I am not alone.


I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

These words spoke truth into me this morning at church. Don’t you love how God always knows what you need to hear?

I can pretend all I want that this has been an easy August, but the truth is post-college depression is all too real apparently. (I googled it… it’s a common problem)

Instead of focusing on the beautiful, wonderful and amazing things that happen.
I’ve fallen into focusing on the negative.

I’m jobless. Because finding a job is hard and rejection letters just keep on coming.
I’m lonely. Because most of my friends either don’t live here anymore or are still in school.
I’m bored. Because the only thing I have to do is sit at home with my puppies.
I’m pretty sure I’ve gained weight. Because I don’t walk up hills all day anymore.

But you know, the next song we sang at church was Lead Me to the Cross. And it always gets me. Every. Time. Rid me of myself, I belong to You.

If I really did that, got on my knees, laid me down, got rid of myself, the negatives wouldn’t bother me.

Because I wouldn’t believe those lies that I’ve been telling myself.
I’d trust in His plan.
I’d know that I belong to Him.
I wouldn’t define myself by what society calls successful, meaningful and purposeful.
I wouldn’t define myself by how many friends I have.
I’d identify myself by Christ alone.
I’d know that I am never alone.
I’d spend my time more wisely and with Him.

And that’s what I strive for because life is so much better when I don’t let myself get in the way of the joy found in Christ.

I got a postcard in the mail today from a dear friend. On the front was a picture of a piece from the British Museum. It was a chair made out of guns. On the back, she wrote “What man intends for evil, God does for good!”

And I could write an entire post about that in a completely different context, but here I will say… what I see as terrible is good in God’s eyes. This season is good because He is good, not bad because it’s not what my plan was.

After Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, Joseph found the heart to say “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

That’s amazing. Humanly, he should have been angry. He should have hated his brothers, but instead he realized that God used that season of awful for good. I think that’s exactly what God is teaching me now. It may not be physical harm or violence like Joseph. It’s definitely not the most terrible thing to ever happen. It’s simply a storm that I wish would pass. But I keep reminding myself how truly blessed I am. There’s so much to be thankful for. And this season, will be used for good. It will be used to fulfill His holy plan. It will teach me and grow me and help me trust Him more. I know there is good here because God is here.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28

“Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer.” -Ruth 4:14

My prayer today is… Lord, let me become more aware of your presence. Thank you for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank you for loving me so well. Thank you for grace in my failures. Thank you for your perfect plan. You are so good. You are faithful. And you are sovereign. Help me remember that. Help me love you better. Amen.


The time I tried the Daniel Fast.


I’m beginning to write this seven days into the Daniel Fast, and I’m already doing a pretty great job at messing it up. I’ve cheated more than once, and I haven’t read a chapter of John every day.

It’s basically turning into a period of giving up sweet tea and donuts (not anymore on the donuts… Update: Or the sweet tea…) and overwhelming guilt.

The Backstory: My pastor asked our church to participate in the Daniel Fast as we begin the new year. If you don’t know what that is, it’s where you limit your diet by taking out meat, dairy, sweets and leavened bread for 21 days. You essentially eat like Daniel did in Daniel 1. In addition to this, we were supposed to read a chapter of John every day. So since everyone else was doing it, I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not right?

I could make up excuses to why I’m sucking at it like food is my ultimate weakness and even though John is one of my favorite books of the Bible, I’ve read it so many times in the past year that I just don’t want to read it right now. Plus I’m doing a pretty solid job of keeping up with She Reads Truth at the moment and adding a chapter of John each day will probably mean sacrificing one of them, and that’s just the truth of my current state of Bible reading.

But honestly, those excuses don’t matter because my heart wasn’t in it. It still isn’t.

But despite all of that, the Lord is still faithful and He has taught me significantly  more in these days of attempting and failing miserably at the Daniel Fast than I think He would have if I would have executed it perfectly.

I realized that I love food. Maybe too much. I don’t really know. I just know that I don’t have much self-control when it comes to food. Maybe I’m gluttonous. I only overeat occasionally though, and I can mostly control my portions. But I just can’t turn down free food, and sometimes I drool in grocery stores. I love food especially the food that you can’t eat on the Daniel Fast. It’s delicious, and I thank God for it. Life would be boring without good food.

Can food be an idol? Probably. In fact, our whole day is planned around meals (and class and work and everything else that’s important to us), but maybe it should be planned around time with God instead. Whoa. That’s intensely convicting isn’t it?

But food isn’t bad. Besides the fact that we need food to survive, I think back at all of the sweet, meaningful times spent with friends and family over meals or coffee.

