Thursday, July 30, 2015

When Walls Come Down

It's beautiful when you start to see someone's walls slowly come down and they begin to trust you with the big stuff.

When they let go of the face they put on for everyone else out in public and show something beneath the surface.

When they look at you with wide eyes that say, "Here. I'm going to trust you with this," and you can see the hesitation in their eyes, like they've been hurt before and are scared to risk it again. And you wish you could make them believe you would never do that.

When they tell you a story it feels like they've never actually said out loud, struggling to find the words without losing it. And you want to wrap them in a hug and tell them it's going to be okay.

There's a deep sense of pride that comes with seeing someone open up to you like that. At least for me there is. It happened today and I just feel so...honored that this friend who, up until now, had only ever been cheerful and energetic and happy to me because we'd only seen each other out in public trusted me with something I could tell they weren't totally comfortable talking about in detail. They let me see a side that I'd never seen before. And I feel like I must've done something right (you're welcome for the Relient K reference) for us to get to this point when I wasn't totally sure I'd be let in.

What happened today also made me think about my Reformation and soccer brothers. How they insisted on loving me and taking me in even when I wasn't sure that was what I wanted. How even on the days when I convinced myself they would never really be my friends, they were there proving me otherwise. How they never got tired of waiting for me to feel comfortable when they could have decided my nerves and insecurities weren't worth the trouble.

I know what it felt like to have my walls come down and it turn out okay. No, to turn out beautifully. There's a unique kind of freedom in having someone tell you, "No, it's okay. Be you. Talk to me. I won't make you regret it." And I'm thankful I got to be that person for my friend today.

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On Tomatoes

About a year ago, long before Ryann disappeared from my life, someone else left, too. Someone who was one of my first blog friends. Someone who came into my life during the darkest time I've ever had. Someone who I considered one of my dearest friends, despite the fact that we'd only met in person once. Someone who told me many times that I supported her just like she supported me, that our relationship was beautifully symbiotic. The story of who it is and why she left isn't even worth repeating, most because if I do, I might start crying all over again.

For a while, I didn't even know why she left. It was just dead silence, exactly as Ryann has done. Until she emailed me on Monday. In the midst of her detailed message (she was never one for writing short emails), she mentioned that the only reason she broke the silence now was because she knew that "the only thing worse than a no is the unknown." And she was right; anything she said or could say in that email was not nearly as painful as the total silence.

But honestly, I had forgotten about her and her leaving a while ago. So getting her email and all of that wasn't so painful by itself as it was the matter that it stirred up a lot of other feelings. About Ryann. About all the times in my past I've heard pretty much exactly what she said from people who decided they couldn't be friends with me anymore or that I wasn't worth their time. About how my family has so often told me that if I just weren't so intense, I wouldn't chase people away. About how maybe if I just weren't so screwed up people wouldn't leave. So for a few hours, I was caught up in all of those emotions and scary thoughts. Things I've thought before, that I'll be wrong about other people in my life and that the ones I trust most now will decide to leave, too. Even that several of them have told me (some multiple times) that that's never going to happen and that I don't need to worry about it.

So I called Clayton (big shocker) because I just needed to hear someone tell me that there's nothing wrong with me, and hear again that he's in this for good and I don't have to worry about "chasing him away". And that's exactly what he did, but it didn't take long after our conversation started before the tears came on anyway. Partially from the fear and other negative stuff in my head and partially because I was just so grateful that he was so loyal to me and our friendship.

When I talked to him about how it felt to hear the same things from so many different people over the years about the reasons why they left, he explained things through an analogy, which is what the weird title of this post comes from. It was a couple days ago, so I can't remember word for word what he said, but this is pretty much it.

"When I was younger, I was really into gardening...I promise I'm going somewhere with this...Anyway, when I gardened, I had this big tomato plant. And when I would go out to the tomato plant, I would see that some of the tomatoes had these black spots on them. I did everything right to take care of them, but some of them still went bad. I got so frustrated because I couldn't figure out why these tomatoes got these black spots. Until later, I learned that some of the tomatoes went bad all on their own to make room for the other tomatoes to thrive and get bigger and be better. They self-pruned. I know this sucks. I know it hurts to have these people leave. But consider it pruning to get the bad ones out of the way for the friends who will stick by you no matter what. They're just getting out of the way for the good friendships to thrive."

