Want to love your friends well? Pray for them.

2 women sitting on black chair

The Lord has taught me more about friendship in the past year than almost any other concept. Here in Washington, D.C., healthy friendship is modeled all around me and afforded to me. I am part of many intentional, life-giving relationships and have had the honor of watching countless people in my church, community, work, and school environments be in relationship with others in this same way. Through observable examples as well as intangible revelation from the Lord through His word, He has not only revealed His vision for human-to-human relationship — He has also revealed what it means for God to be my friend. Now, finally, as a 24-year-old woman settling into my independent life and faith, I feel equipped, able, and free to behave in the way I believe a good, godly friend should.  So, what does it actually mean to be someone’s friend? My friends and I often […]

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Immovable Identity

two girls in a field

“Am I good enough? Am I deserving of love today?” These are the types of questions that run through my mindas I seek my husband’s approval. Just recently, my husband, Josh, told friends of some marriage advice he received prior to our wedding. The advice was basically  if there is a problem in your marriage, 99 percent of the time, it comes down to the man’s issue. Now, I’m gonna be honest, as a woman, this sounds great. No problems are really mine? If he was better, everything would be better? Sign me up. Of course, what the advice really meant was, please lead your family, outdo her in love, be an example in love and sacrifice. Of course, I know I sin and mess up very often and that these problems of mine in attitude and actions can affect my marriage in many negative ways, just like my spouse’s. […]

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I can’t wait to be pretty

woman sitting on bus bench seat

“I can’t wait to be pretty Oh the things that I’ll do I’ll kiss pretty people and live out the blue I’ll dance with the lights on in a crowded room When I’m pretty, oh the things I’ll do.” These lyrics struck me as I drove one morning listening to my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. A quick perusal of the comments on the official YouTube demo tell me these words resonate with people, particularly women, in a powerful, heartbreaking way: “Literally every single lyric is how I feel.” “Tons of people tell me I’m pretty and it feels nice, but at the end of the day when I look in the mirror it pains me to look at myself.” “I’ve felt like this for years, afraid to live my life because I’ve never felt pretty.”  The past few weeks, I have found myself going through a podcast series produced […]

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How can I keep giving my life away?

four person holding each others waist at daytime

I recently hosted my friend and her little girl overnight while they needed a place to stay. In reality, though, my whole community hosted her through how they equipped me: My friends Emily and Austin gave me the bed she slept in My friend Lauren gave me the recipe for the Chicken Pot Pie that was in the fridge My friend Kristin helped me assemble the dresser in my room My friend Megan gave her the car she used to drive to my house My roommates Lisa and Cierra helped clean the house My friend Sarah gave me my bedside lamp My landlords Andy and Kristi provide a great, safe, and well-maintained house for us My friends Garrett and Mindy sparked the vision for where I live A group of friends from church helped me move into this house last year In other words: I can welcome her because I […]

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What Lasts is Love

homeless sign

My mentee Ally and I volunteered at a homeless shelter together last week. We handed out toothpaste, floss, towels, and more from a supply closet to the men at the shelter. We spoke to a man whose dog Bobo had all the guests (and us!) enraptured. Another man told me about his son who died at age 18 – and I shared about my brother, in heaven at the same age. We reasoned they were likely having a party together now. Do you think age matters in heaven, that you tend to make friends with people your age like you do on earth? We didn’t always have what the men requested – eyeglasses so they could read, clean boxers, or the right charger for their phones. The needs felt so great in this building where dozens of men shared one communal room in which to sleep and find shelter from […]

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Soul: Remember your God (A poem)

man in black and white sweater sitting on chair

You have replayed your anxieties, complaints, and sorrows. Again. And again. And again. But have you rehearsed the glory of your God? Yahweh, Jehovah, Messiah. Trust Him!  Lean into His grace. Drink from His well. Feast on His abundance. Look up. Look to Him. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. Remember. He has purpose for this season. None of it is wasted. Fear not. Don’t give in. He has overcome the world. Be present today. After all, it’s all He’s given. And He will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Do not worry about tomorrow (or how you’ll finish this season). It has enough trouble of its own. Fear not, little flock, for your Father knows what you need and is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Hold on to the hope of the gospel.  Stay anchored in your Redeemer.  […]

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Prepare Him Room

christmas tree

Tonight is the night.  Christmas Eve means different things to so many people throughout the ages. It’s the centerpiece of famous poems and song lyrics. It’s the night of magic and trips to and from the North Pole. It’s a time we are filled with joy and gratitude for the people we have nearby. It’s a time we are filled with sorrow for the people we are separated from. For some, it’s a night of presents and setting out cookies. For others, it’s a night of midnight church services. For all Christians, it’s a time of remembering the personhood of Jesus – when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). It is a time to receive Jesus into our hearts as He was received into a manger the night of His birth.  This year, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what it means to […]

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Christmas: An Annual Reminder that Jesus Doesn’t Cancel Us

group of people standing on snowy field

Our culture has become quite confident in its ability to determine who should get a second chance and who should not.  How dare they, right? The “cancel culture” nonsense has really gotten out of hand. Maybe. But what if you and I are just as guilty of trying to be an arbiter of who is right and who is wrong? Even as Christ-followers, we find time and time again that we too desire to take on this role of God. We want to be in control. We want to be The Judge. In fact, if we’re honest, we believe we are a GOOD Judge. I cannot deny that deep down, a sinful part of me believes I am the best arbiter not only of what is best for me, but of what is best for other people I love, and even for the whole of society.  Since we love to […]

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Good News For the Poor

ashes burning

My heart burned within me as I read Isaiah 61:1-3. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captivesand release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favorand the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beautyinstead of ashes [dignity — valued, respected, worthy],the oil of joyinstead of mourning [honor],and a garment of praiseinstead of a spirit of despair [heaviness].They will be called oaks of righteousness,a planting of the Lordfor the display of his splendor [glory]. It took me a while to realize why my heart was burning. Weeks, actually. At first, I was simply moved by the stunning imagery of Isaiah 61. Then, I began […]

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Want to Know the Will of God for Your Life? Give Thanks.

white candles on round table

Want to know what the will of God is for your life? Give thanks. No, don’t give thanks in order to coax God into laying out His will for you; giving thanks is God’s will for you.  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  (emphasis added) 1 Thess. 5:18 So often, I focus on seeking God’s will for the “big” things in my life, but miss His will for the “small” things in my life, which aren’t really small at all. Thankfulness, for instance, is clearly Biblically part of God’s will for me and is commanded throughout the Scriptures as a key component of the Christian life. And yet, I can be so focused on seeking God to reveal the next step or direction of my life that I forget the will of God that He’s already revealed.  There are […]

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