Year One (and the story before)

Year One (and the story before)

Two years ago today, the world shut down. This was incredibly challenging and sad and I cried for like 9 weeks, not sure if any of us would survive. I changed my sheets when I got overheated making pancakes, all so I could die in clean sheets. I didn’t cook much and decided to make breakfast for my roommates, but also I have hypo-thedias, a disease I made up when I was 4 years old, and sometimes it causes me to get overheated (dramatic). 

Before March 11th, I was everywhere all the time. When Walter and I started dating months prior, I would constantly be busy. I worked 4 jobs and jumped from friend to friend, hanging out, making plans, and filling my life with nonstop “stuff”. We spent some of our dates watching TV, while I did data entry and checked emails for my different jobs. One of our dates was at Palmetto Bluff so I could lead worship. Most of our dates I would end by me trying to break up with him with a subtle “I just feel like we’re different”, to which he would reply “I know, isn’t that great.” My friends and family LOVED him. He is everything I ever needed. 

But then suddenly, I didn’t have 100 places to be and I had no jobs. I had puzzles to do and breads to make. And a relationship to build. 

When we think about our short season of dating and engagement (15 months?), a bulk of it was spent getting to know each other in my living room. He met my parents with gloves on and a mask, outside, 6 feet apart. He met my friends on zoom. I took a hand sanitizer bath before walking into his parent’s home the first time I met them. He won my roommates over with Chick-fil-A. Especially in the early days, when I was furloughed and Hallie and I were cutting each piece of shrimp into fours because we would have to make the food last. And realistically, he won my heart in prayer. Ok. Prayer and Chick-fil-A. 

We spent two weeks quarantining from each other in the early days, when your germ squad could be the people you lived with. He suggested maybe we should pray together. “Ew, cheesy. No thanks, ok maybe. Yeah let’s do it. Ugh why is that such a great idea? I should have thought of it. Bet we make it a week. This is stupid. And cool. Is he cooler than I am?” 

We didn’t make it a week. We made it a rhythm. We prayed each night. On the phone, when we were in person. In a text, if one of us fell asleep. We shared a lot in prayer. And it lasted more than a week or two. It has lasted all into our marriage. And I truly do think God shifted our hearts. Fine, God shifted my heart because I am difficult and immovable and very stubborn. 

In fall of 2020, Walter faked me out in what I like to call “engagement chicken”. It is where you suggest he should make a bunch of fake dates and propose at one of them since you make all of the plans and this way you won’t figure it out. Clearly, he would propose on the first one, so as not to have to make as many plans. I rented a dress from Madewell. It was very cute. He picked up my favorite food, pub subs, and brought me to Wesley Gardens.

We went to the gazebo at sunset, it was a King tide, which is very full and beautiful and provided the most perfect weather. He dropped a chip on the ground and then got back up because he was not going to propose at Wesley Gardens on a Friday night. I cried and went to Trader Joes the next day and drowned my sorrows in gyoza and orange chicken from the frozen food aisle. 

He proposed the following day and it was so beautiful and my friends all got together for the first time in eight months and it was so fun and we were definitely all 6 feet apart and we air high-fived in celebration. I christened that dock with my tears. Tears of grief and healing and now, celebration. 

We got married a year ago. Well, a year ago tomorrow. 

Our friends and family did everything. EVERYTHING. 

They sang songs and pieced together my Sam’s club flowers and set up tables and chairs and bought me underwear because I forgot to pack underwear and they. did. everything.

One friend and former pastor said beautiful words and told us how to be married while another former pastor gave us communion and made me hiccup sob in front of all of our friends and family.

My dad’s band sang all of the best dance songs and we danced until they picked me up and put me on the golf cart to try and get me to leave my own party, which is the dumbest thing. But honestly, if the band kept playing, I would probably still be there “Brown Eyed Girl”ing my heart out.  

It was the best group project we could ever been a part of. 

We got married outside because events were still not happening, but you could have them outside. Everyone said what if it rains, but I make a living telling people “it probably won’t rain” and “there’s not going to be a more perfect day”. 

