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Faith, God, Spiritual Life, Suffering

I See You

September 20, 2016

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller


The argument wasn’t even that big. I was upset that Jeff was on the phone with a friend while I was in the car with him. We had taken a day trip to Atlanta just the two of us, and I seen the four hour drive as a gift of time to be together and reconnect.

As we began to hash through our thoughts as to why we were arguing and what made me so upset, I found myself suddenly bursting into tears. “I just want you to see me.” I cried. Words began vomiting their way out of my mouth through broken sobs as I began to explain that my deepest fear was never being really seen for who I am and always living a life based on the assumptions of what everyone else thought of me to be.


The wilderness, it breaks us. It’s supposed to. It’s supposed to be the place where God strips away all the crap that’s holding us back to make way for a new path…a better way living.

We are meant to lose ourselves in the scarcity of it all, the surrendering and embracing of this new us we are becoming. Yet somewhere in the middle, well, we end up a little bit…lost.

It’s confusing trying to grieve our old lives while discovering this new one. To say goodbye to a life that, no matter how bad it was, was the life we knew. Can I still laugh at the same jokes? Wear the same clothes? What about my friends? Can I keep those?

The wild never lets you leave without changing you. It’s why you were meant to be there in the first place.


We’ve been friends a while, you know. Some of you I’ve hugged and cried with. Some of you I’ve known only in the cyber world and some of you are faceless people who live in the late night prayers I pray for your hearts. Our differences may be great, but we all hold one thing in common. We want to be seen.

We want to know that in the middle of this wild place there is someone out there who is looking out for us. A fellow traveller who is willing to hold our hand as we figure out this crazy thing called life and faith and identity. It can be so lonely at times that we wonder if anyone out there can really see and understand what’s going on inside us.

I haven’t lived your life. Nor you mine. But tonight, tonight I want you and I both to go to sleep knowing that although our paths are very different, we can still walk them together. And that even in the loneliest of moments someone sees us. So I’m here to let you know… I see you…

You the girl who quietly cries herself to sleep each night.

The girl who can only find comfort in the cut of a razor blade on her skin.

The girl whose body has wasted away from months of not eating or purging.

The girl who feels soiled and filthy because, in a moment of weakness, you gave yourself away to a man who you shouldn’t have.

I see you. 

You the girl who smiles on the outside but is screaming on the inside.

The girl who has all the friends in the world yet still feels alone.

The girl who looks in the mirror and cannot recognize the person looking back.

The girl who doubts herself and especially God.

I see you. 

You, the girl who’s suffered unspeakable acts at the hands of another.

To the broken, wounded, lost, angry, hopeless, addicted, faithless, weary, and worn girl…

I see you…..and so does He.

There are a lot of us out there, walking this holy calling into the wild. And though my light might not be a bright one, I’ll hold it high, and you do the same. And together, well hopefully we can help light a path that leads us all onto the life that awaits us on the other side.

Faith, God, Spiritual Life

Meet Me Here

September 14, 2016


I sat down in front of an open journal. Blank pages welcoming me. Pen in hand. Hours of time and plenty of space to relax and breathe before work. I was so excited because I’ve been craving this uninterrupted time with God – I’ve been needing it.

But when I finally sat down to write…to talk to God and just be with Him…I didn’t know what to say. I held the pen over that first line, wanting so badly to lightly touch the page and let the ink flow as freely as my thoughts. But nothing was coming. I felt blank. Empty. Unsure where to start or how to approach the Father I’ve been “too busy” for lately.

But when I took a deep breath and let my heart speak, the words that came out at the top of the page were, “Father, I need You.”
I think I took myself by surprise. I haven’t said those words in a while. I haven’t needed God. (At least I haven’t thought so.)

In the wilderness, where we often feel so alone anyway, I think we tend to go into survival mode and take on the responsibility of fending for ourselves. God seems distant and we feel like we’re wandering all alone. We convince ourselves that independence is the only way we’ll make it out alive.

So we fight our own battles.

We plan our own steps.

We blaze our own trails.

We dry our own tears.

We pick ourselves up when we stumble.

And we do this life thing all on our own.

