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In the Darkest Moments: On Peace That Transcends.

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.

Long before I was diagnosed, I saw the pain and hurt of my friends and family. Divorce, deaths, diagnoses tore them apart from the inside-out. It ripped their hearts into pieces and they dove into depression or became addicted to whatever vice to briefly fix their pain.

Sometimes, bad things happen to me.

Sophomore fall was my hardest semester of college. I suffered from betrayal of those who were close to me, I became bitter and distraught. My life felt desolate and isolated.

I wandered in my own desert, longing for Christ’s eternal water to quench my thirst.

My diagnosis last year tore my world apart. I honestly thought I peaked in college and that I would never be able to work, function or love again. I feared that my life would amount to nothing and I’d be stuck in a constant cycle of major depression and minimal joy.

But during even the lowest of lows, I remembered core truths:

  1. God works for my good.
  2. God loves me.
  3. God never changes.

When my world shatters, I get down on my knees.

One of my very favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:7. This is how it goes:

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (NLT).

It’s hard for me to pray when I’m hurt. My instinct is to get mad at God, to put on my gloves and smack a bag and scream until I weep. I feel forgotten and used and trapped.

It’s easy for me to pray when I’m whole. I’m madly in love with my God and my friends. I feel joyful and independent and confident.

But God pursues us when we’re both: when we’re black and blue, and when we’re silver and gold. He seeks us out with his never changing grace and mercy. He scoops us up in His strong, brave arms.  He says, “You are allowed to feel, just know that you are always mine.”

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed with peace.

I’m in a strange period of life: ending a PR internship, seeking something more. I’m open to new opportunities near and far, similar and unfamiliar.

I’m ready to dive headfirst into my next adventure, because I just know God’s cooking up something good.

I experienced the deepest heartbreak in 2016, but God’s brought so much healing in 2017. In the most painful moments when I doubted, He met me while I was curled up in bed in a puddle of my own tears.

He said, “There, there, dear daughter. Let me stitch you together with my love.”

When you are down and when nothing seems right, when you’re right in the eye of the storm, remember: God works for your good. God loves you. God never changes.

You can be angry, you probably have a right to be so. You can be sad, you probably have a right to be so. But you can also rejoice, because in the hardest moments, God’s already ahead of you, prepped to heal you, ready to make you whole.

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. · 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. · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · My Adoption · Post-Grad. · Rockstars. · spirit · The Word

How to Be a Strong Woman {Of God}.

i’m learning how to be a strong woman {of god}.

In honor of International Women’s Day –a couple days late, I know– I’d like to tell you about how I’m learning to be a strong woman. No, this post does not include many any political views. If you want to discuss abortion, equal pay or maternity leave, shoot me an email.

I’m only 22, so I’m still young and stupid. But God’s blessed me with amazing older and wiser women to look up to.

My ongoing list of traits of a strong woman include:

  1. Focused. A woman cannot be strong if she does not have a goal, a model, a guide. She cannot know which way to go, how to function, how to live, if she does not know which path to take. {So I believe a woman of God focuses on God with her whole mind, body and spirit}.
  2. Determined. A woman cannot achieve success without having drive. She has to chase a goal with ferocity and devotion. {So a woman of God should recognize that God equips us with skills and interests and ability, and desires us to dive headfirst into chasing His desires}.
  3. Kind. A woman cannot be strong if her heart is cold and bitter. She cannot love if she lives in hatred. She must be compassionate to care for others, comfort loved ones, feed the needy and clothe the weak. {So I think a woman of God should pass the love He pours down to her around to those around her, pay it forward}.
  4. Faithful. A woman cannot be strong without the help of others and without helping others. A strong woman has friends and knows how to be a friend. {So a woman of God stays faithful to Him, His word, her family, her friends, her man}.

Here’s a quick list of strong women {of god} i look up to:

  • First and foremost, Sweet Denise. It takes a very special mama to love a kid like me.
  • My Nana and Grandma. Our matriarchs. Their faith is unswerving.
  • Each of my aunts & gal cousins. Here’s a special shoutout to Kendall Van because homegirl is about to get a theology degree at DUKE and she bakes bread and loves Jesus at the same time!!! Check out her blog.
  • Women who’ve loved, prayed & cared for me from near and far (especially while I was at Baylor and post-grad): Julie C., Jennifer F., Carla H., Ashlee C., Brittney T., Carolyn A., Sandra E., Lauren F., Annette A.
  • Also, I can’t forget my hometown heroes (new and old): Eryn M., Lauren H., Rosie D., Katie B., Madison M., Sarah J., Emily H.. These soul sisters have my back.

To my tribe of strong women:

If you thought I forgot you, I did not (yes, you: Hunter G., Sarah T., Sarah C., Madyson R.).

Also, if I haven’t told you I love you, or I’m honored to know you lately, please know both of these are true. I would not be the woman I am today without you. You love God and you love others and you love me so deeply, you radically change lives and you don’t even know it.

Keep chasing God. Stay strong.

Love,

Mae

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Mind. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Sic'Em Forever. · spirit · The Word · Uncategorized

Giving God Glory: On Career & Calling.

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Calling.

