we’re invited in. (five minute friday)

Happy five minute friday, yo.

Skipped the party because… well, I forgot about it until after it was over. #sotired #workingthreejobsthisweek #dogsittingisexhausting

Anywho, the word of the day is:

I was taking the dog I’ve been dogsitting all week out late tonight for his last outdoor adventure of the day. I walked outside, pondering tonight’s prompt, and immediately was taken in by the sea of stars covering the sky. (This and this alone is why I love living in a small city).

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love stars. I joke that they’re one of my love languages, because it’s one of the biggest ways God reminds me of his love for me.

I was looking upward, while keeping an eye on the dog running around when a thought popped into my head.

 

The same person who created and named the stars invites me into life with Him.

He invites me into life with him. Life where he knows my name and all the things about me– and loves me still.

I’m invited into life with Him. Not just life where I do what I think he says I should do and cross Christian-y tasks off my get-to-heaven to-do list. No, actual relationship. He invites me into something bigger and better than i can find anywhere on this earth.

I just have to invite him in first.

 

STOP.

 

I actually wrote this one in 5 minutes, y’all. *throws confetti*

 

and my favorite stars-related song:

Definitely dare ya to not sing the chorus at the top of your lungs. Pretty sure my throat was sore the day after Switchfoot in concert solely because of this song.

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all the things (a weekly recap)

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know about 90% of what I share on there are articles I found helpful/fascinating/needed. The other 10% include memes, things I want to buy, and my weekly frustrations with This Is Us.  

A lot of my favorite blogs have started a weekly round-up of sorts with all the blogs/articles/ fun things they find online, and I’ve wanted to do the same for a while now as a way to blog here more often. So here ya go:

My little corner of the internet: 

No freelancing articles to share this week, but I did write a couple posts here:

My new monthly book recap:

lots of books that came out this week! Go read about reading.

Five Minute Friday: Story

my weekly linkup post for FMF. I loved what I came up with this week.

My facebook page!! I finally created an author/website facebook for writing/blogging updates and the like. If you haven’t already, would you give it a like and follow along?

Words from the internet I liked: 

Seeing a Musical Is as Good for You as a 30-Minute Workout: 

“Bye-bye yoga studio; they only workout room I’m going to be in from now on is the Room Where It Happens.”

THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER. So long, gyms! Imma spend my money on the musical workout circuit. I knew being a Broadway nerd would pay off!!

Rumours of the Real: 

“Seeing and experiencing the real thing has given me a whole new perspective on what used to satisfy me. It’s not that I don’t love my little note card reproduction of First Steps, After Millet by Van Gogh – I do. It’s just that now I have seen the real thing and I know that this is only a whisper of it.

It’s a reminder, a placeholder, for the powerful reality I encountered once and hopefully will again.”

As always, Sarah has a way of writing that makes me think about faith and Jesus in a whole new way.

I had a similar visceral reaction that Sarah did at the Met when I walked into the Monroeville County Courthouse (the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird). It’s surreal when what we envision in our heads or see a recreation of becomes a reality.

The Story Behind Kate and Rebecca’s Explosive Fight on ‘This Is Us’ Season Two Episode Two:

Spoiler alert! If you’re a This is Us fan and you haven’t watched yet, skip this one. 

I’m so excited/sad about this plotline. Kate is the character I relate to the most (tied w/Randall’s anxiety/perfectionism). What we’ve seen of her issues with her mom so far (which isn’t a lot, but there is some backstory if you go back and think about it) mirror a lot of the struggles I had as an overweight kid (and adult!) with my family, so I’m curious as to how it will unfold.

25 Texts to Send a Loved One Living With Depression

One of the simplest ways to let someone struggling with depression know you’re there for them? Text them. Let them know you’re there. Isolation is such a huge struggle for people living with depression… so reaching out when they can’t is something that is beyond helpful. All of them at one point would have been helpful for me, but 15-17 especially so.

Pete Davidson Talks BPD and Depression on SNL’s Weekend Update

SO PROUD of Pete for talking about this. On live TV. You go, Pete.

Talking about mental illness in a way that’s humorous but not degrading= huge win. So glad SNL made this happen. Though he wasn’t exactly correct that borderline personality disorder is a form of depression (it’s not, but depression is something people with BPD can be diagnosed with alongside BPD), the fact that he opened up about his struggle mental illness helps normalize the discussion. Go SNL!

We Need To Back Off And Give Introverted Kids The Space They Need To Thrive

I am a true-blue introvert. I get my energy from being by myself, recharging by reading or writing or doing art. Constant chatter or overwhelming loudness exhausts me quickly, and small talk is the devil’s plaything. I’ve ALWAYS been like this, but as a kid it didn’t have a name. As a kid, I thought I was just weird and different and odd because I lived in my own world and didn’t enjoy screaming at the football game on TV like the rest of my family. I didn’t hear the terms introvert or extrovert until college and didn’t understand introversion entirely until I read Quiet by Susan Cain. It was then that a light bulb went off. I’M NOT WEIRD! I’M JUST INTROVERTED! YEAH! I’M SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS!

