Strong

Sometimes, I feel anything but…

On the days when I am so low (which has not occurred in quite a while) or so anxious I can barely get out of bed (this one is a little more prevalent).

In times of grief or confusion…

I feel anything but…

Yet, it is a word that describes me.

You see, there are many different meanings to the word strength:

The bond of a relationship: with history, intimacy, and common interests, relationships are strengthened. This strength keeps our relationships going, and gives us support in times of need.

The ability to get out of bed, despite great anxiety or depression. This is a strength many people don’t understand. Sometimes, anxiety and/or depression can make it nearly impossible to function, to face the world. So, to get up & go in spite of those feelings, takes an amount of strength many people will never need or know.

The ability to share the burden with a professional. It takes strength to admit you need help, that you cannot walk this path alone. It’s part of the beauty of being on the professional side: seeing people’s strength in this area.

The ability to learn from your mistakes/failures & move forward. We all make mistakes. It happens. But, it is our response to our mistakes & failures that shows where our strength is. If I don’t learn from my mistakes and make necessary adjustments to build a better life, I’m weak in this area. My prayer is that I would continue to grow here.

The ability to care for and maintain a healthy body. This does take strength. Our bodies don’t have to be perfect, but God designed them to run a certain way, and it takes a strong person to recognize that it needs to be cared for, and care for it. It’s easier to always be lazy, but our bodies are meant for much, much more. Sleep, water, fuel, movement: all designed for a balance by a wonderful Creator.

So, maybe I am strong…I build & work on strengthening important relationships in my life. Especially with my Abba God.

I have gotten out of bed more days than not, even when depression or anxiety rears it’s ugly head.

I have sought out help at my lowest moments.

I strive to learn from my mistakes and failures, building a life that reflects my values & ideals.

Many days, I try to keep my body healthy & in balance (though, often, I also struggle here)…

Over at Tuesdays @ 10they are writing about STRONG this week. And, I know each person will have a different take on the subject. And, I am sure I missed something. Share below what your take on strong is…

One final thought on Strong, I recently shared that the only way I am able to get up each day and do what I do is because: “The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)…This is my strongest truth, always.

 

 

 

Secure

Last week’s Tuesday @ 10 topic was Caring… And, I wanted to write something. I had so many thoughts, so many ideas swirling around…

Things related to accepting, becoming, waiting Related to how much caring I do each day…

But, getting myself decompressed from work enough to put together coherent thoughts, well, it didn’t work very well…

So, instead, I shed a lot of tears:

Over being cussed out a couple of times, by kids who weren’t necessarily angry at me, but at the tough hand life has given them. Hearing them call me names they shouldn’t know, and describe things they shouldn’t understand…

Over knowing we are working to show love & help these kids make progress, only to have to send them back to the people and places that are hurting them…

Over wanting to do a good job, but knowing that several times a week I question my ability, my stamina, my education, and my compassion…

Over being 27 & childless; and having my body become a war-zone again as a reminder that for another month, I am once again, (now) 28 and childless…

All of these things affect me so much because I care: about my life, the lives of my co-workers, my supervisors, and the lives of my clients & kiddos.

Yet, I am secure.

Secure in the knowledge that I may not always know where my next meal will come from, but there will be a next meal, because God is my provider (Matthew 6:25-34)…

Secure in the knowledge that God cares for my situation, for my client’s situations, for the kids in my youth group’s situations, for my employers’ situations; because, He cares for people (Psalm 36:5-6)…

Secure in knowing that my prayers for those around me have not gone unheard, even if I never get to experience the answer for myself (Matt 5:44; 1 Thes 5:16-18; Psalm 34:17-18)…

Secure in the knowledge that, despite many troubles, God is always working my life out for my good and His glory [even in the struggle of loneliness &singleness] (Psalm 34:18-19; Romans 8:28)…

Secure in His perfect gift of the Cross, His peace that passes understanding, His unconditional Love, and His mercies that are new every morning (John 3:16; Philippians 4:7; Lamentations 3:22-23)…

I spend a lot of myself caring…I woke up this morning already irritated…

My attitude changes only with prayer, flexibility, compassion, & understanding.

