Beautiful Things

Hi friends, it has been a harrowing week for my extended family. I don’t feel like it’s my story to tell and I definitely don’t think it’s the right time to tell the story but it’s been really emotionally draining for a number of us. I know I like my sleep more than many people, but I truly cannot remember the last time I was this tired. Also, I started a new job (more on that later)!

I really wanted to post a link to this blog post I like about catastrophe. The root of the word has something to do with stars exploding and the blog post is really beautiful. It’s about finding the beauty in the pain and how catastrophes have a way of putting things into perspective and all kinds of insightful things that I don’t have the eloquence for. I can’t find it though, which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising based on the week I’ve had.

So here are my un-eloquent thoughts on the past week: It has been rough, and moderately painful, emotionally draining, and scary at times. Life really threw us a curveball. But I am more sure now than I have ever been that God is good. He has blessed me with the opportunity to step into a confusing situation and love on my family. He has equipped me to face things I never imagined I would face. And in the midst of it all he has given me a hope greater than I’ve ever imagined.

He makes beautiful things out of the dust. Each one of us is a terribly broken, empty, shell of what we were made to be. He redeems all of that. He is capable of great things. And I know that He is using this experience to make something beautiful and new for our family. I’m posting this more for myself than anyone else, because the truth is there is a long journey ahead of us, and there will be setbacks. When we have those days I want to be able to come here and remember that I serve a mighty and great God. And that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.

Garden by Needtobreathe

Hey friends. So I’ve listened to this song easily hundreds of times and it wasn’t until last week that I actually GOT IT. When I think about how many times I listened and enjoyed the sound but had no idea what was going on it really baffles me.

The cool thing is that now, it’s like I’ve discovered this whole new beautiful song that I’d never heard before last week. Every time I listen to it my soul hurts and beams with joy at the same time. It’s beautiful and tragic and encouraging. I have so many feelings I don’t even know what to do.

Courage

Mary Anne Radmacher said

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Any of you who regularly receive emails from me know that I have a bible verse about courage as my signature. What many of you might not know is that this is not an attempt on my part to encourage the recipients of my emails. I’m far more selfish than that. This is a feeble attempt to remind myself, every time I write an email, to be courageous and rest in the power of my great God. And it’s a good thing it’s there because I still have significant fears multiple times a day.

As I work my way through three more graduate school applications I’m often overcome with fear. I fear that these admissions committees will see me as a low achieving student rather than an overcomer. I fear that my hopes and dreams will once again be denied. I fear that I will fail.

This Mary Anne Radmacher quote is a perfect way to describe the courage I’ve been striving for these past few weeks. This courage is not great or bold or loud. I am not taking on oppressors or slaying dragons or saving lives. I’m just choosing each day to try again.

PS – I know my God is great. But I don’t understand why my great God has not moved mountains to make my dreams come true. This sounds incredibly selfish and childish, I know. If you want to pray for me that’d be great. I know there are injustices and misfortunes in the world much greater than my not getting into graduate school but I still would like to ask you to pray on my behalf. Pray that God’s will would prevail in my life (as if anything could stop it, ha!). Pray that I would have wisdom in my search. And maybe pray that I would be slightly less selfish. Thanks friends.

My Dream for 2014

Friends,

I have resolved to dream big this year and believe in myself. My dream is that I will begin grad school in 2014. I’m in the process of applying to a handful of seminaries where I can get my Masters in Counseling. Sharing this dream with you is scary, because everyone who reads will know if I don’t make it. This will be my third go at grad school and I feel really confident that this is where God is calling me.  I want to be an overcomer. I love people, I love mentoring, building relationships, and giving guidance, and I want to be trained how to do that professionally by a place that values Jesus Christ the way I do. I’m equal parts excited and scared about this dream but I’ll keep you posted throughout the process and appreciate your prayers. What are you dreaming about this year?

A Song I’m Loving Right Now

As someone who has always pushed the boundaries and questioned the status quo (not to be a pain in the ass, but because I believe humanity can be better than we are) I love this video. I know it might offend some of you and it’s not meant to. However, the song is catchy and the ultimate message : stay true to yourself (and in many of our cases Jesus) is a welcome reminder. And while she certainly oversimplifies, I think Kasey Musgraves does a good job of pointing out our natural and hypocritical tendency to judge others unfairly.

New Years Eve

blog pic nye

Three nights ago was New Years Eve, and I must say it was quite magical. I had loads of fun with my parents and grandfather eating a delicious meal and reminiscing about the past twelve months. Right around midnight my father and I went to set off fireworks on the beach.

New Years has not always been a great time for me. I think it’s a challenging hurdle for anyone in the throes of depression or even just a rut. Everyone is celebrating in full force, exuding joy and excitement. There’s that quintessential “midnight kiss” (who came up with this? I’d like to punch them in the face); plus there’s almost always alcohol involved. And for an introvert in a negative emotional space with no one “special” to ring in the new year with this can add up to a hot mess. Because I know that I am particularly vulnerable to this New Years Eve blues “phenomenon,” around new years for the past two years I’ve spent time mulling over a blog post I really love. I find it to be a raw and honest reflection on NYE, and as a result I’ve found it to be quite healing for me.

