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When He Leads You to the Desert

The Ask…

About 2 years ago, things in my life seemed pretty stable — I had no idea that 6 months later, my whole world would be turned upside down. That God would very clearly ask me to leave all my comforts, all the known places and people, and head back to a place that held very few happy memories for me. 

It’s no secret if you’ve read some of my posts or had a conversation with me, that even though I was born and raised in Indiana, I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged here. It’s been more of a black sheep feeling whenever I’ve been in Indiana. The way I think, live my life, and the life paths I’ve taken don’t quite fit in with the viewpoints or life plans of most Hoosiers. Some of these have been my choice, others have been chosen for me. 

I’m a Christian, but tend to lean to the more progressive side. I’m most comfortable in a room full of diverse cultures. Instead of getting married and starting a family in my 20s, I lived in 4 different states and obtained 3 degrees while establishing and progressing my career. I’m 32 and have never owned a home, never been married, have no kids, and am obsessed with my dog.

Desert, When God calls

The place…

So when God made it clear He was calling me from Chicagoland, the place I had settled into as an adult — MY home and my comfort place. The place I didn’t feel like a black sheep. The place where it was ok I wasn’t married or didn’t have kids or didn’t own a home. The place where I felt I belonged. The place I had a church. The place I had a job with people who felt like family and the population I loved to work with. The place where it was normal to go grocery shopping and hear multiple different languages and I was constantly exposed to new cultures. He asked me to leave MY PLACE — and follow Him to the place He was asking. The place I never felt like I belonged. 

I wouldn’t say I went willingly, but I followed. I followed, because He asked and I trusted.

The Desert

When I got here I was full of hope. Full of ideas. Full of the thoughts and dreams that maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t feel the same as I did the first 22 years of my life.

Maybe, just maybe, I would find my place. 

A year and a half in, I haven’t found my place. I miss my friends. I miss my job and the family of co-workers (side note, I love my team, they truly are what keep me going in a high stress job). I miss hearing the different languages while shopping. I miss the people who loved me for me, not what I could give or do for them. I miss the church I was excited to go to. I miss the normal restaurants I would eat at.

I miss the feeling of home.

In the desert, God led me to a boy. And when we  met, we were both transitioning through a lot of change. The change looked different, but the heartache and processing were similar. The challenge to trust, despite the pain and quietness was familiar to both of us. 

I’m still here…

And a year and a half later, I’m still in the desert. Wandering, finding water wells just when I think I can’t go anymore. They come in all shapes and sizes and forms. Sometimes in the quiet whisper that reminds me God’s got this. Sometimes in the loud reminder of a song. Sometimes in the gentle nudge of the sunrise reminding me His mercies are new every morning. In the gentle cuddles of my sweet dog. In an encouraging text from a faithful friend.

And though I haven’t found the overflowing lake to fill up my dry reservoir, I’m trusting in the One who knows the way to that lake and will follow one step at a time.

Because when He asks I follow. And never, ever has He let me down before. It often takes time (ugh, time) to see what He is doing, but it always has been worth it. So I remind myself of His faithfulness in the past. In the aspects of not only my life, but others that have been completely changed because I followed when He called. I’m reminded of the amazing people I’ve collected along the way because of going where He’s called. I’m reminded of the incredible career path and how He’s taken me from being told I was too dumb to be a nurse, to being a nurse leader.

And when He brought me to the desert… I found Mercy and Healing

Have you ever listened to a song for months and then one day, the lyrics hit you? My word of the year has been mercy. Normally with my word of the year, I’m sick of the lessons God has been teaching me 6 months into the year. But in October I realized I was just beginning to grasp what God had been teaching me about mercy. It was like the small trickles of water He has been giving me throughout the year. And the other night with just a few days left in 2018, He hit me square in the face with the lyrics that have been on repeat, but I never truly heard.

