2/20/18

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Day 70
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God,

I’ve been reading Jesus Every Day and part of the prayer is remembering 20 ways You’ve been good to me. It’s a bit of a struggle right now, but here You go:

  1. The cats. Juno provides a comfort You knew I needed when I came back here. I find it hilarious she kneads me like I’m her mom. And Baby—since she had her surgery shortly (or the same day as my hysterectomy) and can’t go outside, she seems to find my room a sanctuary. It’s nice.
  2. Jamie Grace. Specifically how You used her music to comfort and help me cry out to You. And getting to see her/meet her with Megan. I’ll never forget when we waited in line and Megan goes, You’re like a kid in a candy store. But most of all, I was glad she was with me There is no one else I want to go on adventures like that – really any adventure.
  3. Adventures in the valley—Ellie Holcomb concert/meeting her, Marc Martel, Skit Guys. All with Megan. I really never imagined any of that would happen. Or that I would go to that many concerts and that Megan loves music as much as I do. All the Jesus jams. It just amazes me when I thought my only concert would be Hilary Duff.
  4. Grandma/Grandpa/Grandna from Dad’s side. They taught me so much about presence. Giving time, themselves. From the symphony, fish fries, the movies almost every weekend and lunch, the library. Everything always felt so precious, sacred. Like grandma making dinner and putting on Reba. Or when we made fun of the side effects of medicines. Or mimicked the weatherman’s sweeping hand motions. Or watching the food network Or the time she gently and firmly told Michael that I understood that I was beautiful when he just kept telling me over and over: you are beautiful, did you know that? Over cantaloupe. The way she told me I’d look back and wonder why I dated him just as she did with someone.
  5. The way You saved me from Michael. The way You gave me the courage to say no to going further than I was willing. The way mom pumped up S Club 7 and drove through a storm so we could get home earlier. I know now she wasn’t trying to ruin fun (there wasn’t any), but You were protecting my heart through her knowing we had to go. I love her so much for that even though I was stubborn (still am) and wanted to be in love. Still do.
  6. Just like when he broke up with me over text weeks after, asking how my mom was(still will never forget it), and gradually moving into we need to see other people. But I still have the words from a coin he said made me think of him. One side said: Love is patient. Love is kind. The other: True Love Waits. I’ve never forgotten it. Even though uncle Scott has the coin now. I know now You were reassuring there would (will?) be a guy who will wait for me. And now, I think You’re gently telling me to wait and see.
  7. This bed and the bath chair 2 ways You provided abundantly. In the midst of grief when mom’s mom passed.
  8. This computer from dad.
  9. When the neighbor from the old house came over before getting it and abruptly (okay maybe not) sang a song about waiting for You. Showed me the verses in Lamentations and reassured me she had to wait a long time too. Still not sure if she meant in general or specifically. But it was so reassuring in the moment.
  10. Sara Groves music. Her vulnerability. And meeting Momsie from fmf, who also loves her stuff too.
  11. The whole five minute Friday community, which I didn’t know existed until Trisha encouraged me to try it one Friday in October and almost 4 years later, I still love it. I look forward to it every week. And, I get to be a part of Kate’s launch for her book. Seriously? All You!
  12. As is the 12 launches I’ve been part of before where I’ve met, Teri, Julianna, Shannan, Kallayah, Mandy, Jamie, Tonya, Deanna… Also, wouldn’t even know what a launch if Trisha didn’t tell me she was applying to one..and I wanted to do one..and then Emily Freeman did a post about her’s and boom. Has it really been 12?
  13. Anna. Who I met through the happiness dare. I will forever forget time difference. When we start sharing our hearts and music, everything fades. I love that You know my heart so well and the people I need. The Netherlands need to be a little closer.
  14. Kelly. She’s helping me become more myself. Seriously, one of these days I feel she may try to make me have a car concert. I think about this and I want to laugh and laugh. But I want to have many many more car jams to Beckah Shae with her. And movies. And deep talks. And grilled cheese from Panera. Hahaha. I’m so thankful for her and her love for You.
  15. Declare last year. From the first class flight (which Kelly said was Your favor. Funny it’s my word this year.), to meeting Miah, to more time with Trisha, meeting Desiree and Kayla. Winning the unashamed book (THIS BOOK, LORD. I don’t know what You are doing, but it’s intriguing) to someone buying me coffee, all the sobbing, meeting Linda, the rainbow, Brahms’s ice cream (take me back please ), time with dad in the convertible and whattaburger, that sunset.
  16. These pajama mom got before the hysterectomy. I love you more too, God.
  17. The doctor who did my surgery. And the nurses. I saw you so much.
  18. The time you’ve given with my family. It is hard, but there are moments that can overwhelm me at the goodness, like watching a movie or laughing about the dog. Small stiff.
  19. My blog. I didn’t know You could and still are bringing so much good from the pain I needed to get out. It’s beautiful. And I’ll never forget when I freaked out on Gwen about taking the step and she was chill and excited about it. Thank You that she continues to encourage my writing and be a friend and know when something is up from so very far.
  20. You. That listen to me and let me go on and on and on. Being with You like this makes me so happy.

