Be More of Yourself

Be More of Yourself

Earlier this week, I had one of the most profound conversations I’ve had in a long time. I was having coffee with my new friend Kayla, and we had the opportunity to talk a lot about the things that have been stirring in me. This season is a really good and really interesting one. And by interesting, I mean that every two or three days, I feel like my world is going to slowly crumble down around me. I get really frustrated with myself, or frustrated with Colton, or my friends, or my circumstances. And I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. And my people have been so gracious. Because this is a process that takes time to fully work through and they see the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I’m too blinded to see it myself. Thank you Jesus for good friends like these. The world is so much more hopeful with them in it.

Engagement is such a transition season. Everyone knows it’s only temporary, but for those who are engaged, you know that phrase only helps so much. Because while yes, the wedding is only x number of months away (Six from today! Whoohoo!!!!), you still have to live in the tension of these months. You still have to wait and hope and trust. And that’s okay. It is a real and true fact that engagement is so good and messy and there are a ton of things you never thought you’d be dealing with, and suddenly you have the choice: work through them with God and your future spouse or ignore them, pretending that everything is totally fine, and let them fester and grow. And in my personal opinion, we need to stop shaming our friends who are working through something (whether it’s engagement or something else) that seems really messy, and instead start praying and hoping for them. We need to be sounding blocks and fresh air for them to breathe, and we need to be like the friends of the paraplegic who lowered him down to Jesus and went off rejoicing with him when he could finally walk. We need to believe in the process and stop demanding results.

For me, one of the big wrestles for God and me in this season is my upcoming role as a wife and what that’s going to look like. I can tell you now that there will never be a greater gift and honor in my life than to be Colton James LeBoeuf’s wife. I get to marry my best friend. He is a man of such incredible character. He is the kindest person I’ve ever met. He’s so patient and gracious, and has supported me and loved me so well even before we ever started dating. He’s better than I could have ever dreamt up for myself. I am so blessed. When I stop to think about what a crazy honor it is that God lets us live this life out together for so many years, it blows me away, I do not deserve this gift.

And Colt wants to be a pastor, and spend his life ministering to others, helping them encounter the love of God. What an incredible gift! I prayed that my husband would love God more than he loves anything else in the world (including me), and God gave me that. All glory back to Him.

Yet somewhere along the way, I got tripped up in what that means for us, and specifically what that means for me as a wife of a man in ministry. Something was communicated to me that said, “As a woman and as a woman who’s in ministry, this is your role: be quiet. Be submissive. Because you matter less. Your voice matters less. It doesn’t count. You don’t count. You will only play second fiddle.” And while that isn’t at all the truth, it really shook me and made me afraid. Because I want to matter and to become fully all that God has created me for. And for a long while, I’ve been working through what God actually wants my role to be.

I know that everyone has very strong and different opinions about women’s role in the home and church, and I respect your opinions. I’m not going to have a debate with you. I’m merely explaining that the quiet servant isn’t the role I want to play, or even feel comfortable playing. Loving wife and mother? Yes. Supporter of everything Colton does? Of course. I want to come along side Colton and love him and serve him and love and serve other people. But I believe that I matter too. My dreams matter. My voice matters. I mean, I obviously have things to say or I wouldn’t be over here writing all this out. I can’t keep these things in.

And what I think we’re missing when we push women, or anyone for that matter, into one specific role, and declare “THIS IS WHO YOU ARE” without even considering who we’re talking to, we are simply trying to play God, and that is NOT our job. The fact is that we need people to love and serve in their own ways, in the ways God created them to serve and love. We need to let people be themselves, and stop pegging them into certain categories. And that looks different for everyone. I’m marrying a man who wants to be in full time ministry, and yes that means I’m signing up for a life of full time ministry too. But Colton is also marrying a writer and a teacher, and that means he gets to partner with my callings too. There will be seasons where one of our dreams is at the forefront, and the other one will have to wait and cheer us on. And vise versa. But that’s the beauty of marriage. We’re always laying down ourselves to life up the other, and when they’re doing the same thing, God comes in and blesses us more than we ever thought He would. It really doesn’t make sense, but it’s good. It’s the beauty of the Gospel. Death bringing forth life. Again and again and again.

For a lot of my life, I heard over and over again these phrases: “Mary Cate, you’re so nice,” “You’re so motherly and nurturing,” “You’re so sweet.” And while I totally agree these are facets of my character, and very sweet gifts that God has given me in personality, it got to the point where I started wanting to punch the next person in the face who told me that. Because it’s not all that I am!! I wanted people to tell me I was funny, and smart, and creative, and even hot. Just anything but sweet and motherly. I am not a big fully marshmallow. I am a woman—creative, firey, kind, gracious, intelligent, etc.

And I could go on for a while, but here’s the truth: this is ministry. My life is ministry. I am not confined to a church building or a children’s ministry or a certain character trait that someone speaks over me. It’s me again and again saying yes to God in the ways He is speaking to me. It’s fanning into flame the gifts that He’s given (2 Timothy 1:6)

Here are some things I now know about myself after this conversation with my friend and I need to keep remembering. Here are just a few of the ways I feel like God is speaking to me right now:

 

I am an artist. I have to create. I need to be around beauty, to see it, to hear it, to feel it, to create it and write it and express it and manifest it myself. And this is not an airbrushed magazine beauty; this is not a commercialized beauty or a flawless body beauty. It’s messy, and it’s emotional, and colorful, and full of bits that I don’t really understand. It’s offensive to some and scary to others, but for a few it does something that breaks through the mundane and offers a chance to breathe and see again.

 

I am a feeler. Which probably comes with the art thing. I need to feel things deeply, both the good things and the bad things, in order to create. In order to meet with Jesus. In order to become whole and more of myself. It’s like a plant that sits in a closet—I will die shut up in there. I need to be planted deep in the soil, need to soak up the rain and savor the sunshine. I need the clear air. I need the breath of God.

 

I am so many things, so many things that I don’t even know yet. There are facets of my character that have not developed, that I’ve yet to explore. It’s like a diamond, or a cave full of tunnels, we are complex beings, there’s a lot that we have yet to see, and we can stay up near the mouth of the cave where we can see, or we can grab our headlamp and crawl around and the dark and discover new things. We can grow.

