Growing Pains

Change hurts. Sometimes, you make all the right decisions and your heart still breaks. Sometimes, people don’t see your reasons, or don’t care to understand them. Sometimes, life hurts.

When I’m in the messiest parts of my life, I do things that are irrational. I say things that I think will push people away because I have this inner fear that eventually, they will leave anyway. Very few people do I let have the hurting parts of myself. I can literally count on one hand the number of people who have been privy to those moments outside of my parents and my brother. It’s a big deal for me to let someone have that part of me.

Why? Because being vulnerable gives someone else the chance to hurt you. So rather than being vulnerable, I use humor and I deflect. I wait to see who will push past that and stay.

The thing about me though, once I decide that I can trust someone, I trust them. I say what my brain thinks, I expose those private/quiet sides of my soul, and I smother them with my love.

And the more stressful and painful my life gets, the more I push away from feeling emotions. Sometimes, those feelings feel suffocating – almost like feeling them is going to drown me.

The last three days have been hard. I feel like I’m drowning. My anxiety is in full effect, and it tells me everyone hates me… because one person said they did.

Change is hard and it hurts.

But, I lean on the promise that God is unchanging. That even if I push away, he remains.

As much as the emotional side of me craves a human to exist in this life with, I know that existing in this life with God is enough. And if and until He sets that person in front of me, I let Him work on healing my heart.

Change hurts, but God heals.

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Let’s Get… Comfortable

I crave companionship. Not sex (yes I want that too). Companionship. I want someone to sit with me, to talk with me, to lay beside me and look at the stars. Someone to see my soul and immerse themself in it.

I learned long ago that my love languages are quality time and words. I need to be with the people I love doing simple things. Pop in a movie and sit with me, snuggle into bed with me and talk about nothing important… just be with me. I also want you hear your words. Send me a card or note, send me a text with something you think I will like, tell me I’m important to you.

These are also the love languages I speak to others. If I love you, you will know it. I will tell you, I will send you cards/notes/texts, I will sit with you. But, I will also learn your love language and I will speak it to you.

That’s what I want. I want someone to learn my love language and speak it to me.

But mostly, I want someone to be there. To sit with me. To seek my soul. To simply love me.

Agape Love

I saw a quote today by Lisa Turkeurst that said, “God never intended for us to look to others for the kind of love only he can give.”

A couple weeks ago, my sweet friend said the same thing to me. Then yesterday another friend said the same thing to me. God has been using the last few weeks to remind me of his never changing love.

Unconditional love is a concept foreign to me in terms of receiving it. I give that love freely to others, or at least try to, because I know what it feels like to not have that love.

In those darkest of moments when life seems to be too much, the love of God can feel intangible. When you don’t have human arms around you, reminding you what love feels like, it can be difficult to remember and feel God’s love. It has been difficult to feel and remember God’s love lately.

However, God is speaking through my friends to remind me that his love is always there, and that regardless of circumstances and other people, his love is enough to sustain me. He uses the companionship of friends to remind me that even when my faith shakes, He is faithful.

Finding Faith

Several years ago, I found myself questioning the religion that I had immersed myself in. I couldn’t rationalize in my mind how a loving and faithful God, a Jesus who died for me, would/could support the type of environments that I had been exposed to in the church. I couldn’t understand the coffee shop and bookstore in the lobby kind of churches or the put me on display kind of pastors. I didn’t understand the condemning faith that guilted people into submission. To me, God was so much more organic than what we had created him to be in our country.

Walking away from church was something that was not easy for me. I had been raised to believe that to be a good Christian you had to be in the building of church. Throughout my life, Christians had slung the verse, “do not forsake the gathering together of believers.” But, here’s the funny thing about that quote. It’s wrong. Hebrews 10:25 doesn’t tell you to gather in a church building. It tells you to meet together and encourage one another. The Bible also tells us that, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). God doesn’t tell us we have to be in a church building. He tells us to gather with believers and to encourage one another. 

As I have continued my journey of not being in church buildings, I have found the simple, beautiful nature of God. I have found a faith that can move mountains. I have found like-minded believers who have pushed me to a new level of understanding. I have found friends who build me up and encourage me… people who tell me that I have someone who loves me like I want to be loved – God.

