when life feels hard and our circumstances scream otherwise. Don’t let the world cloud your inner counsel with doubt and fear. God has called you on purpose and for a purpose.

But friend, the timing is His.

Let’s walk out this tension together, shall we?

The good news is we’re not alone, anymore. You have me and I have you.

I’m praying for us both, because that’s the only thing I can do- it’s also the BEST thing.

Will you pray with me?

Lord God, Jesus, you so lavishly provide us with your presence, Holy Spirit, working things in us and in our lives, that we could never do on our own. You do it not by our striving, but because we choose, in our free will, to trust you to do it for us.

Like Jesus, we believe you God. Help us take you at your word. By that act of faith, make our life right with you. Bless us as we live by faith, trusting, believing and hoping for things yet unseen. Help us daily, to choose not to live by our own effort but depending on you. Sustain our relationship with you, as we embrace what you have planned for us.

Above all else, let our relationship with you remain our first priority and desire. Don’t let anything distract us, including our callings, or take us away from spending time with you. Doing things for you, is not the same as spending time with you. We want to enter into what you are doing, not the other way around!

Protect us and keep us from choosing religion, rather than relationship . Rule keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith. In fact, it only perpetuates more rule keeping! Christ has freed us from the self-defeating life of living by the law. It leads only to despair and death.

Remind us, again and again, that the purpose of the law was to make it obvious that on our own and in our strength, we are out of relationship with you, God. We cannot possibly will ourselves right! We can only do that by waiting in faith for you to complete your promises in us and through us. For if any rule keeping had the power to perfect, we for certain would have gotten there by now!! You know we’ve tried!

By faith alone, you have brought us into first hand encounters with you, The living God. You didn’t just give us a fresh start, you’re dressing us in adult faith. You’re maturing us, so eventually, we will be complete- Christ’s resurrected life in us- lacking no good thing – the fulfillment of your original promise.

May it be so. We give ourselves to you wholly and completely. May your will be done in us. Amen.”

 

When you’re defeated and desperately want to quit

 

I took this photo going into my counsellors office last year.

I felt hopeless and desperately wanted to give up and call it quits. I thought things would never change. Settling felt easier.

Then I walked in and settled on the couch.

In her own words, She said something like this- and friend, it changed everything…

Courage isn’t found in comfort, strength isn’t build in easy places. Both are cultivated in messy, hard soil, which if you persevere, become holy ground: anointed and set apart with purpose and great intent.

They lead us to transformation.

Don’t give up.

Don’t short change yourself because it feels easier.

Push through.

New life is waiting on the other side.

I decided right then and there, that whatever had come to me, had to go through God.

And therefor, it came FOR GOOD.

And I don’t say that lightly- I say that from the most suckered punched part of my heart-made-whole.

What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good: to bring a newness of life and transformation, I never could have imagined– or seen then! It would take months, until I caught a glimpse.

But for the time being, her words were a gift of hope – what I needed to carry on and push through to the other side.

Today, they’re my gift to you.

Carry on, Warrior.

#justkeepswimming #thedifferenceayearmakes #littlebylittle #newlifeiscoming

New Name, Old Problem | Hope in depression

I discovered an old blog post of mine from 4 years ago.

Yet as I read my words, I could have sworn I wrote them today!

Identical- my emotions are identical! Every t crossed and period placed – the same emotional battlefield, just four years apart.

This baffles me for two reasons:

  1. Maybe I’ve always struggled with minor depression and didn’t know it.

  2. I’m starting to see a pattern to how God works in my life – a rhythm to the seasons and struggles.

This isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled on old posts of mine, that speak directly to my current circumstance…

So messy, I am! Sometimes I resent my own heart… ’cause you know, shaming myself always works!

What I need right now is not that- not shame– but grace and acceptance.

Depression has a stigma though, doesn’t it? Few want to touch it.

Which if I’m honest, suddenly makes me feel like something’s wrong with me, when nothing’s changed- I’ve just put a word to a struggle I’ve battled my whole life.

Im no different… but suddenly I’m not ok?

I don’t want to feel like a freak or like there’s something wrong with me! Or like my emotions scare people… That makes me retreat more and withdrawal makes the darkness worse.

I need to stop hiding and actually engage people- be honest about how I’m feeling. Because it’s OK!

Depression is not a scary word: in fact, the vast majority of the world struggles with it.

Statistics show anxiety and depression are the number two disorder in ALL our world right now.

