In Flight 1/16/17

Nearly done with 14 hours and 30 minutes of flying. I can lean against the cold window and watch clouds above the wings of this monstrous aircraft. There’s an empty seat between me and a grandmother from Bangladesh named Rahla. Through a slight language barrier, she told be about her children; a scientist, an engineer, and a neurologist. She’s proud. There’s lots of young children on board this plane. Three babies are being passed around to different cooing, grinning adults. I don’t think they’re all family, or even more than acquaintances, yet babies are cared for and played with until they get tired and restless and return to mama’s arms.

I’ve seen a majority of this flights passengers pray at specific times, bowing, humming and rocking peacefully. Rahla told me a little bit about what the Korah means to her. I told her a little bit about what the Bible means to me. She didn’t know I was praying when I was.

There’s been two meals so far and I believe breakfast is on its way as the flight attendants begin rushing back and forth through the aisles. They smile, nod and dodge the parents who are calming small children through the walkways. One of them I haven’t seen lose his smile this whole 12 hours. He’s been making friends with the passengers near his station. Another one hasn’t smiled very much this flight. I’ve been trying to decide whether it’s her resting face or she’s not having her best day. There’s an old Indian man across the aisle from me who makes her laugh though. He’s been cracking jokes for anyone who will listen.

I am ready to stand up again. My knees are beginning to feel like they’re screwed permanently bent. My lips and fingers are dry and clammy. I could probably use some more sleep. But ultimately I’m really happy. I love traveling. I love getting to meet people who’s lives I don’t understand and they don’t understand mine. People always find something to relate to on though. Always. Rahla and I both come from big families and both of us are interested in arts. I met a man while in line for boarding who was from Kenya. He was traveling for the first time in his life at 46 years old. He asked me if I’m a friend of Jesus and when I said yes he told me he could tell because Jesus has a way of putting His face in others faces. We related on our savior and I’ll most likely never meet again. But most likely we’ll always remember that conversation. How cool is that?

Just a couple of hours from Dubai. Completely man made. I’m excited to see a city that is pioneered and built on ingenuity and engineering. Millions upon millions of minds have been a part of the process of building Dubai. Artists, architects, futurists, scientists, travelers work displayed at every corner. Cities get me excited about people. People get me excited about God.

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The War Is Over – A Testimony

“The war is over”

A perfect way to describe my night. Sabrina texted that sentence and it kinda wrapped the whole experience up with a bow. Tonight was quite a victory. I’m still processing it and don’t completely understand it, but yet here I am.

Let’s start from the beginning. For my entire life time, I don’t remember not being in pain. Pain in my joints and muscles, constantly. I was often foggy-brained and lethargic. My physical health seemed to only deteriorate for the longest time. I’ve been frustrated and angry for so long. So so long. I was frustrated that I was so young and so incapable of feeling young. I was angry that we couldn’t find a solution or figure out the issue. I was angry at myself, at modern medicine, and really at God. I had not realized the extent or impact anger makes on you until I wasn’t angry any more.

Tonight I was healed. After 17 years of pain and frustration. Tonight I was healed in body and spirit and soul. Tonight I was healed and it’s my turn to pass it on. Tonight I was healed and I receive it.

Church began. I walked into the sanctuary as worship started and stood in my usual place against the back wall where I had room to move. As I worshiped, soaking in the tangible anticipation, I asked Jesus for hope. This morning I’d accepted that maybe I’ll live the rest of my life in pain. “I guess that’s okay. I guess that’s who I am,” I thought.

Abba began to show me a sort of flashback on the past two years. There have been many very hard moments and many very wonderful moments in these past couple years. He took me gently through seasons and circumstances, showing me where He was in each one. I gained some understanding and peace about places where I’d missed Him. Then He took me through a vision of the next two years, sharing His heart for me and my ministry. He broke my box I’d placed on my future. He shared His excitement for me and the people in my life. He showed me specifics and He showed me holy ambition.

