more than an ashtray

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The summer before I got married I took a pottery class in an old dairy barn.

It was something I had always wanted to do and felt a season before great change was ideal to press into creativity and art.

Truthfully, I needed something to ground me before such a huge transition.

So I took this class because I love the way coffee and tea feel in a handmade mug and because like you – gardeners, painters, bread makers, writers – I crave to use my hands to make something beautiful.

The class was small. I was the youngest by about twenty years. They were a tight knit group and often wondered how I even found this little dairy barn.

There is technique to wheel throwing but I discovered so much of it is in how you feel. It’s a delicate balance and movement, a dance of sort, of keeping your feet firmly planted, elbows by your side, and arms relaxed as your hands and body apply pressure to a piece of clay in hopes of turning it into something durable and lovely.

And there’s a whole other dance to pull up the sides so a mug or vase or bowl can actually function.

Often I’d be strong and focused with setting the clay and softening it on the wheel. I’d carefully maneuver my fingers and thumb to make the piece come to life. Until suddenly, I’d push too hard or not enough. One side would collapse and I’d have to start all over again or grab a small knife to cut the top.

My mug would become an ashtray.

It became our running joke.

Let’s not make any more ashtrays, yeah? How about we go for something different today. 

In so many ways, this season feels a lot like that piece of clay on a wheel.

Maybe life always will?

We’re constantly being molded and shaped and cut to form something durable. I can feel my God applying pressure to one side, an area of weakness, and sometimes it’s so tender and fragile that it collapses.

And it feels like we’re starting at the very beginning.

A new bud growing on a branch.

Though His work is very different than mine. You see, He doesn’t strip things away, start anew and leave me there to dry and crack.

A piece to place on a windowsill, that while beautiful, has no real extra purpose or ability than holding small coins or rings. 

No, I think He’s much more creative. I don’t think He keeps us there – even when the journey is long and we’re stuck in the waiting room.

Slowly, with time, an empty vessel becomes something that carries weight and isn’t so afraid to take up space.

He turns what was once broken into something useful and plentiful.

I’ve met women in my work who wonder if they are too far gone. Women who have seen and experienced too much to believe that redemption is possible. I have friends who feel stuck in negative patterns and are covered in fog; who feel the weight of anxiety and discontent and not enough.

I’ve been there and am there. I think maybe we always waver in the in-between.

They’ll be those days we think the potter is done.

So you’re just going to make another ashtray, are you? 

And the human element might think: well, would it really be so bad? I mean, an ashtray can be used for beautiful things too. It’s okay if you stop right there and keep me where I’m comfortable.

Please don’t push or pull any further.

I don’t know about you friend, but I get antsy in that place. Like a child sitting inside at school on a really beautiful, sunny day.

I really want to swim out further. I want to enter the place where I have to cry out for something bigger than just me. Because in that place of discomfort and fear, what I trust is actually happening is the potters finest work.

Something that was once sitting on a windowsill collecting dust is reborn and used for more. 

And in this space, we’re able to hear a soft whisper, close enough that it tickles our ear: Don’t be so afraid to take up more space dear one. I designed you to be filled up, poured out and deeply loved.

5 ways to kick “writers block”

PC: Cathryn Lavery
PC: Cathryn Lavery

I once heard that writers block is a myth. That it isn’t really a thing. That if we are waiting for the moment to write – mug of coffee in hand, candle lit, no clutter or mess – we’ll just be left waiting.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I didn’t always believe this to be true. I’ve had what I thought to be “writers block” countless times, each more restless and frustrating than the next.

Though what I began to realize over time was that it wasn’t a matter of having nothing to say. I actually had a lot to say. I just wasn’t sure how to say it. And the deepest, hardest part to recognize was that my inability to write stemmed a lot from fear. I feared that my thoughts and feelings weren’t enough.

Like maybe it had all been said and done before (way more eloquently of course). So why say anything at all?

