Seeing Squirrels

Last Sunday, I was sitting in church with my friends (which, side note: I LOVE that I get to attend and experience church and worship alongside some of my favorite humans – it’s always the highlight of my week), and the pastor was telling a story about a family who took a vacation.  This family went to see historical sites in Virginia. Each child received a disposable camera prior to the trip so that they could take their own pictures and document their experience on the trip.  On returning home, the parents got the pictures developed – one child had pictures of the historical sites they saw and the cool scenery.  The other child had 50 pictures of squirrels. Different squirrels in different locations, but I mean – let’s be real – almost all squirrels look the same.  These 2 kids went on the same trip, saw all the same things and experience very similar things, but yet they walked away with totally different memories of their time of learning with their family.

 

One child noticed all the glory and wonder of the history of our country. One child noticed all the squirrels running about and enjoying life.  As the pastor was telling this story I couldn’t help but giggle to myself because I am totally the type of person who would take tons of pictures of squirrels.  I love animals and I love caring for them and talking to them (yes, I’m basically Snow White, I know).  I would be the one who walked away from a vacation with pictures of just the animals I saw.

 

And I think that says a lot about me – not in a good way. I tend to get so focused on one thing, one goal, one project, one deadline, that I fail to lift my head and look up at the beauty and the miracles that are happening all around me. God created this wonderful world and all it’s beauty and I get stuck with my head down looking at squirrels.  Our focus in life can drive us down certain paths – these passions and this determination to pursue them can be what protects us, keeps us safe, encourages us, helps us cope…and it can also be what destroys us.

 

Often times I think God speaks to us through other people in our lives.  I am currently sifting my way through the book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” with a close friend and it has really  tugged on my heart in so many different ways. (Find it here!!) It’s challenged me to think, reassess, and realign some of my thoughts, goals, and beliefs about myself and my life.  Honestly, it’s helped me take some of the power back in my own life – I’ve taken back power from the emotional bonds and the distress of early periods of my life. But even more than that, one theme that keeps popping up in the book as well as in other areas of my life is one of prioritizing rest and stillness.

 

I find that once I latch onto a goal, much like the child who ONLY took pictures of squirrels, I can’t release it until it’s complete – I can’t stop, let it go, rest, or clear my mind from the things that consume me which are often times not even helpful, productive things. Often times the squirrels in my life show up in the form of anxiety, school work, fear, etc.  And I’m not sure I’ve really ever been able to lift my eyes up off of those squirrels surrounding me, to see and enjoy God’s sheer gloriousness around me.

 

God designed us for so much more than seeing only squirrels. God gave us this amazing earth, with all it’s intricacies, beauty, and vast wonder in order for us to see it, hear it, breath it, and experience it. And we can’t look up in wonder and experience all of what God made for us if we are so focused on the squirrels running around at our feet.

 

Each new year, I choose a single word – a word to focus on and one that I want to try to cultivate in my life during the coming year.  As 2017 draws to a close, I have been thinking and praying about what my word for 2018 should be.  In past years I’ve used words like love, grace, light, etc.  But this year, I think my word may be “Stillness”  because I want to learn to be still. I want to learn to see and experience more than squirrels in my life. I want to observe the Sabbath more regularly, I want to be able to allow myself to rest and trust that God’s got things covered – the world will continue functioning and won’t fall apart when I stop to breath. I want to better cultivate a sense of being still, trusting God, and leaning in close to him within that sacred stillness.

 

I don’t want to just see squirrels anymore. I want to see people, the world, the beautiful designs of God. I want to experience life to the absolute fullest – and that means learning to…

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10

squirrel-eating

“Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel. Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought: food. The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
Kate DiCamillo

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Happy Horror-days.

What a wonderful, beautiful, joyful time of year. Right? Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ – sent by God to die for us so that we can enjoy eternity in heaven. What a glorious reality that is!

There is also a lot more that goes into Christmas – the beautiful lights, the decorations, the music, the yummy treats….all the wonderful family traditions people celebrate and cherish. But what about when Christmas hurts?!

There were a few years in my life where I absolutely dreaded Christmas. Family dynamics and altercations made it awkward and difficult and suddenly we weren’t celebrating in the same way or with the same traditions we had had for many years prior. It was uncomfortable and very, very painful. It was a time full uncertainty, fear, lack of trust, and extreme discomfort. I dreaded the holidays.

