IMG_5505 Balance. If you've ever spent more than 10 minutes with me at a coffee shop, you know I'm all about self-care, self-love, and balance. I spend a lot of my time trying to convince college students to take care of their mental, spiritual, and emotional health. I'm known to encourage spontaneous manicures and trading the library for a coffee date. I often make my girls write lists of things they actually enjoy.

I learned balance the hard way. When I stumbled into my counselor's office nearly four years ago, I was working three jobs, in school full-time, severely underweight, and clueless. I had no idea what I actually enjoyed. I felt sick and miserable.

It took several months of counseling before I learned the art of self-care. Little by little I started valuing "mom walks" without a destination, frequent yoga breaks, and the occasional Target shopping spree. I did these things not to indulge, but balance. I was a  functioning human when I took time to be alone with Jesus and incorporate the simple joys in life into an otherwise overwhelming week.

Somewhere over the past 2 months, I traded balance for stress, exercise for Netflix, and morning coffee with Jesus for my bed.

I crashed last week. I felt overwhelmed, insecure, and ready to quit my job. But our God is faithful and patient and gave me hope when I listened to my girl Hannah Brencher's recent podcast on Balance. She challenged her listeners to write out a picture of balance, so here I am, coffee in hand, letting you know what keeps me balanced. And with balance, keeps me present.

"I want a small life that lives big in the space I'm in. I want to love people really well and foster a life of contentment. I want to experience more of You through seeing new places and trying new things. I want to break the web of insecurity that tangles and paralyzes me in fear. I want to invest where I am and not run away from the hard and messy days. I want real, Spirit-fueled conversation. I want to create safe spaces and always offer coffee and prayer. I want to be a good steward of the body you've given me. I want to try new food and always be up for a 5k or a hike. God, I know balance comes from time with you  and I want that, I want space for refreshment by your Word. I want to read books and know the news. I want the freedom to love, breathe, and walk in balance."

With love and coffee,