My past embraced
My sin forgiven
I’m blameless in your sight
My history rewritten

Amanda Cook “Mercy”

And to be honest, I could keep writing, because of the sweet, sweet message I have been given, but that would make for one lengthy post. So until next time, remember, His mercies are truly new every morning, even when it doesn’t feel like it…

Thankfulness for What I Have

A Guest post from my friend Maggie who recently finished treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

The real question is…. after being a bald woman for 6 months… once my hair grows back, will I ever complain about it again? Look at it and constantly wish it was different? “Better?”


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In all honesty, I used to think “it’s too thin/it’s not straight enough/it doesn’t grow long enough/etc etc etc”. Her (fill in random person) hair is better/nicer/prettier/etc etc. I wish mine was (fill in the blank…) oh yeah and my eyebrows are too thin. And my lashes aren’t long enough. And and and…
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Now I’m like “where should I draw my eyebrows on today… I think they *should* probably go right about…here??? 🤷‍♀️😆 some days it’s super annoying but some days I have fun with it. Maybe I draw on just one to be weird and crack up with my husband at how funny I look 😆. That’s me being me. You have to just make jokes when you can… you gotta be able to laugh  And the Lashes? What lashes? They all fell out.

I’ve never been a super girly girly but let me tell ya these changes have not been easy.
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So I’m reflecting. A lot. Perspective is a funny thing. Hindsight is 20/20. You can always see clearer when you’re looking back on things. And that’s okay sometimes, I think. The real important thing is you learn, you grow, you change.
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What am I learning? Here’s a few things: thankfulness for what I have; how comparison is the thief of joy; how you don’t realize how good you have something until it’s gone. Even the vary things you complain about. Or think aren’t good enough. They actually are treasures. Sometimes wanting more/better/different xyz… it’s a lie. It steals your happiness. I’m learning as the Bible says “to be content in all situations… in need and in want…”. Still learning.
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These are things we often hear, sometimes said as cliches. “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone”, for example. We’ve all heard it a million times. maybe we know this logically, but how often do we pause, reflect, and actually apply these and other truths to our hearts? Experience them?
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What does this look like for me? Well, now, I have some dark “thick” (in comparison to my previous bald potato head) buzz coming in. and I’m all like…. WAHOOO!!!

And even funnier… I’ve really missed my thin wavy floppy baby soft hair. Yeah, the stuff I complained about a lot, and thought wasn’t “good enough”, should be better, was insecure of at times, in this way or that.
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How many things do we do that with in our lives? I’ll be the first to admit it; the hair is just one example. There are other areas of myself at times I’ve wished were “different” or “better”. Don’t we all? we’re human. Imperfect beings. Psychologically we more naturally remember the negatives more easily than the positives. We can be at times critical of ourselves or others. We look to what’s next, what’s better, we compare. And the 10 good things that happened today can be clouded by the one “not so good” thing. But we don’t have to just accept worldly standards and labels for our hearts and minds.
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Let’s choose to fight to focus on the good. Challenge the thoughts that tell us something about us, something we have, isn’t good enough or would be better some other way. Often those are lies, and they steal contentment. Acknowledge the negative but don’t let it take over. Learn and grow and challenge the status quo. I believe we find freedom in doing this, and we don’t have to do it alone. God is with us and for us and wants us to be free, to experience the joys of each day! And even as a person who has SUFFERED… let me be clear… SUFFERED physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through now 8 months of being REALLY sick… I have fought to find and focus on the joy. ❤️
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Has it been perfect? No. Has it been easy? definitely not. Have I needed lots of help and support from my husband, my family, my friends, my church? Oh yeah! But it is possible. I choose to fight for this. Even in the darkest storms of life and the scariest moments. Even in the face of trauma. There can be peace. There can be joy. We can be hopeful and expectant. I know because I have experienced it. And it’s available to everyone!
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So Im still learning a lot. And my perspective is stretching. So while I’m NOT happy I got cancer or for all the ways it has wrecked me or my loved ones, I AM thankful for what it is teaching me. Never thought I’d be able to say that, honestly.
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So… yes. I think Ill be happy if/when my hair comes back, just as it was before. Or… even if it’s different. Because honestly… it’s really not as important as I thought it was after all.

