What it Looks Like || The Well Water Journey

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A peaceful scene from a recent evening drive spent in prayer/freaking out.

Most days, I feel certifiably insane. I’m a twenty-year-old ex-pastor’s daughter virgin who felt called to start an outreach to women dancing at the local strip club called Well Water Fargo. It doesn’t make sense. Despite years leading up to this and training received, I often feel completely clueless and in over my head.

I’ve compared this process to having a baby – if you really thought about the pain, years, money, and hard work that it takes to give and sustain the life, there’s no way you’d agree to take on the challenge. So you just go for it. Not knowing exactly what this thing will look like, where it will take you, or even if you’re doing things right.

I want to be transparent about where I am at and how this unfolds. Maybe it’s not the best marketing strategy and there’s this nasty pride in me that wants to pretend that it’s all easy and wonderful and I have this extra helping of faith that makes the whole world look like a magic fairy dream land. The truth is, it’s hard. Chasing dreams is hard. Starting new things is hard. Having faith is hard. If opening up to you, dear internet readers, about the hard parts means that you are encouraged to press in to the dreams and desires God has placed in your own heart, then it’s totally worth risking looking weak. His power is made perfect in our weakness – which is why He gives us callings so far beyond our perceived abilities. This thing is beyond me. It scares me.

And this is what it looks like:

It looks like endless cups of coffee – those brewed in my own home and those sipped over conversations about vision with people wanting to get involved.

It looks like monthly lunch with the women’s ministry ladies, most of them decades older than me, but filled with more wisdom, encouragement, and Holy Spirit than I can express.

It looks like books being read – autobiographies about women in the sex industry and insightful quick reads on prayer and nonprofit management.

It looks like spending a lot of time praying – not always in bold intercessory moments, but more often in my spirit talking to God and saying a whole lot of “what is the world did you get me into?” sort of prayers. It looks like freaking out and letting go. It looks like doubt and questions and moments of fear.

It looks like God saying to me once again, “have I not commanded you be strong and courageous?” It’s almost like He is saying, “c’mon Liv, how many times do I have to tell you this? I.Have.It.Under.Control.”

It looks like me sitting at the keyboard in my living room and just worshiping God because He’s worth it. In return, He quiets my spirit and brings peace in it all.

It looks like returning to the stories of the Israelites coming into the promise land and how freaking faithful God was even though they were total butt-heads. I can relate in many ways.

It looks like seeing my community come out and support me and every time I think about it, I want to cry. Like I’ll never ever be able to express the fullness of my gratitude for the friends who were there for the first Well Water meeting. These beginning stages are so emotional and seeing which people prioritize standing beside me in a crucial part of my life journey is crazy humbling.

It looks like emails and newsletters and videos and prayer lists and strategizing and all the administrative hoopla.

It looks like starting to set foot on the ground around the club and just trust that Holy Spirit is making a way even now through simple things like praying as I walk around the block.

It looks like trying to balance the rest of my life as a student, small group leader, mentor, photographer, and general human stuff like family member and friend. That looks like days of putting Well Water on the back burner because other things just need to get done.

It looks like a mess sometimes.

It looks like a beautiful adventure.

It looks like a move of God.

I’m somehow standing in the middle as God reminds me to lift my eyes above the craziness. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed, but my Jesus is right there – asking for my gaze, my heart, and trust. He’s so dang beautiful that no chaos could rival for my attention.

That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day – not the craziness or the mess or the hardness or the fear – it comes down to the fact that following God’s call on my life is worth it. Not because of success or anything on this earth, but because my God is just that good. He’s worth extravagance beyond my wildest imagination. He’s worth every single dream and plan and desire. He’s worth the largest sacrifice. He’s worth lavishing my life at His feet.

The best part is, we could never out-lavish Him. For every time we say that He’s worth it, we are only grasping a glimpse of how He feels towards us. He says that we are worth it. Absolutely insane, but absolutely true.

