You need pushers [community].

The other day, I went for a very difficult bike ride with a group of people much more advanced than myself. The first hour was fine, steep hills and all. But on the return ride, I got very tired.

I mean, like, can I just put my bike in the trail car (Side note: trail cars are awesome! They follow you on the rode so other cars don’t accidentally hit you. I’m sure there’s some metaphor there too) and ride the rest of the way home? No, but seriously, can I?

The leader of the ride is this man who races often and has been a professional cyclist prior to owning this cycling studio I attend. He is pro. He exudes pro. He was giving me all kinds of great tips the whole ride, and for the most part I appreciated them.

And then… we hit mile 22ish. I was just done and I started to get frustrated with him telling me to push harder or go faster or catch up to the group. Have you ever been there? Someone telling you something you know you need to hear but just not wanting to hear it in that moment? Have you ever wanted to tell someone to go away, to stop talking, and to stop pushing you? I sure have, and not just in this cycling adventure. I do, however, notice this most when I’m working out. I need someone to yell at me and to make me keep going or I WILL stop, because I’m just so tired. But at the same time, it gets really annoying to have someone who is not struggling telling you to push harder. “Easy for you to say,” I always think (along with some words I maybe shouldn’t think, but don’t say out loud).

As I was riding and fighting all these inappropriate and negative thoughts towards my “coach” God began speaking truth into my heart (because God knows I learn so well through metaphors!). We need people like this. We need people who are willing to push us, to tell us the hard things, to not let us give up. If we didn’t have these people, how often would we stop and never make it to where God is calling us?

Then, something really cool happened. He came up right next to me and put his hand on my bike, all while we were both riding our bikes. He told me he was going to do what was called a “pro push” and he had me start pedaling the same speed he was going (which was too dang fast for me to do on my own). We did this for about 30 seconds and then he simply pushed me forward, giving me the momentum I needed to reach the rest of the group.

Do I even need to explain that metaphor?

I needed that push. Yes, I was frustrated with him for telling me to keep going and to go faster, and to work harder. But he wasn’t just speaking those things to me – he came along side me and gave me the push I needed to DO those things.

Oh, friends. How we need people like this in our lives! I am reminded of a time I had unplanned surgery. Everything just felt so confusing. I didn’t understand what had happened and why I found myself sick in the hospital. I didn’t understand why I felt so terrible and didn’t seem to be improving once I was home and resting. I gave up on God a bit. I told Him I couldn’t keep praying because I didn’t know what to pray for and I didn’t even know what was going on. Shortly after I received cards and calls and messages from people telling me they were praying for me.

This is what community is all about. We cannot do it alone – we cannot do anything alone. We NEED people pushing us, intervening for us, and carrying the burden for a bit for us.

I’m not saying just let other people fight all your battles, but don’t do it alone. Find a friend, find someone to pray with you, to go with you, to stay with you.

be strong and courageous [community].

A week ago, I finally completed what could have been the hardest physical feat I’ve had to date.

I did my first half-ironman distance triathlon.

70.3Throughout the training, I wanted to give up many times. I hated swimming, I never felt like I was improving, and the whole process took so much time. Throughout the race I continually asked myself what was wrong with me for thinking this was a good idea. It was long. it was slow. It was hot.

But you know what, I had to keep going – in training and during the race – because I knew there were people waiting for me. People cheering me on. There were people on the sidelines fighting the good fight with me.

And, like so many times in my life, I learned from this metaphor. I am unable to do anything on my own. I need Jesus, first, but I also need those He has placed in my life to push me. I need them to challenge me and pick me up when I am struggling. I need their words of encouragement. I simply need their presence to know I am not alone, even in the loneliest times (and believe me, when you’re traversing 70.3 miles, you sure are alone a lot).

Are you engaging in community? I heard part of a sermon today where the preacher talked about getting out and engaging with people, loving on people, learning from people, serving people – and this, this is where you find the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you.

To be strong and courageous, we need the Lord’s power. And sometimes He shows that power through those He has placed in our lives. Don’t miss it.


Deserts of snow.

