Bearing my Cross · Body. · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · Post-Grad. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word · To My Mister

Waiting on God 101.

I know how to wait.

Or at least, I think I do — most of the time. I’m used to waiting on men, waiting on change, waiting on flights, waiting on food, waiting on traffic lights, waiting on lines.

But waiting on God? For some reason, that’s harder for me to tackle. Maybe because I can’t physically see or audibly hear Him.

Maybe because some days it’s hard to picture Him as more than a figment of my imagination. Maybe because I’m often too stubborn to remember He manifested himself in Christ, lives through the Spirit in me and works for my good every day.

Waiting is the worst.

Sometimes, I pray for patience. But then I learn the process to obtain patience entails waiting, so I usually take it back — can you take prayers back? Like unkind words or jeans that don’t fit?

Waiting is always uncertain — it can last hours, days, weeks, months, years. At times, waiting periods may pass in the blink of an eye. But others may not be so quick, they are painful and arduous and test every ounce of perseverance within me.

I’ve spent my lifetime waiting.

Not in this lazy, complacent way where I just sit and wait for good things to happen. Not in this overbearing, manic way where I run fast and chase after good things.

Somewhere in the middle, where I find peace in the present and satisfaction through productivity.

I’ve waited for my guy to come, I’ve waited for my medication to work, I’ve waited for a job, for a place to call home, for a friendship, for a degree. I’ve waited for short periods and long stretches. I’ve waited for the world to change (as my man John Mayer sings).

Here are my tips on waiting:

  1. Gain perspective. Think of why you are waiting, and what for. Think of how to use your time and resources wisely. How can you spend your energy? Who can help you in this waiting period?
  2. Pray. A lot. We are called to “present our requests” to God with “prayer and petition.” I think of a dorky petition I signed in middle school to allow gum chewing on campus. God probably has bigger fish to fry than gum privileges, but perhaps He wants us to approach in the same manner — with a plan, with support, with tenacity.
  3. Remember hope. It is with the Hope of the Lord that we truly survive, and more importantly thrive, during our waiting periods. We cannot do this alone, not without the support of friends & family, and surely not without God on our side.
  4. Weep. The older and hopefully wiser I become, the more likely I am to weep, to truly mourn for my hurts and heartaches, and for those around me. When I miss something or someone, when I beg God to deliver me, I often curl up in my bed or fall to my knees. I cry out to God, because He promises to hear our cries.

There are so many ingredients to waiting contently, waiting patiently, waiting in a strong and respectful manner. All of my suggestions come from the God-breathed Scripture, the gift that is His word. I would get nowhere without it.

Friends who are waiting, be encouraged by this: you are never alone. We wait for good news. We wait for good friends. We wait for better days.

When we wait on God, we will not be disappointed. When we wait for Him, He will reward us here on earth, and permanently in Heaven. When we wait, we grow.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Post-Grad. · Sic'Em Forever. · The Word

Don’t Call Me a Hipster: On Identity in Christ

I hate it when people call me hipster.

I listen to different music and practically live at coffee shops. My wardrobe is almost exclusively my grandmother’s hand-me-downs or thriftstore finds. And yes, I’d love to get married barefoot in the mountains.

But when people call me hipster, they’re placing a label on me. They define me by what I do, wear and listen to. They place me in this box that I fear I cannot escape.

I’ve faced several identity crises in my life.

When I got to college and joined a sorority, I was the Tri Delta. I knew that once I joined, people would make assumptions about me based on my involvement in the group. They thought I was a genius future soccer mom.

When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I let my mental illness become part of my identity. I was the girl with bipolar and depression. When I revealed my diagnosis, I knew people would jump to conclusions about my emotions and actions.

But my true identity is found in Christ.

In Genesis 1, God creates man in His own image. This means we embody the goodness and mercy and grace of God.

In John 1, we are told that if we receive Him and believe in His name, we have the right to be God’s children. This means we are His heirs, that we will inherit His Kingdom.

In Galatians 3, we are clothed in Christ upon baptism. There are no more Jews or Gentiles, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. This means that we are no longer ourselves, that when we become Christians –which means “little Christ”– we are made new.

All of these verses point to this: no matter the organization I’m apart of or the company I work for, no matter the music I listen to or the clothes I wear, I am ultimately Christ’s and Christ’s alone.

I don’t have to concern myself with labels or boxes. When people call me Christian, they call me by name. They know the name God knows me by: Daughter.

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.

Bearing my Cross · College Life · Life Written. · Post-Grad. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going.

20150309_114224“I know where I’m going.”

