Love Freely



To Remember Today..

Notes to myself that seem relevant to how I’m feeling today. Likely to change from post to post!


There are a lot of days that I just really feel lost, and like I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never really felt like I fit in, but there are times that I’m so sure that I was meant for a different generation or a different world that it’s painful to stay here where I am.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my life. I’m confident that God has a purpose for me and that His will is greater than mine, but it’s hard to walk in faith sometimes. When you don’t see anything positive occurring, and it feels like the entire world is blowing up, it’s hard to stay focused on following the will of someone you’ve never even seen with your own two eyes.

But that’s faith, I guess.

I look up at the sky and look at all of the different ecosystems and biospheres that exist, and I’m amazed at how someone could believe that all of these things were created by an accident. That seems more magical and mystical to me than believing that someone knowingly and lovingly created the world we live in – placed exactly where it needed to be for survival, with everything necessary to sustain us in a way that is (mostly) renewable within itself. To think of the intricacies of the human anatomy and physiology, how everything is in sync (or should be). It’s crazy to me to think that could have occurred by accident. In nature, everything that has not been touched by human hands and humanity, things that remain unmarred by our existence – they are beautiful. They serve a purpose. How could this have happened by accident?

When I start to feel lost, going outside and marveling in the wonder of the natural world usually fixes it. But sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time that is caused by my depression or anxiety, because no matter how much you can understand something logically, chemicals alter your mood so much more strongly than pure logic. This is unfortunate, but it is the way it is. I don’t believe all this crap that people tell other people (usually Christians) that if they loved Jesus enough they wouldn’t be depressed, because you would have joy and a “peace that passes understanding.” You can have peace and still be anxious. You can feel joy but still be depressed. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. Do not make someone question their faith because of a chemical disorder. Remind them that there is always tomorrow, and to not lose hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a purpose behind this crappy moment in time. Be light like Jesus tells you to be, jerkface. Don’t pull more darkness in.

I guess the point of this post is just this – as Christians, I believe that we are meant to believe in the purpose and the amazing creativity of our Creator. We are meant to be light to people who are in darkness, whether that be sin or depression. We are not meant to be cruel, to intentionally harm, or to be hateful towards people. If God is love, then remember that we are meant to intention our lives to being more like him. And he gives us an explicit definition of love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

I added the emphasis to the above verses. Sometimes I think Christians focus so much on what nonbelievers are that they forget to be what they were called to be. We are told to be like Christ, who is God. And God is love. Apply this definition to everyone you meet, and maybe more people will understand why we believe grace is so important, and the changes that can happen when you let God in your heart.

Although love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, it does not insist on its own way. I believe that the lost can be guided more with a gentle hand and a gentle word of encouragement than they can be with a whip and a list of rules so long and ridiculous it would take your entire life just to learn them.

I just know how I feel when I get lost sometimes. Just something to think about.




Ruth Chapter 4

So, I finally finished Ruth. Chapter 4 isn’t long, and it is very interesting to read about how the story is resolved between Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi. We left chapter 3 with the knowledge and expectation that the resolution would be taken care of the next day – Boaz was going to make sure of that. With everything we have been given about Boaz and the type of man he is, we fully expect him to keep his word. 

No surprise, he does. That next morning after sending Ruth away and telling her to not let anyone know where she had been, he heads to the city gate. Now, the city gates have an important role in the Bible pretty frequently – they are a gathering place, and a place where “legal and commercial transactions” took place. From here, Boaz calls out to the man that he had told Ruth he was going to ask to be the redeemer first, and if he said no, then Boaz would gladly take Ruth as his wife. This guy shows up (we don’t know what his name is), and beforeBoaz starts the conversation, he gathers 10 elders from the community to be witnesses for the upcoming transaction. He wanted to be sure that there was no way that this guy could go back on his word! From here, Boaz states that Naomi is selling the land of Elimelech, her late husband, and that with this land Ruth the Moabite was to be taken as his wife. The guy originally said yes, until hearing that he would have to take in Ruth as his wife. He then changes his mind, and says that if he takes this offer, he would be jeopardizing his own inheritance, and so he would have to pass. Then he hands Baz his sandal, yards yadda, the deal is done. Boaz then marries Ruth. 