It’s Been — A Reflection

It’s been a little over a year since I moved back to Indiana. I spent 9 years away from my home state. 8/9 of those years were within a large metropolitan area. So moving back to a smaller metropolitan area, has been hard, to say the least. I never quite felt like I belonged in the place I grew up, and I can’t say that it has changed as I’ve gotten older. In fact, I would say I feel even further removed from the place that I was born and raised now that I’m back here.

It’s been interesting to process through my first 22 years of life in Indiana, and then my life after Indiana. There isn’t anything wrong with Indiana, it just doesn’t quite fit who I am or the way my life has gone. It’s a really hard thing to admit that you don’t feel like you belong in the very place where you had so many of your formative years. But it is also a very freeing feeling to acknowledge that I’m different, and that’s ok.

It’s been interesting to watch how the majority of people around me in Indiana, followed the “Indiana dream”. They got married fairly young, had children short thereafter, now have a house, and their children are in or are starting school. Meanwhile, I’ve been developing my career, am just starting to head down the path toward marriage, have no kids, and still live in a rental. The last year the question I’ve been asking myself has been “what’s wrong with me that I haven’t had the normal life progression of people in Indiana?” So much of this also ties back to being an enneagram 2. As a 2, I have trouble feeling like I belong, but have this deep need to feel like I belong.

It’s been quite the process to realize {yet again} that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. My life just looks different. It’s not that I don’t want to get married or that I don’t want children, quite the opposite, I want it very much; it’s just on a different time table (at least I hope). I didn’t plan on my career being my priority, it just happened that way. But I also know, that if I had had kids younger, I probably wouldn’t have developed my career like I have. I may have never found my calling as an oncology nurse, which would have been heartbreaking. I also never would have gotten to live in so many different places, meet so many incredible people, have amazing experiences, and heal in ways I could have never healed living in Indiana.

It’s been eye opening to go back to Chicagoland. This past weekend I spent up there and I realized, it still feels like home. I also realized little things that I never appreciated while I was there, like that there are side walks and walkways everywhere. There are also things that I knew I would miss like the incredible food scene, the amazing friends who became family, and the diversity that is everywhere. Chicagoland makes me happy, and it’s funny because I went there not too excited thinking it could never live up to my time in New Jersey, but left kicking and screaming. Turns out, I liked it just as much as New Jersey and it developed me in new ways that New Jersey hadn’t been able to. In both places, I was able to find a place where I was accepted even when my type 2 the giver couldn’t give. I found people who didn’t care that I wasn’t married or that I didn’t have kids. I found people who loved me as I was, not for what I could give them.

It’s been a year of processing and learning since I’ve been back. A year of accepting that I finally landed back in Indiana, and though I planned to settle here, I’m not quite sure I will. I’m not quite sure what the future looks like. But when I landed back in Indiana, I found an Indiana boy, who grew up feeling much the same way as I did. However, this Indiana boy has never lived anywhere else. So now the question remains “should we stay or should we go?” I’m not sure when we’ll get the answer, but I’m finally at peace knowing it’s ok that I never felt I belonged here, because I found my place of belonging. I found that there are people and there are cultures where I feel at home and love me for me. Indiana, thank you for raising me, New Jersey thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone and giving me the feeling of home the second I hit your state for the first time, Chicagoland thank you for helping me become who I am today and giving me the place and space to be who I really I am.

It’s been a year of facing my past and walking through things that happened in the past that needed healing. I’ve been facing my pride, which ties back to being a 2. It’s hard for us 2s to not admit we don’t have it all together. Or that sometimes, when we give, we give too much and that can ruin things. Sometimes as a 2, I’ve given so much and received nothing in return which causes me to break and run the other direction. I don’t think my feeling of not belong in Indiana is solely tied to being an enneagram 2. But I do know that facing the core of who I am and my past, is allowing me to resolve what is on me and what is just because it is.

