the way the wildflowers grow.


Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry… -Matthew 6:28-31


Simplicity. Even the word itself is simple.

So, of course, I complicate it. Because that’s what I do.

“Keep it simple,” is the number one piece of advice my friends give me again and again and again, relating to everything from friendships to guys to work to school to God. Every time this piece of advice is bestowed upon me, I vow with renewed vigor to “keep it simple”. But what is simple? I start thinking about all the ways that something can be kept simple– what I need to think about, what I need to not think about, what I need to say, what I need to not say, what I need to do, not do– but what if I don’t do x, and then y happens and then what if I do actually have to say this and I don’t so then–

Complexity. It’s been an addiction of mine. It masks a much bigger addiction: control. Which hides an infinitely bigger reality of my heart: fear.

I have had a fear of resting and just being. I have had a fear of letting things just stand as they are and admitting that I do not have control over anything.

But I liked to deceive myself into thinking I have control. And so I tried to piece together and I tried to force and I tried to stretch and I tried to come to conclusions and have my life wrapped in a pretty little clean box, tied up shut. Because even though I complicate everything, I’ve been afraid of complexity, too.

This fear, though. We’re all afraid. We’ve all bought into lies. What is it though, really? What is this fear that drives us? What are we truly afraid of?

We’re afraid that we’re not enough. We’re afraid that we’ll never be enough.

We’re filled with fear that everyone will leave us, that we’ll be totally abandoned. We’re consumed by fear that we will live in our brokenness forever, unhealed and unrestored. We’re living in the fear that even if we really let go and give everything to God, we’ll still be left unsatisfied. We’re crippled by the fear of being seen and being seen as not enough.

We project how we have experienced love onto how we view God’s love. We’ve been abandoned, abused, used, rejected, misunderstood. We have serious trust issues, understandably so. We’re locked up in fear, living in our brokenness, having convinced ourselves that it’s how we’re supposed to be. We don’t even admit wounds are there anymore, because there is no point. We talk around real issues because we’re afraid of the cost of being honest. “It’s fine” has become our chorus.

“Fine” is the worst word.

Learn from the way the wildflowers grow.

Okay, Jesus, that’s cute but what does that actually mean? What does that mean to a heart that is so alone and is never enough? What does that mean to a heart that’s been bruised and rejected? Nice little wildflowers blowing in the wind. Simple and pure and perfect. None of those words describe me. What do I have in common with wildflowers?

They do not work or spin.

We work a lot, don’t we, y’all? I know I’m not alone in this. We work to be seen, we work to matter, we work to be significant. Actually, let me rephrase that: we work to be seen as we want to be seen. We work to be identified as we want to be identified. Not as we truly are.

Here’s how the wildflowers grow.

They just do.

Simply, they exist. They don’t try to be what they’re not. They don’t hide from the sun. No, they turn and they face that sun with all that they are. And when they don’t see the sun, they’re still facing the sky, demanding a reappearance because they know that it is up there.

Brothers and sisters, I am SICK of hiding from the sun. I am sick of hiding the reality of the fear that has gripped my heart under a mask of complexity and control. I am not in control. I don’t know what is going in my life most days, what is going on in my heart. I don’t have it together. I have days where I feel so lost and abandoned.

Surrendering to God means this scary admission: I am not enough.

I am not enough.

But I am not going to dive back into the dirt. I’m not hiding from the Son. He came to seek and save the lost. He didn’t come to the healthy, but for the sick. I am going to stand here and let Him see me as I am.

For Lent (and forever), I’m giving up the fear of the reality that I am not enough. If I was, I wouldn’t need a Savior.

We need to cry out to Him in our poverty. We need to stop hiding our brokenness from Him, our wounds. We need to stop hiding the fact that rejection and loneliness has scarred our fragile hearts.

Y’all. Jesus desperately wants to satisfy you. He wants to fill you, He wants to restore you. He wants to be enough for you. It’s not just a passive desire. It’s a radical desire that lead Him to leave Heaven and walk where you walk and feel your hearts and be crucified and come back. There is nothing that He wouldn’t do for you.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve heard these things your whole life. But how much do you believe them?

When we cry out to Him from the most broken parts of our hearts, He does not turn away. When we keep calling and calling and open ourselves to allow Him to work in an uncontrollable way, in a way He wants to work…He works. He heals. He restores.

You are precious. You are priceless. You are loved. There is no fear that He cannot conquer and no heart that He cannot restore.