I think this is more than 20 and I could do way more I think. But I’m going to jam to Beckah Shae. Seriously just want to head bob all night. And also? The majority  deals with presence. Relationship. It’s very interesting.

Love,
Your tender haired girl.

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2/17/18

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Day 68

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God,

This book:


is very interesting. The challenges this week have been um, intense. There’s a better word. Like yesterday: find a mentor. You know, I find Trisha very mentor-y. She takes all my insane ramblings and tells me I’m too in my head in the gentlest way. And prays for me. And if I could sit across from her once a week at Brahm’s, Starbucks, or that place we once went for tacos, every week, I’d probably tell her all of my woes and some joys (like with the skit guys.), but I think I’d mostly want to sit there and go, YOU WRITE THAT BOOK, SISTER. WORK THOSE WORDS. (maybe not that loud but it’s hilarious to think about..hook me up with a pom-pom and Beckah Shae jams and Ellie Holcomb and we are good to go..oh please, Lord, one day. 😂 it makes me want to fall on the floor with laughter.) It could also be very distracting but I think she’d take it, hahahaha. I’d make sure I’d write some stuff. Probably one of these. Lol. I love that she believes in me as much as I believe in her. 

She helped me with another one of those challenges in #100daystobrave. When I loathed the idea of asking a guy to coffee. No, I really thought it was hilarious. But once I told her and she told me to do it while waiting at the dentist, I wanted to try. And yes, I dreamed a little sitting in the dentist chair what would it be with yes. And no. And she told me not to think too much (I need to be told that. I get a little too lost in there. What is it all writers?) Through the miles, she holds my hand and reminds me I’m not alone. I’m loved and can go crazy, just don’t stay there. Ugh, how easy it is. But the beautiful thing about You, God, is in the process of needing a friend and having to put myself out there, I’ve gotten to encourage her too. It boggles my mind. 

I know I’ve told You, but I love You a lot for putting her in my life. I can tell her all my crazy dreams and I can along side her in her’s. And I get to see more of You- through her marriage and kids and the way she is a friend to me. 

This book, LORD, has made me look at my dreams – the way I wanted to write a book so long ago and did. But the reason – to prove myself as a writer-was wrong. I don’t have to. A few weeks ago when one of the days was about my thesis and I said it was to be the friend who encourages and helps with their dreams, made me think. I don’t get anything any more lately. Not sure I have ever. Nope. It came out so fast and you know I’d help in a heartbeat. But I know I can’t push my way and You will clear the way in Your time. And if You did let me go to Texas for any extended time more than days, I’d need so much encouragement it’s crazy. Cause just because I say I love it over there, I’m so used to the valley. The pain and the shadows. It’s hard for me to see the places You let me rest my head. 

Especially here and now where everything feels hard and tiring. And most days lately even though I don’t feel that desperation in my heart (to be saved from a human) as often anymore, I still want a friend to come over here. To eat food and watch movies and talk and just be together. I’d do that with Kelly and Megan in a heartbeat. They are my friends in the valley and although it is hard and confusing and most times right now I’m content being with You, I still want to fight for our friendships. That feels like the bravest thing right now with the lies that scream for me to give up, you’re losing all your friends, you’re so selfish, no one cares.

And if it’s anything you’re trying to show me is that I can’t give up even if things get lost in translation. And I know this is completely random but I seriously need some more encouragement today. Plwase. 

