Saturday, January 14, 2017

Here's What I think You Should Do

I've been pursuing audacity.  I think that title is fairly audacious, don't you?  I am reticent to say big, bold words that express one directive...but I guess here I am doing just that.  Progress.

Side note: I am listening to the free 48-hour stream of Brian and Jenn Johnson's new album After All These Years......oh boy.  Worth the purchase when it's available.

But here we are, you and me.  I like to think of these moments as sacred because I believe He can be with us together even if we are on different sides of a screen.  The words I let my eyes read are sacred.  I try not to read too much 'you should' stuff unless I feel momentum behind it.  Otherwise we are all scrambling and frantic in the head with our internal lists of must-do-self-improvements: senseless noise.

But I do have one thing I think you should do:

Find out who you are.

If you have chosen to believe that the Gospel is real and it is for you, then you are His.  First answer layer of the answer.  But there is more.

Most of us believe that there are things we were created to do.  Roles we were created to fill.  Art we were create to create.  Work we were created to put our hands to.  And it is possible to do the top layers of those things without truly having an answer to the question 'who are you?'.

So, Christian isn't enough.  Mom isn't enough.  Wife isn't enough.  Accountant isn't enough.  Doctor isn't enough.  Teacher isn't enough.  They are all worthy but they are all facets of what He calls you to.  They do not answer - who are you.

What I am saying is that He is THE CREATOR.  THE Creator.  The Author of all creation.  I believe that.  So don't dumb down His creation in you by simplifying it.

Have you heard people say, 'what you do is not who you are.'?  Me too.  One of my pet peeves is big concept phrases with no discussion about the gritty of how.  It's a concept that rings true....but dangit if that isn't a tough one to apply.

The truth is that when we have even beginning answers to who we were created to be, the way we do the work in front of us changes.  Whether it be a sole focus on raising children, leading an organization, teaching a group of people, spinning pottery, writing words for others to read, or giving medical care to those who come to the E.R., pursue the answer my friends.  Who are you?

I can't give you a step-by-step path to walk.  OH HOW I WISH I COULD!  Could someone send that my way?!

But what I can tell you is what I do know: it requires an uncomfortable amount of quietness.  If you want to start the pursuit of the Answer, start pushing noise out of your soul.  Because who you are and who you are meant to be - it's an answer that's already been woven into you.  The answer isn't going to be created, it already exists.  The words have already been spoken.  You can probably sense its presence.  It's a matter of being quiet enough to see it and hear it.

So, what is between your big conscious thoughts and the Truth that is woven into the deepest part of you?

Noise.

And what is the biggest source of noise between the head and the heart?

Fear.

So, quietness in a place that allows layers of fear, doubt, other's voices and paths that you are nearly addicted to comparing yourself to, untruths you believe to be peeled back and off.  He does very good work.  He knows exactly where the answer is and He knows how to get you there.

You are art.  You are intricate.  You are woven together wonderfully.  You are a creation.  You're not more special than any other creation....but you're certainly not simple.

Deep breath in and out.  There is tension in this isn't it?  It is beautiful but it is tense.  This pursuit of truth requires you to acknowledge layers between the head and the heart that are easier left tucked away.  Who, in their right mind, wants to sit in the same (small) room with their fears? Only those who are ready enough to let them come up so that freedom and healing can come.

He is much much better and getting you to the place of answers than I am.

But, here are some questions that you can ask that will at least help you climb the ladder....walk to the edge and feel your toes curl over the end of the diving board.  He alone can lure you off the board and into the water.

Questions:

  • Do I know how to be quiet with myself and with you?
  • Can you show me practical ways to be quiet with you?
  • What things are creating noise that distract my ears? (It's often not big bad things, but good things)
  • Would you lead me in this?  Would You show me who I am?  Show me how to pursue.  
I'm in it with you!  My heart soars at the thought of you and me opening up to Him in brand new ways!  

And so, that's what I think you should do.  I really do.

