Joy in 2019

It wasn’t until late 2017 that I first heard the idea of choosing a word for the year. The idea intrigued me: choose a single word that all of your yearly goals point back to. To be honest, I don’t remember the word I chose for 2018 – or if I even chose one.

As I reflected on 2018, however, I did choose a word for 2019.

Joy.



I am not looking to do any and everything that makes me happy. I am simply doing two things: I am carving out the time to do the small things that I love – and am being grateful that I get to do them – and I am remembering that no matter what is going on in my world, I have a Joy that can never be taken from me.


I spent too much of the previous years trying so hard to do what I felt like I was supposed to do. I had to clean my house a certain way. I had to dress a certain way. I had to set goals a certain way. I spent so much time trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be that I never took the time to figure out who I really was, who God designed me to be.

I looked more to people on social media to figure out what I should do than I did looking to God. I decided I should do things because other people did them rather than because I wanted to do them. I have always struggled with feeling pressured to do what others do because I think it’s “the right thing to do.” I also let my circumstances dictate how I felt, leaving me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time.


Maybe becoming a mom caused something to change, because quite frankly I got quite tired of living that way. But changing the habit of trying to conform to others’ standards so that I feel like I’m “doing it right?”

Yeah, that’s hard.

I’m a people pleaser by nature. I so badly want to have it all together.

But I don’t. And I never will. And I had to accept that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me – and it doesn’t mean it has to work for me. I also had to accept that if I let the circumstances of my life dictate my life, I was going to be a miserable person.


I decided to stop robbing myself of little things that I love because I felt like I had to be this super-structured person who lived by a strict schedule and always had everything done.

I’ve started doing things that I love again simply because I want to. Small things like reading four books at once, writing fiction, spending time with friends and family, and watching sunsets. These little things may seem insignificant, but they are little moments, little things, that I am so grateful for.

We can’t throw our responsibilities to the wind, but we can learn to be more flexible. We can leave dishes in the sink overnight because it’s been a hard day and we’d like to take a bath and relax. We can fold the laundry later so that we can play with our kids. We can do the things – big or small – that we’ve always wanted to do but never carved out time to do it.

Even more than these things – and these things are great – I’m remembering Who my true joy comes from. Please hear me here: My goal in life is not to be happy, it is to please God.


And to please God, we have to trust in Him always. We can’t give in to worry and anxiety. We have to remember that no matter the circumstance, not matter the battles, our Savior is with us always. Paul instructs us several times in the New Testament to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of unwavering joy.

This is one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my God has so lovingly reminded me that His love is covering me. He is my true joy.


So this year I am carving out time for things that I enjoy, and I am resting it the unwavering promises of my Savior. I am finding joy in 2019.

With love,

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoTom Sodoge
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Choose to Show Up

I sit down with my coffee and my Bible. I get settled in and open my journal and my Bible. I hear stirring from the baby monitor. The baby woke up. Again. 

Sound familiar?


In high school I used to spend long stretches of time reading my Bible. In college, my workload got more intense, and I didn’t have as much time to spend in the Word. At the time I didn’t understand that different seasons of life mean that our time in the Word may look different. Instead, I felt guilty and would often go through long periods of not reading my Bible at all because I thought if I couldn’t spend the time that I was used to spending then I shouldn’t spend any time at all – I was wrong, by the way.

It’s so easy to get frustrated when different seasons of life make your “quiet times” with the Lord look different. It’s easy to just not show up. Something to remember, however, is that God values faithfulness. He honors when we choose to show up, whether we have an hour or just ten minutes. I believe time spent with God is never time wasted. God can bring fruitfulness out of both situations, even if we don’t necessarily see the fruitfulness right away.


So I take a drink of my coffee, set my Bible and journal aside temporarily, and go get my sweet baby. My quiet time is different than it used to be, but that’s okay. Seasons of uninterrupted time in the Word are beautiful, but so is this season.

There will be times as my daughter gets older when I wake up early to spend time with the Lord and the little pitter-patter of feet come down the stairs before they are supposed to, and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll pull her onto my lap and we can read together. Or maybe I will take a break to make her breakfast and then resume – maybe ten minutes later, maybe two hours later. But what I won’t do is get frustrated. I want my children to see their mama meeting with God regularly, and that may mean my quiet times looking much different than they did when I was fifteen. And that’s perfectly okay.


Friends, be willing to meet God where you are, no matter the season. Seek His face no matter what, and remember that your time with God is never wasted. 

