Guest Post {Maggie Yow}

This season of my life has been a true joy as I have dug into the Word and listened to what the Lord wanted me to share each month. However, one of the biggest blessings has been the depths of encouragement I have received from other women.

About a month ago, I was asked to speak at a Mother’s Day Breakfast at my local church. I knew that the audience would be very diverse — all women of all ages. This opportunity was an honor, but it was also a pretty big mountain that the Lord wanted me to climb. As I sorted through my thoughts for a message, one topic stuck out in my mind as being very relevant: women need other women.

In preparation, I got really close with two women in the Bible, Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. I believe their story lays a firm foundation for Christ-centered relationships with other women. It begins in Luke 1 but sends ripples throughout the New Testament and into our lives today.

In Luke 1:5-25, Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, is visited by the angel Gabriel who shares that Elizabeth will become pregnant in her old age. In Luke 1:26-38, this same angel then appears to Mary to share that she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit with the son of God. During Gabriel’s visit to Mary, he shares that her cousin Elizabeth is also pregnant with a child. From the very beginning of Mary’s knowledge that she was pregnant, she knew that God gave her someone who would understand. Luke 1:39-45 is where we find the height of their relationship. After Gabriel leaves Mary, it says that she hurried to Elizabeth’s house. Elizabeth then greeted her joyfully and welcomed Mary into her home where they would share three months of pregnancy together.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” – Luke 1:39-45

I believe that we can unpack three major truths from Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship that gives insight into what God desires for us as women:

1.     God gives us women who understand.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too?” I truly believe this to be the heart of what I have found within Delight Ministry. As we share our stories, we have all experienced those moments where we say “What! You too?” God gave Mary a friend to walk with through her pregnancy. It probably wasn’t the friend that she imagined, since Elizabeth was about forty years older than Mary and pregnant in her sixties. God works beyond our imagination. As we walk through the seasons of life, I encourage you to look to the women God has placed around you. Don’t limit the people in your life to your own expectations.

2.     God gives us women to complement each other, not compete.

Scripture says that Elizabeth was so excited to see Mary. The baby actually leaped in her womb with joy. Elizabeth greeted Mary cheerfully and blessed her. Let’s think about this in reality —  Elizabeth is six months pregnant as an older woman. Mary had no phone to call ahead and warn Elizabeth that she was also pregnant and on her way for an extended stay. Elizabeth could have easily reacted out of jealousy or inconvenience when she saw Mary. She could have depreciated her pregnancy with John the Baptist when she realized that Mary was pregnant with the Son of God. Comparison is the thief of joy. Elizabeth recognized that Mary’s ministry of raising Jesus did not minimize her ministry of raising his cousin. As women, our lives are going to look and grow differently. However, God did not intend for us to focus on competition with others when we are in similar places. We so often put up a “no trespassing” sign instead of a “welcome” sign. However, we are to complement each other in our efforts of Kingdom building. As women, we each have a God-given purpose that is aligned with God’s will.

 3.     God gives us women to leave a legacy of faith together.

Elizabeth and Mary raised John the Baptist and Jesus, which were both really big assignments as mothers. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As we walk alongside each other, let us not forget that we are running our own race while also preparing for the next generation of Kingdom workers at the same time. Hebrews 12:1b says, “Let us keep running in the race that God has planned for us.” Since I ran track in high school, I visualize this as a relay race. Imagine you are approaching the finish line and running hard with a steady rhythm. As you finish your race, you are to pass the baton off to the next woman in line. This may be a child, a family member, a friend, a mentee, or even a complete stranger. In a relay race, the most effective and efficient way to pass off a baton is for the second person to join in the same stride and rhythm of the runner. Therefore, when the baton is finally passed, there is no time lost in the transition. This is how I envision our ministries to be as women.

I pray that as we run this race, we embody the spirit of Mary and Elizabeth.

I pray that we look among other women to see that they are running the race as well, and they understand what we are going through.

