A year of God’s Faithfulness

This morning, as I sit here with a cup of hot coffee (mostly cream with a splash of coffee if i’m being honest..) I find my heart overflowing with gratitude.

This time a year ago, so much about my life was uncertain. I was a flurry of emotions: excited, eager, anxious, paralyzed, overwhelmed, cautious..

On April 7, 2018:

I was Macie Hatmaker, soon to be Moseley.

I was preparing to leave my childhood home, my community, my friends, my comfort zone.

I was days away from entering into a role that I did not have a guide-map on how to navigate: wife.

I was over the moon excited to become James’s wife, but completely petrified to leave what was known and familiar to me and cleave.

A year ago, I was holding tightly clenched hands, and making the conscious choice to open them, one finger at a time, desperately trying to trust God and His plan, even in the midst of the endless list of unknowns.

If I’m being completely honest, I was hoping for the best, but at the same time cynically  expecting the worst.

How would I survive a season of so much new? 

Little did I know just how kind God would be to me in this year.

Friends, Jesus has shown up in countless ways for me since James and I promised ourselves to each other on April 21, 2018.

God has been so loving and tender and gentle with me. He’s given me proof time and time again of His faithfulness.

I have friends who know me deeply — the good, the bad, the ugly — and love me anyway. Friends who fill the seats around my kitchen table on Thursday nights as we eat charcuterie and cheese and share our lives together. Friends who can look at me and know what’s going on inside my head. Friends who forgive and love and ask.

We’ve grown close with couples who are walking through the same season of life as James and I are — newlyweds who are figuring out what this marriage thing looks like. Instead of being the only young married couple, God’s been so sweet to give us a community of other couples.

God’s been so kind to me in leading James and I to become members of Hope. I feel more at home in our church community than I’ve felt since High School being a part of Church family, and I find myself constantly learning and growing closer to the heart of Jesus.

James and I love doing life together again! After almost 2 years of being long-distance, the experience of two becoming one has been so, so sweet and FUN. I love coming home to James and doing real-life with him. I fall more and more in love with him each day.

Every weekday I go to my literal dream job, at the company I’ve longed to work for since 2016. I am surrounded my women (and a few men) who know Jesus and love His people. I have sweet friends who are also my co-workers that make me laugh, encourage me, always eat Chick-fil-a and Chipotle with me (sorry James) and walk through life with me.

love where I live. Really, truly, love it. I went from the girl who detested Charlotte, who found endless reasons to dislike it and try to convince James to move to Knoxville, to a girl who can’t currently imagine a point in time in which I leave Charlotte. I love the structure of the city, the beautiful, old trees that line the streets. I adore the unique neighborhoods that make Charlotte what it is. I truly feel at home here…

I couldn’t see any of this coming. I honestly couldn’t even hope for it. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been perfect. I’ve still had my fair share of tears, anxious moments, insecurities and plain homesickness, but they pale in comparison to the moments where God’s faithfulness has been so evident.

Last week, at Young Life leadership, we sang a song I had never heard before.

The chorus of the song said,

In Winter, I believe You.

In Springtime, I see You.

It’s so good to be with You, my hope has come!

I’ve been reflecting on that chorus all week, as signs of physical Spring have started popping up all over Charlotte.

Right now, I’m in a Springtime season. I can look around and clearly see God. I see His goodness. I see His faithfulness. I see how far He’s brought me from April 7, 2018.

A year ago I was in the midst of a Winter season when I had to choose to believe God would show up, even though all I saw was barren trees and frost. I couldn’t see what Spring would look like for me, but I tried with all my might to believe that Spring would come.

Last night, I was talking about this with my best-friend of 10 years (!!!) Kyle who moved to Charlotte from Knoxville in November (one of the sweetest gifts God gave me this year) and my new bestie Amelia about how wild it is that I’ve almost been married for a year. As I started talking about just how faithful God has been despite my worst fears and worries, we started to tear up. He’s been so kind!

