Where is L O V E // the song of our generation

She cries alone in her bedroom.

Desperate, she plays yet another love song. If she could just keep singing along, would it comfort her heart?

Does knowing someone else feels the same pain tame the weight of her own? The lyrics hit her heart like bricks.

She’s been waiting her whole life just to feel it. For someone to look into her eyes and say: “I choose you.”

Yet, it failed again. He didn’t call. He left her message read but unanswered.

Will it always be this way? Will love always be limited to the expanse of an iPhone screen?

More likes flood in. Does it solve the pain?

In her heart she knew the answer.

She didn’t want to be merely liked.

She wanted to be loved.

Notifications from social media did not stop the stabbing notifications of pain from her heart.

So the pain sat and so did she.

She wanted to run away.

She wanted nothing to do with a world deprived of love.

Thoughts spiral.

I am unlovable, she thinks.

If I am not chosen, then I am undesirable.

600 likes deep, she still longed for someone to love her deeper.

This secret life. Behind the screens of perfection, she needed a new depth perception.

Where depth was not limited to perception at all.

Rejection after rejection, she’s tired of it.

Like after like, it’s doing nothing.

Love song after love song, she feels even more alone.

Break-up song after break-up song, she feels even more bitter.

Self-care after self-care, she still feels empty inside.

In her distress, she leaves.

Outside in the cold mountain air, she looks up into the sky and screams:

“WHERE IS LOVE?!”

Snow falls delicately around her. The wind just quietly blows through the trees.

There is something about the stillness that is peaceful.

Then she hears it: “Amelia. It’s Me.”

Like the wind, it was a still small voice.

Startled, she stands in shock; questioning what she heard.

“Amelia, I love you. I am Love.”

She drops to the ground without a doubt this time.

“You have always been loved and you always will be. Just turn to me. I promise I am taking care of you.”

And suddenly all in an instance, the scenery around her begins to change. The trees grow their leaves.

The snow melts to reveal a green pasture filled with flowers of all kinds.

Pink roses, yellow daisies, purple petunias…

Healing.

It’s all she can think of.

He was melting her heart to see His face. The winter was never here at all.

Love was thawing all pain.

Lies were falling just as fast as the trees were turning a golden shade of green.

“This is possible always. I am the Sun that lights up your sky. I alone have the authority to change the seasons. And the season of your heart is no exception.”

Everything dead and dormant around her was coming alive.

As was she.

She saw her Father for who He really was.

With her.

Comforter.

Healer.

Way Maker.

But more than anything, she discovered what she had been looking for.

What the world around her could never fully provide.

Love.

He is Love.

Breaking through every lie.

Conquering every fear.

He is Love.

Nothing else was ever enough.

With the sun shining and the flowers blooming, the search for love was over.

And even as the sun went down later, she knew:

Only ONE Love song ever truly mattered.

And unlike those on Spotify, it was the only one that never stopped.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” 

// Zephaniah 3:17

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

// Romans 8:38-39

Every romantic song, ad, show, and movie proves the truth: all we really want is love. Yet while humans can fail, our God cannot. Only God can satisfy.

A W E S T R U C K // a story from a New York City summer.

She caught my attention immediately.

Dressed in an oversized sweatshirt, walking in circles at around 11pm on a New York City street corner.

I was simply walking home from a church dinner party gathering and couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense that I needed to talk to her.

When people said “God’s Spirit” led them to do something, I usually thought they meant they heard a literal voice in their head. While that certainly can happen, I found in this moment that it wasn’t so much a voice telling me what to do, but a simple presence of “knowing” what to do that came out of nowhere.

In other words, I knew I had a choice. I was not being forced to do something, but rather given the opportunity.

God isn’t a task master, but a Loving Father who empowers His children to act, should they choose to obey. We move FROM love, not FOR love. Obedience is not an achievement, but a natural outcome of trust in God’s heart. He couldn’t love us any more or any less based on what we do. However, obedience is where the true FUN happens as a Jesus follower. It’s where we find a component of that “purpose” in life that everyone seems to be so desperately searching for.

