God Isn’t Willy Wonka

Have you ever found yourself greatly discouraged and flipped through your own notes/pictures/prayers with God, and those scribbles ministered to you? Yep.

I’m discovering through a really rough season that my faith in God is a foundation. You can’t tear down a wall without running into your foundation. It’s incredibly important to solidify your faith, to spend continuous time with God, to read the Word on a day-to-day basis. Take notes. Take pictures. Highlight and underline. Make your ebenezers, your celebratory mile markers. Build your history with God, so that when the storms come (and oh, they don’t stop), you’ll have a deep understanding of God’s nature.

20131209_174020Many times, I’m sad to say, I have doubted His goodness and His presence. It’s the most obvious thing about Him, His goodness, yet we don’t quite know how to reconcile suffering with the goodness of God. We can’t exactly explain slammed doors, and fear, and the long, silent wait. In time, sure, yeah. You can explain anything in time. It’s like saying “I sat at a traffic jam for 17 years, but then I got ice-cream, so it’s all good.” And one thing is completely unrelated to the other, and honestly, disproportional.

We confuse privilege and prosperity with God’s love. When I go to Six Flags to ride the rollercoasters, I buy the gold flashy passes and waltz through the park skipping every line. It’s not like that with God. We don’t get Favor passes, unfortunately. When we’re preached “Favor” gospel, we set ourselves up for pain. You’re not guaranteed your whole dream jar, and that really stinks and it’s really sad. It’s okay to grieve that. The gospel is that struggle is SO real that we NEED a Savior, and we have Him. Jesus! He’s the reason for joy, not answers or gifts or temporary things, even if they’re good things. We need saving because life is really hard. He’s not Willy Wonka, He’s more like Liam Neeson. Welcome to the reason I’ve been silent.

I’ve challenged a friend in the past with the question “why is it better to go through THIS right now versus your best-case scenario?” She met me with a long pause. She started to think about her weakness and how her patience was getting tested. She was on the edge of herself, really. And it made her look at God and point, and have a heated conversation… which is much better than a rushed “thank You” prayer, if you think about that for a minute. I’ve been having those staring, silent prayers with God, where I just get my forehead all crinkled up and pout, and stare like He’s holding out on me, like I’m skeptical of what He’s up  to. And He stares back, I’m sure of it. He stares back with the “OH REALLY?!” face. Like “Really, as if I would hold out on you, to what? Torture you? To tease you? Don’t you think I have better things to do than put you through misery? Really?”

And so we stare at each other. And if I stare long enough, I can see the fire in His eyes, and it eventually, slowly, looks familiar again. Not like some distant jerk or anything, but like my Best Friend. The One who was there when I was all alone. The One who led me through places I never knew I wanted to go. That Guy. He’s pretty good. I remember Him.

Turns out that staring fights are okay with God. He’s not mad about it. Turns out we’ve got history together. That history is worth something.

His ways are higher than mine, period. I won’t get it, and also… I can’t. I wasn’t meant to understand it all. It’s a scientist’s biggest nightmare, the mysteries of God. Why are certain things so easy and why are some so darn difficult? Why do some things happen quickly while others take forever? Why are transitions always so uncertain? And why does pain flash like a camera, in your happiest days? Why is trauma a thing? Why can’t healing happen faster? Why are there so few guarantees in life? Why do we go through times of particular, intentional deprivation? How are we able to be brave in the Spirit when there are so many very logical reasons to be afraid? Why does life so often feel like a gamble instead of a plan?

I don’t get it. I don’t get any of it. Give me some kind of medal for arriving at this particular milestone of ignorance/bliss. I don’t have answers. I know Him, and He purposefully maintains answers from us, probably because they’re just too complicated. It’s like explaining this upcoming election to a 4-year-old. No, thanks! Maybe this is the best way: to not know, to not understand. It was the original way in the garden, before we disobeyed to try to know more. Not knowing makes us reliant on Him, even when that reliance is somewhat forced since we literally cannot understand things with these brains and hearts. At least love isn’t forced.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
-1 Corinthians 13:12

I look forward to that full knowledge and vision, and every day I’m closer. Until then, you’ll find me trying my best to stay the course, reading old journals, and anchoring deep on the truth of the scriptures. I pray you build your foundation with God, so that you know the way to His arms by heart when you can’t see the steps in front of you.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
(Ps. 126:5)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
(Ps. 27:13)

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
(Ps. 71:20)

Ebb and Flow

Life has been vibrant and wonderful. I’ve been trying to understand what Jesus meant by “fullness of life” and not get it twisted with “obligation of life” or “busyness of life” or any other kind of misconception of the meaning of FULLNESS.

