Monday, January 30, 2012

A Single Girl's Act of Surrender

Every girl dreams of her wedding day.

Even the girls who are single and living a life surrendered to Christ.

Don't let the fact that we are Christian women fool you.

Wedding day dreams are something that are ingrained in us at an early age.

You can blame Disney if you want to.

You can blame Taylor Swift even.

But at the end of the day, its just something that is rooted deep down in our heart: a longing and a desire for romance, love, and happily ever after.

I've thought about it.

A lot more than I care to admit it.

Honestly, on the days that I fighting the desire to be married and fighting Satan's lies to me that I am never going to be married or I missed my chance… the radio, the TV, the the worst place to be.

You can't turn on the radio without some good looking guy singing about how he would love you right. Or maybe a girl who's talking about how much she loves her ever-so-perfect man.

You can't watch TBS, E!, or USA.. I mean how many times can you show Sweet Home Alabama in one day? (And trust me, I love it so much, I'll watch it every time. Show some respect.)

At some point in the last 4 years, I've realized what the world does to my view of romance, love and even, my longing.

The wedding business is BOOMING. I counted 5 shows on last night that were just about weddings and dresses and who's was more elaborate and on and on it went. You get the picture.


But I'm still a girl. Hence this story.

I've still thought about it. I fight it. Some days I win. Some days I loose.

I've rethought about what my wedding will be like, a million different ways and its evolved as I have gotten older.

There is one thing when I picture my wedding though that has never changed. Seriously. 25 years.

My hair.

Go ahead. Laugh it up. Tell me how silly and ridiculous and insignificant that sounds.

It's still true.

I wanted long, gorgeous hair for my wedding.

Curled. Half up. Long layers. Something fun and pretty. Effortless looking. 


I gave up my desperate need, want, and gut wrenching-overwhelming-debilitating desire for a husband a few years ago.

(Ladies, if you haven't done it.. email me and I'll walk you through it. You don't wanna walk through another day without doing it. Trust me.)

Even still, I have those moments. Sometimes there are days, weeks, occasionally even a month, where I'm just overcome.

Several months ago, Jesus and I met on the floor of my bed room when my heart was in utter shambles of loneliness. 

I cried and cried and begged and pleaded. I did not understand why He allows me to continue to be single when some days it seems the biggest longing of my heart is to be a wife.

On the opposite end, some days I genuinely like being single. True story.

That night, I did not.

There was not one good thing about being single.

It took till about 3 in the morning, but I finally surrendered to peace.

It was not pretty, it was not easy. It was a true battle of what I wanted versus what God wanted for me. And that is something that is real, raw, painstakingly hard and uggggllllyyy.

So I surrendered. Done and Done. Right?

If the surrender of what I wanted that night, or dozens upon dozens of other nights before that, was done the second I said ok… I wouldn't be writing right now.

Surrender is picking up your cross daily. Surrender is a day-by-day, minute-by-minute, second-by-second, choice-by-choice thing.

And it never gets easier.

I've walked along in life since that night in what I consider perpetual surrender.

Suddenly a couple of weeks ago one night as I got ready to go to bed, God grabbed me and brought something to my attention: my hair.

Here's the deal: I haven't cut my hair in 4 years.

I want long hair for when I get married. So I let it grow. I never cut it more than an inch… maybe two… and I went along in my surrendering.

Hair doesn't count in surrendering. Right?

I didn't think so.

So then why all the sudden, did I feel the need to cut off my long, lovely locks that I had worked so hard for?

Because I wanted them.

I wanted them so badly to be perfect when I met someone. 

By holding on to my locks, I was holding on to what I wanted and not embracing what God wanted.

I had never thought of having short hair when I got married. It's not part of my vision.

It was superficial, it was selfish. It was anything but surrender.

I pushed the thoughts aside. I went on about my life with my long hair, not giving another thought to the fact that I had this nagging feeling inside of me to cut my hair.

