Monday, December 26, 2016

Our Journey on the road of Adoption

Colton and I have decided to adopt a child and we pray and hope that you read our story and join hands with us on this journey.

Back in October, Colton and I attended a leadership conference in Georgia with the youth ministry staff at First Presbyterian Church, where Colton is a youth associate. The overarching theme of the conference was this idea of ‘uncommon fellowship.’ Essentially, this idea of uncommon fellowship suggests that as Christians, we are called to a jaw-dropping, head-turning, never would’ve imagined association with other people. 

While Colton and I both walked away with countless things to consider and ways to apply what we learned at the conference, one thing was visibly clear: God was calling us to adopt. He was calling us to step out in faith, trusting that His ways are Sovereign.

Colton and I got married almost two years ago now. To spare you the details, we cannot have our own biological children (at least at this point in life). There are potential opportunities that we will one day have, or we may never have the opportunity. We simply do not know. While I am not going to go into detail about it here, we would love to share our story with you if you ask us about it! 

As we have navigated through this over the past two years, we have had multiple conversations about adoption. Most conversations have been brief, slightly emotional, and pushed to the side. Yet, after the conference we attended in October, the issue was not pushed to the side at all. Instead, we both walked away with the same call before we ever discussed it with one another.

This time we knew
This time we didn’t have any excuses.
This time we were confident in the direction God was leading us. He was calling us to adopt. And He wasn’t just calling us to adopt a newborn infant, He was calling us to surrender ourselves to the possibility of a six year old, a four year old, a child that has been removed from there home--wherever the road may take us.

The thing about God is that He doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He often calls us to step out in faith and put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through. That’s what faith is.

When Jesus called his disciples they didn’t say: “Oh, hey Jesus! Yes, I’ll go with you. Just come back in 5 years when I’m ready.” No, they dropped everything, went, and followed Him.

It’s interesting to look back and see how the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together.
Maybe God called me to work for a non-profit in college for 4 years where my heart for the broken began and my passion for children became fierce because he knew the call he would one day stir in our hearts.
Maybe God called Colton into a leadership role with an organization in college called Treadaway Kids where we witnessed first hand the need for God’s love and healing.
Maybe God guided me to change my major to the field of social services because he knew the path he would one day call us to.
Maybe God placed Colton at a church in Abilene that would be passionate about adoption and thus place an intense call on Colton’s heart years ago.
Maybe I was led to work at the Children Shelter and to teach at a Title 1 school in downtown San Antonio because God knew the direction He would one day take us.

God led Colton and I together for many reasons, but one of them is this. We have a shared passion and dream to adopt a child who comes from hurt and brokenness and desperately and lovingly show them the beautiful grace and love of Christ Jesus.

We cannot have children of our own right now, but we trust that God’s plans are higher than ours. We trust that God has led us here for His purpose, not ours.

God is always for us. He is never against us. And so we choose to walk in faith and obedience to this call.

So, we are asking that you join hands with us and walk.
Walk with us down this road.
Join us on this journey.
Pray for us and for our future child.

When I find myself praying about this, I don’t even have the slightest idea of what to pray for.
There will be challenges.
There will be risks.
There will be criticism from others.
The child will more than likely have some sort of physical or mental delay.
Oh, we know the road will be difficult.

The picture of adoption is awfully inviting. It’s beautiful. It’s the gospel picture brought to life. Redeeming a child from brokenness, pain, harm, and suffering is extremely life giving. To play just a small role in bringing hope and life to a child is a calling of Jesus Christ himself. It truly is beautiful.

However, adoption is God’s second best plan. Without tragedy and pain, there would be no need for adoption. Without abuse, poor choices, and sin, we would not be in this position. If something were not broken, there would be no need to fix it. If it were not for the fact that something went terribly wrong, adoption would not be necessary at all.

So with the joy of choosing to say yes to this call, our hearts are also heavy. Because this is not what God intended. Whether it be death, abuse, abandonment, whether intentional or not, there is an absolutely horrifying and tragic reason why this child that we will one day call our own needs a different family than the one that shares his same blood. Out of any adoption comes a broken past, a place of darkness, and a place where Satan has chosen to reign.

You see, this isn’t what it should look like. It should be his biological mother that will tuck our future child into bed at night. It should be his biological father that teaches him how to play sports and the importance of teamwork. It should be his real parents that drive him to school, make his lunch, and love him unconditionally. He should be taught the value of discipline and consequences, not by us—but by them.

