Let’s Talk 26.2: Mission Accomplished


If you remember when I made my goal board over a year ago, in the top right hand corner, I had the Marine Corps Marathon logo with 2017 printed under it. After a year of staring at that logo every day, on March 22 of this year, very anxiously and nervously, I entered the lottery.

The day I entered the lottery

On March 30, I got a text from my credit card company that I had spent over my alert mount. I checked it. It was the exact cost I had agreed to for the MCM lottery. I checked my email and there it was – my confirmation email I got in through the lottery. The MCM was one step closer to being mine.

The email I got finding out I made the lottery

I began training and it was hard. There is no denying it. Training for a fall marathon in summer, in Texas, was killer. I had to force myself to run. I ate nothing but salads, chicken, and pasta, and drank more Gatorade than I ever have in my life. But I still struggled in training. I couldn’t finish long runs to save my life. I doubted myself and my abilities. I came very close to giving up.

In September, I ran a 15k and wowowow. Even though I finished 11 minutes slower than my 15k PR, I felt horribly unprepared. I got tired fast. I had no energy. I couldn’t maintain a stride. I couldn’t get oxygen to my lungs. I finished the 15k, but I finished discouraged. From there, anxiety set in. For the next month, I didn’t know how I was going to Beat the Bridge at the MCM, much less complete 26.2 miles. I was scared. More than ever, I wanted to quit.

The week before the marathon, I began mental preparation. I started telling myself I was strong enough (even if I didn’t believe it). I told myself to expect the wall, but fend it off for as long as possible. I quoted scripture and empowerment songs to myself, doing anything I could to help wipe away the flooded feelings of doubt in 7 days.

Going into marathon weekend, I was more nervous than I had ever been before. I was determined to beat the gauntlets, but still so, so, SO scared, and still struggling to know how to overcome the doubt.

I was a mixture of emotions on race day. Anxiety. Excitement. Nervousness. I could feel it flowing all through my body. I knew that at mile 5, my knee always starts to hurt, but I needed to fight through it. I knew that at mile 7 I always hit a wall where I feel I need to walk, but I needed to fight through it. I knew there was no turning back. I had to finish.

Daddy and I before the race

The first 5k was nothing but hills. As much as I tried to put off all doubt and fear, I felt it creeping up. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish the race if the hills continued. Eventually it leveled out. We ran over a bridge at mile 4 into Georgetown. There was music, crowds, news stations, food, and most importantly, Marines. (Call me shallow, but Marines giving you water, food, and cheering you on throughout the race was great motivation) As I ran through Georgetown, I booked it down a hill to high five 2 Marines on the right side of the road. One of them didn’t see me coming, the other one gave me probably the best high five of my life. To the Marine who didn’t get to high five me – you were cute and I forgive you. Maybe see you next year??

Miles 5-10 took you along nature trails outside the city. At mile 5, my knee started hurting. Right on cue. But I kept going. At mile 7, stopping wasn’t an option. I was going to push myself more than anything to Beat the Bridge. Here, I clapped for the DC police running in their uniforms. I fed off the crowd hanging out on bridges and the trail runners cheering us on. I clapped for the last place runner to find the strength to keep going. And most importantly, I ate TWO oranges at the first food station. (I hate oranges)

Miles 10-15 took us along the Potomac. For someone with as much Potomac Fever as I have, running along the river was a dream come true. It was beautiful. It also left me with a sense of accomplishment being able to look across the river and tell my dad “we were over there this morning.” But this was also were we had to run the Blue Mile. At mile 12, there is a row of blue signs honoring fallen soldiers. Out of the many times I started to tear up in this race, this was one of them. Daddy and I paid our respects as we ran. We passed the signs of fallen soldiers into a sidewalk lined with dozens of American flags. The pride itself was overwhelming.

A glimpse of mile 12 – The Blue Mile

This is also where my dad initially told me I was running strong and if I wanted to leave him I could. He said he’d meet me at the finish line, but that wasn’t an option. We started this journey together, and we were finishing it together no matter what.