 

And I don’t know about you, but I want to keep growing. I want to become more of myself. My friend Kayla said to me, “You must be more of who you are.” Because who I am is good. Who I am is necessary. When I am fully myself, it blesses Colton; it blesses my friends. It heals me. It’s a fragrant offering to God. And being myself brings a little more like into the world. Being fully myself pushes back against the darkness in the world.

 

And the same is true for you. Are you holding back parts of yourself that you know you need to share? Has someone spoken over you that you’re not something, when the truth is that you are? Are you waiting to become something or do something beautiful? Why are you waiting? Why are you holding back?

 

We need you to be who you fully are. The world is waiting. That song in your heart, that piece that’s bursting into being as your paintbrush hits the canvas, that meal you prepared for a hurting friend, the way you love to listen, we need those parts of you. You cannot keep them in. It’s my to let them out, to watch God take your fishes and loaves and breathe on them and feed the hungry.

 

You must be more of who you are, for who you are is good.

 

It’s your reflection of God piercing the flesh of a dark and hurting world.

Earlier this week, I had one of the most profound conversations I’ve had in a long time. I was having coffee with my new friend Kayla, and we had the opportunity to talk a lot about the things that have been stirring in me. This season is a really good and really interesting one. And by interesting, I mean that every two or three days, I feel like my world is going to slowly crumble down around me. I get really frustrated with myself, or frustrated with Colton, or my friends, or my circumstances. And I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. And my people have been so gracious. Because this is a process that takes time to fully work through and they see the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I’m too blinded to see it myself. Thank you Jesus for good friends like these. The world is so much more hopeful with them in it.

Engagement is such a transition season. Everyone knows it’s only temporary, but for those who are engaged, you know that phrase only helps so much. Because while yes, the wedding is only x number of months away (Six from today! Whoohoo!!!!), you still have to live in the tension of these months. You still have to wait and hope and trust. And that’s okay. It is a real and true fact that engagement is so good and messy and there are a ton of things you never thought you’d be dealing with, and suddenly you have the choice: work through them with God and your future spouse or ignore them, pretending that everything is totally fine, and let them fester and grow. And in my personal opinion, we need to stop shaming our friends who are working through something (whether it’s engagement or something else) that seems really messy, and instead start praying and hoping for them. We need to be sounding blocks and fresh air for them to breathe, and we need to be like the friends of the paraplegic who lowered him down to Jesus and went off rejoicing with him when he could finally walk. We need to believe in the process and stop demanding results.

For me, one of the big wrestles for God and me in this season is my upcoming role as a wife and what that’s going to look like. I can tell you now that there will never be a greater gift and honor in my life than to be Colton James LeBoeuf’s wife. I get to marry my best friend. He is a man of such incredible character. He is the kindest person I’ve ever met. He’s so patient and gracious, and has supported me and loved me so well even before we ever started dating. He’s better than I could have ever dreamt up for myself. I am so blessed. When I stop to think about what a crazy honor it is that God lets us live this life out together for so many years, it blows me away, I do not deserve this gift.

And Colt wants to be a pastor, and spend his life ministering to others, helping them encounter the love of God. What an incredible gift! I prayed that my husband would love God more than he loves anything else in the world (including me), and God gave me that. All glory back to Him.

Yet somewhere along the way, I got tripped up in what that means for us, and specifically what that means for me as a wife of a man in ministry. Something was communicated to me that said, “As a woman and as a woman who’s in ministry, this is your role: be quiet. Be submissive. Because you matter less. Your voice matters less. It doesn’t count. You don’t count. You will only play second fiddle.” And while that isn’t at all the truth, it really shook me and made me afraid. Because I want to matter and to become fully all that God has created me for. And for a long while, I’ve been working through what God actually wants my role to be.

I know that everyone has very strong and different opinions about women’s role in the home and church, and I respect your opinions. I’m not going to have a debate with you. I’m merely explaining that the quiet servant isn’t the role I want to play, or even feel comfortable playing. Loving wife and mother? Yes. Supporter of everything Colton does? Of course. I want to come along side Colton and love him and serve him and love and serve other people. But I believe that I matter too. My dreams matter. My voice matters. I mean, I obviously have things to say or I wouldn’t be over here writing all this out. I can’t keep these things in.

And what I think we’re missing when we push women, or anyone for that matter, into one specific role, and declare “THIS IS WHO YOU ARE” without even considering who we’re talking to, we are simply trying to play God, and that is NOT our job. The fact is that we need people to love and serve in their own ways, in the ways God created them to serve and love. We need to let people be themselves, and stop pegging them into certain categories. And that looks different for everyone. I’m marrying a man who wants to be in full time ministry, and yes that means I’m signing up for a life of full time ministry too. But Colton is also marrying a writer and a teacher, and that means he gets to partner with my callings too. There will be seasons where one of our dreams is at the forefront, and the other one will have to wait and cheer us on. And vise versa. But that’s the beauty of marriage. We’re always laying down ourselves to life up the other, and when they’re doing the same thing, God comes in and blesses us more than we ever thought He would. It really doesn’t make sense, but it’s good. It’s the beauty of the Gospel. Death bringing forth life. Again and again and again.

For a lot of my life, I heard over and over again these phrases: “Mary Cate, you’re so nice,” “You’re so motherly and nurturing,” “You’re so sweet.” And while I totally agree these are facets of my character, and very sweet gifts that God has given me in personality, it got to the point where I started wanting to punch the next person in the face who told me that. Because it’s not all that I am!! I wanted people to tell me I was funny, and smart, and creative, and even hot. Just anything but sweet and motherly. I am not a big fully marshmallow. I am a woman—creative, firey, kind, gracious, intelligent, etc.

And I could go on for a while, but here’s the truth: this is ministry. My life is ministry. I am not confined to a church building or a children’s ministry or a certain character trait that someone speaks over me. It’s me again and again saying yes to God in the ways He is speaking to me. It’s fanning into flame the gifts that He’s given (2 Timothy 1:6)

Here are some things I now know about myself after this conversation with my friend and I need to keep remembering. Here are just a few of the ways I feel like God is speaking to me right now:

 

I am an artist. I have to create. I need to be around beauty, to see it, to hear it, to feel it, to create it and write it and express it and manifest it myself. And this is not an airbrushed magazine beauty; this is not a commercialized beauty or a flawless body beauty. It’s messy, and it’s emotional, and colorful, and full of bits that I don’t really understand. It’s offensive to some and scary to others, but for a few it does something that breaks through the mundane and offers a chance to breathe and see again.

