Friday, May 31, 2013

Nice Surprises

Numero uno:  I made $146.81 for eight days of tutoring.  I wasn't expecting that big of a check for such a short amount of time, but I guess it makes sense with my hours at the tutoring center plus all of my peer tutoring and my kids freaking out because it was the week before finals.  Still - sweet.

Numero dos:  I got to have an hour long phone chat with Kyla.  I haven't talked to her in weeks because life has just been so crazy for the both of us.  I left that conversation feeling so encouraged and uplifted and refocused on what I know to be true about God.  It still blows my mind that a girl I have never met feels so much like my sister, and that I will be meeting her for the first when I (cross your fingers! hopefully) fly to Nashville in November for her and Taylor's wedding.  I will honestly be distraught if I am not there to witness one of my best friends get married.  That's a large part of the reason I got a job this summer in the first place; I want to do everything I can to make sure I am there to witness their big day because I love them so much.  And I really, really want to go back to Sanctuary, but that should be no surprise.

So yeah, today was a good day.  I am blessed.  And tomorrow it is June!  A big month for me.  :)

post signature

Thursday, May 30, 2013

On Grace

"He is faithful, even when we're not."

These were Taylor's parting words to me tonight.  We finally got to have a lengthy talk after weeks of life keeping us both so busy we barely had time for communication.  Which is different for us because for quite a while there, we were regularly talking at least once a week.  And considering the details of what last night's post entailed, I knew I could really use a chat with him.  He's still probably the person that I can be the most open with; despite the fact that Matt and Ryann truly are my best friends, I can't be this open with them, especially not about God and my faith because they just don't get it.  Taylor gets it.  Over the past year+ since my week in Nashville, we have formed a bond that means we somehow just instinctively know what the other one means, what they need from us - whether it's advice or just an ear to listen.  This is probably my easiest friendship.

But anyway, we spent a good 40 minutes talking tonight, and not only was it just good to catch up with him, I got to talk to him about a lot of the stuff I wrote about last night and in other recent posts.  How I feel like such a mess lately.  How sometimes I want to punch Chelsea in the face (I'm so thankful I can say things like that with him with no judgment).  How much of an outsider I feel like when I'm with my family.

But the biggest thing that I talked about was how I feel like my mood and actions around my family are me failing God.  Taylor reminded me of something I forget so easily and so often because of my perfectionist tendencies.  Of course I'm going to fail God - I'm human!  Failing is kind of in my nature ever since that whole eating the forbidden fruit in the garden thing way back.

This is what grace is for.  Grace means God loves me unconditionally, in spite of my failures and shortcomings.  Grace means God loves me in spite of me.  This isn't like my job at Hardee's - God's never going to fire me from being His child.  This a gift, a gift that, once accepted, is never taken back.  I have to stop living in fear that this failure is "the one" - the one that's going to make God finally give up on me.  Every time that I lose my cool with my family, every time that I think or say or do something that I shouldn't and that doesn't reflect my faith in Christ, God loves me just the same as He does when I am ministering to people, going to church, being "good" - because even my "good" is still wicked (Isaiah 64:6).

Grace is what saved me (Ephesians 2:8).  Grace is given to me now, in all of my imperfections.  There is no such thing as God giving up on us after Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.  If there was, I'm about 1000% certain my baptism wouldn't have happened.  So now I just have to learn to stop beating myself up for all of my failures and shortcomings because God knows I've screwed up and He loves me just the same, anyway.

Even when I question what He is doing with my journey with chronic pain, He is faithful to craft my story in the most beautiful way, a way I could never pull off on my own.  He hears my questions and doubts and frustration, and is patient and faithful to ease my nerves and calm my heart.  This reminds me of one of my favorite song lyrics, a song I first heard the night of my baptism.

I have to learn to give myself the same grace that God shows me.  If He can love me through all of my mess-ups, the least I should be able to do is love myself.  Besides, He is so much bigger than my sin.

I can feel Him working...growing and stretching me from the inside out.  Sometimes it's been kind of painful, but at my core, I know that it's all for my good and His glory.  And that's what matters.

post signature

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where Joy Comes From

Today, I slept pretty much all day.  I'm not sure why.  I didn't realize I was that exhausted.  And when I was awake, I sort of felt this overwhelming desire just to not deal with the world today.

Truth is, I've felt like my life is a bit of a mess lately.  I should be used to it; this feeling seems to pop up and be the most intense when I'm at home for extended periods of time.  Things with the family are...typical, and I just can't stop thinking about how badly I don't want to be here.  How I want to be back at school where things make sense and I feel like I have a grip on my life.

Depression runs in my family.  Mom, Holly, Chelsea, and I have all dealt with it to varying degrees over the years.  I don't think I'm depressed right now, but I know that I could easily fall into that hole again if I'm not careful and intentional about relying on God.

Writing this out reminds me of something that Taylor and I have talked about several times over our countless phone chats.  Depression is a lack of joy.  And joy, true and pure joy, is something that can only come from the Lord and not this world.  I think being home, I tend to be much more forgetful of the fact that my worth does not come from this world, that my joy is not reliant on my location or situation or circumstance, but both come from God and the knowledge I have down to my core that I am first and foremost His child.  As His child, I am loved completely.  I am clean and righteous because of what Jesus did to take the blame and pay the price for my sin.

I realize that I have a much harder time remembering that my joy is not found in the state of my family when I am at home.  It comes from God, and the trust that I am living the life He has called me to live right now, even if it is so very painful for me some days.  When I try to draw my joy from the world around me, I lose the ability to show my family Jesus, especially when they are driving me crazy.  I'm placing blame on them for things that are really issues in my own heart, things I need to work out with God on my own and ask for His transformational power to overtake me.

I can't change my heart towards my family; only God can do that.  Which is just all the more reason that I need to dig into His Word more and make my time with Him a priority.  That's the only way that I'm going to get my head and my focus out of the whirlwind of drama that surrounds me and turn my eyes back to God.  There I will find the joy that lies waiting for me in the arms of my Father.  It's the only place I can find what I'm so desperately searching for.

And that joy, that true, pure, God-given, inexplicable joy, is what is going to keep me calm as I deal with this intense pain until my doctor appointment, and even more to August 18th when I can return to Campbell and my life there.

Lord, help me.  I can't do this on my own.  I need You.  I'm done fighting it.  I know You want the best for me, so help me give up the control I'm clinging to so I can obtain the joy a life that abides in You holds.

post signature

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's just for a summer.

This job.  It's exhausting.

Every time, I come home wanting to do nothing but climb straight into bed.

And every shift I'm plagued with a feeling that I'm never going to be good enough to please my managers.

Especially when all 4 managers like to contradict each other.

But it's a job.

A job that's getting me money I need.

I really liked the manager that was on tonight.

He made sure I clocked out on time, instead of making me stay until the whole restaurant was spotless.

