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Cultivate Book Blub

It wasn’t till I was broken that I started becoming whole!

It wasn’t until I was broken that I started becoming whole.

Week 7 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 11 & 12 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Just being real: I don’t want to write this blog post. I’m afraid. This is the story of why. But, it’s also the story of why I’m writing it anyway.

Here goes…

If you could tell the younger version of me what my life looks like now… I would think you are crazy!  From the earliest age I had a deep love for people of all nations and colors. I felt strongly that God meant for me to become a missionary overseas loving and serving those who are very different from me.  And so,  when I was in high school and college I planned and purposed everything in my life accordingly. I do realize that I’m a bit abnormal in this way. In college I majored in Spanish and minored in Missions and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in the hopes that I would eventually be sharing the gospel in a Spanish-speaking country. There was intentionality when I married Adam, a man who also had a heart for missions. Our wedding was a week after our graduation and, immediately after our honeymoon, we moved to California to begin the process of becoming full-time missionaries. Finally, the life I’d dreamed of since the ripe-old age of 6 was coming true right before my eyes.

But (and there’s always a BUT isn’t there?!) life has a “funny” way of doing it’s own thing…

At the age of 22 I was not prepared for all the ups and downs that came with being newly married and living far away from everything and everyone I knew. One year into our marriage, although it felt as if we had already been through five, we’d moved halfway across the country to an apartment we’d never seen (without jobs lined up, because, you know… that’s the wise thing to do~lol), became pregnant while ON birth control, miscarried, not to mention all the rest of the “fun” that comes with adjusting to married life. I wasn’t aware at the time, but I was drowning in a sea of quiet, lonely rejection. I felt rejected by friends because no one reached out after I moved to California. I felt rejected by God because I lost my baby. I felt rejected by my husband because he was emotionally distant after the miscarriage.

But (there’s that BUT again!), life also goes on…

Ten years later my world came crashing down. Adam took me out on a date. Sweet, right? But at dinner he then proceeded to confess his secret addiction to marijuana, an on-and-off addiction he’d had throughout our entire marriage up to that point. I sat there in shock and awe. How could I have not known? Did I do something to cause this? Was I not good enough? How did I fail him? What does this mean for us? There it was again… that old, familiar feeling: rejection. True to my nature I stuffed the hurt, pain, and feeling of rejection and moved on. I honestly ‘thought’ I was ok and moved through the forgiveness piece pretty quickly. I forgave Adam and pretended we could go back to life as it was supposed to be. Needless to say, the pretending didn’t work. At this point, I didn’t think I was the one with any “issues.” This was ALL on Adam. HE was the issue, and once HE figured things out…we could return to that dreamy couple I had idealized, or rather idolized–in my mind. The real end of myself didn’t come until four months later. I could no longer deal with the hurt and pain. It felt as if everything I did to fix THE situation only made matters worse. Wise counsel (thank God for spiritual community) helped me see that I…needed…help! And that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t ALL on Adam.

Ok, OK, I’m not ok! Now what!?…

I reluctantly went ahead and heeded the advice of my friend and mentor to begin a process of looking at ME. This began what would eventually become the breaking of me and everything I knew. For so long I had relied only on myself. I was convinced that I was the only reliable person that I could trust. Everything and everyone else left me feeling second place, less than, set aside, overlooked, not good enough…rejected. I began to learn that because I didn’t know how to find my worth and value in God, I’d constructed walls and facades of who I wanted to be/thought I should be in order to avoid the pain of feeling second place, less than, set aside, overlooked, not good enough…rejected. I stuffed and minimized, I constantly

adjusted myself, hoping that this might bring the acceptance I desperately longed for.

In Uninvited, Lysa Terkeurst says that our “enemy loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that God really doesn’t have a good plan for us.” This has been so true for me and I can see now that these lies had taken full root in my heart. Over the years I had come to the conclusion that God wasn’t really FOR me, that I had apparently disappointed Him and He must be rejecting me. In my head I KNOW that the enemy wants to keep me (us) in bondage to our fears and for us to find our identity in everything but God, but in my heart it was easier to believe these lies than to feel the hurt and pain. I spent the next few months sorting through my broken pieces. It was so painful. I often chose not to press in and ignore it all because it was just too much. I wanted to hide the reality of my brokenness from everyone, keep to myself and not reveal the hot mess that was my marriage and family. The enemy was so active during this time, discouraging me from picking up my recovery workbook or acknowledging my woundedness with new eyes because the truth is… a healed me would be a dangerous me. We become a threat to the enemy when we start truly living out of the freedom God has graced us with.

The more I began to listen to the truth of God’s word>  the more I began to hear His loving whisper>  the more the broken pieces of who I am began to get put back together. I experienced a divine paradox: it wasn’t till I was broken that I started becoming whole! I started becoming aware of the parts of me that I’d left to die thinking they were not good enough or the cause of my rejection. One of these things was my “Okie” accent, something that I’d suppressed for fear of being looked down upon in our refined Inland Empire culture, and once I realized that this was an OK part of me… wouldn’t you know it~ it started coming back. I’m an “Okie” (meaning from Oklahoma for my west coast friends~ lol), it’s a real part of who I am and where I come from and you know what… I’m OK with that!

Healing had begun in me and I’d begun experiencing a freedom like I hadn’t before.  As Tammy Brown has been sharing in these blogs about her own journey~ I too now know the truth that healing is such a longggggg process (lifelong really).  To be completely real with you… I am still learning how to become whole.  I now look at my healing process/journey and relationship with Jesus like one would look at a potter shaping his clay.  Just as a potter reworks~reshapes~refines the clay into his intended masterpiece, I too am in continual reworking, reshaping, refining process. Sometimes when shaping clay it needs a breaking, and even rebreaking after that, to get the piece just as it’s meant to be, the same is true for me (us).  In order to become the woman that God has called me (us) to be, although it may be painful, a breaking and even rebreaking is necessary!  And the woman I (we) was always meant to be be is one that was not only good enough but INVITED!

OK~ can we be real for a second though… sometimes the whole healing, refining, reshaping process just gets old and I (we) get tired, really tired.  It is especially exhausting and discouraging when we have to revisit something we’ve worked through already (or so we thought). It’s like… been there, done that, don’t need to go there ever again thank you very much!  This past summer this was me. But God~ I’ve processed my rejection issues, It is finished, right? NOPE!  I’d found myself once again in a place of rejection, and I was simply unable to push through this new source of rejection on my own. I knew I needed to seek out my spiritual community, as well as the help of a professional christian counselor. It was crazy difficult to admit my weaknesses and my need of others, but it was also relieving to know that I’ve learned to ask for help and allow others into these vulnerable spaces.  This was a victory for me.  I know that when we try to process within ourselves~ that is where the enemy twists those lies… all the work I’ve done in the past has taught me atleast that much.  God uses others to shine light into dark places, to speak truth into lies.

My heart for you…

I often get tangled up in the thinking that I should “arrive” and eventually live a perfect, sinless life. Seriously. I actually think this. Ugh! Where in the world did I get this idea!? The pit of hell, that’s where. The truth is that the “arriving” happens each and every time we see our Savior face-to-face. So my heart for you is that… if you find yourself discouraged because the healing is taking too long, the pain is still too great, the hurts from long ago are still as real today as they were 20 years ago that you’d loosen your grip on holding together your broken pieces in order to start the process of becoming whole. Talk to people who are safe, seek professional help, do whatever it takes to begin the healing process. Acknowledge the damages done, grieve the losses, and begin to ask Jesus what work He wants to do in you through it all. Whatever you do with your broken pieces, don’t leave Jesus uninvited into the process.

God is our good, good Father who loves irrationally and unconditionally. He longs to draw close to us and for us to seek Him in those uninvited places where we desperately want to be found. Our God is the justice-maker and we have to trust that He will make all wrongs right in His time~ in His way. He will fight with us and for us. This is grace: God sees our sinful response to sin and in return He responds to us with love. He doesn’t expect us to piece it all together on our own.  Let’s cultivate the disciple of worshipping Jesus wholeheartedly and letting the focus of our attention change from being one that is preoccupied with what others have done to us, how they’ve rejected us, by instead being consumed with what He has done for us. Let’s stop exhausting ourselves by trying to keep things from falling apart, and consider the fact that maybe what we’ve been working so hard at keeping together (for the sake of others thinking we have it all together and therefore are worthy of love and belonging and to avoid as much rejection as possible) is actually what is keeping us from becoming whole.  Let’s keep on keepin’ on, and when we just can’t anymore… let’s INVITE Jesus and others in with us.  

