Low Tide

Jess. She always does this to me.

“I miss your writing.”

I know what she’s really saying…

“What’s going on with you, cause you’re still absent.”

When she said this, I felt a twinge of guilt.

She’s right. When I don’t take the time to put pen to paper, I lose myself in the shuffle of life, and 3 weeks later I’m crashing and burning.

“I know you. Your introverted self is crumbling from not having the opportunity to speak with your heart and mind.”

I’m paraphrasing. Because whether this is what she said or not- it’s what I heard.

Tides have been on my mind, as a result of this very unconventional, scary, challenging, and beautiful year. In my recent history, I’ve found myself in low tide… that retracted, heaving backward motion that is accompanied by an energy, which could be described as wounded.

Low tide has defined a journey I’ve been on for—to be honest, I’m unsure of it’s longevity, but I am deeply aware of it’s toll on me.

Low tide has been like that one long yoga pose that burns and aches and it pulls all of your energy inward to the core- it settles you deep within yourself, amidst apparent safety.

Waiting.

Just waiting.

Held breath.

Yoga pose.

Until the inevitable crash of the next wave.

The final wave of low tide. It has hit my world… the tightly held breath has dissipated and the aching muscles of my core have shifted from exhaustion.

To be honest, that little area of safety you find within the withdraw of low tide, is terrifying, tiring, and has no respite- other than to surrender to high tide.

Want to know what’s scary?

Moving into an apartment by yourself, with a budget that is worked down to the dollar.

Starting over in a new city where you have to literally go seek out community.

Going to a new church in said city, alone, and not knowing what questions to even begin to ask at that newcomer lunch.

Scary is; the shift from low tide to high tide.

I think plenty of people would like to romanticize living overseas, doing the volunteer thing… those people have never done it. It is the phase of my life that has shifted me as an individual more than any other time, occurrence, situation, etc. in my life.

It changed me.

In all of the good, bad, and ugly… and I mean ugly, ways.

I have never been more aware of my humanness, and my bent for what my heart desires.

It was my low tide. 

That morning, during the really scary church service that I went to alone, the pastor said this about the proclamation of the gospel coming to earth: “they had been longing for Jesus to put things back together- to restore everything, and to renew their calling.”

It couldn’t be more perfect.

This gathering that happened during my low tide, my retracting into supposed safety, my gaze out to the world that was untrusting and wary of everything that crossed my path, my wounded energy claiming it’s place like a warrior attempting to protect the mistress of the tide.

I was like a caged animal, just sitting back in the silence, refusing to speak any of my truth to the world, waiting for the new moon to allow me to exhale into a high tide.

This is what this change is to me.

This is what a new chapter is.

This is why I’m being called to something new.

This is providence.

Because, He knew.

My time of low tide needed to end.

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He’s calling my retracted sense of self to come back to a deepening in Him.

I’ve been watching and waiting for the safety of His call during my low tide- longing for him to come put things back together- to restore everything, and to renew my calling.

To work out the implications of His calling to me.

Wave upon wave.

 

One Word

People are doing this thing.

This thing where they carefully select one word at the beginning of the year.

One word to define your year; a tool to guide your journey through the coming new year in a way that will allow for substantial and focused growth.

I haven’t ever thought much about having one word. In my mind, it’s a great concept- but much like resolutions, they come with a limited lifespan.

However, I’m finding myself returning time and time again to a certain theme in my life. It is something between health, healing, and wholeness…

Coming from a year that has undoubtedly changed me more than any other time or situation in my life, I’m carrying an awareness of how much this season has taught me. Not only taught me, but aged me… taken a toll on my heart and soul, and I’ve come to the moment where the necessity of collecting myself with a deep breath, and focus on what is ahead is crucial for my well-being.

So what’s the word?

I woke up last Sunday morning, knowing I was going to go visit a new church- I had been talking myself into it all week.

Alone.

In a new city.

With no one to step through the doors with me, nothing to stabilize me, and no idea what to expect. Completely dependent on trusting that the Lord would be my security. Mulling through all of these fears that morning, something came to mind….

