tasting our bitter herbs.


In a traditional Passover meal, it’s common to partake in bitter herbs. A seder often includes an herb called¬†maror, which literally means “bitter.” The word¬†bitter¬†comes up a lot in the¬†book of Exodus, probably because the Israelites don’t really look back on Egypt with a whole lot of fondness. But they looked back on it nevertheless. And thousands of years later, their descendants are still honoring it, still remembering.

Why would they remember such a terrible time? Their entire race was enslaved by a powerful kingdom that was unbending when it came to labor and punishment. They had all but given up on God after their own newborn babies were killed in front of them. Even after Moses led them out of Egypt, the Israelites wandered around the desert for a heckuva long time. Probably not a lot of happy memories.

But every year, generations gather together and partake in a meal of six parts. A lot of times we eat food to enjoy, but this meal is eaten to remember.

How often do you think about something you’ve done and it brings a bad taste to your throat? If you’re like most people, it happens often. We as humans like to carry around regrets. We like to look back instead of look ahead. And looking back – remembering – is a good thing to do, if you do it right.

See, the Passover meal isn’t shared and eaten in order to wallow in self-pity. While the meal does involve saltwater to represent the tears and anguish the Jewish people have suffered (as well as other foods that are eaten symbolically, not out of enjoyment,) it’s not a pity party where everyone cries¬†woe is me, woe is us, nothing has gone right.¬†

It’s a meal to remember the goodness of the Lord.

After Moses delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they were far from grateful. Although they were free from bondage, they had no idea what was going to happen next. They got scared. When humans are scared, they do things they regret. The Israelites muttered and complained and lost faith in God almost altogether. They wanted sign after sign to know that God was still with them. And even when he did send them a sign (i.e., manna from heaven to provide food for them) they still got scared and stored as much of the food as they could because they didn’t trust that the Lord would provide the next day. The same thing also happened with¬†water. Most of the Israelites literally wished they’d have died in Egypt.

Not very great memories for a people to have, am I right? “Hey kids, want to hear about the time me and your mom were so hungry we wished we would’ve died in slavery?”

So why do families gather together every year and eat a meal that represents the mistakes and suffering of their ancestors?

Because remembering the bitter times reminds us of God’s goodness.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to wait on the Lord. I hope that doesn’t sound like a complaint. I’ll tell you right now, 2018 has not been an easy year for me so far. Things have happened that have caused me to plunge deep into self-searching. That self-searching easily turns into self-doubt and then self-pity. Every day is a struggle to wait on the Lord.

And lots of people have gone through way more adversity than I have and remain faithful to the Lord. How? By partaking in a feast of bitter herbs.

There is a fine line, however. Remembering can easily become a pity party. At least I know that’s true for me. If I think about my past mistakes, I end up wasting the rest of my day by wallowing in my own suckiness.¬†There’s no hope for me. I’ve made too many mistakes, too many regrets.¬†

There’s a difference between regretting our bitterness and remembering our bitterness.

Have you ever noticed how if you regret something, it really doesn’t help anything, other than making you feel terrible? Yeah, me too. Remembering is different. Remembering is feasting on our own bitter herbs, tasting the ugliness of it –

And remembering what God did to restore us.

Remember your bitterness, but also remember the grace of God that came alongside it. Remember your faults, but also remember how God has filled in the cracks of your imperfection with his love.
Remember the badness, but remember also the goodness of the Lord.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13  

Think about your bitter herbs. Be specific about them. A lot of people see the Lenten season as a time to give up something earthly, like sweets or social media, but I also see it as a time of deep (and sometimes painful) reflection. What is preventing you from approaching God on His throne? What needs to be purged from your soul so that you may open your soul to God?

You will experience bitterness in this life, in some way, shape, or form. It may come from an oppressor on the outside, or it may come from within. If you don’t confront and taste your bitterness, you will remain locked in a cage with the key in your hand, complaining about how there’s no way out.

How have the Jewish people been able to survive for thousands of years even in the face of adversity after adversity? By tasting the herbs, and remembering the Lord.