The following verses in scripture are ones that have helped me in my healing process/journey and I want to share them for you to cling to in your healing process/journey too.  Let’s live loved and remember that our brokenness doesn’t disqualify us from being INVITED into the life God has planned for us, and that when we fall apart (are broken) is when we actually begin the process of being together (made whole)…. this is what the now~ older version of me would go back and tell the younger version of me who tried so hard to keep everything from falling apart.



Micah 7:7 As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:7-8 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Psalm 57:7 My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises.

Psalms 56:3-4 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress, the godly run to him and are safe.

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalms 130:5 I am counting on the Lord, yes I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.

Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.


This week’s statement to hold on to: 

“There is no attack of the enemy that can withstand the dearly, deeply, and sacrificially loved daughter of God.  Live loved because you are loved.”

This week’s discussion or journal questions:

  1.      God has made it clear that he designed us to live in community with one another.  What are some relationships where you long to cultivate closeness and authenticity?  What do you think keeps you from going deeper?
  1.      Rejection is so painful.  We often avoid it by not letting others really get to know us. What do you do to keep from experiencing the feelings of rejection?
  1.      The enemy works hard to undermine our self-worth, make us doubt God’s goodness, and keep us from authentic relationships.  What does the fear of rejection look like in your life as it relates to yourself, God, and others?
  1.      In Chapter 10, Lysa gave us 10 things to remember when we are feeling rejected.  Which of these reminders was most encouraging to you?

    5.        Lysa gives us some powerful verses from God’s Word. Take a moment to turn to page 237 and      read through these scriptures.  Which verse pops out to you?  Which verse or verses do you need to hold onto to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy?  Share the scripture you chose and why.

Cultivate Book Blub

Sorry, We’ve Never Heard of You!

Sorry, We’ve Never Heard of You!

Week 6 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 9 & 10 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

A few years back I was invited to attend an event specifically for pastor’s wives. I was beyond excited because at the time I didn’t have any relationships with other pastor’s wives, and had always prayed for them. I desperately wanted others I could reach out to and ask “have you ever had to navigate this type of situation?, how would you move forward with this?, or have you ever had this happen & if so how did you recover?  I didn’t grow up in the ministry world and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing so when this opportunity came up I just knew it was an answer to prayer.

I arrived at the event to find that most of the women already knew one another. I awkwardly stood back trying to assess the room and figure out a way to enter into what felt like a high school reunion for a high school that I didn’t attend. The only person in the room that I knew was the pastor’s wife who was putting on the event. She spotted me and invited me to sit at her table, which I was so relieved because the other tables were filling up quickly and people were “saving seats” for their other pastor’s wives friends.

There I was sitting at the head table with the event host, who just happened to be the pastor’s wife of one of the largest churches in the state~ so naturally everyone was exceptionally kind to her, greeting her, wanting pictures with her, the whole deal.  She was so sweet to me and began introducing me to all of the “big deal” church pastor’s wives at our table.  Towards the end of the event my host friend said to me, “I want you to meet so & so, she’s put together a network for pastor’s wives to connect once a month online to be able to ask each other questions about ministry, and be a support to one another.”  This was it! This was what I’d been praying for.

I met the woman who was extraordinarily sweet to me while I was with my host friend, who remember is a really BIG deal, she gave me her email and said to email her and she’d get me connected in this community of pastor’s wives of church similar in size and dynamic to mine. Great!  I left the event on cloud nine.  I thought to myself “I found my people, these people know what it’s like, I’ll have friends who understand ministry.”

I played it cool and waited a few weeks to email of course… I didn’t want to seem too excited, too needy. I emailed just like she’d said to and then I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the response email came from so & so’s assistant and here’s what it said…

“Sorry, we’ve never heard of you!”

I kid you not, that was it. That was all the email said.

I emailed back explaining who I was and that I’d met so & so at the pastor’s wife event, the one I was at with my BIG deal friend who connected us and said this was the “perfect” set of women for me to connect with. And again, the response email…

“Sorry, we’ve never heard of you or your church.”

And that was it. I was rejected from being a part of this group. Rejected from “my people,” other pastor’s wives.

The conversation that followed in my head for years was not good. “Ohhhh I see…. only ‘heard of’ (aka famous) pastor’s wives matter. Only BIG deal church’s ministries matters. Only ‘heard of’ people are allowed in the club.”  AND SO since I wasn’t allowed into the club that must mean… I don’t matter, the ministry I do isn’t significant because they’d never ‘heard of’ it. What I thought was going to be an answer to prayer became the beginning of a downward spiral of identity for me.  Those women I’d met who I thought were going to be my people… I now wished I’d never met them at all.

In the spirit of being REAL… this encounter with these women wrecked me. I felt embarrassed, not enough because literally I was not ‘heard of’ enough to matter, and completely uninvited… which wasn’t a feeling at all~ I actually was uninvited.  This one event with this one group of women caused me to completely invalidate my purpose & value in ministry. What I once prayed for, other pastor’s wives friends, I now avoided at all costs.  And like salt in a wound, good old social media constantly displayed for me all of the wives that were ‘heard of’ enough to get invited into this group.  Each time I’d see their happy pictures from retreats they’d taken together with long posts about how they’d encouraged each other so well blah blah blah… WRECKED! I was wrecked all over again.  With each social media post I’d see… the wound was cut a little deeper, and I began feeling like only ‘heard of ‘ (aka famous) ministries mattered, or were significant. Of which~ mine was not… SOOO what the heck am I doing?!?!

God & I wrestled.  “I feel like ALL of us should matter God!”  “I feel like ‘Christians’ shouldn’t discard people who aren’t ‘famous’~ that’s what Hollywood does… not the church.” These kinds of prayers and conversations went on and on between God & me.  I couldn’t shake what happened, I found my prayers being ones of complaining and not listening, my head was a jumbled mess and so… I finally got brave enough to bring others into my head.  I had to bring others into this because it was eating me alive from the inside out. And it was through others that I was finally able to hear from God. Community (safe, trusted, spiritually mature & wise) has a way of doing this.  It was through others in community that a different perspective was brought to the discussion in my head.  What if those women and their priority on ‘spiritual celebrity’ isn’t a representation of God’s heart at all?  What if those women have it all wrong and you actually have it right… that we all matter?  What if God wants you to only seek his invitation, his approval, his belonging to validate the work you are doing?  Hmmmm, these were new ideas for me to wrestle through.  Why does them including you or not matter? Who are they to decide who’s important or not?  What if… they’ve got it all wrong?  Is that how Jesus behaved… did he only include the ‘heard of’ people?  NO! None of this is how Jesus decided if people were worthy or not. Jesus didn’t only connect with and include the people that were most ‘heard of’, in fact he did quite the opposite.

During this season of my life very few people knew of the struggle I was battling, of the rejection I’d experienced, or the identity crisis I was in. But the truth is~ I was completely undone in the private. It was in the private wrestle with God that He revealed more of who He is to me, and more of who I am to him.  I questioned him, he answered me. I lamented with him, he let me be uncomfortable. It was in the private that he let me be messy and confused and loved me still. It was in the private discomfort and unrest that I was forced to find my way to him for answers to make sense of what I’d experienced.  And here’s what conclusions I came to…

Jesus included everyone. He didn’t make special invitations to people that were ‘heard of’. He wasn’t about people who build his platform bigger. He didn’t just be seen with people who were the BIG deals. He was about everyone. He saw the crippled, the blind, the lame. He approached the ugly, the messy, the less than, the ‘unheard ofs’.  No, Jesus said…

But among you (my people… aka Christians) it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant…”  Matthew 20:26 

In her Uninvited book, Lysa Terkeurst talks about how the breaking of us in private will be the making of us in public and I love this because it was in private that God deposited this wisdom into me.  It was a lonnnnnggggggg process. Longer than I care to admit, but in hindsight~ I’m thankful for it. Thankful for the opportunity and process, though difficult and messy, where my heart got to become a little more like his.   For a while, and I’m ashamed to admit this, I let my heart be bitter and jealous. Jealous of the women who were invited into that group, jealous of their ‘fame’ that made them ‘heard of’ and so more worthy, jealous of their ministries, their circles (who of course look AMAZING & PERFECT at all times on social media), and jealous of their lives. They were ‘heard of’ (aka “someones”), I was not ‘heard of’ (aka a “no one”).  AND jealousy morphs into bitterness. I was bitter at them for not recognizing me as “someone”, for not validating me, for not ‘picking me’ to be a part of the really important cool kids groups.  AND guess what bitterness morphs into… Pride.  Pride let’s me justify my mean thoughts, my bad feelings, my attitude, my judgment because I’d been hurt. Pride makes me feel they deserve my bad behavior because they’d had bad behavior first. Pride forgets to worry about my character because I’m so focused on theirs. Pride forgets to remind me to make allowances for each others faults.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

My heart was dark and ugly. Everyone once in a while it tries to dabble back into those wicked ways, but I remember how rotten to the core and miserable I was there, and my hate for that feeling trumps my desire to wallow in jealousy,  bitterness, pride.

