Friday, April 22, 2011


              I have never been a patient person.  I hate checkout lines in stores, I get frustrated when people in front of me are too slow for my liking, and I drive far too fast because I don’t have the patience to actually go the speed limit.  I come by it honestly.  Neither of my parents are patient.  My dad taught me how to drive, although he would probably like to deny it now.  When I was a kid, my mother was a speed walker through the mall, and I practically had to run to keep with her.  I never really learned the benefits of delayed gratification; if I want something, I want it now.  I’m also impatient with myself.  I expect to be good at things immediately, and if I’m not (as is often the case), I don’t really have the patience to keep working at it. 
                My impatience is one of the first sins I recognized in myself when I was in high school, so being the good Christian girl I thought I was, I prayed for patience.  In my impatience, I expected that praying for patience meant that God would just give it to me, a little bit like the fairy godmother in Cinderella.  Apparently it doesn’t work that way.  Instead of giving me patience, God has taught me patience.  It’s been a hard lesson to learn.
                God has called me to ministry opportunities that have not been fruitful in any typical sense of the word.  He did not, as I so badly wanted, tell me at 22 what He wanted me to do with my life, and my career trajectory has been more of a winding path than a straight line.  He has not (yet) fulfilled my desires for marriage and children.  He has delayed my wishes for a student-loan-free life.  He has at times put difficult people in my life and called me to love them.  
                God is teaching me to rely daily on His manna.  Like the Israelites in the desert, I only have enough of His grace for today.  I cannot rest on my plans for the future, because my future is in God’s hands.  I am learning, sometimes slowly and sometimes less so, to wait patiently on the Lord, to rest in His sovereignty and goodness, to rely more and more on Him.  He has shown me that I am often the difficult person to love, and I have received more patience from others than I have given.  He is teaching me that He will provide, even if it’s not in the way I expect hope.
 I am also learning that waiting is not always a bad thing.  Not only do I learn more of God’s character in the waiting, but sometimes it’s even fun.  The winding path has been an adventure, and had I received everything I thought I wanted when I thought I wanted it, I would've missed out on that adventure.  There are experiences in my life I would not have had.  There are people in my life that I would not know or would not know nearly as well.  I am learning to be thankful for the opportunities that I have in this phase of my life, for fun trips and random conversations, or even for the ability to spend my Good Friday morning sitting and talking on my porch with Laura. 
This Easter, I am more thankful than ever than no matter what the future holds, God is good in the wait, and one day I will wait no more to see my Savior’s face.  The Lord is risen!    
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Girls...

               A little less than six years ago, I had the privilege of meeting six high school freshman girls, in a children’s classroom at Intown Community Church, complete with tiny little chairs and a too-short table.  That first meeting was a little awkward for me.  Here were six girls in front of me who had known each other most of their lives and were more than a little reluctant to let me into the group.  The journey I traveled with those girls over the next three years wasn’t always an easy one.  They stood me up more than once, and there were many times I didn’t think anything I said made any bit of difference.  I recognized myself in them—the girl who fought with her mom, the girl who wanted to do the right thing and be popular at the same time, the girl who was just trying to make sense of life and where it was headed, the girl who was afraid of leaving the life she was comfortable with.  I’m so glad high school lasts only four years. 
                After three years together, these beautiful young women had let me into their hearts.  There were conversations over dinner or coffee or ice cream about broken hearts, broken relationships, fears about the future, parents who frustrated them, and most importantly, where God had met them in those places, or would meet them in those places.  Saying goodbye to them when I left Atlanta was heart wrenching.  I knew these girls better than they realized.  I could see in each of them ways that God had gifted them, the unique attributes that made them wonderful and special.  I could also see their sin—the different temptations that each of them would struggle with.
                Those six girls taught me much.  I learned about patience, about unconditional love, about the ways in which God’s word does not return void, even if we can’t always see it.  I learned more about friendship from watching the ways in which they loved each other.  I learned to appreciate the beauty that lies in people who are different from me.  I learned that I can be fiercely protective of the people that I care about.  I learned that although I call them mine, they belong to the Lord.  I pray that God would be at work in their hearts, molding them and shaping them into the women He’s calling them to be.  I pray that they would daily grow in love and grace and faith.  They are sophomores in college now, forging their own ways in this world.  I treasure the occasional updates that I get, sharing with me the amazing things God is doing in them and around them.
                I hope that in some small way God has used me in their stories; they are certainly written on the pages of mine.  To Allison, Anna, Audrey, Elena, Gray, and Kim—you are deeply loved.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to know you. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


