I’m a Terrible Planner.

April 26, 2017

I’ve been struggling with anxiety.

Not the mental disorder.

Just the natural stress and worries related to senioritis, work, and health combined.

The past two weeks have been really rough on me.

I’ve had trouble breathing and relaxing in general. Taking deep breaths are really hard these days.

I constantly feel like I’m going to throw up. But it’s interesting that I don’t feel nauseous. It’s all lodged in my throat suffocating me.

I know it’s related to my stress.

I was falling behind in school and graduation is creeping on me faster than I’d like.

I haven’t been prioritizing very well. I’ve spent too much time doing what I want to do rather than doing what I have to do. I don’t even know when I’ll finish school. There is just so. much.

I am so ready to be done with high school. Forever.


May 12, 2017

My stress level has gone down some. I feel like I can breathe more deeply at times. However I still feel like I’ll throw up when I think about how close graduation is.

I’ve caught up in school and so far I’m on track to graduate after June 10th. The only subject I’m really worried about is Physics. I have the most work there out of all my other subjects…actually that’s not true. I have about the same work in English. But I like English more than Physics. I still hate Accounting. I need at least an 86 to pass for the year and I have two tests left. I’m really happy about the 92 I scored last week. (I’m really good at taxes but not really anything else.)

Work has picked up significantly. I’ve worked at the trophy shop for six months and we have now entered what I have been calling “Mayday.” Basically the entire month of May and the first part of June is nonstop work. There are so many phone calls and so many emails. There’s a lot of everything. Soccer, baseball, music recitals, dance recitals, end of school year awards, volleyball, softball, corporate quarterly and monthly awards. Everything. I’m hanging in there.

Most days are really draining for me. On the days I’m working, I get home and basically melt on the inside and crash on the outside. Then I force myself to go finish Business Math for the day because it’s easy stuff and I only have two more weeks left. (After that’s done, I’m taking on more Physics.)

On the weekends, I pretty much spend all my time studying. I’ve had to say no to babysitting till after graduation. The last time I sewed was last week. I finished some burlap table toppers for Ms. Alice only because she needs them before June and I agreed beforehand to do them. Besides that, I won’t be sewing till after graduation.

Originally, I had planned to do so much work in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade that I could take it easy my senior year. I knew I would get a job during my last year. But even with all the work I did and with all the extra time I had before I started working, I managed to put everything off till the last minute. I spent way too much time doing what I wanted to do rather than focusing on what I absolutely had to do. My priorities went topsy-turvy and now I’m struggling to stay balanced and take deep breaths.

I wish I listened to my parents earlier rather than later. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel like I’ll throw up.

Undeserving Love

So much love has been showed to me in this past week alone. It’s almost too much for me to handle.

Last week, I passed out at work. I was helping write up a customer when I started feeling light headed. It was past 2, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and I hadn’t been drinking enough water so naturally, my body shut down and I blacked out. I was only out for a few minutes – I have no idea how long exactly, but long enough that by the time I came to, Bailey had called 911 and Mom, Mrs. Jenny was at my side, and the customer I was helping got down on the floor and was rubbing my hands. I felt so bad that I put everyone in a complete panic in a matter of seconds, but I also felt so overwhelmed by the amount of concern and love that came from my coworkers and even the customers who were present.

Dad took me to the ER to get checked out and other than my scraped and very bruised nose, everything was fine. I’m perfectly healthy…I just need to be sure I’m eating and drinking and taking care of myself. Anyways, throughout the two hours we were there, Mrs. Jenny and Mrs. Nancy were texting me letting me know they were praying for me. Mrs. Nancy always tells me, “love you more.” Whether I say “I love you” first or not. Mr. Rex had sent a mass email to my church family asking for prayers.