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The Vocabulary of Singleness: From Shame to Messy Celebration

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I really don’t want to be known as the girl who always writes about singleness. Like if there was a list of ways to make yourself un-dateable, talking about how single you are all the time is probably towards the top of that list. However, it is probably a step below becoming a foster parent at 21, which is another thing I’ve considered, so I think I’ll embrace the possibility of accidentally becoming the poster child for singleness.

Singleness is a topic that is not super fun to talk about and even harder (and weirder) to do while you are still currently single. When you’re in the thick of it all, it can feel daunting and embarrassing and like talking about it means that you hate your life, are codependent, or have no dreams outside of relationships. Lies. Lies. A whole lot of lies.

Shame is what convinces us to stay silent – to not be willing to get messy and vulnerable and honest. Shame is about hiding. It’s about feeling fake and that if you let people in, they aren’t going to like what they see. Singleness is a topic that we’ve covered, coated, and sprinkled in shame.

There’s this presumption that if you talk candidly about singleness you are angry or depressed or needy or not dependent on God. Honestly, I’m none of those things. I am incredibly happy and love my life. Being a somewhat “hip” twenty-something surrounded by creatives and world changers with adventures around every turn is so freaking fun. I don’t view relationships as the beginning or the end of fully living life – just getting to sharing it with another person.

In Christian culture, there seems to be so many mixed signals of definitive statements and honestly, it’s both frustrating and confusing. We push being content in your singleness while at the same time praising marriage as the end-all-be-all. We tend to project this idea that marriage is a prize – a spouse is something you achieve if you do everything right, are blissfully content, and sprinkle some magic fairy dust in your bedtime prayers. Life is so much more messy and complex than that.

For example: please, do not tell me one more time to focus on becoming a better gift.

The reason I am single is not because I’m not a good enough gift.

Lies. Shame. No.

That’s implying that I am not enough. And that if you are in a relationship, it makes you more “enough” than I am. It implies you’re a better gift, potential spouse, and human than I am. I’m not going to believe that lie. Aint nobody got time for that sort of comparison and condemnation. Now if you use that phrase, there’s grace and I’ve said stuff along those lines before too. We get to move past that to tweaking how we talk.

That’s why I write about singleness – to extend the conversation and hopefully figure out how to change the vocabulary to allow people the freedom they need to live their lives without condemnation or shame. I don’t pretend to be an expert, I’m still working through lies and mental patterns that are destructive. This is what I am learning though as I seek the mind of Christ and critically examine this season of my own life.

The biggest lie I’ve identified is that of “enough-ness.” That because I am single, I am somehow less-than. That I need to do or be something more in order to be good enough for a relationship or for a guy to choose me. Getting really real here, this is a list of my own lies that I’ve believed:

  • “I am a less valuable potential mate because I haven’t traveled the world.”
  • “I am a more valuable potential mate because I can cook a mean crockpot soup.”
  • “I am a less valuable potential mate because of my family past and baggage.”
  • “I am a more valuable potential mate because I’m doing cool things with my life like starting a photography business and running a strip club outreach.”
  • “I am a less valuable potential mate because I struggle to keep my bedroom clean.”
  • “I am a more valuable potential mate because I have certain talents, giftings, or callings.”

No. This stems from a view that our worth is wrapped up in what we do. It’s performance mentality. It’s striving. It’s bondage. It’s religion. It sucks.

Identity is the core. I am hidden in Christ. I am seated in heavenly places. I have been crucified and raised.freaking.again. I am a kid and coheir in the Kingdom. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am redeemed, restored, and set free. I am enough because Jesus gives me His “enough-ness.” Do we really get this? Like truly? My life’s worth is unchanging. So is yours.

Is it sometimes easier to work on our junk while being single? For some people, yes.

Are there some areas in our lives that may need some serious growing or adaptation when we get into a relationship or get married? Yeah, life is full of processes.

Do some people take longer until they want to be in a committed relationship? Definitely.

Is it always the best idea to get into a relationship if you’re going through a big crisis, have a current addiction, or are emotionally unhealthy? Probs not.

