I wrote a whole post last week about being in a new city but didn’t feel peace about posting it, I guess because it felt a little complain-y - and that’s not even a word but I’m writing it anyway. I don’t want to be a complainer and I especially don’t want to publicly complain on my blog. So I’m starting fresh here and trying to let God speak new words to my fragile heart.

I don’t feel much like myself right now, and that’s the honest truth. I feel chaotic – like I’m trying to live someone else’s life, fumbling around and lost. I wrote on Instagram last week that it’s been a comedy of errors and if I really feel like it I could focus a whole lot on the errors – like how I messed up the self-checkout at the store and just ran away from it instead of get help, like how parking in Honolulu is a bit like musical chairs where there is always one less spot than there are cars, like how Safeway doesn’t have the things I liked at Trader Joe’s (RIP Trader Joe’s) and it’s all twice as expensive. Oh, see, here I go again complaining.

I don’t know if you’ve ever moved across the country, but it’s pretty hard. On top of that I just got married two and a half weeks ago and am learning how to be a wife and live with someone else for the first time, so I just feel like there’s an abnormally-sized portion of new on my plate and if you took anything from my last post, you know that new is not my forte. I know I’m not the first person to get married and move all at once - I’m just an ordinary girl doing an ordinary thing - but I feel kind of like Bambi on the ice trying to walk. The minute I feel a little confident, I get a snowball to the face, usually in the form of being in the wrong lane and ending up five streets from where I wanted to be. I know these occurrences will come less and less over time and I just need to give myself some time (and grace) to learn. They say you need at least six months in a new place to feel like anything feels normal so since it’s only been two weeks, maybe I can calm down. It’s just the perfectionist in me rearing its head and wanting to know how to do everything and how to get everywhere right away and stop making mistakes.

One thing I’ve had to diligently remind myself over the last two weeks is the verse in Lamentations about God’s mercies being new every morning. It’s fitting that the verse is found in that book of the Bible because I find myself easily lamenting lately. But God says his mercies are new each day – fresh and full and mine for the taking. I drew the verse in my journal the second day we were here in Hawaii. When I start to think about the fact that I won’t see my family and friends and Nebraska until December, I get a little panicky. When I start to think about how lost I feel in this new city, the lamentations start to roll off my tongue. But instead of focus on that very far away December date, I remember this verse and look at this one day in front of me and know that his mercy and grace is sufficient for today and tomorrow’s portion will be sufficient for tomorrow until all those portions string together to get me through. And when everything about me screams, “I’m new here!” at least I know his mercies are new so that no matter how often I screw up, I can start again and again until this new little life here starts to feel normal.

Speaking of normal, I went to the gym yesterday. It didn’t feel like my gym and the kettlebells smell a bit like bandaids and it’s pretty small and hot in there, but working out felt normal for me and I need that bit of routine in my life. I told Aaron I did prayer sprints at the gym and he said he had never heard of that and that’s because I made them up! All you do is set the treadmill at 10 mph and for ten minutes you sprint 30 seconds and rest 30 seconds but during the 30 second sprint, you pick one thing to pray about – just one thing. And during those 30 seconds you mentally pray every single thing you can think about regarding that one person or circumstance. And you don’t really get to choose what you pray about, you just have to pray whatever comes to your head, so that could be really any person or situation on your heart. It’s kind of like mentally shouting things out, but God doesn’t care how you come to him, he just cares that you come.

A lot of my sprints yesterday resulted in prayers about my heart and attitude, but also family and friends and finding a job. I went to a conference back in February and Beth Moore said that we have ground we’re supposed to take through prayer – we have things in our lives that we are to pray about and you don’t want to miss the blessings that will come through your prayer about something – so take that ground! Intercede for others. Maybe that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there is one thing I know about prayer: it doesn’t change your circumstance immediately, but it can change your heart. So while I went to the gym yesterday with a bit of a bad attitude about the traffic situation on H1 west (like I actually texted Aaron, “How do people live here?”), I left with a new heart and better perspective.  And I remembered again that his mercies were new that day. Just like they are today.

Before I left Nebraska two weeks ago, my 5 year old niece asked me if I was scared to move to Hawaii. Children are so perceptive sometimes it’s a little frightening. I told her I was and she said, “Well, when I’m scared I just remember this verse, ‘Let the peace of Christ fill your heart.’” Ugh. I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING. How often God uses the small things to remind us of the truth and how often I’ve repeated that verse to myself over the last couple of weeks. Beth Moore also reminded us that we should be praying for supernatural things in our lives so I have prayed for supernatural peace that cannot be explained. And every time I start to feel a little scared or make another mistake or start to miss home, I remember Lux’s gentle reminder and her tiny voice reciting scripture.

