Day 11: Going First

We were talking and I could feel that familiar tension spreading throughout my heart and mind…the desire to look right and spiritual and like I have my act together warring with my desire for honesty and transparency.

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Usually the desire to be seen as competent and spiritual wins, but that day, almost before I realized it, I quickly slipped out my confession of inadequacy. I was ready to brush past it and move on with the conversation. It was almost an aside, really. But she paused me, and the words she said and look in her eyes that came next essentially said…

“I’m so relieved to hear that. Me too.”

In that moment, I was reminded of the power of going first. There is a releasing and freeing that takes place when we are willing to be the first one to be humble.

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And for a moment I’m going to speak to leaders: those of us who formally or informally guide, disciple, teach, or lead other believers. There is a special power when we will be the first ones to step out in humility and admit struggle or need or failure or insufficiency.

So I’m asking you and I’m asking myself, when was the last time you said…
“I’m sorry…”
“I was wrong…”
“Please forgive me for…”
“I need help…”
“Please pray for me…”
“I’ve haven’t been doing what I know I should…”
“It’s been awhile since I…”
“I’ve gotten out of the habit of…”
“This is an area I’m a struggling in…”
“My heart has been wrong in this area…”
“This area is hard for me…”

And we need to say these things simply and leave them there. We don’t need to give reasons and stories and lessons or even a sermon on how we know we’re wrong. Instead, we need to admit our struggles and leave it there.

Leave the door open for them to say “me too”.
Leave the door open for them to encourage and bless us.
Leave the door open for them to breathe in the freedom that comes from realizing that no one is perfect.

Be the one to start the conversation of humility.
Be the one to open the door to free others up to speak their own struggles.
Be the one honest enough to show your own imperfections.
Be the one bold enough to go first in admitting weakness and being humble.

Humility is such a precious gift that we can give to those we lead and serve.

Be blessed

I Didn’t Clean the Bathroom: {Hospitality is Worth It}

I forgot about our bathroom when I said we should invite some friends over for dinner.
The bathroom hadn’t been cleaned in too long and the hand towel needed to be changed out and there were spots on the mirror and I’m sure there was hair on the floor. I’m slowly getting the house back to a normal level of cleanliness after the constant sleepiness of the first trimester, and I haven’t quite gotten to the deep cleaning of the bathroom.


So we texted friends until we found a few who needed something to do on their Friday night. Then we hustled to the store where we gathered all sorts of yummy toppings for my very favorite to make homemade pizza.

And somewhere knee-deep in the cooking process, I remembered about the bathroom. Because what is worse than inviting guests over for dinner only to expect them to use your messy bathroom?

I planned out my time and didn’t panic, but cooking always takes longer than I seem to think it will. Then the doorbell rang and I was up to my elbows in pizza toppings and hadn’t even changed out the hand towel…

And then I completely forgot about the dirty bathroom, until our last guest was saying goodbye and thanking me for the evening.

My first instinct was to internally panic and then panic to my husband as soon as the door shut behind everyone. But somehow I stopped my panic long enough to listen to what she was saying…

“Thank you so much for inviting me tonight. I almost texted you earlier today, but I was afraid it would be date night…I really enjoyed it.”

And I thought about our little group that evening.
Five of us sat on couches and ate pizza and veggies and ice cream cake and talked seriously and laughed hard and listened intently and all talked over each other for four hours. Each of us in the room had some challenge we were facing, some battle we were fighting. And I think we all just needed to laugh and be together, even if our friendships are sort of new we mostly left the deep conversations for another day.

They left and my extravert’s heart was full and my craving for deep, authentic community was a little more satisfied. And I realized all I would have missed if I’d let a dirty bathroom get in the way of that night.

When you look around at your community, maybe it’s a little mismatched, a little broken, a little new and fresh and hesitant. And maybe your bathroom is dirty or your laundry unfolded or your meal just a frozen pizza, but I want to challenge you that community is always worth it.

It’s worth it to take the time and energy to invest in the new friendships and to bring people together for the first time under your roof. It’s worth it to cook a meal or clean your house or just pick whichever of the two you have time for.

Because the people gathered in our living room last night all helped me in the kitchen at one point or another, since I’m simply not that organized. And the bathroom wasn’t clean, which they probably noticed. And at times the odd combination of newer friendships showed in our conversation, but we all needed the community.
And we all left thankful.

