Tag Archives: faith

13, 26, and all the years between: A letter from me to you

I’ve never been much of a “birthday” person. Very few stand out to me, but 13 did. Year 13 had an impact as the age I woke up and thought “it’s all different here on out and I’m lost.”

Well, I turned 26 a few weeks ago, and I realized that I essentially just turned 13 twice. Babies born on my 13th birthday just reached the same milestone.

I hope in the 13 years since I turned 13 that I’ve become a little wiser and that, maybe, I have my crap together.

So, to all the 13-year-olds from the lady double your age:

Welcome to 13! I’m sorry there was no parade. You really deserved a parade, but I hope at least one person made your day as special as you are. If no one did, then let me tell you how wonderful you are.

You’re on the edge of something truly phenomenal. You’re shedding your baby years and embarking on a new adventure. Thirteen may feel like the “bottom of the barrel” in terms of teenage hierarchy, but you’re starting fresh. You have seven solid years of adventure ahead of you and nothing behind you to muck it up.

Maybe I’m behind on the times, but I think one’s heart never truly breaks until you hit 13. All those failed crushes before this are child’s play compared to what you’re in for, kid. And it’s ok. Because while you’re knee-deep in heartbreak, you’ll find whose arms are loyal and steadfast, and you’ll learn a thing or two about people who drop you in a “trust fall.”

Take time for yourself. Take time to be sad and to sulk, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for a pity party. You throw that pity party and smother your emotions in cake and ice cream because if you won’t have compassion for that dear little heart of yours, who will? But for every sad day, have three happy ones.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know you hate your body with your mind, but love it with your soul until your mind catches up. Maybe you’re too thin or not thin enough or your acne shows up when it should just kick rocks, but, baby, you’re beautiful. Every bump and roll and cowlick makes you perfect and lovely and worthy of hearing how you beautiful you are every single day.

You’re going to love that boy or girl who everyone tells you not to. It’s just a fact – you’re going to do it. But let me beg you, please listen to the people who love you. They understand and know more than you think. And even when you ignore that piece of advice and turn your back on everyone for this person who makes your heart race like too much coffee on Christmas morning and then tears through your soul, those people, the good ones, will still catch you. They’ll join you on the floor of Rock Bottom and hold you while you cry. Don’t give those people up.

People are going to harass you to make life decisions when you’re far too young to worry about adult things, but stick to one solid decision: be happy. If it doesn’t make you happy – don’t do it. Life was meant to be celebrated, little one. And please be little and small and child-like as long as possible. The world will wait to be saved, and in a really special way, you’re saving the world just by being in it. That’s how important you are.

Gosh, I love you. And I guess it’s creepy that some 26-year-old lady who you’ve never known loves you, but you’ll do lots of creepy things between now and when you’re 26, so call me creepy then, ok?

And when you’re 26, share what life has taught you with the new 13-year-olds. I know you’ll be incredibly wise and spunky.

Be courageous. Be rad. Be you.

rad

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His.

In the swirling, hectic busyness of my life lately, He grabbed my attention. He used three simple words to catch my heart, stop my mind, and breathe life into my spirit.

“I have you.”

He looks past my frazzled, anxious, whiny exterior and loves me to my very core. And while I weep in His presence from fatigue, confusion, frustration, and so many other emotions, I beg Him to answer why He accepts this hot mess of a woman.

It’s then that I realize He doesn’t JUST accept me. He is not a sorority and He doesn’t care anything about my “qualifications.”

HE CHOOSES ME.

He actively pursues me through every door I slam in His face. Through every ignored helping hand. Through every spiteful word or hateful thought. He chooses this woman. He chooses me.

I’m stumbling through this life in my own stubborn, independent way but He catches me every time. When I am too fatigued to walk forward, He carries me but let’s me believe I am doing it on my own because He knows how important that is to me. He looks at what I create every day and smiles.

He approaches every second with me the way a father does a child. Because I am His child. In the midst of my determination to do things right and become a successful adult, I forget I am still a child in the eyes of my Creator. He gazes at me with affection and warmth when I succeed and grieves when my spirit and heart grieve.

I can never grow up and mature beyond God.

And I realize in this moment I never, ever want to. I will never outgrow being His.

