A Return to Love and Becoming my Own Soft Place to Land.

My current view feels like an omen :: flowing life force. A change in perspective. Soaring to new heights.

I feel myself expanding.

My soul is opening.

Our walls and harvest table are a testament to that : I leave paints and canvases and paper out, for whenever our hearts fancy

At first, it was for her- my joyful toddler, who spends hours at a time creating. But over the days and weeks, it’s become about me, also.

When my girlfriend asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. I told her, “Teach me to paint. Im sick of coffee shops and restaurants and sitting just talking.”

I’ve forever fancied her walls, adorned with personal sketches and paintings. But my C in High school art class told me, “No. It’s not for you. You’re not good enough.”

But my soul wanted it- it has for a lifetime. And I’m finally letting go- giving her permission to come out of hiding and paint for the joy of it.

No judgement, no shame, no expectations, I’m delighting in the pleasure of creating once again

And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was greater than the risk it took to bloom. – Anais Nin

Through the art of allowing and the gift of permission, I am taking what is rightfully mine: freedom, play, delight, joy, wholeness… LIFE abundant.

Filling my home with bows of fresh greens and red berries tied up with string.

Lighting an advent wreath-  the swoosh of a match stick- and lingering long enough to breath in it’s aroma.

Taking time- again and again- to choose the perfect scent.  1…2….3….4 drops of essential oil into a diffuser.

Five deep breaths to imprint the moment, and the benefits, on my mind and heart.

Letting music waft through my walls and speakers.Taking time to listen, appreciate and move to it’s rhythms, whether I’m in my kitchen cooking, doing yoga by myself, shaking off the energy or bopping with my toddler in the living room.

Sitting in silence. Focusing on the life moving inside me. Trusting that my words- and the world- can wait… until I’m full of Love and Peace and Reverence:  what I need to serve my people well.

Wearing threads, soft and feminine, that wrap me cozy and comfortable: pyjamas that make me feel beautiful.

Mundane routines like washing and cleansing, peppered with natural agents, luscious scents and kind, gentle attention. 

Reading the words of others-  sages and ancients and wisdom of old- allowing Love to shape my perception and reception.

Dreaming and longing for romance and travel and making room for it in my future. Calling it what it is:  Important and Set Apart- Nurishment for my soul and relationships.

Indulging – in that second cup of coffee, that day of shopping, too much tv, simply sitting- with zero guilt. Instead honouring as sacred space and shared time- with God, others and myself.

Smelling the coffee grinds before pouring in the water. 

Saying sorry. Forgiving old hurts. Re-inviting people to my table and my heart.

Allowing others to think different. Believe different. Trust different. And leaving it as OK. Welcoming them, even, as teachers-  not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Listening to Body and giving her what she needs: water, food, rest, sleep, massage, movement, connection and release. All of it Holy and Good.

Allowing pleasure to ignite me and give my days meaning.

“I am living what I’ve secretly longed for….” I told my hair dresser. “The things I’ve dreamed about, saw in movies and envied in others simple, yet spacious choices.

The things I reserved for vacation and weekends only- I’m living them in my everyday. And my family is being remade by it. I’m coming alive,  more beautiful and radiant than before.”

She smiled knowingly.

“It sounds like you’ve befriended your soul again. You’re re-embracing what makes you feminine.”

Yes, I thought.

I am restoring, reawakening, redeeming what has been mine from the beginning – my sacred and feminine wholeness

I’m living my freedom to enjoy.

I’m delighting in my senses.

I’m letting pleasure lead me home.

You don’t have to fling yourself around the planet searching for those things outside yourself. You only have to go back into the stillness to locate it. The treasure you’ve been searching for so long was there all the time. – Shauna Niequest | Present Over Perfect

I’m reclaiming my innocence, my curiosity and my faith without borders.

I’m reconnecting with my soul: my love for movement and art, music and dance- the language of my body’s self expression.

I’m resurrecting self love, self acceptance, self reverence: my sensuality, my sexuality and feminine power.

And’m finding them in the silence- the stillness within. I need only to return – to myself; to breath with Love – the love that befriends and consumes and transforms.

Through this simple and sacred practice, I’m receiving every Good thing I’m longing for:

  • Kindness- for myself, then others.
  • Energy to live my life, heal my physical body and do the things my soul loves and dreams of.
  • Joy that becomes my life song.
  • Embodying my Feminine Wholeness.
  • A Return to Love- my very innocence.

