Who’s Sitting at the Table with Jesus?

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Last week while I was in Ohio, I went to church on Sunday morning with my family that I was visiting. The pastor was preaching out of John 13 on serving others with humility, but he said something that struck me in a different way than the point he was trying to make. He said,

“Who’s sitting at the table with Jesus?”

I’m pretty positive that he was asking who was literally sitting at the table with Jesus in the story he was preaching on, but I took it a different route. I started thinking about the present day Church and the people that we deem “worthy” of hanging out with and reaching out to. Our standards are so so different than Jesus’ were. In my notes I was taking during service, I wrote down, “I know this isn’t the point the pastor was trying to make, but who is Jesus inviting to the table? Are we inviting those people too?”

Right now I’m reading Mark 2 and I am just CRYING at the beauty and love and empathy of our Jesus!! In this passage, Jesus is literally sitting down and eating a meal with Levi the tax collector and the other outcasts who had been following him that day (other tax collectors and probably lepers and prostitutes and children and the lame and the list could go on!). Some Pharisees (the men who were literally LEADING THE CHURCH) mocked Jesus and asked his disciples why he would choose to eat with such men. Jesus overheard and responded with, “people who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts. (Mark 2:17)

Jesus had NO SHAME for hanging out with the people that most others would avoid even eye contact with. He loved them and he cared for them. Aside from his twelve disciples, it seemed like the outcasts were his go-to people to hang out with. 

So who were the people that Jesus hung out with?

Tax collectors.

Prostitutes.

Adulterers.

“Unclean” women.

The demon possessed.

Lepers.

The sick, blind, and lame.

Children.

And the list could go on and on and on.

And ya know? I really don’t think Jesus entered into these relationships with a goal of changing them. Of course he normally did, because that’s just who our Jesus is: a savior and a healer, and it is almost impossible to meet him face to face and not walk away changed. BUT I think his purpose of knowing these people was to simply love them. To show them that they’re worthy. That they have a place in this world, and in the Kingdom.

And I just really can’t help but wonder… why the heck don’t we do that now?

My uncle and I talked about this the other night after we watched The Greatest Showman (he’s a retired pastor and called the movie the “second best Gospel movie of all-time,” so of course we had to talk through all the similarities and metaphors afterwards). In the movie, P.T. Barnum reaches out and finds the outcasts to join him as he creates the world’s first circus. Of course, at first his mission was to find the weirdest of the weird so that they can basically be made fun of, but his mission changes and it all becomes so much more. These so-called “outcasts” find a family and unconditional love and their place in the world. They’re seen as worthy people for the first time. Barnum was the Jesus figure to these people–he gave them a home and showed them that they belonged.

I don’t know how it’s 2018 and we’re still so bad at this.

The Church isolates basically any group of people that isn’t middle-class, successful, and without too many bumps in the road. If you don’t fit the ideal of what a Christian “should” look like, you’re mostly likely shunned and unwelcome.

Friends, if we really want people to know the Lord, this isn’t how we make that happen!

If Jesus were physically here today, who do you think he would be hanging out with?

Us? The people who are isolating HIS people?

No. He’d be hanging out with

LGBTQ+ people,

immigrants and refugees (and yes, EVEN those who try to enter the country illegally!),

drug addicts,

people of color,

people of other religions,

the mentally ill,

sex industry workers,

alcoholics,

the poor and homeless,

kids in foster care,

and all the other “forgotten” (aka ignored) members of society.

And how often as a Church are we hanging out with these people and inviting them to our table?

Rarely.

This is where we’re doing something wrong. This is where we’re messing up.

If we really wanna follow Jesus, we gotta LIVE like Jesus. And that includes opening up our table.

In all honesty, if Jesus were here right now and he was having a big dinner party, I don’t think we’d be at the top of the invite list. He’d invite all of those people that I just mentioned before he even looked at the Church because we are not living and loving as we should be.

I don’t know how we’ve gotten this so messed up. The second greatest commandment is to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. And instead we’ve somehow twisted that to “love your neighbor if they are like yourself.”

We aren’t called to change people. We are called to love people.

So let’s go get a bunch of those foldable tables and put them all together. Invite our LGBTQ+ classmates and Muslim neighbors and the homeless man on the street corner that we see every morning. Invite the moms who are working as strippers just to be able to put food on the table for their kids, the dads who are in and out of rehab for alcohol and drug abuse, the families who are fleeing persecution in other countries to only meet persecution and imprisonment once they reach American soil. Let’s open up the table and invite all the people the Church has been avoiding. 