AND SO… that breaking of me in the private has led me to make some new habits in the public. For example, now whenever I attend a function full of BIG deals~ I scan the room for the woman who’s an outlier in the room and I make my way to her and introduce myself. I intentionally sit at the table with the woman who is sitting alone and has that look I had when I felt like a nobody in a room of somebodies.  If a young (or younger than me in ministry) pastor’s wife asks me if she can email me to ask some questions… I say ABSOLUTELY! I try to keep just enough of that sting of rejection from those pastor’s wives with me so that I don’t repeat it to others remembering terrible it felt.

Most likely you aren’t a pastor’s wife~ but you’re something somewhere… a mom, neighbor, coworker, professional, you’re somebody somewhere. And chances are you’ve experienced some type of rejection that’s made you feel like a nobody… ‘unheard of’. Here’s the good news, although we may not be heard of by others, we are completely known of by God. Not cliche I promise~ absorb the beauty in this truth. Someday it will be the only thing that matters… that we are known, picked, and loved by God. Someday it will be the only thing that matters to ALL of us~ because there will come a day when we stand before him and he’s the holder of eternity. Eternity isn’t something that matters much to most in the here and now… which is why being loved by God seems cliche. And this is a scary truth. We’re more concerned about being loved, picked, ‘heard of’ by others than we are of God.  Friends~learn from me… meet God in the private! Let him do a work in you, and let that work change who you are forever in the public. And in the public… point your life back to him. It’s here that your heart is cultivated to be more and more like his. Don’t let pride keep you from taking the rejection you experience from others and letting God use it to transform you into the person YOU’RE meant to be. Hold on to just enough of the sting to love others well, sparing them the pain and helping them live loved too.

Live loved friends,


p.s. If you’re wondering how long this “breaking in private” took… FIVE years! 5! Five long years! So don’t be discouraged when the making doesn’t happen over night. All in His timing. We’re all on the journey friends!

This week’s statement to hold on to:

I must learn to judge my pride, not justify it. I cannot be delivered from that which I defend.

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. What were some of your biggest take aways from chapters 9-10?
  1. Why does humility often get associated with weakness and pride with strength?
  1. In chapter 9, Lysa talks about humiliation. Share about a time when you were utterly humiliated. What happened and how did you feel?
  1. Philippians 2 paints a beautiful picture of what humility looks like. Read through verses 1-11 together.  What do we learn about Jesus through this passage? What can we apply to our lives?
  1. Read James 4:6. “God opposes the proud.” That is strong language. Why do you think pride is such a big deal to God?
  1. Spend some time praying for each other…for the strongholds of pride to be broken as we seek to cultivate humility in our lives.
Cultivate Book Blub

Rejection: Maybe It’s Not About You…

Maybe it’s not about you…

Week 5 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 7 & 8 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Recently I was rejected. It wasn’t this BIG blow up, rather the silent but deadly type.  Slowly but surely I stopped receiving replies to my text messages, there was no more “hey let’s…” grab coffee, do yoga, go shopping… all the ways we used to connect.  At first~ I thought it was just coincidence.  They’re really busy with this project they have going on.  Now it’s the holidays,  Christmas~ everyone’s busy at Christmas right?!  Spring break~ same, and now it’s summer.   Traveling in the summer… that’s it!

BUT THEN… Good Ol’e Instagram. A truth teller of sorts!  Ohhhh, hey…  there they are with that friend.  I guess they DO have time, they just don’t have time for ME! OHHH the sting of rejection.

I admit I gave it WAY to much space in my head.

Do any of you ever do this… you spend some much time thinking about the people that don’t want to be with you that you totally forget about and neglect all of the people who do? What even is this about us?!

Of course I did what any mature 40 something would do… I totally let it go. Never gave it a second thought. Moved on in complete peace.   NO I DIDN’T.

I spun about it. Combed through our last few interactions and conversations.  What did I say?  Did I make a joke they took seriously? Was I too much? Not enough?


Finally I concluded that “so & so” is just better than me so of course it makes perfect sense that they had time for them and not me. It was because they were off having so much fun together every single day all day long (inferred of course from IG post) that there was no more room or space for me. I didn’t matter. I wasn’t ______________ enough (A. fun, B. smart,  C. interesting, D. all of the above).  It hurt, but of course I smiled and pretended it didn’t because I didn’t want to add needy and overly emotional to the list. AND then I pulled my heart back in… in to that safe place where I don’t let others see the real me. Bars up. Doors locked. Heart back in it’s safe place~in lockdown. When my heart’s in lockdown I can actually operate much better because I don’t feel at risk because it’s got it’s full body armor on. When my heart is in full body armor I am able to still be kind and have friendly exchanges, but I do not fully engage. I risk nothing, expect nothing, accept the loss.

AND… wouldn’t you know it~ here came one of those friendly exchanges when I least expected it. Here’s how this went…

Her: “Hey, do you have a minute to talk?”

Me: “Yes of course. What’s going on?”  It honestly didn’t occur to me that this talk was going to be about us, I assumed it was going to be about how I could pray for her, or help her with something going on in her life because that’s what I do as the pastor’s wife… which I’M SO HAPPY TO DO because I love people and I have a heart for them, and even if we aren’t best friends I still care about what’s going on in their lives and want to help or pray in any way I can. Ok back to the story.

Her: “I owe you an apology”.

Me: “For what?” And I sincerely meant this because although I was hurt, she hadn’t technically done anything wrong. Not wanting to be friends isn’t something to apologize for. It’s not a crime, or a rule broken… it just is what it is.

Her: “I completely cut you off. Rejected you. Rejected our friendship”

Me: “I’m not mad, you don’t owe me an apology. It hurt and I was sad, but you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s OK if you don’t want to be friends with me. You have that right. it’s ok. ”

Her: “That’s the thing. I DID want to be friends. I DO. The thing is, the more we were becoming friends, the more I felt at risk. At risk that if we were friends, you have all these other friends, and I was afraid that you’d want to choose them over me. And I knew I just couldn’t handle the rejection.”

Me: “Wait. What?”

Her: “I’ve been rejected so many times in friendships before. I know how this goes, and so to protect myself I had to completely back out of our friendship before you had the chance to reject me.”

Me: “Wait, What?”

FOR MONTHS  I’d made it all about ME! I’d played over everything I “might” have done or said wrong. Everything that wasn’t fun or special or good enough about me.  All the reasons they’d had to, of course, not choose me.  MONTHS! I did this for MONTHS!  And you know what… NEVER, not one time did any of what she said occur to me in the dozens of scenarios that I’d played out in my mind, the conclusions I’d come to about myself or the situation, not did any of it involve HER being afraid of being rejected by ME. Her feeling not _______ enough. Her being sad.  Wait. WHAT? I was so confused.

It had never even occurred to me the issues rooted in rejection that she was bringing to the table. Never. I only thought about me and mine.  Of course this was all about ME.  Except that it wasn’t.  Not at all.

At first I felt relieved. But then I felt curious. Curious about other situations and circumstances and relational fall outs that I’ve experienced rejection in, I wondered if there were ever other times that maybe it also wasn’t all about ME? Other times I’d made it about me, made assumptions, pulled my heart back into safety, protected myself from being hurt, put on the body armor, let a relationship die… all for a lie I had created and believed when I made it about me.