I know it’s better here, here in the place of love.

I will rejoice not over monumental accomplishments, but rather microscopic improvements that are closing the gap between who I am today and the woman I want to become- my Truest Self.

Like showing up and starting over- again.

Waking early to give my soul space.

Signing up for the thing that scares me.

The well is within us. If we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth. – Rich That Hanh

This is my bridge, my pilgrimage to new awareness of Love- of God’s profound and wild and wondrous presence.

It is here that I will blossom and transform; once again become a soft and sacred place to land.

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Permission to break rules + be idle.

Six days my daughter was sick- flu ridden and couch bound. Then three days more for me… and counting. 

It’s been oddly refreshing and freeing- if I’m willing to admit it.

In the midst of fevers and sore throats and tummy troubles, I’ve found myself swimming effortlessly, in Rivers of Grace. 

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Without judgement, I’ve given myself permission to let her watch tv: for 6 days straight and eat whatever she wants. Without guilt, I’ve given myself permission to be with her, tucked in and cuddled down on the couch. Then I did the same when it was my turn to be sick.

I’ve indulged in too much tv. I’ve read for hours on end. I’ve dreamt and journaled about frivolous things. I’ve shopped online and perused social media feeds. I’ve texted with friends and blogged for long hours. I’ve stared at photos Ive seen one thousand times.

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And while that might seem menial and insignificant, it’s a miracle in my books. Because I did it all willingly, without reluctance or guilt; in full acceptance and delight!

I felt zero remorse for the meetings I cancelled (and there were many), the things I didn’t show up for and the people I couldn’t help. I let friends bring me food and my husband keep the house and run errands.. including things I haven’t “let him touch” in years!

I broke my own rules of discipline and moderation, revelling in the excess of rest and play. I didn’t count down the hours or the days until life would go back to normal and I could get things done.

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My house remains undone. So does my to-do list. 

And it’s long.... with important, time sensitive obligations.

But for now, it waits and will remain that way until I’m fully better.

There will be no mustering of energy or cutting healing short.

No Madame. Not this time!

So, if you’ll excuse me, another Netflix binge is calling. I think I’ll indulge myself in a Hallmark Christmas marathon this time.

 

Lessons in the Silence and the Art of Contemplation

I feel the words bubbling below the surface – my voice, my thoughts, my desires, rolling on low simmer.

Boil is approaching with a life force of it’s own.

God made me this way.

Ideas and metaphors wax eloquent within my mind. Then, they make their way out into the world- their analogy becoming clearer as I type.

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Words have always been my teacher; I, forever, their pupal.

My heart is open and willing- yearning, even– to understand and empathize with their teachings.

But in the quiet, I’ve discovered a new teacher- and I have listened with fresh curiosity.

Her voice is sweet, gentle and compassionate; her lessons pointed and encouraging….

encouraging me to rise higher, to new levels of faith and prayer. 

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Silence, meditation, contemplation and the breath – this is where I’m seeing and experiencing Jesus, right now.

They help me stop, be still and know .

So quick to speak, these practices teach me the art of listening….

and in listening, I’m brought into God’s Presence – the present moment, now.

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For me to know, I must feel.

I must experience it with my heart.

Because true knowledge, for me, is heart knowledge- a knowing, so embodied, that it’s truth permeates my being…. like breath.

These practices – silence, meditation, contemplation and the breath – have helped move truth from my heart down to my heart – to see and experience Jesus in that space.

Like the lyrics of United Pursuit’s, “Head to Heart’:

From head to the heart, take me on a journey- from letting go, to getting lost in you.

More than words more than good ideals, I found your love in an open field.

I first started exploring contemplative practices about a year ago, but it wasn’t until this summer, that God took me to new and deeper levels.

It’s been three months now, since I first logged off and went silent.

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked their use on my computer. My goal was one month, but when the time came, I knew I was just beginning.

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I’m slowly reemerging, but in the quiet, I learnt some valuable lessons I’ll take with me:

While “disconnected”, I feel and hear God clearly – sometimes loudly and in uncanny ways. I see Him present in the mundane and His hand, in the nuances of my day….

As if i’m standing in the centre of a windstorm, declaring:  “Can you see that?! Can you feel it?! This is God’s Spirit moving!”