Since moving away from home and only coming to Virginia a few days before Christmas, things have improved (for me). I focus on exams and finals and performances right up until 3 days before Christmas when I come to Virginia and enjoy a few days with my beautiful, loving parents, church family, and the couple of friends that are still there from high school. It’s gotten easier because I’m finally adjusting to the new traditions – the changes that felt so uncomfortable and scary before. For a few years I was literally filled with horror and dread as Christmas approached – would I be included in special family things? Would I be cast out? Would I be judged and hurt and scorned by the ones I love? Would I be deemed acceptable and worthy of their time and their love? All these fears and more overtook me and they stole the joy of the holiday and replaced it with absolute horror.

I was paralyzed by the Christmas season. I was stuck in a state of shock and fear because of this season that was SUPPOSED to be the greatest time of the year – the happiest, the most joyful, the best! But for me, it wasn’t.

It’s getting a little better each year. And I’m forming new traditions with my parents and with the ones I love. I’m stepping out of the mold I was placed in and standing on my own new footing that I formed myself – I am more confident, more capable, and more grounded than previous years. But not everyone is that way, and not everyone is capable of being that way.

Whether you lost a loved one, your family is broken and falling apart, or you just suffer from seasonal depression – I hear you. I feel for you. There is space for you here amongst all the candles, lights, and cheery Christmas songs. I want you to know that it’s okay to be sad, to mourn, and to need a little extra self-care. It’s okay to say no to the office party or to prefer to lay at home on your couch with all the lights off. It’s okay to not be okay. But don’t let the horror of the holidays paralyze you. Reach out to a friend or loved one if you can. Speak up and say when you’re uncomfortable or when you need space and silence – room to breath and feel your feelings.

And to those who don’t experience distress related to the holiday season – be gentle, be kind, be understanding to those that do. Recognize and accept that not everyone has the same life you have, not everyone has the wonderful family traditions or the story book Christmas. Some people just don’t want those experiences or aren’t drawn to the holiday hoop-la like some of us are. And some people so desperately want those happy memories but don’t know how to cultivate them on their own, or don’t have the resources to cultivate them. To that I would encourage people to reach out, invite the widowed lady from church to have Christmas dinner with you. Invite the young couple who just moved into town and whose family is far away on Christmas to come over for dessert or to attend church with you on Christmas eve. And for goodness sake – have mercy and patience with the crazy drivers, the traffic jams, and the long lines in stores – everyone is just doing the best that they can with what they have in the moment.

Give a little more – a little more love, a little more affection…a lot more patience, understanding, give space when it’s needed, and give a whole lot of Jesus Christ. After all, despite whatever holiday experience you have or haven’t had – JESUS is the reason for the season!

Beautiful Song ❤

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
Steve Maraboli

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My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
Bob Hope

Keeping Christmas Filled with Christ.

December 1. The day that it becomes socially acceptable to engage in all things Christmas. Truth be told, my tree has been up and decorated for over a week now, but hey – to each their own.

There is something so special about this season of life. Each year, it never ceases to amaze me. Maybe it’s the weather, the snowfall…the songs and the music….the decorations…the way people give a little more than usual…maybe it’s all these things coming together to create an atmosphere of sacredness. Or maybe not.

All these things are beautiful, wonderful, heart warming things. But they aren’t what creates that atmosphere of sacredness – not for me, at least.

I’m playing in a show at a local church – it’s a mega church similar to one back in my home town and they do a Christmas show every year called the Glory of Christmas. It’s spectacular – flying angels and sleighs, tons of dance numbers, fireworks, and smoke…the whole nine yards. It combines secular songs and the “fun”, “silly” parts of Christmas with the actual reason: the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

I consider myself to be pretty open minded and accepting of different views/beliefs. I don’t necessarily condone them, but I sure as heck do NOT condemn them. But one thing that has been bothering me increasingly over the years is the commercialization of Christmas. It’s not that I don’t like giving gifts to others or singing songs about Santa Claus or hanging stockings on the mantle or any of those things. I LOVE all of those things and I cherish the traditions and memories I have from doing them with friends and family over the years.

I think what bothers me is the lack of understanding or acknowledgment of the true reason we even celebrate Christmas in the first place. I don’t know about you, but it absolutely BLOWS MY MIND that God sent his only son to earth, birthed to a virgin teenage girl, to die on a cross for our sins. I mean, there are still moments where I have trouble comprehending it because it is SO significant. It literally takes my breath away when I think about it.

