Friday, November 30, 2012

Playing House

Like many little girls, I grew up playing with baby dolls and pretending to be a mommy.  From just about the time I was a baby, I've wanted a baby. And, since before I even imagined myself married, I envisioned being a mom. (Sorry Silas!)

And now, it's happened.
I intimately know the ways she likes to be held, comforted, and what her cries mean. Even after waking up three times at night, I'm still excited for the morning, to cuddle with her and spend the day together. Fully and completely I am a momma, and Sarah Lynn Mercy is my baby. 

Sometimes I will look at her smiling and cooing up at me in disbelief. It's hard to believe she is actually here, not just because I wanted her so badly, but because I've been dreaming of this for as long as I can remember. And today I realized that I feel more fulfilled right now as a mother than I really ever have doing anything else. Changing diapers, feeding her, snuggling, singing and talking to her feels so natural. All those years of pretend are finally paying off!

I think the lie that could mess me up right now, is that this earthly fulfillment is somehow wrong.  Like shouldn't I find my greatest fulfillment in God alone? But, I think enjoying Sarah and being her mom is spiritual. The truth is that teaching her, praying with her and trying to love her the way Jesus loves me is connecting me to God. And for now, that is enough

Having a child simplifies things.  So, today I simply accept the joy & fulfillment of being Sarah Lynn's mom.  
~ Shelby

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Weeks

We've had our baby girl to hold, cuddle and love on for two weeks now. People want to know how you feel after you have your first child,  and if I could write a song, a poem or choreograph a dance to show you, it still wouldn't be enough.
Still, this new wave of love threatens to overwhelm me with both happy thoughts and huge fears.

"What if we lost her?"

That question has swirled in and out of my mind these last two weeks as I watch her sleep, kiss her face and start to learn about this new soul. It could cripple me, that fear. And truly, the reality is, we could lose her at any moment. It takes my breath away to remember that the Sarah she was named after...died at only 15. What if that happens to my Sarah?

And then, the peace that passes all understanding reminds me of this truth...

"You have had 14 days with a child you thought you might not ever have."

In God's great mercy He gave us this Princess of Mercy - Sarah Lynn Mercy. I have had more days with her today, than I ever dreamed possible. My heart is so full of gratitude to God for giving her to us, if only for these days.

I'm learning that this attitude of a heart that is genuinely grateful will live in peace.  If I can wake and be thankful for this moment, this day with our girl, I can savor it, and I can remove the fear of tomorrow, because I'm living for today.
No, it's not easy, I can't say the fear doesn't overwhelm me at times, but I want to live this way, to believe the truth that being grateful really can free me from this fear, and can allow me to entrust Sarah to God.

So in this moment, as I watch her sleep I say a prayer of thankfulness to God for this day, and the past 14 He has given us. What a gift.

~ Shelby

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Other Shoe

There's this lie that has decided to worm it's way into my head, probably into yours too.

"Just wait - things are too good right now. It won't last.
Don't get too happy, because you'll lose everything sooner or later.
Better prepare yourself now for the heartache that is bound to come."

Wow, talk about a joy killer! That's exactly what it is too.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy"
~John 10:10

It's so odd how I can know in my mind that this hesitation, this fear that the other shoe is bound to drop at some point is a lie. But, I let it have a hold. I have chosen to let it tie me down. When really, I'd like to skip through the streets yelling, "I'm gonna have a baby girl, she's gonna be beautiful and my handsome husband and I are gonna be parents!!!!!!"

I don't want to feel guilty about being happy, or excited, but this lie tells me to stay timid and meek. That if I get too excited I might lose it all. It's funny how I think that by keeping my joy at bay I could somehow stave off pain or loss.

No, the truth is
"Jesus came so that you would have life, and have it to the full."
~John 10:10

That means today, tomorrow and Wednesday when I meet this new little life, I can drink it in fully. Living completely alive and in the moment I can weep for joy, grin from ear to ear, post annoying pictures on facebook and tell the world about this precious gift we've been given.

So goodbye fear and anxiety, I'm not having you. I choose LIFE.
And even if the other shoe drops, I have a truth to sustain me:
"The people I love are safer in God's hands than in my own."
Waiting for baby...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Makes Me Cry Every Time

Call it pregnancy, being a woman...or perhaps becoming a momma. Whatever it is, there are songs right now that bring me to tears, no wait - weeping. Yes, I break down and weep when I hear these. And I caught myself turning the song off the other day, because I thought

"This is ridiculous, no more crying!" 

