Baggage Handlers, Unite!


by Breezy Peterson


As human beings living in a messed up world, we all handle baggage.

We drag our own around. We help our friends sort through theirs. We watch our parents stuff their share of it into closets (after they shove the skeletons aside).

When we’re living in constant communion with Christ, we give Him our baggage. As soon as we make it, we hand it over. The problem arises when we get out of sync with Jesus, and start relying on ourselves instead of on Him.

You listened to me talk about baggage at MODFEM 2016. We focused mainly on The Dad Bags, but after collecting the paper suitcases that were tossed in front of the platform, I can easily say…we’re all dealing with way more than just Father Figure Issues.

Once the music was over and the gym was empty, I gathered up all of the paper suitcases. I expected to look through them and pray for mostly insignificant burdens, like annoying little sisters or not having an iPhone.

What I read literally knocked me over.

So I sat on the cold floor, my lap overflowing with broken hearts, wondering how it could be. Just minutes ago, I had been looking out on a crowd of eager faces unmarred by the stress and heartache that was written on those paper suitcases.

How often we see the quick smile and feel the squeeze of a half-hug and think—she’s fine! She’s got it together. If she needed help, she’d ask for it. But so much of what I read was nowhere near fine. Tears fell as I read the tiny glimpses into the things we’ve been carrying around.

“I don’t understand my feelings.”






“Worry and stress.”

“Beaten. Abused. Raped. Ruined. Used.”

“I’ve wanted to die.”

“So many boyfriends.”



“Feeling unloved and unwanted.”

How do we handle all of this baggage? Sitting in a pile of so much pain, the only thing I could think to do was pray. Consistent, compassionate prayer is what I can do for you, and I do it most days. Did you know that someone out there is praying for you? I keep all of the paper suitcases in an orange folder and I take them out to think of you and pray. But what can you do for yourself? Here are a few ideas for being an effective Baggage Handler.

  1. Buddy System
    It’s not just for elementary school field trips! Any time you find yourself venturing into unfamiliar, unpredictable or potentially scary territory—take a friend. Don’t expect any of your peers to be prepared or equipped to help you completely work through your baggage, but be sure that someone knows what you’re going through. A buddy can help you hold onto the end of your rope (if you come to it) and identify when it’s time to ask for more help (which we often can’t see for ourselves when things get tough).
  2. Stay Connected
    The easiest time to fall or be led away from Jesus if when isolation sets in. The devil can’t get a foothold if he has to step in between you and your family, friends and pastor! Independence is not what Christians are called to. Remember the cheetah and the gazelles? The hunter will always go for the easiest prey: the very old, the very young, the weak, and the loners. When we embrace a culture of inter-dependence, we learn to live in true community with one another. Be aware of becoming too close to people who encourage you to skip youth group or stay home from church events. Nothing good grows in darkness, and that includes relationships.
  3. Be vulnerable
    When you find a sibling, friend, or adult you trust, pray for a willingness to open up. The Bible tells us that “a brother is born for adversity, and a friend loves at all times,” Prov. 17:17 NIV. Love can just be a listening ear; love can be a 2 A.M. milk shake! Love can also be stepping outside of your comfort zone, even if your friend asks you not to. Beloved counselors in my life have always told me that there are 3 instances where keeping secrets becomes dangerous: when a person has a plan for hurting themselves, when a person has a plan for hurting someone else, or when a person is habitually being hurt by someone in their life. Include a trusted youth leader or adult if the bags are too big for you to handle. The more we tell the truth—even when it means risking rejection—the easier it becomes to be honest. No matter how scary it is, we all need somebody to lean on!

ModFem 2016 | Bridal Edition | Recap

It has been a whole week since the wrap of ModFem 2016…and I’m missing you all! I hope that you are rocking those ModFem t-shirts and sharing the love of Jesus with those you encounter…remember, you may be the only Jesus that someone sees!

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This year’s theme was Bridal Edition. We discussed the Old, the New, the Borrowed, and the Blue aspects of being a bride of Christ. Relationships should be free from baggage, intentional, marriage is sacred, and our God is truly a loving God who WANTS to have a meaningful, loving, merciful relationship with us! We are all flawed, but He covers us in His grace and loves us unconditionally. As we mature and begin the search for the man that God has chosen for us, we should bear in mind that a person can never fill the God-sized hole in our hearts.

