Jordan Reads Things (October)

 

bloggraphic-jordanreadsI’m back with Round 2 of Jordan Reads Things! Better late than never, right? I didn’t read quite as much in October (all the launch teams are over! PTL!)  But I did read a few things/started a few books I wanted to share here:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green:

51j8ClOJzoL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Y’all. John did it AGAIN with this one.  My life is better for reading this book.

I read this one in about 10ish days– took a little longer than normally I’d read a fiction book because life. But when I was able to read it, I could NOT put it down. The story was odd but fascinating. It was fast-paced but drawn out. I loved all the different relationships in this book, and the way Green had characters interact with each other.

I’ll share the Amazon synopsis because this book is hard to describe:

“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.”

What the book doesn’t outright say: Aza has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and is trying to live her life in spite of being stuck in an ever-spiraling spiral of her own thoughts. She lives in constant fear of getting sick, and in the book, you see her interactions with her own brain, her rabbit trail of thoughts that play constantly in her head.

In a lot of ways, Green makes Aza’s thoughts their own character, as Aza dialogues with her brain and tries to fight against the voices.

There were so many times I read Aza’s words or thoughts and said: this is me. This is my struggle, personified in a book. Finally, someone that thinks like me.

I don’t have OCD (or haven’t been diagnosed with it), but I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a lot of Aza’s experiences mirror mine. So many of the descriptions John uses to illustrate Aza’s struggles and innermost thoughts echo a lot of mine as well. It’s nice to see a character that I fully related to. John has shared that the book stems a lot from his own personal struggle with OCD, and I’m so grateful he used his platform to shine a light on mental health and normalized things like therapy and meds.

When I finished the book, I literally sighed. It was just good.  I felt satisfied with the book and how it ended. Definitely a must-read.

(I loved this one so much I wrote about it for The Mighty. )

“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness. It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.”

“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”


Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly 

41K0tspiKXL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I feel like I’ve been talking about this book for months, and it’s finally here! Y’all. It is so good. And SO needed. It was not an easy, light-hearted read– it was full of hard truths and honesty from Jess, saddled alongside Bible study that really transformed my thinking. I’d never really thought about holiness in an intense way until this book– I’ve always been a rule-follower, but holy? I thought that was reserved for special Jesus-y people. But it’s not. Grace and holiness are already in us because of Jesus– and Jess talks to us about ways we can live out this grace and holy life in our world. She uses her real-life wrestling with these topics and her passion for scripture studying to help us understand grace, holiness, and mission in a whole new light. So much wisdom. So much truth. And Jess is a Bible teacher at heart, so there is some awesome Bible study wedged into each chapter– and has an awesome Study Guide +DVD to correlate with the book filled with more Bible study. It’s a study unlike any I’ve seen, and I really want to get a group to do it with me! (any local friends, holler at me!).

DSR is not a fluffy, feel-good read. It is a book our hearts are needing, longing for.  It really opened my eyes to what holiness is and isn’t, and what we as women of God GET to do as we dance in abundant grace, stand our holy ground, and run on the mission God has set before us.

I hope this book helps us understand holiness not as something far-reaching and scary, but as something we get to live in RIGHT NOW because of the grace of Jesus. Living life striving for grace and not living in the holiness God has called us to leaves us feeling like something’s missing, that there has to be MORE to this life than this. DSR illustrates the missing piece of the puzzle.

I’m still wrestling with a lot of the thoughts in this book, and have some writings stirring up from it. It was a must-need for me, and I think it could be for other people too. Definitely worth checking out!

“The great news of the Gospel is that as women of God, we never have to walk into a room praying someone saved us a seat.”

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


41oSTuslHFL._SX358_BO1,204,203,200_-1She Reads Truth Bible

I wrote an extensive review here, but I’ll share again: A beautiful Bible inside and out, with scripture prints, maps, and charts that are as useful as they are stunning. The devotionals in it are timely and well-written, like the ones from their site. The CSB translation is new but really simple and easy to read. I love this Bible! It’s become my go-to for my nightly studies. It’s a beautiful addition to my life.


100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs:

51W4KwarEkL._SX403_BO1,204,203,200_Not finished with this one (because 100 days!), but as I’ve written before, I looove me some Annie. Her thoughts on bravery have stirred me and helped me grow so much since first reading Let’s All Be Brave back in 2014 (back when I was in the middle of my mental breakdown). Her books feel like I’m sitting across from her in a coffee shop, and she is laugh out loud funny mixed perfectly with amazingly honest and thoughtful. Devotionals are my favorite thing in the world (it’s pretty much the kind of book I want to write/publish someday), and I am so far loving this one. it’s challenging me in all the best ways and is so lovingly written.

If you need a shot of bravery in your every day, pick this one up. I’ll report back after the 100 days with a full review 🙂


That’s it for October reads! (2 weeks late, oops). I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Reading People in November (I’ve been combing my way through it slowly because it’s rich in wisdom!). I haven’t started a new fiction book yet, but I need one. (Suggestions welcome). Until then, happy reading!

 

September reads here.

 

**affiliate links have been used in this post

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this thanksgiving, excuse yourself. (five minute friday)

Holaaaaa. It’s FMF time! I actually chatted this week. Victory!!

This week’s word:

Hmm. Interesting!

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving.

Excuse as in this definition of the word:

release (someone) from a duty or requirement.

(I always forget about this definition of the word).

Excuse yourself. Release yourself from the burden of having a perfect, picturesque Thanksgiving.

Release yourself from trying so hard.

Excuse yourself from doing so much for this holiday that you forget to enjoy it. Things will get done, and if they don’t, that’s okay too.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving, if you don’t enjoy the family time or it’s too much for you.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving if it’s not what you expect it to be, or what you want.


I dread Thanksgiving and other family-gathering holidays. They stress me out so bad. I feel like I have to perform– put on my fake “everything is fine and dandy” face and make small talk about my life (yes, i am 25 years old and live at home while pursuing a writing career, nope still not driving, thanks for asking family!). I have to hear comments about how much food I’m eating or what I’m eating. I have to sit through the ignorant political talk that hurts my brain and breaks my heart. I get bored playing on my phone while my family yells at football on the TV instead of actually being a family.

I’m used to it. Doesn’t mean I like it all that much.

Last year I sat at the table and ate by myself. Not by choice– because I got picked up late and everyone else had already eaten by the time I got there. Family had already left. Dad was too consumed in a football game to take me home, so I sat and played on my phone. It was absolutely miserable.

And this year, my dad won’t even be there.

I hope every year is different. I hope it gets better– and last year, i even tried to make things better with some ideas from my counselor. They failed.

After last year’s Thanksgiving, I’ve learned to release my dreams for this holiday. I’ve also released the trying so hard. Because I can’t change them. And I excuse myself this year from trying.

This year, I’m excusing myself. Excusing myself from the guilt of not enjoying this holiday. Excusing myself from trying to act perfect for my family. Excusing myself from not feeling the feelings of disappointment I know I’ll face when things are the same old next week.

