I wrote a potential hymn/poem. Though they are often overlooked, hymns are wrought with such beauty and substance. I think they are beautiful works of art. So, I became  inspired and wrote this whole thing today. Amateur hour, I know…but I loved every minute of writing this. So…ya, here it is.


“The Majesty Of Jesus”

“No eye has seen, 

No ear has heard, 

No mind has ever known 

The beauty of Your glory  

There, on heaven’s throne. 

By faith alone I come to You 

With praises on my lips, 

Believing what I cannot see

In humble reverence. 

The cross that held the anguish 

Of sin and shame that shed 

The precious blood of Jesus 

Who saved me by His hand 

Is lifting me upon my feet 

And holding up my head. 

Death could never keep me

But has brought me life instead. 

The majesty of Jesus, 

Of The Father and The Son 

Will hold me there in paradise 

When life on earth done. 

No eye has seen 

No ear had heard 

No mind has ever known 

The majesty of Jesus 

There, on heaven’s throne.”

98 Baby

This one is pretty somber. It may be sad to read but I do hope someone who might stumble upon this finds hope and encouragement.

On November 30, 2019, my baby brother, Matthew, passed away.

Yes, it was the worst day of my life. Hands down. If you have never experienced death, I must be honest, it really is everything you would imagine it to be. Every emotion I had assumed would follow the news of a death was validated right then. Death was not something I had ever experienced prior and for that, I was grateful. I used to think to myself, “I hope I never get a phone call from mom telling me someone died. I don’t know what I would do”. Literally. And usually, those thoughts were focused around my little brother.

That night, our Friendsgiving (I hate this word) was underway and I got to play hostess. I find hosting to be so lovely. I have never been very organized person, much less a party planner and have never taken well to cooking. However, in the past year, I’ve tried my hand at the whole culinary thing and have found that I quite enjoy it. It seems my friends enjoy it too. So alas, Friendsgiving was at my house and I wanted to make it perfect.

I had taken a pause from waiting on my delicious, made from scratch Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese’s extraordinarily long bake time and sat down on my couch to watch one of my favorite movies, Monster’s Inc., because I love watching kid movies by myself. (Small joys are precious, don’t discard them.) I watched for a while and made another trip to the oven for a quick glance and my phone rang. It was my sister. Kailyn never calls me very much (and I don’t call her either… sorry Kay) so I was happy to answer and listen to what I thought might be a question about where her favorite jacket went or if I had “accidently” taken her favorite makeup brush. I had.

I answered. It was my mom. She was hysterical and I immediately knew what was about to be said. There was no question in my mind that it was about Matthew because, well, it usually is. She said he had (accidently) overdosed, was on his way to the hospital, and it was not looking good.

According to my husband, I fell to the floor. I don’t remember this detail. I only recall yelling, “Mommy, no…” into my phone, running outside, and crouching down on my porch, as my breathing was becoming erratic. My body shook and I felt like I was floating. It’s phenomenal how quickly your body goes into shock. Adrenaline is a mighty gift from God. Without it, I don’t see how anyone could accomplish anything immediately post tragedy.

I quickly began to pray for peace. That’s really all that I knew to pray for because I knew that every outcome would bring deep pain to my heart and to my family. If he lived, an overdose would be severely damaging to his vital organs, respiratory system, or central nervous system. I didn’t want to think about death though…that was the worst case scenario and I would deal with it only if I knew for certain it came to pass. What’s miraculous was as quickly as a prayed for peace, it began to flood my body and I regained composure. I’m very serious. I stopped shaking and had the clarity of thought to pray a prayer I had hoped to never pray. “Lord, please let me know if he’ll be okay.” I repeated this over and over again, not expecting the Lord to actually answer it. How small minded I am….but I certainly didn’t want to expect God to answer just because I was desperate. He did though. I knew for certain He said, “He’s okay, but he may not seem ok to you.” Literally, I heard this. At first, I thought it was just me. Maybe I had thought this to help myself cope. But after each prayer, I heard the same thing. I kept hearing, “He’s safe.” So, I assumed Matt would live.

I went inside my house where a few of my friends where already gathered and told them what I heard. “I think he’ll be okay but he might not be physically ok. So, maybe he’ll be braindead. Or maybe he won’t be able to walk or something…”. I continued to spew out every scenario in which his body would be impaired. I knew very little of opioid drugs and their effects on the body so I’m sure my naïveté was on full display.

As I paced my apartment, my body was still but my mind raced. I felt an ominous pit in my stomach. I quickly arranged our meal on the counter, told my friends to begin eating, and told my husband I was going for a drive. If I were to receive any bad news at all, I needed to be alone.

I got in my car and began to drive. I’ve previously spoken about my love for driving. It’s therapeutic for me. There are not a lot of places in which you are alone with your thoughts for horrendous amounts of time. However, I’ve learned to enjoy the solitude. On any normal day, I would roll down the windows and blast my music at a deafening volume and try to sing as good as whatever artist I was listening to. (Free singing lessons, really.) That day though, I drove in silence. Music would only aggravate my emotions. I hopped on the 101 freeway and ended up somewhere in Reseda, I think. I drove and prayed for about 10 minutes. I was simultaneously dreading and anxious for whatever phone call would soon come. As soon as I parked my car on some dimly lit street, my body still calm, my mom called me. I said aloud, “Well, this is it,” and answered earnestly.

“Hello?” “Hello?

There was no answer for close to 10 seconds. Then she spoke, her voice shaking.

“Matt didn’t make it.”


I’m pretty certain that’s all I said. I paused. Even in the initial shock, I instantly felt even more peace than I had previously.

“Mom, you’re going to be ok. Mom, It’s going to be ok. Mom, listen, I’m going to pray for you right now.”