My life made SO much more sense once I learned these things about my personality. I wish I had known this stuff as a kid, and more so– I wish my family had known it. It would have changed my life, truly.

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

JUDY BLUME. WRITING CLASS.

Judy Blume was/is my favorite childhood author. I’ve read every one of her kids’ books. She’s teaching an online Master writing class in the new year, and I WANT IT. I don’t even write fiction, but who wouldn’t want to learn from their childhood hero?

Illustrated Faith Word Nerd Kit!  (affiliate link)

I haven’t bought an IF kit in awhile because money, but I LOVE this one. It’s sooo cute! I love words and have professed myself a word nerd so many times. I love that they changed the format of the Bible devotional part– instead of getting a full book of devotions, they give you weekly devotion cards you can actually use in your bible! I love it.

 TURTLES. ALL. THE. WAY. DOWN. (affiliate link)

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FIVE YEARS FOR THIS BOOK. (or any book by John, since TFIOS). It comes out Tuesday. DON’T LET ME DOWN, GREEN.

I am sooo ready for another John Green novel.

Have you preordered Dance Stand Run yet? (affiliate link)

If you haven’t, why haven’t you?!?! It comes out October 24th, and I fully believe Jess’s words are going to change lives for Jesus. Plus, if you preorder, you get awesome gifts. The more preorders a book gets, the more likely stores are to buy more copies and put in physical stores (like Target!), so consider preordering. You won’t be disappointed, y’all.

 

I think that’s it for this week, peeps. If you see anything interesting I should add to next week’s recap, share with me on my facebook page?

Until next time!

i love to tell the story (five minute friday)

Holaaaa. I got caught up watching Full house on Hulu during the #fmfparty tonight– today was a bit of information overload. Started research for a potential freelance project, and went to meet the pups I’m dogsitting for a friend next week and learned their schedules and such. I is tired.

but now I write!

the word this week is:

 I wrote all about stories yesterday! teehee. Go read if you wish, it has good things in it.

Anyhow, on to the post:

My first thought was “This is my story, this is my song…” but Kate stole that one. So here’s another story hymn:

I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;

It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell stories. If you’ve ever read my about me page, it’s all about stories for this reason.

It’s why I write: stories are my favorite thing. I love to read them, write them, hear them, share them.

Stories are the best place for me to both escape and unveil myself. I read stories to understand the world; I write stories to understand myself.

The more I learn about following Christ, I realize that He understood this story thing too. He taught through parables, stories that catch our attention and teach us something about him.

That kind of story is the best: one that enraptures us yet helps us learn and understand something– whether that be about us, the world, or God Himself. Stories that satisfy our longing for something– understanding, hope, humor, light in the darkness.

Just like His story satisfies longings nothing on this Earth can fill, no matter how much I try to make them fill the void.

I strive to write these kind of stories, about my life or life itself: stories that grab our attention with beautiful words and details, real-life anecdotes and sassy thoughts. And I try to ensure that they all point back to Him, the master storyteller himself.

And I try to ensure that all my stories point back to Him, the master storyteller himself.

I love to tell the story. His story, mine, and where He weaves the two together. It’s a beautiful story to see unfold, and I hope His story is always the one I long to tell.

I love this version (though the Alan Jackson one comes in 2nd… not sure how I feel about country sounding hymns, though).

 

 

Jordan Reads Things (September)

I get asked all the time about what I’m reading, or what I’ve read, or what books I recommend for x,y, and z. I’ve always thought about sharing the books I’m reading but have never gotten around to it; I finally decided that I want to do some more regular blogging on here while I’m working on freelancing, so I thought a good segment would be on my monthly reads!

I’ll be honest: it got really hard to read for fun in college. Being an English major, reading was basically my life, but it was reading un-fun things about theory (sorry Dr. C!) or reading classic literature that I loathed (sorry Dr. R!). That, on top of my internship last year made it hard for me to unwind with a book– I didn’t want to think anymore! I just wanted to veg. (Did I mention my last semester of college was when I got Netflix? I’m so glad I didn’t have it before then).

Now that I’m post-grad and no longer reading for torture (i mean for school) or working myself to death at my internship, my brain is a lot less exhausted these days, so I’ve been reading so much more. I finally fell back in love with reading!

The past couple months I’ve been on various launch teams for books (basically a marketing team that gets to read the book for free ahead of its launch in exchange for help publicizing/sharing the book). In between launch team reading I was able to slip in a couple fun reads, too!


