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.

 

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

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.”

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]

 

 

The UnBecoming | Welcome 29

Every knows that
I was the good girl
I did my best to
Make everyone happy with me
Then I found out that
It was impossible to please
The whole crowd

So I spoke up and I spoke out
I learned that love don’t hold its tongue
And passion doesn’t bow to what they think
It’s You and me
Sometimes it’s painful to be brave
To look fear in the face and know your name
To find your strength

I Spoke Up by Steffany Gretzinger

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But I did.

28 was the year I finally did… or undid.

It was a year of undoing that began with an unravelling.

I faced a death so I could see new life both in me and through me, in the life that I have now.

I found my voice. I found my name. I found Him waiting in my heart, there deep within.

To hold my hand and take me on a journey to who I am today, made new.

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It started first with unbecoming who I thought I was.

Who I’d come to be, not because it was the girl I truly wanted to be.

I’d build up walls. I’d hid in shame.

I’d listened to the voice of fear and all the lies that called me names and told me everyone would leave if I was me.

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Yet here I stand at 29. He’s mine and I am His. I’ll always be.

He’s chosen me. He called me Bride. I heard it clear and I came running to His arms.

I tore down walls. I let him in. I sat there still in his near presence and I received love. So divine. Beyond my words His power healed me deep within.

So today I cry with grateful tears, for all He’s brought me through to bring me here.

This unbecoming to become the woman I was made to be in Christ, indeed set free.

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Photo Credit: Dragonflight Photography

 

When you desire to be fully Christ’s, body, mind and soul.

I woke up with a day to myself before me. My daughter was with her nama (grandma) and wouldn’t be home until evening.

Immediately, I knew I needed to spend the day alone with God, resting, praying, listening. I needed quiet and slow, allow solitude to nurture me back to health emotionally and physically.

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Not only was I emotionally fried from weeks of walking a new season of life- one full of new work and new burdens that feel far to0 heavy to carry- but also physically fried. I’d hardly eaten in over a month and my lack of health had led to a poor immense system. Now I’m lying in bed weak and unable to do much anything; bone weary, shaky and light headed.

I felt weak emotionally and physically and I knew the place to start with restoration was spiritually; to connect back with the one who made me and knows me intimately, inside and out. 

I began simply by speaking what was on my heart- thanksgiving for all he had been doing and the ways he had prepared me for this exact moment in time, in my life, in history. I no longer doubted myself or Him. His plan was underway and the things he spoke and imprinted on my heart ten years ago, were starting to unfold. This was the beginning and I knew it without question. 

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As fast as the thanksgiving poured out, the worry began. The fears next, but mostly the regret – the guilt that had consumed me for the past month. I lay it all out before God and confessed that while my heart and soul belonged to him, my body- physically- had not yet been redeemed and found home in him.

And like a revelation, I suddenly saw it: for years I have hated my physical body, beating it into submission trying to silence it’s voice. I had shamed her (my body) for not being what I wanted in each moment, whether that’s for vanities sake or the sake of wanting to be and do a million things yesterday. 

And then the vision came.

A picture formed in my mind of me walking- marching actually through life- dragging a dead weight body behind me, limp and dying; like Christ carrying the cross to calvary. Every so often I would turn and beat her, flog this body- my body- with a strap.

The little girl in me recognizes the body as herself and there I am dragging her and beating her for not being good enough, what I need her to be; for not being perfect. 

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While God has changed my heart dramatically in regards to chasing perfect, I realize I’ve applied grace to every area of my life exact the physical.

Somewhere down the line I had divorced my physical body and cast her aside, refusing to see her any longer as important and part of me. I

n her place- one I used to lift up and idolize- I’d replace her with things of holiness and righteousness. Except how can one divorce their physical when it is the temple of The Holy Spirit? The home of the very one to whom my heart belongs?

God knit my body together in my mother’s wombs and then placed his Spirit within me. All of me is of him made in His image;  the spiritual and the physical, the soul and the body. And he declared it good. All good.

While God has healed me of my eating disorder and body image struggles,  I suddenly see in this vision that I’m still hating the work of his hand; his unique masterpiece, my body.

I’ve been blaming her, judging her and shaming her for being so weak and carnal. I used to beat her up for being addicted, trying to hide her brokenness- food, sex, exercise and busyness. And here I am continuing to see her as bad and evil- the enemy -who led me into temptation and into bondage for so much of my life. Who, if i’m not careful, will lead me back there; one who can’t be trusted.

