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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something Pretty Neat

My plans for 2012!

Let me go ahead and establish a few things...

  1. You'll want to turn the volume WAY up, then WAY down, then WAY up again.
  2. I'm not a professional iMovie maker. At all. So please excuse the sloppy transitions.
  3. Also excuse the nervous laughs and 59 uses of the phrase "you know". (Ironically, I had no idea I said that so much.)

Now that you know all the rules... Enjoy!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've been camping out in this "rut" for awhile now. I know, I know: good Christians who love Jesus don't get in ruts. They just go through valleys and allow God to come alongside them during the low points so they can learn to trust Him more and witness the beauty of redemption and blah blah blah. Okay, so all of that is true. I know it is. But it still sucks.

Every so often, I go into panic mode on what to do with my life. I think the majority of my blog posts have highlighted this. But, this time, I feel like that change will be soon. I don't know whether it's God pushing me to be ready or me just about ready to erupt if things stay the same for much longer. It could be a combination of the two. Over the past couple years, I've learned that I get antsy pretty quickly. For whatever reason, the diehard schedule-hugger that I am loves change. (Well, sometimes.) I like going new places and exploring the unknown. I like getting out of my comfort zone and trying things I've never done before and seeing how God works through all of it. (For an example of this, check out my Alaska blog.) I think God's/I'm prepping myself to do that again... soonish.

I don't remember whether I've talked about this before on this blog, but I've mentioned to a few of you in person that I once applied for The World Race. It's an 11 month mission trip that takes you to minister in 11 different countries. For various reasons, I decided not to go. But that passion for major change and discontent with the status quo has reared its ugly (or beautiful?) head once again, and now I'm seriously considering applying for it. I'm scared to death of raising support ($15,000!), but my heart for world change won't be satisfied until I get off my lazy butt and do something. I think God's been moving me in this direction for awhile... I just chose to take the scenic route. I sure am glad He's patient.

The point of this post is a cry for prayer and words of wisdom. It means the world to me when people tell me they're praying for me - that they are going to the God of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth, and Savior of souls on my behalf. "I'm praying for you" isn't some lame Christian cop-out. It's the ultimate thing you can do! So, everyone, would you pray for me? Would you ask God to open doors for me and my future (whether it's The World Race or something else)? Will you approach Him with confidence for me? Because I sure don't have a lot of confidence right now.

Thank you!

And be sure to check out this video on The World Race!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Moments of Grace

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Second only to work and my bed. Last week I spent about 4 hours at one of them reading a book in preparation for a class I would be teaching on prayer. I really struggled with this particular element of prayer in my own life, and I had no idea what to say about it. Hence, the book I read for 4 hours. Maybe only 3, because I sometimes got distracted by the guitar playing and the old lady telling the baristas her life story. And I felt like I was getting nothing out of it. I was getting so frustrated. Here I was, volunteering to teach a class that wasn’t even mine, and choosing the hardest topic ever to talk about. Was I an idiot? Was I in over my head? Why couldn’t I wrap my mind around whatever it was I was supposed to be understanding? Why had I just wasted hours of my life on something that was useless?

On my drive back home, I just vented to God. What is wrong with me? What do you want me to say? I don’t get it! I just don’t understand! As I repeated these mantras of failure over and over in my mind, a verse in 2 Corinthians 12 that I had read earlier that day came to me… “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Yeah, you don’t get it. You don’t understand. And that’s just how I want it – my grace is sufficient for your lack of knowing. My power is made PERFECT in your weakness. With an unspoken “Oh,” I burst into a fresh phase of tears. This is where He wants me after all. Every time my mind went back to the ifs and buts, I just kept hearing the same thing. My grace is sufficient… My grace is sufficient… My grace is sufficient…

He is glorified when I am weak because that is the only time I will LET Him save me.

I got my lesson done the night before the class. All was well.


I read this in Henri Nouwen's Reaching Out today. Spiritual punch in the face. And perfectly befitting for such a post as this.

"To prepare ourselves for service we have to prepare ourselves for an articulate not knowing, a docta ignorantia, a learned ignorance. This is very difficult to accept for people whose whole attitude is towards mastering and controlling the world. We all want to be educated so that we can be in control of the situation and make things work according our our own need. But education to ministry is an education not to master God but to be mastered by God... well-educated ministers are not individuals who can tell you exactly who God is, where good and evil are and how to travel from this world to the next, but people whose articulate not-knowing makes them free to listen to the voice of God in the words of the people, in the events of the day and in the books containing the life experience of men and women from other places and other times. In short, learned ignorance makes one able to receive the word from others and the Other with great attention."