But still.

It's exhausting.

But it's just for the summer.

I can do anything for a summer.

I don't have a choice.  I need this job.

So I will carry on.  For I am nothing if not strong-willed. ;)

post signature

Monday, May 27, 2013

So much for a day off.

I got called into work today.

It was supposed to be 4-9.

I clocked out at 10:50.

I spent 95% of that time cleaning.

I didn't get a break.

I was about to pass out by the time Mom picked me up.

I'm exhausted.

Good night.

post signature

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I just fell asleep while writing this post.

So work sent me home absurdly early again, this time allegedly because they were slow.  I don't know how I'm supposed to ever get good at this job if I'm never there, but emotionally, it was a good thing because I felt like I couldn't do anything right today.

So instead of working 7 to 2, I laid in bed most of the day, and helped with Blake some while Mom cooked this afternoon.  I've been watching the TV show Nashville online; Mom watched it while it was airing on ABC this TV season but I just didn't feel like it and I felt weird about the idea of seeing a television version of a city I've actually been to and the scene in Nashville that I've learned quite a bit about from The Vespers, until this summer when I decided what the heck, I'd see why my mom and my Twitter friends freaked out about this show.....Yeah....I'm through 16 of 21 episodes and I just started 72 hours ago.  I watched 8 episodes today alone.  It's that good.  It will definitely be added to my TV schedule this fall.  And thankfully, Mom will be out with Blake part of the day tomorrow, so I should have no trouble getting the last 5 episodes in on my day off.

Part of the reason I stayed in bed all day is because I bruised my knee caps while cleaning the windows and doors today, and because my ankles and feet still have this burning ache thanks to yesterday.  It literally feels like they're bruised down to the bone.  So walking is pretty excruciating.  Add into that my head being absolutely awful again today, and I'm basically just a giant mess.

I am so glad  I am off tomorrow.  After how insane yesterday was, I can only imagine how much worse it is going to be tomorrow.  Plus I could use the extra sleep.  I don't know what else to say.  It was an average day, and as the title says, I literally fell asleep just now with my hands still on the keyboard, so I am off to bed.

post signature

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Some Math For You

5 hours of sleep


6 hour shift




Saturday of a holiday weekend


my first Saturday at work


my fourth day overall




an absolutely drop-dead exhausted Mal who is still aching 9+ hours after she got off

Oh. my. heavens.  Today was insane.  In the whole 6 hours, I barely spent any time cleaning because there were so many people and they seemed to come in huge waves, so I was pretty much constantly at the register, and secondarily checking on guests and getting refills and such.  It was nice not to have to clean so much, for sure, especially not the bathrooms. :)   It was crazy; the amount of money I put in the safe at the end of my shift was more than double, almost triple, what it's been on the other days.  But uh yeah, Saturdays are definitely a whole different ball game in the restaurant world.  Thankfully a coworker told me that Sundays don't really get busy until after church, and I only work until 2.  :)

Today was a much, much harder day, but it was, thankfully, also a much better one.  I'm remembering the menu better and where to find stuff, and the money value for all the items I had to delete (every time you put something wrong into an order, a manager has to authorize the removal with a card swipe and the register keeps a total of the items and prints the list and their costs on your receipt you get at the end of your shift) today was half of what it was yesterday, so my managers could see that I'm getting better.

I'm glad I wasn't my manager today.  Things kept breaking.  First it was the drink machine at the beverage bar that customers can access, so on top of making food and then, at lunch, delivering the food to tables and such, we also had to make everyone's drinks behind the counter.  And my manager told me apparently a couple of the ovens, or pieces to the ovens or something, broke, so he was on the phone with repairmen and all that.  And then, right when he was finally telling me I could end my shift and tally up my register, my screen totally froze and locked on its own, and when he restarted it, this weird screen popped up and it took more than five minutes to get where I could totally end my shift.  So yay, add to the chaos.

They didn't intentionally not give me a break, either, by the way.  It was just so busy so much of the time, and right when I thought we were at a lull and I could take a break, I asked permission from my manager and he said to give him a minute and then bam, another huge wave of people came in.  He offered to give me a break at 12:20, but since I was due to get off at 1, I figured there was no point and I just kept working.

So yeah, today was good.  Physically grueling, but good.  I was pretty much limping by 12:15 because that was when the pain that had been solely in my feet decided to branch out into my legs and hips.  So I looked weird, but not something I could really help because, like I said, no break.  It made me realize that after this summer I am never ever ever working in fast food ever again, but it was good. :)  And now I'm gonna go to bed because with 5 hours of sleep and a day like this, I sure as heck do need it.

I'm just praying my feet stop aching before I have to stand on them for 7 more hours tomorrow.

And thank the Lord I am off Monday.

post signature

Friday, May 24, 2013

Long Day


Today made me realize two very important things:  1) It is, physically, going to be a very grueling summer. and 2) Weekdays and weekends are very, very different things in the restaurant world.

Oh me oh my.  Today was the first lunch shift I worked, and it was crazy seeing these rushes of people come in.  There were also some good breakfast rushes, too.  I thought I was never going to get a break because the people just kept on coming.  Needless to say, I got my full 7 hour shift in and just about dropped when I got home.

The good news is that I had a talk with my manager today and he's so nice, we came up with a couple ideas that will still allow me to work plenty of hours but not be so strained.  I'm hoping what he'll do is start putting me in the afternoons and evenings when the pace is slower.  We'll see.  He had some concerns, but told me not to feel discouraged and that I'm not in trouble or anything.  It'll be okay.

Day 2 of 4 is done.  I'm exhausted.  Thankfully I managed not to take a nap when I got home today, so I should sleep good.  But I need to get to bed. 5:15 comes early!

post signature

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just another work day.

I have nothing to say today.

I went to work.

I worked.

They sent me home two and a half hours before my shift ended and that irritated me because I want hours.

And then I got a massive upset stomach as soon as I got home, so thanks, universe.

I took a nap to feel better, but Chelsea kept waking me up so it wasn't a very effective nap.

I did learn that while I was thinking that taking a full 30-minute break would be difficult, those 30 minutes go by really quickly.  And I'm kind of forced to take the full 30 minutes because the registers won't let you clock back in early.  They literally lock you out.

I like work.  It feels good to work.  But I'm kind of hoping I'm not on the early shift the entire summer because they did ask me what I prefer and getting up at 5:30, now it'll be 5:15 because I realized I need more time, really sucks.  Haha such is life.  If they will give me hours, I will work whenever they tell me to.

On to tomorrow.

post signature

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How many days left?


28 days until my appointment with the specialist.  And that's just to start getting help.  I'm not going to get answers that day.

Today and yesterday were awful pain days, not letting up at all, and the idea of going to work for the next 4 days in a hat that squeezes my head so bad and just makes the pain ten times worse kind of stresses me out.

