Final Reflections from a Dateless Year of Learning to Live Loved

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Three years ago I wrote an important email. 

Bits of it ended up in a sermon at my church. The entirety of it was read and discussed around our conference room table. If one's heart could be spelled out on a page, this email was mine.

A diatribe of my feelings on the church, this email spelled out my hopes, dreams and vision for the future. It described my passion for authentic, vulnerable community and expressed my desire to encourage others, serve those in need and partner with someone who was passionately in pursuit of doing the same.

So on this day, December 31, 2016, as I review this past daring dateless year and begin to grapple with what is (potentially) next, I return to this email.

At the time of sending it, I was in a serious, long-distance dating relationship and was contemplating what was next. This week, as I've had countless people ask what this year has taught me and what I'm looking for, I cannot help but re-read that email and see that not much has changed. Deep down, my heart longs for the same things. It longs to live life with someone who is passionately compassionate about changing the world and has an affinity to say yes to the adventure that is life in obedience to God's call.

Back then, the only response my essay-length email with all my poured out heart-stuff typed into Times New Roman was one word:


Noble was all he said. 

My passion, my dreams, my vision, my ponderings and questions received a single word. 

If it is one thing I've learned this year (and if it's one thing I can encourage you to do) it is to surround yourself with people who have the capacity and willingness to speak into your life with truth and faith and love. 

With three words, not one.

I see you.
I hear you.
I got you.
I respect you.
I believe (in) you. 
I love you. 

I can't imagine living a life stifled with anything less. What's disheartening is that I thought I could. We were created for so much more...and we need one another in order to accomplish it. 

Which brings me to some further reflections...


Okay I just had to get that out there.

One time I was on a date at my favorite pizza place and at the end, the guy literally reached across the table, picked up my remaining ONE piece of PIZZA, and put it in HIS to-go box.

I was dumbfounded.



#1..if you ask a girl on a PAY. #2...if you hope to date this girl or make any sort of favorable impression upon is NOT okay to put her leftovers in your box and say it's okay because you paid for it. Didn't the momma you likely still live with tell you that's rude and weird and sends flares into the stratosphere that you're cheap!?!?

Another lesson?

So glad you asked.


Anyone who was remotely interested in getting to know me this year was told the same thing. "I'm taking this year to intentionally step away from dating or being anyone's girlfriend but I'm open to building a foundation of friendship and not hiding away in a deep, dark cave."

Some stuck around and some didn't. Some that didn't I heard from this week, all seeking time to "catch up".


If someone isn't interested in getting to know you or your story without getting something in return, they are not worth your time. They are not the right person for you. Boundaries are important and there is of course a fine line between dragging somebody along and/or knowing what you're looking for and timing and blah blah blah but if that special girl or guy isn't willing to take things slow, get to know you as a person or pushes you to do things for which you're, run far away.


Whether it's because they're sarcastic and you're not, or because they're "as bland as quinoa without seasoning", it's the worst. Period. Life is hard. Can you imagine doing life with someone who you can never laugh at or with or because of!? Not me. Believe me, I've tried that too.

And last but not least...


I've spent way to much time throwing myself into relationships hoping things would get better if I only tried more. What I've always found, however, is that I've lost myself in the process and relationships are a two-way street and a two-person responsibility. 

People are changeable to a point, but it has to be self motivated and Holy Spirit initiated. You can't change someone. If you aren't okay with accepting who that person is, don't date them until you see the change you're looking for...and realize some of that changing likely has to do within you, too.

2016 and Daring Dateless has been an incredible gift to me for this very reason. All joking aside, all the above "lessons" are very real hurdles I've had to overcome...most specifically as it relates to honoring God through honoring myself. 

I've learned to accept who I am, what I like and who I want to be...and not changing to appease someone else so they like me more.
I'm learning how to let go of the need to make everyone else happy.
I've forgiven. 
I've stepped into and received healing.
I've become more self aware.
I've named what I value and have come to accept what I need and am no longer ashamed!

But most important?

I've been impacted by all of you.

This journey of writing has been cathartic for me. And hilarious at times. The most rewarding aspect, however, has been hearing from readers all around the world who say that my simple posts have impacted, inspired or challenged them in some way. That by some coincidence they stumbled upon my words and those words touched their hearts and made them feel they were no longer alone. 

Last night I received the following message and it warmed my heart to such a state of content and empathy I don't think I could begin to continue to describe in words.
"I’m about to leave for my family’s Christmas gathering and it dawned on me a little bit ago that this will be the first family gathering where all of my siblings and all of their significant others will be in attendance… I don’t know the right word to describe what I’m feeling right now. Scared/frustrated/nervous/anxious—none of those seem right because I’m going to be with my family, all of whom love me and I love very much. Maybe it’s just “Why?” If “why?” could be a feeling, I think that is what I’m feeling right now. I just needed someone to know that…I’m not in a place to be vulnerable in the way you have been with your blog, but I just needed at least one person to know, and as I racked my brain trying to think of who that could be, you came to mind"

This is why I shared. This is why I put myself on the line. This is why God (and others) nudged me to write.

I'm awestruck by the power of community and authenticity. Our willingness to be vulnerable with one another changes peoples' lives.

May your 2017 be that kind of year. 

Thank you for following, engaging, encouraging and laughing along the way with me!


p.s. You can continue to follow my journey and my writing right here... or until I come up with another witty blog title or write a GOOD book. Taking proposal ideas and leads starting at 12am CST... :)

To start is to be vulnerable

Overlooking Santorini from our cruise ship. October 2016.

23 Days.

***This post brought to you by the very fact that I was just eating caramel corn, drinking wine out of a bottle I stoppered with tinfoil nearly a month ago and contemplating how I got here***

You're welcome.

I am the first to admit that I've done a deplorable job of keeping all of you appraised, but I hope my summaries below will remind you that I'm still here, still single and most hopefully ready to mingle.

So. Let this serve as a countdown where you'll forgive me and we'll prepare to sing in this new year I continue to blog about singleness...because no doubt my caramel corn and wine habits aren't changing and there will still be a need in this wonderful world of ours for some real life talk.

