My Existential Crisis Thus Far

My brain is a really weird place… I tried to think of a poetic way to describe it and I thought It’s a very colorful shadow… Then I realized that my brain just called itself a colorful shadow. And also, what does that even mean??? Isn’t a shadow the absence of light? And isn’t color caused by light?

… And that’s been my day so far…

Actually, that’s been my last few weeks. I just randomly realize very basic things about myself that shock me more than they should. I would say I am borderline having an existential crisis.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to the beginning of this… experience. It was July 16th. My mom’s 40th birthday. We were having a surprise-ish party for her and then that evening I would go to a friend’s house to dog sit for a few days. And all of those things happened, except that they were dulled by the fact that my older brother was counting the hours he had to live. Kind of puts a damper on things, wouldn’t you say? Then very, very late that night or very, very early the next morning we got the news that he was gone. Matthew had died, leaving behind a young widow and an eight-year-old son. My parents were already on the way down to Tennessee, while I was housesitting. My next few days were spent in ignorant bliss where it didn’t feel real. And while I would have been perfectly content to have stayed in that feeling, life doesn’t work that way. So, come Thursday, my entire family and I spent six long hours enduring the visitation. And I do mean LONG hours. Then Friday was the funeral. That was long and rough. Everyone cried. A lot. But you know, seeing an eight-year-old boy salute his daddy one last time will do that to you. It was an amazing funeral. Matt would have loved it. It was big and full of all his military buddies. By the end of it, we were all exhausted. Emotionally and physically.

Losing a sibling sucks. So, do me a favor and go hug your sibling, tell them you love ’em. Cause no matter how annoying they are. How much you disagree. They’re still your brother/sister and losing them will kill you.

OH! Did I mention that my graduation party was Saturday… the day after the funeral? Because, yeah, that was a thing. I would like to say that I did alright. You know, managed my way through it. But I had a mental breakdown because the coffee ran out before I could get a full cup. Now, I value my coffee. More than I should. But I don’t typically crumple down to the floor and start crying because I had to wait ten minutes for the next pot to brew. So, yeah, maybe didn’t handle that day as well as I would like to say I did. Honestly, it wasn’t until the party actually started that I felt any excitement over anything really. And the party was fantastic. I was blessed beyond belief. So many people showed up, it was amazing. I also became the proud co-parent of Dora. Dora the Toaster. Which may be the only grandchild my parents get from me.

Thankfully, the rest of July was pretty mellow. I spent a week at my aunt and uncle’s. Had a bonfire with the peeps. Got called out for being negative. Discovered that I really want a longboard. And upped my hipster game a bit. I also said goodbye to all of my church people. Babysat for life group for the last time. I’ve actually had a few “last times”.

To say the least, the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. And it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In exactly ten days, I leave for college. My Dad started chemo today. It just keeps going. And going. And going. Am I overwhelmed? Probably. Stressed? Definitely. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? That would be a big fat no. This borderline existential crisis seems to bring out the fact that I have really strong opinions and big plans, but ultimately I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know what the point of my existence is. I don’t know why I am right here. Right now. I don’t why my life has been the adventure is has been. I don’t know why I am the way that I am. I just don’t know.

What I do know is this. God looked at his plan for this world and decided it needed a sarcastic, weird, slightly confused, girl. Someone who would get lost in thought at all the wrong times. To have the memory of a goldfish and yet be able to retain odd and supposedly useless information. Someone who struggles to retain math and loves to write. Who looks at the world upside down and thinks about black holes a lot. Someone who wants to travel the world, but doesn’t have enough money to buy a longboard. Someone who doubts her own worth and fights to keep the darkness out of her head. Who loves dogs and the outdoors. A girl who is all about that #vanlife and adventure. A girl who asks too many questions. Who loves Him and really just wants to see His plans for her. God looked at this world and decided it needed little, old me. And you know what, He decided it needed you too.

 

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Magic Shows and Illusions

Illusions have always been one of my favorite things. Watch a magic show and see a rabbit get pulled out of a hat or a person completely disappear. The key to a good illusion is to get the audience to see what you want them to see. Get them to look at your right hand when they should be watching your left.

