I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like.

I like iced lavender lattes now. In the fall it was iced honey almond lattes, and then for the winter it was amaretto lattes, but now it’s iced lavender.

Change is rarely noticed unless it’s catastrophic or world-changing. Moving to college. Noticeable. Changing your coffee order into a different “regular.” More of a gradual thing. Getting into a relationship. Noticeable. Slipping into intimacy issues with God. Not as noticeable until you’re deep in it. Having a debilitating injury. Noticeable. God’s voice becoming less and less noticeable. Also an unfortunate gradual thing.

I’ve lost the intimacy. I plead for an intimate relationship with my God. Knees-to-the-carpet and fists-clenched-together plead for an intimate relationship with God. It’s the kind of desire that actually makes you physically ache. I trekked through the mud and made it out of the darkness to think I would find Him standing in a lovely field of flowers and lock eyes with the One who set me free, but that hasn’t been the case. It’s been day in and day out of searching through the wilderness, with little tricks that make me think I’ve found Him only to find it’s just a heightening of my emotions. What’s to say I will really find Him? I keep looking, but when will it really and truly feel like, This is it. Here He is. My Maker. Here He is. It sort of feels like a scavenger hunt; I get little hints of Him here and there, but I still haven’t gotten the full picture of Him or at least a resounding whisper of, Here I am. That’s what I’m looking for, but maybe I’m looking for the wrong thing. Maybe that’s the problem.

I could compare Him to a lot of things, but no metaphor will ever do Him justice. He is the Great I Am, and my words could never adequately explain that to you. I understand that.

Do I ask for too much? I mean that on a serious note, not a drama-queen question. Do I seriously ask too much in prayer? I went from asking asking asking to pouring out thanksgiving and praise and not really asking much of Him to trying to find a happy medium of both and nothing. Should I ask Him for things? Is that selfish, considering what He’s already given me? But I want to voice my worries and concerns to Him. I want to cry out to Him. I want Him to hear me. I want to know that He hears me.


One of my favorite bloggers sent out a Monday morning email a while back that mentioned the prayer journal of Flannery O’Connor. I thought I would give someone else’s prayers a try & here we are: me sitting in my favorite coffee shop and having my brain almost explode because of how much I relate to these prayers. Questions. Tons of questions and doubts and feelings of mediocrity. I feel you, Flannery. I feel you.

“Can’t anyone teach me how to pray?…. Dear God, I don’t want to have invented my faith to satisfy my weakness. I don’t want to have created God to my own image as they’re so fond of saying…. I don’t know if I’ve ever been sorry for a sin because it hurt You…. Don’t ever let me think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story–just like the typewriter was mine…. All this disgusts me in myself but does not fill me with the poignant feeling I should have to adore You with, to be sorry with, or to thank You with. Perhaps the feeling I keep asking for, is something again selfish–something to help me to feel that everything with me is all right…. I want so to love God all the way.” 

Yes. Homerun. Out of the park. Grand slam. Hole in one. Strike. Score. Boom boom. Insert any other sports metaphor for earning points and that’s what she’s done for me. I’ve pined over these pages for a little over an hour, and the words have melted my heart. 40 pages of pure, heart-wrenching, brutally-honest-with-God prayers. And I needed some of that because I feel like I’m going crazy not knowing how to actually form an intimate relationship with God and just talk to Him. I just want to talk to Him & I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s holding that back.

He mends. He restores. He loves. He quenches. He fills. He is stable. He is fulfilling. He is more than enough. He is pleased with us. So while I might think that my prayers are too feeble or too awkward, He responds anyways because that’s not how He sees them. He sees them through Jesus. Our prayers are perfected in Jesus. Our communication with God is perfected through Jesus. How comforting is it to know that our words are understood and interpreted by a perfect and blameless Son?

