Tag Archives: oxford

The Day I was Supposed to Move

the day i was supposed to move.jpg

A lot can happen in a year.

The last 12 months have been some of the most wonderful, painful, exposing, sanctifying, excruciating, and joyful months of my 28 years.

God has opened my heart, locked tight with fear, and poured in more love and goodness than can be contained in 10,000 lifetimes. He has begun the process of breaking down my Fort Knox-esque self-protective tendencies and given enormous gifts of grace so beyond my dreams and imagination that I didn’t even know to ask for them. I’ve watched Him answer six years of prayers in my small group babies as He has matured, purified, saved, sanctified, and led them deeper into His heart. He has faithfully and flawlessly demonstrated His sufficiency in the valleys and on the mountain tops and in every moment in between.

This year has been filled with sorrow, longings, dreams, and compassions that fail not. It’s been packed with patience from the Father, security from the Son, and constant hope from the Spirit.

The Lord has taught is teaching me to trust Him (and others) with my emotions, my unmasked soul, and my constant urge to resist grace and base my worth on performance. My heart, shriveled from 28 years of insecurities, has been expanded and nourished by a love unlike anything it has ever known from a human so marked by majesty that my soul explodes on a daily basis in worship and praise to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. And my mind constantly reverberates with this grace-drenched message: If His gifts are this good, how much greater is He?

God has proven to my fearful soul over and over that He is good and that He does all things well. He strategizes our lives well. He directs all things well. He writes all our stories well. He never makes a typo. He only ever writes with the highest quality grace-filled ink and He is plotting in all things for His supreme glory and our deepest joy.

Even when He says no.

thumb_IMG_6447_1024.jpg

Oxford, England.

Today is the day I was supposed to move to England.

“…but God.”

Three months after we returned from England last January, Haley and I began praying about moving to Oxford, a city that instantly felt like home, magic, and possibilities. She would get her PhD, I would write and teach English, and together we would immerse ourselves in the culture we had fallen in love with and make disciples.

We discussed it with our parents, faithful counselors, and each other (all the time). We sought God for months and moved forward, talking with people on the ground in England, students and advisors at Oxford, and various missions organizations. We made lists and Pinterest boards, bought and designed a travel blog, strategized and wrote content for said blog, and researched anything and everything we would need to purchase before moving.

I looked up jobs and Visa applications, formatted my resume for England, and found an apartment. We imagined living, writing, and studying in the same city that was once home to C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, T. S. Eliot, John Wesley, and so many others.

And in every second, God taught me to dream again.
I just didn’t know it wasn’t for England.

thumb_IMG_2301_1024.jpg

Everything in Oxford is magical (even the doors).

It was the end of October when the no came.

The door was shut.
The desire had changed.
The answer was clear.

Joy flooded in.

I wanted to go but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to be in Oxford but I wanted to stay in Paducah. I wanted to move and do cross cultural missions but I didn’t want to miss what God was doing in our church or watching His plans for His people unfold.

After years of wanting, seeking, and begging God to send me overseas to give my life for His global glory, He (again) called me to stay. Paducah is where He called me and contentment and rest stabilized the calling. His peace proved His presence.

“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

thumb_IMG_2229_1024 2.jpg

On this, the day I was supposed to move, I can tell you with more clarity and conviction than ever before that God will never deny you an egg to give you a scorpion. But He will deny you a scorpion to give you an egg (Luke 11:11-13).

My heart was saying, “Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.” The Lord was answering, “I must teach you to long for something better.” -Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity

The bottom line (isn’t anything new): God always has the best plans. Especially when He says no. He can be trusted. His ways are higher than ours and His beauty surpasses anything our minds can conceive.

Do you want to know the most recent lesson He’s teaching me? It’s that sometimes, when you brace yourself for a no, He actually says yes. Just in an entirely different way than you were expecting.

Sola Deo Gloria.

“This God––His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” -Psalm 18:30

thumb_IMG_2239_1024.jpg

Tagged , , , ,

Happy Birthday C. S. Lewis! 12 Quotes from The Weight of Glory

happy birthday cs lewis.jpg

C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite humans and today would have been his 118th birthday. 