Much love,




















Honest Abi and my just-do-it-face




Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Note for January 1

The week between Christmas and New Year is one of my very favorites of the year.  Sometimes the 26th....or even about 3pm on the 25th...brings a little slump as the gifts have been unwrapped, the prime rib has been engulfed, and the candles on the cake have been blown out and the delicious Italian Cream Cake underneath those candles has been devoured, and well - it's simply over.  Over.  The over-ness slump has become a shorter and shorter one for me over the years.  Because something else starts stirring!  I'm reading a book right now that is so so so dang good and here's one little line that couldn't be more true: "...here's the thing about despair: It overtakes the place meant for hope.  It steals the belief that healing is possible." (Rebekah Lyons, You Are Free)

And hope is what starts stirring as January 1 inches closer to our present instead of our future.

Hope for what may come.  Hope for what is happening.  Hope for the wonder of beginning to see what the next chapter will hold.  Hope for Him.  It's exciting.

It's exciting even when we feel like we are limping over the finish line of 2016.  That's how I feel this year.  I feel like He's turned my world upside down and he's bringing healing to things that, frankly, I didn't see as areas that needed that much attention.  Ha!  Ain't that a kicker!

I rather like leaping and bounding over the finish line of one year and into the race track of the next. I went through a few years of loving to run.  My longest races were two half marathons and, by far, my favorite part about running was the end of the race.  When your muscles are fatigued and worn and every little voice screams 'this is too much' as your near the finish line..... and you contemplate walking instead of running over that dang line.  But then.  Something rises over all of that.  My eyes would lock in on that line and from somewhere a sprint would take over my legs and my arms would pump harder pulling my body to run faster than I had the entire race.  Now that's good.

This year, I'm definitely walking rather than sprinting over the line.  But even typing those words, brings a smile because it is okay to just get over the line!  Sometimes, weakness is a gift. Sometimes, it realigns perspective.  Sometimes, it reminds me that success in life and in Him is not born from my feelings of strength.  Feelings of strength are often mistaken for strength.  Strength is deeper than what feelings tell us.

To me, the connection between strength and hope is undeniable.

And that makes me wonder, do you feel hope?

It's okay to be honest about feeling despair.  It's important to be honest about what we feel.  It's the starting point, after all!  But keep this in mind....despair and hope contend for the same spot.  The same spot!  And there are times that hope feels out of reach.  It feels like having hope would require more faith than is available to us at the moment.  My friend, that's a good time to ask Him for help to hope.  A simple plea, a simple call for rescue.

So know that I'm thinking over you as we approach January 1 and the beginning of new.  The cold and clear air a picture to us that He really does make all things new.  He is the changer.  He is the One who moves swiftly when the time is right.  He is the holder of everything that we need.  He is trustworthy.

As you read today, may you be filled with hope.  May you be filled with hope.  It doesn't matter if we are leaping and bounding or if we are slowly walking over the line of one year into the next....He is hope.  My prayer is that all despair loses its grip and that hope floods in, in its place.

Much much love and happy New Year!

Honest Abi and her honest chin...and its honest companion, The Christmas Cold Sore


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Wrestle and the Recovery

What could be more Christmas-y than writing about wrestling and recovering? Precisely: so many many things.  But, whether you wrestle on a tiny scale or an obese scale, I bet there are many of us who find ourselves wrestling in December.  And maybe wrestling with the fact that we are wrestling in December.  HA!

It is good to wrestle.  Yes it is.  When the wrestle comes up for us, we can either make a side-step and avoid it, or we can engage, go deep and walk through it.  Who am I kidding? Walking is far too positive of a word! More like tremor/slather/stumble/army crawl/eek through it.  But, the deception in the side-step is the belief that we can escape it.  To side-step it is a delay and not an escape.

Some straight forward words: I hope that there are people who read these words that aren't like me.  I hope that friends or acquaintances I have that do not share my faith in God are reading and processing with me.  And so, on the hope that that is you... I must say that being 'saved' by Him has not been a one time occurrence in my life.  I have desperately needed to be rescued from myself time after time.  But, I have seen Him, felt Him break into my story and rescue me....save me.  I have lived it.  He rescues me.  And once again, I am taken away at how He has rescued me.  I have needed Him to pull me out of the crazy in my head and HE HAS.  Christians can be crazy in da head.  Christians need to be re-rescued often.

