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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Confessions: when you want to live somebody else's life for them

When I have intimate relationships with people, I love them with all I have.
My friends are my life. They make me who I am, they make me better, and they feed my soul on a daily basis.

My friends, like everyone else in the world, go through hard trials. And me, being the controlling person that I am, would like to jump into the driver's seat of their life and try to steer them the "correct" way.

My fiancé, for example, is in the process of finding a new car after his car was totaled in the middle of the night by a texting driver. This is a new process for him, as he hasn't really had to search for cars on his own yet. With me being in class constantly, I'm often helpless to assist him in battles with dealerships and it really bothers me. This car situation has been such a source of stress to him and all I want is to take it away. However, me stressing about getting rid of the stress has essentially added unnecessary stress to the situation. Me feeling like I need to have control over my fiancé's problem has added more problems. In this situation, I reverted back to some old tendencies of mine.

I've always been this way. At first, people called me the "lecturer" because anytime anyone would do anything remotely bad I would tell them all the reasons why thats going to put them down a bad path. I lost a lot of friends this way. Because when people are going through something hard and they don't feel like they have control over their life and actions, the last thing they want to hear is how everything that they are doing is wrong.

I learned this the hard way, unfortunately. And I've been on a journey of trying to recalibrate my judgmental words to those who I love and transform them into words of support and love.
But that still doesn't change the gut-wrenching feeling of "I want to change your life for you".

When I love you, I feel what you feel.
For a long time, I thought it was a curse, but today I see it as a gift. The ability to feel empathy is a gift. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this world who are unable to feel empathy, for whatever reason. But the heartbreak and confusion that my friends face, is something that resonates within me too. Sometimes I lose sleep over it, overcome with the idea that someone I love is probably losing sleep over that broken place in their life.

While I cannot fully understand all the inner conflictions and sensitivities of everyone, I still want to try to. Thats why I dig into people. I frequently ask "Penny for your thoughts" because I truly, truly do want to know your thoughts. I want to be a listener and I want to give advice when asked for it and I want to be a support when it feels like no one else is supporting.

Its a struggle, however, because most people don't want to give their thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are bad, are hard to swallow, and really, really, depressing. But those thoughts are real.
I'm in a place in my life where all I crave for is real, honest-to-God, authentic humanity. Even if its dirty and as far away from perfection as it possibly could be. Even if it hurts.

If I could just reach inside you and pull the inner struggle out of you, I would.
I know what inner struggle feels like. Just because I struggle with things different from you does not make me any less able to feel empathy for you.
I've said this in a post before-- Its still the same struggle.
My pastor once said that its the same struggle because we all struggle to surrender.

You know how hard it is to want to surrender everything to God?
You ask yourself-- how does one even go about doing that?
When you have so many questions and not enough answers, sometimes the only thing you want to surrender is your thoughts.
So, surrender them to someone who wants to listen, whether it is me or another person you trust.
I'm a firm believer that keeping things bottled inside only lets the bad feelings simmer into a pot of mess-up-your-life-stew.

I want to help. I can't live your life for you, though I might want to, but the least I can do is be a confidante. So lets open up to each other.

Lets be real.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A ramble and a cup of joe.

So I'm sitting in Starbucks behind a young man and woman conversing... And their dynamic is warm and beautiful and fresh- they are talking openly and freely, getting serious, then laughing... I sense love is in the air! You might think I'm a creeper for listening in on strangers, but, if you've read my other blogs, you'd know how much I love analyzing strangers.

Sometimes strangers tell you more about yourself and who you want to be more than someone you've known for years. Just the way they represent themselves makes you look at the way you represent your own self. Are you friendly? Open? Grumpy? Talkative? Annoying? Charismatic? Shy?

Those first 5 seconds of meeting someone is sometimes a moment you remember for a long time-- despite the thing they regret saying yesterday, despite the pain they are still getting over, despite the baggage you can't shrug off.

"My history doesn't look good" he says, "Mine doesn't either" she replies.

They laugh, and move on, and enjoy each other's company despite the stories they just shared with each other, revealing their rocky past.

And now they share their little quirks, and you can tell they find each other endearing because of them.

Friends, THIS is what a normal date, get together, or any kind of social experience should look like.

I feel like we are lacking this today.

Why is the act of deep conversation a thing of the past?

Why can't we take the time to dive deep into each other's minds, with walls down, and hearts open, respecting each other and showing each other you are important?

This is something I need to work on too. It's a lot easier to stay in my own mind than try to share the craziness within my brain (cause let me tell ya, it's pretty cray cray in there). Sometimes I'm with my fiancé, and fail to partake in the deep conversation we need because I'm too occupied with my phone or other illegitimate things.

