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Look up and ahead, not down

When you first learn to ski you have the tendency to look down at your skis thinking it’s helping you control your skis and out come but actually you need to be looking ahead of your skis. You need to trust the equipment and the skills you’ve learned to know how to maneuver and look ahead to see what’s on the rise and determine where your next best move is.

There are days, weeks or even seasons where we get stuck looking down at our own circumstances or even checking out other’s circumstances instead of looking ahead and trusting what we’ve got is good enough. When we are caught up looking down, we can miss what is coming up and wipe out terribly. Don’t do that.

So, if you find yourself staring at your skis these days, take a pause, a deep breath, look up to the skies and thank God for all his beauty, then trust your equipment, look ahead and GO!

xo, ari

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Dear Church,

Dear Church, I’m waiting. I’m listening.

I will and listen for your comforting voice. The voice that sounds like mom when I am sick or the voice that should like dad’s pep talk ..

but I hear nothing.

I wait and listen for repentance and an apology to all those you hurt. One that is fully humble and sincere, one full of truth and heartache but hope that Jesus can heal it all…

but I hear nothing.

I wait and listen for words that rebuild trust instead I hear labels and names like “decisive and destructive” and the “wheat verses the weeds”. When will I hear the words that unite, heal and restore my trust? When will I hear truth to the many unanswered questions?

My heart aches for the healing of the church.

I wait. I listen. I hear nothing but pieces.

As I wait, confused why you don’t speak these needed words, I hear whispers to my heart through a song, Pieces by Amanda Cook. She sings of God’s love for us, the love modeled by our Savior, Jesus Christ. The singing of promises soothe the ache…

You don’t give your heart in pieces. Unreserved, unrestrained, your love is wild for me. It isn’t shy, Your love is proud to be seen with me. Not passive, never disengages, not broken, keeps it promises, not selfish and always pure….You don’t give your heart in pieces.

Dear Church, As I soak in the reminders of God’s love, I realize that all these things I’m waiting to hear boil down to love. I want the church to fully love, not just pieces of love. The Church must lead with love.

So Church, Where is your love?

My heart races as I ask such a scandalous question but

help

me

understand.

Where is your love? Please ask for a do-over and lead with love.

Oh Church,

I will wait and listen for you to lead with love. I will wait for the humility, honesty, integrity, repentance, full disclosure to your people, apologies to the masses; to the woman, to all those dismissed like the least of these out of the church, to the congregation for the secrets, misleading and broken systems.

I pray you get it right.

I will wait and pray but it can no longer be a passive wait, it must be an active wait. As you taught me the importance of community, of the Acts 2 church, I will gather my people, my community and seek a place that leads with love, not pieces of love, but fully leads with love as Christ did, a place that welcomes, everyone always.

posts

Family is all we have

Family is all we have

I was encouraging someone on their quest to rebuild relationships and I typed “at the end of the day, family is all we have.” and as I looked at the words on my screen, I could not hit send. Something is wrong with this statement. I believe it, don’t I?

So, here I am once again; a girl and her keyboard exploring life and what I believe. I am a truth and justice seeker by nature. Some like this about me, some don’t and I am okay with that. Today, I need to dig and uncover this truth; Is family all we got? Is family all that matters?

Loyalty is important to me. From a young age, I learned the destruction of dis-loyalty and decided that being loyal to people, especially your family was a priority. When you live your life like this, family becomes a top value. You sacrifice, put others first, put what is best for the family ahead of your desires because you are loyal. Our family is not with out fault, disagreements or mistakes but at the end of the day when everything settles down the family is still there.

So, why couldn’t I hit send?

As you know, I’m a faith girl. I wouldn’t say I am religious but I have deep faith and I believe Jesus’ greatest command is for us to love, love like he did. (I wrote a piece called Learning to Love if you want to know more of what that means or better yet read the New Testament.)
Maybe, I couldn’t hit send because this may seem to exclude God? God promises to never abandon us. Would I be offending God with the “all we have” part of the statement? Is that why I couldn’t hit send?

Hmmm, I do see God as my Father, as the head of the family. Decisions do not get made with out passing them by God, most ones anyway…maybe more decisions than not is safer to say. To know me is to know that this is deep rooted in me and this person would know this about me. It is safe to say that God is family to me, the top of my family so no, that is not the reason.

So, why couldn’t I hit send?

If I believe that family is needed to thrive in the life and if I believe I can say this without offending God because God is family, in addition it is known that I would never be excluding God, what is it that kept me from sending, “family is all we have”?

I re-read the sentence.

“at the end of the day, family is all we have.”

I read it again and then is comes.

Words trip me up. I am a word person. I read into meaning of words and I am conscious of the words I use.

The word in all this that is holding me up is family.

You see, I hold a different definition of family.

