New Wine

This morning when I woke up, I had a song already stuck in my head. Does that ever happen to you?

Anyways, when I got in the car, I decided to play the song so that I could hopefully get it out of my head for a little while. The song is called New Wine by Hillsong Worship.

I have to be honest, the first time I heard this song, I was skeptical because the lyrics caught me off guard. I haven’t really given a second thought to them until this morning.

“In the crushing, in the pressing, You are making new wine.”

I had this moment of realization that the new wine is the product of a season of pain and hurt. For me, it was last school year.

My second full year as a classroom teacher was infinitely harder than my first year. I’ve had conversations with veteran teachers who said that they had similar experiences in their early career. There was so much going on in my personal life. I was struggling with intense anxiety almost daily and it was bleeding over into my work life. I had lost the passion and vigor for my job, which was increasingly frustrating because I knew that I was doing what I was supposed to where I was supposed to do it.

For me, that was a season of crushing. Of pressing.

And for a while, I didn’t understand the purpose of walking through that season. I was thinking about all of that this morning while listening to that song, and I began asking God why.

He brought Matthew 9: 17 to the front of my mind: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

You see, seasons of growth aren’t comfortable. But in order to keep moving forward in what we are called to do (whatever that may look like), we have to have new wineskins to hold the new wine that God is making within us. If we don’t make new wineskins (in this analogy, it would be repairing the parts within us that are broken), the new wine (or new seasons and blessings) will burst the wineskins ( or cause a new brokenness).

I’m praying that in the crushing, in the pressing, God is stirring something within your soul. If you are in the midst of this season, I pray that you hold strong to the promise that God always brings us back to wholeness if we let him.

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds.” Hosea 6:1

I leave you with the chorus of the song:
“So make me Your vessel
Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be
I came here with nothing
But all You have given me
Jesus, bring new wine out of me”

My prayer is that in the coming seasons, you allow the crushing, the pressing to push you forward into new beginnings.




Our Father

Not too long ago, we sang a song in church called Our Father. It’s an amazing song, so if you don’t know it, I suggest you listen to it.

Anyways, we were singing this song in church and we got to the second bridge of the song which says:

Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the power
Yours is the glory forever, amen

So we are singing it over and over again and I felt like God began asking me this question:

Do you believe what you are singing?

Do I believe that the Kingdom of my life really is The Lord’s?

Do I actually believe that the power is His?

And do I really want the glory to be God’s?


Things have been really tough for the people in my life lately. I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that the people I love can’t catch a break. I’ve had friends pass, friends lose a loved one due to politics or unavoidable circumstances. I’ve seen the people in my life fighting battles and walking through valleys that are almost unspeakably difficult.

I have seen these things, and I just have to be honest; my heart has done nothing but hurt for those around me. I have spent the better part of the last week or so in tears, grieving with my friends and the people I love while they deal with life.

A thought entered my mind. If we really believed that He was sovereign in our lives, shouldn’t we have the peace to endure every circumstance, knowing that He is going to provide?

Even when we don’t understand, do we have the faith to trust that God is in control?

Do we really know what we’re asking for when we tell God that we want him to have the power? Giving power to Jesus is giving full CONTROL to Him. Complete and total control.

All the control freaks in the building raise your hand. *raises both hands*

I don’t like giving control up to people. So why do I sing that I want God to have control if I don’t actually want Him to?

Do we ACTUALLY know what it looks like to give God free reign on our lives? God being in complete control usually looks and feels like us being completely out of control over the details and happenings of our life. Are we comfortable with that? For me, to be real, it’s not comfortable at all. After dealing with grief in many forms over the last week, it has caused me to reevaluate whether or not I am ready to have God be in control.

Singing “Yours is the power” is much easier than actually walking it out. I wish that I understood why these things happen (almost always to good people), but I just don’t.

I wish that I could fix the issues that my friends have. But for today, even though I don’t understand, I’m trusting that God knows what He’s doing.


Beautiful World

I think often about how what we go through in life affects who we are.

