A Woman’s Prayer

I’ve just finished reading Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. Highly recommend it. One of the parts that stuck out most to me is a prayer that’s quoted from one of her peers. I’ve written my own version of it below.

(“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Eph. 6:10-13)

I put on with gratitude the armor which you’ve provided me as woman. My need to be pursued and fought for in all of my vulnerability. Thank you for pursing me and fighting for me every day. I wrap in truth my desire to be irreplaceable in a grand scheme of Yours. Help me to be present each day so that I might see what you’re doing in my life and that I may live in the big-ness of your story. Help me to offer life through my beauty and gifts, which you’ve given to me. Continue to reveal and confirm in me what you desire for me to do with these gifts. May today be an offering of love poured out before you on the altar of my life. 

Amen. 

 

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Stand Your Sacred Ground

There is something deeply spiritual about standing your ground; not getting small in order to make other people feel comfortable, or throwing up defenses in order to protect ourselves.

There is something sacred about honoring our truth. When faced with vulnerable situations, I try to remind myself of this: “Don’t shrink. And don’t puff up. Stand your sacred ground.”

5 Things I learned From Losing My Best Friend

beauty girl cry

Three years ago on this day, and for months after, I wanted to die. I had just lost the man I’d been in love with for four years in a tragic accident. He was also my best friend. When I say I wanted to die, it’s strange because it makes it sound as if I was suicidal. But I was never suicidal. It’s hard to describe the feeling and might be one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve been there, but at the time, my future looked so black, I couldn’t imagine life without him. Besides, I wanted so desperately to see him and was convinced he was on the other side. I only hoped to die, so that we could be together again. It was the last sort of logic that I had left at the time.

Now here I am, three years later, and my perspective is quite the contrary. It’s hard to believe that today marks three years. Three years of pain, longing, and questions but also of healing, growth and indescribable grace. I question whether we can fully comprehend the sweetness of life without first experiencing its bitterness.

Today, as I miss my best friend like always, I realize not only was it an incredibly sweet gift to do life with him, but the lessons I’ve learned since that loss remain invaluable. Here I share with you 5 things I learned from losing my best friend.

  1. There is nothing more important in life than your relationships. As Max Lucado so tactfully puts it, “When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” We are called to love others. It is our mission. Our reason for being on Earth. And not just to love them halfheartedly either, when it’s convenient to us, for example. But to love them wholeheartedly, at all times, through all situations, no matter their actions or behaviors. This might seem like a daunting task but it’s this sort of love, relentless and all encompassing, that people most need to see. It is the kind that we need to be most intentional about giving. Develop relationships filled with love like this, and you will know what it means to live.
  2. The best things in life aren’t things. They can’t be touched, or even captured. To try is fleeting. They flutter around like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. An ever-elusive bunch. And when we grasp for them, we miss. But this is what we have hearts for. Our hearts get it. Our hearts know that the best things can’t be described with words. They must be felt. Our hearts know that the best things aren’t tangible…that these things aren’t meant to be captured or even understood; only appreciated.
  3. There are angels on earth. And they exist in your close friends and family. People are placed in your life for a reason. They’re strategically chosen and uniquely capable of holding you just how you need to be held at any given moment in time. We’re all just taking turns on this journey called life, so give love to others while you can. Before you know it, your time will come and you’ll need someone, too. It is then, that you’ll find your angels.
  4. Pain can be a good thing. The good thing about pain is that it breaks down the walls of your ego and forces you into the present – enhancing your awareness of and appreciation for all of the people in your life. When you experience deep suffering, you become comfortable with it. This allows you to empathize with others in ways you wouldn’t have been able to before. It causes you not to run from future sufferings, but to sit with them. Most importantly, it allows you to grow. The best lessons are often found when we are facing unanticipated change and loss. In those moments of vulnerability, longing, and desperation, we learn who we really are and what we are capable of. Pain is not a bad thing.
  5. Life goes on. You don’t think it will and you certainly can’t imagine it doing so, but it does. Whether you take part in it or not, life continues to go on all around you. Time waits for no one. The good news is, even if you’re deep in grief or simply feeling stuck, eventually you, too, will go on. There’s a hole inside of you from the loss and that hole never really seals back up. But that is the beautiful part. You learn to live with the gap, to embrace it. It becomes a part of you. It allows your light to shine through.

