Holding space.

I started reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden this week. (I know, I KNOW, I should have done this a long time ago. I’ve heard it. I get it. I know as a writer this shouldn’t be so, but sometimes big books intimidate me. Please don’t judge my honesty.)

The first thing that captivated my attention was Steinbeck’s description of lush wildflowery landscapes. I want to live in those wildflowers, I thought as I read. Can you do that, can you live in wildflowers? If so, I’d like to figure out how. Man, this book is easy.

Then I turned the page.

“During the dry years, people forgot about the rich years, and when the wet years returned, they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”

That seems terribly off, I thought. Followed by, oh wait crap. That’s me he’s describing.

I like to pride myself on being someone who lives in the moment. When I go out of town, move, take on a new job or project, start a new relationship or end one, it’s quite easy for me to forget how I got there.

Often times it’s fear that leads me to this place. Fear of missing what once was; fear of the pain looking back might induce.

I spent most of yesterday contemplating this; contemplating the fierce pride that holds me places. Sometimes, when times are good, it’s simply that I falsely believe I’ve created my own destiny — I made these choices, I did this on my own, I don’t need anyone.

When times are rough however, it’s more often the fear of looking back and seeing mistakes I may have missed. Instead of reflecting on where I’ve taken wrong turns, I’d rather believe it was happenstance or worse, someone else’s fault. I don’t want to accept it was my doing that’s causing me to be stuck, causing me pain or causing my heart to break.

In the case above, for better or worse, it wasn’t really anybody’s doing. But while they couldn’t control the rain, perhaps they could have done better to recall the past.

It’s easy to forget. To place your head in the sand and deny what once was or even perhaps what currently is.

But I want to be someone who remembers. I want to give credit where it’s due and put blame to rest. I want to put aside fear and look back with confidence, knowing that glancing at what’s behind me doesn’t mean I have to build a house and live there.

I want to hold space for what once was, while creating room for what will be.

I’ll get there.

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Dear Mamas.

Dear Mamas,

I am not one of you, not at this point in my life, but I know you well. I’ve been watching and listening and while rarely do I feel it’s my space to jump in and speak on the subject, I have something important to say;

You’re doing a really good job.

You are tired. You got angry this morning. You fed your kid partially hydrogenated soybean oil. You wonder if Paw Patrol or Daniel the Tiger are nannying your little ones. Your toddler learned a bad word from you when you banged your head trying to buckle that mother f@*%#!!! car seat again. You’ve considered going rogue, moving to the Bahamas, starting over because this life just feels like too much handle.

That’s okay. You get to feel those things. You’re doing something very hard.

You wonder if you’re making good choices. Because sweet mother of Jesus, you have SO MANY CHOICES. Should you breastfeed? What foods should you feed these people you’ve been charged with keeping alive? Is red dye #40 really that bad? What happens if you homeschool? What happens if you don’t? Have you told them enough about Jesus? Have you told them too much about Jesus? What if they go to a sleepover and get hurt? But what if they don’t and struggle to fit in? Are straight-jackets legal?

And you know what? Every other mom I know, in some form or fashion, is feeling these same things too. Perhaps it’s because I will readily tell you what a train-wreck I am if prompted correctly, but I hear these confessions often. I’ve listened as so many of my dear mama friends have wondered aloud in hushed tones, ashamed, afraid they are not doing it right or aren’t cut out for the job.

But they are. And you are. So let the tension in your shoulders relax for a second as I say it again;

You are doing a really, really good job.

I recently went to Nashville for a week to stay with my cousin/sister/best friend/life-raft, Emily. She is the mom of two of my favorite beings (who if we’re being honest I should probably resent because I have to share her time with them, ugh but they’re just so cute); a new baby and a very (VERY) lively toddler. One afternoon Emily left to grocery shop, leaving me in charge. I assumed it wouldn’t be much work because I am evidently very naive. She left and the the baby soon started crying, followed by the newly potty trained toddler needing my assistance in the bathroom. I’ll be honest, if you were to simply tell me about this I would have thought it no big deal…but when it’s you doing the juggling every freaking thing changes. What do I do? Put the screaming little one down? Try to hold her and wipe this little bottom at the same time? Is that sanitary? What kind of crazy person would ever put me in charge of other humans?