Since I wrote you all last:

I started a new job.
I started my third year of seminary.
I started my own photography business...something I've dreamed for over 10 years.
I started the arduous process of learning New Testament Greek.
I started to feel like throwing up at the mention of NT Greek.
I became president of our seminary student body...somewhat, fully reluctantly. More on that later.

And last but definitely not least:

I embarked on my very first solo trip abroad for a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel Greece and Turkey for a footsteps of the Apostle Paul tour. Once there, I met up with a group of the most inspiring 48 individuals one could ever meet. Oh. And Christine Caine and Bianca Olthoff were there. With us. They hugged me. And because of this I am now fairly certain that my life in this eschaton is complete.

As I reflect on these last five months I've come to realize that they have exhausted the meaning of start. I'm not sure I've ever started so much in my entire life.

I've always liked to start things. Growing up, I was always starting new craft projects and coming up with new inventions and ideas on how to make our world a better place. Starting gets my little "Activator" heart all gooey on the inside. I love the process of starting new things and investing others in my ventures (i.e. you are currently reading one...)

But with all these starts have come other starts.

Alongside all these good things...

I started to doubt.

My call. My talent. My abilities.
My character. My looks. My age.
My worth. My last year. My next year.

In this season wrapped up in the adrenaline that comes to people like me who love "to start" came an equally powerful and all together debilitating season wrapped up in fear.

Am I really called to lead?
As a woman, am I (will I be) included, accepted...targeted?
Do I have anything worthwhile to say?
Am I good enough?

I know I'm not alone in wrestling with these questions. I know I've wrestled with them before and came out on the other side breathing and with all my limbs. I know "the answer" to all of them...and yet, I still struggle. Sometimes more, sometimes less. We all do in our own ways.

For me...

Every time our Greek professor calls my name I sense this surge of terror well up in my gut and feel my mind go numb. I just sit there, full of fear, staring at him like an idiot. I haven't won the prize for our class clown...although believe me I've tried. I'm not sure the guys in the room know what to do with me...and so I sit there...with my palms all sweaty and my blood pressure off the charts...believing the lies that I'm not worthy to be there. That I'm not smart enough. That everyone in the room questions not only my presence, but my abilities. I'm a a room full of boys...and I feel alone and siloed and not sure anymore that I'm called to lead like them.

For many weeks in a row this fall I was overcome with so much anxiety about attending church alone that I couldn't bring myself to go. I couldn't muster enough gumption to get out my front door. And so, I rolled myself up in a ball and cried.

The other day I met this guy at an event. He followed me everywhere. You'd think I had Doritos growing out of my back or something because anytime I turned around, there he was. Anyway. We were chatting and he did the sly "when did you graduate?" spiel that all of us know is just a ploy to get a rough estimate of one's age. Like clockwork, I witnessed all the blood drain from his face as he did the math...only to discover that his wife to be was 6 years his senior.

Sorry, man.

Sorry you think I'M OLD.

What does "looking 29" even freaking mean?!!!?

Just stop.

Stop looking surprised. Stop trying to compliment through your awkwardness that I have nice skin, "have done a great job keeping up with myself" and all the other shitty things you think are okay to say in that moment.

Needless to say, although Doritos guy was nice and well meaning. And although I know that I know that I know he didn't mean anything by his unintentional reaction. And although I know his surprise and (disappointment?) to the number of years I've lived on this earth do not define me or determine whether or not I'm anything other than what I still caused me pause.

When I think about it, starting is precipitated out of a willingness to be vulnerable. We can't begin if we don't take a first step, no matter how small.

When I started my photography business I was so nervous to make my work public because being public means you put yourself out in the world's eye to SEE YOU....and it may not like what it sees.

But you know what? I'm so glad I did it. Over the past few months I've learned more than I thought I ever needed to know as well as learned I will never stop learning. My style will always change and I will always be improving. The nature of the craft is that one does not stay static. As an artist, we are forever being transformed and our style showcases that transformation.

How true is that of our persons in general? Most specifically for those of us who believe that God's Holy Spirit is inside of our souls directing and guiding us toward the end result of Christ's beautiful character.

We will never be the same as we are today. We are forever starting and stopping. Growing and changing.

Which brings us back to this idea of vulnerability and its connection to our souls.

Our dreams, designs, ideas and what-have-yous may be birthed in the secret of our minds and hearts BUT they cannot become reality without action. Without the pen being put to the paper or the rubber meeting the road, our grand ideas will just sit where they were created until the creator will give them birth.

The same is true for our thought life. I may have been attacked while I was down (or as I would like to believe, because the devil is REAL afraid of me) but I allowed those icky lies and doubts to seep into who I believed myself to be and what I believed I was called to do. I allowed myself to become vulnerable to the negative ploys of our sinful world and the king of lies.

The creator of the universe is no different. He starts the world (ummm scary pressure much?! We're talking the universe here and everything that literally exists...and regardless of whether you're a YEC or Evolutionist or somewhere in the middle, I think it's safe to say that the universe STARTED at some point, somehow...I digress.)

As we are told in Genesis, God choose action by speaking his creation into existence. (Again...was he freaking crazy?! What a nuts and yet totally awesome, "I'm creator of the world" thing to do...)

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said ..."
God said. He didn't just hover and he didn't just think. He said....He acted.

Not only this, but God created us. "Let us make man in our image, in our God created man in his own image." (vs. 26)

Think about that.

God created human beings all the while knowing that these same human beings could (and would) hate him and each other some day.

If that isn't pure vulnerability, I'm not sure what is. 

To create, to let your creation be seen and lived, all the while knowing it will reflect you but also may not be accepted or loved or used the way in which you intended...that take guts...and love for the greater good.

So. What are you wanting to start? What have you already started? Is it spreading love and joy? Or is it keeping you in doubt and in bondage?

Every form of action we take in our starts (whether they be of the new job or "why am I still not good enough" variety) is a step into vulnerability. And it's our prerogative to decide to what we will allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

For me. Let it be love. Let it be joy. Let it be peace. Let it be patience. Let is be kindness, goodness and faithfulness.



Why we need to stop thinking of singlehood as if its a clearance shoe rack

I stopped into DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) today hopeful to find a cute shoe on sale that would go well with basically every outfit I own.

Tall order, I know.

