10 Things I’m Loving Lately

10 Things I’m Loving Lately

 

  1. Southern Savers

Y’all. Guess who can’t make sense of numbers and therefore is super bad at budgeting?! Yep. This girl. But then I discovered two things that help me stay on budget dramatically, and one is this website. LITERALLY it’s every manufacturer AND specific store coupon compiled in one spot – you can print off any coupon and use whenever. (I saved $7 on just 3 items at Target yesterday!)

  1. Paying with cash

I believe Dave Ramsey says to do this…keep all your money in separate envelopes and pay using cash – not card – so you have an idea of how much you’re spending, and if what you’re buying is really worth it to you! I only use this method with my spending budget for the month, and it’s been a game changer.

  1. Hershey’s nuggets

Because the nuggets give you more chocolate per bite than the kisses. And sometimes you just need more chocolate.

hersheys

image via amazon.com

  1. Half & Half Coffee and Half & Half Tea

If you make your coffee half caffeinated and half decaf, then you can have more cups per day! Because why wouldn’t you want that?

Sweet tea was always a little too sweet for me, but un-sweet tea was too boring, and so when I heard my mom order a “half sweet half un-sweet tea,” I tried it, and it’s now my favorite drink. Especially in the summer.

  1. Beth Moore’s bible study – A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place

The Old Testament can feel like wading through pudding at times. Beth takes Genesis and Exodus and points out the story God is weaving specifically for us as women through these pages. Highly recommend.

9781415855812

image via lifeway.com

  1. My critique group!

I don’t know how anyone gets published or even finishes a book without a critique group. If you’re a writer….find one! I promise, it’s not scary. Literally, just google critique groups in your city. I bet you’ll find one.

  1. Hoka tennis shoes

Y’all. The people at Big Peach running recommended these shoes to me since I’d had surgery. I don’t know why I ever wore ANYTHING ELSE even before surgery! These shoes make me feel like I’m running on clouds. Or marshmallows. Or both. They range anywhere from $100-130, and they’re worth every penny.

1012045-BJNC_1

image via hokaoneone.com

  1. Crockpot Barbeque Chicken

Michael and I make this recipe at least twice a month. It’s ridiculously easy and way too yummy. Make some coleslaw, buy some fresh slider buns, and you’re good to go.

  1. Jergens Daily Moisturizer

I used to only use this on my legs, but I’ve seen the light!! I was just in a wedding with a pale gray dress (lovely color!) but I didn’t want to blend in with the dress and look, like, see-through or something. I used Jergens all over my arms and neck area, and it looked super natural and gave me a “healthy glow” 😉 with no streaks. It was a win, and a lot cheaper than a spray tan.

product_revitalizing_moisturizer.png

image via jergens.com

  1. Making the bed

For me, this is revolutionary. And somehow it makes the whole house feel cleaner!

 

Have a great week, and blessings to you,

 

Robyn

when chasing your dreams makes you want to stuff your face with chocolate…and maybe even give up

Sometimes, God’s answer isn’t “No,” it’s just, “Not yet.”

And so then you imagine banging your forehead on the keyboard in front of you. But you don’t, because you’re having a good hair day and also because you’re at the library and you would scare all the children.

But really. The love I have for my Asher series is big.

I love the seven year-old I created. Love him. Love his quirks and his imagination, love his freckles and his two best friends who wear capes to school and only talk by writing on mini-whiteboards.

I love them. But an agent hasn’t picked them up yet, and at this point, it’s been about a year shopping this little guy and his crew.

erica 9

photo by erica zoller

And so, for now, it’s time to move on from this particular series. I mean, I could self-publish Asher, but that route simply was never in my game plan. It’s a great route to take! I know BUNCHES of self-published authors, and they’re SUPER successful.

But for some reason, I just don’t get the feeling self-publishing is my route.

I’ve wanted to go the traditional publishing route since I was little, and by golly, I’m going to do it.