It’s time to excuse yourself this Thanksgiving. If you enjoy this holiday and all that’s in it, awesome. i wish I could say the same. If you don’t: take heart. Give yourself grace. Excuse yourself from the table when it becomes too much. And excuse yourself from the expectations and hopes placed on this day, especially if you know they won’t happen. It’s okay. At least I’m preaching it to myself this year.

(this took longer than 5, whoops)

 

I’m a very thankful person for a lot of things this year, and as always, this community lands at the top. So grateful.

Audrey’s latest. Love the Celtic feel!

 

all the things (11.12)

all the things

My little corner of the internet: 

My 3rd post for The Mighty went live on Friday! This was a hard one to write, but it also involves John Green so that’s fun. If you haven’t read Turtles All the Way Down, SPOILERS!

No posts on the blogstead this week. My energy/motivation has slowly been re-appearing, but I’ve been focusing it on freelance articles instead of blog posts. This week, Jordan Reads Things will be live! Promise.

The Mighty also featured my post from last week on one of their Facebook pages. So fun.

Words from the internet I liked: 

You’re okay.: Hannah Brencher’s one of my faves. Her Monday pep talks always get me geared for the week, and her words pump me up and get me all in my feels. I felt like this post was sweetly whispered in my ear: you’re okay. I needed the reminder that it’s okay to not be on my A-game all the time (rather, it’s impossible). Her words are smooth and truthful, and they got me on the right track for a better week.

Perfection is a conspiracy theory we’re all believing in. Perfection is a paper town. We still chase after it because it looks like other people, people with more followers and more kale on their plates, have somehow attained it. Let the myth die: not a single one of us knows what perfection feels like.

The Membership of the Living: the common anxieties:  I felt myself nodding along to Lore’s thoughts as I read, so achingly true they all were. It was a strikingly simple string of words, but a powerful one on the lost art of listening.

Rarely do we stop to consider how alike most of us all are, deeply wanting to be loved (or even liked), deeply desiring the full experience of being alive, and deeply wanting to be found faithful. And how most of us just want the comfort of another person acknowledging the pain of life on this orb, and then simply saying, “I’m sorry. I think I get it a little, but not all the way, but I want to sit here with you in it.”

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books to Empower Everyday Women:

Sarah Bessey is my favorite. Always. And her book lists/gift lists are always on point. This one has some great books on it– some I’ve read (including Shalom Sistas, hollaaaa), and some that have been on my wishlist (like A Woman’s Place by Katelyn Beaty), and some I’d not heard of but are now on my never-ending TBR list. Man, I just love books. (and all of SB’s book lists are linked at the end of her post!)

11 Missing Days: Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery:  Umm, this is fascinating. While I doubt this is the greatest mystery Christie’s known for (a little extreme considering she’s out-sold every novelist in the world with her mysteries), but still kinda crazy thinking a mystery novelist was in a mystery of her own. I’ve only read one of her books (wonderfully written, but mysteries aren’t my thing), but I’m so intrigued by her now.

This Is What I Need In A Partner Because Of Anxietywhile this article is about dating, I think it could be extended to friendships as well (at least for me, the girl that doesn’t date). And I don’t think I necessarily need all of these things, but some of them are on point for me as an anxious person (texting back, following through w/plans, being on time/letting me know if you’re running late, consistency, listening…) basically, I need someone who isn’t going to leave, and is going to follow through with what they say. I will always second guess myself– my responses, my questions, my words, my actions… I need someone who won’t feed that guesswork. I will never stop worrying if I’m a good enough friend/human and need people to validate that in me.

When you have anxiety you are someone people can rely on simply because you hate the feeling of being let down yourself. (YES THIS).

When You Can’t Fix Your Weary Soul: I really loved seeing this on (in}courage. I’m hoping the tide is changing for our discussion on things mental health in the Christian world, because there are too many who still see it as a sin problem/something you can only fix with prayer/etc. I’m thankful for Sarah’s honesty and her real-ness. The reality of mental illness is that it might be fixed, the pills or therapy or whatever can and might help. But even if not, God is still God. And He still loves me. Even when I’m drowning in the weight of sadness or in the spirals of anxiety, He is near.

I am faithful and I am sad. I am obedient to the best of my ability and I have a downcast soul. It may or may not go away, but it doesn’t change my status in God’s Kingdom. I am His child. And I am hurting. But He is gentle and kind and is with me in this.

It Only Took 56 Years, But Now You Can Actually Have Breakfast At Tiffany’sI’ve been an obsessive Breakfast At Tiffany’s/Audrey Hepburn fan since… high school at least? It’s one of the few movies I prefer over the book (Not Truman Capote’s best, imo). I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I will someday purchase something that comes in a little blue box. Not anytime soon, but someday! And now there’s a cafe where you can literally eat breakfast at Tiffany’s and my obsessive heart is just filled with joy and Tiffany diamonds. Anyone wanna plan a trip to NYC with me?

Thoughts and Prayers: I ‘met’ Heather through her blog right around the time her son James was born (so a little over 4 years! wow!). She’s a hilarious writer and blogger, and her thoughts on grief and living after the loss of her daughter, Maddie, are honest and thoughtful and helpful to those of us that haven’t walked that road. Maddie would’ve turned 10 on Saturday. In light of recent events (shootings et all), we see a lot of people offering “thoughts and prayers,” to no end. But Heather points out that while thoughts and prayers are great, even necessary and helpful, they are not where we should end. Thoughts and prayers should compel us to do something. I’m a believer in prayer and think God can move mountains, but I think he uses us, the praying people, to do the moving. Prayer should compel us to action– whether that be service, donations, whatever it may be depending on the situation.  I also think a lot of people use the “thoughts and prayers” as a way to not do/say anything. Saying you’re going to pray and then not thinking about it again does nothing to help people. If you believe in the power of prayer, use those prayers to do something. That means a lot more than an empty offer of thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts and prayers should be a beginning, not an end.

New augmented reality mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite announced:

Think Pokemon GO, for Harry Potter fans. I AM SO EXCITED SOMETHING WORTH LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR!! I’m literally grinning, I’m so dang giddy about this. We have to wait until 2018, but I don’t mind waiting.

 

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

Harry Potter 12 Days of Socks Advent Calendar. I need it. Unfortunately it’s pretty much sold out right now (bah humbug), but hopefully, Target will restock soon. They also have Disney and DC comic versions!


Someday I will own this nativity set from Noonday Collection. It’s beautiful and handmade!


Amazon has their own furniture collection now, and it is very pretty.


I just recently partnered with ThredUP, the largest online secondhand shop, to do some sharing/blogging with them. I’m awaiting the last few items from my purchase before I write, but what I’ve gotten from them so far (that fit) I’ve gotten some awesome compliments on. There were a few sizing issues (plus-size probs) but now I’ve exchanged everything and hopefully, this last exchange does the trick. *fingers crossed*


Stay Home Pillow: I would never spend this much money on a pillow, but I need it.


