The Hope of Advent

The Hope of Advent

Christmas was always special to me growing up. It didn’t matter how awful my year was or what I was going through, there was some joy in the air.

There was such a palpable, real holiness to the season that I could feel. The magic in the lights and the tree, the coziness of a fire and stockings.

No matter how cold the wind is or how dark the night, there’s a warmth we are invited into in the Christmas season that has always truly been there… because its the Light of the world beckoning us.

I learned about the season of Advent as an adult. If you, like me, didn’t grow up familiar with Advent, here’s a quick synopsis.

In the liturgical Christian calendar, it is the feast that begins four Sundays before Christmas, ending on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve begins the 12 day Christmas season.

One catechism describes Advent spirituality beautifully: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’”

Christianity.com

(You can read more of the interesting background and what it looks like today on https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html)

 Advent is meant to get us ready, not for a present-opening party, but for a transformational celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is a season of expectation.

In the years before Christ, the people on earth were yearning for a savior; the Jews waiting for their promised Messiah. Every human ached for Him, whether they realized it or not.

Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Its a celebration of the anticipation felt then for the coming of the Savior and the anticipation we feel now for His return, for our home, reminiscing how much we needed Him to come and still need Him now.

 “Jesus did not come to establish a new religion, but to fulfill the deepest needs and richest promises of our God. Jesus is the Spotless Lamb, sacrificed in our place. He is the Bread of Life, satisfying our deepest hunger. He is the Great High Priest, reconciling us to the Father. He is the Light of the World, which darkness cannot overcome. And those who follow Him will never walk in darkness because Immanuel has come, and He promises to come again.”

Source Unknown

Christmas is the celebration of His birth, but Advent is preparing our hearts for that very celebration, yearning and hoping and taking comfort in His peace no matter the darkness of the world.

When I discovered Advent a few years ago I was in a really dark place. I could feel Jesus beckoning me into this space of desiring Him and yearning for Him, while creation groaned for Him it was as if a lightbulb went off in my heart. My soul was groaning for Him too.

Ever since then its been a really special, tender time of year I look forward to; while we should always seek His face, it was a time specifically set aside to dive in deeper. It became a time to settle in and focus on Him more diligently in this season rather than get wrapped up in the stress of family gatherings and present buying.

While preparing for a youth lesson a few years ago, I was reading a blog written by a reverend who had also grown up without Advent – He only discovered it as an adult in Theological Seminary when his professor gave a lecture on worship and the beauty of the Church Year like Advent, Christmas, Holy Week, Pentecost etc.

The professor was excitedly talking about how the seasons of the Church Year could enrich the worship of a church as well as a person’s own private devotions. The reverend had never heard of this growing up and, much like me, decided to explore Advent as a personal devotion time with the Lord.

He came to love Advent because he found that observing Advent enriched his celebration of Christmas. Rather than a materialistic holiday, he was finally experiencing the spiritual depth of the season in his closeness with the Lord and celebrating His coming to rescue us.

For so long after Adam, the world lived in such brokenness. Humans tried to fix the pain and emptiness but it wasn’t the actions of men that would bring relief and change.

The world waited.

In Advent we don’t just anticipate the coming Savior, but the “making new” creation has longed for since the fall.

God always had a rescue plan, and it all began with the birth of His son. The One who would bring order, make things new, heal and restore us.

The One who pull us from brokenness into wholeness.

“For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

Each Sunday in Advent has a theme and the first Sunday of Advent is Hope. The hope and longing our ancestors felt waiting for the coming of Christ, the hope we can feel in knowing He has us, even now. 

The dictionary definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, or, a feeling of trust.

Biblically hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you – 1 Peter 1:3-4

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Hope can be scary sometimes, have you ever been afraid to hope for something? Afraid to put your faith in something and it not come to pass? I know that I have.

Jesus is a safe bet for your hope.

We can hope for things and situations to go a certain way but know that when you hope for Him, you are not putting your faith into an empty impossibility. He will come through. He will meet you there. 

Challenge: Take time this week to meet with Jesus. Give Him your hopes and dreams and place your hope in Him. He wants you to come close to Him this season, so think about ways you can make time with Him a priority. Hope for wild things with Him, dream with Him about how you want to grow and what you want your relationship with Him to look like! Look up some verses on hope this week to meditate on.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12

Affliction comes in this world but like this verse says we can be joyful in hope, because our hope isn’t in this world and the people in it. Our hope is in the Light that overcame the darkness.

