Coldest Before the Sunrise

Two months ago I posted about my journey down a hard road that led to my decision to go ahead with gastric sleeve/weight loss surgery. Making that kind of life changing, and permanent decision was NOT easy. I was scared. Scared of the actual procedure, and doing something SO permanent to my body…and mostly, scared of what EVERYONE would think of me for making that decision. As much as I hate to admit it…the fear of letting people down, especially everyone in this fitness world I love, with people who have grown to respect me and support me whole heartedly was crippling.

Would they understand?

Will I be strong enough to persist if they dont?

But beyond my fear, there was peace. Knowing that everything I had worked for had set me up for this next step. All of the work and dedication would not be lost by finally “surrendering” to surgery…the years of hard work was preparing me for it, and setting me up for the optimum outcome, so that I COULD level up to a new season of freedom. Blogging about it, and posting it for the world to see made it official. A ceremonious show of faith. Surrendering that fear, and trusting what I KNEW was true, despite some who would disagree or be disappointed.

“Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” -Mao Zedong

A few days after that post, my whole world got turned upside down because of a video I had posted on my AF club’s Facebook page, that went crazy viral for a few weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/anytimefitnessnorthreno/videos/1828428767179406/

This video was made and posted in a moment of pure passionate impulse. My YEARS of absorbing the pain of terrible comments and the desire to protect my members from feeling that in our gym spurred me to action, and I truly DID NOT KNOW how much it would resonate with people. It was truly a miracle. I had NEVER spoken up for myself before. But I knew…if I was going to protect my members from nasty comments I HAD to have the courage to protect myself first.

Here I was, surrendering all I had to the hope of becoming something better…and within days I felt like God had taken my broken little bits of fear, shame and surrender and laid out a beautiful, mosaic path of hope, beauty and confirmation. A masterful and custom tiled path to my life’s purpose.

It wasn’t ME that made people connect to the video. It was bigger than me. It was only my willingness to speak. People connected to the pain and fear of being discounted, misunderstood and looked down upon. People connected with the intimidation of putting yourself out there, where you might be exposed and vulnerable to mockery or judgement. And people were inspired that it could happen…but you could PERSIST anyway.

It was amazing. To date, the video has reached over 500,000 people and has been shared over 3,000 times on Facebook, around the WORLD. I was asked to do interviews for the newspaper and local news. The articles multiplied overnight and so did the attention. It truly felt SURREAL to have so many people care about anything I had to say for 30 seconds, let alone for articles and interviews?! So many beautiful people reached out to me, sharing their own experiences. So many beautiful comments of love and encouragement. It was a crazy WAVE of love that came crashing out of nowhere.

Because of that video, I was also gifted with an AMAZING opportunity to go to THE MOST AMAZING wellness retreat in Northern Minnesota ( https://thepointretreats.com/) where I was fortunate to meet the MOST amazing people. I was also invited for a visit to Anytime Fitness Headquarters in Woodbury, MN, where I was treated like a queen for the day, got to chat with our MFCEO Chuck Runyon and my favorite AF rockstars, and spoiled rotten with love and support from my purple tribe.

It. Was. Unbelievable.

The whole time, being FULLY aware of my body and the space it takes up while traveling on planes by myself. The whole time, knowing my surgery was quickly approaching and how much physical, mental and spiritual work I still had ahead of me, reminding me this journey is far from over…and in some ways, just beginning. And lastly, knowing the whole time and being fully aware that for every 100 or so comments of love from sweet strangers on the internet, there was ALWAYS at least one or two mean and painful zingers, lurking from trolls and haters.

It all kept me completely anchored to humility during my little 15 minutes of fame. And in one of my many moments of panic and fear through all this, God gave me the best gift while out camping with my family and good friends.

My daughter had woken up at 4 in the morning on our last night and couldn’t get calmed down so I put her in her sleeping bag in the backseat of my car. I sat up in the front seat and we both fell back to sleep. A couple hours later I woke up because I had suddenly become CRAZY cold. I barely opened my eyes and saw that the sky was that perfect shade of blue just before the sun rises. There was a thin blanket of fog slowly rolling along the top of the lake we were camping by. It was one of those quiet moments early in the morning where you feel you’re the only person alive in the world. As I sat up and started pulling my arms into my sweatshirt to warm up, something my dad always used to say to us growing up, taking us fishing popped into my head.

“It’s always coldest just before the sunrise.”

As soon as I heard that I stopped.

I knew.

As cheesy as it sounds, I knew in that moment everything would be ok. All of the hard times, humiliation, shame, disappointment, embarrassment, doubt and fear would pass. I knew that it was not in vain. My body has served a bigger purpose, even in a state that I would not have expected.

