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.”

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.

I am angry that I will never be the girl that I was

It was never meant to be this hard.

I wasn’t supposed to be carrying this burden around with me everywhere I go. I wasn’t supposed to be battling fear, panic, and anxiety. I wasn’t supposed to struggle with trusting every person that gets close to me. I wasn’t supposed to feel this way.

But I do, and I’d be lying to you if I pretended that I don’t. The truth is, I don’t have everything figured out. I am not yet the healed, capable woman that I intend on being. And if I’m being honest with you, I often feel a mingling of fear, anger, and shame resting in the pit of my stomach.

I am angry that I will never be the girl that I was.

And sometimes, on the days that God whispers to me, I remember that I don’t want to be that girl anymore.

But there are parts of her that I miss. She was trusting. She saw the very best in everyone. She had an entire, untarnished, unbroken heart to give; and she gave it.

She also had a lot to learn. And maybe this part of her will never change, but she is learning and has learned a lot. She is wiser, stronger, and closer to her savior. She is finding the road to bravery and she will take it when she can. She will take it because God pulls her by the hand and takes every first step.

And although it was never meant to be this hard and I wasn’t supposed to feel this way, I do. And this mended, tarnished heart with cracks turned to seams is held in hands that bear their own scars.

And I will love again because He first loved me.

And sweet friend, I promise so will you.