on honoring seasons & being made well.

Last week, I turned 27. The leaves in South Carolina decided to hold out on us until the last minute and then surprised us by changing overnight, and who was it who said autumn’s trees will teach us how to let go gracefully? 

I haven’t written much over the past couple of months, so admittedly, this feels a bit like starting over. Beginning is always exciting and full of new possibilities, but beginning again is like bumping into an almost lover and fumbling over pleasantries. Beginning again feels like the first wobbly and unsure movements after the surgery. There’s a tension between being and becoming, and I am learning to lean into it, instead of raging against it. Perhaps more simply put, I am learning to obey — learning to listen for the sound of the Father’s voice and agree with whatever he tells me.

This, I’m finding, is what the wilderness is for. It is here that I recognize my freedom, that I see him split seas right in front of me. This is where he prepares a table and feeds me on the mystery — innumerable bold and whispered declarations that I am no longer a slave, but a child — his child.

 

I told a friend a couple weeks ago that I feel like my fear is on life support these days. And I told her about the dream I had about standing up and telling everyone I saw about the beauty and hope to be found in the wilderness. Truthfully, I don’t put much stock in dreams — I mostly chock them up to eating too many brussel sprouts before bed. But this one felt different. It felt like a release, and after these aching days of silence, I’m grateful.

So here I am, returning and knowing full well that He brings beauty from ashes.

I think of the words of de Foucauld: the one thing we absolutely owe to God is to never be afraid of anything.

 

I was visiting a new Bible study when someone asked if I ever had trouble hearing kindness in the voice of Jesus. Right away, my mind recalled Hebrews 4:15 to mind: for we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness. The tears came quick, the way they always seem to do these days when my soul sits still for long enough to consider Jesus.

It isn’t ever very hard for me to hear the whispers of his kindness. My goodness, he has been so, so kind to me. But I have walked through seasons where it seemed like hope was lost. I look at the current climate of our world, of my own neighborhood, and often find myself feeling jaded and wondering Jesus, where are you, and where is this kingdom you asked me to pray for? 

I need to know that the light really is winning, because sometimes the world can feel like a wild and dark place, and there are so many days when the tension seems unbearably thick.

The Israelites loathed the wilderness sustenance, but my soul is hungry. I tell God to show up however he wants to. I tell him that I’m so, so hungry.

 

I ask him to show me the growing parts — the true and pure and noble and lovely parts, and I pray that I’ll find myself there again, among the good soil.

 

He reminds me that there is music to be played here, that he has words just for me here, and that it’s in the tension that I am chosen, blessed, broken, and given. He fills me up again, calls me beloved again and invites me to keep walking with him as he keeps restoring my soul — day by day, little by little.

Day by day, little by little, is how a life is built.

A life characterized by flourishing and abundance, not by fear and shrinking and scarcity — but a life marked by the more that he always gives. A life that is built on a firm foundation, rather than my own flimsy attempts at control and stability.

The daily (moment by moment) surrender, the continual returning to pick up my cross and follow the shepherd, knowing that he will never lead me where he hasn’t gone before — the daily confession that he makes the way straight.

The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.

 

I have learned to love this wilderness — but now, I can see the promised land, and my heart feels ready.

I go knowing that I am beloved.

 

Coffee Date No. 17

If we were on a coffee date, I might not drink coffee at all. I’ve been on a major hot chocolate kick lately, with a couple pumps of vanilla, please. We’d meet in the afternoon at one of our favorite spots, and I’d hope you’d be okay with sitting outside. It’s just starting to feel a little bit like fall in South Carolina, so I want to soak in the advent of my favorite season.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you I want more than just an elevator speech about your heart. The other day, I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile, and when I asked her how she was doing, her answer felt like a filtered pitch. I want more for us than that. I feel like we owe it to ourselves and the people who love us to be honest about where we’re at. And recently, I’ve been praying for the courage to go first: the grace and humility to set the tone and create an atmosphere where the people I love can come and know that they don’t have to hold anything back. So tell me, friend, how is your heart really doing these days?

