To The Broken Ones: Don’t Let Shame Strangle You

To the Broken Ones

She sat across from me, clutching the coffee mug tightly in her hands. This was supposed to be a normal conversation in a café, yet quickly became anything but. As her words and then tears began to trickle and then gush out, I quickly came to sit beside her, letting the torrential rain of hurt and grief flow out. When the storm had slowed, she looked at me with broken eyes. Her hurt is not mine to share, but her words then and a hundred others’ could have been paraphrased thus: “I’m not even worthy anymore. I have to be perfect, to be so good, and I failed. I’m broken forever.”

Those words cut me.

I wanted to weep and scream and fight those words. Even now, I still tremble and my throat tightens at the remembering. I hate them. The choices that led to them, the beliefs that fed those conclusions to her, and the ravages they had done to her. This was my friend, and she was being destroyed. Shame was strangling her life away, and not only metaphorically. She had been pierced, so deeply wounded, and I hated that she had done it and I hated that she had been told to just throw a Band-Aid over it and I hated that she was dying inside because of it. If I could have physically walked up to her shame and thrown myself punching at it, I would have. My soul screamed and grieved at the brokenness of it all.

And the worst part is, she’s not the only one. Different words, different girls, but I’ve heard so many echoing the same conclusion. I’ve messed up. That’s it. I’m not good enough anymore, and I can never go back. Everyone, God included, is disappointed with me. I can’t go to Him after what I’ve done.

And I want to scream, No, no, no, and do something drastic, anything to take away this hurt from them. But I can’t. You can’t fight something that’s not physical. Continue reading

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Abandoned Succulents and God’s Love

I don’t quite understand the current succulent craze. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, perhaps it’s only a Southern Texas trend, yet all over, succulents are spreading. They’re in house. In magazines. In photos. On wrapping paper. In weddings.

Now perhaps this fad is a small act of defiance against this harsh climate we live in. Yes, we’ll live with the cacti, but we’re going to live with the small ones. Or perhaps it’s because succulents are small, and thus we project onto them that they’re cute. Regardless of the reason, I still don’t fully understand why people love succulents.

But one succulent helped me to more fully understand love.

Abandoned Succulents and God's Love

Continue reading

Your Work Is Worth It (TCB Article)

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(Originally published on Top Christian Books)

Do you know one of the hardest questions for those of us who have grown up in church? Not “Why do you dress like that?” or “That’s how you’re doing relationships? Really?” or “Why do you believe that?” No, the real, true, dreaded, impossible question.

“What’s your favorite Bible verse?”

Ok, perhaps I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But this is still always a difficult question. How do you expect me to pick just one verse out of the entire Word? How can I love just one sentence of God’s story more than the others? It depends on my struggles at the moment. It depends on what I’m studying. It depends on what He’s teaching me. It depends on the month, the day, or the hour. Which is a blessing in a sense, proof that His Word is living and active, continuing to teach us throughout all of life. But that doesn’t make answering the question any easier.

However, there has been one passage this last year that has stayed very near the top of my list. (Notice, I said passage, rather than verse, so technically I’m still evading the question.)


“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Because honestly, this last year has been exhausting. All of us have experienced this. We have basketball practices to make and get-togethers to schedule and papers to finish and doctors to call and finals to take — and we’re tired. We’ll soldier on through our weeks, but still inside of us we cry “How long?”

We know it shouldn’t be this hard. We know we shouldn’t have to struggle against so many sins and situations. We groan, just like the rest of Creation, waiting for everything to be made new. We look about us at this corruption, and long for the Something Better that is coming. All these attacks, fears, and hatred — we know it can’t go on like this. Our world is restless for restoration. All our own selfishness, weakness, and impatience — we know it can’t go on like this. We’re eager for the day when we will be made new.

At the moment, we feel surrounded by the darkness, punctuated only by the slow red-and-white flash of ambulance lights. Lost on these tilting plates, the world seems sliding faster and faster into chaos.

But it won’t always be this way.

Finish reading here.

You Have Nothing to Prove

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That desperate urgency to explain. That grim dread of questions. That awkwardness of trying to fill the space with more words. We’re not strangers to feeling like we must prove that we measure up.

And in some ways we’re more susceptible to this than the rest of the world.  The homeschooler. The stay-at-home mom. The college student taking a different route. The young couple choosing accountability. The single who’s not focusing on a relationship. Because we’re different, we’re choosing a different path, so we think others inherently look on us with distrust or disappointment. We have this ever-constant pressure to explain ourselves.

I should know. I’m a graduated homeschooler, living at home, on an alternate route to my degree, and 100% single. I know they aren’t true, but in the back of my head I still hear the whispers, They think you’re a failure.

And I’m desperate to show them I’m not. If people ask me at all about my future, I’ll smile and launch into my speech about how my route is so much cheaper and faster, and how I’m not really interested in many of the things other people my age are, because I’m so busy with other work, and how I’m involved in this and that and succeeding in this and that and how planning to do this and that. Then they’ll smile and nod and go “Oh, that’s nice” and hopefully never ask me any questions ever again. I have my script, ready to rush through it at any time. But that desperate dread still sits in my stomach.

Because, really, it’s not their questions I’m afraid of. It’s not really their opinion. The fears and whispers assaulting me aren’t from outside. They’re my own. Continue reading