Saturday, January 5, 2019

His watchful eye

[ i sing because i'm happy, i sing because i'm free ... for His eye is on the sparrow and i know He watches me. ]

i catch myself singing this song sometimes when i am anxious. as if i am absentmindedly telling myself everything is going to be okay. that the Lord sees me - that He has not forgotten about me. the truth is - sometimes i feel like He doesn't see me. sometimes i feel like He may have forgotten. i hate to even say it - because i know it isn't true - but it's how i feel. sometimes.

at the beginning of november i went to a writers retreat. 30 beautiful and unique women were there. i had a room full of mama's. Jesus was present. hearts were healed. stories were told. memories poured out of us like a fresh cup of hot coffee. some beautiful - some painful + some so raw it was hard to even write.

that weekend more dreams and hope for my future began to flourish. i felt God telling me that the path i am on is the right one - but He asked me to promise to let Him lead. He brought women into my life who spoke beautiful words over me - even further nailing in the truths He wanted me to hear. i walked through the doors of that weekend wondering if i was doing the right thing. "am i really supposed to write it all down God?" "are You sure i am cut out for all this?" and so softly and tenderly just as He always has - He answered - in big ways. HE SAW ME.

i called home to mom and dad one afternoon - while sipping a chick-fil-a iced coffee + began to tell them about it. but soon realized that some of the words i had written i couldn't even read to them.
and then it hit me like a ton of bricks - everything i write is not for everyones eyes. it was shocking to realize ... and at the same time i shouldn't have been one bit surprised.

i have always been loud with my story. screamed it from the rooftops. we have begged the nations for prayer from the minute i was born. and yet - as i sat there with my coffee i realized - i can keep some things to myself. you may be thinking [ it took you this long? ] but friends :: when your story has always been public - you just let it be.

i have been quiet here on the blog. a 6 month hiatus. because what i have been writing - is either waiting to be read at a later date - or tucked away never to be read because it is too sacred.

i feel like i need to tell you :: that i'm sorry for being a broken record here the last few years. the highs and lows of writing and stopping. and constantly telling you i'm writing my book but abandoning ship here at the blog... to be honest this book has been harder to write than i ever imagined. i have changed courses a few times. and the entire thing has been like one big therapy session without a therapist. some days i sit in starbucks and erase full paragraphs because they don't make sense. other days i just can't write because the memories are too hard to reflect on.

the other day i was sitting at my sister's kichen table and we were talking about my future. how i feel called to write and travel and speak - but i just don't know what it will look like. she got up to grab some water and said "shelbs i'm sure this book has been really hard to write - healing but still really hard to remember everything because none of what you went through was normal." she gets me.

so i'm sorry ... for abandoning + floundering + choosing not to share - even when so much life is being lived. sometimes it's just too hard.

there are times where i just need to be silent and reflect. and the past 6 months i just needed that.

i am not one for resolutions ... mostly because i don't like to disappoint myself. but this year i am going to try to write more. be present here. decide not to abandon ship. and welcome you in. even when it's hard.

the past few days i have felt extremely anxious. probably because i've been sick + so i get all weepy and feel cruddy + basically turn into a toddler. so between podcasts and naps - i've been praying and writing and asking God what i should do next...

i talk to God when i drive. i tell Him about my day. ask Him questions. cry. yell. beg. wonder. all of it. He can handle it. sometimes mid conversation someone will cut me off or i will have to slam on my breaks for a red light + i yell a bad word. and then i have to apologize to God because i cussed mid prayer. i imagine he just shakes his head like my dad does here on earth and thinks something like ...  " i raised you better shelby elyse ... but i forgive you." i always imagine God calls me by my first and middle name.

anyways ... today i had to run to the store because i ran out of elderberry syrup for my immune system #granolagirl ... and so i was talking to God and telling Him that i'm all done being sick... and i was like [seriously Man!?  i was just home with mom for 2 weeks and you let me get sick when i'm back here in the land of ice and snow all alone?]

and then it hit me ... HE SEES ME.

so despite not feeling good. despite wanting to shut everyone out. despite days when it is too hard to write. despite not knowing exactly what is next...

