To the Christian girl who’s figuring out how to date…

I think we have a bit of an issue when it comes to Christian girls and their view of dating.

If you ask any of the girls who have been in one of my small groups or youth groups, they will tell you that I love talking about boys! I think it’s fun. I like to find out who girls have crushes on and why. I like to hear about their dates, and I always ask if they’ve kissed!

Here’s the thing: I’m ALL FOR DATING! I’m actually a big proponent of dating. But, I’m afraid we are SO NOT DOING IT RIGHT.

We have these 2 extremes, that I just don’t believe are working. Actually, I KNOW they’re not working.

On one side, we have the “worldly” way of dating. Hooking up, having sex, leading each other on, using each other, etc.

(Acting like you’re married in the physical side of the relationship.)

On the other side, we have the “Christian” way of dating. Committing to a significant other as if you’re married, sharing your deepest secrets, giving the control of all your emotion to the other, intertwining your spiritual hearts the moment you meet someone, etc.

(Acting like you’re married in the spiritual and emotional side of the relationship.)

I hear youth leaders and well-intentioned people say, don’t date someone unless you know you could marry them. I get it. I understand the logic, but I think it’s messing with our girls. They start thinking about marrying a boy they just met, and they start giving themselves in relationships as if this guy is their husband. NOT OKAY. I think we’ve done our kids a disservice by convincing them that relationships need to be so serious.

Here’s what I say: If you know you’d NEVER marry that guy, then don’t date him.

i.e. If he’s not a believer, DON’T date him. If his character is lacking, DON’T date him.

BUT, you don’t have to KNOW you’re going to marry him. That’s absurd.

Here’s what I think we need to start telling our teenagers:

Date for fun. Dating is about building friendship.

Be serious about your purity, but don’t be so serious about relationships.

Why are our teens getting into these deeply committed relationships at fourteen, where they give themselves over in what I often refer to as “emotional sex” — opening their hearts in a way that just isn’t appropriate. Why?

What ever happened to going on dates for fun? Good, wholesome, fun dating. Enjoying each other’s company. Finding out if you like spending time with someone.

Why do we have to DTR so soon these days?

When I met my husband as a freshman in college, I didn’t know if I wanted to marry him right away. (He says he knew he wanted to marry me…๐Ÿ˜Œ) Instead, I got to know him. We went on dates for 7 months before we DTR’d — AND BEFORE WE EVEN KISSED. He took me dinner. He wrote me notes. We ate breakfast together at Cafe Cappuccino every week. We shot baskets together. We worked out. We watched TV. We laughed. We talked.

ALL BEFORE WE DEFINED ANYTHING. We became best friends.

And, guess what, I even went out on a date with a guy or two in the midst of it all!ย ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Good, wholesome, not-so-serious dating needs to make a comeback.

Christian girls, we need to stop getting SO CRAZY about committing too soon. We need to stop pouring out our souls to guys who just don’t deserve our hearts like that. We need to take our purity seriously and not throw ourselves around at guys who aren’t going to stay for the long-haul.

Test the guys in your life. Just spend time with them. Date for fun to get to know people. See if you actually like their friendship. See if a guy sticks it out when he knows you’re not gonna throw your body around like a hot commodity.

THEN, and only then, can you determine if you MIGHT want to marry someone. Then, and only then, should you DTR.

But, let’s chill out a bit. Stop over-complicating things. Stop over-dramatizing relationships. (If you’re fighting every other day with a boyfriend, get out. That’s just silliness. Your relationship shouldn’t look like an episode of Gossip Girl.) Stop making things so overly-serious. Stop acting like your boyfriend is your husband. He’s not. Don’t give your heart and body over to him like he is.

And guys, how about y’all man-up just a bit and ask a girl out on a date. Stop leading on, stop playing games. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My dating philosophy: Be serious about your purity but not so serious about relationships.

** I hope you enjoyed the throwback pictures! **



Hearing the Voice of God

The mark of a mature believer is one who hungers after the Word of God.
Sadly, I’m afraid we have a plethora of malnourished believers walking around.
When we forsake spending time in the Word, we starve ourselves of the nourishment that God longs to give us.
What voices are you listening to? It all comes back to what you’re taking in. What are you feeding on?
Social media?
Opinions of others?
Locker room talk?
It’s time we start feasting on the Word of God. The riches at His table, rather than the junk at the world’s drive-thru.
Who’s ready to feast with me on the Word of God? Grab your copy of THE UNWASTED LIFE on Amazon today, and you’ll find an entire section about tasting and feasting on the Lord’s goodness.
PS: Who wants to do an online study group with teaching videos from me??
Give me a ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ if you’re in!