My walk with God has gone through natural periods of ebbing and flowing, increase and decrease, like breathing. Times when I feel very full indeed, and times when the only normal thing to do is empty out. Open-handed. Clean slate. Reset, please.

God has been stirring my heart to increase praise capacity. It’s the praising “more and more” like scripture calls it. The praise from yesterday is no longer a measure for today. Just like His mercies are new, so are praises and thankful expressions of my heart. I get excited when I hear a new song that resonates with where I am in Him, a lyric that “reads my mail” if you know what I mean. And sometimes the only way you can understand how you feel is when you hear it in a song, and go “THAT is exactly what’s going on” and you find on the outside what you couldn’t identify on the inside, just by the way your heart jumped out toward it.

compassI started the year fired up to empty out, and I did. Then I felt the need to press pause and just watch for a minute. It’s pointless to operate on old orders, by the way. God is doing new things all the time, and there are some of us that are so obedient that we get busy “obeying” and forget to TALK to Him. We’ve got our heads down obeying what He told us years ago, when He may have something new to say today. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, but you better believe He is a God of restoration, redemption, and redirection. He’s a rebuilder. Obedience is a lovely thing, but it’s like a liquid. It needs to flow and conform to His leading, and not be so obstinate as to miss the turn on the road and keep going the wrong way for miles or years.

My new orders are to fill up. I ordered 10 books today. No joke. I got 2 textbooks for my birthday, and 4 books for Christmas. My brain and my heart just want to learn. I’m learning about the ways of God, and also about transfusion medicine and genetics, which in my opinion are altogether hilariously laced with gospel paradigms. I’ve been studying for a certification exam, and praying for God to open doors. I am hoping that after this season of filling up, a brand new outpouring will follow.

Just wanted to give you an update of what I’ve been doing now that I’ve been off the grid a bit more. I’m extremely happy. I’m increasing in praise. I’m filling up, focusing on the fullness of life. I am pressing pause on a few things I’ve been doing, so that I can adjust to God’s leading in my life, and in all things, He is good.

Overflow and Fairytales

As a child, it was so easy to believe it all. I wanted to be everything when I grew up. Well, now it’s here. I’m grown up. This is the age when adults do adult things. I’m turning 29 in less than a month, and the people I babysat are grown up, too. As for me, I’ve been cleaning a lot, giving away some things, and making space for my reality.


I backed off of the internet big time in the last few months, if you’ve noticed. I deleted the Facebook app and deleted a lot of people off of my “friends” list, and made my Instagram private. I almost stopped writing blogs altogether. Crazy, right? The truth is that Facebook isn’t ME. I’m a person, flesh and bone. I live in Atlanta. I have a phone, and an address. I drive a car, and I get coffee and meals with friends and my boyfriend. If you want to be my real friend, I’m available. I’ve been available since 1987, whereas I only got on Facebook in 2005. Back then it was just for college kids, and I wish it had stayed that way. It was much more useful to message someone in the same chem lab and get a study group together, instead of sifting through hoards of cat videos and awkward political posts that fill it up now. What’s the use? Pictures. Information. Announcements. Gender reveals. I would hope that my friends would tell me directly, right? When my best friend got engaged, I heard directly. When one of my best friend’s grandfather passed away, I heard directly. I don’t need the birthday reminders to tell me when my family has a birthday, or when one of my closest friends is turning a year older. It’s almost like we’ve settled into an audience seat instead of being IN other people’s daily lives.

I’m backing off of that so that I can make room for reality. And this is what I wanted to write about: reality.

