Dear Friend who hurt me,

They told me to write you a letter a long time ago, but I thought it would hurt too much. And perhaps, then, it would have.

I desperately wanted the last word. I wanted to make you hurt. I wanted you back. I wanted the fairytale ending.

But now, I have the last word and it’s that you’re forgiven. Now I hope the best for you. Now I don’t need your affirmation anymore. Now I know my life isn’t a fairytale but a messy and merciful work from the hand of God.

My words are short because what can you say when it’s the end? I used to imagine monologues I could yell or cry at you when I saw you. But we were just two broken people stuck in a burning house. And God pulled me out before it was too late. I pray he does, and it looks as though he has, the same for you.

Thank you for letting me put a “the end” on this chapter. And with that, good luck at life. I hope you find your healing. I have found mine.

With love,

Audrey

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Dear God,

I am your wayward daughter. My heart is strong willed, and I am obstinately stubborn-headed. I have no sense of patience. My mouth is quick to utter words that should not be spoken to the creator of the universe. I have one heart and a different mind; motives that are not aligned with the words of my prayers. And in great defiance, I resist surrender.

My heart breaks to look in the mirror and see such a reflection looking back at me. And God, I know that in my own strength, I will never learn to surrender. I know that there is no better place to be than in your arms. I know that surrender and obedience with you leads to true freedom and joy.

So I ask that you would give me a heart of obedience and surrender. Give me the strength to have patience beyond what I could muster on my own. Would you give me the same heart and mind. Please help the motives of my heart and the words of my mouth to be the same. And when the motives of my heart are wrong, would you please help to fix them once again and align them with your heart. Would you be my greatest desire?

With love,

Audrey

Dear God,

I thought I had the wild imagination. The imagination that in one breath could take the creak of a stair and turn it into a nightmare. It was the same imagination that allowed me to escape the mundane lectures of middle school and survive the hallways of high school. This same imagination has painted a future for me since childhood. Ideas of what being a woman should look like. Ideas of what I wanted my life to look like.

But as it turns out, my imagination is quite tame compared to yours.

God, I’m sorry for thinking somewhere along the way that I had imagined the best future for my life. That I had imagined the exact way my career and relationships should happen. My dreams bled over into my imagination and those good things became ultimate things. I turned my dreams–those desires that keep me up some nights with so much longing–into idols.

And all along, I should have know. I should have known that your imagination is much more brilliant. It’s greater and wider and deeper. Mine is tunnel vision and unfocused microscope lenses. Yet you know things I cannot even begin to dream about. I know that you want to give me a fulfilling life. A life full of love, service, work, passion, and laughter. I know that you want me to find joy and peace. I know that all good things come from you.

So Father, I pray that you would give me a willing heart. A heart that is willing to stay or to go, however you have called me. May I have a heart that desires you more than my dreams and my future imagined. Give me a heart that is willing to trust the things you have planned for my life–things I cannot even begin to imagine.

With love,

Audrey

Dear Readers,

Welcome to 2017!

I hope y’all are enjoying the last few precious moments of the holiday season before the real world sets in and life goes back to normal. Wether or not you decided to have New Year resolutions, or wether or not you decided they should start today, I hope that you find yourself looking forward to the next year with optimism for how God will use and grow you, gratefulness for the gift of more time, and joy for the hidden blessings around every corner.

But in the event that you have not yet come up with some New Year’s Resolutions, I have a few ideas I would like to share:

  • Actually RSVP for events–even events without a “Please RSVP” written on the invitation.
  • Stop bringing Veggie trays to church potlucks
  • Enjoy a quality piece of chocolate everyday
  • Give hugs to strangers (of the k-9 variety)
  • Don’t feel guilty for that second cup of coffee
  • Adjust the thermostat to your desired temperature as often as possible
  • Spend more time in pajamas and less time in dressy clothes
  • And send Thank You notes on time

With that being said, I hope that the Lord richly blesses this year for you. I do not know what He will have in store, for myself or y’all, but I know that His promises are true and will stand. I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us, even if we forget to RSVP for that Church Potluck.

With love,

Audrey

Dear Readers,

I hope that your Christmas was everything you had dreamed of–sugar plums, snow, pumpkin pie, and whatever else you had on the check list. As for my family, it was unconventional given that our christmas dinner included Pigs in A Blanket and frozen french fries.

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s a time of waiting, resolution, reflection, and renewal. The magic of Christmas fades into the excitement and relief of a New Year. There is the slight disappointment as the anticipation and climax of Christmas is over. We have this odd time when it’s still acceptable to listen to Christmas music, but the tacky and cheesy marketing tactics are forced to stop pestering our sanity. Lines are just as long as people bring back items instead of purchasing. There’s left over ham and plenty of sweets. And, we begin to look forward into the New Year and look behind into the past year.

This year, as I look back, I see many themes. Sweet yet hard lessons of submission and abiding. Hidden mercies. Grace deeper than my worst sin. Sweet friendships. Truth and light versus darkness and lies. Well-placed, mis-placed, and abundant love. I am so grateful y’all have let me document many of these lessons here and share from my heart as the Lord slowly taught me truth. I am grateful for all those who patiently cheered me on through each valley and mountain.

And now, as I look forward, I think about the things I have learned and what I want to improve. I am sure that God will have many lessons written into my life that I won’t be able to foresee.

So together, let us enjoy this time of gentle change as one year closes and another begins to open. Let us not forget to be grateful. Let us look forward to a New Year with new goals to tackle and a heart that is ready to follow the Lord. Because, ultimately, it is the Lord who guides our steps.