Our Speakers were (from left to right), ModFem alumni Sarah, myself (Megan), Breezy, and Joanna!


Craft time: making bracelets…

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Early Saturday morning workout: thanks to those who came out to workout with me!


Worship: led by Breezy.


Thank you to Rebekah for signing for us!

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Competing to create the best toilet paper wedding dresses!

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Congrats teams! Job well done!


Small group: around indoor campfires:)


LOVE our volunteers, wish I had photos of them all.



We wrapped up the retreat with a Reception! Many of you all shared that you hadn’t ever attended a wedding reception before…so I shared with some of you my favorite parts of a reception: dancing…and the punch!!

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A few ladies took advantage of the photobooth!

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Want to give a special thanks to our adult volunteers and those who made donations:

Jane, Tammy, Brittany, Cindy, Johnnie, Kim, Chris, Karen, Jane, Marie, Joy, Jessica, Jeanne, Hannah, Ginny, Michelle, Annette.

Thank you to Brenda for running our audio/slideshow!

Reception Wedding cake made and donated by: Jessica Casper.

Thank you to those ladies who brought and shared wedding mementos. These items were definitely priceless.

Next year’s theme: Daughters of the King.
Hope to see you there!!


Getting Hitched: PartIV

above: Savanna Lewis and Seth Short. Courtesy of Savanna Lewis.


contributed by Breezy Peterson

We hope that you’ve enjoyed following the “Getting Hitched” series. Between Savanna’s amazing fashion designs and Seth’s romantic proposal, we could just camp out in this sweet story forever.

We’re having such a hard time saying goodbye to this couple that we hope you will indulge us as we stretch this piece out into one more part (since Part I, Part II and Part III were just not enough).



part Iv: binding a dream

Savanna, like any young woman, has a heart full of dreams.

She dreams about her future

as a designer and a business owner.

“In my wildest dreams,” Savanna said, “my future would be designing Taylor Swift’s latest red carpet dress in my very own fashion studio, which would have endless fabrics to choose from.” Savanna took the initiative and reached out to the singer on social media.

In January, Savanna’s offer to design Swift’s upcoming awards show look went viral, getting shared nearly 300 times and mentioned on the local news station. The Grammy season came for Swift and, sadly, Savanna’s phone didn’t ring. But disappointment isn’t slowing her down.

Savanna plans to continue expanding her brand in the fashion industry. Upon the completion of her Associate’s Degree, she hopes to find a job in her field as well as maintain her sewing business on the side.

She dreams of being a good wife

to a good Christian man.

The intentional way she lives this desire out, and the boundaries she agreed to put on her relationship with Seth, reflect their relationship goals.

“Look for someone who makes plans with you for years down the road, not just for the party next weekend, ” Savanna said. “Look for someone who tells you that they love you every day. Look for someone who tells you how beautiful you look every time they see you.”

Savanna and Seth also purposefully chose to no longer preserve close relationships with friends of the opposite sex, preferring to close the door on any doubts or jealousies that could have arisen.

She dreams of her wedding day

as the winter weather slowly

but joyfully turns to spring.

Savanna and Seth plan to say their vows in a wooded area on her parent’s property during what photographers call “The Golden Hour”—the magical moment when the setting sun bathes the earth in a warm, brilliant light. We imagine Savanna won’t need any extra help glowing on her wedding day, but the timing suits her designs for a fairytale wedding.

Though the process has had its challenges (weddings can be expensive), she’s still bubbling over with anticipation.

“The best thing about planning our wedding is just thinking about how excited we are going to be on that day, and all of our friends and family who will be there to celebrate with us,” Savanna said.

“And the dress, of course, the dress!”


She dreams of a life built side by side with her husband,

sharing the responsibilities of married life,

honoring God’s design for man and wife.

“There are many unique benefits and challenges to getting married young,” she said, “but the benefits outweigh the challenges.” Savanna looks forward to figuring out everything from stocking the fridge to paying the rent with Seth.