But after a while, we get tired. So tired. It feels like we’ve tried everything to get through the wilderness…but we’ve only been going in circles, and now we just can’t go any further. We’re exhausted. We’re hungry. We’re thirsty. And we need God more than we were willing to admit.
I think I’ve been trying to carry my world on my back, refusing to let God carry it for me because something in me doesn’t fully believe that He can handle it. It doesn’t feel safe to “need” Him anymore. I’m not sure why. But somewhere along the line, I stopped trusting Him.

And I kind of forgot how to.

Saying that feels really sad. Where did I lose that beautifully deep belief I once had that God could do anything? And how do I get it back to that place of intimacy where needing Him isn’t scary and trusting Him comes naturally?
When we find ourselves here, it seems we always get the same advice.

Read your Bible.
Make “quiet time” a priority.
Pray harder.

Sometimes I just want to say, “Don’t you think I’ve tried that already??”

In these lost, dry seasons, we look for God in all of the normal places. We exhaust all of our options and get frustrated when we still just can’t get into the Bible and our prayer lives look less like a conversation and more like a moment of obligatory silence. These things don’t excite us the way they used to. We reach a point where we’re tired of “trying more” and “working harder” and “doing enough” and we just feel like giving up.

But why is that the only “effective” way to draw closer to God? God is not limited to meeting us only in the words of Scripture. He’s not restricted to speaking to us and teaching us and growing us in our blocked out quiet times. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those are bad practices or that that advice isn’t coming from the right place. Reading the Bible and praying are important. But there are times when we’re just not feeling it…and that’s ok.

That doesn’t mean we throw our hands up and stop making an effort altogether. And that doesn’t mean that we abandon solid traditions and never look back. No…we’ll make our way back there eventually. When we’re able to fully love and embrace it for the gift that it is again.

But for now…that just means that maybe it’s time we allow God to meet us here, exactly where we are and how we are, in our weariness and imperfection, because we still believe that He is good.
What would it look like if we just took a step back? If we stopped trying the next Bible reading plan or devotional or sermon series or book about how to pray better, only to find we’re no more connected or engaged than when we started?

What if we started to look outside the norm and find Jesus in the places we don’t often pay attention to?

For me it’s stepping outside at the tail end of summer and feeling a slight chill in the air, the first sign that fall (my favorite season) must be right around the corner. There in the sound of rustling leaves I hear my Father reminding me that seasons do eventually change, and the one I’m in now won’t last forever.

Maybe it’s a hug from a friend that God uses to tell you He’s still there.

Maybe you feel more refreshed and close to Him when you catch a beautiful view of the sunset outside your bedroom window, or when you get to sleep in on a Saturday morning and find rest after a long week.

Sweet friends, you are not any less loved by the Father if your Bible is collecting dust or if your prayer life is only five minutes in the car because that’s all you feel you have to give today. Don’t believe that you’re not trying hard enough. Give yourself the grace to take a break. Open your eyes to the treasures and movements of God that may have always been right in front of you.

Let God show you that He exists in the wilderness, too. And believe that He will meet you there.

Faith, God, Redemption, Spiritual Life, Suffering

And Then I Saw the Flowers

August 31, 2016


It starts with a few storms – some good, heavy rainfall. Something rare for Death Valley, California. Just enough to soak the parched earth in one of the hottest, driest places in the world. Just enough to encourage growth in a seemingly barren desert.

Once every ten years or so, unforeseen beauty blankets the dusty ground. Thousands of flowers emerge in a phenomenon called a Super Bloom. And for a brief time…life exists in a place named for death.
It only took a week for my whole perspective to change. Just one week for my wilderness, my desert, to start looking like a field of wildflowers. Nothing about my circumstances changed…just my view…

It started with one flower. I was scrolling through stock photos of the desert to use for my last post when I came across an image – just one – that seemed completely out of place in my search. In the middle of picture after picture of dry, cracked earth was a desert scene with one single flower sprouting up from the rocky ground. Had I been scrolling quicker or not looking as closely, I would have missed it. But the pop of color caught my eye and made me pause…click…and study for a minute this beauty in a such an unexpected place.

In light of all I had just written about the miles and miles of nothingness in the desert I remember, it was kind of mind-boggling to me. How could anything so dainty and delicate grow in a place that seems so desolate and unwelcoming? And where there’s one flower, there must be more…but how?
This image stuck with me over the next week, forcing me to look at my own wilderness a little differently. If flowers can exist in the middle of the desert, what kind of life and growth am I missing right in front of me?