As we turned back for miles 16-20, this was the real dream come true. Not only did we beat the mile 17 gauntlet with plenty of time, this was where we saw my mom for the first time, and I got to do something I’ve wanted to say for my entire life – I ran the National Mall. I ran on the road parallel to Lincoln, the Reflecting Pool, and the WWII memorial. I ran in front of the Washington Monument, past all of the Smithsonian museums straight to the Capitol where my dad and I aptly took our mile 18 selfie. I almost ran over 15 tour groups in the process (don’t mess up my stride), threw a gig ‘em for the Aggies, met my mom again by the Smithsonian Castle and made the turn for the mile 20 bridge.

Daddy and I’s mile 18 selfie

The dreaded bridge. The bridge that if you did not beat by 1:15 p.m. you were placed on a bus and sent back to the Finisher Festival. This was not an option. But as we approached the bridge, there was a Marine there counting the time left, a drum line giving you a solid beat to run to, and before I knew it, daddy and I were past the gauntlet and in the home stretch.

The last 10k was long. Very, very long. So was the bridge. I won’t lie, we did not run the entire thing. Every time we thought we were close to the end of the bridge, it seemed like another half mile popped up in front of us. But we made it and by mile 22 we were in Crystal City past the third and final gauntlet with only the home stretch in front of us.

This is where the marathon got hard. I had been so strong up until this point. I had pushed myself and realized I was a more capable runner than I had ever thought. I was proud of all I had achieved. After all, this was the farthest I’d ever ran in my life, and I still wasn’t to the finish line. But there’s the kicker, at mile 23 with all the gauntlets behind me, the sun beating down on me, the finish line in front of me, and a right arm that was beginning to chafe, I realized I still had a 5k left.

In that final 5k, that was why I never took off and left my dad. Before mile 23, I found the strength in myself to endure everything thrown my way, to persevere through legs aching, both knees buckling, my back hurting, and everything else. But in that final 5k, life got hard. My feet became cinderblocks, I was trying to not get dehydrated, I could feel the muscles in my arms tightening, I was trying to stop my fingers from swelling, and still wasn’t finished. It was at this point, my dad reminded me of the strength in a power walk. If we couldn’t run it, we would walk it, but we would walk it with all we had. I had officially hit “the wall” and it was having my dad there that helped me power through.

Eventually, we were back at the Pentagon where the race had started hours before. Then we looked up and saw Arlington National Cemetery. The finish was as far away as it was close. As my dad and I continued our slow power walk, we looked up and there it was – the sign that said mile 26 (and the uphill ascent…) We had walked for 6 miles and together we made the turn uphill toward Iwo Jima and the last .2 miles. At the top of the hill my dad looked at me and said go. I asked if he was sure and he told me I could do this, and it was my time to finish. My eyes already starting to swell with tears, I made the turn and at a dead sprint headed to the finish line with everything I had. I crossed at exactly 6:16:00 and immediately started crying. Is it the best time? No. Do I care? Also, no. I had finished my first marathon.

2nd Lt. Kaberides who saluted me and gave me my medal

As much as I have tried to describe the experience, it’s difficult to place it into words. I fought for this. I needed to do this, if nothing more than for my own edification, and I did. This is hands down the single greatest achievement of my life. I am officially 26.2 miles stronger, and as crazy as it sounds, I’m ready to do it again.


Music Wednesday: Beauty in the Breaking

Don’t you just love it when inspiration hits? I mean, out of nowhere it’s just like “Wow! This was everything I needed and more!” This was me tonight.

See, Wednesday’s are awesome because Wednesday’s are the night I have my mid-week ladies bible study. If you want to talk about something that can turn your whole day around, for me, this is it. My morning (and last night) started terrible. One of my personal accounts got hacked so I was up at midnight last night on the phone with customer service to get it resolved. This resulted in my wanting to sleep in this morning. I downed a cup of coffee, tried to curl all of my hair, and ran out of the door only to get stuck in traffic for an hour and 26 minutes and end up late to work.

