I knew that You would come.

You stood outside my grave, with tears still on Your face. I heard You say my name, and my night was turned to day. You came, oh, I knew that You would come. And You sang, and my heart it woke up. Now I’m not afraid, I see Your face, I am alive. You came, I knew that You would come. And You said death’s only sleeping. With one word, my heart was beating. And I rose up from my grave, and my fear was turned to faith ’cause You came. Oh, I knew that You would come.

These are words I’ve been turning over again and again for the past week, and words that I’ve sang (read: screamed at the top of my lungs) in the countless miles I’ve gotten to drive over this past weekend. I knew that You would come. And those words are the thing that changes everything about the hope we have in Jesus, and I think those are the words are the bow that ties everything together perfectly in terms of everything I’ve felt and learned lately from God.

And maybe I am in a season of very heightened emotions, but I’m trying to choose to see it as a gift instead of somewhat of an annoyance that I’m constantly seeking to turn off. I’ve missed so many things lately, not in the way that I’ve let them slip by but that I just long for a lot of different things and my heart is in a million different spaces. I have woken up most mornings feeling the weight of the world and the sadness that comes with living in a world that is so broken, but I’m trying to choose to see that as a gift, to depend on God in a new way for peace and comfort. He calls us to live fully alive, and I think these are the moments when we get the opportunity to shut it down or lean into what God’s calling us into. He’s already come and the Victory has already been won, so we can feel the depth of brokenness without allowing it to take control of our lives.

I think there’s a reason I’m spending this time a lot more tenderhearted and inclined to what God is speaking into my heart instead of trying to shut it up. Yes, there are days when I wake up and think, “Dear God, if I tear up at another news headline or catch another pit in my throat from seeing a baby laugh, I’m going to freak out. Please keep it under control.” But then other days, I get the opportunity to sit in it, which is what I think God is intentionally inviting me into, especially in a season where He is the most consistent thing I know, as He always should be but is rarely the case when our flesh clings to anything else it can.

It’s so beautiful that in a season of so much change and transition, the greatest lesson I have been able to learn is about God’s steadfastness in the way He loves us so fiercely and cares for us in such detail, even in our feeling the weight of sadness and brokenness. I’ve had so many moments where I’m just stopped in whatever I’m doing, and I feel a comfort and peace of knowing that I get to do my days with Him. A lot of those moments I almost cry, but there’s also been a ton of pent up emotion, so I guess that’s normal, but then I have moments where I get to see God and I’m like, “WHY wouldn’t we all just cry in awe?” I think we ought to have that reaction a lot more than we do, and I think my greatest prayer should be that God would take away the numbness and restore us our sight to see things the way He intended them to be seen.


I went to visit one of my best friends on Lookout Mountain this past weekend, and every view I saw almost brought me to tears. Of course, this may have been embarrassing to cry at a hang gliding spot or to tear up just driving down the mountain and seeing the expanse of the city open up before you or to watch the sun set from her dorm room window. I caught myself every single time and thanked God that He would allow me to be loved so well by the people around me, but also that He would allow me to sit in awe of the things He created for me to see, like each view and conversation and comforting moment was a love letter from Him that I got to read over and over again and feel for the first time every time.

There’s an explanation for a song by one of my favorite songwriters, Sandra McCracken, where she says, “It’s God’s defiance against all that is broken and His ultimate Victory over those things, and the way that He accomplishes that is by His own steadfast, unrelenting, pursuing love, so I am staking everything on that.” His steadfast, unrelenting, pursuing love. What an image. That’s not just some far off thing that we get to watch like we watch a romantic comedy’s plot unfold on our laptops or read about in the classics, but that’s actually the way we’re loved. That same God we sing songs about is the same God that is unrelenting in His pursuit of YOU. I can’t fully grasp that, but I have a feeling that if I did, it would change everything about the way I live, as someone who is seen and known by God and fully loved and desired and sought after. I think it would make us stop seeking so much to have someone want us.

So maybe this is a season where I’m falling in love with everything around me but choosing to cling to God instead, because that’s such a nugget of wisdom I’ve needed to learn: you can fall in love with things, so long as it’s actually leading you to fall more in love with the God who created them, not just the thing itself moving higher and higher up on a pedestal.