What I am saying is that I am no more and no less enough in my singleness than my awesome married friends are. Marriage isn’t a Mecca or a state of enlightenment. They didn’t do something right that earned them their relationship, it was just that the life tapestry that God is weaving for them happened to include a spouse earlier on than mine. My engaged roommate is amazing at not giving off the vibe that she is better because of her relationship status – in fact, she’s one of the coolest, humblest, accepting, and validating people ever.

Now, I know that no one is trying to give off a bad vibe. No one intentionally is out to get single people. It just creeps into out attitude and is worth taking a look at in order to do some self-examining. That’s really all I ask for – let’s be willing to ask questions and see if the way we talk about singleness, relationships, and marriage is promoting lies about identity and worth.

I just want to live in the fullness of freedom and see others do the same. I want us to just admit that we don’t have cut and dry answers as to why some people get married earlier than others. It’s not a formula. There’s no “get married quick” scheme that will result in a perfect life. People are individuals and we all are living unique stories with twisty, messy plot lines. It’s part of the beauty. Let’s not let that beauty be under attack by over-glorifying any particular plot lines or plot points. Let’s make room for messy – for honesty and individuality.

Above all, can we just celebrate each other more? More high fives, hugs, dance parties, cake, and presents all around no matter what your life looks like. For that result, I’d gladly become the poster child of singleness.

Wrestling with Words:Writing, Dreaming, and Comparison

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I know that I must consistently write. I must do it not because I’m trying to become successful. I must do it because I am becoming someone. In this process of becoming, I must grapple for words and throw them back out at the universe. Whether I like it or not. Whether anyone reads it or not. Whatever.


I just have to do it. I have to keep crafting and keep learning to tell stories. Even if the stories feel like a 5 year old’s gibberish when they come out, they still must come out. I’m believing in faith that every time I choose to express myself and choose to tell a story, Holy Spirit is working on me. He’s putting words to what’s going on inside. He’s maybe healing other hearts and saying something to someone else.


For me, writing is an act of faith.

I grew up with a whole lot of comparison in the writing department. My whole family loves words and creating and stories. My brother, five years older than me, was (and is) the fiction and song writer. We both have stories in our bones, but they come out differently. He tends to bring them out in the dramatic – in the theatrical, the magical, and the sometimes absurd. I tend to love reality. It’s why I’m a photographer, because I love capturing what’s directly in front of me in any given moment. I love blogging and memoirs and sharing personal experiences. When I write, I look to put reason to all that I feel. When he writes, he seems to look to put feelings to all that he reasons. It’s beautiful and I’ve come to celebrate his gifts rather than compare them to my own.

I’ve held dreams for writing my whole life, but they always were carried under the shadow of not being alone in those dreams. My parents were always talking about book ideas – ideas that have not yet become reality. My brother was always chasing dreams of writing novels and songs that change generations and poems with power and screenplays for innovative arenas. Dreams became a bit competitive. Accidentally, but it happened.

When I started blogging at the age of 13, I thought that I would be like Alex and Brett Harris and would be an overnight hit sensation. This was back in 2008, when the blogosphere was booming and launching so many names into authorship and conference speaking. As a naive young girl with a history of dreaming too big, I secretly hoped that would be my fate as well.

It wasn’t.

My writing from that era is a bit painful to reflect upon, but in the end, I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I started cultivating gifts and communities and dreams within myself without seeing any of the success that I dreamed of. If I was to be extremely honest with you, those dreams of writing books and speaking at conferences are still in my heart.

It’s hard because I know that those same dreams are still in my mom’s heart and she has not yet seen them fulfilled. I know my brother is still dreaming of writing crazy stage productions. I know my dad has a book buried in his heart under heaps and heaps of burnout. I feel almost guilty to believe in the fulfillment of my own dreams.


But that guilt is not only misplaced, it’s a bold faced lie. It’s believing the lie that dreams are competitive; that one person’s success hinders another’s and there is only enough room on the platform for a few. Yet I see a much more beautiful reality play out before me. I see that dreams inspire more dreaming. We help each other accomplish their dreams by being faithful to our own. We pave the way as we walk ahead.