Sometimes my life feels like a magic show. I don’t ever seem to know what’s really going on and I’m never paying attention to what I should be focusing on. I’m like that person that is always babbling about how it’s not real. It’s fake. You shouldn’t be fooled. And yet, at the show, I still don’t see what’s happening. I know it’s an illusion. I know that if I looked past all the grandeur I would be able to see what I’m suppose to be seeing. Yet here I am, caught up in the distractions.

I could give excuse after excuse as to why I am so distracted. My Dad is dying. My brother is dying. I’m moving 1,000 miles away in two months. I have so much to do before I leave. And of course, all the doubts in my head… Am I ready? I’m probably going to fail. Are the people I’m going to live with still going to even want to acknowledge my existence at the end of the year? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if? What if? What if?

These worries. These shadows. These illusions. They are consuming me. I fight them with all my might. But I am too weak. How do you fight looking at your Dad and thinking, “Dear God, please let him be here when I come home.” Or visiting your brother because you may never see him again. How do you fight of the feeling of defeat when you feel like you are running out of time? And what are you suppose to do when your biggest fear is that others will see you the way you see yourself?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. Ephesians 1:18

Look past the illusion.

It’s funny the things God will use to help you see past the illusion. Maybe it’s reaching a goal you didn’t think you would reach. Or that person you always feel inferior to telling you that they feel the same way you do. They may not even realize that you feel that way too. Either way, Thank God for breaking that illusion.

Because on the other side of that illusion is a miracle. On the other side of that illusion is God doing amazing things in your life. Whether it’s teaching you to wait or telling you it’s time to move.

I can’t say that the looking past the illusion is going to cure my Dad of his cancer. Or that my brother will get a miracle. Or that I’ll have the same friends this time next year. What breaking the illusion does is let you see God. It breaks away any feeling of distance you felt between you and God. Because suddenly, He is right there. Working away. Making sure everything turns out right.

God is more than the cancer, more than the calander, or even the distance. God is more than the people or the fear. I’m giving it all to God. God is making things happen. Even when I don’t see it. Even when I don’t feel it. God is working and with Him all things are possible. Even a little thing like life.

 

 

I Swear I Lived 

Adventure is the story of all of our hearts. Adventure is missions in Honduras and being a stay at home parent. It’s working a factory job and road trips. Adventure is many things for many people. The only thing that never changes is that it calls. It calls to your very soul. You feel it in your bones. That burning need to live. 

We live through joy and pain. We live in the moments where we can’t breathe because of beauty. And in the moments that are so painful they take our breath away. This is what defines life. What defines adventure. 

Life is being in a situation where nothing seems to go right, and yet you keep going. Life is stopping and basking in the light of the stars on the darkest night.

Life is messy. Life is painful. Life is joyous. Life is meaningful. Life is beautiful. Life is… 

Life rarely makes sense, but we keep living. However you live, do it well. Embrace it. Let it deep into your bones and fill your mind. Ask questions. Don’t just see moments, but feel them.

And remember this. The best movies, the best books, they are not full of happy moments. They are not all good. They are full of trials, pain, plot twists, hopelessness, and despair. But this is what makes them the best. They capture what life is really about. It’s about finding a purpose for all the bad stuff. It’s about making your pain worth it. It’s not easy, but always worth it. 

So go. Live your adventure. Whatever it is. It’s okay to not always be okay. That’s just part of the story. Find the moments. Embrace them. The people. The places. The feelings. These are all a part of you. This is your story. Your adventure. Make the most of it. Make it count. Make it whatever you want. Just make it.

Breathe

*inhale*

When you feel overwhelmed. Your plate is full. So full that things keep slipping. And when you try to pick them back everything else starts to fall too. You end up in this state of limbo, just barely managing to keep it all together. Just surviving.

*exhale*

Finally, you say no to something. You prioritize. Until you only have the essentials. Only what you really need and want. And finally, you can breathe. Finally, you can take five minutes. Finally, you can live without feeling like you are dying.