“All I need is to feel safe as I seek Him.”

As the Pastor began his introduction he mentioned the name of the church, “Sanctuary”, how this place was reflective of its name, a place of “safety to seek the sacred”.

There it was.

I texted a few friends…

“I’m trying a new church this morning. I’m nervous. In fact, I’m sitting in the pew about to burst into tears.”

And then it happened.

Ugly, sniffly, tears.

Everyone saw… at least I was fairly sure they did.

I’ll be honest, I’ve retracted some this year.

My heart has been hurt, my trust has been pressed, and I’ve come out a little less open and much more wary. It is hard for me to feel safe these days; the state of my soul being slightly fractured.

When your soul is splintered in this way, it translates into everything. How your body feels, how tired you are, the effort you put into relationships, how you view the world and the people who fill it…

The refracted light bouncing off these fragmented pieces is shedding some new perspective on what should happen in my life this coming year.

I need to heal.

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My heart, my body, my soul.

I have yet to find out how that works, what direction it will take me, and what it will cost me.

But I do know these things…

It will happen with safe, loving community.

It will happen with a little bit of pain.

It will happen with heartbreak and hard decisions.

It will be freedom.

 

 

Golden Heart and Celeste Eyes

This day was filled with thoughts of you.

Upon awakening this morning; I felt drained, emotional, and like one more roll over might do the trick.

You came to mind.

Imagining you rolling over as well, eyes that my own tend to mimic, hazy on opening, puppy between legs, and cat curled around neck, the stretch and roll was no doubt hindered more than mine.

My eyes that so match yours slowly closed.

In my mind I am wandering the hall from my room to yours… thinking about this new empty space in your morning.

The last one left home not long ago.

My father, the cat, and the dog, now the only recipients of your daily morning grace. 

I know that these mornings are likely hard, just as the afternoons are difficult to pass now, and the evenings bring challenges all their own.

In all the right ways, we are the same. So I know, as your days stroll forward you see our footprints everywhere.

In the driveway, across the lawn, to and from the mailbox, propped up on the coffee table. We’ve left our signs of life in droplets all over your path.

So I know, these days are hard. Empty nest and such.

Take heart.

You let us fly from the highest places- whether a tree fort or a plane… you flung our doors wide open.

Watching the journeys of these days are the reward for your love.

Golden heart and celeste eyes; your hues are splashing all over the world, and touching more lives than you could have ever imagined.

Those who love him, love the strength and wisdom you have passed on.

The ones who treasure the other him, admire the capacity for loyal friendship you have instilled.

Everyone that crosses her path sees how your gentle touch carries on like an innate gene.

And then there are the ones who hear the other her’s words and know the deepness and sincerity in her voice, can only be yours.

You, who are our home

We will always return.

And we will bring with us the gifts of full life- no matter the hurdles and heartache we pass each year.

Because you have taught us; a full life is always present, if we will only walk in it.

So, roll over once more tomorrow morning, blink wide and take an extra few minutes.

Pet the cat, pour your coffee, sit on your porch, and declare that you have done well these past 30 years…

 

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Homecoming.

What has happened?

It has been an incredible journey!

The past 11 months have been some of the most difficult, challenging, powerful, and life-changing months of my life. I have experienced the most real, Jesus-filled, practical-gospel fueled ministry I have ever been privileged to be a part of.

I have been on rescues that have saved lives. 

I have seen God use the talents he’s given me to challenge hearts.

I have seen new life, the sadness of death, and I’ve had to bury a child.

Experiences never to be forgotten.

With these months of growth behind me, there are now new challenges as I move from full-time, support based ministry… to life back in the states.

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What is next?

This next stage of life is exciting, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to share it with you all:

  • My leave date from Guatemala is approximately November 15th.
  • I will be moving to Providence, Rhode Island to take a staff position with Hope of Life International- the ministry I have volunteered for during the last year.
  • My role will include: acting as the lead writer for the ministry, helping with marketing and branding, and being support staff for other ministry related projects and needs.
  • I will be traveling back and forth to Guatemala on a regular basis to gather the stories and news I will need to do my job, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to keep my feet on the ground down here semi-regularly!