And so here’s the thing, the thing I learned (or should I say~ the thing I’m learning)… if we’re going to cultivate the practice of living loved, we’re going to have to practice being curious too. Curious about other people. Curious about their stories, their background, their wiring. Curious about what they’re bringing to the table. We have to remember we’re not the only ones bringing our stuff to the situation.

I love how Lysa Terkerst says in chapter 8 of Uninvited that “relationships don’t come in packages of perfection, relationships come in packages of potential”.  If we practice being real with ourselves then we already KNOW what we’re bringing to the table when it comes to friendship, what we too often forget is that the person sitting across from us at the table of friendship is also bringing their own fears of rejection, insecurity, imperfection, need for grace.

As our conversation went on, I feel like I got to know my friend somewhat for the first time despite the fact that we’ve sorta been friends for several years. She shared about her childhood and friendship interactions growing up, her family experiences, and how rejection has taught her that eventually you are always left.  NONE of which had anything to do with ME. Go figure.

Hmmmm, SO…  it’s not always about ME… There’s a new concept!  And I’m guessing some of the rejection you’ve experienced wasn’t about you either. So be careful friends… careful about what conclusions you draw about yourself when you feel rejected. Conclusions that you aren’t ________ enough. Because when you do this you’re creating and believing a lie in regards to who you are and your worthiness of love and acceptance.  We begin to veer off from who we are that we’ve decided isn’t ________ enough and begin trying to be whatever it is that we believe we need to be to be    ________ enough to be picked, liked, popular, accepted, loved.  We become an imposter version of ourselves and who we think we’re supposed to be instead of the real version of who we are.  When we do this we’re polluting ourselves and our relationships, and cheating the world out of who God made us to be.  The real version of who we are is exactly who this world needs to know.


I believed I wasn’t ______ enough for my friend. She believed she wasn’t ________ enough for me. We were both wrong. We now both understand that neither needs to be perfect, and that there’s so much potential between us as long as we live loved rather than rejected~ believing that what we bring to the table has more good than garbage, more potential than poison, more life than death because grace fills in the cracks. Grace for ourselves, grace for each other, grace from God.

Here’s what I want you to absorb this week, the statement I want you to hold on to…

“We can learn to live loved by recognizing that

the rejection we experience affects us but may not be about us.”

Live loved friends,



This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. What were your biggest takeaways from chapters 7 & 8?
  2. After seeing how Abigail responded to rejection, Is it possible that in some of the rejections you’ve experienced in the past that maybe the rejection had to do more with what was going on in that person than what wasn’t “good enough” about you?
  3. When an opportunity arises~ do you tend to be a person to de escalate or instigate conflict?
  4. If you can think of one, share a rejection experience that you can now see had more to do with THAT person’s past rejection experiences than to do with your current situation? Is there a lie about yourself you’ve held onto that you need to confess and let go in light of this new perspective?
  5. Read Proverbs 15:1. How has a soft answer from someone changed the course of your actions or your response in a tense situation?
  6. Spend some time praying together as you cultivate these truths into your lives.



Cultivate Book Blub

Friendship Breakups are a Real Thing!

Friendship breakups are a real thing!

Week 4 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 5 & 6 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

There must be like 5.2 bazillion songs out there about couples breaking up. Seriously, you can search the radio stations at any given time and find at least one song on a station talking about  the heartache of a couple breaking up. WHY?… because breaking up sucks! It breaks our hearts, it leaves us wounded, and it feels really really bad and sucky.  And mostly because… everyone can relate! When we break up with a boyfriend there’s so much room to lament over it, there’s language to use to describe it, and there’s a basic universal understanding that it’s a painful thing.  However, when it comes to a  friendship break up… not so much.  There’s no songs to lean into or speak to the condition of our hearts. When someone asks “what’s wrong?” it just seems weird to say “Me and Suzy broke up”. But friendship breaks up are real. I wish they weren’t but they are. I know this because I’ve experienced them first hand. And regardless of if you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee~ it still sucks!  I’ve been both the unfriended and the unfriender.

At first thought it seems like it’s much better to be the breakup’er doesn’t it? Because then it’s YOU making the choice instead of having the choice made for you. However, having been the unfriender/breakup’er myself before I’m here to tell you that it still sucks! It sucks (and just get ready because I’m going to use the word ‘suck’ a bazillion times because there’s few other words that accurately describe what we’re talking about here) when a friendship that once was the pinnacle of joy for you now is a source of sorrow. It’s quite crazy making actually to try to figure out HOW something and someone that once was so life giving is now causing you pain, frustration, and sucking your soul dry. I know in the few situations I’ve been in like this, the unfriending was never the first  choice, rather it’s was ALWAYS a last resort.

It sucks when you have to come to terms with the truth that the friendship that once was no longer is.  Sometimes the reasons are super clear, “something” happened!  It’s someone’s fault! There is clear blame.  Other times it’s sorta a mystery. Sometimes it’s loud, ugly, in your face, messy.  Other times,  quiet, passive aggressive, distant, and cold (I could argue that this is the worst of the two for me). But, for whatever reason, you feel the friendship as it is (and I think it’s very important to note the phrase as it is here because despite how much you wish it was what it was~ you have to come to terms with what it is)  needs to come to an end. Maybe there’s a competitive spirit involved, maybe it’s lying, anger, co dependency, or jealousy. Maybe the friendship isn’t family friendly (meaning it causes strife among your immediate family members… ie. husband or children).  Is it a friendship that is bonded in being against others or rooted in gossip~ meaning if you made a pact to not talk about anyone else… would you guys still have anything to say? Maybe the friendship isn’t encouraging you to be a better version of yourself, but you see yourself being the worst version of yourself when you’re together.  Maybe it’s a friendship that pulls you away from Jesus instead of pushing you towards Him. Whatever the case, you just know that you know that it isn’t good for you. I think it’s also important to note that being the breakup’er also doesn’t mean that you want it more than the other person, it might just mean that you were brave enough to do it first.  I know for me I spend a lot, like a lot a LOT, of time wishing things were different, wishing what has happened wasn’t true, wishing it was what it once was.  There’s never been a time when I was the breakup’er that I was happy or excited about it. Even as the unfriender, my heart has been broken… I mean B-R-O-K-E-N! There’s never been a time I didn’t grieve and my heart didn’t ache for a long period of time. No one wins when friendships break up, not even the breakup’er.


When you’re the breakup’ee, even if  you have all of the above knowledge and feelings, now rejection has been added into the mix, and let’s be honest… now all we focus on is the sting of the rejection~ even if we know it’s best and right for us too. That’s the thing about rejection~ it completely clouds our judgement and causes us to live feeling anything but loved.  Being unfriended (aka rejected) sucks! Sucks so bad! Especially if it’s not what we want at all.  It makes us question ourselves and others. It can make us call into question our value and worth. “If this person doesn’t like me anymore, am I likeable?” Sometimes we feel replaced or we actually are (let’s just be real) replaced by someone else, this happens. Being replaced sucks.  I literally have had a situation in my life where I would see my (ex) friend and think to myself,  “there’s her new Tammy”.  Guess how that feels? You guessed it… it feels SUCKY!  No one wins in a friendship breakup, especially the breakup’ee because they now only have the loss BUT also the sting and lies rejection leaves with us.

So why do friendships breakup? The answer to this… for a bazillion different reasons, but most of all because we’re a broken people. We’re broken, they’re broken, two broken people in a relationship are going to, well… have some breaks. You’re messy broken places are going to come out on them, and their messy  broken places are going to come out towards you. There’s no getting around this. This is us living in a fallen, broken, sinful world. Some people’s brokenness is going to rub your brokenness all wrong, and your brokenness is going to rub their brokenness all wrong. Typically when we start out as friends we’re in a best foot forward/honeymoon phase. Everything is fun, easy, natural… and then! And then, eventually, as time goes on and life get’s real… inevitably there’s going to be rub. And why some friendships can withstand more rubs than others I have no idea but they just do. And the one’s who can’t… they breakup.

Whether you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee here are somethings I know to be true when it comes to friendship breakups:

“THEY” are not the devil.

Although the friendship is over… that person isn’t the devil himself.  STOP IT,  they’re not! You yourself used to love them dearly. WHY?… because there is something loveable about them. In the friendships I’ve lost, especially the one’s that hurt me the most, regardless of who unfriended who, I now try to remind myself of the things that are really great about that person. Which, in the spirit of being real, sometimes is like rubbing salt in the wound because it makes me miss those things, miss what was. BUT it’s still the right thing to do~ to remember the good in them.  If we don’t, we put ourselves in harms way of being prideful and bitter. Two things that are spiritual cancers to our souls. Not worth it I tell you!