For the next two days, my phone blew up. People from church called me up or texted me telling me they were praying for me. (The fact that people pray for me is enough to make me cry, y’all.) My friends reached out and were there when I needed them. Beth sent me a letter that came at the perfect time. I wasn’t feeling that great and she encouraged me so much by reminding me who our God is by describing His names alone. My favorite is El Roi – The God Who Sees. I have written in my Bible, “You are the God who sees. And You are the God who sees even me!” For so long, I had felt lonely and I struggled with thoughts that God didn’t really care about me or that He was disappointed in me. I wish I could tell myself when I was in the midst of these emotions that I could never be more wrong. My God sees everything and He sees even me. Not only does He see me, but He cares for me. He  loves me and His love is not like my love. It is not based off of how well I do things, or what I don’t do. My God has surrounded me with so many loving people so that I am never alone.

My siblings kept an eye on me when I was home to make sure I didn’t do anything crazy after I fell. Bailey, Mr. Mike, Mrs. Jenny, AND Travis all made sure I was eating lunch and drinking plenty of water when I went back to work. They’re still keeping an eye on me. I’m telling you, I can never pass out again because I put way too many people into a panic.

Yesterday, the same customer I was working with when I passed out came in to pick up his order. Y’all, the sweet man brought me candy to keep my blood sugar up. He didn’t have to do that, but he wanted to and that totally made my day.

That’s only a fraction of the love I have felt. That has just been this past week. I might just be ridiculously lucky to have so many people who care about me, but I think it’s safe to say that the Lord has placed those kinds of people in everyone’s life. Even if it’s just one person, that is one of the ways He expresses His undeserving and overwhelming love.

The Goodness of God

{Past}

It’s been a while. A long while since I saw him, or heard from him. And then, there he was. Smiling, staring at the ground with a girl by his side. Their faces frozen forever in a perfect little picture.

I shouldn’t have been stalking her. Now my heart hurts. It’s not broken. I remember what that feels like. It was so horrible. I felt shattered, crushed into a million pieces. I never felt so small and insignificant in my whole life. No, this time it’s a dull ache that burns in my chest. There’s regret. So much regret.

I’m relieved that it’s over. I finally have closure. But I also feel sad and disappointed that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I desperately wanted him notice me. I tried so hard and wasted so much time and energy trying to get him to like me. But it was all to no avail. He wasn’t the one for me.

Thank God.


{Present}

The past three years have been one heck of a ride. It’s amazing how far the Lord has brought me and just how much He’s done in my heart.

15. That was not very long ago. I was young and crazy and head over heels for one guy, and then another guy, and then another. (None of which liked me back the very least.)

I spent so much time and energy trying to make boys that just weren’t the ones for me, the right ones for me. I had tried so hard to give my heart to each one. Mom warned me about the consequences of doing that. It would hurt and it’s a waste of time and affection that is so very precious. I would regret it because there were so many other things I could pour my energy into other than boys. But I didn’t listen. I still gave my heart away and every single time, I got hurt.

I let myself go until I became someone I didn’t recognize. I was unhappy with my image, with my personality, with all of me because I felt like no one liked me for who I really was. I tried so hard to be someone else for a guy. A guy who didn’t care for me. I spent so much time and energy wishing, wanting, and trying way too hard to get him to like me. Every night, I prayed that he would be the one for me. I said, “God, please let him be the one!” when really I meant, “God, please make him the one!” I am so thankful God did not give me what I wanted!

Then I moved.

And then the healing began.

I came to face some really hard truths.

Truth is, I wasn’t ready to date. (And I’m still not ready to date.)

Truth is, I wasn’t ready for marriage. (And I’m still not ready for marriage.)

Truth is, every guy I really liked was actually a terrible match for me.

Truth is, the distance away from my friends and all the guys I knew has actually been really good for me.

Truth is, I really need to get to know my Savior first before I ever get to know any guy.

Truth is, I have a really good God who has protected my heart in so many ways, it makes me cry every time I really think about it.

For three years, God gave me acne. The kind of acne that you just can’t hide no matter how much makeup you put on. It was big, red, painful, and pretty much all over my face. I hated it so much, but now I’m pretty sure those mountains were what kept the boys from falling in love with me during a very vulnerable time.

