my values

  1. My identity is in Christ, and I am deeply loved.
  2. Following Jesus is the abundant life.
  3. People are more important than tasks.
  4. Our home is a safe place of grace, love, and laughter.
  5. Jesus is sanctifying me, and I’m a work in progress.
  6. Believe the best in others. Offense is a moment, offended is a decision.
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when surrender’s all i’ve got.

Here is how God is asking me to live out the Gospel lately: every day, after I wake up, I get a glass of water and I take a little white pill.

I remember the first time I realized something was off, but really it was someone else who noticed it. Before a volleyball game at West Carter High School, my volleyball coach came over and said, “You’ve not really been yourself lately. Is anything wrong?”

The answer was yes and no. No, nothing really was wrong, besides the normal high school drama, but yes, because she hit the nail on the head: I didn’t feel like myself anymore, and I wasn’t even sure what that meant. All I knew is my thoughts sometimes (a lot of the time) were out of control and I was second guessing everything.

It got worse during my senior year of high school; I was happy, really happy, but almost every day I would still have these…moods…for lack of a better word, and I had no idea why I was feeling what I was feeling so I came up with a reason. It brought a lot of codependency and drama, but at least with the drama I had a reason for why I was feeling down. A new start in college would make it better, I was sure.

So I headed off to college, and things were new and fresh and better, until they weren’t, and so I found a safe place to crawl back into myself little by little. I beat myself up so badly after I said something stupid, running through every word I said for hours and hours. At one point shortly after I got married I just learned it was easier not to let people in at all.

I started a job that I loved in KY, but building high walls makes it pretty hard to be successful in ministry. I remember one day someone asked me to add a name to the roll on their class list, and I went to the bathroom and cried because I just couldn’t do One. More. Thing.

Chris knew for a long time, but he was gracious and loving and so he let me say it first. One day, I couldn’t sleep (again) because I was spiraling through everything I had done and not done and said and felt like I failed about. And I turned to him and said, “Maybe…I’m depressed.”

I tried counseling then, maybe twice, but it wasn’t a good fit and ministering in the community kept me from trying to reach out much further. Which is stupid now; no one else put these expectations on me, but I held them firmly on my own shoulders.

For three more years, a total of nine years on this path, I kept struggling, and beating myself up. I asked a doctor for help and she said she would prescribe me something, but she hadn’t even asked my symptoms so I decided I could try on my own. I had by Big Three of things that if I could just do them, I would be fixed. I had my works I had to do to get through. They were my health, my work, and my faith. If I could get my weight to a certain spot, or be fulfilled enough in my work, or read my Bible and pray enough, I could, I should be able to fix it myself.

After all, good Christians shouldn’t need medicine to have joy and peace. Those were fruits of the Spirit, right?

I was tired, so tired. I felt like I had to guard my time and my words and my heart so fiercely.

At the beginning of this year, I sat down to do my goals. That was a big way I tried to cope, goals and lists and lists and more lists. But as I sat down to do my goals, I started praying something bolder than I had ever prayed before: God, I believe that at the end of this year, anxiety and depression can be words I would NEVER use to describe myself.

I had prayed before that God would help, usually in the dark on the worst nights of anxiety, and in the morning I would go back to making my lists.  But the next morning instead of picking up a list, I kept praying. And praying. And praying. Every day.

Then I started seeing a counselor. Actually, I tried one, and she was terrible, so I tried another, and she was amazing. After a few months of talking through things, she referred me to a psychiatrist, and that word was terrible and embarrassing but I walked out of her office with a diagnosis (major depressive disorder and anxiety).

It’s hard to put this into words, because I can’t really describe the 180 degree turn it’s been since I started taking medicine. I thought taking medicine would be defeat, saying, No, God, You’re actually not enough for me.

But it was more like surrender…

God, I cannot possibly fix this. I can’t even try anymore, and I need help. Every day, when I swallow that pill, that’s what I’m saying. I need Your help.

I have felt the cloud of depression rise up and all of the sudden I can hear God speaking to me and directing me, and He is bearing fruit of joy and peace and love that I tried so hard to produce in myself.

I jokingly say credit it to the medicine, but I know the truth: it was surrender to Christ that is making me better. Every morning when I swallow that pill I get a reminder that I can’t do it, I can’t work hard enough, I can’t bridge this chasm from who I am to who I want to be. But Jesus did. He did the work, and He’s still doing it. He’s choosing to do it right now through medicine, and He may always help me through that.

I feel like a whole new person, because six months ago all I could see was just a few steps ahead of me: what can I do to make myself feel better, what can I do to move forward. But Jesus took my to do list and handed me back freedom and hope and joy and peace. What a gracious, gracious Savior.