Let’s love them,

let’s hear their stories.

Not to change them, not to convert them.

But simply to show them that they have a place here, and that that place is with us.

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

“And you cannot imagine all the places you’ll see Jesus
But you’ll find Him everywhere you thought He wasn’t supposed to go
So, go!.. Go!..
And hold all the mothers, whose babies bleed from bullet holes
And feel all the hunger, the bellies and the bones
Shout for the prisoner, cry for justice, loud and long
And march with the victims, as Jesus marches on
And sit at all the tables, ’cause Jesus eats with everyone
And dance to the music, if you can’t sing its native tongue
And cry for the wombs, the mothers and the empty arms
And hold high the warriors, fighting now for freedoms’ song”

— Dear Me by Nichole Nordeman

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An Affirming Christian: Why I Support Pride

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Okay, I know that within the faith world and even my own community, this post is going to be controversial. If you disagree with me, I love you. If you agree with me, I love you. Literally no difference in love for you whether you stand with me or not. I’m so 1000% okay with the hard conversations over this topic–I had to have those conversations in order come to this stance. What I’m not okay with are arguments, name-calling, and belittling/dismissing entire groups of people simply because you do not agree with the way they live. So. If you want to talk with me personally and challenge some of my thoughts or just want to chat more, please feel free through my contact page. If you’re hostile, I won’t talk to you. I’m here for civil, God-honoring conversations. That’s it. The comment section of this post is not a place for debates, so I will be monitoring any comments that come through and deleting ones that I do not feel are appropriate. If this post is going to anger you, please feel free to go ahead and exit out now. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I’m here to share the research I’ve done, the conversations I’ve had with scholarly people who love the Lord, and my own personal convictions from Jesus. I have no agenda here. Just sharing my thoughts and what I believe to be truth just like I do in any other of my blog posts! The song ringing through my head as I type this: In every eye that see me, Christ be all around me. Amen. Now let’s get rolling.


Okay, what up, I don’t really know how to start this blog post.

This personal belief has been a long time coming. I’ve wrestled with this question for years: is homosexuality a sin? I was raised being taught that it is wrong, that you’re not born gay, that if you’re gay then you need to stay single and celibate for your entire life. I’ve even had people go as far as to teach me that gay Christians are going to hell. None of this sat right with me, and it was never a conviction that I felt from the Holy Spirit. So I wrestled. I went back and forth on my opinion. I cried about it a lot and prayed about it even more. I talked to a heck of a lot of professors and pastors and friends (both affirming and non-affirming), and here I am. I have a stance. And I believe that it is Biblically backed-up too.

I believe that the Bible we read never once mentions consensual, monogamous homosexual relationships.

Now, keep in mind: I love social justice, but I love Jesus even more. No matter how much my flesh wants to side with something, I have to be able to support said beliefs with my deep faith. I will never turn on my Jesus to fight for a worldly belief. I came to this stance by talking with the Lord and studying Scripture, so I don’t come to this stance lightly.

The Bible only discusses homosexuality six times–three times in the Old Testament, three times in the New. Each time, however, it is discussing something extremely different than what we know to be homosexuality. I could go into each verse more in depth about what each one is specifically talking about, but I’m trying to avoid writing an entire novel. Basically, each passage is talking about rape, cultic prostitution, pagan worship/idolatry, pedophilia, and really just situations in which the relationship is abusive or is already dishonoring to God for other reasons. Never in any of the scenarios is it discussing what we know to be homosexuality: a monogamous, committed, consensual relationship of two people of the same sex who are of legal age to be together. 

In reality, Paul (or the authors of Genesis and Leviticus) had no context for what an appropriate homosexual relationship would look like. When looking back in the Hebrew and Greek language of the Bible, there is no definitive word for homosexuality. The word “homosexuality” did not even exist until about 100 years ago and did not appear in the Bible until 1946 for the first time.

