A Girl Like Me http://agirlikeme.com Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Until We Meet Againhttp://agirlikeme.com/until-we-meet-again/ http://agirlikeme.com/until-we-meet-again/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:00:22 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2706 1

Come sit with me one more time, will you? As old friends, like the kind we are, there’s a space that’s been gifted where words don’t need to be said. That lump in your throat and pit in your stomach? Yeah, I have that too. And without saying a thing, we both know what the other is feeling. We know what is about to happen.

We’re saying goodbye.

As I type those words, I’m flooded with every emotion. For as much as I knew this day was coming, I’m not sure my heart was ready for it.  I don’t think we’re ever ready to let go of something that means so much to us. That’s why goodbyes are never easy.

I wanted to be eloquent. I wanted to make my last words to you somehow be the culmination of everything I was feeling. Everything I knew you needed to hear one more time. But friends don’t need eloquence and grandeur, we just need to be honest. So here goes:

I’ll miss you.

I’ll miss the emails where you entrust me with your stories and gift me with the right to speak into them. I’ll miss the comments and encouragement you leave on each post. I’ll miss the way you champion each other. The way you’ve created a “me too” community that has allowed girls to feel free to be themselves, mess and all. I’ll miss the way you’ve challenged me to push myself past my fears and insecurities and embrace a vulnerability I didn’t know I was capable of. Like I said, we’re friends and saying goodbye to someone you love is never easy.

So let’s not try to be brave then. Let’s cry the tears that need to be shed, grieve, and let ourselves be sad for a little while. Because this family we created, it was special. It IS special.

Maybe we’ll never meet this side of heaven. But even if that’s the case, I will carry you with me in my heart always. For you girls and this place has been a treasure and a gift far beyond anything I could have ever known. God is the giver of good things, and this place, it was the best.

And you, my friends, you are warrior women. You are women who know the hard way is the best way. You are fighters for friendship, loyal lovers, deep feelers and beautiful messes. You are light and life-giving and this world, well, it wouldn’t be the same without you. I wouldn’t be the same without you.

So right now, I’m holding you close in my heart, thanking the Lord for the four years we’ve had together and hopeful for the day we can be together again. But, until we meet again, know you are loved and treasured far beyond what you can imagine. And know that even though AGLM is saying goodbye, we’ll always be right here whenever you need us.

With All My Love Friends,

Heather

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Running Wildhttp://agirlikeme.com/running-wild/ http://agirlikeme.com/running-wild/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 14:00:56 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2680 04dd6d9ffbe5e8f6c525f947ba9760a8

I sat there for a moment, listening to the woman on the other end of the phone, not sure that what she was saying was actually real.

 

“Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to the Master Of Arts in Pastoral Counseling Program at Liberty University.”

 

Here I am, a thirty-four-year-old mother who hasn’t so much as glanced at a textbook in well over a decade, and now I’m about to enter an intense two years of living and breathing school work. For a brief moment I wondered if I hadn’t had some kind of mental breakdown that caused me to believe that being a full time mom and grad student was somehow a great idea. In the end, I owned my sanity as well as the insane decision to step back into the world of academics and pursue a dream that had long been forgotten.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the last four years of AGLM it’s that the hardest things in life are often the best things.

 

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We live in a world that praises a life of comfort and security. If it’s not easy, it’s not worth doing. Because of this, we’re becoming women who are afraid to try. Cowards instead of warriors. People who look back on our lives asking ourselves why we chose to settle for ok when we could have had the best.

 

A girl like me, however, refuses to settle. She is the woman willing to look at the unknown, the scary, and the difficult without fear because she knows it’s those very things that make her a stronger and braver woman. She is a fighter of dreams and a pursuer of hope.

***

 

Friends, life was never intended to be easy. To avoid pain and hardship, to reject uncertainty and pursue only pleasure, is not being brave at all. It’s being a coward.

 

Bravery comes when we allow ourselves to embrace the things that scare us most. To share the parts of our stories that make us uncomfortable to have told. To speak up when we feel mistreated or marginalized or stereotyped or bullied. To run wildly and freely into a future that we have no idea what it might look like.

 

This is who a girl like me is and this is the girl I am striving to become.

