from the head to the heart

From the head to the heart, you take me on a journey. Of letting go.. and getting lost in you.

One of my most favorite things about being in college is singing in the college ministry I attend, Basic. When I transferred to UNI, I remember having an overwhelming sense of not belonging anywhere.. Feeling incredibly alone. Feeling like I wasn’t wanted anywhere. When I transferred I moved into an apartment with two girls transferring to UNI too, without realizing that a dorm is one of the central hubs to meeting new people.. I remember only hanging out with the two girls I was rooming with, for what quite honestly was over a year.. I remember feeling so alone, so confined. I remember feeling like I didn’t have a place in the world to just be.

I started going to Basic when I first transferred but didn’t actually meet anyone until a year later.. I would go with one of my roommates, talk to no one new, and continue throughout my week. It was lonely, but I didn’t feel like I knew how to change it.

Until I joined a worship team.

Growing up I went to, and still attend, a cute little traditional church where we sing out of hymn books. We love people super hard, have a Sunday attendance of around 50-60 people, do what we’ve always done, and love Jesus a whole lot. I will always have a special place in my heart for this type of worship, but being a part of a worship team, a place of leading worship through contemporary songs somehow makes my faith come to life. I never knew it was possible to expose the deepest feelings of my heart, my authentic love for God, out loud. I never knew it was possible to pray through song, to be at my most raw state. I never understood the possibility and boundless identity worship can have, until I found a reason to sing. 

It’s because of worship, that I know Jesus. It’s because of this type of prayer that I feel like I can communicate with my Father. It was because I joined a team, that I get to have the relationship with God that I do. Worshiping through music, somehow, makes it possible for my head and my heart to connect, to get lost in worship.

Let the King of my heartBe the fire inside my veinsThe echo of my daysOh he is my song.png

This past Monday, our band was getting ready to run through our playlist and our worship leader, Whit, opened worship with some of the most important words I’ve ever heard: She read from a Psalm.

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain[a] in my soul,
    and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
    my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Whit said, no matter where we’re at – singing, playing the drums, running the lights, in the crowd – we are worship leaders. It’s not about how good your voice sounds, if you’re on or off the stage, heard over the crowd or not. It’s about how you allow yourself to give what you came in the door with, to God. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it, to Him.
Then she said, she feels privileged to lead her brothers and sisters in worship. Because she has an opportunity to act as a waiter, bringing the people what they need to get closer to God. She has the privilege of making it possible for people like me, who NEED Jesus, to step into a place of worship to make our faith come to life.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I first started singing at Basic, I had no idea what it meant to worship. I genuinely felt that as long as the spotlight was on me, it was a time to prove to the world that I was worthy. I felt like being on stage meant that I finally meant something to someone.

And I’ll also be the first to admit that this was my sin that kept me back from living a life crowned with joy. Living my sin, kept me from living a life with God. Living a life for myself, in all of my blind brokenness, rather than a life for my Father who gave the world for me. Living a life of approval, seeking love, desperately desiring attention. Desperately trying to understand why I never felt connected at my head to my heart.

What I failed to see, was how little this world needed me, and how much it, myself, needs God. 

No one likes admitting their sin. BUT when we shine a light on our brokenness, it makes it a whole lot easier to make our way through the dark. Singing at Basic has been one of the MANY ways God has connected my head to my heart throughout the last couple years of my story. I learn every week to lay my cross as I wait for the crown. I learn to shout to the world, the treasure I have found. I pray that forever, I learn how to better connect my head and my heart. I pray that I can be taken on a journey, every week, of letting go and getting lost in my God.


Giving up Social Media for Lent.

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.

While I am filled with many reasons to feel guilty about my crimson mark that sent Jesus to the cross, I am also filled with so much grace because I know he paid the price to set my soul free.

This past weekend I went to a women’s retreat called the IF Gathering. The IF Gathering is a group of women who gathered together to watch empowering and encouraging women speak truth from Austin, Texas. It’s live streamed all across the world, to many different types of settings. I was invited by the woman who I am lucky enough to call my mentor and dear friend. She is on staff with IF, but most importantly, she loves God’s people. She loves hearing stories of God at work in peoples lives, and she loves doing whatever possible to help people walk with God.

Soo with that being said, she was excited for me to come to IF. To be honest.. I knew nothing about this conference. I won’t say that I was overjoyed about spending my only day off at a conference that I knew nothing about. I can’t say I was ecstatic to arrive at the conference at 8am on Saturday morning. But I can say, what happened this past weekend shifted my heart.

We learned that the mission of IF is to equip women with gospel-centered resources, events, and community so they may learn more about who God is and how to disciples other women right where they are. The gathering got me thinking, how can I spend my Lent season? If I truly want to prepare my soul to make disciples, lifting other women up, taking up my cross to follow Jesus, I have to work on my heart first.