It’s been hard to stare straight into things I was able to leave when I left Indiana. Things that shaped me and formed me. Not all of it was bad, but parts of it have been very painful to face. Without the healing and accepting I found in the other places I lived, I could have never come back to look the things of my past straight in the face. Mercy is my word of the year, and even in September, I’m still grasping what this word means. I think it’s so hard for me to understand mercy, because as a 2 it goes against everything that drives me. As a 2, it’s ingrained in me that I have to earn love. But the truth is, I don’t have to earn the love of my Heavenly Father, it’s there for me no matter what. And no matter how much I do, He’ll love me, just the same — just as I am.

It’s been. Now it’s time to step into what it’s going to be one step at a time. One healing at a time. Accepting and loving myself just as I am, while facing the things I need to change to continue to improve myself. Most importantly excepting the love that is offered to me without any strings attached from up above. Secondly, allowing those to love me even when I have nothing left to give them.

It’s been, so what’s next?

 

Orange, Ginger, Honey Chicken “Sushi Bowl”

The last few days have been a bit stressful, so I took to the kitchen. This orange, ginger, honey “sushi bowl” hit the spot. It’s delicious and allows this highly sensitive person to enjoy a taste of Asian.

  • *First you need a pound of shredded chicken. I like to put chicken in the crock pot on low for about 6 hours in chicken stock.
  • *Second you need a cup of cooked rice. I use the rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove top too

After you have the above 2 ingredients, put them in a sauce pan on low and add the follow ingredients.

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos -1/4 cup gf soy sauce (If the above doesn’t cover all the rice and chicken and make them slightly brown tint add coconut aminos until it is)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar -1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • juice from 1 mandarin orange
  • 5 green onions diced

**allow the above to simmer for about 15 minutes on low*

While the above is simmering dice a cucumber and if your shelled edamame is frozen, let that defrost.
On your plate add to 1 cup of the cooked mixture

  • diced cucumber to taste (cucumber is a bit strong for me, so I don’t use a lot of it)
  • avocado (I used 1/2 a mini avocado)
  • 1/4 cup shelled edamame

Enjoy!

2017 – The Year of Grace

2017. What can I say? You were everything I didn’t expect you to be. I was excited for you. I saw boundless potential in you. I had ideas of how the year would unfold. And here I am, on the other side of you, looking back and saying “see ya later and please don’t come back.”

You started off well. I was getting comfortable in my new role at work. Life felt comfortable and I had people around me I called family. I was dating someone and it seemed to be going well. I wasn’t the new person anywhere for the first time in a really long time. I loved my church and my small group. I even got to go on a vacation for the first time in about 3 years. So when my word of the year “grace” was revealed to me, I thought, oh, maybe God is giving me grace this year in the form of an easier time than how my normal life goes.

“The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.” 
― Criss JamiKillosophy

Come March and beyond, and my life quickly went crashing in. To name a few things… My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, my dog almost died from a GI bleed, the guy I was dating turned out to be an absolute jerk, my sister went into early labor (thankfully it was able to be stopped), relationships in my life I thought were fine exploded in my face, my brother had a stroke, and God made it absolutely clear I was to leave my comfortable life in Illinois, take a pay cut, and move back to Indiana (that sounds exactly like what someone would want to do, right?). Following that move between the address change issues, the insane amount of time it took to get my title transferred, working way more hours than I was before, no longer having my support system, moving expenses that seemed to be endless on top of taking a pay cut, and dealing with a mouse issue in my apartment for the last month — I’m exhausted.

“When life doesn’t meet your expectations, it was important to take it with grace.” 
― Patricia BriggsWhen Demons Walk

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss Illinois. I do, I miss it, the people, and the familiarity with every fiber of my being. However, I would also be lying if I said I felt like I heard God wrong about moving back to Indiana. It was one of those situations where God spoke so clearly, I cannot even in my weakest faith moments, doubt this is what He asked of me. Isn’t that the hardest thing when you’re in the middle of some place you don’t necessarily want to be —Knowing God has you exactly where He wants you. That you are wrapped fully in His grace, even amidst the chaos.

“Grace is what picks me up and lifts my wings high above and I fly! Grace always conquers! Be graceful in everything; in anger, in sadness, in joy, in kindness, in unkindness, retain grace with you!”
― C. JoyBell C.

