On Letting Go


Kristin Ritzau wrote a book, a book specifically for me.  Well, she didn’t write the book for me only, but for everyone like me – Christ followers wrestling with how perfectionism fits in to their daily life.  A Beautiful Mess is a journey of freedom for all who struggle with crippling expectations and yearn for acceptance and contentment.

Kristin’s blog, is a space to share the perfectionist journey with authenticity and a full serving of grace.  Multi-media expressions of this journey are guided by a changing prompt.  This season, the prompt is Letting Go.

I’m sharing part of my own journey about letting go and forgiveness today over on A Beautiful Mess.

The Battle Royal

For fear of starting a battle royal, I will refrain from declaring myself the Queen of Perfectionism. But rest assured I have a crown large enough to encompass my Type A personality and desire to be flawless.

After many years of gazing at the reflection bouncing back at me from the polished metal of my crown, as most introspective perfectionists are apt to do, I’ve discovered that being a perfectionist is not a stand-alone job.

By default, perfectionist royalty also hold the gavel of judgment, announcing with a resounding thud whenever criteria is not met. Not only do we rule over ourselves with strict standards, but we also expect others to abide by them as well.

I may not consciously expect others to have my same standards, but I certainly judge them by my exacting code of behavior and ethics.

When perfectionism and judgment join forces, a wake of destruction is sure to follow. Pain and shame are quick to appear in the hearts of those who fall victim to critical self-evaluations and fail to meet unattainable goals.

What is a queen to do when she is finally too entangled by the evil snares of her own striving and self-deprecation? Or when she has ostracized herself from others because of a hypercritical spirit?

Read the rest of The Battle Royal here!

Dear J {31 Days of Letters}

Dear J,

Within an hour, I knew you had to be the most courageous young woman I know.  You project a resilience and strength I can’t even fathom possessing after what your life has held.  While we talked yesterday, I kept on thinking of Joshua.  Your stories may be different but they aren’t devoid of commonalities.

As a youngster, Joshua lived through the bitter reality of slavery in Egypt.  Once free from the rule of Pharaoh, Joshua stood out among his people.  He lead the Israelites to victory in countless battles, and he alone was allowed to accompany Moses on the holy mountain to receive the the tablets of testimony.

Joshua was the representative of his tribe to scope out the land God had promised the Israelites, and was one of two men who could look beyond the giants to see a land flowing with milk and honey.  When the time came, God elected Joshua to establish His people in the promised land.

Oppression, pain, and hardship marked the beginning of Joshua’s life.  When things appeared to be improving, he was thrust into 4o years of wilderness wandering because of other people’s bad choices.  Then, Joshua was given the burden of leadership, the weight of responsibility for protecting God’s people.

God exhorts Joshua to “be strong and courageous!” in the midst of his situation.  God has called to you, J, with a similar plea.  In the midst of pain and hardship that no person should ever experience, you bear your burden with strength and dignity.

You are beautiful and brave!  You possess a Biblical view of forgiveness that I can only hope to attain one day.  I admire your persistence and endurance.

Know that you are loved.  You are loved by people on earth and loved by a your Heavenly Father.  Your Abba made a promise to Joshua and makes it to you as well:

Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  {Joshua 1:9}

You may not always feel Him, but He is with you.  Turn to Him in your times of darkness and bask in the life giving light of His love.

With love,


You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Dear Jackie: a letter to my husband’s ex-girlfriend


Dear Jackie,

We’ve never met and, if it weren’t for my new last name, we probably would have completed our time on this side of eternity without crossing paths.  Though you may be completely unaware of my existence, I am poignantly aware of yours.

You see, we have a special man in common.  His name is Tim Gardner, your boyfriend from college.  He got married recently and I’m the lucky gal.  If you were so inclined to offer congratulations, let me stop you.  I cannot in good conscience accept any type of well-wishes from you without apologizing.

I developed a deep resentment towards you from the moment I heard about you.  Though our relationships with Tim turned out differently, I have let bitterness grow in my heart because of the mere fact that you shared a relationship at all.

Since I am now intimately acquainted with what it’s like to date Tim, my mind focuses on the elements of that relationship we must’ve had in common.  You had two years to kiss, to say “I love you”, and to talk about marriage.

Everything in me wants to begrudge you those kisses, those sweet nothings, those dreams, but I cannot knowingly resent you for acting on natural instinct.  God designed us for relationship.  My resentment is unwarranted albeit still powerful.

Tim was my first boyfriend and I was selfishly irritated that God didn’t allow me to have the same gift.  I laid the blame from what I thought was unfair mostly on you.  Not only did was I being unfair with my blame, I was also exhibiting a deeply off-base view of how God operates.

Hence, my need to apologize.  Jesus’ words about coming before God with a clean heart continue to nag my mind.

You’ve heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder,” and whoever murders will be in danger of judgement.  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  {Matthew 5:21-24}

I want to hang on tight to my envy and distaste.  I’ve used you as a scapegoat for my insecurities and fears.  I let my bitterness overshadow reality, blaming you for my own baggage.  None of this is useful or productive.  You don’t deserve my resentment.

I am sorry for disliking you for 16 months.  What precious time I have wasted in pursuit of nothing.  My heart aches for what could have been accomplished in both our marriages had I been praying for you instead of holding you in contempt.

Please forgive me my foolishness.



      You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.