Posts tagged My story
Choosing Imperfection & Quirky Jokes

I stopped putting stock in perfection. Probably because I noticed the beauty in tattered edges and ink splatters, blurry pictures and scratchy voices.

Now I like the old cars that barely run and listening to quirky jokes. I like the toddler who runs around with one shoe and the mother who laughs at the chaos of it all. 

I will be the first to tell you about my imperfections. I’ll tell you about how much of a mess I make, how I regularly ruin the dinner recipe and say the wrong thing at the worst time. I’ll tell you about spilling my coffee on white shirts and getting lost in downtown. I’ll tell you that I can’t keep a plant alive any longer than I could a goldfish, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I’ll tell you about my heavy heart—how much I struggle with the weight of this broken world and the hope of heaven.


I once tried to organize my bookshelf by color but ended up hating the symmetry. I rearranged stories to make them look more like life. I have two holes in my favorite sweater and never bothered fixing them. People always comment on them like they’re doing me a favor, and I smirk and tell them it’s my holy sweater, like I’m a cheesy TV show host.

I don’t know. One day I just stopped tracing out the lines and started free-handing it all. I’m learning to be okay with having too many feelings and being too short to ever see the stage, because God teaches me so much through my weird and humble perspective.

I thought that people wanted me to act a certain way, and maybe sometimes they do, but it’s way more fun to show up in my own skin. To laugh at myself religiously and love the way the rain sounds. To add sarcastic comments into conversations and make a ridiculous number of Remember the Titans references. To sing along with the songs on the radio and mess up the words, but keep singing anyway, like I’m the opening act and the show must go on.

So I’m regularly missing my exit on the interstate because I’m lost in my thoughts and tripping on sidewalks because I’m looking at the sky. I’m settling into it anyway, though. It helps me see grace.

Alex FlySeeking, My storyComment

As a believer, I know I am supposed to think like a runner. I should be sprinting toward the finish line with every fiber of my being, yearning to glorify God and proclaim His name with every step. When I reach the finish line, I long to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

But sometimes I don’t feel like a runner; I feel more like I’m on a carousel or on one of those metal spinning circles I used to ride as a kid (which hopefully are banned from all playgrounds by now). 

You know what I’m talking about? It looked something like this:


I would hold on FOR DEAR LIFE while someone spun me faster and faster until I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out, dizzy and giddy with the incredible speed. Going around and around in circles, I would feel my tiny hands start to lose grip on the railing and I would yell at my friend, “Stop spinning…I’m going to fall off!” So we would stop and regroup and then go again. 

And my life too often feels like one of these deadly, metal merry-go-rounds. I’m going in circles, heading nowhere in particular but I’m moving too fast to think about my direction. 

At first it’s fun, because I’m starting to gather speed. My schedule starts getting fuller and my mind starts to race a bit faster with to-do lists and deadlines and meetings. I love my job, after all, and I feel like I’m actually keeping up with the rest of the world. I buy into the lies that busier and bigger is always better. 

And then I start to get a bit nauseous because someone is spinning me too fast, and I feel my hands starting to slip and I eventually scream, “Stop the madness!” 

I can’t keep up with the busyness, the spinning, the speed. 


So I fall off and slow down, exhale deeply and plan intentionally. Life’s better at this slower pace, steadier and savory. I notice the way the sun hits the trees and listen more intently in conversations. I light every candle and take my time preparing meals. I pay more attention to God.

But I don’t stay in this slower place long enough. I don’t learn my lesson, and I get back on the merry-go-round because there’s too much to do and too little time and if I don’t regularly post on Instagram, I WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CUSTOMER EVER. My business will go under and I will be the person I suspected I was all along: a failure. 

I buy into the lies that slower means lazy, that I’m not good enough if I’m not “too busy,” with a jam-packed schedule so full that I don’t have a spare moment.

