The following people and writings greatly inspired me to carry forward with the central message of this site. They are phenomenal supporting sources, who traded in years of lies of devaluation for the central truth of how greatly loved and valued they, and you are.
J. Kevin Butcher
Pastor J. Kevin Butcher is someone you simply have to meet to understand. Basically because his embrace is beyond genuine. His consistent message of value and identity, of truly grasping Jesus as Lord of your heart and not just your mind, has pulled me and countless others out of the trappings of merely postulating about God. Merit badges and degrees in theology don’t get you to heaven, but keeping the vast depths of God’s love at a comfortable distance while studying Him like He is some sort of object is no way to live either. His book Choose + Choose Again tells stories of those he has had the privilege of doing life with who have dug through their messes with authenticity and honesty. Kevin is constantly reminding us of Jesus’ deep love for us and our stubbornness to accept it. Really, our stubbornness to think we are fit to be loved at all.
I can’t say enough how Donald Miller has influenced me, especially through my college years. But what has kept me a dedicated reader of his is watching his own personal growth from voice of the college twenty-something to productivity driven life coach. Scary Close highlights how Donald had to start taking the masks off, masks hiding wounds and vulnerabilities he barely even knew were there. A layer of shame hides our true selves, and then we start covering up the shame layer with the public version of ourselves. But under those layers is who we really are. And what makes our true selves even more hidden are all the messages we receive outside of ourselves about who we are. Don gets at something in this book so profound to me. The people who can speak affirmations into our lives like they are busting down a door are invaluable. They are the people who tell us we are good at public speaking (when you think you are horrible!). They tell us we are good at relationships (after we have had yet another one shatter!). And they tell us we are lovable, especially when we won’t have any of it.
Nouwen is prolific in his ability to plumb the depths of God’s love for us. He is not afraid at all to go to the dark depths as well. In Can You Drink the Cup?, Nouwen uses the scene of the last supper as a metaphor for our lives and the raising, holding and drinking of the cup. We must examine our lives and drink it fully to the dregs. And to Nouwen that means to drink everything, including the cup filled with sorrows, pains, torments, doubts, and fears. We must confront it all, the joys and sorrows, having the strength to lift and examine them all, and to fully wash it all down in us.
A personal friend of mine, Jose Rivas is my poetic inspiration. His steadiness in life shows through in his writings, as he bring out beauty in examining things which we truly hope for. Rest is an important theme of Jose’s, but a rest found after putting in the work. His poetry moves beyond what we see and hear, going deep within our greatest yearnings.