Be Who You Needed

I got an email from a dear friend who was approached by a new bride seeking a mentor. My friend and I messaged back and forth with a mentor of ours about how to go about forming this mentorship and it bolstered words to a quote that’s been rolling around in my mind lately. I’d love to hear what you think and any ways God is leading you to “Be Who You Needed.”

be who you needed

be who you needed-how to become a mentor from

Mom and Dad, Karen, Richard, Julie, Tammy, Keith, Michelle, Alissa, Kristin, Jenny, Marian, Susan, Anna Claire, Laurie, Bonnie, Aimee, Elizabeth, Anita, Katie, etc.

All women (and a few rock star men who weren’t scared to teach me the Bible and tell me my boyfriends were lousy), who have invited me to pull up a chair to the table of their lives. They’ve given me a front row seat to their decisions, marriages, parenting, friendships and walks with Jesus. They’ve intentionally taken time away from their own lives and invested it in mine.

These disciplers have walked beside me in both the boring day-to-day and the dramatic once-in-a-lifetime. They’ve called back to me from a few steps ahead and charted the course by giving me hope, vision and ideals. They’ve asked me the hard questions to help me deal in reality and see myself for who I really am. They’ve been generous with their resources, networks and their time. They’ve laid down their rights and conveniences for mine.

In each stage of life I’ve needed someone who would create space for my questions and need for prayer. Someone who could act as a mirror to my soul. (And who could show me my need to pluck the stray eyebrows of that precious soul, if you know what I mean.) These people have left such a legacy and I am beyond grateful. Their presence in my life has created a desire to turn around and look for those journeying behind me.

Great leaders don’t collect followers;
they create leaders more compelling than themselves. 

No matter what season we are in, there’s guaranteed to be someone who can benefit from our life experience and wisdom. When these relationships are infused with the hope of Jesus, the lost world will be drawn to Him.

I’ve done this really well but I’ve also done this incredibly poorly…

I’ve discipled people more to myself than to Jesus…

I’ve cared more about what they think of me than what God thinks of me…

I’ve tried to create moral reform vs. hammering the foundational truths of repentance and faith…that we are more sinful than we ever dared to imagine and more forgiven than we ever dared to dream…

And even still God uses broken people to help broken people. His grace is sufficient for me and for those He entrusts to my care.

So, who is the middle school girl trying to make it through the 8th grade unscathed?

Where’s the college freshmen just trying to figure out how to walk with Jesus on her own for the first time?

That young mom who looks like they haven’t had a good night of sleep in well over a year? She hasn’t. Go hold her baby and let her take a shower and a nap.

The seemingly glamorous professional who seems to be jet setting and enjoying her busy life? She’d love to be treated to brunch and given some good ole’ fashioned eye-contact and a listening ear.

Who’s the dear one you could intentionally journey with for a season? Whose eyes could you lift with your hindsight to give them a more true picture of God?

Text that person. Set up a walk or a coffee date. Ask a soul-stirring question and see where God takes things. Perhaps walk through a book of the Bible, have them in your home weekly or serve together.

No clue who that person would be? Start a small group in your neighborhood, workplace or church rallied around a season of life or struggle. Promote and see who shows. Who knows? You could be “that person” for an entire group of women or maybe even one would rise to the top.

Let’s listen to the Lord together and see how He might lead us. By faith, let’s be who we needed when we were younger.

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31 Freezer Meals For A Busy Month

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE a good freezer meal. I mean, dinner in the freezer > eating at Chick-fil-a multiple nights a week. *PLUS* since I started using Plan To Eat as my meal planner, grocery list maker and freezer stockpile organizer, I actually remember to defrost the meal the night before. Plan To Eat = me winning at life. Now if only the  Walmart 1 mile from my house delivered groceries…

Here are my favorite freezer meals all in one place so that you too can win at life…or at least win at the dinner hour. Almost all of these recipes are the kind you dump ingredients into a bag and freeze, then defrost and cook all day in the crock pot. Let me know if you have questions! denigris5

31 Freezer Meals For A Busy Month

  1. Mexican Chili With Cornbread Topping
  2. Cashew Chicken With Broccoli
  3. Baked Penne With Sun-dried Tomatoes
  4. Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
  5. Bruschetta Chicken
  6. Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
  7. Maple Balsamic Dijon Pork Tenderloin (Pictured above)
  8. Easy Spaghetti Bake
  9. Easy Tenderloin Broil
  10. Mississippi Roast
  11. Oven Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  12. Slow Cooked Jerk Pork With Caribbean Salsa
  13. Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork
  14. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
  15. Stuffed Shells With Meat Sauce
  16. Taco Chicken Bowls
  17. Spinach and Cheese Manicotti
  18. Amazing Loaded Potato Soup
  19. Potato, Bacon and Corn Chowder
  20. Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup
  21. Sausage, Potato and Spinach Soup
  22. Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
  23. White Chicken Chili
  24. Cheesy Beefy Tortellini
  25. Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki 
  26. Lemon Pepper Chicken and Rice
  27. Chicken and Sweet Potato Bake 
  28. Chicken Fajitas
  29. Slow Cooker Beef and Mushrooms
  30. Slow Cooker Sweet Fire Chicken
  31. Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Here are a few more posts about freezer meal cooking. (Freezer Meal Fails To Avoid, 40 Freezer Meals In About 4 Hours, Type A Freezer Meal Cooking)

What freezer meal recipes are your favorites?

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The Gift of Pain & Disappointment (The View From 5 Years Out)

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that October will mark the 5th anniversary of my husband and I trying to have children. To some, five years sounds like the first 100 meters of a marathon, but to me, this mile marker seemed like a badge of honor. Almost like, if I’d make it this far, then I had a legitimate excuse to wallow.

Because, well, sometimes it feels good to feel bad.

Maybe if my pain is special and unique and if things are really hard for a sustained length of time, then certainly it means that I get a permission slip to be pitiful. As in the classic, don’t return phone calls to my mother; eat all the french fries; be offended by all the people type of pitiful.

Of course, everyone’s pain IS special and unique to the journey that God has them walking. But often I am tempted to hold on too tightly to my pain. To relish it and to keep it around when I need to feel cozy, understood and validated. Kinda like my worn out yoga pants that make me feel so known but so funky and frumpy at the same time.