But, if I have learned anything, it's that emotions are there for a reason. So these tears, they have a purpose, they express something deep within, and sometimes just the simple act of letting them fall is all I need to do to communicate:
~ deep, intense gratitude to God for bringing me & Silas this far
~ joy at the life growing inside
~ calm and peace knowing I am safe
~ thankfulness that I have been freed from lies
~ an overwhelming sense of responsibility as a wife, and new mother
~ desire to love my family with all of me
~ oh, and all those other emotions that are lingering beneath the surface right before you become a mom: terror, excitement, fear, anxiety, happiness, impatience and much more!

(Click here if video of "Not for a Moment" does not display)

That's why I love music & dance, it expresses things I can't. And I'm pretty sure this, or the song below will be the next dance I choreograph...once this little basketball isn't hanging on to the front of me!

I hope you take the short time to listen to these songs, and if tears come, let them. Allow the emotions they bring to wash over you - to express the unsaid words of your heart.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Broken Record

There are some lessons in life that seem to keep repeating, at least for me anyway. Over and over again, God reminds me not to forget what He's done...and yet live in the present. Forget what is behind, the past failures and mistakes - He's forgotten and forgiven, and so must I.

"See the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."
Isaiah 42:9

There are so many former things in my life, and probably in yours, that threaten to weigh us down:
- betrayal
- addiction
- lies
- insecurities
- failures
- broken promises

But, God reminds me, He reminds YOU, again and again that those things are over, and new things are coming. Even before they happen we can have HOPE because we have been promised that they will take place. There is good to come, and we know the end of the story. Maybe not this present story, but the big one, the one that matters.

I know that God wins, that good will overcome. It gives me peace when I think about raising this baby girl, Sarah Lynn Mercy. That even though she will experience pain in life, I can speak this truth into her life...God wins, love does overcome and we will have rest.

I pray you receive God's peace, and His promise that new things are coming, even before they "spring into being" God has already announced them!

~ Shelby

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sarah Lynn Mercy

What's in a name?

"Shelby" for example means "A place of shelter where the willows grow"
Photo Credit here
I've always wanted to be a place of shelter for people - to live up to the name given me. And while that's not why my parents gave me that name, I believe in the power of a name. We claim names in life all the time...
~ Perfectionist
~ Nurse
~ Boss
~ People-pleaser
~ Teacher
~ mom

We define and name ourselves based upon what we do, and rarely because of who we are. God has to remind me daily of the names He's given me...
~ Daughter
~ Chosen One
~ Forgiven
~ Loved

I like those names, they're names to live up to. And so, with baby girl on the way, Silas and I wanted to give her a name full of meaning and truth.

Sarah - named after her Aunt Sarah who passed away when she was only 15. Silas held his sister in such high esteem. I can see it in his eyes when he talks about her. The way she loved him, the way she showed Jesus to him and to others. I am honored that we can name our baby girl after a young woman who impacted this baby girl's daddy in such a big and wonderful way. 

Lynn - her momma's middle name, and her Grandma Tharp's middle name. It's special to pass on a legacy of a woman that I so respect - my mom. I pray this young lady has my mom's strength, sense of right, and conviction of heart.

Mercy - I wanted to give her a new name, one that would be her own. Honestly, I believe God gave her this name. Immediately after finding out we were pregnant, I was overcome with this word. I heard it in my head over and over again - Mercy, mercy, merciful mercy. God blessed Silas and I with this gift of a child out of His great Mercy. I had cried and begged and prayed for a child and here she was, just given to me. We had tried on our own, and it doesn't just happen when you want it to. God, in His timing, gave her to us. And, after everything that I put this body through - my own mistakes that could have prevented a child, to health concerns that said I might not ever carry a baby, to other past mistakes that could have robbed us of this gift. God's mercy looked at us and said yes, YES, I will bless you with this gift of LIFE!

I hope someday she'll understand fully what that means, and that with God's help she will grow into all that's in her name.

Because beyond the stories and the namesakes, Sarah Lynn Mercy means "Princess of Mercy".

