Her heart squeezed tight as she stepped out of the silver Honda after the six hour drive. She stretched her legs and willed her heart to stretch too, but felt the familiar anxiety pinch it tight. She was a newlywed arriving at the in-laws for the next family wedding, the next big event after hers.
She looked toward the family home and wondered what cloud of stress engulfed the family just through that front door. Without meaning to, she gulped the stress down tight.
Through the door and after the warm kisses she picked up an apron, tying the strings tight around her waist. Then her blond eyebrows lifted and her lips forced the cheery, “So, what can I do to help?”
She directed her question at her father-in-law chopping peppers at the kitchen island.
The knife slowed its downward rock onto the wood cutting board until it stopped and he waved her over to his side, “Stephanie, honestly, what we need most is for you to be fully you. We need Stephanie. We need you.” He went back to slicing the red pepper, slow and even and didn’t notice how her breath had begun to slow too.
She had been invited to come alive, invited to become Real and bring her gift for leaving beauty in her wake.
She had offered her hands empty and he had asked for her heart full.
And this, dear one, is what I hear too.
Our Father invites us to come fully alive, to bring our full heart to this new adventure.
We are invited to bring our gifts and words and love into a God-starved world and open our hands to serve Jesus to the searching.
And yes, I know, if you are like me you are looking at your meager lunch, those slivers of fish, those seemingly insufficient barley loaves and wondering how it could possibly be enough. Your time is scrunched, your words feel anemic, your life has been broken and rebroken and those talents you have? You sometimes desire to grasp the shovel and bury them deep. But remember, friend, He knows how to bless brokenness. He knows how to multiply what lies small in your hands.
And you, my friend, you are enough and your heart, fully alive, is needed right here, right now in this zipcode.
The God-hungry are waiting for you to come alive, to risk opening your heart and sharing the Bread in your hands.
“God calls us to stop hiding, to stop dominating, to trust him, and to offer our true selves. He wants us to bring to bear the weight of our lives and all that He has given to us, worked into us, and offer it to our world.”
John and Staci Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.
And this is her poem, my sister, the one who swings her heart open wide.
heart shimmering on skin
bursting from uncontained laughter
Announce your presence:
shutters blown open.
Santa Ana winds whip mystery
scent of freshly baked bread
If you have a bit more time, check out my sister Stephanie’s story on re.write magazine this month found here: Issue #19. And don’t miss learning about her beautiful non-profit, Unchained, raising a new generation of abolitionists.
Thank you to Cate Catani Robertson and Katherine Birkbeck Photography. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your gift: Gorgeous.
We’re on a 31 day journey toward falling in love with our zip code. Our family just moved down five states south and are loving the warm October. Would you like to come along? Slip your email address (I’ll guard it with my life) into the CONNECT box on the front page and we’ll journey together. Start here.