That actually made sense. To others, it might seem like a really bizarre choice for an analogy, but I knew exactly what he was saying. I still have good tomatoes. In fact, I have some awesome, super healthy and vibrantly red tomatoes. Yes, it's frustrating to lose some tomatoes I worked to take care of, but if they have to die for the other ones to be better and healthier, then I am still very, very lucky. I just need to focus on the tomatoes that I still have the opportunity and ability to take care of, because if the other ones are going to self-prune, there's nothing I can do to stop them.

I'm not a mind reader. If people like Ryann and this person are going to disappear on me when they never gave me any sign of something being wrong, then that's on them. Those are the choices they made, and it says nothing about me and who I am and a lot about them and who they are as people and as friends.

Clayton and Austin are the two people that first come to my mind when those fears about people leaving set in. So naturally, when I told them this when explaining what had happened, they both had something to say that was so utterly...them.

Clayton: "The way I see it, real friends walk in when everyone else is walking out. As I've told you before, you don't have to worry about me leaving. Honey, I'm not going anywhere. You're amazing, and if these people can't see that, then screw 'em. Let them leave. I'm not going to walk out."

Austin: "Well here's the thing about me: That's never going to happen. You're stuck with me. I told you this was a calling from God for me to be your friend, and until He tells me that calling has been fulfilled, I'm not going anywhere. And I pray every single day that He never tells me that."

These two, they are my favorite tomatoes. (I told that to Clayton in text Tuesday and on FaceTime Wednesday...apparently this is an analogy that is going to stick.) They understand Christ-like love better than just about anyone I've ever met. I hope one day the fears I have get out of my head, because it's stupid for me to question these two guys who have proven themselves faithful to me and our friendships from pretty much the day we met. (They helped take care of me during seizures in Reformation when I didn't even know their names.) I can tell, though that slowly I'm getting it, because these fears are popping up less and less. I am so, so grateful that I have friends, others included but especially these two, who understand my insecurities and where they come from and accept me wholeheartedly, baggage and all.

Clayton and Austin and their unconditional love for me is such a sweet picture of Jesus in my life. I love how God can make Himself and His grace known through the love of a friend.

Goodness gracious, I am so very lucky. And have more love in my life now than I ever knew was possible before I found it.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nothing Like It

I don't have a lot to say tonight. I just want to get this memory recorded so I can come back later and look at it again. Because I have a feeling I'm going to need it again.

I was talking to my friend Steven after the service today. I told him that I really liked the song he did solo during the offering ("Obsession" done by many artists, David Crowder, Jesus Culture, and others).

He said thanks and then asked me what I thought of the first song of the service, "It Is Well" by Bethel Music, also a new one for the church and one I'd never heard before.

I said I loved it, that I pulled up the lyrics on my phone as soon as it was over so I didn't forget it so I could look at it later and find it on YouTube. I said I thought I'd be listening to it again and again.

He smiled and replied, "Good, I'm glad to hear that. I picked it out just for you."

He picked it out just for me. It was enough for me to hear that he'd been praying for me all week, but to hear that he thought of me enough to think that when picking out music and then decided to make it a part of the service just because he thought I needed to hear it? I don't have words for that. It means so much.

There is nothing like moments like that to remind me that I am SO VERY LOVED. That this is God showing up because it's only by His grace that I found my City Grace family, let alone as quickly as I did, and that I have this much love and support right around me in a city that can seem so huge and overwhelming and lonely.

In case you need to hear this, too, here's the song.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Another rant about my stupid nerves.

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. It was one of those where I was getting very tired so I decided to go to bed, and then my head hit the pillow and suddenly I couldn't have been more awake. That's quite frustrating, especially when it's the middle of the night.

Once I fell asleep, though, I slept fine, which worked out great because the plans I thought I had today fell through, so I was able to stay in bed a lot longer than I thought I would. Today was very lazy once I found out that the guy I thought was coming over couldn't come. He was supposed to come to work on a project I'm helping him with, but he got caught up in other work. And I totally get that, and plus, I see him several times a week, anyway, so it's not like I was missing out on some big chance or whatever.