                A counselor I know describes being in a relationship as being like the moment when a trapeze artist lets go of the first bar but hasn’t yet caught the second bar; that millisecond when she’s suspended in mid-air.  I like this analogy.  For me, being in a relationship is scary, and I resonate with the image of a trapeze.  My heart has already decided to let go, but there’s no stability or security there, so I'm figuratively hanging out in mid-air.
                Breaking up sucks, as anyone who has ever had to do it knows.  The first time my heart was broken, I later said that God had to shatter my heart with a wrecking ball so He could build it back the way it was supposed to be.  I still agree with that; I think there was a lot of work that God needed to do on my heart then, and He used that experience to shape me into something more beautiful than I was before.  But I’m still a mess.  And I haven’t yet figured out what God is doing this time around.
                It’s been a little different this time.  The first thought I had after hanging up the phone that night was relief.  I was crying, yet relieved.  It put an end to the incessant questions I had and all the confusion I was dealing with, and all the dozens of tiny and not-so-tiny slights and hurts that I had experienced over the last three months.  Despite those things, I still couldn’t bring myself to let go.  It turns out that I’m even more stubborn than I realized, which is a scary thought.
                In the days following I could feel sad, angry, happy, relieved, guilty, indifferent, lonely, foolish, hopeful, confused, peaceful, and free, all in the space of an hour.  Thankfully, the negative emotions are rapidly dissipating.  But even so, having him in my life became normal, and now I have to change what normal looks like.  I don’t know how to do that.
                But I do know that God is good.  I know that I am loved beyond my wildest imagination.  I know that I am relentlessly pursued by the Creator of the universe.  I know that in Christ I have been given all things.  I know that God is sovereign, that not a hair can fall from my head apart from the will of my Father.  I know that God binds up the brokenhearted, that He comforts me, that He hides me in the shadow of His wing.  I know that I am blessed beyond anything I could hope to deserve, and I am grateful for every single person in my life that serves as a tangible reminder of those blessings.
                I know that one day all the wounds will be healed. 
                And that’s all I need to know.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have a confession to make.  I often have a hard time believing that God is really good.  I know it intellectually, and I believe it for everyone else, but not for myself.  If God were really good to me, I think, then how could He possibly allow pain to come into my life or the lives of those I care about?  If He were really good, why would He deny me the things I ask for, while giving those same things so freely to others?  Even in times of ease and abundance, I become anxious, waiting for the day that God will take it all away from me.  It can’t last, I think, because God isn’t really good to me.
I know this is wrong, but deep in my heart, it is still often what I believe.   Although I hate to admit it, I know that I think this way because I think that God’s goodness is supposed to match up with my desires.  I make God small by falling into a Santa Claus view of Him.  I have my wish list, and if I’m good, I’ll get everything on it.  Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.  One glimpse through the Bible proves me wrong immediately.  I love the account of Joseph, of seeing how God works through the worst of circumstances for His glory and for the good of His people.  But all too often, I refuse to recognize this in my own life because I am afraid that God’s good will be painful, and I selfishly want to insist on pleasure and comfort.
God may never give me what I desire, and things and people that I care about will inevitably be taken away.  But God is still good.  A friend of mine quotes Phil Vischer (and CS Lewis), who writes, “He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone…if God is infinite, we can’t add anything to Him.  Nothing, added to God, can meet our needs any more than God alone.”  I like this because it reminds me that I already have EVERYTHING I need in Christ.  Even if I get those things I so deeply desire, I will not have anything more than I do right now.  Even if I lose everything, I will not have anything less.  God’s goodness, all of his infinite goodness, is already manifested in the cross, and there is nothing more that I need.  Now if I can only figure out how to live like I really believe that...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Molly is my puppy, and she’s awesome, as all of my roommates will happily attest.  I found Molly at an animal shelter when I wanted something happy in my life.  It may not have been the best motivation in the world, but it’s a decision I’m pretty sure I’ll never regret.  One of my roommates asked if I wanted to go to the shelter with her to “play with the dogs.”  She knew how much I wanted a dog, so really, it was her sneaky little plan to get me to actually get a dog. It worked.
                So I’m going to gush about her.  She has really big ears.  She’s very snuggly and cuddly, and she even gives me hugs when I come home (seriously).  She does not like to be alone.  She loves to eat.  She likes grass and sticks and rocks and dirt and bushes.  She barks at new things and new people, but only when she’s on her turf, and she warms up quickly.  Outside of her house/yard, she’s very polite.  She loves to burrow under the bed (and then she sticks her little nose out).  She doesn’t like coffee, so she growls at it.  Same for peppermint lotion.  It’s so fun to discover all of her little quirks, and also so fun to be greeted with such enthusiasm every time I walk through the door. I mean, really, who else is ever going to do that for me?? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