[ i sing because i'm happy. i sing because i'm free. for His eye is on the sparrow...
and i know He watches me. ]

He sees you too fam...

He sees you too.

Be Brave

Shelby Elyse

Monday, June 25, 2018

it's hard to have a heartbeat in two different places.

i have a question.

Q: have you seen those trendy t-shirts that have a map on them with hearts in two different cities with a dotted line connecting them? or maybe the dish towel version? or the coffee mug?

A: yes - great! me too!
     no - okay! just pretend!

my point :: i feel a lot like that dotted line lately. like i have a heartbeat in two different places. one in ohio. one in alaska. and perhaps a few teeny tiny pieces of my heart sprinkled inbetween.

this week ben rector released a new album. and one of the songs is called "old friends" and when i heard it a few weeks back i cried. he speaks of knowing your friends house phone numbers from memory + getting to friends houses on his bike. he shouts that "no one in his time zone knows what inline skates" he wore. that "no one knows you like they know you". "you can grow up - make new ones - but theres nothing like old friends."

there is one line in particular that says  "i've got some new friends now. but i've never seen their parents back porch." believe me when i say - when i heard it - i wept. it just about knocked the wind out of me.

if you want to hear the song - CLICK HERE

this year i have had friends back home get married. have babies. and go through huge life changes. and if i'm being honest with you - it's hard to be so far away. because my heart feels like it's still in ohio. walking around with people i love.

and although i've made new friends. they only just know who i am now. they know my story but they didn't walk through it with me. and while sometimes that is refreshing. sometimes it's terrifying. because it doesn't always feel safe. sometimes i feel safe. with a few people i feel really safe.  just not always.

sometimes i just need a hug from my best friends since kindergarten instead of advice from someone who didn't walk through the hard with me. and then sometimes i need someone who wasn't always there - who knows the person i've become because of the hard - to just sit with me as i sort it all out. it's delicate.

it's different with the ones you shared a childhood with. because we were young together. and we really KNOW each other. and then all of a sudden we are all on the verge of turning 27. but still we sit in my parents kitchen and reminisce when i'm home. we talk about the beautiful and the hard. the easy going days of elementary school. the brutal realities of junior high. the magic of high school. and the growth that college brought. we laugh about the teachers we had crushes on. because you know - everyone has a teacher crush. this time - dad was asking about our teacher crushes and since they are his colleagues it was HILARIOUS. but it is times like those where all of a sudden i'm transported back to childhood. the kitchen might look a little different. and we might look a little different. now there are husbands and babies to get home to. planes to catch to get home. even still - when we tell my mom we're going to grab Swenson's so we can eat it during the 4th quarter of the cavs game - she says "it's late be careful." our lives have changed drastically. but there will still be something that holds us all together.

but then here ... here holds so much new and so much growth. here i get to sit around a kitchen table on monday nights and make new memories with friends. here i have been adopted into the coolest family who actually genuinely cares about me. here i feel loved and known for who i am now. here i live above my friend's parents and when i get home from a trip they have me come sit on the couch and tell them about it. here i get to share bits and pieces of my story with people who know nothing about it. here looks so much different than i thought it would 23 months ago when i was preparing to come. here isn't anything like i expected. but i kinda love it here.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few weeks ago i road tripped from ohio to florida with my parents. if you don't know them you should. i call them mama brave + RT. we stopped to see friends in nashville, tn + birmingham, al. it was a blast. i made them listen to "love does" by bob goff because - well - who doesn't love bob!?

if you want to read bob’s book :: CLICK HERE

we were headed to a beach in florida that i have never been to. something hard for me. because i love tradition. i am nostalgic through and through. i'm not one for changing something that is good and lovely. but alas - here i was - headed to this beach.

my entire life we have gone to sunset beach, nc. i think we have been there 23 times in the last 27 years. maybe 22. and we have only really missed for weddings + my make a wish trip. sunset beach is so dear to me. if you'd like to read about it CLICK HERE!

this new beach was fine. but i missed my old beach. it didn't hold the nostalgia. or the memories. and while it was beautiful to be with my family ... it just wasn't as precious as it normally is. this part of the ocean didn't recognize me. also to give the beach the benefit of the doubt - it did rain all week. there was a depression in the gulf. but i promise you. the rain isn't why i didn't feel home there. i was thankful for the rain.