 

I am a feeler. Which probably comes with the art thing. I need to feel things deeply, both the good things and the bad things, in order to create. In order to meet with Jesus. In order to become whole and more of myself. It’s like a plant that sits in a closet—I will die shut up in there. I need to be planted deep in the soil, need to soak up the rain and savor the sunshine. I need the clear air. I need the breath of God.

 

I am so many things, so many things that I don’t even know yet. There are facets of my character that have not developed, that I’ve yet to explore. It’s like a diamond, or a cave full of tunnels, we are complex beings, there’s a lot that we have yet to see, and we can stay up near the mouth of the cave where we can see, or we can grab our headlamp and crawl around and the dark and discover new things. We can grow.

 

And I don’t know about you, but I want to keep growing. I want to become more of myself. My friend Kayla said to me, “You must be more of who you are.” Because who I am is good. Who I am is necessary. When I am fully myself, it blesses Colton; it blesses my friends. It heals me. It’s a fragrant offering to God. And being myself brings a little more like into the world. Being fully myself pushes back against the darkness in the world.

 

And the same is true for you. Are you holding back parts of yourself that you know you need to share? Has someone spoken over you that you’re not something, when the truth is that you are? Are you waiting to become something or do something beautiful? Why are you waiting? Why are you holding back?

 

We need you to be who you fully are. The world is waiting. That song in your heart, that piece that’s bursting into being as your paintbrush hits the canvas, that meal you prepared for a hurting friend, the way you love to listen, we need those parts of you. You cannot keep them in. It’s my to let them out, to watch God take your fishes and loaves and breathe on them and feed the hungry.

 

You must be more of who you are, for who you are is good.

 

It’s your reflection of God piercing the flesh of a dark and hurting world.

Coming Home to Yourself

Coming Home to Yourself

“There are two realities to which you must cling. First, God has promised that you will receive the love you have been searching for. And second, God is faithful to that promise.

So stop wandering around. Instead, come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. Your whole life you have been running about, seeking the love you desire. Now it is time to end that search. Trust that God will give you that all-fulfilling love and will give it in a human way. Before you die, God will offer you the deepest satisfaction you can desire. Just stop running and start trusting and receiving.

Home is where you are truly safe. It is where you can receive what you desire. You need human hands to hold you there so you don’t run away again. But when you come home and stay home, you will find the love that will bring rest to your heart.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of my life running from myself. And by running from myself, I mean doing everything I possibly could to keep certain parts of myself hidden or pretty so that I would be accepted and loved. As a little girl, I went through a period when was really heavy, and was left out by my friends, and these things created deep chasms of hurt that have taken a long time for Jesus to begin to heal. Because I wouldn’t let him heal me. Because I thought that’s just what people did. There’s something wrong with you and you just fix it and make it okay. And then you will again be loved. And so I’ve spent a lot of life editing myself and controlling myself and trying to be the best. I’ve kept quiet and proud so that people would not have to question that I was good and deserving of their love.

And don’t we all do that? I could name so many areas, but we let ourselves be named by other people as “the smart one” or “the funny one” or “the one who’s always kind,” and we shut off other parts of ourselves, the ugly parts, that we have learned that others don’t want to see.

And as we do that, we miss out on ourselves, on the person God actually created us to be.

In the last few months of my life, the Lord has been teaching me more than ever before that I can’t fix myself. All my former ways of protecting myself and fixing myself just are not going to work. Controlling my eating is not going to fix me. Purity is not going to fix me. Choosing joy and being kind and doing everything right isn’t going to fix me either. My old systems of operating are faulty and broken and they’re hurting me. They’re probably hurting you too.

I cannot fix myself. And I hate to break this to you, but you cannot fix yourself either.

From time to time over the last two years, I’ve gotten this picture in my mind of a little girl, who obviously very afraid and vulnerable. And I know that little girl is me. Because I feel her pain, her rejection, and her longing to be loved. I’ve done everything I can to ignore her and run from her, but she’s been showing up more and more and the Father’s been reminding me, “Mary Cate, my beloved, you have to love that part of you too.”

There are so many parts of me that I love. I really am a secure and joyful individual. I’m so thankful for my life, for the people in it, for my circumstances, for every single part. But there are pieces of myself that I’ve closed off and ignored. There are pieces that I have not loved, that I have not let be exposed to the Father’s love.

Because we don’t just close off parts of ourselves to other pieces. A lot of the time, we close of parts of ourselves to God.

And if we would just open up, if we would make friends with the pieces of ourselves that we’ve really tried to kill, I believe we’d experience more healing than we’d know what to do with. It’d be like Jesus kicking in the door of the darkest room in our heart and letting all the Light in.

I honestly don’t have this all figured out yet. These meditations are just stirrings in my heart. I haven’t even begun to experience the freedom that Jesus has promised, but there’s a new openness and a new love for that little girl inside myself who really needs a home. I could keep avoiding her. I could continue to shut her out. But throughout that time I would be missing God’s promise, that if I bring my full, entire self to him, I will be loved fully, in all His entirety. We miss out on some much when we refuse to let ourselves be loved. But the more and more we walk with Jesus, the more we’ll see these broken, “unlovable” places as the ones that allow us to experience the fullness of Christ. Paul had those places. And they kept him close to Jesus. They kept him close to the Cross (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

In his kindness, God offers us the opportunity to come home to ourselves, to embrace all the parts of our heart that our loved ones could not handle, that the church deemed unacceptable and dirty, that we tried with all our might to hide. He wants to welcome in that broken little girl/boy in you, wants to help you make friends with your pain and yourself so you can enter into healing and find the truest freedom and joy.

God is carving out a place for you, for all of you. It’s big enough for you to breathe, quiet enough for you to hear him, comforting enough for you to receive. It is home. It is your place. And all of you is welcomed there.

