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. · spirit · Unashamed. · Uncategorized

Unashamed: Life from the Ashes

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My disorder can’t stop, won’t stop me.

I have dreams. I’d like to pursue a career in law or counseling, and plan to return to school in Fall 2017.

I have friends. I’ve been blessed and humbled to be surrounded by the most wonderful, faithful companions. They’ve been encouragers and prayer warriors.

I have a life. I’m blogging from a Starbucks in Houston, because I attended an engagement party for two of my friends (Congrats again, Sarah & Wes!)

I’ve been broken, now it’s time to rejoice!

Psalm 51 walks through David’s complete repentance after sleeping with a married woman. He begs for mercy, admits his sin, and pleas for restoration.

Lately, David’s words have filled my heart and soul, they’ve written my prayers:

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.

-Psalm 51:8

After facing a manic episode and battling depression, I felt broken, like my brain couldn’t function. I was lost, lonely, and afraid I couldn’t live a normal life.

I didn’t feel joy, I didn’t feel whole. My heart felt shattered and scattered in a million directions. How would I put them back together?

But today, I feel hope. I am filled with true Joy that can only come from the Spirit. It’s wonderful to laugh and feel giddy again.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

-Psalm 51:17-18

My world was crushed, and I lost sight of the vision I had for my life. But even in the valley, I was able to surrender my heart to the Lord.

I handed over the vision I once had, and I gave God the remains of my heart. I begged for Him to rebuild the walls of my heart.

Lately, I’ve been thankful.

I’m thankful for a family who loves and supports me, for friends who pray and encourage me. I’m thankful for a job, house, and car. I’m thankful my schedule allows room for growth.

I’m thankful for a God who will break me apart and piece me back together, who will swoop down in the valley to lead me to the mountain.

I’m thankful for a Kingdom Come that isn’t here yet, but sure feels close in certain moments.

It’s a great time to be alive. It’s a great time to find balance. It’s a great time to exude Joy.

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 · Friendship · Life Written. · My Adoption · Post-Grad. · Red Bus. · Sojourn. · The Word

God Grants the Desires of Our Hearts When:

The door is open, so dream big.
The door is open, so dream big.

Firstly, they align with His own.

A favorite verse of all time of mine, Psalm 37:4, says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will grant you the desires of your heart.”

When I was younger, I thought this meant Jesus was a genie.

If I loved him and his people well, then I would get whatever I wanted: a boyfriend, new car, a braces-free smile, you name it. I was wrong.

Not only does such a mindset promote the prosperity gospel, the idea God will throw material items and worldly success if I’m faithful, but also implies that I must  work to gain rewards from The Generous Father.
Since then, I’ve learned how to truly delight in the Lord by:

Intentionally noticing His presence: reading His word, making time to rest, letting my worries lay in His hands and not deteriorate my human plans.
Understanding His plans were, are and always will be better than my own: He created the earth and I can’t microwave popcorn without burning it–whose plan would you rather follow?
Living with a grateful heart for the good, bad and in between: the Word is right when it says “He gives and takes away.” (Job 1:21)

The more I know God, the more I love Him. The more I love Him, the more I understand His ways. The more I understand His ways, the more I want Him to have His way in me and in my life.
My desires do not always match His, but they do more so now than ever.

My heart is forever deceitful and fickle and infatuated with worldly things and little “g” gods, but the Holy Spirit within me fastens my soul to follow His will.

Secondly, they are complete in His timing.

Several instances in my life, God will plant a seed in my heart for a cause or a crazy, but doable endeavor.

Last fall, I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “Dear daughter, you are a gifted writer and have an amazing story. Share your adoption with the world not only through a blog or Red Bus Project, but a book.

This sounds crazy, you don’t know where to begin, but this is why you are where you are, and why I gave you a passion for and knack in storytelling.”

I ran with it.

Purpose and anticipation empowered my brain and fingers to quickly type out chapter ideas and a handful of solid pages. Then school, work, obligations and life happened. And it disippated.

A week ago, God tapped again. “Maelyn, you have an abundance of free time and RBP will teach you even more about adoption. Now is the time. Trust me, pursue this dream and I will make a way for you.”

