Equip of the Willing, Heart of the Able.

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Have you ever seen a counselor? I have, on and off for probably around fifteen years. Not a lot of people know that about me. These counselors talk a lot about how you have points of impact in your days. Points of your life that deeply change you. That halt you in your tracks and reshape your destination. Moments that change your mind about everything you thought you knew and your point of view altogether. I think a lot about those seconds in time in my own life. I think there were too many points of impact for me to think about. Which one was it, which one shattered me way back when? Do our points of impact show up in the form of someone else? Was it any of you? Multiple villains that tore apart my life for such similar and yet distinctive reasonings? Was it something I did? Brought on by the dark and distorted woman I fell to becoming? I’m continuously curious. I’ve endured many of these points in my few days. So many terrible, horrible, gut wrenching points of impact that should have broken me long before the last.

I’ve been told many times that there’s something bigger to my story, to who I am and the things that I’ve been through. Whenever people say this kind of thing to me, I get all wrapped up within my own imagination. For a few seconds, I let myself think this could be a reality. That maybe someday, the Lord could have me sharing all of the deep, dark, and intimate details of the hells I’ve trudged through here on this side of heaven. That through all of the soul scorching struggles I have endured, and overcome through the Lord alone, someone else could understand. The idea that I could meet some other woman or man where they’re at, and show them what the Lord has shown me. It’s surreal. It would be the utmost honor.

Part of me feels this, while the other part pulls in the opposite direction. I have a great understanding that this is a world pouring out over the brim with these stories of painful lives. While I haven’t heard even the smallest amount of the ones that are out there, I think about them. I hear other peoples’ stories, I think about my own, and I think about the stories that are still not laid upon my ears, upon my heart. I know the importance of having my story be heard by people. Just as I know I need to hear the deepest wounds from the hearts of others. I long to be able to cry with them, mourn with these broken hearts over the sinful natures of our earthly home. I can’t help but feel though, that my story is too deep for some people. That if I truly and fully disclosed all of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions I’ve gone through within my own experiences, people would pull away in fear. Why wouldn’t they? It’s some deadening stuff….painfully miserable darkness.

I went through my share of depressing days-leaning on mentally, emotionally, and physically degrading of self. Sadly, they lasted far too long than should have ever began. But for a while now, I’ve been taking act in better ways to cope with the curveballs life and the enemy throw my way. For years, I’ve been an on and off runner. Loving it certain days, hating it the next-unable to fully decide where I stand. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of running. A lot, a lot. And it makes my heart so beyond blessed. For a half a year I thought about doing a half marathon. Back then, up until a month and a half ago, the thought of running thirteen.one miles made me just as exhausted as I get from saying that. I always classified myself as a ‘lower category of runners.’ One that doesn’t fit in the ‘half marathon-able group.’ But why is that? Why would there even be these made up categories in my mind? Do I honestly think God puts these barriers on my capabilities as a person, as a woman made in His image? Heck no!

So I’m training! And I’m doing it! And I won’t give up, even when it gets hard.

Though when I started training, I thought there wouldn’t be a wall. I thought I’d just keep running on the daily, lowering my times while building up my miles. Then this Tuesday, I got sick. I felt absolutely horrid. Just ridiculous brain clogging, a terrible sore throat, and the most zombified exhaustion of the body I’ve had in a really long time.

I was clearly in no capable position to go out and run many a miles. So I had two days off in a row. During those two days, I tried everything in my powers, and those of the Higher dependency, to get back to normal. Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling even closely back to my normal self. But, I wasn’t dying. So I made myself get up and get out, pushing forward. I ran four miles. A route that should have literally felt like absolutely nothing after the ridiculous amount of running my body has graciously let me accomplish lately. After my miles were up, I was thoroughly peeved. I was so ashamed in myself. Realizing how far my training had fallen in just two days, all because I was sick. I guess I just left it at that.

Then today, I pushed myself a little harder. I prayed a little harder while I stretched before I headed out. I knew I was feeling slightly better, and that was enough for me to mentally trudge forward-halfway willing. Yet again, my body was more than exhausted within the first mile and a half. It just didn’t make any sense to me. It felt like my body didn’t even know what it was doing. Like I was running down the sidewalk, probably looking like the strangest dangling noodle flailing down the street. My mind could only imagine the crazy I looked to those poor bystanders on the streets. But crazy flailing noodle or not, I did my run anyways. I pushed myself to continue on anyways. Because it’s important to me. And knowing it’s important to me, I know it’s important to God too. 

