Just an ordinary girl, serving an extraordinary God.
Posted in Love on May 14, 2013
It’s funny how people come into your life and fill holes you never knew you had.
Some days I don’t understand how I met you or why you stay. I just know that you make things better. You make me better.
I’ve held so many hands and broken so many promises. I’ve loved quietly and fiercely and recklessly. I’ve been happy and sad and strong and broken.
I could write about all the ways you’re special and amazing but that would be too easy. I need you to know that you filled a hole.
A hole the size of a girl who was never asked to a dance in high school. A hole the size of the monsters that came out of her closet at night. A hole the size of another failure. Another disappointment. Another lie.
I don’t have to be broken for you to love me. I don’t have to be happy for you to love me. I don’t have to be yours for you to love me.
You just love me.
And your love fits perfectly inside this hole.
Posted in Faith on April 14, 2013
Sometimes I hate looking in the mirror.
Sometimes I see pictures of myself and can’t handle the image staring back at me. I get overwhelmed and cry and tell the world to leave me alone. I don’t know if I cry because I feel ugly, or if I cry because I realize there are some things in life that I have no control over. Some things that I will never have control over.
After these self-loathing tornadoes stop, I worry that you’re mad at me.
I worry that I’ve disappointed you. That you shake your head and wonder if someone else should have had my place. You gave me a heart that beats and eyes that see but I am often so ungrateful.
I don’t feel you the way I think I should. The way other people seem to feel you. I don’t feel you at church right now. I don’t feel you when I close my eyes before bed. I don’t feel your comfort when I’m lost and lonely.
But, I do feel you.
I feel you when I run. Not because I’m actively choosing you, but because running makes me feel like you’ve chosen me. I run and I know you’re not mad at me. How could you be mad when you’ve given me all these beautiful pieces that work so perfectly together? This heart. These lungs. These legs. How could I be anything but chosen when I feel you with me and we’re both happy?
I know you have a plan for me. Maybe your plan right now isn’t that I find you in church. Maybe it’s not that I get on my knees every night. Maybe it’s okay that I lace up my shoes to find you. That I run for those moments when life gets quiet. When the sound of my breathing is a prayer in itself.
I breathe in and I feel your pleasure.
I breathe out and I give you thanks.
Posted in Life on January 19, 2013
I lose sleep when I count the number of times I’ve lied to you.
I didn’t understand certain things about the world. I thought if people knew that children were being hurt, they’d make it stop. That if you sat with enough social workers and enough people knew your story, they’d take you somewhere safe.
I used to tell you that everything would be okay. That the pain would stop because someone would intervene and get you out. I’d promise better things were coming if you could just hang on a little longer.
I don’t promise you that anymore.
Now I tell you that the things done to you should have never happened to a girl your age. I tell you that it’s not okay. It will never be okay. And someone should have been there to protect you.
But I no longer tell you it will stop. I don’t promise better things will happen soon. Because I don’t know if that’s true… And you deserve truth.
I now tell you things I know to be true.
That, honey, you have to be strong. Stronger than what seems fair or possible. Stronger than all the other girls in your grade.
You have to be kind. Even though the world has not been kind to you. You have to responsible for your own feelings because harboring bitterness will just prolong the pain. You have to find people who will love and accept you. You have to learn to accept their love and have courage to love them back.
You have to envision your happiest dream in front of you and run toward it. Let it be your mantra. The thing you play over and over while putting on your shoes for school and brushing your teeth before bed.
You have to keep going, even when it hurts. That’s the truth.
Posted in Life on January 10, 2013
I kissed the hell out of a man in Times Square last spring.
We hadn’t seen each other in years but a serendipitous encounter moved me to call him up and invite myself to the East coast for a weekend. I had no idea if he was seeing someone or how he felt about me. I just knew I wanted and needed to see him. So I did.
Can I tell you something about this experience?
It unzipped me.
Because overnight I became a girl who would fly 2,800 miles to see a past crush and kiss the hell out of him, in a pretty dress and high heels, on the corner of a crowded street.
Life constantly blows us kisses and gives us chances to experience monstrous beauty. We’re just often too busy or stressed to notice. My greatest fear is not ending up alone. It’s not that I’ll never land my dream job. My greatest fear is that I’ll look in the mirror someday and realize I became a lifeless, timid version of the person I intended to be.
So if you feel like life is giving you a sign… Go. Just go. Don’t over-think it. Don’t ask for everyone’s opinion. I’ll drive you to the airpor and water your plants while you’re gone. Just go.
Do something for you. Do something that will unzip you and let more light into your life.
It’ll be soul-smashingly liberating. I promise.
Posted in Life on January 6, 2013
I want to be more honest.
I want my profile picture to show me when I feel whole — with no make-up and messy hair and my favorite beat-up running shoes. Because in those shoes I’ve outrun depression and self-mutilation and found pieces of me that are beautiful. I want to tell you about the scariest moment of my life and that it made me compassionate. Not damaged.
I want to be openly unraveled because that’s how I feel most of the time. I want you to know that I’m shy and intimidated, but fiercely brave when it counts. That I’ve gone months without reading the Bible or praying because I question my faith. That I’m not always sweet and sometimes I recklessly hurt people. That I can be so insecure and narcissistic that it almost prevents me from functioning. But, I’m working on it.
Social media makes honesty difficult because everyone presents his or her “best” self in public. We are happy. We are grateful. We love coffee and family and beautiful sunsets. I often catch myself in a trap of comparing how I feel to how everyone else appears. And that makes me want to appear put-together too. Even when it’s not true.