I’ve also realized how damaging legalism can be to me. I’m not saying in any way that this fast was legalistic. But I am saying that I made it that way. I held myself to a standard that I couldn’t reach. I looked at the list of foods I wasn’t “supposed” to eat for 21 days and made it into a set of strict rules to follow. I do this often with so many different things. I even make my relationship with Christ that is full of love, kindness and forgiveness into a set of rules I have to follow. If I don’t follow them, He won’t love me. I won’t be good enough. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The truth is He loves me regardless of whether or not I follow the ten commandments at all times. Regardless of whether I succeed at the Daniel Fast. Granted I should repent when I sin but the point is He loves me, and because of that He forgives me when I fail Him. When I break His heart by turning down the path well traveled instead of the narrow one, when I turn my back on Him and walk the other direction, when I run right past His open arms into the arms of something else, when I sin.  He loves us at our weakest and most disgusting moments, and that’s what makes the gospel so beautiful.

My promises will never be good enough. I won’t keep all of my promises. I can’t because I’m not perfect. I am human. Flawed. But God always keeps His promises because He is holy. His promise to love and care for me. His promise to forgive me when I mess up. Never failing and never ending. His promises are forever. I am so thankful for that.

I have to remind myself that God doesn’t call us to a new law. He calls us to a relationship with Him. Christianity isn’t supposed to be a set of rules and regulations. And I know that. It’s been drilled into me since I was born. But I make it that way so often. Do I really act like this is a relationship? Or am I just trying to be as good as I can because that’s what I am supposed to do? So I can impress God or other people?

It’s not a set of rules. It’s a relationship. And relationships are messy. They are far from perfect. They’re up and down. In and out. Sideways. You argue. You cry. You smile. You fight and make up. You forgive and forget. You move on. You laugh. You serve. You give. You sacrifice. You hug. You hit. You walk away. You communicate. You reminisce. You encourage. You comfort. You get mad. You hate. You love. It’s a roller coaster.

And that’s exactly what we have with God. Thankfully one side of the relationship is perfect, but my side… definitely not.

Every relationship is different. My relationship with my sister is different than your relationship with yours. So my relationship with God is going to look different than yours. What works to grow your faith is different than mine. Your spiritual gifts are different than mine. Our struggles, where we find our joy, how we tell others about Jesus, where and when we pray, everything is different. And that’s okay. We don’t have to all look the same. We don’t all have to interact with God the same. We don’t have to act out our faith the same way. And so often I look at other people who seem to have it all together and seem to be such good Christians, and they are, but I compare myself to them. Then I think that maybe I should be acting more like that girl over there or sharing my faith like that guy on the other side of the room, but what if that just doesn’t work for me? What if I’m not good at what they do? Because God has gifted me and called me to something different. Something unique to me.

This may be why there’s so much disagreement among Christians. Because we’re all unique and we think we’re the only one who’s right when in reality God is the only one who’s right. But isn’t our uniqueness what makes it so beautiful? That God can reach such a wide variety of individuals. That He doesn’t just love one specific set of people who are all similar. That despite our dissimilarities we are all the same in that we are all sons and daughters of Christ. Heirs to His throne. We (should) love each other despite our differences because we’re all the same. We’re all loved by the one who created us.

Finally I realized that for the first time doing something remotely close to the Daniel Fast, it wasn’t wise for me to start with a 21 day fast from my favorite foods. So, I think next time I am going to fast on my own when God tells me it’s a good time, how He tells me it should be done and for how long I should do it. It’ll actually be something attainable where my heart is in it. Where I’m not guilty because I’m failing man, but convicted because I’m failing God. Where I can grow as a Christian and grow closer to the Lord. Then eventually maybe I’ll try the Daniel Fast again because I don’t hate the idea. It just wasn’t for me this time around.

Whatever you do, do it well.


Can I be really honest for a second?

My spiritual gift as a 20-something female in the church is not to babysit children.

Should I repeat that? My spiritual gift is not babysitting children.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind working in the nursery. I don’t mind babysitting. I don’t mind playing with kids. In fact, I like it sometimes. Sometimes I’m completely willing and sometimes I look forward to it. Sometimes I want to do it. But I don’t like it all the time. Sometimes, I dread nursery days. Sometimes I can’t stand the sight of another child. Sometimes I have a hard time saying “no” when asked to watch children when everything in me wants to say “no” because I just don’t want to.

And to be honest, I would much rather be your dog or catsitter.

And I hate being the go-to babysitter solely because I am young and I am female.