My mom told me the other day on the phone that she’s been inspired by seeing me pursue my dreams of starting a strip club outreach. She whispered to me a long time dream and that it seems like it may be the right time to start moving ahead toward making it reality. WHAT? I’m inspiring my mother? That’s crazy to me, this concept that my steps of faith can inspire others to take the same steps of faith in their own dreams. Not knowing, plowing ahead, and reliance on God – it’s not selfish. It’s powerful. It’s worthwhile.

Hannah Brencher wrote this post in December about her blog turning 5 and I can’t get it out of my head. She says that, “Blogging—to me—is not a trend. It’s exercise. It’s discipline. It’s a way to develop a voice and developing said is absolutely crucial if you want to write on bigger platforms one day.” Okay then, Hannah. I suppose I’ll blog.

Despite the fact that consistency has been a beast to me, I know that it’s a beast worth battling. I’m not blogging to build an audience or a platform. I’m not blogging to save the world. I’m blogging to build – to hone my skills and find my voice and strengthen my writing muscles. It may not be pretty, but hey, you never know what it may be setting me up for in the future.

Yes, I do have some crazy dreams that I can’t believe I’m confessing to the internet because I barely have confessed them to my best friends. I would love to write a book. Or ten. I would love to speak at conferences. Actually, I would love (like x1000000) to preach. I would love to be a part of inspiring, training, and teaching a generation of big-dreaming revivalists. Those are the dreams that I barely dare to say, but I’m learning to be braver.

Because bravery inspires more bravery.

Faith inspires more faith.

Dreams inspires more dreaming.

So I’ll write. Because it’s part of a dream. It’s preparing for the future while processing my present. It’s my little acts of bravery and faith. Maybe it will release you to write more or to dream more. Whatever happens, obedience is success. So every time I write, if it’s an act of obedience, it’s successful. No results or competition or guilt required.

My Destiny is Not my Identity

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I think every home should have a prayer room.

During my time at YWAM Las Vegas this summer, I spent some time in the prayer room. Not a ridiculous amount, though I’ll confess to intentionally sleeping in there on my last night in Vegas because an empty base is creepy as all get out. But the time I did spend in that prayer room was life changing. I had no clue how much God spoke to me in that little white room with a soft rug and cozy blankets until I kept finding myself telling people stories of what I learned or prayed in that place.

There, God reworked and rewired fundamental areas of my heart and life. He showed me His Father heart. He spoke to me of my identity. He held my hand as I surrendered all my dreams and hopes and fears.

I went to Vegas thinking that it’d bring me clarity to my dreams and life plans. I left so much more confused. Yet in that messy process, I learned something valuable that maybe you need to hear today:

My destiny is not my identity.

I am not defined by my calling or my dreams.

I love reading what common people said about the Apostles in Acts. There were these strong reactions to those who completely changed the world. From mass crowds deciding to follow Jesus, to throwing them in jail, to more humorous comments about thinking they were drunk – they always caused a stir. My favorite description of all is when people noticed that these were uneducated, common men – but they had been with Jesus. And that changed everything about them.

I vividly remember thinking about those words as some spontaneous Bethel song played and I asked God, “could I be known for knowing you?”

See, I had spent much of my life being “the anti trafficking girl.” Seriously. For about 8 years, that’s what I’ve been known for – as someone passionate about anti trafficking causes. It’s not a bad thing to be known for. I’m not ashamed of my involvement in these issues. I started to ask what it would look like for people to look at my life and go, “dannnnng, that girl is on familiar terms with God.” Maybe that’s all they see. Not education or expertise or beauty or intelligence or personality – just a whole lot of Jesus. How crazy would that be?

I realized this:

I don’t want my life to be about a cause.

I want my life to be about Jesus.

It’s not that I didn’t want my life to be about Jesus before, but He’s leading me into a deeper, purer, more intimate place in my walk with Him. He’s leading me into my identity; my identity as a daughter and not as a servant. That I am loved, beautiful, worthy, enough, and free – not because of anything I do, but because of the radical grace that leads the Creator of the universe to call me these things. It’s wild, but it’s true.