Have you ever noticed that when you push something God wants you to do away from you, its like it gets louder and bigger every single day until you acknowledge that it's there?

In the middle of a Friday night, 2:33am to be exact, I made the decision to cut my hair.

Fellas, you're not gonna get this. I can hear you now: "It's a HAIRCUT. Stop being such a girl about this."

To me, this was more than a hair cut. This was a single girl’s physical act of surrendering to God. My dreams, wishes, and longings for a husband were utterly His now.

As I write this, my hair is much shorter.

And I am in love.

I am content.

I am free.

Sometimes we don't notice that something so insignificant can make such a huge difference in our walk with Christ.

I’ve had friends ask me if I feel different or miss my long hair.

I don’t.

It’s more than a haircut. It’s an action. It’s an attitude. It’s a will of surrender and knowing that wether my hair is long or short... no good thing does He withhold.

I pray you have the strength to realize and let go of something in your life you may be holding on to much longer than you need to. It could be something large in your life blocking you from giving God the control over everything you have, or it may be something simple.. you may have not ever even noticed it was there.

Like a haircut.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You Are Making Me New

I have never just sat down to write. 
I usually wait till I have something to write about.
So this is different.
Today I'm sitting in the library, at the college I attended. 
I look across from me and I see these disgusting old chair/sofa things.
I once laughed hysterically at this undergrad guy, completely passed out asleep, squishing in between two of them to make a bed at 4 am during finals week.
I look to the other side of me and see out the window all the way across town.
I never knew you could see that far. 
I honestly don't remember a time that I was here during the day on a Saturday while I was in college. 
Sundays? Yes. Because otherwise I would just pretend to study and nap instead.  (sorry mom)
But today I needed intentionality. I needed dedication. I needed focus. 
I needed to get out of my house, out of my office, and out of my head. 
So by friend intervention and her need to focus as well: here is where I ended up. 
Back in time. At a table I've sat at numerous times. 
Last weekend, I got the chance to attend a youth conference in Gatlinburg called Resurrection as a youth leader.
Fun fact: I attended this conference several times when I was in youth group growing up. 
Naturally because of this, I was so excited all week. 
Probably more excited than the actual youth were.
Then we got there.
And it wasn't just Jesus that showed up at this conference.
Satan was perched and ready, awaiting my arrival.
By the time the first song started for worship, I had tears welling up--threatening to pour over. 
I could cover it. I could pretend I was so in awe of God showing up. I could say that the message just really hit me in the heart.
Then I'd be lying.
Satan is a vicious and vile creature. And the more you seek to serve, the more on fire you get, the more you do to try to further the Kingdom… the harder that snake is going to try to attack you.
And the way he attacked me that night, hurt so deeply and opened so many wounds all at one time… I didn't even know where to begin fighting. 
I didn't think I had the strength. 
"You aren't the girl that came here so long ago. You ran. You gave up what you could have been. See those people you remember from camp so many years ago? You could have done awesome stuff for the Kingdom too.. but you didn't. You chose other things. You chose sin. You became tainted and broken. You gave it up. What makes you think you could EVER be the girl you were so long ago?"
This is what I heard. 
This is the dagger that slashed through my fragile, healing heart. 
One of the  most powerful and beautiful songs that brings me running as fast as I can back to the cross is the song "Forever Reign" by Hillsong.
You are true. Even in my wandering. 
I was innocent when I was 12. 
That was not a lie. 
In this innocence, God had a plan. And I was part of it. I learned about Him. I believed in Him.
But I ran. 
That was not a lie either.
By the time I was 16, I could have cared less about what God wanted for my life, what His plans were for His Kingdom for me. 
I wandered. 
His plans for me prevailed though.
That night as I listened to the words of that song, at a place where I had sat and worshipped so long ago.. this was the truth that my heart deciphered in the midst of the fear, the shame, and the gut wrenching lie that vibrated through my entire being:
"Look at what I did. I brought you here. Back to where you sat so long ago in awe of Me. You ran. But you came back. You wouldn't know the things I needed you to know had you not run. You would not be the woman I need you to be, had you not run. Don't you see? Look around! You are the same girl. I have made all things new. I have made you new. You are right where I need you to be. You are right where I put you. You have not missed it." 
God is able to do so much more than we can think.
That night, I saw that I was never out of His hands. Not one.single.second.
Take it a step further.
As I sit in this chair, in this library--a spot that sat a lost, broken, shameful, sin and guilt ridden girl just three short years ago--I am surrounded by a sweet tea, my bible, my journal, my writing notes and I am currently listening to the song that makes me take up my cross and not just run.. but SPRINT after Jesus…. I know grace. I know Jesus. I know truth. And I know the power of all three. 
I am living proof that God will never leave you, never forsake you.
You are not too far for Him to reach.
You are not too far to be in His plan.
You are part of His plan--right.this.very.second.
You are a plan. 
He can take away all that sin, all that shame, all those broken and tattered pieces of your heart and show you that He has always been there.
He is making all things new. 
From ashes, from dust, from grit and grime and dirt and mire and clay… You are beautiful. You are new. You are loved. 
You are His. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Uncommon definition: not common; rare; unusual; exceptional; remarkable.