The last two weeks I've found myself feeling a bit like the first half of these illustrations by Mari Andrew:

I trust that in a few more months, or by the end of our time here in Hawaii I’ll feel like the second half of each drawing. I won’t be making all the wrong turns and I’ll know the ins and outs of living here and I’ll find my favorites at Safeway like I did at Trader Joe’s. I know that new things just take time to get used to – that new rhythms and routines will come. And the thing is, every time I feel like Bambi on ice, I've got Aaron as my little Thumper, encouraging me and helping me see the fun in it all. He keeps the comedy in all my errors and straightens out my legs when I get wobbly.

So if you're feeling a little lost today - a little unsure or you feel like you keep making mistake after mistake, I guess I just want to remind you and me this morning with this short little post that his mercies are new every morning and when you’re feeling a little scared, "Let the peace of Christ fill your heart." He’s been faithful to show up each day.

Now I'm headed to Target. I think I'll have to prayer sprint the whole way. 


I'm not good at endings - ending jobs, ending a book I really liked, I didn't even like ending high school. I wish the good things just kept on and on. Maybe this is because new things are hard - new rhythms and routines and ways of being. It's the perfectionist in me that panics a little (a lot) over things that are new and unfamiliar and rather than see them as exciting, my initial gut reaction is to see them as a new way to feel stupid and lose my illusion of control. I'm sorry, it actually hurt to type that, but that's the honest truth. Maybe you know the feeling.

I say all this because I moved out of my apartment last week. I lived there, alone, for seven years, and I’m not trying to be overly weird about it but Aaron will testify that I cried many times (and many more when he wasn't around). I put it off until the very last minute and actually waited for him to start sorting my things because I didn’t even know how or where to begin. Remember the series finale of Friends where they all stood in the apartment and remembered the special things that happened there? I get it now. I stood in my apartment last week and as we took more boxes out I thought about the last seven years inside those four walls.

When it was finally empty, Aaron and I laid on the floor of the living room. “What’s your best memory in this apartment?” he asked. I started crying.

“It’s not that any really good things happened here,” I said. “It’s the person I became here.”

I was 25 when I moved into that little apartment. When I first walked in with my mom, I remember feeling disappointed. The carpets were dingy and gross from the previous tenant, the counter tops and cupboards all had a sticky layer of grime on them, and, unlike my last place, it didn't have a washer or dryer. It was also smaller – a definite downgrade, while other people my age were buying whole houses. On top of it all, I was so lonely without anyone to talk to or come home to at the end of the day. After living with my sister for two years and living at home prior to that, I was alone for the first time in my life. 

I quit my job shortly after moving in and that left me even more lonely and then also very broke. I struggled to pay my bills. I borrowed from my parents. I gave my own plasma to pay for groceries a couple of times. Even when I finally got a steady job, I was upset that it wasn’t my dream job.  I hated myself those first couple of years. I constantly wanted to go back to when I was 15 and start everything over from there. I fantasized about what life would be like if I could do that – if I could erase so much of who I was. I felt abandoned and forgotten by a God I said I loved and I railed against him. I didn’t see how my life would get any better than those four walls and my solo-living. Each year I signed a new lease, I felt despair and heartbreak. “Is this going to be forever?” was the only question my heart could ask as I signed my name, year after year, on a document tying me to that 653 square feet for what seemed like another stretch of eternity. 

It wasn't all awful obviously. There were good things in my life too. I don't want to paint a picture too bleak because I wasn't constantly sad. And, of course, the whole point of this is that over the years I learned to love that apartment. Management replaced the carpet and I learned the new rhythm of taking my laundry to my parent's house. Even though I had enough quiet alone time to make all the mothers of small children jealous, I learned to love that too. As we sorted through my stuff and put things in boxes, I told Aaron how important it all was because of the hard work it took me to get there. I told you – I was broke at one point. I had literally no spare change. So as I slowly started making my way back out of the pit, I would buy one “luxury” thing at a time - luxury meaning non-essential. I bought one bar stool at a time because it’s all I could afford. I had mismatched dishes until I was 30. I read a decorating book that changed the way I viewed that space – changed the way I made it my own and I was so thrilled when I completed my gallery wall because I thought it turned out so cute. Aaron said that when he walked into that apartment the first time it felt magical – homey and cozy - and that felt really sweet because I worked hard to make it that way.