I’ve spent a lot of time in Psalm 103 lately, and it’s one that a lot of people are familiar with, but I have found a lot of comfort from God in memorizing Scripture, which is never something I’d been hungry for until now. There’s something very special about being able to recall such rich truths about ourselves and about God in moments of panic and uncertainty and instability. I see the ultimate message being: He will always come through, above everything else. His character shows above everything. He is for us, and that’s something He also keeps reminding me of. I’ve needed to spend time in this because it helps the truths of who God is and who we are to not be overshadowed by the fears of who we are not.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;

    he remembers that we are dust.

The other beautiful thing is that this is how He calls us to love. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, so we ought to learn from this. He doesn’t deal with us according to our sins, so we shouldn’t deal with others in that way. He is merciful and gracious, so we ought to be the same. He has created us in His image, and He remembers that we are dust, but He asks us to love the way that He does because it is woven into the image of who we are and who He has created us to be. I can’t think of anything more honoring than to love like He does.

I think the best way to love the way He does and to pray that He would open our eyes to see like He does is to ask for humility, knowing that we can’t love like He does out of our own strength, but that we have to drink deep of His strength and His love in us.

This is a prayer I’ve posted before, but one I’ve begun to lean back into in a season of diligently learning how to love the way God loves us.

// Litany of Humility

Happy Tuesday, friends.

He is for you.

Man, this one has been a long time coming. The past few weeks have held a lot of transition, a little too much change, getting back into rhythms that seem foreign, some grieving, bits and pieces of processing, and a whole lot of desperately trying to rely on the Lord. Quick recap: I started my senior year of college yesterday (WHAT, I KNOW). Camp ended roughly 3 weeks ago, and there has been a lot of texting and FaceTime and phone calls trying to make it through that transition, but all sweet things. My family is in the process of moving out of a house we’ve lived in for a very long time, so there has been a ton of prayer and processing and packing up all that that held. There has had to be a lot of remembering that my actual family is home and the house is not. I’m still trying to navigate what grieving looks like and trying to take it one day at a time with the loss of a little friend who passed away at the beginning of the summer. There are a lot of road trips planned for the next few weekends, which I am beyond excited about. A couple weekends ago, we helped one of my best friends get settled into her new hometown and plan a wedding (ALSO WHAT!!). I’m in the process of getting back into regular rhythms with best friends and figuring out what the future is going to look like. I’m getting settled in with a sweet new roommate who God knew I needed in this season. It’s all been a lot but also something that has been so sweet, and I have felt God constantly caring for me in the details of every day.

Every day I’ve gotten to wake up and decide I want to do my days with God, and although it isn’t always the easiest, it’s always the most comforting because it means that I recognize that my grip on my days, memories, the people around me, everything really, has been so tight. I try to hold onto every single moment for dear life, and I miss the next one coming. In His kindness, He has shown me how to loosen my grip and trust what He’s got coming next, slowly but surely. I feel His kind and comforting reassurance every single morning.

This summer was wild. And I wish I had words that did the Lord’s work justice. Wild. Holy. Golden. Painful. Fruit-bearing. Faithful. Trustworthy. All of it. I could use all of those words. There’s a lot of peace in knowing that I serve a God so strong that my words will always be inadequate because that means I don’t need my words to be strong enough to stand on. I need His Word to be strong enough to stand on, and I have seen that in every single detail of this summer. He is matchless in the way He weaves our days together and cares for us in the details.

I never want to tire of singing praises to Him or doing good work in His name. It’s easy to get trapped in the idea of doing things to glorify ourselves or to just check off a to-do list, and I know we all do it from time to time, if not very often. This is the way we plan our days, what’s the most productive or what will make us feel the most accomplished. When I serve or do something good, I want it known, but God has been kind enough to humble me and show me that I am known, but I am known by Him which is such a gift that pales in comparison to being known by any human.

These weeks following camp have been very overwhelming. There are days when I want to find a specialist to turn my phone into and disconnect again or that I want to wake up and put my name tag on or that I miss having meals prepared for me so that was the last thing I had to think of. It’s a ton of little things I never knew I was taking for granted. I’ve had to acclimate to the real world again in ways I never imagined I would have to. I miss sweet little giggles every place I walked and the times we would stop wherever we were to pray with each other because it was such a natural thing to do. This life with school and an office job and to-do lists feels like it fits a little too tightly, and I’m having to settle back into it.

