On Sisterhood.

Genuine sisterhood is still a new thing for me. Coming to YWAM and the prospect of living with about twenty girls, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, scared the daylights out of me. Despite my fears, though, it has become one of the most beautiful times of my life already.

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Taken during portrait practice. This is Hannah, my lovely Norwegian suite mate.

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Jadon capturing Fernanda, my beautiful bunkmate.

Tonight we were invited to join the amazing Abby Beard and celebrate Thanksgiving by making cookies and laughing a ridiculous amount.

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Tonight with Abby was a clear example of a principle God has been impressing upon my heart a lot lately: most of the discipleship happens in those tiny moments when you make yourself available. It’s a concept I’ve always known in my head, but as I’ve been considering the prospect of leading teams in missions myself on a smaller scale than what we do here at YWAM, it has truly sunk deeper into my heart. This is when the magic happens, over too many cookies and coffee brewed to perfection.

Having grown up with a more conservative background and a love-language of donuts, I found in Abby a spirit I immediately admired. Prior to coming to Youth With A Mission, she never considered being a missionary, but now she epitomizes what it means to be a strong Christian woman on the field. Her life is a testimony of joy, which she brings with her wherever she goes.

And she is just one of the women here, and the one I’ve known for the least amount of time; literally less than five hours. My beloved sister-in-law Isabelle has always been an amazing advocate of sisterhood, and while I would agree with her in all her views, women still scared me. While the amount to have wounded me are few, the knives were deep and consistent. Thus, I’ve been more jaded than I would have ever liked to admit before coming here.

But God is good. He placed me in a suite with twenty girls, where I couldn’t run from my social anxiety or even cover it; for the first time I was forced to truly face it. Perhaps that’s the main theme of my YWAM story; conquering the crippling crutch of emotional seclusion I’ve always leaned on. Even if my separation from my peers was never seen outwardly, in my head it was always them and then me. I was never joined with them. Until now.

In these girls I have witnessed such grace, beauty, love, forgiveness, strength, and passion. They have wiped my tears, called me out, cheered me on, and utterly welcomed me when the entire time I was honestly terrified of them for no other reason than that they’re female and within my age range. Words cannot begin to describe the love and respect I have for the women of Voice for the Voiceless DTS. All my life I mourned not having a sister. Now, I have over twenty.

So, specifically to the girls of K 203 and 204, thank you. I love you.

Until next time.

XOXO

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Return to the Garden

Here You find meweek five (7 of 33)
Broken and restored
Here You hold m
Wholly abandoned to Your love

Fighting and tired
I lay in the mire
You rescue me, wash me clean
Till I am white as snow

Striving against gloryweek five (5 of 33)
Giving fear my soul
On silver plates of agony
Feeding deception’s monster

In righteous fury
On clouds of fire
You race in, a rushing wind
Of jealous adoration, pure and holy

In Your arms I find myselfweek five (2 of 33)
Clothed in righteousness not my own
The beast is slain, set in dust evermore
And You carry me Home.

Here You find me
Broken and restored
Here You hold me
Wholly abandoned to Your love

In Your arms I find myselfweek five (22 of 33)
Clothed in righteousness not my own
The beast is slain, set in dust evermore
And You carry me Home.

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week five (3 of 20)

week five (7 of 20)
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week five (17 of 20)

Psalm 81

When we were wanderingweek five (18 of 33)
Alone and afraid
You rescued us
Kept us from shame

In pillars of smoke
In clouds of fire
You whispered Your name
You gave us hope
Daily, we sang Your praisesweek five (19 of 33)
Adoration was hourly upon our lips
Upon our lips
To the Unknown God who saves
New moon rises
Sound the horn
We were lost and lonely souls
Now we’re found in You, Lord
Then as a storm, fear roseweek five (20 of 33)
Thunderclouds swallowing hope
Stealing breath from our lungs, so from Your arms
We run, run, run
And You say
Darling, come home
Darling, come home
Taste My love once more
Remember when you were lost and lonelyweek five (24 of 33)
In My arms, I carried you to safety
We lived in harmony
My bride and I
I long to drench you
In My love, fill your cup
I long to hold you
In My holy embrace
Remember how I led you
Through the desertweek five (32 of 33)
Pillars of smoke, clouds of fire
Singing joy to you all the while
Why have you gone?
Let Me hold you again
You’re tired and afraid
Let me keep you safe from harm
I’ll keep you safe from harm
Darling, come homeweek five (28 of 33)
Darling, come home
Darling, come hom
Taste My love once more.