Her wails were loud and her anguish was tangible. I had never heard my mother like that. Of course I hadn’t. This had never happened to her before. It’s not something I wish to ever bear witness to again. I immediately called my aunt. Her demeanor was similar to mine, both of us calm and quiet. I was surprised by this. This peace I was feeling wasn’t going away. We spoke for a moment, each verifying the other’s news, followed by a prayer. I hung up and began my drive home.

As I drove, my body went completely numb and remained that way for about 24 hours. I don’t recall thinking much of anything as I went home. I didn’t know what to think. My mind was just…blank. I proceeded to call my sister who was equally as hysterical as my mother. She actually frightened me. I prayed for her and quickly hung up. It was painful to hear her grief. Now, all I knew was I had to tell my husband and my friends, all of whom loved Matthew, that he was gone. There is nothing I have ever wanted to do less in my life.

I parked my car, walked up to the door, and entered my house casually. My friends were still eating and my husband was standing the doorway to our bedroom. I remember looking around at them and smiling. I thought it was odd that a smile could even appear. They looked at me solemnly and asked what had happened. My thoughts were jumbled and proceeded to I break the news with hesitant speech. They were silent for the rest of the night.

My husband immediately broke out in tears. I went to our room and began to comfort him. He couldn’t believe I was comforting him and frankly, neither could I. It’s true how you begin to think back on the things you wish could have been done differently; what you could have said or how much more of an impact you could made in hopes that the outcome could have been different. I walked to the living room and sat on my coffee table.

Everything became dreamlike. I felt like Alice, as she warily wandered around Wonderland, wondering if time was playing a sort of strange trick on her.

 “Is this real?” 

This was all I could ask myself for a few days.

My family now lives in Nashville, Tennessee so I had to get a flight, and fast. The soonest available ticket was for 8 a.m. the following morning. To wait 10 hours felt like an eternity. I yearned to be with my mother.

I don’t remember much of anything else that happened that night, other than falling into a deep sleep. For the next week or so, I despised sleep. It was exhausting to accept that I would forget everything for a night only to wake up and remember it all over again.

I was a mess in the airport and I did not care who saw. I cried profusely the entire time. I saw onlookers staring, some with slight concern, most with curiosity. We landed, picked up our rental car, and began our drive to my grandma’s home in Franklin, a suburb roughly 20 minutes south of Nashville. I had dreaded walking inside the house the entire flight which felt strange to me. Why would I not want to go in and see my family? I was aching to be with them. Of course, this had nothing to do with them and everything to do with the reality of our present situation. As soon and I entered the home and saw my family grieving as I was, it was really…real.

We walked inside and I felt as though home could never be anywhere else. I slept on a blanket by the fireplace for 48 hours. We cried together for days. This is the most bonding thing a family could experience. In midst of heartache, we grew closer to one another and to God. There really is beauty in pain when you choose to see with God’s eyes.

I would not want to relive the the subsequent weeks that followed. They were tremendously, indescribably painful. However, even in the midst of grief, we found hope and felt peace, which I could never begin to adequately describe. It’s supernatural. There is no possible way us small humans could feel peace like this outside of the power of God. We all felt assured that Matt was healed and safe in the arms of Jesus.

This was BY FAR, the issue I struggled with the most. My baby brother battled with drug addiction for 8 years. With addicts, at least in my limited experience, there are brief periods of sobriety followed by extended periods of continued drug use. Their sobriety brings glimpses of hope for the future which can swiftly become muddled by the worry and fear for their soul/life when they begin to use again. It ebs and flows. Matthew, when sober, was the sweetest, most tender-hearted, gentle, funny, friendly, loyal, and lovable boy to have ever walked this earth. His views of God, the Bible, and morality were decidedly certain and he understood and believed in salvation. He claimed Jesus to be the only way to heaven one month before he died. He re-dedicated his life to Jesus while I sat beside him just one year prior. I’ve even learned things about him in the last month which only confirm His belief in Jesus. That is one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive.

I share this not because I feel obligated or because I anyone to feel bad for me. Geez. No way. Death is everyone’s fate here on earth. I only share this in hopes that someone might be comforted. If you know this heartache, you are certainly not alone. But even in death, there is life more abundant. There is endless hope for those who believe.

As my aunt stated to me very concisely, sanctification is lifelong. I believe Matthew was still early in the process, as addiction stunts growth. But despite his mistakes, I do believe he desired it. I believe be believed it. And I know he’s with Jesus because, well, He told me so. For this, I am grateful. I am so humbled. I am so in awe of God’s grace, an indescribable gift to humanity. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that, truly, His love never fails us.

I am not afraid to die anymore. In fact, I look forward to it. I want to see Jesus. I want to see Matthew with Jesus, healed and whole in his beautiful heavenly body.

Oh, what a beautiful reunion it will be.


To Matthew- CUZ, you got no idea how big of a hug you’re gone get from me!! you crazy fool, you’re not even worried about anything right now, which makes me so happy. I love you forever. I’ll see you so soon!! p.s. I took all your clothes.


“Christ has the power to deliver you from any sin and any bondage. I am living proof of this, and you need to hear that it can be true for you too. Jesus defeated the power of sin and death when He died on the cross and rose from the grave to reconcile sinners to God. The same power that raised Jesus to life is the very same power that still raises spiritually dead people to life today.” – my auntie, Cherie.


“May we rejoice in the sweet paradoxes of our faith, in which we cry while we rejoice, find sweetness in the bitterness, life in death, His strength in our weakness, His death conquering death!”















Faults, Cracks, Blanks, and Gaps


I want to be clear about the beginning of this writing. I will speak of the heart and mind being at war but I don’t desire for anyone to assume that I mean one is solely bad and the other is solely good. They work together. That’s all.

