A popular question in this time of life is the famous, “what do you want to do with your life?” I kind of shrug it off for a bit, and then eventually spit out the words, “I want to be … Continue reading
The person that went into the operating room on March 11th, is not the same person that came out. Guarded and innocent, I found peace in knowing that I would get better, that I would be healed, and that I could be normal again. The truth that I found? I will never be normal. I have memories that no person should ever have and I am still trying to find the person I was before any of this happened. I don’t know who I am. I am struggling with my closeness to God, and I am broken more than any ordinary person could see. The beautiful thing about this? God is patient. He sees my brokenness and he is welcoming me with open arms at the gate of heaven. I have messed up. I have yelled at God wondering why these things happen to me, and I have disobeyed him out of rage caused by my life’s problems.
I may never know why any of this happened. Sure, I can wonder and guess the reason, but for what? God’s faithfulness has remained and he has healed me with his glorious power. I have been made new. The person that went into that operating room? She died on the table, and someone else took her spot. This person is stronger, more independent, and struggling, but still holding on to that hope that God promises we can have in him. I am not normal. I will never be normal and I am okay with that. Jesus Christ? He was never normal. He was radical, and in so many ways he used his circumstance to change lives. My advice? Never search for who you used to be. God is molding you into something beautiful and you cannot be afraid to jump into his arms and run with him through anything he may take you into. Don’t be afraid of who you are. Often times I look in the mirror and wonder who I have turned in to and why God is doing this. Maybe, just maybe, He is telling me to mirror someone far more important than myself.
As many of you may know, I have recently endured a major back surgery. Through this very long recovery, I have been itching to do one thing. This one thing is what I think about every day, what makes every situation better, and what I even began to dream about. Running. When people heard about this wish, they would understand my view, but would also wonder why I’m not grateful for being able to finally walk without pain. The answer is this… there is something freeing about running. The fact that nothing can touch you.. there is nothing against you, and your only enemy is yourself.
Picture this, you are running on a dirt path. You pass each tree with a different thought. Using the passing time to file your feelings, you stop. You are out of breath and have lost determination. Perhaps a troubling thought has passed your mind. Something is telling you that you can’t do this.. you are too worn out, too out of breath to keep going. You have two choices.. one, you let the thought captivate you. You are dicouraged in yourself and in the body that God has given you. Your heart wants to keep going, but your mind is telling you to stop. Or two, you test your body. You let your body tell you when you need to stop and you do not allow your mind to take over your actions.
My surgery began with a run, but my surgery also ended with a run. On May 6th, I took my first steps to freedom. My goal was reached and my prayer was answered. Maybe your journey begins with a run, maybe it ends with a run, or maybe it is a run. Whichever way your story may play out, know what you are running towards. Your body and your mind are much more capable than you may think, and our Lord is much more present than he may seem. Take the risk of running, and once you approach the finish line, you will realize why you began the journey.
February 26, 2014 is the day I found my beauty, which was hidden by the pressure of the media, the comparisons of others, and the hurtful words of people around me. Today, I soak in my skin.. and I have never been more content.
For eighteen years I have been running from myself. Not able to face my own body, I covered up myself to the whole world. I hid behind diets, extreme working out, and a bright smile. I thought that if I was able to fake confidence for myself, that confidence is what everyone else would see. The problem with that? It worked. I was able to post pictures and make it seem like I had no problem with myself or what I looked like. Posing for a picture is easy.. finding the right angle, putting the hand on the hip, hide all of the problem spots.. you get the point. I got many comments about the beauty that everyone else saw and tons of “likes” agreeing with those comments. So, why am I not happy? I got what I wanted..assurance from others that I am beautiful. Well, I never believed it. I would look at pictures and think “well maybe it was just a good picture” or “I don’t actually look like that”, etc. I beat myself up for the person that God made me to be. God tells me I am a MASTERPIECE.. why didn’t I believe him?
After years of struggling with this, it gets to you. You begin to look at pictures of other people thinking “why can’t I look like that?”. I tried everything to look like that. I worked out three times a day, ate practically all vegetables and protein, and I definitely saw a difference. I was more confident and more happy about the way I looked, but something was still missing. I liked what my body was capable of.. running, playing lacrosse, and some extreme “Insanity” work-outs..it made me feel like I was unstoppable. Did I really like the way I looked or did I just like the fact that people could see how hard I was trying? I was gaining muscle and losing weight, but I still compared myself to others. There was just one more pair of abs I wanted to gain or ten more pounds I wanted to lose.. It was exhausting and there was no end.
When I found out that I was going to be on bed-rest for the next month or two, I was devastated. All of that muscle I built, all of that weight I lost, was it for nothing? All I kept thinking was “What’s going to happen if I gain weight? And that muscle I just built..what a waste of time that was.. Oh my gosh.. what if my boyfriend stops loving me because I gain 5 pounds?” Every possible thought was going through my mind. I was terrified of how my life would end up when there was nothing to be worried about.