“I’m ready to grow up with him. We are going to make dumb decisions together and learn from them together. We’re going to learn how to cook together, live on pinching a penny together, and love together.”


Tune in for our Epilogue, coming next week…if we can bear to bring this story to an end…we make no promises.

Getting Hitched: Part III

contributed by Breezy Peterson

As we sit here looking back on Valentines Day weekend, we can think of no better way to kiss that saccharine holiday goodbye than with a good dose of God-centered, Christ-honoring love. If you missed Part I or Part II of our series on Savanna Lewis (the gorgeous gal behind Sew Savanna), you can read through them first. Or you can simply enjoy this post all on its own.

We thought we would be bringing this series to a close with Part III, but there’s just so much more to this story we want to share with you. Warm up a mug of hot chocolate and settle in for the newest installment of the “Getting Hitched” series. We know you’ll love it!


Part III: Match Point

The beach has always been one of Savanna’s favorite places. Over the summer of 2015, during a family vacation on the coast, Seth added one more reason for his future bride to love the sand and surf.

“On the last night we were there,” Savanna said, “Seth told me he wanted to take me out to a nice restaurant. After dinner, we took a walk on the beach.”

What started out as a romantic stroll on the sand turned into a soaking wet scene as a sudden downpour caught the two of them out in the open. They ran to a pier to take shelter from the storm. “We waited for the rain to let up, but it never did,” she said.

“We were already wet, so we walked out and the ocean tide was washing up to our toes. He hugged me tightly and told me some very sweet things.” Savanna said she’d leave out the mushiness for you, dear reader.

“And then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

After making sure he was serious, Savanna accepted and “cried like a baby for a solid hour,” she said.

“That was the most perfect engagement ever.”

Seth’s decision to propose at Savanna’s favorite place comes as no surprise. His tender heart for his bride shines through his choices as a young man. In addition to regular prayer, Seth has been reading through a devotional series for young couples getting married.

“He is such a strong Christian and so gentle,” Savanna said. “Throughout our relationship we have prayed together and I feel like that is the reason we have stayed together so long and had such a wonderful relationship.”

The couple divides their time between classes at Central Virginia Community College, where Seth is studying architectural engineering and Savanna is finishing up her AA in Business Management, and work. Taking a few classes together helps them to stay connected, but not everything has been coming up roses for the young couple.

“The greatest challenge in our journey since we’ve gotten engaged is the friends we have lost from it,” Savanna said. “Some friends you find are forever, some are temporary.” The choice to get married young has caused a few grumbles in their social circles, but ultimately, has not deterred them.

“When you know you’re with the one, you know. And honestly, there is no point in waiting if [getting married] is what you both want,” Savanna said.

“The greatest blessing is that we’ve had God on our side through it all. Having Him on our side has made us feel bulletproof. We haven’t felt hopeless and we give all the credit to Him.”


We can’t bear to cut this story short! There’s so much more we want to share with you that we have yet to put into words. We’ll be back later this week with more from Savanna as we finish up this series.





Getting Hitched: Part II

contributed by Breezy Peterson

Something about a great romance just makes our female hearts melt, doesn’t it? The number of views on Part I of this series was CRAZY! Our humble little blog hasn’t seen that much traffic since we mentioned Prom. It just goes to show: no matter our age or phase in life, we were all created to love a love story. In case you missed Part I, read it here first.

In case you missed her gorgeous designs, go show Ms. Lewis some love here.

Without further ado, we give you Getting Hitched with Savanna Lewis: Part II.


Part II: Anchoring Stitches

The days of girlhood passed for Savanna as she continued to grow in her craft, her family and our God. She even embraced the dreaded “middle child syndrome”, preferring to find joy instead of discontentment in her rank among her siblings.

“A lot of kids complain about being the middle child, but I loved it,” Savanna said. “I always had a big brother [Lee, seven years older] to call on when I was being picked on, and I was the big sister for Cassidy [six years younger] to call on when she was getting picked on.”

With a 13 year gap between the oldest child and the youngest, it would seem like the differences would be too great to bridge. Yet Savanna says that some of the warmest memories she has include Cassidy.

“My favorite memories are of when me and my sister would finish our school work for the day,” Savanna said. “We would go to the park across the street and play together until it got dark outside.”