Yet we live in this awfully fallen world where parents leave their own to roam the streets because they were never taught anything otherwise. So, for the sake of offering healing to just one, we know the road will often feel like an uphill battle. For the sake of redeeming this one child, whom God loves more than any of us can ever describe, may we be willing to have our well-put-together life turned inside out and flipped upside down.

We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. And I think if we did, we wouldn’t be choosing to get into it. I believe that God often allows us to run into His call without having all the pieces put together because he knows us too well. He knows that if we really knew the true cost of what He is asking us to do, we would run away in fear. We would slam the door shut and run the opposite direction before we even got to see how His refining power works. I firmly believe that God may be keeping us blinded to the trials we will face in order to grow our faith. This doesn’t mean we are na├»ve (although we definitely are to some degree), it simply means that we have heard all the horror stories and we are choosing to still say yes.

While there is beauty in the redeeming, we know adoption can be ugly. It takes a long time for broken things to mend. It takes quite a while for wounds to heal and pain to cease, if it ever ceases at all.

Yes, the gospel picture of adoption is beautiful. God adopted us as His own children. But the gospel story includes an intense amount of suffering.

Without death, there would be no resurrection.
Without suffering, there would be no restoration.
Without fear, there would be no redemption.
Without tragedy, there would be no reconciliation.
Without pain, there is no joy in victory.

Through this process may we look Satan in the face and tell him to get out. May we shine the light of Christ in his face and tell him to leave.

We understand that this is going to be very difficult.
We are going to fail countless times I am sure.
We will cry out to God asking him, “why?’
We will be overwhelmed.
We may even struggle to love this child. But on our own, we can’t love anyway. It’s impossible. But the incredibly good news of Jesus Christ is that he can teach us to love unconditionally without expecting anything back in return. It may take years for this child to love us back, if they even do at all. We know that. But with God fighting for us, we can overcome the darkness. With the power of the one who raised Himself from the grave living inside of us, our hearts can be resurrected.

Thank goodness that his mercies are new every morning and His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness.

So once again, we ask that you join in this journey with us.
That you be there to hold our hands and assure us that God’s got this.
That you come to our future child’s extra curricular events, showing them that there is power in the body of Christ.
We ask that you cry with us, sit with us, and remind us why we are doing this when the road seems unclear.
We ask that you rally around us in love and prayer for the sake of just one child.
And most importantly we ask that you pray. Pray. Pray Pray.
Pray for God to prepare our hearts in ways that we do not even realize we need to be prepared.
Pray that we have faith and endurance.
Pray that we have peace and hope.
And pray for our future child, whoever they may be. Pray that whether they are an infant or an eight year old when they come to us, that they can experience the redeeming love of Jesus Christ the minute they walk into our home.
Pray they feel safe, valued, trusted, wanted. Pray that our future child, above all else, will find their identity in Christ alone. Pray that they can shake the brokenness and darkness that has certainly overwhelmed their life and run into the beautiful, live giving, resurrecting grace of Christ Jesus.


This journey won’t be easy.



But we know our God trades beauty for ashes.








Sunday, January 17, 2016

My classroom is my mission field

“They’ve taken God out of public schools!”


I hear this phrase all of the time when I talk to Christians about what is going on in the world of public education and it drives me crazy.

Yes, it doesn’t sit well with me that I could be fired for praying out loud in my classroom. It upsets me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly in public school, while anything involving Christianity is seen as “evil.”

My heart does struggle with balancing my conviction to share Christ’s love with the world and teaching in the public school system. Yet, my call to go and make disciples of all nations doesn’t stop at my classroom doors and it isn’t put on hold in between the 8 o clock and 3:20 school bells.

You see, I am convinced that Jesus is very much alive in the public school system. God is all-powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent. He is everywhere. No matter what laws are created about what I can and cannot say and talk about with my students, God is there. He is there. Jesus is there. Jesus actively lives in the hearts of all of those who believe in Him and his love shines through us. He uses us to bring light to the darkness.

Above any call I have as a teacher, I am called to be Jesus to the world.



I work with students that truly hurt. The school I work at has a 100% poverty rate, all receiving free breakfast and lunch. My students come from places I’ve never been and they walk down roads I’ll never have to travel. As three, four, and five year olds—my students daily face a devastation that I will never know. They need hope, a place to go, somewhere to turn. They need Jesus. I wrestle with not being able to tell my students how to find Him. My heart struggles when I can’t share the words of the gospel with them.

