Give Yourself Some Grace

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I stink at giving myself grace. The kind of grace I try so hard to give to others. The kind of grace that I want everyone to give themselves. The kind of grace Christ offers me every day. THAT kind of grace I am no good at.

I am doing the Whole 30 diet. Let’s just say this: I hate every minute of it. Because cravings make me feel weak. And useless. And worthless. And just plain bleh.

But that is because I hold myself to a standard that doesn’t make any sense to anybody. A standard that doesn’t even make any dang sense to me.

A standard that makes it impossible for Jesus’ grace to cover all of me.

I’m a perfectionist to a T, who shames herself when she falls short in any way possible. Say something with a little too much sass? Eh, that person doesn’t like you now. Break a rule (like no gluten or sugar or dairy for 30 days)? Shoot girl, you better sit your butt down in the corner and think about what you just did.

Those are the thoughts that run through my head- daily. And it’s exhausting. It is exhausting to throw myself under the bus every time I make a “mistake.” It is straining to always be the one to take the blame. It is tiring to always tell myself that I am not a real teacher or that I am not smart enough to say I have a bachelor’s degree, or even that my words and actions don’t matter.

But Jesus didn’t come to just let me keep thinking those lies. Jesus didn’t die and beat the grave to just let me feed myself empty words until they become my truth. Jesus didn’t shed His blood to make me white as snow just to watch me sink under my own thoughts and worries.

So what does this have to do with you? What does this mean for you?

It means you should give yourself some more grace. It means that I should give myself more grace. Because we were not created to be perfect and flawless in everything we do or say- Jesus came to take that burden from us.

We were and ARE created to be who our Heavenly Father UNIQUELY created us to be.

Don’t even get me started on the social construction of beauty and perfection and the “American Dream”- it drives me up a wall crazy. And Satan knows it drives me crazy. And he knows the things that drive you crazy too. So he preys on your “flaws” and every moment you “fall short.” He throws little lies your way, like “oh look at that girl, you wish you could look like her” or “your mini-van isn’t cool enough for California life” (that’s a real thing I struggle with guys, call me crazy but its true).

Satan takes all the good things God gave us (which is every little detail of ourselves by the way) and twists it just enough to make us cringe when we look in the mirror. He twists the truth just enough to make it easy to believe that we are just a hair short of the perfect man or woman God has created us to be.

And each time we believe those lies takes us one more step away from the grace Jesus so lavishly throws on us every morning.

So take those little lies of you’re not good enough or smart enough or you stink at following rules why aren’t you better kind of lies, and throw them to the trash, every time.

Give yourself some grace when you miss the turn or say something extremely quirky or weird to the guy you’re crushin’ on. Give yourself some grace when your to-do list is longer than the hours you have in the day. Give yourself some grace and take a stinkin’ nap. Rest in the fact that God doesn’t look at your check list of accomplishments but only cares about how deeply you love others around you. 

Give yourself grace and rest. The world needs you at 100%. Don’t push too hard. – Hannah Brencher

The world needs you at 100%. God created you to live in your 100%.

So give yourself some grace and punch fear in the face.

And kill it this Monday. 

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

Let The Man Lead

img_6420I am the kind of girl that knows what she wants. The kind of girl that wants to be seen as independent and strong and is more than a control freak. The kind of girl that makes it really hard for a guy to take the lead because I have the reigns pulled so tight my way before he even gets a chance to think about where he wants to take me for dinner.

Why, you ask?  Because, I know what I want.  Which is good but also so so bad.

Because God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what we need. 

And apparently, I want a guy who will lead, but in my time and on my watch.  I want a guy who will take me on an adventure, but let me memorize the map first. I want a man who will say “let me lead” but let me throw the first punch.

And what I have learned over a good chunk of time is this: that no matter what I tell myself or how great I think I am, I suck at letting the man lead.