Come. See. Go. Tell. [A Guest Post by Hannah Card]

Today, I’d love to share with you a great through about Easter morning from Hannah Card. Thanks, Hannah, for sharing, and be sure to check out more of her writing at thissweetlybrokenlife.com


Our belief about the resurrection determines a pivotal point of our faith: Do we believe that God is living and active, or is He a thing of the past, defeated by this world?

Matthew 28 gives us a unique glimpse at this monumental day. In this passage, two women were traveling to visit the tomb of their friend Jesus following his public crucifixion. It seems important that we acknowledge the intimacy of their relationship. After all, it was Mary Magdalene from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. These women were more than just followers, they were friends. And on this day, they were likely confused and weary friends, mourning the death of a man dear to them. It was in this desire for a final moment of nearness to their Savior that these women would walk into likely the most significant moment of their lives. 

Let’s walk with them for a moment. 

Upon their arrival at the tomb, the angel immediately dispels their fear. Surely, standing at the empty tomb would have quickened their hearts and ushered in a sense of panic. I have a hunch, however, that the angel’s next phrase brought them the greatest peace: He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. 

This phrase is nothing short of miraculous; the very utterance of Jesus’s resurrection has extreme implications for our faith. Yet, my favorite part of the phrase is the last several words: just as He said.  

Jesus had promised His return; He assured His followers that death would be defeated. The angel’s words remind us of this one monumental truth: Jesus keeps His promises.

Immediately after his proclamation of the resurrected King, the angel invites the women to come and see.

Is that not what we are seeking still today? We want someone to usher us in, to validate our fears and doubts, and invite us to come and see. Jesus is never afraid of the invitation, and our doubts never prove too much, because His life and His Word hold up. The invitation of the angel sounds to me much like the one Jesus gave to Thomas when he extended his nail-scarred hands to wash away Thomas’s doubts. Come and see. It has always been our invitation. 

The call does not end here. We must enter in, we must come and see, but there is more. The women did not stop at the sight of the empty tomb. The angel first offered them an invitation: come and see, but he next offered them an opportunity: go and tell. 

Our call is much the same today.  Jesus invites us in and then offers us the opportunity to go and tell. Ours is a gospel made for multiplying. It is in our obedience that God is most pleased. He wants us to come and see. He wants us to know more of Him, to taste and see that He is good. Then He desires that we would go and tell of the wonders of His love. Once we have tasted His goodness, to go and tell is a natural outpouring. 

Surely, these two women could have walked away from the tomb in fear that day the way many of us choose to walk away from God opportunities. The news of the resurrection would have made its appearance without them, but they would have missed a golden opportunity. God does not need us, but 

He chooses us. In His rising, He resurrects the dead parts of our lives and invites us to a grander unfolding story. Let’s not miss this. May we never live as if the stone was not rolled away.

1. What is God inviting you into today? How can you come and see more of Him?

2. What opportunity is He offering you to go and tell? How can your life reflect the truth and glory of the resurrection?


Hannah Card is a wonderer and a wanderer. She is a southern-speakin’, Jesus-lovin’ coffee consumer who writes about life, whether pretty or messy (usually leaning toward messy). She is the daughter of two amazing, brave, church planting Jesus followers, the sister of an amazing worship pastor, and a lover of Jesus. She blogs at thissweetlybrokenlife.com.

5 Words

This week I’m playing along with my For the Love sister’s Link-up at MrsDisciple.com. You can check out the full link-up at her site!

2015, my year of dwell, was full of lessons figuring out things about my personality, what I like and don’t like, and what I need to be healthy mentally and emotionally. I’m sure in ten years I will laugh about how little I know now, but here are five adjectives that this past year I’ve learned to describe myself. Please play along in the comments!

  1. Idealist—I truly believe the world can be better and together we have the power and mean to change the world for better. This also means I sometimes have high expectations.
  2. Creative—I’m not a painter, jewelry-maker, or draw-er, but I’ve learned that if I go too long without creating, I start to feel disconnected with myself. Whether it’s a blog post or a nice dinner, my soul feels connected when I’m creating.
  3. Growing—something I remind myself often is that I am still growing. Brandon Heath’s song “He’s Not Finished with Me Yet” is one of my favorite songs. Because I have those high expectations, sometimes I need to give myself a little grace, and this last year I feel like I let this truth sink in a little deeper.
  4. Passionate—I get excited about new things and immediately want to share them with someone else. See also: every post on this blog.
  5. Jumper–I tend to jump into new ideas without too much thought to the details. Thank goodness Chris is the opposite or else we would have been a few days into the trip I planned for us to NYC before we realized we were broke! :)

So I’m intrigued…what 5 words would you use to describe yourself? The good, the bad, the bragging…anything goes!

when God asks you to jump

Are you leaving any margin in your life to live by faith?