Yet, when I feel this way and I get frustrated and worked up about laws and rights, the Holy Spirit gently whispers in my ear: “You’re a seed-planter. You’re a nurturer. I am the one who saves.”

You see, my classroom is my mission field. And my role in my classroom as a Child of God is very clear: I love, I laugh, I smile, I listen, I show compassion, I empathize, I show grace, and I live. I am to be Jesus to my students. My role in my classroom is not to share information with my class about how to become a Christian. My purpose there is to develop relationships with students who need to experience the redeeming love of Christ.

“Mission trips” are often about brining healing to the sick, feeding the poor, providing for the under-privileged, and showing the light of Christ through love. A big part of “missions” is about going out into the world for the sake of making the lives of other people better simply because that is what Jesus would do.



“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with action and in truth.”—1 John 3:18


“’A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one other. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love on another.” John 13:34-35


I may not be able to impart information about Christ and salvation to my students. I may not be able to talk about what I believe in or why I believe it. I may not be able to pray out loud or read scripture over my students. However, none of that changes what Christ has called me to.

I have been called to sow love.
I get to school an hour early each morning. Yes, this means I have to wake up even earlier. However, there is something so peaceful about having time alone in my classroom; time without any students or even my teaching assistant.

It’s in that quiet time that I ask God to enter my classroom. I ask Him to make Himself known. I walk and lay hands on each student’s chair as I pray for them individually. I sit on their carpet squares and pray for open ears, open hearts, and open eyes.  I often find myself in tears and on my knees each morning, not necessarily because teaching is hard (although it is), but because my heart breaks open each day for my students. I desperately pray that the small bit of education I can provide them will set the foundation for them to eventually break out of the cycle of poverty and addiction that has been set before them. And I pray each day, that they may see glimpses of the gospel in my words and actions as I seek to love them passionately. Ultimately I pray that they would come to know Christ, to love Him, and to serve Him.


My job is simply this: I teach about Christ’s love by being Christ’s love, day in and day out.  I am able to plant the seeds and I trust God to do the saving.

So, I don’t believe God has been taken out of public schools at all, in fact, I think He lives in them.

I am so thankful for God’s Word and that I do live in a country in which I can openly share that Word with others. However, just because I can’t use my voice to speak that Word to my students, doesn’t mean they won’t hear the good news of the gospel in my classroom.  I can share the gospel simply through loving.


For all the children who don’t know what the Bible is, who don’t know that Jesus loves them, who have parents that are beaten down by life and have failed to show them the love of Christ, I desperately and boldly pray for the loving miracle of Jesus to be made known to them in their classrooms through broken and sinful vessels of teachers, just like me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Clearer Understanding of my Calling

Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I saw myself becoming a full time minister--and by this I mean I saw ministry as my career path. It made since to me, so I invested myself deeply in my youth group, did several ministry internships in college, and even worked for a ministry organization all four years at ACU. I couldn't even envision myself doing anything other than full time ministry. 


Yet, here I am: a preschool teacher. I spend my day singing songs about baby bumblebee's and colors. I change diapers and pull-ups while encouraging my students to use the bathroom on the "potty." I play on the playground outside, sometimes pretending to be an imaginary lion chasing my students. I create lesson plants and implement crafts that hopefully provide opportunities for my students to develop their fine motor skills and learn about the world around them. I read stories and play dress up, build towers out of blocks and do puzzles. I wipe noses and clean faces, I discipline and encourage my students to make good choices, to love, and to offer grace. I seek to be a beacon of light and of love to my 3 year old students in the best way I know how. 


I wish I could share the gospel with my students. I wish I could tell them about my Savior. I wish that every day I could walk in with a new story to share with them about God's Redemptive Grace. But reality is very different than that. Sure, I have more opportunities than most to talk about religion with my 3 year old students because it is a private school. Yet, I certainly don't have that opportunity very often.

Somehow I think I've mixed up my calling with my career. You see, I used to feel that I was "called" to full-time ministry because I thought that was what God wanted of me. I felt like that was the best way I could fully serve Him. But God is teaching my day by day that I don't have to be in a full-time ministry paid position to be a full-time minister. 

I am a full-time minister to my preschool students, day in and day out. 


You see, a calling is something we never stop listening for--but a career is something we map out for ourselves, it's focusing on specific goals. A carer is about making a plan while a calling is about putting our trust in someone who can so easily change that plan. 


And prayerfully, my career has fallen way to my calling: my calling to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. 