This season for lent I want to be honest about my crimson stains. I want to freed from what keeps me held captive from pursuing Christ, deeper, everyday. This season of Lent I am choosing to take a step back from the sin that controls so many aspects of my life. Like many people, I struggle with criticism, comparison, control of what I look like to other people. I have been consumed by following other people’s stories that I missed so many opportunities to celebrate and build my own.

This seasons for Lent I am going to be giving up social media, and will take on the challenge of investing in other people. I am hoping that by giving up social media, I am able to run with endurance, faith, and patience to my true comfort and savor, rather than one of the flesh. I am praying that by taking time to be silent, still, and maybe even a little uncomfortable, I am able to learn obedience, honesty, truth, and faithfulness.

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow. I am praying that alongside my journey, that if you’re considering giving up anything for Lent, or even taking something on, that we persevere with strength. I pray that we can find the true meaning of this season, and can worship God with glory every day through it. I pray that our hearts are transformed, and that what we learn from this season helps heal this fragmented world.

But for now, just know I’m praying for you. See you in 40 days!

Expectations. We all have ’em.

Let’s talk about expectations.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have them. Expectations of when we are ready for marriage. Or how often we appear on social media, to show that we really do have a life outside of the library.  Expectations of what how friends and family should act or react to news and life updates. Expectations of what our bodies should look like, or how many pounds we can drop in a week. Maybe it’s how busy we appear to our social cliques, to prove our importance or amazing time management.

What reality looks like: A relationship that is very committed and full of joy but overwhelmed by what society calls “love”. A BUSY college student who sleeps an average of four hours a night. A girl whose ideal Saturday night is a movie night in, popcorn and m&ms, and a glass of wine. Reality looks like disappointment and often failure in relationships again and again, because humans will be humans. We’re all broken, don’t forget it. It’s a struggle to meal prep or finding time to get to the gym. My Fitbit, reminding me that I still have 100+ steps before the hour is up, and it’s a swipe to pretend I didn’t see the notification. It’s the reality that I’m on my fourth, yes fourth, day of dry shampoo and I am living off of pots of coffee.

Expectations. We all have them.

Which makes us human, but it got me thinking the other night. How often to rely on our own expectations, from ourselves and from the world around us? How often do we rely on the expectation of the flesh, rather, than having an expectation that God will show up in our lives?

In the book of Acts, chapter 12, King Herod, in Jerusalem, decided to “mistreat” those in the early church. He seized James, the brother of John, and had him killed by the sword. When he saw that the Jews were pleased by his actions, he seized Peter and put him in jail to await the same fate. However, Passover was about to take place, so the death of Peter would have to wait. Peter sat in jail with 16 guards around him.

The church began to pray for Peter, relentlessly.

The night before Peter was to go before the sword, he was asleep in his jail cell, bound to two soldiers. Guards were outside his door. Suddenly, an angel appeared in the jail cell. He struck Peter by knocking him on his side. The chains fell off of Peter, and the angel told him to get his shoes on, put on his cloak, and follow him. Peter obeyed thinking he was having a dream.

They passed by the first set of guards. and then another set. They reached the city and the gate opened by itself. They walked down the street and the angel left.

Peter finally realized that this was real! He said, “Now I know that the Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod.”

Peter went to the house where all of the people were praying. The house belonged to Mary, the mother of John Mark. He knocked on the door and Rhoda, a servant girl answered it. She recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her excitement, she left the gate closed and ran back to the praying Christians. She announced who was at the gate and no one believed her. They said it was probably Peter’s angel.

Peter continued to knock and they let him in, amazed at who they saw. He asked them to be quiet. He told them about the angel and his escape and asked them to tell James and the others. Peter then left to go to another place.

If we all lived our lives with expectant hearts that God would show up, what then, would our expectations vs. realities look like?

Can we talk about how crazy this miracle is?? It was when Peter was locked away in prison – bounded by chains, beaten, battered, broken, and belittled – that he and the church began to pray with an expectant heart that Jesus would show up. When we think about our expectant hearts, we are reminded of the things we listed and talked about earlier. Those expectations are SO relatable and they’re real expectations of what we vision our lives would, could, should look like because.. they’re human. It’s human to desire a better reputation. It’s human to wish away our flaws and our shortcomings. But it’s because they’re human, that the expectations that we have and the realities that we live – are two very separate things.

In Philippians 1: 6 Paul prays, ” I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
Let’s get serious, this book that we’re reading out of is real stories of real people and their real experiences with our one true Father. It’s real stories of real people living in their very real brokenness – What we can learn from the generations before us, is that when we expect God to provide for a holy and good thing that he has already put into our hearts, he is going to see it to completion. When we are doing good works for the betterment of God’s kingdom, to provide for God’s children, he is going to bless that. And we can see this to be true by faith and faith alone. That same faith that reminds us that by the good grace of God we are saved. It’s because of that same faith that our sovereign God deserves our expectant hearts.

Psalm 62:5-6 “My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken.”