[ there is something about my little piece of the OCEAN ... i feel known there. like God shows me bits of who i'll become. in the waves i see His majesty unfolding + His love for me there ... GRAND.]

so while this new beach held beauty because of the people i was with ... my heart still longed for my old beach.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few days ago my dad called with some bad news. my 1st grade teacher was entering hospice care. less than 48 hours later another call came ... she had gone to be with Jesus. i am still processing it all. mrs. hershman was so so precious to me. i remember 1st grade pretty vividly. her room was bright and full of joy. smiley faces were a must + getting everyone to be an excellent reader was on her agenda. we had this giant book of words called victory drill. we would go up to her desk one by one and be quizzed on the pages and how long it took us to read them. when you finished the book - she presented you with a bible.

i remember the morning i finished. it was track and field day. the awards ceremony was one day away. she called me over and said "okay. we're gunna try one more time sweet thing." and she pushed that timer and i started reading. well. i passed. and the next day she gave me my bible in front of the school. one of the only awards i've ever won! haha. but her love for me didn't stop there. she sent birthday cards into my high school days. prayed me through the hard days. brought smiley face everything after my brain surgery. and consistently encouraged me up until a few months ago through facebook. i was trying to remember this week the last time i saw her. and i couldn't remember. and that made me emotional. but i suppose it's okay. because what i remember is a young vibrant lady who loved her family - friends - students - and especially her Savior well.

just about everyone i've talked to has said "she was my favorite teacher" "she is why i came a teacher" "i loved that lady." and the compliments just keep coming. i hope to leave a legacy like that.

truthfully - i wish i could have seen her one more time. i wish the letter i started writing her wednesday could have been finished in time for her to read it before she passed. i wish she could have gotten a little more time. but how selfish of me to wish that. for her to be back on earth when she gets to be in Glory. how selfish of me to want more time. when she is with the One who holds all time.

this week my heart is hurt. the sting of this earth is enough to bring you to your knees some days. but the promise of heaven is what i cling to.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places. 


this week in my journal i wrote this::
when i'm here. i miss home.
when i'm home. i miss here.
and i try to be present in these spaces. be grateful for where i am. but i'll tell you...
it's hard to have a heart beat in two different places.

be brave

shelby elyse

Thursday, March 1, 2018

never stop trying to make me see.


"never stop trying to make me see me the way you see me."

kate pearson said that to her dad. if you don't watch this is us ... you should. 

#jackpearsonforfatheroftheyear 

it's probably the most beautiful thing a daughter could ever say to her father. 

after i watched the episode- the more i thought about it - i decided that is my hearts cry to the Lord. to never stop. to make me see me the way He does. to endlessly persue. to recklessly encourage. to make me KNOW that i am loved + cherished +worthwhile. to make me SEE what i was created for and to TEACH me how i can better use my gifts to bring Him glory! 

some of those feelings stemming from my heart as a single 26 year old with a deep desire to get married and have a big family one day. and some of the feelings stemming from my dreams for the rest of my life as far as a career and what i am capable of. and some of them stem from a lifetime of the unexpected + a hope for a future full of beauty. 

recently i have started to tell people what i think the Lord is calling me to ... and it's so scary to say out loud. and every time i say it i laugh because i am still in the "you can't be serious Lord." space. but He is. He is totally serious. i'm not ready to say it here. maybe sometime soon. but not yet. but y'all - it's about to get crazy! 

as I feel this calling i'm keep asking myself "well geez why did it take so long for me to see?! why did it take so long for me to understand?!" and i think i just needed to mature. see myself through His perspective. see myself the way He sees me. 

the past few months have been hard. i have been sick and not feeling 100% since Christmas. swollen and sore lymph nodes in my neck. totally exhausted. and for lack of a better word - i'm stressed. doctors. bloodwork. more doctors. tests for mono - tests for lymphoma. all negative. they don't know what it is. it could be "normal noonan syndrome stuff" which isn't normal at all. noonan syndrome is full of surprises. but im over it. i'm tired and tired of feeling sick.

