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Friday, June 13, 2014

A Letter for My Single Ladies

Dear friends. 

Look around you.
This time is so, so sweet.

There's this weird "not yet married" trap that we can fall into. Who decided that was a thing!? Maybe it's the world or the enemy or the whispers we hear of not enough or graceless truths from other people. But if we identify with the sigh of not there yet, oh my friends, we can miss the beauty happening RIGHT NOW.

Can we love the journey and this story God is writing in each one of us?

My dear single friends.  
I feel like some of you need to hear this. 
Take heart. Lift up your head. 

Your story is alive and it's valid. 

Some of you have dated a lot and can't find fulfillment. Some of you have been hurt and have been told mean things and had your identity crushed. Some of you have compromised yourself and aren't sure it's worth another try. Some of you simply have never prioritized dating or marriage and really couldn't care less about the whole thing. Some of you identify as single and you count down each day until you're not. Some of you are frustrated and exhausted and weary.

Whoever you are, wherever you are.
Keep on keeping on. The story is now.
You are being refined and being made more whole now.

Some of my people are in deep struggles that I may never know. On the same note, I am in deep wrestlings that they have never known. It's what makes each of our stories perfectly unique // that the places where God has chosen to pull me closer to Him are different than the ways He is drawing closer to you. It's one of the ways He's such a personal God // that my singleness and your marriage and my work life and your stay at home life are all part of refinement. It's not a formula, or one thing over another.

The summer before I was going off to college (many moons ago), a neighbor revealed her excitement for me by exclaiming, "Oh, college! Those were the best four years of my life!"

I remember thinking, how sad. And that woman's weird encouragement worked to ignite me and I vowed to make the best years of my life the ones I was living.

The best is always the present and the best is always coming, because God says I want the best for you. I am the way. And you can meet me now. The best isn't past and you haven't missed the best.

I don't want to speak generically, because we're all on unique journeys. I don't want to make blanket statements and claim to know what God is up to in each of our lives. But I do want to take you by the face, look you in the eye, and whisper hope deep into your soul. I want to ignite encouragement that your story is bigger than maybe you ever dreamed.

Can you trust that this is your story?
There are no accidents. We are loved not by an absentminded God who forgets His children, but by a passionately, fiercely loving God who is right with us in this life. He knows your very being and knows your very fabric.

You are on a wild, rich journey. Delight yourself in the Lord.
I can't wait to see where He takes you. It will blow you away. 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday Reflections

My birthday makes me so weepy with gratitude. 

I live such a good, good life. I am aware of that on a day to day basis, but it is on my birthday when that sense is heightened. 

See, I had a friend tell me once a few years ago that birthdays are always important, no matter how old you are. I think I had shrugged my shoulders, mentioned I was turning 24, no big deal, just another birthday. To which he said NO. BIRTHDAYS ARE SPECIAL. 

It changed the way I see this day. 

My "new year" isn't January 1. It's June 2. I make new commitments, new prayers, new hopes, new what ifs. I gaze, full of awe, at the year that has passed and I am filled with hope at what is to come. And.it.just.makes.me.cry. It's like the small picture gets put on hold for a day and I can see this beautiful story of a life laid out in front of me and it makes me gasp at its beauty and adventure, wonder and grace. 

The story is hard. The journey has not been painless. Becoming real and whole and a fullest self is a battle this side of heaven. But this refinement is sweet and this glorifying God is where life begins and God is shaping souls to be his mouthpiece, his image, He has given us LIFE. 

Lift up your head. 
Hold on tight. 
It's a wild ride. 

At the close of this day - after so many laughs and games of wiffleball and hugs and squeals of joy and food (so much food) and fun (so much fun) and corner (so many people huddled close in my corner) - I am confident that this life is right where I am supposed to be. That, by His grace, He has landed me right exactly HERE and has lavished this sweet fragrance of His goodness all over this life I live. 

It is astounding. 
Maybe when I get to heaven, I'll be able to truly articulate this gratitude that swells from deep within, that makes my eyes well when I think about my people and the love they give me. I cannot fathom a God who literally turned sorrow to joy, and yet it is the life He has breathed and rescued and allowed me to lead. It is the story He is telling. 

Yes, oh yes, birthdays are special.