I am thrilled to welcome and announce today Rebecca Stone’s new role as Managing Editor of A Beautiful Mess. Becca was one of the first to stumble across ABM in its earliest forms and one of the first readers of the book. Since then, we have built a friendship revolving around a desire to see more authenticity in the world around us. What strikes me most about her (well one thing) is her willingness to connect to others and seek out amazing resources which beckon conversations of honesty and vulnerability. She is going to bring wonderful new energy to the site and I’m so excited to see what happens in this new season.
In the coming months expect to see more action on our new Twitter page, more images on our Facebook fan page, wonderful resources on our Pinterest boards, and a host of new writers and creatives as we have at least two a week for this new season.
I could keep going on and on about Becca, but I thought it would be best to have her answer a few questions about herself so you can get to know her. Feel free to leave a comment and welcome her as this has always been and will continue to be a community of openness, welcome, safety and honesty. Welcome Becca!
What makes you a beautiful mess?
I tend to set up wildly unattainable expectations for myself and then crash hard when things don’t go my way. I also fear failure and disappointment. I’ve experienced this “mess” part for a long time. What I never knew until recently was that the process of attempting anything is “beautiful,” no matter how it turns out and no matter how painful the steps along the way. Each day, I’m faced with a variety of situations that probably won’t happen the way I want. I am a beautiful mess by choosing to engage in these situations anyway, resting in the fact that God knows me and sees me in spite of the end result.
What are you hoping to share with this community?
I’m hoping to share that it’s okay to acknowledge the messes of our lives. Not only that, there are others there to sit with us in it . To listen and not judge. To allow the space to just be. And they will cheer us on. There aren’t enough of those places in our world. What would we say or express if we knew there was freedom to do so?
What inspires you to live passionately?
Honestly, I don’t think I know any other way to live. I have always been a “wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve” kind of person who feels deeply about what I believe. As I go through my days, I gain inspiration from my husband, who is my biggest encourager and an incredible listener. I love watching my girls grow and learn; they show me how to stop and notice the little things.
I also have a couple of sacred companions with the ability to hear my heart rather than just the words I’m saying. I always feel energized after time spent with these friends. They handle my vents (via e-mail/text/whatever) with amazing grace and support. Sometimes they tell me “no” when I come up with crazy ideas. I need that!
If you could have dinner with 3 people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Lauren Winner is a top one. Her book Girl Meets God changed my faith. I’d ask her about the most important thing she tries to impart to her students at Duke Seminary and probably thank her for her words in Still: Notes on A Mid-faith Crisis as well. I savored that book and loved her honesty about doubt.
Madeleine L’Engle is another one. For years, I separated faith from art because I was told art is “of the world” unless it directly mentions God. Therefore, anyone who wanted to be an artist and a Christian could paint the VBS signs for the church. Thankfully, I discovered Madeleine. Her book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art helped me understand that we are a created to create. Art is actually pleasing to God. Holding back keeps us from stepping into who He made us to be. In addition, reading Madeleine’s journal, A Circle of Quiet, gave me the confidence to write, to be a mom and a wife, and to love my own community all at the same time.
Finally, I’d love to share (a fish?) dinner with the apostle Peter. Jesus gave Peter his identity and an unparalleled role in the church. Unfortunately, Peter denied Jesus in a pivotal moment just before Jesus’ death. What a failure Peter must have felt like! Yet, Jesus restored Peter after the resurrection. When the Holy Spirit showed up, there was no stopping Peter. With God’s help, he preached the sermon of his life. I want to know what it was like to have Jesus choose to look at him and address him after having denied Him. I see how I deny Jesus all the time—in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. God’s work in Peter’s life gives me hope that my shame can be taken and that I can experience His restoration again and again.
Do you have a favorite contemplative practice? What?
While I love art journaling, my favorite contemplative practice is praying while washing dishes. I discovered a rhythm and an appreciation for this practice when I read The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and ‘Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. If I had my choice, I’d spend my weekends on retreats. But I can’t. I live in the day-to-day of raising a family and pursuing vocation. That reality has made me look for opportunities to connect with God right where I’m at because that’s where He is too. I also like to pray while folding laundry.
What is your life story in six words? (Thank you Tara Owens for this great question!)
Tired Trying. Finding Freedom. Living Loved.