It all worked out more or less – no permanent damage was done, but I’ll be honest, within the hour (ONE HOUR) I was frazzled.

Being a mom is hard. And that’s okay. The hardest things are usually the most worth it. But that doesn’t make them less hard.

I’d like to assume and reassure you it gets easier as your kids get older, but I’m not totally convinced that’s true. If you’ve moseyed around this blog enough, you’ll have read enough to know things in my world have been bit wild at times, I’ve made some bad choices and had to be carried through life more than once. And guess who did that for me? My mama.

Growing up, my mom modeled for me relentless, unconditional love, even when I was practically begging her to walk away. As I’ve gotten older she has become one of my best friends – she continues to fight for me, holding my hand when I need it most and pushing me to fly when I’m afraid to jump. But hear me; she’s not perfect, she’ll be the first to admit as much.

It’s a long held belief of mine that perfection is a lie and so you know what my dear, sweet, tired mama friends? You’re off the hook. You can make mistakes. You can stumble, cry and curse your way through this mothering thing, it seems to me the best ones do.

Lastly, on those days when it feels like too much, like you’re lost, alone and the only one who gets what you’re going through, call me. I can’t promise to get it or to know the answers to the 20 billion questions you’re facing, but I can promise to stumble, cry and curse right along with you…and if you want, I’ll bring wine and help you put the kids down early so we can drink it in peace.


p.s. If the day ever comes where I myself become a mom, please read this back to me and gently tell me to chill the f out.


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Crawl if you need to.

My sweet friend,

You are brave, but life is hard.

I get that.

Somedays the walls that keep you safe will feel like prisons.

There will be days when the rain that cleanses your soul will threaten to drown you.

And yet others when the darkness that once brought distress, feels more like a cozy blanket, protecting you from the world you fear will devour you.

The heart is weird like that, full of dichotomies that menace even the most centered of souls.

But what if you’re not one of those? What if you always feel a little left of centered? What if you wonder when the scales will give way and tip altogether?

It’s a scary place, this world is, when you’ve spent years seeking answers that only seem to foster more questions, more fear.

It’s ok.

Keep asking questions.

Keep showing up.

Run when you can.

Crawl if you need to.

Take what you need.

Leave behind what you don’t.

You are stronger than you know.

There is a place where you are free. Maybe you haven’t found it yet. That’s ok. You will. It’s there. Keep looking.

There are friends who want to stand by you, who will swear their allegiance, but don’t know how. Let them love you the best they can and don’t let their failed attempts define you. Don’t let it define them either, they’re trying.

Offer grace to yourself.

Offer grace to others.

Keep speaking up. Your voice is valuable. There is no other human on this earth who is you. Not one single person sees exactly what you see, hears what you hear and feels what you feel. Let that truth sink in. Let it compel you. Let it speak for you.

You are worth it.

Fight for you.

Let others fight too.

Don’t give up.

You are loved.

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We are whole.



Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some days the world feels like too much. I am thankful for medication that helps with those days. Do I think America is often over-medicated? I do. But I also believe there’s a time and a place to let modern medicine fix what is broken. Also, a time and a place to be honest about it. #breakthestigma

Last week I woke up, rolled out of bed and posted the picture and caption above onto Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t think too much about it. (Which may be a glimpse into some of my poorer social media choices?) The sheer number of responses I received floored me.

“Thank you for sharing this, nobody in my family knows I take medication for depression.”

“I have been feeling suicidal lately, this encouraged me to tell my mom and get help.”

“My pastor told me if I just had a little more faith I wouldn’t struggle so much – but you have faith, don’t you?”

“Thank you for reminding me that I can fight to heal the broken, even if I feel broken sometimes.”

All day long comments, messages and texts came in. Stories of broken hearts and unsure minds.

“It’s okay,” I wrote over and over and over again. “You are whole.”

And I will keep saying it, over and over and over again – to you, to me, to strangers on the internet, who now feel an awful lot like friends. This stigma that surrounds mental illness is lie, a falsehood that’s carried its way through generations, damning the wounded.

But it’s okay.

You’re okay.

I’m okay.

We’re enough.

