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What I learned Yeserday | What I write Today | What I hope for Tomorrow

Faces I Might Not See Later

*Christian-y rant warning*

I am not entirely sure how to properly articulate some of my frustrations lately that I have with my faith and beliefs and the difficulty sharing it. My livelihood has me bouncing from here to there every month with my husband. We love our life and are very grateful for it. But sometimes I get lonely as a believer, because there are not many of us in the line of work we are in.

First and foremost, I am a Christian. I desire to follow Christ and trust in His promises to me and one day I will meet Him face to face. It will be awesome. But often, I am discouraged. Not by Him, but knowing there will be faces I won’t be seeing one day.

The social circles I run in are often very hostile toward a lot of principles and ideologies that are tied to the core of my faith. This isn’t to say the people I’ve met are confrontational to me personally, or would even say anything unkind about me. In fact, they are some of the most talented and dedicated people out there. They are fiercely motivated to create and put out positive vibes. But they scoff at my God and say unkind things about Him. And I don’t blame them, nor am I surprised at the caustic nature of the responses I see towards my beliefs and my Lord. They don’t know him. What’s more human than judging someone based on very limited knowledge, or even lies?

In a day and age where we are culturally being taught to serve the self first, it makes sense then that the idea of of an omnipotent being who claims to be large and in-charge is fairly unappealing, especially when His “rule book” seems to deny humans from indulging into every pleasure life offers. Not a very winsome argument to believe in God. But this isn’t the Lord I serve. This isn’t the One who has shown me over and over again His kindness, His patience, His mercy, His grace, His comfort, His Love. All I can share with anyone is my experience, and trust that God is working in that moment.

What’s even harder to fight against is another angle at which I see many of my fellow Christ-followers go to persuade non-believers: You need God.

Excuse me? I am an independent, proud, and strong individual and need no ONE person. I’ve scraped and clawed my way this far without God, so why would I need him now? Where was He when [insert any horrific anything]? No thanks, I’ll pass.

Of course they don’t need God: they have their lives together. They have their Netflix and latte in hand. They have their social causes they actively tote on social media. They are united under banners and hashtags. They have their parties and conventions to rally around fandoms and common interests. They have their community of fellow twitter followers, subscribers, likes, comments, and enough shares to make their seven-second video go viral. They have unlimited access to data, 24/7 services and tech support for when hulu doesn’t work. They have their start-ups, their kick starters, their HQ video branding their new business and products. They have their own idea about what the American Dream is and they pursue it with a blind fervency to “make it,” whether that means they’re climbing the corporate ladder, reaching the million dollar mark for their
#thisthingmatters campaign, or paying the bills and still have enough for Spotify premium. If these are all the #goals (along with many more), they are all within our grasps, so why depend on God, much less, see a need for Him in their lives?

And even still – many of us are learning that we are broken and feel alone. We are more anxious and worried than ever. We get overwhelmed and depressed. We don’t want to talk to anyone, but at the same time feel connected. But connect to other broken lonely people, not God.

The problem is this dependency on a cause or a person or an achievement are all temporary and flawed and will eventually disappoint, because it is all temporal and conditional.

Good. A lot of truths that a lot of other Christians will understand and nod their heads in agreement (and some will sth in disagreement). But how do I bridge the gap? How do I help my unbelieving circle of friends catch even a glimpse of truth that I’m trying to share? We can discuss and debate until we are all blue in the face. We can agree to disagree. We can hug it out and live and let live. We can say “You do you, boo.” But as a believer who knows how it will end, that just isn’t good enough.

I suppose this is just me venting an echoed problem millions of believers have faced for millennia. I am sure the Martin Luthers and Augustines of the past looked at their society and culture in the same way I am now and brought to tears at the thought of how many people need to know Jesus, but so many won’t.

That’s a hard pill to swallow. And one I’ve already choked down and it makes my stomach churn every time. Knowing a very dear friend of 10 years never came to know the Lord (to my knowledge). I had many great conversations with this person and he was very open and listened well to my plight. Sometimes I think I was too young to be sharing the Gospel and maybe I messed it up all together. I know that isn’t true, but it’s hard not to think that maybe if I had been more mature, I would have articulated a more persuasive argument. Maybe it is heretical to believe this, and maybe I only do it to soothe the ache of that choked down pill, but I like to believe that God in His infinite grace and mercy revealed Himself to my friend in his last moments. And maybe my friend will be a face I see one day along with Jesus’.