Thank you,

Your tender haired girl 
Ps. Going to pump up worship music now. So much. 

1/30/18

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Day 60

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God,

I’m writing this to You while the cat is kneading my neck. Oh wait, now she is gone. She teaches me so much about presence. And this photo:

So much precious. Ahh. There’s much I want to tell you. 

1. Thank you for friends I can send random things to and share my heart with. 

2. 7 days and and a few more hours until SKIT GUYS WITH MEGAN. Please let this whole thing be better than I’ve asked or imagined. Especially the road trip part, okay whole thing. Please & thank you again. Surprise away. Thank You for giving me the push to ask and Dad being excited to help with a hotel. And Megan taking off time to do this. Don’t let me forget anything from this time, open me to receive it. 

3. Thank you for the reminder of the love of family and a new friendship with Kelly that has brought laughter and prayer and romance movies (never thought I could watch those again), singing, good food and learning about each other. And book recommendations/books with highlights given accidentally (that was no accident, God. You know I love seeing what touches others) 

4. A graze box. Seriously snacks in a box hand selected for me. And the inside says YAY. it’s a slice of happy every month. Can’t wait for a full 8 snacks next month. And thank you for Sarah, who let me try a free box this month. I wish I didn’t eat it so fast though. I love that it’s so easy for me to grab and open on my own and savory/sweet snacks I’d probably never have alone. 

5. Emailing my boss lady, Trisha. I love that I can just unload all of my thoughts in an email about what you are doing in my life and know everything is out there and my heart is seen, known.

Thank you for taking my list of gratitude. 

love,

your tender haired girl. 

1/24/18

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Day 58

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O Lord,

You have searched me 

& have known me (like how I REALLY want to see the skit guys with Megan & help Kelly with her book).

You know when I sit down 

& wonder: she really bought the tickets…? We can’t travel that far In one day. That’d be exhausting. Could you do a favor with a hotel? Lord, is this real? I know I said please please and held off until yesterday, but I’m just wondering how You’ll come through. And sitting at Steak n Shake with Kelly last night, laughing so much I thought I might just go to be with You. I couldn’t catch my breath – but I remember the way I told her about a dream I have & the way she thanked You & then asked me if I’d write the foreword. For her book. And God, this is where I’m in awe of You. So in awe. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I always thought famous people wrote forewords, and I think a part of me is afraid I’ll mess up, but I’ll lean on You for help. And there You go playing

Songs of Deliverance by Ellie…

Your intentions are not shaken

Everything that once was breaking

Tear me down and bind me up

In You I place my trust.

You are really redeeming something. I can’t wait for this weekend. Way too excited to see a movie and have a girls weekend with Kelly. Whoa. God. I just realized last night was like the Beloved Challenge in Whispers of rest, the girls night and this weekend will be like another one, plan a fun weekend (think that’s what it’s called..) I think you may actually be answering one of my prayers. You are, aren’t You?

love, 

your tender-haired girl 

Ps. Actually, I think multiple prayers. Deep friendships, yes please.  Thank you. 

1/22-23/18

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Day 56-57

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God,

Here is my grateful list for today:
1. Shrek the musical recommendation from Teri
2. Dad calling me, Twink before leaving (makes me feel like I shine even if I don’t feel right now)
3. Fighting Words by Ellie Holcomb (reminds me of when Megan texted before the hysterectomy last year: Use your fighting words, Jewelia. Made me smile and calm come to my heart.)
4. Prayer. Praying for friends and family and just talking to You helps me take off of me.
5. Unexpected free box of snacks coming next week thanks to Sarah. Her wanting me to try it even though I know she’s not feeling well was the kindest thing. Threw me off. Most of Your surprises do. Let there be chocolate please.
6. Mom making peanut butter/banana sandwich for breakfast/tomoato soup, grilled cheese and that really good salad. I love the way she loves, God.
7. Beckah Shae. I know I’ve told you a lot but the way she takes really popular songs and turns them into songs about You. Ugh, so good. Seriously if she turns all these covers into an album, I’ll be breaking it down for You on constant repeat
8. Like I will most likely do for Kelly today. Maybe. Thank You for her friendship – the way she brings out more of the me that’s been hiding. By the way she listens and prays and loves by giving her time and presence, It helps me see Your face- the joy, Lord. It captivates me. Help us enjoy each other and the time You give us today.