And there wasn’t a more perfect day. 

Lots of people say their wedding is the best day of their lives. I am sure they’re right. I waited so long to find a human to spend my days with and the last 364 have been the best. 

Year one has been full of beauty and changes and challenges. We changed churches and bought a car and got possums and fleas. And that was just the first month. 

We made new friends and made a home where we would invite new friends and old friends over to feed them food and then they would have us come over for food. Year one involved a lot of food.

Tomorrow is March 12th. It is our one year anniversary and it will be 30 degrees and raining.

I used to wonder if God really liked me enough to let me spend my life with someone and now I know He loves me enough to allow me to have the memory of a perfect day to kick off starting that life. I am just so grateful.

Cheers to Year One.


A Tale Of The Girl Who Ran From Grief

A Tale Of The Girl Who Ran From Grief

I kicked my feet into the air and pressed my back into my yoga mat, hoping to dissolve into the floorboards of the church basement.

I took a deep breath in. “The Lord is my shepherd.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that famous chapter in Psalms. I’m pretty sure I could recite it without any effort of memorization.

Exhale. “I lack nothing.”

But that wasn’t the case over a month ago. If you had asked me 6 weeks ago, I was lacking everything. I was in the throws of a delayed grieving process and pulled all of my emotions into a month long tornado of wreckage.

After not traveling for 7 months, I went to visit family and came back to my soul finally reached a breaking point. We could only run for so long and the my time was up. I’m not really sure when or how it started, but I began the grieving process. And guys, I grieved hard and loud.

I grieved the loss of my passion and calling.
Of community.
Of friendships.
Of my self worth.
Of my identity.

And I bought into some serious lies.
Lies that I was never truly good at ministry.
Lies that people thought I was poisonous.
Lies that God told everyone to abandon me.
And the loudest lie of all, that I had failed.

I had spent so much time running from these thoughts and emotions, and the process of grief as a whole, but we can only run for so long.

It began to spill over on I95. I had reached out to every person I knew for a week and only to be met with rejection. Because summer and people are busy, which actually was the hardest reminder since this was my first summer in 15 years not going to camps. I drove up and down the interstate, crying and yelling. (Did you see the Meryl Streep yell on this season of Big Little Lies? Yeah, that kind of yell.) I turned up a worship album and argued with it, as if trying to convince Kirby Kaple that God is not actually good at all and her song was a complete and total lie (aw, it’s not, it’s really a delightful song).

Grief can be really ugly. It can be really beautiful, but if you try to suppress it, it can get messy. A wise friend was overjoyed when I finally allowed myself to feel something and cry. She watched me avoid conversations for months in fear that I would burst into tears or feel something at any moment. Each time we sat down, she told me “the only way out of this pain is through” and so I repeated those words in the gas station parking lot that night.

The only way out is through.

I did the things you’re supposed to do to take care of your mental health that next morning, especially in the midst of grief.

I scheduled counseling appointments.
I told friends I needed help (like, just invite me over for dinner or call me and tell me about your day, because sometimes that’s what “help” is).
I went to lunch.
I allowed myself to cry and feel.
And I listened to good words.
I filled my head with books and podcasts and sermons that did not pretty things up.
And I set out on a journey to find a church (Ok, one day I’ll write a whole series on this because oh my word, why didn’t you guys tell me how hard that is? Finding a church is hard if you don’t work at a church).

I also tried a new yoga class that involved prayer, scripture, and meditation.

I cried through the entire first class, as I attempted to open up a healthy line of communication between me and God. You know, one where I am not crying and calling Him a liar. Because grief.

Which brought me to this mat and me staring at my feet, straight above me head, in a mixed glow of street lights and candles.

I heard “you have met this season of restoration with a spirit of resistance”. I thought to myself “wow, I wonder how the instructor knew that”. But she didn’t. And she actually didn’t say that at all. But I heard it loud and clear.

