An Open Letter to College Senior Girls

Hi, sweet college senior,

I know that Thanksgiving is coming up and you’re probably all in your feelings because that means that half of your senior year is over. Isn’t it crazy? They say college flies by but you never believe them until you’re attending your last home college football game and you’re almost in tears thinking about how it just won’t be the same next year.

I also know you’re probably worried because the holidays are the time of year when you go home and your family is going to ask you how classes are. They’re going to ask you if you’re dating someone, if you’re having fun. They also might ask you the scariest question of all: what are your plans after graduation?

Just thinking about this conversation might give you a mini-meltdown. If you’re like me, I didn’t know what I was doing after graduation. I know how hard it is to meet your family’s expectations with uncertain answers.

But you know what else I know? Is that you’re going to do great. Let’s be honest. You still have half of a year left after this semester! I promise that you do not have to rush to find a job, or to get married, or to accept a position at grad school. I absolutely promise that you have plenty of time to decide what you’re going to do after you graduate. You’ll be proactive and get your resume finished, you’ll apply for that job, and your LinkedIn profile will be perfect.

What you should be worrying about right now is soaking in time in your sweet college town. On the Tuesday you should be studying, go to that bar with your friends for Taco Tuesday. Go to trivia night with your bestie. Sign up for that last women’s retreat the weekend before a paper is due. Your responsibilities and homework may be looming over your head, but the things you’ll remember are the memories you made with your friends during your last year.

So promise me this: find a balance between accomplishing your to-do list and going out of your way to be spontaneous with you college family. You’ll regret it later if you spend too much time in the library and not enough time with the people you won’t live in the same town with next year.

Soak up every bittersweet moment.
You’ve got this.
Love you more than my luggage,

ab.

 

 

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Loud Women for Jesus

My friend Abbey texted me the other day and said, “But seriously. Can we write a book together?” As a writer the thought of my name on a book is the BEST dream I can dream, so automatically I said, “YES! What are we going to write about?” And she said the most perfect thing in the world:

“Being loud women for Jesus.”

MY HEART. I know a lot of people struggle with wondering if they will ever measure up. Will I ever be enough? Will I ever earn the love of Jesus? Will I ever be the girl other people want to be friends with and guys want to date? Of course, the easy thing for me to do is look in your eyes and say: You are perfect. You were created perfectly and you are the best version of yourself because of your love for Jesus.

However, I know that in my heart the answer is not that simple. Nor is it that helpful! You see, I struggle with the same lie on the opposite end: Am I too much? Am I too rough around the edges? Am I too loud and obnoxious for a career in ministry?

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My friend and mentor, Sarah, reposted this picture on Instagram the other day: “what about this theory. the fear of not being enough. and the fear of being ‘too much.’ are exactly the same fear. the fear of being you. ”

We’re all suffering from the same problems, ladies. We’re suffering from a problem of not realizing just how great our substance is. There are societal pressures to be or feel a certain way and when we don’t add up, we wonder what we can change about ourselves.

And the worst part about it is that we automatically feel like we’re alone. This is where clear conversation and good girlfriends come in. Find you an Abbey. A woman who fiercely loves Jesus and others. A woman who laughs with you until you cry, brings you honey chicken biscuits, and knows the essence of your being a loud woman that loves Jesus.

Whether you feel like too much or never enough, I promise that there are girlfriends who have your back. I promise they feel the same way you do. And you know what? I promise that you are much more than the thoughts that are filling your head. Loud or soft-spoken, goofy or serious, you are perfect.

You are a woman that loves Jesus.
And that’s all that matters.

xo, anna.jpg

I Don’t Want to Compete Anymore

I was at a country line dancing bar the other night with some friends (10/10 would recommend), and by the time line dancing ended and club music started, people started flooding in.

My first instinct was to see the cute, blonde headed girls walk in and think, “I hate them because they’re skinny, they’re blonde, they know how to apply makeup, and on and on…” But why? Why did I actually hate them?

The answer is: I didn’t. Right after I thought that, I wanted to take it back. I bet one of those girls is worried about dancing like a fool in front of a crowd. I bet another is worried that her hair fell flat. Another maybe is thinking about how much more she weighs than her friend group. Then one more might be too caught up about being underdressed compared to her friends.

It hit me. All of these girls were probably thinking the same think I had thought that same night. I worried about my hair, my lack of makeup, the color of my boots, the fact that I’m not cute and tiny like my friends, and one of my favorite quotes came to mind:

I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.

