I Worship an Awesome God

GreenAnd so do you.

Think of a rainforest. You’re decked out in khaki and hiking boots and you sort of look like the dad from the Wild Thornberry’s, anyways, you think this is the way, and maybe it started out the right way, but then you got cocky and decided that you knew better than the map and started forging your own path. Now you’re trekking through mud, covered head to toe with sweat and exhaustion as bugs fleck against you with each step. The canopy of the rainforest is heavy overhead and you’re lost. You’re lost and it’s getting dark and you need help.

I’m in that spot right now. I got cocky. I thought the place with vibrant flowers and spiraling vines of beauty was worth the wrong turn, and now I’ve reached my limit. I have no idea where I am, or if I’m going the right way or if I’m going in circles or not–I may even have this map upside down. My fear has risen to the surface and I want out. These khakis are tattered and the appearance of an avid rainforest explorer I created has vanished.

Flip back to normal America. I’m sitting on my bed in my quiet apartment with my computer stacked on my lap and books sprawled across my bed. I’m reflecting on the day as I write out this blogpost and I can’t help but think I worship an awesome God. Awesome.

The past few weeks I’ve decided I would try life without God. Not intentionally, just slacked on communication and found myself trying to fix things on my own–forging my own path. Fast forward up to last Sunday as I wilted in a the arms of the small-framed woman who prayed over me during a church service. I had reached my limit and it came through the most powerful combination of vulnerability and focused worship inside of a church that I finally let God work in me. I had let God put down his foundation of stone, one that will not fail and I said ‘Great, now let me add to it.’ And I added layers of sand and began building upon my impossible foundation.

I want out of this place of deceptive beauty.

That Sunday the sand was washed away and all I had begun building washed out from under me and I fell into tears on a stranger’s shoulder.

Satan is perfect in beauty. He looks like God, he eases into our lives and tricks us when we’re not in communication with our Lord. I won’t hide it from you that I’m struggling with life in Asheville. It’s tough without my family and friends not next to me anymore. Life in Asheville is tough. It’s also incredibly great, but man, I am struggling with certain aspects of it. I’m calling for help. Well, now I’m screaming and I am so thankful for the push from others that encourages me to be honest with the God that is eagerly waiting on that vulnerability in me.

God knows we are messy. He understands we like to forge our own paths in stubbornness and out of ignorance and greed, but, man, He loves us regardless.

That doesn’t change.

He’s trudging through the mud and coming to get you, wiping you clean of all the filth you’ve gotten yourself into. He’s there with a cool cloth against your face wiping the dirt from our cheeks. I imagine Him looking upon my worn face as He delicately strokes the mud from my eyebrows, His eyes welling up with tears– tears that describe the immeasurable love He has for each of us. Tears that describe the tenderness He has towards you, and that describe the vision He has for our lives that is far better than anything we could think up on our own. He wants a life so much better then what we create for ourselves.

May we be moved by that. May we be moved to worship a God like that outside the confines of Sunday’s, and may we be moved so much by His radical love that we worship Him in our everyday.

-TheRealChloeJayne

Asheville Update #1

I need to understand my current state of being alone is not synonymous with loneliness. It is day twelve of being in Asheville, and I have it easy. I found an apartment after a frantic search with panic not quite hidden under my skin. The housing I had arranged beforehand fell through, thank goodness my mom packed up the car and made the trek to the east coast with me. Without her more tears definitely would have ensued. But I have an apartment, I have a warm bed, a nice roommate, and nice neighbors. I am enjoying the meetings I have with The Hundred Movement, and earlier this week I took a day walking the streets of downtown turning into door frames I had yet to darken to drop off my resume. There are shapes of promise forming on the horizon. This is the close of my first official week alone.

My mom and I drove to the airport in Greenville, South Carolina on a Saturday for her flight back to Austin. The afternoon glowed through the trees with an inviting warmth that reassured my wellbeing once we would say goodbye. We both said we wouldn’t cry. We are both liars. I’m the reason she’ll get on planes she says. But my heart flutters with the thought of her getting on a plane to a place much further than North Carolina. I walked alone to my car, and curved through the same mountains I had with her. I found my way back to my new home, yet, it was quieter. I may have cried that night. The feeling of inadequacy set in, and the mere thought of distance between my previous home of Texas and my newest home of North Carolina felt heavier on my heart then expected. But I use mere purposefully.

