You Are Welcome Here

Hard to believe I started writing here over a decade ago.  Seasons change and we change with them.  We grow.  We ebb and flow, and old words and worlds fall away.

Winter comes.  Sometimes our stories need silence to become what they truly are.  

Stories reduced down to meaning lived out.  Stories with skin made real in the seasons that leave stretch marks on our souls. 

I don’t write to give answers.   I write with the bold hope that sharing my journey might somehow become an invitation for you to embrace more of your own.

Whatever that journey looks like.  Wherever these words find you.  However they encourage or challenge you.  Take the ones that give you life.  Leave the rest.

I’m not here to tell you what you should think or believe.  I’m not here to change you.  Or to debate a million debatable things. 

I’m here in the sacred hush between letters and lines to offer a space where your soul can breathe.  A space to become.

I’m going to talk about faith.  About finding it in unexpected places.  Having it stretched and shredded and shattered.  Then reframed and renewed and reinvigorated. All in ways I’d could never have imagined.

Christ is central to my journey.  But that doesn’t have to be true for you in order for you to be welcome here.

And when I say Christ, I don’t mean the neatly packaged, very white, GQ Jesus I saw in Sunday School books and films.  Or God with a doctrine ruler sternly checking to see if I said the right words and measured up to standards.  Rather, my story is about the One who has met me again and again in the middle of my deepest fear and pain.  The One who looks utterly different from the institutions that bear his name.

Annnnnnd…. aiiyyee, I know a fair bit about those institutions.  I worked and led in senior-level ministry settings for over 2 decades, on or between 4 continents.  There were beautiful moments and precious people.  But the brokenness of the system whose shards desperately wound the very ones it claims to serve almost cost me my life.  

Just shy of 10 years ago, I turned in my ordination and stepped into the unknown.  This is the story of my undoing, and my becoming.  This is the story of finding my voice, and the courage to use it. 

Of chasing hope into the labyrinth of my own pain and finding the bravery to begin again, to believe and trust that even the sharpest fragments of my story are worthy of belonging.  And every sliver of your story is worthy of belonging too.

I now live in Florida and am a full-time watercolor/mixed media fine artist and author writing at the intersection of contemplative living, creative practice, and resilience. 

4w5, INFJ, HSP, Ravenclaw (IYKYK), dog mom, TBI warrior, Welsh-tea drinker, definitely left of center, certifiable word nerd, once called by my undergrad intro to ministry professor the most lovable heretic he ever met. 😉 To which I replied, “Why thank you. That’s totally going in my bio one day.” (It just took 20 years to make an appearance.)

Whatever you believe, however you identify, wherever you are as you read these words, you are welcome here.  If you’re heart-weary, soul-crushed, chewed up, and left wondering where home is, I have a pot of tea on the stove.

Spiritual abuse is real. Religious trauma is real. Gaslighting is real.

Especially when parts of the US church landscape more closely resemble cults than healthy spiritual communities. You aren’t being over-dramatic or too sensitive. It is not the leader’s role to control, contain, or corral you. You deserve to be heard and believed, seen, and celebrated.

It is my deep desire this would be a place where that reality is explored… and embodied.

Leaving the institutional church of the building behind was one of the scariest, hardest decisions of my life. I hope by sharing more of my journey, it will remind you that you aren’t alone in yours.

Because, you, my friend are wildly loved— Michele