I’m 32 now and I turned in my keys a few days ago. More than just the pictures hanging on them and the furniture between them, the walls of that apartment hold so much of me - of my sadness and joy and growing and learning. Of my journey in trusting the Lord - finally and completely. They hold the story of my walk through a lot of wilderness. Those walls are well acquainted with tears. They hold heartbreak and grief. But they also know a lot of laughter. They know love. I fell in love at that apartment over some Facebook messages with my favorite guy. They know prayers – SO MANY PRAYERS. They also know sleepless nights, late night phone calls, the smell of Kenra hairspray, and all the words to the movie, Ever After.

One thing I can say is that I am proud of the woman I am now. Seven years later and I don't even recognize the girl who moved in there. I grew up in that apartment. I feel like I became an adult in that apartment. I worked out my salvation in those four walls. I learned confidence and independence and how to do the hard and holy things of life. I became a woman who knows herself a little better - who knows the Lord a little better. I became a woman who can say that God has been faithful - even in the midst of my doubt and anger and frustration and insistence that he must not see, hear, know, or care. 

Last week as I vacuumed the floors one last time, I prayed for whoever might move into that space. I prayed that they might meet God inside those walls like I did – that they might learn and grow and become more of who God made them to be. And to whoever lives there next, the light bulbs in the ceiling fan in the bedroom slowly come unscrewed when the fan is on so you’ll have to twist them back in often. And you'll have to learn how to shake the key in the front lock so the door will open.  Also, the orange ladybugs. Oh my gosh, the ladybugs. Somehow they are always around even when maintenance sprays for them. It’s a great mystery. I see them nowhere else in my whole life except the window sills of that apartment and it is a wonder of the world as to where they are coming from but they are yours now. Godspeed.

We moved my stuff out of my apartment over the course of about three days and when I spent my first night back at my parent's house I was all of the known emotions at once. I laid in bed feeling homesick and I didn't know why. I told my sister as much and she texted me back, "You had your whole heart in that apartment." It's true. I did.

In an effort to find some peace, I opened my Bible with the old stick-your-finger-in-the-middle-and-open-it method. I landed on Isaiah, so I turned to my favorite chapter and in the quiet of this new temporary space, God spoke over me the words of 43: 18-19,

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

I'm sure someone theologically smarter than me will tell me I'm cherry-picking a verse to make myself feel better but I don't care. It reminded me to not look back because I'm not headed that way. Don't wish parts of your life away, don't dwell on what happened before, don't call to mind former things. Life isn't back there. It's all ahead of you.

I might not be good at endings and maybe you aren't either, but we are called to look forward, not back. I know He'll make rivers in the desert because I've seen him do it in that apartment. He made a roadway through the wilderness. So I'm clinging to that verse as I'm headed into new things - better things - ready to make memories in a new space. Hopefully one without orange ladybugs.

Calling all dads.

When my older sister started kindergarten, my dad decided he should go to college. He had been working as a carpenter since graduating high school, but knew he needed something more. He was 28 years old with three (soon to be four) tiny kids and a wife and bills to pay.  So, he packed his backpack with his books and got on his bike and peddled down to the University for his very first college classes. He sat there with a bunch of 18 year old freshmen, most of whom lived in the dorms or a fraternity and had no cares in the world about feeding babies or loving a wife or being a provider for anyone but themselves. My dad was a full time student and then after class he came home to drop off his books, grab his red lunchbox packed with leftovers, and head to his full time job making circuit breakers on an assembly line. Second shift at a factory owned the rest of his day. Sometimes we went to see him on his lunch break, and by that I mean my mom loaded us up in the station wagon, four kids under six all in our footie pajamas, and my dad came out to the car for 30 minutes - long enough for him to say hi and remind us that he loved us. When he got off work at midnight, he would come home and fall into bed, long after we were all asleep, and then get up the next day and do it all over again.


My childhood was not extravagant, but I don’t remember ever feeling like I was going without. We always had shoes on our feet and our teeth brushed and ponytails pulled back so tight it made our eyes squinty (per our request, I’m told). Those were lean years – my parents will tell you that now. But they would also tell you that this is nothing remarkable. It was hard. They were tired. But they knew it was the only way. "We did what we had to do," they would say. My dad knew that sacrifice was the only way to make life better for his own children.

This story about my dad is the story of a lot of dads. Not in the same way, of course, because each has their own road, but the underlying theme is that every single day dads are giving of themselves in order to provide for their families. Men everywhere are making sacrifices and doing hard and holy things for the sake of their little tribe at home. More than anything else, they keep showing up. And showing up is hard. Showing up is selfless and sometimes thankless and usually unnoticed until you stop doing it. Dads around the world are the silent, steady, guiding light that sometimes go unseen, or instead, are only called out for the things they don’t do instead of the things they do.