And that was it. I wanted each girl to know how stinkin’ good she looked. How great she was getting down on the dance floor. How her hair fell over her shoulder like it would in a Pantene commercial. Why was I trying so hard to tear these girls down when I didn’t know them? I was wishing the worst for them, that they wouldn’t find the guy of their dreams or that they would spill a drink down their shirts. BUT WHY. Why can’t we all make it??

I am so tired of constantly comparing myself to other girls. I’m tired of comparing our weights, clothes, and Instagram profiles. And you know what? I’m even more tired of girls comparing themselves to me. I get, “your life is so together.” “You are so smart.” “Your house is always so clcompetingean, I could never do that.” WELL GIRL, I could never contour my face like you do yours so beautifully. I could never rock the heels you’re wearing. And I certainly never could wear a romper like you are slaying right now.

I think we’re all pretty damn great. I think God created each of us with a purpose to spread His love to others and I think that starts here. What if we started complimenting strangers when we see something great in them? What if we send that text of encouragement even if our envy is stinging?

I don’t want to compete with anyone. I want us all to make it in whatever our hearts dream. I want you to follow your dream and look good doing it! I want to support you in whatever way I can.

And I want to drop my friggin’ pride in the process.

Love you. Mean it.

xo, anna.jpg

Your Friends Won’t So Neither Should You

Yesterday was a pretty terrible day. I had to leave my break at home with my family early to work, my allergies and sinuses clogged my head so much I was in a fog, and I fell asleep the night before with wet hair to find a rat’s nest on my head I couldn’t fix. So I attempted to pull myself together to make the drive to Boone and get to work.

After work, I texted my friend Spencer to see if he wanted to get dinner and drinks. Thankfully, Spencer never turns down dinner and drinks. I so needed it after my five-hour shift at work was spent in a fog in my head and I couldn’t bend over without getting dizzy.

Dinner with a friend was exactly what I needed. Spence and I hung out, ate as many tacos as we could, and laughed. He’s been one of my friends since freshman year and it’s only right to me to spend as much time with him as I can towards the end of my time in Boone.

Then, in the middle of our dinner, we were talking about pictures and Instagram captions and I said something along the lines of, “have you even noticed my hair today?! It’s a mess. I look like a crazy woman. You should just leave me here to eat alone” (…or something like that).

Spencer, oh my heart, Spencer said, “Anna, I didn’t even notice your hair. I don’t look at you and think critical things.” And I melted. How many of your friends have said that about you? How many times do you sit with your group of friends and think about how great they look, how perfect their hair is, how many of their clothes you wish you had in your closet?

If you’re reading this and you’re a female, I know it’s a lot. And you’re sitting with your friends!! You should be surrounded by people who aren’t even thinking the critical things you point out about yourself. Even better, it most likely didn’t even cross their mind because they love you for you.

Friendships like these are the ones we’re supposed to hold on to. They’re the ones that transform our lives and hearts and minds. They’re the relationships that carry over into the way that we form and maintain communities.

Think about how many friends you have. Now, think about the friends you could never speak critically about because you love them so much. That’s friendship. That’s the kind of relationship that carries over into years that become decades no matter how much distance is between you or how often you see each other.

This is the kind of friendship that is going to change the world.

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Those Darn Quiet Times

If you’re a woman involved in some kind of ministry – campus ministry, small group, church committee, or more – you’ve probably heard about the importance of “quiet time.”

I remember joining a campus ministry my sophomore year and it was never enough to attend church on Sundays and campus ministry worship during the week. No, instead I had to get into the Word every day. I had to make sure that I stopped long enough during the day to spend some time with Jesus. It was even better if I stopped in the morning, but continued to pray all day.

Now, the way I’m writing this probably sounds like I’m frustrated with that teaching. It sounds like I’m aggravated that someone suggested that I spend time with my Lord, daily. Well, as I reflect over what I have typed…it does make me frustrated and aggravated. But not because of the encouragement to stop for a quiet time in my day.

Instead, what aggravates me is that we have a very strict view on what quiet times look like. I can’t tell you how many Christian women bloggers I follow on Twitter and Instagram. And, even though they’re encouraging and supporting, all of their quiet times look the same: coffee. Bible. journal.