I'm tired.  So tired.

Tired of the pain.

Tired of wasting days in bed because I can't open my eyes.

Tired of feeling like being awake is a chore.

I'm just tired.  I want it to stop so badly, but I know that God has written this story for me for a reason, and I need to walk it out because He's going to do something awesome with it.  I have to believe that.

post signature

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh the irony.

A large portion of the reason I wanted to get a job this summer was so I could have time out of the house and away from Chelsea.

So OF COURSE, my first week on the job and we get the exact same days off.  Which means I got to wake up to being called a fat cow this morning.  Lovely.  I'm praying she'll just leave me alone tomorrow.

Also, I dropped the handheld mouse to my computer today and shattered it so bad it busted the circuit board.  Impressive, no?  So I told Mom the one thing I want from her for my birthday is for her to pay to get my actual laptop mouse fixed.  It should be pretty cheap.

I didn't do a lot today.  Just cleaning.  And I hung out with Mom.  It was bad pain wise, though.  But overall it was a good day, I guess.

post signature

Monday, May 20, 2013

Man of Steel

That's what I least, if you're going according to the hat they have me wearing at Hardee's.

I also may or may not be Superman.  That's yet to be decided.

Ha.  This is the only hat they had for me to wear today.  And it is actually a Hardee's hat, I know by the star on the back, but I just found this weird.  And of course, with my gigantic hydrocephaly head, the hat was far too small, so it was squeezing my head like crazy and that only added to my usual head pain.  But the manager was putting in a new order for uniform stuff tonight, so hopefully he'll be able to get me a much larger hat.  I don't work again until Thursday, but then I work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  A little over 30 hours in my first week, not too bad.

The day was physically grueling, not gonna lie.  I've just never had to do anything like this ever, so it's going to take some getting used to.  Not surprisingly, my feet were bothering me more than my back.  I have the best shoes I can get, though, so it's just going to be how it is.  It's not like I'm not used to working through pain, so I'll deal.  I always do.  The two managers were very sweet in checking on me and stuff, too.  I think they could tell I was working as hard as I could.  Honestly, the biggest thing is probably just going to be making sure I stay hydrated.  It's HOT!  Even just doing the register.

Everyone was really nice.  Being, well, me, I was all shaky at first because I was so nervous because I always want to do well at everything I do.  It wasn't anyone else putting pressure on me, it was all me on myself.  Thankfully all the customers were really patient and understood that it was my first day so I was learning, and one sweet old man took the time to tell my general manager that I did a really good job, which made me smile.  One of the plus sides to working at a place like this in a small town is that they have their regulars, and the regulars just "get it".

I like working the register.  I feel like I'll catch on to that pretty quickly because I have such a good memory. It just takes practice, and even by the end of today's shift I was remembering more on my own.

The difference between Hardee's and other fast food restaurants, something I actually really like, is that they really care about the restaurant presentation and taking care of guests in the house.  So there's never any just standing around or whatever; anytime there was a lull in taking orders and stuff, I was checking on people to see if they needed refills and cleaning and doing something.  I'm honestly amazed at how slow 5 hours felt going by considering I was always doing something.  It'll be interesting to see what 6 and 7 hour shifts feel like, which is what I'm working the end of this week.  But Thursday-Sunday are considered the "busy days" so maybe it'll go by faster.

Today, after work, my head hurt so bad I came back and took one of these special pills that I'm only allowed to take a couple days a week because they're so strong and then I took a 3 hour nap.  Ha!  I'll probably want to drop dead after my 7-2 shift Thursday.

So yeah.  It was good.  It was exhausting and like nothing I've ever experienced before, but it was good.  I'm happy to have a job, to be making some money and being able to do something besides sit around all summer.  I'm still a tad nervous about handling the physical aspects of it all, but it helped that everyone was so nice.  I'll figure it out.  I always do.  I'm stubborn, and God is good at pulling me through. :)

Now, I think I'm going to go eat a quick snack and go to bed.  Believe it or not, after only a 5 hour shift and a 3 hour nap, I'm still absolutely exhausted!

But I like it.

post signature

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day One

Otherwise titled: That day where they pay you to watch videos about information you probably should've been able to figure out in the first place.

So I don't exactly have a good idea of physically what this job is going to be like, because I was sitting down the entire 4 hours filling out paperwork, watching videos, taking quizzes, and listening to the manager go over the exact same info that was in the videos, but hey.  I went, and I'm officially allowed to work now.

I work 7-12 tomorrow.  They're required to sort of phase you in to make sure you don't get burnt out right off the bat, which is probably the best possible scenario for me physically, but I hope I get up to full-time hours soon because I need the money.  My manager didn't seem like that'll be a problem, though.  At least tomorrow I'll get to do stuff.

This is gonna be good for me.  I'm not nervous anymore, just excited.

I haven't really done anything else today.  Just been lazy and ate lots of good food.  I'm thinking as soon as I listen to this online sermon, I'll go to bed so I can be well rested.  Plus I'm tired, which I find odd since I didn't do anything today.  But it is what it is, and I've never had to be anywhere at 7 am before, except for maybe one breakfast in DC, so I'm sure 5:30 is gonna be rough.

So yeah.  Today was good.  I'm excited for tomorrow.

post signature

Saturday, May 18, 2013

That's God.

It's 1:15 am, and I'm finally getting the chance to just sit here and write about my day without wondering about 600 things I need to do or time limits or anything at all really.  Except for the fact that I would like to go to sleep because, well, it's 1 am, and I have done a lot today.

So, uh, let's start off with the big part.  I got a job.  At Hardee's.  Like, almost on the spur of the moment.  I mean, I filled out an application last week when I filled out several others, but they never called me for an interview.  I went in for an interview with Taco Bell Wednesday, and the manager was supposed to call me back yesterday but never did.  So I called her today and when she told me she hadn't had time to do other interviews, I decided to check on my other applications.  Hardee's was one of them.  I felt somewhat hopeful about them because they're the one place I remember seeing in town that actually had a "NOW HIRING" sign out front.  And well, patience isn't exactly my strong suit and all I could think was how I want to get a job.

Note to self:  Calling a fast food restaurant at noon on a Saturday?  Not a bright idea.  Luckily, the lady was very nice and just said to call back after 1:00 and she'd be happy to talk to me about my application.  So I took a quick nap because Blake was actually sleeping, and called back about 1:15.  It took about 3 minutes before she asked me if I could come in at 2:00 for an interview.

Cue the scrambling to shower and get ready because I was a bit of a greasy mess.

But I made it.  And the lady was actually very nice, and she remembered  Chelsea (because Chelsea worked at that Hardee's a few years ago) which was a bit awkward, but she liked me and said that she had to talk it over with her manager and she'd call me later today.  Mom had run to the store, got back about 5 minutes later, and by the time we pulled through the drive-through for me to get a snack, she was standing outside saying she was just about to call me to ask if I could come in for my orientation tomorrow.