All I’d done is deflect the anger I used to beat my now healed heart up with, to my body.

I’d chosen to forgot about her, declare her good as dead to me and carried on with the rest of my life.

While food, exercise and body image no longer control me, I’ve abandoned all her felt needs along with it- mainly physical rest and proper nutrition.

Sure I eat, but it’s not enough and not what’s best; only what’s easy because I can’t be bothered to care enough. I’ve thrown her scraps as she sits at the masters table.

Sure I rest and have learnt to embrace slow, but I’ve been far more focused on caring for my mind and my spirit than the physical. I haven’t given her enough sleep or physical rest on my sabbath. Like a mom who’s just given birth and heads into the trenches of motherhood; depleted and deprived.

And consequently, like the apps constantly running in the background of my iPhone, my body is no longer working properly. I am malfunctioning and short circuiting.

My lack of heath is effecting every function of my life and being. I need a reset. 

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I turned on worship music- the playlist that somehow always brings me low; low in humility and I palpably feel the presence of my Lord and Saviour. I lay down on the floor and listen and wait. With my eyes closed I begin to feel myself respond.

In my minds eye I can see myself kneeling at the feet of Jesus, gripping his ankles with tears spilling down my face and onto his feet. I’m rocking back and forth, wailing in confession, when a sudden awareness of his love consumes me. I can feel it. And while I rock there telling him of all my wrong and bad, I can sense his acceptance and delight in me. Like he doesn’t see it or he doesn’t care. 

How can he love a wretch like me, I think; a broken, hysterical, mess of a woman like me?! Somehow he loves me and even delights in me regardless. But how and why? I cry in overwhelm now at the love and beauty amidst the ugly and hard. 

Then I see him get low.

He bends down, sits on his heels and facing each other, he throws his arms around me and embraces me in my snotty nose mess. He softly shushes me and tells me it’s ok and together we rock in unison of my wails.

He grabs my shoulders and with my arms pinned to my side, I see him stand me up and walk me to a stage in front of a large ground. He begins to tell the crowd that this here is his beloved, his chosen one, the women he loves completely. This is the woman he wants to spend eternity with in marriage.

The crowd stares in confusion at why such a man would choose a wreck like me. My wails get louder. I can hardly breath I’m crying so hard and I’m gasping for breath.

How? How I think to myself… why would you love this putrid mess? And to choose me? 

In this moment I’m completely undone. Physically and emotionally, I’m undone by this love. And then it hits me, from my head down to my heart: He’s not going anywhere and he’s dead serious.

Jesus loves this mess of a women; this makeup-less, snotty nosed and balling like a baby mess and he’ll continue to choose me and pursue me for the rest of my life. And he’ll keep telling me and showing me until I believe him. Until there’s no shadow of doubt left as to his devotion.

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Photo Credit: Dragonflight Photography

I see my body fall to the ground, completely wrecked my his love and unable to stand any longer – a surrender – a death of sorts. Jesus falls to the ground beside me and puts his hands on my chest.

I see him lay me down and cut horizontally from my chest down to my pubic none. He opens me up and reaches his hands inside me. He cups my heart with his hand I see His love start flowing inside me.

I’m physically gasping out loud now and my physical chest is beating and rising heavily. Something inside me is changing. I sense it’s my heart physically receiving his love. 

He stitches me back up like a surgeon and then runs his finger along the cut. It’s heals instantly and in my minds eye, I see a scar form in its place. I think of my C-Section scar and how the greatest things of love in my life have required surgery.

….Like how something inside me changed and a love I’d never experienced was birthed after having my daughter. My physical body now wears that scar proudly and I sense the same happening here.

God is changing me internally and in receiving his love, a new love is being birthed now; a love that like the love for my daughter, will forever change me.

There will be no going back. I will be made new by this love. 

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Photo Credit: Dragonflight Photography

In my own resurrection, I now see myself rising to heaven; my soul ascending, Jesus lifting it below me.

The sky is moving around me and suddenly I see myself standing in the throne room before God, Jesus presenting me to his father.

“This is my chosen- my beloved- my bride.” I hear him say. “And I want to marry her.”

Now the throne room turns into a wedding and like the infamous first dance, I’m dancing with my Saviour – my now husband.

At first my feet are perched on his and he’s carrying me, swaying me to the music. My head is nestled in the book of his neck and every so often he kisses my forehead.

The music changes and as the pace picks up, I’m realize I’m now dancing on my own two feet. I’m laughing while together Jesus and I twirl and dance before God the Father and a crowd of heavenly witnesses.