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SWL!!!

Rather than making resolutions this year, I opened myself up and asked God to challenge me. And one of those challenges was to put more effort into my writing and step back and watch how He would work through it. What blows my mind is that when God gives us a challenge, He’s already holding a trophy because that’s how great His love and confidence for us is.

God is never wrong, and to prove it, I’m pleased to announce that I am a guest writer for So Worth Loving today! I have admired the wonderful people behind SWL for a while now, and I’m so honored that they have welcomed me into their family. They have given me the courage I needed to quit hiding behind humor and silliness and finally bare my soul.

Check out my post on their FABULOUS site. And buy a shirt too! Here’s the linky-link. 🙂

 

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Good enough. Important enough.

Before I could even walk, I had two trophies to my name. My mother entered me in a baby beauty pageant because she was very proud of my blue eyes and chubby cheeks and quite proud of herself for helping to create an aesthetically pleasing baby that was only slightly coneheaded. I’m still pretty coneheaded.

While my mother never made me do another pageant, my competitive nature was sparked and I threw myself into any activity available. In the midst of this, a seed was planted. A lie was told. An addiction was established.

What I did became who I was. Winning became an affirmation of my importance. I needed accolades to survive.

I tied my identity, body and soul, to whatever activity I was in the middle of. Why? Because I was afraid that without a label or title I would not be good enough. How could anyone love me if I wasn’t always in the limelight? I threw myself into every activity with the intention of winning. Winning first place, winning your attention, and then winning your love. When I was winning, I felt complete. Second place was never good enough; that was just the first loser. Winning made people notice me. Winning made people care about me. Winning made me important to people.

Talk about a lie from the pit of hell.

But it’s what I believed. I didn’t win for the gold medals or blue ribbons or because it made me feel good. I didn’t join every activity on the planet because I was some prodigy. I did it because I needed people to notice me and to feel that I had made them proud. Every attagirl was like a drug. I craved it. I needed it. I wanted people to need me. I needed them to need me.

Somewhere in my childhood, Satan planted a seed. He became a constant voice in my ear singing me lies hidden in kind words.

“You can do it. Win that contest. Then they’ll see how important you are.”

“You need to win. They won’t respect you if you don’t.”

“Join another activity. Exhaustion is worth being the best.”

“No one cares about your feelings. They care about how YOU make THEM feel. Don’t bother them with your emotions.”

As a result, all of my worth was invested into my performance. And the saddest part? I didn’t even realize it. I truly believed that someone was only as good as the awards they could lay at the foot of the Throne. I had this image that at the end of my life, I would stand before God and He would take stock of what I had done for the world rather than who I reflected to the world.

My favorite story in the Bible is also the one that wrecked me to my core. Martha and Mary. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus comes to visit the sisters. Mary sat with Jesus to soak up every moment with Him possible. Martha, on the other hand, was pulled by what she felt was her duty to the Lord. Of course, homegirl gets pissed. Here she is in a hot kitchen cooking up a feast for The Messiah, the Son of God, and her sister is just chilling with Him. Martha storms into the living room (pretty sure they called it something else then) and demands that Jesus notices her labor and her sister’s lack. Jesus, being the raddest of all dude’s in existence, acknowledges Martha’s work because He sees the importance of that to her. But then He explains that she is cooking a feast He never asked for because HE is the feast. He didn’t want sandwiches or cheese and crackers – He wanted her to sit and feast on His presence.

THAT’S IT. ALL HE WANTED WAS TO MEET WITH THEM.

There have been many lies in my life, but the biggest one was that I had to earn God’s love and grace. I have spent my life trying to pay a debt and earn a spot in His presence when He already paid my debt and has a spot reserved just for me.

If you’re struggling with this lie, allow me to assure you that He sees you just as you are loves you unconditionally. His love for you is not tied up in your performance or in how the world sees you. Your importance to Him can best be summed up by the Cross. If you were the only person on the planet, Jesus still would’ve gotten on that Cross and defeated death for you. FOR YOU.

