In which I will not be silenced

Lavender skies above me, I drove straight to the wilds, a visit to my birthright cathedral, in the fading of the day. I don’t process well in crowds or conversations: I need silence, room to think, an open road. So I drove down our back roads and into the mountains, out and west, and the sky turned indigo while I blasted music and cried and wrestled my life into a Jesus-shape all over again.

I dug a new grave for my sarcasm and wicked anger, my self-defense and my own weak reputation, my “rights” and my pride, my comebacks and retaliations, then my need to be liked and understood and appreciated and approved. I prayed through every wound, every slight, every cruelty, every name-calling, every judgement, every hurt, and I released over and over again, they know not what they do.

And I chose to make peace all over again. I chose ferocious gentleness. I chose kindness. I chose Love.  Under the light, I stood on the side of the road with my head back, alone in the wilderness, and I stretched out my arms and prayed for daily courage and senseless love. I asked for grace to forgive.  I wept into the rocks at my relief of the Gospel and the grace and mercy and goodness of my Jesus.

Where else could I go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life. 

A flock of birds exploded out of a nearby tree, I watched them dark against the purple sky as they scattered and soared out. The pine trees stood scraggly and imperfect. Worn out and bare wind-breakers, these evergreens made more beautiful by their rugged stubborn imperfections, bare spots and knots, determined. I need the sight of their upright determined and imperfect worship, I need the cold air at my throat, and I need wisdom. Disrupting and truth-telling, grace-lavishing and loving is not for the faint of heart, and I am faint in my heart, often. Jesus, be near, teach me to look and live in these places and in this calling.

I stood there, and the Spirit breathed and comforted me, I felt like the ravens might suddenly visit me with a bit of bread, it was sacred by the side of the road. It might be a small thing to so many others, but for me, it was a turning point. I don’t really know why, but I left something by the side of the road this weekend, something that needed to be left behind. I’m travelling a bit more lightly, a bit of a limp to my gait, absolutely, wounded and healed all over again in a new place.

Nourished, lightened, relieved, and yet still tender in my bruising, I drove home in the darkness. I will not be silenced. The only song I’m ever singing, here, there, everywhere, is the freedom song of the beloved redeemed. I’m part of a chorus and our voices are rising: you are loved and you are free in Christ.



faith, fearless, journey, Light

41 Responses to In which I will not be silenced

  1. Jada Bown Swanson February 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    This: “I will not be silenced. The only song I’m ever singing, here, there, everywhere, is the freedom song of the beloved redeemed. I’m part of a chorus and our voices are rising: you are loved and you are free in Christ.”

    Yes, this…

  2. BrennaDA February 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Lush and beautiful. Thank you for singing and bringing us all into the chorus with you.

  3. Laura Desch Johnson February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Thank you for your grace. It helps the rest of us be more grace-filled.

  4. kelli woodford February 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    His scars, it seems, have made you strong as you pour out healing from your very wounds.
    Thank you for being a beacon that strengthens the weak and failing — you have been this for me, Sarah.

  5. Charlotte February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    You are beautiful and amazing and I am so glad I know you (as much as one can know a blogger who lives in another country). Christ shines through you, friend.

  6. Tara M. Owens February 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    I stand with you. The knotted, scarred, imperfect and often stilled to silence—singing when the wind of the Spirit sweeps through. Singing with you.

  7. Nadine February 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Beautiful. Thank you for this. You bless me with your writing and sharing.

  8. Kathy Yeager February 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh my goodness! This was my weekend too. It was the most amazing culmination of 20 years of moments/ feelings and it all was felt on a drive to a memorial service and back. I think I found myself there for the first time or something. Beauty is all around us!!!!

  9. Naomi Figueroa February 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    So beautiful! Wow…I can so relate to that need to be alone with God to process things. This felt like something that would come straight from my heart as well. Very moving.

  10. Jessica Clemmer February 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Lovely Sarah. Praying that God will gird you up and give you all the grace you need to keep lifting your voice and bringing freedom to those who have too long been in captivity. For this time, season and purpose…you have an anointing.

  11. Judy Swords February 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    “Their upright determined and imperfect worship..” some days it is all we can do to emulate nature and just stagger to stay on our feet and lift our eyes to praise and ask for help. Amen and amen.

  12. Bethany Suckrow February 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Lovely, mighty writing here, friend. Sing it loud and we are singing with you. <3

  13. Erin February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Your writing is incredibly beautiful and always so refreshing!

  14. Lindsay February 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    I feel as though I am just beginning to enter into this place, this true freedom from all the expectations and words from others. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in you own journey…God uses your words here to give me strength and promise.

