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.

maybe God is protecting you from something you can’t see

My friend spoke words of wisdom into my life the other night. She said, “maybe God is protecting you from something you can’t see.”

How had I not considered that?

Does anyone else ever have moments where you turn to God and say, “are you forgetting about me? I am positive that relationship/friendship/job is meant to be!”

I’ll be honest with you. I sometimes fail to realize that the plans I make for myself are nothing in comparison to the ones that God has made for me. I forget that He knows infinitely more than I do. And when things don’t pan out exactly as I think they should, thoughts like, “I’ve missed out” and, “that was my last chance” start to run through my mind.

And friend, if you can relate at all, here’s the reality of the situation:

I will not “miss out” on the things that God is preparing for me.

I serve a God who offers chance after chance.

I want no part of anything that is not from Him.

If I got everything I thought I wanted, my life would be a hot mess.

I am not God, I do not know what God knows, and ultimately, He is the trust worthy author of my life.

So just in case you need to hear this one more time today: maybe God is protecting you from something you can’t see.

Girl, even His no’s are covered in love. He knows infinitely more than we do. And I can promise you this: when you receive the things that are from Him, you are never going to look back and wish you had gotten what you previously asked for.

And I hope the peace of that completely covers you.

this is what I pray for

I pray for my future family every single day.

I relentlessly pray for the man I will marry and that he is passionately in love with the Lord. I pray for the children I will have and that they will come into a personal relationship with Jesus at a young age and walk with Him for the rest of their lives. I pray that God will have His powerful and merciful hand in the lives of the people that are special to me.

I pray for loved ones who don’t know what it’s like to look at the sky and mountains and ocean and see God there. I pray that He will reveal Himself in extraordinary ways and bring peace and purpose into their lives.

I ask for Him to move in my life. I ask that He draws me closer to Him and fills my heart with a desperation to know Him. I ask to hear His voice above all else. I pray that He molds me into the woman He has called me to be. I ask Him to take away desires that aren’t from Him and replace them with those that are.

I pray that He uses me as an example of how powerful His love is. I also thank Him for all that He has done and for all that He will do.

Why? Because prayer works.

And before I clicked the “post” button tonight,

I prayed for you, too.

we are not called to understand God

I came to God with a mountain load of worries today. As I was riddling off my fears on my way to class I ended my list with a simple prayer.

God, please help me to trust you.

Life is overwhelming. It is messy. It is hard. And honestly, sometimes it scares me.

But it is in the midst of my anxiety and doubt that the Lord takes my hand and whispers, “daughter, I already have it all figured out.”

I cling to the promises that I hear in that still, small voice.

I know the plans He has for me are so much greater than anything I could ever plan for myself. I know that He has been preparing me for such a time as this. I know that He has His hand on the knob of each door I need to walk through and will open them in His good and perfect time. I also know that He closes the doors that don’t lead me closer to Him.

And it is because I know all of this that I don’t need to know the rest.

Hear me on this:

We are not called to understand God. We are called to trust Him.

This world is big but my God is so much bigger. The future is scary but my God has foreseen every second of it. Anxious thoughts are heavy but my God supplies abundant peace. I make plans but my God makes better ones.

And oh how deserving He is of every ounce of my trust.

I craved an honest love

Can I press pause on your Valentine’s Day for just a sec? I have a quick question for you.

Are you focused more on pursuing a relationship with the guy that caught your eye in history class or the one that hung on a cross for you?

I only ask because I know what it’s like to be the girl that routinely lets satan whisper lies in her ear. I listened as he reminded me of insecurities and shame and doubt until I wondered if I could ever be worthy of an honest love. I craved that. I prayed earnestly for it. I did my best to find it on my own.

Sometimes we let our desires cloud our vision and steal our peace. Sometimes we forget whose heart we should be pursuing above all else. Sometimes we listen to the lies.

But the enemy never offers us something we don’t already have.

Maybe you need to hear this today: if you’re letting God direct your steps, you’re not going to miss out on what He has planned for you.

Stop rushing. Slow down. Good things will come in God’s time, not yours. He knows exactly what you need and when you need it. He knows exactly how many days (or valentine’s days) you need to spend single. He knows who the right person is and when you need to meet them. But He also wants to be the top priority in your life.

Please don’t forget that we serve a jealous God.

This powerful, magnificent, holy, jealous God did something incredible for me. He gave me that honest love that I prayed so desperately for, and He gave it to me before I ever began to think I needed it. I was desperate for something I already had.

