don’t order the shrimp scampi

I ordered shrimp scampi at Red Lobster once expecting to get a big bowl of pasta smothered in sauce, shrimp, and seasoning. When our food came and my plate was set on the table in front me I looked down at 4 shrimps and a side of steamed broccoli.

Y’all- I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in my life than in that moment. I mean honestly I probably could have cried.

Although I’m kidding (kind of), sometimes we really do set ourselves up for massive disappointment simply because we hold such high expectations.

You know that guy that you really wanted to be Prince Charming so you pretended he was and he ended up breaking your heart?

You know that vacation that was supposed to be relaxing but was instead stressful and now you’re angry at your family for making it that way?

Remember how prom was supposed to be the “best night of your life” but instead you sat sipping gross punch in the middle of a gymnasium and wondering what all the hype was about?

And don’t even get me started on family pictures.

Maybe sometimes we need to slow down and read the menu description before we order our meal. Maybe sometimes we need to remind ourselves to set healthy expectations.

I’m not saying never to get excited, just don’t let that excitement and expectation ruin your fun. Don’t let that expectation hinder you from seeing what’s actually in front of you because sometimes girl, it’s just some steamed broccoli.

And sometimes the most magical things happen when you weren’t expecting them at all. Sometimes God surprises us and brings not only the pasta we wanted, but a slice of cake to go with it. 💛

2018: the worst year of our lives

As the Christmas season comes to an end, remind yourself that it’s okay to be a little sad and maybe just a bit disappointed. If your 2018 didn’t go quite how you hoped it would or you didn’t keep any of your resolutions or the holidays were a little lonely, you aren’t the only one.
Girl, I know it can seem as though everyone else has it figured out.
Spoiler alert: they don’t.

Last night my sister and I agreed that 2018 began as our least favorite year yet. To be honest, I think the words actually were “worst year of our lives”, and for completely different reasons. But the good news? It’s ending as one of the happiest for both of us.

Sometimes there are situations and circumstances that are out of our control. Sometimes disappointment and sadness are unavoidable. If that’s the case for you today, can I remind you that while those emotions may be 110% valid, it’s not where you have to stay. There are better seasons ahead. There is happiness waiting for you. There is love.

I pray you can find some peace in that and step boldly and bravely into 2019. 💛

He didn’t arrive clothed in bright shining armor or a brilliant white sash

I wonder what Mary felt as she looked into the eyes of her newborn baby boy and realized they were the eyes of her redeemer. I imagine there were nights that she wept as she held Him in her arms and wondered how she could possibly raise the Messiah. Maybe she cried out to God and begged Him to show her how she could let her son die for the sins of the world—how she could let Him die for her.

When Mary gave birth to her firstborn in the middle of a barn on that desperate winter night, the world gained its savior. His entrance into the world didn’t include a chariot of white horses descending from Heaven. There were no swords of fire and no trumpet sound. He didn’t arrive clothed in bright shining armor or a brilliant white sash.

He came as an infant, in a barn, born to a young girl with nothing seemingly “worthy” about her. He came as one of us. 
And although I wonder about the magnitude of awe Mary felt as she cradled her baby boy and whispered His name into the night for the very first time, I also marvel at the majesty of it.
God gave us the greatest gift that night. A gift we can never repay, or earn, or deserve. A gift we can simply just accept.
The gift of eternal love and salvation.

Someday I will fall on my face in the presence of my savior.

Someday I will fall on my face in the presence of my savior.

I wonder what words I will say, what songs my soul will sing, and how my feet will dance (hopefully my dancing skills will have slightly improved).
I’m not sure what reaction is worthy of the One who breathed the life into my lungs. I wonder if I will have the slightest clue in that moment. 
I imagine that my tired soul will feel tired no longer. 
My heart will bear no scars. My past no shame. I will thirst no more.
I imagine that still, small voice now filling every corner and crevice of the throne room. I imagine His words saturated in love, calling my name as it was always meant to be spoken. As though I’ve heard it a million times yet never like this. The same voice that called me the very first time now saying:
“Look up child. At last, you are home.”
I imagine my breath will catch at the sight of Him, at the sound of His voice, and at the touch of His nail-pierced hands.
I imagine I will know what it was all for and be glad for it.
I imagine, and for now, that’s all I can do.
But someday, I will lock eyes with the One who designed the universe, and my soul will finally know what it feels like to be home.

