Tag Archives: Henri Nouwen

Friday Faves: Dealing with Bummed-Outness Edition

9 Sep

Since I’m going to a Women of Faith conference (full story) this weekend, you’d think I’d be in a great mood.  I mean, what a great opportunity to commune with the people of God, right?  Absolutely!  And I feel the need for it now more than ever.  Looking for a church in the area is taking its toll on me.  So is the pressure of leading a weekly small group.  I’m giving out, but not filling up.   The rainy weather doesn’t help.  Even the local schools are closed due to flooding.  (Is it even safe to go out there?  Should I invest in a house boat?)  Really, I’m just plain ol’ bummed out.

I don’t know what to do for this depression (and anxiety) except to walk through it and know it, too, will pass.  I spend more time praying, thinking, talking to God and less time social networking, hanging out, and uh, showering.  Hopefully, the Women of Faith weekend will kick start my spirit.  Until then, here are some “faves” that help me get through the murky times.

*Bebo Norman is my go-to guy for hard times.  Whether I’m about to have a panic attack or cry my eyes out, I pop in a Bebo album and I feel immediate relief.  It reminds me of when David played his harp for King Saul when Saul was overcome with bouts of madness.  Bebo’s music is a gentle reminder that someone’s been in the depths, made it out, and that God is still very much present.  Lately, I’ve also listened to Jason Gray and Andrew Peterson, and of course, my old stand-bys–Rich Mullins and Fernando Ortega.  I used have specific playlists on my iPod for “sad times” and “mad times” and “happy times,” but they somehow got deleted.  Another song that resonates with me is “Hold My Heart” by Tenth Avenue North.  While I enjoy artists like Tenth Avenue North and Josh Wilson, when I’m down and out, their upbeat songs feel like salt rubbed into an raging wound.

*The Book of Psalms is an inspiration for many, and when nothing else makes sense, the psalms usually do.  I particularly love Psalms 42 and 46.  I also turn to the book of Hosea, which may sound like a strange choice, until you consider this passage from Hosea 3: 19-20,

“I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.”

As cliche as it sounds, the Bible is an amazing source of comfort in its prose, stories (Elijah, for one), and guidance.

*One day someone who is very dear to me gave me a copy of Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love as a present.  She told me to read it, but not all at once, just bit by bit.  So I did, and still do.  In Nouwen’s most personal work, he shares his journal entries from a time when he underwent extreme hardship (some may call it a “nervous breakdown”).  At the urging of his friends, Nouwen published this book.  I rarely read an entry without bursting into tears. I also read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (read review), which is great for use in small groups or for personal devotions.

*It may sound silly, but online games like Gnome Town and Words With Friends (both on Facebook) provide needed distraction.  I cannot always live in the pain, focus on the hurt, feel the depression, deal with the anxiety.  So, instead, I build a world of friendly forest creatures and get my butt kicked by high school kids who know more words than me.

*Since I’m a writer, it should come as no surprise that words at a healing balm to my soul.  In his song “The Cure for Pain,” Jon Foreman sings, “So blood is fire pulsing through our veins.  We’re either writers or fools behind the reigns.  I’ve spent ten years trying to sing it all away.  But the water keeps on falling from my tries.”  Like Foreman, I keep trying to write, not sing, it all away.  Still, I keep my journal close by and consider my notebooks full of scribbles among my most treasured possessions.  One of these days, I’m going to get a nice leather or mole skin journal (usually, I get them for 50% off at Barnes & Noble or as gifts from friends).

*Dogs, not diamonds, are a girl’s best friend.  Lonely days seem a little less lonely because of my two dogs–Cassie the Peekapoo (left) and Maddy the Shih Tzu (right).  They sense my mood and cuddle with me more often when I am down.  My bird, Kylie the Cockatiel, chirps praises to God when my spirit feels faint.  Animals are truly a gift from God.  And so are friends and family, who are willing to listen, even they don’t understand or don’t know what to do.

I’m not going to apologize for my less-than-chipper mood because it is my goal to be real, rather than entertaining.  Ideally, I like to be both, but real trumps entertaining.  Pray for me and I will pray for you!

