Do you ever write a thing (or paint a thing, or say a thing) and then you want to bring those words right back? Well, that was a bit what it was like writing my essay, "I am a Desperate Woman," for Everbloom: Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives.
I wrote about bleeding and being a woman and at first, I wished I could take it all back. But here's the thing friends, I'm done with pretending that we all don't need to hear the human experience from the perspective of being female (or male for that matter). I think men should be able to read essays without blushing about birth and menstruation. After all, I read things all the time from a male perspective. So I'm standing by my essay in its vulnerable depiction of health gone awry, of the challenges of being female.
I threw my essay into the lot and it's now a part of a book by some amazing writers and women from Redbud Writers Guild.
You guys, it's a gorgeous book. I sat curled up and devoured stories from my writer friends. It's gutsy and encouraging, poignant, sad, and laugh-out-loud funny.
There's essays. There's heart-wrenching personal narratives. There's poetry. There's prayers. There's writing prompts for you to tell your own brave story.
And I'm giving a copy away to ONE LUCKY READER!
Here's how to enter. Two things. It's simple:
Sign up below for my monthly newsletter(if you haven't done so already)-->
To whet your appetite, I'm giving you a little bit of my essay below. Please stay tuned, because I'll have excerpts from other essays this week! Don't miss it.
Most of my breakdowns happen on bathroom floors. When I did not know much about pain, I cried on the rug in my college apartment over a wedding decision standstill, feeling pulled between daughter and soon-to-be wife. A few years later, when I once had the hope of new life within me, I howled, hunched over the toilet as I miscarried my first baby. Since then, I’ve shut the bathroom door for alone time, hoping to find some inner calm. I’ve cried on the bathmat when the world felt like it was spinning out of control, when I could no longer be the one to hold together all the loose strands. The bathmat has been my altar – soaked with tears and the vessel to hold my sin, shame, and suffering.
This last October, I cried in the bathroom because I couldn’t leave the toilet for more than an hour. I wouldn’t stop bleeding. I didn’t know what was wrong. My body felt twisted, confused, and ridding itself of its life force. This was it, I figured: my body was irreparably broken. I cried for healing and still the blood came, day after day, hour after hour.
Find out more about how bathroom floor breakdowns helped to show me God in Everbloom.
If you just can't wait, pick up your copy today! If you buy it today on Amazon, you get the pre-order price guarantee of $12.20! Crazy deal!
I live in the suburbs. I am your suburban mom with a minivan full of kids, picking them up from school, doing errands, and taking them to sports practices. But I'm also uncomfortable with that reality. Because it's complicated knowing how to love Jesus and be his church in the suburbs when everything has a sheen of affluence.
It's why I'm writing my book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs, and it's why I'm writing about living in the land of desire.
I'm grateful to The Gospel Coalition for publishing an article of mine today. Here's an excerpt:
When we told our donors we were leaving the campus ministry to plant a church in the southern California suburbs—land of affluence and megachurches—we not only lost several, we also heard the repeated question: Aren’t there enough churches there already?
I wondered too. Couldn’t we be more useful in an unreached part of the country? Or overseas?
We can subtly think that when Jesus said to “go to the ends of the earth” he meant only jungles and inner cities, not the affluent suburb next door. But all places—suburbs included—need the good news and abundant life found only in Jesus. And the good life isn’t the biggest house and the latest kitchen remodel.
In helping my husband plant Resurrection OC, I’m learning how the gospel saves us from our suburban desires for comfort and self-sufficiency, and replaces them with something much greater.
Click over here to read the whole thing.
I'd love to know how you respond spiritually to living in the suburbs. Comment away!
And, as always, thanks for being a part of this journey with me. If you'd like more info about my book, how to book me for speaking engagements, etc., I welcome you to email me or subscribe to my newsletter:
All my newsletter friends already know (make sure you don't miss out on news first: subscribe here), but I have some big news!
October 2014 I had an infant, a 2.5 year old, a Kindergartner and 1st grader. My husband was starting to get antsy in his job and I had had so many babies and done so many things that I was starting to lose a bit of myself. Do you know what it's like to start to lose you? So I turned to Write 31 days, a 30-day blogging challenge just to have something that was for me. I wrote on finding beauty in the mundane because I desperately needed to find God in my busy, whiny world.
Writing saved me.
Not that I'd found my life's vocation or the heavens opened, but I did a small thing for me that opened me up, allowed me to think through things and helped me better care for others -- for my family, friends, and new friends met online.
After that month, I kept writing. I joined Tribe Writers and Clumsy Bloggers and Redbud Writers Guild. I wrote for The Mudroom because the editor, Tammy Perlmutter, liked what I wrote. I met new friends. I went to a writing conference in Portland in 2015 and then to the Festival of Faith and Writing in 2016. I wrote for (in)courage, ThinkChristian, Books & Culture, The Englewood Review of Books, The Well, other friends' blogs (see some of those here). I was chasing what I was curious about.