Sacred Holidays Advent Study! Only 10 days left to get SH’s study in time for Advent to start (11/22)! I did their Lent study and it’s awesome. Their studies are very detailed and thorough, but not overwhelming. I love the theme for this year, “For All.” They have a women’s, men’s, and family study, and use the code FRIENDSGET10 for 10 percent off!

I love love LOVE the ladies behind this product, and can’t wait to use it for Advent this year. Also, follow Sacred Holidays on social media for updates and other ways to help make your holiday season a little more sacred. Find them here: Facebook, Sacred Holidays Tribe,  Instagram


TOMS. Anyone that knows me well knows I have a slight obsession. If only they’d quit coming out with cute ones! I care nothing about shoes, except for Toms.

On the top of my list this year: Glitter. Toms. Need I say more? #alltheglitterallthetime

Also glitter, but rose gold glitter. yes, please.

Not glitter, but stars. My other favorite. So pretty.

Vintage floral. I love the sunflowers!


DaySpring currently has a 70% off sale going on for some of their awesome Illustrated Faith products! I need to stock up on black and white alphas while they’re so cheap, and the new Created to Create 2 and Word Nerd kits are $5 off! So tempting. These watercolors are 1/3rd the price they usually are! Great Christmas gift idea right here.

While on DaySpring, check out the new Bible Journaling kit, Defiant Joy, to go with Candace Payne’s new book Laugh It Up. Candace is known to many as the Chewbacca Mom, and she just released this book last week! I can’t wait to read it, and the journaling kit that she and DaySpring put together is so awesome.


Well-Watered Women released their new/updated Give Me Jesus journal! I have an original GMJ journal I bought in 2015 and still use it in my studying. (It was technically a 40-day journal, but I’ve been able to stretch it! haha). This one is even more beautiful and they’ve completely updated the inside of the journal. I’ve loved having a guided journal (that has sections for prayer, scripture study, etc., but a lot of the sections in the old journal felt a little moot to me– so I ended up just using them as space to do more study journaling. The new journal looks different on the inside, and I’m excited to see the difference when I can get my hands on one!

 

They also have a new journal called the Redefined journal, which looks like an awesome journal to have on-hand if you’re struggling with anxiety/depression etc. It has different sections for different things you can write, such as “Lie vs Truth,” “I Feel…But I know…” and so on. Looks super awesome and useful.


I think that’s it for this week. Follow my writer page on Facebook for more writerly updates and sometimes funny things, among other amusements.

Thanks for reading, peoples.

 

 

 

**affiliate links have been used in this post

all the things (11.5)

all the things

Hola. It’s kind of looking like this weekly blog post has accidentally become bi-weekly… last week was kinda awful and I barely got out of bed. Couldn’t force myself to write anything fun. But I’m gonna try to get back on track for weekly posts next week. Here’s to hoping.

My little corner of the internet: 

My 2nd article for The Mighty got published yesterday and was featured on their front page! That’s always fun. I wrote about how the weather/seasons have begun affecting my depression.

1000 word ramble: literally a 1000 word depression and anxiety-induced ramble because I spent most of this week practically drowning. Needed to write it, but it was hard as hell to hit publish.

My FMF post this week: on wants and needs and when they intertwine.

I shared my review of the SRT Bible last weekend. If you don’t have one already, you definitely should put it on your Christmas list. 🙂

Words from the internet I liked: 

I haven’t read much this week because… well, life. But I read a few things last week I’ll share!

The Hidden Grief of Singleness: I was introduced to Lore through She Reads Truth, and have fallen head over heels for her lyrical writing and soothing words. I have truthfully never thought of singleness from this perspective. I am 25 and have always been single. Somedays I think about being a wife and a mother, but it’s not really what I’m searching for right now. Honestly, some days I wonder if having kids is in my future at all (as a former daycare teacher, I go back and forth on the idea. ;)) Nonetheless, this perspective is beautiful and heartbreaking, and she writes about grief and loss that really challenge me in other places in my life.

I might be the odd one out on this subject, but I’m okay with singleness and lack of motherhood, honestly. I’ve never really expounded on my thoughts about the subject, and maybe I will someday, but it’s never really been one of my top goals. But I do daydream sometimes. Who doesn’t?

The Bible gives us permission to weep deeply over the life we hoped we would have, and to not feel ashamed of that hope or disappointment. It is okay to grieve those losses and feel that pain.

This is Us Recap (Brothers): Full disclosure. I have not watched this week’s episode (bc bad week). But last week they dropped a bomb plot twist RIGHT AT THE END AGAIN. STOP IT THIS IS US WRITERS!! This interview breaks down a lot of what happened in the episode and unpacks it all a bit. This show is so layered and deeply thoughtful. The way the characters parallel and reflect on each other (in good and bad ways) is so lovely to watch. And sooo much is going on between the lines. It’s such a fun and moving show to watch. Also, I love how thoughtful they were with Toby’s coffeeshop dance scene (you just gotta watch to understand).

Honestly Talking To Friends About Depression: A great piece for The Mighty that hits home. I’m always afraid to burden my friends with my every struggle– if they knew every struggle, man, I’d never talk about anything else. They’re unending these days. But this hits home with what I’d say, and what I need in this low-ness.

“I don’t need advice. I don’t need you to talk. I just need you to sit quietly with me. I just need you to sit next to me. To hold my hand. To help me up. I just need you there so that the loneliness and the sadness and the despair doesn’t drown me. I just need some help treading water for a little longer.”

On the Days I Just Can’t, This is What I Need: Another Mighty post that hit home this week. Literally, haven’t left my bed much this week because I just couldn’t. The world was just too much. I have so many coping skills, so many things I do to help me get out of this place, but none of them have helped this week. None.

“I know what to do to pull myself out of my funk, and I use skill after skill after skill when I feel myself getting low. Many times the skills work. But there are times it feels like all the skills in the world will not help me.”

