Cloudy Skies

It’s 11:30 at night. Why am I awake ugh! Because it’s so hot in my room. So I go outside because it’s unfortunately colder outside than my room (again ugh). I’m minding my own business, watching Mindy Project and I look up to see no stars in the sky. Not a one. What! Where are they?! That sucks I love the stars. The night sky is like, my favorite creation God made.

It’s cloudy. It’s cloudy and the stars are hidden behind the clouds.

and it hit me.

Ya’ll. we are stars! All of us. Beautiful. Shining little lights. Always there, no matter what.

But it’s gets cloudy. Things happen. Circumstances change. People leave. Friends lie and leave us out. We get dumped. Work sucks. Our family life isn’t awesome. We get overwhelmed by the life and the stuff around us we often get hidden. Our light dims.

BUT OUR LIGHT IS STILL SHINING!

We are still stars! The clouds don’t change us. The people don’t break us, we still stand! God made us to shine and to be bright. He also made our circumstances. He is in charge of these clouds and I promise you, the clouds that surround you and me right now were not made to shut us off or hide us. They were made to make us brighter somehow.

We still gotta shine through the clouds. That’s the point. We can’t change and get lost in the mess, but must remain bright and remain ourselves. That’s the point. That’s what we were made for.

To shine, always.

So this awkward probably crappy post I typed up on my phone right now is to let you know loud and clear: you, you bright, glittery, shiny, beautiful little star, you were not made to hide behind the clouds!! but to shine through them. The clouds will come and go. But you will stay. And you will shine.

Night night sweet dreams don’t let the bed bugs bite!


xx. Austyn

A New Outlook.

This isn’t a too long revelation of life and love and the pursuit of happiness, OK?

Here’s what it is. It’s Saturday night. I am at home (lame or?), laying in bed. Kinda hungry but too lazy to go get food from the kitchen. Just here in the silence. Thinking. I hate this! I hate sitting here letting my thoughts run rapid. Literally if you want to know what it’s like to be in my head, imagine like 500 different movie scenarios of how my life will pan out all simultaneously playing at once and I’m sitting in the middle of my brain just screaming. It’s really fun. But anyways, so that is happening, currently. Annnddd I’m rambling…

Then I get on facebook and I see a verse though and this just sparked a huge flame in my crazy daisy heart.

Psalm 25:7- Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.

I have two points to make then you can all go back to your Netflix.

First, I am rotten. I am seriously a mess. I fail ALL the time, mostly in school lol but I fail at other stuff too. Like being a good friend, daughter, sister (ask Payton and Grayson, I fail at that a lot), everything. I am so selfish. And so sooo jealous it’s embarrassing. I am always over dramatic about, like, everything. In short, I am kind of the worst,

That’s me. That’s my dirty laundry. There is a lot (a lot a lot a lot) more too, but come on I’m not gunna give away all the goods in one post.

who I am and what I’ve done and and the paths I have taken has made me this spazzy, go lucky, wild child kinda girl, and then Jesus came and wrapped that up in an amazing Grace and Freedom and Hope that I will never be able to comprehend. He really is the best, and He sees the best in me, always.

Sooooo with all of that being said, let me bring part one to a close. I need to start seeing people like that. Seeing them with God’s love instead of my judgey outlook. Seeing the best, always.  I wanna look at the ugly pasts and the dirtiest secrets of people’s most hidden parts of their hearts and love them all the same, or love them even more for it. I want to hug their necks while we talk about the broken pieces. I want to meet them right where they are. I want to wipe the tears. I want to be the one that doesn’t walk away, but instead, pours love and compassion and grace over them.

And part two of my thoughts on this verse is, this is goals right?! I mean who doesn’t want a husband or boyfriend or whatever to be like “yeah you have a flippin crazy past and it kinda freaks me out not gunna lie and even now you’re kinda iffy, but there is something about you babe and I see the goodness of your heart and the love that flows from everything you do and goodness gracious I adore you.” I mean seriously. GOALS. or standards, whatever. This is what I want my next relationships to be like, on both sides. That is really really exciting to me hehe.

And so it begins. Seeing the good, always.

xx. Austyn

If You Find This Email

If You Find This Email is a collection of anonymous emails sent from around the world. Some tell the tales of heartbreak and others share the happiness in letting go and just being happy, if nothing else.

Ya’ll. This website is INCREDIBLE. Here’s a little email I found that like, hit me. Hit me hard, man.

“I missed him as soon as we first said hello. I knew then that he would never truly be mine. The chase continued, but why was I the only one doing the chasing?

