To The Ones With Daddy Issues

Dear growing child,

I’m not sure if you’re in the same stage of life as I am, but I’ve recently been enjoying the gift of getting to know who my mother truly is as a person, rather than simply “my mom.”

For the first time, we don’t share the same address or bathroom. No one is leaving a bunch of dirty dishes in her sink instead of putting them directly into the dishwasher, and no one is concerned with how much hair I leave in the drain after my showers. We no longer see each other every day, or get to talk about everything we would like to share. For the first time, we’re experiencing having to intentionally build our relationship if we wish to have one.

That might sound like it’s a lot of hard work, but honestly I’ve been enjoying what it feels like to know that when my mom and I talk on the phone or put aside time to spend together, it’s because we genuinely want to. There is nothing forcing us to be close anymore, yet I feel like we’ve never been closer. It’s funny how when you remove chores, obligations, and stress from a relationship, suddenly there is freedom to truly appreciate each other for the extraordinary people you are just by existing.

The most beautiful things about my mom are revealed to me during the times when we are freely spending time together and she shares with me things about her that I never knew before. The way she has shown she trusts me with her personal feelings about things that are important to her has allowed me to better understand who she is and better notice all the things that make her so special. But honestly, I’ve realized that all I had to do this whole time was ask her about anything and she would have told me more about herself a long time ago. I was just never interested before now. I never paid attention to her like this before, but she was right there for my entire life.

To have this realization about my mother is one thing, but then it connected to my relationship with God, and it got real.

I’m not sure how often you contemplate the mystery that is the Holy Trinity, but honestly it’s on my mind a lot. Before you start cringing, I’m not trying to get into a big uncomfortable theological debate here. But up until very recently, I’ve always kept them each so separate in my mind. I would view the Holy Spirit as the “helper one” who makes me feel too guilty to make bad choices, Jesus as the “savior one” who is full of love and grace and all the sweetness I’ve always wanted in life, and then God as the “authoritative dad one” who is the head one in charge and always seemed to have his arms crossed against his chest waiting up for me in the living room when I was out past curfew.

I realize now how that perspective is problematic, but for so long I lived in this weird gap of being so in love with Jesus but so resistant to be close to God the Father. I didn’t see how twisted my view of Him has been for far too long, and how much of it is so closely connected to my experience with my own earthly father. If you know me, you probably are aware that my dad passed away when I was 13 years old. It was extremely sudden and traumatic, and changed my entire life. But it wasn’t until recently that God revealed to me how much I had allowed my pain from my earthly father to influence the way I see Him.
For so long, I was afraid to trust His words because I found it hard to believe that He would really stick to them. I wasn’t allowing His love to sink all the way in because I believed deep down that it would eventually fade. I didn’t want to waste time pouring out my entire heart to someone that I couldn’t trust to always be there for me. I couldn’t bring myself to completely open up to someone who made big promises that didn’t seem possible to keep. How do you get excited about a God who paints the most incredible pictures of what your future with Him will be like, when you don’t truly believe you will get a future together? They could be the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever laid eyes on, but if I already assume that it’s only a matter of time before they fall and shatter on the floor, then I really see no point in ever hanging them on my walls in the first place.

So this resulted in an unhealthy relationship with my own Creator, because instead of wanting to know Him for who He truly is as a person, I stopped at the title “father,” and couldn’t see past the only experience I knew with that title. And I know I’m not the only one. This is a broken world, full of tragic dad-stories that the Lord never intended for us. Maybe your dad is never around, or maybe he physically is there but mentally and emotionally is checked-out. Maybe you lost your dad like I did, or maybe he chose to leave. Maybe your dad loves you with only words and never actions, or maybe your dad-story is much more complicated than just one constant man in your life. Maybe your dad is the last person in the world who would ever affirm or encourage you. Your dad might be the last person on your mind entirely, but for some, he has single-handedly destroyed your entire sense of security. If your experience with your dad is the root of many of your wounds, too, then this one’s for you and me.

Our dad-stories have drastically different details, but produce a lot of the same symptoms. Many of us wounded kids have experienced a lot more pain than most people our age have gone through. Many of us have spent way too much time imagining special milestones in our futures without the one person you want there most. Many of us have been forced to grow up much too quickly, and way too many of us have fooled ourselves into thinking that it was our own strength and independence that have gotten us to where we are today.

What tends to happen to us who have such deep scars is we enter into survival mode and never come out of it. We board up the windows of our hearts for protection from the storm, but leave them up even after the hurricane has passed. We believe lies about people who want to love us, because that feels safer than the risk of possibly being hurt again. We believe lies about our own well-being, when clearly we could never truly be better off alone. Worst of all, we believe lies about our Heavenly Father being exactly the same as our earthly one.

The truth that I couldn’t help but share with you is this: your earthly father could never come close to comparing to the One you have in heaven.

I completely understand how difficult it is to separate the two, but I seriously urge you to. Not only does God love you more than any human ever could, He loved you even before He created this entire world. He is not simply a father like we have come to understand the term. He gives all of Himself in love to you, withholding absolutely nothing. He is not sitting around waiting for the next time you mess up so He can punish you. He looks at you and sees a masterpiece He longs to have a deep relationship with. He is more than just “the father,” and He deserves to be pursued and known for who He is as a person.