 

***

 

I’ll be honest, I’m terrified of going back to school. Terrified that I might fail. That I might not be good at it. That I’ll disappoint my friends and family. That all the work will turn me into an absentee mother, wife and friend. But if I let these fears, these made up and unknown assumptions rule my life, then I’ll never get to know what’s in store on the other side of my dreams.

 

I’m choosing to run.  To do the wild thing. The unexpected, daring, and yes, crazy choice of taking on something bigger than myself. I’m choosing to humble myself and ask my friends for help when my school work doesn’t make sense and I need a bit of tutoring. I’m choosing to admit when I feel overwhelmed and under-qualified and let those who love me hold me up and carry me when taking one more step feels like just too much.

 

I hope that these last four years have given you permission to be that girl as well. To know and believe that you are capable of great things. You aren’t ruined because of your mistakes. That struggle will pass and make you better as a result. You are powerful and kind and able and more daring than you realize. All you have to do is get up and run.

 

Run towards that dream you’ve been too afraid to pursue. Run into that wound that is crying out to be healed. Run towards the people who will run with you as you do the unimaginable. And run towards a God who sees so much beauty within you and longs to give you Himself and life full of joy.

 

I’ll miss you my friends. I look forward to bumping into you along the journey and sharing all of the places our embracing the wild has taken us.

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Completely Brokenhttp://agirlikeme.com/completely-broken-2/ http://agirlikeme.com/completely-broken-2/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:00:22 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2701 broken-heart-girl

Hello again you ‘Ol screen.  Hello again to each of you.  It’s been a while.  It’s been a long while.  I can honestly say I haven’t written much since we said goodbye.  I left with dreams and expectations of future writing but they never truly came to be.  Its funny, isn’t it?  Many are the plans of the man’s heart, but the Lord’s prevails.  I needed a break.  A break from processing through writing, a break from scheduled depth and scheduled vulnerability.  I needed to just be vulnerable without sharing it at expected times.  Did you know that’s possible?  Did you know being vulnerable doesn’t always mean you need to share it with the world?  Doesn’t always mean you need to force it?  Did you know vulnerability can be sitting  on your bed, all alone with the clock ticking and the sound of a distant T.V., with just tears streaming down your face?  It’s an honesty with yourself and the allowance of letting yourself break.  I guess that’s where I’ve been.  A place where I let the feelings come as they are.  Not forcing them to the surface when they’re not ready.  Not tapping in to them just enough to write a meaningful post.  I used to only let myself break a little. Cut it short and write.  So I stopped writing.  And I just broke all the way.  I just was. I just am.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love to write.  Even now as I sit here, my computer speaks “welcome home”, and my fingers pick right back up like riding a bike.  It’s familiar and warm and I’m thankful to once again be in your presence (per say).  You all have been a home to me in the past, and I will always be grateful for this blog and the portal it created to allow a sinner like me to humbly write my heart to you.

All this to say, there’s a lot we could catch up on…  the recaps and “up to dates”… maybe another time.  I would love that.  But for now I say hello and goodbye with parting thoughts.

 

After all these years, I feel as though there has been a common thread in our meetings together.  We are all broken.  It’s why we came here in the first place, isn’t it?  To be seen in our brokenness?  To be seen and not judged for where we are?   To find someone who may be able to understand exactly how we feel?  To find a girl like me.  We found a safe place here.  We found It’s ok to be broken here.  I think we, as writers, all needed a place to break and be seen as well.

“ The very thing we’re afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father’s heart.”- Paul Miller

“We were born with the urge to self-protect.  Nature given survival mode and yet we’re called to break.  “Jesus breaks the temptation to self-protect and gives the vulnerability of Himself.”- Voskamp

Never be afraid of being a broken thing.  I often lay in my bed wondering where the meeting of brokenness and healing takes place.  How is it ok to be broken but also desire wholeness?  And if it’s ok to be broken, then how do we find joy?  How do we go on living in our brokenness but not in despair?  How can God ask me to be broken but also ask me to get out of bed in the morning? I haven’t found all the answers, and maybe I never will… but I did find HOPE.
Matthew 26:26-28  “Now as they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ’Take eat; this is my body’.  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ’Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’.”