I wish I could say I was going somewhere uplifting and hopeful and with a “a trick” up my sleeve. But sorry, this will be the anti-climatic ending I wish I could re-write, but I simply have no be answers of how to respond to the volatile storm of culturally anti-Christian teachings.

The worst part is a lot of Christians don’t even think there’s a storm going on. Many of us are satisfied to sit comfortably and safely in our seats with our coffee on Sunday morning and with our fellow brothers and sisters on Tuesday evenings, planning the next retreat and/or outing to lazer tag, Dave & Busters, or Five Guys Guy Night. Not that there is anything wrong with Christian community, it is dire to your spiritual health. I  just wonder how much of that is for our health and how much has “church” even distracted us from our mission. I even find myself settling for God’s word and His truth to be trampled over and replaced with all the golden calves to humanity’s folly all in the name of progress.

The storm will only intensify, culture will become increasingly more hostile, and us Christians pretend that it’s okay and we instagram a Bible verse and call it evangelism. Oh look, it got 100 likes in the first hour. #Winning

Praise be to the Self.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

This was mostly a vent. Which, I apologize if you wasted your time reading all 1500 words, but maybe you are a believer and feel the same way. At the very least, you are not alone and I encourage you to cling to the above verse from Lamentations 3. If you happen to be a non-believer and made it this far, you’re either very bored and cannot wait to rip me a new one in the comment section, or you’re curious, maybe confused, in which case, I’d love to talk more with you.

 

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Why is it so hard to write?

I don’t know, I really don’t. Sometimes these long bouts of lack of writing make me question whether I ever was a “writer,” or not. I know to be a writer is a very subjective occupation. So, by someone’s standards “I” am a writer, but by (many) others, I am just a scribbler of occasional thoughts and incoherent, uninspired drivel.

As I sit here and think of what all hinders me from writing, I come up with a few reasons, (more like excuses), but whatever, maybe someone can relate.

Lack of Inspiration

Isn’t that everyone? Any artiste – musician, painter, writer – what have you – we all “lack inspiration” whatever that really means. To me, I find that I just don’t see the point in writing about just anything. I’ve tried the whole daily-prompt thing, and while it may boost my energy and vigor to write every single day, it more often works like a 5-hour energy shot – I write 3,000 words in a snap, and then am dry for months on end. Often, I look around me and try “observe the world” for a new angle, a new perspective with which to guide my muse, but I usually get caught up in the gossip and noise of it all, find myself discontent with life, and end up in front of the computer on a Netflix binge while stuffing Ruffles potato chips. (Ice cream, if I’m feeling my sweet tooth.) I know some creatives say that inspiration just has to “hit” you in the right moment. That’s all well and good I guess for most creatives, but I’ve rarely been “hit” by anything – no siblings to swing punches, no fly balls in the outfield, and I would have killed to be “hit on” by a few guys I knew in high-school days. I find that such a strange idea that inspiration is something that is just a happen-chance. I’ve never been a fan of gambling, which also isn’t very conducive for being a writer. By my own people-pleasing spirit and drive to be excellent in whatever I do, I think I must be trying to hunt for inspiration rather than it hitting me. I guess I need to stand on a Mt. Everest with a metal rod super glued to my side and drenched with water and maybe then I’ll get “struck” with inspiration. Either way, I’m tired of my lack of inspiration. I am tired of being on the prowl, and I am tired of inspiration missing me as its target.

