Life Lessons, Live with intention

Here’s to temporary.


Sitting on the countertop, legs crossed one over the other, I thought to myself, “Maybe I am a pushover. Maybe I am too easily swayed.” The thought tumbled back and forth my head. I switched positions. Snaked my Converse between the metal handles of the cabinets below me. “Maybe I just knew what I wanted. Or what I was afraid to want but knew I needed.” 

It makes no difference really. The truth of the matter is this: I didn’t let God back into my life in a church. It wasn’t with my hands pressed against a Bible. It was in the car. A 1999 green CRV if you want to picture it in your head. I loved that car more than anything and, when it got totaled, it was devastating to see it go. Like losing a best friend who always managed to hold all your junk and changes of clothes and CD collection and stray cups of coffee in one place. But I just remember being in the car one night and hearing a song on the radio. I’d never heard it before. And every inch of that song— the words that came pushing through the speakers to get to me— drove me to tears and started me talking to the ceiling of the car, as if it were a telephone and God was on the other side. 

Maybe I want to come back. Maybe I just don’t want to be alone. I don’t really know. I don’t really want a rulebook. Maybe I just want to know how to make my life matter. Could you show me that? Are you there, God? 

It was in that song, in the first two lines, that I felt everything like I’d never felt it before. 

“He is jealous for me / loves like a hurricane, I am the tree.” 

I’ve never loved something more than those two lines. I’d heard of the God who was a dictator. I heard of the God who was a ruler and much like my high school principal. I’d heard of the fluffy God who could maybe grant you everything you wanted. That God then proceeded to make no sense when faced with the truth: people you love die. Boys you love leave you. Bad things happen to good people. Life hurts.

But this sort of God? The kind of God that could get jealous for me? I knew jealousy. I knew the power of that feeling. I guess I was just at a point in my life where I never thought anyone would get jealous for me. Thinking God might get jealous for me, that was powerful. And that was all I really needed to know. I just wanted to believe there might be the kind of God who had no problem just saying, “Hey, I want all of you. Not the scraps of you. Not whatever is leftover after you let other people play tag sale with your heart. I want everything you’ve got. Your good. Your bad. Your ugly. Don’t you change a thing. Come to me, just as you are.” 

I told the girl, the one sitting across from me on the countertop, that it only ever took that song lyric and the anticipation that God would want me that badly to be able to say, “I’m all in. I’m all in if you’re all in.” 

She asked if I knew the background of the song. I didn’t. The next thing I know, I am clutching her iPhone watching a YouTube video featuring a man named John Mark McMillan. He’s the one who wrote that song. It’s called “How He Loves.” The whole song is really perfect. It’s the type of song you kind of wish could grow arms and legs and talk to you like people do because, oh my goodness, there’d be so much to say to that song. 

In the video he is on stage. You can’t see his fingers but you know he is keeping the slow steady tune of a guitar while he talks to the crowd. He tells what I imagine is probably a couple thousand people that he once had a best friend named Stephen Coffey.  And it was Stephen Coffey who once prayed out loud in a church meeting, “I would give my life if it would shake the youth of this nation.” The next day, Stephen Coffey died in a car accident. And it was only because his best friend John didn’t know how to do much more than try to have a conversation with God that this song was written. 

I try to picture what Mark was feeling when he got down on his knees and tried to talk to God but my heart doesn’t even know how to get that place. Maybe you’ve stood in that chasm before though. I’ve only seen the smaller scales of asking God the bigger questions, “Why? Why do you let things like this happen? How can they be for the better and the good?” It makes no sense. Then again, a lot of life makes no sense. 

But it was the death of Mark’s best friend that would stir the words of that song “How He Loves” and manage to shake millions upon hearing it. I mean, millions. I’m just one of the plenty who managed to come tumbling back to God because of those words. I have John Mark McMillan and Stephen Coffey to thank. 

After the video was over I handed the iPhone back to my friend. I couldn’t help but look at things differently after watching that clip. I mean, I am probably already the more morbid one in all my friend groups but I was sitting there and I couldn’t shake the feeling inside of me that just kept saying on repeat, “All of this is so temporary. And your problems are so small. And people lose the people they love every single day. And what is there to speak for your life if you are gone tomorrow?” 

