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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.

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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.

Relentless

It’s four in the morning, I got off work a half-hour ago and on my way home I had a revelation.

It’s not something new, I’ve known it for a long time and I’m sure you have too. But, maybe you haven’t and maybe that’s why I feel like I need to share this with you before I go to sleep this morning.

You are being relentlessly pursued.

You are being tirelessly pursued by a faithful God whose love goes on forever.

It never ends or stops like so many human relationships do, it just goes on and on. His love endures forever.

So even though I’m fickle, flakey and tired, He is constant, steadfast and strong.

Even though I forget some days, He is always thinking about me.

Even though I take way more from Him than I give to Him, He never stops giving or listening.

You are being relentlessly pursued and I hope that gives you just as much hope as it’s given me tonight.

In My Brokenness

Something I’ve been learning lately is that sometimes life is just going to completely and utterly suck. There’s no getting around it. We live in a broken world filled with broken people and the honest truth is that we all screw up every day.

Things have not been going the way I had planned recently. I feel like everything is changing and not for the better either. Sometimes I can’t accept this and I end up crying on my way home or screaming at Jesus late at night or just continually asking why but something else I’m learning is that it’s possible to have joy even through all the brokenness around me.

When I feel like my life in left in ashes, Jesus is rebuilding me.

When I feel abandoned, Jesus is faithful.

When I get a parking ticket (yes that happened, ugh), I know I don’t need to worry.

When I’m late, rushing or feel like I’ve lost control, I’ve started looking to all the good things in my life rather than focusing on the bad and let me tell you, it’s done incredible things for me emotionally and spiritually.

I focus on the lunch dates and long conversations.

I focus on the places and people I love.

I focus on how others are happy and how to give them joy.

I focus on my Jesus and how He is forever faithful and good.

This week I’m choosing to be joyful and even through all my pain and brokenness in this season, that is enough. Choosing joy is choosing Jesus and He is eternally enough.

Suffering

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tonight is the night that Jesus is betrayed. I don’t think I’m ever fully prepared for this weekend and what transpires on it. I’m never prepared for the weight of Friday, the anxiousness of Saturday or the joy of Sunday. It’s all so overwhelmingly amazing that my flighty human flesh can’t handle it.

As I was reading my Lent series tonight, I came across the verse above and I was struck all over again with awe at how amazing Jesus is.

How many times have I prayed the first part of this prayer? How many times have I desperately asked God to take away my pain and suffering? How many times have I told Him that I don’t deserve this and that if He would just take it away, I would serve Him better? How many times do I fail in my faith in Him?

I really don’t believe that God causes suffering, but I do think that He can be glorified through our struggles and suffering.

Jesus knew this too. Jesus knew He had to die for us because of all the suffering that sin had and would cause. Jesus wanted it to go away; like me He asked God to take it from Him. Unlike me, He went one step further. He trusted and knew that God’s will is higher, that He knows better, and that He has a plan to make goodness shine through our suffering.

I may not understand why I suffer and I may not be able to handle my pain at times. But through it all, I know that God is faithful. He is in control and because of that I can say, “yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tomorrow Jesus is going to die for me and yet again, I’m not prepared. But tonight I’ll rest in the truth that my God is faithful and that He will bring to completion every good work that He has begun in you and in me.

My Life Has Been Ruined

I want to write about something that’s ruining my life right now. I was anticipating this, I was excited for it actually but I didn’t understand how it would truly affect my life until I really got into it and now, I don’t think I can go back. My life and outlook has been completely changed and I’ve been destroyed.

Jesus has been doing this thing lately where he uses things in which I would not expect to find Him to teach me things about Him that change my life and give me passion. This is another one of those moments.

If any of you are avid Netflix users like me, you’ll have seen the new show called “13 Reasons Why.” Well friends, this is the thing that’s destroying me.

I heard that this show was coming out a while ago and I was anticipating its release. The idea of suicide is something that has always been heavy on my heart and something that I want to keep learning about in an attempt to understand it and this show seemed like another resources I could use to learn and help my understanding. So I started watching.

Guys, this show is heavy. There were many times where I would watch one episode and then have to turn it off because of how deeply I was affected by it. There were many times when all I could do was cry and wonder how many people are silently suffering.

That’s what ruining my life.

I’m watching this show and realizing how passive I am. How many times do I say, “I’ll pray for you,” and then walk away and never actually pray when I know something is wrong? How many times do I ask, “how are you?” and simply accept “Good” or “I’m fine” as an answer? There’s nothing wrong with saying any of these things cause in some cases they may be the truth. The danger lies in becoming passive, in being ignorant, and in not caring enough to invest in people’s lives.

I’m watching this show and I realize how careless I am with my words. What are the things I say that hurt someone else? Do I make jokes that makes someone’s life worse? Why do I throw words around like they’re nothing?