Come Find Me, Sage Parker by Aliza Latta 

41ZubifGhEL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ I read this while dogsitting for my aunt over Labor Day weekend. It’d been a long time since I’d gotten lost in a novel– when I do read these days, it tends to be Jesus-y and nonfiction. But my brain needed an escape. A friend had posted about this book being free on Kindle (it’s not on sale now), so I decided to go for it and download it to my iPad.

The story is about Maeve Parker, a girl whose mother, Sage, left  when Maeve was 9 years old– after being quite the unconventional mom up till then, Sage left “to go find her self.” But she never came back. Maeve was left to her own devices with Sage’s live-in boyfriend, Sol, who took on the role of guardian (but mostly in name only). They move when Maeve is 16 for Sol to start a new job; Maeve is thrust into a new community with new people, including Ky and Levi, who work to befriend her despite Maeve’s pushing them away (it’s hard to trust people when people have left you, you know. #storyofmylife). I need a Levi in my life: he doesn’t give up on her.  As this school year with these new friends unfolds, and tragedy ensues, Maeve begins a quest: to find Sage Parker.

Y’all. I haven’t gotten so hooked on a book since The Fault in Our Stars. (and that’s saying something since TFiOS I basically read in a 24-hour time span). I read this in barely a day’s time. It is captivating– you won’t want to put it down!  It is so beautifully written, with a few plot twists I did not see coming (which is not usually the case for me– I usually catch things!). The characters are richly developed and so vast– there are no real flat characters here, they all play a major part of the story. The story is heartfelt and puts you on an emotional roller coaster.

This is Aliza’s first novel, and I hope it’s not her last! I’ve read some of her faith stuff for (in)courage and she’s such a talented writer.  While I wouldn’t label the book “Christian fiction” (that title enrages me anyway– you can find Christ in all literature if you look hard enough), there are a lot of Christian themes and thoughts weaved throughout, along with a lot of other issues we face today. It’s all woven into this lyrically poetic story about a girl trying to find herself– and her mother along the way.

Do you have to run away in order to find yourself? And when, exactly, do you know when that self you were so desperately looking for is found?

Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World by Osheta Moore 

This is one of the b514knvE+PBL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ooks I’ve been on a launch team for. My friend Syndal invited me to join since she knew how much I loved launch teams (I get to read books and talk about them! Whee!!). Y’all. This launch team was so fun. Osheta is the real-deal awesome, and I look forward to the day she comes to Nashville so I can hug her neck in person. Beyond the launch team being fun (weekly dance parties during reading check-in, hello!!) The book itself was SO GOOD. And so needed for this chaotic, crazy world we’re dealing with right now.

She re-defined what Shalom looks like for me. I always thought of peacemakers as these perfect, quiet people that do BIG things to change the world, like Mother Teresa and the like. Osheta, like myself, isn’t this kind of peacemaker: loud, sassy, and sometimes overwhelmed, Moore knew that she wanted to be a peacemaker but didn’t know how to be a ‘typical’ one.

When she challenged herself to study peace in the Bible for 40 days (during Lent), she learned what shalom really looked like– and it wasn’t always meek and quiet. Sometimes tables got thrown. (thanks, Jesus!) Osheta realized that shalom was about finding the ways to make peace in her everyday life, and in herself. So in Shalom Sistas, she lays out 3 areas she wants to seek shalom- Shalom with God, Shalom within Ourselves, and Shalom in Our Relationships- and through that comes to her 12-point Shalom Sistas Manifesto, which outlines how Osheta practices being a Shalom Sista.

Within each of these points, Osheta uses her sass and biblical knowledge to explain why these places of peace are important, and how she’s implemented them in her own life (or attempted to) right where she is. There’s silliness, there’s snark, there’s biblical truth. A little bit for everyone, am I right?! She also gives practical ways to live out each manifesto point (Shalom Steps). I love practicality– don’t just teach me something and leave me going “how do I do it/use it/implement it?” I love the actions and ideas she gives for each of the points– some are big and fun, some are small and simple– all are great ideas to incorporate more Shalom in your life.

If you’ve read here for long, you know I love me some Annie Downs and Let’s All Be Brave. One of the things I love about that book is that it called me to bravery right where I was, right smack dab in the middle of my messy not-so-brave life. I am not this person set out to change the whole world or do it all– it’s just not in my DNA. I’ve never been someone who wanted to save the world or change everything. I just want to do what I can, with what I have, right where I am– and if that changes one life, then I’ll be happy.

I think that’s why I love books like Annie’s and Osheta’s. The world tells us so often that we have to act in these big, grandiose measures to be seen and heard. But we don’t. We can do one thing, and do it well, to change the world– to change our world, our community.