That could happen. Really, it could. I might not be here. You might not be here. We never know. It’s a strange gamble. But I want to make it count. I so badly want to make it count. It’s a story like Stephen’s— his life a sacrifice for the millions who would come to commune with God because of his best friend’s grief— that make me realize this whole life will never be about the answers we think we need to find. It’s not about the planners we fill. It is not about whether we get asked on that date of if we get chosen for that love story. It can’t be about those things— it has to be about something bigger. Don’t you think? 

It’s bigger than the ladders you learn to climb. It’s bigger than the acceptance you think you need to gain. It’s bigger than the latest product. Or the ways in which this world tries to barter with us for happiness. I mean, it’s bigger than you. And your loneliness. And all the ways you manage to kick yourself down and breathless before breakfast. That’s probably the hardest and most refreshing lesson you will ever learn: life has very little to do with you. You get to show up. You get to make moves. You get to touch lives. But no, you don’t become the starring role. And you don’t get the guarantee of having more time. And yes, that is terrifying. But urgency is beautiful, especially when you come to the spot inside of yourself that speaks the truthiest truth of all truths: life is about people. And thankfully, there is no shortage of those. So what do you want to give to the people who surround you? And how do you want to show up? 

I’ll probably never write a checklist or a numbered list regarding what I think life is all about.

There’d only ever be one number on the list and one box to mark off: Love. That’s it. That’s all. We’re all just soldiers in this one constant battle called “Love.” And “love harder.” And “love faster.” And so instead of making more lists to convince myself a good life is all about the number of times I make it to the gym or the amount of green and leafy things I manage to consume, I only ever try to do one thing. It’ll sound crazy but I try to imagine myself and my best friend, sitting on my bed just the way we always did when we were still in college. We’d sit there for hours— indian-style with mugs of Lipton tea between our hands. The white lights would sprawl around the room like ivy and we liked to pretend that time would keep standing still for us. I like to imagine she and I coming back to one another—  years after all of this growing up stuff is over— and finally getting to sit back down on the bed to talk about life. How it was to us. Where we stumbled. Where we grew. And I try to think to myself: When you get to your best friend at the end of all of this, what kind of stories do you want to tell her? That’s the secret to how I step out and try to live my best daily: I think about the kind of life I want to tell my best friend about one day when we are old and grey and I want to make her real proud. 

I don’t think she’ll want to know about the calories. She won’t care for a second about the boys I handed my phone number off to (okay, maybe a little). She’ll just want to know the answers to the good stuff: did you love? Did you serve? Were you willing to give your whole life just so it might shake the existence of someone else?

I just hope the answer to all her questions is yes. You have no idea how badly I want the answer to be yes. 

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Live with intention

Tiny Copper Teaspoons.


It was the kind of car ride you find wedged into the chorus of a Taylor Swift song. There’s no better way to say it than that. 

We left the sun behind in Nashville. Dinner plates scraped clean of vegan tacos and mashed sweet potatoes— we left those too. Our car rolled through the hills of Chattanooga. The GPS on the dashboard told us 212 miles. There were 212 miles standing between us and home.

Earlier that morning, we’d held coffee in to-go cups and disappeared into Nashville for the day. We left emails unread and messages unsent. Tennessee is like a human fist. It grabs you tight and pulls you close.

We rolled the windows down on the highway on the way home. She turned the heat up— full blast, so that the hot air would push against our faces as our arms hung out the window. Ballads trickled through the speakers. It felt like Sara Bareilles was laying across the backseat with us, sipping a latte and making us brave. We rode that way for two hours, the windows down and screaming lyrics at the topic of our lungs. The night air whipped through our hair. I felt so young.

And if I scan back to the exact moment I pinned that car ride into my diary, I want to eventually be able to recite the words I wrote by heart:

Life, while crazy, demands breaks. And the countryside. And conversations that cut you into two but somehow make you closer as one. And little care for calorie counts. And the promise of stars.  

Life, while crazy, is enough just like this.


There’s the word. Enough. 