Before, I was too distracted to notice.

Too stuffed to taste.

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Breath work and meditation help slow me down.

Four counts in …..

1

2

3

4

and four counts out ….

1

2

3

4

intentionally releasing and letting go.
While focusing on my breath, I consent to work of The Spirit within me. I Feel the moment and whatever it brings, choosing to be still with it.

In time, I hear him. Then I see him or I feel him.

In the stillness I know:

The Spirit is doing a deeper work than my mind can grasp- a healing work I must simply surrender to; be open and willing.

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I’m learning to prioritize rest and self-care- choosing to love from a full tank, rather than refuelling after.

Practically, that looks like working from a place of rest, rather than resting from my work.

It means taking time each day to do the things that fill me up and keep me healthy: things like prayer, yoga, reading, naps, and getting outside regularly. Eating clean, drinking water and getting plenty of sleep at night.

It looks like asking for help and taking intentional time to be still – morning, mid afternoon and before bed.

And I’m learning to reward and pamper myself first, not after I get the job done!

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A funny thing has happened:

My joy has doubled, and my peace magnified. And see Jesus in everything. 

Revelation and wisdom come to me out of no where- and I’m eager to do the daily grind.

I do more in half the time I used to and I’m finally able to leave things unfinished.

I trust that God willl provide- the time, the resources, the knowledge, the answers – everything I need to do His will.

His job is to provide; mine is simply to ask and to trust.

 

Through the art of silence and centering, I’m taking myself off the throne and giving God back his rightful seat in my life.

Because when God puts me somewhere, he’ll keep me there, but if I put myself there, I have to keep me there!

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Where I was once was chasing perfect, I am now choosing present.

Where I once was busy and striving, I’m now intentional and content.

Where my mind was once cluttered, my heart is now calm.

And I finally feel centred in my soul...

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I’ve found the sanctuary and holy ground, where God has always dwelt.

Breathing Room

So many stirrings.

Such depths of longing.

Yet, few words will form- or suffice.

I want to make concrete these stirrings I have- this growing hunger for more: more space, more freedom, more ease, more breathing room- but I can’t quite yet.

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It comes like a leaky faucet- in drips and drabs and droplets: the prayers, quotes, songs, pictures, and metaphors of others. Ones for now, I’ll gladly borrow:

The TeacupIlluminata, Breathe with Love. The Coffee ShopStarlight in the Darkness, yoga in the morning. Floating Clouds, open ocean, rustling wind within the trees.

They whisper my unformed words – silent soliloquies.

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It’s a tune I recognize from a pit of knowing-  the woman who longs to emerge and stay:

Who wants more love, less judgement.

More being, less doing.

More get to’s, less have to’s. 

More listening, less talking. 

More living, less striving. 

… In both my external world and my internal.

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In these four weeks of silence, I’ve rediscovered a best friend- the voice I once knew and followed with passion…. my soul.

I hear her again. And her voice is so sweet.

We’re starting at last to honour our own discomfort, to think that maybe we weren’t crazy after all, chafing for years under the oppressive weight of our cultural nonsense.

Millions of us now reach out for our lost, buried souls, and once we begin the search, we’re bound to find it. – Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

….  like an old familiar friend or a cozy sweater; a timeless love song, set to a moody ballad.

At first her voice was quiet, like a soft whisper I strained to hear. But now she’s singing with octane and the innocence of an untamed child.

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Curious, she is; whimsical and passionate; in love with life- her life.

She sees good and beauty everywhere; from an orange, to a butterfly, to the faces of neighbours passing by.

She knows what she wants and it’s not the things this world tells her she does.

She worships in surrender, with a kind of teenage love. Uninterested in religion, but fiercely hungry for God.

She’s inclusive of others, regardless of differences- asking questions without forming opinions first.

She shines bright- Light in poise and manner. Unconcerned with words, she sees no need to explain herself. She lets actions, speak louder.

It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – James 3:13 (The Message)

Like a lighthouse, she feels no need to draw attention inward. She shines outward for the sake of others- a light left on for pilgrims on the journey.

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She delights in her senses and revels in flavour.

She feels at home – in her body and her community.

She sees abundance in place of scarcity and trusts implicitly.

She flourishes in simplicity and blooms inside the margins- with time, in the waiting. 

She’s unhurried and unrushed, trusting in the process and her pleasure.