This is my reality: I work over 40 hours pretty much every week between two jobs. That’s overtime. I get home and sometimes I’m wired, and sometimes I’m super tired. I have a few best friends, and I am head-over-heels in love with my boyfriend. I write a devotional on my spare time, because I think there are people who are willing but want direction. I secretly enjoy teaching, but openly enjoy writing. I think the Bible is inviting and approachable, and it makes me want to go there. Women’s ministry has blurred more into relational ministry than anything else. One friend is finally selling her wedding dress, and is praying that the buy is finalized soon. One friend is going through a tough divorce. One friend is looking at moving to a smaller place. One friend is celebrating that her child is finally cancer-free. You see? It started out as “ministry” but now it’s blurred into friendship. I’m working on boundaries and praying through what that looks like, but I’m beginning to understand that what started out as a “mission” and “calling” is slowly becoming my lifestyle and not something I switch on and off. This is me, and I have a heart for women and discipleship. I am also learning what parts of my life are reserved for only my closest people and mentors.

Now let me tell you about fairytales and overflow: they’re real. It’s a thing. Psalm 23 talks about God’s anointing and His perfect ability to shepherd us unto overflow. Overflow is a real place and a real concept for you and me. If you’ve been on the struggle bus like Job for years and years, don’t forget to read the last chapter. Don’t forget God’s punch line to that story of suffering: double restoration. That’s overflow. Jesus was crucified and buried, but He rose again. Overflow. Don’t get it twisted to call it a fairytale, and roll your eyes, and discredit it as naiveté. Don’t get embittered to the point where you despise the promise of God’s very real abundance. The only thing that could ever disqualify you from God’s abundance is your unwillingness to receive it. SO. I have three little words for you:




You might need to tell your mind to shut up. You might need to tell your mouth to shut up. You might have to change everything you have, and start wearing bright colors again. Paint a wall sky blue. You might need to start hanging out with younger people who sing pop songs and eat lollipops, because you need hope. Roll down the windows of your soul and stick your head out. Play in the rain. Believe that it can happen again, that love can happen, and grace can happen, and that a new adventure can happen for you. You might need to get your passport and go somewhere insane, just so you can get over yourself. I challenge you to it. I challenge you to overflow, or rather to believe in it again. Believe in laughing til you cry. Believe in stomach butterflies. Believe in moments you can’t photograph, like a hot pink sky as the sun rises and little snowflakes fall down. An afternoon rain, falling on the greenest of grass. Counting shooting stars on a rooftop in the middle of the night. Digging your toes in the finest of sand, wondering just how the water could be so blue. Holding that person’s hand that feels so warm, knowing what an insane blessing it is to be in love and to be loved in this short life. Having a little child tell you that they love you, and giggle at you, and pull you to play. THAT. You can only have these things, truly, if your heart is open to appreciate them.

I thought my plant was about to bloom, but it took 22 days for it to actually bloom. Sometimes we think things are just around the corner, and we get disappointed in the waiting. Rest assured, that bloom was worth the wait. Whatever it is you’re desperately waiting for, expectantly, I pray you don’t lose heart. I pray you find your brave moments of joy while you wait. I pray you keep your heart open and stay willing to receive it from God in His perfectly unrushed timing. If it took 22 extra days for a tiny yellow flower, I believe the Lord is also working inwardly and purposefully on your promise’s reveal.

There’s a tragic thing that sometimes happens to people who have been through so much pain, and that is they forget what carefree and happy looks like. They’re traumatized and that trauma traps them like a bug under a jar. The good news is that we are made new in Christ. New means new. New means stop replaying it over and over in your head. New means stop dwelling there and move. New. New looks different and even acts different, and it’s not faking because it’s… new. You have permission to be new, you know. It’s not cheating on your past to be new, it’s giving your present a purpose and your future a chance. Jesus has the gift of “new” for you, and he wraps it with carefree paper and ties it with a ribbon of happy.

This life is only so long, and I pray you’re alive in yours, with the powerful ability to make an impact as an adult, yet the wonderful privilege of receiving overflow like a child.


Gentle. Humble. Meek. Patient. Unassuming. Calm.

Dropping expectations, timelines, grievances.

Rebuilding, constantly. Choosing to start over and over, then scrapping it all and starting over again.

Laying low. Realizing I’m laying too low. Laying a little bit higher.

The silence has been teaching me things lately that words couldn’t explain. Void. The quiet hum you hear when all is truly, truly hushed. The clock ticking is all that illustrates this silence. The irony.

