31 Days of Audacious Authenticity

31 Days31 Days

It seems like a long time. But in reality, the last year and a half has stretched out like a rubber band at times. Threatening to break me. I’ve written only twice, maybe three times. To be honest it’s been quite the journey for me. I’ve stretched and NOT broken. And I am better for it. So, 31 days…I think it’s do-able. I invite you to come along as I share posts on Audacious Authenticity. Will you risk with me?

A friend wrote for my website, “Long before authenticity and transparency became the ‘new black,’ Karen Trigg modeled an authenticity that drew me in like a moth to light. A true connector, Karen taught me the importance of real, genuine relationship. Her passion for women to connect with others, to live authentic lives, is genuine and runs ocean deep.”

Authenticity is by no means easy for me. But it’s what I’m wired for. It runs in my blood. Yet, some days I run hard and fast into the woods to bury it under a bush! It’s a battle. Internal. One nobody sees.

Audacious, according to vocabulary.com means to be ‘disposed to danger or to take risks, unconstrained by convention or propriety’. Everything in me cries out to live this way. To be a cliff-jumper. And to trust the outcome.

When I heard about the 31 day writing challenge something inside me involuntarily jumped up and said YES PLEASE! Words are of utmost importance to me. the word ‘Authenticity’ seems to cover a broad range of what I fills my heart. I wonder if it fills yours too. Perhaps as I share, you will respond and share what you’re learning as well. I would love that!

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Buckets, Clay & a Wheel

photo-4It’s been on my list since I watched Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost back in the 80’s. As she positioned herself toward the turning wheel and leaned into the clay something stirred in me. What woman in those days wouldn’t want to possess the natural beauty of Demi. What held my attention, though, was something about the block of clay. I’m not even sure why.

Recently I gathered the courage to walk in and sit at my own wheel. I took my place in the small circle of women, some of whom had been here before, some had not.

Ready. Teachable. Trusting, or at least attempting to.

Have you ever felt off kilter? It’s where I’ve found myself this last year. Not having the ability to find my sure footing again, I decided to keep moving forward in this new place wondering if it’s my new normal.

My bucket list holds just a few things I want to do while still here on this green earth. Learning to throw pottery on a wheel is one of them. It’s the first I have had courage to follow through on. Seven years ago while working on some personal goals I wrote these words regarding myself: She, The Clay on The Wheel Woman, is willing to be refined in areas that need sharpening. Today I find myself being shaped and refined as much as the block of clay I now throw on the wheel. And the longing for this one thing to be something I might experience…the longing itself… it comes from God. He knew me before He formed me in my mothers womb.

I’m finding the first lesson in throwing is critical. If the clay is not centered the piece will eventually wobble or be off kilter and may fall altogether. The centering is not difficult, but the steps are clear:

  • Place clay in center of wheel
  • Pat into a cone
  • With the wheel spinning use whole body to force clay into the center
  • Continue to force clay into center pressing downward
  • With whole body strength use both hands to force clay upwards
  • Press clay down into a cake

It’s only after these steps have been successfully completed that I am able to move to the second step of opening up the clay.

God’s got my number for sure. In the midst of my feeling off on my footing, He draws me to this class. He knows I learn with all my senses. It’s not enough for me to hear it and learn it. I have to hear it, see it, touch it, work it, ask questions, fail and rather than have someone fix it for me I need to fix it myself so I can remember how to do it all next time.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He knew I was weary with my alls. My heart, mind, soul and strength have grown weary as I’ve sought to stand on firm ground again. But I have set my will to keep my face like a flint toward Jesus. It’s what Jesus did as He walked the earth. He kept His face like flint toward the Father. I had no idea how putting my hands to the clay would be a catalyst to re-learning drawing near to God and relearning how to trust again.

It’s been a long road I’ve walked this last year. I’m not done walking this road. It’s a lonely wilderness. A dear friend asked me a question recently (I love good questions – hard ones). She asked “How do you know it’s a wilderness?” My response…because though I know beyond a doubt that God is near, I am not able to feel intimacy and His nearness. I keep trying to do all the things I know I’m supposed to “do” but the intimacy is not returning. I won’t give up.