It’s so good to be able to love ourselves in our own brokenness, so stay familiar with the Cross. We are being made more and more like Jesus. And it’s a joy to trust in His process.

Amen.

Acorns and Oak Trees (More Thoughts on God’s Faithfulness)

Acorns and Oak Trees (More Thoughts on God’s Faithfulness)

Today, my friends, I have a story for you. It’s not a perfect story, but it’s the one that’s playing out in my life, and I’m humbled by it. Undeserving and speechless that I get to live it. It’s the story that I get to grow and nurture for the rest of my life, because for some reason Jesus has entrusted it to me. So here it is.

January 2014: the very beginning of my spring semester, sophomore year.
I was in what was (at that time) been one of the hardest seasons of my life. Things with my friends weren’t going the way I thought they would go. I had been head over heels about a guy who just wasn’t interested and was recovering from the greatest sting rejection I had felt in a good, long while. And really, I was just plain sad and couldn’t shake it. I felt weak, and messy, and honestly pretty hopeless. And in that sting of pain I decided I needed to do small things that could help me get well, that would serve as markers that I was choosing to care for myself, even when I felt so weak and weary. And on an unseasonably warm January afternoon, I decided I would walk home from campus. Because it was good for me, because I could. And as I was walking home, I ran across a huge pile of acorns, freshly fallen from the trees above, and something in my heart stirred: “pick one up.” And in that moment, I really felt like the acorn I held in my hand was a promise from God. That even though I felt like crap, and I couldn’t shake the sadness, that I was going to be okay. I was going to make it. He was taking care of me. And I carried that acorn around in my jacket pocket all semester long, my little inside joke with God, and I grabbed hold of it when I needed to reminded of His faithfulness to me.

May 2014: Cape Town, South Africa
As the beginning of summer, I found myself on the other side of the world with my college ministry on a short term mission trip. I was still a mess, but just beginning to scratch the surface of feeling like myself and having the ability to put words to what I was feeling and what I needed. In this season of my life, I never expected to find myself falling for a guy I had known for a year. And I definitely never expected that he had been patiently waiting for the right time form God to express his affection for me.

So while is South Africa, we started spending time together (walking to campus together, cleaning the dishes together at night), just simple things that enabled me to see his deep humility and compassion and strength. There were things that just drew me to Colton. I didn’t give it too much thought, but I knew I wanted to be around him. Wherever, whenever, for as long as possible. Because being around him felt like coming home. I was safe. I was secure. I was loved.

And then I flew back home and he stayed for another month, and when he arrived back in Nashville, I asked if I could pick him and our other friend up from the airport and take them back to Knoxville. Just because they were my friends and I wanted to spend time with them. Oh, if I had only known. 🙂

But a few weeks later, on the night before he left for Texas for a month, he asked if we could meet up and talk. My stomach dropped. I think I know what this is about… I think he might ask me out. And he did. In the most confident and gracious manner, Colton said to me, “Mary Cate I like you. I’ve liked you for a really long time. I think you’re beautiful. And I would like to take you on a date.” (And I’m sure he said much more than that but I was obviously not in my most prime mental state so those are the phrases that have remained).

And there it was. See, after a weird few years of one long, hard relationship and several guys trying to pursue me in a bizarre, “in through the back door,” passive sort of way, all I wanted was for the next guy I dated to say “I like you and I want to take you on a date.” Simple, clear, incredibly intentional. And he did it. And I was amazed. I hadn’t even told him that was what I needed. So he left for Texas, and we talked on the phone every night, which felt like planting tiny little seeds in the garden of what would become our relationship, and when he came back to Knox, we went on some very special dates and then he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. (Well, I said yes the second time for stupid reasons because I was afraid, but that’s a story for another Friday).

—————————————————————–
Today, we’ve been together for over a year. At then end of this month it will be 15 months. Over one whole year that’s been filled with a lot of laughter, tears, prayers, road trips, cups of coffee, homecooked meals, and healing in my heart. This man, who started off as just a friend who saw me in some of the ugliest moments of my life (literally, seasons of bawling on the floor in worship, never wearing make up, and other moments that I like to say were “very Mary Cate”), has become the deepest love of my life, my dearest friend, my perfect counterpart.

It’s a very interesting phenomenon to realize that God wants to do a deep and healing work in you through another person. Before Colton, I really believed that I didn’t need people. I didn’t need anyone but God. And while that is kind of true, in the fact that I will never experience fullness with anyone but the Father, I cannot forsake the fact that He wants to use other people to shape and transform and refine me too. I was keeping people at a distance, never letting anyone fully in, and was missing out of one of the greatest blessing God gives us in this life: to be known.

And it hasn’t always been easy. The doors of my heart weren’t immediately flung open, but sometimes love is slower and intentional, and you look back and gasp at the fact that someone has been slowly and patiently letting their love wrap you up and bring you healing. It’s what God does, and it’s what he offers us a glimpse of through others as well. And every time I think about it I’m floored because it’s just a really beautiful thing to realize.

A few months ago, back on August 15th, I was driving home form the beach with my group of best friends. We had spent the week laughing and soaking up the sun, and I was ready to be home after a long summer of traveling every couple of weeks. But we were heading to Max Patch (If you have never been or you don’t know what this is, YOU NEED TO GO!!). And when we got there, my friends handed me a letter and said their goodbyes and my heart started racing. Because I realized who was up at the top of the mountain. It was my love, and he had a question for me, one that was going to mark and define the rest of our lives. Tears are literally welling up in my eyes as I sit at the Plaid Apron and write this, because the reality of that sentence is so much greater than it was on that day in August, and it will only continue to grow in weightiness and strength. God is good.

So I hiked up the the trail in my dress (I thought we were having a photo shoot with all my friends lol) and tried to soak in the beauty that was around me. Colt had written me letters and placed them in various places up along the trail. So I stopped and I read and I tried to take it all in. But there’s really only so much you can take in and so long you want to wait when you know what is coming 😉 But I made it to the top and there he was. He led me to the spot he had picked out for us and washed my feet and told me that he was so sure about me. That he loved me. That he wanted to do this life together, always, for the rest of our lives. And I said YES!! Because when someone like Colton James LeBoeuf comes along and wants to love you, you say yes. And yes again. All the time, every day, for the rest of your life. ‘Cause he’s seriously the greatest one around and I do not deserve him in the least.