Lack of Motivation

Can I get an “Amen!” Whew, probably worse than the first, lack of motivation is a killer to all creative types, but in some ways I think writers have it the worst. Speaking from an amateur artist’s perspective, when I set out to paint or draw a project, I have a clear motive behind it – it’s for someone I love, someone I care about, it has a deeper purpose other than pleasing myself. This is by no means is to paint me out to be a saint (pun intended). I simply know that when I catch a rare glimpse of inspiration, the motivation to follow through with an idea is driven by the fact I cannot wait to make someone feel good with my work. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – whatever the occasion, the timeline gives me directive to finish an art piece. I am motivated. But with my writing – ha. I am not a poet, and I doubt anyone wants an annotated essay (my specialty) about themselves or any subject for that matter as a “gift.” I do have stories piled high that are unfinished and unread and maybe if I had an ounce more confidence, I would pass manuscripts to my friends and family. Then, I might feel more prompted to complete my works, but because I am shy with my writing, it stays hidden away beneath pages and pages of itself. Maybe motivation isn’t so much an issue as it is confidence, but without confidence motivation isn’t near strong enough to be a force to blast through the layers of self-doubt and years of self-deprecation.

Did I just hear Simple Plan and Linkin Park circa 2002 start up? Let me slip into my darker clothes and heavy eyeliner.

Lack of Confidence

As mentioned prior, this may be the heart of my issue. The whole reason I find it hard to write: I don’t believe I can. It has nothing to do with fishing for compliments, when you truly doubt yourself. Friends, family, and the occasional stranger can compliment your work and you still wonder if that’s all just nice-talk to the shy wall-flower. Well, that’s me anyway. It’s almost as if I am in a bubble and I hear muffled words that don’t penetrate my defenses, and so I will never value or embrace the fullness of a compliment. It rolls off my little sphere and I am not sure what was said, or what the intent was behind anyone’s words. I am sure every writer has dealt with a lack of confidence streak, but my lack of confidence seems to follow me into all avenues of life, not just writing. Because I believe this is part of my core, I believe it is what has very much challenged me in many areas other than writing. Without digressing into a complete puddle of self-pity, which I did not intend to do so, so forgive me, I believe that confidence is the building block upon which motivation and inspiration find footing in the creative process for any artist; all the more reason motivation and inspiration do not come easily at all to me.

Believing in a Solution

The problem is the difference between what I think and know and what I believe. What I do believe in is God. I believe in Jesus as my Savior, and according to the Apostle Paul, that is all I ought to have confidence in and that is all I should ever need. I believe that, too. At least with my head – I think it to be true, I know that is true. But my heart is slow to follow. Maybe one day it will catch up and actually accept those truths, truly believe, and then my confidence will be as firm as the rock on which Christ built his Church. I think and maybe even know God gave me a gift to construct words, sentences, paragraphs, and author stories. Maybe one day I’ll believe it, too.

 

 

 

 

Whatever…

…is lovely.

I know it’s not the first thing listed in Philippians 4:8, but it’s the first one I decided to write about because of a small experience I had the other morning.

I find myself stressing and worrying far too much lately. And it’s becoming ridiculous how overly sensitive I’ve become toward the silliest things. One tilt the wrong way in my day and tears well up immediately. I too often feel like I think, “Hurry up and wait on the Lord.” And that’s a rough place to be. While many will nod their head in agreement and chuckle because of the truth behind it, it just makes me more anxious, more stressed, more panicked – Ugh!

But God taught me something new about waiting. And it is very lovely.

Thursday night I couldn’t fall asleep. I had taken a tension headache relief way too late in the evening that acted like a caffeinated beverage, leaving me with less pain but a very awake body until about 2 AM. Sleep finally took over, but was rudely interrupted at 3:30 AM by a piercing pain in my right ear. I thought something had burst, and had me burst into tears. The pain slowly subsided, but it was no use. I was wide awake in a panic – my head ached as if someone were tightening the band around my head to nth degree. My body trembled and shook, though I blankets piled high on top of me. My ear ached and felt hollowed out. I sat with my knees pulled to my chest and quiet tears dragging down my face. I looked at my phone: 5:34 – ugh. I felt awful. But I had had enough. “No.” I thought. “No” to exactly what, I am not sure, but I was sick of feeling like a victim and hiding from something scary. I put on my jogging clothes and stepped out into the cool early morning air. A single bird was chirping and only one or two lights were on in houses on my street. It was still too early for most people to be up. It was quiet and peaceful and the cool air felt great, despite my earlier episodes of chills and shakes. I don’t often pray aloud, but it felt completely natural this morning. I can’t exactly remember all I said, mostly ramblings probably. But whatever it was, it calmed me down. My street isn’t long, so I walked to the end of it and back in no time, but reached my porch steps and decided to sit and just soak up the morning air. It was glorious. By now, more birds joined the soloist from before, and some more lights turned on in windows of neighboring houses. It was almost 6 and a tiny thin brim of morning light was visible on the horizon. If you know me, you know I am not a natural morning person, I bury my head under blankets if the sun dares touch my face if I am still snoozing. But this morning, I thought, “This will be one of those rare times I’ll see the sun rise.” I smiled and couldn’t help but think about how Jesus often would go off to pray early in the morning and felt a little bit like Him. “I understand why you picked this time to pray,” I said.

