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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The Valley of Achor // A Door of Hope

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What. A. Life.

Flashback to January 10, the third day of classes of the semester.

I spent all day on phone call after phone call, first to my therapist, then to my parents, then to multiple treatment centers all over the country, then to professors in my department at school, then repeat the cycle all over again.

I was set + ready + prepared to medically withdraw from school and head to treatment by the end of the week.

Things were hard. Not as hard as last semester (thank God), but the challenges of last semester left lasting repercussions that just made life hurt. There were a lot of changes to my life at school, and I was still slowly adjusting to my new medication and coming out of the funk that I had found myself in. Sleeping was hard, eating was even harder, and I was low-key crying at least once every hour. I was a mess.

After planning literally everything out–when my parents would come to move me out of my dorm, treatment admit dates, and bookmarking potential one-way flights to whichever city I ended up in–we decided to put all those plans on pause.

A lot of things contributed to that decision, but looking back, I can see God using that as a way to say Wait. I have something great plan. Restoration you didn’t believe possible. Restoration you didn’t know was needed. Wait. You’re going to want to be here for this.

So I waited. And things were still sad. I still cried. The adjustment period back to my new school normal was weird. But I put in effort in areas that I believed would help (blog post about there here). And boy, has that intentionality CHANGED MY LIFE in literally the past three weeks.

God has closed doors that were painful, but he has opened so many and done so many new things in this season that I can’t help but scream to everyone that will listen JESUS IS HERE AND HE IS MOVING SO MIGHTILY. 

Literally. Anyone that will give me a second to talk will definitely hear me ramble about the goodness of the Lord and his sovereignty over every situation, especially in this specific season of my life. #BLESSED

Just to give you an idea of how he’s moving, here’s a short rundown of some of the ways he is moving SO big.

  • Restoration. God is restoring things that I thought were broken. “He’s not just reviving, not simply restoring, greater things have yet to come.” YES. Our God is a redemptive God. And wow, he is pouring out the redemption and grace on me right now. Hallelujah.
  • Community. Oh man. THIS is where it’s really big. He has blossomed SO many new relationships in my life. Seriously. And these relationships are literally just falling in my lap in the most God ordained ways possible. Ways I never even imagined. God is answering prayers that I’ve literally prayed for since before freshman year in SUCH a tangible way. I’ve been crazy busy this semester because literally all of my time is spent getting coffee with this person or going to that club meeting or going over for dinner at someone’s house. So many friend crushes are becoming real life relationships, and so many people that I have never even met before are becoming so special and dear to me. My community has EXPLODED. I’ve never felt this surrounded. I am amazed.
  • Bethel Church. Jesus is wild. Living with Jesus is crazy. But it is SO GOOD. The trip is still in the works, but it looks like I’ll be hopping on a plane to California the first weekend of March with some of my ministry besties to go spend the weekend at Bethel Church. What!! It’s always been a dream of mine to go there. What started as a conversation about true healing in the Lord with a close friend turned to a hypothetical conversation about flying out to Bethel which turned to actual real plans. I’m still amazed by it. I’ve never been to California, but God has opened so many doors and I will literally be going to California twice in ONE week (this trip and then a few days later for spring break). Wow.
  • Apartment. When I went to Carolina House, I didn’t expect to meet my best friends. And I really didn’t expect for one of my CH best friends to move to Nashville a few months later. And I definitely didn’t expect to become roommates with that best friend. BUT JESUS KNEW. And in just a few short months, that will all become a reality!! Watch out world, Queen K and I are moving into an apartment together. We’re getting a sign that says “Eat or Die” to put in our kitchen. I can’t wait to live with my bff and lay on the couch with her and watch Gilmore Girls every night. This journey of recovery has blessed me in more ways than I can even count.
  • Freedom. Chalk it up to my last blog post, but I have never felt this free in my life. I’ve experienced SO much freedom since I met Jesus, but a part of my soul has always been tied and bound to the shame connected to my trauma. But no longer. Now I’m refusing to let it have a hold on me. It has no more power. I have never felt this light in my life. I can’t wait to keep stepping into this abundant freedom!
  • Conversations. This one definitely relates back to community, but WOW, have I been able to have some really awesome conversations! About Jesus, about mental health, about life. With strangers (now friends!), with old acquaintances, with some of my bffs. My heart has never been so full of joy and hope. 