How will you, as a Christian, be able to stand the darkness of the world and still keep your faith? By tasting the herbs, and remembering the Lord.

Remember these bitter herbs. Taste them. And then remember Who was by your side all along.

a. w.


Dear Young Christians: Stop Chasing Romantic Love.


It’s a boy-meets-girl world.

We crave tangible affection. We crave it in different ways. Oftentimes, we crave a love that is romantic – long-walks-on-the-beach and long-talks-after-dark romance. Sometimes (oftentimes) we crave it so much that it becomes an ideal. Or an idol.¬†This isn’t a new conversation.

We have expectations for the way our lives should run based on what we observe. We grow up, we go to school, we get a job. And somewhere along the way, we expect Mr. or Mrs. Right to come along. That’s how it happened for our parents, our grandparents, many of our friends and relations. Love happened. You might expect to meet in college, or during your summer job, or at a work party. You expect that somewhere along the way, maybe after a few duds, it will happen for you.

But sometimes it doesn’t. Either it doesn’t happen when you think it will, or it doesn’t happen at all. Not everyone finishes out their life happily in romantic love.

We’ve all grown into these expectations. When our circumstances don’t line up with our expectations, we begin to worry. If I don’t have a partner, something must be wrong with me. I must not be doing something right. As a result, we have incredible young single men and women believing they’re not enough, saying self-degrading things like they’ll be a crazy cat lady or a 40-year-old virgin – “forever alone,” like one popular meme. They’ve stopped seeing value in themselves because someone else hasn’t seen it.

And that ain’t right. Our value shouldn’t be found in that.

I’ve had a lot of interactions with single Christians, having grown up in a Christian environment. It’s implicitly part of the Christian algorithm to get married. If it wasn’t, churches wouldn’t have marriage retreats and Christian Mingle probably wouldn’t exist. In my opinion, this mentality causes desperation and devastation. If I’m not in a relationship/married¬†by now, then something must be wrong with me. Christian men and women become desperate for companionship, and bad stuff happens when someone is desperate.

It seems to me that the church shouldn’t spend all its time and resources on those who are married. Marriage retreats and relationship self-help books have their place, but there’s only one kind of love that the church should be stressing above all others.


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Agape might sound like “friendly” love. Or “friendzoning,” if you will, because it implies a brotherly love. But what else does it imply?¬†Unselfish.¬†How often do we pursue romantic love to get something out of it for ourselves? In all honesty (and speaking from experience,) our need for romantic love rarely comes from an unselfish place.

There’s a reason agape has those three main definitions (I’ll get to the fourth one in a second.)¬†Agape is vertical, horizontal, and plural.¬†Agape reflects the love¬†God has for us.¬†Agape reflects the love¬†we then show to others as a result of God within us.¬†Agape should be present in¬†all our personal relationships.¬†

Agape is how we should live our lives. I know it’s impossible for humans to be completely selfless, but what would an agape world look like? Single men and women would not feel desperate, needy, or “forever alone.” They would be filled with agape love. That love would overflow into every pore of their lives.

The world would be a love feast. 

What the heck is a love feast? 

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Who doesn’t love a good meal? Even better, a good meal shared with the ones they love? A shared meal directly correlates to companionship. What if we lived in a world where churches hosted meals, not specifically for the married or the single, but for¬†everyone.¬†An agape feast!

I am not married yet. I would love to someday be married and have children to raise with the love of the Lord. Marriage has sometimes (often) become an obsession for me (you should see my wedding board on Pinterest.) I yearn to live my life with someone by my side – a husband, a father, a companion. I will not find that by being desperate, by swiping through a dating app, by going to a singles’ group thinly veiled as a 20-something church group.

I’m well aware that I am not promised a happy marriage. None of us are promised romantic love.

Do you know what we are promised? Agape love. If you need a reminder of that, read John 3:16.

God does not promise us romance.¬†To think that our end-goal as a Christian is romance cheapens the idea of love. God has promised that we have a bridegroom in Christ. A husband or wife is merely a bonus – and if you are privileged enough to have one, you’d better treat them as one of the greatest gifts you’ve been given. Marriage¬†is¬†a gift from God, when it’s rooted in agape. But He gives other gifts that are equally as valuable.