And it wasn’t the homemade meal that any of us were thankful for…it was each other. It was the time together. It was the friendship and the community.

Your home doesn’t have to be perfect to be inviting.
Your food doesn’t have to have a gourmet presentation to foster community.
Your community itself doesn’t have to be deep and rich in order for it to be a blessing…to yourself and to others.

So invite people into the mess.
You, and they, will leave thankful.

Be blessed

Be Quiet and Listen: {Four Ways I am Learning to Love with My Ears}

There have been conversations over coffee and conversations over cake and lots of conversations standing in the isles at church and I keep noticing something going wrong in my heart.
I love to talk.
I love to share what I’m thinking and feeling and learning.
I love to relate things to my own experiences and to weave words together until they wrap into a grand lesson or story or tale of life lived.



But there is wisdom to be found if you’re looking and as I’ve looked I keep finding this wisdom.

Be quiet and listen.


I’ve heard it whispered and preached and I’ve seen it written down over and over by people much wiser than myself, and every time it cuts me deep. Because I’m not good at listening.

So often when you’re talking I’m listening not to fully hear and appreciate the words you’re speaking, but I’m listening to think of how your words relate to me. I’m listening to think of what story or experience I have that relates to you instead of just listening to your story.

I’m listening selfishly.
I’m listening because I want to tell you about me.
I’m listening because I want to share what God has taught me.
I’m listening because…me.

Because I sometimes think that my stories and my life will help you and teach you and encourage you…but that’s not true.
People need Jesus, not me.

I so often want to be the one to say something that makes all the difference, when most often what makes the difference is that I was quiet and listened.


I’m learning to bite my tongue and check my heart…to be quiet and listen.

Because real listening looks so different than we think.
It looks like…

Really, truly caring. Caring about who they are and what they have to say and really listening to the words they choose to express the pain they are going through, not rushing in to label and categorize their hurt with your own words. Caring about the joy they are experiencing and they blessings they are receiving and not rushing on to the fact that you wish something good would happen to you.

Being Curious:
Want to know. Really truly want to know how it feels and why it feels that way. Ask questions. Good questions. Hard questions. Deep questions. And then let them talk through those deep places of their heart and often they’ll talk themselves into a place of healing.

While they talk, you silently, simply seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Because we don’t have the perspective of heaven, but that’s the perspective people need.

Give them Jesus:
Because the only One who has truly born our sorrows and carried our griefs is the Son of Man. And anything good we have to offer is merely a gift He’s given us. So don’t give them you and I won’t give them me…let’s give them Jesus.

And my pastor said it so well, “All I know how to do is give people Jesus, because He can change them.”

That’s what I want. That’s the goal of good listening: to love them where they are at and then to give them Jesus. Not me.

How is God teaching you to be a be quiet and listen? Have you struggled in this area? What area from above can you improve in?

Be blessed

The Girl Behind the Blog-iversary

Hello Beautiful! It’s time for another Girl Behind the Blog Vlog!
And this time, I did it with someone! My dear friend Amanda was visiting from Washington State with her boyfriend Timothy. Travis and I had an awesome time with them, and are sad they left this morning.

Amanda has a makeup and style YouTube channel at MsFleetingbeauty. She is an amazing, godly friend and she also has awesome style. So check her out and let me know what you think.

{Note: The camera looked focused when I set it up so I think it’s just the lighting…we did it at night. Oops! I also didn’t realize that she was farther from the mic AND talks quieter than I do, so sorry for the extreme volume differences.}

Be blessed

Walking with You

Wow!  It’s been forever since I posted.  Sorry!  =(I have thought about posting and wanted to everyday…but sometimes life just gets the best of you.
However,  stay tuned…I have a crafting project and a recipe coming up!

Do you ever need someone to just be there?

I want to be there for you…I know, I can’t be there in person, but I can be there through prayer.  We all go through seasons of struggles and pains.  I want to be there to pray for you during those times.  God hears and He answers!

So feel free to ask.

I will never share your requests (on or off the blog) unless you ask me to.  I love you…not because I am super woman, but because the love of Jesus has been poured into my heart and empowers me to love you…it is His love through me.  I want to be a warrior for you…a prayer warrior.

Find out more about blogging prayer warriors…
and check out my new page…Warrior for You!

Covered in Grace

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