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gaining Weight

Gaining Weight.

Here I am, five months pregnant and excited, ready to put on those pounds for the life that kicks and flips inside of me. But, as much as I hate to admit this, it wasn't easy at first.

I told myself I would not be one of those women who hated her pregnant body. In fact, I've always thought pregnant women are the most beautiful form of a woman. Life growing inside, what could be better?

But then, I started to gain weight, and what's worse I felt nauseous at every turn. So instead of the blissful glow everyone talks about, I felt sick. I didn't want food, and that terrified me. It reminded me too much of the time I had spent starving myself.  And the fear, that nagging fear of being fat, ugly or unwanted pestered me. I lost four pounds in the first trimester. While often normal, it scared me considering my past.

Truth: Your body, your baby needs nourishment.
Truth: It's ok to eat when you're hungry, especially now. Listen to your body and respond with healthy choices.
Lie: You'll never be desirable again.
Lie: You don't really need to eat more, you can just stay the same weight throughout this pregnancy.

Ha, those lies are ridiculous. I can see how the enemy and this world are working to destroy my precious little girl before she is even born. And the nerve, he's using the old lies in MY PAST to accomplish our dual destruction.

But I write this today as a reminder and as a declaration of victory. Enough of that! Bring on the food! I love this new little life, and whatever I need to gain, however that may impact my body, it is all worth it.

For this child, and for me. Life is still worth fighting for, especially now.
Baby girl at 20 weeks, and yes sucking her thumb!
Truth: I have loved you with an everlasting love...I will build you up again. ~Jeremiah 31:3 & 4

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sharing your Story

There's nothing better than a good story. I love reading, watching, or telling one, but being a part of one can be hard. Every good story includes tragedy or heartbreak, it what makes the ultimate victory so wonderful. While I love seeing a powerful story unfold, when I'm in the middle of the heartbreak, my story doesn't feel so wonderful.

Recently, Grace College, where I went to school for two years, told my story. I can read it now and think, "Wow, that is beautiful". The way God healed me, saved me and showed me His grace. But, it didn't feel beautiful at the time.

So, if you're in the middle of your story and things are a little rough, I pray this gives you hope.

Open publication - Free publishing - More 289

If graphic does not work, you can click here to read the article.
~ Shelby

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I've Got This

On my first trip to Russia, one of the young ladies told me she didn't understand this one thing about Americans. Why does everyone grow up and move away, from their friends, family and everything they know? She was an adult woman at the time, but still lived with her parents, and didn't have any imminent plans to move out. If fact, for Russians, they often live several generations to a home. And by home, I mean less than a 900 square foot apartment. Grandparents, parents and newlyweds all crammed into three rooms. Partly because of economy, and mostly because of culture. Families stay together, they rely on each other and support one another.

Not here. Graduate...go away to college. Get a job...move out. Get married...move away. I did all three of those, and yet I know now that I am far from "self-sufficient." There are times when I have looked at my husband and said "You have to be strong for me, I can't carry this burden." Or jumped in my car and rushed to my mom's in tears as she wrapped her arms around me and held me like the little girl I used to be.
I need the support of others. But, like an empty boot without someone to wear it, I am completely useless apart from Jesus. There are times when life gets so dark, the world crashes in and breathing becomes difficult. When we can barely open our eyes to greet the day. I have to know, believe and trust that there is a Spirit stronger than our failures and pains. 

We need to be reminded of this truth often. It takes the pressure off to perform and pretend. We can trust the One that was there all along, waiting to breath life into our dead bones and remind us we're not alone.
~ Shelby

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Who You Are

There's a lot of talk about "finding yourself". Figuring out "who you are". I'm not sure I believe in that. I think it's more about realizing the truth that was there all along. And to believe it. To know the person you were always created to be, can be hard, even when it's staring you in the face. When faced with the lie that I am not enough, I'm a failure or am worthless, these beautiful truths give me strength...

But you are God's chosen and special people...God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God's slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life. Romans 6:22

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17

...only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. John 3:6 are God's temple and his Spirit lives in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16

My personal favorite, a truth I need: You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Truly, I would not be alive today if God had not opened my eyes to these truths, and had I not believed them I fear I'd still be stuck with an eating disorder, or worse. These are so much more than Bible verses, they are life!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Story

In a nutshell, this video introduces you to me. It's not all about what went wrong, but what God did out of the darkness.