And I am pretty sure you do too. Because woman and girls now-a-days are taught to fend for themselves, to be independent, to never be too needy or to let the guy know you’re into him.We are taught to take the lead because WE ARE WOMEN AND WE ARE STRONG AND MEN SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO TELL US WHAT TO DO.

But ladies, they should. The man should lead. He should be the one to open your car door and pay for your dinner.

He should because he was created to.

He was created to be the leader in the relationship, to be the first one to dive head first into the unknown. Which means letting him pay for dinner and letting him make the first move; because those “moves” belong to them; those ‘firsts’ were made for them. Man was created to lead, but man also wasn’t meant to be and lead, alone.

Which is why the man gets down on one knee and asks you to spend the rest of your life with him. Which is why he is the one to open every door but then lock the door behind him. He was made to surrender and to protect. To lead and to love.

And women, we have to remember that. 

And then we have to remember how to balance their leading with our helping. Because we weren’t created after the man because we are less, but we were created after the man because God did not want him to be alone. Because God wasn’t done yet. Because it was “good” but not “very good” until we ladies came about.

We women were created because men couldn’t do this life alone.
We were created to stand by their side and to let them lead.
We were created to let them lead but then catch them if and when they fall.

And if you think about it, that is a pretty dang good team.

Way to go God.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn


Images by Morgan Hoogland

The Truth About Marriage

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I know what you are thinking. Steph, you ain’t even dating someone, how do you even know one thing about marriage?

That was exactly what I asked myself every time I sat down to write this post. That I don’t know anything about marriage because well, I ain’t even close to it.

But the thing is, that is so so not true. Because marriage is yes between a man and a woman, two becoming one, signed – sealed – delivered, forever together. But marriage isn’t just about a girl and a boy getting hitched. It’s about Jesus and His church.

If you have been following my blog for the last year or so, you know that marriage is a deep desire of mine. Something that I was so close to, yet thankfully, so far away from having. Living my life with my best friend is something I cannot wait to hopefully, one day have.

But through the last year of my longing for a relationship and a marriage and a husband (the truth actually sounds horribly needy), I have learned more than one thing about this thing that I so desire and hope for.

That marriage is simply just a shadow of our relationship with Christ.

I remember fighting hard to figure out what I wanted more: a husband or God. Crazy, right? But ladies, have you ever just stopped to think: if someone were to ring your doorbell right now or walk right up to you while you’re waiting in line for your latte, would you rather have it be your future husband or Jesus?

For a long long time I wanted it to be my future husband tapping me on the shoulder. For a long long time I could only see my desire and longing for something to fill a void that only I Am could fill. 

A couple weeks ago, a good friend told me to let God romance my heart. She told me to throw all my desires, the relational and romantic desires, and to allow God to fill that longing.

Allow God to romance you, to ask you on a date, to take your hand and get down on one knee, to know you and every part of you.

Now hear me when I say this- I know that is a weird thing to envision. It’s weird to think of our Heavenly Father as someone to not only protect us and hold us as we cry, but also as Someone who knows our every flaw and wants us still. But calls our name still. But calls us beloved and beautiful and chosen still. 

But its the truth- He loves us that much. He loves you that much. And He doesn’t love you with just some goo-goo-ga-ga love that fades after the honeymoon plane lands. It’s the kind of love that fights and chooses, that is fierce and unrelenting. 

Song of Songs has rocked my world. Like crazy. If you haven’t read it, stop reading this and dig in. It rocked my world, and after almost every chapter I left thinking, WHAT? God loves me THAT much? He loves me that much that He knows and wants to know every part of me? That He created me to be one with Him, to do life with Him, to always have HIM?

This love that He has for you and me surpasses anything we could ever imagine. It is a love that we cannot feel or receive from anyone else other than our Heavenly Father. 

Yet women fantasize about the day they meet the one and find the one in which their souls love. We dream about a man that will choose us and want us and desire us and love us for who we are.

But, we already have it.