Onward.

So, there is no one more relieved to be checking in from the upswing out of the pit of a wrestling phase than this girl right here.  Re-la-la-la-la-lieved.

When you come out of something intense, you is tired.  Real tired.  And what I wanted to dive into a bit was the space of time right after the wrestle.

And when you're tired, prayers are simple:

'What now God?'

And then so clearly and so consistently He has invited me:

'Come recover in Me.'

It made me pause...the word recover.  Frankly, my natural instinct is to brush myself off, get up, and walk (quickly) away from the scene.  As if it never happened.  I mean, I want to get the good out of it and not forget it.  But, I'd sure like to look as if it never happened.  No sweaty brow, no shaking muscles, no weariness.

But the invitation to recover is not very unclear, now is it?

So as I've moved through recovery, and still am doing so, I've asked Him what that looks like.  How do we recover with Him?  Recovery can be necessary after the smallest wrestle.  After a tough day.  After a difficult run-in.  Recovery need not be saved only for the 'big stuff.'  What if He's inviting you to do the same? Come recover with me....

There are a few things that I know about recovery and much of it mirrors recovery in a physical sense.

1. SLEEP.  Not spiritual slumber....dude, go get a good night of sleep.  Let that rise to top priority.  Has one too many Netflix shows caused you to stay up too late to get a full night of sleep? Catching up on the list of to-dos that didn't get done while you were a bit down? For a bit, sleep needs to be seen as one of the most productive things you can do.  I'm not talking about sleeping the days away.  I'm talking about doing the things in your power to get consistent full nights of sleep.  Allow your body to restore and recalibrate....which impacts everything else.

Hebrews 4:9-11 The Message Translation
"The promise of 'arrival' and 'rest' is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest..."

2. QUIET. Just as if you were side lined from an injury and were forced to let your body recover.... let some things stop that keep the brain busy.  Create some quiet.  He most definitely is right there with you in the wake of the wrestle.  And He wants to process with you...not you on your own trying to figure it all out.  Will He speak? Oh yes, my friend.  He wants to put the puzzle pieces together with you...to help you make the connections....to pull you up so you can see the wrestle from higher up with perspective.  Make some consistent spaces to be quiet with Him and see what happens.

3.  EAT.  What we take in, impacts recovery.  So - let truth and wisdom in.  And that means, seek it out.  Seek out the people who have it.  Read Truth.  Plant yourself in the Psalms if you need a starting point.  This is personal to me...but I find it important to guard the atmosphere around me when I'm recovering.  It's not a time to watch/read/listen to dysfunctional story lines.  Even if it's artistic and well-written or deliciously composed.  Even if the stable you can handle it, the recovering you shouldn't need to handle it.  Take in things that stir up beauty, inspiration, love and truth in you.

Recovery: sleeping, quiet and eating.  It can be challenging in a month like December, but it is possible.

He's in the recovery just as much as He's in the wrestle.  Take it to the bank.

Oh friend! What a journey we get to walk! It takes my breath away and blasts air under my wings all at the same time.


See that dark side strand/chunk of hair on my right cheek?  The one bending by my nose and then sticking straight out?  Yes, that's because it's sticking straight out due to dire need of a good wash.  Tomorrow morning, it's on.  Recovery = dirty hair = but recovery hair has had its last day.  There's only so far dry shampoo can take ya, am I right?

Mucho love,
Honest Abi

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Honesty: When The Wrestle Ain't Over

Every time I write something in December, I feel it ought to be something regarding Christmas, Advent, cookies, memories, gifts, peace: you fill in the blank.  I did actually do it once and I still like it! I don't have it this year, yo.  Don't have it.  Maybe on Christmas Eve.  Maybe the beautiful writing that stirs the Christmas heart will hit me then.  