‘Neopets:’ Inside Look at Early 2000s Internet Girl Culture:  One of my besties from high school shared this; we’ve bonded over our shared Neo love for our entire 10-year friendship.
I’ve played on Neopets pretty much on/off (mostly on) since childhood. I’m 25 and play it, umm, every day these days, no shame. I took a long break from it in college but still checked in from time to time.  My current account is almost 9 years old, and I have found community there, making many friends from the game (some I’m still friends with today!).
I play it for stress relief, an escape from reality… but as this article shares about, I’ve actually learned a lot from the game. I learned how stocks work, how an economy works (or doesn’t work), and how to buy/sell/trade items. Plots taught me about how to tell a story and problem solve/think critically. I learned a lot from writers/artists on the site that used their pets as a muse, and it encouraged me in my own character design and my own creativity.
But mostly, I learned about design, graphics, and coding– things I never knew about until Neopets came along. I didn’t have a clue how websites were built, or how to make things online. I just thought you designed something cute/pretty and then boom! it was online. Coding was just a mumbo-jumbo mix of letters and words and symbols. I had no clue how they worked.
I finally decided to start learning when I could never find layouts I wanted– and I wanted to start making banners for my guild. I taught myself, using SunnyNeo (a Neopets fan/help site) and other various coding help sites how to code basic things… first how to do certain things, like how to add a text box or hyperlink to a website or a picture on another page. then I learned how to code a banner or button. then a picture. then finally, with the plentiful help of SunnyNeo, I designed and coded a guild layout. I was so dang proud of myself.
It gave me plenty of headache, and I knew it was something I’d never want to do career-wise (because I am the most impatient human with codes), but I knew I could do it. And Neopets, a silly kids website, taught me that. Every time I need to change something in the coding of this website or create links on my portfolio, I think back to Neopets and that guild layout. It hurts my brain, but I feel dang proud that I can do it.
Like just now: I couldn’t figure out why the spacing went all wonky in the bottom part of this post, went into the HTML and fixed it! (too many divider codes) Thanks Neo!
It’s amazing how life-changing a virtual pets site has been for so many people– especially the ladies in this article, whose careers were built on the coding knowledge they got on Neopets.
sorry for writing basically a whole blog post on this article but apparently i had thoughts. haha
“I didn’t start coding because I thought it’d be a promising career,” Kanna explains. “I just wanted to create something really cool, and on Neopets, you could do anything you wanted. From there I just started tinkering around and experimenting.”

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

-Pioneer Woman has a new cookbook out. I needs it. Also, she has a new holiday collection at Walmart and I just want to buy all the things, dangit.

-A few friends on the internet have shared this new devotional by Christian Piatt, and y’all, it looks awesome. a mix of liturgy+ scripture+resources/explanations that bring it down to Earth. I struggle so much with reading scripture and understanding it and looove me some liturgy, so I’m ready to own this.

-Speaking of devotionals, I’ve been using my girl Annie Downs’ 100 Days to Brave, and y’all, it’s awesome. Everyone needs it, in my opinion.

-Still on the hunt for a bedspread. (check my last all the things post for my bedspread desires/wishlist). Still haven’t found one I loved that was in my price range. Zulily has some cute ones but haven’t found one that’s what I exactly want.
Add this one and this one to the dream wishlist– so pretty. so expensive. but so pretty.

-The Illuminated Bible: Y’all. This Bible is STUNNING. Rebekah Lyons shared it on her instagram and it is just plain gorgeous. (Dana, who designed all the prettiness in this bible, designed Rebekah’s book covers). I really don’t need another Bible in my life(i’ve got like 5!), but if I did, it’d be this one.

-Williams-Sonoma released a Harry Potter cooking tools line... and honestly, I’m a tad underwhelmed. I want more than just House-themed Aprons and Spatulas (not to say I don’t want the Ravenclaw version of both). I wish HP items weren’t just regulated to Hogwarts houses– there’s plenty more in the world of Hogwarts to base items off of.

-I’ve been listening to Kelsea Ballerini’s new album Unapologetically pretty much nonstop since it came out Friday. It very much reminds me of the good ol’ TSwift days (before she went cray) except with more relatable lyrics and a more powerful/ beautiful voice. A good mix of silly-sweet fast-paced songs and soulful ballads. In Between, Miss Me More, High School, and I Hate Love Songs are my favorites. Go listen!

-Target officially released Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, their Joanna and Chip Gaines collaboration. I am in love with it all. It’s perfectly them, and the prices are pretty decent! Now if they would just do bedding so I could alleviate my bedspread hunt…

-I finally finished Turtles All the Way Down. I have a lot of feelings, enough for a post of its own (my book post for October will be coming later this week!). It is so good. And I’m already missing being lost in a fiction book, so I need recommendations. If you’ve read a good get-lost-in-it fiction book lately, please share with me.


I think that’s it for this week. I’m not promising much in the blogging world this week (I’m still pretty low), but I’m working on my Book blog for October, so be on the lookout for that. And follow my writer page on Facebook for more writerly updates and sometimes funny things.

Thanks for reading, peoples.

(affiliate links have been used in this post, yo).

wants and needs (five minute friday)

no chatting tonight. lurked instead. too tired. too mentally drained.

this week’s prompt:

DNq_cCJX4AASHRt

You can’t always get what you want, as the old song goes… but what if what you want is what you need?

I’ve had a brutal mental week. I wrote about it last night, if you dare read my rambles from 1 in the morning.

It started last week, after being disappointed and a little brokenhearted about something… then disappointments and broken promises and more disappointments piled one on top of the other, and I just gave up and dwelled in the sadness of it all.

I want to be mentally healthy. I need it too. I need to have some semblance of normalcy: a normal sleep schedule, instead of staying up half the night and sleeping til noon;

a normal meal schedule instead of grazing all day;

a focus on writing or looking for writing jobs instead of just giving up after rejection hits me square in the face;

a motivation to get up and get stuff done, instead of forcing myself out of bed just to go to the bathroom;

I want a lot of things. But right now, I need them too.

My wants and needs are intertwined right now: What I need most is what I want most, too… normalcy. Peace. Community. Motivation. Energy. Focus. Joy.

I’m struggling to get my needs met. I feel like I’m drowning in sadness.

I don’t just want to be well. I need it. But I don’t know how to get there right now.

 

I’ve been listening to Audrey Assad a lot this week… her voice is soothing. This hymn is a favorite.

 

untitled 1000-word ramble.

i’m craving rest, but my body is restless.

my mind is racing, but it’s completely blank.

I’m sweating through my clothes, but am getting chills intermittently.

my body aches. my head and back throb.

words are going in one ear and out the other. i hear things, but nothing is being comprehended.

a deep wave of anxiety hits every few seconds, leaving me paralyzed. i need to get out of bed. i need to take my medicines and get ready for bed. but I can’t move.

I can’t stop shaking. my body feels completely off kilter. everything feels like an out-of-body experience. even typing this feels weird, like I’m not doing it, but my body is. none of this makes any sense.

I’ve cried daily this week. Sometimes for actual reasons, actual disappointments or things that made me sad or frustrated. But mostly because I’m just low and sad this week and have no one to help me get through it. Silence has been louder than loud, and the loneliness of this season has been deafening.

I’ve gone to bed before midnight almost every night this week. Not because I was tired or sick, but because it felt like there was no point in staying up. There wasn’t a point in anything. Everything feels moot right now, useless. It’s useless to eat when nothing is satisfying; it’s useless to play games online when I can’t concentrate; it’s useless to read when the words all run together.

No reason to write unless words come. I’ve stared at an empty screen more than once this week, unable to pull words from my brain. I have blog posts I need to write, articles I could be working on. But the words are elusive.

Even now, I stare at the screen, unsure if any of what I’m writing is making sense. But my brain won’t shut up long enough for me to lie down. Thoughts consume me, but I can’t make sense of them. They just keep hitting me, piling on top of me like a blanket I can’t unwrap myself from. I’m being swallowed up by my own thoughts, the spiral tightening around me. I can’t squeeze myself out; the grip only gets tighter the more I try to run.