Texas will always be home. I intentionally stated previous home, because I must not forget this is where the Lord has planted me now. Texas will always be in my instincts, and Texas will always have a sweetness to it, but I have been called away for a reason, and it is not to dwell on what could be happening if I was still there, and it is not to dwell on what I am “missing out” on, but I have been called away, to a new home, for growth in my relationship with the Lord. I have been called to proclaim freedom to the captives, and in doing so need to believe confidently in this new land He has called me to. I need to believe that this is home, and stray from a temporary mindset that may provoke hesitation in me to build lasting relationships.

This past Monday I left my first meeting with a homework assignment and more knowledge of what this internship will bring. There are four stages to this process I will be led through: finance, influence, leadership, and asset management. Right now we’re going through my financial budget–what it means to budget appropriately not only for living, but as well for time with others. Those four stages paired with a long boring reading list chock full of financial and psychological blubber that, though I may find weariness amidst those pages, I will learn about what I most commonly overlook: the things that do not thrill me, but shape the world around me. A necessary growing pain. I’m not quite sure what I dreamt this new chapter in my life to be. I may have over romanticized it, or I may have romanticized it just enough to fall into the direction and comfort of my God. This internship will be difficult. It will push me and I will struggle and there will be tears. I just know it. But this will happen with the understanding that anything that the Lord has done, or is planning to do, is out of love. Always out of love. So, when I have repeats of my first night alone, I will know that is the devil trying to unravel me, but I will stand firm in who I am knowing that the Lord is the one who wove me and will stop at nothing to protect each stitch of me He knows so intimately.

I’d like to thank all the people that donated to my fundraiser. Whether you donated a dollar, or two thousand of them, you have made a difference. You have made this process much smoother, and have started me down a new and exciting path that will lead to uncountable discoveries, and unmeasurable growth. Thank you for believing. Whether your belief is in God, in me, or counter-trafficking, I sit in Asheville with all the wonder in my heart due to you.

If you’d like to donate visit my fundraising page here. And if you have donated before, but wish to switch that initial one time donation to a monthly donation please contact me

-TheRealChloeJayne

100 until One Hundred

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We’ve made it. Well, really life is just as it has been, but with my fundraiser we’re at the 100 day countdown! This is exciting. Mainly because it allows for me to be excited in a super cheesy way about The Hundred Movement. 100 days until The Hundred Movement! Yes!

If you’ve read previous posts, or the blurb on my fundraiser site you’ll know what I’m doing and know a little bit about how I heard of this opportunity and why I’m wanting to be a part of it. But other than just a quick few paragraphs I haven’t explained much. So I’ll begin.

This world breaks my heart. How I interact with people does the same thing. I do not treat people the way they should be and I do not allow myself to be treated as the precious creation I am. And I want that to change, and I believe that change can start within. Our mindsets igniting fires throughout this nation, sparking revolutions (dreaming big is the only way to dream). I want people to know just how great they are. Just how cherished they are away from the often hollow “Jesus loves you” phrase that you hear through the grinning faces of friends making jokes. Not to say it isn’t true, but it is certainly overlooked and these words are often watered down. I don’t want to be a watered down christian. And I don’t want to be in a community of diluted believers–I don’t want there to be any perception of dilution in Christians globally. But I know myself. And I find myself lazy, and discouraged, and unengaged with the Lord. It’s easy to be, it’s human nature. That has to be one my favorite things about Jesus. That He’ll always understand that and be next to you pushing you, eagerly wanting you to be bold in your beliefs. But I’ve digressed.