I want us- myself and my loved ones, this generation, this world- to have this same level of social intimacy as these strangers in Starbucks do.

Intimacy gets a bad rap. People either understand it as a concept of sex, or just as something incredibly uncomfortable. Because sometimes being intimate with someone- showing your heart and soul-- that really is uncomfortable. But once you knock down those walls and get past the initial uncomfortable feeling, you realize the value of intimacy. You realize that is the foundation to real friendships and real love.

Yall, let's be REAL with each other. These roles we think we need to put ourselves in are often an unnecessary detour from our destiny. Let's be intimate, let's show our hearts, let's treat our neighbors like we would want to be treated, and love each other through our messes.

Messes can be really beautiful sometimes.

Back to my cappuccino I go.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Heart-wrenching, bone-trembling change.

I've been sort of MIA this summer.

I'll be honest with what my main task was: I was watching sitcoms.

Friends and How I Met Your Mother to be exact.

And I sort of felt bad about it because I never wanted to be that girl who wastes her life sitting around watching Netflix all day, but now that I've finished all 10 seasons of Friends and all 9 seasons of HIMYM, I think I know why I got so attached to these shows.

The premise of both of these shows is this journey of growing up, destiny, and change-- sometimes heart wrenching, bone trembling change.

And even though its just sappy TV... they've got some truth to em.

Because I'm there.

Right now I have a book titled Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married sitting beside me. I have a beautiful diamond ring on my left hand. In 2 weeks, I'll move to the start of finishing up my last year living on campus at college before I become a married woman.

I'm so incredibly excited for whats ahead because everything that I want, everything that I know is my destiny, is finally being fulfilled...
But right now its bittersweet. I'm not blind to the heart wrenching, bone trembling change that is ahead of me. I know that I'm walking into a difficult path but I know its one that I truly want to take.

For so long, I've hated my youth. Thats such a strange thing to say, but I have. I wanted to make adult decisions even when I didn't know what adult decisions were. I've been really naive in thinking that. I wanted to be a grown-up and deal with grown-up stuff because as long as I can remember, the piddly adolescent stuff has got on my nerves. I've never been the party girl, never been the girl that dated around, always wanted to make mature decisions and always wanted to be smart. Yeah, I had my teenage girl moments. But after I started high school, I really did want to morph into a mature woman.

It took heartbreak, lost friendships, losing my mind, and finally refocusing my perspective to change me into who I am today. And really, this blog was started when I finally felt like I was becoming who I really wanted to be.

In 280 days, I'm totally pushing adolescence behind me.

I'm over my head in wedding planning and this week, I got really discouraged. Not because of the stress of wedding planning necessarily (although it is pretty stressful trying to find an affordable venue), but because I know I'm putting so much time and thought into something that is a symbol of a brand new chapter of my life--- no, a brand new book.
I know the setting will change. The theme will change. The vibe will change. And I'm afraid that the characters will change.

I've dealt with this heart wrenching, bone trembling change so many times in my life. But most of it was change that came as a slow fade. Right now, its something looming ahead.

Its scary, but also really exciting. I could also say that its exciting, but also really scary (haha).

If theres one thing that I've received from this summer of wasting my life watching sitcoms, its that it doesn't matter how the place changes, but how the people change.
I mean, come on... the moment Monica and Chandler closed their apartment door, it wasn't a sad moment because of the fact that they had to leave the apartment, but for the fact that they had changed so much and their circumstances had changed so much, that they had to leave the past behind.

And Ted met his kids' mother only through a system of change in himself. Had he not experienced the people that he did, he probably never would have found her.

In the same way, had I not been surrounded by the beautiful people in my life, I would not have found my sweet man, who I am so excited to marry. I only found him because my family and my friends, and even people who I didn't know, and even people who hurt me... they all taught me what to look for in a man, but more importantly, what to BE before I found a man.

For so long I thought that God wouldn't send me my husband until I had gone through college, and experienced the real world by myself. I thought I needed to be taught total independence to be able to be a good wife and a good citizen and a good person.

But finding my sweet man has brought about a heart wrenching, bone trembling change in me, because I know now that I need to be taught interdependence. I can become better by experiencing even more heart wrenching, bone trembling change with the man of my dreams by my side.

In the past 2 years, I've learned that people are better than places. And it doesn't matter where God takes me, or what heart wrenching, bone trembling change He puts me through... He will always have the perfect people to be there to pull me out of myself, and point me to my destiny.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Big M-word (Marriage)

This is a long one... so.... tough through it with me haha.