I’m praying for you.



My heart is a raging sea right now. I hear you say breathe.

But I don’t want to breathe. I want to run, I want to jump, I want to KNOW. I want to know what is going on. I want to plan, I want to figure out. I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to be obnoxious.

Wait, little one, wait, you say.

But I don’t want to wait. I want to climb the tallest mountain NOW. I want to rip off all of the band aids now. I want to figure everything out. I want to solve the most complex math problem. I want to know everything. Right. Now.

Just be, beloved, just be, you whisper when I finally have to take a breath.

But what if I don’t figure things out in time? What if everything just flies right by, what if I don’t think of the right words in time? What if I just wait and wait and wait and nothing happens?

Trust me. You reach out your hands.

But if I grab your hands, then I won’t be able to grab anything else.



Simplicity. It makes me uncomfortable.

I have a paper due Saturday that has to be done by Friday in the midst of catching up on reading for another class. I have two quizzes week and so many problem sets due. I need to do research and planning for my marketing job. And then there’s just the every day stuff of meetings and loving people and relationships and all that insanity.

My world is so loud that the silence of simplicity is scary. I need to be so aware of every moment from here on out while dissecting the past. My mind needs to be totally consumed with what is coming next, with preparing for the future. I can’t just sit here and wait for it, I need to go out and get it.

Simplicity. Taking things as they are, as they come. Not reading into. Not taking more than is actually mine. Living in each minute. Being. Fully entering into each moment, because now is where Jesus is. Experiencing His full heart in this moment requires me to be in this moment. Not the next one.

So this Advent, I’m giving up planning, plotting, and orchestrating. I am done. I’m done stressing about what is to come.

Simplicity. There is wonder in simplicity. The simplicity of a young, scared teenager who was pregnant and unmarried. The simplicity of a skeptical man who had trust issues. The simplicity of a bunch of little lost boy shepherds. The simplicity of a stable. The simplicity of a baby.

God took all of that simplicity and lit it up with miracles.


So, Jesus, take me to a place of simplicity. Let me simply be. I give you my plans and my hopes and dreams and fears. Let me dive into this moment…give me trust in the journey, in the process. Let me see the glory in the mundane. Give me a pure heart that hopefully waits upon you while being fully invested in seeing you work in this moment. 

Teach me how to breathe. Teach me how to just allow you to work without giving my input and preferences all of the time. Teach me how to listen. Teach me how to trust, how to be okay with wherever you’re leading. Whatever you do, I know it’s because you’re in love with me. You see everything that I do. You know. You know, so I don’t need to.

Reveal whatever you want to reveal, Jesus. I’m okay just following you. I don’t need to really see, because I know that you do. Give me your heart, I just want your desires. Smash the idol I have made of busyness, of noise. I am going to hold your hands. I am holding your hands. I trust that you will lead me to whatever is next. I trust that being in love with you, I waste no time. I trust that I won’t miss anything. I trust that I can keep my eyes fixed on you completely and totally and I will. not. fall. Nothing that is supposed to be mine will pass me by.

Jesus, let’s just dance.

on perfection and pursuit.

When I was little, I was absolutely obsessed with Disney princesses.

I loved the beauty of the princesses and how, for the most part, they never tried to be anything that they weren’t. They loved boldly in the face of the uncomfortable. I loved how their stories weren’t smooth and easy going. My favorite parts of these movies were the chase parts, when the princes had to prove their love, had to fight for them. I loved the moments of raw honesty when they put themselves on the line, both emotionally and physically. I loved the way that the princes pursued their princesses, the ways that they seriously died to themselves.

I watched these movies over and over and over again. I played the stories out with my Barbies and with my friends. I dreamed of Prince Charming and wrote my own stories about a reckless kind of true love. I would actually even pray that I wouldn’t have an “easy” relationship but that there would be dragons and dungeons and distress.

Now, as a freshman in college, I’m like JESUS NO NO NO I DID NOT MEAN THAT. Is there a way to invalidate prayer? I want it easy, I want to enter into a relationship 100% perfect, not lacking in any way. I don’t want to bring any baggage into a relationship, I don’t want to have any wounds or scars.

Basically, I want to meet some perfect, Jesus-obsessed guy who I date for a year or so and then get married to. No arguments, no secrets, no communication problems. Just a bunch of really cute hand-holding dates where we always perfectly understand each other. There is nothing to work at because everything is already perfect. Everything is clean and happy and beautiful and, more than anything, safe.