Here’s the thing though, I need you to promise me something; that you won’t stay in the muck alone. If you haven’t already, I need you to get help. Tell someone you trust. Find a professional. It’s okay to be afraid, I sure as hell was. The first three therapy appointments I made I cancelled. It took a mentor of mine bribing and strong-arming me onto that leather sofa.

Following that appointment I went on medication and for nearly six years nobody knew. I was ashamed, hell-bent on the idea that if only I were a little stronger, a better Christian and a better friend I could kick this on my own, silence the voices that sounded eerily similar to my own as they taunted me. But it wasn’t true for me then and it’s still not true for me now.

Some days I simply need help.

And that’s okay.

We’re okay.

We’ll get through this.

We are whole.

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I Want to Freaking Know.

WARNING: This post has not been edited by anyone other than myself, it’s my stream of consciousness straight from the worn out pages of my journal and therefore there are surely improper comma usages and such, as is my default. I’ll tell you what, I could not live without a proper editor, but YOLO, am I right?!

I’ve done a lot of thinking today, wondering what Holy Saturday was like in the life of Jesus’ followers. I scoured the gospels and to my dismay, found nothing to be said of the in-between time that is this 24 hour period before Easter. I mean, I can’t help but think that surely if I were one of Jesus’ roadies that of all days this would be the one in which I’d be pounding out my thoughts into my journal. Maybe, like I often do, they felt like these words were too intimate, too fractured to be shared with the world. But come on guys, couldn’t you have given us something?

I am someone who firmly believes I hear God speak to me – sometimes it’s loud, ringing in my ears, while other times a soft whisper into my gut. It seems that every time I hear Him I am confident in that moment, certain it was Him – only to question my own sanity days, hours, sometimes minutes later. The following weeks or more often, months, I wait vacillating between extreme hope/excitement for what’s to come and utter confusion/frustration, as I question my faith and mental state.

Was that this what Saturday looked like for them? How did it feel for the people who’d walked right next to Jesus and yet still often doubted him in uncertainty?

I want to freaking know.

I want to know if Peter was an anxious wreck, praying he wasn’t a fool for believing Jesus when he said he’d be back 2 days later. I want to know if John was giddy and excited, certain that his master was just about to blow the lid off the whole dang thing, dropping the mic on those who persecuted him. I want to know if Mary vacillated, much like I do, wondering if she’d truly had great faith or had been completely disillusioned.

And oh goodness, then I want to see their faces when he returned.

Someone recently asked me which, if any story in the Bible, I could watch happen I would choose. I rattled off all the big ones I’d grew up seeing displayed on flannel graphs and vhs cartoons, but I think I know now; I want to see what played out the day after Jesus gave his life for me and the day before he showed up again, giving the “what’s up now, y’all?!” on the watching world.

Perhaps it’s because I want to know I am not alone. I want to know I am not the only one who struggles to believe each time I hear His voice. I want to remember the times before when I’ve witnessed God’s words play out before my very eyes and use them as a catalyst to stop my doubts. I want to find some solidarity in my feeble belief that when He speaks, He will deliver beyond my imagination, even if the in-between time stings.

I want this time to mark me. I want to feel the weight that was the very first Holy Saturday and I want to use it to remind me to be patient, watch humbly and trust that God and His plans are far bigger and wilder than anything I might imagine.

Happy Easter, y’all.

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Keep Showing Up to Your Life.

Keep showing up to your life, I whisper in a borderline prayer, coaxing myself from the safe haven of my sheets.

There are mornings I don’t want to get out of bed. There are mornings when my anxiety feels like it will overtake me, mornings when it feels like hope is a lie and peace is a dreamy fairy tale only for the lucky few. There are mornings when it seems there’s no end in sight for the knots that threaten to twist my insides so tightly I am unable to breathe, unable to think, unable to whisper words of surrender to the God I long to believe hears me when I cry out to him.

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” (The Message, Matthew 14:22-27)

Where are you, God? I cry aloud through tears. Why won’t you just heal me? Why won’t you fix this? Are you mad at me? I’m sorry. Are you listening? Hello? Do whatever you want with my life, use me…or don’t. I don’t care anymore, I just need you. I just need your peace. I can’t live like this for another day.

Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” (Matthew 14:28-30)

I can’t do it, God. I don’t want to. I am seeking to follow you, I’ve stepped out in faith – I AM TRYING. I was confident at first, excited even, but then things shifted. Something in my heart is broken, I MUST be broken. I want to keep me eyes on you, but I can’t seem to stop looking back, remembering the pain of the past. Nothing makes sense. Help me Lord, give me the faith I need. I want to believe you hear me, but I’m still so unsure. I am still so scared. I can’t stop wondering if you really like me, if you really have good things for me. Maybe you want to punish me for my failures or you’ve forgotten me. Maybe you just don’t care. WHERE ARE YOU? TELL ME WHAT TO DO. Tell me how to fix this.

Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!” (Matthew 14:31-33)

And then it breaks.

Something cracks and a little light gets in. Peace first, then joy starts to fill the dark corners. It doesn’t come without a fight, but that’s ok – they say the best things are worth fighting for.

Because some days getting out of the boat looks huge to the outside world; a huge leap of faith, the moving of mountains and other days it simply means getting out of bed, getting dressed and showing up to your life, believing with feeble faith that God will show up too.

And He will. Because He said He would. So we hope.



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I Can’t do it Alone.

I can’t do it alone.

This isn’t a fact that I prefer to readily admit, although I am certain at least 89% of you whispered “duh” under your breath…while perhaps the other 11% remain as disillusioned as me and think “sure you can!”

Well I can’t.

In the last several years working with different homeless people and populations one thing has screamed out to me on more than one occasion; life was meant to be lived with others and true change rarely comes through one solitary person.

Teamwork makes the dream work, y’all.

It’s for this reason alone that I’ve come to learn I don’t hate raising support for my new job on Younglife staff. I’d be lying if I said I love the work that goes into it (excel and I don’t get along all too well), but I am learning that I LOVE what it represents; that we all have a role in this effort to care for kids without homes and that it isn’t a one (wo)man job.

Thus far, our team has raised roughly $24,000 in a little over a month. That money has come from forty-two of you that have said “yes! I want IN.” And I can’t begin to express what that means to me. Forty-two of you want to partner in this mission that my team and I whole-heartedly believe in.

When initially asked if I’d be willing to take on this role one of my first responses was, “Younglife staff can be really lonely- I don’t want to set out on a solo mission.” And I don’t have to, because, forty-two of you have offered to join me. Forty-two of you have reminded me that I am not alone- that we are doing this together in some form or fashion. That’s a pretty great support system, I’d say.

And that is not even accounting for the many who have offered to pray and follow along , which, while harder to calculate (I don’t have a spreadsheet for this yet🙂 ) means just as much. I mean it, I can’t tell you how empowering it is to know that we are on your minds and hearts and that you too, long to love homeless kids in your own special way. What a freaking gift.

At present time we have a team of five folks on the ground who have offered their time, talents and love to homeless kids. Along with that, we have a school that serves exclusively homeless youth, opening their arms to us ready to help us make this a reality within their community and eventually launch us beyond their walls.

Have I mentioned I am really excited? Because I AM.

So more than anything, I want to say thank you. Thank you for believing in this crazy mission. Thank you for believing in me and this really great team I am working with. (Seriously, they are the best.)

The details are still fuzzy, but coming together so beautifully. I am honored to do this as my JOB (what?!) and I am humbled to do it alongside of all of you. Each one of you is a gift, a reminder that God is in the details, both big and small and on the days when things feel more hazy than others, to know I have an army behind me reminds me that this thing is good. So, so good.

And guess, what? Because of this, because of you all, I don’t feel so alone after all.

*If you missed older posts, you can read HERE how this whole thing started and HERE you will find a link to give if you feel so led.

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Do You Want to Get Well?

“Explain it to me; in those moments, that feeling, what is it? Is it more physical or mental?” he asked over dinner one night. “I’ve never experienced anxiety, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

I was crushed.

This was my best friend I was talking to- if he didn’t get it, get me after all that I’ve allowed him to be privy to, than surely nobody else ever would.

“It’s both,” I replied. “Like somehow my brain might implode and explode at the same time. Like I’m about to climb the bare walls. Like I need to sprint seven miles without stopping in an attempt to exorcise what feels akin to poison in my veins- running through me, making it impossible to sit still…and yet I find myself unable to get out of bed because the tightening in my chest, coupled with nausea and fear are so bad I can’t move. It feels like I am crazy and will never recover.”