At Festival of Faith & Writing, I felt like I'd come home. There were academics (some of my undergraduate professors!), philosophers, poets, bloggers, authors I'd admired. We all fit there. I also met Helen Lee of InterVarsity Press and we had a lovely conversation about my book ideas.
I wrote a book proposal and kept putting myself out there -- not because I wanted fame or because I felt I was "all that" -- but because I needed to chase the ideas to the very end and I'd heard how my writing had met people. How it had clarified things for them. That something that I thought could save only me was also a gift to share.
Later this fall, that book proposal was revised and then accepted by InterVarsity Press for publication. I'm writing a real, live book that will get in your hands! I think I was stunned for about a month and now am in the trenches writing. It's exciting and yet I know that such work never happens in a vacuum and that writing is a form of prayer and sustained attention.
The book's working title is Finding Holy in the Suburbs, it's my own journey back to suburbia and finding belonging in Jesus rather than a zip code. It's my love letter to Christians who grew up thinking they had to do something radical to really follow Jesus. When more than half of Americans live in a suburb, we need a way to practice ordinary means of grace with delight, while eschewing the idols of our places. In God's kingdom, there are no little places and the suburbs can be a place to house the glory of God.
I know there are potential readers hungry for this book and that's where you come in, even now.
Book-writing is a long process and it's unlikely to be on shelves until 2018 with writing and editing. But I need your help with two things.
I need prayer. If you could commit to praying for my writing time daily or weekly, I need it. With little kids, a husband who is over-extended as a church planter, and all that we all do, writing happens in small cracks of time. I need prayer for those small times to be productive and Spirit-filled. Please comment and let me know if you want to join my prayer team; I'll add you to a separate, intimate list of pray-ers. I'd be honored.
I need people. I'm passionate about the message of Finding Holy in the Suburbs. If there's someone you know who could use the message of this book, could you share this with them? There will be plenty of time later for launch team and promotion and all the fun parties surrounding the book. But I want to make sure that the book I'm writing gets to the people who need it. And that means they're not only aware of it but also receive my newsletters to get the first bit of info. Thank you!
If you haven't signed up for my newsletter, I'd be honored if you would. I write nearly monthly. It's an intimate letter of sorts, holds my favorite book recommendations, and you're the first to know about book news and giveaways. I'm sending one soon with my favorite books of 2016. Don't miss out.
Thank you friends, for being on this journey with me. I can't wait to update you all about it.
Sign up now to hear more about Finding Holy in the Suburbs and be sure to comment or email to be added to my prayer team.
We're busy, we read sound bites, and we think we don't have time to read. But I wanted to encourage you to do just that. So I'm partnering with a few publishing companies who have graciously given not only me a FREE BOOK (which feels like Christmas every time I open the mailbox!) but also want to give YOU a FREE BOOK! I'll be starting a series of snippet reviews -- nothing big, but something to help get you a feel for the book.
Can you guess my kids' enneagram numbers based on this picture?
First up, is Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile's new release called The Road Back to You, published by Intervarsity Press.
If you haven't heard about the enneagram, this book is a great place to start. The enneagram is an ancient personality system that won't put you in a box, but that puts you on a path of learning how to be compassionate with yourself and others. It helps us to see the sin patterns of our personalities. It helps us see how to grow and where we go when we're stressed, angry, or healthy. It's actually been life-changing for our marriage.
Because instead of seeing my husband (or he seeing me) as "he's just that way," it's helped me to see that beyond his exterior of having it all figured out and what I see as marching forward unfeelingly, he is a vulnerable, tender person underneath. Then I can learn compassion and empathy. Only then can we grow.
There are 9 enneagram numbers. And each number has "wings" where you drift to a number close to your number. You all can psychoanalyze me now, I'm a 4w3, which means I desperately want to be a special snowflake, that my life is characterized by longing, and also because of the 3 wing, I want to be the best at it. So yeah, super intense. What number might you be?
Type 1-Perfectionists (Nelson Mandela and Hillary Clinton)
Type 2- Helpers (Mother Teresa and Desmond Tutu)
Type 3- Performers (Taylor Swift and Tiger Woods)
Type 4- Romantics (Vincent Van Gogh and Angelina Jolie)
Type 5- Investigators (Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates)
Type 6- Loyalists (Ellen DeGeneres and George H.W. Bush)
Type 7- Enthusiasts (Mozart and Stephen Colbert)
Type 8- Challengers (Martin Luther King Jr. and Serena Williams)
Type 9-Peacemakers (Pope Francis and Garrison Keillor)
The Road Back to You is a book on the enneagram that shows us how to do the work; it doesn't shy away from our sin and it points us toward spiritual growth. This is a fabulous book if you're looking for an enneagram primer. If you already have read all about the enneagram and even have the app on your phone like I do, this is still a wonderful resource. I love that they have numbered lists about what it's like to be each number and conclude each type with ways to grow spiritually. It's a full resource that doesn't leave you navel-gazing. It helps you to understand yourself and others so that you can grow, not stay boxed in to a type.