Wrote this last year in a busy, crazy, whirlwind season of ministry. Stumbled upon it today and realized how incredibly good God is and how He works in the long term. Couldn’t have today as it is without yesterday as it was.

Sometimes I get angry with God for not showing up when I expect.

And then He blows my mind with His goodness,
And I remember how little I am and how good he is.

Today I worked ten hours. Minus about thirty minutes at lunch in which I ran home and grabbed my phone charger for the dead phone sitting in my purse since our devotional time at nine this morning.

I’m doing things I love so ten hours flashes fast.
But it was, for sure, a full day of emails and phone calls, meetings and spreadsheets, that ended with sitting in on marital counseling, right before I clocked out and walked thirty steps into a prayer time and our Wednesday evening service.

Our Wednesday service has become a time of prayer.
A time that I look forward to each week, and I walked into the room with a full head and a desiring heart.
But it was one of those days where you sit in the wrong spot and have disjointed conversations and you’re tense and cold and somehow prayer feels more like you’re talking to the ceiling than to the Creator of the Universe.
(And let me know if I’m the only one who sometimes has those days.)

And I got a little grumpy with God.
A little annoyed when the sermon didn’t just rock my world and the notes that I took were rewriting Bible verses that fell on my cold deaf ears.
Because I’m just starting to learn that ministry isn’t just about Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. It isn’t about the service but instead the relationships that come in between. But the stubborn girl inside of me hasn’t grasped it yet, and I just wanted God to speak somehow tonight. But God always has a different plan than the one I dream up, and somehow His is always ridiculously better.

When the invitation (a Baptist tradition this Presby-Tist has grown to love) came, I walked down as a hesitant first time decision counselor, standing against the wall less expectant than I should have been. But I was placed to pray in a group with a girl just my age, excited because she had just understood knowing Jesus for the first time, and further conversation led to the realization that she was a dear friend of a friend of mine. Which led to a text message shot across a parking lot into the next town where my friend read my words with excitement and picked up the phone to hear more about our time. And it turned out that the “harvest is great” where she now studies, close to our college town but far from anything resembling our college experience.

And tonight I got to talk about the bizarreness of half-grown-up life where things are so close to being the same and yet so separate in worlds and understanding. It made me excited because it proves that there is potential, and the sermon about Joy that I was annoyed with rings loudly in my ears because I realize for the first time that I have a perspective that not all hold, and yet I want to share it with all. I have the potential to be a reckoning force in the world for my Savior if I just shoot the text messages and sit in the Kroger parking lots and laugh when people need laughter and speak wisdom when all they have are a pile of misunderstandings.

I thank God that He comes through even when I’ve given up. That he lets me go to the valley so I recognize the greatness of the heavens once again. That the valleys are much higher than they could be. That he’s allowing me to be a part of other people seeing the holy in their day to day. That he’s allowing me to be a small part of bringing his everlasting Kingdom to this earth.

–Hallie

Loved well.

She realized, one day, that she had forgotten how to live.
In the hustle and bustle, forgotten what it meant to enjoy conversation over a meal instead of seeing food as the gas that kept her body-vehicle moving.

And in that moment, she chose to not hold at a distance the things the world held dear.

She chose to embrace and to try to understand.
To enjoy the creation her Creator had perfectly put together.
She chose to believe that she was such a creation.
She chose to love instead of hate, even when hate seemed to be the prescribed “love”.
To drink deep the moments that fly by.
To dance to the drum of a slightly different beat.
To edge closer and closer to the Artist of the night.
To edge closer and closer to the reason for her creation.

She chose to dance.
Each day and night. Into the dark and into the light.
She chose to embrace.
When it was easier to let go. To push away.
The laughter and pain. The troubles and joy.
She chose to love.
Like she had been loved.
Because, oh, had she been loved well.

Welcome to Dot — School Supplies Changing Lives.

dotproductsIf you ever wonder about the heart of humanity, start an organization that helps the marginalized. You will quickly realize that good reigns. In the tiny corners. If you take the time to look. Good reigns. In the moments when you need it most. Good reigns. If you ever wonder where all the good people are, create an opportunity for people to step outside themselves to change the world for others. Make it relevant and simple. Make it profound. You will be amazed, grateful, and forever changed.

Last week, on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I announced the launch of Dot Products, a school supply company set on changing lives through education. I’ll tell you the story of how Dot came to be one day soon, but today I want to tell you the story you have written this week alone.

