Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful…

Some blog posts turn in my head for about 13 seconds before it spills out to be shared….

Other blog posts take months before I have words to share, and the bravery to back up what I allow others to see in me.

I was reminded this week of something our Pastor of Prayer says, “Fear is the opposite of love; not anger, but fear.”

It is always interesting when you discover a fear you have carried around for as long as you can remember, but never even noticed that it was there or that you were protecting it so severely.

What is my intensely guarded fear?: My Beauty.

I have been slowly processing with several very patient and diligent friends my thoughts about beauty… or more specifically my beauty. It has been a slow-moving journey to realizing the insecurities I have. But, probably more than that, it is an arduous task of recognizing the walls I have created to try to ensure my heart is not hurt or disappointed.

You see, I do not let people comment on my physical appearance. Meaning, regardless of the comment, good, bad, sweet, rude.. Whatever the comment, I disregard it and protect my heart from feeling or accepting the comment.

It was described to me that it is as though the comments are bouncing off my carefully crafted armor. I wanted to deny it, but the reality is, I am intensely and unrelentingly vigilant in the protection of that portion of my heart.

What I find particularly interesting is that, for as far back as I can remember, I have had this wall built around my heart regarding my physical attractiveness. More specifically, I have been disregarding compliments about my physical appearance my entire life (that I can remember) from everyone… As a young child, my mom and dad (who are amazing parents and people) would make comments to me about my beauty, and I would brush it aside with a laugh, eye roll, sigh or some sort of reasoning that they “had” to tell me these things.

I can point to a hundred different things that added to my reason to protect my heart in this area…

Most of my life I have been (gladly) in the company of guys as their friend and have heard hundreds of times over about how pretty or beautiful my friends are… To which, I definitely agree(d), but I carefully avoided the awkwardness or disappointment of not being seen as beautiful as well.

I have always loved how the martial arts has helped create me to be capable of protecting myself and others. I love practical things so very much, and the martial arts is so practical to me. However, the martial arts certainly added to my already not dainty, but definitely athletic physique that I have only recently begun to appreciate… However, many of the words I have spent my life hearing from men are about how the dainty, tiny, skinny is where beautiful is held.. So, to be effective like I wanted to be, it meant setting aside beautiful things in place of better things.

Then, on the flip side, the times in which men have told me that I was beautiful, I felt like they wanted something from me or worse found out later they had been lying to me and could not be trusted to tell me truth.. or in a couple of instances I felt like the guy wanted to devour me, and I was not safe in their care… So, I protected myself and my heart diligently to avoid any additional damage.

Then, of course people use scripture to point out why beauty should not be something I cared about anyway…

I mean, after all: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 … And yet, here I am in the depths of my heart unwilling to admit that I still desire to be beautiful. I do NOT want to be vain nor deceitful, so I rationalized that it was better to tuck it all away, and prevent others from speaking into it one way or another. I have spent my life not wanting to know if people thought I was beautiful, and sidestepping every chance I could to avoid knowing.

Throughout my life, I have reasoned that there is no possible way that I am as beautiful as some people have claimed. I rationalize their comments away as purely sentiment because my life circumstances simply do not line up with their nice, sweet or well-meaning comments.

I mean, after all: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so their perspective does not really mean it is true anyway.

Then, to make an intensely personal and private struggle more complicated, I want to be seen in so many ways… I desire to be dynamic and unique. Full of life and adventure, leaving a trail of joy spilling out everywhere I go, seen as capable, intelligent, knowledgeable, loving, graceful, giving, welcoming, compassionate, and full of kindness.. And always reflecting Christ. I desire these things more than beauty, so I have spent my life focusing on these rather than the “vain beauty.”

But, if I am being totally honest, I want beautiful to be included in the list of things I am seen as too… Yet, even typing that, I feel it sounds vain and conceded. The struggle is very real in my heart.

I also know that sometimes your personality and character add to or detract from your attractiveness. I have long thought that I have the type of personality that makes me more attractive… but that it is sort of like a lens in which you see someone; the perspective is changed because of it, but the object itself has not changed.

