Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{guest post} kate from "daffodil's"

When I started blogging back in 2009, it was for my family. I had moved to another state and wanted a way to share my new life with everyone back home. It never occurred to me that there was a community out there and friends to be made!

About a year ago I began blogging more earnestly and in that got to know my fellow bloggers. Ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful Kate was one of those bloggers. Through sweet comments and heartfelt emails, she and I quickly found a wonderful and honest friendship that includes a love of love, a love of photography, a love of cute babies (seriously, have you seen her boys?) and a love of God (oh, and she is constantly posting pictures of everything I miss about California - and trust me, it takes a special kind of person to make me miss California!).

Something that it was always amazingly easy to talk to Kate about was faith. When I began opening up more about my own journey on my other blog Happenstance & Wanderlust, she was always an incredible champion; always there with words of encouragement and ceaseless support. 

And so today, I am truly beyond thrilled to let you all in on what she has been so kind to share! Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart! And while I'm at it, thank you Kevin (Kate's husband) for all you've done and continue to do for our country!

Be sure to check out Daffodil's to get to know this awesome lady! 


Celebrating our little miracles: our first picture as a family of 4

Here is the truth:

I don't like talking about religion. It makes me uncomfortable- like sweaty palms, pit in my stomach, please-don't-ask-me-a-question-I-don't-know-the-answer-to uncomfortable. But the other truth is, I love what Lauren has to say. I love her blog, I love this blog, I love the friendship that has evolved between us over email and I love that her request that I come here to post today did not make me uncomfortable, it actually made me really excited. So because I have never really written about my faith {in a public forum} before and because there is still that part of me that is scared to do it, this may come off as a bit rambling, but I am honored to give my insight a shot here, in this space.

Why Religion Matters to Me {it felt right to start with a title}

I am what you call a cradle Catholic. I grew up Catholic, I spent 3rd-12th grade in Catholic school, both my parents and everyone in my extended family is Catholic; my husband is Catholic and we have had both our boys baptised in the Catholic faith, But I actually don't know a lot about Catholicism. If you ask me to name the intrinsic differences between Catholicism and other Christan faiths, I could probably give you a general idea, but no specifics. If you ask me to name my favorite bible quote, I cannot give you the exact chapter or verse. If you want me to convert you, I will not be able to give you the particular reason while you should.


BUT there are things I can tell you: Catholicism works for me. We are a military family and that means we move a lot. It means my hubby has deployed to Iraq {twice} and that means our 'home' church is not the one we are likely to end up in. However, what I like about my faith is that no matter where I go, the ritual of mass is the same. I know I can walk in any Catholic church and know the order of things, the responses and I can hear my {and my mom's} favorite part: free us from needless worry and anxiety


When I was 22 and engaged, the thought of getting married, and saying the most personal words that I could ever say in front of 300 people was terrifying. I wanted to get married at the courthouse and then have a party. My finance (only 25 at the time) reminded me how important it was to share this moment with God, and that really, it was just between us 3. We were making the sacrament of marriage and we needed to recognize it front of God for it really to be solidified. 

Our marriage was a sort of leap of faith. We dated long distance and then found out 3 months into our {6 month long} engagement that he got the one assigment we begged God not to give us, which landed him back in Iraq shortly after our planned wedding. 


Making our commitment to each other and to God

So, we had our church wedding. Six weeks later, he left. It was hard. Fifteen months later, he came home and we moved in together for the first time. A month later, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. Two years and a month later, I found out I was pregnant with our second.


If God had answered our prayers we wouldn't be the family we are today. If he had let me move down to Savannah without feeling that 'Catholic guilt' of moving for a boyfriend, we might not have realized just how much we wanted to be together. If he had granted our desire to move to an Army post together first, then we would have never been stationed in Winston, and met the wonderful friends we met there. I wouldn't have gotten pregnant wtih our sweet Cullen, and subsequently, our baby Bennett, and well, I would have never re-met the friend {sorority sister} who introduced me blogging.

If he didn't get that assignment that we prayed so hard for him not to get, we wouldn't have continued to grow as a couple, to understand at a very young age how much work a relationship is, and to learn to early on to not take a day for granted. 