(This is for anyone reading this for the first time: I really only write about biblical topics and occasionally on how dramatic I have a tendency to be. I don’t know who’s going to read this stuff so I just want to be clear.)

I’m just processing here. That’s what blogs are for, right? ***


Ok, now to begin…

I haven’t written in a bit but I find myself sitting on my couch, my inner angst, loud and unrelenting, speaking to my spirit in a mocking tone. Typically, I attempt to tune this out, although I’m no good at it. I think, “I have to write”. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that helps. My mind and my heart battle with one another, like a devil and an angel on opposing shoulders. Of course, the angel is right, but the devil presents a great argument. Am I that weak minded? Lame.

As I sit here, I hear my heart pose the questions: “How much do you want God? Does a Godly life really matter anyway? And be honest.”

I know God. I’ve met Jesus. I sense His Spirit. So then, why do I delay in my response? Do I really have to think about it? I hope my answer arrives swiftly. Sometimes, it does. Sometimes, it doesn’t. I hate that.

I know that my heart is the unfavorable opponent in this case. My heart is the one driving me towards selfish gratification. My heart is the one who yearns for satisfaction of the flesh. Most apparent though, is that the heart claims its feelings to be of utmost importance. However, my mind knows better. My mind has learned of a greater path to life and reminds me often to journey on with perseverance.

My heart, the usual questioner, finds my first response presented in two questions. I commonly have this inner dialogue because I surely don’t want to give God a forced reply. It’s not unbelief driving my questions, rather, an eagerness to give a well thought out answer in the end, and a Godly one at that. Perhaps I overthink. Perhaps not. Either way, these are questions that need resolution. Typically, there are two.

1: “Do I want God because I seemingly have to or because I want to?” (perhaps the better phrasing is “called to”)

2 ” Do I want an easy life or a meaningful life?”

I want God. I always have. To be fair though, I’ve known Jesus since I was five years old so I cannot recall life without Him. Occasionally, this brings me to doubt if I have ever sought Him with honest desperation at all. I meet people who have met Him in the darkest, bleakest, and seediest (I love that word, had to use it somewhere) of places and I think, “I’ve never been there before. How can I call unto God without experiencing life devoid of His presence? Does it make a difference to only know of the wide gate or to have actually followed down its path (Matt. 7:13)? Does that make the Christian journey more authentic? I must have taken God for granted,” and the list goes on. At these moments, my mind reminds me of the ridiculous nature of these questions because I do not want a life without Him. I don’t want to know how obscure those roads become. Nonetheless, I still find myself asking, “I’ve never known God like you and I’ve known Him my entire life!”

But have I really?

I don’t think God is someone to just be known. (Well, we can, of course, know Him but I mean it like this..) I think He is someone to be pursued and in the pursuit, you find Him and He will make Himself known. It really seems to me like most people “know” God or claim to, anyway. But knowledge of who He is just isn’t enough. The surrender of selfish ambitions to the will of the Father is the vital first stepping stone. With this in place, knowledge will follow suit.

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

I have found in my life that there’s an array of knowledge, perhaps some wisdom, but I see fear often coming in last. I ask myself, “Do I believe these things because it was the only thing tought to me? Do I know Him because I feel like I have to? Do I know God enough to even understand the seriousness of actually fearing him?” Of course, I fear God, and I mean the holy kind of fear, defined as respect, awe, submission, etc. But do I submit to Him? Yes, sometimes. Sometimes not. But no longer do I underestimate the weight of His presence or the joy of submission. I have experienced emptiness. The “end of the line” kind of emptiness. The kind of shame you feel when you have grieved someone you respect, but multiplied exponentially. I find myself in a current place of heavy submission but it’s taken a very long while and certainly not without my fair share of pain.

Submitting to the King of all heaven and earth is quite unpleasant. It is certainly pleasant to think of the joy and freedom that will follow but in moments of uncertainty, it’s no fun at all. But that is when I pause and my mind thinks, “I want the meaningful life. I don’t want a life lived in selfishness. That’s miserable.” Trust me, I have lived life for myself and there’s no sweet ending, no fond reprise. I have felt lonely, depressed, apathetic, and almost stoic at times. I have frightened myself at just how calloused I have been. I can best describe it like this: selfishness is simply self- induced blindness. However, God’s grace finds us. It picks up, dusts us off, and once again, sets us down the road to life. Grace, in all its complexities, is simple evidence of the magnitude of divine love. How sweet the words written in the book of John, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” He wants our eyes open and our ears listening for His voice. It only takes a little faith to be liberated into a life of freedom. Because of this, I want Him desperately. And because I want Him, I must surrender; He calls me to it. Even as I write this, I realize how important those words are. I want Him to walk with me on that narrow road. I’m just an empty shell otherwise. It’s taken me a long time to learn to sit in stillness and know for certain that it’s only through Jesus. But it really is.

John 15: 1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”


I’m Working On My Backwards Walk.


Just a thought….

My mom was right. Life moves fast. One moment, everything is one way. The next moment, it’s on to something else.

It’s hard to accept the things you can’t change but we were never meant to stay bound to our past. I’m so grateful God has designed us for growth. Whether we are growing closer or further from God, we are always growing, learning, and adapting. I desire for this growth to be positive and beneficial, of course. Anything negative always stems from my poor decisions. There aren’t many things I can control but I know I can choose to live a life led by Jesus. This is the only decision. I can’t seem to find another lifestyle which makes sense. I’ve tried….not for belief another religion or anything, but to run my life by myself. This consistently fails me. It is only when I run back to God that I find purpose.

