On Doing it the Hard Way, Grace, and Bay Brooks

Photo by Shea Windley (10wind Photography)

“You can do this the easy way, or you can do it the hard way.”


“Definitely the hard way.”


The thing about the hard way is it looks easy at first. It’s easy to be impatient. It’s easy to think I know what’s best. It’s easy to silence the voice in my heart to a whisper. It’s easy to take a bite, because I already know all things. “My ways are greater than your ways, my little heart feebly screams.” I resolve that at the end of the day, I’ll take a bite.

It’s so easy. 

Before the clock turned to the new eve, he struck the apple out of my hand.

Sometimes God’s love hurts. But only for a little while, and only because I’ve chosen this path for myself. I’ve chosen to drag his will behind me instead of follow in his footsteps. Like a recurring dream, He lets me walk to the center of the garden. He lets me gaze upon the tree, and he lets me pick the fruit. But he never lets me eat it.

Amazing grace. 

I recognized this pattern and hit my knees when I understood the meticulous magnitude of God’s grace for me. I am one of 7 billion people in the world, and he sees me and loves ME enough to steal the apple away from my hands.

He gives me something else instead: his friends.

I sat in the back corner of a Nashville-style quirky coffee shop with Bay Brooks, “former hometown goat tying champion” and contestant of Season 8 of the Voice (Go Team Blake). We talked about Nashville and music and writing and our families, but most importantly we recognized God’s hand in it all.

It’s a hand we sometimes choose to ignore.

Society wants us to have a label. Labels are clean. Life is messy.

Beauty Queen. Plumber. Miss America. Miss Universe. Steve Harvey. Goat-Tying champion. And often they don’t look past that.

But sitting across the table, an empty coffee cup and untouched apple on my plate, I saw Bay. I saw the girl who lost her uncle before she could drive. The girl who watched her mom battle cancer, and her parents lose their jobs. I saw the girl who chose to embrace her story and smile with love instead of bitterness. I saw the girl who moved to Nashville on the wings of a dream. And I saw someone a little like me.

Amazing grace. 

Finding yourself and finding your place in the world are two different things. And although I’m still searching for both, the greatest compass is faithful friends who remind you over coffee that you’re not the only one who faces battles in The Garden.

I turned to my car after we hugged and said our goodbyes, and as if to sigh, the dented needle quivered and pointed North. I watched it the whole way home.



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