How can I be praying for you right now?  What do you do when you feel bummed out?  Do you suffer from clinical depression and/or anxiety?  What kind of pets do you have?  Do you journal and/or blog to relieve your stress?

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Friday Faves: The Josh-Wilson-Is-Coming-To-Town Edition

27 May

Photo Credit: Michael Yon

We will never forget you or your sacrifices to this nation.  We sincerely thank you and remember you on our prayers.

***

It’s another Friday and we’re all still here, so I guess the Rapture didn’t happen.  I know that Scripture says no man, not even Jesus Himself, knows the hour or day, but part of me just wanted to go home…and not just to avoid that dreaded Monday morning doctor’s appointment, which went well, by the way.  And, by well, I mean, that I didn’t flip out, scream, run out the door, or destroy any medical equipment.  Go me!  During the  check-up, I learned there are some things I need to work on, and my doctor discovered that I have cellulitis in my right forefinger (only the finger I use most when I’m not sucking my thumb.  I mean, I don’t suck my thumb. Anymore.)  So, I’m on antibiotics now.  Isn’t that weird–antibiotics for a finger infection?  More deets on that next week because God taught me something important in the whole process.

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend?  I’m all jazzed up because I’m going to see my amazing friend, singer/songwriter Josh Wilson perform at MayFair at Cedar Beach in Allentown.  He’s schedule to take the stage Sunday (May 29) at 8 PM, so be there!  I told Josh in an email (that he still hasn’t replied to–shame on you, Josh! You’d think the guy has a touring schedule, an awesome wife, and other responsibilities or something.  I’m just joshing [and punning], I know he’s mad busy) that my grandparents used to take me to Cedar Beach when I was a wee girl to feed the ducks and geese, a practice which is now outlawed in the city of Allentown.  I also informed Josh that think I also got bit by a goose at this locale, so everyone come out and see where I got attacked by waterfowl! 

The Museum released this album way before Rob Bell released his book, LOVE WINS. I didn't want you to think that the guys in The Museum are a bunch of copy cats.

The Museum (They’re on at 7 PM. Love them!), Building 429, and Beyond Barriers are also playing in this showcase sponsored by local Christian radio station, The Word FM.  While perusing MayFair’s website, I just learned that if you want seats at  “Word FM Night,” you have to pay $15 for regular seats and $20 for VIP seating, plus $5 admission to MayFair itself (It used to be free, but now THE MAN charges you to get in).  While paying to see Josh Wilson do his thing is a priceless gift, you’ll find me in the FREE standing room only section. (Incidentally, this appears to be the *only* concert that MayFair patrons are required to pay for–if they want to sit.)

Maybe Josh will even play this song at MayFair! I talk about Josh Wilson A LOT on Backseat Writer, for more JW +BSW goodness, click here!

*This week my friend, Ben DeVries who runs not one, but two, great websites–Not One Sparrow and With Those Who–did a little post on the pain children of divorce experience, and he even linked to something I wrote.  In “They Pull Away,” Ben uses a passage from Jenn Abbas de Jong’s book, Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain.  You can learn more about the book at Jen’s website and even read the first chapter.  Purchase your own copy of this out-of-print book from a seller on Amazon.com!

*You know I love my books, and I found another great title over at BibleDude.net.  It’s called Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.  The book’s author, Wesley Hill, is a gay Christian who believes in practicing communal celibacy in accordance with the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality.  Incidentally, one of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen, also held this viewpoint.  Homosexuality was a hot topic ’round these parts in January when I reviewed Jay Bakker’s book, Fall to Grace.  I haven’t yet read this book, but it looks excellent. The review was written by BibleDude.net contributor Will McPherson.

Click on this icon to see the full list of participants!

*Giveaway hops are fun, aren’t they?  I love jumping from blog to blog entering giveaways, especially giveaways involve books and bookish things.  Right now, the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop is in full swing.  Running now through May 31, you can enter 300+ giveaways from fine literary lovers all over the blogosphere, including right here at Backseat Writer (and on Backseat Reader).  To enter my giveaway for your choice of a $10 Amazon gift card or a book of your choice ($10 or under) from The Book Depository, go here or click the “Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop” icon on the upper right side of BSW.  Then head over to Backseat Reader and enter there, too.