 

The official definition of family is as follows…

family

1. 
a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
◦ a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage.”friends and family can provide support”
2. 
all the descendants of a common ancestor.”the house has been owned by the same family for 300 years”

synonyms:
ancestry, parentage, pedigree, genealogy, background, family tree, descent, lineage, bloodline, blood, extraction, stock; More

 

I grew up in a household that blood, lineage nor ancestry alone determined the lines of family. God brought people into our lives to love, to include, to be family. Yes, blood and marriage determine family but this is not it for us. People are brought into our lives for us to love and some of them are brought in to be family— to do life together, the good and the hard, to encourage and help, . My parents and grandparents taught this, their parents taught this. My man and I are teaching this to our children. Family matters and God extends our families. We must celebrate and stand with them in deep waters. Family is more than blood.

I may now be able to type and send this variation, “At the end of the day, family, including God, is all that we have and by family I mean blood family as well as our God family.” Seems a bit wordy, but I feel better about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

posts

brave

My church gave out necklaces with words on it, words that were meaningful to your story. Words to hold on to and words to share. I got grace, which is a story for a different day, but what I wanted was Brave. Brave was one of the first to run out. A church full of woman on Mother’s day and many were seeking bravery. I was one of the many, but why? Shortly after, I had the opportunity to hear a woman speak about peace, the middle east and how she is connecting globally with woman of all beliefs and backgrounds. Her voice crackled occasionally but she was full of passion and compassion. She told of trips she took and brave truth in love conversations. I was fascinated. This petite woman was mighty. She was brave. At the end of the talk, I stood in line to speak to her. I stepped up and jumped right in with my story about all the brave necklaces running out and why do you think that is? Why are we all searching for bravery? She almost froze. She started to reply that she does not know anything about the necklaces. She missed it. I circle back explaining that I was not looking for new necklace but that bravery was what women on Mother’s day wanted more than anything else, more that love, joy, grace etc. Woman want to be brave. She now understood but I believe she was so caught off guard, she did not have much to say. She did not see it. Before me stood a brave woman telling her story bravely and I don’t believe she knew she was brave.

I have thought back to that moment several times. Overall I am a quiet person, but I can be a bit overwhelming to people when I have something on my mind and if it is on my heart, whoa, watch out. I now recognize how I could of better approached her and pulled back, pulled back my 8-ness for all you fellow enneagram followers. More importantly, I think back to bravery. Why didn’t she recognize it? Why do we want it?

Time to dig in.

brave
brāv/
adjective: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.”a brave soldier”
synonyms:
courageous, valiant, valorous, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, fearless, gallant, daring, plucky, audacious; unflinching, unshrinking, unafraid, dauntless, doughty, mettlesome, stouthearted, spirited; informal game, gutsy, gutty, spunky, skookum “they put up a brave fight”

Ready to face danger and pain? Yikes, maybe I am not looking for bravery. If I want it am I inviting danger and pain in? Brave. Brave. Brave. I like comfort and I like peace (again 8 all day) but I have been learning that I was made to do hard things. The hills and valleys of my life have taught me grit, endurance, confidence and grace. These things have prepared me or gotten me ready to face and endure danger or pain. The thing is, most days I don’t feel brave and not sure I want it. I am not even sure what the feeling of brave is anyway. When I wanted that necklace with the word brave on it, I think the thoughts of boldness, fearless and heroic were more of the words floating in my head. I wanted those titles. Strong words are appealing to me but I’m not searching for scary words like enduring pain or danger. Courage is a word that is appealing but at the same time sounds weak on a necklace. Courage. Courage. Courage is not the same as brave, similar. I need to explore it. What is courage?

cour·age
ˈkərij/
noun
noun: the ability to do something that frightens one. “she called on all her courage to face the ordeal”
◦ strength in the face of pain or grief. “he fought his illness with great courage”
synonyms:
bravery, courageousness, pluck, pluckiness, valor, fearlessness, intrepidity, nerve, daring, audacity, boldness, grit, true grit, hardihood, heroism, gallantry; More informal guts, spunk, moxie, cojones, balls

Interesting. With courage, one isn’t necessarily ready for the danger or pain. Ready sounds like one was prepared with intentional planning. Courage is a noun, an ability not a an adjective like brave. Courage means you are still frightened and do it anyway.

That awkward conversation taught me something about bravery and subsequently courage. The bravest actions are not from brave people. They are from people like me and like you. People who may or may not be ready to face danger and pain but instead people who say yes to the whispers from God. They are people of courage who sometimes stumble upon bravery. Whether they are ready before the yes or whether God prepares them along the way, they say yes and take a step forward. In that step, they may not see where their foot is going to land, but they have faith that God will guide it, prepare it and light the way for the next right step.

That brave woman, was no expert in bravery so didn’t claim the title. She had courage; courage to yes to God and over and over took the next right step. This is what bravery is, one who has courage and exercises courage repeatedly. She may have not felt ready but God equipped her and she said yes and has not stopped saying yes.