After this I was feeling pretty good. I was excited and intent on being in His presence. I continued to worship, now smiling, and then listened to the message. Throughout all of this I’m in pain, as the last whole of my life has been. Nothing new. But here I am and I’m happy. I’m grateful. I know who I am. I’m sitting with Jesus.

God loves surprises.

Honestly, it’s all a blur right now. Probably because I’m still in shock. But after the message, we were praying together. Pastor John Arnott begins to talk about healing and I lose it. I then realized I’d lost all hope for healing. I didn’t believe it was for me. In my visions He’d shared how I’d be a healer, which is truly my heart. But I thought that must look different than I’d thought because I don’t get healing.

“He wants to heal all of you,” says John.

I tear up, thinking, “God, I want healing.”

Then he starts to talk about forgiveness and prompts us to forgive those who hurt us and owe us. I do so. And I decided to give up the anger and hurt I was holding on to. I said “God, I need you to take this” and forgave. That’s when the healing occurred.

Ooohhhh.

My anger and hurt were getting in the way of me letting Him in. To be healed, I needed to let myself be touched. I’d been hurt and angry and put guards up. I had no idea they were there but that doesn’t make them any less strong. To forgive I had to take those down. I had to let the intimate, raw places in me be opened.

My Jesus is gentle.

My pain is gone.

Then he walked us through forgiving ourselves and I forgave myself for having walls. I realized my pain was gone. I could move my fingers without aching. I couldn’t feel it in my chest, my joints….it was just gone. It was new. It was freeing.

I lost it. I started sobbing mostly out of shock. I didn’t know until that moment what it’s like to not be in pain. Sabrina prayed and asked me what happened. When I finally got the words up, she helped me to the front so I could declare my healing.

The declaration of healing in front of a congregation was important to me. The fact that I could have confidence that this is it was overwhelming and exciting. The war is over. I can be at peace. I can rest in victory.

After that I was prayed over and Jesus continued to love on me. I’m still in shock and processing. I probably will be for a little while. I’ve got a lot to learn about this experience, about healing and about sharing what’s been given to me. But right now I know all that I need to.

I know I am healed and pain free. I know I am whole and who I’m meant to be. I know He sees me and loves to give good gifts. I know I am at peace. I know the war is over. I know this is for good.

I’ll be writing more about this in the near future. Damn, God is good.

A Night in White Sep. 30th, 2017 Part 1

Here I lay in my bed, swaddled in blankets, listening to music and settling the words I heard tonight deep into my heart. My mind is still but my heart is racing, it’s so much better than vice versa. So much easier to breathe in, rather than endure. Heart racing and mind slowing is a sign of peace and passion. Mind racing and heart slowing is resistance and stress. 

Anyways, tonight I went to a Night in White for Bochy’s Place. It was an all white gala fundraiser to support a ministry which is a restorative home for girls who have been rescued from the human trafficking industry. They focus on reimplementing them into society, giving them the tools they need to get steady jobs, education and community. They teach the girls how to date, mother, and be a wife by teaching them how they should be loved. They instill the mindset of knowing the value and worth that is already there. They cherish and befriend and parent the girls. 

Tonight, as hundreds of men and women elegantly piled into the hotel, hearts began to stir. Laughter, confidence, and hunger to learn filled the halls and, as the gala began, soon tears fell, decisions were made, and hope restored. It was a night of change. 

I learned a lot. I learned things like 90% of girls who are rescued, brought into rehabilitation homes and given families return to the streets after they finish the programs. That’s why Bochy’s Place exists. They stand to equip and empower the girls for success so they can move on their own.

I learned that people -dear people whom I love incredibly- are in danger of trafficking and that it does indeed affect my life and the lived around me much more than I imagined. 

I learned that there is hope. And that personal choices matter. When I take a step with a ministry, when I give my resources, these girls are offered another step of their own. 

There’s a lot of power in saying yes. There’s a lot of power in forgiveness. There’s a lot of power in hope and trust. These are the things that make a leader and I have been given a heart and a position to lead with my action. When I say yes, I give up my rights. When I forgive, I let go of all offense. When I trust and hope, my expectations come to fruition. 

