Salvation and freedom in Christ can't be earned or achieved. Sometimes it's too easy to swing more the direction of striving and straining and doing it on our own. Are you actually loving God? Or are you too busy being a "good Christian" that you're missing out on the wholeness of the Gospel?Read More
I loved living in NYC, but I also feel that it wasn't the best place for a healthy lifestyle. Moving away from the city has helped me maintain a better weight, have more energy and rest more effectively.Read More
The best part about living in NYC was being a part of the church community I had called home. Never in my life have I understood what true community looked like until NYC - deep friendships that make you laugh, sit with you when you cry and hold you accountable when you need it. I'm that person that prefers to buck the small talk and get straight to the meat of what's going on in our lives. So when I found my church with fellow believers who had all-in mentalities like me, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. This church became where I wrestled with the hard truths of my life, where I met my best friends and saw examples of what living out the Gospel on a daily basis really meant.
So when there was a fall out amongst the leadership in our church and decisions were made that I vehemently disagreed with, I was absolutely devastated. Personally, it meant I could no longer go there and feel confident that I was being led well. The one thing that remained steady in a very unsteady New York came crashing down all around me. And the fallout of how that affected me became a slow, steady crumble. I watched myself & friends, all strong believers, dip away or dip out completely.
This may sound dramatic, but I'm pretty sure I went through all the stages of grief in the aftermath.
Denial. Anger (lots of it). Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance...
Well, I’m still working on acceptance.
Amongst that, there were other emotions that came along with this schism:
Disappointment. Fury. Sadness. Frustration. Confusion. Resentment. Bitterness.
This was no small thing.
There were even moments months later I saw some of those decision makers in public and all I wanted to do was go over and scream "[Expletive] you for ruining My New York. Do you see anyone benefitting from this decision?! You want to talk about sin, let me give you a laundry list of your sins…."
Yeah, that's the blackness of my heart y'all.
Even now, almost a year later, when writing this post, I wanted to call these people out by name, expose their transgressions. However, putting someone else’s faults in print, so that it can haunt them forever, has never been my style.
In the aftermath I really had to digest what Jesus + nothing actually meant. Because I didn’t have that tight-knit community to rally behind. At least, it didn’t feel like I did. There was no, “Let’s process through this with my people!" Because quite frankly, we were all trying to land on our feet, figuring out where we stood. What we believed. If we wanted to stay or go. It became a very personal processing versus a collective processing. And that was really hard. And sad. And to be honest, it was a major contributing factor in me leaving New York.
But if I could find one good thing from this situation, it would be recognizing that I was putting way too much weight and focus on my church. (Oh, and that I realized how ugly my heart is and my need for repentance is legit.) Now, don’t get me wrong, having a solid church family is good. I can’t WAIT to find a new church home in Nashville. But for me, it was as if when my church failed me, God had failed me too.
Which is straight up lies, friends.
My church had such a spot of prominence in my life. But, I wonder now if it held more weight than my personal relationship with Christ. I don't think that's true, but it definitely made me pause and think how scary of a thought that is. Because at the end of the day, my church is not God. The church is made up of very imperfect people - me included. So of course they are going to fail me. Of course the way things are run is going to fail me. Of course there will be people doing the best that they can and even so, they. may. still. fail. me.
That doesn't mean God is any less good.
Because He shows up, as He always does. His word is reliable and true. And I’m grateful for knowing that no matter what - He’s always the head of the church. He will mend and renew and reconcile. It may take a long time. His best work, after all, is never done in an instant. But rather, He prefers the slow and steady methodology (which, you know, is practically incomprehensible to me).
Not a minute too soon. Not a minute too late.
Have you ever been a part of church that has gone through a major trial? How did you process it? I want to read your comments below.
Life isn't always what you expect it to be, but I have hope that God is weaving together a more beautiful story than I could have imagined for myself. Even in the hard times and good times, it is well.Read More
How to be single
...but also desire marriage
I’ve found out that I’m pretty dang good at single. Really good. In fact, single and I know each other quite intimately. We’ve been practically inseparable for a decade. And any time I try and dip my toes in the water of non-singleness, Single always lures me back whether I want it to or not.
