Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 17)

Souls, Words and A Second Attempt at Sleep

Sometimes my soul feels like it has arms.  Lots and lots of arms and they are all flailing around inside of me. They are jittering with a restless movement.  It always starts like this for me.  The movement always comes before the words.  I can sense the presence of the words but they are still locked up.  Sometimes they trickle out in little streams but I know the floodgates of articulation haven’t opened yet.  I mess with the streams…trying them out as I walk the route in my neighborhood again and again throughout the week.

Sometimes I feel as if you and I are Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. In fact, if anyone ever tries to force me to describe my writing style, I’m going with “It’s very ‘You’ve Got Mail’ email style.”  We are each other’s person on the other side of the screen.  Write me back because it will complete the picture.

Are you waiting on words?  Or are you armed and loaded, ready to nail it?  I am an ongoing cycle of word release and then back into the quiet processing.  So tonight, as I go back and attempt sleep again, I’m connecting with Him and letting my soul settle.  The words always come when it’s time.  Just like a baby comes when it’s ready to come.  So we remind ourselves that right now is good. He’s in the right now.  He’s okay with the right now.   Perhaps He’s even okay with the odd picture of a soul with lots and lots of arms (a little creepy in retrospect).

Sleep tight, person on the other side of the screen.

Honest Abi

(It’s late.  That studio picture is most definitely not what I look like right now.  But – it’s late.)

Breaking Up with Disappointment

I am a glass half-full person.  You? Half-full or half-empty?

But there are layers of processing each of us need to do, at the right time, to keep following Healing.

A few days ago, this picture popped into my thoughts.

If you have eyes in your head, you can see that that is not one person.  It is two people.  The one with crazy (er) hair is disappointment: sometimes so one with us that we forget we aren’t one unit.  The silent vibe would be Abi + disappointment = Me

I don’t walk around nursing disappointment! Gag.  Nonetheless, my personal belief is that God has grace for us to shed hidden disappointment, when He says it’s time.  The follow up belief is, if He shows you hidden disappointment or you simply become aware of it, then He’s saying it’s time.  Simple.

The first picture is disturbing, isn’t it?! What I call ‘me’ and normalize and embrace is me plus one.

But disappointment isn’t a slightly sour companion.  It’s a jailer.

That’s disappointment laying on the floor with her whacked hair and she’s reaching right for your wrists and your ankles.  She has you chained: attaching you to the past. Attaching us to where we were and what we lost.  Staking us into that ground….which is gone and behind us now.  But still holding us.

Dang.

That can be an overwhelming realization, can’t it? That the thing we no longer even identify as foreign in us, has silently become one with us and tied us to something.

You know what doesn’t have to be overwhelming? BREAKING UP WITH IT.

If you’re identifying with this, you’ve already taken a giant step towards a breakup.  Or is it break up? As you can see in the next drawing, I’m confused about what it should be.

Can breaking up be simple? Oh yes, yes.  Yes, it can.  We turn to Truth and believe.  It’s so simple it is mind boggling.

In the Bible, the book of Luke, chapter 4 and verse 18 says:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),”

Jesus is the power to release the captives, to set us free.  So, yeah, it’s a matter of deciding you believe the truth more than the lie.  And the truth is, disappointment is not a part of you.  It’s not your friend.  It’s not telling you the truth.  And it’s holding you back from moving forward.  Break up with the lie.  You are separate from disappointment.  You are not one with it.  You stand on your own.  It does not need to have permission to stand with you any longer.

What happens to it, post break up?  Well, I like to picture it getting scooped into a massive fisherman’s net. (Refer to above picture, hehe)  Arms flailing, angry as all get out, but trapped.  And sent into the darkness.

Breaking up with disappointment does not mean we do not feel disappointment.  It does not mean we don’t need to deal with disappointment.  It means we break up with our ongoing relationship with it and we quit identifying ourselves with it.    

You can do it!  I can do it!

Much love to you today!  I’m personally hoping for a more lighthearted subject for our next time together, ha!  But, I am brimming with hope for us and I’m tempted to dance over the thought of how many break ups may ensue.