And, I’m not to naive to know that it won’t be like this forever. Life won’t always feel this sweet. I may not always be able to clearly see what God’s doing. Winter will come again. But this year, this season of Spring, this picture of God’s goodness will forever be clearly marked in my mind as an Ebeneezer.

Over a year ago, when visiting James, this was the benediction given at church. With tears streaming down my face, I opened my hands and offered them to God as these words were pronounced over me,

“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” | Matthew 19:29

Wow. These words ring so very true to me… I have received a hundred times as much in return.

He has been so, so good to me.

If you find yourself in the midst of your “Winter” season — Hold tight to the promises of God.

Spring will come, friend.

Known & Loved

Throughout my life, I’ve always had this desire to be known. Not for people to just know who I am, or know about me, but to really, truly, deeply know me and to understand me. Now, that sounds really easy and simple and lovely and great, but in reality? It isn’t that easy.

Because we were created in the image of a communal, three-in-one, divine God, we are created for community. We’re created to know others and to be known and to love each other in the midst of our flaws and failures and shortcomings, as well as our victories and celebrations.

But, because of the fall, our perfect design is tainted and altered by sin and we are born incapable of loving others the way they need and desire to be loved.

So — we experience a longing and an ache for this perfect community — for people to know us and to love us. We crave attention from others, but more than that we desire for people to know us — the good, the bad and the ugly — and to love us regardless. The end result of this is often loneliness as we look to other flawed and sin-tainted humans to fulfill this God-given desire.

In this current season of my life I’ve been made very aware of my innate desire to be known. As I establish a community here in Charlotte, I want people to know me. Recently, James and I went on a camping trip with some friends. While there we played the game “hot seat,” which is essentially like an immunity hour of sorts. Each person takes a turn sitting on the hot seat, which means they answer any question that the other players want to ask them for a specified amount of time. I love the game hot seat, because I always want people to ask me questions. It makes me feel known!

The funny thing is that when we were playing, our friends came up with a few questions for me, but I had significantly less than everyone else. Our friend said, “I think you’re just really good at letting yourself be known.” I do a pretty good job of being known, but I’m still not fulfilled because only Jesus can know me fully and love me the same.

I want my friends to know everything about me and to love me, perfectly. (Just a tad unrealistic, eh?) I long for my new friends in Charlotte to know my heart, my wishes and dreams, my past experiences that have shaped me to where I am today.

While there’s nothing wrong with my desire to be known, I place unhealthy expectations on my new friends and community to understand me and love me perfectly. I look to imperfect humans who are being transformed by a perfect God to make me feel complete, known and accepted… and I’m always left feeling like I’m misunderstood.

When I open up, fully, I’m often left feeling like I don’t belong.

Often, when I’m vulnerable, I’m left feeling like…

  • I’m too much — too quirky, too loud, too weird, too honest
  • I’m not enough — not fashionable enough, not smart enough, not “Christian” enough

It’s so easy for me to place unrealistic expectations on my girlfriends, co-workers, husband and family to affirm my every thought, feeling, interpretation or decision. These expectations I unintentionally place on my people are not realistic. They can’t be met by anyone on this Earth in a perfect way.

Yes, Jesus calls us to a life of community — of vulnerability that is met with listening ears, loving responses and truthful instruction — but it is not God’s intention for community to be our savior. Only Jesus can do that. A group of imperfect but redeemed humans who are on their own personal journey of “getting there” can’t love me with a perfect love, no matter how well they know me or how well-intentioned they may be.

“To be loved and not known is comforting but superficial, to be known but not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and fully loved is a lot like being loved by God.”

-Tim Keller

But, the beautiful, life-alternating truth is, Jesus does fully know me, and He fully loves me.

