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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.

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Unashamed: When April Showers Don’t Bring Mae Flowers.

They’re supposed to bring May flowers.

April has come and gone — and for the most part, so has the rain — the Dallas Arboretum proves the flowers are upon us — but what if life’s metaphorical flowers, aren’t?

I haven’t been majorly depressed since December — BLESS UP. It’s been a whole new year of adventure and excitement and radiance that I rarely tasted in 2016. The amount of gratitude toward my parents, friends, doctors, therapists and The King has overwhelmed me.

But I think I’m regressing — lately I’ve experienced heavier and lower days. It hurts, as I started a dream job just a couple of weeks ago, and so desperately want to thrive there. I seek out medical, emotional help partnered with a holistic approach to mental health.

Sometimes the flowers don’t sprout.

We go through periods of absolute suffering and pain, we cry out to God for relief, but it seems as if the hope and joy never come upon us. It seems as though we are forgotten and abandoned and He doesn’t live up to His promise to “work for our good.”

Lately I’ve been eating up Isaiah. This morning, I walked through ch. 30. It talks about rebellious people who “speak to us smooth things.” They want an easy way out, they want smooth sailing.

Yet, those people are like breaking “that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found.”

We are Christ’s vessels — we are called to be filled with the Spirit and pour out radical love onto those around us. So how do we refuse to rebel and cling to God’s goodness?

We remember that He will be gracious. He hears the sound of our cries, he answers us. The “bread of adversity” and “water of affliction” make us see our Teacher.

Bread and water are necessities — I’d prefer to live without adversity and affliction. I’d prefer to sail calm waters without blasting winds and pelting rain. I’d prefer to not be bipolar, to not give too much of myself away, to not suffer from anxiety over tomorrow’s.

But He “binds up the brokenness of His people.”

He sees our hurt. He hears our cries. He sits with us. He cradles us. He listens. He weeps. He protects. He provides. He delivers.

He will not leave us alone. He will not let us suffer without Him, His presence, His grace. He will not abandon or forsake or condemn us if we walk in Spirit and in Truth.

He says, “You will not suffer forever. I will stitch you back together. I am yours, you are Mine. We will fight this. We will win. And I will overcome.”

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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. · 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.

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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.