The Reason I Write

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It’s simple, really. I do this writing thing for a reason. This blog is not a haphazard journal of random thoughts or a disheveled version of my personal life. Writing is a purposeful activity that brings me joy.

Yet I don’t write for me. I just get to benefit from my words. You may think that sounds cocky or irreverent, like I’m worshiping my own work. But, really, it’s a humble expression of the God’s-honest truth.

I write so that you will know you’re not alone in your struggles. I write so that you will know love and hope in a tangible way. I write so that you will know the truth of the goodness of God. Not for applause or acclaim. I simply want you to experience one minute, heck, even one second, of God’s grace. Believe me, I couldn’t write a single word without it. Thankfully, I don’t ever have to.

I have a message that can’t be contained. It has to be shared. And after I share it, I am blessed because I didn’t keep it all to myself. However, if I don’t share the truth nestled down deep inside of me, then I am not fully living. The truth sets us free, right? So, if I don’t offer you a taste of the free life, then I’m just hoarding my own freedom. How could I live with myself?

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As we all know, freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice. My pain on a page for the world to read, that’s sacrifice. But the glory that God gets through just one person finding hope through my struggles is worth the cost. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Sure, I experience healing from getting my thoughts onto paper. Sometimes, I can’t even talk about my hurt, but strangely, I can always seem to write about it. Once my authentic work is out there, peace follows in the knowing that someone will hopefully identify with it.

The thing is, even when my writing might seem a bit too vulnerable, my heart feels freer once I let the scary feelings out. Fear of judgement is quickly overshadowed by the undeniable presence of God’s love and faithfulness found in my story. These truths never fail to jump up from the page and surprise me. Closing my eyes in fear doesn’t remove His light of love.  

That, dear friends, is my reason for writing. To share the messy, unconventional, irrational grace that God has woven into my very ordinary and completely flawed life. To remind myself as I remind you that God has never left me and He never, ever will.

Why do you write?

Photo credit: Priscilla Westra

Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

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Hey friends! It’s been a week or two since I’ve been on here. Life has been pretty busy! Fall is officially upon us- school activities are in full swing. As we celebrate the cooler temps and prettier colors, I have also been mindful of what October represents: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of you know about my story of losing my sister to this awful disease. (Check it out here!)

While reflecting on this loss, I was compelled to write something in honor of her that brings awareness on the effects of breast cancer as well. Please hop over to Her View From Home and give it a read. It wasn’t easy for me to write but it was necessary for my healing journey. I encourage you to give it a try: writing brings healing in a very tangible way.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.” That’s like one gal in your mama tribe or one neighbor in your running club. One in eight means that every single one of us is already or will be eventually affected by this monster of a disease.

Do you know someone fighting this battle? Are you walking through it? Remember: you are never alone. Thanks for reading my personal story- there are so many other stories out there that deserve our attention as well. Go find one and read it today. Better yet, go write one. Your story matters.

Click here: Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

Finding Hope in the Mundane

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace. “

Helen Howarth Lemmel

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I love this hymn. It’s probably my favorite one. It addresses the questions and uncertainties of this life with an answer of hope.

The Answer is Hope.

This Wednesday, this mid-week slump of a day, has me all caught up in the mundane. I need some renewed hope. How about you? So, here’s my rendition of this timeless hymn. I pray it brings you newness of spirit, soul, and body.


I slightly see you Jesus. But I choose to turn, to redirect the position of my body so that I am facing in a different direction, to change my course if it is not in line with Your perfect will.

I really see you Jesus. I desire to look, to use my sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, to gaze upon Your beauty more than I stare at my ugly circumstances. 

I only see you Jesus. The darkness of this temporary place can’t overwhelm my soul. It has to fade away, disappear, vanish without a trace of existence in your presence.

I live to see you Jesus. Your love shines on every part of my life causing me to run wild and free because of your beaming favor that welcomes me into fields of grace.


Whatever you’re facing today, just look to the Jesus. the source of all HOPE, the answer to every problem. He will meet you where you are. And always guide you home.