You know how I know?

Three years ago, in the middle of my boy-craziness, my acne was just awful. Like I went to a dermatologist because it was so awful, and she said it was awful. (Okay, she said it was very severe, not awful.) It was bad. Up until the time I moved, it had stayed that way. But ever since I’ve been living here, my skin has healed! It’s unreal. As I have grown in the Lord and let Him heal my heart, He has healed my skin too. It’s so amazing.

Ever since I moved, I have not met a single guy who is remotely close to my age. (Okay, that’s not true. There are boys here but they’re young and wild.)

God gave me ladies like my mom and Mrs. Nancy. Ladies who love the Lord and who are the kind of wives that I want to be when it’s time.

God gave me a handful of good, Christian girlfriends who have encouraged me in my walk with Him.

God gave me such a good daddy (and mommy) who will guard my heart even when I won’t do it myself. And they will continue to guard it until God brings the man HE picked for me. I’m so thankful for my parents. They counseled me when I was heartbroken. Now they’re encouraging me to pour my energy and time into the people I love and the things I like to do. To be busy instead of sitting around wishing for a boyfriend. They reminded me to be myself and to love myself because God made me the way I am: Complete. Perfectly and wonderfully made. Exactly the way He wanted me to be. And God doesn’t make mistakes. And finally, they told me to wait on the Lord’s timing. For His timing is perfect, and He always, always, has my best interests in mind.

So that’s where I am now. Waiting and trusting in the Lord.

Reflections on 2016

I said 2016 was the worst year of my life.

And apparently a lot of people agree with me.

But here’s the thing. 2016 in of itself wasn’t bad. It was just another year. What made it bad for me personally was that in the past, I had made a lot of poor choices and bad decisions and this was the year I suffered the consequences. But even through all the trouble I caused and experienced, God was faithful, steadfast, and unchanging.

Here’s what I’ve learned this past year.

Life can suck. Change can really suck. When everything is completely new, it can be really terrifying to think about adjusting and it is perfectly normal to feel like you can’t handle it. It’s okay to feel sad and a little lost over something you can’t control. But. Don’t dwell on the fact that everything is different and nothing will ever be the same again. Don’t let that drag you down. Instead, remember that God will never give you more than you can handle and He’s going to go with you through all the changes. He won’t leave you behind.

Life is short. Too short to hide behind a camera. Take the time to step away from your phone. Stop taking pictures for a minute and enjoy everything around you with your own two eyes. Soak it in. Remember it for yourself. Then maybe take a few pictures for that scrapbook of yours. 😉

Read some more. Be still, even if it’s for twenty minutes. Take one chapter at a time. Go on those adventures between the pages. Fight monsters. Conquer fears. Find true love and live happily ever after. Just don’t forget about reality.

Don’t lose heart. Some days, life can feel really crappy. There will be times when you won’t know what to do or say, or how to react and that’s okay. Take a deep breath. Talk to Jesus. Really talk to Him. Pour your heart and soul out –trust me, you won’t regret it. He’s a master of holding hearts and He’ll take good care of yours.

Listen to what He has to say. It’s so important to listen. Otherwise it’s a one-sided conversation, you know? You do all the talking and you ask all the questions, but you don’t get any answers because you don’t listen. Sit at His feet and rest in His presence. Seek His will. Chase after it and never stop.

Choose your friends wisely, love. There is a huge difference between friends and acquaintances. Make sure you know the difference.

Don’t push away your family. Your parents will always be your biggest cheerleaders and you will always have a friend and confidante in them. You really are going to be stuck with your siblings forever. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to love them. They will be the ones who will take you in when you need a place to stay. They’ll keep you company whether you want them to or not. Cultivate good relationships with them now while you’re all young. It won’t be long before you all start moving out and living a life on your own. These are the days and you’ll never get them back. Redeem the time you have.

Finally. Run wild. Live free. Love strong.

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Here’s to another year.

