Monday, August 22, 2016


Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have been reading my stuff on this little site, but I am excited to say I have upgraded. Head over to my new site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Taking off the Bulletproof Vest

“You are perfect,” they said.
A group of high school girls say this looking at me and perceiving this to be who I am, but little do they know I am just a girl who wears waterproof mascara to hide from the world that I have been crying. Because the waterproof hides the tears that would show I am not bulletproof.
One day I decided to lace up my boots, put on a vest, and go out into the battlefield of life preaching the message, “with Jesus nothing will ever hurt me.” When in reality, under the vest there are some gunshot wounds that might not have killed me, but they still hurt.
I think life with Jesus is a lot like wearing a bulletproof vest.
The pain does not kill you, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt
It hurts.
I have for so long not been willing to just take off the vest and let people see that the pain that happened so many years ago is still a reoccurring event. It can resurface when it wants. It can stop me in a moment and grab me like a thief. It can roll in one morning and hit me all over again and I see that “time” healing things is nothing but a lie.
But I have to be bulletproof.  The world needs me to be bulletproof.
But I am not.
You are not.
And neither of us have to be.
The sooner I let this façade be completely torn is the sooner that I can begin. Begin letting my deepest pain be my greatest ministry. The moment we pull out the megaphone and announce to the world that we know all about this monster called pain is the moment people will start pulling up chairs to sit down and listen to what we have to say.
My Dad died. It is not the white elephant in the room or the awkward part of the conversation with new friends. People know my story. I am open about it. But over the years I have lost the art of storytelling. Somewhere along the way I changed the plot a little. I started dwindling out more and more of the “this sucked” and “this hurt” and replacing it with “God is good.” Which is true, God is good, but I see more now than ever people need to hear the “this sucks” and the “this hurts.” We do not have to change the plot. We do not have to replace the darkest moments of our lives with a lot of cliché church/Christian talk. The darkest moments are the greatest place for the light to shine. Talk about the dark moments.
The moments when you wonder what you are supposed to do with all things you wish you could say. The moments when driving home consistently turned into screaming into the night because it hurt so bad. The moments when you were paralyzed thinking about the “what ifs.” The moments when you stumbled across a picture that made it hard to breathe. The moments when the morning was your biggest fear because you knew what you were waking up to. The moments when you wished away certain events because thought of the absence is too much to bear. The moments when you realized the sounds of their voice is slipping away from even being a memory.  The moments when you just didn’t t know what to do. The moments when reading scripture felt like trying to translate a foreign language because you just cannot understand how a good God could put you where you are.
Those moments. Those are the moments that burned and I decided I would just extinguish them all. Even to the point of tricking myself to thinking that they did not ever happen. But it has caused me to extinguish a fire that could serve as a signal for someone freshly walking into the dark. A signal that says, “I understand.” A signal that says, “I’ve been there and you are going to make it.” We all have the potential to be the brightest light for someone in their darkest moments, but not if we evacuate those moments and are never willing to go back.
Going back is hard. Trust me, even now I am fighting taking the the slightest baby step back. Everything in me is telling me to not do it, but this I know: when I go back this time I won’t be walking out alone. I am bringing someone with me. Because someone needs me to go back. Someone needs you to go back.
David tells us in Psalm 73:21-24
“When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered (irritated),
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.”
You can be grieved.
You can be irritated.
You can be a beast before Him.
You can be brutally honest.
You can be being choked and suffocated by grief.
You can be mad as hell at God.
Yet, He is still there, holding you by your hand, leading you.
I think David tells us this as a way of saying, “you have permission.” But also to say, “you are not going to stay there.” The key word of that verse: afterward.
You move forward, into glory.
I have no doubt that the Lord has let me experience the “afterward” over the last thirteen years since losing my dad. But I think I need to stop and remember what the before was like too. I have run for a long time away from those dark moments. I think it is time that I untie the shoe strings for a little while and stop running. I think it is time to stop being Martha and just be Mary, sitting at His feet. Asking Him to give me the courage to go back. Asking for Him to blow the dust off some things and let me see what is all there. Ask Him because there are a lot of hurting people in the world that might never show up if someone doesn’t say they know about this thing called pain. I want people to show up, because if they show up I can ultimately tell them the same thing David told us… the afterward comes. He is still there.
I was talking to a friend last night about a women’s conference I am speaking at in November and he said, “there is a lot there Adria.” I didn’t really say anything in response but nodded like I agreed, when I was already doubting what he was saying. I told him I could remember everything that happened the day my dad died but the days after were such a blur but that I knew people needed to hear about those days. Driving home last night I prayed the the simplest little prayer: God bring it all back. I want it.
It terrifies me but the thought of someone not seeing Jesus just because I am unwilling terrifies me even more.
I think that is the place we have to get to. The place where pain doesn’t serve as the narrator of the story any more, telling us where we will go or not go, but instead is just a character. The place where you see that your wounds could be the healing ointment for someone else. The place where you are willing to go back just so that someone else can see that they are going to experience that “afterward.”
Pain, yeah its real. But healing, healing is real too.
The biggest part of going back is just being honest. Do not be afraid to say things you have so longed not dare to mumble. Honesty is attractive.
Friends, there is a lot there. A lot that you have to offer the world. It might take some work to uncover but I believe it is going to be worth it. Don’t think I am miles ahead of you on this one, I am not. I am just taking step one. But step one is the most important step.
Write the hard post.
Talk about the painful things.
Dig deeper.
Let your heart be wide open.
Be honest.
Take off the bulletproof vest.

I am taking off mine.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Redefining Beauty

perfection: the thing little girls write about in their journals. they find that one high school girl that passes them in the hallway that they so badly want to be, only to years later have the roles reversed. then they see that perfection looks a whole lot like emptiness and exhaustion. because perfection can never be obtained, it can only be strived for. it's a race that the world tells you to start running, all while the enemy is snickering behind your back because he knows you will never stop running. you never win. you never get to the finish line. perfection is only a silhouette that we endeavor.

people say, "beauty is pain," but we have misinterpreted those words. it is not starve yourself. it is not sleep with the boy. it is not workout until you are a size zero. it is not hold back the tears because cover girls don't ruin their makeup. but beauty is pain right? i think it is but not in that way.

it is the painful moments in life that take us like clay in the potters hand, sculpt us and refine us, but maybe leave unwanted scars. it is the doors that slam in our faces that redirect our paths back to him. it is us choosing to sing even when it hurts like hell. it is walking away from the friend group that is leading you astray. it is the imperfections that we have a hankering to get rid of. it is jesus on a cross, enduring pain like we will never know. did anyone watching at calvary think "this is beautiful?" not at all, but three days later beauty got redefined.

so beauty, it's usually the complete opposite of how we are defining it. we don't see what god sees. what we see is always being woven together for a greater story, proven at the cross. strive not for perfection. because perfection is a desert that never experiences grace raining down. and grace, grace is really beautiful.

jesus changed the script. maybe we can change the script of the younger girls diary entires. because right now they praise the image and can't see the light that shines deeper than eyes can find. they can't see, and part of it is our fault. we have blinded them with our deception. we don't have to be perfect. they don't have to be perfect. so for all the girls who are hurting and trying, let's point them to the right mirror, to see the real image. because once they see him, they can see themselves. created in his image. all of us.

[all the grammer mistakes and lack of capital letters is because of this was written on my phone on a bus ride to a volleyball game.]

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Picking up the Sword

She used few words, managing only to say “I don’t know.” But it was written all over her face, she had a million thoughts running wild through her mind. I thought to myself that maybe instead of interrupting the silence, I should just let it linger a while longer, giving her time to realize she actually knew more than she thought she did. I did this only because the place she was sitting in is a place I sit a little too often. “I don’t know” is phrase that has become residency for me. It is safe. Or I thought it was at least.

The rest of that coffee date I said very little.

You see, most of the time, “I don’t know” is really just a concealment for the all the other words we have pushed deep down. The work to uncover those words or feelings is so uncomfortable that instead of picking up the shovel and starting to dig, we just add more to hide them.

This is so applicable in so many areas of life, but sitting in this little coffee shop on a Wednesday afternoon it was all about lies.

She told me what was going on in her life and the couple things she was struggling with that she just could not break free from, mostly self-worth. The first thing I asked her was why she felt the way she did about herself. That is when she responded with the “I don’t know.”

We sat there for a solid five minutes just looking at each other. Until a tear found its way down her cheek and then more followed. The silence created the space for her to hear her own words. The ones she had pushed so deep down. She picked up the shovel and started digging. She talked and I just listened. She finally reached a stopping point and I asked another question.

“Are the things you saying about yourself a lie or are they truth?”