With love, 

Photo credit: 

unsplash-logoAaron Burden

My First Month as a Mom

In all seriousness, it is so hard to believe that my baby girl is a month old! It feels like we were just in the hospital. But it’s been the best. month. ever. Bella is already learning and growing so much, and it’s so fun!

•••

Being a mom is wonderful and challenging and exhausting. It’s all that I thought it would be and more yet completely different at the same time.

I’ve learned that your life completely changes yet doesn’t at the same time.

I’ve learned that things often don’t go as planned, and that’s okay.

I’ve learned that I have a problem with it wanting to ask for help, and I’m working on it.

I’ve learned that I have a problem with not knowing when I need to say no to things, and I’m working on that, too.

I’ve learned how unconditional love really can be, and I understand how God loves us so much more now.

I’ve learned that my husband is an absolutely amazing father, and our child is so blessed to have him.

I’ve learned that spit up matches everything, so I just wear it all the time!

I’ve learned that some things are just needed when you become a mom. These things include:

  • Coffee. Always the coffee.
  • A nursing pillow. These little people get heavy fast.
  • E-books and e-textbooks for middle-of-the-night feedings. Holding an actual book can often be too difficult (at least for me).
  • Someone to hold your baby so you can take a much needed shower or bath.
  • Did I mention coffee?
  • Voice-to-text to take notes while you read a textbook while a baby is sleeping on one of your arms.
  • Snacks and plenty of water for middle-of-the-night feedings.

And finally, I’ve learned that I have the cutest baby ever, and I’ve had the best month of my life with her! Happy one month Isabella Grace!

Featured image photo credit: Fig Tree Films

You Must be 90 Pounds Soaking Wet

*Please realize this is not an attention-seeking post or an attempt at reassurance. I simply want to share my personal story!

I have always been small. Growing up I was pretty much all knees and elbows. I’ve always had a high metabolism, and no matter how much I ate, I didn’t gain weight.

My entire life I have heard comments like “You must be 90 pounds soaking wet!” or “You need to put some meat on those bones!” or “There’s not an ounce of fat on your body!”

I think most of the time these types of comments were meant as compliments, and I would usually smile and nod, but I felt differently inside. Every time a comment like this was made, I thought “90 pounds? Well, I’m a lot more than that. Am I supposed to be 90 pounds? I better suck by stomach in,” or “Am I not good enough the way I am?” or “Yes, there is, but I better hide it so you don’t see me differently.”

I felt such pressure to be as small as everyone thought I was, yet pressure to gain weight at the same time. I hated it. I hated my body no matter what. I wasn’t small enough. I wasn’t big enough. I wasn’t good enough. I was so insecure.

•••

A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant I remember telling my husband that I wasn’t scared of what my body would be like when I was pregnant someday, but I was scared of what it would be like after. I knew that it was going to be different and probably never go back to the way it was before.

Sure enough, I loved my body when I was pregnant. Actually, I was the most self-confident that I’ve ever been. Yet there were still things that were said that hurt. I heard from many people that I “looked good with some weight on me.” I happened to agree, but I was a bit hurt at the same time. I knew it was a compliment or perhaps a reassurance, but what it felt like was “you weren’t good enough before.” I tried not to dwell on it because I knew it wasn’t meant that way.

•••

Fast-forward and the day has arrived. The moment of truth. I’m no longer pregnant. How am I going to feel?

Honestly? Just fine.

At some point something changed. I wasn’t scared anymore. My body had just spent months growing a person. Of course it would look different! My body did something amazing; who cares if it doesn’t look the same as before?

I don’t.

And that’s the truth. I decided that the only one who can make me feel insecure about myself is, well, me. Yes, the things that were said to me over the years were hurtful, but ultimately I chose to let it get to me. And honestly, I’ve got too much going on to be worried about some extra weight and stretch marks.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to be known as “the thin one” or “the pretty one.” I’ve got more important things going on. I’d rather be known for how I walked with Christ. What kind of wife and mother I was. What kind of friend I was. Not my pant size.

All this to say, friends, be careful with your words. They hurt and have long lasting effects. But also, don’t let what other people say define how you see yourself.