More than any road map or guide for our life, Jesus Christ gives us himself, a beautiful relationship. We need the person of God more than any plan we can create for our lives. 


I always wanted to do full-time ministry because that was the way God could best "use" me. But, as I've recently understood God's true calling on my life a little bit better, I see that God doesn't want to "use" me at all. 

He wants to grow me. 
And disciple me. 
And love me. 
And walk with me. 
He is my co-heir. 
And He is my friend.  


He passionately desires a life with me--not a life where I can do more, be more, and say more to somehow make him love me more. 


So more than one that is used by God, I am one that walks with God. 

I am a maker, a creator, and I bear the cross of Christ. I am a pilgrim, a disciple, and I am made in the image of God. 

When asked what I wanted to do with my life over the past several years, my answer has always been tied to doing full-time ministry. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that other than the fact that a huge part of my identity has always been tied to "what I was going to be when I grew up."


But now when asked what I want to do with my life, my answer is so much different because I am learning that my calling as a child of God is so much different than just a career. 


I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. 
I want to love my neighbor has my self. 
I want to passionately love and pursue my husband with humility and kindness and grace.  
I want to be a mother someday that gracefully loves her children. 
I want to seek justice. 
And love mercy. 
And walk humbly with my God. 
I want to be a person of sacrifice. 
I want my life to give a glimpse of the abundant life found in God. 
I want to be the first to show up at the right time for other people. 
I want to be a good friend. 
I want to use my hands and my feet and my voice to show grace to every soul I encounter, every person in my realm of care and influence. 
I want to be generous with both my time and my money. 
I want to be hospitable, with an open door policy at my home that gracefully welcomes ALL people. 
I want to feed the hungry and bind the wounds of the oppressed. 
I want to pray faithfully and openly. 
I want to comfort those in the darkness and experience the joy that only comes from knowing The Light. 
I want to speak the voice of truth with grace, wisdom, and kindness. 
I want to love in the little things, because the little things add up to the big things. 
I want to proclaim goodness. 
And teach gentleness. 
I want the whole of my life to walk in the sacredness of my calling to be a Beloved child of God. 
I want to have dreams and visions and to be led by the nudges of the Holy Spirit. 
I want to live as though love is my identity. 
I want to run the race and fight the good fight, to be a person of perseverance. 
I want to speak words of life and not death, words of hope and faith. 
I want to be aware of His presence at all times. 



I absolutely love the "career" I have. I love being a preschool teacher. I never thought I would end up being one, but God has a pretty funny way of leading us down unexpected paths--paths that open us up to His desires in ways we never thought possible. 



I may remain a preschool teacher for the rest of my life, or I may move on to something else--who knows. But no matter what profession I am in, where I go, or what I do--I pray that I live out first and foremost, my beautiful calling as a Child of God. I pray that in whatever given situation and circumstances I find myself, I am able to live my life as it is right now with boldness, love, grace, courage, humility, and kindness as I seek to abide and take root in my beautiful friend, Jesus. 









Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To everything there is a season.

To everything there is a season. 



For the past 4 months, I've had an ache in my heart that I just can't seem to shake. And for the longest time, I've tried to push this ache away. I've tried to tell myself that it's stupid, that it's dumb, that I need to move past it, forget about it, and keep trucking along. 


Yet, I'm starting to learn that the heartache is okay. 


You see, 4 months ago I packed up and left the place I've called home for the past 4 years. I'm a lot luckier than most because my college experience was life-changing, life-giving, and transformative. 

It was in that place that I first understood my identity in Christ. 
It's there that I made friends like nothing I've ever known. 
It was there that I took risks. And made choices. And learned. 
It was in that place that I experienced authentic community. 
It was there that I experienced comfortability, vulnerability, and understanding. 
The list could go on and on and on...


But the bottom line is this: My heart aches because it misses the place and the people and the reality of what was. And what I'm starting to learn is that maybe this heartache will always be here, maybe it won't really go away. Maybe when we go through seasons in our lives that mark us, change us, and transform us--an imprint is left on our hearts forever. 