And in this instance, my small act of obedience led to something WILD.

However, I did not do it right away.

I passed her at first. It felt uncomfortable and awkward to interrupt a stranger’s conversation, as she was on the phone via her airpods. Although, I heard something profound as she talked when I passed her: “Jesus.”

I wrestled with whether or not I was just hearing what I wanted to, but I was also pretty sure of what I heard. And in New York City, that’s a pretty unexpected Name to hear on a phone call.

After passing her, I stood in the lobby of my dorm building and pulled out my phone. The time read 11:11pm. Since I was around 12 years old, I have always silently said a prayer (wishes seemed too empty to me) at 11:11 if I saw it:

“I pray to change the world in Jesus Name, Amen.”

In this instance, I felt like that prayer was all the confirmation I needed to go back and talk to this girl. I even screenshotted the 11:11 time stamp (this will be relevant later).

As I walked back out of my building, I asked God internally, isn’t it rude to interrupt a conversation though?

I genuinely felt God answer in my heart that it really didn’t matter. Ultimately, it was worth the risk of how others could perceive me if the act was from Him. Love conquers fear anyway.

So I turned my eyes back to the street corner and went.

I approached her cautiously and said something along the lines of, “Hey, I am so sorry to interrupt your conversation—this is probably the weirdest thing I have ever done.”

She thankfully didn’t seem bothered at all and basically said, “you’re totally fine, it’s ok.”

I couldn’t think of what to say other than, “I know this is super strange, but did you say Jesus on the phone? I was passing by and thought I heard it.”

“Yes, I did.”

“Ok cool, so are you a Christian?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Sweet, I am too. So here’s the thing—I really just felt like God wanted me to come talk to you. I have no idea why, but I felt like it was important. I know this is weird, but I thought, why not?”

She laughed and explained that she saw me looking at her a few times and had wondered why.

I laughed too and acknowledged that I both felt and probably looked like a stalker.

But then The Spirit spoke things through me out of nowhere that I had no idea would mean anything to her. I have found that it’s typically God speaking when you don’t have to put a ton of brain effort into the words that are naturally flowing out of you.

I said, “I just want to say that God really affirms what you’re doing. I have no idea what it is, but God just really affirms it.”

And then that’s when the insanity happened.

Her eyes widened and she blurted out, “NO WAY.”

“What?” I asked in genuine wonder.

“I have legitimately been praying for confirmation from God about something this whole week. I had reached a point where I didn’t care what it took to let me know. I had even asked Him to send a person if needed…something, anything.”

I looked at the girl in awe.

She explained, “This is actually what I was on the phone with my friend talking about just now.”

I realized her friend was still on the line, listening to the whole thing. I am pretty sure in my awestruck wonder I said something like, “WOA! That’s insane!! What even?! I had no idea.”

And that’s so true isn’t? We have NO IDEA what God will do with our simple obedience.

God answered His daughter’s prayer through the heart of another daughter.

Don’t you see? This IS The Kingdom of God alive and reigning on earth! We are all connected to our Heavenly Father through a common thread of His grace running deeply within and through us.

Additionally, risky acts of love are a lot easier when you spend time with The Source of Love Himself.

We have all had friends that we have become like. Whether it was their weird slang, funny expressions, or even their mannerisms—it’s natural to pick up the things that those closest to us demonstrate daily.

Side note: Because my amazing freshman year roommate called people “sweet nugs,” it wasn’t long before I caught myself doing the same.

It’s the same way with Jesus. He even directly calls us His friends:

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” // John 15:15

The yoke is easy and the burden is light (see Matthew 11:30) because like any friendship, His actions become your own natural inclinations simply through spending time with Him.

Or, put more simply: You become like who you walk with. No striving necessary.

God’s Word puts it this way:

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” // Proverbs 13:2

Therefore, you can’t force yourself to be like Jesus through submitting to a bunch of “religious checkboxes.” It’s only legit when you let go of what we think faith looks like and submit to His Friendship.

