light always crashes in

piclab-28

I’ve felt a lot of righteous anger in my soul over the last few days. Anger peppered in tears. Anger that is toppling out of me and longing to come out in some physical form. Anger that was thankfully lessened with laughter but dissolved in heartache.

In a shorter amount of words: I’m mad at the world and I’m mad at darkness.

I’ve seen a lot of darkness and bad things thus far in my life. I’ve seen addiction, death, abuse. I’ve wrestled with suicide. I’ve LIVED in darkness.

Darkness angers me.

The last two days I’ve heard story of tragedies that desperately hurt my heart.

Three years ago I met South Africa for the first time. I met the townships, the people, the families. I met the students of Bridges of Hope Academy.

South Africa changed my view of darkness. It changed my view of a lot of things.

Two days ago I found out one of the boys that was a senior when I was there was shot and killed in a township.

I got mad.

Incredibly mad and sad with the overwhelming desire to cry and hit something at the same time.

Life just isn’t fair.

I don’t know what happened; I don’t know where he exactly was in life. I just know he’s gone and I’m mad at the darkness.

I stood railing at the darkness for a while the other night. I couldn’t understand why this 22 year old kid, who’d already gone through so much, who had gotten out, found Jesus, was taken in such a way as he was.

And after I had railed at the darkness of the senseless tragedies that I had heard about in the past couple of days I remembered the light.

It’s there; fighting against the dark forces. Crashing into the evil. Forcing what is bad into the light to crumble.

And I was reminded of an intense picture during some incredibly dark times in my life. Days where I prayed with each step I took, days where I didn’t sleep for fear of another day starting.

Days where I just wanted to end it all.

And Jesus gave me this picture of the darkest room I had ever seen in my life.

No windows, no doors, no way for light to creep in.

And then a dim night light turned on.

And I realized in that moment that He was always there; no matter how dark, how lonely I felt.

No matter how angry at the world I became;

The light is still there. The darkness may make it seem small; but it’s there.

I’m ok with the fact that I rail against the darkness. That I get mad when senseless death happens or when wife lose their husbands and babies lose their dads. I’m ok that I get mad when things break my heart.

It’s ok to yell at the darkness the clammers unwanted into our lives.

But what I remembered Monday night is that I must NEVER forget the promise that the light will always break through.

The light always invades, always plunders and always crush the dark.

So keep your nightlight on. And rally against the dark.

<3

I’m horrible PR for myself

IMG_9362

I’ve apologized a lot this week. I’m in a new place where only a few people know me. These new folks have been told I’m a good baker, a great cook etc.

That makes me nervous.

And it makes me apologize.

I’ve broken a wineglass, had way too many blonde moments, I’ve accidentally used corn starch instead of cornmeal. I used the wrong type of sugar in baking cookies. I’m walking this line of insecurity that is laughable.

IMG_9363(test layer of cake I made//gone in five minutes)

And I just keep apologizing.

Tonight during worship I realized that I keep apologizing and belittling the gifts and talents that God has given me. And in that way; I’m belittling God. I’m belittling the fact that He Himself gave me all these gifts.

And here I am just apologizing away all of these things when I am unsure, or insecure or make a mistake.

I’m calling myself out on apologizing. I’m calling myself out on not having confidence in the gifts and talents He gives me. And it’s so funny because just this week I allowed myself to be taken up on stage and I danced with this Spanish rapper during the half of the World Cup final in the square in Mijas in front of at least a couple hundred people.

But ask me to write something for you, bake something, cook something and this week I have been full of excuses that it might not be up to par or that I’m full of nerves. Compliment me on something I made and I haven’t responded with “thank you” but “oh it’s actually really easy”.

IMG_9364(my refrain on the novel I am writing “I suck at writing dialogue”)

Why? Why do I completely brush away the things that I know God has given me to use? Why do I not allow myself to walk in gifts, talents and knowledge.

Why have I been walking these week like I will never be enough?

I was told tonight that God delights when I wake up every morning. That He gets so excited to see me live out my life.

And here I am squandering it away with “I’m sorry” or “It’s not my best” or “Please, don’t think to highly of this or that thing that people say I’m good at.”

It’s stupid, lame and I need to stop.

So if you’re reading this and you are currently doing life with me in Mijas: this week (and beyond) I give you permission to call me out when I don’t respond with “thank you” to a compliment or when I belittle the work I have done by undercutting the task.

IMG_9365

And mind you this next week I am doing the following: making a wedding cake, cooking for my house and helping with some writing projects.

Three things I hold close to my heart. Three things I know I am good at. Three things that I have undercut and apologized for lacking in in the last two weeks.

I don’t want to live a life of apology.

I don’t want to live a life peppered with insecurities or feeling like I’m not a enough.