The other day I was reading and this stuck out to me. Actually, I was trying to find a stupid quote about adventure and predicaments and to be honest I read it on Instagram, loved it, and now I can’t find the user who posted it because I follow too many freakin’ people. Anyways, while I was on my search I found a preview of a book that said:

His was the voice of eager love calling us away from our sins to a new adventure. He was calling us to righteousness, to open up our hearts to the power of God, to open our eyes to a new vision of life. He was calling to us to change the course of the world by changing the course of our lives. The word “repent,” in the Greek language “metanoia,” means “change your attitude.” Commitment to God does exactly that. There is no answer to our modern predicament until we answer. The answer is in our answer. Will we repent of our God Ignoring and our Divine Destiny Doubting? Will we answer His call to commitment no matter how excruciating or immense the cost? Until we do we will not be able to give our children the awareness of His importance that is essential to righteousness.

The words in bold font are the ones that really struck me and explain simply why I’ve chosen to pursue something a lot of people do not understand. Believe it or not, people think I’m kinda nuts for wanting to get involved with the abolition of human trafficking. But looking at the bigger picture, past the exploitative industry that it is, to the specific soul involved, the individual is just a mere child as you and I are. Sure, they may have a different story then you, but we all come from different backgrounds carrying all sorts of heavy burdens. In the end we just need lovin’ and to be known.  We’re all just scared children at the heart of it. So, I’m answering this calling He has placed in my heart, that I might embody repentance and reveal God’s true importance to the other children of God I encounter on this path. Together may we no longer waver in awareness of His importance and together may we rejoice in the freedom He has bestowed upon all of us.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).

With great adoration I will strive to mimic my savior.
-TheRealChloeJayne

If you’re interested in donating to my fundraiser there should be a picture to the left (scroll up a bit) you can click and be rerouted to my fundraising page. If, in actuality, there is not a picture and you have no idea what I’m talking about click here.

Lyman, Howard A. “The Ressurgance of Righteousness.” The Bigger Picture of Life. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2009. 88. The Bigger Picture. Google Books. Web.

Austin to Asheville

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Things are changing. I’ve found myself putting a halt on institutionalized education for the time being and filling my weeks going between two jobs. It’s an exciting time for me. I’ve surrounded myself with a group of friends that seem more and more like family each time I see them. I’m becoming aware of how much the city I’ve grown up in, and still find myself in, means to me. Austin, is full of a lot of memories, and a lot of amazing people that have shaped me into the woman I am today. For a long time I wanted out. I dreaded each day, and yearned for a new setting; a new adventure. With each street and park and place there’s a story attached to it. Some sweet, some sour, but each rest perfectly in my mind. I’ve grown up with Austin, we know each other well.

I’ll find myself tucked away at a picnic table, in a park bordering downtown, writing. My bag upright by my feet, my pens strewn across the table, my journal open and bible staggered on the table with its pages flitting at the edges. It’s quiet with the rhythmic steps of joggers along the nearby trail. My head is in my hands, each finger entangled by hair. I’m writing about desire, I’m writing about exploration and the movement in and around me, about the movement in this city and around the world. Looking up and listening to branches creak as animals run along their surface. I’m writing about being. My mind drifts to what my one wild and precious life looks like.

I’d like to treat it as such.

One wild and precious life that will be lifted up as a gift to my creator. It needs to be bold–He’s instilled that in me. My one wild and precious life will have a lot of laughter in it, with a lot of love between me and friends, me and family, and especially me and strangers. Love will not be overlooked, neither will forgiveness. And I will be bold with each. I will dance with flailing limbs and a smile stretched across my face. And I will forgive you. The one that hides in the darkest of my memory.  You are forgiven.  I want you to find joy, and when you do we will rejoice. I think I’ll eat a lot of cookies and gaze at flowers, and be selective on which ones I pick. I’ll regain good posture, and I’ll be confident in the woman I am. Speak kind words with a sharp tongue, quick and witty, creative and sweet. I’ll fall in love with each season of life. Teeth chattering under a bundled scarf with hands clasped praying to You or with sweat running down my temples, eyes focused on You. I will call on You in all seasons of life, and You and I will forge our own paths. You leading me along each path. Hands clasped tight I will follow You.

The motion of the branches snap me back into the present. I see the tops of buildings from downtown emerge above the treeline. A deep breath in of nostalgia. I will soon have a new home. One with its own winding streets full of adventure.