 

Jesus offers us a cup.  It Is His body and His blood and it is a covenant to us.  A covenant to become a union.  You and Him.  Me and Him.  And because there is a union, every part of me becomes His.  Every fear, every flaw, every sin, every worry that keeps me up at night and every burden that weighs me to a slow crawl.  Every ache in my hidden chambers and every piece of shame I hide, all of my brokenness! It ALL goes to Him!  And In return I get all of Him.  All of His peace, all of His goodness, all of His wholeness and all of His rest!

 

“Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked Harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all His goodness.  Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by Him”- Martin Luther

 

Jesus is saying – All that you’re carrying I take, and all that I am is yours.  Yes Lord!!  I take you, Jesus, please take me!  All I have for all of You!  He is my Healer who was broken Himself.  I gladly give you this burden I have been living with for the past 3 years, I gladly give you the worry of failing and missing the mark, I gladly give you the shame I have suffered and the guilt I have laid upon myself.  I gladly give you the fear of what the outcome may be, the fear of my rebel heart, the fear itself.  Take it all and give me yourself in return.  Peace is not a thing, it’s a person.  And this person has given all of His peace in return for all of my crap.

 

But how?  How do i give all of me in return for all of Him??  None of the pieces of me can find peace until I can see and feel and experientially enter into the reality of my union with Christ!  Do you fully understand what this means?  Do you fully understand the depth of this union?  Are you in communion with this God who is offering you the very thing you need and are desperate for?

Because, honestly, I have forgotten about this Union.  I have forgotten the power that is in the covenant God has made with me all those years ago.  I have forgotten His promises, and I will never find peace without remembering the heart of God for me, the cross, communion and crucifixion.  I need to remember to be broken and given into the world so Jesus can re-member my broken heart.  Remember the covenant He has made with you.  Remember the Union that was made so that you might live.  Remember and allow Him to re-member your broken places.  As Ann Voskamp puts it so beautifully, “Who knows why God allows heartbreak, but the answer must be important enough because God allows His heart to break too.”
I am the girl with secrets I don’t know how to tell, with sins deeper than I care to admit, with silent suffering and knowing what it means to be lost, not knowing how to be found.  I am the girl who snaps at my children, stiffens in anger towards my husband, the girl who would rather protect my heart than enter into someone else’s pain.  I’ve fallen and broken myself, desperate for someone to put me back together again.  And yet I sit here, being offered a continual love from the God in Heaven who loves me and sees me.  He takes my cup and gives me His.  Any good in me is from Him.  And He is offering you, a girl like me, the same cup of peace and grace in return for your brokenness.

 

It’s been a journey, hasn’t it?  This blog, the words, the tearful emails, the community it produced and the love it brought about.  It’s been a road with speed bumps and bruises, laughter and light, hope and glory!  We’ve all been knocked around a little throughout it, battered and worn.  But we have all experienced outstretched arms in this little community we call A Girl Like me.  I pray you have experienced the lifting of your head in this time with us.  We can only pray by some miracle, God has used our words to help you see His face whenever you see yours.  His grace is all over you.  His love shines through the deepest cracks.  His glory blankets you and allows you to break and grow.  One step at a time dear friends.  Remember the covenant.

 

“Beat, beloved heart, beat on into the world.  You will be broken and you will be loved.  You don’t ever have to be afraid.”  He is redeeming everything!

 

xo- Kelly

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Enough Is Enoughhttp://agirlikeme.com/enough-is-enough/ http://agirlikeme.com/enough-is-enough/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2016 14:00:35 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2687 enoughI’ve spent precious years of my life bowing down to the voice that says I’m not enough. Not pretty enough. Not funny enough. Not a good enough daughter or sister. Not a good enough friend/student/employee. This voice has dictated who I am and what I believe about myself, and it’s effected every area of my life.

But no more. Enough is enough. I’m done living in response to the voice.
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If you’re like me, you know the voice I’m talking about all too well. You know that it doesn’t just go away. Hard as you may try to silence it or ignore it, it’s always there. Taunting. Lying. Controlling. Demanding to be heard.

Too often we just give up. Give in. And listen to all it has to say.

But as I’ve watched others actually go to war against the same intrusive voice and not welcome and accept it as I have like an old, toxic friend, it’s made me wonder,

“At what point do I, too, step up and finally say I’ve had enough of the battle for enough?”