There is wonderful, necessary, God-given space for grief (and grody yoga pants) in the spiritual formation of every believer, but when I dwell longer on my pain than on the Provision and Person of God, I have misplaced my trust. I can’t rush past our pain. I must let God use it to do His good work. But I have the ability to make it into some sort of messed up idol. Clutching my pain close makes me feel safe temporarily, but the reality is that it keeps me far from trusting God.infertility blog

Yeah…so, holding onto the pain was on my agenda for the entirety of my 12-minute carpool commute to drop my kids at school. (MY KIDS–the ones God gave me instead of giving me what I thought I wanted; the ones who have completely and utterly changed my views on God, life, love, calling and family; the ones I’d endure 60 more months of “no” again in an instant. Those kids.)

family pic

So, my plan was to feel sad, but it was one of the first crisp Fall mornings (which I love!) and the Holy Spirit–the Comforter–just would not let up. He kept recalling to mind all the gifts these 5 long years have held. Friends who sent flowers, wrote notes, called and cussed with me on hard days. He reminded me of the countless ministry opportunities He’d given me and He reminded me how dear HE HAD BECOME TO ME during these years. He wouldn’t let up. So much so, that as I pulled onto my street, my heart was in a place of gratitude and worship. I could honestly and emotionally thank Him for the gift of infertility. Not because He had given me what I asked for, but because His “no” had become my greatest YES. Because He had peeled my white knuckles off of the pain and in exchange, gave me the Person of Himself.

And not to go all Garth Brooks “Unanswered Prayers” on you, but isn’t there something in your life that God has consistently said “no” to, in order to give you a YES in Christ Jesus? What desire is it that He is continually using to create within you a stronger desire for Himself?

Because He is God and we are not, could we, today (and tomorrow, and the next day; when the said “gift” feels like a dagger through the soul), ask Him to give us thankful hearts–ones of humble worship–that say together with the all-sufficient, all-powerful One, “not my will, but yours be done”? Because, when I open my hands to Him, it’s all a gift.

If you are walking through infertility yourself right now, I would love to send you my favorite book on the subject, “Infertility: Finding God’s Peace On The Journey.” Email me for more information at

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How To Eat Dinner As A Family Without Losing Your Mind

Oh, family dinners.

You know, the ones that I’ve idealized in my mind since, forever? The ones where my grateful children sit with hands folded delicately over the napkins in their laps as they await the well-balanced meal I’ve worked so hard to prepare? That ideal, my friend, is what mocks me when 5 o’clock rolls around and my kids are convinced that dinner smells like “lamb’s blood” (???). And that, my friend, is why the thought of trying to train my children to act less than a fool at the dinner table makes me want to strap everyone in the car and speed to the nearest restaurant with a play place.

The desire of my heart is to create a warm atmosphere of consistent family dinners. I want to foster an environment for my people to connect deeply. I want our table to be a sacred space, a sanctuary of sorts. Because it’s over warm dinner rolls and spilled cups of milk that a heritage of memories, a legacy of laughter and the practice of forgiveness are formed.

After all, families that supper together, stay together; at least that’s what the stats say. And I sure do want those stats to be true of my clan, but daggumit, it takes a large helping of grit smothered in grace to make it through even ONE dinner at my house, let alone a lifetime. So, how can a tired momma be intentional in creating a rich family life around the table? How can an atmosphere of acceptance, gratitude, love and inquisitiveness be forged over plastic forks and sippy cups?

“When you offer peace instead of division, when you offer faith instead of fear, when you offer someone a place at your table instead of keeping them out because they’re different or messy or wrong somehow, you represent the heart of Christ.” -Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine 

How To Eat Dinner As A Family Without Losing Your Mind


How To Eat Dinner As A Family Without Losing Your Mind: 

1. Proper Perspective:

There I was, fussing at my 8-year-old who had come undone and was acting out of the exhaustion we all felt. I lost my patience and ashamedly said, “No one with THAT kind of attitude is welcome at MY dinner table!” There ya go, mom. A little shaming can go a long way, right? False. Why not just give him a hug and usher him to the table for nourishment with a large helping of forgiveness? The Holy Spirit pricked my heart and reminded me that HE is the one who continually invites ME and my bad attitudes to His banquetting table. In fact, because my life is hidden in Christ, His banner over me is love, regardless of my attitudes or actions. Man, how good does that feel? I need that in same hospitable heart in my mothering. 

“We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.” -Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

Let’s ask God for the perspective we need to invite the weak and weary to our banquet, farmhouse or card table, because, His banner over us is love

2. Paper or Plastic:

So, hopefully now we have the right perspective. Namely, people don’t need to perform in order to join us in community around our tables. But, since we’ve got attitudes and time schedules to manage, let’s ask ourselves how can we can make the meal and table prep as easy on ourselves as possible?

First things first, skip the fussy table cloth and roll out butcher paper so kids can color while momma finalizes the meal. Then, let’s ask one child to set the table with some paper plates and plastic spoons so you can be free from dishes later. Hand another child a small vase and get them to run out in the yard and find some greenery. Dig out an old candle and bam! Pinterest-worthy ambiance and everyone helped! And if you throw on some instrumental hymns (or instrumental hip hop for that matter) the atmosphere will be even more elegant! Let’s make disciples even in and especially in the kitchen. 

3. Prayerful Playfulness and Perseverance:

Okay, your perspective is on point, you’re working smarter not harder by delegating and making things easier on yourself, but by now someone has inevitably spilled something and/or turned their nose at the English peas hidden in the Chicken Alfredo. Breathe a breath prayer and ask God to make you creatively patient. It’s time to get playful. Perhaps you need to play a rousing game of “Don’t You Eat That” where you beg the child (or husband) NOT to eat the peas. Whatever they do, PULEASSEE do not put even a one pea in their mouth! “NOOO! Don’t you dare do it!!” Reverse psycology at it’s finest. In our house it works every time. Or maybe play like my mother always did, by saying, “Okay, we are going to pretend that the President of the United States of America has invited you for supper this evening…” and playfully incorporate the desired manners. Whatever it is, so many bad attitudes can be laughed off if we prayerfully practice joyful hospitality to those ALREADY in our homes as much treating them the way we would those INVITE to come in

And, when we practice our ideals over and over, they will eventually become our reality. Let’s consistently involve our children in mealtime preparations, constantly attempt to sit and ask each other meaningful questions and let’s faithfully show up to lay down our rights so that we can create rich family time around the table. 