Once you allow yourself to go through grief, you get to start the refining process of restoration. I am in that season. I am crushed and bruised within my soul and faith, but not beyond repair and not abandoned. I have resisted the process because I didn’t want to feel it. I didn’t want to face the lies that I had bought into. I didn’t want to face the hurt and rejection I was feeling or the loss of identity. I wanted to run hard and fast away from all of it.

But when we run, we grow weary. We need rest. We need to be restored into a more whole version of ourselves, especially after we have been hurt or have dealt with loss.

And we need to know loss looks different for everyone. I kept telling myself I didn’t need to grieve because I didn’t lose a person. But I lost who I am and sometimes that’s just as tough to come back from.

I think this process is teaching me a lot (it is very much a present tense thing, I’m still learning and grieving and battling some lies). But I think the process to even get to restoration has so much beauty. And at the end of the day, God’s goodness and love will follow me all the days, even when I try to run from it. There’s no valley too dark for Him to walk with me in.


Show Me What I Don’t See

Show Me What I Don’t See

“I just feel like my word for the year is rejection

I sat across the table from a friend at lunch. I wasn’t sad, or frustrated. I think I was just disoriented. Like I’ve lost connection to a GPS and no longer sure of the road I’m on. I received news that the grad program I applied to for the summer was full. But this didn’t sting. At this point, I was used to hearing “thanks, but no thanks”.

The last two months I’ve listened to people talk about their Word of the Year.


Those words sound so pretty, don’t they? Like they belong on a framed floral print or etched onto the cover of a notebook. While I’m sure the process isn’t as pretty as the words, it brings an abundant amount of hope to a year. So why does my word feel like rejection two months in? Can you imagine purchasing a brand new notebook with the word R E J E C T I O N etched across the front in pink, bubbly letters?

My friend, in her infinite wit and wisdom responded with “I don’t think your word is rejection, I think it’s redirection.” I felt it like a kick to the stomach. The word floated up to my throat. Redirection. She’s not wrong. My whole life has continued to be redirected since the start of this year.

We may only be two months in, but I can’t help but notice my answer to most things is “I don’t know”. That phrase has almost become a theme. Like a tagline to the word “redirection”. I’ve never walked into a season knowing so little. Yet there seems to be a settled peace and feeling of trust that I’ve never experienced before. Yet I just can’t seem to shake that feeling of a GPS that is consistently recalculating. Each time I get a mile in one direction, I feel myself taking a different route than I had planned. And asking the questions:

What does tomorrow hold?
Or next week?
Or next year?
I just don’t know.

But I think my call in this season is to be ok in the “I don’t know”. To settle in to the idea that I don’t have to know every little detail and how it will plan out. This is still so difficult for me to do. It’s probably difficult for any of us to do. Who doesn’t love certainty? Sure, many of us thrive in change, but I think if we love change, it’s because we know there is certainty within that change.

I spoke with a friend this morning who challenged me to write out the stories I’m creating in my mind to fill in for the “I don’t know” moments. She told me to pray:

God, here is how I am perceiving things.
Show me what I don’t see.

Because while the grad school redirection didn’t sting, there have been others that cut a little deeper. Things that perhaps I just can’t see the big picture. And maybe it’s important to see the big picture before I write the story of what is really going on.

It’s not the year of rejection. It’s the year of asking God to show me what I don’t see. To give me clear vision as I continue to recalculate and redirect. To teach me to trust when I want to embrace all skepticism telling myself that surely it won’t work out. And to know that “I don’t know” does not mean “no”, but that maybe we don’t get to see the full story quite yet. And in the meantime just ask that He continues to reveal what we don’t see.

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

With tears streaming down my face, I sat down on my couch and began to dial the phone number of my new boss.

Six months prior, my first full time church took a chance on 22 year old Katie and decided to bring her on as Director of Middle School Ministries.

As ready (or as not ready) as I was, I skipped in through the doors of the church and welcomed myself into this exciting new ministry. An adventure filled with pudding wars and all nighters at camp. No one was more elated about this job than I was.

But now. How could it be over that fast? I dialed the number.


Through tiny sobs I managed to get it out:
I just want *deep breath* to thank you for *deep breath* this opportunity and *deep breath* for taking a chance *deep breath* on me.

