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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Photography: Comfort behind the lens

When I lived in California I would go to Del Mar beach as much as I could, with my camera in tow. I was taking a photography class so I finally had an excuse for taking so many pictures. Being behind the camera has always made me feel safe, I remember feeling lost, restless, confused and just walking along the beach thinking. The fresh air and the sound of the crashing waves calmed me, I felt a sense of peace near the ocean. I let my camera lead the way, following whatever caught my fancy. I often walked near the train tracks taking pictures from up above the beach. It may sound unusual but the sound of trains/coasters relaxed me, a sense of distraction from my thoughts.

I found beauty, and joy in everyday surroundings. A coaster may not be much to some people, but to others it signifies hope, hope in a new day, a fresh start, hope of meeting new people, hope of a better day when they reach their destinations.

Photography gives me a feeling of hope, focus, contentment. The world around me seems less scary through my lens.

I would spend hours at the beach staring off into the vast ocean in awe of God’s beautiful creation. I loved the reflection of the sun glistening on the warm sand, as the waves crashed over the various colored stones washed ashore. Looking back at these photos it makes me appreciate the small things, the joy i found watching the birds leave their little prints in the sand as they wandered the beach. the simple satisfaction of watching the waves continuously swoosh back and forth for hours.

A gorgeous sunset over the pristine blue ocean. I remember my exact feelings of loneliness, and not knowing my place in the world. Life passing me by, as I stood still. In a moment it all shifted, with a change in perspective, and a press of a round black button the world stopped. Those insecurities disappeared in that moment.

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.

New Perspective- Photography on Horseback

  
There is beauty all around us, up above our heads, below our rubber soles, right in front of us, we look, but do we truly see? 

   

  
I have been riding my horse lately, it had been almost a year, I had forgotten how much I love it. I’ve been around horses all my life, my mom had me on a horse as a small munchkin.

I’ve always felt a strong connection with horses, feeling safe, yet aware of the risk, trusting this 1000 pound animal with your life. Being on a horse is extremely exhilarating, freeing, captivating, and literally breathtaking. A beautiful escape into a carefree perspective, the everyday doubts, worries, unbearable stresses just fade away into the sand.

  


I’ve been getting my horse acclimated to dogs barking, kids playing, sirens blaring, and to my frequent stops, taking pictures of the beautiful nature. I love the perspective from the back of my four legged 1000 pound companion.

It is necessary in life to find something that refreshes, and recharges you, a hobby that gives you clarity, and new perspectives. Horseback riding and photography are outlets for me to step back, think, and process life’s obstacles. What are your outlets?

All photos are taken by me.

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.