A few months ago, I came across Lauren's blog comment hoping from another. I told her that religion became another level of important when we had kids because we wanted 'to raise them in the way of forgiveness, humility and kindess'. That comment might be the most profond religious thing I have ever said. I believe everything about that quote encompasses what I believe about faith.


We forgive eachother, and our children, for small mistakes which only help us grow as people.
We are humble in knowing that our plans were greatly outweighed by God's plans and, as it turns out, his were better anyways.
We try our best to be kind to eachother, therefore teaching our children how to be kind, and all at once realizing how kind God was to bring us together. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

all these things

Found this on a friend's Facebook.

Loved it.

The end. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

lent and such

Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of life.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Peter Millar. Our Hearts Still Sing

(via Kate at Daffodil's)


I can’t really claim that I was raised in church, per se. Growing up, I bounced around from a Baptist church, to a sort of congregational community church, to the non-denominational church I attended in London, dabbling in the Church of Christ (the church in which I was baptized at age 19), to finally finding my new home at Solid Rock.

Fortunately though, I was absolutely raised with God. Many of my fondest memories growing up – and still to this day – are of long conversations with my dad about our faith. And I can remember being very small, deciding I wanted to memorize a bible passage and my mom showing me Psalm 100. Hell, I even wrote my college admissions essay about the two things in life I was sure of: my parents’ love and God’s love.

(Little could I have known then how important the concept of love would come to be for me. But more on that some other time…)

Going to school at Pepperdine was very important to me. I knew it would be a place for me to learn more about faith (the good and, unfortunately, the bad that comes of belief and following a certain “religion”) (please know that when I talk about these things, I consider “faith” and “religion” to be two distinct things – one being the basis from which the other sprang, respectively).

One thing I began to learn about and embrace at school in particular was Lent. Of all the churches we attended as I grew up, a Catholic church was never one of them. But friends I had made at school (hi, Brigette!) had grown up Catholic and knew a little more about the concept that I did. And so for what it was worth, I began to dabble with it.

I think my favorite Lenten season was senior year when Brigette and I were eating like idiots (read: about 600-800 calories a day and working out like fiends) and decided that rather than deprive ourselves of one more thing, we should probably focus on adding something to our lives in order to make it richer. And so it was the year of “Reverse Lent” in which we, after chapel on Friday, would trek to the cafeteria and eat a donut. And think about God. Or just donuts, I'm not sure.

Now though, I understand Lent more and what it really means. The little vices that come to control our daily lives that can pull us away from the focus on the important things in life. And, in particular, the most important thing in life.

Even if you’re not a Christian, it’s a nice concept, don’t you think?

And so this year, I am giving up two things.

1)    Frivolous spending - Because I could be doing so much more with that “fun money” than buying another item of clothing I don’t need. I could be taking my friends out to dinner, or giving it to the church I love so much, or – whoa – saving it. In any case, I need to be more conscious of where my money goes.

2)    Worry – And that one, ladies and gentlemen, is the big one. I am an Olympic caliber worrier and would be willing to challenge anyone to a worry-match. I worry so much about things I have no control over that it will keep me up at night, terrified that my God won’t take care of me and doom me to some fate I’ve concocted in my mind.

In the poem above, it says, “Fast from worry; feast on divine order.” And so that is my resolve this Lenten season. And I can safely say it’s going to be the hardest thing in my life to give up because I catch myself slipping into the mire of anxiety so easily and oftentimes without even realizing it.

So God, if you’re reading this (haha, I know, I know), I'm going to be needing Your help on this one. You know my heart better than I know it myself and You’re going to have to hold on to me extra tight these next few weeks. You know how I toil and spin and live decidedly unlike the lilies of the field.

I'm also going to have to unload some of this worry on You now, so You can hold onto it for me. How about I give You worry and trade for some faith… Sound like a plan? Good.

Here are a few things I’ll be putting in your hands:

The state/fate of that thing I’ve been worrying about for almost a year
My best friend’s sanity
My other best friend’s job situaiton
Another best friend’s health
The health of an acquaintance battling something shattering
Yet another best friend’s own struggle with anxiety
The safe travel and homecoming of someone’s new family member
The safety of a friend getting ready to deploy
The safety of all those already over there
More of my worry about someone’s relationship with someone else

And if I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

As soon as I can too, because I don’t want to hold onto it any longer than I should for fear of it starting to fester in my mind.

