the gathering place

“This house has become a home, not just to me but to hundreds. It holds my heart. It holds so many lessons. It is a place where children can be children, where people can know that they are  important and special and loved. It is a place where people accept Christ and learn about Him and grow in Him. It is my house. But mostly it is a house of the Lord.’ – Kisses from Katie

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After my freshman year, some of my closest friends and I decided to move into a little house right next to campus. We all agreed this house wasn’t going to be for us. It was going to be a haven, a safe place, for younger girls to get away to. A place where they could be people, where they could be silly, where they could be broken, a home away from home. We all agreed this house was for ministry and not for comfort, and that this house was to be a vessel for the Lord to use as He wanted.

We got to the house and it was in pieces, much like all of us. It looked pretty on the outside in an effort to get attention and approval, but when you unlocked the pretty but rigid door, you saw how it had been worn and torn. The house had been through a lot.

We got to work painting it blue and tan and all the girly colors we could think of, we stuck pretty paintings on the wall, and taped up scripture, we put up pictures and made it as aesthetically pleasing as we could, but even with all the decorative band aids, we all knew it was still a little broken.

It was special though, to see God use this house despite its cracks, despite the broken AC, and the doors that sometimes wouldn’t work right, despite the brokenness, God decided to use what we nicknamed the Gathering Place to bring people closer to Himself. We had bible studies in our house, we had times of encouragement and times of sorrow, times where we danced together and times where we leaned on each other. God saw the brokenness in the house the same way He saw the brokenness in us, a way to display His strength.

The next year, our landlord broke our lease the week of finals, and we desperately tried to find another home. And we did. And God used that home too. It felt scary to move somewhere new. I loved our old house,  that we had nicknamed 205. I loved it even though it was broken, I loved it even though it was tiny, I loved it even though I didn’t have a wifi signal unless I was in the kitchen, and I felt scared moving into our new place. But the scary places are often where God wants us to be. And He made 40 a home too, He brought girls into that home the same way He did at 205 and He used it as a place to make His love known, to make His welcome felt, and to provide for needs.

I wish we could all be roomies forever, but seasons are beautiful even when they don’t last forever. People get married, people move away, and new seasons are beautiful even when they’re scary just like the new Gathering Place held beautiful memories even though moving in felt scary.

I’m so thankful for every laugh and every lesson, the way these homes have made life so much more joyful, and God is so good for letting me be a part of our special home.

We saw people meet Jesus in our houses even if the walls were falling apart in a similar fashion that our hearts do when life gets hard. I’m so joyfully expectant to see how He uses the Gathering Place this fall to show His love to us and to others.

We taped up some truth on the wall and before we knew it, we never wanted to leave. I love my sisters that have lived with me,  I love my sisters that have come in and out of our home, I love 205, I love 40, and I love that God uses broken people and broken houses to bring people closer to Himself.

with love,
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3 years of abundance

Coming to the realization that the season that is college is over a bit early has caused me to do a lot of reflecting/ journaling/girly things these last few weeks. All I can think about when I think about my time at CofC is abundance. These have been years full of abundance, even in the littlest things.

I got to go to the school I dreamed of and live in the city that’s always had my heart.

People older and younger than me taught me new things and showed me new images of God’s glory all the time.

I found a church that feels like home.

One of my biggest dreams came true, I got to dance in college and for the first time since high school, I got to experience the joy of dance that the Lord intended for me because I was no longer trying to find my identity and purpose in it, and I got to share my new joy and purpose in Jesus with other girls who felt the same pain I had from expecting ballet to fill the holes in my heart.

I fell in love with nursing, I saw the beautiful servant-heartedness of the role, the deep compassion and caring, and I get to work with kiddos who love you even when you have to give them finger pricks, and at work, I get to provide for people’s needs while learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I learned how precious family is and I got to live with girls that felt just like family.

I have sisters and brothers who run with me in this race we call life even when I get worn out and feel like I can’t keep going.

