unlocking prison doors…naked

If you had the keys to let hundreds of innocent people out of jail but the only catch was you had to unlock all the doors completely naked, would you do it?

unlocking-prison

Weird analogy right?  Don’t worry I have a point.

This word vulnerability, is opening my eyes to some huge and powerful truths.  When we are brave enough to share our past, our hurt, and our bumpy road to figuring life out,  it can be terrifying.  We feel exposed, naked really, but for those who are brave enough, it also allows SO MUCH freedom both for us and the one who needed to hear our story.

Brene Brown, who delivered one of the most popular Ted talks to date, has researched vulnerability for more than a decade.  Her goal was to “outsmart” it.  She wanted to see how she could have those deep connections with people without having to let het guard down allowing herself to get hurt. 10 years of research, focus groups, and interviews she found, much to her surprise.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known” –Brene Brown

About a year ago I finally was brave enough, and got the opportunity, to share my testimony with my sorority.  15 years after sitting in the same chapter room I came back to tell what God had done in my life.  The calendar is different but we shared the exact same fears, insecurities, desperate need for a guy to bring us happily ever after.  I walked in their exact same (totally adorable) shoes.

  I stood in front of 225 of the most beautiful women Georgia Southern had ever seen.  I thought I was going to throw up or pee on myself or both. I poured my heart out.

After I finished speaking I felt naked  Exposed.  Cold and sweaty at the same time.  I went home that night and journaled this:

2/11/16

Last night I had the opportunity to share my testimony with ADPI! I have never felt more where I am supposed to be.  Mother Teresa says “Calcutta” is everywhere we just have to look.  I never would have thought to find Calcutta in the mansions of greek row but father I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.

Since that terrifying moment in the chapter room God has given me the sweetest little warriors for Jesus to encourage and mama while they are away from home.  He has made doors fall down and windows fly open to share more of Jesus with the most open hearts hungry to hear a better way than hangovers and heartbreak.  He took my “too little too late” and made it “abundantly more than I could ask or imagine”.  Redeeming my past and making beauty from a mess.

Here’s my encouragement: To break down walls we have to get uncomfortable.   The best place to start is sharing our story.  What has God done, and what He is currently doing in your life that is hard to share but could be the key to unlock prison for others, AND as a bonus, yourself.

To my daughter , Love Jesus

I remember the day my father and I decided to make you.

It was a few thousand years ago now.  We sat around the table drawing our plan of just exactly how you would look, the family you would have and the passions you would peruse.    At first we thought you would be perfect for the middle ages because you make a perfect princess.  But then we thought having you live in a time of air conditioning would be better….you’re welcome.

Since creating our first daughter in the garden we have loved each one.  Some drew close to me and I loved showering her with heavenly hugs and my still small voice guiding her steps.  Some of my daughters have ran away from my arms determined to chase after counterfeit love and have her heart broken and disappointed every time.

The enemy puts a shiny coating over the things of this world.  It looks at first that being beautiful, or finding love is what you need to be complete.  When you get behind the cheap veneer you realize nothing the world offers will satisfy.

I cringe when you look at your face in the mirror and tell yourself it’s not enough.  I’ve watched you cry when you found out the “forever” he promised was so much shorter than you thought it would be.  I’ve hurt when you gave your heart to men who were not able to love you fully and completely.

Sweet daughter.  You are enough.

I have looked at your broken and made you whole.

I want to hold you and pour into your broken places.  I want to ask that you see the difference in the temporary dime-a-dozen offers of “happiness” from the world and my offer of eternal fulfillment.

I look at you and see potential to love the unloveable, teach the unteachable and mostly…. just to be brave.

Because of that, I have created you to for such a time as this, for such a day as this, and to be such a girl as yourself by no accident.  You have a glorious invitation to be a part of something so much bigger than you could ever imagine.

