Category Archives: God

All the Feels

As a pensive observer and possessor of an empathetic heart, I frequently feel all the feels.

An acquaintance’s daughter died of cancer. Felt the feels.
A friend’s nephew died in a drowning accident. Felt the feels.
I watched my niece’s joy-filled reaction as she devoured ice cream. Felt the feels.
I had one of a treasured many heart-to-heart conversations with a cherished friend who bared her faith and fear. Felt the feels.

I will tell you — and those closest to me will confirm — that I often walk around as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Why would that be? I walk closely with the Savior of my soul. I have a fire-tested, unceasing faith in God. I believe in miracles and have seen many transpire. I have a loving family. I have amazingly supportive and hilarious friends. I have a fabulous job that I love. I own my home. I drive a reliable vehicle. I have money. I have my health.

I have access to joy unspeakable and yet I’m morose.

Just yesterday, I spent a good bit of time trying to crack this conundrum. As a result, I’ve a revelation.

I’m an intercessor.

You may wonder what that is. Well, it’s a person who intervenes on behalf of others, especially by prayer.

Knowing I’m an intercessor is not a new reality. I’ve known it for years. At times, I intercede in prayer as much as I should. At times, I don’t. When I say I’ll pray for you, I really will. And sometimes I’ll even make you stop what you’re doing, ask you sit with me, ask you to let me hold your hand, and ask you to let me pray for you then and there.

Most of the time, I’m not all that bothered by the fact that I don’t exercise my prayer muscle as I should. I know I need to pray more than I do. And I just don’t. I feel bad for awhile and then go along with life. However, lately, the atrophy of that powerful tool has been eating at me.

I’m quite convinced that I will not be able to proceed through these dark days for the joy set before me if I do not remedy this atrophy. The weight of observing the world crashing around me will crush me. The sadness of watching those I know and those I love endure pain will consume me. I can mourn with those who mourn to the nth degree, but I must do more than that.

It’s time for me to fight. It’s time for me to take back the ground that has been casually captured over time. It’s time to take action against the apathetic and make strides against the struggle.

I have an identity in Christ and part of that identity is to intercede for others (and myself, of course). I must acknowledge and contend with all the feels and take those feelings and turn them into prayers of faith, thanksgiving, warfare and breakthrough.

I was given a heightened sense and observation for a reason. And that reason is to pray. The old adage remains true: Prayer changes things. And if I’m exceedingly frustrated with life as we know it (and I am) then I can be the change I wish to see in the world one word, one prayer, one intercession, one choice to believe, one more ask-seek-knock at a time.

A Cozy, Connected Home

Last you read, I was taking the long way home. No longer was I putting down roots in Tennessee. Instead, I was returning to my Nebraska roots.

Here I sit, in my cozy, connected home in Lincoln, Nebraska. A die-hard Cornhusker fan, I have the pleasure of driving by Memorial Stadium multiple times per week when I drive through the capital city. I love it.

In my last post, I proclaimed my belief that a community of people would be waiting for me in Nebraska. I’m pleased to report I found that community. I have taken up rightful residence in the Lindsay-shaped hole in Lincoln.

God is faithful to deliver on His promises. I am living proof. Since moving back to Nebraska, I’ve paid off my credit card debt, paid off my second-to-last student loan and purchased a house. It’s amazing what a stable income and financial determination can do.

And what pays the bills? Good question. I have returned to one of my life’s greatest passions. I have a full-time career as a writer. As a bonus, I can add photographer to my resume, because I take photographs on the regular, too.

To read samples of some of my work, please visit my Writing Samples page.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindsayletters

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Dare You to Move

I accept your dare, Switchfoot. I accept.

I’m moving back to Nebraska. The good life. At least that’s what the slogan promises. It’s not my best life now a-la Joel Osteen. It’s, ‘Welcome to Nebraska — The Good Life,’ as the state sign at the border proclaims.