A Brief Recap

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetThe edges of the box I’ve put God in have finally worn out, and have torn away from each other, as He has proven to me He certainly does not fit within those confines. I have been freed this summer, in a way I have never known, through the diversity of Christ I’ve seen and experienced. With no secure plans going to Europe with two friends, we crashed in hotel rooms with people we hadn’t known for more than a few hours, slept in train stations tucked away in Denmark and Italy, rejoiced as we were welcomed into friend’s homes, cringed at too expensive of hostels we booked last minute (or second), almost made beds of park benches, and as the days of summer progressed and I returned from adventures abroad –because that is what it was in the truest sense of the word– a new journey began stateside. I found myself just as happy, “homesick” for Europe, but joyful. Finding myself surrounded by an amazing community full of laughter and honesty, revealing to me the wide spectrum my summer was placed on. Now, sitting at home a few weeks later, I frequently find myself stare blankly ahead of me, past the clutter of my room and into a crisp recollection of this summer and what it had to offer. I think of the people that doubted me at first, and how my ambitions for this trip and feelings were hurt by that, and then I think of the people I met while the summer days whirled passed. People made into friends on trains, in parks, in pubs, and the people met on the streets that had mercy on us and spoke beautiful english to us as and allowed our looks of despair to fade. And although my expectations were unknown, and I still cannot place them, nor want to, all were exceeded. And the past few months have been pivotal. I have watched outside of hotel windows with dear friends the sun rise as if our laughter hoisted it into the sky. And I’ve witnessed, sitting in a hospital, the moon sink as if our attitudes and worries brought it down. I’ve seen the devil’s hands on my friends, and I’ve seen him reaching for my heart, tugging at the vital strings. I’ll be honest and I’ll admit I let him interfere, letting lust take over my bones and alcohol poison the night, but through all of that I’ve felt the victory of my savior, the strength of His sovereignty, His intent, and the freedom accessible only through Him. I’ve climbed mountains this summer, slept under the stars, and thankfully with shelter as the rain has poured, and I am continually amazed at this creation of His…it blows me away that He made it all in one day.

I haven’t been posting as regularly, and I won’t promise I’ll begin now, but the past few months have been refreshing, and have renewed me in more ways than one. Hope you check back in.

-TheRealChloeJayne

The Fear of Silhouettes

“What is that? What are we looking at?,” he said clutching the steering wheel with both hands as we drove along a highway winding through the Coconino National Forest in Arizona. There wasn’t much activity as we made our way towards Phoenix. It was just black, the sun hadn’t yet revealed itself, and all we could see were the faint silhouettes of the evergreens that rose and fell with the mountains edge formed by the glow of stars. “What is that?” The soft cast of our headlights bleeding off the road wasn’t enough to reveal the entirety of the mountains. “What are those?” Blue light radiated from the dashboard onto our faces illuminating the puffiness surrounding our sleepy eyes. The clock hadn’t yet made its way to seven.  ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘Those are mountains.’ I turned to look out the window, they were just mountains. “Well they’re freaking me out, I have no idea what I’m looking at.” I had just spent the last two hours staring at them–or at least the shape of the mountains without even a tinge of fear. I would shift from my window to the windshield watching the reflectors emerge one by one guiding our way home. I was in a state of calmness, not quite awake, but just sitting in the passenger seat thinking of the many miles we had ahead of us and far less behind, and thinking of the wonders around us. I saw lights of nearby towns burning in the distance, and I spun into thoughts of the lives that lived there. I wasn’t focused on what he was seeing. I wasn’t focused on the fear that surrounded the car for him. I was focused on the stars, the small towns slowly beginning to pulse with life, I was focused on the magnificence and body of the mountains, there was beauty surrounding the car for me. “No, but really, is that a tsunami?” he chuckled, “Like, I have no idea what those are and those are just huge black blobs, and I hate that I can’t see them fully. They are just massive black figures to the side of me and in front of us, and we’re driving straight towards them.”

And we’re driving straight towards them. Right into our fears. Right into the unknown. Just motionless silhouettes. Are they going to move once we begin to trust what they are? Move out of our way slipping from our sights, or maybe shifting into another shape, tricking us into thinking they were something they’re not? I usually think like this when I am commanded to go forth boldly into a situation I know nothing about. I stand there wide-eyed thinking of ways to backtrack out of the situations and figures before me not knowing what they hold. I am usually choking on the fear I’m trying to swallow, and I forget that although all I see are dark silhouettes He knows the entirety of them. He knows the beauty each situation holds, He knows that soon those silhouettes will be illuminated and revealed, and we’ll be in awe of what we see.