Let’s do a short little word study on the words used in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. The Greek words are malakoi and arsenokoitai. We don’t know an exact translation for these two words, but malakoi is understood to mean either “soft” and “spineless,” or discusses the act of uncontrolled lust or misused sexuality for ANY gender. So it is not specific to homosexual relations, but any sexual relation that is not honoring to God. Arsenokoitai is a bit more confusing, because a lot of scholars that I’ve read believe that Paul just straight up made the word up. Basically from my understanding, the word literally means “man-bedders.” Okay, cool. But when it is used in other ancient Greek literature, it is talking about economic abuses and exploitations. A lil different than gay sex, ya know? This word is also often linked to pederasty, aka the act of a grown man having sex with young boys. Which is obviously abuse and perverted. And this perverted act of a man (often elite Greek elders) abusing a boy is vastly different from two adults living in a consensual relationship.

(I could talk more in depths about the Greek and Hebrew language used in the other passages, but honestly right now my brain hurts. If you wanna know more specifics, feel free to message me and I’ll be glad to talk about it with you!)

In Romans 1:26-17, Paul uses the word “unnatural” to describe a man having sexual relations with another man. There’s a whole lot that can go into the discussion of using the word unnatural here, so again, please feel free to message me and we can talk more. But the point that I want to make here is that later in 1 Corinthians 11:14, Paul uses the same Greek word for “unnatural” to describe a man having long hair (and vice versa for women having short hair). Okay… so why as Christians today are we still condemning one but not the other? Last time I checked, it was no big deal when I got a pixie cut back in high school. We recognize that those verses that are more cultural specific (long vs short hair, women covering their heads in church, women not speaking in church, greeting one another with a holy kiss) are not relevant today because we are in a different cultural society. So why are we not reading the rest of the Bible through a cultural lens?

The Bible is alive today. It is relevant today. It is still as authoritative today as it was when Paul and John and Moses and David and all those pals wrote it. BUT it has cultural significance. It is an ancient document. Paul’s letters in the New Testament were written to specific people groups in a specific time period on a specific topic… and it’s been pretty scholarly proven that the topics discussed are not the same homosexuality that we know. There is so much cultural context in the Bible, but that doesn’t invalidate anything that it says. Like I said, it is still alive and authoritative today. Recognizing that the Bible has culturally relevant topics in it does not mean that we can’t learn from it as present-day people. Trust me, God still speaks to me everyday from his living and active Word!!!

We really like to pick and choose which passages we want to read through a cultural lens and which ones we don’t. But we don’t have that power to deem something as literally relevant to us or not. We either need to read the entire Bible with cultural context in mind (which is what I believe we should do), or we should read it all 100% straight-forward. Which let me tell ya, would look VASTLY different than the Christianity we know today.

If we did that, men would have to have short hair no matter what (1 Corinthians 11). Women would have to cover their hair when in church (1 Corinthians 11), and they would not be able to even speak while in church, let alone hold a leadership position (1 Corinthians 14). We would have to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16). We’d literally be physically turning our cheek when someone slaps us in the face so that they can also slap the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). Tbh, I don’t know any Christian who does all of those things (except maybe not letting women lead in church–that one is still heavily debated, but thankfully I was raised in a church with a woman pastor on staff). Basically what I’m saying is, if you think we should read the Bible straight-forward and not question any of it, please greet me with a holy kiss next time I see you. (jk please don’t do that, but you get my point)

Also, as I’m writing this I’m thinking of prominent pastors who are condemning of homosexuality because the Bible is “straight-forward” in its condemnation of it. But I’m finding humor in this because multiple of the pastors that I’m thinking of are women. Trust me, I 1000% believe through and through that women are allowed to be pastors, but please, if you’re going to be in a leadership position, don’t pick and choose which verses you should read with context and which ones you don’t. We try to make the Bible fit our own agendas when we really need to be making our agendas fit the Bible. I’m for women pastors, but I believe that it is hypocritical to say that we should read the Bible straight-forward about homosexuality, but allow cultural context when reading about women’s roles in the church to benefit ourselves.

There’s a term for all this called “Biblicism.” This is the idea that the Bible “emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident means, and universal applicability.” And it’s not that this idea is wrong (the Bible is the perfect Word of God), but it’s impossible because the Bible is a historical document written by countless authors over a span of thousands of years, and then edited and placed together and interpreted by even more people. Plus there are genres that we so often overlook!! There’s poetry, there’s drama, there’s comedy, there’s history. There’s literally everything, and all of them will have slightly different tones and messages because of the genre that they are placed in. And like I said earlier, it’s an ancient document written to ancient people. What was true for them and their struggles in their culture might not be relevant today.