What Is Biblical Womanhood?

What Is Biblical Womanhood?

What does “Biblical womanhood” look like to you? When you hear those words, what comes to mind?

Do you picture a woman tucking her kids into bed, cleaning her sink? Maybe you see the Proverbs 31 lady rising before dawn.

Maybe Jesus shows you a picture of yourself, right where you are, in the very spot and season that you’re in.

The picture you see might be heavily influenced by the denomination you grew up in or the current culture you find yourself in now.

The image of a devoted, Christian woman is unique and subjective to each person, right?

I am a homemaker. I don’t have a profession outside the home; I raise children and homeschool them and make sure they have happy, full bellies and hearts.

To some, that image may be their view of biblical womanhood. We say prayers at bedtime, I read my children bedtime stories, I teach them about the heart of Jesus etc. I make a safe, cozy home for the next generation.

On the flip side of this coin, I have a friend. She is not in a season of her life where she wants to have kids or be married. She is a “career women” being used in incredible ways in the field God placed her in. She loves the Lord and serves Him at her church and loves her community hard.

Is she a Christian woman in right standing with the Lord?

Who gets to decide that?

I’m seeing a trend in faith-based media that worries me.

I love being a wife, and I love being a mom, so please hear my heart in that. I just don’t believe those are the only callings God has in life for women.

If a woman is led to be a stay at home mom, I absolutely stand behind her. Obviously, that’s my life!

But if God has designed a woman with the aspects needed to be a brain surgeon, who are we to say that’s not what the Lord wants her to do?

Or, is this only a topic for debate if the job isn’t white collar, but is ministry focused instead?

Is it fine for a woman to work outside the home for a noble cause, just not leading a ministry? Is it okay to save a man from cancer but not lead him to Christ?

Just this week I read an article in the New Yorker about evangelical women in their “linen sundresses.” I won’t lie, I do love a good sundress!

What an observation of current Christian social trends right now, they sure do have us pegged haha… Linen and wicker and thrifting, oh my!

Listen, if linen dresses are how you outwardly express your femininity, that’s wonderful and should be enjoyed.

But in no way does that make professional suit pants and a sharp blouse any less feminine. Or the Carhartt another woman wears to care for her livestock.

In light of eternity, none of that matters.

We need to stop anchoring womanhood to an aesthetic, because it goes far deeper than your fashion or home decorating style.

I’m seeing this Instagram glamorized homemaking image that does not serve all women that –hear me out– might lead to even more dissension in the Body of Christ.

Here’s why: You can be a devoted woman of God and work outside the home. You can love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and not be a mother.

Your worth in the Kingdom, your calling to “go forth and make disciples” will not look like everyone else’s. We MUST stop this glorification of personal preference or conviction to be the convictions of ALL women.

All of this *waves broadly at social media* does not define your womanhood.

That page you follow is someone’s life portrayed online, the captions are their opinions and perspective, their lifestyle might be something they enjoy or even something they’ve been called to do…

But if those pretty little squares and practiced-to-perfection reels make you doubt where the Lord has you– that’s a stumbling block, dare I say it.

I am seeing women bicker online about “well women shouldn’t do this, women can’t say that, here’s where God designed you to be” etc and truly, it makes me sick to my stomach.

“Well God may have called Deborah, but you’re not a Deborah.” Who is anyone to speak for the Almighty God and tell a woman her calling isn’t as powerful or huge as Deborah’s? Because it doesn’t look like your domestic view of womanhood, and that makes you uneasy?

Let me be the one to free you right now, someone else having a different calling or a different conviction to how they live does not mean your calling is wrong, and it doesn’t negate your personal convictions.

And if you feel uneasy or threatened that a woman is living differently than you and calling herself a Christian, that doesn’t mean she’s disobeying God; you need to take that to Jesus.

We waste time arguing about Scripture and context and translation and it is the resounding annoying sound of clanging cymbals.

We can nitpick Bible verses till we’re blue in the face, debate whether it was written to all of Christianity or a specific church, but is that going forth and making disciples?

Is that healing the sick and casting out demons?

I don’t recall any of Jesus’ dialogue at the end of Mark and Matthew being gendered. “These signs will accompany those who believe.”

People debate online about a few Bible verses about women, but neglect the many directives and statements made about the body of Christ that don’t differentiate male or female. It’s the Bride as a whole.

Scripture can be twisted and used for any agenda or perspective, but I wanted to throw a few things out there before I share the core of Biblical Womanhood.