And then I saw the flowers.

It started with just one – a small, peaceful sigh as I walked into my favorite little coffeeshop one day and was reminded how thankful I am that I get to work there, that for the first time in a long time I truly love my job.

Then another – making last minute dinner plans with sweet friends, bonding over tacos and memories from a wild and crazy year, and remembering that even when life feels a little lonely, I am truly loved and cared for by some really special people.

And slowly I started to see even more bright petals popping up all around me. Some new, and some that have been there for so long, but I haven’t noticed.

I’ve been so focused on the destination just beyond the desert that I’ve overlooked the subtle reminders of beauty, of hope, of growth and life, right here in the wilderness.

Don’t get me wrong – it still feels a lot like New Mexico, or maybe Death Valley, and my last post still holds true for me in a lot of ways. The desert is still hot and dry, long and uncomfortable. But now…now it has flowers springing up everywhere. Suddenly even the desert is lovely to me. Because even in the most unlikely places, life and beauty can thrive.
One of the most captivating things to me about the Super Bloom is the growth process.

First there is a season of heavy storms. Fall brings rain that penetrates deep into the heart of the desert and initiates a growth that, at the time, can’t be seen.

That growth continues underground throughout the next season, developing roots, strengthening and maturing every day, but still going unnoticed through most of the winter.

Just before spring, the desert begins showing signs of a long-awaited Super Bloom. But while we can guess and anticipate and imagine what must be in store, we still can’t quite predict all that we’re about to experience.

Then it happens. First one. Then another. Starting in the valleys, the lowest points, and working their way up the mountains all around.

And a few months later, Death Valley is alive.
If we’re not paying attention, all we’ll see is that dry, cracked, dusty earth. But if we look closely, we’ll start to see them…one at a time…flowers all around us, reminding us that maybe the wilderness isn’t so bad after all. What if it isn’t meant to be a hard place? What if it’s meant to be a gift? A place to just rest and be, to stop looking desperately at the horizon for a sign that we’re almost out of the desert, and instead notice and enjoy the flowers?

In my wilderness, God has given me an exciting new city that makes me feel alive, a beautiful family that has become my own, a house that has become home in every way, a new job that has filled me with so much joy, the most encouraging and kind-hearted new friends…and more flowers to discover every day.

It gives me hope that maybe this is my growing season. Maybe my Super Bloom is just beginning. Im starting to see flowers in this valley…but I think I’m working my way up towards a mountain.

Faith, God

Destination: Promised Land

August 10, 2016


I hate New Mexico.

Sorry if you live there. But if ever there was an appropriate time for me to pull out the good ol “I just can’t even,” this might be it.

A few years ago I was traveling from Texas to Washington. New Mexico was part of that journey, and it felt like the absolute longest part EVER. If you’ve never driven through New Mexico, let me paint a picture for you…

…Nothing…and more nothing. Hours and hours of nothing. Just dry, dead, desolate nothing. You can see for miles and miles! And what do you see? Miles and miles of nothing. Civilization does not seem to exist and the desert does not seem to believe there could ever be a need for bathroom breaks, gas stops, or the most important road trip necessity, FOOD.

It was cool to see that part of the country for the first half hour (maybe). But then it just got old. No scenic view to watch out the window as we drove. Nothing changed for hours. It was hot and uncomfortable. And I just remember thinking we were never going to get there.

What made it worse was my impatience to reach our destination. I had never been to Washington, but I had heard it compared to the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, beautiful and perfect in every way. I couldn’t wait to get there, to see it, to experience it.

If I could just get out of the damn desert.

Lately, life has felt a lot like that long, uneventful, uncomfortable journey through New Mexico. When people ask “what’s new?” my response is always “nothing.” I see life stretch out before me in a panorama of endless possibilities…but I can’t see squat. I know there must be something more out there, but from my seat on the ride, all I see is more of the same old, same old.

At first, something about the great unknown felt exciting…exhilarating…free. But now…now I’m waaay over it. The ride has been too long and I’m uncomfortable. I’ve been the annoying child in the back seat asking my Father for the hundredth time, “Are we there yet??” I’m ready for the view to change. I want to see my Promised Land.