a few weeks ago i ended an antibiotic on a tuesday + then wednesday i puked all day long. it was awful. that thursday i took my first full sick day of this school year + slept all day. then friday i got on a red eye home to meet my best friend's newborn + rest. 

because i think that is what I'm being called to do this year ... in this season ... rest. 

it's time to slow down. give God room to move. remain still + wait on Him. relax + listen to His voice. learn about who He is. study His word more. get to know Him deeper than ever before. but most importantly...rest. because i have a feeling i am about to be launched into something grand + i need to be ready. i need to be rested. 

the past year + a half has been...really busy. i hate that word but it's the truth! i feel like i got on the tea cup ride at disney land and they won't let me off ... and i can't get it to stop. it's been go go go. and my "i'll sleep when i'm dead" mentality isn't going to cut it anymore. i have to start listening to my body. i have to slow down. 

and i don't mean "netflix and chill" rest. i mean ... everything has to shift rest. this is something that america doesn't do well as a whole. and everytime i tell someone i have to explain that i'm not wanting to be lazy. i just need a minute. this body of mine is different than most - and unless i take a step back - it's going to shut off. i don't mean i'm going to die - i mean i'm going to crash. and that usually means everything will start hurting and no one will know whats wrong. and it's already begun. i can feel my body begging for a break. 

rest isn't something i like. i think it's because i associate being still with being sick. and so whenever i feel even semi decent i pack in the stuff - see all the people + don't sleep enough. this cycle in which i often refuse to listen to my body tell me to slow down - it can't continue. 

a few weeks ago a sweet soul told me ... shel - even the Lord rested. oh my did i need to hear that. God isn't expecting me to be wonder woman. in face - i bet He's going "shelby elyse! stop and breathe! don't do all the things! protect your body." but it's hard for me. because i want everyday to be filled to the brim.


since i moved to alaska the Lord has just set everything before me - from housing to friends to church. moving here alone was the scariest thing i've ever done - and He has called me to trust Him in such a deep way while being here. and now i believe He is calling me to trust Him - but also trust myself. for the past 18 months - i feel like He lays down a brick and i step onto it. and as soon as i step onto that brick - He lays down another. He hasn't let me see a big picture - because He has wanted me to trust. but now - then He started to lay 3 or 4 bricks at a time - He gave me a bigger picture - let me see a few steps ahead. as my trust has grown - so has the picture. and now He wants me to step out in faith. keep walking even when i don't see any bricks laid before me. keep leaping onto them anyway.


He has let me see some things but He wants me to walk by faith. He wants me to see the way He does. He wants me to trust myself AND trust in Him. 

as i said - a few weeks ago i went home to ohio. #gocavs #gotribe i flew down because my best friend since kindergarten had a baby girl one month ago + i had to meet her. 

little isla jane aker is perfect + precious.


there's something particularly beautiful about holding a tiny baby in your arms that your bff birthed. i can't wait to tell her all the stories of growing up with her red headed crazy mama. her parents are two of my favorite people on this earth + their friendship is something i deeply cherish. 

i also flew home to relax. something i desperately needed. time to be still. to not worry about anything + just be. mama brave kept reminding me "don't make too many plans." i tried to listen. but man i love my people. so i saw some and decided not to see others so i could rest. 


i talked to some of my most trusted friends and mentors while i was home. we talked about where i was in life - what God was doing - how beautiful it is that He has brought me this far - the gifts He has given me - and what is next. one night in particular - i had sweet time with my mom and dad - and one of my most treasured friends who is like a mama to me. we sat in the family room - talking about my future - talking about my past. talking about the hard and the beautiful. what has been challenging and what my strengths are.


after every conversation -  i walked away with an assurance that i was on the right path. that i wasn't crazy. but what i found to be the most interesting was that - almost every person pointed out things about me that i didn't see. they talked about parts of my story that could help my future - ones that i didn't always think about. they said "because you did this - i think you could do that." and "the way you handled that - will help you be able to do this."


they helped me see me - the way they did.


HE used them to help me see me - the way HE does.


there is so much beauty in that.


never stop Lord ... never stop trying to make me see. 

ok? 



BE BRAVE


shelby elyse taylo