When we try to read the Bible literally, we’re missing out on a lot. I believe that we’re missing a lot of points that God is trying to make on a lot of different things if we just take everything face value and never search for context or anything. We have to look at the history and context and everything around a verse in order to get the full picture. If we don’t, we are portraying our own cultural norms onto an ancient text that already has its own specific cultural norms. And I’m pretty sure our God lives and exists outside of cultural norms.

So. Now that I’ve given you all of my reasons on why I don’t believe that the Bible addresses homosexuality, let’s talk about where you go from here!!

I can’t say for sure.

I cannot tell you for sure 100% if homosexuality is a sin or not, simply because the Bible does not address it. I’m not God (surprise/thank goodness oh my gosh), so who am I to be able to declare something that is literally not even addressed as a sin or not? We can’t say that homosexuality is a sin because we have no proof to back up that claim. If we do try to say that it’s a sin, then we are sinning because we are placing ourselves in a God position which IS a sin.

In the same way, I don’t think I can comfortably say for certain that homosexuality is not a sin. I’m not about to put myself in that God role of trying to declare things as sins or not. I just know that it’s not addressed. So I’m going to sit in the semi-uncomfortable place of “hey, I don’t really know for sure. But I’ll support you, because I see nothing telling me not to.”

Listen. It isn’t our place to say if homosexuality is a sin or not. And I’m pretty sure if God didn’t address it in the literal book that he wrote for us, then I’m pretty sure that it’s not as big of a deal as the church is making it out to be. 

I have no place to judge my LGBTQ+ friends. Even if it were a sin, I have no place or right to condemn, and I believe that I would be more condemned by Jesus when I get to heaven for how I treated my brothers and sisters poorly than for standing up for them. 

Above all else, love.

We gotta stop being so obsessed with sins and be more obsessed with people and their hearts and their lives and stories. That’s what really matters. That’s how people meet Jesus. And Church, we’ve been doing a really sucky job at showing our LGBTQ+ friends who Jesus is.

In the Gospels, Jesus hung out with the outcasts. He kinda really despised the Pharisees and spiritual elite. He often found himself with the prostitutes, the lepers, the tax collectors, the crippled, the adulterers. And if that’s the example Jesus set for us, why aren’t we doing that??

I’m not saying that LGBTQ+ people are in the same boat as adulterers or prostitutes (they’re not at all at all at all), but the Church likes to throw them all together and label them under the same category. And that is directly against what Jesus did.

The Church has hurt this community like none other, and there’s gotta be reconciliation. My God loves my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters just as much as he loves me. He is as pleased with them as he is with me. He sees no difference between them and me. 

LGBTQ+ pals, Jesus loves you. He is pleased with you. He wants you.

Church fam, let’s show them that. I’m not trying to convince you to change your stance. But I am trying to convince you to love this community as Jesus loves them. And Jesus loves them a whole heck of a lot. And to turn away from that is to turn away from who Jesus is and create our own idea of a savior.

So, long story short: I don’t believe that the Bible talks about what we know to be homosexuality. I cannot tell you if it is a sin or not because I am not God and I can’t decide something that I have no Biblical proof for, but I am affirming of my LGBTQ+ pals because I have no reason not to be. Our God is love, and I’m going to live in that love by loving this community and accepting their love. 

To sum it all up, my friend told me this quote the other day and I agree wholeheartedly.

“I would rather get to heaven and God tell me that I loved people too much and too hard, than get there and him say that I did not love people enough.”

A-to the-men to that.


And just some resources for y’all (most of these are affirming resources because I mean, that’s my belief and what I’m writing about, so please don’t get @ me for not linking any non-affirming articles please!!):

An Honest Challenge to LGBTQ-Non-Affirming Christians–a great article on how to love those who are LGBTQ+ even if you don’t necessarily agree with their sexuality.

Jen & Brandon Hatmaker–this is just a short Facebook post from Jen and Brandon about how they came to their stance of affirmation, but it is so so good. They also talk about it in other interviews and blog posts and such if you want to search for those too to hear more in depth about their journey!

The Bible does not condemn “homosexuality.” Seriously, it doesn’t.–this article takes each “clobber verse” and examines their cultural context and Greek/Hebrew meaning. Not the most scholarly source in the world, but I figured I’d link this one instead of a bunch of commentaries on the Greek and Hebrew language because those are a bit of a headache to read tbh. The man who wrote the article is a pastor, so he’s for sure done his research also, and everything he says in here are things I’ve read directly from scholarly commentaries and exegeses!