Love Like God Loves

This past Sunday marked our one year anniversary of attending our church. Originally, I had written up a draft reminiscing of my family’s adventures in finding this church that we call home, but I discarded that because I want to share what’s going on in the present, rather than focusing on the past. Lots of things are happening, some good, some bad.

What I really want to share is something that has been on my heart ever since I was sick with a nasty cold last Sunday. I stayed home from church and listened to a sermon by Ben Stuart on how God Is Our Father. What struck me was that God loves me. Like, He loves me. And I didn’t do anything to make Him love me, He just loves me because He is love. So, that caused me to question myself: how can I love God more? Like, how can I rejoice and get excited over God’s love even more than I do now? How can I love like He loves? What are some areas in my life that I need to work on loving like Him? Do people see God’s love shining out of me when they come in contact with me? So, I prayed about it. And honestly, I didn’t think God would answer it, not to mention in this way, but He did.

For the past few months, my family and I have been having some issues with our nextdoor neighbors and just this past week, it had escaladed into something a little more serious. Serious enough that the police showed up at our front door after my parents had confronted our neighbors about a letter they received from the HOA. The neighbors had anonymously filed a complaint about us kids being disruptive and too noisy while playing soccer in our own backyard in the daytime. I know, it’s ridiculous and that’s not even half of it. But from that, to a very unpleasant encounter I had with the husband telling us to stay off of his property (which we’re staying clear of now!), I have found it really, really, difficult to love my neighbors. I felt so angry and confused that they would treat us so terribly when all we have done is make them feel comfortable, welcome, accepted, and above all, loved. Before they even moved in, we have treated them like family, and we have been kind to them, helping them in any and every way that we could.

Forgiving these people has been so hard. I’ll admit, I have been very bitter about all of this drama. It just doesn’t make sense that they would be so mean! I know that they’ve been through a lot these past few months, but that’s no excuse for them to act like children and tattle on us to the HOA or the police over something so trivial.

But. God reminded me through my big sister that He loves these people too. Jesus died for these sinners too. And His love is not like my love. God’s love is patient. It is kind. It is not envious. It is not puffed up, nor is it proud. It doesn’t behave rudely. It doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, rather it rejoices in the truth. It doesn’t seek its own. It thinks no evil. It bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and believes all things. God’s love never fails.

That’s the kind of love that I want to have. I want to love like God loves. And part of loving like He loves means putting aside my bitterness and anger and choosing to forgive. Because God loves my neighbors too. He loves them just as much as He loves me. That doesn’t mean that what my neighbors said and did was right. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t apologize. But it does mean that I am not going to hold this against them regardless of whether or not they recognize that they did wrong.

If I’m going to love like God loves, I need to love my enemies. I need to love my neighbors whether they’re neighborly or not because God’s love is unconditional. I want my love to be unconditional too. I need to forgive them because if I continue to hold a grudge against them and remain bitter, there’s no room in my heart for love. And I choose to love.

I choose to love like God loves.

Sixteen.

I’m turning seventeen in a matter of days. I’m trying not to think about it because I’m actually kind of dreading it. Let me explain: My goal in life was to turn sixteen. I know, it’s a silly goal, but that was my dream. I had this idealized version of what my sweet sixteenth year would look like ever since I was a little girl. Like, I would be driving, working, possibly graduating, hanging out with friends with no adults around, and enjoying the privileges an adult has without having the expectations to fulfill their responsibilities.

Well, let me tell you that my sweet sixteen was nothing like that. I don’t know how to drive, I don’t have a job, I’m still in school, and I haven’t gone out with a single person other than my family ever since we’ve moved.

If I’m completely honest, sixteen was the worst year of my life. I dealt with some serious emotional, spiritual, and relational problems all throughout my sixteenth year. I wrestled with all kinds of change. And I think this was the year that God really got ahold of me and had me face all of the issues I was keeping inside of me for years. Which, is a good thing because looking back, I really needed to do that. But gosh, it was so painful; I never want to go through that again.