But why is this important? What does my story of relationship and engagement matter to anyone other than me and Colt?

It matters because God is faithful. He has always been faithful. He knows our deepest desires that well up in our hearts. And because I need to remember again and again that He is GOOD to me. And He’s good to you.

See, what I didn’t know when I picked up that little acorn almost two years ago, was that around the same time, God was putting Isaiah 61 on Colton’s heart. It says–
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor
.”

And what do oak trees come from? Acorns. ACORNS PEOPLE!!!!

How crazy and thoughtful of God?! How deeply intentional can He be?!

I had no idea that at the same time, the Lord was putting a similar promise in each of our hearts. We knew each other at that time, but we were not close, and it was only after we started dating that we came to this crazy realization.

And I didn’t even do anything to deserve it. I did not deserve a love, deserve freedom from heaviness and despair, did not even deserve a relationship with God. But in His kindness, He bent down low to save me. And He gave me the sweetest gift. He gave me himself. And that would have been enough. But he chose to bless abundantly beyond that as well. And I don’t take it for granted. I want to savor it and remember it and hold fast to the fact that He loves me.

It’s a miracle, and it’s a miracle that He loves you too. Because what we really deserved was His wrath, but He blesses us with relationship and with Truth. He comes near to rescue you. He has promises He wants to fulfill for you.

There are acorns all around your life, waiting to be picked up, believed in, and held on to. The Father is longing to enter into your story and take it in a direction that you never imagined it would go, but somehow would not ever change or rewrite.

There are seasons of hoping and waiting. The acorns of Truth have to be planted. Watered and nurtured. And the waiting can feel so agonizing because it seems like it’s taking to long. I know you want to quit. I know you’re feeling hopeless.

But He’s taking care of you.

And when little shoots of green begin to break out of the ground you will be overwhelmed and free to fall to your knees and declare that He is good.

So please keep hoping, please keep holding onto your own little acorns. Because people need the hope you have in your soul. You have a testimony. You have a story to tell. Our stories are not finished, they are not fully written, but they need to be told no matter where we think they are.

Hope is awakening my friends. The Lord is doing something new. I’m with you in this wherever you are.

He is taking care of you.

Photo above by the glorious and talented Erin McCall.

The Waiting and the Hoping

The Waiting and the Hoping

So here we are after another long season of putting off what I know I need to be doing. I love writing. I’m starting to remember and believe that I’m actually created to do this. There’s something about it that frees up my soul and puts things back into perspective for me in a way that very little else does. But so often I get bogged down with the random little things that eat away at my time and I find myself dry, needing that cool, healing water from the Lord that floods into my weary veins through taking these fleeting moments of my life and weaving them into story. I’m back again and this time I’m praying that the Lord would help me. Help me be brave enough to write, brave enough to be obedient. I’m praying that I would be a vessel, and the things that are stirring in my heart would bubble forth and spill out onto the page and that we would all be changed and encouraged as we see His loving hand in each of our lives. Are you with me?

Here we go (again 🙂 )

I’ve been engaged for almost three months now, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that engagement is not for the faint of heart. There’s something that rises to the surface when you commit your life to another person that is just different than the more simple season of dating. I know dating is not always simple, but for Colton and I, it was pretty light and easy. We had our share of trials as we spent three months apart as he did mission work in South Africa, but other than that, it was pretty blissful. And then he came home, we got engaged, and he moved away to Texas for the year to attend the Antioch Discipleship School. It’s already been an incredibly experience, but one that is really hard for me at the same time.

Because I agreed to this plan with my mouth, but it’s taken my heart a long time to catch up. Because it’s much easier to tell God you’ll do/go/sacrifice whatever to know Him more than it is to actually let Him lead you into a season that is going to help you cultivate intimacy and history with Him. He’s faithful, and when you pray for these things, He actually does them (surprise, surprise). So be careful what you pray for my sweet friends.

It’s such a weird and messy and joyful and exciting thing to begin to tether your own life to someone else’s, but at the same time, doing it while you’re five thousand miles apart only makes it harder. I’ve been focused on how hard it’s been and have spent most of my time praying for relief, simply trying to buckle down and get through it instead of letting whatever God’s doing in both of us to take root and bloom. Waiting is a complicated thing. It’s hard, much harder than we think. We so desperately desire what comes at the end of the waiting, and I don’t know about you, but my heart is fickle, and I so rarely am willing to actually savor the waiting. And I could give you one of those cheesy quotes that it’s “not the destination but the journey that counts,” but I’ll spare you. The truth is that the waiting is better than we think it is.

The waiting is where the good stuff happens.

I get that not everyone has a trying engagement, but I think it’s a season that much more complicated than we care to admit. And I think it’s something we forget to talk about, or we’re too ashamed to bring up because in our heads engagement is full of cake tasting, dress shopping, gift registry, and premarital bliss. And those things are great and all, but if choosing which color napkins we want at our newly married table is the hardest thing we’re up against, I think we’re being deceived.

There’s just a new level of honesty and openness that I’m experiencing in this season, and it’s absolutely wrecking me. I keep telling Colton that it feels like my skin is coming off, like I’m totally exposed. Because all my junk is rising to the surface and I can’t really seem to push it back down any longer. My longings and desire are being awakened in a new way that is humbling, and it points me back to the Lord. I’m aware of my own neediness, my fickle desire for comfort and security, my fears and doubts and the mess of anger and disbelief that I never want to come out. So often my desires are off. I’m desiring intimacy with Colton more than I’m desiring intimacy with the Lord. I’m longing for comfort and relief more than I’m longing for the Lord’s will to be done in my life no matter what. It’s alarming when you are awakened to your own startling inadequacies, but it’s showing me that I’m human, and for a girl who’s spent her whole life trying to be perfect, I’m surprisingly alright with that.

In this season of my life, I can’t get away from Romans 8. Because it’s some of the most honest Truth I’ve heard.