As I meandered the aisles, looking up and down each one, not one shoe caught my eye. In one last ditch effort, I took the walk of shame to the back of the room. Yes. I went to the clearance shoe rack; that dreaded back area of the store where all is fair in love and war and maritime law ceases to exist.

Strewn about in ordered chaos and nothing like the shoes on the floor displayed on their crystal pedestals, these shoes always dash my hopes and dreams. More times than not, I leave the store empty handed, wondering why my feet couldn't just be a size 4.5 so I could, you know, buy shoes on sale that don't look like they were made in the dark by ostriches with hands.

Shopping in the clearance rack is exhausting for this very reason. The shoes left over are the ones that are a hard sell. They're weird. Or shaped funny. And they're there because nobody wanted them...haphazardly thrown together in a large mass and marked down in the hope that some poor soul will take them home.

You may be 28 like me and with every passing second you hear the clock tick down to 30 contemplating how in the next year you're going to do everything you ever wanted before the end of your life.

You may be 33 and rolling your eyes at everything I write because you're annoyed that I'm annoyed that I'm single and only 28 and think my life is ending.

You may be 24 and really are thinking I'm an old hag and this year is a shot in my foot and I have seconds to live.

I don't know.

But what I do know, what I've wrestled with myself and am learning and seeing and hearing from so many of you, is the reality of the fact that many of us fear we are those shoes.





Not chosen (yet).


The wrong ______.

And although we may know that those shoes are NOT WHO WE ARE, in many ways I believe those shoes represent how many of us feel about ourselves and about dating.

Whether intended or not, we've been fed the lie that the good ones are already taken and that all that is left for us unintentional life-thrifters is to scour the clearance racks, swiping left or right in the hope of finding anything a step above ugly, weird and mass-murderer...and fast because those are selling off the shelves too!

Single adults. Hear me.


As single adults, we have to stop living into the clearance shoe rack mentality. There is more to who we are and who we were created to be than trying to pull a Cinderella's evil step sister over on our dating lives or project our fears and insecurities onto those whom we think we're destined to have to date.

Time is on our side.
They are not the last one.
You are loved regardless.

We have to stop seeing ourselves as less than our married or successfully relation-shipped friends. We also need to stop seeing ourselves as better, in an attempt to lift our pride and esteem.

We are a part of making up the culture in which we live. We are just as responsible for the lies we internalize as the people and systems in our lives, churches and families who instill them.

As single people, we can either choose to live into the stereotypes that abound, or break them. And we break them through learning to live free.

We haven't missed our boat. We are not too old for love. We are not subjected to a castaway lot of misfit, ugly, weird, annoying and awkward clearance rack future husbands and wives.

When all we seem to do is pick up are the 8" heels NOBODY CAN WEAR or the see the adorable size fives that someone else seemed to snatch up before us, even though we know our size nines would never fit, we must continue to push forward. We must continue to live lives or integrity, honor and truth, knowing that the Lord has a plan and that He loves us.

And for real, that plan does not include an ugly loafer...unless you like those...

I get it. I totally do. And I hate it...for both you and me. I know how frustratingly annoying it is to try and try again only to be let down. But fashionista, don't give up. Don't throw in the towel and settle. The blisters and corns aren't worth it.

Because sometimes...sometimes...there are those moments however glint, when you find your PERFECT fit and are ever so glad you waited. So put your Olympic-rated elbowing and bartering skills to rest, dear shopper, and keep your eyes focused on what is ahead.


But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:3

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:25-26

140 Days and Counting: An Update
I have 140 days left of this journey...a 140 in which I fully intend to soak each and every second out of. I love my life and I am learning to truly and deeply love and fully accept who God created me to be...which comes with vulnerability, sacrifice and a little bit of fear as I step into leadership roles and own parts of me I'd rather just hide.

Since I've written last, I've had two different men tell me they were not interested in getting to know me if it meant I wouldn't date them in the immediate...yeah...that really did happen.

I've also started a new job which I love, opened my own photography business (after 10 years of talking about it) and am about to start my third year (of five) of graduate school to complete my second masters degree...this time a Masters of Divinity. And yes, I mean it. So if you're against women leading or speaking in public, you need not apply to be my true love come January 2017. All snark intended.

The Participation Award: why it's not what you think

Hello June 7.

Sorry I haven't been here in awhile. Between work and graduate school and the happenings of which will be detailed in the paragraphs below, I just haven't wanted to write. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I felt like I had nothing remarkable or intelligent to say, no morsel of encouragement to share.

Today, however. Today is different.

Today pushed me over the edge. Today made me realize that I can no longer keep this secret.

Because you know what?  

Secrecy steals power it was never destined to hold.

But first, baseball.

The Minnesota Twins stink this year. They really do. And I feel a deep sadness at the pit of my being for them. Nobody likes to lose. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a professional athlete, someone who literally gets paid large sums of money to play the sport of which they've trained their entire lives, and lose... consistently...time and time again.

How hard would it be to stay "in the game" at a time like this? At a time when all your record has to show for itself is more lost games than the infield can count on their hands?

If you've read my former blog posts, you know that this whole "daring dateless" thing started with a dream and a budding relationship...proceeded by a lot of broken heartedness.  I wanted to write to give single people a voice. To let them know they're not drowning alone in the constant outpouring of baby and engagement photos as they wallow away in a deep dark hole desperately trying to rebuild their social network. Making friends as a single adult is like playing minesweeper. You just know it's a matter of time before that new friend gets married off and you need to start the friend-dating thing all over again.

So often I find that single-people-specific messages are written by people who are no longer wading through the messy loneliness that is being a single adult. It's not that their advice is wrong or their hearts don't mean the very's just loses credibility the moment they say "when".


When is of the past. When happened and moved on. When got what it wanted and left the building.

This past week I found myself remembering when. And I cried until all my mascara was pooled in a dark bubble at the bottom of my chin. A great party trick, try it.

Over the course of the last two months the ex-boyfriend, for which I moved across the country, got engaged; the most beautiful man on the planet (read here) got a hot Brazilian-based girlfriend; and that budding relationship I spoke of...yeah he told me today he's been seeing someone for MONTHS...and asked if I'd be interested in dating HIS BROTHER instead. Umm. NO. That's weird. And insensitive. And I thought you'd wait for me...

