In the Waiting

The more I get to know Jesus, the more I am astounded by his grace.

The past couple of weeks have been hard. I’ve had a week of vacation and that was wonderful and I feel like I’m normal again but boy, were those weeks hard to get through. I’ve cried more than I’d like to believe is possible, but through it all, Jesus has been faithful.

It’s interesting though, Jesus gives me affirmation and peace in many, many different ways.

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Three weeks ago, everything was too much. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I went to my room in true introvert fashion. I grabbed my Bible and journal with the full intent of reading and studying but instead, I just sobbed. I sat on my bed, wept, and cried out to Jesus.

I sat there for what felt like forever just crying into the shoulder of my Saviour and he just held me.

He was there with me, holding me as I cried. His arms around me reminding me that he sees me. He sees how hard I’m trying to do well. He sees my tears and my heart and my motivations and he affirmed me. I was alright that day after he held me for a little while.

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I am a firm believer that Jesus uses the people in my life to show me his grace.

He also gives me affirmation through other people. When I feel like I’m not enough or when I have thoughts that shame my own body, he sends people to randomly tell me I’m beautiful. He inspires friends to send me texts telling I’m doing well. He inspires my boyfriend to remind me that I am enough, that I am loved and then we pray together.

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I also have felt God’s grace through the music I listen to, the Bible verses I’m reading and what I’m learning in school.

It seems like what I’m struggling with the most is addressed in class I’m taking. My prof will say an offhand comment that has nothing to do with the lesson that builds me up without them even knowing it.

The Bible verses I’m memorizing come to my mind when I need their strength the most and I realize that I didn’t just pick a random Bible verse to learn.

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I don’t have all the answers and like I’ve said before, I don’t know how to stop pain or brokenness but these random thoughts are just here to say that if you’re struggling today or this week or this month or this year, Jesus sees you. You’re not invisible in your battle. He sees you and he knows you and he’s sending you encouragement. Just wait for him.

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I’m Back

I’ve been gone for a long time.

I haven’t written anything but weekly assignment and essays since September. I usually blame it on not having enough time – being a full-time student, RA and having a part-time job will do that to you.

But I’ve been feeling antsy lately. I told a friend the other day that I’m starting to feel restless again.

The problem is I want to do things. It doesn’t have to be something massive and world-changing – I just want to do something. Write something, be someone, have something to leave behind.

Writing is the thing I want to do. I wrote a lot in the summer, mostly because I had at least five thousand crises but I wrote a lot. I even started writing a book and I loved it. I am in my element when I write like this. When I write about things I’m passionate about or even just spill my many, many emotions onto a page, I feel calmer.

I feel like I can survive.

I feel like I’m contributing something.

I feel at peace.

The problem became that I started comparing myself. I started looking at other blogs and accomplishments and began thinking that I wasn’t good enough. My book would never be published so why would I spend so much time on it? My blog would never get thousands of followers and be read all over the world so why bother? I’ll never be good enough to be paid for writing so what’s the point at all?

So, in an act of true bravery and dignity, I gave up.

I just stopped writing because I thought I wasn’t good enough and because I thought that there wouldn’t be a point to any of this if I was never going to good enough.

If I’m honest, I do this with a lot of situations in my life. I run away because I don’t think I can measure up. So instead of trying my best and giving it my all, I run because I won’t feel good about it unless I ultimately succeed. Failure isn’t an option even if I do my best because I would still fail and I hate even the idea of that.

I’m learning (surprise) that this isn’t actually a healthy way to live.

So I started asking myself, why do I do the things I do? I realized the answer was either because I know I’m good at these things or because people will think highly of me if I do them.

That, my friends, is very very bad.

I am so afraid of failure and having people look down on me that I’ll give up something I love in fear of failure. And I’m learning that if I do anything outside of doing it for the glory of Jesus, I am doing it for the wrong reasons.

If I write just for people to tell me I’m a good writer and to get a lot of views, I’m writing in vain.

If I write because I love it and because Jesus has given me the ability and desire to do so, then I’m doing it right.

It doesn’t matter if anyone ever reads my words or buys my work, it doesn’t matter if no one clicks on the link to this blog or if everyone if the world thinks I’m a terrible writer.

I write because I love it, because it heals me, because it’s a God-given desire.

So I’m back. And I’m gonna keep writing and writing and writing, even if 0 people read these words, I’m gonna keep writing.

When You Question Your Worth

     About 3 years ago, I bookmarked one of my favourite blog posts to my browser so that I could go back to it whenever I needed it.
     I need it often.
     It’s a blog post about worth and worth is something I question almost daily. I’m sure you do too.
     When did questioning start for you? Did someone hurt you when you were young? Did a boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend break your heart somewhere along the line? Did someone act as if they didn’t care? Did someone tell you that you had to be better or speak smarter or do more? Did you start comparing yourself to those who seemed to have it all together? Did someone tell you that you weren’t enough?

I’m over on my friend, Beth’s blog today.

Join me there!

 

When You’re Lonely

On this blog, I try to be 100% real with you guys. That means telling you what I’m struggling with, trying to tell you how I’m working through it and sometimes just simply saying that I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.