I wish I could tell you there’s some magical fix. Some way to escape the voice of self-doubt. But I don’t think that’s the point. It’s always going to be there, louder some days than others. It’s what we do with it that makes the difference.
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So it’s time to take a stand. To choose to live in opposition to the voice. To prove that we are more than the unrealistic expectations, the “if only’s” and the “should be’s”. We are enough.

What if we chose to walk in confidence instead of shame?

What if we made the effort to live free from the burden of expectation?

What if we actually stopped carrying the weight of our own sin and embraced grace and forgiveness instead?

What if we let our present define us for once rather than dwelling on our past?

What if we quit comparing everything and everyone, immersing ourselves in a sea of discontentment?

What if we let hope motivate and strengthen us?

 

Maybe then we’d find peace.

Maybe then we’d experience true joy.

Maybe then we’d see that our actions really do speak louder than our words, loud enough to drown out the sound of that old nagging voice and introduce us to a new voice that meets us with kindness and love.

Maybe then we’d feel empowered.

Maybe then we’d really, truly, fully know that we are enough.
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I don’t always feel like I’m enough. And if I’m honest, deep in my heart I don’t always believe it, either. But when I make the choice to live as though I am, even on those days when it just feels like a big joke, the change that begins to take place right before my own eyes is stunning. A little bit at a time, I start to see my world in a different light. I start to believe that it really is okay not to be okay…and the sooner we all figure that out, the more we’ll actually start to feel truly okay. More than okay, really. We’ll begin to feel blessed. Worthy. Loved. Accepted. Enough.
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So friends, let’s stop giving our insecurities the last word. Let’s take that loud, obnoxious voice and turn it into fuel for the fire. Because that’s what changes things. That’s where victory is claimed. That’s where perspectives shift and grace is understood.

Let enough truly be enough.

Tell the voices in your head you’ve had enough…because you are enough…and you’re loved by the God who is more than enough.

I don’t know about you…but I think that’s enough for me.

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Voice Lifehttp://agirlikeme.com/voice-life/ http://agirlikeme.com/voice-life/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:00:04 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2675 unnamed

 

Hey Friends,

 

Well, it’s been an adventure. Many of you have walked through the birthing of this movement…this community. You’ve walked through the growing pains, the challenges, lessons, and lots of funny moments. It’s been a beautiful journey for everyone who has been involved at one point or another.   As I’ve thought about what to write and what to leave with you, I’ve reminisced over the topics that have been covered and have wondered what I could possibly say to wrap up how I feel.  I feel as if we are sending you off into the world, as if we have been a family and everyone is grown and leaving the nest.  I wish we could sit across from each other at the table, sipping cups of coffee and sharing what our next dreams and passions are (as I have wished with every past post I have ever written).

 

Ladies. In my journey with A Girl Like Me I have gone from single, to wife, to mother.  I’ve walked through losing loved ones, homes, and living abroad. And I’ve watched myself walk through a season of getting lost and hidden away as other people spoke identity over me. I’ve walked in and out of this, all while sharing my heart here…always being so graciously accepted and my words always being so safely taken in.

 

So, as I met with a young girl today and we DID sit across from each other, sipping coffee, and sharing stories it came to me as a simple sort of, hit me in the face, way.

This. This is it. This is what we, as the writers, have wanted. To encourage other young women to do what this girl is doing. Now I don’t know if she has ever read anything here, but she reminded me of you all. A young girl who took a simple college assignment, and instead of just getting it done, she decided to turn it into an opportunity, an opportunity to give voice to people’s stories. She sat there interviewing me, asking me about my story, the stories behind my tattoos, the stories behind my marriage…Even now, after sharing so many times through written word on here…it felt life giving to have someone use their voice to bring voice to my own story. To speak value over my journey.

Girls, as I sat across from her today I saw each of you. I saw what each of you now have the opportunity to do. YOU get to offer a place for other’s voices.  I shared with this girl how I went through a season a while back where my desperate longing for older, Christian counsel ended with me allowing my identity and God given gifts to become suffocated.  I allowed other people’s voices to dictate my obedience, or lack thereof to God.  I allowed the voices to tell me I was nothing, had nothing, and that my convictions and gut checks were nothing more than a lack of grace, and that I was judgmental and prideful.     I allowed those voices to sink in and take hold and before I knew it, I went from being a strong, identified, discerning woman who chose obedience to God rather than pleasing man….to being a quiet, oppressed soul, who thought, “Surely they’re right…I’m nothing more than a nobody with too much pride.”    It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom and had been hurt more times than I could handle, that I came back to the realization that, “this wasn’t me”.    I was given the gift of discernment and God HAD called me to be obedient in some crazy adventures.  I had to re-find my identity in HIM. And find people who would speak TRUTH and LIFE (sometimes that truth is hard to hear, but if it comes from life giving voices it should never be oppressive). I also had to come to the conclusion that if I NEVER found those people…my identity would still stand strong in Him and I would challenge myself to be that person to others.