As you can see, Jesus is blessing me SO big. He is moving so much that WOW my mind cannot even keep up. Literally I have two group messages with two of my closest bff groups and I feel like everyday I’m texting them and being like “listen to this crazy thing that God did in my life just now!!!!” 

And that is such a change from just a few weeks ago. Literally two weeks ago today was when I was about to withdraw from school. That is crazy for me to think about because I am literally WORLDS away from where I was then.

And that’s not to say that everything is perfect. It’s not.

Some things are still different and weird, and though I’m adjusting to this new normal and honestly thriving in it, it’s sometimes still sad.

Trauma is still hard sometime and I definitely had to walk out of my human sexuality class yesterday because it got slightly too real, but it does NOT have a hold on me anymore. I’m no longer bound to it. But it is still there and I do still have to deal with it.

And I really could list out other things that aren’t “perfect,” but why? There is so much good.

All I can say is that I’m glad I stayed at school.

I’m thankful for the uncomfortable changes that this semester brought.

Because I can say with 100% certainty and conviction that none of the things that I listed above would have EVER happened if things were still the same as last semester.

The changes that this semester brought has majorly pushed me out of my comfort zone, but God met me there. With so many gifts. He’s such a good father to me. He was like, “this is going to hurt, and it’s really going to stretch you, but here. Look what I have for you. Here’s the friend you met at church. Here’s the girls that reached out to you on Instagram. Here’s the trip to California. Here, here, here.” So many gifts that I never expected. So many things that would have never happened if it weren’t for the changes. Wow.

Jesus really took me through the valleys the past few months. But now he’s slowly but surely leading me up to a mountaintop. Halle-freaking-lujah. 

This has been one of the hardest seasons of life. I remember sobbing to my bff Mere on the phone on the first day of classes, “I don’t think that anything has ever hurt this bad.” And just two days ago on the phone with her again I said, “I have never felt joy or peace this deeply.” Yes, Jesus.

God broke me to rebuild me. And it’s been the most glorious process.

I have never felt joy like this because I have never been so out of control of what’s happening in my life, but still able to see Jesus in the midst of it all. I have no hand in what is happening anymore. I’m just watching it all unfold. I have given up all control to him, and wow. FREEDOM. 

I’m glad I didn’t withdraw from school this semester. I would have missed out on so many blessings that I didn’t even think were possible. But God knew. He knew what he was going to do.

I’m so thankful to have a Father that loves me so well. That pursues me like he does. He wants to woo his children.

Hosea 2:14-15 has been ringing in my heart all week and I feel like it really sums up my life right now.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”

The word “Achor” means “trouble.” LITERALLY GOD WILL MAKE THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE A DOOR OF HOPE. Amen. Yes. Hallelujah. God took me out into the wilderness. He pursued me. He wooed me. And he made the mess of my life into so much pure hope and joy. 

Yes, Jesus.

I can’t stop dancing. I can’t stop talking about Jesus to everyone. I can’t stop asking the Holy Spirit to come and move. I. Just. Can’t. Stop. 

Peace be still,

say the word and I will

set my feet upon the sea,

till I’m dancing in the deep.

YES. I’m dancing in the deep with you, Jesus. 

Amen.

Amen.

Amen.

This song is my life song right now. All of it. The lyrics. Wow. Yes. “I’ve lost control but I’m free.” All the yes.

Hold out for Jesus, y’all. This season might hurt. It might be the worst season of life that you’ve ever had to walk through. You might feel so extremely alone. But Jesus is there. He’s waiting. He’s got you. Hold out for the promise. It is so unbelievably worth it.

(Also, just for completely transparency here, I’m sitting in the student center absolutely SOBBING as I write this. I am so overwhelmed by Jesus. And I’m listening to the above song. I am SO beautifully in over my head!!!!)

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