Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Looking like a Fool

Here's to journal entries that you look back on and are still convicted by, and song lyrics that play right when you need to hear them (Let it Happen- United Pursuit and Head to Heart- United Pursuit).

I don’t want to be manipulated into loving anyone. Or feel like my life is dependent on his approval. Like to be funny I need him to laugh. To be successful I need him to agree. To be anything I need something else. And maybe that’s why I feel so stifled here, like my prayers hit the ceiling because I don’t have his approval of my faith/my worship (even if I do). 
I feel like I need to ask permission to live fully abandoned.
 So I stay here. Walking on egg shells. Held back from my God by a prison I put myself into. I ask for You to come in. But I keep You at a distance, holding tighter to my fear of their reactions. I try to fix myself into my expectations of their expectations of me. I have to be skinny enough for everyone, I have to read enough for them. I have to be happy enough for her. I have to laugh enough at people for him. I have to be sufficiently distant for her, not clingy. I have to be funny enough for them. I have to be spiritual enough for her. And I change my stories/actions/interactions so as to fit them. 
And all the while my soul withers inside, wishing to just be seen for who I am. Wishing to be so different from any of them that they have no choice but to accept me as I am.  “And he calls each one of us by our names to come and play and he whispers to your heart to let it go and be alive”
I don’t know how to just be. I don’t know how to rest in who you’ve made me. I don’t know how to come alive. I feel like there’s so much of my spirit that wants to be free but I keep it locked up for fear of their reactions. I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want to hate myself. “That’s how he made you. Just let it happen”
What if I could just trust? What if I stopped caring? “There’s no shame in looking like a fool, in giving what I can’t keep to take a hold of you”

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Washed White and Boring

I've always loved it.
When I was a kid my favorite stuffed animals were a dalmatian and a unicorn. They were married and, of course, best friends with the barbies. Because spots vs plain were of no importance, neither was two legs vs four.
My favorite quotes had to do with standing out and being different.
I love anything that screams self expression.
I never wanted to be a part of a crowd, and when I was I was searching for ways to not be like everyone else. I wanted to be diverse. To be different.

And the longer I live, the more people and places I get to know, the more I love it.
I went to an open mic night last week that spoke to this part of my soul. I walked in and there were paintings covering the whole interior of this venue, with no continuity other than that it was art.
The open mic night was introduced with the same message: "There are no regulations; if you can play, play. It doesn't need to be a specific genre."
My friend and I walked out and she said "I don't get this place. There's Doctor Who over here and then that," pointing to the other sections of paintings.
That's when it hit me. "This is what the church should be."

There are no rules or regulations for dress, for genre, for life style. Come in as you are, give what you have, enjoy everyone else as they are. No judgements, no expectations. The music was enjoyed because it was good, not because it fit a certain criteria.

What if when we walked in to church that's what we got? A mix of people from all places and stages of life. Hipsters and punks and grandmas and young families and skaters and potheads and business men and musicians and students. What if churches didn't aim to please the people, but instead focused on walking towards Jesus together? What if I didn't have to wash my colors off to walk in the door?
That's how I feel in Christian circles so often. Ephesians tells me I'm a "masterpiece". I was doodling that word the other day and I drew a puzzle piece next to it. The next day I walked to school and there were puzzle pieces scattered on the sidewalk on my way, as though God was reminding me "Megan, you're a piece of my puzzle. And you're magnificent, a masterpiece."
But when I think of the church, I don't see the beauty of hundreds of pieces that come together to make a beautiful picture. I see white. A giant white puzzle. As though we somewhere along the way decided that we had to shed what makes us unique to become a Christian. We have to do this and not to that and line up perfectly with this idea of the perfect Christian, who is not Jesus by the way.
No. To be a good Christian I can't cuss (or flip tables) I can't drink (turn water into wine?) I can't hang out with the wrong crowd (sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors). I must go to all Bible studies. I must raise my hands in worship. I must attend every weekend. I must.
And so here we are. All white. All matching. All 'perfect'. ... All boring. And dare I say, maybe a little dry, a little empty.