Its Okay To Not Be Okay

This has been a week of discovery. Breaking and being broken will teach you an incredible amount about yourself and the world. Letting go of someone very dear to me, I let go one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. It was important to both of us that we move forward and on, even though neither of us completely understand why. We’re learning to trust Abba in a deeper way than we’ve yet had to.
Its been a week of comfort food, dreaming, crying in the car, mourning, laughing and hugs. I’m learning to remember without sorrow but with no less fondness. I still have hope that I’ll be with him again someday. But to continue I know we have to lay each other down, let go completely.
When we broke up, it was very sweet. I expected a short conversation that was sad, abrupt, and painful. Instead we had closure, sweetness, and yes, it was sad, but we were able to say what we needed to say and that was good. We cried, held each other and prayed. We gave each other’s hearts to God out loud and expressed what we wanted the other to live by as they move on. I’m grateful we could lay it down even when it hurts because we trust our Good Good Father.
I learned its okay to not be okay. Not masking hurt allows for it to heal. Trying to be okay for other people holds no benefit, it just requires digging. I’ve learned that God is my refuge. He’s sweet and intimate, He doesn’t poke or prod, he just opens Himself up to you completely and lets you be safe when you’re ready.
I’ve learned there are days where I’ll be fine and it’ll be easier to laugh and be with people and listen. Others won’t be so easy and I’ll need to lean on God, Butterfingers and a good cry. And that’s okay. Being strong all the time isn’t healthy. I’d have no time to process or mourn or discover; all of which are good things.
I realized how much identity I put into being the strong one and being okay so others can process, mourn, and discover. And through that, I never let myself collapse into these emotions I so desperately needed to feel.
Our youth group, a strong group of brothers and sisters, has a bunch of young ones joining and older ones (me) graduating. Its a transition in the family and its good but there’s some ache. We are studying identity, our own, God’s and the connection of the two. Its powerful to go through this again, having learned as much as I have. Yet there’s always more. There’s always new ways of relating to God and finding new, wonderful sides to Him. I am excited to help these young ones go through what I have and watch them glean and grow. I’m excited to learn how to fall back into God daily. To daily say, “I am Yours, You are mine and that’s all I need.”
There’s so much change happening in and around me right now. I’m job hunting, fundraising, learning to take care of myself physically and emotionally, learning about boundaries and healing, teaching, sewing, reaping, sweating, planning a future, creating newness, cleaning, feeling excitement, sorrow, joy, fondness, missing, dreaming, making new friends, valuing new things and old ones like never before.
I’m not always okay. Its hard to go through these things without him. I will not sugarcoat what hurts. But I know I am loved and, because of that, I am capable of these things. I have my God holding my head up, my Creator pulling me up and forward, and I trust Him to do the same with those who have touched me so deeply.

Tell All My Friends by Will Reagan and the United Pursuit 

Processing Summer 2017 (in short)

