The Endings That Lead to New Beginnings


This was it. I was really leaving.

As I shut the door to my now empty apartment, looking around one final time, I couldn’t help but feel I was shutting the door to one season of my life, without knowing what the next one would be.

When I graduated college, full of dreams and passions and plans, I never thought I’d be 25 and unemployed.

But after spending three years writing and editing at a small arts and crafts magazine, I was packing up to head back to my hometown. The magazine that had sparked in me a love of art was shutting down, due to the economy.

And I no longer had a job.

So, on that hot July afternoon, with a car packed so full I could barely see out the rearview window, I set out for the four-hour drive back home.

While I knew the drive by heart, I felt a little lost — directionless — and as I drove, I let the tears freely fall.

What was next?

Where would I go from here?

When would God show up to bring new opportunities and dreams for me to follow?

Would He even show up at all?

For the time being, I was moving in my grandmother who had recently gotten out of the hospital. My family and I agreed that my moving in would help her adjust to being at home again.

I put most of my belongings in storage and moved into the family room of the old, quirky house that my grandfather built. It was cramped, but cozy, and perhaps the best part of my little space was the sliding glass door that opened to a tiny patio and swing. I spent many mornings and evenings sitting on that swing, holding my Bible and my journal, praying, dreaming, hoping — and sometimes pleading — for God to do something new.

There were certainly plenty of moments of despair and discouragement during those uncertain months of waiting. But each of those moments placed within me a deeper need for Jesus and a deeper reliance on God and His plan for my life.

I could apply for job after job — and I did — but what it really came down to was trust — trust that He would provide, despite the economy. Trust that He would lead me exactly where I was meant to go. And even trust that I was exactly where I was meant to be in those very moments of waiting and wondering.

That season built in me a bigger capacity to appreciate the work God was doing — even when I couldn’t see it right away. I was learning to hold things with open hands and to recognize that God is always renewing and redeeming — even in our losses and disappointments.

It’s hard to endure endings — but without them, there aren’t new beginnings.

That season of my life had to come to a close, so God could bring me to a new one.

Had I not moved home, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to love and serve my grandmother at a time she needed it most. Had I not moved home, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore new career paths. Had I not moved home, I wouldn’t be where I am today, writing and editing for a new company, living in a city that God’s given me such so much heart and passion for.

I’m learning that endings are a part of life, that change is inevitable.

And while that kind of knowledge is bittersweet, it is also impossibly hopeful.

One of favorite quotes from Margaret Drabble says: “When nothing is sure, anything is possible.” And like so much in life, it comes down to our perspective. We can choose to live from a place of hope, or from a place of fear. And while it might take a little bit of grit and grace, every time we choose possibility and hope, over fear and defeat, we open ourselves up to the work of God in a powerful way.

Because when nothing is sure, we can be sure that God is up to something. And when God brings about an ending, we can be sure that in His perfect time, He’ll bring about a new beginning.

:: image ::

Editor’s note: This was written for one of my freelance gigs, but didn’t end up getting picked up. It’s something I really needed to read this week, so I thought I would share it with you, too. Just in case you also needed a reminder. }


Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Ashley Beaudin

Hi, friends! So happy to be sharing the next in the Calling All Dreamers series. Do you all know Ashley Beaudin? She is the beautiful heart and soul behind Overcome The Lie and The Story Project. I so appreciate her heart, and I know you will, too! Thank you for being here today, Ashley! :)

Plans, Discipline, and Dreamers

I have been thinking, as I usually do, and maybe some would say, a little too much. But I enjoy it. I enjoy the beauty of processing life, wrestling through what I am feeling and dreaming about how to move ahead.

One thing I am really good at is making plans, and one thing I sometimes am not so good at is following through with those plans. If you have hung around me long enough, you’ve probably noticed it.

I cope through life by making a plan. 

When I see something that I do not like in my life, maybe something I am struggling with, or something that feels out of control, I get out my pen and my paper, and I write out how I will change it.

But the thing is I never actually do the plan.

But why? Why do we get stuck in making plans without any life change?

I think sometimes making plans can deceive us that if we write it out or if we think about it long enough, it equates to actually doing it.

How many of us read magazines, books, and articles on eating healthy, but can’t seem to put down our can of Coke?

How many of us listen to sermon after sermon talking about faithfulness in the secret place but struggle opening up the Bible?

How many of us watch movies, read books, or like a Facebook statuses about fighting poverty, but can’t seem to stop for them on the street or go visit them where they are?