The result? Taking risks with God is a lot easier when you trust His heart as a genuine Friend rather than a stand-offish stranger. We rarely follow the advice of strangers anyways. It’s because they haven’t earned our trust.

But when God is your Trustworthy Friend, you find a new boldness to believe Him for the impossible…even the impossible things you never saw coming.

…Such as a girl’s life being changed through God’s tangible confirmation on a New York City street corner.

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Oh and fun fact: remember that screenshot I took at 11:11pm? A song was cued up on that same screenshot. The song was “Closer” by Bethel Music and the album was entitled, “For The Sake Of The World.”

Interesting album title isn’t it? Considering I pray for the world in Jesus Name every time it hits 11:11…God is so fun isn’t He?!

Until Heaven, I will probably never know what I confirmed for that fellow sister in Christ that Wednesday night. However, I do know it was likely “for the sake of the world.”

Looks like God is still answering my prayers from when I was 12 years old at 21.

Oh isn’t He ever so faithful?

His L O V E Re-opened // just in case you forgot.

Drop off all your fears in a box.

He is better than you thought.

He was never mad at you.

He actually loves you…don’t you see?

Life is about so much more than what we see.

Your heart is beating for far more than a world that leaves you feeling beaten.

The air around you is crisp with peace…if only we would stop to breathe it in.

It’s not about striving or conniving, but dining.

Yes, dining with Your Father.

There is always a seat open for you at His table.

And yes, the price of that seat has already been paid for.

So come, sit down, take a seat.

Rest easy in His presence.

Oh child, you were made for so much more than this.

What is stressful and temporal shall be gone by the waves of tomorrow.

Let Him wrap you up in His grace TODAY.

He makes us a feast, yet we so easily settle for the worship of crumbs.

Yet, all the while, it is WE who are crumbling.

We hide behind titles and smiles, hoping that it will be enough…

Enough to satisfy this deep cry for significance eating away at our souls in the night…

All the while realizing it simply won’t ever be enough.

Success has no finish line.

Neither do looks.

Neither do relationships.

We hug each of these wholeheartedly, hoping for some kind of wholeness in return.

But all we are left with are these bread crumbs we feel we have to earn.

So we search for MORE.

But we’ve forgotten bread crumbs don’t compare to the Bread of Life.

Oh child, come.

You are welcome here.

Even if that person, company or church didn’t communicate the same.

He never runs out of room for your heart to come and heal in His hands.

The greatest adventure is not of accumulation.

But of love relation.

The Father beckons our hearts to simply turn.

Turn your eyes to Him.

He gave us proof through His Son…

That we don’t need to hide again.

We can come freely and boldly into His presence with joy.

There is peace here.

He is far more tender than you think.

He even loves it when you blink.

For when The Creator looks at you, He sees all of you.

And He smiles.

Yes, He smiles because He didn’t make a mistake when He was making you.

His heart radiates with a deep pride over who you are and who you are becoming.

You are His—and no one can change that.

In a world forever fixed on an identity search, He’s already forever set your heart’s worth.

There’s no need to search for who you already ARE.

Just say yes.

Yes to Love.

Just in case you forgot, you are His beloved.

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I could give you a thousand reasons from my own life to prove to you how much The Father has shown the power and presence of His Love to me as of late…I really could. It’s insane. However, I felt this poem randomly hit my heart in a way that only His Spirit could produce. So here I am, releasing it to you. I pray that it finds you where you are…where you need it most. Let His gentle Love wash over all the offenses and hardened places of your heart that are ready to fall off. Peace is a promise, not a place. But you do have a place in His Love for you. He’s always been here. He isn’t the rigidity of what people call religion. Oh, He’s so much more than what the heaviness of fear and routine have tried to tell us He is. He’s so good. In a world of pain, He is my Prize. My Beloved. Call me crazy? Sure! But I also know I can call myself what everyone on this earth secretly dreams to be: FREE.

Oh if only we fully knew how powerful He made you and I to be.

God of the B R E A K T H R O U G H // smiles on a rainy day—the day I stopped trying to be enough for God

On Tuesday, February 19, God busted up my heart.