The thing about lies is you can never identity them in your life if you do not have a concept of not just what truth is but WHO the Truth is. [John 14:6] When someone points out the lies that we are believing in our lives sometimes it is simply because we cannot identify them. If you are one of those people pointing out the lies do not just tell them to not believe whatever it is. Show them the truth because they clearly do not see it.

When you get to the point where you can identify the lies it is solely because you know what the truth is. We have to get to a place where when those moments come and Satan starts whispering in our ears we can refute what he is saying with what God says. Jesus shows us the most beautiful example of this in scripture.

Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus is tested in the wilderness. Right before this Jesus had just been baptized. He went straight from the water into the wilderness. He went from total comfort to total conflict. He went from hearing the voice of heaven to hearing the voice of hell.

Jesus had just finished fasting for forty days and forty nights. It is almost like Satan watched and waited for this moment. Do not think that Satan does not come after good seasons or after spiritual awakenings. Because he does.

The approval of heaven does not dismiss you from the attack of hell. However, we have a sword to fight back with…His Word.

Satan asks Jesus a serious of questions and every time Jesus responded with, “It is written.” He responded with the truth of what God says.

In a way, when we are saved, and especially when we are baptized, THE Word washes over you. In the wilderness, in the testing, the Word has to come out of you. The Word is your weapon. Jesus responded to what Satan was saying with truth because He knew what the truth was.

I think sometimes people read these post of mine and think "she gets it" or "she has her act together." But I fall into the same traps you do. I relapse just as often as next the person with my sin. And I absolutely let Satan speak a little louder than he should sometimes.   

I've had a testing in the wilderness kind of week. I am transitioning out of what was the most incredible Summer. I had the flexibility with my work schedule to pretty much do whatever and whenever. Last minute hangouts were happening all the time. I also had the space to do so much soul searching and have grown so much spiritually. But I coach high school volleyball and this week we started back, hello two-a-days. I am also finishing up the last of my babysitting commitments. Everyday has been slammed pack and every night I would get out my bible and my journal to spend some time with the Lord, but this feeling of "Adria you are going to miss Him" has taken off and it has consumed me. Life went from 0 mph to 95 mph and I was terrified that I would not be able to have the same intimate moments with the Lord that I did this Summer.

I was in the wilderness and Satan was asking me questions.

"You just spent time with the Lord but did you really meet with Him?"

"You are so exhausted. Is He really going to bring you rest?"

At first, I fell right into it. I believed all of it. I did not identify these lies. But then I went back to scripture and found the truth.

Did you really meet with him?

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." [Matthew 7:7]

Is He really going to bring you rest?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." [Matthew 11:28]

The lies are real, but we have a way to identify them. We have a way to refute them. We have way to fight back. We have truth. But it our choice whether we want to or not. It is our choice how we will respond when those testing moments in the wilderness come. Will it be with “It is written”

A sword will never do you any good in a battle if you do not pick it up and use it.

Brennan Manning says, “when the gospel of grace lands on us we live in truth and reality.” When we understand grace, when we taste grace, it has a voice louder than anything else. When we let grace do the talking we walk in freedom. We walk in truth.  

I saw that to be true in my own life this week. Grace says there are no expectations. Grace says I love every part of you. Grace says I (Truth) will always welcome you back even when you go believe the lies. Grace says run free my child.

But when we do not walk in grace, those are the moments the lies start creeping in. Those are the moments we pick up the crutches, our false support systems, and start hobbling around. We hold ourselves up with the approval of this world, and the applause of people, but we are barely standing.

It is time to get rid of the crutches. It is time to stand upright in the freedom that His grace brings. It is time to start identifying the lies. It is time to start seeking truth. It is time to start talking back to Satan.

Our conversation ended in the coffee shop that day with her telling me she knew she needed to go back to scripture to see what God said about her worth. She said to me, “Thank you for everything.”

I laughed a little because I did not do a thing. I just asked her two questions. She knew more than she thought she did.

She just needed to pick up the shovel.

Because once she picked up the shovel she saw that she could pick up the sword too.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Front Porch Moment

I remember it like it was yesterday. A Thursday night, I had a math test the next day and had been up studying. He knocked on the door, or more like banged. Mom had finally changed the locks. My brother cupped his hands over his eyes as he tried to peer through the window, thinking it would help, but he could not see. He had not seen in a long time. He had been looking through a filter of red, that seemed to be the only color his eyes were those days. There were no other colors in the world to him anymore.

