About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's worked at (in)courage since 2012, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their four kids. Anna encourages others to look for and embrace the extraordinary moments found in their ordinary days.

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  1. Good Morning Anna! Well, I too am a double reed player , but of the bassoon. I too, live in Minnesota. I too, am a lover of Jesus Christ! Thank you for your fabulous writing today.

  2. Thanks for sharing a fresh take on our current, often divisive society…and for bringing up a very important verse to back your thoughts. We should be challenging ourselves to get out of the gray space more often. The visual alone of making God vomit should help 🙂

  3. Anna,
    Yes, when it comes to matters of faith, the Lord says either be hot or cold, but lukewarm I will spit (vomit) out of my mouth. In today’s society there are too many areas of faith that we try to make gray so that everyone feels comfortable, but in reality the Bible is pretty black and white on them. Take for example the command to “keep the marriage bed pure”. We bend, we rationalize, we say it’s okay because society says so to have sex outside of marriage. I’ve heard my views called Puritanical. I am passionate about my beliefs, but I don’t go beating people over the head with them…that’s where humility comes in and grace as well. But, I will speak up if the topic comes up. I do agree that we need to be passionate (God gave us gifts and passions for that reason). Politics, however, is not faith so I don’t have much tolerance with people beating each other over the head with their political views. If people poured all their energy into a passion that would further the Kingdom instead of needless political bashing, what great things could happen?! Thanks, Anna, you’ve obviously got me thinking this am….great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  4. Thanks Anna,
    Often I find myself living in the grey space out of fear; fear of offending, fear of loosing friends, fear of being one of those people who angrily live all in without displaying love and grace.
    Thank you for reminding us that when we live out of our passion, driven by love and grace, all in is a powerful, beautiful thing.
    Niki

    • I really think it can be. It takes a fair amount of courage and bravery and follow-through, which is all hard to dredge up, but it raises our comfort level bar bit by bit. Thanks for chiming in here today, Niki <3

  5. anna, thanks for your timely comments. i have been a grey person most of my life. but with faith and maturity comes wisdom and the God given courage and boldness to be all in. ps i love the oboe. it’s sound is so soul stirring. {no capitals – broken wrist…]

    • Cathy – I hope your wrist heals up soon!! That’s the pits. Thank you for pushing through to leave your encouraging words here. “with faith and maturity comes wisdom and the God given courage and boldness to be all in.” <-- YES. I love this. Thanks, Cathy.

  6. Loved your post! I’m a sax player myself. Always wished I’d tried the oboe! Thanks for the reminder to be “all in” especially in our faith walk…following Him is not a part time job.

  7. Anna,

    Years ago I was grey in the area of being a Christian. I would attend church, be in youth choir, youth group, etc. But during the week I did not act like a Christian. I have recently become passionate about Christ and His teachings. I am adamant about certain things like sex outside of marriage, living together, LGBTQ, etc. Grace will be offered to you, but not tolerance. Like Bev, I don’t accept people rioting for not getting their way or disliking something. Just voice your opinion. I suppose I’ve been around my passionate pastor to long and gotten his fervor for making Christians and living the Christian life!

    Blessings 🙂

  8. Love it! Thanks, Anna! I’ve been convicted lately to speak up lest anyone not know what I believe on matters I care about. I’m all-in!

  9. Um, clearly we are twins because I played oboe (and as a college music major, it was my instrumental focus) AND I too was in color guard. I bet you and I could still rock some good windmills and tosses. 🙂

    Love how this post really shows your heart, dear Anna. So much love!

    • WHAT. I didn’t know that! But why am I not even surprised? You’re such a kindred to me, Kristen, and I bet you’re right – we could still toss with the best of ’em. 🙂

      Love you.

  10. Thank you for this timely word about being “All In”! I have always been confident in my faith and the knowledge that I know “right from wrong” – and that I can recognize those things in the world around me. I have been blessed by the privilege of teaching Sunday School for nearly 40 years; Thankful I was able to raise my children in the church – rejoiced as they grew into Godly men & women, with children of their own, that they are raising to love the Lord! But I must confess, I find now that I am older (staring 60 in the face!), that my days of passionate debate seem to be behind me. I still love the Lord “with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind…” – but for a while now, I have found myself “holding back” – my opinions, my input, my thoughts and feelings. Oh, not with close friends and family, or with brothers and sisters in Christ…that is not what I’m talking about. The climate of the world – especially during and after the campaign and election of our new president – is such that I just do not want to engage in the debate! I have never enjoyed conflict and at this time, even an non threatening comment or opinion seems to set off someone! Someone who has no qualms about getting into a disagreement, a shouting match, or engages in just plain “unpleasantness” that seems to permeate the very air these days. Oh, now – do not misunderstand me! I proudly share my faith, will proclaim Jesus is Lord and the one and only way to Salvation! I am talking about the current “ugliness” that seems to hang like a smoky cloud in the air. My husband comes home every day with the same feelings. Unpleasantness at work, this one said this, another said that…. In our humble opinion, some times, the best thing to say is to say — nothing. Remember your mama telling you – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Or if a response is required, do this: Be slow to speak. Think about what the best “Christ-like” response would be. Let your life be your witness – conduct yourself in such a way you would not be ashamed or embarrassed if your pastor – or your children! – were standing behind you, listening to every word. Because even if they never know what you may have said or did that day – Jesus always knows. I pray for the boldness of my witness to return to me, but for now – in this season – I pray that the Lord would give me the wisdom to know what to say, when to say it – and when to say nothing at all. I thank God for you and all the others who are faithful to be a witness for Christ. Be blessed today!