I feel stuck.

I feel overwhelmed.

I feel fearful.

I feel sad.

I feel disappointed. Discouraged.

Yet I feel nothing at the same time.

My energy is zapped. And yet sleep eludes me.

I hear music, but it sounds more like background noise buzzing around my head and less like music. I know the words, but my brain isn’t computing enough to actually say them.

I don’t remember what life was like before depression anymore.

I don’t remember what life was like before anxiety, either.

I’ve lived with both to a degree most of my life. The darkness started swallowing me whole as a kid, but it became more apparent as an adult, as I tried to actually live.

The voices have always played in my head, reminding me who I am and how crappy I am. They’ve gotten louder as I’ve gotten older. The ones that have been playing this week:

You’re stuck here forever. 

You’re never going to get out of here. 

You’ll never be able to be out on your own. 

You’re never going to make it. 

You’ll never have a career. 

 

No one cares. 

No one’s listening, so quit texting/posting/sharing. No one’s going to respond back, even to check on you. 

Why do you think you matter?

You’ll never get this figured out. 

You’re clueless. 

This is useless. You are useless. 

Quit trying. There’s no point. 

Is there even a reason you’re trying? 

These are just from this week. This. week. This is what I’ve been up against.

It’s a battle between me and my brain, and this week, my brain has won. I have shrank back inside myself, not texted people for help for fear of burdening them with my problems again and again; I have canceled plans, unsure if I could even hold a conversation without crying. I haven’t read or written, haven’t done any of the things that usually bring me joy, because there hasn’t felt like a point.

I’ve numbed myself with candy and Netflix and naps, and even my numbing tools are irritating me. nothing is making me feel better. not sleep. not food. not tv. not music. not jesus. Nothing’s working, and I’m scared all my ‘fixers’ are giving up on fixing me. I’m scared I’m beyond help.

I know I need a medicine increase. I know I need to get back into therapy, it’s been too long (since June). but I can barely think about getting out of bed, let alone anything else.

I should be this vulnerable with a friend, not the internet. But I don’t have a friend I feel like I can be this vulnerable with. Who wants to hear this shit? Who wants to read a text about my tears and frustrations and disappointments this week that led to this spiral? Who wants to hang out with the perpetually sad and anxious girl? No one, my brain says. No one you know cares, my brain reminds me. So I just will put it here, and hope that maybe someone will be willing to listen. Or maybe I’ll delete this later, because people will read it and think I’m weird or frightening or whatever. I worry more about what people will think when I publish this than I am about how I’m actually feeling right now.

September was a brutal mental month. October wasn’t great, but it was better. I need November to turn up, and we’re not off to a great start. I just don’t know where to even start.

What I do know: I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I will never understand why this is my hellish cross to bear. I will always long for a life without mental illness. I want to feel normal. I want to feel things for as they are, not as I fear or perceive them to be. I want to feel more than numb.

But I don’t know how to get there.

I’d love to end this saying that I’m okay… but I’m not this time. But maybe now I can sleep.

Studying Scripture in a Beautiful Way (SRT Bible Review)

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I’ve been a She Reads Truth fan since nearly the beginning. I’ve written a few posts about their studies before.

I didn’t grow up in church and didn’t really know how to engage in scripture– SRT helped me by providing thoughtful devotions and corresponding scripture to study– and they did so in a way that was beautiful and thoughtful. I was a part of their launch team for the SRT Book, and have participated in countless studies by them for over 3 years.

So when I heard about the SRT Bible, I was ECSTATIC. It looked stunning from the outside, and I knew it would be as beautiful from the inside too. And I was not disappointed!

I was equally excited when the B&H Bloggers program had one on their site up for review purposes. I hadn’t had the money to splurge on an SRT Bible just yet, so it came at a great time!

I actually missed the cutoff for this review copy, due to a technical error, but the people at B&H are so nice they sent me one to review anyway! (shout out to Andy for being awesome!).

So here are my thoughts:

First off, it is gorgeous looking. Isn’t it?! I love this color (I was thinking I’d get the grey one per the review copy, so was over the moon to receive the poppy colored one!! Squeal!!)

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key features–maps, charts, etc

Now honestly, does scripture and the Bible have to LOOK pretty for us to engage with it? Nope. But doesn’t the beautiful word of God deserve to look as beautiful as the words within it are? I’d say yes. Jess Connolly made this point in one of our Dance Stand Run launch team live chats about her book– the cover is stunning, but it doesn’t have to be– but God deserves our best. He deserves beauty! And so does His word, to extend her example. The Bible is inherently beautiful, but making it look as beautiful outside as it is inside glorifies God all the more, in my opinion. 

And truthfully, it makes using this Bible all the more engaging: looking at the beautiful scripture pages at the beginning of each book, studying the stunning maps, charts, and timelines that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are a valuable resource in learning about the whens and wheres of the Christian world. Especially charts. I’m a chart/worksheet kind of girl.

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Chart from Proverbs

 

I get bored fairly easily reading the Bible, if I’m being honest. So making it captivating with design, helpful tools to understand it better, and devotions to bring it to life help me so much. Case in point:  the “How to read the Bible” and “This is the Gospel articles at front of Bible– super helpful for beginners. The “How to read the Bible” article helped me immensely, honestly.

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Letter from Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, founders of SRT and editors of the SRT Bible

An aside: Now, if anyone knows me well, they know I am one of the messiest humans on earth. My books are typically very loved looking (meaning they’re worn out, dog-eared and usually falling apart by the end of the reading from being in my purse) because of this. I kind of love that about my books, because it shows you how much I love my books (which is a lot).

I’m not letting this happen with my SRT Bible. I love it by keeping it nice; I don’t want it to be dog-eared and messy. I don’t let myself have food/drink around it, it stays in its box when I’m not using it, I have a special place it goes with my other Bibles/journals/study tools that I put it back in EVERY night. It’s worth it to keep it pristine to me. I write in the margins w/ a sharpie pen, but haven’t highlighted due to the page thinness (more on that later). Back to the review!

I appreciate the different Bible study plans (pic on left)– both one for digging into each book of the Bible, and one for reading the Bible as a whole.I haven’t used one yet because I’m doing a study on 1&2 Samuel right now (with SRT of course, duh) but will definitely use one in the future. The book introductions (pic on right) are thorough and useful, a great tool as I engage in books I don’t know much about.

I love all the devotions I’ve read so far, though I wish they hadn’t been ones that were used on the SRT website already. (I doubt they all are, but the ones I’ve read so far I’ve read in previous studies!) Eg: I’m doing the Life of David study, and two of the devos in the Bible were also the study on the website. I also wish they’d write who wrote what on the devotion instead of having a directory of names in the back.

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Features detailed// info on CSB translation (with key to footnotes on back)

As for the Bible’s version, it’s a new one to me-the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I like this version! This is my first time using it. It’s very clear and easy to understand. The footnotes are a bit confusing though– I know there’s a key at the beginning of the Bible, but I wish they were easier to engage with and understand what they mean in relation to the scripture. For my study Bible, I use NLT, so this is a great companion to that (and the occasional reading of The Message for a fresh take on the wording).