We already have a love that will choose us and want us and desire us and love us for who we are. We already have Someone that chooses us in the mess, Someone that stands next to us through the thick and the thin. We already have Someone who has declared, “even death can’t do us part.”

Ladies, hear me out when I say this: I know the longing for a man. I know that longing for someone to choose you always. To love you always. To be there always. That longing is real. It is something we all have. But it is a longing only Jesus can fill. It is a longing only Jesus is MEANT to fill.

And marriage is just a covenant to point you back to the covenant Jesus came to fulfill with His bride.

Marriage is seriously a beautiful thing. Something that I would be beyond blessed to be given here on earth. But not because of all the things the world tells us we get when we “finally” have the one, but because marriage between a man and a woman is a gorgeous picture of the marriage between Jesus and His church. 

And you and me are the church. You and me are who He came for. You and me are who God chooses. And calls. And loves. 

The truth about marriage is that it isn’t about you and him, its about you and Him.

The truth is that marriage has nothing to do with you but everything to do with Jesus. The truth is is that when you find the one in whom your soul loves, who sweeps you off your feet, who chooses you and fights for you and loves you, when you are given someone to share those forever vows with, it actually has nothing to do with him or her, but everything to do with Christ and His love for you.

This truth has smacked me in the face and pushed me back more than a few steps a couple times over the last 6 months, because I didn’t view marriage this way. I didn’t view marriage as what He created it to be.

I viewed marriage as a relationship that gave me someone to be “the one and only” not as giving me someone to always point me to the One and Only.

Ladies, guys if you’re reading, stop searching. Stop waiting. The One is right there with you.

Seek Him, and He will sweep you off your feet. Seek Him, and you will always have One who chooses you. Seek Him, and you will find the One.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

My Confidence is Your Faithfulness

IMG_6128I am moving in one month.

Just an hour or so away from my community of where I am now, but I’m moving away none the less.

And I am not moving because I am looking for anything better, but because I feel super lead to be out on my own. Completely.

Without anyone to lean on, anyone to use as my crutch, just me, myself, and I.

And I am scared out of my mind.

I am scared that it is a stupid decision. I’m scared out of my mind that He won’t provide. That He won’t follow me.

I am scared to take this leap, even though I know it is what I need to do. I’m scared He won’t stay.  I’m scared He isn’t enough for me. I’m scared I can’t be who He created me to be.

In short, I am scared because I don’t trust Him. I don’t think I deserve anything good.

I am almost waiting for the bad to strike me any moment, and a move will probably do the trick.

But then He reminds me of when I had this same feeling a year or so ago.

I was afraid to do what He asked. I was afraid of fully surrendering my future and my plans because, what if His plans weren’t enough for me?

And He provided. And provided, and provided.

He was more than enough, giving me more than I could have ever dreamt.

Yet here I am again, 18 months later, with the same gut wrenching fear that He won’t provide.

That He won’t follow through with His promise.

His promise that I struggle every stinking day to believe.

And then I remember Him.

I remember His mercy. I remember His kindness and how it has never failed me.

And with that realization I am faced with a choice: a choice to live in fear or a choice to live in full surrender to my God and His plans.

And even though I am scared out of my mind I may fall, I still find myself whispering, have it all Jesus. 

He has and always will be faithful.

So I am making the daily choice to say that my confidence is His faithfulness.

And it can be yours too.

You just have to hand it all over, fears and all, and choose to trust.

Choose to rest in His faithfulness, no matter the fears and doubts that weigh you down.

Choose to trust that He’s got it all. And I promise He will never fail you. 

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

 

How To Love Jesus When Shiz Gets Hard

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We all can be dramatic sometimes. We all can make things worse than they really are.

Take me for example. My dad has a swollen lymph node in his neck. First thing I thought? Cancer. Second thing I thought? I’ll never see him again.

Now that is dramatic. But let’s get real for a second: life can get real freaking hard sometimes.