Its been a long time. I have done a lot since I last blogged and I’ve missed it a lot. I’ve known for a long time about the importance of writing/spilling my thoughts as process. I let myself be too busy to process though and I can see the effects it has on me, spiritually and emotionally. There’s a lot I need to process at the moment. I’ve done and been a part of many good things the past few weeks; big things with big impacts but I didn’t let myself rest and glean from it till now.
This is the end and the beginning of seasons. Summer is closing and it truly is bittersweet like never before. The last four months held so much newness and growth. I’ve met people who became family, strengthened relationships and worked hard. I’ve learned about commitment, the way people think, and more of who God is. I am rooted deeper in who I am and what I can give, knowing Who’s I am and what I’ve been given.
There’s also been much hardship and spiritual warfare that I’ve kept all too silent. When I didn’t process these wonderful things, I avoided warfare and thus have not conquered.
So here is my Summer processing. This is probably more for me than for anyone else, but seeing other’s sowing/reaping is encouraging so take what is yours.
Camp Thurman is my favorite place on earth. I’ve truly fallen in love with that place. Every year from now till whenever I’m called somewhere else, I’ll be eagerly anticipating going back to the beautiful 14 acres where fears are conquered, identity is found, and God is discovered around every corner. Its a place where you can’t escape Jesus if you tried. Every day we pour into kids. We teach them, love them, play with them, listen to them, laugh with them and cry with them. Its a summer camp but the impact it has on these kids and staff alike can only be God-driven. I love the people there who love like crazy. I’ve learned a lot about how to love well from them.
GetAway is the only stay-away week we have at CT. I had the honor of working it and its safe to say it changed me quite a bit. I worked with a counselor and our 12 eleven to thirteen year old girls. Each one of them taught me so much. Our bible studies and one-on-ones were heartfelt, sometimes teary eyed, and always ended in hugs and a sense of peace. They taught me how to love when I don’t understand or can’t relate to a circumstance. The counselor I worked with taught me patience and how to have an ear to hear at all times. I learned how much I need to be poured into when I’m pouring out as well as how important processing is. Worshiping with kids who have no hesitation to love their Abba is so refreshing. I decided there that I am committed to this place and to loving kids in this way. I am blessed to be a part of such a beautiful ministry and I will be for years to come.
Multiple times this summer I’ve had the chance to catch up with old friends. Each time brings something new to the relationship as we each grow separately. I love being able to love someone far away and come back with old love and refreshing words. I’ll probably post separately about what I’ve learned from these people. They have blessed me beyond measure.
Through the summer I’ve developed quite a hunger for the word of God. This is relatively new to me. I’ve grown up with God and church. I’ve known the importance of reading and understanding it. But for the first time, I’m genuinely interesting and craving it. Its fun and way more adventurous than I ever could have expected.
This summer has been chock-full of big future decisions. In 6 months I’ll have held a job, finished highschool and started college, began my journey to YWAM, made important choices for the No Fear in Love conference and pursued music and people more than ever. All of this is sometimes overwhelming. But through it all, as long as I give myself time to process, I am excited and in love with life and God.

Declarations 5/8/2017

Recently, as specific choices, consequences, and circumstances occur, I’ve been forced to take a closer look at what I truly believe about myself. The things that I’ve firmly believed are questioned and even some things which I was adamantly against are softening in my heart. There are certain things that I know and other things which I am learning whether it is a right or good decision to trust.
I have learned the power of declaring. To speak over yourself what God says about you is to take the authority you have as daughter or son of the Most High God and proclaim it as truth. It unites body, mind, and spirit to do what they are intended and to be connected as He created. Also, a declaration is not kept secret. Declarations are loud and heard and meant to be remembered and respected. This past week there has been multiple instances when a declaration of who I am was called upon by God, friends, by parents, and my own realization.
This is a public personal declaration of who I know I am. This is my testimony thus far. This is my belief and trust that God is a good, good father. I highly recommend everyone make and write down their declarations in a place where others can see/hear them.