My sweet, kind supervisor, Meg responded:
What happened?

I broke the vase.
What vase?
THE vase.

It was not registering. She did not know what vase I was talking about. How could she not know the vase? The one in the Bridal Parlor. Probably the only item to survive the 1984 fire. At least this is the story I made up in my mind. And now it was in approximately 1000 broken floral pieces on the ground.

I explained that I had been foolish enough to turn off all of the lights in the building and allow 60 middle schoolers to run around in a game of Underground Church. I didn’t think to lock the door to the precious parlor. I didn’t think that maybe this was not the best idea for our Sunday night activity in our 160 year old church. I was young. I just didn’t think.

Meg responded in her oh so soothing voice, “Ok, well just shut the parlor door and we will take a look at it in the morning. Get some sleep.”

Get some sleep? I did anything but sleep that night. How could I sleep when I worked so hard to get this job and now I was going to lose it. Over a vase.

The next morning I was sitting outside Meg’s office at 7:15 am (that’s so early for me). I waited until I heard the doors of the Greenhouse open and met her at the entrance to her office. Did she forget? She seemed far too calm.

Not me. I was in a dress, my face all splotchy. But I figured if you’re going to get let go over a broken vase, you should probably be dressed up.

We walked over to the parlor and she took a look at the pieces on the floor.
More tears began to fall down my face and I sniffled quietly.

“We’ll buy another one. I think it’s from Home Goods.”

Ha. Haha. I’m sorry, wut? It’s from…Home Goods? Martha Mae didn’t hand make it during the Civil War? But…I could have sworn…

We walked back to our offices and went on with the rest of our day. I stayed at Isle of Hope for 5 more years and made way bigger mistakes than a broken Home Goods vase.

But I learned about grace in my time there. I learned about courage and failure and everything in between.

Fast forward 8 years and we laugh about that story over lunch in the backyard of our favorite cafe.

If I had only known then what I know now.

We talked about what if we could do it all over again. Without the fear of failure (as our dear friend, Brene Brown calls it).

Without constantly wondering if I would make it another day or week or month. Without the narrative of negativity. Gosh, wouldn’t that be so freeing?

Over the next five years, I began to relax a bit. I worried less and loved more. There were times I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wasn’t as paralyzed by those moments. I had been given permission to fail and knew it would be ok if I did. The only true critic I had to worry about was myself.

While that moment paved the way for a lesson for me, I have not always continued to live in that mindset. There have been times that I have allowed myself to live in fear. I have given in to my biggest critic. I have spent seasons living in that fear of failure.

But knowing what I know now. What a beautiful thing it is to fail. To abandon fear and shame and know that no matter what you do, you’re giving it your all.

My hope is that we all have people in the arena with us, cheering us on, even if we fail. And if we do fail, my hope there that there is grace for each of us in that. No matter how broken the vase is.


When You’re Not What You Do

When You’re Not What You Do

When I turned 16, I received a call. It wasn’t on my navy blue Motorola Razor (which was graciously provided with my four year contract at Suncom that I decided to pay for myself). It was from God. I felt as though God had placed it on my heart to devote my life to ministry. It quickly became everything I wanted.

I poured my life, my heart, my soul, everything I did. It became about ministry. I went to bible college, but quickly came home when I realized that bible college was expensive and ministry money would not pay that off well.

While many spent their time in college living it up with weekends and parties and getting good grades, I lived mine on the 4th floor of an old building in downtown Savannah. Leading worship and games and playing cards for too many hours after VBS. I spent it writing songs on a ukulele while riding in the back of an old church mini van that smelled like cheerios on the way to some mission trip or ski trip. I spent it doing what I loved and what I knew I would do for the rest of my life.

Over the next ten years, ministry was my whole world. Sometimes I felt like I was good at it and sometimes I was overwhelmed by how much I had to learn. I lived for the relational side of it and dreaded staff meetings. I jumped from camps to retreats to kick offs, and sighed out massive amounts of exhaustion over aggressive parent emails.