I can feel time. Things ten years ago feel like yesterday, and some things yesterday feel like ten years ago. Time is something else, isn’t it? I toy with the thought of being timeless, standing outside of this trap of time, where God sits enthroned before time and after it. I get to sit by Him when I close my eyes and inhale, and see it with my mind. It’s like sitting on top of a skyscraper, watching the small things below, and the lights twinkling. Humans need light. When I’m with Him, I don’t need light; He is the light. The breeze blows through my hair and when I’m with Him it all feels so silly and small. Momentary troubles, yes. Feeling understood with a single glance, yes.

20140922_190946Darling, don’t be misled by your eyes and your skin in the winter. There are times you can’t feel or see, but the proof is there right in front of you. The dry, bare trees that look so strained will be the very ones to bloom. Even now, they’re working inwardly on the bright petals and the scented flowers. Darling, you can’t always see what I’m doing, but you must trust me. Let’s wait together.

God, what does my heart want that it doesn’t already have? If something is missing, will You fill it? The Maker of my heart knows exactly what it needs.

God, make me gentle, humble, meek, patient, unassuming, calm.

I am learning to discern God’s invitations versus the ones that come to distract me and burden me. I want to keep walking in full surrender to Him and His plan. What’s mine is mine because He set it aside and put my name on it. Every plan of His comes to pass. I read Romans 8 out loud this morning, declaring it to myself. Some of it rang in my ears like new information. My mind is controlled by the Spirit, and this yields life and peace. When my mind is set on earthly things, I lose track of my Spirit peace. It’s common sense.

We get the fun privilege of willfully acknowledging we’ve been thinking of earthly things, and choosing instead to yield to the Spirit.

Holy Spirit, when my thoughts run to THAT direction, or to THIS worry, would You bind them and bring them back to You? I give You control of my mind. Would You give me words, pictures, and fresh ideas? Would You give me inspiration? Let’s be in constant conversation.

Fun fact: I hadn’t gotten a picture/word from the Lord in a while. Not that He wasn’t sending, but rather that I wasn’t asking. Today, He popped the thought in my brain of a pineapple. I thought that was so random and looked it up. Firstly, without having to think much of it, I’ve been praying for gentleness. A pineapple is not a gentle fruit, it has spikes and it’s so flavorful! I found out that it takes between 18 months and 2 years to grow a pineapple. That piece of information messed me up, in a good way. God’s timing is perfect. Another thing that came to mind was the first time I went to Thailand, all I craved for breakfast was a fresh pineapple smoothie. During that time of my life, I was hurting inside. God was addressing my fears. It hurt to admit how much I was afraid of, and how much my life didn’t turn out how I thought it would. It hurt to say “I do not know” and keep putting one foot in front of the other. God is bringing me around to some of those same lessons lately, in new ways. I’m in uncharted territory, and “I do not know” is my song and dance. I have to hold His hand for support in every step. I have to draw from His strength every single day. I have to yield emotions, fears, words, conversations, and even my phone, DAILY. There are times I’ve gone to call a friend to talk or vent, and felt myself putting my phone back down and breathing instead. I am learning to pray, all over again. I’m learning to  go to Jesus first. I’m checking my emotions like carry-ons at an airport, putting each item on a belt, walking past the detectors without shoes, with my hands up, clear. Each feeling, thought, emotion gets scanned, for my safety. I only put on what is mine. I only carry what is safe.

God, make me gentle, humble, meek, patient, unassuming, calm.

What’s your current prayer? What is Jesus teaching you? I’d love to hear it. ❤


Sometimes it feels like I’m chasing after something I may never fully grasp. Maybe it’s the planner in me, or the drive to grow and improve, right?

 My eyesight is pretty bad on both eyes, and it could very well be from squinting to the future so much with the eyes of my heart. Is it possible to be content and just stay there? Must I always strive so much? These are questions I ask the Lord and I feel His peace rest over me like a cloud. I am mostly cloudy with a chance of thunder.

The worst is when my striving breaks, and I sit with no drive. It’s the feeling of eating without tasting, when your nose is congested. Where did all that flavor go? Will I even want it when it happens to me? The passing of the test, the promotion, the loud home? It’s as if God flipped the switch of my dreams to OFF. I wrestle with apathy and doubt. I start sounding a lot like Bohemian Rhapsody with my anywhere the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me. And it isn’t true. It does matter. I know deep in my heart of the promises of God. I know. I know. I know. I realize. God put books and lessons and love in my heart, and it’s my joy to live to unveil them. There are faces I have never met which will absolutely melt me and propel me to heights of love I haven’t dared to imagine yet. Yet.