Set your heart on things above.

And go forward in agape.

a. w.

How Do Christians Deal With Demons?


I’ve had nightmares before, but this one was different.

I was laying in bed and I knew I was sleeping because I couldn’t move. I could only watch. My head was facing my window and my nightstand, and I knew someone was sitting there even though I couldn’t see them. They didn’t say anything. Suddenly my mattress started moving by my head, like someone was violently tapping on it.

I vaguely remember hearing someone say something, along the lines of, “I’m here, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” followed by laughter (and certainly not happy laughter.) I knew I was dreaming because I followed it into the kitchen, which didn’t look like my kitchen. I tried to tell it to go away, but my voice didn’t make a sound. All I heard was laughter. I slept fitfully for the rest of the night.

I forgot about it the next morning til I got to work, then it hit me.¬†What a strange dream.¬†In the days leading up to it, I had an uneasy feeling. It seemed as though me and my roommates had been on edge. I texted my roommate and told her about my dream, and she said she’d had a similar one – someone who wasn’t there had said her name.

Okay. Something was up.

My mind started to race and I started to panic.¬†I’ve seen movies like this. We’re all going to end up going crazy. We’re going to be consumed, possessed. It’s going to be violent and bloody.¬†The exorcism scene from the first¬†Conjuring¬†movie stuck out in my head.

I took a deep breath. I remembered Whom I serve. And the darkness has no power over Him. I went home after work, walked through my apartment, prayed in each room, and then stood in the center of the living room and commanded in the name of Jesus Christ that the demon leave and never return.

I’ve slept like a baby every night since.

I can’t be positive that my apartment was actually occupied by a demon. When I pitched the possibility to my roommate I felt like I sounded crazy. But she also felt pretty certain about it for a number of reasons. I¬†can¬†be positive, however, that my roommates and I are protected by the blood of Jesus. We can’t be harmed by demons, as much as they might try.

About a year ago I read a book called Spiritual Warfare by Karl Payne, a must-read for any Christian who has questions about the supernatural Рwhich, honestly, should be all of us. It opened my eyes to the realities of spiritual warfare in the present day. We read several stories in the Bible about demonic possession, but they seem so far removed from our slick 21st Century lifestyle, governed by safety and certainty. Illnesses are diagnosed and medicines are prescribed. Criminals and murders are deemed clinically insane and locked up. Happenings that are nothing short of miracles are chalked up to coincidence.

I remember a part of the book where Dr. Payne talked about how he discussed it with other pastors. The pastors got a deep look of fear in their eyes and said, “but Karl, what if they get you?”

That goes to show how much the modern church doesn’t know about demons and possession. We’ve been shown by Hollywood that demonic possessions are violent, gory, and usually don’t end well. Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famed exorcists of the mid century, have books and websites and recordings dedicated to their extensive and often disturbing exorcisms. (Seriously, read Dr. Payne’s book – it’s an eye-opener into how these are extremely uncommon exorcisms.)

Dr. Payne specializes in exorcisms, but he thinks it’s a shame that pastors – and laymen Christians – don’t dedicate more time to understanding the supernatural. I’m focusing on the “bad” supernaturals here, but that also goes for the good. Where there are demons, there are also angels, and the Holy Spirit, a supernatural being, which is present in all Christians. Dr. Payne’s first “exorcism” was when he was very young. He went to his neighbor’s house and when he asked his neighbor’s name, the man gave a different name than his own, and knew that whomever was speaking was not his neighbor. Some freaky stuff went down, and a few weeks later his neighbor disappeared. (Again, read Dr. Payne’s book to get a better understanding of a true exorcism. He says not to address the demon specifically, which will avoid the chaos that the Warrens often talked about.)

I know I sound crazy. I sound crazy to myself talking about it, but I firmly believe that there is a war going on around us, and that war became personal to me recently. Something was trying to attack me and my roommates. And I’m not trying to toot my own horn saying, “I¬†got rid of it.” I had nothing to do with getting rid of it. I could have shouted alone in my apartment all day and nothing would have happened.

