I’m Not Okay

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“it has been one of the greatest and most difficult years of my life. i learned everything is temporary. moments. feelings. people. flowers. i learned love is about giving. everything. and letting it hurt. i learned vulnerability is always the right choice because it is easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft. i learned all things come in twos. life and death. pain and joy. salt and sugar. me and you. it is the balance of the universe. it has been the year of hurting so bad but living so good. making friends out of strangers. strangers out of friends. learning mint chocolate chip ice cream will fix just about everything. and for the pains it can’t there will always be my mother’s arms. we must learn to focus on warm energy. always. soak our limbs in it and become better lovers to the world. for if we can’t learn to be kinder to each other how will we ever learn to be kinder to the most desperate parts of ourselves.” – rupi kaur

My sophomore year has been one of the messiest years of my life.

Trust me, I’ve had a lot of messy years (hashtag mental illness starting in seventh grade probs). But this year has absolutely kicked my butt in a way that I thought I was past.

The past two years, I’ve been the strongest that I’ve ever been. My freshman year, even if I didn’t realize it at the time, was 1000% the healthiest and most secure I’ve been mentally. Eating disorder struggles were definitely present being just a few months out of treatment, but man, I was SO STRONG and reliant on the skills that I knew. I had a lot of emotions, but I also knew that no matter how big my emotions were, I was bigger than them still. They didn’t have to control me. I could feel them and honor them, but also still own them. What I was feeling was valid, but that didn’t make my thoughts true. I had all the emotions in the world, but I knew I had ground over them.

Somehow in my sophomore year I lost my ground.

I really don’t know when it started exactly, but probably around the time that I started “dealing” with trauma for the first time. I didn’t know how to relate my skills to those kind of emotions, so I kinda threw everything I knew out the window.

And dang, I crashed and burned pretty quick.

I like it call it, “November/December happened,” because it did. But so did January, February, March, April, and May. All these months I truly thought that I was in the clear. I wasn’t engaging in any self-destructive behaviors, I was pursuing Jesus in deeper ways than I had before, I had my group of people, I was traveling all around the country, trauma wasn’t that bad. I kept telling people that life was the most yellow it had ever been. Now I’m realizing that it definitely wasn’t.

My friend held me accountable me a few weeks back about some patterns that she was seeing in my life. After I truly thought about her words, I texted her a few days later and told her that this past semester was “death masqueraded as life.”

How true that is.

I thought that I was living so good, when in reality I was masking so much underneath.

Towards the beginning of the semester, I was sexually assaulted again. It really, really messed me up for a week or so, but eventually I convinced myself that it was fine and that I was over it. I truly thought that I was… until after my friend confronted me and I traced everything back and realized yup, everything messy and death living started right after that happened.

I had myself so convinced that I didn’t need healing, when all my actions and reactions were SCREAMING for healing.

The strength that I had over my emotions–the ability to validate them, accept them, and then move on from them–disappeared. I became a slave to my own emotions again, and it. was. hell.

Not only did I become a slave to my own emotions, but I also became a slave to the emotions of other people. I put myself in that role for sure, probably due to the guilt of last semester and everything that happened as a result. With everything that I did and every breath I took, I was trying to do this to please one person, worrying about what this other person thought of me, and making sure that I was doing everything “perfectly” for yet another person. I was exhausted, I was a mess, and I was constantly hella anxious, but everything internally felt okay when everything felt okay in my external relationships.

I wasn’t doing anything drastic, but I was grappling at the outside world to numb whatever I was feeling underneath. I was focusing on anything except what was going on inside, trying to convince myself that my problems were coming from anywhere but within myself.

I had myself so convinced that I was okay even though I was constantly anxious and having nearly full-blown panic attacks over little things, such as friends or making plans or work. Basically, to feel okay, I needed someone with me constantly reassuring me, validating me, and reminding me that they didn’t hate me. I knew deep inside that I wasn’t okay at all, so I was trying to make myself feel okay through my relationships with other people. But that only made me feel more broken.

I thought I was okay. I was convincing myself that I was okay. But not only was there so much going on inside of me, I was also allowing my anxiety to create so many outside problems for myself that made me feel even less okay, making me more anxious to focus on the outside world, please people, and ignore what was going on within me emotionally.