Just Know That You Are Loved – My Personal Encounter with an Angel

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Two years ago today, on the worst day of my life, I had my first encounter with an angel, at the baggage claim of the RDU airport.

I stood alone, completely wiped out and broken, waiting for my bag to come around on the conveyor belt. There were a few other people waiting for their bags there as well, not many but a few. After about two minutes, my feet could no longer support the dead weight of my body and I sat down on a nearby bench. A young man, I’d guess my age or younger, came and sat down next to me.

“Excuse me,” he interrupted my empty, swollen stare, “Are you okay?” Hardly able to even turn to face him, I nod my head and mutter back, “Yea I’m fine.” My body language was screaming, “LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!” but he persisted. “It isn’t a death, is it?”

“No,” I snap back, justifying my lie with his increasingly annoying invasiveness.

“Okay, well I just wanted to say, I was in love with this girl for many years and we were happily together. I wanted to be engaged and when I asked her to marry me, she said ‘no’ and we broke up. I know it’s not the same…” he continued, despite my lack of response cues, “…but it hurt like hell.”

I managed to look him dead in the eyes this time, “It’s not the same,” I growled, my eyes piercing into him.

Looking forward, I spotted my large, brown, leather suitcase coming around the belt. One of the only ones left. I began to stand up and head towards my bag when the guy said, “Well, here,” as he handed me a 2-dollar bill, “just know that you are loved.”

I hadn’t intended to take the 2-dollar bill but there it was in my hand as I grabbed my bag from the conveyor belt. Dropping the heavy piece of luggage to the ground, I looked up to see my mom running towards me. I gave her a huge hug, momentarily allowing myself to collapse in her arms.

But wait, I wondered aloud, “Where did that guy go?”

“What guy?” my mom replied.

“The guy who just handed me this,” I waved the 2-dollar bill for her to see.

“I didn’t see any guys around, Sweetie. I saw you standing here by yourself. That’s why I came running over.”

In bewilderment, mixed with the still heavy shock of the day’s event, I stumbled towards my mom’s car, “Hmm…” I thought to myself, “Well, that was strange.”

Two years ago today, I lost my best friend in a tragic accident. He wasn’t far from me that day and he’s still as close as ever now.

My angel, I miss you.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Curing vs. Healing

We thought we could cure everything, but it turns out that we can cure only a small amount of human suffering. The rest of it needs to be healed and that’s different.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

May we never forget…

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cheetah and boy

Jesus Chose You First

It’s amazing to think about it. Jesus chose you first. He chooses you and then, you choose Him. God puts the Holy Spirit inside of you and then, in a moment of miraculous grace, He gives you the faith to call out to Him. And thus, begins your life long (and life altering) relationship with God.

Let’s not forget how it is in this way that we came to be in relationship with God. When you acknowledge this, you begin to grasp the depth of His love for you. You are chosen by God! Unconditionally loved by Him. You are special. Dwell in that. Let God be your valentine.

Is Freedom Really What We Want? (A Personal Reflection)

When my boyfriend died, the life I knew died along with him. Shortly thereafter, I packed up all of my belongings, everything I had acquired in California, and drove across the country to be back home again in North Carolina. Because, of course, when the world fails you, the only place you have to go is home.

Within one year, I had a monumental career change, my parents divorced, my childhood home was sold, and I was living on my own in an apartment for the first time in my life. All this change in only one year! Even writing about it now, it seems surreal. How has my life become so crazy, so chaotic? How have I been able to push through, to survive?

Well, God is good. And that is where I am now. Completely lost, approaching the second birthday that I will spend without my boyfriend and the only thing that I know for certain is God’s goodness and grace. Other than that, I feel adrift. Floating in a world that I have no control over, a world that is constantly shifting, one without ground.

I guess on the bright side, I have nothing holding me back. I have no attachments that hold me down, hold me steady. I’m free to fly like a bird, as I have always yearned to do.

This also means I have little security, no sense of stability, a feeling of total loss of control. Does a baby bird feel this way before it leaves its nest for the first time? I wonder. And how many nests will I have to leave? Is flying free really all it’s cracked up to be?

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