Some Wisdom I Do Have

Fun fact: I’ve fallen in love.

I know – it’s hard for me to believe as well. But here I am, going into the fifth month of a relationship and I am madly, hopelessly in love.

Again, I know – five months is not a long time when there are couples who have been married for 10, 25, 50 years. But I think we can take wisdom from any stage of life and so, in honor of the anniversary of five months with the love of my life, here are some things I’ve learned about being in a relationship.

1. The person you’re with shouldn’t be a necessity, they should be a desire.

This summer I wrote about wanting to be in a relationship but not wanting it to be my entire identity. I think I learned this concept a little too well. Honestly, at the end of the summer, I was completely content being single for the rest of my life and never being in a relationship. I didn’t think I needed a man to completely and frankly, I was right. I don’t need a man for me to be whole or successful. Getting to know Matt, though, changed my perspective on why I should date.

I didn’t need Matt, I still don’t need Matt. But I want Matt. I want to do life with him. I want to spend every day by his side. I want to be there on the tough days and the good days. I want to cry with him, laugh with him, fight with him and scream with him. I want to trust God with him but I am in no way dependant on him for my security, my identity or my relationship with God.

On my own, I am a perfectly capable person but we enjoy each other’s company and therefore we want to spend our lives together.

I think too many relationships have been ruined by codependency. When your entire foundation for your life becomes another person it’s no longer a desire to please the other person simply because you want them to be happy. It becomes solely about yourself because you can’t bear to live life without them and therefore selfishly don’t want to lose them.

2. Say you’re sorry first.

The pictures I post are deceiving. Believe it or not, Matt and I fight – shocking I know. But I think we’ve both decided that even when we fight, we don’t just want to stay mad at each other. We usually will say our passive aggressive comments, wait two minutes (sometimes three if I’m being stubborn), realize how dumb we are and apologize right away.

We’ve learned that fighting and staying mad at each other doesn’t actually solve anything. It’s better if we just talk about what hurt us, why things like that do hurt us and then kiss and make up. Why would I want to stay mad at my favourite person in the world? Why would I want to continually hurt them by holding a grudge?

I’ve learned to say sorry first because we can solve many more problems when we’re working together rather than when we’re working against each other.

3. Find a grace-filled person.

News flash: a relationship doesn’t magically fix all the problems you had when you were single. In fact, your issues are highlighted even more.

When looking for someone that could potentially be your forever, please make sure they are full of grace. This is the person that is going to see every. Single. Part. Of. You. They’ll know you at your darkest and at your brightest. If they can’t forgive you for little things, how can you expect to trust them with the massive sins you’ve committed in your life?

Matt (aside from Jesus, obvi) is the most grace-filled person I know. There hasn’t been a time where he has held something against me for long and because of that, I have been able to trust him with more and more parts of myself. Find someone like Matt who, no matter what you throw at them – whether it be a bad mood, tears, a confession, a sassy comment – will take each punch and turn around to forgive you and love you.

4. Figure out how they feel loved.

One of the first things Matt asked me after we started dating was how I felt loved and cared for. I asked him the same and since that day we have strived to love each other well; not in the way we think the other should feel loved but in ways that they personally feel love.

Sometimes this may take you out of your comfort zone and push you to act in ways that don’t come naturally to you but that’s what we’re meant to do for love, isn’t it?

This seems like a simple task but it is so, so important. Each person needs to be giving 100% in a relationship. We should be constantly trying to make our significant other feel loved, valued, and worthy and the second we stop trying, is the second that relationship starts to die. Never stop trying to love one another.

5. Talk to each other.

Again, seems simple. But this is the most important one. Go to the other when there are issues in the relationship. Please, please, whatever you do – do NOT rag on your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife to your friends. This is the most toxic thing you could do for a relationship.

If you have issues with one another – TALK

If you have issues with life – TALK

If you have issues with friends – TALK

If you have issues with yourself – TALK

That person is there to be your support system, your best friend, your confidant. Talk to them, let them into the deepest, most intimate part of you and let them help you. They want to (and if they don’t, that’s a different issue).

Along with this, never stop learning about them. Ask them about their childhood, learn about their friends and the drama that went down in 7th grade. Learn their favourite cooking show and what they like to do when they’re bored and hungry.

Life and relationships are a journey and a process. You’re going to fail time and time again but never stop giving grace, never stop learning about one another, and never stop loving each other.

And to the man who has changed my life completely – I love you, I love you, I love you. You’re the best thing.