If we all lived our lives with expectant hearts that God would show up, what then, would our expectations vs. realities look like?

You’re our author, our maker, our ransom, our savior, our refuge, our hiding place. You’re our helper, our healer, our blessed redeemer, our answer, our saving grace. You’re our hope in the shadow, our strength in the battle, the anchor for all our days. You stand by our sides, you stand in our place. And Lord, we’re ready to live with expectant hearts. We’re ready to trust what you have in store for our lives. We’re ready for discipleship, forgiveness, perseverance, dedication, next steps. We’re ready to spend our day serving you, and your children. We’re ready to live for your Lord. Amen.

one day at a time.

I believe in the hope that this book we call the Bible is just more than just a hard day at work, word of encouragement. It’s stories of real people, living in real brokenness. It’s the authentic stories of millions of people who neglected, loved, beat down, praised, spit on, worshiped, prayed for, and crucified a man by the name of Jesus who came to save. Came to save you, came to save me, came to save each and every one of his children. I believe in the hope that the Bible promises us with stories like Gideon’s that give us courage and strength to listen and move when God calls us to. And I believe that we can use this hope, one day at a time, to bless a broken world.

This past Sunday I was invited to teach at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for their laity Sunday. Throughout the week I kept searching for a scripture to teach off of, something that I hadn’t taught on before. Something that would be intriguing but also surrounded the word hope, which had been on my heart for quite some time. As I searched and searched, nothing “popped out” like I expected it to. I kept coming back to the book of Judges from the old testament. I found a story of a man named Gideon. A name I didn’t recognize, nor did the story seem too uplifting to my blind eyes.

Starting in verse 6, and if you haven’t read much from the old testament, you’ll be asking yourself, why was God so mad at the Israelites?

Further back in the old testament we can read about how God saved them from the Pharaoh and had given them many miracles, but all the people still chose evil, temptation, and their selfish desires.

Yet even through the people were living in sin, God still loved them and wanted them to live in prosperity and in grace. However, he knew that just giving them these things would teach them nothings.

When you think about it, it’s kind of like parenting. Our parents punish us or maybe you can even think of a time you have punished your child because you wanted them to learn a lesson. You wanted to teach them not to make the same mistakes over and over again. Because you love them. It was that same kind of love that God had for the Israelites.

It was during this time of sin that the Midianites took control of the Israelites. They ruined the Israelites crops, took their animals, forcing the Israelites to run off to hide. Israel had nothing left, and it was when they were not only left without their earthly desires but also without their absolute necessities, that they cried out to God. And God, just as he always had, heard their cries.

You see, the cool thing about this story is that God had every reason to be mad and bitter at the Israelites. He had every reason to leave them behind, in their shame, in their sin, and in their selfishness. But instead he listened to them and answered their prayer.

This is where the story of Gideon comes into play. Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in a secret place, away from where the Midianites could find, steal, or destroy the crops. It was then that God sent an angel to come and sit with Gideon. The Angel of the Lord then said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior”.

And Gideon responded just as many of us might, saying, “But sir.. If the Lord is with us why is all this bad stuff happening? Where are all the miracles that our father told us about?

Disregarding Gideon’s complaints, the Lord replied to him said “Go, with all your strength, save Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you.

Now this part of the story is when I find myself relating to Gideon on a deep level. He began pleaded with God, making excuses for his fear, and feeling unequipped, and feeling unworthy. He said, “How can I save Israel? My people are the weakest in all of Manasseh and I am the smallest in my family?”

God said, “I will be with you, I will never leave your side.

Just like Gideon, we often build up our walls of comfort, exclaiming to God that we’re doing enough already, or that we’re not valuable to be doing what he is asking me to. Or maybe even that we are too consumed by our brokenness to take a leap of faith. We all have those things that hold us back.

Maybe it’s a career that takes too much of our time and energy, too much of our dedication. Or maybe it’s the brokenness that tells us that our image and identity is not enough or our bodies are not as beautiful as the person that we compare it to. Maybe it’s our ego or pride that tells us that we are above allowing God to be God, that makes it near impossible to step down from our pedestal to humble ourselves before him. Maybe it’s the addiction to alcohol, sex, drugs, food, technology, or even pornography. Maybe it’s as simple as being a lukewarm Christian that simply wants to leave God in the walls of the sanctuary as we leave worship on Sunday mornings.

There are three things I want us to consider this morning as we continue learning from Gideon’s story. The first: God doesn’t call us to be perfect.

Whatever brokenness that you may be carrying around, keeping you from doing Gods work, God knows.

I heard a really cool way of thinking about how God knows us this past Thursday at my college ministry. The speaker said, “If you think about it, God was in this room before we came here today. He was in this building before the sun came up. He was here yesterday, and the day before that. He was here when the room was build, and even before that. And he never left.” Whatever guilt, sin, shame, you may be feeling, God already knows.