Candice Czubernat–honestly just a great blog to read from a married lesbian Christian mom.

The Law of the Land has caught up with the Law of the Lord–this one is AWESOME and not a side of the discussion that I addressed. I especially love the chart about the Biblical definition of marriage. So good.

God and the Gay Christian–this book has rocked my world. Seriously. If nothing else, read this. Not to change your mind, but to better understand. This man believes in the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, and it is refreshing to see him dig into Scripture in the way that he does!

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Thank You, God, for Mental Illness

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Lately, I’ve started practicing thanking God for my mental illness.

I know, it sounds weird.

“Hey, God, thanks for the crippling anxiety. Really loving not being able to catch my breath today!”

“God, I’m honestly so thankful for the times that my brain existed solely as a calculator to count each and every calorie that entered and exited my body. Thanks for making my brain able to do that!”

“Seriously, God. Panicking whenever I get in too close of a proximity to a boy–what a blessing.”

Lol, that is NOT how my prayers go. Nope. Not at all.

This is what it’s more like:

“God, this hurts. A lot. But thank you giving me these experiences and this platform. Mental illness is crippling and some days I really feel like I’m not going to get through it, but I see you here and I know that you are here with me. This darkness is my proof that you are good and that you aren’t leaving me. If this is what it takes for me to know that, it is well.”

We all have our own darkness. I don’t know what yours is, but mine is a few psychiatric diagnoses and a few traumatic experiences and all the symptoms of both of those. It’s heavy and I’d honestly rather just throw all the things away, but they were given to me so that I can know who God is in my life.

He fought for me. Hardcore fought for me, time and time and time again. Dude was putting on his armor multiple times a day when I was in middle school and high school thanks to self-harm and anorexia. He still puts on that armor daily to help me fight my crazy anxiety and trauma reactions.

If mental illness has taught me anything, it is that God is here for me and he’s not giving up on me.

If he was going to give up on me, he would’ve done it a looooong time ago. Probably when I was in seventh grade, if we’re being honest. But not only has he stayed with me, he’s fought for me.

So, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the mental illness that has shown me Jesus and taught me more of his character and who he is as a savior and redeemer and friend.

Don’t get me wrong. I would so so love it if Jesus took away every ounce of anxiety and depression in my body. But that probably won’t happen. And I’m okay with that. As great as it would be to live a life where I didn’t have to take medication each morning so I can function each day, that isn’t the life I’m called to. This mental illness is the thorn in my side (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) that I will choose to rejoice in and be thankful for. Because these are the things that introduced me to Jesus and force me to lean on him constantly. They drive me straight to the cross, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

So, God, thanks for the darkness. Thank you for showing me that you fought for me time and time again, and that you’ll keep doing so until I’m safe in your arms in heaven one day. I see my anxiety, and I think of you. I see my depression, and I am reminded of who you am as Father. I see my eating disorder, and I remember your providence. I see my trauma, and I know that you were with me then. Because of these things, I know you. That is more than enough for me. That is healing, right there.

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Healing is Exhaling

521c44d8e7bad3d6c5e242e7641c1fa1Dear You,

I see you. I see you fighting to take that next breath. I know that it feels like all the wind has been knocked out of you. There’s so much pressure from the void inside your chest that it feels physically impossible to breathe. But you can.

I know that telling you that you are able to breathe doesn’t help. It’s like telling a person who’s drowning to just swim. But I want you to know that you aren’t weak. You aren’t a victim to this. You have power. You are strong. You can control so much of your story.

Whatever it is isn’t bigger than you. I know that you feel small. I know that you feel like you can’t possibly change anything. What’s the point in trying to heal if it’s always going to loom over you? I promise you, it’s not always going to be there. It doesn’t have to at least.

Small steps become a huge long road that you’ve traveled. You might just be barely shuffling your feet, but soon you’re going to look back and you’re going to be one foot, five feet, fifty feet, one mile, two miles, twenty miles from where you started. That one small step might hurt like hell and it might feel like it won’t make a difference, but soon you’ll look back and think wow, I’m glad I took that step.

You gotta heal for you. This thing that is haunting you is only affecting you. Sure, what’s hurting you has somewhat of an effect on the people around you because they care for you, but they’re not the ones waking up in a sweat from a nightmare, having a panic attack when they’re alone in the car, or leaving class early when something triggers it. They’re not affected in the same way that you are, because they are not living what you are living.