By the time I got to work, I was in such an ugh kind of mood. My mind was scrambling all over the place. I wanted to take some time to sit down and do my devotional, but I could barely even focus on that. It was terrible.

Fastforward to 7 pm tonight. I have my venti vanilla latte from Starbucks, and I’m sitting in bible study, hearing a lesson that’s all about change. Change in the ways God uses it, how we can embrace it, and why it is so necessary in our lives. In that moment, my entire perspective shifted. My terrible morning became an amazing evening.

As a small group leader for this bible study, I got to spend about another 20-30 minutes connecting with the ladies in my group about change in our lives. One of the things we discussed was how God used change in our lives for good, even if it was painful at the time. This was the moment where I was reminded of The Unmaking by Nicole Nordeman.

If I ever write a book, I can guarantee you I will cite this song as a main source of inspiration for me. I just feel it describes me and my journey with God perfectly. I used to be afraid to be blunt about the work God was doing in my life. I would be transparent on many, many levels. But then I would still hold back. I would be afraid to completely, and I mean completely, talk about the work God was doing in my life. This only something I have finally come to be brave enough to do within the past couple of months.

Perhaps I didn’t tell my full story because I was scared of what others would think. Perhaps I was too worried about how I would come across to others. Part of me even wondered if there were certain people in my life I would inadvertently push away if I was totally, completely, uncompromisingly candid about the work of God in my life. Then I realized, how selfish of me to not share what I know God is doing in my life because I’m scared of what other people might think of it. For someone who has a constant prayer for God to be glorified through her life and situations, I wasn’t doing a very good job at making sure God got the glory. The bottom line is I came to realize I can’t control other people’s thoughts. They were either going to see me and think what they wanted to think, or they were going to recognize the work of God in my life.

This is exactly what I did with my small group ladies tonight.

I told them my story. I told them about the dark demons I faced. I told them how I hit rock bottom, I was striped of everything I used to find my identity in. All of God was all that was left, and I still felt like it wasn’t enough. I found my identity in the world and when the world turned it’s back on me, I felt nothing. My world literally got grayer. Then, as time went on I felt like God had turned His back on me. I was already struggling with not feeling good enough for this world, but the pain of not feeling good enough for the God of the universe is incomprehensible. This is where I found grace.

From the demolition of my life, I was radically rescued. I was filled with an outrageous, contagious joy. I was (and still am) utterly broken in every way imaginable, and it ended up being the most beautiful thing God could have ever done for me.

The beauty in the breaking is that in losing myself, I found who God was.

This is why I love The Unmaking so much. This is why I loved tonight’s bible study so much. It hit close to home. I go back to where everything in my life came crashing down, and I’m able to praise God for it because what He rebuilt is beyond anything I could ever imagined.

Happy Fall Y’all

Hello everyone and happy September! I know, it has been a terribly, terribly long time since I’ve posted. What can I say – I’m human and let it slip through the cracks. But I did want to stop by, say hi, and mark a quick two cents about fall.

I’m sure you realize it, and I’m sure you’ve seen different articles about how people feel differently about fall. I just want to say I love it. I love the steadiness and feeling like there is a routine to a year (if that’s even possible). I love the changing seasons and colder weather (which I seriously live in the wrong state for). Fresh school supplies, crisp leaves, vests, scarves, riding boots. This is my time of the year, minus PSL’s. (Just not a fan there…)

I remember when June started, I posted on Twitter how crazy it was that it was already June. Let me say, I do not feel that way about September. August felt like it lasted 483 days. But I digress. So one of my dad’s friends commented on my post and said it was a new season for new opportunities. BOY did that end up being true. Even though we’re “technically” still in summer, it is coming to a close this month and we’ll be entering fall. This time of change got me thinking and reflecting on the past few months of my life. Now, I want to share those catch-ups, changes, and lessons with you (except I’m going back to February)


First things first, I finally had a dream come true and bought a Grand Cherokee. More than anything this has not only taught me responsibility (ahem car payments) but also pride in the things I worked to accomplish. I worked hard for this one.