I do not have an easy job, but I was called into this life for such a time as this, in this place, with these kiddos. I’ve never been under the illusion that this calling would be easy; but, sometimes I forget that I have to be filled by Him in order to go out and fill others.

So, I pray. I smile. I go with the flow. I express compassion.

Then, I come home, and I recharge (sometimes better than others). And, I allow Him to be my fill. I allow Him to remind me who I am, Whose I am, and to what I have been called. I find ways to relax, to experience my own life & joys, and love those around me.

And, then, I remember & embrace that I am deeply loved by the One who also deeply loves those He called me to serve.

In this, I am secure.


This week’s Tuesday @ 10 topic is Secure. In what do you find your security?  Let me know below.

 

 

Let me introduce myself…

Now, I’ve had this blog for about for about 2 years, and was hosted on Blogspot for about 4 years before. So, I’ve been blogging for 6 years…

And, I feel the need to re-introduce myself. So much has happened in the past 6 years, this blog has been through so many seasons & cycles itself.

Back to me – I am passionate about God’s unrelenting, unwarranted, and absolutely unconditional love -His Agape. Making His children Agapetos – the beloved.

But, knowing I am the beloved, and feeling it all the time are two entirely different things.

Sometimes, that not-feeling has come from the huge, 10 year battle with depression that I fought…which is trying to rear it’s ugly head again…Sometimes, it comes from the heart pounding, suffocating anxiety I feel like will be with me forever…Sometimes, it comes from the chronic singleness that has engulfed my life…

Yet, whatever the reason, my lack of feeling does not negate the truth of my being.

I am beloved…

And, in this season of my life, I want to focus on accepting, becoming, and waiting.

  • Accepting: my role as His beloved. Right now, that means being back in a place I never thought I’d find myself again, working in my old schools, and attending a church I left 9 years ago. Right now, it means faith in His perfect plan, His ability to bring beauty from ashes, and His future blessings. Right now, it means simply accepting the present for what it is and turning to Him when the rest get’s overwhelming.
  • Becoming: who I’m meant to be as His beloved. We all have that picture of what we want our lives to be like, and compare when we get there. Mine doesn’t exactly look how I thought, but pretty close. Yet, there are pieces missing…things I thought I’d have or places I’d be. So, I am focusing on becoming that girl – in so far as God leads me there. It also means pushing myself at times, or holding back at times. I am focusing on allowing God to shape me, grow me, stretch me, and sustain me.
  • Waiting: Those who have read my posts before know I am constantly in a waiting phase – and the biggest thing I am waiting for is that Godly man I will one day build a life with. A man I can submit to and serve with. I know I am also waiting on career moves to be opened up. So, I will focus on the wait – the acceptance and becoming that take place in the waiting. The continued faith that God will fulfill and provide for me according to His good will & purpose.

Honestly, it’s not much different than the way the blog has been in the past. Just a little more focused on these aspects of beloved-ness.

Perhaps someone will find this blog, my little slice of the internet, and know they are not alone in their struggle. Maybe, someone will reach out and offer encouragement, not only to me but to readers, as we become and wait. Maybe someone else out there needs to be reminded and encouraged in their own accepting, becoming, or waiting (or all three).

I pray that in the time moving forward (until my next mini-shift), people will be encouraged, people will find community. I pray that God will begin to use me more than ever to reach others like me, or different than me. That my words would touch exactly who they are supposed to, and that in writing them, I too will be changed & challenged.

Thanks for reading! Welcome to my little corner of the world 🙂


Another little word on waiting –

Recently, waiting has been a challenge. I keep hearing from people the same pat Christian answers…and I know they are only trying to help, but, honestly, sometimes I desire more of an understanding and a “this sucks” than anything.

We as believers keep throwing around some of the same phrases, things like: “Wait on God’s timing”, “It’ll happen when you least expect it”, & “focus on becoming the right person.” Honestly, some days, I want to punch anyone who says any of these, even if that first one is actually biblical…And, sometime in the next week or so, I will be writing a post reacting to these semi-myths of Godly waiting.