(my mind is to worry what a warm, damp environment is to various unsavory things that grow and mutate… ew)


So that’s the plan. I think it’s a rather good one at that.

What are you doing for Lent? What does it mean for you? I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

wild geese

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
--Mary Oliver, Dream Work

Friday, February 17, 2012

green is not my color

*originally posted 4 January 2012 at Happenstance & Wanderlust*


(I mean that both as a way to sort of address this post - as in "Dear God..." and as a totally non-"Lord's name in vain" kind of exclamation of disbelief - or belief - or a little of both - or, wait, what? I think I'm starting to digress... I mean, um... Star Tours, what are you doing here?)

I don't know about you all, but I can go from perfectly happy to a crazy-insecure-slap-me-as-I-scream-into-a-pillow mess in no time flat.

Am I alone here?


You don't have to answer but if you're so inclined, lend me your ear (and I'll sing you a song) (no, I won't, but they will)...

Anyway... Three things occurred while I was driving home from from a wonderful day with Dean and Robin tonight (well, four if you include stopping by Fred Meyer to grab sushi). 

1) I heard something I knew pertained to me
2) I asked God to help me with it and,
3) He heard me


I've been listening to the 2011 Rewind CD my church gave out which has various sermons from last year as a sort of roundup of the core of teachings. I've been loving it (it's nice to be able to think back on things and even hear some of the lessons I may have missed). Anyway, the one I was listening to tonight was about Love. And not just any kind of Love, but Agape - God's Love. 

Now hear me out, I'm not trying to get on some soapbox of Christianity but as I've said before, this is simply the positions I'm coming from here. It by no means assumes you can only love with God, just that in the particular case ofAgape, the translation from Greek refers to "God's Love", a spiritual kind of love that loves expecting nothing in return. It is a pure, unconditional and selfless. And that's something I think everyone can appreciate, regardless of anything else. 

In 1 Corinthians 13, where that famous "Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious" deal comes from, it is talking about this kind of Love. 

Now here's the thing, most of the time I feel like I've got the Love thing down. When I love someone, I do my best to do so unconditionally and expecting nothing in return. It's something that I attribute not only to believing in Christ but my humanity in general. That is plain human kindness. 

 But as I've mentioned before, for the first time in my life I am experiencing some pretty ugly emotions that are seriously impeding my ability to Love and it's making me a little crazy. He is pushing me and testing me ("God, help me grow closer to you!" "OK, you asked for it!" He's making good on that... Be careful what you wish for! He has some clever ways of answering you!) And that part "[Love] is not envious" is the part I am currently working on. In the sermon I was listening to, Phil, one of our pastors, was talking about two very specific kinds of envy, or jealousy. 

The first is the better of the two, but it's still bad. It's the "I want what you have" kind. The "you have a cool car, I want it!" kind of thing. Bad, but the kind that you can overpower when you realize how many blessings you have in YOUR life and that envy will dissipate and you can love again.

The second kind is worse... Much worse. It's the "I don't want you to have it" kind. The kind that looks at someone and says, "You don't deserve it and I can't stand that you have it". It's greedy, it's vindictive, it says, "I don't care if I have something of equal or greater value, I want what you have so that you can't have it!"

Folks - that's the one I'm dealing with. 

The ugly kind. The really bad kind... Please don't hate me. 

(There are about five people reading this who know what situation I'm talking about and while I'm not going to get into the details here, just know that it's not some flippant little thing I'm feeling this way about - trust me on this one)

So I did what I knew I needed to do: I said a little prayer, once again (I wonder if God's getting sick of hearing me ask the same things over and over?), to help me with this. Help me overcome this horrible feeling because I know it's not doing me, or anyone around me, any good. 

I remember a conversation I had with Jared probably two years ago where he told me something I'd never really thought about before. He told me how when he was little and asking his dad how to become the man he wanted to be, his dad (who is just as flawed as anyone else, but I consider exceedingly wise) had told him that while of course we could pray for the things, and the qualities we desire in ourselves, we can also ask Him to take away the things we don't like. The sort of character flaws that cause such self-loathing and disappointment. 