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I’ve experienced what real love, unconditional, relentless love feels like, and I’ve learned how to love authentically, how to meet people where they’re at, in their mess, how to sit with them, how to walk with them, how to run with them, how to love for the sake of loving and not seeking to receive anything back, the way Jesus loves us.

I learned how to evangelize and share the best news I’ve ever heard, that Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. I saw people go from death to life when they met Jesus, I saw God trade people’s sorrow for joy that never ends. I saw people come to know Jesus for the first time and I saw people grow in knowing Him.

 

I learned how to be a disciple and how to disciple other people. I learned how to pour my life out for someone else’s benefit. I learned how to put other people first, how to really listen, how to do life with people, how to do laughs, ugly crying, grocery shopping, how to do every bit of life with them as we both get to know Jesus a bit better each day.

But the biggest thing that gets my joy going down deep is that I see God in every moment of college. I see God crying with me in the sorrow and rejoicing with me in the beauty. I see Him reaching out my freshman year when I couldn’t see His meaning in the mess, I see Him dancing with me in all the joy and excitement of sophomore year, I see Him walking through all the beautiful parts and hard parts of this combined junior/senior year right there with me. I see Him holding me in the lonely parts. I see His forgiveness in the parts of the story I wish I could go back and shake my sinful self for.

I see Him rejoicing in my freedom, I hear Him quieting my fears. I see so much of it in every moment these 3 years.

And I see how there was abundance in the beautiful parts and the messy parts and how each moment was a moment to be cherished. So whatever part you’re in, the beautiful, the messy, or maybe a little bit of both or maybe something in between, I hope you take heart, because you’re in abundance even if you don’t see it, and you’ll be in abundance tomorrow too. We’ve got a really good Father, guys.

 

with love,

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what’s true in the light is still true in the dark

some things I’ve been learning recently:

  • What’s true in the light is still true in the dark.

Weep with Me – Rend Collective 

God is still good, God is still kind. The world is tough, life is tougher, but God is always fiercely loving and is never-changing in His character. Even in the darkness, He is beautiful, and even in the darkness, He sent Jesus to die for our sins. His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

  • Everything God does is an act of mercy.

God is a God who intercedes for our good.

Intercede means to step in on behalf of someone else.

It would be just, because of our sin and rebellion, if He let bad things just be bad, but He takes bad things and uses them for good. He takes pain and helps us learn. He intercedes on our behalf and uses brokenness to display Himself. He shows His strength, He shows His grace. He steps into our mess, and helps us keep walking Home towards Him.

  • I have hurt the Lord more than any earthly circumstance hurts me.

No rejection, no sting, no words that hurt, no rumors, no suffering compares to the pain we have caused the Lord. We have hurt Him more than anything hurts us. We must give grace because of the abundant grace we have been given.

  • We can rest in Jesus’ affirmation and relentless affection.

God will never change His mind about you. If you rest in anything, rest in that.

  • It doesn’t matter what other people think.

Healing isn’t linear, and that’s okay. People are flawed and tend to forget how valleys feel when they are no longer in them. Forgive them for it because you have done that to people too. God is taking you on a journey of redemption and renewal, and it’s okay if your walk looks different from others. Healing is a road lined with endless grace.

  • Joy that has stood through sorrow is a different kind of beautiful.

Joy Doesn’t Always Look Happy- Desiring God

Joy doesn’t always look happy, and that’s okay. Joy is constant even when you don’t feel it. Joy is a banner over you and promise to cling to even when you cry or feel numb. This joy that has stood through sorrow will look different from a joy that has breezed through hill tops. This joy has strength, this joy is from the Lord and not yourself.

  • Suffering enables you to love others more deeply.

You will learn how to weep for others when they weep and rejoice when they rejoice.

  • Broken hearts are open hearts.

 

  • Worship puts pain in its rightful place, under God’s reign.

Pain is no match for sovereignty. God is in reign over it and will use all for good and all for glory. The darkness cannot overcome it.

  • He’s in the waiting.

 

  • It’s okay if it takes awhile to get through hard things.

