Bearing my Cross · Body. · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Love or Something Like It · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Sic'Em Forever. · spirit · The Word · To My Mister

I Don’t Have a Backup Husband…Anymore.

He is one of my closest guy friends.

He and I go way, way back. He’s seen me wear many hats: the Christian, the Baylor student, the Tri Delta, the PR chick, the coach, the climber, the writer. He’s really an incredible person.

But he met this woman. And he thinks maybeee he’ll marry her one day. Originally, I accused her of ruining my life. I said, “Dude. What about when we’re 40? Who am I supposed to marry then?”

He reminded me it was only a backup plan. I haven’t picked a new backup husband since.

On Wednesday night, my gal pals and I shared Torchy’s chips and queso and delved into this deep conversation on what marriage is, what it looks like, how to wait, and how to give and receive love. It was this raw, honest, convicting conversation.

“Marriage is a gift, not a given.”

Oof. My friend Sarah delivered the truth.

Here’s the thing about marriage: it is absolutely beautiful. God uses marriage as a model of how Christ loves the Church, to show us how He pursues His children, to give us an idea of how unconditional and irreplaceable His love is.

Here’s the thing about marriage: not everyone gets married. I can think of a handful of wonderful, godly women well over 30-years-old who are still single. Some chose it. Some didn’t. Each has an exquisite, intimate relationship with The Lord, and have positively impacted my faith.

“Singleness is a gift just as much as marriage is.”

Yours truly threw this one out on the literal Torchy’s table. I meant every single word.

I’ve never exclusively dated. I’ve been on dates and had those childish summer flings. But I’ve never been in a fully committed relationship.

It used to hurt me a lot. I had this longing to understand how to love and be loved in a romantic way. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to date, like I was unworthy.

Then, it didn’t hurt at all. In fact, what I once considered a shameful weakeness became my greatest strength. It took me about half of college. It took years of prayer and patience.

Every minute of my life is used to follow Jesus and to love God’s children. I am completely accessible to women who mentor me, and to younger friends who I mentor. My flexible schedule and availability to drop-everything-and-run to my friends who hurt are undeniable advantages of singleness.

Benefits of singleness include: I rarely have to shave my legs, I have awesome cuddle seshes with my dog, and I don’t have to share my meal with anyone.

Actual advantages include: free weekends to serve, an undivided attention to seek God first, an availability to dive deep into friendships with other singles (and marrieds, of course).

We are not defined by our relationship status.

We are defined by The Lord, by the incredible lengths He undergoes so we can merely grasp His love for us. We are defined by Christ on the cross, bleeding out for all of God’s children, just so we can call Him “Abba.”

We are qualified by who we are: we are chosen, we are humbled, we are loved. We are qualified by whose we are: The Lord our King. That is all that matters. That is who we are.

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 · 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.

College Life · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Love Languages · Love or Something Like It · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn.

Hey Single Ladies: It’s OK to Love or Hate Your Status

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Dear Single Ladies,

My name is Maelyn. I’m also a single lady.

I love my relationship status. The reasons I love singleness may be the very reasons you hate it.

Let me tell you why I love it:

Singleness allows selfishness.

The beauty of singleness is: you are uncommitted.

I’ve learned far more in 14 days of adulthood in Nashville than nearly four years of school in Waco.

You are single. It’s okay to travel the world, start a company, or get that tattoo.

Embrace an independence to make your own choices, but be careful to realize decisions you make now can affect your future.

Singleness allows selflessness.

The beauty of singleness is: you can commit to whoever and whatever you choose.

In college, I overcomitted. I plunged headfirst into church, academics, internships, organizations and friendships.

I chose friending guys over dating guys, because my schedule and mind did not make room for more.

These days, I choose to commit to an internship with Red Bus and growing roots in Nashville.

My internship is full-time and requires travel, so I don’t have room to date now either. I choose that in my mind and my heart also doesn’t feel it.

Singleness allows sculpting.

I love to travel because it tests your adaptive and strategic skills. Traveling with friends is fun, because the team effort creates lasting memories: good and bad.

If I am a party of one, I learn more as an individual. Traveling alone does not allow me to depend on others’ knowledge or cultural competency.

If you hate singleness, you hate it.

If you love it, you love it.

Other people won’t get it.

If you’re lonely, they assume you love it. If you’re strong, they assume you’re weak.

You have a right to feel lonely, but a relationship won’t fulfill an emotional feeling.

You have a right to feel strong, but a relationship will force you to admit weakness.

If you are single, own it while you can. Don’t find too much comfort in it, don’t place too much hope for a change of status.

At this moment in time, I have zero desire, capacity or option to marry by 25.

This time next year, one, two or all of those factors may change.

I’m learning to a) not push people away and b) give myself grace if I do.

These are tough lessons, I’ve hurt others and myself in the process. I acknowledge the circumstances and own my mistakes. Hey, at least I’m learning.

Right now, I enjoy a carefree, independent lifestyle.

In the future, should my status change, I will embrace a more careful, codependent love.

College Life · Friendship · Life Written. · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Sojourn.

A Letter to the Texas, the State I’m Leaving

Texas forever.
Texas forever.

I flee the great state of Texas on Saturday.

In the 20.5 years I’ve lived here (since my adoption), I’ve called three great Texas cities home.

I love almost everything about Texas: cowboy boots, twangy accents and chicken friend steak, an undeniable pride heard when citizens threat to “secede!” and an overwhelming warmth brought by Southern hospitality.

But what I love most about Texas is the way the culture, people and lifestyle have shaped me.

Here’s a sappy, sweet letter to my beloved home state:

Dear Texas,

It has been a wild ride, old friend. Who knew a tiny baby abandoned in China would end up in your welcoming arms at 14 months old?

Thank you for everything.

Thank you for your people who have come at just the right time, to treasure me, spur abundant growth and encourage my weirdness.

Thank you for your places, which are usually scary and unfamiliar at first, but then earn trust and promise life & adventure.

Dallas, thank you for raising me. More specifically, thanks to Richardson and Plano for an awesome education system, safe neighborhoods and sweet, dear companions to run and play with.

Waco, thank you for adopting me. You brought in a naive, wide-eyed girl and showed her how to truly love and be loved by others. I entered unamused by lack of what you had to offer, and left longing to return to your quirky, amazing community.

Houston, thank you for challenging me. I didn’t know a single soul or how to lead youth to Christ, but you provided steadfast friends and brought to light wisdom I didn’t know I had. Also, it’s nothing personal, but you’re just not my place.

Back to you, Texas.

You and your people will be missed. I am proud to call you home and already eager to return.

I’m not sure how long I will be gone. Maybe a few months, years, or even forever.

You may change and grow in the span I’m absent, but you’ll always be a familiar, beloved, lifelong pal to me.

With complete love & fondness,

Mae