I think a better, more practical name for this feeling is being stuck. We’re stuck in our head, our mess, the weight of the day. And we need a way to unravel.

Because that’s what writing is for me; a way to come undone.

It’s like suddenly, all the chains and links and filing cabinets in my brain that make so much noise are able to be still. And the quiet thoughts, the ones I have to get down with my ear to the floor to hear are free to swim and spill out of me.

Suddenly the muck turns into something durable and creative and fruitful.

Something in the dark comes into the light.

Something that was once ignored or misunderstood is heard and accepted.

Writing might not be your thing, and that is okay. But I think we all need a way to come undone. We all deserve space to make sense of the joy and pain.

So what do we do when we’re stuck?

I thought I’d share what’s worked for me. This list is alive and active, it’ll change and grow with each season. Dig deep and make your own list when you feel stuck.

Write down the things that help you unravel or loosen the reigns.


I have to give myself time. Like freshly baked bread, you can’t rush a good thing. I believe in slowing down, abandoning your to do list and walking away from the screen or blank white page. If we’re rushing to every little thing, if our days are marked by google calendar, we have no room left in the margin for creativity.

So much of my writing involves fully living in the world, observing interactions and finding patterns or connection. It makes sense of something that seems so complicated. We need time to observe and process, we need space to daydream and ponder.

“If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, this is how you spend your days–listening, observing, storing things away, making your isolation pay off. You take home all you’ve taken in, all that you’ve overheard, and you turn it into gold. (Or at least you try.)” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

PC: Peter ᴳᴱᴼ Kent
PC: Peter ᴳᴱᴼ Kent

Get Away.

If the sun is out when it rains usually you’ll find a rainbow. Sunflowers ache for light, they actually look up to the sun. A tree so mighty and tall can grow from one small, single seed. Creation is a beautiful, amazing thing. We’re living inside a masterpiece, a miracle really, that can so often be overlooked. Breath in the air, take in the season, savor the colors and light and smells.

Find a friend.

Writing doesn’t happen in isolation. It happens in community. And that can feel so strange because the actual act of writing feels so personal and private. But the truth is, I’d have nothing to say here if it wasn’t for the people around me. My ideas and words flow after a really great coffee date with a dear friend. I am able to say out loud to her what I can’t seem to write down. And the way she interprets the world offers inspiration and clarity.

Friends make sense of all the many thought bubbles in our brains and give us a gentle nudge or push to keep working through it, to come out on the other side.

Be your own friend. 

When I really have nowhere to start and I can’t seem to make sense of the connections and patterns, I talk out loud. I have a date with myself. A blank white screen is terrifying sometimes, it stares us down and intimidates. It causes us to place more importance on filling space over feeling – over asking how we’re doing and what we’re carrying.

Sit down with a cup of coffee, hop in the car – when you think you have nothing to say just start talking. You always have something to say. It just might not be what you originally planned to sit down and write.

The Golden Rule.

I think this one hits closest to home because I have to tell myself it on repeat: your story isn’t plain or ordinary. Your voice isn’t too much or too little. No one experiences life the way you do. No one sips coffee, stirs soup, gathers people like you. You are different than the human next to you. And while so much of us is similar, our hopes, wishes and desires – the ways we interpret life, meaning and love is our own. And that’s a beautiful thing. So you don’t have to worry if it’s been said or done before because until it’s been done by you – it’s never been made that way before. 

Friends, what do you do when you’re stuck? What helps you come undone in the best way?


When it’s Bigger Than You Thought

Hey there, Maeve here. When I started this blog, one of my hopes was to connect with other writers. Though I didn’t really know how and I was intimidated to reach out to folks with really pretty blogs and good grammar. Somehow I stumbled upon Songbird & Nerd and saw the words “Guest Post”. As I read further, I felt a nudge to let go of fear and send a few words to Lindsey. To my surprise, she got back to me and wanted to share my words. [You can read that very first guest post here if you’d like here. And while you’re there, read some of her words too!]