Gideon, who is similar to ourselves, reacted to God just as many of us do. With excuses. With shame. But it’s in the middle of that fear and anxiety that God asks Gideon to take it one day at a time.

The second thing is that God doesn’t call us to procrastinate. As a college student I know all about the word procrastinate. Some may even call me the queen of procrastination. And if I’m being honest with myself, God might even call me that too, sometimes.

Just like this story of the Israelites and Gideon, God calls us to a greater purpose here on Earth. He calls each and every one of us to handcrafted blessings, but broadly, he calls us to Heaven. He calls us to love. He calls us to freedom and forgiveness. And He calls us to spread that good news to the people around us. But often we in a season of procrastination. We get into a state of comfortability and we get side-tracked. We get little sleep, and we’re exhausted. We can become selfish and choose to live in a life that’s steady because putting ourselves out there can lead to embarrassment and rejection. We put things off, because in that moment it’s simply easier.

But just like God called Gideon, he will call you. He will call me. And we have a choice to listen and have faith. And it’s in that moment of courageous faith, we find same hope that we read about in Gideon’s story.

The third is that God never asks us to do anything on our own.

I want to rewind to the last couple verses we read, chapters 14-16. “14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midianites; I hereby commission you.” 15 He responded, “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.””

God never says to us, here’s my plan for you, make it happen. Use what you have and make it work. You see its us, humans, who puts the pressure and the expectation on where God is leading us, that we feel that it is solely our responsibility to “figure it out”. Well, if that were the case, then we’d be right to be scared. We’d be right to be hopeless, anxious, confused, angry.

It’s because God said, I know your most inward being, far beyond even yourself. He knows your limitations, your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities. And he knows your capabilities.

Here, he was telling Gideon to trust him, for he had a plan. Here he was asking Gideon to take this challenge one step at a time. Promising that in return he would be with him every step of the way, never leaving his side. Promising that if he took it one day at a time, there would be hope in that every day.

I wanted to share this story with you because I believe in the hope that God gave Gideon. I believe in the hope that when we take this life one day at a time, we begin to recognize just how capable and courageous we are. I believe in the hope that this book we call the Bible is just more than just a hard day at work, word of encouragement, moment based read. It’s stories of real people, living in real brokenness. It’s the authentic stories of millions of people who neglected, loved, beat down, praised, spit on, worshiped, prayed for, and crucified a man by the name of Jesus who came to save. Came to save you, came to save me, came to save each and every one of his children. I believe in the hope that the Bible promises us with stories like Gideon’s that give us courage and strength to listen and move when God calls us to. And I believe that we can use this hope, one day at a time, to bless a broken world. Amen.

You can only find grace here.

Do you ever just look at someone and think, God did SO GOOD with you!

I have had so many moment where I think to myself, wow. How does He do it? Or I’ve thought, I wonder if they truly know how stinkin’ great they are. I wonder if they know how blessed they are to have God working through them in so many ways. I think about this kind of stuff so often, and wonder how many other people think about it too?

My first three weeks of my final semester was a bust. I have been worn out. I’m not talking normal college kid tired, I’m talking pure exhaustion down to my core, tired. I’ve started referring to my sleep schedule as my “nap time”, cause it seems like I don’t actually get enough sleep to call it sleep. To be honest with you, coming out of winter break I didn’t feel rested or ready for the semester. I felt pretty broken down, like I had no idea what I was doing with my life, and I sure as heck was not ready to start my final semester.

(Update: still not 100% sure what I’m doing with my life)

I went into my final semester still needing six credits, of classes with classes that were already packed full. I had called every community college around, desperately attempting to get into any class that would transfer as credit. After about a week of searching and stressing, I finally got into all of the classes I needed and was still on track for graduation. But the heck of it was, I didn’t feel any less stressed or at ease about where I was at.

I didn’t feel grateful. I didn’t feel like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t feel like I was ready for the semester. I didn’t have any energy or desire to accomplish anything. I didn’t want to go to my normal activities that usually are the only things that keep me going.

I felt broken down.

It almost seemed like every aspect of my life had a little something that wasn’t right within in it. Like my entire world was on a tilt, and I couldn’t quite get a grip on what was wrong. but I knew that there was something going on.. And I didn’t know until it hit me like a ton of bricks.

A couple Thursdays ago at basic, the college ministry I attend, we had a guest speaker, Drew, who is a professor at a different college. A couple of the workers at Orchard Hill had met him at a retreat they worked at earlier this summer, and asked him if he would be willing to come and speak. I had heard AMAZING things about him. I had heard that he was the kind of guy who was known for having a “crying couch” in his office, as he had a knack of somehow knowing peoples needs and getting to the root of their brokenness.

I went into that Thursday really looking forward to hearing what he was going to talk about, expecting to find encouragement and uplifting words as I usually did at basic. I was in need of some serious spiritual rejuvenation and this was the perfect time for me to hear some words that would brighten up my dim last couple weeks.