Don’t get me wrong, every woman (and man) has the choice to do what they want, especially in their relationship with God. But, I think what we’re missing is that none of us communicate with God in the same way, but we’re going to suggest that our quiet times have to look a certain way? This blows my mind.

I’ve struggled for the past year because Bible and prayer journaling worked for me for about a year. And then it didn’t. I didn’t seem to be sitting still anymore, I didn’t want to do it intentionally, and I didn’t feel the connection between my “quiet time” and my soul. Then, I just stopped. I was tired of people telling me that I had to study a single book of the Bible at a time. I was tired of the old tried and true “SOAP” (scripture, observation, application, prayer) technique. I wanted something different, a new way to connect with God in my daily life.

This year, it’s really hit home to me that John Wesley, Methodist Movement founder and theologian, was so adamant about spiritual disciplines. He really believed that the best way for us to communicate with God is by doing activities that connect us with God. We can partake in Communion, study the scriptures with Lectio Devina, walk outside in nature, fast, participate in spiritual direction, and much much more.

Wesley has sparked in me a new passion to experience God in as many ways that I can, even if it’s a new spiritual discipline a month. I think there’s something special about taking time to walk outside and experience God’s hand in a way that we don’t normally. Barbara Brown Taylor says, “…I can set a little altar, in the world or in my heart. I can stop what I am doing long enough to see where I am, who I am there with, and how awesome the place is” (An Altar in the World).

Ladies, there is more to having a relationship with God than just journaling in your Bible every morning. Sometimes, we get burnt out on doing the same thing over and over again, somehow feeling like we’re getting more distant from the one we’re trying to know. The cry of my heart right now is that you would discover a new way to learn from the Lord. That you would realize that you can sit in centering/contemplative prayer for thirty minutes, you can practice Lectio Divina every day, or you can pray while you’re making a meal for your family and friends.

I think when we put God inside of our little “quiet time” box, we forget to experience Him throughout our days, we forget that He is a living God, moving and breathing with us. But, He is exactly that.

I pray that today you would be open to seeing God when the wind blows through your hair, when the snow falls outside of your favorite window, and when you take a chance to stop feeling like you’re not adequate enough when your “quiet time” doesn’t look like the women’s on social media.

You are known and you are loved. Go spend time with your Creator in a new way.

xo, anna.jpg

The Art of Host Gifts

This summer, I lived with a wonderful lady named Lee. She’s old enough to be my grandmother, and I count her dearly as one. She shared a lot with me this summer. A lot about dating, finances, stick shift cars, and friendships.

One thing that I miss most about Lee on days like today – a slow, lazy, warm day – is our conversations together. I miss her telling me about her sister’s big marriage announcement at a family dinner (it was a big deal), her time with her husband, and her journey through college.

I’m so blessed to have learned a lot from Lee. And one that I think is most important is the art of bringing hostess gifts. Whenever Lee and I were invited to a friends’ house for dinner, Lee would make sure to be intentional about grabbing a bottle of wine or whipping up “homemade” (yummy) brownies to share.

As a woman fascinated by the tradition of Southern Hospitality, you can bet that I didn’t just glaze over this act. Instead, I savored it. The act reminded me of writing thank you notes, but this one a little sweeter. Not only did you get to show your host how grateful you were for the invite and dinner, but you got to enjoy the gift together.

I remember, before I left for the summer, I asked my Granna to make Lee a pound cake. Not just any pound cake. No. A Five Flavor pound cake. The kind that Lee and her friends would bring home from the mountains and store in the freezer to save for the perfect day.

Now, my Granna’s pound cakes are no joke. They are the best things on this Earth. I intentionally asked her to create a pound cake that is out of her normal routine, and for some reason I was nervous about presenting it to Lee.

I remember making it kind of a big deal the day I finally got to bring it to Lee’s house. I was nervous and excited to share something so personal with her. It was her favorite flavors. It was my absolute favorite cake.

We had a special dinner that night, a going-away dinner, since I was leaving my internship that week. Not only did I get to share my love with my new friend Lee, but we got to dig into the sweetness of Five Flavor pound cake around a dinner table with some of my closest friends from the summer. I decided then and there that a simple host gift was the smallest, most satisfactory gift I can think of.

Actually, one of my resolutions this year is to remember the Art of Host Gifts. To take a few minutes out of my week to bring someone I love something they love? It’s the least I can do. It’s one of my goals to be present during the year of 2017 and stopping to think about what’s so special to other people is just perfect.