I made a conscious decision about half-way through high school that I wanted to withhold from "finding the man of my dreams" until after college, so that I could focus on my career and get somewhere in life. When I graduated high school, I was surprised to see so many people my age getting married. My parents were happy to hear that I thought they were all crazy-- I mean, if I got married at that time I would be giving up on all my dreams and what-if's and could-be's. I couldn't imagine giving up my dreams to go to France and living on my own to find my identity out here in this crazy world. I'm a pretty independent person who finds joy in doing things on her own, so I looked forward to taking on the world by myself.

I seriously judged these people for jumping into marriage so young.

This world preaches to us to wait for marriage because it supposedly "is the end of your life as you know it". Marriage is when you have to give up your dreams and get into the hard stuff of life. You are forced to think about the negatives of marriage-- what if you hate it? What if you marry the wrong guy? What if you get a divorce? And really, the only thing that people enthuse about marriage is the wedding. You have to have the perfect dress, the perfect venue, the perfect reception. However, perfect marriages are not something that is talked about a lot.

You see some of the older couples who have just celebrated their 50th anniversary and you think, "Wow. Thats really great." yet everywhere you turn in your generation, that sacred idea is being torn apart. Marriage is only a certificate these days, not a covenant that God has ordained.

I went through my first year of college confident that I would be single for the rest of my life (haha). Not finding the man of my dreams would probably lead me to finding the man of my nightmares if I was lonely enough. And there were days (lots of days) where I was just plain lonely. For a girl who hasn't had many romantic relationships, its easy to think that Prince Charming just isn't out there. I fought between "WHERE IS MY PRINCE?!" and "I'M A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO DON'T NEED NO MAN." My friends and roommates can attest to this. All my life, I've been fed by the ladies in my life that we grow up to become wives and when you grow up hearing "When you're married one day.... " you look forward to finding your mate. Even when your worldly view doesn't want anything to do with marriage yet. Its confusing.

So the summer after my Freshman year, I find him. Yes, him. It was a whirlwind of my world turning upside down (in a good way) and making me rethink all of my life plans. You know, people say that fairytale love stories aren't real anymore, but I'm here to say that ours is. Falling in love with him was easy. Uncomplicated. Graceful. I didn't have the anxiety of whether he felt the same or not, he was always open and honest with me and that was the foundation of our relationship. Within a month, we knew that we had found the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. Meaning, marriage was spoken of that early. To anyone reading this, I'm sure you gasped.

"What?! You think you're going to marry someone after you've been dating a month?! You're stupid, immature, and full of it."

I struggled with this. I was preaching the "You just know" mentality while the world was telling me "You don't know someone until you've been with them at least 2 years". And I know its true that you don't truly know everything about someone until you've been together for a long time, but it was different for us. We did everything possible to make sure there were no walls between us. We were 100% transparent. 100% honest. 100% giving. 100% aware of what was ahead. Immediately, we were in prayer of our future. Our present. Our knowledge gained from the past. It was a long-distance relationship that summer because he lived a good hour and a half away but we stayed in contact throughout every day as much as possible. Talked on the phone every night as we went to sleep.

I found this quote by Elbert Hubbard which kind of jarred me.

The one thing that stood out to me in this quote is this: since when is the whole idea of marriage a mistake? Sure, if you're getting married for the wrong reasons. But if you love someone, truly love someone and can't go a day without them and would do anything for them- why is marrying them a mistake?

Here's what I know to be true about marriage: The sooner you get married, the sooner you can stop living for someone other than yourself. Marriage is not selfish- its the exact opposite.

It is 100% accepted between my man and I that our covenant to each other begins now. I've been preached to that the engagement is when you decide whether or not you're actually going to be with this person forever but our relationship has been different than anything anyone has ever preached to me. 

We didn't start out normal. We found each other through uncoincidentally attending the same church, barely knew each other on our first date, prayed with each other in the parking lot of Amelies on the first date and within two weeks, we were convinced we were falling deep in love with each other. Within a month, we knew God had led us to each other for a divine purpose. Telling my parents that I knew I was going to marry this man they didn't know was hard. Lectures and arguments proceeded. We couldn't really see eye to eye on the matter because frankly, they weren't in the midst of our relationship so they didn't really know our hearts. 

I expected judgement from everyone. Mainly for the fact that I was once that judger. Not everyone has a love story like ours and not everyone can understand or empathize with it. And relationships are between 2 people (excuse me, 3 people including God)-- not 500. So when people were surprised to find us in a serious relationship months into it, I didn't take offense. Everyone on Facebook simply does not need to know when we make promises to each other. 