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you.
(Jeremiah 12:3)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:27)
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12)
When I feel misunderstood, His great love understands me. I am seen and I am known by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and even more than that, I’m loved perfectly by Him.
My sweet friend Katie Mitchell (Go Ads forever, baby!!) recommended the song “Known” by Tauren Wells to me around a year ago. I just now got around to listening to it, and wow – it is good. It’s words remind me of the perfect, redemptive, gracious love of our God.
Here’s what it says:
[Verse 1]
It’s so unusual it’s frightening
You see right through the mess inside me
And you call me out to pull me in
You tell me I can start again
And I don’t need to keep on hiding[Chorus]
I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You

Thank you, Jesus, for knowing us fully and deeply, and loving us anyway.
When we understand the truth that God is the only one who can fully know us and fully love us, we are freed up to live an authentic, vulnerable life in community with others where we can love and listen and care for others while pointing them to the only one who can satisfy their heart’s desires.
What freedom! We can love others in the light of how God loves them — caring for them by speaking truth into their lives and reminding them that their creator knows their every thought, their every tear and their every fear and loves them perfectly.
Lord Jesus, how beautiful, how wonderful, that you know the deepest desire and longing of every human heart. You created us with a desire to be seen and known and loved, and you satisfy that desire in a truly perfect way. Thank you for you expansive, never-ending, loving grace that covers all of our imperfections and sins. Thank you for caring for us in an intimate, personal way – for knowing us and loving us fully. Allow us to believe this truth and let it transform the way we do life with people – freeing us up to love others with Your love. Amen.

Short-Term Memory | Faithfulness and Forgetfulness

Hi friends! It’s been a while… Since the last time I blogged I have gotten married, moved states (for the first time in 20 years), cut all my hair off and gotten a puppy. Needless to say there has been an abundance of change in my life lately.

If you know me, or asked me in the months before my wedding and my move how I felt about it all, you probably heard me say I was excited and scared and sad and hopeful all at the same time. What a mix, right!? But, I really did feel all of those things, sometimes simultaneously. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to know what’s coming — what’s ahead. Because of that, I often pre-emptively process changes and events before they’ve even happened, running through every possible scenario.

“What if I’m anxious on my wedding day?”

“I bet I will be friends with these types of girls in Charlotte… I can’t wait!!”

“I’m going to be so sad and miss my family and friends so much once I move…”

“Will I be present on my wedding day?! Will I be too nervous to function!?”

All of the above thoughts would float through my head months and months before the wedding and the move, sometimes even daily. I tried to mentally prepare myself for all the various emotions I could possibly feel, instead of just being present and waiting to “get there.” Sure, part of this mourning of moving from my home, leaving my family and my friends and community in Knoxville was necessary, but at times it would consume me, and I would forget about my steady Jesus in control of it all.

The more I’ve talked through and processed my constant tug-of-war of “what if” in my mind, I’ve realized that I have some sort of spiritual short-term memory loss. Actually, I think if we are honest, we all do. The Lord is a faithful, dependable, steady God. He sticks to His promises, and He stays the same through the ages, despite all the churn and changes around us. I know this in my core – that He is Faithful – but I so easily forget.

I’m forgetful when it comes to His faithfulness. I work myself up and wonder and panic about what will be. I wonder if i’ll learn to be OK, if I’ll find peace, if i’ll find community, when He has already promised me that I’ll go forth in peace and be sent out with joy. He’s already redeemed me, rescued me, freed me from the grasp of darkness and sin.. the end of the story is already written – Jesus wins. I know this, and I’ve seen it happen time and time again, but yet, I still experience this short term memory. I’ve experienced countless situations as I’ve walked alongside Jesus in valleys and questions and hopes and dreams and He’s been faithful every. single. time. But yet – I forget.

I somehow manage to forget all of the times that Jesus has shown up in my life time and time again and gently reminded me who I am and who He is.

I forget that He’s the bread of life, that He is the only thing that will satisfy the deepest longing and starvation of my soul to be fulfilled. I chase after affirmation, connection, understanding, praise and countless other things to fill me up (the same things I’ve been chasing after since before I even knew Jesus !!) , even though they cannot satisfy.

