Tuning Out the White Space

There’s something about staring at a blank page that’s like prayer. I don’t know what words to put on paper, and so I stare at the white space and blinking cursor, practically asking it what I should write. But the more I stare, the more focused on the white space I become, and my mind goes blank. It’s happened to me in prayer before.

“God, what should I do? What’s my next move? What should I do in x situation?”

And then I listen to what seems deafening silence. Pretty soon, that ringing in my ears fills the silence. And then it gets annoying, and I talk some more to cover the sound.

How does one hear the voice of God? I struggled with this a lot in my late teen years and through college. I still struggle with it. When your mind is so busy, it’s hard to tune out all the noise or pay attention to anything other than the blank “white space.” My prayer sessions were a one-way radio. A monologue. There I was at my Shakespearean best, talking to God, asking questions, answering my own questions, getting distracted by my own ramblings, and then my time expired, and it was time to move onto the next scene.

Then, a few years ago, I heard a friend of mine say something so simple and obvious at the right moment that made the concept of talking to God finally click in my mind.

“It’s a relationship.”

Well, duh, Caitie. It was a lightbulb moment that came as I had become burnt out with college and needed direction in my life. In those moments, you need to hear God’s direction for you. My friend continued.

“I talk to God throughout my day, whether it’s in my car or walking down the hall at school or work or wherever. If I get up late and rush around for work, I’ll make sure I talk to God on the way to work.”

As she spoke, I mulled over the concept. It’s not about trying to “fit” God in. It’s a relationship. How did I get so close to my sister or others in my life? Constant communication. A two-way radio. A dialogue. If I could do that with my family and friends, then I could establish a relationship with God.

I’m a scientific person. Processes, research, hypotheses, formulas—they’re how I take in and understand information. Tell me how something’s done, and I’ll review the process and make plans for implementation. So, I applied the concept of taking time to create a real relationship with God. I began to see my time with God as an opportunity to get to know Him. The results of my actions led to an obvious conclusion that I needed to reach in order to fully understand—the more time I spent with God, truly seeking Him, the more I began to understand what His Presence feels like and how to listen for His voice. A novel concept, I know, but sometimes, your mind gets so hectic that it’s difficult to understand concepts that come naturally to others (like clearing your mind to focus on God during prayer).

I still have my bad days—days during which I’ve let my brain scream at me for hours on end that by the time I sit down to pray, all I hear is a bunch of pots and pans banging around in my skull and then white space—but I also have good days. Those are the days when I’ve prioritized my time wisely, let my mind focus on things above, and went to God with a genuine desire to hear from Him and feel His Presence. Those are the days I feel I’m making progress, getting to know Him more, becoming a little more of the person I need to be. Those are the days I try to remember on the bad days to inspire me to make more days like those days. Those are the days when I get done with prayer and realize how much time has passed as I’ve prayed, and I’m amazed.

It’s like looking back at the beginning of the first page when you began writing and seeing how much you filled the white space. You get lost in the moment, and before you know it, you find the exact words to say, and you know exactly what you’re supposed to do. You’ve connected, and suddenly the white space and deafening silence doesn’t seem so intimidating anymore because you know when you begin the next time, you’ll tune in to the right frequency if you persist. After all, “…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16, KJV).

Everything Is 2020

In the first month of 2020, the world saw panic over a possible World War III in the Middle East, raging wildfires in Australia that endangered the koala bears, political turmoil in the US, and the beginnings of a global pandemic. Then we had the first cases of the new virus COVID-19 popping up in the States in late January/early February. Then came the hand washing and mask wearing suggestions from government and health officials. Then came social distancing guidelines, cancellations of public events, lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and a high unemployment rate. And just when we thought it couldn’t get more chaotic, then came social unrest.

