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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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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Healing Started (even though it didn’t feel like it)

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For this blog post I will be following the same format as “What I Do Know” because #relatable. 


I’m not exactly sure how it all started.

I remember sitting on my boyfriend’s bed. Looking at a four year calendar, trying to plan where we’d fit a wedding in between college graduations and grad school beginnings and moves away from Nashville (NC, I’m coming for you!).

Our talk of marriage led to talk of children.

I wanted to adopt. He didn’t. We had had this conversation before. This time was different. The conversation escalated to “I don’t think it’s fair that you get to plan the rest of our lives based off of the fact that you refuse to deal with your trauma.” What? I had dealt with my trauma. It had been 15 years. I’m fine. I’m never having sex and that’s fine and normal. Leave me alone.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but things got hard. My nightmares that were a rare occasion (maybe once a month) became every night. I pulled myself away. I missed class and work and church because all I could do was lay in bed and stare at the wall.

If I left my room I wanted to be in the baggiest clothes possible. Maybe hiding my body would protect me from the abuse that I was sure would happen again. If a boy even looked at me, I cried. Johnson 374 quickly became the only four walls I saw everyday.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but one night I wrote my roommate a note. “I can’t hold this story inside me any longer. Can I tell you what happened?”

She sat in her bed. I made her face the wall. I sat in my bed, under every blanket I owned, and told her my story. I cried. I shook. My voice quaked. But I told my story.

Afterwards I walked on my desk over to her bed (best pathway to get over there). She hugged me. I cried more. I felt exposed and vulnerable and dirty, but I felt truly seen for the first time.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but my medicine stopped working. My low dose antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds could no longer stand up to the strong emotions that trauma brought on.

I became manic.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but I drove to Kentucky one day without telling anyone where I was going.

I fell back into the same coping mechanism that I used when I first remembered the abuse when I was 13.

I cut for the first time since 2014.

I don’t know what I was trying to do. I don’t know if I was trying to numb my pain, or if I was trying to feel something. I don’t know. I don’t know if I was in so much pain that everything hurt, or if I was in so much pain that nothing hurt. I don’t know. But tearing apart my skin made everything stop, even if just for a moment.

It gave me a second to catch my breath, only to leave me suffocating even more just moments later. But the second was enough.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but I tried to kill myself.

All I could do was feel his hands. I wanted out of my body. I wanted it to all just stop.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but I drove myself to the psychiatric hospital.

My roommate sat with me in the waiting room for three hours as we talked to doctor after doctor. We tried to joke, we took stupid pictures to “commemorate the moment,” and we called two of my other best friends, but it was heavy.

One of the hardest moments was when they came and told me that they were ready to take me upstairs. Kayley and I stood up. She promised she’d go straight back to the dorm and bring me clothes and toiletries and my journal. We hugged. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to be left alone. This drop-off was a heck of a lot harder than the Carolina House drop-off.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but I spent the next five days in the mood unit of the psychiatric hospital.

I journaled. I colored. I sat through stupid, unhelpful groups. I made friends. I joked and laughed and rolled my eyes at other patients. I watched way too much tv. I  sat on the window sill and eaves-dropped on too many conversations between the nurses.

My friends visited. My boyfriend, my roommate, my CH bestie, my old RAs. They brought my favorite foods so I didn’t have to eat gross hospital food. They loved me so well. They were tangible representations of Jesus and how he comes when we are broken and loves us just the same.

One night was hard. I wanted to cut. I doodled on my thighs as a way to calm my anxiety. I had written “I really want to cut right now, but I am not going to” in big letters across my leg. My nurse saw what I was doing. He brought me more pens. “I thought you might want some more colors. You’re being really brave right now, you know. Keep it up.”

My doctors changed my medicine. Things were looking up. I wasn’t feeling suicidal anymore. I felt sad and overwhelmed, but I just wanted out of those white hospital walls.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but I discharged from the hospital.

It was exam week. I almost made it through the week. I went to work, studied my butt off, and took my exams. I took my new medicine. I went to my appointments. But I cried a lot. And I stayed in bed a lot.

I’m not exactly sure how it all started, but my relationships began to fall apart.

It hurt. It was hard. It still is. Those relationships still aren’t here, and if they are, they aren’t the same as they were.