Even in just the three pages I filled in my diary this morning, the word “enough” was scribbled down 14 times. A word that is written down 14 times in your journal is a common theme; it’s something to pay attention to. And so the word is Enough. And the word last night was Enough. And the word, as of lately, is Enough.

I’ve struggled with that word. For years upon years, I’ve morphed “enough” into a conditional aspect of my life that is dictated by my circumstances and the people who surround me. If he thinks I am enough then I am enough. If she tells me I am enough then I am enough. If they validate me. If he calls. If she smiles when she greets me. I’ve been guilty of living a life that hinges itself on a series of “enough” moments throughout a day. I am just waiting to be emptied out enough to realize “enough” is not the sort of thing you can place into the hands of other people.

And “enough” grew fangs on the day social media raised up its arms and announced to the world, “I ain’t so social anymore. Me? Well, you’ve turned me into a ruler and a measuring cup and a benchmark for your life. You’ve morphed me into a flickering slideshow of other people’s highest moments.” And so I crop my own value. And I filter my own adequacies. And I ask myself bottomless little questions: Am I worthy like that? Am I pretty like that? Am I strong like that? Am I lovely like that?

But I don’t want to fight to be good enough. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I want to fight to make a difference. I want to fight to make it count. I want to fight to find you if you need to get found. But I don’t want to fight to be enough.


I spent too many years just like that. Like all the feelings I just wrote about above— all those questions— were ramped up high volume and taking steroids. I was desperate to just be told over and over again, “I like you just as you are. Don’t ever change.” I was desperate to find my value in what other people told me I was. And that’s because who I was didn’t make the cut. Who I was was constantly changing and morphing for the next guy. Who I was could change in 5 minutes. If you told me to be someone different, I would have listened to you. I would have swallowed hard and listened to you. Even if you and I never held hands or kissed cheeks or knocked knees beneath glass tables, I still would have wanted to be enough for you. 

And don’t you know that scares me? Because if I am always trying to be enough for you and other people then I am always, always coming home empty to the those that I love. That’s like a strange WebMD side effect to searching for “enough” in other people: you start running on empty. You jump the unnecessary hurdles. You exhaust energies on people who you’ll never be enough for. Because the word “enough” is a myth of a concept when every morning starts with handing the world measuring cups and rulers and saying out loud to all the people you meet: measure me. Make me feel good enough. The world has never deserved your measuring cups. Keep them locked up and only give the tiny copper teaspoons to people who stand by you when life falls apart.

You want to be everything to everyone. Maybe I’m wrong but maybe I’m right about that. If you’re anything like me then you’ve traveled through the deserts of “I want to be everything to everyone.” Those deserts be barren. Those deserts be cold. But I’ve still tried to make the trip. I’ve still tried to go the stretch of distance to get to the other side of that hope. And I’m afraid to find I’ll miss the water— I’ll spend so much time in that desert that I’ll miss the water that kisses my feet when I get to the river of “I am one heck of a something to someone.” That water will feed you. That water will pour back into you. That water— the refreshment of being taken in by someone, just as you are— is a different sort of gift. I’d give my whole life to that. Because it’s lovely. And it’s worth it. And people write songs about it. And it fills you far more than the measuring cups of “enough.”


That moment— the one with the car and the music and the heat and the windows down on the highway— was the strongest sense of “enough” I’ve felt in a long time. There was no wrestling to be better. There were no tiny copper teaspoons. There was no need to wonder what you would have thought of me in that moment. It was just me and the road and my best friend and a break from reality.

It was just me being so content in that moment that I didn’t want to capture it and I didn’t want to filter it. I didn’t want to change a thing about myself. I just wanted to learn to live inside of it.

Best Friends, Live with intention

If I said there was something more… would you believe me, girl?


Sometimes I wish you could be my Polly Pocket.

Not my blog reader, not my friend, but my Polly Pocket. I wish you could be less than an inch tall so that I could carry you with me always and you could see the world beside me and we could talk deep into midnight about all the things our little sockets of hazel and blue saw that day. And then we could wake up and do it all over again. You, and me, and your cute little plastic outfits.