I wish I could say with confidence that I have overcome this lie. But I haven’t – not completely. I think I’ll always want the world’s acceptance and to feel important, but will I need it? No. Because every day the Lord is romancing my heart and reminding me that He has a purpose for me. And while the enemy will continue to dress up his insults in fancy clothes to distract me, I have been given the authority to turn away. Jesus will never hide Himself or His goodness. His love is ever-present and available at any moment because of how important we are to Him.

I don’t remember what it felt like to win that baby beauty pageant, but it doesn’t compare to the fact that I never have to compete for God’s love.

This is a guest post for Overcome the Lie. Check out their Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook and get involved!

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Circumstances

I often struggle with the goodness of God.

I know He is good. I trust He is good. But I don’t understand why He is good to me?

An old adage is “Jesus accepts me for who I am but He loves me too much to leave me that way.”

It’s cliche and trite at times, but it wouldn’t be as popular as it is if it didn’t hold some water. It’s the second half of that sentence that really gets me. He loves me too much to allow me to be complacent and comfortable. He loves me too much to allow me to be less than what He has planned for me.

It gets me every single time.

Instead of deeming me a “lost cause,” He looks at me and makes a plan to make me better. That’s where circumstances come into play. I have spent a great deal of time looking at circumstances and wondering why. I have also spent a great deal of time looking to see how I can change or mold my current position instead of really taking a step back and looking at it all through His eyes.

My new favorite quote is from “Love Does” by Bob Goff. Which by the way, is a must read. I am not an avid reader of devotionals or anything non-fiction, but this books is literally wrecking everything I thought I knew about love and God’s love. Please read it. Plus, he’s hilarious and within the first half of the book he tells a farting story. Clearly the way to my heart.

Anyway, in his book he says “I used to think I could shape the circumstances around me, but now I know Jesus uses circumstances to shape me.”

Wow.

Talk about a concept that completely shifted my thought processes at the moment. Truthfully, I have experienced a rough month. Things have not gone as planned, and I have spent a lot of time wondering how I can change things. Maybe I’m not meant to change this. Maybe this is all part of becoming who I am meant to be. While I fervently believe that God is perfect and is not the giver of bad gifts, I have also seen that God believes in me more than I believe in myself. I have used the words “I’m done” more in the past two weeks than ever in my life only to be met with God’s patient response of “Not yet.”

I can’t change the circumstances I am in at the moment because I can’t control every small detail or every person in my life. All I can do is pray through it and look to see the lesson in all of it. God uses all things for His glory, and He won’t waste a single moment of my life despite my desperate attempts to.

In the midst of my ugliness and bitterness, He continues to seek me. Instead of backing off and letting me “cool down,” He pushes me to overcome and face the things that threaten to tear me down. He does not delight in my struggles or pain, but He believes in me.

And that’s all part of His goodness. Which I’m still struggling with because I can’t see myself the way He sees me. But in the middle of circumstance of sometimes pain, I see His goodness. I see His love falling down on me and His grace pushing me through it all.

 

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Content

I am content in my singleness. 

If you imagined me saying this while taking a deep sigh of relief, then you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

If you gasped when I said that, then you have probably witnessed one of my meltdowns about being “forever alone.”

This blog is not easy for me to write. I am not one to bare my soul easily. I wish that weren’t the case because I often wish I could be raw and vulnerable in front of others. The truth, however, is that such emotion gives me anxiety, and I begin to look for the nearest exit out of Hormone-Land.

But I am going to do my very best to be raw and vulnerable in front you today, friend.

Being single is no easy feat. It’s the obvious loneliness mixed together with plenty of social pressure, and it’s exhausting. Really, being single should be an Olympic sport with all of the anxiety and pressure tied to it.

I’ve been single for a LONG time.

Because, five years ago, God asked me to step away from dating. Mind you, when He asked, I laughed out loud because I have never even had a “real” boyfriend.

Ouch, that hurts to admit.

There were two boys I considered “boyfriends,” only to find out too late that they never considered me their “girlfriend.” It all seems rather technical, but what I mean is that I was committed to them, but they weren’t committed to me.

At 24, I realize how foolish I was and refuse to count those as viable relationships. In my head, I chalk this up to a WIN on my part.

Back to the point, when God asked me to step away from the dating life, He asked me to step away from men almost completely. He encouraged me to cultivate my friendships with my female friends rather than the male ones I was cultivating by being their caregiver, homework helper, dinner cooker, etc.