And while I think it’s true that we can “rise above” most circumstances, those circumstances almost always leave a mark on us, for better or for worse.

The human race consists of thousands of cultures and people groups. Diversity teems from pretty much every corner of the earth. It doesn’t take much to see the things that make us different from the people around us, or what makes them different from us. Some people use this as a platform for hate, while others use it to learn. And while we can easily spot the difference, can we see the common item? We are all people. Big. Small. We are all humans with flaws and personalities.

We, the human race, are a sum of the damages that we’ve ensued and the victories that we’ve won. I think that is the most boiled-down version that I can get of who we are as individuals. Every person has a different combination of hurts and triumphs, and yet, we are all still people.

I think that’s one of the hardest things to comprehend about some of the people in the world. They act as if there is something that somehow sets them above another person/group of people. But the only thing that separates us from one person or one group is what we have grown through in our lives. You see, we are all different, but we all get to go bravely on the adventure called life.

I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to sit down and write about this today. Probably because I see the people around me go through various trials and new seasons and I get to witness them struggle and grow and truly rise above their struggle. I love that we as humans get to live life. That we get to discover ourselves and discover new things that we’ve never experienced before. Today I feel thankful for the struggle, for without the struggle we don’t see the true beauty of victory.

Happy Thursday!

Future Looks Good

I’ll always be thankful. I truthfully will.


When I talk about the things I’ve gone through in my life, which to be fair is a considerable amount less than those around me, I re-live those things over for a short second. But the thing is, no matter the pain, or the trial, or the battle I always learned something at the end. I’m thankful for the trials.

And that is why I’m thankful. Without these experiences, I would have stayed a less-complete, less evolved version of myself. I’m thankful for the change.

I now know so much more about life and about love and about everything in between. Things I wouldn’t have known without going through the fire. I’m thankful for new knowledge.

I could list off all of the things I’ve learned and all the things I’ve experienced. That’s a different post for a different day. All you need to know is that I’ll always be thankful for where I’ve been because it paved the path for where I’m going.

Life forced me to grow into who I need to be to conquer the future. Growth is painful. But so is staying the same. If you allow yourself to grow, it may hurt but at least you are moving towards something greater. I’m thankful for growth.

And I’m going far. That’s something I would have doubted a few years ago, but the people in my life constantly reminded me that they know talent when they see it and that I should always keep going. I was like a scared baby bird standing on the edge, too fearful of the fall to experience the freedom of flying.

The people in my life, whether they’re aware or not, have been the forceful, but necessary, push out of the nest and into new things. They’ve never accepted mediocrity from me. For that, I’m thankful. I was never going to be ready to do new things being who I used to be. I was timid, afraid.

But here I am, with a new song of freedom in my heart and a new-found confidence in the wings on my back. Standing at the edge of the nest. I am ready to fly. I let go. I am brave.


I have a confession. I was listening to Justin Bieber today.

Yeah, yeah. I know. But just hear me out!

I was sitting at home by myself and I really just felt like I needed to spend some time doing something to better myself. I decided to spend some time drawing, which is something I have put to the wayside since starting my job in  January. JB has this new song called Purpose off his newest album (also called Purpose). Well, I decided to put on some music while I drew and that was what came on.

It took me a little off guard simply because it’s not his usual musical style.

So I’m sitting there listening to the song and hearing the lyrics and I totally had a moment. While listening to Justin Bieber. Judge me.

I’ve had a hard time lately with my sense of purpose in my life. When you lose your sense of purpose, all directions seem like the same way and no way feels completely right. Every task, including ones you normally love feel like a taxing burden. Losing your purpose is like a boat losing its anchor when it needs it the most. Though I wasn’t physically wandering, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically I’ve been meandering like a stray dog looking for it’s next meal.

And that’s really what it felt like. Wandering. No place felt like home. Not work, not church, not my physical home. It was hard to enjoy much of anything because there was this one little thing holding me back: fear.