“I always wanted to be a hero–to sacrifice my life in a big way one time–and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.” -Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life

What tips and tools do you have to share about creating rich family time around the table? I so wish you and your crew could come over for supper at our (crazy) house tonight, but in the meantime, let’s swap recipes and talk motherhood @kitty_hurdle on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter and you can download “100 Table Talk Conversation Starters” for free.


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How The Attributes of God Are Changing My Life

At 7 every Thursday morning, I walk into Paris Yates Chapel at Ole Miss. Light pours through the stained glass and it just feels like the perfect way to start the day.

how the attributes of god are changing my life

Girls start to trickle in and enjoy muffins, fruit, power bars or whatever the hostess of the morning brought for breakfast. We open our time together by sharing a little of what’s going on in our souls and then launch into our study, of “The God Who Is”.

“There is a God we want, and there is a God who is—and they are not the same God. The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.” -The God Who Is

Satan is limited in his presence, power and knowledge. None of these things limit my God. My God is omnipresent, omnipotent and all-knowing. Yet, often I forget or get a twisted view of His Kingship over the world and my life reflects it pretty quickly.

C.S. Lewis said what we think about God is the most important thing about ourselves and I’ve seen this to be profoundly true in my life. Especially in times of suffering. To the degree to which I know I am loved, that is the level of trust I’ll have. What I’m learning is that God is not someone who loves me, but someone who IS LOVE and because of Jesus, can’t do anything BUT love me. Even when His love for me feels like the painful round of shots I take my kids to get at their pediatrician’s office. He is Love and that changes my life and changes my day.

“We are never beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He sees all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths and penetrate the innermost regions of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel of our bodily organization is uncared for: all the littles of your little world are thought of by our great God.” -Charles Spurgeon

That’s all good…except for when reading my Bible feels like returning my Walmart shopping cart to where it belongs…and except for when I don’t really want to see God as holy and full of wrath toward the ungodly, because that would include me and my breaking the speed limit, rolling my eyes at a coworker and screaming at my child for stuffing an entire roll of toilet paper down the drain in the bathtub. I don’t really want Him to be a thrice-holy God who hates sin because that means I too am deserving of death. I much prefer Him to be the “man upstairs” who is detached from my dailiness.

When I look at this jealous, vengeful, fiercely loving God in the pages of Scripture and see Him as the same in the Old Testament as in the New, I see one who protects and provides in all His “holy, holy, holy” ways. And I want that fierce Father rather than the grandfather who winks at my sin. When I see God as He truly is, I can clearly see myself as I truly am–practically damned but positionally perfect in Christ–it changes my life and it changes my day.

My life and my days are being changed. Little by little, anxiety by anxiety, judgement, discouragement and strong will by love of control, He is changing my view of Him and of myself. He’s teaching me and He’s teaching the girls I’m studying with, that we are no longer orphans whose solution to failure is to “try harder”, but rather, adopted and dearly loved sons. We are free from worry because of God’s love for us and we GET to learn to live in daily partnership with Him. What joy!

Just like when your daddy’s been away on a hunting trip for three days (hypothetically speaking, of course) and you see him coming up the driveway and in a loud, lispy voice you scream, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” you throw your arms around His neck, because you know you’re loved. You know you’re protected and chosen and loved and cared for. Just like that, in Jesus you are freely accepted in the Beloved. Your life is changed and your day is changed because of who He is. Emmanuel, God with us!


What do you think? Are some of His attributes hard for you? Confusing? Freeing?

Have you ever studies the attributes of God? The God Who Is study is so great. I highly recommend it. Also, we’ve supplemented our study with A.W. Pink’s Attributes of God, Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy and 20 Basic Beliefs by Wayne Grudem.

What are the ways you need Him today? What are your greatest burdens, desires, frustrations, annoyances, joys and sadnesses? I hope these spiritual growth resources will minister to you because He is the Great I AM…for you!

Play On, Players

Today I am guest posting at Thrive Moms and so I wanted to share these thoughts with you as well!


I kinda stink at playing with my kids.

There…I said it.

I wish I naturally enjoyed playing dolls and spontaneously turning PB&J sandwich crusts into semi-automatic rifles, but it’s a challenge. My husband can play Barbies with the best of them, (which raises no question about his masculinity, rather gives him *awesome dad points*), however, I’m much more of the puzzle, read-aloud book, and “y’all go play outside” type.


This summer, our family lived overseas and we had to become really good at communicating with people who didn’t speak our language. My son and daughter learned to navigate this by smiling extra big at kids on the playground and offering to kick a ball back and forth. It was pretty amazing to see true friendship form between children who couldn’t even pronounce each others’ names…all thanks to a smile and a soccer ball.

This connection spoke volumes to me about playing with my kids. Sometimes it seems we just don’t speak the same language. I want more than anything to nurture their hearts. Right now, the name of their soul’s language game is play. And truthfully, isn’t it the language of us all? Don’t we all crave that break from reality and routine? Don’t we all long to laugh with the people we love? Isn’t it calming to color side-by-side or paint a tiny human’s fingernails just because? Hit the whiffle ball clear down the backyard and go whooping and hollering through the grass? And doesn’t our Heavenly Father lean close to care about our unique interests? Didn’t He create those desires in us? Isn’t this how our hearts most naturally connect with Him?

God created the world to be productive. He created us in His image, calling us to work heartily as unto Him, and to be fruitful and multiply. Worshipful work stands at the center of our purpose for living. But, God also created play. Look at the wildflowers that dance in the rain. Examine your sweetest memories in life. Observe your precious children who reflect His image in their spare time, without even trying. Our playfulness reflects the creative intentions of our playfully endearing God.

Maybe you’re an imaginative-play rockstar or maybe you’re like me and you struggle to prioritize play. Either way, I’d love for you to join me in setting a timer for ten minutes, getting down on the floor with each of our children and asking them, “Hey, can I play with you?” I’ll bet your kids, like mine, will be delighted to see us speaking their language.

What do you think about play? Do you consider play as part of God’s original design for creation? What are your favorite playful activities? What ways do you enjoy playing with your children? What about as a family at large?