I declare that I am a daughter of God. I am created from a creative God, therefor
my ideas and aspirations and creativity are holy and made priority in His mind. I declare that I have a strong desire to love everyone and love well, to take sacrifices as they come if they benefit those around me. Though I know the importance of loving myself as He does and I will not take unnecessary or hurtful sacrifices. I will love with abandon to my own pleasures and comfort but stay steadfast in sturdy, growing, strengthening relationships with the people around me and His word and the Holy Spirit.
I trust Him to teach me to love well and to know the desires of my heart.
I declare that I know I am royalty and will use my position as daughter of the King to carry hope, wisdom, and passion wherever I go. I will not put down these things in hard times but rely on Jesus to carry them for me.
I declare that my passions will never take back-burner for a moment’s pleasure. This is sometimes difficult and I expect to fail at times. I also expect to continually grow and lean on God and learn how to put passions first. I trust Him to remind me and hold me accountable. I know I am pure and holy despite.
I declare that my passions are: God and my relationship with Him. The relationships with the people around me, pursuing and persisting. The subject and abolishment of human trafficking. The importance of creativity and wonder in everyone’s life. Pursuit of both health and joy, in correlation though not always in symbiotic.  Relationship before rules. One-on-one talks and discipleship as well as congregational conversations. Worship as a life style. Keeping passions alive in myself in others. Curiosity. And helping younger girls put into my life that they are worthy of real love and real passions.
I declare that I have a strong desire to honor people in where they are, to validate their emotions, positions, and timelines as they are. Their past or their future have no effect on their wonderful humanity, minds, and hearts. They are loved, they are holy, the are pure. I have learned this for myself and promise to share this understanding.
I declare that I refuse to settle for anything less than what is given me. He has given me, His daughter, the kingdom, certain loves and desires, so I will not settle for one. I have many loves so I will not settle on one career, one path, or stay stuck in my ways. I love change and embrace newness and this is a good thing.
I declare that romantic love is important to me not only for the person, but also for the image of God that it is. I intend to value it, the other person, and God in this relationship. I want Him to be the One who holds us together, our gaze fixed on Him. If we stumble, we will realign with Him, accepting His forgiveness as well as consequences. We, together and individually, will seek guidance and advice from those in our life because we want our focus to be on loving well. Cherishing, protecting, dreaming, loyalty, and openness will be important aspects of our relationship.
I declare that people are priority. I love the people around me. I have a strong desire to build deep relationships with the ones put in my community and family. I desire to be available to be called on at any hour for any need. I want to know and be known. Even in the places I have been hurt, I will give second chances over and over for the priority that is to build long lasting, loving relationships among family, friends, partner, peers, employers, leaders, younger people, etc.
I declare that I will not be afraid of hypocrisy in the places where I have been appointed leader. I will not fear failing, nor success and those having a negative affect on those who I am leading. I will trust God to keep my walking like my talking because it is a strong desire of mine and His. Mistakes will not define where I am supposed to be. If I make one bad step, I will not stop walking towards my goal. I will lean on Him.
I declare that Jesus is my first love and always will be. He comes first, before any other relationship, circumstance, or lie. He is in constant pursuit of me and I of Him. I love Him deeply and always will.
I declare that my art will always reflect truth. Sometimes truth is sad and painful, I will not sugarcoat anything. But I promise to always reflect truth and reality, in my art and my songwriting. There is goodness and there is pain, there is wonder and there is reminiscing, there is fiery passion and there are dry seasons. All of these are real and I will not forget one or the other because truth is vital to a well-lived life.
I declare to always pursue healing. I am never stuck in one place. Healing is a gift which He loves to give. It takes pursuit and trust, which I give to Him. I will do what I can to heal others as well and share His healing, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
I declare that all of these declarations are core values. My declarations will be added to and changed in various ways. But these are my core truths. These are all especially important to me. I will not stray from these desires and core beliefs.

Fast Food Grace, Love Like a River, and Humility in Our Tied Up Hearts

Its been a little while. A lot has happened since I last posted. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to write about in this post but here I go, typing away. Maybe this is a sort of update. Probably I’ll end up running down a rabbit-trail and decide to stay there. What is life without rabbit-trails?
One of my current favorite songs is Let You Go by United Pursuit (feat. Will Reagan). Listen to it. Seriously. The whole album is amazingly written, recorded, and will completely entrance you if you let it. It’s a fantastically relatable collection of songs and none of them lean on “feel good-God loves me-I’m gonna be okay” mentality. It’s real and raw and a representation of God in all His realness and rawness.
Some of the lyrics in Let You Go are,

We have sought the truth when we’ve felt the pain

Even wandered beyond our faith in the name

We cannot pretend we are always ok

We cannot depend on fast food grace.

I realized how often I hand out fast food grace and also how much I expect only fast food grace. It’s the kind of grace that says, “Yeah that’s okay, you screwed up, try again.” This comes with a side of lost trust, a pang of hurt, and sometimes a touch of do-gooder. It’s not the kind of grace that says, “Yeah you messed up but I’m not looking at that, I’m looking at your heart.” This kind of grace is unconditional, unconventional, and does not see a deliberate mistake as from you but as to you.

