: not embarrassed or ashamed about openly expressing strong feelings or opinions
It’s the spelling bee. And I’m in fourth grade. I’m terrified. I don’t like to get up in front of people.
I hate drawing attention to myself, but it’s my turn.
I stand up there shaking, and the moderator gives me my word: kindness.
Thank God! Kindness is an easy word. So I take a deep breath, ‘kindness, k-i-n-d-n-e, and then I stutter -e-s-s, kindness.’ I know I spelled it wrong.
I knew the word, but I messed up. I am mortified. For weeks, the kids in my class relentlessly teased me, as only 9 year-olds do.
That moment solidified what I already knew: it’s better to blend in, not create waves and never EVER make a public mistake.
I never tried out for a team I didn’t think I could make. I loved playing volleyball in gym class, but I was certain that I wouldn’t be good enough for the team. So I didn’t even try. I didn’t even try. It was better to just be unseen then to be mocked.
Living unabashedly for just as I am wasn’t even on my radar. It was more like how can I fit in, hide or get so and so to like me.
Although, there was one place I knew I belonged.
I can’t remember a time in which I didn’t believe in God.
My mom took me to church before my parents divorced, during the divorce, after the divorce, once my mom remarried—it was always my mom taking me to church.
And for the most part, I loved it.
I fit in at church. You know how each person has their niche? Well, church was mine.
Although I tried to blend in all day every day at school, I didn’t mind if I stood out in church. I enjoyed people thinking I was a good little Christian girl.
I helped with VBS. I went on mission trips. I co-led a Bible study, etc… Church was my thing, until it wasn’t.
Until the adults that I looked up to realized that I wasn’t the perfect little Christian girl they thought and that I am indeed a sinner.
So here I was a girl, who really only fit in at church and was sucking at the whole churchy lifestyle.
I was a failure at the only thing that I was ‘good’ at.
After some hurtful words were said to me, I left the church.
I still believed in God, but I didn’t want any part of the ‘church’ body.
I was 18.
Over the next 7 years of my life, I was flittered from one church to the next feeling like I didn’t belong.
Babies and Blogs
When my son was born, my husband and I starting making decisions for our family that went against the grain and ruffled some feathers.
Some were silly things like babywearing. I will never forget the first time my younger brother saw me wear Simon in my Moby-wrap and asked if I went to school for that. Boys.
But other things like me staying at home, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping threw some family and friends for a loop. And to be completely honest with you guys, I hid most of this from them for the longest time. Not because I wasn’t confident in our decisions, but because I was afraid of their reactions. I was afraid of them talking bad about me behind closed doors.
And guess what, friends, they did talk about me both behind my back and to my face.
Living unabashedly isn’t about silencing the haters, but looking up at the only One who matters.
Dylan and I had only been married for 10 months when Simon was born, and we had yet to find a church.
My best friend, Becca, knew I was struggling with all of this guilt, shame and fear.
So when she suggested we go to the Heart at Home conference, I said yes. At least I’d get some best friend time.
We went, and my life is forever changed. (I know that sounds cliche and dramatic, but, friends, it’s the truth and why you are able to read this today.)
Out of that amazing life changing conference, came my blog and a remembrance of my love to write.
Also came a new passion for God and His church. I was still fearful of sharing my faith and of church people in general, but I began writing anyways. I began to speak God’s truth to others and ultimately to myself.
I wrote about things that were hard.
I wrote Truth that I myself needed to hear.
And I still am.
This blog is my testimony of His Grace and Provision, and I am so glad you are here to join me.
Somedays, I am still scared out of my mind. I’m still afraid that people are talking about me behind my back.
But I know that even if you are, that this vulnerability is worth it.
Where I am now
In the almost five years we have been married, my husband and I have lived in 6 different cities (I use the term ‘city’ loosely.)
That kind of nomadic lifestyle hasn’t been conducive to finding a church home, but I’m ready.
I’m ready to risk my heart to the church body, again.
I still struggle with living confidently in Christ’s love, grace and sacrifice. Having an unabashed life will always be a work in progress.
For now, it looks like living out my passions, whether it may be raising awareness of humanitarian work around the globe, home education, or extended breastfeeding, knowing full well that God only cares about two things.
Everything else is small potatoes.
What’s your story, friends? What are your passions?
I know you have them.
I’m certain that there isn’t only one to way to serve God. I know that he gave each one of us our own gifts and our own burdens. So this blog is not going to be a place where I tell you how to serve God.
It’s going to be a place where I encourage you to live fearlessly on whatever path He has placed you on. Yes, I will be using my own experiences and some of my friends as examples, but they are just that examples not ultimatums.
Regardless, living for Christ will be living against the world, so each of us needs to be prepared to live confident in His grace.