Bearing my Cross · Body. · Friendship · Life Written. · spirit · The Word

Make Me a Tree: On Trust & Desires.

Lately, God hasn’t given me what I want.

I want to quit my job and travel the world. I want to move out of my parents’ house. I want a lifetime of free Torchy’s tacos.

So what’s up with that?

Psalm 37:4 says if I delight in the Lord, He will give me my “heart’s desires.” So how come none of the things I want I receive?

Well it goes like this: when we truly, truly delight in the Lord, when The Joy of the Lord is our strength, our hearts’ desires begin to morph into the Lord’s desires.

It’s just like earthly relationships: when we love someone (as a friend or more), we want what they want. We want what is best for them. We desire what they desire.

My innate wants tend to be selfish, self-gratifying and self-rewarding. It’s a me, myself and I attitude. But when I attune my wants to the Lord’s desires for my life, endless reward awaits in heaven (and even on earth).

Our trust must align with The Lord’s desires.

My soul sister of a friend Sarah pointed me to Jeremiah 17 this morning.

V. 7 says:

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. (NLT)”

It compares those who trust in the Lord to “trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.” These trees are “not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.”

Instead, “their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

I pray God can make me a tree.

I want to be an oak along a river, with deep roots soaking up water-filled life. I want to stand tall and not worry about the heat or droughts of life that threaten to overtake me.

I want to be fully alive, covered in green, and to bear an endless amount of fruit to further the Kingdom.

When my trust runs deep in the Lord, my desires transform.

It isn’t about me, it’s about us — The Lord working with the Church. It’s about glorifying God through my thoughts, actions and words. It’s about seeking out His desires for my life, about living out His will.

So when I wallow in self-pity and ask, “Why don’t I have what I want?” I can dissect, “What do I want, and where does that desire come from?”

If it’s not of the Lord, it’s not something I should truly desire. And if it is of the Lord, and I can rejoice and know that I’m walking with Him.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Mind. · Post-Grad. · spirit

You are an Influencer {On the Impact We Leave}.

Infuencer. It’s a term in the PR/Mkt field.

When working on a campaign, we look for people who already have an impact in their communities to boost our brand, image or mission.

For example, if Torchy’s Tacos was aiming to target millennials in the DFW area, they would search for Dallas food bloggers with a strong following who might already be featuring #tacotuesdays. Then they would create a partnership in hopes to spread awareness of their services and products among DFW young singles. Aka I am the perfect candidate because we know how much I love and consume tacos.

I’m an influencer.

As a young woman who has a steady following on this blog, my new Dallas one and social media, people are already listening and engaging in what I have to say. They want to know my stories, my highlights, my trials, my life. They want to keep up-to-date on my latest advice and lessons and whatever else I may share.

It’s an honor to be an influencer, but it is also a burden. It means I have to represent myself well, and also represent whatever entity I belong to well: that can be my employer, my family, my church, my Jesus. I have to choose my words and actions carefully, I have to consider how I dress, how I love and how I serve.

We are all influencers.

Each of us has a following, a community. You don’t need to blog or Instagram to have people look up to you, or to look at you at all. You’re an influencer at your work, school, home, on the road, at the grocery store, and more. You’re an influencer as a human being.

I encourage you to consider who you are and whose you are, to dissect where you’re plugged into and who you may impact daily. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you leave an aftertaste, a scent. Is it tasty? Does it smell good? Is it kind? Is it hurtful? Is it welcoming? Is it hostile?

I hope you leave a delightful taste when you leave a room. I hope your scent lures people in and makes them feel at home. I hope your smile is never forced and always sought out. I hope your generosity is always known and never taken advantage of. I hope you realize that you can and will and do change the world, and you are perfectly capable of being the best influencer out there.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Mind. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word

Home Sweet Home: On Travel & The Holy Temple.

home is a really weird concept to me.