You are molded by the life you live. Your plans, completed or changed, chisel at your personality and heart. The words, powerful in all their subtlety, said by those who affect you, can rub you the wrong way or smooth your ruffled feathers. The unexpectedness of life shapes you in intricate detail. This is all because we are perfectly designed to be unique in person and humbled by Creator. It’s the beauty of humanity. So mistakes and wrong choices are not a reflection of you but of what is surrounding and holding your heart.

This is not to say that every mistake is innocent. And it doesn’t shift blame from your shoulders or make you unresponsible for the things you do. It is just a different mentality than we are typically used to. It means looking at the heart when someone hurts you, not at the wound caused by them as a reflection of their person. People are never wounds.

Fast food grace is short-lived, un-nutritious, and leaves you wanting. Real grace is loving. Sometimes loving means not tolerating. Sometimes loving means trusting when it’s hard to. Sometimes loving means, “How are you?” Sometimes it means space. Loving is relationship with the One who created loving. It’s not a code to be cracked because love acts as a swiftly moving river. There will always be a steady current. But sometimes it falls heavy and powerfully. Other times it moves slowly and peacefully.

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast.
It isn’t proud.
It does not dishonor others.
It is not self-seeking.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Nowhere does God say love is fragile or timid or “give what you get”. Love is extravagant and personable and trusting and strong. Love isn’t easy. But it’s natural. Humans were not made for easy.

   Another song from United Pursuit that I am enjoying is Looking for a Savior. I had a hard time choosing a portion of lyrics from this song, so just go listen to the whole thing. Here are the first verse and chorus,

I abandon my addiction to the certainty of life
and my need to know everything.
This illusion cannot speak, it cannot walk with me at night
as I taste life’s fragility

I am looking for a savior I can see and know and touch,
one who dwells within the midst of us.
May a broken God be known within the earth beneath our feet,
let our souls behold humility

In the last season of my life (I feel like I am transitioning into a new one), I learned that life doesn’t go as planned probably more than it follows what you concocted to fit you perfectly. Certainty in a fallen world is a difficult thing. Certainty in God is easy as pie.  Life and the plans placed within it are fragile and unpredictable. We learn this as we grow and often it is one of those lessons we learn multiple times throughout our life. So we collapse with our crumbling plans and search for a savior to pull us out of it. The kind of savior who is tangible and real and raw. One that breaks when we break because he knows the incredible weight and emotion that we go through.

   In that we find humility, knowing that our savior, Creator of heaven and earth, of birds, stars, music, and emotions, knows our hearts so well that when ours break His breaks too. What a wonderous thing to think that God has personally tied His heart to yours. He feels every stab and every laugh. In that place of simply knowing, we find a connection to our Creator so unbreakable, a bond so indestructible, that no broken plan, heart, or dream can loose those strings.

