This past December I went to Mexico with my Mom and my sisters. We spent a lot of time just laying on the beach and soaking up the sun, watching the waves endlessly roll in and crash on the beach, while brave souls played in the surf. (I’m terrified of the ocean, so I kept a safe distance of course).
Now, I’m no expert on the ocean or anything involved in managing those potentially perilous waters, but I spent some time observing the people who seemed to know what they were doing out there. When a wave would come crashing in, these people would face it, and as it got closer they jumped into the wave; and each time, they would be left standing once the wave passed. Every once in a while someone would be caught off guard, and an unexpected wave would knock them down. Other times someone would be intimidated by the sheer size of the wave coming at them and try to run away from it, only to be quickly overtaken. Read more
Have you ever had one of those moments where something causes you to stop and look around, and you wonder how in the world you got there? If you’re like my sister, you can start out driving to the south part of town and, if you’re not using your GPS, you can somehow end up 20 miles north instead! Or maybe you’re like me, and you set out to be productive on your day off, and somehow you end up watching cat videos on the internet! While I can certainly acknowledge the danger in spending my day watching cat videos instead of doing my homework, there are certain times when I seem to get off track in ways that have a much greater impact on my life. Read more
Admittedly, none of these definitions sound particularly comforting or attractive, and I think we could all agree that they are not exactly things that we would want to have said about us. Yet this simple word, broken, has become one of the most precious words in my vocabulary. Read more
One of my favorite things is to look back and read through my old journals. Each time that I do so, I am encouraged, and often times I gain insight into this crazy journey I’ve been on. Admittedly, I am prone to “tunnel vision,” and I easily lose sight of the bigger picture of what God is doing in my life and in the world; and this practice helps me to take a step back and gain some valuable perspective. Today I want to share the words (raw and unedited) that I wrote in my journal one year ago today, as I was reflecting on the year that was drawing to a close. As we ring in the New Year, a season marked by well-intentioned but frail resolutions, I hope that it can be an encouragement to you, as it was to me.Read more
The other night, I couldn’t sleep. I was lying awake in bed listening to music, when a certain song came on. Now, one of my favorite things about music is how a single song can bring back a flood of memories in an instant. The song that came on my iPod was “You Found Me” by The Fray. This particular song brought me back to a day 5 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college. It was during one of the most difficult times of my life, I was really struggling and had recently fallen into using self-harm as a coping mechanism. On this particular evening, I posted lyrics from this song on my Facebook page; “Where were you when everything was falling apart? All those nights, waiting by the telephone that never rang, when all I needed was a call that never came…” Read more
I’ve wrestled with writing this for quite some time now. It is a difficult and terrifying thing to open yourself up, to become transparent and vulnerable. We live in a harsh world that teaches us to be closed off, self-defensive, to keep our innermost parts hidden away. A world that tells us that we must keep up appearances at all costs, that we must be what everyone else expects us to be… That it’s not ok to be hurting, it’s not ok to have needs, and it’s not ok to need help. Read more
I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to find it, trying to take hold of it. I’ve read the self-help books, made bold self-declarations, and tried to find it in success and achievements. I’ve tried to pretend that I have it, wearing the mask of self-assuredness and independence. But I never truly found it.
In the middle of June I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti with a group of 25 young adults from a few local churches. Going into this trip, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect… and more than a week after our return, I’m still not sure that I have the words to describe it. Read more
It seems like tattoos are everywhere you look these days, worn by everyone from the guy on a motorcycle to the mom driving a minivan, the criminal behind bars or the pastor at the pulpit.
Now I’m a person who could be considered fairly “tatted up.” I got my first tattoo on my arm when I was 20 years old, and I got my second tattoo on my ribs when I was 21 years old. Now I’m 23 years old, and I still have 2 tattoos… However, my first tattoo has grown substantially in the past 9 months. What started as a relatively small tattoo on my wrist has now become a full sleeve on my left arm. Read more
A few weeks ago in church we sang an older song by John McMillan called “How He Loves.” The chorus is a simple but powerful proclamation, “Oh, how He loves us!” On the surface, this song pales in comparison to other more “spiritual” songs about the majesty of God, or the depths of depravity from which He saved us. This song has received criticism for being self-focused, all about how God loves us… as if we did something to earn or deserve it. Read more