To live from our scars.


On the palm of my left hand, under my thumb, lives a scar. You can barely see it, but whenever I notice it I remember how I got it. My brother and I were little and we made a fort outside with old fencing as the barrier. My brother decided the way to get in was to jump over the fence. Because I wanted to do everything he did, I ran after him and took the leap. I didn't quite make it and my hand landed right on a spoke of the fence. There was blood, tears, a wound, but then healing and eventually a scar.

I recently heard Nadia Bolz-Weber speak and she made a statement that has stayed with me.

"When I preach, I preach from my scars, not my wounds."

When we preach or write or communicate in general, it can be easy to do it from our wounds. It's fresh, we're fired up, someone says something that triggers that wave of pain. Or we speak from that place where we haven't quite experienced healing.

It's okay that those places exist.

But do we live out of those places? Are we living from our wounds or our scars?

Think of your life like a water pitcher.  All the water inside is your life, your energy, your love. This sustains you and you can pour it out to others. At the bottom of the pitcher are rocks. When we're wounded the rocks float around in the water. There's a chance we could pour some of our rocks into someone else's pitcher.

When we've been wounded, it's easy to stay there. It's easy to not confront the hurt in order to heal. Hurt people, hurt people. People who live from their wounds, wound other people.

So how do we live from our scars instead of our wounds? Everyone is different with what that looks like, but I will tell you this. Everyone has wounds. Everyone.

Wounds can't turn into scars without healing and healing isn't easy. In order to get those rocks in the water pitcher to settle permanently on the bottom so they're there, but not being poured out into others, we've gotta heal.

How do we live from our scars rather than our wounds-

When we live from our scars,  it's not ignoring the wound or the pain, rather it's acknowledging that it's there and is a part of us. It just doesn't dictate the way we live, the way we treat people, the way we communicate or the way we make decisions.

While I can't speak for what healing looks like for everyone, there are things I do that help me live from my scars rather than my wounds.

  1. Counseling. Sometimes it's hard/impossible to walk through healing alone. Having someone to walk alongside you through that journey who has the skills and ability to hold up a mirror, to listen, or to affirm is priceless.
  2. Time. I don't think the saying "time heals all wounds" is necessarily true. Time may heal all wounds, but the scar is still there. It's always going to be a part of you, but it doesn't have to define you. Do we take the time to walk through the hard things, to feel the grief, to lament what we need to lament, to not be okay in order to experience the healing?
  3. Writing. I write to process and it's very clear the writings that originate from my wounds. Those are the ones most people will never see. For me it's writing, for others it's dancing or singing or running, whatever makes you feel most alive and helps you process. Figure that out and do that.
  4. Self-care. The previous things mentioned are all ways I practice self-care and without them I would be lost. We need to realize that we must invest in ourselves if we truly want to invest in others. Remember the water pitcher? Doing the work of healing allows our wounds to turn into scars and settle to the bottom of the pitcher. Practicing self-care, engaging in life-giving practices and relationships allow life, energy and love to pour into our lives. When we do this our pitcher will overflow and we'll have what it takes to pour into others. Self-care allows us to love others and interact with them out of the overflow of our own life. It allows us to not pour our rocks into their water pitcher.

Everyone has blood, everyone has tears, everyone has wounds and everyone has scars. While one size doesn't fit all I do believe everyone is meant to experience freedom and healing so they don't live from their wounds, but from their scars.

I want myself and others to live healthy and thriving lives where we're able to come alive. We can't do that without doing the hard work of healing. This hard work leads towards wholeness.

Healing is hard, but it's worth it.

Living from our scars rather than our wounds is hard, but it's worth it.


A Christmas and New Year Prayer.

This year I was able to share a Christmas prayer and blessing with my family. It's a prayer that will hopefully help us remember and celebrate Christmas and what that means to us, but also to carry what that means throughout the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!!

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This Christmas season and coming year may we remember love, joy, peace and hope.

May we remember to love those right next to us, love those far from us and even love those who are hard to love.

May we cling to hope.

May we hold on to peace.

May we scatter joy.

May we remember His law is love and his gospel is peace.

May we remember that Christmas just means God came to us and He is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus came in a form that didn't seem right for a Saviour, but that by coming this way He became Immanuel. Jesus came to be with us.

Let us not forget that.

May we carry Christmas through the rest of the year. This upside down way of loving that Jesus tells us about, where we love our enemies, where swords are beaten into ploughshares, where we can be farmers who sow and cultivate peace, hope, love and joy instead of warriors for division, war, pain and oppression.

May we allow our weary souls to rejoice in the fact that He has come.

May we have good memories and remember the responsibility we have to be ambassadors of this hope, of this love, of this peace and of this joy.

May we remember that we are meant to put into action these things we believe...these things that begin with Christmas.

May we start paying attention to where more love needs to be shown, where more light needs to be reflected, when it's time to move to action, to pay attention to where we can be sowers of love, joy, and peace, but also when it's time to sit in the brokenness and hold onto hope.

May we remember that God is love and that Jesus came to show us a different way. A way to love God and love our neighbors. A way to even love our enemies. A way to be a part of a bigger story that's about love, joy, peace, hope and wholeness. Where everyone is accepted, loved and shown dignity and respect.

May we do the hard work of peacemaking, not just peacekeeping. Remembering that we must be creators of peace.

May we remember that there is no us and them. There's just us. We belong to each other. Jesus came for all of us and we don't get to decide who belongs and who doesn't, we just get to love.