I’m watching this show and I’m realizing this reality that we don’t know everyone’s story. We don’t know how deeply other people are hurting or what we could be doing to cause that hurt and because of that truth, we need to be careful.

I’ve always hated the word ignorant. It’s never, ever been something that I want to be. I’d rather know the hurtful things in this world than be completely blind to them and I think that idea has a lot to do with this issue we’re facing.

Our prof in Ethics today said this, “we treasure pleasure and refrain from pain.” That’s the truth isn’t it? We’re afraid of pain. We’re afraid to hurt and be vulnerable. It’s a weakness. We can’t deal with our own pain let alone anyone else’s so it’s so much easier to ignore the pain of others because if we don’t know or if we can forget about it, it doesn’t become our responsibility.

There is something so sick and wrong with this way of thinking but we all have it. Why should we stand by when our friends and family could be hurting so deeply? Why let people die when one word of encouragement or love could have saved them? Why act like their pain doesn’t exist when recognizing it could save their life?

We need to help each other out.

We live in a fallen and broken world, bad things happen every day and if any of us are going to get through it all, we need to bear one another’s burdens.

So I’m proposing something new. Well, it’s not really new, just an option that we don’t usually think of.

Let’s be real with each other.

Let’s take care of each other.

Let’s ask someone how they really are.

Let’s ask someone how we can pray for them and then actually pray.

Let’s talk and talk and talk.

Let’s recognize when someone is hurting and then do something about it.

Let’s not just sit idly and live our own lives. We’re all here together and we need each other if any of us are going to get through this life.

Let’s be real and vulnerable and raw. Maybe we could change a life.

Why Logan Is the Best Movie This Year

I went to see the new Wolverine movie called, Logan last weekend. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled that we were going but I’m learning that relationships are a lot more  about sacrifice then they are about getting your way, so I went. We sat down in the theater, watched the endless amount of movie trailers, waited as the lights went down and then sat back to enjoy the movie.

By the end of the two hours, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps everywhere else, I was excited, I was heartbroken, I was moved.

It’s rare that I feel this way after a movie. Sure there are movies that make you feel good inside and movies that challenge your brain capacity but rarely do I watch a movie that actually inspires me to do something or pursue my passion.

Now you’re probably wondering how I could be so moved by a movie about a superhero who has metal in his hands, I was surprised too. But while everyone else in the theater was distraught that this was Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine movie and broken by the plot of it all. My heart was leaping for joy over the character of the little girl, Laur.

Laur reminded me a lot of the kids I’ve met in Haiti and my brothers and sisters in Peru. Laur grew up in a place without affection, she was neglected and abused and because of that she didn’t know how to love someone else.

For the majority of the movie, Laur doesn’t say a word. She is mute. This is common for kids of abuse or neglect. Either they are too far behind developmentally to have any words or they just choose not to speak as a defence mechanism. Some of the kids that come to us in Peru who should have words, don’t and let me tell you, it is a joyous day when you hear them speak or laugh for the first time.

Nurture and love can do wonderful things for a child. It is such a vital part of those early stages of life and if I child misses out on that, it will be a huge challenge for them to catch up to their peers developmentally.

One of the earliest things a baby knows to do when they are born is grasp onto a hand that they’re holding. I remember my brothers having a death grip on my hand when they were babies. Many times when a child is neglected or abused in their early years, they don’t know to do this. There’s a scene in the movie where Laur sees two mannequins holding hands and is confused. Later on in the movie, you can see her development progress to the point where she grabs for Charles’ and Logan’s hand.

I think the thing that got me the most about this movie was how they portrayed Laur’s ability to emote. Many children who have been neglected or abused in their early years don’t know how to cry or laugh, they only can express frustration and therefore scream a lot. For the majority of the movie, Laur can only scream in every situation, when she is happy, sad, scared, frustrated, she just let’s off this ear piercing scream. It’s at the end of the movie right after the climax where she cries for the first time.

I was crying right along with her.

I was crying for her and her story.

I was crying for the children I’ve seen and known that are so much like her.

I was crying for the children that I know are out there who need this love and care to develop properly.

I was crying because I realized again that I need to do something about it.

Three years ago this month Jesus put a passion in my heart to help children like this and to love these kids in such a way that heals their hurt and pain from the past. Jesus keeps reminding me through sermons and verses and pictures and people I meet but He keeps finding new ways.

This time He broke me through a movie, please keep breaking me, Jesus.

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.

Let’s be the generation

I was utterly shocked last week, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, what I was seeing and what I was hearing.

It made me sad and angry and feeling like something needed to be said.

I’m sure by now we’ve all heard about the new movie, “A Dog’s Purpose.” If you haven’t, it’s this new movie that’s being released that everyone was super excited about. That was until a video was released earlier last week accusing the cast and crew of abusing the dogs on set.