 

I Am A Girl Like Me and I am living fully in my identity as a Child of God.

 

If there is one thing I could leave with you, it would be to encourage you to be life speakers. To pour life into your words, to uplift, encourage, and challenge the women and girls around you to step boldly into their God given identity and hear….truly hear it deep down into their heart and soul….that they have a voice. You have a voice. I have a voice.

 

With that voice comes great responsibility

Notice how I didn’t say the good old saying, “With great power comes great responsibility?”    That’s because your voice, our voices ARE powerful. It is through your voice that power is born…and that power can be used to oppress and crush, or to uplift and breathe life.  We live in an era of constant voices…everyone is speaking their opinions, thoughts, and judgments on social media everyday.  SO quickly they can go from being individual voices, to just noise.

YOU and I get to use that voice in a different way.

Go against the grain.

We don’t need to hide behind our computers, we don’t need to scurry shamefully under the powerful hold of someone else’s voice telling us “we can’t”, “we’re not good enough”, “God would never tell you that”, “ You’re crazy.”   No. We get to be the voice that starts a new song…that sings hope and brings good challenge to a fellow girl’s soul. The challenge to stand up and DO…to DO your passions, DO your gifts, DO this thing called “loving your neighbor”, DO the crazy thing God has called you to do.   And do it knowing there are girls standing by your side joining that voice. Girls Like You.

 

Girl’s you have power. Power in the voice given to you by the one who created you to be a doer and light.   Girl’s YOU are A Girl Like Me.    I AM A Girl Like Me.

I have grown and learned so much on this journey with you all.  We’ve poured our hearts out onto the pages of this sacred space…we’ve read and have each been touched by different subjects shared here.  Now let’s go be doers. Let’s challenge each other as we start our own movements with our own communities, schools, jobs, and friends.  Let’s use this dream that Heather had…this dream to create a place for real conversations and raw, hard to talk about topics…and bring it to life. Let’s use this action Heather took as inspiration, knowing that not a single one of us walks away from this journey of A Girl Like Me unchanged. Not one of us walks away empty handed….but each of us walks away knowing we ARE A Girl Like Me…always.  It just continues to pass on like dominos through all the threads of relationships created, all of who have been inspired to live bigger and do more…because of the moments shared in this space that have spilled over into every individual girl’s life.

 

Thanks for making this journey such a treasured gift.

Much Love to each and every one of you,

Kelsey

 

 

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About Timehttp://agirlikeme.com/about-time/ http://agirlikeme.com/about-time/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:00:32 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2666 IMG_8407

If falling asleep was an Olympic sport, I’d be the outstanding champion.

 

There’s photo evidence of me falling asleep sitting up with a cup of water in my hand, in the back lounge of a loud bus, while reading a book out loud to Brendon, in the back of a van during a mobile geology tour in college (oops)… And during movies…

 

I fall asleep EVERY time. Maybe I have selective narcolepsy only for when I’m watching a movie? Of all the movies I’ve attempted to watch with family and friends, I could probably list the ones I remember with my two hands. I’m not a movie snob, it’s just that knowing I’m going to be sitting down in a comfortable, dark room for a few hours makes my body start relaxing. Before long, the intro music is over; I know the character’s names and vaguely what’s going on. The screen is getting a bit fuzzy as my eyes flutter in a half-awake state. I’m fighting to stay strong (AKA awake). All of a sudden, I’m waking up an hour later trying to pretend I’ve been awake the whole time… As if I could fool my husband who has been taking pictures of me with my mouth hanging open. 😉

 

“About Time” was different. Has anyone seen that movie? DANG, people. If you haven’t, go find it right now. If I stayed awake, you know it’s good.