In the past week, you have funded an entire year of education for a child in Mexico through your purchases and donations.

Already you have shared and liked and commented. You have blown up social media. 450 and counting of you on Facebook alone. Thousands of people have been told about Dot. Thousands. Orders are coming in from people I don’t know. People who wouldn’t know about Dot if not for you. People who are going to change the world for a child in a developing country because of their purchase and donation. I couldn’t be more proud. I couldn’t be more humbled.

And our busiest season of the year is coming up soon. Kids are headed back to school and we want to help them do it in style and with a greater purpose. For those of you in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, consider hosting a Dot Party at your home or church for your favorite students. You invite your friends and provide snacks and drinks–as fancy or chill as you’d like. We’ll bring the supplies, the stories, and the chance to change the world through your everyday purchases. We had our first party this past weekend, and it was a blast–and it quickly turned into a pencil packing party! We ate, drank, laughed, and talked about Dot partners and how, together, we’re changing the world. One at a time.

Follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see how you can get involved and make a difference!

–Hallie

Live Big.

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I’ve been quiet here, but life has been loud.

In the past month, I’ve finished college, taken a trip to celebrate with friends, graduated, moved out of my first home and hugged the best roommate in the world goodbye, moved back into my parents’ home for the summer, spent time with my family and Ocean Springs friends, celebrated a bachelorette party for one of my best friends marrying another of my best friends!!, and finally started my summer job hanging out with the fantastic kids of First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs.

I’ve spent the past three weeks recognizing the duality of my life over the past four years, the two worlds I’ve lived in, sometimes seemingly unaware of their ridiculous and huge differences. Coming home, and with a psychology degree at that, has been quite an experience. My move back to Jackson in the fall to intern with Pinelake Church throws an even bigger wrench into my examination of my worlds.

I live an exemplification of 1 Corinthians 10:23. I live the “Everything is acceptable,” in Ocean Springs. I live, “but not everything beneficial,” when I head north on Hwy49. I love my life. I am continually challenged. God continually comes through. He took me away from home four years ago to draw me near to Him. He’s brought me back to seemingly break the barriers I’ve built against the world. He’s continually reminding me that it is people, not rules, that I must love.

The world, faced with God in control, is a bright and busy place. My fear is wiped away because He has already conquered it all. The worst that can happen is also what I pray for daily. In the words of Paul, “To live is Christ, but to die is gain.” With that mindset, the world is conquerable. The deep heart understanding that the worst thing that could possibly happen would mean the beginning of eternity in heaven with Christ flings open every dark locked door, closed because of fear and uncertainty. With Christ as my guide, I am incapable of failure. Anything that looks like failure is really just a redirection of my path. He is in control and I am not. The world is His creation, and because I am His child, the world becomes my playground. Love is the energy that propels us forward in this world. Jesus is our guide, Savior, and redeemer.

I realize a lot of this probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense or seem to connect without being inside my brain. This post is actually the culmination of a lot of different smaller, and probably better well written, half-posts stuck in my drafts somewhere, but I was unable to finish any one thought. Sometimes, I’ve found it’s better to get something out and done with rather than waiting to create some sort of perfection. And hence, this post. Hope it meant something to someone. 

Live big because Jesus did.

Hallie.

Jesus is enough.

I realized Jesus was enough on a Wednesday over a busy Christmas break.

I realized He was enough after a long hard semester of trying to do things right. 
Trying to be good enough.

I realized Jesus was enough when I didn’t go to Christmas eve service with my family this year.
(Sick and recovering from finals and a crazy busy December, I stayed home, sleeping through the Christmas cantata that has come to be a marker of the holiday season.
Later that night, though, my mom and I made it to the “almost” midnight service.)

I realized He was enough in that pew in my jeans with dog hair on my sweater.
When, for the first time ever, Christmas Eve wasn’t the biggest church day of the year.
When it wasn’t about the 40 member choir or the standing-room only service.
When I heard “Mary Did You Know” echo through that beautiful white building that has seen so much of my life.
I realized it with tears in my eyes. 

He was enough when the Christmas trip wasn’t the one that saved me.
When the plans didn’t fall into place like I had hoped.
I realized He was enough when life went on.
When new dreams began to surface.
Ones that fit who He had created me to be.
At least for now. 

Sometimes, life seems to be exactly what we’ve dreamed of. It feels like a movie and we’re the character everyone wants to win. Sometimes, we get lucky, and God agrees that whatever we’re asking for is actually what is best for us. Best for His kingdom. Those are the easy days.