I want to be quick to let the past stay in its place, no matter how painful moving forward can. I constantly have to remind myself, “Don’t live in the past. Don’t long for another time.”  Every day is a new day; another opportunity to die to self, a new opportunity for growth in Jesus.

Let the past stay in it’s place and let Jesus guide the rest.


“Let that be enough.”



I’m Not a Regular Church, I’m a Cool Church…(Mean Girls, Anyone?)

I have been a bit frustrated with myself this week, to be honest. I simply have not been able to find anything to write about. It’s not writer’s block, seeing that once I start writing, words seem to flow with ease. It’s just been more of a lack of any inspiration. But maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps I shouldn’t be looking for inpiration and much as simply seeking God and listening to Him speak to me. Yep, that’s probably it. But even still, I never want to force words onto the page. It needs to be real and honest. It needs to have soul behind it, so there is something to really grasp. I believe authenticity must be at the heart of any creative venture and I was sensing a void of any real, true words to speak on. So, all that to say, I do sense inspiration (Well, God) in this moment….and it seems to happen one sentence at a time. Bear with me because I don’t even know what will be written on this page in the next few hours but whatever it is, I sense it needs to be said.

If you’re reading this, you either go to my current church, went to my old church, went to my christian school, or you’re my mom. So presumably, you are a Christian or you at least know about God on some level. If you do know God, this post could be offensive to you. It really shouldn’t be but I know someone will think I’m wrong about this. But sorry, because I’m not sorry at all. I must write about it. I’m not writing out of anger but out of urgency. So please, judge me if you want but believe me when I say I’m not trying to come across condescending and judgmental. Perhaps, you’ll agree with what I have to say. Who knows. Either way, it’s important to address what’s becoming the common way of the Christian church…that’s what scares me.

So, if you hadn’t noticed, churches are trying to be “cool” or whatever. The typical church promos look more like a Fyre Festival ad *cue lo-fi indie instrumental* than an informational video about the upcoming sermon series on the life of Paul. The over abundance of fedoras, leather jackets and Chelsea boots on basically every guy makes you feel slightly uncomfortable and confused. But the best one of all…”church merch”. Ahh yes, I love overpriced, church logo stamped t-shirts I will only sleep and paint my house in. Of course, I’m only teasing about these things but it seriously does make me want to throw up in my mouth from time to time. It can seem gimmicky but in their defense, churches are made of people and humanity will always create and replicate ideas, which is a beautiful thing. However, it does seem the church attempts these particular ideas on such a massive scale which typically comes across as “trying too hard”, which is so painfully obvious to spot.

Now, what is the motive? Why must churches personify themselves this way? There may be multiple reasons on the surface but at the core, it’s all the same. I believe it’s because churches are trying to emulate societal fads in an attempt to demonstrate that being a Christian isn’t actually lame, which will in turn, draw masses of people on any given day. (I’m generalizing but there is some truth to it.) If I’m honest, I cannot stand it. It just feels…..fake. Now maybe that seems harsh or whatever, but I’m just putting it bluntly. That may not be the heart of whoever is promoting this idea. This could be a subconscious thought. There are probably are good intentions behind this, but I believe it brings about a myriad of destructive issues into the house of God.

There are two main points I would like to address. Vanity and Grace. One relates more to the promotion of the Christian church at large and the other deals with the heart the Christian individual. These two issues may seem like an uncommon pairing but they are the main themes I notice. I will relate them back to one another but will address them separately.



You could say the “cool church” thing is similar to pop music. Take Maroon 5 for example. They are massively popular. They just played the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which is one of the pinnacles of any major artist’s career. They have so many hit singles and I’m sure their concerts sell out. Adam Levine is hot, he sounds good, has good branding, and his music is undeniably catchy. But how many people do you know that are die-hard Maroon 5 fans? Probably none. They are good (well, their first album was) and their music makes people happy but it’s not sustainable because the message behind their songs doesn’t have much substance. I mean, “Moves Like Jagger” has ZERO substance and if you like that song, I deeply question your musical taste. Of course, I suppose this is all an opinion but I think there lies a point here. On the opposite spectrum, take Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, or The Beatles. These are artists who have completely shifted the musical culture for generations. But why? I believe it’s because they defied the societal mold of the time. They presented ideas through their lyrics that move the soul to acknowledging change as well as a solution to a problem. Their music is riddled with emotion and depth, not just surface level niceties. Obviously, these artists are not always promoting positive values, or certainly Christian ones at that, but the underlying theme possess similar parallels to the church. Is the motive of church culture to encourage happy thoughts, free of any substance or permanent change or to encourage change on a soul level? Is modern Christianity really promoting  for the unpopular, scandalous, passionate, fully immersive, all-consuming version of Jesus?

I find being “cool” to be quite subjective. I said in a previous post that it really doesn’t exist. There are trends which may find more cultural popularity than others but really, it’s a facade. Overcoming the fear of people’s perceptions is terrifying, and so many times, being “cool”, and conforming to society is actually easier. When I look at churches today, I notice a massive amount of effort being spent to make church seem hip or whatever. Every established church seems to have fancy lights, cool graphics, Insta influencer inspired promo videos, a donut wall, and the list goes on. In theory, these things are fine, but I would question if maybe too much reliance is given to these tools. Also, church is intended for believers to gather to praise God and more commonly, I see the praise being directed to the individuals for accomplishing a successful Sunday service or creating cool branding which draws the people in. Maybe I’m wrong about this but perhaps there’s a subconscious desire to want “cool” people to attend the church, more so than others. Perhaps one would want these people to feel comfortable in the church environment and not be turned off by “Spirit- filled Christian” words, phrases, or practices. But why?! This is Jesus we are talking about! He was the most passionate person who has and will ever walk the earth and was crucified for His highly criticized teachings! Church should never be about appearances, but about speaking truth! But for some reason, I see Christians dumbing down the Bible in an attempt to make the non- believer or new Christian feel at ease.