After six and a half years in Tennessee, I’m returning to my roots. I find this interesting because my name — Lindsay — means talking tree. Trees have roots. I am a person who wants to loyally and lavishly land somewhere for a long time. I want to establish myself and become part of a network.

And, honestly, the entire time I’ve been in Tennessee I’ve sensed a hesitancy to truly root myself here. I was as committed and faithful as I could be, but I did not ever feel completely comfortable with practicing permanence here. However, I didn’t fully identify that feeling until I made the determination to move back. It was then that I realized what it was.

God knew He would move me back to the Cornhusker state. That’s why I felt those fleeting feelings. That’s why I often thought I was on an extended vacation as I traveled these Tennessee roads. That’s why I felt this compulsive urgency to take everything in and remember it…because I wouldn’t be seeing these sights for the rest of my life. It was a season to be remembered fondly. Not a place to take up permanent residence.

I don’t know exactly what Nebraska will hold. But I’m hopeful. I’m encouraged and positive that I’ll meet my elusive husband soon. I’m anticipating that I’ll really enjoy my new career as a corporate journalist.

And I know with everything within me that God is just as much in Nebraska as He is in Tennessee. He’s got a community of people waiting for me. There’s a Lindsay-shaped hole there that this talking tree needs to fill.

There Will Be a New Water Tower Man on the Horizon

Murfreesboro water towerA few weeks ago, I took a walk on the Stones River Greenway during my lunch break. I work in downtown Murfreesboro, so I was actually able to walk from the office down to the Greenway. Walking to the Greenway makes me look a whole lot healthier than merely driving to the Greenway. It gives me at least 15 more exercise bonus points. And in this imaginary land where every exercise is made up and the points don’t matter, I totally won that day.

*pauses*

Wow, this blog is a whole lot sillier than I ever thought it would be! My attempt is to make a serious point about something very sacred and hallowed and revered…

…and often despised and wanted-escaped-from and cursed-at…

Singleness. Seemingly never-ending singleness. No-man, nothin-on-the-horizon singlehood. Reverse widowhood–the losing of a husband before he is ever discovered in the first place. Whoa! Sounds serious!

I’ve got to be honest, it appears that there is no man on my horizon. And what am I to see, anyway? As the one to be pursued. As the lady in waiting. As the outwardly (while inwardly fighting to be) content, confident, rolling-up-on-thirty woman.

I know the godly, correct answers to those nagging questions. I am to see Jesus Christ. I am to see Jesus as my husband. I am to see me as His Bride. I am to remember that people aren’t even married in heaven anyway. I am to see my season as a gift. I am to treasure my time of singleness. I am to know that I am still single for a very important reason. I am to trust that I am most effective in my ministry in this current time as a single woman. I am to be a lot of things. And I am those things. Usually…

This blog isn’t a complaint-riddled rant. No, no. It is an epistle of revelation about one of my favorite things: water towers.

I grew up in a small, small town. For much of my time there, we didn’t even have a water tower! We were the only town in that area that didn’t have a water tower! So, naturally, as a girl deprived of this fantastic marvel of modern humanity, I became fascinated with the city landmark that we didn’t have. Every town I went to, I searched for the water tower. I memorized what each one said. I planned special driving routes just to make sure I’d get the best scope of the water pressure wonder.

At some point in my childhood, my town finally got a water tower. It is situated just behind the hospital where my mom works.  I remember walking or biking up to visit my mom while she was at work. But also to visit the water tower. Just to look at it. To watch how it was made. To continually comment how it looked like a golf ball tee upside down with a golf ball situated on it. My animated mind always imagined that the water tower golf ball would eventually fall off balance and crush the buildings beneath it and flood the surrounding area.

Oh, yes, the Greenway. I was walking on the Greenway. Allow me to return to my story. As I was exercising my left and right foot down the asphalt path, I found myself thinking about water towers again because Murfreesboro just built a new one. We have so many already, but now we have another. I’ve watched the different phases of construction in the last several weeks. I’ve driven down Broad Street for the sole purpose of getting a better look at the water tower.