(Well. Maybe. If I can stop eating these dang Hershey’s chocolates and let Jesus pick me up by my bootstraps and kick me in the pants to snap me out of my pity party.)

Just kidding. Jesus doesn’t kick me in my pants. I don’t think.

Or maybe He does. Goodness knows I need it.

But my point is, I’m having a moment where I imagine I’m staring into Jesus’s eyes from across the table.

I say, “I’m done. Find me a cave. I’m moving to Alaska with moose and hubby and this bag of Hershey’s and I’m totally serious this time. Why haven’t you published my books yet? This is NOT how I would have planned it!”

And I can almost imagine Him sighing, tilting His head and looking at me with only Love in His eyes.

I imagine Him saying (with a touch of humor because my own mouth is full of chocolates like a squirrel with nuts), “Don’t you remember, Beloved?”

“Remember what?” **mouth still full of chocolate.**

“I have good plans for you. And there are many things you just can’t know yet. I promise, My plans are far better than your own.”

all bundles by Erica Zoller

photo by erica zoller

**Squints eyes accusingly. Tries to look tough and it’s not working but that’s fine.** “But my plan was really good. I was going to show everybody how easy it is to follow your dreams and I was going to make money from my book sales and shop way more at the Loft and take a vacation it totally would have been awesome.”

This is where I’m pretty sure He hoots with laughter the way one laughs at a puppy chasing her own tail. But not a mean laughing, a laughter laced with delight in His creation. In me.

“You’re funny, Robyn, Beloved. I love how I’ve made you.”

I can imagine Him smiling at me, and I try my best to frown in return because I want to stay mad at Him because He didn’t do what I wanted Him to do.

He didn’t follow my plans.

But I suppose Jesus is more exciting than that, right? More exciting than my type-A calendar squares. More exciting than dollar signs or likes on Facebook pages.

And I suppose He really does love us too much to let us settle for lesser things than the glory He’s got in store.

And now, just like that, I hear a whisper that’s more quiet than our conversation had been a minute ago. “Just keep your Eyes on me, Dear One. Are you not worthy already? Are you not already My Beloved?”

I exhale and I smile. Just a little.

Because, yes. I suppose I am.

I know I am.

Despite my forehead banging on the keyboard and my squirrel-esque consumption of chocolate nuggets, I am already enough for Him.

And you know what else?

I’ve got a 2-inch binder at home chalk-full of 320 pages of the most favorite words I’ve ever written. Words filled with magic and wonder and beauty and messiness and a character I’ve poured my heart into.

They’re untouched words, words full of the hope and excitement and the possibility of publishing.

So I ask Him what His plans are for this next book, and all He’ll tell me is that…

…I’m already worthy.

 

Blessings, joy, and an abundant knowing of your worth,

Robyn

why we can actually love our stories: a poem

why we can actually love our stories…

…and maybe trust that the Author loves us, too…

 

a poem, written by a heart that doubts more than I’d care to admit:

*

You are faithful when I rest

You are faithful when I work

*

You are faithful when I’m happy

You are faithful when I’m hurt

*

You are faithful in the evening

You are faithful in the day

*

You are faithful through the night

You sing melody at daybreak

spring landscape.jpg

You are faithful when I’m right

You are faithful when I’m wrong

*

You are faithful when I can’t

find the words to sing Your song

*

You are faithful to the animals

You are faithful to the trees

*

You promise to come back

and take the pain from them and me

*

You are faithful when I weep

You are faithful when I dance

*

You are the author of joy

You call us home in true romance

DSC_1453.JPG

You are faithful when I know

I need you all the time

*

You are faithful when I say

“I’ve got this. This life is mine.”

*

You are faithful every season

You are faithful in all Your plans

*

You are faithful to me always,

for I am always in Your hands.

 

“Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands.” John 3:35

Blessings and peace to you,

Robyn

just as friends

“Hey, so I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner with me.” Michael’s voice on the phone sounded excited and rushed and I was fairly confident he was pacing whatever room he was in.

