thrashing: day 28: change your mind

i told someone last week that i often feel like “the stuck one”.

i often feel powerless. powerless to be heard, understood, powerless even to let my voice free of its chorded box. powerless to change, powerless to move toward God and love and healing and beauty.

like my story is on repeat.

my life seems to add up to all these moments of feeling helpless and settling into daily resignation.

but she tells me: you are not powerless. maybe you were once powerless, when you were a child. but now? you are only as stuck as you believe yourself to be. there are all these options available to you, all this energy.

i have a hard time believing that, looking at my dailies and the housework that never gets done and the stove that never cooks my meals, and the budget that is a thousand dollars in the red every month, and the shame that i always seem to let win, and the way i don’t raise my voice to the occasions where it is required. and a defiant 3-year-old who gets his way much too often, and a baby who never sleeps. and all the emotion-spirit-body battles i can’t seem to find the strength to fight, much less win.

and it is easy for me to fall into the trap of believing i truly am stuck, and it’s not up to me, because i am incapable of changing any of it. because, look at how successful i’ve (never) been.

so i wait for that moment when the externals feel less sticky, and it never comes.

but that’s okay.

because today? today, i believe her.

today, i am changing my mind.

today i am unnaming something that has long laid its roots deep in me.

i am NOT the stuck one.

i am powerful and brave and held and strong and free.


(…remind me?)

thrashing: Day 25: Walk away

i am waiting, anxious for the patient to arrive. the paramedics called ahead about the 3-year-old girl they are bringing. they wheel her in, surrounded. there are EMTs on the bed with her so they can continue CPR between the ambulance and the emergency room.

compressions. breaths.

starting IVs, giving drugs, fluid boluses, electrolytes.

compressions. breaths.
compressions. breaths.

we continue what they have started as we hook her up to monitors and keep administering fluids, drugs.

compressions. breaths.

with any other patient, my morbid coworkers would have referred to her as “already dead“.

but how do you give up on a 3-year-old girl?

compressions. breaths.

drugs. keep checking for any signs of life.

she is cold and we warm her. you can’t “call it” until her body is still not responding, even at normal temperature.

i step in for my turn of compressions as someone continues with the mask giving her breaths to my right. i will myself to numbness as i press deep into her chest, little hope left.

compressions. breaths.

the doctor is running through all the possibilities, resisting letting go of this little one. the nurses, too, are fighting for her, refusing to give up even as the doctor is saying “time of death:...”

and yet. she was already dead.

nothing we could have done would have made any difference. but we had to try.

and then? walk away.


there came a moment for me three years ago that literally felt like a resuscitation.

i was alive for what felt like the first time.

and, so, naturally, i wanted to invite everyone into this newfound freedom. i would tell my story and ask about theirs.

but they seemed numb. they couldn’t see the beauty i saw of going deeper and freer. they were content.

i kept trying to be the person breathing air into dead structures, trying to circulate Life and healing in the deepest venous caverns.

but they didn’t seem to want what i was offering. they wanted to stick with their safe system that felt so soul-killing to me.

and as i offered the life i had been given, and received only offers that felt like death in return, i knew.

i had to walk away.

(for now)

(because how do you give up on them? they are still so beautiful. so worth loving.)

thrashing: day 20: visit the dark

my back is against the wall as i sit on the floor in a dark house.
when it is dark, i always keep my back against something.

i sit here as a dare, to see how long i can stand it before my juvenile-feeling fear of the dark kicks in and i jump up to illuminate the corners, so rats will have to scurry away, shadows disappear.

but i am finding myself strangely at peace in the darkness. it is the first time i ever remember it feeling comfortable and actually even soothing to just sit here in the calm of the night.

it is as though my vision disabled is allowing my spirit to expand farther, be aware of more.
allowing me space to breathe.

i notice my breath. the shallow, the warm in and out, inhale, exhale, cycle.

i notice the sound of bubbling fountain water in the backyard next door.

but mostly i notice my internal workings.

surprised by my response to sitting alone in darkness, i am intrigued; suddenly more brave to move into the places in my own soul that have been so long darkened. those cavernous rooms that have had bits of rubble cleared away from the last cave-in before fear initiates another rumble and the way in is blocked again.

i don’t want to be afraid of the dark, like i have been my entire life.

i want to leave the light pollution of the suburban sky and plunge into actual dark, where the only light is real light. starlight. moonlight. where the night is truly that perfect inky black.

i want to explore the dark side of the moon, the hidden places. the unseen.

i want to dive down beneath the first few feet of water, still warmed by the memory of the sun, to the cold sunken-treasure-filled deeps.

to move around in the cave, only by touch, and see what there is to discover, what there is that can be held close and secret.