It’s the journey she’s after- one of meaning: connection and joy; contentment and faith.

This is the legacy she wants to leave.

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As I’ve listen to her voice and befriended her longings, I found new space to thrive- breathing room.

It was there all along, like an unopened present, just waiting for me to see it.

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I was too busy and distracted to notice; to hurried in my tasks to care. I chose instead, the beat of expectation- my own, the world’s, what I thought the church (and God) required of me. 

Now, I find myself rebelling- pushing back against the fence walls that boxed me in and stifled the lyrics of my soul.

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Like my ideas of faith and God, my life is expanding- and in that expansion, I’ve found myself, again- my true self, my soul.

Like a reunion of saints:

Her innocence, my maturity. Her whimsy, my experience. Her freedom, my longing. Her joy, my suffering.

Together, we are better. 

In our union, we’ve found home. 

 

 

 

 

The silent scream that slapped me into now

A two year old almost drowned… right in front of me, today.

She wasn’t my own; nor was I looking after her. But she was still right in front of me- in my direct line of eyesight.

I could have- should have– seen it. I could have- should have– caught it. But I didn’t….

Her mom did, thankfully in time.

As her mother gasped, I looked down. I could see her there, sitting under the water, paralyzed and unable to move. Her eyes were bug-eyed wide and open- staring back at me.

They had a desperate plea about them, silently screaming “Help me. Do you see me?!”

But I didn’t.

I had no idea a child was drowning right in front of me- less than a foot away.

I’ve held this notion for a while now – that we hear danger and accidents as they happen. That if anything should happen to my daughter, I’d be aware of it, because I’d hear it.

But today proved otherwise. 

It happened in an instance- in silence and I was completely unaware.

So was her mother, for a time.

I couldn’t shake the thought all day. I tried not to personalize the experience – to make it about me– but the whole thing spoke clear:

Kailey, wake up. Be alert. Things happen in an instant and if you’re not paying attention – if you’re distracted by your phone or even your thoughts- you’ll miss it.

All love begins with the act of paying attention. Stay here. Remain in the present moment.

I’ve watched social experiment videos, where people stage child abductions … many times, right in front of their parents eyes. I’ve read blog posts about children who drown or run into traffic… many times, right in front of their parents eyes.

And I’ve judged.

I’ve made sweeping assumptions about what kind of parents they were or how they were choosing to spent their time, rather than watching their children. [insert exaggerated huffing sounds of disapproval]

Then today, I was that person! 

I wasn’t on my phone. I wasn’t even having a conversation. There was no multi-tasking happening! I was sitting quietly on a pool step, observing my thoughts, when I failed to see a child drowning- right in front of my eyes.

It was far too easy and quick.

Evil may have had it’s way with her, but praise God, it didn’t. Her mom caught it in time. She is safe and very much OK.

But the fact remains: her story could have ended differently- perhaps, in just a few more seconds.

I’m one week into a four week sabbatical – a break from all work – plus, a digital detox. And so far, I’ve realized how often I’m tempted to pick up my phone; to numb out and distract. Without my phone, I see too, how tempting it is to numb out and distract- to instead, choose my day dreams and my thoughts, rather than my present moment… especially when I’m angry, worried, in shame or simply bored with what’s in front of me.

Time and again I’ve caught myself.

This present moment thing is harder than I thought!

But I want it- I want to make a habit of it….not only for joy’s sake, but for prevention’s sake, as today taught me.

It’s not my responsibility to save every child. I also can’t protect my own from everything. But it is my job to be responsible – to do what I can, to hedge her from protection. And that includes being present: not just with my hands. Not just with my eyes, but with my thoughts and my attention.

My intention, this present moment. 

Lord, Help me.

 

 

Saying So-Long, Sayonara to my Teenage Companion

I’m feeling the feels- all sorts of them.

I’m praying for discernment: which ones to embrace and which ones to cast down- to let float by on the river of my emotions, without picking them up to observe.

My truck is getting towed – taken for scraps – this morning. Any minute the guy will arrive and I’m choking back tears. My heart feels heavy.

It’s not the truck. It’s what it represents: the memories.

My childhood, my innocence, my naivety, my vanity, my pride, my stupidity, my wandering, my foolishness, my mistakes.

Through it all, this truck carried me- quite literally.