But as God always seems to do, this wasn’t a service that I had expected at all. You see, basic had started a new series called, “The Sermon on the Mount” where speakers talk about some non-traditional topics for a college ministry. Drew was asked to teach about divorce in this series, a topic I’m more than familiar with.

I come from a really non-traditional household. I grew up with three parents – a bonus parent if you will. I have an outstanding mom, and the two sweetest grands you could ever meet. I grew up with three sisters, each of which are as unique as they come. Together, we’ve shared so many moments of brokenness and pain. We’ve shared moments of abuse and neglect. We’ve shared up close and personal moments of mental illness and a lot of “episodes”. But we also share so many moments of laughter, joy, and love. And forgiveness, patience, kindness, pride, and we’ve really worked at being there for one another. It was because of the hard moments, that the good moments seemed a little bit sweeter.

That week at Basic, Drew led worship in a way that I had never experienced before. He highlighted that this life can be so unfair. It can be filled with pain, with suffering. It can be filled with things that we don’t deserve, or people that treat us appallingly. This world is filled with negativity, brutality, discrimination, and failure. But he also highlighted the truth, that our Father in heaven wants nothing but good for our lives, and has nothing but grace for us to run to.

I think to myself pretty often that it’s people like Drew that God uses to speak through. Somehow I felt like I was the only person in that auditorium. For some reason, God brought up that piece of brokenness that has cascaded pain my entire life. That has bombarded it’s way into every relationship and experience and accomplishment. And had somehow broken down my life for so long..

And took a small moment that Thursday night that showed me that this was just one little part of my story that made me feel so desperately broken. Alongside so many other things within my life, I realized for the first time in a while, I felt unworthy. I felt so small. For a moment, I lived in the lie that I wasn’t loved and that no matter what I could do, I could not conquer this brokenness.

But instead of living in that brokenness, I began thinking about how much greater of a father I have in heaven, than one of the flesh. I began living God’s truth for my life that the lies that Satan was shoveling into my head, into the deepest parts of my vulnerability, couldn’t be further from the truth. I know in my soul that we all come from broken households. Each and every one of us. In one way or another, we are all super broken. Whether you came from a household of a single mother, or parents that couldn’t provide. Or if you came from a household with self-worth criticism or expectation and critique. Or if you came from a household of parents who love you, but are just as human as the next, and are still filled with sin and brokenness.

We’re all broken in one way or another, but it’s in the brokenness that God comes to us and says, “You’ll only find grace here”. It’s in that brokenness that our God wraps us in his arms of mercy and says, YOU are worthy. YOU are loved. YOU are worth more to me than the grains of sand or the stars in the sky. YOU are beautiful. YOU are forgiven. YOU are blessed with the treasure of Jesus Christ. YOU are my child, and I will hold you close to me for all of eternity.

Ephesians 1: 15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[e] toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God[f] put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

I thank God for you. I thank God for how he handcrafted your hearts, your smiles, your stories. I thank God for how He is at work in your life in a multitude of ways. And today, I’m thankful that God places each and every one of these memories on my path, so I may be reminded that no matter what multitude my heart responds to the brokenness I’m feeling, my Father’s love will always be greater.


Bright eyed, bushy tailed, second cup of coffee in hand, I thought it was about time to put my thoughts to paper (figuratively of course). The first couple weeks of senior year classes have come and gone and I’ll tell ya, I’ve been invested in anything but. Binge watching The Office, making coffee date after coffee date, and spending time with my sweet roommates have caught my attention. BUT I’m guessing I’ll remember those memories more than I’ll remember Darwin’s famous publishing, “On the Origin of Species” from December 1859 (Sorry Prof. O’Brien).

As every year always does, the hype of newness seems to ware and responsibility and anxiety set in. With that being said, this week has sucked.

I got back a grade on an exam that I wasn’t happy with and I feel like I have no desire to dedicate myself this semester. I’ve been debating if I’m actually going to pursue a seminary or not, which has led to a lot of headaches and a lot of ugly-crying breakdowns. I question friendships and relationships and I’ve been dealing with a lot of sin and shame that keeps finding it’s way back into my soul. I just felt really in the dark, and filled with Satan’s lies.

I think the worst part about this feeling in the pit of my vulnerability is that I know the answer to what makes it go away.. Or at least I think I do.

I know to be patient, that God is working in HIS time. I know that I can leave all of my sin and shame at the cross to truly feel set free. I know that healing comes from finding the root of the sin that is weighing me to this world and asking God to cleanse me from that darkness. I know that grace is found through vulnerability and honesty. And it seemed like the more I asked to be set free, the more I got into scripture, the more I suffered in my pain, the further I felt from salvation.

I thought the way to feel free was by living through the advice I have given someone who felt pretty broken in the past. By assuming that if I said the words in a prayer, or if I really thought hard enough about the words, that God would answer. If I got into the Bible enough, there would be a hidden message placed in the right spot at the right time. That I would finally let go of what was keeping me hostage.