And as I stood in the sand with my father, the fuses burning like sparklers against the dark backdrop of sand and ocean I felt alive. I felt more vibrant and full of potential than I have in quite a while. And I felt thankful. Because there was a day when I didn’t think I’d ever feel alive again. And there were days that my story could have easily ended.

I didn’t have anyone to kiss. I didn’t have friends to cheer with. I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers, but I felt alive and for that I was grateful.

I was thankful that there was air in my lungs. Because there are broken things that I was made to fix. My life is more than just my own. And I’m so glad I chose to fight.

Happy New Years friends. It would be great if the coming months would hold only good things for us all. But I know that we will stumble. Hard times will come. So my hope is that when they do, we will choose hope, and we will choose to fight. Welcome to midnight.

It’s (almost) 2014 friends!!

*Disclaimer:* In the interest of “Just Do(ing) It” I haven’t reviewed this post or edited it. It’s going to be rough around the edges but I need to get it out.

Hey.

So I haven’t blogged in ages. This seems like an appropriate way to start this post but I feel weird about for two reasons. 1. If you read/follow my blog at any level you already know this. 2. I feel like I have a big blogger head because it implies that people are actually reading this.

Anyhoo, I’m super pumped to be blogging again. The holidays happened (in case you missed it, I thought I’d let you know), and they were crazy. I don’t really understand why my life gets crazy around the holidays because as a single unemployed female I really shouldn’t have all that much going on. Holiday programs for my kids: NO. Holiday work parties: NO. And yet every year things get insanely busy. And so I didn’t blog. And I can feel it in my soul.

Blogging is really therapeutic for me. It might sound weird but I feel like it’s something I do with Jesus. I don’t always talk about Him in explicit terms, but when I’m blogging it’s like I’m sitting down with Jesus and having coffee (or in todays case catching up with) with an old friend. I read the blogs of women in ministry who I look up to. I get a look into what God is doing in other women’s lives and what other women are struggling with. I discover that I am truly not alone. These other blogs and the time I spend reflecting on my own posts are one of the ways that God speaks to me.

There were multiple times over the past two or three weeks that I have really wanted to write. Times when my heart was aching or full of joy. Times when I was confused or feeling incredibly impassioned about something. But things were hectic, so instead I drank another glass of wine, ate 3 more cookies and spent 6 more hours giggling with family.

All of those things are good in moderation, and the holidays are definitely a time for family. But self care doesn’t stop being important just because it’s Christmas. And just because everyone and their mom is talking about Christmas doesn’t mean I’m spending time with, or listening for, God.

I’m going to write more tomorrow on another topic, so I figured tonight would be a good time to articulate my “new years resolution”: I’m going to focus on Jesus this year. And I’m going to open my mind to what that means. I’m going to invite him into my nerdy introvert times. I’m going to listen for him whenever I’m slowing down to do self care. Quiet times will still be a staple, but I’m also going to commune with him when I take a bubble bath, and when I doodle in my art journal, and when I walk on the beach. I’m going to question Him and challenge Him and not back down when I get scared. We’re going to be BFFLs and it’s going to be great.

Psych meds and Jesus

20131119-222821.jpg

I realize it may seem silly to post a picture of words on a blog, with more words as a caption/explanation but beat with me for a second. I’m reading this awesome book (I think I’ve mentioned it before) and tonight’s chapter is discussing sitting in your emotions.

One of the reasons I started writing is because I sometimes feel like I’m a giant contradiction and I want a place where I can be conflicting things and it can be okay. A place I can freely examine contradicting ideas and break them down. Psych meds and my surrender to Jesus are one of those sets of conflicting beliefs. So here we go.

There’s definitely a stigma attached to psych meds (anything intentionally mind altering, anti depressants, anxiety meds, etc). But when you put this in the context of the church it gets even more complicated. Some people believe that you just need to trust Jesus and take all your problems to Him. I think that you should by all means take all of your problems to Jesus. But sometimes your brain chemistry is off (I acknowledge I am over-simplifying this). And I believe that Jesus can help with that…….which is why God made Psychiatrists and medicines.

Sometimes that’s hard to explain to people, but I really love what Kristin Ritzau said above. I’ve typed it below in case you can’t read the picture.

“There was also a time when I kept having debilitating panic attacks and I had to go on anti-anxiety medicine to help for a few months, but the pill was never the answer. It was an aid so I could face what was really going on and then wean myself off.”

I love this because it’s a reminder that the medication is not the answer or the solution, Jesus is. But it also gives grace for those who need medication in order to truly be their healthiest self and seek Jesus.