Again, healing is a road lined with endless grace.

 

with love,

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to the girl starting college from the one finishing

hey friend,

I know you think you know just what you’re doing, but it’s okay if you admit you don’t. Everyone is in the same boat, putting on a brave face, pretending to know everything they’re about to learn.

This is gonna be a tough one, this season, but it’s gonna be so so good too.

Go find some sisters, real sisters, who will love you when you don’t deserve. Sisters who call you out for sin, sisters who cry when you cry and rejoice when you rejoice, sisters who push you because they love you, sisters who help you seek fullness of joy.

Go be that sister. Love people well. Love people deeply. It’s worth it.

Go learn how to actually love, which means loving people without expecting anything in return. Love people just for the sake of loving them. Love people like God has loved you, that reckless, self-forgetting, sacrificial, give it everything you’ve got type of love.

Learn how to disciple younger girls. Giving your life away to others is so much sweeter than trying to fill your life to the brim with things. When other people’s joy becomes more important than your own, you start to find that your joy is a lot more abundant.

Let Jesus love you. Run with Him. Run to Him. All you are looking for is in Him, all the joy, all the hope, all the security and confidence, all the contentment and rest, it’s all there. Let grace in and let it change you.

with love,

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18 prayers for 2018

1) Give me a servant heart, Lord, since I have been served.

 

2) Help me listen in love instead of just trying to respond in wisdom.

 

3) Help me love radically.

 

4) Help me celebrate others without the sting of comparison.

 

5) Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

 

6) Let my life be about sharing the Gospel.

 

7) Build my life upon Your Love.

 

8) Orient my heart towards gratitude instead of insecurity.

 

9) Only let me speak when my words build others up.

 

10) Help me want to give more than I receive.

 

11) Fix my eyes on eternal things.

 

12) Help me remember that people have souls when I look at them.

 

13) Help me love because I have been loved.

 

14) Help me look outside of myself and outside my view.

 

15) Help me love people even when it’s hard.

 

16) Orient my heart to give people the benefit of doubt.

 

17) Give me an attitude of grace.

 

18) Give me a spirit of love and hope that is stronger than the habit of timidity and fear.

 

with love,

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hurt people hurt people

a little something I wrote about the phrase “hurt people hurt people, but loved people love and forgiven people forgive.”

 

 

It’s funny saying someone told me,

when I was down and blue,

That the hurt a person causes

is because they’ve been hurt too.

And it made me start thinking

about the world outside my own,

It made it easier to understand

the things people had done.

When you look outside yourself,

it’s easier to see,

That love is usually what

the unloving people need.

And I want to say “they don’t deserve it,”

but then I remember neither do I,

And I remember that our own pain

tends to make us pretty blind.

Blind to those around us,

blind to the bias of our worldview.

And I’ve learned it’s really freeing

when you realize this life isn’t about you.

“Hurt people hurt people,”

that saying, I think a lot of.

And I think “what if one day,

it changes to “Loved people love.”

 Do not be surprised, brothers,[c] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. — 1 John 3:13-16

 

17 things from 2017

17 lessons I learned this year:

1. Real love is loving people without expecting anything in return.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers,i what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. — Matthew 5:43-48

2. Discipling others is the most joyful thing you can do with your life.

19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy. — 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

3. It is a good thing to have a gentle spirit.

4. Authenticity is always better than pretending.

5. People are hard to love. Love them anyways. Why? You are hard to love too.

6. Suffering enables you to comfort others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

7. It is more joyful to put other people first.

8. Hurt people hurt people.

9. You will never regret sharing the good news of Jesus.

10. Someone not loving you does not shatter your identity.

11. We still battle sin, but we are no longer enslaved to it.

12. Letters are handwritten happiness.

13. Comparison creates resentment; thankfulness creates rejoicing.

14. Good leaders are willing to serve.

15. True bravery doesn’t require recognition.

16. True kindness doesn’t beg for applause.

17. Love people the way they want to be loved; not just the way you would like to be loved.

with love,

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