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What are the needs?

As many of you know, the Lord provided in big ways as I began my journey to being in full time ministry this year. Within the first month of arriving in Guatemala, my year was fully funded and I was able to put aside the monetary concern and pursue my responsibilities with a full focus.

However, as I head towards this transition, there are a few costs that I am asking for help with as I come out of full time ministry. 

  • I had to undergo multiple dental procedures over the last 3 months. While the cost is minimal compared to what it would be in the states- it was nearly $2,000 of dental work that was necessary. This was emergency cost not originally factored into my budget for the year.
  • Travel expenses home: It will take about $1,000 to get me and my belongings home. I am hoping to purchase a ticket as soon as possible to avoid that being a higher cost.
  • Anything additional would be an enormous help, as I will be looking for a place to live, changing my state of residency, and re-establishing myself in the states!

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Thank you!

I cannot explain the blessing, support, and guidance that has been provided this year through my incredible community. You have sent notes, and care packages, and prayed daily, weekly, and monthly- and you have stuck with me each day as I did my best here.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. 

Thank you for supporting me in prayer and financially. 

Thank you for rescuing lives, for saving babies, for providing food, and for helping in ways you will never ever know. 

You have changed the world this year.


If you are interested in supporting my move home, visit:

http://igg.me/at/tiffanyiscominghome/x/1552510

Or if you’d like more information on needs, prayers requests, or questions email:

tiffanyeriksen@gmail.com

It’s October 5th

It is October 5th, 10:34am

I know where I was on October 5th of last year.

Probably about this time, I was sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee that my Mother so lovingly made me. Maybe even complete with my favorite creamer she had so thoughtfully purchased knowing I was coming home. Accompanied by the cat and bedhead, I was no doubt still swirling every thought and emotion of the previous month.

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“A craft room is going to make for a very inconvenient living space.”

“Drawing unemployment really feels like a defeat.”

“I have to babysit tonight. I’m 27. I just moved home after losing my job. And I have to babysit. This is not ideal.”

(I almost cancelled on the babysitting. This falls as #421 on the list of “Things I’m Thankful I Didn’t Talk Myself Into.”)

Babysitting was not such a bad task after all. I found a kindred spirit that day.

Is it not astounding, the change occurring in our lives each day? These days which add up to months, and the months which add up to a year…. a year responsible for developing some of the most acute heartaches and victories I have ever experienced.

Things I have learned:

  1. Don’t ever use the word “that” in writing. This is challenging, and the best thing I’ve learned about my craft this year. I know- so simple.
  2. A writer has to re-locate their voice about once a month. Especially when there is little to no time to write for oneself. Some days it is easier for me to write as a 60+ year old Guatemalan man than it is for me to write as myself.
  3. It is ok not answer a question simply because it is asked. Revelation.
  4. Friendships span oceans. I have been gifted with incredible kindred spirits in my life, which have encouraged, guided, and validated my humanity with no reservations.
  5. Speaking of humanity. It is ok to be human, and it’s ok to remember that you are. Just don’t stay there. Learn and grow.
  6. At 28 you start seeing wrinkles around your eyes.
  7. Introversion is not a handicap.
  8. Not everyone needs to approve of your life or the decisions you make, or the things that you struggle with.
  9. Everything will be ok.
  10. Pursuing a dream is the hardest work you can do in your lifetime.

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A year removed from what felt like the potential for a world crushing shift in life, a new precipice is settling stoic in the distance. The invitation placed in front of my feet, and this next step simply awaiting a response- a pursuit.

The steps are stepped, decisions are decided, and minds are made.

And what remains- is thankfulness, an acknowledgment and appreciation of the struggle of the last year and an acceptance of the struggle this new year will carry in on it’s back.

Thankfulness for the Providence of it all.