I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

This post is dedicated to all those who find themselves in a season of quiet, question marks, and, at times, restless expectation. This post is especially dedicated to my single friends who are figuring out how to embrace where they are and live each and every moment to its fullest, trusting God to pave the path they are traveling.

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A few days ago, I read an awesome page in Jesus Calling. The very first sentence was (in all caps); YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH.

Wow, did my heart need those words — more than I even realized!

And then this powerful reminder from Him followed: Listen more to me and less to your doubts. I’m leading you along the path I’ve designed just for YOU.

It can be so hard to keep our eyes on our own path. But when we compare, when we doubt, when we question, we are MISSING OUT on all God has for us right where we are.

Comparison cheats us of the opportunity to see and appreciate the adventure to be found in the dips and turns and twists of our own journey.

And when we doubt and fear and question, we are taking on burdens we are not meant to carry.

If we are following Him, we can trust that we are where we are meant to be. We can trust that He knows what today AND tomorrow holds, and that He is working to bring the best out of our current and future circumstances.

I’ll be honest, I have reached the point in my own season of singleness where really the only thing left to do is truly let go and let God.  I have listened to others’ success stories and tried what they’ve tried, I’ve read the articles, and I’ve prayed the prayers — all to no avail.

But I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not meant to plan or pray or work my way out of this season. Maybe I’m meant to really look at it with new, grateful eyes that are free to see the possibilities it holds. Maybe I’m meant to embrace it with excitement and faithfulness and HOPE.

I used to fear that if I was too content or “successful” in my singleness that maybe God would decide to just leave me in it forever. It seems silly now to believe such a thing, but I have, time and time again. And tonight, I’ve realized that when I’m believing lies like that what I’m really doing is listening to my doubt more than I’m listening to God.

So, tonight, I’m ready to say goodbye to all of that doubt, and I’m ready to listen to what HE has to say about my season instead . I’m ready to fully surrender my hope for marriage to Him (trusting that in His perfect time and way He will lead me into whatever new season awaits).

I’m ready to turn my attention back to today — to the stack of books waiting to be read, the new paints that will soon brighten up a blank canvas, and the words that might find their way into a poem.

Today is right in front of me, exactly as He designed it, planned it, and purposed it. Today is right in front of me, and I choose to call it good. I’m ready to embrace it and make each of its moments count.

I am ready to be and go and do exactly what He has planned for me in this beautiful and sometimes unexpected season, ready to live both with contentment and expectation (if I may borrow that phrase from the fabulous Lindsay Sherbondy).

And it’s true that I may not know where I’m going from here, or when or how I’ll get there…

But He does.

And I promise it won’t be boring.

Neither will today.

P.S. I snagged this post’s title from a piece of art in the new Messy Box from A Beautiful Mess.
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Heart of the Word: Ephesians 5&6

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Hello, friends,
How are you? Have you been enjoying our time in Ephesians?
The month of February has been a lot more hectic than I ever anticipated, but this study, along with a few other resources I’ve been using, have helped me stay steady in my faith and consistently connect with God. I started 2015 in a very disconnected and dry place spiritually, and I’m thankful that over the last two months, God has been slowly drawing me back to Himself and speaking to me through His word. I’m finding new rhythms and routines, each one breathing new life into my quiet time with Him.
Today, as we close out our first Heart of the Word study through Ephesians, I wanted to share a little bit about the resources that have been blessing me this month.  (And I apologize for the late post today, but like I said. This month. ::insert crazy face emoticon::) ;)

One of the biggest messages God has been speaking to me through all of the resources below is the reminder to remain steady and firm in my faith and trust Him in everything. He has been encouraging me to continue on the path He has marked out for me, leaving comparison behind and fully trusting in the plan He has. The reminder to be steady in my faith is such a good and timely one, because it’s so easy to be shaken in the midst of the unexpected, or when life doesn’t look the way we think it should.

But with His help, I am finding strength, steadiness, and a faith that allows me to live fully and freely for Him, knowing all of my unanswered questions and concerns remain in His hands.

He has also been reminding me of the importance of our thoughts and what we choose to focus our minds on. He has been showing me that I am continually being made new in the attitude of my mind, and that a mind and heart focused on Him brings LIFE and HOPE and PURPOSE.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. – Phil. 4:8

These resources below have helped me to intentionally fill my mind with His truth, His goodness, His promises. They have helped me focus on the best, not the worst, when I am tempted to worry, complain, or compare my life to others’. I hope they encourage you, too.