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I talked to Him as many times as I thought of it today. Behind a table, in between deep breaths of frustration. In the laundry room between switching my laundry from the washer to the dryer. I kid you not, I stood in the laundry room of our dorm hall and I talked to God and asked Him for patience and peace and understanding in the best way I knew how to. I prayed when I fell asleep last night. That hadn’t happened in a while. I was once told that the things that consume your mind the most are the things you think about right before you’re falling asleep or right when you get up in the morning. Now, I don’t know if that’s just some hypothetical thing people have been reading in pretty fonts on Tumblr or Pinterest, but I agree that it holds at least a little bit of truth. Things will consume you if you let them. And I’ve always been told that is a horrible, awful, dreadful thing. But how beautiful a thing to let God consume you; to be completely consumed by the One who put you here in the first place and handcrafted your calling and makes you wonder all the time. That is what I want to consume me: the breathtaking wonder of such a perfect God.

“I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like, but I’ve heard the tender whisper of Love in the dead of night, and You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone. You’re a good good Father.”

And I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone sees God in different ways. God is different to every person on this planet. Some people see Him in trees and flowers and every blade of grass He ever made. Some people see Him in tastes. Some people hear Him in songs and birds and musical instruments. Some people feel Him moving in their everyday lives. Some people hear Him in prayers. Some people find Him right in His Word. Some people find Him deep in theology textbooks. Some people find Him in preaching and standing before an entire congregation.

And I think my problem is this: I don’t know where I find Him. Typing those words was really hard and, honestly, a bit painful. I don’t know where I find God. I could write you a list of places I’ve found Him before, but upon returning to those places or not being able to return to those specific moments, I have come to find that I rarely find Him again in those same places. I would like to think He’s random, but I know He’s not. I’ve found Him in the window seat of Swift. I’ve found Him in prayer before I gave my testimony to a room full of high school students, the kind of prayer where every hand is on you and everyone is going at once and the room is sort of spinning but in the best way possible and you’re so hyped up on caffeine that you don’t know if you’ll pass out before you walk out on stage or if you’ll actually make it through the full 25 minutes. You don’t forget a prayer like that. You don’t forget finding Him in Psalm 28 while Bible-thumbing on what you would later realize was the morning of the worst day of your life thus far. You don’t forget the way you felt when you realized that Jesus had all you wanted. That was it. I was consumed. I’ve found Him in prayers in bathrooms when I realized praying was the only thing I could do. I’ve found Him in writing Bible study curriculum. I’ve found Him in the hearts of each of the girls I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring. I’ve found Him in prayers over Skype. I’ve found Him in walks across Berry’s campus. I’ve found Him in a chapel at 3 o’clock in the morning. I’ve found Him in the taste of a cup of coffee. I’ve found Him in very special conversations where I knew He made Himself a cozy little spot among the “What are you passionate about?“s and “What would you do for the rest of your life if money was no object?“s. I’ve found Him in mine and my mother’s baptisms. I’ve found Him in tear-filled worship. I’ve found Him in goodbye hugs. I’ve found Him in a run in the midst of one of the saddest events I’ve ever experienced. I’ve found Him in the fog of my own mind. I’ve found Him on the floor of my dorm room. I’ve found Him in walks in the snow with a dear friend. I’ve found Him in the joy I get from holding babies. I’ve found Him in hand-holding.

I’ve found Him in the words I’ve written. I’ve found Him so many times, but when I come back to find Him again, it’s like He’s gone. It’s sort of like going back to your old high school room or an old room at a house from your childhood and expecting to have the same feelings you had when you were 8 or 18. But it doesn’t work like that. I don’t know how it works yet, but it doesn’t work like that (stay tuned, I’m working on it, God willing). And it’s not that I can’t find Him because He is always here, but it’s that I don’t recognize Him. It takes a lot for me to recognize His presence. I want to be able to recognize it more. I want to seek and find more. I want to know Him more. I want my heart to be in sync with His. I want to know my calling and His will for my life. Yes, He reveals that to me daily, but I want to know for sure, 100% I am doing what He requires of me. That’s my greatest desire: to have enough intimacy with the One who created me to know that I am doing exactly what He requires of me.

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A letter to my high school girls.

