Love Conquers All

Quite a few years ago, in the midst of college, I prayed a very simple prayer that changed my life. I prayed that God would break my heart for what breaks His. At the time it was such an innocent prayer and I had no idea how one single prayer would change my life.

It wasn’t long after I prayed that prayer that someone from my graduating class in high school passed away. I remember waking up and finding out this person, who I didn’t know very well, was gone. And I sobbed. All day long. I skipped my classes (sorry mom) and sat at the church and just let myself cry and pray while I worked on homework. It was the first time that my heart broke for the world. Where my heart was broken for something that didn’t happen to me directly or directly effect me.

And here I am, years later, feeling so so broken. The last few years have been filled with so much broken, hurt, and pain. They’ve been filled with crime, death, hurtful words, and fighting.

The last few days I’ve felt heavy. I’ve felt my heart aching and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until today. You see, we live in a society where we know tragedy is happening while it’s still occurring. We are immersed in a culture of social media, where we have information at our fingertips. And while this can be beneficial and useful, it can also create hate, pain, and suffering. We can’t unsee things we’ve seen. We can’t unhear words we’ve heard. So today I woke up and realized that I’ve felt heavy and my heart has been aching for one big huge reason; it’s broken, smashed, and shattered on the floor for the world. It’s as if someone ripped my heart out of my chest, threw it on the floor, and repeatedly stomped on it.

I’ve watched videos and seen pictures of what happened in Las Vegas the other night. And oh my heart! My heart hurts for the families and friends who lost loved ones. My heart hurts for the people who were at the concert and can’t unsee or unexperience the things that happened that night. My heart aches for the innocent who lost their lives.

Hate isn’t the answer y’all. The answer is love. The answer is Jesus. The answer is letting our knees crash to the floor and crying out to Jesus to have mercy on such a broken, desperate world. To pray for peace over everyone in Las Vegas.

Let’s stop “taking sides” and let’s let love conquer all. Let’s be a nation that links arms with one another. A nation that sees no color, gender, or age, but rather sees a hurting brother or sister and reaches out a hand to help. Let’s be a nation of love because love conquers all.

-Cal

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But What if You Fly?

I’ve been really selfish with my words the past few months. I go through seasons where I share of all of my words with the world and seasons where I cling tightly to my words and don’t share them with anyone.

A little over a month ago, a dear friend of mine spoke some words that have spoken life into my soul as I walk through this transition season of life.

I was telling this friend that this season of life has been so so hard. That it feels as though I’m walking in a pitch dark forest and at any moment, if I take a step forward I could plummet to my death; ending in failure. And her response was so simple:

“But what if you fly?”

Read that again. Let it sink in. Those 5 words speak so much life and truth. But what if you FLY!? What if life isn’t about the fear of stumbling over the edge of a cliff but rather learning to fly?

What if you aren’t walking through the dark alone? What if Jesus is right there with you? Leading you. Standing at the edge of the cliff calling out your name. Asking you to follow His voice. Follow Him not with your eyes but with your ears. As He calls to you, and you hear Him, you get to take a step forward. He won’t lead you astray. He’s calling out directions. “Callie, take one step forward.” “Callie, step to the left so you don’t hit that tree.”

Why does He do that? Because He is FOR us. Yep, you heard me right, God is for us!

So we follow His directions in obedience with the expectation that He will direct us around all of the obstacles in the dark. And when we get to the edge of the cliff, He whispers in our ear, “my sweet child, it’s time to fly.”

Let Him guide you. Let those 5 words, “but what if you fly,” speak life into your soul. Because I promise you, He won’t fail you. And you, my friend, WILL fly.

-Cal

Calling the Broken-Hearted

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve picked up bits and pieces of what the last year has looked like for me. But while bits and pieces are okay, I’m going to expound upon it.

Let’s rewind to May of 2016. The boy that I dated for over two years broke my heart. I can still look back on that conversation and feel every emotion I felt. I can feel the gut wrenching tears that streamed down my face. But while that was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had, God totally prepared me for it. See, in the weeks leading up to my heart being broken, God built me up and that relationship was no longer an idol in my life. I was finally in a place where I knew that if that relationship were to go away, while it would still hurt, I WOULD be okay.

So that break up conversation ended and that boy dropped me off at a dear friend’s house. And she and I walked and talked. I cried and processed and she just loved on me. And she reminded me to let myself feel and cling to God. So I did. Well, until the weddings started a week later.

And as wedding season progressed, I built up walls. I numbed myself. I put on a happy face and celebrated because that’s what my friends deserved. Because I knew that to love my friends fiercely, I had to put aside my own emotions and hurts, and show up and celebrate. So I did.

And then one day when wedding season was over and I was back at school, all those walls came tumbling down. And it hurt. Oh how it hurt. But a friend so kindly looked me in the eyes and told me that he wasn’t mine anymore. That I had to get over him and move on. And from that point on, I started running full force toward Jesus.