I forget that He’s already bought me back from the grave – that His resurrection means I am free to live in the light of who He is, the glorious, spotless, beautiful, loving redeemer. I often choose to live in the darkness and the sadness and the fear that I encounter even though He has already set me free from that. Why do I do that? Because I forget.

I’m so forgetful, but He always reminds me. Admidst my forgetfulness, His faithfulness does not waver. Even though I forget (daily even, sometimes) that He is the King and He has overcome, He still shows up. He doesn’t try to teach me a lesson until I am sure to never forget again. He doesn’t abandon me because I forget… He stays with me. He gently nudges me and reminds me that He is and always has been Faithful.

During this transition into marriage and life in Charlotte, I have been made very aware of His faithfulness. My eyes are tearing up even just writing this… Every worry and concern and fear that I’ve had and at times continue to have — He’s shown up in the midst of those. He’s given me a peace that passes all understanding as I learn day by day how to live life well in Charlotte. He’s showered His grace upon me and given me a sense of confidence, fullness and completion in His presence. It hasn’t been all coming up daisies and there have been moments of homesickness, a fair share of tears and at times it’s been a bit overwhelming, but He has shown up every day, every hour, every minute.

I don’t want to forget this season marked by so much new, so much change, so much different where He has been so so very faithful.

Great is thy faithfulness Lord!

This is my ebeneezer – the Lord has brought me this far.

Peace, Be still.

Advent– A season of waiting. A season of longing. A season of angst– the mingling of the yet to come with the not yet. Hope and anticipation. We are aware that we are lacking, but yet we are filled with the hope that our needs will be met in a grand, full way.

This season of life has felt a lot like Advent to me. I’m so in-between. I’m not a college student anymore, but I don’t feel like an adult. I’m not single, but I’m not married yet. I’m going to move to Charlotte, but not for four more months. I’m going to be a Moseley, but right now I’m still a Hatmaker. I’m going to have friendships that mark this next season of life, but I may not have even met those girls yet. There are so many “almost, but not yet” moments.

This whole calendar season feels in-between too: there are moments when I feel like “It’s Christmas! Everything is light and joyful and redeemed!” and then almost in the same breath there are moments that feel a little more melancholy and marked by darkness rather than Christ’s light. This initial season of adulthood has had its tough moments. It has become easy for me to lean into and focus on what feels uncertain. I’ve been exhausted and trying to do it all…trying to be everything for everyone, while I haven’t been “putting my own air mask on first,” as my Young Life co-leader put it. It’s frustrating to feel all of this churning and whirling about, but feeling like I can’t control it.

A couple of months ago, I was at a football game with some of James’s family. In a moment where I felt overwhelmed by a situation we were witnessing and wanted to do something, his sweet aunt looked at me and said, “Macie, honey– you can’t save the world.”  What profound truth in those words. I cannot save the world. I can’t save others, and I can’t even save myself!! I desperately need a Savior to come and still me, to subdue my soul and give me rest. And hallelulujah that I DO have a Savior!

This advent season I feel as if I have had to depend on my Savior and His promises in a real way. At times the darkness of the world feels like an enormous weight on me. I feel helpless and victim to it. The enemy sure knows how to fill me with doubt and fear, and he tries to make me only see the darkness. But the wonderful, beautiful, miraculous thing about Advent and about Christmas is that Christ is the light!! He is the light of life, and He came to Earth to dispel our darkness. As Tim Keller puts it,

“Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

What hope… everything sad is going to come untrue. Thank you, Jesus.  All the sad things in my life, and in your life, and in the world, are going to come untrue. Christ, the redeemer, the light of life– He rewrites our story. I want that to be what I believe and cling to this season. I hope you choose to believe it too.

“The messenger of the covenant you delight in– see, He is coming ” Malachi 3:1

He has overcome the darkness. He was born to die so we could experience His grace, His fullness in life, His light, His joy, and His great goodness in our redemption.