This ache in my heart reminds me of beauty, of love, of transformation, of life, of peace, of strength in my times of brokenness, of hope in my times of doubt, of unconditional, desperate love. This ache reminds me of learning how to live selflessly, of giving of myself, of making a choice to daily pick up my cross. This ache reminds me of community, of relationships, of the kind of bond God desires to have with us. This ache reminds me of the freedom to be myself, without expectation, without the need to be more and do more--it reminds me to find rest in the person God has created me to be. This ache reminds me to take risks, to move outside of the things I've known my whole life, to make choices for myself and not because others made them for me. This ache reminds me to try new things, to stop and spend time in silence, that every moment matters, every thought counts, and every word we speak has the power to bring life or create death. This ache reminds me that God is here, even in the midst of my misunderstandings, confusions, and doubts. This ache reminds me of a God who knows far more than we will every understand. This ache reminds me how to trust. 


And as formative as these past 4 years have been, maybe it's time to apply those lessons learned in other aspects of my life. Instead of letting the ache go, maybe I'm suppose always have the ache and learn how to experience it here, in this new place. And the next place I go. And the next after that. 

I'm sure someday, I'll talk about this current time in my life with the same words--I'll ache and hurt and long for this time now. Because inevitably as the next few years of life roll along, I'll look back and have and long for the things I'm learning now, in this time, in this moment. 


And part of me just sits here and laughs. Why? Because somehow I've tried to pretend that I can have everything I want in one place. I've tried to have it all at once. But I'm learning that it's better to acknowledge the end of a chapter, to give it the weight it deserves, to grieve the passing of it, and to take the things I learned in this time, carry them with me, and bring it to where I am in this moment. Over the past few months I've described myself as feeling pulled in so many different directions. But the reality is that God is not pulled in different directions and neither am I as I live in Him and He in me. Christ is in all things, through all things, before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And when change and transition come along, He holds us together in Him--firmly, still, and with purpose. So regardless of whatever heartache, I am held together in His peace. 


Mostly, I think the ache is due to time passing and things changing. We feel the loss of something. And it hurts. Our hearts notice the passing of a season, the opening of a new chapter, and they hurt. But I've learned it's okay for it to hurt. It's okay for it to be painful. It's okay for things to be different and to mourn the loss of what was. Because in essence that means we are living. It means we are truly investing, and authentically loving. It means we are giving, living, and loving enough to notice a transition, a change.


And so I guess all I'm trying to say is that I'm learning to live with the heartache. I'm done trying to push it away. I'm done trying to minimize it. I'm done trying to get over it and move past it. 

I'm learning to live with it. I'm learning to make space for it here. In this new town. In this new job. In this new place. In this new season. In my relationship with Colton and our future marriage. (Only 4 more months! Ahh). 


Instead of trying to fight and push away the transitions, changes, and heartache, what if I chose to lean into them instead?


To everything there is a season. 





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Moments.

Like many of my peers, I feel caught in two worlds. 

In a month from now I will walk across a stage and be handed a college degree.
I will say goodbye to the professors who have invested in my life, taught me to think critically, encouraged me to serve well, and have prepared me for academic excellence in the work field. 
I will leave a place I have called home for the past four years. Abilene, TX--a place not that exciting in and of itself, but made beautiful by the people it is shared with. 
I will leave a church family that has given me life, hope, and purpose. I will leave a community that has surrounded me, loved me, and honored me as the Daughter of the King that I am. 
I will leave friendships that have changed the very core of who I am--friendships that have caused me to be better, love deeper, ask questions, grow in holiness, and seek grace in any given situation. I will leave people who have healed my heart.
I will leave children that have taught me what it means to seek Jesus with all of my heart, children that have taught me that life isn't about success, achievements, and glory, but rather, our lives are to be humbly committed to the call of Christ. 
I will leave mentors that have shaped the way I think about the world, people that have challenged me to grow and have demonstrated first hand what a life lived for Jesus looks like. 

I will leave a home.
And a church.
And a community
And a city.
That has shaped me with mercy, grace, peace, strength, hope, faith, and love. 

And to leave this place of comfortability is scary. It's frightening. It's terrifying. 
To once again pack up and leave the comfortable and the familiar and embark on an unknown future leaves me in an extreme state of sentiment. 

But as sad, difficult, and hard as leaving this place will be--I could scream with excitement about the opportunities that lay ahead of me. In 282 days, I will marry the most wonderful man. We will begin a life together and build a family together and the love and grace of Jesus will be poured in and through our marriage and our family. 
I will move to a city I hardly know with new experiences, new places, new communities, and new excitements. I almost sit here impatiently as I wait for this to unfold. 
There is something exciting, intriguing, and expectant about an unknown future.
I couldn't be any more excited about the things that lay ahead of me as Jesus continues to reveal His plan and purpose for my life. God is so good. 