Everything happened so quick. Fifteen years of brick walls enforced with steel crumbled in the matter of weeks. I’m not exactly sure how it all started.

Except I do know how it all started.

It started when I was five.

It started behind my church.

It started when I was thirteen.

It started in the alcove of my bedroom, having a panic attack remembering what happened, convincing myself that it would happen again.

It started when I was fifteen.

It started when I decided I would adopt kids, because I was [am] too afraid of sex. I never wanted my body to be that vulnerable again.

It started when I was seventeen.

It started when I entered my first relationship and had to choose–will I deal with my trauma or stuff it down? I chose to stuff it down.

It started when I was eighteen.

It started when I woke up sobbing at Carolina House because I had my first nightmare of trauma, thanks to my brain being nourished and coming alive again.

It started when I was twenty.

It started when my boyfriend confronted me about my trauma.

It started when I became so sad that I stopped eating and going to classes.

It started when I wanted to keep the lights off all day, even though my roommate and I used to argue about how I wanted the lights on all the time.

It started when my medicine stopped working, but I was too scared to go to my male psychiatrist to get a medication change.

It started when I went to Walgreens and bought a blade for the first time in almost four years.

It started when I swallowed too many pills.

It started when I stopped sharing my location services with my friends.

It started when I knew the psych hospital was the only thing that would keep me alive through the weekend.

I know how the pain started.

But something else started–healing.

Healing started.

Healing started when I became angry with my boyfriend for bringing up my trauma, but later realized he was right.

Healing started when I let my story cross my lips for the first time to my roommate.

Healing started when I signed up for a Bible class the following semester taught by a professor whose doctoral thesis was on sexual abuse and how that affects faith.

Healing started when I signed up to begin trauma therapy.

Healing started when I got rid of my blades (again, and again, and again).

Healing started when I texted someone when I felt unsafe with my thoughts.

Healing started when I began searching for a new psychiatrist.

Healing started when I drove with P!nk’s “I Am Here” blasting.

Healing started when #MeToo happened.

Healing started when I read Rupi Kaur’s poetry.

Healing started when I decided that I needed to go to the hospital.

Healing started when I chose to eat at the hospital, despite a nurse upon learning about my eating disorder telling me “I can get you some fruit” because she assumed I would want that instead of the mac n cheese.

Healing started when I drew on my legs instead of cutting.

Healing started when I sat on the window sill and colored with my wacky shack friends.

Healing started when I discharged and came home.

Healing started when I was gentle with myself.

Healing started when I actually studied for my finals.

Healing started when I cried when my boyfriend broke up with me.

Healing started when I went to work the next day.

Healing started when I didn’t cut from heartbreak.

Healing started when I decided to live, despite all odds.

Healing started when I decided that staying was worth it.

Healing started when I decided that what happened fifteen years ago was not going to have a say in my future.

Healing started when I chose me.

Healing is still happening.

If we’re being honest, I still haven’t begun trauma work. I had to get stable on my medicines before I could. But I’m starting soon. And I’m scared. But I’m choosing life.

It’ll be hard and it’ll hurt. But I’m not going to try to destroy myself as a way to cope. I’m choosing to live, no matter the pain in the progress, because I’m choosing to believe that healing IS possible.

I haven’t believed that my whole life. I thought it wasn’t meant for me.

But I’m going to make it meant for me.

Healing is mine.

Healing started. Healing is happening.

Healing is going to be how my story ends.

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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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God’s Gonna Heal That

0dae0248249bb6069d07035bbe25c90a12 days into it, and 2018 has already been a year of hurt. But I decided on December 31 that 2018 was going to be a year of healing, and here I am on January 12 still proclaiming that.

My motto for this year is “God’s gonna heal that.”

I feel it in my bones/soul/very core that this year is the year of healing from trauma.

Maybe chalk that up to the vulnerability and beauty that is the #MeToo campaign, or inspiring friends who have walked the path before you and are willing to walk it with you, or the wake-up call of broken relationships due to your denial/fear of healing, but whatever the reason, healing is coming.

It’s going to be messy and hard and there’s no perfect way to do it.

I’m going to want to quit, but I luckily have a killer support system of strong women who will push me and challenge me when needed, but also be gentle and patient in other moments.