So, are we looking for bravery or are we truly looking for courage? The answer is yes. We need to start with courage and if we live our lives by saying yes even when we are frightened or faced with pain and grief, bravery will stumble upon us too. May we all be brave people, may we be ready and when we are not, may we be filled with the courage to take the next right step even if we don’t know where we are going to land. May we have faith like a child with are arms up in the air, looking into the face of our father instead of down at our feet.

I do not need a necklace to remind me, I have my sisters to encourage and tell me it is okay to be scared, just go do it anyway. As I remind myself, I remind you also. If you are hearing a whisper, if God is opening new doors for you, have faith, step forward scared— God has got you.

 

 

“So take me back, back to the beginning, when I was young, running through the fields with you.
Oh make us like children.”
Let it Happen by United Pursuit

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5 & 15

birthday-cake-cake-birthday-cupcakes-40183.jpeg

2-3-16

Today is a day of celebration.

15
Fifteen years ago today, Nate C. Heick was born and our lives were forever changed.

Nate means “gift from God” and he truly is a gift. We strive to be better parents, better people every day for him.

C. was meant to be a permanent reminder of his roots and honor my grandparents. Nate has a twinkle in his eye like my grandfather and a little naughtiness that reminds me of childhood stories he used to tell. He is witty and feisty like my grandma. My prayer is that Nate would learn to love and care for people and live a life worthy of his calling like my grandparents did.

Heick.  Nate will always be a Heick. These roots are God honoring, loyal and hard working. This name comes with a large network of supporters and friends we are blessed to call family. They open their doors and hearts and welcome others in. My husband and I both come from these types of families. On occasion, we all get together and an outsider watching the interaction would have a hard time picking who the actually siblings were. We are all friends. We are all family.

5
On his 10th birthday, my doctor called to tell me that there was NO cancer left in my body, my scans had all come back clear. Today marks 5 years C-Free! Today is a beautiful reminder that Nate is a gift from God and my life is a gift from God. My life is a miracle. I was given a second chance at this one wild adventure. It is beauty from dust.

The thing is, your life is a miracle too. You are here for a purpose. You are loved. What are you going to do with this wild adventure?

I’m still not 100% sure my purpose in this adventure so I have committed to loving God’s people, every day in whatever form it comes. Sometimes it is fun and easy and other days it is a true challenge. I am thankful for my warriors around me that rally and encourage me. I am grateful for my biggest fan, best friend and supporter, my husband. (I wouldn’t want to do this adventure with out you, Sweets.)

This portion of this song has been in my head for days….Beautiful Things by Gungor.

You make me new, You are making me new…
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.

 

So, be made new friends, beauty from dust, join me on this wild adventure and celebrate with me. God is good.

 

 

 

 

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Spring is coming

I’m standing on the ball of my foot and the other is resting on my toes. I’m looking left to right, near and far assessing everything. I’m about to move. I’m ready. I keep scanning trying to determine where I am supposed to go, but I am still unsure. So, I hold this position and I wait.

This is my life right now. I know something is coming and I am doing all I know to do to prepare for this unknown next step. I prepare and hold, prepare and hold. My dog is a pro at this. She hears something, smells change and freezes in a pose that is ready to spring to action. This is me, frozen but I am tired and somedays discouraged.

What is next? Honestly, I don’t know and not knowing is okay! Even typing that is hard some days, not knowing IS okay. Truly not knowing drives me crazy at times but then I remember that the plan is good because God is in control. God knows my name, my heart and even the hairs on my head. His plan is better than I can imagine so today as I stand ready to sprint. I will wait and be patient in the waiting. It will all be worth it.

How can you be sure?, you wonder. I am sure because God has not failed me yet. I’ve had hard life lessons and came near to death and yet I am grateful for each experience. Each season of life has made me who I am today. Each season made me stronger, taught my heart to love and to find beauty everywhere. I definitely do not wish to relive the disappointments, hurts and brokenness of life but I would not erase them either. Hard seasons develop our resilience, our grit. When we have grit, we get back up, dust off and go again. When we get to the other side and begin to see where we are to go, we know it was all worth it. There is beauty in the ashes. After winter, spring always comes. When I am in the hard or waiting season I need constant reminders of the beauty in that season as well as reminders that spring is coming.

Today, I read a blog about Sisterhood and that we need each other. I almost stood on my chair and yelled AMEN. I needed this reminder. Today, I got a phone call from a sister to encourage me to write, keep writing. I needed this reminder. Today, a sister reached out to grow me in my faith. I need this reminder today. Today, I read a FB post of friend coming out of a long winter and discovering her spring again. I needed this reminder. Today, my sis texted me to say “keep at it, those ideas are good.” I needed this reminder. So, TODAY, may I remind you that spring is on its way. Be patient in the waiting, stay ready- your time is coming. Keep seeking God and your path will be clear.
You’ve got this because the plan is good. Now reach out and be the reminder that someone else needs today. It’s time to rally sisters, tell everyone spring is coming.

May you know this grace and grit love. Ari H.