 

Although I won’t give the story away, I will tell you that one of the characters learns that he has the ability to relive many of his days all over again. In the beginning, he just uses that ability to fix mistakes that he has made. Along the way, he learns more from his dad who has the same ability. His dad advises him to relive every single day over again just to have a better attitude because life is a gift and life is short. As he experiences his days a second time, he intentionally makes eye contact, smiles at strangers, pays attention to grief, hugs his wife longer, plays with his kids on the floor…

 

Man, seeing him relive his days made Brendon and I think (and sob)—if we had that chance, what would we do differently? And let’s live our days the first time as if we’re going back in time to fully live it.

 

By the end of the movie, I wanted my life to change. I realized living our best days the first time means living with a Heaven Perspective.

 

Last week at church, our pastor said that every time we’re frustrated, we’re ultimately just wanting heaven.

When we’re upset because of injustice and war, we want heaven on earth.

When we fight with people we love and walk away angry, we want heaven.

When we are in physical pain and learn that people we care about have cancer, we cry because we want heaven.

We are longing for our forever home.

Since I’ve been more aware of heaven, my to-do list seems less consuming; I don’t feel inconvenienced when I give my time away.

 

So this is our last post together. Man. I just keep asking myself: What’s more to say? What could I say in my proverbial graduation speech that might make one more mark in your mind or make a difference in your day? What are the thoughts God has put on my mind for you sweet girls?

 

This idea is something I’m learning the importance of right now in my life that helps me experience heaven on earth in a practical way:

 

To be healthy and kind, I must pay attention to when I say “yes” and “no”.

Those two words have the ability to change our lives, to shape our days, and to affect our hearts.

 

Lately when I’ve felt run-ragged from working in the sun, making too many commitments in the afternoons and evenings, and filling up the weekends with plans away from home, I’ve realized that I had addiction in my life: saying yes.

 

Yes to good things. To good jobs. To doing errands with my husband. To hanging out with amazing friends. To taking care of my home. To growing food in my yard. To helping organize events. To writing on a blog. To moving the chicken coop again.

I’m learning that being everything to everyone is not actually possible or satisfying. Putting 100 hours of activities into a day that only ever had 24 is taxing on my body. Stillness and silence disappear quickly. But I’m slowly rediscovering it. In a book I’m reading called “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist, she says,

“But it’s in the silence that you can finally allow yourself to be seen, and it’s in the being seen that healing and groundedness can begin. When I practice silence just for a few minutes, when I practice allowing myself to be seen and loved by the God who created me from dust, I start to carry an inner stillness with me back into the noise, like a secret. When you begin to carry God’s love and true peace deep within your actual soul like a treasure chest, you realize that you don’t have to fling yourself around the planet searching for those things outside yourself. You only have to go back into the stillness to locate it. That treasure you’ve been searching for was there all the time.”

 

Part of my quiet stillness is reflecting back to Jesus’ answer when He was asked “What is the priority commandment?”

‘Love the Lord your God with your heart soul mind and strength.’

One thing. Love God. Every bit of the rest of it will come into place. We will become surrendered women ready for the next thing, healed, whole, healthy, kind. It may take one day or one hundred years, but I’m discovering that this journey is worth taking.

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Squad Goalshttp://agirlikeme.com/squad-goals/ http://agirlikeme.com/squad-goals/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:21:34 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2663 large

Lately it feels like I have been struggling through life. I am taking each day, one at a time. The past couple years have been so much fun for me, and honestly, it’s been pretty easy, not many struggles to tackle. But I have entered a new and exciting stage of life, but it’s not at all easy and it hasn’t been fun yet. You may have heard that I am pregnant(!!!) and have been for the last few months which is so exciting and I am so thankful, but so far I have not enjoyed pregnancy. And honestly, being pregnant has made me miserable in many ways. I daydream all the time about holding sweet baby Creagh and I cannot wait to be a mom,but I really cannot wait for him or her to be out of my body at the end of March.

 

I have been sick 24/7 since August 1. I thought by the time I had to write this post, my sickness would be lifted, but nope, it’s still here. I also started a new job in a new industry the week I got pregnant (oops) and I’ve had to work through it being sick. At times, I’ve been lonely, depressed, super anxious (thanks, hormones). It’s been really frustrated that there is nothing I can really do to control what’s going on in my life right now. I have questioned God’s timing. I have doubted God’s blessings. And I have felt so much guilt from not being able to help others more during this time and not being happy about the process when I know this is a gift.