Even for those who have a fantastic dad in their life, maybe you still have an issue with God because, like many of us, you have come to view Him as the angry one and Jesus as the loving one who saved us from God’s wrath. I just want to clarify that this idea isn’t true, either. God has been given such a bad reputation, when He’s actually the One who has been relentlessly fighting for each of us from the moment we began to form in our mothers’ wombs. He has always been there, our entire lives, waiting to be known by us. He’s the One who always was and always will be. He remains constant when everything around us fails. He took His time creating each of us with intention. He gave us everything. And when we chose sin over Him, He even came to earth in human form and died to close the gap that we created between us – all because He couldn’t stand the idea of an eternity without us. He couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to have a relationship with us. He refuses to rest until reuniting with each of His precious children.

It’s a lot easier to immediately fall in love with who Jesus is, but what I’ve failed to see for so long is that the character of Jesus is the exact same character of God. They are one in the same. Jesus didn’t come to save us from an angry God – God Himself came because He was willing to do whatever it would take to be with us. And to close ourselves off from such a fierce and relentless love because of the pain written in our earthly dad-stories is not only unfair to God, but it’s exactly what the devil wants. Nothing would please who Jesus calls “the prince of this world” more than a bunch of God’s strongest soldiers fighting the wrong enemy because they’ve let their wounds cloud their judgment.

So if there’s anything I could encourage you to do, it would be to dare to truly get to know your Heavenly Father. Trust me; I understand what it’s like to be skeptical. I get what it feels like to hear the Truth, look back at your life, and conclude that it’s too good to ever be true. But I also understand what it’s like to finally feel safe and secure in the hands of God. I now get what it feels like to feel close to my Creator on a personal level. If getting to know who my mother is as a person and not just my mom is exciting, can you imagine how much more of an adventure it is to discover the heart and passions of the One whom I was designed to be in relationship with? It’s time to stop limiting the character of God to the one or two traits that your dad-story has taught you. He is so much more than your wildest dreams could imagine the perfect father to be like. He is worthy of your trust. And if you have been living your Christian life like me all this time, fearfully keeping God at a distance and only wanting to know Jesus, well I’m here to tell you that doesn’t make any sense! If we separate them, we are literally missing the whole point. And though I haven’t mentioned the Holy Spirit yet, He is equally important. It’s only because of Him that we are ever able to understand anything about God at all. It’s His Spirit that connects me through Jesus to Him, and allows me to experience the joy of His presence every day. Without the Spirit, there’s no way our relationship would ever be so personal.

My point is that God really is three in one, and the exact same character can be found in all three. So don’t allow the enemy to keep holding you back from truly living in the freedom found in the radical love of God. I declare you will no longer be fooled into believing that a single ounce of God is not made of love. I challenge you to remove the chores, obligations, and stress from your parent-child relationship with God, and just enjoy being with Him. Pursue Him for who He is as a person. Stop settling for just certain parts of what you’ve been taught a Christian life contains, and finally step into all that He has for you, because there is so much more. Don’t let yourself miss the whole point. Let Him show you the truth about who He really is. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Clay

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

John 14:10-11


My Summertime Romance

To my fellow hopeless romantics,

I feel you.

If you think for one second that you’re the only one who daydreams of a flawless love story, (complete with a breath-taking romance that results in a relationship so perfect that Hollywood officially gives up on all rom-coms, and Nicholas Sparks himself gives up on his life’s work – because what work of fiction could ever compare to your reality?) and actually believes that your fantasies are completely rational and there’s no reason not to hold onto the hope that maybe the greatest love this world has ever seen will involve you….

Well I’d say you’re wrong because hi, my name is Katie, and I feel you.

Can we just be honest? We all long for a love so incredible that it permanently changes our life. We all crave something that has enough passion and depth to make us feel truly alive. We want to be seen for who we really are and still found desirable. But, as many of us have figured out the hard way, that kind of satisfaction actually doesn’t come in human form. And yes, we know this in our heads, but we haven’t quite trained our hearts to follow. We know that only Jesus Christ can truly satisfy our souls the way they were designed to be satisfied. We know this. But our hearts are still restless and we’re still adding details to our daydreams.

I say “we” because there’s no point in even pretending that I am not 100% included in this. So if you feel bad about this at all, just know that we’re on the same team. We’re in this together. That’s actually why I’m writing – I wanted to share with you how God took our relationship deeper this summer than it’s ever been in my life. How he became so real and so personal to me that I can’t remember the last time I checked my Dream Wedding board on Pinterest. How He revealed so much of His heart and character to me that I genuinely enjoy making time to read my Bible because I can’t wait to find out more about who He is.  And trust me, if He has the patience to lead me to this place with Him, He will absolutely do it for you.

(Disclaimer: Jesus is not my boyfriend. I just wanted to say that. Go on.)