My last post was gritty. But it was truthful....and may I say, I am a glass half-full girl.  I like that full lens....I like joy. I like rising up. I like wrestling forward.  Progress.  So, when two weeks later, ya still wrasslin, well shoot.  It throws me for a loop to not be upright and on top of all of it.  Instead, I feel like I keep grasping for stability.  Do you ever feel that way?

A few brief thoughts: What the what?

It's seasons like this that make me ask aggressive questions of God.  My big girl voice comes out, honesty breaks in and my prayers sound like heated discussions. "WHAT am I supposed to do? No, I am actually serious here, Sir.  I need you, here, now, and I need to know what to do." And then the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9 pops into my mind:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

You think to yourself once again, what the what?!?!  Sometimes it's all confounding. I love the thought of His grace being sufficient for me and His power being made perfect in my weakness.  But when you're in the spin of the wrestle, or at least when I am in the spin of the wrestle, lovely thoughts do little for me.  They irritate me.  I get very practical when I'm in the fight.  Practical and real pave the way for inspiration and beauty to come running back.  

So, what does it mean for Your power to be made perfect in my weakness? Some translations say, He is strong when I am weak.  I decided to pull up The Message.  Sometimes the total rephrasing helps me understand the point being made:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message:

7-10 "Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."
It's that sentence after 'My strength comes into its own in your weakness' that gets me.  The 'once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.'  AHA!  There is something I can doooooooooooo. It's not all about feeling it - it's not just that the fact is true that His strength comes into fullness when I am weak.  It's that it is true and I let it happen. Puzzle piece.  Next thought: how do I let it happen?
No solid answers.  Only guesses.  I think it has something to do with letting Him take over.  Letting go of the time table.  "Ahem, Darling Lord, let's get the thing done.  Let's wrap 'er up!"  So, cut that concept out of the picture: objective of quick resolve gone.  Apparently, there is more wrestle to do so who am I to say, 'we've had enough fun'?  And in that, 90% of the battle is simply acknowledging that it's happening.  I'm so glass-full that my natural instinct is to see the beautiful fall leaves, adore the fatty ruby red sparkling balls on my Christmas tree, delight in my morning latte, gaze into the sets of gorgeous blue eyes my sons both have, and go on my merry little way.  As I type those things, of course, the answer is not stop seeing beauty and receiving love through the simple things He puts in my path.  But, to the point that I allow those things to aid me in effectively burying my head in the sand and pretending we're done with the wrestle, it prolongs said wrestle.  I would rather pretend it is not happening! Lalalalalalalalalalala.......So, one thing I have started doing is adding some words to my conversations with Him that go a little something like this:
"I appreciate what You are doing in me, Jesus.  I honor it.  I thank you for helping me to wrestle through this.  Help me to be weak when I want to pretend I'm not.  Help me to not hide from what You are doing. I declare over myself that I WILL get to the other side and that I will not circle this mountain endlessly.  By your grace, I will get what You want me to learn.  I won't quit because you are with me.  I won't be afraid of the wrestle."
And I'm going to tell ya, when you pray those words, the fight comes up.  Dagnabbit, yeah! I am not going to wrestle endlessly.  Huh-uh.  Oh we are going to do this thing.  Who wants to walk around a mountain for 40 years? NOT THIS GIRL.  So, even if I don't feel like I'm making a lot of progress, I pray over myself and say that I will get what the Lord wants out of it.  
So, here I sit, the girl in the wrestle.  Don't have the exact language for it yet, looking forward to the other side, but refusing to jump ship because conflict is uncomfortable.  
Even if I like to pout about it sometimes.
Are you wrestling?  Perhaps we should meet for coffee and swap sob stories.  It will be a real good time. Ha!
Much love,
Honest Abi


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Words from the Dirt: When You've Face Planted....Again

Doing stuff is hard.  It's hard for me, at least.  Some arenas of 'stuff' flow out of me like music and seem to get done in a flow of motion that does require effort but ease accompanies it.  That stuff is just as significant as the stuff that comes out of you only by surrendering to the process of pain.  Stuff coming out of you and stuff coming out of me matters.  Whether you feel like you are producing significance within the walls of your life or not, you are.  I am.

