sword of.

it would seem as though my blog lately (maybe always, i’m not really sure) has become more like a journal. i need to write. i know this. i am rusty. so instead of over-thinking everything, i’m just writing anything. i said it the other day, and it’s true that writing is how i process. you can read in my writing when i am scratching the surface or break through something all together. i “journal” here because my fingers type faster than they write in my journal. but i do journal still. and writing is my therapy.

i got off of facebook a few weeks ago. i don’t miss it. kind of i do, but not really i do. i miss my people there. but i don’t miss the noise of it all. because i am who i am, which is only to say i will speak to a shoe if it’s walking toward me, and because my family is who they are, which is only to say i grew up traveling with an evangelist and in retreat-ministry and so it just so happens that i have had the incredible privilege of knowing a gazillion awesome people in the world…also to say my whole family on both sides will also speak to a shoe or a lamp or a bus or a cat if it means we get to make a new friend and neither of us gets to be lonely…

why was i saying all of that? oh, because i know a lot of people there. and so when i post here? now that i’m not there? i only get a few hits a day. WHICH IS FINE because i kind of say whatever i want without really having to edit much.

there was a time, back when i first started blogging, when i wanted to stake a place in the blogosphere. when i cared about being known to infinity and beyond.

or at least in the twitterverse.

i think i might have said that i didn’t care then, but i cared then. part of me, anyway, wanted to belong in that world.

i would schedule my posts and space out my announcements…it became like a job…to write every day and integrate myself into the weird, virtual community where everyone and no one knows no one and everyone. and it’s awesome and also not awesome there. awesome if you can handle it, not awesome if you can’t.

today? honestly? i really don’t care. i care tremendously about the people who stop by here for a visit. because that is what matters. but i don’t do math and i don’t do numbers and if one person stops by here whose heart i can connect to? because that’s what matters?

and it’s the only thing that matters?

well, that’s what matters.

because i need you. i need to know we’re not alone together.

and you know what i realize i’m okay with now that i haven’t been okay with before?

is that you might need me, too.

you need me to show up.

and i need you to be there when i do.

here lately, though, i write because i know i need to write. and i’m happy you’re here.

can i tell you what i prayed today?

i was driving toward school and said, “god. just make me regular. ordinary. i just want to be normal.” honestly, it is my greatest desire to just fly under the radar. i don’t want to be noticed or known. that is, to be known to those who know, yes. of course. i want to be known by these. that is important, for all of us. but to be known by the whole universe?

i just want to know i’m known by the god of that. 

i’ve been reduced to this. and i honestly don’t care about much else.

keeping up appearances or with the jones’ or with…anything or anyone…good grief, i have a hard enough time remembering not to wear the same thing twice in one week and to brush my teeth in the morning…i can’t even remember how old i am anymore…i never ever remember my phone extension at work…much less remembering to…do anything else (couldn’t think of anything clever, but i mean everything at all).

who has the time or the energy? i spent all of last year striving in my new environment. i didn’t even realize it until i went home for christmas a year later. and i just can’t anymore. i just cannot. can you? no, you can’t either. let’s not strive anymore, okay? promise? really. for real. can we just breathe together? and laugh and cry together? no judgment here. let’s just be.

i’m secretly an introvert. but in life i can’t be that. my job/life/ministry…i just can’t be that. i’ve never been able to actually be that. maybe because i’m not really that? any time i take the MBTI, i’m near the middle but always leaning left. but i’m one of those creative-types who processes on her own out loud, but is perfectly content to not talk to a single soul and process through writing and painting and singing and praying and reading…alone…until it’s time to process aloud again…(right? that’s a type, isn’t it?)

i’ve been listening to bob goff lately. watching his interviews. he talks about being secretly incredible. this i want to be.

i told my cousin that, would if i could, i want to publish my first book anonymously. i don’t know what would most honor god there. as it is, i don’t have to worry about that right now since, you know. there’s no actual book to publish.