So as I review what I’ve learned in 2017, I’m honestly overwhelmed. I’ve learned a lot, much of which I didn’t want to learn, but needed to learn. And I have such a deeper understanding of that grace that took place on the cross. I’ve learned that I can’t be so hard on myself (it’s funny how giving yourself a little grace in rough patches is much better than being hard on yourself). I’ve learned that a lot of times on the other side of a what seems like good is great, even better than I imagined (especially in the world of dating). I’ve learned what it means to be stripped of all the comfort and feel like you’re standing naked, in the crowd, just waiting for the tomatoes to keep flying at you. And I’ve learned that on the other side of a very, very tough year, I can still be thankful for that year, but never want to live it again. Lastly, I have learned that I am capable, brave, significant, and strong even when I feel like I am absolutely not.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
― AnonymousHoly Bible: New International Version

So, as I round out the final days of 2017 I enter 2018 with a different mindset. One that is full of a heart that is open to whatever it is God may have for me. One that is open to this new life He has for me in a place different than where I pictured ending 2017. I trust that the Creator of the universe still holds my future in His hands. And I trust that whatever word He has for me this next year will teach me everything I don’t expect it to. But isn’t that the greatest thing about serving a God that is larger than life, knowing He has something unimaginable in store?

But Don’t Let That Burn You Down

Ben Rector is one of my favorite artists. The first time I heard his song “Wildfire”, I was jumping head first into a relationship I knew was a major risk. It was one of those songs that put into words what  I couldn’t.

“I am learned that you’re not perfect,
And that sometimes the one you love can burn you…

When you love someone
They’re gonna hurt you,
When you love someone
They’re gonna burn you,
But don’t let that burn you down.”

-Ben Rector

Recently that relationship ended, and the lyrics above have stood to be true. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve felt a lot of pain and anger, and I’ve come out a stronger person  – because it won’t burn me down. The hard part about any relationship, especially dating, is that we have to learn we are the only part of the relationship we truly have a say in. We cannot control what another person says, does, or feels. We cannot force someone to live up to their potential. We can’t instill strength where someone doesn’t want strength to be instilled. I’ve learned that I cannot carry a relationship all on my own, especially if the other person doesn’t want to be carried.

I’ve also learned that a relationship that actually wasn’t a bad relationship at all, tough – yes, bad – no, can end terribly. I’ve learned that someone who actually has a really good heart, can make decisions that can rip your heart out. I’ve learned that you can stare in the eyes of someone and see just how much they care about you, and learn that they do not have the strength or capacity to carry out the actions to prove it. I’ve learned a lot, and for that I am thankful.

As the details started to come out and all the sudden things I couldn’t make sense of before, now started to make sense. As the realization that the whole truth had not been told to me settled in, and my heart began to break, I chose to walk through the pain. I got mad, I got angry, and for someone who doesn’t cuss, I cussed up a storm. As yet another downpour started in this, what feels like never ending, stormy season of my life, I sat there in the pain. I let the reality and truth of what happened settle in. I don’t know all the details, but I don’t want to, I know enough.

And as I sit here on the other side of {most of} the pain, I can reflect back. I’m thankful for the good times, because there were a lot of them. I will cherish the memories. The pain lessens each day. I don’t regret the relationship, because any relationship is a risk, and every relationship will hurt at some point or another if it is real. I choose grace and forgiveness. And I choose to hope and pray for his future. My prayers are that he some day lives up to the man I know he can be. That he heals from his past. And that he forgives himself. I pray for happiness, joy, strength, and wisdom to abound in  his life.

And as I step into life stronger and with more wisdom as a result of this relationship, I choose hope. I choose grace. I choose to believe that letting go of the anger and bitterness will be better for everyone involved.  And I cling to the promise that my God is with me, and for me, and that He has a plan in all of this for each of His children. He doesn’t waste the pain or hurt. I will cling to the fact that “Sometimes God does not change the circumstance but instead changes us in the circumstances.” (Meredith Andrews) That pain is part of my purpose on this earth and that I need to be “more brave tomorrow than I am today”. (Shauna Niequiest) Because as Brene Brown says in the image below, “The broken-hearted are the bravest among us. They had the courage to love.” I choose to continue to risk my heart for love of all kinds. I choose to not let the hurt and pain define me.