I, on the other hand, was paralyzed in shock and bewilderment on my bed in the sorority house.

It was our sophomore year in college.

“Who is it?” one of my roommates whispered, probably after seeing my face revert to an awkward shade of tomato.

I answered Michael. “Um, sure! Dinner is good,” I blurted haphazardly into the phone, trying to sound normal.

But I didn’t feel normal. I felt like I just agreed to go on a date with a boy – and boys, to be sure, were currently on my “no” list. I’d written off dating entirely after my senior year of high school, and I’d held pretty steadily to that standard up to this point.

But at least, I figured, this boy seemed like a nice one.

Last year, he’d agreed to carry my large, mysterious trash bag full of something out to my car at the start of Spring Break. The trash bag exploded in the parking lot, resulting in an avalanche of stuffed animals. (They travel with me. Don’t pretend you don’t also have a teddy bear or something. I just happen to have a million.)

Michael had laughed then, and asked me if they had names. (Of course they did.) Unhesitatingly, he’d picked them all up and brushed them off, cars whizzing past.

In that parking lot moment, I had decided Michael was nice. And comfortable to be around. Even if he was a boy.

“Great!” Now, on the phone, I could hear the smile in his voice after I agreed to dinner.

I panicked. My mouth got dry. Then I turned to my roommates. “It’s Michael,” I finally whispered.

One raised her eyebrows and smiled. The other silently squealed.

But I didn’t. I was trying not to faint or hide under my covers.

“So, what’s your favorite place to eat dinner around here?”

“…Moes.”

I was sophisticated.

“Erm,” he chuckled. “I like Moes, too, but how about somewhere nicer?”

I blanched. My mouth had lost the ability to speak without croaking, but somehow we settled on a place called Transmetropolitan in downtown Athens. A pizza place.

It ended up being a great date, I was surprised to admit.

We ate pizza and pasta, then went back to his apartment to watch Chronicles of Narnia while wolfing down Junior Mints.

I made sure to sit on the edge of the couch the whole time, on the entirely opposite side from Michael. I was practically perched on the arm rest like an awkward parrot. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice. He was actually ENJOYING himself.

Why is he so calm? I wondered. We’re on a date. A DATE. (!!!!!!)

IMG_3001 (1)

college babies

After he dropped me off with that big, goofy grin I’d later come to fall in love with, I answered my roommates’ questions about the evening.

“It was a great date,” I admitted. “He even bought me junior mints because he didn’t have any chocolate at his apartment.” This was a big plus for me. Because chocolate.

 

“But…” I continued explaining, my brow furrowed in bewilderment. “I just don’t think it’s the right time. I don’t know why. I don’t want to be any more than friends right now.”

I prayed about it a lot in the days that followed, and I felt certain about my decision not to date him. I couldn’t explain why. It just wasn’t the right time.

And when I told all this to Michael, he shrugged his shoulders with a small smile. “Welp. If you prayed about it, then I can’t argue with The Lord!”

He said this good-naturedly as a joke, but there was tangible disappointment in his voice. I wanted to jump into a nearby bush and stay there a while. But I was also relieved, because boys, in my 20 year-old opinion, made things too complicated.

I wasn’t ready for it.

A few weeks later, I got another call. “Hey!” Michael’s voice.

My stomach dropped.

“Hey,” I croaked. Hadn’t I totally disappointed him? Why was he still talking to me?

“So, I was wondering. Would you come to my fraternity date nights with me? You know, just as friends.”

“Um. Just as friends?”

“Yep. I had such a great time with you, I’d really like to hang out with you as friends.”

Okay. But just as friends!”

If someone were to tally the number of times I repeated the phrase “just as friends” in the year that followed, well, we’d have a lot of tallies.

And so I went on his Christian fraternity’s date nights. Over and over and over.

And every time, I double-checked: “Just as friends.”

He’d agree every time. And every time, we had fun.

But I was stubborn. Like a donkey, or something.