Sometimes, I think the tradition of bringing host gifts has been lost…we fail to recognize and really take the time to appreciate someone cleaning their home, cooking their food, and entertaining us. (Even if it is enjoyable for the whole party.) But then I think about wonderful people like Lee and her friends, and I am grateful that they are continuing to teach my generation about “things from the past.”

Find your host’s Five Flavor pound cake. Enjoy it with them.

xo, anna.jpg

Leaving the Glamour Behind

As of today, I have applied to Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, Texas. I have a visit scheduled for the 10th of January. And yet, I am sitting beside my Duke Divinity acceptance letter offering me a 75% merit scholarship. I’ve done a lot of work in the past few months. A lot of work trying to give things to God, taking them back from God, yelling out to God that I want to follow his lead, and dreaming without thinking about where the Lord could lead me.

Dallas sounds incredible. A new state that I could learn to love. A place to start over. A school where no one I know has gotten an education. A chance to dive into the women’s ministry group that I so desperately want to join. A time for growing and change and glamor. On the other hand, Duke is what I’ve been dreaming of for the last year. My granddad’s favorite team. The college that started in my hometown. Close to home, with familiar faces and new chances and opportunities.

For the past few weeks, I’ve completely dismissed Duke as the place that I’m supposed to be. It wasn’t glamorous enough for me, not enough of an adventure, and it is too close to home. My dream of attending Duke, after touring the Divinity school and feeling like I was at home, became second hand to a dream I have created of a place that I’ve never visited.

Here’s the problem, though: I have always been drawn to “glamorous” things. What I need is a good hit in the head with a book or something, because I’m sure that every single job and opportunity in life has some major downfalls. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” job or school or city. (Although in my eyes, Winston-Salem comes pretty close.) I wanted to be a writer for Southern Living or Garden & Gun so that I could travel all over the south, eat magnificent food, and stay in luxurious bed and breakfasts.

That was before I felt a call from God on my heart to pursue something different. Something so full of him that it could exceed anything I could dream of. John 10:10 says, “I came so that they could have life – indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (CEB). The Lord has promised me that He would give me the most incredible life I could imagine. Although, I have to remind myself that He didn’t promise me a life that I have dreamt about and designed myself. Instead, He has designed a life for me. One that surpasses all the expectations I have put on my own life and includes opportunities in the future for gifts I don’t even know right now that I possess.

For some reason, the past week and a half has been more calming to my heart and mind than the past six months. I have been fighting the sense that I’m supposed to attend Duke, but I know that the Lord is working there and going before me to prepare a way like He always does. I know that I have done nothing but pray, scream, and sing to Him asking Him to walk before me in my next steps. I have committed myself and my soul to the Lord. I have wiped my expectations from the next year and pleaded for God to help me to show up and make the next right step. Psalm 37:5,6 says, “Commit your way to the Lord! Trust him! He will act and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like high noon” (CEB).

I know that the Lord doesn’t want me to fulfill a glamorous life. That’s exactly the opposite of what I know in my heart I want. I want to be beside fellow Christians, breaking bread together and sipping from the same cup. I want to get my hands dirty in community gardens (work that I don’t actually enjoy in the moment), lead a room full of people in worship, and get to know the hearts and stories of an intergenerational community.

Today, I stand confident knowing that as I commit myself to the Lord, that He will shape my future. He will place opportunities, people, and places in my path that will allow me to walk alongside Him. God may not call me to what I think is “glamorous” work. But as long as I continue to love my God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself, I’ll learn that glamorous jobs aren’t the right ones anyways.

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My Plain Tree

Three days ago, my mother and I tore up our house in order to find my little 4′ Walmart pre-lit Christmas tree. This search came after a comment from my roommate about wanting to decorate for Christmas. I’ve never really decorated my apartment for Christmas because I wasn’t there much during the holiday season and it seemed like a waste since my roommate leaves the first week of December and doesn’t get back until the first week of January.

But I couldn’t shake the thought from my head that a Christmas tree in my (favorite) college apartment would be nice. Plus, I’ll be in my college town for my
Christmas break while working and it might be nice to celebrate the holiday season, even by myself.

So, back to the rampage that was finding my Christmas tree. It wasn’t hard to find the tree itself. You know, these things live in very “tree-like” boxes. It was the ornaments that were a pain to find. We searched up and down, up and down, storage closet after storage closet, and even opened the “fall” and “Easter” boxes in order to track down these ornaments. My mom and I were frustrated and left clueless as to where these things could be! “Anna’s Christmas ornaments” we just know is how the box is labeled. Wherever that box may be.