Annie taught me how to brave right where I am.

Osheta taught me how to bring peace right where I am.

And they did so through experiences from their own life– right in the trenches of it, not on the sidelines just telling me what to do. They’re doing this whole everyday thing right alongside me, and that makes it easier to stand up and say I can be brave and be a peacemaker right here.

Osheta uses her sparkly personality and wicked sense of humor to be real and honest about shalom fails and triumphs, and uses Biblical support to teach about shalom and seeking peace in the world– I highly recommend it if you’re looking for ways to claim shalom in your life.

“Shalom is what happens when the love of God meets our most tender places. Therefore, we can all be peacemakers, because we can all seek and access the love of God to heal our broken places.”

(bonus! my favorite Canadian Sarah Bessey wrote the forward. *fangirl screams here*)

Shalom Sistas is out NOW!


Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors 

I was on the launch team for this one as well!

51HRF5JP+XL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I first heard about Katie my freshman year of college when Kisses for Katie came out, and she spoke at my school’s chapel. She was so sweet and articulate about her passion and her mission, and that goes the same for her writing. I loved Kisses for Katie– I had always had a heart for serving others and had been on mission trips with my old church, but her words gave me a new way to see mission. I’ve never been to Uganda or anywhere “big” to serve, but I gave my heart to a little orphanage in Cozumel my sophomore year of college, and I haven’t looked back since. That is my mission field, where I feel most alive and connected to God.

In Daring to Hope, Katie poetically shares her story of tragedy and heartache and questioning of God in the hard seasons. She reminds us that God is with us in the dark, and that hope is always worth daring for. She is brutally honest and open about her struggles, and yet she is equally bold in her reminders of truth and hope that anchors her.

I’m in the middle of a rough, dark season myself, so this book wasn’t the easiest for me to read– but Katie’s words felt like they were written for me sometimes.  They are a reminder and comfort of the hope we have in Jesus, even in the dark. It was lyrically written and filled with truth and scripture to carry us when we can’t carry ourselves, and anecdotes of her life in Uganda to remind us that we have hope– and it never disappoints us. It’s a beautiful book.

“The God of all mercy and compassion is using our heartache to draw us to Himself and transform us into His likeness. He will turn our sorrows into joy and He will use our suffering to illuminate gifts of grace. He will turn our darkness to light, and He will carry us home. “Chin up, love,” He whispers. “Hold on to that hope. Eyes on me, dear one. I am not done yet.””

Daring to Hope is out NOW!


and lastly:

A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions that Meet You in Your Everyday Mess by (in)courage team (lots of different writers!!)

Shocker, I was on the launch team for this one too! (last one for this month, promise!)

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A Moment to Breathe isn’t a book, but a devotional. I love devotionals. I have a short attention span– I write in short stories/essays (versus writing a book), I prefer reading blogs and articles and essay collections versus a large novel. Devotionals are a perfect mix of scriptural insight and real-lifeness that makes me think and fills me up for the day ahead. If I could get find job writing/editing devotionals for a living, sign me up!

My everyday go-to for the last few months has been Savor by Shauna Niequist (and it’s still the way I close out my days). I typically either read AMTB alongside Savor, or I read it earlier in the day– usually when I’m overwhelmed or frustrated and need an actual moment to breathe before I explode.

I like that it’s undated so I don’t feel guilty if I miss a day, and can read at my own pace. So far I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the devotionals in the book– they’re written by some familiar faces (Annie Downs! Jennifer Dukes Lee! Deidra Riggs!!) and some I don’t know but am really enjoying. There were a few that didn’t feel relatable to me, but that’s always going to happen. I liked the little “moment to breathe” section at the bottom of each devotion– I wished they had all been more action-y and some way to apply a lesson or thought from the story. (Like I said above, I like practical application).

My only ‘complaint’ (not really a complaint, just a thought) is that I wish the devotions centered around the theme of the book– I was hoping for the stories to be more streamlined and less random. I was hoping this would be a devotional more focused on rest/Sabbath/peace, not just a conglomerate of devotions like other devotionals. Not the end of the world though– it’s still a great little book to find a few minutes of peace and quiet in an otherwise crazy day.

This is a great devotional– well-written, beautifully designed, easy to pick up and read for a few minutes of time with Jesus.

A Moment to Breathe is out NOW!


 

Those are what I finished in September! I’m still working on 2 books from September currently:

Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly: I’ve written a couple times about this one (I’m on the launch team for it, of course!) but Y’ALL. It’s SO GOOD. I’m a teensy bit behind in the actual reading (we get an ebook version of each chapter one week at a time, and September kicked my tail), but I’m a little over halfway done and it is going to change lives. I know it. It’s already changing mine. It comes out October 24th, so you’ll probably hear me on all the social media chatting about it. And if you preorder 2 or more you get some awesome stuff, so go buy it now!