This year has been difficult. The whole thing. I wanna say it was only first semester that was messy, but second was just as bad, just in different ways. In more hidden ways, I guess. I wasn’t physically harming my body anymore (praise Jesus), but I was still dealing with the aftermath of last semester and my recent assault by emotionally and mentally putting myself through so much torture.

I’m not sure where to go from here.

Healing, yes.

But healing is daunting.

I’ve spent the past five months pouring everything in me into outside relationships to convince myself that I was okay. How do I pour back into myself? How do I learn how to feel okay within myself, without needing outside validation?

Jesus and I were talking about this yesterday. He reminded me that this isn’t who I am. He reminded me of the days when I was so steadfast in who I was because of who he is. He reminded me that I know how to live a different way.

So, that’s the goal. And to do that, I gotta own the crap that I’ve been feeling, experiencing, and putting myself through for the past five months.

So, hey, friends. I’m not okay. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I am by ignoring everything inside and focusing on everything outside. It worked for a while, until it didn’t (shocking, I know). I have a lot of things that I’ve refused to process or work through. I’ve stuffed these things deep, deep down, but they’re still festering inside and causing so much anxiety in every area of my life. I’ve put way too much into outside relationships so that I didn’t have to focus on myself, but that’s left me even messier and in need of even more healing than before. I’m finally realizing this castle of lies I’ve built for myself over the past few months because it’s lowkey crumbling on top of me.

I so badly want to be okay, but I’m just not. And that is okay. I need to be okay with where I am. Not every season has to be sunshine and yellow. Some seasons are lessons. And I think that’s where I’m at right now.

I’ve said since January that this year is a year of healing. “God’s gonna heal that” has been my mantra. And I’m still believing in that. It’s May, and so much has changed. It’s been a lot of steps and a lot of twists and turns and I haven’t experienced full healing in any area yet, but everything that has happened up until this point have been necessary steps to the full healing that I know is coming.

So, things are messy right now. I’ve spent the past semester ignoring a small fire that has now spread to an even bigger fire. I’ve got a lot of damage control to do. But, I know that I am going to be okay. I’ve spent all semester running and avoiding, and now I’m looking at all of the mess in front of me, and it doesn’t seem as daunting. I see how one thing led to another and how I got here. It’ll be a process, but I’ll get back.

I have peace and joy in knowing that okay is coming.

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Healing is Exhaling

521c44d8e7bad3d6c5e242e7641c1fa1Dear You,

I see you. I see you fighting to take that next breath. I know that it feels like all the wind has been knocked out of you. There’s so much pressure from the void inside your chest that it feels physically impossible to breathe. But you can.

I know that telling you that you are able to breathe doesn’t help. It’s like telling a person who’s drowning to just swim. But I want you to know that you aren’t weak. You aren’t a victim to this. You have power. You are strong. You can control so much of your story.

Whatever it is isn’t bigger than you. I know that you feel small. I know that you feel like you can’t possibly change anything. What’s the point in trying to heal if it’s always going to loom over you? I promise you, it’s not always going to be there. It doesn’t have to at least.

Small steps become a huge long road that you’ve traveled. You might just be barely shuffling your feet, but soon you’re going to look back and you’re going to be one foot, five feet, fifty feet, one mile, two miles, twenty miles from where you started. That one small step might hurt like hell and it might feel like it won’t make a difference, but soon you’ll look back and think wow, I’m glad I took that step.

You gotta heal for you. This thing that is haunting you is only affecting you. Sure, what’s hurting you has somewhat of an effect on the people around you because they care for you, but they’re not the ones waking up in a sweat from a nightmare, having a panic attack when they’re alone in the car, or leaving class early when something triggers it. They’re not affected in the same way that you are, because they are not living what you are living.

I know that you wanna heal for your best friend, your boyfriend, your family, your whoever so that they don’t worry about you. It shows so much of your heart and character that you want to care for them, but that isn’t true healing. That’s just people-pleasing. And that will be the death of you. Probably not your physical, literal death, but it’ll be the death of your real, life-altering healing. 

If you try to heal just so you can please someone else, you aren’t healing. You might feel like you are, but really, you’re just stuffing everything under the rug, placing a coffee table on top of it, and pretending that there aren’t lumps underneath. It might feel okay, but one day you’re going to go to redecorate your living room and you’re going to move that coffee table and rug and everything is going to come right back out.

Healing has to be for you. And you’re the only one who can heal yourself. Your friends can’t heal you; your therapist can’t heal you (WHAT I know isn’t that what you pay them for??). You and God are going to be the only two players on this team against the darkness. But hey, that’s more than enough. Your loved ones will be cheering you on from the sidelines, but you gotta fight this one yourself.