Finding out he wasn't coming, though, led to a lot of conversations and thoughts that you wouldn't think would come out of such a small fact/event/whatever you want to call it.

Like how I am apparently way more attached to my interactions with this guy than I realized. The level of disappointment I felt when he told me he couldn't come was...absurd.

And how not subtle I am, and how that can so quickly screw things up even when I'm not trying. And the bizarre reasons why I'm afraid I'm going to mess things up with my friendship with this guy. Which would devastate me if that were to happen.

But it all boils down to one thing, the problem that keeps popping up in my life in places I didn't think it could or would: I think everyone is "out of my league", especially guys. I assume no one will be interested in me, even when two guys in the past few weeks have asked for my number (they never called, go figure). One of my friends asked me if there was something more between me and this guy, and my immediate response was basically "There's no way." I think part of me still wonders why I even have the relationship that I do with him.

I've got to stop assuming I know what everyone is thinking, and that they're thinking some negative about me. This guy, when I told him Mom said he was very cute, smiled and told me that that was sweet, but being attractive meant nothing, that it wasn't important compared to being a good person and being friendly and kind. So I know he doesn't judge me. Because of that, and because I know we wouldn't have the friendship we do, he wouldn't have helped me through so many seizures, if he didn't genuinely like me. Yet every time I talk to him, I get nervous, because something in me thinks I need to impress him.

I make no sense, not even to myself. My girlfriends are telling me that I'm overreacting at myself again, that what I'm thinking and feeling is normal. But I'm just nervous. Nervous that this will be just another friendship that I mess up with my awkwardness and lack of subtlety. Nervous that I'll lose him, too, just like I lost Ryann. Nervous that I'll be wrong again. Nervous that I'll make an idiot out of myself. Nervous about a crapload of things that rationally I know are not things I need to be nervous about with what I know about this friend.

Screw you, anxiety.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Our finest gifts we bring.

So I've been listening to "Little Drummer Boy" tonight (check out the cover by Pentatonix!). Yes, I'm aware that it's July. When have I ever been normal?

But it got me thinking. (Yes, I know the story is fictional. Just go with me.)

Here's this poor kid. He's brought along to go visit a newborn baby who is the King, the Savior, they've been waiting for. Everyone's bringing gifts, because that's what people do when they go to visit any royalty, especially the Eternal King. But he's a kid. Kids don't have money, let alone for something extravagant, something worthy of a King. All he has is his drum.

So he plays.

He gives what he has to give. He plays his drum knowing that that is the best thing he has to offer. He puts his heart into his music, hoping that maybe, just maybe, it will be good enough. If I were in that position, I know that I'd be terrified they would laugh at me, or that they would get angry that I hadn't brought something better, something worthy of giving to the King. Instead, the baby Jesus smiles. He smiles at the boy who gives the best thing he can.

And while I know that the story of the little drummer boy isn't in the Bible, I find that smiling baby very symbolic. I think that God smiles when He sees that we're giving Him the best that we can. When we do good just because we can, not because someone might notice. When we put our whole hearts into relationships, knowing that we might get hurt, simply because we know God wouldn't want us to hold back love from anyone. When we create the best art we know how to create, when we do it because we love it and do it for His glory, not ours.

God is delighted when we give Him our finest gifts, even if we think they're not good enough, or the world tells us we're not good enough. Because He knows our hearts. God knows when we're giving all we have, even if it's just a beat on a drum and people think we can do more. And God knows if we're more interested in what other people think than in what He thinks. If we're giving the best that we can, if we're doing the best that we can, then that is enough. The Bible says to do everything for the glory of God, do it in the name of the Lord. It says nothing about perfection or being better than everyone else.