I am convicted. I am so convicted.

At the core of this beating heart is a dreamer. Dreamers see life with colours and words and ideas. They would go anywhere and do whatever it takes, because they do not see what everyone else sees; they see potential, possibility, and a promise. Like a wild horse, full of passion and enthusiasm, they find beauty in the chase.

My dreamers and my wild horses, pause with me, and breathe.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our pursuit that we forget we are worthy of pursuit, too.

And discipline is not your enemy. I know sometimes it feels like it is when all you want to do is shout from the rooftops and run free, but it actually makes you better.

Disciplining yourself is not punishment — it is recognizing how valuable you are. 

We have to stay close to His staff and His rod, not just one or the other. It is His staff that reminds us that we are His, but it is His rod that keeps us safe and from wandering. (See Psalm 23. Like right now. Actually go look.)

We need our dreams. We need the passion and the hope that you bring. You are the poets and the prophets, ushering in the wind of God to our dry bones. So dream big and dream wild.

But remember reality. Look in its windows and in its doors and see the faces and the numbers. Remind your heart that you are worth pursuit; you are worth discipline. And that plans don’t happen just because you wrote them out.

Plans happen when you get up every morning and when you start being faithful. 

This is something I am hearing in every corner of my heart today and maybe I just wrote this for me. But I am soaking this in and letting it change me. Changing how I cope and approach and respond.

Maybe discipline and faithfulness are like the harnesses of dreams and passion, not because they hold back but because they lead and protect. 

And I know there are some days when I wake up and my passion needs to be protected and needs to be led by the hand. Because I don’t want discouragement to have a chance.

Not a chance.


Ashley Beaudin is a 24-year-old freelance writer, visionary, and speaker. She is the editor and writer of The Story Project and the founder of Overcome the Lie. You can hang out with her some more at

Cease Striving & Rest in Grace


These are the words on my heart tonight, the words I feel I need to write and share. Because there might be other women out there who need to hear these words, too. There might be other women who need the same reminder to cease striving, stop stressing, and know that He is God.

Tonight, I’m wondering this: why, as women, do we so often feel like we don’t measure up? Why do we so often feel like we’re falling short? And why do we so often compare what we can do against what another can? I think we know that comparison breeds insecurity and feelings of inadequacy, and yet, it’s so easy for our hearts and our minds to settle in that space…

I’ve also realized recently how detrimental it can be to our hearts and our spirits when we’re constantly focusing on what we could have/should have/didn’t do, instead of what we accomplished or did well.

For example, over the weekend, I may have written hundreds of words toward my eBook, taken a much-needed walk, invested in friendships and community, grocery shopped, cleaned out my fridge, did laundry, etc. etc., but rather than appreciating that list and thanking the Lord for my productivity, I started ticking off the list of what I never got around to doing.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live that way.

I want to embrace joy and contentment and appreciation for who I am and what my life looks like — imperfections and all. I want to continue to learn and grow and become even more of the woman God created me to be — BUT I also want to rest in His grace — even in the smallest of things.

I want to give myself permission to not always have the dusting and the sweeping done. And I don’t want to view life as a list that constantly needs checked off. I don’t want to feel guilty because I purchased non-organic strawberries and a container of soy ice cream this week, instead of healthier options that just weren’t available. And I want to appreciate how the Lord made me and rejoice in where He has me and what He’s teaching me.

I want to cease striving.

And I want to rest in grace.

And I want you to know that you can, too.

I want you to know that your quirks are beautiful, you’re beautiful, and you’re living out a story that’s beautiful, too — with the most faithful of Guides leading you each step of the way.

{Photo by Cariese on Flickr}

Live Your Story Fully & Fearlessly


When Ashley invited me to be a part of the Overcome The Lie blog tour, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to encourage all of you to find the freedom and the fruitfulness that comes from living your story fully and fearlessly.

I love that the heart behind Overcome The Lie is to encourage and equip women to declare the truth boldly and advance the Kingdom with passion and power.

As a community, we are living out so many beautifully unique stories, giftings, and callings. And as a community, we have the opportunity to encourage one another to live those stories without fear — and instead with courage and creativity.

He has been faithfully and patiently teaching me what it looks like to open my heart and my hands, to say YES to where He’s leading, and live with an adventurous, joy-filled spirit.

He’s leading me on a path that looks different than the one I thought I’d be traveling, but He’s teaching me the importance of being willing to take a few detours along the way to certain hopes and dreams He’s written on my heart.