Proclamation

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. So, let’s start with Jesus.

“Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

YWAM is kinda known for being a vessel God uses to reveal to people things about themselves they didn’t know were there. For me, that meant anxiety shrouded in arrogance.

It meant that when I came before the throne of God, I believed He would only accept me if I felt I was behaving a certain way. However, my head knew this wasn’t a right way of thinking, so my heart in pride believed I wasn’t trying to be this certain way, it was simply the Holy Spirit working in me because I’m such a good Christian and I don’t believe those lies like all the other “believers” in the room trying to earn their salvation (ugh, fools).

When I entered a situation that made me uncomfortable, such as living in a dorm with twenty other girls, I would draw back and search for ways I felt excluded. The reality was that I was retreating myself while they were all being welcoming and loving.

It meant that when Jonny and I began to get more and more serious, I freaked out because of all the what-ifs and pushed him away while clinging to his embrace, putting him through confusing turmoil because of my selfishness. All the while, he never failed to be comforting, understanding, and forgiving.

But God is gracious. In tenderness, He revealed the lies and the disparities cluttering the sanctuary of my mind and soul, our meeting place. Daily, He helps me sweep out and restore it. I’ll never be perfect, but soon this will be one more battle conquered.

Instead of focusing on all the tiny possible negatives, all the tiny what-ifs, daily I’ll engage the small, sweet moments of joy. Instead of wondering if I measure up, I’ll rejoice in each instance of fellowship with the souls surrounding and my Almighty God. Instead of allowing fear to reign in the dark corners of my thoughts, I’ll open the door for Jesus’s love-light to flood.

Love-light that breaks down social barriers and raises shamed adulterers to their feet, because who of us has not sinned? Love-light that opens blind eyes and heals crippled legs, but then says “Go, and sin no more.” Love-light that would be tortured to the point of death, all the while thinking of your face and crying within Himself “She’s worth it.” Love-light that cares more about His bride knowing and trusting Him than about anything we have done or could do, because we are His aloneAnd that overrides anything fear could ever tell me.

Serenity_all rules

Each Friday I hope to post a little update like this, complete with photos capturing the past seven days. And if I forget, I invite you to please hold me accountable.

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Serenity_moment

Please excuse how out of focus this is; it was just too precious of a moment for me not to capture and share it.

See you next week!

XOXO

Out of the Dust

Last Friday we had our first media day, which also meant our first photo assignments! The assignments were to take two pictures capturing our dreams for this season, and two capturing our passions. Well, here you go!

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“Beloved.” “Intricate.” “Worthy.” All statements every Christian woman I know has a hard time believing, but is so true of all of us. My first passion: helping people see their intrinsic beauty because they are human.

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Society rushes around us so violently, telling us what to do and what to think, including Christian society. My first dream: learning to stand firm in my own self despite what others may say or think.

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It wasn’t until today that I realized the depth of truth in this statement, but I have always struggled with a mild social anxiety, fed by pride’s denial. My second dream for this season: learn to live without fear and starve the lion of egotism.

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So much of daily life is overlooked for its normalcy. My second passion: discovering and celebrating the beauty of the small things.

XOXO

Harvest

Stil
Quiet
Peace
The storm has ceased
I can finally
Breathe.

Life’s a tornado
I’ve been knocked to the ground
All is steady now
Still, I’m scared to stand.

So I lean into You
Let Your words rush over me
Fall asleep
To the rhythm of Your grace
At last, I’m safe.

I’m being ground
That the spices may come out
Though the winds assail me
And oceans as bullets
From the heavens fall,
Still I rejoice
In my only God
With each earthly blow
Let the blessings flow
That all may see and know
The beauties of
Your precious Name.

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A Teeny Little One

On my way to YWAM, I stopped in California to see my boyfriend. In short, it was amazing. Spending time with Jonny and his family provided some much needed refreshment, both in physical rest and spiritual rejuvenation after what has been, and now continues to be an insane season.

I had been to California twice before in early high school, but seeing it as a local felt so different. The juxtaposition of old, beautiful, rich history and fresh opportunity with dusty sins and barren, shallow hopes is astounding. Although the drought is fierce as ever, signs of life still remain in hidden corners.

While all of this was lovely, the most touching part of the trip was by far the Monfredas. I can’t begin to express the love I have for and felt from this family. From the moment I stepped off the plane, their hearts were open to me, showing me the purest, most generous tenderness of Christ.