:)  So yay.  I have a job.  Which is a big relief for my personal finances, because I only have enough money from Mommom for one more semester so I need to eat in the spring plus I have a trip that I have my heart set on making in November, and I can help contribute to the house a little bit.  Because when you're this thing they call an adult, turns out your parents expect you to pay some rent.  How about that.

After we went to dinner and to see The Great Gatsby (which, by the way, I'd never seen or read before today and found to be rather odd, but Baz Luhrmann is a genius and the cinematography of it all was insanely spectacular) with Mommom and Aunt Barbara, Mom and I went shopping to get the pieces I needed for my uniform together.  I was excited all night, and then suddenly, on the way home, I just broke down in tears because I was scared.  Scared that I couldn't do this.  And mad, that I won't ever be physically normal.  Add in the fact that this week is that special time every month when it's just especially fun to be me, and I was a bit of a blubbering mess for a few minutes.  But then I calmed down and remembered something - I felt the exact same fear going into DC last summer wondering if I could do that physically.  In fact, I wrote a post about that fear here.  I even knew of people, even outside my family, who had the same concerns.  But I did it.  I held a job and went to events and classes and traversed that ginormous city, including an incredibly hilly Georgetown, for 8 solid weeks on my own, and most of the time I was in dress clothes and painful shoes outside in temperatures reaching 100 degrees.  It wasn't easy, but I did it because I wanted to and, in my eyes, there wasn't any other choice.

My mama has always told me I do whatever I decide I'm going to do, no matter what anyone tells me are my limitations, including myself.  I tend to think I get that from her. :)  And I firmly believe things wouldn't have fallen together like this in a matter of hours on a phone call I randomly decided to make if I wasn't supposed to be doing this.  So yeah.  I'm doing this.  I'll keep you posted.

In other God and family related news, on the ride from the movie theater to Walmart tonight, Mom just casually dropped in my lap that she's going to try to get her and Chelsea back into therapy.  I may not have a reason to be super excited about this yet to most people, but just the fact that my mom thought about this on her own and mentioned it out of the blue when we weren't even talking about anything related to Chelsea or our issues or anything is a huge God thing.  I haven't so much as heard her mention the word therapy outside of the times Chelsea's been institutionalized, so then it was never about herself, in over a decade.  I spent so many years begging for her to take us all to therapy (at one point I was convinced that Dr. Phil could fix us), and she looked at me and said that "people aren't supposed to air their dirty laundry in public".  And there's no guaranteeing that she'll get Chelsea to agree to it, but I think even if she went on her own for herself it could do so much good for her and how she deals with the stresses of this family.  But what blew my mind the most was just that she said it out of the blue and so nonchalantly.  God is so awesome.  I'm excitedly optimistic to see what He's going to do from here.  Something tells me this wasn't a random thing... :)

That reminds me.  It's 1:45 now, and I just remembered that I promised Chris I'd post this news on The City because it reminded the both of us of the sermon he gave two weeks ago titled "Pray Big."  Prayers being answered years after I stopped praying them...that's God.

post signature

Friday, May 17, 2013

Speaking Freely

Here's sort of a snapshot into what has been going on in my head the past few days.

I hate her I hate her no I don't she''s my sister and I do love her and want the best for her but she seems so evil and I can't love evil even as badly as I want to.  I want her to get her life together and stop torturing Mom and me and give Blake a chance at not being so royally screwed up which he's almost certainly guaranteed to be if he gets raised by her.  I don't want her dead, I don't deserve to live anymore than she does, no matter what I may say when I'm angry and sad and hurt and exhausted of being around her, but sometimes I wish she would just move far, far away.  So we would never have to see her again and deal with her and my mom could finally get her life back.  Sometimes I feel like even getting to see Blake isn't worth putting up with the emotional torture she seems to enjoy inflicting upon this family.  I love him, more than she can even understand, sometimes I think I would give up my whole life and my whole future to make sure he was safe, but sometimes there's an overwhelming desire in me to protect myself and my sanity first and WHY AM I SO SELFISH?!

Over and over and over again until even the sound of my own voice makes me sick when I haven't actually vocalized a single word.

I can only think of one reason that all of this has come pouring out of me tonight - a book called Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson.  It's a book my friend JD sent me years ago, before I read for fun, when I was still more concerned with making people happy than me being honest.  I liked her so much that I was never going to tell her that that book sat on my bookshelf, moved into a box, moved back and forth back and forth to and from college semester after semester.....without me ever opening it up.  After a while, it wasn't even necessarily that I didn't want to read it - after a while I became more open to hearing "Christian" stories and reading "Christian" books and opening myself up to a piece of the world that I had shut myself off to for so long.  It was mostly that I just didn't like to read.  But more than that, I really didn't like saying no to people so I collected books from people who wanted to share with me and help me without ever telling me they were wasting the postage and should give it to someone else who deserved the time and thought.

Well, as has been somewhat documented on this blog over the past five or so months, I've started reading.  For fun!  And even though during the semester I didn't have time for recreational reading because there was so much school reading in the semester, I started gathering a list of books I wanted to get, books I knew I had but wanted to read, and decided I was going to work my way through them this summer.  Then, I ended up getting a stack of Public Policy stuff from Dr. Mero (because apparently my reading nerdiness doesn't take summer vacation off, either), which left me with quite the impressive stack.  Good thing I've got three months!

I had to make it through that stupid research paper for the end of the semester before I could even think about reading for fun (which, I don't know if I ever mentioned, I got an A so my 3.8 GPA is still in tact), and being sick this week has sort of put everything on hold because I can't really feel like reading when sitting up makes me nauseous.  But I made it through Multiply (the book from my small group) and sent it off to a friend, and sent off two other books I've already read to another friend, and today, since I was supposed to hear back about a job but never did, I was bored and decided to pick up the book on the top of the stack on my dresser.

Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace

It'd been so long since I received this book that I couldn't remember what it was about, so I opened it.  And immediately I was drawn into Anne's words about how she drew all sorts of Internet attention with a simple question she put on her blog: What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?

Interspersed with pictures and notes and confessions from countless people is Anne's story of how she fought to tell the ugly truth about life in the middle of a "churchisphere" (yes, I may have just made that word up. Go with it) that said the only things that were acceptable were clean and easy and could be answered quickly and tritely.  Our stories come from opposite ends.  She is the daughter of a preacher in a Very Traditional Southern Baptist Church whose family was rejected for not following what they said was God's law closely enough, for her daring to question how well these church elders were teaching the Bible they held so dearly.  I'm a girl not raised in the church, who tried so hard to be the person I thought you had to be to be a Christian, to be accepted, to be one of "God's people", that I became a shell of a person, and when that still wasn't enough, I just ran.  I ran from everything that had "Christian" attached to it.  I ran from talking to people because I was so tired of being judged and abandoned for being what I thought was the person I was made to be.