Fast forward to that summer. We both signed up to work at a Christian sports camp in Colorado, literally by coincidence. Neither of us knew the other had signed up or had been hired.

But I quickly figured it out when we showed up at training together.

I was set to shovel snow away from the buildings (we were living at 9,000 feet above sea level), and Michael ambled up next to me and started helping.

“You don’t need to help. I’ve got this,” I said forcefully.

He wasn’t deterred. “Well, I want to help you!”

Gosh, I thought. This guy! Do I need to say “just as friends” again?

me and michael snow day (1).jpg

still college babies

But somewhere deep in the pit of my stomach, I was glad he was there next to me. I was a little homesick.

And so we shoveled.

He worked the first half of summer, and I spent the first half of summer at home in Georgia.

When the last half of summer rolled around, I flew out to Colorado in a pit of nerves. Being away from home wasn’t natural for me. I was scared. But I was also excited. I could tell I was right there in the exciting, albeit painful stage of truly growing up.

I arrived at camp.

Then I saw Michael. And I stared. And stared. And stared.

He was really…handsome. And, dare I think it? REALLY ATTRACTIVE.

He politely greeted me with a friendly hug. “You’ll love it here,” he assured me. “Best summer of my life.”

How is he so confident? I feel like I’m going to pee in my pants. And who are all those girls looking at him and smiling at him? Don’t they know he likes me?

 

Does he like me, still?

He went home, and I worked at camp. It was hard and awesome. I grew more than I think I’ve ever grown in the span of six weeks.

But still, by the end of the term, I couldn’t stop thinking about that goofy-grinning boy. Goofy-grinning man, more like it.

I couldn’t fall asleep without thinking about him, and I couldn’t talk without talking about him. (Sorry, Jaime.)

But by the time I got home, I was utterly confused.

God, I prayed. I like this boy. I do. And I’ve been telling him ‘no’ for over a year now. I’m sorry I’m so all over the place, but, if this is something You want for us, could You do something about it?

I wasn’t about to call Michael myself and profess my love because, honestly, couldn’t he get mad about that? Say something like, “Well it TOOK you long enough. Sorry. Too late.”

So I didn’t call.

Instead, he did.

The day after I prayed for our maybe-relationship, Michael texted me. “Want to go on a walk?”

Yes.

And we went.

Three months later I decided I wanted to marry the man.

And I don’t think we’ve ever said the phrase “just as friends” ever again.

DSCN1020.JPG

UGA graduation

_MG_5663.jpg

when I said YES!

0436.JPG

happy campers 🙂

Diary Post: disney, universal studios, harry potter world, and lots of middle schoolers

Most of you know that mine and hubby’s intended New York Christmas Getaway turned into New York Hospital Stay. By the time we got home from that trip, Michael looked at me and said, “I think we need a vacation.”

 

So, we took one! And not a severe food poisoning/hospital one. A REAL one!

 

“But hubby,” I initially said. “All I want to do is wrap you in bubble wrap and never let you go on vacation or eat out ever again.”

 

“So let’s go to Disney World.”

 

“…Done.”

 

And we were off!

It was one of our favorite vacations. It was also, as one of my good friends called it, a “working vacation.” This means that instead of sitting on a beach all day, we probably walked the equivalent of a trillion miles per day because, Mickey. We wanted to do ALL. THE. THINGS.

 

And it was awesome. (Minus that brief dehydration spell brought on by doing ALL. THE. THINGS. while drinking ALL. THE. COFFEE. Whoops. Totes my bad.)

 

Anywho, here’s a brief way too detailed photo diary of our time in both Disney and Hogwarts, the latter being the place that seems to be withholding our acceptance letters. Hmm. Weird.

 

Bring on the Magic!

IMG_7938

I wish this picture could capture my squeals and how I spilled my beloved junior mints in the midst of unbridled excitement.

IMG_7941

aside from how ridiculously beautiful our “moderate level” Disney resort was, the bus system used by all the Disney resorts makes staying at any of them – value, moderate, or luxury – totally worth it.