Despite how it feels, I’m not alone in this.

Millions of people have walked this path before me (as sad as that is).

I am not alone.

Healing is coming.

It’ll hurt, it’ll be hard, it’ll suck so bad.

But it’s coming.

And it’s going to be beautiful and glorious.

Last night I decided to sit down and make a game plan for myself. It’s been quite a week with lots of big decisions being made regarding this healing process, so I decided to set goals for myself and made plans for how I’m going to make this happen, because gosh darn it, I’m going to heal from this in 2018 no matter what it takes!!

My list is pretty simple. Obviously there are bigger action plans, but I wanted to make a list of small, tangible things I can do each day in order to make a difference.

How I’m Going to Heal in 2018:

  1. Journaling, everyday
  2. 3 meals + 3 snacks
  3. Set up regular appointments with your entire treatment team and actually go to them
  4. Slow mornings & evenings
  5. Stay out of the dorm for at least two hours everyday (class time not included)
  6. Intentional friendships
  7. Have intentional plans to see at least one person everyday
  8. At least eight hours of sleep
  9. Cry & feel
  10. Do art–make things, be creative
  11. Set boundaries FOR YOURSELF regarding your friendships
  12. No dating
  13. Read more
  14. Write in my planner/cross things off when done/stay on top of things
  15. Look into different group and other outpatient opportunities
  16. Get plugged in at college group
  17. Give yourself grace & time to rest/be alone
  18. Trust the process
  19. Stay busy, but not so busy that you’re avoiding
  20. Focus on yourself & put healing FIRST
  21. Listen to good music
  22. Only allow things/people into your life that add to it

And that’s it! Those are my big healing plans for 2018.

So ready +scared + excited + nervous + expectant for this.

Let’s go.

God’s gonna heal this!!

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My 2017 Saving Graces

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I don’t know how we’re already at the end of 2017, but here we are. And I am so thankful for that, because man, 2017 has been one heck of a year and I am ready to leave it all behind. Trust me, I know the clock striking midnight on December 31 isn’t as momentous as we make it seem–nothing actually changes unless we make the change. But it’s nice to have the clean slate and fresh start. And I am so. dang. ready. for that.

While reflecting back on the year, I really kept thinking of my saving graces that kept me sane, happy, healthy, and alive. They range from the smallest of things such as blog posts and songs all the way up to people in my life and moments that I lived. So many things in 2017 that reminded me stay here. you got this. we’ll make it through. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite saving graces from the year. There have been so, so many, but this is just a small handful that leave me saying YES YES YES every time I read/listen to/hang out with/remember them.

Blog Posts

“Good Morning Baltimore”–Hannah Brencher — Forever and always my favorite blog post. I seriously go back and read it at least once a week. I hang onto the hope that it offers when I can’t see an end in sight. So. Good.

“What I Do Know”–TWLOHA — “I’m not sure how it all started”–something I feel like I’ve said a thousand times the past few months. “I was choosing to believe I mattered enough to do the work that had to follow, even if those upcoming years looked daunting, even if the waves around me were more terrifying than ever before—those scary things meant I had hope. … I was taking healing into my own hands because I deserved it. It’s OK that I can’t remember, it’s OK that I’m unsure of how it all started. Because I do know how my healing started. It began with a decision to stay.”

“The Pain is the Price of Admission”–TWLOHA — “The pain comes with the joy. It’s the labor before the birth. The night before the dawn. The storm that soaks the soil before the bloom. You can’t let one in without the other either, I know. … You can’t run away from the pain and live. The pain is as much a part of the process as the joy is. They are not opposites, not even close: The pain is just the other side of the same life coin.”

“This Is Survival”–Aly Raisman — Blog post written by Aly Raisman about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her Olympic doctor. At the end of her post she shares her victim statement that she wrote for her abuser’s sentencing hearing. Powerful as heck.

“Promise Me Tomorrow”–TWLOHA — “Tomorrow is a place where we can figure out a better way to cope with living and tomorrow is a place where, one day, we won’t be coping – we’ll be living.”