It has been two months and it is two weeks away from surgery. I have lost a lot of muscle, I have gained five pounds, and my boyfriend still loves me just as much, if not more, than he did a month ago. I still have my friends, my family hasn’t gone anywhere, and I am happier than I have ever been. I realize now, that I like who I am. I like being able to make people smile and being there for someone when no one else is. I like the heart that God has given me and I like the body that he has put that heart in. I may not be under 100 pounds, I don’t have a thigh-gap, and my stomach may not be crazy flat. The real truth? That’s what God made us for. He wants us to be happy in our skin and he wants us to love everything that we have. In the next few months, I am going to lose muscle, I am going to look rough at times, and it’s a possibility that I might gain a few more pounds. But you know what? I am rejoicing in the curves that I have and the muscle that God gives me to walk each day. I will go back to running one day and will eventually gain more muscle, but I will never forget the moment when God told me to sit still and I found peace.
||break me down to build me up|| Did I know what I was getting myself into when shouting these words to God? No. Did I think “hitting the bottom” would feel like this? Never. Have I seen God work in ways that I could have never imagined? Definitely.
These words laid upon my heart as I was worshiping the Lord so tenderly. I was so weak, but still held up by my own strength. Not letting go of my life was one of the worst decisions I ever made, but asking God to break me down was one of the best.
I thought I had been broken down when I lost a few friends, got a bad grade, or even felt hopelessly alone. God still wanted me broken down further. A few weeks ago I withdrew from the semester to get back surgery. I had to leave all my friends, stop playing lacrosse, and take a break from classes. I was devastated. After hundreds of tears and many goodbyes, my life had changed in the blink of an eye. I didn’t like it. I had no control. “Wait God, this isn’t what I planned for my life.” He answered, “Exactly.” Naturally, I turned away from him. I was so angry that I didn’t want to talk to him, read his word, or even think about him…that didn’t last very long. I had never felt more empty, more alone, more hopeless. He was my only hope. He had kept me going.
I still question why he did this to me and why He has called my life to be like this. The truth is, I will never know the absolute answer. Maybe I wouldn’t be as devoted to him. Maybe I wouldn’t have touched so many lives. Maybe you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Who knows? But one thing that I do know is that God is in charge of ALL things. He has put me in this situation to encourage others. I know it. I am not perfect by any means and I do get angry at what God does at times, but I trust in him because he is all that I have. Without him, I am nothing. It’s so easy to get torn apart from God when he puts you in challenging situations, but I encourage you to fall on your knees and beg for God to work through you in whatever situation you may be going through. Be a light to people and show them what love truly looks like.
In the past few weeks, I have learned a lot of things..
- It is okay to sit still…I don’t always have to be going 24/7.
- I will never know the plan for my life.
- God works in amazing ways…and I mean, amazing.
- I have all the time in the world, and my timing doesn’t really matter anyway.
- God loves those that are broken.
I still have so much to learn and I have no idea what God has planned for my life, but I do know that God will use me to be his hands and feet. No matter what happens with surgery, I will continue to fear the Lord and to live “all-in” for Him. He is my rock and my fortress. He has broken my chains and I will forever run after him. So, I may be broken down right now, but I am slowly being built up. This situation will glorify God in ways unimaginable and I cannot wait to aid God in this beautifully imperfect journey.
It was a quiet, but sunny day. My hands were trembling, my mind was racing, and I wanted something new. I wanted a passion that I had never felt before. This passion could come in many different forms, but as I searched for a passion, every thought failed me. I was sitting in the hospital getting, yet, another test done. As I was clenching my fists and avoiding eye sight of the needle, I was inspired. With my impaired vision and throbbing head, I saw a sign that would forever change my life. This sign reminded me of the purpose of life. Why live without helping others? What really makes me happy? I was challenged. Were these words really from the maker of this sign, or was it something from God? Why was I in this room and not the next? These answers may never be answered, but can be inferred.
The amazement of the sign truly took my mind off of the pain. Soon, nothing else mattered. I had a mission. As I was focused on how to achieve this mission, the nurse in the room, which I believe to be an angel, began to explain to me about why God has done what he has done. She went on and on about how my health situation would be able to help someone else.. how I could impact someone’s life because of my illness. CRAZY. I was so focused on myself that I forgot about the big picture. This lady believed in me more than I had ever believed in myself, and she had just met me. I wanted that certainty. I wanted that fulfillment. I wanted to feed that passion.
So here I am about ten years later, studying to become a physicians assistant. I am chasing my dreams while following the only light that matters…God’s light. I am beginning my journey in this thing called “life” and I am learning a lot about who I am and where God is taking me. I have no idea where I will be ten minutes from now or ten years from now, but I know one thing…God will never let go. The current struggles of the day seem to fade into the background because I know they are happening for a reason. So maybe I’m walking blindly and maybe I’m making so many mistakes along the way, but I have to have faith in not only God, but myself. The journey may never get easier, but the path will get lighter. I hope to shine some light and encouragement into lives with these words… come enjoy the journey with me.