And so I am asking, I am pleading with God to take this away from me. Take it and destroy it before it, in turn, destroys me. It's pissing me off that something is controlling me like this (and even more so because I know I am letting it, bah!). 

Well then something pretty interesting happened, right after a little tornado swept through my psyche and stirred everything up right nice about five minutes after I got home - my god, timing is a sticky little wicket...

I got a comment on my 2011 retrospective post from Jenna (go check out her blog, it's pretty rad) with this quote:

Our relationship with Jesus is messy, intimate, and beautiful all at the same time. Often He takes us on these dangerous adventures just to strip everything else away but Himself. From there, He’ll show us that He is writing a bigger and far more beautiful story than we could have ever imagined
-Paige Armstrong-

Well... Hell. That just about nailed it. I had just asked Him to strip from me something deeply undesirable and make room for something better and more beautiful in its place and... BOOM. 

Mere minutes after I feel the great Jenga blocks of my life start to teeter (again), He moved in (again), toppled it over (again) and said, "Now this is happening - but try again! Build it again, you can build it better! Trust me!"

I've got to keep building and rebuilding until I get it right. 

Oddly enough, driving home last night I was listening to a John Mark sermon (who is Phil's son) and he was talking about how God will work through people to help others. How cool it is when seemingly out of nowhere someone will connect with your life, with no way of knowing how or when you will need them, and be the outstretched hand you need RIGHT when you need it. 

Oh geez, did I need another reason to believe? Apparently so.


Like I said, and will continue to say, I will never say this faith is the only valid faith in the world. I just know that this is what I believe and that I think it's pretty damn cool when I can see it so actively at work in my life. 

So if you've made it to the end here, thank you. Thank you for hearing me out, thank you for listening, thank you for not judging me, and thank you for being a friend

(That last link made you hate me right? Dean, you're not amused at all, are you? Neither was Mike when I posted that on his wall... Worth it.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Miss W

So I'd like to take a minute to introduce you to my sweet friend Catherine

We met our freshman year at Pepperdine eight years ago (eight years ago?!) and have done our best to keep in touch (even though she is now blowing my mind and attending Yale Divinity School on the other side of the country). 

I still remember the first time we sat down and had a real conversation: we were in the cafeteria at school there and were discussing our futures. 

She was going to join the CIA. I was going to be a journalist. We both loved writing and talked freely about how we wanted to use that to light the world on fire. 

Over the years we would weave in and out of classes together, find ourselves the dates of certain young gentlemen at their fraternity formal in Las Vegas (nothing like sporting little black dresses at an Irish pub in the middle of a casino, eh?), study abroad in London and eventually say our goodbyes after we crossed the stage at graduation nearly four years ago.

Still, as I said, we've kept in touch. When Catherine moved to Connecticut she started a wonderful blog called The Yale Chapter. And this whole thing has basically been leading up to mentioning how much I love her most recent post about The Old Testament

Needless to say, this girl is brilliant (and quite possibly the sweetest person I've ever met). Beautiful inside and out, I am so happy she continues writing and sharing her thoughts as she learns more about the world that was, the world that is, and the world that is yet to come!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

(photo shamelessly poached from Catherine's Facebook, haha)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{guest post} martha from "a softer side of strong"

Permission to be really excited?


Thank you.

Why am I a living, breathing fount of exclamation marks today (aside from the pot of coffee I had for breakfast)? Because I am all a-flutter with barely contained glee at being able to introduce you to Martha! Thanks to the wonderful Kate over at Daffodil's, we got in touch and she offered her words up for Salt + Light.  I've already spent a good chunk of time over at Martha's blog, laughing out loud to myself like a crazy person (it's not the laughing to myself that makes me feel crazy so much as the admonishing I administer when I realize that I'm sitting alone in my apartment laughing like a giddy little nut). Oh, and her baby is really, really cute. And she has a lot of faith, which is awesome as all get out and really inspiring. 

Anyway, Martha, thank you so much for helping to start this little community! And now, without further ado...