The hardest thing might have been realizing that the world kept moving when we were up on that mountain. There was still grieving to be done and bills being paid and moves being made that we got to be blissfully unaware of for 2 months. It was beautiful. It was probably the most comfort I’ve ever felt from God in the way He cared for me in the details of my days, the moments I was walking to breakfast and seeing sleepy little faces trying to get breakfast and wake up or moments when I got to listen to a ton of little girls scream about how Jesus called their names and they ran out of the grave. We walked on holy ground all summer. We watched girls say yes to Jesus for the first time in their lives. We watched girls say yes to him again and again. And it was the most beautiful thing I think I have ever been a part of. We watched their course of eternity be changed right before our eyes.

And then there were the people. I have never been so surrounded by so many women on the same mission, who wake up every single day craving nearness to the Lord and desiring to glorify Him in everything they did. They taught me how to serve earnestly, humble myself, and love so fiercely, most in ways they will never fully know.

These are people who walked back into the dark with me with a light through to Jesus, even in moments when they didn’t realize it. I sat in the back row of our last night together as a full staff during staff worship and heard, “You are for us, You are not against us,” and I had heard this song so many times before, but I sat there and all I could think was, I believe that You are good. I believe that You are for me. This is the first time I have believed that You are completely good.

I’d never really believed He was good, and I remember praying near the beginning of the summer that He would show me that He is good every single day, and He did. My stomach is flipping and my heart is pounding when I type that. He is so good, and I wish there were a bolder way to proclaim that. He is for us. He is enough. He is the strength in our weakness. He is kind enough to show us brokenness because it means that we know it falls from His design. His goodness was soaked in every detail of this summer, and something I’ve left camp realizing is that that same goodness soaked in the nights of worship and the early breakfasts and the walks around the lake is the same goodness woven into the details of every single day for us. The God I encountered for the first time on that little mountain is the same God I get to walk with every single day.

During that last night as a full staff in worship, one of my best friends pulled me in after the first song and said, “I want to encourage you at some point to stop singing and just listen, and you can’t tell me that’s not what Heaven is going to be like.” It was moments like that when it felt like their was no veil at all, and Jesus, in His kindness and sweetness and mercy, was showing us what the Kingdom looks like, that we would spend the rest of eternity praising Him and worshiping Him in all that we do and with all that we are. If I have walked out of this summer with more confidence in anything, it is this:

He is so good to us. He is so faithful. He is for us. 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” // 1 Corinthians 10:31

The thinnest veil.

It’s my off night.

I’m sitting here with a full journal, full heart, sort of empty tank in terms of energy, but also a body full of caffeine. I’m about to go devour some Chinese food, but I couldn’t pass this night by without laying out what the past few weeks have looked like and showing you a glimpse of what God is doing in the world around me. I always seem to crawl back to this corner of the internet when I’ve had a lot on my plate, eaten it all, come back for seconds, and here we are.

The Lord is so near. We can start there. I know I’ve written before about the veil and how there are moments when God is kind in showing me how thin that veil between Heaven and earth can be. The past few weeks, I have been. touching. Heaven.

This is the thinnest the veil has ever been.

Hear me when I say that.This place is so special, and I’m understanding why people say this camp really is holy ground. The Lord’s work is so evident, but it’s also a place where I see wars being waged on girls’ lives. We get to see them realize that a victory has already been won for them, and that has been such a gift.While I get to hold little hands during roller skating or watch girls realize they are called God’s accomplishment (you are too, just so you know – Ephesians 2:10) or watch young women live out of the freedom God invites them into or watch girls accept their seats at table for the first time, I also see a battle being waged in my own life.

I have learned more about my relationship with the Holy Spirit in the past 5 weeks than I may have ever learned in my life, in all honesty. For a long time, I said my prayers to Jesus, knew about the Trinity, sometimes talked to my Heavenly Father, but never fully grasped what it meant to have the Holy Spirit living inside of each of us. Our senior worship speaker read a quote in one of our morning services that said: “When all hell breaks loose, we have Heaven living inside of us.” This came at a time when I was starting to understand what it meant to trust the Lord with everything in me, including my relationships, my failures, all of it.

I find myself sitting down in the mornings and finally deeply desiring to spend time intentionally in God’s presence, where I recognize that’s what I’m doing. I sat down this morning and wrote a list of all the things I want to trust Him with. I want to trust Him with my position at camp, with the lives of campers, with my job, with each and every relationship I have, with every failure, with every lie I let take up residence in my brain, with every step I take in every single day. I sat in a big red truck we named Clifford and talked to a dear friend about how we both can trust God with our lives, like our plans a year from now, but we can’t manage to trust Him with the next day or the next hour or the next minute. We worry and stress and have anxiety built up in us, but we have a Creator who has already written every single one of our days before we were ever born. Maybe you need that reminder today, and maybe I do too, but we have to live out of that. When our circumstances say no way, we get to fix our eyes on a God who makes His way in everything.