Things this year have been, well, 2020. That is to say, it’s been crazy, and 2020 is now becoming a term for when things go haywire, off the rails, insane beyond all belief, and just when you think it couldn’t get worse, it does. The real disappointment is that everyone seems to have skipped the panic over murder hornets, which could have been delightfully entertaining during quarantine. But of course, despite discouraging news and events, we have access to the same good news that has existed since the beginning of time: there is a God, His Name is Jesus, He is THE God, and He is in control.

“But, Caitlin, it’s so easy to say that until you’re the one who’s feeling overwhelmed,” you might say.

It’s true that there are many things quite easy for us to say, and when the going gets tough, it gets tougher to truly believe those things. Chaotic conditions tend to throw rational thought into disarray until all that’s left is confusion and madness. Chaos is a state of utter confusion and disorder. Rationality is the state of being rational or being based in accordance with reason and logic. A confused and overwhelmed mind cannot sort together rational thoughts and lean on logic, while a rational mind relies on reason and logic during a time of chaos to separate feeling from fact. Though I tend to be a rational individual, even I often struggle with rationality in the midst of chaos.

Any time I feel overwhelmed, I’m like most people. I let my emotions and irrational thoughts run away with me for a minute while I try to sort through what I’m feeling. It’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it doesn’t seem that there’s any end to the tunnel at all. That’s when I remove my feelings, set them aside, and separate what I feel from what I know.

Though I may feel worried, overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, and even depressed, I remember what I know as fact. God says in His Word that He will never leave nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). Well, of course, my feelings say it’s hard to believe that when I can’t hear an audible voice of God, and I can’t physically see God, and so it’s hard at times to feel like He’s really there. Then, my reason and what I know kicks in. God speaks to us through His Word. In fact, His Word is alive: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). He is His Word (see John 1:1-14), and any time I want to hear from Him and know He’s right here with me, all I have to do is pick up His Word and start reading.

Psalms 119:105 – “The word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Proverbs 30:5 – “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

We’ve heard many a song sing the truth that God knows every circumstance, and nothing catches Him by surprise. He sees all things and is in control in this desperate and trying time. His ways and thoughts are not ours but are higher than ours: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). So, even though I may feel overwhelmed and weary, I know He is right there and is in control of my circumstances and my life. Deuteronomy 31:8 states, “And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”

Now, it is a gross understatement to simply say that “life is hard,” but it is perfectly okay and natural to feel sad and frustrated. We’re human, after all. Peter felt overwhelmed by the stormy waves of the sea around him, but God was right there to pull him up even though Peter lost focus for a moment (see Matthew 14:22-31). When Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to threaten his life, he fled into the wilderness and asked God to take his life, for he was “not better than [his] fathers” (see 1 Kings 19:1-8). God instead gave Elijah rest and food to strengthen him. Sometimes, we must allow ourselves time to feel and sort through our emotions, and while doing so, we must rest, study His Word, spend more time in His Presence, and remember that He is omnipresent and omniscient. He’s always there and knows all things.

I may not know everything, but what I know is that God does know it all. So, when everything is 2020 and messed up and seems like it’s falling apart, I can find comfort in knowing that God sees and knows everything that’s going on in my life and the world around me. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me.

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Worship Music Is My Jam!

Searching for some new worship tunes to listen to in the car or at home or to choose for worship service at church? Look no further. Here’s a list of 12 of my favorite worship songs from various artists all on my best Spotify playlists:

All Things New by Travis Greene

This Is Revival by Brittani Scott

The Cry by William McDowell

My Worship by Phil Thompson

Looking Up by Nashville Life Music

Have Your Way by Jabari Johnson

Able to Do Anything by James Wilson

The Blessing (Gospel Revamp) by Elevation Worship

Saved by Eddie James

Dance In The Rain by Todd Dulaney

There Is A Name by Covenant Worship

Bless the Lord by Anthony Brown

Give these a listen via the links above, and let me know what worship songs are on your favorites list!

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” ~Ephesians 5:19

Hello, all! Welcome to my blog!

“I can’t believe it. You finally have a blog!”