As I sat there and just enjoyed our time together, I thought about healing and how sometimes it isn’t instant, it’s usually a process. It’s a long process sometimes. And sometimes the healing isn’t how we imagine it to be. God doesn’t want to be a magician or our instant entertainer – absolutely not. And after having this thought, I thought immediately, “Healing is a sunrise.” As if I had been shared a new and exciting story, I spoke aloud my realization:

Healing is a sunrise, because like a sunrise, our healing is going from darkness to light. It’s a long night of a process. Sometimes it is very painful and we lose sleep, but when we begin to receive healing, it’s like watching the sun rise and drive away the darkness. It’s slow, but faithful. We want to hurry up the process, but when you actually watch the sun rise and break through the black clouds, it’s glorious and lovely. It’s encouraging and strengthening. There is renewal and hope is restored.

Joy comes with the morning.

Our healing, our wait, is a process, the sunrise is a process. If God just switched on and off Day and Night -we’d be blinded. We would see it as some crazy magic trick. We would miss out on the lovely process that God ushers in every morning. Often, I think we take the sunrise for granted, we don’t even think about it. We go to bed when it’s dark, wake up and there’s light – maybe it already seems like an old trick we groan about. But maybe if we woke up a little earlier and just watched the Light cast out the Dark, we’d appreciate the process. We’d thank God we had a chance to see his mercies be new every morning.

Our sufferings and desires for healing will be with us until we’re reunited with our Father. But we don’t have to “hurry up and wait.” Watch a sun rise every now and then and see how lovely the process of waiting can be.

A New Year Again

Happy Winnie The Pooh Day! Yes, apparently January 18 celebrates everyone’s favorite honey-lovin’ bear.

That has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Mainly, I came on here to be brief about my new year’s resolution – like many before me and after me – my only resolution is this: Be Intentional.

That’s it. Whatever I do, say, or write, be intentional about it. I feel like I waste my time because I am not intentionally thinking about it, I don’t realize how fast time blazes by and before I know it, we’re 18 days into January – what? Over half-way?

Even writing this, I am distracted, I struggle to focus. I keep slapping myself (metaphorically) with my own resolution “Be intentional, be intentional, BE intentional!”

I got this new motto for the year because of a sermon I heard, and it was about intentional worship, and now I’m applying it to everything I am doing – my words, my writing, my sleep, my eating, my free time – it’s actually allowed me more “free” time to do a few things I haven’t been able to get to you. I am not perfect at it, but I will cling to it for now as I push through a lot of uncertainty.

So am I planning to be intentional? What does that even mean to me?

For me, it’s about remembering priorities, remembering plans, remembering my dreams. Remembering ultimately, my life is not my own, that I gave that to the Lord  many years ago, and that his ways are higher than my ways, and all I need to be is obedient, and to be obedient, I have to purpose, I have to be intentional – to Love the Lord my God with all my heart.

Being intentional is a daily grind, but with a eternal goal, and as long as that goal is what drives my intentions, I think it will be a great 2015.

A shot of Internet on the rocks

Agree so much with the Caleb Hyles bit 😉

Blotbox

With the end of holiday season comes the end of my binge watching, Dota 2 addiction and stuffing my face with greasy food.  The quick page turning of bum days to regular days has drastically changed my awesome routine. Now I have to wear pants to do all that.

Getting out from a holiday comma, you might get disoriented how the society has moved on. You might want to check current events how people fared themselves with the annual hibernation.