The wide margins are great, especially as a Bible journaler– though I don’t intend on doing much artsy journaling in this Bible. I like using the margins to write out scriptures that stand out as I read them, or notes from my study.

I’ve read a lot of complaints on the thin pages– and I won’t lie, they are thin. I’m afraid if I move through them quickly I’ll rip one! But as far as the thinness in relation to reading the scripture, it doesn’t bother me too much. I can read it just fine. The only pages that it bothers me is on the pages where there’s a devotional on one side, and scripture on the other– the design of the devotional pages does make it a little harder to read the scripture. I wish they’d put devotionals on both sides of the same page to avoid this problem, but it’s more of a slight annoyance than anything else.

Example:

What it looks like when I write a long passage (front and back of same page):

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I use a sharpie pen in my SRT Bible and can see some shading on the back, but no major bleedthrough has occurred from my writing.

What the pages with devotionals on one side, scripture on the other look like:

See- because the outline/ design of the devotionals are different from the scripture pages, it looks wonky. Again, it’s merely an annoyance, not something to write home about.

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Key Verses– one of the favorite aspects of the Bible. 1 from each book, intentionally chosen together.

Overall, I LOVE this Bible. It’s beautiful to look at, easy to read and understand, and thought-provoking in the additional details it provides. I’m a fan of most everything the SRT ladies put out there, but am especially proud of this product by them.

Proud to be a member of the SRT Community, and grateful for the way they use their beautiful designs and thoughtful studies to bring women into the word of God every day. I hope this Bible does that job well for women around the world– it’s doing so for me! 

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There’s a more succinct version of this review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Happy reading!

(Amazon affiliate links have been used in this post)

all the things (10.23)

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And I’m back for the 2nd edition of All the Things weekly recap! I skipped last week because… well, while dogsitting I hardly had enough energy to open my laptop, let alone read things. Oops.

But anyways, here are this week’s happenings:

My little corner of the internet: 

Finding my Armor-Bearer: a pretty vulnerable post about friendship.

My FMF Post this week:

Jesus, mental health, and ignorant people on twitter:

Not a blog post, but I got my twitter-preacher girl on this week in light of an ignorant person’s twitter rant about faith and mental illness. I will continue screaming this at the top of my lungs until people get it. This stigma KILLS, y’all.

Words from the internet I liked: 

Honestly, I didn’t read a lot of articles/blog posts per my usual this week… because I’ve been reading a lot of actual books! How about that? Haha.

That Time I Danced Too Close: In light of the “me too” conversation happening about sexual harassment, this post was quite well said, especially from a Christian/church perspective. I follow Rachel on twitter and enjoy her thoughts!

“If we truly believe in the Imago Dei—that all people are created in the image of God—then we must recognize that what some brush off as “locker room talk” or “boys being boys” is actually a perpetuation of abuse which insults the image of God.”

Answering ‘How Are You?’ With ‘I’m Tired’ | The Mighty  

One day last year my former boss asked how I was and I said my usual, “tired but okay” and she exclaimed, “you ALWAYS say you’re tired!” Yes. Yes, I do. But tired doesn’t always equal physically tired, believe it or not.

“Because it’s life you’re tired of. You’re tired of people treating you like you don’t matter. You’re tired of feeling like you have no future. You’re tired of getting lost in your own head, of drowning in the thoughts and self doubts that pester you every second of every day, while you fight to keep your head above the tides.”

Really, I Blame the Women. |Sarah Bessey 

I was introduced to Heartline and the Livesays from both Sarah Bessey and Kristen Howerton. I love Tara’s sassiness, blatant honesty about life in Haiti, and her determination to not band-aid a problem, but create a solution. Also, the woman is freaking hilarious and posts the cutest pictures of babies and mamas on instagram. This is a great post by Sarah telling some of Heartline’s backstory in honor of their 10th anniversary, and it includes ways to support Heartline at the end!

What if there was a way to keep families together? What if there was a way to eliminate the need for orphanages altogether?

What if we gave all of the energy we’re giving to caring for orphans towards making sure these children never even became orphans in the first place?

Like I said, I blame the women.

Why is a popular interfaith website giving a disgraced misogynistic pastor a platform?

I saw Driscoll’s name popping up online over the last few weeks, and I cringed. Why, Patheos, Why? This article just has a sprinkling of the over-the-top offensive remarks the man has made. In the name of Jesus. I just can’t believe someone would let him wield power AGAIN. And no repentance for his actions, either. I just can’t.

In the sad words of one of the commenters: “Why is a popular interfaith website giving a disgraced misogynistic pastor a platform? 
 
It’s a simple question with a simple answer: Because those who have the authority to make the decision agree with his teachings.  
 
It’s no deeper than that. If they back him, they back his teachings.”

Sigh. Plus, the fact that he has followers (somehow?) and that will bring $. It all comes down to money, even if we have to sacrifice morals and human decency.

Patheos’ decision emerges as we witness the belated reckonings of powerful misogynist men whose behavior was ignored and enabled all in the name of the almighty dollar. Driscoll brings with him half a million Twitter followers and status as a New York Times best-selling author, but also a long history of sexism and outright misogyny.

–This isn’t a blog or article, but someone in my Enneagram facebook group (yes i’m in an enneagram fb group no shame) created a playlist for fellow Enneagram 2s (2w1 here) and I love it. Listen on spotify here.

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

-I just recently got a new Queen sized bed (thanks, Dad!), but haven’t bought a new bedspread to fit on it. I’ve found a few I like that are a bit out of my price range (why you so expensive, Anthropologie?!?) but have a found a few contenders.

I like pretty, florarly designs, but a little less bold than my college quilt (bright pink with brightly colored flowers. a tad loud for 25-year-old me. ).

I’ve found a few on urban outfitters I adore: this one is the biggest contender. I love this one too.

I REALLY want this one from anthro, but my mother doesn’t want me to get one with a white background. Bah humbug.

That’s also why she wasn’t a fan of this kate spade one, but I’m slightly obsessed with it.

I love this anthro one too, but can’t justify the price tag. Sigh.

So, should I save up for one of the anthro ones, or go with a cutesy one from urban outfitters?! help a sista out!

-I love that this and this exist. Bundt cakes that you cook like waffles? Sign me up. Plus, the mini one is just too cute.

-I have a few friends having babies in the near future, and the one thing I love gifting more than anything else? Books! Duh. I have a few on my wishlists I’m starting to buy for various babies I already love so much.

Jimmy Fallon has a new kids book out, and it is so cute. Anything Jimmy Fallon does is awesome, so…

I can’t remember where I read about this one, but I love it. Let’s start teaching ’em about diversity young! I want a copy of this one for myself– it’s stunningly designed!!

I’ve given this one to a friend’s babe before, and I’ll give it again because it is so good and lovely and heartfelt. I love MPT, and his children’s books are beautiful inside and out!