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

I’ve been so intrigued by this book since I first saw it advertised. It has not disappointed me! I’m almost halfway done and have learned SO MUCH about personality. Anne says it’s just a primer into the world of personality theory (things like Myers Briggs, Enneagram, etc), but there are a few I know nothing about, so I’m excited to dive in and learn. It’s the first time I’ve read a book just to learn something that wasn’t Jesus-y since college! I miss it sometimes. (OK not really but I do love learning).

It’s very practical, real-life anecdotal, informative, and slightly heady– if you enjoy Brene Brown, this is a much tamer version (much more my speed– love me some Brene, but she’s sometimes a little over my head). I’ll share more about what I’m learning once I finish!!


I’m intending to keep doing a monthly post about what I’m reading– both as a way to keep me reading (hold me accountable, people!) and as a way to share things and quotes other than on Instagram. Eventually, once I move my blog to self-hosting (soon, I hope), I plan to have a tab up at the top dedicated to all things books and what I’m reading/favorite books of all time, etc. To be a good writer, you need to be a reader.  I want to keep myself reading — and share about my reading adventures here with people!

What are you reading right now? Especially fiction– after all this heavy launch team-ing, I need something fun to veg out to. Fiction suggestions welcomed!!

Until next month, happy reading!

 

**note: affiliate links have been used in this post, meaning if you click on them and buy something, I get a small commission. 🙂 

five minute friday (depend)

hola. not too chatty tonight– I’m only halfway upright and the heating pad has been my best friend all day (and not for my back this time… let’s just say being a girl sucks sometimes).

 

Anywhooo… this week’s word: Kate once again has good timing.

 

I hate depending on other people.

I’m a helper by nature. I like helping everyone else. But being helped? Not so much.

I was discussing this with a girlfriend over dinner last night. It’s hard for me to depend on people because I spent most of my childhood depending on myself for everything. I had a roof over my head and food and the basics… but love and support and comfort? Nope. So I got used to not getting that from others, thus not being willing to let people in enough that I can depend on them, lean on them in my times of need, let people help me or love me like I do them.

It’s hard to live life dependent only on yourself. it gets quite lonely and exhausting quite quickly.

Help is my word for 2017– I haven’t been super vocal about it, mainly because I’m still struggling through this whole letting people help me thing. Letting myself depend on other people is never going to be easy, but I’m getting better at it.

Last night I was reading in my A Moment to Breathe devotional from incourage (I’m on the launch team for it, releases next week!). The devotional got me right where it hurts:

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It legit made me cry.

I long for a community like this. One that asks the hard questions, that cuts right through the bull and the lying “i’m fine” answers and holds you in the hard stuff. I need this kind of friendship where people see you and know you and go to the throne room on your behalf when you can’t yourself.

But I have to let people in enough, I have to actually depend on people for this kind of relationship to happen.

Stop.


any others out there get this– and if so, how do you figure it out enough to find the community you can depend on?

 

This song has absolutely nothing to do with this post, it’s just one of my favorites (and what I was listening to as I wrote this). I love her voice.

accept (five minute friday)

 

Hii. Wasn’t too chatty at fmfparty tonight. Tired and not in a social mood. This week has felt long yet I’ve barely left my house. Don’t know how that happened.

This week’s word:

I’ve always had this innate longing to belong. To be accepted just as I am by the people around me. For the longest time, I thought the way to do this was to make people happy– this stems from childhood trauma that i won’t go into, but essentially if I didn’t get straight As, or wasn’t perfect for my family, I felt like I failed. Thus my life-long struggle to be perfect, to be the shiny version of myself, to try to please everyone because that was what would make them love me began. When in my heart of hearts I wanted someone, anyone, to see me as I am and accept me for it– no strings attached, no prerequisites or goals to meet to be loved.

When in my heart of hearts I wanted someone, anyone, to see me as I am and accept me for it– no strings attached, no prerequisites or goals to meet to be loved.

 

I’ve been on the launch team for the book Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly, and y’all, it is good. It is about grace and holiness and mission and you are going to want it in your hands when it comes out. I really think it’ll change the world.

In the first chapter, she talks a bit about belonging. This quote caught me in my throat:

“I don’t want to ask other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be

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 taking the soul answer to them: Jesus. If we’re going to change the world and stop being changed by it, we’re going to have to acknowledge that we already belong, we already have a place, and we’re already accepted. Not by humans or community or the kind gals we do life with, but by Jesus.”

I don’t have to be accepted by people (even if I want to be so badly). I don’t have to please everybody by trying to be it all, do it all.

I don’t have to act like I have it all together when He already does.

i’m already accepted. My seat’s already saved. I’m welcomed, loved, adored for the person I am, not the shiny version of myself I try to put out there with people.