So, I sit here, with my perfectly painted toes and a pretty little dress and my ankles crossed, waiting for Prince Charming to show up. And the scars and imperfection? Oh, if I ignore it, if I don’t acknowledge it…it doesn’t exist

Except. It does.

I mentioned I loved the way the princes pursue the princesses. I want to be pursued. I don’t want to settle. There is an incredible amount of excitement in the chase.

Well, that’s all good in theory. But what happens when you meet the super nice Jesus boy who is just the sweetest and kindest and most encouraging but unclear with his intentions? Oh, no big deal. Well, I want to be perfect, and maybe he could be perfect, too.

So you have your perfect little conversations but not too deep because, oh no, can’t be emotionally unvirtuous! We can’t actually talk about how we feel. He seems like he’s scared of messes, and you feel like a mess so better reapply that emotional concealer.

Apparently, you’re intimidating, share too much of your heart, and love too easily. So you tread carefully, fearfully.  You just keep going because perfect Jesus boy and you don’t really talk about how you’re actually feeling. Everything is fine. Superficial. You let yourself get walked all over in the name of perfection and pursuit. Just keep being perfect, just keeping loving because you’re the one with the issues and things will straighten out.

Everything is easy. No hearts are on the line. There’s no need to be honest because nothing is actually wrong. Everything is perfect.

Except. You have no peace.

You’re chasing after God, but you’re slowing down because you’re trying to drag him with you. This is a story I’ve heard, seen, and experienced…and it’s hard. Trying to not be a mess eventually becomes the messiest thing ever.

If this sounds familiar, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to let go. Do not be afraid to be honest regardless of what reaction you receive. Have confidence in what you feel, in what God has spoken through prayer. The guy (or girl) might not be Gaston, but he’s not the Beast either, you know?

God is so good. He is the God of restoration and not replacement. I feel like God is continually opening my clenched fists and asking me to let go so He can hold my hands. And He never gets tired of it.

Speaking of Jesus. He’s perfect and He pursues me.

Our story is way more dramatic than any Disney movie. In my imperfection, He saved me. He gave Himself for me even when it was plausible that I might never love Him back.

He allowed Himself to be tortured physically and emotionally, to be literally killed for me. When I might never love Him back. He pursued me in the midst of immense imperfection.

I have come to realize that I am PETRIFIED of being in a relationship. I am petrified of being seen and loved by someone in that way. It’s hard enough to be vulnerable with my friends sometimes. I am petrified of hurting someone. I am petrified of hurting myself.

But perfect love casts out fear.

Life is not easy, relationships are not easy. In the perfection of my Savior, I am freed from the illusion of perfection. To me, perfection means not acknowledging any brokenness.

I AM BROKEN. In my brokenness, Jesus is glorified because in my weakness, His power is made perfect.

I thought that having high standards meant that whatever guy or guys I eventually date have to have all of their lives together before entering into a relationship. I have to have my whole life together before letting someone else in.

Lies lies lies.

Who am I to dictate how Jesus should love on me, how He should heal me? What if He wants to use someone else as a vessel of His love to bring me closer to His heart? He does it in my friendships all of the time.

Because of who I am in Jesus, I deserve to be pursued. I deserve to be led in a relationship. I deserve to be in a relationship where intentions are clear, where I am fought for. I deserve honesty. I deserve vulnerability. So do you, friend.

I want to go back to my expectations for love when I was little. I refuse to let Christian boys discourage me from holding out for Godly men. I want to look at deficiency or imperfection and be convicted that now is the time that Jesus is to be glorified.

Brothers and sisters, you are worthy of love. We are not mess-ups, we are children of the King, radically loved by the Son. Wherever you are in life, allow Jesus to pursue you. Let’s keep chasing after His heart with full confidence that He is chasing after ours. Let’s not put limits on how He wants to love us.

You are not a burden, friend. You are worthy of love, you are worthy of being pursued.

Let’s be seen as we are, giving all fear to Him. Let’s be seen and let’s be pursued.

Jesus is Lord. And He’s radically, desperately, and irrationally in love with you.

I’m praying for you.

my dad.


When I was three, my elbow was dislocated as a result of an airplane ride gone awry.

Despite the agonizing pain, I fought against going to the hospital with every ounce of my three-year-old being. I remember being in the back of our Barney-colored van exclaiming through tears, “Dad can just pray over it! I don’t need to go to the hospital!”

Maybe fear was part of the reason why I didn’t want to go. But a significant factor was also the sheer irrelvency of the hospital. Why go to the hospital to get a doctor when Dad could just pray over it?

Prayer was normal in my house. Expecting the unexpected was expected growing up. Radical trust was a common theme.

This is why I thank God for my dad. My dad embraced his spiritual leadership, creating an environment of unceasing prayer. Growing up, I saw my dad strive to surrender everything to Jesus. I saw my dad take steps that he didn’t understand and make hard decisions because he understood that God would provide.

In everything, he pointed us to prayer. In every heartbreak, every knee scrape…prayer. Literally, every knee scrape. There was nothing too insignifcant to call in God involved. In all things, my dad brought us to our heavenly Father.

My dad has shown me how to relentlessly pursue Jesus in prayer. He has shown me how to live a life of prayer but moving boldly, by loving radically. I have seen my dad wrestle with hard decisions. In that, I have seen how God is the God of clarity and that He does reveal Himself. My dad has taught me that God is not outdone in faithfulness. That when we step with faithfulness and boldness, God will bless. When we are taking everything to prayer, we don’t need to agonize over what is the right step we just need to go.

I have seen my dad radically love. I have seen him love people who have wronged him, who are not easy to love. I have seen my dad radically forgive and I have seen him sacrifice his pride to build bridges that perhaps would have been more comfortable left unbuilt. I have seen my dad be the first one to apologize and work tirelessly to repair relationships, even when he is not in the wrong.

I have seen my dad feel righteous anger towards mediocraty and apathy in the Church. He has shown me that emotions are a good thing, that it is okay to feel. He has taught me that God uses emotions, we just have to continually surrender them over to Him. He has taught me how to deeply emphathize with the poor and the marginalized. He has taught me how to channel emotions into getting major stuff done. I have seen him press on when victory seems impossible and exhaustion is all consuming.

My dad taught me that vulnerability is a good thing. I have seen him work through his own flaws, acknowledging them and continually surrendering them to His Savior.

I have never ceased to be amazed by the selflessness with which my dad lives his life. So many times upon passing a homeless person has he stopped and talked, provided meals. Once, he even gave a homeless guy a ride some place on his way to a friend’s house. Actually, it was probably more than once.

The word that best describes my dad is “radical”. He loves radically, serves radically, prays radically. He dives into life wholeheartedly, especially God’s call to fatherhood.

Lots of dads dance with their daughters. But not all dads introduce their daughters to the King and teach them how to dance with Him. My dad did. He does.

Daddy, I love you a lot. Our relationship isn’t perfect because it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be perfect because we both have a Dad who is. I love living life with you and I love learning from you. I am so grateful for your life and can’t wait for the ways that God is going to continue to work miracles through you.

God is so proud of you, Dad. So many souls are going to be in heaven as a result of your yes. This blog post is so little and my words fall short to express my gratitude to God for giving me to you. Each sentence could exapand into twenty different stories…but just know that I incredibly love you. And miss you a lot.

And really just…thank you.


show me your glory.

I’m taking a Sacred Scripture class this semester and one thing I have learned is that the Old Testament Israelites make me cringe.

Man, they are ANNOYING. All they do is complain. They spent a butt load of years enslaved to a foreign people in a foreign land and God not only delivers them, but does so in a super dramatic way. They have God literally give them food and they complain about how they’re sick of it. And then, even though they have seen God’s mightiness at work, they decide to build their own powerless god to worship in order to excuse their sin. I’m pretty sure that a solid twenty-three percent of the Old Testament is the Israelites grumbling about how they’re just done with life while God pours out blessings upon them.

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of insanity. I’m over a thousand miles from home, surrounded by new people, in an academically rigorous envirnement. Coming off of a summer serving the youth as a missonary at Catholic Youth Summer Camp, I cannot imagine not living a mission focused, Jesus centered life. But what does that look like here? I look around and see so much lacking.

But I serve a God who lacks nothing. God, who is limitless in what He can do, is in love with me.

I have been looking around the past few weeks and seeing a blur of faces. I have been overwhelmed. I have cried. I have wondered why I am here, what God wants me to do. I have seen this impossible challenge that God is presented me with…to bring revival, to love.