So I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but summer “break” is no longer what it used to be for me. It used to be my favorite time of year – hands down. Endless amounts of swimming and sleepovers and snowballs and not one mention of the word “homework”. But this year it looked more like working and cleaning and missing my college friends and being weirded-out by sleeping in my old room again. My favorite season started to become my most confusing one. I wasn’t really sure where to fit or what to do, or if I was even in the right place. I was trying to make the most of it, but every day I wondered what that would even look like. It was super weird and confusing and lonely, to be honest. It isn’t an emotional walk in the park having to sleep in your old room again – remembering all the times you spent crying and growing and singing and praying and just feeling too much. Reliving your old feelings becomes kind of unavoidable in that situation, not to mention wildly uncomfortable and definitely NOT on my “Sweet Summah Time” bucket list I made on my phone. So, why? Is this not some type of cruel and unusual punishment?

God, I asked you to keep me close to You, to make this summer mean something – what are You doing? 

That was a real prayer of mine. And well, I don’t know why but God doesn’t exactly like to answer me immediately, or out loud, or in any kind of way that I ever expect…so I kinda just sat on that one for a while, until I started having thoughts that I would never come up with myself. I started to think that He’s letting me remember on purpose. I think it’s been a while since I’ve felt these things and I think that looking back on who I was when I felt them daily makes me feel like a completely separate person now. Like the Katie I am today barely even knows the Katie who used to sleep in a tiny, pink and yellow room every night with a million stuffed animals piled onto her bed and tears soaking into her pillow.

And maybe at first that’s okay, ideal even. But truly, I think that should break my heart, and yours. It should break our hearts to imagine that everything I went through in my life was for nothing. That I felt so heavily and struggled so truly and almost let it break me, all to just forget it completely. To just be okay with ignoring an entire part of who I am; of what’s contributed to who I am today. Actually, how dare I? Don’t I realize that there’s purpose in my past? Don’t I see that my deepest pain can connect others to their ultimate breakthrough? Why have I been investing more energy in burying my past emotions than in loving others through their present ones?

Praise God that He saved my soul and has been transforming me by the renewing of my heart and mind ever since, but I don’t think it’s enough to say just that. It’s not enough to leave it at: “God saved me from the path I was on.” What path? Why did you need saving? That’s where it counts. That’s where your story finds purpose. Those details are the exact cracks in the fragile clay jar which is you that the glory of our Loving Father shines through to others who are hurting and need your hope. These are the details that make you real and vulnerable and relate to people who are convinced that no one ever could. I never realized until this summer how selfish it is for me to ignore all the pain of my past. When I refuse to let myself go there, I refuse to connect with other people who haven’t yet found the Solution. Closing off my past completely closes off God’s access to actually use the story He’s written for me.

Not only do other people need your story, but you do, too. This time of remembering my old self and feeling old feelings puts me in the perfect position for worship. Because how can you be reminded of your old self without being reminded of how good God has been to you? You can’t acknowledge how broken you used to be before Jesus flooded your heart without also acknowledging how absolutely incredible His love and grace and healing power has also been in your life.

I think this summer God reminded me of who I used to be and how I used to feel before I loved Him, so that my love for Him would deepen. That I would be grateful for what He’s done for me all over again, but even deeper now that I can see how far He’s carried me. And if He’s carried me this far, I can only imagine where He’ll bring me next. And suddenly I find myself daydreaming about my future walking with the Lord instead of what dress I’ll be wearing walking down the isle. Suddenly I’m less consumed by wondering if I’m the kind of girl who is found desirable and more or less beautiful than the other girls in the room, and I’m more consumed by how insane it is for the Creator of the Universe to love me this much. Suddenly I must find out more. I must dig deeper. I’ve got to experience more of this Love. This Love that is so obviously a higher level of love than the one we play around with on this earth that it needs a capital “L”. This Love that is so incredible that it permanently changed my life and still is. This Love that has enough passion and depth to make me feel truly alive. This Love that sees me for who I really am and still finds me desirable.

So I went for it. I jumped in. I chased after the Lord. I wanted to learn more about who He is and see more of His heart. I wanted to know Him on a deeper level. And as insane as it sounds, He met me there. He showed up. He totally changed my heart and thoughts, but in such a gentle way. Y’all, I now find joy in my personal quite time reading the Bible! People tried to tell me before that it wasn’t a chore, but it always felt like one to me. Now, it excites me to see what part of God will I get to know each day. Now, I even journal about how to apply the scripture I read to my life and write out my prayers so I can look back later and see His faithfulness spread across every page.

I don’t know if you realize how big of a deal this is. This closeness and honesty and commitment I have with my Savior is what the old Katie always wanted, but never believed existed. This is the relationship our souls crave. And better than that, it only grows from here. The only way is deeper from here. Think that’s amazing? What about how it’s all-inclusive? What about how it’s just as available to you as it to me? I’m not talking about making sure you don’t go to hell, I’m talking about finally satisfying that longing in your heart for the most epic love story this world has ever seen. I’m talking about not just accepting Jesus but chasing after Him with all your guts and loving every second of it. I’m talking about taking your relationship with your Heavenly Father deeper than it’s ever been in your life.

So if I could encourage you to do anything, it would be to seek Your Creator. Really seek Him. Pursue Him. I challenge you to start today. Start doing more than what you do now. Go deeper than you’ve ever gone. Step out of complacency and comfort and truly discover all that Jesus is and wants to do in you. And I encourage you that when your own “summer” comes around and your “old bedroom” reminds you of all the old feelings of the old you, to allow the discomfort, yield to your Creator, and watch Him turn a potentially desert season into a summertime romance that will change you forever. May your past hurts make you fall more in love with your Savior with every memory, and may you always be growing closer to Him.