“Come and stand amazed, you people,
see how God is reconciled!
See his plans of love accomplished,
see his gift, this newborn child.
See the Mighty, weak and tender,
see the Word who now is mute.
See the Sovereign without splendor,
see the Fullness destitute;
the Beloved, whom we covet,
in a state of low repute.
See how humankind received him;
see him wrapped in swaddling bands,
who as Lord of all creation
rules the wind by his commands.
See him lying in a manger
without sign of reasoning;
Word of God to flesh surrendered,
he is wisdom’s crown, our King.
See how tender our Defender
at whose birth the angels sing.
O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
who assumed this humble form,
counsel me and let my wishes
to your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
let your frailty strengthen me;
let your meekness give me boldness,
let your burden set me free;
let your sadness give me gladness,
let your death be life for me. Amen.”

 

 

What I Have Loved About This Place

IMG_3726

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a sentimental person. I treasure up moments, events, conversations and memories in my heart.

In December, during Christmas Break, It started to really sink in that my time at UT was coming to a close. So, I decided to keep a running list of what I have loved about my time at UT. The list is random, sporadic and pretty unorganized, but it’s from the heart (as corny as that sounds.) The list includes different memories, experiences, places and things that made my time at UT so incredibly special. I could go on and on and on about each and everything that has marked my years at UT, but I’ll leave you with just a few things that I have loved about this place.

