Dear 19-Year Old Me, Faith Will Come (And a Giveaway)

You haven’t felt God much in your life yet. You’ve heard countless sermons and been to boat-loads of Christian camps. You’ve gone on a couple of mission trips that involved you and your giggling friends passing buckets of mud to boys you had crushes on in the mornings and playing soccer with the locals in the evenings. You’ve even cautiously raised your hands up in the air while worshiping once or twice.

But if I asked you to pinpoint one time in your life in which you genuinely felt God’s presence, a moment that proved his real-ness to you, well, trust me… You’ve got nothin’.

Minimalism, Order, and Community: Why My Husband Makes Me Uncomfortable

I was overwhelmed. I had three tiny people who required all of me and left trails of you-name-it wherever they went. We were renting a 2,100 square foot house that was filled to the brim with stuff, most of which I didn’t even like.

My house was decorated with hand-me-downs from other relatives, dead or alive, and things I’d registered for pre-Pinterest and therefore pre-I-know-what-I-like-and-how-I-want-it-to-look. And I was DROWNING in housework even though my mom and MIL, God bless them forever and ever amen, paid for my house to be cleaned once a month (if you’re in need of a baby shower gift idea, that’d be the one).

So after reading a few books*, watching a few documentaries**, and sitting at the feet of friends a lot more like Jesus than me, I began feeling pulled toward SIMPLE.

31 Days of Marriage Series: Love Does Not Envy

I’d watch him walk out the door (to provide for our family … or whatever) and crave that separation, that solitude, that freedom for just one day.

And to some extent, that feeling is natural, okay even.

But when missing my freedom turned into resenting my husband for his, when I began begrudging him for a choice I had made, when envy began to cast shadows on my joy, that’s when this verse jerked me into the light: Love Does Not Envy.

31 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage

When the Perfect Marriage Falls Apart: 31 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage

And now I know, the moment you believe your marriage is immune to big problems is the exact moment it becomes vulnerable to big problems.

I was convinced we would never struggle.

Then all of a sudden, there we were, two-freaking-years into this thing and practically underwater.

That Time Jesus Got Buried Under Christmas: Just In Case You Need an Excuse Not to Decorate

This year, I pray that I may be content in the stable. That I may find beauty in the meekness of a humble manger and not try to manufacture it everywhere else. Jesus is easily found in spaces untouched by the desire to put our own greatness on display. I have to be careful not to hide him.

A Simple, Meaningful Advent Calendar for the Family

But the older I get (and the more children I have), the more tension I feel at Christmastime. How do I create the perfect Christmas without making it all about a mythical being and gifts? How do I strike a balance between nauseating consumerism and fun-sucking religion?

In a season that so easily overwhelms, how can I slow down, lower my expectations, and point to the manifestation of Grace and Love in a way that excites my kids and blesses others?

When Our Politics Trump Our Godliness

We’ve forgotten that before we claim the title of Democrat or Republican or American, we claim the mission of a Heavenly King.

In our arguing, disagreeing, despairing, wallowing, shaming (basically, in our asshole-ness) in the name of our secondary titles, are we upholding the purpose we were given through our primary title? Our mission is the same today as it was last week: seek out the lost, the broken, the voiceless and GIVE THEM HOPE.