also, glennon melton over at momastery, who…y’all. she is freeing me up in so many ways. i’m not sure why i never started reading her, not on a regular basis, until now. she is reminding me of grace. the thing i used to be. what i still am, but…

i know where it started. where i lost grace. i sometimes forget where i lost it, but then i remember. and i still had it, even while i lost it. it was because of that thing that happened.

and those who know, i know you will and do get it because you were a part of it either before, during or after. and i’m sorry i keep alluding to it but not talking about it here. i’m not sure if or when or if it’s even or will ever be necessary or what i want to say about it, anyway. it was horrible.

hurt people hurt people, that’s what they say. sometimes hurt people help people, though.

and that’s when it happened. and friends who know me may say i didn’t lose it. but i feel like i did. let it never be said of me, god, that i am not a safe place of grace for…anyone. ever. please.

and, of course, kid president. he’s my favorite. (seriously, this morning? i thought about what it would be like to hang out with him. and you know what i came up with? he would just be a kid. and i would just be me. and it would be awesome.)

i want what these people have.

i used to have what these people have.

some would say i still have it? maybe? i don’t know, honestly.

my spirit has been quiet lately. my soul? a little bit restless. my spirit, quiet.

i think i’m figuring out who i am all over again.

or figuring out who i am in this stage of my life.

it’s a weird, awesome place. and i’m finally totally okay with not knowing who or where i am right now. i’m getting there. not fighting or striving or trying to figure it out. just life…figure me out for me. it’s good. and life is simple when i just leave life alone and let life be life.

i don’t mean to sound so narcissistic, if that’s how i’ve been coming across lately. my hope is that as i’m processing my heart and my life, that you might be, too. it’s the only reason i’m writing here. it would be in my journal otherwise. and maybe some things are best left there. or maybe let’s just be more honest.

my little sister/fellow old soul/sweet friend said today, “midol’s better than tylenol. midol’s my jam.” that has absolutely nothing to do with anything, except maybe it has a little something to do with everything i’m saying right now. plus, it was just funny and we all laughed when she said it.

i called out a(nother) friend recently. it’s becoming a thing. not really a thing that i like, but it keeps happening.

i honestly didn’t mean to do it. i wasn’t trying to. i actually forgot that it happened, to be honest. my only intention at the time was to speak some truth that needed to be spoken to a situation that i’m not even that close to, just a casual observer from the outside looking in, but who cares about deeply about all parties. i was asked a related question, which turned into a “let me tell you how it is” answer because that’s what happens when this righteousness-thing that’s in me kicks in. i love the person i was speaking to, but i was a little bit hard on the person to whom i was speaking.

and the friend on whose behalf i was speaking thanked me for it later.

but then i had to apologize. not for what was said, but because i can be kind of intense when i speak “truth”. we landed on the same page…but we -i- both spoke to be heard instead of listened, again, to be understood.

and this just wasn’t okay. again.

so i went to find my friend. again.

only the two were speaking to each other when i saw the one i had apologized to, so i pretended i was doing something else, which is dumb but i took it as a sign that maybe i just needed to mind my own business…and maybe i did…

but then…i got back to my office and thought, “no. no secrets. do this. nothing to hide. get it out in the open. no shadows. you’re a part of this now, whether you wanted to be or asked for it or not. make sure it’s right, even if it’s weird. this is okay.”

so i went back to the library where the two were, and i hugged him harder than her and said, “listen. i love both of you. and i want what’s best for both of you. i care about both of you. AND THERE IS GRACE. AND I AM LEARNING TO LIVE IN GRACE AGAIN. and what i said is still TRUTH. but THERE IS GRACE FOR YOU TO LEARN WHAT IS TRUTH FOR YOU. and this situation will work out because you are both seekers of jesus and of grace and of truth and we are all on this journey together. AND I AM NOT RIGHT ALL OF THE TIME. and i am cheering for both of you because we are all in this together and we’re not going anywhere any time soon that we’re not all going together.”

and i cried not dramatically but just because i could, and i hugged them both not because it was the right thing to do but because it was the only thing to do.