I know that you wanna heal for your best friend, your boyfriend, your family, your whoever so that they don’t worry about you. It shows so much of your heart and character that you want to care for them, but that isn’t true healing. That’s just people-pleasing. And that will be the death of you. Probably not your physical, literal death, but it’ll be the death of your real, life-altering healing. 

If you try to heal just so you can please someone else, you aren’t healing. You might feel like you are, but really, you’re just stuffing everything under the rug, placing a coffee table on top of it, and pretending that there aren’t lumps underneath. It might feel okay, but one day you’re going to go to redecorate your living room and you’re going to move that coffee table and rug and everything is going to come right back out.

Healing has to be for you. And you’re the only one who can heal yourself. Your friends can’t heal you; your therapist can’t heal you (WHAT I know isn’t that what you pay them for??). You and God are going to be the only two players on this team against the darkness. But hey, that’s more than enough. Your loved ones will be cheering you on from the sidelines, but you gotta fight this one yourself.

You’re more than capable of this. Whatever it is, someone else has fought the same battle before you. They made it through, and so will you. It won’t be easy, it probably won’t be quick, but it’ll be worth it. 

Real healing, the kind that takes time and uncomfortable effort, is glorious. It’s unlike life that you have ever known. It’s like exhaling a breath that you’ve been holding your entire life.

You can breathe again and finally just be.

This healing is yours.

It’s waiting for you.

It has your name on it.

It’ll hurt at times, but it’ll also be kind and gentle. You can go at your own pace.

Just please, begin.

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“No, Daughter, I Died FOR You”

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Holy Week/Resurrection Weekend. They get me. I’m pretty sure I cry more in these seven days than I do in the entire year (okay, that’s an exaggeration because I’m a very emotional person, but you get my point). They completely wreck me and they leave me undone in the best way possible.

Yesterday my church held a Good Friday service. Instead of being a typical hour long service with a message and worship, it was a come-and-go as you please as you go around to different stations and reflect on different aspects of what happened on Calvary so many years ago.

It wrecked me.

I sat on the floor at one station for the longest time. It was a painting of Jesus, and there was a note that said “look Jesus in the eyes and ask what he feels.” 

I cried. A lot.

It reminded me of the humanity that Jesus existed in. He was fully human when he died, so he felt the full physical and emotional pain of the cross. The cross was gruesome. I cannot fathom the pain. But the emotional pain, y’all. He had been abandoned by his closest friends. He had been given over to die by one of his disciples. Those that he came to save were begging for him to be hung on the cross. We all know what it feels like to be stabbed in the back by a friend. But Jesus experienced the ultimate betrayal.

And if we had been there, if we had been in that crowd, we would have been yelling “crucify him!” right alongside them.

After visiting all the different stations, I came back to the picture of Jesus. I sat down and journaled. I wrote, “Sunday is coming and you have won, but this day is heavy. It is a celebration, but I did this to you. You died because of me.”

Jesus immediate replied,

“No, daughter, I died FOR you.”

Oh my Jesus!!!!!

Hallelujah.

My Jesus reminded me that there is no guilt in the cross, and to cloak what happened on Calvary in our own guilt is to take away what Jesus did.

The cross is about what HE did for US, not what WE did to HIM.

To twist it any other way is to exalt ourselves higher than our Lord and to pretend that we have that much power. We don’t. We didn’t have any control over Good Friday. That was planned and orchestrated all along by God. We have no responsibility in what happened. To think that we did is to give ourselves power that belongs to God. We aren’t that mighty.

Doesn’t that just take a weight off your shoulders?

I’ve been feeling that guilt this Lenten season. I’ve been feeling dirty and unworthy of my Jesus. I’ve labeled my mess bigger than the cross. In all honesty, I’ve been feeling more grief in the cross than joy. Because when I’ve looked at the cross, I’ve been seeing what I did, not what Jesus did.

I’ve been looking at the cross and seeing my sins, not his forgiveness.

Oh, but that’s not what it is.

I’m thankful for the humbling nature of the cross.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that Jesus was put on the cross because of us. I don’t deny that it is my sins that put him there. But he chose to be there. My sins were not a bondage that held him there. He could have saved us another way. He could have had a legion of angels come rescue him from the pain of the cross. But he stayed. Because he wanted to show the crowd (and every other human to exist for the rest of eternity) that his love for them was so much greater. The cross was radical declaration of love that was literally the laying down of his life for us. He could have chosen another way. Yet he decided to completely give himself away to show us how much we are worth to him. He died so that we could live. THAT is love.

Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

It’s Saturday.

We’re almost to Sunday. We’re almost to the resurrection. We’re almost there.

But he’s in the waiting.

Saturday was dark. Saturday was painful and lonely for his followers. Their first full day without their Savior.

But we can exist in the Saturday in hope because we know that SUNDAY IS COMING.

Today I am thankful that we can rejoice in resurrection life while we wait for Sunday to come. 

Hallelujah.

How much that reflects my everyday life. I feel like I’m in a season where I’ve experienced the pain, but I haven’t yet experienced the glory and resurrection. I’m in a season of waiting between the two. I’m living in the Saturday. It’s frustrating and it can be really dark and lonely, but I can have hope in the Sunday that is going to come.

Hallelujah for how the resurrection is reflected into our normal, everyday lives!!

Crying at my Jesus and the beauty of his resurrection and the selfless, recklessness of his love.

Amen, amen, amen.

Thank you for pouring our your love. Thank you for reminding me that their is no guilt in the cross. Thank you for the hope in the waiting for Sunday.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I can’t say it enough.

Thank you.

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Dreaming of Malibu

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If the stars were made to worship, so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence, so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness, so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high, so will I
If the wind goes where You send it, so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence, so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

I can’t. stop. thinking. about Malibu.

And Redding, and really just California as a whole, but Malibu. I’ve never seen anything like it.

If you didn’t know, I was blessed to have been able to travel to California twice this past month. A few weeks ago I spent a long weekend in Redding to go to Bethel Church, and last week I went to Los Angeles for spring break. And wow, Cali stole a piece of my heart.

I had such a blast in both places doing so many new things, but the views, y’all. The nature. The beauty of all of the creation. I still can’t get over it.

On Thursday of our spring break, Kayley and I rented a car and drove the Pacific Coast Highway up to Malibu and spent our day exploring the cutest little beach town I’ve ever seen. We stood in the Pacific Ocean, had a dance party on the side of a canyon, sat on top of a mountain, played on rocky beaches, and just had a really, really awesome day. One of the best days of my life.

And all I could say was, “wow.”

Seriously. Pretty sure at least 60% of conversations in Malibu started with “wow” or “oh my gosh.” We couldn’t find words to vocalize what we were seeing. All we could do was scream at the top of our lungs or happy dance or run or just sit speechless. It was beautiful.

At one point, as we were standing alongside Malibu Canyon Road, Jesus started talking to me.

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Malibu Canyon Road

I had spent all day obsessing over the creation, but I had yet to turn it all back to the Creator.

Mid-sentence, as I was saying how breathtaking the view was, Jesus stopped me in my tracks and said, “I made this just for you.”

He pointed out a short little palm tree in the gorge of the canyon and said, “I made all of this for you to enjoy. I made that tree just to make your smile. I formed this canyon with my hands knowing that you would come visit it one day. I made this for you to see me.

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This was the view that I was looking at when Jesus said the quote above. See that cute lil palm tree? Thanks, Jesus.

I was vocalizing all of this to Kayley and Jesus spoke into my heart again and said, “and I’m glorified through your amazement of my creation.”

WHAT!!

My speechlessness and inability to say anything besides “wow” is LITERAL PRAISE to my God.

He is glorified when we appreciate what he created for us.

He is honored when we give credit back to him.

He is worshipped when we stand in awe at what he has done.

That blows my mind.

Me standing on the edge of a canyon, dancing around with tears in my eyes, was praise to my Jesus. The amount of times that I screamed and said “wow” and made Kayley pull over just so I could get out of the car and take the scenery in was worship. Me looking out and pointing the creation back to the Creator was exaltation.

Me simply living and enjoying what God made for me was the same kind of praise that happens when I worship in a church. He is glorified just by me soaking in what he made.

What a good, good Father.

If creation sings your praises, so will I.

Jesus, your praise will literally ever be on my lips.

Let me never forget that the creation is yours. Let me not only see its beauty, but also see you in it. Let me forever be in awe of what you have made. Let me never forget that you created it just for me. That you thought of me when you made the mountains of Tennessee and the beaches of Malibu and everything in between. Let me forever worship you when I see the earth. Let me cherish what I have been given. Let your praise ever be on my lips, even if it is just a simple “wow.” Let me always point it back to you.