But here’s the kicker…I have no idea what that is. Like Washington, I’ve heard it’s great. I believe the Lord has called me to something bigger and better and more beautiful than I have ever dreamed. He has promised a much greater passion and purpose for my life, and I know He’s leading me there. But the details are a complete mystery. So sometimes it feels like I’m just wandering aimlessly through the desert, my destination so far off.

But on that trip to the Pacific Northwest, the scenery eventually changed. The view out my window gradually transitioned to something greener and brighter. This “Promised Land” I’d been waiting for didn’t seem so far off anymore, and the desert in my rearview mirror, it turns out, wasn’t so endless after all.

In the wilderness, the journey seems long. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s only a short part of the trip. And if you only knew what waits further down the road, it wouldn’t seem so bad. Sometimes the desert is a necessary part of the journey. We may not like it. But we can be sure that God has promised more. The desert isn’t the destination; it’s just part of the route to get there.

Everyone’s wilderness looks a little different. For me, it looks a lot like New Mexico. But for someone else, it may look like the Amazon jungle, teeming with dangerous predators and easy to get lost in. For others, Mount Everest, complete with treacherous cliffs and long, hard, uphill battles. Or maybe it’s the Dead Sea, the lowest point, where life itself seems impossible. My wilderness may not be your wilderness. But we’re all searching for the same thing, our own Promised Land, a place where hope lives, and passion and purpose are in full bloom.

Once we get there, we may find that we start the cycle all over again, wandering through a whole new wilderness, discovering God’s promises and plans are never ending…there’s even more to see…more to experience. And I think somehow we will appreciate those promises all the more because of our time spent in the wilderness.

Community, Faith, Family, God, Identity

Lou, Smell the Flowers

July 27, 2016


When I opened the door, the refrigerated air and the intense smell of flowers filled up my lungs. I immediately became obsessed with this tiny warehouse. As I stepped out of the bright sunlight and into this cement room full of buckets, I saw Lou. We had just talked on the phone for an hour while he taught me about growing dahlia tubers and how to harvest flowers to make them last. When I went to shake his hand, I could feel the years of making arrangements and working in the soil in his grip. There was passion in his eyes but his wrinkled skin gave it away-the sun had beaten him up. Growing flowers is no joke. He said he would buy any product I could grow as long as it was quality and to call him again with any questions. I was curious about this little warehouse so full of life. I asked an annoying amount of questions and only some were about the wedding I was helping prepare flowers for. On my way out, I took one more deep breath of the rose-lily-peony-lavender-eucalyptus goodness and asked him if he ever got tired of that smell and I’ll never forget his response.


“I wish I could still smell these flowers.”


Over the years, he had just gotten used to the smell. His senses were completely dulled. Man, to be surrounded by such beauty every single day and not be able to fully enjoy it anymore? Not gonna lie, it broke my heart in a little way.

And it made me think.

How many times do I complain about dumb crap instead of enjoying the blessing that is so plain to see?

How many times do I wish time away just to get to the next thing?

How many times do I drive the country roads to work and not realize the changing of the seasons in the color of the wildflowers?

How many times do I hear “I love you” from my husband and take it for granted?

How many times do I forget to be completely amazed at the ability to talk to God in prayer?

How many times do I panic about the future when I know the reality of heaven?

So many times.


I wish I could still smell these flowers.


So this changes things. Desiring the perspective of being aware of what’s around me has been changing my life. From decluttering my house to decluttering my schedule (these things are still in the beginning stages), I’ve been ever so slightly able to see more clearly.

These few uncomfortable things may change your life like they’re changing mine:

Eye contact. More than what’s usual or expected. With my husband and with the woman who is at the bus stop I drive by every morning. I want to say “I see you and I care” with my eyes.

Silence. I force myself to turn off the podcasts and not call people to leave ridiculous 4-minute voicemails (sorry, Heather). Sometimes it’s almost painful to turn talk radio off and listen to the hum of the road or the drone of the air conditioner at home. When is the last time you truly sat still and stopped your brain from running 100 miles an hour?