I spent a decade learning and falling in love with the ins and outs of the local church. I learned denominations and practices. I learned the differences in what each church believed and what they valued. I served in three very different churches, but loved each one so differently. I loved them because of how they loved Jesus and taught others to love Him well.

I’ve been out of vocational ministry for one week. I never thought I would say that. I never thought I would step out. But I truly believe that God has called me to step out in this season. That’s not a fancy way of me prettying up a circumstance. I believe that to be the truth. It’s my truth, and even if it makes my heart hurt sometimes, it’s a truth that God will continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months and years.

If I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that I feel like I’ve never gotten to know. I’ve never really discovered who I am outside of ministry. Of course student ministry has always been important to me, but I think at some point, it became who I thought I was. I have found that a lot of my identity has been found in ministry and sometimes, dare I say, less in Jesus. Messy, right?

I have grown in my faith and of course I love Jesus. But I also sometimes feel like, I wonder, if I don’t know who I am outside of vocational ministry. It’s time consuming and has consumed a lot of who I am. When it got hard, like really hard, I felt like I started to feel like I was having an identity crisis.

This is what I always thought I would do. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. Do I still want to do this? Am I bad at this? Have I gone my whole life thinking ministry was something that it’s not? Was I something I’m not? 

Identity Crisis. So dramatic, right?

I don’t think I’m done with student ministry forever. Probably not even in this season. I’m just blindly stepping out in faith and allowing God to guide me instead of telling Him what I should be doing. What I’m supposed to be doing. What we talked about me doing.

It’s a weird feeling. Not being in total control. But I also feel like I can finally rest because I don’t have the choice to be in control of some of these things.

It has only been a week, but I think a lot of this season will be me learning that I am not what I do. While I have always loved what I have done, I think I will be learning to truly love who I am, in or out of ministry.

Your People

Your People

Sometimes your contacts are connected to your work email.

But then you don’t have a work email.

It’s ok, though. Because you’ll find your people. They will call you and text you and send you funny memes. And they will love you and ask to take you to get coffee or lunch. Or they will track you down at your favorite coffee shop. Because even though they are your people, they reached out and you couldn’t reach back. They are there, though. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They will love you well in all the best ways. The ways that you need to be loved. They know those ways. Target and snacks and baby snuggles. They know. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They will highlight the best parts of you and correct the parts that are maybe not so good. But they will let you be you. They’ll help you remember what that looks like. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They’ll come pick you up. Physically. In their car and roll down the windows while playing your favorite song. Spiritually. With every bible verse you couldn’t remember when you needed it. Or the sermons you haven’t heard that will make you feel seen by the most high God. They’re your people. That’s their job.

And the ones who don’t live close. They’ll beg you to come closer. They don’t want to be far from you when you’re looking for your people. They’ll be as close as they can even if it’s a couple thousand miles in distance. They’re still there. They’re your people. That’s their job.

We all have our people. We are those people. We know how to show up even when we don’t know how to show up.

Find your people. Love them well. It’s our job.



A New Hope and A New Hallway

A New Hope and A New Hallway

Three years ago I wrote an article called Hope in the Hallway. I wrote it for some friends who were waiting to hear back from some jobs. I referred to a season where I was waiting to hear back from a job. My first job in ministry.

I was standing in the hallway staring at doors, praying that they would open and invite me inside. I had a love/hate relationship with that hallway. I loved the anticipation. The hope. The closeness of God because of my need to rely on Him.

But I hated the uncertainty. I didn’t love the lies that would creep in, telling me that I was not good enough to walk through any of those doors that may open.

But there was hope.

It’s three years later, to the week, and I am back in the hallway. The one I had prayed so fervently for my friends who stood there. The hallway I was once in almost a decade ago.

Shortly after writing that article, I was presented with an amazing opportunity. One I wasn’t even looking for. To come be a part of an amazing staff, church, and youth ministry. I was invited to disciple girls and lead leaders and be a part of a team that would teach me so much.