Fear that I would never rediscover my purpose or the joy found therein. Fear that finding that purpose would require a lot of me (if this is you, you’re really not alone, I promise). Fear of being stuck. Fear of myself and my thoughts. Fear of being alone.

Not having a purpose brought on all of those feelings (and more) during a time when, shockingly enough, I needed to be grounded in who I am.

So go back to the moment I’m having on the floor at my house listening to Justin Bieber. These are the words that brought the much needed peace and comfort to my weary being:

I put my all into your hands
Here’s my soul to keep
I let you in with all that I can
You’re not hard to reach
And you bless me with the best gift
That I’ve ever known
You give me purpose
And with those simple words, I remembered that I have a purpose. That’s all the reassurance I need.

What’s My Age Again?

The popular song goes as follows: “No one likes you when you’re 23.”

Unfortunately, with my 23rd year coming to a close, I can say with absolute certainty that this is indeed true.

Although 23 has had its highest peaks and lowest valleys, the one thing that can be said is that I have learned an infinite amount of information about life, about me, and about the people I interact with on a daily basis.

The one thing that I feel I have learned that is of the most importance is to listen to your gut instinct. For those who are religious, it is often the small whisperings of a higher power guiding you. For those who aren’t, your inner self has more intuition than we generally give credit to.

Our gut instinct can tell us a lot about the people around us. But it can also tell us about ourselves.

Imagine it like this: your heart is a cage of sorts. And inside every person’s cage lies a manifestation of the things we have locked away from the outside world. This inner self that can be one of several things:

Some people have an inner child that’s been locked away in an attempt to appear more grown up. The door of the heart-cage has been shut hard and a padlock put on the door to not let the child out. This is the person that has been told one too many times to “grow up” or to  stop being “so stupid.” While there is always room to grow and mature, there is also a desperate need in the world for the people who have an internal child-like attitude. Children, while silly and mischievous, feel, and feel deeply. In the cruel and relentless world we live in filled with hatred for entire people groups or people different than ourselves, selfish ambition, contention, and an all around lack of consideration for people and their circumstances, I think we can all agree that a little bit of child-like compassion and understanding could do the world some good.

Some people have an inner bird, who longs to get out and spread their wings. You may feel like you’re stuck in the hometown, relationship, or circumstance that you’re currently in. There is a part of you that nearly explodes at the thought of leaving everything behind and going on a great adventure with no thought of the past. That bird is calling, begging to be let out of the cage.

Some people have a monster in their cage. Some of the monster-bearers have the monster shut firmly in the cage with the curtains drawn and a sign that reads “Keep moving. Nothing to see here, people” in order to give off the perception of there not being any skeletons in the closet or demons to hide. Others choose to keep the cage shut but the monster visible to remind everyone (including themselves) that the monster is there and still a danger. The most dangerous person opens the cage from time to time (or permanently) to let the monster out and wreak havoc. The truth is, everyone has something resembling this, but the difference is who is honest about it and who isn’t. Everyone has a past and everyone is hiding something about themselves. You just have to decipher which monsters are worth taming and which ones you’re going to let grow in the dark corners of your heart. A word of caution: unless you tame the beast, the monster will always find it’s way back to the surface. After all, out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Remember that.

Some people have locked away the most intimate parts of their heart inside the cage, to protect from the damage that they see or have experienced before. The truth is, putting your entire heart in a cage can be just as damaging as letting it run wild for any person to take shots at. Life will be one-dimensional and cold if you never give from the heart. That requires that you unlock the door and let your timid heart out to give and take and feel the wonders, and hurts, of this life. Don’t let yourself be convinced that a safe life is equal to a good one.

You may not identify with any of the types above. And that’s okay. There’s no way to identify what each person may have locked away on the inside.

For the person with the child locked away: open the cage, let the child-like  passion and fervor for life come out. The world needs you.

For the person with the bird: don’t be afraid to let yourself fly. I think you’ll be surprised at how your wings, though atrophied, carry the weight of your dreams just fine. Go. Fly. Be adventurous.

