Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Madonna



For some odd reason I will never forget what I heard about Madonna. I don’t know where or when but it stuck with me. In a room full of decision makers, supporters, producers and all those other music fanatics- if just ONE of the many said something negative about her work- it was all she could focus on. Even if everyone else was raving about her work, that ONE person would stay on her mind. That always hit home for me because I always felt that way, too. The past 4 years I have been a crazed writer with a mission, I had started my first substantial blog Even the Sparrows and the idea for my book/blog Half Written was born. Fast forward 3 years, I felt like I had this writing thing down. I was on fire with purpose and people actually could relate to my work.  I knew I still had some tweaking to do as a writer and that I needed a little more polish; but I started to feel great about what I was sharing. Until one day, I heard the words “ your good, but not great”. You might as well ripped out my heart and soul. Tears instantly peaked out at the corners of my eyes and anger welled up inside me. It was as if all this time I was believing a lie-I already thought I was more than good, I thought I was great! But the person I asked to critique my work (because I wanted his advice) thought I had some work to do. It’s like believing that you’re a natural at something, born to do it, but then someone squashes your big ideas with a huge reality check. It was a humbling experience to say the least and it meant I was back to the drawing board. Any of the praise I had received in the past became void, his direct words were like daggers that would not soon be forgotten. But his words were pivotal for me as a writer.



Writing became more of a challenge in a good way and I learned to hone in on my message. I was beginning to really find my voice and what I believed in. I began to welcome criticism  and I pushed myself towards being the best writer I could be.  I went through hundreds of revisions writing Half Written. I sought out others to read my work and waited patiently (not really). It was like sitting on pins and needles as I checked and re-checked my email waiting for their critique. I began to submit my work to magazines and waited. It was so silent and dreary for the longest time. I truly felt like a bottom feeder in an ocean of majestic creatures. I doubted my message from time to time. I wondered if my voice would be heard and taken seriously. And then it got to be too much, I was back peddling- into my old ways of insecurity. I felt like the awkward girl again with frizzy hair and braces ( and headgear). Instead of rehashing my old ways, I tweaked  the thing that has stuck with me about Madonna for all this time. I began to think of that one person in the room whose opinion mattered the most to be Jesus. And I looked into my heart of hearts- was I doing what I was doing for Him-after all He was the sole purpose I began to write so passionately. Did it really matter if I ever got published if it wasn’t for the Kingdom? Did it really matter if I ever made a difference if it wasn’t for the glory of God. No it didn’t. But after revisiting my heart, I realized I was do things for the right reasons but with the wrong attitude. I was focusing too much on the people who might not like my message or not being liked at all- I was muddling in the muck.  I was focusing on what I couldn’t control- nor wanted to control.



I slowly began to soak in two truths (and still absorbing )- I can’t worry about what I can’t control and if I believe in what I’m doing and doing it for the right reasons- that is enough. I may have to revisit things (or revise things). I will be met with resistance. I will not always write something amazing. I will sometimes take steps back and not everyone will see the message in my mess. And that is okay. In fact, its imperfectly perfect. The one thing I can control is focusing on my sole purpose, do my best to grow towards that goal and continue sharing with an open heart. My encouragement is that you gorgeous (and handsome) creatures will do the same in your beautiful endeavors.



XOXO

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grace

Grace changed my life. It rescued me from trying to live up to expectations that I couldn't. Grace gave me joy in the muck. Grace met me where no one else could. I've learned how to give grace even when it's hard because it was so abundantly given to me. Grace is unconditional love in the midst of our mess. Let's not hold back giving to others the gift that our Redeemer paid a high price to give us.

Your Story


There is more to you than failed relationships, temptations you keep giving into, addictions, brokenness, lust, or a bad past. Every moment, every day, there is grace and more to your story!