Demons don’t have to obey me, but they do have to obey the Lord. And any believer who confronts a demon in the name of Jesus will be freed.

I hope this helps if you’ve been struggling with this as a Christian. It’s kind of a specific thing, but if you’ve been feeling oppressed or surrounded by negativity recently, I wouldn’t rule this factor out.

Remember: you¬†do not¬†have to be afraid.¬†You cannot be harmed by a demon if you are a believer. It’s definitely a scary thing to think about (you think I don’t want all my lights on at night after that dream?) but you can rest knowing if will be handled.

Guys, this is 100% real. I have heard well-respected pastors speak on and write about this subject. We need to be real and realize that we’re not alone in this world. But we’re also not alone in the fight. Let’s keep this conversation going, and march forth without fear with the light of God to guide us.

a. w.

Who Do You Say That I Am? (and Who Do You Think You Are?)


You’re not who you think you are.

Isn’t that a scary thought? The person that you’ve always envisioned yourself to be, however close or far from the truth,¬†isn’t¬†who you think you are. Who you think you are is simply that – who you think you are.

Humans are good at this by nature. We like to think that we are innately good people. I’m sure that the “bad” or “annoying” people in your life don’t think they’re bad or annoying. People don’t tend to think that way about themselves (unless they’re wallowing in self-pity, which is an entirely different blog post.)

I mean, Hitler thought what he was doing was “right” in his own mind. That’s a bit of a drastic example, but it’s true. Think about politicians in general – they’re great at this. However they are portrayed to you on a TV screen, whatever news you read about them, they usually think that their values and perceptions line up with the way things should be. And you may disagree, because your perceptions are different. You may percieve them as selfish or out-of-touch. And with so many scandals popping up in the news recently, it’s easy to distrust anyone who claims to have authority. Because they’re not who we thought they were.

So why do we construct who we think we are or should be in our heads? Because it’s only natural. Self-perception is innate and comes from a variety of feedback we recieve from the world around us. People tell you you act like your mom – you percieve yourself as being like your mom. Pop culture tells you that blondes are dumb – if you’re blonde, you might percieve yourself as dumb. You might take on traits and characteristics based on feedback as well, in order to enhance your self perception. Girls your age dye their hair, so you do too, et cetera.

But it’s still not who we are. It would be too easy if that’s all there was to it. We would constantly be morphing, becoming different people based on who we think we are when we wake up in the morning (haven’t you ever gotten out of bed wishing you were someone else?) Change is a bit slower than that and it’s often hard to see until further down the road. People do change, but usually not into their ideal self-perception.

So where do we find¬†who we are? We can’t always say we are our job. Our job may change in the next few years. We can’t always say we are our family. Our family isn’t going to be around forever, and bigger influencers may come into our lives as we grow up. It can’t be a dollar amount, or a spouse, or a child. It can’t be a degree, or a vehicle, or a brand. We can use these things to fluff up who we think we are, to project ourselves to the world. But all of these things are finite.

It’s a natural, human thing to adapt and project. The truth is, we are born with holes. We try to fill these holes with different things, things I’ve mentioned before: a job, a spouse, a success story; or possibly you try to fill it with more incendiary things like drugs, alcohol, and reckless sexual exploits. These things might fill you for awhile, but that hole can never quite get filled. We’re like broken jars: whatever we put in, it will continue to leak out.

Why am I talking about this? Why am I making you, and myself, come face-to-face with what you need and what you think¬†you need?¬†Maybe it’s because I’m not who I thought I was and need to rethink that. Like I said, you’re constantly changing. No human being is stagnant or even stable. It would be stupid to believe that. There is very little in this world that we can rely on being constant, if anything at all.

Isn’t it great that we have a God who is the same every single day?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,¬†‚ÄúWho do people say the Son of Man is?‚ÄĚ

They replied, ‚ÄúSome say John the Baptist;¬†others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúBut what about you?‚Ä̬†he asked.¬†‚ÄúWho do you say I am?‚ÄĚ

Simon Peter answered, ‚ÄúYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.‚ÄĚ

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Our souls come from a God who is unchanging. People at the time were so flabbergasted by who he was that they tried to equate him to one of the ancient prophets. That was the only logical explanation for what he was doing.

