framed

framedThe first time I shared my testimony in the recovery ministry at church, I asked God for a takeaway I could leave people with so it wasn’t just all about me. In His lavish provision, He immediately gave me three – using personally significant art forms, no less. Here is the first:

You could say that photography was my second love (behind Star Wars, of course).

[ . . . ]

In principle, all photography is simply “writing” (my third love) with light by permanently capturing it on a photo-sensitive medium such as film and then transferring it to a displayable format.

[ . . . ]

Spiritually speaking, God showed me that these . . . READ ON

freed

matrix-pillsLast week I had one of those amazing evenings with two of my favorite girlfriends where we opened up about our past experiences and current challenges, provided mutual encouragement, and simply gloried in the strength and solidarity of each other’s sisterly presence.

At one point, specific difficulties faced by one of us were addressed with reassurances she accepted, not quite reluctantly, but with the slightest tinge of skepticism. But later, when she brought up her own encouragement toward another friend, I stopped her and said that she needed to record those words and replay them for herself. They were so applicable to the situation we’d discussed earlier that I was struck anew with how often we tend to believe all the best about others and only the worst about ourselves.

[ . . . ]

This was one of my own biggest struggles for the first 19 years of my walk with Christ. Because it didn’t really affect me prior to that, I truly believe this battle came from a place of spiritual attack – which may explain why so many of us are susceptible to this dynamic once we find ourselves in God’s grace.

[ . . . ]

[T]he harder we try to compete with the grace we’ve received, the more unworthy we feel . . . and sometimes, as in my case, it takes one or more powerful encounters with the presence of God to forever end . . . READ ON

owning our stories

typing-handsGoing home is always an experience. Now the “home” I just came back to visit is not the city I grew up in, nor the town in which I currently live, but the place of my deepest and most resonant friendships.

A few weeks of hanging out with so many of my very favorite “peeps” has filled my soul like hardly anything else can.

I have laughed, and cried, and laughed until I cried. I have joyfully celebrated great victories and tearfully mourned great struggles – many of which I am, regretfully, just learning about. I have met the children of close friends for the first time and caught up with these amazing parents until my heart overflowed. My peeps have even helped me make a few new friends who are already kindred spirits (apparently the peeps of my peeps are also my peeps, lol).

I don’t know how to express it other than this: I have LIVED . . . outside of my own headspace . . . for the first time in way too long . . .

Funny thing is, all this living I’m suddenly doing has made me look back at the last season of my life and wonder . . . READ ON

help my unbelief

praying-handsI do believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

That verse was always confusing until I went through an experience that made it come alive for me. I was praying one night and my thoughts wandered to my financial situation – which had improved tremendously over the course of the prior year, but was still somewhat tenuous at the time.

Gradually, I became gripped with fear that I would end up back where I had been and that potential shattered me. I began . . . READ ON

the dark side of . . .

vaderThe Force. Well, apart from the quaint metaphor, and the whole midi-chlorian debac – um . . . decision – George Lucas wasn’t really all that far off the mark.

[ . . . ]

Having grown up as Princess Leia – or as literally as I could make it given that we practically shared a name (just for the record, I did come first) – the Dark Side was always the enemy, the interloper, the usurper, the “other.” Good was where it was at; I knew this instinctively way before I ever became a Christian. Luke and Leia and Han and Chewy and Obi-Wan were the heroes; Vader the archetypal villain.

The Star Wars mythos became the cultural icon of my young life . . . READ ON