You see, there’s this problem in the church or within any Christian ministry. It’s this problem where men are always called upon to move tables or to do physical labor or to lead. And women are shuffled towards the children or to the cooking or the cleaning.

It’s just assumed that all women are good with children. It’s assumed that all men don’t want to work with children. It’s assumed that women aren’t strong enough to move tables, and it’s assumed that men are. But why?

This is why I think that gender roles in the church are so damaging. They restrict those of us who don’t fit the typical gender roles. They restrict us from reaching our full potential and from having courage to defy those gender roles. We’re placed in boxes that are nearly impossible to escape from.

Some women’s gift is children. I know some of those women and their hearts are so wonderfully dedicated to children. Some men are really great at rearranging furniture and I know some of those men. These women and men are so necessary to ministry. Their gifts are needed and they are so perfect for the roles they fulfill.

But I also know women who are terrible with children and that doesn’t make them less womanly. It doesn’t make them less valuable as a woman and a church member, and it sure doesn’t mean that they don’t have a gift. Their gift just isn’t what you want it to be. It’s not what it’s “supposed” to be, and that’s okay. The exact same thing goes for the men.

Women, if you don’t want to work in the nursery, don’t. If you don’t want to work in children’t ministry, don’t. If you would rather teach an adult Sunday School class, go for it. If you want to volunteer to move furniture instead of decorating the church or cleaning it, do it. Do whatever you are called to do and whatever you are good at. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else tells you you’re supposed to do.

Men, if you don’t want to move tables, don’t. If you would rather be the babysitter, volunteer to do it. If you would rather teach the children rather than adults, do it. If you want to cook and clean, no one should stop you. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. You can do it and you will succeed at it far more than those who are forced into it based on gender roles.

Everyone’s gift is different. Realize that and don’t lump everyone into categories based on gender. Or anything else for that matter. Be your unique self and don’t let anyone tell you not to.

Whatever you do, do it well. That’s all God asks of you.

Let’s Talk About Modesty

Today my lovely friend, Kristen, tweeted this.


And after favoriting it, retweeting it and yelling a few “yeses” and “amens,” I decided that since I’d written three papers, watched a documentary for one of those papers and made a powerpoint for a presentation this weekend (if you want to find my vomit, check the first floor women’s restroom in HSS in the morning) even though I was on a field trip that took up a lot of my day on Friday and babysat on Saturday for half the day, I deserved to write this blog. (I may be a little proud of my accomplishments of the weekend if you couldn’t tell… I’m also thankful to God that he apparently added hours to the days or something.)

Let’s talk about modesty. Growing up we all hear this word “modesty.” Especially if you grew up in a church. So what does modesty mean exactly?

A quick Google search says that modesty is a “behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.” But what does that mean?

Well, that’s the problem. Modesty is such a subjective term. Everyone has a different idea of what modesty looks like. My definition is different than yours. So why do we assign such strict rules and regulations to ensure that kids are dressed modestly? Dress codes (especially for girls) are ridiculous. Girls can’t wear: short shorts, low cut shirts, shirts that show their stomach, tank tops, bikinis, shirts that show their bras… (breath) Guys can’t wear: saggy pants

You probably think I’m insane for not necessarily liking dress codes, but let’s think about this. Girls have all of these things that they are told not to wear, but everything sold in stores are those exact things. Everything that’s advertised? The things they aren’t supposed to wear. Women’s clothes are made tighter, shorter, and more low cut than anything in the men’s section. So how are girls supposed to dress “appropriately” if there’s nothing that’s “appropriate” for them to buy.

One time at a Christian camp, I was asked by another leader to tell my girls to change out of their tank tops. This was while a boy was in a tank top right in front of the other leader. Was the boy asked to change? Obviously not. Like Kristen pointed out, when there’s a pool or lake or beach involved in any kind of church trip, girls are told to not wear bikinis. The boys, on the other hand, are allowed to go around shirtless. I’m pretty sure a girl in a bikini is more covered than the boy who is shirtless.

A middle schooler (I love them so much) told me a fun fact the other day. A man’s Adam’s apple is a secondary sex characteristic… the same as women’s breasts. So why don’t men have to cover that up? Obviously no one wants to see that.

There’s also that annoying thing where people always point out that a woman’s bra is showing. My response: well at least it isn’t her boob. Since when did an article of clothing that is necessary (and freaking expensive) according to society become so offensive?