*inhale*

Then someone says something. Someone reminds you that you  had to say no. Someone tells you it’s not that bad. That you are just being a coward.

*exhale*

You smile. Laugh. Take it like a joke. And they chuckle and walk away. Not seeing the self-doubt leak into your head. Don’t see the pain ooze from your heart. Don’t see how you stop breathing.

*hold*

What do you do then? What happens when someone steals your air? What happens when you are drowning in your own head?

*hold*

In the garden, when all of the world was on His shoulders, Jesus did not act like He was all good. Like He was excited to die. In fact, He told the disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.” The Bible says He became “grieved and distressed”. God does not expect you to be perfect. To never struggle. To never fear. He did not come for perfect people.

“It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. Likewise I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” Mark 2:17

God does not want perfection. He wants humanity. He wants you to go to Him with your quirks and weirdness. With all the cracks in your skin. All the bruises on your heart and all the doubts in your head. He wants to share in the despair and the joy. You don’t have to be happy all the time for Him to love you. He knows that happiness is fleeting. God loves your heart that bleeds and your mind that drowns itself.

And best of all, He understands. He’s been there. You can take it to Him and He won’t tell you to suck it up. Won’t tell you to get over it. Won’t belittle it. Won’t trivialize you. Instead, He brings you an oxygen tank. He sits with you until you can breathe again. He turns on a light and helps you up. Then He takes your hand as you start walking again. Step by step. Breathe by breathe.

*inhale*

Romanticizing

Romantic is not a word most people would use to describe me. Sarcastic, yes. Weird, yes. But romantic? Not typically.

Surprisingly though, I am very much a romantic.

For example, yesterday we were going to a graduation party and we were passing through a little town out in the middle of nowhere. We saw two people, a male and a female, walking down the street of this dusty little town in a tux and a dress. They looked like they were going to a wedding. Or from a wedding maybe, his vest was unbuttoned and his tie was tugged loose. And in all reality this is probably what was happening. Tis’ the season. BUT. I preferred the idea that they were on a date and had decided to dress up in their best and just walk around town. Doing normal things like getting ice cream. That idea was much more appealing to me, than just ‘they were on their way home from a wedding.’

Photos are also my weakness. There is just something about spreading photos on your bedroom floor and remembering. I don’t mean pictures from a photo shoot. I mean photos taken on a normal day. Random and… real. Don’t even get me started on home videos.

Today I was finishing The Ishbane Conspiracy. (Great book, highly suggested by myself) And it was talking about God and how the girl was eagerly awaiting her Bridegroom. And it hit me… This is the greatest romance story in all of time. God fights for us, comforts us, laughs with us, cries with us. He laid down his life to protect us. He loves to hear about our every day lives. The little things. He carries us when we can’t move. And He eagerly awaits when He can walk across the threshold into the place He has built especially for us.He is our best friend and He LOVES us. In the most intimate of ways. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

*mind blown*

It’s not like I have never heard this or thought about it. But today it just kind of clicked all new.

____________________

Insightful Thoughts of the Day:

  1. Sometimes in our thirst for knowledge, we lose wisdom.
  2. The best way to defeat the enemy is to know him. We cannot hate him. For in hating him, we serve him.
  3. The key to control is the follow through.
  4. Sometimes the view we want isn’t the one we need.
  5. My thought process is less like a spider web and more like a chicken running around with it’s head cut off.

Reflecting

Reflecting

It is a time honored tradition that at the beginning of every year my family looks back and discusses some major things we learned through the year. This year was very rich in giving us life lessons. There was a lot of bad, but hey, how else do we learn?

Though this year has been rough, there have been some good things. A couple of personal triumphs. This year was the first year I have been excited for Christmas in seven years. There had been an incident on Christmas morning that kind of ruined Christmas for me. I also FINALLY and COMPLETELY forgave my big brother. Those are stories for another time, so we’ll leave it at ‘praise God!’ And I survived my sixteenth year! Yay! Tomorrow’s my bday!

The lessons we learned this year are innumerable. But I have got the main ones down. So here are our top five lessons of the year.

