Opposite Highlight Reel

This is a highlight reel of the opposite direction (and long winded because that’s how I am when I’m processing).

Sometimes life is just hard… Not necessarily traumatic.. Not “the worst”.. Just relentlessly hard in every aspect, for longer than seems possible to withstand – 2018 has been that for me.

The first half of the year God lead me and worked almost exclusively on healing past pain, insecurities, and mistrust of Him and my heart. Months upon months where it seemed that all of my prayers could only circle back to the one massive area that I don’t really trust God with (the area of love and romance). And, along with the process, I also very much loved a man who at one point professed love and the desire to marry me, but was no longer in a place to act on those feelings due to his own life circumstances…

I was terrified to stay, I knew I would be hurt, I’ve been hurt before… But, instead of walking away like I wanted to, God seemed to continue to push me to pursue patience in my love for God and this man, to hold steadfast, and to continue to be present, and learn to trust God no matter what was right in front of my face. It was painful and one of the most challenging things I have ever done.

Then, three rounds of medications, over several months, and my dog’s tests came back that he had two kinds of cancer that I couldn’t afford to fix. My sweet 200lb 5.5 year old puppy that has been through the worst seasons of my life… was now in a situation that I could not even remotely afford. So, I pursued ways to give him up so that maybe, just maybe, someone else would be able to afford to save his life. Due to that process, I was connected with an organization a little over an hour away that through donations is able to provide surgeries for animals at an incredibly reduced rates. – So, my tax return paid for the removal of a toe and cancerous cyst… that somehow miraculously weeks later came back cancer free.

During this same time, my basement (where my room was) flooded from the front and rear of the house.. As in, waves of water poured in while I had to keep my dog’s foot dry. Ultimately, it left our room (the only carpeted room in the entire house) smelling like mold for the last month I lived in the house.

The man I loved told me that my love makes him feel guilty because I love well, and he doesn’t know how to love me back, but that he loves me a lot, he just doesn’t know what to do.

Work was the anxiety inducing type of stressful.

I moved into a new house with one of my best friends and another good friend. – Praise the Lord.

Then, one of my best friends and I lead a team of people to Uganda. While there, all I kept feeling from God was that my focus was supposed to be exclusively on the team and their needs… And, what God had for me was after we returned. The trip was absolutely incredible, and also as a leader, it was one of the hardest to navigate that I have ever encountered.

Shortly after returning from Uganda, this man told me that he no longer saw a future with the two of us. He didn’t know why he didn’t wanted all the things he had claimed to want with me, but that he was also pursuing another woman. 14 months. That was how long this pseudo relationship process lasted. Shattered and ultimately rejected, exactly how I feared all along.

At this point, my dog was (and continues to be) “fine”, but also has an unhealed portion of his foot due to a busted couple of stitches, and regularly hitting his foot or licking it whenever he can houdini out of his cone. My carpet and bedroom regularly look like a crime scene that I’ve basically resigned myself to waiting to deep clean until he is entirely healed. – We still are struggling with getting the skin to completely close, it is an infuriating process and first aid supplies are expensive.

Then seasons shifted and took a turn for the worse, and because of it, I have also shifted and am hoping to go back into marketing, communications, and strategy; where my experience and education are, and that I enjoy so much.

God has been silent since Uganda. – Is this really what He had for me after Uganda?

Relentlessly painful… And, feeling like people are shitty.

And yet… I am also able to name some incredible people who are loving, caring, and present when your life goes from too much to navigate to completely crumbled.

The struggle always sits with being able to point to the lives of other people that I know have situations or seasons that are truly so much worse or more traumatic… And yet, it also doesn’t remove the fact that this year has felt like it has done nothing but press in and crushed me, and expected me to be perfect and ok in response.

I am often asked how I am doing….

The simple answer is, I am not ok, I am struggling, and I don’t know how to trust God with my heart right now.

So, I focus on what is right in front of me every single day:
Responding to e-mails
Working out
Cleaning the house
Teaching Self-Defense
Dinner at my house
Doctors appointments
Side projects
Plans with friends

Whatever I have that needs my attention, that’s what I focus on. I don’t have the space or capacity to feel secure or safe enough to sit in my feelings like many believe I should do right now.
I don’t have the freedom to rest.
I don’t have the freedom to process through feelings.
I have to focus on what needs to happen in order to set myself up.

God and I are struggling… Which, lets be honest, it really means *I* am struggling. I’m aware that He hasn’t changed.

Yet, no matter what my head knows, my heart feels betrayed.
God knew, He was present, and yet He also wouldn’t let me walk away from anything this year. I apparently had to stay until there was betrayal and injury. I don’t understand how everything that has happened is loving, tender or how it points to His faithfulness to me. I don’t know where or why He has lead me here, allowed any of this to happen or what the purpose is that I am supposed to learn from 2018. All I really can comprehend is that what I know about God, and what I feel are not even remotely close to the same thing right now.

I have been failed and injured repeatedly this year, not by God directly, but also not protected by Him either.

The problem is I know all of the responses that people love to throw at me attempting to encourage me are actually true…
We don’t know why or what or how God will redeem or bless all of this in the future.
Blessings don’t look like we expect them to on the other side.
Things take time and it’ll all make sense on the other side.
Free-will is a double edged sword and this man had the ability to choose no matter what God told me to do.
“God’s plan is bigger than me and my situations.”
“Maybe I misunderstood God.”
Silence by God doesn’t mean He has abandoned me, nor does it mean He is punishing me.

But, despite knowing these things about God, I still feel abandoned, and He allowed this year to be damaging to me… He saw the situations before they happened. I don’t know what to do with that lack of trust in my relationship with God at the moment. I don’t have an answer for how to come back and heal from feeling like God did not protect the already damaged and fragile part of my heart that I was so timidly trying to learn to trust Him to heal. I don’t know where to go from here, so I don’t. I am not going to pretend it is all ok, move on, and stuff my pain and injury down inside somewhere… Instead, I will wait here. – Granted, physically I don’t have time or space to just wait, I have crap to do in order to get myself back to a stable state… But, internally, I am just waiting until God shows up and reveals Himself finally and heals my destroyed heart.

But, until that happens, I am numb and don’t feel anything at all right now…

And yet, ultimately I know that everything will be ok.
I know that God will provide.
Eventually I will heal.
I may never get answers to my cry for justice for the pain and hurt done to me this year…

But, even still, one day God will start speaking and He will restore the broken trust.

2018 has been the opposite of a highlight reel.