Entries in soul care (13)


sometimes i feel a bit crazy

It’s like running conversations through your head. You know, the ones where you wish you hadn’t said what you had said and now you can’t stop thinking about what you should have said. On the other side, I have friends who are good at not holding on to things. They somehow can think their way out. However, as much as I try, I’m a feeler. I think there should be an Al Anon type group for us.

“Hi, my name is Jenna and I’m a feeler. Sometimes, I feel a bit crazy.”

Perhaps that’s what group therapy is.

But here’s the thing. It’s normal. That’s what I wanted to walk over and tell that girl in the parking lot tonight. The one crying on the phone and asking her friend why she couldn't stop.

You’re not crazy. You’re just feeling your heart navigate life a bit. And that’s not such a bad thing.

At some point in culture, we decided that feelings weren’t good anymore, that they were a representation of being weak or for lack of better terms, a nut case. We even went as far to say that feelings were feminine in the worst kind of way, as if to say women nor feelings are rational.

Somehow we forget that the most courageous and righteous man this world has known was a feeler. Jesus had compassion — he felt the wounds of this world deeply and he loved his people. One of the most demonstrative verses of this is John 11:35. It simply says, “Jesus wept.”

We forget this. We put limits on ourselves. We set the timer to 30 minutes and expect to not feel after we hear the buzz. Little did I know that timers were magical. We should start using them for other things as well. Perhaps, the buzzer will go off and my research paper will have magically written itself in 10 minutes. If that seems ridiculous, perhaps it is ridiculous for us to think our feelings and the deep movements within our soul and hearts would work themselves out in a set time as well.

This isn’t to discount the value of letting go or asking God to release your heart and mind of a situation or specific emotion. However, it is a reminder that the deep things of our soul take time. Sometimes they are needed, necessary and good. Sometimes, we need to weep. Perhaps he could be teaching us something through it — perhaps, he is inviting us to love ourselves, feelings and all, in His presence.

What do you need to feel tonight?



wonder lost is wonder gained

I lost the wonder. The excitement and the joy — it’s been replaced by an imposter, trader and artifice. Slowly seeping in, year after year, it worsened like a disease killing off the shiny glimmer of Christmas ornaments. My hope in Christmas dinner — a ham, potatoes and gravy — diminished as the china platters seemed less important. It was these, I thought, that made Christmas.

These shiny objects and dining room. These glittery presents tied with a bow. Most of all, these loving people who surround me. This so-called family of mine that I’ve been gifted. This is Christmas, a sense of home, a sense of space, a sense of importance and significance.

But like I said, someone’s done me in. The Grinch stole cheer from the one who wins “awards” for things like being a “half-glass full” type person. This is me we’re talking about.

My hope is gone. My anxiety is high. Christmas spirit is at an all-time low. With less than a week away, I find myself in a pit of despair, scared to think of what may come next week. You see, my hope in the glimmer of Christmas ornaments, presents, cheer and family have escaped into the world of reality. That beast — one-eyed, two-faced, monstrous beast — has risen breathing fire. My Christmas went up in flames. Harsh, but true in many ways.

Christmas is no longer perfect. It probably won’t be again.

So it’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s sad.

To think of Christmas day and not have joy immediately come to mind, but to be overwhelmed by anxiety. To think of staying at home and not have it sound peaceful. To not be excited about cooking Christmas dinner when cooking is one of my favorites. Clearly, something is wrong.

And there is. This world is not perfect. This world is sinful and hurtful and downright depressing sometimes. Especially when our own worlds and things of light, like Christmas, are lit up in disastrous fire rather than lovely little lights on a Christmas tree.

This week, my Christmas tree has looked rather Charlie Brownish. As have I. The pity party in my head was leading me to ignore the coming of Christmas day rather than realize how deathly scared I am of Christmas this year. How deathly scared I am of the death of Christmas.

For an optimistic person, pessimism or realistic anger and sadness does not sit well. But I decided to sit for a bit. It seems like I needed to pull up a chair and have a conversation with my Charlie Brown Christmas tree and see what was going on. So, I did.