Women were in the room during Pentecost.

“All these were continually united in prayer along with the women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.”  (Acts 1:14) When the day of Pentecost came “they were all together in one place.” The Spirit fell on all in the room.

When Peter stands before the crowd mocking them for speaking in tongues, he quotes Joel-

In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

Still, I see other women downplaying the female prophets and ministers, telling women that they can’t “preach” because people take a few stories “out of context.” Yet they will also take a few verses out of context to make it seem completely unbiblical for women to lead ministries.

I have linked an indepth list of all the female prophets (Old and New Testament) by Marg Mowczko, a theologian with both a theology degree and a Masters specializing in jewish and Christian culture. You can read her full post on the female prophets here.

(When Paul listed ministries and spiritual gifts, he also did not mention gender. In fact, he writes about women prophesying in 1 Corinthians 11, and does not silence them. He is often misunderstood for being against women in ministry, but he knew several. You can read more about Paul’s writings + women here.)

We don’t gloss over the biblical stories of men with little detail and completely write off their worth or existence. So why do we invalidate the stories of church leaders like Phoebe, Lydia, or Junia, simply because their mentions are brief? (Just the beginning of the ladies I’d love to write about in this space.)

Paul often refers to people in his letters as diakonos, which translates to “brothers and sisters” and “servants” but also “ministers.” Paul also uses diakonos to refer to Phoebe in Romans! Same word he uses to refer to Timothy. Brothers and sisters in ministry.

Another female theologian I respect recently shared a post that checked my heart. She essentially said we get so hung up on female heros of the Bible that we aren’t paying enough attention to Jesus.

So while I share the names of female prophets and ministers in the Word, my heart behind it is this:

Women are feeding right into the divisive hands of the enemy by using platforms to argue and debate what a woman can do, rather than just focusing on pointing people to a Savior.

It’s all for naught if we aren’t showing people Jesus.

Ultimately, biblical womanhood is rooted in ministering to others and leading them to Jesus.

We are all in ministry, whether yours is a titled position in a church, raising the next generation, showing up like Jesus at work, or launching a podcast to share the gospel.

But the Great Commission is clear and ungendered. Go and make disciples!

How do you make disciples? Learn together. Teach through life. Talk about theology over dishes with your kids, tell your neighbor how God healed your knee, share with your subordinate the testimony of your salvation.

Dear women, sweet sisters in Christ, can we not get caught up in vocation as the core of our femininity? Our identity cannot be founded in earthly titles that shift in seasons.

I hate to sound cliche, but our identity is above all—redeemed daughter of the King.

Our calling is to point others to Him, and disciple them to grow as they become like Him. Just as we are still growing to look like Him!

Even if this post has not changed your heart on women’s biblical role, we can agree to disagree on theology/doctrine/translation… Can we agree on this?

The never ending debating and division on social media, in church buildings, in family living rooms– none of this points people to Christ.

A house divided can’t stand, so why would someone look in through the murky windows of a divisive faith and want to stay?

Telling women on the internet HOW they should minister in their obedience to God is wasting time that can be used to disciple and glorify God. We can’t hypercontrol what other people hear from God.

Instead of using an internet platform to berate women who might stand on a physical platform, point your following to Jesus.

Let us seek connection and a unified Bride in our pursuit of Jesus and making Heaven crowded!

Motherhood is a beautiful gift unique to women. Likewise, fatherhood a unique gift to men. We can take pride in those roles! Here’s the thing though… Not all people will be parents.

To make blanket statements towards women that motherhood is the greatest vocation you can have is a sharp slap in the face for the woman who can’t conceive. It’s presumptuous towards the woman God has called to celibacy, like Paul.

There seems to be a war in our faith both of identity and value. I have value as a stay at home mom or I have value and I work outside the home. My identity is homemaker or my identity is single.

It’s all a distraction!

Every single one of you is doing Kingdom work!

And your worth, value, and identity is not found in your vocation or marital status.

If you are a homemaker your season is amazing; pouring into your home, using your creativity to foster growth and warmth and giving your all to support your husband and kids is incredible. You get to show them Jesus.

If you are a single woman putting herself through grad school, your season is amazing. The connections you’re making for the future, the people God is giving you community with… You get to show them Jesus.

If you are a divorcee working with your kids in therapy to overcome trauma, I see you. This season might be hard but it sure is holy as you get to lead your kids towards wholeness and healing. You get to show them Jesus.