So, mile four hit. Finally. Literally ready to drop to the side of Elmwood and Vine, not a care in the world. However, I didn’t do that. I started walking, ready to cool down before heading home. I took my arm band off to end my workout on Nike. And then I heard this song I have, something I’ve never heard before. It caught my attention as a foreign song on my running playlist-kind of like a spoken word art. Almost instantly, my body was just covered in chills. Goosebumps crawled over every single part of me. The words that powered heavily into my headphones were weighing so heavily on my heart, and I knew right away I had to keep running. So I did, I ran to the rest of this song, completely ignorant to the pain my body was in. As I ran, I could still see the goosebumps still crawling all over and around my body. The outward appearance an example of the emotions running through my heart like my feet running along the sidewalks of this town. Never before have I experienced something quite similar to this. So many God moments in my life, in all that I’ve lived through and within-just nothing like this. Never before have I felt so convicted to be exactly who I am in Christ. Feeling so beyond blessed to be the woman I am everyday for the righteous Lord my heart is called to serve. Never before have I ended my run quite like this. Pushing so hard forward, tears streaming so freely from my eyes down my cheeks. Thanking God so heavily for His time with me. Time within my heart that I’ve been seeking out from Him. Time to have Him lay everything on my heart-all that He wants me to do, be, and live in my own life, solely for Him. Thanking Him for this time to be vulnerable and weak, to let Him build me back up again.

I’m so grateful for this convicting song. This song that will probably never mean to another what it does in my heart. The impact it had on me through those three minutes and forty-five seconds. It truly amazes me, the great power we find in such a simplicity of words. You read a story or phrase, a poem, sometimes just a word, or hear a song that moves you to tears. That’s the kind of writing I want to make real in this world. The kind of impact the Lord has on my heart every moment of every single day. The broken down, vulnerable, Truth in it all. It’s the kind of emotion and heart wrench that drops you to your knees at the feet of the Lord. Unashamed to be exactly who you are, knowing full well that He’s waited for you to let go of everything else. To drop the world, and pick up your cross. That’s the kind of impact I want my thoughts, words, and actions to have on the people around me. Even if it’s just one person. Just another person to us here on earth is the wondrous angel God seeks for Heaven.

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An Open Letter To The Only Person I’ve Ever Loved.

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Five hours straight of writing, and one all nighter later..

Words fail me, when it comes to you. Words fail me and it’s literally that simple.

Lately, you’ve been popping up randomly in my thoughts, out of the complete blue. Even as I type those words, I feel like I’m suffocating. I feel like I can’t think straight, like I can’t breath at the thought of you. I think you’ve been showing up in my mind because we’re about to hit a landmark. For eight and a half years, we were friends. We grew closer and closer, and our walls fell down one layer at a time. After five years of friendship, we began a relationship. Some approved, while others couldn’t have disagreed more with our decision. After five short months, I knew you had my heart. I fell so in love with you, I began to forget what life without you ever was. I remember being so cautious in the beginning, waiting for the perfect moment to tell you those three beautiful words. To say them for the first time, and not even be able to begin to explain what they meant to me. That’s how I knew they were true. They were so innocent and pure, so absolutely indescribable. That’s how I knew I loved you. I knew it because I didn’t even have to think twice. It was as if loving you was second nature to my heart. As if I had known all the while that you were the person my heart was longing to hold onto forever. From the day after Christmas on, we started celebrating. One day at a time-you started changing my life. One week at a time-our memories piled up. One month at a time-I got to hold you a little tighter and kiss you a little stronger. One year at a time-I got to understand the deepest parts of who you are. To know the things about you, you can’t fully expose to anyone more than your first love. To dive deeper into your soul than you even knew existed. I know all of this to be true, because you pulled at my life in the exact same way. One year meant a lot to us. Each year was so different than the last. Each held it’s own set of difficulties, while taking our relationship to a completely different place than it had ever been before. I was completely in love with you for sets of three hundred and sixty five days at a time. This time though, the landmark is quite a bit different.