Were it not for me being in college and my entire family telling me everyday we have to wait until I'm done with school until we get married, we probably would have been engaged by 6 months. We tried to be cautious, however. We tried to take it one day at a time. We accepted that us getting married was an event far far away... until the days away from each other became harder. Goodbyes felt impossible to say. We felt so drawn to each other, we literally would cry before parting if we knew it would be more than a week before we saw each other again. I never thought I was the person to have that sort of relationship... that feeling like you literally can't live without someone. But there I was... and still am. We got to a point that the word "goodbye" was not an option, and replaced it with "See you soon". Marriage began to creep to the forefront of our hearts.

1 Timothy 4 says "Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer."

Over a year ago, if you had told me my brain was in a tug of war with my heart over marriage, I would have scoffed. But I had become a different person, I had a different mindset. I knew we would have little support from the world if we decided to get married sooner than later. The troubles of this world can overshadow the Godly decision to take part in a covenant. Reality is tough. We weren't blind to the high possibility of pain and failure.

In the midst of this tug of war within both me and my man, we witnessed the sacred covenant of marriage being ripped to shreds all around us. We agreed that God had put us together to lift up His original creation of marriage... to proclaim the goodness of God in a covenant. Knowing how flawed we were (are), knowing how often we fail our Savior... we knew this was a chance to bring glory to Him. Maybe in a way that wasn't pleasing to everyone, but in a way we knew was pleasing to Him.

God has revealed so much about myself and more importantly, His character, through our relationship. I thought I was patient, I was shown how impatient I am. I thought I was a decent person, I was shown how truly self-serving I am. Despite all my faults, I was given so much grace. Not only through my sweet Savior Jesus, but through the love of my sweet man, who took all of my crazy in his hands and loved it selflessly, with grace. I was given a man who proclaimed Jesus over us from the beginning and through every day of our relationship. 

Today, I'm smiling with gratefulness in my heart... for the sleepless nights of prayer, for the days of uncertainty, for the moments of doubt, for the confusion in my mind, for the long...long...long... wait.
Some people have to wait longer. Some people have different circumstances. Some people simply aren't able to get married. I thought that was gonna be us. But I knew God wanted us together and so I knew that He would provide.

Today, that gratefulness in my heart for the difficult past few months is because the harvest is finally here. We have support, we have encouragement, we have loving people loving us through this decision and I can't help but cry such happy tears. I am filled with such joy.

I'm engaged. And soon, I will be married to the best man I've ever known. 
And as wonderful as this journey has been, it also hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies.
We've had to really trust God with our situation. It hasn't been easy. We had OUR plans, but God seems to always have a different one. And its always better.

Every difficult time in my life is defined by this: a lack of trust. 
God wanted me to trust Him with everything surrounding marriage before He could give us the opportunity to get married. 
And I'd be a liar if I said I completely trust Him with everything. 
I still doubt. I still question a lot of stuff.  
But I also think that God understands my doubt. He understands my questions. He understands my anxiety, and also my family's anxiety. 
But He's here. He always has been and always will be. 
I felt Him that first night in the parking lot of Amelies. I cried the whole way home because I knew that something special--something different --was happening. 

You don't have to believe me. You don't have to support us. 
But my sweet, sweet Father is with us. He is for us. 
And we're asking to take part in a journey that a lot of people depart from before the trip is finished. 
Together, we're standing saying "Here we are God, send US".

With God, ALL things are possible. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Struggle.

I'm writing this because I feel if more Christians shared their struggles, we could better learn how to be like Jesus.

This past Sunday I didn't go to church.

"Big woop-dee-doo" you say.

You see, normally, I'm excited to go to church. I love my church. Its something I look forward to.
But this weekend I was feeling broken. Moody, more than anything.
I was feeling angry and I wasn't exactly sure why.
And I had an inner conflict, a struggle, that I felt like I wanted to deal with by myself.
And I also didn't want anyone to tell me what to do.

Tell me, is that why YOU didn't go to church? You were afraid of someone telling you what to do?
You were terrified of the typical church words: "You should ___"?

I'm tired of that.
I've been a Christian for a long time, been involved in a lot of Christiany things, and I've said a lot of Christiany things. But suddenly, I'm tired of it.

And I think thats because what people define as "Christiany" these days is actually just "churchy".

And that has just turned me off.

I've tried to be theological. I've tried to be what people think is a "solid Christian lady" but at the end of the day-- thats not who I am.

I am flawed beyond belief. I am filthy. I struggle with things that I feel like I've been struggling with for far too long, and yet no matter how hard I struggle back, it never seems to subside.