  1. God promises to help us carry our load. He doesn’t expect us to carry it alone.
  2. It doesn’t matter how much darkness surrounds you, God always gives an opportunity for light to help see. You just have to choose to turn on the lamp.
  3. God’s plans are not our plans. He has the whole picture. We only see a little bit. One day we will be thankful for the 2015 year. Because we will see how it was part of the beautiful tapestry.
  4. God is good all the time. And all the time God is good. Even when…
  5. Seasons of life pass. Sometimes it’s really hard to let go.

Our lessons were not necessarily taught easily. But they sure were taught well. He has a plan. Faith, Trust, and a whole lot of Jesus.

So ends this chapter in our life. Goodbye 2015! May you live long in our memories!

Hello 2016! It’s time to see what you have in store for us! May it be a great adventure!

What are your top five lessons of 2015?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! GOD BLESS!

Worn

Worn

My life is NOT falling apart.

My life is NOT out of God’s control.

My life is NOT Godforsaken.

It only feels like it.

Where do I start?  The beginning sounds good, eh?

My life has never been ‘easy’. We don’t do ‘easy’ in my family. But it all began to fall apart two years ago. Papa (grandpa) had something happen and he couldn’t walk. It was a disaster. We still aren’t sure what happened. It’s long and complicated. I could use a whole blog to explain everything that’s happened with him. We’ll discuss the newest thing in a minute. Anyway, we dealt with that for a little over a year. Then I spranged my ankle at my 16th birthday party in January. Severely. Three months on crutches. Awesome. Finally, get over that and my big brother (who is only 30) finds out that he has cancer. That was in April. Over the next months it becomes very aggressive. Stage 4. Multiple emergency surgeries. Without chemo it’s 6 months or less. With chemo two years. Hopefully. In all that chaos my Dad has a two foot blood clot in his leg. Part of which traveled to his lungs. Two days after that we lost my nephew five days before he was due to be born. All that within four months. Along with multiple trips down to Tennessee where my brother lives. We are spending a lot of money we don’t have to be there. Trying to be as cheap as we can.So, yeah, we’re broke. Oh, and my aunt and uncle got a divorce. by choice of my aunt. Who had an affair. OH! And my ten year old cousin had a stint put in his heart because he was getting next to no blood flow in his lower half. And they found a hole in his heart and have to wait a period of time and if doesn’t heal or gets bigger they will have to do heart surgery.

That pretty much brings you up to yesterday. Today, we found out that part of Papa’s problem may be that he has Parkinson’s disease. Dad’s blood clot is not dissipating like they should be. They may have to put a stint in his vein.

Yep. That’s our lives right now. How are we suppose to deal with this? We are drowning. Death stalks us. Life hates us. Sorrow is our companion. Darkness surrounds us. How do you continue moving when everything is trying to drag you down?

     “Courage, dear heart” C.S. Lewis

This is my favorite quote. It is so simple. So eloquent. A plea that truly captures our heart’s desire. All we want is the courage to not give in. And there is only One who can give us the courage we need. “We cry out to Him and He hears us from His holy hill.” Only Jesus can give us what we need. He is the only one who knows exactly how we feel. Not just because He’s been there. But because He knows our every thought and feeling. It’s nice to not have to explain it to Him. He’s willing to come and just sit with us as we catch our breath. Or as we hide from the torment of bullets coming our way. He doesn’t expect us not to feel. He knows just what we need. And He knows just how to guide us out. We just have to focus on Him. And we will survive. Not only survive, but thrive. We will come out of these trials stronger than ever. If only we have faith. If only we trust. He sees the big plan. He doesn’t want this torment. But He won’t leave us alone either. He will suffer right there beside us. We are not alone. We are not forsaken. No matter how I feel. No matter how you feel. Know this:

Your life is not falling apart. It’s falling into place.

Your life is not out of God’s control. It’s just not in yours.

You life is not Godforsaken. God is right beside you. No matter what.

Never lose faith. Hope is a side effect of faith. God loves you. So much He sent His son. And He will not forsake you. These are your fire trials. The greater the flame, the greater the art. You are destined for amazing things. Never forget.