 

If we were on a coffee date, we would probably talk about Las Vegas. I’d tell you that I’ve had this lump in my throat for a week now, and every time I think about those precious families, my eyes well up with all this salty, liquid sadness for all that is broken in our world. I might tell you about how passionate I am about gun control, and how expressing that conviction in public spaces has occasionally gotten me into some hot water. I used to fold quickly when I found myself in these situations, wilting at the first sign that someone might be displeased with me — but not anymore. I’ve been praying for more boldness, more tenderness, more chutzpah if you will, and God has been more than faithful to give it to me.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would definitely ask what you’ve been reading lately. I have several books on my shelf in the to be read stack. Most of them are books on evolving and growing in your faith because I’m finding those are thoughts I really need to hear. They’re the kind that make me feel less alone and less crazy, and don’t we all want to feel a little less alone and crazy? Anyway, the stack includes the likes of Seth and Amber Haines, Sarah Bessey, Zach Hoag, Preston Yancey, Jess Connolly, and Rachel Held Evans.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d share my new favorite nude lipstickIt’s the No. 7 Moisture Drench in the shade Honey Bloom, and it is so pretty. I had never tried any No. 7 products before purchasing it, but after falling in love with this lipstick color and formula, I’m definitely interested in trying more!

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d also tell you about my latest B&BW purchaseOh. My. Heavens. This scent is just so good. I want it on my body and everywhere in my house forever and ever. I asked the nice B&BW lady if it was going to stay a permanent fixture in the store. I don’t shop there very often, so a product I like one day is usually gone by the next time I go in, which is really disappointing.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you that it has been a year since my husband lost his job and we left our church. Honestly, October 3 snuck up on me. I had to go back and make sure I had the date right. In a lot of ways, we are so, so much better off than we ever could have imagined ourselves to be — but in a lot of other ways, we are still trying to heal and move beyond. One thing is for certain: Jesus has shown up for me this year in ways I never even knew to ask for, and he has proven himself to be more than enough to love all of me.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I might share the why behind the silence on my blog these days. The other day, an old friend of mine asked if I was writing much, and I told her not really. It isn’t that I don’t want to write, and it isn’t for lack of trying. Every time I come here to write, I sense God whispering not yet. I keep hearing him say there’s more I want to show you. And I think before this year, I might have just pushed that whisper to the side and plowed through words that, in the end, would feel so much less than what my heart wanted them to be. But now? Now I just want to listen and be obedient. The words will come when the Lord allows, and that is enough for me.

 

Now, friend, if we were on a coffee date, what would you want to tell me?
I’d love it if you would join this wonderful group for some cyber caffeine.

 

4 Books I Loved This Summer

Few things are better than getting good book recommendations from friends whose taste you know and trust, so I’m taking a beat from my friends Rachel and Erin and sharing a few of the books I loved this summer. For the past couple of months, I have only been working part-time, which allows me long, lazy, uninterrupted stretches to indulge in what has been my very favorite past time for as long as I can remember. In fact, yesterday, a friend noticed and called attention to the fact that this was one of only a handful of occasions he had ever seen me without a book in my hand, and I had to laugh because he was so right.

So, without any further ado, let the book recommendations commence.

 

Letter to My Daughter, by Maya Angelou

I’m so glad that I got to share a planet with this beautiful, strong woman. She wrote that despite the fact that she never gave birth to a daughter, she had countless daughters around the world, and she wanted to leave them with some life lessons that she had learned (sometimes the hard way) throughout her years: lessons on awkwardly meeting new people, politics, learning about different cultures, and how to not be reduced by our circumstances.