But, what I want everyone to know is that, just because I get tired of waiting at times (and boy do I grow so weary, especially in the weeks before my birthday…), this doesn’t mean I will give up, compromise, or go my own way. I know, even on the hardest days, God has a plan to use my life for His glory (even if that plan does not include me ever having a husband). And, even on my hardest day, I know a single life serving God is far better than a married life pulled away from Him.

Yet, what I wish people really grasped is that: waiting does not mean doing nothing. Even as a woman.

I can’t wait to share more with all of you as I narrow this focus for this chapter of my life. Thanks so much for reading and joining my journey.


What have you learned over the years about accepting, becoming, and/or waiting? Do you feel God has been brought glory from your life? How about from your relationship story? Do you feel like He used your single time to help you become in the waiting? Has he worked in your heart to accept & be content? Let me know below. I’d love to hear from you!

Ready

This post will be a little different, but only a little… And, I’m writing it as part of this week’s Tuesday @ 10 (prompt:READY)…

 

In one month, I will be 28 years old.

28. I remember when that seemed so old. Now? Many days, it seems like I’m still a kid & haven’t gotten the hang of this whole “adulting” thing.

But, somedays, I feel like the opposite. Like, I should have all my stuff together now. Don’t most people by this age?

Single. Entry-ish level job. Looking into a PhD program to being in two years.
Not where I thought I’d be at this time – because by 30, I was gonna have it all together. 30, the magic age I was waiting for for life to be what I wanted.

I always knew my 20s would suck…but, the thing is, they haven’t. Even at these times when I realize I’m not where I wanted to be, it hasn’t been terrible.

April and May of this year, though? Yeah, they sucked. But they’re over now.

And, regardless of how things fall with my family, my life will move forward.  I realize that now.

And, I’m ready for it.

New position (sort of) at work; more steady. I’m going to be salaried for the first time in my life. Not the most money, but nothing to sneeze at. No more hourly, no more contract. Steady income – for now.

So, I’m getting ready for it.

I feel as if I have set up a good, solid foundation for my life. One I’ve worked really hard on.

But, buildings are not just their foundation. They are also their framing, their walls, their roofs. Rooms and doors; interiors and art. That’s what I’m ready for in my life.

This apartment, this job. These are parts of the frame. And, in the coming several months, I’m going to focus on building up the house of my life all around them:

  • Spiritual Life: I am in a place where my spiritual life could just stay still or surge forward; I choose the latter. No waiting for a guy to come along to lead; Christ can do that job better than anyone, and will continue to do so no matter who is in my life.
  • Professional Wardrobe: It’s time I allow myself more pieces that say casual and business adult, that I am comfortable in. That allow me to feel feminine, yet also uniquely me. 
  • Relationship: 5 years ago I made a resolution to go on a date…it took 3 years to make that happen. Now, I’m ready for something real & substantial. I’m ready to begin a relationship, preferably the lasting one. With a Godly man who is honest, forward, and passionately in love with Jesus. Not a man-child who only goes to church on Sunday, only to live out the rest of his life as if God is a vending machine in the sky. So, I am going to be praying and preparing myself, as well as putting myself out there. It’s time.
  • Organization: Organization is not always my strong-suit…As an INFP, I once heard that planners were designed by Js…needed by P’s but never used (or not consistently), not needed by J’s, who happen to be the one’s who use them the most. So, I’m putting mine to use. Setting some goals for summer & beyond. As well as some other resources I’ve bought myself to be an amazing traveling therapist.
  • School & Career: I am going to use this new opportunity to learn, to sharpen my abilities, to stop being so scared of being a professional woman, and to build my resume for the final step in my education journey. I’m going to take opportunities to grow in my field, to teach others, and to contribute to the knowledge and awareness. And, I will, one day, hold my PhD and be able to teach, research, and work with clients. The ultimate triple threat.
  • Writing: This goes along with the above. This is the time in my life where I get to decide how serious I am about my unrelenting passion of writing, how much I want it to be a part of my life, and how I can incorporate it to whatever dream life I create. It’s time to take it seriously, and I’m ready to do that, I believe.