Sweet, hopeless romantic, be hopeful. Be expectant of all that the Lord will do in you. You are so loved, you and your story are so full of purpose, and I promise that God always shows up.

If you don’t mind, I would really like to pray with you. This is word-for-word from one of my journals from earlier this summer. I just want to be open about my relationship with Jesus. I want you to see that it’s perfectly safe to trust God with your whole heart, and because it amazes me to read my own honest words and realize how deep He’s taken me. I don’t think He’ll ever not amaze me quite honestly. (Nicholas who?)


Lord, thank you for caring about our daily life. You are God of every moment. Your grace is endless and your love overwhelms me. Thank you, Father, that your love for your child outweighs your hurt when they choose the same path as your enemy. Thank you for your relentless pursuit. God I want to seek after you in return. I thank you that when we seek we find. I give you full permission, Holy Spirit, to invade my heart and mind and radically transform me to look more like my Jesus every moment. I refuse to fall into the same pit Satan chose. Holy Spirit help me to be on guard and to fight for my life when he attacks. But I know that, God, You are the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and You are sovereign and You fight for me always and Your victory is my victory because You’ve already won and defeated death and that will never stop being enough to hold me over from one moment to the next. 


The Clay


  • Philippians 1:6
  • Matthew 6:33
  • 1 Peter 2:2-3
  • Romans 12:2
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • Jeremiah 29:13
  • Deuteronomy 4:29
  • Proverbs 8:17


  • “Let It Happen” – United Pursuit
  • “Open Space” – Housefires
  • “Infinite” – Kim Walker-Smith / Jesus Culture
  • “Fresh Outpouring” – Kim Walker-Smith / Jesus Culture
  • “Closer” – Steffany Gretzinger / Bethel Music
  • “My One And Only” – Kim Walker-Smith, Skyler Smith
  • “Extravagant” – Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook / Bethel Music
  • “Have It All” – Brian Johnson / Bethel Music
  • “One Thing” – Housefires

To the Hearts in Hiding

Dear invested performer,

How’s your heart doing?

And why does that question scare the mess out of everyone?

It’s not just you, ya know. Everyone gets nervous to some degree when it comes to the heart. But have you ever thought about why? Why so much pressure about keeping it safe from those who would harm it? Why so much emphasis on protecting it from damage and noticing the passions within it? Why does no one worry about my kidneys with the same urgency?

The truth is, nothing else so clearly reflects who we really are like our hearts. What brings us pure bliss and what frustrates us to the core can be found there. Whatever we treasure there will be what motivates our actions and decides what our intentions are in every act and every word that comes from us. Our hearts are where we feel the heaviest emotions and carry the deepest pain. That’s the most passionate part of us and where we find our uniqueness. Someone can use your physical kidney if they needed a transplant, but your figurative heart only makes sense if it’s inside of you. So yeah, in a world where the most important thing in life is to find out who you are and live out your purpose, I’d say taking care of the source of everything that makes you you would be quite high on the priority list. So if our hearts are obviously of immense significance to us and to living life well, then why want to hide them so badly? Why are we often so closed off about them and so unwilling to be honest about all the treasures we hold within them?

Because truly the most important part of our hearts is that whatever we deem most important inside them is ultimately what we value most; in other words, what we worship. Worship doesn’t mean creepy humming and wearing a dark cloak and bowing to a statue. Worshipping something/someone is putting value on it/them. It’s saying that is the most important thing in your life and your heart loves it more than anything else. And if what you value more than anything else does not belong in that position, you can feel it. It feels like guilt, and it feels like shame, and it feels like it needs to be hidden from anything and anyone who might bring it out into the open.

And that makes perfect sense, you know. You’re not crazy. You’re not the only one. Not even close. You’re not a fake Christian for loving Jesus but having other things taking up too much space in your heart. But you definitely won’t be a very impactful one until you clean it all out. I understand the instinct is to hide your heart problems and just keep on living right on the outside, but it’s truly for nothing if your heart isn’t right.

But can I just ask why are there other things taking up space in that precious heart of yours? How did those things get so high up on the priority list in the first place? How can that happen when your mind knows very well that the rightful owner of the highest position in your heart belongs to God?

I think that’s exactly it. You know in your mind, but that isn’t enough. It has to go deeper than that to effect your desires and your passions. It doesn’t effect who you are if it never reaches your heart. You can know in your mind that God says you should keep your body pure until marriage, but have no motivation in your heart to obey Him. You can learn in church service that God says to honor your mother and father, but have no passion from your heart to fuel that motivation you need to actually do it. And really that motivation will never come if you continue keeping the Lord at arms length.

It’s so easy to learn in our minds how to be a Christian, but never let our hearts truly experience live-giving change. It’s obvious that our hearts are fragile, and valuable, and worth protecting, but if you’re anything like me, then you might reach the place of holding onto your heart too strongly. Of gripping it so tightly, keeping it so safe from damage, that nothing truly beautiful can reach it, either. The fear of letting in pain is keeping you from letting in love. You can’t stand the thought of opening yourself up to change, or worse, to honesty about what you really worship.