After their marinate, Ruth gives birth to a son, and it is stated that Naomi was given the baby to be his nurse, but then states that Naomi was given a son. So, I’m not really sure, I guess Naomi adopted him as her own?? Who knows. The bottom line is that in verse 15, the women of the town tell Naomi, ” for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sounds, has given birth him.”  That’s a really sweet part of the story. Naomi was filled with bitterness – had asked to be called Mara because of it, and felt that she had no future and was completely empty. But God redeems not only her, but sweet Ruth, who had stayed with her beloved mother in law throughout this journey, and eventually became (in a way) Naomi’s redeemer. This son was named Obed, and he became the grandfather of David! THE David. 
After finishing this story, I’m choosing to believe that Naomi was truly acting in the best interests of Ruth by trying to hook her up with Boaz. Maybe she sent Ruth into a questionable situation because she rusted Boaz to be a man of God. Maybe she hoped that Ruth would know the line. Maybe she didn’t care. We may never know her intentions. But if Ruth had not followed Nami back to Bethlehem, David would never have been born. And thus, Jesus wouldn’t have been sired. God’s hand is all over and throughouut this story. It’s amazing to watch his Providence and his plan be fulfilled, exactly the way he wants it and plans it. 

Because honestly, if his people had had it their way, a Moabite wouldn’t have been the heroine in this story. It would have been a “good Jewish woman.” They were told not to take foreign wives, for crying out loud! But a foreign woman came and saved the day, and ended up with an amazing story and an amazing redemption that couldn’t have happened if she hadn’t followed her heart to follow Ruth and adopt her way of life. God called her out of darkness and gave her his light. That’s the only explanation. 

Lyubomir Ignatov1. Taking a break if you’re constantly feeling exhausted. So, after a full night of sleep, you’re still waking up totally drained? You need what my mom always referred to as “a mental health day.” If you can, call in sick from work. Just for one day. Take a bubble bath or read a…

via 15 Small (But Important) Things You Owe Yourself — Thought Catalog

Contributor’s PhotoI stared at my reflection, momentarily in shock. The striped tee shirt I used to wear far too often was now strangling me. All I could see was stomach and nipples and body; there was so much more of me than there was before, and I was ashamed. After several minutes of self-shaming, I…

via I Am No Longer ‘Too Big’ Or ‘Too Much’, I Am Enough. — Thought Catalog

Short Thoughts on Ruth 1

So, after seeing a lot of my friends and Instacquaintances (yes I just made that word up, cool) post about how they are reading through Ruth, I decided maybe I would join the bandwagon a little late and do my own little read through/study.

Tonight I did just Chapter 1, and I’m planning (hopefully) to continue over the next 3 days to finish the book, since it only has 4 chapters.

I started out reading it and was just kinda, “Oh, okay, so her [Naomi] life was really sad… her husband and her sons died in an unknown amount of time and she was left with no family… alright.” But then, I decided to really think through some of the passages, and I found some pretty interesting thoughts I thought I would share.

Although Naomi has a tendency to be very sad and bitter (more on that in a minute), she does encourage her daughter in laws to become their own people again. She encourages them in verses 8-14 to leave her and return to their own people and families, but she does it in a “my life is so terrible, you don’t want to be around me, I have nothing to offer you” type of way, but she still does encourage them to pursue their own lives again, and not be afraid to seek new husbands. And one of the daughters does choose to do this – Orpah. This is the only thing we know about her. But as for Ruth, she not only wept with her mother in law, she shows her love and dedication to this woman by refusing to leave her side.

Probably the most famous verse (or group of verses) from the entire book happen in the first chapter, Ruth 1: 16-17, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me to you.”

What’s interesting to me is that this verse is now used at weddings. This is a verse that shows and explicates true, selfless, Jesus-like love for a woman that wasn’t her flesh and blood, but she became her adoptive family when she married Naomi’s son. This is really similar to the adoption analogy that is seen in many parts of the gospels. I love the fact that although this can be used to describe the selfless love that we are expected to have in marriage, but it really is more about selflessly loving the family and body of Christ.

Later in this same chapter, we see these two women journey back to Ruth’s homeland – Bethlehem – and upon their return, Naomi tells everyone that knew her to call her by Mara, not Naomi. This is because she believes that her life has been made bitter by the Lord. Naomi means “pleasant” while Mara means “bitter” interestingly enough.

This point didn’t seem very important to me at first. Yeah, she changed her name because she felt that her life was horrible, but so what? The importance in this is not just the name change, but the idea behind it. Her entire identity was now defined by that loss. The loss of her husband and her sons defined her entire being to the point that she felt the need to be renamed in a way that she felt portrayed her personality. She did not feel bitter about her life. She WAS bitter. That’s a scary thought.