I see people who I love dearly struggle.
Some are people who, like me, have put on the "perfect" face for all of our other Christian friends and family. And they feel that if they shared their struggles, that would cause others to think less of them as Christian individuals.

Why are we this way? I can't help but think of Casting Crown's "Stained-glass Masquerade" and how I used to think so highly of that song years and years ago. But I realize it didn't quite make sense to me then because I wasn't going through the enduring struggles that I am now.
Now, I understand.

I listened to this weekend's sermon just a bit ago, titled "The Same Struggle."
I immediately regretted not going to church. Because it was exactly what I needed to hear Sunday. But Sunday, I didn't want to hear anything.
I didn't even want to hear the voice of God.
I only wanted to hear myself.

You wanna know what my struggle is?
Its the same as yours.
A lack of surrender.
It might be a different situation than yours, but its still the same struggle.

I have many areas of my life that I want to change. Areas that when I look in the mirror sometimes, I just want to break the glass.

Tell me, do YOU ever feel like that?

I know we're all hurting in some way.
Plans falling apart, people dying, relationships crumbling, financial terrors, regrets of past mistakes...

But its all the same. We're all struggling because we were born into a struggle and when we accepted Jesus, we agreed to struggle like He did.

He's struggling with us and for us and all He wants us to do is SURRENDER.

I have a hard time doing that.
Something my pastor said in the sermon rubbed me the wrong way.

"It doesn't matter what opposes me when I already know the outcome." 

No!!! I wanted to shout.
I don't know the outcome!!! It DOES matter what opposes me! I feel like I can't win against this struggle!!! 

But then he said, "The fact that you're still struggling is a sign that you're gonna make it."

I am? But why is it so hard right now to get through this?

I just wanna be done with school, I wanna get my life started, I wanna do this, do that.. Maybe my struggle will be over when these things end?


I know they won't.

I know all I can do is surrender. Not MY will, but HIS be done.

You see, the outcome pastor was talking about was not the outcome that I'm thinking about.
I see a future in this world- everything I want to be, everything I want to do...
But he was talking about a future out of this world- everything I WILL be in the presence of God.

Sometimes its hard to get my head out of the earth.

I want you to know that I'm there with you.
You don't have to cover everything up to look perfect, because guess what?
None of us are. We've all screwed up big time. We're all messes.

Why can't we all just be messes together?

I really encourage you to watch/listen to this weekend's message from Elevation Church.
God is working.


Are you tired of feeling like you have to be perfect and just want to open up about what you're struggling with? Me too.

Open up with me. Lets listen to each other and support each other, like I know Jesus wants us to do.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm not Wonder Woman.

I'm feeling heavy today. Like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
We all get these days.
Sometimes its just a bad day. Sometimes we realize things are different than how we think they should be. Sometimes the future looks ominous and gray. Sometimes our plans shatter before our eyes.

Today, I feel like Wonder Woman has been defeated.
Wonder Woman being me. Even though thats not me.
Obviously, because Wonder Woman doesn't get defeated. She wins. At everything.

I'm laying here feeling defeated because I have this mindset that everyone, everything, and even God has called me to be Wonder Woman.
I have to have everything together. I have to have everything planned out.

Lets put onto paper the next 5 years of my life. 

I have to please everyone around me-- my family, my friends, the bagger at the check-out line.

If I don't go home soon, everyone is going to think I hate them.
Oh please don't be disappointed in me. 
Smile, look like the nicest person that ever was!

More importantly, I have to please God in everything that I do.

I can't have God being disappointed in me.

I have to be in accordance with every doctrine I've ever been taught.

The conflict is too real in my head right now.

I can't have these emotions rolling out of control....

I'm supposed to be calm, not complicated. 

...even when nothing in my head seems to have any order.


I have to look presentable.

I have to have my skin looking nice. Makeup, more makeup.
I can't be looking bald today, lets tease the hair a little more. 
You just ate ANOTHER brownie? Enough said here.

And as the burden gets heavier and heavier and my mind gets more confused by my fight for perfection, I realize that this is exactly what Satan wants me to do.

Its at these times when I'm struggling to be perfect that I question God's perfection.

This is a confession that some might find blasphemous, but its the truth.

How can a perfect God who knows how imperfect His creations are ask perfection from them?

And this is how the Devil gets me.

I confided in my roommate in the midst of my sorrows this afternoon.
"I feel like everyone and everything and even God is calling me to be Wonder Woman and I can't! I just can't!"
"No," she said. "God has never and will never call you to be Wonder Woman."
"Then what has He called me to be?! I don't know what He wants me to be!!!"

