Saturday, March 26, 2016

All Things Through Christ

Unapologetically me. Confident me.


365 days ago, I was laying on the very couch I am sitting on now, yelling at God.
I know I've told this story in different ways on different occasions but it's been hard not to relive them today, to remember back to an incredibly dark time in my life and recount every detail from those days.

I've been told to move on and although nobody has the right to tell us to move on because we all grieve differently, the truth is that I have. I am a much stronger person and the after-effects of that horrible weekend last March don't wound me quite as deep as they used to. I'm able to let them fall off of me more quickly.

I can remember back to this very day and telling God, "I KNOW you can make this go away. I KNOW you have the power to erase it. I KNOW you know how deeply this hurts everyone involved. SO WHY? WHY have you not fixed it? WHY have you allowed it to happen? WHY?!"

I was so angry at God...angrier than I've ever been...and it was one of the first times I can really remember directing my anger AT Him.

And He never made me feel bad for doing so. In fact, God knew that my anger was present because I was scared. I couldn't see how life was ever going to be ok. It felt good to yell and scream and release my anger.

It's like that scripture in 1st Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 13, that I used to believe meant that God would not give us more than we can handle.

Oh my gosh, you guys, I have definitely been given more than I can handle. Divorce alone was more than I could handle on my own.

But I don't believe that's what God was really saying. I think that scripture tells us that God will not give us things beyond our capacity and then leave us. Because truthfully, we can do anything with God next to us. We can get through the very things we believe we would never be able to handle.

Jesus makes things whole for us, even when they fall apart into a million pieces.

Talking deeply about the things I've been through this past year is not easy. Because I like telling you the parts where I'm brave and don't doubt my abilities.

But I doubted myself last year. 

And 364 days ago, I thought about committing suicide. I thought that my life was only ruining those around me. I thought there were people who would be better at mothering my children than I am.

I thought about giving up my own life, throwing in the towel I've fought so hard to earn over and over again.

Now that I'm here, a year later, I can tell you that beyond that darkness came a light far brighter than anything I've ever experienced. I fought harder than I've ever fought to regain my worth, my belief in myself.

I found myself growing closer to God in a way I never would've predicted. I started living for me and for my children.

I became more confident in myself and those times I doubted myself lasted fractions of what they used to last.

I have had three hundred and sixty four more days of memories because although I thought it would be better to give up, I didn't do it. I was so broken but I decided to put my trust in God.

I look back to how I felt in these very moments a year ago---despair, darkness, confusion---and I am so thankful I never gave up.

I am so thankful that I am here today and that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have faith that He knows exactly what I've been through, since He suffered for me personally and was crucified by a group of people who did not understand Him.

I have never felt what He experienced but I do know what it is like to be misunderstood and hated. I know what it is like to try to explain your choices and have people ridicule you and want to hurt you.

As I sat through Good Friday service yesterday, tears streamed down my face. I didn't even think I'd cry or that it would be a super emotional day but as I listened to the story of Christ being crucified, I felt Him so close to me, reminding me that He's been there since the beginning and that He'll be there through the end.

Jesus Christ died for me. He died for you. And if we can remember that in our darkest hours, we can have hope that we can be made whole again.

Through Christ, all things are possible.

All things. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


I can remember being 19 years old and dating my soon-to-be-husband and thinking, "Life has been pretty messy so far---and then God gave me a perfect husband and the life I truly wanted and I won't have to struggle anymore." I would jokingly say that because my teenage years had been messy, I got through all of the "hard trials" before adulthood.

And they all just sat and laughed...

Friends, that isn't how life works.
And I'm not quite sure why I even thought that was how it works.
Unless that was a subliminal message somewhere, no one ever taught me that you are only given a certain amount of trials and then you're free for the rest of forever.

But at 19, that is what I thought. And because of this, I assumed God had made me unbreakable for the rest of my life.

And then when I was 25, my husband left me.
And again, I found myself thinking, "Well, God will protect me from anything else bad happening, at least while I'm a single momma."
And He didn't! 
Life got even harder. In fact, last year life got so hard that I wished I could just get divorced again and go through that pain because at least I knew how to deal with it. Life got so hard that I contemplated taking my life. It was a huge set back for me.

I broke. 

And at first, I was angry with God for allowing this. I am a single mom, full time student, working two jobs trying to figure life out.

But I've learned that God didn't do this to me. People did.
People are really crappy sometimes---even the best people can be crappy sometimes.

And because God gave us the ability to choose our actions, He isn't the reason we struggle. In fact, He is the opposite of the reason we struggle. He is the only way we can truly heal.

A few weeks ago, in Starting Point at Mission Church, the topic was trust.
When I noticed this, I wasn't sure what I was going to feel about the lesson. Trust is something I've struggled with for a long time.

When I was married, trust was often non-existent. I had a hard time with it. I didn't understand why but I would have these stomach-churning feelings when it came to trust.
I get it now. I see the bigger picture now.
And throughout the past 2.5 years, I've often struggled to trust God. I've struggled to trust His plan for me because so far, it seems kind of screwed up.
Divorced mother of two, eating disorder, anxiety disorder, etc. {so many other things I'd like to add here that I'll leave out}---my life has been pretty shaky. Many times, earthquakes have shattered the foundations I've tried so hard to build. And throughout all of it, I've struggled with trusting God.
When life isn't as shaky, I find myself walking on eggshells. trying to make sure there are no huge fall outs or ailments that come to my family. It's scary. I have anxiety attacks pretty easily.

As I was reading the chapter from that week's lesson, I came across a quote by Ernest Hemingway that says:
"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." 
I know, it seems so simple but it hit me pretty hard.
I don't necessarily like trusting before I know if a person is worthy of that trust. I can so easily build up walls around my heart that I feel are going to protect me. I have been burned so many times by trusting people who did not deserve my trust.

But the ironic thing is that even if I don't trust God, bad things can happen. And if I do trust God, bad things can happen.

And if bad things are still going to happen, I'd much rather have Him in my corner.

If we're being honest, trusting God still isn't always easy for me. I sometimes forget the things I've learned when I'm experiencing trial-tunnel-vision.

But I try to remind myself that God will always have my back---even if I blame things on Him. He never leaves because He loves me that unconditionally.

And that is surely a beautiful thing.