Our short text conversation ended with him saying he "appreciates me".


Why don't I get that engraved on a plaque and hang it next to my "you deserve better" and "its not you, its me" awards.

You see, I've got a trophy case full of these participation awards in love. I've got plaques on plaques on plaques and boxes of ribbons like the ones you get in 4th Grade track & field for running the mile-run and not falling over afterward.

I'm sick of the participation award.

I'm sick of showing up and "staying in the game" only to "lose" and not "win". 

You know what else I'm sick of, however? I'm sick of realizing that I continue to store up hope in people and things and relationships and hopes of relationships instead of in God.

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

Our hope (i.e. our BIG hope, our eternal hope and expectancy) is found in God alone. And in nothing else. Nothing.

Today made me realize that although I've committed to this year, I've soothed my worry and propped myself up with the hope of a rekindling of that budding relationship year-end in a poetic-romance-novel kind of way.

In essence: I can give my life...if it means I still think I'll get what I want.

"If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." (Matthew 10:39, NLT)

We were not created to be God and judge his character, nor his plans. How often do we do this? Thinking we know better? Do you do this, this giving up to get thing? Do you give up something with a little something in your back pocket just in case?

This is my secret. And I didn't even realize it.

I'd been hoping in something that wasn't a guarantee and yet I made it one in order to make the disorientation and "not so sure what will happen" of this year easier to follow through on. This was keeping me, however, from fully placing myself in God's hands and trusting that HE would direct my path and bestow blessing and favor in his right and perfect timing...which clearly is not my own.

I want to be chosen. I think all of us do. We all desire acceptance and love and...appreciation. But I don't want all of that at the cost of losing myself in the process.

I refuse to believe the lies that came spilling in today, the whispers that said: "you weren't worth the wait" and "you missed your chance." Those are crap and just not true.

Our God is good. He desires good for our lives. He is love.

Is there an area of your life you need to fully surrender? An area that needs a God-hope versus an earthly one? I pray you find that...and that it doesn't involve an appreciation of your participation plaque to add to your wall.

May we continue to pursue to loose those things that keep us from believing and accepting that our God loves us and desires our good...and bind those things that help us to participate in the award of our eternal home.


Day 60-Something: This is Who I Am

After climbing Machu Picchu this March. This may look cool, but I really was just airing my armpits...


I so didn't want to write this.

I've been fighting this post for at least a week. Mostly out of fear...and maybe wanting to hide. But if I'm being totally honest, this post has been a long time coming and for whatever reason, today I have enough gusto to share it.

The other day I had the incredible opportunity to have lunch with a new friend. We'd only ever met in passing prior to the yummy hipster food hour that commenced but we share a mutual friend whom we both love, and long story short, this mutual friend shared this here blog and the rest is history.

Between laughs and kindred-spirit-moments she asked it.

" are you doing this thing? ... I mean, do you struggle? Do you wrestle with 'what ifs'?"



Yes to it all.

This past month has been a whirlwind of emotion, temptation and questioning my decision.

A whole year? 10 more months of saying no to dating someone? Did I make a mistake? He seems perfect now, what was I thinking! I lost my chance! What if I meet the man of my dreams and he walks away? What if he gives up on me when he finds out I've dedicated the next year of my life to reclaiming who I am and loving God and my myself and learning what I want to do in this world because I want to live for something greater??!

And. And! Of course I'd meet the most gorgeous man alive in month two who tells me I'm pretty and makes me instantaneously combust with happiness...and dread...because then I think about these 10 months again.

As I write this, I can already begin to see the ridiculousness of the worries I have harbored.

...welcome to my creative mind...

It is amazing the power lies from the enemy (and our society) have on us in the dark until we expose them to the light.

Writing this. Exposing it to the light...felt like the end-all worst thing to me over the last two weeks.

I've wrestled with ways to make this post private...or not post at all and write about the llamas I befriended in Peru instead, but I just couldn't do it. I've suffered major writers block...and it's because THIS is what I needed to share. This is what the Lord has on my heart. This is what is authentic and needed and good and unflinchingly raw...but I was afraid because...what if he/she/they read this and thinks I'm...[enter an adjective for strange/weird/crazy here.]

But, this is me.

And if it is one thing I've learned, its that we can no longer change our stories to suit someone else's need.

Sometimes I hide the fact that I love God...because I've wrestled with feeling ashamed of it. People don't always like you, or understand you. I've been the focal point of jokes. I've been forgotten. Rejected. Dismissed. Sometimes it seems like loving and obeying God keeps me from fitting in or getting what it is I think I want...and that...just hurts.

Evil loves this kind of stuff.

The stuff that can get us in a tizzy hating on ourselves and contemplating giving up and hiding in the shadows. This month has felt like the enemy and his minions are somewhere creating little man-bolts of distraction and lies to hurl my way. "Hurry! Hurry! We're losing her! Throw her that one! She won't be able to resist tall, dark and handsome!!! She can't possibly believe she's worth it!"

And those little jerks are right...kind of.

Because I haven't been perfect in this.

I may not be "dating" anyone but I can assure you that I've allowed my heart to get caught up in moments of infatuation or worry about it. Whether its been a call, a text, a special look, an ongoing conversation...or waiting. and waiting. and waiting for someone to respond to a message, I've given myself

my self-worth

my thoughts

my time

my attention

momentarily to story that is not about me and is not mine.

You see. When our hearts get caught up in our own plans and conjured narratives, we miss what is real. We miss the beauty that exists all around us both inside and out. We miss our good through the speckles of bad that can (and have been) wiped clean.

A woman I admire sent me a message the other day. This woman is a long-time, incredible friend who loves God. She is also the type of friend you just listen to because she is wise and hears from the Lord in crazy-cool ways. (She also once had a dream about me getting married so I automatically elevate her to prophet status in my life...)

Her message read, "I was reading Proverbs 4:25 and I thought of you and your year ahead. Hold steadfast, Steph. You won't regret it."


In the middle of my battle, in the most perfect annoying of timing, God used her to say this:

25 "Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you."

...and it continues:

26 "Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways. 

27  Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil."