I’m inviting you to be part of an adventure so much bigger than what you see around you.  An invitation to be part of the biggest motion picture that was or ever will be.  The story is already in progress, but it would be so much more exciting with you.  The way your passionate about the things that matter to you, your infectious smile and your gentle voice.  Every detail about you can be used for the bigger story.

 The story of God is in progress and your invited to be a supporting role. 

I love you too much to see you work so hard for all this unattainable happiness that won’t last.  I see a perfect daughter in you, and I want you to be apart of this adventure.    Come be apart of something bigger.  Come join my story.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! Psalm 8:3-8

to-my-daughter-love-jesus

Thirsty

When Jesus walked the earth He talked about money, love, Heaven and Hell. He talked to Kings, Religious leaders, his Disciples and even his mother but the LONGEST recorded conversation was with a heartbroken girl.

The woman at the well story in John Chapter 4 is the longest recorded conversation with Jesus in Scripture.

The calendar has a different date, the cultural is distant, and thank you Jesus we now have cell phones, but the struggle is exactly the same. What I love about this woman is she is me, and you, and so many other women I have talked to who all share her same testimony. Searching for significance in the arms of a man.

“I just kept looking to feel whole everywhere but through Jesus” confesses a 21 year old heartbroken girl I had coffee with recently. The struggle is the same today, as when I was her age, as when the woman came to draw water 2000 years ago.

I think Jesus knew, centuries later, an equally heartbroken girl would be in desperate need to hear the words directly from Jesus to pour into her broken places.

modern-day-woman-at-the-well

The woman at the well was married 5 times and having slumber parties with a guy she wasn’t married to. She comes do draw water,maybe doing the walk of shame in her boyfriends toga. She is thirsty, in more ways that one.

At the well she meets a very unlikely friend. Culturally He shouldn’t even give her the time of day. Jesus is a powerful, strong and respected leader. She is a woman of questionable morals from the wrong side of the wrong town. Thankfully Jesus was never one to follow the crowd and do what everyone else thought he should do.
He looks at her with dignity and says:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again.”John 4:13

Jesus looks at the woman aching to be beautiful, yearning for popularity, and thirsty to be loved fully and completely and asks:
How can another sinful human fulfill a void that big? Even when you think you have found your happily ever after, it will only fulfill you for a short while, then you have to come back for another guy, another “the one” and another heartbreak leaves you more thirsty than before. I want better for you my sweet daughter.

“The water that I will give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Imagine you have arrived at perfection. Your body is a 10, your hair is just right, not a blemish to be found from head to toe, you’re hilarious smart and turn all the guys heads. Awesome right? Now all your problems are solved and you will have a line out the door of men who will love you forever.
Only this:
1)we all have different definitions of what “perfection” looks like
2) How is this working out for all the perfect women in hollywood?

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty” John 15

AMEN SISTER!
YES GIVE ME THIS WATER!! It is still free flowing on tap in John chapter 4 and on your knees ready to be poured out to fill your brokenness.

Dear ladies searching for significance in the arm of a man. I get it, I was there. The man, woman relationship is designed to COMPLIMENT us, never to COMPLETE us. God gave me a wonderful husband but I can not expect him to make me whole! He is a (very handsome) but flawed human just like me. Where in the world did we ever get the idea that the “right person” would quench all that we thirst for?

Jesus says everything we are searching for is so temporary and won’t last. He offers Eternal water, a promise to never thirst again. A promise of no more heartbreaks and empty searches for what your heart truly needs to feel whole.

Jesus, give me this water so I will never thirst again!

Following Jesus can be scary

“Better than a crack house I suppose?”  I told myself as I walked my way to room 225 of the unsightly motel on the back side of town.  I had been working with the local homeless mission for a few months when the director called to tell me about  Sarah, a young mom they just place in a hotel for 2 weeks.  Sarah and I had kids the same age and the director knew Sarah was desperate for a friend to help escape the crack house.

Knock Knock

In 30 seconds that felt like 3 hours I questioned my sanity and thought about running away, but then a 5 year old boy opened the door with spiderman pajamas.  He gave me a hug and invited me in.