Episode 84: Recovered with Shelby Lynn from mitchkrusetv on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Dancer

The most mesmerizing thing about a dancer is the combination of grace and strength; beauty and calm draped over determination and control. Handling the pull of gravity, the pressure to fall and yet, remain steadfast is hard enough, but to make it look effortless is true skill.

Looking back on tough stuff, I want to know I handled the mess with grace. Rather than shaking my fist at God, I ran to Him and allowed Him to hold me. It's in those moments of weakness, God became strong in me.

We look at people who seem to have it all together and wonder at their secret. Are they faking it, perhaps? Or, like a skilled dancer, have they found the ability to live in the tension between vulnerability & determination. Under pressure they run to the only one who is strong enough to uphold them during the storm. It's His strength we see, and their ability to lean on the grace allows them to be graceful too. I pray someday that His grace and strength, have become my defining markers.

~ Shelby

Friday, March 2, 2012

You Failed

That's about the worst thing someone could say to me. Not "you're ugly" or "you're stupid", the worst is failure.
When I operate out of this lie, the results are ugly! Defensiveness, because I can't afford to be wrong. Blaming others, because then it's their problem, not mine. Depression because when I fail, I don't deserve to be trusted, or worse I don't deserve love. 
Failure becomes a life killer, because we forget that God loved us in our failure.

I fail, and it's ok. You fail and you're loved.

Failure is something I still avoid like the plague, but when I tell myself the truth, that God's love doesn't change for me whether I hit a home run or flop - I can rest.

The hardest thing to do after we fail is to get back up. But God's love gives me courage. The truth is, we are ok when we fail. We're loved and we'll be ok tomorrow, when we fail again.

~ Shelby

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Choose Life

Everything within me fights this. Our entire world is made up of efforts to deny it. But after years of therapy, an eating disorder and some other falls and searing pains along the way, everything in my life, and likely yours, proves this true: life is hard. And that is an understatement. 

My friend who lost her father too soon, my husband whose sister died at 15, young girls sold into sex, people who I love were abused, and the list goes on. Life is so incredibly tragic that truth seems a trite response...
We are safe, secure as this little child, when we cling to God, who is big enough to give us life out of all this mess. Hope out of the darkness, comfort in grief & truth rather than lies. This lie, I choose to see it for what it is...fear. 
Fear that someone I love will die.
That my heart will be ripped out and trampled.
Fear that dreams remain unfulfilled.

But Truth allows us to choose life.

A life worth living.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Farther Along

This is not perfect.
A little wobbly on my feet.
Legs a little bent.
Jumps are really hops.
Yet, I'm farther along in understanding dance than I have ever been.

When choreographing, just like any other art, you live with it, breathe it, sleep it and carry it around with you for a long time. It becomes a part of you that can drive you crazy, or give you strength. This song and this dance represent and mean so much to me, on so many levels, that go way beyond dance; a few imperfections mean less than they used to.

I'm starting to realize how art parallels life. And we can take heart when things don't go as planned. We'll understand that it was the living, breathing and sweat of the process that gives us joy and glimpses of real truth, beyond what the end result had ever promised.

Farther Along from Shelby Lynn on Vimeo.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Only Truth

There are things that I cannot express, that I wish I could make you understand. But I'm unable to put comprehension into your mind of something that is so profound it makes me weep. 

Some days, I literally have to dance around in my living room because of this truth.

"...heaven filled me with more than enough..." is a line from a song I recently choreographed a dance to (hoping to post here soon!). It describes perfectly my reaction to this truth:
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

I am more than weak most of the time. My feet limit me, my insecurities box me in, and our vulnerabilities separate us. God sees the lies you're believing, whatever is swimming in your head right now and messing you up. And He sees...
His grace
His sufficiency
His power
His perfection

Thank you Jesus
~ Shelby

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You're "On"

Oh man do I think I'm smart. Somedays I sit up in my chair at work, my back straight, and I just know the words coming out of my mouth are brilliant. Ha! It's even worse when life is tough. Because I know the Creator of the Universe, I feel this pressure to have secret insight into how He works. Unfortunately I rarely understand His plans, so I end up frustrated, or feeling like I've failed.