Heart of the Word Study

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I have loved having a book of the Bible to anchor myself in this  month. When I wasn’t sure what to read, I could open up to Ephesians and see what God wanted to reveal.
As I read through the final two chapters this week, I was again reminded of the power of our faith. Ephesians 6:16 tells us to take up the shield of faith. I am so encouraged to remember that our faith is a shield, that there is power in remaining steady and firm in Him.
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The One Year Praying the Promises of God

Oh, this has been such a blessing to read each morning. I love the combination of scripture, devotional, and prayer. I have felt both empowered and encouraged to be reminded of WHO God is and what He promises.

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Wholeheartedly: A Devotional for Singles

This devotional by Natalie Metrejean has been infusing my season of singleness with new joy and fresh purpose.  I am digging into the scriptures and prompts with a hungry heart, excited for the Lord to continue to speak to me and direct my steps.
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I Am They album

And finally, this album has been a bit of a soundtrack to my days. It’s another way I am reminded of who God is and all the ways in which He is good and faithful. One of my favorite tracks is Over and Over again.

I will find you over and over again, your love and your mercy begin, no matter how far, you’ll find me where I am. 

And since FIND is my word for 2015 this song is pretty perfect for where I’m at.

Make a Way is also a favorite right now.

Wherever you lead me, I know you won’t leave me. Wherever you call me, you will make a way. Wherever we’re going, I will be holding to the promise You have made. You will make a way.

I totally recommend giving this album a listen. Crank up the sound, sing out loud, dance around…however you most love to worship. Your heart will be blessed for sure, and you will be reminded of just how good and amazing He is and how very much He loves you.

And now I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning and what life has looked like for you recently. What’s God been teaching you? Where has He been leading you? Join the link-up below!

P.S. Stay tuned for future #HeartoftheWord study plans! And thank you for being a part of this first Heart of the Word journey with us!

Living and Telling Inspired Stories

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God has big plans for us — adventures to embark on, passions to pursue, and things to discover that will make our hearts happy and bring us indescribable joy and excitement. He has plans for us to participate in His Kingdom and make a difference in His name. Ephesians 2:10 is one of my favorite sections of scripture, because it’s a reminder that we are God’s handiwork, created to do good things that He prepared in advance for us to do. In my own journey of faith, I’ve found that the more I understand who He is, the more freedom and courage I find to become the truest version of myself.

When we understand who He is and who we are in Him, we are free to live braver, fuller lives. Continue reading

A Heart Made Ready

 Ready My Heart
 I like the use of ready as a verb.

It’s about being prepared and equipped.

And it holds a bit of strength, possibility, and hope in it.

I love many of the related words, too: support, sustain; cheer, comfort, embolden, encourage, hearten, inspire; rally, rouse, stir…

I want a heart made ready.

I have begun to pray that God would do that kind of work and preparation in me. That He would ready my heart, prepare me, equip me, sustain and support me. That He would comfort and cheer me, embolden and encourage me.

That is my prayer for both the big and the small moments — from the day to day routines of right now, to the unfolding and changing seasons ahead.

I pray for my heart to be made ready.

And in my asking and praying, I seek and know Him and His faithfulness more fully.

 
prayer journals
 

I recently picked up a set of prayer journals from Val Marie Paper. I love the concept, and her designs are just beautiful. I look forward to filling the pages with prayers, scripture, and thankfulness, watching the faithfulness of God unfold.

Join me in praying for ready hearts to follow Him?

Lord, ready my heart.
Ready my heart for this day, for the work you have for me to do and the people you have for me to love.
Ready my heart to write and create for you.
Ready my heart to continually seek you, finding you despite fear or doubt or busyness.
Ready my heart for all that this day holds.

Amen

::Ready my heart hand lettering by Kelsey of Pinegate Road::

God’s Plan for You is Right on Time

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If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this photo. It’s part of a new ‘lil collaboration I have going with one of my talented friends Kelsey of Pinegate Road. It’s my words + her lovely hand lettering. And while it’s not a fancy or complicated collaboration by any means, it’s giving me lots of fresh inspiration for new stories to write and tell. (You can follow this collaboration on Instagram using the hashtag #aptdnotes.)

You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD.
You’re blessed when you follow His directions,
doing your best to find Him.  (‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‬ 1-2 MSG)

I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses lately and how it can be easy to take our eyes off the path God has for us. When I start comparing my story with others,’ I’m tempted to veer off course and write things the way I think they should go. I wrestle with God over timing, circumstances, and the way my current season stacks up against those around me.