I’m learning to yield over and over to the higher ways of God. He knows better than I do. I’ve been warding off any bitterness, any hopelessness, and any fear. It’s been like killing mosquitoes in Tanzania. They’re practically robots, but I do have the shoe. Sometimes they get me, and it swells, and bothers me so. It’s just a reminder that I have something they want. If my dreams weren’t so precious, they wouldn’t be dreams at all. They’d be like a grocery list, attainable and predictable. I get to depend solely on the Lord. He is in full control, even when I dare to think others are. I will not barter with fear. I will not go down that narrow, dark alley of despair. My emotions get to take a knee to a Breathing, Undefeated King. It’s my turn to embrace complete humility, gentleness, and patience.


The Fear of Emptiness

There’s a selfish fear that lurks around and keeps us from doing the very things that bring us the most life. Yep, I titled the blog with it, so it’s no surprise. Emptiness.

If you narrow down your surface level fears to the core, it might just end up in the same place… you don’t want to be empty/alone/weak/exposed. You don’t want to fail. You don’t want to feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again.

Baby, you wanna be a firework.


I’ve done ministry a lot and it can wear and tear at you like a sport. It can hurt you if you don’t take the time to stretch, if you don’t adjust your posture, if you don’t make sure you’re doing God’s workout and not your own crazy flash diet.

Here’s my situation: I thought I could kinda slide into a small corner and hide a little bit. I wanted to lay low. I wanted to live normal and not lead for a little bit. I thought that sounded restful, and that it would feel good without the pressure.

The problem is that if you’re not pouring out, you’re stagnant. If you’re not giving what you should be giving, and not speaking what you should be speaking out into the world, into the ears that are listening for it, well… you’re holding it in. And the words are fading with you, and weighing with you. They are rotting in there, waiting to get out. And there’s a timeline, too. Words do expire. God does give you a theme for a season, and if you shy away from sharing it, you have to let those words go and listen for the current thing. It’s a painful cycle if you’re not releasing what God keeps teaching you!

The fear is that the effort of mentoring/teaching/leading/healing/working/showing up/committing is going to change your normal and your life to a point that it spins out of your control and is no longer enjoyable. The stress will then build, and there you go: empty. But it’s not true, is it?

The times in my life I can remember I felt fullest were the days I showed up with nothing and God provided everything. I remember driving to Phylla House meetings half hyperventilating, half crying, half complaining that I would probably get stood up, and show up to see 7 faces smiling at me and ready to go. My fears were wrong. I never even got fully stood up, as the other leaders would come and we’d do our own worship night, and it would bear fruit anyway.

The feeling of “I don’t know how to do this” walking in, and the feeling of “I was made to do this” walking out. That’s when I recognize God’s hand, enabling, teaching, giving me wisdom in ways I couldn’t possibly expect.

553810_10101301170126670_1201333140_nSo what does the enemy do? He lures us to the thought that rest equals no ministry. Wrong! He lures us to the thought that leading is a job position and not a lifestyle of influence. Wrong again! And worst of all, he lures us to the thought that if we give, we will have less, and if we teach, we’ll be disgruntled, and if we pour out our love, time, gifts, wisdom… then we will not be filled again but rather be empty. These are the cruelest lies.

God does not fill for us to hoard. He does not give for us to keep. His kingdom is backwards, and His blessing flows like a river from heaven. It floods over us, as deep as we’re willing to advance into it. You cannot go into the depths of God while holding on to the false security of ankle-deep exposure. The safest, most logical, most delightful and life-giving thing you can possibly do is obey God, pouring yourself out like an offering for Him.

If He’s called you to write, what are you doing if not writing? Don’t kid yourself! Write! What are you doing stalling? How dare you stall when this is the gift He has given you to share with His people? WRITE! Let your words flow out. Tell your fear to take a hike and never come back.