This one moment served as a catalyst to be a little more brave, again and again. It pushed me to reach out to other writers in hopes of fostering connection. And I am so grateful I did. I am so thankful to Lindsey and her writing – she writes with an open, unfiltered heart. She writes not solely when she’s learned a lesson but when she’s still in the wrestle. I am honored to feature her here on the wee spoon and hope you enjoy her words as much as I do. 


PC: Greg Raines
PC: Greg Raines

I’ve been on the road lately.

Last fall a nearby church invited me to speak to their mom’s group about neighboring, being present to the people God puts in our path. The talk was well received and the group leader shared my name and contact information with other mom’s groups in the state. Since then I’ve fielded invitations from many group leaders to come and encourage their women with funny stories and a fresh dose of truth.

It’s been a blast.

I’ve spoken to rancher’s wives in a tiny farm town, rocked the microphone in a strip-mall church start-up, and found myself in front of a stained glass window telling a story about failed efforts at breastfeeding.

Last week I invited my friend Gina to join me as I headed down to a nearby suburb to speak at a nighttime gathering of young moms. We had about an hour in the car to catch up while we made our way to the meeting. I had entered the address the group leader sent into my GPS, so although I was following instructions about when to turn, I wasn’t paying much attention to where we were going.

Until suddenly the computerized voice told us we’d arrived at our destination.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I was shocked. This wasn’t a tiny farm town, a small chapel with stained glass or a strip-mall start up. This was a mega-church and I mean MEGA. I’m not sure I’d ever seen a church so big in real life. It looked like it could possibly be big enough to host a professional sporting event. And the parking lot was packed.

My heart began to thud in my ears.

“Okay, wow,” I said to Gina.

“How big is this mom’s group?” she asked, echoing my own questions.

I hadn’t read the email that closely. Had they neglected to tell me that I was the opening act for Jen Hatmaker? Was it possible that I was about to speak to 3,000 women? Would my thoughts on cultivating friendships in this season of life work as well in a cavernous auditorium as they did around the table with a dozen mamas in a small town?

“Yeah, I’m not totally sure,” I replied to Gina, breathing deeply, trying to steady myself. I noticed in that moment that I hadn’t remembered to change my pants, which bore evidence of a day spent with 2 toddlers including food from lunch and dirt from playing at the park.

Why hadn’t I changed my pants? Why hadn’t I read the email? WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

I prayed, quickly, under my breath that God would carry me through whatever it was we were walking into and in we went.

As we entered the atrium, with 4 story ceilings and a fully appointed restaurant in view, an electronic marquee prominently displayed a listing of that day’s events. As I read the list, I felt myself relax. There were entries for a high school play rehearsal, a 7th grade basketball tournament, a support group for recovering addicts and a class about blending families after divorce.

And the mom’s group, upstairs, in a classroom down a hallway. Which sounded just about right.

When we walked into the room, we were warmly welcomed and invited to join a table full of other young moms, one of whom was also sporting dirty pants. My people.

The night was sweet, laughing and telling the truth about some of the challenges of developing relationships while raising children. We ate too much chocolate and told our real stories. One woman at my table cried as she shared how much she longs for deeper connections in this stage of life. As Gina and I said our goodbyes, I felt grateful, satisfied. I was in my sweet spot, speaking and teaching from the front, sharing stories in small groups, leading times of prayer.

Here’s the thing – I loved that night as it was, but I also loved that moment, that tiny space where I had to breathe deeply and accept that I might be about to get up in front of a stadium full of people. It was scary and thrilling and reminded me when life doesn’t go according to plan we can lean into what we know to be true.

That dirty pants don’t actually matter.

That God is present for big jobs and little ones.

That all we need to remember is to do the next thing.

If you’re lucky, the next thing will have fun new friends and a plenty of chocolate.


