We’ve become okay with degrading men in the process of lifting women up and it is not okay

We’ve become a society that pushes terms like “toxic masculinity” and “mansplaining” while saying such things with utter hypocrisy. Women rally together to march through Washington D.C. in vulgar costumes while holding signs dripping with profanity and call it a social justice movement. The feminist agenda is one that pushes for abortion “rights” up to 40 weeks into pregnancy. This culture labels men as monsters and women as oppressed and any other narrative that doesn’t fall in line with that is offensive.

Bottom line: we’ve become okay with degrading men in the process of lifting women up and it is not okay. Equality is a two way street, not a tightrope balancing act where one party makes it to the other end okay and the other is pushed off while the crowd cheers.

Ladies, if we want respect, we need to give it.

We need to stop making jokes about all men being trash and assuming that there’s actually truth behind such a statement. We need to stop labeling liberation as demanding respect while doing all things unworthy of it. We need to stop praising ourselves while beating down the opposite gender. Just because society says that it’s okay to speak this way does not mean it actually is.

Girls, hear me out. We need to respect ourselves enough to understand the true meaning of class, dignity, and maturity and we need to demonstrate those things. We are not better simply because we have two x chromosomes.

We have gender specific abilities and gifts that allow us to do some truly incredible things, and so do men. We are different because that was God’s beautiful and perfect design. He created man and woman equal, not interchangeable.

And guess what-

Gentlemen are as rare as ladies are.

Good friends are hard to come by

Good friends are hard to come by.

When I say this, please know that I mean good friends. Kind friends. The friend that offers to help when she has zero obligation to. The friend that encourages, uplifts, and acknowledges your successes. The friend that genuinely loves and cares for you. The friend that prays for your heart.

Girl, if you are lucky enough to find a friend like this, keep her close.

But I also encourage you to be that friend. Offer to help her when she doesn’t ask, and if she says no, ask again. Encourage her, uplift her, and throw a party when she has something to be excited about. Love her, care for her, and understand that, like you, she isn’t perfect either.

Good friends are hard to come by. Perfect friends don’t exist.

Extend understanding if she disappoints you. Ask for clarification if something upsets you, and do it with grace. Be willing to hear her side. Be willing to overlook a misunderstanding. Be willing to listen if something is heavy on her heart.

Ladies, if you find a friend that loves you, keep her close. Thank God for her. Pray for her.

She is a blessing.

“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other,
    but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

I am equal, but not better than.

I am a woman.
I am strong, capable, and able but will graciously accept help when it’s needed and say thank you when a door is held for me.
I will encourage and uplift the women in my life but will also encourage and uplift the men in my life.
I have God-given attributes that allow me to make an impact on the world in a unique way and I will celebrate that without lessening the value of abilities that are different than mine.
My body and mind are capable of incredible things and I will not cheapen that by believing that sameness is a synonym for equality.
I am empowered and proud of who I am, but will not place womanhood above manhood.
I am equal, but not better than.
I refuse to degrade due to differences and I refuse to listen to a society that sells self worship and labels it liberation.
My God is the creator of equality and the establisher of perfect design. 
He molded me in His image.
He died for me.
He loves me.
And thankfully, those three facts stand true for everyone, regardless of any difference.
Let’s live like it and let’s love like it.

I wish you knew.

I wish you knew how much He loves you. I wish you could see His craftsmanship in the world around you and find Him in all of the little details. I wish you could feel His warmth and understand what it’s like to have Him take your tired and burdened heart and make it whole. I wish you knew that life doesn’t have to be battled alone.

I wish you knew how special you are and that you are here with purpose. I wish you realized that all of the heavy and cruel things you’ve been carrying around for so long can be laid down at the feet of Jesus.

I wish you knew that sometimes He whispers your name in my ear and places your soul on my heart.

I wish you knew that the King of the most high is jealous over you. I wish you knew that He placed the stars and galaxies in the sky yet found you far more beautiful. I wish you knew that He placed them there just for you.

I wish you knew what it was like to say His name and hear “redeemer” echo within your heart. I wish you knew how desperately you need a savior and that salvation can’t be found in anything or anyone other than Christ, no matter how hard you search for it there.

I wish you knew to listen for that still small voice whispering your name.

My sweet friend, I just really wish you knew.

do what makes God happy

“Do what makes you happy”

Our culture sells this mantra like donuts with the hot now light turned on.
It’s the age of ME. We’re constantly told that looking out for #1 is the best way to live life and that doing what makes us happy should be top priority.

But what if that “happiness” comes at the expense of someone else?
Do friendships, relationships, and marriages work if this is the mentality you have?

I’ll tell you the short answer- no, they don’t. Not at all actually.

So I want to propose an idea that is sure to fill your heart faster than anything you, or society, has to offer.

Do what makes God happy.

The world offers happiness and satisfaction wrapped up in things that will break your heart and hurt the people around you before you even realize you’re making a deal with the enemy.

Listen to what God says instead.

God says to love and treat others the way you desire to be treated. God says that love is not self seeking and does not dishonor others, but is instead patient and kind. God says our delight is found in Him.

God says to put others before yourself.

God doesn’t promote a self seeking attitude, yet He wants the best for us.
And guess what—
Living a life that chases after His will IS what’s best for us and is also the ONLY route to true happiness.

Replace yourself with God. Condition your heart to have that 2 second hesitation in which you have the opportunity to opt out and choose the fulfilling happiness that God offers instead.

this helped me in one of my biggest battles

Can I tell you something that saved me from myself in the midst of one of my biggest battles?

Jesus didn’t care about the opinions of men. He didn’t care about reputation, and He certainly didn’t care about political correctness.

But do you know what He did care about?
The truth.
He cared about people’s souls.

And not because they lived a certain way or looked a certain way or were deemed “worthy” enough. In fact, Jesus sought out the least of these. He found the broken and the lost in the middle of their chaos and offered them His hand.

He broke bread with sinners. He calmed the storm that terrified them.

I always think of the woman He met at the well who was ashamed and thirsty beyond relief. He offered her living water and redemption.

He did that for me. He met me at the well, hiding and hurt.

He seeks us in our lowest places. When we’re thrown into the fire He’s in there with us. When we’re staring into the faces of hungry lions He seals their mouths. And when we grasp for the hem of His cloak He heals us.

No, He didn’t care about being liked. He wasn’t afraid to offend, break rules, and tear down stigmas in order to ensure that He found us in our lowest places.

He spoke the truth fearlessly because He loves us. And people hated Him for it. They killed Him for it. But Jesus knew the importance of the truth and the unimportance of the opinion of men.

I’m challenging myself to follow that example in 2019.

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.