This began my dive into the deep end of the rich and poor divide.
I fell in love with this little family.  I learned her husband left her for drugs and other women.  She had no education, no car, no home, no bank account, terrible credit and all her friends and family were in similar situations.  We grew up only miles apart but it just as well could have been different planets.  When I was a kid, I came home from school my mom greeted me with snacks and homework help, when she came home from school her mom was passed out on the couch from trying to OD…again.

I’m an “all in” kinda girl.  When I decide to commit to something I pour all of my blood sweat and tears into it.  I pull long hours and recruit everyone I know who may possibly even have a hint of passion along with me.  With the help of the amazing community and my overzealous, determined, persistent  phone calls, we got her an apartment, a car, a great job, child care, and a housewarming party to boot.  My husband taught her how to handle money and I watched her kids so she could go get her GED. I poured my everything into this girl and couldn’t be more proud of all she would be able to accomplish.  She was going to overcome the chains of poverty, she would be a success story! 

The only problem was, I wanted her success much more than she did.

Almost as quickly as it came together I watched her let it fall apart.  She stopped showing up for work, She had excuse after excuse of why she couldn’t make rent.  Finally facing eviction of the apartment so many people helped her furnish. I woke up early calling all hands on deck, how could we help her, what could we do?  At 11am when I still hadn’t heard from Sarah I went to her apartment.  I figured she would be frantically working trying to find an odd job to make the rent payment,  No, she was asleep.

She was able to glimpse what it looked like to be on the other side of poverty, it was different, it was unfamiliar, and it scared her.

I felt like I was watching a bad movie. I was pleading and crying, “can’t you see you are making terrible decisions, can’t you see the amazing life you can have?” but she wouldn’t hear it.  She pushed me out of her life and went back to her old self.

Lessons learned

I have been just like Sarah, the only difference was the circumstances.  How many times has God shown me a better way but I was just too scared of the unfamiliar path so I didn’t take it?

How many times have I been offered a chance to sacrifice something small for the chance to have something better?

How many times did I, as a college student, throw up after drinking too much swearing there was more to life than this but scared to take the road less traveled?  How many times did I say I wanted a good Christian guy but I thought I would find him on the highway of kissing too many boys?

Just like Sarah I too wanted the more abundant life but none of my friends went down that road, It was unfamiliar and scary.  While the road of hangovers and heartbreak was collapsing in on me, at least it was familiar.

All the while Jesus is pleading, there is a better way my sweet daughter!

If God is all he claims to be then i lose NOTHING for putting down my lesser ways to follow his much more abundant ways.  Let’s live that abundant life we are called to live! Let’s hold hands and walk together and chase Jesus through the scary parts to find the abundance on the other side of scary.

Everything worth having requires sacrifice.  What am I holding onto that is so much less than what God is offering?  Can  I put down the less so I have room for the more? 
abundant-life-copy

One brave girl

At Georgia Southern University there is a revival happening on Greek Row.  Men and women in sororities and fraternities are rising up tired of the stereotypes and wanting to stand for something bigger than themselves.  They have tasted the hangovers and heartbreak and find, quite frankly, it is not all it’s cracked up to be.

At the beginning of the year the sororities gathered together for a prayer night.  Shut down the road and prayed over each house, each other and for the God of the universe to rule the row.

What struck me was the 3 times they had people come to the alter to pray.  The music was playing, the sun was set, the stars were rising and hearts were stirring.  And then….one brave girl would come to kneel in pray.  I can imagine inside her she is thinking, what will people think, maybe I can just pray where I am.  Do I really need to step forward?? But she does.

brave girl

A few seconds that feel like a few hours later her friend comes to pray beside her.
AND THEN
SOMETHING
REMARKABLE
HAPPENS

the flood gates open up and the alter is full of people praying.

This exact same series of event happened each of the 3 times there was call for people to pray at the alter.