Uncommon is getting on your knees every single morning, not because you don't have the strength to face the day--but because you know you don't deserve the grace given to you to get up again. 

Uncommon is walking away when its the harder choice. Not the only one. 

Uncommon is the desperation for grace above everything else in your life.

Uncommon is seeking any path possible to grow the Kingdom.

Uncommon is saying no to convenience.

Uncommon is not wishing your life away, but living in the exact moment you have been given.

Uncommon is letting your heart and soul bleed Jesus Christ. Every. single. second. of. every. single. day.

Uncommon is breaking chains of acceptance and diving head first into the free pool of embrace.

Uncommon is pushing boundaries when no one believes you can.

Uncommon is moving, shifting, changing. Never settling for settling.

Uncommon is growing in the hurt, not sitting in the shame.

Uncommon is dying daily.

Uncommon is putting yourself on the back burner when the world tells you its all about you.

Uncommon is eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when you can afford steaks to support someone less fortunate, to fund a missions trip, to fund the heart beat of Jesus.

Uncommon is forsaking membership for ministry.

Uncommon is doing what no one else is doing for the Kingdom.

Uncommon is weird.

Uncommon is talked about, shunned, sent away. 

Uncommon is standing up, speaking out, refusing to sit still.

Uncommon is letting your life preach the Gospel, even when no one listens.

Uncommon is peace, not happiness.

Uncommon is love and grace more than acceptance and compliance.

Uncommon is the desire to fight for love and grace to be known by every single person you know. And those you don't.

Uncommon is the daily bread of the Living Word of God.

Uncommon is your past colliding with your present to be a living representation of the power of Christ.

Uncommon is truth--at all costs.

Uncommon is knowing rejection, belittlement, the lack of understanding. 

Uncommon is the person next to you.

Uncommon is the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Uncommon is an awakening.

Uncommon is happening right now. 

Uncommon is the love for Jesus Christ changing the way we think, operate and relate to all things concerning Christianity.

Uncommon is a man--a God man--who came to die for you. for me. for the entire world.

Uncommon is a love that knows no bounds.

Uncommon is knowing you didn't deserve it, feeling its weight, and responding in a life of worship.

Uncommon is faith beyond sight.

Uncommon is new mercy--NEW--every morning. 

Uncommon is not "good". Uncommon is holy.

Uncommon is for everyone. 

Uncommon is needed in this world.

Uncommon is Jesus Christ. 

Uncommon is you. Uncommon is me.


Wake up. Don't be like her. Don't be like him. Be Jesus. 

Stop striving. Start seeking. 

Be Uncommon. Be different. Be desperate for grace. Be love.