Monday, March 14, 2011

I gave up worrying for Lent (sort of).

I was talking to youth kid the other night. I was feeling profound, so I asked her what made her feel alive. Her answer included helping people, seeing a change in them, being a part of that change. Naturally, she asked me the same thing. Do you ever ask questions that you forget how to answer for yourself? It took me a little bit, but my answer was pretty simple: connecting with people, knowing them, and being known by them. As I thought more about it after our conversation was over, my answer basically boiled down to this: not feeling alone.

I'm in a Beth Moore Bible study called “Stepping Up” which focuses on the Psalms of Ascent. Last week talked a lot about God surrounding us.

"The LORD surrounds His people, both now and forever." (Psalm 125:2)

"He encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them." (Psalm 34:7)

"He encircles me and places His hand on me." (Psalm 138:5)

Beth wrote, "God has you surrounded. His presence looms over you from every direction... Nothing can close in on you without closing in on Him first."

And it’s amazing that I feel all by myself when, in reality, I’m completely surrounded. I'm sitting in the fetal position in the middle of a dome of impenetrable glory, power... love. I’m surrounded. Encircled. Overwhelmed. By the God who knows the number of hairs on my head.

"Those who trust (are confident, secure, sure) in the LORD are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; it remains forever" (Psalm 125:1).

He never loses sight of me. I am never truly alone. He loves me. He has me.

So, like I said, I gave up worrying about specific things (in general: a life lived alone) for Lent. It’s kind of a joke, in that I should never worry about anything at any time. The Bible says not to, right? So I guess this is just more of a deliberate effort. Something done in the name of the Lenten season. Running to God instead of to this thing, this worry, this burden, this parasite.

“Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:23-26)

Needless to say, I’ve been praying this a lot more often over the last few days.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hold on, let me tuck in my love handles.

Do you ever have those days where you just feel ridiculous? Or those weeks? Or maybe longer. I feel like my life has been one long... well, lifespan, of trying not to look ridiculous. Will everyone look at me if I walk in late? I think I'll pass on ping pong - I'm horrible anyway.

On a side note, I just realized the other day that I'm pretty sure I have never played a legitimate game of ping pong. I just tell people I'm really bad and let them play with people who are less bad than I am.

It's really hard to keep up a facade of perfection. I would know; I've tried all my life. And a lot of the time, I think, I've been pretty convincing. I'm the girl who always got those yearbook autographs that said things like, ‘Reagan you seem so nice. Wish we could have talked more.’ Really? You don't know that I'm nice. You just know that I only said 3 words in the entirety of my high school career.

I'll be giving my testimony at Aftershock in a few weeks. I think this is what I'm going to talk about. The lifelong angst of pseudo-perfectionism. How, really, you're not perfect. You're just invisible.

I go to great lengths to shield my crazy and broken and flabby self from the rest of the world. But I don't understand why it's so important to me. Over the last few months, I've gotten to know some pretty cool people. And they're cool because they're authentic. They're REAL. And every time someone has walked up to me and said something like, 'REAGAN, what's wrong? No, you're not fine. What's the deal?' it has been such a punch in face and yet... a relief. Oh yeah, they're not idiots. They know I'm a human who doesn't have it all together.

This scenario happened (again) this week, actually. The Bridge staff went on a 26-hour retreat, just taking time off to relax, cast a vision, talk about where we are, and learn about Jesus. I had been feeling kind of off that day, but since I'm the bottle-it-up-and-don't-tell-anyone-unless-they-threaten-to-crucify-me type, I tried to be pretty low-key (which isn't unusual anyway, I guess). One of my friends caught me and demanded (after the "I'm fine" spiel, of course) that I talk to her about what was going on with me. So I did. And it was embarrassing, and vulnerable, and freeing. Because, really, we keep people at arm's length when all we want is to be known. To be heard. For someone to see us be ridiculous and still think we’re incredible and worthy of love and grace and things that are beautiful.

That same freedom – only better – is found in the grace of Jesus Christ, though I’m just as hesitant to embrace it. I so often forget that I’m saved, I’m righteous, I’m already purified. I don’t have to hide my crap from Him. I don’t have to live ashamed. I don’t have to be good enough for Him to love me. I don’t have to be a pretty wallflower for Him to think I’m nice. He delights in me. And if all my worth is in Him – in His salvation, His sacrifice, His love, and the only real satisfaction that exists – I don’t have to feel alone anymore.