I prayed a lot at the beginning of the summer that God would teach me about intimacy and what His design is for that piece of our relationships. I wanted help and endurance to not cling to the people around me but to realize the gift that intimacy is. When I start to understand intimacy with God, I can recognize the beauty of intimacy in our earthly relationships. About this time, I started to realize the importance of the Holy Spirit living within us, and God showed me that that is the ultimate intimacy we need to receive and understand.

Here’s the thing with intimacy. I can make it up. Why do you think people devour romance novels or dream of waking up next to someone? We have a desire in all of our hearts to be fully known and deeply loved, but that desire, every ounce of it, is satisfied in our Creator, Maker, Redeemer, Healer, Satisfier of our souls, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He is who we need Him to be because He is enough and He is everything.

For a long time I was forcing myself to say, “God, You are good,” even when I knew I didn’t believe it. I had one of the best conversations that, in His kindness, the Lord showed me was very much from Him, and He showed me that I kept asking Him over and over again, “God, are You good?” when I knew I had already made up my mind that the answer was no. However, He shifted my thoughts and instead moved the question to, “How are You good?” And that shift has made the biggest difference. He has been kind in showing me moments every day where I get to see His goodness. I can’t sit here and tell you that I believe He is completely good, but I can tell you the good is outweighing the bad today, in this moment. I have had to wake up every day, and say, “Jesus, I trust you. I don’t know if you’re good today, but I trust that you will show me.”

I have had to learn what grieving looks like in the past few weeks, which has been the most difficult part of camp. I was told that grieving is realizing that we have deviated from the original design that God had intended for the world, and that helped grieving click a little better. Grieving is weird. I would like to say that my plan is to make it to my bunk at 11 o’clock at night, in the dark, have a good cry, and go to bed, but it’s usually in the most inconvenient moments when I cry in the middle of our staff lodge or I find my heart in a not so gracious or compassionate spot or I feel like the entire weight of the world is on my shoulders or I hear a little girl laugh that reminds me of her laugh or I listen to “Let It Go” at one of our Nite Lifes and just start crying.

It looks different every day, but the most beautiful thing I’ve been in the process of doing is allowing myself to grieve. And maybe you’re in the same spot. And it sucks. But we have a hope that far outweighs the grief and the sorrow and the darkness in the world and the hard days. We get to cling to the One that says there will come a day when we will sit in His presence and there will be no more death and no more tears and no more pain and no more brokenness. We get to cling to the One who has planned that glorious day.

But for now, I get to wake up every single morning and love the people around me so fiercely and learn how to serve humbly and walk with Jesus in the hard and in the beautiful, and some moments that are both. He has gifted me with some of the most beautiful friendships I have ever seen because they have all been built on Him. I have learned what it looks like to pour my heart out to Him before anyone else. I have learned what it looks like to serve humbly like never before by the people the Lord has placed strategically around me. I get to wake up every day and say, “Holy Spirit, I trust You,” and this is the greatest place I have ever been standing.

Craving a space to breathe [and unpack the boxes].

When May rolls around, I find myself buried in bed sheets and old journals, forcing myself to see what I’ve learned in the past year. It’s easy to close out another school year and feel like I’m in the same place, but that’s never really the case. This time, school has ended, but I’m actually back at home for about 2 weeks before heading straight into being a videographer for WinShape Girls Camp (SUPER exciting stuff!!!). That also means that this is the first time I’ve had to move all of my stuff home, which was quite scary because there was entirely too much stuff, but I also have to pack up my childhood bedroom because my parents are preparing to move. I also have to pack for camp, and it’s honestly like my bed is an island in a sea of boxes of dorm stuff and old stuff. It’s quite chaotic.

There’s a lot of stuff. A lot of memories. And honestly, I’m quite tempted to toss it all and start all over (I’m not going to do that, but some mornings I wake up and definitely want to). I’ve had to go ahead and start thinking about post grad, learning how to save a lot of money while still buying stuff for camp and summer fun things.

I also got the AWESOME opportunity to share what God has been up to in my life in the past year at Stonecreek Wake (the student ministry where I became a Christian), alongside some awesome people who have also shared time in the ministry. It looked like a lot of talking about restoration, the dreams God has put in my heart, and learning what it means to follow Him in new ways.