The Unwasted Pre-Order Gift Info

Release date: DECEMBER 1st!!

By pre-ordering, you will receive a FREE copy of the e-version of From Empty to Full! This is an exclusive, never-before-released Bible Study about finding Jesus as your sole satisfaction!

In order to claim your pre-order gift of From Empty to Full, email a picture of your receipt to:

You Are God’s Kind of Material

On Saturday we went to a gorgeous art museum, full of beautiful pieces created centuries ago. Some ornate, some simple, some abstract, some unexpected.
But, you know what struck me the most? We walked into a room that used unlikely materials to create the pieces of art: nails, yarn, recycled materials, scrap metal. Those pieces caught my attention more than any other pieces in the entire museum, and I started thinking…isn’t that how God, the ultimate Artist works? He takes the unlikely, the ordinary, the unexpected people, and He creates such beautiful purpose out of their lives.
Do you feel like the unlikely one? The one who views themselves like the scrap metal? The leftover? Have you ever thought: “What could God do with me? Being used by God is reserved for the others, but not for me.” Well, guess what? YOU are God’s kind of material. He takes the broken, unlikely, thrown to the side, trashed, forgotten AND HE BRINGS BEAUTY and PURPOSE and MORE THAN WE COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED.
You are not forgotten by the Creator. The Artist. The One who can bring beauty from the ashes. Hand your life over to Him and watch and see the beauty He alone can bring from our mess! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

What are they saying about Fan Into Flames?

I remember when I was 14 years old, Elise Adams (@elise_arnold7) stepped into my life and asked if she could disciple me. I didn’t have a clue what it meant to be discipled! But, Elise took me under her wing, and we met with a group of girls every single Sunday night for the next 4 years of my life. Elise taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Christ — a life-long learner of the things of God. She taught me how to study Scripture in-depth, she taught me consistency, and she gave me accountability. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her, and most definitely wouldn’t be discipling other girls like I am today.
Will you give me the PRIVILEGE of coming alongside you to disciple you? Leading these 13 girls through the Fan Into Flames program this September has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
Will you join the October group? It’s for girls 14-24!

Cultivation Happens in the Presence of the Gardener

CULTIVATE means to foster the growth of.
Another definition I love says: “to loosen or break up the soil” — as we prepare to study Cultivating a Life of Joy next Sunday, I couldn’t help but think, what is God going to do through this study to foster the growth of joy in your life? What is He going to loosen or break up in the soil of your soul to make way for the seeds of joy to take root and grow in your life?
As I thought through these things and reflected on theย beautiful garden we just walked through yesterday, the Lord gave me this thought:
“Cultivation only happens in the presence of the Gardener through the conduit of Jesus Christ.”
John 15 tells us that God is the gardener and Jesus is the vine we must be connected to always. The only way joy will be cultivated in our lives is by being in the Presence of God daily, and we enter into His presence because of our connection to Jesus Christ.
Do you want to experience joy? Get into His presence. He may have to loosen and break up some of the soil of your hardened heart, but after the tilling, you will reap a harvest of joy!ย ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
Will you join me on a journey towards joy?
* Grab a devo!โ€ฆ/1โ€ฆ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_mHcYzb5KHGCMW

* Then join the FB Group to be a part of the study.

What’s causing the barrier in your relationship with God?

I remember standing there during worship and not feeling a thing. Why I couldn’t I feel God? Why did it feel like there was such a barrier between my heart and His?

Then I began remembering… I was consumed by shame and guilt that was festering in my heart and I wasn’t dealing with it. I just wanted things to be back like they used to be. I wanted to feel God again. I wanted to be free again. It wasn’t until I confessed my sin, laid myself bare before God, and made myself right with those I had wronged, that I felt freedom, peace, and joy again.