I wrote this in my journal during our study over Galatians:

I am plagued with the thinking that if I could just get it together/right, God will see that, reward me, and value me more. He’ll see that I’m “ready.” I’m not motivated by grace – God is in me; I am righteous; I’m okay. I am motivated by shame, greed, [and all that is encompassed by the kingdom of Reagan]. I am not free. My identity is based on all that I will someday attain. When I accept grace – that I am righteous through salvation – I am convicted when I sin – I can be corrected for growth – but I am not ultimately devalued as a human being – God’s child.

Don’t forget that I am already good enough – purified.

Grace leads to obedience.

Oh yeah, God’s not an idiot. He knows I’m a human who doesn’t have it all together.

I can’t explain (and I usually forget) how much freedom there is in dropping your defenses. How much beauty there is in true community – people who love you because of God’s love for them.

So much better than being a pretty wallflower.

Image source.

Friday, February 25, 2011

On Being 23

It was my golden birthday on Wednesday! This is what I wore:

I didn't do anything too exciting since it fell directly in the middle of the week, but I did have a fun "work birthday", which included cards,

chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cupcakes,

and a "fiesta" themed party at the daycare!

I went out to eat with some girl friends this weekend to “officially” celebrate. On Friday night, we ate dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, got coffee, and spent about 2 hours in a sandwich shop just talking and laughing till we cried. It was great!

Except the part where I had to stand up and humiliate myself while everyone in Joe's sang "Happy Birthday". I thought I would at least get a free dessert out of it, but no.

On Saturday, some of the same friends and I went to a tea room. Fancy, delicious, and wonderful.

In honor of my friend Ashley (and maybe to poke a little fun at her), I’ve decided to use her approach to blogging about the life of her (currently) 6-month-old son. So, here’s to you, Ash.


I usually wake up at 7:20 every morning to make breakfast, tea, and hang out with Jesus. Then I get ready and go to work from 10am-4pm. I decided to sleep in on my birthday. (Sorry, Jesus.)Then I went to work. There I received one of these:

Image source

and one of these:

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and one of these:

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so that I could buy these:

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In keeping with traditional Wednesdays, I went to Starbucks after work. I ran into a friend who bought me one of these:

Image source

Then I went to Celebrate Recovery and ate lots of food and talked about all my anxiety on being 23. More on that later.


On my birthday, I ate cereal, yogurt, a turkey/spinach/pepperjack cheese wrap, pita chips, and various potluck dinner items. And drank lots of caffeinated things.

Weight & Other Stats

No thanks to this small stash I keep at work,

I’ve gained a few over the past month or so. But my height has maintained at 5’5”.


I typically sleep 6-8 hours per night. I start by lying on my left side, then I usually switch to my right side or stomach over the course of the night.


I am very skilled at driving, eating, and tying my shoes. Also at singing, tweeting, Facebooking, correcting your grammar, and making coffee.

Other Changes/Facts

I recently started using an organic shampoo bar and “conditioning” my hair with coffee. Seriously. So now my hair smells faintly of coffee all the time.

Also, I’m still thinking about going to grad school this fall. On Monday, I’ll be spending the day at Anderson University going to classes at the School of Theology and meeting with some profs. I heard they’re adding a counseling concentration to the seminary program, which would be interesting… and practical! Still praying for doors to open in whatever area(s) God wants me. We’ll see!


I snow skied down a black diamond slope for the first time last weekend! I went on The Bridge youth ski trip to Mad River Mountain in Ohio with about 50 kids and 6 other adult leaders. I had a blast getting to know a few of the kids better (and skiing again for the first time in a couple of years, of course). It was also my first “extended” outing with the youth. Great times!


7-8, 6-8, S-M


Still straight and intact. Faithfully brushed twice a day and flossed once a day.

Mom & Dad Perspective

They love and miss me! They even posted nice things on Facebook.

Mom changed her profile picture to this:

and her status to this:

‎23 years ago today I became a mommy for the first time, and my life was forever changed for the better. Happy birthday, my beautiful Reagan Taylor. I love you so very much!”

And Dad posted this:

and this:

“‎Greg Taylor's oldest baby girl will be 23 tomorrow. She's the greatest and I'm so proud of her. Love you Reagan, Happy Birthday!"

I got to talk to both of them on the phone for a little bit, which was really good. I never really miss home until I remember how much I love my family. I haven’t been back since Christmas, but I’m hoping to make a trip down soon.