Heh.  Well, look how times have changed.  No, actually, I'd like to say they've changed, but in reality, while this blog is about as close to a crystal-clear view into my head as you can get, there's still a lot I don't say because I still care about what people think.  I don't want to tell people that sometimes looking at my sister just makes me want to punch her in the face or how sometimes the raging hatred I feel pulsing through every piece of me has me wondering if I'll ever love her again, if I ever loved her in the first place.  Because that's not the Mal everyone knows.  That's not the girl people are familiar with who will do anything to help anyone, who simply loves people.  I feel suddenly so much less like myself if I tell people that the heart, sympathy, compassion, I feel for basically everyone in my life no matter how little we know each other so often runs drier than a broken faucet when I look in the eyes of my next oldest sister.  Like maybe I'm not as nice of a person as I thought I was, maybe I've been fooling everyone all this time about who I really am...including me.  I don't want to tell people I don't understand why this relationship, why my reaction to this one person is so vastly different than every other relationship I have formed despite the fact that my sister is so far from the only screwed up thing in this family.

It wasn't until the past couple years, when I started forming true, authentic friendships - through the blog/Twitter world, through school, through the Vespers, through church - that I started finding the courage to tell people, most importantly of all myself, that the brokenness is okay.  I knew that hat I didn't have to hide behind a mask of the person that I thought people wanted me to be, that I really was made this person for a reason and that if I kept waiting, I kept trying, I never quit being me, I would find people who could love me through my own brokenness and let me love them through theirs, too.  I didn't believe it would actually work...until it did.  And I didn't realize it did until I found myself in places like at my computer at 2 am having a conversation with a woman I've never met about how she understands what it feels like to look at your own family and think that you hate them...and the surprises that can come when out of nowhere relationships you thought were beyond hope start to take shape again.  Places like an online chat community talking to a church full of strangers in Texas who take the time to tell this "nobody" 20-year-old girl in North Carolina that I'm helping them, ministering to them, simply by telling them that they aren't alone and that I get it.

See, one of the things that Anne's booked helped me realize is that I think we all have a nagging fear of being alone - not in the physical sense, but alone in the sense that we're the only ones going through the struggle that feels like it's seconds away from swallowing us whole.  Like if one of us stands up and says "Hey, I don't know what I'm doing.  I hate this and this about myself and I want to change but I don't know how to start." then the people we thought were friends might actually turn out not to be and tell us we're too different to belong.  But one of the most poignant and essential lessons I found in these pages was that sometimes all it takes is one person willing to stand up and say what's raw, what's real, what's true, even if it's ugly and broken, to tell the people around them that it's okay, it's safe, for them to tell their own secrets, too.

I have real friends, now.  These friends, these big brothers and big sisters who have given me Christian, God-honoring, patient guidance through times and situations when I didn't know where I'd get it from, are true role models of mine.  And I can say that they are my role models because I know their faults, too; they've allowed to see past their imperfections to see the heart that lies beneath all the confusion and dirt and crap that screws up our views.  Like that woman, whom I've never met, who let me say I think I hate my sister and told me that was okay.  Or the friends who just listen when I need them to and will tell me when they have advice to give, or when they have no idea what to say at all.  They are just there, with tears, with prayers, with presence.  And they know that the refuge they have offered to me time and time again is an offer that is always on the table for them, 24/7, no matter what.

These friendships brought me to life.  Their patient, persistent, unfailing determination to love me when the easy option wold be to leave me behind tore down the grip that fear had on my entire being.  Their voices that said it's okay to be just Mal became louder than the one that said I had to be someone specific to be okay and be wanted.  It's not a one-time fix kind of thing; it's a lesson I have to learn again and again every time I wonder if it's okay to say what I want to say to someone that I know I ultimately do trust just because I don't want them to get the wrong idea.  I remind myself, they remind me, we love each other through it and before either of us realizes what happened, we feel free enough to tell each other anything.

There is so much freedom in authenticity; I know that now.  I just had to find the people who wanted to hear it.  But I did, in some crazy and unexpected ways with people the old me never would've even dreamed of being friends with.  It was like I looked at these people and told God I knew I didn't deserve them, but if He could just let me have someone like them, then that'd be good, because I couldn't understand why they would ever want to be friends with me in the first place.  They had it "together", and I was like a baby giraffe trying to figure out what walking felt like.  I didn't know why I should trust them, when people titled "Christians" right in front of my face had burned me so harshly right here in my own life, but I was so desperate for community that I knew I needed to try.  And with every time that, in all my inexperience, my fumbling, my questions, one of these friends told me the ways in which my words and my friendship had helped them, I learned that they are no more put together than I am.  We're all just different kinds of broken.

Lately, I've had comments that I need to write a book, or I need to take my story and message to a larger stage, coming in much more frequently.  I'll be honest - do I have a dream tucked away somewhere that that is what my future will look like?  Yes, I've said exactly that here right on this website.  But reading this book helped me realize the root reason behind why I want that - because I want to help give a voice to all the people who, like me, let fear silence theirs for far too long.  I would never intend to imply that I have all of this figured out, but I want to walk with people the way I've had people walk with me even when I didn't know I wanted them there.   I want to be the one who shouts from every platform available that you are good enough, your story is worth telling, as long as it's you.  The world doesn't need more voices trying to cram the problems of life back into little boxes to be hidden away in secrecy.  The world needs people who are going to look the weak and broken and scarred in the eyes and say that there is still grace for them at the foot of the Cross.  Jesus spent his time with the rejects for a reason.  There is always enough grace.

I just hope that no matter what the platform that God puts in front of me, a year, five years, ten, twenty years from now, He continues to give me the courage to stand up and speak.  Because I don't want to stop.

post signature

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Well, I did get some antibiotics today, but naturally, they take more than 12 hours to work.

And I can't go over to my grandma's house because her sister is coming and she's old and frail and I can't get her all germy because then I'd feel bad, so I've been stuck in this house.

At least Chelsea is only off today and tomorrow.

And I have another job interview on Saturday.  Yay?  Something's gotta give.  I'm not thrilled about any off these summer job prospects but I need a job.

Back to bed.

post signature

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Oh this just keeps getting better and better.

Who knew not getting into the doctor the day you call could turn out to be a good thing?

I sure didn't, until the stomach aspect of whatever has hit me came to visit tonight.

I didn't even know it was possible to have a sinus infection and a stomach virus at the same time, but I'm pretty sure at this point that it is.

God bless my mama for taking such good care of me even though she still doesn't feel back to normal yet.

Here's to hoping a Phenergan prescription and some hardcore antibiotics will get me back to my usual state here soon.

9:15 cannot get here soon enough.

post signature

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Today I woke up with all the same symptoms my mom did yesterday.