I’d be so good to you if you were mine.

I would’ve propped you up on the dashboard of my car and let you man the Spotify stations as we drove and drove and drove until we lost track of the roads and street lights. I would have given you fresh Tennessee air. I would have let you nearly drown in a glorious vat of sweet tea. I would’ve sat you straight on the railing of a boat as we cruised out to the center of a lake in Northern Georgia and watched fireworks shoot up in the air. Together, we would have celebrated freedom and the summer air.

You’d get to watch the world with me. You’d see the wrinkles, and hear the stories, and I’d never have to tell you anything you didn’t already know. If you were always with me, we could process every bit of this confusing, wild thing in the flesh while we layed beneath a blanket of stars and tried whispering to a God who is both a knitter and a maker.

There is 860 miles between you and I that I don’t know how to tell you about.

It’s as if I traveled far away and came back different and I’m forced to try to explain to you this new skin I am standing in. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know where to begin. The experience feels too ripe to pluck just yet. It’s all still resting in single words that have yet to meet their sentencey soul mates: Goodness. Hospitality. Home. Sanctuary. Rest. Laughter. Chik-Fil-A. Peace. Rain. Contentment.

Before this, the first instinct was to share and share and share. And overshare. And add a filter to that. And nail the right angle with that. And to announce to the world that I am having a good time, and that I wish you were here, and too bad you’re not, but I am having a good time anyway.

And then life happens. And people get real. And stories get shared. And secrets get told. And hands get held. And tears get shed. And we all realize the thing we knew ten years ago in the middle of our gadgetless little existence– it was never about the networks. It was never about the followers. It was never about the approval of where you were and what you were doing or who you were with. But it was always about the relationships you could foster in the flesh far more than a fluid invitation into every moment that looked filtered, and pretty, and perfect on the screen.


“If I told you to pull back… if I said there was something more… would you believe me, girl?”

It’s almost like I could hear God speaking that single question into my ear over & over again as I soaked in the southern hospitality that only comes from people who learn to care about you before you ever even walk through their door. You’ve been a living prayer to them all along. You’ve rested heavy on their hearts for all eternity and a day. ( And yes, God sounds very much like the memes of Ryan Gosling in this moment but we can analyze that strangeness some other day.)

But I can feel Him pushing me. Pushing me to pull back into relationships that hold me together at the seams in a way I’ve grown nostalgic for. The kinds of relationships I don’t want to clutter or talk about too loudly. I want them to stay simple and true because that is the way they’ve always been to me. The kind of people who I keep in my grip because I am admittedly so, so afraid, in a partially unexplainable way, that if I look away they’ll be gone. I won’t have them any longer. I’ll be grabbing for dust.

The kind of people who take me for who I am and never ask me to be different. Because who I was yesterday was good enough always.

If it takes unplugging, and escaping, and driving down the coast to Somewhere Else for me to get back intact with that then it’s probably, certainly something I should have never lost to begin with. It’s probably really important. It’s probably something I should always keep in my eye’s view so that it never gets misplaced for too long.

Admitting that is a starting point. It ain’t no cut-me-a-piece-of-cake-and-call-it-easy-sauce alteration. It’s not the flicking of the light switch. It’s not the waking up different tomorrow. It’s a slow and steady process. It’s weeding things out of your life to keep and make room for others you hope will arrive soon. It’s shutting off more. It’s stepping back more. It’s being present more in a way that hurts when you can’t turn to the screen for comfort and escape.

It’s not pretty. It’s not sensical. But it’s like reaching the end of the yellow brick road, pulling back the curtain, and realizing Oz ain’t it. He just ain’t it. And yet you’ve been given the chance to click those ruby reds and start over again… you came this far,  it’s not too late to start over again, girl.

Life Lessons, Live with intention

The “Happily” left. The “Ever” got gone. But “After” always stayed.


They said it was cancer.

One of those cancers with the long swooping names, packed tight with all the syllables you learned to say in grammar school. But boiled down the word was simple and yet somehow harder to say than most: cancer.

People began watching the clock. They began trying their hardest to treasure the moments or hoard them in corners where no would could try to suck them away. They filled conversations over coffee with things like, “No, not him. He’s a fighter. He’ll get better.”