For the person with the monster: tame it. It can’t do any good when it runs wild. The monster may be a past hurt or situation. You can’t get rid of  the things of your past, and you shouldn’t want to! They make you into who you are today. But if you don’t have control over those things, they will run your life, your job, your relationships. Open the cage door and show the monster who’s in charge.

For the person who has their cage inside a cage: hurt is inevitable. It’s part of life and unfortunately it’s unavoidable. You have options though. You can keep your heart double-locked away and never experience the warmth and affection of human interaction and relationship. You can unlock the cage and let your heart come out. It’s gonna get hurt at some point. But isn’t it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? (Thanks, Tennyson).

Anyways, it’s Christmas time. Do a little soul searching and do the things you’ve been scared of doing. And enjoy the season with a little more freedom than you had before.

Be free.

Ordinary People

**Let me preface this post with saying that I’m normally not this dark, but sometimes life is dark. And I don’t think you should ignore those times. So this is me being real about the place that we sometimes find ourselves.**

I don’t exactly know where I’m at. I guess it’s a place between brokenness and wholeness, joy and sadness, piece of mind and anxiety of the heart.

I wish I could say that this is the post at the end of the struggle. The one telling you that it does, in fact, get better. I really wish it was.

But I think there are enough posts out there like that. This post is for the people like me who are still in the middle of their struggle, hoping, in vain, for the lesson to be over and the next season to come.

I wish this was the post that tells you that it will be okay in the end and that the impossible can happen. But this post is to remind you that sometimes, impossible just seems impossible. And that’s okay.

I wish this was the post that tells you that I know from personal experience that time really does heal all wounds. But this post is for those of us who haven’t reached “that time” yet. This post is to remind you that heartbreak, of all shapes and sizes, still hurts and that it’s okay to not be over it just yet.

I wish this was the post of sugary positivity, the kind that makes you envious of the perfect bloggers out there who share their story with a happy ending. But this post is for the people who haven’t reached their perfect conclusion for the story (or nightmare) they’re currently in.

I wish this was the post that gives all sorts of wonderful scripture to remind you that Jesus is still in control and that He works things out for our good. Which He does. But this post is for those of us who are currently trying to reconcile our faith and our feelings, which sometimes don’t always go hand-in-hand.

I wish this was the post that had a lifetime of advice. But this is the post for people who don’t have the answers.

There are a lot of things I wish for. But I’m in between the valley and the mountain; the dead space between seasons and lessons. And for once, I wish someone would look at me and instead of trying to feed me remedies to my situation, will just listen and tell me that it’s okay to not have it together. I want someone to allow me to sit in my brokenness for a minute without wanting to fix or mend me.

Because life is not always about rainbows and puppy dogs. Sure, there’s a lot to be thankful for in life. But this isn’t the post for the people in a place of thanks. This is the post for those in a place of questioning. Questioning life. Questioning love. Questioning faith. Questioning friendships. Questioning everything. A place where nothing is certain.

I hope this post finds those who are where I’m at. Who knows, I may be alone. That frankly wouldn’t surprise me. Even if I am, this compulsion inside of me to be REAL with my struggle consumes me.

So this post is for those in a (hopefully) temporary and painful place of uncertainty and confusion, of heartbreak and betrayal, of bitterness and numbness. You aren’t alone. Your pain is real.

And it’s okay to not be okay.

I Promise I Always Will

I’ve come to learn that life is all about choice. While we don’t always get to choose what happens to us, we do always get to choose how we deal with it.

Choice. What a powerful thing.

When it gets down to it, there isn’t much in life that isn’t about choice. When you work, you have a choice to be a faithful, hardworking employee. You can also choose to be the employee who refuses to work well and abuses freedoms and privileges. School is hard. But you have the choice to try your absolute hardest or the choice to give up on trying. Love. Love is about choice, too. You have to choose to continually love someone or something or else the love dissipates into a shell of its former self.