“THEY” are not your enemy.

God’s word tell us…

“we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

We have to trust this to be true! We have a real enemy, and as much as it might feel like it,  it is not each other.  Just because a friend isn’t good for YOU doesn’t mean they aren’t good at all. Remember this friends. This matters!  When we are at odds with each other, when we are against each other… we are much more likely  to fall into sin. We dig our heels into being right, so much so that we become so very wrong. We justify unforgiveness, we consider ourselves better than each other when the bible tells us to do just the opposite. All of this~ is a win for our real enemy. The one who wants us to do anything but live loved. The bible says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  When we forget who our real enemy is, satan, we do his dirty work for him.  All the while being completely distracted from our true calling, identity, and purpose in Christ. Not to mention being anything BUT a light to this world. Instead, we perpetuate darkness.  Yikes right?! 

And finally,

Friendships are for a season.  

As much as we all wish this wasn’t true, it is. In our heart of hearts we women really do want the idea of the BFFEAE (best friends for ever and ever) to be the real thing.  Some seasons are longer than others, but season’s are still seasons. And instead of being upset that a season with someone ended (even if it ended poorly), instead try to be grateful that there was a season at all. For a time that person was life giving to you, they brought you joy, laughter, companionship. God brought you together for a purpose. In this season~ He had something for each of you to  experience and learn together. Maybe they walked through hard times with you or you with them, maybe you achieved something together (like survived high school, or college, or med school), maybe you were neighbors, or coworkers and that intersected your paths. Whatever it was that brought you together~ be grateful. Thank God for the sweet season in your life, for the person they were to you, for the joy they brought to you, for the things you learned, for the life that was had. By doing this simple act of gratitude you choose grace instead of bitterness. No season is ever a waste, each has it’s own unique beauty and struggle.  Appreciate the beauty of the season

You guys, it’s OK to be sad that things are different, I know I am! It’s natural to miss the good times, to wish things hadn’t changed, but that’s not where we stay~ it’s not real (anymore).  But just because that’s not the real you guys anymore doesn’t mean (and this is what I hope you remember most) that you must be enemies now. It absolutely does not!! It means you aren’t close friends anymore. Here’s what you and I are responsible for…

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

As far as depends on us, live at peace… with the friends who used to be some of our best friends but now we’re not friends anymore… as much as it depends on us~ still be kind to those people.  Whether you were the breakup’er or the breakup’ee… you’re still called to be at peace. And peace in these situations most likely will come in the form of kindness.  Saying hello and a smile when you bump into each other at Target, a simple happy birthday text, or maybe just NOT talking about them behind their backs… all of these are simple acts of kindness. Simple and totally doable! Trust me when I tell you that the fewer enemies you have out there, the better off you’ll be.

Recently I’ve found myself in somewhat of a friendship breakup and my heart is still currently broken.  These are not things I say to you from a place of having conquered them, I’m saying them to you while I’m still ‘in’ them.  As I’ve navigated and wrestled with it, with the who’s fault, with the why’s, with the wishing it was what it was and not what it is, reminding myself they’re not the devil, that they’re not an enemy. All of this! And like I’m encouraging you to do… trying to navigate kindness in what is our new normal. I’ll tell you~ it hasn’t been easy, but I know it’s worth it. I’ve sent  texts letting them know how thankful I am for our season… you know why? because I am. When I see them, I say hi, even if I have to muster up the courage and humility to say it first. Pride wants me to wait for them to say it first, but gratitude and grace urges me to say it first because you know why… as far as depends on me I want to be at peace. 

Friendship breakups suck!<<Told you I was gonna say it a ton>> They just do, there’s no denying it, but in the midst of and in spite of…  we need to remember that although that friendship didn’t work out~ we are still worthy of love and belonging, that there is still great friendships to be had, and that regardless of others we are still deeply and unconditionally loved by God.

Live loved friends,



This week’s statement to hold on to:

“God’s faithfulness is not dependant on my faithfulness” ~ Becca Boganwright

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. In what ways have you been wounded by others that have affected your capacity to trust?
  2. What relationship in your life do you wish you could mend?
  3. How have you allowed your mistrust in people affect your trust in God? Mark 9:24 – “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Think about the areas that you trust God and the areas that you don’t. Bring this prayer to Him and allow Him to help your areas of unbelief.
  4. What is one specific way you can be a part of mending someone else’s mistrust in people and/or God?
  5. What were your biggest “takeaways” from Chapters 5 and 6?


Cultivate Book Blub

Confession: I’m a Manipulator

Confession: I’m a Manipulator

Week 3 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 3 & 4 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Hi~ I’m Tammy, and I’m a manipulator!

Starting off with those words just feels honest. I don’t consider myself a manipulator, but as I’m becoming real with myself and God about my struggles with others and the issue of rejection, I know it’s true. HOW do I manipulate, you ask? Great question. I manipulate with secret strings of expectations. Expectations I have of others, of which they are completely unaware of, but nonetheless they are there. And as I myself am on the journey of living loved, I’m becoming increasingly aware that much of me not feeling loved, has to do with these secret unmet expectations.

Here’s how this looks for me… I do things for others! Good things. Things that are kind, loving, and serving. These are good things to do, and some part of the doing is rooted in right motives. BUT I’m realizing that an even greater motivation for me lies in these secret expectations. Expectations that if I do for others… all that doing will somehow boomerang back to me, and it’ll earn me love.

Key words here: earn love

And then… I’ll be earning SO MUCH LOVE with all this doing, that surely I’ll feel loved… like really really loved.

Except~ here’s the thing. It didn’t work… It’s still not working! I struggle feeling loved.

Instead I find myself exhausted, constantly comparing the perceived return others are getting for their doing, versus the return I’m getting for my doing… which leaves me bitter and angry and not feeling loved at all! Quite the opposite in fact, it leaves me feeling heartbroken> which makes me feel unsafe> which makes me withdraw> which causes deep divides in friendships> which causes me to feel alone> which leaves me feeling unloved!

“But I….” sent you flowers, bought your lunch, remembered your birthday, let you go first, took you on vacation, let you live in my house, remembered your kids’ special events, made your party really special, listened to your sorrows for hours on end, instead of doing homework with my children or cooking dinner for my husband… the “BUT I’s” are endless. And what I’m really saying is…WHAT ABOUT ME?! Remember all the things?……… You owe me. You owe me love!

SO tangled, messy, and ugly, I know!

But what’s even worse than admitting all of this ^ ^ ^ is realizing that although I say God is first in my life, how not true it’s actually turned out to be. You see, much of my doing does have God in mind… What would He want me to do? What would He want this person to know about his/her worth? But the doing isn’t out of a place of love, it’s out of a place to feel loved. Instead of looking to God to feel loved, I look to others to define my value and worth, and worthiness of love. The doing is somewhat of an acrobatic trick. Like…..“Hey~ look at me! Awesome, right.” (insert ‘thumbs up’ emoji here) RIGHT?! (insert ‘BIG eye-stressed face’ emoji here) I let my value, my worth, my sense of worthiness for love, rise and fall on others. And, as you might imagine, this has turned out to be disastrous for this girl.

So how do I cut ties with this unhealthy, emotionally draining, bitterness seeding, exhausting pattern of trying to earn love?

Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out! 🙂 J/K

But seriously~ by getting REAL! REAL is just the starting point!
Real with the fact that I first look for love from others, instead of God. That I put a higher value on the love of others, than the love He has for me. By admitting that I have secret motives when I do things for others. And most importantly, that as much as I want to believe God comes first in my life~ He actually hasn’t/isn’t. Evidence for this looks like this……. He doesn’t have the first moments of my day~ that’s typically reserved for checking Instagram (because seriously~ what could I have possibly missed from just hours before when I went to bed?). He doesn’t have my first attention.That attention is reserved for thoughts like these….… “Hmmm what can I do today so someone will think I’m awesome (( and love me))?”. In reality, He’s over there all like… “I’m right here, I already love you~ no doing necessary”. He isn’t my first go-to when I need help or advice, instead I spend hours worrying, playing through scenarios of how I can best control the outcomes, or I text friends. Prayer of course comes later… after I’m completely stressed out of my mind. I realize that thinking about God, and talking to others about God isn’t the same as spending time with God… and I haven’t been doing much of that. Yep… these are some of the things I’m having to be REAL about.  John 15:7 says,

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,

ask whatever you wish and it will done for you.”