Because you know what? The best gift that we can bring to the Lord is our hearts. When we lay our hearts at His feet, when we give over all of our desires and plans as well as our fear and sin and shame, that is the best gift of all. God never asks us to lavish Him with gifts, or to do more than He knows we're capable of, He is in the battle for our hearts. And if we give Him that, then my guess is He's happier than a kid in a candy shop. If the angels are having a party and heaven is rejoicing, then God is the one who organized the whole shindig. God doesn't want the stuff you can give, He just wants you.

If you're reading this, I just want you to know that you are enough. You are enough for God. He delights in you and all that you are, even if you're wrecked by guilt that you're not good enough. God wants you, just as you are, because when you give God your heart, He will make you enough. He will make you just as clean and righteous as the One who never sinned, the actual picture of perfection. You are, as the Anima Series says, "cherished, loved, and adored above all things by the Creator of all things."

Give what you have to give, even if it's just a beat on a drum. He'll delight in every tap.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Uncovering Roots

I don't know if y'all know this, but therapy is so. freaking. cathartic.

I know, it probably doesn't seem like a stretch to think that someone who likes to talk as much as I do would enjoy having the chance to talk to someone whose entire job is to listen to me. But seriously, every single week with Yvonne, I've uncovered answers about how things in my past are still cropping up, why my self-esteem is still as screwed up as it is when I have so many incredible people who love me like they do, why certain situations may have triggered my seizures that I never saw as possibly being responsible before now, and on and on.

It's amazing. And relieving. My brain doesn't make much sense to me anymore, for a myriad of reasons. So to have someone who is unbiased sit across from me and point out explanations for things that suddenly make sense once I hear them, it makes me feel like maybe I'm not as crazy as I sometimes feel. Or maybe my insanity is just being validated. Who knows. ;)

I'm beginning to understand why I still feel the need to impress certain people, even when the logical part of my brain knows that they are not the kind of people that I need to impress. Because I still care very much, way more than I need to, about what my friends think of me. And there's this almost constant gnawing fear in my gut that I'm going to mess everything up. Because as much as it infuriates me, everything I heard growing up still has a death grip on my self-esteem, even though I know now that none of it was true and that my friends really do fiercely love me.

I've also begun to find peace with Ryann suddenly cutting me out of her life. (Yeah, that's the friend I lost. I don't know why I was keeping it a secret.) She never told me anything was wrong - in fact she did just the opposite - so her decision to leave is on her. I didn't do anything wrong. And I'm sure as heck not a mind reader, so I can't know that something was wrong unless she told me. Which she didn't. So I need to get the thought out of my head that I could have stopped this or changed it or that it was my fault. Because if there's one thing I know in this situation, it's that I was a good friend to her. I stood by her and supported her no matter what. And sometimes I'm not always going to get the answers that I want, so I just have to accept that she made her choices and focus on the people who won't do what she did.

I understand not only why the Reformation boys scared me so badly in the beginning, and more importantly, how that probably triggered the start of my seizures two years ago. And how that anxiety can still be seen in my relationships with Clayton and Austin today. That could probably be an entire blog post in itself, so I'll just leave it there for now.

It's kind of freaky when a stranger seems to know more about your brain than you do. But it can also make things a lot easier.

There's a lot of stuff I'm still afraid of. Some things I didn't even realize I was still afraid of. People I didn't realize I was so scared of losing. But now I'm starting to uncover some of the roots of these fears, and it feels so freeing.

I guess it's fitting that this is the year my One Word is FEARLESS.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Breaks in the Darkness

God is so good, y'all.

I know my blog posts are bouncing back and forth from happy and good to, well, not so happy and not so good (to put it lightly), but you know, sometimes I'm a little all over the place. And today I'm just really aware of how good God is because he's given me such light in the midst of the darkness of my feelings today and yesterday.

When I was talking to Steven yesterday, I said at two different moments how a) being at church is seemingly the one completely good thing in my life right now and b) I'm so very desperate for a break, and he said something that has stuck with me. "Maybe you should look at this time with us as your break." And that's something that I'm realizing so clearly tonight. Time with my friends IS my break during all of this hard stuff.

Yesterday with Jay. All it took was him saying "Hey Mal" for me to start smiling. He was my escape, even for an hour and a half. For that short block of time, he made me forget everything that was going on and just laugh and smile and have fun with the boy who has known me for seven years and been with me through more than anyone in my life aside from Matt. And I talk to Jay more nowadays than I do Matt. He is so very special to me.