 

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is known for writing books with themes ripped straight from the headlines, and she also does an incredible amount of research. Another unique aspect of her writing is that you find different points of view within the chapters. I was so excited to read this, her latest novel, which is about a black labor and delivery nurse, a white supremacist, and an impossible choice. It took less than 48 hours for me to finish, and while I’ve only read a handful for Jodi Picoult’s work (she has written 22 books!), this has by far been my favorite.

 

Goliath Must Fall, by Louie Giglio

This past season, I’ve been more hungry for spiritual growth in my life than maybe ever before. I know that in order to see that growth take place, I have to allow Jesus to come in and set me free from some things. I knew this book was for me before I even got through the first chapter. I’ve been hearing the story of David and Goliath my entire life, but Pastor Giglio presents it in a way that feels vibrant, fresh, and powerful.

 

Unseen, by Sara Hagerty

The subtitle for this book is “the gift of being hidden in a world that loves to be noticed.” I was fortunate enough to be on the launch team for this stunning work, so I got to read it before it actually hit the shelves. Sara Hagerty is a woman who makes me crave more of Jesus. I trust her voice because I know that she has walked this path for real. Not one word of this book feels pithy or pedantic or filtered in any way — it’s just raw, honest, and authentic, and if you ask me, we need more books like that in the “Christian living” section. In Unseen, Sara shares her experience with finding God in secret spaces when no one else is looking. So much of life is made up of moments that no one else sees. But Sara writes that God has things to show us in those moments.

 

What were your favorite books from the summer? My fall reading list seems to be growing by the day, and I’d love to know what books have made the list for you!

Coffee Date No. 16

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you how glad I am that it is starting to feel like fall in South Carolina. You know the scene in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks is emailing Meg Ryan about New York in the fall and school supplies and sending her a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils? That pretty much encapsulates my love for fall. The back to school aisle in Target is my mecca. The weatherman says that it won’t get above 86 degrees all week, and when you live in South Carolina, that means fall is on the horizon. bring on the corn mazes and the crunchy leaves and the warm drinks and the boots and cardigans (imagine Julie Andrews singing about her favorite things).

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask how you feel about September being the new January. I’m a big fan of the idea that September is the new January. The wild of summer has begun to fade and be replaced by familiar routines. Even though I’m long graduated and don’t have littles of my own to carpool, take first day pictures of, and pack lunches for, something about September just feels like a fresh start with new rhythms and possibilities. I’m going to go ahead and blame my love of rhythm and routine on the fact that I’m an INFJ. I’m sure that C would laugh and call this an INFJ ex machina.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d share that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week. To Write Love on Her Arms‘ campaign this year is about staying and finding what you were made for, and I couldn’t be more in love with that. shared a photo on Instagram late last night and wrote about the healing power of staying. There have been times in my life where I have been tempted to jerk the wheel, and I honestly thought that no one would notice if I was gone. There are still a lot of days when I have to scream out loud that fear is not the boss of me. But I’m convinced that staying has been the most healing thing, and that fighting for joy is holy rebellion. And I’d probably go deep and ask what it is you feel like you were made for, because that kind of stuff seriously makes my soul feel so alive.

 

If we were on a coffee date, we’d probably chat about Harvey and Irma. Man, what a crazy, sobering month it has been. I cannot even imagine the devastation in Houston and in our neighboring countries to the south. I’ve seen the photos, though, and there are two that stand out in my mind above the rest: the first is of a Houston police officer carrying a woman and her infant through the water, and the second is of a black man rescuing two children. If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling something a little past jaded when it comes to our country lately, but I’m grateful for the America I see in their faces. They make me feel hopeful.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what you’re meditating on in scripture lately. I just love The Bible so much. I don’t say that to sound super Christian-y, either. These days, I’m thinking long and hard on Ephesians 3. I whisper to myself about the mystery of Christ and being rooted and established in love as I load the dishwasher, and I know that God is showing me what that looks like.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about a podcast that C and I are listening to called Blue Babies Pink. It’s Brett Trapp’s 44 part story of being a gay Christian in the south, and I seriously cry at least once in every episode. I pray that Jesus would make me so, so tender to the needs of my neighbors. I cannot encourage you enough to go download every episode and listen. You can also visit Brett’s blog here.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about the fire in my heart to write. I’m feeling so hotly steeped these days, and there’s that line in a Brooke Fraser song that goes “I know I’m filled to be emptied again.” I just want to pour it all out, and these words are the only way that seems to fit my soul. I don’t know how they’re going to come out, but I know I feel ready.