You’re more than capable of this. Whatever it is, someone else has fought the same battle before you. They made it through, and so will you. It won’t be easy, it probably won’t be quick, but it’ll be worth it. 

Real healing, the kind that takes time and uncomfortable effort, is glorious. It’s unlike life that you have ever known. It’s like exhaling a breath that you’ve been holding your entire life.

You can breathe again and finally just be.

This healing is yours.

It’s waiting for you.

It has your name on it.

It’ll hurt at times, but it’ll also be kind and gentle. You can go at your own pace.

Just please, begin.

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“No, Daughter, I Died FOR You”

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Holy Week/Resurrection Weekend. They get me. I’m pretty sure I cry more in these seven days than I do in the entire year (okay, that’s an exaggeration because I’m a very emotional person, but you get my point). They completely wreck me and they leave me undone in the best way possible.

Yesterday my church held a Good Friday service. Instead of being a typical hour long service with a message and worship, it was a come-and-go as you please as you go around to different stations and reflect on different aspects of what happened on Calvary so many years ago.

It wrecked me.

I sat on the floor at one station for the longest time. It was a painting of Jesus, and there was a note that said “look Jesus in the eyes and ask what he feels.” 

I cried. A lot.

It reminded me of the humanity that Jesus existed in. He was fully human when he died, so he felt the full physical and emotional pain of the cross. The cross was gruesome. I cannot fathom the pain. But the emotional pain, y’all. He had been abandoned by his closest friends. He had been given over to die by one of his disciples. Those that he came to save were begging for him to be hung on the cross. We all know what it feels like to be stabbed in the back by a friend. But Jesus experienced the ultimate betrayal.

And if we had been there, if we had been in that crowd, we would have been yelling “crucify him!” right alongside them.

After visiting all the different stations, I came back to the picture of Jesus. I sat down and journaled. I wrote, “Sunday is coming and you have won, but this day is heavy. It is a celebration, but I did this to you. You died because of me.”

Jesus immediate replied,

“No, daughter, I died FOR you.”

Oh my Jesus!!!!!

Hallelujah.

My Jesus reminded me that there is no guilt in the cross, and to cloak what happened on Calvary in our own guilt is to take away what Jesus did.

The cross is about what HE did for US, not what WE did to HIM.

To twist it any other way is to exalt ourselves higher than our Lord and to pretend that we have that much power. We don’t. We didn’t have any control over Good Friday. That was planned and orchestrated all along by God. We have no responsibility in what happened. To think that we did is to give ourselves power that belongs to God. We aren’t that mighty.

Doesn’t that just take a weight off your shoulders?

I’ve been feeling that guilt this Lenten season. I’ve been feeling dirty and unworthy of my Jesus. I’ve labeled my mess bigger than the cross. In all honesty, I’ve been feeling more grief in the cross than joy. Because when I’ve looked at the cross, I’ve been seeing what I did, not what Jesus did.

I’ve been looking at the cross and seeing my sins, not his forgiveness.

Oh, but that’s not what it is.

I’m thankful for the humbling nature of the cross.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that Jesus was put on the cross because of us. I don’t deny that it is my sins that put him there. But he chose to be there. My sins were not a bondage that held him there. He could have saved us another way. He could have had a legion of angels come rescue him from the pain of the cross. But he stayed. Because he wanted to show the crowd (and every other human to exist for the rest of eternity) that his love for them was so much greater. The cross was radical declaration of love that was literally the laying down of his life for us. He could have chosen another way. Yet he decided to completely give himself away to show us how much we are worth to him. He died so that we could live. THAT is love.

Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

It’s Saturday.

We’re almost to Sunday. We’re almost to the resurrection. We’re almost there.

But he’s in the waiting.

Saturday was dark. Saturday was painful and lonely for his followers. Their first full day without their Savior.

But we can exist in the Saturday in hope because we know that SUNDAY IS COMING.

Today I am thankful that we can rejoice in resurrection life while we wait for Sunday to come. 

Hallelujah.

How much that reflects my everyday life. I feel like I’m in a season where I’ve experienced the pain, but I haven’t yet experienced the glory and resurrection. I’m in a season of waiting between the two. I’m living in the Saturday. It’s frustrating and it can be really dark and lonely, but I can have hope in the Sunday that is going to come.