I would spend the next three years falling in love with the community I served in. I would go to camps and mission trips that would teach me just how big God really is. I would learn about integrity and how to have it, even when it’s difficult. I would learn what it means to work hard for the glory of God. I would shed more tears than I could count with girls in my office. I would walk with students through some of their darkest days. I would learn things about myself. Things I didn’t even know I had in me.

It’s three years later and I have been stretched. I have grown. I have felt weary at times. And I have felt like I could conquer anything because of the nearness of God.

It’s three years later and I have stepped back into the hallway. Maybe even stumbled. But it’s a different feeling. The last 15 years, my life has been defined by student ministry. Even in the moments I wasn’t doing student ministry, it still consumed me. Not that it won’t still consume me, but this is new territory.

I’m not sure what my life will look like a year from now. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.

I have a divine sense of peace. One that couldn’t come from anywhere except the Holy Spirit.

I’ve never felt so scared, excited, sad, and hungry in my life (no, not because I’m eating healthy again…like, hungry for opportunity).

While I’m ready for what’s next, I am also ready to sit and listen and wait to see what that may be.

I invite you on this journey with me. To discover new callings, conversations, and prayers. My tribe is bigger and better than ever before and I’m excited for where the Lord is going to take us.

The Doubting Place

The Doubting Place

Do you think we could make some room for some doubts for a moment?

There are times where it’s really hard for me to understand what God is doing. There are times where I even doubt if God really knows what he is doing with some of the things in my life.

I don’t think I could necessarily do them better. I mean, I once messed up a Hello Fresh meal and they literally give you step by step instructions and MEASURE OUT THE INGREDIENTS IT IS SO NOT THAT HARD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

I digress.

I think we all can live in a place of doubt, if we let ourselves go there. And I think sometimes it’s ok to let us go there.

Now, please don’t hear that I think it’s ok to go to a place of doubt and camp out for life, never believing in the goodness of God.

I just think we get distracted by the things that try to tell us that God does not have this down.

I was good at doubting from a young age. I questioned everything they tried to teach me in Sunday School at the Catholic Church my parents occasionally dropped me off at on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t until I stopped doing the homework and received an actual report card with an F that we realized maybe I wasn’t getting much out of my Sunday mornings (what did they expect, I already had to go to school FIVE OTHER DAYS…I didn’t need any more grades to botch).

But I remember that being the first space I expressed my doubts. I thought it was absurd that someone would have to die for me. I didn’t ask for that.

I thought miracles sounded like fairy tales and didn’t have any true context in my life.

It wasn’t until later in life where those doubts would turn into belief and my doubts would only get more complicated.

Like why is cancer a thing.

And why do miscarriages happen.

And why are people still hungry.

Why do people lose their jobs.

And does God really need me to do what I’m doing, because it kind of feels hard.

I’m not here to answer those questions. But I am here to tell you that the promises of God are bigger than my questions. Maybe they don’t answer them specifically for the people in my life, but they do provide the thing we need the most when these doubts creep in.


So if you’re like me and allow yourself go to the doubting place, let speak some of those promises over you.

  1. God loves you a lot and forever.

Gosh, it doesn’t feel like it somedays, right? I mean who could love me? I’m a mess. I wish a Hello Fresh meal was the biggest mess up I’ve had this year. But God provides a love that is bigger than burnt rice and softer than the smell of smoke filling our house.

His love is soft and sweet and yet jerks us into course correction in a way that gives us whiplash. But at the end of the day we are claimed by a love that is bigger than the life or death or angels or demons or your life today or your life tomorrow and it’s not going to separate us. No matter your mistakes and no matter your doubts.

  1. You have a heavenly home.

This life is sucky. I won’t sugarcoat it. The news shows that this place is not our home and it’s too messy for us to live here forever like this. But one day we will have a home that is safe and beautiful and filled with more joy than our little hearts can imagine. It is in the blood of Christ that we are washed clean and prepared for that home. In the meantime, our job is to make this place a little better because it really needs our help.

3. You have purpose.

Psalm 139 says that God knit us in the womb so if for some reason your doubts are telling you otherwise, know that you have a purpose here today. You are not a mistake and there is a purpose for you in whatever season you are in.