I choose HOPE.

I choose JOY.

I choose FAITH.

I choose FORGIVENESS.

I forgive you.

The Year of 30 – Fear Facing

This morning I was sitting at my desk going through the stacks of cards I received for my birthday.

I hate my birthday, bad things happen, and this year was no different. As I reflected on this stack of cards, but more importantly who they came from and the words inside, I’m thankful. Often, when things are imploding around us, we tend to forget that we matter to people.

I had a really, really hard time turning 30. It felt like I was no longer “young”. I felt like I had accomplished so much between 20-25 and not so much between 26-30. I mean when you graduate 3 times in a 3 year span, it is kind of hard to beat such accomplishments again. 

So as I was turning 30, I reflected on the goals/aspirations I had that had not yet been obtained. My dream of being a nurse practitioner (yes, more school), has not yet been obtained. My dream of being a wife and mother has not yet come to fruition. I hadn’t traveled as much as I had planned. In many ways I still felt unsettled, a lack of stability. I also reflected on what the last half of my 20’s was, and what it was surprised me. It was a lot of healing from damaging relationship of all kinds in my early 20’s. It was also a lot of making a career for myself, which included surviving the night shift and the endless hours of anxiety a new nurse goes through. They were years of self discovery and self reflection. They were years that have brought me to where I am today, and for that I am thankful.

So last week as I faced turning 31 and parts of my life were in shambles around me, I actually didn’t struggle. Because if I’m honest, my 30’s have been off to a great start with loads of adventure. Also, I trust that my dreams will come to be when the time is ready, and with the right people and the right school programs. I have a peace about trusting in the timing to be right, and less of a need to get everything accomplished NOW.

Over the past year I went to Costa Rica and faced my fear of heights by jumping of the side of mountains to go zip-lining  and I would do it again in a heart beat.

I dated guys that are completely out of my normal and learned a great deal and have great memories as a result.

“Leadership isn’t a skill you have, it is a skill you learn”

After a great deal of wrestling over the decision and praying, I took on a management position at work. It hasn’t been easy, actually far from it, but as my wise little brother told me “Leadership isn’t a skill you have, it is a skill you learn”. And everyday, I am learning this more and more. But, I have to say, when someone says “my boss” in reference toe me, my immediate response is “that’s not me!”… and then I realize, actually technically, yes it is.

I faced a lot of fears this past year both personally and professionally. I feel like my word(s) for the year of 30 was fear facing and as I enter 31, grace is what resonates. Grace for others. Grace for myself. Grace for where I’ve been and where I’m going. But most importantly sitting in the beauty of the grace from my Heavenly Father – knowing that I will never be enough but through His grace, He is enough for me. There is a freedom in knowing I can’t reach the state of perfection I’ve longed to reach for so long, but in Him I am fulfilled. My job is simply to walk in His grace and be the best me I can be. So 31, let’s do this.

 

 

Letting Go When it Wasn’t Bad

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on dating or singleness, but I feel like I want to share my current struggle just in case there is someone else out there wondering if they’re alone in this struggle. Online dating is hard. Really hard. For every 1000 messages you get, maybe 1 of those is good. There is a lot of comic relief in there and plenty ones you read one or two words and you delete it and need to wash out your eyes. Dating is hard. Singleness is hard. Life is hard.

For every 1000 messages you get, maybe one of those is good.

There are plenty of people out there that date for the one night stands or are okay with little to no substance in the relationship. I’m not one of those. I’m also one of those people that can get an idea pretty quickly of whether or not the guy I’m on a date with is a good match or not. I’ve been told I don’t give guys enough of a chance, and maybe I don’t, but I think I’m just able to read people pretty quickly.