Three hundred and fifty eight days ago, our relationship ended. For the very last time. It was the last time you ever had full preview of my heart. It was the very last day you knew the woman behind the tear stained eyes. There has been so much change within the last three hundred and fifty eight days of my life. On May fourteenth of last year, I was an absolute wreck. I had no idea if my choice to walk away from you was the best thing that ever happened to me, or the biggest mistake of my life. To be honest, some days I still struggle with that contemplation, as if it would ever be a realistic decision I’d ever have to make again. But it won’t be. Because I chose to walk away. I chose to once and for all remove myself from a situation that for a long time, had hurt me more than flourish me. I chose to trust that God would take every ounce of pain this decision caused each of us, and through it instead show us the depths of His abundant grace. And He has. Sometimes I am blind to that fact, but deep down, I’ll always know.

May fourteenth of last year, I couldn’t breath through the sobbing. I couldn’t face you and tell you all of the reasons I knew it had to end. I wasn’t capable of looking you in the eyes and staying strong enough to back away. May fourteenth of last year was the first day I fully gave control of this situation to Christ. Within the last three hundred and fifty eight days, I’ve gotten that surrendering confused in my mind. There have been numerous moments of beyond control breakdowns. Times in the middle of the days I’d want to dial your number that’s been forever engraved in my mind, and listen to you pick up the phone. To hear the hesitation I knew I’d be exposed to when you saw it was me calling you and didn’t know if you should click accept. There have been so many sleepless nights like this one, where I’ve wanted to unblock your number and say something. Anything. To know that everything that ever happened between us was real. That this kind of stuff simply couldn’t come from the depths of my imagination. That I really lived through it all, and am sitting here writing about it now. Pouring my heart onto this page. On May fourteenth of this year, we’re going to reach a new landmark in our relationship. It will create a completion of the first year out of the last four that we never spent a day in a committed relationship with one another. It will prove to me that we broke that cycle-the vicious back and forth that made us hold such a deep begrudging hatred for one another. It’s done and over with.

I can’t really even comprehend it. All of the sudden, last night it just hit me. I didn’t understand why I had been thinking of you so much lately. I couldn’t justify these random thoughts or what emotion they put on my heart. This process, has been something intense. Falling out of love with you. These thoughts of you, they used to be an everyday occurrence. Well really, they used to be an every millisecond occurrence. Back then I couldn’t imagine how one day, it would stop hurting. People around me would try to be supportive; giving me these tidbit encouragement phrases. Really though, the sugar coating only made it a billion and two times worse. I didn’t want to think that someday it would go away. All of my love for you. I didn’t want to have to let go. I specifically remember saying to so many people that I wasn’t strong enough. That it was such a conflicting situation because I didn’t want to move on from you, I never wanted to. Falling out of love, it hurts like Hell. it’s the absolute most heart wrenching and painful thing I have ever experienced. But do you know what’s even worse? Making yourself fall out of love, with the one and only person your heart ever truly cared for in that way. Telling yourself you have no choice but to keep him blocked on everything. Lying to yourself if you have to, repeating any mentally justifying mantras in your mind that make an excuse for the reaps of pain. Burning the letters he wrote like it was your own soul on fire deep inside where nobody else cared to look. Deleting the emails, one by one; as if the person that used to be the only thing you ever knew, never really existed. Staring at the photos, while your mind goes absolutely blank as you look at his face, just like you seemed to have trained it to. Denying any sense of self the moment anyone ever brought his name up. Your body going into shock, confused and conflicted as to whether it’s supposed long and cry for him or miss him and mourn him today. Your heart screams out that you love him unconditionally; and yet your mind asks who even is he?

My heart is the weakest part of me. Every fiber of my being will always long to love and be loved like nothing else in this world existed. Like nothing else could ever matter nearly as much as the person your soul is intertwined with. My heart remembers everything my mind tries to forget. These thoughts of you? They’re burned into the muscle memories of my heart. Spelt out and circulated through my body by the very blood that’s pumping through my veins with every breath I take. My heart thinks of every second I spent loving you. It makes me remember any good I ever believed was created by you in my life. These are the things I made my mind forget. The things I chose three hundred and fifty eight days ago to instead cover up with the scars you carved into me.