I want to live a life walking in confidence of the good gifts He has given me.

So here I go: choosing to live a life free from apologizing and undercutting myself away.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

(Why I am in Spain? Check out journey with me)

all I have is a topic sentence

photo 1

I’ve started at least 3 blogs in the last five minutes trying to figure out what to write about.

There are multiple things I could write about right now. I have a myriad of thoughts flying through my brain.

But most of them are all topic sentences:

(Re)Learning to use my voice.

(Re)Learning to step out in faith.

Learning to burst beyond that which makes me uncomfortable.

Learning to leave insecurity at the door.

Learning not to second guess myself or my purpose.

It’s all a beginning. Or more so a continuation.

7 months ago I got off of a plane into a familiar place that had turned unknown.

A week ago I go on a plane to an unknown place that is full of familiar.

photo 3((some of my NSquad girls who I have the joy & privilege of doing life with here in Spain))

And the lessons aren’t the same. But the lessons here have built upon the lessons from there.

So now I sit here with all of these topic sentences at the beginning of a new season. 5 for now; probably more to come. And here’s the thing:

That’s ok.

It’s like God is handing me this notebook with a topic at the top of each page and saying

“it’s ok. You don’t have to figure all this out tonight. Or even tomorrow. I’m just saying it’s time.”

And it is time.

photo 2((july interns on a scavenger hunt through Mijas))

There are a couple things that I’ve let lurk in my closet far too long that I am ready to let out and then beat them down with a broom. They have been taunting me and poking their heads out for too long.

And God is reminding me daily that it’s fine. And it’s time.

I tore so many chains aside last year; and I’ve come to realize that I have some more. They’re rusted over because they’ve been there for so long that I’ve forgotten about them.

It took the demolishing of the chains on top of them to realize that they were there.

So that’s where I am. I’m sitting here in lovely Spain, having just finished my first week of class with a post it note of topic sentences; of things God is going to walk with me through.

And it’s going to be good. And hard. And beautiful.

I’m here. I’m ready to live through these lessons that I may come back someday and be able to tell you about another chain that has fallen off.

I am here.

photo 4

And here I go.

 (click here if you would like to see ways in which you can journey with me

an afro, some sequins (& 92 kids)

image

(before I begin this: a shoutout to the incredibly amazing, lovely, dance party-riffic staff & counselors of Newport Mesa Church’s Royal Family Kids Camp. Your kindness, encouragement and love spurred me on last week and I was completely and utterly humbled by your words!)

Last year in February I did ministry for the day along with 5 others from my squad at a maximum security prison in Trujillo, Peru. If I’m being honest I wasn’t THAT nervous. Sure, I was a little nervous. But I’d prayed and ask for God to shield my eyes from things I shouldn’t see and to protect my ears from things I shouldn’t hear. I felt protected.

I stood up in front of men in that prison and helped lead worship, spoke words from God.

I was at peace.

Last week I stood in front of 92 kids between the ages of 7-11 and was scared to death.

image_3            (the carpool crew before we headed up the mountain)

Hilarious much?

Last week I was the Bible story teacher at Royal Family Kids Camp. RFKC is a week of fun and happiness for kids who are in the foster care system. Some of them are from pretty rough backgrounds; living in foster families, group homes, separated from siblings. For the most part life for them hasn’t been easy. So RFKC happen around the nation and they are filled with volunteers who come together to make a week of fun, love and joy for this kids.

This is my fourth year volunteering and my first year as the bible story teacher. So each chapel I would teach the kids the memory verse (Psalm 23:4), do some sheep trivia questions and after singing  and dancing I would get up and tell them stories about David and the Good shepherd.The first morning I was TERRIFIED.

Would I be able to hold the attention of (most) of the kids? Would the counselors hate me for taking too much time or even worse not enough? Would the staff totally regret their decision to have me take the job?

image_2(my trenta)

So many doubts as I went to step up and took the mike for the first time. I got up that first chapel and talked about shepherds and the awesome teen staff helped me with a skit. And as I finished my first day of stories my nervousness began to go away because I realized I was doing something I love more then anything.

Getting the privilege of telling kids that they are not only special and loved but that God has a plan for them.

And these kids need to hear that desperately.

In that I realized where my fear came from. In all the times last year I stood in front of a mike and talked or sang, I never was really nervous because I didn’t really care what other people thought (and of course for the most part no one spoke english).

image_1(Lauren// fellow WR Alum// fellow Californian// fellow adventurer)

Put me in front of a mike in front of a group of kids with short attention spans, friends I respect and people I don’t really know and I forget why I ‘m really there.

The next day I showed up to chapel in a sparkly sweater and an afro and a lot more confidence and love.