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To My People.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year.

Last year at this time, I was at camp getting ready for the hundreds of campers I was going to meet. I had just moved back to Canada and everything in my life was in transition.

A lot of new things happened in this year but the thing my mind keeps wandering back to is all the people I got to know.

I’ve met some incredible people.

I love meeting new people but it’s never been something that I was very good at. I’ve always been very shy and (something I also realized in the past two years) I always seem to attract people who take and take from me rather than give.

This year was different.

Guys, between camp, school and church, I can’t stress enough how many cool people I have in my life. Real, genuine, down to earth people who encourage and love me like Jesus does.

Jesus really knew what I needed this year. Moving away from my family was hard but it was made easier by the people He brought into my life.

We need people in our life who spur us on.

We need people who ask hard questions, who talk about real issues and who aren’t afraid to confront you when something is wrong.

We need people who teach us things – as hard as those lessons may be. We need people who leave and we need people who come so that we can learn and grow and develop who we are as a person.

Right now I’m sitting in bed and I am so happy. I feel so blessed that Jesus has given me the old and new friends and relationships he has this year.

This year was a real growing year for me and I think most of it is due to the people that are in my life.

So to my people,

Thank you, I love you and I’m better off because of you.

To the One Who’s Healing

Maybe you’re broken right now.

Maybe you’re surrounded by sunshine, flowers, parties and everything else that signifies the beginning of summer and you feel utterly helpless and broken inside. Me too. I’m glad I’m not alone.

This is for you, but it’s also for me. Lord knows I need it too.

I’m in a season of healing. A season of picking up broken pieces and trying to figure out how to put them back together again, a season of hurting but also a season of renewal, a season of loneliness but also of independence.

Quite honestly, it’s not fun most days.

I’ve said on more than one occasion that I absolutely despise the fact that this whole healing process takes time. I don’t want to wait for “time to heal” I just want to be healed.  But, as I’m stubbornly learning, healing isn’t a fast process. It’s slow and most of the time painful. I’m learning that in order to be healed to our fullest, we first need to feel the extent to which we’ve been hurt. As unfortunate as it is, we need to embrace our pain in order to move on from it.

I don’t know what healing looks like for you. Maybe it’s calling your best friend to cry and talk for hours, maybe it’s surrounding yourself with people to escape the loneliness, maybe it’s trying to be more independent by exploring and doing things by yourself, maybe it’s studying and immersing yourself in truth, maybe it’s long drives at 3:00 am, maybe it’s tears streaming down your face. For me it’s all these things and I think it will be all these things for a while.

I think it will be months of letting the tears fall, months of allowing myself to be angry, months of being real and knowing that it’s “okay to not be okay”, months of showering myself in the promises of Jesus and months of embracing this pain I’m feeling. I’m sure it’ll be months for you too.

So, strong girl and brave boy, feel that pain. Let it hurt, cry, scream, get angry, grow, heal, learn because the beautiful part of it all is that Jesus isn’t finished with any of us yet – this is the hope we have and what I’m choosing to hold onto.

Love and Valentine’s Day

I used to hate Valentine’s Day.

I have the Timehop app on my phone that shows me what I posted years ago to the day and lately, past-Tat has been posting a lot of Valentine’s Day hate.

I think that maybe I hated it because I was single and alone and in today’s society, being alone and single on Valentine’s Day is detrimental.

I also don’t think I really understood Valentine’s Day. Not that my interpretation of it today is the real reason for it, it’s just what I’m choosing to believe.

I think we can blow Valentine’s Day out of proportion. Sure it’s nice to receive love but I want to be in a relationship where I receive love every day, not just on one special holiday.

While I do think Valentine’s Day can get a little crazy, I also think it can serve as a great reminder of love and who loves us. I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately and what it means to fiercely love others unconditionally.

So here’s my Valentine’s Day reminder to you;

Dear friend,

You are so loved.

By your family, your friends, me and the most important man to ever walk the earth.

Jesus loves you deeper and wider than any human ever could and I hope that you know that today.

I hope you know that He loves you intimately and fully. He knows you deeply, He knows things that you might not even know yourself and to know someone like that is to experience a whole different level of being deeply, intimately and passionately in love.

He loves you.

His love is never going to stop, it’s never going to give up, it’s never going to run out or dry up or get old. It is a constant and it will always be there, that you can count on.

When it feels like you’re all alone, or when you feel like hope has run out, He is there and He loves you.

I hope you know that this Valentine’s Day.