Sunday, February 24, 2013

Something I've heard all my life...

Today I was reminded of something I've heard all my life.
Well, all the time in my life that I've spent in church.
Okay, all my life.

"All you need is Jesus. Whenever anyone says that you need Jesus plus anything else, they are wrong. They are talking about religion. They are talking about traditions. They are talking about adding on to Jesus. Jesus is all you need. All you need is Jesus."

This morning, Kristiana and I went to see Glennon Melton, the Mother Superior over at She is undoubtedly one of the top five speakers I have ever had the honor of listening to. I thought I loved her and her wry, irreverent virtual voice as a result of reading her blog. But seeing her in person, hearing her actual voice, laughing with her, groaning with her, and seeing how she loves her amazing sister (who was there with her), I confess that I'm even more in love.

Anyway, Glennon reminded us of that saying, "All you need is Jesus."
Then she turned it on its head when she added - "I need Jesus and Lexapro and Twizzlers and diet Coke and cute stockings and..." that's when my pen lost track of her list and I had to stop and laugh out loud.

She provided numerous personal examples of how God sets our lives up so that we will need each other, need love, need friendship, need silence, need retreat, need safe spaces, need advise, need shoulders to cry on, need to sit at one another's feet and learn all that we are meant to teach each other, and sometimes we need licorice and soda too. I had to stop my pen at that point and grab a tissue.

Do I need to say that I have spent quite a bit of time this afternoon making my own list of stuff I need along with Jesus? Here's a partial list -

* someplace to live
* a car to drive in and out of suburbia
* clothes to wear and a few pairs of shoes as well
* money to maintain the lifestyle we have chosen
* red australian licorice
* uniball vision elite pens, micro point with black ink
* sweet potato french fries
* solo travel in Spain
* silent retreats in Pennsylvania
* moments when I can scream out curse words and spew hatred towards kanswer
* scarves and hats - especially now that I'm a bald kanswer warrior
* mojitos and lemon drop martinis
* the occasional bacon cheese burger with extra crispy fries
* time in Gibbs' living room with the fireplace lit
* Sharpie and Copic markers
* long phone conversations with friends who live across state lines
* the Real Housewives of Atlanta
* Law and Order Criminal Intent
* sensitive toothpaste
* Advil and Claritin
* toasted bagels with eggs and butter
* peanut butter cups
* long, slow hugs
* alone time, away from everybody, including my family
* my journals, oh sweet Momma Jesus, I would be lost without my journals
* help with occasional constipation
* cloth bags for when I go to the supermarket
* two or three bosom buddies who can handle it when I curse and cry, friends who don't ever, ever judge me
* coffee with milk and sugar
* over-the-knee socks
* books, the library, ibooks, kindle books
* my computer, ipad, phone, and the internet
* secret places to write my truly deepest secrets
* sandalwood incense
* cherry coke
* key lime pie

Again, this is only a partial list...


You would be surprised at how long I've felt guilty for thinking that I needed more than Jesus. I knew that the Bible said that it wasn't good for man (or woman) to be alone, but somehow that didn't seem to count when people said the thing about only needing Jesus. I knew that despite all my attempts to reduce the solution to my neediness to Jesus alone and try to make Jesus the answer to all my questions, I always came up with things and people I needed and questions for which "Jesus" wasn't the answer.

Like - what do you do when the diagnosis is kanswer or bipolar disorder or passive aggressive personality disorder? How do you respond when repeated requests for change go unheeded? How do you continue to be affiliated with an institution that believes that half of the people in attendance have nothing to say to the other half because of our gender? Stuff like that...

I'm not saying that anything or anyone else filled all the holes and empty places inside me, but I knew that Jesus alone didn't do it either. Loneliness persists. Needs persist. Emptiness persists. Even with Jesus. Even with a bone-deep trust in God.

Glennon made a great point - we have all these "holy holes" inside of us, all these empty places inside of us so that we will reach out to one another, create community, find others with similar empty spots and travel this life road together, seeking answers, seeking fulfillment, seeking love together.

I do need Jesus. Don't get me wrong. 
My life without my faith would be a far emptier life, a far less meaningful life.
But I need a whole lot of other stuff and other people as well.
And I'm no longer afraid or ashamed to admit it.

Thanks, Glennon, for confirming what I always knew and felt but could never express so clearly.


Kate {} said...