No need to be accepted by the world when we’re accepted by the God of the universe.

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Right?

As much as I want people to love me, I don’t want other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul.   I want to know and believe I’m accepted by the one who loves my soul and let that be my entryway into relationship with people. I still struggle with my yearning to belong, but I’m working on remembering to whom I already belong first.

Because acceptance when it’s from the world isn’t anything when it comes to the acceptance we already have in Him.

(this took longer than five minutes, oops)

 

both oldies but goodies.

give me rest.

I am so tired.

Yet I can’t sleep. The dark circles under my eyes probably tell you that.

There are some days/nights where my anxiety overtakes me down to the bones.

There are others where depression calls the shots.

Then there are the fun days where both fight for control of my brain.

A lot of days lately have been the third option: the overwhelming numbness and apathy paired with the exhausting parade of anxious thoughts, fears, and worries dancing together in my head, fighting for who gets to lead.

It’s utterly exhausting.

Today has been a more particularly bad anxiety day.

Anxious about things that I can’t fix. (I’m the helper. I’m supposed to fix the things).

Anxious about things out of my control.

Anxious about things that are not my responsibility to be anxious about, yet I feel guilty if I’m not worried about them.

Anxious about important things I haven’t figured out, like finding a full-time job or why my back hasn’t stopped hurting since August. Frustrated being stuck at home day in and day out, feeling like nothing is getting accomplished.

I feel shaky and my stomach hurts and I can’t stop the obtrusive thoughts and what ifs. I replay every thought, every word said, and every interaction in my brain, worried I said the wrong thing or didn’t do enough or did too much.

I’m struggling to keep my head above water.

I want to pray, but words don’t come out. And when they do, they’re normally angry.

I want to worship, but I can’t get my mouth to form the words. Don’t have the energy or the belief right now.

Between my migraines, lack of sleep, and my back, I can’t sit up straight long enough to Bible study right now.

The only bit of Jesus I tend to get right now is through my devotionals, which I usually read right before bed so they’ll stick to my brain as I try to sleep.

I was reading in my Savor devotional last night, and the scripture caught my attention.

Psalm 55. A psalm I didn’t recognize. Shauna quoted verses 6-8:

“I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;[c]
 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”  (NIV)

I decided to read the rest of the Psalm, and felt that all-too-familiar feeling of my heart caught in my throat:

Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Do not ignore my cry for help!
 Please listen and answer me,
    for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.

My enemies shout at me,
    making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
    and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.
    The terror of death assaults me.
 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
    and I can’t stop shaking. (v 1-5 NLT)

1-3 Open your ears, God, to my prayer;
    don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.
Come close and whisper your answer.
    I really need you.
I shudder at the mean voice,
    quail before the evil eye,
As they pile on the guilt,
    stockpile angry slander.

4-8 My insides are turned inside out;
    specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear,
    I shudder from head to foot.
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
    “wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
    I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
    I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
    from rage and stormy weather. (Message version)


 

Yup. I’ve been there. A lot. 

The enemy shouting at me (though in my head). Causing trouble where there shouldn’t be any.

The heart pounding in my chest. The terror. The fear and trembling and shaking.

A day in the life of an anxiety sufferer. Of a panic attack sufferer.

While I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in a while (praise be to God), I often still feel the pounding heart, the shaky hands, the sense of terror of dread that accompanies panic21740606_1185978468170862_1643832430519548051_n. It’s unsettling, to say the least.

I long desperately for my brain to rest. To find somewhere to escape this mess and actually rest.

I don’t want to worry or panic about things out of my control. Or things I don’t have to freak out about, things I’m not responsible for. And yet here I sit, anxious about tomorrow and whatever will be. It’s the worst feeling.

I want God to hear me, to take this burden and all this stress from me, but I can’t make out the right words.

The rest of the Psalm reassures me that he hears even my wordless whispers of frustration, even when I feel like he doesn’t:

I call to God;
    God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
    deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
    in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
    are lined up against me. (Message)

I want to believe this. I want to believe he hears, he listens, he cares. But lately, it doesn’t feel like it. Life has proven otherwise.

Maybe that’s the depression talking, who knows. I want to believe He’s seeing these words and listening as I type them. Lord, help my unbelief.

I want so desperately to believe Him. To find rest. To find peace and quiet and to ignore the damn voices that are shouting fear and chaos and unrest.

But they’re loud, God. They’re so freaking loud. And I still can’t sleep.

It’s in these times that I’m grateful that King David wrote these psalms because it reminds me that even a man after God’s heart fell into these valleys and periods of darkness. And he made it through. Maybe I can too.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
    he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
    topple into ruin.