because i look like i’m 12 and act like i’m 5, 17 or a hundred depending on the day, i sometimes forget that i’m like the big sister that they didn’t ask for to some of my colleagues. i forget that many of them will not learn lessons like i learned them, because i was drunk or hungover when i got the stories that created the lessons that i learned later. but no matter how they learn things, they have to and get to figure out stuff, too. and I don’t just get to be “older and wiser” just because i think i am older and wiser. my lessons may not be their lessons, my truth may not be their truth.


i’m learning this all over again.

but…at the same time? i do have something to contribute. i do have something to say. and i do have a voice that is meant to be used, and so i am learning to do this at all, and how it is meant to be done.

it is SO WEIRD to be aware of needing to re-learn all of this. how again did i lose it? just so strange. anyway. finding it all again. that’s the part that matters.

i may think i have an answer, or know something, but if i haven’t been asked to contribute? then who really cares how much i think i know? you know?

this is not to say, though…rather, let me put it this way.

how do i want to put it?

grace and truth. my friend whitni posted on her wall a few weeks ago something along the lines of, “truth without grace is just mean”. basically. and there was a flip-side part of the quote, too. about “grace without truth”, but i can’t remember it and i can’t find it accurately now. i think she was quoting someone else.

one of my core, fundamental truths that i seem to only just now be remembering, even though i’ve said it a thousand times, is: just because i think it, doesn’t mean you need to hear it. or that you need to hear it from me. 

this is how i remember learning that: years ago, at least ten, my friend wes said to me, “it’s not that what you said isn’t the truth. it’s just that the way you say it makes me not want to listen to you.” i, obviously, haven’t forgotten this. as in, i remember where we were sitting and exactly how he said it and if i did not thank him then (but i think that i did because i loved him then as i do now and he was so honest with me and loving about it), then i sure thank (or re-thank) him now. because it is true, what he said. i think i wrote a post about this very thing, actually.

my point is this: i am and have always been and karen and i have talked ad nauseam about how part of who i am – a big, fundamental, unavoidable and i can’t apologize for it part of who i am – is that i am a truth-sayer. sometimes this sucks. a lot of times, this sucks. because i’m not always the best time-teller. and sometimes i’m not the best at identifying ear-hearers. sometimes those parts aren’t my job. but sometimes the combination of it all just is…it just sometimes sucks. but i’m sort of used to it now. i don’t mind it, except when i do.

(god, please? ordinary?)

but, also? i really am a grace pourer-outer. i mean, in theory. in theory, i am a grace pourer-outer. (again, it’s the thing i seem to have lost but i am finding again…thank you, jesus…)

but i find lately, in dealing with students who are trying to make their way and friends on whose journeys i have been invited, that i’m more of the truth-sayer than the grace pourer-outer.

but i can’t be one if i’m not going to be the other.

because the truth-teller has to foremost be a grace pourer-outer. otherwise she is just mean and bossy and a know-it-all, and who really wants to know a know-it-all? 

when i was decompressing the situation with another friend, one who is in a similar life-stage as i am in, two things happened: one is that i didn’t second-guess myself. FOR THOSE WHO KNOW ME WELL, YOU KNOW THIS IS HUGE. i knew that what i said in the first place was truth. that i had somehow been positioned to speak truth where truth needed to be spoken. hearts were involved. what i said about it was truth. and in the library, that part was truth, too. THEY BOTH THANKED ME FOR IT because she said it opened the door for what needed to be an honest conversation between the two of them. i couldn’t apologize for speaking the truth, just for being kind of intense when i said it.

i am becoming okay with and less shocked by speaking truth and pouring grace, and asking for it in return, and not apologizing for any of it whereas i used to apologize just for being alive. and i’m not sorry for that part anymore.

you know what’s funny, actually? is that this was the first time i had said anything at all to anyone about the situation, and i said it directly to the person involved. but others have been asking questions and speaking into the situation and no one’s “gotten into trouble” over it. and then came me. geez.