Today, Ashley took me to dinner. Somehow, I've made a girlfriend here who genuinely loves spending time with and will listen to me about anything, even when it's something that isn't in line with "typical" Christian standards. We talk about everything, from the hard stuff to church stuff to silly and light stuff like the cute guys I know at Spiegel. I firmly believe that every woman needs girl time. It's good for the soul. She helps me feel like a normal young woman, like I'm not as different as I've felt my entire life. She is quite easily my best girlfriend here in the city.

And when I got home from that, I got to FaceTime with Clayton. I never laugh harder or feel God more strongly than I do when I am talking to him. I don't know how I could ask more in a best friend. I feel like I tell him the same things over and over again about the hard stuff that I'm feeling, how the dark stuff is affecting me mentally and emotionally and spiritually, and while other people might get bored, he seems to have the patience of a saint in letting me vent my feelings time and time again, no matter how many times I repeat myself over time. He instinctively knows when he just needs to listen and when he needs to pull out his crazy voices and faces and make me laugh. And every time we talk, we end in prayer, and I am so thankful for that. I'll be honest, lately my prayer life has really been lacking because when you're angry you don't always want to talk and when you're sad you don't always know what to say, but when I talk to Clayton, at least then I have a moment where I force myself to talk to the Lord. If only because I don't do it alone.

I'm understanding now that time with my friends, that time is my break from the pain. I am so unbelievably, mind-blowingly lucky and thankful that God isn't letting me walk in this valley in total darkness, that he's not making me do this totally alone. I'm seeing now that this chapter of my life isn't as dark or as lonely as it seems.

And for that, I say SOLI GLORIA DEO.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

When tears are all you have.

I don't know what happened. I felt fine when I went to bed last night, as fine as I've felt in the past couple of months. I was looking forward to today because today was Sunday and that meant it was church day.

And then I woke up today, and as soon as my alarm went off, I felt like I was choking back tears. I could feel the lump in my throat. A huge part of me just wanted to stay in bed because the whole world just felt frightening and intimidating, but I knew I needed to go be with my City Grace family. That is my one mini break in the week, when I get to go be with them. Most of the time, I can forget everything else for a couple of hours and just get caught up in worship and praise and being with people I know love me so dearly.

Not today. Today, I couldn't even muster putting a smile on my face. I couldn't say that I was good when people asked me, because I wasn't, and I just didn't have it in me to pretend for once.

I talked to my friend Jeri before the service, and she prayed over me, and I could tell the dam was about to break because my words kept getting caught in my throat as I tried to tell her what was in my head.

In the beginning of each service, we have a time of greeting each other, and my friend Steven saw me sitting in the back by myself not getting up or talking to anyone, so he came back to give me a big hug and ask me what was up. I told him I couldn't really explain it in the few seconds we had, so I'd talk to him after the service.

And then the music started. And I could barely even sing. Usually the music is my favorite part. Today's songs were even some of my favorites that we do, and I couldn't even get the words out. I just felt so...numb, I guess. And that's terrifying.

The sermon was fine. It didn't really strike any nerve in me, because it was about why singleness is a good thing, mostly if that's what you're called to, and I'm not called to it, so I just couldn't focus on it.

What I didn't know is that today we were doing communion. When I sat down from that, I just had my head down and started tearing up. I so didn't want to start crying there, so I tried to swallow it.

During the last song, though, that was when I lost it. I looked behind me and saw one of our deacons, Keith, standing in the back, so I just got up and went and asked him to pray for me. And that was when the dam broke. I couldn't even finish what I needed to ask him to pray for when the tears started pouring. I cried straight through his prayer and the end of the song, "How He Loves" of my favorite songs. The most beautiful part, though, was that Keith didn't let go. He held his arm around me and I cried on his shoulder as he sang the words of the song over me. Reminding me that God loves me more than I can understand, even in the midst of this chapter that makes no sense whatsoever.

Moments like that, they are when I know that I have a church family that gets it right as much as any people can. They are so, so good to me.