And then the doctors said it and they all sucked in, bit down, and gulped. Six to twelve months. Six to twelve months and he’d be gone. And his keys would be in the ignition no more. And they’d light candles they never wanted to light. And cry because they never wanted to weep. And say goodbye to a someone who they only wished would get a rewrite of his story. “More hello’s, please. We just need one last hello.”

And then he was gone.

And the world got quiet. And they lit candles. And they wept. And they somehow learned to say goodbye. They learned the word but it never got any easier. And the Happily Ever After never showed that day or the next.

When they lost a love to cancer, no one rode off into the sunset. No one waved from their palace. No one danced in the moonlight in a little longer. They all just got quiet. And they forgot the words to their songs. And they stopped trying for a little while because no one really felt like singing.

Not a soul, not a shred, sighed a deep breath and found the Happily or the Ever or the After.

We’ve learned to hold tight to something that was never given to us– A Happily Ever After. We hold it tight to our chest as if it is a guarantee as we devour stories that end well. Stories that tie up neat and pretty with a big white bow. But stories don’t usually resolve. And characters we love cannot always stay. And there is an underlying hymn of heartbreak that follows each of us throughout this world–not because life is bad or cruel or something to always cry and moan about, but because this lifetime hurts. Over & over again, it hurts to watch the fleshy, broken messes of We love and lose and love and fight and love and break and love and let go.

It’s the After. That is where we all drag out fingers along the dotted lines of life and point to when we find ourselves missing someone so deeply.

After they were gone. After they left. After. After. After.

That’s the part of the story we forget to focus on. The After is never the thing we think about when our jeans don’t fit and there is gossip sitting ripe on the screen of the iPhone and we’re late for an appointment and we are trying, trying so damn hard, to just be someone who is “known” in this world. We never think, in all the clutter of waiting for life to grow sane and livable, that we should have already begun to crane our eyes towards the After.

A legacy. A legacy.

It’s time to find out if you have one. If it is already in the building stages. If other people have the bricks. If you’ve passed them out in just the right capacity.

If you have one, my dear, it will mean you thought to live your life with someone else in mind. You’ll be the warm spot in the memory of another. People will carry you in a way that means so much more than the carrying you ever thought to do of your own stories, and your own accomplishments. Yes, a legacy will mean you thought to make this place better as you came on down to this dirt and water and thought to make it home for a little while.

A legacy gets passed. To children. To friends. To lovers. To people you will never even know in this lifetime. And it does not begin when your eyes shut or your fingers stop playing on the piano at night. And maybe it’s time we asked, will mine be full and bursting with goodness? Will it be just the thing she needs to crawl out of the bigger black holes when I am no longer here to stretch out my hand and say, “hold tight.”
When I write this way, I already begin missing things. Like I am going somewhere. Like it is ending sooner than I hope. Is that crazy to even admit?

I begin missing the trees. I begin missing the kettle on the stove, hissing as I enter the house with the light always on in the foyer. But I try to remember, as hard as it can be, to always think like this. To think about the After.

Like tomorrow someone might not have you and you will want to know that you built them up with every little thing you always wanted for them. Dignity. Respect. Joy. Amazement. The ability to stop and realize how good we’ve got it right now.

And this thing? This thing we keep waiting for to start? When we are skinnier. When we are happier. When this test is over. When this week ends. It’s all we get. And it is rushing through our fingertips right now. And sooner, sooner, there could be an After. I cannot tell you when, dear. I cannot tell you when.

And so, while the rest of the world goes on writing symphonies about themselves and trying so desperately to just leave something behind when they go– a company, an empire, a name of sorts— you’ve got a chance to let someone know you came here for them. And you got all sorts of determined to make this story better for them. And this life better for them. And any bit you could, you tried to make it better so that they would get to dance in the Aftermath of your legacy.

After your laughter. After your words that could fill a room like the aroma of evergreens at Christmastime. After you dug your heels deep in the planet and tried to make it the least bit better off than when you first came.