Greenway water tower

That day, as I was walking and praying along the Greenway, I had a revelation. Crossing over the bridge and turning the corner toward the Manson Pike trailhead, the new water tower came in to full view in front of me.

I realized that the horizon in front of me had changed. Every other time I had walked down that path, all I saw was trees. Now, the water tower is there. And it fits right in, as if it’s been there forever.

Before the bridge, I was praying for one of my friends. After I crossed the bridge and saw the water tower, I began praying for my future husband. Not purposefully. My prayers just flowed into that next subject.

In those moments, God spoke to me. He said, “Your future husband will be like this water tower. You don’t see him right now, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not building him up. He’s not on your horizon, but he could be in a few months. Just like this water tower. He’ll stand tall. He’ll be a carrier of pure, living water. He will bring life and vitality to this city. Don’t get discouraged that you don’t see him yet. Things can happen quickly. Don’t fear that you’ll have to go through a long process to become comfortable with him being in your life. Like the water tower, it will seem natural and familiar.”

God can change landscapes. He can build water towers.

I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t have to feel like I’m behind if I’m not already some guy’s friend. It’s much better for me not to be pining after someone that I interact with on a regular basis. Maybe I am already the friend of my future husband and I just don’t know it yet.

Shortly after this awesome revelation, I had to turn around and head back to the office. I set a timer on my phone so it would alert me halfway through so I could get back just in time. Well, actually, I turned around a few minutes early because I didn’t want to walk through a muddy spot on the path. It had rained the few days prior to this walk.

Almost seconds after I turned around, I heard the train whistle blowing. One can never be sure how long a train will take to go through an intersection. And I had to walk over the train tracks to get over to the other part of the path. But I didn’t mind. Nope. I was actually excited. Because I also like trains. I was enamored as I watched the train pass by so close to me. And I got to see an invigorating site. train on the Murfreesboro Greenway

The train was stacked with two cars on top of each other. I’d seen this a few times before. But never had I seen the two-stacked-train pass under a bridge. It was surprisingly dramatic to watch the cars pass just beneath the bottom of the bridge. They didn’t slow down. They rattled on. This visualization was a continuation of the previous revelation.

Once again, God used what I saw in front of me as a point of encouragement. “You see the cars?” He said.

“Yes, I do. Very interesting! I’m grateful that I got to see this!”

“The train’s locomotive engineer knows that the train will pass under the bridge,” He said. “He knows that there won’t be a collision. He trusts that each town has made sure the bridge is high enough. And he trusts that there is enough room for the train to clear the bridge.”

“Uh huh,” I replied, eager to hear more.

“You’ve got to trust that I’m the locomotive engineer. You have to know that I see the bridges ahead of you. You won’t collide into something and crash. There is clearance to pass through the track you’re on. You don’t have to slow down at each intersection. You don’t have to look at what’s in front of you and worry that you won’t make it through.”

Not only can God change landscapes, He’s also a magnificent locomotive engineer.

*smiles*

I really enjoyed that day. And I’m quite thrilled that I can share this story with whoever it is that reads this.

I am not entirely sure who is in my reading audience. Some of you may be familiar with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. What happened to me on that day probably won’t seem odd to you.

And there may be others who think that I’m crazy because I said that God spoke to me.

If any one of you has questions, please post a comment. If you want to discuss any of this, I’m up for it.

Wonderful Weight Loss: The Saggy Bottom Girl

In constant sorrow all through her days…

I admit it. I was ashamed of my weight. I didn’t like selecting cute outfits to wear because I didn’t feel cute in them. I didn’t want to hang out with people because I thought they didn’t want to hang out with me. I thought they were ashamed of me because I was ashamed of myself. I could say that I was at a sustained level of constant sorrow.

Sure. I had my ups. But I had mostly downs. Instead of usual joy and occasional sadness. I was mostly sad and infrequently glad.