I think a lot of us have grown tired of the hustle. The hustle has left us pulling our hair out and cursing at random strangers. The hustle is no friend of the thoughtful and wise. We are aching for smaller, simpler, slower. 

This year my life and business have a narrower and more intentional focus, and I think it's going to be a really good but hard transition. Of course, I'm still going to work hard and have busy days. I want to make money so I can be a good steward with it. I want to meet my deadlines and meet new clients; I want to connect with others in person and in this space, with words and prayers and pictures. 

But I also don’t want to be distracted from the most important things. Overall, I am striving for less frantic and more faith. I am determined to savor the little moments, to take long walks and invest my time wisely. I want to live purposefully and prayerfully. Because at the end of all of this, I want to be able to say “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). 

Soon enough, we will be standing before the throne in all of His glory. I want so badly to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" and not “What were you doing spinning around and around in all of those circles?”

Let’s run to Him—stumbling and obedient and together. 

Alex FlyMy storyComment
Salvation & Sinners

My salvation wasn’t like the ones we constantly hear about-- the ones where there are tears on the bathroom floor and an earthquake-like awakening of an indwelling Spirit. My salvation was quiet and consuming, peaceful and full of grace. It wasn’t like I expected—this surrendering of a heart. It was better and harder and all encompassing. I felt both broken and whole, vulnerable and steady; I was ready to run.

I was around 10 when I asked Jesus into my heart. Then I asked Him again and again because I wanted to be sure He was going to stay there.

I remember my parents sitting me down and asking me if I knew Jesus. I was eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream and kept scraping the bottom with my spoon, the metal clanging against the ceramic bowl, trying to savor every last bit of chocolate that was left. I gave all of the right answers and knew them in my heart to be true.

When the day for my baptism came, I wore one of my dad’s white dress shirts as my family gathered around the pool in our front yard. Familiar faces were looking down at me while my favorite verses were read and my parents wept and my Papa dunked me under the water. There were little tea candles and flowers floating gently in the water while the sun was setting, and I thought it was so beautiful and perfect and wondered if we could always let flowers and candles float in the pool. 

I didn’t realize until much later that this salvation of mine was not a one-stop shop but a continuous surrender and brokenness. I will keep coming to this place over and over, this place of desperation and the receiving of grace. I will keep having the tendency to try earning my way into heaven, like the Pharisee counting his accomplishments, and I will continue realizing that I need to be more like the tax collector, beating my chest and begging, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”  

When we start admitting we need God, it becomes easier to find Him. 

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
— Luke 18:9-14

Sometimes it feels as if I’ve been walking with Jesus all my life, constantly knowing that He was right beside me in the trials and the triumphs, the guts and the glory. And other times it feels as if I am just now getting to know this God I’ve claimed to always serve. As He leads me through different stages of life, as He continues to proclaim His magnificence, God beckons deeper and deeper still and I think about this heavenly, holy Jesus in a new way.

It seems I’m walking with a flashlight and with each step I take, the light shines a bit further, reveals a little more of my surroundings -- and yet there’s still so much the light has not revealed.

But I suppose that's faith. 

The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, ‘God.’
— A.W. Tozer
College Romantics
Photo by Rebecca Long Photography

Photo by Rebecca Long Photography

It’s easy to romanticize college. I think I forget the hard parts because so much of my experience has been cloaked in light.

I pulled all nighters studying for finals and talked to friends suffering from depression and made promises I couldn’t keep. I hurt people and people hurt me. I flunked Calculus II and changed my major. I learned not to trust everyone the hard way. For all of the holy and beautiful, there were equal parts evil and heartache.

But it’s the holy and beautiful that stand out.

Although I knew God before, I had been running away from Him, like a treasure-seeker ignoring the pot of gold right in front of her. I always came running back, or rather He came after me. He called me His beloved and gently loved me through the peaks and troughs. He still does. But it was in college when I stopped trying to run away.

