At 20//What I Wish I Had Known//Katie

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When I was 20 and in college, they were teaching us to treat dating like a courtship relationship where the boy pursues the girl and the girl shouldn’t be trying to pursue the boy because that’s backwards. A courtship mentality also included the idea that dating shouldn’t happen in a vacuum but in community because people are more likely to be themselves in a community. Sometimes this whole process was called “dating with a purpose” or “dating towards marriage” because they wanted people to realize that when you get involved in dating someone it can be damaging to knit your heart together with someone who you can’t ultimately spend the rest of your life with.
Now there were many pros to this philosophy- it encouraged women who were overly flirtatious to take a step back and not always be pursuing guys and giving them no opportunity to step up and lead in the relationship. It encouraged men who can be prone to passivity to step up and really be intentional with the way they pursue women they want to date. It encouraged people to have a healthy involvement of family and friends in their relationship instead of letting their life begin to revolve around their new special someone.
But there were cons too. Those of us gals who were already shy and never prone to flirt, felt we could barely talk to a guy or he might think we were trying to “pursue them” or be too forward. Some guys felt like since this was “dating with a purpose” that if they didn’t know for sure that they could see themselves marrying a girl then they shouldn’t ask her out at all. It was paralyzing for them. And it made people more prone to seeing a godly relationship have to revolve around a strict set of rules instead of a relationship that is first devoted to them seeking Christ and letting the Spirit guide them in their friendship and their dating.
So I wish I’d known when I was 20 that I didn’t have to get quite so freaked out about all the rules and that I could just trust God and pursue healthy friendships with guys that could turn into something romantic if the Lord led it to.
An article in the Cru book “Fantasy” really helped me readjust my dating philosophy. It’s called “From Fantasy to Reality” by Henry Cloud. You can check it out here:
Thanks for checking out our little series. We would love to have more of these series in the future–let us know if there are questions or topics you would like us all to chime in on.  //email us at the link above!//  Thanks & love you all.


Psalm 33 {Katie}

I don’t know about you gals, but it’s amazing to me how quickly my life can slip out of balance. I get behind on the housework, something for my job, or some personal project that I’ve been really wanting to work on… Or, heaven forbid, behind on working out. Yikes! That’s a whole lot of behind. And as an overachiever who dabbles in perfectionism, you can imagine how much I enjoy being in this state. 

Not much at all! I go back and forth between worry or frenzy of trying to catch up, to the other extreme of just completely giving up and saying “whatever”, laying on the couch and watching another 6 episodes of “Friends” or “Gilmore Girls” for the 100th time. And there might be ice cream involved there too. 😉 Has anyone tried the Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Fudge? Sublime….
But anyway I digress. Of course in this cycle of behindness even more essential things can begin to slip, like my relationships with friends, family, my husband, and of course the Lord as well.
How do I get off of this crazy train?!!!!!
Because no matter how often I end up running on this wheel of craziness like a deranged hamster, what I need is so beautifully simple it always astounds me…

I slowly lift my eyes up, then pray or open His Word- maybe even let a trusted person into my crazy zone to pray for me and before I know it, the world has stilled. My mind begins to race a little less.
Jesus says “Peace, be still” to my sore heart and weary mind and life becomes beautiful once again.
Having let my time with the Lord slip of late, I’ve begun to get back on the horse this week and God has been drawing me to the Psalms -the 30s seemed good since that’s my age decade. Thankfully, there’s some fantastic messages in these so I’ve included one that’s been encouraging me today…

As you read the psalm or some other passage of your choosing, I pray that the Lord draws near to you, speaks tenderly to you in whatever your wilderness is right now, and I thank Him for making His Word a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. Know how great and steadfast His love for you is TODAY and always! 
Blessings my dears!

Psalm 33
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him.Praise the Lord with the harp;
    make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully, and shout for joy.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does. 
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars[a];
    he puts the deep into storehouses.Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the people of the world revere him.For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.
 The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
    he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
    the purposes of his heart through all generations. 
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance.
 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and sees all mankind; 
from his dwelling place he watches
    all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all,
    who considers everything they do.
 No king is saved by the size of his army;
    no warrior escapes by his great strength. 
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    despite all its great strength it cannot save.
 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 
to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
 We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield. 
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.