That’s a question that come to mind when I was walking the other day. (By the way, when I’m walking, I am getting all my best and worst thinking done.)

These days it is so easy to find what you need to know how to do. How do I get healthy? How do I save money? How do I be a better wife/dad/dog owner? Google’s got all the answers.

But I wonder if that also makes it really easy to erase that margin. That margin that’s really more like a leap—a leap from what we can handle into something unknown, something bigger, something from God.

And there are some questions the internet and books and other people can speak into, but they can’t always answer. Questions like, how do I make this dream from the Lord into a reality?

The Bible gives us the ultimate answer: trust God, and bring Him glory, and He’ll take care of the rest. But safety and even logic aren’t always promised.

Every once in a while God asks us to make a decision that doesn’t seem so smart on paper, doesn’t he? So what happens when what he asks isn’t exactly what Dave Ramsey writes?

We can reason it away or jump anyway.

I think I’d rather jump.

just this word in this season

The word for this season in my life is dwell.

More than just rest, dwell to me means being fully present in this season. It means reading Scripture, and rereading it 10 times throughout the day. It means listening to a song over and over again to hear what God’s saying to me through it. It means setting alarms for throughout the day to pray again, “God, You are good, use me.”  It means not jumping into every opportunity.  It means being present with Chris. It means long walks in the quiet mornings, right before the sun comes up.

Dwell is hard for me, because it takes less action and more thought. It means resting instead of being in charge. It means pressing into hard lessons, hard situations. It means less action and more thought, more heart work than head work. Dwelling sounds like it isn’t, but it is: hard work.

Dwell is good for me, because it requires my full attention. Dwell reminds me of what I’m really on this earth for: not a title, not working toward perfection. It’s looking for God in every moment, the messy and frustrating and depressing and joyful and passionate ones.

So this is it, nothing fancy or flashy, but just this word in this season: dwell.

on perfection

I’m a perfectionist, through and through.

Recovering, should I say?

But I want things perfect. I want to be perfect, I want my marriage to be perfect, I want my friendships to be perfect AKA look like a Taylor Swift Instagram picture, and I want my apartment to look like it came off the pages of Cottage Living.

For most of my life, I’ve wanted perfect.

A year into our marriage, Chris and I invited my sister over for Fourth of July dinner. She drove down from Lexington, and I was super excited. I rushed around town finding the final decorations for our walls, scrubbing the upstairs bathroom she would never use, setting the pillows on our bed just so. I started dinner, finding pretty recipes that I would have to spend all day on and a gorgeous dessert trifle that was red, white and blue. Perfect.

But as is the case with most Big Ideas I have, I ran out of time. I ran out of time and my strawberries I bought for the trifle were rotten. And I got really mad and frustrated. I just wanted it to be perfect for my sister.

Then I thought to myself—Bull. You just want it to be perfect for you.  (Sometimes I can be brutally honest with myself.)

The problem is, true community and friendship is impossible to foster behind an act of perfection. It’s a lesson I’m learning every time we open our home, which Chris and I love to do. But it’s also a lesson I’m realizing as Chris and I search for a church. We left one church where everything looked perfect. The transitions smooth, the preaching good, the music very measured, the movement of people from the parking lot to the foyer to the sanctuary and back out flawless. We looked at each other after we left and both said, “We’re not cool enough to go here. It’s too perfect.”

It’s funny because we think what we want is perfect, but when our surroundings are perfect, it’s hard to relax. Because, deep down, we know we aren’t perfect. We know our mask will eventually slip, and we’ll be found to be a fraud.

I think for millennials this is especially true. Remember, our generation has been told over and over that we are “perfect just the way we are,” mistakes and all. The number one thing we look for in a church is community, so when we go into a place and walk out feeling like we’re the only messed up thing in the room, we feel like we have to hold our breaths, tighten our mask, heighten our walls. All things that are the opposite of what Christ asks from us.

I don’t want people to feel like they have to walk into our home and put on a mask. And I don’t want to feel like I have to put on a mask of Perfect Hostess. I don’t have to walk into church with an Everything is Awesome mask. 

We had several people over about a month ago, and I redid one of our chalk boards. I was really super proud, but a week later I realized I had misspelled a word on it. And I’ve kept it, because that’s not a mask, that’s me—full of good intentions and ideas, sometimes sloppy and impatient on the execution (should that become my new tagline? Probably not).

Definitely Pinterest worthy, right?
Definitely Pinterest worthy, right?

Jesus was perfection—the kind of complete perfection that is not at all what I’m talking about. My kind of perfect, earth’s idea of perfection, is self-serving, wrapped up in appearances and trends.

“Perfection” looks pretty

But perfection can’t cry with you.

Perfection can’t have empathy.

Perfection doesn’t put you at ease.

Perfection puts up walls.