*My final fave comes once again from Jenny B. Jones, but it lacks its usual jovial nature.  Living in Arkansas, Jenny is right in the middle of all the tornado activity and talks about the violent storms wrecking havoc in her area.  In fact, Jenny lives a mere 45 minutes from the town of Joplin, MO.  Read Jenny’s post, “All Twisted Out.

As we spend time with family and friends this weekend grilling, christening freshly opened swimming pools, and rocking out to Josh Wilson, let us remember those who are suffering in the South–pray for them and donate money or items if you are able. 

Tell me, what are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend?  Are you going to see Josh Wilson?  Do you like Josh Wilson?  Do you think Josh Wilson will respond to my email?  What’s your favorite thing to win in a giveaway? What are you doing to help those affected by tornadoes?  Is there anyone you are personally honoring this Memorial Day?

Letters to My Self, Part 1

6 Apr

Sometimes I write myself letters because I know what is true and yet my heart won’t accept it.  Letters have a way of reminding me what is true, even if they are for me by me.  I’ve been writing letters to myself or to God or to others for years (many of which I never send).  I was surprised to learn that Henri Nouwen did the same thing in his book, The Inner Voice of Love.  I was given this book as a special present, and I treasure it.  I highly recommend you get this book, even if you’re not a big reader.  Nouwen’s short journal entries have the ability to pierce your heart with their vulnerability.  You’ll be surprised at how often you think the same things as Nouwen.

Anyway, I recently write myself this letter, which I’ve decided to share because I bet there are a lot of you out there who are wondering if you are enough, if you are loved, and if you matter.  I know a lot of people use the term “Beloved” when referring to God’s people, but for me it holds a special meaning.  My name, Amy, means “beloved.”  Whenever the term “Beloved” is used, I feel like it’s God’s special name just for me.

Dear Beloved,

You don’t have to be perfect.  Yet day after day, you try so hard to be what you can’t.  You live in a fallen world where imperfection is the norm.  You will make mistakes, and that’s OK.  God’s grace and mercy covers your shortcomings.

Words like accomplishment, success, award seem so out of reach and failure, second best, and not good enough flood your vocabulary.  You’re so down on yourself despite finding so much beauty in the world.  How can you find beauty in nature and not see the wonders that lie within you?  Don’t you see that you are captivating because God created you that way?

Don’t be angry at God, Beloved.  He is not the cause for all your heartache; your Abba is the one who longs to hold you through the pain.  He wants to wipe every tear away, and He promised He will.  He promised you, beloved!  God never, ever breaks His promises.  You must remind yourself of this, even when it does not seem true.  You must hold on to the truth so that you will not be swayed by the wind.

O, Beloved, I know you have a long way to go and you’re frustrated that you’re not “there.”  But once you get “there” you’ll want to be somewhere else.  Today, you are enough and you are sufficient in God’s grace.  Don’t steal tomorrow’s grace, but savor His mercy today.  You are enough—not because of what you do, but who you are in Him.  You are a princess in exile and your Abba is King of all.  Remember who you are and that you are enough.

Love,
Amy

Amy’s Favorite Things (Take that, Oprah!)

13 Dec

By Amy Sondova Every year, Oprah Winfrey features a few of her favorite things on her daytime talk show (“Oprah’s Favorite Things“) and then adorns the audience with each and every one of her favorite things.  Well, I’m not Oprah, and therefore, cannot give all Backseat Writer’s readers samples of everything that I adore.  But I can tell you where to get ‘em.   Without further adieu, I bring you “Amy’s Favorite Things,” which I hope will help you as you finish shopping foryour favorite people this holiday season (and beyond.   These are timeless suggestions).

Altered Art Charm from TickleMePinkBoutique on Etsy.com

Altered Art Charm from TickleMePinkBoutique on Etsy.com

*Etsy.com—Have you visited this site?  It’s a entire craft show right on your computer screen with everything from Scrabble tile pendants to handcrafted shoes!  There are a plethora of cool things for guys and gals alike.  Don’t believe me, guys?  Check out some of the screen printed messenger bags and t-shirts.  There’s something for everyone, and unique is the bottom line.