And what do I wish for? I wish to be loved! And the truth is… I never feel more loved than when I’m abiding in Him. When I spend time reading His word, soaking it in, letting it convict me, shape me, cleanse me, love me. And when I abide in Him, when I give Him my first moments, when I go to Him first with my everything-going-on in my life… I feel loved. Loved in the deepest places in my soul. When I abide… I’m reminded that He delights in me, that He dwells with me, and that I am not alone. And I know that when I do this, I’m good! I know who I am, and what I’m worth. And I don’t have to hustle to do for others, as a reminder. I already know. When I’m abiding in Him~ all the doing for others comes out of the right motives, not the secret one with strings attached.

So the answer to “How do I cut ties with this unhealthy, emotionally draining, bitterness seeding, exhausting pattern of trying to earn love?” Get Real + Abide!

And this is my recommendation to you, as you journey towards living loved as well….Get Real about where you’re looking for love, and what behaviors you’re doing to find it. Are there any hidden motives involved? Do you struggle (like me) feeling loved by others because you have unrealistic expectations that honestly no one could ever meet, and how these unmet/unrealistic expectations might be at the root of some of the rejection experiences that have caused us to question our worthiness of love? Then ABIDE. Let Him be the source that is filling you with love. Be reminded that He delights in you and dwells in you. When you are full of His love, you will be more able to live loved!

Live loved friends,


This week’s statement to hold on to:

“If I’m rooted,  rejection may discourage me but it won’t destroy me” ~ Melody Workman

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. Was there a time in your life when you experienced rejection? What was that like and how did you feel?
  1. Why does isolation feel safer than connection sometimes? Do you struggle with going into your “cave” when you’ve been rejected?
  1. Read Ephesians 3:14-19. What do these verses tell you about Jesus’ love for you? How does that make you feel?
  1. What’s your biggest struggle with living loved? How can you practice this on a daily basis?
  1. Is there someone you have rejected? Or treated unfairly? Is there someone who has rejected you? How can you reach out to them with the love of Jesus this week?
  1. Spend time praying together. That each one of you can live these truths out in practical ways this week.
Cultivate Book Blub

A Rejection Dictated Identity Looks Like…

The Rejection Dictated Identity

Week 2 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 1 & 2 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst


Honesty is a scary place and a safe haven for me. I both fear and crave it.

Honesty is where I get real. Real with myself about… what I’m feeling, what I’m believing, what I’m thinking. Real about the condition of my heart. Real about my behavior, and my relationships. Real about how I’m spending my time. Real about areas of sin in my life, and how they are affecting me. Real about my relationship with God and others. I can’t hide from my brokenness when I am being real. Being real with myself more often than not feels yucky and messy. And so I fear it because I know when I get real, like really real… there’s no hiding or pretending that can be further carried on. No more excuses. Once I’m real I can no longer use the excuse of ignorance, but only of disobedience. It’s scary to be real. Scary because what do I do with the ugly messy? Where do I go from here? How do I undo this? How do I unbecome that? How do I fix this? How do I lay that down? And finally, how do I untangle this, and stop that? If all of THIS is real… what does that say about me? Who am I? Am I still worthy? Worthy of love, friendship, forgiveness? What if being real about this has relational consequences? You see… these are all really scary variables.

AND YET… Honesty is also where I get to be real. The real me. Not the carefully crafted me. Not the me, that is positioned just right, with an added filter on Instagram. Not the make sure to be everything everyone thinks I should be me. Not the be all things to all people so that they’ll like me, ‘pick me’ me. But the actual real me. In this place, honesty is like a weight that is lifted- a place where I can take a fresh breath and relax. It’s in this place where I can be real about how I feel without fear of rejection or judgement. I can be real about where I am, and where I want to be. I can be real about hurts or fears, hopes, and dreams without parameters.   

Honesty is our friend, people. And like a good friend… it loves us where we are, and loves us enough not to let us stay there. Best part of all??…..we can trust it has our best interest at heart.

Over these next few months, honesty has the potential to make a real difference in our lives as we cultivate the practice of living loved together. Trust me when I tell you that you are not alone on this journey… I am 100% in it with you. As we navigate through what it means to live loved, we have to be real about areas deep inside that keep us from believing it.  Areas deep rooted in rejection. Rejection messes with us. It tangles lies in with the truth, confusing us so badly that we have difficulty figuring out which is which.

In this week’s reading in Uninvited, I love how Lysa Terkeurst untangles the roots of rejection. She says (and I’m loosely quoting here)…

A LINE said to us becomes a label we attach to who we are in regards to our value.

That LABEL becomes a lie that we are unworthy.

The LIE becomes a liability when it shapes the script we write about self-rejection

That LIABILITY carries into our relationships with others -ultimately causing us to question our value and worth to God.


A rejection dictated identity keeps me from living loved because at the foundation of who I am, I don’t believe that I am loved. Not believing I’m loved at the foundation, makes for a very unstable identity.  And this is when honesty must play its part.  When my “feelings” tell me I’m not loved or not worthy of love~ I need honesty to remind me of what’s real. The bible says, 

  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”   Matthew 7:24-27

A rejection-dictated identity is an identity built on the sand. It is constantly shifting and shaking what I (we) believe about myself, God, and others.  Our identities were meant to be built on the rock. They are meant to be safe and secure in the one who created us, with no other motive than love. So to live loved I’ve (we’ve) got to cultivate honesty back into the DNA of my (our) identities. Yes, rejection is real. And it leaves me feeling like I don’t matter, like I don’t belong, like I’m not ________ enough, like I’m unseen by God. It leaves me feeling anything but safe and secure. But  if I (we) want my identity to be built on the rock… back to honesty I must go. Back to the truth.

And the truth is…

“(I am one of) God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12.

Lysa gives 3 great questions to ask when life is shifty and shaking. As I’ve been practicing asking myself these questions, they’ve been a resource to plant my feet back on the rock, and off of the shifting sand.

Is God good?

Is God good to me?

Is God good at being God?

 My goal in this is… that regardless of the rejection of others, my identity will not be shaken. That in the deepest places in my soul, where honesty cannot hide, I will truly believe that even when I am overlooked (rejected) by others, I am still handpicked by God.  I want my identity to stop rising and falling on the opinions and inclusion (or lack there of) from others. The constant shifting and shaking is an exhausting way to live, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to stop living on the sand (well~ I’d actually LOVE to live on the sand… but you know what I mean), and be built on the rock. I want to know that although I might experience loneliness, I am not alone.  That I live, like on a regular basis, in a place of absolute knowing and believing that I am truly, deeply, unconditionally, and absolutely loved.  And I want this for you too!

Live loved friends,


This week’s statement to hold on to:

My response to rejection from others will be in direct proportion to my capacity to receive acceptance from God.” ~Christina Crowley

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. Putting our “real self” out there before others can be a very vulnerable thing. When you think of your spheres of community: family, work, friends, church, etc… What are some personal barriers and challenges that inhibit you from living honestly and authentically with others?
  1. In Chapter 1 of Uninvited Lysa shared that, “Honesty isn’t trying to hurt me. It’s trying to heal me.” Think of a time when you were honest with someone about a fragile situation in your life. Was your honesty handled in a way that lead you to feel accepted or rejected in your vulnerability?
  1. Rejection in its simplest form can be an annoying, nagging emotion causing us to feel frustrated that it bothers us as much as it does. In its most complex form, rejection can feel like it’s literally breaking our hearts. What impact has rejection had in your life and how has it contributed to shaping your identity and how you view yourself?
  1. An identity rooted in the truth of who God says we are and not the ever-changing voice of others is a constant battle. Chapter 2 presented three questions to help us be honest about how we view the foundation of God in our lives:

          Is God good?

          Is God good to me?

          Do I trust God to be God?

From the reading, which of these questions resonated with you the most and why? (It’s OK to be real about our places of doubt if they exist.)



Cultivate Book Blub

Jesus never asked us to “fix” others, He told us to…

Jesus never asked us to “fix” others, He told us to…

Week 1 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Introduction for Living Loved

In our first meeting this season at Cultivate book club we talked about empathy and why it’s so important to cultivate this into our lives. The truth is all of us have a deep need to be vulnerable. We want to be seen, heard and known.  Fear of how we will be received however, keeps us living inauthentic lives. If we can become people of empathy and learn to connect with others in their pain, we are inviting those around us to be their real selves.  And when people get real, beautiful things can happen.