Honest Abi and her stick figures

 

 

Rome: By Myself

I looked down at the text my good friend had just shot me as we bantered back and forth while I was in Rome.  It was something along the lines of ‘how are you doing without the boys?’  (we have two sons).  I took a breath in and quickly responded, “I am good!  I keep having these moments of feeling like I am at the right place at the right time. So I know I am where I am supposed to be for the moment.”

This is the third piece I’ve written in a series about my time in Rome with the dashing man who is my husband.  Journey through the whole series with me!  I’d love your company.  The first piece sets up our time in Rome (here) and the second piece is alllll about experiencing beauty through food in Rome (here).

Even before we knew the city we’d land in for our time away, Zion and I both knew something: we wanted time to be quiet as individuals.  Not in order to be away from each other or to obtain distance, but to be able to listen without distraction.

So we did it.

I wrestled through a few odd layers of thought at first: “Is this weird?” “Should I want to be alone?” “What would so-and-so say?” “Is this too luxurious for me? Someone else is watching my boys and I’m sitting on my rear eating Italian ice cream and pondering life.”

The thoughts worked themselves out quite quickly, because well, I WAS in Rome, and my parents were watching my children and shoot yes I was eating my daily serving of Italian ice cream and pondering life seemed like the only right thing. Now I look back on my time alone in the city and I am so thankful I didn’t resist the blocks of time by myself journeying through the city.  The vast majority of our time was spent loving our time there together but our willingness to each be alone here and there was delightful, too.

I think it’s possible that we can spend time alone, by ourselves, but spend most of the time running from ourselves.  And running from interaction with God.

Time alone can be a tremendously vulnerable thing, can’t it? It is the space where the spirit and soul can breathe and stretch.  And for many of us, that is either uncharted water or we are perfectly clear on what’s down there and it’s an easy answer: pass.

If we all have a mind, a soul and a spirit, that would lead us to believe that there are layers of ourselves to get through.  Each layer is one that God made and designed so getting through the layers is not a bad thing.  In my unresearched opinion, each layer down gets us closer to the truth.  Each layer is us but the core of who we are – the truest part of ourselves – is in our spirit.  Why? Because our spirit is where the God of all truth lives.

And so, is it possible to spend time by ourselves but not really with ourselves?  Yes.

Rome was a luxurious city to be quiet in.  No bones about it.  I can close my eyes and go back to it in an instant.  I can remember the sunshine on my legs as I sat against church doors, ice cream in hand, journal in lap: watching and writing.  (Yep, those are white socks under my Keens.  Everyday.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can picture the student run and filled coffee shop where I spent hours sipping, staring, praying, reading. The barista actually did a kitty cat (or maybe it is a panda bear) in the frothed milk of my latte!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can remember vacillating between strong strides and slow steps as I navigated to the Spanish Steps late one morning.  I can remember climbing to the top where the sunshine was splashing onto everyone and everything and watching the city stretch before me.

I can remember one afternoon I wrote postcards to my boys underneath the shade of the columns of St. Peter’s Square.

I can remember starting my walk back to the apartment and catching sight of the flights of stairs from the street level down to the water level of the Tiber River.  And thinking, ‘why not?’ and walking along the river, by myself.  Sheer beauty.

There are a lot of creatives that talk about the role of boredom in creativity.  Google it. Bottom line, your creativity often lies just beyond the point of boredom.

Does the word boredom mess with you?  If so, replace it with ideas like sustained inactivity: time for your brain to not work a list or produce anything.  No agendas.  And, ahem, no phones.

We know we don’t have to be in a city other than our home to find quiet stretches.  We don’t even need to leave our homes.  We can be in our familiar environments (unless that familiar environment is my couch holding laundry waiting to be put away.  In that case, any other room in the house but that one would do.), and find space to disconnect in order to connect and hear the truth of where our hearts are and really, what Truth is saying.

Still, the story line of ‘I have no more time to give’ for you fill in the blank reason runs through our minds in the most convincing voice.

