my “so that” moment

It was February of 2015, the month my whole life changed.

Everything was light, and all the sudden there was a dark heaviness. All I knew to be true about myself and about God was questioned in the most twisted ways and I didn’t feel there was any firm place to stand.

Thoughts were consuming, my heart was pounding, and I didn’t trust anyone with the thoughts I had swirling inside my head. Suddenly my thoughts seemed not my own, but from a place I never imagined I would go.

It was the darkest time I’ve ever known. Even calling my condition by name wasn’t very helpful – but only by the process and the journey God gave me was I able to see light again.

OCD.

The most twisted, ugly, dark, unfamiliar, unlikely, unwelcomed companion.

Most think, as I did before, that people who struggle with OCD are just clean freaks or quirky with lining their pencils straight on their desk. But this mental disorder is so much more than that. OCD takes what you are most afraid of and makes it a possibility in your mind so much that it seems true. In short, it attacks what you love the most in your own mind, leading you to think that you are the one to blame for the destruction that isn’t even happening. Think of the most unlikely and terrifying thought you could ever have, and that’s what OCD plants in your mind, making it seem the thought is your own. There is so much shame, so much guilt, so much fear. It’s crippling.

February of 2015 was the first time in my life that my faith’s strength was truly rocked. It made me hard, cold, distant, and a different version of myself. I was being thrown lies about who I was and as a result, questioned God’s goodness and purpose for me. It was as if everything I knew to be safe and true was suddenly sharp and unnerving like broken glass under my feet.

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Today, I’m still fighting the darkness. Every day my thought life is a battleground I never knew I’d encounter. But there’s light again.

I still question God in the most vulnerable ways. Why would he let this happen to me? Why would he allow this mental disorder to be a part of my life? And although I think it’s okay to ask God those questions as Jesus did (see Matthew 27:46), I was neglecting for the longest time the more important question: “Lord, how can this be used to help someone else?”

You see, pain always has a purpose.

As my pastor wisely spoke on Easter Sunday, “Your purpose in life is not to understand your ruins, but to seek how your ruins can rebuild someone else.”

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One of my Bible study leaders, sweet sweet Lisa, used to remind us over and over again that we have a “so that” moment. She would read to us, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (emphasis mine)

I love her for that because I can’t count on my fingers and toes how many times that thought has flown through my mind.

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On April 5, I woke up expectant.

Earlier that week, I felt God stirring something inside me, and I just knew He was soon going to give me His ideas. I had asked some friends to pray, and I knew that on that Wednesday there would be special time to sit in some quiet and listen for Him to speak.

He did.

He gave me a vision for an online ministry to help women heal and find freedom in the midst of their brokenness through the written word. My calling and my pain, combined into one vision.

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It’s my “so that” moment, my opportunity to share my broken places and the ways He’s touched me and healed me, so that maybe someone else can experience it too.

He’s calling me to step out in faith and be vulnerable in my weakest places, so the strength of His love and power can shine even stronger and provide hope for His girls out there that need encouragement and freedom.

He’s calling me to build a team of women to do it with me – to write about their broken places and use their pain for a purpose, and to create images and pretty reminders for His girls to be encouraged in His truth.

I wonder if this is your “so that” moment too? Would you pray about it? Would you seek the Lord in this, and ask Him sincerely if He’s calling you to share your gifts to help His kingdom grow?

*If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities available to be a part of this launch team, please email me at tagillilan@gmail.com. I’d love to share with you more of this vision, and about the Designer position in more detail! We are currently at our max for Contributing Writers, but are still accepting applications and are in need of TWO Designers to launch the site!

married half a year

Some days it feels like a win.

Coffee is set to make in the morning, lunches are made with a sweet note inside. The floor is swept and candles are lit. Dinner is on the table just in time for stomachs to growl, and the dinnertime prayer is full of thankfulness and gratitude.

Other days, it just feels like a mess.

The pantry is empty because we’re plain busy and clothes haven’t been washed in days. There’s dust on the picture frames and we’re almost out of toothpaste (again). Work is stressful and I haven’t painted my toenails in months.

Yes – ups and downs. But always together.


What a gift we have in this covenant, what a beautiful thing we share. It’s hard and it’s easy. It’s fun and it’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. But to have someone see you so close up, with more flaws and quirks than they ever thought a person could have, and for them to say they love you even more than before? That’s a gift.

What a picture of Jesus. What a slice of heaven on earth.

small, but big

Today for lunch, I went to one of my favorite spots. I got cozy in my booth and enjoyed a much-needed hearty meal for the first time in months (thank you to my appetite, who decided to make its grand return this week).

As I waited on my food, I heard buzz all around me, coming from business meetings, mom-to-mom lunch dates, and other chatters. Slowly but surely, I began to feel lonely.

It occurred to me, however, while I sat with my hand propped on my hungry tummy, that I wasn’t alone at all. There’s a little life inside of me.

That’s a small, but big thing to process. Kind of like the idea of having a baby in general.

My baby is small (the app on my phone says he or she is the size of a plum – how cute!), but so, so very big. Big enough to change my focus, how Tyler and I use our money, and the way I function (hello, hormones and dizziness). Big enough to give my body a second heart beat, and to make me feel as if my own heart could burst with joy, excitement, or fear at any given moment.

With great purpose set by God, this little life lives inside me, small but big.

And the more I think about it, my life should be that – small, but big. 

There are times when I should stay small. Under the shelter and in the safety of my Father’s wings, in the humility of my need for grace, in the quietness of His presence.

Other times, I need to be bigger. In loving people out of my comfort zone, dreaming God-sized dreams, having faith that moves mountains, and answering calls on my life that are so much bigger than me and my ability.

Small, like that little whisper you hear when Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. Big, like the amazing and perfect love our Father lavishes on us. Small, like the baby boy who entered this world with great purpose. Big, like the most captivating and sacrificial “I love you” that anyone could ever say.

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