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My dear friend Wanida has the spiritual gift of picking out MAC lipstick. Gorgeous shades of pink and red. She’s a master. But not because she chooses the perfect shade. GET THIS. She’s a MAC lipstick Yoda because she — without fail — finds lipsticks with the most perfect name.

On December 16th I turned 40. It’s still weird to type that. On the night of my birthday, I was surrounded by an entire table of dear friends who covered me with their love and affirmation, and at one point in the evening, Wanida handed me a little black box with a tube of lipstick inside. I opened the box and on the end of the lipstick were the words, “Speak Louder.”

speaklouder

The lipstick is hot pink, of course. And, what’s nuts, is that it actually looks pretty good on me. But what is most significant about that tube of lipstick isn’t its color. It’s the name.

When Wanida reached across the table and handed me that little black box, she looked me in the eye and she said, “You speak louder. You put that lipstick on and then you put it on again. And you get out there and you speak louder. Because we need your voice.”

I tear up right now thinking about that moment, those words and how they anointed me with courage and resilience. The lipstick is a talisman that reminds me to be courageous.

Because we all use our voices and then we cower, we feel this surge of bold but then we bury it. We find it hard to trust ourselves, our intuition, our sense of knowing. We forget who we are.

I talk with a lot of women, and one thing I hear over and over again is “I feel like I’ve lost myself.” For too many of us, some of the most beautiful parts of us have gone dormant. And we are longing to go in search of them and gently wake them up.

Sometimes we need to sit on the floor and just breathe. That’s all that can be managed or accomplished in a day. I believe God, in his extraordinary grace, comes and sits on the floor with us and strokes our arm and lets us know it’s going to be OK. But then there are times when the color in our face returns, our hearts awaken, and we are ready to get up again. We are ready to inhabit our own lives again. We are ready to emerge.

We are ready to speak just a little bit louder. For ourselves. For those we love. For God. For hope. For justice. For grace. For creativity. For courage.

Speaking louder isn’t about being boisterous or belligerent or adolescent. It’s not about waving our arms just to be noticed. It’s not about decibels whatsoever. Sometimes the quietest grace is the loudest sermon. Speaking louder is the brazen act of showing up a tiny bit more, standing up a bit straighter, putting your shoulders back and your chin up and allowing yourself to be seen. Believing you are a trustworthy observer of your own life.

This is what I’ve been writing about and longing for in this most recent season. I’ve shared bits and pieces along the way, letting you know that a new project was coming. Something bold and pink and brazen. And I’m so excited to let you know that my new book, Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hidingis now available for pre-order. Here is a sneak peek at the fabulous cover:

brazen cover

Think of this book as my way of handing you a tube of MAC “speak louder.” Think of this book as a nudge in the direction of your own soul.

I’ll be watching for the ways in which you are brazen in the coming months. I’ll be watching for the ways you’re speaking louder—celebrating your mess and your magic—knowing that God is working in and through you.

For now, just know that I believe in you.

All my love,

Leeana

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