Instead I’ll show up at the wheel. I’ll choose to let God center me as I re-learn trusting. Much like sitting at the wheel and following the steps with the clay as the wheel goes on spinning, I will let God shape me as I continue walking forward; face like a flint. I’ll follow the steps that will keep me centered in Him:

  • Place myself in His presence. Quiet myself before Him
  • Give God my heart, mind, soul & strength – one day at a time
  • Read His Word. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
  • Spend time talking with and listening for Him in prayer
  • Trust in Him with all my heart – lean not on my own understanding
  • Surrender to His pressing and shaping me

I’ll keep walking forward with courage letting God refine and sharpen. How about you? What encouragement do you need today? What step can you take today to keep you centered in God?

 

 

 

 

Curtains drawn

I see you through the curtains drawn,
knees held close, a vacant stare.
Release of breath with no response,
to silent cries that fill the air.Dock

 

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

I see you in this wilderness,
restless in your solitude.
Searching in an endless maze,
desperate for a glimpse of truth.

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

I am your prince of Peace,
your portion,
now and always.
Retreat from all the noise and you will find me.
You will find me.

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

Let my love infuse your soul,
disintegrate this shroud of lies.
I am your sustaining strength,
rest in me a little while.

I am your sustaining strength,
rest in me a little while.

Rest in me a little while.

Hannah Oberlin, Karen Trigg & Megan Pifer

 

Where I’ve been. Where I’ve wrestled. Where I’ve lived.

Three steps out, two steps back. Or so it seems. A new dance. A least I am on the floor.

Through these curtains I’ve glimpsed two women who have given me the courage to write today.

To begin again.

Their written words have breathed life and courage and hope into places that are growing cold and distant.

One, a young beautiful Mama of three. Facing her fears head on and in doing so, daily defeating the enemy.

This Mama recently let her words flow in the midst of fear, uncertainty and no absolutely no guarantees. As she made her journey on the long road between East and West Tennessee to her final destination of Saint Jude Hospital for children she quoted the words of a dear friend “Confession disarms the devil”. It’s why she chose to write in the midst of the terrifying uncertainty. You can read more of her story of clinging to truth in her journey here at Garland & Pendant. 

The courage and transparency with which she wrote as she sought with all she had to disarm the enemy spoke volumes to me. It spoke deeply to the woman with curtains drawn. Drawn because I don’t know what happened that day in February at the hospital bedside. I thought I heard God whisper and I trusted the whisper. But – – – I’ve never felt so far from him. I can’t seem to find my way out. “Confession disarms the devil”. I confess today I have no ability to get it right. To get to the place where I feel safe again in God’s presence. It’s not my doing. It’s His. Did I do anything that first day I knew His presence? The certainty that He was with me? No.

Another Mama, beautiful, compassionate, full of a big love for others. A love that encompasses everything thing she does and everything she touches, left her earthly home yesterday for an eternity spent face to face with Jesus. Kara Tippets is a woman I never met. I emailed with her after a friend shared her blog with me. We shared a common thread; love for others, investing in a way that leaves our lives, hearts and homes open to impacting others through loving them well. Believing it’s what God calls us to.

As I followed her days at Mundane Faithfulness the last two years I’ve always been drawn to Jesus. Always. No matter what she faced in battling cancer she always let us see her struggle. Her desperate desire to remain here and be with her love and her littles and those she loved so dearly. To be present for the sweet moments, the hard moments, the tender moments and the joys of all that life holds. She let us hear and feel the gut wrenching tension in the battle but she always, always led us back to her resting place. Jesus. Her all. Her Sustainer. Her Strength. I’ve needed to see Jesus. Many days it has been through her words that I could taste and see.

It’s because of these two women I put my fingers to the keys today with no plan, no eloquence.

I’m returning to something God drew my heart to in the very beginning. Desperate to fight this battle against the enemy of my soul.

