Friday, January 20, 2017

so HE can show up + SHINE

this year i have promised to be more vulnerable and honest with you.

i have promised to be bold and brave.

i have chosen to have the hard conversations no matter the cost.

and i am willing to write about things i have been unwilling to write about before.

if you know me you know i get sick a lot. i was the kid that missed a million days of school + who became bff's with her doctors. if i had to narrow my health down to three topics it would be:: genetic disorder. brain tumor. immunosuppressed. and those of course all branch out into much more complicated stories of their own. because when it comes to health problems nothing is easy. i am complicated + confusing + if someone handed you my charts you'd be shocked i'm still breathing. that is just how it is. it has always been this way + i think it always will be.

true story:: there have been so many times doctors have brought other doctors in just to see me. one time at the dermatologist they were fascinated by my genetic disorder + my mama + i just laughed. it's typical. i'm unique. that is the bottom line.

and you know what? that is okay. because this is my story.

last weekend i was spending time with a family i am growing to love more and more here in alaska. saturday afternoon as i was sautéing balsamic brussel sprouts in their kitchen + coughing up a storm from my bronchitis - one of their kids asked me about being sick. i quickly glazed over it + he simply stated "well why don't you just get prayed for and get healed?" he quickly dug his hole deeper + followed it up with "maybe God is testing you?" his mom yelled into the kitchen for him to just stop talking hahah.

he meant no harm. and i took no offense because he's a 14 year old boy + their brains are mush. plus. he wasn't the first person to ask me this in my life. i wasn't surprised or caught off guard. people have often asked these hard questions.

oh how i wish it was that simple though. to just get prayed for and get healed. how glorious would life be if that happened every single time!? but then again ... it wouldn't be simple would it?

i explained to him that if i was healed - i wouldn't be me. i wouldn't have my story. and i wouldn't be able to minister to the people i do. i told him that people have prayed for healing for me - but that God's plan isn't for everyone to be healed. i wish it was. but i am not the author of my story. the Lord is. and His story is perfect. even if that means i have to live in an imperfect body that turns on itself every once in a while.

i started to imagine it though ... if i had been healed. like. completely healed. what would life look like?

yes. life would have been much simpler had i never been sick in the first place. if i was born + was a completely healthy baby. if i never got a brain tumor. if my genetic disorder didn't decide to pick me as it's culprit out of the blue.

i could sit here + scream + cry + tell you that it's not fair. that i deserve better. that i deserve a new body. right now. but i won't. because that isn't how i feel.

because if i had never been sick there would be some other kind of battle. maybe mental illness or a broken family. or one of my siblings or parents could have been the one with chronic illness. and let me tell you. i could NOT handle that. i would pick a brain tumor + being stuck in bed sick every few months over just about any other issue. i would consider myself to be strong + brave + able to push through just about anything. but in all honesty - the minute someone else i love is sick or in pain i panic. i tell them [ go to the doctor! what if you are dying? you need bloodwork! ] i am a great patient + not a great care taker when it comes to sickness. i'll take it - spare the rest of them i say!!!

now. hear me people! this isn't to say that the Lord hasn't healed me at all. He has. He has performed absolute miracles on me.

[ for instance:: when i was born they told mom + dad that i would be blind and deaf and need oxygen and a feeding tube the rest of my life. they said i may not walk or talk + a million other "she will nevers" BUT! HELLO! they were wrong! i have crappy vision + extraordinary hearing. my lungs can produce a scream better than the movies + decide to develop pneumonia all in one week. i don't have a feeding tube + i never shut up + i walk just fine. again. the doctors aren't the authors. GOD is the author. HE has the final say. ]

 all i'm saying is that I haven't been COMPLETELY healed.

but what i'm beginning to realize is that isn't what i would want anyway.

our trials make us who we are. and i think i've always known this - it's just more apparent in my adult life.

wouldn't you agree?

maybe you have suffered from an eating disorder or depression. maybe you went through a sticky divorce or one of your kids has walked away from God. maybe you are battling cancer or lost a child. whatever it may be - despite the hurt and pain and terrible times. can't you look back + see what God was doing? see that His intention wasn't to harm you? see that your faith has grown despite the unimaginable being your reality?

maybe you aren't there yet. you are sitting there going [ she is off her rocker. slow your roll shelby. you are so wrong. i am in the middle of a mess. God is no where. ]

but i promise you ... one day you will get there. you will realized that your faith has been refined in the fire. that the Lord showed up in the loss. that beautiful things come from the biggest battles. and that GRACE is all you see.

the Lord's plan for my life has never been to give me a perfect body here on earth. His plan for my life has been to ALLOW me to live in a body that battles itself.  so that HE can show up + shine through me anyway. despite the imperfection.

because after all ... that is what we all are ... completely imperfect.

so i don't want to be healed. because that isn't the plan.

i just wanna live a life that the Lord would be proud of.

i just wanna shine.