The high school years arrived for Savanna, bringing new opportunities to challenge her developing expertise. In 10th grade, Savanna accepted an internship with Anne Younger. Their task: to handcraft all of the Gretna High School Color Guard uniforms. Though Younger used patterns as her starting point, she let Savanna improvise a portion of the design.

In 11th grade, Savanna took another internship, this time with The Gilded Thimble. Her senior year, Savanna was accepted into the Young Entrepreneurs Academy in Lynchburg, which has launched more than 1,500 talented individuals into the small business world since 1977.

“They taught me how to run my business and paid for me throw my very own fashion show—which was a dream come true,” Savanna said.

As Savanna took each step towards her future in fashion, the Lord was leading and weaving in a thread of a different kind . The anchor stitch of her love story was being placed by God when she was just 14 years old.  In the summer of 2011, a mutual friend mentioned a “cute blond guy” who attended Gretna High School.

His name was Seth Short.

“The thought of having a boyfriend was, of course, very thrilling!” Savanna said. She met him for the first time that fall. They saw each other every other Friday during football season, and began dating the winter of 2011.

“To say my parents were protective is an understatement. My family was very involved in our dating relationship for the first year and a half. They wanted to get to know Seth before they just shipped their daughter off with him,” Savanna said. “Our first dates were with my mom, dad, little sister and one of my friends. Really romantic, huh?”

“We weren’t allowed to go on a date by ourselves until February 14, 2013.”

“After we were able to go out by ourselves, you better believe we went out to eat or to the mall every chance we could!” Savanna said. “When we didn’t have gas money, we stayed home and binge-watched Smallville.”

The cords of affection and friendship were being woven deeper into the fabric of both Savanna and Seth’s lives as they continued to go out on double dates and meet up with friends to catch a movie. Not all of their peers followed the same standards for dating, however, and they found themselves moving away from certain influences.

“We soon learned that some of the relationships our friends had didn’t have the same morals or expectations for their relationship as we did,” Savanna said. “After we were able to go out on our own, we didn’t do stuff with our friends quite as much.”

The high level of involvement in the early stages of their relationship guided them in keeping their eyes on the future instead of getting wrapped up in the impulses of the present.

“It helped keep so many temptations away that are naturally there for everyone,” Savanna said.

“I think God knew exactly what He was doing when He began our relationship.”


We hope you’ve enjoyed Savanna and Seth’s story so far. Keep checking in for the rest of their journey, including the engagement (she said YES!) and their plans for the future.

New series! Getting Hitched: Part I

contributed by Breezy Peterson

Local fashion designer Savanna Lewis is not just an astonishingly talented young woman, self-starting entrepreneur, business woman (just look at these lovely designs!) and college student.

She is also a gorgeous bride-to-be.

We reached out to Ms. Lewis via email after coming across her stunning engagement photos. With this year’s MODFEM theme being “The Bridal Edition”, hearing Savanna’s story seemed like a perfect fit. Which sounds really great. But basically…Savanna graciously allowed us to ask all sorts of nosy questions.

Her life has been uniquely woven by God, and is being exquisitely crafted for His glory. Over the next couple of posts, we hope you find as much joy in her words as we did. Here’s Part I.



Savanna was born 19 years ago in Lynchburg, VA. Although her designs reflect the sleek elegance of high fashion, living in Hurt all of her life has not seemed to have cramped her style. Savanna says she has enjoyed this provincial life, even if it came with certain challenges.

“I have loved every second of the small town feeling we have here,” Savanna said. “Of course it kind of sucked having to drive 45 minutes from my house to get to the nearest mall, but you get used to it pretty quick.”

Savanna’s childhood was a bit unconventional. Her family chose to homeschool her exclusively, training her up from preschool to high school graduation at home. She says that her family’s stance on Godly values did not fit in with the public school options, and that although she once bristled at the peculiarities of homeschooling, she is now appreciative of her parent’s choices.

“Being homeschooled really shaped me into becoming a designer,” she said. “The extra time I had to spend at home kind of got the creative ideas spinning in my head.”

Savanna also spent a great many hours on the floors of her grandmother’s sewing rooms, soaking in the lifetime of skills both women offered.