Love this list.


curiositycat said...

GAIL. I tried to catch up with everyone, all the Monkees, after Glennon's visit on Sunday, but so many left so quickly. I didn't even see you.

I've just "met" you and this is crazy but: Do you want to come to my house on Saturday and sit on my dirty floor? Bring a cup and food 'cause, girl, my glasses are all dirty just like my silverware drawer.

K. Before you think I'm some crazy stalker girl, you can totally check out all my online stuff (blog at and and Facebook ID is CuriosityCat, my name is Heather Head... well, and the most important thing is that GLENNON HELD MY HAND so she's knows I'm a good apple and won't ruin your barrel--or was it basket? Whatever that saying is...).

ANYWAY. I invited some other Charlotte Monkees to my house too. One is definitely coming. I'm nervous and excited. Will you and your daughter come?

Email me. It's Heather@heatherhead dot com.

Oh. And thank you for this beautiful post. I've been trying to write about Glennon's visit too. I just ... I can't write anything beautiful enough. I'm so glad you have.

Love!! And hugs. And hope to meet you.



Anna V. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna V. said...

Hi Gail,
After such an introduction by Glennon, I just had to come over and say hello!
If Glennon was as touched as she said she was, you must be a very very special lady....
I just wanted to let you know that I am sending my healing prayers and distance reike out to you for a smooth, painless and speedy recovery...I will follow your story here on your Blog because I think that I was meant to. You are wonderful and I am touched to know of you today, of all's like God is showing me a way right now

magandaconfessions said...

Another of the Monkees . . . I love your post and I love Jesus. He is all we need and I think He is just in everything that we need! Sending prayers up for you from Muncie, Indiana! <3

curiositycat said...

Gail. I have a couch, too. And you can sit there. I can't believe I asked you to come sit on the floor! I was thinking of Glennon and the story of Mary & Martha and sitting at Jesus's feet and I guess I just got confused. You may sit on my couch!! :D

Amy Newman said...

Our lists are similar. Glennon sent me and I am glad she did.

Amy Newman said...

Our lists are similar. Glennon sent me and I am glad she did.

Brittaney Kerby said...

Hi Gail, Monkey see, Monkey do! I'm so grateful to have found beautiful you and your beautiful blog. Sending healing thoughts, love and prayers from Texas <3

GailNHB said...

Thank you so much, ladies, for coming over here to check out this post that Glennon linked to. She is an awesome speaker and writer and woman. The least I could do is write something to honor the way she touched me on Sunday morning.

I am honored to have you read my stories and see my soul. I am grateful for your presence. I appreciate your prayers and support as I traverse this kanswer journey. We are each on a journey, on a path that will lead us exactly where we need to be. I'm grateful that we get to travel together for a bit. I wish you peace and traveling mercies, no matter where your journey takes you.

tammyhelfrich said...

Beautiful post.

Mrs. Soler said...

Hi Gail! Wow, Glennon wasn't kidding when she said you are a WRITER! This was amazing and I look forward to following your journey virtually. I wish you peace and strength and love and community. <3

Angela said...

Gail -- I just popped over from Glennon and so glad I did! You are an inspiring writer and I will be coming back to hear more! Prayers and love to you all the way from Dallas.


PS -- LOVED the list! I am going to see Glennon when she comes to TX in April. I think I will start on my list now though!:)

Manda said...

Bless you, Gail. Sending you prayers for peace and healing. xo

kirstie said...

Gail, I too came over from Glennon. Absolutely loved your post, though I"m not quite sure I love Jesus as much as you and Glennon do. We're still working it out :>

Anyway. My main point is I'm Australian, I live in Australia. I will send you red australian licorice (raspberry, right? hard or soft?).

Kirstie :>

Amy said...

Hi Gail,
Lots of Monkee love to you from Raleigh! I loved what you wrote and I wanted tell you I am proud to be your sister monkee warrior.
Lots of love and carry on warrior, I know you will beat down this yucky kanswer, just carry on sister monkee

Carol-Anne said...

Wishing you well from Canada. You're an inspiration!

Tisha Doyle said...

You sat behind us Sunday morning and your soft Amens and giggles were comforting and reassuring to me. When I saw Amanda hugging you, I knew there was a special connection and I was glad.
Thanks you for your post. Thank you for Sunday.
Tisha D.

Karen Morgan said...