But my favorite days are different. My favorite days are the ones when everything falls apart so something much bigger can fall together. My favorite days come after months of tears and  pain. They come when victory is tangibly sweeter because it’s been fought for. Because it’s been tough.

My favorite days are the ones when life comes together in a way opposite of which you had prayed and hoped for.
They are the days, years from now, that you look back on and say “Oh, now I understand.”
It’s when you understand that things had to go a certain way in order for life to wind up exactly how it was supposed to be, whatever that means.
You appreciate what you have and what you’ve had because you can see the fingerprints of the One who has been working it all out.
And He gets the glory and that’s a really good thing because you’ve never known how to handle compliments and congratulations and you’d for sure mess it up if it was yours.

These are my favorite days. These are when I realize, again and again, that Jesus really is enough.

–Hallie

#hopeforHailey

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

Hey guys,

I have a prayer request. See this sweet face on the right?

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Her name is Hailey, and she’s one of the best people I know.

Hailey is a sophomore at MC. She has awesome parents who run a camp for special needs kids each summer.

Right now, Hailey is in Haiti. She’s supposed to be spending a semester living, eating, and breathing all thing Haiti at a children’s home. (I didn’t ask her, but I’m almost positive the girl in the picture above is one of the kids from the home.) I talked to Hailey on Tuesday, and God has already done really neat things in her time there.

Here’s the thing. It’s hard. Really hard. And Hailey needs direction.
Hailey needs hope. She’s got the Eternal hope. And she desperately wants to be able to share Him with the people of Haiti. But for a number of reasons, it seems like she is held back.

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Would you pray hard with me today? Wherever you are. Right now. Stop and pray for Hailey.
That God would give her a vision of what He plans to do with her.
Even if that means coming home.
Let’s join together in prayer and ask God to give hope to Hailey.

Here’s a link to her blog if you want to know more about this awesome girl. 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

–Hallie

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I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have turned off tv shows, clicked away from websites, and changed the topic of conversations.

I have burnt bridges or refused to build them in the first place.

I have avoided the burning in my chest.
The one that pushes me to limbs unstable to walk on.
Pushes me to where He is.

I have held on to things that needed to be let go and pushed away the ones that I desperately needed to hold.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

In my mind, I have painted beautiful pictures of life, relationships, and laughter.
I have thought wonderful thoughts and run towards them abandoning all else.

But I have stopped short of the prize because it was hard.
Because there was something in the way.
Something that I refused to hold as my ebenezer.
Something I refused to even see if God would be faithful in overcoming.

I have run from God.
Over and over again.

Run from His people because of unmet needs.
Run from His Church because His people weren’t exactly who I thought He told them to be.
Run from myself when I didn’t live up to my own expections.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have let my hurts spill into my interactions with others.
I have turned away from a responsibility to love and care for others because those “others” hurt me in ways they didn’t even understand.
They didn’t even know.

I have met three girls with hugs and love and given a knowing half smile to the fourth.
Eyes going dark, I refused to show her my light.
Because I wanted her to see the consequences of her conversations.
I wanted her to know that it wasn’t okay.
I wanted her to hurt.

This wasn’t years ago. This wasn’t even in high school.
I am a senior in college and still my brat face comes out to play sometimes.
The twelve year old girl comes out in the worst way when I feel something is unfair.
When someone else gets the long straw and I’m stuck in the rain.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I speak beautiful words about redemption and grace and love and Jesus, but I run to my flesh when the going gets tough.

Today, I am broken for my inability to love, and tomorrow, maybe, I’ll find myself face to face with her.
The choice to love or leave on the line.
And I pray I will love.

But love will have to flow from Jesus, because I am a cynic in the worst way.

Today I’m thankful for community.
For responsibility and accountability.
I’m thankful for the ones who call me out when my words and my actions don’t align.
I’m thankful that God is gracious to forgive, and each morning His mercies are new.

Because I wouldn’t be who I am without the ones who’ve walked beside me.
Would be who I am without a Jesus that forgives and pursues.
Wouldn’t be who I am without the friends who’ve called me into relationship.
Without the ones that have heard my emotions overflow all over this city, from the dorms to our cars to our now homes.
I wouldn’t be the same.
I wouldn’t understand grace and truth and perserverance.

They have been Jesus to the worst cynic.
They have shown Him to the one who has tried over and over to run away.

He has begun to melt the heart of the cynic in the worst way.
And that has been the best thing.

–Hallie