Earlier this week, I had one of the most profound conversations I’ve had in a long time. I was having coffee with my new friend Kayla, and we had the opportunity to talk a lot about the things that have been stirring in me. This season is a really good and really interesting one. And by interesting, I mean that every two or three days, I feel like my world is going to slowly crumble down around me. I get really frustrated with myself, or frustrated with Colton, or my friends, or my circumstances. And I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. And my people have been so gracious. Because this is a process that takes time to fully work through and they see the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I’m too blinded to see it myself. Thank you Jesus for good friends like these. The world is so much more hopeful with them in it.

Engagement is such a transition season. Everyone knows it’s only temporary, but for those who are engaged, you know that phrase only helps so much. Because while yes, the wedding is only x number of months away (Six from today! Whoohoo!!!!), you still have to live in the tension of these months. You still have to wait and hope and trust. And that’s okay. It is a real and true fact that engagement is so good and messy and there are a ton of things you never thought you’d be dealing with, and suddenly you have the choice: work through them with God and your future spouse or ignore them, pretending that everything is totally fine, and let them fester and grow. And in my personal opinion, we need to stop shaming our friends who are working through something (whether it’s engagement or something else) that seems really messy, and instead start praying and hoping for them. We need to be sounding blocks and fresh air for them to breathe, and we need to be like the friends of the paraplegic who lowered him down to Jesus and went off rejoicing with him when he could finally walk. We need to believe in the process and stop demanding results.

For me, one of the big wrestles for God and me in this season is my upcoming role as a wife and what that’s going to look like. I can tell you now that there will never be a greater gift and honor in my life than to be Colton James LeBoeuf’s wife. I get to marry my best friend. He is a man of such incredible character. He is the kindest person I’ve ever met. He’s so patient and gracious, and has supported me and loved me so well even before we ever started dating. He’s better than I could have ever dreamt up for myself. I am so blessed. When I stop to think about what a crazy honor it is that God lets us live this life out together for so many years, it blows me away, I do not deserve this gift.

And Colt wants to be a pastor, and spend his life ministering to others, helping them encounter the love of God. What an incredible gift! I prayed that my husband would love God more than he loves anything else in the world (including me), and God gave me that. All glory back to Him.

Yet somewhere along the way, I got tripped up in what that means for us, and specifically what that means for me as a wife of a man in ministry. Something was communicated to me that said, “As a woman and as a woman who’s in ministry, this is your role: be quiet. Be submissive. Because you matter less. Your voice matters less. It doesn’t count. You don’t count. You will only play second fiddle.” And while that isn’t at all the truth, it really shook me and made me afraid. Because I want to matter and to become fully all that God has created me for. And for a long while, I’ve been working through what God actually wants my role to be.

I know that everyone has very strong and different opinions about women’s role in the home and church, and I respect your opinions. I’m not going to have a debate with you. I’m merely explaining that the quiet servant isn’t the role I want to play, or even feel comfortable playing. Loving wife and mother? Yes. Supporter of everything Colton does? Of course. I want to come along side Colton and love him and serve him and love and serve other people. But I believe that I matter too. My dreams matter. My voice matters. I mean, I obviously have things to say or I wouldn’t be over here writing all this out. I can’t keep these things in.

And what I think we’re missing when we push women, or anyone for that matter, into one specific role, and declare “THIS IS WHO YOU ARE” without even considering who we’re talking to, we are simply trying to play God, and that is NOT our job. The fact is that we need people to love and serve in their own ways, in the ways God created them to serve and love. We need to let people be themselves, and stop pegging them into certain categories. And that looks different for everyone. I’m marrying a man who wants to be in full time ministry, and yes that means I’m signing up for a life of full time ministry too. But Colton is also marrying a writer and a teacher, and that means he gets to partner with my callings too. There will be seasons where one of our dreams is at the forefront, and the other one will have to wait and cheer us on. And vise versa. But that’s the beauty of marriage. We’re always laying down ourselves to life up the other, and when they’re doing the same thing, God comes in and blesses us more than we ever thought He would. It really doesn’t make sense, but it’s good. It’s the beauty of the Gospel. Death bringing forth life. Again and again and again.

For a lot of my life, I heard over and over again these phrases: “Mary Cate, you’re so nice,” “You’re so motherly and nurturing,” “You’re so sweet.” And while I totally agree these are facets of my character, and very sweet gifts that God has given me in personality, it got to the point where I started wanting to punch the next person in the face who told me that. Because it’s not all that I am!! I wanted people to tell me I was funny, and smart, and creative, and even hot. Just anything but sweet and motherly. I am not a big fully marshmallow. I am a woman—creative, firey, kind, gracious, intelligent, etc.