Meet Gaston, sold to me by the one and only Kaelan

Secondly, I ran the Cowtown again this year. But beyond simply running, I did the Cowtown Challenge. A 10k on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday. It. Was. Hard. But I also realized how much stronger I am than I thought I was, and therefore had a very emotional moment with my dad at the finish line.

Daddy and I after the 10k
Daddy and I after the half


Holy moly, my niece turned 4! It’s hard to believe. She’s such a little ray of sunshine even in life’s hardest times. Her pure heart is always there to warm me up. And yes, she had a batman themed birthday party. And yes, it was awesome.

Aria at her party
Daddy and I were not to be left out

GUYS, another dream come true…I got into the Marine Corps Marathon. In all seriousness, this will be one of the (if not the) toughest thing I ever do. The training has already kicked my butt enough. But I can’t wait to share all the lessons I’ve learned from this process.

My confirmation email

APRIL (get ready for a long one)

First things first, one of my closest friends from Orange got married. All I can say is I bawled like a baby at the wedding (especially when she read a letter from her late father). Still, I’ll say take the time to catch up with old friends now and again. It’s definitely worth it.

Madi and I at the reception

Secondly, I met PETER FURLER of the Newsboys and sang I Am Free with him at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. I can die happily now. (Nothing insightful here, it’s just cool)

Peter Furler and I on Good Friday

Here’s the biggie – I went to Virginia!! Let me tell you the trip was everything I had hoped it would be and more. It was so exhilarating to get to visit this place I’d been dreaming about for the past 3 years. And one of the most important parts of my trip was when I stood on the shore of the river in Yorktown and made a comment about how much I wanted to be there and my mom told me she believed I’d make it somehow. Anyway, here’s a quick (and I mean quick) overview of the trip in pictures.

The cannons I was sticking my head in on Yorktown Battlefield
The gazebo on Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. I’d still love to get married there
The Crim Dell Bridge at the College of William & Mary
Me, back in my favorite spot in Yorktown
Momma, enjoying all the Colonial architecture and gardens
The Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg
Momma in the palace gardens
Our selfie at the Governor’s Palace
Momma at the Naval and Maritime Museum in Norfolk
Me making a wish on the Battleship Wisconsin

And lastly, we finished the trip off with a dinner at Virginia Beach (we’re identical, I know)



Sorry to report nothing exciting happened in May or June


I spent a weekend getaway at the lake. Here’s a couple things I learned: don’t bash unicorn floaties because they’re great to lay on, former Army Rangers are great at piggy back rides, the sillier you do the Wobble the more fun it is, love your stick figure drawing of yourself, and be thankful for the time you get to spend with friends old and new.

The lake group. We were all born ready that weekend


So guys, I had an existential crisis that I turned 23 this year. Don’t ask me why, I just did. Maybe it’s because I’m 23 and my life isn’t the way I thought it would be. Maybe it’s because after Taylor Swift’s 22 song, there’s nothing cool for your 23rd birthday. Maybe (probably) I overthought all of it. But I did ring in 23 with a rescue horse named Geronimo. He was pretty great.

Feeding Geronimo his carrots

And lastly (and probably the most important), I quit my job and embarked on a new adventure. I now work for Fellowship Church in Grapevine and I do everything from administrative work, receptionist, spiritual development, and even the communications department is after me. Everything. It has been an interesting change of pace, but I’ve loved it. I’ve wrestled with the idea of ministry for a while. I guess I always thought it had to be a mutually exclusive thing, that if I worked in ministry, I couldn’t do anything else. I realize now that’s not true. Instead, I’m working toward combining all of the things I have a passion for.