I don't know about you, but I think there's more to this relationship than that. I think God gave me my colors because he wanted me to have them. He didn't give them to me so they could be stripped when I met Him. No. I think He enhances them. I don't lose myself when I get to know Him, I become more of myself. More who He created me to be. This relationship we have, it's not going to look like cookie-cutter Christianity because I am created unique. And the way that I understand and communicate with God is unique to me and the way I am made. The beautiful thing is that I will never fully grasp who He is. He's bigger than me. But he's given me you to help. Because the way you understand and communicate with God is unique to you, and when you share that with me and I with you we both come away with a greater understanding and knowledge of who He is. And add another person in there, it's even greater. That is how the Body of Christ should be!

That is how the puzzle becomes a beautiful picture of who God is. As we all individually follow Christ and His call on our lives, we are sharing with each other and learning together for a more complete picture of who God is. That is the beauty that we could be. That is the beauty I long for. 
So let's agree today; no more pretending or hiding behind white or doing something because "a good Christian would". Let your colors shine. Let people see you. You're a masterpiece. Why not share your beauty with the rest of us. Be courageous and inspire others to do the same. You were made for more. Live it with me today.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


A21 is a campaign that exists to abolish sex slavery. Today, in cities all over the world, people came together in a #walkforfreedom to take a stand, raise awareness, and give a voice to those who don't have one. I joined them along with many from my church here in Valencia.

We met at the Torres de Serrano and they told us how it was going to work. The Women would walk in a single-file line, silent and stoic. The men would walk on both sides talking to the people we passed and telling them what it was about. We walked for about an hour. As we walked, I was aware of those around us. The men that I'd met at church, talking to the people on the street. The people that we passed, watching us. The men especially. I noticed the men.

We stopped traffic. We had a police escort. There was plenty of attention on the line of women walking the streets of Valencia. But the attention was not for appearance, for that which women usually get attention. The attention was because there were at least a hundred of us, in all black, in a line. Silent.

As we walked I felt their eyes. I heard their voices.
"What is this?"
"You think a line will change anything?"
"Long live prostitution"
We walked through a neighborhood where prostitution happens every day; they told us before that we would. But I knew we were there because I felt it-- the oppression. I found out later that there had been women there hiding as we passed, and a few men got to talk to them and tell them why we were there. They said "Thank you" They were the reason we were there.

On that street I was even more aware of the men. Two of them walked up to our line saying "Oh look, you've lined the women up for us." I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to feel powerless to protect myself. But at that moment I did. And at that moment I was grateful for the men of God that flanked us. For the man that stood next to those two and kept them from us. What a picture that was to me.

Those men were fallen. They were so far from who God created them to be. They are the men I fear, though I would deny it. They are the men I expect, because they are what the world has made them. And by the world they are applauded. They are the reason for feminism. They are the reason I long to be independent, to stand on my own two feet and be under my own authority.

But the men in black walking alongside us. Those men have chosen a different path. Those men have chosen to love and to cherish. They've chosen to speak out for the women that are not able to. They've chosen to follow a Man who lived a different sort of life; a life to serve, to build up, to fight injustice. They are men I would follow.

We walked today in silence. And as we walked, I thought of all the women and children around the world without the option of speaking up for themselves. Those whose lives consist of abuse and heartache. The belief that "no one is coming." The depression that says I am alone in my nightmare. And my heart breaks. Every one of them is a dearly beloved child of God. Every one of them was bought for a price-- the blood of my savior.

And yet I sit, day in and day out, worried about petty things, rarely giving them a thought. Why am I not in their shoes? Why are they not in mine? Why do I not do more to help them? What can I do?

Today I gave myself to them as a metaphor. I walked in silence. I stood as a picture of those who can't.
Today I gave my prayers to them.
Today I gave my feet, my legs, my back.
Today I gave my heart to them.
Today I give my everything.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

To the Boys...

