Getting to a Place of Honesty

From the get-go, I have to tell you that I am self-plagerizing most of this post.  (To be honest with you, the idea of “self-plagerizing” seems completely dumb, but it’s a real thing, and according to ethics, I have to tell you that this is not the first time many of these words have been typed out and I’m supposed to cite the original source…totally dumb.) So, just so you know, this post is a reprocessed version of a VERY low-key talk I gave to a group of women last week. Some, though a minimal amount, of the words are literally copy and pasted from my notes, but most, though not all, of the thoughts are completely recycled.

All right, now that the annoying part is over…

Over the past few years, I’ve been traveling though a tremendously weird season in my life – a season of asking myself and God a lot of hard questions. Questions concerning who I am in this somewhat new season of motherhood, questions concerning my purpose right now, questions concerning why I struggle with the things I’ve been struggling with, and, mostly, questions about God’s character – mainly surrounding the area, of “If God is good, then why does he allow really bad things to happen to the most vulnerable of people?” It’s a question, that I felt as though I had always had to the answer to – really, I think it was something that had never really bogged me down, so I just didn’t stop to think about it – but then, for whatever reason, the perfect stream of events seemed to happen, and I found myself really struggling with the question.

If God is good, then why?

I mean, it’s been one heck of a season…and it hasn’t been fun.

A few months ago, my husband and I were driving home (or to, I can’t remember) New Mexico, and my husband started talking to me about this “wearisome season.” He challenged me in my approach to wrestling through things (basically, he pointed out that I wasn’t wrestling at all – I had given up on seeking God and wise counsel concerning the question) and that he was concerned about how my questions were manifesting themselves in my life – in my actions, thoughts and words.

So, encouraged my him, I opened up to my community group about it. I asked that they pray for me as I prayed for my own heart, and then, later that week, I did it. I prayed.

Being a Christian for a while now, I knew that prayer was going to play an instrumental part in “getting through” this wearisome season, but I think that, deep-down, I still had my questions about God’s character and, therefore, wondered if praying to Him was the right thing to do. I think I felt bad about my questions and, therefore, felt conflicted about talking with Him about them. Could I really pray to someone who I questioned? Could I be completely honest with Him about one of my messiest places? What would happen?

The truth is, I’m not the only one who has ever gone through a difficult season. And I’m definitely not the only one who has ever asked God questions.

In the book of Psalms, we see a group of poems, songs or prayers called the “Laments,” and these psalms are…well…kind of depressing. But it is here, more than in any other place in scripture, where I personally have found some of the greatest examples of what it means to be truly honest with God. I mean, in these laments, I see bluntness and full-throttled transparency, which ultimately has taught me that I don’t have to place boundaries on my honesty with God.

I mean, let’s look at Psalm 13:1-4.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.”

Most scholars believe that David wrote this Psalm. Although scholars don’t know the exact context of this Psalm, just from reading it, we can sense what David is going through. He’s sorrowful – maybe even completely depressed – feeling somewhat abandoned by God (see note below), and we even get a sense of confusion.

But the point is, David is honest with God about these things – he is honest with God about his despair and his questions in the midst of trials. 

In Psalm 55:1-15, we read another Psalm thought to be written by David. In this Psalm, David expresses a lot of intense things to God. You should definitely read it yourself, but just in an overview we see that in verse 2, he says, “Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan because of the noise of my enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked.” In verses 4 & 5, we read, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me […] horror overwhelms me.” And in verses 12 & 13, we find out the source of all of David’s discomfort when he writes, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me – then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me – […] But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.”

Here, we see David being honest with God about hurt, rejection, oppression, and fear. We also see him being honest with God about the betrayal of a friend. Whether that betrayal was caused by King Saul’s desperate pursuit for David’s life in 1 Samuel or his son Absalom’s conspiracy to steal the kingship from David in 2 Samuel, we can’t be sure, but because of these things, we know that David is not a stranger to being betrayed by someone close to him. AND he’s honest with God about it. 

And laments like this just keep happening…here’s one more.

In Psalm 51, believed to be written by David after he was confronted about committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband to cover it up, we see David being honest with God about his sin, the impact his sin has had on his life, he desire for forgiveness and cleanliness, and his request for restoration.

I mean, it’s heavy stuff.

The great thing, though, is that these somewhat pessimistic laments don’t end here (though I believe that honesty is a beautiful thing). Actually, these laments tend to end on a positive note – in declarations of who God really is.

In Psalm 13:5&6, we read this…

“But I have 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.”

In Psalm 55:22 we read this…

“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and will will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

And in Psalm 34, which is well believed (though not for certain) to be written after David confessed his sin with Bathsheba and his sin of murder to God, we read this…

“I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all of my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. […] The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (v. 4, 5, and 16).

In all of the above verses, we see that David is honest with God about things that are really bogging him down. He is confessing sin, describing hurt, asking questions, and wrestling with God about why things are the way they are, and ultimately, in this, he finds the rest, peace and relief only the Lord can provide. Now, the Lord doesn’t always change his circumstances – David still had to run from Saul and his son Absalom is killed in battle, and God allows one of his other sons to die as an infant because of his sin with Bathsheba – but God communes with David’s soul, reminds him of who He is, and He gives David the strength to carry on.

Turning to God in prayer or song, takes David out of his own head – out of his own self-dependency – and reminds him of who God is and that He can be trusted.

This was my experience, too.

When I prayed to God – when I stopped trying to cope by myself and was actually honest with him about my concerns, my doubts, my questions, my sin, my lack of understanding, my frustration, and my pain – it felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted. Just to be clear, my circumstances didn’t completely change. I still see tremendous hardship and loss the lives of those I love. I still mourn at the death of innocent life, and the injustices that kill and keep people enslaved. Those things – the things that still cause me to question sometimes – are still happening, but in prayer – in being honest with God – I was reminded that He is God and I am not and my heart began to reflect upon and understand the idea of his goodness once again.

And more than anything, being honest with God in prayer allowed me to stop depending upon myself – my own coping mechanisms, rationalizations, compartmentalization, distractions, etc. – and forced me to instead lean into God. I mean, He is the one who knows and understands everything.