The thought of being a year older and facing all of the changes, good or bad, accompanying it gives me some anxiety. Some people have already made the comment that I’m almost an adult. That thought gives me even more anxiety. I’m not ready to be an adult! This past year has shown me that I’m not ready–that I’m not as prepared for adulthood as I thought I was.

Last night, Mr. Blais gave a study on the book of Ruth. Throughout the whole study he reminded me that life is full of choices: good ones, bad ones, better ones, and the best ones. And with that thought in mind, I can see that if I had made some better choices in the past, this year would probably have been a whole lot easier. Maybe that’s why I’m dreading my seventeenth year of living. I’m going to have to make choices that are a little harder than whether I’m going to do Algebra today or tomorrow. I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do after I graduate, where am I going to go to college, am I even going to go to college, who am I going to date (when the time comes), what am I going to say to those who disagree with my decisions, how am I going to live my life?


So, here’s what I found this morning that calmed my anxious heart.

“that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:12)

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“That He (Jesus) would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

” Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.: (Ephesians 4:29)

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit[b] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10)

” Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

“and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:10)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

 

Who Knew?

About a year ago, July 2016 was the absolute latest that my family would move halfway across the country. Who knew that after that “plan”, we would move three months later in October 2015?

We’ve been here nine months now. It still kind of feels like we just got here.

I don’t quite miss home anymore. I think it’s the memories that I have that make me feel a little sad. I miss my friends.

I’m making memories here, though.There was the Christmas fellowship dinner at church. That was the first time I felt like I belonged there. I remember walking into the kitchen and deciding that I would get acquainted with that kitchen. I’m still trying to find where the usual water pitchers are whenever we do refreshments, but I manage. 🙂

There was Mrs. Eleanor’s memorial service back in April. I only knew her six months, but I miss her. I still hear her voice whenever I read Psalm 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God. Who knew that this lady whom I only knew for six months, would not only comfort me and teach me her skills while she was living, but continue to do so after she died?

Who knew that after Mrs. Eleanor passed away, we would be the ones to receive her fabric and patterns? Mom and I found so many wonderful things and we learned so much from her in just the two days we spent unpacking her things. It was like we had spent the entire day with her. We could hear her voice as we read her notes on her patterns. I was overjoyed to find her patterns for the potholders and towels she used to make. I was elated to discover that many of her scraps were perfect for doll quilts. So now, I’m making dozens of doll quilts for the sewing guild’s doll project when I’m not making quilts for big people. 😉

There was that time E. and I stayed at Mrs. Nancy’s house for the weekend. She needed some company because she just had surgery and we needed a little break from life. We had so much fun watching Anne of Green Gables and sewing stars for her quilt. (We’re almost there, by the way.) We had Bible studies together and we had time to get to know each other a little better. Mrs. Nancy is a kindred spirit and I had such a wonderful time with her. I don’t really do sleepovers because I have trouble sleeping anywhere that isn’t my bed. Who knew that I would feel so comfortable and at home with Mrs. Nancy, that I would be able to sleep through the night? It was amazing. I actually felt refreshed and rested and I didn’t wake up once!

download_20160612_201322[1]There was the concert featuring For King and Country. Who knew Joel would walk down the row in front of us and literally be six inches away from my face! The entire concert was wonderful, I had a fantastic time. I am never riding the Fury 325 ever again. It’s one of the tallest roller coasters in the world, guys, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

There was the process of our house being built. It was awesome to see how quickly it was built from the ground up. I can still remember the plot being just plain dirt!

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I can’t imagine moving later than when we did. I can’t imagine remaining in our rental house. I like our new home so much better. I feel comfortable and like this home is my home, not someone else’s. We’ve met so many nice people. I absolutely love our neighbors. We’ve found a church home. We found the Joann Fabrics right away, so I can still make quilts! I miss my home, but really, this place has become my home. I’ve adjusted. I’ve settled in. I like living here. Who knew? (God knew. Obviously.)