I pray that we let others join our rhythm and our stride as complements and not competition.

I pray that we pass our batons off to the next generation in line.

For when we pass these batons in Christ-centered rhythms, we have nowhere to go but from glory to glory.

Guest Post: Maggie Yow

Like many freshmen at UNC Chapel Hill, I struggled to find a place on campus that I could truly feel like myself. Everything seemed so new and foreign to me. I had a new room, new church, new friends, new teachers, new classrooms, and a new town. Sometimes I just felt uprooted and then replanted. As I was finding my way around campus, I decided to explore “Coker Arboretum” while walking back from class. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect or if it was even worth my time to go inside.

As I stepped into the arboretum for the first time, I was in awe at how many beautiful flowers, plants, and trees were so intricately placed to create an exquisite garden. Something about being in the arboretum triggered a greater intimacy with God in me. I think this was a combination of the artistry of the flowers, the charm of nature, and the essence of being still on a busy campus. As I spent more and more time in the arboretum, I found that this campus was the place the Lord had planted me for this season in my life.

The significant beauty of the arboretum reminds me of the quote by The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”  As I found peace in the arboretum, I found peace within my own garden of life. As a Christian, it is important to unpack this concept of blooming where we are planted when we feel uprooted or planted in the wrong place. Finding contentment in our current place can be paralleled to the basics of good gardening.

1. Be Planted Deep

To be “planted” is to be placed somewhere intentionally. When planting flowers, the soil is fertilized, a hole is dug for the seed, then covered up with more soil. If the seed is not deep enough in the soil, it risks being washed away by the rain. Gardeners spend a lot of time strategically picking the perfect place for a garden, preparing optimal soil, and individually placing the seeds where they are supposed to go.

God is like our gardener. He prepares the soil, and then He intentionally plants us there. Whether we feel like we are planted in the right place or not, we are there for a purpose. At Passion 2018, Pastor Levi Lusko said, “Being planted can feel a lot like being buried.” When we are planted deep and feel buried underneath the weight of the soil, we must not forget that God is calling us here for our benefit. It reminds me of Psalm 42:7, “Deep calls to deep,” (NIV). This verse means that “our deep need calls out to the deep kindness of God’s love” (TPT).  We need Him to provide the fertile soil, and out of His kindness, He has buried us deep to protect us and optimize our growth.

“rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” Colossians 2:7 (NIV)

2. You Must Be Watered

Once seeds are planted, it takes water to help them grow. Flowers bloom into vibrant colors when the moisture is soaked up, thus a lack of hydration hinders their bloom. As believers, we must also be watered in order to bloom. Metaphorically, this water symbolizes suffering, but it also symbolizes a catalyst for growth in Him.

As I was scrolling through Pinterest one day, I saw the quote “I asked God to help me grow, and it started raining.” This reminded me of the story of Job in the Bible. Job withstood so much suffering that this rain came in the form of a hurricane. As bad thing after bad thing kept happening to Job, I’m sure he felt as though he was drowning in the flood of suffering. However, through the storms, Job came to a place of submission to God’s Holy Will. He not only lived through the rain storm, but he bloomed through it. God sends rain not to drown us, but to nourish us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33 (NIV) 

3. Get Plenty of Sunshine

My favorite days in the arboretum are the ones where the sun is shining bright and all the flowers seem to be facing up towards the sun, as they soak in every last drop until it sets. As Christians, God commands us to do the same. No matter where He has planted us, we must always be in the posture to receive Him. The gift of the Son is life giving.

When I think of the sunshine, I think of walking in the light. We all know that every day and every circumstance isn’t bright and sunny, but we always have the Son, Jesus, to guide us. In order to bloom where we are planted, we must find Jesus in every place. For me, the arboretum was the place that fostered that intimate gaze while planted in college. As Christians, keeping our eyes on Him can bring spiritual peace and control our attitudes. When we dwell in Him, we dwell in the light we need to grow. 

