Tuscany (picture by Seth Haines)
Two things followed by lots of questions.
First, I would read posts or hear proclamations about following our dreams. “Follow your dreams!” is the mantra of our day, it seems. But it confused me and if I’m being really honest it made me mad. And a bit resentful. Sure, maybe you can follow your dreams, I lamented in my mind, but I can’t. I have responsibilities; I have a family and I can’t just up and leave and follow my dreams. I was always particularly resentful when men said this. They didn’t understand the life of a woman. They didn’t understand my life.
Second, I watched through a screen the beautiful pictures of Tuscany coming from writer friends who were enjoying a retreat of sorts in one of the most beautiful places on earth. With every scroll through, my heart beat a little faster and I longed to be there with them. I wasn’t so much jealous as I was stuck. I felt stuck and sad and I didn’t know what to do with this intense pull towards the beauty I couldn’t have. My heart ached.
So this pain and these pulls and this resentment all collided into questions, as ache oftentimes does.
What do I do with these longings that beat hard in my chest?
What are dreams and what does it really mean to follow them, and is that even a biblical concept?
And as a woman particularly, what does it all mean? What am I here for? Is it just to be a wife and a mom, which is good and beautiful for sure, but what is this stuff in my soul that won’t go away?
I wrote a post about these aches and questions and it’s over at Ann Voskamp’s blog today. I’d love for you to join me there. Just head here: A Holy Experience – The Cry of a Woman’s Heart
P.S. Click HERE to read some of the quotes from the live chat with me and Sally last night. If you’d like to watch the recorded webinar (we had such a great time), just send your receipt of purchase of Longing for Paris to email@example.com.
Good morning and happy Tuesday!
I got to sleep in a bit this morning so I’m feeling quiet AWESOME. And coffee. And bacon. So obviously, it’s a good day.
First, I want to tell you about the MOST FUN new app I found: Voicekick. I love, love, love it because I can talk TO YOU (you can hear my voice), but I don’t have to look pretty! I can be in my bed, in P.J.’s, and still talk to you! I’ll be using Voickick to share Word In (morning scripture and encouragement), book excerpts, and other things I deem interesting enough to talk to you about. The “kicks”, as they’re called, are only 60 seconds each, so you can listen for just a minute and then move on! This week and next, I’ll be reading excerpts from Longing for Paris, so come on and follow me here so you don’t miss it!
“All of us get restless. Once in a while, this fog creeps upon me and makes me suddenly uproariously allergic to the mundane. It’s as though I can’t breathe! And I put my mind to thinking of escapes, adventures, fun things I can do to rest my spirit and to just have fun. You just can’t live intensely and seriously all the time or you will explode!
So, I have been scheming and designing a strategy for fun in my weeks ahead so that the work load and daily things don’t overwhelm…”
Amazon (only $7.91!): HERE
Barnes & Noble (signed edition): HERE
One last thing!
Today is the LAST DAY to get pre-order goodies, and then they’re GONE, GONE, GONE!
See the list of goods HERE, and follow the super simple instructions to get le free stuff! 🙂
Oh, and how about a giveaway while we’re at it?
Isn’t that tee THE BEST?! “Let’s eat croissants and pretend we’re in Paris.” YES! In my book, I talk about one of the ways I brought Paris into my everyday life, and it was to on a hunt for the best croissant in Lititz (my little hometown). My kids and I would go to different cafe’s and try the croissants and it was such a delight! Want to know the winner? Get le book! 😉
Today I’m giving away one of these tees! To enter, just fill out the form below! WOOT! (Can’t see the form? Just click HERE)
This contest is open to the U.S. only. Canada friends, I’m SO sorry! I need to have a special giveaway just for you. I know!
Have a glorious day, and SEE YOU TONIGHT!
Love and croissants, SM
There are so many things I want to tell you, but they seem to be all jumbled up when I start writing about them. I think that’s one of the reasons I haven’t written much on here lately, anything of substance that is.
If we were sitting together over coffee I would have no problem telling you what God has been doing in my life and where I’m at and what’s on my heart, but writing it out has become so difficult for me. The words are just stuck. But I’m going to do my best to get them out anyway.
There are so many places I could begin. I’ll start with Beth Moore.
A few weeks ago Beth wrote a post called, Going Forward. In it she talks about moving forward as a church in our current cultural climate, and one of the ways we move forward is by getting real local with our church and investing in our local body of believers. I cannot tell you how deeply this spoke to me, because it is exactly what the Lord has been laying on my heart: get local.
It occurred to me recently that I haven’t been in a committed bible study in five years.
I used to lead women’s bible studies in my home. I used to study the scriptures in depth and even write my own bible studies. After I had Caroline I was just so tired and I just stopped with the studies. I didn’t want to have anyone in my home for a bible study anymore because it felt like too much. I had three little ones and I just couldn’t do it. But I was writing online because it was my outlet to do what I love: teach and encourage other women. The thing is, the more I did online and for the women “out there”, the more I pulled away from my local life. And then a couple of years ago I started getting a little bit cynical with church and bible studies, and I had a ton of questions. Intelligent voices all over the Internet were saying things I hadn’t heard in Christian circles before and it confused me. I was in a bit of a theological tizzy. “Does God really say….?” My husband and I felt disillusioned with the church, and I particularly didn’t even want to be in any bible studies anymore. I felt like Christians shouldn’t be huddling in their little bible study groups but should instead be out reaching the hurting and the lost and those who need to know Christ. But I see now that I was flawed in my reasoning.