Hello! My name is Martha Metzler and you can find me over at my blog, A Softer Side of Strong. I love visitors and would love to hear from you. So come holler! Here is a picture of my family in case you were wondering if I have a third eye or a tail.... the fact that my bottom half is conveniently cut out of this picture should leave you wondering about the tail.

My son and I read “The Storybook Bible” each day and a common theme keeps
emerging through the authorʼs words. She continues to point out that God sent a
Rescuer to His people because we needed rescuing. Iʼve said the words a million times,
“Lord come rescue me from this situation.... or that person.... or this silence.... or my
constant need for Willy Wonka products” , you get the idea. We are calling out
constantly, yes? Donʼt get pissed when I ask this but, do we make ourselves available
for rescue or are we just waving the flag without looking for the rescue plane? Are we
dying of thirst without noticing the giant jug of water God placed next to us? I have
asked myself this question this week: Am I a damsel in distress or just a damsel in

Lets think about the classic damsels in distress shall we? We have Sleeping Beauty,
Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella, Lindsey Lohan... well, skip that last one. All those
those ladies desperately wanted to be rescued. It was all they thought about and their
life depended on it. They made themselves available for rescue. In fact, most of them
had the entire community knowing that they needed rescuing. How humbling, how
refreshing, and what a kick in the ass. Why do we cry out through our fears to be
rescued but then strut through the streets in our pretty cardigan clutching out
monogrammed Bible Purse and pretend as though we are just fine and dandy? Why in
the world would we not embrace our need to be rescued and show the world, “YES,
send my Rescuer... my life depends on it.”

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness”
- 2 Corinthians 11:30

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

He desires to save us, in fact, that was His Plan... He made that kinda obvious through
the whole sending His own Son to save us thing. He will be made known through our
weaknesses if we are willing to be weak.

If we want to be rescued, we must open ourselves up to the way God wants to rescue
us. Perhaps He wants to rescue us through silence. Perhaps He wants to rescue us
through a diverted path. Perhaps He wants to rescue us by stripping us of the things we
have grasped onto for stability. Whatever it is, if we truly, I mean truly want to be
rescued; let us take a beat to listen to our Rescuerʼs game plan. Lets stop stressing and
start listening. Lets put out LOST flyers saying, “Woman needing rescued: answers to
Martha.” Plus, Iʼm guessing His rescue is better than any glass slipper or prince or fairy 
godmother; Iʼm willing to bet my life on it.


Thank you again, Martha! I don't know about the rest of you, but this one's getting filed under that ever-growing supply of things I needed to read right when I needed to read them.

Have a wonderful week all, and again, if you or someone you know would like to write for Salt + Light, let me know! I'd love to talk with you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

we are blessed.

If you're anything like me, you are constantly writing things in your mind.

I call this the "elusive first draft".

Anything I get down on paper (or screen, as it were) is the second coming of those thoughts and, regrettably, never as good as that first edition in my head.

Henry Miller talks about it at some length in Sexus. And I would venture that every writer knows exactly what I'm talking about.

We write these manifestos in our thoughts, literary perfection occurs in the folds of our frenetic brains and then... No. There's no translating it into physical, tangible words. That initial draft is gone forever.

But that's okay, I think. Frustrating yes, I'm not going to deny that, but in some cases I'm completely at ease with knowing that God and I are the only ones who heard that pure, honest version of what I then say to everyone else.

It's kind of special, actually. 

So just to let you know, I "wrote" this on my walk home from coffee this morning. Hope you guys still get something out of this revised version.

My point today though is not to bemoan the writer's "curse", but to talk about blessings.

Diane Comer (John Mark's mom, Phil's wife) writes the blog He Speaks In The Silence (please, I implore you to go read it, it is amazing) and she recently wrote this beautiful post about life's hidden blessings. I often make the "mistake" of reading her words at work when things are slow, but this often ends in me with tears welling my eyes, feeling like I'm giving Kristen Bell a run for her money.

Do you know what I mean? I read her blog and feel my heart so full of joy and faith that I am overcome with emotion (which must be a real comfort to the folks coming into the tasting room where I work looking for a tranquil wine country setting  "Hi folks, don't mind me, I'm just here to make you uncomfortable apparently.")

Anyway, she prompts her readers to look for those hidden things in life - those blessings that too often go overlooked. 