In Between

Why “in between”?  Because that’s where I live.  We all live there, actually, in the reality that exists between the now and the not yet, between the past and the future, between what we want and what we have, between who we want to be and who we are.
 From a Christian perspective, this is how it is and how it will be until we are called home or Christ returns.  We live in the truth of salvation, redemption, and restoration.  But we have not yet been fully restored.  We have the hope, the promised hope, of an eternity filled with joy.  But we live in a broken world, a world full of pain, sorrow, loss, unmet desires, and sin (other people’s and our own), and that is also our truth.   
I used to think that this in-between-ness of life was just a phase, that it was a temporary stopping point on my journey, and that one day I would move on to “there,” wherever “there” is.  Being almost 30 and still single, the “there” in my mind has for years been marriage.  Despite the wisdom of others reminding me again and again that this was a foolish thought, it still permeates my mind.  I know it to be false, I know that marriage will not get me to the elusive “there,” but my heart is stubborn and I can’t help but think it would certainly help me get on my way “there.”  And so for the last eight years, I have been living in the in-between state of adult singleness.  In my early twenties, I assumed this would be a very temporary state, but alas, I was wrong.  I still hope it’s a temporary state, but I’m shooting for moderately temporary at best.   
Even so, in the last eight years of being somewhere I never particularly wanted to be, I have learned a great deal, mostly from the wisdom of other people, though occasionally my stubborn heart has picked up a thing or two of its own.  I have learned that relationships, even with people you love dearly, can bring their own pain and sorrow.  I have had my heart broken, and been on a number of bad (or just awkward and sometimes funny) dates.  I’ve been the girl her married friends wanted to live vicariously through (I get that I have a ton of stories that don’t involve children, but there is nothing glamorous about my life, except that bodily excretions never make me late or ruin my clothes). 
But I have also learned from the pain of other people who are living in their own “in-betweens.”  That space between marriage and children when a child is so desperately yearned for, the place between pain and healing that will never be realized on this earth, the devastation of losing a child, the loss of parents far too young, the grief of a young wife becoming widowed, the years-long battles with cancer, the long wait of unemployment, the parents’ desire for an empty house again, the empty nesters’ desires for grandchildren (my mother wanted to be a grandmother by age 60…not gonna happen).   As a much wiser woman recently told me, there will always be another thing—another sadness, another loss, another frustration, another disappointment. 
“In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”  Ah.  There’s the hope.  Yes, this world will bring us trouble of different kinds, but that is not the end of my story.   Right now, I am living in an acute in-between, that of healing from the end of a relationship that lasted (on and off) for a year and a half, with a man I loved.  And this is my journey, with all of its tears and all of its laughter, of a life lived between the now and the not yet. 

Chronicles with Molly

If you've spent much time with me, then you know I like to write.  It's been quite awhile since I've been in a job where writing takes up most of my day, so I've been missing it for some time now.  Every once in awhile, I think I have something at least halfway decent to say, so with the encouragement of my dear friend Christy, I decided to start this blog.  In case you're curious, Molly is my 4-month old boxer puppy mix. She'll probably make an appearance from time to time (she's pretty adorable, after all), but this blog isn't really about her.  It's just that all my other names were taken.  It's really just about my life, my experiences, my thoughts, my walk with Christ on this crazy journey.