The Process of Healing and Finding

In the past few years I have been physically unhealthy. It has been obvious to myself and my family that something, though who knows what, is wrong. Nights have been long and restless, as I wake up throughout the night. An anxiety and depression set in, with loved ones and I assuming I was simply having a bad day or that some trivial error had tipped me off the brink. Unexplained pain that I learned to ignore riddled my body and even caused joint injuries over time. I never considered piecing these things together as one issue until recently. I was talking about to my mom about the pain in my muscles and joints. By this time we knew I had some copper/zinc level issues and credited basically all of my symptoms to that. After we talked; her asking questions and me answering, she handed me an open book and told me to look up fibromyalgia (a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas). As the list of symptoms fit mine, we decided we would treat as if I had it, even though we don’t have the concrete diagnosis of an experienced doctor.
So, after about a week of knowing what is wrong with me, I have been taking care of myself as if I had fibromyalgia and have noticed definitive differences in the days when I take care of myself and the days where I didn’t. Hopefully soon I’ll have the words of a doctor to confirm and listen to.
But this is not a post about fibromyalgia. This is a post about process. Life is a process, right? Always. Even since before you popped into this beautiful world, you were in the process of being created and formed. And then for your mother, not so much popped but heaved in arduous manor, her letting you go was a process. And from then on you began the process of growing. Solid foods, baby steps, talking…relationships, identity, core values. Humans are built on process. We function on doing and discovering and thinking about what others are doing or have discovered. Then there are all the miniature processes within the bigger ones. Like the way your neurons are firing like lightning as you read these words. You are seeing them, reading them, understanding them, as well as comparing and relating the message I’m giving you to your own person. Life is beautifully filled with movement and development.
Process is evidently important then, isn’t it? We believe in a divine, lovely creator who can measure the waters in the hollow of His hand, and mark off the heavens by the span,  and calculate the dust of the earth by the measure, and weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales (Isaiah 40:12). Wouldn’t we expect Him to have a beautifully designed method and operation for life?
When it comes to health, my process has been messy. Then again, I could give examples of many personal processes that have been handled messily. But talking about health specifically, I never paid too much attention to it. My family, my mom especially, is relatively aware of our health and when the need arises we take supplements and generally know what to do to fix the problem. So when this issue that I couldn’t fix came up so prevalent, so heavy in my own life, I didn’t know what to do with myself. This past week has been a roller coaster.
I realized how much I lean on my ability to fix things for myself. I always thought that if I want something done, I’d have to do it myself. I’ve always hated asking for help, even if I truly needed it. My natural inclination is to find a solution to the problem and execute. Its this kind of independence, the one where you can’t depend on someone when you’re in your hardest times, that breaks you down completely. I’m grateful to have realized this so early on in this process of healing. I’ve had this revelation before, as you’ll see in posts before, but not so much that I can’t escape it. I like when that happens; the revelation that is inescapable.
I can’t do this. I can take supplements, work on my sleep and take steps toward being healthier. But in the long run, I can’t do it. And for that I am grateful. I need to learn daily that I am not the source of my own comfort or life.
But the process of healing is always beautiful. Whether it takes years or days, doctors or Google, tough decisions or easy ones, healing is beautiful.
The process I am in right now is learning to trust and learning to decide to have a good day. The daily decision of “I’m not gonna let today suck” is important and sometimes difficult. But it fits the season I’m in of aiming for intentionality. When everything is a conscious choice, you’re forced to have a different perspective on life in the sense that you see everything and its harder to take things for granted.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say I’m grateful for this sickness, I’m not. But I am grateful for the choices I have to make and the way I have to look at life. Its beautiful and interesting and an excited learning curve. Life is great y’all.

The Things I Have 2/25/17

I stood at the kitchen sink, scrubbing a soapy spoon that had some substance on it which seemed it could have been used to glue a spacecraft together. As I scrubbed, my mom stood behind me at the stove, browning beef for tacos that night. The conversation between her, my dad, and I led to her reading aloud a post from a blog she frequently reads. In the post, the author, an American mother living in Thailand, described her daily joys and hardships. She talked about the mundane and the adventure, the times for weeping and the times of rejoicing. She concluded all of it with a list of what she had. It wasn’t all good, and it wasn’t only ‘important’ things. It was everything she had in that moment. I wanted to do it for myself. I think in this past season of planning, I lost track of why I was planning. I love thinking about the future and dreaming and making a gameplan. I truly enjoy it. But in doing so, I forgot that the reason I was doing all of it. This is supposed to be a ‘year of intentionality’ where I prioritize good things and live in good relationship. So here I go. This is me hitting the reset button.

THINGS I HAVE in Feb. 25th, 2017

A cup of coffee (often two) everyday

Multiple ways of listening to and discovering new music

I have two best friends who like to make music with me.

Access to all information. From the huge library in my house to the WiFi access, I can learn anything I want to.

A lot of younger sisters who look up to me.

Parents who love to love and keep trying no matter what.

A younger brother who is growing up and into a friend.

An outlet for worship and a band that truly loves eachother and worshipping.

People who pour into me so I can pour out.

Connections to amazing people who can share talents and ideas with me.

Pain in my muscles and joints.

Fatigue and brain fog that makes me feel inadequate at times.

Frustration that I can’t operate according to my age.

A family that supports travel.

Plans to go to Australia and Cambodia.

