The Gift of an Unraveled Soul

I just completed the second of two weekends at an experiential training that could best be described as an emotional and psychological healing boot camp.  While at the training, I was given the opportunity to basically see my naked soul in a mirror and process all that I saw.  It was intense, raw, unconventional, vulnerable, hard, and incredibly healing.  After just the first weekend, I described to Val that it felt like my soul was unraveling…it felt like a really good and necessary unraveling…all kinds of false paradigms that I’ve lived under throughout my life coming undone...and while good and necessary, it still felt like an unraveling.  And unravelings are never easy. 

I had signed up for this experiential training because I knew someone who had been through it and I had seen her truly change…I had seen her become freer and more confident.  I saw my friend embrace and run with her God-given design in a way that I hadn’t quite seen so fully expressed in her until this point in her life.  I also have this dream of seeing women know their own story and become reconnected to their God-given design, so I signed up for this training just so I could know whether or not I could, in good conscience, recommend it to others as a tool of sorts toward that dream of mine.  I had no idea how God would actually use it to overhaul me. 

The first weekend truly let me see myself in a crystal clear mirror.  My soul.  My emotions.  My patterns.  My false paradigms.  My struggles.  My strengths.  Me.  In a mirror.  The first weekend also gave me some new tools to incorporate into my life as I saw these things about myself.  Over the month in between the two trainings, as I connected with God over these false paradigms, He began to unwind many of them.  Some of these false paradigms I’ve been living under for as long as I can remember, while others had come into play as recent as four years ago.  I began taking them one at a time, praying over the specific one, asking God where it came from, asking Him for His truth over that paradigm, and ultimately asking Him to heal and reset what was false into what is true. 

As I got closer and closer to the second weekend, God begin pulling forward memories that I hadn’t thought of for years.  I knew He wanted me to pay attention, to find themes, to remember where some of my patterns and beliefs began.  So, I did.  I engaged with Him, because this process was way outside my comfort zone and I needed to know that it was Him walking me through every step of the way.  In fact, this training was so outside my comfort zone, so incredibly vulnerable that I considered not going to the second weekend.  But after some encouragement from my friend, and a deep sense inside myself that I needed to see this process through to the end, I went to the second weekend. 

Now on the other side of that second weekend, I feel like I have been given an incredible gift to have been able to go through this training.  God used this training to bring me face to face with some things I desperately needed to let go.  And at the same time, He used it to call me forward and reclaim some of the things I had lost along the way amidst life’s struggles.  In fact, over the course of the last few years due to some deep wounding, I had stopped trusting.  The love and support I felt through this training, combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, dismantled that wall. In the rawness of soul, facing myself as I truly am, as I engaged with God throughout the experience, I found myself reconnected with my design and realigned with who God made me to be. There is nothing like being reacquainted with who you truly are, the false paradigms unraveling, your soul reawakened, your whole self reengaged.

I feel like I am a stronger, more peaceful, more present mom…more self aware, more able to find my calm in the chaos than ever before…and more able to really connect with my kids.  I also feel like I’ve got a new tenderness and love for Val now, too.   Honestly, I feel like I’m a revived woman.  Not just going through the motions of life, carrying all my responsibilities, trying so hard to do a good job, but breathing, loving, present, me. 

After experiencing such a profound impact through this training, I wanted to tell you about it!  This training is for anyone, whatever your background…whether it be traumatic or not.  It’s for men, women, young, not as young…anyone.  However, this training isn’t for everyone at this very moment…it would be something you would have to want to do.  I will tell you this: if you come to a place where you want to see yourself honestly and be realigned with who God designed you to be, this experience is precisely what you want.  The training itself is definitely unconventional, yet it is this very characteristic that makes it so effective.  The best way I could describe the training is that it is like a counseling session on steroids in a group setting done through active learning experiences, direct teaching, open sharing, and personal processing.  I will also tell you that it is possible that there could be parts of the training you may not agree on a philosophical or theological level.  As you face those, discern those for what they are without letting them negate the training all together. If you can do that, this experience could be one of the best tools you ever gain in life.