But really, I know nothing, and that's what scares me. The closer I get to Jesus, the more I am struck at how His plans are greater, bigger, and often more confusing than mine. I can plan, prepare and study myself until I know it all, but I don't know HIM. the one that I need to know if there's hope of me saying anything insightful or compassionate or true.
Now that's truth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When my heart hurts it helps to remember the good...

A husband who's been in my life 10 years, and who I've shared a name with for nearly 5.

The truth that I run to, it's the love letter from my Savior Jesus

Heat, it's keeps my toes from being purple

Tears, they remind me I'm feeling instead of shutting myself off from pain

A friend who lets me tell her all the good and bad of my life...and her husband who put a spare tire on my car, cause I had a flat.

The sweet man who got out of his car, at a stoplight, in the tell me I had a flat

Music to match my emotions and remind me that God is big enough

Peppermint Mocha Brownies

~ Shelby

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I love seeing these two images next to each other. On the left a waif of a woman, a cartoon, yes, but the standard of an "ideal" woman in America. On the right, laugh lines and wrinkles from living, and the years that go with life. The pressure to conform on one side, and riding barefoot on your bicycle on the other. Empty and predictable versus colorful and spontaneous.

It's easy to conform to life's expectations, but the more we open ourselves to others, life gets a little brighter. People & relationships add dynamics that are beyond our control. The people I love have brought  deep, searing pain to my life. And they have given me happiness so great that it makes my heart ache.

The truth is that I want to grow old, wrinkly (perhaps even pudgy) from laughter...tears...and living life. No botox for me. I want people to see this face someday and know that it was lived wholeheartedly. (I already have gray hair, so wrinkles are next anyway, right?)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Lie that's True

In a way, this lie is true...
We are all those things, and yet because of Jesus, we don't have to live in any of the them. But I so often get stuck there. It's sad to realize that internally this is reality, while externally I put on a pretty good show.

I've hidden from this lie the most. I lived it out in the past, to the point that I punished myself into starvation. Healed and whole from that, I am still held back today from the lie that says I am crap. And the thing that makes me mad is that this lie keeps me from the things I want the most. From being a good wife or living out the dreams God has for me. This lie is so damaging, so insipid, that seeing it here both confronts me and breaks my heart.

But this truth, this is why I must dance! I want to walk in that freedom, and I long for you to join me. That we who have tasted God's love, which has set us free from the pain of past regret, and the worthlessness we found there, will drink in a new life. If we, if I, could live like we believe this - each morning with a fresh start - we could be the person we've always set out to become. And the person, God has always known that we are, that He created us to be.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Fire

Prayers can be scary. You know the saying: "When you pray for patience, God makes you wait". Or when you pray for strength He gives you something difficult so you'll be come stronger. I have often prayed that God's fire would consume me.

I was asked to choreograph this dance for a women's conference called "Come to the Fire". What I didn't know when I said yes, was that I wouldn't need to ask for the "fire to fall" for long. This dance was born at a time when the flames in my life were so hot they were licking my flesh. The women who watched me perform this dance likely thought God had moved me deeply that night. I became so emotional at the end of the dance that tears poured out of me. I did not need to ask for the fire to fall, I was in it.

God had allowed me to walk through something so searing, that I honestly did not want any more fire. I wanted His glory to come up from the ashes of the mess that was my life.  And I needed his rest. My prayers haven't changed, in fact they may even be more bold now. Now, I see from the other side of the fire,
and dear one,
it is good.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Make the Stumble Part of the Dance

What that phrase means to me...
"I will exalt you, O Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O Lord my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; 
you spared me from going down into the pit.

Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
'I will never be shaken.'
O Lord, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
'What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord, be my help.'
Joyful feet on our wedding day
You turned my wailing into dance; 
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."

~Psalm 30

Monday, January 30, 2012


I cannot tell you why it happens. It doesn't really make sense. That small logical part of my brain, (it's very small, I'm a woman, so my heart usually makes all my decisions!) has tried to figure it out in the past. But I cannot for the life of my explain why I pretend or why I try to cover over my flaws.