I think when people ONLY celebrate Santa Claus and Christmas Trees they are belittling the significance of the REAL story. In reality it’s a terrifying, scary, mind blowing story.

Mary experienced immaculate conception, outside of wedlock. She and Joseph had to flee to Bethlehem because of an ordinance put out by Caesar. They couldn’t find a place to stay and she had to give birth to the King in a dirty manger stall where animals stayed. And it wasn’t a stable like we think of today – It was likely a cut out in the side of a hill – dark and cold and wet. And the animals weren’t all cute and fluffy and clean like they are at petting farms – they were dirty, loud, and stinky. Mary and Joseph had the honor or raising the Son of God – but it wasn’t always an honor, sometimes it was a burden. Can you imagine the immense responsibility they constantly felt?!

I know it’s cliché to say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” but it’s also true. There is no other reason that Christmas came about. It’s great to give gifts and acknowledge all of our blessings. I always have so much fun decorating trees, shopping for others, decorating the house, singing Christmas songs, and baking Christmas goodies. But at the end of the day, when I rest my head down on the pillow, all I can think about it how the real Glory of Christmas was a little baby boy sent from God, to save the world. Even typing it makes me giddy. It humbles me and takes my breath away – and that is a feeling that I never want to lose, no matter how many Christmas’ I get to celebrate.

I can NOT fathom the concept of Christmas without the impact of knowing Jesus Christ. I don’t understand how people do it and quite frankly, I don’t want to even try to imagine it. I know Jesus Christ. My life has been saved. My sins have been accounted for because God sent his one and only Son to earth as a human man to change the course of history. Jesus died on a cross so that I could enter heaven without the scars of my earthly sins. THAT is what it’s all about.

This sense of sacredness that I feel is so very special and I want to try to hang on to it, not just during the month of December, but throughout the entire 2018 year. It’s a sense of peace and thankfulness that I often times neglect to cultivate in my day to day life. I get busy with school, deadlines, obligations, etc and I forget the real meaning of my life – to further the kingdom of God here on earth.

Speaking of cliche’s….here’s a link to a movie that I used to watch every single year with my family…the famous Sesame Street Christmas. However, this song is so relevant and has an important message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiPI5c1KPx4

There’s one song in the show I’m playing that practically brings me to tears every time I hear it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_MQtokXCb4 It’s not specifically a Christmas song, but it’s included because the message it conveys is so vital and important.

You hold my very moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
And I trust in You, Lord I trust in You

And I trust in You, Lord I trust in You
And I believe You’re my healer
I believe You are all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands.”

Maybe it’s because I experienced first hand the power of allowing God’s grace and mercy to crash into my life and calm my raging seas…I was forced to let Him walk with me through fire and I witnessed him healing my diseases as well as healing others in my life. I have proof that I can trust Him, I know firsthand just how mighty and powerful He is. I am living proof that NOTHING is impossible for Him. Absolutely NOTHING.

And so in this season of Glory and Joy, there is so much more than just giving gifts, singing songs, and decorating trees. There is the quiet humbling of our souls as we recognize the sacrifice that God made in sending His only son down to earth to live as a human. In our fallen world, it’s so easy to get distracted and pulled in one million different directions. But I’m determined to make this Christmas season different – because I’m determined that it won’t end when my head hits the pillow on December 25th. I’m determined to hang on to this sacredness, this peace, this joy, this humility, and to carry it with me throughout the entire year. And I’m calling you to do the same.

Remember the reason for the season, and keep Christmas with you all through the year ❤

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

-Isaiah 9:6

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

-Luke 2:13-14

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Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss

Thanks(Grace)giving Spirit.

There is something magical about it.

The time of year…

The air…

The holidays…

The anticipation of a fresh start…

I’m not sure what it is exactly, but whatever it is, it’s chalked full of Love. Thankfulness. Forgiveness.

Grace.

Maybe it’s because I’m finally in love…

with music

with words

with my church family

with my friends

with a Godly, inspiring man,

with MY life.

It’s 5am and I’m laying on my living room floor in front of my Christmas tree. The only lights are the ones that are strung around my little tree, I’m nestled in a warm, fuzzy blanket, and I have a steaming hot cup of coffee in my hand. Life is sweet and I would imagine that I have this huge, goofy looking smile on my face – I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.

