this will be in list form. it'll be easier this way. this is my heart. i am being extremely open and honest in this post. it is long past due and i am writing it to encourage and inspire. please do not judge or criticize me.
1. apparently i need to come with a disclaimer: i'm really not that cool. in fact, i am no one. what you see on the internet does not define people. my facebook, my myspace, my blog - these do not define me. they are merely drops in the ocean of the actual, real person. you can't say you know what someone is by these things.
2. we are constantly waiting for people to fail. this hurts me and saddens me. and i will not cast the first stone because i've done it too. we all do at times. look at the news. when was the last time you saw a tabloid report on someone's success? sure, it happens, but they all crave the failures of people. that's what sells the most copies. that's sad. you can have a wonderful person, a wonderful heart, someone being completely real and vulnerable, but one mishap or one misunderstanding and let's stone them. let's focus in on that instead and tear them apart. let's jump to conclusions because that's easier. make them feel like shit so they don't think they will ever be able to please anyone. my new years resolution (my parents and i are doing this) is to try and make a bigger deal out of something good someone has done. and if someone needs to be called out on something, then by all means, but do it with kindness. not with hate.
3. no one is owed anything. if you want something, work for it. earn it. you'll end up loving it more.
4. do you ever want to drop off the face of the earth and not talk to a soul? or am i the only one? i've felt this way recently.
5. i'm rereading this and it sounds depressing. that wasn't my intent. they're just my thoughts and hopefully at the end of this post it will all come together and make sense.
6. i've moved more than the average person. i used to really be bitter and angry with my parents for it, but now i'm realizing that all those moves and pick ups were preparing me. to make what i have been called to do easier.
7. because of my moves, i've always had a hard time making friends. and i was an only child for 14 years so i had to learn to play by myself. i'm very quiet. i am okay with not talking. i am a connoisseur of solitude you could say. and a bit socially awkward...which i suppose was inevitable considering my upbringing.
8. when i was 18 i felt called to nashville. a very random city consider i am not musical at all. i love and appreciate music, but trust me when i say you don't want to hear me sing. my family didn't support my desire to move to nashville. i had no plan or reason other than i felt God's direction. i understand where my family was coming from on not being supportive, but God's word has always been enough of a reason for me. so i pushed and pushed and finally, after three years i made it to nashville. the road to get there was painful and hard. it completely broke me.
9. i got to nashville the summer of '08. finally. no money. no place to live. no job. just faith. still no support from my family. a very lonely place to be. but i was hopeful and excited about that. within a week the most amazing doors were opened. i found a roommate. very randomly. never met or heard of her, but as we got to know each other it turned out we had a ton of mutual friends. we'd even dated the same guy. SMALL WORLD. hahahaha.
10. urban outfitters, ebay, and american apparel for the longest time has owned my wardrobe. i used to say that how i dressed was how i expressed myself. and while that is true and a lot of people are that way, through the people i met in nashville and the places i visited, i realized that everyone was expressing themselves the exact same way with the exact same style. even the same interests. while most definitely not all were fake, i started to notice that too many people were joining this "form of expression" just to fit in and feel a sense of belonging and identity. it was almost frustrating. i got to the point where i wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing. i sold a majority of my closet, took that money, and told God to dress me. i wanted to be able to express myself, but i wanted my expression to be Christ's "style". because He is who i live for. not the latest and greatest trends.
11. as He slowly started to change my style (which may seem insignificant, but it is a big deal. i think girls will understand this.)i noticed my heart softening and breaking and healing all at the same time. my style was definitely me, but it was my comfort blanket. having to release even my cloths and hair style and make up to Him was an uneasy thing. not because cloths are important, but because i knew that by this little step of sacrifice for Him, i knew more would need to happen. i was stripping off my cloths quite literally to Him, making myself physically vulnerable, but spiritually i was having to strip things off as well. strongholds and fears. i've never had a quality relationship with a man. not just dating, but men in general. i remember even once having to file a report against a man i worked for a few years back. i was afraid of men because of what they had done to me and my heart. so consequently i was afraid to completely give over my heart to the Lord for Him to hold instead of me. even though i know He will never leave me, forsake me, or hurt me...my fear was bigger than my faith then. and that is never good.
12. times heals. i believe this wholeheartedly. there are so many bad boyfriends i have had or rough friendships, and i've found that over time my heart is incapable of holding grudges. this doesn't mean that i want to be best friends with certain people again, it just means i can't hold hard feelings for people.