But, that’s not true is it?  That story leads us to believe an un-truth.  And the truth is, we each have enough time for the important pieces.  You do have time to find quiet spaces and I do have time to find quiet spaces.  It may mean less sleep on one end or the other.  It may mean pulling out of the Netflix binge habit that conveniently hides us from moving forward in vulnerable ways (personal pain point).  It may mean intentionally saying no to a social commitment.  It may mean re-negotiating your time with your spouse and working together to find some quiet spaces.  It may mean none of those things.  It may be as simple as saying yes to the bravery of letting yourself come to the surface in time spent alone or it may be as complex as reorganizing schedules.

Why is creating space for quiet important for us?

It is important because you are a creative.

How do I know this about every single person reading?

Ah, because God is the Creator of All.  He is creative and therefore, you come from creativity.  It is, actually, who you are: a creative.  And the more you ponder Him, the more it becomes blatantly clear that being a creative has very little to do with whether or not you like to craft.  That may be how your creativity emerges but there is a wide variety of expression of creativity.  Accountants are creatives just as sculptors are creatives.  Moms are creatives just as poets are creatives.

The things He longs to express through you require time and space to discover.  Time and space don’t need to mean finding five hour blocks of time with no interruption.  And they don’t need to mean traveling to a different country. Don’t underestimate the impact ten minutes walking around your living room before everyone wakes up can have in this pursuit.

Whether you’re in Rome, or you’re working your shift today or you’re starting the same exact routine over today as you pounded out yesterday….a few things I have found helpful to remember in the pursuit of quietness:

  • Expect a loud mind.
    • It is unbelievably easy to give this pursuit a whirl and stop two minutes later. The moment you try to quiet yourself, thoughts of every sort of thing flood in: the project that’s coming up six months from now, the recipe you meant to look up yesterday morning, that one snarky comment, and oh yes, you have been wanting to look up that one book – what was the name of it?.  Most of us become discouraged and quickly walk away.  May I encourage you instead to realize how normal this is?  Your mind is simply saying ‘yikes!’ and using the space to grab for other things.  Be patient!  Just keep coming back to what you’re aiming for.  Let each thought that comes in, come in and then let it go and come back to quietness.  Your brain just needs some time to blow off steam.  It will catch on if you hang on long enough!

 

  • A trick:
    • Julia Cameron has a method she encourages in her book, The Artist’s Way.  It is called morning pages: journaling three pages of any and every thought that comes to your mind, as quickly after you wake up in the morning as possible.  The objective is not to diary your thoughts or to create usable content.  It is purely meant to be a space your mind dumps. The more we get into the rhythm of it, the more quickly our brains/souls get to the point and truth starts popping up.  It is fascinating!!!  If you give it a shot, push yourself for the three pages.  One paragraph is not enough.  Three pages gently eases you into the discipline and the results will shock you.  Promise.

 

Thank you for stepping through Rome with me again.  For my hardcore introvert friends, spending time alone on vacation may be par for the course.  It was new for me!  Today, you may not be able to pull off a pocket of alone time to be still.  That’s okay – discouragement isn’t your friend!  Take a look at the next week – I bet a pocket of time is there somewhere.

You are a delightful thought to me as I write.  I love sharing time and space with you!

Much love and cheers to your dreams of adventure,

Honest Abi

Alone

I have never liked being a lone-ranger.

The feeling is a bit like nails on a chalk board to my soul.

It’s not about being with people or being alone in my every day life.  It is being on my own in the pioneering/creating/believing/leading moments that makes me want to run.  Whether it is an organization project in my home, a belief in parenting, pressing in to write, or just going a path that is less traveled than the one many of my friends are on, being a lone ranger makes me want to run. If it’s a closet that needs to be cleaned out, I find myself thinking ‘I need Anna to do this with me.’  If it’s pondering writing, I find myself avoiding in the worst way and then thinking ‘I feel so alone.  I wish I was a speech writer on a communications team.’  Cue my Toby Ziegler/Sam Seaborn West Wing drooling.

But, a few months ago, I had a break through.