I’m actually writing a book about this very topic right now, because I think there are so many of us (me included!) who get bogged down by comparison, fear, insecurity, and the list goes on. We get so weighed down by these joy-stealers that we’re unable to see the value of where the Lord has us, unable to fully experience the beauty, the growth, and even the HOPE He has for us in the season that we’re in.

The truth is He has given value, meaning, and purpose to every season, every gifting, every heart — and there’s so much strength in recognizing that when we live out our stories with faith, we are actually accepting the invitation to play a beautiful part in a story that’s SO MUCH BIGGER than what we could ever have written for ourselves.


I’m going to be honest. I fight my story sometimes. I push God to move me to the next chapter, to change this or change that, or to make my story look more like someone else’s, because I’m tired of mine — but thank goodness for His grace that softens my spirit on days like that, His grace that opens me up and quiets me down and reminds me it’s not all about me.

Besides, the really good stories have twists and turns that keep you guessing, so I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised that I can’t quite seem to predict mine, given that it’s been written by the greatest storyteller and Creator there is.

It is my hope that in reading these words, you will be encouraged to open your heart to His Truth, His Hand, and His Plan for your life. And it is my hope that you would know deep down in your heart how important YOUR STORY is and what a blessing you are when you’re living it out fully, fearlessly, and creatively.


{Image via Overcome The Lie}

P.S. Overcome The Lie is currently running an awesome 40-day challenge to help us draw closer to the Lord. As part of the challenge, we have been encouraged to fast from something, and I believe the Lord has put it on my heart to fast from fear. I know that might sound quite strange, but I really believe it’s what I’m being led to do, and I think in fasting from fear and refusing to allow doubt to get a foothold, I’ll be able to more fully follow His lead and bear His fruit. We’d love for you to join us in this challenge!

Making Things Happen in 2013

I spent much of my week-long blog Sabbath dreaming with The Lord. It was such a joy to spend that time with Him, sharing the desires on my heart and praying through new ideas and plans and dreams. During my week-long break from writing posts, I discovered Lara Casey’s Make It Happen series, and I prayerfully worked through the different goal-setting/vision-casting steps she’s outlined on her site. I’ve been so excited to share the fruits of that brainstorm (and my blog Sabbath) with all of you.


MY VISION FOR 2013: Inspired, encouraging, balanced, intentional, going further with an open heart. I will embrace my story and my season, living fearlessly, fully, and creatively. I will abide in Him and dream with Him, using my God-given gifts and passions to pursue what He’s laid on my heart. I will pray boldly, trusting His guidance. I desire to see a fruitful harvest in my life that glorifies Him and blesses others. My vision for 2013 is to be more of the woman He created me to be — inspiring, encouraging, and spurring on the people He puts in my life. My vision for 2013 is to bear His fruit in my writing, in my artwork, and in my relationships with others.

**Here’s what I’m saying YES to in 2013 (I have since added many more things to this list in my journal, and I also have a “what I’m saying no to” list):

1. Being intentional (intentionally investing in others and building relationships, intentionally pursuing my writing and art making dreams, intentionally praying and seeking Him…)
2. Creating more balance in my life
3. Positive heart and positive thinking (“from out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”)
4. Deeper trust in God
5. Embracing my current season and living fearlessly, fully, and creatively
6. Limiting computer time and making sure I’m spending time writing and dreaming in my actual journal, playing with paint and papers to create collages, and doing art journaling
7. Setting aside *focused* time for writing (without allowing myself to be distracted by Pinterest or social media)
8. Meditating on His truth daily
9.  An open, thankful heart
10. Living an inspired life
11. Encouraging others to use their gifts and live inspired, creative lives
12. Eating healthy, fresh foods (and fewer processed foods)
13. Believing His promises
14. Abiding in Him
15. Using social media to build community and encourage and spur others on (and not as a time-waster or a way to compare myself with others)
16. Believing that He has given me influence and that my gifts and my story matter
17. Running and yoga
18. Regular Sabbaths and fasting
19. Bold prayers
20. Being confident in being the woman He created me to be
21. Taking risks
22. Leaps of faith

After going through the above exercises, among others, I finally ended up with my 2013 goals:

1.   Write, design, publish my eBook. This book is my heart right now, and I am so, so excited to finish it and release it into the world. I’m already praying that it will be a blessing to those who read it.