  • Being a freshman—Presidential Courtyard at any hour. Whether it was 7:30 in the morning or 3 a.m., there were always people out and about. The endless amount of cheesy potatoes and pizza from PCB… the countless Chick-fil-a trips (sometimes multiple trips in one day.. whoops.) The new. Every experience was new—football games as a student, college exams and all nighters, the independence.
  • The infamous snowball fight in Neyland stadium
  • Late night drives with friends— Most of which lead to consume some sort of fast-food. 
  • Study sessions for hours on end in the library — (becoming delirious, making multiple Starbucks trips, circling around every floor to find a spot during finals)
  • Christmas trees on top of buildings, and how it’s such a phenomenon for those who aren’t originally from Knoxville.
  • Road trips during breaks— to Nashville and Memphis and everywhere in-between… seeing the hometowns of my new friends and connecting with the things that made their childhood special.
  • Football games on the road– A trip to Ole Miss, two trips to UGA and one Hail Mary later 😉
  • 3 small group leaders sharing wisdom and love and encouragement and grace
  • Farragut high school and the people within its walls. My sweet, spunky, sassy group of girls who i’ve gotten to laugh and cry with. Three years with an absolutely amazing team of leaders who listen to me and walk with me through the sweet and the sour seasons. The ministry of Young Life and the way it consistently goes above and beyond to pursue high school students and lead them to know Jesus better. 
  • Professors that challenge me and believe in me. Who tell me that what I’m passionate about actually does matter. Who remind me that my education enables me to further human connection through storytelling.
  • Endless trips to Starbucks— most of them with Liz. Two grande iced coffees with cream and sugar and two bacon + gouda breakfast sandwiches.
  • Concerts downtown— the Goo Goo dolls, Drew Holcomb, The Dirty Guvs, Needtobreathe.
  • Game day after game day—The wins, the losses, the high blood pressure. Getting on ESPN and hearing the one and only Tim Tebow say my name. Watching the Vols go out there and play their hearts out.
  • Chi Omega—The sisterhood. The lessons I’ve learned and the memories I’ve created. The girls who will always have a mark on my heart because of our shared values and experiences shared together. The social events spent laughing and dancing and dressing up in outrageous outfits… and the cook out runs that followed.
  • Rush and the late nights and early mornings. Delirious laughter and tears and happy bid days each year—welcoming some of my sweetest childhood friends to the best sisterhood.
  • The dorm–every single one of your friends in the same building, just down the hall or next door.
  • The classrooms, new and old. 
  • The smell of HSS—horrible, but somehow comforting.
  • Bringing me James. Date parties, formal, date nights at the movies and market square with him. The majority of my college memories include him, and that’s so special to me.
  • Walking to class in the Fall-– the variety of colors. There’s something special about Rocky Top in Fall…it signifies new beginnings, new hope, new people.
  • Rocky top, the song. The way it fills you with pride, even though it’s a little bit hick sounding. The fact that this place really is home sweet home to me. 
  • Driving around campus, or even downtown really, and looking up and seeing Ayres peeking up behind buildings. Hearing the Ayres bell ring.
  • The insane, crazy, unpredictable weather. The fact that you can experience all four seasons in one week. It’s annoying at times, sure, but that’s a part of the UT experience.
  • The Strip. Walking down it and most assuredly seeing someone you know.
  • The rich history. These hallowed hills of Tennessee have been here a long, long time. There’s something beautiful about imagining the hundreds of thousands of students who have walked this campus before me…who have gone on to impact their community and even the world, and could seem different from me in many ways, but are still volunteers.
  • The city. Growing up in Knoxville, I’ve always loved this corner of our state, but I didn’t spend a considerable amount of time downtown (in the actual city) until my years at UT. This city is one of a kind. It’s contemporary and historic and traditional and southern and progressive all at the same time. It is filled with people in all walks of life and all backgrounds. I have so enjoyed my time in the heart of my city.
  • The ability to GROW. I have grown in a multitude of ways in my four years, as have many of my dearest friends. You always hear that people “find themselves” in college, and it sounds cliche and corny. But, there really is some truth to it. My time at UT has given me the space to grow– to make mistakes, to learn from those mistakes, to depend on God in a way that I never have before. 
  • The Fort: its character, rowdy house parties, random people roaming the streets and the less than desirable parking. My grandmother grew up in Fort Sanders in the 40s until the early 60s. It’s been so neat to see friends of mine move into homes around my grandmothers childhood home, and to imagine how many different groups of people have lived there after my grandmother.
  • Cook Out— cheap, delicious and ALWAYS open.
  • The long trek to the Hill. Feeling like you’re climbing to Mt Everest, and should deserve a medal when you make it to the top.
  • How hard it is to say goodbye. I don’t think the things I’ve written can even scratch the surface of how truly great this place is. To those who will call UT their home for the next four years: enjoy it. It will fly by before you know it. I am so thankful that I chose to attend this school and can honestly say that I am a better person because of my time here. No matter where I may roam, Rocky Top…you will truly always be home sweet home to me.

Free of Guilt and Rid of Shame

Guilt. Shame. 

Two feelings that I feel quite often. I am my own worst critic. I overthink everything, and if you’re anything like me, more often than not you find yourself taking the blame for things you don’t need to. 

If I’m running late somewhere or forget to turn an assignment in, I feel so guilty. I feel ashamed of myself that I would do something so silly. 

If I say something sassy or text someone a bunch and think they’re annoyed with me I am yet again filled with shame. I feel shameful of myself, that I have hurt someone’s feelings or have annoyed them or imposed upon them. 

These feelings of guilt and shame are lifted away when I put my trust in Jesus and his grace. 

You see, I know about grace. I believe in Jesus’s grace. But I often don’t let it sink in. I ignore this amazing, indescribable gift from the Lord and blame myself for my shortcomings. But why? Jesus offers grace that floods our thirsty souls. He does not want us to feel shameful, guilty or hard on ourselves. He wants us to be free in his grace and forgiveness. 
Because of his grace, our mistakes do not define us because we are free to be forgiven. 

Some of my favorite worship song lyrics read “you’re making me like you. Clothing me in white. Making beauty from ashes, for you will have your bride. Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame, and known by her true name.”

How beautiful. We are his bride. He frees us of our guilt and rids us of our shame. We don’t have to sit in our shortcomings. Instead we can lavish and appreciate his grace. 