Hallelujah for how the resurrection is reflected into our normal, everyday lives!!

Crying at my Jesus and the beauty of his resurrection and the selfless, recklessness of his love.

Amen, amen, amen.

Thank you for pouring our your love. Thank you for reminding me that their is no guilt in the cross. Thank you for the hope in the waiting for Sunday.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I can’t say it enough.

Thank you.

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Dreaming of Malibu

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If the stars were made to worship, so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence, so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness, so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high, so will I
If the wind goes where You send it, so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence, so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

I can’t. stop. thinking. about Malibu.

And Redding, and really just California as a whole, but Malibu. I’ve never seen anything like it.

If you didn’t know, I was blessed to have been able to travel to California twice this past month. A few weeks ago I spent a long weekend in Redding to go to Bethel Church, and last week I went to Los Angeles for spring break. And wow, Cali stole a piece of my heart.

I had such a blast in both places doing so many new things, but the views, y’all. The nature. The beauty of all of the creation. I still can’t get over it.

On Thursday of our spring break, Kayley and I rented a car and drove the Pacific Coast Highway up to Malibu and spent our day exploring the cutest little beach town I’ve ever seen. We stood in the Pacific Ocean, had a dance party on the side of a canyon, sat on top of a mountain, played on rocky beaches, and just had a really, really awesome day. One of the best days of my life.

And all I could say was, “wow.”

Seriously. Pretty sure at least 60% of conversations in Malibu started with “wow” or “oh my gosh.” We couldn’t find words to vocalize what we were seeing. All we could do was scream at the top of our lungs or happy dance or run or just sit speechless. It was beautiful.

At one point, as we were standing alongside Malibu Canyon Road, Jesus started talking to me.

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Malibu Canyon Road

I had spent all day obsessing over the creation, but I had yet to turn it all back to the Creator.

Mid-sentence, as I was saying how breathtaking the view was, Jesus stopped me in my tracks and said, “I made this just for you.”

He pointed out a short little palm tree in the gorge of the canyon and said, “I made all of this for you to enjoy. I made that tree just to make your smile. I formed this canyon with my hands knowing that you would come visit it one day. I made this for you to see me.

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This was the view that I was looking at when Jesus said the quote above. See that cute lil palm tree? Thanks, Jesus.

I was vocalizing all of this to Kayley and Jesus spoke into my heart again and said, “and I’m glorified through your amazement of my creation.”

WHAT!!

My speechlessness and inability to say anything besides “wow” is LITERAL PRAISE to my God.

He is glorified when we appreciate what he created for us.

He is honored when we give credit back to him.

He is worshipped when we stand in awe at what he has done.

That blows my mind.

Me standing on the edge of a canyon, dancing around with tears in my eyes, was praise to my Jesus. The amount of times that I screamed and said “wow” and made Kayley pull over just so I could get out of the car and take the scenery in was worship. Me looking out and pointing the creation back to the Creator was exaltation.

Me simply living and enjoying what God made for me was the same kind of praise that happens when I worship in a church. He is glorified just by me soaking in what he made.

What a good, good Father.

If creation sings your praises, so will I.

Jesus, your praise will literally ever be on my lips.

Let me never forget that the creation is yours. Let me not only see its beauty, but also see you in it. Let me forever be in awe of what you have made. Let me never forget that you created it just for me. That you thought of me when you made the mountains of Tennessee and the beaches of Malibu and everything in between. Let me forever worship you when I see the earth. Let me cherish what I have been given. Let your praise ever be on my lips, even if it is just a simple “wow.” Let me always point it back to you.

Amen amen amen.

Now, let’s go back to Malibu??? Please?

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to proclaim freedom for the captives // NEDA week 2018

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“May you learn to embrace the freedom that has long been your calling so you can liberate courage in others so they can do the same.”

Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018!!! This is my favorite week of the year because it feels like Christmas for one of the things most near and dear to my heart. (PS, read all the way to the bottom to get a fun lil surprise!)

Really if you follow my social media, you’d think that every week is NEDA week because I never shut up about freedom. I am always so vocal about this. I live in a constant state of vulnerability and being seen for all that I am. And just YES to that. Yes to never being silent.

Early on in my walk with Jesus, he (and my mentor) proclaimed Isaiah 61 over my life.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

….

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.”