Even as I process these thoughts and heart feels out with people, I often set up the rule that they too are not allowed to tell me how they see my physical appearance. It is safer to not know… But, I also do not want fake words, nor do I want reactionary comments.

To be clear, I do not want to be seen as more beautiful than someone else. I want to be my own stunningly beautiful woman that requires no one else to be less.

Because I am not yet beyond these struggles, I am once again going to ask you not to share your reactionary comments about how you see my physical appearance.

Please do not leave a comment out of a desire to make it better, that is not what this blog post is for.

All of The Emotions in a Rainbow…

Sometimes, I find myself with (lots of) things to say, but a lack of desire to dig deep and flesh out the thoughts and feelings. I think that has been my biggest reason behind the almost two month absence from blogging. I have so many things I want to say and share, but a pretty distinct lack of willingness to dig it out for others to partake in. Despite the fact that I truly enjoy blogging and allowing others to see things that I am working through in my life, sometimes I want to avoid it in order to not actually have to work through them myself.

Then, a person particularly close to my heart, mentioned that they were journaling, and I was reminded of how much I do actually love blogging and sharing my thoughts.

So, here I am, blogging again.
Unfortunately, there is a swirling chaos of thoughts and emotions, so this post is a smattering of it all:

I got a full-time job!
It will take me back to DC soon, and I am stoked. As in, beyond excited because I absolutely love the place I will be working. I am so excited to get started, and to move back, but I am working not to be frustrated at the slower pace of the hiring process… Especially due to the holidays. (For those that have been asking, no, I do not have an official start date yet.)

Also, people have been asking about my consulting work. I still love consulting work! I will continue to do it even after I start my full-time job. I weighed it all out, and realized that I truly love consulting work, and I enjoy working with the clients I have right now. Plus, what I am doing now is entirely manageable with a full-time job. So, true to form, I am doing both.. And, could not be more excited about it!

I am however pretty stressed because of money and figuring out how to make the move work… Going for little or no income for a year and a half to moving is a pretty big feat. But, I find myself constantly pushing back to focusing on how God has carried me through, and is taking me back to a place I love.. How could He abandon me now? He will not.. It will however add to my crazy story thus far.

Whenever I find myself faced with some exciting possibility, I also have to struggle to not temper my feelings “just in case it all falls through.” I hate it, but I do not want to let myself be too disappointed, so I find it safer to reserve some of my excitement… While at the same time trying to seem appropriately excited. I have had to take control of my wandering mind and re-orient it, reminding myself that God has carried me through, and despite the feeling that “things could always go wrong”, the risk is worth it all. I know that on the other side, I will feel the familiar rush of relief that everything went through and it all happened exactly as it was supposed to… But, until then, prayer is where I am turning for relief.

I find myself really struggling to restrain the antsy feelings. It is a bit like trying to control muscle spasms.. I want to be done with the holding pattern that has been the last year and a half. I want to be busy, because I flourish most when I have more things to accomplish than I have time for… The less I have to do, the more I slip into laziness and apathy; I despise those two things about myself.

My sister and I are writing a book series together, and I am really enjoying the whole process with her. She is so much fun and we find ourselves laughing all the time! Talking through the various aspects of our story, the characters, progression, writing scenes, brainstorming, adding random hints and bits of humor… The whole process has been so much fun!

IMG_0502Also, on an entirely different note, I colored my hair for the first time since my birthday (10 months ago). I am back to red/fuchsia, and I love it, feels like me to have ridiculous hair again.

Useless…

Recently, I have been struggling with feeling useless. It is no surprise to anyone that I strive to be productive, to help, to do things, to engage, to participate… however you want to describe it. I like to be an active participant in life.

So, this period of life has made me feel trapped and useless. I feel as though I am stuck in quicksand or tar, and totally helpless and at the mercy of others…. However, realistically this is a great place for me to be, and exactly right. Learning to accept help from those around me is a fantastic thing to learn because I am pretty bad at it naturally.