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” -Mr. Rogers

We are to work. We are to rest. We are also to play, relishing the beauty, freedom and delight of life. So play on, players.074

(How To Teach) How To Go Greek And Stay Christian

Well, I just did my first ever Periscope. And though it felt incredibly awkward for me, and though I left out half of what I had hoped to say, it is such a great way to communicate! So efficient!

The Great Commission is likely to be fulfilled through effective platforms like this. All awkwardness aside, I know many of you read for various reasons–maybe it’s posts about infertility and adoption, freezer meal cooking or encouragement in faith and ministry. All the “experts” say bloggers must narrow their focus…but I JUST CAN’T. So, last week it was infertility, this week it’s spiritually resourcing college students. :)

I wanted to give a quick tutorial to anyone who lives near and wants to reach out to a college campus/works with Greek students/has a student going through recruitment, or just someone who  needs some transferable tools to use in conversation or to use to host an evangelistic Bible study.

Going Greek is one of the single most influences that will set the course of a student’s faith here at Ole Miss, that’s why we target this type of student. And who we are in college is often who we’ll be the rest of our life. Our relationship with God is not one to be pushed off “till I have kids.” You cannot become who you are not becoming. So, how do you become who you want to be? Specifically, how can a college freshmen go Greek and stay Christian?


First, students have to know about the workshop…so promote the mess out of it. Secure a location and then get other students on campus to post a fun meme to Instagram, Snapchat about it, etc. The most effective form of recruitment is the good ole fashion personal invitation. Challenge each student you know to bring one freshman with them to the Bible stud

y. Gather sophomores and juniors to commit to 3 weeks of leading a small group of students. You will watch these students come alive as they shepherd others. These older students seeing their lives multiplied into the souls of others is actually my favorite part!!!

Also, try to provide Bibles for each participant. So many students don’t own a copy of the Bible.280

What about content?

First, an icebreaker-

Week 1: Sit Down, Stand Up (Everyone stand up! Sit down if…you’ve received a parking ticket, you live in ___ dorm, Stand up if you’re making an “A” in freshman English, sit down if you already have your game day dress picked out, sit down if you are wearing work out clothes but didn’t work out, etc. Last person standing wins THE BEST book for freshmen girls!) 
Week 2: Greek Trivia (Which chapter was…Kate Spade…Sister Shubert…Bill Cosby…etc. in?) 
Week 3: Cut these questions up and put them in a bowl, pass them around and have everyone answer. 

Then a real life testimony- 

Week 1: A student who became a Christian through Greek life
Week 2: A students who has had a vibrant ministry in her house. 
Week 3: A student who has crashed and burned in Greek life, but has seen God redeem and restore. 

Next, the lesson-

Week 1: “Why Go Greek…And How To Know For Sure You’re A Christian” 

Everyone and their mother tells you the visible reasons…
-Social Life
-Future Connections

Jesus saw those reasons and raised you.

Those reasons are temporarily valid but God has MORE in store! And if these invisible reasons are your heart, you can go Greek and stay Christian.
-Spiritual Life
-Eternal Connection

2 Corinthians 4:18
• Colossians1:13-14, 22, 2:6-7, 2:13-14 3:1-4
• 1 Corinthians 10:31

The patterns you set now will become habits and character traits.

Who you are in college is who you will be the rest of your life.

Go Greek and live to make God famous!

“How To Go Greek And Stay Christian…”

1. 100% Jesus + 0% You = Christian 
image1 (2)

2. Relationship > Religion

What you do < What’s been done  The Law shows us we can’t measure up. Love shows us Christ measured up for us. We live in light of that!

Just because you’re standing in the garage doesn’t mean that you’re a car. Just because you grew up in church doesn’t make you a Christian. When did the God you didn’t really care about become the God you loved? When did the sin you loved become the sin you’re struggling against? If the Great Exchange is true, how can we not live for Him?

Pray and transition to small groups…the best part! 

  1. Share your name and why you are planning on going Greek.
  2. How are you feeling about recruitment? What makes you nervous and what makes you excited? 
  3. What did you think about Kitty’s lesson? Anything you liked, didn’t like, hadn’t thought about before?
  4. Where are you on your spiritual journey and how to you think going Greek could help or hinder your growth?
  5. What “invisible” reasons for going Greek most resonate with you?
  6. What’s been your experience with religion vs. relationship?
  7. What did you think about the diagram Kitty used to explain eternity?
  8. What does this passage teach you about God? Yourself? How does this passage of the Bible make you feel?

Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[a] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

8. What questions did it raise in your mind?
9. On a scale of 0-100%, how sure are you that you are in a secure relationship with Jesus?
10. How can our group best pray and care for you this week?

Week Two: “How To Grow From Duty To Delight” 

Holy Spirit-in and of ourselves, we can live the Christian life for approx 2.5 minutes. Much like my laptop computer, I am gonna run out of battery if I’m not connected to the power source. The Holy Spirit is the energy flowing from God the Father through Jesus Christ (the battery cord, if you will) to me. He indwells me and enables me to have power for life and godliness. He is the seal of my salvation. He is the One who convicts me of my sin and produces His fruits (love, joy, peace…) in my life. 

Repentance + Faith: Just like when you share a bathroom with 3 other girls and so much hair is shed that it clogs up the drain of the shower, and before you know it your’re ankle deep in clogged water, so it is with our sin. Our sin clogs the drain through which the love and power of God flows. We must yank that nastly glob of hair out so that the water can flow freely. AKA–When I become aware (by the work of  the Spirit) that I have sinned, I must confess and turn from my sin, believing that Jesus is better and that He has done and will do all that He has promised in Scripture.

Romans 8:1-7 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

*The Father INITIATES *The Son SACRIFICES* The Spirit SEALS*

Daily Means of Grace:

  • Scripture-Romans 10:17
  • Prayer-Hebrews 4:14-15                                                                  

Why Should I Read The Bible?

We should read and study the Bible because it is God’s Word to us. The Bible is literally “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, it is God’s very words to us. There are so many questions that philosophers have asked that God answers for us in Scripture. What is the purpose to life? Where did I come from? Is there life after death? How do I get to heaven? Why is the world full of evil? Why do I struggle to do good? In addition to these “big” questions, the Bible gives much practical advice in areas such as: What do I look for in a mate? How can I have a successful marriage? How can I be a good friend? How can I be a good parent? What is success and how do I achieve it? How can I change? What really matters in life? How can I live so that I do not look back with regret? How can I handle the unfair circumstances and bad events of life victoriously?