I learnt to drive on the thing! I passed my drivers test in it’s elevated seat and for fifteen years, I’ve turned that wheel through the changing seasons: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I’ve cried hard tears over that wheel- mother/daughter drama, teenage heartbreak, new mom meltdowns and marital hardship. It’s bore witness to it all.

I’ve worshiped at it’s wheel singing praises at the top of my lungs and poured my heart out in song, when nothing but lyrics made sense.

I’ve driven hours to no where, just to be alone and think – to be still, without a reason to get going. I could simply sit- with God and myself: the humble beginnings of my love affair with silence, contemplation prayer and meditation.

For years, this was one of my favourite places to drive to, as captured by Wakefield.

 

I met Jesus in that truck listening to 106.5, finally brave enough to ask the hard questions I’d never uttered out loud. My truck became a safe place to wrestle and challenge. I felt free to be me, without judgement or expectation.

It’s seen fifteen years of trips to the interior: summers in Penticton, Christmas’ at Apex- family traditions that continue still.

I was sixteen going on seventeen. Now I’m twenty nine, going on thirty.

But it’s time to bit her farewell.

I find it no coincidence she’d kick the bucket now- that my truck would no longer be able to serve me and my family’s needs.

Like so many things I’m leaving behind – the emotional baggage and identity of my past – I see too, my physical world is changing.

I am no longer a girl, but a women. I feel it in my bones.  I know it with my breath.

Everything’s changed and I am different.

My interior world proves it; my exterior world reflects it.

I think of Sodom and Gomorrah- how Lot’s wife looked back as she escaped her burning city. And suddenly, she turned to a pillar of salt. She was given opportunity- to a better life- but instead she held on. While physically she was fleeing, in her heart she couldn’t let go. And I think God knew that.

Because an inability to let go, is an inability to trust God. I learnt this the hard way.

Yet I sense her struggle in myself- the urge to look back, despite knowing what’s ahead is good.

God is calling me to let go of my truck and all it represents – my past and it’s story lines; it’s fears and insecurities; the girl I was then- and not look back. He’s calling me to trust Him and look forward – to the hope of what’s ahead. 

Because rest assured, NEW is on the horizon.

–//

I missed my truck being towed away, by minutes….

I had planned to go downstairs and see it off- to take a picture to commemorate. I didn’t make it though and I know it was God’s doing- his mercy and hedge, protecting me from looking back; forcing me to look forward. And for that I’m grateful. My Father is good and He knows what’s best.

 

 

 

Just be with me | A 4 week digital detox

My word for 2017 is Abide.

It has been for the last two years, but with different intention- a focus on different aspects of the word.

In the first half of 2016, it was learning to be, rather than to doa human being, not a human doing.

Then it was learning to be with Christ. To stay in his presence, to linger longer there in prayer, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I learnt to sit with my emotions, give them to Jesus and be transformed through the act of surrendered trust.

The latter half of 2016, was a call to remainto stay in the tension or the struggle, without running away or trying to fix it.

This has been my practice until recently- until May, when God declared that “It is finished.”… Referring to my three year season of struggle, marked by pain and perseverance. It was a second birth- a journey of healing to wholeness, which I affectionately refers to as,  my “dark night of the soul,” thanks to When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.

Now, I feel a new season approaching- a new story beginning to unfold, still embodied by my word: Abide.

These words are rising from my soul,  an anthem and meditation:

Remain: in peace
Stay: in the moment
Be with: your people

So, in a brave act of obedience, of listening to my  hearts desires, I will honour my longing and the call of Christ within me. I will abide.

Practically, that looks like fasting social media throughout my 4 week sabbatical from work.

My companion on this pilgrimage is “The Digital Detox Guide” by Morgan Day Cecil. (Currently on sale!). I just love the way she describes the process of unplugging- of detoxing from our digital world:

Love begins and ends in the act of paying attention. We give so much love to our mobile devices and our screens. What if we shared some of that energy with other things in our life? What would happen if for one month we set the intention to pay a little less attention to the exciting things happening online, and a little more attention to the wonderful, quieter things happening in our heart and in the hearts of those we love? – Morgan Day Cecil | The Digital Detox Guide

This isn’t my first rodeo.

I’ve been intentionally fasting social media for years: on weekends and vacations, for instance and setting boundaries around the number of times and hours of day, I use it.

It’s been a mark of discipline- something I believe God honours and is imperative to the Christian walk.

