3.20.2017

I Don't Know What To Title This


Have you ever had a passion, a hobby, something you loved doing so much, and one day you couldn't anymore?  For some reason, your brain just wasn't letting you, your hands weren't cooperating, your attention span was zilch, and nothing creative came to mind?

That's what it's been like with me and writing lately.

I'm a writer.  Writing is part of who I am.  It's in my blood.  It's an outlet.  It's a passion.  But lately, I've felt like I just couldn't.  I don't know why.  Why would I not be able to do something I love?  I've felt burnt out and not creative whatsoever.  I feel like nothing new has come to mind to write about.  Every time I've sat down to attempt at compiling sentences, nothing came to mind, my fingers didn't move, my brain was just one big blank.  Why can't I do one of the things I love the most?

It scares me.

I was telling all of this to a fellow writer friend of mine and he answered,
"Writing will always come and go throughout life.  Love is hard.  In every way."

I liked how he used "writing" and "love" as synonyms.  They do go hand in hand, so I guess it makes sense.  At least from my viewpoint.
I love to write.  And I write because I love it.  But they are both exasperating - these two.  They can both be so difficult sometimes.  And in those moments, you don't feel like doing either, but you know you should because...well, because it's part of who you are, I guess.

Being scared of something doesn't mean you shouldn't try though.  If it's something you want, if it's something you're passionate about, if it's something you love, then what is stopping you from at least taking a step forward in that direction?  If it doesn't work out, if nothing comes of it, at least you know you tried.

It's better than doing nothing and just wishing things would happen, right?

I guess I'm writing this all to myself.  I got done ranting to my friend and was so frustrated with myself for whining that I knew I needed to write to myself to get a move on and take a dose of my own medicine.

But I hope some part of this helps you.  Maybe you're going through the same thing.  Maybe you're experiencing the same difficulties.  But gosh, I hope you just try...

3.10.2017

Come To Him Broken


So often, I think we feel unworthy to come to God with our problems.  We think He's too busy for us, to hear about our petty needs, to forgive us over and over again.  We have this mentality that we need to look pretty, have our lives together, seek Him in a peaceful state of mind, in a room with candles and on our knees in prayer.

But I don't think that's accurate.

I think that life is messy.  And we're messy.  And we're broken.  And sometimes, all we can come to Him as is lost, hurting, confused, and guilty individuals.  Sometimes we don't know how to pray, but we know how to scream and cry and yell and beat our fists into the air.  We know what "to be hurt" means.  And when words fail us, and frivolous prayers escape our thoughts, we can only come before Him tired and dirty and broken.

I think we have a hard time accepting the fact that we can come to Him like that because we know how awesome and holy He is and it scares us to even consider coming to Him in such a state of chaos.  But if we understand His holiness and sovereignty, then why can't we understand His grace and love too?  If He loved us so much that before we even knew Him, He sent His Son to die in our place, then how much more does He love us now and want us to draw near His throne of grace?

Come to Him broken.

He knows life is difficult.  He knows life is pain.  He understands, He can relate, He is all seeing.  And if the Creator of the universe can understand that, then He can understand our confusion and passion and anger and the cries of our hearts.

Don't hold back.  Don't stay away.  Come to Him as you are.  And if that means in a shattered state, holding your heart in your hands, then so be it.  Don't let fear and guilt and worry about being and looking presentable keep you away from His loving and open arms.

Come to Him broken.

And what a joy and thrill it is to know that He is all-accepting?  That He is all-forgiving?  And nothing you can do will make Him love you less.  He is full of grace and forgiveness.  He has compassion on our weaknesses.  And in the midst of life's cruel tsunamis of suffering and agony, He remains the steadfast lighthouse of constant guidance and love.

Come to Him broken.

He specializes in putting back together pieces and making something even more beautiful than before.