In returning and rest…rest in me a little while

As you read...

Have you known HIS rest?

Have you felt HIS strength lately?

How can you rest in Him today?

The Classroom

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Some days it feels like I can’t find my way.

For years I’ve had a recurring dream. It creeps back in when I least expect it. Maybe you’ve had it too. I am standing alone, out of breath, in the stark silent hallway lined with metal boxes stacked one upon another. For the life of me I can’t remember the numbers. My chest rising and falling with heaviness at the thought of walking in by myself. Having to tell the teacher I can’t find my work because I can’t get to my books.

God seems to keep me in the classroom. The place of continual learning and growing. It begins with the admission that I don’t quite know the combination. I can’t quite get to the place where the answers are. One recent Friday morning the dream came in the waking hours. The voice on the other end of the phone drew a deep breath before solemnly speaking the words…”the doctor says it’s time to bring the family in.”

Nothing prepared me for this moment. Nothing. It was as if all I had learned and knew about coping was out of reach, inaccessible. Within just a few minutes, Christa walked through the front door for our previously scheduled meeting. Little did I know God would use her to walk with me as I entered the next lesson. The next classroom.

I am dependent upon God’s very breath in me to keep and sustain me. I was drawn in the weeks prior to this moment to the words breathe and breath. No understanding of why, but very intrigued. Now, in this moment, all I could do was breathe. One inhale, one exhale at a time. We thought she was getting stronger. She had made seventy-five percent improvement. But now we are preparing for her last breath.

How was I to prepare for the last breath of the one who gave life to me? The one who labored and birthed me?

I didn’t have the combination.

I couldn’t access the books.

Standing in the stark silence of her room I was at a loss for words. Some say they can hear you even if they don’t respond. The machines spoke for her. Where were my words? Why couldn’t I access them? I have spent a lifetime wondering if I have honored her. Knowing I will stand before My Father to give account. I love deep. It’s how I am wired. Did I miss slivers of time to love her deeply? I have asked myself that question for years. I feel certain I did. The struggle has been long for me.

Yet, in her last hours of life the Teacher is close. He instructs gently. Ever so gently.

Gently reaching for her hand under the blanket. This is honoring her.

Remembering what she would want in the last hours.This is honoring her.

Lifting her silently before the One who first breathed life into her. This is honoring her.

As I turned to leave the room, my heart heavy and full, I stopped two or three times before reaching the doorway.

How do I do this? How do I just walk away? My whole lifetime with her comes to this one final step through a doorway – and I will never see my Mom again. To even hesitate to leave her…this is honoring her.

My heart is learning to listen as I sit in the classroom of grief. His breath in my is what literally sustains me and leads me on this unknown journey. I hit the pause button from time to time in this classroom. It’s ok. I trust the Teacher and so I will return to this classroom over and over, books or no books, until he says we’re done.

What classroom are you in today? Do you trust the Teacher? You can, you know.

Turning the Pages

20120413-230606.jpgTurning the pages…

Good Morning Father

Even as I wrote the word…Father…I am so aware of my gratitude for you as a Father.

That you would not leave me Fatherless.

When I think of the reality of growing up without a father – it’s surreal really.

No protector

No overseer

No filter

No safe hug

No guidance

Which left me looking in all kinds of places for these things.

My flesh is still bent to search for these these as though there is an earthly need of some sort that will be met.

I run here and there in search of the answer.

The need to resolve.

The need to make right.

The need to be good enough.

1979

My mind springs back

the first time I knew

The One who protects

The Overseer of all things

He cared enough to reach from heaven

to touch

this broken, tattered, filthy heart

with the tenderest of touch

and has never let go.

The moment

God showed me

the first moment

He whispered, My Father, My God

I AM

I AM your portion

I AM your salvation

I AM your hope

I will protect you

I will oversee you in all things great and small…

I will teach you to filter all things

I  AM your safe place

I will guide you in all truth

How many times since that beautiful day

have I forgotten?