I needed to come to terms with this- that fact that I suffer with depression.

I needed to realize that I’m no different today, than I ever have been! I’ve always been this way – a deep feeler who experiences high, highs and low, lows.

I just have a name for it now.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about myself: understand my heart more, grow compassion and then extend grace to myself. Because I must learn it for myself before I can give it away to others.

… Like how I discovered I was an introvert after YEARS of living like an extrovert!

I’m still learning how to love myself in that one and walk gracefully in my new reality.

Nothing’s changed- I always was an introvert– but I wasn’t living like one (which explained the perpetual cycle of strive/burn out/numbing I found myself in every three months).

So, here I am again, at the crossroads of opportunity – to own who I am and love her relentlessly: a deep feeling introvert, who experiences seasons of depression.

Don’t you know I’m going to learn to love you well, Kailey.

God’s done this before and He’ll do it again!

Letter to self | When you need to hear well done

I’ve prayed when I didn’t want to.

I’ve stayed when I wanted to go. 

I’ve fought when I wanted to leave.

I’ve kept quiet when I wanted to point fault. 

I’ve forgiven when deeply offended.

I’ve sought forgiveness when I’ve wounded and hurt. 

I’ve trusted when all things point otherwise.

I’ve believed when it made no sense at all. 

I’ve spoken life when death’s all around me.

I’ve died to be born to new life. 

I’ve sung praise in the midst of destruction.

I’ve grieved for lives not my own. 

I’ve cared even though it costs me.

I’ve loved to the point that it hurts. 

I’ve pressed on when I wanted to drop out.

I’ve quit because I knew it was best. 


I’ve lived far from perfection, but friend, I’ve lived this life well.

So for now, I’m saying, “Well done. My dear, you’re doing swell.”

When you realize you’re in a pit and depression seems plausible

I’m only now, just coming to terms with the probability- that I struggle with depression and could, from time to time. 

It’s entirely circumstantial- emotional stress, without a doubt….

It’s me carrying burdens I’m not meant to carry – things too big and outside of my control. 

Like people’s salvation and the world’s rejection and misconception of Jesus. It’s me thinking it’s my responsibility to save/change/convince people to Christ and manage outcomes. 

It’s yucky pride and me still trying to measure up, to make Jesus proud.

As much as I hate to admit it, this bout of depression is necessary: another layer God needs to shed, in order for me to walk in freedom and know Him deeper.

‘Cause I beat myself up when I see the darkness still inside me- as if on this side of heaven, I can obtain perfection. The lie that because I’ve experienced transformation and freedom and healing in Christ, I should have it all figured out now and no longer require grace or forgiveness. 

The realization of my sin sends me into deep grief.

And it’s that grief, when carried too long, that turns to depression. 

I see the light out of this pit- Jesus has begun to reach down and pull me out. But if I’ve learnt anything so far, it’s this:

It’s time to let Him move the reality of grace, from my head down to my heart. 

 


After writing this post, God led me to a one day silent retreat at home, using the following resource. If you’re feeling down, irritable, angry, weary, or fearful, I’d encourage you to set a day aside to be alone with Jesus. Go somewhere that inspires you or send the kids out for the day… I received the grace I needed- I walked away with quiet joy and peace knowing that this is not another thing I need to “fix” about myself- that God is sovereign over the dark, just as He is the light. He will use every experience, including seasons of depression, for good and glory.

 

Alone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of PrayerAlone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of Prayer by Gordon T. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful, yet easy to use tool for a day of personal reflection, and encountering Christ. I appreciated the prompts and pointers, while still leaving room for personal application and interpretation.

I used this for my very 1st silent retreat- I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I left with joy, peace and clarity. Great resource. Will use it again!

View all my reviews

Encountering Christ | The Day I met Jesus at the Beach

**Disclaimer: I wholly acknowledge the possibility that this man was not Jesus. He could have been an angel or just another common man. But something in our encounter stirs my soul with significance – recognition in his words and demeanour. I would rather be wrong, than dismiss an encounter with Christ. For that reason, I will honour my intuition. 

 

We ran as a family down the familiar trail path- past the zigzag bridge, over the hills and through the park. We landed at the beach. Stopping for missy’s sake, we entertained child’s play- running over jungle gyms and flying down slides. We visited briefly with neighbours, then made our way down to the beach.

This beach has been home to many encounters with Christ – all of which, my nose was immersed in The Word and my heart, deep in prayer.

This beach has become holy, in the eight years we’ve lived here.

