Monday, September 29, 2014

The Vessel

When people use the word steward, or hear that word, it's usually in reference to time or money. But something that's been on my mind lately is how I feel this responsibility with the story that I've been given to do it justice, to do God justice. To take care of it, in a sense. I didn't really know how to put it into words until I had a talk with Pastor Ben today and he used the word steward and I had one of those "aha!" moments where it was like, yes, I found the word I was looking for.

I want to be a good steward with my story, but a lot of days, I'm not sure how to do it.

It's hard to know how to do that when there are so many unknowns. When it's still being written. When there are just as many downs as there are ups and I don't ever feel like I have a grasp on what it is I need to do to show people that God is at the center of all this.

It's like, one day I can feel so confident, so sure of God's presence in the craziness, and be able to boast of my struggles and my weaknesses because I feel so confident of how God is working in all of it, because I can see good in it. And then the next day, I'm at a loss. I cry and plead with God to let me feel His presence because the stress of one health thing after another makes me feel like I'm drowning and there's no one there to catch me. Even though I know I'm never alone, there is a very big and sometimes very painful difference between knowing something is true and believing it, feeling it deep in your aching soul.

And those bad days, they make me wonder if I can really be a "good Christian" (or at least whatever it is my mind tells me makes up one of those) if I have so many days where I'm angry and doubtful and frustrated and exhausted. They make me wonder if I'm being hypocritical or a liar when I talk about God's goodness in my life on the good days, even though I know that a bad day could very easily be just around the corner. But Ben really helped me with that, and what he said has stuck with me. The good days, when they are happening, are still very real to me. I'm not lying when I say what I say on the good days because on those days, I believe what I'm saying to be true. The bad days don't make the good days any less good. I am telling my story day by day, even though the polarization of the good and the bad may not make sense to someone else.

I am being authentic, and in being authentic, I am telling the best story I could possibly tell. I'm telling one that is real. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to pretend like things are good when they're not; it just takes up way more energy than I am willing to expend on a facade.

So yeah, I do feel a responsibility with this story I've been given, because it's so much crazier than what most people are used to or expect, but what I realized while sitting here, literally while sitting here writing, is that God doesn't actually need me to do anything. God can make whatever message He is trying to tell through me and my life known to the masses all on His own if that's what He wants to do. God knows my heart, and He knows that I am trying to do the best that I can in this life to walk in His will and show people His presence and power through the events of my life. God knows that I will go where He needs me to go, and talk to anyone who will listen.

I'm just the vessel. The One behind the wheel will work out the details of the journey.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

You make me brave.

I'm in a period of life where, truth be told, I feel like I'm caught up in the waves. Some of it is actually good stuff, like school, and adjusting to life in NYC, but that doesn't make it any less stressful or hard. But there's a good deal of it that is not good stuff. Bills, doctors appointments, fatigue, headaches, seizures, and mostly, this shoulder injury. And that bad stuff, well, sometimes it can feel suffocating.

The doctors who did my Cortisone injection said it would take 48 hours to kick in, and they seemed pretty certain of that time frame, like there wasn't much wiggle room. I'm past 84 hours now, approaching the 96 hour mark, and my shoulder hurts worse now than before that injection on Thursday. So...that's not exactly a good sign. I have 16 days until I meet with an orthopedic surgeon, and unless God works some serious healing power, which I know He totally can, it looks like I'm facing that route here soon because, well, I can't keep going on like this with my one good arm out of commission.

And that's disappointing, to say the least. And frustrating. And scary, to think of the impact it could have on my Master's work. Like, honestly, I'm just so freaking tired of health stuff constantly popping up to get in the way of me living my life and doing what I came here to do, what I've worked so hard to be able to do. There's no way around that. I'm tired of it.

But you know what? I may have my bad moments, or even bad days, but I always come back to the Truth. The truth that this injury doesn't have to mean disaster. The truth that I have a support system that is just as here for me now as they were when we didn't have hundreds of miles between us. The truth that everything that has happened in the past few weeks has made me just that much more aware of how desperately I need my Jesus. This time that I'm in right now, it's leaving me no choice but to cling to God and the hope that this time will pass and things will get better.

This song, the song I mentioned on Friday, "You Make Me Brave," it says a lot of what I'm feeling right now. People think I'm so brave and so strong, and I just want people to understand that I am not brave or strong on my own. God makes me brave. The strength in me is the strength I get from holding fast to the tenderness of the One who is bigger than a torn shoulder. The fear of what the future holds that sometimes absolutely wrecks my heart is overpowered and washed away by the Champion who made a way for me to be made righteous and victorious over the darkness that this world holds. And I felt that so clearly and powerfully today at church when Pastor Ben had a couple ladies come with him to lay hands on me and pray for me and my life. God has fought on my behalf, has fought for my heart, and continues to fight for and defend me now. And because I know that, I know that I cannot be permanently defeated. There's a heck of a lot of hope in that, my friends.