We should read and study the Bible because it is totally reliable and without error. The Bible is unique among so-called “holy” books in that it does not merely give moral teaching and say, “Trust me.” Rather, we have the ability to test it by checking the hundreds of detailed prophecies that it makes, by checking the historical accounts it records, and by checking the scientific facts it relates. Those who say the Bible has errors have their ears closed to the truth. Jesus once asked which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” Then He proved He had the ability to forgive sins (something we cannot see with our eyes) by healing the paralytic (something those around Him could test with their eyes). Similarly, we are given assurance that God’s Word is true when it discusses spiritual areas that we cannot test with our senses by showing itself true in those areas that we can test, such as historical accuracy, scientific accuracy, and prophetic accuracy.

We should read and study the Bible because God does not change and because mankind’s nature does not change; it is as relevant for us as it was when it was written. While technology changes, mankind’s nature and desires do not change. We find, as we read the pages of biblical history, that whether we are talking about one-on-one relationships or societies, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And while mankind as a whole continues to seek love and satisfaction in all of the wrong places, God—our good and gracious Creator—tells us what will bring us lasting joy. His revealed Word, the Bible, is so important that Jesus said of it, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In other words, if we want to live life to the fullest, as God intended, we must listen to and heed God’s written Word.

We should read and study the Bible because there is so much false teaching. The Bible gives us the measuring stick by which we can distinguish truth from error. It tells us what God is like. To have a wrong impression of God is to worship an idol or false god. We are worshiping something that He is not. The Bible tells us how one truly gets to heaven, and it is not by being good or by being baptized or by anything else we do (John 14:6Ephesians 2:1-10Isaiah 53:6Romans 3:10-185:86:2310:9-13). Along this line, God’s Word shows us just how much God loves us (Romans 5:6-8John 3:16). And it is in learning this that we are drawn to love Him in return (1 John 4:19).

The Bible equips us to serve God (2 Timothy 3:17Ephesians 6:17Hebrews 4:12). It helps us know how to be saved from our sin and its ultimate consequence (2 Timothy 3:15). Meditating on God’s Word and obeying its teachings will bring success in life (Joshua 1:8James 1:25). God’s Word helps us see sin in our lives and helps us get rid of it (Psalm 119:911). It gives us guidance in life, making us wiser than our teachers (Psalm 32:8119:99Proverbs 1:6). The Bible keeps us from wasting years of our lives on that which does not matter and will not last (Matthew 7:24-27).

Reading and studying the Bible helps us see beyond the attractive “bait” to the painful “hook” in sinful temptations, so that we can learn from others’ mistakes rather than making them ourselves. Experience is a great teacher, but when it comes to learning from sin, it is a terribly hard teacher. It is so much better to learn from others’ mistakes. There are so many Bible characters to learn from, some of whom can serve as both positive and negative role models at different times in their lives. For example, David, in his defeat of Goliath, teaches us that God is greater than anything He asks us to face (1 Samuel 17), while his giving in to the temptation to commit adultery with Bathsheba reveals just how long-lasting and terrible the consequences of a moment’s sinful pleasure can be (2 Samuel 11).

The Bible is a book that is not merely for reading. It is a book for studying so that it can be applied. Otherwise, it is like swallowing food without chewing and then spitting it back out again—no nutritional value is gained by it. The Bible is God’s Word. As such, it is as binding as the laws of nature. We can ignore it, but we do so to our own detriment, just as we would if we ignored the law of gravity. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough just how important the Bible is to our lives. Studying the Bible can be compared to mining for gold. If we make little effort and merely “sift through the pebbles in a stream,” we will only find a little gold dust. But the more we make an effort to really dig into it, the more reward we will gain for our effort.

Connecting with God Through Scripture

R- Read the book. Read up on the history of the book. Read up on the context within redemptive history.
E- Examine the section. What does it say? What does it mean? What does it matter?
A- Apply it to humanity.  What does this passage teach me about the greatness of God? (What does it teach me about the sinfulness of humanity?) What would it look like to practically live this out? Why does my heart resist? What aspect of God’s redemptive work do we need to embrace in order to reflect and enjoy God’s glory?
P- Pray that into your life. Pray that into the lives of those you know. Pray for those you know who don’t know anything about reflecting and enjoying God’s glory!

  • Summary:
  • What is my fallen condition? (Philippians 1:1-11= “It’s all about me!”)
  • What is the Christ solution? (Philippians 1:1-11= “It’s all for His glory!”)

Why Should I Pray?

For the Christian, praying is supposed to be like breathing, easier to do than to not do. We pray for a variety of reasons. For one thing, prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38) and obeying Him. We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church (Mark 1:35Acts 1:142:423:14:23-316:413:1-3). If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also. If He needed to pray to remain in the Father’s will, how much more do we need to pray?

Another reason to pray is that God intends prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations. We pray in preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13); to overcome demonic barriers (Matthew 17:14-21); to gather workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2); to gain strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41); and to obtain the means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19).

We come to God with our specific requests, and we have God’s promise that our prayers are not in vain, even if we do not receive specifically what we asked for (Matthew 6:6Romans 8:26-27). He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God’s will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

For situations in which we do not know God’s will specifically, prayer is a means of discerning His will. If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole (Mark 7:26-30). If the blind man outside Jericho had not called out to Christ, he would have remained blind (Luke 18:35-43). God has said that we often go without because we do not ask (James 4:2). In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. In the same way, we will never see the results of answered prayer unless we pray.

A lack of prayer demonstrates a lack of faith and a lack of trust in God’s Word. We pray to demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His Word and bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for (Ephesians 3:20). Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others’ lives. Because it is our means of “plugging into” God’s power, it is our means of defeating Satan and his army that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often before His throne, for we have a high priest in heaven who can identify with all that we go through (Hebrews 4:15-16). We have His promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (James 5:16-18). May God glorify His name in our lives as we believe in Him enough to come to Him often in prayer.

Connecting with God Through Prayer

A- Adoration of who God is
C- Confession of sin
T- Thanksgiving for all He has done
S- Supplication for your needs

The lover of your soul desires a relationship with you. He has left Heaven and come to Earth to live the life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved. Christ defeated sin by paying my penalty and death by rising again. The Father sent the Spirit as the engagement ring. He promises and seals our soul until He comes to take us home with Him forever! Let’s spend time this week growing in our relationship with God. Not because we have to, but because we GET to!!