2.   Grow as a teacher/speaker/writer. In the five-fold ministry quiz, I rank highest in the areas of Pastor and Teacher. This year, I want to really dig into those two areas and further develop them — stepping even #FURTHER into the calling the Lord has placed on my life. I also want to grow as a writer, continuing to develop my voice and stretching myself creatively as much as I can.
3.   Pursue new freelance opportunities and creative collaborations. There are a few publications I am dreaming to work with, and I need to get my ideas on paper (and in e-mail form) and reach out. I also want to just collaborate more with creatives in general. I get so jazzed about working with other talented people who love to make stuff, and I want to do so much more of that this year. It’s inspiring. It builds community. And it’s just so very good for the soul.

4. Make intentional investments: in relationships, in His Kingdom, in developing my God-given passions, dreams, and ministries of writing and art. I want to be intentional in 2013. I want to seek Him daily. I want to hear His voice and respond. I want to always be asking myself these two questions: “What is God saying to me?” and “What am I going to do about it?” And I want to be intentionally inspiring, encouraging, and spurring others on, building community and relationships, and bearing His fruit in everything I do.

5. Fight for my future marriage: We just completed a series at church about fighting for our marriages, and while I might not be IN a marriage currently, I can certainly fight for my future marriage. And I want to. I want to be a blessing to my future husband, even now, in singleness. I want to keep praying for him. I want to keep growing and being mentored and learning about who I am and what that might mean for our future relationship. I want to know — truly know — everything the Lord has to say about marriage, and I want to carry that truth in my heart. I want to be pruned and prepared. And I never want to stop hoping. I want to guard my heart against discouragement and know that His timing is perfect, and it’s always worth the wait.

6.   Seek balance: I want to be intentional about how I’m spending my time this year, and I want to be intentional about establishing a healthy balance in areas like online life/offline life, work/rest, etc. I want to pray and fast (and also pray more and worry less). I want to create more with my hands and not just at a computer. I want to get back to painting, collaging, and art journaling. I love typing out my thoughts, but I am also fulfilled in such a different way when I’m creating with my hands — when it’s messy, and imperfect, and tactile. I know I need to make more space for this in my life. I also want to eat healthy, fresh foods and exercise more. I want to joyfully create and work hard to accomplish my goals/dreams, but I also want to just experience the goodness of living life.

How are your goals coming along so far this year? Did you follow any type of goal-setting/vision-casting process?

P.S. I have a Making Things Happen Pinterest board, too. Check it out, here. :)

{images via Lara Casey}

We Have Influence – Link-Up


Hi, friends! Now that I’ve wrapped up my blog sabbath, I’m feeling refreshed and inspired and ready to jump back into the blogging community. Yay!

Today, as I sip my hazelnut coffee and appreciate the much-needed sunshine streaming through my window, I’m happy to be writing my post for the Influence Network’s Link-Up for Influential Women.

So, okay, let’s go! :)

3 Things About Me:

1. I love typography. Just as much as I love words, I also love the way they are artfully communicated and presented to the world. Typography is such a beautiful art form that never fails to inspire me. I collect fonts and love learning about lettering styles of past eras. (This beautiful book is on my wish list.) Lately, I’ve also been experimenting with my own hand lettering and am having fun learning more about that. A person’s handwriting reveals so much about who they are and captures a bit of their personality on paper — and I love that!

2. I love journaling (and notebooks!). I love journaling in all its forms. I keep art journals, prayer journals, daydream journals, etc. etc. I also can’t resist pretty journals and notebooks when I spot them. There’s something so inspiring about a fresh, blank notebook just waiting to be filled with beautiful, inspiring things.

3. I’m practicing fearlessness. The Lord has been teaching me a lot about bravery and fearlessness. He’s teaching me more and more how to take leaps of faith, trusting His guidance. I want to be courageous in all things — courageous in my art, my writing, my creating. Courageous in love. Courageous in my pursuit of the life He has planned for me.


{photo by LuSarah SEAS Photography}

One thing I’ve learned through The Influence Network:

I’ve been learning what it looks like to live out this verse from Hebrews: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24) It is an amazing blessing to connect with likeminded women — encouraging and inspiring and spurring each other on to bravely follow the call the Lord has placed on each of our lives. I am so thankful for each woman I’ve connected with, and I look forward to connecting with many more through this link-up! I pray that as a network we would continue to grow together as women of God, that we would continue to see women taking leaps of faith, prayers being answered, and women becoming more and more of who God created them to be.

Proclaiming His Peace


I want to proclaim His peace.

That phrase has been repeating itself in my heart all week.

I want to proclaim His peace over myself, over my friends and my family, and over my sweet blog readers.