13. time healed my relationship with Christ, too. not that He ever hurt me. quite the opposite really. i have a problem with never feeling valuable. i never feel like good things should happen to me. and i'm not worthy to even talk to my Creator after i ignore Him for periods of time like i sometimes do. but we all stumble and His grace is so unfair. this is beautiful.
14. this isn't something that many people know, but i have had scoliosis ever since i can remember. not just mild scoliosis either....severe. my family and i even talked about the surgery. it is so bad that my spine curves into my lungs and organs. i can't get all the oxygen that is healthy. this makes me tire easily. it also has curved in such a way that it pinches my stomach. THIS is why i have been so thin. NOT because i starve myself. my stomach has been pinched to half it's size. i cannot even explain how much the anorexia quips hurt me. i know when people say them behind my back. people tell me. it always made me sad because there really was nothing i could do about it. it was my scoliosis. my back also curves in such a way that my upper body has a hard time supporting itself. a doctor mentioned once that since i have enough of a time walking that having a baby should be out of the question. he should have just killed me right then.
15. bottom line: bad back. it's affected my life in terrible ways, but it's all i have ever known. i'm used to it. i know how to compensate my weight so people can't notice. and i haven't worn a swimsuit since i was a junior in high school because of it.
16. on december the sixth, two thousand eight, God removed the ground from under my feet and replaced it with something heavenly. my word here will not even begin to describe the awesomeness that happened. and i am already crying as i am writing this: my roommate heard about a speaker that was coming to nashville. neither of us knew anything about him, but someone at work actually wanted my shift (which never happens) so i decided to go with her. we got there and it turned out this guy was a super charismatic speaker. now...i was raised southern baptist so this was way out of my comfort zone to say the least. but i believe i have the gift of discernment and i didn't feel like anything he did or said was not of God. he was real and it was quite obvious. the praise and worship was great and the message was great. then he asked anyone with a degenerative disorder to stand up. okay, my goal in life is so blend into the wall so i had no intention of standing up, but my roommate had a very type a personality so she picked me up and made me stand there. haha. the speaker proceeded to tell everyone to gather around who was standing and just pray over them (awesome. i hate people touching me.). my roommate was to my right, an older woman behind me and a young girl in front of me (sidenote: phil joel was there. no big deal.). they started praying and i stood there awkwardly. finally the woman behind me asked me if i was healed. i looked at her like she was crazy and was like "uhm. no. i have to get rods in my back." they kept praying and i started to get really confused. why was she praying for my back to heal completely when only a major surgery and permanent rods would do that? then an old man walked up to me and said: "does your back curve into your body? like into your lungs? i think that is what God is telling me." STUNNED. i have never seen this man in my life. i nodded and he said "okay! let's heal this thing." he laid his hand on my back and as God as my witness they all felt my spine move and it is completely straight. i'm not lying and even as i write this i realize how surreal this sounds. but it is totally true and i have an increased appetite, full lungs, and an extra inch added to my height to prove it. i had a major surgery that night, but i had the most divine Doctor. no recovery time. no pain. He even numbed my back so i didn't even feel it moving. it literally brings me to tears. i am so undeserving. i am not perfect. there are people with much worse and fatal health problems (like my dad who i love so much and want a new body for him so badly) that needed this more than i did. i was okay with what my back was. i didn't like it, but i accepted it a long time ago. to say i am thankful i don't think is enough. i really don't have words. i had to learn to walk again. my quality of life is incredible now. my faith has skyrocketed and to think that God loves me SO MUCH that He was so something so awesome like that for me makes me feel so special. especially since i know i am so flawed.
17. the speaker told us that you read in the bible about people who just wanted to touch Jesus' robe because they knew that would heal them...just touching His cloths that He is inside of. this reminded me that the same Jesus who healed just as miraculously then is inside of you and me. we possess so much power and healing because of Him, but our faith is so narrow that we never get to unleash God's awesomeness. not as much as we should.
18. i've let go. i'm letting God.
19. my move to nashville was not a mistake. it was not a failure. and i don't regret moving even if i didn't have my family's blessing at the time. i am new - inside, out. i was completely broken and i was healed. i am still being healed.
20. be slow to anger. rich in love. don't guard your heart, let God do that for you. there will always be people who don't like you and you will never be able to do right in their eyes. but just remember not to let that anger or jealousy define you.
21. judgement is not our job. not in any form or fashion. there is a difference between holding someone accountable and tearing them down.
22. lastly, in the words of Solomon, this sums my heart up:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil - this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.
And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
I said to myself,
"God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed."
I also said to myself, "As for human beings, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"
So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?