Pray and transition to small groups.

  1. Review names and talk about how they are doing. 
  2. How are you feeling now that you have a few weeks of college under your belt?
  3. Do you feel like you’re starting to make any genuine friends? How can our group help?
  4.  What are you most excited or nervous about as recruitment gets nearer? Do you have any questions I can answer?
  5. How have you seen God at work in your life since last week? Did anything we talked about last week pop into your mind? Or apply to what you’re going through?
  6. Coming here today, what was your general knowledge about the Holy Spirit? What did you think about what Kitty said?
  7. What is your first reaction when you think about reading your Bible? Has there ever been a time when the Bible came alive to you?
  8. What is one step you could take in spending time connecting with God through His Word? 
  9. What is your first reaction when you think about praying? Describe your prayer life in one word. Can you think of a time God said, “Yes”, “No” or “Wait” to you specifically? 
  10. Share prayer requests and let them pick prayer partners. Plan a time to hang-out as a group. 

image2Week Three: ”How To Go And Change The World”

Ephesians 3:16-21 I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. 

What fills you spills from you. When the love and power of the Trinity fills you, love and power will spill out of you.

Daily Means of Grace: 

Community: Act 2
Outreach: Matthew 28:18-20

-Without community and outreach we will are like the Dead Sea–everything flows in but nothing flows out…no life. -Never before have we been more connected and somehow more isolated. (Gallop Poll stats about loneliness.)

-Intimacy > Isolation: In-to-me-see…the REAL ME because the real me is cracked and broken, but secure and redeemed.

2 Types of People

  1. “Here I am”  (either prideful or pitiful)
  2. “There You Are” (others-centered and self-forgetful)

-Vulnerability breeds vulnerability.

-How do we find authentic Christian community?

  • Take the risk
  • Take the initiative

What you love is what bonds you. If what bonds you is the drink in your hand then when your cup is empty, so is your friendship. But if the love of God and the love of others is your common bond, you’ll be exhausted to find the end of your community. The bond is eternal.


-Lovers tell. (Adult acne product? We’d tell the world. We have the cure for every blemish of the soul!)

-Never before have we had more opportunities and somehow more excuses.

-Boldness breeds Boldness.

-You cannot give to others that which you do not have yourself. But lovers tell.

-Who are 3 people in your life without the hope of Jesus?

Community – Outreach = clique

Outreach – Community = awkward (people don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care)

Community + Outreach= transformation

Bible + Prayer + Community + Outreach = How To Go Greek And Stay Christian, How To Go Young Professional…CEO…Stay-At-Home Mom…Cute Old Person In A Nursing Home…etc!

Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

If you were to receive a kidney transplant, your body would naturally want to reject this lifesaving organ. The same is true that when God gives us a new heart, our flesh naturally wants to reject it. Because of the seal of the Holy Spirit and through daily practicing the means of grace, we can experience the abundant life promised in Christ.

Pray and transition to small groups:

  1. Review names and talk about how they are doing.  How did/is the first round to tests going?  (We asked last week, but maybe touch base on friendships/how they feel about recruitment especially if you have new girls.) What are you most excited or nervous about as recruitment gets nearer? Do you have any questions I can answer?
  2.  How have you seen God at work in your life since last week? (Have each leader give an example.)
  3. Did anything we talked about last week (repentance, faith, Holy Spirit, reading the Bible or prayer) pop into your mind? Or apply to what you’re going through? Did anyone read their Bibles or pray in a new way or with a better understanding of God?
  4. What has your experience with community and friendship been here at Ole Miss? What did you think about what Kitty said?
  5.  What would it look like to experience deep authentic Christian community? How could you help create that here at Ole Miss?
  6.  What is your first reaction when you think about evangelism/outreach?
  7.  Has anyone ever shared the good news about Jesus with you or have you you ever shared Jesus with someone else? How did that go? What was awkward, what went well?
  8. What is one step you could take to initiate authentic Christian community? In your dorm? In the classroom? In your future sorority?
  9. How could you incorporate outreach into your real life?
  10.  Share prayer requests and let them pick prayer partners and exchange numbers. Plan a time to hang-out as a group.  

So there you have it, the past month of my life in bullet points and scribbles. It’s been ridiculously fun to teach the foundations of our faith to the next generation. Who might God use YOU to disciple?  pregreek lead


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When It’s Not Easy To Get Pregnant

Maybe it’s your sister who’d give anything to see a positive pregnancy test or your best friend who is enduring the pain of another miscarriage. Maybe your coworker is staring down the barrel of another fertility treatment or perhaps it’s you trying to figure out why your first baby came so easily but somehow #2 seems beyond your reach. Chances are, all of us have felt the stinging disappointment and the ache of an empty womb. 

People’s fertile Facebook posts seem to fill your newsfeed, baby bumps are everywhere you turn and heaven help us all if it doesn’t make you want to whip your car into that “expectant mother’s” parking spot at Target just to spite them all. It’s such a lonely reoccurring struggle already, and then it is compounded by the fact that no one knows the right thing to say to soothe your chafing soul.

For my Joel and I there have been years filled with painful questions from well-meaning people. “Don’t ya’ll want to have children?” “Want to hold my baby? Maybe it’ll rub off on you!” And the ever-popular, well-meaning attempt at encouragement: “Well, now that you’ve adopted I just KNOW ya’ll will get pregnant.” Whomp, whomp.

During these years we’ve grieved in very different ways. Me, sometimes feeling like he wasn’t heartbroken enough and he, (bless him), not knowing how to deal with an extremely hormonal woman. We’ve emotionally run the full gamut of anger, apathy, numbness, hope and despair. But it’s this path of barrenness (I hate that word) that God has used to draw our hearts closer to each other and more deeply into relationship with Himself.

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone. ~Rick Warren

God’s character has had to become the North star for our journey through the darkness of infertility. His goodness and His sovereignty have hemmed us in behind and before. It’s all we’ve had to cling to when we can’t seem to make sense of our circumstances. He is good and He is in control, and somehow suffering IS God’s love for us. THIS, even this, is a gift from the loving hand of our trustworthy Father.