What a dagger of sweet, beautiful conviction. I'd been momentarily diverted; caught looking back instead of ahead.

I'm learning that I still place much too much emphasis on what others think of me. I'm learning that I still struggle to trust that God has good for me, that I am not forgotten. That I cannot "mess" this up. That I am worth waiting for should someone come along...and if no one comes...I'm still worthy. And loved. I'm also learning how easily I can be deceived and distracted to curtail myself to fit a different narrative.

But. I'm also learning to fight.

I'm learning to look Satan in the face and say, "Not today!"

We are will never be perfect, but we can perfect the ways we allow ourselves to think about ourselves, our stories and our God. And this, this will affect our actions and reactions to every situation, temptation and story we encounter.

My prayer is that this somehow encourages you in your walk wherever you find yourself.

Maybe you're struggling to find new friends in a new city and it seems like no one likes you or cares. Maybe you hate the way you look. Maybe she broke your heart. Maybe he won't return your calls. Maybe you've lost someone, or a job. Maybe your kids are driving you up the wall and all you can think about is life before they entered yours.

I don't know your story or your struggles or the lies you tell yourself.

But I can tell you that the enemy is not creative. He uses the same stupid pick-up lines on each of us ...and we eat them up!

Where in your life do you need to give yourself the gift of grace and forgiveness for all the crap you've been believing...or delivering to others? What are your man-bolts, how do they cause you to look back instead of ahead? Stay strong, push ahead.

And if you don't believe in God, my prayer is that you would take a step...even if that step is solely to reflect on your current life narrative. What do you think about yourself? Do you see yourself as loved and worthy?

Because. You are.


Why You Can't Do Everything

I've been feeling stretched thin lately.

If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I have a hard time saying no. I like people, I like helping them and I also like people to like me. On top of all of this, I like a lot of stuff. I'm passionate about just about everything with exceptions to professional wrestling and bug collecting... but, yes, everything else...and I bet I could get really into bug collecting if I tried. Not wrestling...well maybe.

I digress.

Over and over again throughout this past week, the ideas of simplifying and focusing-in have popped up as themes.

Every time I'd turn on the radio it seemed like someone had just called in seconds before to share a word on finding one's calling and not becoming distracted. Songs upon songs, messages, devotionals and that annoying little voice in my head who I tend to attribute to the Holy Spirit (Read: annoying because He is usually nudging convicting me of things I'd rather ignore) each pointed to this same idea:
I am busy and I am actively distracting myself from what God has for me to do here and now.

The past few weeks I've had something on my calendar after work each and every day, sometimes more than one thing per night. Strategically stuffed, my calendar looks a lot like that closet in your house who's door you slowly open (or don't open) so as not to upset the haphazard chaos long as it all fits and the door closes, right?

Sunday's sermon at my church involved an emphasis on margin and its relation to being teachable. If we lack margin, our pastor said, we lack capacity to learn and be humbled. In time, this lack of capacity and margin translates to distraction and distraction works to keep us tangled in everything but what we are called to do.

Think about it.

A high school athlete, more often than not, cannot be both a basketball star and swim star in the same season. Although he/she may excel in each sport, and somehow make every game and meet, he/she will not be able to attend each and every practice held at the very same time on the very same day. And with every missed practice for one sport or the other, he/she limits his/her ability to grow and reach their full potential in either sport.

The same is true for each of us, athletic or not.

We cannot do everything. 

We cannot succeed at everything.

We cannot continue living our lives distracting ourselves from the fact that we believe ourselves to be our own God.

I think so often, because I don't know what it is that I'm called to, or even what I really really like to do, I create almost contingency plans for myself by just choosing to do everything that seems right or good or true "just in case" because I'm afraid that choosing one group/hobby/church/activity/class over another will somehow cause me to "miss it" or "mess up".

We don't have that kind of power.

My fixation on not "missing it" or "messing it up" has brought me to a place where I am trying to do everything and be the very best at it all because deep down I do not trust that the right thing, at the right time can fall into place without my "divine" acts of will.

We need to specialize. We need to focus in. Instead of spreading ourselves so thin that we're only half good (or not good at all) at a lot of things, we need to center our attention on the areas of our lives where we sense the deepest need, nudge or call to continue to grow and give back.

There are so many things that I want to do and accomplish this year. So many things that are good and wonderful and God-honoring.

And yet, "good" does not equal "right".

Sometimes we need to give up doing good things because they ultimately distract us from the right things.

What is the Lord calling you to give up? How could you create more margin in your life so that you can begin to grow in teachability, sensitivity and openness to what or where the Lord is calling you?

Although I tend to pack my schedule to the brim, some of you may struggle to add things. This is just the opposite side of the same coin.

For you, where are you being nudged to give of yourself, your time or your energy? How can you safeguard yourself from locking yourself away and be more open to saying yes?

To margin,

Day 30: Choosing to Give It All, One Moment at a Time

I would choose a leap year to do this thing.


One additional day.

A mentor of mine once said, "Steph, you can always do one more of anything. One more second, one more minute, one more day."

I can still remember the moment she told me that. It was my first year of teaching and we were sitting in the back corner of my classroom across from one another at my desk pushed into the corner.  I was 22, at the end of my rope and had proposed quitting for maybe the fifth time in a span of a few months through muffled, snotty tears.

You see. I had never done something so hard nor sacrificed so much in my entire life. I felt like a failure and I was tired, disillusioned and angry.

As an 8th grade middle school teacher in the inner city, I had entered a battlefield. Not only was my school so under-resourced that my co-workers and I needed to buy our own computer paper, many of my students had suffered in their short lives things I couldn't even imagine. Many came to school hungry, some could not read, a few were homeless. Others were without parents or had witnessed their parents' murder. A lot of my boys dabbled in gangs, and my girls dabbled in boys.

Along with all this hardship came defiance and behavior issues. I was called every name ever created to be an insult (at least circa 2009). Sometimes my worksheets and lesson plans were thrown across the room, along with chairs to mix things up. And, during my first week, I had a girl literally pummel another girl to the ground punching her head into my classroom's floor as I stood there bewildered and not knowing what to do.

