Tuesday, July 23, 2013


‘What I chase won’t set me free…’ – the Goo Goo Dolls

We spend our days chasing something.  This summer with a brilliant group of 11 women I have been chasing after the heart of God.  But as I was taking a drive past my childhood house, clearing my head this weekend that line from the Goo Goo Dolls ‘Sympathy’ really struck me.  What we chase won’t set us free, because we weren’t made to chase things but a person.  We were made to Chase Him.

In our final chapter of Chase this week Jennie wrote that David experienced something many of us long for more than any other thing: he experienced God’s love.  When I think of David I imagine this hardcore sinner with a heart after the Lord I imagine him, well, smoking hot for starters – but what I was going to say is he LIVED God’s love.  He didn’t just know it, acknowledge it, and leverage it – he breathed it.  Every single day he was chasing God’s heart above all else.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and he gave me a firm place to stand. – Psalm 40:1-2

He gave me a firm place to stand.

I will venture out on a limb here and say that someone who reads this blog needs just that – a firm place to stand.  I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that I understand that.  You’re talking to the girl who’s lived in 7 states, over 20 houses, and who spent her childhood debating ‘to unpack or not to unpack’.  After a rocky four years of college trying to live outside of faith – I found a firm place to stand but for the girl with a rocky foundation and insecure footing, it was finally enough.

So if you’re in a season of your life where you’ve sought the wrong things.  If you’re craving firm ground in a tough season, know that it’s there.  But you have to teach your heart to stop chasing something and chase someone.

Jennie writes, ‘God made David great.  David just let Him’.  This reminds me of an e-mail I got a few years back.  I was blogging a lot more regularly then and this e-mail came from a long-time reader who knew me in real like during my first couple years of college (when I was actually in high school but being a nerd and taking classes early).  I’m paraphrasing here but after a blog post where I confessed (not that it’s ever been a secret) what a wretch I really am without Christ, she said she thought even if I wasn’t a Christian I’d be a really good girl.

I don’t for a second want to discount what a sweet gesture it was of her to write to me.  I’m grateful for people who still believe there are a few ounces of good left in me. But unlike some of you who haven’t known me a real long time – I knew me without Christ and it wasn’t pretty.

But that wretch?  She had a Savior who wanted her.  Who chased her even when she was running away arms full of sin.  And you know what?  That kind of crazy love is powerful.  That love makes all the difference. 

Later in Psalm 40 David writes:

He put a new song in my mouth,
A song of praise to our God. 

That’s what I love most about my relationship with the Lord.  The new song.  All that old ish?  It seems like an eternity ago.  Because this new song?  It’s pretty freaking fantastic. 

The Lord has had to continue to take me through a few slimy pits.  Some days are tough.  Some months are tough.  Heck, last year was tough.  Yes, the whole year.  But the new song has prevailed.  It’s been in my mouth the whole time. I haven’t been able to stop praising him come heck or high water for five years now and for that, I’m grateful.  Because honestly, I don’t even remember the words to that old tune.

This summer has been incredible and it was tough to end it last night.  Made tougher by the fact that I have handed off my group to a leader we raised up from within.  My season to lead these girls has been precious but it’s come to an end as the Lord has lead me to a new season of leadership – and thankfully, I get to keep my little family of women together with a leader that’s been with us the whole time.  So that is a blessing and I think that’s how the Lord intended discipleship to look – that we hand of the baton and keep on going. 

If I’ve done my job as a leader than Kayla will continue our group and do an even better job that I have.  I’m confident of that.  So I end this season of studying Chase and sharing it with you here with a quick tear, it’s been a great year and a half with my girls and I’m a little teary about the changes but I’m also excited and expectant for this new chapter. 

Keep on chasing friends.


Monday, July 22, 2013

#midwestroadtrip Recap.

This B is back. Oh heeeey.

I had grand intentions of updating this blog from afar but once I got in the air and later on the road I realized, I really need to just be for a week.  That of course didn’t keep me from an influx of photos from my absolutely wonderful week long Midwestern road-trip adventure.  So here’s a quick recap…

This trip was about people.  

I should start by confessing: I don't go to weddings.  It's not that I don't like marriage and people's holy matrimony and all that jazz.  It's just that when you're 27 you get invited to weddings every weekend and I just don't have the time and travel fund to accommodate everyones nuptials.   