Shiz can hit the fan.

Anxiety builds, fears pile up and bad things seem to be at every corner you turn.

Those moments where we don’t get the job we thought we had in the bag, and we think the worst. Or we got one stupid B-, which takes the GPA down .00007 points and our whole life might as well be over.

Small stuff happens day after day until suddenly, those positive thoughts of a bright future and overcoming failures, turn to negative ones. Shame becomes your middle name. Suddenly you’re a failure with no future.

And then sometimes, the real shiz hits the fan. Like a breakup or a diagnosis, a job loss or another friendship lost. And then those lies of worthlessness and shame and failure quickly become the truth.

You feed yourself those lies until they become your daily bread.

You feed yourself those lies until you believe them. 

So why is it so hard to love Jesus when shiz gets hard? When times get tough?

Well because, it is hard to believe Him after all the crap we’ve fed ourselves.

It is hard to believe that Someone created us to love and to be loved when we can barely look at our reflection without noticing every flaw. It is hard to believe that our Heavenly Father cares for us and our every breath when we can barely whisper grace upon ourselves in the first place.

I had two people ask me to write about how to love Jesus when life gets hard or troubles come.

And the only thing I could think of that you can do?

We have to believe Him.

We have to believe that He is good. That He is a healer. That He is our comforter. That He knows every hair on our heads. That He created us to be more than just another face in the masses. That He has a purpose for every mess, for every hurt, for every piece of shiz you face.

So how do you love Jesus when times get hard?

Believe He is who He says He is. 

Catch the lies you tell yourself.
Catch the lies then replace every lie with His truth.

Take every stinkin’ thought captive until the only thing you have left to say is Jesus. 

I can’t lie to you. It is hard to love Jesus when all I want is for my dad to be healed or my grandpa to finally see again. It is hard to love Jesus when every corner I turn seems to push me 6 steps backwards.

It will always be hard to love Jesus because things like cancer and breakups and broken families were never His will for our lives. This broken world we live in isn’t the world He created, this place isn’t the place He wanted for you and for me.

So we have to believe Him when He says He is good. We have to believe Him when He says His love can conquer any pain.

We have to believe that He is bigger than any crap we face.

And we have to make the choice to believe it every single day. 

So start now. Believe His truths now. And speak that truth every day of your life- through the thick and thin of life, believe it.

See you soon,

Stephanie Lynn

Wardrobe Wed|Nes|Day Is Back: Season Style

So Wardrobe Wed|Nes|Day began because I wanted to share with y’all what I think is so worth it and so great to add/have/invest in for your spring, summer, fall, etc. wardrobe.

Insert Season + the Pepper Dress that I mentioned on Monday’s post.

I really don’t need to tell any of y’all anything about Season and the Pepper Dress except this: please know that the investment into this beautifully designed dress by Jessie Artigue is more than an investment in your wardrobe.

It is an investment that says the hands that make and produce what you wear matter.

Its choosing to say what you spend your money on matters.

That is why I love Season. 
Because it is a brand that cares from beginning to end.

From the material and design, to the hands that make it, to the fashionista /small town girl/city gal/adventure seeking/beach loungin’/CEO boss woman who rocks the Pepper Dress wherever they go.

It’s a brand that wants you to feel beautiful and spunky and worth itbecause you are. 

That’s why I love Season.

And I hope y’all love it too. 

Support and snag yourself one of those beauties pictured above on Jessie’s Kickstarter Page.

Let’s blow Jess’s goal for this kickstarter out of the water. What’d’a yall say?

See y’all soon,

Stephanie Lynn

All Photos By: Christa Norman

This Season Ain’t Just For a Season

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Anybody remember Jessie Pepper from Marriage is Funny that I met way back in September?

Anybody remember how hard I was fan girling over meeting her?

Well heck I’ve got something
to say about her, y’all.

She picked ME as one of two people to intern for her new clothing brand.