I know I have a tendency to be defined by things that are happening in my life. I am depression, I am anxiety, I am failure; instead of seeing things how they are. I may feel depressed, I may feel anxious, I may feel failure if I don’t succeed the way I want, but I am not those things. I am choosing now to no longer be defined by those things and instead to let them be what they are:  conditions, shapes, states of my life that change every second. Why be defined by something that will be different tomorrow? Instead, I’m choosing now to be defined by what I know will not change: my status in God’s kingdom. I am His child, His beloved, and I’m ready to start being defined by that. There’s so much freedom when I live that way. It’s time to embrace it.

haylee –You keep me safe. On a Thursday night, or a Sunday morning. When the clouds fill the sky and the rain softly hits the window. When the moon greets the stars and the sun kisses the ocean. You keep me safe. When the outside world is too much to bare. From a rough day…

via You Keep Me Safe, And I’ll Keep You Wild — Thought Catalog

You’re the one who may always be ‘too much’ for the people who are calm and complacent and steady. But you’ll never be too much for the fierce ones.

via For The Women Who Feel Like ‘Too Much’ — Thought Catalog

tiff_oftheironThe sun is such hot shit these days. Everyone’s racing to the beach to catch some rays or climbing mountains to get even closer to the sun or amping up on social media about getting out of work to celebrate, like, the most perfect sunny day #sunsoutgunsout #isworkoveryet #pooldreams. But what happens when it rains?…

via 8 Quotes That Explain Why The Happiest People Are Fools That Dance In The Rain — Thought Catalog

Who Knows?

I promised myself I would do better about posting frequently, or at least consistently. But it seems that in this moment, I’m in a season of failure. I’m failing to myself in a lot of things that I wanted/promised myself I would change.

But that is not the whole story. I am also in a season of change, and of learning. I am learning how to be a good wife (I’m in the first month of marriage – might I say, it’s quite intimidating) and how to honor God within my married life. I am also learning how to be content with “leaving and cleaving” as they say – if you’re confused about what I’m talking about, you can see it here in Genesis 2 and the cross-references.

I would be lying if I said that my faith-life hasn’t been a struggle over the past few months. I’ve had so much struggle, so much pain, and so much heartache during a period of my life that others told me was supposed to be the “best time” or the “best day” of your life. I have struggled with my family, with my friends, and with myself, and because of that, I have been very downcast and very disappointed in God’s plans and his works in my life. I so wanted what everyone told me to expect, but in the end, it just wasn’t what God wanted me to experience (obviously). So, here I am.

Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on my life, and on how I have been treating my relationship with Jesus during this hard, hard time of my life. And I must say, I’m just exhausted. When things began happening, I did what I always did, which was run to Jesus. I ran to Him in prayer, through my Bible, through my community of Jesus-lovers, but nothing made the struggle easier. For the first time in my life, running to Jesus wasn’t enough to make the struggle easier or make the struggle seem worth it. I still did not see the good in what was happening in my life. I saw no inkling of purpose, other than to bring about an immense amount of pain and destruction to what I had been trying so hard to build. I held on tight to what I thought HE had given me, and I didn’t ever stop to think that maybe I just needed to let go. To let go of those friendships that disappointed me, to let go of the destructive family relationships I have had my entire life, and to let go of my expectations for myself and my life; and because I clung (or cleaved, haha) to those ideals and those expectations, I stayed frustrated and upset and exhausted. The worst part was that after a while of feeling so overwhelmed and tired, instead of just letting go and staying with Jesus, I held on to my hurt and my heartache, and decided that talking to Jesus was just too painful and was pointless. [Now, I am NOT saying that I gave up on my faith, or that I turned my back on Jesus. I am saying that I had no desire to seek him or to speak with him, even about my struggles]. I became dried up. No fruit has been growing from my vine for a while now, and I have seen no growth.

And it breaks my heart.

Thankfully, I have an amazingly wonderful husband, who is so much stronger than me, wiser than me, and loves Jesus more than he loves me – and because of that, my silence and anger towards Jesus has been called out. My husband demanded that he pray for me (and us, but mostly me) and for my faith to be strengthened and renewed. This prayer was enough to break my heart that has been hardened for a while now; and this prayer was enough to make me reflect and begin to seek a way to strengthen my heart and teach myself a better way to cope with things when they are hard and when I’m disappointed with how things are going.

So my challenge for myself now, is to turn to Jesus always. Praying without ceasing did not seem to be enough for me this past struggle-season. I need instead to learn how to pray without ceasing, and to hope without becoming weary.

It’s not much, but I’m taking it one step at a time to begin to rebuild and refocus my relationship with my savior. I know that he never moved, and that his hand is still extended out for mine in friendship, love, and an unceasing commitment to saving me. For that I am more thankful than I can express. For now, I’m simply resting in these words:

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” 2 Corinthians 4:8.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35 (and really all of More than Conquerors in Romans 8).

“Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me.” Song of Solomon 3:4.

and PS: To Jon, my best friend and husband, I am so thankful for you, for your faith, and for your constant and unwavering love for us and hope for us. Without you, I don’t know where I would be. You’re the best part of my life, and I’m so glad that I can honestly say I get to look forward to the rest of my life with your light and your love. I love you so much.

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