In this season, I cannot help myself, I cannot work my way out of the situation, and sadly, I cannot even really help others the way I desire to, which just frustrates me… So, I have been struggling with feeling useless.

God has a purpose for me, I am sure of this, but is this period of me unable to do anything truly a part of this purpose?

I mean, being a follower of Christ mixed with my unique blend of characteristics and personality, it is no surprise that I desire to be doing and helping others, but because of my inability, I feel incredibly limited and frustrated. All of the feelings have caused me to spend a great deal of time praying and asking God to show me what He is doing. Help me learn, and see things correctly… But, probably most of all, I want to have the attitude I need throughout everything.

I have found myself having to purposefully not do things (like read my bible) in order to temper my desire to utilize “works” to get myself out of this season faster. Because, as much as I want this period of my life to be over yesterday, I do not want at all to come out on the other side of this and feel as though I did it, I succeeded, or I was the one who fixed my situation. I want the correct perspective on the other side, and a real, authentic understanding of what happened during this time period, not a cliché answer.

I have spent a great deal of time thinking, debating, and praying during all of this stuff  going on in my life… And, unfortunately on more than one occasion, I have found myself thinking, “I should read my Bible, because this season will surely get over sooner if I do..” And, instantly I am reminded that BY GRACE ALONE I am saved, not by how much I do or pray or read the Bible.

However, the other day, I felt the familiar “Today is a great night to read my Bible for a while..” So, I looked at my chart of the books and chapters I have yet to read in order to complete one of my goals for the year, and I landed on 2 Peter.

“Now for this very reason also,
applying all diligence,
in your faith
 supply moral excellence,
and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
and in your knowledge, self-control,
and in your self-control, perseverance,
and in your perseverance, godliness,
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they render you neither useless nor unfruitful
in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8

Which, then reminded me of Romans 5:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith
into this grace in which we stand;
and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this,
but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:1-6

Ok, so two separate sections of scripture reference the process of growing and learning throughout struggles.

Which means, I am neither useless or unfruitful.
It is in my helplessness that Christ died.
Struggles and bad times ultimately bring hope and cultivate love.

Single v. Married…

I have been watching an interesting debate discussion lately about the benefits of being Single or being Married.. Or getting married young.. Or staying single longer.. whatever.

It has felt recently as though there are two teams and they are at odds with each other. I think it is a little odd that we seem to be “fighting” or trying to convince others that our current state is the best or correct one.

Here are a few of the articles in the discussion so you can follow along with why I am writing this post:
23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23
The Results of a Closed-Minded 23 Year Old
I Got Married at 23. What Are the Rest of You Waiting For?
Marriage Isn’t For You
Why I Did I Get Married so Young

(There are more, and you possibly have read different ones)

The “conversation” as a whole really just interests me quite a bit. Obviously some of the blog posts are in direct response to one another, whereas others seem to be oblivious to the conversation at large, and are merely adding their thoughts to the world.

I also think it’s interesting that 23 is the number that keeps getting brought up.

Let me start out by saying, I am not loving on or hating on one side of this conversation or the other, merely responding to the conversation as a whole. I think it would be helpful to highlight some things.

Some background on myself so you can be more aware of where I am coming from:
I am a turning 29 years old, still single, never married or engaged woman.
I am not at all against marriage, and not only did I think early on in my life that I would be married by this point in life, I still would like to get married to the right man someday… But, I am content single, actually love aspects of it, and I am willing to wait for the right man because I have seen the destruction of divorce in too many people (of all ages).
I also have done quite a bit of reading of research on Millennials (those born between 1980-2000) because I find people and culture fascinating (especially my own).

Now that my vantage point is known, here is my personal perspective and thoughts on the Single v. Married conversation:

Not everyone who is single loves it.
Not everyone who is married loves it.

Not everyone who is single thinks they have made a better choice than getting married.
Not everyone who is married thinks they have made a better choice than to stay single.

