My ever changing Sundays

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Sundays are different to everybody, for me as a kid they were meant for going to church. Sometimes I loved going, others I dreaded it.  Sunday school was fun for the most part. In high school, I went to church about every week but I mostly helped in kindergarten, and second grade classrooms. I had so much fun being apart of teaching about Jesus to a room full of adorable little kids with a heart for God. My mom was a Sunday school teacher, so that’s how I initially got involved, and then the hours counted towards community service for my high school. I did enjoy going, but I probably needed to be more involved in a high school group, but those were less appealing.

It was either my Junior or Senior year of high school when my parents changed churches, so I followed suit. I didn’t like the new church as much, but my parents did. I started dreading going to church almost every time, my heart wasn’t in it. When I hit my first year of college, we had chapel 2-3 times a week, and church. I thought it sounded great at first, but I grew tired of it, feeling forced to go all the time. I didn’t have a good attitude, and outlook about it. Looking back I realize what an amazing opportunity it was to grow & be with people who desired the Lord. I do have regrets for not seizing the opportunities I was blessed with, but I was lost & guess my heart wasn’t truly willing.

This past year my Sundays consisted of working at a restaraunt downtown. I slowly stopped taking Sunday shifts, but not to go to church, to hang out with friends. A friend from work, and I used to go bar hopping on Sunday nights, our “Sunday fun days.” Then when I got into a relationship, Sundays became our date nights. Sundays lost their previous meaning for me, it just became an ordinary day where I didn’t think of God at all.

I’ve spent more than enough time lately dwelling on the past and things I cannot change, so I’m actively trying to start fresh, and focus on the present. I haven’t consistently been to church since my first year of college, which sadly was about 6 years ago. I have been to church since but again not with a willing heart, and it was usually because my family went. I shamefully admit it was only a few times a year, maybe for Christmas, Easter, and times I accompanied my best friend. But I didn’t desire to go every week, I didn’t go with an open heart, I didn’t really focus on the message, and let it sink in. I definitely did not think about it much the other 6 days of the week. I went about my life, doing the same things. I honestly didn’t think I needed church, or didn’t think it was for me anymore, and a part of me felt like it was too hard to keep going because I would have to change my ways. I would often feel guilt when going to church, feeling uncomfortable, and who wants that? Nobody wants to be out of their comfort zone, and feel guilt, but often times that’s what we have to go through to grow. I kept ignoring it, and just gave up.

Fast forward to the end of June, the night before I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend I went to church with my friend. It had been a long time since I had been, it was a new church. I actually wanted to go, it was something that had been weighing on my heart in the last couple months of my relationship. I was hesitant to tell him because I knew he would think it was weird. It felt so good being there, being around people who needed, and wanted Jesus in there life.

I was finally at a point in my life where I was no longer ashamed to admit I needed Jesus in my life. I felt convicted, refreshed, safe, not feeling lost for a moment. I was so tired of feeling lost, but I didn’t realize what I needed to no longer feel that way. Only God knew exactly what I needed, and He knew the perfect timing. It was definitely God who put this desire in my heart. I used to think church was only for those who have it all figured out but it’s absolutely not the case. Nobody will ever have it all figured out we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of be Lord, but by His grace we are redeemed.

I’m so thankful to my best friend, she knows who she is! 🙂 She has always been a great example in my life of following Christ, and living by faith. I’m so blessed to have had her as friend for all these years. Even through times when I wasn’t the best friend in return, and when I wouldn’t tell her everything because I knew she would judge me, but honestly I deserved it, and needed to be held accountable to my actions. I’m so glad we are able to go to church together, and grow, it’s been fun trying different churches. I’m excited to continue going to church, this time with a willing heart, a desire to grow. I thank you Jesus for changing my heart, opening my eyes, and taking me back no matter what I have done, and how far I strayed from you. I thank you for your mercy, and endless grace.

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Red Journal: Decisions influenced by fear

  

  

I never thought I would get past the words written in this journal. Words driven by fear, anxiousness, emptiness, confusion, and countless tears pouring out onto the crisp white pages. I wrestled with the fear of being alone, and doubting my existence. My mind dripped with despair, my heart literally ached. The only way to feel some relief was writing out my thoughts, and praying. I constantly wrote about what I wanted, characteristics I desired in the allusive perfect man, and where I wanted to be in life. The only problem was, I was just writing my concerns, fears down, I wasn’t giving them to God, and actively seeking Him.

Why is being alone such a huge fear in young women? It was a question I often wrestled with, and it may not be true for every woman of course, but how often do we make decisions influenced by our fears? Fears of being alone, fears of failure, fears of rejection? Fear of (add your own here)

A few of my past fears:
Forgetting who I am.
Settling for less than I deserve.
Not being good enough.
Staying still, never feeling alive.