Get out! I have been sitting with my baby chickens (this is a whole other post… I’m obsessed with them) every night in the backyard in the quiet as a practice of slowing down. They wander around pecking the dirt and flying at each other and staring at me with their scruffy adolescent feathers and beady eyes like alien babies. And before I know it, I have sweat dripping off my face and bug bites on my legs. But man, something about the fresh air is like plugging my batteries in for a good charge.


I wish I could still smell these flowers, said old man Lou.


I want to smell the flowers every day.


Fight to smell the flowers.

Faith, Fear, God, Redemption, Spiritual Life

Decisions, Decisions

June 22, 2016


I hate decision making.

Seriously, ask me where I want to go for dinner and the answer will almost always be “I don’t care.” And once we get wherever we eventually decide on, I need 10 minutes to look at the menu, and I still change my mind a dozen times before I finally order.

Give me the task of choosing a movie to watch, an ice cream flavor, what shoes go best with your outfit or what to name your goldfish and I will agonize over it.

And multiple choice on tests…don’t get me started. Even Buzzfeed quizzes give me anxiety.

…Have I mentioned I HATE making decisions?

I guess it all comes down to this fear that I’m going to make the wrong choice. I’m so afraid that whatever I choose, I’ll end up regretting it later. Yes, even the smallest, most seemingly-insignificant things. Somehow I still get hung up on which one is the “right” choice.

So as you can probably imagine, I reeeally don’t do well with big life decisions.

I think sometimes on the outside it looks easy.

Drop out of college to travel the country with a ministry? Sure! Move over 600 miles away from my family without a clue where I’m going to live or work? Psh, no big deal.

In reality, if anyone got ahold of my journals from around those times, you’d see that the journey leading up to those decisions was one big terrifying, complicated, confusing headache.

I recently had two job offers. At the same time. And I, of course, panicked.

Both were great places that I would be so happy to work for – great environments, great people, just all-around great opportunities! But that was not quite the answer to prayer I was looking for.

I need clear-cut direction. At least I think I do, anyway. I want to see one door open and the other one shut so that I know without a doubt which one I’m supposed to walk through. Better yet, I want big flashing arrows, neon signs, a yellow brick road and an “X” to mark the spot.

Two open doors with perfect little welcome mats doesn’t help my decision making.

I wrestled with it for a while. I prayed so hard about which was the right job, but I felt like God was giving me the silent treatment. I went back and forth all day with the pros and cons of each, but kept coming up with the same answer – I couldn’t go wrong with either option.

But that was just it. I was so focused on which one was right that I couldn’t see that neither one was wrong. God had given me a choice, not to test me and see if I’d choose the right path, but to show me that sometimes there’s more than one right answer…and His will will be done either way, no matter which I choose.

I think maybe the deeper root of my fear is that I’m worried I’ll mess up God’s master plan for my life. Part of me seems to believe that I somehow have the power to ruin everything with just one wrong move.

But the truth is, if we’re loving, following and serving Christ, and if the options before us allow us to live within that calling, I don’t really think there can be a wrong choice. We just have to pick a path. Because no matter what we choose, God is in control.

And if somehow we do make the wrong choices, we serve a God who chooses redemption and who decides daily to craft beauty from our mistakes…and His decisions are never wrong.

Faith, Fear, God, Suffering, Uncategorized

Scaredy Cat

June 8, 2016


I can’t speak Spanish and I can’t dance, so you’d never know I’m Colombian, but it’s true.


My grandma, “Lulu” who loves all things tropical, tells us stories of how the weather in Colombia was—balmy and breezy and plants live year-round. My grandpa was a neurosurgeon and helped people he knew could never pay him. My dad grew up playing soccer and sneaking into the neighbors cherry tree with his brothers to eat the ripe fruit.

So life there sounds beautiful except for the hard parts. Like the time when they came home and thieves had emptied their house of everything valuable. Or when the neighbor kids were kidnaped for ransom. Or when my dad was jumped on the street walking home from school. My dad learned to watch his back because he lived in a place where if you weren’t careful, you’d be taken advantage of or stolen from.

When Brendon, my husband, visited my family’s house before we started dating, my dad told him, “This place is like Alcatraz, man. I see everything.” Laugh all you want, but it wasn’t a joke. (Insert crying smiling emoji face here)

He probably wouldn’t be too happy with me if I disclosed his multiple security systems, but lets just say when a “Secret Admirer” left an anonymous note in our mailbox with a rose one afternoon when I was in high school, my dad and I watched the security camera footage to find out who it was. HAHAHA POOR GUY!