This blog is my way to work through things and try and process how I’m feeling. It’s a way I can worship Jesus and give him honor and glory.

SO because of all of those goals and dreams for this blog, I need to tell you what I’ve come to realize in recent weeks.

I’ve been so lonely lately. And I don’t mean lonely in the sense that I have nobody because I know that I have been blessed with some of the best friends and family on earth.

But guys, and please don’t laugh at me, I’ve been lonely because I desperately want to be in love with someone.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship you know that feeling of comfort knowing there is someone who always thinks of you, who prioritize your needs, who is always genuinely interested in what you’re doing, how your day was, what you’re learning, I could go on.

Now this isn’t a desperate cry of, “Someone please love me, I need a boy to complete me.” Because honestly if it was, I’d be missing the whole point of this blog.

But, I have done that before. I’ve made a boy my identity. I’ve completed replaced Jesus with a human being and that is not right.

Now I don’t know if there’s a way to do relationships right. I can barely do daily life right let alone add another person into the mix! I know that I have a lot of learning to do and I think I’m on a life long journey of learning. But here’s the conversation I had with myself and Jesus the other day while driving home.

*cue “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur*

I start to cry.

“Jesus, I want that.”

“Jesus, can’t you hear me? I want somebody to love me like that, I want somebody to care about me like that, I need that connection with somebody.”

“And, I’m scared, Jesus. What if I never find that? What if I just end up alone for the rest of my life? What if everyone I know moves on and gets married and I’m left in the dust?”

“Jesus, please.”

“Beloved, you already have that. I am so in love with you.”

Now this isn’t a man hating blog post declaring how I don’t need no man because I am a strong independent woman. I would still love to be married one day, I would love to fall in love and have all that mushy stuff. But here’s the thing, if I define myself by whether or not I’m in a relationship or if somebody likes me or doesn’t, I’m never gonna get anywhere in life.

This goes for all things too. If I define myself by anything other than loved by Jesus Christ, my life won’t mean much of anything.

So yes, it’d still be cool to maybe fall in love one day, get married and have a family but I’m not gonna let myself stress about it anymore.

I’m not gonna let myself get caught up in the fact that I am single. I’m not gonna let that simple fact stop me from living a full life and I’m definitely not gonna let it stop me from serving Jesus.

The truth is this, Jesus loves you and He cares for you and He wants the best for you. He has incredible things in store for you and really, in the whole grand scheme of things, whether you end up single or married, that’s all that will ever really matter.

So here I am, a single 20-year-old woman, helplessly in love with Jesus and just trying to live the best life I can, reminding myself over and over to find my identity in Jesus, find my identity in Jesus.

 

Some 4 AM Thoughts

“Airports are weird,” I think to myself at 4 am. At this hour it’s the only semi-deep and cohesive thought I can come up with.

I’ve been travelling since 5 pm yesterday afternoon. My family lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru and let me tell yah, getting there is quite the adventure.

It’s filled with long flights, endless layovers, overpriced airport food and aiming to get 8 hours of sleep but only actually getting 2. It’s long and hard and I get very cranky in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping but tonight, while eating an expensive quiche and coffee, I’ve found myself reflecting on the sanctity of airports.

To me, airports are so diverse. It always confuses me how there can be so much sadness and happiness in one place. You see people reuniting after days, weeks, months, maybe even years of not seeing one another. You hear screams of joy, you see hugs and long awaited kisses, you watch as tears of joy fall down strangers faces and yet, you turn the corner and see the opposite. You see the hurt the words, “good bye” carry. You see the tears of sadness and the farewell hugs. You see the words, “I love you” being said and meant.

I’ve been on both sides of the airport and I can tell you for a fact that one completely rips your heart out of your chest but the other makes it full until it is absolutely overflowing with love and joy.

The goodbyes don’t get any easier and the hellos never get dull. Yes, airports are weird but maybe it’s because people are weird. Maybe it’s because our emotions take us place we didn’t know we could go – if we even wanted to go there in the first place. I think that’s the beautiful thing about being human. We get to feel these emotions, we get to love and laugh and cry and yell and every time, those emotions are just as intense as the last.

On the other hand – it’s 5 in the morning and I could just be going crazy. You can decide.

Let Me Tell You What I’m Bad At

Guys, I’m actually very bad at this whole Jesus thing.

This is something I’ve realized over the past two years and something that has shook me to the core.

If you knew me when I was younger, you might have thought I was a bit of a snob. Pride has always been a struggle for me and while what I believed in was good, the way I showed my beliefs was not.

I would look down on people, I would compare our sins and think, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not as bad as them, Jesus.” I would sit on my tall and mighty horse and point out everything others did wrong.

This is what pride does – it makes us think that we’re way better than we actually are.

I slowly and stubbornly realized how I had been acting and I actually had to start forcing myself to admit when I was wrong.

I wouldn’t just apologize either, I would quite literally force myself to say the words, “I was wrong.”