The list is neverending! Wherever you are in life, your role in womanhood is glorifying your Father.

So here’s my request for you:

Take pride in where God has you, and celebrate your sister who is somewhere else. This is not a competition.

Ask Jesus to highlight a woman to you, who may or may not be in a different season of life or vocation, and pour into her heart this week. Pray for her, lift her up with some encouragement, and ask how her heart is.

Point her to Jesus.

Hi friend! Thank you for reading today! If you feel led, I’d love for you to consider sharing this post. I’d also love to connect with you! You can contact me here on the blog, subscribe for new posts, or come hang out with me on Instagram. I hope we can chat soon!

Disobedience: Why We Have The Bible Today

Disobedience: Why We Have The Bible Today

My Bible is one of my prized possessions. Nothing brings me peace quite like sitting down and meeting God in its pages.

What a beautiful thing we so easily take for granted, access to a Bible.

They’re easy to find on Amazon or on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, yet in other countries in the world smuggled across borders under threat of death.

By 2015 an estimated five billion Bibles were printed! Billions of people have access to the Word of God, and we can thank William Tyndale for that.

On this day in 1536, William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake for believing that ALL people should be able to read the Bible, and translating it into English with mass production for the very first time.

“Back in the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe was the first to make (or at least oversee) an English translation of the Bible, but that was before the invention of the printing press and all copies had to be handwritten. Besides, the church had banned the unauthorized translation of the Bible into English in 1408.”

Citation

In Tyndale’s time common people could not read the Bible. While being educated at Oxford and then Cambridge, he became passionately convicted that any person should be able to read the Word of God– not just Church leaders or those with higher educations.

Once he left university and began work he would see just how dire this situation was; as he met country clergyman he learned many were completely ignorant of what the Bible actually said.

Tyndale would attempt approval to translate the Bible from the Bishop of London, but he was denied. There is no happenstance with God, and while he was in London William Tyndale met several merchants who helped smuggle Martin Luther’s articles into England.

They would help smuggle his Bibles too.

Thanks to their encouragement, a plan was hatched. Tyndale left for Germany and thanks to the Guttenburg Press began translating and producing the New Testament! The first time ever translated from the original Greek.

This proved to be a very difficult feat; his endeavor was plagued by those against him and so, he was on the run…

Obeying God and disobeying the governing authority.

His contacts smuggled several thousand copies of the New Testament into England where the bishops gave their all to destroy them, including burning them.

William Tyndale was a wanted man, in hiding while Henry VIII had his men on the hunt for the person who dared believe everyone should learn God’s Word for themselves.

In 1534 Tyndale was betrayed by someone he thought a friend, someone he trusted who would willingly hand him over to the authorities.

While on trial for breaking the law he was also accused of heresy, for standing by biblical truths that are foundational to this day.

On October 6, 1536 William Tyndale was put to death for giving the common people the Word of God, because the church and government wanted absolute control, free thinking was dangerous…

Reading and coming to personal convictions aside from what people were told was dangerous.

In his dying breath he prayed that the King of England’s eyes would be opened, a prayer answered within a few short years as Henry VIII required all parishes to have an English bible available for their congregations.

Despite being hunted down and abused by those in authority, Tyndale stuck by his convictions and obedience to God without faltering. Even to the point of death.

The effects of his bravery and disobedience ripple outward even today, as we have such easy access to the Scriptures and others step forward in their own acts of bravery and disobedience to people desperate to read the Word themselves.

Today we honor a life that ran with fervor into scary and unknown territory, so you and I today could read our Bibles without a middle man telling us what it said or what to think about.

Because of Tyndale we can read our Bibles and receive personal revelation and encouragement through them.

As you sit in your Bible study soon, take a moment to remember the heroes like William Tyndale that fought for the freedom we have today. The men and women who died for the Book we ignore so easily and “don’t have time” for.

That is some wild and crazy faith!

Going forward as we are reminded of stories like this, may we pray for the people who even now are disobeying governing authorities and other religions to bring people Truth. Please pray for those in the underground church who meet in secret ready to die for their faith, because death in Jesus is sweeter than a life without Him.

Faith

Faith

I used to pray for unshakeable faith. I wanted to be steadfast in belief that God would always come through, never doubting His goodness.

When things go right, when life is smooth… it’s easy to have faith. It’s like breathing, how easy and natural it is to shout His praises and share your good news and blessings.

You breathe in His presence and breathe out your testimony, like Aslan blowing life onto the statues in Narnia.