Isaiah 61:1,3

Those verses light a fire under me like nothing else. YES. Let me proclaim FREEDOM for the captives and RELEASE FROM DARKNESS for the prisoners. Let bestow on them a CROWN OF BEAUTY instead of ashes and the OIL OF JOY instead of mourning.

If my purpose in this life is to proclaim good news and truth to those around me, then heck yeah, let me lean right into that. I am all about it. Let me be an instrument of freedom and healing for my God.

I’m pretty known around my school and really just life in general for being the girl in recovery or the girl with the blog or the girl who shares a lot of her personal life on social media. And honestly, I am so so okay with those titles. This is what Jesus has called me to, so hallelujah that this is what I am being known as. Hallelujah that I am not wasting my purpose.

I was talking to my friend the other day and I told her that I am apart of the “Glennon Doyle and Brene Brown world,” so I am 1000% about leaning into and living in vulnerability. Which I mean, that’s true, Glennon and Brene are both heading an awesome movement of living authentically and being vulnerable, but Jesus led this movement first. LITERALLY JUST LOOK AT THE VERSES ABOVE. Jesus is calling us to live in vulnerability.

We are called to speak truth into others. To break each other’s chains. To lead others into freedom!!!

“As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.”

This looks different for everyone for sure, but for me, Jesus has called me to be open and vulnerable through my blog and through Instagram. Through this, I have met so, so many amazing people that I have joined hands with and walked this journey with. I have mentored girls, helped people research/apply to/get admitted to treatment, and made friends all over the world (yes literally, the world–absolute craziness). Through my vulnerability and openness, I have helped walk people into freedom. And that is the most humbling, amazing feeling.

It is honestly the most humbling moment when I get a Facebook friend/message request or Instagram DM or email through my blog that starts with, “Hey so I know I don’t know you, but…” and then goes into how I inspired them, how I encouraged them to get treatment, how I helped them choose recovery. Literally WHAT. I am a mess of a human, and I fail this whole Christian and recovery thing daily, but Jesus uses my messy, rambling Instagram captions and creates them into megaphone for freedom for his glory. I don’t say this to toot my own horn (I really don’t know how my words mean so much to people I don’t even know), but I say this to show what Jesus does when you lean into your God-given purpose. It’s amazing.

It blows my mind and fills my heart with unexplainable JOY that this is the life that I am called to. My purpose in life is literally to help walk people into freedom. To say hey, me too. but it’s possible to get through this. let me walk with you. That is my calling as a Christian/friend/advocate, but it is also my calling as a future social worker. I CANNOT WAIT. 

Two years ago before treatment I would have never imagined that I would be where I am now. I would have never imagined that I would ever actually be in recovery and living life without my eating disorder, but I would have especially never imagined that I would be so vocal about such dark things.

The past year and a half has taught me that I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m ready to run straight into it. I’m ready to hand flashlights to those living in that darkness and say, “here’s a light. You can do this. I’ll be here to help and encourage and show you that you’re not alone in this, but you are capable of saving yourself.”

Hallelujah for vulnerability. Hallelujah that Jesus broke my fear of being seen. Hallelujah that he is using me as an instrument of freedom. Hallelujah for the freedom that he gave me. Hallelujah that he gives it freely to everyone who asks for it. Hallelujah for it all. 

I’ll never be quiet about recovery. This thing is too good. 

“I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.”


To celebrate NEDA week, I created a recovery-focused, empowering-as-heck playlist!! I’ve been hardcore jamming to it, so I hope that y’all do the same. 🙂 

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The Valley of Achor // A Door of Hope

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What. A. Life.

Flashback to January 10, the third day of classes of the semester.

I spent all day on phone call after phone call, first to my therapist, then to my parents, then to multiple treatment centers all over the country, then to professors in my department at school, then repeat the cycle all over again.

I was set + ready + prepared to medically withdraw from school and head to treatment by the end of the week.

Things were hard. Not as hard as last semester (thank God), but the challenges of last semester left lasting repercussions that just made life hurt. There were a lot of changes to my life at school, and I was still slowly adjusting to my new medication and coming out of the funk that I had found myself in. Sleeping was hard, eating was even harder, and I was low-key crying at least once every hour. I was a mess.

After planning literally everything out–when my parents would come to move me out of my dorm, treatment admit dates, and bookmarking potential one-way flights to whichever city I ended up in–we decided to put all those plans on pause.

