By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
How is your heart today? No, really, how are you doing, and how are you feeling beyond the surface answer of, “I’m good”? In an effort to protect our hearts with a hard candy shell or perhaps just not force ourselves to acknowledge hard truths, we say that we are good when more than likely, the answer is that we are “hanging in there.” That release and freedom to share the vulnerable yet more accurate statement is not only why I wrote, Hang in There, Girl, but it was precisely how I was feeling when my publisher picked it up.
Writing has been not just an outlet creatively for me but the place where I converge with God to just unleash, unrestraint, and untangle all the thoughts, feelings, and ideas swirling around my heart and head. In recent years many of these thoughts and emotions have been centered around feeling behind or stuck in a Groundhog Day type of never changing life when I see all of my friends and peers getting married, having kids, or achieving their dreams and goals. It was not a root of jealousy or envy I had towards them; instead, it was a feeling that somehow, I was lacking, that somewhere along the way, I had arrived late to the station and missed the train that would take me forward to all my own heart was longing for.
In the process of these feelings and journey, I decided to become more invested in my church and, in particular, working with youth. Working with young women and pouring into them became a beautiful opportunity to focus less on what I didn’t have and more on what I could give and share with them. I recall reading Psalm 113:9, “He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.” I took this verse that although I was still a single woman renting a room with no natural children of my own, I had the opportunity to pour into these children as a type of surrogate mother, or perhaps the better phrasing would be a big sister in Christ.
What I found through not just listening but really hearing these girls share was that they were all going through something; they were all “hanging in there” in various ways. For some, the feeling that they should be achieving more academically or socially was present; for others, the sense of foreboding as their inevitable graduations were coming, along with the uncertainties of who they were and what they wanted to do with their lives. It opened my eyes to what they were going through now and what I had experienced myself as a teen, and how God helped me through those times. I’ve often found that when you hear something enough times, you realize there is a need for an answer to it, and hence this book came to pass. Taking the nod to the curiosity, I collected their questions, the things they pondered, and some of the lessons I had learned along the way myself and brought these coffee shop chats to paper.
It would be a handful of years before this book was ever published, but in retrospect, I see how God had perfect timing for it all. When I sent the manuscript to be published in Summer 2021, my deflating thoughts were yet again in fear that I was too behind in life to have any value to offer words of encouragement or advice. Who would want to read encouragement to young women to not settle for anything less than God’s best in a man or believe God had a plan for things romantically from a single woman who was nearly thirty? I see these thoughts now as lies of the enemy, but I am glad they did not stop me from pursuing seeing this book put to print. What was even more exceptional was that after they read my manuscript, what they loved about it was that it was written from the perspective of a woman who had not yet gotten married, but she believed and trusted God for His best ever still. That the book was not one written in retrospect of a woman far beyond the scope of her teens and early twenties, but from the perspective of a woman who was still within the decade mark of her college graduation and who worked with young ladies in real-time to know what real issues were at hand, what authentic conversations were needed in today. It is incredible to see how the enemy sought to stifle what God wanted to illuminate. For that, I will always be incredibly humbled.
As the launch day for this book comes, there are still places in my life that I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still “hanging in there,” but the blessing is that it is not the end of the story. Time brings seasons and change, even if it feels like the sands in the hourglass move so very slowly. The worries, insecurities, and doubts that exist now are not the definitive mark of value in who we are or how well we are doing in life. We can choose to trust the timing of our own lives and paths rather than comparing what we have done thus far to how others our age are doing.
Above all else, we can look to not depend on our own strength, our own wisdom, or our own flesh to make it through. We have a Father in Heaven Who cares when even a sparrow drops from the air, and how much more He cares for us if He has such care for even the birds. Hanging in there has the opportunity to become seeing how we made it through to the other side when we invite the Lord into not just part of our lives but into the whole. Into every crevice, corner, nook, and cranny of our lives to see and experience the life He has planned for us. So, if you are hanging in there today, invite Him to lead the way and into the shadowed parts of your life that you have not let anyone into. You might just be amazed to see what God says and where He will lead you.
Cally Logan’s book, Hang in There, Girl is available everywhere. Books are sold on May 1, 2022. You can learn more and participate in events she has virtual and in-person by following her social media @CallyLogan on Instagram and Twitter, or her website, CallyLogan.com.
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.