We are a part of a house church and we partner in leading it with a team of six: it’s one of the hardest and the best things.  The six of us have vast areas of common ground and what feels like an ocean’s worth of different perspectives.  A few months ago, I left a leadership meeting in tears.  I was exhausted from feeling like my perspective was held by no one else.  I was weary from blank or even confused faces looking back at me after I garbled out my heart.  The more lack of understanding from them I perceived, the more tangled my words became.  I felt more of a lone-ranger than ever before, and my instincts said ‘Run…this can’t be right.’

The funk hung around and over me for the week following the meeting.  And then, all of the sudden, He broke through the funk and pierced truth into my heart:

“They don’t see what you see, because they are not supposed to see it.  This is not their’s to carry.  It is what I am asking you to do.  I am asking you to lead in this way…not them.  They are to lead in other ways than you are.  Stop craving consensus. Stop asking for a yes-vote from each person before you feel released lead.  Lead, Abi.  You lead.”

Holy mother.

Moments like that make me feel the truth of Hebrews 4:12 in my bones:

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.” 
(The Message translation)

In an instant, the temper tantrum over feeling alone melted into quiet realization.  I was supposed to be alone?  Being alone wasn’t wrong even though my instincts said it was wrong? I didn’t need to wait for consensus and approval and agreement before proceeding?  

Is the point to create a new formula? My brain gravitates towards formulas and always/never scenarios.  But no.  There is no always lone-rangering it; there is no never proceeding until consensus is attained.  There is only ear to the ground attempting to follow Him wherever He’s going. Sometimes that takes us to a road that is quietly alone.  Sometimes that takes us back into the fold of team and consensus.  

My brain continues to tell me that I am my best on a team.  But, my spirit and my soul are starting to tell me a story that differs.  They are starting to tell me that I am never alone even if I am misunderstood.  I am strong enough to be disagreed with.  I am strong enough to thrive or to fail without crumbling.  

There comes a time when striding forward is the right way.  Even if it seems like it is the lone ranger road.  Discomfort doesn’t mean wrong.  It doesn’t mean right either, but I have to tell myself it doesn’t mean wrong!  

Joshua 1:6-9
“In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
(The Message translation)

It’s an honor to share time with you,

Honest Abi

A note:
The people I serve on leadership team are some of the best out there.  The story I shared is not to say that they were wrong and I was right.  Lots of people together can be right at the same time.  There is no one right side and one wrong side.  Life would be so much easier if that was true, wouldn’t it?!?! And even in the feelings of being a lone ranger on a team, we’re still on a team.  And that’s beautiful.

Shaking Off a Foggy Heart

I am 2/3 the way through a large latte and 3/3 the way through a honey and fig scone.  It was one of those scones that got it right.  The dough was barely sweet and the figs brought that tiny granular texture….and I wish you had shared it with me.  I enjoy enjoying things!  You are one of those elements of life that I enjoy enjoying.  Know that you are enjoyed today.

Here’s a question, do you know how to get to your heart?  Yesterday was day 5/5 of solo parenting while Zion was away.  Sometimes when he is gone, I am the least good at making space for my heart to surface.  Do you know what I mean?  Solo parenting is a mixed bag… there’s more demand on your non-stop energy being poured out.  But there are also more gaps of space that are all yours.  The evenings for instance!  But, when he’s gone it’s either feast or famine for me.  Dude, I carry the main load of day-to-day parenting while he carries the load of providing financially for our family of Spencers.  BUT LET US NOT UNDERESTIMATE the impact and load lifter of Daddy coming home each night, chatting, rough housing, and the biggie: sharing bed time responsibilities with me. Reading one of them books and cuddling.  Oh, let us not underestimate that help!  So, sometimes when he’s gone, I get to those moments by myself in the evening and I can’t resist zoning out.

Mind you, zoning out is a KEY ELEMENT to the health and survival of motherhood.

But, zoning out breeds more zoning out for me.  Zoning out in moderate doses produces good fruit and health.  Zoning out continuously on my off-times produces a foggy heart.