Nothing is wasted.

Because, its always the coldest…just before sunrise.

You cant appreciate freedom without knowing the pain of bondage…and sometimes we all feel bound in bodies that we dont feel free to love.

It takes intentional WORK to appreciate what our bodies DO for us everyday, despite what they LOOK like. But that consistent work, leads to freedom.

When I first began this blog, I had no idea the journey I was starting. I had no idea fitness and exercise would become a LOVE and passion. I had no idea that I could be so surprised and honored by what my body was capable of. I had no idea how that would begin to build a magical, force-field of confidence that would spill over into all the areas of my life. It has changed me as a mom, a wife, sister, daughter and friend. It has changed my heart and my mind. It has given me the courage to take care of myself, and put myself and my health FIRST, in ways I never have before. Which is how I ended up choosing to have a drastic surgery, that would restore my stomach back to a size its supposed to be.

Of course, as I completed all the steps, and jumped through all the hoops required by my insurance and the reality of this surgery drew nearer, I prayed for confirmation that I was making the right decision. It came in an email that I received saying I was approved for surgery on my birthday, July 6th.

BIRTHday.

This whole process has been labor. Making a life change IS hard work. Changing the way you eat is hard. Starting to workout and exercise is HARD. And if you dont quit when it gets hard, you’ll find that it is A LOT like laboring and birthing a new YOU.

My surgery was a success. My surgeon said it only took 30 min to complete the procedure, and told us that he believed I did and would do SO well because of all the hard work Ive already done over these years, and will continue to do.

The biggest judgment and misconception I had about the surgery before, and the stigma I will fight now, (and probably fight forever!) is that this choice was a “cheat” or “cop out”. That could NOT be further from the truth. This has been WAY harder than I ever thought, and the next phase of work is JUST beginning!! I still have to WORK in order to continue towards my goals, despite what most people think. It has been a long journey to get here…but I do feel like the sun is starting to rise now.

*****THANK YOU******

To my Husband, squad, family and friends who have been here for me during this past 6 months….you’ll never know the depth of my gratitude, and what it has meant to me to have the unwavering support I’ve had to be able to do this. You KNOW who you are. Thank you.

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Reining it in

I love that my hair is long enough to pull up into the perfect messy bun.  No strays or stragglers.

I love that I opened this window on my left side and a burst of warm summer wind hit me in the face like a pleasant surprise.

I love that my Pandora is playing all the songs I like so I don’t have to waste any skips.

I love that my dog always knows just when I need her to snuggle up against me and be my friend.

I love that my babies are running through my house having fun despite me yelling at them to knock it off.

I know I will miss their mess and noise someday and I only need a moment of intentional gratitude to sober me.

I love that when I stop and take notice, I am overwhelmed with things to say thank you for.

The hardest thing about being a realist is that you’re really only a pessimist in disguise.

To halt myself from traveling down the familiar gloomy tracks and force instead a stroll down a brighter path…

Well, I’m more comfortable sitting in the shade.

My disappointment hangs from my body,

heavy and always inconvenient.

Protecting me from pain but hard to ignore…and if I’m being honest it only makes it worse.

But I am told to be in the light as He is in the light…

and I was.

Spent the fullness of time feeling welcomed and alive.

Now here we are again, and back to being the last resort.

Wasn’t quite ready to come home to the norm.

I have amends to make and bridges to burn, like calories…and we all know how good I am at that.

Frames and galleries of words that crowd my heart, and the space is getting limited in these chambers.

Bolted with hardware and welded to my arteries.

This kind of blockage requires a skilled surgeon.

Blood pumping through paths I’ve carved out to survive.

A masterpiece.
A bypass of emotion.

Today is a new day that has been made for my gain,

taking a new route and a fresh way.

I will choose gratitude.

What other choice do I have?!

I love that I have mastered the art of coming full circle, even when it seems pointless.

I love that a deep breath and honest words can set my focus strait.

I love that I will turn off this computer and leave the tears behind and get back to living.

Excuse my ramblings today. I just needed to rein it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

Miracle Grow

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” And she had a will like a root; it was sometimes hidden underground, but it was there, tough and fibrous and sustaining everything she did.”

My cheeks burn as I try to stand my ground.
Speaking my mind.
Having the audacity to challenge credentials.

Hold on tight… I can feel my grip slipping.
And I realize I’m done,
done and onto the next one.

Are friendships supposed to be this hard?
Is this the easy and light yoke that was promised?
What happened to fellowship and sharpening of swords?