If I had realized that being alone isn’t a bad thing, it’s okay to not be in a relationship or have a man in your life. Just because you don’t have someone constantly reminding you of your beauty or accomplishments, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy. We are worthy in the eyes of God. I was in a relationship a few years ago with someone out of the fear of being alone, but also the fear of being left with my feelings. My feelings of regret, emptiness, shame, if I was with someone who made me laugh, and told me how beautiful I was, maybe those feelings would go away? How dumb was I to think that?? I was stuck in a rut of looking for temporary happiness, I was attracted to receiving shallow attention.  I needed internal growth, I didn’t need to grow from experiences of bad relationships, and wrong decisions. Although I certainly have, but I needed to turn to God during those experiences, seeking Him with my brokenness, not covering up my wounds with more dramatic relationship problems.

Everything’s Not Lost

I recently stumbled across a poem (ish) that I wrote in my first year of college. I’ve been missing English class, and having writing assignments. Feel free to honestly let me know what you think.

Cold, blood running through veins like water through a pipe,

As still as night, I thought of the good days to try and wipe the tears away,

Blind at first sight, I kissed that life goodbye with not a single gripe,

Why remember the mistakes of my past? Why go down a path of pain?

When I want to look forward to a new day,

The old me held questions, why trust what I can’t see,

Why run to someone I have never run to before?

I didn’t know what was real, couldn’t tell black from white,

I looked left, fell right, you said hold on tight, instead you left my sight;

I had the keys but couldn’t find the door, didn’t know where to turn,

I lost my way why didn’t you erase my pain that night?

I sat and stared through the day, alone, cold, blind in my room;

Sitting, waiting, fighting the knowledge of truth,

After almost a year, what once used to be a heart covered in holes,

Now beats for love, a willing heart, realizing you never left, I had to ask for help,

I had to be ready to let go of my control, you never forced me,

Heart is now open to embracing what comes, and to running to the unknown,

For the unknown awaits with love, and a warm embrace, it’s not too late, my heart will be okay,

Yesterday was fueled by doubt, unanswered questions, and desperation,

Today is filled with hope, redemption, comfort, feeling of contentment, and a journey of healing.

  
All pictures are taken by me. Oregon 2009

Red journal entry

My journal entry from a few years ago.

“I feel alone, lost, and confused. I’m weak in these moments, I need the one I can rely on, look to for courage, someone who makes the judgmental thoughts disappear only bringing love. The type of love that will make the birds swoon, the oceans roar, and leave my heart content. I want to lend a hand without thinking twice, be there for someone when they need it the most. I want to push away the attention from myself, and let the serving of others bring me joy. I want to feel an unexplainable happiness, letting it show. I want to break out of my cage of sadness, self-loathing, and live life to the fullest, sending love.”

I’ve always needed God, but I didn’t always have an open heart. God’s love is enough, it’s all I need right now. Have an open heart, my friends.

  
 Pictures I took in Canon Beach, Oregon about six years ago.

The red journal

I found an old journal of mine during my move recently, it’s been quite entertaining reading my thoughts on love and relationships over the years. I know I don’t know a whole lot about relationships, but I’ve certainly learned valuable lessons, that I hope to never repeat. Hopefully by sharing these, some people can relate and take comfort in knowing we aren’t alone, we all go through trials that make us stronger. It’s almost embarrassing how much time I wasted on guys who didn’t deserve a second of my time. Have you ever been in that situation, where you look back embarrassed that you put so much effort into someone that clearly wasn’t right for you?

One of my journal entries:

“A boy who doesn’t respect me, doesn’t deserve me, I can do better. I had fun, but I think I had to force myself, if you’re not feeling it at first, you cannot force the situation. I think I’ve just been lonely, I liked what I felt with him, knowing I was wanted, and he made me feel pretty. I have to remind myself to stop putting my self worth in the hands of a boy. I need to love myself on my own before I can let someone love me, otherwise how do I know the right reasons for being with someone? Will I ever find the right one? Will I ever open my heart? Will I meet someone worth the effort of a relationship again?”