Alright, that’s the end of index updating. Now on to the real stuff…

I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this birthday. In my head, 23 is the first “grown up” birthday. No more dingy, know-it-all, college graduate, 22-year-old foolishness. Time to get your crap together. Find a job. Find a husband. Find your niche. Get going. What are you going to do with your life? Well, someday when you get a ‘real’ job… It’s hard not to compare my life with those of most older people I know. By the time they were 23, they were married and going places. They didn’t have it all figured out, but they were on their way. Not me. I don’t know anything about anything. And, really, all this pressure is self-imposed. Everyone I’ve talked to about it just tells me to quit freaking out, that it’s okay, that I don’t need to have it all figured out, that I’m being ridiculous, that I’m still so young. Thanks, people who have spouses and jobs and life plans.

God’s really been turning my world upside down over the past year. All my plans and non-plans and expectations and desires have gone awry… But all have been redeemed. And I have no doubt at all that God’s favorite place to work is in my weakness – at that point where I (angrily and ungracefully) throw up my hands and give up, finally figuring out that I can’t make it work on my own after all. And I know that these fears and broken dreams are just another tool He’ll use to show me how He had a plan all along, if only I’d quit worrying about how to orchestrate all the details over which I have no control. And it will be better than anything for which I could have asked or imagined and all those kinds of things. But the transition period stinks.

As I write this, I have my “City and Colour” Pandora station playing, and the song “23” by Jimmy Eat World is on. Ha!

Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of praying. And God has been giving me peace. Which is a really big deal, as I rarely feel at ease about life. I feel this unusual calmness in my spirit, as if He's just telling me to wait. He's got this. Deal with today. Quit worrying about tomorrow. Pray for now.

I’ll probably look back in a few years and think, “Wow, if only I had known.” I guess I don’t really know, though. Maybe I’ll be thinking all the same things at 25 and 40 and 89.

Regardless, I know He’s doing something. I'm excited to see what that 'something' is.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Giving It Over

2011: Here we go.

I’m in Findlay, OH once again. Each year, a few Echo Ranch Bible Camp staff members host a counselor reunion over the New Year’s holiday. I came last year after counseling during the summer of 2009 (for more on my time in Alaska, check out my other blog). I remember bringing in the wee hours of the new year sitting on the living room floor with four other girls… praying. For each other. For ourselves. Dedicating 2010 to God and to what He would have us do. I remember being in a rough place around that time. I was floundering in my faith, frustrated by all those questions and doubts with no logical answers. I felt depressed, having obtained a college degree but no real direction for my life. My prayer was essentially a verbal throwing up my hands in the air and saying, ‘Whatever, God. I don’t know. I don’t even know.’ It was really a beautiful experience, though. Skeptical as I was, I was challenged and encouraged by the faith of the others. And I wondered – hopefully – what the coming year would hold.

So now I’m here again, but the situation is significantly different. I’m physically in the same location, yet so much in my life (and in the lives of each of those girls) has changed. None of them are here with me, but I’m still trying to offer up this year of my life to God (in much shorter and less eloquent prayers). I don’t think I’m as skeptical this time, for which I am grateful. I do think I’m learning to expect God to do the unexpected. I never would have guessed what my life would look like right now. And it blows my mind to think about what could be different this time next year. But I want to hand it over… And yet, I can’t.

I am the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27), the one who saw himself as flawless in God’s eyes, wondering what else he could possibly do to earn the kingdom. And so Jesus told the man to do the very thing he could never accomplish in his own strength: to sell all he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him. And the rich young ruler became sad. And he walked away. Because he couldn’t let go. It was impossible.

It’s impossible for me to hand this year off to God on my own. It’s impossible for me to give up control, to live with open hands, to not worry about tomorrow.

And yet, I’ve learned that that is exactly where God wants me to be. Because, with Him, all things are possible. If it were possible for me to do what I could never do on my own, I wouldn’t need Him.

I can’t.

He can.

He will ask you to do the impossible because He knows you can’t do it without Him.

It scares me to think about what that might mean – what He might ask of me. But a life of faith is characterized by walking in the footsteps of Christ – and doing it in such a way that, if God doesn’t come through for you, you’re screwed. Throwing in the towel on your delusion that you can control everything that goes on in your life. Understanding that “earth has nothing I desire besides You” (Ps. 73:25).

So here I am, praying once again that this year will be a year lived for Him. Letting Him decide what that should look like. Asking Him to do the impossible.

And, really, I don’t expect anything less.