It’s a term we Christians like to use to describe how God compels us in one way or another. “I was called to go to Africa.” “I was called to join a sorority.” “I was called to tithe this month’s paycheck.”

It’s used so often and so universally, I can’t help but think the word loses its meaning in many cases. After all, I’m not sure that God can call us to that many things throughout our lifetime.

Or can He?

I can’t really pinpoint many instances in my life where I truly felt called by God. I’ve never audibly heard His voice. But of course I’ve been inclined to do one thing over the other for the sake of God’s glory: I chose Baylor over OU, I chose Tri Delta over not joining a sorority, I chose public relations instead of news.

But have I been called to these things? Or have I simply chosen these things for myself, by myself?

Lately I’ve wrestled with my career path and calling.

God’s blessed me with so many skills and so many passions, and I’m supposed to harness these skills and passions and turn them into this one career at such a young age. How do I decide? Where do I begin? How do I pray for this?

What if I choose the wrong one? What if I spend my whole life doing something I wasn’t called to? Or what if I choose the right one? What if God really does have big plans for me, and I succeed?

So I’ve been praying a lot about this. And I’ve decided to stop thinking my career. And to only look at calling.

God calls me to love Him.

God calls me to love His people. He calls me to especially care for the poor, orphans and widows. He calls me to be kind, to put others first, to bear my cross every single day of my life.

I know these are true.

So what if I just lay aside choosing a career? What if, instead, I focus on the few things God explicitly calls me to in His Word?

Maybe then, I’ll get one step closer to choosing a career. And I’ll be that much closer to giving God all the glory.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn. · The Word · Unashamed.

2017 Will Be Better {On Bravery & Faith}.

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2016 was the very worst year.

As my first year out of college, it was supposed to be my year of independence. I moved to Nashville, hoping to stay and find a full-time job there.

But instead of thriving in Nashville at my dream job, I ended up coming back to Dallas early and getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The rest of the year consisted of counseling, finding out the right combination of medicine, and a never-ending struggle with on-and-off depression.

I felt the opposite of free and independent and confident and joyful.

I felt trapped and dependent and terrified and devastated.

2016 was my very bravest year.

I packed my bags and moved to a state I had only been to once before. I came out of the bipolar closet and exposed my deepest insecurities regarding my disorder. I attended group therapy and revealed stories of my past I barely allowed myself to remember.

There were many moments I hesitated, and asked myself, “What are you doing?” I stopped in my tracks and wondered if I was really capable to make my next move.

Then I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and made the first step, packed the first bag, wrote the first line, spoke the first word. I mustered up courage when I feared I had none.

2017 will be better.

I don’t hope for better, I don’t pray for better, I am prepared and ready and absolutely sure it will taste and sound and feel so much better than 2016.

The good thing is, I have already survived the very hardest year of my life, the worst diagnosis, the most unexpected news.

The better thing is, every promise God has ever made to me will always be kept. So when He says He is good, He is good. When He says He works for my good, He works for my good.

The great thing is, I am never ever alone. Not only do I have my family and friends, but I also have the God of this Universe on my side, and His Spirit alive in me.

So when bad days and diagnoses and news come in 2017, I can know that with a little bit of bravery and a whole lot of faith, I will survive, and maybe even thrive.

Friends, even if you didn’t have the worst year of your life, have faith that God still works for us and with us and in us. He does not leave us amid our struggle and worry and doubt.

He fights for us. With us. Beside us.

So let’s say goodbye to 2016. And welcome a better 2017.

Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · The Word · Unashamed. · Uncategorized

Unashamed: The Power of Prayer & Suffering Well.

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Some days, I beat bipolar.

It is funny how many friends and family praise me. They say I am doing so well, that I have responded to my diagnosis exceptionally. They are proud, they love me, and they can’t wait to see how God will use me.

But they don’t see me at my worst, when I curl up in bed and try to squeeze out tears from my empty tearducts.

It’s hard to feel hopeful in those moments. It’s hard to feel anything at all.

Lately, I’ve come across the phrase to “struggle well.”

When I hear this term, I picture cancer patients fearlessly undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and constantly hoping in The Lord.

I don’t think of myself, because I still consider myself a victim, not a survivor. I struggle and doubt and wrestle with my mind. I fear and hurt and cry.

After reading James 5, I think it is okay to struggle and doubt and wrestle. It is okay to feel afraid and to experience hurt and to cry out to The Lord.

James 5 walks through patience among suffering, and the prayer of faith.

The passage says, “You too, be patient and stand firm, for the Lord’s coming is near. It says, “We count as blessed those who have persevered.”

It goes on to say, “Is anyone among you troubled? Let them pray. Is anyone among you happy? Let them sing songs of praise….The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”

During even the toughest days, I remember that Jesus is coming soon. I remember that God is in the here and now, fighting by my side and even in my future. I cannot ever be fully hopeless, because my hope is built upon the Lord’s promise to return. My hope is built on His promise to restore and redeem.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness. It isn’t an ordinary, physical sickness, but it can be just as debilitating. Like cancer, or a broken leg, it can be healed and managed well.

With the Lord, there is always hope.

There is always an answer to a prayer. There is always an open door. There is always a silver lining. Often, it’s hard to hear His reply, or to notice the door, or to see the silver. But friends, they are always there. Jesus is coming soon.