Because all that mattered was that the kids listened long enough to know we love them, Jesus loves them and He has a plan for them.

THAT’S what I want my life to look like no matter has scary it seems. I want people to know they are loved by Jesus, that He has a plan for them no matter where they are in life.

I admitted a few things to the kiddos last week between shouting psalm 23:4 and apparently looking like a a crossover between MJ and Bob Marley; I admitted I’m blind as a sheep, I need google, that I was afraid of the dark and that I’m 29 and still unsure completely what I want to be when I grow up.

But what last week taught me is that standing in front of someone (or many someones) and encouraging them to go and do and be is a big part of who I am and what I want to be.

So yes, I was scared this week before I put on the sparkly sweater.

Because kids? are scary.

Adults? they are scary too.

People who understand english?

Yep, scary.

The bottom line, the thing that helped me get over the fear is the reminder that God has a plan.

image_4

I’m leaving Thursday for another adventure.

And just like those kids, God has a plan. And that information grounds me a little. I’m getting on a plane Thursday by myself and I’m antsy and nervous. I’m so thankful I have friends meeting me on the other side.

That’s all for now. Last week was a beautiful blessing and I can’t wait to see my Royal Family again next year.

I may or may not have more blog stateside (or on my enormous 4th of July layover in Turkey) But I treasure your prayers and encouragement in this next part of life. And if you are able and willing I still need some help and support for this journey. All donations are tax deductible: Click HERE to donate and make sure you type “Meg Reeve” in the notes. (And if you’d like a postagram from Espana shoot me your mailing address!!)

an emotionally-naked sit in

photo 5

I feel naked.

Really emotionally vulnerable and out there.

I’m about to get trampled and wrecked

And after that no one is going to recognize me after.

I’m ok with all that though. Really, I’m totally used to getting trampled and wrecked. I’m used to people not being able to see who I am anymore because I am so unlike what I once was.

photo 4( (swazi//feministry//team leader))

I’d be lying though, if I said I was ok with not being able to recognize myself.

I’m so sick of not recognizing myself. I’m so sick of thinking that I’m done with hurt and anger and unpacking my life and then I just find another layer. The person that got off the plane in December has been plaqued with loneliness, heartbreak, sadness, joy, doubts.

I’m sick of holding back tears because I’m so afraid of the bursting dam

But I see the blue skies. I see the reason why. I see the HOPE that is out there that I want to give to others. I see how because of all of this I can help others figure out how to move.

That, that in fact, is my movement. My purpose. A call to help others move.

And because of that movement and that purpose I have to keep allowing myself to be naked. To open up my soul and pour out my heart.

To learn. To gain more tools.

To take one more terrifying step into this wild unknown.

I remember taking the first leap into the world race last year. It was easy.

The first leap is the easiest.

photo 3

It gets harder after that.

Because people don’t expect you to jump a second time. They expect you to place two feet on the ground and start life again how everyone else is. That after taking such a big leap you’ll have more answers.

I myself had less answers.

Some of the last words I wrote while on the world race were that I wanted to “live a life that was nothing normal and everything Christ.” And goodness that proclamation is hard.

It’s that promise to the self that got off the plane in New York 6 months ago that leads me to get on another plane in a month.

piclab-5

This is my beginning. This is the culmination of years of silence, bible studies, speaking out, stepping out, reaching out of my comfort zone, this is years of walking through hell and depression, years of sitting on my therapist’s couch NOT crying, this is the year of world race and time spent across the coffee tables and walking down dirt roads.

This is me taking all of those lessons, all of those tears wept or not, and going to Spain for 6 months. I am going to sit (emotionally) naked before Jesus and get rocked, trampled and wrecked. It’s taking the fears I have, my incredible discomfort in certain scenarios and literally staging a sit in.

photo 2

((a realization that I need to carry with me))

I feel like the World Race was the realization that I want more. And that there is more. It was the realization that I have gifts, and talents and joys. It was the beginning of this process of unpacking heartache and disappointment.

And so now, I go, taking one more terrifying leap into the unknown. I bought a plane ticket I can’t get refunded for and am stepping into the more.

And I need your help.

I have 3 weeks to raise $3000 (I need a total of $6000) in order to get picked up from the airport in Malaga.

Any amount of money makes a different, any amount of support helps me. (To donate please go here: Donate | G-42 Leadership Academy )

And I need prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. Like I said, I feel as if I am going to be staging an emotional sit in with myself. I am going to be battling a couple of monsters in my closet. And learning, learning, learning. Learning how to step into this crazy role God has called me to in my life and I need each and every one of you behind me. Please subscribe to this blog to follow my journey there. I hope to continue posting once a week and sharing what God is doing and where He is taking me.