But this time feels different, like an invitation to a new way of life- of living with higher perspective.

And I want it. I’m ready.

In the same way, Simplicity Parenting gave me the freedom to enjoy motherhood again, and Rhythms of Rest have given me my health and joy back,  I sense new freedom on the horizon- from numbing distraction and the anxiety that embodies hyper-connectivity.

My prayer is this:

Lord, teach me to abide: to remain in peace, regardless of circumstance or emotion or volume. To stay in the present moment- my moment- each one a gift of grace from you. Help me unwrap it with wonder and curiosity. To be with my people, loving them and letting them love me in return.

I receive all of what you have for me, in advance and I surrender to the transformational work of The Holy Spirit in me. Use all of it for my good and your glory. Remember me- this brave act of obedience in a distracted world- and bless it. I ask boldly, in the name of Jesus, my saviour, lover and friend.

Wild Freedom and the Dance of my Inner Child

I feel awake, as if for the first time- seeing life with new eyes, ears and taste buds.

Everything feels new… like my senses have awoken from a deep sleep- a hibernation.

This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been surviving for the better part of three years- the hard work of surrendering, staying, healing and learning to breath. The brave choice to keep going and believing, when it feels like the oxygen has been sucked from your life.

To everything there is a season and these past years have been necessary- Holy and Good. They’ve remade me and birthed in me a new woman- no longer a caterpillar, but a butterfly.

Now, I feel a new story unfolding ; one where the heroine of the story is me, learning to fall in love again- to love and be loved in return…. not just by God, but by my people.

Give me insight, so I can do what you tell me- my WHOLE life one long, obedient response. Give me a bent for your words of wisdom.

Deflect the harsh words of my (inner) critics, for what you say is ALWAYS good!

Let your LOVE shape my LIFE, as I stride, FREELY, in WIDE OPEN SPACES…. as I look for your truth and wisdom there. Then, I’ll tell the world what I find- speak body in public places, unembarrassed.

You are GOOD. Train me in your goodness. Focus my attention on what you are saying, while I DANCE to the tune of your revelation.

Oh, Lord, LOVE ME, right now! HOLD ME tight! Comfort me, so I can REALLY LIVE.  – Excerpt Psalm 119

As I read these words my body unfurls. My toes curl, like a breath of ecstasy. My inner child leaps with joy, a happy dance suppressed for too long.

I once was in a prison cell, surviving pain and holding hope. Now I find myself in a Meadow-  just past the gate of crossroads.

This Meadow is wide open and I am free- free to run and play and delight in all it offers.

The Meadow is Wild…. and the truth is, it scares me. 

The mother in me wants to see, first, the rules sign posted at the entrance, to read the mission statement and hear God’s overarching goal before I agree- before I surrender to this adventure I find myself in.

It feels grey, when my mother heart wants it black and white.

But the little girl? She’s antsy- more like pee her pants excited– to be here. She wants to run with reckless abandon!

She’s begging me to LET GO and watch her RUN FREE…. to cease being a religious helicopter parent over her spiritual journey.

She has the Holy Spirit to do that, and he’s far more gentle and kind, than I. He’s untainted by the world and religious conditioning- exactly the things that have been hindering her for years- the things I’ve unknowingly heaped upon her like a wet blanket.

I see me, grasping her hand tight, she pulling- willing me, to give in- to stand watch, like a good parent would do, while she frolics and plays in the Freedom God has given her.

She wants to dance, unashamed of how her body looks or moves to the rhythm. She wants to sing, loud and proud, regardless of how it sounds. She wants to eat and taste and rediscover food, as a gift and a friend, not an enemy or inconvenience. She wants to explore new sights and sounds- the novelty exotic. She wants to delight in the touch of her lover. She wants to pray in ways I haven’t allowed, and listen to longings of her heart.

Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?! – Acts 19:2 (The Message)

And so I stand, as the mother of a child- my inner child- knowing what I must do:

entrust her to the care of Jesus.

 

—–//

Lord, I am convinced that you alone know what is best for me- my inner child. You alone know what she needs. I release her- my inner child- into your care and protection.  I commit myself to praying for her, everything you put on my heart. Help me not to impose my own will – the will of my guardian and functional heart– onto her. Help me not to live in fear of possible dangers, but in the joy and peace of knowing that YOU ARE IN CONTROL. I entrust her and release her into your hands- your protection, your guidance and your counsel. In Jesus name, Amen. 