Also, while the training is led by Christians, the training itself is not a faith-focused training per se.  In fact, the training primarily deals with emotional and psychological healing…and it is up to each participant to take it to the spiritual level if he or she so desires.  For me, because I chose to engage the training on a spiritual level, I experienced a powerful and personal spiritual healing connected to my emotional and psychological experience.  I believe that the deepest healing and lasting change will come when you engage your spirit with the Spirit allowing Jesus to do the work of truly changing you.  However, this is still a phenomenal and powerful experience simply at the emotional and psychological levels!

If after reading all this, you feel a longing in your heart for this kind of shift in your own life, I’d encourage you to check out The Journey Training website (click here).  If you decided to go through this training, you would ideally sign up for “Threshold”  and the “Crossroads” that follows it the very next month so that you go through the experience with mostly the same group of people.  If you have any questions or just want to know more, please contact me (click here).  While I’m not personally affiliated with The Journey Training, I’d be happy to answer whatever I can from my own experience! 

If you ever do sign up to go through this training, please let me know (click here), I’d like to be as much of an emotional support through your process as I am able.  

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Maternal Soul Health

This past January, God placed a dream in my heart to walk with women through their stories for the purpose of reconnecting them to their God-given design.  This dream began after a season of seeing what a significant impact a mothers’ soul health plays in the lives of her children…whether a healthy soul bringing about a life-giving impact or an unhealthy soul bringing about a detrimental impact.  As I’ve listened to so many people’s stories over the years, the thread of the mom’s impact began to be highlighted and magnified. 

It seemed as I listened more intently to others’ stories, often a person’s season(s) of greatest pain occurred during a time in childhood or adolescence when the mom wasn’t emotionally healthy.  More specifically, it seemed that either direct or indirect hurt (whether emotional, physical, or otherwise) occurred in a person’s story when his/her mom couldn’t deal with life on some level during a season in that person’s childhood or adolescence. 

Let me pause there.  Just so you know the truth and to caution us from engaging judgment and condemnation: we all, each one of us, can’t deal with life on some level and to varying degrees at various points in our lives. The pattern I saw in these people’s stories, though, was simply that the moms had seasons of not being able to deal with life yet didn’t pursue transformation or healing of the issue or struggle in the “can’t deal” seasons, ultimately cascading hurt onto their children. 

As I saw this, a dream began. 

What if, in my generation, I did what I could do to prevent this pattern from spreading?  More specifically, what if I could sit with women and hear their stories and help them connect the dots in their life stories of God-given design and life themes to pursue, lies that are believed that need to be overhauled with truth, and wounds that need healing.  What if we could identify the “can’t deal” places and find healing and hope and tools for those?  What would happen if we could connect the dots of our stories and not be stuck in the “can’t deal” places, not be bound by the places of pain and struggle?  What would happen in our own selves?  What would be the cascade into our children’s lives?  Envisioning the ripple effect of moms living life connected to their God-given design, living from truth (and not from lies), and ultimately living with healthy souls is so, so beautiful to me. 

So, I began to engage this dream.  I began to pray and pursue training in these areas.  And as I began, I also had a sense that God would want to start this process of maternal soul health with me.  And He has.  I did not expect the intensity of the process He would begin taking me through this year.  Yet, it makes sense…how could I take women somewhere I hadn’t first gone myself.  So, I’ve been engaging the process He has me in, facing anything He unfolds in front of me.  It’s been a soul-healing year for sure.  Destabilizing at times.  Unfamiliar often.  But new and better and hopeful and restorative always. 

This past weekend, I went to an interactive training on emotional healing.  It was incredibly intense and way “outside the box”!  In fact, I am still trying to discern how I feel about the training.  What the training did, though, is let me see myself with a new depth of honesty.   While humbling, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to look at myself with such clarity.  It was like looking at my soul in a mirror. 