People

Peggy + Lindsay–literally never underestimate the relationships you have with your freshman year RA(s). Peggy and Lindsay have been literal gold to me this year, and I am forever thankful. It takes some pretty special people to drop life just to bring you Panera when things are hard. Thanks for always answering my texts, phone calls, FaceTimes, and for letting me crash in Elam. I love y’all more than words can explain! (Also, Peggy, we have no pictures together. What the heck.)

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CH girlies always and forever!!–Mere, Kristin, Mandy, wow. I will never get over the friendship that I have in y’all. Thank you for keeping me grounded and for always inspiring me to walk out the freedom that I found with y’all!

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Lauren–my go-to, always and forever. Roomie bff. Yes. I love you. Always. Thanks for always answering my FaceTime calls when I’m sobbing and making jokes about whatever I’m crying about (that most people would find offensive but I love because they make me laugh). Thank you for always pulling me out of my head, even from a gazillion miles away.

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Kayley + Andrew + John–the most present, hands-on people in my life this semester. What a ride. But literally would not have been able to do it without y’all. Thank you. (Also, no picture of the four of us exists??)

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Michael + Amari–thankful for people that keep you grounded and laughing in even the most unfortunate circumstances. Let’s never go back, but thankful to have met y’all. Thanks for the jokes and coloring and… well that’s pretty much all we did, so thanks for the jokes and coloring!

Songs

Moments

Spring Break in CT–I said it a lot while I was there, but I was hardcore living my happy life up in New England. The blizzard, the rocky beaches, the roomie bffs reunited… it was all too good.

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One Year in Recovery!!–one year killing it in recovery from anorexia. Need I say more?

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Nannying Wyatt–honestly the highlight of my life. Nannying Wyatt was my greatest joy from summer 2017. SO. MUCH. HAPPINESS.

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Chrysalis–Chrysalis is always a highlight. Jesus is so present in that community of people. I am always grateful for a weekend that leaves me completely undone by the Holy Spirit and completely filled to the brim with Jesus joy. I always leave the weekend full of spiritual rest (def not physical rest) and with new eyes to see what the Lord is doing in my current season of life.

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Carolina House Alumni Retreat–what a blessing. Words cannot describe how it felt to be back at the place that saved my life with the people that my life was saved with. And finally getting to hug and meet McCall… best thing ever.

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Glennon Doyle!–I GOT TO MEET AND HUG MY (S)HERO AND I CRIED SO MUCH. Thanks for teaching me how to always show up and be brave and for always reminding me that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!!

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NYC–honestly the calm before the storm of the end of the semester. Thanks, Jesus, for that one.

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All the Car Rides with Kay–loud music somehow makes all the broken pieces feel together. #blessed

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Etc.

Pinterest Quotes

“Home” by Rupi Kaur

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#MeToo

Peace out, 2017. I am SO ready for you, 2018!!!

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This Hurts.

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Sometimes you can only utter a one or two word prayer to God. That’s okay. He hears them and sees them and acknowledges them just the same. My prayer this week has been this hurts. It hurts it hurts it hurts. I’ve whispered it over and over and over again until the tears stop flowing and I fall asleep. I’ve screamed it over and over and over again while making the drive home from Nashville to Knoxville. I’ve cried it out time and time again over the past week. God doesn’t hear my prayer any different than he did last Tuesday. He still hears it with the same urgency and love and gentleness that he did the first time I cried that it hurts. He still cares the same as he did then. My tears are prayers to him too. Sometimes the words don’t come, but the tears do. And he knows. He knows what they mean. He knows what my heart is crying for. He knows. I don’t have to pray long, eloquent prayers for God to understand my pain. I couldn’t even do that if I wanted to. But God is in the pain with me. All he wants me to do is talk to him. And if all I can muster up is this hurts, then so be it. That is enough. He hears me. He sees me. He cries with me. My two little words are enough for the God of the universe. They are enough. I am enough. I. Am. Enough.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 

Romans 8:26-27

Honestly not sure why I’m sharing this blog post. It’s short and quick and doesn’t have much of a point, but I guess I feel like someone else out there needs to hear that you don’t have to have big fancy prayers to God. Sometimes life really hurts. And sometimes we can barely muster the words to explain what is happening. God doesn’t care what our words are. He cares about us. He wants to hear us. Whether your prayer be please or this hurts or help me or even I’m angry at you, he loves it just the same. Talk to him. Even if it’s one word. Just talk.

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