I know, I know. It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but here I am. There are many young Christian women who have personal blogs and Bible study blogs and fashion blogs that I’ve read, which discouraged me for a while from starting one because, well, they’re everywhere. Blogging is popular and hard work—time-consuming work—and with such a crowded pool of spectacular blogs to peruse for inspiration and encouragement, it seemed somewhat pointless to me to spend so much time blogging when I would only be adding to the plethora of Christian blogs. Why does it matter what I have to say? How would my blog be any different from the thousands of Christian blogs out there? Who would even read my blog aside from a kind few?

And after over a year of debating and pushing the idea to the back of my mind, I realized now is a better time than any to start blogging because it isn’t about me or how many voices are out there—it’s about doing everything I can with what God has given me to glorify Him and bless others.

This has been a tumultuous year, but it’s pushed me to do things I never thought I would accomplish. I began this year with hope and optimism, and the pandemic came along and nearly destroyed every ounce of hope and optimism I had left. If this year has helped me understand anything, it’s that nothing is certain and nothing stays the same except for God. Of course, I already knew that, but sometimes it takes a trial to help you grasp truth on a deeper level. During quarantine, I had a LOT of time to examine myself and determine whether I was doing everything I could for His Kingdom. Was I doing everything I could to use the ability God gave me to write for Him in the time we have on earth? The answer was a blunt “not really.” I’m a fiction writer. Most of my creative writing classes focused on fiction, and 99% of everything I’ve ever written or thought of writing is fiction. I’ve probably got more than fifty fiction projects—mostly historical fiction—stuffed in my brain, waiting for me to put them in print, but I never have. The online literary magazine Short Fiction Break published my short story “Outer Darkness” this summer (thank you, Jesus!), I started an author website (prematurely, maybe, but hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere), and well, that’s as far as I’ve gotten as a fiction writer.

My primary goal as a writer used to be to write complex characters that struggled with the human condition in difficult circumstances to show how much we need God and to move readers to evaluate themselves and their own relationships with God. That sounds great, sure, but for me, it didn’t seem like it would be enough. In the back of my mind was a voice that kept saying, “You can do more.” And then there was that other thought I’d pushed back there about starting a blog, and I told God I wasn’t sure about it. But I kept going back to it.

Breathe Pray Repeat (BPR) became the name I chose because it speaks to one of my coping mechanisms when things get tough and emotions become overwhelming. Step back, breathe, pray about it, and repeat the process. In essence, I did just that about this blog, and now that we’re 10 months into 2020, I believe God has finally given me the green light to move forward with it. Maybe a blog isn’t a big deal, and maybe it doesn’t seem that impressive in comparison to writing actual books (which I haven’t given up on, by the way), but a book that glorifies God and delves into complex themes takes years to develop. I knew I shouldn’t wait that long to finally produce something worthwhile when I could be writing something that glorifies Him right now.

So, here it is—the beginning of something I hope draws readers closer to Him and maybe even understand ourselves and others better. BPR will have Bible study articles, discussions of biblical themes and principles, posts about living as a Christian in our crazy world, and explorations of the culture and our identity all with the sole focus of reflecting His Glory. I have a few posts lined up under the theme “comfort,” which is something we all might be needing a little more of this year, including some brief analyses of the word “comfort” in the Old and New Testaments. If you’ve made it this far (may God bless you and your children and your children’s children!), feel free to message me any specific words or biblical concepts you would like me to research and write about and especially any post topics you might like me to write that focus on keeping the faith while going to college. I would LOVE for BPR to be a blessing to young people, particularly, because as a young adult, I know that the high school and college years are an essential period in becoming the kind of person and Christian you want to be.

Thank you for reading this first post on BPR, and I pray the rest of your day and week goes well. If you want to know about all of my future posts, follow my blog by email and stay tuned for what’s coming later this week when we begin the first post in the “comfort” series.

God Bless,


Verse of the Day:

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” ~Romans 12:12 (KJV)