You always have a choice to make. Your everyday is filled with choices and small choices now lead to bigger results down the road.

I have a mentor friend of mine who once explained choices like this: imagine that you are shooting a gun. If you are millimeters off of center at the gun, the bullet will end up inches away from center on the target. It’s called trajectory. The smallest change of choice can provide the biggest change of direction.

Take the picture below, for instance. All of the lines START at the same place. But they don’t all end there. So it is with life and the choices we make.


As the universal paradox goes: You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. You have to deal with the results of the choices you make in this life.

Choose joy, even in the midst of the trials. Choose honesty. Choose progression. Choose Christ-likeness. Choose happiness. Choose people. Choose yourself. Choose healing. Choose worship. Choose to smile. Choose to cry. Choose holiness. Choose freedom from religiosity. Choose what you need to choose to have a life filled with Jesus and Jesus alone, for in His presence is freedom and fullness of joy.

What choices do you need to make? Don’t be afraid of the difficult choices, for they almost always produce a heavy harvest. Don’t run from it because sooner or later you will have to decide. At some point, you will have to make the hard decision you’ve been avoiding. Choose now or later, but if you choose later, choose knowing that it will almost always come at a greater cost than dealing with something now.

For those in the aftermath of a decision: it gets better. Or so I’ve been told. I’ll let you know when I get on the other side.

What will you choose in this life? Trust God. Make a choice.


I was sitting in traffic yesterday when the car in front of me stopped at a green light.


At a green light.

In frustration, I found myself muttering under my breath. As I moved my hand to my horn to publicly vocalize that frustration, I stopped. I stopped because the man driving the van in front of me opened his door and ran across three lanes of traffic at a very busy intersection.

I watched intently as he ran to a car that had broken down and helped push that car into a parking lot. My frustrations of missing the green light instantly vanished as I watched this good Samaritan do his good deed. I began to feel a little ashamed of the fact that I had gotten so caught up in my own day, in my own life, to not notice the car in the first place and to let missing a traffic light put a damper on my day.

Today has been a rough day. Little mistakes have turned into big ones and have really complicated some things for me. I have found myself being wrapped up in my own world again.


Seeing someone like that man at the light yesterday who obviously has more character in his little pinky than most people have in their entire body has caused me to stop and think… Do I have that selflessness that that man who helped push that vehicle has? Can I forget about my issues and problems long enough to ask someone how their day is and actually care? Can I do something nice for someone just because, with no expectation of a thank you or a praise? And when, oh when did I become so selfish?


I think it’s time to practice getting outside of my own head. Let’s see how this goes…


And So It Begins

Well, the internship program I’m running is officially under way. If you aren’t sure what the internship program does, we help the district Assemblies of God summer youth camps run. It’s a lot of work and also super fun. I’ve done it the last two years, but this year, I’m the resident director.

One of the things I’ve been stressing to my interns is the importance of expectation. I had expectation the last two years and God really blew me away with his goodness.

This year, I’m overwhelmingly excited for camp, but I’m still trying to figure out what I’m expecting from Jesus this time around.

This morning before church, I read two different statuses and blogs about the importance of obedience. If you’ve been following Jesus for any length of time, you know how difficult obedience can be. If God asks you to do something, being obedient isn’t always easy. I wish I could say that it is. But it’s not. Especially when He asks you to do something difficult or requires a sacrifice of some sort. Which is almost always.

God has asked me to be obedient recently… But my flesh is weak. I’m not very good at the whole self control thing.

So I get to church this morning, reflecting on what it is that I’m expecting from God for the next four weeks, and He gently reminded me (by gently, I mean with many tears), that a good place to start would be to walk in obedience.

I’m not perfect. I could never ever ever claim to be. I’ve got a long way to go. Starting with offering my life as a living sacrifice is where I should start. Laying down my life, my plans, my wants, and my needs is where I need to start. Emptying myself of myself so that God can work is where I need to be.

Living sacrifice. I’m not where I need to be. But I’m trying.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2 NLT)