Truthfully, I thought that this feeling would come and go and I could use it as a learning curve for someone else another time. But the truth is, while I’m writing this, I still feel super broken.

And the more I talk to people, the more realize that this is a super common thing. There have been so many times in the last couple weeks that I have cried out to God asking, “What are you doing? That is not the way I had planned. Why are you changing everything now? Why are you doing this to me?”. And the more I talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ the more I feel reassured in the truth that there is a lot that we don’t know about our father. That there is a lot about His plans that sometimes we just can’t see in advance. And y’all, that’s hard.

In Mark chapter 10, a blind man named Bartimaeus sat beside the road — as he normally did — when he heard a commotion. He soon discovered the large crowd of people following Jesus. And they were all headed his way.

Bartimaeus had no idea what was going to happen. Having no sight, he could have felt threatened and anxious, fearful the crowd might trample him. He could have been concerned he’d be unnoticed and overlooked, yet again. Instead, he focused on what he could see with his heart rather than what he was unable to see with his eyes.

Pause: A blind man, with realistic worries left entered into vulnerability so that he might have the honor of meeting a man named Jesus. A man who Bartimaeus had no proof of being the true king that may bring salvation, but relied solely on his faith.

He excitedly began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47b, NIV)

When the people yelled at him to be quiet, he refused and continued to shout, saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10: 48b)

His shouting pricked Jesus’ ears.

Jesus stood still, and asked someone to bring the blind man to him. The Bible says Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up and headed straight toward Jesus. (Mark 10:50)

It’s okay to struggle with being patient, or to catch yourself falling back into the same sin you’ve struggled with for a while. The thing is, we’re human. We fall into sin and shame over and over and over again. It’s not about having it all together, or knowing what’s coming next. It’s okay if you feel disconnected, lost, and broken. Faith is about choosing to follow Jesus rather than let our blindness keep us paralyzed in anxiousness and pessimism. Just like the blind man, when we choose to follow Jesus’ voice, to trust that He has a greater plan in store for our lives, our faith can be life-changing, helping us discover peace and a path we never would have known to be so good.

If you’re feeling like me, I pray that you and I can find faith like Bartimaeus. I pray that you feel reassured that you’re not alone in your brokenness, and I pray that we find peace and hope throughout our week to come. I pray for the strength to live by faith even when we cannot see what is ahead.

Matthew 6: “For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. 10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11  Give us this day our daily bread. 12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13  And lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen. 


Be Still – To Surrender.

Not sure how but summer is over and my last first day has come and gone. With all of the traveling and packed schedules I almost forgot what it was like to be home with nothing to do with myself. My last couple weeks have been full of missing Lawton and Hungary while flipping through memories held on my camera and stories shared with familiar faces back home. Netflix binges, days on the lake, eating lots of food that is NOT good for me, and soaking up all of the careless time with some of the sweetest in my life. Slowing down has also introduced me to some uncomfortable face-to-face time with God. While I spent the summer working in various ministries, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s really easy to neglect my personal relationship with God in the midst of movement.

As I’ve had a lot of time to myself, I decided to start one of my “interested but hold off till I have more time” books. Jenny Allen is one of my favorite Christian authors and speakers and wrote a book called “Anything”. It’s an intriguing and satisfying read that challenges what we think we know about God and then also how a new perspective can unlock our souls to a whole new relationship. I can say that I get so much out of this book that I can only read a chapter a day. Somehow this genius of a writer challenges me in a new way, with hundreds of possibilities to authentically deepen my connection with Christ chapter by chapter. This morning I read a sliver called “Inside Anchors”. Jenny writes,

“Often when I go to be alone with God- to really meet God, not just say a quick prayer or read some verses- I feel as if I can’t. I feel as though I would rather be anywhere but there. And I think other people feel that way too. I know good and well that God sees my sin, my junk, and that is not comfortable or easy to reconcile. So often I will say a prayer or read a devo and go along my way. And inside I feel like I am like King David in the Bible, after he had committed adultery and murder: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me” (Ps. 32:3-4). Even our bones hurt from the weight of our sin.”

As I kept reading the chapter I began to feel more and more at home. I think about the place I’m currently at with God. I notice that there is an absence when I go to meet with him in intentional silence. There is a longing to feel full of his grace but just can’t seem to find exactly where to go to receive it. A pull when I talk about faith and try to teach about his goodness. There’s a sense of weight that keeps me grounded from an authentically raw relationship with the one that knows my heart and deserves all my adoration. It’s a place where I know I will be uncomfortable and ashamed because I will be confronted with how hopeless I am apart from Jesus. I will be faced with truth that where I should feel a state of grace, I feel embarrassment. I’ll have to admit that I am just as broken as every other person. That my sin is embedded in the comfort of upkeep of my ego and face.