We like to think we know who we are. We like to think we know who other people are. But the thing is, we will always be works in progress. There’s something almost liberating about that thought.

And to be completely honest, who we all really are is Depraved. We are in need daily for a Savior. Someone to save us from who we are and who we think we are.

The unfortunate fact of this life is that we are never who we think we are. We can post whatever we want on Instagram, say whatever we want, update our LinkedIn however we see fit. We can choose friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, mentors, who solidify who we think we are, but it will never change the fact that who we are is needy, thirsty for something beyond the persona.

I think you know Who can fill the cracks. I think you know Who can fill you. Because that’s what it all points back to. Don’t be afraid to bare your dirty soul to Him. He wants to see you, not who you think you are. Oftentimes, we hide the darkest parts of ourselves from people, even people we love the most, because we’re afraid. I’m often afraid that people will see through me to who I truly am and be disappointed. I live in fear of letting people down.

But God wants it all. He wants every ounce of your fear and disappointment in yourself. He wants all of you, and He will never be disappointed by you. He will see your pain, your darkness, and know it in ways that no one else can.

Run to Him. Show Him your scars and open wounds. Show Him who you really are.

a. w.

Satan has no power in Christmas Carols.


There are a lot of cushy Christmas carols. And for good reason. Who doesn’t want to hear about cute baby Jesus asleep and cooing in his manger? The perfect soundtrack for opening presents on a snowy morning. And what about Joy to the World? Fantastic. It’s a happy day, let’s be happy and sing happy songs.

Although Christmas is the season of light, I think sometimes in the midst of the cuteness of Christmas we lose sight of the real reason Jesus came – because we’re crappy people living in a pretty crappy world. Can you name the carols that these lyrics come from?

Long lay the world, in sin and error pining, til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

Dawn in our darkness, and lend us thine aid. 

To free all those who trust in Him from¬†Satan’s power and might.

Disperse the¬†gloomy clouds of night, and¬†death’s dark shadows put to flight.¬†

O come, thou Rod of Jesse free Thine own from¬†Satan’s tyranny.¬†

That’s straight up theology right there. Sometimes Christmas carols like to fudge things a little bit – pretty sure Jesus cried like most human babies, and we all know the three wise men didn’t actually visit him at his birth. (Also, it probably wasn’t a cold night, but Christmas! Snow!)

But these lyrics don’t pull any punches. They use real Scripture to drive home the “real meaning” of Christmas – and believe me, you’re not gonna find the “real meaning of Christmas” in a Hallmark movie (Love, Hope, Joy – cushy words that we don’t always know the exact meaning of.)

You’re going to find it in darkness. Because that’s where we all were before the birth of the Christ.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit¬†of the¬†Lord¬†will rest on him‚ÄĒ
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
¬†¬†¬†¬†the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the¬†Lord‚ÄĒ
 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-3

Christians don’t like to talk about Satan that much anymore. That’s kind of a polarizing name. “Oh really? You guys believe there’s this reddish-looking guy with hooves and horns sitting on your shoulder?” Satan has taken a backseat in most modern theology – why would we want to tell people they’re going to Hell to hang out with this horrible guy?

The truth is, Satan looks¬†good¬†to us. Why else would we sin all the time? He shows us ways that look like they lead to truth and light, but before we know it, we’re on a path of darkness. In Hebrew, a rough translation of¬†satan¬†is “accuser.” Satan may seem like our friend, but once Judgment day comes, he’ll make sure all of our sins are laid bare before God so we can go with¬†him.¬†I’m just being straight up with you. Satan does not have your best interests at heart.

Enter the Rod of Jesse. Before the birth of Christ, there was no mediator between God and His people. God was strict judgment – follow these rules and then you’ll be set free. But because He loves us and is jealous for our love, He sent us a sacrificial lamb that would put dark shadows to flight. That would stomp on the head of Satan.