People did the appropriate thing and were distraught. They shared the video as much as they could, posting statuses and making sure everyone knew just how outraged they were about this movie. They encouraged others to make sure they boycott the movie and that people keep sharing the video so that this evil could be revealed.

Now, I don’t have any problem with protecting animals and making sure they are safe and well cared for. I’m all for animal rights.

What I do have a problem with is how shallow our society is.

You see, we only talk about the easy things.

We only voice our opinions about the subjects that aren’t really that deep.

We only boycott things that are easy to boycott, things that won’t give us that feeling of FOMO if we actually avoid it.

We only get outraged on things that don’t really matter or effect us and we hide and try to forget about the things that really matter because we’re too afraid it might hurt us if we dig up the deep stuff.

The Superbowl is happening on February 5 this year. Thousands of people are traveling to the game, watching it on their own TV or throwing parties to celebrate the event.

While these people are celebrating, there are also hundreds probably even thousands of people hurting. These people are the men, women and children who are being trafficked during the event.

While there are no concrete numbers, it is a fact that human sex trafficking increases anywhere from 30% to 300% during the Superbowl. For better understanding, an average amount of ads on a sex trafficking website is 58 on a given day. During the Superbowl, however, this number increases to 150 ads on a given day (find the stats here).

These stats are shocking and heartbreaking and unacceptable but does anybody talk about them? Does anybody post outraged statuses about the Superbowl? Better yet, does any large group of people decide to boycott the Superbowl all together until this issue is solved?

Of course not. That would be too hard, we would miss out on too much.

I’m not trying to devalue the fight against animal abuse and I’m not justifying it either. But we can’t ignore the things that might cut us deep either.

We need to be a people who wins the fight against this evil, we need to solve these issues and rescue the men and women caught up in it.

We need stop whining and actually do something about it.

So then, this is my challenge to us;

Let’s be a generation that tackles the hard issues and takes them down.

Let’s be a generation that cleans messes instead of just sweeping them under the rug.

Let’s be a generation that stands up for the rights of our fellow humans.

Let’s be a generation that loves and loves and loves.

To my sister

Growing up I had two little brothers. Those brothers still exist today, one is 14 and sassy and becoming a man and the other is 8 and crazy and loud.

They’ve been around for my whole life but when I was in my 17th year of life, I started to accumulate more and more brothers and sisters.

These kids were the kids we welcomed into our orphanage. There have been 17 new brothers and sisters in my life in the past two years. Some of them I have known extremely well, some of them are a bit distant from me because I live so far away and I love them all with the same wild and fierce love that I love my biological brothers with.

I feel so lucky to have so many people to love. I feel lucky to have such a big family and blessed that I get to be apart of everyone of their lives.

But today doesn’t feel like a lucky day.

Today, I am sad and I’m learning that it’s okay to be sad in public sometimes and today is one of those days.

Today, my one-year-old little sister got taken away and my heart is broken. There’s a whole back story into why she was taken away from us but I don’t want to get into that, I just want to write about my sister.

Dear Yuri,

I only really got to know your for two weeks, that isn’t a long time. And yes, maybe you weren’t the biggest fan of me and that’s fair, you had no idea who I was.

I had fun with you, Yuri. You are such a sweet girl. Full of smiles and that cute little chuckle.

You know eight words and they melt my heart every time you say them.

Mama

Dada

Chickens

Eggs

Hola

Ciao

Night night

Bubba

You sleep with your eyes open, you love riding around in your big stroller and pushing other people in your little one. You love the cats and try to hold them despite their desperate protests. You love cuddling and just being near people.

For a one-year-old, you’re so good at loving people.

You help calm people down if they’re crying and give them kisses if they’re hurt. You give hugs and smiles that could heal any wound.

Yes sometimes you can be gross, like the time you peed while walking down the hallway naked or them time you stuck your hand in your diaper to reveal that you had pooped.

We thought we’d have you forever, Yuri. But sometimes things change unfortunately so in that case, here are some things I want you to grow up knowing.

You are loved widely and oh, so deeply. You have people all throughout Peru, Canada and the US that love you and want you to succeed. You are loved by our little family more than you could ever imagine and most of all you are loved and known by the maker of your heart. He loves you and knows you deeper than any human could and I pray that you grow up knowing that.

I hope you hear the words, “I love you” every day.

I hope someone reminds you that you’re so, so beautiful.

I hope someone encourages you and reminds you that you are capable of anything.

I hope you know Jesus intimately and fully.

I hope you have a relationship with Him and that you walk with Him daily.

We miss you, Yuri, and because of that, my greatest hope is that we meet again some day.

All of our love forever,

The Blackburns