While other people check the local paper and the news, I go to a more entertaining medium. You’d be surprise how you can find pressing matters on 9gag.com

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Don’t Watch Your Step

Today has been sublime. Spent most of last night in bed, by a cool window, curled in blankets and tasty beverage and a marathon on Netflix of Pretty Little Liars, and this rolled into this morning when I lazily didn’t even shower and dress until about 1130am. And after being told not to come into the office today since the crew would be away, I took the chance to visit a coffee house I’d heard of in the same area. It is very pleasant and they are blasting an assortment of Christmas music – jazzy, contemporary, Christian, silly – and between a comfy chair, tasty pastry, and a dim lit hall, it creates that writer’s paradise. I am sad to be leaving shortly, which is why I had to get this out before I have to pack up my bag and leave.

And let me preface this: do pay attention to signage. 99% of the time it’ll help you avoid a mishap, like tripping, falling, dying – seriously, stay behind the lines at cliff’s edges. I am a rule follower and definitely watch my step, and encourage you to do the same – BUT – here’s some stuff that counters my normal thought on these sort of signs.

IMAG0184#1

So, I am looking at this door that says “Watch Your Step,” and think “Hm.” I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life doing just that – watching each step. Head down, eyes fixed on the floor below me, and if it seemed unsafe, I’d step to the side, if it began it begin to fall out from under my foot, I’d freak, if it felt unstable, I’d freeze – so I feel like I’ve followed directions very well, but feel no safer, or better for doing so. In fact, I usually am fretting over the next step I should take.

If you’ve read any of my other entries, you’ll see a roller coaster like pattern of my reaction to life, for which I am not always proud of. I’ve always heard it’s better to respond than to react, and I believe this, but have done a lousy job of adhering to the proverb. In fact, I am seeking some pro-help to see if I can better pin down my anxiety and stress issues. However, looking at this sign has given me an insight into myself I hadn’t realized.

I am far too concerned with each of my steps and have to know every detail behind each step I do take. I have spent too much time looking down at my feet, fearing the future, fearing my steps, fearing falling – all because I have watched each step I take. This is completely contradictory to my belief of God’s control over my life, he directs me and leads me, or so he should – I often look down at the ground just to make sure it’s still there though – ugh. It has been a life struggle of mine to not worry, but every day God is faithful and patient and awaits for the breakthrough when I stop worrying about each step I take and trust him to guide me.

I feel very much like Peter in the moment after he began walking on water toward Jesus, and then suddenly began to doubt and began to sink. He for sure was a bit nervous, stepping out of that boat, but his worry was overcome with the joy of following after his Master. He was too excited to worry about his steps – ON WATER – HELLO – if this man can focus enough on Jesus where he didn’t watch his steps on the water, then what is holding me back from having the same faith to follow after my Master (on LAND)? In fact, it was in the moment Peter noticed the waves, the uneasiness that comes with walking on water (or so I assume it’d feel, no idea though), the moment he watched his steps and look at his circumstances did he begin to fall. But Jesus caught him.

Because Peter didn’t watch his step, he was able to do the impossible because he was too busy looking at Jesus. I want to do the same. I want to even just master walking on dry land! I struggle with that, I can’t see how I’ll walk on water anytime soon with me and my little faith.

I want to stop worrying about the waves and wind in my life and focus only on Jesus. I want the author and perfecter of Faith to call me out of my boat and walk toward him. I will be so excited to finally be able to step out of my comforts, I won’t even realize I’m standing on water and walking freely toward Him! And I certainly won’t be worried about watching my step.

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Also, The Overall Company in Opelika, AL is grand, take a visit y’all.

Admission of Omission

If you’re a writer of the 21st century and had a computer back to the days of dial up you probably are aware of a little thing called NaNo – National Novel Writing Month that comes around every November. This year I swore to be good and force myself to sit, write, and work at it, even if it meant not eating, sleeping, or functioning normally. Well, another year has come and 15 days into NaNo I have a grand total of 6,000 words that I copy and pasted from a novel I’ve had buried since 2009. It’s quite embarrassing to admit and I loath the fact I have not been better. Maybe someone can make me feel better and admit to this grievous sin as well.