Although Satan has no power, he’s still very real. And if we choose to, we can follow him willingly, whether we realize it or not. By leaving out the darkness of a pre-Christ world, we sanitize the message of Christmas.¬†Jesus came because we are crappy.¬†Jesus came because we deserve Hell.¬†

But that doesn’t have to frighten us. These carols also remind us that Satan does not hold claim on our souls any longer. A tiny baby changed that entire narrative. See, the theologically intense carols can live harmoniously with the cushy ones. We can rejoice because of that deep truth. Let’s balance both instead of one or the other.

We have just entered the season of Advent. Wait patiently on the Lord; He has not forgotten you. He has done what no god has ever done and sacrificed His own blood so that we can live with Him forever.

Bid all our sad divisions cease, and be Yourself our King of Peace. 

What’s So Funny About Virginity?


It’s a typical Hollywood trope. Teenage boy goes on search of self, navigating the trials of high school and, before his senior year is out – getting laid. Usually with the help of his friends. Antics ensue, sometimes involving hookers or porn, often involving alcohol and that one hot girl in his class. By the end of the movie, he’s transformed from a dorky, invisible boy to a¬†full-fledged¬†man.¬†All because he “did the deed.”

At the risk of sounding like a Puritan, teenage, pre-marital sex is the norm in pop culture and in society in general. It’s cool to have popped the cherry, and it’s almost a competition to see how young you can get it done. Granted, this post isn’t going to be just me wailing about how all teenagers are degenerate now, throwing around their bodies to whomever will take it, but I’d just like to get that fact out of the way: when you’re a teenager, it’s not really cool to be a virgin. It’s¬†certainly¬†not cool to be a virgin in your 20s – and if you listen at all to pop culture, it’s really not¬†normal¬†either. I mean, seriously – when was the last time you watched a sitcom or network drama and two unmarried twenty-somethings¬†didn’t¬†have sex?

Somewhere along the line, the whole idea of virginity became funny. In movies, virgins are shown as the socially inept and often naive counterparts of their cooler buddies – usually the same buddies who are trying to get him (or her) laid. Take¬†The 40-Year-Old Virgin¬†for example. Just the title¬†alone.¬†The title is supposed to be surprising – he’s in the middle of his life and he’s never had sex? Gasp. He’s depicted as the most wholesome human you could possibly meet – including playing with dolls and, according to an IMDb synopsis, “doesn’t even watch porn or masturbate.” The¬†audacity.¬†While there are layers to the story, the main point of the film is that the main character is socially inept because he’s a virgin. And that’s¬†hilarious.¬†Once he reveals to his work friends that he’s a virgin, they immediately go on a quest to try to “fix” that, like virginity is a problem that needs to be solved.

Because you’ve never really lived until you’ve had sex, right?

I could go on with a plethora of other movies about the rite of passage that is being “deflowered.”¬†American Pie¬†(the ultimate buddies-get-laid comedy),¬†The Virginity Hit, and¬†Cruel Intentions¬†(not necessarily a “funny” example, but one that has a little bit different implications.) A few years ago, a documentary called¬†How to Lose Your Virginity¬†examines virginity as a societal (and patriarchal) concept meant to supress your sexuality. The organization behind the documentary even gives out “V-Cards” to schools and organizations, which acts as sort of a punch card for every time you have a different sexual experience.

While there are patriarchal implications to virginity (a lot of times women feel more pressured to be virgins, and men feel more pressure to conquest), I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it. By dismissing it as a societal construct, we dismiss some people’s deeply-rooted personal beliefs and values. Do not read “rigid moral code” here. I’m not talking¬†Virgin Suicides.

I’ll put it this way: we all know stereotyping is wrong, right? Stereotyping racial groups, sexual orientations, and social classes is frowned upon in media. So stereotyping a virgin as being socially inept, sexually naive, and irrevocably awkward doesn’t seem very tasteful.

“Okay, Audrey, calm down,” interrupts the Internet. “Don’t you believe in expression? Why are you advocating for people to supress their sexuality? Virginity is funny because it’s such a ridiculous concept in this day and age.”

