The Pearl Press happened at just the right moment in my life, although the chaos surrounding it threatened often to make me believe otherwise.
I mean, it wasn’t like it came out of nowhere. It was an idea seed of sorts that had been floating around in our heads and our hearts for quite some time. Our being Dalayna and I.
We had become fast friends in college and as soon as we left Springfield, Missouri and landed on opposite sides of the country, it became very clear that our friendship was just going to stick. Some are just that way. And I could not be more thankful looking back, that hers was one of them.
First we wanted to write a book. We tried more times than I can count. We purchased journals especially for brainstorming, thought through fun cover shoots, and even sent a few chapters back and forth. I’m not saying the book is forever off the table, it just seemed the time wasn’t quite right.
But still something was stirring in our hearts. Conversation after conversation recognizing the need for community among women our age, women of all ages actually. A need for authenticity and a space where people could encourage each other to thrive in spite of an often overwhelming and confusing life.
So, one May, when I was in what I refer to as my wilderness season, I went to visit Dalayna. I could write on and on as to why I referred to it that way, but in order to spare you that, I was just sort of wandering. I was back home in Ohio somewhere between having been a church planter and becoming a missionary. It was just weird. By the time I went to Oklahoma, I had determined that I would put my African adventure on hold and instead move to Guadalajara, Mexico to teach for two years. God had determined I should say, I was just trying to get my head around the whole thing and figure out how in the world to tell people. At that point, I was about three months away from my first international move.
That weekend, we were driving to meet up with some friends from college. We had a three-ish hour car ride, and that’s when it happened.
The Pearl Press
We figured we ought to do what we already do.
So, we decided that’s where it would begin and began brainstorming and building a team.
Fast forward to our launch date.
September 20 of last year.
I had moved to Mexico about two months before and was trying to navigate a new culture and language while figuring out how to teach preschool to children who couldn't understand a word I was saying. Grocery stores still felt like a nightmare and it was all I could do to not nap for hours every afternoon.
I was exhausted.
I was drained.
I was frantically trying to find myself here. To get a grip on my new reality.
Often times I felt like I was drowning.
What was I thinking when I decided it was a great idea to co-lead a blog and dive into some brand new territory in the midst of moving my life to a foreign country!?
I did ask myself that a few times.
Okay. Maybe more than a few.
But also, in spite of the chaos swirling inside of me and closing in all around, I had this sense that I needed it. Even though logically the last thing I needed was “one more thing.”
But isn’t that just the way God works? Always outside of and beyond and against logic. I have come to know this so well about Him. And thus, The Pearl Press saved me in a way.
All of a sudden I had this outlet. This space to freely share and process and sort things out. The opportunity to walk this journey with amazing, supportive, encouraging women all around me cheering me on. And to do so honestly and transparently.
It wasn’t just my journey and my transition and my burden anymore, now it was shared. Now it had deeper meaning and purpose because I wasn’t facing it alone no matter how much it felt like it sometimes. I wasn’t keeping it all inside until I exploded or just finally burned out. Instead, this beautiful thing happened!
The longest, hardest days turned into blog posts.
Mornings when I could hardly pull myself out of bed to do it all over again, when tears hung on the edge of my eyelids for weeks on end, words and thoughts and ideas began to flow. When the days and weeks seemed they would never end and I almost believe I would not make it to their end, I began to look forward to my role and my work at The Pearl Press.
And it continues to be my hope and my prayer that this place, this space, this community--The Pearl Press-- will be just that and so much more for so many more women.
I can’t help thinking of King David as I write these words. Wondering if he felt very much the same thing about his collection of writings that we now call Psalms. (Although, I’m honestly not sure how I would feel about my most personal and intimate writings from some of the hardest moments in my life becoming one of the most published and sold books of all times…)
Psalms is probably the most read book of the Bible because it is by far the most honest and transparent. David teaches us through his writing what it looks like to be completely open with God. That what God longs for is the most real and raw versions of ourselves. We see David thrive and we see him strive and we see him fall and we see him get back up over and over again. We read Psalms of praise and gratitude and Psalms of deep sorrow and fear and frustration. David never holds anything back from God and God in turn holds nothing back from him. His love, His favor, His grace, His discipline, His forgiveness, His kindness, His blessing… And perhaps if the Bible were lacking the Psalms we would not have such a fantastic example of the way others' lives can change when we are willing to expose the rough edges and the broken pieces in our lives.
Oh how much we have to learn from the Psalms. From David.
It is in being transparent, honest, open, real, and totally raw in the presence of God that we begin to discover His heart and to fully understand His grace and His love. Without being broken before Him, how might we ever come to be made whole in His presence?
But let’s be real for a second.
Getting all real and raw is not always pleasant and it’s not always easy and sometimes it takes a little push in the behind from someone that really loves us and cares for us deeply. Someone who longs to see us become the best version of ourselves and to know Jesus more than we ever have before.
May we at The Pearl Press become that sort of friend in your life. The friend that meets you exactly where you are and endlessly inspires you to go further and deeper with Jesus. To open your heart wider and explore and adventure more than you ever have before into His love and grace. And may we be there along the way to hold your hand, offer a hug, and encourage you as you learn to live fearlessly and freely and transparently before others and most importantly before God. And oh by golly may we be the friend that makes you laugh and enjoy this beautiful thing called life in a deeper more meaningful way as we continue to move forward and discover the rich, luminescent beauty that lies beneath the pressure.