Taking Flight, Writing

A Letter to the Woman Who is 19-going-on-20

candace||kpp-5.jpg

(photo by Kathryn Patterson Photography)

It’s been almost a year since I turned twenty. A lot of people said to get ready. That it would be hard and that the struggle would be so very real. People told me that this would be the hardest time in my life. But despite all the warnings and ill-tidings people would proffer, I looked at twenty and I saw hope. I saw joy. I saw new beginnings and unlimited possibility. I saw a chance to reevaluate the direction my life was going and reinvent who I was. So here is a heart to heart I offer to the woman who is about to leave her teenage years behind because ready or not, here twenty comes:

Sweet child,

You’re no longer a child anymore and I’m sure you’ve felt that way for quite some time. All of a sudden the number 20 is thrust upon you. You’ve longed for freedom and for independence. You’ve wrestled with this idea of womanhood – wondering what that exactly means and when exactly you entered that season. You’ve grappled with what a woman lives her life like and how you will live the life before you with strength and dignity and determination, but now you have to live it.

Twenty. It’s a very confusing number with so many implications, so many expectations. Your twenties are scary and ominous. There is so much uncertainty. For what might be the first time in your life you see the things in which you once put your hope for what they are. Meaningless. A vapor in the wind. Up until now you’ve had dreams – big dreams – but in the context of twenty they seem far off and unlikely.

I wish I could tell you all that there is to living out your twenties and living them fully, but I’m still learning just like you. But let me start here.

I hope that you will not lose hope.

I pray that you love life. I pray that you will seek adventure. I pray that you will not lose faith but instead find God in the most amazing and unlikely places simply because you took the time to look. I pray that you will not get caught up in the rat race of life, but that you will charge full speed ahead in the race God has called you to run.

I pray that you know that everything in this next decade of life and in every other decade is very much a choice. I pray that you choose joy even when that seems like the hard thing, the awkward thing. I pray that you choose love even when you don’t have a man in your life to love. I pray that you choose peace when the storm seems too big for you to weather. I pray that you choose kindness. I pray that you choose compassion. I pray that you choose grace. I pray that you choose beauty because, yes, even beauty is a choice. And I’m not talking about the beauty that comes from powder and paint.

I pray that you see the future as opportunity for God to be glorified and to make much of Jesus. I pray that you see the coming years as a blank canvas for Him to create a beautiful masterpiece. I pray that you look past the uncertainty and the unknowns and see all that the Master Artist could do in the coming years – that He can and will make beautiful things from nothing or even bad and horrible things.

I hope you take a chance. I hope you travel all over the world and leave worry behind because He is bigger than your worry. He is bigger than your fears because turning twenty is kind of scary.

But more than anything.

I hope you dream wildly and live adventurously.

In Him,

Candace

(Originally published to my former site, thetakingflightblog.com, on March 11, 2016.)

 

Advertisements
Standard
A Christ-filled Adventure, Taking Flight

Bekah York + a Christ-filled Adventure

Bekah York(1)

The inspiration for Taking Flight didn’t just come out of nowhere. First and for most, this blog was definitely a God-thing. At the end of last year, I felt a gentle tug on my heart to use my love and talent for writing to further His kingdom so I started to just jump into my writing and see where it took me.

But I am always deeply inspired by the people He has placed in my life as well. Sometimes my favorite and best and most successful blog posts have come from having a cup of coffee with the people around me. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of those people and her Christ-filled Adventure!

Meet Bekah York! You can thank a conversation with this ray of sunshine for inspiring I’m a Christian and I go to a public university and Why I write. So sit back and enjoy this story of beautiful friendship!

How We Met!

I met Bekah at one of the best places to make new friends – at church! Though she came into the college group as a sophomore, she has been a great blessing to everyone involved. With her bubbly and infectious personality, Bekah is one of those people who will make you feel right at home in a matter of seconds!

However, it wasn’t just her outgoing personality that drew me to this sweet soul. Bekah is a journalism major at OU, which means not only did Team “Not An Engineer” gain another member at church but there was also someone in the same college as me! (Don’t get me wrong…love my engineering friends but it’s nice to have a conversation without the words “differential equations” and “solid mechanics” being said!).

And if that’s not enough, Bekah has a blog! I would suggest jumping over and reading some of her stuff. Hers is one of my favorite blogging voices!

Her Christ-filled Adventure

There are some people that when you meet them for the first time you just feel warm inside. They radiate joy and sunshine and you can’t help but be happy when you’re around them. I think fruits of the spirit and that verse from Proverbs 31 when I think of these kind of people.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
Provers 31:25 (NLT)

And that’s Bekah!