I was a leader on a retreat this past weekend that I used to go on as a student and I had the pleasure of talking to some high school girls about things they struggle with, without even meaning to sometimes. I felt completely burdened, almost to the point of helplessness, because the things they deal with or believe about themselves were not things I could fix and I’m a fixer, so this was difficult. It was just a huge tornado of things culminating to create this rainstorm of unworthiness they let themselves sit in. And it’s sneaky too. Some of them don’t even realize how blinded they’ve been by difficulties and doubts and lies that society crams down their throats. With that being said, I’m going to break it down for you, my high school ladies & anyone else who needs a little help with self-worth from time to time, and shed light on some deep lies because I love lists and I think this might be one of the easier ways to get this across to you (keep in mind, some of these things are truths that I have to repeat to myself on a daily basis, so if they don’t hit immediately, don’t feel defective).

  1. Ladies. Ladies. Ladies. Let’s talk about respect. Plain and simple: don’t respect yourself and, odds are, he probably won’t respect you either, but respect yourself and he will respect you and if he doesn’t, then goodbye. This is also true for your lady peers, respect yourself and you’re almost guaranteed to get it in return. It is 150% okay to walk away from someone who makes you feel insignificant. It’s hard, but do it. Walk the heck away when you are not being respected. That’s all. That’s all you need to know.
  2. Stop fighting for attention. It’s toxic. You will not find the quenching for your bottomless desire for attention at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol or in between the sheets of a boy who tells you he loves you and cheats on you with your best friend. You are probably hurting and aching for attention but you don’t call it that because you’re not sure what it is you’re actually aching for. I’ve been there, I promise I’m not speaking out of inexperience. You don’t know where the void is or where it comes from so you just cram all of these experiences down your throat thinking that surely something will fill it. You think that something temporary will permanently fill this void, but that’s not how this works. What you really long for though is the One whose love goes far beyond our understanding because He tells us we don’t have to fight for His attention. We can’t understand that kind of love.
  3. Stop tearing each other down. You have a God who has offered you freedom for free, but you have traded it for temporary attention or fixes that are pulling you deeper into bondage without you even realizing it. You do these things to boost your ego and cling to these temporarily attentive people or things every day, afraid that one day you’ll wake up and your reputation isn’t going to hold up or it won’t prove to be worth the fight and grit you’ve put into it.
  4. Start building each other up in love. This isn’t a race to the throne. This fight for attention only turns you guys against each other, but the thing is women should be for each other. People should be for each other. I don’t think there was any confusion when Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but the confusion came when you decided not to love yourself well, so how can you possibly love your neighbor well? I’ve struggled with that. We can struggle through that together.
  5. And I apologize if I’ve been harsh on you or called you out on your overuse of make-up or your flirting with boys, but you’ve got to understand that those comments are born out of frustration from a girl who used to believe the same lies that you do. And it comes out of a frustration of knowing how much more you deserve that you are completely blind to or that you ignore. You are settling. “Well, I don’t see a good Christian guy here so maybe I’ll just hook up with this one,” or, my personal favorite, “Maybe I can make him a Christian. Maybe he can be my project and I can bring him to Jesus.” Hear me loud and clear: that is not your job. You will not be his emotional punching bag because you want to bring him to Jesus. And you deserve more. I know how much it pissed me off when mentors would tell me things like, “One day, you’re going to find a great, Christian guy.” No, now. “You’ll find someone who treats you right.” Really? Where are they? “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” Shut up. No, but really, there are so many more fish in the sea, fish that actually have morals and don’t look at you like a piece of meat or decide to date you based on appearance. It doesn’t work like that. AND I’m not bagging on all guys, I’m not. There are some genuinely good guys out there, and I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but there are. Please trust me because I have met so many. Every guy, and girl for that matter, goes through the stupid, immature phase. Sometimes it doesn’t last that long, but sometimes it does, and unfortunately, that phase usually starts in high school. I’m very sorry about that, but the way you try to get attention sometimes is attracting those immature guys that don’t actually deserve your time. They don’t. Plain and simple. (Refer back to #1).

