My Dear Future [an open letter] [volume ii]

My Dear Future

My dear Future,

You’ve been bothering me again in recent months, invading my thoughts. I’d thought I’d dealt with you in my last letter, but I suppose I’ll need to deal with you in some manner for the rest of my life. But we’ve really got to stop doing this. Don’t pretend you’re innocent.

“What about tomorrow?” you constantly whisper. “What about next week, next month, next decade?”

What about when one of my roommates gets married later this month? It’s going to be so good but so sad since she’s become one of my dearest friends and will (understandably) be moving out.

What about when the new roommate moves in? What will that be like?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

All you bring up is questions, Future.

Questions about when my church is going to be strong enough to start planting other churches. I wonder who God will call to go and when. My best friends? Me? Where will we be sent first?

Questions about my small group. When will we be able to multiply (split from one big group into two smaller groups)? Which group will God call me to? Which friends will I stay with, which ones will I separate from?

Questions about tomorrow and later this week. Will they be smooth days? Or will I be on the rocks, fighting off spiritual attack and barely riding out the growing pains of my soul?

And what about when more of my friends start dating? What then?? What will that be like? How will Jesus sanctify us all through that process? What about me? What if I were to start dating? What if I never date? How will this look, what will it be like? Will I be able to honor Jesus with it, or will it be a struggle where I refuse to lay down my will?

Future, you’re spitting out questions like crazy. My attention is often on you, Future (which is probably all part of your plan). You inspire creeping fear. You demand a plan for every eventuality and especially the impossibilities. You demand I prepare. You demand that I always be thinking of what’s to come, forgetting what’s right in front of my face.

Enough, Future.

I won’t play your game.

I’ll think of Eternity, but not you, Future. (Oh, yes, I see the difference now. Screwtape told me the difference between Eternity and you, Future, so now you don’t get to hide in ambiguity.*)

I’ll think about when I get to be face to face with my beloved Jesus. But no more questions about tomorrow or next week or what might be to come. I will look forward to what is sure—Eternity, life forever with Jesus, but that’s it, Future.

I’ve been built and called to hope for heaven, for Eternity, for Jesus.

But I exist in this moment, in this day. I live in the Present, not you, Future.

I will not survive the Present until Future hopes and fears do or do not come to pass.

I will not survive the Present even just to make it to Eternity’s golden shores.

Today is the day my Lord has made. This moment is the moment my Lord has made. I will rejoice in it. I will live it.

Right now is where I am, and right now is where I will all be. Not hands in the present and eyes on you, Future. No, instead: hands in the Present, eyes on Jesus, heart fixed on what he’s doing today.

Today’s joys and pleasures—simple and wild and mundane as they are.

Today’s battles and responsibilities.

Today’s bread.

Today’s cross.

Today’s grief.

Today’s glory.

Everything I’m given today is good. I don’t expect and get goodness only in you, Future. I get good things now, today, every day.

I’m forgetting you, Future.

Yes, I’ll pray for the things to come—the friends to be saved into Jesus’ everlasting kingdom, the sanctification the Holy Spirit will continue to bring about in me, and all such good things. But my heart, my attention, isn’t fixed on you, oh Future. My mind and attention are no longer yours to play with. My heart, my mind, my attention are no longer stuck on next month’s small group multiplication or 2022’s church plant. Not next year’s boyfriend or next decade’s singleness. Not tomorrow’s growth or next week’s grief.

So, you can shut your mouth, Future. I’m going deaf to you and all your questions because I trust my Jesus and I want what he’s giving me today.

I’ve been given today; I’m living every moment of today.



p.s. – yeah, kids, I’m finally back at the ol’ blog. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, only that it seemed like God was nudging me to get back into the game. So here I am.

p.p.s. – you can check out the original open letter that I wrote in 2018 to my dear future shortly before I announced that I was moving to Texas.

