I’m not sure about other runners, but I’ve thought about her when I head out. I imagine that the whole thing was a frightening reminder for those who wake up at 4:30am to run. Unsettling to all of us.

What happened is horrifying.

It should never have happened. It is unacceptable.

We go on strike in our hearts, refusing to let this be the reality, refusing to live in fear or inhabit a society in which we have reason to fear for our lives when we run. We fight for something better.

We desire a world where we run freely without fear, there are no tears, and the lamb rests with the lion. No fear. No abuse. No violence. No heartache. This is the kind of world we want and we know is right. We feel it in our bones. The dream is a world in which no harm is intended and no harm is carried out.

This longing hits the mark. It is not unfounded. It is correct.

We know that evil must be cast out. We want it gone — forever. We work towards that world diligently and unceasingly, because we know it is right.

But at the same time we are not deceived. We acknowledge that the sad, current reality cannot be changed by wishing on a star. We are fully aware that we hurt one another and are hurt by one another.

The effort for change is worthwhile and we simultaneously acknowledge that what we long for and work for will not be found in its fullness right now.

We long for and wait eagerly for the day that it is.

The Lord hates “hands that shed innocent blood” and “hearts that create evil schemes” (Proverbs 16). Good. I want a God who hates these things.

As Scott Sauls says, “ if there is no judgment, then there’s no hope for a slave, rape, victim, a child, who has been abused, or bullied, or people who have been slandered or robbed, or had their dignity stolen. We need a God who gets angry. We need a God who will protect his kids, who will once and for all remove bullies and perpetrators of evil from his playground.”

I don’t perfectly embody the striking combination of love, patience, and justice but I’m glad that He does.

He also hates haughty eyes and lies (Proverbs 16). We fight the bad in big and small ways, are careful to do away with hate which is, after all, embryonic murder in our hearts. We do everything in our power to give Love to those we cross paths with, and live wisely in a world that’s not as it should be.

The perfect world is the correct target — and we have glimpses of it. Glorious, peaceful, beautiful tastes of perfect harmony, complete joy, and unbridled freedom. The glimpses awaken our longing for it. We use that longing to propel ourselves toward what we know should be and the One who desires it more than us and will make it come to be.

“Eden’s voice rises from a whisper to a song, and it’s easier to see what we were meant for: to love the world as God does, shaping it to reflect what was in the beginning, and, and even greater glory, what will be in the end.” -Andrew Peterson

Hopeful yet realistic. Wise but not bitter.

We are not resigned to or beaten by the current reality because we have hope for long-term justice and change.


Single and Selfish

“Singleness is freedom!” the multitudes say! Our individualistic, “all about me” culture encourages us “unhindered” ones to travel, squeeze singleness for everything it’s worth, and do whatever we want whenever we want.

There are certainly good upsides to the unfettered single life and I think I’m taking advantage of many of them.

However, I have to be careful because singleness has a tendency to make me incredibly selfish! After all, without some intentional rearranging of my life, the natural flow of my day does revolve around me.

I cook what I want, I eat when I want, I leave my stuff where I want, I arrange my schedule how I want, I go where I want… You get the idea. The list could go on.

Basically, singleness gives me the chance every day to think only of myself and what I want. And that’s so tempting for a self-centered person like myself!

Regardless of whether the single life is chosen or not, the problem is that it can easily and sneakily reinforce selfishness and self-centeredness.

In general, singleness — as opposed to being married or having kids — puts me in a unique position to have to work a bit harder to turn my heart outward to others instead of inward to myself.

Many of my married friends, old and young alike, tell me that marriage pretty quickly trains the selfishness right out of you. Or at the very least it reveals your selfishness to you left and right. Sounds horrible and like exactly what I want all at the same time.

Sure, if life is about putting myself first, then my singleness is all about me and I should live it up accordingly. But, if it’s not about me and fulfilling my every wish… then what?

What does it mean if my singleness should make me not more self-centered but instead more giving? And if my singleness is meant to, somehow or another, be for the good of other people and make God, not me, look beautiful and desirable?

The great magic of all of this is that we know that when we give joyfully and humbly of ourselves, we are filled more than we could’ve imagined. Living in a giving, selfless way is not a sacrifice or a loss.

I’ve tried to think of some practical ways to be considerate of others on a daily basis and train my selfishness out of me even in singleness.

One way I try to do that is to be intentionally considerate of whoever I live with.

While there are days that I wouldn’t mind living alone, I also know that living with someone is not only fun, it also “forces” me to, at the very minimum, be considerate of another person on a daily basis.

Living with someone is one practical step toward training that selfishness out of me (though I’m sure it’s a fraction of how marriage or kids trains it out of you!).

I bop my selfishness on the head when I pick up my things or wash my dishes. I bop it on the head when I take their plans into account before I invite people over. I bop it on the head when I apologize for something hurtful I blurted out when I get home at the end of a long day. Again, I could go on here.

It’s one small way, but it’s a start.

What other ways can you think of to do away with selfishness and consider others in your daily life?

In the end, the point is that I want to healthily take advantage of the time and freedom that singleness allows me while at the same time using it for personal growth and most of all the good of other people and the glory of God.

From what I’ve seen, this is no easy task and I have a long way to go, but I’m ready to put my hand to the plow!

good men

I texted my dad a while back when it was Father’s Day here in Spain because I think he deserves to be celebrated twice — once for Father’s Day in Spain and again for Father’s Day in the United States. Not only because he is my daddy, but also because he’s one of the good men who has made me who I am, and I am grateful for him and all the other ones who have shaped me as a woman.
Sometimes (all the time) we just need to say the nice and true things because we all need to hear them. So today, cheers to the good men.
I am a better woman because of the good men who have been in my life. I hope men know that they are necessary and valuable to us, just as every human is.
Men are distinct. They are important. They are world-changers.
As I acknowledge and claim my own beauty as a woman, may I never roll over other humans in the process. In the claiming of my own personal rights, may I never take the rights of others. In the assertion of my own value, may I never devalue anyone else. May my confidence never be based in bringing someone else down.
My strength lies not in loudly showing it off — my strength lies in loving and serving and building others up, and I will build men up until the day I die.
And yes, there are men in the world who do the opposite of good. I have known them and met them. I’ve seen the effects of their abuse. I’ve seen their ghost when the only evidence of their existence is the damage they caused to children I love. But the fix for a good thing that has gone bad isn’t to discredit, disregard, and discard the thing entirely.
And my strength is not in hard toughness, but instead a soft resilience — it’s in being wise, careful, and resilient, amid a softness of not allowing my heart to become hard, untrusting, or unmoved by goodness and beauty.
So I will keep thanking and encouraging and cheering on the good men.
I am better with good men in my life. And in some mysterious and wonderful dance, men bring out a different good and beauty in me that the other women in my life (who I also desperately love and need) simply cannot.
So here’s to the men who daily respect and love their women. Here’s to the men who support and encourage, who help, who laugh, who lead with gentle strength, who defend others, who bring diversity, who protect, who discuss, who listen, who think, who fight against evil, who humbly sacrifice, who celebrate the brains, beauty, and strength of their women.
Here’s to the men in my life who make me a better woman. Just as I complement you, I am a stronger and better woman with good men behind me, beside me, and for me.
Be it brother, husband, boyfriend, dad, coworker, friend, mentor.. I am a better woman because of you, the good man.