Five years later and the day still remains crystal clear; I was sitting in a pew three rows from the front as the pastor in front of me was speaking about a paralytic man in John chapter 5. The man had been sick for 38 years and had devoted his life to lying by a pool in attempt to win perhaps the strangest competition I’ve ever heard of, in an effort to be healed. (Seriously, if you don’t know this story- look it up, it’s wild.) Jesus came to the pool and saw the man, and going before him he asked if he wanted to get well. When the sick man replied, “Umm yeah, duh” Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk- the man was healed.

“Do you want to get well?!” the pastor shouted at the congregation. “DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?!” he screamed again as tears poured down my face. “Then just ask! Have faith!”

I wanted to stand up and scream “Bullshit!” For years I hadn’t just been asking- I’d been b-e-g-g-i-n-g, pleading with God to fix my mind and body that felt so fragile, constantly on the verge of breaking and He hadn’t.

What else was I supposed to do? Where does his message leave a person like me?

If I’ve asked God to free me of this and He still hasn’t, then what?

“Do you think it will ever get better?” he asked. “Like, do you think you can be healed of this?”

“I mean, I want to say yes. I want to believe God can fix me, in fact, I do believe He can fix me- but I don’t know if I believe He ever will…and it’s hard to make sense of that. It’s hard to trust a God like that- one that makes so little sense. Why wouldn’t He want me to be better?”

It’s been several years since that day in church. Years that have been tethered to doubt, loss of faith and regaining it again. I believe God is good- but I don’t really have many more answers today than I did back then as to why and how He heals. I’d be remiss if I said I didn’t see God in the throes of my anxiety, but that doesn’t mean I get it…I guess it just means I can keep going, even when it’s the worst, I can press on even when I feel frail.

And perhaps the craziest part is, I think He is answering my prayer- not in the way I’d prefer. I wish He’d come alongside me, gently grab my hand and tell me to “take up my mat and walk,” but I’m becoming more and more convinced that while God can and does heal in that way, He also often chooses to heal quietly and gently over time. God seems partial to healing me and teaching me by way of the process over by way of the thunderous lightening and instantaneous miracles I’d prefer.

Today I can tell you that while I am nowhere near “healed” I am better than I was- if for no other reason simply because I know myself more. These days I’m better able to identify my triggers and how to stave off anxiety through what I call salt-therapy; tears, sweat and splashing in the ocean. Does that look like the great grand miracle I hoped for and that pastor told me I’d find if I just had a littttle more faith? No, but I’ve learning to accept God’s ways over my own, even when they hurt and cause confusion. (And they often do.)

I’m learning to lean into hope a little more, trusting that God’s not a liar- that He started this and He will finish it, when and how He deems fit and perhaps for the first time in my life, I can accept that. I choose to trust His crazy, often frustrating process because I believe that He is good and far wiser than I.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t still long for the simplicity of jumping in the pool and being instantly better, but I am learning that for now jumping in the ocean will just have to do.

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Dear Friends,

The fact that you’re reading this means one thing: I’ve lost my battle.

What battle? …This battle:

“I will never, ever go on Young Life staff again.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sworn those words. And not because I dislike Young Life. The truth is- I love it. It’s been a huge part of my adult life. But for the last 12 years I would have confidently report that God would never (ever) call me back on the payroll.

“Fine. The only way I’d even consider being on Young Life staff is if I could serve homeless kids- and while Young Life does really amazing things for teens, that’s not one of them.”

Like I mentioned in a post last week, over a year ago I heard God speak something to me- He was calling me to more. I didn’t know what it was then, but I promised to look and to listen to where He might be leading me. In April I gave away half my belongings, moved out of my apartment and started saving money to move. I didn’t know where, and in all honesty didn’t really want to move per se; but I knew, just knew God was calling me somewhere I’d yet to discover.

In May I got a message from Josh. “If you’d consider moving, I have a job for you.”

“Are you still working for Young Life?”


“Are you still in San Diego?”


“Awesome! But no thank you.”

That was it for months. Radio silence, as I was sure this wasn’t what God was telling me to pursue. (Or what I wanted.)  

By July I could no longer ignore the voice telling me I needed to follow-up with him.