One of her earliest memories, Savanna says, centers around sewing.

“I can remember sitting on my Granny’s floor while she sewed. She would hand me a needle, thread, and a swatch of fabric for me to make anything I wanted.”

As talented as Savanna is today, she concedes that she was not a child prodigy. “I couldn’t make anything when I was that young, but I definitely knew how to put some very crooked stitches in a piece of fabric!”

Savanna continued to hone her technique, culminating in a particularly frustrating project she was trying to complete by herself. The pattern for a skirt proved to be maddening, and she threw the whole thing into the trash.

Then, she fished it out.

“I said to myself, ‘I can make this without that stupid pattern!’ At the time, I didn’t really think I could, but a few hours later I realized—I was right.”

That was the moment a spark was lit for Savanna.

“I could make a skirt without a pattern and without any guides,” she said, “because I’m a designer, not a seamstress.”

“From that point on, there was no stopping my designs.”


To discover more of God’s design for this sweet southern gal, tune in on Friday for our next installment of “Getting Hitched with Savanna Lewis”.


Promzilla: How Going Viral Cheapens Love

Breezy had something on her heart that she wanted to share…and I love it. PLEASE read this!!

“The tide of social media is rising everyday. We’re being drowned by a culture where bigger is better and viral is best. We’re living for the likes, the shares, the re-Tweets and the re-Pins. What better evidence of this phenomenon amongst high school-age kids than the promposal?

If you’re like me, the idea of a promposal is completely insane. Every girl in my high school (whether she admitted it or not) just wanted to be asked! The marching band didn’t join in, costumes and banners were nowhere to be seen, and celebrity cameos weren’t involved.

Being asked to prom was a brief, shining moment when a guy put his heart in a girl’s hands and blurted out, “doyouwannagotopromwithme?” If she wanted to, she said yes. And that was it.

But that’s not it anymore. These days, a guy is under pressure to stage some kind of spectacle when asking that special someone to a dance. It sounds like a sweet thing to do. Most girls want to be on the receiving end of such a gratifying display of affection. Yet, there’s a major problem brewing just beneath the surface.

Promposals are distorting true love.

To be fair, I do not speak from experience. I can’t remember how my then-boyfriend asked me to prom. That’s how insignificant it was during prom season 2005. The only proposal I’ve received I do remember, however, with absolute clarity.

In 2006, when we were both 19 years old, my beloved took me out to dinner. When the time came, he got down on one knee with his grandmother’s ring in his pocket. He looked into my eyes as he took my hand and asked me to marry him. When I said yes, the three other people in the Pizza Hut clapped and whistled.

Did you catch that?

My husband asked me to marry him in a Pizza Hut while a trio of strangers looked up from their cheesy stuffed crusts.


There are no pictures or videos of this. I’m pretty sure no one other than me and my husband remember it happened at all. When our little living room wedding followed that Pizza Hut proposal, my heart was completely satisfied. The only expectation I had for my wedding day was to be married by the end of the night. Any other wonderful things that came our way were just unexpected blessings.

I married my man for love—not for a Vine worthy proposal, or an Instagram ceremony, or a Pinterest inspired reception, or a Tweetable honeymoon. I can still say that it was the simplest and best decision I ever made.

After we said “I do”, months passed and we were at each other’s throats. With Jesus as the center of our relationship, we could always find our way back to just being those two kids who wanted a marriage more than a proposal, and a life together more than a wedding. When things went wrong, I didn’t have “the perfect proposal” or “the perfect wedding” to compare it to. The sweet things my new husband did for me stood on their own, not in the shadow of all the elaborate, extravagant, fantastical things he had done before.

Turns out, there is something to be said for having low expectations.

Are we watering down God’s intention for love by splashing it all over the internet, by measuring it’s worth by how many times strangers click on a little thumbs up icon? Ask the Lord to show you the dreams He put in your heart and how He wants you and your future husband to fulfill them.

If you decide to find joy in the simple moments—-like how thrilling it is when he holds your hand, how amazing his smile is, or how your heart soars when he prays with you and for you—you’ll be much more satisfied with God’s plan.

You and the things your sweetheart does for you are special, whether the internet knows about it or not.”