So, what are you struggling with that you need to talk to God about? How are you trying to depend upon yourself instead of depending upon God?

God is big enough to handle our hardships – we don’t have to run from Him or hide our questions, concerns, emotions, sins or struggles. I mean, in reality, He already knows they are there.

God is big enough to handle our hardships – so be honest.

* The laments contain a lot of emotion – a lot of feeling words – and we know that just because someone feels something, doesn’t make it true. So, just because David felt as though God had abandoned him doesn’t mean God really did. However, God created us with emotions and God himself has emotions, so being honest with God about them – regardless of whether or not your very real feelings are rooted in the truth of the situation – seems to be a part of the process of being transparent with God.


When You’re About to be a Parent, and You’re a Little Scared.

I’m officially 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant, which feels…weird.

I think some girls grow up dreaming of the day when they will be a mom. Some of these girls even practice their skills early by playing with baby dolls. They nurture them, feed them, change their diapers, and sing them bedtime songs. They name them cute little baby names, walk them around in strollers, burp them and swaddle them in pastel-colored blankets.

Picture from maternity shoot at 33-ish weeks pregnant. Photo credit to Brittany Strebeck Photography

I wasn’t one of those little girls.

As a little girl, all I wanted to be was a country music singer. Being a mom, at the time, seemed so boring, and way too normal, and the way I played with dolls followed suit. All of my baby dolls, through the art of imagination, were instantly turned into adults. I gave them adult haircuts (if they had hair), and gave them all occupations (most of which involved the music industry). They all had various relationships and interests, and, for the most part, were all given robust personalities.

They didn’t need to be nurtured. They weren’t babies. 

As I got older, and began watching TV shows, I remember liking the parenting style of Lorelai Gilmore, and I decided that if I was going to be a mom, I would like to be a hip, young one like her. The problem is, as I watched the show in later years, I realized that what I truly wanted was a daughter who liked to do and talk about the same things as me. I wanted a best friend. This, unfortunately, is probably not the best motivation for having a kid.

So why am I telling you all of this? Simply because I think this is part of the reason why being 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant feels weird – and really scary at times. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO happy that I’m pregnant. I believe children are a blessing, and I am SO thrilled that I get to experience being a mom (and am equally as thrilled to see my husband be a dad). I’m SO excited to get to know our little guy’s personality, watch him grow, and take a very active part in his development. However, this doesn’t change the fact that I’m a little scared. Give me a kid that I can reason and talk with, and I’ll be pretty comfortable, but what am I supposed to do with a baby?

Oh boy.

Over these past 39-and-a-half weeks, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the situation I am in – and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to pray. Every time I pray, it seems as though God reminds me of three important things that have tremendously helped me exhale in the midst of anxiety (I promise this post will come full-circle, just give it time):

Number One: God has already numbered the hairs on our little guy’s head (Luke 12:6-7).

For the first 8 months of pregnancy I was extremely nervous that something was going to happen to our baby boy in the womb, and this truth greatly calmed my nerves. You see, God created this little boy in my belly (sure, he used the mister and I in this event, too), and in this process, God intricately pieced together his frame and decided which genes would collide to create his very personal DNA (Psalm 139:13-16). The fact that God knows the number of hairs on his head points to the fact that God cares about our baby. Knowing God cares about him, helps me let go of all of the “what ifs.” There’s so much that happens in the womb – so much I can’t see. This truth allows me to exhale and rest in the fact that God knows him, and he’s watching over him when I can’t fully.

Number Two: Our baby boy is more God’s than he is ours (Colossians 1:15-17).

I have several friends who have experienced the deep sorrow of miscarriage. Some of my friends have even had to deliver babies stillborn. Throughout my pregnancy, these stories have haunted me. They have filled me with fear and have caused me to question how I would respond if God allowed us to experience the same thing. Ultimately, however, I know that our baby is more God’s than he is ours. If God is over our lives, if God is the one who allows our lungs to take in air, if God is the one who keeps our hearts beating, then he is most definitely over the life of the baby in my womb. If God allows for our baby to die, then I have to trust that God knows what he’s doing – even if it hurts and even if I don’t understand why. God loves our baby boy more than the Mister and I ever could, and this is a wonderful truth.

Number Three: I’m not created to do this alone.

This one brings me back to the beginning of this post (finally). I still have a lot of fears. To be honest, I am kind of scared to be alone at home with a baby for an extended period of time. Sure, part of this fear is linked to the fact that babies are delicate and I could easily do something wrong, but, more than that, my fear is rooted in my tendency to become easily bored and my desire to always be doing something outside of the home. As I said earlier, I wasn’t a kid who dreamed of being a mom – and I most defiantly never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. My mom worked full-time, most of my friend’s mom’s worked full-time, and I wanted to work full-time. It was that simple. However, when I thought through things a few years ago, I decided that although I WANT to work full-time (that would still be the easiest path for me personality wise), I would probably only work part-time while our kids are really young. And, truthfully, this decision kind of terrifies me. I’m scared being at home with a baby is going to make me depressed. I’m scared it’s going to continually make me feel drained, and I’m scared I’ll grow to be ineffective in the out-of-home world.

BUT the truth is, I’m not alone in any of it. 

There are going to be hard days, days when I want to scream, and days when I might have to break away for some “me” time, but ultimately, I’m not alone in it. The Lord says that he will continually guide me (Psalm 31:3; Proverbs 3:5-6), that He is the vine, my source of nourishment and life (John 15:5), and that he knows my situation fully (Psalm 139:2). There is no way I can be the mom I want to be by myself. I’m not as independent as I think I am. I desperately need Him. 

I know my story isn’t unique. I know there are others out there like me. If you’re one of those people, take heart. God is a good, He loves you, He knows what he’s doing, and He will walk with you through it all. Exhale and be comforted.

(Disclaimer: Whether a mom decides to work full-time, part-time, or stay at home with her kids is a very personal decision. No part of this post is meant to say that one way is better than the other – nor do I think the bible gives us enough to go on for any stay-at-home v. don’t-stay-at-home position. Okay…sorry. Pet peeve moment. I’m done.)

The Inevitable Thorn of Waiting

FullSizeRenderThis whole year the Mister and I have been waiting – or it feels that way, at least.

