An open letter to my readers

open-letterI’m curled up under blankets typing this to you: my readers. This letter is long over due and my heart is literally bursting at the seams as I type this. If you were here, we’d be snuggled up on the couch, drinking coffee, sharing our stories. But, since the internet world is what connects us, this letter will have to do.

So, here you go. Here’s my heart.

This life is hard (can I get an amen??). Like gut punch kind of hard. Many of you have shared bits and pieces of your stories with me and there are times I sit behind my screen with tears streaming down my face. Because, I see the pain. I get it. I connect with it. I hear the struggle, the fight – and I want nothing more than to scoop you up in my arms and make it all better.

We need each other. We need community. We need a village. Dear God almighty we need to get back to embracing being co-dependent. (Yep, I’m one of those crazies that believes co-dependency can actually be a good thing. A healthy thing. For you Bible lovers, I’ll back it up with scripture)

God himself is co-dependent. He doesn’t do anything outside of Jesus and the Holy Spirit and likewise they don’t operate outside of Him. Three in one. And, we’re made in his image. So, why would we try to do life independently? It goes against the way we’re made. And, if you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work. Lonliness is killer.

I have a small close knit group of people that I trust with my life. Like literally. They have lived life with me for years….some for decades. Every high moment, they share with me. And when life slams me to the ground, they lay down in the mud with me until I find my way out.

THEY ARE AMAZING.

I CAN’T EVEN.

Words cannot express the depth of love I have for these people. They’ve seen my ugly cry. They’ve listened to my crazy rants. They know the depth of me and  champion me to the core. (You know who you are. And I love you to pieces)

We ALL need this.

People have been living in tribes, in community, in villages, like FOREVER. It has been a means of survival for centuries.

Yet, even inside our community we fight this need. We push it away. Until the late hours of the night when we can’t sleep (and have eaten way too much ice cream) we get out our computers, phones, laptops, what have you, and we find our village. We collect more pieces of our tribe.

YOU ARE PART OF MY TRIBE.

Can I just say, I love you faithful readers of this blog??!! You are my people. My brain mates. You all are the breath of what I am made to do. Every word you type on here, every response and every comment, I cherish. Deeply cherish. I don’t respond to every comment, but I read them all. I don’t always respond to emails, but I read (and treasure) all of them (so please, keep writing!!).

YOU ARE AN AMAZING BRILLIANT GROUP OF JESUS LOVING MINDS AND I SERIOUSLY WANT TO SQUEEZE ALL OF YOU. ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

I am a listener. I’m a handcrafted listener. If we met for coffee, this is what we’d do: I’d study you, listen to you and capture every word you said. I’d ask questions and listen some more. After processing, I’d respond. It’s how I’m made.It’s how I work.

In many ways, this is what this blog has become for me. A conversation. Every time you comment or email, I take it in. I listen, I study, I process. And then I write. My blogs are often my responses to the conversations I receive from you in connection with the ongoing conversations I’m having with God.

I LOVE THAT. I LOVE THIS RHYTHM.

And in listening, I’ve learned that I have some of the greatest followers there are. Like for real. You are deep thinkers, listeners and learners. You are willing to see Jesus outside of the religious box. You love his spirit, his heart and his passionate, wild love. So do I. And that’s why I love you; and probably why we found each other in this crazy internet world.

We all need community. People who understand and champion us. People who value us enough to value the things that make us who we are – even if those things are different.

You won’t find two minds exactly alike (and what a boring world that would be anyway). But, real community forms when people take the time to study and learn each other. When you learn a person, you will love that person. Because, when you take off the masks, the stereotypes, the social, religious or political differences, you find that we are all very much the same.

We are human. Every single one of us. We all have hurt. We all have stories. We all have hopes. We all have dreams. We all are broken vessels trying to carry on. We all long to be known and connected. This is who we are as the human race.

One of the unexpected surprises from this blog was when I felt that shift happen.

When people of different backgrounds and beliefs sort of came together around this idea of loving like Jesus to those around them. I have received countless emails from people from all different backgrounds and beliefs….and you know what? My heart connected with every single one. There is a heart connection that happens when you expose.

When you let go of what you think people want to hear, what you think you should say/be/do, WHATEVER – when you let all that go and all you’re left with is the human heart, everything becomes so much more simple. We see each other as people. Not as projects. Not as individuals to fix or correct. But just people.