She’s full of so much laughter and joy and it’s infectious! I don’t think I’ve ever see her without a smile on her face. Even when she’s faced with the uncertainty and the enormity of what might come, she always shoots for optimism when her gut says otherwise.

But the part of about being “clothed with strength and dignity” applies to Bekah as well. She’s a strong and independent woman who’s not afraid to think intelligently and speak what’s on her heart – a kind of woman this world needs more of.

More About Bekah

Bekah is a fellow Okie! She grew up in the same part of the state as me in Broken Arrow, Okla. She’s a theatre enthusiast and loves all things acting, which makes total sense once you know her highly loveable, extroverted personality!

She dreams of one day being an actress, writer and photographer – all the things that don’t exactly make a lot of money as she is often told. I can certainly relate to the writer part!

She has a cute pup named Toby that she adopted from an animal shelter last spring. She is passionate about adopting instead of shopping – which I LOVE!

She’s another fellow coffee lover and one of the people I go to when I need a person to pray with.

A sweet soul. A lover of people and adopting shelter puppies. I hope everyone has a friend like Bekah in there life who inspires them to live a Christ-filled adventure!

Who in your life inspires you to live a Christ-filled Adventure? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

Standard
Taking Flight

I’m a Christian and I go to a public university

I’m one of the few. Let’s just say that. There weren’t many kids from my youth group or church camp who decided to go to a state school like I did.

I’m in my third year at the University of Oklahoma studying public relations. And I’m a Christian.

When I first told people that I was for sure going to OU, I got some mixed reactions from other Christians. I could tell by the looks on people’s faces and the silence or the few comments that followed that it wasn’t a choice everyone approved of and the disapproval had nothing to do with sports rivalries.

You can imagine that I started to have second thoughts even though from the start of my one and only college visit to Norman I knew it would be my home for the next four years.

There were times when I wondered if I was doing the right thing? If I was following God’s will by going to such a “worldly” place?

That was until a friend said the most encouraging thing anyone ever said to me when it came to my college decision.

“State schools need Christians, too.”

To this day, I carry that memory in my mind. Whenever I start to doubt OU as the right decision, I remember what she told me because, yes, state schools desperately need Christians.

They need Christians because we are called to be a light on a hill.

They need Christians because every semester there are countless men who call themselves Christians that yell at the students simply walking to class on the South Oval and tell them that they are going to Hell.

They need Christians because there are a lot of lost souls at a state school.

They need Christians because if there aren’t Christians on campus, then they only know the stereotype.

They need Christians because if there aren’t Christians, then the Bible-beating, Hell-fire-and-brimstone preacherman who stands outside of Dale Hall will be the only thing they know about Christ.

Though people never told me, I think there were a few who had expectations of me falling away or at the very least my faith not being a strong as it could be.

In some ways they would be right. I don’t start my day with chapel. I don’t have hundreds or thousands of Christians surrounding me in class or at extracurricular events. I don’t have professors who start class with a prayer or scripture reading.

Instead, daily Bible reading and study is up to me and me alone. I’m surrounded by people who curse and who think that the harder they partied and the more “turnt” they got last weekend, the more of a person they are. And I have professors who will straight up say I’m ignorant for believing what I believe and have no problem trashing those beliefs. But it’s because of all this that I am a stronger Christian. It’s a kind of strength going to a Christian school never could have afforded me.

(Photo courtesy of Kathryn Patterson)

2

 

Standard
Taking Flight

What Christianity Should Be Teaching About Marriage

Wichitas-me-deep thought

After multiple conversations with friends and after reading this article, there’s something I feel I really need to address that a lot of people associated with the Christian faith have yet to acknowledge.

Growing up, I heard so many lessons in bible class about how to be a good wife, and I went to so many Bible studies that focused on “the someday.” What people always seemed to fail to mention was that “someday” wasn’t a guarantee and that “someday” was not the purpose of our existence or our faith. Somewhere along the way, people seemed to forget to mention that our purpose was to glorify Christ. In short, modern Christianity has missed the mark as a whole when it comes to marriage and how we teach it to young people. Bible studies have gone from how we can imitate Christ to the “when you’re married”, from the “someday” where Christ returns to the “someday” with a white dress and diamond ring.

So super duper honesty time: how modern Christianity teaches marriage is backwards. If we simply taught people what it means to be a Christian, which is to serve and love others unconditionally, then the rest would follow. It would be a natural transition to go from a person whose mission was to be Jesus to others to being Christ at a more intimate level to a spouse. If greater Christendom emphasized what it means to love one another, people would already know how to be good spouses if and when the time came because they would be treating everyone else that way.