One brave girl, then one brave friend…and then a movement starts.  EVERY TIME

I was so inspired by what I had seen happen hundreds of times before but never fully grasped until that moment.  All it takes is one brave soul.

During the prayer walk our group prayed this over each house;

“May ONE BRAVE girl rise up in each sorority and One Brave guy in each fraternity, though they may be scared, though they may not have all the answers or know what this will look like, may they be brave enough to take a stand for Jesus and look different than their peers.  May that one brave and scared leader immediately have a friend to follow and encourage each other that normal is overrated and leaders never settle for status quo.”

 

When one brave girl decides to have fun in a different way than puking up tequila all night.  When one brave girl says no to going home with a guy because nothing good will come of it.  When one brave girl decides she is worth more than the way she is being treated by a guy.

When a brave girl looks different than her peers.  Guys take notice, other girls take notice, and changes start to happen.

 

joshua-be-strong-and-courageousI have seen numerous interviews done with people in hospice care.  Those young and old facing their final days are asked what they would do differently.  You would think it would be to spend more time with family, work less, etc.  And while those regrets do make the top 5 the NUMBER ONE regret of they dying as concluded by several different surveys is this:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I wish I could have been BRAVE. 

In your 20’s you will make some of the key decisions to shape the REST OF YOUR LIFE!  NOW is the time to be brave.  NOW is the time to be bold.

Look around you…
Everyone is just waiting for someone else to be brave.
Are you willing to be one brave girl?

How far is too far

I’ve worked in college and youth ministry for about 10 years now.  Time after time I will have a girl pull me to the side and shyly ask me,   Basically, we are saying I don’t want to fall over a cliff but I would like to dangle my toes over the edge and lean forward just to see what it looks like.  

How Far is too far

I have come to the determination the real question is. “How close can I get to sin without falling?”

I’ve been there girls. Dancing around this unspoken timeline to how far we would push things physically on each date.  At first, he seems like a gentleman and wouldn’t even kiss on the first date.  But eventually when a couple, who likes each other, are put in a private room with the lights dim, close to each other, wearing perfume or cologne, articles of clothing are likely to come off.  When articles of clothing come off, lines of sexual immorality get very blurry.  When lines of sexual immorality get very blurry lines get crossed. 

Does this sound like the “If you give a mouse a cookie book?”

The short of it is this:

It is much easier to avoid temptation than to overcome it.

There are guard rails on the side of the highway to keep you from going off a cliff.  They are there for protection but you don’t want to drive your car against them either.  Guard rails are the line but I prefer to not even touch a guardrail.  Once you draw the line you need to stay 3 steps away from it or that line will become a crashed guardrail.

FLEE from sexual immorality.  Don’t get so close that you have trouble defining what is sex and what it isn’t.  FLEE as in RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION.

Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.  Did you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? You were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:18

Do you catch that? This is so huge.  If you haven’t paid attention to anything else, pay attention now. 

“Every other sin a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

So we are saying something is different about sexual sin.  And there is.  But I think we all already knew that.  It’s not different because God judges you harder for it.  It’s different because of the depth that it scars.  This is why you would rather be beat up than raped.  This is why sexual sin 10 out of 10 times stays with us longer and scars more deeply than any other sin.

tiara

You are worth so much more than you know. I would go so far to say you are expensive!  You are more than expensive you are a rare jewel.  This rare jewel can’t be cut up into pieces.  It is to be shared with one person, for a lifetime.  The marriage relationship is created to be a glimpse of the amazing love our Lord has for us.  God created sex as the glue, the intimacy, and the icing on top of this relationship.   

So the questions isn’t “how close can I get to sin without falling?”

But instead

“How close can I get to Jesus?”

Don’t complain about the darkness, start lighting candles

If you are worried about the future of America, hiding and complaining (on facebook) doesn’t help anything. But just as we began, America can get back to our roots and i believe it’s as simple as coming together in prayer.  We have the opportunity to celebrate with the God of the universe as he takes back his beautiful county of America to himself.