So I feel very safe in my parents house. I grew up being taken care of and my mom always nurtured my intuition of knowing if a person or place was unsafe. She would point out potential dangerous situations and she taught me to be alert and walk like a boss through dark parking lots at night (and maybe carrying pepper spray). 😉 Having parents that are aware is a GIFT. They taught me well and have always reminded me that God will surround me in whatever situation. He is a fierce guardian and He is my strength.


But that lie creeps in. You’re. Not. Safe.


When I’m home alone or by myself, the questions come… Are the doors locked? Is the alarm on? Are there people outside rustling around? What was that noise? Am I going to be okay? How will I defend myself if someone gets in? Am I safe at home alone? Can anyone tell I’m afraid? Should I sleep with a knife by my bed?

These are all questions I’ve asked myself and I know I’m not alone. Being “fearless” is kind of trendy (that’s a T Swift song, right?) but let’s be real. Fear is a bitch. (excuse my language) But seriously.

I’m afraid of losing control. I’m afraid of being taken away from the people I love. I’m afraid that I’ll be found out… that I’m not that strong.


I know that because I’m writing about fear it seems like I should have some insight or inspirational advice, but I don’t. I’ve been thinking about why I’m afraid sometimes for THREE DAYS. And turns out, I haven’t really settled it, but I do know one thing:


When I’m scared, I pray.


So maybe that’s it. I still don’t fully understand why some places and situations make me nervous, but I do know what to do to calm my racing heart down. Praying helps me acknowledge that God is all around me and I remember that He says that He will guard me. Fear doesn’t define me, but the little moments of asking Him to be close when I am afraid is lifechanging. I will keep wrestling with this until I see my heart more clearly because I know that God can grow me out of this fear little by little.

If you’re afraid of losing someone or something, of being uncertain, of being alone at night, you’re definitely not alone, girlfriend. Even when it’s confusing,

What are you afraid of? What have you learned that has calmed your fears?

Family, Forgiveness, God, Redemption, Relationships

God is forgiving

April 20, 2016
Have you ever known that you were loved by someone, but seemed to have a hard time feeling that love?
That may sound confusing but it was definitely the head-to-heart struggle that I had when it came to my relationship with my dad growing up. I always knew he loved me, but I couldn’t help but feel the distance between us. He was a respected businessman and had to travel for work all of the time. He was gone aaaalot. Sometimes 7 months out of a year. Although he was doing it to provide for our family, it slowly started to put him into one specific role – “the provider” – instead of any kind of emotional or relational father that we needed. Everyone saw it happening, and felt it happening, but to me as a little girl I really had no solution to the matter. I couldn’t ask him to leave his job and he was in the position where he had to travel, so…we just accepted it.
That was the secret to making it okay. Just accepting it, and not acting like you care, right? I didn’t need his help or guidance anyway, right? I have two amazing older brothers – they will be my father figures and that’s normal, right?
These were the thoughts that unintentionally started building up bitterness and resentment in my heart towards my dad. Sometimes it would come out as anger, or deep hurt, or complete lack of talking, or even total disobedience. I didn’t have a close personal relationship with him, so why take seriously all that he says and tells me to do?
I realized I didn’t trust him…
I didn’t know how much he hurt me and how I was sinning because of it.
I didn’t know how to forgive him for all the years lost between us.
Two years ago was when I married the love of my life. There’s really nothing like marriage that can bring out all of this kind of baggage over a dinner conversation:) My pain from not having a close relationship with my dad was clear and every so often it would be brought up if Hank disappointed me even in a little way. Hank is an artist and naturally has to travel for his music, but I really had never expected it to freak me out like it did in our first couple months of marriage. I automatically thought, “Traveling away from family for any reason = Bad”…but this was all just rooted in the fact that I had yet to forgive my father.
I could make so many excuses to convince you that this anger and resentment was justified to feel towards him, but when I looked to Christ and what he had done for me on the cross, I was deeply convicted. He died for me, offering forgiveness for all of MY sin. My sin that isn’t deserving of forgiveness at all.
Who was I to hold such a grudge? Who was I to let this bitterness build and build without even talking to my dad about it? Who was I to tell God that someone was unforgiveable?
Well, the conversation happened. And I wasn’t alone in how I felt. Girls, the guilt that my dad had been living with for years and years was heartbreaking to hear about. He knew what happened. He knew how his travel affected our family. He knew how it distanced him from his only daughter. He knew. He very sadly knew and regretted it.
The beauty of the gospel is that Christ’s kindness and immense love for us literally brings us to repentance: A repentance that both my dad and I needed to voice. And a repentance that CAN be forgiven.
Trust me, this doesn’t mean that everything is just perfect now with my dad and I. We still have a long way to go. But in the last two years God has truly brought us closer like we’ve never been before. Why? Because of one beautiful word. Forgiveness.
For the girl who has a great relationship with her Dad, but maybe it’s a sibling or friend that has really wronged you, I encourage you to dwell on this characteristic of God and ask Him to give you the same heart.
God is the God of forgiveness. 
I want to encourage you that forgiveness WILL set you free from the weight that you are feeling overwhelmingly burdened by. And when you can’t even imagine doing so, like I did for so many years, look to Jesus. He will give you the strength. Even if it’s an everyday decision to forgive over and over, God calls us to be like Himself in this way.
He is a forgiving God – therefore we shall be a forgiving people.
Faith, God, Relationships, Spiritual Life