"Dare I search?
For clues to trails
which lead to all He has for me?
Wake up each day with this in mind,
this quest to find His good things stored for me?
Dare I try?
To see those gifts hidden here,
stored up there,
tucked in moments everywhere?
Because if it’s true that changes everything!
From my heart,
What are some of those good things He’s shown you recently? Any surprises? Would you let us in on your joy?"

Back in September, when I turned twenty-five, I took a cue from my sweet friend Heidi (whose faith was tested in one of the biggest ways possible a couple years back, you can read about it on her blog!) and began a series on my main blog Happenstance & Wanderlust called "Weekly Gratitude".

 I simply take a moment at the beginning of each new week to be grateful for all He has done in and for my life. And I can tell you, if counting your blessings is contagious, this one's spreading like wildfire! My loves Brigette, Robin and Catherine soon began their own WG posts as well, and reading them became my new favorite hobby. 

I love reading about what makes people live.

In reading My Name Is Hope I am continually struck by how John Mark, who writes of the hell he went through, is so determinedly positive and hopeful. It's no facade - he dug up the root of the problem and, with so much love and support, came out the other side and sees his life for what it truly is: a gift. And how can we be anything but eternally thankful for a gift as powerful and amazing as life itself?

In my note to Diane at the bottom of her post, I mentioned to her what I've already said on here: I am finally realizing that in taking away everything I wanted, God is giving me everything I need. When that one hit me it was like every light in the universe went off in my mind.

The great and powerful duh, if you will. 

I had spent so much time wondering why God decided that Jared and I shouldn't be in a relationship right now (when I had been so grateful! I thanked Him every day for this amazing man He brought into my life! I couldn't believe how happy I was! And He took it away! The nerve!).

Why didn't I trust Him? Why was I so arrogant to think that my plan was so much better than His? 

Well, in part because I'm human. 

And I worry all the time.

(There's a Sundowner song called "Endless Miles" with the lyrics:

"Anxiety is my old friend/I always hate seeing him again"

Jared and I laughed at that once in light of how unfortunately familiar we are with that feeling.)

But still, that feeling of betrayal by the God I had worked so hard to thank was very confusing. And I couldn't for the life of me get my stupid head to understand what He was doing in my life (because I'm stubborn as an ass). 

Then, sitting in church this past Sunday, that little (read: huge) light when on and the past 10 months of struggling, battling my heart and soul, trying to find an answer, saw the fog lift. 

God is constantly chasing us down. He is on the move, keeping up with us every step of the way, never faltering when we take Him through the dangerous territories of our lives, and he's waiting; He is just waiting for us to turn around and see Him standing there, waiting for us to lay down our burdens and take up our cross.

I was so busy lamenting how I'd lost hold of everything I'd ever wanted that I didn't see how I already had everything I needed.

My family.

My friends. 

My God.

When I lost that little control over my happiness (and as a result, feeling like I'd lost control over my life) I thought I was weak because for the first time, sh*t had hit the fan and I  couldn't do a damn thing about it. I was used to taking care of myself that way.

But finally, He knew I needed to let go of the reigns a little bit and put it all in His loving and capable hands.

He gave me the love of my family (which I knew I always had), the support of my friends (which I knew was always there), an unyielding friendship in Jared (which was the foundation that could not be shaken, but needed strengthening) and the protection of His own arms (which was never in doubt, but had never been in such dire need).

And with that, He finally gave me what I had really been wanting (needing) - the strength to give it all up to Him. 

Honestly, I have no idea if I'm getting to the point I'm trying to make but things are getting awfully loquacious here so let me just cut to the chase:

I am so ready to lay down my burdens, take up my cross and stop worrying so damn much because even when I'm not "happy", I know I am blessed.

So very blessed. 

It's a constant struggle to keep my barriers down, remain vulnerable to Him while remaining hardened against the enemy (worry, anxiety, sin, doubt, etc.) but there is not reason I cannot do this.

And while I could wrap with a nod to Bob Dylan, since his words kind of inspired this post to begin with, I'm choosing a wildly different route.

Kyrie elaison. 

Lord, have mercy.

What are you thankful for? 

How are you blessed?
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