So how do we become people of empathy?

The first thing is to not confuse having sympathy for someone as having empathy. They are two totally different things.  Sympathy is feeling ‘for’ someone, whereas empathy is feeling ‘with’ someone. Sympathy can keep us disconnected and drives us to “fix” others by dishing out advice from afar, while empathy helps us understand the complex details of people’s situations requiring us to feel which drives us to love. And Jesus never asked us to “fix” others~ He asks us to love them.

So as we cultivate the practice of living loved let’s take the opportunity to be real with ourselves and ask, “What kind of person am I when someone is vulnerable with me? Do I tend to look at them from afar and offer my sympathy, or do I lean in close with empathy trying to understand their pain and reminding them that they are loved?”

Live loved friends,


This week’s statement to hold on to:

“Let’s give empathy in droves and advice in drips. People will lean into your perspective when you have leaned into their pain.”  ~ Melody Workman

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions:


  1. How do people receive me in their moments of crisis or vulnerability?
  2. What makes me most uncomfortable when someone is sharing painful parts of their story?
  3. How do I need to grow in empathy and connection?

Small Group:

  1. Share about a time in your life where you needed someone (friend, spouse, sister, etc.) to give empathy and connect with you and it just didn’t happen? How did that make you feel?
  2. Do you struggle with empathy? Why is practicing true empathy so difficult?
  3. In John 11, we read about Jesus weeping with close friends of his who were weeping. What does this story tell us about Jesus?
  4. As this group shares and connects over the next 9 weeks, what are some things that are most important to you about this group time? What would you love to experience?
  5. Take some time and discuss the ground rules as a group.
Cultivate Book Blub

Call It Grace: Week 3

There is so much I learned this week in chapter 2 and 3! First, Lysa is REAL!  She is our people. I appreciate how she shares her real life unglued moments with us. There is just something freeing when others share their imperfect messy moments that makes us feel okay to be real about our imperfect messy moments. I hear all the time from other women, “Thank You for being REAL, it makes me feel like my life is more ‘normal’ than I thought.” It’s interesting how when we pretend to have it all together, the assumption is that others will be impressed. Instead, it sends others into a place of deeper hiding, makes them feel unsafe and repels them from us because they are now afraid to be honest about their life.

My husband is amazing at seeing the circumstances and situations of our everyday life and weaving them into biblical applications. I am not so much. To be quite honest with you, the days are a blur for me. My head hits that pillow every night utterly exhausted and relieved that we survived the day without losing any kids, missing any meals and no major catastrophes. So I can’t tell you a story to illustrate how I come unglued like Lysa, but I know I do because I have three mirrors in my home reflecting back to me when it happens, my 3 children. I see exactly what I look like when I see them coming unglued. I hear myself come out of their mouths as they yell at the glass that spilled water all over the carpet, or the backpack that dumped out as they’re rushing to the car to not be late. Oh yes, I’ve taught my children to come unglued quite well.  I can see how they don’t have grace for themselves or others because they see me not have grace. This is NOT how I want my children to act and react. I know first hand how it’s detrimental. And so, my motivation for imperfect progress starts with them!

Next, I was captivated by the section in the chapter about our thoughts. How our thoughts basically make a scratch into our brain. Thoughts that we think over and over again deepen that scratch turning it basically into a carving, and that when an emotion is tied to the thoughts, a memory is made! This actually really scared me and here’s why: What if the thoughts I’m thinking are lies? Lies like “I don’t matter,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not loved.” What if I think these thoughts over and over, carving them deeper into my brain? and then, because these thoughts are discouraging ones, I attach emotions like shame, sadness, defeat and sorrow to them. I’ve carved these thoughts that are lies into my brain as a memory, and the memory I carry is now what I believe. Now, my beliefs are actually lies disguised as truths. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5  “… take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” This truth from scripture came alive to me in a whole new way after studying this brain research. What we think becomes what we believe, and what we believe determines how we act and react. To become women who don’t let our raw emotions guide us to act out of control when circumstances are out of control, we need to guard our thoughts and make it a serious practice to take them captive, testing them against God’s word. Otherwise, we’re embedding lies into our brains disguised as truth!

Finally, what I was most impacted by from these chapters was the section on ‘labels.’ I immediately identified how much of my unglued behavior is tied to the ‘labels’ I’ve given myself.  I come unglued and then later regret it. I, then, begin to beat myself up mentally in my thought life spewing labels: “I always blow it, Why am I so overly emotional, I’m ridiculous, I was so stupid, I’m a bad ____ (wife, mom, friend, leader, etc.),” and the mental beating inside my brain goes on. These thoughts begin to increase the labels which increase what I believe about myself.  I loved looking at Simon and Saul in regards to ‘labels’. Simon, which means shifty, and he was. ‘Shifty’ was the label he probably carried after denying Jesus THREE times. Can you even imagine? We all would like to think that we’d never do that, especially being with Jesus in person and seeing everything He did with our own eyes, but I sorta think we would. Simon came unglued by being shifty with Jesus in the present, and yet, in Matthew we read this…

“You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”  Matthew 16:17-19

Jesus changed shifty Simon to Peter the rock!  

And then there was Paul. Paul had an unglued past too. He carried the label ‘persecutor of Christians’ and ‘murderer’. You can read about Paul in Acts 9 and how he shed his unglued past, literally, as scales fell from his eyes and became the most influential person in the New Testament second only to Jesus himself.

You see, Jesus didn’t see Peter or Paul as they were, rather as they would be. Lysa used the best analogy for this when she shared about her experience seeing the David by Michelangelo. She shared how when Michelangelo was asked what kept him going so long to create this masterpiece he simply said, “I saw the Angel in the marble and carved until I set him free, the process was easy, I just chipped away the stone that didn’t look like David”.  Ephesians 2:10 says…. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  The Statue of David was Michelangelo’s masterpiece, but we are God’s. So if we are God’s masterpiece isn’t it safe to assume that He might have similar thinking when it comes to us? Like Michelangelo, when looking at the raw stone when sculpting it into the David, God when looking as Simon Peter and Paul didn’t see them as they were, but as they would be. And He does the same for us.  He doesn’t want our unglued moments or our past to keep us in a place of beating ourselves up. He wants them to be reminders and revelations to us. We still have places that need to be chiseled by Him.  This week carve out space to write down the labels you carry and take them through Lysa’s Call It Grace exercise.

Identify the Label~

What is the lie in it?

What is the truth? I am a child of God that…

What is the Action?

How can you let the truth of this label help unstick other labels?


Let’s let Him chisel away all of the places of us that don’t look like us!




Discussion or Journal Questions:

  1. Without sharing the details or people involved… Think of a time you came Unglued. What did that look like for you? What feelings did it leave you with after the dust settled?
  2. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” AND 2 Corinthians 10:5 “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
  3. In chapter 2 Lysa describes the science behind how our thoughts develop into what becomes our “memory traces” and that when emotions are tied to those thoughts the trace grows exponentially stronger as our pattern of thought. And SO… as we enter into this journey of not being UNGLUED women… What are some memory traces your personal Unglued moments have left embedded in your mind?  (i.e. I always lose my mind. I’m crazy. I’m unglued. I can’t get it together. etc.)
  4. What is your motivation for changing your thought patterns?
  5. Share a thought you know you need to start taking captive?
  6. What are some labels you identify you carry? *Call It Grace Activity
Cultivate Book Blub

An Invitation to Imperfect Progress

Week 2 of Cultivate Book Club

It was a year ago, about this same time actually, that I became completely unglued. My raw emotions were off the charts. I had stuffed myself so full of them over a particular relational situation that I totally imploded. The implode was UGLY, like UGLY, ugly. AND the shrapnel was far reaching! In the moment there was a burst of relief to have gotten those feelings out, but that relief was quickly followed by an unbearable amount of embarrassment, guilt, shame, regret and relational damage. I hated how I’d behaved. I hated how I’d treated those involved. I hated how my raw emotions always got the best of me.

In the past, Matt has used a powerful analogy in his teaching in regards to becoming unglued. He, of course, didn’t use the word, but it’s the same thing. The analogy goes something like this:

~ If you shake a cup full of orange juice what will spill out?