Sad thing is, he’s the kind of guy I would have given up plans for, moved out of town for, changed my ways for, and more. I loved him so deeply that it even tested my own logic, like a natural disaster. “Why can’t we be more? Why do you only want me late at night when you’re lonely?” No answer. Instead we blare the music loud and let the lyrics scream all the things that we can’t say to one another.”

GOSH

goooooo right now and read more! how can I feel so connected to so many random strangers from so many random places? the world is big but we all feel the same.

http://www.ifyoufindthisemail.com

youre welcome.

xx. Austyn

Thank You Very Much

This is not something I would typically write. This isn’t some big revelation I’ve had with Jesus or life in general. This isn’t advice for myself that I decided to write out on the world wide web in hopes that I might actually listen to it.

Nope, this is something very different. Something very “out there” for me I guess. I don’t really know what this is or what I should call it but here it goes…

I’m about to turn 21 in a few days and I have been looking back at my life and all the people I have known. I feel like I have known a lot of different people from different places, from going to school for a year at West Georgia to going to the Dominican Republic the past two summers to high school to InsideOut small group leading. I have had the privilege of meeting so many really awesome people with really really cool stories and lives. And that’s nice.

But that’s not what this is about.

There is probably nothing worse for me than opening up. The risk of showing my whole self and not being enough for someone. Showing my everything, putting it all on the line and all out there for really anyone to see. Vulnerability. It’s just really really hard. I’ve been real and open and exposed.. and people have walked out. Left. Maybe for good reason, maybe I was too much or too little. I wasn’t good enough or I really don’t know what I wasn’t enough of.. maybe I was just too stinking cool and funny and they couldn’t keep up. I don’t know. But I didn’t make the cut. And it sucks. Sometimes more than others. But it’s never easy.

And I kinda get it, I am reeallyyy not an easy person to love all the time. I have a dark side that isn’t so great and I’m working on it (no one is perfect right?)

Now. This is for the ones who have stayed. The ones who know what an ugly crier I am. The ones who see my blonde eye lashes right when I wake up and can attest that I do look kinda like a boy without makeup on. The ones who I can sing really really loud and dance without worry around. The people I can count on one hand that know me and my thought process and my heart just as much as their own. The ones I don’t have to try and impress. The people that embrace my messy life and my messy hair and call it cute. The ones that know my obsession with music and how it’s my “thing” (so I say). The ones who know my dirty secrets and love me all the more for it. The couple of people that know my love of love and kindness and see my passions and appreciate how deeply I want to love and adventurously I want to live. This is for the people that have stood by me and my weirdo, spazzy self and said “you’re on my team” and “I don’t want to do life without you” and “we are together in this”. The very few people that have walked through all my seasons and all my different battles and storms and never let go of my hand. The peeps that laugh at my very lame jokes. The 2 or 3 people that I can call in the middle of the night and know, no matter what, they will pick up and wake up and listen. Just listen to me cry or rant or vent. The people that encourage me. This is for the ones who have stayed and lived my life with me. The people that know everything about me, my worst thoughts and sins and worries and struggles, all my flaws, all my shame, all of me. And decided to stay. Stay with me. Live life along side me. Fight the battles with me. Love me.

And I think there is something so incredible about the people God puts in your life that stay and love. I think that those forever friends are the biggest blessings in the entire world. People to do life with. I mean seriously what else do ya need?

Anyways, T H A N K Y O U for being there. For listening. For just sticking around.

Thank you for loving me all the way through.

Thank you very much for staying.

And by the way, I’m no going anywhere either.

xx. Austyn

The Flames Never Bothered Me Anyways

Isaiah 43:2 >> When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.


This little run on sentence of a verse speaks volumes to me. So much to cling to in Hope there but also a pretty huge promise of pain. What can you do with something like that? You WILL walk through fire. Ouch, okay. Not something I necessarily want to deal with/be a part of.

I like the easy part of being a life. I like the part when God sprinkles His blessings down on my life and the sky is blue and everything fits together like my dream life says it should. I like when I can speak of love and joy because it’s a daily emotion for me. I like promises of happiness and ease.

But I’m human though, so this is never 100% the case with my heart. This world is so broken, so lost. We are so broken. We are lonely and bitter and hold hatred in our hearts. We feel pain some of the time whether it’s our thoughts screaming we aren’t worthy of him or an outside source telling us we aren’t cool enough to talk to or be seen with. We know pain, all sorts of pain, all too well.

This verse though says something about all of that. It’s promising pain. Well thank you Jesus, but I can see that I will feel pain like pretty obviously! Welcome to my life!

