I am writing this sitting in an amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. I remember when I first sat in these seats. It was the first time I stepped onto this property taking in all of its beauty. I was here feeling called and drawn to revival. Little did I know how much that single night would change the trajectory of my life. I remember sitting next to my friend taking in the environment around me. There was a radiance enveloping the people gathered. I didn’t know what it was but I knew I wanted it.

Almost two years later I am sitting roughly in the same spot that I sat that night taking it all in. I never thought I’d get to sit here again. I mean, lets be real, two years ago I loved Jesus but there was still much healing, much growth, much submitting left to do. I had a personal relationship with God but it was nearly surface level stuff. I knew who he was. I knew what he could do. I saw him do it so many times in my life and my husband’s. But, that night, there was a freedom that I gained and I never looked back.

As I sit here I think about when I walked onto this property four days ago. I saw a familiar face, a face I’ve come to know as safety. I have had the privilege to hear this woman’s testimony, to see her complete vulnerability. Suddenly my anxiety and wish to turn back subsided. I had said yes so many months ago to be here this week. For the first time since I had opened my eyes that morning I was willing to be all in. I was willing to be completely bare. For the first time in a long time I didn’t have a friend to hide behind. For the first time in a long time I didn’t have a friend to do all the talking. This was it. This was the time my clipped wings was made to soar. I was scared to death.

But that has been the theme for this month. This month I’ve said yes on things I never would have said yes to two years ago. I have been on a journey in September putting myself out there in my unfamiliar. Pushing myself in a way that I have never pushed myself. Pushing myself to hear the name God calls me by and claiming it. Pushing myself to say yes when I know I’d usually say no. Pushing myself to make connections and to be present. Pushing my self to be open and completely vulnerable. Pushing myself to not be the Pearl I have come to know.

This month I said yes to Soul Care. I said yes to be a part of a book club all about identity. Identity in Christ. Identity that I was meant to live in. We are reading a book called Abba Child and let me tell you that understanding my false identity and when its trying to knock me down has been an eye opener.

This month I said yes to a Writing Intensive. This week I packed my bag and traveled to this beautiful retreat center in Corbett, OR to write my book. This week I said yes to something God had put on my heart nearly twenty years ago. The beauty of saying yes? My unfamiliar was suddenly not so unfamiliar. I have met some incredibly amazing people that will be a part of my life forever. Sisters and brothers in Christ whose stories have touched me and made me want to be better.

This month I said yes to my book. Twenty years in the making. I said yes to be critiqued, pushed, held accountable by a writing coach. I said yes to get my story out and all of the ugly and miraculous of it. It’s gonna be intense but I still said yes.

I look at the water, the trees and the sun shining over the Columbia River Gorge and I am so thankful that for once I wasn’t stubborn. That for once I wasn’t trying to control the narrative. That for once I said yes when I was scared. I’ve finally realized saying yes to God in the unfamiliar can bring so much freedom.

For the love of self, I will say yes to restoration, to joy, to the unfamiliar. xoxo