Meeting Paul Young

I just got home from meeting Paul Young, author of The Shack. I admit, I was so excited for the opportunity to meet him that I couldn't think of a thing to say or a single question to ask. He gave me a big hug when I approached him, then I just stood there, staring while he signed my book. I was in the presence of greatness. He's a man who's inspired millions to see God in a new, amazing way. His words, along with God's grace, have healed countless hurting souls. He is humble, down to earth, and a genuinely nice guy who talked about his grandchildren and spoke blessings over everyone he met. After a second, God-filled hug, I happily posed while my friend took a picture, which I, in turn, neglected to take for her. I was still dumbfounded. I wanted to soak up every millisecond of that moment, taking a chance that just a taste of his anointing might rub off on me.

After my face-to-face meeting, I had to sit down and regain my thoughts, which untimingly came up with a flood of questions and comments for my favorite author. Of course. Isn't that how it always works? I was reflecting on the opportunity I'd just had and wanted to see what he wrote in my copy of The Shack. I picked up my friends book by mistake and read his words to her. I assumed my inscription would say the same thing so I didn't bother looking right away. But when I did, his words jumped off the page and into my heart. The words in the front cover of my copy were different from my friends and read: 'Laura, Grace...whispers of relentless affection...singing your name!' How perfect considering grace has been the one word God has been speaking to me over and over the past several months. Also, like the name of this blog, Accessorized With Grace, is the title of the latest book I'm writing. I didn't even tell him I was a writer, let alone that I was writing a book about grace, so I know God speaks volumes, literally, through Paul Young's willing heart. And even though he probably has three or so phrases that he shuffles and uses on every book he signs, his pen scribed the one's that meant the most to me...and isn't it just like God to take every opportunity to show us that He cares about every aspect of our lives...celebrity encounters and all!


Quiet Change

It happened slowly. It was so sudden. It was subtle. I can't believe how obvious it was. I cannot fathom the complexity of it's simplicity. But in it, I changed. I would say it was the change itself I recognized first, but it was the quiet. The quiet led me to the sonic chaos I now face. I always loved sound. Any sound. Anything to create noise in the dooming silence that surrounded my core. Music blaring. Drums beating. I hated the quiet; the stillness; being left alone with my own thoughts. I never would have believed the quiet would reveal its strength to me. Not me. Not a woman so full of loudness.

I'd used the volume of my noise as a drug since childhood, and the drug as a way to shout over the noise of my loudness. It sounds absurd. But that is what happens when you abuse a drug like distraction, it diverts you from the silence and makes you forget your emotions. But, today, today I remembered mine. They trampled very quietly back into my core and broke the loudness. My emotions told on me. They told myself that I could feel again. That I should feel again. And that is how I recognized it. In the quiet, for the first time in a decade, I sat, in silence, and just breathed in. I inhaled the feeling of pain. Then I exhaled the numbness I'd been addicted to for so long. I inhaled sadness. Then again I took in the deep, penetrating breathe of pain. And I sat. I just sat. In the silence I sat and never once tried to tune out the feelings with music or the TV or my own voice blabbing on about insignificant tales to hush the hurt warming my frost bitten interior. And that is when I knew I'd changed...when I welcomed the sweet sounds of nothingness.

I don't know how long I just sat there, feeling every emotion that had led me to this day. It wasn't long enough, however long it was, because with every breath came the same sensations of loss, deep sorrow, fear and pain. Then, as if in rhythm with my tearing heart, out came the chaotic cries of my brokenness, accompanied by cascading tears beating on my cheeks like drumsticks to a cymbal. My heart kicked as if it had been jump started. I curled into a ball, holding my chest with my shaking hands as my body rocked back and forth until I went limp, sending me dead-like to the floor. And I wished I had died. That my heart had exploded and I was lying there waiting to face the judgement of God instead of facing my new life. I didn't know how to do it. How to be this person. How to live as this new woman who allowed feelings to dwell within her and not fight against the ache she felt in every moment. I didn't know how to continue being still, in God's presence, and just feel the weight of emotion come upon me. I preferred the numbness. The noise. The deafening pitch that covered my cries.

But I had changed. I let silence in and peace overpowered the pollution. I turned on the voice of God and rested in his warmth as the bitter cold of my past was awakened. My emotions became a strength and diversion was no longer the substance I craved. And this, this is where it all began.


I Know That He Knows

guilt overpowers me
can't reach for God's hand of safety
afraid if He gazes into my eyes
He'll see my heart of confusion and lies
I know that He knows
I know that He sees
I know He doesn't care
how far I followed sin
He's there to forgive
this war raging within

bathing in lust
clothed in transgression
He already knows
how far I've jumped in
the waters of temptation
drowning my soul
I reach for His hand
but always let go
I know that He knows
I know that He sees
this guilt that I carry
is killing me

He sits & He waits
for me to rest on His knee
like the child I once was
as I'm created to be
He tells me He knows
He says that He sees
but He doesn't care
He forgave long ago
I reach out with my life
and take hold of His word
I was forgiven
I was washed clean
I breath in His compassion
no longer suffocating

I know that He knows
I know that He sees
I know He doesn't care
the past is behind me
I know He knows
I know He sees
He doesn't care
how long it took
He welcomes me back
with the same tender look
He's glad that I know
glad that I see
I can always come back
and drink of His mercy



I cannot say I understand all there is to know about Grace, but I have learned that I would not be here if it weren't for God's grace over my life and health. Grace has nothing to do with our deeds or earned worth or proved goodness, it is simply a gift from God. Grace is an 'enabling power sufficient for progression. God's sovereign favour for humankind'. Grace is also defined as 'an indispensable gift from God for development, improvement, and character expansion. Without God's grace, there are certain limitations, weaknesses, flaws, impurities, and faults humankind cannot overcome'. When God first started talking to me about grace I was all, "Okay God, I appreciate the challenge you've offered to develop and improve upon myself, but I DO NOT need anymore character at this time, thank-ya-very-much! I've been called a character my whole life and I certainly don't need one more issue of health to overcome as a way of expanding my horizons!" But despite my protests and prayers, I did experience another pain to overcome; a hurt so profound it became hard to breath. A hurt God knew was coming.

God knew I would lose my dream of ever getting pregnant. But He also knew I would trust in Him enough to come out on the other side of sickness and thank Him for his gift of grace. He didn't let it happen because He couldn't stop it. He didn't watch me struggle because He didn't want to prevent it. I believe that when they cut into my stomach, they cut into His heart. When my husband held me in his arms, God held us both in His. When I wept, God wept. And when I finally found peace in all that occurred, it was God who removed the chaos of emotions and provided rest for my soul. He did not in any way just sit back and watch me suffer. He let me live. He let me live my human life in my human body and experience human things.

I cannot blame God for letting me be the very thing He created me to be. If I wanted Him to take away every bad thing that could possibly go wrong in my life He would have to take away all the good things too. I would have to hand over my laughter and my grand love for life and my family. I would have to stop trusting in God because I would no longer need to trust in Him. I would no longer need Him. I would no longer need life. Because life, without actually living it, is death. And no one needs faith once they are already dead. I love that God is the kind of friend who believes in me. He trusted in me enough to go into battle and fight, knowing that He was with me the whole time. He knew my strength. He knew my passion. He knew me. He knew me better than I do, which isn't saying much because I admit I change so often I can't even keep up with my ever changing likes and nuances. But God can. I need Him. I need His goodness and His protection and His undeserving grace. I like needing Him. I want to need Him.