Katie’s Story

It’s a terrible thing to feel shame. I remember from a very early age having a sense of self-consciousness, shame, and being very easily embarrassed. Even when I was only 4 or 5 I clearly remember times when I failed to live up to someone’s expectations or rules.

Looking back I know the situations weren’t that big a deal but as a child I felt like a failure whenever I screwed up. This feeling made me very driven to strive for excellence and acceptance in everything. I had to get good grades. I had to make my parents happy. I needed to please people so they would like me and if I didn’t think I could please them then I became very shy and would just avoid interaction completely. It was very stressful and I lived with a lot of fear.

I was blessed and grades came easily. They were something I could control. However, people were another whole ball game. I couldn’t make them like me and some of them actively teased or bullied me as kids are apt to do sometimes. I internalized the things they said and felt that shame creep up again. It didn’t matter if what they said wasn’t true. I had failed to make them like me and that was my crime in my own mind.

I needed to feel back in control again. I needed comfort. My parents were good and loving and took great care of my 3 brothers and I. My mom was an awesome cook and food was always a temptations so around age 10 it became my “drug of choice”. It started small with just sneaking food at home. But then I couldn’t do it too much or I’d get caught and ruin my parents’ image of me. 

So next came stealing food from different sources, then stealing money for food, then stealing money for other things.

This became a vicious cycle. Feel shame, steal something to feel better, then remember that stealing is wrong  and feel like crap again. Then back around again.

I felt like a failure. I wasn’t good enough for my friends, one day my parents would find out about all this and be disappointed, and most of all I knew God could never forgive me for willfully doing something I knew to be wrong.

This cycle went on for a couple of very dark years. But then my mom discovered my secret and confronted me about it. She sent me to my room and took what felt like FOREVER to come talk to me. Later she told me that she went to pray. As I waited, my stomach was in knots and dread filled my heart. I had been found out and now what God already knew would become real in my family too. I was a thief, a liar, a failure. Who could love or accept someone like that?

I had been to church many times and I had heard that God is loving, but I felt so unlovable and I did such bad things. No way He’d still love me right?

When my mom finally came in she didn’t yell or tell me how disappointed she was. Instead she asked me about how I’d been feeling and why I’d been doing these things. She saw the lies I’d been believing and shared with me about the true love of God.

All of us have failed to be perfect. All of us have gone astray and rebelled willfully in some way. There’s no way we can rescue ourselves from this brokenness. God sent his Son Jesus into this broken world to live the most excellent, sinless, praiseworthy life possible. He showed us what it looks like to live a perfect life that could please God and we see by comparison our own inability to live that way. But he died on the cross to take the penalty that I deserve. 

He knows the WORST thing about me and still loved me enough to die in my place! All my failures, all of my bad choices, all of my shame was nailed to the cross with Him. 

He ACCEPTS me as I am and wants to be with me forever. I don’t have to perform for Him to make him love me. He loves me unconditionally and that makes me want to follow him and please him out of thankfulness rather than fear or shame. 

 He’s here with me now to guide me and strengthen me to live the best life possible and experience all that He has for me. I’m still not perfect and it’s not like I never struggle with those same old lies sometimes. But whenever those dark voices whisper to me, I now have His loving voice through His Words in the Bible.

The dark voice calls me failure, thief, liar, unlovable.

His voice calls me forgiven, called, beloved, his daughter!

The Bible says that to all who receive Him (Jesus) and who BELIEVE in his name, he gives them the right to become children of God…a part of his family forever.

In Hebrews 13:5 it says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I never have to worry that he’ll change his mind about me.

All of us have deeply felt needs that go unmet. God came that we could have life to the fullest and to meet all of our deepest needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

If you haven’t taken the time to get to know Him, I strongly encourage you to give Him a shot. I think you will find that Jesus is better than anything this life has to offer you and He’s more wonderful than anything that death can take away.