Although all completely true (and I'm not even telling you the juiciest, craziest stories) my situation and relationships with my students didn't stay that way. Over time and as I earned street cred, I gleaned little by little their love and respect. Demeanors of the meanest mean girls in the 8th grade shifted. Attitudes changed. Hugs were given. Insults became less and less...all because in the end, I choose one more second, one more minute and one more day through the rest of the school year. I also choose them.

Despite all the positive change, that year sucked. Refinement often does. But, it's in the fire that we are made pure, and fire burns.

So do middle school girl glares.

- - - - -

The past 30 days have been some of the most joyful I can remember in a long time. I feel so alive and free...its amazing what a little bit of obeying God and denying yourself will do for you...

Don't get me wrong, over the last month I've definitely had moments of struggle and second guessing. Sundays, ironically, are the worst. Nearly every Sunday I struggle not to obsess over who I'll date next or if there's someone out there that will ever choose me that I actually like-like.

...Maybe its because of all the eligible single men I see at church every Sunday morning and the lack of other pretty, gosh darn spectacular single Jesus-loving gals fighting for their attention...(please read this with the most snark you can muster)

Enter my falling into the temptations of comparison and envy nearly each and every week.

I shared the story of taking one second, one minute and one day at a time because its where I'm at, and really you are too. Taking one moment at a time, especially at a time that proves to be difficult and disorienting, is all we can do and all we are called to do.

In addition to choosing to take one moment at a time in obedience and trust, however, is an even higher and more sacrificial calling, a calling that asks us to lose our life so that we may gain it. I fought tooth and nail in those early months of teaching my inner desire to quit. Every ounce of me, besides my pride, was all in on the idea. I had even secured a job at the Gander Mountain around the corner from my apartment (to which my roommate thought I was crazy...desperation does weird things as we've already discussed in blog post #1). In the end, I didn't give up because deep down inside I knew it wasn't about me, my comfort or what I wanted in that season of my life.

Jesus made a choice too, He died on the cross for each one of us. All of us. Every. single. one. He didn't back out because it was hard. He was insulted and spit upon and tortured and he chose it. He made the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life, His all, for us so that we may become heirs through His death and resurrection! Although others could not see it and did not understand, even his own disciples, Jesus knew better things were to come and better things awaited the world on the other side of his choice. (Galatians 3:29, 4:7...and the whole New Testament)

Through him we were given new life and a new purpose and invited into a process of knowing Him and being transformed from the inside out.

And unfortunately, a process is not one-and-done but one-after-the-other kind of thing.

After 30 days of learning and growing and being refined, I'm entering into March ready and excited for all that the Lord had for me as I continue to place my trust and faith in Him in this season he has called me to and to one I am choosing one moment at a time.

I leave you with this; It's the song of my heart these days. I pray it becomes yours as well.

"You can have it all, Lord.
Every part of my world.

Take this life and breathe on;
This heart that is now yours." 
"Have it All" Bethel Music c. 2016


The other day I woke up feeling ugly.

You know the days. Those days where you question whether you really look like that and wonder how you still have friends and why they didn't let you in on the secret they've all been holding.

Everything about my face felt wrong and my hair had seemingly conspired with my pores over night to declare mutiny over my self esteem. I didn't shower, partly out of laziness and partly out of spite...which you know, likely really helped in this matter, and my little scowled face and I drove the whole way to work comparing my ugly to everyone else's pretty. 

Halfway through the day I posted this photo of myself to Instagram. The photo was one I took that morning in an attempt to convince myself I didn't look that bad in natural light. My post was strategically cropped, heavily filtered and given a cute witty caption.

Because you see. In order for me to feel okay with my reality that day, I felt like I needed to crop out what I didn't like and dress up what was left. 

How often do we do this? How often do we share only smidgens of the truth because we think it looks better in "Valencia" or sounds more inspiring outlined by a rectangle?

See that white background? Yeah. He took that photo in his creepy basement using a desk light and a piece of computer paper. Those perfectly clear blue waves crashing along the shoreline and against the toes of a that canoodling couple? Yeah. They just had a huge fight about how much their vacation cost.

What we see is not always what is real. It is not always the true, full, all-things-considered story.

More often than not, we aren't even comparing ourselves to the truth.

Because the truth of the matter is that truth is only found in Him...and not in the cropped (or full) versions of others' stories.

We were not created to sit around and compare ourselves; we were created to live in the freedom of knowing who we are as loved, chosen and accepted despite all our flaws and mishaps along the way.

Who are you comparing yourself to? What are you trying to crop, cut, hide or doll up in your life?



Bring those things into the light. Let others see. Share what is real. Accept your whole story for it is what has made you, you.

We all have pain. We all suffer. None of us are perfect.

But that's the thing. We were designed to need one another. Despite our imperfections we were created to spur one another on through our weaknesses and our strengths. Our world needs your good, bad and yes, even your ugly. Let yourself be you. You're the only YOU that ever was and ever will be.


But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.  Galatians 6:4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Valentine's Day Posts are the Worst...

As I was driving home from grad school tonight I couldn't help but notice all the other cars on the road. Our class gets out at 10pm, but tonight by God's good graces we were let out early. Typically,  my half hour drive home on Monday nights is sparse of other drivers and provides a peaceful opportunity to decompress.

Not tonight.

Red break lights glared everywhere. They were everywhere! Weaving in and out of lanes, going much too slow or too fast and all in my way.

After being cut off, and between belted Steffany Gretzinger lyrics, I let it out.

"Who ARE these people!?!"

This was the second time in 24 hours I'd muttered (shouted) such a phrase. With angst.

You see, yesterday at 10pm I made a horrible mistake. I scrolled my social media all their chocolate dipped strawberry, red rosed, smiling coupled, engagement rings the size of my face glory.

People were coming out of the woodwork with significant others I didn't even know existed! And not just "people" was the people you secretly think "oh yeah, them, they don't have a person yet, they're not dating yet, they're too _____ to date...I'm good...I'm solid...I'm going to be okay because they are in my boat" kind of people. 

Turns out that when you're a recovering morose broken heart, prone-to-pity-party, jealous-but-won't-admit-it-because-it's-not-Jesus-like single person, Valentine's Day posts are the worst and people don't ask your permission to get out of your boat.