Remember when I said I was told a new season is a chance for new opportunities? Well this was the peak of the peak. This is going to be a tremendous growth opportunity and I am so excited to see how I grow in this position at the church.

And that’s all for now. I am so excited to be reconnected with everyone and to see where this new season takes us!

P.S. Everyone please remember to keep Southeast Texas in your prayers. Currently 54 counties are in a rescue, relief, and rebuild process because of Harvey, and Hurricane Irma is already barreling through the Atlantic. The rescue is going well but there’s still SO much that needs to be done. Please remember any donation you make will help these victims tremendously. I donated to the North American Mission Board, but I encourage you to donate where you feel your money/time/items are best served. Every little bit helps!

Music Wednesday: Your Promise Still Stands

I am back everyone! I apologize for my unexplained and unannounced hiatus. When I first started this blog, it was never my intention to go MIA any period of time, much less 6 weeks, however, I found the time separated was oddly what I needed.

Anyway, some crazy things have happened since I left and I am still trying to gather my thoughts on how to dive further into this in the future. Until such time, we need to kick it back off with more music Wednesday’s because well, let’s face it…it’s been a while.

If you remember back to the beginning of the year, I found myself saying I am filled with faith of the work God is going to do throughout 2017. I stand by that post with everything I have today because I have been seeing it happen again and again.

So as a bit of backstory, there are certain things in my life God and I go round and round about, and for a little bit, I felt like we were making good progress. Ephesians 3:20 had been on my mind so much and I remember analyzing my situations, talking with God about it, and thinking God this really does feel like immeasurably more.

I would drive down the road to work and ask God to direct me in the correct path. There was some pain and confusion, but not much. For the most part, I was praising God and thanking Him. I walked around thinking “this is it.” Then today, that door I was so thankful God gave me a glimpse of closed. Just right in my face, there was nothing I can do about it anymore.

While I expected and prepared myself for something like this to happen, it also didn’t take long for me to retract back on my words and instead of praising God for what He had blessed me with to go back to thoughts such as “God did I hear you correctly?” or “Well God, I see nothing has ACTUALLY changed.

Foolish, right? How much more flighty can you get?

Then we fast-forward to bible study tonight. I’m sitting there listening to the speaker tell the story of king David when he says God showed David his future as king, but then he had to face years of trials before the promise would come to fruition. A glimpse of the future, but no roadmap on how to get there, only God as a compass. It was one of those statements that made me take a step back and think.

THEN, during discussion, a lady at my table suggested I listen to Do It Again by Elevation Worship. I was shocked I’d never heard this song since I listen to Elevation SO much, but I was all for it. The first thing I did when I got in my car was turn this song on and wow is all I have to say.

Maybe God knew I needed to hear this? Possibly it’s just a coincidence? Either way, there is no denying this song spoke to me. I found myself relating to the lyrics in a way I haven’t in a while. The song speaking the word of God me found me right where I needed it.

I was reminded God has a plan. Even if this door really did close, it does not mean He and I cannot reach immeasurably more in some other way (He is God after all). Through it all, I believe He is able.

P.S. The bridge is the best part – “I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains, and I believe I’ll see you do it again. You made a way when there was no way, and I believe I’ll see you do it again.

The Continuous Tale of a Mighty Warrior


“The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, ‘the LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’”
Judges 6:12

My phone hits 17:00. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Though shaking, my hands begin to dial the phone number I had scribbled down a sticky note. One ring… Two rings… My heart is pounding.

“Hi Abigail! How are you?”

I couldn’t believe it. It was her and this was actually happening…

Poised and refined, though emotional and solemn, the continuous words of this Gold Star mom as we proceeded to speak left me aghast.

Marc Alan Lee was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died during a fierce firefight with insurgents in the central Iraqi city of Ramadi. Debbie Lee is his mom.