As the stars began to fade away against the rays of the rising sun I grabbed my camera and slid open the small window in the back of the truck. My hair whirled around my face and the coolness of the morning sunk into my skin as I took began to take pictures of the sunrise, then I lowered the lens, took in a deep breath and watched the sky, a deep blue, mix with lighter shades of pink and orange, slowly revealing the entirety of the mountains surrounding that we were so unsure of earlier.

Psalm 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

-TheRealChloeJayne

Animal Sacrifices and the Power of Times New Roman

I don’t think I realize what Jesus has done for me. Actually I know that I do not. Every time I open the bible though, He becomes more living. He becomes more visible than before. Each time I go through a portion of the bible I can visualize more of the situation, I can begin to smell the breeze, maybe the soft scent of grass, or maybe the dry smell and feeling of kicked up dirt the crowds made as they followed behind Jesus just trying to get a glimpse.

Today, one of the pastors at the church I go to spoke about sacrifice and atonement. And before he began his sermon he gave such great emphasis on how important words are and the power they hold, and because he mentioned this importance I seemed to have clued into them more. And for that I am grateful. I heard things crafted much more elegantly than in other sermons, and because of this tightly-knitted attention to his diction I had, clearer images were formed and the verses he announced were not stories, but vivid memories.

Leviticus 16 goes into detail of animal sacrifices and specifically brings the reader into the holy of holies (referring to a sanctuary area), and as I am standing breathless in the corner, tucked into a shadow I see a man dipping his hand into the blood of the sacrificed bull and can hear him murmuring while steadily flicking his fingers toward the altar.  And it’s from my place in the corner that the warm smell of blood, mixed with the fluids of the bull’s body, and weathered coat that the bible came alive.  It becomes so much more than straight cut figures on a page. I can hear the ticks against the altar as the blood flecks its surface. Aaron (Moses’ brother) becomes flesh before my eyes.  Aaron becomes real and his words become audible–they’re no longer murmurs faintly making their way to my ears– as he makes atonement for not only himself, but also his household. From my corner I can hear him breathe over his wife and children and I can hear him breathe through his insecurities and I can hear the grit in his voice when he speaks of the wrongdoings brought from himself or maybe his wife, or even one of his sons. Maybe the youngest, the one he holds so highly–the one that is falling from the grace he expected in him. From my corner, the bible is no longer black letters in Times New Roman font, but real lives and real obedience. And as I reflected on these verses, Leviticus 16:21-22 (HCSB):

Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the Israelites’ wrongdoings and rebellious acts–all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wilderness by the man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on it all their wrongdoings into a desolate land, and he will release it there. 

My mind flashed images of Jesus. Jesus living and traveling this earth meeting people, hearing their stories, and healing them. I read these two verses numerous times, and it wasn’t until the third or fourth time that I visually saw Jesus as the comparison to the goat (Hebrews 13:11-12*). I immediately imagined hands over Him, hands of prayer from all over, arms reaching out to touch Him in comfort and in desperation; He’s kneeling in the center of the group, his dark hair dirty and stringy as it falls past His cheeks, and people are praying over Him, and people are praying for themselves–confessing their wrongdoings and rebellious acts; all their sins. I fast forward and I see the goat being sent into the wilderness, hobbling over and slipping on shifting rocks, carrying out all the wrongdoings to release them into a desolate land–I see Jesus frailly making his way up to, Golgotha; Calvary. He makes His way up the hill to release our burden and shame we had with sin. And it is no longer, Jesus boldly cried out with His last breath, “Tetelestai!,” “It is finished!” and interposed His blood. And the wildest thing of all, is that he did if for joy*.

So whatever you find yourself doing…do it for joy. See lives changed through actions rooted in joy and in love.
-TheRealChloeJayne

*Hebrews 13:11-12 (HCSB): For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy of holies by the high priest (Aaron) as a sin offering…there for Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood.
*He did it for joy…Romans 12:2, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The sermon that inspired this entry can be found here.