At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure why. Was it difficult interactions with a few friends in my life? Was I missing my Yankee upbringing as a quasi-permanent resident of the South?  Did I feel like a college graduate career failure because I wasn’t a journalist at a daily newspaper?

The foggy bottoming out came into a clearer perspective after I found out about my coworkers’ seemingly harebrained idea.

“I think we should do a Biggest Loser,” he said.

“We should! We could get everyone involved! We can make it a competition and we’ll have a cash prize and weekly weigh ins. We should do it!” she excitedly responded.

I heard one-half of the exchange taking place over the phone in the other office as my coworker and friend talked to my other coworker and friend on the phone.

“Oh, no!” I thought. I’ll never be able to fully commit to that. I have no idea how to lose weight. I know I need to get healthy…

*Flashback to many-a conversation with my closest friend.*

“I love you, Linds, but I really think you need to consider doing something different with your eating. You need to exercise more. Some of the food you eat. It’s…it’s really not good for you, sweetie. Do you know that?”

*sigh* “Yes.” I responded, exasperated that we were talking about this “issue” again.

*Flash forward to reality and the realization that we really were going to do a competition*

And not in the distant future. In a week. In one week we were going to embark on a journey of strenuous, self-denying agony. And not just for a little while. For three months! I couldn’t eat for three months!

I was going to be so hungry! I was going to fail! I was going to be the one out of nine of us gaining weight. I was going to be the one to bring us all down.

Alas, I considered the idea of overhauling my life before the Lord. I prayed and asked Him to help me. I talked to my closest friends. I talked to my parents. I sought counsel from my leaders. And I polled my co-workers to see what they were doing to try and be the winner.

And then I discovered the My Fitness Pal app. Oh, what a wonder! The first day that I used it, I was in shock and awe at how many calories I consumed. I went to McDonald’s for a sausage egg McMuffin, hashbrown, and a trashcan-sized Coca-Cola. Eight hundred calories! All absorbed into my adipose before 8 o’clock in the morning!

I’d consumed almost 3,000 calories in one day. And I barely ever worked out. No wonder I’d not experienced any major weight loss!

Like a true Strengths Finder 2.0 learner would, I took to the internet and searched for workout plans and meal plans. I listened in when my boss was talking about how she loses weight and took note of how to apply that to my life. I called up the other, healthier folk in my life and asked them to teach me things. Like how to make fish.

And, like the miracle of God that it was, I felt differently inside the day before the first weigh in. I felt my desires changing. I didn’t want Cheetos. I wanted broccoli. Steamed broccoli. I felt the innate urge to work out. All. The. Time. That was August 1. Our competition was slated to run until Halloween. I began eating 1,200 calories a day and trying to burn at least 3,500 calories before the next weigh-in. My goal was to lose one-two pounds per week.

***********

Now it is eight weeks later. And wouldn’t you know it. I’m doing alright! I’ve lost weight every week! I’m up to 21 pounds so far! For the longest time, I was in fourth place overall. But after today’s weigh-in, I’m in third place! I have high hopes to work my way to the top!

My goal is to lose approximately 100 pounds. After losing a century of weight, I’d be down to the weight I was in high school. Back when I was a “pretty salty” golfer, as my dad would say. Back when colleges were courting me to join their snazzy golf teams. Back when I was in beast mode, physically speaking. Back when I had my one-and-only boyfriend.

With each pound lost, I’m feeling less like the woman of constant sorrow and more like the saggy bottom girl. Saggy because my old jeans don’t fit me. And it’s almost time for me to begin investing in a new wardrobe.

I’m not ashamed of myself anymore, either. The spark of joy has reignited. And I’m hopeful for my future, knowing that I can live in my new lifestyle well beyond the three months of this competition.

After this is over, I’ll thank my harebrained co-workers. I may even hug them. Because their collaborative idea changed my life!

Created by MyFitnessPal – Free Weight Loss Tools