After such an intense experience and seeing myself with such clarity, there are many things now to process with God, for me to pray through, for me to ask Him for further transformation and healing.  I feel slowed in my life.  Which is actually a really good thing for me…a slowing of all the drive, ambition, productivity, and accomplishing to sit still, listen, and heal.  So, I will be taking the next six weeks (at least) as a blogging sabbatical.  I will be stepping back and spending time engaging my soul with God and seeing what He has planned in this process of Him guiding me into my own “maternal soul health.”   For these next six weeks, I will let the blog be silent but didn’t want to do so without letting you all know why. 

So, will you pray for me as I engage this process?  And will you also pray for the dream…the hope of one day being able to walk with women into their own stories so that they, too, have soul healing and become reconnected to their God-given design? 

(Photo credit: Val)


Echoes of Our Original Design Restored

You were created in the Image of God.  He began His story with creation and He called what He created good.  There are echoes of that original design in you.

But.  That good, original design has been tainted by the fall.  You entered a fallen world when you were born.  Creation has been altered…broken.  You entered a broken world.  You yourself have been broken by sin done to you and sin you’ve done yourself, your very sin separating you from God.   

Then.  Jesus entered the story.  His death and resurrection brought about redemption.  Now you can be brought from darkness and death to light and life.  When we follow Jesus with our lives, we are redeemed. 

The story doesn’t end there. As long as we are alive on this earth, we have the opportunity to join with Jesus’ restorative work by engaging in His transformation of our very selves.  We have the opportunity to enter into His healing of the wrongs that have been done to us.  We also have the opportunity to engage His transformation of ourselves through confession and repentance of our own sin, ultimately believing Him to make us new, as we live connected to the Spirit.  He reconnects the echoes of our original design to our current reality. And as we experience His restoration of ourselves, we have the opportunity to bring restoration to all the people and places our lives touch. 


My Husband Changes the World by Starting with Us

Too many men want to change the world but aren't willing to change diapers, but that's precisely where changing the world begins, at home. – Burk Parsons

I am walking out the door in a couple hours to be at a retreat I’ve been dreaming about for months.  Four ladies at my favorite bed and breakfast for 48 hours sharing our stories, our hearts, and looking to God to speak to us as we meet together.  Can. not. wait. 

This is the weekend I have ahead of me:  Rest.  Renewal.  Gourmet breakfast.  A large quiet room with no night wake-up calls from small people.  Dinner delivered right at my doorstep.  Alone time.  Spiritual encouragement.  Friendship. 

The weekend Val has ahead of him, though, is very different from mine.  Work.  Energy being poured out nonstop.  Waking up to an assortment of possible needs from snuggles because of nightmares to a midnight snack plea to a 4 a.m. bottle (who knows if Val will even sleep…pray for him).  Cooking breakfast.  Making lunch.  Cooking dinner.   Making snacks.  All day.  Changing diapers.  Playing endless games of Chutes and Ladders or Angry Birds.  Comforting a teething toddler.  Reading bedtime stories.  Doing bedtime baths.  Breaking up squabbles.  Doing dishes.  Doing dishes.  Doing dishes.  Reading Beautiful Babies at least 100 times.  Getting everyone outside to play.   Wrestling.  Listening to lots of talking about lots of topics with lots of questions all day long.   Lots and lots of work. 

Val is doing this because he actually does believes what that quote at the beginning says: changing the world begins at home.  While Val does do wildly world changing things like going into Middle Eastern nations in times of war to offer medical relief, he also does not view changing diapers as something that is beneath him. Some of his most powerful world changing impact happens right in our home with our family of five.  He believes that loving, serving, and connecting with his wife and kids is God’s work in action.  He is incredibly involved on a daily basis in our family life.  But he doesn’t just stop there, either.  Just as much as he believes that his world changing impact is both within the home and beyond the home, he also believes that I, too, have world changing purposes to live out, both within the home and beyond the home. Val gives himself to making it possible for me to do the things that I feel God leading me to do and be…both within the home and beyond. 

While we both work cohesively together to make our God-given impacts both at home and beyond, it just so happens that this weekend, Val is taking on a double-share of world changing at home. 

To any men that are reading today, this is where world changing begins: loving, serving, and connecting with your wife and kids in everyday tangible ways.  Start there, and you will watch the world change right in front of you.