WHAT?

Yeah. I must have died and gone to heaven. Because not only do I get to call Jessie my friend, but I now get to call her a mentor that I now have the stinkin’ honor to learn under.

Okay enough about me, let’s talk about Jessie.

Here’s the short and sweet version:
She’s a beast stylist who designed the ultimate and perfect dress just for you.

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The Pepper Dress as we like to call it around here.

And the kickstarter for The Pepper Dress starts just in TWO DAYS, and I want y’all to get the headsup.

I love when I can get behind something that is doing good. Especially when it’s good all the way around. And that is Season. The Season brand and it’s first piece, The Pepper Dress, is simply just good- from the designer and creator, to the hands that sew each garment, to the way it gives back to our earth that never stops giving and deserves only the best in return. – me

The Pepper dress is made with biodegradable silk, is produced here in the United States, and gentle on the hands that sew each dress.

Now that’s good. And that’s why I love it.

And I can’t WAIT for y’all lovely women out there to get your hands on it. Or body in it. I don’t know, is that weird? Eh, oh well, it’s the truth.

I just can’t wait, period.

Check out Jessie’s Seaon brand and dress here, and sign-up for all the goodness with just one quick type of your email and one quick click of a button.

OH. And Wardrobe Wed-Nes-Day is making its debut-comeback (does that even make sense?) this Wednesday with a full spread of the oh-so-glorious Pepper Dress.

Stay tuned, friends.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn

Stop Living With Regrets

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I’m a big fan of running with your arms open wide, taking every chance and every opportunity and never looking back.

A big fan of it. 

Imma big fan of having no regrets and letting God take control of the rest.

Take my past relationship for example.

I let myself fall far. I dreamt and wished and fell hard for my high school crush, truly believe there was nothing/no one else.

I dreamt of marriage with this guy, loved every moment I spent with his family, and never thought I would live without him.

Yet here I am, living on the other side of the country a year later: with no guy, no dream life, no marriage, but also, no regrets.

Break ups and relationships, whether ending on good notes or splitting on bad ones, are just hard from every angle.

And as a girl who feels all the feels all the time, who dreams big and falls hard, I fell flat on my face, real hard, when my “dream” ended.

But I do not have any regrets. Not one.

And I don’t want you to have any regrets either. 

Because living life worrying about making the wrong move or saying the wrong thing or not doing enough or doing too much- is never worth it.

But loving deeply and fully is.

Giving who you are and never holding back who you are, is worth it.

Heck yes there is a chance of hurt in the end. But when is there not?

Now hear me now ladies: I’m not saying lose yourself. I’m not saying give all of you, where you lose yourself and some other pretty important parts of yourself too. Never compromise your worth and heart for something or someone who you know is/are not what The Lord has made for you.

But what I am saying, is don’t be afraid of letting someone in just because you’ve been hurt before.

Don’t be afraid to give in and trust the process of a good thing from the Lord landing in your lap.

Stop letting the worry of regrets or past failures and hurts stop you from living where you are right now.

Because you don’t know the future. But you do know the past. And you do know yourself.

You’ve learned from where you’ve walked, and grown into who you are called to be in the process.

So be you.

Fall hard, and love deeply, and love with no regrets.

And if you fall, know the Lord is working in the mess, and sit in the truth that you have no regrets of how much/deep you loved.

See you soon,

Stephanie Lynn

The Kind of Person I Want To Be

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I wanna be the person who celebrates the small, the big, the goofy, and the awkward.

Because life should be celebrated.

I love when people celebrate people. When people choose the good instead of the bad. When someone flips your day around just by helping you see that the cup isn’t half empty, it’s half full.

I want to be that kind of person– who celebrates those around her and lifts others up in their successes and sits with them when their down, then drags them to get ice cream because you might as well eat ice cream if you’ve had a bad day. Ice cream is always a good idea.

Life should be celebrated.