What’s that one….you know the one that says our heart is the source of life? Ahhhh yes there it is:

Proverbs 4:23
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Foggy heart Abi leads to lost Abi.  Foggy heart Abi leads to ‘huh? Abi.’

And while that state of fogginess is a real feeling, it isn’t really true.  The older I get, the more leery I am of living from my feelings as a trustworthy story-teller.  It’s that odd paradox that avoided feelings lead to death but also, when we take our feelings to the bank as truth-tellers, well, dem lead to death too.

The foggier your heart becomes, the louder the story of your emotions becomes.  The louder the story, the easier it is to believe.

Emotions do tell us a story and by no means do I want to shut mine down.  But they can serve as an entry way back to Truth if we let ourselves become curious about them instead of being owned by them.

So, how do we get back to letting our hearts breathe?

A few ideas that we can give a shot, even on the craziest of days:

  • Think/pray to yourself: “Come back to life heart.”
    • Note: reading that sentence on the screen is not the same thing as thinking it/praying it for your self.  In essence, you are saying to everything that has attached itself to your heart and clouded the way, to take a hike.  You are reconnecting with your heart and Him, by simply acknowledging it/Him.
  • THEN, get curious and watchful.
    • That’s it.  Start listening for your heart.  It will feel things, and truth will start becoming louder.  You may not have time to deep dive into it.  So just make a note of it and come back to it, when you can.
  • Acknowledge the things you do to avoid your heart when you do have time for it to come out and play.
    • And then commit to saying no to that avoiding thing, the next time you could say yes to it.  This is not permanently cutting out those things.  It is simply choosing your heart/Him over the thing that helps us hide in the one next opportunity you have.
  • Think to yourself, “Being kind and intentional with my heart is important.”
    • Your heart is the wellspring of life.  It where His life pours into and out of.  It’s very very important.
Don’t you wish we could sit and compare notes 48 hours from now???  If you want to send me any notes on your experiences, please DO IT!  I would love to hear!!!
Cheers to our hearts, reader friends!
Much love,
Honest Abi

 

Before You Sleep Tonight…

Ernest Hemingway: “If a writer stops observing, he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”

Julia Cameron: “Once writing becomes an act of listening, instead of an act of speech, a great deal of the ego goes out with it.”
Julia Cameron, in my own paraphrase: We are all writers.
Good evening reader friend.  You are genuinely dear to me: your mind, your heart, your time, your spirit.
Let’s observe for a moment.  Just take a deep breath and picture yourself slowing.  Let your brain slow.  Observing starts in the brain, moves down to the soul and then seeps into the spirit.
When I say spirit, you have one.  Everyone does.  Having a spirit has nothing to do with whether or not you are a person of faith.  It is a part of who you are.  It’s the layer and the place beneath your soul – and the soul is where emotion lives.  If the soul is where emotion lives, the spirit is where truth lives.  Where the truth of who you are lives.  If you are a person of faith, this is where the Teller of All Truth resides.  Indeed, that sounds bizarre.  But, faith does lead us beyond reason.  It leads us beyond.
Take a few cleansing breaths.  And now listen. What’s in the depth of you?  What does the deep feel? If it feels uncomfortable, it’s normal.  Just stay there.  If you’re not feeling anything, it’s okay.  Ask God to help you connect.
If you’re like me, I get to that deep place and I look at her and observe both as her and as one outside of her.  I see her wrestle, I see her true joys, I see her questions, I see her weakness, I see her beauty.  I ask Him to help me see what He sees when He looks at her.  You can do the same.   Keep taking the deep breaths and will yourself not to run.  And now I say, come Lord Jesus.  You don’t have to claim Christianity to try those words out.  What do we have to lose? Come Lord Jesus.  Come Truth. Come.
And this is the place, the rooted place of depth, where the Truth is that
You are protected.
You are loved.
You are known.
You are seen.
You are covered.
You are intricate on purpose.
There is a Helper.
He has the way forward.
It’s okay to feel stuck.  You’re not really stuck…but it’s okay to feel it.
I am praying for you this evening.  Asking Him to touch the deep part of who you are.  The truest part of who you are – regardless of whether or not you know that part of yourself.  He does!  Asking Him to speak to the truest part of you…to let you hear the truth right now.
Sleep in peace, my reader friend.
Much love,

Honest Abi

Psalm 42:7
Deep calls to deep at the [thundering] sound of Your waterfalls;

All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

The Question We Can All Ask

How’s your day going??