At this point, I feel rather failure-ish as a writer, though I know that’s not at all true. And if you’ve been feeling that vibe of yourself, whether you’re a NaNo enthusiast or not, but are in a rut about your writing, read on, and scoot over so I can sit beside you in your rut.

Why haven’t I been writing? Well, maybe you’ll identify with my list of excuses:

Time

The biggest thing of all, it’s the most wayward friend we have and sometimes it’s on our side and most of the time it’s not.

Work

Go ahead, shoot me for this one. Of course we all have our day job(s), and I have 4 I get officially paid for and 2 I do because I’m nice and desperate to fill my portfolio.

Lack of Ideas

I have run into the biggest wall, as many of you understand and for about three years, there’s been little to tear it down, so who knows when for this particular tale I will be able to push through and continue.

Lack of Motivation

I think this is more or less me whining, but after completing my tasks for my four other gigs, I am just totally drained of anything to want to focus and concentrate on formulating any more original thoughts. Writing is my passion, but it’s not my lifeblood. Maybe it should be.

Other Road Blocks

And here comes another admission: I have a lot of baggage left unchecked and so I’m looking at finding a little help to check it all in so it can finally check out and I can check off this weight on my shoulders.

I hope this is doesn’t discourage anyone. If anything, I hope other writers find some solace to know that just because you don’t participate in NaNo doesn’t mean you aren’t a writer, or a worthy one. Life doesn’t always allow for us to always write when we want to write, but it doesn’t mean we stop or think it’s merely our hobby. If it’s your passion, if you have a story to tell, you can and one day will. NaNo’s will come and go, but you’re a writer year round.

Rut Buddies Unite

I’m tired of our ruts, so let’s help each other out, so stand on my shoulders and I’ll help you out if you can lend a hand down to me and pull me up.

Stop Saying You’re Sorry

Something I’ve been often accused of is saying “Sorry” too much.

When I was younger, I thought “What a strange thing to be corrected on.” And felt even more “sorry” over-using “sorry!” UGH! After some self-reflecting, I’ve decided that the habit came from a very early time in my life when I was in pre-school, where you learn your first set of manners and rules of acceptable social interactions, and that saying “you’re sorry” was an acceptable way to appease any slight, error, or offense you made toward anyone for any reason that had seemed to correct or condemn you for any behavior they found distasteful.

In my nature, I have never been one who would ever want to cause the single smallest offense toward anyone, and even at a young age, I was this way and so I went about my childhood apologizing for anything and everything, though looking back, there were plenty of times that situations did not even warrant an apology, I just felt like it was the go-to answer to protect everyone’s feelings towards me – I wanted people to like me of course – yet no matter how many times I apologized, I remained unpopular, became a doormat, and even passively bullied when I reached high school.

No, no, this isn’t a therapy session for myself, this is a realization I had not too long ago.

My Main Man is the one who really dug into me about it (not as harsh as it sounds), but he simply asked, “Why do you apologize so much Even when there is no reason to?”

I had heard this question before, but often it was rhetorical, as if everyone had the answer and expected I did too, so there was no discussion and I usually ended those conversations with a sad shrug and an “I’m sorry,” before they metaphorically blew their brains out and made quick exits. I kept my head low and my self-respect lower, and later cursing myself for being socially awkward.

But this time with Main Man, I thought and thought and conversed with him, and drew correlation between this silly bad habit of mine and another flaw (oh yes, you get to see more of my bad side).

Not so often anymore, but I was notoriously known by close friends and family to have the wildest pity parties ever. Oh I can’t tell you how much food I gorged, how many movies I watched, how much bashing I’d do in my own private ways of my life and lack of boyfriends and best girlfriends. It was down right pathetic.

These days I just resort to a good old fashion cry and covet what I don’t have, so maybe less dramatic, but still pretty gnarly if I don’t slap myself quick enough out of it. I keep my head low and my self-respect lower, and later cursing myself for being a brat. And  you know what else I’ll do? I’ll start apologizing to myself (maybe to Main Man for all the wailing and crying).

For what?

I know, right?! For what??

