this body was made in the image of God

I remember standing in front of the mirror in tears, angry at my body for looking less than perfect. I truly thought I was the only one that had flaws. Ha.

I wish I could go back and give that 7th grade girl a hug. I wish she knew that airbrushed beauty only exists on social media and in magazines and that real women have stretch marks, acne, and cellulite. I wish she knew that those “flaws” werereally just proof that she was human.

I wish she knew that she wasn’t the only one and I also wish that I could say it didn’t take her nearly 20 years to finally realize it.

This body of mine is not perfect. It’s been scrutinized in the mirror. It’s had hurtful things said about it by myself and others. And I’m sad to admit that there was a period in my life when I would have changed a thousand things about it if I could have.

But my body is healthy. My body is strong. I can run. I can swim. I can laugh and dance and sing.

Today I took this body to the beach in a bathing suit and didn’t wear shorts or a t shirt. I didn’t try to hide it and I didn’t expect it to look perfect.

I had fun with my friends and praised God for making me in His image. I thanked Him for teaching me that my beauty is found in Him. I celebrated the way He created me, stretch marks and all.

I cannot fathom this kind of love

I sat on the pier the other night and looked out over the waves. The sun was setting over the tops of the palm trees as I began a conversation with God.

My prayer was overwhelmed with astonishment not only at God’s creation, but that He was allowing me to bask in it. I couldn’t believe that He had brought me to this island and introduced me to these people. I was overcome with awe at how much He cares for me.

And in that moment, almost just as light as the breeze, I heard Him whisper something to me. “I want to give you so much more than all of this.” Wow.

As I stare in astonishment at the things God has made, the places He has brought me, and the people He has given me, I am reminded just how powerful and mighty His love is for me.

I serve a kind God.

In His eyes, the wind and waves and sun and sand pale in comparison to me. They are nothing. It is me He loves. It is me He wants to give so much more to. It is me that He marvels at.

And my heart can’t seem to fathom that kind of love but oh I’m so thankful to have found it.

God deserves my unashamed praise

I stood in worship and cried.

I raised my hands and cried. I couldn’t sing but I cried. Those tears and trembling hands were my worship. They were what I had to give in that moment.

As I looked around the room I saw people on their knees, on their backs, on their faces. I saw people pouring their hearts into the music and I saw people with their heads bowed in silence. I saw a desperation for Jesus. I felt it. My heart was left raw and open yet completely healed and full.

I desire to worship.

Genuinely. Passionately. Desperately.

God deserves my heart. He deserves my unashamed songs of praise. He deserves more than memorized lyrics and complacency.

I am given the opportunity to worship the One who hung the stars. The One who makes the darkness flee. The One who whispered my name as He hovered over the empty and formless earth.

And He doesn’t want my lukewarm praise. 
He wants my heart. Open and bleeding. He wants my tears and raised hands. He wants the prayer of my heart when spoken words are too much.

I am done taking His presence for granted. I am done being okay with meaningless praise. I am done being complacent when the God of the universe gives me His attention.

I was created to worship wholeheartedly and doing so is the only way my heart will ever truly become full. Unashamed tears, desperation, and shaking hands if that’s what it takes.

saying goodbye is hard

I sat in the prayer room and brought my hurting heart before God.

I wept because He gives and He takes away. I rejoiced because of where He’s brought me. I thanked Him for all He’s done. I took my heart, tangled and twisted with battling emotions, and laid it at His feet.

God has been kind enough to put the light of His love in my life through other people. He has graciously given me the gift of friendship with so many beautiful souls. People of all nations and tongues. People who love Jesus with their entire heart. People who struggle. People who are broken. People who love me. People I love.

Saying goodbye is hard. It hurts.

But there is beauty in looking into the eyes of another and seeing tears there as a result of love for you. There is beauty in grieving the presence of a soul bonded to your own. There is beauty in a hurting heart.