I now live in the same house I grew up in. It’s this really adorable two-story in Richardson. I’m the same bedroom. But it looks a lot different now than when I was five. I can still recognize who is coming up the stairs by the patter of their steps. It’s home to me.

But Waco used to be my home. It was familiar and comfortable and safe. Then I turned Florence into my home. It was welcoming and breezy and warm. Even Nashville was my home for a bit, it felt kind and pure.

Not many people can use the phrase “home” easily. But I’m quick to the punch. If I’m settled (which can take only a few weeks) and I feel safe, I’m ready to call it so.

The more I wander this earth, the more I realize that God is my home. Heaven is my home. I’m not made for this world. I’m called to a higher, purer, holier place than this. Heaven is safe and familiar and comfortable. It’s welcoming and breezy and warm. It’s kind and pure.

but i’m god’s home, too.

Ephesians 2 says that the Body of Believers are “joined together in Christ, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”

“Through Christ, you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.”

I often forget I am a holy temple for the Lord. Sometimes my words, thoughts and actions don’t reflect it. Sometimes a curse word slips, or a lie, or I think a mean thought about someone. But I am built to be Christ’s temple. What an honor!

We are The Holy Spirit’s dwelling place. When I think of dwelling, I think safety and peace and comfort. I think of a refuge and a safe haven. I feel calm and warm and at ease.

We are the place The Holy Spirit feels safety and peace and comfort. We are its refuge, safe haven. We make the Spirit feel calm and warm and at ease.

So wherever I flee, wherever I roam, wherever I call home, I can know that 1) my true home is Heaven and 2) I’m the Holy Spirit’s home.

God is for us. God is with us. God is in us.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Love or Something Like It · Post-Grad. · The Word

Worth the Wait: On Hurrying & The Resurrection.

This post is a bit late. Which is ironic and entirely unintentional, because I’m actually talking about how good things take time and how God loves to make His people wait.

good things take time.

I’m a planner and a hurrier.

A planner is a person that plans. And a hurrier (which is a word I just made up) is one who hurries. Makes sense, huh? I like to know how to get from Point A to Point B, and I like to do it in the most efficient way possible.

But the thing about God is, He takes his time.

In the beginning, God doesn’t make the world in one day (Gen. 1:1). He takes seven. And He rests on the last one. When He promises Abraham a nation, He doesn’t let Sarah conceive that night. The two wait 25ish years for Isaac to be born.

So here I am, running around with my arms flailing and my mouth incessantly blurting out who knows what, and God is just the King of Chill. He walks around, gestures here and there every now and then, paces Himself in accordance to His time. Slowly, methodically, deliberately moving.

Because God 1) knows His plan prevails and 2) knows good things take time. So why rush, little Mae?

god loves to make his people wait.

Abraham waited 25 years for a son. Joseph waited at least 13 years (from 17 when he was sold into slavery, to 30 when he became prime minister) to see his family. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.

I’m a waiter — one who waits — not by choice, but by the ironic convenience of God’s plans. He made me wait to graduate high school and then college. He’s making me wait to return to Nashville (or to move out of Dallas). He’s making me wait to pursue further education.

I can’t speak for Abraham, Joseph or the Israelites, but I needed to put in my time. I needed to wait before God’s plans unfolded, because I learned so much more in the waiting than I would ever have had I experienced instant gratification.

god made his people wait three days.

On Good Friday, Christ was crucified. And seemingly all hope was lost. Our Savior did not win His battle. Satan won.

But wait for it.

Not one, or two, but three whole days later, Christ bursts forth from the grave. He reunites with His faithful followers, who are overjoyed to see their Risen King. He proves that God is King, He is Son of Man, and that Love Wins.

So friends, when you are discouraged because you’re single, you’re looking for a job, you’re heartbroken, or whatever it may be–remember: good things take time. And God loves to make His people wait.

The eternal treasures we will find in Heaven and the sanctification we experience here on earth with our Creator are well worth the wait.

Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Sojourn. · The Word

Do Something: Thoughts on How to Respond to the Syrian Crisis.