Someday, I hope I’ll be better at ignoring the shouts and screams. I want to find peace, rest on the wings of a dove, away from the enemy and the panic. I want to trust that God sees me and will give me help, give me this rest I so need. I want to find rest and peace in Him, but I can’t find Him anywhere it seems.

Maybe then I won’t be so tired.

support (five minute friday)

 

I’m back. Barely. The first few weeks of September have been… hazy. My mental health hasn’t been kind (Not that it’s ever kind), but it’s been even worse than normal thanks to a host of things, but namely a migraine med switch that lists depression as a dang side effect. That’s one way to send a depressed person spiraling down: give them a med that makes them more depressed! Sigh. I have been weaned off the med (PTL) and will deal with the migraines for now. Because i’d rather a migraine cause my head to hurt than depression cause me more hurt.

ANYWHO. This week’s word:

This one took me a couple minutes before I finally said screw it, hit the timer and just word vomited. You’re welcome!


 

support. What does it look like to support someone?

Show up. That’s it, y’all. Show up.

IMG_9422
Scott Sauls hits the nail on the head.

Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers.

Don’t feel like you have to fix everything.

Don’t act like nothing is wrong or everything is perfect if it’s not.

Sit. Listen. Talk. Pray. Hug. Cry if you need. Laugh if you want.

Support isn’t hard. Being a part of support groups like ACA (adult child anonymous/adult child of alcoholics) was one of my favorite communities– because it was real. And we supported each other. Not by fixing or trying to make it better. But by just being there.

I love that one of the definitions of support is to “hold up.” Because that’s what we need: we need to hold each other up, because sometimes, when we’re down for the count, we can’t hold ourselves up anymore.

In this season of crazy depression and stress and in-between, I’ve felt like my in-person support has been null and void. Not because of them at all- they’ve always been there. But because of me, and the fact that depression makes me distance myself and makes it hard to open up and talk about anything. It lies and says I’m a burden so I just shut myself off and fend for myself.

But when things got hazy the past couple weeks (aka when things got epically worse thanks to the migraine med with increased depression as a SIDE EFFECT), my support system showed up. They texted. They commented. They prayed. They shared. They listened.

When I finally got the courage to ignore the depression that said I was a burden and ask a friend to go to dinner with me (the first time I’d left the house for something fun with friends since my birthday– 2 months ago!) she (and another friend) immediately said yes. And it was good. And so needed for my tired, sad, and lonely soul.

My people, the ones that have felt distant lately because depression forces me to keep them at an arm’s reach. They held me up. And I’m so grateful.

 

I discovered this song (and this whole awesome album) this week and OMG WHERE HAS IT BEEN THIS WHOLE SEASON.

neighbor (five minute friday)

this week’s prompt:

I can’t help but think of good ol’ Mr. Rogers with this being the word this week:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood!

A beautiful day for a neighbor!

Would you be mine?

Oh, could you be mine?

I don’t think I got the whole gist of that song as a kid. It was sing-songy and sweet, but I don’t think I really understood the gravity of the words.

Oh, won’t you be my neighbor? 

I have a hard time letting people be my neighbor.

I love being other peoples neighbor– taking care of people, helping people, loving people. But I don’t let others reciprocate it back to me.

I’m an introvert who most of the time prefers, needs alone time to be the best version of herself. Being with too many people for too long stretches me thinly.

I battle depression on the daily. It’s a lot easier to tell people I’m fine and things are going well, instead of telling them the whole truth and burdening them with my darkness. I had a friend ask me how I was this week and was actually honest (I’m on the struggle bus right now, y’all) and she was able to help me. Funny how that works.

I’m an enneagram 2 (The Helper) who looks to the needs of her neighbors on the regular but doesn’t trust her neighbors enough to let them take care of her needs when they arise. I don’t know how to figure out what I need when I focus on everyone’s needs around me, so mine go unmet.

(sidebar: I listened to a podcast today about 2s that blew my mind with knowledge, especially on this topic. If you are or know a 2 on the Enneagram, go listen here.)

I love being a neighbor to people. I just need to learn how to let others be a neighbor to me.

Oh, won’t you be my neighbor? (Really, though).

because I couldn’t help it. #kickinitoldschool

via @sarahagertywrites

thank god for storms.

It started to storm in my neck of the woods shortly before the sun set on this long day.

I felt like I was suffocating stuck in this house, so I quietly moseyed outside at the first ring of thunder.

I sat down on what barely constitutes a front porch to watch. The thunder and lightning rolled on their own for a few minutes before the rain started.

The rain came in waves– small droplets against my feet to start, slowly increasing in size and strength as the thunder got louder.

No symphony could imitate the sound of the raindrops crescendoing, hitting the ground louder and faster with each drop.

Soon, we were caught in a downpour, with lightning lighting up the sky and thunder booming so loud you could almost feel the ground shake.