God has not called me to be Wonder Woman. He has called me to be the best that I can be, but He knows I can't be perfect. He knows I'm going to fail.

And thats why He gave me Jesus.
Every failure, every heartache, every shattered plan, every broken dream, every crazy emotion, every useless tear, every slip-up, every mess-up, EVERYTHING-- is covered by the blood of Christ.

My roommate put it this way:
God does not call me to be Wonder Woman, but He has called me to be...
Close to Christ
At spiritual peace

This resonated with me in an astounding way.

Close to Christ: Above all, I want to live like Jesus. I want to walk throughout my day by holding His hand and Him telling me how to walk. I want to love people the way that He loves people, I want to extend Grace like He has extended Grace to ME.

Healthy: God made me. He knows how my mind works. He knows how my body works. He knows what I do need and what I don't need. Based on that knowledge, I am 100% certain that God understands what it takes for me to be mentally and physically stable, regardless of what anyone on this earth has to say about anything. And also based on that knowledge, I'm 100% certain that Satan understands what it takes to rip me a new one. And that devil uses outside sources paired with my own self-destruct mechanism to put me down a black hole of confusion, chaos, and insanity.
That fight for perfection? It messes me up in the head. And it will mess you up in the head too.
Look, mental health is critical, people. I'm a psychology major. I know.

At spiritual peace: My roommate put it this way-- despite how you're feeling or circumstances surrounding you, you know you're on the right track. Peace is not an emotion, its a real state of being. Peace does not mean everything is going right, for everything that may be going wrong is leading you in the right direction.

Mm. Let me say that again because God put those words in me just now and I'm feeling preached to.

PEACE does not mean that everything is going right-- it may mean that everything that may be going wrong is leading you in the right direction.

In the midst of crazy circumstances, unknown futures, and shattered plans, we can still have spiritual peace knowing that God has our destination set in the GPS of life.

I'm going to take a moment here to say PRAISE JESUS.

Praise Jesus that I don't have to be Wonder Woman, because I can't be Wonder Woman.

But there is a Superman.
His name is Jesus.
And today I might be a Lois Lane at the top of a rooftop crying for help.
And you know what?
Superman always swoops in and saves the day.

Big thanks to my wonderful friend, sister, roommate, and Jesus-example, Casey.
Please give her support by checking out her blog-- Grace In The Race

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When things change.

I have this problem.
I take integrity a little too seriously in a wacky way. How is that a problem, you ask?
If I say one thing, and later change my mind about it, my stomach knots.

I used to say that hats were against my religion. I would NOT wear a hat for anything. I thought they smooshed my hair down and I'm a lover of big hair so that would just be a problem.
Then one day, the whole beanie-beret thing became cute to me and I was at a crossroads.

Hat or no hat?
Well, I told everyone that I don't wear hats so that must mean I can't get a hat.
Eventually, I bit the bullet and bought a hat. Multiple hats.
The first time I wore that daggum hat I was so upset with myself.
"Everyone is going to think I'm a flighty hypocrite because I used to always say I would never wear a hat."

Yes, this is how my brain works.

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I don't chew gum.
In fact, I've been preaching against it for YEARS. Anyone who asked for gum or offered gum, I would have a conniption with.
I also love onions. Sometimes *cough* always after eating onions, I either smell like them all day or taste them all day. Which is annoying. And when nobody has mints, guess what everybody has?
Gum. There have been a few instances where, in desperation, I take a piece of gum to get rid of the onion catastrophe. And every time, whoever distributes the gum gives me DOWN THE ROAD for breaking my vow against gum.

I'm telling you all this to say: Its okay to change your mind. Its okay to prove yourself wrong.

Disclaimer: This does not apply to everything. For example- marriage, 3 months into being clean of alcohol/drugs, children, etc.

I'm talking about more trivial things that are less trivial in the moment.

You see my header up there? ^^^^^^
Eiffel towers.
Paris. On my bucket list.
When I started looking at colleges, the biggest deciding factor for a school was whether or not they offered an abroad program. Literally, my biggest dream in life had become the top places on my bucket list. My mind got a little chaotic with all these big fancy places in the world and how I could get there before life could come in and drown my dreams.
But you know what? The freaking Eiffel Tower was never the first thing on my list. It originally started out with the Palace of Versailles, and the only reason I wanted to go there is because I have this obsession with Marie Antoinette and to see where she once lived would be crazy awesome.
And then Paris is like forever advertised as the greatest place ever and its also commercialized and you can buy a billion eiffel tower things and so because nobody knew what the Palace of Versailles was, I told everyone my dream was to go to Paris because its only 30 minutes down the road from Versailles.