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey

There’s a lot happening in syria right now.

I’d like to start off by saying 1) this is not a place to scrutinize Trump’s latest attacks on Syria and 2) I am the furthest thing from a political genius. Also, please follow the underlined linked phrases in this post for more information from reputable sources.

As a journalism major, I think there is so much value in engaging in conversations about current events. As a Christ follower, I think it’s vital we understand such events and discover how God wants us to respond in whatever is happening in our world.

In case you missed it, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack on his own people last week. According to my research, at least 70 people died. The “fog of chemicals enveloped men, women and children, leaving many to suffocate, choke or foam at the mouth (Chicago Tribune).”

I watched videos and read articles that described the attack and gave a recap on the Syrian crisis. And oh my goodness, my heart absolutely ached for this nation, for its people and for our world.

One particular article from CNN told the story about a man who lost 25 relatives, including his wife and twins, in the attack. I cannot even fathom the heartbreak, devastation and utter loss this man must feel. I mourned for this man and his family, and for all of the other victims in the attack.

so what can we do?

My dear friend Rosie and I discussed how Christian Americans (and also just Americans) can feel disconnected to tragedies that happen on the other side of the world. We read articles and hear stories and our hearts break, but it seems like we are too far away to do anything.

We decided on a few basic steps in response to the crisis:

  1. Educate yourself. We cannot ignore what is happening in our nation and in our world. Watch the news, research articles (avoid “fake news” sites  –lol– that are not credible) and be hungry to know more.
  2. Talk about it.  We must engage in conversation about worldwide tragedies — like the Palm Sunday attacks — because we are all God’s people and we all matter. If we do not discuss them, then we essentially act like 1) they do not matter and 2) they did not even happen.
  3. Pray. Pray. Pray. We each pray in different ways, but we Believers pray to the same God. And He is the God who hears us, intercedes for us, directs us and loves us. He’s the God who protects, delivers and defends.

But wait. There’s even more.

There are refugees that live in the United States at this moment. And not only ones from Syria, but other nations who are also trying to escape terror in their countries. According to the Star-Telegram last May, at the time, Texas led the nation in number of refugees resettled. Dallas resettled nearly 700 last year.

There are so many nonprofits and ministries that engage the crisis by reaching out to local refugees, because they need love, care and attention, too. They need basics like clothes, toiletries, toys and books for school. There are also multiple charities collecting donations to aid Syrian refugees.

So guess what? You can do something.*

god calls his followers to do something.

He doesn’t necessarily call each of us to quit our jobs, pack our bags and fly to Syria. But He does call us to do something, absolutely anything to help the people He loves, and the people we are also called to love.

So start with baby steps. Start by learning. Start by talking. Start by praying. Start with what you have — a compassionate heart that reflects our Creator’s — and who you have — God, your church, your community of Believers.

Just do something.

*If you do not know of a ministry or nonprofit you can get plugged into, shoot me an email or comment below. We’ll find you something.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · For the Ladies · Life Written. · Love Languages · Love or Something Like It · Post-Grad. · The Word · To My Mister

Great Expectations: On Dating & Plans, Etc.

So my gal pals & I keep facing an issue:

Whenever we meet a great guy, we get super amped. Then when it doesn’t work out, we are absolutely devastated.

It’s happened to me a time or two…or twenty. It’s that “so I met a guy” story I mentioned a couple months back. We start a friendship and shoot dang, I’m over the moon. Then it burns out or he dates another girl or whatever it may be, it simply doesn’t work.

And then I whip out the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and Legally Blonde because if Elle Woods can go to Harvard Law, I can do freaking anything — including getting over said man.

so why does this happen? what’s wrong with us?

The answer is: absolutely nothing.

It’s okay to be excited when you meet a guy with potential. It’s okay to anticipate good things in a newfound friendship. It’s okay to giggle whenever he texts you or even looks you in the eyes.