Lindsey Headshot NewLindsey Smallwood has good relationships and bad dance moves. She lives in Boulder, Colorado where she works, writes and raises little ones. Read more by Lindsey at her blog or connect with her on Facebook.

On Staying


I’m staring at boxes.

So many cardboard boxes.

I think now is when we decide to become minimalists. Minimalism sounds so romantic when you’re packing.

But back to the boxes. They are covering the floor, our bedroom and hallways. Our roommates dog is scared, he runs quickly through towers of boxes to get his breakfast. I’m scared too buddy.

They are staring at me to fill but I just had to come here first. I had to come to you dear reader. A few words on planting roots, settling down [why has that always sounded so boring to me] and staying were pressed on my heart.

Buying a house doesn’t mean you’re stuck [thanks for the reminder Dad] but it does mean you’re sticking around for a bit.

And this place wasn’t where I wanted to stick around a year ago.

Sure, I thought it’d be sweet to begin our marriage in a small town, a place Matt had grown familiar too. Plus I was tired of the hustle and bustle of a city and wanted a change of pace. And being a lover of travel and new places, I celebrated the idea of starting somewhere brand new. So we moved. But on one stipulation, I’d gently nudge and throw at Matt through the course of that year, nearly everyday – after this it’s Africa.

After this we’re doing something radical and different and not so vanilla.

I’ve always been a wanderer. I’ve always had a restless spirit. Committing to anything past college threw me into a frenzy of anxiety and worry. It’s why marriage was so terrifying. It’s why signing a lease always felt like all bets were off, life as we knew it was over. Dramatic? Maybe a little.

But the truth is, I’m not very good at staying. I haven’t lived anywhere longer than a year in the past 6 years, other than here of course.

I stay long enough to share all the parts of myself, to be open and vulnerable and then I run. It’s like the truth and honesty and rawness becomes too much and I have to go. I have to start somewhere fresh again because I think I am locked into one identity. I think settling is lame. So I leave, ripping up roots, yet clinging to them with all my might so once I land in the next place – wherever that is – I am dreaming of back there, the place I was before, the place I felt known and accepted.

It’s a cycle I’ve lived for years.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of place – living out west on the coast, the town my grandparents were born in Ireland or an African village. Place has always meant purpose. It’s meant a cool story, exciting pictures to post, adventure and thrill.

But God wrecked me this year because he gave us people.

He surrounded us with community and friendships so deep and thick that it feels as though we’ve known each other way before this little town. He’s laid the art of neighboring on my heart in a way it’s never been done before. He’s also shown me, through others, what being a good neighbor really means.

What being a good friend really means.

So as we rounded out our first year here last September, instead of talking about where we might want to move, we looked at homes. We decided to plant our feet and heart. We decided to give it our all and love people the best we could. We decided to be honest with any pain or regret or shame with friends who deserved to hear that part of our story.

Running away just wasn’t an option.

Staying was.

Don’t get me wrong dear reader, I whole heartedly believe in travel and exploration. I believe moving to a place just to move is totally right and good. There is a great, big world to see.

But I also believe in seasons – a time for staying and going. A time for planting and uprooting. A time for plowing and harvest.

And for us, right now, it’s a season of planting. 

Because I think something is being built here and I want to see it through. I bet you see it in your towns too. I think God is doing something pretty magical and powerful here in folks homes and around their tables, in coffee shops and our wednesday dance class.

I think a movement and awakening is rising and I don’t really want to miss it.

I suppose these words are to thank all the people who’ve made our town home. It’s to celebrate every coffee date and walk and dinner and yoga class and tear that have taught me how good it feels to stay.

Even when it’s hard and a little terrifying. Particularly when we fall into the comparison trap. [I spin down that hole more often than I’d like to admit.]

But it’s worth it too, right? It’s worth digging our feet in, feeling the dirt on our hands. When we put our blood and sweat into something we come out braver and stronger and sturdier than before.