May we remember that Jesus came so God could better engage with us. May we remember that God speaks uniquely to all of us and that its God's desire for us to respond to that.

May we go away from this season and into this new year remembering these things and knowing that we don't walk into whatever lies ahead alone because God is Immanuel and because we have each other. We weren't meant to do life alone.

God is with us and God is love.

Let us not forget that.


We're officially within the season of Advent. The long exhale, the waiting, the anticipation, the breathing, the hoping. The reminder that "God seeks us out where we are right now. Not where we should be by our own or anyone elses estimation" {Sarah Bessey}. It’s a time that often gets overlooked because of the busyness and the holiday hustle and bustle, but it’s so important.

At the beginning of this Advent season I was feeling pretty restless. I was drowning in all the change and transition I’ve been going through and kept getting frustrated with myself when I felt like I wasn’t handling it all well. I kept planning and over-thinking and plotting and over-analyzing and seeking the right answers and striving for clarity and what to think of next or what I could be doing...and on, and on, and on.

It's exhausting and when I looked up and realized Advent was here, I paused. I started really thinking about what this season means and felt like this is the perfect time to make a change. To stop the seeking. To be present. To stop the hustle. To stop the busy. To wait and anticipate. To stop the over-thinking. To stop the plotting.

One Sunday morning a phrase echoed across my soul, “Cease the striving."

I felt it clear as day. Cease the striving. Be still, be present, just be. Look down, not around, not side to side, not ahead, but down. To look at my feet, to see where I am and be present there. To focus on my little corner of the world as it is and to water the grass where I’ve been planted. To wait and breath in the truth that I am significant where I am and nothing I strive to do or hustle towards will make me more significant or worthy.

I receive a daily Advent email from the Global Advent Calendar and it has a word for the day and a thought from a monk. Monday it was "Be." Brother Curtis Almquist said, “Contentment is more about being than about doing, or acquiring, or mastering, or craving, or searching. Contentment is about being satisfied given the limitations of our present life."

So this Advent season, I choose contentment. I choose to be exactly where I am. I choose the waiting. I choose presence over plans. Stillness over striving. Stopping over going. Acceptance over analysis. Patience over plotting. I choose to be. I choose to cease the striving.

Join me?

I made an advent wreath this year and I love it. It's not anything special, but a daily reminder to cease the striving. Every Sunday we light a candle and read the weekly email from Sarah Bessey about that weeks candle.


If you want to read some good thoughts about Advent, find a few from Sarah Bessey here and here. You can also receive a daily thought from A Global Advent Calendar here.

Dear Exhausted Job Applicant

Dear Exhausted Job Applicant, I see you. I see you over there trying to word "I would love to work for your organization" in three different ways so they really understand that you want this job. I see you rewriting and rewriting cover letter after cover letter, researching another organization and trying to formulate your resume to make it look like you're qualified, because you know you are but  "on paper" it seems like you're not. I see you getting your hopes up, sending every resume off with a prayer and then hanging your head when there's silence on the other end. I see you.

You try and remember that your value isn't in your work, but it's hard sometimes. It's hard when you enjoy working and know that is where you find joy and now you don't have the certainty of that. You try and remember it's normal that people change jobs and job hunt all the time. You try and remember that "God is in control" and all the truths you know you're supposed to remember, but it's hard.

It's hard when you feel like you've been led to let go of where you are in order to grab onto what's next. It's hard when what's next isn't clear. It's hard when people stare at you like a crazy person when you say you are leaving one job without knowing what's next. It's hard when you felt such peace about your decision, but then nothing seems to be working out. It's hard when you're just trying to do the next right thing and then all of a sudden you're not sure what the next right thing is. It's hard when you don't want to doubt and be confused, it's hard to not be terrified all the time.

It's easy to stop applying and just hope something works out. It's easy to have a pity party and complain. It's easy to beat yourself up and give into the fear. That's the easy part...but that's not where beauty shines through.

Beauty shines through when someone looks at you, not like you're crazy, but says they're proud of you. Beauty shines through when a peace that surpasses all understanding fills your soul. Beauty shines through when even when it's easier to have the pity party and believe the lies that you made a mistake you choose to replace the lies with truth. You'll slowly feel the truth cement in your heart and start to grow roots in your soul. Beauty shines through when even with all the unknown and the time of transition, people come alongside you and hold up your hands and remind you that it's going to be okay. Beauty shines through when people extend you the grace, compassion and understanding that you're having a hard time extending to yourself.

So, exhausted job applicant, let me replace some lies with truth for you. You are not your job or your occupation. You have value regardless of what you do because you are not what you do, you are who you are. If you know God led you to a decision or a choice and it doesn't seem like he's showing up, remember all the examples in your life before and how he's been faithful. Why would he stop now? Also, people don't get hired overnight. Some of us who are impatient and like for things to happen right now have a hard time remembering this (Of course I'm not talking about myself...).

This is getting long and you're already tired from all those cover letters and resumes so let me tell you these last things. It's okay that this is hard. It's okay to grieve what you're letting go of and still be excited about what's next. It's okay to have a pity party, just don't stay there for long. It's okay to be dramatic, but just make sure you have a good friend there to let you know when you're getting ridiculous. And remember, you need people. Even if you're coping mechanism with all this is to retreat into yourself, don't retreat all the way. Remember we're not meant to do life alone. There are people who want to be there for you, give people a chance to show up and let that beauty shine through amidst your circumstances.

I see you and I'm with you.


Abby aka An Exhausted Job Applicant