Reads a Baylor t-shirt for incoming students.

As a future bear, I wore it with pride and excitement. It reminded me that I found where I belonged, where my story would take place for the next four years.

These days, I don’t know where I’m going.

I graduated in December, and my post-grad internship is over. I’m back at home with the parentals, and I’m nannying part-time.

According to my senior semester self, my life isn’t where or what I wanted it to be. At the time, I thought I’d be living in Nashville or Austin, anywhere but my hometown.

I thought I’d have a killer entry level position at a nonprofit or PR firm. I thought I’d have my life together, and I’d have more to say than, “I’m figuring out the next step,” when people asked what I was doing.

My life is nothing I wanted, but everything I need.

In college, I ran full force. While many of my friends coasted at 20 mph, I was going the full 60: interning, volunteering, leading, writing, studying, exercising.

I thought I could do it all. I said “yes” to every challenge and opportunity thrown my way. But in the end, it exhausted me.

These days, I say “no,” and life says “no” right back at me. Instead of running, I’m walking. I’ve traded anxious insomnia for a healthy eight hours a night. I’m not overworked, I’m happily rested.

Living in the unknown gives me hope for the future.

1 John 3:2 says, “What we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

Each year, I look, act, and live differently than I was the year before. Over the course of 12 months, growth and refinement causes me to evolve into a better version of myself.

As I live in the unknown and search for God’s will, I’m learning maybe His will doesn’t lead me to a destination, but seeks to make me look less like my old self, and a little more like Christ every day.

Maybe I don’t need to know where I’m going, as long as I keep going. Not running, but carefully placing one foot in front of the other. Not exhausting myself, but finding rest and discovering Truths found in The Lord.

 

 

Bearing my Cross · Body. · College Life · Life Written. · Mind. · My Adoption · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word

Go. And Be {You}.

IMG_0259

I choose wise, compassionate, hardworking friends.

My study abroad pal Jonathon Platt is all of these things. And more.

Today, good ole JP texted me:

“Just be you until you need to be somewhere else. Then go be you there.”

Wow. I needed to hear that.

Little did Jon know, I recently moved back home to Dallas.

To a bedroom that was once trademarked by a creepy pillow with Joe Jonas, and is today splashed with shades of whites, blues, and greens.

To a neighborhood that I never thought I’d return to, long-term. “Once I’m out, I’ll stay out,” I said.

To people groups who I mis-believed were far too beautiful, or far too broken for me.

I once doubted my ability to love and be loved by them well, softly, irrevocably.

But I am done long-term wandering.

When I’m ready, I’ll move out of my parent’s house, because it’s only a home for an extended staycation.

Free food, room and board.

A gift to dream big, with Dallas doors to open up small, endless opportunities.

Home is a state of mind, body and spirit.

I scoured the earth to find home in a place: from Texas to Washington, Tennessee, New York, and from Switzerland, to Italy, China, and England. I left empty-handed.

But with fullness within my heart, soul, and by my own strength.

When I travel, especially alone, I grant myself an utter freedom to explore, adventure and dare to fully dream, laugh and live.

Then I stay in a place. And become restless.

But we are humans, we are fickle and we will always become restless.

My restlessness bleeds into personal and professional decisions. And decreases my ease at committing to people, places or jobs for longer than two years.

Yet, I’m home.

“Home sweet home,” they say.

And this round, I’m glad to stay.

Delighted to deeply root in all things Dallas. Family, friends, faith included.

I don’t know how long I’ll be here. But I’ll be me here.

Then I’ll pick up and hit the books at a law school likely somewhere that’s not Texas. And I’ll be me there.

Here I stay. Here I am.

Later I’ll leave. There I’ll go.

Free to feel, love and embrace all things me, all things Mae.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · College Life · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Love Languages · Love or Something Like It · Mind. · My Adoption · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Rockstars. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word · Uncategorized

A Sheep’s Psalm: On Psalm 23 and Praise for Plot Twists

Mae Mae & Tim Pops
Mae Mae & Tim Pops

A few months ago, I praised God for plot twists.*

To my dismay and discomfort, plots kept twisting. And still do.

In September, I hadn’t the slightest clue what Spring 2016 held. By mid-December, I solidified an internship with Red Bus, and anticipated a big, potentially lasting move to Nashville.

Mid-January, weeks before my RBP start date, The Lord blessed me with host families who “adopted” me into their houses and lives.

Praise the Lord, He made a path to start 2016.

I arrived to Nash. Found a church. Found fellowship. Found friends. Almost instantaneously.