He showed me very clearly that my friendships with males (one, in particular) were unhealthy because I was allowing myself to play the role of “girlfriend” without ever asking or demanding the same in return.

I was a doormat.

I couldn’t appreciate the real friendships I had with males and females because I was focused on the unhealthy ones. So, I had to step away.

What I’ve learned:

1) How to be a friend

This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned through this process. I once let a boy so consume my mind and time that I let almost every single one of my friends slip through my fingers. I let him say terrible things to one of my best friends and break her spirit. I thank God every day that she showed me grace and forgave me and welcomed me back. I’ve learned that friends are more than someone to shop with or change my tire because I’m delicate. I learned to surround myself with people who love me for who I am and not what I can do for them. I learned to be open to new friendships but also that sometimes we need to be picky about who we share our life with.

And, most of all, I learned to be a friend to myself. It became so clear that I was expecting a boy to love me when I didn’t even love myself. That is flawed logic. I was setting a poor standard and a low expectation for him to meet. Essentially, my relationships with boys were doomed from the very beginning.

I had some changing to do. I started with treating myself with respect, and doing my best to honor my body and mind with my words and not tear myself down like I had spent the majority of my life doing. I prayed that God would change my mind and spirit to view myself as He does. That was revolutionary. I began to love and appreciate the body, mind, and soul that He created. I began to love myself. And it has been a truly beautiful experience.

2) I learned how to be a woman

Of course I knew how to be a girl. What I mean is that I grew up. I became an adult. I became a woman. I became a Godly woman. I became the woman who God had created me to be.

I learned that I’m a bit of a feminist (who knew?) and that I am more passionate about encouraging women to reach their potential and know their worth than I have been about anything else in my life. I learned how to stand on my own two feet and be independent. This included not running to Daddy every time my car made a funny noise or my credit card got a little out of hand. I still call Daddy, but now I call to ask how his day was. That blew his mind. Independence changed me and, because of it, my relationship with the Lord grew and flourished in real and tangible ways.

I might not have ever learned any of this if things had worked out the way I hoped they would when I was 19 years old.

3) It’s all worth the wait

What a cliché thing to say, right? If you stopped just then and thought “I am so sick of hearing that,” I’m with you. It’s trite and usually not at all helpful when coming out of the mouth of your blissfully happy married friends’ mouths when it seems they didn’t have to wait at all. Trust me, I’ve been there and still am, honestly.

But God is not a God of tradition. He doesn’t map out the same life plan for all of us. And hallelujah for that!

Truthfully, some of our friends have bounced from relationship to relationship, seemingly unscathed, to find the man or woman of their dreams easily and early. And we have those friends that have been dragged through relationship hell and are still married before us. (We’ve all been a bit angry about this.)

And it’s frustrating.

It’s frustrating to understand why God hasn’t chosen that for those of us cooking dinners for one and asking our pet dog, cat, or fish if our outfit looks good. I spent five solid years harboring a deep bitterness toward Him for this.

Ouch, also really hard to admit.

But His plan is just plain bigger than mine. And while I don’t always understand it, there is a reason I’m single.

I’m thankful that He has held my heart so preciously in His hands. Despite my greatest attempts to give it away to someone undeserving and the damage and ugliness I have put it through, my heart still matters to Him.

I am content in my singleness because being courted by the Lord is unlike anything I have ever known before. He unfailingly has my best interests at heart. He loves on me when I’m downright rude to Him. He forgives my mistakes and washes them away. He encourages me and is always my biggest cheerleader.

He has set the standard for what my husband will be in my life because now I can never accept love that doesn’t mirror His.

The Lord has created someone especially for us. We don’t fall together by chance or coincidence. He has betrothed us since birth to the one person that will fit to us just like a puzzle piece.

I hope you know how beautiful and wonderful you are. And how worthy you are of being loved recklessly and passionately. Please don’t settle for a love that doesn’t measure up to the quality of person you are. Please wait on His timing. Please love yourself.

To wrap it all up, waiting isn’t always fun. But in this waiting period, I’ve learned to love myself, love others, and how to be a bit of a badass.

So, yeah, I’m pretty content with being single.

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