This is fun.

Let's just hope my voice comes back enough by tomorrow for me to make it through an interview.


post signature

Monday, May 13, 2013

The sickness has invaded.

I woke up every few hours feeling like puking my guts out.

My blood sugar has felt low since last night even though I've eaten regularly even though I didn't want to because of the whole nausea thing.

Basically, I feel absolutely horrible.

And my mom is wheezing, with a massive earache, and a sore throat.

So basically we are quite the pair.

I feel worse for my mom, though.  She still has to go to work and teach Shakespeare with a voice like the Grim Reaper.

Going to bed as soon as Castle is over sounds like a fantastic plan.

Blah.  Hopefully this doesn't last long.

post signature

Sunday, May 12, 2013


People, this is the kind of influence I grow up with:  It's Mother's Day, my mom wakes up to take Chelsea to work at 7 am, and then brings me breakfast in bed when she gets home.

Ridiculous.  I tell ya, if I am half the mother that my mother is, my kids will be blessed beyond belief.

We may be different in so many ways, we may have extremely different viewpoints on many subjects, but I can honestly say that I would not be the woman I am today without her influence and love.  Heck, I probably wouldn't be alive if it weren't for her.  Her dedication to getting me the best care possible, no matter what it cost her, has without a doubt led me to some of the best medical care I could ask for.

I got my fighting spirit from her.  She doesn't know how strong she is, but I've known all along.  She has been on her own for more than 16 years, a completely single parent for almost 14.  In the meantime, she's dealt with teenage rebellion, a full-time job, my neverending health issues, her health issues, Chelsea's mental issues and constant creation of drama, Chelsea getting pregnant and basically forcing my mother to raising a 4th child just as she thought she was done with that, and so much else.  She's done all of this without the reliance on God that has become so vital to my perseverance, and yet it still hasn't broken her.  I think this is why I pray for her salvation more than just about anyone else's that I know; I don't want this world to break her without her being aware that she has God to fall back on.  I'm seeing glimmers of her coming to that understanding...I can only pray that this really is the seeds being planted, so that she can come to the full life that I have found.

She pushes me when I don't want to be pushed, because she knows I can do more than I believe that I can.

She cheers for me when I feel like there's nothing to cheer about.

She has instilled in me a passion for music.  For as long as I can remember, there has been music playing in this house.  The Beatles.  Rock'n'roll from the 80's.  Jazz.  Classical.  She taught me to appreciate that there is beauty in all music, even if it's not a style I'm fond of.  She taught me to sing even when I don't sound the greatest, that as cliché as this sounds, it's better to let an out-of-tune song out if it's what makes you happy than to hold it in for fear of being laughed at.  And she's still one of the best singers I've ever heard.

She's shown me what it looks like to be a mother to the motherless, or even just the ones like Ryann whose parents are far away, to believe in the ones the world has given up on, to find good in people even when it's the last thing your mind wants to do.

She loves me with everything she is and has, I've never doubted that for a second.  Even as I've grown older and found my faith on my own, as our differences become more prominent, as I make less and less sense to her, I know that she loves me.  She loves me, even though she doesn't understand me.

I love her.  I don't even know if she realizes how much or how deeply, how I would give anything in the world to take her pain away, how much she is my hero.  I don't know if she realizes that the love God grows in me for her every day is so much a part of the reason that I refuse to give up on my life, on her life, on our relationship.

I pray that she lives long enough for me to have the chance to take care of her the way she's taken care of me and given me the love of two parents for so long.

post signature

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It's a wonder what a night of sleep can do to clear your mind.

So here's the actual deal.  I'm not moving out.  But I will be spending as little time as possible in this house.

That means that as often as possible, any time that Chelsea is here and awake, I will be at my grandma's house.  Thankfully, we have a key to her house, so I can even go over there when she is out of town.

I like this idea a lot better.  The relationship I still have with my mom won't have to suffer just because Chelsea likes to terrorize me.  And I'll still get to spend as much as possible with her when she is out of school for two months and Chelsea is still working 5 days a week (though hopefully I will have a job by then, as well).

Do I know if I'm doing the right thing?  Nope.  I don't have a freaking clue what I am doing.  But I know that I wasn't thrilled about making such a drastic change, and when the realization hit me earlier tonight that a year from yesterday will be my college graduation, I knew I need to spend as much time with my mom as possible.  I want this next year to teach her that no matter how far away I move, she's never going to be alone, even though I know how suffocating this house can be for her when it's just her, Chelsea, and Blake for weeks on end.

I feel like crying tonight.  I'm not totally sure why.  Maybe it's because several of my friends became official college graduates today.  Maybe it's because I'm scared (probably for no reason) that I'm losing people that mean so incredibly much to me.  Maybe it's because I want to be back in Buies Creek where everything somehow makes so much more sense to me.  Maybe it's just because today has been yet another day of debilitating pain.  I don't know.  So much for clarity.

On to tomorrow.

post signature

Friday, May 10, 2013


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

This is what I've been doing with my family.  Walking back into the same mess, with the same mindset, saying and doing the same things, submitting myself to the same depressed state, and then wondering why things don't change.

So that ends now.

I'm moving in with my grandma ASAP.  I can't do this anymore.  I need time away from my sister.  Time for peace.  And hopefully that peace will help me hear God more clearly about this.  Distance.

I'm doing something different...finally.  Hopefully this will help me get back to Campbell with my sanity still in tact.

I love my sister...but I just can't do this anymore.

post signature

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Something happened tonight.  I'm not sure how and I'm not sure why now, but it happened.

I was sitting on my bed texting Caitie when all of a sudden, this feeling came over me.

Out of nowhere, I was overwhelmed with this feeling that everything is going to be okay.  Not right away, and not easily, but I just know that in the end, I'm going to be okay.  This whole mess I'm dealing with is going to be okay.  These days of debilitating pain are going to be redeemed, and I'm going to once again be left with a life that is brighter and fuller than anything I could have created on my own.

I feel like God is telling me that this journey through this trial is not going to end quickly or easily, but I'm going to be happy I traveled it.  And it will end.

It's like the struggle I mentioned yesterday - the one between knowing God can heal me and believing that He will - was gone in a flash.  He's going to heal me.  I'm going to be okay.

Don't ask me why I'm all of a sudden so sure of this.  Don't ask me what changed.  I don't know.  It's one of those things that can't be explained.  All I know is that I'm sure of this.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the fullest."

post signature

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When the body of Christ moves.

Today was very long.  6+ hours in a car for a very short appointment that gave me nothing more than another medication change and another doctor basically telling me to grin and bear it until my appointment at the headache clinic on June 19.

I'm not angry.  It's not those doctors' fault they're stumped.  And I'm not angry at God.  My faith is all I have left.  Right now I feel so weak and so broken and so incapable that I can't be mad at Him because I need Him too much.