And I finally made a connection I wish I had connected long ago – this is what they mean when they say “feeling sorry for yourself.” You’re feeling pity and blame on your life for no real reason other than you’re not getting your way, life isn’t going as you wish it did, and you’re too busy with your head up Facebook’s news feed seeing everyone else’s engagement announcements, wedding pics, and instagram feed of their trip to Costa Rica. You’re feeling like you have to apologize to your own self for not being where you want to be.

I used to think I was apologizing to God in my tears, but I wasn’t really. I was just saying “sorry” out of a nasty habit in the false belief that it was the saving grace of any situation, including moments of pity and doubt. I have said “Sorry” too much to others for moments it wasn’t necessary, and I’ve said “Sorry” to myself too much for moments that there’s no reason, other than spending too much time regretting the past.

What an enormous waste. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I make mistakes and sometimes need correction, it doesn’t mean my character is necessarily flawed or wrong. I make mistakes and sometimes I need to brush myself off, or take an offered hand from a friend who helps me up again.

I’ve spent too many moments with my head hanging low with no self-respect, I’ve spent too many moments thinking that “Sorry” would solve my relationships and personal issues within my life, I’ve spent too many moments crying over mistakes made long ago, and over people who are no longer part of my season of life.

It’s time for me to stop feeling “Sorry.” It’s time to start feeling joyful about life, being humble and grateful for what I have, and keeping my eyes up and forward on the Author and Perfecter of my Faith.

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I know I spent most of the time speaking about myself, but the title is really directed toward you, friend. What are you still apologizing for that you ought not be anymore? What moments are you wasting regretting a decision, or a mistake? Stop apologizing and thinking that will be the solution. All problems have a process and take time, and often good friends and family to sort it out. Saying you’re sorry is a starting point, but don’t leave it there to dwell on. Stand up and move forward from that five-letter word toward a better place. Whether it’s reconstructing a relationship, or grasping a better perspective on your own life. Whatever it may be, no more apologies.

The Year After I Interned Twice

If you know me at all, you know my life has been a crazy hodge podge of experiences and a checker-board of interests and investments. I don’t believe any experience is wasted and you can learn something from every situation, even if it takes a while to figure out a few years in retrospect. Be patient with your life and yourself – you can’t always figure it out the first time.

Anyways, I interned last year for two organizations, both with worthy causes and purposes. My first internship was with iACT in Austin, which is non-profit for aiding refugees in the city become comfortable in their new home. This organization is pretty amazing. I got to meet with some of the founding peeps from it and see behind the scenes of what they do. It is a great group of hard-working, people-loving, men and women and I was proud to be a small part of their team.

They do a lot to help families, and one of the biggest needs is to teach English to people who are fresh from other countries and have little but their family, clothes on their back, and the papers to be admitted into the US – and that’s about it. That would be terrifying to me to have to be in that situation. And iACT does amazing work to work with translators and the systems in place to assist these men and women who start from scratch. In the name of bureaucracy and red-tape, there’s a lot of waiting around, paper work, jargon, and overwhelming stuffs these people have to wade through, trusting that their new English guides will help them, not only that, they bring their kids – lots of them. And those sweet kiddos have to wait, listen, and entertain themselves the best they can during the process. I can’t imagine having to be a child in this situation, when you look to your parents for assurance, but they can give very little than a “Hold on,” and “We have to wait our turn,” and not know themselves when things will come to pass. All that said, these kids need as much hands-on attention as they’re just as new as their parents to our country and need English assistance. And that’s where I came in.

For about nine weeks, I help facilitate English camp and activities educational and fun for kids ages 4-18 every day. The word “tired” doesn’t even scratch the surface of how I felt at the end of my day. It was exhausting, it was draining, it was hard, it was a mad house most days, it was 50 kids with 2 helpers, it was organized chaos, and it’s amazing not a single injury or lost child the whole time. Thank you, Lord. Seriously.