I see this huge cross, this huge, messy mission…and I have collapsed under its weight. It’s like I’ve been trying to use as minimal amount of muscle as possible in order to carry it…I’ve been dragging it up this mountin, barely moving inches. I’m already bloody (emotionally) and sweaty (literally; it’s Florida, y’all) and I have four. more. years.

As I have been spending so much time contemplating the hugeness and impossibleness of this cross, I’ve been brought back a couple months ago, to camp.

It was the middle of the first week of camp and I was so done. I had been gone from home two and a half weeks already, due to training, and I did not think that I could handle any more. I felt completely unequipped and inadequate.

I remember during adoration Wednesday night I could not stop crying. I was shaking with fear…I kept seeing this cross that Jesus was trying to give me and I did not want to accept it. I knew that it meant sacrifice, I knew that it meant I would have to die.

Not your will but mine be done, basically.

I went up to a fellow missonary and said, “Jesus wants to give me this cross…but I can’t take it. I don’t want it, I can’t do it! It hurts so much!”

She prayed a prayer of surrender over me, renouncing fear and the lies that I was not enough. She told me that I was loved, that I was not alone and would not be abandoned. She spoke into my gifts, into the fact that I had a place there building the kingdom of God.

I received so much grace through that prayer. Jesus just kept offering me that cross…and I said yes.

Peace instantly flooded my soul. Conviction that yes, I was worthy of being used, and yes, Jesus can use me, and yes, Jesus is with me claimed my heart. I realized that it wasn’t even me carrying that cross…it was Him. Jesus was simply inviting me to be with Him.

Even though nothing about the situation itself had changed, everything changed. I had renewed passion and zeal and confidence that my God was going to work miracles and wonders. Not only that, but He was going to use me to accomplish them.

No cross could possibly break someone who Jesus is wholeheartedly and irrationally in love with. The only harm that it can do is conform my will to His desire.

It’s amazing what my “yes” resulted in, by the grace of God. It HURT and it was HARD, but when I think of this summer, I don’t think of the late nights, emotional exhaustion, or hard confrontations. I think of the letter I recieved from a camper who told me that my talk on identity changed her whole veiw of herself, who finally believed that she was enough. I think of when a camper defeated fear and finally stepped off of the zipline dock after standing up there a solid twenty minutes. I think of the group of girls who were empowered to go home and meet with their pastor about starting weekly praise and worship to bring revival to their parish.

These glory stories, and so many more, far outweigh any pain that may have been present. Without that pain, the glory would not have been possible. Think  the pain of Good Friday…to the glory of Easter Sunday.

I firmly believe that there will be souls in heaven as a result of this summer. Jesus used me this summer to lead people to Him.

But here’s the thing: He’s a perfect gentleman. He will never give without my receptivity and He will never take without my release.

I have been consumed by everything wrong, much more than I have been thinking about how God has provided me with this opportunity of going to school here, against all odds. I have been consumed by all of the people that don’t know Jesus as one huge mountain that is so much bigger than me…but actually, this mountain is made up of a multitude of little rocks. They are not just a crowd…they are individual souls.

Back to Moses. In the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, he is interceeding for the complaining Israelites. He’s begging God to be with them, to go ahead of them, to never leave. God assures him that He will never send where He does not also go.

And then, in Exodus 33:18, Moses says to God, “Show me your glory.”

In the midst of all the impossiblitiy and choas…show me your glory.

What if we saw everything as an opportunity to more fully encounter Jesus?

What if we saw everything as an opportunity to glorify the King of kings?

What if this was our response instead of complaining?

Show me your glory.

What if we looked at what was lacking, and it made us excited? Because of how we knew that God wouldn’t lead us here if He wasn’t going to provide, so we got excited for how we were going to see Him work. What if we stopped being so obsessed with our limitations and became enthralled by our God who has none?

The other night, I accepted this cross. I accepted this mission here, this calling. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that I want to be a docile instrument of the Holy Spirit. I know that I want to see God move. I know that He has been begging to use me and I am not going to say no to God, gracious.

God constantly provides for me so beautifully and faithfully. I refuse to be lost in everything that is so seemingly impossible. I refuse to be afraid when I see all the hearts that need to be won to Jesus. I refuse to be downcast and I refuse to be discouraged. I refuse to put God in a box and impose my own limitations on His power.

Impossibilities are God’s specialty. I just want to see His glory. He has done so many wonders in my life, with my life…and He’s not finished. It’s going to hurt, it does hurt, but suffering is nothing compared with the glory of the King that just radiates onto me and through me. He’s living inside of me…what do I even have to fear? He is protector, provider, and deliverer.