The Stranger Who Saw My Sorrow

 

I have the awesome privilege of having Aimee Niebuhr of MamaCentric guest post on my blog today! This gal’s writing has blessed me so much in very personal ways. Her posts are so raw that you feel like she is writing from your diary. (At least that’s how I feel) and I couldn’t be more grateful for it because she motivates me to be brave with my truth. Her courageous writing will stir your heart to feel and your spirit to soar. You read her honest words and feel compelled to share love with someone else. She radiates love and truth in the most beautiful ways. Read on and be blessed, dear friends.

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I was twenty-one years old. The world before me should have been bright; a horizon of possibility spread out and shimmering like sunlight glinting off of the endless ocean. But life didn’t feel like the beauty of the horizon meeting the vast, blue sea at all. It felt like a torrent of crashing waves, hitting one after the other, intent on knocking me down.

My sister was at the end of her battle with leukemia. It came fast. It hit hard. Within six months, with the arrival of a bitterly cold November, we were preparing to let her go.

Somehow, I managed to work through my college classes during that fall semester, furtively writing papers and preparing for the exams I would take after returning from the weeklong Thanksgiving break. The Thanksgiving I would always remember as the last time I held my baby sister close, the time when I said goodbye.

Classes resumed on a Monday. My peers were full of cranberries and turkey and joy. The whole world seemed to be filled with a goodness that didn’t include my pain or me, at all. I was an outsider.

I stood before my favorite professor – the one who spoke loudly in front of our classroom and taught history in a way which made you want to rise up and be better because of it. “How is she doing?” he asked me. Tears filled my eyes, as I managed to whisper, “Not well.” He hung his head in sorrow, and I knew he understood.

And though I will always remember his gentle grief, the ways he mourned for a girl he did not really know, it is the moment that happened next, which has stayed imprinted upon my soul, all these years later. It was the girl who followed me out of the classroom and tapped my shoulder who made me feel as though I was not alone.

“My brother had leukemia. He died seven years ago.”

I searched her face, trying to remember. Had we ever spoken, this girl who had sat quietly beside me since September? Every Monday and Wednesday for months we had walked into the same little classroom, and I had never even asked her name. How did she know my agony? Was it because I had been wearing it for months, cumbersome like a heavy coat drenched in the soaking rain?

I had never said a word to her, and yet, in that moment, there wasn’t anyone else on the earth that could have known me better than she did.

“What should I do?” I managed to ask.

“You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. One foot, and then the other. One foot, and then the other.”

It was so simple, and yet profound.

My sobs erupted. Every ounce of heartache I had been carrying for months now spilled out into the space between a stranger and myself, into the void between my grief and her memories — our collective sorrow building a bridge neither of us knew we needed.

She opened her arms; I fell into her embrace. My tears dropped wildly onto her shoulder and into her hair. I didn’t even know her name, but she didn’t seem to care. Perhaps seven years ago, she had found her strength in a stranger’s arms, too.

One week later we would take our final exams. I never saw her again. I never even learned her name.

It has been ten years since a girl I had never met held me in a hallway and absorbed my grief. She saw me drowning under the weight of my sadness amidst the sea of goodness, and brought the goodness to me.

I’ve always wished that I could go back and tell her that I am so sorry that she lost her brother. That I am so grateful she chose to turn her pain into a beacon of light to help guide the weary home. That I whispered, “One foot, and then the other,” to myself hundreds of times in the days after my sister’s passing. I held tightly to it in the years I spent adjusting to my new normal without her, falling back upon the familiar comfort of the phrase when the days felt too difficult.

Most of all, I wish I could tell her that I have had my chance to be the stranger with the strength. I have held others the way that she held me and gently reassured, “one foot, and then the other,” as they have wept their own stories into my soul. Finally, I have understood what it means to draw forth from the well of sorrow, and find that there is still goodness to be shared.

Maya Angelou has told us that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This world will always house wounded people who are desperately trying to tread the waters of their grief. It is up to us to decide if we will answer the calling to be the compassion, the understanding, and the light of the Spirit.