And I could go on for a while, but here’s the truth: this is ministry. My life is ministry. I am not confined to a church building or a children’s ministry or a certain character trait that someone speaks over me. It’s me again and again saying yes to God in the ways He is speaking to me. It’s fanning into flame the gifts that He’s given (2 Timothy 1:6)

Here are some things I now know about myself after this conversation with my friend and I need to keep remembering. Here are just a few of the ways I feel like God is speaking to me right now:

 

I am an artist. I have to create. I need to be around beauty, to see it, to hear it, to feel it, to create it and write it and express it and manifest it myself. And this is not an airbrushed magazine beauty; this is not a commercialized beauty or a flawless body beauty. It’s messy, and it’s emotional, and colorful, and full of bits that I don’t really understand. It’s offensive to some and scary to others, but for a few it does something that breaks through the mundane and offers a chance to breathe and see again.

 

I am a feeler. Which probably comes with the art thing. I need to feel things deeply, both the good things and the bad things, in order to create. In order to meet with Jesus. In order to become whole and more of myself. It’s like a plant that sits in a closet—I will die shut up in there. I need to be planted deep in the soil, need to soak up the rain and savor the sunshine. I need the clear air. I need the breath of God.

 

I am so many things, so many things that I don’t even know yet. There are facets of my character that have not developed, that I’ve yet to explore. It’s like a diamond, or a cave full of tunnels, we are complex beings, there’s a lot that we have yet to see, and we can stay up near the mouth of the cave where we can see, or we can grab our headlamp and crawl around and the dark and discover new things. We can grow.

 

And I don’t know about you, but I want to keep growing. I want to become more of myself. My friend Kayla said to me, “You must be more of who you are.” Because who I am is good. Who I am is necessary. When I am fully myself, it blesses Colton; it blesses my friends. It heals me. It’s a fragrant offering to God. And being myself brings a little more like into the world. Being fully myself pushes back against the darkness in the world.

 

And the same is true for you. Are you holding back parts of yourself that you know you need to share? Has someone spoken over you that you’re not something, when the truth is that you are? Are you waiting to become something or do something beautiful? Why are you waiting? Why are you holding back?

 

We need you to be who you fully are. The world is waiting. That song in your heart, that piece that’s bursting into being as your paintbrush hits the canvas, that meal you prepared for a hurting friend, the way you love to listen, we need those parts of you. You cannot keep them in. It’s my to let them out, to watch God take your fishes and loaves and breathe on them and feed the hungry.

 

You must be more of who you are, for who you are is good.

 

It’s your reflection of God piercing the flesh of a dark and hurting world.

Earlier this week, I had one of the most profound conversations I’ve had in a long time. I was having coffee with my new friend Kayla, and we had the opportunity to talk a lot about the things that have been stirring in me. This season is a really good and really interesting one. And by interesting, I mean that every two or three days, I feel like my world is going to slowly crumble down around me. I get really frustrated with myself, or frustrated with Colton, or my friends, or my circumstances. And I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. And my people have been so gracious. Because this is a process that takes time to fully work through and they see the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I’m too blinded to see it myself. Thank you Jesus for good friends like these. The world is so much more hopeful with them in it.

Engagement is such a transition season. Everyone knows it’s only temporary, but for those who are engaged, you know that phrase only helps so much. Because while yes, the wedding is only x number of months away (Six from today! Whoohoo!!!!), you still have to live in the tension of these months. You still have to wait and hope and trust. And that’s okay. It is a real and true fact that engagement is so good and messy and there are a ton of things you never thought you’d be dealing with, and suddenly you have the choice: work through them with God and your future spouse or ignore them, pretending that everything is totally fine, and let them fester and grow. And in my personal opinion, we need to stop shaming our friends who are working through something (whether it’s engagement or something else) that seems really messy, and instead start praying and hoping for them. We need to be sounding blocks and fresh air for them to breathe, and we need to be like the friends of the paraplegic who lowered him down to Jesus and went off rejoicing with him when he could finally walk. We need to believe in the process and stop demanding results.

For me, one of the big wrestles for God and me in this season is my upcoming role as a wife and what that’s going to look like. I can tell you now that there will never be a greater gift and honor in my life than to be Colton James LeBoeuf’s wife. I get to marry my best friend. He is a man of such incredible character. He is the kindest person I’ve ever met. He’s so patient and gracious, and has supported me and loved me so well even before we ever started dating. He’s better than I could have ever dreamt up for myself. I am so blessed. When I stop to think about what a crazy honor it is that God lets us live this life out together for so many years, it blows me away, I do not deserve this gift.

And Colt wants to be a pastor, and spend his life ministering to others, helping them encounter the love of God. What an incredible gift! I prayed that my husband would love God more than he loves anything else in the world (including me), and God gave me that. All glory back to Him.

Yet somewhere along the way, I got tripped up in what that means for us, and specifically what that means for me as a wife of a man in ministry. Something was communicated to me that said, “As a woman and as a woman who’s in ministry, this is your role: be quiet. Be submissive. Because you matter less. Your voice matters less. It doesn’t count. You don’t count. You will only play second fiddle.” And while that isn’t at all the truth, it really shook me and made me afraid. Because I want to matter and to become fully all that God has created me for. And for a long while, I’ve been working through what God actually wants my role to be.