In July of 2006, Marc wrote his last letter home. The letter reads these words – “So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they may be people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.”

In efforts to both fulfill her spiritual gift granted from God as an encourager and carry out Marc’s last request to pass on the kindness, Debbie founded America’s Mighty Warriors, a military non-profit focused on helping Gold Star families find healing, helping heroes recover from PTSD and TBI’s, and granting Marc’s wish to carry out random acts of kindness.

As I spoke with Debbie, I was amazed at her wisdom and compassion.

“There is nothing greater than sacrifice,” Debbie said. “Christ displayed it first on the cross, and our troops display it next by being so ready and so willing. It’s become a clear example of the sacrifice Christ made for us.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Debbie and I spoke for no more than 30 minutes. I asked her questions upon questions about running a non-profit and any advice she had for someone seeking a future in military and/or non-profit work. She was more than willing to help.

Beyond her kind words of advice, however, it was the words about her son, about her situation, and about the work God was doing through her to bring His name glory that me feeling both refreshed and fulfilled by the end of the conversation.

She walked me through the journey she has been on since that fateful day so many years ago. Overall, it was clear she strives to keep the presence of Marc and his personality through all of her daily activities, even joking when she hit her necklace and cut her finger. A sarcastic “well thanks, Marc” came out as she chuckled at the small knick his SEAL trident had caused.

As the first Gold Star mom to visit a combat zone, I asked about her time in Iraq and if the trip ever scared her. Her response to me?

“Not even close. I had prayed about it. I knew it was right.”

 While going into a combat zone would scare most of us I’m sure, Debbie said she appreciated it. It gave her a chance to get a glimpse of what our troops endure, how they live, and how they fight. She saw it as the opportunity to relate to our troops, to relate to her own son, and how they live.

“As a believer, if something happened, I knew where I was going,” Debbie said. “Like Daniel in the lions den, I was on a mission to do what God had asked me to do no matter the outcome.”

 Debbie ended up spending Christmas with a group of soldiers that trip. She said there was no greater joy than sharing the story and sacrifice of Christ with those who sacrifice so much for our freedom on one of the most beautiful days of the year.

At the end of our conversation, I asked the all encompassing question – “How are you seeking to bring good from a past hurt?”

Though I could tell the question was tender, Debbie responded by stating that when Marc died, her confidence was not in herself or her son, but in who God was.

“I did not have a choice on the news that was given to me on August 2nd,” Debbie said. “But I had choice on how I responded. Losing Marc was the toughest thing I ever faced, but I knew God would see me through. He was still the same God on August 2nd that He was on August 1st. His character had not changed.”

She realized God does not waste pain and if anything He was teaching the lesson to always trust Him, to always go to Him, and not another person. As a widow and now-grieving mother, Debbie said she began to understand the conversation between Hezekiah and God a little more. She began to talk to God like he was physically there and realized as scripture states, God had seen her tears, He’d heard her prayers, and He would answer. She knew even when she didn’t have a specific answer, she could always feel God’s presence and He would always provide.

Through her pain, it rings clear that she has remained humble and graceful in the presence of God. Debbie has undoubtedly used Marc and America’s Mighty Warriors to touch the lives of so many Gold Star families and hurting soldiers for the Gospel.

For more information on Marc and Debbie, visit americasmightywarriors.org.

Music Wednesday: Military in Motion

Due to exciting news that I cannot yet share – I have decided to dedicated this music Wednesday to our service members.

See, something is happening that I will soon expand more on, but until such time I have decided to give a sneak peak at what’s to come. (And for those who are thinking it – no I have decided to become a commissioned officer in the Navy…yet)

When it comes to the military, I have a number of favorite movies. Saving Private Ryan. Pearl Harbor. We Were Soldiers. American Sniper. The list goes on.

However, there is one movie that I feel goes above and beyond all the others. It’s a movie capable of hitting anyone in the gut. Maybe some would agree with me on this, maybe they wouldn’t. Either way, I am willing to argue this is the one of the, if not THE, best movie about the military out there.