The sun danced across the water, for the first time, in what felt like months.

My soul was downcast. I recognized it, acknowledging just yesterday, the darkness around me: depression. I was in a pit I couldn’t explain away.

Just that morning I had surrendered, asking Jesus, yet again, to fill every crevice of my being with His love and Light and Power- that He would overtake and transform me, divinely, in every way available to a human being.

Because to the fullest measure available, I want Jesus- always more.

On the east end of the beach we met a man, quite ordinary looking- middle Eastern, or European, if I had to guess. His eyes were closed, chin lifted to the sun. His mouth was moving- muttering prayers, I assumed. Something in me recognized his posture.

As we passed, he made eye contact.

“Hello.” I gestured.

He gave a simple nod.

As we turned, I spotted him watching us intently, his gaze following.

We passed him again. This time, he knelt to missy’s level.

“Hello.” He said, his voice firm, yet gentle.

He had an accent I couldn’t quite peg.

“What’s your name?” He asked her.

Silence followed, as she searched the sand.

I answered for her. I knew she couldnt.

He laughed a sly smile and looked up at me.

“I was talking to her.” 

“Oh, I know,” I defended, “But she doesn’t speak much.” 

“Let her speak.” He responded, as if ignoring me…

“Excuse me?!” I thought, my pride wounded. “Who are you, to speak like that.” 

Missy resumed walking, my pride glad for the escape.

“Looks like we’re off!” I faked nicety.

A few steps forward I turned, my ego needing another look… Still he watched us, a grin upon his face.

“Leave her,”  he said, now pointing to missy’s inquisition of the Canada Goose. “They understand each other.” 

The goose had one leg. Worried she’d agitate him, I warned again. “Be careful, Sweety. Give the goose space.” 

I turned to acknowledge the man.

“Looks like the goose is hurt. Only has one leg.” 

“No,” He said, firmly, “She’s doing yoga… it’s a good thing.” 

I laughed. Funny, I thought.

“There’s a reason for it- the yoga…”  He followed up.

I was silent- perplexed. This was a strange man. Not only was he forward, His speech was cryptic, as if I knew the hidden meaning… as if he wanted me to ask another question.

But I didn’t- neither understand or ask.

I simply turned and kept walking.

I was puzzled and a little unsure about him; hurt even, by his authoritative, forward nature.

He was gentle, but his firmness cut me like a knife.

Minutes later, I turned to see him leaving, walking away, down the trail path we’d shortly return.

 

“What did He mean?” My soul tangled.

I felt like I had missed something.

Part of me wanted to chase after him, but I didn’t know why.

Only later, did I discover potential meaning, as if my spirit revealed His hidden message:

Let others speak first, Kailey. Don’t be so quick to talk. Listen. Let them surprise you.

Yoga: there’s a purpose to standing on one foot- learning to rest and balance in weakness. There, we find strength and peace, beyond circumstance.

Suddenly, I understood.

My soul affirmed it, as I read Jesus’ words the next morning in my bible: firm, yet gentle- authoritative and spoken in cryptic metaphor.

In the same way Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, this man had spoken to me. His posture and demeanour, identical.

Just like Jesus, He showed up in the middle of ordinary life, while on a morning family run, to redirect and change my heart.

 

This man had spoken life into two dark areas of my heart- places I’m currently wrestling and need assurance of his sovereignty in:

  1. my incessant need to speak and be understood-  and

  2. my current season of life, full of weakness and imbalance.

Gentle yet firm, this man, who I believe now to be Jesus, pointed me to Truth-  to the strength and peace I’m so desperately craving, in difficult, uneasy waters.

 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” –  Johns 16″33

 

#KnowJesusEcourse | A pilgrimage to deeper intimacy with Christ

You are not alone. We are kindred spirits.

Circumstantially our lives look different, but these four things connects us:

1. Our desire to know Jesus intimately
like a real life friend or lover

2. A longing to receive God’s love
not with our minds (because the Bible tells us), but with ours hearts.

3. An unwavering, sold-out conviction of how deeply and unconditionally we are wanted and accepted by God, and as a result

4. The desire to start living our lives like we believe it!

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If I could sum up my last two years, it would be this:

1. Know Jesus

2. Receive God’s love

And it’s changed everything!

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I hardly recognize the woman in the mirror and the heart that houses my emotions. I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus.

And I mean ‘NEW’ in every sense of the word, not some pat Christian phrase that sounds good.