RESORT TIP: When you stay at a Disney Resort, make sure to buy a souvenir mug. These mugs are about $16, and they provide you with FREE refills of coffee, soda, and water at your resort. Drinking a cup of coffee in the dining area each morning will pay it off easily.

IMG_7949

dinner at Disney Springs (aka re-vamped Downtown Disney).

DISNEY SPRINGS TIP: We ate at basically most restaurants here, and while the atmosphere in most are realllllly fun, the food isn’t anything stellar. So if you’re looking for a really nice dinner, maybe go outside of Disney Springs. Other than that, our Asian cuisine at Morimoto was AWESOME. I would recommend it.

Epcot

IMG_7955

We lucked into being at Epcot on the first day of its Garden Showcase! There were butterflies and Disney princesses everywhere. I couldn’t even.

EPCOT TIP: The food here is ah-mazing. Spend all day here and eat everyyyyyy meal here! Eat meals you’re not even hungry for here. Eat. At. Epcot.

The World Showcase opens at 11, so if you want to meet Belle (in France) get to the World Showcase right at 11 – which is what we accidentally stumbled into, and I couldn’t even. Basically I couldn’t even the whole time. Then Belle told me she liked my necklace, and so now it’s officially the coolest necklace I own. Because Belle. I still can’t even.

EPCOT TIP: Eat at Via Napoli and order their pizza. It is the closest thing I have had to authentic Italian pizza since I studied in Florence. Also, get a gelato sandwich (pictured above) which consists of two doughy cookies hugging gelato.

I know, I know.

I told you!

Eat. At. Epcot.

EPCOT TIP: Ride Mission to Mars if you like roller coasters. It’s INTENSE. However, do not ride this before eating aforementioned gelato sandwich….

…You’re welcome.

Animal Kingdom

 

IMG_8051

The safari was amaaaaaaazing. mylanta. this is when we drove through a herd of giraffes, right before a feisty antelope chased the zebras into our hummer. Not a joke.

ANIMAL KINGDOM TIP: Go on the safari FIRST THING when the park opens at 9. This is what we did, and not only was the line a lot shorter, but the animals were super energetic and happy since they just ate breakfast. Apparently they like to nap in the afternoons….(don’t we all?)

IMG_8083

Ever seen the movie “Holes?” you’ll recognize this little guy 😉

IMG_8107

Happy campers 🙂

ANIMAL KINGDOM TIP: WE LOVED THIS PLACE. SERIOUSLY. It’s like a zoo…but BETTER. If you have little kids, the shows are awesome. If you have big kids (or if you basically ARE a big kid, like me and the hubs), then the Mount Kilimanjaro roller coaster is awesome, and so is the Dinosaur Expedition. It’s way more fun being chased by dinos and meteorites than you might think.

Harry Potter World / Universal Studios

IMG_8126

Diagon Alley! This is my favorite part of Harry Potter World, which spans two different parks via the Hogwarts Express. Go on the Hogwarts Express. Because Hogwarts Express.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP: You won’t be the only overly excited nerd here. I promise. Also, eat at Diagon Alley. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and it was a fantastic decision. Ride Escape from Gringotts. It’s super fun.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP: Take a picture with the Hogwarts Express Conductor. He has an excellent accent.

IMG_8143

Hogsmeade! This is where you will find Hogwarts and lots of butterbeer.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP:: Hogsmeade is the smaller side of Harry Potter World. It also contains our FAVORITE RIDE FROM UNIVERSAL: Escape from Hogwarts. Do not miss this ride! It takes you through the whollllllle Hogwarts castle, and makes you feel like you’re flying! It’s too much fun.

IMG_8159

Somehow I’m braver with my hubby. I went on the Hulk. And it was awesome.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS TIP: This is a park that is TEEMING WITH TWEENS. If you are a middle school boy, this is like your mothership. If you are not a middle school boy, perhaps you can assist them in their loud endeavors to attract female attention. Or, just be entertained by their attempts. You will not be disappointed.