I’m expecting the unexpected. Show me your glory, Jesus. I am not afraid.


deeper than my feet could ever wander.

It’s been two weeks since I arrived on campus. I’m convinced that it’s actually been eternity…or perhaps just a couple of seconds.

I don’t know why I am here.  I don’t know why this is the school, or these are the people, or these are the classes. I don’t know why this is the call.

I do know that I have been overwhelmed. I do know that there have been moments that I have wished that I was somewhere else. I do know that I’ve asked “God, WHAT are you doing?” a couple hundred times.

Speaking of things I say to God. Here are a couple of other phrases:

“I want more, Jesus.”

“Let me pursue you with everything I am.”

“Draw me nearer.”

“Take me deeper.”

Here’s the thing about God. You ask, He gives.

I go to an incredible school, but I look around and, just like everywhere else, I see such great need for revival. A lot of revival. I see men and women with broken images of themselves, having placed their identities in each other, in worldly success, in their pasts, in their futures.

Part of me wants to take them all and hug them and give them chocolate chip cookies. I want to look into their eyes and tell them, “You. Are. Good.” I want to hear their stories, I want them to know that they are perfectly allowed to feel the things that they feel. I want to tell them that they are loved unconditionally. I want to show them what that means.

Part of me wants to go hide under my bed and never talk to any of them. I know that people are messy. Sometimes I don’t know what to do when hearts are handed to me. I get caught up in the chaos of emotion. Things are so much bigger than me.

Take me deeper.

Deeper than my feet could ever wander.

I am currently so out of my comfort zone, out here in the deep. My heart longs for somewhere else besides this campus…and yet, here I am.

And here God is.

All those times that I have cried out to Him…sometimes consumed by love, sometimes consumed by myself, sometimes consumed by peace, and sometimes consumed by frustration…He heard me.

He is taking me deeper.

I look around and I am overwhelmed. I walk the streets of this campus. I see the scars, I hear the hurt.

He has cast me out into the deep. Just where I asked to be.

I didn’t know any of this was possible. The mission that He has presented me with– to share truth in love– is not something my feet would have wandered into. But, here I am. God has led me here and given me the grace to follow.

But He is so good and He allows me to turn around, if I want to.

Sometimes I want to. It’s exhausting when you’re trying to save the world and you feel like you need to take on everyone’s burdens. Only, that’s not what God is asking of me.

He’s telling me that He is already victorious. He’s telling me that He has already saved the world. He’s telling me that He carries burdens. He’s inviting me to lay down my exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed heart…and He’s inviting me to simply dance with Him on the battlefield.

The battlefield. To me, it’s actually on the water, in the midst of a horrific, violent storm. But Jesus just keeps telling me…”Fix your eyes on me, only me.” Just by doing that, just by being captivated by His gaze, captivated by His presence I will accomplish His will.

I look around and the waves are enormous and I cannot even see the shore. I have been following God and He’s been leading…and here we are. Deeper than my feet could ever wander.

I am in the deep. Yet, I am not alone…here He is with me. Take me even deeper, Jesus! There is no place that I would rather be. I am not turning around.

This is the place for miracles. This is the time for wonders. Let’s do this.

all things new.

I have been struggling with words for the last two weeks.

How could my words describe this summer? How could my little words convey the victory that was claimed in the lives of over 1200 teenagers? How could my words accurately present the intense love of a mission focused, Jesus centered community?  How could my words capture the complete freedom that I have experienced, that I have stepped into?

When I think of talking about this summer, passion strikes my heart. What happened this summer at Damascus is not meant to stay at Damascus. My heart is convicted that I have been commissioned to share what went down this summer. Words, however, are so frustrating and intimidating.

This summer, I served as a missionary at Catholic Youth Summer Camp, which is located at Damascus Catholic Mission Campus. CYSC is a high adventure camp for middle and high schoolers that strives to equip kids to “live the adventure” of a relationship with Jesus in their daily lives. This is done through a variety of high adventure activities, men’s/women’s sessions, mass, Eucharistic adoration, praise and worship, and more. I was on Program Staff, so I was basically a facilitator/leader of a lot of these things.

There were so many times this summer when I would be so overcome with emotion. Oftentimes, I would run to a fellow staff member and just be like, “AHHHH! All of the things are going on and I don’t have the words!” She, however, being the rock star that she is, wouldn’t let me off the hook. She told me that I did have the words, and to just speak.