I don’t remember anything else my classmate said to me that day. I can’t even really recall what she looked like through my blurry tears. But I will always remember her; her kindness will live on within my grateful heart, forever.

Aimee of MamaCentric Headshot

 

Aimee is freelance writer and homeschooling mama to three on a journey to get real with motherhood. Whenever she can find a quiet moment, she writes soul-searching reflections at MamaCentric. She holds tightly to the belief that a centered spirit inspires a centered home. (And maintains that hiding out from the kids to sneak some chocolate is good for the soul!) She hopes that her words inspire others to always seek the joy in their lives.

She would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram.

 

The Grey Sweater

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Hey gang!

I’m over on Her View From Home today talking about the very personal topic of losing my Dad. I have been on a journey in and out of grief for the past five years. People say that time heals and, on some level, I agree. I also believe, however, that allowing the memories to linger even it causes pain is okay, too. I’ve learned how to trust in the goodness of God despite life getting more and more unpredictable. I’ve gone through anxiety and depression due to the very uneven terrain of my life.

But, there is one thing I know. I am stronger because of the pain. I am able to help others in their grief because I know what it feels like to endure hardship. I can be a voice for those who don’t know how to speak about their loss. And I will press through the feelings to get to the deep truth of security in Christ.

I will write until I can’t write anymore if it helps YOU. So, I invite you to participate in my journey of growth through grief and read my piece HERE. 

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The Grey Sweater

A Time to Heal

hold on to the promise of freedom that tomorrow morning brings.

It’s spring. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the daffodils and daisies awakening to the morning sun. Colorful lilies are frequenting the open fields and tulips are adorning the neighborhood gardens. What a wonderful display these lovely flowers put on for our enjoyment!

It’s easier for me to smile when I have glittering yellows and blues in my line of sight. My day is inevitably brighter when the warmth of the sun melts the frost from my wintry pale soul. Longer days make me jump with glee because it just means I get more time to spend outside in the healing rays. That’s what the sunshine is by the way. Healing. Oh, how I need some of that these days. My winter was harsher than years past due to a family tragedy and my heart hasn’t had the chance to really recover just yet.

Recovery. That goes right along with healing, doesn’t it? Maybe the welcoming smile of the cumulus clouds above are inviting me into a new space. A sunny place. One where I can run and play as I did when I was young. How I miss the ease of childhood, the naivety that youth brings, the fresh discovery that lingered in the air of my early years.

I want to be there again. Before life became wrought with trauma and pain. But I can’t go back. None of us can ever go back. We have to live with that truth. The funny thing about truth, though, is that in a strange and unguarded way,  it sets you free. Even when we don’t realize it, acceptance of the simple things that have always been and will always be, liberates the hurt right out of us.

Take the earth beneath our feet. It may be wet with dew or dry with cracks, but it’s still there for us to walk on. And it always will be. Those bulbs of spring that are awakening to new life after a long slumber in the dark can be counted on to make an appearance every year. Sure, a late frost might threaten their blooms but even so, they can be replanted, reborn.

Reborn. Another one of those words that brings comfort to my nostalgic heart. The pure simplicity of starting over in a world that is constantly on the edge of disaster makes me hopeful for the new.

Sing loud and strong, springtime song.

I have been in the frigid dark for way too long.

So I open my eyes and squint at the sun. I let the truth whisper through the wind that my time for renewal has arrived. And I hold on to the promise of freedom that tomorrow morning brings.

I Was Jealous of My Sister in Heaven

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Hey friends! I am being published on Her View From Home today. I would love it if you stopped by and viewed my piece. I wrote about a subject that is very personal to me- my sister’s recent death. I feel so humbled that my first published piece is about a person that is so close to my heart. I opened up about what I’ve learned since she has been gone and honestly, it’s been healing to get the words out. Please take a look when you get the chance, especially if you’re struggling with grief. Thanks! 

Again, here’s the link: Her View From Home