It bothers me just  how much comfortability has become a selling point. I suppose I understand why this kind of promotion is encouraged. Walking into a church is scary enough if you don’t do it often so, naturally, one would want the guest to have an enjoyable experience. I believe this is well-intentioned. But why in the world would anyone ever want to present a mediocre version of God? This consistently confuses me. I’m just going to say it: Why bother making church comfortable for a new attendee if Christianity requires the complete abandonment of comfortability? Being a Christian is one of the most uncomfortable things you could ever do. Death to self and devotion to God requires submission and what good could ever come from a softened version of the Bible, especially when it sometimes come from the one place you wouldn’t expect? I would argue that if the church helps to properly equip people with the knowledge of Christ, an authentic, passionate, evangelistic faith will take care of itself. As you follow the leading of the Spirit, you will naturally stumble into a growing church, not because of some strategy meeting and free coffee. I believe this kind of authenticity is what’s actually “cool”. Not by societal standards, perhaps, but because people who actually know what they believe are passionate about it and don’t care what the world thinks are the ones to be admired. And they probably don’t even know it.



The argument may be, “Who’s to say these churches aren’t passionate?” “Who say’s these churches don’t have substance?” “What’s wrong with being culturally relevant?” (I say “these churches” because there is a specific movement of Christianity I’m addressing.. I’m aware many churches are not like this). These are really difficult questions to answer (please know, I am trying to speak truth in grace, as best I can). I believe some of them are passionate, do have substance, and can be relevant while simultaneously walking in truth. But there’s a deeper issue here. Although I believe these churches teach Jesus, but there seems to be somewhat of a contradiction happening. If you have a love for God, and I mean that you truly know Him, it is presumed you desire you be like Him. You make every effort to walk the “narrow way” (Matt. 7:13-14) in pursuit of divine obedience because you actually desire to please Him. I know Christians who believe in God and love him deeply but their passion seems maybe…”watered down”. This is the best way I can describe it: If you really believe something, it is likely won’t compromise your position on the subject. If you know any vegans, my point is here is proven. Hardcore vegans will not only adhere to a strict diet but will also not even want to own anything actually made from and animal, like leather and things like that. (These people would despise me.) And as crazy this lifestyle seems to me, there’s dedication is something to be admired. The same is true for Christians. Full devotion to God on that sort of level is what we ought to strive for. However, I know many Christians who claim to follow God, yet there lifestyles make me question their position.

Now, we are not perfect. Our sin nature proves this. We sin time and time again and we still continue to do so. But how often do we sin and are comfortable with it because we know we are covered in God’s grace? In Romans, Paul confronts such thinking: “Should we sin because we are not ruled by law but by God’s grace? Not at all! Don’t you know that when you give yourselves to obey someone you become that person’s slave? You can be slaves of sin. Then you will die. Or you can be slaves who obey God. Then you will live a godly life” (6:15-16).

I’ve encountered many believers who usually attend the churches I speak of, that seem to behave in this manner. I see this to be the widespread issue: lowering God’s standard of living to suit the non-believer for the sake of, as I mentioned, “comfortability”, and using the religion of love as a means of justification. “You are covered in God’s grace….You are no longer called a sinner….It’s doesn’t matter what you could ever do, God will still love you and call you a son or daughter” and things of the like. Now PLEASE understand me, I wholeheartedly agree with this. But I notice this kind of preaching can tend to be one-sided, leaving out the other vital element: you must abandonment sin, live in repentance, and choose to live to the higher standard that God would call you to if you really call yourself a Christian! The Bible says, “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Yes, God does love you so much! Yes, you are covered by His grace and He loves you regardless! But you cannot use His love as a way to continue living like the world!

I have to say before I continue, I am no better than what I’m discussing. I am guilty of these things, just like everyone else and I do not place myself on higher pedestal. But I grieve these things. I grieve that I behave this way. I do not like it and continually work to walk in holiness to then encourage others to do the same, out of care and concern.”“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with righteous judgment.” –John 7:24

I look at the lifestyles of Christians and sometimes I cannot even tell who is the Christian and who is the non-believer because their lives almost mirror each other. For example, I see Christians speaking like world, using foul or crass language. I see Christians drinking like world, continually getting drunk and going to bars with other Christian friends. (Will this action really bring you closer to God? Can His spirit properly work through you when surrounded in such an atmosphere?…..WAY different topic for another time, but I will get there). These things don’t mean that you do not love God or that you God doesn’t still call you a son or daughter. But shouldn’t we live to walk in holiness while encouraging our neighbor to do the same?

This is the common issue I find with many modern christians and perhaps this is why “cool” church can feel stale. The lack of conviction proves so obvious and it causes church experience to seem “fake”. Following Christ is not lame, in the least bit. It’s the greatest decision you could ever make. I want to be around Christians who live in holiness and believe is so strongly, that I have no choice but to be excited and inspired by their convictions. I want to become better after I spend time with them, not feel validated in my current lifestyle. I want to emulate Jesus so much and to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”, not be fed the religion of love and happiness. That will never bring about permanent change to my heart.

