Being Willing Clay

There are 1,000,001 other things I should be doing right now than writing a blog post.

But I'm sitting on the front porch, and I keep smelling apples, and little bee wings keep buzzing around the hostas like a little symphony, and I am overwhelmed by God's grace.

I've been thinking this week about that JJ Heller song, the one where she sings, "Be gentle with me, Jesus, as You tear me apart." It is kind of a modern-day prayer of the passage in Job that says, "For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal."

What a great God, to care so much about us that He doesn't leave us the way we are.

He could easily leave us as marred, chipped, and broken clay pots, but, loving Potter that He is, He instead knows that there is so much more for us, so much better for us, if we let Him shape us into something more beautiful.

If we let Him.

It has been my experience that "letting Him" is often very painful.

But His hands heal.

I would rather be broken by my God and healed by His hands than left as the imperfect vessel far from Him. Each time we are broken and put back together we are a little more whole than we were before, a little more like Him, a little nearer to Him. Praise God! There is nothing sweeter than tasting just a little bit more of God's goodness.

He doesn't need to give us the affirmation that He sees us, but He does. He doesn't need to give us the affirmation that He is with us, but He does. He doesn't need to tell us that He is pleased with us, that He delights in us as His beloved and paid-for children, and that neither death nor life nor angels nor demons nor past nor present nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation can separate us from His love...but He does.

He tells us all these things while tearing away the things that keep us from knowing Him more. He is just, but He is gentle. I am so grateful that amidst showing me the ugly parts of me that need to go, He holds me close and reminds me of how His blood has beautified me and how precious I am to Him. He doesn't need to do either of those things. But blessed God! He does both.

Just a few more days until I drive back down to Kentucky, once again embarking on a new journey into a new job and new city and new life. Sometimes I worry about it, but God says to me, "I am faithful to work in the little crevices of your heart, so trust me to be faithful in working out the bigger details of your life."

I do trust Him. Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

If you haven't already, please consider helping support me for this next year of my internship in Louisville. You can read about it and donate here.

Thanks for sharing in life with me, y'all.
May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 3:5 NLT


saddle up your horses

“August is a transitioning month for Wisconsin,” the man at church said. He was standing in my office and I was looking out my window, telling him I was already beginning to smell fall.

No, no, no, no, no. It is not allowed to be winter yet. It hasn’t even really been summer yet! It is not allowed to be winter yet. Not yet. No.


I’ve been mulling over his words the past couple of weeks, chewing on them like a cow on verbal cud. August is a transitioning month. My teacher friends are starting work again. My school-aged friends are starting school again. The kids who are still 11 in my mind are posting pictures on Facebook of their college orientations. How did they become college students?

The past six months I’ve been living with my parents in the village of Glenbeulah, Wisconsin, population 463. Since I’ve been here they’ve opened this promising new establishment:

Good ol' Rusty's Oil & Tire (great name for an auto place). I walk past it sometimes with my finger on 911’s speed dial in case someone reaches out of the door and tries to snatch me.

I’ve also gotten to spend time with this family:

Aren’t they lovely? I gave my niece Annabelle her first swimming (AKA “kick the water like you’re a mermaid”) lesson and have already taught her how to blow raspberries and give zerbers and copy everything everyone says like an annoying echo. Emmalynn is still a little young to learn bad habits, but I’m working on it. I have a nephew on the way, too. I want them to name him JohnMcClane (no spaces or hyphens) but they probably won’t.

Over the past few months I’ve also learned a bit about myself:

1) I can eat ice cream for dinner many consecutive days before I feel convicted about it.

2) I hate mosquitoes so passionately I am willing to torch an entire community because sometimes lives must be lost in order to protect future lives.

3) My ability to make rational decisions diminishes incrementally the longer I go without seeing the sun.

3a) My gummy vitamin intake increases radically the longer I go without seeing the sun.

4) I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

I'll be 27 in September, and sometimes I envy my friends. You know, the ones who have homes and stable jobs and spouses and children and matching mugs and furniture and cars that have airbags and at least an idea of what the next few years of their lives will look like.

I have no idea what the next few years of my life will look like. I think this is fairly common for 20-somethings. I can't tell you how many 20-something friends I know who have moved back home to live with their parents after a turn of events. God bless parents who welcome back their 20-somethings with grace and spare rooms. And to my 20-something friends who are still trying to figure out their lives: Be encouraged! You are not alone.

Sometimes I think that instead of asking kids what they want to "be" when they grow up, we should ask them what they love. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. But I know I love the church. I know I love words. I know I love people. I know I love Jesus.
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. – Luke 5:27-28 NLT
When people ask me what my plans are or what my goal is, I don't know. I'm pretty sure Levi couldn't have answered that either when he left everything. He probably would've said, "I'm just following Jesus."

That's the only real goal I have, too.

And that's when I don't mind so much that none of my mugs have a theme and the only furniture I own is what my dad has picked out of other people’s trash. That's when I'm okay with moving, picking up and leaving, and trying something new, because with my God, I can do anything. I can go anywhere, lose everything, start over, face any situation, any challenge, with my God.

My God is my companion, and He is my partner. And I'll go with Him wherever.

Which makes it difficult, sometimes, when I have things in my life I don’t want to leave. Like my family. And a good job at a church. And good relationships and friendships. I start to question what it really means to follow Jesus. If God isn’t really making it clear where He wants me in the future, wouldn’t it be okay if I just made my own future? Isn’t our main goal in life to bring glory to God? Does it really matter how we bring glory to God?

Have you ever felt a tug, a pull, a nudge, a thought, a desire, that you just can't shake? Like that one birthday candle you just can't blow out, and it keeps burning and reigniting no matter how much slobber you spray on it? My desire to be in the church is like that slobbery, stubborn birthday candle. I try to make up different futures for myself but they never ignite like when I think about being in the church. 
“Your greatest fulfillment in life will come when you discover your unique gifts and abilities and use them to edify others and glorify the LORD." - Neil T. Anderson
I have never felt quite as much like I am doing what God has created me to do than when I am emptying myself into the local church. I've tried. Believe me, I've tried.

So, in keeping with August’s theme of transitions, I’m transitioning, too. I'm moving back to beautiful Kentucky, to the great city of Louisville, to intern in the communications department of Sojourn Community Church. I will get to write. I will get attend their leadership school. I will get to be a part of creative planning. I will get to attend workshops and conferences. I will get to further develop my unique gifts and abilities in order to edify others and glorify the Lord.

Burn, little slobber candle, burn.

This is where I need your help.

The internship is unpaid, which means I will have to raise support and find a part-time job. Because of some generous people in my life, I'll only have to raise $6,000 for the next year of my internship. If 60 people gave $100, that'd cover the whole shebang!

I've never had to raise money before. I don't like asking for money. I don't know anybody who really does. It makes me feel uncomfortable...and weird. But I do need your help. I can't do this on my own. I'm so thankful for those of you who have already given, in more ways than one. Your generosity and thoughtfulness humbles me.

To join in supporting me financially, click here. 

I would also love your support through prayers and encouragement. Your words mean so much to me!

All of that being said, I'm so, so grateful for this opportunity to serve the people of Louisville with such a wonderful church. I will keep y'all updated!


I wish hair like this was still in style: