Poverty and Privilege

IMG_3597 9.45.11 PMToday, I got to go to a TEDx event with my boss, Caren Bright, where she was speaking. Every day working with her I learn something new. I feel myself growing in humility and empathy. I’m at awe of her strength and what the Lord is doing with her and Pamper Lake Highlands. 

Caren has experienced some horrific things I could never imagine. She is fourth generation poverty. She grew up on the system and her oldest son took his first steps in a homeless shelter. But her story isn’t one to invoke pity and sympathy or even anger at the way homelessness and poverty are treated in America. Continue reading

When I Try To Be God

madison_brick wall2_editOver and over in my life, I see moments of pain and failure than can be traced back to one grievous mistake:

I tried to take all control. I tried to be my own god.

One of the most recent moments is this summer. I was living at home in Greenville, TX, feeling directionless and lost. I wanted something to happen. I felt discouraged having turned down two jobs without really knowing why. I wasn’t getting anywhere and I didn’t have the finances to move somewhere on my own. So, I made an executive decision to move in with my friend in Little Rock. There was no real reason other than I had friends there, rent was cheap, and it wasn’t Greenville. Continue reading

Swimming in Secrets

IMG_1928When I was a kid, single digits, my biggest sin was lying. I loved it. It was a game for me. I wanted to see how cool of a lie I could come up with. My fake lives were more fun and adventurous than my real one.

And I would play with lying. I knew my parents could see through my deception so I came up with a plan. To this day I think it worked more often than it didn’t but who knows? Memory colors in favor of the reliver.

I started lying poorly about small things I didn’t care about. The hope was my family would think that is how I lied. That way, when there was something bigger I actually wanted to get away with, I could lie well and they wouldn’t catch on.

Continue reading

Jesus is My Champion

IMG_9717Remember in season four of Game of Thrones when Tyrion was on trial and he demanded trial by combat but no one would fight for him? Prince Oberyn (remember? The slutty pansexual sand prince?) ended up doing it for his own personal revenge but no one wanted to fight specifically for Tyrion. To save his life and clear his name. No one wanted to lose their life for him. No one thought him worth it. Not even his own brother.

Tyrion was facing death and he was alone because no one would be his champion.

Sometimes I realize I’m Tyrion. Imprisoned, facing death, sneered at and looked down upon, with no one to be my champion.

I think a lot of us can relate to this. Not on a crazy Game of Thrones level, of course, but we can feel alone. Like we have no champion. Continue reading

When Forgiveness Hurts

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetForgiveness is one of those weird acts that we all have to do every day but most of us don’t really know how to. And the lack of forgiveness tears down societies, relationships, and families. Unforgiveness is painful. It’s poison in the body of the hurt and ice in the life of the unforgiven. It spreads pain and fear and distrust.

M.L. Stedman said it like this, “I can forgive and forget… it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”

Just because you’ve been hurt doesn’t mean you have to live hurt. You can make the choice, daily, to forgive and free yourself, and others, from those chains.

Unfortunately, forgiveness can also be painful. Sometimes it hurts.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Continue reading

Playing the Christian Girl

Senior Portrait / Photo / Picture Idea - Girls - Theater / Drama“Playing a Role” is a constant theme in my life. I mean my first book was pretty much based around this idea that to live, you have to play the role society gave to you. Accept the role, play the game, and try to survive.

This idea is also bleeding into the funny memes on the internet (See photo to the below) and I talk about it all the time. Such as here in this recent blog post, “The Facade We Wear.”

We are all constantly trying to play a role given to us. The smart kid, the pretty one, the blonde one, the fitness king, the writer, the photographer, the mother, whatever it is. And to be real, to be vulnerable and true, it’s almost as if we have to fight against these roles. Continue reading

He Will Because I Can’t.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI’m not sure at what point in my life I gave myself some sort of unspoken challenge. To make myself great. To be successful. To live an exotic, adventurous life. To make my pain and failures into something good. Some sort of dust I can rise from.

I don’t know when I started being so hard on myself. When I found myself overwhelmed by the heavy responsibility on my shoulders.

I’m also not sure when I realized that I did that to myself. No one else gave me this false responsibility.

No one else expects perfection.

No one else judges every single aspect of success in my life.

No one else watches how much I can raise from the dust. Continue reading

Pride and Fear

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The other day I couldn’t sleep. And I usually have no problem sleeping.

It was the second night in a row I was up, riddled with anxiety and frustration. I was scared about what was next, I was sad for no reason, and I didn’t know how to handle all the self-deprecating, prideful, and anxious thoughts that were plaguing me.

I didn’t want to wake my mom so I called a good friend of mine I knew would be awake. She talked me through an anxiety attack for an hour before I laid down again at 2 am. I prayed and did rhythmic breathing before finally falling asleep around 3.

Continue reading

I Found Favor

IMG_9712Someone at some point gave the Bible chapters and sections and verses. While this is super helpful for Bible studies and memorizing verses and creating sections to focus on, it’s not how the original text was written. Therefore, it can occasionally hinder how we read, study, and understand the Bible.

I’m a writer and that, on top of doing BCC with YWAM, has kind of conditioned me to read the Bible in a literary way. Meaning, I try not to read the Bible as individual verses or chapters, but chunks of texts we now know of as books. For the bigger ones, it’s difficult because we don’t always have time to read all of Genesis in one sitting. But you can take the larger context into consideration and always look at what was before and what is after.

It can make the biggest difference in how you understand what you’re reading.

For example, this verse, which is the start of a new section of Genesis 6:9.

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

-Genesis 6:9

Continue reading

The Time in Between

photosI found this photo on Pinterest and I’m pretty sure the credit goes to these guys. It seems to perfectly encompass what I feel these days. The time in between.

Slow motion. Blurred. Still and alone.

There’s this weird period a lot of us go through where we’ve finished college or school or whatever it is but don’t have our next step lined up yet.

If we’re lucky, we get to live at home with good parents while we figure it out. Or maybe we have a significant other we move in with. If not, it gets a little harder.

We apply to jobs, ones we really want but don’t get, and ones we don’t want but need. We apply to entry-level positions and we reach out to any connection we might have. We scour LinkedIn and Indeed and job search sites. Continue reading