An honest post…

There’s a heavy feeling I can’t put into words.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried to explain why sometimes my hands shake and tears overflow. I’ve tried to express the tightness I feel in my chest and make sense of the voice that tells me to run. I know it is not your voice, Lord.
I’ve tried to understand why sometimes this unnamed feeling presses panic into every crevice of my soul.
This feeling- I hate it.
Isolation. Judgment. Frustration. Fear. A silent yet raging plea for help.
𝘐’𝘮 𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨.
This feeling without a name only shows up once and a while now. It used to be constant.
I fell asleep in it and I woke up in it. I tried to breathe but it pressed on my lungs. I faked smiles and believed lies and told myself I was fine living with this dread inside. That I was 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘺.
Now when it comes I try to stop it. I try to push it down under the water. Yet somehow, it always manages to pull me with it.
Jesus, show me a love that is without boundaries. A love that pulls me up out of the water and calls me clean. A love like yours.
Lord, show me that love.

Let me tell you about a God who loves you tremendously.

Let me tell you about a God who loves you tremendously.
A God who chases after you and leaves the 99.
A God who thought of you as He hovered over the waters when the earth was empty and void.
A God who whispered your name a thousand times before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb.
A God who is worthy of so much more than you could ever offer but desires your heart anyway.
A God whose mercies are new every morning.
A God who knows you better than you know yourself and chooses you still.
A God who holds every second of your future in the palm of His hand.
A God who lowered Himself to walk beside us in human form.
A God who suffered and bled and died because that was the only way to save you.
A God who created the galaxies and stars and oceans and mountains and calls you far more beautiful than all of it.
Can I tell you about that God?

He is still God.

He is still God.
He is still God when I am shrouded in doubt and shame.
He is still God when my words fail me.
He is still God when I’m not sure how I’ll make it through the week.
He is still God when I am depressed and ridden with anxious thoughts.
He is still God when I lose someone I love.
He is still God when I struggle to understand my situation.
He is still God when I feel unworthy, ashamed, and lonely.
He is still God when I’m waiting on a miracle.
He is still God when there isn’t enough money.
He is still God when I am afraid.
He is still God when my heart is broken.

He is still God and He is still good.

Stand up for your sister

Last night the girls on my hall gathered together to stand up for one another.

We all received a paper that listed several vulnerable questions. Questions that walk hand in hand with shame, guilt, regret, and pain. Questions that hold the truths we desperately try to hide.

The hall was quiet as we all read each one and circled either yes or no.

These papers, now heavy with all of our personal truths, were turned back in without names. They were then shuffled and handed back out, each girl receiving another girl’s secret soaked paper.

These questions were then read out loud one by one. We stood for every “yes” that was circled on the paper we received. No one ever stood alone- not once. Many times, there were more of us standing than sitting.

“Have you ever intentionally not eaten or starved yourself to lose weight?”
“Have you ever been sexually/mentally/emotionally/physically abused?”
“Have you had sex outside of marriage?”
“Have you experienced divorce in your family?”
“Have you ever been addicted to alcohol/drugs?”
“Have you ever intentionally hurt yourself?”
“Have you ever experienced depression/anxiety?”
But the last question left just about every girl in the room up on her feet:
“Have you ever felt that God could not love you or forgive you?”

Last night I stood for my sisters and they stood for me. Right now I’m writing this in hopes that I can stand for you, too. 
Girl, you are not alone. You have friends and loved ones battling the same things and drowning under the same secrets.
You are not the only one with regret, shame, and heartbreak. I am here with you and so are your sisters.
And through it all, because of Christ, we are still standing.

For every “but” there is an unchanging truth.

This morning the pastor asked us to write down something we are prone to do that hinders our spiritual growth and causes disappointment in ourselves.

I wrote “having a lack of patience and trust in Gods plan.”

I folded the paper where I wrote those vulnerable words and placed it in my Bible with no intention of sharing them until God reminded me that this is no rare struggle.

I am hesitant to admit that I often feel waves of doubt, fear, impatience, and worry about the future. How grateful I am that it is during these times when I hear the quiet and still voice of my savior. When I say, “God I am scared” he says, “daughter you are loved and I will fight for you”
When I say, “God I am worried about this situation” he says, “trust me for I already have it figured it out”

For every “but” there is an unchanging truth. He lovingly reminds me of his promises every time I fail to believe that they still stand true for even me. He is writing my story in his perfect and unfailing wisdom, and he’s writing yours, too.

Girl, lay it at all down at His feet and go to sleep.

In this quiet hour as you struggle to find rest, I want you to know something.
He sees this battle you’re fighting tonight. He sees the tears that you hide and He knows the pain of your heart. He hears when you cry out and He listens to your broken prayers.
He holds every silent tear and attends to every desperate plea. He knows the giants you’re facing and he’s defeated them a thousand times. He’s moved the very mountains that make you tremble. He’s made the walls fall and He will do it again.
He is there in your darkest hour and He is strong when the fight seems too much for your tired heart. He is holding the very future you worry about so much in the palm of His hand. He is saying, “beloved, why do you worry? Why do you fear? I am your God and I will fight for you until there is no more fighting left to be done”.
He is there with you.
He is fighting for you.
He cares.
He loves you more than all the stars in the endless sky.
Girl, lay it at all down at His feet and go to sleep.