*In one of C.S. Lewis’s towering Screwtape Letters, he addresses the difference between being fixed on/hoping for Eternity and being obsessed with/a slave to the Future. He distinguishes Eternity and Future from each other by saying that being preoccupied with Eternity is being preoccupied with Jesus while fixating on the Future is more of being consumed with what could happen in this life—expecting things to get “better” at some vaporous Future date, fearing things will get worse, etc..

This distinction has been personally incredibly helpful because focus on Eternity reveals solid hope and faith while my fixation on the Future reveals fear and lack of trust. Both are forward-thinking, but one is far more helpful than the other.


A Single’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

Twas the day before Valentine’s Day, and all the lovebirds were planning. And all the singles were sighing, all too aware of their loneliness, wallowing in self-pity.

*insert long, uncomfortable silence*

Ugh, singles, peeps, don’t be one of those singles.  Now, in order to help us all not be one of those singles, I have compiled a survival guide to Valentine’s Day. This is going to revolutionize your SAD (Single’s Awareness Day). Spoiler alert: sarcasm and gifs.

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Step 1: Comfort food.

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This one is practically a no-brainer. Bury your loneliness in a bag of Dove chocolates or in a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or a frozen pizza. Or all three (I vote all three). This step is essential. Gluttonous gorging obviously helps stifle those feelings of inadequacy and ugliness. So hop in the car and shoot over to your local Comfort Food Supply and pick up your choice in of scrumptious snacks to drown your sorrows.

Step 2: Netflix.

netflix 2.gifComfort food in hand, settle in for an evening of binge-watching. This is obviously a very constructive use of your Valentine’s night as it numbs you to any sort of feeling. Of course, even better than your favorite TV show is any mildly romantic movie that will remind you of relationship bliss and your own relationship-less misery. When feelings of sadness come, just keep eating those potato chips. This is sound logic, peeps.

Step 3: Solitude.


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When you’re feeling lonely it is obviously best to be alone. This = perfect sense. All of your dating/engaged/married friends probably already have plans, and let’s face it, you’re (of course) the only single in your friend group. And even if you did have any single friends, they’d prefer to wallow in their singleness alone. And don’t expect an invite to anything from any of your hitched friends; Valentine’s Day is obviously the only day they can do anything remotely romantic (oops; that might have been shots fired).

Step 4: Facebook/Instagram.

Now that you’ve watched three Nicholas Sparks movies (because they are the epitome of worldly romance) and eaten an entire package of Oreos, it’s time to hit Facebook and Instagram. About this time, everyone who is in a relationship will being posting about their magical, romantic, etc. etc. night with their precious lovey-dovey. This is, of course, the time you want to be on Facebook and Instagram to catch all of their wonderful, sappy, my-bae-is-so-perfect posts. This is good for you because you will feel even more alone. (Warning: this step could prove hazardous to your computer.)

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Pop in another cookie and keep scrolling.

Step 5: Self-examination.

Now that you’re physically exhausted (oh, look, it’s 2 in the morning) and precarious emotionally, it’s time to dig into some good self-examination. Pull out the journal or maybe whip out a mirror and take stock. Obviously, this is the best time to look at yourself and figure out why exactly you have no significant other, why you haven’t found that elusive other half. After you’ve wasted a good hour (at least) loathing yourself….

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… slip off to sleep on a pillow of tears. Congratulations. You’ve survived Valentine’s Day (sort of).

Let’s drop a heart shaped bookend on this post.

How will you be spending your Valentine’s Day? Who here finds this survival guide helpful (correct answer: no one because we’re all well-adjusted adults, right?)?

P.S. – I spent too much time laughing while writing this post, and I hope it brought some chortles to peeps of all different relationship statuses.

P.P.S. – I used “obviously” too many times…. No, just kidding, you can never use that word too many times. Obviously.

Advent: Joy and the Shepherds

It’s almost to the middle of December, and Christmas is nearly here. And we’ve come to the third week of advent. First, there were was hope and prophets, and then peace and angels. This week is about joy and shepherds.


In contrast to the enigmatic prophets and the eonian angels, shepherds are incredibly… earthy.

Imagine this:

You are a shepherd.