Deserts and snow make no sense together, I know. Essentially, they are complete opposites. But I find myself feeling deep within a valley dry and alone. Yet, I look outside right now, staring at the snow, and there’s such a peace. I was out this morning shoveling the snow from the driveway and there were birds chirping. The sound of spring, yet in the deepest of winter. All of these things that don’t seem to go together…

As I sat here watching the snow quietly fall with nothing but the sound of those birds outside I began to cry. To weep. Im not sure what the reason was besides just a release of a number of emotions. Mostly frustration and confusion, some anger, some joy. I tried to pray but admitted to God that my mind felt so confused and I had no words to pray. I sat in the quiet, crying, but knowing full well God was with me. And He reminded me of the words to the song “Come to Me.”

And as I listened to it, the tears became the set of thankfulness and joy.

“I am the Lord your God, I go before you now

I stand beside you, I’m all around you

Though you feel I’m far away, I’m closer than your breath

I am with you, more than you know”

So just know, dear friend, whatever the state of your mind, your reality, your past or your future – He is standing beside you, He is all around you. Be at peace in His presence.

submission vs. wishful asking

You know, I realized something today as I was taking a little hike and doing some praying.

I was praying “God, if this is your will then just orchestrate the details.”

And I just felt Him responding, “If it is My will, why would I not be orchestrating the details? If it is My will, it is bound to happen, so stop worrying about how or why or when or what.”

Duh. I know in my head that if something is God’s will then it will happen at some point, in some way.

What I realized was that often when I pray “if it’s your will, let it work out” is that really what I am saying is “I really want this, and I want it to be your will, so figure out how to make this happen. Please?”

I think, when we are given the example, “yet not my will but yours be done” in (Luke 22:42), the Will is already known it’s just the heart and mind that is not 100% in agreement. But the plan is made clear. When we are praying in this way I think we are giving up control – your will be done, not mine. But, in the way I was praying, it was more like going to God as a wish-granter, which I try so hard to avoid.

So, if the thing I am praying for is God’s Will then I don’t need to worry about the details. And if it is not God’s will, then again, I don’t have to worry about the details. I can just pray “Your Will be done in this situation,” and leave it at that.

doing single well.

I just turned 28 and I am still single.

This weekend that was made abundantly clear to me. Not by one individual pointing it out.

I just felt the loneliness in full swing this weekend. It started as I was browsing all my social media looking at picture after picture of someone I know’s baby, kids, family, wedding, baby/wedding shower, kid’s birthday party, kid’s sporting event, etc. Then there were posts about anniversaries and dates, and, well, you see what I’m saying.

I felt bombarded. Not one post did I read saying, “today’s my 1 year anniversary of being single! Let’s celebrate!”

And I just lost it as I was driving around doing things alone. Again. I cried and I told God how much the loneliness hurts sometimes. And here it is again; just typing that statement brought tears to my eyes.

That’s a really vulnerable statement for me to make. You see, for the most part, I try to hide the fact that I don’t like being single. I try to be strong and put on a happy face, because I have this idea that this is what I am supposed to do as a single Christian – I’m supposed to be joyful and cheery, and be okay just how my life is, because obviously this is what God has for me.


I don’t know that I think so anymore.

I have prayed and prayed that if God does not will for me to have a family or to be married, that he would remove that [strong] desire from my heart. I don’t want to want what he doesn’t want for me.

But here I am, and the desire seems just as strong as when I first prayed that many years ago.

And here I am still very single.

I have a confession: I haven’t been doing single well.

You may have ready my last post about online dating. So I’ve tried that. I have also dated a lot of people (okay by a lot I mean probably a handful. Whether or not that is a lot is a matter of opinion, I suppose) who really I knew I shouldn’t be dating. I spent money on frivolous things because I had the money to spend. I have been very selfish with my time, because, well, there is no one else I should be giving it to… right?

I think all of those ways I have been living my life were wrong.

I’m ready to doing single well. To do single with intentionality and purpose.

To give my time to those who need my time. To give my money to causes that could benefit from it well.

It’s not my time nor is it my money. If I claim my life belongs to God then why am acting as the God of my own life – dating or otherwise?