I’m going to choose to walk in the  freedom of His grace, and I hope you will too!  

As you run

Monday mornings have never been my favorite. I really don’t think they are anyone’s favorite, honestly. They are early and hard and full of expectations, deadlines, appointments, to-do lists and interactions for the week to come. They’re a bit overwhelming to say the least.

This morning as I was driving to my internship, I played one of my favorite songs. It’s by Steffany Gretzinger, and the words in it make me want to sob (every single time.)

I want to share the lyrics with you. Read them, soak them in. Choose to believe them today and every day. Whatever this week may hold for you, we do not have to hide.

Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see

You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home

I’ll be your lighthouse
When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate
Everything

No need to be frightened
By intimacy
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home
Keep on coming

And oh as you run
What hindered love
Will only become
Part of the story
(4X)

Baby, you’re almost home now
Please don’t quit now
You’re almost home to Me
(3X)

Let this be your encouragement today:

  1. We are rid of our shackles (Our victory is HIS.. And He’s already won)
  2. As we run the things that once hindered love (and joy and peace and contentment) will become part of our story and not the story
  3. We don’t need to cover what He already sees
  4. You are the one that He was thinking of when He rose from the grave.
  5. We’re almost home.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

-1 John 5:4

Lifted Away

Give me the rope that is tied around your neck. I’ll cut it away I’ll set you free as you should be. No longer must we live under these burdens. You’re my beloved, my kin, no more a slave…” -Joseph, Lifted Away

I’ve sat in front of my computer and stared at this blank screen and wondered again and again where to start. At times I feel as if i am overflowing with things to say. Words are of such immense importance to me– they are my love language, my favorite way to communicate, my passion. But even so, I feel as if at times I have too much to say and am without a way to start or to organize or to condense.

A lot (and when I say a lot, I mean a lot, a lot, a lot,) has been going on in the last six months of my life. I’ve grown so much, and am still in a process of growing.

During the peak of my hard season, my sweet friend Grace Frazier (a literal angel) and I sat at a baseball game. I word-vomited and told her about where I was. A few days later she texted me and told me to listen to the song “Lifted Away” by the band Joseph. It is crazy how many times I have listened to that song in my car since then, and how much it has meant to me.

During the last few months I’ve consumed probably a hundred Mountain Dew Icees, I’ve gone to the beach a few times, I’ve cried a lot and laughed a lot and learned a lot– about myself, about God and about other people.

I detest change, and ironically the last season of my life has been full of it. I’m a Senior this year, so basically this entire season of my life is focused on change. It’s time to “grow up” which is freaking terrifying. It feels like college is the end of my “known” future, which scares me. Come May, my world will change and right now I have no earthly idea what will be in store for me when I graduate. This is scary, but I’ve learned that I can’t control it and shouldn’t want to (because God has a crazy, wild, good plan for me) and i’m going to end up OK because He knows what he’s doing.

Change has seemed to be everywhere i turn. My friendships have changed, my circumstances have changed, my brother graduated and started college, my boyfriend graduated and is moving four hours away, my sister can now legally drive a car (OMG) and I’m in my last year of college. I deeply value routine and structure and these changes have done they best that they can to uproot my stability.

I’ve been learning, very s l o w l y, that things are always going to change. Change is necessary and God has intended it.

I’m still learning this. I’m still learning how to release control, how to trust the promises that God has given me that will never change. It’s a process! But I am learning and growing.

What I have learned:

  1. God is constant: He’s consistent. He shows up every single time. He is faithful. He’s steady. He can quiet me when I feel unruly within.

17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

-Zepheniah 3:17

No matter where my life goes, where I move, what classes I take, where I call home– He will always be there. He’s promised me that!

God guards you from every evil,
    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
    he guards you now, he guards you always.

