Lean In

I wrote this last summer. A song on my playlist kept whispering to me as I was out running on my trail. The thoughts and connections wouldn’t stop, so I did. I stopped along the trail, attempted to catch my breath in a million different ways, and started writing in the notes app on my phone.

I’m sure I looked crazy: swaying back and forth, smiling, nodding at the thoughts, watching the water and other runners pass by, letting the words flow through me. Crazy as I may have looked, I know all my words are for a purpose. So, while they have sat in my phone for months, they needed to gently remind me today… Lean in.

I pray that you are blessed by this today, wherever you are in life.


When it all hurts and you want to curl up or just run far, don’t. Don’t. Lean in. As hard and as contrary as that sounds, lean in a little bit more.

You don’t have to lean in so far you lose your way. And you don’t have to lean in so far you forget where you started. And don’t lean in so far you lose yourself.

But sit.


Gently leaning closer. Closer to the problem. Closer to the uncomfortable. Closer to the anxiety. Closer to the fear.

Come closer, let me whisper this to you gently my dear one. It’s some sort of fear that’s making you want to run. Some sort of misunderstanding. Some sort of uneasy. Maybe some sort of hurt you’ve caused. I get it. Fear is anxiety producing. Fear is scary. Fear is hurt. Fear makes us want to run.

But don’t run. It will only chase you harder. I know you want to escape it. I know you want to pretend it’s not there. I know some days you want to pretend you’re stronger than the fear. But it will always creep back in until you learn to sit with it. Until you make friends with it. Until you learn to sit in the deep dark with it and understand each other.

Be cautious in this space too. It’s not okay to spill your hurt on other people. Yes, share it with them. Let them in. Hurting people can hurt other people. Don’t mistreat those close to you out of your pain, but let them in to see it.

It’s okay to show up and be vulnerable. I know that’s scary too. Let safe people in to help you. To hold you. To see you. There is something magical when people see you as you really are.

Some days you may feel hollow. Incapable. Trust those days too. They are for a purpose. The hollow is God emptying out the uncertainty. It’s Him emptying out the demands life has placed on you. It’s Him emptying out the doubts others have filled you with.

Empty it all out.

Let it all go.

Let him take it all.

Be hollow.

So that, the divine can fill you with Himself. He is he absence of fear. And when you’re filled with Him, you’ll have the strength to lean into the fear. You’ll have His strength. His power.

Trust this.

And if you don’t know Him and that light, ask Him to show you. Ask Him to show up for you and be vulnerable with you. Ask Him to be all around you, reminding you, revealing Himself to you, comforting you.

Then watch.



Be filled. Lean in. Get comfortable with the fear. Let Him work in the fear. Let Him pour in the love until it fills you up and runs over.

Just let go and lean in.




Let It Go (Lent)

I think this season of Lent is going to look like a lot of different things for me. I shared how some people give up things during Lent and how we can lean into more of a life with Jesus. ( read Lent – Letting Go and Leaning In ) I don’t have a specific thing that I’m giving up (seriously, not coffee), but I am working on the letting go pieces.

I’m ready to let go of some things in my life. Both physical things and old ideas. Sometimes I think we need to clear out space in our lives, mentally and physically, to be prepared for the good and the new that is to come.

These last days of winter are perfect for this. These days when I feel overwhelmed and just need a bright spot of sun. Days when I feel exhausted and look for that ray of hope.

Spring always comes. Every year it comes. The grass will be green again, the flowers will bloom, and the sun will feel amazing on my skin. The hope is just on the horizon.

Time to let go, time to clear out, time to prepare for the spring in life.

I recently saw a picture of what letting go can look like over Lent. Instead of abstaining from sweets for the period, spend 40 days purging. Clean out the junk, the clutter. Donate your unused stuff to a charity, to someone whom it will bless.

So, that’s what I’m doing.empty closet

Getting rid of the stuff.

Getting rid of the old ideas attached to the stuff.

Some of it’s easy to toss.

Some of the stuff is tough though.

It’s attached to a lot of memories.

While I know the things don’t contain the person or event and I don’t need to keep the things, those memories are flooding me tonight. Some memories of people and things and events that will never be again. And some things I had hopes for, that aren’t reality today. But cleaning out this closet needs to happen. Releasing some of these memories is hard, but I trust it’s what I need to do.

I’m sitting here with a scarf wrapped around me that I wore in Israel. It reminds me of my sweet friend Annette, who took her life last summer. I just folded another scarf that belonged to my grandma. I’m not ready to let it go yet, even though in a few days it will be three years since we let her go.

I found a bag I brought gifts from Mexico home in and I’m reminded of the one who blew me off and never got their gift. I tossed an old tank top that someone bought me as a matchy-matchy silly gift. I didn’t even realize I still had it at the bottom of a basket. And the hats collecting dust on my bookshelf? Safari in the basement, I’ve never worn you again. Stupid cowboy hat from even stupider person? Why are you still here?