With love,

Work With All Your Heart

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

Since I started working when I was 16 I have always tried to keep this piece of Scripture close to my heart. In fact, before my husband and I even dated we often reminded each other of this verse when one of us was having a difficult time at work.
As I have gotten older, however, I’ve realized how truly powerful this piece of Scripture really is. The verse says that whatever we do, we are to do it with all of heart.
If we truly do the work that comes into our lives as if we are doing it for the Lord, or when we simply realize that what we are doing is a way of serving the Lord, it changes our perspective.
I hate doing laundry. With a passion. And vacuuming. And doing the dishes. Really, I hate most forms of housework. But when I stop and remember that doing these things better helps my family function better and better helps me be hospitable to guests in our home (we love to have people over), I do it with cheer (Note: I am not a house-cleaning guru. I would be a complete liar if I said that our apartment was not a total wreck during my first trimester of pregnancy. I would also be a complete liar if I said I held this attitude all the time).
The real difference comes when I’m not making it about me. Sure, it’s nice when our place looks nice – it makes me feel good – but it’s not nearly as motivating to me as knowing that I am serving my family, God, and others.
Whatever you do, whether it be raising your children, working in your job, cleaning your house, going to school, do it for the Lord. Your stocking job at the grocery store may not feel a job in which you serve the Lord, but the attitude you have speaks volumes. Everywhere is a mission field.
Go forth and do whatever you do with all your heart, and remember to give yourself grace because we are never going to have it all together all of the time.
With love,
B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoBen Kolde

It’s Okay to Slow Down

Living in the age of technology, we expect everything to be done fast. It’s reflected in most aspects of our life:

This person is driving too slow.

The wait is too long.

My phone won’t load fast enough.

The list could go on and on.

What I have realized recently, though, is that slowing down is a beautiful thing. Sure, there are deadlines and time-sensitive things, but why does everything in our lives have to be done at an accelerated pace?

One of the most beautiful ways that I have noticed the beauty of slowing down has been in my time with God.

I have had a relationship with Jesus for almost 7 years now. For 6 of those years I read my Bible the exact same way: a chapter a day (unless it was a super long chapter, then I would break it up). Last year around this time I decided that I wanted to read chronologically (in the order that events happened, not necessarily in the order the books occur in the Bible) and in larger chunks to get a better sense of the bigger picture, and I loved it!

In this season, however, I’ve started studying my Bible in a completely different way than I ever have. I spend about 30-45 minutes a day on around 10 verses of Scripture just breaking it apart. It now takes me 2-4 days to read a chapter rather than 1.

At first, it almost bothered me actually. I felt like I wasn’t reading enough. In reality, though, I’m digging in deeper than ever before. Reading the Bible, like many things in life, is not a race. I’m loving this season of just slowing down and really meditating on the Word of God. It has made me realize it’s okay to slow down in other areas, too. It’s okay to stop and appreciate the simple beauty in your life. It’s okay to leave the dishes unattended for a little bit to spend time with your spouse or kids. It’s okay to not always be in the fast lane.

With love,

B

Life Changes

“We didn’t plan for things to go this way, but can you even imagine what life would be like if this weren’t happening?”

I said this to my husband last night as we stood in the kitchen and I showed him the baby books I had just bought (our child will definitely not have a lack of reading material – I have a problem…). We originally planned to have kids when we were both out of school, or at the very least when I was completely done. But when I sat in the campus infirmary one February afternoon and watched that little line appear, everything changed.

I was half terrified because this was NOT the plan, but at the same time, I couldn’t contain tears of pure joy as I realized I was going to be a mom. Finally.

I realize that may sound silly to some as I am not quite 22 yet, but the desire to be a mother has been brewing strong inside me for years and has only gotten stronger as I do life with the most amazing man in the world. When my best friend had the most beautiful baby girl in the world last December, I was in love. There were tears of joy streaming down my face as I saw her perfect little face for the first time. Later, though, if I’m being completely honest, which I try to be, I was crying for a different reason. Seeing that perfect little girl and seeing my best friend’s face as she held her baby for the first time created a deep ache in my heart because I still had years to go before that happened for me, and as absolutely happy as I was for her and her little family, part of me was heart-broken.

I know that to some that may seem silly or selfish, but it was how I felt. So I gave it to God. I didn’t want those feelings inside of me getting in the way of the pure joy I really was feeling for my best friend of nearly 10 years. I stopped thinking about it and just my best friend and her sweet little girl.

A month later I was pregnant.

I’m not saying that just because you surrender something to God, you are going to immediately get what you desire – that’s not how God works – but His timing is different than ours and it is perfect.

A few months ago I was praying that God would give me the strength, peace, and patience for these next few years of waiting. Now I’m praying for this sweet baby growing inside of me, whom I already love more than I ever could have imagined.

Our plans have changed significantly since that day in February, but oh, they have changed in the best way. There are still many unknowns, but I know God will carry us through just like He always has and just like He always will. We have plans, sure, but as Thomas Rhett says, “Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoMaxime Lelièvre

Things Change

Do you ever feel like one minute you have everything together and the next minute you don’t? Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling. During Christmas break I was on a consistent housework schedule, I was writing nearly everyday, I was reading for fun everyday, it was great. Then the most stressful semester in my history of school started. Let’s just say things have went off the rails a bit (having the stomach bug last week didn’t help).