Anyways, here are some pictures from the trip 🙂DSC_0192DSC_0191 DSC_0187DSC_0178DSC_0174DSC_0168DSC_0162DSC_0145DSC_0033DSC_0026DSC_0020DSC_0016DSC_0015DSC_0304DSC_0300DSC_0297DSC_0010DSC_0009DSC_0309DSC_0308DSC_0307DSC_0281DSC_0278DSC_0277DSC_0270DSC_0266DSC_0265DSC_0264DSC_0262DSC_0260DSC_0259DSC_0258DSC_0257DSC_0254DSC_0247DSC_0238DSC_0237DSC_0235DSC_0231DSC_0229DSC_0208DSC_0217DSC_0218DSC_0220

There are probably some repeats from a previous post, and it’s probably pretty clear what my favorite view from the trip was, but either way I hope you enjoy!

XOXO

because cliche mush is allowed.

And so it begins: the fearful process of farewells. Six months doesn’t seem like long, but it feels like an eternity. In six days I’ll be on a plane to California to see my beloved boyfriend and meet his family, and ten days after that I’ll be on a plane to Kona, Hawaii for a missionary training program called Youth With A Mission. With my parents having met there and being continually involved as I grew up, my life has been planned around these six months. While ideas for what would come next perpetually changed, as they do with any kid thinking of the future, YWAM remained constant. And now it’s here.

Last Sunday marked my final escapade with the humans who have become family; the ones who are brutally honest, can irritate the daylights out of me and are the most welcoming shoulders when life becomes grey and fuming red with pain’s knife. From midnight drives so we can scream at the stars and yell promises of who we’ll be to the passing cars from hideout vantage points, to nights spent in hotel rooms and around familiar coffee tables processing the glory of who God is, they’ve been there through it all.

Things will be different when I return. Time changes almost everything, and I know we all will have grown in such unique and different ways. But they will remain constant. The ones who make me feel all cliche because they make the stereotypes of beloved friendship true, the ones who give me freedom to discover myself while they discover the intricacies of their own souls, my motley crew of wild wallflowers, will remain constant, each with their own adventures along the way. And when we reconvene, older and wiser, it’ll be as though nothing has changed.

See you on the other side.


  

Terracotta Sweater

Lately in my life things randomly and bizarrely disappearing has become commonplace, to the point where my dad has seriously considered buying a hidden camera for the house to see where it all goes and how it vanishes. I have learned that even of my personal belongings, I have no real control. Only God does, but in that there is so much peace. But these disappearances are merely a part of a hidden painting.

It’s a season of gentle interludes. Clock in, clock out, typewritten prayers and telephoned memories. Perhaps one day the future will come, but for now it stands a hazy mirage in this desert land. My words feel mediocre. Do I have what it takes to go pro, or will I ever remain an amateur? Clock in, clock out, sip the coffee, make the copies, and pretend to myself that one day I’ll be an honest artist.

I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps one day the work will pay off and writing will become my full time job, next to ministry; or perhaps it’s just a little girl’s dream along with unicorns and rainbows made of lollipops. All I know is that the Lord is holding it, and if I can let go, there is so much beauty and adventure in the unknown. He will make me into the artist I am designed to be, in His perfect way and timing. While this interlude is meant for rest, my mind insists on pushing on into worry. How often is that the case? The Lord blesses us and we do everything in our power to distort it into something vile. No. Not today. Today I will curl up in my terracotta sweater, sip the coffee, make the copies, and breathe, always breathe. The most perfect God of the universe is holding me and these dreams. Life is haywire, but darling, isn’t it beautiful?

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Photographs taken at Panther Coffee (Wynwood, FL), the Old Florida Bookshop (Hollywood, FL), and the Florida-Georgia Line.

August.

DSC_0139Childhood room
Lilac sheets
Familiar coffee
Momma’s music
Old dreamsaugust revised 3  

New hope
New future
New fear

Shifting sands
Pouring rain
Of seasons changing
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Down shaking lips
Fight for freedom
The war is waged

Behind my own
Anxious eyes

Breathe
Breathe
Breathe
Slowly
Inhale
Exhale
This summer will pass
And, held by Him, you will conqueraugust revised 2
As you have in the past.

Breathe
Breathe
Breathe
Slowly
Inhale
Exhale
Let’s begin
This lifelong journeyRevised_175.jpg
Of exploring, realizing
Every forgotten
Childhood dream.Revised_190.jpg