It can’t understand the power in “Me, too.”

Perfection looks pretty, but that’s it.

So why do we think it’s so great anyway?

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All Grown Up

I’ve been sporadically blogging for over four years now. Nothing consistent, nothing crazy, but enough that I’ve come to love this little space to express some thoughts.

For the last three years, I’ve thought about moving over to my own domain with something a little more user-friendly, but it just never felt right. I mean, do I blog enough? Do people even want to read it? What am I trying to accomplish?

Answers: No, some, and no idea.

But I took a little tiny risk and began working on moving over to Squarespace. I have to say, I have been 100% pleased with how easy SS is to use, the price, and what they offer. Once I began messing around with a free trial, I felt like I should do it, just jump in, and purchased the package. I have some ideas but no promises for what this space will look like and do, but I’m here, and I’d love for y’all to join the party, too!

Why get your own domain? Because telling people my blog is .wordpress.com gets annoying. A simple domain looks more streamlined, more professional, and I have a lot more options in how this new space looks and feels.

Are you trying to make money? No. All signs show that the years of bloggers making any significant amount of money are over. Besides, what is written here isn’t always light and fluffy. If the Lord blesses this space into something that makes money, I’ll be more surprised than anyone, but I’m keeping my day job (let’s be honest: I love my job and I love traditional workspace, so I would probably keep it no matter what happens in this space!). Instead I write because I love to share what God’s teaching me and doing through awesome organizations, and I really think our online voices can change things for the hurting.

Why Life Meets Grace? I debated changing the name when I moved over, mostly because lifemeetsgrace.com isn’t available right now. But every time I closed my eyes and asked God what he wanted me to do with this little space, I got a picture of something turning on…water turning on and making a flower grow, a light turning on, a smile lighting up a face. That’s what grace does–when it intersects with your daily life, it’s like a 180 in your emotions, actions, words, heart.

What will you write about? The same things as always–missions, social justice, and how the church can grow in these areas. There will be some life updates, goals, and recipes in the mix, too. I would love to see this space become a collective of people telling their stories. No one person has a complete answer to life (you know, besides Jesus and all), but as we all jump in and share our stories, things can truly change.

Can I follow along? Sure thing! You can sign up over there–> to receive new posts to your email, or you can follow me on Bloglovin here. Unfortunately, if you followed my WordPress blog, you aren’t automatically following me here, but this quick form can change that–>

Thanks for reading, friends!

 

If you have a blog, what made you switch over to your own domain? If you don’t, what would you name your blog if I had one?


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I’m all growed up…

So I’ve been working on a little something all week that I am super excited about…

moving2

It’s something I’ve been looking to do for a few years, but the timing never felt right. Then, I came across Squarespace as a host and felt like it was time to make a little leap into something new. You can read more about that decision on the new blog! So come on over to the new and improved Life Meets Grace at http://www.lifemeetsgrace.org.

Yup, .org

No pesky .wordpress.com

And not .com, because that was already taken :)

If you use Bloglovin’, which is awesome, by the way, you can follow the new blog by clicking here.

 

February/March

February’s been over for a week (or more…oops), but it was a big month! Here’s what I read/heard/watched/and did:

I read:

Scary Close by Donald Miller: I loved this book and read it in one afternoon. It’s the story of how Don came face to face with some intimacy problems and what he learned as he got ready to marry his now-wife. It’s not a “do this” book. It reads more like a friend-telling-you-their-story book, and it really got me thinking about the walls I put up and how to break them down.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams: This is a hilarious, on your toes, quick read. Vivian Schuyler gets a package addressed to a long lost aunt and finds out she murdered her husband and ran off with another man. It’s great historical fiction, heavy and light at the same time.

I heard:

The Medicine, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors: Fantastic, Ryan Adams-y feel. We’ve been listening to this in the background at dinner.

Just Kids by Mat Kearney: Upbeat, dance around by yourself kinda music. Not my absolutely favorite of his albums, but still good.

“You Are Enough” by Sleeping at Last: I need this reminder every day, multiple times. Love this song.

I did:

Volunteer at If: Gathering, which was an exhausting, refreshing, encouraging time with the Lord and other fabulous women

Goals for March:

Cooking: Integrate 1 new veggie every week in our meals

Health: Avoid bread during breakfast and lunch, not just for weight but also because I always feel gross after eating it.

House: Finish decorating our bedroom (buy curtains and throw pillows, paint headboard and bedside tables, hang wall art)

Personal: Plan workouts and outfits for the week on Sunday night to avoid last minute fashion crises or boredom in the gym.

Marriage: Plan a weekend getaway for when Chris passes the Series 66 in 3 weeks!

There you have it! A lot of goals, but all ones I am excited to complete, not that I feel like I have to!

 

 

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