Am I looking crazy yet? Stay with me here.

So as you know if you keep up with my blogs, I get to college and start to reconsider my dreams because I'm beginning to think they're a little selfish. I go back and forth between planning to pack up and move to a new country for a few months and just throwing the idea out completely. Then summer comes and I open a savings account for a possible future trip. At the same time, I'm beginning to ask myself why I wanted to go there in the first place.
Pretty architecture?
I had convinced myself for awhile that it was for the people but when you don't speak a lick of French it kinda becomes apparent that you can't really interact with people.
So I take a French class.

What do you do when your dreams change?

A couple of months ago I dreamt about Paris and it was exciting. But I've realized that in all my dreams about that place, the pretty picturesque view comes and fades rather quickly.
And I've began to ask myself: have I been so focused on something that I can experience for a few hours that I've pushed aside what I'm going to be spending my life for?

I want people to understand that I'm not the same girl I was 2 years ago when I began telling everyone my dreams of visiting a country that I know barely anything about but looks pretty.

And I believe that God has changed my heart for the better. I've questioned my dreams because of my calling. I feel God has a high calling on my life-- as anyone who follows Christ should feel.
And theres been a rather hefty shift in my way of thinking.
Because my calling has become my dream.

I'm writing this because I know people like to question other's decisions. Especially when this topic has been one that I've been completely obsessed with for so long.
But I've began to think about where and how I've been called and none of those things involve fancy places across the pond.
I've been called to people to bring the people the Kingdom of God.
I've been called to be a woman of strength right here and right now.
The list goes on.
Some of you might say: Its just a trip. Whats the big deal?
Heres the thing, its an expensive trip. A trip that takes a big chunk of money that could simply go to more important things.
It all comes down to this: I'd rather get the ball rolling to where my dreams now lie, a dream that is going to be a continuous, forever thing, than throw money towards something that lasts a few days.

1 John 2:17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Positive Post

So I'm procrastinating on piles of homework this lovely Sunday morning to write some of my thoughts because I just feel like sharing the positive stuff in my brain.

Don't you wish more people would do that? Share the positive stuff instead of the negative stuff. Its so much more enjoyable.

Enjoyable. En-joy-able.
I just wrote this word down and immediately the middle syllable stood out to me.
Joy. We so often believe that joy is for a specific situation. It comes and goes.
And I, especially, can admit that my joy comes and goes in a matter of minutes. I could be the happiest woman on the face of the planet and then BAM, someone turns on the most annoying song in the world or I break my fingernail or I check my bank account and see its not as full as I'd like-- etc... The smallest negative thing can turn my joy into defeat. Which is another reason why I wish more people posted positive stuff.

When we are surrounded by negativity, how does one maintain their joy?

I'm here to say this morning that life is meant to be enjoyable.
Maybe not the way you think.
Our God is ABLE to ENCIRCLE our hearts with JOY.

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!
It would be a lie to say that this joy came from the middle of nowhere.
I've got so much to be thankful for this weekend and God has revealed so much to me the past couple of days. He has helped me push through circumstances and His grace has me completely overflowing with joy.

But I have been convicted of the fact that I don't always portray this joy. Sometimes I'm a ball of negative energy when other people need me to be positive.
So I have a challenge for us this morning-- what if we could be positive in the midst of some of the most negative moments of our life?
And how do we do that?
Worship. I don't know how anyone could worship the Father with a frown. I don't know how giving your all to God could fill your heart with dread.
He is the keeper of peace.
He is able to encircle our hearts with joy.

Hey, something else... Smile. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

It's hard to be 20.

I remember being 17 and all of my fellow 17-year-olds were so excited about turning 18. It meant that you were an "adult", that you could make your own decisions. You could buy a lottery ticket, you could take up smoking if you wanted to be dumb, heck, you could go clubbing.
And I was excited too. I knew I wasn't going to participate in all of that but it was nice to know I had the option, I guess. The idea of growing up is fun and exciting. The actual act of growing up-- not so much. I hated being 18. I hated being 19. And now, 20 isn't that great either.
See, I hate this in-between age. I would either like to be a child again, or just go ahead and be a full-blown adult. This is not to say I was unhappy or am unhappy because I am incandescently happy BUT, there is a conundrum in being 18 or 19 or even 20.