I still have the personalized duffel bags from when I taught preschool, well over ten years ago. I so appreciated them at the time. Those were also some of the hardest days of my life at the end of my marriage. Why do I still have those bittersweet reminders?

I feel myself getting angry. And sad. And worn out. And frustrated. And wondering what to do with all this emotion.

And then a breath of fresh air arrives in the lyrics of a song. (btw, He talks to me all the time in music)

“Every day is a start of something beautiful”

There it is.

The reminder of my word for the year: Beauty.

Let it go, Nancy. Keep the sweet, beautiful memories. Let go of the bad ones. You’ve already learned your lessons from them. Remember the lessons. They’re part of who you are, but they are not your full story. Keep letting go of the stuff. Keep making space for the good and the new that is coming. Keep leaning in for more. Keep seeing the beauty and joy around you.

Tomorrow is a fresh new day and a start to something beautiful.


God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!       Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)

Surviving the “Off” Days of Life

Do you ever have those days that are just “off”? Nothing seems to work and you don’t even really have the drive to make anything work? A day where it might be better to just call in sick or go back to bed and call it a day? At like, 8:30 in the morning?

Yah. Today was one of those days for me.

I don’t even really know why.

This is what I posted on Instagram when I was in the middle of feeling the yuck:

Ever have one of those days you just want to build a blanket fort with someone then sit in there, listen to good music, let them hold you & tell them everything that’s rolling around in your head & driving you nuts today that you just can’t even human for the day and let them remind you how awesome you are & that you can do hard things. Ya. Today. But human I must. Maybe I’ll make my own fort later. Deep breath… #Icandohardthings

Apparently, I also need to write really long run-on sentences when I’m in the yuck.

And remind myself that I can do hard things.

And give myself some space even when I feel there is no margin.

And take a deep breath and step forward. Even when I really don’t want to.

But that’s what I did.

I took the morning off from work to get some errands done that I knew I wouldn’t get to tonight. I stopped and bought myself a chai tea latte. Because on rainy blanket fort days, chai tea is needed. I also stopped in the middle of my errands and bought myself a new candle to make my no-window-dungeon-office smell like a tropical vacation.

I went to work this afternoon and enjoyed the tropical smells. I sent several emails that needed to be dealt with. I asked for help on a couple video projects. There were ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions, a few times I yelled “CUT” seconds after recording started. I even cursed at the end of one of the videos. That didn’t make the final cut. Oops. But I got them sent off to the right people. And over the next few days several hundred people in the Pacific Northwest will see how ridiculous I am.

I picked up my daughter, let her drive home, made the kiddos some dinner, gave and received some hugs. I also gave grace on their undone projects and responsibilities, because we all need grace. Then I pushed on and worked out, because pull ups and push ups remind me how weak I am, that I still need help, and that ultimately I can do hard things.

That’s the real deal, isn’t it? Sometimes life just comes at you thick and fast. You deal, you process, you take action in the moment because that’s what’s required. Then maybe you just feel completely worn out and weak, like nothing you do matters or has any impact. It’s okay to feel that way sometimes. It’s just not a place to stay. We can do the things that seem hard, we can ask for help, we can get through them. We can learn as we move forward and gain confidence in the process.

Tonight, reflecting back, I realize why I’m worn out today. Why I’m feeling weak. Some things just take a lot of energy and wear me out. Like dealing with fraud on my bank account yesterday, consolidating loans and moving money around, preparing for some upcoming speaking & teaching opportunities, comforting my kids and helping them see their options, interacting with friends and encouraging them even when I feel I have nothing left to give.

And that’s also part of the real deal too. We all have more to give. Even when we don’t think we do.

We know what we need to do, even when we feel the only option is to crawl in a blanket fort.

My good friend, Jen Hatmaker, reminded me of this today. (Okay, so I don’t really know her, but don’t we all like to imagine she’s our best friend?!!) She reminded me that I know what I’m supposed to do when I face a challenging situation.

So, that’s what I did.

I prayed. I read some scripture. I let a few tears fall, because they just leaked out of my head all on their own. (who am I to stop leaking out of my face?!) I got some work done that needed to get done. I asked for help. I asked a friend to pray for me. I laughed. I hugged my kids. I ate some food that was good for me and let my body get some exercise. I listened to some good music. I laughed some more. I wrote this, because I feel better when words spill out of my head.

So that’s my advice for you too when you find yourself having an “off” day. Give yourself some grace, some unexpected margin. Breathe. Pray. Reach out to friends. Do what you know you need to do. Keep moving forward, one baby step at a time, and the hard things will get done.

You are qualified, you are capable, you are amazing.

You’ve got this.

I believe in you.

And at the end of the day, when you see how strong you really are, go build yourself that blanket fort. Just like I’m about to do. ❤