Bare Bones Creativity

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Today I come to you with an unusual style and a not-so-graceful technique. Let’s call it a bare-bones moment of complete honesty. The stuff I normally write about- parenting lessons, hope after loss, motivational messages for women– are all important topics to me. Actually, they are what make me “me.” Every single word is penned out of a personal experience that I feel will benefit someone else from reading it. So I write it and allow you into a small corner of my world to see life through my eyes for 500 – 800 words.

But I’m not writing about those important things right now. I’m writing about writing and how this artistic extension of myself has created something new in me just as much as I have created something new with it. Think about that for a second. While I’m creating, I’m being re-created. I get to recycle my stories, some good and some bad, by sharing them with you. All the while, I’m being made new as I allow my heart to pour out onto the page.

Creation is a wonderful mystery!

In honor of this revelation, I’ve decided to throw out the idea that I must have a mainstream topic in order to have an audience and just write for the sake of writing. Call it an act of defiance or a rebellion against pop culture.I don’t care. I’m not here for popularity. I’m here to create. For me and for you.

I’m learning that this process only works if vulnerability is expressed.  Even though many of you have gone through similar things as I have, our stories are still different. I’m different. Which makes it extremely difficult to share my perspective sometimes. Because similar isn’t the same. And different isn’t always welcomed with open arms.

But it’s important to speak the truth. And my truth starts with broken and ends with beautiful. Every day I’m changing, transforming, becoming something different than I was the day before. All you have to do is look back at one of my old posts and compare it to one from the present to see that process unfold.

My brokenness stems from my inability to open up to you for so long. Too long. I didn’t start writing until I had no other choice. I had held my stories hostage inside my heart like the clouds hold back the heavy rain. And then the blessed time came for me to choose: write them down or be a victim of drowning in the flood that was welling up inside of me. I chose to open up the floodgates and share my stories with you.

And an unmistakable change has taken place. Beauty has come out of my letting go of what I thought I desperately needed to hold on to. The words flowed out of me so effortlessly as the dam of seclusion that I had built around my heart broke.

I’m no longer afraid to be real with you, no matter what that looks like. My opinions on things don’t depend on whether or not you like what I have to say. And that’s plain huge.

Galatians 1:10 – “You can see that I am not trying to please you by sweet talk and flattery; no, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please men I could not be Christ’s servant.”

I write what God tells me to write. And that may not sit well with you. But, at the end of the day, when I’ve written raw and real about my life, I can sleep soundly knowing I have created something beautiful. There may be cracks in my story that separate you and me but there is always, without a doubt, the same storyline every time: My ugly, imperfect mess becomes His stunning, perfect message.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

 

Photo Credit: Clay Banks

 

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

The Mom She Needs

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Happy Tuesday, friends! I am over on Her View From Home again today with a piece about postpartum depression. I share my story of dealing with it for a little while after my first daughter’s birth. I hope you will take a peek into my life for a minute and read about my experience. Many moms struggle with this and I want to be a voice of freedom for them to also share their very personal experiences. Life (and all of it’s moments) is meant to be shared, right? Thank you for checking it out HERE.

Here’s a sneak peek:

She came home. Only to scream ugly comments to me that poke at the very identity of who I am. She said she wished I was never her mother. Doesn’t she know? I ache every single day because I AM her mother. The truth that she is a gift that I barely received is something I carry with me everywhere I go. It is a part of who I am.

 

To read more, click here! For more Her View From Home posts, click on the HVFH category in the drop down menu. I generally write about motherhood, faith, and grief along with other amazing mommy writers. Thanks!

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A Four-Letter-Word Christians Should Be Talking About More

I am so excited to have my new friend, Gloryanna Boge, guest post today! She writes for Only A Season about motherhood, marriage, and faith. I believe, in one way or another, that we can all relate to the sensitive topic she addresses.  Prepare to be encouraged through her authenticity and blessed by her truth filled words. Please like, share, or comment to show her some love! Thanks, friends!