Thank you for your support and love. It means more than you know.

If you have questions about Spain or supporting me or comments or words of love/truth (or if you need words of love/truth)

contact me below!

photo 1((Abby//my heart//waiting for me in Espana//check her out here))

 

a tableau of 5 fears (and a not really conclusion)

piclab-27

(I was going to post this blog in parts (I was also going to wait til I was on the other side of the atlantic) BUT I decided against it. It’s kind of long so put up your feet and grab some coffee or a glass of wine. )

My boogie monster was a blond balding wrestler from the 80s.

I think that the first thing I was ever afraid of in my life was The Incredible Hulk (and I think by default I was afraid of Hulk Hogan). I specifically remember my mom telling me when I was little that if I didn’t go to bed the Incredible Hulk would come get me.

My conscious state was terrified of this green monster literally stalking out of the TV and coming into my bedroom.

My subconscious apparently took the “hulk” out of that sentence and my dreams were actually plagued by the wrestler. He would show up in my dreams (and normally nuns were involved…I have no idea why) and he would always say he was going to kidnap me.

I remember, in my dreams, just laying in bed. Staring up at this huge man. So scared that he was going to take me away.

I don’t really understand that fear. Or why I had it. All I know is that childhood fears come in the shape of many things.

Adult fears come in the shape of many things.

And looking back now, I realize as a child that my fears then mirror my fears now.

Not coming in forms I would think.

And all I had was a stuffed cat

She was white and I named her Katrina.

Sometimes I wish I still had her.

When I was younger I had a lot of issues with bed wetting. I saw three different doctors for it for way too many years. No one could figure out what was wrong.

The first two were fine with names that make me laugh to this day. The last one is why I needed a stuffed cat.

His office was off of Millbrook and even though I now we are turning left and not right I still shudder when I got off that exit.

It’s the first legitimate fear I can think of that has to do with a real live person with whom I have interacted.

I don’t think anything wrong was done. I think I was too young. There were things I didn’t understand. Sitting alone in a doctor’s office without your mom or dad. Moments where you weren’t sure why a doctor put his hands where he did.

Moments that made me move from discomfort into fear. It’s when I learned that fear is tied to not feeling safe.

When you don’t feel safe; even if you don’t know why you begin to feel fear.

It can creep on you.

And when you don’t understand your feelings…fear can creep up on you. You actually don’t know what you are afraid of or why. Sometimes God protects you in that moment to not know why you’re afraid. So instead of being afraid of the unknown, you’re afraid of doctor who was just doing his job.

And you squeeze that stuffed cat you have and walk into that doctor’s office and you know that it is the only way you can get through.

I am a walking cliché’.

It was a dark rainy night in Kingsburg. My best friend and I had somehow convinced her mom to let us watch the movie “it”.

We were curled up on the couch, lights out.

Seriously, probably one of the dumbest decisions I have made in my life to date.

I was terrified to fall asleep at night. Terrified to look behind my back. And yes, I became one of the many people who are TERRIFIED of clowns.

And like most horror movies made before special effects budgets were the norm, I can look at the movie and realize how dumb it is, how not well made it is.

But you also better believe that I still flinch when I walk over storm drains, I still cannot stand clowns. And when I walk at the nature preserve by my old apartment…I don’t go anywhere near the huge pipe that moves water. (DUH.t hat’s where the demonic clown lives.)

It’s funny the things that still haunt us, things that are ridiculous. Thing that we know aren’t true.

Mine of course started with the fear of a clown in a storm drain holding a balloon. I know he’s actually not there. I know there won’t be this evil voice that comes from below.

But sometimes now, as an adult, it’s easier to be afraid of things that can’t actually get me then too be afraid of those that can.

Don’t make me sing. (But actually do.)

So high school.

I sang in a choir (I mean if we are being real I’ve ALWAYS sang in a choir)

Anyway. FEAR.

Singing a solo. I always wanted too. But I also always froze.

Which is RIDICULOUS. I’d performed in school plays. Performed monologues. But you put a microphone in front of me and expect me to sing?

I don’t understand.

I remember my senior specifically. I had one of the leads in the school MUSICAL. I was one of the MCs for the spring concert. And I had a solo.

Phantom of the Opera. It was low. It was beautiful. I was terrified.

I got up there and did it.

I probably sucked.

Since then though,I’ve sung multiple solos in college in front of lots of people. I’ve helped lead worship all over the world.

But even in January when I helped lead worship for a conference I lifted the mike to start a song and I felt the shakiness go through me. I remembered Phantom of the Opera. High school.

But I didn’t freeze. I don’t freeze anymore.

But that fear is settled in me.

I have a feeling it’s not just about singing into a microphone. I realize it’s probably something much deeper. Some fear about perfection or whatever.