My identity was the same on the day when God created me in my mother’s womb and it will be the same on the day when He calls me home. It’s not optional. It’s not conditional. It’s not up to me. It’s truth. It’s reality. It’s grace.

The Bible speaks to who we are – to who God made us and how Christ has restored us to our original design. We are called forgiven. We are seated in heavenly places. We are redeemed. We are victorious and led forth in triumph. We are children – coheirs with Jesus (best brother ever) and adopted into the family of God.

The callings that we have as individuals – our destinies and our dreams – they are beautiful. God has given them to us. We rejoice and celebrate them. We chase them. But they do not define us. They do not dictate our “enough-ness.” They may not always turn out how we expect them to and we may be led to seasons of surrender, but our identity is truth that can be clung to.

That’s what I started grasping this summer – that fullness of identity. The journey led me to a season of rest and letting go of dreams. It led me back to a season of crazy dreaming and seeing lifelong dreams play out before my eyes.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that part of my calling, destiny, and dream is to work with women in crisis. God has confirmed that time and time and time again. No matter how many times I’ve tried to do other things with my life, I keep coming back to this anti trafficking arena. So I’ll embrace that. I’ll work with nonprofits and read books and watch documentaries and go to trainings. I’ll start my own strip club outreach in my city. I’ll follow opportunities that arise in the future. I’ll hone my craft and become an expert. Those are all good things.


But that’s not my identity and not really even what I want to be known for. I want to be seen as one who has been with Jesus – because I know that my place of completion is in His presence. My identity is wrapped up in the unshakable promises of Love. But even if people choose to see me differently, it doesn’t change how God sees me.

He sees me as His daughter. Loved. Chosen. Beautiful.

Nothing changes that.

No Spend Semester

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Okay, it’s time to be painfully honest for a moment.

I’m not that great at managing money. Yep. I’m a self employed photographer and I’m not that good at managing money. Yep. That’s not a great thing. I will admit it openly and honestly. It’s not that I’m horrible. I manage to never run out. I can do my own taxes and keep track of expenses and ultimately, I make it all “work” in the end.

But I think God is calling me to not just have it all “work out” or to scrape by financially, but to actually be a wise steward of the crazy blessings He has placed in my life. I’m aware of my privilege – of having a roof over my head, food in my stomach, owning clothes and books. Those things are luxuries. Starbucks is a luxury. Even thrift store shopping sprees are a luxury. Having a clean and safe apartment is a luxury.

Yet my careless attitude towards money does not reflect that knowledge.

I’ve also had an attitude towards money that it’s something I earn. I know, that’s the prevailing thought in our culture. Work hard. Hustle. Make money. Be successful. It’s not that it’s all wrong, but it’s been a source of pride for me. I like proving my worth by my earning potential. Asking people for money always makes me cringe. I’ve done several trips (missions and otherwise) without asking people for money, but last year I had to ask for funds for Vegas and it was pretty horrible for me. Okay, it was stretching and growing and good more than anything, but still really hard.

All this to say, I’ve had plans for the last six months to get a job come January. It’s been on the radar, even as I purposefully lived in the moment and didn’t worry about it before it was time. I’m moving into the slow season for photography. So I figured that it’d be time to get another job for the semester so that I could save up money. Then I got to January and nothing seems quite right. Now, I totally 100% know that sometimes you work any job that comes your way and it’s not about finding the perfect fit all the time. But what I’m lacking is a peace in my spirit to move forward.

The other day, I made a to-do list for Well Water Fargo for the month of January. My heart started to race as I continually thought of things to add. Dang. There’s a lot to do. Time consuming things. And I’m still running a photography business and finishing editing clients’ photos. I’m also still a student and in my last semester of classes that I desperately want to knock out of the park with straight As. I’m also a small group leader and mentor and the thought of the time with these girls being severely diminished makes me feel sick as I know God has still called me to pour into them for the remainder of this school year.