My brother was in the thick of his drug addiction and my mom asked me what she should do. This was the first night I ever experienced true darkness. I sat at the top of the steps and said nothing. I was nineteen, I did not know what to tell her. But he knocked, begged for us to let him in, and my mom looked at him through the window. They say pictures are worth a thousand words but if someone would have stepped back and flashed a snapshot of this moment I do not think it would have been a thousand words. I think it would have just been five words: You are worth fighting for. Those were the same five words she told my brothers day in and day out when there were using.

Three years later and a couple thousand miles away, the tables turned. I stood on a front porch and knocked on a door. My brother opened the door and that night came back to me in an instant. I did not realize why at first but as he welcomed us into his home, I was slow to find words because I did not realize until that moment how much me and my brother were alike that night all those years ago. I was fresh out of high school with not a clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go: searching, and so was he. We were just looking in different places. I went to church and he went to the pawn shop to pawn whatever he had left. Just to get enough money to pop one more pill. What broke me in that moment was the realization that from the outside I was the one in the family that always looked like I had it all together, but I had been just as lost. That night, my brother knew exactly who he was. He was an addict. But who was I?

I was judgmental of him. I was resentful of him. I was ashamed of him. There was so much sin taking root and growing in my heart towards the situation/him, but I would not dare admit that, for that would require me to take a look at myself. That would have required me to admit that I really was no better than he was, because sin was running rapid in my life too. 

Yes, I stood inside the house and he stood outside of it, but it is very clear to me that we can be inside the house and still miss it. Still get it wrong. Sometimes the people outside of the house are way better off than us who are in because they are not naïve about where they are, who they are. My brother wasn’t but I was. It is this “holier than thou” mentality we christians are so guilty of taking on but so oblivious to when we do it.

I can’t help but think about this truth in the midst of all that is happening in our nation right now. Maybe the issue is not just with those outside of the house. Maybe the issue is also with us inside. Where are we going wrong? Where are we missing it? What is our part in this? We love to take a step back and point a judgmental finger in the direction of the protestors and the police men, but we are slow to stop and ask ourselves how many fruits of the spirit we have been cultivating. Because in the end, everything the world needs right now is simply the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Scripture makes it very clear we will never bear the fruits of the Spirit if there is any bit of self or as Paul would say “flesh.” [Romans 8]

I have been fascinated by the story in Matthew 8 when Jesus heals the man with leprosy. Oh how we can learn from this man. He comes to Jesus, kneels down, and says in verse 2, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” This man, the one who was outcasted, disgusting to see, and looked down upon by everyone is the very one who got it right when it came to approaching Jesus.

First: he knelt. Our words show belief, but so do our actions. He postured himself in the manner that he knew was needed.

Second: his uses the words “if you are willing.” The man saw and realized that Jesus did not have to heal him. He did not approach Him demanding but simply asking. He was bold to ask for what he wanted but saw that ultimately it came down to if it was something Jesus wanted to give him or not. His will, His way.

Third: he says “you can.” Before Jesus did anything the man was full of belief.

We can come to Jesus with the desires of our hearts. We can boldly ask for what it is we want. We can stand full of belief that He is able to do/give what we pray for, but if we never reach that point where like the leper we say, “if you are willing,” then we are missing it. If we never reach that place, it us saying that what we know that what we ask for is what we need. It is us saying we are entitled to it. Above all, it is us not submitting to God’s authority. It is us saying we just want it our way. 

I think this story is such another reminder that those of us who look like we have it all together might just very well be the ones who are missing it the most. The man with leprosy got it. My brother, in active addiction, knew exactly where he was/who he was and his wrongs. But me, I missed it big time that night all those years ago.

Last week, I stood on the front porch looking into my brother’s eyes. He sees life in color again. Of course, I cried, but it washed away a perspective that needed to go. It washed away how I saw people and life. My brother is not the only one who needed a change of eye sight.

Church, yes we are inside the house. But we cannot let ourselves go to the place where we think that the problem is only with those outside. We cannot let ourselves go to the place where just because we appear to be the ones who have it all together that we do not stop to check ourselves. We cannot point fingers at all the wrong in the world and say “oh God have mercy on them” without individually saying “God have mercy on me.” Because whether we realize it or not, us insiders are not doing as great as we think we are. Oh how we need His grace, every single one of us.