In conclusion, there is nothing I desire more than to be genuine. I just want live as Christ lived, free of any social constructs to determine my lifestyle of faith. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be “cool” but I find that we just take it too far. Focusing on God’s holiness will bring about passionate people and speaking Biblical truths will bring authentic life into the heart of the believer and then to the church culture, not just making church a hip place to meet some nice, well- dressed people. We are all a continuous work in progress, I know this. But may I encourage you to be passionate! Live with a fierce desire to live at Christ did! Don’t try to keep up an image or live in contentment with you current lifestyle because God continually calls us to more of Him, and less of ourselves. Let’s believe what we claim! Belief is the driving force behind passion, and in turn, passion makes one believe what is being promoted. There must be belief, which is faith. This is essential. If you don’t want to believe in Jesus, then don’t. But if you do, believe is with every fiber of your being. There must be passion. In my opinion, if you believe Jesus, passion has no choice but to follow. God is too good to let us not fall in love with Him over and over again. Lastly, there must be change. When in love with Jesus, change will follow suit because must. The more we understand the heart of God, the more we will change, even if it seems nearly impossible.


“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
– James 1: 21-26

World’s (Least) Greatest Dad!

This is, without a doubt, the most vulnerable topic I’ve addressed thus far. There is no beating around the bush about this so I’m just gonna give it you straight. This post mainly consists of my childhood experience so I do apologize if it seems sappy or filled with self-pity. My heart is not to make this blog purely about my life but I suppose you can only speak from what you know and I know my fair share about this. I have wanted to discuss this for a while now, but I was timid. But…..screw timidity because who really cares?  Also, if you start to feel sorry for me while reading this, don’t. I genuinely don’t care that people know this information. I don’t think it’s spoken about enough. God has healed me in miraculous ways and I’m stronger and wiser because of it. With that said, I sincerely hope this ministers to someone, or at least, to one of the five people who actually read these things. If you have gone through a similar situation, just know you’re not the only one! Here it goes…..

So, we all have parents, like, duh. Many of them are wonderful and so full of love. If you have these parents, I’ve nothing but happiness for you. It is a rare blessing. On the flip side, some parents are less than extraordinary. Actually, they can be pretty awful. I’m lucky enough to have the awful kind. Now, to be clear, this does not NOT apply to my mother. My mother is the most beautiful, loving, supportive mom I could have asked for. Actually, my entire family is fantastic. I love them endlessly. It is solely my dad who falls in the “less than spectacular” category…and I mean, like, way, way less.

My mom had me at a young age and as a result, I lived with my grandparents and three aunts for much of my childhood, which I am SO beyond grateful to God for because I do not know who or where I would be without their raising. My dad has never been a stable figure in my life but his presence become more consistent around age 7 or so, when my parents married. Surprisingly, I do have a few fond memories of him but my negative recollections are the most notable in my mind. To put it bluntly, he was just an angry, manipulative, narcissistic, yet extremely charming liar (think Ted Bundy documentary minus the psycho killer aspect) and he took out his anger in “less than spectacular” ways. (*Hint: abusive. In every sense of the word.*)

There are many types of fathers out there. As I mentioned, there are the rare great ones, the toxic ones, the absentees, and the overworked and thus, disconnected ones to name a few. Mine falls deep into the toxic, dysfunctional category. Lovely. If anyone has ever been in an any kind of abusive relationship, you know that calling the dynamics of dysfunctional relationships “complex” is a severe understatement. It is STRAIGHT UP TWISTED. It typically showcases co-dependence, with the recipient of the abuse on a seemingly endless mission to please and receive validation from the abuser, who seeks power and control. The recipient lives in fear and self-loathing and it is a pattern that painfully destroys you from the inside out. It’s tragic, to say the least.

I’m not sure I realized how abnormal my life was until I grew older. We all have the tendency to normalize the dysfunctions we witness growing up. Of course, I knew something was wrong due to the fact that my grandpa (the other constant male figure in my life) was always so kind (not to mention, genuinely just….cool). How could he have been so good to me and my own biological father be so cruel? How could my mother be married to him if he was so mean to her, myself and my siblings? These were all thoughts I pondered many times as a child. It was all very confusing. The older I got, the meaner he became, and I’m afraid I did as well. And the worst part of  all of it? NO ONE KNEW. Almost every person in my family’s social circle, outside of a few close family friends and people in my parents’ past, thought he was a great guy and it made me sick to my stomach. Sure, he had his nice moments, don’t get me wrong, but there was typically an agenda behind these niceties.

We all possess coping mechanisms, some beneficial, some not. When I became a young teenager, I learned to just shut myself off with apathy. I lived on the assumption that if I wouldn’t think about the problem, it could magically disappear, if only for a while. And I was ok with that. I simultaneously became combative because frankly, I did not want to feel helpless anymore. If he would yell, I would yell back. If he hit me, I would hit him back. Admittedly, there was zero respect on my end but I didn’t care. I was sick of it. And then I would just forget about it and move on. I knew this was dangerous territory but I was numb. Of course, with age comes wisdom and thankfully, I possess enough now to know this was my coping mechanism, but it could have easily become part of my character if I hadn’t stopped it when I did. I felt I needed to act out of necessity. There were moments when I might have had to, but it came with a cost.

I recall having a conversation with one of my youth leaders when I was around thirteen or so. I opened up to him and mentioned everything happening in my household. He wasn’t surprised. (Unbeknownst to me, he already knew.) He offered me a piece of advice I still think on to this day. He similarly experienced the negative effects of an abusive dad and said this to me, “You have to make choice. You can become him or you can walk in the opposite direction. It’s up to you.” This really shook me because it was the simplest, yet, most profound thing I had ever contemplated. The last thing I ever wanted to do was repeat these patterns in my adult life. So I decided then and there I would walk (actually run) the other way.

Fast forward about twelve years and I’m twenty five, married, and live a greatly blessed life. I’m (almost fully) healed from that which is why I’m able to be so open about it, but I still notice remnants of these experiences today. I do still have a strong tendency to close myself off. I still become apathetic (or occasionally, too consumed) with negative experiences and relationships, thus delaying the healing process. I seek an absurd amount of validation. I have difficulty developing close friendships. I struggle with resentment. I am a horrific communicator in an argument. And the list goes on……However, I can now admit to these things. It was not all the long ago that I was unable to do so.

