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This is part of a collection of stories that are about Jesus, my life and millions of ways that God used to help me find myself and heal from my wounds. 2/

Reflection is one of the greatest ways to work through healing. It is that allowance that causes intentional pause, taking inventory of past experiences or outcomes, how they made you feel and working through the various emotions that come.

"You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness." Brene Brown

Reflection is stepping into your own story.

Reflection begins healing.

Reflection is brave.

Reflection is loving.

Reflection is beautiful.

Scripture tells us that God is the curator and keeper of the stories that fill up the details in our life. Keeping track of our sorrows. Collecting the tears that we shed. Recording the heartache and victories. He holds our story so close to his heart. He sees our stories as precious. Beautiful. Sacred.

Sacred. What a perfect word to describe our stories. A sacred connection.

Step into a piece of my sacred story with me. Walk in my truth. Walk with me in my bold, loud self. The one that loves everyone, is a feminist, speaks her mind and will not be silenced. I will not hustle for worthiness. I already know I am worthy.

I sat with a piece of paper and scribbled out a LARGE timeline of my life. Trying deeply to connect every detail I could remember. Every feeling imaginable washed over me. Moments of betrayal. Places that time stood still. Occasions that seemed to accelerate far too quickly. I wrestled my way through difficulties, beautiful things, responses to things I experienced, things that really changed me and defined me. Processing through the seasons sketched before me, I noticed one thing - when I was able to be feel free from fear and the judgement of others, to simply be most authentic to myself, that is when I felt at peace with my decision and choices.

One situation in particular was the highlight of that realization. I have always felt so at peace about a choice and have NEVER questioned on my decision. It sits on my timeline as the point that I stopped caring about what other people thought about me. It has become marked time that there was a shift in my axis and I recognized that I was living under the control of people. Control from the harsh words and judgement of those in the church, the judgment and imposition that a board of elders trying to change me used to silence me.

Here's the deal.

I was church disciplined. Yep. You read that right. As a pastors wife, following Jesus, loving Jesus, seeking Jesus, doing my best - I was church disciplined. AND I was stunned by it. I was not living in sin, I was not making choices that were contrary to scripture. I was not turning and running away from Jesus. However, that moment of church discipline is the pivotal point in my life that I can look back and say - this was my moment. This was where I began to love myself, love my boldness, love my strength, love how Jesus created me. This is where men in the church stopped causing me fear and I started being true to myself. It was a moment that I was able to say

1. I stand by what I write, post, think, speak and believe; and

2. I will not take it down to make you feel comfortable.

Let's be completely transparent; the conservative, evangelical church does not know what to do with strong, opinionated, female voices. It intimidates their patriarchal mindset and they get working on how to silence the voices that oppose their dominating, masculine views. In this discipline situation, after being told I was leading people to Buddha because of a picture (posted below) and a post about meditation - I made a choice. I could argue with them or simply listen, state my truth and not waver from the convictions that Jesus placed in my life. I chose the second of the two choices - to boldly state my truth and convictions.

We call this the beginning of the end. Reflecting, stepping back into this story - I am at peace. Peace that this was the beginning of the end for our time at a church that harassed my parenting, my children, my husband. Peace that I stood on the right side of relationships with my LGBTQ+ friends. Peace that I made bold decisions to be authentic, real, transparent - to be a kind human.

Peace that I was becoming my most authentic self.

I am proud of this moment. I am proud that I was finally able to stand up to an elder board, not caring about what they were going to do or say about me. I am proud to have watch Todd have my back a million times over. I am proud to see that it strengthened my children and their convictions. I am proud that I found a place to strengthen my convictions and surrender the pressure I felt from the church. I am proud of my response.

It showed me that responses may not change the outcome, but it does dictate my perspective on the outcome. We have be ourselves, we need to stop being what others tell us to be. As the wife of a pastor, I have spent so many years conforming to the rules and expectations of what other people told me I had to be. I took back my life because I chose to daily heal and be myself.

Reflection has a way of affirming our transformation. It has a way of emboldening our choices. It has become a practice that embodies my daily life be evaluating through a questions with the intent of reflection. Stepping into my story helps me see the things that differently. Reflecting bravely and holding onto the beautiful pieces of my authentic story.

Authentic. Do you know what that word actually means? It means "not false or copied; genuine; real".

Why would we be forced to be anything we are not? Why should be hide behind the expectations of others and not discover the beauty of our truest selves? Why would someone (or an institution) expect us to be anything other than real? Why would they even want that?

Here's the deal, this has been a process and a journey. Reflect and be authentic with yourself by asking questions that cause you to think deeper about what you are experiencing and finding ways to work through the past experiences in order to find your version of freedom.

  1. Am I speaking my truth? Am I doing it with love?

  2. Is my silence because of fear or discernment?

  3. If I am living in a space of fear, what am I afraid of?

  4. Am I moving away from this because it will minimize my pain or because it will bring healing?

  5. What is causing me to not be my authentic self? Why?

  6. What is my truth?

Take the time to stop and reflect - write down your hard times, the responses, the feelings. It always tells you a lot about why you respond in the way that you do. If there was something that you see that you don't love - change it. It may take some time, but change is a beautiful thing.

Be YOUR AUTHENTIC self no matter what.

This is the picture that started the church discipline - you can see the post on my IG - just click the pic. His cute little self joined me for my morning meditation. I love this picture. Not because it is a picture of the cutest little guy in the world, but because it reminds me of the freedom I found.

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