Monday, March 2, 2015

A Prayer for Today

Lord, help me not be obsessed with a countdown, but instead be obsessed with living each day fully the way You intended, with no regrets. May I thrive where You've planted me, instead of merely surviving. And may I not wish away a day of this glorious life, but enjoy every moment for what it is- beautiful, and part of Your perfect plan. 

{Originally posted on Instagram} 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Ice, Roads and Fear

This November, we had a record-breaking snowfall that began just as my Aunt and baby cousin flew in from California. Welcome back to Michigan. She teased that maybe she should rent a sleigh instead of a car, and it might have been a good idea. Snow kept falling from the sky. Within four days, we had twenty inches. Schools were cancelled, people warned to stay off the roads. It was a good few days to stay inside and be thankful for homes and heat.

That Wednesday was a work day for me, and as much as I was hoping for another snow day, another day to stay inside by the fire, it didn’t happen. A few of my friends and I texted early, sharing in our terror of the roads. One told me that they were a little scary but not too bad, he made it to work okay, and I would be fine. I later discovered he had less than two inches down where he lives. Thanks, dude. Give me two inches any day. I feel like I just drove through Elsa’s fury or something. My 15 minute drive took over 30, even in my 4-wheel drive pickup truck. I think my tension levels are higher than an astronaut’s are before takeoff… now I have to get home.

I read this morning that the weathermen are referring to our part of the state as the snowbelt, and that seems accurate. We tend to get dumped on, way more than my friends who live an hour south, and even more than my friends who live an hour north. We woke up to several more inches today, -11* wind chills, and another snow day.

I've always liked snow, always firmly believed that if it’s going to be cold out, there might as well be snow too. I think that fresh snow is beautiful. Then I started driving, and suddenly snow seemed a bit more evil. Winter driving conditions are nothing to laugh at in Michigan. On the highway, cars are in the ditch about every ½ mile, and all through the neighborhoods are tracks of vehicles sliding into yards and mailboxes and lampposts. There’s so much snow. So much ice. So much wind. It stresses me out.

A friend and I were discussing this stress the other day, how we’ve turned into weather-checking maniacs and how scared we get if we see that little snowflake on our weather app or, even worse, freezing rain. As we were joking about it though, conviction hit me.

I claim to trust God with my everything: my life, my day, my plans, my health, my friends. Can I not trust Him on the roads too? Isn’t it God who sends the snow? He knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground… do I really think that I could spin out, hit another car, crash into a tree, or even die without Him knowing it? Without Him caring? It seemed ridiculous to me that I could get so caught up in all my anxieties and forget to receive the peace that comes when you hand over your fears to Jesus.

I’ve been convicted of choosing fear over trust, and anxiety over joy. That’s not how I want to live my life. So when I shut my truck door, I’m taking a minute to remember that He tells me, “Do not fear, for I am with you… I am your God.” When it looks like I’m driving through a swirling vortex of white, white, and more white, I’ll just turn up the radio for more reminders that He loves me. And when my brakes grind and my truck keeps sliding, you can bet I’m praying frantically, but that my heart is where it should be, in the hands of a holy God, and that whatever happens to me, I’m trusting that His plans are always best.

The Bible is filled to overflowing with reminders not to fear, that anxiety and worry are not of God. I don’t want to be bound by my fears any longer, my fears of the weather, or of growing up, or of life. It’s okay to be cautious of unplowed roads and ice-sheeted highways, but it’s not okay to cower at home and complain about them. We are told to rejoice always.

So I’m choosing to see the beauty in the unbroken white. I’m choosing joy in that I have a working vehicle, a college to attend and a job to work. I’m choosing thankfulness for beautiful Michigan, and the glorious life God has given me here.

Baby, it’s cold outside. So we might as well let it snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I'm a giant sweater
But unlike normal sweaters,
I wear down with just a little use.
Normal living- conversations, class, the public eye-
Exhausts me.
It unravels me.
If I don't stop
I turn into a tangled pile of yarn
Not much good for anything.
So I need to get away
Really NEED to.
I need to curl up in a corner and breathe.
I need to read in utter silence.
I need to let my brain slow down.
I need to take my mess to the Master Crafter
And let Him knit me back together. 