– Through the B&H/Lifeway bloggers program, I received the amazingly beautiful She Reads Truth Bible this week to review! I’ve had my eye on it since before it came out but wasn’t able to swing it financially. It is BEAUTIFUL. And so helpful/resourceful. I’ve been using it for Bible study since I got it, and it has made bible study so much easier. I’ll do a full review of it hopefully this week, but it is worth every penny.

-To go with my new SRT Bible, I splurged on a new prayer journal. I’ve been following Val Marie Paper forever online but have never tried one of their products. They have a yearly prayer journal that looks beautiful and awesome but wanted to spend a little less than $50 for the first time I’ve used one of the prayer journals. She sells an undated version for a fraction of that, so I went with it. And it matches the color of my Bible! (not that that matters, but hey sometimes girl likes to be cute!). I love things that are prompted/scripted for me to follow as a guide, so I’m excited to add it to my arsenal of Bible study tools. If I like it, I’ll def spring for the yearly version (… or ask for it as a Christmas present. Girlfriend is stingy).

-Books! Two books by two of my favorites come out this week, and GIRL IS PUMPED.

My favorite gal Annie F Downs has a new devotional coming out, and I could squeal I’m so excited. Devotionals are my favorite. If I could have one singular job as a writer, writing devotionals would be it. I have a few good ones in my rotation nightly but am excited to add 100 Days of Brave to the group. Especially since I loved Let’s All Be Brave– girl knows about brave, and I’m pumped for more bravery talk. Bonus: it’s all glittery and that makes me extra excited. (Just as I was finishing this post I got the email that amazon shipped it, and I may have squealed).

and lastly, HAVE YOU PREORDERED DANCE STAND RUN YET? IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? AND YES I’M WRITING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I AM SERIOUS Y’ALL.

You’ve got about 24ish hours to preorder to get the goodies from dancestandrun.com, but even more than that: this book needs to be in the hands of as many women as possible, y’all. and if we preorder, more booksellers will keep it in stock and display it. So, GO BUY IT. It comes out officially on Tuesday, and I do intend on writing about DSR sometime this week. I got my official launch team copies last week, and not only is it stunning (it shimmers, y’all!), but it is even better holding the book in my hands! Y’all, this book is going to change the world. And Jess is a woman fully leaning on God’s truth to carry her and her words, and they’re words we NEED to hear. Let’s go.

That’s it for this week, yo. What did you see/read/buy on the internet this week?

Upcoming posts this week include: SRT Bible Review (later this week), and a review/message of Dance Stand Run. Let’s do it!

[amazon affiliate links have been used in this post]

finding my armor-bearer.

1 Samuel 14:7 has been one of my favorite verses since college. It’s a sweet reminder to me of God’s all-knowing guidance wherever I go:

His armor-bearer responded, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.” (CSB)

 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” (NIV)

I’ve been slowly going through She Read Truth’s 1 and 2nd Samuel study (which was over at least a month ago, but I’m slow and September wasn’t my best month!). I got to 1 Sam 13 and 14 last night. It was the first time I’d studied 1 Sam 14:7 in its full context. Here’s a bit of that, from verses 6-10:

Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

His armor-bearer responded, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.”

“All right,” Jonathan replied, “we’ll cross over to the men and then let them see us. If they say, ‘Wait until we reach you,’ then we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ then we’ll go up, because the Lord has handed them over to us—that will be our sign.” 

d922c9cae82d4799cf59c1d98315ac95-1Reading the verse in context, mixed with life happenings that changed my perspective, made me look at it in a new way.

I’ve always read this verse as the armor-bearer representing God. I don’t think this is necessarily a wrong way to read the verse; for the season of life I was in when I first read this verse, that is what I needed it to be, I think. I was trying to figure out my life, my dreams, and my plans, unsure of my next steps. I didn’t know where God was leading me or what He had called me to anymore. I needed the comfort that God was with me, heart and soul, that he was going to use my gifts and my talents and my dreams right where I was, whatever I did with them. I didn’t fear doing the ‘right’ thing as much when I read this verse–I felt that as long as I was trusting that God was with me no matter what, I couldn’t go down a wrong path.

With all my struggle on calling and careers and the future, this verse has acted as a reminder for my must-figure-life-out-ness and desire to know my future before it happens. 

That is what I’ve needed that verse to be for me at the time. But now, I’m reading it differently, from a different place in my life.

While studying this verse in a more recent context, I didn’t see God as an armor-bearer anymore. I saw people. Community. Friends.

It made me realize I need an armor-bearer in my life. Or a better one, at least. 

Upon reading this verse in this light, I decided to check out a few commentaries for a definition of an armor-bearer. I could kind of guess what they were based on context (that English degree did teach me something!) but I wanted some more depth.

The words “armor-bearer” literally translate to “the one carrying the armor.” It’s defined as “One who carried the large shield and perhaps other weapons for a king, commander in chief, leader, etc.” (source)

The armor-bearer was a leader or warrior’s right-hand man, carrying weapons and armor to and from battle. He worked for and with the leader; he was his helper, his encourager, his support.

He was his person. Reliable and capable, supportive and strong, a guiding force that carried their respective leader or warrior’s life in their hands. Where the leader went, so the armor-bearer went too.

When we get to this point in 1 Sam 14, Jonathan is wanting to go against protocol and charge towards the Philistines. He fully trusted that God would be on his side. Jonathan fully depended on God to carry him through the battle, so he decided to go for it. When he told his armor-bearer his plan, 14:7 was his response.

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

His armor-bearer was with him heart and soul. He would go alongside him no matter what. He supported him. He encouraged him. He knew Jonathan and trusted God too, so he trusted Jonathan’s judgment. So together, they went off to battle and came out victorious (for now).

Jonathan didn’t just go into battle with God alone. He had his armor-bearer with him, someone he trusted, someone who cared and supported him. With God and his armor-bearer at his side, Jonathan did what he intended to do, and did it well.

A lot of the commentaries I read on this verse talk about the encouragement and support of the armor-bearer:

Who could not win victories backed by such armor bearers as that? Go back through history and you will see that the men who have done the greatest work in the world are the men who have been backed by faithful helpers with staunch and loyal hearts. (source)

 “Armor-bearers in ancient times had to be unusually brave and loyal, since the lives of their masters often depended on them.”

These words from Jonathan’s armor bearer must have cheered Jonathan greatly. When we step out in faith, encouragement can make all the difference for good and discouragement can make all the difference for evil. (source)

Jonathan’s armor-bearer was a man of resource and courage. (source)

I see a lot of descriptors here: loyal, faithful, brave, encouraging, resourceful, courageous.

This embodies what an armor-bearer was in scripture. Dependable, encouraging, helpful, loyal, brave.

In a lot of ways, I think it embodies what we’re called to be to each other. 

We’re called to be armor-bearers for one another.

Are we literally carrying armor into battle for each other? I sure hope not. But we still carry each other– our stories, our hurts, our joys, our tears. At least we’re supposed to do that for each other, right?