And besides, with all the conversations I had after the appointment today, it's impossible for me to forget just how much God has blessed me.  How sustaining the body of Christ really can be when they move together to show me God's love and presence at a time when I so desperately need it.

A guy I've never met whose wife just had a baby yesterday taking the time to text with me after my appointment and reminding me "I'm on your team."  Telling me God has given me a platform for a reason, which just makes me want to use the opportunity even more.  Pain and all.

My best friend in California in the middle of a busy pro soccer season answering me when I know she barely has the time.

A church friend telling me that they prayed for me at small group this week, reminding me that I'm never far from my family's thoughts.

Friends new and old sending me Bible verses, encouraging texts, reminding how much they love me and how much more God loves me.

When the body of Christ moves to lift someone up, it truly is one of the most beautiful things you can experience on this earth.  At least...that's my opinion.  I was feeling really upset, discouraged, and confused when I left the clinic today, but talking to these sweet friends of mine got my head back where it belongs.  My God is good.  He'll carry me to that June 19th appointment.

Not many people can say they have people from literally all over the country praying for them, but I can.  That's such a huge blessing, one I hope I never take for granted.

Chris's sermon on Sunday was titled "Pray Big."  And let me tell ya, every single week it feels like God gave Chris those words just so I could hear them, but this one hit me hard.  I was crying.  I have struggled for a long time with the difference between knowing that God can do something and believing that He will do it.  I know that God can heal me, but I often doubt that He will.  But between that sermon and the unshakeable faith so many of my friends displayed today, I am more solid than I have ever been in this.

James 4:3 says "You do not receive, because you do not ask."  I haven't even bothered asking God for my healing in a long time.  I guess because I was scared to get my hopes up that He'd heal me only for Him not to.  But not anymore.  There is nothing wrong about having high hopes in the Lord!  I am praying for my healing.  I'm believing for my healing.

And you know what?  Even if it doesn't happen, I know that my God is still good.  I know I am blessed to live the life that I do.  And I'm gonna use whatever platform God puts in my path to tell people about the amazing, all-knowing, perfect God that I serve.  If a painful life is where God wants me, then I am rededicating myself right now, thanks in part to the encouragement of so many of my friends today.

I am all in.

post signature

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bad Day

I don't remember the last time I slept so much in a 24-hour period without being in the hospital.

Another day of debilitating pain.

My head is awful.

Back to Duke tomorrow.

Lord, help me.

post signature

Monday, May 6, 2013

And the Awesome Daughter award goes to...

ME! Ha.

I'm currently blogging from my phone because I'm so tired that I turned my computer off before I remembered that I hadn't yet blogged tonight. And I couldn't go to bed without doing that because I have certain people that tend to think I've run away or fallen into a coma if I miss a post. ;)

The reason I am so tired is because I have spent the past 15 or so hours doing chores of all kinds. Cleaning, lots of laundry, collecting and taking out all the trash and recycling, and then spending all night helping Mom with her grading. She's been way behind ever since my week in the hospital, so I kind of felt like I had to.

So here it is, 2 am, and I can barely think about words to finish this post with.

I'm tired. I am so tired. Tired of the pain, tired of this house, tired of forgetting what genuine and long-lasting joy felt like.

Another doctor visit on Wednesday. Not expecting much to come out of it since he's not the headache specialist I will see next month, but I am in desperate need of pain meds if I am going to make it to June 19th without another hospital visit.

post signature

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Summer. For real this time.


My paper is done.  Finished.  Fini.  Emailed in. Totally out of my hands DONE.

I can really start my summer vacation now!

So relieved.  I think I did pretty well on it, and I know this professor likes the way I write, but I just don't feel as confident on it as I did the paper last semester because the information and research for this one was much harder to nail down.

But oh well.  It's done now.

I can read.  FOR FUN.  I can sleep when I want to for as long as I want to.  I can watch the last episodes of the season of several TV shows that I love without being completely stressed out.

Not much else to say about today.  Lots of paper writing.   Babysitting.  Good food from Mom.  That's about it.

And now I'm going to go immerse myself in the book of a certain blogger whom I love while my sheets wash and dry because I shaved and showered today so I wanted clean sheets but was not about to try and take of that while writing my paper and helping with Blake.  In fact, I promised myself that I wouldn't open the book until I got this paper done, and it's been sitting on my dresser for the past 48 hours taunting me.  But I did it.  Now I can read in peace.

FREEDOM!!!!! :)

post signature

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Progress, people.

Today had its hindrances, but this thing might actually get done.  And on time, too!

Combine my head being in really bad shape most of the morning and spurts of Blake babysitting, and I didn't get started until after 4:00 today.

I was kind of freaking out, knowing this thing needs to be emailed in tomorrow night, but here we are, seven and a half hours later, and I'm through two of the five sections, one of which will be the longest section of the paper.  And all that includes major breaks for dinner and needing to lay down because my hips were throbbing from being in the same position for too long.

There's no page or word number "recommendations" on the assignment sheet, so I'm not even worrying about that.  I'm just going through my sources systematically and doing this thing to the best of my ability.  That's all I can do.  I'm expecting to get a B in this class, anyway, and I don't foresee Dr. Thornton giving me anything less than a B on this paper, so it's all good.

Every single time, so much of the stress that hits me with a big research paper, especially one I've procrastinated on, is lifted once I just start the darn thing!  I feel a lot better about not only getting this thing done, but getting it done in the time frame I promised my professor despite my head, and getting it done well.

Yay.  Hopefully by this time tomorrow, I will officially be on summer vacation and really be able to enjoy the stack of books I have to read!

Anyway, I'm pretty exhausted, so I'm gonna go eat a snack and go to bed.  Hopefully I'll be able to start on the other three sections MUCH earlier tomorrow.

At least I'm going to bed smiling.  You wouldn't think that would happen in the middle of a huge research paper, huh? :) 

post signature

Friday, May 3, 2013

Under Pressure

I thought telling Dr. Thornton that I would have my paper in by the end of this weekend would be giving myself ample time to complete it.

I'm an idiot.

I'm an idiot for not counting in the fact that my head would knock out at least 3 of the past 5 days.  Which means I have tomorrow and Sunday to write this entire paper.

Well, I guess the good news is that I wrote a much longer paper in about 16 hours of work time last semester for the same professor, but that was without this pain to deal with.

But anyway, for some reason I work better under pressure, even if there is stress that comes with it.  I'd rather write the whole big thing out in a very short time than drag it out over a week.  The main thing is I just want to get it done so I can enjoy my summer without it hanging over my head.  And so I don't make my professor mad.

Here's to hoping and praying my head will cooperate for the next 48 hours, just long enough for me to get this out of the way.  Then again, I'll have to force my way through it either way.

post signature

Thursday, May 2, 2013

With a Purpose

On Sunday, as part of our series studying the book of Colossians, the sermon focused on prayer.  Pastor Sean really emphasized one point in the beginning that got stuck in my head.