Yes you will feel sadness, loneliness, anger, unworthiness. You will have to deal with rough waters. You will know pain. You will cross rivers and feel like you’re drowning. You’ll be broken. You will walk through fire.

But.

But the water won’t take you down. The flame won’t burn you. The waves won’t overwhelm you.

Everything else in the world can be crashing down and you can feel real pain and think it’s over because the flames are too much and you can’t deal with it anymore, but Jesus didn’t die on the cross and overcome death for you to burn n a broken world. He promises that you will make it.

The flames will never consume you! This world will never beat you. Pain will never ever win.

You have to know and believe that with all your heart.

Pain and fear and death and anger and jealousy and hatred and loneliness and hurt have been defeated.

It might suck soo so bad. I promise I can probably relate in some way or another, but guys. Jesus has your back. He isn’t going to let you go. He didn’t create you for pain but He created you to be bold within in the flames and stand strong in Faith knowing that this is simply part of your story. Your story that ultimately points to Jesus and redemption and grace everlasting.

Yeah the flames suck. But ya know I need a tan anyways so BRING IT ON.

xx. Austyn

A Few of My Favorite Things

Woooaah the new year is coming in hot! Guys. THIS YEAR. It’s been an unbelievable ride. And so much has CHANGED! Gosh. I can’t even begin to tell you all the little things that have fallen in and out of place and the tears and the smiles oh me oh my. But I can tell you, 2014 was a growing year for this girl. Lots and lots of (mostly painful) growing. Like the hard lessons were learned the hard way if ya know what I mean. But, along with lessons learned comes new “favorite things” if you will. And I have three of them. And they basically go hand in hand. And I think that’s exactly how God wanted them to be.

faith.

hope.

love.

There they are. My life in 3 pretty small words. And baddabing, there’s a Bible verse to go right along with that! Haaa God is so smart.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

And now these three remain. After all the hurt. All the heartache. All the let down. All the good and the bad and the ugly. After every break up and make up. After everything, these three remain. These 3 things remain because we, as people, all have to cling to something. We need something to keep us going. And this isn’t just girls or just boys or old or young. This is everyone. At the end of the longest day, you cling to a hope. A hope that there’s a better tomorrow. You have this faith. Faith that the sun will rise again, and that it can’t storm forever. And you hold on to the people you love the most. Family or friends. Your dog maybe. I don’t know. That after everything, every wrong thing, you still have faith, hope and love.

You probably don’t even know this is what you live off of. But you do. It’s the glue that holds us together. And you can’t just have one. You can’t just have love. Or hope. Or faith. You need them all.

You need to love and be loved. It’s why we were created. To stinking love people! We were meant to be relational. We were meant to have people, the kinda people you take bullets for. You need that fuel to keep you going. That smile, or that hug— that love. Love picks you up and sweeps you off your feet and takes you away from the hurt. Love turns frowns upside down and creates laugh lines. And the greatest of these is love.

Then there’s faith and hope, which in my funky little brain are the best of friends. They pick each other up sometimes, dust the other off and help each other shine. Sounds weird but hear me out. Hope can be so deceiving sometimes. Hope can straight up suck. All the time, I feel that I have so much hope in something happening or worse.. hope in someone.. only to be let down and heart broken. But that isn’t how hope is supposed to work. Hope is supposed to keep us fired up. Hope in our dreams. Hope in better days and happier years and hope that we will be blessed. Hope is knowing that we will receive immeasurably more than anything we can even ask or imagine! Hope can be great. Hope can build a life. But, with hope you need faith. You have to have faith in your hopes and hope in your faith. Faith moves mountains. Faith is trust. Faith is believing without seeing. Faith is peaceful. Faith is beautiful. Faith is the key to open the door to everything you have ever wanted. Faith is confidence. Faith and hope combined literally can rock your world!! And it’s scary sometimes because with faith and hope comes other things like patience and endurance and trusting your unknown future to an All Knowing Jesus. But let me tell ya, if I had my way with this last year instead of Jesus being in control- it would be an absolute disaster. Faith. And hope. In CHRIST. You can’t go wrong because it’s inspiring. It keeps you going.

And the three combined.. well it’s magic. It’s the magic of life.

So there’s my two sense for the new year. Gosh I love new years. New year, new start, new chapter, new adventures. A lot of fun words come after the word “new” and I love it. I’m like, really excited for 2015.

So anyways, there they are; my favorites. Faith. Hope. Love. Can’t do this whole life thing without them.