And I truly believe that’s innate. That we naturally are concerned about what happens to our heart because a power bigger than ourselves has placed that sense of importance inside of us on purpose. This power is God, and as the Creator of the Universe, He can absolutely be trusted to know what’s important and what’s not. And I think that part is acceptable to most of us. We can agree that God gave you your heart and has even impressed upon you how precious it is. But when it comes to trusting Him with that heart, everything gets messy and stressful and terrifying and enormously resistant. And that makes sense, too, given how important we know that it is. Especially if you don’t know Him very well, of course trusting your most prized possession with a stranger would be frightening to say the least.

But what about those of us who do? What about the ones who say we know God and have allowed Him to come into our heart, but still don’t want to trust Him with it? I think this is where our acting careers take off. To whoever realized that it’s “easier” to just learn the role of a Christian and make sure we look the part on the outside, you’re the worst. Because now so many of us have been doing this, and for so long, too, that we can barely even tell we’re acting anymore. We’ve gotten so caught up in making sure we look like we’re doing all the right things, that we don’t even know why we should be doing the right things in the first place. And when you don’t have a good reason to be doing something, naturally, it’s extremely difficult to keep doing it.

So we fail. And we’re guilty. We’re not sure why, but we are. So we do some more good things to make ourselves feel better. Because we guess that’s what everyone seems to do. But it doesn’t work. And we fail again. And we see those around us who are so godly and never seem to fail and we feel even worse. And now we don’t fit in with them anymore. And now it’s more comfortable to fail. Because there’s no pressure to measure up in sin. Sin doesn’t require you to be good enough, but rules and commandments do. But you’ve already learned all the right things from church and developed this image of being a good Christian and you don’t want to lose that positive attention, so even though you think the rules are stupid and pointless and not at all what you want to be doing, you try your hardest to at least make it look like you’re good at living the Christian life.

But how’s your heart doing?

And why does that question scare you more now than before?

I think a major reason for the guilt in the invested performer’s “Christian” life is because you can feel that God is worthy to be obeyed, but you don’t understand or agree with His commandments. First, I think it’s really important to realize that God’s commandments are in place because He loves us enough to give us direction and guidance in this crazy life. He created everything; all of it. He’s the designer of the game, and so naturally He is the One we would look to for instructions on how to play it properly. The best possible outcome will come from following the directions of the One who invented it all in the first place. It just makes sense.  We all want guidance and direction in life so badly, and He gives it directly in His word. And it isn’t from a need for power or authority over us, it’s out of love. The more you get to know your Creator, the more you see that everything about Him stems from His insane and uncontainable love. Everyone sees the word “obey” and immediately is turned off because their pride tells them the idea of surrendering to someone else’s idea for your life is absolutely ridiculous. But your pride also tells you that you’re the author of your own life and your way is the best way of living, but we already agreed on who holds that position in this universe… And if it makes so much sense for God to hold that position in the universe then does it not make perfect sense for Him to hold that same position in your own personal universe? Is it not the perfect example of where the Lord belongs in your heart?

To not love any other god before God is not the most important commandment just because God wants our love. Of course He does, but He also loves us enough to warn us. He drew the whole map, He knows where all the pits and valleys are. He knows that when we let something else take His place as the first position in our heart, we’re looking to the wrong thing for direction. We’re letting the wrong thing lead us. The wrong thing is motivating our actions and being reflected in our words. And when we allow for something besides the Lord to be first in our hearts, He knows it leads to sin. Sin is going against God’s commands, and it breaks His heart. He’s heartbroken not because He isn’t being obeyed as the all-powerful supreme being, but because He knows it leads us down the wrong path in life; the path that gets further and further from Him with each step. He knows that sin is the thing that will bring the exact destruction and pain and damage to our hearts that we’re so afraid of. But His love for you outweighs the risk of His heartbreak, so He chases after you anyway. He goes out of His way to direct you and help you anyway. Don’t you see? God hasn’t burdened your life with commandments to ruin all your fun that you better keep or you’re in big trouble. No! He has gifted us with help in this life; with guidance on how to walk in the true joy and peace that our hearts long for.

So to the ones who are invested in their Christian performance, who are working hard to hide their hearts, who are holding God at arm’s length, I need you to stop where you are, and

e   x   h   a   l   e.  

Whether you’re hiding your heart out of fear of it being broken, or out of feelings that tell you you’re not worthy of being loved for who you truly are, or out of shame from what you’ve allowed into your heart that doesn’t belong there, let me just speak to that carefully and uniquely knitted together heart of yours: God is safe to be trusted with your whole heart. 

Invested actor, I need to be honest with you. You’ve been reapplying your stage makeup so much that it’s starting to irritate your skin; you’ve been going through so many costume changes that your clothes are starting to rip; if you keep running lines over and over like this, you’re going to lose your voice. Whatever reason you have for wanting to fake it until you make it isn’t good enough. Your heart is desperate for something deep and life-giving and you know it. No amount of good things you do can mask that emptiness. Maybe the people around you are fooled, but God sees you. He doesn’t care about the other stuff like He cares about your heart. All those reasons you have to value your heart and protect it so much? Yeah, God has them too. You think you have reason to keep your heart from harm? Imagine how much more invested is the One who took the careful time and energy to create it with such purpose. He is the expert in taking proper care of it.

