Friday, January 10, 2014


I have been thinking a lot lately. So much so, as I come to the writing board, I'm struggling to put it all into words (this coming from me... I know.)

So I'll try. 

My life's journey... I just turned 28 years old on January 2nd. It would seem as though my life has not gone according to plan, at least regarding the blueprint I had started for myself as early as my preteen years.

{Pictured-- myself and my niece Sophia while celebrating my birthday}

Do you know what I have learned, though? None of it really matters. I mean-- don't get me wrong. It's good to have a plan, to have goals, to have desires. But you can't live your life with moment-by-moment expectations, because what inevitably follows is disappointment.

According to my younger self, I should have been married by 23. I should be living in a house with my husband who has a job that he loves, and I would be staying at home by now with my 2 lovely children and 2 pet cats. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

But that's not what God had planned, and for the past decade He has been showing me this. At 28, He still wants me single & childless, and not because those plans of mine were necessarily bad, but because He had bigger blessings for me instead. I believe Him.

All I have to do is look at my life. Yes, I have been able to enjoy material blessings on my own (dream car, my own house, Starbucks frapps, shopping splurges, fun vacations, etc.) but those things don't fulfill me. What fulfills me is what God has done with my single life up to this point. How has He used the very unique fact that I am TARYN, and that I am "single" Taryn?

The biggest thing that comes to my mind is all of the relationships He has given me. Opportunities for relationships that had I been married and/or with children, it wouldn't have been the same. I lose out on my biggest blessings when I choose to fixate on the things God has "not yet given me" or "won't" rather than on the very opportunities He places right in my path.

Throughout my experiences of college, owning my own business with a friend, living both alone and with room mates, making big purchases on my own, the prison ministry, and all my friendships... He has taught me a heart of mercy, the challenge of differing personalities, the act of forgiveness, the art of unconditional love, and the importance of attitude. He has shown me how to be authentic and genuine, and has convicted me to be true and not compromise. He has helped me overcome temptation and crawl my way out of spells of sin, and most importantly, He gives me the Hope of Heaven. It is this important truth that not only leads me into each and everyday, but motivates me to share it with others.

Last week, a "God" moment happened. I was with a friend at TAPS in Pekin, a place I have never been before. I was inside of a tiny room with the door closed, and only a glass window to see out. Suddenly, a woman walking by caught my eye, and as I recognized her as familiar I smiled and waved, only to stare in unbelief as I recollected who it actually was.

I immediately opened the door to greet her.

She looked so good. She had a smile, she had joy, she was focused. As we talked, she introduced me to her younger daughter, and she told her, "Honey, this is Taryn. She taught me about God while I was in... you know, while I was locked up."

With bright eyes, she told me that she had an upcoming court date, that her nursing license would be OK, that she was getting to spend time with her daughter and they would be trying out a new church on Sunday.

As we said good-bye, she told me, "Seeing you wasn't a coincidence. God wanted this to happen."

God knows what that meeting meant to me. I love the women I minister to in jail, and often I wonder what happens when they get out and are "on the other side." It was amazing and encouraging to see her living life, and it was like in that moment God sent me a smile.

I was recently reading back in my journal book that I started back in 2008. I record my prayers and thoughts in there from time to time... sometimes consistently for several months, and sometimes with gaps of up to a year. But it is neat to see what I have been through, how I have grown, and how my prayers change over the years. One quote I had written down that stuck out to me that I will end this post with:

I do not know what the future holds... but I know Who holds the future.

And that's all I need to know :)

Love, T