Does this sound familiar to you at all? Maybe you’re in the midst of a time where you just don’t feel God? Can I gently and graciously suggest that maybe there’s some unconfessed sin festering in your soul? Until we deal with sin, we’ll be blocked off from free communion with our loving God.

I know it’s not easy. I know it can feel scary, but confession is a major key to finding joy.

I hope you’ll join me on a journey towards joy by:
1. Grabbing a copy of the devo I releasedโ€ฆ/โ€ฆ/ref=sr_1_1โ€ฆ

2. Joining our Facebook group of girls who will be studying together. {if you don’t have FB, sign up to receive emails for the extra online study resources!ย }

To the girl who’s freaked out that these are the end times

To the girl who’s freaked out that these are the end times,
I get it. Everything on the internet is blowing up that the world is coming to an end, and YOU ARE FREAKING OUT. I remember thinking about the end times and Jesus coming back when I was younger, and thinking, “But, wait!! I want to get married, have kids, and live a little more life!” Anyone else? ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ yeah, I thought so.
But here’s the deal, as Christians, we have absolutely NOTHING to be scared about. NOTHING to fear. NOTHING to be freaked out about.
There are 2 things you need to know:
First of all, no one knows when Jesus is coming back, and when you know Jesus as your Savior, THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!
Secondly though, I want you to also know that, JESUS COULD come back ANY DAY! So, let’s live like he’s coming back tomorrow.

Now, 2 more things I want you to think about:
First & foremost, you need to BE SURE that you’re saved. When you have that confidence, I promise you that you don’t have to be worried about the end times. Jesus is coming back sometime and that’s exciting for believers! Do you have the confidence that you will spend eternity with Jesus?

Secondly, and this is A BIG ONE:
Knowing he’s coming back should COMPEL us to share the gospel with those who are lost & don’t know Jesus. We should have a sense of urgency to share Christ, all the time.

Just know this, sometimes we view eternity as more lame than this life on earth. I don’t know why. We just do. But life in eternity with Jesus will be a greater way of living than life here on earth. More than we can imagine. The new heaven and new earth described in Scripture will be far beyond anything we can imagine. Who knows when that day will come? It might not be close to now, but when we know Jesus we can be fully confident that it’s going to be INCREDIBLE! So there is nothing to fear. Our hope is sure and our inheritance is rich! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
Do some business w/ Jesus today. Do you know Him? If so, live in peace, w/ nothing to fear, because your eternity is sure + live with urgency to share Christ w/ all you know.

The last verses in the Bible say this:
โ€œYes, I am coming soon!โ€
And we say confidently, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Start Somewhere

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, do you ever think:
“I just keep dropping the ball in my walk with Christ.”
“I just can’t get it together.”
“I used to be so on fire, what happened?”
“I can’t seem to get out of this time of spiritual drought!”
“What’s the point? I’ve messed up way too many times…”
“I just don’t know where to start.”
I’ve thought these things (and more), more times than I want to admit. One thing we need to remember is that we serve a God who is so FULL of GRACE. His arms are always wide open, He’s not condemning you, but He’s inviting you in…ALWAYS.
I love the gentle invitation from the Father in Psalms 27:8, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.'”
I think sometimes we view God in the wrong light — instead of seeing Him as the gracious, loving Father that He is, we view Him as the lecturing condemner. We feel guilt for not “being what we should be” instead of realizing the love and grace in the eyes of our caring God, who says, “there is NO CONDEMNATION for those in Christ Jesus” – there is grace, and only grace.
Don’t let past mistakes or shortcomings keep you from coming into His presence. His simple invitation is to come and talk with Him. Your simple response is coming and sitting before His presence. Let’s stop complicating it so much. Let’s stop trying to have it all together BEFORE we come in His presence. Let’s stop thinking it has to look a certain way. Let’s stop putting so many expectations on ourselves, and instead let’s simply come before Him every day. He will shape us and mold us. Gently and tenderly. He will speak to our hearts personally.
All we have to do is start somewhere. Make space and time to get in His presence. He promises to meet us. He’s inviting us with open arms. Just start somewhere. Start today. Then keep walking into His arms on a daily basis. He’s waiting. Are you willing?

If you’d like some practical guidance of ways that you can ignite the fire in your spiritual life, I encourage you to consider signing up for the discipleship program that I lead called:

Fan Into Flames

(The next session begin October 2nd)