Flourish Flock Feature | Summer Pendley

Happy Thursday, dears!

I don't know about you but I'm loving that the Flourish Flock Features have picked back up this past Fall/Winter. Stories are so incredibly powerful + encouraging- I think it's almost impossible to hear someone's and not be moved in some way!

Today I have the privilege of sharing precious Summer Pendley with y'all and a bit of her story. We have mutual friends and have connected over both social media + a coffee date that included sweet treats! She is a gift and I know your hearts will be encouraged through her words.

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living

Share where you grew up, where you currently live, a little about your family and job, as well as inspiration:

Forever a southern girl, Summer spent most of her childhood, until age 13, on a single street in rural North Carolina. Some of her most vivid memories include waking up early, picking out miss-matched clothes from her beloved pickled oak cabinet and hurrying out in search of the morning. Bordering one side of her house was a pasture, where a rusty barbed wire fence, overgrown with prairie grass, separated her from a few cattle, occasionally grazing. Though small, the pasture was a wide-open space of green, always beckoning her to run unbridled and free. Consequently, it became a backdrop for some of the first conversations Summer had with God.

Today, Summer and her family {husband of 17 years-Jason, her 12-year-old son-Noah and 9 year old daughter-Sailer} reside in the Dallas/Acworth area of Georgia with their two cats {Tux and Rose} and one rowdy blonde lab named Goldie. Summer has spent the last five years as a virtual barista at Internet Café Devotions as a women’s devotional writer. While she just submitted her final post last month {the café has recently closed}, she also spends her days as a content writer for an Atlanta-based Internet solutions company called Find Local Company. This past year, she began writing under her own company, Summer Pendley, LLC.

A self-confessed research nerd, Summer is a dreamer at heart, with a passion for encouraging women. Whenever possible, she enjoys sitting around the table with friends, old and new, over dark-roasted coffee and something sweet. Even so, visions of the North Carolina pasture are never far from her mind, appearing as a still frame on a reel of memories, decades after moving away.

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living

Share your favorite book:

One year ago, I was introduced to a book entitled Wild and Free {Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan}. *Here’s the short of it—I walked into my counselor’s office. She listened to me for ten minutes. She said, “here…read this and call me in a week.” My hand has been over my mouth ever since.

I have many, many favorite books and authors {Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen, Francis Frangipane, Charles Spurgeon, Philip Yancey, John Piper, Beth Moore…;)} Yet, I find that I read seasonally, and I’m always reading more than one book at a time.

Favorite Bible Verse | Passage:

Last year, I paraphrased Isaiah 42 [AMP] to include in a devotional. It has become a declaration…

I am the daughter that He upholds, the chosen one that He delights in. He has put His Spirit upon me—not the heavy mantle of expectation. He is bringing forth justice on my behalf. He does so quietly and gently. When I am weak, as a dimly burning wick, He doesn’t stifle me. He stays and faithfully brings forth a flame of righteousness for His name. He perseveres until He finishes the work.

For HE is the one that has stretched out the green earth and called my attention to it.

He has given me breath to run forward, with His spirit to sustain me. HE is the LORD – the one who has called me for a righteous purpose. He takes me by the hand, and doesn’t take His eyes off of me. He tells me that I’ll be a light for others, helping open the eyes of the blind. I’ll bring prisoners out of the dungeon of lies, and those sitting in darkness.

He doesn’t share glory with another, so I must not believe anything or anyone else except for Him.

Indeed, the former things have passed, now He blazes new things!

Losses:

Circumstances and experiences have a way of bending us towards mistruths, don’t they?

When I was in third grade, I went on a beach vacation with a friend. One evening, I was nearby when her mom was on the telephone. I’m not sure who was on the other line, but they were talking about me. I listened to my friend’s mom talk about my body, and how grown men were looking at me. I was young, but I knew what she meant when she described me as being ‘filled out’ and curvy. It’s true—I was not one of the stick-skinny girls. I had a much older looking body, and I was beginning to hate it.

At the start of middle school, I met a new friend that had a pool in her back yard (huge deal back then!). I remember being dropped off at her house for a pool party, only to realize that her brother (a 10th grader) and his friends were also there. In the coming days, I was told that he had a crush on me (a 6th grader). I also heard all of the things that he and his friends were saying about me. I was increasingly self-conscious. It was that year that I began having anxiety attacks and stomach issues before school.

There were many more of these instances over the coming years, some of which affected friendships. This was dangerous for a girl that so desperately wanted to be liked by everyone. In effect, the wrong type of attention here coupled with rejection over there gave way to living small and feeling less than. Consequently, the seed of rejection became the linchpin of all of it…the anxiety, panic, insecurity, control and ultimately misconceptions about intimacy.

Choices | Grace Makes A Way:

About 7 years ago, the grace of Jesus made it possible for me to be honest and vulnerable. I believe that’s when true healing began. My husband and I found ourselves at a new church, surrounded by people that embraced us in a way that was refreshing and different and safe.

I chose accountability. I chose discipleship. I chose to abide, to learn about the discipline of solitude and experiencing the presence of Jesus. I didn’t connect in order to be healed or delivered (I didn’t even know what I needed to be delivered from anyway), but that is exactly what began to happen.

What I’ve learned about uprooting a lie or a way of thinking is that it is not enough to acknowledge it. Lies must be confronted, cast out and replaced with truth.

While I feel as though I’m learning at a snail’s pace, I’m at the mercy of Jesus, and He is ever patient and persistent with my heart.

Tips | Advice:

Ask others to pray with you and for you. There have been times when I’ve avoided asking for prayer, because I feel as though I should be able to overcome something privately, during my own prayer time. In my experience, that thought is rooted in pride or shame. I’m thankful for the freedom that vulnerability brings and the power that is unleashed when my sisters surround me in prayer.

Be patient with yourself. If you’re anything like me, you are prone to living under your own self-imposed limitations. Remember, it’s not about you (I’ve been told this more times than I can count) ;) Ask God to help position your heart—to bring it into full submission to Him.

It takes work to not believe a lie. Our hearts are naturally bent towards mistruth. Yet, when we know that we are seen and kept by a heavenly Father, we can begin to unfurl our hearts.

Social Media | Links:

IG: Summer_Pendley

You may read her final contribution to Internet Café Devotions here:

W: http://internetcafedevotions.com/2017/12/sisterhood/

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living