Give your loved one an extra kiss today.We all need people like an armor-bearer in our lives. Someone we depend on to help lighten the load as we walk into whatever battlefield we’re going into. Someone who will boldly encourage us, while gently reminding us that they’re with us no matter the outcome. People that are loyal and brave and willing to support us through it all.

We need people who will be a bearer of our lives, no matter what’s going on or what we do. 


One of the things I’ve talked to God a lot about lately is my need of a friend. I have friends– a community of friends I love spending time with, whenever we can.  But I need not just community, but a friend. A best friend. Someone I feel like I can text funny things or serious things without feeling a tinge of guilt or burdensomeness, one that will actually respond more than 1 or 2 words. One I can be honest about my life with– and all of it, not just bits and pieces I usually share. Today is Public Service Day (1)

I’m tired of shallow relationships, to put it bluntly. I’m tired of always being the one to text first, without the lack of a response. I’m tired of being an afterthought or forgotten about. I’m tired of thinking I’m a close friend with someone, only to find out that they don’t think we’re as close as I think we are. I don’t want half-assed friendships where I’m only remembered when I’m needed or only thought about when I initiate the conversation. I’ve had enough of those in my life.

Don’t get me wrong– I have some good friends. But a lot of friends have come and go or just fizzled out. I get that life happens and things and people change. I get that life gets crazy busy and circumstances sometimes keep us apart from each other. But I feel like I’m the friend that always gets left in the cold. And I’m tired of trying to be a better friend without reciprocation, or at least an attempt to be a friend back. Friendship has to involve at least two people, ya know? It requires work and honesty and vulnerability on both sides. I’m trying to deliver on my part. I don’t want to be enough of a friend for two of us, and it’s hard for me to be honest and vulnerable if I don’t think you’re going to stay. Thank you for your service!

My prayers for better and stronger friendships were met with this scripture. Funny how God works sometimes.

I need an armor-bearer kind of friend. One that embodies the qualities of Jonathan’s armor-bearer: supportive and encouraging, helpful and loyal. One that pushes me to more and brave things, while not leaving me in the process.

Rant/segue: I don’t need flighty people that come and go in my life. I’ve had enough of that kind of relationship in my 25 years. It doesn’t hurt any less the more it happens to you, by the way. You continually second guess yourself, and your worthiness of friendship when people keep leaving you. You get to feeling like you’re alone and no one actually wants to spend time with you, but do so begrudgingly when you ask to. You feel like you’re doing something wrong or annoying everyone– and even if you are, you wish people would tell you what it is so you could fix it! When people come and go, you get the impression that you’re not worth staying for. I’ve felt that way about myself pretty much my whole life; I don’t need friends making me feel like that too. /rant over 

Simplicity speaks volumes..pngWhere does one find this type of friend? An armor-bearer type that actually tries to be there for you, loves you despite your faults and annoyances, and will walk alongside you in every chapter? (Especially the hard ones).

I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m afraid to, honestly. Because I’m afraid of more of those friendships where I think we’re better friends than we actually are, and I’m afraid people are going to keep coming and going like I’m a revolving door of friendship. 

But I want it. I need it. I’ve been living at home since June, and can count the times on my hand I’ve spent time outside it with someone besides my mom. I live in my middle of nowhere hometown and few to none of my friends live here anymore– for good reason. (I love MJ, but it’s freaking boring). I go days on end without texts or any kind of social interactions from people besides family. 99% of my texts/calls are from my mom. I am not proud of this fact.

We'll make you blush!

I’m praying for stronger, better friendships still, but I’ve changed my words a bit. I’m praying I’ll find my armor-bearer; I’m praying for someone to be that armor-bearer for me. I’m praying for the type of friend I can depend on, that will carry my stories and I can carry theirs. One that I don’t feel like a burden towards or guilty about actually trying to be their friend. A dependable, helpful, loving friend I can be an armor-bearer back to. A friend that treats friendship like the two-way street it should be.

But in the paraphrased words of Flannery O’Connor: a good friend is hard to find.

 

discovering yourself in scripture (five minute friday)

Holaaa. I was going to wait until this weekend to write because I have another post I’m working on, but as I was doing my studies tonight I got the inspiration and I don’t want it to leave me! So here we go. The word is:

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Have you ever had a moment when studying scripture where you see yourself and your sin?

I truly believe Jesus uses scripture time and time again not as a comfort, but as a reminder of who I am and where I struggle.

When I look for Him, Jesus usually shows me himself in scripture. But tonight, I discovered a bit of myself… and not my good side.

I’m working through 1st and 2nd Samuel with She Reads Truth’s the Life of David study. Tonight I was on 1 Sam 15 and 16 when I came across some of Saul’s words that I feel like could have easily been mine in response to Samuel calling him out.

Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.

24 Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. 25 Now, therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.” (CSB Version) 

When I read Saul’s response to Samuel’s stern conviction, I was taken aback. When I read the second half of verse 24, I sat and thought, “hmm, sure sounds like Saul was trying to be a people pleaser!” 

Sure enough, here’s the Message version:

Then Samuel said,

Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—
    empty rituals just for show?
He wants you to listen to him!
Plain listening is the thing,
    not staging a lavish religious production.
Not doing what God tells you
    is far worse than fooling around in the occult.
Getting self-important around God
    is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors.
Because you said No to God’s command,
    he says No to your kingship.

24-25 Saul gave in and confessed, “I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people. I let them tell me what to do. Oh, absolve me of my sin! Take my hand and lead me to the altar so I can worship God!” (Message)

Ouch.

I discovered not only was Saul a people-pleaser, trying to keep everyone happy by disobeying God’s commands ever-so discretely… I discovered that I had a bit of Saul in me. Or a lot of Saul in me. Crap.

Hi my name is Jordan and I am a people pleaser to the extreme. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life, but has recently become apparent to me in my faith.

I have put on a show of faith– rituals in the form of social media posts and pretty pictures showing off myself studying the Bible for the likes and virtual pats on the back for being ‘good.’ All the while not actually studying to know God or learn more about Him and his love for me.

I”ve let other people dictate my faith life– or what I share of it. Instead of doing things like praying and reading my Bible and the like for God, I’ve done it to look pleasing and good to other people. And that’s not where my heart should be.

God doesn’t care about the perfect instagram caption about a scripture. he cares about my heart, and whether or not I’m putting on a show or actually trying to follow him.

I don’t share as much on social media these days about my faith, unless it’s something actually pressing or newly discovered I want to share so others know too. I study for me and my relationship with God, instead of for my relationship with man. i don’t want my rituals and faith to be empty and disobedient. I want to listen to the one voice, the one opinion that matters.

It’s amazing what you discover about yourself when you do things for the right reason. Just ask Saul. 🙂

longer than 5 minutes, because this became less of a five minute friday thing and more of an actual blog post I’d like to elaborate on later… hmm.

Forgot how relevant this song was to this topic. Heh.