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.

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.

Just a Few Good People

“You don’t need everyone to love you. Just a few good people.”
This quote is from The Greatest Showman, which I have plans to see tonight for the third time. Did anyone else love it that much too?! This quote stood out to me the moment I heard it and I haven’t forgotten it since. I think we tend to forget how true this is, at least I know I do. 
I invest in the opinions of others too much, and I let them hurt me more than they should. I wish I was the sort of girl who never let that kind of thing bother her. But I’m still working on it. 
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. Negative words spoken to us or about us hurt a lot. But today I was reminded of something. 
Jesus was disliked. Jesus was misunderstood. “And they laughed at him” Mark 5:40 
“And they took offense to him” Mark 6:3
The Lord of all creation understands how this feels. He understands my heart and what hurts it, and he’s been there. He didn’t deserve their ridicule, yet he responded with love anyway. 
I’m still learning to walk in the truth that Jesus speaks over me, not the lies of those who don’t know my heart. I’m still learning to listen to His voice above all others and believe this fully:
I don’t need everyone to love me. Just a few good people.

Shared Potential

Her beauty does not take away from your own. Her success does not undermine yours. Her relationship status does not affect the love story God is writing in your own life. 
Why can’t the admiration of another woman’s beauty stand alone? Why does comparison so often have to tag along? 
You are designed to be the woman God calls you to be. To fulfill your own purpose, not hers. 
Why is it that we can be so quick to attach negative thoughts to complimentary ones? 
We need to celebrate victories without feeling inadequate about our own. We need to admire beauty without thinking less of ourselves. We need to stop using words as weapons. 
We need to love each other. 
This world is hard enough. 
So ladies let’s start thinking like this instead: 
She is beautiful and so am I.
She is talented and so am I.
She is successful and so am I.
She is loved and so am I.

Turning Pain into Growth

A few days ago I slammed my finger in the jewelry case at work. It. hurt. so. bad. My fingernail turned black (yuck) and everyone keeps asking about it. 
But here’s the thing about this! Before it happened I had no idea that jewelry case was dangerous. I use it all the time and it had never occurred to me that it could potentially inflict pain. 
Now when I use the case I’m extra careful not to make that mistake again. Not only because the pain is memorable, but because my black nail is a good reminder of how bad it hurt.
This is kinda like life huh?
When something or someone hurts you (maybe even yourself), you don’t usually forget the pain. You remember the tears and the heartache. You remember the way it made you feel. And whether or not that situation left a physical scar or not, it most likely left its mark somewhere. 
The good news is that you can decide what you do with that pain. You can carry it around as baggage, or you can learn from it and use caution the next time. Maybe that means learning from your own mistakes (like slamming a door while your finger is inside), or maybe it means learning from the mistakes of someone else. Or maybe both. 
Sometimes those hurtful situations help us distinguish between the things that come from God and the things that don’t. Sometimes they help us become better people. Sometimes they help us grow. 
But no matter what, we are always able to learn.

A Girl Becoming a Woman

I am flawed. 
I often give into fear instead of choosing courage. I care too much about the opinions of others and let words hurt me more than they should. I overthink and worry about the future. I always choose pizza over salad. Sometimes I stink at having patience. To be completely honest, I’m not the girl I want to be most days.
But in the midst of my weaknesses I am reminded of something beautiful. 
Even when I am messy and complicated, Jesus is strong and steadfast.
Even when I struggle and fall short, Jesus upholds every promise.
Even when I do not love myself, Jesus loves me fully.
He knows my name. He looks after my heart. He designed me in his own image. He died for me. 
And while I am imperfect and fall short of who he calls me to be, he loves me still. I am his- the daughter of the king. The girl who’s still becoming the woman she fully intends to be.