At critical junctures in history God raises up a remnant to reestablish His reign and rule.  It’s rarely a majority.  In fact, it’s almost always a small minority.  But all it takes is a faithful few to begin a reformation.  -Mark Batterson Draw the Circlechange the world

In 1774 a small group of  extraordinary devout Christian men got on their knees in prayer before they would sign our declaration of independence. Witness said they spent hours in prayer before their heavenly father in complete dependence on Him as ruler of this important document.
The prayer by chaplain, Jacob Duche’ was recorded:

“O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, from your throne you reign with supreme power over all Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we fervently ask, on these our American States, who have fled from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves to your gracious protection, desiring to be forevermore dependent only on you. (full prayer here)

constitutional-convention-founding-fathers-prayer

 

When you pray you see God’s hand at work.  It’s like opening up your eyes to what He has been doing all along.  No the world isn’t getting worse, I believe it’s on the cusp of revival!

Serfei and Aleona Isakov Russian fashion designers highly respected in their field left their home country to bring their talent and their mission to America.  The stated “we believe that revival is coming to America and we want to be a part of it”

25 years ago Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York  could barely draw 26 people to a Sunday service. Today the congregation is 6,000 strong–filled with converted prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, and homeless people, and more… All credit due to the prayer meetings they started on their knees, giving God total control of their church.

Just last school year I watched young teacher who invested in a 2nd grader who had no parental support.  In one academic school year he went from “trouble maker” to honor student….all because someone believed in him.

Businessmen praying for those they shake hands with
Athletes praying for their team mates
Janitors pray for those who will sit at the tables they wipe
Hair dressers pray over the chair where their next client will be
Teachers praying over the desks in their classroom
Doctors laying hands over their patients rooms
Waitress praying over the tables they serve

America, you are oh so beautiful.  I love to watch your people rise together in prayer, lifting their candles.  No darkness can hide.  It’s time to claim the victory that is already promised to us at the cross.

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and seek my face…I will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Fill the comment section with candles you see being lit around you!  I can’t wait to start the trend of seeing the light instead of the dark!

candles copy

I see a warrior

If you feel under-qualified and overwhelmed then God has you right where he wants you.

To all my inadequate, undervalued and heavy hearted friends this is for you:
You are so much more than what we see on the surface.  You are the only one of your kind made with care and precision. Psalm 139:13-16 You are a precious jewel, more rare than fine gold Isaiah 13:12, so expensive and so rare, one would go to great lengths to find you and protect you.

The glorious Trinity has made you to be born at THIS TIME, to be RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE TODAY.  All equipped with your unique gifts, talents, your specific smile, hands and feet.  None of this was accident.Ephesians 2:8-10

Your purpose is ETERNAL.  Your value is everlasting.

Now ask yourself, ‘Who do I belong to?’ The Bible says you belong to God. He exchanged His own Son for you!  The Cross proves your value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are incredibly valuable. Nobody has ever paid a greater price than God paid for you.

 

I’m reading about Gideon in Judges  Funny side note I used to call Gildan T shirts Gideon.  But anywho.  I love this Gideon fella.  I think we can all relate to him on some level.  He feels under-qualified, doubtful, and just not good enough. Ever been there?

From Judges 6, Gideon is feeling like a total loser and wants to pull the cover over his head and never leave his tent again.  He is young, inexperienced, and just not the guy we would pick to lead any army to any type of victory.

But the part that totally blows my hair back is God sees the picture completely differently.
Paraphrase from Judges 6:13:

 “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” 

 Gideon replied, “With me?

God looks at this runt of the litter with his weak and outnumbered army and says, “Gideon you are a MIGHTY WARRIOR”

Gideon looks over his shoulder thinking there is no way he is talking to him.  “Mighty warrior where?”