Life is really wild right now, but I’m a big fan of it.

I feel like God has surrounded me with people He intended to have take care of me. Thank you, Jesus, for your kindness and your attention to details in the way I receive and feel love the best. Thank you for your solidarity. Even when the ocean around me is in complete chaos, hurricane season, if you will, you have set me secure on the oil rig.” 5/28/2016

Reflecting used to be one of my most favorite things in the world, but now I’ve found it to be a very difficult thing. Finals have finished. I’ve got a few days at home under my belt, the perfect balance of creating a morning routine and doing things to still push myself. I’m learning how to get back in the habit of writing every day, cutting back on coffee, and drinking more water. Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot easier to eat healthy at home because there’s a kitchen where everything is conveniently located. It’s been a slow and beautiful past few days though. However, still difficult and painful to process because I’ve spent the last year and a half shoving difficult things to the back of my mind, half-heartedly promising to “deal with it” later.

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now, trying to undo the knots in my head and in my heart because anything else I gave to you would be inauthentic. I said, “This will be real or it will be nothing,” and that’s the way I’ve felt about God lately. He’s either real, or He’s not. (Spoiler alert: He is, it is just taking me a while to sink deep in that).

I opened my Bible the other morning for the first time in months, or at least the first time I was really ready to confront God and learn more about Him without complaining about not knowing Him while not being in His Word. I’m not really in that place I used to be at with God, where you’re mad at someone but you can still sit down to lunch with them. I’ve grown more stagnant because I wasn’t willing to unpack a lot of baggage I’ve shoved into the back of my closet.

I have never found myself so desperate for God from such a stagnant place. I have needed God in my deepest valleys, but I’ve looked up to find the person beside me and clung to them. Every time. But I have never really been in this place, not steeped in strong emotion, not wanting to cling to anyone, and needed so desperately to cry out to God. I don’t have anyone to latch onto, but that’s a very good thing, and I don’t feel alone either. It’s a strange place to be in, and to be quite honest, I haven’t had the words for that until now.

I am very aware of my deep need for God.

I need not retreat into a quiet space or my work or academia or even into another person, but to fall headfirst and backward into the deep love and mercy of Jesus. That will be my greatest treasure and my deepest freedom: to know Christ fully, wholly, and with abandon.

I keep asking God to just show me how wonderful He is. He already is awesome and wonderful, but I want to recognize that and be inspired by the ultimate Creator. It is much more difficult to become discouraged when our hearts are knit to His and we take the time to slow down and recognize that. He is so big, mighty, and we’ve already been risen in His Victory. We are victorious over all of our fears, doubts, and anxiety because of His Victory. That is such a sweet reminder that I have needed for so long.

So, basically it felt like I was learning nothing from God for a very long time, but now it’s this steady incline of realizing He has been slowly teaching me things the entire time. You know, I don’t want to view God as cryptic because He does not withhold good things from His children, but sometimes I do see Him as someone who holds an answer over my head and laughs while I jump. That is so not true. He is in the waiting. We don’t have to decipher Him; we have to be patient and quiet and wait for Him. In His strength will we find our stillness and victory.

I’m super excited about this summer, and I am expecting that God is going to do beautiful things. I’ve pushed myself from one thing to the next so quickly and haven’t taken the time to truly slow down and be still before God, so I am sure this will be a summer of healing and restoration.

I keep coming back to the idea that one day, we will get to be fully satisfied in beholding God and being in His presence while He heals ALL that has been broken.

I love new beginnings. And I hate endings. Long goodbyes are never enough. And I will never not have an entire well of tears. I also keep coming back to this piece of Scripture: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” and He calls us to be the same. So I wake up some mornings and want to scream because I miss people so much or because bitterness takes chunks of my heart and makes it ache with resentment, but I remember that my God looks at me and loves me in my disgusting bitterness and hard heart. But He is merciful. He is gracious. He is slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love. He is an overflowing well, and He will never cease to offer us a drink. Let’s receive it.

Here’s to learning how to receive mercy, but also start to show it again.

Get ready, there’s a lot more where this came from. Happy Fri-yayyy, and here’s to the weekend.

Creative Crack: #OscarsSoWhite

You may think, “#OscarsSoWhite happened so long ago. Why is this even a blog title right now?”

Have you ever seen a train wreck of a situation happen for a company and wonder who has to deal with it? Have you seen the issues with Pepsi, Sean Spicer, and United within the last couple weeks? Crisis Management is one of the most important facets of PR, and #OscarsSoWhite is a prime example of people who tried to deal with a crisis well.

Can anyone ever do anything perfectly? Of course not. Can we learn a thing or two about damage control when we work for companies that set themselves in the middle of the public eye? Absolutely.

#OscarsSoWhite helps us to see the steps a company, or in this case The Academy, take in order to come back from a situation that could have made people scoff at the idea of the Oscars for a long time to come. However, after a year of a mess, The Academy was able to put out a response after the 2016 Academy Awards, and they also were able to make a turn for the better during the 2017 Oscars.

So what did they do?

  • Confront the situation. Some companies decide not to say anything, and that may be the worst thing you could possibly do, aside from saying more terrible things. However, the Academy came out with a statement when they were under fire for having all-white nominees for two years in a row. They stated the facts and started a dialogue with the public. They released the following statement on Twitter (the best form of social media when in a crisis):
  • Actions speak louder than words. The president of the Academy announced in that message that the Academy would be seeking to diversify their membership, and while it hasn’t been a drastic change, it has been a slow and steady change that they have clearly worked on.
CNN
  • Time is of the essence. These were actions that took place within the week. The Academy had called together their Board of Governors for the association and released this statement. In it they said,

The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

  • Actions speak louder than words pt. 2. During the Oscars of 2017, actors who were not white were nominated for Oscars. Among those nominated were 3 black actresses nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and a black actor and actress were in the running for Best Actress and Best Actor. However, the greatest accomplishment to note was Moonlight, with a predominantly black cast, won the Best Picture, and both Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor Oscars were taken home by Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali.
Business Insider
  • Perhaps the greatest thing we can learn though: Leave them talking…about something good. The night of the 2017 Oscars left people talking because the Best Picture was first, mistakenly, awarded to La La Land, and revoked to be handed to the cast of Moonlight. There is the smallest chance this was an accident, but there is a greater chance this was the Academy explicitly showing, “Look, we are taking this Oscar from an all-white cast and making a drastic change by handing the most prized Oscar to a cast of minorities.”

This may have been the most brilliant comeback I’ve ever experienced in terms of organizations with a voice in the arts making an actual difference and strides in diversity. What a moment. What a cast. What beautiful crisis management.

Creative Crack: What is vlogging?

Disclaimer: I’m not a vlogger. And I’ve never put out a vlog before. I’m a videographer. Not professionally, but I dabble in casual video, bought the GoPro, made some short videos, got a job as a videographer that could one day lead to something professional. Stay tuned for that, but anyway…

Let’s talk about:

[CASUAL VIDEO]

This is a newer form of promoting and using social media for the benefit of branding a company or a person. The videos are recorded using an iPhone (or a smart phone of your choice) and usually compiled using a basic movie-making software. These are not strict stipulations, but what’s important is that the video is easy to make and quick. The biggest benefit: it makes people feel a part of the story you’re telling, and to include may be one of your most powerful tools. Humans would much rather consume something quick, easy, and visually appealing than sit and read a long article because, let’s face it, our attention spans are only getting shorter.

So what is vlogging and why should you care about it?

Casual video has some similarities to vlogging. While casual video is usually used for the purposes of promoting quickly and inexpensively, vlogging is another quick way to share bits of your day or your story with people on the internet. A lot of videographers, celebrities, and even normal people like you and me do it. It gives people an inside look at other people’s lives.

A vlogger/YouTube star/videographer that has been taking the internet by storm is Casey Neistat. He is a filmmaker, YouTube personality, co-founder of the social media company Beme, and most recently, he sold Beme to CNN for $25 million, but he has also created daily vlogs to challenge himself in his video-creating abilities. This seems small in comparison to what else he does on a daily basis, but he’s able to capture bits of his day and share them with us. He emphasizes that it doesn’t take expensive equipment to be a talented videographer, it’s actually about learning the basics and learning how to be creative with what you have that makes you a talented videographer. He is a constant encourager to those trying to make it big on YouTube, proving anyone can do it with enough commitment and passion.

Why do I bring this up now?

Neistat took a break from his daily vlogs after doing them for almost two years. However, as those in the videography/vlog community have found out, Neistat has restarted the vlogs in the past few days.

And it all started with this:

He’s also made a how-to video for those who want to learn to vlog.