I believe what God has helped me work though is the art of forgiveness. Sometimes it’s hard to admit you’ve been hurt because doing so intensifies the feelings. But feelings with betray you. Don’t live based on feelings. Live in God’s truth by taking one action step at a time. Forgiveness requires immediate action. Growth never comes from apathy and procrastination and if you prolong surrendering hurt, bitterness with grow. And it will continue to grow larger and larger until you lay it at the feet of Jesus.

I mean, Jesus was whipped and beaten, forced to carry his own cross (which probably weighed a ton) on his bleeding back, was nailed to a wooden cross with a crown of thorns crushed into his skull with a sign made by Romans intended for mockery hanging above His head for the SOLE purpose to forgive US! Just sit and think about that for a moment. It’s severely humbling. What a price He paid. And we think we have it hard? We do not. But he is a gracious God, and “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness,” (1 John 1:9). He also calls to be WILLING to extend forgiveness to others “from your hearts” (Matthew 18:35). You cannot simply desire to forgive and live delaying the action step. There is a difference speaking forgiveness, and acting out forgiveness.

In what sense, then do we forgive one another? I believe our forgiveness has to do more with an attitude than a specific act. When I look to the Bible, I see a few defining principles we are called to:

  • The forgiving person does not attempt to take revenge on those who have wronged him (Romans 12:17).
  • The forgiving person does not hate the offender; rather, in spite of the person’s evil, he continues to love.
  • The forgiving person is kind and tenderhearted toward his adversary (Ephesians 4:32).
  • The forgiving person is approachable; he leaves the door open for reconciliation and longs for the welfare of the offender.
  • The forgiving person is not passive in waiting for the offender to repent; he actively seeks the repentance of the one who wronged him (Matthew 18:15-17).

I have to note that forgiveness does not assume that offender’s sin is to be ignored. However, this does not imply hanging the past offense over the offender’s head but simply not letting them continue to hurt you. It’s imperative to guard your heart. But the offender still must be held accountable for their conduct. It requires a tedious process of rebuilding lost trust but it will certainly bring new life to your heart and mind, if you allow it to.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:17–21)

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to request that the Father “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). This prayer captures something significant about being a Christian. We live by faith under grace and are called to act out of this grace. We are free to forgive in the way the rest of the world is not. We can act in mercy because God has carried out justice in Jesus’ life and death for us. People sometimes must suffer the natural consequence of sin in this world, but we don’t add to their misery by making them pay a debt to us. Forgiveness means that we shoulder the burden of their debt. You should, by all means, protect yourself from dangerous, unrepentant, hurtful people, but leave vengeance (and the healing process) to God.

So….when I view my current relationship with my father, it seems to have shifted to a more positive light. I am cordial. I may have lunch with him……eventually. But I no longer wish him ill. I truly want to mend the gap, at least for the sake of my future children. To be honest, I am filled with compassion for him. I can’t imagine what kind of childhood he must have had to make him behave the way he does. I pray God continues to work miracles on his heart and soul. But I do know this…. God created him, God loves him, and God chose him as my father, whether I like it or not. I’m grateful. God somehow, in all his divine perfection, manages to take pain and turn it into beauty. So perhaps, if you have experienced a similar story, mediate on God. After all, he does call Himself our “Heavenly Father” and I can’t help but believe that one of the many intents of this name is to bring comfort the fatherless. Ask him to heal you. It’s slow and quite painful but it will bring to light the beauty of God’s mercy working through you.  He desperately wants heal you. So let Him.



“You make beautiful things out of dust…You make beautiful things out of us.”

-Michael Gungor


“Forgiveness is the strongest form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.”

-Ravi Zacharias


You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware

This post is intended mainly for the ladies. Of course, guys will absolutely identify with this too, unless Ryan Gosling is reading this, because he is perfect and self image does not apply. But in the world of regular people, I’m afraid no one easily escapes the grasp of self image. It’s a dirty business and I’m fully confident it’s only getting dirtier. So, enjoy…and don’t stare in the mirror too long or weigh yourself afterwards. And boys, don’t start analyzing your dad-bod or think about how you won’t eat Carl’s Jr. tomorrow.

I read a meme today that said “Being a woman on the internet is an extreme sport”. First of all, I want to say memes are one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Honestly, if you could just see me in my room alone at night, listening to music and laughing hysterically to myself at all the brilliant meme profiles I stumble upon, I’m sure you would no longer speak to me on account that I’m seriously OUT. OF. MY. MIND. (I am blinded by my major loser tendencies from time to time, if you couldn’t already tell.) But it made me laugh because not only is it true but it’s grossly understated. Being a woman is not only an extreme sport, make no mistake. Oh no… it is so much more. Sorry boys, but you will never understand this life we live. (I know guys, it’s not easy for you either. All the burgers, motorcycles, sports, desperate attempts to prove your manhood. I’m sure it’s exhausting. I am kidding here. Sort of.) So boys, you can try, and you will fail. But ladies…we know. The female mind is probably the second most dangerous place in this universe, aside from hell. (I’m sure it’s a close rivalry.) But despite this, I am so proud to be a woman. I love every aspect of femininity. The way God has designed women to function is nothing short of a miracle. But even with all the beauty of womankind, there is a dark side that lies in wait, anticipating the perfect moment to torment you, and it most certainly will. So get excited, cause it’s super fun! *Sarcasm for all the lame, serious people. Wow, too much Gilmore Girls. My fingers can’t keep up.*

Before I begin, I want to be clear. The discussion of self-image is a slippery slope. In no way do I want to mislead anyone into believing this post is about the glorification of “self”. Yes, God made you perfectly and continually sees you as a stunning creation. But make no mistake, this is not a revelation about your greatness, but God’s greatness through you. Period.