It feels so heavy,
but everything about me is heavy, so maybe it’s just me.
Agreeing that yes, I need to die to myself.
So I try.
And try and try and try.
And it chips away at what is left.

And with it,
the belief in grace for all.
Pardon for all.
Faith for all.
Because, it’s taken me so long to figure this thing out,
and now it’s ruined.

Guilt regulating this frigid temperature.
Nothing can grow on this plot.
Hard like a rock.
You can blame yourself.

If I’m rebellious?

Bitter?

I’m disobedient because my back straitened taller when I challenged what you said?

Am I obnoxious because my voice is raised often, and with passion?

Am I lost because I can’t fake what I don’t believe?

The little root and sprout of the woman I’m supposed to be has been curled up and hidden beneath the dark soil.

The earth is fresh and damp and warming up under the beating sun.

Soon, there will be a new thing.

A bloom.

Rooted deeply and rooted onward by the ONE who created my lungs to fill with my own words.

I feel it coming back again,
the hints of something special.
That nudge that I was made for something special.
That you are special too.

Pound the shovel down and pierce what would have died,
with freedom.

I am exactly who I’m supposed to be.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18

* the picture and quote I shared are from an Instagram account I follow
http://instagram.com/prettynpaleoatx *

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Every summer has its own story

I thought it would be fun to revisit an old post from last summer. Especially since it has a nostalgic vibe to it. Enjoy!

Mandimonologue

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The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I…

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Realology

 

 
The real me.

I don’t think you can handle the real me.I don’t think I can handle the real me, which is why I spend so much time and energy trying to dress, suppress and cover.

The real me keeps up with Kardashians and enjoys every ignorant drop of pop-culture, and  I know you do too…or they wouldn’t be rich. We all watch.  The real me has been known to set the DVR…don’t want to miss any rubbish.  The real me watches all the awards shows, red carpets and live coverage even though I pretend like I’m above it.

The real me sings “laa laa laa laa, wait till I get my money right” while I type this.  Because sometimes, the real me listens to some dirty, filthy rap and hip hop.

It’s poetry.

I love it.

Can’t help it.

I’m jealous of it.  Its art.

It is.

It’s real and raw and I can’t help but appreciate.

The real me has the mouth of a sailor. I try not to, but sometimes…you just gotta…I’m tired of pretending I don’t.

I have the sense of humor of 8 fraternity brothers.  Every damn lewd thing under the sun I think is hilarious and it’s probably extremely inappropriate.

The REAL me likes a good love scene in a movie. You won’t catch me blushing or turning away.  Bring it on, I’m not afraid.  My husband has no complaints.  He knows the real, real me and luckily he loves me anyway.

The real me thinks its funny.

SO funny!

The real me can take a joke and surely throw one your way.  The real me will likely make fun of you, it’s an unfortunate self survival technique.  Because making fun of myself is what has kept me alive.  It has saved me.  It’s what I know..so I also know how to apologize.  They go hand in hand.

The real me likes to get tipsy every now and then when my kids aren’t around.  Tie one on and have a silly good time.  Sing oldies at the top of my lungs and laugh at everything.  I like a margarita or a simple beer…which is a sin nowadays.  Everyone is a beer snob and expert.  Maybe I’m just insecure and lame because I feel like the fancy beer tastes terrible.  The real me won’t care because if she drinks enough (which is rare) she likes to smoke a cigar.  The really sweet and cheap ones from the gas station.  The real, deep down me wont feel gross, guilty or in trouble…because she has nothing to hide.  

 

The real me knows..that God already knows.  

 

He already knows the real me that sneaks leftovers from the fridge when everyone is asleep.  An extra scoop here, a bite there.  The real me that over eats to stuff down the urge to go ahead and just be the real me, and let it all hang out.  The real me that loses battles against pastries, bagels,calories and food journals.  Clean eating plans that fall short despite how hard I try or how firm my resolve.   So I try, but I want to have my cake and eat it too..and show no evidence of it.

Don’t we all?

The real me questions God and the bible and if this whole thing isn’t just a big scam.

The real me wonders if I’ve been brainwashed all along.

The real me knows I can’t say these things out loud because (gasp) what would everyone think?

Well, the real me doesn’t need your prayers.

God is always here for me, however that works.  The real me knows that God is real and loves, even the real and raw hidden me.

 

The real me needed your true friendship …you know the kind that you thought you had already given to me and then bailed on when you found out that I was TOO much?

The real me has few real friends.. you wouldn’t approve of.