God is Ironic

April 13, 2016

head vs heartIf I ever doubted before that God hears me, I certainly don’t now.

Remember when I wrote about how deeply I desire companionship and long to be in love, and how much I’ve prayed for that? Well…God heard me. And He answered. But not quite the way I expected.

A couple months ago, a guy I dated in the past (but haven’t talked to in two years) waltzed back into my life. I thought we were just two old friends catching up. Recently, however, it became clear that he was pursuing me. And I didn’t know it. I thought we were just talking. He thought we were “talking.” (It’s hard to believe those two things could be so easily confused…*face-palm*)

This guy was a great friend. I have a lot of respect for him, and at one point I really thought I could see myself with him. But when it came down to it, I knew he wasn’t the right guy. So I had to put an end to the relationship that had been developing right under my completely oblivious nose…and walk away.

I felt like I had just gone through a break up, in a weird sort of way. It wasn’t fun. And it kind of felt like some cruel joke…I mean, come on, the only guy to show interest in me in two years was a guy I’m no longer interested in. Thanks, God…

But, though I ultimately didn’t feel this guy was right for me, he was close. And for the first time in a while it seemed Prince Charming might not be too far off. So I prayed boldly, and I literally told God to “bring it on.”

The very next day, a guy I met at work asked me out.

Yep. I can’t make this stuff up.

I spent a couple weeks getting to know him, and I found him to be exactly what I always thought I wanted. I’m not sure I’ve ever really known what my “type” was, but I think it was him.

So God gave me what I asked for. The guy I told Him was right for me.

But even more than that, He gave me the pursuit that I wanted. I wanted a guy to see me across the room and say, “I have to have her.” I wanted the “good morning, beautiful” texts and the lift-me-off-the-ground goodbye hugs. I wanted someone to hold my hand, plan fun dates, and to catch them staring when they thought I wasn’t looking. And I got all of those things.

But he wasn’t pointing me to Jesus. I could tell we were at much different places in our faith. I felt like he was such a great guy who I enjoyed being with and getting to know, but without that crucial spiritual component, I knew I couldn’t keep seeing him.

Everything in me was screaming, “No! This feels good! This is what you want, right? Stay here in the romance, where you feel wanted and special.”

And yet, somewhere deep in my heart I knew a flirty romance, butterflies and strong chemistry wouldn’t be enough. I knew I needed someone who would lead, encourage and challenge me in my faith, and I couldn’t see that in him.

So I had to fight the strength of physical attraction for the sake of spiritual connection and have a really hard conversation with him, ending things before either of us got more invested. Unfortunately, what could have been a peaceful decision to do what’s best for both of us actually became a painful show of his true colors, leaving me to walk away hurt, confused and angry.

So let’s recap: In the course of a week, I “broke up” with one guy who I didn’t know was pursuing me, went on a few dates with another guy, broke things off with him, and experienced my first real heartbreak.