Friends who I miss dearly. Some who live far away and some who I’ve lost touch with.

A boy who loves me and is pursuing me gracefully, despite mistakes we’ve made.

A friend who loves me and lets me vent and laugh and go on adventures with her.

A solid plan to raise awareness for human trafficking, a subject dear to my heart.

Sadness that sometimes takes over my body but I refuse to let be a part of me.

Parents who both work and responsibility of the younger kids.

A love for newness and trying out what I don’t know.

A music teacher who is invested in my friend’s and my music.

Pages upon unorganized pages of art in my room.

A school curriculum that I’m nearly finished with.

A powerful example of real gospel in a camp that I work at in the summer.

An ability to create and have ideas.

A mattress on the floor.

Excitement for tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

A curiosity for neurology and an ability to learn about it.

A full house that’s always loud and chaotic.

A skill which I can use to support me and others in my future.

Tulips on a windowsill and a comic on my nightstand.

A book about a friend in the works.

A closet full of plaid and sweaters.

A driver’s permit and soon a license.

A coffee shop a few miles away where I’ve had many tearful, joyful, and exciting conversations.

I have many things. Most of which I am grateful for. Some of which, not so much. But this is my life and this all will change. I am happy and in love with it all.

Growing Up, Sitting Down, and Shutting Up

My last post was about 2016 and the blessing of a mess it had turned out to be. Honestly, I think that when I was writing it I was pretending to not be down in the dumps. Y’all pretending to be what you’re not is never ever a good idea. As I typed out those words, more forcefully than it usually takes to write a blog post, I pulled at every string to try and just make the post “work.”  But of course, I couldn’t finish it to my satisfaction because satisfaction hardly ever comes from force. Satisfaction of a job well done comes from working hard and well, with joy and intrigue, and a culture of peace in yourself. And really I had none of these as I wrote my recent post.
This blog is a personal public diary. I began it so I could process somewhere others could read it and see my process. And I’m quickly learning about how putting a process out into the world is a scary thing. Because even though I have few followers, trying to leave nothing out and put all of myself into an un-erasable platform is difficult. But its good.
So I guess this post is sort of a redo. I’m not sure. Its not that I don’t agree with what was said in my last post, its more that the mindset it was written from wasn’t me and wasn’t what I want to live with. I simply wasn’t in a good mood and was grasping for God yet not listening to Him.
Which is funny ’cause earlier this morning, as I was handling a mountain of dishes, alone in the house (a rare occasion), and listening to music, I thought about 2016. In all its upside-down glory, 2016 was as maturing as it is difficult. I definitely learned a whole lot. I learned enough how much I don’t know and how unprepared I am for the world. But also, how I don’t need the acceptance or satisfaction of others because I have the acceptance and satisfaction of my Creator. I learned maturing and hard-times go hand and hand but are not symbiotic. You can go through the hardest of knocks without growing an inch. But these hard knocks are recipes for miracle grow if you realize it.
2016 was the year of “grow up, sit down, and shut up” for me. That’s basically what I heard every time I listened to God. Most of the time more eloquently, or creatively, but not always. God is straight forward and He doesn’t need anything fancy or high and mighty to get His point across. Throughout the year He taught me how to take from my experiences, both spiritual and tangible, how to sit down and rest and let God do His work, and how to quit talking and let Him speak over me. That makes 2016 a pretty good year. And I’ll be wiser with new situations and ideas in the future.
I fully expect to forget what I’ve learned occasionally. But my mindset has changed. Where once I believed I had to work for love, I now know its mine unconditionally. And that word has a whole new meaning now.
I am excited for this next year. I have a plan, I have big dreams, and I have a God who backs them up. Last year did kind of suck in a lot of ways, I’m not sugar-coating, but I’m grateful for what I’ve been given, what I’ve learned, and the people I know. I refuse to let suck override goodness. I will be intentional with what is mine, from family, to schedule, to mindset, to relationships, to body, to spirit. Intentionality will consume me. I will continue to let God do what He does and trust Him. And I will listen to what He says without my own talking and planning clouding my mind. 2017 will be a good year.