After, After, After. Enough of a focus on that and you’ll never need utter these words again: will you still hold me when I am gone? Have I given you enough to hold just yet?

Dating Amazement, Healthy Lifestyle, Live with intention

It’s on you.


It’s on you.

That is where it starts. That is where it ends.

It’s on you and what you want, and how hard you are willing to hustle, and how relentless you are going to be when they tell you to give up. 

Because people will tell you to give up.

They’ll look at you with crooked faces. They won’t understand your drive. And they are going to look to bring you down because they don’t know any better. They haven’t had the guts to go for it themselves and so they will try to tell you no. Impossible. Not worth the time.

Forget them. In the nicest, sweetest way possible, forget them and all the little barriers and boundaries they try to place on this life of yours.


Wake up. It’s your life.

You owned it yesterday. You gleaned the freedom today. Stop acting like the world runs you. Like the magazines run you. Like all of the folks who never perked their ears to really listen to you have a say in what you are going to do with these footsteps of yours.

It’s yours. You’re free.  Are you gonna start running towards it?


Don’t wait. Don’t stand in the corner waiting for the direction to reveal itself. Just. Start. Sprinting.  Peace will flood in when it’s right. But you have to move to find the peace. Peace comes through footsteps, I promise.

Think about what stopped you yesterday. Who was that person? What were they afraid of? And why did they govern you for so long? You’ve got one chance. You’ve got one shot. The world won’t cry if you never use it. It’s on you. Don’t make the universe regret you.


Look around. Forget “the box.”

Forget what you “think” the world is all about. Forget this, forget that. Forget the status update. Forget the selfie.

Here is what the world is really all about: Humility. People. People helping other people. People trying to make this hard thing, this impossible thing, more graceful for others. That is where the joy is. That is where the peace is. That is the beauty of every thread of life: we were never designed to go this thing alone. We were born with spaces in our fingers and you were born to go out and find the ones who fits in your spaces Oh So Well. 

Strive to do good. Strive to be the best version of yourself. Reflect. Learn from the Yesterday that made you feel weak. Stop letting people bend and break your heart. Play the music louder. Scream if you need to. Walk away from that toxic person who never had your goodness at the forefront of their mind. Walk away. Your goodness will be at the forefront of any mind that loves you fiercely, boldly, with no sense of tomorrow. You deserve that. The best of it.  You’ve got to learn to want that for yourself.

Learn to stand in front of the mirror without cringing. Throw off the chains of your secrets; don’t let them prison up your mind any longer. Let it out. Say the damn things that you have needed to say. Make them good. Make them worth someone turning their head to listen to you.


You’ve got a voice.

Most people would kill to have one. So learn how to use it. Start. Start small, start slow, start however you want. But start. Don’t go to the ground never having used that voice of yours for something good, something worthy, something that thickened your skin & buckled your knees & ramshackled your heart.

Screw December 31st and the resolutions you’ve stacked away in the closet for the start of a New Year and 12 bells clanking at midnight. It Starts Now. It should have started five minutes ago. It starts with a single question that turns out to be the answer to everything:

 Are you worth it enough to start?

Live with intention, Love Yourself

Let’s talk about lies. And how you still speak them more swiftly than Taylor Swift song lyrics.

It was the string pulled.

The string pulled to untangle years & years worth of lies that had been shoved & stockpiled in closets of the heart for nights just like this one. Waiting & waiting for nights just like this one; nights when the weatherman cried.

Sandy–her hurricane limbs and all the wickeder parts of her– hissed and moaned outside the window. The trees shook and shuddered. Leaves screamed for their mama branches.

I clicked through the document on my desktop anxiously, waiting for that triumphant gust of wind that would knock the power out and leave me by candlelight.

The screen would go black. I could walk away from the question. Sounded much like a plan.

“What is the biggest lie you have had to overcome?”

It stayed there on the screen.

The lights didn’t even flicker. Not flinch. Not a spark.

And all the hollowed crevices between the W and B and L within that question waited for me, whispered like witches in the glow of the moon, “Answer me. Answer me. Answer me.”

Let’s talk about lies. Like they were as fresh as pastry dishes. Globbed with apples. Glooped with cinnamon.