I knew that this semester was going to be difficult for me, but I assumed that I could keep doing things the way I was and I would be fine – I even increased my fitness goals (Yeah, that’s not happening) – and I was quite wrong. Even though I know routines change with the ebbs and flows of life, I was quite determined to keep doing things the way I was doing them.

After a few break downs I realized that I simply cannot continue the way I was going a month ago. I have six classes and a lot of homework, papers, and tests; I work around twenty hours a week; and I have other commitments. This season does not look like the last one. So, what am I doing about it? I’m realizing what goals I need to adjust and what changes I need to make. We’re going to be getting an elliptical because going to the gym multiple days a week just isn’t feasible right now, the housework schedule isn’t so much of a schedule anymore but more of a nightly tidying with my husband, and I take naps. And drink coffee (I was caffeine free for almost two months).

This season I have to take things easier, I have to be more flexible, or I’m going to run myself ragged. When God first planted the idea of Life Management Monday in my heart I wanted one of the central messages to be that life management looks different for everyone. We cannot compare ourselves to others or think that what works for someone else will necessarily work for us. I was so caught up in the comparison game – and the worst part is is that the person I was comparing myself to was myself! Sometimes we really do have to take a page out of our own books!

Keep on creating a life you love, but be reasonable. We aren’t super human.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoJilbert Ebrahimi

For Better, For Worse

For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness, in health. Till death do us part. Marriage is pledging to be with another person no matter what: in the hard moments, in the joyful moments, in the scary moments, in the exciting moments. It’s often messy and tear filled, beautiful and rewarding. As a spouse we get the unique and amazing experience of doing life with someone for the rest of our lives. We see them at their worst and at their best, and we get to be their biggest fan.

We get the privilege of encouraging our spouses to follow their dreams, accomplish their goals, and grow into the person God has called them to be. We get to encourage their talents and their gifts and help them cultivate them. We get front row seats to see how God is working in their lives, and we get to hold their hand and look back with them and say, “Wow, remember when things were like that? Look where you are now. Look where we are now.” That is beautiful, and we can’t take that for granted. It is a huge blessing to be intimately involved in someone else’s life. Sure, sometimes it’s hard – often times much harder than we would like it to be – but it is extraordinary.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoPriscilla Du Preez

Worship

What do you think of when you hear the word “worship”? For a lot of us I would bet we think of singing in church; we think of giving ten to twenty minutes once or twice a week singing words that may or may not mean something to us. Or perhaps we think of our tithes and offerings as worship. Both of these things are worship, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

So then if we’re missing the point, let’s ask some questions.

  1. What is worship? 
    • Worship is the expression of adoration or reverence.
    • Worship is something that God alone deserves (Exodus 20:2-6).
    • John 4:23-24 says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(emphasis mine)
    • 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
    • Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (emphasis mine)
    • Isaiah 29:13 says that if we are only honoring God with our lips but not our hearts, we are not truly worshiping.

    Essentially, worship is not something that we do once a week, it is something we are to do through our lifestyle. We are to worship in Spirit and in truth, two   things that are forever inside us when we allow Jesus to take His rightful place as   king of our lives. Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice is not something you do once, it’s continual dedication of ourselves to the Lord.

  2. Why do we worship?
    • If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone you really like you know what it’s like to desire to get to know someone. You want to know everything about them – what they like, what they dislike, what makes them tick, their middle name, everything! – and the more you know the more you want to know. Our relationship with God is similar: when we spend time with Him and get to know Him, it stirs up the desire to get to know Him more, and when we get to know Him, we can’t help but worship Him.

•••

Worship is so much more than singing songs and giving money, it’s continually honoring God with our lives.

When we obey His command to love our neighbor, that’s worship.

When we choose to be like Jesus and pray for those who persecute us, that’s worship.

When we take the high road instead of stooping to the level of those who hurt us, that’s worship.

When we extend grace, that’s worship.

When we choose not to compromise our values, that’s worship.

When we stand and sing and pour out our hearts to the Creator, that’s worship.

When we use our gifts to further His kingdom, that’s worship.

When we die to ourselves and live solely for Him, that’s worship.

Our lives are meant to be continual acts of adoration and reverence of our Creator and King. Worship is not something you get away from life to do, worship is something you do amidst the messiness of life. Everyday is a blank slate. Everyday is a chance to choose God or self. What are we going to choose today?

Photo credit: unsplash-logoAnubhav Saxena