3.05.2017

The Righteous In This City


"Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?...Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five?...Suppose forty are found there?...Suppose thirty?...Suppose twenty?...Oh may the LORD not be angry, and I shall speak only this once: suppose ten are found there?  

And He said, 'I will not destroy it on account of the ten.'"

Throughout a passage of 9 verses in Genesis chapter 18, this exchange takes place between the LORD and Abraham.  I always found it fascinating that, in a city of an estimated half a million, God said He would not destroy it for the sake of but ten righteous.

In a crash course on my church's foundational beliefs, the teacher spoke of community and the need to be "like redwoods, and not like tumbleweed".  Why?  Because Redwoods' roots grow deep into the ground and intertwine with each other causing such strong stability that they are able to grow up to 350+ feet tall.  Tumbleweed, on the other hand, have no roots; they blow to and fro by any amount of breeze, and look ugly and dead.  Having community and fellowship causes strong bonds through which the unity can be spread through the culture and in whatever place believers are planted in.

A thought struck me when I heard this.  It was the passage from Genesis that I quoted above, but also this -
How different would we live if we thought to ourselves: "Am I the righteous one in this city, in this neighborhood, on this street?  Am I the one God planted here to reach out to others?"

Are we the reasons He is showing mercy to this country?  To this world?  

God doesn't have to let us wake up every morning.  He doesn't have to let our lungs breathe for us.  He doesn't have to let us live.  Yet He does.  Why?  Because He has a plan and purpose for each of us, in whatever state of life we're in, wherever we are living.

Our Father will always have a remnant.  He loves His children and wants to bless us here on earth, until He calls us home.  But while we're here, how are we showing our true colors?  How are we showing others that we are His?  How are we practicing our righteousness?

If God chose to destroy certain cities today, like He did Sodom and Gomorrah, would yours be left standing?

2.11.2017

Response To Readers: Learning To Trust Again, episode 1

This is the first installment in my "Response To Readers" series.

---

"I've had a very painful past with my father leaving our family for another woman when I was just a little girl.  Because of that, I have a very hard time trusting people and feeling secure.  I recently started seeing someone.  He has given me no reason not to trust him, but I can't help but wonder when he's going to leave or when will he want someone else.  And I hurt his feelings by feeling this way.  He understands my past, but it still hurt.  
How do I stop having trust issues when he has been nothing but trustworthy?"

This was probably one of the most heart-breaking questions I've received.  "Trust" is such a big part of life and I've never been in any sort of situation to experience such betrayal and pain as this girl had.

I sat here, staring at my laptop, for a good ten minutes, wondering just how I was going to reply to her.  I seriously had no idea how to say everything I was thinking - and if what I was thinking was even a good answer.  I feel inadequate to be answering such a deep, painful question.

To the girl who submitted this question:
Thank you for trusting me enough to ask it.  I know it's a painful part of your life, and I feel touched that you would ask my advice on it.
Sweetie, even if your father hurt your family by leaving - and continues to hurt you by ignoring your letters and phone calls - your Heavenly Father will never leave you.  I know it's hard to try to grasp the concept of the Creator of the universe being there for you, but it's something that none of us will really understand how and why.
But it's a promise that He gives us in His word.
"I will never leave you or forsake you".
The boyfriend you have in your life right now sounds like someone special.  It sounds like you think a lot of him and that he has become a prominent person in your life.  But if you're still struggling with trust issues, it may be wise to back away from him for a little while.  If he understands your past and has given you no reason to not trust him, then he must respect and care for you a great deal - and will gladly do whatever you feel is best for you at this time.
For you to "stop having trust issues" isn't an overnight thing.  It takes a lot of time, patience and love from the people around you.  If your boyfriend is still hurt with your difficulty on trusting him (even though he knows about your father), that's not your fault.  If he's a good guy, he'll give you the space and time you need.

My biggest suggestion and advice is that you strive to grow closer to God through this time.  Seek God's will for your life.  Trust Him with your life.  He loves you more than any mortal man ever could.  And He cares for you more than your father or boyfriend ever will.