Timing is everything

Last May I told God I would message every guy on Bumble (it was my first week on this app) that I matched with and if nothing worked out with any of them I was done with online dating for a while. During this week I met the guy who I’ve been dating for the last 3 months. Pretty much instantly I liked the guy. There was something about him and still is something that I was just attracted to. A lot of somethings actually. And let me tell you, the three months were really good. I was pretty scared, because I actually liked the guy and he seemed to like me back – which isn’t always the case when I finally think a guy is worth my time.

Pretty much instantly I liked the guy. There was something about him and still is something that I was just attracted to. A lot of somethings actually.

So for 3 months we dated, we talked, we had great discussions, we had fun, he pursued me (what a concept), and he was part of a season of extreme healing. It’s been a season of walking through past hurts and pains and truly digging deep and healing. A lot of this healing I couldn’t have done without this really good dating relationship showing me something different form the past.

Then a few weeks ago I could feel the distance growing. Then late Saturday night it ended. Some differences he couldn’t get past. He wants to be friends and I’m not certain I can be. The main reason? Because he really is a good match for me. It really was a good relationship. I still really like him. And the differences he couldn’t get past do not make him a bad guy. The struggles he’s walking through do not make him a bad guy. The core of who he really is is a really good guy.

Then a few weeks ago I could feel the distance growing.

So I’m faced with the question of how do you get over a guy when it was all really good? When even the bad parts of the relationship weren’t actually bad? How do you find a reason to let go when all you keep thinking about is the stupid ways that they match you?

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure. But I’m going to try and focus on the fact that there will be a guy out there who matches me just as well,  and maybe even better. A guy who the differences will be able to be worked past. A guy who is ready to date. And until then I’ll cherish the memories and try my best to be thankful that I got to experience something that is hard to figure out how to let go.

And let’s be honest, timing is everything.

So my single ladies, there are good guys out there. We just have to find the good guys who also match us and are in the same stages of life as us. And let’s be honest, timing is everything. So I’ll cling to the promise that I serve a God who loves me and hears the deepest desires of my heart. And I hope you have something to cling to as well. Because when life doesn’t make sense, we all need something to cling to.

Of This I’m Sure

You know when you find that one song that speaks to you for where you are at in life and it is on repeat so much you wonder when the people in your life are going to threaten you if you don’t turn it off? Well, I found that song recently in an unlikely place and it has been the soundtrack through my present season.

the past doesn't own us anymore

I was shopping one night a little over a month ago for family pictures (and I HATE shopping) when I walked into my favorite store Altar’d State in not the best mood. I recently discovered this store with my sister-in-law and it was love at first sight. There is something about the combination of amazingly cute clothes, ridiculously awesome house decorations (with a bunch of inspirational sayings which warm my heart), and the fact that I always find new music when I walk in there.

On this particular night blaring through their speakers were the artists Jenny and Tyler and they’ve been speaking truth and grace into my soul since that first moment I heard their lyrics. I love their whole album “Of this I’m sure”, but most of all I love that song in particular. In these lyrics -“Of this I’m sure, the past don’t own us anymore”, the whole present season of my life is summed up.

This season of my life has been one of working through past mistakes, ghosts, and hurts. Sounds fun doesn’t it? Kidding. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, but also one of the most rewarding seasons. A season full of sitting in my pains and anxiety and allowing myself to truly feel it. It has been full of not only letting myself see myself for who I really am, but also letting people in my life both new and old see me for who I am.

The past doesn’t own me anymore.

All the mistakes, ghosts, and hurts of my past, I’m releasing them of their control.

I don’t know about you, but so often I’ve let things from my past hold me back. It has nothing to do with the questioning of the validity of whether or not the wounds hurt or the mistakes were, well, stupid, it has to do with the control they still have over me.  A few months ago I began going to see a counselor – something I should have done a long time ago. There is such a stigma behind counseling, and it needs to be gone.

In these times of seeing this counselor I’ve been walking through things I’ve blocked out. I’ve been sitting in the emotions I’ve been afraid to feel.  And when I’ve said “I haven’t dealt with this” instead of moving on, she’s looked me square in the face and with no where for me to go she’s said “so let’s deal with it now”.