Side note: Can we take a moment to talk about that voice? She can be downright annoying and pushy- am I right? Good grief. Anyway…

So from a crackly landline (turns out, those still exist) at Woodleaf I made the call. Two hours and miles of pacing later we’d come up with some semblance of a plan: let’s start Young Life for homeless kids in San Diego.

“Are we really gonna do this?” I asked.

“Yes! We’ve gotta try!”

“But this is really terrifying.”


When I first began leading Young Life I did so because my high school self was a mess, to put it mildly. Adolescence was so hard for me; I struggled with insurmountable insecurity, leading me to many frightening choices, one being a substance addiction. Looking back I can honestly say the two things that saved my life were my support system and seeing the evidence of how much God loved me.

I don’t want to imagine where my life would be without either of those things.

And yet, there are thousands of kids lacking both a support system and an understanding of how loved they are by our Creator, while also navigating life on the streets.

As a believer in Jesus’ call to love the “least of these” I can’t sit with these statistics without doing everything in my power to make a dent in them.

At present time there are two schools serving the homeless teenage population, with over 20,000 homeless youth in San Diego County. This is where we’re planning to start; by partnering with both schools to build relationships with the students and staff- and in that learn the needs of the community. (Honestly, I want Young Life to reach every single homeless teenager in the county, schooled or not,  but know feasibly that we need to take it one step a time. Slow down, Rachel, SLOW DOWN.) I want to take what I’ve learned the past 10 years serving the homeless population in Los Angeles, marry that with the 8 years I was a Young Life leader, build a team, make a plan, cultivate relationships with kids, and connect with service providers.

Young Life has never done this before and I am excited, nervous, aaaand also sort of feel like a deer in the headlights. Leaving will be hard, but staying would be impossible- God has done too much to make it clear that this is where he’s steering me.

I long to see Young Life as a support system that these teenagers may not otherwise have.

It’s a bit wild, a bit nuts, and will probably be a bit messy, but I can’t shake this calling. (No matter how hard I’ve tried.)

Oh…also, Did I mention I’m terrified? T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D.

Most nights my prayers have gone something like this:

“But God, what if we can’t get enough funding?” (Huge worry- like HUGE.)

“What if the kids hate us/me?”

“What if we fail? I just quit my job and plan to uproot my life to make this happen, it can’t fail. Please God, don’t let it fail!”

Trust me, Rachel.

“Uggggh, okay fine God, but this is really scaring me so just keep that in mind, okay?”

So here is why you are reading this (Hopefully you’re still reading this.): I NEED YOU.

Like, for reals need you.

First, I need you to pray. Go ahead, right now. I’ll wait………..(Stop it. Stop reading! I said pray! C’mon!)

Are you finished?

Great. Thank you for that.

Second, I need any and everyone who knows how to fundraise to raise your hand and give me a freaking clue. To put it mildly, fundraising is not my gift. Money freaks me out and I have very little idea how people do this- so anyone who has a semblance of how this might work effectively, holler at a sister.

We need to raise a minimum of $40,000 just to get this thing off the ground. While some people have told me this number is doable, in my mind you might as well tell me I need to raise 1 trillion- so please, don’t be shy. Helllllp! S.O.S.!

Third, if you yourself would like to be a donor, you can do so HERE. There are a couple things I can promise you if you choose this option: I will more than likely cry a tear for each dollar you donate and I will keep you updated as much as you’d like on our progress, stories, etc. I’d like to make every effort possible to make this a team initiative, even if only virtually. 

SO. Next (awkward) steps.

If you fall into any of the 3 previously mentioned categories and feel called, compelled, or guilted (did I mention it’s my birthday tomorrow) into joining this new ambitious, team of pioneers who want to break ground for Young Life in reaching homeless teenagers- I’d love your commitment to pray, to advise, or to donate.

AND. I’m going to ask you to do so boldly. I’m going to ask that you please share this with someone (social media is great, as is email, phone calls and carrier pigeons- I’m not picky). Public declarations are powerful- and I need a snowball of champions willing to take this calling on with me.