I loved you. With absolutely anything I had in me I deeply loved, and cared for you. It consumed me-you consumed me. The way that I cared for you was as simple as breathing. Needing you like I needed the air that surrounded me to keep going through this life day by day. I loved you so much that I let go of myself. I dropped the girl you fell in love with to be the girl who was in love with you. I never saw it until it was too late and too much had changed. All I knew was that I was your girlfriend, and that was all the happiness I thought I needed as a junior in high school, a senior, a freshman in college, and a sophomore in college. My identity became loving you. But by loving you I learned to hate parts of myself. Neglecting the honor I needed to be a woman of God, a daughter, a sister, a best friend, a wife, a student, an aunt, a teenage girl, myself. Letting the rest of who I was fall away, I then only knew to be your everything.

I’m not really sure when I was possessed to change this. When I finally understood the things people in my life narrowed in on from day one of us. One day, I got a grasp on every terrible horrible thing we put each other through. From that day on, I knew my life would never be the same. I knew I would never again look into your beautiful blue eyes and see the innocent hearted young man I grew up knowing and eventually falling so deeply in love with. I knew from that moment forward, you could no longer see me as the beautiful and carefree spirit you had cherished. Even when you don’t tell me, I know you hated me. And you hated you. I know because I hated each of us the exact same. The things we’ve been through together, I hope neither one of us ever has to go through again. I pray to God that we learned. That this consequence, this terrible and long and yet so growingly beautiful three hundred and fifty eight days shows us for the rest of forever what not to do. I pray that it shows us what we had, and what we gave up.

I want you to know that I remember. No, I don’t remember what it’s like to fall in love, or how that even works. But I remember what it was like to be in love with you. I remember the details of us, all of the things I knew as such norms in my life. All of the things I now know I simply took for granted during our time together. I remember almost every moment we’ve spent together over the past near decade of our lives. Every picture I have, you have, or that someone else shared of us. I can remember the conversations we had within that split second snapshot of time. I remember the way my world lit up when you smiled at me. I remember the same bone chilling, mind numbing effect my body was overtaken by every time I felt your skin touch mine. Whenever you’d wrap your arm around me and pull me in close. Whenever you’d slip your thumb over top of mine as you held my hand. A tradition I’ll carry into any new relationship, that I didn’t know I cared about until I held your hand. I didn’t know I cared that much about being protected until you were the one who I was entrusting my heart to. I remember the way you laughed at me until you had tears rolling down your face. That machine gun laugh that I could probably near perfectly reenact to this day if I tried. That laugh that sent my stomach into fits of giggles, just at the opportunity to make fun of you. I remember wrestling, playing around constantly, knowing full well that you’d never truly hurt me. Not in that way at least. I remember one specific feeling that shatters my heart to reflect on. It’s that moment, tell me you know it. That moment when you’re walking into the room, and you look for me? I’m watching you walk in, and noticing that the first thing you want to do is find me. Make eye contact with me. Come to where I am and pull me close. That’s the one. That beautiful moment when I realize I’m the initial thought on your mind. I crave that moment. I see it happen to couples around me, people that don’t understand to truly breath that moment in like it’s their last. I remember what it feels like to have that moment happen in my very own life. I remember what it feels like when you play with my hair, without fail putting me to sleep. I still think about the way you smell. I forever found such comfort in that. Pulling you close and embracing the familiarity of your scent, as if it was an aura I could never tire of. I think about the way you so effortlessly put your arms around me for so long. I think about how simple it was to love you. For so long. I think about and remember all of it. I remember you. I remember whoever it is you used to be, the boy I used to be intoxicatingly in love with.

But then, I too remember the heartache. When I think about the good too long, it makes me question myself if all the bad was simply made up in my mind. If I came up with my own excuses to walk away, and never really had justification. But then I see my scars, and I know better. I think about the beautiful things until I remember when it turned ugly. How the two became so intertwined, they were indistinguishable. When it became so messed up that you started using my own gentle heart against me. Turning me into a bitter ice princess, that sought out nothing but anger and resentment towards you. I remember the endless arguments and the tears shed. Filling the lives in the world around me with my core cut sorrows. I remember the insecurities. I still look back and can’t believe that was ever me. I remember having to tell myself I needed to save me. Having to pep talk myself into loving who I was as a person and as a woman. Telling myself I was enough. I remember all of the times I should have let you go. How much pain, trouble, and love wasted that would have saved each of our hearts. Like the cloudy day you sat in Rosie in your driveway. I remember the scruffle on your face and the white tshirt you were wearing. I begged you and begged you to choose between me and her, and you chose her. And I stubbornly refused to accept that as a truth in my life. I should’ve just let you choose her. I remember when I pulled you over to stand in the spot that you first kissed me. I kissed you with tears streaming down my face, pathetically begging you to remember the love we shared-but you never kissed back. I remember just how bad that hurt. I should’ve let you go then too. I should’ve saved us sooner, I just didn’t know how. And I’m sorry for that.