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Photo Credit: Ameris

Suddenly I see us lying in bed and the scene turns deeply intimate. Like a bridegroom and his beloved on their first night as man and wife. I witness in my minds eye a joining of two becoming one. And when it’s over, I’m exhausted, lying in a lovers coma. 

Somehow my heart knows what’s just happened:

Jesus has taken me as his own.  

Not just spiritually through my decision to follow Christ…

Not just emotionally in my learning to pray and share my heart with him unashamed…

But physically.

We are now united fully as one.

He mine and me his. 

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Photo Credit: Ameris

“And nothing will ever change that.” I utter out loud.

My flesh – my body – has been redeemed.  God has given me a gift in this vision; this meditative prayer of sorts.

When my mind doubts his love, my heart and body will now remember. I’ll be forever stamped, unable to doubt his love for me. 

And if Jesus loves me this much, I must begin to love me too- fully, wholly, relentlessly- including my body.

 

 

Finding Community I Never Knew Existed

We sat last night just four- three souls and mine- gathered in my tiny living room with candles burning and the lights down low. With music wafting and the sounds of our hearts echoing between each other.

Just four, like we used to be back when it all began three years ago. Back when I opened my door for the very first time, obediently, but not without apprehension.

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Like Abraham, God was calling me to go to a foreign land, to embrace people I didn’t know. People who were very different from me and likely, I never would have chosen for myself.

And yet, there we gathered; four women, all together unlikely as friends but bound by one common thread: a wrestling, a stirring, a longing for more…. For more of Jesus, to know that God was real and to encounter him. We wanted to be transformed by Him.

I’m no pastor, Im no theologian. Heck, I have not a stitch of formal training! But what I did have, and still do, is a heart that follows hard after God and clings passionately to Jesus.

It was enough then and it is enough now.

…Now, as we continue to gather each week as eight, grown from our original four. Some have gone, while others took their place. One had stuck with us the whole way through.

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And while there is so much that could be said for what’s happened in these past three years, I always come back to this:

God is in this, He is with us and His presence shows up each week to meet us … to change us.. to wreck us with his love.

On more than one occasion, we’ve had ladies who have grown up in church confess that they weren’t really “christians” until they came to this group. We’ve had others who refused to put a title to their faith come slowly and sweetly into surrender, now claiming Jesus as their own. We’ve had ladies who do not share our faith come, long to find community.

And here, gathered on my floor, wrapped in blankets on my couch, we’ve all found home for our weary, longing souls.

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I never knew community until I started this group. I never knew sisterly love until these women wrecked my walls….

The walls I used to build to keep people out and show them only what I wanted them to see. The walls that made me feel safe and yet at the same time, all together lonely. The walls that beckoned, “Don’t come in! If you saw what’s inside here you’d never love me and stay.” The walls that eventually formed a prison and locked me away from love, belonging and connection.

But God has done something in this group – in this space when he shows up: He’s given us zero tolerance for surface talk and a hunger for things of the deep.

The things way, way below the surface that rarely ever see the light of day; the thoughts, the fears, the wrestlings we’d rather push away and deny. It’s these things He calls to the surface, week after week after week. And while it’s scary, we discover something afresh each time: love, acceptance and empathy for who we are, whatever we are, exactly where we are in that moment.

No need to fix. No need to blame. No need to Judge one another away.

Only love.

A love that binds us together and builds each other up in Christ. A love that sees beyond the circumstance, beyond our weak and frail limitations. A love that sees past our mistakes and looks fiercely into the eyes of one made right before God. A love that calls each other up, rather than calling each other out-  although theres been a healthy dose of that too, in our midst. And yet, even that, has been a sweet and loving call to action.

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Because here, we are safe. Here we are known. Here we can trust each other with our hearts; every messy, broken, insecure fibre of our beings. And together, we grab hands in seeking Jesus, the only one who can save us, heal us, and transform us.

And oh, that he has done 100 fold. Time and again. In every life that shows up in this home.

Not because of me- it has nothing to do with me- and everything to do with Him.

—//

 

So if you’re longing for community – real community – the kind that grabs hands and sings “cumbiyah” – here you’ll find it. If you long to know Jesus and trust that God is real – here you will discover Him. If you long to love you and embrace yourself freely – here you will find and meet her.

Because whatever it is God knows your longing and it’s his greatest delight to meet it.