Death to Unicorn

whiteunicornThey sat eight in a circle on the ground as I made my way up the stairs to join them. There was talking, but from the jokes and laughter I could tell they had waited to start until I got there. I sat down a little flustered, having forgotten everything at home and arriving a little late from work, when they they asked me who my Unicorn* was… I sat a little puzzled. I had heard the phrase once before, but couldn’t quite remember the meaning as my brain still spun trying to rest on the situation I was in. I went with “What’s a Unicorn?” and immediately felt the blood rush to my cheeks as laughter broke out.  “You don’t know what a Unicorn is?!” The blood now burning beneath my cheeks, “No, I guess not..”

I went with some bass player from a band I like that I stalk on Instagram, which then boasted the question of whether or not a knew this guy, in which I don’t, and with the realization that I was suppose to pick some real-life guy, someone that I somewhat knew, sent an incredible layer of discomfort over me. The rest of the girls rattled off their Unicorns with starry eyes and spurts of giggles, and as I sat one of the nine in the circle, I realized I didn’t like the question. Not because I felt embarrassed, but because I’ve never thought of a guy, that I know, being unattainable, unfathomably uncatchable. I’ve had guys that I know if they were to ask me on a date I would have a mini heart attack, and freak out on the phone with my best friend, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in the mindset, not since middle school and high school, that a boy is beyond reach.

The chances are that I took this prompt a little too seriously. It was a day before Valentines, and the group was just trying to find some lighthearted subject to smile, laugh and be girls over, and fawning over the boys in our day dreams seemed fun. But as the group progressed and we dug deeper into serious subject matter some girls spoke about the hurts from dating–past or present, and spoke up about insecurities brought on by the opposite sex whether that be directly or indirectly. And my heart ached. I love hearing my sisters in Christ be vulnerable and wanting healing from those things, but the Unicorn question still stuck a nerve in me. This question of who your unattainable, never going to get, never will get, semi-friend crush of yours, just sounds confusing and hurtful. I say this because any guy (or girl, for the males reading*) that you know and think you couldn’t ever get speaks of the devil’s lies.

Please note I am not writing this post with the mindset that I think of myself as this sexy woman boiling with confidence because of the overwhelming attention I get from all men I come into contact with–that just is not true. I’m your average girl. I’m a bit awkward, I usually find myself a disappointing one or two inches above the average guy, and for the most part I stress over that stupid area on my face that seems to be a breeding ground for pimples. I lack confidence in my outward and inward beauty everyday, but what saves me is the confidence I have in my God. That is what makes me beautiful. He is why I have even an ounce of confidence. I find beauty in myself not because of how many unicorns I have or haven’t caught, or how many complements I get despite my one crooked tooth and patch of blemishes on my face, but because I’ve been made beautiful by Him. You’ve been made beautiful by Him.

So to bring this rant back to Unicorns…What makes them so unattainable? You are the daughter of the King.

-TheRealChloeJayne

*Unicorn: The unattainable guy or gal that you have hearts in your eyes for.
*Apologies for writing this only to females, but gentlemen, you too are just as intricately made by our God. You boast of our creator’s workmanship. You are handsomely made. You are the son of the Most High and are dressed in His righteousness to conquer the disabling thoughts of Unicorns. 

One Wild and Precious Life

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I’ve had a friend persistently ask me for weeks now to go dancing with him. And each time he texts me, I’ll ignore it for some time, feel guilty, and then I’ll reply with some excuse like “No, sorry, I have work in the morning”–which is usually true, but going dancing will in no way drain me of my energy to get up at eight thirty or nine the next morning. I have layered up excuses that started to feel like a thick coating of wax over my mind, creating barriers between myself and the things I enjoy. I’ll be too tired (even though I’ll stay up later watching Netflix at home), I won’t fit in (who does?), I have two left feet (which I’m still fairly certain that one is true), and the list goes on.