  15. Elizabeth February 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    This was timely. I read something about you and some others somewhere just this afternoon and tried to defend you. My comment would not publish. I had been measured and polite in my comment but not exactly brimming over with grace and love. Perhaps it is a good thing my comment got eaten somehow?

    As Laura said, thank you for your grace. It helps the rest of us to be more grace-filled.

    In the long run, we never regret taking the high road, being more loving than ‘necessary’, and thoroughly checking our own hearts. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. Melody Joy February 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    “Disrupting and truth-telling, grace-lavishing and loving is not for the faint of heart, and I am faint in my heart, often”…oh my friend, i still have goosebumps. and i read this an hour ago. love this. yes to all of it. thank you for letting the Love and Grace of Jesus shine through you.

  17. Christa Sterken February 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    This piece touched me so very deeply, I loved every word. Am sharing it with many today. THIS is why writers must be honest…to touch peoples very core

  18. Caitlin February 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    You are wonderful and brave, and I cannot express my thanks enough to you for putting yourself out there and writing truth. You are part of the movement that is letting women write their own bodies, in the world and in the church, and we will always be grateful. Thank you.

  19. Christy McFerren February 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    so beautiful, Sarah. thank you for washing my soul with your words of truth. breathing easier.

  20. Ashleigh Baker February 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    The strength in these words takes my breath. Not silenced. Yes.

  21. Missy February 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    He heals. Praise His name and His love.

  22. Corinne Harvey Causby February 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing… I need to remember to bury those things that keep me from loving and extending grace.

  23. Sarah Mae February 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Breath taken away.

  24. Brad February 12, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    I just started following your blog about two months ago. You have a beautiful voice – please keep the melody of grace flowing. Grace is wonderful, but also difficult for us to grasp. We need to hear its song often and you sing it boldly, passionately, and wrapped in love. Thank you.

  25. Hännah February 12, 2013 at 6:24 am #


  26. Lisa-Jo Baker February 12, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Praying this alongside you, “Disrupting and truth-telling, grace-lavishing and loving is not for the faint of heart, and I am faint in my heart, often. Jesus, be near, teach me to look and live in these places and in this calling.”

    Thanking you for your courageous grace.

    your friend,

  27. Sandra Heska King February 12, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    Ferocious gentleness and senseless love. Me, too, Lord. I need it, too.

  28. Jennifer February 12, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Eschet Chayil! and AMEN! and Thank you!

  29. Denise Hotze February 12, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    I can breathe easier today after reading this. Thank you for being ferocious and brave. Thank you for being honest and wise. Thank you for ushering us to the deeper place we need to be.

  30. Mary1912 February 12, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    I really needed this today in a way I can’t even express. I wish I had a sacred nature sanctuary to meet God there and lay down my shit, but I do not. So I will lay it down in my cubicle and choose love instead of bitterness and comebacks. I will lay down my need to be appreciated and viewed as right as I sit before my monitor and remember that they know not what they do.

  31. Taylor February 12, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    Are you reading my journal? I feel the same calling in my small over religious town of Lynchburg, VA. He is calling me to stand out and be different, but it does come with certain hardships. It reminds me of Ezekiel. He was weird, huh? :) It is sometimes so lonely, but really it is only lonely when I forget that He has the words of life and try to go to others for affection, acceptance and approval. Be blessed and encouraged, Sarah, because you have encouraged me today. Your story reminded me of this song that has always had a special place in my heart, “Left my fear by the side of the road.”

  32. Bridget February 12, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    “And I chose to make peace all over again. I chose ferocious gentleness. I chose kindness. I chose Love.” Me too. Even though – especially when – I wish it wasn’t necessary.

  33. Linda Stoll February 12, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    yes and amen.

  34. ChrisOakes February 12, 2013 at 10:49 am #


  35. Mar February 12, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Oh, Sarah. Oh. So many things of mine need to be left at the side of the road … Making ourselves, as He did, of no reputation by our very own choice. It cannot be stolen if we’ve already left it behind.

    You speak for so many women who have “earned” labels and condemnation and judgment, who sit in the circle while those around them hold stones in their hands ready with their superiority and self-righteousness.

    So glad you will not be silenced.

  36. Renee February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Thank you for your vulnerability and courage. I think I might need to read this reminder of grace every day for a while,

  37. HopefulLeigh February 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Beautiful. You teach me so much, friend. Keep on singing.

  38. Blanche Jacobson February 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    oh i needed this.

    thank you.

  39. Duane Scott February 21, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Oh Sarah…. This is one of your best.

    Sharing it over at my place.

    Thank you, for your words.

  40. Emily Wierenga April 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    I think it’s these moments when we’re truly baptized. These moments of losing ourselves and accepting all of him, no matter the cost. Lovely, dear Sarah.


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