Yes, I know you have your reasons for keeping your heart hidden, but can I just tell you that God sees it anyway? You might not acknowledge what’s inside it, but the Lord does. He sees past everything and looks right at your heart, every time, always. He sees you when no one else does. He knows what’s truly going on with you, but never rejects you. Can we let that sink in? He literally knows who you truly are, even the parts you’re ashamed of and don’t talk about. He fully knows you – all the good and all the bad – and STILL loves you. You can never stray too far from His reach. You can never offend Him so much that He’ll never talk to you again. You can never hurt His feelings enough to stop Him from forgiving you. You can never insult His creativity enough to make Him stop gifting you with purpose. He’s in relentless pursuit of you. Not the hard, shiny plastic surface of you that you show to everyone else, but the real you. Your core – what drives all your thoughts – the source of your actions – the reason behind your words – where everything you do flows from. That. Is what the Author of Life is concerned with. The inner depths of YOU.

Whatever false hope you’ve been clinging to is not enough and you can feel it. The godly people around you are not enough to fill you. You are always responsible for your own relationship with God. You are always as close and as honest and as passionately pursuing Him as you want to be. Because that’s the other part of this – God knows exactly how to live the best possible life, but he NEVER forces you to listen to Him. He loves you too much to not let you choose. But you better believe that while you’re going back and forth debating whether you want to fully trust Him and be honest about your messy heart or not, He is on the other side relentlessly chasing after you without a single doubt that you’re worth it every moment of every day; constantly drawing you to Himself; putting in the careful detailed work required to capture your mind and heart, because He is that crazy, madly, deeply, truly, unconditionally in love with you. All of you. The entire you. The raw you.

There’s no other love like that. It’s the exact love your heart is desperate for. That kind of love deserves the #1 spot in your heart. It deserves its very own, personal, devoted, and honest relationship. Won’t you let Him in closer?

Today, I’m not just praying for you, but I’m accepting and believing the Truth with you.

Lord, thank you for seeing me and loving me anyway.  My heart is Yours. 


The Clay


  • Psalm 33:15
  • Luke 12:6-7
  • Psalm 32:8
  • Exodus 20:3-6
  • Psalm 27:8
  • Psalm 37:4
  • Psalm 73:22-26
  • Psalm 139:1
  • Psalm 139:13-14
  • Proverbs 4:23
  • Matthew 22:36-38


  • “King of My Heart” – Bethel Music
  • “Out of Hiding” – Steffany Gretzinger
  • “How Beautiful” – Mosaic MSC
  • “You Know Me” – Steffany Gretzinger – Bethel Music
  • “Here’s My Heart” – Lauren Daigle
  • “We Dance” – Steffany Gretzinger – Bethel Music
  • “Like Incense/Sometimes By Step” – Hillsong Worship
  • “Have It All” – Brian Johnson – Bethel Music
  • “Heart Abandoned” – Kristian Stanfill – Passion
  • “I Love You Lord/Passion – Acoustic/Medley” – Hillsong Young & Free
  • “Nothing Without You” – Will Reagan – United Pursuit
  • “Running to You” – Mosaic MSC

Actual Rest for the Seriously Weary

Dear exhausted soldier,

I’m sitting in the first floor of the LSU Student Union alone on a long bench against the wall and I feel Him.

I’ve got my headphones in and “Passion” by Hillsong Young & Free is filling my ears and taking over my thoughts, tuning out the jumbled murmur of the many different voices all around me.

I’m trying not to spill my now cold coffee I’m holding in my lap while I attempt to make yet another list (I have a thing about making lists of things), and I just can’t focus.

I can’t remember what I was about to put on my list; I can’t remember who I was about to text; I can’t think about anything except how strongly I can feel the presence of the Lord with me right in this moment.

I suddenly can’t hear the many voices talking about eating Chickfila for the seventeenth time this week or about the lab that they’re thinking about skipping this afternoon; I can’t hear my own voice trying to plan out the rest of my day or struggling to put my thoughts into an organized list; there’s only one voice that has seemed to capture all of my attention, and it isn’t even a tangible one.

I’m not even sure how to explain it other than it’s just this overwhelming sense of peace and love that is absolutely undeniable. From my head to my toes I feel so comforted right now. And I have no doubt that it’s my Heavenly Father reminding me of how close He is, of how He sees me, of how He has me in His arms at all times, because well there simply is nothing else in all of this world that will ever reassure me of any of these things except the Potter Himself.

You know, that is so important yet so easy for me to forget. Literally so many things every single day captivate my attention and speak into my life. Some things take my attention by force and speak rather harshly, others I invite in willingly and maybe end up listening a little too closely. Either way nothing comes close to listening to your very own Creator. It is such a special and essential thing to take time to shut out all other voices and solely tune in to God’s presence. Depending on how your day or even your week is going, putting in your “headphones” so all you can focus on is how good your Father is can seriously be your lifeline. It can make the difference of whether you will find the courage and strength to fight back against all the lies you’ve been hearing from the enemy lately or laying down and taking more hits. It can determine how you will react in about an hour or so when they completely forget your order at Starbucks for no good reason. And it will absolutely make a difference in how in the world you will possibly get through that thing that is weighing down so heavily on your heart right now that you instantly are thinking of as I bring it up.