I dried my tears when the service ended, and sat down with Steven to tell him what was going on. We talked for several minutes, and then he prayed for me, too. When he got up, I went outside the theater to just sit for a few minutes and try to gather my emotions, even though I still didn't know what to say.

And then I had a seizure. And I felt like I got punched in the gut all over again. Nothing makes sense. And I still don't know what to say.

Keith asked me how my prayer life was, and when I told him it was like I just didn't know what to say anymore because I'd been praying for the same things for so long with nothing changing, and you know what he said? "Sometimes crying out is enough."

Right now, that's all I've got.

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God with us.

Also the name of my friend at Spiegel. The French bartender who lately has become one of my angels. Making me laugh on my bad days. Teasing me right back every time I tease him. Challenging me by making me practice my French (!!). And lately, also taking care of me during seizures and being a calming presence, my rock, even when I don't what's going on and other people around us are freaking out.

I adore him. I absolutely adore him. Especially on days like today when I have two seizures in his presence, one with him being the only person there, and he's just held me so I was safe and steadied me until I could get to my bed. And never wanted so much as a thank you for it.

But that got me thinking. About all the people in the past two years, since my seizures came back, who have been there for me like that. Who have been my angels. Who have been Jesus with skin on. Who have reminded me of Emmanuel, that God is with me always, to the very end of the age.

My Reformation brothers (most obviously), and Dr. J.

My soccer boys.

Classmates, ones I didn't even know and ones I never expected to care.

Strangers around campus.

Strangers in the subway station.

The folks at the Apple Store.



Joey, one of the regulars at Spiegel I've gotten to know.



Jeri and Matthias.

Christy, Rachel, Jenny, Janelle, all the nurses who happen to be in the City Grace congregation.

My neighbors. Tommy. Vito. Justin. And others.

These people have, in some situations, literally saved my life. They have shown me Jesus. And the funny thing is, several of them are atheists. God really can use anyone, even the ones who don't believe, to show Himself and make His presence known.

And I guess that's why we call Him Emmanuel.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015


This week, I've been looking for anything I can consider a bright spot. I need to do it to keep myself from completely slipping into that dark hole. I was so happy to only have two seizures all of last week, and then I had five in two days this week and I got knocked off my feet again. So these bright spots, they keep me moving forward.

Hugs from my Spiegel guys.

Singing for Clayton on his birthday Tuesday, and the text he sent me in response to the post I put up on Instagram for him.

Emma getting into NYC today.

The Anima Series getting their Kickstarter fully funded. (!!!)

A good appointment with my neurologist today, with more hope than we've had in months.

Encouragement from Ashley.

Managing to stop two seizures from coming on. A big surprise.

And Jay, my sweet British love. We were talking on Facebook yesterday, and I was being honest about how I've been feeling down lately, and he wrote back "We should have a Skype date this weekend. I bet I can make you smile." I told him thank you, that that was exactly what I need, and he said "Anything for you, honey xx."

That interaction reminded me all over again of just how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. Friends who would do absolutely anything if it meant they could make my burdens easier. Friends who will say or do anything necessary to keep me from giving up when they see me slipping. Friends who are hundreds or thousands of miles away but love me and support me like there's no distance at all between us.

No matter what is going on, they are my one constant bright spot in the midst of this hard life.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear my future husband...

You don't know who I am yet, nor do I know who you are, but I want you to know that I spend a lot of time thinking about you. Sometimes too much.

I dream about the day when I finally meet you, wondering whether I'll get that feeling I've heard about that tells me I'm going to marry you long before it's on the radar. I wonder if we'll have some meet-cute like in the movies, or if I'll have no idea what you will come to mean to me when my eyes first lock with yours.

I also wonder if you're someone I've already met, someone I already know and who knows me. I wonder if one day our stories will fall together in a way we never could have imagined in the beginning.

I want you to know that underneath my nervousness and Type A personality and perfectionist tendencies, I will love you the very best I know how, with my whole heart. I will do my very best to honor you and love you every single day.

