Coffee Date No. 8

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be drinking an extra hot cappuccino. It snowed in South Carolina over the weekend, and the temperatures haven’t made it much above freezing over the past few days. All I want is to be warm!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask how you rang in the new year. First, we’d probably talk about the physicality of it. Did you make it till midnight? We were with the Salmon side of the family, and C’s eight year old brother was beyond excited about seeing 12:00. As for us old folks, we made it to see the ball drop, and then, well, we dropped. Then, I might ask you how midnight felt inside your heart. Was it hopeful? Did you get any sense of closure to the wild chapter that was our 2016? Did you feel relieved, or did fear and dread bully their way in?

If we were on a coffee date, I’d have to tell you about my word for 2017 and the kindness of God. Today is January 9, and my word has already shown up in my everyday life in one exceptionally meaningful way. I’m telling you, nothing but the sweetness of Christ. I was reading (well, listening to) Steven Furtick’s book Crash the Chatterbox, and at the end, he talks about 2 Kings 13, and how Elisha tells King Joash to strike the ground with his arrows in order to gain victory over the enemy they’re about to face in battle. If you don’t know Steven Furtick, he is the incredibly passionate and charismatic pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina. Steven brings it home by telling the reader to take up their own arrows to strike the ground before our enemies and never stop. “Pound the ground until you make a rhythm… a heartbeat,” he says. Mic drop. Point taken, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If we were on a coffee date, I might tell you how heavy my heart is these days. I don’t even know how to describe the level of sensitivity I feel towards things that would normally have little effect on me. I feel lonely and frustrated by nearly everything. I can barely scroll through my social networking feeds without crying. I can’t watch awards shows on television without becoming emotional hearing the speeches. And don’t even get me started on Michelle Obama’s last public speech as FLOTUS.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask you if you had read Chip Gaines’ recent blog postYa’ll, I don’t understand why some people have nothing better to do than stir up controversy (something else I’m overly sensitive to lately). Someone recently attempted to get the Gaines’ to speak out against homosexuality. Chip’s response to them is absolutely flawless.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d excitedly tell you that my friend Erin Loechner‘s book Chasing Slow comes out tomorrow! Talk about a beautiful book. I loved every single word of it. I want Erin Loechner to be my best friend and big sister and accountability partner and home stylist, please. This woman is just such an incredible gift, and this book is her broken and mended heart on paper. You definitely need to buy a copy for yourself, your sister, your best friend, and the girl in line behind you in the grocery store.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask you a question that a pastor friend of mine asked on Facebook recently: is it possible to make a difference for Jesus while living a seemingly obscure life? I said a resounding yes. Jesus broke the ladder to come as a baby to earth, born in a town that most thought no good could ever come from. And he said crazy and outlandish things like blessed are those who mourn and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He doesn’t measure with the same outlook as the world.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about an amazing post by Colleen Mitchell that I read last week. 100 Things I’d Rather Hold in My Hands Than My Phone in 2017. Talk about being convicted. I was watching a documentary on minimalism on Netflix the other day and they said that the average person checks their phone over a hundred times a day. Phew. So I love that Colleen took offensive action and decided to make this list, and I have to ask, what would you rather be holding this year?

If we were on a coffee date, of course, I’d ask how your heart is doing. If its anything like mine, it is coming apart at the seams these days. And I’d try to really listen, because I feel like there’s no better way to truly honor you than by giving my full attention and carrying your story well. So go ahead, tell me about the funniest thing that happened this week or the thing that someone said that made you cry. I am all ears.


Coffee dates were born and brewed over at Amber’s place.
She’s currently on hiatus, but we are keeping the fires burning
right here every second Monday of the month. We’d love to meet you here.

  • Your words are so strong today, friend. I *still* haven’t chosen a word for this year — nothing has resonated with me yet. I’m just gonna hang out over here and be quiet, hoping that the Lord speaks a perfect word into my heart. YES to Chip’s response and I loved that post from Colleen — yet another thing I needed to read this morning. Such a punch in the gut.

  • I just adore your heart, in all the beautiful and real ways you share how you’re wrestling and rejoicing and pressing on to know the Lord better — you encourage me with your heartfelt words every single time I read them. Love that “rhythm” is already resonating with you!

    Also– B and I had a chat the other day and I said (and realized I wholeheartedly felt) like I have no desire to be remembered after I’m gone. I don’t want my life to be about me, but about Him. If I live my whole life in obscurity but I love people well and I bring the Kingdom to earth? That’s my desire. Fame and glory for myself? Not interested in the slightest. It’s humbling to realize that and to live into that well.

    Grateful for you, always.

  • Sam

    You are amazing. I feel like we need to do coffee more :) have a lovely week!

  • Lindsey Smith

    I love this! Huge fan of Joanna and Chip and the way they respond to the squabble the media throws at them. They handle it with such love and grace. Here’s to more coffee dates and 2017!

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  • Kate

    I love your writing style so, so much. It’s funny that you mention Pastor Steven because he is my pastor and I actually spent New Year’s Eve at church. It was an awesome way to ring in a new year because while I went in feeling pretty broken and run down, he gave us some “real talk” about goals and how things don’t change just because the calendar does. It was uplifting but very honest. After a few days (and several beginning of the year church meetings – I’m a volunteer staff member) I did feel my spirits lifting again. As for the thing I’d rather be holding, I’m going to be predictable and say my journaling bible because I haven’t had as much time to journal as I would like recently and I miss it deeply. There’s such a difference between reading scripture on your phone and reading scripture from a hard copy of the bible, and I hadn’t realized how much so until I picked up my bible and re-read something and felt it made a much deeper impact on me seeing the words on paper.

  • Tara Ulrich

    I love your coffee date posts. Someday we’ll get to have coffee together. My heart was weary at the end of 2016. But my word for this year is hope.

  • Oh, friend. Your last point about asking how someone’s really doing is something I love so, so much. And carrying someone’s story well? You do a fantastic job of this. Such a beautiful thing about you — you genuinely care & listen.

    I’m so excited for Chasing Slow and will be reviewing it just as soon as it’s done! I can’t wait to get it in my hands — her blog is one of my very favourites.

    That article by Colleen Mitchell is on point. My heart resonates with this and my, oh my, there are so many things I could be doing than holding my altogether too-expensive phone. Also, I watched that Netflix doc this week, as well! While I’m not as minimalistic as some of the people with just a chair & radio, I’m learning the art of simplifying, and it’s so freeing. I love making room in my home for more memories to be made — without piles of clutter being in the way.

    Thankful for you!

  • Snow in South Carolina is unusual and from what my southern friends say, everything shuts down when you guys get winter weather! My New Year’s Eve was rather boring. Everyone in my nook was asleep early, so I spent the night in bed, on my laptop, doing some work. Not my ideal way to ring in the new year but at least I was productive. And I totally know what you mean about being so emotional lately. It’s happening to me too. I cried watching a Facebook video of a cat the other day! A cat! I hope it’s just the letdown after the holidays and that things will look up soon. Lovely coffee post, as always. <3