In December of last year, we found out that the Mister needed to have another leg surgery. We weren’t sure whether or not the surgery would work, but we were hopeful. We waited and we waited, and then June happened, the surgery was done, and we are now waiting to see if the surgery actually worked. In August, I had my blood taken and it came back positive for Tuberculosis. In the midst of thinking through the worst case scenario, we waited. We waited on chest X-rays, more test results, and ultimately, for the “all clear” note we got at the end of September. (It was a false alarm.) In October, we found black mold in our apartment, and if you know the story at all, you know we had to wait a month-and-a-half for the whole thing to be resolved. Toward the end of October, we began exploring new job opportunities for the Mister, and we’re still waiting to see what will eventually come from his search. In January, the price of oil continued to plummet, and, like many others in the industry, we are waiting for the storm to pass so that life can get back to normal.

And these are just the things I can tell you about.

If you’ve lived life at all, you know that waiting is just a part of if. It’s the inevitable thorn that pierces our flesh at random times throughout our journeys here on earth. And I have yet to meet someone who totally enjoys it.

A couple of days ago, I read a story about waiting in 1 Samuel – and it stirred my soul.

In this story, the Israelites are at war with their neighboring enemies, and Saul (king of the Israelites) is commanded to go to Gilgal to wait for Samuel (the prophet of God) to come and offer sacrifices and give instruction to Saul on what he and his troops should do (10:8). A couple of battles later, we see Saul leading trembling Israelite solders through Gilgal and he begins to wait for Samuel’s arrival and instruction. At the same time, the Philistines (one of Israel’s enemies) had positioned themselves in a near by town with thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen/troops (13:5) causing the Israelites to scramble for their lives.

After waiting seven days, Saul begins to freak out. He observes his troops, which are becoming more and more frightened, surveys the might of the Philistine army, and ultimately decides to take matters into his own hands. He “forces” himself and offers the sacrifices that Samuel was supposed to offer (13:12) thinking that, by doing so, he would speed up God’s process.

Basically, Saul got tired of waiting.

He saw what was going on around him and panicked. And unfortunately, his need to have control, cost him greatly. Eventually, the kingdom was taken from Saul’s hands and given to someone else.

I like this story because I see myself in it.

I hate feeling uncomfortable. I hate hard emotion, and I hate feeling stressed. And in moments when I am feeling these things, I seek to alleviate all of the tension in whatever way I possibly can. I force myself, and I seek to control my circumstances. The problem is, by doing this, I miss out on what the Lord has for me in the moments of tension. I miss the learning, I miss the growth, and I potentially miss the opportunity to know Him more. Sometimes, just like Saul, I even make things worse.

When I choose not to wait, I take whatever God had intended for me and stick it in a corner so that I can move on to whatever I think is best. The problem is, I don’t know what’s best. I’m not God, and I’m not all-knowing.

There is an awesome poem/story in a Bible study that I’m doing right now called, The Thorn. It goes like this:

“I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne and begged Him for one priceless gift that I could call my own. I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart, I cried, ‘But Lord, this is a thorn! And it has pierced my heart.’ He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.’ I took it home, and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore, as long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more. I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace. He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides His face.” – Martha Snell Nichols as cited by Cynthia Heald

As I reflect on my life, I find so much truth here.

That time when I ended the relationship because I knew I was supposed to even though I didn’t want to and had to wait years to actually be able to move on. That time when I desperately wanted to move jobs, but I knew the timing was bad for multiple people, and I had to stick it out. The time when I needed to take a break from dating for the sake of my own heart, even though I didn’t really want to. In all of these moments, I have learned something. In all of these times I grew tremendously. And in all of these times I saw God’s faithfulness – I saw how His plan is so much better than my own.

I’ve also seen the opposite.

I’ve seen the times when I’ve entered into a relationship because I was sick of being single. I’ve seen the times when I’ve wanted an expensive article of clothing and purchased it even though I couldn’t afford it. I’ve seen the times when I opened my mouth to make sure that people heard me because I thought that I needed to control my reputation. And all of these things ended badly. People got hurt, problems were caused, and I regretted it later.

I’m not saying that everything is a simple equation.  I do think God’s grace does meet us in the midst of our need to be in control and the bad decisions that come from it. At the same time, I do believe that we can miss out on things because we choose to rush to the better feeling – to the thing that will make us feel more content, happier, or more loved in the moment. I do think there is more to the waiting than just the pain and hardship it causes. God wants to give good gifts to His children, and sometimes what is gained through waiting is in fact just that – a good and perfect gift. It’s a gift that is actually for our good and not just a temporary bandage that makes life on earth more comfortable. It’s a gift that grows us, matures us, and allows us to know Him more.

We all have random thorns, for waiting is a given in this life. Some of us are waiting to finally be able to purchase a house in a responsible way, some of us are waiting to be able to conceive or adopt, some of us are waiting to get married, and some of us are waiting for our children to make better decisions. I’m waiting on the things mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. All of these things are wonderful, and are all worth waiting for. The question is: How are we waiting? Are we seeking to control things so that we feel better right now or are we relying upon the Lord to give us what we need in the moment so that we can persevere to the end of whatever it is He’s doing?

This journey can be hard. There’s no doubt about that. At times I feel totally out of control and a little bit clueless, but I’m praying that I am able to resist the urge to take short cuts. I’m praying that I remember that waiting is used by the Lord in powerful ways, and that that Lord provides me with true life.

“The greatest danger is that we would become impatient and miss the blessing.”         – Charles Spurgeon

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” – Isaiah 30:18

**Thanks to Cynthia Heald for the awesome resources and insights she provides in thinking through interesting topics like this one. (Her study “Becoming a Woman of Strength” really helped me here.)

Those Dang Hills. Three Year Reflection.

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Photo creds to my awesome mom.

On December 29th, the Mister and I celebrated 3 years of marriage.

I have always found it helpful to imagine life as though it were the never-ending training grounds for a marathon. I know this sounds weird, but just hang with me for a bit. As I run through life, there are easier moments, those moments on flat and smooth ground, and then there are moments that are dreadfully difficult, when it takes all that I have and all that I don’t have to persevere. I like to call those moments “the hills,” and my theory is that I grow when I run them. Although my life is easier and more enjoyable when I’m running the flat land, I know it’s the hills that make me a stronger “athlete.”