That is because He is always producing.  And He is in you.  I guess that's a theological question we have to ponder first.  Do you believe He is in you? Christ in me.  If I do, then the issue of significance has to first be checked against His existence and His nature.  If He is alive, moving, breathing, creating AND He is in me....then I am alive, moving, breathing, creating.  You can let anything that feels otherwise inside of you take a hike.  There is a time for all things.  There is a time to listen intently to the feelings and there is a time to bind them up - acknowledge that the story they are telling you is a lie - and move the blank on.

Recently my face has been in the dirt.  Like a movie scene where two people are fighting and the seemingly stronger opponent, in a swift move, shoves the other's face down to the ground.  The grounded one tastes the dirt, feels the immense pressure, senses the weight of anti-momentum, and for a moment relishes the relief of giving up.

In my story, it all freaking centers around the release of words.  Who knew the amount of drama and resistance writing would stir up?  Not I.  It's a journey I've been in for about two years.  Sisters and brothers - all this wrestle is around writing for me.  If that doesn't stir up a good eye roll in you, I'm not sure what will.  Unless of course, you've wrestled to step into something that calls your name as well.  Something that calls your name but requires you to face your demons, to look your fears in the eye and wrestle them.  He is a wrestler, it turns out.  He has no fear of the wrestle.  Huh.  So unlike me.

Your life is a story.  My life is a story.  And there are two writers who would like to pen the story. One is ultimate truth which leads to a freedom that feels like the brightest air in your lungs.  The other is the one who wants oppression for you - from the time you're little until the time you're done.

Over the two years I've been invited to journey into the land of wrestle, so much has been won as I've surrendered to the wrestle.  I am not the same Abi.  THANK THE LORD!!!!!!!! Truly.  But in the journey, there are layers of the process.  He takes you through one layer, He wins the wrestle with you and for you and in you, and then He lets you rest.  Then comes the next layer.  And somehow the next layer always shocks me.  Errr single time.  Shocked Abi.  Maybe I should look into that domain name.

So the next layer of wrestle found me and here I've been....face in the dirt.  There's something about repeatedly tasting dirt.  It's both strength building and disarmingly scary.  Scary because the vulnerability you feel seems louder and stronger each time.  Your walls are thinner and weaker...which is ultimately good.  But you feel the throw down to the ground more acutely.  And the thought that rains down on you is, 'I'm not sure strength will win this time. Perhaps this is the time my weaknesses, my gaps, my familiar and crippling untrue beliefs will have the final say.' Here's the wrestle.  This is the ground at stake, isn't it?

But we do not wrestle alone.

As much as I care about this ground and these questions...HE is ardent about them.  What? Doesn't that make your mind hurt as you try to comprehend it? How could He possibly care more than I do? How could He be more concerned about the outcome of the journey than I am? But He shows His ardent care by provoking the wrestle when it's time.  Head scratcher.  He cares enough to get me one layer closer to conclusion.  If He were to snap His all-creating fingers and pop me over the wrestle to the other side....I would have no muscle, skill or capacity to carrying the new Abi.  It would be like someone gave me finely crafted, totally customized armor to wear....but I had never worn armor.  It's heavy.  It's essential for the other side, this armor.  It's what enables us to thrive and survive the new land but you have to have the muscle mass to not be taken down by the weight of the armor.  You have to train to fight.

I try to listen hard when my face is in the dirt.  Because He is always faithful to send me voices of truth.  This week, Carol told me to create from the place of brokenness...to lead from weakness and a broken-heart moment...that it would be the thing that caused huge waves.  I hadn't told her the depth of my face-in-the-dirtedness.  Zion looked me firmly in the eyes and told me he believed in me.  That I would break through and that I was almost there.  He let me borrow his belief.  And then He whispers over me.  This time I felt Him inviting me to embrace the darkness and the brokenness....to move forward while being face planted.  So here we are.  Exposing the fragility without shame. Welcoming the wrestle and the feelings of weakness and saying - let's allow this to produce something instead of letting it tell me its endless story of oppression.

Weakness and brokenness can be the open doors to truth.  They don't have to hold us down with a label of being stuck.  They can simply be part of the wrestle and part of being human and part of overcoming.