And I realized it’s not about the family gatherings, nor the ornaments or Christmas sparkle. It’s not about finding hope in a Norman Rockwell family Christmas (although I’m very happy some have that experience) or the Christmases of our childhood. It’s about losing that Christmas wonder we had as a child for a new wonder.

Reality in adulthood is hard. We so badly want to hold onto our childhood nostalgia and wonder. And it’s healthy and good to do that. But sometimes, we can’t anymore. Sometimes, we have to let go. And this year, it’s time to let go.

But it’s bringing me to a new place of excitement.

You see, wonder lost is wonder gained. Wonder gained in Christ. Christmas will no longer rely on the perfect Christmas dinner or family cheer. It won’t rely on everyone getting along or everyone even being there. Because this world isn’t perfect, and realistically, this is the case for a lot of families.

This year, the pure joy of Christmas will come from Christ’s birth — the whole reason we have this whole “Christmas” wonder in the first place. We are going back to the root of joy, the true wonder, the true hope and true joy in Christ. We are going back to the first Christmas day.

And what a miracle it was. I look forward to the next few days resting in Christ, truly experiencing and exploring advent — a season of light!

And I look forward to waking up on Christmas morning, knowing and feeling that there is more than this world, more than what Christmases past have held for me — that I may wake up and know I am loved and have hope in a God that is greater than hope itself. That I live in the grace of a God that would offer his son so I may live. And that no matter what happens this Christmas, I am loved and Jesus is born.

How does this sit with you as you look to Christmas next week?

*Photo taken Christmas 2011.


abba father

may i rest in you.

contemplating the significance and work of resting prayer today.

may your heart's center be here today.

may my heart's center be here today.





rest. breathe. deep. heart beat ... rest.


abba father, may i rest in you today.




you are loved.

i am loved.


rest in Him today. rely on Him.

and don't forget to breathe. 

*Photos taken in my front yard, March 2012.


white space

space. silence. soft. slow. solitude.

what do you need space to think about today?


take some ... 

*Photo taken in Arrowhead in fresh snow in 2011.


full // state of thankfulness: day two

If thankfulness truly seeps into my bones, muscle and tissue, it will guide my heart and body to the core of my being, home to truth, love and grace. A home known as God, center and rock. Full. 

I can’t help, but reflect on the middle three letters in “thank-ful-ness.” To wonder if when we say thank you, are in a state of thankfulness, that we may feel full.

Isn’t that what we so often seek? To be filled. With good, or bad. We immerse ourselves in what makes us feel whole — the internet, eating, volunteering, sex, marriage, academics …

The holes within our souls grow deeper and wider and our passage through life slowly brings them to light despite our efforts to fill and hide.

And when that light reveals our wounds, insecurities and faults, it’s like an overhead spotlight on our deepest, darkest places — the ones you wish never existed and hoped to God would never see the light of day. But there they are. Gaping, staring, revealing. Too big to fill. We grab our shovels and desperately move dirt into those places that seem six feet under. Or fatigued, we curl up on the floor.

Sometimes, we continue in these patterns for quite some time. Years even. However, eventually I believe God swoops in, swiftly or slowly, and brings us to grace. Leading, guiding or carrying … and we begin to see those holes lessen and learn to live newly.

He brings us to fullness. We begin to open to fullness.

I don’t believe saying one or two thank yous will fill ourselves to the point of healing. Or rid the act of wanting to hide our deep, dark places. However, I do believe that one or two thank yous with a little reflection can be the start of recognizing a new way of being. A way to open and be thankful, grateful, and possibly a little bit more full.

I’m convinced that many split second thank yous and greater moments of reflection will bring us to a fuller sense of our state of thankfulness and begin to open us to a greater sense of fullness in Christ.

We will begin to be truly thankful.

Could reflecting on thankfulness open you to more fullness in Christ?

*Photo taken at Hilltop Retreat Center in Fall 2011.