Our faith and testimony release life-giving encouragement to people in pain, the people in the midst of hardship and struggle. Seeing how mountains were moved for us unlocks their vision, they take heart that their mountains can move too.

But sometimes, we aren’t the Aslan in the story. We are the statue, hardened and in desperate need of the Life-Breath.

Suffering and difficulty swirl around like a funnel cloud of fury and deception. It clouds our judgement and all we see is pain, the Why’s and the When’s of our prayer requests being whipped about like shingles ripped from a storm-torn house.

At first we cling to our knowledge of a Sovereign Father, but as the winds continue to screech and fear rumbles in the distance we might begin to wonder… What if? Where is He?

Grief and bitterness choke us like smoke and our faith doesn’t feel so strong, instead we feel weak and wavering.

The adversary whispers lies, “do you even really believe? Where is God now? There’s nothing left. You can’t do this.”

The steadfastness comes when we dig in our heels. This house will not be uprooted by the storm, because the foundation is 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗴.

You might be clinging to your faith by the width of a hair, but all you need is a mustard seed.

“Go,” you whisper to the lies. And they flee. The storm might not be over, but you stand awaiting the victory.

Your faith may shake in the face of the tornado, but the House The Lord Built won’t fall, even if the siding creaks.

The storm passes and the statue comes back to life, your heart beats again and you breathe in deep.

Now it’s your turn, share the story of the storm and breathe the Life-Breath on the next person worn thin by grief and trial.

Steadfast in action, faith like potatoes.

If this piece resonated with you in any way, I’d love for you to share it! You never know who may need the encouragement.

Come follow along with me at my Instagram! I share daily musings on faith, Biblical womanhood, homeschooling, urban gardening, and critical thinking.
Fueled by Jesus, imperfectly learning and living lessons every step of the way!

To The Single Woman of God

To The Single Woman of God

This post is for every woman who loves Jesus and has experienced marriage or family focused ministry and felt left out or forgotten.

This post is for any woman who wants to understand her single sister’s heart.

This post is for the woman who needs to be reminded that she isn’t worth any less because she isn’t married or doesn’t have kids.


I follow quite a few pages and blogs from Christian women; devotionals, inspiration, lifestyle, theology, etc.

Most of it, I’ve noticed, can be geared toward wives and mothers. Attending a few churches and conferences, I’ve seen the same thing.

What about the single women though?

Sometimes women’s ministry isn’t inclusive of divorced women, single women, single moms, or women whose husbands aren’t Christian.

On my personal social media I made a post asking:

Dear female friends who are single, what have been some things that people have said to you that were not helpful in your season of singleness?

What things do you need to hear, or would be helpful?

What ways could the Church better support those who are single?

Do you find that church or ministry is often marriage-centric?

If you could ask for something or bring something to a leader’s attention about your spiritual needs what would you say?

The responses I received grieved my heart.

“You just have to trust God.”

^ so I’m single because I haven’t “trusted God” ? What does that mean to you? How do I not meet the standard?

“Why are you still single?”

“The chances of you finding someone to be equally yoked with are extremely low.”

“I was told because of my weight that if someone (finally) showed interest in me that I should graciously accept because it may be the only chance I get. That if I really cared about quality I would lose weight.”

“What drove me crazy was that there was always the assumption singles were looking for a mate. There was one time during a family series where we were then split into categories for an activity. He said he covered every category but literally the only category for singles was single and looking, everything for that group was around finding a spouse. It was maddening! My divorced mom was also there and had no “category” either. It felt as though my value to the church and to God didn’t start until I had a spouse. I was actually concerned about the opposite- that if I got married it would hinder my pursuit of the Lord. No one in the church seemed to have a grid for someone single who wasn’t longing for a spouse and family.”

I received comments and messages from women who were told their home didn’t have a “head” because their husband didn’t attend church.

I’m not single, but my husband no longer attends church and doesn’t practice any kind of personal faith. In my journey, I’ve had lots of time to see some of the harmful ways the church treats marriage as an idol, and how I had as well.

I’ve sat in sermons where the pastor has said, “There is nothing better than having a spouse who loves the Lord.” As if to say that singles, or those in my position somehow have less than God’s best.

I cling to Christ. Knowing Him deeply and in a way that assures me of the hope found only in Christ is better than any marriage.

I’ve also sat in leadership meetings for children’s ministry where the idea of husband and wife serving together has elevated status. Going to church alone, or taking my kids by myself, is hard enough (seriously difficult emotionally).