Basically what I’m saying with all of this is… modesty is good. But it’s good according to your own definition. If you are comfortable in what you’re wearing and the amount of skin showing, you are golden. You do you. I’m also saying that there is obvious inequality in society and the church’s definitions of modesty for men and women, and I don’t like it. I’m not necessarily saying everyone should go around shirtless, but what if we all wore shirts. Because I’ve already written a blog about the fact that women stumble too (especially with baseball pants). Women aren’t immune to men just like men aren’t immune to women. We should both protect each other in that, but we also shouldn’t tell each other how to be modest. Modesty is whatever you want it to be. Just some food for thought for all of you reading this.

Comments ALWAYS welcome.

My (super awesome) Testimony That’s All About God and Nothing About Me

Here I am writing a blog when I should be doing much more productive things once again.

I’m going to write out my testimony since I’ve been saying I would do it for approximately 100 years now (that’s an exaggeration obviously). A lot of you probably don’t know it or only know some of it. And some of you do know it, but probably heard it out loud when my words sounded something along the lines of “iajmfivojaerm” (p.s. I’m much better at writing than talking if you haven’t noticed). Here we go.

I’ve been to church my whole life. In fact, I’ve been going to the same church my whole life. It’s a small, traditional, Southern Baptist church. I like it. I grew up with a lot of people thinking I was already saved. If it wasn’t a lot, then it sure felt that way. It wasn’t until I was 15 when I finally realized that I was in desperate need of Jesus. It might sound crazy, but I was actively in church for 15 years and had no clue what it was to be a Christian. I look back and I honestly have no idea why I didn’t get it. There were SO many opportunities for me to easily pray the prayer and turn away from sin, but it never clicked. There was absolutely nothing. But I heard it said once that God saved you when you least deserved it. I think that was me. I think before the Holy Spirit started calling me I wasn’t at my lowest. I didn’t need Him the most until then.

I’m glad it wasn’t until then, though. Because I know for a fact, I wouldn’t be the Christian I am today if I hadn’t gotten saved at the exact moment I did. Everything happens for a reason right?

Anyway, a year passed (from the moment I finally felt something) of guilt, leaving the church service when the invitation rolled around, praying so hard that God would keep me around because I was certain I wasn’t going to Heaven if I died and outright ignoring and disobeying God. It was truly miserable. It’s the most miserable I can remember ever feeling (but my memory sucks soo…). Because so many people thought I was already saved, I was terrified to make it publicly known that I wasn’t a Christian. I was a fake. I didn’t want people to know that (p.s.s. I also have this super annoying thing where I want people to like me).

So then, one day in the summer when I was 16, I was yard/garage selling with my mom, sister, aunt and cousin. We were in the car, and somehow it was brought up that I was the only person in the car who didn’t know Jesus (thanks a lot, guys). Then it gets a little fuzzy (refer back to my memory). But I know there were tears then I went home and prayed with my dad, but before I did I made him promise to not make me get baptized (I’m dumb). That lasted for a good month or so but then my pastor was all like “Hey. It’s time now. Get your butt in the water.” (not exactly like that but kinda close) So I got baptized on the same day as 2 (ish?) other people. One of them was my aunt’s best friend. She had been saved for a while but was too scared to get baptized (like me!) so we seriously bonded over that. Spoiler… we both made it through without dying like we thought so that was good! It was good. It needed to be done.

The rest of high school I could see myself growing more mature in my faith kind of. I think at that point I was more at a standstill. I wasn’t necessarily progressing, but I wasn’t moving backwards either. I was just there. That was until I got to college.

College has changed me so much that I don’t even like myself before it (not really but maybe). I got super involved with a ministry called the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. There I have truly learned what being a Christian is. I’ve grown so much in my faith in three years that I actually have a hard time believing it because of that ministry. The people, the activities, the everything is just so wonderful, and I couldn’t thank God enough for placing Rebekah (amazingly fantastic BCM alum who also goes to church and is also one of my best friends) into my life and for her for introducing me to the BCM. It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

I’ve also grown so much more comfortable with my position as a YOKE folk (crazy college kid who likes to hang out with middle schoolers). That first year of me being a YOKE folk was rough. I was TERRIBLE. But now, I love every single minute of it, and I’m actually not that bad at it. Middle Schoolers are fantastic. And so is Jesus. Why not combine the two?

And just overall, I feel closer to God than I ever have before, and that’s the point. Continual growth is what I strive for. My hope is that tomorrow I’ll be stronger than I am today and so on. I’m not perfect (or anywhere close), but I try my absolute hardest to be as much like Jesus as I can. I fail. But He forgives me, and I’m so glad for that. I didn’t deserve salvation, but He’s just wonderful like that.

p.s.s.s. I’ve also changed quite a bit of my opinions on various topics since I got to college but that’s a blog for another day. Like I’m actually embarrassed by my previous opinions but it’s fine. All is good.