Thank you girls, for loving me relentlessly as I’ve fumbled my way through leading you. Thank you Jesus for teaching me grace and humility that’s led me home and to your heart. Thank you God for trusting me and using this broken vessel to bring forth water – water that never runs dry – to be poured out among your children. May your will be done on earth through this life and this group, as it is in Heaven.

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Seeking Grace Small Group! 

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The secret to living at peace in every moment

He has silenced me like a speechless child, overcome by a reality of her parents love. 

A million miles a minute thoughts pour through my heart, yet not a word can form; only tears… 

And they wash over me like a spring of hope, relief and security. Like a running refugee who just found shelter and news of safety, I savour new realities of who I am and whose I am… and what that tangibly means; what it affords me. 

Where my mind once knew it, my heart now believes it: I’m His, through and through. I belong to God and he delights in me. He doesn’t just love me, he actually likes me!

And the same love that saved me, saves me again and again and it can keep me at peace in every moment.

… if I choose it.

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Like the way I love my daughter relentlessly, unabashedly and ever increasingly and I’m not afraid to show it. I want her to know it in her heart and not just her head!

So I’m certain each day to sing praises and affirmation, regardless of what’s unfolded.

Because I want my words to speak life into every crevice of her being.

In doubt, in fear, shame and insecurity, I want my presence to be the love and safety that washes everything else away. 

…. and I want her to be kept there.

… Her heart to stay there in every minute.

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That’s exactly what God’s been doing and teaching me: that I too, can be kept at peace by his love. If I’ll receive it and choose to be kept there, than I can rest in every moment.

As I surrender my expectations and accept the present, whatever it looks like, he’s washed joy over me relentlessly.

As I’ve laid my heart out before him- confessing all in unbroken conversation– he’s placed unending rest and peace within me. 

As I’ve forfeited my responsibility to make things happen- whether it’s to change, to do, or to correct- he’s left me dumbfounded as he’s made the impossible possible… how the puzzle pieces just fall into place.

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I believed it impossible for most of my life- even my Christian life: that peace could be mine in every moment. And yet

As I’ve learnt to abide, He’s put a stop to my striving, anxiety, shame, fear and negative self talk.

He’s showed me the secret of the Christian life; the key to perfect peace. 

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To abide:

  • To remain and stay connected in the presence of The Father. 

  • To accept all that I am and all that I have in Christ, this moment.

  • To expect Jesus to do the work- all the work– of doing, changing, transforming and keeping [me and others].

  • To surrender to Jesus and to wait.

And as I’ve done that, my heart has been kept at perfect peace; at rest in every moment.

It’s mind boggling! 

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I watched as my husband carried and played with her; as he sung delight over her heart, unreserved in his affection. Never have I experienced such love before.

I longed for it my whole life, looking desperately in wrong places. 

All the while, my Heavenly Father was waiting for me to run to him, so he could give me exactly that and more; so he could overwhelm me with his love and affection.

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And I see it in the way she responds to our affection….

How our love affirms her as she receives it.

How it frees her as she realizes it.

How it transforms her as she experiences it.

How it keeps her as she remembers it. 

 

And we’re far from perfect. How much more the Fathers love for us? 

Because perfect love casts out fear; it binds up the broken heart, it sets us free, so that fully, in every moment, we can live at peace and rest in Him.

But we must first choose to abide in Christ. 

–//

Father God, I surrender myself this very moment to abide, wholly, only and always in Jesus. Thank you that you keep me there and hold me as your own; that each moment I meet you with my acceptance to abide, I am met with your immediate response: your favour, your forgiveness, your love and delight in me… the resulting peace and rest in every moment. I choose to abide in thee. 

When you’re tired of beating yourself up for not being good enough

If forgiveness takes away what stands between you and someone else, then forgiving yourself takes away what stands between you and your heart made whole.

The Holy Spirit is screaming of your innocence at each moment, but your wounds scream about your supposed faults. God sees us as we REALLY are, and since we are the perfect image of a perfect God, He sure does love what He sees when He looks at us.

You don’t have faults. You simply have wounds. Your wounds are the places you have judged as ‘not enough’ or ‘unlovable,’ so what if you could forgive yourself for your wounds today, even as they’re being healed?

1) Put your hand on your heart.
2) Close your eyes.
3) Say this out loud: “God does not want to punish me. Christ was punished enough. God wants to heal me. And I will be like Him, so I will forgive myself.”
4) Say this out loud as many times as you need until it sinks in…

“I forgive you, (name), for being wounded.” – Christa Black Gifford | Heart Made Whole 

Kailey, I forgive you for all the times you choose to live small, afraid and chained by your pain. I understand why- truly I do – and from today forward, I choose to simply sit with you in your hurt and give you grace, just as God gives you each moment. I will not blame you, I will not judge you and I will no longer try to fix you!