It’s so easy to think someone else is living a better story than we are, isn’t it? Or that because our story doesn’t look as far along as theirs, something must be wrong with ours — or worse, with us.

But those thoughts are just lies that we believe.

And we don’t have to believe them.

God’s plan for us is right on time, and He will faithfully reveal each next step for us when the time is right.

The second part of those verses in Psalms does require action on our part, though. The writer of this Psalm is reminding us that we are blessed when we FOLLOW God and do our best to FIND Him. That means seeking Him in everything, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, and making Him a part of everything we do.

I find myself comparing more frequently and feeling the most dissatisfaction when I’m NOT seeking God regularly. And I think that’s because when I’m not seeking Him and listening for Him in all I do, I can’t clearly see the path He has marked out for me. Instead, I see the path that everyone else is on and what I think is missing or lacking in my life. I completely miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He’s doing in my life and what is unique and special about the story He has especially for me.

I am so thankful that we can find Him in every season, in every chapter — in both the joyful and the challenging moments of our lives.

And even though I sometimes wrestle with some of my current realities, I take comfort in knowing that when I seek Him, He will continue to reveal the road before me and lead me step by step.

So, today, I am choosing to celebrate this particular part of the road I’m on, this part of my journey. I am choosing to look around at where I am with gratitude and with eyes that can see and appreciate beauty. And I am choosing to live with hope for what’s ahead, for all of the twists and turns and bends that I cannot yet see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Influence Conference Recap – Be Where You Are and Be All There

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It’s been a few days since I returned from this year’s Influence Conference, and I’ve been processing through everything — the notes, the heart stuff, the “what’s nexts…”

To be honest, I arrived at this year’s conference feeling a little heavy…

When I went the previous year, I went with specific hopes and dreams to explore and specific prayers I wanted to pray. I had an eBook I was about to release to the world, and I was just bursting with excitement for all that was ahead.

I was in a quieter, much more tender place this year.

On the drive into Indy, my friend (and conference roomie!) Holly asked me if I had anything I was hoping to hear from God about (she remembered I went with questions and prayers the year before).

But I didn’t.

“I guess I just want to be a part of God doing something big,” I told her. “I just want to hear from Him.”

After the Black-and-White welcome party hosted by Mocha Club, I started  feeling lighter and more hopeful about all that was ahead. I still wasn’t sure what I hoped to learn or hear from God, but I was sure He would show up.

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In my still-slightly tender and uncertain place, I had a hard time selecting the sessions I wanted to hear the next day (they ALL sounded so good)! ;) And as we began that first day of speakers and workshops, I found myself reading the tweets from the session I wasn’t in, feeling restless and like I was missing out.

But then, all of a sudden, I felt like I was finally hearing from God.

Be where you are and be all there.

Yes.

Be where you are and be all there.

And it wasn’t just about those sessions, it was about life in general. It was about continuing to embrace my current season and live it fully and creatively (exactly the topic I had explored in the eBook I wrote the previous year).

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Later, in Lara Casey’s session, I stood up in front of a room full of more than a hundred women and gave voice to one of my deepest fears. As other women stood up to share their own, walls and tears came down, and I felt God continue to work something out in my heart.

And even though I was at a blogging conference, He wasn’t speaking to me about how to blog better, create more, or find more followers online…He was speaking to me about my life in general and how I’m living it for Him. He was asking me to trust Him more, surrender more, and make even more space for Him to move.

Lara asked us to answer this fill-in-the blank statement: My life is too short not to______. 

During her session, I made notes, but it wasn’t until a few days later that this phrase stuck with me: “My life is too short not to love the story God has for me.”

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It’s such a simple statement but it says SO MUCH.

My life is too short to wait for someday.

My life is too short not to live with purpose — right here, right now.

My life is too short not to pray boldly and with big belief.

My life is too short not to believe that God can do the impossible.

My life is too short not to pay attention to all God is doing.

And my life is too short not to share it…

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This year’s conference was so much different than last year’s, but in the best of ways.

I did leave with new creative ideas and dreams to explore, but I also left with a deeper desire to truly trust God with my story and a hopefulness about all He is capable of doing in my life and in the lives of others.

He’s written all of our stories differently, and there’s goodness and purpose in that. 

And while He may not give us an outline about what comes next, He has gone before us, and He promises to lead the way in love.