 

Making Peace with Who I’m Made to Be | The Enneagram + Living like an Introvert

Eight months ago, I learnt I was an introvert. The discovery blew my mind, because all my life, I had lived like an extrovert.

Outgoing, bubbly and a performer by nature- large crowds don’t scare me and I’m perfectly comfortable being the centre of attention.

I love being with people! How could I possibly be an introvert then?

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Succinctly, Jess Connolly smashed that notion with her definition of the defining difference between the two:

Extroverts get energy and are filled up by being with people. It’s how they recharge.

Whereas, introverts find people and crowds draining. Some may very well love being with people, but they ultimately need solitude, rest and quiet to refuel- and to process.

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BINGO! That was me…

And yet, all these years (29 to be exact) I had been living, working and loving from the well-source of an extrovert.

You see, every three months (and increasingly sooner in difficult seasons of life) I found myself depleted, drained and exhausted. I wanted to quit life and run away… every three months!!! I battled depression because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fill back up.

I was empty ALL. THE. TIME.

I battled the shame of being weak and lazy and not good enough – of letting the people I love most down.

I realized in that moment- in discovering I was an introvert -something needed to change.

If I was to find my joy again and the energy I needed to love and serve my people well, I needed to start honouring my body, mind and soul’s need for solitude, rest and quiet.

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God had already started teaching me about peace in solitude, so I was excited to take this next steps.

Slowly and surely, I implemented the following:

  • Creating space in my days, as well as my weeks, for rest, reflection and alone time
  • Prioritizing things that fill me up, like reading, writing, getting outside and doing yoga
  • Working from a place of rest, rather than resting from work  (as my husband put it, “Make rest your priority Kailey, not work.”)
  • Concentrating on one project or work focus at a time, giving it all my energies before moving on to the next
  • Creating an evening routine of solitude and rest, so I woke feeling full, rejuvenated and inspired
  • Pouring into a few people I’m called to, rather than many and everyone
  • Being honest with myself and others about my limitations (saying no to even good things, when I didn’t have the energy or knew I needed to fill up)
  • Leaving blank days on the calendar with nothing scheduled, so I could take them at my leisure

I could write about these in elaborate detail, because quite honestly, it took time and intentionality to figure out how to do this!

It was trial and error in discovering the practice steps and ways of living and loving like an introvert.

Needless to say, I started to breath again. I felt peace return and I could hear my heart sing. It was working!

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Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon the Enneagram, during one of Christa Black Giffords Webinars. Why did I need to take another personality test? I balked. But with her endorsement, I checked it out.

Thirty minutes into taking the Enneagram test, I was in tears- like someone had opened my heart’s journal and read every entry.

Staring back at me were my longings, felt needs and idiosyncrasies; my fears and insecurity. Like they were normal and very much ok. I was seen and accepted by this infamous number 4 that so accurately embodied my deeply emotional soul.

All my life I’ve felt different, (in both a good and bad way) battling the notion that I am wrong or bad- shame my biggest enemy. And here I was, learning that this was normal for a 4 and that in fact, it was not only my greatest weakness, but also my greatest strength, if I harnessed it.

For weeks, I listened to The Road Back to You, a podcast devoted to looking at life through the eyes of the Enneagram from a Christian perspective. Never had I laughed and cried so hard in forty minutes.

In the same way I felt after discovering I was an introvert, I felt seen, heard, validated, and understood in shared experiences with other 4’s!

Don’t you know these are the basic needs of a four and how they feel most loved?!?!

And my wrestle with shame? The infamous demon in the closet for 4’s!

My goodness…. revelation after revelation. 

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I’ll admit, I am very much still learning and discovering the Enneagram. I am far and wide a newbie at it, but what I love most, is the intricacy and depth of it’s reach.

Not only does it outline my basic nature, but also character development at different levels of maturity and how I function under stress or shame or exhaustion- what the Enneagram calls, your shadow side.

It’s informative, challenging and encouraging. Honouring the person God created me to be, while simultaneously calling me UP, rather than OUT.

With the help of The Enneagram, I’m coming to a deeper understanding of my God given strengths and weakness; honouring them, rather than fighting them. I’m learning to acknowledge the shame that so easily ensnares me, rather than will it away. And I’m discovering how a lifestyle of rest and mothering myself, will help me flourish and come alive in ways I’ve only yet tasted.