So why then did I fly 800 miles north, borrow a car and drive another 3.5 hours to attend one?  Because Mer isn't just a friend, she's family.  When I moved to Tampa once day after finishing my last class at Purdue I had a few remaining friends down here but essentially, I was on my own.  A few months later, Mer moved to Orlando.  

We hadn't been close friends in college but she immediately got in touch and you know me, I was happy to plan a visit.  We spent the next two-ish years being each others Florida family.  We commuted back and forth on the weekends to spend time together, exploring our own cities and each others, and doing life together.  I honestly look back and can't imagine that season of my life without Mer and her friendship.  She was exactly what I needed.

Eventually, sadly, she moved back up north which I guess was good since that's how she met Nick, her now husband.  But for me it was a sad, sad time of saying goodbye.  But she helped me through the hardest years and for that I owe her big.  So when the invite to her wedding came I thought, I'm going to make this happen.

Oh Mer - I'm so happy for you and so extremely grateful for your friendship.  

While in Chicago I got to catch up with my very first college roommate, Alyssa.  We were put together by some brilliant person at Purdue in Shreve Hall and we've been friends ever since (though I admit, I wasn't the best roommate on the planet)...

Here are, 9 years later.

I even got to meet her sweet boys - I can't believe she has 2 kids! Ack!  This handsome boy is Ethan, her oldest.  What a doll he was.

Since I was cashing in all my frequent flier miles for this trip, I decided to make it an adventure and soak up as much face-time with friends as I could squeeze in without falling asleep behind a wheel.

I flew in Friday and Jared picked me up.  Ya'll probably know this sweet boy has become one of my closest friends.  How is it I adopt all my bff's from the midwest? 

He gave up his Friday night to pick me up from the airport and do dinner with me.  And then dropped my off at my parents house.  They were still on their own road trip adventure down south so I felt like a high schooler being in my high school bedroom with no parents home.  

Lucky for me, he also gave up his Monday to hangout with my down in southern Indiana and show me around his families farm and I finally got the pleasure of meeting his family - including his parents and one set of grandparents.  I officially love his family as much as he's come to love us crazy Christensens.  In my book, there's really no greater friendship honor than being welcomed into someones family.  This kid has become one of us, and may his fam will let me do a little bit of the same now.

The remainder of my trip I spent in Seymour, IN with my main girl Meagan and her family.  This part of the trip has left me with a vacation hangover.  I almost cried in my coffee the first morning I wasn't drinking it beside her, reading my bible, and talking about life.  

It's hard to believe that this girl also came into my life 9 years ago during my freshman year at Purdue.  But really the last 2ish years have been when our friendship has become overwhelmingly my saving grace in good times and in bad.  This girl encourages me, keeps me going, challenges me, and blesses me every.single.day with her friendship.  I hope I never have to do a day without her (except when I go on missions trips and have to be sans phone, I guess).

There were fairs, homemade ice cream, dinners out, mornings in, coffee, smoothies, vintage shopping, reading, talking, pool days, and even a girls night.  It was a blast.  Can't wait to have her on my turf in the fall for a few days.  Meagan and Tyler are such amazingly gracious hosts - I just love when I get to go to their house.  

I also got to see this long-time friend for a lunch date while I was in town...

Lucky for me Candy now works in the same town Meagan lives in, and one town over from where Jared's family lives.  So when I go south I get to see all of these fabulous people at once!  We caught up over lunch (delicious mexican, I might add).  It was so good to see her.

I can't believe I didn't get pictures of everyone I got to see but I also enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Jodi, who lead me during my time in Indianapolis youth group - she's amazing.  I caught up over Fro yo with Josh, my first college friend ever - from my 2 years at IUPUI when I was technically way too young to be in college (16) - and almost 12 years later, he's still such a sweet friend. Loved getting time with him and hearing what he's been up too.  I love friendships that weather time and distance.  And I even got a great visit in with my sweet friend Sean who has been such an incredible friend from college through my summers in Indy and now through the 5 years of my being in Tampa.  I'm so grateful for his friendship and prayers.  He never misses a chance to pray for me and with me - what a blessing.  I also got to see my Eric, my dear, dear college friend who lives in the Chicago area now and has graciously stayed friends with me all these years.   Loved catching up with him over lunch and seeing his family who will soon be headed down to Tampa!

Whew.  So I'm back in Florida and recovering from a whirlwind of fun.  I have had a lot on my heart and mind this week so there may be more writing to follow soon.  But for now - there's a little snippet of my Midwestern adventure.