*Music—Every year almost everyone on my Christmas list can expect to get a CD or two.  This year there are a few artists who are hot on my list—debut artist Josh Wilson and music veteran Bebo Norman.  Besides being two of the nicest and most open guys I’ve ever interviewed, they’re also great singer/songwriters who released albums this year.  Bebo Norman’s self-titled release, Josh Wilson’s Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup, and Jon Foreman’s Limbs and Branches are must-haves!  But perhaps you’re looking for something a little rockier, then look no further than Seabird’s ‘Til We See the Shore or This Beautiful Republic’s sophomore album, Perceptions.   If you want to support indie artists, then get lost in the vocals of Tara Leigh Cobble’s Playing Favorites or Justin McRoberts’ latest project, Deconstruction.  And here are a few more recommendations: Narrow Stairs – Death Cab For Cutie; What If We – Brandon Heath; The Nashville EP and the Bee Sides – Relient K;  Opposite Way – Leeland;  With Arrows, With Poise – The Myriad;  anything by Caedmon’s Call, Fernando Ortega, Phil Keaggy.

Limbs and Branches - Jon Foreman

Limbs and Branches - Jon Foreman

*Sock Monkeys & socks—Is it just me or are you always running out of socks, too?  Whether getting lost in the wash, stolen by a shih tzu who shall remain nameless (Maddy!), or developing ginormous holes, pairs of socks seem to lose their mate after a month or two.  Therefore, I wear a lot of mismatched socks–argyle, plaid, and all patterns funky are worn together and I become a candidate for “What Not to Wear”.  Besides becoming a fashion mishap, there are are only things to do with those single socks.  You could make sock

monkeys, of course! You don’t even have to limit yourself to monkeys, there are patterns for all kinds of creatures online (sock monster, sock owl).  Then you can sell your creations at etsy.com.  Or you could just buy a conventional sock monkey at sockmonkey.com.

*Digital Cameras—The first time I got my hands on a digital camera, I took pictures of everything in sight, and I haven’t stopped.  My first pictures weren’t that great; then again, my camera wasn’t that great.  Yet I treasure the images of my grandmother’s last Christmas with our family.  Buy yourself a camera to capture the moments that truly matter, and then buy one for someone else.  Check around for the best prices and give yourself a gift that goes far beyond an electronic device.  I highly recommend Canon cameras, but if you want to go a little cheaper, Olympus makes great cameras as well.

*Anything handcrafted by you—Maybe you’re not into making sock monkeys, but there are tons of other projects in which to immerse yourself.  Try your hand at crocheting or knitting (you can even use a knitting loom like the Knifty Knitter) and make everyone scarves, hats, and SOCKS!  (See what a valuable gift socks can be?)  You could paint a thoughtful picture or make a collage.  If you’re not crafty, melt chocolate wafers and dip some pretzels; chocolate-covered pretzels make great gifts!  If all else fails, just make your dad an ashtray like you did in kindergarten—he’ll still think it’s cute (hopefully!)

Psych - Season 2

Psych - Season 2

*Amazon.com—Free shipping on orders over $25 and books, music, and DVD’s galore.  Every year Amazon is adding to its inventory.  I check back every day to see what’s on sale so I can nab Psych Seasons 1 & 2, Bones Seasons 1-3, books like The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen, The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, the chick-lit novels of my fave fictionista, Christa Banister and those aforementioned CD’s at discounted prices.

*Ebay.com—Whatever you can’t find on Amazon.com, you can find on Ebay.  There are literally millions of treasures on this site from low, low prices on video games to truly bizarre items like vintage hand towels.  But whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it on Ebay.  You can also find a bunch of stuff you weren’t looking for, too.

*Michael’s, A.C. Moore, Joann’s—Craft stores are slashing their prices, and signing up for their e-mail newsletters allows customers to get even more coupons (especially if you don’t get them in your local newspaper).  Remember that camera I told you to buy?  You can get beautiful frames for those pics on sale at any of these stores for 40-50% off during the holiday season.  Plus, custom framing is 60% off (I say buy a frame and do-it-yourself!)  Not only that, but you can find deals on Christmas décor, craft kits for the kids, and nice gifts like candle holders and scented candles for your co-workers.  Even if you aren’t crafty, craft stores are a great place to shop for gifts.