 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (ESV)

4. Enjoy the Beauty of the Bloom

When I was in high school, I was a dancer. After each performance, I would leave with an armload of flowers from my family and friends, somewhat of a cultural norm in the dance world. I remember thinking one year, “why do all these people spend money on flowers when all they do is die in a week?” I wasn’t unappreciative, I just truly questioned the concept. I tell you this to emphasize the fact that what I was missing was the simple, yet extravagant beauty of the bloom.

Bloom” is an action word, something we must do. To bloom is to produce something beautiful. As believers, we are never in the wrong place to serve God and bloom into something beautiful. Seasons will come and go, and while rain and lack of sunshine are inevitable, each seed is planted with the intentionality to bloom. One of the greatest tragedies is to waste an opportunity and miss the beauty in the bloom. No one delights in the beauty of the bloom more than The Gardener himself, so honor the Lord and grow in the place He has planted you. Your beautiful bloom is the proof that He is sovereign in every stage of life, providing everything you need. 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

Towards the end of the school year, there is a lot of uprooting and replanting going on. Whether that be moving from a dorm room to your home, your campus to an internship, far away from your friends, studying abroad, or maybe graduating and moving to a new chapter of life, God could be planting you in a new place. If you’re experiencing a season of rain or a lack of sunshine, don’t doubt the design of His garden. We are called to “bloom where we are planted” as a part of His Garden, not our own. 

Maggie Yow // @maggie_yow

twenty-eighteen: resolutions {GUEST POST: Elise Morris}

As 2017 has come to an end, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on all of the good – and bad – that the year has come with. More than focusing on the past, I am looking forward to all that is going to come with 2018. However, I am making it a point not to stay in the past or look too far into the future, but to live in the here and now: to be present. With this mantra, I have decided on three resolutions I hope to carry with me through 2018.

  1.  Remember that Jesus is the Reason

As we come out of a holiday season that is always accompanied with the common “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” slogan, I have found that it is way too easy – and common – for us to leave Him there. The fact is that Jesus is the reason for everything. He came and He died for our sins so we could live. As Christians, we should be living our lives as a reflection of His love and sacrifice every minute of every day, not just at Christmas time. That is why I am making it a point to remember every day that Jesus is the reason we live.

  1. Give the Grace that has already been given

This year, I am committing to show everyone the grace that God has shown to me. Reflecting on 2017, I have found myself judging people all too often. In some cases, I will judge people I don’t even know and make assumptions about their character before I ever have a conversation with them. In other cases, I make judgments about people I know well based off of their actions or their words. However, I have constantly been reminded that Jesus died on the cross not only for my sins but for the sins of everyone around me. John 1:16 tells us that “out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” We have ALL received grace even though we don’t deserve any of it. In 2018, I will try my best to give the grace that Christ has shown to me to others, regardless of the situation or my personal feelings.

  1. Share His Love

The most important resolution I have for 2018 is to share the unconditional love of Jesus Christ with everyone that I have the chance to share with. If Jesus gave up His life for me, and shows me grace that I don’t deserve, I cannot help but tell everyone that I come in contact with. I want everyone to know the grace and love that He has to offer, and the joy that comes with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

In 2018, and every year following, I will be a light for Christ. Yes, I am human in a broken world where sin consumes every part of our life. Yes, I am going to occasionally – or often – fall short of my goals and resolutions. However, I follow a King who will never fail – a King who already rose and conquered. I know that with the power of Christ and the grace that He has given us, I can be a vessel for Him and share his light with the world.

Although these resolutions are very personal to me, I encourage and even challenge you to adopt them as your own. I challenge you to remember that Christ is the reason we live every minute of every day, show others the overwhelming grace that Christ has shown to each and every one of us, and share the gospel with everyone you meet.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

2 Peter 1:2

Happy twenty-eighteen, friends.


elise morris

Imperfectly Planned is thrilled to share this piece by Elise Morris to encourage you as you start brainstorming resolutions for 2018.