Weeelllll. THAT is scary. Mostly because I don’t know what is going to come out of my mouth and I hate not being in control. But, because I know this amazing woman loves me, I let the words come out. Again and again.

That’s the thing about words. Speaking isn’t just a one time deal…you kind of have to keep doing it.

But here’s the other thing: I’m not in control anyway, so I might as well surrender my illusion of control.

There was one night when I was walking with one of our camp directors and we had been talking about the difference of having self-driven spirituality and Spirit-driven spirituality. Camp is the best because you don’t have the time for intense one-on-ones so you literally have them on the go. For example, we were headed to start set-up for our Freedom Fire when BAM, my life changed. Also, life change at camp is an hourly occurrence. But it’s just super awesome because God isn’t constricted to working an hour on Sundays, or during praise and worship, or during a talk. He worked in my life as I was exhausted and carrying tiki torches and walking the treacherous, rocky roads of Damascus.

Anyway, as we were talking, I mentioned that I was a control freak. His response? “You’re not a control freak, Annie. You are a daughter of God who maybe has tried to control things, but you are not a control freak.”

You are a daughter of God. The truth of his statement slammed my heart, hard, shattering lies that had been spoken and believed.

Next, he asked if I had surrendered control. Begrudgingly, I said: “I surrender my control.”

Tears filled my eyes and he said, “I just felt a whole lot of chains hit the ground.”

That night, I stopped trying to find words for what was going on, because it was so out of control. I felt like I was grasping in a dark hole, reaching for anything. I gave up control of myself…including my words. So often we use our words to paint a nice little picture of having it all together. We string together our words in order to create masks of the illusion of perfection. This was who I was before camp. A daughter of God who used her words to hide, to claim control.

When I surrendered control of my words, I realized that I had nothing. Which should have been one-hundred-and-twelve percent terrifying, but it wasn’t. Because I was no longer desperately trying to come up with words, there was room for God to speak to me.

And here is what He said:

I have made you new. I make all things new. The old has passed away…keep letting it go.

I want to use your voice. You don’t have to doubt what comes from your mouth because it comes from me. You ask why I use your voice…because your voice, my daughter, is priceless. Your voice is worthy of being used by the King of the Universe. You are a worthy vessel.

In me, your voice has authority. Your voice has the power to shatter darkness and cast out fear. Your voice has the ability to dispel demons and raise the dead to life.

Not only did Jesus speak these things to me…but He showed me them. He used my voice this summer to break chains.

How many times did I stand at the top of the zip line tower and have to spend a solid fifteen minutes convincing a camper that he actually did have the ability to step off? God hard core gave me words to encourage because there is no way mine without Him would have been sufficient. So often this summer I declared the words: “You are capable. You are capable. YOU ARE CAPABLE, regardless of whether or not you choose to step off. You are capable and you are worthy of the courage that God is filling your heart with, right at this moment. Receive it!” This not only applied to the camper trusting Jesus when it came to the zip, but also to every other area of his life. Pretty powerful!

So many other examples for so many other posts…but here’s the bottom line: this summer, I received the truth that Jesus has made me new.  This truth infiltrated every part of my life and has changed everything.

He has given me new words and has called me by a new name. Jesus is the perfect gentleman and He won’t take what isn’t given. When I gave Him my control, I also gave Him so much room in my heart, which gave Him even more room to work wonders. The wonders that He worked this summer…absolutely overwhelming. Stay tuned.

Y’all, your words have authority in Jesus. You can allow yourself to fall apart because He will hold you together. He will make you new. Actually…look at a cross. He already has.

I have authority in Christ Jesus. I am a worthy vessel. I am a daughter of God. My words matter, and I have something to say…God has something to say. And He has chosen to say things through me. Because I am a worthy vessel.

I don’t care where you have been or what you have done…nothing changes the truth that you are a worthy vessel. God wants to use you to speak life in the face of death in your family, school, community…He will give you new words. He wants to use you to bring truth to those destroyed by lies. Every day, I have to renew that surrender of control…join me.

I surrender control in the name of Jesus…Lord, you have everything that I need, more than I could possibly want. Do whatever you want to. Use me.

One last note– He like really wants to use you. And when Jesus really wants something…y’all had better WATCH OUT! He’s coming for you!

More to come. What a time to be alive.