It’s like dating.
When you meet someone new, you tell him or her all the good parts – things that make you charming and lovely and easy to like. You act more confident than you feel because you can’t tell the truth. That you changed outfits five times this morning and nothing looks quite right and God, please, let this one like me. Or that you’ve been on dates with four other people this month and they all ended with you wishing you’d stayed home with a cup of tea and a book instead.
Honesty in relationships is scary because it increases the risk. It’s scary because people, and truth, change. When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I realized how little I knew about him. How many things I felt but never said. How much he didn’t know about me. I was in love with who I thought he’d become and he likely loved me for the same reason. I don’t regret one day of it, but I wish we’d made less small talk and had more honest conversations. Not because that would’ve changed our story, but because we find the courage to be ourselves in raw moments.
I’m quietly starting over with someone new and that scares the hell out of me. I’m scared of being vulnerable. Scared to admit the farthest I’ve ever been with a guy physically was not my choice, and that it makes me incredibly insecure. But I’ve learned that relationships aren’t worth anything if you don’t let someone get to know you – really get to know you – and keep the door open so they can come and go as they please. Relationships aren’t worth anything unless they’re honest and free.
This blog, this year, and the people I’ve been blessed to meet along the way have made me more honest. For that, and countless other things, I thank you.
Posted in Life on December 6, 2012
Maybe part of growing up is learning that it’s okay to set something down, just because it’s heavy.
You may really love that thing. You’re likely attached to it for reasons even you don’t understand. You may have held it tightly against your chest for so long that it feels like part of you… But you simply cannot carry the weight of it anymore.
So you let it go.
You let it go, and it makes you free.
Posted in Life on November 11, 2012
I’m learning that the best things in life are not things I plan for myself.
My former boyfriend and I used to see each other every Thursday. The demise of our relationship left a void in my heart and schedule. I decided to fill both by signing up to tutor/mentor an elementary student once a week.
I got paired up with the toughest kid in the group. At age ten, she had already been suspended for slamming another student’s head into a locker. She was guarded, aggressive, and wanted nothing to do with me. For months I wondered why I wasn’t partnered with one of the younger kids – the ones who sit in your lap and give hugs and follow directions.
Four years and a multitude of challenges later, I still spend every Thursday with this same girl. We’ve been through more together than I have with almost any other person. She’s been with me through break-ups, illnesses, and the deaths of loved ones. Through the times I lost faith in God, love, and myself. I’ve been with her through juvenile hall, social workers, and parents disappearing. Through bullying, self-mutilation, and poverty.
I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make you feel so many things. Even when she gets mad at me or disappoints me, I’d slay dragons for this girl. When the rest of the world sees her as a delinquent, as a nobody, I want to jump to her defense and tell them how amazing she is. She’s beautiful and smart and compassionate. Please, take a second look.
I may not be the best person for her, but she is the best person for me.
What moves me the most is how God orchestrates such unexpectedly beautiful things in our lives. To help us. To stretch us. To save us from our own prejudices and let us see Him in the faces of others. Sometimes we look so hard for relationships that will end in rings and vows that we miss opportunities for love right in front of us. When I think about what I really want for my life, it’s that 14 year-old girl who sits across from me at a coffee shop every Thursday. I want genuine, fought-for, unconditional love. Not control. Not forever.
Posted in Love on September 25, 2012
I want to scream at you. Shake you. Do anything to convince you that your life could be different. Better.
You settled. For half-hearted promises and crossed fingers and a house full of nostalgia that reminds you your dreams are not your own. You settled. Because sometimes regret feels safer than loneliness.
And I’m dying to tell you what I see in you. Dying to tell you that I can help you realize new dreams. That I’ll be faithful and supportive and love you senseless, like no other girl could.
I can’t say that, so I look at your house. Your broken, lifeless house. And I finally understand that you don’t want to realize new dreams. You want to grow old here.
And I guess if that’s what you really, really want… Then I want that for you too.
Because when you love someone, you love what they love and want what they want.
Even when it’s not you.
Posted in Love on September 22, 2012
I will wait for you.
This sounds like a passive act, but I assure you it’s not. Waiting is an active choice. A promise you recommit everyday.
Waiting makes you brave.
Waiting means going to another wedding alone. It means an increasing frequency of awkward questions about why you’re still single. Waiting means spending some Friday nights at home because you declined dinner with Mr. Almost-But-Not-Quite-Right.
I will wait for you.
You and I will get lost in each other’s company. We’ll lie on our backs with interlocked fingers and watch cloud shapes all afternoon. We’ll cuddle up on the couch with warm blankets and tea and listen to the rain. You and I will climb mountains together.
You will never doubt my affection or intentions. I will wrap my arms around you and tell you I’m crazy about you every day. You will disappoint me at times, as I will surely disappoint you, but I already forgive you darling. We’ll fight and say the wrong things, but it will only bring us closer.
I will wait for you.
We’ll go to sleep at night and I’ll whisper, “I had the time of my life, fighting dragons with you today.” I’ll fall asleep the same way I’ll wake every morning… To the sound of your heartbeat pounding in my ear.
We’ll leave spaces in our relationship. Spaces to grow and experience things separately. Spaces that will enhance our connection because we’ll constantly encourage and inspire each other. And even when we’re apart, your beauty and love will chase after me.
I won’t settle for less and I hope you won’t either.
I will wait for you. Because you are worth waiting for.