Shepherding used to be a noble business, it really did. You remember the stories of the shepherds in the time of the Patriarchs and famous King David; he was a shepherd before he was a king, before Adonai had him anointed by a prophet. But shepherding isn’t like that anymore. Heavens, no. A lot of things have changed since the days of David.

First of all, there’s other people. Other Jews don’t like you because you’re a shepherd. You’re treated like a second class citizen, like you’re less than a person. When it comes to society, you are on the very bottom, considered quite nearly valueless.

Then there’s the sheep themselves. Brainless is the word that typically comes to mind. Or witless. Or simply dumb… but in an oddly endearing way.

Your life is solitary. Most of the time, it’s just you and the sheep on the hills outside of Bethlehem, the hometown of the shepherd-king David. The years drag by, and most of them are the same. The rams get the same bad attitude when autumn brings rutting season, then there’s mating season, then a cold winter, then the ewes have their lambs come spring, and then there’s shearing, and the summer is spent teaching the lambs the sound of your voice, and then rutting season comes again. Not much changes for you. Waiting for the next season, waiting for the next predator to fight off, waiting for a lost sheep to find, waiting, waiting, waiting.

You’ve heard of the coming Messiah, the One that Adonai’s sending. He’ll be a Savior, The Savior. The other Jews are eager for the Messiah, but from what you’ve heard from fragments of stories and prophecies, He’s not coming for you. He’s not coming for another shepherd after His own heart. He’ll set Israel free from its oppressors, but that won’t change much for you. You’ll still be shunned by your own people. You’ll still be alone with the sheep.

Another year passes, and before you know it, winter has come. One night, you’re laying with your back against a rock. Your crook leans against the rock, and some of the ewes have piled in around you. Your flock rests, and a few hills over, you can see another shepherd’s flock.

And then there’s a flash of blinding light. You scramble to your feet, sheep scattering as you reach for your crook. It’s an angel. You know it as soon as you set eyes on him. He’s tall with a shining face, and he’s absolutely terrifying. He must be an angel. You start to back away, holding your crook with shaking hands. There’s so much light and dazzling glory. Perhaps you should follow your sheep as they run away.

But then the angel speaks. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

Don’t be afraid, good news, something about joy and all people. You don’t run, but your shaky legs give out and you fall to your knees. The angel continues. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

You blink, and suddenly, there are thousands with the first angel, a multitude of angels saying like thunder, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

And then the angels leave as quickly as they came, and you are alone. The air is startlingly cold and quiet. It starts to sink in. A Savior is born, just a few hills away in Bethlehem. Good news of great joy for all people. Unto you is born this day. This will be the sign for you. You will find a baby.

Another shepherd skids to a stop beside you. “Did you see them? Did you see the angels?”

You nod and use your crook to shove yourself to your feet. You’re not as young as you once were, but you take off at a run.

“Where are you going?” the other shepherd shouts after you.

“To Bethlehem!” you yell back. “To see this thing that has happened.” You trip and tumble down a hill, but then you’re up and running again. You come to the top of the next hill and throw your arms wide, jubilant. “Hallelujah!” And then you’re off, sandals slapping the earth. You pass another shepherd who is still wonderstruck from the angels. “Come with me to Bethlehem!” you shout to him.

The angels were right. This is good news, and it’s brought such great joy. You were wrong when you thought the Savior wasn’t coming for you. For all people. And all people includes you.

Great joy.

People have come up with lots of theories to explain why God sent a multitude of His host to some shepherds who were the lowest of the low. Personally, I think the angel put it quite eloquently when he said the news was for all people. Our response to the good news of Christ should be the same as the shepherds’: joy. And they’re joy isn’t something they kept to themselves; they went and “made known the saying that had been told them”

This week, I encourage you to look for ways to be joyful in light of the coming of Christ and what it means for all people. Praise God; give Him glory. And then go tell someone.

Some passages to look at are: Luke 2:8-20, John 3:16-18, Philippians 4:4, and 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

Let’s drop a snowy bookend on this post.