But at the same time, I’d really like to be married to a Jesus-loving-all-in-sold-out man. To me, it’d be dreamy to find that person where you can say, “Hey you want to hang out forever and procreate more Jesus-loving kiddos? Cool, me too.” (Okay it’s more than that, but doesn’t that sound fun!?)
And from what I’ve gathered - quite a few other women struggle with this conundrum. How do you engage your single life, but still wish and desire for marriage? It’s really hard! At times, my prayer journal is soaked with words of hope and longing for that person. And other times, I get all I-don’t-need-no-man with a peppering of, “Boi Bye. These shoes on my feet? Yeah, I bought ‘em.” Sometimes the see saw of life tilts us too strong one way or the other and you lose equilibrium.
I am certainly no expert on the subject, but for those that are interested - this is how I’m learning to embrace my singleness, but also acknowledging that I really want a cute hubs. (Because you know what, no shame in that my fierce females.)
Self Worth is Queen.
For the majority of my life, I thought having a man by my side would equate to worthiness. I would get irrationally distraught when someone didn’t like me back. Or I’d be looking for a guy at every opportunity - like in the checkout line or at every church function. But if I’m being honest, it wasn’t really that I was looking for a boyfriend. I was looking for value. For worth. For someone to tell me I was significant. I found myself morphing into someone a guy wanted me to be, instead of being who I was made to be. Big difference. Once I was able to nail that one down, it actually, quite frankly, made me more attractive. I was no longer suffocating every guy I came in contact with, grasping for approval. I’m a firm believer that a strong sense of self is the #1 building block to a solid relationship. Because if you know WHO you are, you also know WHOSE you are. And then you can be free and authentic and honest - which helps you regardless of your relationship status.
Use Your Time Wisely.
Right now, in this phase of life, I have the most flexibility with my time I will probably ever have. Being single allows me the freedom to invest time in the things that matter most to me. Like building a business. Or volunteering to babysit my friend’s kids. Or developing mentor/mentee relationships with younger women. Or traveling on a whim. Or just getting to know God more intimately. I have some gal pals that have recently gotten married or stepped into serious relationships and the dynamic changes. You have this other person you need to invest your A-time with. Friendships have to change. Priorities shift. Time has to appropriately rearrange. So, I’m soaking up the time flexibility as. much. as. possible. Because when I have a babe on my hip and a huz by my side, you can best believe my brain is going to be laser-focused on those precious souls.
Be Present, but Pray.
I’m still working on this one. I’m such a future-oriented, what’s-my-next-step type of gal that living in the moment is near impossible for me. I like A and B and C plans just to make sure things are going to be caught if the bottom falls out. But. I know that living in the midst of the life God has me in right now needs to be cultivated, because you know it could change in an instant. So I’ve been starting my prayers with a big ol’ pile of gratitude for the season God has me in, but then I make sure I’m still declaring those bold, audacious prayers about the desires of my heart. And then I leave it there. God knows what he’s doing - whether I like His timing or not.
Remind yourself that marriage isn’t when your life starts. When I was younger, I thought life should go: High school. Check. College. Check. Sweet Job. Check. Boyfriend. Check. Husband. Check. House. Check. Babies. Check Check Check. And then my life would be complete. Like when I found my husband, everything would fall into place and I could start my life. Anyone relate? Well, when I realized that was not going to be my life, I had to come to terms with the real meaning of marriage. That marriage is more than just a #lifegoal, but hard work and teamwork and intended to be an IRL representation of the sacrificial love of the Father. Woof. Not small things. Life was starting all around me and I didn’t need to wait on a man friend to make things happen. So, I bought a couch. Found travel buddies. And stopped waiting for someone to come around to start living.
I’m not doing it perfectly and I don’t always have the answers. This is simply what I’ve found has helped me not think of singleness as a punishment (because let’s face it, it can sometimes feel like it), but rather as an opportunity and a gift.
Are you scared to death that you'll be single forever? Or are you more the omg-im-going-to-have-to-be-with-one-person-forever type of gal? Tell me your story below!
Feel like you got lost? Perhaps you meant to head over to my Career Advice section?!
P.S. Music evokes emotion, stirs creativity and connects people. The songs attached to my posts are designed to give you the **feelz** that I'm feeling when I write them. Enjoy friends!
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