If I can be honest with myself, I can’t sit here and say, “It was the best time of my life.” Or anything so profound or pretty. If I am honest, it sometimes straight up stunk, to put it nicely. Not to mention (though I will) I also was helping facilitate an ESL camp for Russian orphans – ages 5-16 – oh my goodness. I do not think my patience, grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness have ever been stretched this thin. I even had the classic “kids made the teacher cry” moment, when I had rude remarks (in Russian) murmur throughout the room while my back was turned, then total anarchy one day with my oldest teen boy go AWOL and walk out, and me standing like an idiot not sure what to do. It was downright embarrassing and incredibly frustrating – teachers you totally get me, right? Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for my summer to be over. I cried most days after doing this.

I still say I am proud to have worked with iACT and overall, I am proud that I stuck through the ESL camp for my Russian kids – I learned a lot about compassion and with retrospect vision, I can see the good that God allowed for during my time for both. These kids needed a teacher, needed some guidance, needed to be loved on (and not in the cuddly warm way necessarily), and their parents and foster parents needed a break. I am not sure how God did it, but he gave me the strength to get through one of the most trying summers of my life, and I am thankful to have been the tool he used.

I was drained though.

I felt absolutely and completely used up emotionally, physically, and mentally. And there wasn’t a single molecule in me that had an ounce of desire to teach English anymore, especially to children.

It really depressed me. I just spent a whole year believing this was my calling, this was my pursuit, this would be my livelihood and stay. But now that was gone, and now what? I felt empty.

Enter internship #2. The Posh Chapter.

After my internship with iACT, I took a vacation on my first cruise, and I don’t think it could have been better timed for me. All the stress and tears of the summer melted in the Cozumel sun. It was literally the most relaxing trip I had taken – and I mean relaxing – food on demand – water, sun, and sand – drinks – romantic walks on the deck under the moon with nothing but water for miles. It was incredible. If you’ve been on a cruise, you understand. But once I returned, the “Now what?” Came down on me once again. I thought about it and over the years, the one thing that does bite at my ankles for attention is writing. And so, it was finally time to turn and consider my options for a writing career.

After many applications and rejections for various positions as admin assistant or various odd-end jobs, I got an unpaid internship offer to be a blogger for The Posh Bridal Lounge. Unpaid? Wait, hold up. No money?

Yeah…well, ok. So, that was the bitter part about it. But I didn’t care at the time. I just wanted a chance to test my wings in this new area and explore the potential. Unpaid didn’t mean not worth it. And sitting here, I cannot believe the year I have had as part of the Posh Bridal team.

I learned an incredible amount about so many things – weddings, planning, delegating, leadership, web development, analytics for social media, wordpress, SEO – I could go on a while. All the while, I have been able to write and improve my writing. My boss is a rockstar and I owe her so much, you don’t even.

It’s still hard sometimes feeling like I should be teaching, but that part of me is still a bit drained out of my system, but I can feel it rising up slowly. And until then, I have had a year with Posh Bridal, and I continue to learn and refine my skills and abilities. I know that it was a good move and if anything a break from teaching so that maybe one day I can return to the classroom for adults – and maybe one day – kids again.

Because of my position at Posh it’s opened up a whole new world to me that I never knew I had an interest for in marketing – content and social media (and don’t judge me and think that it means just playing on FB, well, sometimes), but for real, there’s so much that goes into it that I love learning. And at the core of my heart I am a student and I love to learn new things. I was that annoying one in college who asked too many questions, by the way – so you can throw paper balls at me.

More than the new skills and fields I have learned, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I am much more confident than I realized, I am lot more capable than I knew, and I can be brave, believe it or not (still working on that, see my previous post).  But I would not have learned any of that without both of these internships last year. One was hard, and the other eye-opening. I value both experiences and I am thankful to be where I am. I forget that too often, and then God gently reminds me to spend some time with him and in retrospect, and I think, “Huh, God you know my little student heart gets excited when you remind me of those lessons you taught me.” And now I am just working on the new lessons he’s teaching me now in this time without a full time job.

No matter my experiences, I know they all bring me a little closer to knowing Him more, knowing myself a little better, and how I can use those lessons to love Him and others more.

Thank you iACT and Russian kids for teaching me about compassion and patience. Thank you Posh for teaching me about courage and confidence. Thank you God for being a good teacher.

(I do love kids, I really do, just not the best at teaching them English.)

 

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