This is a movie I’ve only seen twice. Once in January of 2013. Again at the end of July 2015. Twice. That’s it. And both times ended with me on the floor, in a ball, crying my eyes out.

I don’t mean this to sound bad or weird. There’s something about the military (not just movies based off the military), that will hit me every. single. time. I have a reverence for our troops that I struggle finding the words to explain. I believe it’s the highest aspiration anyone can achieve in life. It’s not only the big things but the small things that get to me as well. It’s just a long way to say that it doesn’t take much to have an impact on me when it comes to the military.

But this movie. This movie epitomizes every ounce of that reverence I have for the military into 110 minutes of raw action starring real Navy SEALs. This move is Act of Valor.

It’s my favorite movie on the military, hands down. It’s also a movie I almost never watch simply because of HOW upset it makes me. However, given the surprise I have coming soon, I believe this was the perfect choice for this music Wednesday.

Keith Urban recorded the song For You specifically for Act of Valor. I’m not really sure how to describe this song other than like the movie, it’s a song you will not find me listening to very often due to the impact it has on me. Again, given the surprise I have coming soon, it’s the perfect choice.

As with most music, it is the lyrics of For You that make the song so raw and so powerful. After all, the first verse quotes John 15:13 – “no greater gift has man than to lay down his life for love.” The feeling, the thought, there are those out there in the world who will take a bullet for my freedom, who wouldn’t think twice about going into the line of fire, who don’t think about right or wrong but do what they have to do to defend their own, it’s a reaction from me unlike anything you could ever see. This is why For You is my choice for this music Wednesday.

I challenge you to listen to the lyrics. You never know what you’ll experience.

The Power of THEY

I want to talk about THEY. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy – you know what I mean. THEY. Those people. The ones you surround yourself with on a daily basis. The ones you associate yourself with. Your THEY.

They are everywhere. From social media, to work, to school, personal life, we are surrounded by a THEY.

But are we really? When we really, and I mean really, start to think about who they are, are they really the people we want to be surrounded by?


Let’s back up a little bit –

On Wednesday nights I go to a bible study in Grapevine called Flavour. Last night we talked about who we do our battles with, otherwise known as our THEY.

Think about it – you have your friends on social media, but then you have the group of people you’d be willing to invite to an event or something (and I mean like the extended-extended-of extended family/friends here), there’s the people you’d want at your birthday party or graduation or wedding, but then what about those people, the one’s you know who will go into battle with you no matter what. These are your THEY.

Now, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, or you just think I’m a weirdo who has a problem with caps lock, THEY is an acronym. There is so much more to the people who are your THEY than just those you would consider your “ride or die” style friends. And let me tell you, you may think there are some who could or should be your THEY, until you really start to analyze what this means, then you begin to realize your THEY isn’t as large or as strong as you thought it was.

Here’s what I mean:


The first letter we have is T. T stands for tough. These are the people who are solid and steady. The ones who give you a firm foundation when you feel like you don’t have one. More importantly, the ones who remind you of the foundation you stand on when you feel like you’re struggling to remember. They really are the epitome of ride or die.


H stands for honest. These are the people who will speak truth into your life even when you don’t want to hear it. This goes beyond just telling someone they’re being a brat. They are honest about living up to the life God created you to have. They provide honest perspective on your difficulties. They will tell you if your decision is rash, or if your words are harsh. They provide the level-headed perspective we all need in our lives.


E stands for encouraging. These are the people speak constant encouragement into your life no matter what. They do not display signs of jealousy or a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality. You can come to them with good news, the best news, and they won’t try to break you down, or show you up, or throw a pity party for themselves. They’re just always happy to you and for you.