I guess eventually, I just got tired of it all. I got sick of having the same circle round conversations and disagreements that never ended up leading anywhere. I got tired of being tormented by the scarring memories of the painful past we had. I was wasted away by being constantly reminded of the bad decisions I made for myself. It was exhausting to hold your mistakes back against you. As if any of it could have been resolved or handled. I was an exhausted and sad girl that didn’t want to be sad anymore. I just wanted to be understood by someone, by anyone. I got tired of talking about it all. The pain. I needed it to stop, and to never look back on it again.

And yet here I am. Three hundred and fifty eight days later. Still mourning the loss of the first love of my life. Putting out there in the open all of the things I never wanted to speak into my life. For the first time in an excessively long time, being vulnerable about you. Letting myself hurt and still mourn over the loss of you within who I was. I’ve spent the last three hundred and fifty eight days being strong. Holding my guard higher than it has ever been before. Blocking out any sign of hurt from anyone, but most definitely from you. Making sure that there was no way you could break the hedge of protection I held up against you and the effects you always had over me. But it leaves me with one question that I endlessly ponder.

Who’s going to be strong for me, while I’m too weak to any longer be strong for us both?

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Lights will guide you home.

Thirty Six Hours.

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December 20th, 2014

I was told some harsh words by someone who used to mean a great deal to me. It was all super unexpected, and hit me like a freight train. It caught me completely off guard, and ripped open every wound that I held together with scotch tape for the past three years. Never wanting to truly accept the inevitable, never wanting to let go of any control. Shamefully, not even to trust God. I felt I was suffocating, that there was not nearly enough oxygen on the planet that I needed to survive those three seconds of torture.

For many months I felt like I was ripping off the slowest and most painful band aid. Like I’d lose hope completely and rip the band aid halfway. Exposing so much dreadful pain, but still not ripping it off completely. Then I would realize that meant I’d be giving up, and there was no way I was going to do that. I promised I wouldn’t ever do that. So there I would go again, repasting the band aid, half torn and mangled, back on. Each time getting more and more worn and the skin underneath damaged and raw. It was an ongoing battle in my head, my heart, my life. I was so constantly conflicted that I didn’t know what to do with it all but to just let it envelope my entire world.

But those words, those eight words shattered everything I could promise, everything I had hoped to have for what seemed and felt like forever. False hope. I needed to escape. I needed a clean break. I needed something to make it all real and final in my mind, my heart.

So what else does one do in a time of angst but pack a bag and get on the road? So I did it. I left my home at 5:00 pm, and I drove eighteen hours straight to Wilmington, North Carolina. What a crazy idea, what a wild journey, what a rude awakening.

The drive there truly wasn’t the worst. The first few hours passed by fairly quickly. I had a lot on my mind. I had a lot of frustrations and anger about the things that were encompassing my life in the moment. I knew that I sought out clarity, that I truly wanted to know and understand God’s will for my life. How, is the true question and adventure. Once I hit Indiana, things got kind of boring. My family understood finally that I had packed up and left so out of the blue. They panicked, worrying about their baby girl being out in the middle of nowhere completely alone. Little did they realize, that I had the absolute best passenger possible, the Big Guy.

Then things slowly dragged on hour after hour. Pit stops for gas, bathrooms, snack foods, and hugely loud jam sessions to keep me awake. Along with phone calls to my best friend and one individual family member at a time. Each person trying so desperately to understand my cry for help and clear vision in my life. Sadly for them, they had to get in line for any kind of knowledge on what was going on. I claimed that golden ticket long before they hopped on my crazy train.