Even though Black Friday has come and gone, you can still save money and give great presents to your loved ones…and those people you don’t really like that you still have to buy for.  We know Christmas isn’t all about the presents, but if you’re like me, you sure do like to get them (hey, I’m being honest here).  Plus, great presents show cleverness and creativity that has little to do with price and everything to do with thoughtfulness.  Our mere trinkets can never compare to the gift of God’s Son wrapped in humanity, so as we give to one another let us remember the greatest gift that mankind was ever given.

Click here to see all my my favorite things!

Take 5 with Charlie Hall

17 Nov

By Alyssa Bjornstad Charlie Hall is a man on a journey. His latest record, The Bright Sadness, (sixstepsrecords) is a testimony of not only where he has been but where he is going.

We appreciate Charlie’s willingness to graciously take time out of his busy touring schedule for this “Take 5.”

The title of your new album, The Bright Sadness, is intriguing. What’s the significance of the title and its encompassing message?

The title comes from an old Christian orthodox phrase that is used during the season of Lent.  Several of the guys from the band were walking through Lent, and we had heard this phrase.  It hit me in a way that felt really alive in my heart.  At that time especially, it had felt like the phrase defined many parts of my life.  The phrase looks at the horrific act of the cross and the beauty that comes behind it in the Resurrection.  Life also has seasons in it that go anywhere from annoyances to horrific breathless moments to peace and beauty flowing.  As we walk the gamut of the journey, the consistent thing is Christ walking us through each moment.  I walk with Him because I have learned I am an ordinary broken human who simply needs Him, not because it is a cultural thing or because of my job or any title I could attain on earth.  He, Christ, is my hope in this life.  He is the bright in sadness.

How has your involvement with Passion Conferences impacted you personally?

It has impacted me deeply.  On a larger scale, the people, ideas, theology, and music that you get to interact with in the Passion movement has altered many viewpoints for me.  These people and ideas inspire me on so many different levels, and each time I leave a gathering with them I can see in a new way.  On a more personal level, I consider Louie and Shelley and all the boys (Chris Tomlin, David Crowder*Band, Matt Redman) on sixsteps friends, and they have poured into my heart over the years in various ways.

If you had to pick a work beyond The Holy Bible that has changed your life the most, what would it be and why?

I’d have to say there are many books that have opened my heart and impacted me.  Both Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson are books that showed me peeks into human stories that were enlightening.  Books by Henri Nouwen and C. S. Lewis have been beautiful works for me as well, but I’d say Soul Survivor by Phillip Yancey was the biggest work for me.  It has the stories of many men and women that the kingdom of God came through.  The stories are about all kinds of people from well-known works to hidden works, but the bottom line for me was the work of God through simple people.

“Mystery” seems to include multiple messages—not just the lyrics but the intentional choice of sound. What was your process in writing this song?

“Mystery” was built musically and sonically as the epic journey into truth that ignites hope.  Lyrically, it starts with statements of truth about God and honesty about the human feelings of insanity and the lack of clarity.  I was standing comprehending my brokenness during one noonday communion at an Episcopal church near our office in Oklahoma City.  We were praying through the communion rites, and in the remembrance of Jesus, His work on the earth and His present stance toward us now, I sensed the power of His life in me and was reminded of the freeing gospel.  I realized in a new way that the message of forgiveness, renovation, and salvation was not just for the church people who had discovered it, but that it was for the messy ones who are barely hanging on as well.  The whole song changed the way I experienced the gospel and how I share it with people around me.  As much as we know about Jesus historically and Scripturally, He is still a mystery, but a mystery that we embrace to bring us life.

Christ-following is a daily struggle, and The Bright Sadness seems to be a reflection of life—its rawness, its pain, its hope. How has this record enabled you to process personally?