I’m not going to just lie and say that spending time alone with God -maybe meditating on some bible verses that have stood out to you or listening to worship songs that really minister to your heart- will instantly make what you’re dealing with go away. (Honestly, depending on what it is, it very well could, though.) But it definitely will energize your soul to keep going. I mean let’s be honest with each other: fighting for peace in your heart, for joy, for security, your sanity, is all super hard and exhausting -I don’t care how hard you may try to convince everyone otherwise. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Soldiers get worn out and need rest and food to refuel and get back to battle. They don’t take the realization that they are feeling weak as a sign that they just aren’t cut out for this whole “soldier” thing and should probably just give up. They acknowledge that their strength is finite, that their stamina does run out, that they cannot do this on their own.

Fellow solider, you are not the only one struggling to keep fighting and you are not forgotten by your Creator. You are allowed and actually need to admit that you are tired; that no matter how much you’ve worked out, this is still too heavy for you to carry; that no matter how much sleep you’ve been able to get lately, the bags under your eyes are starting to affect your vision; that even though you’ve been eating your healthiest lately, you still barely have the energy to get through the day. You’re not a disgrace in the Kingdom of God for not being able to handle things on your own. It’s actually one of our key family values to acknowledge how badly we need our Savior.

I know sometimes it can make you feel guilty or embarrassed to be a Christian and just feel so inadequate and weak over issues that you think other Christians probably don’t even see as a big deal. But when reminded that healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do, does that start to eliminate some of the guilt? And when reminded that the Lord’s ways and understanding far surpass our own, does that start to contradict your reason for embarrassment? There’s no need to feel guilty about reaching super weak points in life, and there’s no good reason to feel embarrassed about not having all the answers or not being able to figure things out on your own, even if you’ve been saved for years.

I say all this to hopefully help you realize what the Lord had me realize today, which is that battles can be long and tiring and there comes a point where you just need to go back to base and recharge. This isn’t a shameful retreat in a surrendering-to-the-enemy kind of way because you’re just to weak to handle the fight; this is simply because you’re a good soldier, you recognize when you’ve run out of supplies and for your own health and safety and success in battle, you need to return to base to refocus on the battle-plan, refuel, and look for further instructions from your Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And through this precious meeting time with the One who knows your past, present, and future you will have undeniable peace begin to flood your mind, love heavier than any of the weight you’ve been carrying through this fight poured out onto your entire being, and much needed rest for your soul. Spending time in the presence of the Lord truly realigns your focus on the situation and restores your strength to get back to the battlegrounds. But take heart, because He’s going out right on side of you, not sending you out on your own; He never did in the first place.

For me today, my time in God’s presence has shown me that it doesn’t matter where you are physically or emotionally to spend time with Him and hear from Him. He didn’t require me to be in an intimate church service and He didn’t ask that I dust myself off and toughen up first. My time in His presence today also has tuned me into hearing that my current situation is not some catastrophic event, but an important time of growth that He and I can handle together, and that He can make way for me to come out more mature and refined on the other side. And it’s now, for the first time in about a week, that I feel strong enough to handle this, and it’s only because my strength has officially run out and the Lord’s strength is all I have to rely on. I have confidence in His power, and we are ready to get back to the battlegrounds, together.

For you today, I pray that you take some time to put your “headphones” in, listen to the  only Voice that matters, and see what happens. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The most empowering moments of your life will come from surrendering everything you have and solely relying on the strength of God. Surrender and trust – that’s what it’s all about.


The Clay

Scriptures that influenced this letter that you should absolutely check out:

  • Psalm 73:22-26
  • Jeremiah 31:25
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Matthew 9:12-13
  • John 16:33
  • Genesis 16:13
  • John 16:32
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Exodus 33:14
  • Isaiah 12:2
  • Psalm 89:8
  • Psalm 91:1

A few songs that correspond with the heart of this letter:

  • “Passion” – Hillsong Young & Free
  • “Pursue / All I Need Is You” – Hillsong Worship, Hillsong Young & Free
  • “Prince of Peace – Live” – Hillsong United
  • “Tremble” – Mosaic MSC
  • “God I Look to You” – Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music
  • “Shepherd” – Amanda Cook, Bethel Music
  • “Your Voice” – Kim Walker-Smith, Skyler Smith
  • “We Dance” – Steffany Gretzinger, Bethel Music
  • “When the Fight Calls” – Hillsong Young & Free
  • “Lion and the Lamb” – Leeland Mooring, Bethel Music
  • “Even When It Hurts (Praise Song) – Live ” – Hillsong United