* * *

Before I wrap this up, because I just can’t resist, I’ll leave you with this picture from my departing brunch at Cafe Patachou. (Honestly, that needs to be a Sunday Influence tradition from here on out…) WOW, that waffle was amazing! I’m STILL thinking about it! ;)

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If you’d like to learn more about the conference, feel free to email me. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, if you’re wondering if you’d like to attend. (You can also check out this fun video recap from The Busy Budgeting Mama. And, yep, that IS me dancing around at minute 3:34.) ;)

 

Influence Conference Meet & Greet x2

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I love lattes, bright colors, and cute, cozy coffee shops.

Hi, all!

This will be my second time attending The Influence Conference, and I’m so excited to participate in this year’s pre-conference link-up.

(P.S. You can read my recap of last year’s conference, here.)

Moving on to my introduction… :)

I’m Katie, a writer, creator, and polka-dot wearer (see above). ;) I’m also the author of An Inspired Life, a book about living fully and creatively in every season. I love to help others live and tell inspired stories!

What I’m most looking forward to: The prayer suite! I’m so, so excited to spend some intentional time in prayer during the conference. I’m also excited to gather during break time on Saturday (time change to 1:45-2:15, since it looks like the schedule was adjusted a bit) to pray about singleness and marriage. As a 30-something single, I know the ache of waiting, and I want to gather a group together to pray over the singles at the conference, future marriages that God is orchestrating behind the scenes, and for God to use us right where we are. Waiting time is not wasted time! (And even if you’re married and have a heart for singles, I invite you to join us!) Would love for this to be an encouraging time of prayer for all who participate!

What I won’t leave home without: A notebook and a few bright, happy pens for note-taking. This former journalist can’t help but take lots and lots of notes. :)

I look forward to meeting you at the conference. Please don’t wait until next week to say hi, though. Give me a shout on Instagram or Twitter (@aplacetodwell).

See you soon!

How To Be Brave In A New City

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Siempre verde. Always green.

I scribbled those Spanish words and their translation into my art journal, pasting a magazine clipping of bright green leaves next to them.

A reminder of hope, right there on the page.

Always green. Always growing.

At the time, I felt anything but.

I was 24, living in a city that didn’t quite feel like home, and learning to accept the end of a relationship that was never going to be right.

After dating on and off all through college, my boyfriend and I had reached that place of determining whether or not there was a real future for the relationship. As painful as it was to realize, we were two very different people, heading in two very different directions.

Standing on my own, in a new place, watching my story unfold much differently than I thought it might, I had an opportunity to choose growth, an opportunity to discover my roots and what they might be preparing me for…

Hop on over to Venture Magazine to read the rest. :) I’m super honored and excited to be a part of their writing team.

Happy Saturday and Happy March, friends!

Hope you’re off having some fabulous weekend adventures!

An Inspired Life Book Club — Week #2

Hi, all! Welcome to week #2 of the An Inspired Life Book club! We’re talking about Chapter 2 this week — Fully & Fearlessly.

I’m really excited to dig into the idea of fearlessness with you all this week. I believe that there’s something God is calling each of us to in our current seasons of life, and I also believe there are certain barriers of both fear and doubt that are hindering each of us from moving confidently toward these callings.

In what areas is God currently calling you to be brave?

For me, I feel God calling me to be brave in a few different areas. The first area is dating. God has been calling me to be brave and intentional when it comes to dating and being prepared for marriage. Dating can be scary and overwhelming at times, especially after we’ve been hurt before, but God is helping me to keep an open heart and to trust that He’s going to be faithful and guide me through the entire process. Another area God is currently calling me to brave in is my writing. He’s opened the door to a few new exciting writing opportunities (including joining the Venture Magazine team as a Featured Content Writer), and He is calling me to be brave when it comes to honestly and vulnerably sharing my words and my stories.

I encourage you to take some time to think about this question (as well as the other Prayerful Prompts at the end of this chapter).

Let’s speak truth and encouragement in the face of the fears confronting us, and let’s practice making courage decisions this week (as Jeff Goins would say).

Can’t wait to hear from each of you!

An Inspired Life Book Club – Week #1

Hi, friends! Welcome to the first week of the An Inspired Life Book Club! :)

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading through the first chapter. I’m looking forward to connecting right here in the comments and on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #AnInspiredLife.

For this first week, I’d love for you to take some time to introduce yourself in the comments below. Share your blog address, Twitter, etc. and what inspired you to participate in the book club. We will also be chatting about some of the questions I posed in the video, as well. So feel free to get the discussion going about any of those. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better and encouraging each other to live fully and creatively this year!

P.S. Don’t forget: We’ll be having the first An Inspired Life Twitter party this Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. 

Okay, so, let’s chat, shall we??! :)