Now I’m filled with ideas to put on paper, but it demands discipline to carve out time to write and edit. I still don’t know the publishing process, but a God thing happened.

I was complimenting Jonathon, a co-dreamer and storyteller from my study abroad trip , who launched a writing community called Reframe–check it out, it’s amazing.

I praised the ways he chases big dreams, takes little steps and achieves nearly all of his goals.

I told Jon that I was dreaming big lately and excited to see projects through–even if that meant taking a while. “I want to write a book and I don’t know how.”

Turns out, Jon has been chasing a dream to start a publishing company and also has amazing friends who are w onderful, world changing writers who have widespread, well-known books of their own.

Jon is snarky and cynical, but he’s also talented, brilliant and willing to take risks.

He’s now a close friend and someone who can relate to and encourage my lofty thinking, when many laugh at my idea of also becoming a part-time band manager.*

*Jon also has contacts in the music world because he will forever be cooler than me.

God gives us dreams that are bigger than ourselves.

Life would be awfully boring if we only achieved things we knew we were capable of. Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the challenge and sense of accomplishment?

My book will probably not be a NYT Best Seller. Ideally, maybe 100 pairs of eyes will read it.

I mostly want to share it with friends and family, promote it here and on social media, and see what happens.

I’m not trying to make a living off of writing only books, nor am I hoping to become a motivational speaker–but that would be fun for a bit.

The Lord simply said, “You should do this because I created you for it and I love you.”

And so given time, it will happen.

Let’s assess the timeline of our desires.

Questions to consider:

What have you been dreaming of lately? Have you been dreaming at all?**
Where does that goal come from? Yourself? Your gifts? Your passions? God? All of the above?
How will you accomplish it and when? Are you fast and furious, now or never? Or slow, but productive? Efficient, but thorough?

God loves to delight His children. He adores seeing us think big and fantasize miracles we can accomplish by His will, strength and endurance.

He’s thrilled to challenge our expectations, go ahead of our present dreams and pave a way for us to achieve goals that align with His.

Friends, keep dreaming and desiring.

If the Lord plants a desire in your heart matching His, He will surely provide paths to see it through according to His will and timeline.

**If you haven’t been dreaming, start now. Recognize your skills, consider your passions, marry the two and write just one dream down. And pray, pray, PRAY fervently and expectantly to be patient with His plan and persistent in seeing the dream come alive.

College Life · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Rockstars. · The Word

Wise Words from Superwoman

Susan is a super woman. Susan is Superwoman.

Super Susan co-founded a nonprofit in Waco called Talitha Koum Institute. The organization is a therapeutic nursery for impoverished children in the area.

Through the connecting powers of LinkedIn and only little pestering on my behalf, Super Susan agreed to meet up with me last week.

In summary, Super Susan was a driven, successful working woman who ran a marketing firm for 35 years. Then she dropped everything to obey God’s call and pursue heading Talitha Koum.

Super Susan spilled forth Truths in a natural, wise way.

The thriving bosslady, caring nonprofit guru and wise Christ follower shared Biblically-based advice.

Let me share just a handful with you:

“Work as if it’s all up to you, pray as if it’s all up to God. Work. Pray. Work. Pray.”

If God calls you to something, do it well for Him. Balance out work and prayer. Be dedicated and live faithfully {Colossians 3:23}.

“I have an hour of silence a day in the morning.”

Be still before the Lord. Let Him remind you of His love. Let His peace wash over your thought-filled mind {Ps. 46:10}.

“Let God love you.”

We tend to accidentally resist God’s love. We think our past is too dark, our present is too twisted. He loves us in our past, present and future, and we need to accept that {John 3:16}.

“Don’t give up even when you are full of sorrow. You can break your heart, but don’t break your spirit.”

Our heart is bound to heart. We are human, we are free to feel. But God is the maker of our being, and God will strengthen our spirits and gives us the willpower to keep moving forward {Ps. 73:26}.

“When God calls you to something, you’re called away from a lot of things.”