(please, god, just make me regular.)

anyway. my friend reminded me, “listen to me. you’re the one who told me to get off the emotional roller coaster last year.” (oh, the irony…)

and she reminded me again of another truth i had to work out and walk through and make similar changes she was forced to make when she got off that roller coaster.

truth is truth. it just is. my granddad used to say, “all truth is god’s truth”. and as long as that’s the truth we’re telling, then this is true.

he also used to say, “in all things, do the loving thing.”

he said a lot of things.

we have to have grace and truth. grace can survive without truth. but truth cannot breathe without grace.

yes. this is my truth.

and i’m thankful for the grace to hear it.

there’s more. (because always, there is more.)

but that’s enough for now.

night night.


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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mel~issa
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:21:57

    I’m here listening. As I listen, your words press me to think, to engage with what I need to in a few situations. I’m also moving back toward writing again. I’ve stayed silent through social media conversations in the last year, as I have sat in the emotional storm of knowing that neither of the sides that form in those conversations, have the whole of the answer. And one in particular, I am not just an observer. It seems like God is saying this is the time for me to put myself out there. Ugh.

    Aside from that, your words make me think about my mentor who passed away in September. That woman was a truth teller. She’d call something out and there would be some ugly tears. I hold no hard feelings for those hard words of truth. It took real courage and love for her to say them to me. In the weeks after her funeral, I realized how much she really loved me. I knew she loved me even before. Memories of everyday life where she taught me about loving Jesus and others. Or the day, where it was a bad day during her cancer treatment, and she still gave me her time, knowing I didn’t come into town very often. She let me see her wrestle with God. Speak the truth, my friend. It matters. Yes, put truth and and love and grace all in together.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:28:18


      i needed your words today. thank you for all of them. i needed to see your heart – yours – today, and didn’t know it.

      i’m so sorry you lost your friend. i am on the verge of losing that person in my life, too, and i am gutted. i’m so glad you had the experience of her.

      i love you, my friend. let’s be brave together. please share your voice, your heart. we -i- need you.


  2. Liz Russell
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 11:56:30

    Gosh, I needed this. So much of this. I needed to be reminded that the only one by whom I need to be known is the God of the universe. I needed to be reminded to just be ordinary and be okay with it. I needed to be whacked aside the head with grace AND truth. Not one or the other, but both at the same time. I needed this. Thank you, MK.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 13:47:11

      thanks, my friend. i needed to know that you needed to hear it, that my words were okay and that i don’t sound mean or like i’m losing my mind.

      i would be very happy to be just plain and ordinary with you.

      but there is a reason i prayed that prayer. ;)

      love you, girl. come by any time.


  3. Tay
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 20:54:19

    Well, MK, you’ve done it again. Touched my heart in ways that I can’t even explain. It’s like we’re soul sisters or something. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

    Life has a way of taking you by the hand (or sometimes the hair!) and showing you places and people that you never thought that you would encounter. People who change the way you look at the world and the way that you look at Jesus. People who will speak grace and truth to you. And I have a beautiful friend who is that person to me. She knows how to tell it to me straight. Even when she has to straight up tell me, “Tay, you need to get over him. I don’t want to see you get hurt. And I know it’s going to be hard, but when it gets hard, that’s when I’ll be there. Right with you. We’re going to work on this together.” Thanks to my precious friend, I am now navigating the scary world of guys no longer under the spell of the blonde one.

    There is, however, a new guy in my life. And I am scared to death. Scared to get hurt. I don’t know how he feels about me, but I sure as heck know how I feel about him. But, right now it’s fun and I guess that’s all I can ask for. Also, allow me for a moment to have a minor girl freak-out moment…HE HELD MY HAND TODAY DURING CHAPEL! That is all.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 21:29:46

      well, tay-tay, i’m no love-expert, by any means (as we all know by now), but…i’m pretty sure that when a boy holds a girl’s hand – i mean, unless y’all are told to reach across your row and hold hands with everybody so you can pray for each other…i think that may mean he likes you a little bit. just…you know…a hunch. ;)

      i’m glad you have a friend like that in your life. we all need one of those, and we need to be that kind of friend when life and god allow for it.

      you are never alone, tay-tay. i’m glad to know i’m not, either.


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