It's got to be fear. Fear that I won't be accepted, loved, valued, appreciated or seen as an equal. Perhaps pride, that I can project this persona that's so great it's worth admiring, respecting and even emulating. What a lethal combination - fear & pride.
The honest truth is that I want to believe what God says. That He loves me, so much that I can stop being afraid. I can let down my pride and just be the woman He's made me to be. I want to walk in that freedom. And if I could do something in that freedom, it would be to connect to someone else in her own moment of weakness. My name means "sheltered town". I want to be a place where she, where you, can feel safe. Because, let's be honest I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I messed up today. But God still loves me...the truth for today is that He loves us both.
~ Shelby

Friday, January 27, 2012


"...for I am the LORD, who heals you..."
Exodus 15:26 NIV

When I was at Grace College the campus counselor was a gift. She confronted me, allowed me to cry, and neither pitied nor bullied me. At at time when I hated myself and felt unlovable, she helped me experience self-hatred so that I could also experience the Grace of God. But of all the truth I learned in that little office, I hang my hat on this the most...

"With God there can be complete healing..."

So a little science here. According to the Cleveland Clinic, upwards of 20% of people with anorexia die, and anywhere from 24-56% of those with diagnosed anorexia never fully recover.* My mom read those stats at one point and had a major freak out moment, who wouldn't? Sometimes I'm scared to have a daughter because of threats like that. And yet,
"With God there can be complete healing..."

The temptation is still there - when I'm extremely overwhelmed or emotionally distraught.  The option to fall back is there.  And sometimes the lies have a way of slithering back in. But, we serve a perfect God who is greater than any illness, whether it's one we can see like cancer - or can't, like depression. I believe God can fully and completely heal, and I do not need to live in fear that healing and wholeness is impossible.

"With God there can be complete healing for your marriage"
"With God there can be complete healing for your broken heart"
"With God there can be complete healing between you and your father"
"With God there can be complete healing with the church"
"With God there can be complete healing from..."
~ Shelby

"But for you that honor my name, victory will shine like the sun with healing in its rays..."
Malachi 4:2 CEV
*Franco, Kathleen N. (2011). Eating Disorders. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 25, 2012, from

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Ugh, emotions. Seriously, sometimes I am just a mess.  Crying at everything, scared at nothing and melancholy on a sunny days.  And then, there are days when pain presses agains my chest so hard that I cannot breathe, and the emotions are so intense, so real that it is hard to really feel them. That is when I am tempted to "check out" of life, because feeling this way is more than I can bear. 

I often feel things so deeply that when life and auto-pilot kicks in and I don't have the emotional highs and lows I've grown so used to, then there must be something wrong with me. The truth is that emotions can be beautiful servants, rather than tyrannical masters.

He is a REAL savior, lover and friend. Someone that will travel down the quiet halls of sadness and loneliness, so that I am not alone there. He is also there to drink in the joy of the mountain-top experiences.  He is so real in all of those moments that I don't want to forget how real He is today, when I send an email, drive my car or make dinner for my husband. And with as much feeling as I can muster in this moment, I love him for that.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Truth vs. Lies

"God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." ~ I Corinthians 5:21

That verse hit me over the head one night, I was so excited I literally ran down the hall to a friend and showed it to her. Jumping up and down (seriously, I do that when I'm really happy), I could only exclaim that I finally got it.

Perfection...this unattainable thing I had been working for was futile.  In the face of something better - His Righteousness. And so, I learned that when a truth rips the lies off the walls of your mind something incredible happens. There is freedom, joy, peace and a deeper connection with a Savior so perfect nothing else compares. It is in exposing lies and finding the truth that I am reminded of how weak I am and how great He is...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Food Control

Lies intermixed with truth. Because fruits, vegetables, natural and organic foods are healthy. But extreme control, fear of fat and an empty plate are stark realities that I face when I'm weak. It's when I'm tired, emotional or feeling pain that I run to the comfort of control. Knowing that so much is out of my control, food becomes the way I cope. 

And the lies wash over me like a seducer promising a beautiful night of passion. The words are comforting, but they only lead to pain and destruction.