I'd love to hang out with you.
I'd love to get coffee and go shopping,
Watch movies and party for hours on end.
But that's not how I was made.
I can't do those things hour after hour
Day after day.
I'm a sweater, not a raincoat.
Things don't just slide off.
Attempting to cover my holes
Only pulls out more threads.
When school and work and stress,
Social life and just doing empties me,
Give me time alone with my Maker
Let Him fix my twisted knots
And I'll come back.
I will.
Then I'd love to see you,
To hug you,
To talk.

And this sweater will be much more capable of keeping you warm. 

Monday, August 18, 2014


Summer always flies by too fast.

We already covered how I'm a sentimental person already, so let's just say I haven't been relishing the thought of letting this summer go.

I was all in the "I don't WANT summer to be over and there's way too much fall in my feeds already" mood last week when I read this post on (in)courage. yes. What can I do but give thanks?

Wanting summer won't bring it back.

Worrying about fall won't help either.

I AM thankful... thankful for the days of rest and healing after a tumultuous beginning of May.

Thankful for the sun after a winter of living in Arendelle.

Thankful for the weeks we spent at the lake with our family, for the sailing, the skiing, the food, the baby-holding, the Frozen singing with my two year old cousins. Thankful for the reflecting, writing afternoons and the fires on the beach in the evening.

Thankful for the coffee dates, the sleepovers, the "let's get together and dance" days, the texts that fly to my friends when we can't talk face to face.

Thankful for the babysitting, not just for the income,  but for the love and the lessons it teaches me.

Thankful for the ways the Lord has turned me towards Him, walked me through things I didn't know I needed to work through, loved me all the while, and continues to carry me through life.

It's been a good summer, a beautiful summer, really. I'm going to soak up the last few days of it.

And then it will be fall. And fall will be okay. School will happen, college will happen, HPA will happen, life will happen. And it will be wonderful.

Because a wonderful God guides our ways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

To the friend whose skies are dark...

Dear friend,

It's going to be okay.

Maybe you're post audition/job interview/massive test, and everything is out of your hands.

Maybe your best friend won't talk to you and just thinking about her hurts you to the core.

Maybe your dad is dying of cancer and you don't think you can live without him.

Maybe you're having a panic attack every day and this terror is consuming your life. (<-- that was me.)

Maybe he broke your heart.

Maybe you think one more day at this job will drop you off the deep end.

Maybe everything feels completely out of control.

Maybe the person who was supposed to protect you betrayed you and now you feel shattered.

Sure, I don't know what's going on in your life right now, but that's alright.

You are still breathing. You are still living.

Your story is not over.
The sky might be dark, the waves overwhelming, and you may feel like you'll never make it to the surface for air, but these days do not define you.

Your brokenness is beautiful, and you do not need to be ashamed of it.

You are not your mistakes. You are not the battles you fight.

You are not a problem to this world.

You are not alone.

You are a dearly loved child.

Your Father is the King of the world.

He is with you always.

He is ALL you need.

You will make it.

Recite Scripture over and over.

Surround yourself with people who love you, who will hug you tight and fight for you, who will listen, who will read Scripture over you, who will speak truth over you, who will be quiet with you, who will pray with and for you, who you can text anytime, who will sit with you when you try to eat and can only cry.

Go ahead and cry hard.

Pray. Even if you feel like "God, I can't do this anymore!" isn't much of a prayer. It is. And it can lead to more.

Sing worship songs at the top of your lungs.

Don't quit.

Someday soon, you'll look around and realize that the stormy skies have turned more blue than gray.
Same lake, different days.
Then you'll be jumping up and down giddy that you had two good days in a row.

And before you know it, the good will out-number the bad and all you'll be able to do is praise the Lord for His goodness.

Until that day- however long it takes- press on.  

You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

A living testimony of His grace,

Psalm 27:13-14
"I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord."

Isaiah 43:1-4
"But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
...Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you..."

Monday, June 30, 2014

All Things

I know, I know. Philippians 4:13 is one of those almost "over" quoted verses. Even if you don't know the reference, you know the verse.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

For years, I've been guilty of passing and brushing off these powerful ten words from Paul's letter.

"That's a newbie verse. Is that really true? I mean, I know it's in the Bible, but still... All things??"

Last December, I had what was look to be a stretching, slightly overwhelming weekend ahead of me and I was discussing it with a friend of mine. He told me to remember that as Christians, we can do all things through the strength of Christ inside us. We on our own are so weak and so incapable, but the Holy Spirit is inside us, which means His strength is inside us. How amazing is that?!? 