Psalm 121:7-8 (MSG)

2. He’s a redeemer.

Knowing this is so important. Because I value structure and stability so much, when something “goes wrong” in my day, whether someone’s hurt my feelings, I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, I’m running late, i am moody… whatever it is or whatever happens– God has the power to redeem it. My mistakes and short comings aren’t beyond redemption. If I am snappy with someone, if i am late to a meeting or feel unwanted it doesn’t have to be a game changer because the Lord can and will redeem it.

Learning more and more about God’s redemptive nature in my life has also freed me to be nicer and more gracious with myself and with others. I can better love people and better forgive them when I am aware of what redemption really means.

3. He brings freedom!

So much of the last season of my life I have felt trapped. Trapped by the inability to control the change surrounding me, trapped in my emotions, trapped in my worries… trapped in feeling not enough. It’s so easy to believe the lie that we are without. That we ourselves aren’t enough or we don’t or we can’t. But because of the freedom we have as children of God we can. We are freed from the bondage that sin brings with it. Our brokenness doesn’t have to weigh us down, because He has and continues to take it from us. As the Lord redeems, He frees us.

 

I think my list of things I’ve learned could go on and on and on and on and on. I think I am just beginning to realize the things Jesus is teaching me day in and day out.

And I know that there are going to be days when I forget. When I again feel overwhelmed and trapped and beyond redemption. But the lies that I (and for that matter you) may believe at times are not true.

Jesus is constant. Jesus is a redeemer. Jesus brings freedom.

 

Beauty of letting go

On this blog I share my stories. My hardships and my triumphs. I share about things I’m learning, sometimes blissfully and sometimes the hard way. I share about how the Lord shapes my seasons and my encounters and my ups and my downs. I share about “getting there.”
This idea of “getting there” is one I’ve held on to since my highschool days. I write it on all of my journals and I think it’s an accurate term to describe what it looks like and feels like for me in my walk with Jesus. I’m getting there, every year, every season, every day, every breath. Some days pain is crippling and some days joy is so present and in both situations I have assurance that because I know Jesus and abide in Him, he is making me more like Him. 

All of that to say, these days my “getting there” involves the beauty of letting go. I just spent a week in the Rocky Mountains at beautiful, wonderful Frontier Ranch. I went with my co-leader Emily Huck and 19 girls from Farragut High School. Although I went to Frontier in high school, going as a leader was waaaay out of my comfort zone. I was scared. I was unsure. I was uncomfortable. I was doubting myself, and I found myself forgetful of the Lord’s provision and His purpose in sending me to Frontier. But, He knows what He’s doing.

This year, the past semester really, I have dealt with the realization that I have an anxiety disorder. I spend a lot of time battling against my mind, feeling unsure or upset or unsettled or just plain afraid. This anxiety causes me to cling tight to things that are comfortable: my home, my family, my routines, my boyfriend. But God is teaching me that if I just let go of my comfortable and trust, I will experience life the way it is meant to be. 

Next week I am leaving to spend the summer at camp Greystone, an all girls camp in the mountains of North Carolina. I spent last summer at Greystone and absolutely fell in love with it. It was the best summer ever. But after dealing with all of this anxiety and unsettledness…. I am nervous. This is scary for me.  Really freaking scary. Having to say goodbye to my comfort zone and hello to discomfort (I’m coming a week late to camp, therefore I will not know anyone really and will not have a ton of time to adjust) is a scary thing for me. And although I’m scared and I’m nervous and I’m sad, I know that the Lord promises joy and peace for me. He promises to watch over me. He promises life and life to the full for me. These things are in abundance at Camp Greystone. The Lord is so present at camp. It’s going to be a great summer, but my mind tries to lie to me and tell me otherwise. Satan likes to use my anxiety to turn me away from trust and to fear, but He doesn’t get to win. He does not win. Jesus has and will and is. 

Jesus, as I am getting there, teach me the beauty in letting go. Allow me to trust in you and not in fear. You have great plans for me. As you wish, let it be.