Love y'all.


Friday, July 12, 2013


Hello adventure.

Welcome to house swap week. I left my keys on the counter my sweet friends are going to play at my place this week and I took a borrowed set of car and house keys and headed to the Midwest.  Let the Midwestern road trip begin.  Indy, Chicago, Seymour, and beyond.  Can’t wait to land in Indy and spend some quality time with my faraway friends.

One of my goals this week is to be less available while I enjoy some face time.  But I’m sure I’ll be updating my social media (and maybe this blog) along the way.  Saturday I will be celebrating the nuptials of my sweet Mer, without whom I never would have survived my move to Florida.  When we graduate from your Purdue we both took Florida jobs and for those 2 years we were family.  I’m so excited to spend a day in Chicago celebrating her marriage!

Along the way I will finally get to meet the sweet sons of my first college roommate, what a treat.  I will get to see a little of the windy city.  I’m going to crash my parents country club with Meag on our girls weekend.  If I had to guess I would say there will be some serious book devouring.  A few projects, some shopping, coffee, and maybe some fancy nails while I’m in Seymour (oh, and taco bell, of course).

So here I go on another crazy adventure.  Oh how sweet this life is – full of amazing people and places I never get tired of seeing.


Monday, July 8, 2013


Back to Chasing. 

This week are were back at it with our Monday night summer group.  If you couldn’t tell, I have loved this summer group and I have an amazing group of girls to grow with.  This week’s topic, believing was really timely for me.

It’s not a secret that my time in college was a ‘dry season’ in my walk with the Lord.  In fact in my small group we say ‘when I took a vacation from my faith’.  I don’t say that to be flippant.  But the Lord’s grace has covered even those years when I knew better but I didn’t act better.

The summer before my senior year of college I was interning at the Boys and Girls Club in inner city Indianapolis.  It was my last week of orientation/training and I had just left for the day to begin the 45-minute trek up to the burbs, where I was staying in my parent’s home for the summer. I got in the car and headed home.  A few blocks away from the club I was making a turn in an intersection when I was t-boned by a man going 75 in a 30.

My memories of the actual accident are scattered.  I remember the sound it made when he crushed my car.   Then I remember being pulled out of what was left of my car – several blocks down a cross street where my car had eventually come to a stop after shattering every window, losing both wheel axels, and all of the fluids.  I’m sure I was in some sort of shock even as we waited on the officers.  People kept asking over and over if I wanted to sit down.  Finally after a quizzical look from me a guy turned me towards a parked car and showed me my reflection… I was covered in my own blood.

One of the first things I remember being told after that accident (by the police officer) was: ‘Miss, it’s a miracle you’re alive’.  Miracle sure was an interesting word.  Not only was I alive, I managed to survive that crash without a broken bone or a single scar.   In fact, I didn’t even go to hospital.

This week I realized that was 6 years ago this summer. 

I realized this as I was pulling into the Target parking lot on my vacation and I set my head on my steering wheel and cried.  God’s grace is so precious.  See, if the Lord hadn’t protected me on that day I would have missed the chance to really live for Him.  I knew the Lord then but I didn’t love Him.  Not like I do now.

Soon after that accident I began to get my life right and I pursued the Lord as never before.  I realized that my time to ‘come back’ may not be as long as I had once thought and I decided I couldn’t afford to keep putting it off.  Because of that accident and the Lord’s gracious love, I won’t have to go home to meet Him without ever having really lived for Him.

I don’t live in fear of dying or even of car accidents (that second part took a little longer).  But if he gives me 6 or 60 more years I can’t wait to live them for Him.  See for this strong-willed fearless girl, it took a miracle to get my attention.  But that accident broke me and the Lord was there to put me back together.

I pulled it together and finished up at Target and I spent my drive home having a chat with the Lord.  I cannot put into words how thankful I am that He gave me a 2934839280423th chance.  That I have had 6 amazing years of getting to know Him, love Him, and serve Him.  What a great and underserved honor it is.

In our bible study this week Jennie wrote, ‘How we live our lives will flow out of what we believe about God’.  Oh Jennie, how right you are.  May my belief grow stronger every day and my life reflect that.  I have never doubted for a day since that accident that God is real.  But occasionally I go back to that day in my mind and remember that my Savior has saved me more than once.  And He keeps on saving me...that illuminates my ability to have unbelief.