What do you think about the shepherds? Why do you think that God sent angels to a group of misfits and outcasts? How will you be intentionally joyful this week? What do you think we can learn from the shepherds?

Why I Write

It’s Tuesday (which means it’s not Monday, in case you didn’t know), and so you may be asking yourself why a post by that neurotic, crazy person you accidentally followed that one time is showing up a day late.

Okay, full disclosure: I completely forgot I didn’t have a post ready to go for Monday, and so I woke up Sunday night in a cold sweat remembering that I had nothing to post on Monday, but I was too tired to lug out the computer, and so I just decided in a sweaty, panicky haze that I would post on Tuesday, and so here I am (yay for run-on sentences!).

This post was inspired by “Why Write” from the fabulous Alea (psh, I did not steal my blog post title from her at all, please don’t be absurd). Her post got me thinking, and this post is the result of that thinking (yay for weird sentences that are hard to read!).

(I’m about to be more vulnerable and honest than I’m comfortable with, and so please bear with me.)


Why do I write? What am I hoping to gain from it?

Is it worth all the awkward conversations with people who want to know what I’m going to do with my life (e.g. Person: “So, Rosalie, what are your plans?” Me: “Well, right now I’m working on getting a manuscript ready to pitch to publishers next summer.” Person: “Ohhhhhhhh, that’s… interesting…?” OR: Person: “So, Rosalie, what do you write?” Me: “Speculative fiction… it’s basically science fiction and fantasy.” Person: “Oh. Huh. Fantasy, really?)?

Is it worth the hours spent on maps and character development and editing and subplots and rewrites and networking?

Is it worth the thought and heart and imagination?

Is it worth staying up late when I have to get up early?

Is it worth that punch to the gut when I get a rejection?

No, it’s not. Not if that’s all that writing is–just a time consuming, fun thing to do that might (might) get me semi-famous. If it is just about the stories or a hope of fame or money, it isn’t worth wasting another breath on it. I can stop here, delete Penprints from the internet, chuck my notebooks into the trash, and wipe my computer of all my stories and do something more meaningful, something worthy of my short time on earth.

But writing is not that, not to me.

Writing is my hobby and my passion and my worship and my gift and my ministry and my path.

Writing is how I relax. Some people like to scrapbook or collect things or bake or play with cars or hike or paint. I like to write. I enjoy it. I enjoy building worlds from nothing and drawing maps and researching things like the limits of the human body and writing dialogue that makes me laugh and wondering “what if…”. Writing is my hobby.

Writing is something that gets me excited, something that gets my spine tingling and fingers itching. I blurt out random bits of my stories to my sister. I show my maps to my brother. I scramble after a notebook like a rabbit on caffeine (Out of Time series reference, peeps) when I get a new idea. Writing is my biggest passion beside Christ.

Writing is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to worship God. When I write, I’m drawn closer to God. I can see Him, and it puts awe in my bones. We talk about my ideas (which were all His first), and more and more I find myself writing for His glory, that He might be known and seen in what I write. When I write, I look at my God and praise Him. Sometimes, when I can’t express my love for Him any other way, I write. Writing is one of the ways I worship my Creator.

Writing comes fairly easily to me, but it’s not something I can keep. God gave me the ability and the passion, and I give it back to Him. It’s my offering to Him. It’s my first-fruits, my best and dearest, and it belongs to Him. Sometimes I feel like a kid whose dad gave her some paper and crayons, and she colored the paper and then gave it to her dad saying, “I made this for you!”. Writing is one of my gifts from God, and it’s one of my gifts back to God.

Writing is one of the ways I’m most adept at reaching others for Christ. God has used posts like When I Almost Died & What I Have to Say About It and 3 Ways to Glorify God in Your Writing to touch other people’s lives. Letters and stories are some of the ways God uses me most to bless others. Writing is one of my ministries.

Writing is what I feel called to do, at least right now. God has given me quite a few stories to write, and until I sense Him leading me to something else, I’m going to write them. I’m going to keep blogging on Penprints because I believe God has put me here for a reason. I’m called to serve my Christ, and for now, this is how I’m going to do it because this is the path I’ve been set on.