I think you get my point.

When I got married, I thought marriage was going to be easy. Obviously, I figured the Mister and I would fight and get in disagreements, but overall, I thought it was going to be this magical land of never-ending movie nights, flowers, fun trips, and exciting dates. When I envisioned married life, I never really thought about the big decisions, the struggle for work/life balance, or the bills. Others had told me to set realistic expectations, and I thought I understood, but I really didn’t “get it” until I got into it. Overall, I thought marriage was going to be flat land. I thought it was going to be a light jog with an easy breeze in my face.

Over the past few years, the Mister and I have faced a lot of hills.

When we first got married, I had to sorrowfully learn that marriage was not all about me. It was not about how well I was being pursued, or how I felt, or what I wanted to do. That was a hard hill to run up, and I’m pretty sure I got upset more than a few times. Eight months into marriage, I learned that the unexpected can happen, and sometimes doing the right and healthy thing means giving up worldly wealth and “success.” That hill was interesting, and perhaps one of the most trying for us as a couple. Moving across the country three times in two years was also challenging, and I lost my breath multiple times in the process.

We have even had a lot of hills this past year. We’ve had unexpected surgeries, a tuberculosis scare (false alarm), an epic black mold battle, multiple situations which have caused us to re-evaluate plans we thought were certain, and health issues which have made us press pause on some things we hoped to be able to do.

I’m not sure anyone anywhere enjoys “the hills” of life, but I have to tell you, this year I’ve been extremely grateful for them.

This year I have seen the fruits of past hills and have seen the beauty in the present ones. I have seen how our communication has improved; how we both have grown in humility and in our readiness to seek and offer forgiveness. I have seen our appreciation for one another expand encompassing the parts of each other we used to find annoying, and I’ve seen us grow in our support of each other as we have had to make difficult decisions. Although we have both had our not-so-pretty moments, I have seen us let go of control knowing that we are not responsible for who the other person is. All we can do is love each other – care, support, encourage, serve, pray for, and delight in each other – and work on ourselves along the way. Most of all, we have both grown in our recognition that we cannot run through life, and live the way we want to, on our own. We have both come to realize that in order to have the marriage we want, we need help. We can’t do it on our own. We need community, we need each other, and, most of all, we need the Lord. Only He can change our stubborn hearts. And He continually offers us grace.

I’ve been running hills my entire life. I’m pretty sure we all have.

The funny thing is, as much as I hate the hills, each hill leads to another hill. As soon as I get over one hill, I can expect to experience another hill over the horizon. In fact, the way I face the hill in front of me helps to determine the hills I will face in the future.

There have been times in my past when I’ve wanted to take the easier route. I’ve wanted to take the side road instead of the hill. I’ve wanted to take the flat lands.

For example, in college, I was tempted to enter into a relationship with someone that was not right for me. My desire to be in a relationship was strong, for I craved the comfort that came along with having a boyfriend, and I liked the guy a lot, which made the decision even harder. However, instead of taking the easy route, I took the hill. I talked to my friends about it, and by God’s grace chose to remain single. (Believe me when I say, there were plenty of times I took the easier route…plenty of times…but I figured I needed to supply you with an example of the opposite.)

The hills typically suck.

Running the hills this year has not been any more fun than running the hills I faced in the past, but this year, more than any other year of our marriage, I have been thankful for the opportunity to run them with my husband. Our marriage looks differently than it did year one. We have had a few things taken away from us, and we have had to give up many of our hobbies because of health issues, but in the midst of it all, we have been able to bank on God’s love for us and His purpose in our lives. We’ve been able to rely on our mutual desire to serve God and grow in Him. We’ve been able to rejoice in our imperfections, for it has reminded us of our never-ending dependence upon our Creator. By God’s grace we have learned to love each other more and have grown in the way we express it.

I guess what I’m saying is this: The hills are awful, but I have come to believe that they are worth it.

It is worth the sweat. It is worth the tears. And it is worth the struggle. Lace up your tennis shoes, stay hydrated, and don’t give up.

I’m not sure what hills the Mister and I will have to face in the future, but I know that our marriage is stronger today because of the hills we have faced in the past. Although I wish we did not have to face some of the hills we faced, I am thankful.

“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1

Gratitude: Childhood Homes and God’s Faithfulness

Gratitude: Childhood Homes and God’s Faithfulness
Me in front of my childhood home. Please excuse my tired face – a late night T-Swift concert and an early morning flight back to Boston don’t mix well!

For the past seven days, I’ve been trying to write this dang post.

So many thoughts have been swirling around in my mind, and I swear I’ve written multiple paragraphs just to erase them. I’ve gotten frustrated, I’ve gotten sad, and I’ve gotten super sentimental, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find my words and none of my thoughts seemed to fit together. (If you’re asking yourself why I put so much thought and energy into something I don’t get paid for, just don’t. I agree with you…and I don’t know why.)

A few days ago, I was driving home from school, and a song came over the radio. It was a song I had sang multiple times before, but for some reason, the words nearly moved me to tears. I turned up the radio, closed my eyes (don’t worry, at this point I was parked in the driveway), and sang at the top of my lungs.

“Christ alone; Cornerstone. Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love. Through the storm, He is Lord; Lord of all.”

Oh…it is so true.

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to my childhood home. Before walking out of its doors for the last time, I sat in “my” closet and reflected on my life. I thought about the day we moved in, and my first night in “my” bedroom. I remember waking up confused as to where I was, but then suddenly distracted by the need to find animal shapes within the texturing of the walls.

I was seven.

I thought about “my” neighbors. The ones we shared a fence with constantly saw my little-kid face peeking over in hopes of a conversation. The other neighbors, the ones on the right, basically adopted me as their own. They taught me how to drive in snow, helped me wrap Christmas presents, and allowed me to hang out at their place whenever I got bored. They spent holidays with us, and we did so with them.