But I'm not always going to get it right. I know you know that, and I know you're not always going to get it right, either. Right now, I still carry some scars with me that make me terrified that I won't be good enough for you to love me, but I'm working on it. And I have the hope that if you want to marry me, you'll see those scars and help me vanquish them, and not turn and run. We're both a mess, but together, I know we can become better together than we ever could apart.

I pray for you. I pray that whatever stage of life you're in now and whatever you will face before our paths cross, that those experiences will draw you closer to the Lord. That they will stoke that fire in you to serve the Lord and make Him known to the world around you. I pray that you are growing more confident in who you are and the gifts you have been given. I pray that you will continue to learn what it means to be a faithful and servant-hearted son of God and friend to those around you. I pray that your heart grows strong during the tough times, and I pray that you have people around you to lift you up and be your life rafts when the waves get too strong for you on your own.

I wish I could know who you are already.

I want to know your favorite ice cream flavor.
Your biggest phobia.
Your favorite music.
Your favorite sport.
Your dreams.
Your secret desires. The ones hidden deep in your heart.
Your pet peeves.
What makes you angry.
What makes you happy.
What scares you.
What makes you feel loved.
What makes your soul absolutely come alive.

I wish I could know you already. That we could just get on with it. Because I truthfully hate being single. And while I don't need you, I just want you here. I want to know the guy that all of my closest friends say has to be coming for someone as "amazing" as me. I want to know that God has heard my prayers and knows the deepest desires in my heart of becoming a wife and a mother one day. I don't want to have to wonder anymore when you're coming, or if you're coming at all. (Yeah, I'm working on that fear, too.)

But for all my impatience and fears about the future, I know that our God doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't show up late, or forget to give us something (or someone) He has planned for us. And there's growth we both need to find so that when our stories do fall together and our paths do cross, the result will be more intricate, more exquisite, than anything we could force or manufacture on our own.

I don't know who you are, and I don't know when the story of us together will begin, but there are some things I do know and some things I can promise you as we both wait.

I know that you love God.
I know that you are becoming the man God desires for you to be with each day and each step.
I know that you are learning every day, because I know you're as broken as I am.
And I know that I will wait for you. Because I don't care what your hair color is, or how tall you are. I care about my husband loving God even more than he loves me.

And while I'm telling you now that I'm not going to do this all perfectly, here's what I will do when we're together.
I will pray for you, now as I wait, and then when we're doing life together.
I will forgive you no matter your mistakes.
When hard things come, I will fight to hold true to the vows we make.
I will stand by you.
I will never expect you to complete me; I'll save that role for Jesus.
I will be your biggest cheerleader, your strongest confidant, and your partner.
And most of all, I will love you, unconditionally, fully, completely, with everything I have in me to give.

Until we meet, I just want you to know this: My name is Mallory. You can call me Mal. And I love you so very much.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Keep my eyes above the waves.

It seems I don't have much to say these days.

I never imagined there would come a time where I just didn't feel like blogging, but life is full of surprises, I guess.

When every day feels like a battle, sometimes you just have to focus on surviving and put all the other stuff on the back burner.

And that's pretty much what I'm doing these days. Trying to survive.

The good thing is that I know I'm not doing this alone. I've gotten some great time in with friends this week that has helped keep me from giving up and giving in to the stress.

They are what help me keep my eyes above the waves. Because they never let me forget Who is in control, that I am going to be okay, and that I am not alone.

Every day I think I can't be more thankful for my friends, but the next day, I am.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

10 Reasons to Support The Anima Series

Well, hey there, Internet. I'm back from a week-long break from blogging that wasn't entirely intentional, but Mom was here for a week, so I had other priorities. But anyway, more about that later.

Today, I'm going to talk to you about The Anima Series and 10 reasons why you need to donate to their Kickstarter to help them go on tour. They have plenty of info listed on the Kickstarter page here, but I figured it might be nice for people who might consider donating to have reasons from someone who isn't directly involved with the project. Yes, I've helped them out before, but I'm 99% just a supporter. I've very rarely asked for financial donations for anything on this blog, but this is something that is worth it in my eyes.