I don’t even know what the answer is, but there has to be a better way to approach this topic and not preach as if traditional, Christian marriage is the ultimate God experience and imply that those who don’t have that are not “as Christian.”

Personal message shared with permission.

Dear single woman of God:

You have value. Your worth is not dependent on a marriage or ring. You are a whole being, designed by God, showcasing His glory… Yes even without a husband.

Singleness isn’t a curse, and you aren’t a lower tier of Christian until you find “the one.” Your singleness is more than just preparation for marriage.

You are more than your marital status.

Your faith isn’t lacking or weak because you aren’t married.

You deserve community, I’m so so sorry for how the church at large has neglected that. The Christian media focus on finding your mate is abhorrent, you don’t need a mate to function in the Kingdom!

Where ministry has fallen flat and catered to only married couples, married women, or moms… Please know you are seen. That’s not God’s heart.

Marriage and birth and homemaking isn’t all there is for a woman of God. A wonderful task for those called, but not all will be. And the Body needs to recognize that better.

Your place in the Body of Christ is equally important as any man or married person.

Marriage and babies, while wonderful, isn’t your only purpose. It’s not even your number one purpose! Making Him known is. No part of the Great Commission says “after you’ve been married.”

Dear sister, you don’t need to settle.

If you have high standards and expectations and no one has met the mark yet, that’s okay. You deserve someone who will honor you, share your values, and celebrate your passions! You don’t need to marry someone because someone thinks you should because of age/weight/station/career/finances/etc.

Dear one, you are worth celebrating – right where you are.

You are wanted, you as a whole being. Your friendship is valuable, your presence matters!

Your identity is more than “spouse” because your God-given, Jesus-won, Calvary-redeemed identity is daughter.

Dear friend, you are an incredible champion for the Kingdom.

I am sorry for anyone who made you feel like less than because you weren’t dating/engaged/married.

Keep running your race well, keep fighting for your convictions… you are doing amazing.

As I was talking to God about this post, He highlighted a friend to me. I asked her to write something on this topic, and she was so kind to pray over it and give me a beautiful word from the Lord.

Dear reader, this is for you.

A word from
Kathryn Connors

“I was praying and asking God what he thinks about His single daughters. I was awestruck by the ferocious beauty and gold He wished to pull out of each and every one of them.

I began to see in the spirit young ladies of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, showcasing different hobbies, goals, and varying passions.

Every woman was holding the hand of a little girl version of themself. It was like the little girl inside of them was burgeoning to come out and take part in the building of their life.

I heard the Father say, “Don’t ever let her die because of grown-up things.

Little you is going to light the path of the most authentic version of you.”

I then heard the Holy Spirit say- “You are celebrated in heaven. You are celebrated on earth.

You bring value and permanency to the hearts you touch. You bring peace and you bring joy. You carry the fire, and you bring a cool drink of water to those who need it most.

When others are distracted by the world around them you are waiting, observing, and attentive to those
around you.

You bring color to a world plagued by black and white, and you have the freedom to draw outside the lines.

You don’t need to do anything to deserve or earn love, you haven’t done anything wrong to deserve “singleness”, you haven’t missed a step in the process, or have to strive to prove yourself. It is a phase for some, a season for others, a choice for many.

It is not a title tattooed to your self-worth or a sign of malfunction. You are not measured by your singleness. You are far more precious than the finest silver and gold.

You are loved because you simply are and you do not need to overcompensate to be seen.

Your voice is valuable on its own, and what you have to say matters. Do not be silenced by a world that doesn’t know it’s up from down because you my darling are perfectly and wonderfully made.

So worry not of what the future holds, but wrap yourself in blankets of His kindness and mercy.

You are royalty, my daughter. A Queen in all of her glory and splendor. Shine as bright as the stars or as soft as
moonlight.

Your life is soulfully solely yours and you are doing a magnificent job living it!”

You can find Kathryn at https://www.globalgodencounters.com/

May we as Christians remember Paul, apostle and biblical author, was single. And he had quite a bit to say about the topic! (1 Corinthians 7)

Let’s come along side our friends in pursuit of Jesus and sharing the glory of the kingdom. Let’s do life with people from different walks and stages of life, because we all have lessons we can share with other. Your perspective is unique and needed in your church family and friend circle.

If you’re reading this and married, do you have any single friends? Are there single women at your church? Let’s not wait for rings to make new friends. A single woman can disciple a married woman and vice versa!