Being single has some major pros and cons.
Being married has some major pros and cons.

Singleness can be hard.
Marriage can be hard.

Selfishness is pervasive among single people.
Selfishness is pervasive among married people.

Some people “do” single better than being married.
Some people “do” married better than being single.

In some cases staying single was the wise choice.
In some cases getting married was the wise choice.

Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of single people I know.
Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of married people I know.

Life is an adventure when you are single.
Life is an adventure when you are married.

Staying single is better/healthier than getting divorced.
Getting married is better/healthier than sleeping with someone you’re not married to.

Remaining single “late” into your adult life does not automatically mean you are wiser than a young married couple.
Getting married young does not automatically mean you are unwise or pathetic.

Being single “late” into your adult life does not mean you are against those married young (or older).
Being married young (or older) does not mean you are against those still single “late” into adult life.

Being single does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so to “get your life together”.
Being married does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so because you’ve “gotten you life together”.

Etc..etc.. See?

For me, there are days that singleness is just straight up hard, and other times I love the advantages of flying solo. But, from my plethora of friends (married at all ages), there are days that they remind me that being married is just hard too or they love every little bit of the married life…

From where I sit, both have the same qualities, it just depends on the person or couple.

My perspective is that regardless of if you are married or single, you should have goals.. Good goals ones, fun ones, hard ones, solid ones, frivolous ones, and seemingly impossible ones, I think that is how you help yourself grow, and a way to help measure success as a single or married person/couple.

So, please, let’s stop justifying why one is better than the other as if our choice was the right one for everyone… or the perfect decision forever.

If you are single and loving it or wish to be married, that is awesome and good things can and will happen during this season.
If you are married and loving it or wish you had waited, good things can and will happen during this stage of life.

Revised Bucket List…

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be the type of old person who had so many ridiculous and crazy stories of things I have done, places I have been, and people I have met that the only question that would make sense is: “How did you have time to do everything?” When I settled on that as a huge goal in life, I began crafting a bucket list of sorts… Only, it is more of my “life” goals, but the meaning is essentially the same I suppose.

So, regularly I revise my bucket list because I think it should be ever-growing and molding; plus, I must replace the items I have accomplished with new ones!

A couple of years ago, I re-organized my list and created categories which has made it easier to manage, follow, update and honestly just be really excited about. So…

It is time to update my Life Goals list again!

Experiences:

  1. Watch the sunrise AND sunset from each side of every ocean or sea (a = Sunrise, b = Sunset): 1. Pacific (b), 2. Atlantic, 3. Indian, 4. Arctic, 5. Southern, 6. Mediterranean Sea (a), 7. Caribbean, 8. South China Sea, 9. Bering Sea, 10. Gulf of Mexico (b), 11. Okhotsk Sea, 12. East China Sea, 13. Hudson Bay, 14. Japan Sea, 15. Andaman Sea, 16. North Sea, 17. Red Sea, 18. Baltic Sea
  2. Have a croissant at a French cafe 
  3. Ride a gondola in Venice
  4. Stay in a hostel
  5. Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand
  6. Attend La Tomatina in Spain
  7. Be in Spain for running of the Bulls (but not participate)
  8. Move somewhere new alone
  9. Participate in a giant food fight
  10. Drink whiskey at a pub in Ireland
  11. Ride a helicopter
  12. Ride an elephant
  13. Ride a camel in the desert
  14. Ride through the Panama Canal
  15. Horseback ride through a coffee plantation
  16. Jump off a waterfall
  17. See the Pyramids at sunset
  18. See a glacier in Antarctica
  19. Visit the church made entirely of bones
  20. Visit ancient ruins
  21. Stay in the ice hotel
  22. Stand on the Great Wall of China
  23. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  24. Stand inside the Taj Mahal
  25. Tube down a river
  26. Learn to roll in a kayak
  27. Learn to snowboard, and ski
  28. Learn to wakeboard and water ski
  29. Drive a sports car over 100mph
  30. Go parasailing
  31. Go paragliding
  32. Go dog sledding
  33. Go on a Safari in Africa 
  34. Go rock climbing
  35. Go to the Kentucky Derby
  36. Go white water rafting
  37. Go Sky diving
  38. Go on a multi-day biking trip
  39. Go on a cruise
  40. Go wine tasting
  41. Wine taste at a vineyard in Italy
  42. Climb a volcano 
  43. Climb a glacier 
  44. Climb a mountain
  45. See and/or climb Mt. Kilomanjaro and Mt. Everest
  46. Hike the Inca Trail 
  47. Watch the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon
  48. Watch the Northern Lights 
  49. See a shooting star 
  50. See Bioluminescent Plankton 
  51. Ring a church bell
  52. Choose fifty favorite places to relax and connect with God
  53. Attend the entire summer Olympics
  54. Zip line through a canopy
  55. Drink lemonade on the front porch swing on warm summer night
  56. Live in a house with a window seat and wrap around porch
  57. Christen a boat
  58. Learn to surf
  59. Learn to paddleboard  
  60. Dive with Manta Rays in Hawaii
  61. Swim in the Dead Sea
  62. Swim with a whale
  63. Snorkel the great barrier reef in Australia
  64. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
  65. Scuba dive 
  66. Tango in a milonga 
  67. Spend a night in a treehouse
  68. Have a big wedding celebration with everyone I love