I’m still processing all of this. I’m figuring out what intentional and purposeful singleness looks like.

I’ll keep you updated.


single – for those that are and those that aren’t (another post I wrote with some good links regarding singleness in the church)

elevation church – meant to be sermon series

Online dating: you’re doing it wrong!

So… It’s 2014, let’s all stop pretending, if we are single, that we haven’t at least toyed with the idea of joining the thousands of online daters. I mean, I don’t know how many people are “doing it” but I do know when I joined one of these sites the amount of people I was matched with led me to believe that just about every single person now a days is trying it.

So let’s stop kidding ourselves.

Go ahead and tell people, I think it’s WAY more common than we think.

And now here are some tips for those of you that are thinking about giving it a go. These come from my own experience; usually these are the things that make me instantly remove you from my matches.

1. All of your pictures are selfies.
2. At least one of your pictures is a gym selfie or you flexin in the mirror.

3. You spell words wrong, use poor grammar, or capitalize words that you shouldn’t.

4. You have numerous pictures with non-family members of the opposite sex. And they’re not the same person.
5. Or they are all the same person.
6. You’re wearing a wedding ring.
7. Your only picture is of some landscape or animal.
8. You talk about how into crossfit you are (maybe that’s only a deal breaker for me…).

9. You throw out how much you like to “have fun” numerous times.
10. Dropping the phrase “soul mate” in your responses one too many times.

11. Giving an extensive list of very materialistic things you look for in a partner.
12. Getting too specific, as in you only date brunettes.

27 Things that Happened at 27

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday.

27 was good, but dang am I ready for 28! It is going to be MY YEAR, baby! I don’t say that every year, don’t worry.

Here are 27 things that happened at 27:

1. I moved into my first place by myself – no more roommates, no more parents, not even a pet to keep me company

2. I mutually decided to breakup with my boyfriend – no drama, no big argument, no he-said, she-said – it just wasn’t working. hey, adulthood.

3. I stayed at an all-inclusive resort

4. Saw Yosemite.

5. Saw The Redwoods

6. Did my first relay race (that is if you’re not including the 4×4 I did in middle school track)

7. I started this blog!

8. I actually fasted from food for at least 24 hours

9. I picked up a new hobby – road biking – and by picked it up I mean I just began.

10. I colored my hair 4 times, which is 4 more times than the past 5-6 years.

11. I started teaching a cycling class!

12. I rode a mechanical bull (thank you dear friends for your persuasion on this one…)

13. I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge

14. I went to my first Big 10 (or any college) football game

15. I briefly mastered the deadlift… then stopped doing it for a couple weeks and now need to work on form again.

16. I created a list of bills with their due dates, minimum payment amounts, a box to mark how much I paid and what date I paid them (we meet again, adulthood).

17. I started to understand what grace from my Heavenly Father truly looks like. I haven’t totally figured it out, but I’m getting there.

18. I started practicing hand-stands on the wall

19. I did a WOD

20. I played 18 holes of [mini] golf and made 3 holes-in-one

21. I stayed at my first all-inclusive resort.

22. I went to my first Ohio State football game

23. I watched an Iron Man in person, in Mexico.

24. I rode in a Tesla, and got to see a Tesla being made.

25. I ate more pancakes total throughout the year than I have in my whole life (this is a guess, but a very, very good guess)

26. I did my own wine and paint class, and then did it again.

27. I weighed the most I ever have. That’s what happens when you get older, right?

Nicknaming life.

It just has been so long since I’ve written about what is happening in my life!

This is a new season. My roommates have both moved out of town and I have myself a cozy little one bedroom.

While living alone offers a lot of great benefits, it also offers a lot of higher bills and bigger responsibilities. Oh, and it offers a lot of chance to sit in my sin and pout.

So, as this first month of the first time I am living alone is wrapping up, I am challenged.