You would think that as everyone moved home from their summer adventures and classes and activities started up again I would be busy. That I would begin to move in a fast-forward motion once more. But there has been a longing inside, this week, to be still – to surrender. Among the distraction and the pace of a hectic season of life, God has been pulling me to reveal my broken pieces. To allow the weight of sin and shame to be left at the cross. To begin a year of devoted time spent glorifying God and simply spending more time in His word.

“Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) has a much deeper meaning for me now. Be still, really-intentionally still, and know that no sin is unforgivable or too embarrassing to reveal. Know that no matter how many times you fall, He will always be there to pick you up. Know that in the midst of silence and questioning, He is still for you and with you, always.



Our God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7)

Hungary, Here I Come! 

I have my chacos on, passport packed, and I’m ready to go! I’m off to continue my summer adventures but this time internationally. I’m on my way to Hungary! After weeks and weeks of waiting the time has finally come to take a couple (three very very long) flights to leave our sweet country for the first time.
A few short months ago I was approached by a woman who works as to Associate Regional Minister of the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest. She was offered a chance to nominate a candidate from her region to be a representative at the Starpoint Festival in Debrecen, Hungary this coming week. I’m thankful that she thought I’d have some fun stirring up some international trouble for a couple weeks. While I don’t have much information about what exactly I’m getting myself into, I do know that this Festival will offer worship, studies, and mission projects for international guests that are centered around controversial topics, action, and hope. After the festival a small group of us (meaning strangers I haven’t met yet) will take about a week to travel all around Hungary. Throughout this time we’ll hang out with people from all of the world, go sightseeing, go to The Great Church, worship, go to cultural programs, go to famous cities and popular tourist sites, and of course all of the things I don’t know yet!

Sitting in the Chicago airport headed to Zurich I was reading an article called “How Jesus Found Dory”. If you’ve ever seen the movie called Finding Dory you know exactly where this is going but if not.. Finding Dory is a Disney movie about how a fish named Dory (the Dory from Finding Nemo) finds her parents after years of searching for them with memory loss. This article speaks to people who have felt pretty lost in their faith and how we as god’s children can find Jesus in our everyday lives. While I have a pretty loyal relationship with God, I have been in a season of a struggle with pursuit in the last couple weeks. I’m praying as I arrive in Hungary that I meet more of god’s children and more of his creation. That I find Jesus everywhere I look. I pray that I can make relationships and learn from people of different cultures. I pray that I hear stories of God at work all over this world. But most of all I’m praying that I can intentionally be with God this week. God bless you, and prayers that you too feel God at work in your life this week.

Matthew 7:8 
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

We are crowned with JOY.

2 Corinthians 4 – 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

This week I have been so blessed to spend a couple days at home with the sweetest people. As many of you know I spent my little holiday turning 21, and was surprised by being able to see so many of my sweet friends. After a long week of traveling and celebrating I have been on the road again, but this time to Indianapolis! The Disciples of Christ are hosting a general assembly where we focus on worship, stories, educational resources, conversations, messages, and connections. Pretty much a fun get together where we study leadership and outreach, worship with one another, and have some very exciting meetings to vote on new business (please tell me you could sense the sarcasm). Following a couple of days in Indiana I’ll go back to Oklahoma, then to Hungary, then back to Oklahoma, and then home for the school year. While that may sound hectic, I feel as though this summer is scurrying by faster than I can keep up. After several loads of laundry, 30 hectic minutes of packing, various hard goodbyes, and a seven hour drive, I can’t help but think about how stinkin’ good our sweet father is.

My last week in Lawton was spent worrying about flying by myself, how to prepare for Hungary, and how I was going to spend my week at home. Many moments spent in pure anxiety because all of a sudden my simple little world was out of my control. Sheila, my host mom for the summer, walked me through the airport and told me exactly where to go and what I would need to do as we approached security (Just a quick note reminding you I’ve been living on my own since I was 17, and I still needed my “mom” to walk me through the airport). Following security checks, I entered a room with two different gate numbers. Panic quickly permeated my body as I couldn’t find which gate I needed to go to on my ticket, there were no signs, and I was LOST. By the grace of God, Nydia, a middle-aged woman held a very confident demeanor, but also looked like the mom- type who would know by the look on my face that I was in deep need of help. I turned to her desperate for answers and before I could say a word she asked if it was my first time flying. If you have ever been to the Lawton airport or if you know anything about small airports at all, you’d know that after the security check anyone can sit anywhere in that room, as we’re all going on the same flight. So, if you’re laughing at me at this point, I don’t blame you. Anyway, she assured me I wasn’t the first to be confused about things such as Lawton’s gate numbers (still not sure if that was true or if she was just trying to make me feel better). Nydia told me that we would have to wait another half an hour until we could board so just like any good mom-type would, she entertained this lost kid until we were able to board. She told me all about her childhood in New York and how she got involved in the military. She told me about her husband, their 38 years of marriage, and their three children. She told me about her father-in-law who just passed away in Puerto Rico, and she is still grieving with his death. How her mother-in-law still lives there and even after 93 years of age she spends her days walking to the grocery store and making meals for herself and washes her laundry by hand. Nydia told me about her experience with marriage and advice to me for how she and her husband have stayed happy after years together. After we got off the plane in Dallas, Nydia showed me how to look for my gate number, what transit to catch, things that I would have been so lost without her guidance. She finally told me she had to make her way to her gate as her plane was about to fly out in 20 minutes and she was across the airport. I was shocked that she had spent all that time helping me find where I needed to go when she had such little time for herself, and she simply just said “what are friends for”. After exchanging numbers and making plans to grab dinner once we both made our way back to Lawton, Nydia was off!