Travel:

  1. Set foot on all seven continents: AsiaAfricaNorth America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
  2. Set foot in all fifty states:Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  3. Cross the Canadian border 
  4. Go to Cuba
  5. Go to Spain
  6. Straddle the equator on two continents
  7. Take a road trip across the U.S.
  8. Have an adventure in Greece
  9. Take a month-long vacation without computers
  10. Live in another country for a year
  11. Go to Fiji
  12. Spend a summer touring Europe
  13. Go to Hawaii
  14. Go to South America with my sister

Personal:

  1. Attend a Ball
  2. Learn Latin dances: Argentine TangoSalsaCumbiaMerengueCha chaBachata, Rumba, Mambo,
  3. Learn to West Coast Swing
  4. Be a published artist
  5. Get art in a gallery
  6. Write a book or novel
  7. Finish and publish “Facts of Life”
  8. Throw a block party
  9. Blog consistently for 10 years
  10. Go a day without speaking
  11. Organize a retreat
  12. Start and run my own business
  13. Get my second degree black belt
  14. Get a tattoo (I have two)
  15. Do two pull ups 
  16. Own a very large dog 
  17. Be conversational in two languages: 1. English 2. Spanish
  18. Learn a least enough in three additional languages to semi-understand
  19. Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat
  20. Plant a tiny orchard
  21. Grow vegetables in my own garden
  22. Go berry picking
  23. Make completely homemade pies 
  24. Make butterscotch from scratch (I have a recipe, now I just need to get all the ingredients and do it!)
  25. Run a 10k
  26. Run a half marathon
  27. Shoot every major gun: PistolShotgunRifle, Muzzleloader, Revolver
  28. Start a fire without a match
  29. Build a house from start to finish
  30. Own a Beach house with friends

Giving:

  1. Help someone get through college
  2. Do something for someone they can never repay
  3. Tithe my whole life
  4. Start a non-profit or help run one
  5. Buy stock on my own
  6. Do one grand loving gesture a year
  7. Be debt free by 35
  8. Use my work to improve lives
  9. Remove money as a concern from my life
  10. Gift 1 million dollars to missions (not tithing)
  11. Help my family become debt free
  12. Give people in ministry free vacations at the beach house

Total, there are 124 things on my bucket list so far, which realistically is more than that due to the sub points. And, since this is an ever evolving Life Goals, things will likely be crossed off and added to this year.

In 2013, I crossed off 12 things from my list!.. In 2014, I aim to cross off more than double that!