You've heard it before. How can someone be called an adult when they still have to ask to go to the restroom? 
You're still in high school when all you wanna do is get out and start your life. Somebody got the idea to say that 18 is the beginning of adulthood when in actuality you can't make adult decisions yet. Sure, you could get a part-time job. You could pay your phone bill and your car payment. Make your own decisions? Not quite yet. You can choose where you're going to put yourself into debt in the future (aka college). 
You're told to be an adult but still treated like a child. 


You're a college freshie. Real life begins to bloom. 
FREEDOM!!! ...until you run out of funds. Bring out the Ramen. But you really want to splurge on Amelies French Bakery. 
They say college is where you become your own person and thats true-- until you come back home. Back in the hometown, you feel like the same teenager who couldn't make her own decisions. Its a sad unfortunate truth when you feel ready to take off on your own.
You begin to realize that real life, as real as it can get life, is in the near future. 
Is your major going to get you anywhere, career-wise?
Are you ever going to find a man?
Are you going to be a lady with 27 cats (or bunnies) in debt up to your knees?
So you make a life plan. 
I have __ years to find my future husband. I must make ___ amount of money to get through next semester. I must save $___ for future traveling, emergencies, life, etc. I'm going to live in ___ when I move out of Mom & Dad's. This plan. That plan. Life. Life. Life. 


You realize that like all the other times you made plans for the future, they get broken. 
You're suddenly not a teenager anymore, not that you were in your own mind. But everyone else seems to still perceive you as one. 
Not much is different from 19. Worries about the future are ever-present. 
The inner struggle of being who you want to be and pleasing other people is present. 
Peer pressure isn't quite from people your age anymore. 
Impress and please the elders or please your inner calling?
Either you are feeling incredibly lonely and are secretly in search of Mr. Right or suddenly Mr. Right comes right into your life. 
You've found your someone... now what? Serious relationships in college are hard to juggle.
Life tells you to be cynical, but you want to be carefree.
You're in your 20's now, for goodness sake, thats when you find adventure, right?

I have friends who are 21, 22, 45, 60... but no matter the age, I think sometimes you find yourself in a hard situation. Life is not meant to be easy. Its meant to be worth it.

As I get older, I'm finding that the more plans that get broken, the more fulfilling my life becomes.

Some people fear surprises, but sometimes we should embrace them.

Expectations are the root of all evil.

So, fellow 20-somethings, maybe we should stop expecting for tomorrow and just live happy today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hard questions. Not the right answers.

Sometimes we have questions about life.

Its purpose, maybe.
~Why am I really here? What is my destiny? Do I have an impact on this earth? ~

Why we're going through a particular season, perhaps.
~I don't understand what's going on. I'm at a loss for words. I'm so confused. ~

Maybe even the very essence of living.
~How does one become so unhappy? How do I make it through the tough days? I need something to tell me that its worth it. ~

We ask hard questions about hard times, hard choices, hard lives.
And we are sure to get answers. Beaucoup's of answers (thats French for a lot, by the way).

I'm here to say that maybe, just maybe, we already have the answer we're looking for.
We just look for the right-off of this answer. We have this little murmur in our hearts that we don't quite believe because we want that little murmur to be a loud voice speaking over our lives. Tell me this little murmur is true. Give me a word of affirmation.

And maybe this isn't true for everyone because everyone thinks differently.
I'm sure there are those that don't need to be answered because they've already made their decision.
I'm sure there are those that don't ask the questions because they might not want to know the answer.

But sometimes, we ask hard questions- REALLY hard questions that some people might not have ever thought of before. Our minds are consumed with knowing the answer. We cannot rest until the answer is found. And we search and we search for the answer. Give me the answer!
Its exhausting and downright mentally derating.
Because some questions we ask will not ever be given the right answer.
Perhaps our piddly brains can't conjure up something good enough.
Perhaps we know the answer we want to receive and nothing except that answer will be good enough.

Some people would say: "Find the answer in the Bible."
And you search. You become dismayed at your findings because your question is not being answered.  You keep searching. Is this verse close to my topic? Oh, but I'm still so confused! I can't find an answer! Because maybe the Bible can't answer all of our questions. Maybe it wasn't meant to. In fact, I don't think it was.

God, give me the answer.

Patience, my child.

I don't have all the answers. I can't get the answers to my questions right when I want them. And maybe some of my questions will not be answered until I face my Savior face-to-face.

But know this, there is nothing wrong with asking hard questions. There is nothing wrong with finding yourself at a dead end after chasing an answer you can't find.
Don't let it derail you. Don't let it consume your mind. There are just some things we can't understand and won't understand.

When you can't find your answer, just live.
One day, you'll stop asking.
One day, your answer will come.

But for goodness sake, live.