On Imperfectly Planned, our 2018 Focus is {Intentional Living: Honoring HIM through our daily Bible study, routines, fitness regimen, and relationships.}

Email subscribe to Imperfectly Planned at or find us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Join our journey to a life of intentionality this year! Can’t wait to connect with you.


By: Hannah Jones.

Before I even stepped foot on campus my freshman year, I was praying hard for my future suitemates. I remember pleading with God to grant me life-giving friendships. I hoped my “Big Sis” would guide me with godly wisdom. However, I knew that I might not get all of those things. I was aware that my attitude and intentionality in those first few weeks was pivotal.

The moment I decided I wanted to grow closer with the Lord in college became one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was committed to taking ownership of my faith. For the first time, it wasn’t my parents taking me to church. It wasn’t my mom encouraging me to have a quiet time with the Lord each day. It was up to me. That first weekend on campus, I went to church by myself, and looking back, I am certain that set the stage for my whole freshman year.

Gradually, the Lord revealed to me that He had in fact granted me all the things I prayed for before coming to college. My suitemate became one of my greatest encouragers. We worshipped together daily; singing when classes got hard and homework grew tedious. We left each other notes and verses of encouragement and God used those words of affirmation to feed my soul. My Big Sis, who was in the junior class at Meredith College, encouraged me to check out a campus ministry that first week. In fact, I joined the Bible study that she co-led. She continues to intentionally pour into my spirit and she is honestly the big sister I never had.

The girls in this study became my closest friends. This is my community; my people. I had never experienced Christian community and godly friendships like this until I came to college. These women are the ones that stand by me on my hardest days, share in my joy, and never let me doubt my purpose.

When I think back to those first weeks as a college freshman, I remember feeling uncomfortable. It wasn’t the easiest thing for me to meet new people, share my testimony, and just be vulnerable. However, I am positive that God needed me to feel uncomfortable to mold me and to make me trust Him like I never had to before. I think the important thing for me to remember was that this was a new and sometimes uncomfortable season that wasn’t about me at all. His glory and His perfect plan was playing out through all my insecurity, my brokenness, my fear, and my sin. He wanted me right where I was all along, even in my failure. My time in college, full of ups and downs, was never His “plan b”. It took God molding and stretching me over a period of time to come to that realization. Once I realized this, so many doors began to open in ministry, my major, and in relationships.

Reading this, it might start to sound like I was getting my life together before I came to college, but I can tell you that is far from the truth. Honestly, I was trying so hard to act like I had it all together that I began to even fool myself. I tried to live a Christ-centered life with me at the center. And oddly enough, I still was so shocked when my life seemed to be spiraling out of control. I realized that when I said I was giving God full access to my life, it wasn’t long before I began wrestling the controls away from Him again and again.

If I can leave you with one thing, it’s what I’ve realized most about following the Lord in college: It’s truly all about your heart. Following Jesus requires intentionality. Everyday. Even when I oversleep and I am running across campus to class. Even when I’ve fooled myself into thinking that life is great and I don’t need to give God access to every area. Even when I experience heartbreak or I get in a car accident. He is still sovereign. He is still faithful. He is still so loving. He wants to offer me so much grace, even when I can’t seem to give it to myself.

And- He wants to offer it to you, too. So, taste and see His goodness, because once that happens, college will never feel sweeter.

With love,

Dear Daughter by Design


Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Hannah Jones is a current sophomore at Meredith College, majoring in Dance Education. Her passions are for her family, faith, and the performing arts. This past summer, the Lord laid it on her heart to share all that He was teaching her through her experiences in college. Hannah took a leap of faith into the world of blogging. Dear Daughter by Design was created as a place to share her heart and personal experiences as a Christian girl in college. She wants to encourage other women in their God-given purpose and remind them that they truly are daughters by His design.

To read more of her story, follow her writings at