With love,

Audrey

 

Dear worthless,

Worthless is the name you have given yourself. Undesirable. Unable to be loved. Ugly. Useless. These are all name tags you have worn, and maybe, some all at once. I know, because I often write them out for myself as well. But these are the names you have given yourself, not the names given to you by your creator and redeemer. So let us set aside our self-designated names and assume the names we have been given.

You are beautiful.

At the beginning of time, God created man in His own image. You are created in the image of God. The very essence of who you are reflects the creator. Souls that are eternal. Minds that are intelligent. Hearts that can love and joy.

You are wonderful and special.

The hand of God knit you together in your mother’s womb. You have been hand-designed by the creator and lovingly pieced together by his own hands.

You are valuable.

The Son of God gave His life for you. He shed His blood as payment for what you could not pay. The price on your soul was too great, yet the spotless lamb paid it. You have been purchased by Christ. You are redeemed.

You are wanted.

Since before time, God the Father choose you to be one of His own. And since then, He has been pursuing your heart to prove His love and call you into the intimacy of a relationship and fellowship with Him.

 

Your worth is not debatable. Your value is intrinsic. Who are you to tell God what is common and unworthy. You are because you are defined by the God almighty–He who created all, causes Kingdoms to fall and rise, and knows each sparrow that falls. And are you not His precious child?

With love,

Audrey

Dear Readers,

I’m cannot remember birthdays or anniversaries for the life of me. I still have no idea which date is my parent’s anniversary  (sorry guys!). So, writing a “Happy Anniversary” post seems highly contradictory to me, and fairly unlikely given that I don’t really remember the date I started writing.

 

Well, never fear! WordPress made sure I couldn’t forget our anniversary, which happens to be today.

So now, I am left trying to figure out how to write a non-sentimental post to celebrate our anniversary (because nothing is worse than sentimental letters).

Thank you for reading my letters and enduring my often long analogies and metaphors. I am sorry that I am always so unpredictable in publishing. And now we have an excuse to eat cake. I look forward to another year of writing and hearing from y’all.

Now go enjoy that cake.

With love,

Audrey

Dear Searching-for-Healing,

Life has been crazy lately, and you barely have time to pick up the falling pieces before you have to run off to the next appointment. You’ve been carrying around this hurt for long enough and now you’re ready to heal. You’re ready to choose healing–to use something other than chocolate to put those broken heart pieces back together.

If only life would slow down, even just for a moment, then maybe you could finally heal.

But searching-for-healing, the secret to healing isn’t the found in the quietness of life but rather in the quietness we assume at the feet of Christ.

Time away from hurtful people, space to cry and laugh, reading good books, and watching hallmark movies will help. But true healing, the kind that turns deep wounds into story-telling scars, is found in the arms of Christ. Healing that leads to acceptance and peace over situations can only be found in the knowledge of an omnipotent and loving God that guides our every step. Healing that leads to true strength can only be found in the grace of God that is sufficient for our every weakness. And these can only be found in the reading of God’s word, the time spent in prayer, and a heart bent toward home.

So for those of you searching for healing, I do hope that your life may slow down long enough for you to gather up the broken pieces. But even if it doesn’t, I beg that you would be intentional and slow down and sit at the feet of Christ–the only place where true and lasting healing can be found.

With love,

Audrey

Dear hiding-in-the-dark,

Darkness is really comfortable. I love to hide there myself, so I know. I know how easy it is to run out of the light into the darkness to nurse your open wounds. I know how the lies found in the shifting shadows feel like a strange comfort. I know it is easier to sit in the darkness where we don’t have to confront the ugly scars and wounds and dirt we carry around in the corners of our heart.

The light seems so harsh. It requires honesty and openness, with ourselves and others and God. It requires a willingness to let go of the lies. It means that healing isn’t found in licking our wounds and growling at whoever comes close but in laying open our weaknesses. It requires allowing God to clean out the dirty closets and spring clean the attic. It means coming face to face with who we really are and who God really is.

But there is also grace in the light. There is healing and mercy and love. There is fear and condemnation and loneliness in the dark. In the light, we are bared open and naked, not to feel shame, but so that we can be washed in the cleansing blood of Christ. Fellowship is found in the light, not so that we can use relationships to our end, but to bear one another up underneath burdens. Fear lurks in the shadow of the darkness and lies breed like maggots, but there is no room for fear in the perfect light of love.

I know stepping out of the darkness into the light seems scary, maybe even crazy, but only there can true healing and true love be found. Leave behind the lies of the enemy and grasp hold of the truth of God. Let go of the crippling fear and cling to the perfect love that casts out fear. Shun the loneliness and isolation, and find community and fellowship in the light. There is freedom in the light, and those hiding-in-the-darkness, I promise it is worth finding.

With love,

Audrey

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:7

Dear Readers,

It’s that time of year again. The time where work and school goes hay wire, like a bicycle with broken brakes careening down the side of a mountain. The holidays approach with promises of cheer, love, laughter, and weight gain. Chill winds turn our trees magnificent colors, and sweaters get pulled out of the attic. And now we can drink hot chocolate without having a heat stroke.

And oh, did I mention? Stress levels are through the roof.

If your month is looking anything like mine, it feels like someone came along with a stitch  ripper and is pulling all the pieces apart. In fact I’ve already managed to loose my keys twice this month.

But even in the midst of the craziness, life truly is beautiful. Thankfulness may seem hard to find in the middle of life’s mess, but with a little practice and patience, it can be coaxed out of hiding.

I’m grateful that I have keys to loose. And, I am grateful for the extra hours at work. I’m grateful that I have a family whith whom I can spend thanksgiving. I am grateful for my friends and warm cozy sweaters. I am especially thankful for heating and hot water. And that I can justify drinking hot chocolate.

We are truly blessed. Sometimes we just have to look closer and think a little harder. What are some things that have been working you over lately? And, how can you be thankful for them?

With love,

Audrey