I so easily move to the left or right searching

When He is right in front of me

with the same gentle whisper of 1979

This is the way

walk in it.

He promises to be my portion

He knows I will fail

Yet He promises to love me

anyway

and to be my strength

and not just for a day – but forever!

Psalm 73:26

My heart and my flesh may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever!

Emphasis – mine.

Strength – mine.

Portion – mine.

Fatherless?

No.

He does not leave me fatherless.

Help me Father to walk according to your leading in the coming year.

Show me what you want to teach me.

Keep my eyes, heart and mind steadfast upon you.

Help me to be a willing student.

Keep my eyes open to you as they were that sweet day in 1979.

The scripture leading up to Psalm 76:23 says:

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,

I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and

my portion forever.

I have found great peace in these words through 2013. They have been an anchor. They have given me courage. One step at a time.

What are you hearing as you turn the page this last day 2013?

I would love to hear about it.

Where did you struggle?

Where were you met in the struggle?

How did you find hope?

What keeps you putting one foot in front of the other?

Enjoy this beautiful song by Audrey Assad as you ponder my words.

Grateful for you!

HIS,

karen

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Girlfriends & Bookends – Unspiritual Community

If you are joining us for the  first time, we are reading through Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We would love to have you join us. It’s a very casual time to turn the pages of our book together in an attempt to learn more about community. Feel free to look back over some of the comments from our previous chapters.

Laura sent us a snapshot of her reading all the way from Hawaii. Let’s try NOT to be jealous :-).

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I wish we didn’t have to look at Unspiritual Community in order to understand more clearly Spiritual Community.  In talking with a friend recently about a particular topic, she urged me “un-teach us before you teach us.”

Larry says in Unspiritual Community “we tend to either hide our problems or parade them.  In neither case do we give. There is no reflection of the life of the Trinity.” I wrote a note in the book (I am good for making my marks like that) that reads…evidenced In “giving”.

I’ve spent time on both ends of the extremes he mentions. On neither end did I find peace. I’ve experienced firsthand becoming exhausted with the playing it safe. The relationships I long for now are the ones in which I am invited to unveil my brokenness and yet not rejected. Relationships where admitting brokenness leads to invitation to grow through it. Together. Walking alongside one or a few others.

I love Larry’s description of the spiritual friends we need: “..broken people who will provide safety for us to be broken, caring people who want us to live and believe we can live well, giving people who pour the life they have received from God into us, people of vision, who see the Spirit shaping us into the image of Christ. Without them, we settle for much less.”

Lord, please help me to keep from hiding, self-preserving, seeking only consolation and conforming to moral principles. You are my only hope.

How about you?

Did something speak to you in this chapter about unlearning? We would LOVE to hear.

 

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Fabulous Friday Find ~ Thx

It’s how I often write my gratitude out in a text.

photo 5

But with Thanksgiving a couple of weeks away I am thinking more about the word.

No shortcuts.

The whole word.

It speaks of action.

Let’s be intentional with our Thanksgiving this year.

GD4Y_1

In his book God’s Dream For You, Matthew Barnette shares stories of people who are thankful for the love of Christ shown by those who minister in real life at The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California.

Leave a comment on this post to share what you are most thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving season. I have extended the October GIVEAWAY.

Comment now to be entered to win a copy of this awesome book and read the stories of those whose lives have been changed because of Jesus.

Girlfriends & Bookends – It Takes An Armondo

If you are joining us for the  first time, we are reading through Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We would love to have you join us. It’s a very casual time to turn the pages of our book together in an attempt to learn more about community.

Mollie flipping pages while Micah snoozes…

The story of Armondo is a pretty extreme picture of what it takes to receive love from a place we didn’t expect to see it given. So often we expect only what makes sense to us. We expect it of ourselves and we expect it of others. His story challenged me to let others see me in my weakness and my struggles. It is difficult to let others see me in such a fragile place. I don’t know about you, but everything in me says they only want to see you clean…not messy. It’s my voice speaking those words. Not theirs. Whoever they are.

