things written on my heart.


Like most people, I get all wrapped up in the romance of a new year. It feels fresh and clean and opportunity-laden; a little pink cheeked year all scrawly and ready to be filled up with all the things. I wrap my year up in hopes and dreams and the resolve to be a better version of myself.

This year I am letting go of being a better version of myself. Instead I am setting goals that I hope will lead me to begin to live out of God’s love for me. The truth is that I often try to drum up the wherewithall and gumption to be better and lovely and liked and good from other things: approval, acceptance, conformity. These all lead to comparison and competition and, well, a fissure-covered heart that can’t seem to hold onto anything worthwhile. Also, I get stuck. Stuck in fear. Stuck feeling ashamed. Stuck in avoidance.

I’ve been working through this process as I reflect and redirect and I’d love to honor what the Lord has been writing on my heart over the last year.

God knows even the tucked away, unnamed dreams we harbor. I’ve taught classes. I’ve shared a message with the women of my church. I’ve led workshops. I’ve met you all here. All these things, I never would have been able to verbalize a dream toward. But when I’ve stood in these pockets, I’ve felt closer than ever to my 17 year old self sprawled on a floral comforter and scribbling words in a composition notebook. This is a dream I never would have named, but it appears I have always had a heart communicate with others.

I need a plan. As much as my right-thinking bent brain revolts against straight lines and lists, I need to be intentional and thoughtful. I don’t want to serve lists or try to squeeze grace out of dry-lived performance but I do want to be engaged and unstuck. Inspired by my friend, Hayley, I’ve begun making some realistic goals for each month and even though I’ve written “Make a chore chart” for two months now, I do see that I am making more progress in my daily living and finding more joy in being a servant in my home.

I want to be sensitive to my distractions. More and more, I am feeling convinced that we are being paralyzed by all of the information rushing around us. There’s a trade off: the more time I spend gathering status updates, beautiful pins and 20 ways to be better, the less I am actually doing and being. There is room for inspiration and I don’t mean to imply that information is inherently bad. But. Information is not truth and inspiration dies when it becomes prescription. I feel compelled to become more and more discerning about the quality and quantity of the voices and stories I allow into my life.

I am a writer. This is still a descriptor I find hard to clack out on keys. And I don’t apply it based on any perceived skill level I think I have. I just find life in words and I love to meet you here, invite you in and extend “Me, too.” My mind is constantly churning and processing and it is freeing to look for the Lord’s hand and sort things out in words and find out that I am not alone. I feel a heart for you and my words are the way to get there.

2013 was a full and beautiful and hard-fought and slow and jumbled and everyday-filled year. What about you? Would you share something God has been writing on your heart?

15 thoughts on “things written on my heart.

  1. oh friend. this speaks right to me. every bit of it. can i see you even more in 2014? you have some serious gifts to share with others and i’m praying that 2014 is the year. xoxo

  2. “I feel compelled to become more and more discerning about the quality and quantity of the voices and stories I allow into my life.”
    That’s good Ellen. Really good.

  3. God’s writing on my heart to not shy away from the strong pull to be home. I’ve (finally, joyfully) surrendered to doing school here but often fight the urges to look for life and meaning outside of this place God has given us. With new changes for our family this year, home must be the anchor and I want 2014 to bring strength and diligence with my upkeep of it. Less stuff to manage, more beauty and rest here. {also- love the sailboats! perfect for that spot.} xxoo

  4. The past several months, I feel the Lord writing on my heart “Trust Me, no matter what your circumstances”. As I struggle with chronic pain and health issues, it is so difficult to see understand His reasons, but I am learning to trust His heart.

  5. I resonate so so much with each of these. Especially the last one. I, too, am a thinker, churner, processor. Claiming the label writer for me feels a bit daring. But your words have inspired me to use my own words for Him. With “wobbly legs” im planning to launch a shiny new blog of my own end of spring– thank you for your influence. I shared the wobbly legs blog post with more people than I can count! Already writing 500 words a day-attempting to get some of these thoughts out onto paper (or screen)- You inspire me!

  6. So many of these points resonate with me, too. I guess the biggest thing is that I see what amazing things can happen when I lean on Him for everything in all ways, like when I pray that He will guide my words, redeem even my really ugly places, etc. Also, I am trying to face my meal planning struggles head on and I made myself sit down and plan a month’s worth of dinners. It was ugly, but now it’s over. :)

  7. I think we may be some the same. I am messy, right-brained, spontaneous, resistant to scheduling, resistant to scrubbing the ring out of the tub, easily distracted, sensitive, easily offended, lonely so much of the time. There are never enough people speaking words to me that help instead of hurt.

  8. Ellen, I read your post, and immediately knew that I could have written every. single. word. You are a blessing, and I find it amazing that I can connect so well with you, given that we’ve never met and you live on the other side of the world!!! But your heart and your love for Jesus comes through your words so clearly, I feel like we’ve spent hours and hours chatting over coffee :-) Please keep writing and sharing your heart with us xx

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