I thought about my family. How I used to sleep in a sleeping bag on my big sister’s floor at night just so that I could be near her (or because I was scared or something). I idolized her when I was little. I thought about all of the backyard games I played with my dad, and all of the times I made cinnamon rolls in the kitchen with my grandma. I thought about shopping trips and concerts with my mom, and of course…I thought about all of the times I got in trouble and was forced to do manual labor. (I mean, I’m basically the reason why the house is still standing. Your welcome, dad!)

I thought about my friends. I thought about my life-long friend K-pomp and how we liked to play a little game called “NUR” in the hallways of the house. (My parents still don’t know what the game consists of, nor will they ever.) Whether it was building high school floats in the garage, planning high school pranks, staying up all night long for sleepovers, or organizing various clubs, the house seemed to stand for openness and friendship. In fact, sometimes it felt like a hotel. My sister’s friends were always living with us.

Lastly, I thought about my life.

In “my” closet there was a stack of journals dating back from middle school and continuing on through my post-college life. I flipped through them and found all sorts of interesting things such as song lyrics, fictional writings, poems, and, most importantly, pages and pages of contemplations regarding theology and the various circumstances I had walked through. It was fascinating.

There were times in my life when I doubted my ability to ever be “ok” again. There were times of extreme heartbreak, overwhelming confusion, inner chaos, and mind-blowing loss. There were also times of pure joy, utmost excitement, and abundant peace.

But through it all, God was faithful.

During the times of forgetting who I was in high school, He was there. During the bad breakup, He was there. During the loss, He was there. And He knew where I was, too. He knew I was confused and insecure. He knew I was sad, and He knew I was doubting. He knew I wanted anything but what it was that I was going through.

But, He didn’t take me out of those situations immediately.

Instead, He let me wrestle, He let me cry, He let mourn, and He let question Him. He let me come to him with nothing but my confusion and brokenness to offer.

And I’m thankful for it. For in Him, I found a God who is loving, forgiving, life-giving, and faithful. And without the hard moments, I’m not sure I would have ever known God or myself the way that I do today.

He is faithful. He has been working since the beginning of my life to bring me closer to Him – to allow me to fall deeper in love with who He is. Sometimes it has sucked. It has meant awkward conversations of confessing faults and asking for forgiveness. It has meant ending relationships that have been gut-wrenchingly hard to end. It has meant telling myself the truth and being honest with others when all I wanted to do was run and hide. It’s meant giving up some things that I thought I really wanted – and some things that I thought I needed.

But good gosh…I’m SO thankful.

Although I wish I didn’t have to learn some of the things I learned the way that I learned them – I still learned. And, today, I’m filled with gratitude over the fact that God loves me enough to teach me things.
For, a God who loves us is a God who loves us enough to not give us everything we think we need or everything we desperately want. A God who truly loves us is a God who gives us what’s best for us even if we get mad and go down fighting. I mean, if He didn’t love us, He simply wouldn’t care. He’d let us do whatever we want regardless of the consequences to ourselves or others. He wouldn’t work on our character or the innermost parts of our being. He’d let us become whoever we want to become, even if it wasn’t our best.

Life seems to be this ever-changing, always revolving, memory making thing. Some days it feels easy and smooth, where as other days it can feel like the Texas Giant. (If you’ve ever ridden it before, you know what I’m talking about…it’s brutal.) We can’t know all of the answers to why things happen the way they do, and sometimes things simply don’t make sense to us. Through it all, however, we can hold onto the fact that God knows. He knows where we are, and He knows what He’s doing.

He’s faithful. And He loves us.

Today, I’m 29.

My life is far from figured out, and I’m sure it will always have its hard moments. I might continue to struggle with things that I’ve struggled with for years, and I’m sure there will be times of confusion, but may this serve as a reminder to myself that God is faithful. He knows what’s up. He’s for me, and He loves me. He gives strength to the weak, life to the dead, and peace in the midst of the storm.

“And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat…And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was great calm…And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” – Mark 4:35-41

Brokenness and “The Unmaking”

Photo creds to
Photo creds to

Writing has seemed more like a chore lately.

The hustle and bustle of ending semesters, beginning semesters, term papers, textbook reading, socializing, and driving back to Texas for the summer has definitely not helped anything, but ultimately that’s not what has caused my annoyance with deep thinking.

The truth is, life has just been hard…and it has completely worn me out.

Marriage has seemed hard, friendships have seemed hard, school has seemed hard, and the transient lifestyle we have been living seems harder by the day. As if this isn’t enough, my own personal hang-ups and bad habits compact the problems making things…you guessed it…even harder.

Long story short, it’s been quite the ride, and I have been waiting for summer since the beginning of the year.

A few days ago, I was driving home from meeting a friend, when I heard a song by one of my favorite artists, Nichole Nordeman. The song is entitled The Unmaking, and it immediately drew me in:

“What happens now when all I’ve made is torn down? What happens next when all of You, is all that’s left?…

This is the unmaking, the beauty in the breaking. Had to lose myself to find out who You are. Before each beginning, there must be an ending. Sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars. This is the unmaking.”

The song spoke to me.

For the past few months, I have been trying to hold everything together. I have been wrestling with my past, while trying to make my present a dream. I’ve been relying upon my own strength, my own intellect, and my own power. I’ve been trying to be the best wife, a good friend, a diligent student, a secure person, and a faithful follower of Christ. I’ve been clinching my jaws and my fists and have been determined to make everything work out as planned.

The problem is, I have been failing miserably.

Although it sucks (let’s be real), I think this is why Nordeman’s words are so powerful.

Maybe life isn’t found in keeping everything together – maybe it’s found in acts of surrender and letting go. Maybe life is found in the unmaking – not in endless strivings to make life work.

This message is echoed through the old covenant and the new covenant, too. (That is, through the Old Testament law and Christ’s death in the New Testament).

Romans 7:7-13 and Galatians 3:19-29 explain that the law (the old covenant) produced helplessness in people. It showed people that their own self-effort was not enough to save themselves from sin. Their own darkness, insecurities and idolatrous habits still ruled in their hearts no matter how hard they tried. They just couldn’t be the people they needed to be in order to experience life.

The good news is, this brokenness – this desperate need in the hearts of God’s people – set the stage for the new covenant (Christ, His death, and resurrection).