I want to be a woman who sees herself as strong and full and perfect and whole in Jesus, and then just pour that truth into every woman around me.

Because let’s face it- the world these days just isn’t satisified with who we are now- it is always focused on making us better, skinnier, healthier, popular-er.

But that isn’t how God created us to be.

He created us saying, “You do you, babe” (my paraphrasing, of course).

God created us to be exactly who we are and no one else. He created us to own who we are and live like no one is watching.

So girl?

You do you.

I want to be good. That is what my One personality strives for (check out the Enneagram if you don’t get what I’m sayin’ here).

But really this word “good” has stuck out to me over the last few months when I have been digging into the Word.

God is good. God has so much good in this world for us. He wants us to do good. He wants us to be enthusiastic to do good. He wants us to do good and love deeply in His name.

And I’ve realized, that is all I really want to do. That all I really want to be.

I want to be good- for Him and for His Kingdom and glory.

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Do good.

I want to celebrate life, big and small, be who God created me to be and leak that truth to every woman I meet, and do good everywhere I go.

(In short, I’ve realized that the kind of person I want to be, happens to be my mom. She leaks Jesus and joy and love and grace. She celebrates even when you’d rather sit and pout, she owns who God made her to be, and she is the good-est person I know.)

So mom? I wanna be like you, I guess.

See you soon,

Stephanie Lynn

22 Things I Learned in my 22nd Year

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Wow has The Lord been more than gracious this year.

And since it has been awhile since I’ve written on this here blog, I figured, why not celebrate the last year of my life with a few things I’ve learned- in hopes somebody can relate or learn from my mistakes/failures/successes, etc.

So here we go, y’all.

1. Life should be celebrated. This has become my new motto. Every life, every moment, every baby step deserves a party . Accomplishments like getting through a Monday itself deserve a trophy and a long bear hug. Celebrate every moment guys.

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2. Building character and patience and perseverance sucks. But it’s worth it in the long run. So so so so worth it. I seriously praise God every morning, that He took me and lead me through hell and back because now I can do #1 a whole stinkin’ lot better.

3. Life isn’t about me. Or you, or him, or your husband or your wife. Life and it’s purpose is for His kingdom and His glory. That’s it. Nothing more. And that truth makes living life a whole lot easier.

4. God is gracious and good and kind. He didn’t need to give me any of the blessings that He did this past year, but He did because He is good and gracious and kind and a perfect Heavenly Father.

5. 22 has two tens and two ones. Just a fun fact for all my teachers out there.

6. 22 is actually a lot of years and a lot of things to learn and list off…

7. Target will always calm your nerves and heart in any storm. Go there for any kind of therapy and I promise you’ll come out a better person. And feel like a champ if you come out with nothing in your hands and money still in your bank account.

8. Re-watching any Netflix show is never a waste of time. 

9. California is way better than Illinois. Sorry mom, but I don’t think I am ever coming back.

10. Put family first. You will never regret seeing the ones you love.

11. I should have bought stock in Starbucks 22 years ago. First thing I am doing when I turn 23.

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12. When you tell people you like pineapples, be prepared for pineapples. Everywhere. 

13. Plant roots no matter your timeline.

14. God always has better plans than you. Can I get an amen somebody?!

15. Save money. It’s worth it. I promise. New cars don’t come easy.

16. Make sure to thank your parents, for everything. Taking care of little people is really tough. Watching them grow is bittersweet. And sending them off is even more bitter than sweet. I wouldn’t be able to stand on my own two feet in sunny California without them.

17. Own who you are and never apologize for it. Be who you want to be and nobody else.

18. The right thing is rarely the easy thing.

19. Check the dryer before you throw anything white in it. 

20. Dancing anywhere, anytime, is always the best option.

21. Go with your gut. Not everybody will agree with you. And that is okay.

22. God’s got you. 

22 was a great year. 23- I dare ya to do better.

See ya soon,

Stephanie Lynn