Thank you for reading.














Much love,

Honest Abi



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

That Woman: No Rules Attached

Hello!!!

My heart is bursting to chat it up with you! I hope your day is going well.  Virtual warm and genuine hug to you right now!

Womanhood calls my friends.  My heart yearns to learn what matters.  I yearn to be a woman that learns, that is both humble and bold, who nurtures life, who acts swiftly when the time comes, who sees people for who they really are, who is audacious, who is soft, who is strong, who is rooted in Him, who laughs without trying to hide my cackle, and who lives all that He has for me and through me.

One thing today: the relationship between rules and obedience.

When we talk of womanhood, I have no vision to write a guide for every woman everywhere.  I ardently want to dig into the well of womanhood as it relates to living though.  I want to LIVE the most alive and feeling life available to me....and that beckons me to draw so close to Him that I pause and hear the flutter of his wings covering me.  His covering - where both strength and weakness are stirred in me.

Rules and obedience.

I just turned 35.  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!  And 'oh my' all at once.  So far, I can say this of life: He is MOST certainly One of seasons.  He ushers me, and us, in and out.  Sometimes quickly and sometimes not nearly as quickly as we would like.  But seasons and change and revolving areas of focus are inescapable.

One thing that yields beauty and strength and life in womanhood? The ability to change.  To feel the wind change directions and turn to face its new rushing path.

One of the things that can make that turn difficult? Taking what was obedience in one season....turning it into a rule....and attempting to apply that rule in the now season. Stumble, trip, stumble, trip, stumble, trip.  I think I got that from We're Going on a Bear Hunt...smiles.

But can you relate?  It's so challenging to let go of something that was sacred and obedient and fought for in one season and see that become a clunky mess in the next season.  One big head scratching 'huh?!'  Frankly, it frustrates me to no end at times.  I love the things He teaches me.  I honor them.  I cherish the victories we've won together.  But I also love rules.  First born child to a T! And if left to my lonesome, I can create and adore a rule like few others.  Rules feel good to me.  They are like rail road tracks that my engine can fly on.

And to be sure, rules can be beautiful.  But the more I resist the desire to make a rule out of today's obedience, the more easily I can shift when He stirs.  And the more I let others embrace their obedience as obedience instead of a rule or a standard of how they will always be, the more I can freely allow them to shift with Him as well.

I'm in the book of Daniel right now.... This bit grabbed my heart this morning:

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him." Daniel 2:20-22

He is good and He is stable and He is a sure foundation...but He changes times and seasons and though that may feel unstable, it is the the nature of moving forward and further.

So, my friend, I honor the exact point He has you at

in womanhood.  Or manhood!  I want to say to you...don't give up.  He will meet you in your pursuit.  He is real.  He's not an idea. And He is with you on the road.  Though He changes our seasons, He will never leave us as the change occurs.

All my love on this Tuesday in October!
Abi

















I saw this couple in Rome.  I just liked her so I'm leaving this shot with you.  Because I liked her...what do you think she's telling him?


P.S.  I wanted to give a shout out to Zion Spencer.  He lets me change and grow and it breathes life into the places inside of me that are scared to change.  Maybe I can be a little bit of Zion for you today...you can do this season change; you really can.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That Woman, Part 2

I don't seem to be able to pull off the nicely packaged blog posts.  The ones with a funny beginning, intriguing middle, and pull it all together end.  I love those!  It's so nice when it feels like I'm in class and what I'm reading is just exactly what I need to be learning and the one teaching me has got her act together.  It makes it easy to trust her...she's prepared and she has honed this thing, baby.  So far, that vibe seems to elude me.  Ha!

I cannot resist the urge to transparently blurb out my wrestle and my fumble as I crank these words out.  But I hope I get better at that.  Preparation would likely make the difference, don't you think?? So you bear with me so kindly as you patiently read my ramble until I get into some words that are the real deal.  That's what makes you such a jewel: you bear with me in the process of becoming.  I only hope I offer that same space to you.