The new covenant promised that God would forgive the sins of His people and that He would write His law on their hearts so that they would not forget them (Jeremiah 31:33 & 34). He also promised that He would give His people a “new Spirit” that would enable them to walk in His ways (Ezekiel 36:23-28).

I like how Cynthia Heald puts it:

“Had Christ come directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state and need of a savior.”

It’s clear. Faith begins with brokenness.

It begins with unbelief in yourself and your own ability to be all the things you want to be. It’s about believing you can’t do it alone.

You see, I want to be a lot of things.

I long to be a really kind and encouraging wife. I dream of being an effective counselor. I want to be a good friend, sister, and daughter – and one day, I hope to be a compassionate, intentional, nurturing, and loving mom. I want to be full of joy, and I want to see the best in people. I want to be physically healthy (not in a way that is consuming and idolatrous) and mentally free (free from anxiety and past hardships). I want to be a peaceful person who is not easily stressed out and a person whom people can trust. I want to be passionate about pursuing God and His calling in my life, and I want to exhibit patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and love to all I encounter. I want to be free from idols, and I desperately want to be less concerned about myself.

I want to be an investor in the things that really matter in this life.

The problem is, I do not have the power to change my heart.

Nordeman’s song was so powerful to me because it reminded me that I am incapable of being the person I want to be. The harder I try to change my heart, the more and more I am reminded of my inability to do so.

Brokenness. It’s all about brokenness.

It’s all about sitting in the rubble of the things you are trying to build, and realizing that you are in desperate need of help. It’s realizing you can’t do it alone.

These past few months I have been praying for transformation. I have been praying that God would help me be a better wife, friend, daughter, student, and follower of Christ. All the while, I have been doing what I can to make everything work. I have been coping and trying harder. Ultimately, I have been doing things my own way.

I have been praying for help, but I am not sure I truly believed I needed it.

Nordeman’s song reminded me that brokenness is beautiful.

In order to be whole, we have to be unmade. We have to have our self-made foundations torn down so that a new foundation can be laid – a foundation that is secure, and truly life-changing.

We can’t beat sin. We can’t beat death. And we can’t change our own hearts.

But God can. And He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit to help us. We are not alone.

Brokenness leads to surrender, which leads to faith, which leads to life. To be honest, I’m not sure it can happen any other way.

* Special thanks to the AWESOME work of Cynthia Heald, which has helped me navigate through the concept of God’s grace in the old and new covenants. Her words and insights truly encourage me. And of course Nichole Nordeman who has drawn me closer to the Lord through her music for the past 9 years.

The Beauty of Psalm 5

Psalm 5 is absolutely beautiful.

The Psalm provides a stunning picture of David’s vulnerability and need for God. The Psalm is a prayer – and throughout it, David reminds himself of truth and praises God for his steadfast love (v.7), His ability to provide refuge (11), and for the blessing God brings to those who trust in Him (v. 12).

My favorite part of the Psalm, however, comes in verse 8. Here, David cries out to the Lord for help:

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me” (ESV).

This prayer resonates with my heart.

My enemies may not be physical people, but I have some enemies.

Comfort tempts me to stick to my own schedule, my own plan, instead of submitting to God. My idol of acceptance lures me to alter who I am or what I think so that others will accept me more. Anger tries to convince me that relief is found in release, instead of remembrance of truth and words of love. Lies and negative self-talk seek to make me feel bad about myself – to disorient and distract me from the truth of who I really am in Christ. Security tries to convince me that money matters more than surrender, and discontentment aims to fill my mind with pessimism. Anxiety plays with me so that I seek refuge in myself, and my own clinched fists, instead of trusting God. Fear tempts me to stop moving so that I am stuck in places that are old, stale and dry. Loss begs me to despair.

You see, my enemies may not be people, but I have enemies. And sometimes they are fierce.

I’m thankful for David – for his truth, his boldness, and his confidence in God. You see, I think David got it.

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house.” – Psalm 5:7 (ESV)

David didn’t do anything to deserve God’s love. It wasn’t based on the good he had done, the skills he had been gifted with, or the successes he would have in the future. In fact, David did a lot of really bad things. He committed adultery, he murdered an innocent man, he lied, and, at times, he was gripped by passivity to the point of being an absent father and king.

Yet, David was covered by the grace of God. He rejoiced in the love of God and that love gave him the security he needed to cry out – to pray for rescue.

How easily I forget.

As Christians, we are not alone in fighting our enemies. We have a God who loves us, and because of that, we can boldly approach Him.

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” – Psalm 5:8 (ESV)

Cry out, remember, and trust. He can help. Exhale.

A Pile of Kleenexes, Dirty Dishes, and Psalm 3

A Pile of Kleenexes, Dirty Dishes, and Psalm 3

photoEarlier this week, a wise friend of mine encouraged me to feel.

I know it sounds weird, but my friend was right. I think sometimes I get carried away in analyzing things instead of stopping to realize what is really going on and how it is affecting me. The advice has truly blessed me this week – and I believe it was purely God’s way of guiding me toward Him.

Anyways, my friend’s advice led me to the book of Psalms. There is no doubt that one of the most emotion-filled books of the Bible is The Psalms. Written by men, such as Solomon, Moses, David, and a few others, who all walked through extremely difficult (and sometimes self-inflicted) circumstances, the book is full of extremely personal laments where longings are expressed and anger is not hidden. I mean, the writers let it all hang out, which I can appreciate.

This morning, I read Psalm 3 and was deeply encouraged.

When David wrote this Psalm, he was fleeing from Absalom, his own son, who was trying to kill him. (Yep. You read it correctly.) I don’t have space here to get into all of the details (check out 2 Samuel 13-19), but I’m sure you can imagine the sorrow in your head. Your son, who you love, is trying to kill you so that he can be king, and you are running cave-to-cave to save yourself. Yikes! Pretty rough…

Anyways, as David is resting in the desert somewhere, thinking about the situation, he writes Psalm 3.

“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God” (v. 1 & 2, ESV).

David feels alone. He’s being mocked. His own nation, the one God put him in charge of, is being taken from him by his own son who wants him dead, and many others are helping him do it. His own people, with his son leading, are trying to kill him. I’m sure he also felt betrayed, confused, and scared. (I’m not him, but I’m assuming.)