With a two-hour drive hanging over us to get back to my apartment, we decided to leave the ornament finding behind. Besides, Christmas ornaments are everywhere this time of year (hello, consumerism). I got back to my apartment, Christmas tree in hand and ornaments left behind. I had decided to put up the tree Monday and go to Walmart to buy Christmas ornaments yesterday. However, the simplicity of my illuminating tree has kept me from going.

If you’re Christian, you probably recognize that we’re in a season of Advent: preparing for Christ’s birth. It’s trendy now to participate in Advent studies, and you better believe that I’m not going to be left out of that one. So, I have started my Sacred Holidays “He Is: The Attributes of God” study.

The very first day, Sunday, CEO + founder Becky Kiser wrote about God as light. We light five advent candles during the season (one each week) to remind us that God is light. John 1:4-5, 9 says:

“through the Word was life and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness and darkness does not extinguish the light. The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world.” (CEB)

We walk through so many dark times. Dark because we are sad or angry or frustrated. Dark because we cannot see where we are going or how we are getting there. Dark because we feel lonely or afraid. Our lives, really, could be filled with more darkness than anything if we thought about it.

christmasHowever, that’s not our life. Our lives include the light of Christ because he has come for us! He is the light of the world, illuminating things that we can’t see, sparking interest in things we think consume us. But this darkness in our lives doesn’t consume us. Christ steps in and helps to guide us on our way.

Becky writes, “My friend, God is light and His coming, which we celebrate at Christmas, brings light to us! As we learn about who He is each day, your world will brighten.”

I’ve been looking at my non-decorated Christmas tree, and you know what it reminds me of? The simplicity of light. The literal light in my dark living room in the morning. A physical reminder that even in the midst of the darkest time, light still shines through.

I decided to keep my little tree bare, leaving only the lights on it, shining through the whole Advent season, as a reminder for me to keep my Christmas simple and full of anticipation of my coming Light, the One who came to save us all.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

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Why are you so crazy about Advent, Anna?

Today is November 15. And you know what’s on my mind?

WHY THE HECK IS EVERYONE ALREADY PUTTING UP THEIR CHRISTMAS TREES?? Okay, so they’re putting up their Christmas trees. That part I really don’t care about. What I do mind is each person sharing their excitement of the Christmas season on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas (wow what a cliche statement, Anna). But it’s true. I work in retail and our Christmas aisles exploded even before Halloween had passed. We live in a society that puts Christmas music on before even Thanksgiving week (I’m looking at you, 99.5 WMAG) and encourages those Christmas present deals before Thanksgiving so that you can relax between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But do we relax? Heck no! There’s skinny jeans to mourn over (because none of us are fitting into those any time soon), there are presents to wrap (since we decided to buy them all before the holidays started), and oh crap! We forgot to get mom the perfect present so we actually aren’t done shopping at all.

I’ve grown up in a Christian household and we very much participate in the Christmas tree-putting up, the cookies and milk for Santa, and the exchanging of fun Christmas presents. However, as I’ve matured and grown in my faith with Christ, I notice that on both Thanksgiving and Christmas days, I have missed the whole reason for the celebrations.

Consistently, on Thanksgiving, I’m too concerned about what is going to be for lunch, where my brother and I are traveling, and (quite frankly) what I’m going to be wearing for family pictures. By the end of the day, I’m scrolling on Instagram noticing how thankful everyone is for whatever is in the picture that is posted, but I haven’t actually told anyone I came into contact with just how grateful I am for them.

Likewise, on Christmas, I get to my Christmas Eve service at my church (if I get the pleasure of attending one outside of my oh so busy Christmas schedule) and burst into tears, weeping at who Jesus is and why God has sent His Son. It really is a beautiful story that God turn Mary and Joseph – ordinary people – into extraordinary parents that play a vital role in Christianity. I weep. (I also pray that I never become so insensitive that I never stop weeping when I hear the story.)

But I missed the whole preparation of my heart. I missed the fact that we get to celebrate this holiday because at one time, our Savior was born. Therefore, I’ve made it my personal goal to study during the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas (and Lent in 15032317_10211140825223447_7247223496859585662_npreparation for Easter). I stumbled upon Sacred Holidays about a year ago and I have fallen in love with the idea of sitting still and taking the chaos out of our holiday-filled days (for at least 10 minutes).