I’ll tell ya, I had no vision of sitting and writing this afternoon.  I am frankly on day five of a child with the flu, restless within the walls of this house, not looking cute or clean, and tempted to eat my way through anything chocolate available to me: Nutella hot chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate chips by the handful, my husband’s French Silk birthday pie in the fridge, the kids leftover Valentine’s chocolates, oh the damage I am tempted to do when I’m in Nurse Mommy mode for more than 24 hours.  
But, out of nowhere, my heart burns for you today.  My theology is forming to re-articulate that as His heart is burning for you today.  
Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, let us stop.  
Stop the thoughts.  Stop the distractions.  Stop the mental to-doing.  Stop the voice of fear.  Stop the self-obsessed thoughts.  Stop it all for a moment.
And know this: 
You can have more.

More of what? Things? Power? Achievement? Approval? Acceptance?
Maybe.  No.  Yes.  

You can have more of the Living God.  
And, I don’t think that there’s much more to life than that when all is stripped away.  So many of us nod in our hearts – echoing agreement.  But, if that is true, then each of us should be stopped right where we are with the earth shattering reality of it.  
Pretend you haven’t heard truth all your life.  Pretend this is the lightbulb moment, and you are hearing and believing for the first time ever that this is truth.  He is alive, He is at work and He is near and you can dive deep into life in Christ.  
But then, maybe this is the first time that the possibility of that feels real.  I wish I could look you straight in the eyes right now and tell you with every bit of energy that I have that you aren’t crazy and this is real.
I don’t care if you’ve been around the block one million times.  I don’t care if you’ve sauntered around the block three quarters of one full time.  I don’t care if you’ve only ever watched as others circled the darn block.  We can have more of the Living God.  
And how do we do that???
We ask Him.  
And that is the first step towards belief – to believe even enough to ask.  It sounds so simple and so inane.  And it sounds like something we all do, all of the time.  But when was the last time you were alone in a room and you said out loud, with your own voice, ‘God, I want more of you.’ 
The moment of vulnerability for many of us is His reply.  Will He give a lofty theological answer? Will we feel anything? Is He distant? Will everyone but me experience something?  Or worse – will it be silent?
I don’t know what you’ll feel.  I don’t know where you’ve been.  I don’t know your story.  But I am confident in what His heart is towards you.  Confident.  
This is the truth:
  • He longs to be known.  He aches to share Himself with you.  He wants you to know Him.
    • Jeremiah 9:24 “but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
  • He loves you. 
    • Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
He wants you to know Him.  If you already know Him, He wants you to know more of Him.  He longs for it.  
What if it’s true? There’s more.  
Message me on facebook if this resonates with you. 
Always,
Honest Abi

When Your Heart Says It’s Tired

How are you today? Feeling good? Feeling ‘I don’t know?’ Feeling rocked a bit?  All of that is normal. Isn’t that nice to hear? Sometimes, all you need is to hear a voice other than your own say, ‘you’re normal.’  And it’s true.  Whether you are flying high or you are walking through the shadows, it’s a normal part of being alive and breathing.

The other day, I was walking and praying.  Praying is conversation/interaction with God… simple, with no rules.  On this particular day, conversations that I had been having with myself (can you relate?!) deep down finally busted up to my conscious thoughts.  Whoa! It’s always a mix of shock and relief when those moments hit.  Honesty came tumbling out as I walked back and forth between my kitchen and living room.  The more the honesty came, the quicker my steps became.

I found myself saying rather loudly to Him, “I cannot do this.  My heart cannot do this.  My heart doesn’t want to do this.  My heart is tired.”

In one swift moment, Truth rushed to my heart and ears.  “Oh, yes you can.”

I stopped talking, ears perked.

Quiet now.