If you’re looking to be someone in the process of branding themselves, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Millennials, and humans in general, live by storytelling. Specifically, we live by the inside story. We love to feel close to the people we follow on social media, as if we could have been their friends all along.

Whether you’re a photographer or a writer or a videographer, it’s all about letting people in and having a sense of transparency in the way you brand yourself. Sometimes that means a series of social media posts sharing your story, and sometimes that means hopping in front of a video camera and testing out new shots, angles, ideas for the rest of the world to see.

Coming back to an abandoned house.

This space has been a bit of an abandoned house lately. Welcome back, let’s clear off the cobwebs and brew a fresh pot of coffee. I’m back and challenging myself to write now more than ever. I feel like I’ve got so much to learn (as we all do, all the time), but I’ve been pretty resistant to learning it. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I used to, and it’s all just been piling up in my head. I think it’s healthy to take a break from the things we love sometimes, but this one is long overdue.

It’s been about 2 (almost 3, what) months since I’ve sat down and processed a lot of junk in my head and heart.

I used to be really angry with God, like for the past 6 months. And in the last few weeks, I’ve felt a shift in my heart. I guess I could qualify it as being a bit standoffish with God and also pushing Him back with locked elbows, for fear of Him entering into my dark places. And I didn’t realize my attitude had changed, but we were sitting in Bible study and my best friend said:

You know when you’re mad at someone, but you can still sit down over lunch with them? That’s where you’re at with God.


Because I had lived a lot of weeks where I just gave it up and was ready to walk. To put it blatantly, I didn’t want anything to do with God for a while, and some days are still like that. I didn’t want to know God. I didn’t want to feel His nearness. I wanted to convince myself He wasn’t real and that I had never experienced the incredible things He had done in my life. The only question I kept asking was: Is God real? But in the past few weeks, that question has shifted to: Who is God? And I didn’t realize that until it was pointed out to me. I had gone from, “I’m done with this. I don’t want any God in my life,” to, “Who is this God I’ve talked about for almost 4 years?” which I suppose is a better place to be. I’ve talked about Him like some sort of fairy tale character, but never as someone who lives so close and near to me. It’s always been an ideal I’ve set around God, but I expect Him to live inside of that.

Does it suck for me to write that? Absolutely. But I think there’s something to be said for the really grueling, difficult seasons of trying to know God that will make us come undone and put us back together. And disclaimer: I’m not on the other side of that. But I did find some reassurance in the people God has put around me, especially when I got to sit down with both of my bosses and try to qualify/articulate what the season has been like and what it’s meant for me. The best thing I was told was, “You’ll never completely figure Him out. You’ll always be asking questions.”

That was encouraging because honestly the past few months have felt like a National Treasure movie where I’m racing around trying to find clues that lead me back to God and one day there will be this marvelous answer that makes it all click. And one day there will be, when He comes back and we get to live with Him for eternity. But now, while I still live here, I have to cling to Him, the truths I know about Him, and the Love that will not let me go.

Some days I’m honeymooning with God and other days, I don’t want to look Him in the eyes. I want to talk about the idea of being chosen. “God chose you, and you’re waiting for Him to leave.”

Did this statement make me angry? Yes. Is it true? Absolutely.

There’s a line in a song we sang at church a few weeks ago actually, and it goes: “Oh Love, great Love, fear cannot be found in You. And there will never be a day, You’re uncertain of the ones You choose.” And it seems like such a big thing that I’ll never fully be able to understand, but I know there’s freedom buried deep in the middle of that, understanding you’re chosen by God. Do I still have a lot of questions surrounding that? Absolutely.

What does it mean that He chooses me? Does He actually choose me? How can I feel like He has chosen me? Are there people He doesn’t choose? What happens to them? If He doesn’t choose people, then is He not a good God? And the cycle of questions gets pretty vicious, and that word about hits exactly how I feel about God sometimes. I feel He can be a bit vicious, even though I don’t know that to be true. In my heart, it feels like He can be quite terrible, and I’m not even fully sure of why I think that. I see bad things happen to good people, and it makes me angry with Him, but I can only imagine it’s a childlike anger when a parent does something for their greater good that they don’t understand yet. It feels like my whole world though, thus the anger at misunderstandings.