I am so ashamed of being human. To mess up, make mistakes, have a muffin top and admit that I don't have it all figured out. One day I won't be ashamed. When my body really is perfect, my mind will be too.  I'll realize that the entire goal was to have a body that reflected and exalted Him. Not in appearance, but in its person. 
~ Shelby

Thursday, January 12, 2012


There are things in life that isolate us: fear, pain or just plain messing up BIG. But lies, they combine all the isolation together & force us into a lonely dark hole.
Finding my way out the black pit was slow, painfully slow. There are moments when you claw at the rocks and end up with bloody fingers as you fall back down the mountainside. We can look up and see a light at the top of the deep well, but when the walls are slick and flat, it's a rope we need rather than our broken fingers and feeble attempts at climbing out. A rope of truth to lift us out of the dark and into the light.

We find we are not alone. And that tomorrow when the lie wrestles to shut out the light He is there. And, He has provided Himself in more than one way. His Son brings comfort, and His children can be called trusted friends. As much as I have walked alone and thought I would be safe, the darkness always threatens to win. 

But when I walk with her, a friend...with him, my husband...I am stronger. 

For when I am vulnerable to exposing myself to them, I am safe. The lie loses it's grip, and the TRUTH wins again. I'll take the noise of a relationship with Him and with them over the silence of that dark hole.
~ Shelby

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Live 4 Truth

That's my password to about half of my online stuff. I use it to remind me what I want to be known for, the legacy I want to leave. A life lived for truth.

There are a lot of lies in this world, in fact I sometimes think there are more of those than there are truths. I used to believe the lie that people would always tell the truth...they don't. I assumed that I was good enough to get into heaven...I'm not. And I still let myself think that believing lies is better than boldly seeking and living in the me, I'm telling you the truth, it's not.

So, I want to live for truth, I want to seek it where it may be found, and one of the things I ache for is to see that truth catch fire in others so they would live in freedom with me.

"...Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you."
- John 8:32

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Creation

It's hard, it just is. Being something else, something more than what you are right now. The desire is there, the hope that one day I can be different, I can be better. But today, now in this moment of grief I believe the lie that says this place is all I can hope for...

I feel something tingle inside my chest, and my breath is taken away. I read these words of truth, blurred by my tears.
It's possible to be more than a broken women, to dig out of this grave and to LIVE. I am not controlled by circumstances of my past. No, today I am a new creation. A new being entirely.

Even before the Shelby that I hate is replaced by the Savior that I love, I am new. Because He says that I am. It's about Him making me new, and me dancing around in that truth. The hard work of moving beyond my past, well He did all that work. It sounds easy, it's not...and it is.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Number 26

Happy Birthday is my joy to watch you grow. Today, when I look at you I see 26 years of my love flowing over you, rushing to wash away your pain and sin.
Photo via Sarah Smith:
I see you sweetly and simply as a little girl asking my Son to forgive your sins and never leave you. It has been my joy to answer those prayers for you each day, I never want to be away from you. It was my delight to hear you ask for my Presence, and there's nothing I'd more gladly give you.

My heart rejoices over the memory of your college-self wrestling with life and with me. I watched you open your heart - despite the pain - to the truth that has come to set you free. The truth that is my grace, which covers your imperfections. We grew closer that year as you began to see me for who I am, not what you, your church or this world would tell you. Dear one, we walked through the refining fire that has brought you closer to me.

You are a woman now, and still my child. I eagerly expect and hope that you will have sufficient courage, so that now, and always, my Son will be exalted in your body. Be still my child, though it linger, wait for it.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have had to endure many trials for a little while. Know this, I love you, I have walked with you 26 years, and will continue to be by your side until the day I hold you in my arms.

~Your Heavenly Father

Monday, January 2, 2012


Frozen in fear, the lie that keeps me stuck. It doesn't shout at me, if it did I'd probably have an easier time fighting it off.  No, it hisses in my ear. When I wake up and look in the mirror or as I talk, the lie creeps in behind my ear:

To look perfect, with every hair and piece of jewelry just so. Not accepting less than perfect work. I must be the perfect person to everyone. Fulfilling their needs, anticipating their feelings and responding flawlessly. Because of course that's possible!

And then, there it is, the truth that does SHOUT at me. It hits me right where my bangs hit my forehead and reminds me that those crooked bangs can stay that way. Perfection of my own isn't the goal, but His righteousness, a much deeper perfection than I could ever achieve. This is why Jesus came, so that when I wake up and look in the mirror, I see myself through His Son's sacrifice. As a daughter of the King who, for all He cares, can have mismatched socks, as long as my feet follow after Him.