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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Looking back with a smile

I laid awake last night listening to the drops of rain outside my window, and the rumbles of thunder shaking the ground. As I laid there, you entered my thoughts, I remembered a particular night similar to this, we had the screen door open, letting that sweet smell of rain in, listening to the drops hit the concrete. We cuddled watching a movie, and munched on our favorite candy, orchard flavored skittles. I miss your laugh, your sweet smile, and our late night conversations filled with giggles. More than anything I miss my best friend, that’s been the hardest, you became my partner in crime.

I’m glad I can remember the good times, and look back with a smile. I think of you less & less each day, hurting less when I think of how things ended, and the pain we both caused each other. I will always care about you, and hold a special place for you in my heart, I pray for you, I only want you to be happy. I cherish the times we had. Even though you think because I ended things, those memories and feelings no longer mean anything, they do. You will always be the first one I said those three delicate little words to. I’m grateful for our love, and don’t regret anything, because it taught me a lot, hopefully for both of us. It didn’t end in the way we thought when we first started dating, but it ended for the best.

Love Without Hesitation

Your smile brought me constant comfort, you had the ability to make me laugh so uncontrollably I’d snort, then we laugh together because I snorted, and then snort again because we laughed. You taught me to think more with my heart, and to love without hesitation. Showing me what it’s really like to be loved before and after the guard is down. When your eyes locked into mine, the world around us ceased to exist, your love for me was bold, unafraid yet gentle. You often uttered the three most precious words that every woman desires to hear, yet you didn’t need to. The way you stood up for me, always had my back, the way your eyes softened in my direction, every action spoke louder than those delicate eight letter words ever could. 

Doubting your love never crossed my mind, I felt secure knowing I would be forever Loved. You were everything I thought I needed, and desired. My darkest thought, every shameful occurence, drunken regret, times of emptiness were all accepted in your eyes. It didn’t matter if I spoke in hostility, or acted on impulse, nothing would ever cause your love to run out. We were there for each other, through the pain you felt remembering your close friend’s struggle, and demise of addiction. I watched as the tears streamed down your soft cheeks, as your heart became completely exposed. The moment I realized how privileged I was to witness this side of you, and to comfort you through it.

Your embrace was the epitome of feeling secure, cherished, and truly vulnerable. You wiped away mascara filled tears, the salty streaks of black running down my pale skin, as I laid on my kitchen floor completely unravelled. You had a way of calming me down when my flare for the dramatics took hold, all the right words left your supple lips, even your long repetitive jokes triggered a smile. You knew every good, and awful thing about me, loving me anyways. You radiated with sheer confidence of a future of exchanging vows, embarking on new adventures, enduring every hurdle that would come our way. How were you so sure, how did you know I was the one? It broke my heart knowing that I couldn’t give you that kind of assurance. You told me how you knew you would never love someone again the way you loved me. Why couldn’t I feel the same way? I loved you, but I guess sometimes love isn’t enough. Or maybe it is, but maybe it wasn’t the right kind of love? Maybe I need to seek God’s love, and fully accept His love before I can truly give and accept love from within a relationship. 

                                                       

 

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.

  

Stay strong and beautiful

  
Just a little encouragement to start your week. I came across this tank top at a store called Basement Marketplace, it inspired me to write. How often have you looked in the mirror, and thought “I feel ugly, I have pimples on my nose, my hair is frizzy, and I have love handles from all that ice cream, and laffy taffy?” Okay, maybe you haven’t thought that exact thing, but I sure did this weekend. Sometimes I wish there were less mirrors in the world, think how much happier everyone would be, if they didn’t have to constantly keep up with outward appearances. I’ve always felt so much happier and content with myself when I don’t look in the mirror, when I’m doing something to make others happy. Being less focused on myself, and focused on more important things.

We all are different shapes, colors, and sizes, but does that make anyone less beautiful than someone else? No, we are all beautifully, and uniquely created if people tell you otherwise, than they aren’t people worth surrounding yourself with. It’s about accepting your differences, and everyone else’s, and seeing the beauty in all of it. When you have a moment doubting yourself or feeling “ugly” try skipping the mirror, go lend a hand, step out of your comfort zone, and you’ll be amazed at how it feels. Knowing it doesn’t matter what you wear or if you have pimples on your nose, nobody notices, because we all have our own insecurities, and struggles. We need to take our negative opinions, and insecure thoughts, putting that energy towards making someone smile or laugh, turning the negative into a positive.

Last week my best friend, and I volunteered at church cleaning the campus for the new school year. She, and I had some last minute hesitations, because we didn’t feel like cleaning. I was feeling bloated, and crampy, and would rather have watched movies on the couch. Once we got there, and were put to work we forgot all about ourselves, our attitudes immediately changed. It was refreshing to be apart of a community with a group of others working to better the environment for kids at school. I was sitting on the ground in the 90 degree weather scrapping gum off the sidewalks, and it didn’t matter that my makeup was melting off my face, my armpits started sweating, and getting smelly. (okay, that part did bother me a bit) It was knowing that we were apart of something so much more than us, helping others regardless if you are comfortable or not.

I was able to meet new people I wouldn’t normally have a chance to meet. We can stay strong, and beautiful the minute we stop thinking of ourselves so much, putting our strengths to use helping others in need, sharing our stories, and encouraging one another. It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, and the insecure moments of body shaming control our every thought, but we are stronger than that. I dare you to try going a day without makeup or without looking in the mirror, and lend a helping hand to someone. Whether it be big or small, for a stranger or a friend, step outside yourself and make a difference. Help remind someone that they too are strong, and beautiful just by being themselves.