“What it’s like to not be apart of the ‘fam’ anymore” – For all of the people who never had a fam to begin with.

That was the day of honey roasts. I scrolled through all of the comments on all the pictures, and it felt like a swift punch to my throat. “You’re out. You used to be in, but you’re out now. When you’re in– you’re in. But man, when you’re out….” 

Calling people “fam” never really meant much, did it? 

I only felt sorry for myself long enough to realize we only build up the people we see everyday — we only brag on the “fam.” I only felt the weight of how things used to be long enough to realize — some people I know have never even lived in the “When you’re in, you’re in” part of the story. 

My skin itched and I felt gross. “This is what it feels like to not be in anymore? This is what it feels like to read these kind of posts? I’ve made people feel this way before?” 

Pushed out. Excluded. Not good enough. Alone. Waiting. Do better. Be better. Meet these standards. Live in Atlanta. Talk the talk. 

Maybe it’s shallow of me that some honey roasts on Instagram were my big epiphany moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I sank into it, too. My foot got caught in the trap. Because, God, it felt whole to have people. Like people could ever be “had” to begin with. But they pulled me in, they called me family, they took the white-walled pictures with me at church. 

God, what I’d give if I could go back to every moment I thought: “This. It doesn’t get better than this. This is it, these are my people, we’re in this.” Because I think I’d make myself sit longer in all the moments I found out I was wrong.

I’ve filed through my fair share of “fams” in the past 8 years. A boy I can’t look in the eyes because I didn’t know how to be his friend anymore when his life put drugs on a pedestal. Another who was too busy trying to fix his own pain that our friendship became collateral. A girl who couldn’t speak to me anymore because of who I chose to date. Seasons changing that ripped me away from the arms of people I had thanked God for.

And it’s just lonely. It’s all just a lot of praying for someone to come a long because you’ve never really had what everyone else has had when it seems like everyone else always picks the right “fam,” and you’ve never really put down roots anywhere. 

I wonder what would happen if we started honey roasting the people we aren’t closest to.

I wonder what would happen if we did more than have surface encounters with our friends– if we invited them out when we went out for dinner with our “fam” after the party.

We’re trying to make a difference, but we’re only clinging to the people we do life with every day.

So sometimes I sit in my car — I’m twenty-one years old, and sometimes I sit in my car and put Taylor Swift’s “Long Live” on just to go back to the time I played it for a car full of the kids I grew up with. And I whisper apologies over and over and over to all the people I hurt when I made the decision that all the heartbeats in that car that day were all I needed.

I want to grow, not be comfortable. Usually we register that thought with doing something we’re afraid to do. But maybe growing instead of being comfortable looks like no more circles drawn to keep a cap on who you do life with; maybe growing looks like taking down borders for other people to get inside the life they see on social media; maybe growing looks like growing out instead of saying “I have my fam, this is it, and it doesn’t get better than this.”

That’s so “me-me-me.” It does get better than this. It gets better when you reach out and pull more people in. 

The seasons change, and you can if you want to, too.


Tugging together 

The collars of my

Jacket round my

Shoulders, I prayed:

God, let Autumn 

Teach me. 

Let the past 

Burn orange

Until it falls

Into piles

Grounded

Around me;

Fill my bones

With courage

To shed my 

Peeling bark;

Blow away

Whisps of hair,

Things I don’t need

Clinging loosely

To my frame,

Like pedals

Shriveled into 

Chalky dust.

It all grows back: 
The hair, 

The leaves, 

The good, 

The hope,

The trust, 

The loneliness 

Pushing us 

To search out 

Into the void.

It all takes a deep 

Breath when the 

Spring 

Comes back.

And spring always
Comes back.

The past five days have looked like a forever promise, my first midterm in seminary, and 6:50 prayer. 

Officially petitioning to have a buffer between the moment you get engaged and returning back to real life. 

Since Greg asked me to be his wife on the second, we’ve been back into the full swing of full time jobs, graduate school, and second jobs. There’s been stress, planning, appointments made, overwhelming realizations, sweet celebrations, and an official countdown to the big day. And life hasn’t stopped for any of it.

At 6:30 this evening, I pressed “send” on an email to a professor with my Pauline Epistle’s midterm attached to it; I was sitting in a dark, forest green room while I caught glimpses of my fiancé speeding back and forth in the doorway. Greg works at a church, and he basically puts together the Thursday nights that the college ministry gathers. And every Thursday night, prayer starts at 6:50 before the service at 7:30. 

Tonight, I walked into the auditorium, took a seat in the middle of the room that would soon fill with 200+ college students, and began praying for the hearts that would sit in the rows. 