I hope that, in whatever you're facing, my reflection on my struggle encourages you. I don't know what you're going through, but I do know that God is right here, right now, and He is bigger than whatever that storm is. He WILL fight for you, love, you need only to be still. Trust that He is the King of the universe, and He is the one King that can't be overthrown. He can make you feel brave when in your head, you're scared out of your mind. That's the cool part. You can face things you think you'd never survive on your own because His power is greater than whatever the storms of this life can throw at you. His Word promises that He has already overcome the world. It's done. It's over. No stress necessary.

I hope a reminder of that truth brings some comfort to you tonight.

Take a listen to the song, if you haven't heard it before. It's pretty awesome.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UglO7SGUWk

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Distraction

Holly and I have our moments, but overall, this living together thing is going better than I expected.

She and I are going out with our roommate tonight. She invited me. And she doesn't even know what happened last night, so she doesn't know that this is the kind of distraction I need.

And also, my Wolfpack came way too close to beating #1 FSU today. It was a hard game. We played darn good football, and it's easy to say that we have vastly improved on last season, when we went 3-9. Right now we're 4-1.

I'm out of words. My mind is too cloudy from last night.  I...need a distraction.

But the good news is, I definitely feel the prayers from various people surrounding me, and I am very thankful for that.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The door slammed shut. Heartbreak.

I was planning on writing about this song, what its words mean to me, the reaction it stirs up in me, but that got upended tonight about half an hour ago.

Before I begin, I just need to say that if you've got any judgment to pass on what's below, please just save it. I am heartbroken and can't take it right now.

The Landon saga is well documented on this blog. The back and forth. The trying to convince myself that I picked my family and I didn't need him, didn't want him, and then always running back to him and starting the toxic cycle all over again. I knew it wasn't good for me, but I just couldn't bring myself to quit him. We are our own worst enemies sometimes...

Well, that door has been slammed shut in the most painful way I can think of. Almost six years of trying to convince him that I wasn't like all the others that had hurt him, of trying to convince him that when I said I loved him I really did mean it, of fighting to stand by him even when he gave me reasons to leave, of trusting him with very deep, very vulnerable pieces of myself, all of it crumbled to the ground in the span of about ten minutes.

I don't want to get into the details of what was said. Because it's not important. Because I don't want to relive it again. Because the wound is still way too raw. All that needs to be said is that he made it abundantly clear that everything I believed to be true about him, about how he felt about me, about all of it, all of it was a lie. He said he was pissed at me because I didn't reach out to him when something in particular happened to him, even though I never knew that thing had happened, that somehow that was his proof that I was lying to him about how much I cared. And it was in the specific little things that he said that just tore me to shreds.

I know this isn't about me. That this is about him, and that he is just way too screwed up and I can't fix that, despite the fact that I spent the past six years fooling myself into believing that if I just loved him enough, things would be better. But right now, I feel like the world's biggest idiot for nearly everyone I know who I spoke to about this situation telling me not to go back and yet going back anyway because I loved him that much. I know how I felt...feel about him. I know that what he said isn't true. But I feel beaten down right now. I feel devastated. I feel...heartbroken. That's the only way to describe this stabbing pain in my chest right now. And it sucks.

I know that this isn't the be all end all. That one day, I won't hurt. I won't be devastated. I will be able to focus on God's love more clearly and the fact that His love is the love that will never disappoint or hurt me. But right now I can't because it literally just happened less than an hour ago and all I can think about is how hard it is to breathe.

My sweet, sweet, beloved friend/big sister Courtney answered the phone tonight by the grace of God, because she was the first person I thought of to call that I knew that wouldn't judge me for this, that never judged me for going back to him, and there's one thing that I told her that I want to end this blog post on before I crawl into my bed and try to get some rest as a reprieve from this pain...The one good thing about this happening is that I don't have to wonder any more. There's no more what if, no more what should I do, who should I choose. I can forgive a lot of things. I've been able to forget all the other times he's hurt me in the past. But there's no forgetting this feeling I have right now. Eventually, I will be able to completely, totally move on, and not question myself anymore.

There's no coming back from this. I am finally, completely, 100% done. I won't make this mistake again.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

There is no pain like Cortisone pain.

Somebody stitch THAT on a pillow.

So I had my Cortisone shot appointment today. It was awful. Like, laying still for 30 minutes while people first use an ultrasound on your injured joint and then stick needles practically all the way THROUGH your injured joint is not my idea of a good Thursday morning. They kept putting Lidocaine into the injection site every time they put in more Cortisone and oh my word, the pain with the two combined made my toes curl up. They kept saying I shouldn't feel anything but pressure, which sounds good in theory, but that's a heck of a lot of pressure when you're going all the way into my shoulder socket.