Good ole’ Steven Furtick from Elevation Church once again pulled through to bring me hope in this season of life. In a series cleverly titled #deathtoselfie, Furtick tells the story of Jacob and his family. The final sermon on the series was titled “naming rights.” The description reads:

Just because the Bible says God works all things together for our good, does not mean everything feels good all the time. But it’s often our times of greatest struggle that we can gain the most strength and increase our faith. In the final part of our series #DeathToSelfie, Pastor Steven uses the story of Jacob renaming his son Benjamin to show us that, though there are circumstances in our lives we didn’t choose to go through, God has given us the rights to call any circumstance a blessing in His name.

Dang. Do you get it? Rename your situation!

For me, I saw this time of living alone as pretty lonely, and pretty stressful as I stare blankly at a pile of bills I really don’t know how I will manage to pay each month. I saw it as a time of missing community and struggling to find worth in the job I’m not loving at the moment. I saw this time as a time where I’d be forced to face some sins that I forgot about, because now I’m all alone where the enemy attacks me hardest.


Oh friends, it’s so lovely.

This is a time where God is calling out my sin so I can better glorify Him!

This is a time where I can learn to be a good steward of my money and learn to rely on faith that He will provide for my needs, if I am faithful with returning to Him what is already His.

This is a time where yes, I am single, so yes, I can plan my schedule to my own liking.

This is a time where I can learn to trust that God has me in my current job for a reason, so I’ll look for the good in each day.


I do hope this time doesn’t last forever, and I think that is okay.

But while we are in our different seasons of life, why don’t we name them something good?

Give this time in your life a nickname you life, not the nickname the enemy’s been using. 


Sunday Scripture [Matthew 16:24-25]

Today’s scripture was the passage we read in church this morning.

It hit me hard. The words, I have read them before.

The impact, it has never been so heavy.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

Do you see that? I am supposed to DENY myself.

say what.

Oh yes, that means denying myself the extra cookie, the shirt that is on sale and oh-so-cute.

I should deny myself running an extra mile to make up for the extra cookie.

When the cute guy asks me on a date, but has no relationship with Jesus, I should deny my flesh and tell him “no thank you”.

I should even deny the chance to volunteer for something that seems to be a service for God, when my plate is already too full.



We, as Americans, see this word as only a negative thing.

And when we do use it wisely, as in dieting, we do it for our own glory.


Let me be honest. Denial is something I have very little practice in. I often find myself weak, especially in the food realm. I have struggled for years with my relationship with food. I don’t talk about it with too many people, because quite frankly it is something a lot of people don’t seem to understand. I am thin, I work out a lot, and I tend to eat pretty healthy. But food speaks to my loneliness, my borden, my dissatisfaction with myself. Food calls my name when everyone else is quiet, and I answer, and I am more unsatisfied. You see, I have made food an idol. I love to create with food, but it is something I am learning to deny. There is so much more to this story; so much more for another time.


Brother, sister – what are you needing to deny? What is good and pleasing, but not something necessary?

What is something that is bad, and unfruitful in your life?

Deny yourself dear friend. Deny yourself and search for Christ and you will gain life.


In my case, when I deny myself excess food (please know I never deny myself food unhealthily; I am denying the eating when I am not hungry or the second… or third bowl of ice cream), and ask for Jesus to strengthen me and be the bread of life to my unsatisfied soul, I find life just in the joy of overcoming. And while overcoming, I have turned to a much more satisfying source – one that brings life.

Psalm 145:18

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” 


This weekend at my church we wrapped up our series on the Psalms. This one verse stuck out to me as our pastor noted, “He is near! Call on Him and He is near!”

And then he challenged us to imagine Jesus literally sitting next to us: how much more would we pay attention? How much more would we worship?

How much more?

Believer, call on Him. Whisper His name throughout the day when you are weak, weary, heavy laden.

This blew my mind, to be honest.

I know He is near, I get that. I read about whispering His name often in Jesus Calling. This is something I have learned to do often, when I feel lost/confused/incompetent/embarrassed/happy/sad – you get the point…

But I decided to challenge myself to try to imagine Jesus physically next to me throughout this week. How would I love the unlovable a little more? How would this affect my sin-life? Would the words I say be sweeter? Would I spend my time a bit more productively? Maybe less productively?

How about you, how would knowing Jesus is physically next to you change how you do life?