Leadership

Farewell, Mandela

Nelson-Mandela-Madiba-gritandglory

It is the same with Mandela as it is with pretty much everything:

There is always more to the story than most of us want to acknowledge.

There is much that can be said about Mandela's past (and while we're at it, much can be said about mine and yours as well). His life wasn't one that always stood for peace, yet that is what he is most known for now. He is an undeniable example of the power we each have to change our own story. A life surrendered and transformed has unrivaled potential in the hands of our Creator.

Brené Brown said it perfectly:

“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. If we own the story, then we can write the ending.”

Yesterday we mourned the loss of a great man who rewrote not only his own story, but that of the entire nation of South Africa. Mandela drew a line in the sand that forever changed the trajectory of a continent and inspired hope around the globe.

His life makes it impossible to deny the far-reaching ripple effect of even one solitary life, and his legacy reminds us that no one is ever too far gone for a second chance.

Farewell, Mandela. The world stands grateful...

I stand grateful...

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i want to get this right

I have wrestled through each of these posts as I've begun telling my story. I've spent hours writing and rewriting. I've had a friend look them over and make changes. I've slept on them and come back to make more edits the next morning. It's been hard to write them because it's forced me to sit in the hurts all over again. It's been difficult because of the responsibility I feel to the ministry I love, and my desire to represent her well. And it's been impossibly hard because of the weight I feel in how I speak about Niel.

I feel an undeniable tension between wanting to remain honoring of my husband and sharing authentically about what happened and how it's affected me.

I'm laboring over every word I write because I need to get this right. I want to get this right.

And yet I know that without me dressing it up at all, the truth is ugly. It's shocking. It's devastating. Even in the simple telling of facts in the most tactful and respectful way possible, it can seem like I'm being malicious.

But that certainly isn't my intention.

I hope my true heart shines through my words even as I share about the worst season of my life. I pray that in my transparency, you can see more than just my pain. I hope you can also see the love I still have for my husband and my unshakable desire to honor him even in this.

It's been a scary thing for me to feel so vulnerable and exposed by putting my raw heart out there for the masses to see and give their two cents on. But while it frightens me, I crave authenticity. It's been the single greatest intentionality of my blog---to foster authentic community. To share transparently and in doing so, make others feel safe, free, and comfortable to be transparent in return.

So I am committed to continue writing honestly and authentically about my story, while remaining mindful of how my words affect and reflect my ministry and my husband.

And I will continue to choose to honor him.

Because ultimately I desire to honor Him.

kingdoms of men

It shows up four times in a span of only forty verses, so I'm guessing God wants to make sure I don't miss the significance of this statement:

"The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes..."

-Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21

Leadership is always a gift. Always a stewardship. Always temporary. And I'm always accountable.

thirteen: steps to counseling

I walked into the office with a red cup of non-alcoholic liquid courage in my hands and two people next to me for moral support (or maybe to make sure I didn't turn and run). As I sat in the waiting area, I swear the pterodactyl-sized butterflies in my stomach had babies. I'd been anxious about this appointment since I boarded the way-too-small plane in DC, bound for Columbus. If I'm honest, I'd been anxious about this appointment since the moment I decided to come to America for this very reason. He stepped into the waiting room to introduce himself and "collect" me. As we exited together, I turned my head for a last glance at my smiling friend. I heard again her words from not thirty minutes before: "I am so proud of you." I smiled back and I'm sure it looked tentative and apprehensive. I don't have a very good poker face.

It was thirteen steps from that door to the couch in his office where I found a seat and spent the next hour. For me, for whom trust is paramount and yet not easily given, it was a daunting thing to bare my soul to a complete stranger. And yet, at the same time, I felt completely comfortable. I walked out feeling like a weight had been lifted: the weight of simply starting this thing. And I felt proud of myself.

Hi. My name is Alece. I'm a missionary. And I go to counseling.