Blog | Lindsey Smallwood


Finding a Place in the Sisterhood

Lindsey Smallwood

One of my regrets from my time as a college student was never joining a sorority.

I know sometimes sororities get a bad rap for being too focused on looks or emphasizing conformity. But something about the systematic approach to relationship building, the clearly defined roles, and even the matching t-shirts totally appeals to my people (and order) loving heart.  

At the southern university I attended, the process of initiation into the Greek system takes place in the summer before school begins. When I moved into the dorms the week before classes started my freshman year, sororities had already welcomed their new pledges. At that point in my young life, I didn’t even know what a sorority was and I certainly had never considered moving away to college early to join one. I missed my opportunity before I even knew it existed.

There was a second chance, a week a year later when sophomores could pursue the initiation process. But by the time sophomore year rolled around my calendar was full with other commitments. Plus, I worried that I’d be the odd-ball, joining a class of girls younger than I was.

Still in the nearly 15 years since graduation, I’ve often wondered how my college experience would have been different if I’d had the chance to join one of those storied sisterhoods. It’s a small sadness that surfaces whenever the word “sorority” pops up in conversation.

Until recently...

Continue reading at (in)Courage by clicking here.

Surprised & Delighted

Lindsey Smallwood

You guys, today I have a totally fun story featured at (in)courage, which I love because

  1. (in)courage has writers I deeply admire, like Ann Voskamp and Deidre Riggs and Lysa Terkeurst and Liz Curtis Higgs. These are gals whose books are on my shelf. So I'm totally fangirling to even be included in the awesome-ness over there.

  2. It's a Christmas story, which - let's be honest - is always actually the best kind of story. Because Christmas is the best. I'm sorry. You can't tell me and my Mariah Carey CD otherwise.

Here's a quick peek at the intro, I'd love it if you hopped over to read the whole thing at (in)courage, I'll share the link at the bottom of this post. 

I had no idea it was coming.

This speaks to how clever my mom was about surprising me because I was a notorious present-peeker. Unwrapping packages without ripping the paper became my specialty. Each year I spent hours stealthily surveying the gifts under our tree, carefully pulling back the tape to discover what was inside and filing a mental inventory of who was getting what. By the time we reread the nativity story on Christmas Eve, I usually had every box accounted for.

But not that year.

I was 10 years old. As we opened our presents, I thought I knew the contents of each package with my name on it, a new dress, some socks and underwear, and a set of books I couldn’t wait to dive into.  When we were nearly finished exchanging gifts, my mom reached behind her rocking chair and pulled out a narrow package.

She handed it me, smiling as I shook the box, wondering at its contents. I took off the paper and gasped when I saw what was inside. It was a phone! Not a cellular phone — those were the size of a loaf of bread in 1992 — this was a landline phone for my bedroom, my very own extension. It was made of neon foam, like most great things were in the 90s, with an oversized yellow ear on the top and giant hot pink lips serving as the mouthpiece. I immediately imagined myself laying on my bed and having private talks with friends from school, like the girls in the books I adored.

I was completely surprised and totally delighted. It was the perfect gift, a sign that my mom knew me, knew what I would love, even before I thought to ask for it myself.

As I tell this story of Christmas, I’m struck that it is also the Story of Christmas. We think we know what’s coming but we’re handed a surprise.

“ . . . for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” {Matthew 6:8, ESV}

We would never dream of asking for a baby born in poverty to an unwed mother, but the incarnation is exactly what we’ve always longed for. It’s the reality of God with us, loving us enough to enter in to our experience. The gift of Christ’s coming in the Christmas story is God’s way of showing that He knows us, understands us, and has been planning to delight us all along.

God’s gift to us is Himself.

He’s everything we want and yet totally surprising, the way good presents usually are.


This post originally appeared at (in)courage.
You can find it by clicking here.