The next flight was from Dallas to Chicago, the longest flight of the three. I was most excited about this flight because each seat was supposed to have their own individual tv screen to fly to. Well, as life has it, this plane had to be taken in for maintenance and we got to board an older model. Now I’m usually one that can sit down with a book and be perfectly content for hours and hours, but, this day was not one of those days. And thankfully I was greeted by a man sitting in the center of the three seats in my aisle with a gracious smile. Cody was originally supposed to sit in an aisle seat three rows up. However, he gave up his seat to a little girl so she could sit with her two friends. Now, Cody wasn’t a little guy by any means. He was a biker man who was easily 6ft and pure muscle. And even though he gave up his nice seat for a small little center seat, he still greeted me with a smile. The entirety of my flight was spent laughing and pondering worldly thoughts with sweet Cody, all the way to the windy city. Cody told me the trip he was taking to Wisconsin was for work, however, he was very excited to spend his nights roaming the city for good pubs. He told me about growing up in Reno but currently living in Tennessee. Cody works for Walmart and holds random construction jobs through his city. He loves playing on his pool league and recently won a state championship. Cody told me all about his plans for an upcoming vacation to Honolulu Hawaii in August and will spend his time biking on his Harley, hiking mountains, and visiting waterfalls. He told me all about his best friends little girl that has severe down syndrome, that inspired him to fundraise $3,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network in one day alone. We laughed about the shows we both love and ended up annoying the people around us with our outbursts of laughter. We ended our plane trip by Cody asking if he could pray for me and my trip to Hungary. He asked me to please stay safe in Europe and said I would be in his thoughts.

Thanks to Jesus, I’ve spent my life surrounded with some of the best company, unexpected fellowship, friends and family that have celebrated and encouraged me in all that I do and all that I want out of life. I’ve felt so incredibly blessed to live the life I do, with the best people. This last week I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 21st birthday with some of that company. Now, if you have a summer birthday (especially close to a holiday) you have simply come to terms with the fact that your birthday just isn’t fun. But I decided I was going to make the day the best I possibly could. I had the privilege of teaching at First Christian in Cedar Falls, then went out to lunch with my family. Due to my grandpa having some health issues he couldn’t make it to lunch so we decided to celebrate with cake out at his house. Thinking nothing of it I made my way home with Calvin, simply thinking I was going to celebrate with a few friends. When I got home I was astonished by THE BEST BIRTHDAY surprise a July baby could ever ask for! I was gifted with a surprise party where friends came from far and wide just to see me. While I’ve felt SO blessed within my life, I felt extra blessed that day knowing I had people who are so for me. My sweet friends had been planning this party for months, all because they love me so. Wow, God is so good and I’m so fortunate he blessed my life with the greatest people.

This last week on vacation, meaning the moment I left security at the airport, up until the moment I’ve been writing this, God has crowned my life with joy. Attending General Assembly as opened my eyes to the Disciples commitment to our covenant of peace, justice, and love, to learn about our duty to support and love one another. This conference has me thinking about all of the different ways I have felt absolutely inspired to seek how god works within the ministries I get the opportunity to see on a daily basis or even hear about in people’s stories. It has given me a chance to see how we as brothers and sisters in Christ do have every opportunity to take care of those around us, of seeking justice for the oppressed, to rise up with our neighbors and to answer the challenge to seek unity and compassion in this world. It made me think about why I am involved in ministry, why I choose to write here every week. The purpose of this blog is to show whoever stumbles across a post that GOD shows up in a fragmented world with joy. And I hope you can see by a short story of one little week in my 21 years of life, he has crowned my life with that promise. God says in 2 Corinthians 4 “8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.” If there is one hope I have for this world, it’s that we as humans can acknowledge that this life is hard but we are capable, in all walks of life, to stand up to the detrimental to say there is no darkness that our God cannot bring light. If we can intentionally seek joy from our father, we can prove that his love and light fully counterman all injustice and all discrimination and all prejudices. All stereotypes, all bullies, all accusers, all evil. God is peace, God is hope, God is salt, and God is alive. And God is working. God crowns us with joy. And my story is just a little remnant of Him working to heal a fragmented world.


What’s yours?