Thank You Ms. Jefferies

I thought it was normal to have regular appointments with your junior high guidance counselor. I thought every kid was taken out of class to talk about what their life was like outside of the brick walls of the school building. It took a specific day for me to realize that meeting with Ms. Jefferies wasn’t normal, and neither was my life at home.

Ms. Jefferies was a bubbly blonde whose hair had seen one too many perm treatments. She was genuine and kind and remarkably unstylish, even to a 12 year old. But she sat across from me every week, hands folded in her lap, knee to knee with me and asked how I was. She asked how my brother and sisters were, how school was going, and how my weekend went. I had no idea this wasn’t routine for everyone. I never wondered why I was there or why she was asking how I was, I simply sat in the safety of her office and chatted openly wherever the conversation led.

That changed.

I was brought to Ms. Jefferies office in the middle of class. You remember that moment? The electrifying moment when someone shows up in your classroom door with that little white piece of paper and reads, “Meagan Holland, Ms. Jefferies wants to see you.” In those moments you don’t even care why or who or what, you’re just excited you get to skip out on whatever was going on in class that day.

Walking into her office felt different this time. I didn’t know why, but she looked serious. The door closed and she took her usual place across from me, knees almost touching.

“Tell me about your Stepdad.”

What did she want to know that I haven’t already said? I didn’t like him. He didn’t treat me well. He didn’t treat any of us well.

“Has he ever hurt you?”

My eyes widened. No one has asked me that question. How do I answer it? Is it safe to tell the truth?

The truth was, yes. My mouth opened and the words dropped out like anvils on my chest. It didn’t feel freeing, it felt terrifying. What would happen if he found out I told?

I don’t remember if I cried. I remember walking away wondering what that was all about and how she knew. I still to this day don’t know why she talked to me so pointedly that morning.

“Did you call Child Protective Services?!” My Mom asked when I got home from school.

“What? No! I would nev….” Wait. Is THAT why Ms.Jefferies pulled me aside? Did she call CPS? She must have.

I have to pause right here and tell you about my Mom. My Mom is one of my favorite humans on the face of this planet. My Mom has not had it easy, and she worked hard to give us the best life she could. I love my Mom. But in this moment, my Mom was more scared than I was. She had married a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she was pregnant with his baby. Turns out there are a whole lot of legal issues (like who gets custody) if you attempt divorce while pregnant, if the court will even grant you a divorce in the first place. She was stuck.

CPS had come and they had gone. The only thing that changed was my Stepdad now knew I blabbed to other people. That’s the thing about manipulative sociopaths (my personal diagnosis for him), they’re charming as hell. They have good jobs. They smile…a lot. And they can certainly talk you out of the viability of the words of a 12 year old girl.

But Ms. Jefferies believed me. She didn’t stop meeting with me, and she didn’t stop asking me questions, and she didn’t stop giving me hall passes when I had absolutely no reason for them. She didn’t stop until I changed grades and changed schools, but I’ve never forgotten her.

I’m so grateful for people that fought and prayed over me. For people like Ms. Jefferies who probably felt incapable, but did what she could with what she had. For people like my Mom who shrewdly navigated the tricky waters of our judicial system to protect her not-yet-born baby.

We’re meant to stand in the gap of injustice. We’re meant to step outside of the comfort of our living rooms and into the guidance counselor offices of junior high kids who are so lost they don’t even know what found is.

That’s how rescue comes. It comes through us.

You’re here to defend the defenseless…Your job is to stand up for the powerless.”  Psalm 82:3-4 (MSG)

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Why Women?


Before we dive in, I’d like to start the same way Sarah Bessey started in her book, “Jesus Feminist”, by relaxing our fists and resting in our worth. The more we fight for a seat at the table (you know, the table, where all the important decision makers sit), the more angst we feel and less heard we are.

Knowing your value means accepting it and exuding it, despite (and sometimes in spite) of what others tell us. We don’t need other people to validate us or give us position.

We all know positional authority is the weakest, so why do we keep striving for it? Relax. Know that you are valuable (silence that nagging voice in your head), and lean back. You were created for good and great things (Eph 2:10)

Now that that’s said….

Let’s talk about women. How are we made? What is our purpose? How can God use us?

Let’s go back to the beginning. Genesis 1: 26-27:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a]”>[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them

God created male and female together. To rule over the earth and to subdue it, as a partnership. It was not good for them to operate alone, they both have a lot to offer the other and it is better when they operate together.

Let’s dive a little deeper. Genesis 2:18:

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

The word “helper” here is Ezer Kenegdo, meaning “to rescue, to be strong”. There are 21 exact representations of Ezer Kenegdo in scripture, and 16 of them are in relation to God rescuing (“The Lord is my help” Psalm 54:4 for example). 

This is how you are made. Fiercely feminine. A marvelous mixture of strength and beauty. You lead because you were made to. You are a discipler, leader, encourager, project manager, chef, accountant, teacher, counselor, makeup artist, handyman, interior decorator, and a fill in the blank with anything that needs to get done-er, and that’s all just inside of your home!