That is why I write.

What about you?

Writer’s, why do you write?

Non-writers, what are your gifts? What is a hobby of yours? What are some ways you worship God? What is one of your ministries?

When I Almost Died & What I Have to Say About It

On July 6, 2016,  I was in a car accident that could have killed or crippled me.

Honestly, it was completely stupid accident. I was driving down a straight country road in the middle of a summer evening. No ice. No animals. No other cars. No pedestrians. And yet I flipped an SUV twice.


I could have been killed. I could have lost an arm. I could have broken my neck. Or I could have broken my back, just like my dad did when he was my age. I could have been hit by the debris flying through the air as the explorer was rolling. I could be dead, but I’m not.

I walked away (literally) from that wreck with a scrape on my arm, a small rub-burn on my thigh, a small rub-burn on the top of my foot, and a very minor concussion. And none of my tiny injuries are even going to scar. The poor SUV is totaled, but me, I’m doing just fine.

Some people have said that I was lucky, that thank goodness I was wearing my seatbelt.

But no, I was not lucky, and my seatbelt did not save me.

God did that.

God made sure the explorer landed between two telephone poles instead of wrapped around one.

God kept me from hitting a tree when I over-corrected the first time.

God kept my neck from snapping.

God kept my seatbelt from breaking my collarbone or a couple ribs.

God kept my seatbelt from sawing through my carotid or jugular.

God kept the debris and broken glass from pelting me.

God made sure the explorer landed upright after its second roll.

God helped me unbuckle my seatbelt once the explorer stopped moving.

God helped me climb out of the window when the door wouldn’t open.

God helped me spot my phone lying fifteen feet away on the blacktop amidst the other debris that was strewn across the road.

God made sure my phone was functional with only a couple scratches after its tumble.

God steadied my shaking hands enough so that I could call my dad.

God brought a woman and her daughter from our church down that road to help me.

I am okay, unnaturally okay, and it is because of God. The only reason that I am still alive is because God decided to save me. People have said that God was good to me. “Oh my goodness, Rosalie, God was so good to you,” “Wow, Rosalie, God was good to you,” “God was so good to you, Rosalie.” And He was. And if I’d died, He would still be so good. And if I’d been paralyzed or lost a limb, He would still be so good.

Make no mistake, I am extremely thankful that He protected me as much as He did, but I think we get into a habit of saying He’s good when He does things that we think are good. God is good. Period.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and praying since my accident, since I could have, by all rights should have, died, and this is what I know for sure: I am alive because God still has work for me to complete. I have yet to accomplish the purpose He gave me. I am so unnaturally okay so that there can be no doubt that God was there and that He is sovereign.

To God alone be the glory that I am alive and so, so well.

Now, because you’ve always wanted life advice from some random girl on the internet, here are my thoughts for life after this:

~ Rest assured that you will not die before your time. You will live until you have accomplished God’s purpose for you.

~ Live every moment with intentionality.

~ Say what you’ve been too afraid to say; be bold. Tell those you love what they mean to you.

~ Enjoy life. Drink it in and praise God.

~ Know God now.

~ Invest heavily in your relationships—with your family, with your friends, with God. Someone once told me that there are two things that last for eternity: God and people.

~ Always remember that all glory belongs to God.

~ God is always good—when things are well and when the world is falling apart.

~ Give better hugs.

~ God has put breath in you for a reason; don’t squander your time away.

~ Chase God with your whole heart—life’s too short and He’s too incredible for half-measures.

~ Fear God and God alone.

~ Give more gifts.

~ Treasure your family.

~ For goodness sake, forgive. Don’t hold onto how people have wronged you. If you’ve been saved by grace, you’ve been forgiven and commanded to forgive. Don’t waste life being bitter and angry.

~ When all else fails, praise God.

~ Every heartbeat is a gift.

So I could have died, but I didn’t. The thought staggers me every time. I think I see God more now, and for that I’m thankful. He’s reminded me how to live, and I don’t want to ever forget.

What about you? How do you live?