In the midst of the circumstances, and the emotion, David stops and remembers the Lord.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. […] I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. […] Salvation belongs to the Lord” (v.3, 5, & 8, ESV).

David remembers God is present, God provides comfort, God who sustains his life, and God can save him. Although things look bleak, and the cards seem stacked against him, David knows that the Lord can be trusted. And it moves David from a dark place, to a place of confidence in God.

As I read this Psalm, I thought about my own life.

This week I’ve been really sick. Some sort of cold has gotten the best of me, and my sleep has been greatly interrupted/nonexistent. I’m exhausted and I feel awful. On top of this, my house is a mess, I’m behind on schoolwork, I’m sorting through some heart issues, while trying to apply for internships, and the mister and I have another heavy thing on our plate, which I won’t mention here.

Now, I know this all seems small compared to what David had going on, or compared to what a lot of people have going on, but it’s big to me. It all feels pretty heavy, and I feel (or felt) quite overwhelmed.

Through this Psalm, however, I’m reminded that in the midst of my longings, hardships, struggles, pain, uncertainty, sickness, anxiety, and fear, God is present. I’m not alone.

Even when it feels as though nothing is going right, and everything is hard, I have hope. The Lord provides comfort – He “lifts my head.” When I’m fearful of being rejected, I have acceptance in the Lord. When I’m scared of what people might think if I speak up, I know the Lord holds me for eternity. When I have too much to do, and not enough time to do it, I know it’s okay. When I’m scared of what the future might hold in one particular area, I know the Lord is moving in it. Even though the cards seem stacked against me, God can be trusted.

Sometimes I think I sustain myself, but I don’t. It’s God who sustains me. Because of Him, I’m alive. Because of Him, my life on this earth has purpose.

He knows what’s going on. He can see past the pile of Kleenexes that seem to follow me, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the chaos of everything else. He can be trusted with it all.

The Lord is present. He provides comfort and refuge, and He sustains life.

Lord, may I rely upon you for strength, instead of myself. Help me rest in you as I trust that you are at work, even in the things I don’t quite understand.

“You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.” – Psalm 3:3

I feel grateful, confident, and full of peace.

Exhale. Find comfort. He knows where you are – and salvation belongs to him.

Cambridge Living and the Art of Balancing it All

Please excuse my outragiously large key collection. I'm a fan of keychains.
Please excuse my outragiously large key collection. I’m a fan of keychains.

In case you missed it (we’re not THAT cool, so you probably did)…

The mister and I arrived to our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 14th. I think we expected a little down time before school started, but from day one things have been pretty…um…insane.

In the past 3-and-a-half weeks we have been to IKEA 4 times (I will never go back again), unpacked what seems like 800 boxes, started school, attended 3 major HBS events and over 9 dinners, and have hosted a little shindig in our home. We’ve met people from Argentina, South Africa, China, Denmark, Russia, the Ukraine, and all sorts of other places! It’s been utterly chaotic.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love our new friends, I am thrilled to have our own place, and I actually, for one of the first times in my life, feel as though we are right where we should be (which is amazingly peaceful). The transition has just been a little more difficult than anticipated.

Things have been moving fast, and the mister and I have been trying to figure out how to balance it all.

Recently, this dilemma has led me to ask myself a couple of important questions:

Who am I? And what type of person do I want to be?

Now, before I keep going, I need to let you in on one thing: Caleb’s grad school is HIGHLY social. (I cannot emphasize this enough.) Every night there are at least two events or gatherings that people can take part in. On top of that, it is highly recommended that you participate in most (if not all) of the events because you don’t want to miss out on building relationships. Business school is all about networking, right?

Anyways, it keeps us quite busy and makes us feel pressure to run faster than we want to – or faster than we probably should.

Okay…back to it.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a big event for Caleb’s school. Since we had been going like crazy for two weeks straight, and had several other events that same weekend, Caleb and I decided that it was probably best to decline the offer and rest a little bit.

I freaked out.

“What if we don’t make friends?! What if we are left out of the next event?! What if we become loners?! What if life moves on without us?! We are SUPPOSED to go to everything.”

Caleb calmed me down, and I started thinking…

Who am I? Who do I want to become?

Here’s what I came up with:

Who am I?

  • I am a child of God, meaning I am accepted by Him. He doesn’t look at me and say, “Lindsey, you need to get your act together and do ‘this or that’ so that I approve of you.” He approves of me already. He chose me before the beginning of time to know Him and walk with Him. God, the King of the Universe, accepts me. That’s big. (Ephesians 2:11-22; Romans 8:38&39; Ephesians 1:3-10)
  • I am loved by a good God. The God I follow is worthy of my trust. He holds the world in his hands and works within it for his glory and the good of those who love him. If God is for me, who can be against me? He’s in control, he’s good, and he loves me. What should I possibly fear? (Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:28-37; Lamentations 3:25; Proverbs 19:21)
  • I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a peer, and a student. I am a woman trying to figure out how to walk with God, love others well, and spend my time wisely.
  • I am a woman who forgets all of these things often and ends up making the things of this earth god. (And may I note that every time I do this, I end up being let down.)

What type of person do I want to be?

  • I want to be someone who loves those around me well and isn’t concerned with being friends with a million people. Friends are a gift. My family is a gift. I can love a small number of people well, but beyond that, I’m incapable. (James 1:22)
  • I want to be someone who lives with a sense of inner peace because my hope and identity are placed in Christ, and not in this world or the circumstances it brings. (Romans 5:1; Colossians 3:15; Romans 5: 2-5; Proverbs 10:28; Romans 15:13)
  • I want to be a restful person, or a person who isn’t stressed out because I have too much on my plate. I want to have enough time to breathe and seek God so that I can enjoy others without thinking about myself, or my to-do list. (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 5:16)
  • I want to be a good wife. I want to carve out time so that my husband and I can enjoy each other, build into each other, and both seek the Lord through his word and prayer. I want to love him well, and in order to do so I must have time and energy.
  • I want to be free. Free from addictions, obsessive worries, and idols. I want to trust the Lord with everything within me. (Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13; John 10:10; Philippians 4:6&7)

So what now?