Paul was a man who was familiar with suffering. And Jesus was too. Let us not forget the unbearable agony He faced on the Cross in order to win back our hearts and lead us to reenter relationship with the Father. He knew what it meant to suffer. And that suffering brought about more glory than we could ever find anywhere else.

Romans 8:18-25 says this–
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom of and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Y’all, I am the first person to admit that I have not been patient in this season. I have yelled and screamed and cried and made a mess out of things because I am not comfortable with suffering. I haven’t seen it as a necessary part of life, but as a manipulation or punishment from the Father. Which is absolutely not the truth. I’ve been shaking my fist at God for my discomfort instead of falling at His feet and finding peace and comfort in his unending Love.

I was recently talking to my mentor, Beth, and she said that we have two options: We can judge the Truth through our experiences, or we can judge our experiences through the Truth. I’ve been doing the first. Because to me, long distance, risk, discomfort, and struggle do not equate with goodness. I’ve been throwing a personal pity party for longer than I care to admit, and it has not gotten me anywhere. It’s wrecked my heart with confusion and doubt. It’s made me push back against what God is doing in my life and cry out, “Why the hell are we doing this? This isn’t how I though it would go. This isn’t fair. This isn’t good. Take it away because this isn’t what I wanted.”

I’m so often blinded by my so-called need for comfort. I forget that suffering is part of life on this side of heaven. We will face suffering, even if we try everything in our power to avoid it. And we can keep avoiding it, or we can let it change us. We can let it transform our lives.

Paul continues in Romans 8:26-28–
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts known the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This is one of the weakest seasons of my life. I’ve been praying desperate prayers, begging God to come and move because working in my own strength isn’t working anymore. But it’s glorious too, and slowly I’m becoming a woman of hope. I’m clinging to God’s promises because my own plans aren’t working out, and they sure aren’t as glorious.

So what in your own life is needing the Spirit’s breath of Hope? What plans of yours are no longer working for you? What is the Father longing to bring you into deeper intimacy with?

The truth is that we don’t have to run anymore. We don’t have to fight against what God is doing. We don’t have to bow to fear. No, life is not easy. The season you are in is likely not that easy, but God is using the trials to shape us, and to draw us closer to Himself. You can let go. You can let it happen. And we can be filled with hope instead of despair because He is good, and the good things are found in the waiting.

Let Yourself Be Loved

Let Yourself Be Loved

Right now, as I sit on my couch, I’ve just finished a bowl of blueberry Wheaties and am sipping a very hot and very strong cup of coffee. My room is a mess. I haven’t put away my clothes in like a week and my bed is unmade (and just might stay that way all day), and there’s about ten other things I need to do that I’m putting off in order to write. And I also haven’t exercised. I thought about it, let myself get way too anxious about it, debated running and then threw out my yoga mat and started doing sit ups and push ups. And then I stopped. Because why was I really doing this? Why was I freaking out all alone in my room, while my roommates worked and slept peacefully in their beds?

And as I sit here and reflect, I think it’s because I really just wanted to be loved.

Throughout this past year of college, God really challenged me as he showed me just how hard it’s been for me to believe that I could be as loved as people long to let me be. And he showed me that I’ve believed this lie for quite some time. There’s something in me that so longs to be perfect, and skinny, and fun, and the one everyone looks to who has it all together, but in reality, that desire has only ruled my life and robbed me of my joy. Because instead of just being, I’ve been performing, trying to prove to everyone, including myself, that I’m supposed to be loved. That I deserve your love because of what I’ve done. Yet it’s all been in vain, because the truth really is that I already am loved. And it’s not contingent on whether I work out today. It’s not contingent on whether or not I was the best friend I could be today and made every one of my friends feel super loved and encouraged and supported. It’s not contingent on the size of my arms or my stomach or whether my clothes are perfectly pressed or covered in stains (which is most likely the reality). I could go on forever with all the anxieties that relentlessly try to tell my heart and my mind that I could never be loved fully because of x, y, or z, but the truth is that even as I frantically tried to prove my worth on my yoga matt this morning, Abba Father whispered in his still, small voice, “Hey, Beloved, let yourself be loved today.”

Let yourself be loved.

I think it’s one of the most ridiculous and shocking things we could do in this morning. Because whether we acknowledge it or not, our world is constantly throwing images in our face that demand that we bow down to the idol of “Not Enough.” It says we’re not pretty enough, or skinny enough, or cool enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or successful enough, or (you fill in your blank here) enough. And yet, in the middle of all that noise, there is the still small voice of Jesus calling us back into His arms of Love and stilling the storms of our heart once again. And He’s beckoning us to be loved, to be his Beloved today.

It’s funny, you know. I kept hearing the Father call me Beloved for months until I finally realized what he was reminding me again and again each time He called my name, “Hey Beloved, let yourself BE – LOVED.” Friends, His command is in our name. God calls each of us his Beloved, and He’s just beckoning us to BE – Loved.

I know it’s overwhelming, and I know it’s hard to accep, and half the time I question whether or not it’s really even his voice, but today we’re invited to enter into trust. We can trust that we hear the Father if the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. We can trust that He is for us. And we can trust that we are loved. Whole-heartedly, wildly, deeply covered in His love. And just to believe it, if only for a moment, is the baby step we need to begin the journey into walking in the freedom of being ourselves. It’s the first step. Not fixing ourselves or reading our Bibles—it’s just to let ourselves be loved. In this moment. Right where we are. No strings attached. I’m only taking baby steps, but slowly, these feet of mine will walk and begin to run, and I want the same for you today. I want each of us to experience a freedom we could have never imagined, and I want us to be brave.

So breathe my friend, take a step, and let yourself be loved.

The Weary World Rejoices (And You Thought I’d Given Up)

The Weary World Rejoices (And You Thought I’d Given Up)

Okay. It’s literally been six months. Don’t hate me. It was a busy semester. And life got busy and a lot changed. But man oh man did I ever think about writing, about sharing with you guys. I just happened to never get the words out.

Instead of trying to come up with excuses, let’s just pretend that we’ve both been busy and it’s the first time we’ve gotten to sit down and chat over a good cup of coffee in a long, long while. This is my personal apology. I’ll try to never do it again. I can’t make guarantees. But I promise I will try.