 

So I know the majority of you are probably not pregnant right now but if you look back at those last few sentences I think so many of you can relate to how I’ve been feeling. These feelings, emotions, thoughts, doubts, and fears are reoccurring through life.  I have experienced basically everything I’ve been feeling before in different circumstances and intensities. Nobody’s life is perfect and everyone experiences hard times, not always in the same way but no one is alone in the emotions, insecurities and doubts that each of us experiences.

 

I have been a Christian almost my entire life. I know God is there and I know that he is for my good. I’ve seen how in all things, he has worked it out for my good. Do I always feel it in the moment though? No. and that is also normal. It’s called being human.

 

So here is my counsel to you and to myself whether you’re a struggling through a difficult, dry time right now or for the next hard time you experience…

 

Run to your friends who you know will encourage you and point you back to God and his truth. Thankfully I am seeing the light and hope now. I am happier than I was a month ago for sure, but I know it’s because God is answering my prayer through the encouragement of my friends. When I feel like being by myself all week because I’m stuck in a darker place, God reminds me to call on a friend who can encourage me to remember God’s blessings in my life and remember the fun that He wants us to experience in life. My community and my deep, God-loving friends are one of the best gifts I have ever given on this earth. God created us to thrive when we are surrounded by people who love us and love God.

 

I will say too, I have been through stages of life that I haven’t had God-loving friends around me. When I was in high school, I felt alone because I didn’t have friends at school who loved me for me because they had a relationship with God. So, I prayed every night for friends and of course, God answered my prayer because He wants that for us as well. Sometimes he does allow you to go through times like that, but it’s because He wants to help you see that those types of friendships are a pure gift from Him. We do nothing to deserve that. It’s because God is good and He loves to give his children good good gifts. And like my grandmother has told me, to have a friend, you have to be a friend.

 

Thank you for allowing me to pour into your lives these past couple years, my dear girls. You are so loved by each one of the AGLM writers. We are only a few clicks away :).

 

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More Than Finehttp://agirlikeme.com/more-than-fine/ http://agirlikeme.com/more-than-fine/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2016 14:00:29 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2656 92922666876087861808

 

Sweet girls,

If I were writing this post to you at any other time my words would be very different.

Perhaps they would be more gentle or guarded; they would be more measured and

manicured. But this is now… and so these are my words for this season.

 

Recently, my family and I were talking about failures. We went around the table sharing

our greatest failures and how they have shaped us or prepared us for where we are now.

Everything from failed classes to being fired, projects at work, and relationships… within

the safety of family, my failures seem laughable.

 

That evening, I sat alone in my apartment with a new book and a glass of red wine. I must

have read the same first two pages seven times; I couldn’t stop thinking about my failures.

And not in a “look how far I’ve come” sort of way.

 

Actually it was quite the opposite. It was a quiet conviction; my failures have made me fine

instead of forgiving. I pride myself on getting back up, on keeping on keeping on. And I

expect others to do the same. Sure you’re allowed to struggle or hurt… just learn

something anecdotal from it quickly and get on to the next thing.

 

I’ve been wrestling with this truth for the past few weeks:

being fine doesn’t make you strong it makes you lonely.

 

I used to think being A Girl Like Me was having the courage to share your story. But it’s so

much more than coffee and conviction and lessons learned.

I am A Girl Like me and I’m sitting with my failures right now.

Grieving them and allowing them to hang around for a while…

Not because I like to wallow, or the way my eyes look after days of crying-

But because being distracted and numb is no way to live.

 

I can’t continue to craft my story into something worth sharing; manipulating it to appear

vulnerable- all the while praying you don’t ask too many questions.

 

The company who fired me from my first job out of college now has television commercials.

When I was first fired, I flew home spent two days packing and moved to Nashville. I

laughed with my friends about how ridiculous the whole situation was, and badmouthed

the company and a coworker. I stuffed the feelings of shame so far down while upholding

the outside appearance of everything being “fine”-

 

But four years later, whenever a television commercial of theirs comes on I feel as though I

am going to throw up and I’m just as alone as I was on the plane ride home.