The truth is, I can’t do it by myself.

Jeremiah 17:5&6 reads like this: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an inhabited salt land.”

The person I want to be requires prayer, thought and effort. It takes relying upon the Lord’s grace to silence the idols of this world (acceptance of others, people’s praise, worry, control, money, worldly and temporary success, and popularity), and remembering that God can be trusted and He knows what’s best for me. It’s remembering that the world can be deceiving, but in Christ there’s life that is true and thirst quenching.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7&8

My point in all of this is this: sometimes when life starts moving quickly, you have to stop and reflect on the type of person you want to be.

We only get one shot at this “life-on-earth” thing, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll keep sprinting until we’re completely lost. We’ll keep moving along with the world around us listening to its tunes, and eventually, we’ll lose track of who we really are and what’s important to us.

Life keeps moving whether or not we are prepared.

Stop. Exhale. Think.

Who are you? What type of person do you want to be?

Cambridge is great. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here and am so thankful for the path the Lord has allowed us to walk down. I love our friends and the process of making new ones. I’m grateful for my school and for Caleb’s and for the ways in which God has already provided for us here. Peace is a wonderful thing, and I am affirmed through it that we are right where we should be. This doesn’t mean, however, that it will be free of struggles and hardship. My prayer through it all is that we will be true to who we are (to who God created us to be) – and that we will be open to Him. I know He’s going to use our time here to mold us and shape us. May we depend upon Him and trust Him in the process.

Here’s to the next two years, to God’s grace, and the peace that only He can provide!

Boston (or Cambridge) Bound and the Fear of Changed Plans

Tomorrow afternoon, the mister and I will embark on our journey to our new home in Massachusetts.

This round (as many of you know we moved from Boston to Midland, TX just about a year ago), we will both be doing the grad school thing. He’ll be at a school in Cambridge getting is MBA, and I’ll be attending a school in South Hamilton working on my Master’s in Counseling. I’m expecting it will be quite the experience for us both!

Although I am super excited to see old friends, have our own place, and experience a new and different phase of life, the whole process has caused me a great deal of anxiety and fear.

You see, none of this is what I had planned.

Some of you might remember the details surrounding our move to Midland and how random and out of the box it was. You may also remember that I spent a lot of time reflecting upon the fact that sometimes our plans and the Lord’s don’t quite align.

Well… I’m in the same ballpark, but this time, the game seems more difficult. It’s on a much larger scale.

Don’t worry. I’ll explain…

In high school, I dreamed of being a young mom. I wanted to get married and do all of that jazz first, but I wanted to be a young mom. You know, like Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. It was going to be awesome. I would have a daughter like Rory, and since I was so young, she would find me relatable and her friends would like me. Our house would be the place they would hang out, and if any of them needed advice, I would be there. Pure bliss, eh?

When I moved to Nashville my freshman year of college, I decided that I didn’t want to be 11 hours away from my family. I loved my friends there, and loved the city itself, but it was just too far. For that reason, and a couple of others, I made my way to Texas Tech that next year. The people in Lubbock were great, but I soon (like within a week) decided that I never wanted to live in West Texas. It was too dry, too windy, and way too conservative.

As soon as I graduated, I headed back to Dallas and settled into life there. My family was close, I was able to interact weekly with my sister and her four kids, I loved my church, and the community was rich. Two of my best friends from college even moved close by. I had no plans of leaving. I was quite content.

When Caleb and I moved to Boston in January of 2013, I knew it was going to be a four-year stint. Caleb would finish up his job at Bain Capital, wrap up grad school, and then we would be Dallas bound. Maybe we would even have kids up there, and I would still have a shot at being a young mom (well, kind of). I would raise my kids next to my sister and our kids would play together. It would be a blast! I mean, what kids wouldn’t love hanging out with us all day? Duh! (Note the sarcasm there.)

I had it all planned out.

Proverbs 19:21 reads, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Today, I sit here as a 28-year-old grad student with a husband in the Oil and Gas Industry. In other words, I’m no longer “young mom” material, life is going to be too crazy to have kids in the next two years, and it looks like Dallas is out of the question…at least for a little while.

My plan has officially been derailed.

“Get over it,” you may say. “There are people in the world that don’t even have clean water to drink, and people are being martyred for their faith in Israel. Haven’t you heard?”

I have, and I hate that I’m struggling with something so small in comparison to those things, but I am. I’m struggling to surrender my plan, to hand it over, and to trust God. I mean, come on! My plans for Dallas weren’t bad. In fact, I had every intention of glorifying the Lord with every step. What’s wrong with that?!

Yesterday morning, I was reading in Mark 4. The scene takes place when Jesus is on a boat with his disciples in the middle of the night:

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling [with water]. But he (Jesus) was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘ Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”

– Mark 4:37-41

I exhaled.

Trusting God seems like it should be easy. I mean, after all, He’s good, knows and controls everything, and loves me beyond my wildest imagination, but sometimes, I just forget to do it. I start focusing on the details of a situation – my fears, anxiety and all of the things I wish were different – and I forget that He sees all of it – and He uses everything to grow me and make me more and more into the person he created me to be (Romans 8:28-30). He’s in control and if he wants me somewhere different, he can move me. He knows what he’s doing. If it means having “kid one” at the age of 30, living in Midland, Africa, or Cambridge, or doing something crazy like selling everything we own, he’s got us. In him I have hope. He can be trusted.

The truth is, having a kid (or adopting) at 30 is probably the best for us. It’s not what I had planned, but I think it makes the most sense. We will have more time and more resources to run a stable home.

Also, Midland isn’t so bad. Some of our coolest friends live here in Midland. They are so cool it pains me to leave them for two years. (I guess sometimes you just want the best of both worlds.) We have family here, and the mister has a great job to come back to.

It’s all going to be okay.

I don’t know where you are, or what you’re struggling with. It may be something big, or small, but believe me; you’re not weak for struggling. We all have things we have to work through and all that counts is that you’re working and not giving up. Trust God. He’s got you. He is your help in time of need. He hears you, sees you, and loves you. Talk to him.

Sometimes things don’t work out how you want them to, and you just have to trust God and roll with it. I’m working on it!