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Sweat trickled from my brow as I dabbed my chin to try and keep my makeup from smearing. I had worn my favorite bright pink dress, with “cork” heeled shoes. I wore Adidas perfume religiously during my teenage years. I went to my favorite church camp every summer for three years in a row during my middle schools days. Of course camp was during the hottest days of the year. Meetings took place outside. If we’re all being honest, camp was about seeing that boy you had a huge crush on, wearing that pink dress, and what little makeup I wore was all about impressions.

I think back to those times when I would sit outside under a huge tent and listen to the pastor talk about pleasing God. I remember when the messages hit my heart hard and crying and praying and going to bed feeling the love of God wash over me. Then there were the nights when the pastor would talk about how to please God and what seemed like “rules” we had to follow in order to feel his love. I remember a particular night when the pastor talked about idols in our life and for us to “take a good hard look” at ourselves and what we were worshipping as idols instead of focusing on God. As a 13 year old girl who had eyes for the boy sitting in front of her, idols was a topic that seemed ridiculous. No one worshipped statues anymore.

I’m gonna be honest here and say that the word “idol” is not one that I use often these days as a 30 year old, and most times, I associate those crazy people in the Bible who worshipped an actual object made out of, what was it, gold? And since we’re being honest, I tend to get glossy-eyed when I hear pastors talk about “modern day” idols and how we need to be on alert against the enemy or something like that. Idol was a four letter word that was rarely used in my “Christian” vocabulary.

It wasn’t until one restless night when I felt the Lord tugging on my heart. I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing. Turning. And you know what I was thinking about at 3:00 A.M? My blog. I was thinking about all these topics I should write about. I was thinking about how I needed to be on social media more but then my stomach started to turn because social media is draining. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was focusing all my energy on this hobby I call writing, and losing my peace in the process. Yet, I kept coming back for more. I kept returning to this empty well, searching to be satisfied. Then that tug on my heart became pretty clear.

Those moments of nodding off in church when the word “idol” came up had bolted me awake in the middle of the night. My blog, which initially started out as a means to encourage others in their relationship with Christ, had become an idol to me.

I’m not here to throw fire and brimstone. All I can do is share with you how I was choking the life out of something that I initially gave to the Lord. Satan had taken something good and was twisting it for his purpose. It started when I quit waking up early for my quiet time with the Lord. This was a result of me staying up late working on the back end logistics of my blog. Instead of taking a few minutes during lunch to pray or read a devotional, I was flipping through all the social media on my phone trying to promote my blog and build blogging relationships. Not to mention times I was messing with my phone while my son was crawling about waiting to play. Then it got worse. Instead of spending time with my husband after our son went to bed and the dishes were done, I would whip out my laptop to research a plugin I needed for my blog. Some of my other relationships started to suffer because of the time I was spending with my blog.

Do you see the picture here? Slowly, God became smaller in my life as my blog became the image in my forefront. The image I was pressing towards to make bigger. After all, part of the definition of idol is an “image” of worship. If you dig deep into its etymology, you will find that “mental image” is part of its meaning.

All I was focusing on was this image of myself as a blogger and where it was taking me. God wasn’t a big part of that picture anymore. Until recently. Until that night at 3:00 AM when I made the decision to give my writing back to the Lord.

I think what bothered me the most about this revelation was how easily I let it happen. How easily I let down my guard down. To keep myself guarded and reminded of His truth, I have made the conscientious decision to speak out loud God’s Word anytime I feel like I am losing balance in my faith.

When I feel like I am not being my authentic self, I speak His Word about being a Child of God and holding on to my child-like faith in him.

When I feel like my blog isn’t growing enough or I let social media affect my peace, I speak His Word finding favor with men for God’s glory. Not mine. I remind myself that life is not about likes. I don’t need others to validate my work. God will do that in a way that is best for me.

I speak His Word out loud to keep His image in front of me. To keep myself from letting idols creep up into my life.

I encourage you to take a step back and look at what is robbing you of peace in your life. Is it something that you have inadvertently turned into an idol? Yes, say it. Idol. It’s not some vague word that doesn’t apply anymore. It’s a word that we need to talk about more often. A word that we need to guard our hearts against.

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Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you’re going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at Only a Season. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and Bloglovin‘.