I am currently working on a list of 29 things I want to do in 2014 because I am turning 29 on the 29th of January! One of the things I have discovered as I compile this “29 Things” list is, most “30 things to do before you’re 30” lists are lame, and almost all of the “29 things to do when you are 29” lists I have found are stupid. So, I will attempt to create an actual solid list of things to do in a year, and leave out things such as, “Forgive” “Fall in love” or “get married” as key points on my list… My list will be much more active and intentional.

I cannot wait to share my 29 things I want to do in 2014!

Jobs, Cars, and Struggles…

To the many many people who have inquired asking how I am and for updates on my life, job situation, and the car accident, thank you, you are awesome!

I figure it is time for a full update.

First, the job situation. Not much to update really, I am still applying, and still getting a slow trickle of rejection letters. Currently, I have sent out 175+ applications to 16 regions around the country, with an additional 4 around the world, and have received 29 rejection letters. I have gotten a couple inquiries for more information, but nothing really beyond that. — Applying for jobs is the definition of testing your ability to handle rejection and continue on anyway.

Four Dogs

Job hunting with four friends.

Currently, I am living with my aunt and uncle who are awesome and created space for me and the pups… AND make me coffee regularly. The only bummer in this situation is that, it is cold outside, which prevents using their pool. I am happy to report that, while the pups had a pretty rough initial transition, (as in the usually Mr. Be-my-friend transformed into Mr. Grumpypants and didn’t like their three dogs at all) he is currently in the fenced in back yard with their dogs running around and playing. I would say he has finally settled into no longer being an “only child” pups and enjoys the company and exercise!

Monday, I was in a car accident that was not my fault (no actually it really Car Accidentwasn’t). Thankfully, I was going under the speed limit, and had just the reaction time to swerve out of my lane just enough to prevent a full head on collision. The airbags deployed, and aside from being intensely sore for a couple of days, I was completely fine, and the other guy and his son were not even sore! But, my car is less than ok, although it too probably could have been way worse. And, in this whole situation, my one piece of solid comfort was that instead of just taking the pups with me like I typically do, I had uncharacteristically decided to leave him at home, and swing back by to pick him up before heading to my brother and sister-in-law’s house.
To help give an idea of the situation with my car that many have asked about, insurance is going to give me $1,000. In order to even do the bare minimum to get it on the road again, I need an additional $1,000. But, if I want to put the airbag system back in once more, I need another $1,800 on top of that. So, to get the car back to where it was before the accident, after insurance, I need $2,800. And, due to my lack of employment for a couple of months, I literally do not have the money… So, I have no idea how it will all work out, but in the mean time I have been using my brother and sister-in-law’s car (super thankful shout out to them!).

To say that this last week was crappy and difficult would be a laughable understatement. Seriously. In full disclosure, this whole last week I have felt somewhat forgotten by God, alone, frustrated, and just plain hurting. I honestly can say that while I am currently feeling more emotionally stable, and certainly like God is taking care of me through people, I still am struggling with the situations I find myself in.

Serious thank you to the people who have been awesome this last week and weathered through my crazy with me! One reminding me that the birds are still being fed, therefore I need to re-focus and fall back on my knowledge that God is in control and still loves me… And, is in-fact taking care of the situation no matter how I feel. Another reminded me that I am loved, and my feelings on the matter do not change how much I am loved. And, still one other reminded me that while this entire situation sucks, and sometimes it feels like “enough is enough”, the reality is that I know it will all be good on the other side, and… I would willingly choose to do it all over again if it touches one person… In the moment, I begrudgingly agreed, even though I actually do know I would in a heartbeat. While at times, I have felt as though my feelings of hurt and frustration (quite a bit of which were aimed at God) have been dismissed by some, they have had a good point; focusing on just the crappy things makes life worse, not better.