I promise I'm not a least all the time. I think many would be first to say that I tend to be overly excitable and passionate and much too loud in my outgoing encouragement of others' happiness, accomplishments and life-things on a day-to-day basis. But last was just too hard not to compare and wish and covet and be a bit sad.

I know I'm not alone here. I also know that coveting doesn't stop. 

Regardless of our life stage, we all at times fall victim to the trap of wanting something we don't currently have. We go about life with the false thinking that once we have this thing or that person or that job or this pregnancy or that house, everything will be happy and fulfilling and fall into place.

Not so.

Our desires may be good ones, but unless they are submitted to Christ as our one and only source of fulfillment and happiness, they will bring nothing but destruction to our souls.

I've spent countless nights crying myself to sleep asking why questions. I've listened and encouraged and walked alongside others as they processed their own seasons of "why" and "why not now" and "why her or him and not me" but I have to tell you something, although God is right there ready to take our spiritual flipping of the bird and punches into our pillows and naughty words and tears of pain and suffering, all He wants is our hearts wholly devoted and trusted to Him. His faithfulness and love is all we could ever need...something I'm still learning.

Maybe you're not looking for a spouse. Maybe dating is the absolute last thing on your list right now. That's fine. Power to you. But I can guarantee you want something.

Promise me (promise yourself) that that thing you covet, that thing you want so badly it hurts. That thing that keeps you up at night wondering and dreaming and planning and worrying. That thing that you think will change your life forever...promise me you'll release it. Let it go. It's not yours to be had.

Let God be your one thing, let him fulfill you. Because, in the end, nothing else will.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life—
Whom shall I dread?

2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an army encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
Even in this I am confident.

4 One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life,To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.

5 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock. 
6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
In His tent I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.  (Psalm 27)

Letting go isn't easy. I definitely don't have it figured out. I'm learning every day what it means to live loved and trust when all I want to do is take things into my own hands and run far, far away all Jonah style. But. I think that's the beauty of a weird, totally Myers-Briggs type P way that deep down frustrates me beyond belief. I'm getting there, you will too.

Peace to you,

It Needs to Continue

You know when you're on a roller coaster and the train starts to climb that first big hill and you can't yet see the entire course of the ride and with every little clicking sound you begin to question why you got on and how you could potentially still get off but then you see those little flags marking the top and you know it's too late? that it is needs to continue. 

That's how I feel right now, I'm metaphorically waiting at the top of the hill next to those darn flags questioning what it is I have done.

Can I really do this?

More than six of you read my last post. A lot more than six. I'm astonished and honored and terrified all in one. Over the last two days I've questioned myself a lot. What will I write next? Will it be good enough, funny enough, deep enough, real enough? Was posting my guts online really that good of an idea? Maybe...and maybe not.

And, down deeper...What if miss out on "potential" Mr. Right because he enters my life within the next 350 some days? What if in a year there are LITERALLY NO SINGLE MEN LEFT on the entire planet? What if this year ends up being a waste? A waste of precious time in my twenties before I suddenly stop looking 12 and my hair turns grey over night and I'm not changed and God doesn't seem closer?

The truth is, saying yes to God (or really anything) is easy until you have to labor through the process and say it again. 

Imagine the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years. Even though they literally had God leading their path with a supernatural pillar of fire, they still complained...because the process is hard and we want what we want now.

Think of Abraham and Sarah, they waited YEARS to see God's promise fulfilled for Sarah to become pregnant and even took matters into their own hands in order to fulfill their promise in their own way.

Waiting is disorienting, it makes us do desperate and disobedient things. 

And then, I think of Jesus. Jesus knew full well who he was. Even after preaching in the temple with the bigwigs at the young age of twelve, he labored alongside his father as a regular 'ole carpenter for 18 MORE YEARS before his ministry (his promise and calling) even began!

Jesus could have rushed it. He could of said, "Here, here friends, I am the Christ...and yes, I not only look 12 but I am 12...listen to me! I am your messiah! Come, let us heal people and save the world" but he didn't.

Jesus waited. 

The scripture doesn't tell us what those 18 years looked like, nor do we get an insiders look as to when Jesus knew the timing was right for him to leave his family and begin his journey towards Jerusalem, but we do know he did not start when he was 12...and we can surmise that His Father in heaven prepared the way for that perfect time, refining and growing up His Son in order to prepare Him for what laid ahead.

The same is true for us. We are not called to say yes once, but continuously. And a lot of times that means we wait.

It wasn't easy for me to say yes to this year of saying no. It wasn't easy to tell someone I liked a lot that the timing didn't feel right and I couldn't commit to dating them in this season and hear their broken spirit through the phone. It wasn't easy to take the cotton balls out of my ears and listen to what I did not want to hear. It wasn't easy to obey what I've felt the Lord speaking to me for a long time...but I can tell you that the Lord was with me through the process and gave me the strength and courage to do it.

Continuously choosing to trust God and say yes to him, obey him, and ride the roller coaster of our lives through the ups and downs and waiting plateaus can be excruciating. But, God is faithful and promises to be near to us.

At the end of this, I am not guaranteed anything, much less Prince Charming with a bouquet of peonies and a pink pony asking for my hand in marriage. And yet, one thing is for sure: the Lord's love for me (and you) is unwavering and unchangeable and ever present and faithful.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. (Deut. 7:9) 

If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) 

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps 86:15) 

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6) 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Where do you need to continue to say yes to God in your life? Where is He asking you to wait out His process? What gives you hope and what causes you to stumble and clammer for control? What is one thing you can daringly choose to do, or loose or add to your life in order to follow Him instead of yourself? least for me...when that roller coaster train returns to the station where it started, I always want to get back in line and ride again.

In love,

Desperate: Where the story begins

Well. Here I am.

It's taken 4 days, but I'm here. And so are you, so thanks for joining me.

Over the past four days I've scoured the internet for blog name ideas and the perfect template. Did you know "minimalist" is in? I do now, and so do you.

I wanted this blog to "feel right" and embody both my story and personality as I share it with the world...or you know, all six of you.

I've texted many a friend for advice on choosing a catchy tagline and debated font choices more times than I'd like to admit. And yet, here I am with the same story I'd planned to share before any of this started.