And truthfully, I’m a little tired of running. I want to learn how to stay and commit and celebrate even in the mundane. I want to dream right here with what we’ve got and stop thinking there must be some other place that will make things easier and more exciting.

I want to stop craving more and be grateful for what is.

Reader, you are so dear to me. Thanks for helping me stay here on this little space too.

I hope you decide to stay in something or somewhere if you really want or need to. I hope you stay connected to the vine or your own source of grace and truth, even if you don’t see the fruit quite yet.

I hope you feel the love from a tribe of people who care so deeply for the person you are and becoming.

p.s This is also an invitation to come visit & stay with us. xoxo

Join the movement

VV Post

This might hit close to home or feel far away.

Chances are though, you or someone dear to you has felt this way before.

Can you visualize something with me friend?

You’re standing in the checkout line of Target. It’s a busy Saturday morning, the lines are long. You look to your left and see a shelf of magazines, you grab one and begin flipping through the pages.

Picture after picture of flawless, photoshopped faces attached to fit, firm bodies stare back at you. Each one more perfect, wrinkle and blemish free than the rest.

You think to yourself: these faces and frames don’t look like mine. In fact, they don’t look like any of the women I love and spend my days with.

As you dig deeper, the article headlines shout similar words and phrases.

10 ways to loose weight before summer.

The best ways to please your partner.

How to fit in those size 2 jeans again.

You look down at your stomach and awkwardly yank at your shirt that shrunk in the wash. Suddenly the dress you picked out to buy, laying on the belt, feels silly to purchase. And your mind swirls down a vicious cycle.

How could I wear a dress like that when I look like this?

Why did I eat that bagel this morning? 

Am I ever going to get my lazy self to the gym?

Vv Post 2I was a sophomore in high school when I went on my first diet.

A lot of girls were doing it, it seemed like the cool, hip thing and I desperately wanted to fit in. A friend recommended shakes for lunch. Though at the time, my body was used to way more food, so I brought a sandwich too.

With time, I became more disciplined.

One shake and half a sandwich.

One shake and no sandwich.

One shake.

Half a shake.

Thankfully in time, I snapped out of this. I missed good food and was sick of being hungry. Yes, I ate more but the lies of not being pretty still snuck in and polluted my thoughts.

vv 3When I was a senior, our teacher told us we could study anything.


Yes, anything. 

My mind swirled. What am I passionate about? What makes me fired up? What makes me smile or a little bit sad? What’s something I know little to nothing about and wish I knew more?

For the first time in ever, I made a decision in less than 30 seconds. The topic I wanted to rip a part and pull through was clear.

How the media reinforces a negative self body image. 

I wanted to research it. I wanted to shed light on the epidemic and how much I loathed the way women and men were misrepresented.

How the expectations presented were unattainable and deadly.

vv 6I share all of this with you dear reader, because I believe whole-heartedly in another way, a change of course.

And because I have to believe some of you have felt this way too.

I have to believe, though it pains my heart, that you’ve felt not enough. That you’ve felt guilt after eating. That you’ve screamed in the mirror after trying on fifteen different outfits before going out. I have to believe, because I’ve felt all of this too, that you’ve thought your story was too small or insignificant to share.

That maybe it wasn’t a story worth telling.

If I could leap through the screen and hug you I would.

vv 4

Can you visualize once more with me?

Imagine being at that same Target checkout line and reaching for a magazine on the shelf and finding a picture of…you.

Does that sound crazy in our world?

As you flip through the pages, you find women you recognize and admire. Women who’ve sat around your table. Women who know and love every laugh line on your face.

Imagine reading stories of courage and hope and redemption. Imagine finding heartache and friendship and laughter.

vv 5This dear readers, is what Verity Vareé is all about. This is exactly what this company of women are trying to accomplish. They seek to share your story, your mothers story, your neighbors story and publish it in a beautiful book for all the world to see.

But it doesn’t stop there.