When you begin to see people as people, you gain respect for them. And out of that comes love. Real, authentic love. You begin to look a whole lot like Jesus.

So, thank you for being an extension of my community. My tribe. Keep it up. Keep thinking outside the box and loving fiercely. You all are amazing.

Love you bunches.

Anna

16 thoughts on “An open letter to my readers

  1. Hi Anna! So good to see and read your post. I have so been wanting to reach out to you! I love you! And your girls!❤ I feel so bad that I was crying when I talked to you last… there you were hurting …and comforting me and sharing your precious Noa with me😍 I can’t tell you how much I will miss your sweet loving spirit. I pray that you are doing ok and find peace. I would love to get together sometime if you are open to that. I’ll leave that up to you. I do have a couple of unspoken prayer requests that I would appreciate your prayers over❤❤❤ Love, Royalyn

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  2. Love reading your heart. Jesus is all we have. We need support and hugs and ears to open our hearts up to each other. Love hearing your thoughts.

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  3. I loved how you state that we need community. It is so healthy for our minds to be among like minds. It saddens me when people can not look past their individual differences so we can discover our likeness.

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  4. Hi Anna

    I don’t know if you get an email by me simply pressing reply but here goes. J I love your posts because of their earthy rawness. Their authenticity. Their cutting across the Christianese that we have been subject to for decades. Today’s post resonated (as they usually do in some way) because I have recently come to the realisation that we are not here to fix people. That is not our job. (..it took a while…). We are here to point the way to the One who can, and to pray fiercely for the ones that He brings into our world. I know a couple of young people who are in confusion / conflict about their sexuality and their faith. I have realised that they are not people who need ‘fixing’. They need us to point the way to the passionate love of God and in the process He will do what He needs to in order for them to know wholeness.

    God’s hands are big enough for all of us. The Holy Spirit knows the deepest heart and soul needs of each person. We can constantly blow it because we roll out the pat answers –and sometimes there are simply no answers. Only questions.

    Bless your heart Anna – and keep writing! May God continue to protect and guard your life and that of your precious family. Happy 2017!

    X Janine

    New Zealand

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  5. Thank you for your dear kind and genuine words. I really love reading every post of yours and others I follow. It is encouragement to me, because I’m the only Christian in my family. I can’t talk with them about the things of God as I can other Christians. I enjoy sharing with others about my dear Lord. It gives me strength to go on when I get discouraged and want to throw my hands up and quit. But I realize that isn’t an option. My family’s souls are at stake. Please keep on sharing with us and thank you for being a light in this dark world.

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  6. You are one person who shares her heart quite openly.
    You mentioned all the different types of people from all walks of life with whom you have connected. Well…this would be imitating Christ. He did this very thing, without requirements or pretexts.

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  7. Anna, I so needed to read your Open Letter post! For one thing, I never thought of your wonderful blog as a conversation. I discovered a depth to your writing that I hadn’t realized–that we ARE a community! Your ability to stir the Holy Spirit in me has impacted my life in so many ways. What I cannot put into words, Janine from New Zealand said best. Prayers, always, for you and your family.

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  8. “When you begin to see people as people, you gain respect for them. And out of that comes love. Real, authentic love. You begin to look a whole lot like Jesus.”
    I am a Jesus follower and my day (and night 🙂 job is Youth Ministry. I want to put this on a board and hang it up to help me and others live this! THANK YOU!

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  9. Thank you so much for your words and your gift!! I read this blog daily and it’s the most REAL thing I’ve ever felt in a devotional. I am glad to be in your tribe. God Bless and keep doing it !!

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  10. Hi Anna,

    From Chios, a Greek island in the far side of the Aegean Sea, thank you.
    I got to know Jesus at the age of 36 (now I am 56) and until that time I always wanted to belong somewhere. I tried many “somewheres”… like motorcycle clubs etc, but there was always something missing, something I could not identify and each time left me more and more isolated to myself. Is it different after Jesus? Yes, and although I make very slow progress as far as opening up to others, it is far better than the alternative. Your book (Forgiveness is not an Option) helped me a lot. Seeing Jesus “outside of the religious box”, I believe is the only way to REALLY SEE Jesus.
    Thanks again

    Love,
    Dimitris

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    • Big hugs to you Dimitris!! Love how much our stories can connect us – even from the other side of the world. Keep being a fierce light my friend.
      Hugs,
      Anna

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