 

If we were on a coffee date, of course I’d ask about your heart. And I’d probably cry when I do this, because I’ve been crying a lot lately. I just hope that you know that you are the beloved, and that nothing could ever erase that birthmark.

 

What would you share on our coffee date? I am all ears.

manifest destiny: a love letter to my white christian neighbors

Dear you, dear me, dear us,

 

I was a fresh faced sophomore in college, packing to go home on a holiday break when the ping! of the headline reached through my smartphone and down into the soul of me: another shooting, another attack, another devastating loss of life. Like most millennials, I typically hear about current events through social media first, so I took to Facebook to read what major news outlets and the people in my circles were saying. And there it was, tucked in the middle of the collective grief: an Islamophobic post, followed by several equally furious and hateful comments. Their own tiny rally, snug and nearly hidden amidst the outpouring of emotions and Jesus, come soon‘s. The author of the original post was a woman who worked with my mother; a woman who had never been anything but kind and encouraging to me, and who, just the day before, had posted all about how much she wanted her life to glorify Jesus. I dared to toss my two cents into the thread, hopeful that this person would recognize that they were being watched and that their words were deeply damaging: Muslims are human beings, I said, and are worthy of dignity and kindness. I went on to say that it wasn’t fair to find the overwhelmingly peaceful majority guilty for the actions of the radical few.

It didn’t take long at all for my fellow commenters to offer up some words just for me.

 

I was called naive.

Someone told me to “watch out for stones.”

I was called an ignorant sheep and told to “enjoy the burka.”

I was called arrogant.

A stranger told me that I was a “bad Christian who had clearly not read The Bible.”

 

Apparently, doing unto others as you would have them do to you and loving your neighbor as you love yourself are taken pretty loosely by some around these parts, more like polite suggestions and less like the commandments that they are. Because in case you haven’t noticed, we love ourselves an awful lot, but loving our neighbor at all, let alone loving them as we love ourselves, is a constant struggle. But I read the other day that admiration without criticism is simple infatuation: a short lived passion. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of watching pieces of myself be suffocated and die off at the hands of short lived passions.

 

This is not the death that we are called to.

 

It’s not how I want to go — not how I want to be remembered after I leave this life.

It isn’t the legacy I want to leave for my children and their children.

I suspect it isn’t how you want to be remembered, either.

 

We must examine ourselves.

 

It’s going to be hard, ya’ll — standing up and admitting that yes, we are capable of that kind of hate, that we’ve actively participated in or seen and heard racist actions and comments and not immediately shut them down because to even acknowledge them for what they are would be too uncomfortable or costly. Family members might not understand. We might have to give up our spot in the “in crowd” in our places of work and worship and learning.

We must own the fact that the depersonalization of an entire group of human beings has been so intrinsically woven into the DNA of our society that we hardly even realize that it’s there, that our entire existence as a country has been at the expense of those we’ve deemed as less than. We must own the fact that we have allowed fear to take root in our hearts and that we have allowed that fear to bully us into the belief that to acknowledge someone else’s worth takes away from our own. We have to call it what it is: white supremacy, and pure, unadulterated racism. 

I know what you’re thinking. You aren’t a racist. You would never do or say the damaging things we’ve seen and heard in the last 72 hours. I believe you. I wouldn’t, either. I know that for most of us, we genuinely believe that we’re doing the best we can. But it isn’t enough to just not be racist — we must speak out and condemn the words and actions of those who are. We must be the Esthers who are willing to acknowledge that if we have been given any privilege in this life, it is for the purpose of making sure that those on the outside have a way to get in.