To the boys who want to be her man,

Know that as you go about your life, she's watching. She's watching how you treat other girls. She's watching how you respond to stress and frustration. She's watching how you talk to your mom and your sister. She's watching when you lose your cool. She's watching when you've won it all. She's sees it all. 
So don't live like it doesn't matter. Like what you do today has no repercussions tomorrow. Your actions affect her tomorrow and to her that is no light matter. 
Grow up. Have fun; but never at the expense of someone else. Work hard; but don't be afraid to relax. Go after your dreams and for God's sake if she's the one you want, chase her. Tell her what she means to you and don't be afraid of falling on your face. If she's worth it, you'll risk it. And she knows that. Risk being honest because life is not worth it without the risk. Risk it because she's going to risk a lot to trust you too. Risk it because she never believed anyone would or could. 
Work now to be kind when it's easier to be mean. Work to love when it's natural to hate. Work to be humble and selfless and madly, desperately in love with Jesus. Work to become a leader worth following. Work like it's what you were made for, because it is. 
She doesn't need a perfect man. She needs a man who will admit his mistakes and work to be better. A man who loves always and puts her before himself but after Jesus even as she tries to do the same for him. A man who is faithful in the little things. A man who protects her in her weakness and who magnifies her strengths. A man who will stand beside her proudly through success and failure alike. A man who points her always to Jesus as he runs next to her in this race called life. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A New Mission

God has been changing my heart so much since I've been at camp and I wanted to share some of what He is doing. 

A few months ago I wrote out a blog for HeartSong about the things that God was showing me: 
"I love to dream. God has given me so many dreams throughout my life. I have had this dream for the last several years to go to other countries and love on, and potentially teach, underprivileged children. It’s one of those things I want so bad that it’s shaped many, if not all, of my decisions recently. If this option doesn’t get me there, I won’t take it. 
In chapel the other day, the speaker spoke these words, “God wants to expand your dreams.” Then later that day there was this quote on Instagram, “He dreams bigger dreams for you than you do.” I was like Okay, God. What’s your point? 
I realized that I’d become stuck on this one thing (going overseas), a good thing, but still a thing that was not God. I’d begun to want that more than I wanted to follow wherever God led. I’d stopped trusting that He had a plan for me and focused on the plan that I liked, the one that was good enough for me. But He’s God. He doesn’t stop at “good enough”."

I went on to talk about the reasons I wanted to go into missions and my discovering that God had fulfilled all of those desires through HeartSong. This summer has been so much more of the same. As we lead on stage and engage off stage I have found that my heart has been broken again and again for the brokenness I've seen here in the lives of these campers. My heart goes out to those who have not had the love and support they need to succeed in life and I've found that as that has happened I've been less inclined to go overseas. It is not that I no longer want to. I would still love to travel should that be in God's plan for me. But I'm so much more convinced that God can and will use me where ever I end up- even if that's America. 

I love ministry. I love to love people and to encourage them. I want to be the one to help heal the brokenness. I want to give my life to help those who can not help themselves. And maybe that means overseas missions, but maybe that means my mission is here. And maybe here is where ever I am. 

I'm so amazed to see how God has directed my life to be at this place now. In middle school I felt God leading me towards working with the homeless. Because of that I started working at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend. While there I worked with the children ages 3 mos. - 3 yrs in a program that helped to improve their development so they would not be behind when they get to school. Through working there I discovered my love for underprivileged children and a desire to help students like them succeed, which is how I ended up at Cedarville as an Early Childhood Education major. And now after changing my major to Christian Education (a general ministry major) and two years in the ministry of HeartSong, I find myself here; with a love for ministry and a desire to help people but no idea how God will use that in my future. 
I have no doubt God will continue to lead me along this road with many twists and turns that I never would have foreseen. I trust that he will continue to draw me toward my final destination of being with Him and I am comfortable to sit back and enjoy the view along the way. His plan and purpose for my life is nothing I would have chosen for myself but I want it more than anything. Here's to many more years of following where the Spirit may lead. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I'm blown away today. Not by the wind that bites at my face when I walk outside. Not by my classes or the people or even the beauty around me. I'm blown away at my King. He is too good. He is too loving and too gracious and too just and too perfect to be true and yet He is. And I know it because I see it, I see Him everywhere. 