4. God is not out to get you.

God really is out to bless us, but I think we mistake all of the grossness in our life as God trying to harm us so that we love Him a little more. I don’t think that’s what He is doing. He is out to satisfy our deepest desires and heal our deepest wounds. He’s not causing them. This broken world may be breaking us, but God is here to heal all of that broken.

5. God is going to give you strength.

I was recently talking with friends about an old song that I love to hate. If you were in church 15 years ago (or an older church today), you probably sang Trading My Sorrows every. single. sunday. (I hope it’s stuck in your head for the rest of the day). While that song drives me crazy, there’s a line I genuinely love.

Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30 takes us deeper into this line singing praises because He restores us and gives us strength. He makes it so we can dance even though we may be really sad. It may feel like it’s been a long time since you’ve seen the morning, but look for the strength that God has given you to get through to the morning. His promise is that morning is not that far off.

I could say yes and amen to those promises all day long. Yes, there is room for our doubts, but we must know there are promises that are larger than any doubt we could ever live within. I hope your doubts never allow themselves to be louder than the truth. And I hope you find freedom in those truth, you deserve it.

Dear 18 Year Old Katie

Dear 18 Year Old Katie

There’s a song by Nichole Nordeman and it’s a letter to her high school self. It’s a pretty cool writing activity and you should try it. I did. Here we go:

Dear Me,

Wow, congratulations. You made it to senior year. You know exactly what you want to do, and I promise, you will get there. While it seems silly to have to do these ridiculous things like go to college and live some life before starting full time ministry, I promise it will be worth it.

In the meantime, know some of these things:

It’s ok to be comfortable with who you are. Stop tugging on your shirt and assuming people are thinking about how big you are. No one is noticing, and if they are, they don’t matter.

You had a breakup and it was sad, but everyone was right and it’s ok to admit that and move on in confidence that you were saved from a lifetime of complication.

Your struggle with these friends will fade. The person you constantly fight with will be your forever friend. It’s ok that you aren’t talking in this season because you will talk in all of the other seasons and it will be so worth it.

People will continue to make mistakes. It’s ok to give them grace. Shame does not need to be the way we get our point across. Listen to your friends. There are reasons people do the things they do. It’s ok to hold your close friends accountable. Or to even hold them at all when they fall short. It is not ok to shame them for the mistakes they make that we are all one step away from. Mercy is key.

Your breakup with the church will be tough, but it will eventually make you stronger. While many don’t make it to the road back, you will and you will be more compassionate because of it. You’re so young in your faith and even just in general and seeing behind the curtain will be a learning experience, but don’t let it ruin you forever.

Stop eating out. Seriously. Spending $20 on a dinner at a fancy restaurant with your best friend every week is probably too many dollars. You’re 18. What are you even ordering? You can’t drink. While those memories will be great, you could eat an equally delicious meal at Chick-Fil-A and maybe save a little.

Maybe take out less student loans too, while we are on the topic of money. Apparently you will have to pay them back.

You will exchange wearing PJ pants in public for amazing black stretchy pants. This is the trend and will be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because they are not leg prisons and a curse because they will trick you into thinking you have not put on 25 lbs. Don’t listen. Take advantage of the stretchy pants, but trade them out for real pants with buttons every once in a while.

One day you will see Justin Timberlake in the middle of nowhere outside of Nashville. You will run. Yep, that’s right. You won’t say hi or ask for a picture. You will freak yourself out and run in the other direction. This will be your biggest regret.

The qualities you want in a man are important, and even still valid 10 years later, but there are other qualities that are more important. Make sure it’s a priority to find someone who loves you and communicates clearly. Guitars and beards are great, but these things are the very most important.

You think you’ll end up in Buffalo, but it’s farther off than you or I realize. You will still have a heart for that place and visit often, but it is not our home. We go where we are called and for now it’s Georgia and that’s actually not a bad thing at all.

Also, don’t let this crush you.

