Last week I attended the Allume Conference. I hugged friends, went shopping, drank a lot of coffee, laughed until I cried (more than once!), and stayed up talking into the wee hours with dear hearts. I attended workshops and wept my way through keynotes, including the one by Shauna Niequist. Her words messed me up, because they reflected parts of my heart that I’d rather not see.
She talked about missing and reclaiming the girl she used to be, the silly, fun, soft, welcoming, laughing girl that had been traded for efficiency. She spoke of Jesus hospitality, real and relaxed hospitality. She said that sometimes we end up in seasons where ‘we are no longer doing what we believe.’ She said she had left behind some of the best parts of herself in order to become extremely efficient. She said so many, many things that spoke – administered – to my heart, and afterwards when I shakily introduced myself to her, I was a weepy mess who could only utter two phrases: “Thank you. That’s me. Thank you. That’s me.”
Did you know I used to be a camp counselor? And an RA in a freshman dorm? And a youth director? These jobs are not for the boring. These jobs are not for the efficient. These jobs are for people who create welcoming space, who are soft and kind, silly and brave. These jobs take light. A lightness of heart, a lightness IN our heart, and an ability to shine.Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d be hired as a camp counselor, an RA or a youth director these days. These days I am not led in light; I’ve been allowing fear to lead me and I have been heavy. I’ve been exhausted and overworked and irritable, and I’ve missed the light. I used to be light, and silly, and free. I used to dress up in costume for fun. I used to wear glitter. I used to sparkle, light effusing from my insides out.
Light = free. And friends, I have not been living free. It’s time to reclaim that light, that freedom. It’s time to step out in bold faith, trusting in the One whose name is Everlasting Light.
“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,
nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set;
your moon will not go down.
For the Lord will be your everlasting light.
Your days of mourning will come to an end.”
There are big ways to embrace the light, and there are little ways that add up. I’m a heavy thinker, and if I can dial the thinking back a notch, it helps calm my heart and fears. Getting outside, breathing in deep cold air, clears my head and heart. Taking risks – sending a text to a friend first, saying the hard things to family, releasing an e-book – is helpful for my cautious soul. When I am afraid to live in the light, I need support, big doses of love. I need courage to do the scary things, to embrace the Light that is in me. I need rest, to be my best and bravest self.
How do you embrace the One who is everlasting light? What big and small ways help you remember that you are indeed in the light? Because friend, whether you feel and embrace it or not, you are living in His light.
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I'd love to meet you over a picket fence in our backyards with a cup of coffee and a good story. We'd talk real life, real motherhood, and real encouragement.
The form didn’t show up on my computer, but I must have the everlasting light layered shimmer necklace! Its incredibly beautiful! 😉
Anna, you are such an inspiring person and I absolutely love reading your blog. I know it is straight from the heart and I want you to know that your writing touches my heart every time.
Sending blessings to you and your family 🙂
Lene, thank you so much for your kind words!! Um, the form didn’t show up because I forgot to make one. HA!! It’s there now and I will enter you myself =)
I have embraced the light in the quite, in nature, when hearing children’s laughter. For that … is light to my soul. Thanks for the chance, Anna!
I have learned to embrace the light in chaotic family gatherings. I love being with people but not loud, unorganized gatherings. When the extended family gets together (like Thanksgiving), I kinda want to retreat but have learned to hear that hum as a form of music. God has allowed the different journeys, different personalities, etc to come together as the amazing web of life we call family. It’s a gift!
Anna this is so beautiful! Sometimes it’s hard to see the light in the busyness of the day, but often I am reminded to look up at a beautiful sunrise or sunset, the vastness of a night sky filled by a brilliant moon, the hugs and laughs of my son! I adore these necklaces and love the truth they symbolize! Thanks for the honesty (you are not alone my friend!) and the chance to win!
Oh I LOVE that mirror!! It is my hope that I would be a light of hope to those that I come in contact with. I don’t always do this well, but it is my heart’s desire to be better at it! 🙂
Love this! I try and slow down so I am able to see the light of hope each day. 🙂
Thank you for this post! Love this snippet of your story, and so excited for you and the launch of your e-book! So fun! I love the mirror from Everlasting Light .. thanks to you and Dayspring for hosting this giveaway!
During daylight savings time I am even more aware of the light that we do get and I cling to it like air.
I feel much like I’ve slipped away as well and deep in to that spot within me that’s much too dark and ugly. I try to remind myself daily, through the job that I need to leave and the life that I need to stop fighting that there is Light everywhere, and especially within me. With Him, with Light, I am free and unencumbered. I just need to climb out, and reach. Love you, friend.
I listened to Shauna’s keynote earlier this afternoon. So glad I did – it made me think of you so much, because you’ve shown hospitality to me. I would have loved to have had you as my RA. 🙂 Hmm, light… lately I’ve been writing it on my hand so I see it every time I look down: out of darkness, light.
This was just the reminder and nudge I needed to get out of the funk I’ve been in. Thank you Anna!
I love the shimmer necklace and the 3 stars necklaces. Stars and light hold special significance for me, so I LOVE these!
” It’s time to reclaim that light, that freedom. It’s time to step out in bold faith, trusting in the One whose name is Everlasting Light.” I, too and learning to reclaim the light.
The ‘shine’ necklace is going on my wishlist! What a perfect reminder!
I love these prints!
I really love that mirror … 🙂 LIGHT is my word this year, and God has been using it in a big way in my heart. Of course, that’s been in ways I never expected. Only God.
I like the round necklace with the stars.
‘Embracing the Light’ is something I need to reflect more on. Thank you for that encouragement. And that 3 star necklace sure is beautiful!
I’m been trying to embrace the light through daily bravery in my kinda crazy life right now. It’s a hard road, especially with the kids on board. I’ve been loving the new ‘shine’ necklace from Dayspring.
I love the mirror!
Me too, friend… I’m trying to embrace the light by being more prayerful. When I bring my needs and thanks to God, He shines his light through me in ways I can’t do on my own. I’m trying to turn to him when I’m broken, instead of always turning to distractions.
Anna, what a beautiful post and inspiration for us to reclaim the light!
Anna – her talk totally spoke to me too. Thanks for your kind, brave words. Here’s to praying and hoping we can find that light again!