Through this one of the hardest things I’ve been challenged with is to not be afraid to let people see who I really am. It was time I let go of my need for perfection and looking like I always have it together on the outside go. And you want to know the most amazing thing? People are loving me for who I am, faults and all.

So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

One night in a conversation I was having with one of the people I’ve been making a point to 100% be myself with I said “That’s just who I have always been”. In response they said to me “that’s okay there is nothing the matter with being who you are”. And in that moment a healing took place. A healing of wounds so deep that I didn’t even know were there until truth was spoken into them. So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

And who you are at this very moment is lovable.

So I guess in all my ramblings I want to get this point across. The past does NOT define you. Allow it to shape you, to guide you, to lead you to better decisions, and develop your character, but not define who you are and where you are headed. Don’t be afraid to feel the emotions, because in feeling the bad emotions, it allows healing, and in the healing it allows for the good emotions to be that much more present and real.

And the most important lesson I’ve learned? Who I am, at this very moment even with all my junk and imperfections is lovable. And who you are at this very moment is lovable. One of the best things we can do is to allow the people who truly love us to see who we really are and love us where we are at. So my friends, with this in mind, I challenge you to be you – all of you. And remember, the past doesn’t own you anymore. 

#Chase2015: 7 Enhancements for Better Living

We’re already well into September, where exactly has 2015 gone? I am still asking that question. This year already my family has experienced a few additions. My brother got married and my sister gave birth to a second beautiful baby girl. To celebrate the new additions to my family, I decided to make a few positive additions and changes to my lifestyle:

Chase2015_edited

Here is my top 7 enhancements I have made to #Chase2015:

Using a Fitbit

My pedometer died on me and I was left with the decision of get another or invest in something a little more. I went to Target and using my Cartwheel app (which by the way it is my favorite app that saves me lots of money!) I got the more expensive one for a decent price.

Protein shakes

I have once again started drinking a protein shake on my way to work. It is sustaining and helps fuel me through the morning. I find that when I choose protein over carbs, I don’t like I used to and that is wonderful.

Panera

This quick on-the-go choice has the most healthy options I have found yet. The only downfall at this point is simply that it costs a little more. I can almost always find something to eat that doesn’t kill me in calories for the day. Favorite food choice so far? Turkey and Avocado BLT (minus the tomato of course!). Healthy and fills me up? Count me in!

Increase quiet time

I don’t always succeed at this one, but I at least try to set some quiet time aside to pray, meditate, or just practice being. That is a really hard one to strip yourself down so that you can really enjoy peace and quiet. I still am not all the way there yet, but it gets easier the more I keep trying.

Wunderlist

This is an organizational app that you can get through the Apple store (it is free). I can sync it to my computer, set up reminders that are sent to by email, and I can stay on top of my game. I seem to end up going in a million different directions and this helps keep me on task. So far in the week I have been using it, I feel more organized, more productive, and not so scatterbrained. They have pre-made lists like work, family, groceries, movies to see…as well as the ability for you to change and create new lists. I like also that you can create a network of others with this app. Add others to your network and help delegate tasks. I like using this as a shared network.

Writing skills

So, I am taking two writing classes. Yes, 5 weeks of pen and paper bliss. This is something that I have needed to do for my work and mostly to build confidence in my writing skills. I have moved into a creative marketing position so the need for brushed up writing skills is now needed more than ever. I am hoping this investment in my personal skills will help me achieve success.

Massage and adjustment

I have been getting wellness massages and adjustments from my chiropractor about once every 6 weeks. This is how I deal with my stress. I carry so much of it in my shoulders and when everything is off–it makes my demeanor, my mood, and my fuse short. While I can afford it, I have really tried to work on balance and these two steps have made a major impact on my emotional and physical wellbeing.

Over all, I feel better. I know that I need to work on balancing better and these 7 steps have helped me achieve more balance than I have had in a long while.

Despite stress still being there, I am managing it much better than I used to because of these small enhancements.

How are YOU enhancing your life?



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