Are you called to teach? GOOD! We need teachers. We need so many teachers. We need people who can say “God has been teaching ME! Let me TELL YOU what He’s been teaching ME!” and they just teach THAT. That’s plenty good. Pass what you have. Pass the little lessons you understand along the way. Trust me, it’s plenty, plenty good. You don’t have to learn Greek and Hebrew to talk about God and about His faithfulness to you. You don’t need a degree of any kind to teach about Jesus. Jesus is a person you have a relationship with, who just so happens to be the Son of God. If you were to teach a whole room about your mom, you wouldn’t be like “OMG, what if they ask me something I don’t know about her, what would I even say?!” Chill out. You know Him because you spend time with Him. Teach that, ye who are called to teach and are so burdened with raising up the next generation. Congratulations! You care! It’s great! Stop waiting for someone to tell you you’re allowed to do the thing you were born to do. Just go do it, for crying out loud.

Are you called to heal? Counsel? Go to those dark places? Are you called to crawl into the pits and sit with the hurting, just sit with them? Yep, it doesn’t sound too fun, does it? Because you can’t just clap your hands and make them better, can ya? YET you are SO compassionate and SO understanding of the pain of others. You know just what to say, and what NOT to say, which is the better part of that gift. You know how to sit in the silence and hold a weeping person. Their snot doesn’t gross you out that bad. You are a tear-wiper, and you make people laugh-cry, which is the best kind of laugh, the one on a puffy crying face, when they feel a little bolt of joy in the middle of their super intense grief. You love people really well, and you need to do just that. Don’t isolate yourself, and don’t let the enemy lie to you about your rest. Get your rest from Jesus, and keep saying “YES” when He gives you someone to love. He is always bringing the hurt ones to you, and it’s your choice and your reward to keep stepping into the low places and lifting chins to heaven. Or not! You can go weeks, months, years without operating in your gift of healing and your gift of mercy, but it’s like breathing to you, and you should want to breathe. Darling, you should want to breathe like this.

Oh and if you think I’d let you off the hook, you artists and worshipers of God, nope. YOU need to paint, to create, to sing, to dance, play your instrument, please. Please. Because earth does need to look like heaven, and heaven has the kind of beauty God hid in you to create here for ME and I want it. We want it. Please. Don’t be afraid that it isn’t perfect. It’s the right kind of perfect. It’s raw and real, honest. There’s a beauty in imperfection that makes it just so… perfect. Put it out there. Don’t let them tell you it’s not real because it’s not numbers and cold hard facts. Doodle on, doodler. I need you. We actually NEED you. You’re priceless and you hold a priceless piece of the Father’s heart. Don’t let the cubicle jobs and the pressure choke the creativity out of you, okay? Okay.

I pray away the fear of emptiness that would keep a saint like you from doing the holy thing you were made to do, the very thing that fills you up, and the exact shred of the heart of God you carry in your DNA. You will not, by God’s grace, ever run empty. You will not, by God’s mercy, ever burn out. You will shine like a city on a hill, with a light that was never meant to flicker or sit hidden. Your confidence will be like a wave, as you crash consistently unto the shore of your core purpose. May it be so, that your life is lived to its utmost, for the glory of the Almighty God who has gifted you with competence, authority, and identity. You are His own, never alone, and never forsaken. Pour out all your love, and watch as He fills you back up, over and over, and to overflow.

2015 Recap & Sweet ’16

I had no idea what was coming for me in 2015.


For starters, I realized who my true friends are. They call, they care, and they answer. They ask the hard questions. They visit me, too! They choose me. They pray for and with me. They give me a ton of grace for those ‘in the middle’ situations, when neither of us truly knows what to do. Some are far away, and some new ones are near.

wpid-unnamed-1.jpg.jpegIn that, I realized some people lean on the side of convenience, and fade out into acquaintances. They only reach out when they need something. From being a missionary myself, I know the feeling of reaching out to someone with the sole purpose of asking for a donation, but I didn’t let that be the only time I talked to them. Now that I’m on the other side of that spectrum, it’s a little gut-wrenching to see it done differently. If you’re a missionary or fundraising in any way, take that into consideration. Don’t fake friendship for a donation, because that’s about as cheap as it gets. Hard truth to learn in 2015!