If you still feel insecure about who to trust, and if someone you grow close to will soon just decide they don't like you anymore and not want to be around you, you need to bury yourself even more in God's Word.  And I'm sorry to say that you will encounter people like this.  People will come and go.  It's a part of life.  It's a part of growing up.
But I promise you that the ache and pain of betrayal and denial won't be as sharp if you remember that God is within arm's length from you.

Stay grounded in His Word.  Stay focused on Him.  Rejoice in His love for you.  Trust that He will never leave you...

...

'And they that know Your Name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek You.'
- Psalm 9:10

2.10.2017

She Chose

She didn't lose him.  She let him go.

She didn't let him go.  She pushed him away.

She had to walk away, she had to move on.
Not because she didn't care for him anymore or because she was bored of who he was.
Not because she wanted things to end.

But because it was what was best for her.

Staying was hurting her, leaving was painful, trying to love the person he used to be was killing her.

She didn't want to cut him out of her life.

She didn't want things to end.

She did try to make it work.
She never doubted he wanted it to work out too.

But sometimes, life is against us.
And life was against them.

And she was forced to choose.

And she chose, she decided, she walked away with her head held high and her heart torn.

And with every step, she reminded herself that things weren't the same anymore and no matter how much she tried, no matter how much she waited, no matter how much she went back to square one to start all over again, to try again, life was changing.  And she was changing with it.  And he was too.

She didn't forget him.

She didn't hate him.  She never could.

She was just tired of being unhappy and thinking that they would be happy together.
She was tired of asking him why he was hurting her.
Instead, she asked herself why she allowed him to continue causing her pain.

Because, truth is, in another life, she would run back to him in a heartbeat.

But right here, right now, she was walking away.

And it was the right thing to do.

And it was going to be okay.

2.09.2017

What If We Had Been Warned?

It seems that they forget to tell us, as children, that life hurts.

Life will hold painful moments for us.  

Life is sad sometimes. 

I get it.  

Adults don't want to be raising us, telling us all these horribly depressing things.
But I wonder if it's worse to find it out on our own than to be warned...

Would someone take a puff of their first cigarette if they knew what it does to their lungs, slowly, over time, and that smoking a pack a day would result in a shorter life?

Would someone trust a friend with a secret if they knew that you shouldn't trust so easily?

Would someone give themselves, their heart, their body, to someone else, if they knew that not every first love chooses to stick around and not give up on you?

How differently would this life be lived if we were warned of people, places and things?  We learn about them as nouns in school, but why aren't we introduced to their schemes and wily ways too?  Why aren't we warned that life will hurt us, even when we have done nothing to encourage it, to invite the pain, to want to feel the sharp sting of betrayal, of lost love, of anxiety and depression, of self-consciousness, of fear?

What if we had been warned?

2.08.2017

6 Things I Learned After Moving Out


I didn't move out of my family's home until I was 20.  It wasn't an act of rebellion or because I hated my family/parents and wanted to get away from them.  It was just simply the right time.

I first moved in with two roommates in a house about five minutes from my family (see? I wasn't running away).  Then moved in with an uncle for about six months.  Then, most recently, moved to a townhouse, in which I live in the private bottom level of.

Moving out and being independent has taught me many lessons.  A few of which I shall now share.

1)  I miss my family.  Like, a lot.
I grew up in a family of 9.  There was always some sort of noise, voices, chores being done, laughter, cleaning, etc.  The only time there was peace and quite was at night, after everyone was tucked in bed.  Since moving out, it's nothing but quiet at my house.  I crave the times I get to go visit my family, and it physically aches whenever I drive away from them, from the home I grew up in, from all the hugs and kisses I get when I am there.  Moving out has taught me even more to cherish my family and the times I get to spend with them.

