Today, Molly speaks to us about empowering women, being a risk taker, her creative childhood, and the importance of the church.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I am the middle daughter of 3 girls. My dad is a doctor, and my mom is an artist. I grew up around constant creative energy–my mom encouraged us to pursue creativity, even encouraging us to paint on the walls. I played multiple instruments, danced, tried every sport you could think of, and was constantly writing through it all. My childhood was shaped by bike rides to Dairy Queen, quickly changing from my soccer uniform into my leotard, and organizing elaborate dance routines with friends for the school talent show. If you read my childhood diaries, you would find hundreds of entries alternating between how much I loved my sisters, to how much we fought, and then a hundred drawings of our beagle, Maggie.
“I grew up around constant creative energy–my mom encouraged us to pursue creativity, even encouraging us to paint on the walls.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I’ve been led to read Psalm 23 a lot, recently. I’ve been in the midst of some major life transitions, and rereading this Psalm has brought so much peace to my spirit. If David could write and pray these words while he was in the wilderness and being hunted by one of the most powerful men in his time, I can pray them today in the midst of my season.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’ve been focusing on praying scripture aloud. The Bible is filled with a lot of really incredible passages to pray, and I’ve found this practice to be especially powerful when I pray aloud, and change some of the phrases so that they are more personal to my life. It also helps to pray aloud because it keeps my mind from wandering and shifting gears.
Profession: I am a writer and photographer.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? The Sunflower Child because my mom always compared my sisters and I to different types of flowers, and I was the sunflower–always resilient, positive, and bright.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? Jesus was a figure who I found on the coloring sheet when my family occasionally shuffled down to a white church in our neighborhood. His name had no power for me personally, and He wasn’t real. He was limited to the two-dimensional paper I found Him on. I used to play my violin at that church and worship and performing were the same thing. As I grew up, the pain and hurt of the world around me couldn’t be ignored anymore, and there was something unsettled in my spirit.
I started going to a youth group at a different church, and I found Jesus in a weird film that wasn’t even in English. Somewhere in the midst of subtitles and black and white metaphors that only made a little bit of sense, I understood that Jesus made a sacrifice for undeserving people, and there was a call to action–there was something I had to do in order to know Him.
The pastor said to “accept Jesus into your heart” and asked for anyone who didn’t know Jesus to pray with him. I didn’t tell anyone that I recognized the man with the sheep from my childhood coloring sheets, but that I didn’t know Him. I went home, and I prayed alone in my bedroom, and I said something like, “Hey Jesus, I think you’re real, and I think you’re there, and I want to know you. If you’re there, can I be yours? Will you be mine?” That was one encounter, the first one, that lead to many more–because I still kept God at arm’s length and held on to what I thought growing up should look like until I had a choice in college to completely turn away from Him or to chase after Him with all I had.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Practicing contentment and thankfulness. I am a 7 on the enneagram for any enneagram enthusiasts, and understanding myself through that lens has drawn me closer to God through certain practices. I am constantly chasing after new and exciting things, always focused on what is to come and desiring more in life. I am trying to focus on being present here and now– to shift my eyes from the future, to the things and the people God has gifted me with right here, right now. I have been making physical lists of things I am thankful for each day, thanking God for how He has provided for me today, and trying to be still and content even though my imagination desperately wants to run wild.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Currently, reading Dare To Lead by Brene Brown. Brene Brown talks about being brave and writing yourself permission slips. Permission to do just one thing that is hard or vulnerable, specifically in work, but it could be taken into any area of life. I am learning to allow myself to be sad or hurt, I often don’t take the time to process hard or negative emotions, and I’m realizing God wants to experience the brokenness with me just as much as He wants to walk through seasons of joy with me.
“I’m realizing God wants to experience the brokenness with me just as much as He wants to walk through seasons of joy with me.”
Top three essentials: My camera, a notebook, and coffee.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, my husband and I moved across the country from Colorado to Tennessee. In this transition, God has been repeatedly showing us He has His hand on this. In big ways and in small ways, He has been showering us with gifts to remind us of His presence and His power in this season. Mostly, through the Word and through some random connections we’ve made with people, God has been reassuring us we are right where He needs us to be.
Hobby: I have about ten thousand hobbies, but lately I’ve invested a lot of time into sewing hair scarves and scrunchies.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Be honest with God, talk to Him every day like a friend, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard. Just show up.
2. Read the Bible! Find a reading plan or something that works for you, and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s word for you. It’s simply the best way to get to know who God is, and who you are in Him.
3. Go to church. The church has all sorts of issues, I get that, and I’ve heard about a million excuses from people who have given up on church. And honestly, if church was my idea, I might give up on it, too. But it isn’t–it was God’s idea and I trust Him enough to know that going to church to worship and be in community is necessary enough that He set the whole system up.
Favorite person in scripture? This often changes depending on what I am reading, but currently David. He wrote some pretty great poetry, and I admire him for his honest and intimate relationship with the Lord.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I am a big risk taker, and so I think when people look at me and my life, I hope they learn about what it looks like to truly trust God. I don’t want to ever live a life that people look at and think that I am living it in my own strength. I think the way that I walk with God, in obedience and trust even when it means taking big leaps of faith, is a testament to how He will never let us down. He is always present, always loving, and constantly showing up for me in the craziest ways, and I think my life makes His presence clear. I couldn’t do this on my own, but His Spirit empowers me daily.
How do you leave your mark on your community? My community has been shifting quite a bit lately, so this is an interesting question for me. I hope the mark I leave on a community though is one of positivity; of a sense of hope and belief and a childlike faith. I think my role in community is often being joyful, bringing laughter, and being open and welcoming. I have been moving a lot lately because the Spirit has led me to, so I’m especially sensitive to wanting everyone to feel included and welcomed into community.
“I think my role in community is often being joyful, bringing laughter, and being open and welcoming.”
Favorite holiday? Every holiday is my favorite holiday! I love any chance to celebrate literally anything.
A goal you have? To publish a book, someday.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My dad cooks a huge fancy breakfast every Christmas morning. I think it gets bigger and better every year.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I am curious about so many things, but I’m also content in not knowing. I think one thing I am most curious about is unanswered prayers. Why do some go unanswered, and others get answered so quickly? I hope God can rerun all those prayers for me and show me how silly it was for me to be praying those things at certain times, and then show me what He was up to in the unseen in the meantime.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I’m passionate about empowering women. As a daughter of a strong woman, and sister to two strong women, I feel really strongly about women finding their vocation, using their voices, and feeling confident to be who God created them to be.
What does your morning routine consist of? My husband usually has to drag me out of bed. The first thing I want is always coffee–preferably Dunkin Donuts, and I always drink it black. I then read my Bible and journal with coffee, in hand. Sometimes, I’ll worship and pray aloud, but not always. I make a to do list for the day, every day, and often my husband will participate. I really enjoy the satisfaction of checking things off the list!
What is on your nightstand? I don’t have a nightstand currently, we moved from Colorado without any furniture. That’s on my to-do list…
Define Christianity in a sentence: A journey towards becoming more like the Creator, finding my identity in Him, and worshipping and loving Him, so that I can love others better and deeper.
For more Molly:
Until next time, keep witnessing!