Why I’m a valley girl.

valley

I have a confession.

I am a stalker.

I do not have a stalker.  I AM a stalker.

To Glennon Doyle Melton aka Momastery

I’ve never met someone who can be so vulnerable, so beautiful, so freeing, and so loving all at the same time. The woman is truly my favorite writer/speaker/person ever. Look her up now and begin your obsession.

I’ve had the insane honor of meeting her twice and getting to hear her speak both times. On life, pain, love, and everything in between.

It seems like our paths always cross when I’m in some deep spiritual turmoil and I don’t think that’s an accident. Not because I need her guidance to go through the turmoil but I need her reminder to TALK about the turmoil.

Without her freeing words, I would probably still be a shell of a human. Too scared to talk about where I fail because I felt like no one was allowed to fail.

She talked in Chicago a couple months ago about valleys and mountains. About how everyone wants to be on the mountain top but that’s not where life really is.

I’m going to expand on this beautiful truth but I just want to be sure that Glennon gets all credit for this thought process.

The peak of the mountain seems so desiring. After hours of work, and oxygen masks, and freeze dried food (I know NOTHING about climbing a mountain, do you eat freeze dried food? I made that up), the peak is where everything comes to a finale. You can see EVERYTHING from the top. You have conquered something that was previously unconquerable, to you at least.

But the peak is cold. The peak is lonely. And you cannot be on the peak forever. The oxygen will run out, there is no food up there, and it’s really freaking cold.

The valleys are the places that we loathe, right? The bottom of the mountain where we can’t see anything and where we are just so low.

But don’t knock the valleys – that’s where life happens. The valleys run right by the river, where the grass is green and the water is sweet. You can survive in the valley just fine. You don’t need an oxygen tank and odds are, a lot more people will be down there with you.

I’ve been in a valley for a while. For most of the time, I’ve really hated it.

I’ve cried A WHOLE LOT. It’s been a really foggy valley too. Nothing has really made sense and I couldn’t see the end in sight. I couldn’t explain why I was feeling the way I was, I didn’t have answers for anyone (including myself), and it was all just frustrating.

Life was so foggy that I missed all the parts of the valley that are beautiful. I couldn’t see the river, I couldn’t see the grass, I couldn’t see anything. Life was anything but lively. The fog took over. 

I gave in. I decided that if the fog was where I was going to walk that I must be alone and that if I was alone, I could figure out the best life for me.

Well if you’ve ever chosen to do life alone, you probably know where this is going.

Heartbreak. Shame. Isolation.

All of it.

All because the fog blinded my eyes from seeing the river.

I was never alone. Jesus was right there with me the whole time. But I chose to decide that he wasn’t. I chose to want a substitute for the river. For that living water that I needed so badly.

The beautiful thing about that river though is that even though you can’t see it, it’s always there. Water doesn’t stop flowing just because we choose not to acknowledge it’s presence. Eventually the rush of the current will be too loud to ignore.

The love of our Savior does not go quietly. 

His heart for us is just simply too strong. 

A lot of people hear Jesus’ audible voice. That’s not me. So if that’s not you either, I want you to know you’ve got a comrade in that. But I do hear his voice through people. People like Glennon for sure. But especially through my tribe.

Man, my tribe has been stellar during my foggy season. I have never been loved so well in my entire life. I have never seen Jesus more vividly than through the way that these people have held my heart in theirs.

That kind of love reminds you of the river. They are the streams that lead back to the source. I heard them call me home. 

So I found my way back. The future is a little messier now but that’s to be expected. Life is messy, that’s not a surprise to anyone. My little journey off on my own made my life a tad messier but loads more beautiful.

My messy is also my beautiful. They are one in the same. 

So that’s why I’m a valley girl. Even if it means being a foggy, messy, one. I know where I’m at now. And while I don’t know much else, I know I’m by the river and that’s good enough for me.

If you’ve found yourself in a valley, welcome to the club – we are so happy to have you. Someone will get you a pamphlet on the activities down here. Just promise me that you’ll stay close the river, if you’re not sure of much else – be sure of that. Don’t be ashamed of being down here and don’t envy those on the peak. We are all here and we are all welcome.

This place by the way is called love. Love is a party and everyone’s invited. 

Glad you could make it.

xo,

Crissy

More thanks than I could ever voice to Glennon Melton for welcoming me into her life through her words. I’m seriously considering moving to Naples so we can be best friends. But for real, her words through this tough time have been my healing. She has shown me Jesus through her vulnerability. I don’t know if she’ll ever see this but sister if you do, thank you. Thank you for everything you choose to give to the world. You have created a space for all of us to be free, in our mess, in our joy, in all of it. Thank you for making life a little lighter by loving a lot bigger.

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Doubt and Freedom.

This weekend I spent two days at a conference called Storyline. Storyline is about helping people find their story and reminding them that their story is already beautiful. It is a reminder of not only how to find what your story looks like but how to help you tell that story to everyone you know.

They asked this question multiple times, “What will people miss if you don’t tell the world your story?”

This struck me the first time I heard it on Thursday and it strikes me again today.

I’ve been walking through an interesting time in my life. I’ve been doubting.

Doubting anything and everything. I’ve never doubted that Jesus was good or that He even existed but I’ve been doubting pretty much everything else.

And in the midst of all that doubt, I felt fear. I was scared. I was scared of what other people might say, I was scared of what people might think of me, and I was scared of people leaving.

And to be honest, people have thought things, said things, and left.

This time of doubt isn’t over but my fear is.

I’m done being scared of people. I’m done being scared of what people think. I’m done being scared of people leaving.

You know why? Because the people who stick around when your life gets muddy are the only ones who deserve to be around when your life (seems because it never is) clean and clear.