Monday, September 14, 2015

The Truth About Rejection

There was no doubt in my mind I would get the hostess job at the Cheesecake Factory. I mean, how hard could it be to be a hostess, I remember thinking to myself. I was bubbly, kind and smart enough to direct people to their table-right?  I boldly walked into the brand spanking new restaurant and plastered a charming smile on my face. There just so happened to be a hiring "event", and they were hiring on the spot. Slam dunk, I thought to myself. I was ushered through a curtain into booth after booth of mangers. Words rolled off my tongue, I was smooth like butter. I couldn't wait to hear, "your hired" in just a few short moments. I reached the last booth and waited. Finally the hiring manager approached me with a grin on his face- I knew it- I got the job! When his mouth opened, it was not what I expected. It was as if he was talking in slow motion..."We chose to go with other candidates at this time, thanks for applying, best of luck to ya".

It was like a punch to the gut, a smack in the face. I remember getting in my car, holding the tears back...or more like immense embarrassment. I couldn't even get a frickin' job at the Cheesecake Factory, as a frickin' hostess??? My self worth began to unravel. I was not pretty enough, smart enough or good enough. My boyfriend at the time was awaiting my call, my parents were awaiting my call. I could see the next few minutes of my life vividly. A pause on the other end of the line, my boyfriend and parents wondering what to say and offer their condolences as they scratch their head in wonder as to why I couldn't even get a job at the Cheesecake Factory. I was cringing inside with horror- I was rejected by something I thought was so attainable. I thought I was more than adequate for the job, but that day, I felt like a complete loser.

Yet I'll never forget what I learned that day. It wasn't the first time I had been rejected nor the last time. But I think it was so awful because I believed I was more than capable for that job but I just didn't make the cut. It's like being the only girl that didn't make the cheer-leading squad in high school. But because of the Cheesecake Factory rejection, my backbone grew a little stronger and I wasn't as afraid of being rejected the next time. In fact, I felt like I could take any rejection that came my way. I had been humbled yet strengthened. The reason I was thinking of this story today is because my writing journey has been a lot like this. I want to reach so many people that are hurting but at the same time I'm putting myself out there in a personal way. It's been awesome but nauseating at times. Nauseating at times because my heart and soul is out there for all to see. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I still have a little fear of being rejected. But at the same time, I believe so much in what I'm doing that even if one person is touched by my stories than its all worth it.

So here is my encouragement! If you have been rejected or are afraid of doing something because you may be rejected- don't give up doing what you believe in. If you are met with rejection- let it make you stronger and braver for the next time you put yourself out there. Rejection can actually be the best thing that happens to you.

XOXO

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Park Bench Wanderers




We have all seen a picture of a person on a bench in some random park at their wits end at some point.  The person that remains nameless has that noticeable sullen look of defeat, head hung low as fingers rake through locks of hair or they have their head face planted in their hands, sobbing. I think we have all been at that place at some point or may be there now. A million different opinions swirling through a foggy mind, hoping that a neon sign would show up out of nowhere with the answers. Maybe we sit on the park bench in the middle of nowhere in defeat because our life is not what we hoped for or expected. Maybe we caused a problem that we can’t fix anymore. Maybe we failed again and can’t stand ourselves and would rather pull out our hair then run our fingers through it. It’s in this place that we want so badly to give up and believe that we are not good enough anymore or maybe never were.

To my fellow park bench wanderers (or street walkers or pillow sobers) here is my hope for you. Nothing you are going through is wasted because of the love Jesus has for you. Right now, whatever battle you’re facing, Jesus can love you in it and through it. In the mess there is a sacred mission that involves your individual circumstance. Turn off the banter of others and tune into Jesus. Let him know you’re a mess, a failure and you’re hurting beyond what you can handle.  Cry out to him all the guilt, heaviness and shame you feel. Don’t turn away from the ONE thing no one can take away. No one can take away the promise the Jesus loves you no matter what you did or what you’re going through. No one can take away the truth that Jesus knows every single secret and every single tear drop and still wants you.


I love that Jesus loves us so audaciously and that He offers something that covers everything that has gone wrong and makes it right. So, park bench surfers like me- look up and look within. Jesus can use your situation, whatever it may be. Hold onto the fact that when we give our situation to Jesus, whatever shape it may be in, it will be used for the benefit of the Kingdom in His time.