I’m a huge movie person, and one of my favorites is a movie called About Time. Long story short, this awkward, ginger, Brit finds out the men in his family can time travel, but if he’s not careful, there’s a butterfly effect that could dramatically change specific events in his life. Great movie. Go watch it. Right now. Or when you finish reading. Anyway, there’s a quote at the end of the movie that put a new perspective on the way I look at my days. He says:

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I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day. Let that sink in. No, it’s not a piece of Scripture that we ought to meditate on, but I think it is worth thinking about and changing the attitude of our hearts. I know I struggle a lot with getting stuck in going through the motions and not really seeing people. I get stuck in routine, and don’t get me wrong, I love my routine, but I’ve got to wonder if we start to worship our routines and security when we get so fixed in our ways. We forget to fix our eyes on Jesus and everything becomes a mess.

And things have been busy (surprise, but when is life not busy?), and I’ve gotten entirely too comfortable in the busyness, but it’s been nice to have moments of discomfort in the midst of to-do lists and reading and working and organizing. I can feel God slowly beckoning me back into His presence where there is much more fulfillment than I could ever receive from good deeds and working nonstop. I know there is a satisfaction and completion in Christ, and I’ve stayed away from Him a lot lately. Being alone with God is super uncomfortable, like an awkward first date, but you can’t have a satisfying relationship with someone you never communicate with.

So I came off of a weekend where we had intentional time set aside to slow down and remember what it meant to be in God’s presence. And it was hard. You think it’ll be refreshing, and it is in a way, but when you leave some time with God thinking that all it would take is coming back to him and you still have a heaviness in your heart from shame and unforgiveness, it makes you not want to come back. But a relationship with Him is rewarding, so I will continue to cast my burdens on Him, as best I can, in the hopes that He will use this and me for His Kingdom. That is the most we can hope for: to be set free and used for His Kingdom.


So what am I leaving you with? A mess, but that’s where my head currently is, and I’m learning how to be honest about that and walk in it, not try to perfectly package up so I can explain it to people. I don’t know where I’m at, but I know I like parts of it. It’s a daily journey of learning to be satisfied with where God has me, even though I can’t qualify it and put it eloquently. It can be a bit confusing, but I suppose we wouldn’t behold the mystery of God with such awe if we knew exactly what it was He is doing. The waters are muddy, but I’m still wading around trying to find out exactly what’s going on. I’m not sitting still though, and I suppose that’s the thing that makes all the difference.

CURRENTLY I’M… #4

Loving: READING. I have spent more time with my head buried in a book than I have writing or on social media, so that’s been super rewarding. I became a total Harry Potter fangirl in the last 3 months and have finished all 7 books and (almost) all 8 movies. I dream of being a Weasley and could talk to you about Harry Potter all. day. long. Let’s get tea and talk if you also feel this way. #mischiefmanaged #isolemnlyswearimuptonogood #itsLeviOsa

Learning: Entirely too much about comm theory, but actually beginning to love it. I’m also learning more about sports from a sports comm class, which has been super interesting.

Reading: Finished the last HP book recently, and now I’ve been reading Garden City by John Mark Comer in the mornings and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert at night. I’m also in a Utopias & Dystopias lit class right now, so that’s got me buried in a lot of books.

Eating: Food? There’s not anything I’ve been on a huge kick about lately. I have found a weakness for coconut milk lattes with toffee nut syrup from Starbucks lately though.

Excited about: SPRING BREAK. I will be sitting on the beach in less than 24 hours and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Also, I’ll be in Harry Potter World on Tuesday drinking Butterbeer and possibly crying from being so happy. Also, reading. I’ve been really excited about reading more.

Needing: Discipline to rest. It’s something I’ve become better about, slowing down and all, but it’s definitely still a struggle. I also got a cute greeting card from my mom in the mail this week, and I didn’t even realize I needed that, but I found myself tearing up in the post office, so here we are.

Thinking about: Future plans, which have me more excited than anxious, so that’s new. Stay tuned for more on that. Also, would love to be writing a lot more than I have been lately. Planning to write more poetry and fiction because I forgot how much I love both of those.

Thankful for: FRIENDSHIP!!!!!! People who know you and love you despite your brokenness, and even help you to heal and love your brokenness. That’s been such a beautiful thing that’s been so healing and freeing. Friendship is the greatest. Also, thankful for family who will drive all the way to Rome to visit me when I just need a taste of home at Berry.

Listening to: Ed Sheeran’s new album. On repeat. And singing “Perfect” and “Happier” and “Eraser” so loudly. And dancing to “Barcelona” and “Galway Girl” a lot. Big fan of this record.

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