I started pressing in to the hurt. I cried. I felt. I broke down walls that I had put up just to survive. And you know what God did? He moved in mighty ways. Not only was my heart starting to heal but He was creating freedom and peace within me. What I thought was the perfect relationship with the perfect guy turned out to be something that was holding me back from Jesus. And while I think highly of that guy, we just weren’t meant for each other and that is quite alright because I learned so much from him and the relationship we had.

Once that relationship was ripped from my life and I began to heal, God started to plant dreams and visions within my heart. Things that have been there for quite some time but I had pushed off as a thought for the future. Things like writing, speaking, ministry, and adoption. What do those things mean? Ha! Your guess is as good as mine because I still have no idea. But I do know that I have people encouraging me to press into those things. To explore what those dreams could and will be.

And in the months following the beginning of healing, God has showed up in more ways than words could describe. He’s ripping out the weeds in my heart making room for the flowers to bloom. Y’all, it’s hard and it’s messy but the joy in my heart is overflowing. And I’m standing on the edge of the unknown, putting one foot in front of the other, stepping into the future that God has set out for me. And don’t get me wrong, I still mess up and I still stumble and fall, but I know that God is right there to pick me up and dust me off.

So I share all of this with you to say that even in the messy awful pain that comes with breakups, loss, and death; God moves. He moves y’all. He shows up, picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us back on the path toward Him. He uses our broken hearted stories to glorify Him. To turn people back to Him. Y’all He calls the broken-hearted. Can you believe that? Even the messiest of broken hearts, that “he-ripped-my-heart-out-and-stomped-on-it-until-it-was-in-a-million-pieces” kind of messy; yeah, God uses that messy broken heart for big beautiful Kingdom work.

So let yourself feel. Feel the broken. Feel the hurt. Cry. Eat lots of ice cream. Press into Jesus. Leave tear stains in your bible. Yell while you’re praying. Feel the feels. And then let God move. Because He will; I promise you He will.

So dear friend, I’m praying for your broken heart tonight. I’m praying that God would fill the spaces and cracks that no person could ever fill. And I’m praying for God to show up in mighty, mighty ways.

xoxo -Cal

Courage Dear Heart

Courage. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines courage as┬ámental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Do you find that there are things in your life, or times in your life where it’s hard to find the courage to do the big things, scary things, and hard things? When it’s hard to step out in faith and take steps toward the unknown?

I’ll be the first to raise my hand. Having courage is hard. It’s that feeling you muster up when your toes are hanging over the edge of the diving board about to jump. It’s that feeling of setting aside fear and giving in to the unknown. But the freedom that comes once you jump, while you’re flying midair into the water, and the rush you feel as you come crashing down through the surface of the water; well that freedom is what helps you find your courage the next time you’re standing with your toes over the edge of the diving board waiting to jump into the beautiful blue of the unknown below.

That’s what life is for me right now. I’m standing in complete darkness with a lantern that only lights my feet. And I have to muster up the courage to take the next step. To put one foot in front of the other and walk into the unknown.

But with every step I take, I find reassurance, peace, and freedom. And once you’ve tasted a little piece of freedom, courage is a little bit easier to find. It’s not as hard to muster up. Just like when you were a kid on the diving board. It took all the courage you could find to jump, but once you landed in the welcoming arms of the water the first time; finding courage the second time wasn’t quite so difficult.

So whatever it is that has you standing at the edge of the diving board, with your toes over the edge, trying to find courage. Have faith. And jump wildly into the welcoming arms below.

The past week or so I’ve had a little whisper in my heart reminding me of the words C.S. Lewis wrote and Aslan spoke, “Courage dear heart.” Those words have been quietly reminding me to put one foot in front of the other and take steps into the unknown. And while putting one foot in front of the other is scary. While vocalizing dreams is scary. While taking steps to achieve those dreams are scary. While walking into the future is unknown and scary. I know freedom is waiting on the other side. And the sweet taste of freedom is worth every small, scary, courageous step into the great unknown.

I don’t know your story. I don’t know what your unknowns, your dreams, and your fears are. But I do know that the water (and our big gracious God) is waiting to embrace you when you step off the diving board and come crashing into the greatness of freedom.

xoxo -Cal

From the Studio to the Stage

Ballerina. It’s a word that has defined me for most of my life. Like 20 years worth of my life.

I look back and can vividly remember the days and nights I spent in the dance studio. Hours passing by. And there I was, working diligently to strengthen my body. Working to be successful and to grow as a dancer. Working on pirouettes until I was dizzy (unless I was spotting because then obviously I wasn’t dizzy haha).

Anyway, I see such a parallel between my relationship with the Lord and my days as a ballerina. You see, both take hard work. And both require a teacher. Someone who is there pushing you. Someone who is constantly shoving you out of your comfort zone. Someone yelling out the steps to you. Someone shouting over the music helping you keep in beat with the music.

And then the day comes when the curtains rise and you’re standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people performing a routine you’ve practiced until it’s perfect. And you look out in the audience (or in the wings of the stage) and your teachers are right there cheering you on.

Isn’t that the same in our relationship with Jesus? Not only is He our teacher and He cheers us on but He offers us community that does the same for us.