A lot of things contributed to that decision, but looking back, I can see God using that as a way to say Wait. I have something great plan. Restoration you didn’t believe possible. Restoration you didn’t know was needed. Wait. You’re going to want to be here for this.

So I waited. And things were still sad. I still cried. The adjustment period back to my new school normal was weird. But I put in effort in areas that I believed would help (blog post about there here). And boy, has that intentionality CHANGED MY LIFE in literally the past three weeks.

God has closed doors that were painful, but he has opened so many and done so many new things in this season that I can’t help but scream to everyone that will listen JESUS IS HERE AND HE IS MOVING SO MIGHTILY. 

Literally. Anyone that will give me a second to talk will definitely hear me ramble about the goodness of the Lord and his sovereignty over every situation, especially in this specific season of my life. #BLESSED

Just to give you an idea of how he’s moving, here’s a short rundown of some of the ways he is moving SO big.

  • Restoration. God is restoring things that I thought were broken. “He’s not just reviving, not simply restoring, greater things have yet to come.” YES. Our God is a redemptive God. And wow, he is pouring out the redemption and grace on me right now. Hallelujah.
  • Community. Oh man. THIS is where it’s really big. He has blossomed SO many new relationships in my life. Seriously. And these relationships are literally just falling in my lap in the most God ordained ways possible. Ways I never even imagined. God is answering prayers that I’ve literally prayed for since before freshman year in SUCH a tangible way. I’ve been crazy busy this semester because literally all of my time is spent getting coffee with this person or going to that club meeting or going over for dinner at someone’s house. So many friend crushes are becoming real life relationships, and so many people that I have never even met before are becoming so special and dear to me. My community has EXPLODED. I’ve never felt this surrounded. I am amazed.
  • Bethel Church. Jesus is wild. Living with Jesus is crazy. But it is SO GOOD. The trip is still in the works, but it looks like I’ll be hopping on a plane to California the first weekend of March with some of my ministry besties to go spend the weekend at Bethel Church. What!! It’s always been a dream of mine to go there. What started as a conversation about true healing in the Lord with a close friend turned to a hypothetical conversation about flying out to Bethel which turned to actual real plans. I’m still amazed by it. I’ve never been to California, but God has opened so many doors and I will literally be going to California twice in ONE week (this trip and then a few days later for spring break). Wow.
  • Apartment. When I went to Carolina House, I didn’t expect to meet my best friends. And I really didn’t expect for one of my CH best friends to move to Nashville a few months later. And I definitely didn’t expect to become roommates with that best friend. BUT JESUS KNEW. And in just a few short months, that will all become a reality!! Watch out world, Queen K and I are moving into an apartment together. We’re getting a sign that says “Eat or Die” to put in our kitchen. I can’t wait to live with my bff and lay on the couch with her and watch Gilmore Girls every night. This journey of recovery has blessed me in more ways than I can even count.
  • Freedom. Chalk it up to my last blog post, but I have never felt this free in my life. I’ve experienced SO much freedom since I met Jesus, but a part of my soul has always been tied and bound to the shame connected to my trauma. But no longer. Now I’m refusing to let it have a hold on me. It has no more power. I have never felt this light in my life. I can’t wait to keep stepping into this abundant freedom!
  • Conversations. This one definitely relates back to community, but WOW, have I been able to have some really awesome conversations! About Jesus, about mental health, about life. With strangers (now friends!), with old acquaintances, with some of my bffs. My heart has never been so full of joy and hope. 

As you can see, Jesus is blessing me SO big. He is moving so much that WOW my mind cannot even keep up. Literally I have two group messages with two of my closest bff groups and I feel like everyday I’m texting them and being like “listen to this crazy thing that God did in my life just now!!!!” 

And that is such a change from just a few weeks ago. Literally two weeks ago today was when I was about to withdraw from school. That is crazy for me to think about because I am literally WORLDS away from where I was then.

And that’s not to say that everything is perfect. It’s not.

Some things are still different and weird, and though I’m adjusting to this new normal and honestly thriving in it, it’s sometimes still sad.

Trauma is still hard sometime and I definitely had to walk out of my human sexuality class yesterday because it got slightly too real, but it does NOT have a hold on me anymore. I’m no longer bound to it. But it is still there and I do still have to deal with it.

And I really could list out other things that aren’t “perfect,” but why? There is so much good.

All I can say is that I’m glad I stayed at school.

I’m thankful for the uncomfortable changes that this semester brought.