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I forgive you for being so easily offended.

For so much of your life you’ve felt misunderstood and your heart misrepresented by people’s assumptions. You’ve wanted those closest to you to see you for your strengths and your goodness, rather than your faults and imperfections.

I forgive you for having no boundaries, for people pleasing and doing things out of obligation.

Time and again people have emotionally withdrawn from you or gotten upset when you haven’t acted the way they would like or when you haven’t met their expectations. Your greatest desire is connection, so I can see your fear in not meeting their ideals.

I forgive you for pushing your feelings aside for the benefit of others, to avoid conflict or others anger.

You didn’t know any better and believed that others emotional health was your responsibility. You’re still learning to establish boundaries and to see your emotions as valuable tools.

I forgive you for striving and performing.

Growing up, the attention you did receive was from the things you accomplished, your hunger to grow/improve and for your ferocious work ethic. Although the attention was a counterfeit substitute for love, you took it because it temporarily soothed the hurt of people not staying.  It came from a place of longing to know unconditional love.

I forgive you for worrying and falling prey to paralyzing anxiety.

You felt unsafe and unprotected int his world from the early age of six. You felt it was your responsibility to keep yourself safe and that’s a heavy burden for a child to carry.

I forgive you for seeking the acceptance, approval and love of people more than God.

You’ve experienced rejection in some of your most significant relationship which told you you weren’t good enough. You longed desperately to have someone in your corner who would stay, even when things got hard or you stepped on their toes in your imperfections.

I forgive you for being mad at God, for seeing him as a bully and a punisher; the source of your pain and suffering.

From an early age you were taught about God’s wrath and about religion- a set of do’s an don’t– , rather than relationship with Jesus. You experienced the death of a loved one so young and the messy wrestlings of why bad things happen to good people. It too much for a child to understand. You’ve experienced the churches attempts to tie suffering up in a pretty bow, void of empathy for your personal hurt and experiences. How could you see things any different?

I forgive you for seeing yourself as the main character and heroin of the story, rather than God.

You fell so deeply in love with Jesus so fast and your heart rejoiced in finally hearing YOU MATTER. The child in you needs to soak up the love and attention from your Father, God, to truly come to know her true value in Christ.

I forgive you for judging others and not trusting that God is at work in their life transforming them in his ways and time.

You were taught that if you want something done, you better do it yourself and commit ’till completion. You were made with this drive and a heaping dose of discipline which has aided you in your faith journey. But you’re still learning  that it’s not about what you can do but what’s already been done for you on the cross. You’re still learning that it’s when you let go and stop trying that God finally begins to work miracles. You’re still learning that his way and timing are always, always better than your own – because truth is, your ideas are pretty great sometimes! 😉

I forgive you being afraid of failing and of making mistakes in your decisions.

Because for a long time, you made some pretty poor ones! It comes from a place of so desperately wanting to remain close to God and to stay in his will for your life. You’re just discovering that your faith is like a pendulum attached to a centre axis point; God is that axis point and while you may swing right to left, you will always return to centre.

I forgive you for punishing yourself when you make mistakes, like reacting in your anger.

You suppressed your anger for so many years and your learning to see your anger as a friend rather than a foe. This is a healthy and vital part of establishing boundaries! Your punishing yourself is out of a desiring for personal growth and to walk in the personhood of who God knows you’ll become.

I forgive you for clinging to your expectations and for being heartbroken when they’re not met.

So much of your life has been full of hurt and disappointment and yet you continued to stay strong, with a positive and hopeful outlook. Life continues to get harder in many facets and it seems you’re constantly reminded of your faults and how far you have to go.  You’re tired and you feel let down. Grieving expectations is healthy so that you can move into the future without looking back.

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Kailey, God is not surprised by these things and he forgives you in real time- past, future and more important, present! So I will too!

I resign as chief accountability keeper of your shortcomings, knowing The Holy Spirit is your guide and he speaks correction to you in the way your heart is able to receive in love.

I will choose to speak like over you for all that you ARE, imperfectly, in this present moment, trusting that God is at work in your heart and in your life. In his way and in his time, he will continue to transform you into wholeness.

My job here forward is to to be your friend and your encourager; to offer you forgiveness and my empathy. I promise to take it seriously…

I love you.