I can’t quit thinking about how everything in my life has led me to exactly where I am today. I am the luckiest girl alive for more reasons that I could ever list out on paper, and I don’t know why this reality is hitting me so hard right in this moment, but it practically takes my breath away to see how God has molded and formed life from my sins and downfalls.

  • This past semester I got to see one of my sweetest friends get married to the love of her life. I got to be inspired, challenged, and encouraged by her relationship and her willingness to share her love with the world.

  • I got to travel to Nashville with my worship team – we lead worship, we lead each other, and we do life together and with our church family. We learned a LOT and we laughed even more! We bonded, grew, loved, and formed priceless memories!

  • I got to travel to Boston – to see some of my lovely family that I rarely get to connect with, attend a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance, and to spend 3 full days with my best friend in the entire world who I hadn’t seen for over a year! I will cherish my time in that place with those amazing people forever!

  • I organized and put on a recital to raise money for orphans in Haiti. God put this calling on my heart and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I learned a lot about the process of organizing and orchestrating an event in addition to all the challenges that come along with learning and preparing for the performance itself. It was fun, enlightening, and so, so humbling!

  • I got to meet new friends and some of my old friends got to visit Ann Arbor. My friends and I formed and grew in relationships – we learned together and did life alongside each other!

  • I have been being discipled by a wonderful, fantastic, amazing, and wise woman from my church family – reading books, having deep thought provoking discussions. Having someone to confide in and talk too when I struggle to admit that I don’t have all the answers or know the solutions has been so uplifting, encouraging, and helped me grow immensely in my relationship with the Lord.

  • I have had the privilege of studying with, not one amazingly talented professor, but TWO! And they have both been by my side through the organization of the recital, the ups and downs of school, and so much more – what a blessing!

  • My parents visited Rachi and me in Michigan for a week and we got to spend some quality time together – they met so many of my friends, my people, my tribe, and they got to experience just a tiny sliver of what life is like for me on a day to day basis…the crazy schedules, the running around, the laughter and the joy (and maybe a bit of the frustration too haha)

  • And most importantly…over the course of the past few months I have met and fallen in love with an amazing, Godly man and his wonderful family. There aren’t words to describe how this relationship has enriched my life. I am head over heels in love with someone who loves me…and who loves the Lord even more. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that!

It’s been a SUPER tough semester (and it’s not over yet!) – from an overwhelming amount of course work, navigating teaching and job hours, balancing my schedule, social life and 100,000 commitments, and coping with Shingles on top of that. (Yes, I’m only 23 and you aren’t even supposed to get that until you are 50 or older! Stress does CRAZY things to our bodies!!)

It was much more difficult than I thought it would be and I still feel like I’m drowning in a sea of papers and end-of-semester-deadlines. But, isn’t that a blessing?! The opportunity to study here at one of the best University’s in the entire country with some of the greatest professors in the world?! I have the chance to learn from the greatest, a safe space to fail, and some of the strongest arms ever to fall back into – my church family, my friends, my parents, my love. I have been challenged mentally, emotionally, and spiritually this semester – more than ever before.

The hardest rains and the strongest storms are typically the conditions needed for the greatest growth. And there has been so, so much growth – the growing pains have been all too real, but also worth every second of discomfort.

Prioritizing

Boundaries

Personal Health

Spiritual discovery

Using my voice/speaking up and out

Taking chances

Self awareness/insight

Pursuing my dreams – walking the unbeaten path

Balancing finances

Maintaining relationships

And so much more…

I am not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I worked so, SO hard this semester. I woke up early, I FINALLY found some balance in my practicing – quality of quantity. I maintained (somewhat) a social life. I met with a mentor regularly and kept learning and pursuing new knowledge within my spiritual life. I’ve formed relationships with many new people and invested in important people, time, and things. I’ve fallen in love with my students that I teach, my friends that I’m surrounded by, my church family that supports me, and the newest part of my life and my family.

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Life has been difficult but somehow still extremely sweet. God has been there, orchestrating it all – tucking little miracles and blessings into each and every day – even among the tears and the trials. Thanksgiving may have been last Thursday, but I’m choosing to maintain the spirit of Thanksgiving each and every day. My heart is bursting with love for the One who gave me this life, this roller coaster of ups and downs and twists and turns. My cup is overflowing with gratitude for the One who makes the moon reflect the sun. Every day is tough, but every day holds beauty if we’re willing to pause and look for it. My life has been sprinkled with a heavy dose of G-R-A-C-E among all the mess of every day life. And there aren’t words to accurately describe my joy and thankfulness to everyone who has helped me through this season of sweetness.