Through this quest for humility, I realized this important lesson – I suck at this whole Jesus thing.

I forget to pray about things, I often find myself pushing off spending time with Him and reading his word. There are times when I doubt and question and I screw up more than you know. I do things wrong every hour, if not every minute.

I’m not trying to glorify these things by any means – it’s wrong that things are this way. But I want to be 100% real with all y’all. I want you to know that I don’t have it all together and I want you to know that it’s okay to fall short.

This is why I’m so thankful for grace.

Because I am not perfect, I am desperately trying to be better but I will never be perfect. And grace says that I don’t have to be, grace says that it’s okay not to have it all together and that even if I mess up every second, I’ll be welcomed back with open arms. Grace says that I can’t do it but that’s okay because He did it for me.

Grace wins every time.

So real talk, I’m terrible at things I’m desperately trying to be good at and Jesus knows that. He still loves me any way and He loves you too.

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.

When a Girl Obsessed With Modesty Buys a Bikini

I bought a bikini yesterday.

I used to wear them all the time when I was young. I think it was because there’s something so innocent about a four year old wearing a bikini that no one even takes a second look. But when I turned 13, I can distinctly remember fighting with my mom in Sears over why I couldn’t buy a bikini like all my other friends.

I didn’t think it was fair at all but out of respect for my parents, I tried my best to find cute one pieces and tankinis that covered everything – which, as a side note, is a very hard thing to do these days. I understood where my parents were coming from, they were trying to instill good values in me and they were teaching me to guard my body and my heart. These were both good things but I think eventually, modesty became a wall I hid behind rather than something I really believed in.

Growing up I developed some body image issues. I’m sure every teenage girl has had them as well. In a mix of our own insecurities and satan telling us lies, we begin to hate ourselves.

I’ve hated myself for a really long time.

I’ve never thought that my stomach was flat enough or that my legs and arms were small enough. I’m never tanned or toned enough and there’s always someone prettier, am I right?

I was never enough and for a long time this lie was all consuming. All I thought about was the next diet fad, weight loss tea you could buy and how to get rock hard abs in 5 minutes. I researched metabolism-boosting pills and I prayed and prayed that I would some how lose weight. I was always thinking about how big my stomach looked or why my legs were the size of Texas and if my arms jiggled too much and there was nothing that could stop those thoughts.

But at least I was modest, right?

As a side note – I don’t blame my parents for any of this. I think there is so much value in dressing modestly especially in a day and age where every new style is just a new and creative way to show off more skin. I do value dressing modestly but what I’m struggling with is where do we draw the line between modesty and insecurity?

You see, I started to self-righteously hide behind this whole modesty thing. I said I was being modest in not wearing a bikini but I really just hated the way I looked. That, my friends, is not a healthy place to be.

I know Jesus doesn’t want me to show the world my body, that’s not something that everybody needs to see but I also don’t think He wants me to be ashamed of my body. He’s the one who created it, right?

So I bought a bikini yesterday and I didn’t buy it because I want to show off my hot bod and make all the boys stumble – I actually think it’s quite a modest bikini! I bought it because I have worked really heard in the past 5 years to get to a place where I actually love my body, a place where I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.

Loving yourself is difficult, y’all and it takes a lot of work. But let’s not hide behind self-righteousness and pride, let’s get to the root of the issue and stop the lies we’ve believed. Cling to truth, cling to Jesus.

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.

A Letter to the Man I Met at 2:30 am

To the man who came into Mr. Sub at 2:30 on Sunday morning,

Quite honestly, you disgust me.

I was mad at you at first for coming in so late when we were getting ready to close the store but that’s just because of how tired I was.

I was mad at you a second time when you swore every second word and when you slurred your words together because of how intoxicated you were – shouldn’t you be past that stage in your life by now? But maybe that’s just pride and unnecessary judgement.

I was mad at you a third time when you stayed after the store was closed but that’s just because I wanted to go home so I could crawl into bed.

But I think the fourth time I was mad at you – no furious with you – is completely justified. The fourth time, I wanted to scream at you, I wanted to hurt you and I was completely dumbfounded of how you could be so ignorant because the fourth time, my unlikely friend, was the time you made a rape joke.

As I stood there shocked, I remember thinking how grateful I was for Jesus’ love for you because it wan’t possible for me to love you in that moment.

I knew saying anything to you wouldn’t do any good because you were drunk and you wouldn’t have remembered what I said the next day anyway. So I’m writing this letter to you. You’ll probably never see it and that’s okay but here’s what I hope for you.

I hope one day you meet a rape victim. I hope you have to sit there and look at them as they cry and as they hurt.

I hope you see the pain in their eyes.

I hope you realize the magnitude of your words. I hope you realize that you really can’t just say whatever you want in this world because your words do have the potential to hurt someone.

I hope you look in that victim’s eyes and apologize for how ignorant you were. I hope you change, I hope you’re able to love people and I pray that you never hurt anyone yourself.

I’m sorry if this is too honest and if I shouldn’t be this angry but rape jokes are never funny and I can’t believe I have to say that in 2017.

From,

the girl who hopes you change.