 Let’s talk about lies. And how you still speak them more swiftly than Taylor Swift song lyrics caught in the vocal chords of seventeen-year-old heartbreakers.

Of all the things I do, interviews are my favorite.

They open doors for reflection. For realignment. They are they like grace wearing shoulder pads for a girl who rarely knows how to cut herself off from a work load to just step back and marvel at what God can do with such a messy, messy life.  

I save the interviews for the nighttime. For the glow of the computer screen. For the third cup of tea with the foam of peppermint on the edges.

So it remains just me, clicking almost silently into the dozens of documents waiting to capture the story behind More Love Letters and lend it to their readers like dicey pocket change. Waiting to get beneath the skin of the girl who spends her days with her wrists sunk deep in piles of stationery learning to love wads of this earth by way of written word.

The questions are normally simple. True. Creative. Quirky. But never, no, never has a question stared me so hard in the face. Never so much as this one.

“What is the biggest lie you have had to overcome?”

Welcome to the Land of the Things We Never Really, Truly Talk About. This ain’t no bring-this-topic-up-at-brunch kind of question. No, I’ve never seen the clinking of mimosas and buttering of pumpkin pancakes as we swap stories of lies we’ve learned to tell the mirror and non-truths were grappling to just overcome.

Overcome. Overcome. Such a strong word that I still don’t fully understand. When my knees feel weak and my heart is gearing up for battle against the soldiers in my mind, I don’t think I fully grasp what it means to overcome.

And be triumphant. And have complete control over destinies in my life, like I deserve that or something. Really, really, I have struggled to believe that. And instead  I might be tempted to lead the army of the Girls Who Got Used to the Lies. So used to the lies that they laid down on the floor, put their hands above their heads and shuddered like Germany when the second war ended.

“What is the biggest lie you have had to overcome?”

She worded the question as if to say that the lies were made for that. For overcoming. For pushing past. For speaking truth. For clearing out from the corners of our lives like cobwebs & clutter & clothes that don’t fit us in the legs any longer.

And I realize that I want to be just this: one who overcomes the lies. One who does not let the lies bind me or break me or keep me from moving into the plans I know are placed ahead for me.

How long have you been handicapped? I asked myself. How long have you felt unworthy? How long has it been since you last admitted it instead of saving face and pretending like you’ve got every ounce of this world together in your palms?

Could you be a wreck in front of someone? Today? Tomorrow? Could you name the lies that are knocking at the door? Scraping at the kitchen floor like the hurricane wrestled and shuffled inside. Take your shoes off, Sandy. Don’t bring mud in the house.

The lies we let sink deep into the mud of our souls fester and stir like hurricanes in the heart.

We don’t admit them. We don’t talk about them. We don’t give air to them in interviews. We keep them locked & keyed. We vow to be stronger in the morning. We hate ourselves deeper when the strength doesn’t show but the lies still arrive to ransom our spirits.

& they ravage. They pummel. They knock us down and convince us that we are not worthy of the day, not worthy of the light, not worthy of the goodness that this world is so capable of giving.

And so we grow so comfortable with just accepting the lies, welcoming the lies in my like house guests who demand candles & blankets & hot food upon arrival. And I forget the second part of the story. And you forget the second part of the story– the part of the story where you & us & we, we learn to overcome.

And you decide that you are worth something more than lies that only made you feel one fourth of alive. Lies that never kept your fingers warm like the old English mama at the bus stop in February, pursing little hands in her own until the heated yellow school bus came to take your back pack-toting body away.

And you decide that “to overcome” means something different than you’ve ever known before.

Overcome. A verb. One that requires strength. A strength you never knew you had though it has been there all along.

Overcome: to not be washed away. Like seashells in the supermarket on the days the oceans flood.

Overcome: to not feed. The hungry lies. The impatient worries. The parts of us that have never felt loved.

Overcome: to resolve that we are lovely. Worthy of love. Time. Energy. Joy. And we are getting better at believing that all the time.

God, Live with intention, Love Letters

You were made for mighty things.

You were made for mighty things.


Yes, you with your fingers curled around the computer mouse. Your sleepy eyes hooked to the glow of the screen.