Two and a half weeks since my last post.  Let's see, how many times have I regretted opening the topic of womanhood up? So many times.  Lost count.  The thoughts go something like this: Where do I start? Where do I start? Where do I start?  What do I think? What do I think? What do I think? What are you saying, Father? What are you saying, Father? What are you saying, Father? What is that thing I feel? What is that thing I feel? What is that thing I feel?  WHY did I choose something as big as the ocean?????

The topic continues to stir around for me so here we still are together. And I remind myself that you aren't reading these words because you're looking for an expert, or for one specific answer, and that, ahem, I can lighten up! Lightening up seems to be a key for me in life :).  More than positioning myself as a teacher/expert - you know what would make my heart burst? Being a part of you taking the next step forward that He has for you.  Being a voice that urges you forward and further into Truth.  He is fully capable of getting each of us to the end-goal all on His own.  So, if I can be a friend along the way that cheers loudly enough to make putting the foot down on the next place He has for your foot as little easier, then I will do my happy dance.  It's the same dance I do for Liam when he can say his Scripture verse for school without any cues from me....it's silly, it's wild and it's loud!

Thank you for your transparent and generous responses to the questions I asked in the last post!!! I was a little blown away at how much time you gave to answer fully.  Each answer pushed me further into intrigue.  And it affirmed that womanhood is indeed a beautiful mountain worth ascending and digging into.

I'm going to work my way into pondering your answers.  They have been tucked away but bits and pieces of them keep popping back into my thoughts.  For today, I thought I'd try answering them myself.  It's my next step, hehe!

Let's see:

What is the thing that trips you up the most in womanhood?
Just one?! Seeing pictures of or catching a glimpse my naturally occurring double chin. Here's the pic. 


Honestly, I couldn't capture it in its full glory.  But I was getting embarrassed of taking selfies in the coffee shop. 

Is a double chin the worst thing in womanhood? Nah. But does it trip me up? Uh huh.   

On a more meaningful note, one thing that consistently trips me up as a woman, as a person, is encountering anyone who is doing something differently than I am.  And, that's a lot of tripping up obviously.  The small differences don't mess with me so much...it's more the big things that put me on a different road than someone I care about.  Doing anything differently than my mom (Do you know her??? She's great and worthy of modeling after)....choosing a different school for my kids than my neighbor, my dear friends...adhering to different parenting philosophies than my friends do....spending money differently than others do....you get the idea.

What is one of your dreams as it relates to being the woman you were created to be?
I dream of being brave and I dream of not having the strong urge to run and hide when I think about that woman He is calling me.  Cue 'Oceans.'  Cue 'You Make Me Brave.'  

What is something you tend to admire in other women, again and again?

I admire women who aren't afraid to look other women in the eyes.  I admire women who have tackled jealousy - those who have much but sit right down for a deep conversation with one who has little.  And the one who has meager posessions but confidently steps into the life of the one who has much - knowing that she carries the Author of All in her.  I admire women who are old in years but keep letting the Lord teach them and who keep being changed by His love.  That's a complex thing.  

What has God taught you about womanhood?

Ahhhhhh here's the digging question.  You guys had some beautiful responses.  I'm going to try freeflowing my thoughts: He's taught me that womanhood has nothing to do with weakness and instead it requires a very complex strength.  And He's taught me that sometimes weakness is the doorway to true strength.  He's taught me that women are forged in the valleys and that the valleys are not always worth my fight against them.  He's taught me that my husband is a contributor to my sense of womanhood...but this path is one that only God and I can walk together.  It's a journey for the two of us and sometimes He uses him to speak into it or encourage it or provide a stumble here or there...but it's really work that can only be done between Him and me.  He's been teaching me about physical beauty and the role it plays in womanhood.  I hear voice after voice saying that our physical beauty is not our worth, our measure or our identity.  All true.  But we're missing something.  Very much chewing on that one.


I'm going to keep delving.....keep delving with me!

Love,
Abi (and Melissa, Carrie, Connie, Gina, Kim, Lindsay, Rusty, Jillian, Summer, Amanda, and Lauren)