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

vulnerable. brave. willing. ready.

it's january now. and i am promising this year that i will be more vulnerable. more honest. more willing to have the hard conversations. more willing to hear truth spoken in love. more secure in who i am + more able to be exactly who i was created to be. i am promising to be brave no matter the cost + find complete refuge in Christ - trusting that His "it's all good shelbs - I've got it." is truth. i'm ready. or at least i'm ready to try.

last year ... last year i promised to live up to a quote that simply said "this year i will be stronger, braver, kinder, unstoppable + this year i will be fierce!" and let me just say ...

i think i did it. i was strong and brave + unstoppable when i moved to alaska.

i hope i was kind ... i guess that is up to you guys.

and i'm not gunna lie ... i am so FIERCE!!!!

okay back to this year. this year is new. this year is different.

last week i read the book "bread + wine" by shauna niequist. it was one of the most beautiful and transparent books i have ever read. i laughed out loud + cried ugly tears. i found myself longing to be more transparent. i found myself relating to her writing + feeling like she was across the table from me - handing me a gluten free pastry + a big cup of hot coffee + saying "it's okay sister - you can be honest with yourself." i found myself dreaming of becoming a wife and mom and filling my house with people and all the best foods. i found myself missing my tribe back home + weeping because i knew if i was home they would be my cooking club. i found myself relating to her heart + her hurt. i found myself thankful that she's a mess just like the rest of us + her ability to be honest about it is something i hope to get better at this year.

because people ... i am a mess. sometimes a wreck. i am loud and unabashedly bold. sometimes too bold. i am so imperfect. i hurt people. i scream and yell and sometimes i'm totally out of control. i often tell people i need the t-shirt that says [ i love Jesus - but i cuss a little. ] because i do. when i'm angry or excited - choice words flow from my lips - sometimes too easily. just last week i flipped out at my brother and said SH*T like 5 times or maybe 10 + my parents were there + i was wild and out of control. i'm crazy. brutally honest. rude and sometimes mean. and i could name off handfuls of people that REALLY don't like me. but you know what?

my identity is not found in your opinion of me

 + i refuse to keep living like it is. i refuse to worry anymore about what you think of me. whether that be loving me or hating me. it's exhausting. i think so many people feel this way. why do we care how many people follow us on instagram? why do we live in expectation - hoping someone "cool" will want to be our friend? the pressure some days is too much - and i feel like my entire being could just explode - like a grenade. i don't wish to keep living this way for one more day. i refuse it. i say to myself [ no - this isn't just - this isn't what matters - stop! ] + i step away from my phone + i breathe in the cool alaska air + i remind myself what matters.

towards the end of shauna's book she has a chapter about summer - and as i read it i cried + remembered + i laughed + dreamed. i related to her on every level. except the part about having a baby. haha. throughout the book shauna beautifully discloses her body shame and how she dealt with it for the better part of her life. but in this particular chapter she talks of summer + all the spectacular things that come with it + then she talks about the dreadful parts as well - being seen in a bathing suit. a few quotes stuck out to me as she unpacked her box of worry. she said [ my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if i've finally turned into a supermodel. ] haha! but i think the best part of all was this ... [ shame ... it whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are. it insists that there is a watchdog group devoted completely to my weight or her wrinkles or his shrinking bank account ... shame tells us we're wrong for having the audacity to be happy when we're so clearly terrible. shame wants us to be deeply apologetic for just daring to exist. ] + then she redeems that whole rant by sweeting admitting that she will not live like that anymore. she says [ i'm going to live in the body God made me, not because it's perfect but because it's mine ... i'm not going to let a lifetime of shame about my body get in the way of living in a rich, wild, grateful, wide-open way. i'm not going to give into the cultural pressure that says women's bodies are only beautiful when they're very, very small ... i'm not going to bow to the voice inside my head that says i should be ashamed of myself for being so unruly and wild ... i'm not going to hide. ] oh this part it made we weep. it brought memories of  my childhood on the beach + memories of feeling shame now. i said "you go girl" a few times + prayed i could be as brave as her.

because if i'm being honest with you ... this is something i have quietly dealt with for quite some time. shame. about my body and how it looks. medications have ruined + years of illness are reflected in this body of mine. sometimes i wonder where the body went that God gave me. but i am slowly learning that scars are beautiful and scales are brutal + i need to take a step back + be thankful that i can run [ not very well ] + dance [ give me a pool floatie + i'm the best dancer ever ] + do things like walk through orange groves with my brother on a random thursday in california.

this week shauna's book gave me new air. inspired me to write more. be bold. stop being ashamed + kick butt everyday.

this year i am choosing to live a full life. be the crazy mess i am. and remain completely unapologetic about it.

i refuse to live a life hoping to be accepted.

because again ... my identity is not found in your opinion of me.

i refuse to let it be.

so here i go ...

vulnerable. brave. willing. ready.

join me.

[for you are calling me to greater things.] - bethel music


shelby elyse