While it’s true Christians need to be serving others and sharing the hope of Christ to a broken world, we also need each other. We need to be encouraged and built into and have local accountability. At least that’s where I’m at now. I need it. I need my body of local believers. I need to be poured into. I need to study the Word and stay grounded with a local bible study, where we talk about the Word face-to-face and we dig in and sharpen each other. I also need local accountability from those who know me and care for me personally.
I’ve been giving out a lot but not taking in. Even during my year off, I still had to finish writing my book, and that about did me in. It was too much for me. I find that even though I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, I’m also just tired.
All I want is to be close to home. I want to be very present in my life, and I have been, and it’s what I want. Home is where my soul is content.
It’s funny because I have this book coming out and it’s the story of my unfolding and my answering of deep questions on womanhood and longing and ache and I can’t even seem to write about it. I realized this morning why that is.
I’m having a hard time writing about my book because I have been resolved through the writing of it. My questions have been answered and my longings have deeper meaning and I feel free. I am happy. I love my life. I am making good choices for it, and all of it, all of the choosing, by the grace of God alone. He has led me to see, to see Him and my life and how to live.
I know I’ll have more pain and questions in the future because God will keep growing and maturing me until I’m done on this earth, but right now, I’m in the best place.
I know what I want and I know how to get it.
I want home and local community. I want to follow God with my whole life and let that be the ambition of my soul. I want to serve locally and then worldly. I want to grow in the quiet accountability of my community and my local body of believers.
I want to make choices based on the whispers of the Spirit and not on pleasing man. And Lord willing and by His grace, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
So what does this all mean?
I don’t know how it will all play out, because I’m not interested in making big decisions and big announcements anymore. Rather, I’m going to follow where the Spirit is leading and I’m going to get local. I’m going to get into a small group women’s bible study with my church, and I’m going to serve my neighbors (I have some ideas), and I’m going to fill up before I pour out. I’m going to homeschool kids well, and clean my kitchen and try and stay up on my laundry.
And I’m going to write here when I feel inspired to write.
Basically, the rolling waves of life are no longer running the show, as they used to be.
Okay, well, there it is. My state of the Union, so to speak. Now for some quick housekeeping.
What’s Coming Up
Tomorrow is the LAST day to get pre-order goodies, so if you’d like to get a copy of Longing for Paris (the whole story of what I’ve been writing about here), you should do that now. It’s on Amazon for only $8.19 (get it HERE), and there are still some signed copies from Barnes and Noble (HERE). The book will officially be in bookstores NEXT TUESDAY! Ahhhh! 🙂 To get your pre-order goods, you must GO HERE and submit a screenshot of your receipt!
Live Webinar with Sally Clarkson and Me
One of the pre-order goods THAT GOES AWAY TOMORROW is access to the Longing for Paris webinar with me and Sally Clarkson that will be held TOMORROW night at 9pm EST. I am so excited for this time and discussion because time with Sally is always so rich. We will be talking about longings and our reality and dreams and filling our souls. I always look forward to the wisdom I know I will get when I learn from Sally. I so hope you will join us.
Longing for Life
In addition to releasing Longing for Paris, I am also releasing a video course mid-August called, Longing for Life. I am stoked about it because it is the cry of my heart for women everywhere, to live unregrettable, satisfied lives. I’ll share more soon, but in the meantime you can go here and put your email in if you want to be notified when the course releases.
Alright ya’ll. I’m off. Hope to see you tomorrow night!
Here’s to life!
Every time I see my friend Karen, I cry. (She also makes my husband cry.)
There is something about entering into the vulnerable places of your heart with another person that just breaks and releases you. Karen is the woman I talk to when God brings issues up in my life that need to be dealt with. I sit on her couch and I talk and we pray and we ask the Lord what it is I need to know or see or deal with.
Even though I go in willing, once I’m there I think I’m fine, until it’s clear I’m not fine, and then I cry.
I cry because the Lord reveals something in me that needs healing, and it hurts to uncover wounds, but it feels so good to acknowledge them so they can be healed.
And it’s because of this healing that I keep opening myself to this process. You see, I’ve decided that I want a healthy relationship with myself.
I believe the world is desperate for healthy people — people who are willing to have the dark places turned into light.
How many kids can fit on the dock without it tumbling over?
I am back from the backwoods and have some happy summering news for you.
I got word from my publisher that everyone who pre-orders a copy of Longing for Paris gets the PDF immediately!!! That’s right, so you can take your family vaca and I’ll just come along and we’ll talk about Paris and longings and beauty and holiness and SO MUCH MORE.
Yay for Tyndale being awesome.
Much love and happy summering,
P.S. There are still FOR REAL copies of Desperate and the One Year Bible left (paperbacks) for those of you who pre-order 5 or more copies! WOOT!
P.P.S. If you already sent in your receipt for pre-order goodies, you have the PDF coming to you, no need to resend!