This publication is only the beginning of even bigger dreams. Dreams of hosting and running workshops. Dreams of speaking into the lives of young girls in schools and after school programs. Dreams of telling stories of real beauty – the kind that doesn’t need to be filtered, altered or changed.

I believe in this company so much. I love, adore and admire every woman on the team. Head on over to their about page to meet them all too. And folks, these ladies need our help. Right now, we can all be part of the mission of celebrating true, raw beauty. We can all be story tellers and sharers.

Watch their beautiful video below to hear the heart behind this project. And head on over to their kickstarter page to learn more!



The Final Hour

Hey there, Maeve here. I want to introduce you to Kim Butler. I sought Kims help last spring during a particularly restless season in life. I’ll admit, restlessness and disconnect have folllowed me a while. Though in this particular season, I was feeling rather directionless and unsure of which way was up. So I sought Kim’s coaching through The Whiteboard Room and am so incredibly thankful I did.

Kim inspires people to find their greatness and lean into their calling and purpose. I am so grateful to her and overjoyed to welcome her here, on the wee spoon.

kims post 2
PC // Stock Photos

[Originally written in 2012]

Someone once told me, ‘it’s not faith unless it comes down to the wire.’ At the time he was talking about other people’s wire; now, I’m feeling the tension of mine. 

Just over a month ago I came home from 11 months of missions abroad. Throughout that time, and even as I prepared for the journey, I felt God asking me to trust Him and not make any plans for life after.

So I didn’t.

Most of the time the idea and reality of not having a plan was freeing. For someone who always has a plan A, B, and C this was a welcomed request from the Lord. 

But now I’m back home, feeling all the pressures from society and my depleting bank account to make a plan. This is the final hour. The hour faith is tested and perseverance is demanded.

I no longer welcome the idea of the unknown. 

Every great sports movie comes down to the final seconds of a game or the last few meters of a race with the underdog coming out on top. Why is that? Why don’t we see movies about teams that win everything by a landslide? Perhaps we feel like the underdog in our own story most of the time and we want to see in others what we hope for in ourselves. We want to know that when our final hour or last few seconds on the clock come, we can win.

We want stories that give us hope. My hope is that in my final hour I will trust the Spirit inside me and in my God who cannot fail.

These words are not words in the wisdom of hindsight; they are words in the midst of trial as I process where I am and where I’m going. I have very little idea of where that is but I have to trust that God will come through as it comes down to the wire. Perhaps that will be when the last cent leaves my bank account, or maybe when I least expect it; but He will come through.

Here I am, wire thinning, seconds ticking, waiting on the Lord.

My final hour is now.

kim butler post
PC // Stock Photos

Since July 2012, I have experienced many more “down to the wire” moments. The journey has been hard but so incredibly worth it. God has used this journey to grow me and my platform, giving me the place to speak into the lives of others in their “down to the wire” moments.

Today, I get to process with people where they are and where they are going.

As a coach, many people come to me when they are in this place. It is a hard place to be and choosing faith is not an easy choice. We like control, we like clarity, and often those places are an opportunity to surrender – the unnatural response.  

I want to offer you the most valuable thing I have learned in the past three years. Determine your course and then stay on course. Take the time to answer these questions: where are you and where are you going?

Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Often we look so hard for the right “step” but the steps, the circumstances we so desperately want to control, those are the Lord’s, and the best thing we can do is trust Him with those.

Yes, pursue your goals, pursue opportunities with intention, but pursue them in light of your course, your purpose, your mission.

Surrender. Have faith. Stay on course.

kim butler
PC // Kayla Griffin Photography

Founder of the Whiteboard Room & business coach to creative professionals rising to the top of their industries, Kim Butler makes it her daily mission to propel entrepreneurs and brands into their full potential for greatness.

Read more about Kim over at The Whiteboard Roomwebsite // instagram

Forgive on the exhale

forgive on the exhale

My lungs were holding on so tight to all the feels that I didn’t want to feel anymore.