If you’re reading this and single, or even spiritually single because of a husband who doesn’t believe – You are loved, treasured, and seen. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being present, for showing up, for being who you are.

Because you matter. All of you, just as you are.

I leave you with these final words, from an essay about Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. May we all take it to heart and love our co-laborers in Christ well.

We married people tend to assume a lot about those who are single. We assume that marriage is God’s intention for every individual. …We assume they would make better leaders, teachers, counselors, and better friends if they were married.

What if single members were encouraged to embrace their singleness as a vocation (whether
temporary or permanent) central to the life and ministry of the church?


What if married members were encouraged to look to the single, not as immature inferiors but as unique imitators of Christ and witnesses to Christ’s truth in our midst?

Singleness is no longer a burden or a stigma but a gift-both to those who are single and to those of us who are privileged to be in community with them.

Phillips, Beth (2001) “1 Corinthians 7 and Singleness in the Church,” Leaven: Vol. 9 : Iss. 3 , Article 4. Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/leaven/vol9/iss3/4

Of Hopes And Dreams

Of Hopes And Dreams

I have wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember. Poetry, investigative journalism, novels… I just wanted to write.

Books inspired me, grew me, and kept me alive. In my darkest and loneliest times I had Jesus and books.

I started writing books as a preteen when I learned that Christopher Paolini, who had also grown up homeschooled, wrote and published Eragon as a teenager.

Ever since, I have had big dreams of writing novels and speaking and changing lives. Life took some twists and turns (Good twists! Hard turns!) and writing took a backseat for a while. I have gotten married and worked and had babies and served in ministry and done XY&Z!

And I have never called myself a writer.

Through it all, though, I have never stopped writing. And every time I write something vulnerable, something big, something brave, something that makes me want to vomit as anxiety and imposter syndrome creeps in…

Every. Single. Time. That I doubt or am unsure, someone shares with me how much they needed what I wrote.

That’s when I realized… You don’t need to be published with a huge company behind you or have a million Instagram followers to be a writer.

So, I guess this is my announcement to the world that *gulp* I am a writer.

It’s my passion. It’s my God-imbued dream. I have brilliant, complex worlds of people and stories in my mind waiting to come out. I have been slowly working on writing and world building for my dream novel for years now, and it’s time to get the ball rolling.

This week I made an investment into my dream and joined hope*writers. I am a hope*writer!

I want to write books that inspire readers, like Narnia and LOTR did for me. I want to share and empower women to be everything they’re destined to be. I want people to know that there is hope and joy in this world, that life doesn’t have to be all sorrow and pain and despair.

This is why I write. This is why I keep going. I don’t have to have it all figured out right now, I just have to keep going!

Like I’ve told my kids, my youth, my friends: sometimes you have to do it afraid. So here I go!

Prisms and Purpose

Prisms and Purpose

I’ve got this prism that is eternally smudged.

I ordered it in hopes that it would somehow elevate our cluttered mess of a dining room into one of those Waldorf forest homeschools where kids keep all their Montessori materials sorted in rainbow colored sets and listen attentively to poetry as they finish watercoloring their nature journals.

Alas, it sits covered in sticky fingerprints on a dust covered windowsill next to an abandoned Captain American LEGO project that is missing a foot. Cap has been sidelined for the foreseeable future just like my dreams of a whimsical home in which to educate my children. 

The truth is that the prism brought us a lot of joy at the outset of the year, but has been shuffled aside under math workbooks and the flotsam and jetsam of four kids learning at home full time for the first time. The prism somehow got shifted aside as an afterthought because, if I’m honest, I’m not fully sure what I’m doing, I’m constantly doubting myself, and I never followed through on that light unit like I thought I would.

The prism hasn’t been shattered by my raging and screaming yet, so that’s a mercy. Turns out we’re not the quiet woodland family I had hoped we might be.

This morning as I lamented the wads of hair and dust that somehow always live on my stairs, and the shoddy job my children do of sweeping them, and the shoddy job I am clearly doing as a parent, I was struck by the prism. Its once pristine glass was noticeably clouded and foggy and I’m pretty sure it was handled by someone who had recently been eating cheese puffs.

But my breath caught as I watched a rainbow pour out of the dim prism onto the hair covered hardwood below.

None of this looks like I thought it would.

I haven’t managed to create a space that “measures up,” whatever that means. I live in a sea of uncertainty and often wonder what use my gifts actually are to the world.