I’ve known others who have been fired since I was. I’ve listened to them lament their loss

and patted them on the back assuring them it’ll be okay. “There are other companies, other

opportunities… look how great I’m doing!” I’ve shared my prescription of detachment to

anyone suffering, with promises of painless days to come.

 

Replicate that scenario for a hundred different failures and you end up here.

In the throws of a season of not liking yourself very much and trying to find your way back

to innocence.

 

Sweet girls, my prayer for you today is that you have grace for yourself and others. Allow

your failures to fill you with so much compassion for others it becomes what you are

known for. Be a “me too-er” with gentleness not expectation. Feel all the feelings, even the

uncomfortable ones. Do the work it takes to be A Girl Like Me.

 

The hard, time consuming, work of self-care and honesty

The sometimes-painful work of vulnerability

The counterintuitive work of staying when leaving is easier

The habitual work of confession

The courageous work of being more than fine.

 

***Steph currently lives in Huntsville, AL and is pursuing her graduate degree in Social Work with the desire to be an advocate for refugees in the US. She currently writes on her personal blog

 

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Looking Forward and Letting Gohttp://agirlikeme.com/looking-forward-and-letting-go/ http://agirlikeme.com/looking-forward-and-letting-go/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2016 13:58:24 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2652

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I See Youhttp://agirlikeme.com/i-see-you/ http://agirlikeme.com/i-see-you/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:00:27 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2643 advanture-backpack-forest-girl-Favim.com-2181720

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller

***

The argument wasn’t even that big. I was upset that Jeff was on the phone with a friend while I was in the car with him. We had taken a day trip to Atlanta just the two of us, and I seen the four hour drive as a gift of time to be together and reconnect.

As we began to hash through our thoughts as to why we were arguing and what made me so upset, I found myself suddenly bursting into tears. “I just want you to see me.” I cried. Words began vomiting their way out of my mouth through broken sobs as I began to explain that my deepest fear was never being really seen for who I am and always living a life based on the assumptions of what everyone else thought of me to be.

***

The wilderness, it breaks us. It’s supposed to. It’s supposed to be the place where God strips away all the crap that’s holding us back to make way for a new path…a better way living.

We are meant to lose ourselves in the scarcity of it all, the surrendering and embracing of this new us we are becoming. Yet somewhere in the middle, well, we end up a little bit…lost.

It’s confusing trying to grieve our old lives while discovering this new one. To say goodbye to a life that, no matter how bad it was, was the life we knew. Can I still laugh at the same jokes? Wear the same clothes? What about my friends? Can I keep those?

The wild never lets you leave without changing you. It’s why you were meant to be there in the first place.

***

We’ve been friends a while, you know. Some of you I’ve hugged and cried with. Some of you I’ve known only in the cyber world and some of you are faceless people who live in the late night prayers I pray for your hearts. Our differences may be great, but we all hold one thing in common. We want to be seen.

We want to know that in the middle of this wild place there is someone out there who is looking out for us. A fellow traveller who is willing to hold our hand as we figure out this crazy thing called life and faith and identity. It can be so lonely at times that we wonder if anyone out there can really see and understand what’s going on inside us.

I haven’t lived your life. Nor you mine. But tonight, tonight I want you and I both to go to sleep knowing that although our paths are very different, we can still walk them together. And that even in the loneliest of moments someone sees us. So I’m here to let you know… I see you…

You the girl who quietly cries herself to sleep each night.

The girl who can only find comfort in the cut of a razor blade on her skin.

The girl whose body has wasted away from months of not eating or purging.

The girl who feels soiled and filthy because, in a moment of weakness, you gave yourself away to a man who you shouldn’t have.

I see you. 

You the girl who smiles on the outside but is screaming on the inside.

The girl who has all the friends in the world yet still feels alone.

The girl who looks in the mirror and cannot recognize the person looking back.

The girl who doubts herself and especially God.

I see you. 

You, the girl who’s suffered unspeakable acts at the hands of another.

To the broken, wounded, lost, angry, hopeless, addicted, faithless, weary, and worn girl…

I see you…..and so does He.

There are a lot of us out there, walking this holy calling into the wild. And though my light might not be a bright one, I’ll hold it high, and you do the same. And together, well hopefully we can help light a path that leads us all onto the life that awaits us on the other side.

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