Middle schoolers, I love you. You make the world go round.

Also ride: the Transformers, Men in Black (super dated, but still really nostalgic for us 90’s kids), and Spider Man rides.

Magic Kingdom

IMG_8209

This is by far my FAVORITE park. If you only have one day for a Disney park, do this one. It’s just not the same without it!

MAGIC KINGDOM TIP: While this park is my favorite, its food is my least favorite. Really. BUT the cool thing is, they let you bring in your own food and drinks!!! Since hubby and I knew this, we made a reservation at the Be Our Guest Ballroom for breakfast (which has decent food and an AWESOME atmosphere), and we simply brought PB&J’s and apples for lunch, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Also, Disney has really good coffee. Which we also enjoyed.

MAGIC KINGDOM TIP: Don’t miss out on these rides: Splash Mountain, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain (for older kids or adults). For younger kids, (and really everyone), honestly the entire park itself is truly a magical experience. From tucked away wishing wells to walking through Cinderella’s castle to meeting Buzz Lightyear to nighttime fireworks…Magic Kingdom really is magical. I can’t say it enough!

IMG_8180

When I didn’t get into Hogwarts, I applied to buy this particular residence. Still waiting on that to go through.

Hollywood Studios

Truthfully, we only took two pictures in Hollywood Studios. One was me fangirling over Belle’s ballgown from the live-action movie, and one was of Walt Disney’s 2nd grade desk. Because those are the kinds of pictures I take.

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TIP: Hubby and I did this park in just half a day, and we were pleased with that decision, mainly because Star Wars world isn’t open yet. It was pretty easy to see all the attractions we wanted to in a short time span.

Similar to Universal Studios, this park was also teeming with tweens. (Again – highly entertaining and enjoyable. Middle schoolers, we love you. Don’t ever change. Except for you, young whipper-snapper, who sat behind me in the Tower of Terror and kicked my seat repeatedly to show the girl sitting next to you how you’re very mature. Perhaps you can showcase your maturity in a different way next time. I will be happy to assist you in this endeavor.)

All jokes aside, this does seem like a park for older kids, since most of its rides appeared to be thrill rides. (REALLY fun thrill rides!) Don’t miss out on the Rock N’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. They give you that fun stomach-dropping feeling. 

Also, my favorite non-ride attraction was the Walt Disney Museum. It was super interesting for the history buff in me, and was also very inspiring as it showcased Walt’s creativity and drive. I loved it. Loved it.

IMG_8164

It was such an awesome trip. I would highly recommend Disney to anyone – old, young, newly married, married for 50 years – it’s all magical.

We’re already planning our trip for next time 😉

Blessings and happy vacationing to you,

 

Robyn

the time i cursed at God and He didn’t leave me

I’ve had an injured knee for about two and half years.

I had surgery for it in October (after years of exhausting all other options) and supposedly should be able to run right now.

I can’t.

At least, not yet.

img_6692

And it’s not like I was a crazy, hardcore runner before – I wasn’t. In fact, I didn’t “do” anything to injure my knee. It just started hurting one day – and then it never stopped.

I promise I’m not whining. I’m not. Maybe I am.

But hear me out: I’m extremely thankful for my overall health, the use of my limbs, the food on my table, the roof over my head, the health of my family – it’s all abundantly more than I could have ever asked for.

And I’m so thankful for it.

But chronic pain….it does something to a person after years go by. Especially when people keep telling you “it will get better in X number of months” over and over and over and months go by and it doesn’t get better and you’re left wondering why.

And chronic pain…it never lets you forget. It’s there when you turn over in bed, it’s there when you walk down the stairs, it’s there when you wake up and it’s there when you go to sleep. It’s there when you can’t dance at weddings. It’s there when you watch people play frisbee. It’s there when you fall trying to sit on the floor. It’s just there.

And now I really am whining. Sorry. Over now.