But to the senior year in high school me; nothing was scarier then singing a 10 measure solo in front of 100 people.

Now, there is nothing scarier than not getting up to sing the song on the mike. The fear of failure overpowers the fear of imperfection, though I’m not sure that’s any better.

This one is actually scary

Last July I was in Mozambique living in the middle of a village. In my tent. (that I was thankfully sharing with someone)

We were in the midst of witchcraft, thieves, and children who poked their heads into our tents at 5 in the morning.

But there was one specific night after most of the teams on our squad had gotten robbed (including ours) where I woke up at about 4 in the morning to what I thought was someone in the grass walking around. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I reached for my multitool and started praying. and for the first time I think I understood the concept behind tasting fear. I could legitimately feel fear going through every single part of my body.

Because I knew if someone were to open my tent and want something I really just had Jesus to protect me. Ha. Just Jesus to protect me.

Let me rephrase:

BUT I knew if someone were to open my tent and want something I HAD JESUS to protect me. And I also had nothing in my tent worth taking.

Like I said though, I could taste the fear and there was nothing that was going to stop that feeling coming into my being.

Fear protects.

It really does. It makes us realize something is not right.

We shouldn’t be in a situation. We shouldn’t be seeing something. We shouldn’t be doing something.

Everything turned out to be ok that night in Mozi. No one unzipped my tent. No one tried to attack me.

I was ok. But I can’t unfeel that feeling of fear in my bones. I’ll carry that with me.

Looked fear in the face. Laughed at it, turned around and forgot what it looked like.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. (Eleanor Roosevelt).

That is one of my all time favorite quotes. Just the thought, the empowerment, the reminder that time and time again we have looked fear in the face and kept going. That we have looked down the barrel of this thing that scares and remember that we have done it before.

So now, here I am facing another fear. It’s one of failure. Its one of not making it. Not getting to the place I need to be. Not being in the place I need to be.

I’ve looked fear of failure in the face before.

I’ve walked to it and through it.

But it’s still there. I still keep forgetting what it looks like.

So I’ve come full fear circle.

When I was 5 I had no clue why the Hulk scared me so much.

Now I’m 29 and have no actual concrete reason why I’m crippled by fear. Somewhere down the road I’ll know. Maybe it’s because it’s something I really believe in and want to succeed in.

Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of failure. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of standing alone.                  Or just BEING alone.

Who knows.

What I do know is this: Fears in adulthood are never actually about what they are supposed to be about. Fears in adulthood aren’t actually clowns, or the darkness, or the shadow in the corner. It’s about things we can’t control, it’s about failing people, failing yourself so we get lost for a moment in a silly fear, we get lost in a fearing something we have no control over, something so ridiculous it can’t actually touch us instead of the things that can actually cripple us.

So I’m going to walk into this next part of life with my head held a little higher as I realize what I am afraid and what I need to conquer.

And yes, I am still and will always be afraid of clowns.

(if you made it to the end, i’m not only impressed, but also thankful. I’d love your thoughts on fears that transform themselves from childhood to adulthood. ((and also if you too are afraid of clowns)) thank you for reading)

29: Sorry Mr. Demaris, I need to relearn spanish.

piclab-23

26. (you were a wacky ride)

27.(you went whoosh)

28.(I’m gonna need a new passport)

Good heavens.

I started my 28th birthday in the midst of running across the Istanbul airport trying to get to the correct gate to catch our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa in that moment was probably my most favorite country in the world. And I was going to get the chance to spend my first month of being 28 nestled in the outskirts of my favorite city getting to spend my days doing ministry, living on a guava farm and of course getting to look at Table Mountain every day.

IMG_8806((my 28th birthday on a plane))

And what a start it gave 28.

The first 5 months of my 28 was spent in foreign countries. South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland THAILAND, Cambodia, Malaysia.

I slept in a stable, in my tent in the middle of a village, on a foam mattress in the middle of a team house, in a tent in a house surrounded by lizards, in a strip mall, in (a lot ) of hostels.

piclab-26((randy&betsy// two people who brought me more wisdom and love than I could ever fathom in my 28))

I did life with some utterly amazing people. I saw elephants and lions and so many giraffes. I hitchhiked down African roads. I laid hands on people and saw demons physically come out of them. I cooked for 100 widows and orphans on $30. I taught english, gave singing lessons, drank a lot of coffee, held babies, held some more babies, I filled up journals, wrote blogs, ate roti, cleaned   bathrooms everywhere, ran in the southeast asian humidity, baked cakes, and drank some more coffee.

IMG_8811((just a perfect day off with some amazing, truth speaking, lovely people))

I cooked for my family of 50 and got blisters cutting up butternut squash.