It might be for some, but for others, it’s a choice they’ve consciously made, and it’s a moral code they’ve stuck by (I know “morals” don’t really hold much weight in this day and age, but I’m going to use it anyway.) In other words, I don’t care what people do. I’m not going to tell you how to live, but I am going to tell you that some people live differently than you, and it doesn’t make them awkward or laughable. While sex isn’t such a taboo topic anymore, virginity is. People get uncomfortable (or even apologize) when they find out someone is a virgin. People think it’s weird when a boyfriend and a girlfriend haven’t had sex yet. That’s just kind of how things are nowadays, and I understand that.

My hope is that we can change the conversation about sex, especially as Christians. It’s not suppression to be a virgin. It’s not naive to be a virgin. It’s not¬†wrong¬†to choose to be a virgin. It’s also wrong to shame Christians who have lost their virginity. All things, even virginity, are redeemable through Christ.

I live as a virgin because I am called as a Christian to honor God in all things, including my body. I don’t always adhere to that calling. Sometimes I eat way too much nasty food or abuse my body so that I get sick.¬†Your life is about more than just sex.¬†Your sexuality should¬†never¬†define who you are.¬†It should also not define how you see other people.

For now, I’m done spouting off one-sidedly about this. But let’s keep the conversation going.

a. w.

Ceaselessly into the Past: A Look at Journals, Conclusion: A Troubled Heart

Do you remember how it felt to move into college? It almost felt like going away to summer camp. You’re put in this tiny room where you’re going to live for an extended period of time with a complete stranger who kind of weirds you out and are directed around for a week-ish of orientation and mixer games until BOOM. Classes start and you feel like you got hit by a truck.

I did that twice.

Yes, friends. I’ve talked about it a little bit, but not in too much detail. In August of 2014, I moved into Hillsdale College. Five days later, I moved out. I was terrified, alone, homesick, and having existential crisis after existential crisis.

(Audrey, calm down. That’s how everyone feels when they move into college…) Well, I guess I just wasn’t prepared. Was it fear that motivated me? Probably. But would I make the same choice again? You bet your bottom dollar.

I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had since I made that fateful decision. In September of 2014, I moved into Cornerstone University. One day later, I started classes. Three years later, I’m starting my senior year. No regrets.

But freshman Audrey, 18 years old and tossed about on buffeting waves of choices and their consequences, wouldn’t say the same. She spent her first fall semester of college crippled by fear and anxiety (like most freshmen, am I right?) She thought about transferring multiple times. She thought about changing her major (she did. I have a semester’s worth of music classes under my belt, in case you were wondering.) She thought she would be married by the time she graduated (HA. She fell prey to the Christian college mentality.)

And somewhere in there, she started to journal. Ish. So here we go:

Journal #5: No name (I wasn’t that creative anymore. It was just a red composition book from Meijer.) October 2014 – July 2016 (I think. It is rather unclear.)¬†

The quote at the bottom is from Frankenstein the Musical. Yup. You read that right. There’s a musical. About Frankenstein. And it’s actually pretty legit so don’t judge me. Ok judge me.

So here we are in October of 2014. It’s chilly and Audrey has found a moment to pour out her thoughts. She’s sitting in the lounge of Pickitt Hall (I remember this part but not much else) and finds time between homework to jot something down:

24 October 2014

It’s been a long time since I’ve journaled. The first time was when I got this thin little journal from my aunt (was it my aunt? I think so. There was a sparkly pen with it. It lit up when you wrote something.)¬†(Good memory, kiddo.)¬†It had this cartoon angel on the front¬†(Remember?)¬†I think I was nine? Ten?¬†(Eight.)¬†…I kind of stopped [journaling] in high school because I couldn’t find any time. I should find those journals and read them¬†(What a great idea! Then share them with the Internet, ok?)¬†I was a weird child¬†(yes.)¬†Er, creative. Both. Whichever one.¬†(Both is good.)

For years people have been telling me “You should journal! It will help you organize your thoughts/reduce stress/help you figure out your life!” Well, maybe, but

1) My thoughts are just as messy on paper as they are in my head; 

2) Journaling feels like an obligation and therefore a stress-producer;

3) My life has never been resolved through writing things down. Maybe that will change. It’s cheaper than therapy, anyway.¬†(Cue laughter.)