Two weeks ago, recovery for my knee took a bad turn, and not only did it scare me, it absolutely brought me to my knees.

I’d spent so much time trying, trying, trying, praying, praying, praying, hoping, hoping, hoping…

And I was just finally done. Done. Done. Done.

Done.

And I told God as much. I’m all for being real, so I’ll be real: I yelled at God. YELLED at Him. YELLLLLLLLED at Him like I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at anyone before in my entire life. (I was alone in the house. I might have scared the cats, though. I haven’t asked them.)

My angry, tear-filled rant sounded something like this, but only after I chucked my bible study onto the ground for dramatic effect:I’ve been faithful to You. I’ve done everything every doctor has ever told me to do. And all the while, I’ve read the Bible and I’ve tried to trust You and I’ve stayed positive and I’ve looked for the bright side in this whole thing and I’ve prayed and I’ve asked You for healing EVERY DAY FOR YEARS and I know you CAN heal but YOU WON’T ANSWER ME! WHY WON’T YOU HEAL ME?!”

Then I cursed. At God. With my finger pointed all crooked and accusing in His direction. Again and again. 

I know. My whole face burns with embarrassment as I write this. See my sin in all its ugliness: I cursed at the face of my Creator. At the One who loved me before I knew love. I cursed at Perfect Love Himself. At perfect Holiness and Purity. I cursed at the one I’d already nailed to the cross.

I did.

But then something even crazier and more scandalous happened.

He met me there.

dsc_7386

 

I didn’t scare Him away. He wasn’t angry at me. I wasn’t struck down by lightning. I wasn’t given an “F” on my Christian Report Card.

Instead, over the next few days, I felt Him bending down nearer and nearer, leaning in, gently whispering, “Thanks for being honest with Me. You can trust me with all of you. I love you. I want all of you. I want intimacy with you. I don’t want your mask. I already know what’s underneath. I knew every word you’d spoken to me before you spoke it. And I still love you. I always will. You can’t change how I feel about you.”

It absolutely scandalized me. And confused me. I was slightly offended, in fact.

Because I hadn’t been good. I’d been ugly. But He didn’t punish me. Things aren’t supposed to work that way, right? Not in the economy of perfectionism.

Perfect Love tends to do that to perfectionism – exposes it for the fake security that it is.

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, emphasis mine).

Can I fast forward to today?

Two weeks later from when I cursed at God and walked out on Him and called Him names?

Today, Michael and I walked 4 miles. Outside. In the sunshine.

And it felt ah-mazing!! Did you just read that?

I WALKED 4 MILES.

It didn’t hurt! At all!

I literally can’t remember the last time Michael and I have been able to do that together.

In fact, over the past two weeks, my physical therapist has been amazed at the sudden spurt of growth and progress I’ve had in my knee.

I’ve done more in the past two weeks than I’ve been able to do in the past two years – all with little to no pain.

All this outpouring of blessing. All this answered prayer. And all….after I failed God. After I cursed at the Healer Himself and accused the Faithful One of being unfaithful. After I walked out on Him.

Y’all.

I’ve never been more in love with Jesus. And not because my knee is doing well. I do love that, but that’s not why I love Him more.

It’s because when I let Him see me, really see me, He still liked me.

I let Him in on the good, the bad, the ugly, and He didn’t turn away.

He welcomed me, anger and all. I was fully known. Fully accepted. Fully loved. Fully hemmed in, behind and before.

img_0246

He didn’t punish me for spewing anger His way. He didn’t make my knee worse. (Yes. I was actually afraid of that.)

On the contrary, like David said, God actually blessed me in the weeks that followed:

“When I was beleaguered and bitter…in Your very presence…I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me” (psalm 73:21-24 msg version, emphasis mine).

I did apologize for treating God badly – for being mean to Him. That’s not how I would have talked to a friend. To my dad. To myself.

But He “made me lie down in green pastures…He restored my soul” (psalm 23 v. 2-3).

He made me lie down. He brought me to my knees.

And then He raised me up.