It’s going to be hard. It might feel like the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But I promise you, if you ask Trayvon Martin’s mother about the hardest thing she’s ever done, she’s going to tell you about burying her baby. If you ask Diamond Reynolds’ four-year-old daughter about the hardest thing she’s ever done, she’ll tell you about begging her mother to be quiet so the cops don’t shoot her, too. And if you had the chance to ask Heather Heyer if she would choose to show up again, my gut tells me she would say yes.

 

We owe it to them. We owe it to our neighbors. We owe it to our children and our children’s children to tell a different story with our lives starting from this moment forward. Because when we dare to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, it changes the narrative of our lives. It changes the narratives of our families and our schools and our churches and our civic organizations and our communities.

We owe it to our neighbors and our children’s children to educate ourselves: to listen to our black neighbors and believe them when they share their experiences. We owe it to them to not make excuses or turn their narratives into partisan debates. We owe them our eyes, unafraid to look at the scars and the pain and the centuries their souls have traveled barefoot. We owe it to them to not just say that black lives matter, but to show it.

We owe it to our neighbors and our children and our children’s children to hold our leaders accountable for their words and actions — to let them know that we refuse to let them boast hatred and plant fear for a single moment longer.

 

We owe it to our neighbors and our children to pick up our crosses and die to ourselves, abolishing any shred of manifest destiny that isn’t directly tied to the everlasting Kingdom — killing off any seed in us that is at odds with a free spirit. Because the Jesus whom we so proudly boast on our bumper stickers and Twitter bios and business cards came down to tear down every single barrier. He came to put our shame to death; allowing his own flesh to be ripped open so we could have a new name.

 

Beloved.

 

So you can feel free to call me naive. You can tell me that justice and equality are dreams that will never be realized on this side of heaven. I’ve heard it before. But I wholeheartedly believe that Jesus wouldn’t have asked us to pray for the Father’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if that wasn’t a prayer he was ready and willing to answer. Mother Teresa said she “used to believe that prayer changes things, but really, prayer changes us and we change things.” And I want to be in on the answer. I won’t be perfect at this. None of us will be, but that’s no excuse to not go there, and I hope you’ll join me. 

 

 


For your continued viewing/reading:
These thoughts from Brene Brown
I Will Not Be Silent, by Rachel Dawson
How to Heal When Your Heart is Tired, by Daje Morris
After Charlottesville: The Question We Absolutely Have to Answer, by Lisa Sharon Harper via Ann Voskamp
These words from Brittany Packnett
These words from Shveta Thakrar
Proximity > Politics, by Shannan Martin
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Disclaimer: I’m going to leave the comments open on this post, but please know that if you post something rude or hateful or troll just for the sake of creating division or shame here, your comment WILL BE REMOVED, and I won’t feel the least bit upset about doing it. In the words of Rachel Held Evans, the definition of these terms is left solely to me.   If you must critique, please do so constructively.  Let’s share our stories in this space before we share our opinions– not to prove a point or promote an agenda,  but to move closer to one another.

Coffee Date No. 15

Hi, friend. It’s nice to meet you here! If you’re new here or maybe you’ve been coming for awhile and are curious about these coffee date posts, let me fill you in. Once a month, on the second Monday, this corner of cyberspace turns into a table for us to have coffee over and share what’s been going on in our lives. There aren’t any rules, and nothing is off limits because there is more than enough grace here to cover our messes. If that sounds like something your soul needs, we would love nothing more than to add a virtual chair for you here. Bring your favorite yummy beverage, and we’ll spill it all together. Linking up is easy, but if you don’t have a blog, please feel free to share your conversation in the comments below.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask to meet up at one of my favorite spots downtown. Brews is a local coffee and craft beer bar that the man and I are regulars at, and the atmosphere there is just the best. I would order a huge mug of something hot because even though we’re only halfway through August, I am fantasizing about autumn. The pretty colors and cooler temperatures cannot get here soon enough!