I found out that I was truly a BA

I fell in love with the city of Bangkok.

IMG_8809((my cooking crew in swaziland. cooking butternut squash mac n cheese for Nsquad))

And with street food in Mozambique.

I was reminded of my love for leading worship.

I learned so much about myself.

More than I can even begin to fathom.

And then that journey ended.

IMG_8810

((my BA women in Swazi))

I remember sitting in my counselor office on my first Thursday in the states.

Did that just happen?

IMG_8808.PNG

((the 112//no words needed))

Was it a dream?

And now almost 6 months later I can say it wasn’t.

These last 6 months I’ve reconnected with friends. I’ve had numerous skype dates and facetime calls holding onto the relationships I made last year. I’ve gone to Georgia and got to do life in the states if but for a moment with those I treasure.

IMG_8807

((i carry you in my heart))

I’ve got in and out of darkness over the last 6 months. In and out of ruts. I’ve curled up on the couches at my best friend’s house and laughed with her and her sweet girls. I’ve gone to orange county and laughed in an apartment that holds so many memories. I’ve sat in the same chair at a new coffee shop in my hometown and poured out so many of my feelings and heartaches.

((I still haven’t had the Choprah))

I’ve written A LOT.

IMG_8802

((the bestie and my goddaughters// my loves.))

I’ve realized I’m so much further from what I once was than I thought.

I’ve seen God in a new way.

I’ve made a decision to walk over fear and keep going.

28 was up, down, in and out. 28 makes me long for foreign breezes and watching the sun tuck behind an ocean that is not my own.

The beginning of 28 oddly enough felt like home and the end has felt murky.

I’m going to spend the beginning of 29 on a foreign lands.

IMG_8805

 

((our first family picture in 20 years. My older brothers and I))

I have so many hopes, dreams and passions and the beginning of 29 feels like the start.

I wish I could properly articulate why this next step is so important. It’s happening because of all I learned about myself in 28. There is still more to do and grow.

28 rocked me and changed me.

I literally and metaphorically conquered mountains.

IMG_8804

 

((members of Team V who conquered Table Mountain in South Africa))

It allowed me to be able to stand on the edge and yell that I am worth it.

29 is going to be apart of helping me believe it and 29 is going to be rough as I take an even bigger plunge.

28 was a turning point. Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.

Because he is so much bigger. And I’m going to spend 29 and beyond pressing into that and showing those around me His truth.

IMG_8812

 

((hashtuck// ankgor wat, Cambodia))

((I still need some help to get there. If you want to join me in my 29 adventure and partner with me please check this out.))

(maybe one day I’ll make you cry over a vampire baby)

Piclab-1

I had the privilege and the great joy of living an amazing story in 2013. I set foot in 11 countries, I had conversation that superseded language and religion. I climbed Table Mountain in South Africa and dropped down waterfalls in Ecuador. I watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean from the balcony of my flat in Mozambique. I got a tattoo in Romania and held lots and lots of babies EVERYWHERE

I know what you’re thinking: How in the world do you top that?

I have so many stories to tell from last year. Like the time a babushka gave me a sweater in Ukraine or about how much I love Bangkok. Or how in Mozi we ended up on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by fishermen.

But when I really think about it, when I really delve into it; my stories about life were pretty awesome before then. They just weren’t wrapped up in foreign countries.

Like how I once changed 30+ diapers at an event at a church in one day. Or how my preschoolers say the best things. Or that one night when my friends and I ran into Dennis Rodham and he bought us drinks.

Piclab-3                                   ((a piece of story//extreme home makeover South Africa))

I can tell stories upon stories of heartache, of loss, of joy, of laughter and stories upon stories of how Jesus always heals us.

We ALL have jaw-dropping stories whether we believe it or not.

It’s just whether or not we choose to believe them or tell them.

Stories don’t just have to be encouraging or heartbreaking.

Story telling is an art form. Whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Whether they are about you or not.

I appreciate all forms. For instance last week I watched the finales of my two favorite show. (The Vampire Diaries and the Originals JUDGE ME I DON’T CARE) and those writers, MAN, can they weave a story. I’m still easily emotional over a magical baby and the death of a character whose redemption is 5 seasons in the making. I had all of the feels and emotions over vampires who don’t actually exist because their story was told so well. I can appreciate that greatly. The heart and creativity that goes into making people cry over murderous vampires.

What would happen if we took that ability, that gift to tell our own stories as well?

What do you think would happen?

Piclab-2                                                            ((a piece of story// COFFEE))

We all have story. Some we choose to tell, some we hold close to our hearts. I’ve told a lot of story over the years, I’ve written a lot down, shared them in classes, with friends, in bible studies. Like how I finally in this blog talked about Joe or how I wrote my heart into a fear piece that I sent to a lot of my friends. We were meant to do that. To share our hearts, our experiences with each other.