And the happiest of New Years to ya! 2015 YAY!!

xx. Austyn

A Little Pick Me Up

I am doing this thing where I am making more an effort to treat Jesus like my best friend. Well, ya know friendships involve conversations about dreams and worries and regrets and passions and little exciting things throughout the day. You know up’s and down’s of life. As I started talking about these things, out loud and on paper, I kept going back to my worries. All my fears about the future. All my what if’s and why not’s and when will’s. I felt sad. I felt left out and left behind. I felt ripped off honestly. Why wasn’t this and that happening on my time and blah blah blah. I felt low.

And this little burst of encouragement STRAIGHT from Jesus came out of no where and lifted my spirits to the highest place–

Jeremiah 31:3-4

And from far away the Lord appeared to the people and said “I love you people with a love that will last forever. That is why I continue to show you kindness. People of Israel, I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt. You will pick up tambourines again and dance with those who are joyful”

WOW. Hope just punched me right in the heart! Check out this 3 part PROMISE Jesus makes to me (and you)::

1. I am LOVED. L O V E D forever. Love that doesn’t run out of kindness. Or patience. Or GRACE.

2. I am at a low point right now maybe but I WILL be rebuilt. God is going to rebuild me. He doesn’t leave me hanging at the end of myself. He shows up and picks me up and brings me back. “No matter where we are we’re close to the Father’s heart”. He promises to never leave me and He promises to never leave me broken.

3. Not only will He build me back up, He promises JOY. And dancing! And celebration! Oh my, do I love a good dance party.

Soooo today might stink. This season on life might be weirder and harder than what you thought and life is rough sometimes.. but ya’ll. I. Will. Be. Rebuilt. And I just know whatever God is building is so so soo much better than I could ever even imagine.

Here starts my tambourine search.

xx. Austyn

Double Dog Dare

Today, I am daring myself to do some hard stuff. I am challenging myself to just be happy.

Gosh that sounds so simple and silly when I write it out and say it out loud. But I think it’s more than that. There is more to happiness than just a smile and a happy heart. I think there are steps to take, choices to make, a certain outlook on life that leads to happiness.

So today, and everyday these are some of my new dares for myself. Wish me luck ~

Today I am daring myself to care. Maybe care more than anyone else, maybe care too much, maybe I’ll be the only one who cares but I am going to. I am going to reach out to people, ask questions about their lives, give them my undivided attention. I am challenging myself to care more.

Today I am daring begging myself to lock fear out of my life. There are days that fear walks into my heart and wrecks it. Literally my own fear comes and breaks my heart. The saddest thing is, I don’t even put up a fight! I so easily give fear the reigns of my life and that obviously hold such a grip onto my happiness. It stops me from caring, loving, showing up. I am challenging myself to suffocate fear as soon as it creeps in and instead, I will flood my heart and mind with thoughts of love and power and peace. Remembering truths and blocking out fears and insecurities completely.

Today, ya’ll- I dare myself to dance over small triumphs! I want to be so excited about the little things in my life that people think I am crazy! I want to look around at all that is falling apart but only actually see what is beautiful and blessing me. I want it to be so outspoken too. I want to literally dance over the fact that my crazy lion mane hair looks good today or these jeans aren’t too tight or my coffee tasted perfect this morning. I want to say and believe that yeah my car may break down in a few minutes but I have better music to jam to than anyone else on this road. I want to be over joyed about little compliments and friends and just where I am in life. I want to stand in this desert  and know that there is a river somewhere. And i won’t stop until I find it. And then I will dance in that river!

This won’t be easy- these dares and challenges I have for myself will not be a piece of cake by any means. It will be an uphill battle. But if I can just conquer one of these ideas today, well I just think that would be something to sing and dance about!

Sooo here I am, determined to find reasons to dance.

xx. Austyn

Why Does Love Always Feel Like a Battlefield? { Jordin Sparks Wisdom }

Man oh man, it has been a funky few weeks. Doors have been opened and closed and opportunities have come up and I have been a busy little bee. And I like it a lot! But at the same time my mind has been bouncing around a new idea; the idea of love, and what a freaking mess that makes me.

Love. We all know love from the movie aspect. Best of Me just came out in theaters and I cry every single time I see the preview because Nicholas Sparks SOMEHOW knows exactly what heart string to pull on every girl in the entire universe. That kind of love that seems impossible ya know? But at the same time you hold on to the dream/ idea of it because it seemed impossible for them but look! They made it! Or they found it! And I will, too!!!! I tell myself and again, and cry a little inside. LOL it’s funny kind of. Kind of not. Thankfully I can laugh at myself in these situations.