What a gift we can offer others by just listening to the struggle without an attempt to fix or have an answer. I forget that some days. I needed his reminder.

Larry shares, “Our longings to be loved at our worst, to enter into a safe relationship of intimacy with Jesus, are far more central to who we are than our failures and fears. But that’s difficult to see. We feel our guilt and pain more than we feel our eager passion to be loved. And we identify ourselves more by what’s wrong with us than by what God has made right.”

God, you alone created us with a longing to be loved. Please help us to pay attention to our desire to be loved in the midst of the struggle, and recognize it as an opportunity to draw near to you and to perhaps one or a few others and risk trusting.

What spoke to you from this chapter?

 

 

Mentors Matter Monday – Taking the time to invest

pitchers1.jpgPreviously posted on February 4th, 2013.

Taking time to invest in the generations that come after us…it’s what really matters. Can you remember a time in your life you needed encouragement and perhaps even accountability as you stretched and grew? Maybe you still do. Whether we are 18 or 88 or somewhere in between, there is another woman who has gone before us who can speak truth into our lives.

Lean in as Courtney shares about the impact it has had on her as a few of those women have realized that sharing what they have learned in life sows seeds of hope into another.

Reflecting on the impact mentoring has in my life, at the very least, it gives  me the opportunity to evaluate how I am doing life. The mentoring relationship offers me the opportunity to evaluate, by voicing to another, how I have been living life.

The mentoring relationship has done many things to encourage my growth, but the most valuable has been having someone with whom to share my thoughts and actions.  Being intentional in doing this with another person provides the safety to think through those actions and thoughts. It’s also helpful to be able to receive feedback; to hear what my thoughts sound like to another person. I see, as if in a mirror another perspective, and that is invaluable.

I have had several women invest in me at one time or another. One shared with me about ten date nights she had done with her husband, and she told me which ones failed and which strengthened the relationship. Another told me about how her mentors helped her grow to be who she was.  Another gave me an established consistent time to leave my kids with my husband and “vent” while working through challenging situations.

Over the years, I have asked women to mentor me and I have been turned down. It took me awhile to ask again after hearing “no”. The shock and shame cut deep.

During this “mentor-less” time I experienced desperately slow growth as a woman. I had young kids and I knew I was not the mother I wanted to be but could not single-handedly pull out of my unhealthy patterns.

Perspective can only be found outside of ourselves.

The beauty of the mentoring relationship is that we work with another person to form unfinished ideas, identify patterns and evaluate what is best moving forward. I would not have experienced the same growth had I not been involved with mentors during the last thirteen years.

 

It has been well worth the journey.

Court & Juan Carlos Pic

Courtney is a daughter, wife, missionary, mother, teacher and artist. Daughter of two parents and a Father, wife of one husband, missionary to Latin America, mother of three children. Courtney is a teacher of many and artist to herself. She loves to sit with a cup of tea and listen to others stories as they grow and stretch. Sometimes she choses to sit and listen to herself as she grows and stretches and is thankful for those who have poured into her life.

 

Please share what part of Courtney’s story YOU can relate to.

Have you been mentor-less?

Have you been on a journey that you would say is “well worth it”?

I would love to hear.

Karen

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Fabulous Friday Find

I am NOT one who likes new things. Change does NOT come easy for me.

I recently visited a friend in Colorado. With her hubby and 5 kids holding down the fort, we ventured out to check out some of the neat shops at the mall. One problem. On our cut-through one of the big anchor stores my friend mentioned some skin care she had been introduced to. Of course I had to stop and grab a sample. It’s part of what we do during the brief time we share together.

Of course the sales clerk offered me a mini-facial. What girl could resist!

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My skin has NEVER felt so fresh, clean, soft. EVER.

And I really thought I was very happy with my skin care regimen.

So, today’s Fabulous Friday Find is just that – a peek at my new line of skin care.

Origins.

Fabulous.

Makes for happy days!

Go get your mini-facial NOW! You will love it 🙂