Yesterday, I heard the story of the boy bringing the fish and loaves to Jesus. Twice. He brought what he had to Jesus and then the miracle happened. Abundantly more was poured out than what was ever put in, but action was also required. Last night, I was praying and asking God to make job things clear to me, for Him to provide a way for me to have both money and time.

He told me to stop spending money on coffee.

Ouch.

You know, it makes sense. If I’m seriously about really wanting to spend my energy on what I believe God has called me to and placed in front of me, I need to be willing to make sacrifices. God will show up, but He asks me to do the same.

I believe that this season can be one of abundance. God has been showing me lately the crazy favor He has placed on me as His kid. That He wants to see me walk into an identity powerful and into a destiny that is wild. Part of the preparation for that though involves me growing up and learning.

So Welcome to No Spend Semester

From now until May 11th, the last day of MSUM finals, I’m not going to spend money on anything but essentials. That means yes to:

  • Rent + utilities
  • Grocery store food
  • Gas
  • Essentials like toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. No one wants a stinky Liv.
  • Spending for Well Water
  • Tithing to my church + giving to others

That means NO to:

  • Fru-fru coffee. “Pay as you can” drip from 20Below is allowed on coffee dates/work time.
  • Spotify Premium membership. *tear*
  • New clothes. Not even thrifting.
  • Eating out. “Let’s do dinner!” can be cooking at my apartment. That way I get to improve my cooking skills, practice hospitality, AND save money. Winning.
  • Books. Or journals. Or pretty little things. Even at the Craft Fest in February.

Practical steps include:

  • Turning in weekly receipts to a trusted friend
  • Meal planning and prepping
  • Packing food for trips
  • Working odd jobs like babysitting and cleaning and whatever else comes along.

I believe that this semester can be a time of saving, abundance, favor, and generosity all while not having a steady income. This is me, bringing my fish and loaves to Jesus’ feet and letting him break it to give me back more than I can imagine. What if I actually saw my savings account grow? What if I learn to live wisely, but not controlled by fear? What if I gain skills in self control, management, organization, and discipline that will set me up for success in the rest of my life? What if I see God provide for me in both big and little ways by making this practical step of trusting Him?


What if?

I guess I’ll find out.

P.S. Shout out to people who’ve proven this is possible and have inspired me, namely Marisa Jackels’ No Spend November and Hannah Brencher’s Contentment Challenge

When Wild Comes to Visit

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Wild.

“passionately eager or enthusiastic”

“not subject to restraint or regulation”

“marked by turbulent agitation”

“going beyond normal or conventional bounds”

“indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion”

To say that Wild is on its way is not the most comforting thought. It’s the sort of thought that sends chills up your spine and makes your stomach clench into a tight little knot. Wild is not predictable. Wild is not safe. Wild is not tidy.

But Wild is fun.

Wild shows up with crazy hair that knows wind and waves intimately. Wild laughs from a place of astonishment with life. Wild grabs your hand and pulls you into the things that you are not ready for. Wild makes a big mess and leaves you to clean it up yourself. Wild isn’t always the most impressive one to take home to meet the family. Wild makes you smile, though. Wild is a great encourager. Wild inspires in a way that is so native and natural.

I can’t shake Wild.

Wild gets comfortable in the places where I am most uncomfortable. Wild may not quite carry the depth of a forever friend, but Wild will be the friend needed to get to the next place and to take that next step. I may do a few more dumb things when Wild is hanging around, but I also do a few more brave things.

And doing a few more brave things is good for one’s soul. Sometimes the brave thing is simply speaking words out loud that have been hidden away for years upon years. The brave thing may be to let yourself dream about the future and actually figure out what you want. The brave thing could be be showing up and being present when you want to hide from the world or that one particular person who hurt you. Sometimes the brave thing may mean putting yourself out there, to fill out the job application or ask the person on a date or vocalizing the burning question.

Brave is a subjective term. It looks different for me than it may for you. But big brave or little brave, brave things build bravery. And bravery is a weapon that’s worth possessing.

Wild is teaching me to possess bravery in these ways:

  • to dream of impossibilities
  • to shake off false humility and comparison
  • to pursue the creative things that I’ve held back from
  • to build a life of intention and a community of depth
  • to squash lies that attack my identity and say that I’m not enough
  • to live in wonder

I’m not ready for Wild to visit. I never will be. That’s okay.