I ran toward heaven at full speed, no sign of braking and every sign of crashing into the waves of His grace and mercy. It is painful and perfect-- that quiet beauty that draws you to the cross. I stood at the edge of Ireland, looked out over the cliffs, and felt sheer awe at the creativity of God. I walked the halls of the Louvre in Paris and clapped along to Irish folk music in Dublin and stood in crowded tubes in London, and I saw God everywhere. I hiked in the Cotswalds and walked the halls of castles and took communion in a small Irish church. He was there—in the Cotswalds and castles and communion.

I started waking early because I so craved His words to wash over me. I had this black, circular chair in my room with an old quilt draped across it. I sat there each morning and drank crappy coffee and fell more in love with Jesus. I felt the weight of my ugly sin and I sighed relief when I allowed Him to remove the burden. I did this again and again, approaching the throne of grace with a humility and brokenness. I locked myself in my dorm room and cried, hard and long, over my own regrets and the death of my Savior and the depravity of man.

I told others how much I was in love with Jesus, and they rolled their eyes and laughed and called me cute. I read Keats and the gospel of John, went to church and college parties, loved on Jesus followers and Jesus rebellers. I saw the light of glory everywhere.

We sat in circles in my classes and discussed 18th century British Literature and the history of philosophy and the spread of postmodernism. We read Hemingway and Austen and Hawthorne, studied rhetoric and media and MLK. I fell in love with literature over and over again, found a new appreciation for words and the way they intersect, and learned to write while breaking grammar rules.

I spoke with a little bit more of a twang in my voice and walked with a more confident gait. I didn’t think too much about the future; it seemed so far away. But I thought about heaven.

I fell in love with the art of photography and sipping coffee slowly and a boy. He was loud and overly friendly and wore a backwards hat. He talked about football and Dave Matthews and The Office and it didn’t take us long to fall for each other. He held my hand and brought me sunflowers and we took turns asking questions, wanting to know everything there was to know about the other. We didn’t know then that four years later we would make vows in the middle of an apple orchard in rural Alabama. We didn’t know how much we would grow or laugh or cry together. We didn’t know that meeting one another on the first day of college would change our lives forever, in the best possible way.

During those four years, I was so filled up with love, and so encouraged by believers that I needed to pour some of myself out to others. I went on mission trips where we played soccer on asphalt and sang praise songs in Spanish and shared the gospel to everyone we came across. We ate traditional Guatemalan meals and hiked a volcano and listened to our new friends cry over their disbelief in God. We would listen to their stories and cry with them.

Over spring break we went to a small beach town and knocked on door after door in the houses across the railroad tracks. Sometimes they invited us in, to talk about this Jesus that we loved. And sometimes they didn’t. But we cared for them and we played games with their kids and we would repair their damaged houses. By the end of the trip, everyone in the neighborhood would come to our block party and we would laugh with them over silly things the kids would do and say.

When I came back to campus after these trips, I was a little different. All of us were.  I think when I saw Jesus move mountains, mountains started to shift inside of me, too. Prayers became urgent and conversations intentional and thoughts radical. Sometimes I still see their faces—the people I passionately shared the gospel with and all of the ones I didn’t.

It’s funny, really. How college changes everything.

It was in the cow college in South Alabama where I learned that the gospel is for the broken and the beautiful, for the lowly and the lifted up, for the desperate and the deacons, for the rebels and the righteous. I felt such community in that little town, with the old oaks and the white churches and some of the best people I will ever meet. Jesus met me in that town, over and over again. It was where the tears came while singing Amazing Grace off-key and where my husband got down on one knee and where my voice grew hoarse from cheering too loudly at football games. It was where I got one too many parking tickets and where I stayed up all night memorizing rush songs. It was where I learned how magnificently faithful my God is.

It was where I stopped being little Lucy, lost in the back of a wardrobe, because I heard Aslan calling me home.

But like I said before, it’s easy to romanticize college.