The last letter is Y. It’s also the most important letter. It stands for yielded. Are they a whole-hearted, committed, commissioned, follower of Christ? I don’t think I can ever emphasize this enough. These are the people who both speak and live the word of God. They don’t just know God’s word, God’s word is written on their hearts. And they will take the word and transmit it to you during those times you need it. They are the one’s who shine for Christ in all that they do. You never have to ask them if they’re a Christian because you know they are. They walk with a different beat in their step because you know they live a life totally surrendered to Christ, and this type of surrender is displayed in everything they do. And let me tell you – this is absolutely the most important quality you want in your THEY. The other three letters are mediocre to this sense of yielding all that we have and all that we are to Christ.

So why is THEY important? Because it’s not about how many there are. It’s about who they are. THEY are the ones who display these qualities through and through, no matter the stages or seasons of life. THEY are the ones you can always turn to to be tough, honest, encouraging, and yielded. Without these qualities, well to be quiet frank, our THEY isn’t really a THEY worth having.

So who is my THEY? It’s a list I made last night as an exercise during bible study. Like most, some who I thought would make the list were quickly cut off. Then there were others who removed themselves from the list by removing themselves from my life. At the end (not counting my parents or my sister) the number of people I can turn to at any time of day for any reason, is three. Three people. Three people in my inner circle I would trust with my life. They are my THEY.

Emma Vance. Kaelan Blok. Haley Wolters. They are the ones who are both tough and make me tough. They are the ones who are honest with me even when I don’t want to hear it. They are the ones who encourage me. But most importantly, they are the ones who speak the truth of God into my life at all times. They are the ones who offer their prayers and support. They are the ones who bring treats to my house, text me at 4 am to make sure I’m okay, and tell me they’re buying a boat to get my mind off my mom’s wreck. This is my THEY.

Going even further, Haley is my ultimate THEY. She is the Godsend to my life who emulates all of these qualities to me, even if the seasons of life are difficult for her.

At bible study, they asked to share how we met our best friend/ultimate THEY. Haley and I have an interesting story. We worked the same internship. I walked in my first day with my Gilmore Girls coffee cup and it was basically an instant connection from there. We were inseparable that summer. And yes, we are the annoying girls in their 20s who run around Target shopping then lay on the floor laughing while she reads “All My Friends Are Dead” and I play with a giant green bouncy ball.

I did buy the bouncy ball that day. Makes for good stress relief. 

But what really got Haley and I, where we really noticed God was working between the two of us for each other as best friends beyond all that we had in common, was the night we baked cookies at her house. We baked cookies and watched Gilmore Girls. But we also shared our stories with each other. I told her about how much I found my identity in someone else and as such allowed a breakup to destroy my life. She told me about the struggles she faced with her biological dad and reasons her family is the way it is as a result.

There is no denying we bonded – but this is where we realized it was God at work and not us. In that moment of sitting her on L-shape couch, stuffing our face with cookies, while her dog Ugg begged us for attention, Haley looked at me square in the eye and began talking about the very passage of scripture God had been using to speak into my life for many months leading up to that moment. The weird part? Not once did I ever say in the conversation that was the journey God and I were walking together. Haley just felt the words come on her heart and she spoke them. Except that wasn’t Haley, that was God. Everything was uphill from there.


Now, obviously not everyone will have a story like Haley and I, but I do believe it reflects the importance of choosing the right THEY. Without the right THEY, we are marching into battle with people who do not understand our desire and need for God. They point us to each other instead of toward Him, and we need the people who will always point us toward Him.

I’ll end with this – they said this quote last night and I love it – “It’s not the people who will ride in the limo with you, it’s the ones who will be there when the limo breaks down.” Well, this is ALL to real for Haley and I since her car did break down and we (i.e. Micah and Erik, we sat in the car) had to push it to the gas station.

Because who doesn’t want to run out of gas in July in Texas?

Your THEY is important so surround yourself with the right ones. And if you don’t have them, then pray for them. God will provide them. But remember, you have to be the right THEY as well as choosing the right THEY.

One last ode to the bouncy ball. It’s always there for me.