And as I feel caught in between two worlds (two wonderful, beautiful, happy worlds): the present reality of leaving the familiar and the exciting, uncertain future--I have found myself thinking a lot about moments. 

Moments, they matter. 
Each moment counts. 

These moments I've had here at ACU are moments I will cherish for the rest of my life. 
I will look back on them with love, and grace, and remembrance. 

But I'm learning that it's not the looking back upon that will matter.
It's not the yearning for the future and excitement of newness that makes a difference. 
My challenge and hope for myself and everyone else that finds themselves at a similar crossroads is that we remain fully present, fully here.

This moment is the only moment we can be truly alive. 

I want to be present in all the moments in my life. 
I want to be here when it's time to be here and I want to be there when It's time to be there. 
I don't want to be stuck wishing I could stay in this moment forever. 
And I don't want to be sitting around hoping only for what the future holds. 

I want to live each moment for what it is--to experience each moment for what it has to offer. 
I'm not guaranteed tomorrow, not even another second. 
I want to be a person that lives like this very moment is all I have, as it very well could be. 

I want to make these moments count. 
Because these moments add up to the story of my life--a story that by the grace of God will continue to unfold one day at a time. 

These moments aren't about what we could have done differently if we had had more time or how we could prepare better if we only understood the future. 

These moments are about living fully now as Christ created us to be. 
Beloved.

 May we live now in this moment as Beloved children of God. Worth dying for. Worth saving. Worth rescuing. Worth redeeming. Worth loving. May we love, no matter the moment we are in, because Christ created us. He simply made us. We exist. And we are here--here to proclaim His love to the world every moment of every day. Our moments matter. 

We are invited into a life with the one who has set us free. 
We are invited to grow into a life with Him as a God who knows. We may not know what's next or what will happen, but we can trust in a God who knows. 
.May we walk in faith, each moment, even if that means stumbling and falling along the way. 
Old things will pass away.
New things will come.
Wherever life takes us, whatever seasons, whatever disappointments, whatever struggles, whatever joys, whatever hardships, whatever circumstances, whatever failures, whatever choices--may we be people that live a "God with us" life. 

Immanuel, He is here, in this moment and the next and the next. 

May we be filled with His goodness, His light, and His love as we seek to be people that life here, right now, this very second. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Come

I went on a retreat this past weekend with my University Group. To say that I was blessed by this weekends experience would be an understatement. We spent a lot of time practicing spiritual disciplines and different types of prayer--all very unique and all things I had never really done before. As I spent a lot of time in prayer, thought, and practicing different spiritual disciplines, here are some thoughts: 


I'm done thinking that there is a right way to come to God.
I'm done thinking that all my questions have to be answered in order for me to experience His power.
I'm done thinking that my status before God is based upon my actions and deeds. 
I'm done thinking that I have to look right, talk right, and be right before God will take a second look at me. 
I'm done thinking that I need to get myself together before God longs to have a relationship with me. 
I'm done finding my identity in perfection, success, achievements, and performance. 
I'm done thinking that I am in control of my life. 
I'm done thinking that there is a right way to come to God. 


"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

Come in the morning with my hair a mess, my eyes struggling to stay open, wrapped up in blankets.
Come with dirty dishes in the sink, my room a mess, and the garbage can overflowing.
Come with my mind wandering, my planners and agendas, and the stress of a thousand things to do.
Come weak and come weary, because He is enough.

Come broken.
Come wide-awake.
Come shattered.
Come whole. 

Come excitedly.
Come out of duty.
Come burdensome.
Come loved. 

Come and just sit. 
Be silent.
Find rest.

Or come and yell.
Talk, and let it all out.
Complain.
Argue.
Question.
Doubt.

Come and praise.
Adore.
Worship.
Declare worth. 

Come fearful.
Come joyful.
Come angry.
Come open.
Come jealous.
Come pure.

Come bitter.
Come thankful.
Come distant.
Come confused.
Come hopeful.
Come filled with grief.
Come faithfully.

Come to the God that welcomes the imperfect.
The outcasts.
The failures.
The skeptics.
The busy.
The weary.
The sick.
The burdened.
The prideful.
The doubtful.
The hopeless.
The overwhelmed.
The sinners.

Whatever the condition of my heart: He looks at me saying, "there, that one--my child, my beloved, my friend...COME."

There's not a right way to come.
There's not a right way to experience His presence.
The only thing He asks is that I come, that we come. 
And it's when we come, that we will find rest.