We laugh at crazy stuff and talk about the dark things that crowd the soul with the practice of keeping them silent…but when they reach the light of day the power hold they had on me fall to the ground like a pile of rusty chains.

Hold on, there’s more.

The real me likes to be alone, but its hard to do things alone.

The real me wishes she could beg for help but she wont because shes prideful.  So,so, so prideful.

I’d rather die than ask you for help again.  Ever again.

The real me wishes I could say that to your face but I wont.  I know that deep down, the real me isn’t that polite.  The real me would shrug and keep walking because the real me doesn’t pretend like everythings fine. The real me is so damn tired of taking the fall.  So tired of taking the blame .  So tired of being responsible. So tired of being at fault.

But the real me cant say that out loud.  We must always keep up appearances.

 

The real me has secrets and regrets.

Darkness. Beyond what you could even imagine.

The real me has carried it a long time.

The real me is so sorry,  You wouldn’t believe how sorry! I could never express. It’s buried too deep.  But the real me is on her way to freedom.  Digging these old things up and letting them go.  So, let go and just let the real me hang on out there…good, bad and ugly, this is what it is.

We’ll see whose still standing here after.

We are all liars, thieves and pretenders.

What would be the harm if we just sat in our discomfort and exposed who really are and what we really feel?

So lets just get real.

Realology.

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One year of blogging and looking ahead

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It has officially been one year and I have the same heavy body I had last February when I started this blog.

I’m writing from the same couch. Same living room. Same house. Same warm dog lying next to me.

So much has remained the same but I know that when I stop and think, I’m at least a little older and whole lot wiser.

A lot can happen in a year.

If I’m being honest, I really thought that if I gave myself over to the honesty of writing and sacrificed myself on the alter of this blog, that somehow all of my excess weight and self doubt would magically melt away by the sheer power of humility.

I would NOT hold back and I would come out of this transformed and on my way to being a big deal. Spiritually, mentally, physically and creatively superior. Ready to impact the world with my success story.

Well, that didn’t happen.

What has happened is REAL life, and not the la-la land I was imagining where magical things unfold without any work.

One thing I’ve learned is that love hurts. Sometimes, love means turning the other way. Destructive and repetitive family cycles are agonizing to remove yourself from, but for wholistic health, it must be done!

When trying to soak up someone else’s pain only makes them sicker and you, sicker…the downward spiral deepens. Having to let go of someone you love because you can’t be their savior…walking away from their pain?
About the worst thing I’ve had to attempt and see through. Somewhere along the way I’ve believed that taking care of others is way more important than caring for myself. I’ve learned the hard way that this is just simply untrue. I have no idea how or what that looks like.
Still working it out.

Because of not knowing how to properly care for myself and my own needs, I’ve also learned that I can’t trust myself around food and REALLY can’t trust myself around a bible.

My spiritual life is connected to my tangible eating and breathing life, is connected to my creative life, is connected to my mental life is connected to my spiritual life…blah blah blah. I know that the more I struggle against my creator the worse I seem to struggle mentally, creatively and physically.

So why the struggle?

I know all the proper “theological” answers. I am a sinner who wants to be my own God…I want to captain this ship of mine on my own, and thus will suffer from these ill navigated waters until I surrender.

Boo.

That’s really not it.
I’m just desperate for an authentic faith. I reject being boxed into a “Christian-living-looks-like-this” box. As much as I try to not care and act aloof about the whole thing, at the end of the day I just want to press in and get close enough to Jesus to touch the hem of his garment. To push through the crowds and see him for REALS. Be near Him. Be healed. Without anyone telling me I’m doing it wrong, or interpreting it wrong, or questioning if my motives were biblical…or WRONG.

I’ve let my distaste for our audacious “Christian culture” and all the rights and wrongs create distance between me and the source of love and life.

It’s weeks like this past week that bring me back down onto my knees where faith and reality meet head on.

A beautiful friend of mine suddenly passed away from a violent athsma attack. She was my age. A mother of 4 young children and a wife to a husband whom she adored. Her death was shocking and heart breaking. A few days later, the news of another friend from high school, taking his own life.

No matter who you are or what you believe, when your heart is breaking you look for the goodness of God. You search to find light to chase out the darkness. To fill in the cracks of what’s been broken.

Perhaps that is why he allows us to endure hard things, so that we will put down our rubbish and shenanigans and get back to finding and staying near to the source because we certainly aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

So, this year I will continue to do just that. Seek out He is who is the source and stay near to Him. I will continue to write and throw myself onto this blogging alter in that pursuit.

No expectations of crazy miracles or outcomes, just me, keeping it real.