I found a relationship with God that exceeds any understanding that I’ve ever had.

I lost my religion, but I found my faith.

Messy In the Middle

I feel like my life has been a perpetual “messy in the middle” phase. Never settled, never peaceful. Until about 5 years ago.

It was during that time that I decided that I was tired of letting “people” determine my worth. I knew who I was and knew that God had created me perfectly in his image. And that meant that all of the messy, “not perfect,” less than desirable parts were also created perfectly in his image.

God isn’t ever surprised when I fail. He isn’t ever surprised when I fall to my knees and weap or when my heart breaks for others. Because God knows me.

Around 5 years ago, frustrated with the institution of Americanized Churches, I fell to my knees and cried. I begged God to show me what I was missing in all of it. I cried out for him to show me more… to give me what I needed to know him in a real and passionate way. I cried out for God to break my heart for what broke his heart, and to give me the eyes to see people in the way that he sees them.

I wanted purpose. I wanted something that would make sense of who I thought God was, and who the church told me he was.

God gave me answers. He changed my life and shifted me into uncomfortable territory. And he hasn’t stopped since that day. He is changing and shifting me again, and it has been painful, and messy, but I know that just like all the other times it will be beautiful in the end.

I have had all this time to glue my heart back together. To discover who I am, and what my purpose on this Earth is. I am fortunate for good friends who take my calls and remind me pain isn’t permanent.

I look at myself in the mirror each day and say, “He makes beauty from ashes.”

And I know He will – and He is.

Unfailing Love

I have this sweet friend who, in the midst of their own life, took a call from me at 9:30 in the PM and listened to me cry. In the middle of my tears, my friend (whom I now believe was a gift straight from God) took the chance to tenderly remind me that I serve a God who loves me so far beyond my understanding.

I know this truth, but sometimes I forget. When life hurts a little more than it should, I forget. And in a moment when life hurt so badly that I could barely form words, my friend, from thousands of miles away, took my heart and so gently handled it that I stood in awe.

When I warned that I don’t give this part of myself to many people, my friend so gently said, “I promise I won’t break it.”

I am someone who loves outloud and with every fiber of my being. If you are my friend, I will love you and I will love you hard. But, I’m not used to getting that back.

I’ve spent the past 5 years piecing myself together from a lifetime of hurts, and the last few months have tested the glue that holds me together. But in those moments when life hurts the most, I hear a still, small voice calling out to me reminding me that I am loved. I am loved not in spite of, but because of my flaws. I am loved at my ugliest, my weakest, my worst. I am loved. Simply and beautifully. I have a unfailing love from an unfailing God.

And I have friends who use their precious time alone to remind me of this fact.

Regardless of where my life ends up, I am loved. And that, my friends, means life is good. Always.

I left my heart in HB

I bit my cheek in an effort to keep the tears at bay. When everyone was gone, I stood in the shower, tears flowing – knowing tomorrow’s fate was going to be worse. Sleep eluded me.

When morning came, I sat watching them fade into the distance as we pulled away. Goodbyes suck. I have the heart of a gypsy, so for the life of me I can’t figure out why goodbyes are so difficult for me. I just know that it hurts more to leave this place than any other place I have ever left.

California, the people and the place, have my heart. I feel at home when we are here. Windows down, sand in my toes… yes, even the traffic.

I sit in awe of how one minute you can be surrounded by traffic, and the next you are sitting with the peace of the crashing waves.

I am amazed at the pure genuine nature of the people we have met. A group of people who love us just for us. We haven’t fit into a mold they have created. We don’t discuss religion or politics, a conversation that seems to dominate the culture in our home state, and because of this we feel the true love of these people. It’s not a love based on conforming to a common belief. We love the opportunity and diversity that surround us in California.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a dream of living in a high rise apartment in the heart of a city. Justin doesn’t share this dream. So alas, we have reached an impasse, and I reluctantly loaded myself in the car.

Last night I had a momentary breakdown and told Justin I wasn’t leaving… and trust me, could I have worked it out, I would have stayed. But, for now, we are headed out on our journey home. I am looking forward to our activities on this leg of the journey, but I am still counting the days until I can go back to HB.

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