And I think my prayer tonight is applicable to more than just the college students waiting for church to start on a Thursday night. 

So I thought I’d share it with you.

I found myself thanking Him for His faithfulness, and it quickly shifted into me begging Him to put that same example of faithfulness on display in the lives of those that show up every Thursday; more than that, I prayed for the perseverance to carry them along until He chooses to put that faithfulness on display.

Waiting is hard. Perseverance is learned, and believing is practiced. And truth be told, running is freeing at first; it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air, like the storm clouds just broke open. Running will make you feel in control, like you took it into your own hands and got what you wanted when you had been sitting in waiting. But then the ground will dry up underneath your feet; you’ll get wiped out and have no one and no place to run to anymore. 

Love, keep that neck stretched out searching for what’s up ahead. Hold your breath a little longer and carry that weight just a little further.

Whether your waiting for the job, 

the acceptance letter,

the degree,

the fiancé,

the reconciliation,

the best friend,

the healing in the broken pieces of your family,

the open schedule,

the call back–

wait just a little longer. 

Cause I promise the smoke clears and the waters calm. Even if it’s been 18 years and three broken hearts and showing up alone so many times that you’ve lost count. 

It’s coming.

Just keep straining your neck to find it.

I’ll be wearing white.

14500749_10154558296109872_4895119335327955534_oWe had prayed about it for three days.

The control freak in me was showing its ugly head; I was in love with him — now how could I keep him? We’d been together for three months, and he was talking about a wedding two years down the road when his residency was over and he would be placed at a church somewhere. Except, I had just been accepted into a Master’s program at seminary. In my head, two years down the road would like like two broke kids trying to get hitched with a low-income church position as the sole source of income and a year and a half worth of school debts to pay off. And I was in love with him.

So I marched into his room the night that I was accepted into the Master’s program and asked him to tell me what to do. I told him that I would marry him in spring 2017 or I would marry him in two years at the end of the residency, but he needed to set a pace and tell me what to do. He said we’d pray about it. And we did. For three days.

“Do you remember when you said that you’d marry me in spring 2017 or at the end of the residency?” he had asked me that third night.

“Yeah,” I nodded, sitting down on his mattress.

“Well, how does spring 2017 sound?”

Some might say that knowing when your wedding is going to be and knowing he has to propose to you sometime between the now and then is the least romantic love story of all time.

It’s not.

Because every single time he picked me up or asked me out on a date or invited me over for a movie, I was on the edge of my seat, checking my reflection and freshening up before seeing him, dressing up, holding me breath, squeezing his hand tighter. Every single moment was exhilarating.

Until I started to doubt. Until the thoughts that maybe we would just get comfortable crept in, and I began to wonder if the way my stomach flip-flopped every time I saw him was more of a warning to not live a life expecting something good to be around the corner.

The night he proposed, I was getting ready for what I thought would be “family pictures.” I texted Hannah, overwhelmed with the feeling that was settling in: he wouldn’t be proposing tonight, either.

Hannah had known Lane would be proposing in time to plan a December wedding; I asked her what it felt like to get your hopes up, thinking, “This could be it!” only to have a proposal-free night.

She said, “Patience. And enjoying getting to be – you.”

Little did I know, he was upstairs trying to calm his mom down so that her tears wouldn’t give it away before we could get out to the beach.

It was me and him and the tide coming in on the night he asked me to spend forever with him.

He kept his word. He followed through. The ending we had talked about came full circle.

And the deafening reality is that God has already told me how the story ends, and yet, I always seem to doubt at the last minute; I forget what He told me He planned; I convince myself that the good He promised isn’t coming. And sometimes I don’t even make it out to the shoreline where He’s waiting to give me His immeasurably more because I’m too busy running at the thought that He isn’t going to follow through.

Greg waited four years to give his love to someone. He knew his own worth, and he knew how much his love would be worth to someone some day, so he didn’t just give it to anyone. I gave him such a hard time for months before we started dating because of what I thought were such unreasonably high expectations. Because the lonely had wrapped itself around my ribcage and made it hard to breath for so long; I had molded myself into the role of “second-choice”; I was irreplaceable and never enough. In my head, I was going to be the last girl Greg would ever choose.

Except, God promised an immeasurably more. And He is a beautiful storyteller and a redeeming romancer.

Oh, all the times my impatience sent me running even when I knew that more was coming.

Here’s to believing; here’s to staying and patience and beating the doubts that bully us out into the lonely.
Here’s to sunsets and white sand and the tide coming in.

There’s an immeasurably more coming.

I said it when my heart was bleeding, and now I get to say it with a cup over-flowing: there’s an immeasurably more coming.