Then there is Instagram, which I have tried to delete time after time but just don’t. Instagram is a breeding ground for happy couples showing of their happiness. Their completeness. Their love for each other. In artsy pictures that some photographer friend took. I like to think I’ll have this someday (the guy, the photographer friend, the pictures, and the love) but we all know I am far too awkward for these staged (even though they claim to be candid) pictures. And then there’s pinterest which is a whole other beast! I really didn’t even know rings and weddings could be so beautiful until I created my own virtual wedding via other people’s pictures. Man, the internet is a beautiful thing right?

Please don’t misunderstand me though, there is nothing nothing nothing wrong with any of the above. The movies, the pictures, well pinterest- maybe but only because I need to make my “dream wedding” board private so no one else can steal my ideas. But the above venting is just simply that, venting. But happy people in happy pictures, that’s awesome! I like to like all the pictures and will continue to rejoice with these people with a double tap of the pic and maybe a heart eyes emoji comment. And they are great and beautiful and I look forward to all of that hopefully someday. But here’s the real thing I want to get to- love and grace and completeness.

Love. What does it even mean to love or be loved? From a worldy point of view, or at least this girl’s worldly point of view, it is this: Being someone’s soul mate, someone’s other half, someone’s perfect puzzle piece, someone’s perfect fit. Completing someone.

I get real wrapped up in that idea real quick.

I see the world and the happy couples and the pinterest weddings and I get wrapped up in the idea that there is someone out in the whole wide world that is going to accept me and complete me and love me in the way I want and deserve and need to be loved. I have high expectations and standards and my mind wanders to this super flashy and worldly way of thinking and I quickly become unrealistic. I think well, God made this person for me so he will be perfectly made to fit and complete me. Oh and he will complete me and be amazing and perfect and it’ll all happen like a real fairytale- we will work together and go together and there will be no problems or disagreements ever and it’ll be great because God made us for each other!

This is simply not true.

No man or person anywhere, or thing, or amount of money, or job, or anything ever will be able to complete me. Or make me whole. Because ya’ll, God did not design me (and you) to be completed by another person. Or another thing. Or a job. Those things don’t complete us and they don’t define us and they don’t fill us. The things and people of this world will leave us hanging, will leave us empty at times, will leave us sad and incomplete.

I think that’s so especially true specifically in love and relationships.

We cannot rely on another person to bring us our joy and be our happiness. Because they will never fully satisfy! Remember the woman at the well (John 4)–she’s seeking joy. Jesus knows her past and her heart and sees her empty soul and looking for love in all the wrong places. Jesus says “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” (verse 13 and 14). Everyone who looks to this world for anything will never be full and will never be satisfied and will always need more.

The same goes for people. When we look to our boyfriends and girlfriends and friends for completion and acceptance and real love, we come up short. And we always will. Someone doesn’t say the right thing or do what I wanted exactly or I ask a question with a perfect answer in mind and I don’t get it and then you know what? That person doesn’t love me. Instead of extending grace and mercy and loving the flaws and accepting the mess ups and understanding, I come to the conclusion that if it was love, it’d be better. It’d be greater and here’s the kicker, it’d be easier. LOL am I right?? What is this mindset?! It’s selfish, that’s what it is. Where is the grace? Where is the mercy? Where is the LOVE on my end???

Love isn’t perfect. It isn’t easy. It is not pretty all the time. It isn’t always ideal. It isn’t faultless for sure. But what is it??

What is love?

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love isn’t jealous or envious.

Love does not boast and it is not proud.

Love does not dishonor anyone.

Love is not self-seeking or selfish.

Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs (WOW that’s huge).

Love does not delight in evil.

Love rejoices in truth.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

{1 Corinthians 13}

Notice how it never says, love completes you to be the best person and also makes you feel warm and fuzzy all the time and is super easy. No!! None of those things that love is are easy! They are all really really hard actually. But that is love. It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s the flawed. Because we are hard headed and messy and flawed.

And only perfect love comes from our perfect Savior. Only Jesus completes us. Only He gives us the water of life and purpose and only in Him are we truly and wholely filled. We can only be satisfied in life when we are truly satisfied in Him.

I know that my future husband will be amazing and great and wonderful, but I also know I will need patience and compassion and grace (and I KNOWWWWW he will too, poor guy) to love him. And as I work on those things in my heart, my prayer is that he is doing the same.

And then maybe we can take cute pictures and dedicate cute songs and be SUPER CUTE but all the while being real and clinging to the perfect love of the Father always.

Romans 8: 38-39 // For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So here we go, learning to love.

xx. Austyn