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Wow, what a semester. What a whirlwind Jesus took me on. Looking back now, it’s all a bit of a blur, the kind of feeling you get after riding a roller coaster; okay, that was awesome but did I see anything in full? I’m not quite sure.

School wise, well, school was school. I read a lot. I wrote a lot. I learned a lot and met some incredible people. And I grew. So overall, school was good.

But life wise, oh, life was rich.

For the first time in a long time, I found myself slowly and gently coming back to life. Maybe it was my own space in a house filled with people I love, maybe it was a new school year, maybe it was just the kindness of Jesus. But as I experienced the semester unfolding, my heart steadily grew more and more open. I grew in relationship. I fell in love with a really incredible man of God. I asked hard questions. I got humble and asked for forgiveness. I laughed. I let go. I started really getting healed and parting with the fear of pain. And I’m not all patched up yet, but there’s been a lot of growth. I feel more settled, more sure of God’s character, more like myself than I have in a really long time.

But just like every semester, I get to the end and I’m a little bit cracked, a little bit weary. The last push of finals and final papers mixed with not enough sleep, too much coffee, and that numbing pull of apathy leaves me getting to the end with just enough heart to make the drive home and crawl into bed with the plan to watch endless hours of netflix (Gilmore Girls, anyone?) and read a pile of books. Ask any college kid how they feel at the end of the semester and their response will likely come back to one word: weary.

We’re all just a little bit tired, a little bit worn from whatever life has throw at us. No matter if you’re in school or not, we all get to the end of the year, this Christmas season, and we’re met with this mix expectation and weariness, chaos and joy.

And I’m guessing for that reason, this simple little line of O Holy Night refuses to remove itself from my brain:

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

The weary world rejoices. That sounds quite a bit like my own little world.

It always amazes me that when you really start to press into God, he uses that space to come and move in places you never thought he would. He comes and shakes things up; just when I’m comfortable in my routine or my performance, or even my opinions on who I think He is, He comes and reminds me, “Hey, Mary Cate, you know this isn’t all there is. You know I have more for you, right? Okay then, stop performing. Let go, breathe, I’m taking care of you.”

And that’s what this semester and season of Advent has been for me. God coming and moving, restoring, redeeming, and redefining everything. Kind of like what He did as He came into the world as a new born babe. Completely vulnerable, completely God. Bursting forth into our world to get on our level and touch the weary places in our hearts. How glorious.

Just think about it. Even Jesus’s parents were weary. I don’t know about you ladies, but traveling on a donkey at nine months pregnant is not on my bucket list of things I’d like to do. And dudes, I don’t think Joseph had a grand time either. He was walking. Many miles, caring for a wife whom he probably loved but who was carrying a child that was not his. He was carrying the weight of secrets, of questions and misunderstanding. How many questions he likely had for God, but what a faithful and obedient man. Amazing. What a mission these two weary people were on. How incredible that God would plan for them to take a trip, just as their baby was born, in order for these weary travelers to confirm just one of many prophesies about their baby Son. It’s just incredible! Two ordinary people, given the honor of carrying the King into the world. To hold his tiny body, to soothe him. To wipe away his tears, to care for and comfort. And in those quiet moments, on that holy, holy night, what healing and peace that sweet baby must have brought, to both his parents and the peoples of the world.

For this entire season of Advent, my heart has been so tender, so hyper-aware of my longings, of the weariness in my heart. We’re all longing, we’re all aching, because this world is broken. It’s not as it should be. Even the good stuff is just a figment of what it was intended to be. But God loves to use these longings. He loves to meet us in our aching. Not because we deserve it, not because he has to, but just because our deep deep longings give our Savior so much space to move.

Do you hear what I’m saying? Our Lord and Savior is among us. The day of his birth is rapidly approaching. And no matter where you’re at, no matter what is coming in the days ahead, Jesus is longing to encounter you. In your longings, in your aching. Exactly as you are. He’s doing that exact thing in my life and I know he wants to do the same in yours. And because of that great love he has for us, I just can’t help but fall more in love with him. Because in my weakest and most fragile state, He longs to awake hope. He longs to help me rejoice.

Hear the song again. The thrill of hope. Our weary world is rejoicing. Because ahead of us, a new and glorious morning awaits. The King has come! His bursting forth into our brokenness appears like the Star of David, shattering the darkness of the night, lighting the way for us to come and encounter him.

It’s Christmas Eve. And the world is not as it should be. But what if instead of patching up our hurt, our shame, our broken families and dreams with presents and false Christmas cheer, we just for a few minutes allowed ourselves to be broken, and invited our Savior to come and meet us in that place? What if we let down our guard and became vulnerable, like a child, and allowed ourselves to be held, to be comforted by the King of Kings? See, he’s been exactly where you are. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

So this Christmas Eve, let’s approach the throne of Jesus. Let’s admit our brokenness, even if it’s for the few minutes before the family arrives and the presents are opened. It’s such a glorious time, such a sweet time, but we don’t have to pretend that everything is alright if it’s not. We can be real. We can be vulnerable. And we can be held by our sweet, sweet Savior, who understands, who bears our burdens, who came to be near. Not just to your neighbor or your friend who has his or her life together, but to you. You, friend. Weary, broken, frayed-around-the-edges You.

So let him come. Let him come and breathe into the weary places, let him come and bear the longings. Let him come and rest.

The weary world rejoices.

The Waves of His Mercy

So, I have a pretty serious love-hate relationship with the ocean. It’s the ideal summer destination, lounging around on the beach, soaking up the sun as the waves soothingly roar in my ears. It’s delightful. But on the other hand, there’s so much uncertainty that comes with such a beautiful body of water. Too many critters (remind me to tell you my horror story sometime), too much risk; the ocean itself is a place I tend to love from a distance.

Two months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to visit the Cape of Good Hope with some of the people I love most in the world. It was our “fun day” while on a mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa (Truly, the entire trip was a blast. Who knew that sharing the Gospel was actually supposed to be fun?! The Kingdom of God is GOOD news and filled with JOY!), and as we detoured off the trail down a long staircase that led to the beach, I found myself jumping and singing, my heart on the verge of bursting, worshiping my God in the midst of one of the most beautiful, yet dangerous, places in the whole world. At the Cape, the waves are so large, it’d be a death sentence to try to swim, let alone sail. But all the while I was mesmerized; taken aback by the beauty of my surroundings, the awareness of my own frailty and stature, and the fact that the God of these giant waves would draw me out to take them in, all the while pouring his love out onto me in the same way the waves crash to meet the shore.