There was a firmness to the truth.  A strong hand to it.  Not harsh, but strong.  As if His tone was to say, ‘Feelings are indicators but they are not truth. Hear the truth now and run, little girl.  Run.’

And the truth kept tumbling out:

“Oh yes, Abi, yes you can keep going.  Because your heart doesn’t have to be strong…. I AM YOUR HEART.  I am the life within your heart.  Do not say, my heart cannot do this because you are right. Your heart absolutely cannot do this and it doesn’t have to.  My heart is your heart.  You are IN CHRIST.  A new creation.  You are new.  You are not you.  I am you.  You are me.  I am your heart muscle.  I am the blood pumping through it.  I am the strength of your heart.  I am life.  I am not fatigued.  I am alive and I am the strong heart that carries every bit of weariness you feel in your heart.  I swallow your weariness in my strength.  I AM NOT WEARY.  And this, my heart, is yours. So it is yours to claim.  Yours to wear.  Yours to believe.  Yours to feel.  Yours.”

Put your name where mine is.  Take it for your own!

Immediately Psalm 73:26 started rolling through my mind, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ”  HE is the strength of my heart!  

What else can I possibly add to that?!  

He has a strong heart, and He gave it and keeps giving it to us.  Dang.  If that doesn’t change the lighting in the room, I don’t know what does!

Carry on my strong friends!  

Sincerely,

Honest and Strong Hearted Abi

…..who got tired of trying to take a selfie making my face look like I would if we were sitting face to face and talking about this.  Executing that was above my pay grade :).  I would probably smile at some point, so here’s a smile today – from me straight to your heart.  


Truth Telling at Valentine’s

Hello, you.

Happy Sunday evening to you….and if you’re reading later, by all means, happy this very moment to you.  And happy almost Valentine’s Day!

I happen to love heart day.  But, I don’t really care who you are, this holiday is fraught with opportunity for the blues.  Whether you are the in love up to your eyeballs type, the ‘what love?’ type, the bye bye social media ’till it’s over type, or the ‘meh’ type, Valentine’s Day can give anyone heartburn.

It just happens to be a time when a slew of messages are hurled at you and before you know it, out of nowhere, you’re in a funk.

So, let’s practice some truth telling.  Get ahead of the storm and focus on truths instead of traps.  Try focusing here instead of on the lack – whether it’s a lack of a person, the lack of performance on a person’s part, or anything else we can come up with.  There’s really only one love that is perfect. Every other version is human and therefore flawed. Here’s the truth:

  • I am loved beyond anything I can even imagine.
    • Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is GIVEN for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.’ “
  • I am seen and known.
    • Jeremiah 1:5 “…Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….”
  • His love for me is the MOST dependable thing in my world.
    • Psalm 139:11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.”
  • I don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
    • 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ “
  • I am protected 
    • Psalm 91:14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.”
  • I am loved
    • Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through water you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
  • I am loved
    • Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • I am loved
    • Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
And that’s just the beginning of telling ourselves the truth instead of falling into traps.  You know what we can do with lists like these?  Print them off and go a little crazy-town and start walking around your house or room and saying the statements and Scriptures over yourself.  Go to war a little! Because the truth is that you are loved beyond your wildest imagination.  You are known beyond your ability to know.  You are safe beyond any capacity you have to protect yourself.  Oh man, oh man…this can be a great week if we know the truth.  
Love y’all,
Honest Abi
P.S. This is my ‘go a little crazy-town’ and start telling yourself the truth face.  Can’t you feel it? 🙂

Here’s What I think You Should Do

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

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

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

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

Find out who you are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noise.

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

Fear.

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

  • Do I know how to be quiet with myself and with you?
  • Can you show me practical ways to be quiet with you?
  • What things are creating noise that distract my ears? (It’s often not big bad things, but good things)
  • Would you lead me in this?  Would You show me who I am?  Show me how to pursue.  
I’m in it with you!  My heart soars at the thought of you and me opening up to Him in brand new ways!  
And so, that’s what I think you should do.  I really do.
Much love,
Honest Abi and my just-do-it-face
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