Now, I know I might’ve gone all Tina Fey on you, like the scene in Mean Girls where she gives them a lecture and then makes them affirm each other and dive into a big pile of girls, but Tina had a point. All of these things are points that you aren’t reminded of in your everyday life, but you should be, oh boy, you should be. If I could print these out and pass them around every day of my life, I would. You see, my goal isn’t to get certain ratings or achieve a certain amount of likes on this blog. My goal is this: I strive to show young girls how worthy they are when the world tells them they’re not. I strive for this because I was once in a situation that instilled every lie you could ever hear into me and I felt unworthy and insignificant and completely vulnerable in the worst sense of the word. I want to show you guys what it actually looks like to live in the light because living in lies is dark and lonely and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody. These are not unattainable goals or just dreams that go through your head but never actually happen. I’m not saying it’s not normal to feel these things, but you are allowed to shed light on darkness and stop doing these things because it’s just a cycle. When you think these things are only affecting you, you’re wrong. Girls look up to you, all the time. You are someone’s role model, whether you are doing things in love or not, people are looking up to you. I don’t say this to scare you, but I say it because it’s true. You are someone’s role model.


There is a God who loves you beyond your understanding. There is a Father who wants more for you than disgusted mirror stare downs and one nights stand and constantly passed judgments, for yourself and for other women. He wants more for you because you deserve so much more. He calls you His daughter. The King of this entire universe calls you His. The same Creator who placed each of the stars in the sky and created each grain of sand formed you in your mother’s womb and knows every little detail about you, down to every last strand of hair on your head. How treasured does that make you feel, that the Creator & Perfecter of our faith will never let you stray too far from His loving embrace? He will never gaze at you with anything less than awe and beauty.

You have a thirst that cannot be quenched and that is normal. But make sure you understand what it is you’re thirsting for, and that’s Jesus. Always and only Jesus.

For the Lord is, He is able. He is faithful, higher than the mountains that I face. Every season, I will press on, for God alone is on the throne. Glorious. Victorious. Sovereign over all. On the throne. Infinite. Magnificent. Reigning over all.

Sometimes, I need to be told when to stop talking. I will be the first to admit that. I need to be told when to stop rambling or trying to find my point because I got lost after I found it about 10 minutes ago. And that is something I’m learning to live inside of and be comfortable in, much like I’m learning to get comfortable, and even fall in love with, being in God’s perfect grasp. I’m learning how to be comfortable with a lot of things; not complacent, but comfortable.

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I’m learning pain. I was deep deep deep in it a few months ago, but now I’m learning what it looks like to navigate it and find understanding from the outside, and it’s actually beautiful. I know I might have lost you with that last little bit and you’re probably thinking, “Is this girl actually okay?” And I am! I am okay! Pain is a beautiful reminder of the dependency we should have with God. Yes, we might mistake it for distance or God’s silence, but we can also take captive these moments and find ourselves in the most intimate times with the very One who created us.

I’m a fixer. I’m also a runner. These two things don’t make for a good combination. If I can’t fix it, I run from it. I want to fix it. I want to know every single thing and feeling and decision within a situation so I can work my problem solving magic and fix things. But people aren’t technology or office tasks that are easy to problem-solve. People are people and people are broken. You might think you’re finally starting to figure someone out so you can finally help them live in brokenness with you but then you’re thrown a curveball of manipulation or a change of heart or a change of feelings. But when you finally realize that circumstances will always change and God will always stay constant, the quicker you will be able to just sit down and delight in the brokenness that God has called us into. Plain and simple. Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Not, “Rejoice with those who rejoice if they haven’t stabbed you in the back or mourn with those who mourn unless they’ve manipulated you.” Just rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

People are going to mess with you, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. People are going to manipulate and sway and pull and straight up walk over you like a doormat. And you can let them. Or you can get up and say, “No. Sorry. I’m not playing the victim.” You can navigate life as the victim or you can choose to take control of your own life and stop blaming your actions on the circumstances around you (I’ve been in both, but trust me when I say the latter is probably your best bet). Instead, you can thank God for putting air in your lungs and waking you up this morning. You can thank God that He has promised to never leave you, and if you pause and look around, you’ll see that He still hasn’t. Congratulations. You can thank God for everything that has led you to where you are, be it good or bad, but you are here and you are whole and you are alive. And if that isn’t something to be grateful about, I’m not sure what is.

He is good. He is not an earthly version of good, but He is His version of good, thank God. Thank God that we don’t set up the parameters for good. Thank God that we don’t get those choices. Thank God that He will always be constant and never fail to be good to us. Constant goodness. Constant thanksgiving. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

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I’m starting to know a God I put my trust in a long time ago.