This semester has opened my eyes in a completely new and beautiful way to the nearness of Christ. So many nights I've talked with my roommate about things we've struggled with and ways that we want to be better and that by itself is a beautiful thing. But almost every time we've shared things with each other, we hear about that exact thing in chapel the next day or in classes or a church service. It's to the point that I anticipate it. I leave those conversations wondering what God is going to do with it in chapel the next day. It's like He's just sitting in our dorm room listening as we share our hearts, loving the community and grinning, "Just wait, child. I've got something coming for you tomorrow.” 

I don't have adjectives enough to describe that feeling; To know that God, the only God, the one who created all and holds all in his perfect hands, He loves to sit with us. He loves to point our dialogue in the right direction. He honors the effort to live in community, in a way that is pleasing to Him. He draws near to us as we draw near to Him. There's nothing like it. 

I had to have a tough conversation yesterday and nothing in me was excited, although I knew it was necessary. As it began I sent a silly, simple little prayer to God. “I just don’t want to cry.” It was so insignificant in light of everything that was about to take place. But He answered it. And His answer was yes. “I hear you, my love, and I’m going to take care of the big things. But I’ll take care of this little request too, because you matter to me, because you are my treasured one.” In the moments after that conversation ended, alongside the relief that came with being done, was this overwhelming sense of just being cherished. I felt like God was wrapping me in a hug in that moment. 

There is no reason that He should love me. All the mistakes, all the times I’ve pushed him away and tried to run, all the times I chose my pride and my protection over Him, yet He chooses to love me. He chooses to give me grace enough to show me my short comings and gives me the strength to overcome them. He gives me peace unlike anything the world could hope to produce even when my life is storming. He is all that I could ever need and so much more. 

I’m in awe of who He is. I’m in awe of what He’s done and the love that He continually lavishes over me. I’m in awe of the grace he extends no matter how many times I fall. I’m in awe of the people He’s put in my life to teach me more about who He is. There's is no one like Him. What a joy it is to know and be loved by so great a King. 

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing
Psalm 34:8-10

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

True Healing

I want to make a habit of doing what does not come easily. I've started running a couple times a week and I'm struck by how much it sucks. Every time. But somehow I always feel better afterwards. Like that hell I put my body through was actually worth it. Not only was I able to release any stress through the activity, but my body is becoming stronger and healthier because of it. 

It's funny how easy it is to fall into old habits when life gets rough. When I get tired, when I feel alone, when I'm sad, I run to the things that I know will numb the pain- at least for a little while. I run to the things that satisfy that longing immediately. Because eating a doughnut is easier than going for a run. Because the 'long run' doesn't cross my mind in the moment. Because real healing takes work and it takes time. Neither of which I enjoy giving. 

But this person that I am, the one I see in the mirror, the one that falls time and again to the same old trick, the one that chooses immediate gratification over true healing every time, that's not the person I want to be. That person makes me sick to my stomach. That person is not the one I want people seeing.  It's not how I want to live. 

True healing, though, requires authenticity. It means someone else has to see that version. It means the mask has to go in the trash and the walls have to come down. And that is terrifying. So I continue. I continue to cry in agony at the brokenness inside of me. I continue to long for a better existence. I continue wishing that just once I would not fall. I continue wishing that someone would break down the walls and simultaneously pushing away anyone who would try. 

It's a vicious cycle and I think it's one many of us live. Pride keeps our masks in place, believing that we are the only ones who struggle, the only ones who fall. Admitting weakness is admitting failure. And failure we cannot accept. We cannot let them see the brokenness we see in the mirror. No one would stick around if they saw that. Right? 

Well I'm sick of it. I'm sick of pretending to have it all together when I don't. I'm sick of acting as though life is great when it's not. I fall time and again into the same old easy fix. I'm a sucker for immediate gratification. I'm the weakest person I've ever met and I need Jesus. I do. I am weak and I am broken and I build walls like its my job. But maybe this will be the start of a new era. An era of honesty. An era of authenticity. An era of community that does not condemn but comes together to support one another. I want that. I want deep intentional relationships and I want life-giving community. 

There is no healing in my mask. There is no satisfaction in my little, perfectly protected and perfectly abandoned castle. Perfect love casts out fear. So today I'm laying down my mask and I invite you to do the same. Run hard into the arms of Jesus. Let someone in on your struggles. Let them help you. Share the burden. We were not meant to do this life on our own.