This year, I’ve been blessed to work with the Advent launch team of Sacred Holidays. A group of women nation-wide have been praying for each other and for those that desire quiet and calm in the midst of Christmas. We pray for the Lord’s presence in each of our lives as we work towards finding a balance between the hustle and bustle and remembering why this holiday is so important of our faith.

The theme this year, “He Is: The Attributes of God,” comes in four different books: family, teen girls, women, and men. Becky and her fellow contributors have worked diligently with caring spirits to design this year’s studies so that we can dive into who God is and just how He can work in each of our lives.

Fortunately for you: you’re a friend of mine! (Ha, more lucky for me than you.) But, for this season, that means that if you’re at all interested in joining the Sacred Holidays community, you get a 10% discount!!! Type FRIENDSGET10 at check out when you purchase your Sacred Holidays studies. This code expires at 10pm CST on Nov 17 (this Thursday), so be sure to snatch it up soon! I know that you will be as blessed as I have. Take time for you and the Lord this Christmas. Y’all deserve it!

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For more information, feel free to visit the Sacred Holidays websiteSacred Holidays Instagram, and search for #sacredholidays #advent on any social media you’d like!

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Do I Ever Show Up with Purpose?

I’m in the middle of my senior year. Which usually makes things that much more exciting. However, I find myself questioning on a daily basis: what is my purpose? You see, I don’t attend a campus ministry. I’m not in town often enough to attend a church regularly. I organize a reunion group on Thursday nights (that still haven’t been consistent because of weekend traveling).

I’m also in the middle of a time when I’m supposed to be discerning my call – well, really articulating it – but I don’t find myself “showing up” (Glennon Doyle Melton’s term) to do hard things. Actually, I don’t even feel like I’m showing up to anything spiritual. I’m reading Shauna Niequist’s Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, and even her little day-to-day questions to help you savor your relationship with God remind me that I’m really not doing anything right now.

I work about twenty hours a week, take four classes at school, participate in our group once a week, and the rest of the time I want to stay cuddled up in my new apartment. What does this say about me? About who I am?

I’m studying Ecclesiastes on my own currently. I figured it would be a good book to explore considering the only key concept I could tell you about Ecclesiastes before was “that everything has its season.” Honestly, I was hoping to start this book and find some comfort in it. However, the beginning of Ecclesiastes is about King Solomon pursuing all that his heart desired. He chased everything that material wealth could afford him.

In the same way, I’m chasing what things I can get my hands on: I’ve always worked enough – too much – in order to have “enough” money. (Money for what? I’m not sure yet considering all things I spend it on.) I’ve always strived to have A’s in classes, putting social obligations on hold so that I could be sure to get my homework done so that I can one day be in a job climbing a professional ladder. I also dropped theological responsibilities that didn’t serve me instant gratifications (I didn’t feel that I was making friends or being plugged in. I only have this year left of college so, hey, why attach myself to something else?)

King Solomon writes, “But when I surveyed all that my hands has done, and what I had worked so hard to achieve, I realized that it was pointless – a chasing after the wind” (Ecc 2:11, CEB). Solomon suddenly gained perspective that the only thing important was the wisdom from studying and living a life that God has called him to live.

Likewise, I continue to question my happiness and purpose and fulfillment except when I’m with the girls on Thursday night, living in community and studying the Word of God. When I sit and soak in the Word and the presence of the Lord, a light is shed on my life. It’s easier to see what God has called me to do and who I am called to be. As I realize this, I pray that my epiphany carries into my work self and my school self. I pray that I am someone fighting for love, community, and equality in everything I do. I pray that I am kind and honest and loyal.

I fall short so often. I feel like most days I don’t live up to any of these hopes or dreams. But until the end of this semester, I will hold on to the time spent on Thursday nights and conversations I get to have with some of my favorite friends and mentors.

Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “I saw that wisdom is more beneficial than folly, as light is more beneficial than darkness.” As we begin to get deeper in our relationships with Christ, we continue to bask in the Light himself. Light shows us the way to “show up,” to love hard, and to put in work. Light also shows us what’s important in life and where exactly we are the best individuals we can possibly be. However, finding Light for us also means taking more than two hours out of our busy weeks to spend time searching. And then, somehow that seems magical, the Light meets us exactly where we’ve been in our darkness.

xo, anna.jpg