~ Orange Juice

~ Why orange juice?

~ Because that’s what was inside of the cup.

You see, when we are shaken (or unglued), whatever is inside of us “spills out.” When I became unglued, I understood this analogy more than ever, and I was NOT okay with what had spilled out of me. In addition to the embarrassment, guilt, regret and shame that I was feeling, I also felt an enormous amount of frustration. I was frustrated, SO SO frustrated that I reacted the way I did, that I responded the way I did, that I wasn’t more spiritual, mature, kind, etc. I knew better, I know better. WHY didn’t I DO better in this situation? I was unglued, embarrassed, frustrated and then utterly defeated. Ugh~ the defeat was the worst of it! Actually, no it wasn’t… it was ALL the worst of it. This is why being REAL with self is SOOOO important.

Luke 6:45 says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”  

I want what comes out of me to be a reflection of WHO is in me, even when I’m coming unglued.

I’ll try to make a long (and very personal) story short for you. A decade ago (I know, ridiculous right?!… but apparently I forgive but don’t forget– okay who are we kidding, I don’t do either of them) I had a situation with one of my best friends. It all seems so ridiculous now and I’m embarrassed to even share, but for your sake, I’ll share my ridiculousness with you to help you feel better about who you are. OK… back to story. So one of my best friends made a new friend. I felt replaced, forgotten and unimportant. To top it off, the friend who I’d felt was my replacement was also one of my close friends. It was this funky friend triangle, except, I actually felt like the third wheel or the “ex”. Instead of being real about how I felt or asking clarifying questions, I made lots of assumptions, stuffed lots of anger, jealousy and resentment, and believed lots of lies about the situation. This all was the perfect fertilizer to nourish deep, deep roots of bitterness. Well, those roots eventually outgrew the pot (me being the pot) and everything shattered. Instead of letting my emotions become indicators that I wasn’t ok, they became dictators for how I thought, acted, responded, behaved and believed about the people involved. It was bad and messy and people were hurt. To be completely real with you, some of the relationships have barely survived. By the grace of God and others, all has not been lost, but it’s been a rough road. My ungluedness (just created a word there) not only hurt me, but really (LIKE REALLY, really) hurt others. And I don’t want to ever hurt others like that again. It’s just not who I want to be.

One of the things that I hated most about this situation was that a decade had gone by and I was still unglued about the exact same situation. A DECADE people. Like 10 years of my life and I’d not made any progress. This realization just tore me up! And SO… I’ve made a promise to myself that in one year from now I may not be where I want to be, but that I WILL NOT BE where I was. Progress, I will make progress.

That is what I love about this book, the idea of imperfect progress. It has given me freedom to not be perfect in my journey. It has given me new language to interject into my thought-life. When I am thinking “Ugh, I blew it again, why didn’t I handle that perfectly? What is wrong with me? I’m the worst woman, friend, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, leader, pastor’s wife ever.” I NOW throw into mix, “I’m not aiming to be perfect, but to make progress.” It’s a very disarming practice when I start down the road of self loathing and condemnation. It helps me take captive my very negative thoughts.

For the next 8 weeks we are not seeking perfection, but progress. AND because we are imperfect, that progress is going to be imperfect. And that’s OK! We’re not going to seek or hold ourselves accountable for instant change or try to create quick fixes to handle our raw emotions. We’re also not going to hold ourselves as the sum total of every time in the past we’ve blown it and become totally unglued. Instead, we are going to cultivate and nurture imperfect progress regarding how we handle our raw emotions. We’re doing this for us! Not to impress or satisfy who or what anyone else thinks we should be, but because of who we want to be for ourselves and in our relationship with Jesus. God gave us our emotions and so it is unrealistic and ridiculous to expect to not have them or to dismiss them. I love how Lysa says they are signals as to what is going on. They let us experience deep joy and love. They are also indicators for us as to when things are not ok, like touching a hot stove signals us to pull back, our emotions can also be protecting us from things and relationships that are not good or safe for us. We’re going to seek progress in having our raw emotions be indicators but not dictators for how we think, feel and behave.

Psalms 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Let this be our prayer over this time together, that the words we speak (to others AND to ourselves) be pleasing to the Lord. Here’s the best news: “He who has began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.” We might not be where we want to be, but we don’t have to stay where we are. Let’s make it our goal to make progress, as imperfect as it might be.



Personal Journal Experience

In lieu of our onsite meeting this week, carve out some time and a quiet space to reflect on and complete the following journal questions.

  1. What does coming unglued look like for you?
  2. Think of the last time you came unglued? What emotions are attached to the experience?
    1. Are you harboring any unforgiveness or bitterness towards others because of the experience?
    2. Are you harboring any unforgiveness or bitterness towards yourself because of the experience?
    3. Spend a few minutes being real with God in prayer about the experience. Ask God where forgiveness needs to be found, from Him to you, from you to others, from you to you? Are there any next steps you can take to bring closure and peace to the situation?
  3. Pertaining to your raw emotions, take a moment to think about the changes you want to make in regards to cultivating imperfect progress.
    1. What would progress look like for you?
    2. What is your goal? What do you want your “new normal” to look like? Write a small sentence or statement articulating your goals.

For example:

I would like it to be normal that….

I choose not to raise my voice when I get upset.

I acknowledge what I’m feeling instead of stuffing it.

I make it through a day without regretting how I treat someone.

I give myself space to pray & process before I react & respond

I ask myself what my emotions are indicating to me


Philippians 1:6 says, “God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that He won’t stop before it is complete on the day Christ Jesus returns.”

Close out your time completing this prayer:

Lord, thank you for releasing me from the weight of the past and for giving me hope that things can be different. Today I especially need hope for…

Thank you for the promise that you have begun a good work in me, and that you won’t stop until You complete it. This gives me hope! Amen.

*journal questions inspired by Lysa Terkeurst’s Unglued participants guide

Cultivate Book Blub

Preparing for My Imperfect Progress

This week we begin our study through Lysa Terkuerst’s book Unglued, I am so excited to go on this journey together. As we start this journey, there are three really important things we all need to know:

1. This book is not a substitute for THE book. Lysa is a great author. She is a gifted story teller and this book is filled with amazing truths. But it’s important for us to remember that the truths she is sharing with us are inspired by and rooted in the ultimate truth found in God’s word. Her book isn’t meant to be a substitute for our Bible reading or study. That is why each week there will be time dedicated to Bible study and teaching when we gather together. If you’re going through the book with some friends or on your own, be sure to go through the questions we provide on the blog each week. 

2. This is a journey of imperfect progress. Once you begin reading through this book, you are probably going to feel both challenged and convicted. This is a good thing, but it is also a hard thing. Once we are confronted with some things in our lives that need to change, what lies before us is the hard work of actually changing. So remember, we are on this journey together. And we are going to celebrate our imperfect progress along the way. We are not always going to get it right. We are going to experience success, but we are also going to experience failure. So, tuck this away: There is grace enough for _____________.  Whatever it is, there is grace to cover it. We are going to stay committed to the process of growth regardless of how many times we blow it.

3. This is an opportunity to cultivate the heart of God in our lives. None of us needs one more thing to do. We are all busy, so whatever we are giving our time to better mean something. Book Club isn’t meant to just be a fun social time (though we want it to be fun) or just a Bible study (though we will definitely study the Bible). It is meant to help us on our journey of becoming REAL with ourselves, God and others. It is meant to help us become more like Jesus. Here is the truth: The world isn’t desperate for Christians who know more. It is desperate for Christians who will do more with what they know. So, as we read and learn, the outworking of that process should be growth. Cultivating the heart of God in our lives is worth everything we have, so let’s stay committed to the growth process – even when it hurts…and it will. But, when the growth process is painful remember that Christ is being formed in you and He will be faithful to finish the good work that He has started!

Are you ready? Let’s go.



Cultivate Book Club Week 1:

Small Group Discussion Questions

1. Share about a time that you felt severely unprepared for a task or situation you were responsible for. What happened? How did you feel?

2. The subtitle for our book this season Unglued is this: Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions. Why is it hard to make wise choices when our emotions are raw?

3. Philippians 3: 13b, the Apostle Paul says “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” What are some things you need to leave in the past as you begin this new journey of imperfect progress?

4. How can this group pray for you as you strive to become real with yourself, God and others?