Amen amen amen.

Now, let’s go back to Malibu??? Please?

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to proclaim freedom for the captives // NEDA week 2018

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“May you learn to embrace the freedom that has long been your calling so you can liberate courage in others so they can do the same.”

Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018!!! This is my favorite week of the year because it feels like Christmas for one of the things most near and dear to my heart. (PS, read all the way to the bottom to get a fun lil surprise!)

Really if you follow my social media, you’d think that every week is NEDA week because I never shut up about freedom. I am always so vocal about this. I live in a constant state of vulnerability and being seen for all that I am. And just YES to that. Yes to never being silent.

Early on in my walk with Jesus, he (and my mentor) proclaimed Isaiah 61 over my life.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

….

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.”

Isaiah 61:1,3

Those verses light a fire under me like nothing else. YES. Let me proclaim FREEDOM for the captives and RELEASE FROM DARKNESS for the prisoners. Let bestow on them a CROWN OF BEAUTY instead of ashes and the OIL OF JOY instead of mourning.

If my purpose in this life is to proclaim good news and truth to those around me, then heck yeah, let me lean right into that. I am all about it. Let me be an instrument of freedom and healing for my God.

I’m pretty known around my school and really just life in general for being the girl in recovery or the girl with the blog or the girl who shares a lot of her personal life on social media. And honestly, I am so so okay with those titles. This is what Jesus has called me to, so hallelujah that this is what I am being known as. Hallelujah that I am not wasting my purpose.

I was talking to my friend the other day and I told her that I am apart of the “Glennon Doyle and Brene Brown world,” so I am 1000% about leaning into and living in vulnerability. Which I mean, that’s true, Glennon and Brene are both heading an awesome movement of living authentically and being vulnerable, but Jesus led this movement first. LITERALLY JUST LOOK AT THE VERSES ABOVE. Jesus is calling us to live in vulnerability.

We are called to speak truth into others. To break each other’s chains. To lead others into freedom!!!

“As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.”

This looks different for everyone for sure, but for me, Jesus has called me to be open and vulnerable through my blog and through Instagram. Through this, I have met so, so many amazing people that I have joined hands with and walked this journey with. I have mentored girls, helped people research/apply to/get admitted to treatment, and made friends all over the world (yes literally, the world–absolute craziness). Through my vulnerability and openness, I have helped walk people into freedom. And that is the most humbling, amazing feeling.

It is honestly the most humbling moment when I get a Facebook friend/message request or Instagram DM or email through my blog that starts with, “Hey so I know I don’t know you, but…” and then goes into how I inspired them, how I encouraged them to get treatment, how I helped them choose recovery. Literally WHAT. I am a mess of a human, and I fail this whole Christian and recovery thing daily, but Jesus uses my messy, rambling Instagram captions and creates them into megaphone for freedom for his glory. I don’t say this to toot my own horn (I really don’t know how my words mean so much to people I don’t even know), but I say this to show what Jesus does when you lean into your God-given purpose. It’s amazing.

It blows my mind and fills my heart with unexplainable JOY that this is the life that I am called to. My purpose in life is literally to help walk people into freedom. To say hey, me too. but it’s possible to get through this. let me walk with you. That is my calling as a Christian/friend/advocate, but it is also my calling as a future social worker. I CANNOT WAIT. 

Two years ago before treatment I would have never imagined that I would be where I am now. I would have never imagined that I would ever actually be in recovery and living life without my eating disorder, but I would have especially never imagined that I would be so vocal about such dark things.

The past year and a half has taught me that I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m ready to run straight into it. I’m ready to hand flashlights to those living in that darkness and say, “here’s a light. You can do this. I’ll be here to help and encourage and show you that you’re not alone in this, but you are capable of saving yourself.”

Hallelujah for vulnerability. Hallelujah that Jesus broke my fear of being seen. Hallelujah that he is using me as an instrument of freedom. Hallelujah for the freedom that he gave me. Hallelujah that he gives it freely to everyone who asks for it. Hallelujah for it all. 

I’ll never be quiet about recovery. This thing is too good. 

“I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.”


To celebrate NEDA week, I created a recovery-focused, empowering-as-heck playlist!! I’ve been hardcore jamming to it, so I hope that y’all do the same. 🙂 

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