Because I can say with 100% certainty and conviction that none of the things that I listed above would have EVER happened if things were still the same as last semester.

The changes that this semester brought has majorly pushed me out of my comfort zone, but God met me there. With so many gifts. He’s such a good father to me. He was like, “this is going to hurt, and it’s really going to stretch you, but here. Look what I have for you. Here’s the friend you met at church. Here’s the girls that reached out to you on Instagram. Here’s the trip to California. Here, here, here.” So many gifts that I never expected. So many things that would have never happened if it weren’t for the changes. Wow.

Jesus really took me through the valleys the past few months. But now he’s slowly but surely leading me up to a mountaintop. Halle-freaking-lujah. 

This has been one of the hardest seasons of life. I remember sobbing to my bff Mere on the phone on the first day of classes, “I don’t think that anything has ever hurt this bad.” And just two days ago on the phone with her again I said, “I have never felt joy or peace this deeply.” Yes, Jesus.

God broke me to rebuild me. And it’s been the most glorious process.

I have never felt joy like this because I have never been so out of control of what’s happening in my life, but still able to see Jesus in the midst of it all. I have no hand in what is happening anymore. I’m just watching it all unfold. I have given up all control to him, and wow. FREEDOM. 

I’m glad I didn’t withdraw from school this semester. I would have missed out on so many blessings that I didn’t even think were possible. But God knew. He knew what he was going to do.

I’m so thankful to have a Father that loves me so well. That pursues me like he does. He wants to woo his children.

Hosea 2:14-15 has been ringing in my heart all week and I feel like it really sums up my life right now.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”

The word “Achor” means “trouble.” LITERALLY GOD WILL MAKE THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE A DOOR OF HOPE. Amen. Yes. Hallelujah. God took me out into the wilderness. He pursued me. He wooed me. And he made the mess of my life into so much pure hope and joy. 

Yes, Jesus.

I can’t stop dancing. I can’t stop talking about Jesus to everyone. I can’t stop asking the Holy Spirit to come and move. I. Just. Can’t. Stop. 

Peace be still,

say the word and I will

set my feet upon the sea,

till I’m dancing in the deep.

YES. I’m dancing in the deep with you, Jesus. 

Amen.

Amen.

Amen.

This song is my life song right now. All of it. The lyrics. Wow. Yes. “I’ve lost control but I’m free.” All the yes.

Hold out for Jesus, y’all. This season might hurt. It might be the worst season of life that you’ve ever had to walk through. You might feel so extremely alone. But Jesus is there. He’s waiting. He’s got you. Hold out for the promise. It is so unbelievably worth it.

(Also, just for completely transparency here, I’m sitting in the student center absolutely SOBBING as I write this. I am so overwhelmed by Jesus. And I’m listening to the above song. I am SO beautifully in over my head!!!!)

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Jesus Says,

ba00ba304c68951e2eda78201df2b7a7“Jesus, I’m really scared of what the things that are happening in my life right now say about me as a person.”

Beloved, it says nothing about you. Nothing in this world says anything about you–it may try, but the words fall right off of you. This world cannot define you because I define you. I created you and formed you, and I have loved you from the very beginning. This love covers all that you are and spills into everything that you do. Life is messy right now. Some seasons of life are, that is simply fact. But you are not the mess. And the mess does not make you messy. The situations that you are in do not define you. When are you going to stop making what other people say about you more than what I did for you? Stop putting more power into your shame and guilt instead of allowing me to hold that power in your life. Who are you to say that your words about yourself are more true than the words that I say about you? I made you! I know you more deeply and intricately than you even know yourself. I know you fully, yet I still love you deeply. I know every part of you, yet I still want you. I have always wanted you, even in your darkest and messiest moments. Why would I stop wanting you now? You are allowing your shame and insecurity play god in your life, when I am the only one who can hold that role. I am the only one who can define you, beloved. The lies that you hear–from the world and from your own lips–cannot stand before the truths that I proclaim. My whispers roar stronger than the world’s loudest screams. They hold no truths. Only I do. I am the truth-keeper, so anything that does not come from me is not true. Listen to me. Let the labels that you have placed on yourself fall off. Come sit in my lap. Put your head against my chest. You are safe here. You are loved here. You matter here. There is no place more important than being here with me. You are more than the pain and shame. You have hope and healing inside of you because of who I am in you. I love you. Listen to me. Ignore the world. Just listen to me.

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