So here's the deal, for those who may not know exactly what I'm talking about. The Anima Series is a YouTube ministry started by three guys named Jon, DJ, and Danny. They accidentally got sort of famous when their very first video "Who You Are: A Message to All Women" went viral online (yay 21st century). Since then they have two years and countless hours of their lives creating videos to teach people about God, encourage those in dark times, and spread the love of Jesus around the internet. They are based in Chicago and NYC, and this fall, they want to go on tour around the country to share their work and the messages of the Lord with new crowds. But considering they're all in their twenties and basically just started this on accident, they don't have the financial assets to fund this by themselves.

That's where Kickstarter comes in. It's been growing slowly, and if they don't get the full $7,000 they need by the 21st, they get nothing. And y'all, I would not even be writing this post if I did not really, really believe in what they're doing. They still have about $4500 to go, and I desperately want to see them reach their goal so they can make this tour as big and awesome as they can so they can reach as many people as possible in new places that may not know about them and that they can't reach from Chicago and New York. So here are my top 10 reasons that you should support The Anima Series and their Kickstarter.

1. They're not doing this to make themselves famous; they're doing this to make God famous. And those are my favorite kinds of people, I don't know about you. Everything I know about them and everything I've seen them do over the past two years has made it evident that they put in all this effort not just because they like art, but because they know it's for something greater than themselves.

2. They are grateful for every ounce of support they get. Long before they needed this monetary support, they made it crystal clear through their social media that the support they got from people was not unnoticed, and instead it was valued, and they made sure their fans knew how much they were appreciated. And now that they are in financial need, I can assure you that they are not the kind of people to just take your money. Not only do I mean that their Kickstarter has awesome rewards, but I know that they will thank you (more than once, in my experience) and let you know how much you mean to them.

3. They're ridiculously talented. I mean, take a look at any one of their videos and try and tell me they're not powerful. They really are very good at what they do, and I believe that's what they call a worthy investment.

4. They're not just talented. They're entertaining. The videos draw you in, and I can't imagine how much better it will be to see them doing what they do live and just a few feet away. There's no way this show will be a disappointment. I just know it.

5. They're great people. Granted, Jon is the only one I've met in person (and that afternoon is still one of my favorite New York memories, by the way), but I figure that a guy that kind, wise, funny, and personable is going to hang out with people who are just as awesome as he is. But also, I know that they're great people because they've devoted so much of themselves and their time to helping people they don't know, most of whom they will never even meet (which is why they are going on tour!).

6. Jon really is funny. Help them finance this tour, and you get to see him be a goofball in person. :)

7. Did I mention the rewards? Who doesn't like rewards? They have everything from beautiful calligraphy art from Jon's soon-to-be wife Erin to audio versions of some of their most popular videos to T-shirts to guaranteed VIP seating at any stop on the tour. If I had more money to spare, I would totally donate more to get some of this stuff!

8. I firmly believe that it's always good to help people if you are able. I've never had an experience where someone has asked for may help, I've given it, and then it turned out to be a mistake. I just think doing things to help others brings a different kind of light and joy to my life. It might do the same for you, as well.

9. They are really, truly helping people and changing this world for the better. From what I know they have done for me and my faith to the numerous messages I see written to them on their Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram, this crew is making a powerful impact on this generation and in this time. And with all the devastation that has been happening lately and as broken as this world can be, don't you think we need more people who are just trying to spread hope and love and encouragement? That's what they're doing.

10. And last and also probably least, if you like snail mail, I will reward you, too! If you donate to their Kickstarter, I will send you a personal handwritten letter of all sorts of love and affection (depending on how well we know each other, of course). If you don't like snail mail, I'll send it to you via email, Facebook message, a series of elaborate Tweets, an Instagram picture, Morse code, carrier pigeon, however you like it. I don't even know Morse code. I WILL LEARN MORSE CODE FOR YOU. I'm that dedicated to this mission.

They have more than 9 million views on their YouTube channel. If just a tiny fraction of the people who know about them would give even $1 to their Kickstarter, this project would be funded so quickly and they could get the spirit of the Lord to new places and people who may be in desperate need of hope.

Their Kickstarter link, once again, is Please donate whatever amount is possible. Thank you so much for your consideration.

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