I thought if I could just exhale it would all go away.

I decided yoga was the answer. Even though the thought of being in a room full of strangers all squished in together and feeling rude if I didn’t engage in small talk felt somewhat awful.

Of course I sat beside the sweetest mother and daughter. They had just joined the gym and were new to the class. The daughter was moving to Germany this summer to get married.

I quickly shared how beautiful the country is, how my husband and I spent our honeymoon exploring Bavaria. How it holds some of my most cherished memories.

She was excited but fearful – sad to leave all that is familiar and safe.

Oh how I remember that feeling too. Even though I moved a mere 2 hours away, I remember weeping as I drove further and further away from home. Home was always my constant. It was the place I moved out of and back into countless times. The place held more memories than I could count.

I remember seeing my husband driving behind me, which felt absolutely crazy to say out loud. My what? You mean, we really did this thing? We’re in this for the long haul?

And my Dad, my number one man for the past 25 years, pulling a large U-haul with all of my things. Really, a lot of their things, they so graciously donated to fill our first home.

So I recognized that fear and hesitation in her voice as my own.

If it had been appropriate and not extremely creepy, I would have hopped over her moms mat and onto hers and given her a hug.

In yoga, they ask you to come up with an intention for your practice. Often times I fumble around in my head for a word that is clear and concise, something that embodies all my thoughts and feelings. It is rare to find one that fits.

This day, the word came with little thought or effort: forgiveness.

Maeve, you need to forgive.

You see, I wish I was an expert forgiver. I can say the words – I forgive you -but the doing part, the actual letting go and giving it up are much harder and feels nearly impossible.

I become a hoarder. I hold on to past mistakes [my own included] and file them away in little drawers that I can pull out and read later.

Reader, I’m sure you know, this isn’t truly forgiving.

We can’t hold on, we can’t bring it up three weeks later over lasagna when something rubs us the wrong way. And because we really don’t have words for why we’re upset in the now – we pull words from that other thing that made us boil.

Truth: I really want to be a better forgiver. And when you are trying to work through something so big and wide – you need back up. You need to ask for help.

The friends help I sought didn’t simply promise to pray and validate my hurt [love her for it] she also encouraged me to feel all of it. Don’t wipe it away just yet if you aren’t ready.

Because you see, my m.o. is to pull up my boot straps, wipe the tears and just keep going. I rarely give myself permission to sit in it; sit in all of it, press my hands around the edges and sides.

I want to just swim through it. I want to move on to better and brighter days because let’s be honest – the sitting in it hurts.

Though this time, I let myself feel exactly what I wanted, for as long as I needed. I let myself hurt the next day when all the pain rose to the surface after a whole lot of processing and prayer. I let myself cry when normally I’d tell myself not to.

And I think this is an integral, sacred part of forgiving – giving yourself permission to lean into the discomfort and allowing your whole body – all the way down to your toes, to grieve.

Call in backup if you need it. Ask a friend to sit close by, remind them that they don’t need words for fixing or a how to manual for putting things back together – you just need a steady presence.

We have to feel it all before we let it all go.

When I came back to my mat, with each inhale and exhale, I chanted and whispered the word forgive. With each breath, I felt the pain and heartache rather than running away from it.

I think that’s the bravest part – to actually feel in a world that tells us we’re too sensitive and emotional.

To feel when the easier thing, the less painful thing, would be to just let it all go right away.

But doesn’t it always come back and break in, making it hard to breath again?

Forgiveness is messy friend. The beautiful parts of life are. It’s a process I wrestle with daily – one I haven’t perfected – one I hesitated to write about because it’s been so difficult for me.

But then I remembered, God uses the wrestle and the fight. There is still worth and value in the discovery. There is still purpose in the do overs and let’s try this thing again.

Take a deep breath with me. Fill your whole belly up.

And when you’re ready – exhale.

Exhale and let go and release.