Wild stirs up within you the ability to do things scared. And doing things scared is really the only way to get anything done.

From Healing to Wild

wild-12015 was:

Finding my signature look of red glasses.

Las Vegas.

Sunflower fields.

Falling in love with Fargo.

Living with my best friends.

Small group(s).

ATL.

Shauna Niequist + Hannah Brencher + Donald Miller books.

Endless cups of coffee.

Countless trips to Starbucks.

15 weddings.

YWAM.

Making more music.

Art club.

Block parties.

Adulting. Sometimes.

Naps on the beach.

Holy moments on docks.

Road trips.

Airports.

Tears.

Laughter.

Dancing. Particularly dancing in the rain. in a ghetto. in the desert.

Building community.

Refinding family.

Refinding church.

Learning to rest.

Surrendering dreams.

Wrestling comparison.

Getting dreams back.

Friend dates for days.

Full journals.

Tattoo.

Nannying.

Momming.

Pastoring.

Interning.

Learning.

Growing.

Healing.

At the beginning of 2015, I thought that my word for the year would be “dauntless.” And maybe for a brief moment it was. At the beginning of the year, I was so desperate to get out of survival mode that it took a fighting start. However, within a matter of weeks, I started to see that the song of war sounds more like a lullaby. Now, it sounds more like a dance anthem.

Many of you may know the popular quote that: “You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” (Jamie Tworkowski)

That was my year minus the passport, but I made up for it in 12 airplane tickets. I learned again how to “believe better things” after a 2014 that kicked me in the butt. Piece by piece, I was put back together again by Holy Spirit through this year that ebbed and flowed in the most divine way.

I started off January so deeply broken. Church gave me anxiety and left me in a pile of tears. The thought of ever getting married and having a family made me outwardly laugh, but inwardly curl up in the fetal position. Being alone with God had to be done in small doses. Then God arrived so suddenly but so sweetly.

He arrived in the prayers of a friend, our faces both covered in tears as we asked for healing from my fears of marriage. He arrived in the modeling of a missional + healthy relationship in Las Vegas of all places. He arrived in finding myself returning to a Sunday morning church and returning that rhythm to my life. He arrived in friendships that were kindred spirits. He arrived in wedding ceremonies that moved my soul. He arrived in the most unlikely place of an internship with a church plant in Sin City where my views on marriage, family, purity, and church were renewed. He arrived in rest. He arrived in community. He arrived in a little church filled with hungry hearts and expectancy for God to show up. He arrived in a counselor’s office. He arrived in so many quiet moments.

I can point to dozens of times in this last year where God moved and changed me. Very few of those moments had any sort of pomp or flair. They were healing moments where He placed another layer of balm on my raw skin and as time went on, on my new fresh skin. It was a process. Sometimes slow. Sometimes speedy.

Now the time for healing comes to a close. It’s not that there will never be moments or new stages, but the deep and intense levels of healing are actually really well done. This year, I dug in my heels and did things that terrified me, but that healed me. I was desperate to be made into gold so that the fire would not be in vain. I didn’t fight the process, I fought with it. I learned how to heartily embrace the waves as I felt the thrill of throwing myself into them expectantly rather than just trying to survive their unexpected impact.

It’s beautiful because I feel like this whole last year, especially the last few months, were the upward climb of a roller coaster. Up. Up. Up. Climbing steadily. Now stopped. Ready for the drop that is 2016. Ready for arms raised, lungs screaming, laughter rising, heart racing, blood pumping, going too fast to really be afraid, but still really being afraid.

What does 2016 contain? I’m not really quite sure. I have ideas. I have some rough sketches. Many things feel actually rather planned out and orderly and tidy, but I know they wont stay that way. Life rarely goes according to plan and is always messier than anticipated. But there’s one word that I just can’t get over to describe what lies ahead: WILD.

Wild.

Yeah, it’s going to be wild.

Freedom