I spent so much time worrying about the wrong guy wondering why it didn’t devolp further, but why did I care so much. I’m too emotional to a fault sometimes, I should have just moved on quicker when I knew it wasn’t right. Have you ever let the fear of being alone keep you in the wrong relationship? I was relying on myself, thinking I knew best, but what I know now, is that I knew nothing. This particular guy that I was pouring my emotions into was hung up on his ex, because she was still his best friend, he didn’t want to get back together with her but didn’t want to lose her from his life. He never fully let me in, but he expected me to be all the things he wanted, and needed. He made me feel I was never good enough, he judged me for drinking occasionally with my friends, that I didn’t go to church, he constantly compared me, and said I wasn’t Christian enough for him. He didn’t encourage me to be better he brought to light the ways I would never measure up. I tried changing myself for him, I let his opinions get to me, he messed with my head. My mistake was changing for a guy, he never encouraged me to pursue God, he just made it seem like I was in a different dimension than him. He was one of the most confused people I have ever met, he thought he was the greatest Christian guy, but he was forgetting that we are all human, sinful people in need of God’s grace. He never should have made me feel inferior, but I never should have given him the time to.

  

Matters of the heart

I never thought I would become so dramatic, but anyone who has been through a breakup or relationship struggle knows the pain. It doesn’t matter if you were the one to decide to end the relationship, it still hurts all the same. I’ve never hated logic so much in my life, my breakup was a logical decision at the time, but all the feelings are still there. We had foundational issues, and we are on extremely different paths, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still love him. I find myself looking at old pictures, and reminiscing, I need to stop! I go through days where I feel strong, confident that I can move forward knowing I made the right decision… But other days I feel broken inside, missing him so much, missing what we had. I pray for the strength to stand in my decision, knowing it’s best for both of us.

Do you ever have that gut feeling, when you know you made the right decision but yet sometimes your weak moments get the best of you? I’m not strong enough to get through this heartache and confusion on my own. Without praying to God, and reading His word everyday, I would still be in a relationship that I knew didn’t have a future. Solely because it was comfortable, and we still love each other. I’m weak. It’s a constant battle of feeling lonely, and trusting God, that His plans are far better than my plans, wants, and desires. I have no idea what His plan is, but I have to trust that all this pain I feel will eventually disappear, but not without me praising Him through this struggle. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever your hurdle may be, know you aren’t alone, and that it will get better.

  

Saying goodbye to my first rental house.

  
A few days ago, I was in my studio, now empty as the day I rented it. Up and down the ladder patching holes, polishing the wood floors, dripping in sweat. (won’t miss the evap) I took a second to decompress and soak up the last few moments of my first place. I had been so busy being overwhelmed by stress and anxiousness, I was forgetting to be thankful. It has it’s flaws like any house from the 30’s. As does everything, and everyone.  Life hasn’t gone the way I thought, the year has been full of questionable choices, self doubt, disappointment, and ended with my eyes being opened. Through all the bumps in the road, I would never trade my year in this house. I learned so much, about life, what it takes to care for an old structure, loving others, and most importantly about the one who loved me first. This house in particular taught me, that I never ever want to rent from a management company, ever again! That is a whole other story.

Discovering I am not as strong on my own, as I thought I was, realizing I have created a pattern of running from God. Learning I haven’t done anything to glorify Him or deserve His love. Yet it is by God’s mercy and grace, I can reevaluate my choices with new eyes, make some adjustments, and make the biggest choice of all, choosing to trust in Him. Some things are just a detour in our journey that we need to take, before the start of so much more.

In the eyes of others, I don’t have much, I quit a job, turned down another, broke up with my boyfriend, moved out of my studio, and temporarily back into my parents house. Trust me I have relentlessly beaten myself up (figuratively of course) about the direction I am going. How could there be good in any of that? After lots of crying, anxiety attacks, moments of stillness, endless praying, I’ve come to the conclusion… I am not good at making the right decisions or being in control of my life. That’s because I shouldn’t be in control, I’m not supposed to be living life to please myself or satisfy my flesh. I had numerous opportunities to be a light in this world, but I chose to let darkness overcome me. There were times I was so unhappy, but I was in denial as to what was causing it. I felt as though I was too far gone. I had my chance with God when I was at my Christian high school, then my year at the Christian college, how could he possibly take me back after all these years of running, and hiding??

I’ve been pouring into the word for comfort, lately, and I’ve been feeling so convicted. I had been overcome with so much shame in my life, feeling worthless, and wallowing for far too long. I know none of that is from God, it was the lies of sin telling me “it’s too late for God to take you back, you’ve strayed too far, just keep committing the same sins, this is who you are now.” I kept believing those lies! I was finding my self worth in others, and of worldly things. I kept wondering why I was so unsatisified and had endless moments of emptiness, and continually searching, I was searching for the wrong things. My eyes weren’t opened until God started tugging on my heart. I was at a job that was literally sucking the life out of me, and making me a miserable person, in a relationship that I thought was what I wanted, and needed. It’s going to be a long journey of accepting my past decisions, taking responsibility for my choices, truly learning from all of this, and moving forward. Progression over perfection. 

Titus 3:3-7

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