Here’s to the holiday season, the ups and downs of everyday life, and the miracle of hidden blessings!

I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”
Shauna Niequist

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Brené Brown

Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”
Shauna Niequist

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God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”
Søren Kierkegaard

If The Stars Are Made To Worship, So Will I.

These notes. These simple black dots on a page – they are their own language. Some people believe they are the voice of the ones who originally scribbled them down, some people believe they are the words the performer feels they need to say. But me? I believe that they are the lyrics of God’s own song – gifted to the composer and transposed by the performer.

The sky is a canvas of His grace. Creation is the miracle of His hands. Music is the sound of His soul. And if the stars were made to worship – so will I.

I was listening to this song:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN 🙂

Tears. My eyes welled up with salty water and one or two stray tears rolled down my cheeks – hot and fresh, dripping onto the journal laid out before me.

Lord, I will follow the sound of your voice – I will listen as you speak…however that may be.

He speaks to us through ways and through things – even through people – that we never expect. His heart is written on everything He has created. We have the opportunity to see it – to feel it – to hear it – and it all exists to lift Him high.

I am anxious because tomorrow I have a big performance. People have told me I’m ready and prepared and I’ve definitely worked very hard for this. This is not new territory for me – I’ve done solo recitals and performances hundreds of times over the years. But it never really seems to get easier – it gets more fun, but never less anxiety inducing. BUT then I hear something like this song…something that brings my anxious heart and mind back down to reality and helps to settle me.

This performance – it isn’t about me. It actually has nothing to do with me. This is an opportunity for me to act as a vessel of God’s love – to display His grace and His mercy to whomever comes to listen. I don’t know what He intends to use to me to say….and that’s part of the beauty of music – it meets the listener wherever they are at and says what needs to be said. Two people can hear the exact same music and have completely different emotional and spiritual responses.

Bach, Mozart, Sarasate – they sprinkled those notes out on the page before them many years ago with the intent of conveying a message that they felt compelled to share. Now I have the gift of sharing their notes, with a splash of my own story, to an audience of listeners who will – Lord willing – walk away with their hearts a little bit lighter and happier. I have no idea if my performance tomorrow will impact anyone who is listening. At the very least, I hope it brings people joy and happiness. But I have no doubt that God will use it to speak.

He will be there in the audience – listening and cheering me on. He will be there sitting at the piano, accompanying me…walking through the dense forest of notes on the music stand before me. He will be there in my heart, mind, and body as I recall the order of notes, bowings, technique, and all the physical aspects of performing. I have practiced this music. I have studied this music. I have done the work that has been require of me and I have fallen in love with these pieces I’m performing. But more than that – I’ve fallen in love with this gift of art that God has given me the responsibility of sharing with the world.

I know I’m not the best at what I do, and truth be told – I don’t feel as though I have to be. After all, God doesn’t call the qualified – he qualifies the called.

This isn’t about me – this is about what God is using me to say and the hearts He is using this message of music to reach and change. These notes I’m playing – they are His heart, His voice reaching into the hearts of others. They aren’t about me and my resume, my glory, my performance. These notes are for a purpose so much bigger than I could ever even comprehend. Tomorrow may be just a drop in the ocean – but that’s how a hurricane starts…with a single drop of rain. And I intend to use His gifts to change the world…one drop at a time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love.”

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If the sum of all my praises still falls shy – I will sing of all your praises one hundred billion times.”


“Harmonies for Haiti” is a solo violin recital that will take place at Trinity Church in Plymouth Michigan on Saturday November 18th and 3:00pm in the Sanctuary.

This event is free, however there will be a chance to make a donation to Trinity’s orphans in Haiti – the money will go to care for, clothe, feed, and supply support for our children there.


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
Victor Hugo

Misery → Ministry

I am writing and writing and writing. I am working on a HUGE project for my writing course right now that involved drudging up my past and rehashing it out on my computer screen. I am writing blog posts for other websites. I am reading books and doing book studies with dear friends, and so much more.

Just yesterday I stood across from my violin teacher and we were discussing some of these small victories. I made a side comment about how I just wanted to use the pain of my past to help others. And he commented back that he felt that that was awesome and that I could use that to change people’s lives.