I don’t think God used the written word to reach so many because it was the “easiest” way. I think he used it as an example to us. For us to share our stories, to share what he taught us, to share what we’ve been through. To share how we need to come together.

It’s ingrained in us.

Why do you think we cram on couches week after week to see if Caroline ever shows up in New Orleans, or if Damon is going to come back from the dead (#toosoon) or are Wade and Zoe FINALLY going to be together for heavens sake! (that’s all just me? Once again; judge away)**

Because we are a people who long to be involved in story. And sometimes we think that those stories being told on a TV or in a book or on the big screen are bigger and more important than what we walk in daily.

Spoiler alert: they’re not.

Every action we make, every minute in our day is filled with good story whether we know it or not. It’s just whether once again we choose to make it be so.

If you ever want to hear more from my life, or read my piece on fear, let me know. I’ll tell you about holding babies into all hours of the night in South Africa or scraping paint of bathroom tile for hours on end. I can talk to you about working with kids from the foster system, or all of the ridiculous things that were said in the pink room the year Em and I had all boys in JK.

And I can tell you lots and lots about Jesus.

IMG_8117                                             ((a piece of story// jay leno california perfection))

We need to step into telling stories more, make it a practice.

I’m going to try to be better at it: writing them down, typing them out.

Even attempting to fix the fact that I suck at creating dialogue in story and working on some fiction pieces that are floating in my head.

I’m going to continue to live a good story whether I am sitting listening to the train go by in Kingsburg or whether I am sitting next to the Mediterranean in Spain.

IMG_3949

Story is story and our lives are the same wherever our feet may lie. It all lies in the telling. And if choose to allow others into them.

**if you understood ANY of those references….we should talk.

(to learn more about my story and where I am off to next check this out)

and t(he)y saved me

piclab-18

(I’ve been having a load of epiphanies these days, been feeling how amazingly my relationship with God was stretched and now like a pair of stretched out denim my mind wants to contort it back to what it once was, but my heart won’t allow it. It wants to continue growing and moving.

It doesn’t want to be pushed back into a box.

So I’m fleshing out things in my mind that I know about God, and what the world knows about God and I’m contemplating the places where they don’t match or where I don’t want them to match. This is one of them)

I was recently looking back at some old journals of mine, mainly one that I used when I was at training camp for the World Race in October of 2012.

It was the first time I ever heard my squad coach Betsy Garmon speak. I heard her speak many, many times after that. Sat across from her in noisy hostels and coffee shops around the world. My journals are filled with nuggets of wisdom , encouragement and hard, stretching truth that I will always carry with me.

I remember specifically that first time she spoke to all the women of the MNOP squads. She hit us with some good stuff that day, words we had to mull over more than once, words that I mulled over months into the race

But the one simplistic truth I took from that day was this:

piclab-20

Ever since I went back to that journal last week I’ve been thinking about those words and about my walk with Christ. I wrote a bit about it here. About how I am seeing my walk with Christ so much differently than I once did.

How I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am His and He is mine.

But why am I His?

Is it because I’ve held orphans on 5 continents or logged more church hours in 5 years than most do in their whole life?

image-17     (top is VBS worship leading//bottom is my first time in South Africa with the academy kids)

Is it because I do without the knowledge that someone will give me back the time I have given them?

None of those things are what saved me.

I remember back in Ecuador last January my team and I went rappelling down some waterfalls. I was terrified.

I got through the all the trials and then came to the last one.

Hell to the no.

We basically dropped off a cliff into some rocks.

I have never been more afraid in my life. Like, life flashing before my eyes, afraid.

(and I’ve been hit by a car)

And just when I should have hit the rocks underneath me, I landed in the arms of two of my teammates, Emily and Cassie.

piclab-19                                 (cassie and emily about to jump off a bridge in Banos, Ecuador)

Later during feedback Cassie reminded me that they were there for me, they weren’t going to let me fall.

They saved me.

I remember sitting in a parking lot (more specifically, my counselor’s office parking lot) wrapped in a blanket on the Sunday before my third year of day camp began.

I had started a new anti depressant about 3 weeks prior and it had messed amazingly with my system.

I was sitting in that parking lot, wrapped in a blanket, on the phone with my counselor because I had contemplated killing myself.

He talked me through it, my roommates walked me through it, my day camp coworkers laughed with me and provided me with endless entertainment (I can’t confirm or deny that they snuck me into Disney one night)

image-16

(these crazy people will never know or realize how much they saved me this summer)

They saved me.

What am I getting at?

Your “shiny” doesn’t need saving.