Need more info before you can get behind this plan? Awesome, I happy to chat further about what this might look like, you can reach me at hitonbythehomeless@gmail.com

And know that even if you only read this whole letter,  I’m deeply thankful for your attention and your critical place in my life. You are my friends, not my bottom line so even if all the resources you can give right now are the minutes you took to read and learn about what’s next in my life, I value you far more than I can express on this page.

So much love,


In case you missed the donation link in the sea hyperlinks above, here it is again riiiight HERRRRE.

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Moving Forward.

February 20, 2014
(From a letter I wrote to a friend)

The last couple months- and specifically, the last couple of weeks- my heart has been very burdened for the poor and marginalized in a way that feels… different (for lack of a better word) than it has before. I have felt a monumental level of angst that’s led me to feel like there has to be something more than where I am now- which in itself feels weird…where am I more needed than Skid Row? This place is on fire. I mean, I have always been burdened in this way to some degree, but something in me is very unsettled. To clarify, I am not unhappy, rather I feel sort of comfortable…even in my discomfort feels comfortable…I’m not sure if that makes sense.

I don’t really know what this means, but I just keep hearing God say “I have more for you.” I feel sort of like He has given me a vision for the radical, but my eyes can’t seem to focus or see any further than just a combination of colors and shapes — no real clarity.

And that angst never really went away. It did seem to be at bay for a bit… until April.

This time it came with such significant force there was no denying it. Or ignoring it.

I started praying that God would make things clear and move me forward, fairly certain a physical relocation was to come of this… Within 4 days my roommates and I simultaneously decided to move out of our apartment. It was them who brought it up first and it was a shock. A good shock. And I cried because I knew God had heard me.

In June we moved out…and well, I never moved back in… anywhere- really because I just didn’t know where to go. I was certain God was calling me somewhere, but it had yet to be determined. So while my roommates packed up and moved their stuff into their new homes, I purged my belongings and stored what I couldn’t fit in my car or didn’t immediately need. And thus began my new life sleeping on people’s couches, and in their guest beds, and staying in my old bedroom at my folks’ house, and for three weeks in a little room at Younglife’s Woodleaf camp.

It’s a strange feeling when you don’t have an actual space of your own. As what one might call a “loud introvert” this has been extremely difficult for me at times. There are days my brain aches for my own bed to crawl into and block out the world; somewhere to comfortably read, write…or let’s be honest, mind-numbingly watch Netflix. (Yes Netflix, I am “still here” just play the next episode and stop judging me.) Sleep now comes less easily and I’ve had to learn the art of  creative grocery shopping and food preservation. (I’ve also said quite few swear words looking for clothes that have somehow been lost in the abyss that is my trunk.)

But it’s also been kind of awesome.

I’ve learned to carve out spaces for myself in the oddest places to find seclusion for my often reclusive mind. I’ve built and solidified relationships with the people who’ve taken me in and allowed me to act like a full-fledged housemate. I’ve learned to ask for help. (note: This is still a work in progress.) I’ve learned what it looks like to make God the source of my comfort and the consistency I crave, and I’ve seen His love for me in ways that leave me dumbfounded and speechless.

This week though, I had to take the next step- the one I knew would be the hardest.

Monday morning I went into work and I gave notice at my job. August 31st is my last day with Skid Row Housing Trust. Just writing that knots up stomach and starts the tears all over again. This feels more terrifying and more sad than leaving any apartment I’ve lived in. In this place I feel like I found myself and learned what it means to just be. It’s the place I’ve met, walked away from, and re-met God over and over. This place is my heart, these square miles my home. So much of who I am is a reflection of Skid Row and it’s scary to leave, to learn who I am apart from it.

But deep down, I’ve known this was coming. I heard it in that angst so many weeks ago, and I prayed for it when I asked to be move forward. So I’m confident I am being called elsewhere- as hard as I’ve tried, quieting that voice in my soul isn’t possible- I had to listen, I have to go, I have to use what I’ve learned somewhere new.

I would love to end this by sharing exactly what’s next, but I can’t, because I don’t really know.

I have some ideas and some tentative plans, but nothing is really solidified yet.  It’s all quite weird, frightening, and really exciting. I feel like a blank canvas, ready to start something new, somewhere new, knowing full well that I will take Skid Row with me every step of the way- it’d be impossible not to; this place is woven into the fiber of who I am.

I am it and it is me, forever.

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