My small group girls will come over tonight and we’ll have a birthday party for him and watch David Payne’s An Evening with C. S. Lewis (we won’t watch the exact one linked but it is so good and well worth the time to watch a YouTube video with “antique” graphics) while drinking tea and celebrating the work of God in his life and legacy. Until then, here’s a little blurb I wrote about “Jack” for the November/December RTM Magazine, along with 12 quotes from his famous sermon The Weight of Glory.

We hope it propels you to worship the One who conquered hell for your redemption.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Morning Munch No. 156 – God Isn’t Clumsy

God isn't clumsy.jpg

I am a Klutz with a capital K.

My best friend tells me I’m the proverbial bull in the china shop everyone talks about. She’s right. I’m the one with approximately zero coordination who drops almost everything, spills pretty much any liquid, trips over shadows, and accidentally flings her pen across tables (and rooms). After 27 years of this, I’ve basically stopped being embarrassed by such things (my bff, on the other hand, has not. Whoops). Some things I could prevent if I paid more attention but some things just happen because I’m in a 5-mile radius. I’m like Tonks from Harry Potter—I’m just clumsy. The end.

The Lord, on the other hand, is not.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Morning Munch No. 147 – The Anti-God State of Mind

IMG_2327.JPG

There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.

I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. … The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit. … Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Tagged , , , , , ,

Monday Morning Munch No. 143 – A Traitor’s Redemption

IMG_2858.JPG

I love good stories. Which is why I love C. S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia.

I’m reading through the series again for the first time since middle school and, wow, I enjoy them so much more this time (weird how that works).

Okay, question. As you read novels, do you find it easier to identify with the heroes or the villains? It depends on the story, I suppose, but I find it easier to project myself into the hero’s life. Do you find that true as well? Maybe it’s because we all long to be gallant and valiant and noble so, if we can’t be that in real life, at least we can vicariously live through the heroes of whatever story we’re reading (or watching) at the time. But also, let’s face it, most of the time we consider ourself the protagonist of our own story so it’s a natural default to transpose ourselves into the role of the good guy (or girl).

However, on this journey into Narnia, as much as I want to be identified with the courageous, heroic and brave characters like Peter, Susan and Lucy, I’m finding I identify more with Edmund than anyone else. Edmund. The traitor. #humbling.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Missing what’s in front of me

IMG_1664

In the Oxford Botanic Gardens, where J. R. R. Tolkien would go to write. Be still my heart.

I’m a journalist. I document things.

It’s my job. I went to school for it. I love it. I do it when I don’t have to.

My daily life consists of taking photos, filling journals, compiling stories, transcribing meetings and interviews, writing lists and making observations.

During our recent trip to England, the documentation game was strong. I wanted to (surprise) document everything (is that a leaf? Is that an old hot dog wrapper that’s been trampled? WE MUST PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING). But from time to time, Haley would make me stop and look without taking photos and you know what? The world kept spinning.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Oxford: A Tower of Dreams

IMG_2302

Everything is magical in Oxford.

Obviously I think our hotel is magical, but so is the entire city and all the contents therein. These photos are from my iPhone but Haley just posted photos from the good camera on her blog. You should go immediately to look at them. They’re so great.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oxford – Head of the River hotel excitement

IMG_2179

I’m in love with this city. 

Maybe I should clarify: I’m in love with our hotel. We haven’t actually, you know, been anywhere else yet… #introvertprobs.

We’re staying at Head of the River and it might be the best place I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve never before written a hotel review but I feel as though this might turn into one. Let’s make it easy: this hotel is like Mary Poppins—practically perfect in every way.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Monday Morning Munch No. 136 – Traveling and Scribbles

IMG_1613

When this blog is published, I’ll be getting off a plane in London. 

The next two weeks will be spent with my bff touring parts of England that we’ve dreamed of exploring for five years, eating as much food as we can stomach (get it? hahaha) and hugging as many strangers as possible (except Haley will kill me so I’ll just hug them in my mind… which sounds so creepy).

ANYWAY, I wanted to keep up the Monday Morning Munches so here is one of my all time favorite quotes by one of my all time favorite people (and it’s fitting because we’ll be going to Oxford next week. Cue all the excited squeals):

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” -C. S. Lewis

Tagged , , , , ,