But dads, man. Their hands are dirty in the mess of parenting and loving and living with passion. Dads wake kids up in the morning and feed them breakfast and send them off to school. Dads change diapers and wake up in the middle of the night to grab the bottle or pat that baby’s bottom until she falls back asleep so mama can get an extra hour. Dads go to work and make hard decisions and feel the weight of being a provider, and while less common today than ever, sometimes the sole provider of the family. Dads aren’t idiot "babysitters" who mismatch the kids’ outfits and come within inches of lighting themselves and the house on fire while mom is gone. Dads build forts and put on superhero costumes and have fake sword fights. Dads play Barbies and dress up. Dads feel the gravity of knowing those little eyes are looking up to them every single day. Dads are the sanity and saving grace for mama – her safe place to land and the arms to fall back on. Dads aren’t Homer Simpson or Phil Dunphy or whatever other moron way they are portrayed in media. Dads are compassion and strength. They teach us honesty and integrity and respect. The maker of mac and cheese and the reader of bedtime stories. The rescuer of the pacifier from behind the couch. The helper of homework at the kitchen table. The giver of advice and listener to teenage (and grown up) drama. The one who takes off the training wheels and, in what seems like moments later, is teaching you to drive a car. Dads are equal parts nurturer and protector. They are partner and lover to one and friend to many. 

I was listening to the radio and they were talking about this study of millennial dads and they found that 9 out of 10 dads say they feel like they have to be perfect. In a society that's constantly changing its mind about what it means to be a man, they start feeling like they have to be equal parts William Wallace and Tim Gunn and Chip Gaines and Danny Tanner. We see a lot of articles about moms (or maybe I do because I’m friends with a lot of them) and they talk about how moms are done feeling like they have to be perfect, how they are going to be "real" and "authentic" about what motherhood is really like, about how messy their house is and how their kid had a screaming fit in Target. Moms are allowed to be messy, but dads? Do we give them the same courtesy? Dads put a lot of pressure on themselves and I wonder if we recognize that as much as we should. Hey, dads, this is your permission slip to stop feeling like you have to be all the things all the time. Aren't we all just a crazy wild mess trying to raise more little humans to not be a crazy wild mess? 

Maybe you hate everything I’ve said so far because you don’t even know your dad or you feel like he doesn't know you. Either daddy walked away or just never really showed up in the first place. Maybe you fall asleep at night wondering why you weren’t worth it for him to stay. Maybe he made an idiot decision that cost him everything. Maybe he really IS a moron who can’t be helped – I don’t know. I’m not saying he didn’t make bad decisions or leave a lot of casualties in the wake of his own selfishness. I have yet to meet a perfect dad, my dad and grandpas included. And hear me say this, if your dad is/was unsafe or unkind or uncaring in any way, I’m so sorry for that and I will always advocate for healthy boundaries with people - family or otherwise. Daddy wounds can cut deep and I don’t make light of that today.

But, if it’s possible, what if we start looking at our dads as simply people who did and are doing the best they can? What if you looked at your dad in the most generous light possible and for whatever he did or didn’t do for you, what if you let him off the hook? What if finally forgiving him is the best thing you can do today? What if it’s for your own sake and not for his at all? But what if you both benefit from that and it’s a chance to start fresh? 

So, to the men who are biological fathers and adoptive fathers and father figures, we celebrate you today. If your dad is amazing - everything I have described and more - celebrate him today. For the man that he is and the man that he is still becoming. If you don’t have your real daddy but you’ve got a man in your life who kept showing up for you – a teacher or a mentor or a stepdad – celebrate him today. If your dad has gone on to Heaven, celebrate him today. For the man in your life who has been your father in one way or another, send him a text or write him a card or call him this afternoon. Thank him. Encourage him. Pray for him. Love him extra hard today and try to let that spill over into the other days too. Dads work hard and play hard and love hard and for all the things we hear about dads who don't show up, I just think we need to keep encouraging and celebrating the dads who do. The ones who are examples to others. The ones who love their families so well. I know so many men who faithfully serve their families and they deserve our gratitude.

To my dad, thank you, today and always. For your sacrifices of time, energy, effort, love. And to dads everywhere, do not grow weary. This is our plea. We see you. We need you. We celebrate you and ask you to please keep showing up. The world is desperately hungry for more dads who keep showing up.