When we are frustrated with the waiting and the discomfort, it’s God’s unchanging nature that we can lean on knowing that there is NOTHING WASTED in His Kingdom. He is a God who uses everything. There is nothing wasted. No time, no waiting, no experience, no pain, no tears, no joy. Nothing is wasted. Nothing. He has a specific purpose for each day, week and month of this process.

Not only has His character become a great comfort to us, but you know when someone can totally relate to what you’re going through because you share the common bond of “me too” ? Well, because Jesus came to earth and can sympathize with our every weakness, we share in a Divine “me too”. Sure, He wasn’t a female with a monthly cycle but ya’ll. He totally gets it. God has children He longs to have as His own. He can sympathize with us even in this and can relate to each and every emotion we experience! Praise the Lord. The Great I am is sufficient for our greatest need.

We are continually choosing to live in the tension of walking by faith (knowing God’s character of being all-powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, loving and good) believing that He is capable of creating the universe thus plenty capable of forming a little life. Meanwhile, knowing that in His good and perfect plan (right now and maybe forever) having a baby is not His best for us.

We are still asking God to show us the bigger picture of who He is and what He’s doing. We are asking Him for peace, contentment and joy. And He really is delivering on His promise to fulfill our longings. Because HE is better than anything I could ask for here on earth. He has given His best to me, His own beautiful, beloved Child. Will He withhold any good thing from me? No, never. Is Jesus enough to make up for this aching void in my soul? I don’t always feel that it is so. But it is. Jesus loves me—this I know. His plan for our family is a custom fit and I can rest and relax in His sovereign grace.when it's not easy to get pregant

Do you know someone walking through the pain of infertility? I’d love to pray for them and share with them my favorite book. It’s the one that has kept me sane through all this (it’s also the one that has a whole chapter on what to say to people struggling in this area!). Comment below. Or let’s chat over on Instagram. To read more of our story visit any of these posts.

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Back-To-School (Like A Boss) Homework Hour

The homework hour is a very challenging part of our day…Probably the hardest hour in our home. So, in efforts to go back to school like a boss, I’ve called in the big guns. My friend Ellen, has served as an inspiration to me as she has transitioned her family’s homework hour from dreadful to delightful. I hope her thoughts will encourage you.

back to school like a boss

I am now two years into the world of having a house full of school-aged children. For so long this season felt sort of like a pink, sparkly, magical unicorn. And yet, I’m here. I am also now three years into the world of having three sets of homework assignments to navigate. There are many afternoons when that part of this season doesn’t feel like a magical and wonderful unicorn. In fact, once we got fully into this part of our family life, facing an afternoon full of math worksheets and reading logs and projects that probably require glitter started to make me feel restless, frustrated and rushed day after day.

Here are a few things I have done to redeem that time:

1. Ask for help. When our afternoons became the battleground for frustration day after day, I decided to ask for advice. I sat across from a dear woman who had been mentoring me for a few years and laid all of my failure feelings out. I asked her to tell me what I could do better and what I should realistically expect from that time. We came up with a plan that felt manageable and hopeful.

2. Manage expectations. Over time, I had come to see homework time as a small spot in my day where I could maybe get a few mindless chores done or even a little bit of mindless scrolling on a screen. Some days that works, but I noticed that I was always trying to finish what I was doing reallyquicklyoookaaaaay? before I would jump in to help on whatever the afternoon work held. And then I would be flustered and frustrated that I didn’t seem to be getting anything done very well.

I decided to shift my expectations. I made a plan to just sit down at the table where we were doing homework. I decided not to look at computer or phone screens. I keep a book handy and I’m simply present. I don’t have to help on every single step of the assignments that my children bring home daily, but I am accessible and available.

3. Figure out what brings me to the table. It’s hard to stop everything at the end of the day. There are always dishes to wash and laundry to fold and all kinds of work to do. Also, helping a 6th grader figure out prime factorization or a 1st grader on the journey to become an independent reader? Sometimes I end up in more tears than the actual 1st or 6th grader.

I decided to make it a time I could look forward to. I clear off the dining room table before we sit down. I love fresh flowers, so sometimes I stuff a bunch into a jar and put them in the middle. I light a musky, earthy and wonderful candle. I put the acoustic guitar station on pandora and let it play in the background (because apparently I am old). It helps.

4. Hold it all loosely. I really love my routines, which means I might struggle a little with being spontaneous. In fact, I can start to feel all twitterpated when life doesn’t cooperate with my comfortable way of walking through my day. I also have three school-aged children and a husband working for a parachurch ministry. Life rarely cooperates with my expectations.

I have to hold my afternoons loosely. Sometimes I have to cook dinner during our homework hours so I ask my short stacks to sprawl out on the kitchen floor. Sometimes one child has guitar practice so another one does homework on a music stand in the hallway. Sometimes we have baseball or basketball or what have you and we just have to get all the things done anyway I can. Sometimes I have work I have to do so we just have to put our heads down and barrel through.

There’s one thing I hold onto, though. My goal is to be present (accessible and available) when and where I can. When I feel restless, frustrated and fed up: I admit it, apologize and tell everyone (especially myself) that we will try again next time. And then I let it go and start fresh the next day because I know that it’s not about my performance but my presence any way I can give it.

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To hear more encouragement from Ellen, follow her on Instagram @sweetwaterellie.

Hey, Freshman Girl.

Hey, Freshman Girl.

Okay, so I know you don’t know me, but I totally get you, mostly because I was you. I know how much time you’ve spent picking out THE most perfect duvet cover complete with coordinating trash can. And, that futon? It’ll fit right beside your mini fridge. It’s all just perfect.

I cannot wait for you to meet your potluck roommate. I know you’ve stalked the mess out of her. Don’t worry. You’re going to click instantly. Trust me, she’s bridesmaid material, for sure. Your suite mate? She’s a Klepto—translation: she’ll be “borrowing” your cute clothes in no time. I kid, I kid. But seriously, watch your back, and love her too because you’re all just freaking out on the inside.

