processing grieving

I put together a list of twenty two things I have learned, over the past twenty two years that I have been earthside. One of those things on that list, was that I have learned to grieve lost experiences. I rang in my birthday at 4:30AM in the morning the other day. I had to take one of the girls that I was living with to the airport at 5AM, and my alarm went off at 4:30. I laid in bed for a moment, and whispered happy birthday to myself, knowing this was not the way that I wanted to spend my birthday – packing and cleaning and avoiding friends. I cried while scrubbing the kitchen floor, so many memories came flooding back from conversations we had while perched up on the counter. I realized that I was beginning the grieving process of lost experiences.

The world has found itself to be in a state of chaos in the last two weeks. All of a sudden, schools are closed, weddings are being cancelled, we are now told to social distance, amidst everything else that is going on.

All of a sudden, everything that I knew and was looking forward to, was ripped from my hands. I was left crying on the couch of a friend, unable to process what I had to do next, let alone the next number of months that hung in a balance that nobody, absolutely nobody knows how long will last.

And I am back, living with my parents. Learning how to grieve something that wasn’t exactly physical. There was no warm body for me to hug, to experience things with, memories to be made, before that person died. It is rather things that I won’t be able to experience now, these are the things that I find myself trying to grieve.

I know that I need to give myself the space to grieve, the space to sit with the Lord about what I have lost.

The light is still coming. I believe that.

I don’t know what it means to grieve like this, I don’t know if I have ever had to – at least to this extent. It comes in waves, hitting me when I least expect it. I think that I have come to terms with what is going on, and then I am reminded of something else that I will be missing out on.

To whoever reads this blog,

You are allowed to grieve. It’s a process, not one that is done overnight. You need to allow yourself to feel the sadness that is welling up inside of you. Take it to Jesus and sit with him about it. He wants to process it with you.

It’s a process. Know that.

This all being said, there is now a lot more time on my hands to write. I will (hopefully) be blogging more, showing up more to my writing account on instagram, and so forth.

If you need some encouragement in this time, send me an email – with your address for some snail mail.


trust falls, sourdough bread crumbs and the valleys

I’ve written these words down. Then I delete them. And rewrite them. I think it’s time that these words stand as an anthem for myself, but for who else will read these words.

Last year, I walked through one of the lowest valleys that I have ever experienced in my life. The darkness seemed to come in from every side and I didn’t think I would ever find the light. I slowly found the light. It came in forms of calling my mom upwards of 15 times a day. It came in forms of pounding my fists against the bathroom floor, the voice of peace washing over me. Knowing that even though I could hardly see him, he was still there. Kneeling beside me and wiping my tears.

I don’t remember it being good one day, and bad the next. There seemed to be a slow descent into the darkness and then all of a sudden, it was bad and I didn’t know what to do.

I withdrew, and hid. I struggled to be an RA to the girls in my dorm, because I could hardly take care of myself. My marks dropped, and I felt like I had forgotten what it meant to be “Nat.” I felt fake. Emotionally empty. I was exhausted to the point where I was napping all of the time (and I never nap). I was putting on a mask to get through the day, through my classes. I didn’t know how to tell people that I was struggling. That I needed help. I felt lost and didn’t know which way to turn. I was in a couple of leadership positions, and I was worried about how people would view me if I opened up about how I felt, because I felt far from normal.

I was scared of the label that people would put on me. I was afraid to be diagnosed with depression, so I never went to the doctor. I was afraid, that if I would talk about what I was going through, that it would marr people’s view of me. I lived in a constant state of fear, and it took absolutely everything from me. Fear robbed me of everything, and I’m slowly beginning to find everything that Fear took.

I started to talk about it. Slowly. I started to sprinkle the breadcrumbs of hope as I walked through that season. The more I talked about it, the lighter the dark got. All of a sudden, it was a “hey, I’ve been there too” is what I was hearing from other people as I shared about this darkness that was enveloping me.

As I began to open these wounds that I was trying so hard to cover up, I began to see that I couldn’t deal with the wound on my own. I needed help. I needed people to come alongside me, and love me through that trial. As I began to realize this, I began to get random messages from people, telling me that they were praying for me. That Jesus had put me on their heart, so they reached out to tell me. These messages stood as beacons of light for me. Over and over. These messages just kept showing up in my inbox.

I’ve written about breadcrumbs before. The sprinkling of these metaphorical (sourdough breadcrumbs because that’s my favourite kind of bread) that mark where I’ve come from. They stand as a reminder of what was behind me, and when I look back, I can see how far I have come.

I’m still here. Those three words tell of the battle that I walked through.

I learned a lot about myself and about God through this low season, but I also learned how to pray. I felt like David, when I was flipping through the psalms. The lament, the asking of where God was. I learned how to pray when I didn’t know where else to turn. The prayer that I would whisper into the quiet of the night, in the early mornings when I would lie in bed and try to gather enough energy to get up.

“God, show up. I can’t keep doing this.”

He showed up. Everyday. Even when I didn’t see him in the moment. He was right beside me, sprinkling bread crumbs alongside me. I look back now, and can see him in those moments.

I have put off writing about this for a while now. I haven’t even looked back in my journals that I used during that time. I walked out the other side, and packed it all away into boxes. I taped up those boxes with hazard tape and tucked them back on the shelf. I didn’t have the emotional or even physical energy to try and get through those boxes. I had spent the better part of four months with a constant prayer on my lips, and I was ready to walk away from the pain that I had gone through.

I’ve began to take the boxes off the shelf and pull off the hazard tape, I know I need to make the time to sit with the journals that marked an incredibly painful part of my life. Writing this blog post was one step towards the processing and healing of that season.

Opening these boxes feels a bit like a trust fall between me and Jesus. If I lean back and allow myself to fall, I also have to trust that he will catch me. When I rip off that tape, he’s going to be there to catch me. Even though my humanness doubts that He will catch me in the 0.2 seconds between falling and being caught.

I have hesitated writing about this, because it was a really messy time in my life. I was hurting, and as the saying goes – hurting people hurt people. I cancelled plans without explanation and tried to push people out of my life so they wouldn’t see the rawness of my wounds. Instead of listening to my pleas to leave, these sweet friends came into my corner and rallied for me. They came into the valley, and took my hand. They told me that they were praying big prayers for me, and that they weren’t going anywhere.

Tears leak out of my eyes when somebody tells me that they’ve been praying for me. I’m humbled by the sheer love that I feel in that moment. That people are communicating with Heaven on behalf of me.

I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic again in the near future, it’s apart of my story and who I am. The sourdough breadcrumbs have been sprinkled alongside the two pairs of footprints that walked out of that valley together.

It’s a piece of who I am, that is shaping me into the person that writes this post now. Sitting at a table in the commons at my university, reflecting back on those months.

I carry the wounds and the scars of that valley. Of all the valleys that I walk through. They speak to the beautiful faithfulness of who Jesus is.

Here’s to life, valleys and mountains. Wounds and scars. Sourdough breadcrumbs. The need for corner celebrators and banging on heaven’s doors. Trust falls and the ripping off of hazard tape.

I’m still here.



I learned something beautiful the other day. The greek root of the word vulnerable, is vulnus – which means wound.

If you have kept up with this blog, you know my deep love for words. It makes me fall in love with words even more when I learn the root of them, the base of where these words have come from.

We all carry wounds. I’ve written about these wounds before, but I was reminded of them once again in class the other day when I my professor taught us the root word of vulnerable. We were learning about the myths involving love, which led to a conversation about woundedness and our vulnerability surrounding these wounds that we all carry.

In chapel on Wednesday, the topic of feet washing, the bringing low to serve was taught. This poem that I wrote on wednesday came out of both of those teachings.

scandalous love 

to love is to open the wound

the vulnerability of showing up 

knowing the greek word for vulnerable 

is Vulnus

a wound 

wounds on Jesus’s hand and side

the wound of rejection 

cast on him from one he loved 

the betrayal of a kiss 

wounding deeper than 

lips to cheek 

shown through foot washing

the bending of a knee 

before those he loved

graphic humility 

shown through 

a basin

a jar of water 

and a towel 

revolutionary   love 

through the act

of serving

a showing of 





that sets us free. 

I was sitting in a meeting the other day, and we were talking about what it meant for vulnerability in leadership positions. What would it look like for me to share at the ministry that I run, these wounds that I carry? The beautiful thing about this idea of vulnerability is it allows people to realize that they might be carrying the same type of wound. For instance, I know what it’s like to be really hurt in friendships. This is one of many wounds that I carry within, but I have also been able to see how this wound has connected me with some incredible people who have shared similar experiences with friendships.

All of a sudden, you begin to realize that you aren’t the only person carrying wounds. You realize that you are not alone. That people too, have been where you are. All of a sudden, it’s a “hey, I know what that’s like, because I have experienced that too.”

I don’t know what kind of wounds you carry. I do know that each and everyone of us carries wounds because of our humanness. You aren’t alone in your woundedness.


i am more than ‘just’

I was sitting with somebody today, who was asking about my experience as an RA, and things that I have learned while doing this job. I was reminded of a conversation that I had had in the past, that has changed the way that I view this job. Any job that I take, or will have in the future.

I think we need to remove the word just from our vocabulary, or at least become aware of how we use the word.

I was standing in the kitchen of the camp that I was working at last summer, when the new executive director walked in and introduced himself. I introduced myself as well, and the fact that I was just the head cook.