Help us to love deeply. To give and receive the love, encouragement You so freely give away. Help us to savor the laughter, make room for the tears that water the flower that can grow even from the bitter. You make us better – two is better than one and and a threefold strand isn’t easily broken. You gold us together. You make us better. I can’t stop repeating it right now. Let be true. Amen.

Love
Your tender haired girl

PS. Thank You for everything. For today. For music, an a song that still gets to me.

previous letter.

 

 

1/15/18

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Day 50

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Father, 

You have searched me

& found I love giving from 

a heart becoming full (never

let me get my fill-let me always 

hunger) of You. Pride and bitterness want 

me to exclaim,

I’m fine. I don’t need you. 

That is why I laughed when 

she wrapped her arms around me

in a long hug before she left. 

I could feel the I’m sorry. The

gentle strength pleading, forgive me.

 You can rest and cry. 

It broke some of my defense, some of my 

numbness away. But I didn’t break fully. I 

didn’t cry. I laughed the nervousness

away. I couldn’t let her into the 

brokenness – the pain of loving her. How 

I never gave (or want to give up) on her. 

How I long to live in unity – with/for, 

never at, against her. How I keep giving 

and giving little pieces of encouragement, 

my heart, memories & in that moment, 

Lord, nothing else matters. 

In the moments after, still I linger. 

And then I wonder as I do now:

Why do I want nothing back?

Why does my heart feel so content, 

compelled to keep loving even if the 

response is small or nothing at all? Why

does it leave me aching at a 

response or nothing, like it was 

a dismissal of my heart? Why do I want to 

see if you can restore trust? I know what 

You say, a friend loves at all times. 

You work all things for good. 

Show me, Lord. Bring my heart 

awake to the pain that is still hiding & 

give it a burial place. Show me Your 

redeeming grace. 

Love,

Your tender haired girl

Ps. I don’t want revenge – but more presence & laughter. A safe place to cry. 

Previous letter.

1/14/18

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Day 49

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God,

You have searched me –

why do I think this is like 

I’m on the run & You are 

trying to capture me, punish 

me? Why do I still believe You

want to condemn me when You 

love me? I sit here, okay lay here, and 

wonder how well 

You know me. The way the cat

comes up besides with an almost demand 

to be held as the voices around grow loud 

– my heart is quiet and weary. 

How the courage came earlier 

to finally call her on the phone 

again. And my mostly speechlessness-

listening to her voice carry me before You 

to whisper the bloom of love awake. As if 

it were May. 

Okay, I made it more poetic, 

but I know I couldn’t speak 

when she asked if I fell asleep. 

How can I fall asleep when I felt 

wrapped in love over a phone line? I know 

the angels take the words and bring them 

before You, like a candle. The sweetest 

candle – maybe a bit like the joy & 

laughter candle sitting on the dresser. 

God, I don’t know how

to tell You thank you, for helping me 

listen & ask & linger with this friend. 

Even though it’s taken years and the 

distance makes me say, I wish we could 

sit on the floor again. Or, a song will put 

me back in a memory and I miss her 

again. But You were with me in the 

moments before I called & made the time 

still. You stilled me in silence and her 

laughter & the dreams yet to be fulfilled. 

Tonight, I remember all over how every 

good and perfect gift comes from You, my 

Father, who weaves friendship better than 

I could ask or know. 
love,

your tender haired girl 

Ps. She better hope I don’t learn how to write a more put together song because the majority of that will go:

I found you in the lone star state 

with dreams and fears

with a heartbeat similar to my own. 

Do you see me? 

Do you know the skies are big, but I need a friend, a smile to remind me I’m not alone? 

The sky isn’t always the limit, but the words God gives make me feel as though I can fly.

The miles I flew to see your face found me staring into grace, a whisper of belonging, of place. 

–what a song that is, God. Good thing You and her don’t mind the many poems, lol. L O L. Now I just want to hear that song and remember the late night talk and laughter. Mostly the laughter because slap happy and chocolate are the best.  And very good company. Ugh, I miss it. Her.  

Previous letter here