My capacity for life these days is SO MUCH SMALLER than I ever dared imagine! But if I want to live in health and joy and rest, it’s necessary and good.

And when I love from that place- from the place of my truest self- I discover the connection, belonging and meaning I aspire to leave as my legacy!

The Enneagram and living like an introvert: my  road back to health; to the wholeness and freedom that’s mine in becoming my truest self- the person God created me to be.

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Get started on your journey:

Introvert Living

Discover the peace and pleasure in solitude and rest- mothering yourself to wholeness of health and mind and joy.

 

The Enneagram

Learn your Enneagram Number and start discovering the way you’re wired. Find freedom in who God created you to be in your truest self.

A New Kind of Courage | Devotion. Emotion. Movement. Breath

Courage these days looks different than it used to…

Where it once was loud, it now stays silent. Where it once was proud, it now bows in humility. Where it once was seen, it now seeks solitude.

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Courage has taken on a new posture in this season of life and the truth is, it’s a dance- one I’m learning the steps to, far too slowly for my former striving self.

I’m fumbling and stumbling my way through it.

And yet, each day, each week, each lesson, I find myself dancing this new courage by heart.

Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath:

The basic fundamentals that encapsul this new courage.

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1. Devotion to God through the brave act of showing up

– of coming to him every day just to be with Him, no agenda. To hear from Him, to talk to Him and to read His word. Allowing this time to penetrate my heart and remake me every new morning, from the inside out.

Not in pursuit to “be better and do better”, but to receive, in my perpetual neediness and surmounting weakness- knowing and trusting that in my humanness surrendered, He is strong and mighty and most powerful.

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2. Giving my Emotions to Jesus and Taking Authority over Lies

Instead of willing myself different, I’m learning to be brave enough to welcome my emotions in whatever form.

Be it anger or resentment or frustration or guilt or shame or panic, I’m inviting Jesus to walk parallel to those emotions, feeling His easy lightness alongside the dark heaviness.

Feeling both coexist in the same space- my heart- allowing His presence to fight for me, rather than trying to “fix myself.”

And when His Spirit nudges- when I recognize the lies for what they are – the lies taunting me with untruths about who I am or what I need to do

I’m learning to courageously take my authority in Jesus and send them away… because for too long, I gave lies centre stage and an open mic night in my heart- free reign and an all access pass to harass me and my every thought.

But it stops here.
I will be brave enough to say, “no more”, because I am more: More than a conqueror. More than my mistakes. More than my weakness. More than my imperfections. More than my immaturity. More than my inability to meet others expectations and please every person in my life.

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3. Movement as Worship.

For everything there is a season and this is my season to fly- to learn to fly, anyway. I am no longer a caterpillar in a cocoon, but a butterfly, entirely new in Christ Jesus.

After a season of physical rest- of trusting the good in non-movement– I am finding a new stride: dance to music in my living room, yoga on my patio, running outside in nature.

For a former exercise addict turned nothing-but-walking, these humble beginnings feel awkward and hard.

Every movement is a brave act of surrender and in humility, I’m trusting that with time, I will find my footing and my strength- a new strength, firmer and more grounded than my former self.

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4. Breath as a life line- my connection in every moment to Love and Presence and Life.

Meditation and Centering Prayer and the simple act of intentional breathing.

To stop takes courage.

I’m learning that whatever it is, can wait, because in this moment, what I need more, is Him.

More than to get it done, more than to exercise my rights, more than to be heard or understood,  to fix it or figure it out, what I need now is Jesus.

Breath has become my wordless prayer.

I’m still waiting for the gifts of tongues, but until then, when words fail me or I can’t articulate what I feel, I’m bravely allowing breath to bring me home – to usher me into God’s presence and his heart.

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Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath…

All of this feels new and foreign and yet none of it is new or even foreign. They’re old truths and old practices. Ones that find homage in many homes and hearts and cultures and religions. And yet Im learning them with new intensity and intentionality.

I am a student of rest, learning to mother herself back to Love.

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I’d love to know:

  • How do you intentionally connect to Love?
  • What rhythms of rest has God led you to implement?
  • How has sabbath become a lifestyle rather than just a day?
  • How is God teaching you to mother yourself to wholeness?

We’re in this together- sojourners on the pilgrimage to Christ.