*I was surprised by who was on the sidelines cheering me on at the start of this blogging journey and am equally surprised by who remains and is still here pushing me onward.

So, in honor of my one year blogging anniversary, THANK you so much for loving me despite what a maniac I am.

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A little moment in the sun

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I’m siting in my car right now, taking a few moments to let my daughter sleep. We have had a crazy busy day and she has been a polite little trooper who has earned herself a nap. (I will be kinda sad next year when she starts kindergarten and retires her post as my daily side-kick.)

Some days you just gotta do this.
Push the pause button on the day and breathe. Moving them out of the car into the house after they fall asleep will most certainly wake them up…and sometimes it’s more than worth it just to put it in park, roll the windows down and chillax.

So here I am. Chillaxin. (I actually typed that word out twice just now, how hip of me…)

Soaking in a lovely Nevada afternoon. The sun is shining, the air is crisp, I’m feeling so very “Octobery”.

Yet, despite my peaceful little moment here, I can’t help but have a heavy heart. I keep staring at my messy, sleeping little baby girl and my heart swells with love and a little fear. Its hard NOT to be afraid right now if you are a parent.

My mind keeps wandering to the candle light vigil I attended last night with my husband, children and friends in response to the school shooting that happened here on Monday. Honoring the life of a man who died this week in my hometown, protecting students at the school he taught at. It was (and is) surreal that it has happened here, but it comes as no surprise to any of us anymore. As if to say,” Well, I guess it was our turn?”

No matter how we try, we cannot escape suffering in this life. It just HAPPENS to each of us in different ways. But, for just this quick quiet moment, I feel like no matter why or what may come…I know that God is big enough to be trusted with it all. Even with MY babies.

So I can let it go…and tomorrow when I try to take it back into my own hands and be afraid, I will remind myself of this:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
-Isaiah 26:3 NLT

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Revisiting my steps

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“You’re blessed when you’re content with who you are – no more no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
– Matt. 5:5 (MSG)

I keep reading this over and over.

I feel like I want to brand it into my forehead where I can see it everyday.

These are living words.

This is the “message” translation of Matthew 5:5 which is part of the beatitudes that says,”blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
I love “The Message” bible because I feel like its written in the everyday language that I use. It helps me understand what the heck the bible is talking about sometimes. I’m not a scholar, I just want to understand in lay men’s terms what is going on.

I think this scripture resonates so deeply with me because I feel like I am my own worst enemy. The war that I wage is against myself. I feel like a lunatic at times if I’m being honest. You probably wouldn’t trust me with your dog, let alone your children if you knew the levels of crazy I had going on in here. I get so sick of myself.
I’m ready to be free of the ways I hold myself back! I realize this isn’t a one time decision, but a DAILY one.

“As water reflects the face, someone’s life reflects the heart.”
-Proverbs 26:19 (NIV)

When I look around and see that my life reflects what’s in my heart, I am sobered by the truth of it.

Once again, I will make the choice to LET GO.
To unclutter my life, my home and my time to declutter the mess that lies waiting to grow in my heart and mind.

One day at a time, making the right choices even if I don’t feel like it. Managing what I already have and being thankful for it will bring contentment and hopefully peace. Surrendering it all to God who is big enough to handle it.

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Where were you?

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Being an adult is just becoming more and more aware of what darkness people are actually capable of.

Today I find myself thinking about where I was the morning of September 11, 2001. I was waking up to walk to my preschool teaching job at my church. Scared and wondering what else might happen. We hardly had any kids that day, most people stayed home. We watched the events unfold on a tv that we had out in the kitchen so the children couldn’t see or hear. It felt like the entire adult population was holding their breath.

I’ve been reading accounts from others about where they were when they heard/saw what had happened. It’s interesting how this one major event is branded into each of our minds and with poetic justice draws us all in close together again.

Remember all of the American flags??

They were everywhere.

Everyone prayed that day. No matter what religion or tradition, we were all gathered up together grieving, hearts bleeding for those who were suffering. Brimming with pride for those with unimaginable courage. Asking God, of all kinds of names, to comfort and bring peace.

It shouldn’t be any different today.

We will pray for peace.
We will pray for courage.
We will pray for unity.
We will pray for justice.

We will pray for strength to trust in God even when it seems hopeless.

We will pray to see LOVE swell up around all the ugliness, just like all of those american flags that we draped over ourselves like warm blankets all those years ago.

And then we will know that once again, we have seen Gods love at work in the hands of those who help. In the arms of those that carry. In the eyes of those who weep. In the hearts within us beating…and we will keep carrying on.


“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
-Psalms 91:1-16 NLT

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