The Beauty in the Process

Dear fragile jar of clay,

As I sit at my desk to start putting on the little bit of makeup that I actually know how to use, one of my favorite Spotify playlists shuffling on point as usual, I catch my reflection in my tiny desk mirror and am suddenly wildly confused. As far as the people closest to me and I are concerned, I am the furthest thing away from a morning person. So what’s with the excited expression on my face? I mean sure the coffee in my mug is really good (it did come from Costa Rica, after all) but it’s not that good. That’s when I started thinking: You know, I’m always happy to sit down and get ready in the morning. Sure, I hate having to wake up early. But I love when I get to jam to worship music and take my time drinking my coffee while I slowly become a more presentable version of myself. It does take many different steps that can be kind of tedious, but I don’t ever mind because I know that it’s all necessary to reach the result that I want. Now am I saying it isn’t annoying when I accidentally inhale powder, or that it doesn’t hurt like nobody’s business when my eyelash curler catches my eyelid four times in a row? I’m not even capable of telling such a lie. However, I still do all of it. I wipe the powder out of my nose and I put the curler to my lashes a fifth time, and even a sixth if necessary. It’s worth it to me because I always feel more beautiful and ready to take on the day afterwords. But it’s actually going through the motions that I have fun with. I take delight in actually seeing everything that it takes to get the result I’m going for. Having to put in effort and fixing many mistakes along the way makes me appreciative of the finished product. I enjoy the process.

This realization really meant nothing to me until what I believe was the Holy Spirit (because we all know that I’m not this good alone) put on my heart and in my thoughts that this is such an accurate picture of the way God feels about the process He does in us after salvation. My mom taught me a long time ago that makeup isn’t supposed to hide you like a mask, but is supposed to take attention away from your flaws and draw it towards the enhancement of your naturally beautiful features (and wow do I love her for that little wisdom nugget!). And you know, that’s what the Lord does for us. He is the Potter and we are the clay, and as He lessens our sinful desires and enhances our God-given passions and talents, we slowly feel less ashamed of who we are – of our own reflection – and more confident. Now this confidence isn’t in ourselves, but in the way that everything He is shines through us. I truly enjoy going through the steps in my routine to lessen the irritated redness in my blemishes and enhance the natural brown color in my rather large eyes, and then getting to see the finished product and feel pleased with the outcome – and so does our Father. He works in us because He loves us. Isn’t it amazing how He doesn’t stop caring about us once we’re saved? He could just push us aside after winning us because He has so many other lost souls to worry about. But He doesn’t do that. He cares deeply about them AND us still. He pursues us even after we’ve declared Him our Savior for years. He wants us to reach our full potential, our best version of ourselves, and carefully orchestrates our lives to accomplish just that. He molds and shapes us by transforming our hearts and through the renewing of our minds. All so that we may become more like Him and bring glory to His name. And He enjoys that process. He loves watching and helping us grow and change to become more beautiful, from the inside out. And if that means having to help you curl your lashes twelve times in a row until you finally understand that you aren’t supposed to blink when you have them in place, then He gladly does so. What’s so incredible is that God has the power to force you to be perfect, but He would never do that to you. He loves you so much that He is patient with you and wants you to learn and grow so that you can become stronger, more compassionate, and more grateful for all that He is for you. But He doesn’t need that – that’s for us, for our benefit. If that doesn’t leave you in complete awe, then you might not fully understand what I’m saying.

I realize that makeup is often associated with the exact opposite of this idea, but it really depends on the makeup artist. And ours is the Creator of the Universe who has no interest in slapping a thick mask over our face to hide who we are. No, He knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on your head and has plans for you to prosper and have a future. He put specific desires and dreams in your heart that are uniquely shared between you and Him. His intention as the Potter is to constantly shape you, the clay, into new forms of yourself that are continuously becoming more and more effective for His Kingdom. He smooths out the rough areas and integrates the most exquisite designs and details that start on the surface but reach deep into the center of your being. This work that the Lord does in us takes a lifetime of closeness with Him, and that is exactly why He takes joy in it. You are the most valuable, one-of-a-kind piece of art that the Lord has ever Created. But unlike worldly artists, He could never let us be sold and displayed for someone else’s enjoyment. No, you – His most prized possession – you could only be bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son, and He was more than willing to pay the price. What’s beautiful is that this wasn’t the end. Jesus dying on the cross was not the end, it was the beginning. Your salvation is not the epitome of your relationship with God, it’s only the beginning. Giving your heart and life to Him starts the most insane adventure you could ever imagine, but you have to be willing to be stretched.

I think what’s important about understanding all of this is seeing that not only does God love you more than you can understand, but He also takes all of your flaws and blemishes and turns them into beauty marks with an important testimony to share. He teaches you from the times you get powder up your nose and He never lets any of the twenty-three times you pinched your eyelid in your eyelash curler be wasted. Because with God, all of the trials are actually growing pains, and every long and testing season is actually part of the process of making you more beautiful than you ever could have been on your own. So I hope, if anything, you’re encouraged and maybe challenged to see the trying times in your life in a new light. Most of all I pray that your heart is softened to the gentle touch of your Potter’s hands; that you aren’t determined to stay set in your ways, but are embracing the shaping and molding of the Lord to become the person He intended you to be – the best version of yourself – because well, why wouldn’t you want that?


The Clay

Scriptures that influenced this letter that you should absolutely check out:

  • Romans 12:2
  • Isaiah 64:8
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7
  • Genesis 16:13