Wave After Wave

Ever have those moments when you really fully exhale? Releasing tension and stress you knew you were holding but couldn't fully uncurl your fists around? It reminds me of how the salt water swoops up the shore, then sucks it and anything in its path back down into itself. Not a riptide, per se, but that undeniable pull no matter how high you lift your feet to step back and away from it.

My feet sink in the sand and I stare across the glittering expanse that is the Atlantic Ocean. One sister's fearless in the waves, the other laughingly says, "Just think, England's right there."
We're really here. All together in one place. At the beach. Steps away from the shore, for my parents dream vacation.
I have just about almost caught up on sleep. Last week prior to CFRR saw about eighteen hours of sleep for three or four days. That was rough.
But thanks to the incredible presence of God in that hotel in Cinncinatti where almost two hundred people gathered to celebrate story?
I'm finally beginning to get centered again.
Rachael's Reads, Bookworm Mama, & Me

I roomed with The Rach(a)els, got to hug tight so many dear souls who I hadn't seen for a year—had only met last year at the first CFRR—but over the course of the last year a group of us have stayed in touch daily, prayed for each other, spoken truth over one another, and anxiously awaited the next reunion that came and went in a flash, leaving us all with a dizzying book/travel hangover.
Me, Susie Finkbeiner, Jocelyn Green (!!!), Rachel McMillan and Alexis De Weese all played "hookie" for almost an hour in the afternoon of the event. Not that we weren't loving the bookish fangirling and the sessions on subtle faith and the change in Christian fiction or book boyfriends, but we are all introverts. Sleep deprived overly caffeinated introverts. And so we all got to kick back and just be for a little bit. Women who I've only known over the internet and social media—and through their paperbound beauties. If you've been around here for any length of time, you've probably seen me gush about Jocelyn Green's Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War series. So to meet her in person, get multiple hugs (and selfies), and be handed her latest book, a non-fiction called Free to Lean? Yeah, still pinching myself.

Jesus knows bodies of water still my heart and draw my eyes up to Him unlike anything else. Nature and worship music both do that.
Yesterday on the beach when our resident mermaid was taking a breather from wave-jumping, I pulled up the song You Make Me Brave and played it for her.
The chorus goes something like this,
As Your love in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us, You are not against us
Champion of heaven You've made a way
For all to enter in.

And the last few days? From my first solo roadtrip down to Ohio to CFRR, the day and a half spent with some of the most incredible women in my world—who've become soul sisters in how they see me and hear me with the kindness and grace of Jesus—and now at the beach with my family?
These waves of mercy that in truth never cease from my great God, even on the chaotic days? I'm taking time to lean into them, and not let fear hold me back, feet rooted into the sand as I flail around to keep that ever elusive balance.

Lean into the waves of God's love. Take a step forward, ears attuned for His whisper through the crashing of the salt water. And don't be afraid to fall—because He will always, always catch you.

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

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