The record was my personal process, spiritually-speaking.  The prayers that are on this were the prayers that were slowly coming back after a time of me losing prayers.  I prayed for faith, hope, and love from Jesus Christ for about a year.  The rest was just awareness of God.  Looking back, that may have been the point; to be quieted by God.  With the loss of my words and ideas, He was able to pour into me.  So as the prayers would suddenly come back in different, unorganized, surprising moments, I would jot them down and figure out how to rhyme them and put them into songs.  My family and I have walked through, and still are walking through, really outlandish things.  But through it, I have learned to be human and continue to cling to the one who made me, which is where I am my best.  I live in Christ and He in me.  As I walk the earth and journey through life I can feel the whirl around me, twisting things.  But I keep stepping forward, and it is Christ’s life in me that keeps me walking and shining each step.

Absolute Randomness

23 Apr

I put “randomness” as a search term on Google images and this is one of the pics that came up. It’s sort of funny and sort of mean. I’d rather throw M&M’s or blow bubbles at people myself.

One of the main drawbacks with writing from home is that I’m so easily distracted. I mean, with no boss cracking the whip, it’s OK if I randomly engaged in idle IM chat or chat on the phone or play a rousing game of fetch with my “employees” (thanks to Josh Wilson for giving the dogs that grand title! Oh, and his album, Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup releases this Tuesday, April 29. Check it out! Gotta love random plugs). Sometimes I choose to blog (which is OK, except when I should be writing an article) or take the rest of the day to go spend some quality time in the woods with my camera. Today I will be writing an article…when I get around to it.

In the spirit of randomness…I will write a random blog entry on the random thoughts swimming through my brain….

*Amanda wrote a new song, which is beautiful. Everyone should check it out here. She’s going to record on May 17–I’m stoked.

*”American Idol” was a bit of a disaster last night. I love Broadway music and especially Andrew Lloyd Weber, but as a weekly theme? Come on now! It was the worst thing I’ve seen since Mariah Carey was a mentor…oh, wait, that was just last week. ALW was great with the contestants though, and the Davids and Syesha did great! Brooke is losing confidence, and her start/stop didn’t help. Still, I imagine the studio version of “You Must Love Me” will be excellent. I loved her black and white butterfly dress…she’s a contestant that’s managed to be modest every single week. But it’s the conviction with which she sings that gets me every week. And does Carly annoy anyone else? Seriously, send that girl and her ego home already!

* Spring is a great season, except for my allergic reactions to the outside world and the urge I get for a “spring romance” every single, stinkin’ year. I hate it. Just because the flowers are a’blooming doesn’t mean this girl needs a ring on her finger, right? I need encouragement and prayer because I know now is a terrible time for a relationship for so many reasons, but…grrr!

*I feel a bit melancholy right now. It’s the inevitable wash over from the stressful and painful events that have taken place over the past few months. I definitely need to lean on God’s strength right now. I fear I’m becoming “hard” because I am so tired of caring. Just pray that God will protect my heart, keep it tender, and allow it to show His love, despite how the world reacts.

*Henri Nouwen, wow, he’s just amazing. If I haven’t told you this already, I’m telling you again…get The Inner Voice of Love and read it (in fact, you can get the Nouwen book and Josh Wilson’s CD to get free shipping. Oh, wait, the order has to total up to $25. OK, you can get Nouwen, Josh Wilson’s CD, and a Flying Sling Shot Screech Monkey. Goshdarnit, the monkey ships from another seller. You could always get Grey Holiday’s album… Look, I’m sure you’re a good shopper and you can find a third item of interest to get Free Super Shipper).

Anyway, here’s another gripping quote from the book:

“People will constantly try to hook your wounded self. They will point out your needs, your character defects, your limitations, and sins. That is how they attempt to dismiss what God, through you, is saying to them. Your temptation, arising from your great insecurity and doubt, is to begin believing their definition of you. But God has called you to speak the Word to the world and to speak it fearlessly. While acknowledging your woundedness, do not let go of the truth that lives in you and demands to be spoken.”

*I think “the employees” want to go for a walk….

Just a quote…

19 Apr

I was reading a chapter from the Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen this evening and came across this quote, which brought tears to my eyes.  I’m not going to offer a heavy discourse on the book, the chapter, or the words.  I’m just going to let you read them for yourself and respond.  You can post a comment, write in your journal, talk to God, or choose to respond by not responding at all.

“Hold on to your chosen direction, your disciple, your prayer, your work, your guides, and trust that one day love will have conquered enough of you that even the most fearful part of you will allow love to cast out all fear.”

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