I don’t think the question is what’s wrong with us, or me, it’s more of dissecting: what is wrong with my actions? With my thoughts? With my expectations?

god’s never promised me a husband.

But He has promised to 1) never leave me 2) work for my good 3) to always love me. He has promised to walk beside me and before me, to gather up broken pieces from my past, to stitch me together in the present, to prepare me for the wonders of my future.

So if God is doing all of these wonderful things in my past and present, surely I can expect wonderful things in the future. Surely I can know that whatever man is (or isn’t) coming my way, His timing and His plan and His will overtake whatever I plan.

These days, I’m trying to keep my actions, thoughts and expectations in check. I’m trying to align these things with God’s promises, to remember my life boils down to God’s sovereignty and my free will. To know that I have plans in my mind, but God directs my steps.

So to all my single ladies, hang in there!

Don’t break your heart over a man who’s not worth it, or especially a man you barely know. Do guard your heart in Truths and wisdom and scripture that reveal all of the miraculous things God does for us!

If you’re struggling to get over a man today, remember this pain won’t last for all of your tomorrows. If you’re feeling strong right now, keep at it. You’ve. Got. This.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · College Life · Friendship · Life Written. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · The Word

Adulthood 101 {On Hope}.

“Adulting” is still new to me.

It’s been over a year since I graduated from Baylor, and I feel just as much of a child today as I did on Dec. 19, 2015 when I walked the stage.

I remember feeling proud as I shook President Starr’s hand. I remember feeling confident strutting across the stage in front of my peers, professors and parents.

But I also felt fear. Fear that I would not succeed, that my future days would only pale in comparison to the past at Baylor.

And I also felt hope. Hope that the God who crafted my past would also beautifully orchestrate my future.

my hope from yesteryear carries me into all of my tomorrows.

I felt proud and confident and afraid and hopeful in Nashville. I felt on top of the world, it was like the stars finally aligned and I found a real home away from home.

But when I came back to Dallas and I was diagnosed, I didn’t feel hope at all. I really thought my life was over. I couldn’t dream. I couldn’t plan. I could just sit and pray that the suffering would go away.

Even when I had no hope, God rushed in. He said, “I’ve got this. I’ve got you. Just be.”

So I just was. I slept through the night, woke up, showered, laid around, ate, fell asleep. Rinse and repeat.

At some point, in between being diagnosed and feeling like myself again, His Hope was reintroduced to my heart. And God proved to me that His Hope truly reigns over every circumstance, every doubt, every sorrow.

so it’s a year later and i’m still trying to adult.

Granted, I live at home. So it’s a bit different for me. But I still wash my clothes and pack my own lunch. I recently learned you’re supposed to wash your sheets every two weeks, so yeah…I’ve been doing that wrong since college.

I still plan out my finances and do my best not to spend all of my money on coffee & concerts–it’s hard. I still try not to sell my soul to the corporate world by spending time with friends and even getting out of the Big D every now and then.

Adulting really isn’t so bad.

God starts us off as children for a reason. He wants us to be pure and innocent, to be full of energy and curiousity. He calls us His Children, His heirs, His own.

But He also wants us to grow, to mature. To dive deep into our faith, to become head over heels for Him. He expects us to fall more in love with Him as we continue our relationship.

He prepares us, He nurtures us. He does not leave us alone at any point in our lifetime, and especially not when we enter into adulthood or experience trouble.

So, fellow emerging adults, I say this to you:

You will be fine.

You might spend too much money on tacos. And yeah, maybe you haven’t washed your sheets in a few weeks. You call your mother every day. And you’re thinking about leaving the country.

But don’t worry, because you’ve totally got this, because God’s totally got you. You are not an island. Surround yourself with people who shine His Light and show His Love. Surround yourself with people who you aspire to be like, people of all backgrounds and ages.

And just do it.

Show how much you trust in God and dive in headfirst into the unknown and uncertainties of life. Clothe yourself with strength and righteousness and Truth. Live the fruit of the Spirit and love in this reckless and radical way. You won’t regret it.