God sees in us what we don’t see in ourselves.  God saw in Gideon a mighty warrior.  And when the story ends (spoiler alert) Gideon defeats an army of about 120,000 with an army of only 300.  That’s 400 to 1 odds.  If you were placing a bet you are NOT placing it on Gideon in this fight.
Yet the under-qualified and unexpected Gideon seals the victory…because God saw in him a MIGHTY WARRIOR.

Dear reader, come close. Let me tell you; YOU ARE A WARRIOR.   You are stronger than you think you are; prepared, capable, and victorious on the fight for your heart.  2 Corinthians 12:10

If you are under the age of 30 let me tell you specifically what I see in you.  I see a generation tired of making the same mistakes countless people have made before them.  They want to stand for something more than the temporary and empty promises of hangovers and heartbreak.  They are hungry to be world changers.  They are lying down selfish desires and leaning on each other as they collaborate on battle plans to conquer the social injustices of this world.

I see beautiful friendships being formed in the barracks preparing for battle.  When the temptations come and the enemy tries to overcome, they put on their armor (Ephesians 6) and fight like a graceful and skilled ninja soldiers leaving nothing but ashes remaining from the enemies attempts to pull them down. BOOM

When the battle looks like 400 to 1 odds,   you feel undeserving and out of place look in the mirror and see a Warrior instead.  That is what God sees!

The WORLD needs you to put your armor on. Be fierce, be brave and BE A WARRIOR!

warrior

Culture says sex is like scotch tape but what if it’s really more like cement?

Our Culture says sex is like Scotch tape, but what if it’s really more like cement? We say we can  stick ourselves to relationship after relationship, when it doesn’t work out.  No worries we can just remove ourselves from that relationship and go on to the next one.  But what i present here is maybe sex is a little more like concrete.
After sexual relationships end we are left with scars.  Cement is not easy to move and always leaves us with a mess to clean up after the wreckage of separating the two.
Maybe the God who made our bodies, our minds, our hearts and gave us the gift of sex.  MAYBE just maybe, He knows better for us than the movies and cosmopolitain magazine.  Just maybe.
Sex is made to be shared with one man and one woman.  Bonding them for life.  Cement is so complicated to up root.  Everyone knows the scars are deeper than just removing a little tape.  Let’s stop pretending it’s all fun and games and start realizing you don’t use cement unless you want something to stick together.  FOREVER.

I was shy about sharing this little video but apparently people are liking it. It got a few thousand views on Imperfect People’s facebook page so I got up the courage to share it here.I hope you enjoy!

Sex is like cement

 

20 things I wish I could tell the 20 year old me

Oh if I could sit down with the 20 year old me.  With such love and tenderness I see her now so much more clearly.  Terrified to be bold and wanting so desperately to belong.  She was confident but unsure, pretty but insecure, bold but petrified to be different.
Big dreams paralyzed by insecurity and long eyelashes I desperately wish I could somehow get back.

20 things I would say to my 20 year old self

Dear 20 something me,

Let me buy you a coffee, snuggle into a corner booth at the coffee shop, look into your true self and tell you what I have learned the hard way. I know you think you know better.  I know you think you are the only person who has ever had your struggles but, in truth, everyone my age wishes they knew then what they know now.  You don’t have to make the same mistakes.  You just have to listen to those who have gone before you.  So sip up on that coffee, and let’s dive in…