  11. Thank you for that great word picture of being all in as a color guard. Sometimes I think I dive “all in” too easily and burn out. Yet, when I withdraw, it feels unnatural. With my eyes focused on Christ, I can be “all in” with love, grace, and peace.

    • Oh Tracie, YES. Diving in with a measure of thoughtful grace and peace is imperative to both good discussion, and to keeping those passions alive and protected from burnout. Totally.

  12. I played oboe too, started in Grade 5 and all through high school (and later on became a professional musician in my primary instrument, which thankfully doesn’t squack as much 🙂 )!

    I’ve recently taken an “all or nothing” chance and followed God’s call … I feel closer to the nothing for now, except for a trust in God that He’ll sort things out. It’s been a mess, and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s an experience to learn from for sure.

    • Oh the squawking!! So so bad!! I’m laughing for real out loud right now remembering breaking in new reeds and having to just let ‘er rip in a practice room before trying to use it to play any actual songs. HA!!

      And the mess you’ve found yourself in… sister, God’s there too making it beautiful behind the scenes. I really believe that. Hang in there.

  13. Love! I played oboe in the winter, and clarinet during the summer! The bling of Valentine’s Day is down, and the sparkle of Easter already adorns our home. I appreciate your thoughts this morning, realizing I need to make sure my passion for the love I have for God is always alive and full of enthusiasm. Thank you so much!
    Terri

  14. Anna,

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I played oboe growing up and continued all throughout college and finally had to put it to rest. I miss it lots, but I had the same experience in Marching Band! I couldn’t play it to march, so I picked up the Mellophone for a year (and really couldn’t play myself out of a paper bag if I had to) and the last two years I was a Drum Major. What good memories… It feels like ages ago, but for me it was only 6 years ago that I graduated high school and now I am off in graduate school wondering what is going to come of my life.

    I really appreciate the way you explained this today, because this is something I have been struggling with. I always feel as if I am too black and white — too extreme — go all in or don’t do it at all… And sometimes that fear of being judged or looked at weird or told that it is just “too much” causes me to be grey and not speak up or feel passionately about things. Recently, I have tried to just stay in the middle, thinking it is level-headed, trying not to get too excited about anything, but what you said really encouraged me and rang true in my heart. God didn’t call us to just kind of do things, just kind of go out into the world and spread His word, just kind of love one another… So I am excited to live passionately again with confidence in Christ!

    Thanks again for sharing your heart — you never know who it will touch.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Liesel

    • Thanks for sharing your story and your heart here, Liesel. You’re right – mellophone was another option, but I just couldn’t switch embouchures to make it DO anything pretty!

      I think that sometimes, there is real benefit to the grey. I do. The grey is where we sort ourselves out, where we can draw quiet conclusions, where we become convicted before diving into black and white. So take heart that wherever you’re finding yourself, it’s where He waits to meet you. <3

  15. Hi Anna: Yes, I Know What an Oboe Is! I Played Clarinet Since 5th Grade Until Jr College! In 1976 I Marched In The Rose Parade! Thank You For Your Post! I Needed The Encouragement!

  16. I like the phrase hard hits, it seems the enemy has been at it, I too have had to learn grace and speak up, and use wisdom to shut up in other instances.

  17. Deae Anna
    Thank you for the reminder about being lukewarm and your encouragement via hard hits! I am going to take it up and put it into action. Thanks Sis.

    Ah I too played the oboe in highschool. I didn’t like practising either. I wished I did though…lukewarm oboe playing meant my poor oboe didn’t get to sound its best. Is it too late to pick it up again at 40 I wonder? =D

    Blessings
    Annetta

  18. Anna, your written words always feel like you’re sitting across from me, speaking them with that genuine smile you have.

    I really had to laugh a little at the memory of me in my colorguard uniform, sending my flag “around the world,” – what feels like ages ago in the mid 90’s. I remember how passionate I was about practicing the things that meant the most to me. And, sadly, I think somewhere along the way I’ve lost some of that determination of giving things “my all.” Maybe out of fear?

    Years ago, I was so vocal about what I loved about life. I blasted it on social media and never batted an eye. But over the last few years I think the fear of criticism has crept up inside me. I don’t know why, but what makes me me…what pushes me to give things my all, seems like it will never be acceptible.

    I have no other thoughts but to say thank you. I’m going to be chewing on this for awhile….