I’ve never felt more secure or loved…or calm. All of a sudden, I’m praying all day. I’m not trying to, I just am. I’m just talking with Someone who already knows and already loves.

Y’all. With confidence: we can trust Him. We can trust Him. We can trust Him.

You can’t scare Him off. And you certainly can’t out-perform Him.

Perfect Love won’t punish us. He punished Himself for us.

Mmm. Yes.

It’s scandalous. Scandalous grace.

 

Blessings, sunshine, fresh air, and long walks to you,

Robyn

the tearful, messy, magnificent now

Full disclosure?

I’m sitting down to write this because it’s hard to focus on the research I’m doing for my new book.

It’s hard to focus because I feel like I’m perpetually waiting on something.

And, sorta, I am.

I shouldn’t feel that way (because it’s totally unproductive), but I’m honest to a fault. So I’ll be honest: right now I check my email more times a day than should be socially acceptable.

A great literary agent has my full manuscript. I started the initial process with her in October, and in the publishing world, October to February is basically a blink of an eye. Really. It’s hardly any time at all.

And she’s been awesome this whole time.

Yet, still…I find myself wandering through the desert of doubtful waiting just like the Israelites did. You know, the people who doubted God after like a day or two of not knowing what’s ahead? The people who were given a dry path clear across a huge sea and a few days later decided the same God who’d parted the waters must have forgotten them?

Yeah. I’m like them.

I’ll own it.

Photo-Dec-29-5-2.jpeg

Stephanie Leight

And it was in this moment of owning it, of telling God that He’s taking too long and I wouldn’t do it this way…in this raw pouring out to God that I felt the gentle tug at my heart to look around.

So I did.

I saw two cats sleeping, a drippy sink, a warm lamp, well-lived-on couches, chocolate for days, a knee bandaged with physical therapy tape, silence and a ticking clock, and still the dream of sharing my words beat deep inside.

But I closed my eyes and simply stilled in the faith that my God is here.

Right now. Right now is a gift.

Right now – when I don’t have everything I want – is a gift.

The sink is dripping and I love its familiar rhythm. I won’t always have this cozy starter home, I found myself realizing.

Thank You God, for right now.

Bandaged though I am, I won’t always have my health.

Thank You God, for right now.

I won’t always have this glorious silence which lends itself perfectly to writing.

Thank You God, for right now.

I don’t have a published book yet. I don’t even have my agent yet.

Maybe the best things take time.

Thank You God, for right now.

The dishes are messy and the washer is full and the day might come when I’m older and brittle and can’t unload it by myself.

Thank You God, for right now.

And yet…tears well up in my eyes as I write this because…publishing my stories is such a desire. And it hasn’t happened in my timing.

And like the Israelites, when things didn’t go just as they wanted…

…I find myself doubting in a puddle of honest tearsdoes God really have the best plans for me?

You do, don’t You? I ask.

I look around again.

bc0a0784

Stephanie Leight

And I soak it in. The sunlight through the windowpane and the dust on the floor and the coffee in the pot.

The magnificent now. The messy, beautiful, wildly merciful gift of right now.

Gratefulness to God is a balm to my doubting soul.

And the desire of my heart still beats strong…yet through the tears, through the fear of the unknown, through the impatience, I know Who holds my heartbeat.

I know Who holds my now.

And there is this:

“This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.” Exodus 12:11

Here, the Israelites hadn’t been freed from the Egyptians yet. But they were instructed to eat this meal in haste, which demonstrated faith and readiness for the deliverance the Lord had promised but had not yet been seen.

Amazing.

So I’ll write my books and wait hopefully for that email, all the while with my cloak tucked in and with my sandals on my feet.

And if I don’t get the email I want?

Mmm. That will hurt. More than I’d care to admit. But I pray to let gratefulness be a balm to my soul, music to my heart, and a fragrant offering to Perfect Love Himself.

And I pray for the faith to keep going.

Blessings to you and peace to your own precious heart,

 Robyn