A few weeks ago, my phone buzzed, and there was the text, I ignored it like usual, felt guilty like usual, and then starting typing back an excuse like usual, but half way through my phony reply I stopped my fraudulent fingers. I laughed at myself. I am some one who craves adventure. I am a person splitting paychecks in half in hopes that the extra money set aside will put me on my feet and wandering through some foreign city, or on a trail etched for me in the mountains, or a shoreline that even the most talented photographers can’t capture at sunset. I dream when the stars are out and I dream when they hide beneath the sunlight of the magnificence that awaits me one day, yet, I pile on excuses robbing me of the magnificence that awaits me today. This joy-stealing tendency of mine has made me miss out on friendships and laughter, and the beauty attained from new experiences. So as my cursor blinked steadily in the blank subject line, I smeared the wax coating off my mind and I went dancing that night. And I hate dancing. But I loved it that night.

To the friend who didn’t give up on me, thank you, you know who you are. And you’re right, I did smile more than I had in a very long time. And to another inspiration of this entry, thank you to one of my finest cousins for bringing my attention to a poem, written by Mary Oliver, that resonates with me more and more each day…

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Go live your one wild and precious life.

-TheRealChloeJayne

The Body of Christ and Hats

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“Actually, we request you handle it by the brim.” They always look up at you shocked. “Yessir, the brim,” I motioned to the sides of my own hat. He peered from the corner of his glasses from me back to the felt hat pinched tightly between his worn fingers and fumbled to grip the sides with an exasperated apology. “It’s alright, sir, a hard habit to break,” I said smiling, stepping back, and standing nearby waiting for anything else I could assist him with.

I work in a hat store. A haberdashery of some sorts. I didn’t ever think that was where I would work when I’d have my first job. I don’t think anybody really does. Not anymore at least. I hadn’t a clue they really existed any longer to be honest, I guess I knew they did, but you don’t usually find yourself thinking specifically about whether or not there is a nearby “haberdashery.” It’s strange. To be truthful, I landed the job because of my mother. She had gotten a job within the store, but I don’t like saying that, because I think when I tell people I work with my mother, at a hat store, I think it makes her sound a few pay grades under her beautiful, fantastic soul. I usually end that conversation with, “No, she does the important stuff in the office,” people nod wearily. Anyways, the woman recruited me for unpacking and checking-in shipments, and that was that. But after awhile, I was switched from the back of the store, where the not-so-organized inventory is held, to the front of the store where you have to wear presentable clothing (Hey! Clothing, I told you…I’m getting better at wearing it), and know a thing or two about hats–which I didn’t, but now I know at least a thing–“Yessir, the brim.” I’ve been working at this local shop going on four years now. Off and on, and part-time, but four years. And with a strange turn of events, I am now in charge of taking pictures of hats for our website.

I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket as I was ushered into the shop by the cold wind. I had missed a call from my manager, and as I began to redial, the store phone rang. “We need a dark and a light colored hat, and grab a fascinator.” I exchanged a few smiles with customers and bantered with a fellow employee as I made my rounds picking out hats before I disappeared with my camera. And it was in the dim lit warehouse we have at the back of the store, when I was adjusting, and dusting, and brushing off the hats, that it is a hard habit to break. I focused my lens on the smooth grey beaver fur of a Stetson hat, zooming in to capture the right lighting and color, and then back out to catch the entirety of the hat. The fibers all swayed in one direction, all swooping counter-clockwise, all bringing the different strands of fur from that one layer of felt to make up this reasonably small, delicately crafted, hat. My mind drifted to the body of Christ. And then back to the conversation I had earlier with that customer, “Only by the brim, Sir.” So much expectation for these new people in the store, so much that they fumble and sometimes apologize multiple times. But I’m not there to scold them, I’m there to help correct them so they don’t continue to make the same mistakes, damaging the hats. My mind drifts back to the body of Christ and how I fit into that. I’ve had to learn how to act as a woman of Christ, and I still haven’t mastered it, I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand how to, I know for certain I don’t always portray myself as one, although I really do wish I would. And as I fumble and apologize because I handle certain situations foully, or don’t glorify Him the way that I should, or have been taught how, I know that He isn’t mad at me. He isn’t waiting nearby to scold me when human nature kicks in. I have a lot of things that are simply hard habits to break and He waits patiently, standing nearby, assisting me in my adjustments.

TheRealChloeJayne