Instead, young, single people fall victim to single shaming and they freak out when they get to college and realize they don’t have a significant other in their lives and so many others do. They feel like those who are in relationships must have reached some higher level of righteousness and that God is rewarding them because they have been taught that marriage is the goal to strive for or that marriage is the ultimate way to live out and practice their faith. It becomes the fuel for many sleepless nights and personal crying sessions. It becomes the core of devotionals and the topic of Bible class series in an effort to undo the damage. It becomes the snarky comment in a conversation and the scary thing is when you hear high school girls start repeating these snarky comments. It becomes the fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from doing what we are meant to do and from following our dreams. It’s what inhibits us from dreaming wildly and living adventurously.

And then it gets to the point that young single people think that if they don’t graduate in a certain semester or if they don’t take a certain career path that they would some how royally mess up their life and ruin any chance of ever meeting “the one.” We think if we dare to dream too big and somehow find success in that dream then we would be thought of as intimidating, unapproachable or unattractive.

Essentially, young Christians come out of high school youth groups more prepared to be “good spouses” than they are prepared to live out the gospel and that’s not okay.

So, to teachers of Christianity, which is essentially everyone who calls him or herself a Christian, stop teaching marriage and teach Jesus. And to the singles (meaning anyone who isn’t married) dare to dream wildly, be ambitious and live adventurously! Don’t let fear stop you from climbing a mountain, writing a book, starting a business, or doing what you love to do.

(Photos courtesy of Kathryn Patterson)

Wild Women of the Wichitas

Wichitas path

Standard
Books

The Twelve Year Struggle of Reading Harry Potter

CampusSunset

Classes have started back (Boomer Sooner!) and this semester is already packing a punch! My mornings start with getting up at 7 a.m. to get ready for 8:30 and 9 a.m. classes and from there I feel like I start a new marathon everyday. From class to strategically squeezing in windows of time for homework to going to meetings for PRSSA and Lindsey + Asp and going to Sooner Servants stuff, I find myself turning into a pumpkin around 10:30…and 11 if I’m lucky. All I can say is this week has been a whirlwind and this semester will probably be insane!

Speaking of insane and new happening in the life of Candace Hinnergardt, I had to get another blog for my PR publications class **cue eye roll** so if you’re interested in following the projects I’m doing in that class you can check out candacehinnergardt.oucreate.com because one can never have too many blogs I guess.

Now, to things I’d much rather spend my free time writing about: I FINISHED THE HARRY POTTER SERIES THIS WEEK!!!!!!! It was a 12 year endeavor that took multiple attempts, but I can say I powered through and finally discovered what all the hype was about.

Harry Potter

Yes, you read correctly. It took me 12 years to finally finish one the most popular series of our time and possibly of all time. I read The Sorcerers Stone in third grade and quite honestly I struggle through it. At that time I was a very particular reader and Harry Potter wasn’t exactly in line with my taste. I remember having to re-checkout the book multiple times before I finished it.

And then I went on an eight year long hiatus from the series until I decided to put on my big girl pants and pick up the series once again. At this point, I was 16 or 17 years old and most of my friends couldn’t believe I had never read all the Harry Potter books so the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I buckled down and read books two through four…but then I started the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix and you can probably guess what happened next…

I didn’t finish it. I read about 150 pages and I was done. This time Harry’s teen angst and bitterness about every aspect of his situation (though I recognize that he had a lot to be bitter about) just about drove me bonkers. Let’s just say I was lucky to get to 150 pages.

Now, fast forward about four more years to Spring 2015. I’m not sure when exactly I decided to make it my Summer 2015 goal to finish the series, but it had something to do with my travel study. Once I got back from the United Kingdom, I started looking for ways to drag out the magic of the trip and the excitement of seeing what I had only seen on TV before. Naturally, I started watching a lot more BBC shows on Netflix and I decided that I would read the rest of the Harry Potter series this summer. And I did! So YAY for goals and international travel that inspire you to make goals!

In hindsight, this is a series I would definitely suggest especially if you’re a parent looking for a series that will grow with your child. The first few books are very much geared for elementary aged children. They’re more lighthearted and fun and Harry, Ron and Hermione seem to find themselves in the craziest predicaments. As the series goes on, J.K. Rowling does some amazing things with the writing and the overall story. With each book, the story grows just a little bit darker and the writing structure becomes more advanced and sophisticated. It’s also a fairly clean series with valuable life lessons woven into the narrative about genuine love and true strength.

Standard