I know that everyone has very strong and different opinions about women’s role in the home and church, and I respect your opinions. I’m not going to have a debate with you. I’m merely explaining that the quiet servant isn’t the role I want to play, or even feel comfortable playing. Loving wife and mother? Yes. Supporter of everything Colton does? Of course. I want to come along side Colton and love him and serve him and love and serve other people. But I believe that I matter too. My dreams matter. My voice matters. I mean, I obviously have things to say or I wouldn’t be over here writing all this out. I can’t keep these things in.

And what I think we’re missing when we push women, or anyone for that matter, into one specific role, and declare “THIS IS WHO YOU ARE” without even considering who we’re talking to, we are simply trying to play God, and that is NOT our job. The fact is that we need people to love and serve in their own ways, in the ways God created them to serve and love. We need to let people be themselves, and stop pegging them into certain categories. And that looks different for everyone. I’m marrying a man who wants to be in full time ministry, and yes that means I’m signing up for a life of full time ministry too. But Colton is also marrying a writer and a teacher, and that means he gets to partner with my callings too. There will be seasons where one of our dreams is at the forefront, and the other one will have to wait and cheer us on. And vise versa. But that’s the beauty of marriage. We’re always laying down ourselves to life up the other, and when they’re doing the same thing, God comes in and blesses us more than we ever thought He would. It really doesn’t make sense, but it’s good. It’s the beauty of the Gospel. Death bringing forth life. Again and again and again.

For a lot of my life, I heard over and over again these phrases: “Mary Cate, you’re so nice,” “You’re so motherly and nurturing,” “You’re so sweet.” And while I totally agree these are facets of my character, and very sweet gifts that God has given me in personality, it got to the point where I started wanting to punch the next person in the face who told me that. Because it’s not all that I am!! I wanted people to tell me I was funny, and smart, and creative, and even hot. Just anything but sweet and motherly. I am not a big fully marshmallow. I am a woman—creative, firey, kind, gracious, intelligent, etc.

And I could go on for a while, but here’s the truth: this is ministry. My life is ministry. I am not confined to a church building or a children’s ministry or a certain character trait that someone speaks over me. It’s me again and again saying yes to God in the ways He is speaking to me. It’s fanning into flame the gifts that He’s given (2 Timothy 1:6)

Here are some things I now know about myself after this conversation with my friend and I need to keep remembering. Here are just a few of the ways I feel like God is speaking to me right now:

 

I am an artist. I have to create. I need to be around beauty, to see it, to hear it, to feel it, to create it and write it and express it and manifest it myself. And this is not an airbrushed magazine beauty; this is not a commercialized beauty or a flawless body beauty. It’s messy, and it’s emotional, and colorful, and full of bits that I don’t really understand. It’s offensive to some and scary to others, but for a few it does something that breaks through the mundane and offers a chance to breathe and see again.

 

I am a feeler. Which probably comes with the art thing. I need to feel things deeply, both the good things and the bad things, in order to create. In order to meet with Jesus. In order to become whole and more of myself. It’s like a plant that sits in a closet—I will die shut up in there. I need to be planted deep in the soil, need to soak up the rain and savor the sunshine. I need the clear air. I need the breath of God.

 

I am so many things, so many things that I don’t even know yet. There are facets of my character that have not developed, that I’ve yet to explore. It’s like a diamond, or a cave full of tunnels, we are complex beings, there’s a lot that we have yet to see, and we can stay up near the mouth of the cave where we can see, or we can grab our headlamp and crawl around and the dark and discover new things. We can grow.

 

And I don’t know about you, but I want to keep growing. I want to become more of myself. My friend Kayla said to me, “You must be more of who you are.” Because who I am is good. Who I am is necessary. When I am fully myself, it blesses Colton; it blesses my friends. It heals me. It’s a fragrant offering to God. And being myself brings a little more like into the world. Being fully myself pushes back against the darkness in the world.

 

And the same is true for you. Are you holding back parts of yourself that you know you need to share? Has someone spoken over you that you’re not something, when the truth is that you are? Are you waiting to become something or do something beautiful? Why are you waiting? Why are you holding back?

 

We need you to be who you fully are. The world is waiting. That song in your heart, that piece that’s bursting into being as your paintbrush hits the canvas, that meal you prepared for a hurting friend, the way you love to listen, we need those parts of you. You cannot keep them in. It’s my to let them out, to watch God take your fishes and loaves and breathe on them and feed the hungry.

 

You must be more of who you are, for who you are is good.

 

It’s your reflection of God piercing the flesh of a dark and hurting world.

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One thought on “Be More of Yourself

  1. Mary Cate, I know I don’t know you, but a friend told me about your blog a couple years ago and I’ve been reading ever since! Every single time you write a blog post I feel like it’s me who is writing! I especially loved this last post because I feel everything that you have just explained! Thank you so much for being who you are because you’re touching the lives of people who you don’t even know.

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