Part of trusting in God is letting go. Even when God promises a bright future, He may ask us to let go of a comfortable present {Matt 16:24}.

“Trust yourself. God is at work in you.”

The Holy Spirit lives inside of us. We can utilize the Spirit’s instinct and follow The Lord from loving Him and knowing ourselves {1 Corinth. 3:16}.

Super Susan is super, but she’s not Jesus.

Though I am abundantly grateful for our inspiring conversation, it’s important to remember that Super Susan is not the Creator of the World or One True Love of my life.

We must take her advice for what it is, and cling to the scripture that backs up her wise words.

It is so wonderful to know Jesus-loving people, but to ultimately lean on and live by the red words Jesus said himself.

Bearing my Cross · Life Written.

Freedom by Faith

11249848_10153457753883245_7121547648417386399_nYesterday we celebrated freedom.

America grants its citizens freedoms that many other countries do not.

I can worship who I want, how I want. I can drive wherever and choose who to marry. I can chew gum in public, read anything I desire and write this post simply because.

It’s a blessing to live freely in America.

But even if I wasn’t free by the law, I’d be free by faith.

Jesus said that if we held to his teaching, we would really be his disciples. He said,

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

These words in John 8:32 remind me that I am free every single day, the Truths in the Gospel say so.

Let these Truths set you free:

  1. You are tremendously loved. The Lord sent His only son to die for you. He raised him back to life for you. He gives only good and perfect gifts.
  2. You are not your wrongs. The Lord offers forgiveness. He even forgets. Yesterday’s mistakes are gone, His mercies are new each morning.
  3. You are in good hands. Jesus Christ is the same as yeseterday, today and forever {Hebrews 13:8}. His unfailing love stretches from everlasting to everlasting. The future is bright, because the future is His.
  4. You are known. The Lord knows His children intimiately. He created them with a purpose, He made them for His glory. He doesn’t make mistakes, He makes miracles. You are a miracle.
  5. You can do great things. The word of God works in those who believe {1 Thessalonians 2:13}. The Lord saves us, Jesus Christ died for us, and The Holy Spirit works in and through us each day. If God is on our side, who can be against us? {Romans 8:31}.

Praise God for freedom.

Praise Him for the everyday freedom that our government gives.

But mostly, praise Him for the freedom that exceeds earthly laws and governing bodies. Praise Him for the freedom that only His love, grace and truth can offer.

Bearing my Cross · College Life · Life Written. · Popular Posts. · Sic'Em Forever. · Sojourn.

God’s a Trailblazer: On Fear & Future

IMG_9838The future freaks me out.

I have no clue where I will be a year from now.

My thoughts pour forth a never-ending list of questions: What will I be doing? Who will be my friends? Will I even have friends? Do I actually need to learn how to cook?

At the rate I’m going, post-grad looks like crashing on friends’ couches and living out of a backpack, refusing to grow up and extending my stay in the glory days for as long as I can.

I am closer to growing up–or something like it–each day. Though the thought makes me queasy, I can find peace in trusting God, the ultimate trailblazer.

There weren’t trails in Escalante.

During my backpacking trip, the seven backpacking newbies greatly relied on the three guides to map out and pave a way for us to walk.

Sometimes our guides would leave us put, telling us to wait for their whistle that promised a reliable route to our next destination.

Sometimes they would be gone for a good while only to return and report that they were still searching for a way out.

But after leaving us behind and trekking ahead, after trudging through muddy sand and winding rivers before us, after trial and error, they’d manage to make a functional path.

Though the trails weren’t always ankle or arm-friendly, with thorny brush and prickly plants, we never failed to make it from Point A to Point B if we followed their trustworthy guidance.

God blazes His paths before us.

When we can’t see a year, six months, or even a week ahead, we can trust that God has gone before us. He has paved a way for us to follow to the next stage in our lives.

He beats down brush and scales large boulders to create the most effective path for His great plan.

When thorns scrape our ankles and plants sting our arms, we forget that He considers all of the alternatives and knows which route is best.

We don’t need to know where we are going.

We don’t need to know when or how we will get there.

We just need to follow.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. –Psalm 23:3