I don’t want to be angry with God. I don’t want to be angry with God. I don’t want to be angry with God. 

I don’t know how many times I repeated that to myself last night, mostly for myself, for reminder.

I sat in the car and got angry and shook my fists at God while he sat with patience and told me beautiful stories of the goodness of God and Job and grace and all of the things I needed to hear to remind me why I had fallen so in love with my Maker.

“I’m allowed to be angry with Him and I will be because this doesn’t make sense. I will be angry.” 
Be careful in how you deal with things.

And I know he was carefully reminding me not to harbor that anger or let misunderstanding translate to anger.

I surely didn’t think this would be the first thing I’d write about him on here. He’s a leader. That’s the first thing I recognized in him. Or maybe it was a passion I couldn’t put words to for any and all work he does. Or maybe it’s because he is more patient than I will ever be. And sometimes you don’t really have a full understanding of these things that make a person a person until you’re sitting in his car holding his hand after you’ve cried all of your tears and gotten angry at God and he’s buying a Blue Raspberry Nerd Slush from Sonic for you guys to share because he knows they are your favorite.

I will never be able to make the correlation between a God who gives me freedom and the God who does these things like cancer and miscarriages and deaths that you had no control over. It will take a lot for me to build the bridge. I’ve never been able to make that relation but I don’t think I’ve ever considered it or even thought about doing that because I’ve always had it in my mind that God is a good God by my standard of good. I never knew why I’d have a different standard of good than God does.

Am I a hypocrite?

I preach self-worth and love to every person I encounter, but I still can’t get it through my head that some things are out of my control. I let things out of my control affect my self-worth. That’s not your fault. But what can I do about it? You can’t do anything about it. There’s got to be some part of it that’s my fault. It’s not your fault. What can I do to change their opinions? Nothing. What can I do to stop feeling like it’s my fault? Nothing. What can I fix? There’s nothing to fix. Nothing? Nothing.

Talk about a slap in the face. Will the pit in my stomach stop if it’s not my fault? Will I not feel sick whenever I see that person or encounter that situation? Will I ever be able to fix it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

So I pray. Harder than I have ever prayed. Because of difficulties, and sometimes not even difficulties but serious doubts or questions I encounter, I have entered a season of my life where I am praying harder than I think I’ve ever prayed before. And it’s beautiful. I’m starting to know a God I put my trust in a long time ago. And that’s intimate and exposing and there’s a nakedness that you will experience with God when you let all guards down with Him. I’ve never been so comforted in being fully exposed. And that’s how it is with God. It’s not that He didn’t fully know you beforehand because He’s always known you, but it means that you’re finally getting closer to being on the same page as God and you’re recognizing that He sees all of you and still loves you. Brokenness. Sinfulness. Dirtiness. All of it. He knows you and not only accepts you, but He DESIRES you. And that desire is greater than any earthly desire you will ever encounter.

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Do you know how hard it is to love someone when you know their heart? And yet, do you understand how easy it is to love someone well when you know their heart?

He doesn’t call us to be perfect people. He knows we are broken and we will sin and we will never stop falling short of His Glory. He calls us to bring light into brokenness and expose darkness. He doesn’t call us to be perfect people. He calls us to be a voice for the voiceless. He doesn’t call us to be perfect people. He calls us to help each other bear burdens, even when we don’t have to because He’s already relieved us of those. However, He knows we will try to do this alone. He doesn’t call us to be perfect people. He calls us into life. He redeems us. He adopts us. He chooses us. Remember what I said in a previous post about having a seat at the table? That is where we find our worth. Not in leadership roles or romantic relationships or how many mission trips you’ve been on or how many Bible verses you post to Facebook on a daily basis or how many people’s lives you spoke into to bring them closer to God or that you started a Bible study or a house church or in to-do lists or in the number of people you disciple or how much time you spend on your devotion or how people see you or by your GPA or by how many hours you’re taking in the fall or how well you balance school and relationships and family and work and your social life. He calls us to delight in each others’ brokenness. He calls us to live in this mess. He calls us to love well. But He never requires us to be a perfect people.

And I find comfort in that because if I were perfect, I would not seek Perfect.

And our Sustainer, He is perfect.

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” // Psalm 116:5-9 ESV

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