But wait. I started Red Bus. Found a family of fellow orphan defenders. Found Faith in the radical love from every person who showed Hope. Found forever–a big word for this weary traveler. Almost automatically.

BUT WHAT. I began to get sick. Real sick. Like coughing and hacking and draining of first my body, then myself: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually.

But Praise the Lord for plot twists: He paves paths every day.

Right now, I’m back at home. Home, home, in the Dallas suburb where I learned to ride a bike.

Same room. Same girl. New woman.

Now Mae, not Mae Mae–a cute nickname Pops/Tim still calls me on occasion.

Transformed by time (3.5 years), space (Waco, Houston, Nashville), and great life events (a Baylor education, a summer in Italy, internships on internships) and even greater people (hey, thanks for making me, Mae).

It’s good to be back. It’s good to be home.

It’s good to unpack and reorganize my life: books, clothes, journals, calendars, with an intent to extend my stay in Dallas, Texas, and America.

I memorized Ps. 23 a year ago. Now it has a whole new meaning:

  1. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. (v. 1, ESV). This makes me a hopeless, desperate sheep, and some Shepherd Man leaves me with zero desires apart from Him.
  2. He makes me lie down, leads me, restores me, guides me (v. 2-3). To green pastures for rest, quiet waters for hydration. Along paths of righteousness, not a limited A-leads-to-B trail.
  3. I walk through the valley. But I will fear no evil (v. 4). I don’t run or flee in the valley, but Shepherd Man escorts me out. Or protects me as I visit.
  4. You prepare a table before me, anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows (v. 5). It’s too good to be true. I make it through the valley and into a Kingdom. On a mountain.
  5. Sureley goodness and love will follow me, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (v. 6). Satan will try to steal me, but God’s grace and mercy follow me. The Loser’s schemes won’t get him to Heaven. I’ll land there. And I will bask in the fullness of the presence of the Lord.

Right now? I’m basking in an awareness of God. From home, Dallas.

One day, on the Best Day Ever, I’ll see Shepherd Man face-to-face. In Heaven, Heaven!

I’ll welcome silly, earthly plot twists, because these paths of righteousness will reunite me with my Shepherd Man. One Day. It’s coming! And I feel giddy!

Bearing my Cross · College Life · Friendship · Life Written. · Love or Something Like It · My Adoption · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Sojourn. · Uncategorized

Why Baylor Is{n’t} The Best

1914841_10153802789098245_7288070817191464997_n (2)Baylor University isn’t the best college…for everyone.

But man, it was the best for me, because I received an education and utilized opportunities that were worth the tuition, room and board.

If I had to choose again, I wouldn’t dare to go anywhere else, because that would alter everything.

It would alter the friends who became family. I had zero desire to join Greek life, yet Tri Delta gave me “sisters” and avenues to grow as a leader. I also refused to join the PR club for two years, but I loved the connections I made once I did.

It would alter the jobs that became hobbies. I had little immediate interest in interning with the library’s marketing team, but I called those bosses my best friends, and gained professional skills and personal respect for formal education.

It would alter the old me who became the new me. At Plano Senior High School, I was meek and uncomfortably shy. I felt like the tiniest, least significant fish in a vast, impressive lake.

At Baylor, an ocean of greater size, I obnoxiously yelled “Happy Birthday” to a friend across the quad. People gawked. It was uncomfortable, but I was unashamed.

We’re not all rich, white kids.

I don’t identify as rich, but my middle class, Dallas suburb family is financially wealthy compared to an impoverished family in the 254.

I don’t identify as white, but I’m more likely to call myself white over Asian. I was raised by a Caucasian family and many friends don’t share my ethnicity. I’m not a racist, it just happened.

I used to romanticize my affection for Baylor.

But now that I’m a wise and mature adult (aka survived two months of post-grad life), I realize Baylor is simply Baylor.

To some, Baylor may be a wonderful Christian private school with a current winning streak and a beautiful campus.

To others, Baylor may be another pricey university under scrutiny for how it approaches sexual assault on campus and its athletic program.

To me, Baylor is home away from home. Baylor is the perfect mixture of people, places and opportunities that molded me for 3.5 semesters and left a lifelong impact.

I’m not Baylor. But a big part of me looks like Baylor: Christian, outwardly appealing, inwardly dysfunctional. Baylor can successfully deliver when things rightly blend, but given errors highlight an undeniable brokenness.

Baylor is not me. But Baylor played a big part of me, because it was the catalyst that created who I am today. And I’m abundantly grateful to be confident in the woman I became at college, and hopeful for refinement post-grad.

Sic’em forever.