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would probably warn you ahead of time that I might cry. Because the world can be so ugly, but my Jesus, he is so beautiful. So just know that the tears might come. My soul feels so stirred up and my heart is so tender these days, and that has never felt more okay to me.

 

If we were on a coffee date, chances are, we’d talk about Charlottesville. It’s all I see on television and social networking these past couple of days. I’m tempted to say that I can’t believe what is happening in our country, but the truth is, I can absolutely believe it, and it makes me sick to death. It makes me feel so deeply ashamed of us. I have a feeling I’ll write more about this later, but for now, this is all I’ve got.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d share this playlist I made about life in the wilderness. And I would tell you about how God is keeping me quiet lately. I come here to write, and he says not yet. So I’m trying to be obedient and follow where he leads, because I’m learning more and more about the beautiful plan he has for me in this space.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d talk about the addiction of being distracted. Because it is so real for me right now. I’ve been opening my Bible more lately, and the moment I do, I’m interrupted by the irresistible urge to check all the things online. I’m tempted to unplug again, or go to a coffee shop with my Bible and a journal and just leave my gadgets at home. I want to crave communion with the Holy Spirit more than cheap likes with a thousand people who aren’t actually invested in the inner workings of my heart.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would have to share an incredible podcast with you. Generally speaking, I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts. It isn’t that I don’t like them, I just honestly don’t think of them that often. That’s starting to change, though. Recently, my friend Megan told me about Jonathan David and Melissa Helser’s podcast. In case you don’t know who they are, Jonathan wrote a little song awhile back called  “No Longer Slaves.” Anyway, the episode that Megan shared with me was a sermon that Melissa gave on being hopeful in seasons of disappointment, but it turned out that wasn’t the sermon I most needed to hear. Instead, I scrolled down and listened to the episode entitled “growing roots,” and Jesus used it to blow my heart wide open. Even if you’re not a podcast person, you seriously have to go subscribe to theirs. Life = changed.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you to go preorder this bookIt comes out later this month, but I was fortunate enough to read it before it is being made available to the rest of the world. It has wrecked me in the most beautiful way, and I cannot say enough good about it. Suffice it to say, God knew I needed these exact words at this precise moment in my life. I can’t wait to see them in the hands of everyone I know.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask about your heart. I would ask about the ways it’s broken and how God is putting it back together again. I would beg to know about the soil of your life, and whether you’re feeling hard or soft these days. And I would ask how I could pray, because lately, that seems like the only thing I know to do.

 

What would you share on our coffee date?
Join the conversation by linking up, or by sharing in the comments below.

A few things that I’m loving this summer.

Jonathan David & Melissa Helser’s podcast. // This is changing everything for me right now. I crave Jesus so much more because of this couple.

Shannan Martin on how proximity changes how we look at politics. // From the first time I encountered Shannan’s words, she has been a hero of mine. I can see the fruit of her passion for Jesus and his kingdom. She’s living it, and I’m constantly in awe.

My favorite lip balm for any time of year.

Our dear friend Kevin chatting about letting people come past our front porch. //
Because people won’t feel welcome in our churches until they feel welcome in our lives.

Just plain good advice.

The Big Sick // We laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed. One of the sweetest, most honest movies I have ever seen.

So many pretty, pretty things.

Trips home, and trips that take us 1,000 miles away. (Happy 4th anniversary to us! ♥)

Such an incredible honor to help get this wild, beautiful book into your hands.

Kaleb’s thoughts on prayer. // “God hangs his reputation on the work he is doing in you.” (Sermon starts 25:57).

Feed me this spaghetti and tell me you love me.

This drugstore mascara outperforms one that costs three times as much.

“Love, wounded a word as it may be, love can see all of it. I am determined to see all of it. I do not get to go blind again.” // Say it louder, Buddy.