2)  Home-cooked meals are life.
Living on my own has definitely taught me that eating out and grabbing something here and there isn't always the best option.  Cuz, holy crap, will it cut into the budget.  I do love cooking, though, so grocery shopping is life-saving, and making meals that last me a couple days are the best.  But, going home and eating an amazing meal cooked by Mama...well, there's nothing better than that.

3)  Budgeting is key.
Keeping track of every nickel and dime, asking myself "Do I need or want this?" at the store, making sure I keep receipts, write down how much I spend each day... This has all been something I've forced myself to do when I moved out, and it has saved me a lot of pretty pennies.

4)  Don't become complacent.
One of the millennials worst traits is being apathetic and complacent.  "I'm bored af" is a commonly used phrase.  And one I never use.  Why?  Because the moment I start feeling lazy is the moment I can find something to do, some way to make this world better, some time to do something new, to do something that matters.  Living alone, working hard, coming home to a quiet house can sometimes just make me wanna go plop on my bed and watch Netflix for the rest of the day.  But I know that isn't profitable, and it's not gonna get me ahead in life.  I'm not saying that Netflix and chill is never a good idea.  But just don't make it a habit.

5)  Adulting.
You really aren't an adult until you move out and can live a year without calling your parents up for money.  Let's just say that. #responsibility

6)  You learn lessons.
Okay so I've screwed up on certain things when it comes to being independent and making my own choices and choosing where to live and work.  But hey, life is about making mistakes and learning from them.  Moving out has given me the opportunity to learn knowledge and skill on my own.  And it really has been good for me.

2.06.2017

Heartbreak Healing

"How long does it normally take to get over a heartbreak?"

I received this question on my ask.fm recently and
dear soul, let me tell you.
There is no deadline, no normality, no certain period of time that is exceptional for healing from a heartbreak.
Every human is different.
Every heart gets hurt differently.
Every healing depends on so much of what occurred.
There is no way to be able to say how long it should or will take you to recover from something that affected you so deeply.

You see, healing from a lost love is no easy task.  It's not something you can make yourself do.  You can't "get" a new heart.

You're never going to forget them.  Your brain doesn't function that way.  I wish it did.  I truly do.  But you're always going to remember the color of her eyes.  You're always going to remember the way your fingers locked with his.  You're always going to have the memories hit you whenever you hear a certain sound, catch a scent of their perfume, drive by that one place you parked and made out for a few hours.  You'll miss their hugs on lonely nights, their laughter during summer days, their lips on your neck and hands.  The nights will come, and sometimes random moments throughout your day, when you will feel literal physical pain at just the mention of their name.
All the feelings will rush back.
And you'll have to suppress them just to be able to breathe again.
And yes, suppress.  Not forget.  Because you're never going to fully get over them.
You're going to miss them with every fiber of your being.

People will tell you to just "fall out of love", to "just forget them", to "move on".  And you could try to do all those things.  Honestly, you probably will fall out of love, you will be able to move on one day.
But you'll never forget them.
And you won't be in love with them, but darling, you will always love them.  A piece of your heart will always be theirs.  You will always have fond memories of times together.

And how does this answer your question?

How does this help?

Because even though all of this will happen at one point in your path of healing, you're going to be okay.

You'll get through it, I promise.

You won't be in love with them, but you'll still love them.  You'll care for them - maybe even moreso than you ever did.  But in a way that says "We were each other's once, but that was in another lifetime.  And now, we've gone our separate ways, but we'll always have our memories."

And damn it, maybe you'll find someone else.

Promise me something though?

Promise me that you won't give up on love.

If someone comes along and makes you feel things you have never felt before, or makes you feel a way you haven't felt since "they" exited your life... Darling, please.  Please don't let them go.

Never stop hoping for love.  Never stop hoping that someone else is just around the corner from you.

Never stop thinking you won't fully heal.

Time heals all wounds.  It really does.  Give yourself that much.  And know that there's no set end time.  No formula to follow.  No pattern to memorize.

Live.  Love.  Heal.  Repeat.