It’s evidence that God has given us something real and genuine. Something special. It’s evidence of love.

So yes, my heart is sad.

Tears come when I remember that some, maybe most, of these goodbyes were final on this earth. I am weighed down by the fact that I have hugged some of these special people for the last time until heaven reunites us again.

My heart is full of love and pain at the same time but oh I am so thankful.

I wouldn’t take back one single second that contributed to the heaviness in my chest because it means I have loved and been loved.

And thank you Jesus for the opportunity to hurt over something so wonderful.

for the girl in waiting

Sometimes the waiting seems tedious.

Sometimes I lie in bed at night and wonder how long I’ll have to wait for A, B, and C to happen.

Sometimes I can’t help but turn to God and ask, “how long?” I’ve yet to receive a response but I’ll keep ya posted.

And with still no answer to that question, He has laid it on my heart to write to the girl in waiting today, and also to myself.

If I know anything about God’s character, I know that He doesn’t make me wait without cause. There is purpose in each season. There are lessons that I still need to learn. There are people that I still need to meet. There are places that I still need to go. I don’t want to rob myself of this season of growth. God is not in a hurry, why am I?

God wants me and you to make the most of this waiting season. He wants us to live on purpose. He wants us to live with purpose.

I wish I could tell you the number of times I’ve gotten so caught up in my worries only to hear a still, small voice whisper, “daughter, I’ve already got it figured out.”

Read that again because He’s whispering the same thing to you.

God wants our trust, and not only after we have the answers. He wants it now, in the waiting.

So whether I will wait 1 more day, or 1 more year, or 10 years, I am trusting His timing, His plan, and His faithfulness. Why? Because I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of the ones I love.

He is a God who keeps His promises. He is a God who loves me. He is a God that wants the best for me.

He is a God who hears my prayers in the waiting and says, “daughter, just trust me. I’ve already got it figured out.”

find a friend like this

Find a friend who goes out for cookies and ice cream when the day is a little sad.

Find a friend who tapes notes to the bathroom mirror when she knows you could use some extra encouragement.

Find a friend that talks to you about the real stuff; the hard and Holy parts of life.

Find a friend that sees you’re stressed and says, “it’s going to be okay. Together we will figure this out.”

Find a friend that texts you just to say she prayed for you today.

Find a friend that wants to see you succeed and thrive, instead of trying to figure out ways to one-up you.

Find a friend that loves you enough to say, “I don’t think that’s the best decision.”

Find a friend that pushes you to exceed your own expectations.

Find a friend that listens as you tell her about all the messy parts of your life and then keeps those truths to herself.

Find a friend that sees you for who you really are and still thinks you’re great.

And when you find her, say a heartfelt thank you to the One who sent her—and do it often.
Because of her, the world is a brighter place.

I’m so thankful to serve a God that wrecks my plans

I’m so thankful to serve a God that faithfully wrecks my plans.

If you ever turn to God and say, “It’s alright God, I’ve got this one figured out,” only to realize that you do not, in fact, have this one figured out, then let me just say that I’m right there with ya.

It’s during these times that I’m grateful for a God who steps in and reminds me why I should lean not on my own understanding, but His. I am also reminded just how truly incapable I am on my own.

Sometimes I wish I had all the answers. Sometimes I find myself telling God that it would be so much easier if He could just tell me what was in store. Sometimes, I want the burden of not knowing to be taken away.

But I realized something recently.

It would be a much bigger burden to know all of the endings. The weight of having all of the answers would be unbearable; and I’ve realized that I’m thankful it’s not mine to carry.

So today I am rejoicing over all of my personal plans that God has wrecked because they weren’t His best. I am rejoicing over all of the times I thought I knew best and God faithfully reminded me that I don’t. I am rejoicing because I have a Father who is watching over me, guiding me, and protecting me from things I can’t see or don’t understand.

I am rejoicing that knowing is not my burden to carry.