So what do people usually journal about?…I think [famous writers] have an innate sense that they’re going to be famous so they make sure everything they write is elegant and extemporaneous. Or they are just innately good writers and therefore get famous.¬†(The rest get blogs.)

So there’s your introduction to 18-year-old Audrey at a turning point in her life. You can tell that from October 25’s entry:

How about I start with this: Who am I? Good question. I don’t think I can answer that. I was just thinking how weird it is that we define ourselves by who we are when who we are is constantly changing. Can one be defined by that which always changes? Maybe that’s the answer. Who are we? Constantly changing things. Who am I? That which is never the same.¬†

Someone get this girl a blog. She’s hopeless. And she’s feeling the weight of 18, apparently:

I’m learning a lot in college. Not just conventional things like what I’m paying to learn, but other things too…For example, I’ve learned that eighteen may possibly be the most insecure age there is¬†(oh honey it gets worse.)¬†That’s why everyone feels they need to be in a relationship or talk about all the great things they’ve done. They’re starting to feel the pressure of adulthod. I know I am. Seeing people who know exactly what they want to major in make me feel like I should know too. People who are in relationships make me feel like I should be in one¬†(story of your life.)

So here’s what we know about Audrey so far: She’s confused and she wants a boyfriend. Is that what I’m getting here? She’s also paranoid. October 27:

I feel as if there’s never a time during the day when I’m not being scrutinized. There’s never a time when I’m completely alone, without fear of someone walking in or watching or staring at me¬†(that’s called living in a dorm.)¬†Just now someone looked at me, smiling and laughing in my direction. Why? What’s wrong with me?¬†

On October 28 I wonder if I’m attractive. Who doesn’t? Image is still a difficult thing to handle in college. You can still feel the judgment of high school seeping over (I know I did.)

On November 4, 2014, Audrey fell in love. She would stay that way for two and a half years. She met someone, and in her insecurities, latched onto him, thinking he was her only shot. (You can imagine how that went.) But she’s real excited on November 5. Everything seems to be falling into place.

She talks about Hillsdale on November 10. She’s still having dreams about it, but claims that the doubts are gone (they never go away.)

And then a little introversion –


I went to a dance tonight. I always go out thinking I’ll have a great time, but I always stand to the side and watch awkwardly. This was the first time I went with extroverts who wanted to dance. I just wanted to dress up and look pretty. My outgoing friend pulled my arm all night so I would dance. I said I didn’t like the song. “No one does,” she said. That really hit me. Is everyone as uncomfortable as me?

And on 11/22 –

Sometimes I think of myself as an F Scott Fitzgerald character: a narcissistic, restless, overly-romantic youth…I feel displaced. Restless. Confused. Bored, sometimes. Hopeless other times. Scared. Childish. Recently, lovesick for someone I’ve only known for three weeks and only seen three times. But you know me, making a big deal of little things.¬†(that won’t change any time soon!)

So we find our little heroine troubled. She longs for something that she can’t have, but she still has hope. She’s about to enter one of the most stressful times of her life. Winter of 2015 was not a good one. She had an overload of classes, a lovesick heart, and a mind full of anxiety. I remember a lot of painful, bitter tears being shed during that time. Life just did not seem to be coming together for me.

But looking back, I realize how much all of that taught me, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for enduring that and becoming the woman I am today. She still has a long way to go, but she’s made leaps and bounds in the right direction.

So I’ll conclude this short series with a little tidbit of knowledge from our heroine. Where will she go from here? No one knows. She doesn’t journal anymore (she blogs, which might be a mistake, but we’ll see.)


The heart is the harbor of love. If God is the author of love, then the heart must be God’s harbor. But what if the heart is not full of God, full of love – what is it filled with? That is a dangerous, tempestuous harbor, one that no sailor would find refuge. Let your heart be the refuge of the sailor Love, who tosses wearily from wave to wave in hope of a safe haven. Why not calm the waters of your heart and whisper, “Author of Love, you are welcome here. You who calm every storm, calm my troubled waters.”

a. w.