It’s easy for me to dismiss my days as less than, to chalk them up to unfinished projects and problems unsolved. But when I consider the prism, I see more.

When I consider the miracle that a rainbow is at hand, that it dares to shine in the presence of my mess, that it is bold enough to shine onto my doubt and my fury and my fear, I am forced to stop. When I step back to take that in, I’m reminded that all is grace. All is gift. 

You see, the truth reflected in the prism is that the miracle cannot be stopped. The rainbow is somehow not dimmed by smudges or filthy fingerprints.

However manhandled and bunged up it may be, the prism still exists to turn light into rainbows. The purpose of the prism is to reveal invisible, but ever-present colors so that they may be seen by the naked eye.

The miracle cannot be stopped because the prism cannot deny its purpose.

As a woman I am uniquely called to die to myself that I might nurture and grow the souls of others. As a woman I am designed to gently steward the souls entrusted to my care.

As a woman I am specially created to hold all that in my heart, to birth beauty out of struggle, to give life out of groaning. 

We’ve all been manhandled and bunged up. None of us is the flawless crystal we might wish that we are.

Things don’t turn out like we plan or expect. People fail us, boundaries are crossed, our hearts are wounded in broad and intimate ways every day. Yet we are all capable of casting great beauty into the neglected corners of our world.

The miracle cannot be stopped because this is what we were created to do.

The only thing that can stop the miracle is if the prism is moved out of the light. If I shove my prism in a drawer, there’s no way for the light to touch it.

The same is true of our hearts, of course. If our hearts are hidden away, shoved in closets, shut down and shamed, it’s true that we won’t reflect much light. You can’t shine a rainbow from a shadow, it’s true.

And if I’m honest, seeking the light sometimes seems futile and foolish. It’s honestly kind of silly that I’ve kept my filthy prism on the windowsill through the gloom and clouds of the Cleveland winter.

To an outsider it seems like an exercise in futility but I believe the miracle. Even when there are days on end that I don’t catch a glimpse of rainbow, I have faith that the sun will come through the clouds and the cheese puff smudges.

I’ve seen it happen before and I have faith it will happen again. I’ve seen the rainbow on the stairs with my own eyes. I have witnessed the miracle. 

And I realize the same must be done for my heart. I think a lot about how the Psalmist reminds us not to harden our hearts. He may as well be saying, “Don’t retreat. Don’t build up walls and separate yourself from the light.”

And I know in order for me to achieve my purpose, like the prism, I must remain in the light. 

Every day I must claim the miracle. Every day I must accept my purpose as undeniable. Every day I must place myself in the light, smears and smudges fully exposed so that the miraculous love of the Father can penetrate my heart and cast His love onto the world through me.

It won’t work if I’m not in the light. It won’t work if I’m not reading scripture and attending Mass, receiving the Sacraments, praying with my friends. It won’t work if I believe the lies that I’m fed by the world, if I deny my belovedness, compare myself to others, or allow my heart to become hard. 

To be in the light, we must be in the truth. If we are women who claim resurrection, the truth that should spur us on is that nothing is irredeemable.

If we are women who claim the risen Christ, it is our duty to claim Him, to claim the miracle of resurrection in all we do. Our work is to set our hearts on the miracle, to seek it out, to draw our families and communities along with us as we encounter it.

Our calling is to claim the truth of the risen Jesus in ourselves, to speak it over our hurts and our pains, to repeat that truth to ourselves when we are at our weakest and to speak it over our sisters:

“You are redeemed. You are chosen. You are safe. You are loved.”

St. Josemaria Escriva said, “He did not say you would not be troubled, you would not be tempted, you would not be distressed, but He did say you would not be overcome.” 

My place here in my family is not to curate a perfect home or achieve some other lofty goal. My purpose is not to fit any sort of mold of womanhood that’s been manufactured by the world or the church or anyone in between.

My purpose is to shed light, to cast rainbows into darkened corners, to show up and love despite my dinginess and my bruises.

The rainbow is no less beautiful because my prism is smudged. My gifts are no less beautiful because they come from an imperfect source.

If each day is an offering to Christ, I am receiving His light. If each day is a claiming of truth, I am receiving Him.

And if I am receiving the light of Christ, just like the prism on my dusty windowsill, I can be nothing but a channel through which that light enters the world. 

Mary Susan is so dear to my heart! She creates a beautiful space of vulnerability, humor, and encouragement. She can be found at https://oh-bless-your-heart.com/ and here on Instagram.