It’s those moments where you are at rock bottom, where you don’t know up from down, where it’s so dark and you choose to cling to Christ.

That’s what saved you.

It’s when you get to that moment, that place, that only HE can be your strength. It’s the moment in the darkness that makes you search for the light.

The darkness makes the light SO MUCH BRIGHTER.

That’s not the hard part though.

It’s easy to look for the light while in the darkness.

But how do we look for the light while in the light?

How do we remember that the shiny isn’t what saved us?

It’s not hard to see the glory of Christ in the light. It’s always easy NOT to need Christ in the Light.I don’t have the answer to that. But I do have the reminder that my shiny is not what saved me. Christ doesn’t love me for all the light in me.

He loves me in spite of all darkness I choose to allow myself to walk through.

So in the moments where I’m doubting, or in pain, or wanting to walk away because I feel like a failure, or a feel useless, or like I’m not going anywhere, I remember that the good things in me aren’t what saved me.

It’s the fact that I know Christ is on the throne and in the midst of my darkness I chose to lean on Him.

image-15

 

Seriously, where would I go?

piclab-17

A couple weekends ago I went to Orange County.

It was glorious.

There was boating, salsa dancing, drunken watermelon, Susie cakes, laughter and friends.

(and that was just Saturday)

Sunday though? Sunday was my day. Haute Cakes, coffee, RockHarbor, getting to see my Grandma Winnie (who might I add made me teary eyed with just one hug, I miss that woman)

image-14

Sunday felt like home. It felt normal.

Walking into my church on Sunday was overwhelming. I remember the first Sunday I went after I came back in December. It was something I’d been waiting for. At that point it been a little over 2 months since I’d been in an English speaking church. To not have to listen for translation is something I can’t really describe.

And to be in a place that has seen so many of my tears?

The surge of emotion that came when worship started was almost too much for me, but I held on. I knew that if I lost it, there would be no coming back.

A new series on Sunday “Words of Life”. I feverishly took notes, and read along with the scripture.

But there was one verse that stuck out to me. We were in the book of John (chapter 6), after Jesus fed the 5,000 and He had just explained to them that HE himself was the bread of life. And the disciples could not grasp it. It was too hard of a concept.

So some of them left.

He then turned to the twelve and asked if they were going to go.

Let me stop there.

Life has been rough lately for too many reasons to count. Lonely, depressing, quiet, among many other things.

So when Jesus turns to the twelve and ask if they were going to go I get it. I feel like He’s maybe asked me that question in the last 4 months, not in a “when the going get’s tough” kind of way, more in a “When I just can’t seem to make sense of it” kind of way.

Sometimes Jesus makes NO sense, at all. He speaks in ways that we can’t comprehend or fathom. He knows it’s going to be ok. But sometimes we forget.

In verse 68 Peter says this, “Who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.”

And it doesn’t say, but in all honesty I picture Peter being weary here. Extremely weary. He’s been following Jesus, listening to him, trying to wrap his head around all of this truth and wisdom. He’s been trying to figure out how it fits in his life. What he is supposed to do with it.

image-13

All that thinking is tiring. Truly exhausting.

So at the point where Jesus is asking if they are going to go, Peter throws his hands up and basically is like (this is the Meg Message version), “we know all of it sounds crazy to so many people, we know that sometimes it is crazy but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you speak truth, that you are truth and we want to live in that truth.”

And that verse shook me to the core and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I know that weary feeling well.

The feeling I’ve had these days takes me back to parking lots and tears and nightlights in the dark.

But the thing is, even then and even now I know that there is nowhere I would rather be and no one I would rather follow then Jesus.

Because even though it is sometimes crazy sounding, even when he tells me to do things that no one ever will understand, I know he speaks the words of eternal life.

So sitting in church, I threw my hands up.

Because really? Where WOULD I go?

Who would I turn too?

Just like the twelve that day, I knew.

Because I know from the bottom of my heart WHO speaks the truth. I know that sometimes those words just aren’t easy to comprehend, but they are still the truth.

I think I’ve always known that. The days when it was super dark, or super bright. Be it in the United States or chilling in my tent in Mozambique, I’ve always known that He is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE.

So, when I feel like life has gotten too big or too hard, I’ll remember that. When I feel as if life has gotten away from me or my mind contemplates life without Jesus before I can get my heart to remember what I know I will rest in the knowledge that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE is on the throne.

It’s a comforting thought, comforting knowledge to remember and know that HE is on the throne. Because whatever life throws me, WHEREVER life takes me I can be assured in that.

I’ll leave you with these words I wrote. My creative writing professor my senior year along with my songwriting/music theory professor always reminded us less is more. So after you’ve read all of these words you can read this shortened version of everything I just said.

image-12