I want to dwell in it, and I want to rest in it — saying no to the fears, doubts, and worries that so often clamor for my attention.

It’s hard sometimes, though, isn’t it?

Resting in His peace doesn’t always come naturally for  me. Sometimes, it seems easier to fret or worry, questioning things, wondering about the future, and playing the “what-if” game.

But I want roots that run deep in trust… 

I want to learn how to praise Him first, opening my hands and my heart to free the worries from where they’ve settled, allowing Him to replace the empty space with His perfect peace.

I want what Philippians tells me I can have — that in the midst of my praying and my praising, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle me down.

I don’t know what might be weighing on your heart tonight, what fears or unknowns you might be facing. But I do know that His peace is readily available for both of us, that His wholeness will come and settle our hearts and our minds, as we pray and praise and trust.

So, tonight, I’m proclaiming His peace — for me, and for you.

I’m settling in to rest in it, with thanks.

And I hope you will, too.



Dear Reader…


I want to inspire you.

I want to inspire you to dream big dreams. To take risks and be who God made YOU to be. I want to inspire you to love hard and true, deeply and fearlessly. To trust in His plan for you. To feel hope for the future, but find joy right where He has you today. I want to inspire you to live FULLY and CREATIVELY. To pursue those God-given passions that make your heart flutter. And to keep pressing in close to Him, allowing Him to lead you and shape you and grow you into the woman He created you to be.

I want to inspire you to do these things, because I want to do them, too.

And I hope that we can learn together, grow together, and be inspired together.

Thanks for being a part of this space.

{Editor’s Note: I’ve been thinking a lot about my heart for this blog and why I write in this space. So, tonight’s post was all about my heart for those who take their time to read the words I share. You are all so special to me.}

Thoughts on Being Brave

By far, the post that gets the most traffic on this little blog of mine is my Poem for Bravery. Week after week, people arrive at A Place to Dwell after searching for poems on bravery.

This got me thinking about being brave — what it looks like, what it means for each of us, and how we get there.

I think we all want to be brave, taking risks and making leaps forward that bring us to exciting new places. No one wants to be stuck or static. But why is it so hard sometimes? Why do we so often doubt ourselves when it comes to the bravery we carry around inside? Why does it often lie dormant, hidden away from the world and from ourselves? And how can we tap into it more often?

I’m learning that bravery comes more freely in my life when I trust Him more. (It so often comes back to trust, doesn’t it?) I am finding I can be bolder and braver when I’m in His presence, when I’m walking closely with Him and trusting Him to lead my steps.

Deeper trust leads to freedom —
freedom from fear, freedom from worry/anxiety, freedom from insecurity…The list goes on.
Deeper trust frees us from everything that overshadows the bravery we always have within us. 

I know I’ve mentioned that I’m currently working through the Fearless plan on YouVersion (highly, highly recommend). As I make my way through this plan, I am opening my heart more to His truth — who He is and what He wills for my life, and I am being set free from the things that hinder me from having the kind of trust that produces a brave, courageous spirit.

I want to live this life as an adventure, with Him as my faithful companion and guide. When He wants to take me somewhere new in my life and in my faith, I want to jump at the chance, bravely following along, knowing that we’re going to end up somewhere good, even if the trip there challenges me in unexpected ways.

I want to recite His truth when the bravery feels hard to find, remembering that He desires me to be strong and courageous, and He will equip me to do so.

And I want to be encouraged that I can always draw on His strength and His wisdom, because He is with me wherever I go.

What about you? What does bravery look like in your life? In what ways has He been equipping you to live with faith and courage?

Friday Inspirations


After a hectic week, I’m keeping it simple today and sharing a little list of what’s been inspiring me this week.

*Can’t stop listening to Rend Collective Experiment.
*Loving this post about being fearless from Christy of My Wings Are Made of Faith.
*Enjoying the beautiful inspirations tucked between the pages of Life Beautiful magazine and The Simple Things magazine.
*Looking forward to trying this recipe for Bittersweet Lavender Hot Chocolate posted by Natalie of Good Girl Style.
*Currently being super inspired by these two YouVersion plans: Fearless and Soul Detox.
*Doing some research on being part of a CSA. Really trying to make a commitment to eat fewer processed foods in 2013 (as part of my 29 Things). Whole Living magazine has a section on CSA cooking. And this book looks pretty good, too.

Hope you’ve all had an inspired week. (I’m looking forward to doing some reading/writing/art journaling this weekend…and maybe making a little trip the library, as well.

Happy Friday!