  1. Stop trying so hard! Sheesh I am exhausted remembering how hard you worked to make everyone love you.  It’s an impossible task!   The people that do love you know the real you.  And the real you isn’t so bad. 
  2. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and be nothing.  But dear young friend….BE SOMETHING.
  3.  Being kind will get you a lot further in life than being right.
  4. Wear Sunscreen for the love!
  5. You can’t change others, you can only change yourself.
  6. When you have a job, a family, a mortgage and volunteer organizations you will find it comical you ever said you were busy.  Believe it or not you have a lot of extra time on your hands. Use it for something that will last longer than the end of the greatest Netflix series.
  7. If you can’t find Jesus in the sanctuary look for him in the lives of the broken, and the poor.   It will change your life and you will meet Jesus there, guaranteed.
  8. There are so many little things that worry you.  Think BIG picture as much as possible. Will what is stressing you even matter 5 years from now?  Yes there are some big scary things out there but even in fearing death, we are never promised tomorrow.  But worrying about it is guaranteed to steal THIS moment when you are alive.  So enjoy the current moment and don’t let worry steal it away.
  9. Fredrick Buechner  said, “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Start diving into your passion now!  But don’t make the grave mistake of waiting for the heavens to part for God to reveal “YOUR CALLING” Many of us just need to stop waiting and start looking where God is already at work and join in.
  10. While we are quoting, also note John D. Rockefeller said, “I Never Would Have Been Able To Tithe The First Million Dollars I Ever Made If I Had Not Tithed My First Salary, Which Was $1.50 Per Week.” Never think you have too little to contribute to the kingdom.
  11. Worry less about finding the right guy and focus more on becoming the right girl.  
  12. With your time and your money, invest in stuff that LASTS. Again think long term…do you see a theme here?
  13. Rollercoasters that used to give you thrills winding upside down with your hands up the whole way will now make you want to loose your lunch by simply looking at them.  So have fun on them now is all I’m saying.
  14. One of the biggest factors of the decisions you will make in life have to do with who you hang out with.  Make sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people.  Friends by definition should inspire you, challenge you, and call you to be the best version of yourself.
  15. “Everyone else is doing it” is the best reason I have ever heard NOT to do something.  The majority of americans are in debt, overweight, overstressed, on too many medications, and NOT living happily every after.  Do you really want to be like everyone else? Moreover, define your “everyone” who is your friend group?  If your “everyone” is making decisions you said you would never do before you met them…you may want to re-think who is in your tribe.
  16. You won’t understand why your parents worry so much until you have your own kids.  You’ll one day find out what’s like to have you heart living outside of your body with little feet and little hands.  Your parents may not always get it right but they love you with fierce intensity, you should probably listen to them more.
  17. Seek people that won’t always agree with you but will tell you what you need to hear.
  18. What you are doing today will one day affect your future. When you’re 20 you never stopped to think about that.  But there is no erase button in life. This is especially true in sexual relationships.  There is more to sex than just physical.  There are consequences to sex outside of marriage, there just is.  It’s not a matter of opinion it’s a matter of design.
  19. Who you marry is probably one of the biggest decisions you ever make.  It is a covenant, it is forever, and it involves two selfish humans destined to make lots of mess and hurt each other some along the way.  Marriage is not always easy.  But I can not even comprehend a marriage to an unbeliever.  May a man who is seeking Jesus be your NUMBER 1 quality in a future spouse.  Everything else if trivial (but you should make sure he has good taste in music too…I mean let’s be real)
  20. If you ever ever ever ever date another guy who says he is a Christian but lives no different than any other guy.  I will personally grab you both up by the ears and lecture you for hours on end about how relationships are designed to model Christ’s love for us on earth.  Is he respecting your body, your heart, and your beauty as Christ loved the church?  Are YOU guarding his eyes by what you wear and how you date?  Both of you are someone’s future spouse.   Are you preparing him, is he preparing you to be a good lifelong spouse or are you in the midst of creating baggage you will have to explain one day.  You are daughter of a KING and if you are not being treated like one OR ACTING like one then you have no business dating anyway.  Two halves make broken disastrous relationships, two whole and complete lovers of Jesus make beautiful loving forever relationships.  Get whole before you date.  Wouldn’t you want your future spouse to do the same?
    Drops-the-mic

Sweet dear 20 somethings.  What I see in front of me is a life that is valuable and worth more than you can possibly know today. I hope to save you a lot of time, pain and regret, if you listen to what I wish I’d heard before.

You are precious! You have the world at your feet.  Please be brave, surround yourself with the right people, and mostly love Jesus.  Truly love and trust him with your everything. The rest will fall into place.