You won’t be married by 23. Or 25. Or even 30. Not even an almost. It sounds like a sentence to singleness and like it could be the most miserable thing, but it’s actually not that terrible. Your friends will have babies and you’ll wish it could be you, but you get to be an aunt to those babies and sleep in a little longer in the mornings because you give those babies back at the end of the day. That’s ok. You’ll get to be a mom to many students and walk with them through a lifetime of bright and dark moments.

Just because it doesn’t happen when you think it will, doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid dream and it’s definitely not a dead dream.

Your life will be filled with so many beautiful things. You know some of your lifetime friends now and you’ll make even more that will brighten your life and make you laugh until your whole body hurts. You will find a dog who will snuggle you and teach you so much about life and the character of God. You will travel to places you never thought you’d see and they will change you and enlighten you. Cherish those moments. Love others well and care for them. God was so serious about that command.

Storms and Celebrations


Two years ago, in October, I headed to Myrtle Beach for a friend’s wedding. My days were perfectly planned out: we had a great place to stay on the beach, we would prep for the wedding and have a great weekend celebrating some new friends. Weddings are great, however Hurricane Season is not.

As Hurricane Joaquin developed, so did new plans. We would eventually move the wedding just hours before to the warehouse where their church regularly meets. However the night before is when the storm showed it’s strength, picked up speed, and brought along a storm surge which would result in me swimming in three feet of water just to get to the twelve flights of stairs I would need to climb to refuge for the next two days.

The last several weeks we have experienced absolute chaos centered around storms. We had an evacuation call, a retracted call, the storm moved, and now we see developments of new storms appearing on the map. I’m over the storms. I just am. I would like to opt out of participating in any hurricanes for the rest of the year.

There’s a story that I love in the bible and it takes place in a storm, not unlike the ones we’ve experienced lately. I love the story because I love Peter. Peter is a disciple of Jesus and the most impulsive one. After Jesus performs a miracle, He sends His friends out fishing so He can have some alone time (I see you, introverts).

A storm hits that just about knocks these guys out of the boat. When all of the sudden they see Jesus walking over the wind and waves toward them. Because walking on water is totally normal. Peter is the kind of guy who jumps first and asks questions later, and he asks Jesus to call him out of the boat. Jesus does and Peter is doing great, only to drop when he begins to focus on the fact THAT HE IS WALKING ON WATER BECAUSE WHAT IS HAPPENING PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

The story is so often used to highlight the fact that Peter doubts Jesus and we should never doubt and blah blah blah. Sorry, while that’s not necessarily an untrue statement, can we just talk about that fact that Peter was brave enough to get out of the boat in the first place? Can we talk about the fact that there is a full blown storm happening? When storms happen in my life I want to curl up on the couch, watch 7643567 movies and eat all of my hurricane snacks in one sitting.

Peter teaches us that we don’t have to be afraid of the storm when we worship the One who has the power to calm it.

The reality is, storms are coming. Physical, spiritual, emotional. As much as I want to pretend there won’t be another storm, there will be. It’s just how I handle it.

I think it looks like running to Jesus even when it looks dangerous or difficult to do so. I think we need to spend more time praying and reflecting on the storms and acknowledging that He is big enough to handle it and He will deal with it.

I think it looks like calling out and asking for help. This is so hard. Failure doesn’t make us want to be known, it makes us want to hide. Peter throws his hands in the air and calls out for help. Maybe he acted too soon. Maybe he failed. But instead of letting himself drown and dwell on his failures and the shame that comes with that, he calls out for help.

And I think it looks like celebrating the storm when it passes. That Hurricane Wedding was one of the most beautiful services I have ever attended. We had prayed so much leading up to that wedding. Praying for the storm to disappear. Praying for direction and hope. And I think at the end of the day they would tell you they wouldn’t change it for all of friends, fancy napkins and Cha Cha Slides on a dance floor in the world. What mattered was that God’s glory was shown and the Holy Spirit was ever so present.

THAT is the celebration we all deserve after a storm.

Storms come and they are coming. Some last a day, a week, or several years. But Jesus doesn’t run from storms and leave us to drown. He shows up and shows His glory.