Because, in reality, we can paint ourselves however we like, but our stories and our souls speak for themselves. 

No chic but rustic background with the perfect fading Instagram feed scrolling across the bottom of this page drizzled with hand-painted watercolor flowers changes anything. It just doesn't matter.

So I chose white, and you'll see why.

A month ago I had a dream unlike any I'd ever had before. The fact that I remember it is miracle in an of itself, not to mention that it wasn't a teaching-terror (all you former teachers know exactly what I mean!)

In the dream I found myself walking through a field along a grassy path. The sky was bright white, covered in a thick homogeneous cloud. Neutral colors surrounded me, the field glimmered with white flowers and dry grasses the color of everything Restoration Hardware. It was simple, but perfect.

As I walked I noticed others around me, many taking photos of the breathtaking landscape. Along the path I noticed two people talking, facing one another. I couldn't see their faces but I knew they were a man and a woman and the woman's back was to me. As I passed them, I noticed she had a bright green leaf sitting on the back of her head accompanied by a bug thing sitting dead center on the leaf. Thinking this to be strange, I questioned why someone would want a leaf and a bug on their head and kept walking toward the awe-inspiring white blooms in the distance.

These flowers were unlike any I'd ever seen. Simple, yet tantalizing, and pure, sparkling white. As I neared them I got excited. I love flowers and find their intricate design baffling; God is so talented. Leaning in to marvel I noticed right away that among these beautifully perfect flowers were those very same bright green leaves and bugs! They startled me, but I studied them. The bugs were not bugs at all but little demon bat-looking animals the size of one's thumb and oh so ugly. They were silent, but the moment they saw me they'd reach out their little claws clammering to take hold.

I jumped back, reminiscent of times when my flower-doting is disrupted by a bee in real life, and kept walking. Soon, these demon-bugs followed, I could sense them flying around my head like you do when it's the middle of summer and the horse flies have found you and although they won't touch you until they know they can have you, you know that they're there. I swatted and quickened my pace, turning around to come back the way I came.

I passed the same couple I had noticed before, still talking and focused solely on one another. As I walked by I noticed the leaf and bug were still happily perched upon the nape of her neck. It was as if she was completely unaware they were even there. More demon bugs dive bombed my head and I began to freak out, swatting the air like crazy. I was distraught. These stupid bug demon things had ruined what I found to be so perfect and beautiful! I suddenly didn't care about the field or staying longer to take it all in, I wanted out. As another hit my head I woke up, still pondering the demon bugs' demise...and in that moment I felt God say, "Steph, you'd have to burn the field."

BURN the field?! What? NO! Burning the field destroys everything, not just the stupid bugs! Try again.

Then I heard, "To kill them, you have to destroy them...and that happens at their root."

Oh. Huh. Hmmm.

Symbols and images started to swirl in my head.

Sin and the enemy's lies taint what was made to be pure and good and beautiful, rendering it less than desirable and stripping it of it's intended purpose. Sin quietly and simultaneously tempts us into its clutches and doesn't let go. 

I continued in prayer, asking God for wisdom and what it was he was wanting me to "burn" and give over to him.

And it was clear. Unfortunately.

Dating. Broken heartedness. Lies I was believing about myself, others and relationships.

2015 was a hard year for me. Marked by two broken hearts, these last 12 months produced within me a whole lot of strength with equal dose of secret desperation.

I'm 28. I know, I know...that's not old. I know I look like I'm 12. I know I still have "so much life ahead of me" closest girlfriends from college and beyond are ALL married. They've all found someone. And they are now making babies. They feel thousands of leagues ahead of me in the sea of life...a sea seemingly lacking in "other fish" by the way.

I wrestle with feeling forgotten and unlovable. Why me? Why not me? Why am I still in this place? What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with me? Am I being punished?

I may deny it, but deep down at the bottom of my soul, I desire to be chosen like all my friends... and every other girl on my Facebook feed having mason jar weddings in the deep woods wearing plaid.

I want it. I am desperate for it. So desperate, subconsciously, that I've ignored red flags and mistreatment and the "he's just not really all that into you" signs...and maybe worse...the "I'm just not that into him either but I don't have hope I'll meet someone better" thoughts. I've eaten the enemy's lies regarding my self worth instead of feeding on God's truth of who I am and who me made me to be. For too long I've allowed relationships and others to define me, to tell me things about myself that just are not true. I curtailed myself to fit in others' lives and needs and ignored my own and I've stifled God's voice when it wasn't what I wanted to hear.

And so. Here I am. Realizing I've been desperate for the wrong things and desperate to change.

I am desperate to know God more. I am desperate to destroy the areas of my life that keep me from him, areas that keep me from fully trusting, fully loving and fully accepting his grace.

And so...I'm choosing to obey...and it terrifies me. I'm not sure why trusting God in this area of my life proves to be so difficult but it is...even though my white knuckling hasn't proved fruitful.

I don't believe God has asked me to do anything more than come to him and rest. To curl up next to him, lay my head upon his chest, look up and accept his love. But, I needed a tangible goal and I don't think that's a bad thing. So over the next year, all 365 days, I am daring to be dateless. I am daring to believe that God will burn my field of pain, heart break, and lies and make all things new if I let him.

Because you know what? When a field is burned, it comes back stronger and healthier.

The burning was intended all along. 

A burned field is refined, healed and restored to new... and filled with possibility and hope.  

The Lord desires to make things new. He desires to return our metaphorical fields filled with weeds and thorns and nasty demon bugs to the "fields" he intended in the beginning.
Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
Is there something the Lord wants you to give over to him? Is redemption needed somewhere in your life? What areas of your character need refinement? What lies are you allowing to buzz around and dive bomb your head? Loose your grip and give it over.

My hope in writing over the next year is that others will be encouraged by truth and see that they are not alone. We're all waiting for something. We're all desperate for things that won't bring fullness or contentedness or everlasting joy. Over the next year, my prayer is that I'll grow to be more desperate for Him...and that you will too.

With love,
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
Be still and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10 NIV)
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; Be gracious and compassionate to me and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face [in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need],” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek [on the authority of Your word].” (Psalm 27:7-8 AMP)