You, with the tired limbs & the half-faking-it kind of smile that’s stayed on your face since lunchtime. You, who might scroll through your newsfeed one last time tonight before giving it up and going to bed. Trying again for something better in the morning.

You were made for mighty things.

& I cannot go a single step more without you knowing that true. Not a step. Not a hop. Not a shuffle or a sashay more without you knowing that  your bones & every ounce of you exist for a reason much greater than this. Much greater than the fog. Than the pricks. Than the pains. Much greater than this moment that you already feel has closed up & in & all around you.

Darkness, darkness, you’ve felt it creeping in. You’ve wrapped yourself in blankets. Curled up in doubts. Listened to the hollow of the night and wondered what you’re really here for. You’ve started prayers but you don’t know to whom. The Whole of it feels awkward. The God feels distant. You swear He cannot hear you. & even if He can, you’ve been unforgiveable for quite the while.

You’ve wondered if you matter. If this hurt will ever go away. If ever, oh, ever the people would remember you if it came time to wear black tomorrow & bury your body deep in the ground.

Darling, darling, hear me good: The dark has stars that poke through the sky and the light, the light that pours on through, is thicker than you know.

Thick like the wool socks you fold over snow boots. Thick like the trunk of the tree in the yard in the back where the tire swing used to swoop & swoop– your hands gripping the rope; your laughter floating up to the leaves.

You were made for mighty things.

Though you swear  you don’t know the starting point just yet. You feel swallowed in just the thought of beginning.

Of trying. Of wandering out beyond the lines of the Things You’ve Known. The Things You’ve Known that you know have become the Things You Know Don’t Fit You Anymore & Don’t Fill You Any Longer & Don’t Quite Play Music Like the Days of the Jewelry Box No More, No More.  

You feel swallowed, so swallowed, just by finding the shred or the starting line or the first little note in the symphony entitled, “How to tell anyone, just anyone at all, that you want to have meant something at the end of all this.” That you’ve wanted to be infinite for pockets of time. That you’ve wondered if there might still be time for you to step out and be something mighty in this world– you’ve done your wrong. You’ve hurt the others. You’ve thought out loud the lie you thought was always true: “I won’t be used for anything good, anything mighty, in the big ol’ world. Maybe her and maybe him but not me. Not me.”

There’s a whisper in the folds tonight,”You were made for mighty things.”

& so it is time to start. Not time to argue.  Not time to groan or doubt or fear. Not time to make excuses. Not time to shrink away. You say you’ve got tomorrow but don’t you know how fierce and fiesty a thing that Time be?

Time. She spits. She sputters. She flips out her hair and don’t guarantee no one a single thing. Not a measuring cup full. Not a week on the calendar. Nothing, nothing.  She only warns you– with her pointed finger in the air– to take the Today & the Tomorrow if she grants it. Take the Tomorrow if Time gonna bless your knees with it in the morning.

No time to reason. No time to know why. Only Time & the small of her back & the truth that ticks like the clock on the wall: As long as you are standing here, two feet on the ground, you’ve got the graces of a New Beginning in your palms. You can close the doors. You can clean out the closets. You can say goodbye. You can let it go.

You can uncover newness. You can climb a new rope. You can stare up at the sky. You can find that God. You can look in the mirror & you can partner with the one looking back. You can decide that you aren’t a thing with just fingers & toes– flawed & fleshy & unfit for unfolding plans.  But that you are a lighthouse. A lantern. A luminari. A flicker of hope. You are the bright spot in the day of someone else.

You are more powerful than you’ve called yourself to be. You are more worthy than you’ve ever claimed to be. But ain’t no one gonna grant you that if your hands aren’t open and your slate isn’t cleared and you can’t find a way to say– to the moon & the stars & the fireflies in the trees tonight— that you’ve grown tired of your Yesterdays & the smallness of it all &  you’ve decided to shift & shake your Tomorrows for as long as you have them. Shift & shake & give them away to the Someones scattered in the world that were made to see light pouring straight of you. You, yes, you.  

You were made for mighty things.

you make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out the dust. 
you make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.