However, it really started on the Sunday night before. I had reached a point where all of my expectations about a particular situation had gotten squashed in an instant. I sat in my car dejected and in a lot of pain.

I ended up calling up a friend who so graciously invited me to stay at her house for the night.

It was then, perched on the comfort of a gray futon, that everything came to the surface: every doubt, raw truth, lie I had been believing, and sin struggle that desperately needed to bubble up into the open. My friend simply listened and began asking questions—diving deep into the heart of things that I would not have known to further probe into myself.

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If Your Heart Were a R O O M // what would be in it?

The following story is a metaphorical narrative of the healing God has walked my heart into over the past 8 years….the kind of healing available for all. For the best experience, I implore you to imagine the the room of your own heart as you read:

I hear a knock.

I look up from my table, comfortably sipping a cup of hot coffee.

Alarmed, I wonder why anyone would come to the door at this hour.

The early morning, with the sun barely risen.

Light began to pour ever so slowly through the windows.

Yet I had put up curtains to prevent that very thing.

Why was the light still able to touch me today?

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The power of A S K I N G // What Jesus can do with 30 seconds.

Everything stopped.

It was like Jesus Himself was looking right into my eyes.

You know, it’s one thing to believe in Jesus with all of your heart, and quite another to meet someone who embodies Him with all of their being. I’d never met someone like that- until last Friday afternoon.

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chasing G O L D // a trophy isn’t a well.

This past summer, I attended the largest advertising festival in the world for my study abroad program. Held on the coast of the French Riviera, executives from every country and culture you could imagine were present drinking rosé and enjoying some of the most breathtaking of views. It truly was an incredible spectacle! And pretty much everyone there was in attendance for the exact same reason: to win a prestigious award for their work. As a result, the attendees were some of the most brilliant minds of leadership I had ever met. It was clear that everyone had worked incredibly hard to get there, so I walked around in admiration of such tenacity.

However if you outrageously simplify the event, it wasn’t so different from my elementary school soccer team (the Red Roses!!): everyone there really wanted a trophy. Yes, the stakes were higher and the appetites far more advanced than a frozen Gogurt snack provided by a team mom. However, the premise was still the same: everyone wanted to WIN and be rewarded for said win. It would seem that this desire to win an award, no matter your age as a human being, never leaves us.

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S U M M E R L O V E // from France to Cali- what I learned about God’s love for you & me.

There’s so much to say about the past 6 weeks. Half was spent with CEOs on the French Riviera at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The other was spent with 300 of the boldest student leaders for God’s Kingdom I’ve ever met at 21 Project in Southern California. Such a strange summer to stumble on isn’t it? But if you read my last post, you’ll see that it was no accident. However, since it is extremely difficult to narrow 6 weeks down into 1 post, I am just going to focus on what God would: the L O V E He taught me all about along the way.

See, we throw around the concept of love so much that we have pretty much lost an understanding of its meaning. We are widely numb to its usage. But as cliché as the word  love seems to have become, God revealed to me that this is the very word that He designed US to become.

So here’s a little journey through my summer based on the lessons of L O V E God taught me every step of the way:

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the P R O O F of God // my personal story of His faithfulness

{ W A R N I N G: This isn’t going to end like you think it will. God’s stories aren’t predictable and I am learning that more & more every day… }

It’s kind of funny just how little we know about everything. Once upon a time, no one questioned that the earth was flat. Yet here we are, in awe of a world that has far more dimensions than we ever could have imagined back then. I think it still works that way today. We think we know the future. We think we have it all figured out. And then WHOOPS, we actually have no clue!!

Recently, I found this to be very true in my own life. A year ago today, I was in Hawaii. And even while I was there, I had already started dreaming of my grand return. Something about it captured my heart. The purity of God’s creation, the freedom found in the endless waves, the dreamy weather…it struck a chord deep within me. I began to develop this strong desire to go back, to live there for a season, or even put a stake in the ground by opening up my own coffee (& cookie!!) shop there in the future. I was seriously swept up by this dream of mine.

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