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That experience was so sweet for me, a memory of my time in South Africa that will be held close to my heart for some time. And as I write this, I think one of the reasons I loved that moment the most was because I wasn’t so afraid anymore. In fact, I was more overwhelmed by my love for the Creator than I was by my fear of getting too close. It all felt a little wild in the midst of the fierce winds and the roar of the waves, yet I wasn’t freaking out, trying to grasp for control of the situation. I was laughing, I was singing, and my heart was rejoicing, “thank you, thank you, thank you.

How I long to be back in that place. For some time, I’ve been doing better, feeling more like myself than I had in months, praise Jesus. For the majority of this past year, I let the hard moments beat me up. And the worst part is, I was really trying to fix it all in my own strength. I was still having my quiet time, still leading and loving the Lord, but I was covering up my heartache by doing more stuff, like trying to cover a deep gash with more and more small band aids. Definitely a hopeless cause. If we’re being honest, the truth is that I’m still kind of doing that, and it only really hit me tonight. I’ve spent a lot of time the last few months running away from the hard feelings, doing everything possible to escape the heaviness, the sadness, the shame of feeling down when everything seems to be going great. I’ve been so afraid of getting back to that heavy place that I’ve kept everything and everyone at arms distance, because to really feel things, to really go there, would only mean more pain on the horizon. And in keeping my feelings at bay, I’ve been avoiding the confrontation that comes with change and all its hurt. I know God to be good, but for a lot of this summer, I’ve been trying to run away from my feelings towards him, from my bitterness and anger, from the heartache I have caused myself while placing the blame on him.

Before you freak out and start thinking I’m depressed or doubting God or anything like that, read: this is not a crisis of faith. I’m not losing it or forsaking Christ or anything like that. I love the Lord and I love my life. I’m just tired of having to tie up all my heartache into a perfect little package with a bow that reads, “I’m okay, I know God is good.” And while the truth is I am okay (in fact, better than okay), and God is good (in fact, better than good), I can’t keep telling you that it’s all okay and good while my heart is shaking it’s fist towards heaven, looking up with a tear-stained face, screaming, “Stop it God. Stop taking everything away from me.” Because that’s the way I’ve been believing God to be for too, too long.

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More than anything, I’m realizing that I struggle hard with change (surprise, surprise), and don’t we all. For so long it’s felt like I’ve been beaten by the waves over and over, standing up once again only to get knocked right back down. Just as I finally let go of one hurt, just when I finally have peace with one situation, another something happens; another leak in the boat of my life appears while my hands and feet are already trying to patch up other spots. My boat starts sinking. And I’m finding that these changes (most of the relational) leave me hurting and fearful, because it feels more like I’m being rejected than just a normal part of life. And instead of understanding that relationships ebb and flow, instead of living open-handed, thanking God for the time to love people and accepting when it’s time for them to go, I scratch and claw, clinging to the edges of relationships, crying out, “no, no, no, you can’t leave me too.” And instead of turning and running to God, pouring my heart out to the only one who will truly never leave me or forsake me, I give it a half-hearted attempt and then run the opposite direction, pacifying my heart by doing more stuff while keeping tally of my grievances. “God, remember the time you let this happen? Remember that time this person left and that hurt me? Yeah, thanks for that. You owe me one.”

And today was I day I was really shaking my fists hard at God. Because I’m just so tired. I’m tired of mourning things I should have already let go of, I’m tired of not encountering the presence of God the way my heart longs to. I’m tired of wallowing in my own self pity, rehashing the same hurts, unable and unwilling to let them go. I know it’s not good, I know that I should be okay and should already be over it, and yet I keep finding myself coming back to the bitterness and disappointment of this last season. I’ve come to the end of my own strength and I’ve had enough.

As my head hit the pillow tonight, the tears poured out, too (And now that you know I have cried myself to sleep a time or two (dozen), we can all heave a great sigh at the fact that I’m human. Whew. Yay for being human and broken!). And I had my own little falling out towards God, which consisted of a lot of me crying and wishing I could physically cry out and scream without sending my sleeping house into a panic. I told God I was angry, I told him I was tired, and I told him I didn’t like him very much. I was hurt for all the hurt the change had caused me, afraid to let myself get invested for fear of it once again being stripped away, and most importantly tired of buying into my emotions more than the truth of who he actually is. And all the while I laid there crying, I felt him so close by, almost as if he was sitting at the edge of my bed, his hand on my back, the way a friend non-verbally lets you know that they’re there in a time of grieving. And once I finished throwing the millionth pity party I’ve had, I got up and grabbed a book–Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.

And there He met me on the pages I held in my hands. It’s as if he was just waiting for me to pick up the book so he could give me new perspective. Feel free to disagree, but only a loving God would use the words of one of my favorite books to begin healing and settling my heart. Especially after I literally just finished yelling at him. Why he continues to love me, I’ll never understand. I’m beyond undeserving.

But there I was with my tears spilling onto the page, my heart whispering the same small prayer I found myself praying on the shores of the Cape, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”

He’s always for our good, even when we’re to blinded by our hurt to see it.

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I tell you all this because I need to remember. I need to remember these moments, these feelings, the words on the pages that God used to so tenderly speak to my heart. And I need you to remember as well. Because we’re human. And change happens; it’s going to happen all our lives, with the same consistency of waves breaking on the shore. And as Shauna so eloquently writes in the opening pages of her book, “Change is not a function of life’s cruelty but instead a function of God’s graciousness… If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They’ll hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you. But if you can find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you’ll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there’s truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your fists, unlock your knees, and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you.”

And that’s truly the only truth I know.This whole life is a series of storms and sunny days, and it’s my choice whether or not I enjoy the ride. So here I am, falling hard at the feet on Jesus once again, trusting that the waves of his mercy and love outlast my fear of losing control. Let’s let the waves do their work, for He’s good all the time and faithful in all that he does.

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