We discussed this for several minutes, and it totally gave me a new perspective on that verse. I mulled over these words for several hours that night, thinking of them as this-could-be-overwhelming weekend started in my life.

God wouldn't let these words leave my heart.

Finally, I found a note card and wrote them- letters swirling across the page. I then hung this card on the refrigerator where it reminded me constantly over the next three days, all things. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Since that conversation, I've thought so often about that simple phrase. All things.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So many situations have been strengthened by the simple words. My friend and I remind each other of them anytime we're in a challenging situation; big tests, long days when we're at the theater from 9AM to 3AM performing two shows and striking, huge spiritual battles, or just a hard day. I've picked up that notecard, traced the letter so many times.

all things.

He lives in me.

I wonder sometimes how this could change the way we live. How would our lives be different if we lived truly believing we could do all things through the Holy Spirit residing in us? Would you live more daring, free, willing to risk the things that don't really matter for the things that do? I know I would. Would you write the book, sing the song, speak the words, take the trip, do these things that we are so terrified to simply do? Taking this step could truly change our lives if we really believed "I can do all things-all things- through Christ who strengthens me."

But more than just the "big" things in life, how could these words change the ordinary things we do? How could "all things" give you the strength to wash the dishes one more time, to do one more math lesson, to pick up the toys once more?

These words can help us cook one more dinner, have one more hard conversation, drive to one more place- anything- if we just claimed them and believed- believed in their power, in their truth, in the way that they proclaim Christ is in us and that we don't have to be afraid, that we can accomplish anything in his desire for us just by accepting his strength in our lives.

Think about it once more.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

How will you live like you believe it today?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Begin & End

We started building a house last week.

We've been in the process for two and a half years, but it really feels like my whole life because "when we build our house" was always on the horizon.

It feels like that's the way a lot of my life is going right now. This is the time we've been talking about and to which everything's been leading up. I'm a senior in high school. That means this is my last summer of youth. My last year of HPA, co-op, piano. This is my last summer in this house. The last summer to run these specific roads in the morning. The last summer to sit alone on the tree swing as the sun sets.The last summer to make jam in this kitchen. The last fall to pull in and out of this driveway. The last fall to die of laughter in our kitchen over huge Carmel apples causing mouth problems. The last fall to watch these leaves change. The last fall to start a new highschool journal on the first Tuesday of September.




I hate lasts.
There's also a bunch of beginnings.

First time registering for classes. First time attending college. First time I'm fully responsible. First time I really have to decide what to do with my life. First time driving to school. First time driving the carpool to HPA. First time being a really truly "big kid." First time planning to graduate. First time to wonder about a after-school job.




Sometimes, I think I hate firsts too.

If you haven't picked up on this yet, I'm a person of routine and order. I am usually content to keep things the way they are. Let's just perform this show every weekend for forever. Let's not start that new class. I don't want to drive on that new road. I like the group of people I hang out with now.

But we can never move ahead into all the fantastic blessings God has for us if we stayed in the past.

This means things have to change.

And we all know how I feel about change.

I had coffee with a friend last Friday and we discussed how wonderful it is that in the midst of our chaotic, crazy, ever-changing lives, God never changes. (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Psalm 102:27)


I think as teenagers/young adults, when our life plans and friends and dreams and goals are changing faster than we can come to grip with it all, this is especially reassuring. My life feels like it is spiraling out of control so very often, but God never changes. My house may change, my plans may change, my friends may change, my job may change, but God remains the same faithful, holy, perfect, loving, all-knowing God that He always has been and always will be.

As a Christian, who you are to Him doesn't change either. As long as you continue loving and following Him, repenting and confessing your sin, He will hold you securely (1 John 5:18). Your world can be turning upside down, but He holds you in His hands, protecting you, shielding you, loving you, covering you with His wings.

For me, in the midst of so many beginnings and endings and I-don't-even-know!s, this is the ultimate reassurance. Wherever I'm going, whatever I'm doing, however life is changing moment by moment, these three things remain the same.

My God never changes.
He is always faithful.
He loves me, insecurities, unknowns, mistakes and all.

The same is true for you.

Yes, you. I might know you and I might not. But I do know this.

He loves you.

No matter how you messed up last year, last week, yesterday, this morning, no matter how much you doubt, He still loves you. He created you and you are His. Run to His unchanging arms today, friends, and let Him give you peace.