I have people in my life who walk through the thickets of life with me. They yell over the music of life and help me keep the beat. They help me stay on track toward Jesus. They help me stay the course of chasing Jesus and the dreams He’s placed on my heart. And then, as I take steps toward fulfilling that calling and those dreams coming true; those people are in the audience and in the wings cheering me on.

But let’s not forget how important the dance studio is. The blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally sometimes) that go into growing as a dancer. It’s the same in our faith. We can sit complacent on the sidelines and not push ourselves. Or we can step into the unknown, push ourselves even when it’s hard and our feet are bleeding and we feel utterly exhausted and defeated because when we step into the studio the next day and we conquer the skill we’ve been fighting so hard for; it’s all worth it.

So let’s be a people of hard work in the studio. Let’s fight for more of Jesus. Let’s spend hours fighting to know Jesus better. If I can spend hours spinning in circles trying to master a pirouette, I sure as heck can spend hours forcing myself out of my comfort zone getting to know Jesus better.

And one day, when our fleshly lives comes to an end, we’ll stand on the stage at heaven’s gate and the curtains will rise, and sitting in the audience will be our Jesus cheering us on.

xoxo -Cal

Here’s to the Hard and Messy Seasons

Roller Coasters. Some people love them, others hate them. I’m not a fan. I get scared that I’ll get stuck on one. Scary stuff. Anyway, have you ever compared your life or your emotions to a roller coaster? Because I have and that’s how my life has been over the past month or so.

Emotional Rollercoaster.

Now, don’t misunderstand me here. Because this emotional roller coaster that I’ve been on hasn’t been a bad emotional rollercoaster. It’s actually been really good. Hard but really good.

I’ve learned that there are seasons in life that you feel like you’re in the dark and have no idea what is happening. And other seasons you feel as though you completely understand what is happening.

This season of life is a season of preparation for me and it’s creating that emotional rollercoaster. The Lord is weeding out the things that are keeping me from Him. It’s a season of healing. Of letting go of people, things, the past, and stepping into the big future God has planned for me. It’s a time and season of growth and anticipation. A time of pruning and becoming the woman God created me to be.

And can I let you in on a little secret? I might cry a lot. I might seem frustrated and overwhelmed. But I wouldn’t change it. Not for a million dollars. Because I can see and feel myself changing. I’m stepping closer to Jesus everyday. And I’m so excited about what Jesus has planned for my life. Like that excited that you felt when you were a kid and it was your birthday or Christmas. That butterflies in your stomach, shout it to the world, grinning ear to ear, full of the giggles excited. That’s how I feel about the future.

I’m not saying I’m not scared. Because a little part of me is still. But as I continue to surrender the messy parts of my life to Jesus, I grow in my confidence in Him and I feel a little bit more like I can conquer the big scary things He’s calling me to. And that’s exciting.

It’s exciting to watch God work. Especially when it’s so tangible in your own life.

So yes, my life is a hot mess right now. I cry. I laugh. I get mad. But I have the pleasure of taking it all to Jesus. He’s pulling all the junk out of my life so that I can know Him more fully. And that brings me joy.

Is Jesus pulling the junk out in your life right now? Are you an emotional rollercoaster?

If you said yes. Embrace it. Embrace this messy season. Embrace the preparation. Because I can guarantee that someday you’ll look back and this season will bring you joy.

So here’s to the hard. To the tears. To the laughter. To letting go. And to letting God wreck your life in the most beautiful way.

xoxo -Cal

As always, I’d love to hear from you! callie@calliecay.org

He Qualifies The Called

I woke up this morning thinking about all of the crazy big dreams on my heart. Dreams that are so big they terrify me. Dreams that I know can only be from the Lord because not only do they terrify me, but they place me directly in the spotlight outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve shared some of these dreams with the people in my life. And while I’m not ready to share them publicly with the world just yet, it got me thinking. How often do we stuff our dreams and pretend that they don’t exist because we don’t feel qualified. We don’t feel worthy or good enough to accomplish our dreams. I’ll be the first to raise my hand (or both of them) and admit that I fight those insecurities on a daily basis.

Writing scares me. It’s such raw vulnerability. But it doesn’t scare me that the world gets to know me a little better, it scares me because it puts me in the “spotlight.” That’s an introverts worst nightmare. But I continue to show up and write and let God use me because I know that this calling is placed on my heart for a reason.

So this morning I kept reminding myself that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Let that sink in for a minute. Read it again. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

I keep reminding myself of that. God is continually stripping my life of the things that keep me from Him so that He can equip me with the things I need to do work for His kingdom.

Are there scary big dreams that you’re running from because of your own insecurities? Are you running from God because you don’t feel worthy of the calling He’s placed on your life?

I’m right there with you. It’s messy. It’s hard. It’s a daily battle reminding yourself that God can and WILL equip you with the necessary things you need in order to do work for His kingdom.

In the wise words of Dory (or is it nemo’s dad?) “Just keep swimming.”

God’s got you. He has a plan for you. Let him qualify and equip you.

xoxo -Cal

P.S. I’d love to connect with you and hear about what God is calling you to, why it scares you/why you don’t feel qualified. Emails are greatly welcomed! callie@calliecay.org