I may not know you, but I can tell you this much without having to…

You are strong. You are fierce. And you are lovely.

Even in a world where #metoo is as common as “I had lunch today”, we prevail. Even when we’re told we can’t have authority, we prevail. Even when we’re told to be silent, we prevail. We sit on buses and refuse to be less than, we stoop down low and feed orphans and the poor, we stand up tall and lead armies into victory,  we sit in the quiet and write truth with bravery and fortitude, we speak up for the marginalized and change the world.

Do you even know how strong you are? Do you even know how much is within you? When God created you, He called you RESCUER. He named you STRENGTH.

All too often we equate strength with masculinity, but meet a woman who survived an abusive man and tell me she’s not strong. Meet a woman who raised 3 kids and tell me she’s not strong. Meet a woman who worked to feed her babies and tell me she’s not strong. Meet a woman and threaten her babies, and tell me she’s not strong.

There is nothing wrong with being feminine, but it does not mean you are frail. There is nothing wrong with being strong, but it does not mean you are not feminine.

If we can agree that men and women are different, then we can also agree that so much is missing when women are not a part of it. 

We’re asking the wrong question when we ask, “should women be allowed to _______?” We should be asking, “what are we missing if they don’t?”

unsplash-logoJurica Koletić

When God Goes Silent


When God goes silent, it can be incredibly frustrating.


I have had seasons where I’ve felt closer to God than others, certainly. But I’m learning that even in God’s silence, He’s still speaking.

We can never and will never fully understand God (cause then, uh, we’d kinda be God), but there have been a few reasons why God’s voice has seemingly gone dark on me.

Sometimes God stops speaking because He’s already spoken.

I tend to ask the same question over and over and over again, as if the answer will come a different way.  He’s just waiting for me to listen. 

Sometimes God stops speaking when we get in the way.

Anytime my wants / desires / actions come between me and God, it creates a separation.

Not only is God Holy, but He is also unchanging. Holiness and sin do not collide. They cannot not share the same space.

When I’ve been unwilling to follow Him, digging my heels in or refusing to acknowledge what’s at hand, He’ll stop leading.

God is gracious enough to give us space when we choose not to step forward, but He won’t drag us. I have to willingly go where He goes.

It’s amazing when I’ve finally released my grip on whatever I was holding onto, how He floods the room as if He was waiting on the sideline waiting to be called into the game. Here I am thinking I’m waiting on God, when really He’s waiting on me.

The truth is, God wants us to hear His voice. Always.

There are over 40 verses where God refers to Himself as our shepherd, and a good shepherd not only provides protection, but direction. A shepherd is immersed in the lives of His sheep. He knows each one of them, and never leaves their side.

This is the picture that God gives us for our relationship with Him. He desires to lead us, and for us to follow. Because all that He offers is good.

In your own life, what has kept you from hearing God?

unsplash-logoChristian Nielsen

Mom Guilt

If you’re a parent, particularly if you’re female, you’ve felt it. The tug and pull of career and parenting. Especially if kids come at an older stage. It’s one of the things I think about the most, and one of the things I talk about the most with other Moms.

Everyone has their opinions, their justifications, and their reasonings. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, and depending on the day, am riddled with worry or jubilant with gratitude.

We’ve made the choice for our daughter to be in school, two 1/2 days and 3 full days a week. She’s in a great school with great teachers and an environment that fits her perfectly. But I’m not the only one raising her.

Some days that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Here’s 3 reasons why we chose school:

1.) I’m an “all in” kind of person. I dive deep and I stay there. When Emma was born, one thing her Dad and I agreed on, is that we didn’t want to lose ourselves in being her Mom and Dad. That our relationship with God and with each other would still have to come first. That I wouldn’t find my identity in Motherhood but rather discover new pieces of my identity through it. That being a Mom would simply show new sides of me, instead of being the new me.

2.) One of my biggest wounds is the fear of abandonment. Like a shark with blood in the water I can sense abandonment or rejection a mile away, and have had to learn how to walk through potentially painful moments instead of running away from them. (This is the only sense in which I would ever claim to be a runner lol)

I had no idea, but leaving Emma at school made me realize how much I had placed that fear on her. I was crippled with the thought of her feeling alone. I had to face that fear every day. Fear is not my leader, and fear will not direct my steps. So together, we showed up. And she showed me that my personal fears are not hers. What a valuable lesson to learn!

3.) I’m the best Mom when I’m the best Meagan. If I am not mindful of self-care, it’s a quick downward spiral towards depression and agitation. Some may call it selfish (believe me the accusations in my head have tried), but taking a few hours a week for myself has been the best thing for us.

A wise friend recently told me that our lives change entirely every 6 months as parents.

So whatever decision you’ve made, whatever season you’re in, nothing is permanent. This gave me a lot of peace of mind as we made our choice. Whatever you’re doing now, it isn’t forever.

And the best news yet? You’re a great Mom no matter what you choose.