 

What are you loving this summer? Let me know in the comments below.
Sharing is caring!

Coffee Date No. 14

via All In.

 

Hi, friend. It’s good to meet you here. Just in case you’re new to this corner of the interwebs, let me give you the skinny on these coffee date posts. Once a month, on the second Monday, a group of gals meets at a virtual table for an unfiltered chat about whatever is currently going on in our lives. Nothing is off limits, and there is more than enough grace to cover our messes. So if that sounds like the kind of thing your soul might need, we would love nothing more than to have you pull up a chair, bring your favorite mug filled to the brim with your beverage of choice, and we’ll spill it all together. Don’t have a blog to link up? That’s totally fine. Tell us what you would share in the comments below.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d take you to my new favorite spot. Living within walking distance of one of the biggest college campuses in the state does have some perks — one of which is All In Coffee Shop. They have a very nice outdoor seating area, but I’d suggest that we sit inside, because the heat in South Carolina has been in the high 90’s for what feels like ages, and according to the weatherman, it isn’t going to get better any time soon. I’d definitely be drinking an iced coffee — maybe something with caramel or lots of chocolate.

 

If we were on a coffee date, you might ask about mine and C’s recent trip. In the month since we last chatted, C and I celebrated our fourth anniversary by taking a road trip up the east coast. Maybe you’ve seen the pictures on Instagram. We went to Washington DC, New York City, and Boston. Craig drove up the coast with his dad and brother last fall, but I actually hadn’t ever been north of Maryland before he and I took this trip. It was wonderful. We went to the top of The Rockefeller, which was my absolute favorite part of the trip. I was pretty hesitant to go to the top of anything, but it was seriously the most beautiful, peaceful part of our day in NYC. And we topped it all off by seeing U2 in Boston, which was absolutely incredible. Happy anniversary to us!

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask how you and God are doing these days. What are you learning at church and from scripture? What has your quiet time looked like recently? How are you engaging culture? Lately, I feel like he and I are on the cusp of something really big. But of course, I don’t know exactly what that is yet. Do you ever feel that way? What do you do to unpack it?

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d have to gush about the fact that LG is going to be a big sister! I haven’t talked about this on social media at all, so it will probably come as quite the surprise. Her mama is actually due to have another precious girl this week! I have to say, I’m a little bit anxious to think about how much this will change things for us, but my excitement to meet this beautiful new baby far outweighs that nervousness.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask how you handle it when friends move away. Our best friends recently told us that they are moving two hours away. I have been totally devastated, even though I know that two hours isn’t that far. It just feels far away because of how much we love them. We’ve pretty much been inseparable since C and I moved to South Carolina, so I know that there will be lots of long weekends spent going back and forth between here and Charlotte to see each other.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what you’re reading. I’m slowly but surely working my way through Louie Giglio’s new book, Goliath Must Fall. Have you ever just known that a book was written for you? That’s how I’ve felt about this book from about page seven. With every page turned, I say, “okay, God, you have my attention.”

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that we went to an event at church and met two of the nicest couples. Guys, meeting people is hard. I don’t consider myself to be a shy person, but I can be terrible at instigating new friendships. For now, I’m going to take the easy way out and blame this on my INFJness. Of course, the underlying current of thought is that it is especially difficult given that we’re still adjusting to new surroundings after an ending we didn’t ask for or see coming. Starting over is just plain hard, but we have to come to a point where we realize that people are worth fighting for. We are worth fighting for, too.

 

If we were on a coffee date, you know I would ask how your heart is. Because small talk makes me itchy, and I want to get down to the nitty-gritty, no holding back space. You know, the space where you can laugh or cry or curse or pray or whatever your heart most needs to do. And I would ask if you know what you’re made for, because I’m starting to get tiny glimpses of my own meaning and there’s nothing I would love more than to call out those things that are beautiful and alive and growing in you.

 

What would you share with me if we were on a coffee date?