And so it occurred to me…the pain I’ve been feeling since doing the last book study I did with a dear friend – the writing on the pages of my journal that depict the pain and horror of some of the things I experienced growing up, the tears I shed as I typed, erased, retypes, erased, and retyped again the words I felt couldn’t even come close to accurately depicting my real life experience for this writing project, my quest for inspirational and inspiring words for young middle school girls who will be reading my blog posts for another site – this is my ministry. The misery I felt (and sometimes still feel) in regards to my past…this is the way God is using it for good.

For so long I just wanted to get away from my past – I wanted to pretend it never happened. I wanted to go back to the story book memories, the traditions, and all the good times that I had (because there were many), but leave all the nasty, uncomfortable, painful things out. But when you delete the painful things and numb out the hard feelings, you ultimately end up numbing out the good feelings too and the story you’re telling ends up being a lie.

I’m not good at feeling feelings. I hate it, if I’m being honest. I never learned how to feel feelings appropriately which sounds silly to admit, but it’s real – it’s not human nature to know how to identify and appropriately cope with the emotions we have…it’s a learned skill. It’s a skill I’m JUST now beginning to develop at the age of 23.

Here’s what I’m realizing:

It hurts. And I don’t know if it will ever NOT hurt. I need to quit concentrating on trying to MAKE it not hurt, and start focusing more on accepting that it hurts and that it’s okay that it hurts.

Because healing doesn’t equal running.

I can heal from my past without running from it. I can accept it without condoning it. I can use it to move forward without having to continually band aid it up, hiding it, and feeling ashamed of it.

To erase our past is criminal. To want to destroy part of what has made us who we are is heartbreaking. And when we delete sections of our history then we can’t use them as part of our ministry.

No one WANTS to be miserable. No one wants to be hurt, broken, and torn down by their experiences in this world. But at some point, we’re all a little cracked and broken. We can take the misery we’ve felt in our lives – the brokenness that Satan has tried to use to tear us away from Christ – and we can turn around and use it as our greatest ministry.

To God be the glory! He takes all things and makes them new – we are a new creation in Christ Jesus ❤

I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
C.S. Lewis

This song has brought me so much comfort – click here to give it a listen! 🙂

You hold my very moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You, I trust in You

And I believe You’re my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe

And I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands.”

5am Heartstrings

It’s these concrete things – this computer, this journal, this pen, and these keys – that provide me with stillness, peace, solitude, and comfort from the screaming whirlwind of the world surrounding me. Other things and other people? They tug at my heart strings, they ask me to be someone I’m not, to hide parts of me that they don’t like, to mold, bend, and become something and someone that I’m not proud of – someone who doesn’t feel authentic and real to me. As much as I love other humans and being in relationships, despite their ups and the scary vulnerability that they bring….I also really love being alone. Alone with silence, stillness, just me, the keyboard, and the blank screen. Alone with peace, the presence of the Lord – just me, my journal, a pen, and an open bible. I love to just be. Because in these places that some may call loneliness, I find solace and peace and joy because I am finally able to breathe – to be me and only me….as little or as much as I want and need. There are no expectations, no preconceived notions, no obligations – it’s just me and a blank page or a blinking black line on a screen. It is in this place that I find rest and restoration – a refueling for my soul and my introverted spirit.

How can life continue without the necessary oxygen to survive? I cannot fathom life without these concrete things – this space to grow and shrink as my old, fragile heart needs. I need this space because it is the oxygen for my soul. I need these tools because they are how I carve out who I really am – apart from all the things the world is trying to mold me to be. I need these these concrete things because they help me not only discover and learn about who I am and all that I long to be, but they encourage and aid in my growth in the discovery of all that Jesus is. I cannot fathom life without this space because I do not want to die as just another carbon copy of the world’s design – I have an inner longing to be so much more than that.

I cannot fathom life without all of this because I know that Jesus has made me for so much more than the world says I am and can be. I know that Jesus’ love for me is the ultimate sacrifice and in order to discover all that mean and all that it holds for my future, I must learn to be alone – to discover who I am. And I mean, who I REALLY am.

Each and every day, I start with the fuel of coffee and Jesus. Each and every day ends in prayer. I am not the world around me, I can dare to be different – and oh, how my old and tired soul longs to be different.

Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace.”
Ezra Taft Benson

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It is beautiful to discover our wings and learn how to fly; flight is a beautiful process. But then to rest on the wings of God as He flies: this is divine.”
C. JoyBell C.

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