“You are never just anything” he said back to me. I don’t think he realized the significance of what he said to me in that moment.

In that moment, I became aware of the importance of the words that we were speaking over ourselves. I had taken myself down to the very role that I was occupying – I was just the head cook. When I thought about what this meant, I realized that I brought so much more to that role then just the title that had been given to me.

How often do we speak “I am just” over areas of our lives, without even realizing it?

If we take the word just out of our sentences when speaking words over ourselves, we are taking out the title and box that we are trying to fit ourselves into when we say we are just.

I am so much more than just the title that I put myself under, and so are you.

Something that I have been working on, is my self confidence. I second guess decisions and don’t have a lot of faith in who I am. I have no issue believing in and building other individuals up, but within myself is where I fall short.

I didn’t realize that I was putting myself into a box under the title just until somebody called me out on it. It was apart of my normal vocabulary, it was normal for me to say I was just (and then the title of what job I was working)

I prefer to work in the background, I don’t like to be in the spotlight. I’m a quieter person – until you get me laughing. I like to be apart of a team, where we can work on things together. I never really got involved in things until 2nd year university, and now it feels like I am involved in more things than I can count.

I catch myself using the word when describing what I do.

“I am just the digital editor. I am just an RA. I am just the identify leader.”

What if I said: “I am the digital editor, and an RA. I also lead Identify.”

These things are some of titles of things that I am involved in, titles that have the potential to define me if I’m not careful. These titles are jobs, but not who I am on a deeper level. They have the potential to define me, but within these titles, I am also so much more than just.

Within these jobs, I am a leader. A community builder. A dorm mom. A giver and a receiver. These titles are more than a just, but there’s also an understanding that these jobs do not define who I am.

I’ve got so much more to bring to this metaphorical table – more then the titles that attempt to define who I am, when I throw in the simple word just.

I need to be careful of how I use this small but powerful word in my vocabulary.


have you prayed?

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend over a steaming cup of coffee about something that I wanted to get better at. 

this whole thing called prayer. the prayer from the mountians praising him for the goodness. the prayer from the mud where we start begging to see him. 

Prayer helps us to see what is going on. 

I know that I’m not the only person that says “hey, I’ll pray for you.” 

and then I forget. 

I love the early mornings, where I get up and make a coffee. I sit in my favourite spot in my dorm – the corner seat by my plants where the light shines in, in the morning. I grab my journal and I spend some time with Jesus before starting my day. These are some of my favourite moments in the day. But in that time spent with a Jesus, I don’t spend a lot of it praying. I journal and read my bible and think about what he’s trying to teach me in that season, but I often forget to pray. 

I started carrying around a piece of paper in my back pocket with a list of prayer requests on it. Whenever I pull it out, I pray for those on the list. It’s a physical reminder to pray – because I’m human, and I fall short. I mess up, and I forget. 

He still wants to hear our prayers. Paper prayers and prayers whispered into the silence of the morning. 

I want to get better at prayer. A couple of days ago, a big decision regarding the next couple months was dropped into my lap. (well into my inbox) 

I wish that somebody would tell me which job to take. I wish that it would be made clear, which one I should take. 

Both are good jobs. 

Every person that I’ve talked to about this decision – hoping deep down that they will tell me which job I should take says the following. 

“Have you prayed about it?” 

And it feels like the air is knocked out of my lungs. I’m trying. I’m trying to pray about it, but I catch myself forming words to make this prayer sound good. I know I’m not praying about it as much as I should be, and when I am – I’m crafting the sentences to sound really good when I talk to my Father. 

I’m an English major. I spend my days crafting beautiful sentences. Choosing the right words to fit in perfectly next to other words. 

Jesus doesn’t ask for that. He doesn’t ask for the perfect grammar or the beautifully crafted sentence. 

He’s asking for prayer. For communication. 

“Jesus, I need you to step in. Show me.” 

It’s a simple prayer. 

I’m learning – I’m never not learning. I’m learning that prayer is a constant communication between me and my Father. Both in the mud and the mountains. 

It’s where my humanness really shows up. The reminder that I need Him. More than I think I do. Way more than I think I do. 

There are people in my life that I consider to be prayer warriors. These people have been in the battle, and they’ve come out the other side knowing what it takes to have prayer on your lips at all time. 

I want that – to be in constant communication with my Father. The world gets in the way, time and time again. Netflix. Social media. Things that waste my time. 

It’s about putting these things aside and coming back to him. Time and time again. Morning after morning. Afternoon after afternoon. Evening after evening. Day after day. 

Putting the work in. Fighting the battle to come out the other side knowing that I’m learning how to pray. To be in constant communication with him. 

This all being said, I know I’ll fall short. I’ll forget to pray. But He’s still listening. Waiting for my voice to pierce through the silence of the everyday.