The five most powerful words you can say to someone are, "I am praying for you."

And I'll be honest, this one convicted me really hard because I am pretty hit and miss when it comes to following through with what I say when it comes to prayer.  It's one thing to say I'll be praying for somebody, that's easy.  It's the actually remembering to pray for them that's the struggle.

I don't want to be that kind of person.  That person who is so inattentive that I just use "I'll be praying for you" as a way to get out of a conversation or as a space-filler when I'm out of words.  I want my words to mean something, every single one of them.  I want to stick to my word, no matter what the subject is, and no subject is more worthy of that than going to the Lord on behalf of the people I love, people whom I have seen go to Him for me.

So this week, I've decided to start taking this really seriously.  Since I spend so much time on my computer as it is, I made a word document of all the prayer requests I could think of that I've heard recently for my family, friends, and blog friends, and that way I can easily add to it any time I hear one.  I want to be more purposeful with my prayer time, so my goal is to end each night by pulling up the list and praying over everything that is on there.  If the list gets too big, I suppose I can break it down into a section a night, but for now, this works.

I also want to get more habitual about spending time in the Word.  Another thing that I've heard recently, I can't remember if it was Pastor Sean or Chris who said this, was that if we wonder why there's no power in our prayer, it's because we're not intimately connected with the Father.  We can't treat prayer like it's just a drive-through order and God is our waiter.  And one short but so true and powerful thing that Earl said at the purity conference a couple weeks ago was, "It's really hard to fight a battle with a weapon you've never touched."  I'm in the middle of a long battle; if I want to make sure the enemy doesn't win, I need to be as prepared as possible.  That's only going to happen if I get more intimately acquainted with the God I know loves me so deeply.

I don't want my time here to be a waste.  I want it to be filled with opportunities to show other people the Lord that I serve, and growing closer and closer to Him as I wait for the day that He'll call me home.  This sounds like a good place to start to me.

As a side note...three people today alone have told me I should write a book.  Others have told me in the past that I should do that, or that I should be a public speaker, but never three people in one day.  Are you trying to tell me something, God?  I've decided I'm not going to fight for opportunities that I want anymore.  I want to get back to Nashville this fall, but I'm not going to try and force it.  If God wants me back there, He'll get me there.  I want to get to Texas to meet Chris and visit his church, but I'm not going to force that, either.  I can't force that; I don't have the money to go both places and I'd pick Taylor's wedding any day.  If God wants me to get there, He'll work a miracle and make it happen.  I want to do something bigger with my story/testimony, write a book, public speaking, who knows, but I wouldn't even know where to begin, especially in the middle of college, so if it's going to happen, God's going to have to put the opportunity in front of my face.

I'm just too tired to fight anymore.  God's results always turn out far better than what I could work out, anyway.  So I'm releasing myself from the pressure of trying to make things happen.  Ah, release.  My One Word comes back.

I guess this is what letting go feels like.  Letting go...but with a purpose.

post signature

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This line right here has been following me around lately.  In the Easter Sunday sermon from Chris Plekenpol, in a Tim Hawkins video, I've heard it over and over in the past several days and it's been stuck in my head the entire time.

Jesus didn't come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.

It's something that took me a really long time to understand.  After my hometown church kicked me out, my initial reaction was that I wasn't good enough.  I wasn't good enough for them, I wasn't good enough for the church, and if I wasn't good enough for the church, "God's people", then there wasn't no way that I could be good enough for God.

And that just got me angry.  I knew those people weren't perfect, so why were they good enough for God but I wasn't?  Before long, all of that anger turned into nothing.  I was numb.  I knew I was numb but I didn't care.  I figured I'd rather feel nothing at all if that meant I could escape the pain and sadness that seemed to have engulfed me ever since my dad passed away.

That's when I stopped talking to anyone, save for Matt and even with him he had to pry at times to get me to say anything.  I didn't trust any other person to know the reality of what was going on inside my heart and mind, and I didn't think that God cared.  That's also when the thoughts of suicide started becoming a daily ritual.  I thought I was a waste of skin, and honestly the only feeling in me stronger than the ones that said I should never have been born and that I didn't want to live in what felt like hell anymore was the one that didn't want to let "them" win.  I wasn't going to give all the people who wanted me gone exactly the wish they'd been taunting me with.

Who knew someone could be dead and still be a fighter?  It sounds like a giant contradiction, I know, but I didn't know I was dead until I learned what life really looked like.  I didn't know I was numb until I learned what feeling really was.  And I didn't even begin to learn what life and feeling really were until I met these four strangers from Nashville one hot February day who showed me what life looked like, not with their words, but with the way they shined.  The way they laughed.  The way they listened so intently to me, like I was the only person in the room.  They still teach me those things, with their texts, with their phone calls, with the way they prayed over me just weeks ago and pray for me still.  And it all made sense when I stood in an unfamiliar church in their hometown and declared my allegiance to Christ.

I'll be the first one to tell you that I rolled my eyes for years any time someone tried to tell me that Jesus wanted me, Jesus wanted my heart, and the life I'd been pleading for and waiting for could only be found with him.  Ask my friend JD, she knows.  She's one of the few Christians in my life today who knew me at my worst.  I think she could even tell via email when I was rolling my eyes at her.  My faith has been tested more than most people even think is possible, and that's why I know I can sit here and tell you that I get it.  I get it because I've been on both sides.  I've been the one who thinks those "religious people spouting trite Christian phrases are just crazy", and now I'm the girl who wants to tell you that everything I heard in my past that I didn't believe then is actually true!

Jesus didn't come for the people society labeled "good" or "right" or "popular".

Jesus came for the broken, the outcast, the worst of sinners, so he could heal and redeem and give His Father all the glory.

Jesus came for the parents who don't know how they'll pay the bills, so he could show them that God really can work miracles.

Jesus came for the teenagers trapped in a feeling that this life isn't worth living, so he could show them that there's a better life waiting for them in eternity.

Jesus came for the ones laid up in hospitals wondering what kind of loving God would let them hurt so badly, so he could teach them that God feels and grieves their pain with them.

But Jesus also came for the ones who see themselves as having lived a "virtually pain-free life."  Jesus came for the ones who are willing to befriend the ones that everyone else ignores.  Jesus came for the ones who go on mission trips to let orphans know they are loved.

There is no being "good enough" for God.  God knows how broken and wicked we really are, and the Love He has for us is so great that He came down to ransom us from the ties that bind us to our sin.

He came because He knows that before any of us knows Him, we are dead, and He wants to show us what being alive really is all about.

"There is a God in heaven who died to be our Savior and now lives to be our King." - Chris Plekenpol

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." Ephesians 2:1-5

post signature