You know, I don’t know where my life will be at 30…I’m not even sure exactly what my life will look like at the end of summer…but I am ready to see where God leads me.

I know He has exciting things in store!

And, I’m ready.

 

 

It’s Time

Belittled. Demeaned.
Hiding in her room.
Creeping down hallways,
Tears staining a frightened face.
Stop the yelling!
It’s too loud…
Why do you tell everyone you’re so proud?
Do you even know what love is,
When smiling photos are just a lie?
This is God’s plan, they say.
So, He wants little girls and boys to 
Suffer this way?
Who couldn’t even make their own choices,
Or know of anything else?
Stay strong, they say.
As if I have another choice.
Just give it to God, they say.
But, wait, didn’t they say it’s been
In His hands all along?
How do I trust the God who led me here…
Again?
Where do I begin…
Again?
Lord, I do believe,
Now, please help me in my unbelief
Because, on my own 
I.Am.Nothing.
On my own, 
This will surely
Crush.My.Soul

10 years. 10 years I fought the biggest battle of my life. Depression came in 2nd only to my choking anxiety. Though, I felt insecure, sad, and confused early on – I was 10 years old when I can remember actual depression starting.

The dark cloud followed me. My world lacked definition and color. I existed in a grey world. Lacking joy. Lacking peace.

I was just a little girl…but one voice in my life told me a big lie, showed me his words were “true” and an enemy unlike any I could have imagined took hold.

But, though God had never abandoned me, He finally took hold. There was finally a release. And, for 8 years, I’ve been free. Beautifully free.

Six months back in the worst place I’ve ever known, around the most toxic person I’ve ever had to have in my life, and it’s almost back in full force.

When I moved back, I thought it could be different; things were getting better. I thought I could stay clean here – but I’ve relapsed.

I thought I had the tools – I do have the tools.
And, though I do this with others daily, still the question arises:

How do we use these tools when the toxic environment doesn’t change?

You see, we lack a voice.

Depression and anxiety have kept me so worried about my family that I have no voice – no way to expose the abuse & injustice done…Unfair for a 5 year old. Unfair for a 13 year old. Unfair for a 28 year old.

And, after all, who can I talk to in the church? The “safe place”.

Because, honestly, the church has, as a whole, been extremely irresponsible when it comes to Mental Health concerns & abuse.

Over the years, I’ve heard:

Well, what did you do?
He’s the head.
Your job is just to be submissive. Your mom, too.
This is God’s plan.
Just try to stay strong.
Shh. You can’t talk about that. Especially not here.
How he treats your mom is none of your business.

The most freeing words I’ve ever heard from a pastor was that the ABUSER breaks the covenant with God by abusing the power & breaking God’s will. Not the spouse. Not the kids.

This is why I have spent my entire adult life giving a voice to others’ struggles…reflecting places where I could not give a voice to my own. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

But I refuse to be afraid anymore.

So, I’ve decided to attempt to extend an olive branch, do some patch work, explain my side, demand a response, and let the chips fall where they may.

But, I will no longer stay silent. I will give a voice – finally, a true & honest voice – to my pain, my struggle. I will no longer live in fear or walk on eggshells.

Not for my family. Not in my church. Not in my life.

Because, I fully believe God did not intend for me to live this way.
He intended for me not to live in the darkness that has been so familiar, but in His light.
He did not intend for me to fear judgement of others, but to trust in His love.
His intent was not that children would be used, rejected, & broken,
But to be loved, trained, and disciplined through both.

You see, what happened in the darkness – secret things like this – are not meant to remain secrets (Mark 4:22, Matthew 10:26, Luke 8:17)… So, after 23 years, it’s time.

It’s no longer a burden I will carry. At least, not alone.


Linked up with Tuesday @ 10 over at FindingtheGraceWithin.