So, everyone’s favorite topic….self image. It is described as “the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality.” I first notice that this description says the “idea”. I love that because I think that an idea of all these traits is really all I have. I’de like to think I’m sure of a few things about myself but how sure am I? Frankly, I’m not sure at all. I am constantly growing and changing and the things which I was once sure of always seem to shift. My abilities get better and occasionally get worse. My appearance rarely gets better and usually gets worse. My personality… just gets worse. *self- deprecating joke, ha.* But wouldn’t it be wonderful to have not only an idea, but a concrete assurance in who you are and how beautifully God has made you? I know I strive for this. But alas, I am insecure woman in constant analyzation of my being and insecurity is always birthed from pride. Ouch. But i’m getting ahead of myself here….

God assures us that “we are beautifully and wonderfully made”. He finds delight in His creation. He loves each and every part of us that makes us unique. Yet, we consistently find ways to go and change his art to something we find seemingly more pleasing to the eye. But who’s eye are we referring to? I’m guessing it is probably not God’s. I’m so guilty of this which is probably why I’m writing this. So, I would have to ask you, what standard are you comparing yourself to? Is it an actress? It it whatever the newest lame Instagram influencer is? Is it fashion model, who by the way, doesn’t eat and probably has bulimia and chronic hair loss from malnutrition? Or is it God’s standard? I can be sure that for most of us, it’s probably not the latter.

What is your self-image? How do you see yourself? Do you think you are good-looking, intelligent, kind, or important? Maybe, like me, you are unable to answer some of these questions with any sort of certainty? Maybe the answers might be too certain. But might I propose, that both the uncertain or overly- confident answer might be the product of self absorption? Perhaps you place these questions on an impossibly high pedestal and in turn, are constantly disappointed with your lack of ability to measure up? Perhaps, arrogance drives the excessively assured response? Either way, the origin of this problem is that we love ourselves with a blind passion which will always lead to idolatry. This idolization of self, whether positive or negative, drives an insatiable need for validation. Does this validation stem from “low self image”? To the world, I believe that would be the correct interpretation. However, I think low self image may just be a frustrated, highly inflated self -image, which is always rooted in pride. I believe Paul would say we are thinking to highly of ourselves when he writes in Romans 12:3, “ For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself too highly than he out to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” This is a caution against pride as well as a warning not to judge yourself by your talents, wealth, or function, but to form the standard of judging by God’s character. Instead of judging by Godly character, humanity prides itself on things of zero intrinsic value; on ranks, titles, and external accomplishments; or on talents, learning, or wealth. We are failed time and time again in the search for human validation because it rarely exists. We cannot find identity in flattery from anyone else because everyone, in their human nature, is solely consumed with their own agenda. There’s nothing of greater importance than their own.

It’s almost humorous how many of our struggles stem from pride. “Love Yourself” has become the slogan of our generation, despite being the antithesis of God’s call to “deny yourself daily”. When Jesus was asked to define the greatest commandment, he told the Pharisees that the greatest command had two parts; to “Love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 ). Humanity is so self-absorbed, however, it is constantly seeking out opportunities to take this out of context. “Love your neighbor as yourself” becomes a call to realize the thing most important doesn’t lie with actually loving your neighbor at all, but with the understanding that you love yourself equally and how to foster the relationship you have with you. God assumed that you already love yourself, but this selfish love will leave you empty because true love is selfless and sacrificial. The sacrifice of self is the creed Jesus calls us to; to lose ourselves in God and selflessly love the people around you instead of wallow in self- contemplation. *I know I’ve probably sounded very preachy in this but trust me, this is beyond tough for me to accomplish.*

It does seem contradictory to believe that self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to female insecurity. But when we let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus, personal insecurities seem to melt away. We no longer look to ourselves – our own merit, talent, beauty, or uniqueness – to find confidence but instead, we find our confidence in Him. To think that God has made us wrong or ugly, or incompetent is an offense to God Himself. YOU are his creation. He pieced you together in all this infinite wisdom and you would say you are made wrong? Is “wrong” being not pretty enough, not rich enough, not funny enough, not “cool” enough? (What is “cool” anyway? No one’s cool. Everyone is weird, there are more popular versions of it.)

Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

We are so often led to believe that we all have “beauty within us” and that if we could only learn to love ourselves “just the way we are” we would find confidence and happiness. But the reality is, as Spurgeon so straightforwardly put it, we do not possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord. The only beauty or merit we can ever have is found Jesus Christ and all His loveliness will only come shining through when self has gotten out of the way. As John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease, but He must increase” (Jn. 3:30). So ladies (and gentlemen too,) rather than trying to build up your self-esteem with false sense of pride and “feel good about yourselves” (which doesn’t produce lasting confidence anyway), you might challenge yourself let thoughts of self dissolve completely. To “deny ourselves” according to the biblical pattern literally means to lose sight of ourselves and our interests. The question “who am I?” is not nearly as important as the question, “who is He?”

Of course, all is much easier said than done. But I’m finding that as I grow older and more mature in my faith, I’m starting to care less about the world’s judgments of me. It’s quite liberating. I mean, I’ve actually been going out into the world wearing my sweatpants, fuzzy socks and slides combo and fully enjoying every minute of it because I know who I am. I know God loves every little thing I deem an “imperfection” and would love to change. (I repeat, LOVE to change. See? I’m working on it….) I know what he has called me to and I’m at peace because of it. “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

Now, if only this botox wouldn’t wear off so quickly……kidding. Sort of.


 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” – Romans 8:29