And I sat there and watched. On that little front step, I watched the sky turn dark and the rain became so thick it looked like fog. I listened to the thunder roll in. I “counted” the time between the lightning strike and the thunder, like my Papa taught me to when I was little.

I sat there and exhaled for what felt like the first time all day. 

I didn’t think about the ache in my back and what the cause is.

I didn’t think about another favor my mom needed me to run for her.

I didn’t worry about the amount in my bank account.

I didn’t feel my usual pang of loneliness.

I just sat and enjoyed God’s handiwork.


I love storms. I love the dark, cool effect storms bring to a hot, humid day. I love the natural light and sound show lightning and thunder put on (even if thunder scared me as a kid).

I have every reason not to like storms.

They’re messy. They’re an interruption to the normal rhythm. I can’t really plan them or plan around them, they have a spontaneous mind of their own. Sometimes they’re scary or dangerous. They can ruin fun days or plans in an instant.

Those are all things I don’t particularly like about life… fear and spontaneity and lack of plans or change of plans. And yet, storms are still one of my favorite things, despite all of these qualities.

In a lot of ways, I think the things I hate about everyday life are why I love them.

I love the way rain feels on my skin, soaking the bottom of my sweats as the wind carries the rain onto the porch.

I love how they force me to push pause and sit still for awhile.

I love how they display the majesty and power of God, captivating me with wonder instead of fear.

They remind me to slow down. To breathe. To quit trying to do everything for once in my life and just be for awhile.

So I sit and watch. I let the heaviness and the lightness overwhelm me.


It doesn’t take long as I watch for me to start thinking of the metaphorical storms life’s been hitting me with this season.

The fatigue, sleep issues, and physical health problems that have been plaguing me since May… I’ve had some sort of body ache, stomach problem, or a migraine nearly every. single. day. for months.

The depression that has enveloped every part of my being since moving home… since my birthday, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left the house for something other than running errands with my mom. I’ve spent almost every day in my pajamas, with Netflix and food as my crutch. I don’t color or Bible journal anymore, or much else that brings me joy. (Being on launch teams has kept me reading, which is a blessing). I don’t sing or worship. I don’t play games. I don’t hang out with anyone, or even try to. It’s not a good place to be.

FullSizeRender
Somedays I believe this. via Sara Hagerty

Moving home– both living back in my boring little hometown and living with my mom– has been both blessing and curse. I’m grateful for a roof over my head, but I feel like either a punching bag or a live-in servant most days… it’s not fun. And living where you literally have zero friends anymore is freaking hard, especially when you’re depressed and won’t ask your friends to come here to visit lest you feel like a burden on them.

Job stuff… I won’t even go there. I’m slowly trying to build a portfolio of freelance writing work, which I’m excited about–writing is my favorite, after all. But I still can’t get over the fact that I was rejected or ignored by so many other opportunities, ones I would have excelled at. Ones that would have helped me stay in Nashville.

So I sat there… and let the heaviness of this season hit me as hard as the rain hit the pavement. And I cried.

I cried… because let’s face it, this season has been hard. So, so hard. And I’ll never understand why.


I sat there amidst the tears and looked out. The storm continued to pour at a steady pace now. I felt myself calm down… I just inhaled and exhaled, focusing on the storm in front of me instead of the storm in me.

9e871e96e33562b9c6c396edc2d8ac6dI felt this deep sense of peace surround me as I continued to enjoy the storm, despite sadness lingering. I forced my hands to unclench, palms upward. I prayed through tears; I don’t remember the words. A lot of my prayers have been wordless or breath prayers these days; I can’t seem to find words to convey the sorrow of life’s storms right now. But nonetheless, I prayed. I breathed and prayed, palms up, eyes looking outward towards the storm.

The peaceful feeling overtook the tears. I just felt wrapped in this sense that He was right there in that moment. In the moment, I did something I rarely do these days… I sang. Before I could even think about it, How Great Thou Art and How Great is Our God started tumbling out, in my shaky off-key voice.

Because even in the midst of the messy, not-going-as-planned, absolutely terrifying storms of this season… He is still God. And He is with me. 

He is still God. He is with me.


A short time later, the storm started to slowly die down. I decided to head back in, my back pain raging as I stand up. I m13358946e18073a60d29699690dfd2e3ay have come back inside to my own storm, but the peace from the storm outside is still here with me.

The storms inside my life may still be raging, but I cling to the thoughts from the storm outside: He is still God. He is with me.

And even during the darkest of storms, His goodness shines. 

Maybe that’s why I love storms so much.

Thank you, God for the storms… for the beautiful, wonderful storms of the world, and the messy, unplanned ones in me.

Since there’s no youtube version of this one… here’s to hoping this works.