Last week, I sat in my room after receiving the information that insurance was in-fact not going to cover the damages, and I cried.
For the first time in months, I cried over a life I lost.
I cried over losing my job, my church, my home, my community, and my car.
I cried because up until this point, I had known and felt beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was going to take care of things.. I still knew without a doubt, but no longer had the peace that had been carrying me so far.
I cried because my life feels empty and without purpose.
I cried because I have bills coming soon that I do not have any idea how I will be able to pay for them.
I cried because I felt alone, and although I have an amazingly loving and supportive group of friends and family who have stepped in, no one is or can actually go through this with me.
I cried because I know I am in the wilderness, and it sucks.
I cried because I have to walk through this, and no amount of anything I can do will change my situation.
I cried because I am not strong enough nor do I know how to do this.
I cried because I do not see how God is working and moving or how He will fix this, and He has been particularly quiet lately.
I cried because I hurt.

I cried because I know that all of this could really be so much worse, but that doesn’t change how much it actually just hurts now.

I know that soon, things will be different, the night will be over and the sun will rise giving me a perfectly clear view of what and why God worked everything out the way He has.
I know that soon, I will be stressing about something else entirely, and before I know it, I will be joking about how overly dramatic I was in this situation.
I know that God’s mercies are new every morning, and I am so very thankful that He does not base anything off of me and my ridiculousness.
I know that I am being made stronger and my faith will grow tremendously because of this period of life.
I know that I am blessed, and will feel undeservingly blessed on the other side for how all of this played out.
I know all of these things because my God is good, but He also never promised life wouldn’t suck sometimes.

So, truly, thank you so very much to those who have reached out, prayed, laughed and cried with me. I appreciate the patience and love during all of this, and I am blessed because of you… even when my ugly and crazy shows.

I Have No Idea…

Today I am a little shocked by where my heart is and where it has settled.

Day three of both my 21 day prayer challenge and my 40 day prayer challenge. – This doesn’t get easier either.

Last night, I went to bed asking God to show me what success looks like, send me a husband that together we bring Him more glory than we ever could apart, and then I asked for His help with my finances. Because I think all of these things are important moving forward. In His timing, and in God’s economy I will be able to do immeasurably more than I understand. Then, I woke up this morning, and asked God to teach me how to pray… and teach me what to pray for.

So, with those prayers uttered last night and this morning I am a little shocked at the indignation I feel towards the useless today. But, more than that, I am amazed at how broken my heart is for the blind.. Not the physically blind, but those who are unable to see the larger picture. I have no idea where these feelings came from because yesterday, last night, and this morning it wasn’t even on my mind.. and by “it”, I mean other people’s opinions, their perspectives, and I had no thought good or bad about where their focus is. Instead, I was focused on aligning myself with God’s heart…

And then, my focus of aligning with God’s heart has found me appalled at the lack of “whatever it takes” to save one more.

What sparked this? Katie.

I am not entirely sure what sparked my sudden indignation, but I was perusing Twitter, stumbled upon this blog post, and became obsessed with finding Katie’s blog, twitter, and learning about her heart. Her view of Jesus sat firmly on my heart as “this is right.” And, in the process I realized that lately my heart aches and desires a real authentic and difficult community that looks like much more like Katie’s life than currently own does… Sadly for me, I do no think it looks anything like me actually picking up and moving to Africa (yet), but instead it means staying right where I am, and creating the environment here that I yearn for.

Then it dawned on me, almost two months ago I began networking… And, really networking with other churches, organizations, and groups in the local and regional area. I know exactly what I am trying to do, and I have a visions for it… But, I have found it is taking a long time for everyone else to understand what I am doing, and even longer for them to buy in and join me. Some get it, others stare at me blankly, and some are just against what I am doing. Which, actually only fuels it more.

I have no idea yet what will come of the things I am feeling, working on, thinking and praying about; but, what I do know is that I am praying, hard for them to come to full fruition. And, I have complete faith in my Creator God that He will explode it to be bigger than I am actually capable of pulling off on my own. I also know without any doubt that God is on the move, and I intend on being and going where He does.

3 days down, 18 and 37 more to go on these prayer challenges. Should be exciting!

Where is God leading and moving in your life? What revelations is He showing you?… Are you following Him?