The doctors seemed very confused that I didn't feel immediate pain relief because of the Lidocaine, but they seemed to understand once I explained to them that I've had so many anesthetics in my life that my body very well may not even recognize Lidocaine anymore. They said it will take about 48 hours for me to get relief from the Cortisone, which was all I wanted to know.

They also told me I would probably feel like crap for 24 hours and to rest, so rest I shall.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When people leave...

I woke up today in a funk.

After I fell back asleep last night after getting my paper in, it seems like all my dreams were about people who've left me, people I didn't even realize I still missed.

I'd convinced myself I didn't care. That it was their choice. That if they could do what they did without a second thought or an explanation, then maybe we weren't what I thought we were and they weren't worth the investment or energy.

Except anyone who knows me knows that everything I just said is a load of crap if you think about it. I can't not invest in people. I don't know how not to. And with these people that were haunting my dreams last night and my mind a good part of the day today? The parts they played were far too important for me to ever fool anyone, including myself, that losing them isn't that big of a deal.

You know what the sad part is? I truly never believed that things would be like they are now. The relationships we had seemed like such a Godsend that I had naively convinced myself that we really would be in each other's lives forever, and several of them had told me they wanted it to be that way, too, which certainly didn't help the way my heart longed to hold on to them. But you know, I never could have imagined I'd meet people like them in the first place, or grow to love them, so that shows you how good I am at predicting the future.

I seem to have this recurring problem in my life in letting go of the past. These friendships, if that's what they ever were, are, for a myriad of reasons, clearly dead, and yet I'm still aching for how things were even just a year ago. Too often, I catch myself wanting to go back to people and things that are in my past for a reason, instead of basking in all the good that is happening around me right now and resting in the hope for the future that lies before me. I realized this problem when I was talking to a friend earlier and said that as much as I miss my Campbell family, I wouldn't trade being in NYC for anything...and I meant it. For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, I am happy to have closed an era of my life that was hard to say goodbye to. I know this is where I'm supposed to be.

I guess it's because the people I loved so dearly at Campbell are still in my life. I can still text them to see how they're doing without feeling like a bother. I can ask them for prayer and believe they'll actually pray for me. Things like that. And the people who showed up in my dreams last night, well, I can't do that with them. And that stings.

It's people and situations like this that make me nervous about trusting people. I know, friendships end and people drift apart, but I have no idea what ended these and they just cut me out for no reason.  And these people knew me best. They told me we were family. They told me they loved me. They told me they wanted to be in my life for years to come. And then they weren't, and it was like none of the past had ever happened.

And I have to be okay with that.

It's times like this I need to sink my heart in the arms of the Lord. The one whose love I never have to question. The one I never have to worry will cut me off. When people disappoint and hurt me, I can rest in the grace of the God who pursued me and won me and has me until the end of time.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On this day, I slept.

Seriously, that's what I did.

I woke up enough to read the minimum I had to to get my History paper in by 9:00,

but other than that,

I slept.

Straight through to Wednesday morning.

I just couldn't stay awake.

I don't know why.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Things in my head.

Since I got up today, I have had the song lyrics "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other name by which I am saved. Capture me with grace. I will follow you." in my head. Why? I don't know.  Maybe that will come to me.

Today's been reading and laundry and grocery shopping and waiting for a package to come and TV watching because yay fall TV is finally back.

Well, I'm tired. I'm going to try to read one more piece and then go to bed. I've got plenty of work to do by 9:00 pm that's for my class on Wednesday. Ugh. At least with the UN System class that professor gives us until class time.

I'm overtired and snappy so I probably shouldn't say much because then I'll say something I'll regret later.  Learning to keep my mouth shut sometimes is an interesting lesson to learn.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Funny how things work out, huh?

My body is, um, in one of those phases where it doesn't really like to cooperate. Let's just leave it at that. That sums up most of my day.

But the good part? The good part was church. Church where I got to see some people that are already friends and already dear to me. Though we were missing almost everyone because two of the sweet members were getting married up in Rochester. But still, it's a place that I love already. I can sing at the top of my lungs there and no one thinks I'm weird, even when you can totally hear me above everyone else (though I will attribute that to the lack of people, ha!). :)

The people at City Grace, they're the kind of church that gets it right. They took me in from the very first second and made me feel welcome, even though they didn't know the slightest thing about me.

I love people so much. And I love that this was the very first church I tried out here. The very first one, and it's just right for me.

I am so thankful that God led me there. So thankful.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Days fly by.

I really didn't get much done today.

Or anything at all, really.

Can't change the past, though, so eh.

There is tomorrow.

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