I’ve felt all the feels I think I could possibly feel over the past few weeks. A month ago I was mad at God for not giving me what I wanted. Now I’m mad at God for giving me exactly what I asked for and allowing me to be burned by it. It seems a little ridiculous.

Through it all, though, He’s shown me that many of the things I want in a guy aren’t wrong. But I can’t be romanced by romance alone. There’s something to be said for a man who loves Jesus, who prays for the woman he will one day marry, and who leaves every other woman he encounters along the way in better condition than what he found her in. That’s the kind of man I need, and that’s the kind of man who’s worth waiting for.

Ya know, after all of this, I have to laugh. God, in His irony, answered my prayers just to show me that I have no idea what I’m actually praying for. He gave me exactly what I wanted to show me it isn’t what I need.

Oh, and in the midst of all of this? Heather and Nina have been basically campaigning for another guy who they believe could be my perfect match. I’m just hoping cupid’s aim has gotten a little better this time. 😉

It’s funny…we always want to make God out to be so serious and “all-business.” But I bet He laughed when Christ was on earth and one of the disciples farted. I bet Jesus tripped over a rock in his path a time or two and God got a good chuckle out of it. And I bet He’s up there laughing at me now trying to navigate the love life I didn’t know I had. So I guess I can laugh at this romantic comedy I’ve found myself in, too.

Faith, God, Spiritual Life

God is the visionary

April 6, 2016

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You know when you plan something in your life to go a certain way, but then God takes it and says, “Nope, I’m taking you somewhere different”…

That’s happened to me many times. And it’s happening to me now.

I know that God is for me. Even if life doesn’t seem good at the moment, He is using it for my good.

I know that God has a very specific and amazing plan for my life.

And I know that His plans are always better than my plans.

I have had so many times in my life that I’ve learned these things about God, like:

  • In high school I wanted and planned to go to a magnet school so badly that my best friends were going to, but I didn’t get in.
  • I tried out for the volleyball team in high school (I had already been playing volleyball at my previous school), but didn’t make the team.
  • I enrolled at my dream school in NYC the end of my senior year of high school but ended up not receiving the scholarship money I thought I would receive, so I had to go to a university in my home town.
  • One summer in college, I planned to go on a mission trip to Venezuela, but ended up breaking my leg so I couldn’t go.
  • In college I had at least 5 break-ups, and I obviously didn’t begin those relationships planning to break-up.
  • After I graduated from college, I applied to a job that I was 90% sure I was going to be offered, but they decided to hire someone else.
  • I wanted to move out of my home town and tried to find a way, but it was always clear that God wanted me to stay here.
  • I broke up with a guy right after college because I knew it wasn’t who God had for me after we both talked about getting engaged.

Those are just some of the major times I have learned that I may try to plan what’s best for my life, but ultimately, God is in control, and knows the best plan for my life.

He is the greatest visionary.

His plans for you are greater than yours could ever be, no matter how hard or how long you plan.

And out of all  8 of those major plans I had for my life, I don’t wish any of those to have gone the way I had originally planned. I am so glad I let go (or was forced to let go) and allowed God to establish my steps for me.

Since I graduated from seminary in December, I have been on a journey of figuring out what’s next for me. I am planning my steps, but again, God is the visionary for my life. He establishes my ways.

I’m learning to go after what I’m excited about doing and trying not to overthink it. If God wants me to continue in whatever that is, He will make a way. And if He doesn’t, He will make that obvious too. God doesn’t reveal His plan for you in the sky or spell it out for you in your cereal. It’s not always direct at first. That’s why He calls us to live by faith, not by sight.

Sometimes when God reveals his vision for us, it means letting go of something you love. Following God’s plan is an act of sacrifice and walking by faith is usually not easy.

The more that we trust Him and just step out and DO what’s in front of us, following desires and the steps He gives us, the more evident His plans become. Sometimes it’s hard to explain. And sometimes others won’t understand what you’re doing, but I promise that following God is worth it. Trusting and surrendering to God’s plan for you is the most fulfilling way to live. And even if you don’t understand  what He’s doing, that is the beauty of TRUSTING Him and not your own plans. You’ll look back on your life and see the beauty that God was weaving together for you all along.