DogehospitalThis year I stepped back into the ‘working full-time’ American rat race. I paid down over half of my debt, by God’s grace. I got a great job, then I got a better job. I eased up on the first job when I took the second. I work 45-50 hours a week, which slides into overtime. I’ve been diligent, but I also feel like I said ‘yes’ when the Lord asked me to trust Him in giving outside of the norm, both financially and with the offering of time. By no means do I preach a prosperity gospel, but I know that God has consistently rewarded my life after times of testing, after times when I had to respond with a borderline illogical obedience. God has asked me to trust when I didn’t feel it was safe, and I did. Sometimes I did so begrudgingly, but I’m learning to trust cheerfully.

devo2It gets easier to trust when you understand what a failure is. I believe it is only possible to trust God with such great improbabilities when we realize the impossibility to fail within His hands. There is no room for regret when we hear His voice clearly. There is no room for fearful hysterics when I find myself hanging out inside His heart as if it were my living room. That’s what His presence is like. I learned much of this in 2015.

I cried a LOT in 2015. The best kind of tears and the worst. I had to learn how to discern whether to sit quietly and wait versus getting up, getting dressed, and taking a bulldozer to a wall.

I learned my safe places. I learned that I have a counselor who is beautifully available and powerfully wise. God put women into my life to mentor me and to listen. I have friends who can have a 2-hour conversation and empty out every loose thought from the attic of my mind, and vice-versa. We process verbally. And then there are those magical unicorn people, who take about 5 minutes to crawl into your heart and stay there until the next time you talk again for about 5 minutes 2 months later, and still manage to be in that top tier of best friendship, by God’s perfect grace. NO IDEA how that works, but it’s real.

10993419_10103282990183390_1811311628009497953_n-2In 2015, I met Buddy! It’s the coolest story, and this year I was given the gift of falling in love with him. God put us together and I have no doubts about that. He’s the INTJ to my ESFJ, and I can’t describe properly the spark we had when we met. God’s grace has brought us this far, learning to communicate and overcome fears. God’s gifts have the wrapping paper of courage, and the ribbon of God-dependency. They’re worth receiving, worth keeping, and they fully require God’s maintenance and alignment.

bookOh and in 2015, I wrote a book! You can get it at this link. I knew it would happen, but I didn’t realize it was happening this year. I had made it a goal, but it still felt lofty up until I got to it. It may be so with some of your dreams. They may seem ridiculously out there until you get up close to them and pin them down. God takes over and pushes you over the threshold when it’s His dream too.

alernterm1In 2015, I lived alone for the first time in 4 years? FOUR YEARS! If you didn’t know by now, I’m one of the most extroverted people alive in the sense that I function with people. I find that my habits and preferences like to submit to accountability. If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? If I’m living alone and I lay in bed all day and “sort of sleep, sort of watch movies all day” does it make an impact on my life? WELL. These are things that normally don’t happen at all when I’m in community. I wouldn’t pass up a kitchen conversation, or a Target outing, or a park jog if I have the people to join me. Without people, the silence at first felt really strange. I figured out that we’re constantly looking to be INFLUENCED. We can’t just sit still and stare at a wall. We want to watch a show to make us laugh, or we want to read a book to make us think. We want to have a conversation to stimulate us, or workout to engage our bodies. We rarely ever “do nothing” and that’s a relief and a little scary at the same time. What do you tend to do with your time when you have the choice and you are all alone? Is it constructive? Does it agree with your values, your goals, your character? I learned a lot of this in 2015. Living alone was really hard, and sometimes detrimental to what I know is best for me.

In 2015, I kick-started Phylla House online, and it’s a sweet little private group on facebook. God adds to our number ever so slowly. We have conversations on the phone and in person, too, but having that level of connectivity has been a huge blessing.

SO… for 2016… here are a few things I’m hoping for and praying for:

  1. Ministry to grow in unexpected ways, through God’s prompting, and for us to grow closer together as a community of women. That also entails me being more intentional about social media. Within that, the #ATLdevo is returning January 6th! Be sure to subscribe here.
  2. I want to be more involved with my church, and that means I just need to step forward and be willing.
  3. I want to be more intentional about my health, and that right now starts with sleep. I ordered a gorgeous new hammock, and will be sleeping on that again, instead of a bed! It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever been, especially working nights and sleeping during the day.
  4. Studying for my Specialist in Blood Bank exam. I want this added certification, and I want to take the test in 2016. Whether I pass or fail, the goal is to study and attempt it.
  5. Being debt free!!! I am so close I can taste it.
  6. Sweetness. God will surprise me this year with sweetness. Fulfilled promises and completion. I’m going to learn more about delighting in the Lord.

Okay, that’s a wrap.

Love yall.

Happy New Year!