Today, take a step back from looking at all that is happening outside of where you are and take a hard look at what is happening inside of you. If I had to guess, you will probably have a front porch moment like I did. Welcome the moment. It will change you for the better.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day

Today was nothing out of the ordinary. I drove to the city to babysit, something I do 2-3 times a week, if not more. But what is usually episodes of Curious George and toy trucks turned into “can we do a craft for Father’s Day?”

You see, I was already struggling. As hard as it is for me to admit that, I was/am. Every year the week of Father’s Day rolls around and I go into this funk. I become so unresponsive, unreceptive, and uninterested in almost anything. I grow numb. It lasts a couple days and then I am fine, but it happens, and I never say anything to anybody. So when two kids ask you to help them make a Father’s Day present it is a painful shot to a wound that has already been wide open this week.

I am trying to be as honest. Honest not only to whomever might read this, but honest with myself. Somewhere along the way I adopted this visual in my head: I am standing at a stop sign, and to the left is the road named “I am okay” and to the right is the road “I am not okay”. There is no middle ground; I have to choose and once I do I tell myself that I have to stay on that road. I tell myself that it’s a one way, and you can’t ever go the other way.

Loss is painful. Father’s Day is the hardest day of the year for me. When a six-year-old little boy asks me to help him make a card for his dad it hurts. For too long people have made this bold assertion that “time heals things.” I do not believe that. Jesus heals things, and the concept of time does not apply to Jesus, so it is not time that we need, it is just Him.

But yet, I find myself starring at the reflection of myself in the mirror saying, “you have done this before. It has been almost 14 years. Be okay.” And when I start falling into the thought of “maybe I am not okay” I let myself believe the lie that since so much time has passed, if I tell people I am struggling they will think I am just doing it for sympathy, or for attention. I create these expectations for myself that people need me to talk about the goodness of the Lord on the days that are obviously hard. Which do not get me wrong, Jesus is still good. I still believe that, but it does not negate the fact sometimes you want to wish away where you are at. It does not negate the fact that no matter how much time has passed, you can wake up in the morning wishing it could all be undone. It does not negate the fact that although Jesus so faithfully let drops of healing rain down on you that still have moments where it hurts like hell.

I think that’s where I have gotten it all wrong. You do not have to choose a road. You do not have to be one extreme or the other. You do not have to be fresh off a loss, whatever form that loss might be, to have the right to struggle. Loss breaks you, Jesus pieces the broken things back together, takes the ashes and transforms them into beauty, but loss also leaves an imprint on you. The things that imprint us affect us not just in that moment but forever. You can be okay one second and the next not. You can be spiritually growing, in the word, and actively pursuing the Lord and there is still freedom for you to stop and just be honest. To say to yourself that it hurts, and to say to a hurting world that they are allowed to hurt.

I love the story of Ruth. I love the example she sets for women, but I also love another character in the story, Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, because it addresses this concept of loss. Naomi loses both of her sons and her husband, and she is brutally honest with how she feels (Ruth 1:20-21). She states that the grief she has faced is too great, and she feels forsaken by the Lord. This paints a picture for us today, a picture that says we can be honest.

Ruth 1:14
 "…at this they wept aloud again,"

They wept…. again.


It doesn’t matter if it is year 20 and you find yourself sitting in your car with tears streaming down your face. It doesn’t matter if it is a normal day and you just have a moment. You have the complete freedom to weep, and then to weep again.

Though there was weeping, the direction in which they wept is what truly matters. Ruth and Naomi wept, but they wept forward. You do not have to choose one road to walk down, you can be not okay, or you can be okay, but you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You cannot let the weeping stop you - do not let it stop you from continuing to pursue the Lord.

I babysit for the same family every week. I am there so much that I have caught on and can tell what the baby’s cry means. I know when it’s a fake cry. I know when it’s a “I want more food’ cry. I know when it’s a “just pick me up” cry. I think about the fact that a parent knows their child’s cry way better than a babysitter does. A father knows their child’s cry.

A Father knows their child’s cry.

That is the thought that I am pounding into my heart this Father’s Day. The thought that I still have a father who hears me. A father who sees my tears and hears them. A father that knows exactly what they mean and knows exactly what I need.

He will turn your mourning into dancing, but He allows you step off the dance floor. But just know, He never stops playing the music. Tune back in when you are ready. So today, cry all the tears, wipe them, feel them, but don't let them stop you. It is possible to cry and walk at the same time. Walk straight down whatever road you need to be on today. Jesus will meet you right where you are.


A girl who took a dance break today