Speaking of freaking out, your mom is about to melt down on the inside. She’s totally trying to play it cool, but she’s moving a chunk of her heart onto the 7th floor of that co-ed dorm and she’s not 100% sure you’re gonna remember to wear your shower shoes, so cut the woman some slack and let her cry and fuss and blow up your phone these first few weeks. And your dad? You’re gonna notice he doesn’t have a lot to say as he lofts your bed and meets your RA. But it’s just because he’s afraid that if he starts to talk, he might become a blubbering mess. You’re his baby girl and he’s just not sure he’s ready for this. And when they pull away? It’s okay for your heart to crumple and for tears to come. In fact, I hope you cry and miss your family. It means y’all are each other’s safe place. And that’s how it’s meant to be, because with family, you’re loved already! Share your nerves and your insecurities with them and actually follow their advice during this crazy season of life. And please, please, please, wear your shower shoes!

That first weekend is gonna be brutal. The university is going to try and keep you busy with picnics and lots of free stuff and you will do a great job of meeting people and getting their numbers, but when it comes down to it, you’re gonna feel lonely. You’re gonna think, “What have I done?” and you’re gonna wish you could just watch a movie with your high school best friend. And you can. Next summer. But now is the time to be all here and lean into this loneliness, embracing the woman you are becoming.

No pressure, but the choices you make here will determine the trajectory on which you’re headed. Those friends you hope to surround yourself with? Choose the kind of girls whose character you admire most, because your crowd will determine your destiny. Oh, and you’ve probably heard of the MRS degree? Regardless of whether you get the “ring by spring” of your senior year or not, these years are going to determine what kind of man you spend your life with. In fact, you’re going to discover the purpose of your life and you will “find yourself” because YOU have always been there. You just needed these formative years to become secure in the skin God gave you.

Speaking of God, you’re probably about to have your heart rocked. Listen, I am not totally sure where you are in your faith, but I am praying you experience God in the most powerful ways during these next 4 years. There is no time like now to make your faith your own. And guess what? God loves you already. He created you with those freckles and has incredible adventures planned for that quirky personality. He knows that maybe, if you’re honest, you’ve thought about going  to college and going at least a little buck wild but He’s made a provision for your crazy self. He’s gonna show you that He is better than the booze, the boys and that perfect body you long to have. He is the One who quenches your thirsty soul. And He’s going to take those secret longings of your heart and complete them in the person of Jesus. Because, that Jesus guy? HE is the reason you are already loved.

Yes, you’ll need to church shop and campus ministry hop for yourself and find a community of people who are for real about their faith. Go! Even if you have to go by yourself. Because, let me tell you, if you blow it this year, and you probably will–either by doing the things you thought you’d never do or by judging the girl down the hall for doing the unthinkable. There is nothing like walking into a room filled with people (who, come to find out, actually are those cool people you were hoping to meet in college) who are singing their hearts out and learning about Jesus. There is nothing like having your mind blown as you sit among them and come to understand that He lived a perfect life and died to erase your judgments and slip-ups, so that you could have a relationship with God. You’re not even gonna believe how He uses your shame, shortcomings and that semi-awkward Bible study on your dorm floor, to show you His irresistible love.

And as you learn to study the Bible, His love will change you. And you will need it to because you thought you were fairly cool and moderately attractive (even with that dreaded freshmen 15.)  But you’re going to quickly find yourself swimming in a sea of effortlessly perfect girls whose grades are waaayy better than anyone from your hometown. And you’re going to need the Anchor for your soul to remind you that you’re loved already. And since there’s nothing you can do to make the Creator of the Universe love you more or less, then no matter what sorority bid you do or do not receive, you can take a deep breath and smile from the inside out. When you know who you are based on who God says you are, and that you’re loved already, then your confidence (like God’s love for you in Christ) cannot and will not waver.

And when you go to that first date party your significance won’t be found in how many heads you turn or by how many people ask to buy you a drink. (And here is where I play the mom card and remind you to bring your own water bottle to every social function so you can always have a safe (and legal) beverage in your hand. It overrides the sketchy guy who keeps yelling, “Hey, can I get you something to drink?”. Trust me, I’m just looking out for you, girl.) Also, legitimately, nothing good happens after midnight.  So when people start slurring their words, you and your water bottle invite those solid gal pals to go watch Netflix, please. Because, after all, 8 am Biology 101 taught by the guy whose name you’ve not yet figured out how to pronounce does not take “I couldn’t find a parking space” for an excuse when last night’s black X on your underage hand is smeared all over your cheek.

Oh, and class? P.S.That is why we go to college. And that class that you thought doesn’t take attendance? That is the one whose professor wants to crucify your grade point average and get you to pay another year’s tuition ensuring his job security. So, for the love of used textbooks, get your tail to class. Also? Your professor is a real live human and it would benefit you to visit him during his office hours and at least establish some rapport so that when your 92.7 needs a curve he will remember the extra effort you made to see him about that lab project.

And, speaking of those big bucks put toward funding your future diploma, let’s talk about the YEARS you and/or your parents have worked tirelessly to pull together enough cash for you to attend the school of your dreams. Please, girl, let’s figure out a budget. Learning how to say yes to your needs and no to at least some of your wants will be one of your greatest steps toward adulthood. Sure, you can include an itemized budget line that covers your midnight chocolate chip cookie run(s), but let’s put it in writing so you know how you’re paying for that mani/pedi before the credit card statement posts.

Okay, I feel like I’ve covered the initial bases, but girl, you need someone like me. You need a good mentor while at school. You need someone to bounce your thoughts and ideas, insecurities and adventures off of. You need me to tell you when “that guy” is being an IIIIIIDDDIIIOT and you need me to tell you that Ecology won’t be the death of you. You need someone to encourage you to apply for that mission trip, even though you are scared scared to death. And you need someone to challenge you that while all “those girls” look picture-perfect on social media, they, just like you, need someone to tell them that in Christ, they are loved already. And who knows? All the while God has been shaping your soul here at school, He may have just been using you to dramatically influence the lives of students around you. And wouldn’t that make your collegiate years worth it?

So when you get to campus in a few days, reach out to that campus ministry chick who keeps texting you and inviting you to stuff. I promise you she’s not weird and even though you know don’t know her yet… she loves you already! XOXO


This article is featured today on the Redeemed Girl’s website, a ministry near and dear to my heart. Marian and I share a passion for reaching college-aged women and it was such an honor to work on this together. I mean, you know you’ve gotta write an article like this when you’re states away from each other, but are both overcome with emotion at the exact same time because of all the sweet girls flooding college towns this week. We hope this will reach each one of them. If you know a freshmen girl, (or one of those precious mommas who are freaking out), send her to visit It’s a fantastic resource for women 18-35!!