{and yes, even brought out into the light of day.}

Thrashing: Day 18: Celebrate freedom

i’m shaky as i write this.

i don’t know if it’s the glass of wine, or tired muscles from dreading my first nine locks, or if it’s the unsteady steps i am taking toward freedom. 

i am free. i know this.

but there is a cost to living out this freedom, to choosing it – over, say, people-pleasing. 

and i have been unable to make that leap. 

but tonight, i think it finally clicked. maybe. 

tonight i danced barefoot on my front lawn under a full moon. it occurred to me more than once “what the neighbors would think/say”, and i did it anyway. this is a new thing for me.

then i came inside, and with this song playing loud in my soul, i began the slow work of dreading my own hair.

i have been waiting, and i think part of me was waiting for permission from someone, in the form of agreeing to help create these dreadlocks i have been wanting for months. i hoped some kind of community would be available to me, their grace and acceptance and time and muscles. 

but tonight, as i was consciously choosing to step into my purpose, into freedom, it became clear that it was time. 

i am home alone this weekend, my boys at their grandparents, so i can engage with the Secret Rebel Club’s virtual retreat. my husband doesn’t even know, and here i am knotting my hair up beyond recognition.

and i love it.

i feel beautiful.

i feel like me.

i feel free.




when we were on fire

when we were on fire, we let tears fall on night grass as we “rededicated ourselves to the Lord.” we vowed anew to let every waking breath be spent on saving souls from hell. we were twelve.

when we were on fire, we walked to the library together and sat a seat apart so that when someone occupied the in-between one, we could conspicuously begin to discuss John 3:16 and “did you KNOW that God so LOVED the WORLD??” 

when we were on fire, we claimed our neighborhood for jesus, and walked around it 13 times (just like joshua), singing “Our God is an awesome God” and praying the walls would fall like jericho’s.

when we were on fire, we decided that being a missionary was the only calling worthy of someone who was on fire.

when we were on fire, we memorized every Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Jaci Velasquez, Rebecca St. James, DC Talk, Newsboys, and Third Day song. we worked their merchandise tables and hung out with them at amusement parks. we played their songs at pool parties, and judged anyone who would dare listen to that “secular music” (except country. country was okay, for some reason… except we felt secretly guilty for loving it).


we could say all the books of the bible in one breath. 

we rejoiced when someone prayed the Sinner’s Prayer at “Action House”, and wept when she said “i didn’t mean it” the following week. we worried about her when we went to her grandfather’s funeral, and realized she came from a catholic background.

we had mountaintop experiences we tried to stretch out to all our days.

we learned about being a teenager from Brio magazine.

we signed up to be prayer partners with Dawson McAllister.


“we” became “i” as we went to separate christian colleges, and i was sorely disappointed at the lukewarmness of all around me. didn’t they care? 

i was also disappointed on “mission trips” that didn’t seem to have the same… fire? i’d come to expect. they would even *gasp* take one day out on the trip for touristy stuff (how can we be wasting our time here like that??). my mission trips before had always been hard. cold showers. squatty potties. scared to death reciting our memorized testimonies. serving from dawn till dusk, until every muscle ached, and it didn’t matter that our tent had blown away or been flooded while we were gone. we managed. so swimming in the caribbean? touring shanghai? it felt wrong, useless. i was about more important things than that. i was on fire for God.

i kissed dating goodbye.

i didn’t kiss anyone until my wedding day.


somehow, for me, being “on fire” went hand-in-hand with getting it all right. obeying all the rules, being godly, and finding the emotion to go with it in Singspiration worship nights and campfires. 

so as i have distanced myself from legalistic church structures, i find myself tempted to look at that girl that i was with disdain. how could you have fallen for all those shouldsy burdens being passed off as life? 

but i am learning, slowly, to have compassion. for myself. for my younger self. for the ones who are still on fire. to listen and welcome and embrace even those parts of me and the church that remind me of all the pharisaism of before. to witness it, and love God for what he has done, how far he has brought me into grace and the light of freedom.

when we were on fire synchroblog

Thrashing: Day 15: Get naked

“My own belief is that one regards oneself… as an instrument for experiencing. Life – all of it – flows through this instrument and is distilled through it into works of art. How one lives as a private person is intimately bound to the work. And at some point, I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and artist, we have to know all we can about one another, and we have to be willing to go naked.”  –May Sarton

i can’t even describe the fear that slowly rises through my chest as i consider these words and the vulnerability they suggest.

the problem is, i agree with them one hundred percent. 

but the panic that envelops me belies the fact that i have been totally unable to do this. get naked. vulnerable.

this is an anonymous blog, because i have felt unable to interact with certain people over all this thrashing, and so i hide this way. 

there is the hiding, and, on the other hand, there is the safety of anonymity that does allow me to bare my most vulnerable spots, and so this is some of the most honest writing i have ever shared in my life.

so there is either the held-back, acceptable one, connected to my name.

or the anonymous let-it-all-out one.

i have occasionally considered letting people know this is my blog. but then i think about how they reacted to my last vulnerable post on the blog linked to my name, and i shudder. i couldn’t. 

or could i?


Thrashing: Day 14: Flirt with mystery


i am always amazed at the synchronicity.

my process involves choosing one of a dozen coverless books off my shelf and ripping a random page out of the middle somewhere, and then repeating with a second random book.

and somehow it always speaks.

today i drew the phrase “flirt with mystery” from my little broken china bowl. and as i was processing genesis and the creation of humans, these were the words from the pages.

it’s as if he’s affirming “yes! flirt with mystery! you will find Me there, the Wild One wrapped in mystery…”