This is a GREAT list. I was thinking about my own, like many people here, and I love that you have inspired me to do that. Hugs to you as you journey through life and I will be sure to visit again.

Bunny said...

My daughter and I had planned to see Glennon..we were so excited but it could not happen...we had a terrible loss instead. So thank you for bringing some of her to us...and I am so glad to begin to meet you on this blog...I will light candles for you dear Gail..I will pray that will have all those things you need (my list is waaay too long) and I know that Jesus will sit with you and smile as you enjoy them..and Him.

Julie said...

I was led to your blog by Glennon too - sending huge prayers your way Gail!!! I am all too familiar with kanswer, but I also know God can do and does amazing things!!! I am praying right now that He will bless you with being able to hear the words "your kanswer is gone". Love and prayers from a sister in PA <>< ~Julie

Kate S said...

sending love, Gail!

Mel said...

I have nothing more to say that hasn't already been said above me. Hugs and quiet tea from Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.
Another journal lover.

Lynn_Mitchell said...

What beautiful words. I hope your beat(down) will be swift & effective. I'm sending healing thoughts your way.

mydailypresents said...

Hi Gail,
I left this comment for you on the Momastery blog, too, but wanted to make sure you were feeling the love. :)

Just wanted to say:
a) I love that you call it "kanswer" - I get that. And
b) I am sending love and healing light your way to sprinkle in your coffee and on your toasted bagel with butter and eggs for breakfast.

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Love and Good Wishes,

Carissa said...


KJ said...

Here from Glennon, too. Hugs and prayers and love toward you. I'm on Team Gail.

Jennjilla said...

I need Jesus and key lime pie (gluten free, unfortunately), too.

Praying for you!


Karmen said...

I have always hated the "all you need is Jesus" catch all phrase in the church. YES, we need Jesus, that goes without saying. He is like air. We need air for our breath, but that is not all we need. No one goes around saying all you need is air. There is an understanding that we also need food and clothes and warmth and companionship. Why does the church still subscribe to that philosophy. It is a quilt maker and God isn't into the business of making guilt. This is a lesson and a road that I am learning to walk daily, God doesn't create guilt, He works in GRACE, MERCY, LOVE, UNDERSTANDING,and where needed CONVICTION, but NEVER guilt. I am glad that Glennon introduced us to you.

AFMAMAOF3 said...

I wish I could've been there with you and G. She sent me over to read your beautiful words.... Many prayers sent for you. I adore your list and am wondering now what mine might be..... Thank you, Gail. Fight hard warrior!

Liz B. said...

Loved your post and your beautiful words. Love G for sending us your way. Lots of positive thoughts and prayers from NY as you win your battle with Kanswer. Carry On Warrior!

calibamamom said...

Glennon 'sent' me too! LOVE your list :-) Keep kicking Kanswer's nasty butt, Sister, and know that you have an army of Monkees cheering you on every step of the way!

Johnnypsmom said...

So beautifully written. I to need others. Others who understand but even if they don't understand will listen to me scream and yell. I love your "partial" list. I think I want to write one as well. A list of my "must haves" starting with coffee, my bed, pictures of my baby girl, etc.

GailNHB said...

Thank you to each of you and all of you for sharing your thoughts and responses. Thanks for the prayers and good wishes for healing on this kanswer journey I'm on.

Kirstie, I didn't know there was such a thing as hard licorice. I've never had that. I am an avid fan of the soft red raspberry licorice. Yum, yum.

Tisha, thank you so much for sharing your two amazing daughters with the rest of us. It was an honor to be there, to sit behind you and Amanda, and to be welcomed into the Momastery circle in ways I could never have imagined.

Stacey, thanks for the offer of the head wrap. Here's the thing, I have been given so many hats, wraps, and scarves that I'm going to let you give my wrap to someone who doesn't have many to choose from. Perhaps someone else can add mine to theirs so they can have two. Is that okay?

Anna V, thanks for the reiki from a distance. I am grateful for your healing energy.

Bunny, I pray that you are finding peace and comfort in your time of loss. I hope that someday you get to hear Glennon in person.

Mel, one of my favorite things in the world is having a quiet cup of tea while journaling. It's a gift I get to give to myself on nearly a daily basis.

To all of you, again, thank you. Thanks for reaching out to me from so many places all with so much love and support. May the monkee love flow as freely in your direction as it has in mine.