This time of doubt has been frustrating for me. I haven’t figured out the origin of the doubt, the purpose of the doubt, or the destination of it.

I’ve been all, “GOD WHERE IS THIS GOING AND WHY?”

Doubt is like that. It really pushes you to your limits. And unfortunately only people who have trudged through this mud can relate.

I’ve finally decided to embrace the doubt. To not only recognize it but work through it.

I’M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE.

Blind faith is not faith. I’m sorry if that offends you. But I don’t want to follow Jesus because I’ve been brainwashed to follow Jesus or because my friends follow Jesus.

I want to follow him because I love him and I trust His commands. There are a lot of people who are intimidated by this thinking. They think how can you question any of this? How dare you not think exactly like us and do things exactly the way we do?

And you know what, those people are scared too. They are scared of the unknown. They are scared of a faith that might look different from theirs.

In this season of doubting, I’ve felt intense shame and isolation. I’ve felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel anymore. I wasn’t allowed to work through anything anymore. That I was supposed to become some robot that does what people say even if I don’t agree with them.

But after this weekend, I AM FREE.

I am free to walk through this without condemnation because Jesus wasn’t about that life. He didn’t judge people based on their questions, He loved them with His answers.

You know what Jesus did? He broke bread with them, He talked to them, and He loved them.

HE LOVED THEM.

What a concept. That we can be a part of someone’s life without telling them how they should live but just by loving them.

Bob Goff said something that will resonate with me forever. He said “people don’t want to be told what to do, people want to be told who they are.”

I finally know who I am. Because I just spent 2 days with 2,000 other people who were reminded who they are.

This doesn’t mean I have all the answers but this does mean that I have a plan.

I want to love people fearlessly and recklessly.

I want people to look at me and only see grace, hope, and love.

I want people to reminded of who they are when they are with me and I want them to know that who they are is beautiful. No adding or subtracting, they are beautiful.

I want people to feel like they are enough every time we have a conversation. I want them to never feel less when they are around me.

I want to be the kind of person that always makes room for other people to feel free.

If you are doubting anything in your life – your faith, your job, your relationship, your purpose – THAT’S OKAY. Never accept the status quo as the norm. Always question. Always ask for more out of life.

You know why?

Because YOUR STORY MATTERS. You matter. You deserve to have an incredible life and sometimes that means questioning the norm and embracing the tension.

Just imagine this scenario today. What if all birds didn’t fly? What if they could but they didn’t? What if one bird wanted to fly but all of the others thought of this concept as stupid and then shamed the bird in question? What if the bird let other bird’s standard for life define theirs?

This bird, who was created to FLY, didn’t fly because of the other birds following the status quo.

We were created to fly. Go and fly, friend.

stock-footage-shadow-of-an-birds-flying-to-the-sun-by-red-sunset-over-the-ocean

And if you need some encouragement and some hugs, I will be glad to meet you for coffee and squeeze that gorgeous neck of yours.

Be loved and free today,

Crissy

I am not a tree.

treeI am feely.

I am emotional.

I cry. A lot.

If you take me to see a movie where someone dies, I WILL ALWAYS CRY. I cannot separate fiction from reality. If someone is suffering, I automatically insert myself into the situation and cry my eyes out.

My feelings are up and down. I “go with my gut” more than other people.

I decide a lot of things on my feelings and that’s fine with me.

Many times I’ve heard well “feelings aren’t facts” and “emotions aren’t truth” – which is technically true.

The analytical part of me would tell you that for a fact to be a fact, it would have to hold true for EVERYONE and my feelings, of course, do not hold true for everyone.

But they are facts to me. They are real to me. 

But sometimes my feelings get me in trouble. I have a bleeding heart. For the broken, for the marginalized, for the mistreated. I can’t always explain why I feel the way I do and sometimes that makes people mad.

The cool thing about being emotional is that you don’t have to have a reason for it, you just know you are and that’s fine. A lot of people don’t like that.

A lot of people need hard evidence and say things like “you AREN’T ALLOWED to feel that way.”

I just tell those people to suck it.

Kidding.

Anyways. So my feelings get me in trouble and it can be really frustrating because I can’t make other people feel the same way that I do. I can’t make them understand the way my heart is feeling and that that feeling can’t be just turned off.

So I was talking this over with my friend, Heather. I call her my best friend but she also falls under therapist, personal Ghandi/Mother Theresa, wisdom giver, etc.

We were talking about how emotional we are and how it was annoying. And she goes “sometimes I wish Jesus would have just made a me a tree, then I wouldn’t have all of these dang feelings all the time.”

And to that I said, “SERIOUSLY, DUDE!”

And then she goes, “BUT JESUS DIDN’T MAKE US TREES! He made us with emotions. He wasn’t choosing between making us trees or making us people. He knew from the beginning who we were going to be and He made us. He chose to make us full of emotions and full of feelings and that’s awesome. I am not a tree and that’s awesome.”

I am not a tree, ya’ll.

Jesus could have made a tree, or a rock, or a dolphin (wishful thinking), but He didn’t. He knew exactly what He was doing when He formed me in my mama’s tummy.

Sometimes our emotions get the best of us and that can be tough but my emotions and feelings are not bad.

They are not these things to be angry with. Or to hate.

I’ve been learning just how uniquely Jesus formed me lately. And it’s been interesting. I’ve felt ALONE through a lot of it but after talking with Heather, I feel so much better. 

I feel full of truth and hope and of course LOVE. I feel that my heart is not wrong, that regardless of what people think of me, my Savior is my KING. He is the captor of my heart and the lover of my soul. He knows me, deeply and intimately because He created me.

So I’m gonna go cry in a corner because Jesus is so good.

And he didn’t make me (or you) a tree and that’s pretty awesome.

Love,

Crissy