Mangoes + Patience

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The last few months I've been going to the grocery store and buying a mango each week. 
Just one. 
Mangoes are sweet, so rich and nostalgic. 
I was 15 the first time I can remember eating a mango. 
We were in the Bahamas for a mission trip with my youth group.
We weren't near a resort with a waterslide or poolside service with free virgin daiquiri (I was 15), rather in an impoverished, yet a beautifully content community. 
Months before that had been struck by a hurricane and our youth group went for a week to help rebuild homes and lead a Vacation Bible School for local kids.

One evening I walked down to the beach with Kit and Gary, removing ourselves from the group like we were told not to do. The waves crashed in the distance as we stumbled upon a mango tree. Locals were eating them nearby and we did as they did. 
I ripped one off the tree, rubbed it on my shirt and bit into like an apple. 
They yelled from a distance, waving their arms with a big smile and told me to peel it.
I had no idea. 
It didn't look like a banana. 
We began to peel them with the pocket knives we had purchased from the Flea Market back home. I slowly removed the green and yellow skin as mango juice ran down my arm, leaving a trail of sticky. 
And it was worth it. 
Nothing had tasted so pure. 
I never knew what my life had been missing until I tasted a mango.

Each week I wait for my store-bought, $0.99 mango to become ripe enough to eat.

My patience is tested daily.

Like time, patience can be cruel and straining.
Patience is birthed from expectation as we endure for something greater to arrive. 
For all I have come to know I am beginning to see patience is confidence that is ready and willing to continue through the pain and unknown.
In patience we are purified, slowed down to see with clear eyes as our selfishness and desperation is refocused, handing us perspective and understanding in return. 
Our appreciation grows with our longing, like Christmas or following a losing sports team. 
And it is in seasons of patience I watch God work. 
Patience, though it is painful, is the way to so much more. 
To something so sweet. 
And rich. 


It's as if patience holds a promise for us. 

Stay

stay written to speak @tannerjolson @writtentospeak.jpg

Every day is a battle.

I know anxiety has 8 legs and it crawls seeking to end.
I know depression has the strength of a hundred.
I know regret is a blinding pain and the screams of guilt are deafening as they are silent.

And I know some days it’s tempting to leave this all behind.
To leave the pain and fear.
To step away from the mountains you are tired of climbing.

But your mountain is not meaningless.

What you are going through does not define or describe you.
Your mountain is an invitation to stay and climb.
And struggles like mountains were not made to be climbed alone.
And you were not made to climb alone.
We were made to climb together and so we will.
We were made to be together for each other.
We were made to stay.

Stay.
Stay for tomorrow.
Stay for what is to come.
You were made for more than yesterday.
You were made to live and living is a hard thing, but being alive is a good thing.

Stay.

Staying here together is better than leaving alone.

Stay.


Post inspired by To Write Love on Her Arms.
"To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery."

Visit www.twloha.com for more information.


Some Days

Some days you'll need the open road and loud nostalgic music.

You'll need phone calls with family and conversations with old friends.

Some days you'll need the rain and you'll need the window down.

Some days you'll need to get out of the car and take a picture in the middle of the road, or pull over to watch the sunset.

Most days you'll need a cup of coffee and an open Bible.

And you'll need to get a refill on both.

Some days you just need to be reminded that today is another day.

And you'll need to do things to remind yourself that you're you and you're alive to live.

But every day we will need each other and we will need to be reminded that we aren't alone.

Every day we will need meaningful hugs and hopeful smiles.

We will need to hear we are loved and that it's ok for us to be ourselves.

Some days we will have to ask to be told these things; other days honest words of love will be freely spoken into our lives.

And those are the days we live for.

Those are the days that keep us alive.

And being alive is a good thing.

when lies become believable

When Lies become believable written to speak tanner olson tannerjolson.png

 

Some days I let the lies become the truth.

What you’re doing doesn't matter.
You aren’t wanted here.
You aren’t good at ____ or _____.
You’re a failure.

They don’t really like you.
People are only pitying you.

Lies suffocate as they cripple, shutting the doors to freedom, locking ourselves away in a room of disdain and disqualification.
The truth is swallowed by the darkest of fears, leaving us to forget certainty.
And sometimes, it’s the things we know to be true that are the easiest to forget.
. . .
I’ve never seen her without a smile on her face or an adventure written in her planner. She is a community builder, a force for good, and someone my wife + I cannot wait for our children and dog to meet.

Holding back tears, she told me what someone had called her.

Clingy.
Needy.
Controlling.
Suffocating.


Bold lies.
Believable
 lies.
Intoxicating lies.
Lies dressed up as the truth.


I never knew this to be true and hadn’t heard anyone else say these things about her.

These accusations grabbed hold of her mind, leading her to a dangerous place of what if’s and failure and questioning.
Is this really true? Is this really who I am?

One of the most beautiful things about friendship is that we get a to write a letter of truth in reply to a message of myth.

Our voices rise in unison as they shine bright a light of truth on the fiction, pulling certainty out of the darkness for all to see.

Our words fight together against overpowering lies to help lead another to see the beautiful truth.

We need each other to call out the lies and point each other to the truth; to speak honest words in the face of weary deception so we might move forward.

Mixed within the harrowing lies festers the burden of comparison.  
. . .
Comparison seeks to steal the best of us and show us the possible worst; nudging us with a loud whisper of you aren’t that, but you should be.
Or you are that and you shouldn’t be.

Comparison rots growth and leads us further from the truth.

Just like the lies we have come to believe.
But those lies aren’t true.
The lie we have come to believe is not true.

You are not ugly.
You are not a mistake.
You are not a waste. 
You are not your mistakes.
You are not stupid.
You are not unwanted.
You are not invisible.
You are not a failure.
You are not a burden.

Meet the lie with the truth.
Kill comparison and speak the truth.
Speak up for those who are being weighed down by deceit.

Keep Going

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Keep going.

When you don't want to wake up, keep going. 
When you wake up and don't want to get out of bed, keep going. 
When every step feels like a mountain, keep going.
When you don't want to admit that this is hard, keep going. 
When you shudder at the thought of someone finding out, keep going.
When the lies get loud, keep going.
When the lies get even louder, keep going. 
When you feel like no one is listening when you begin speaking, keep going. 
When you feel like the world would be better without you, keep going. 
When you don't want tomorrow to come, keep going. 
When the past is hard to swallow, keep going. 
When the future freaks you out, keep going.
When nothing seems to be going your way, keep going. 
When all you want is for today to be your last day, keep going.
When you can't fall asleep because your thoughts are louder than bombs, keep going.
And when you don't want to do another day again, keep going.

Keep going. 

Write it on your hand. 
Burn it on wood. 
Place it in your heart.

Keep going. 

Keep going because we need you to; we want you to. 

Keep going because I need you to.

Keep going because some days I don't want to keep going, 
but I need you to keep going so I can keep going. 

We keep going together. 
And we are going somewhere. 
We are going somewhere better together.
And we keep going because we are together for each other. 

Keep going.