His honest love saved me. It wraps around me in the fire and holds onto me in the storm. It takes my hand in the valley and humbles me on the mountaintop. It surpasses my understanding and tugs relentlessly on my faith. It painted the cross red and washed the sin from my name.

Can I tell you the best thing about that honest love?

It’s offered to you too.

Happy Valentine’s Day

6 things you should never say to someone who has experienced relationship trauma

1. “Why did you put up with that?”

This question demands a simple answer when there isn’t one to give. There is no easy way for someone to explain why they didn’t walk away sooner and/or the confusion, fear, or hope that caused them to stay. Simply put, it is never as easy as this question makes it sound.

2. “We all go through hard things.”

Please never ever say this to someone who has just shared their heart with you regardless of their situation. Just because we all go through hard things does not give you the right to dismiss or belittle something that has hurt someone. I heard it put this way once: “someone who drowns in 7 feet of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in 20 feet of water.” This is not a comparison competition of who’s had it worse.

3. “I tried to warn you.”

While this may be 110% valid, it doesn’t help. It’s basically saying, “I wouldn’t have made that mistake.” And maybe that’s true, but maybe it’s not. It is often easy to see things objectively when you’re looking in as a third party, but to the person in the middle of the situation, it’s not so easy.

4. “You shouldn’t let it bother you.”

Sure, maybe that’s true, but panic and anxiety don’t exactly come knocking before they break down your door. When someone walks away from an unhealthy relationship they don’t often get to walk away completely unscathed. Especially when abuse (of any kind) is part of the picture. There is a healing process that extends far beyond the extent of what you can see. Entire mentalities and thought processes have to heal and shift, and it’s not always a matter of “not letting it bother you”.

5. “It didn’t seem that bad.”

Relationships look a lot different on the inside than on the outside. While social media may have painted a pretty picture, the reality is that no one knows what truly happens between two people but those two people. Victims of abuse often try to hide and cover up what’s actually going on. Please don’t assume that what you saw was all that there was.

6. “I would never let someone treat me like that.”

This is the one that I want to stress the most. I’ve heard variations of this countless times. Here’s the truth: you. don’t. know. that.

It’s easy to assume that you would walk away the second a significant other treated you poorly. It’s easy to think that you would stand up for yourself and never allow it to happen again. I did. Was the situation that simple when it happened? No, and it never is.

Abuse walks hand in hand with manipulation and control. When you are terrified, confused, and clinging to hope, it’s not always so easy to walk away. No one ever begins a relationship thinking that they’ll be the victim of abuse. Sometimes you don’t even realize that’s what it is until after you’re free of it. Saying things like this only adds to the shame that’s already present for that person.

So what should you say?

“I’m so sorry this happened. You are so strong.”

“If you ever need to talk, I’m here to listen.”

“You deserve so much better, and I promise you will find it.”

“It is not your fault and this does not define you.”

Be supportive. Extend understanding. Show love.

It’s a lot harder than it seems.

If you’re the girl holding on by a thread right now, read this

365 days ago I sat in the middle of the floor in my bedroom completely overwhelmed and emotionally overdrawn.

Tears were an every day occurrence. I slept with my Bible because I wanted to feel close to God yet I was terrified to talk to Him. Peace was nonexistent and panic became my norm.

Can I tell you the worst part?

No one knew.

I did everything I could to cover up what was actually going on. When questions were asked I brushed them off and assured everyone that I was fine. I told them I was happy.

I was neither.

A year ago today I wrote this down in my journal: “Today was really hard. I’m sad and not sure what the best thing to do is. I can’t wait to meet forever people.” And on February 6th just one year later I can honestly tell you that I am genuinely happy and have found those forever people. I have met girls who will stand with me on my wedding day and hold my hand through the trials and heartbreak.

A year ago I felt alone. Today I feel loved.

365 days. One year. Exponential growth.

If you’re the girl that’s holding on by a thread right now, keep holding. It will get better. But hear me sis, if you need to move some things around in your life in order for that better change to come, then MOVE THEM.

You have to love yourself enough to make hard decisions for the betterment of your emotional, mental, and physical health.

PLEASE talk to someone who loves you about what’s going on. There is a way out and you don’t have to find it alone. My inbox is always open.

And lastly, God sees you. Please don’t hide from Him. He can redeem whatever it is that is hurting you right now if you simply lay it all  down at His feet. Listen for His voice and when you find it, please be brave.