Version 3

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#knowjesusEcourse is a FREE BIBLE STUDY in your inbox.

The very same prayers, tools and strategies God led me to, that revolutionized my relationship with Him.

  • Look boldly in the face of your fears, addictions and strongholds, taking them to Jesus for healing
  • Throw off self-condemnation, masks of perfection, and striving to prove your worth
  • Start living free- in honesty and authenticity- with yourself, others and with Jesus

 

Version 4

“So much resonated in deep, dark places within me. I felt both seen and heard; encouragement I read again and again. -K”

“I became stronger and more self-aware.– J”

“It addresses issues of the heart. It validated how I felt – that Jesus came to heal the WHOLE self. Emotions aren’t bad or things to feel guilty for. – L

Version 4

 

12 practical ways to experience Jesus’ presence and feel his love.

  • Discover intimacy and joy in knowing Him personally, in relationship over religion.
  • Find healing for your heartache, freedom from your struggles and transformation into the person God created you to be!

 

In my faith walk, joy has caused me to thank God but it’s the sorrow that has helped me love him and ultimately, receive his love. It’s the hard and messy parts of life that have refined and reshaped the woman I am today.

#KnowJesusEcourse is that journey; the one God led me on to him. To healing and transformation.

It will push you further than you’ve dared to go before, bringing you to new levels of awareness and depth in relationship.

 

KnowJesusPreview

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If you want to know Jesus or you want more of Him, then this free online bible study is for you.

Twelve Lessons plus a private FB group with access to me and fellow sister sojourners.

What better way to celebrate #ValentinesDay than to take your relationship with Jesus to the next level. Begin your greatest love affair…  I promise: he does not disappoint!

Sign up now and receive the first lesson immediately.

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My living rooms open | Join the party

If you haven’t joined the party yet, this here is my personal invitation…

We’re talking:

  • Faith

  • Motherhood

  • Relationships

  • Freedom

And we’re missing your voice!

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Afraid you won’t fit in?! Impossible..

Grace Clingers, Deep Feelers, Love Warriors WELCOME.

That’s YOU and you know how I know?  Because you’re here now.

The same honesty and rawness you’ve come to know about me here, is there too.

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As I work to complete two NEW and exciting PROJECTS- my book, “Bleeding Hearts” and my e-course, “Know Jesus; Receive God’s love,” – my blog posts are fewer and far between as I channel my creative energies there.

That’s why I want to invite you to my living room floor on instagram. 

I’m sharing parts of my personal faith story never told before, encouragement that works for me when my faith feels hard, lessons from the mundane of motherhood, and the books that are messing with me.

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That thing you’re facing…

This season of life you’re in right now…

The yuck you’re struggling with…

I promise you, you’re not alone!

There’s a tribe of people waiting to prove it to you too, including me!

Come join us, will you? 

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–//

 

Here’s a peek at what we’re wrestling with:

“I wanted to be cool and if I’m really honest, envied. I thought in order to be liked + accepted, people had to want what I had to offer. They couldn’t possibly just like me for me. And that lie, extended into every area of my life: my work, my body, my house, my relationships, my money + my success. I had to be the best. I tried + tried until I almost died. Quite literally…

Anxiety + panic attacks held me hostage. An eating disorder ravaged my body, my moods + my every thought for 15 years. My need for acceptance kept me running every minute of the day trying to prove my worth + please everyone. And I mastered the art quite well! I was good at it. Proud of it even + fooled people into thinking I had life “figured out”. But I didn’t. I was enslaved- chained to my insecurities + fuelled by my fear of rejection. Until I decided to”… [READ THE REST]

 

“You will always regret something. You will always disappoint someone. But it isn’t going to be my husband and our kids.
It has been, but I’m learning. And I’m making things right. And so this morning, I sent the email- afraid I’d be seen as weak or irresponsible, afraid I’d be pulling the ripcord on a career I’d spend a decade building, praying for opportunities like this one… Do I mean all the things I’ve been saying about worth and rest and what matters most, or don’t I?...” [READ THE REST]

 

“I used to run a million miles a minute. I did everything that had to be done and more. I checked off every box and I finished every goal. The thing was, I was still empty inside. Around every next bend I’d find my true identity and my worth- the joy and meaning I was seeking. But it never came. With every new chapter and every new accomplishment I felt more and more frustrated, desperate for something to change. Why was I not truly happy? I had everything I ever wanted… and more.
Slowly but surely, God showed me the culprit. It was” … 
[READ THE REST]