Finally around noon, I made it to Wilmington. My two purposes of choosing this city were simple. One, I’ve never been to the ocean-sad but true. And two, it was the major filming place of my best friend and my’s favorite tv series, One Tree Hill. Cliche, I know. After grabbing bearings on everything around me, I cleaned myself up, ate something, and adventured. I went around to what felt like a million different important locations from the tv show. Taking pictures to reminisce over with my best friend, trying to get the most out of my mini vacation. Over my six hours in Wilmington, I got hundreds of pictures,  beautiful visions, many provocative glares from complete strangers, and too many feelings of discomfort and confusion.

So what else to do when you get overwhelmed and lost in a place you came rushing to for clarity? You’re more than eighteen hours from home, and you lose your mind. I left. I cut my trip two and a half days short and I headed home. I hadn’t slept for two days, and was honestly but insanely going to attempt the grand journey home. Two hours in, I found myself falling asleep behind the wheel. Every last attempt to keep myself awake failed. Saying I was exhausted didn’t begin to put myself into perspective. I was drained, mentally, emotionally, physically, any way I could have felt emptied, I was two folds over. After talking to each of my siblings on the phone for the first two hours, I lost my mind and I pulled over. I started crying on the side of the interstate, as cars flew past me at eighty miles an hour. Shaking my car and my mind even more intensely, putting a physicality on the way my life felt day in and day out. Out of the blue, who should call to save the day but my momma? In a time like that, I don’t think anyone else could have better understood the words I couldn’t even find in myself to cry. From sixteen and a half hours away, my momma lovins took my hand, and calmly got me to a hotel and into bed to unfurl. And that’s exactly what I did.

In room 107 at the Super 8 in Burlington, North Carolina, I finally let it all go. As I laid down, I felt relief. Then I called a friend for comfort, only to find more pain added to the mountain my heart had just been building up for far too long. Hanging up that phone call, I lost it. I let every emotion go, everything I had been pinning up, shoving away, not allowing myself to accept or face or feel. I felt it all. I cried it out to God, and begged Him to give me understanding. I begged for clarity, I begged for the pain to stop, the bitterness, the anger, the hatred I felt in my heart to dissipate. I begged God for the peace I had been longing for and not truly allowing myself to seek for such a great while. I knew that it probably wouldn’t be instantaneous, but I needed God to know that I needed Him. More than ever I was allowing myself to be completely broken down, shattered, and vulnerable. In room 107 at the Super 8 in Burlington, North Carolina, I cried out to God, and I cried myself to sleep.

After almost two days of not sleeping at all, I stayed in hibernation for twelve hours. Finally I woke up and got back on the road. Eagerly awaiting my sixteen hour arrival home to my crazy beautiful life-my loving best friend, my supportive parents, and my own bed. The drive back seemed to take double the time over the trip there. I guess Passenger had it right, you really do only hate the road when you’re missing home..

After sixteen more hours of endless driving, another long set of continuous phone calls, pit stops, and one distracted speeding ticket, I was finally home around midnight. Another exhaustion spell took me over and I became a lightly snoring rock for the next ten hours. I woke once in the middle of my sleep, feeling the familiarity of my momma. Kissing my forehead and telling me that she loved me. There will never be such other comfort found on this earth than something like that. I was home. I was safe. But in no way, was I the same.

Somewhere along the way, something changed in my heart and in my mind. God gives us the desires of our heart. And it wasn’t until within these eight days later, when I am finally able to wrap my mind around everything I’ve experienced, that I understand. God did grant me the desires of my heart. God gave me peace. After three long and dragged out years of hello and goodbye, God allowed me to let it go. It’s not that I’m giving up. It’s not that I’m breaking my promise. It’s that I’m fully and forever putting my trust of it all into the only hands strong enough to grasp it, the Forever King.

God took this spur of the moment decision laid heavily on my heart, and He used it for the best in me. He allowed me to feel the things I wouldn’t let myself fully feel in the fear of breaking down, of disappointing. In finally letting myself lay it all at the alter, I have found the most comfort yet. I have such a burning desire to live the life God has planned for me. I know it’s nothing like anything I could imagine it to be, but so so so much more. I’m grateful that in my time of despair, among all of the day to day moments in my life, God was there. He was my bodyguard, my road trip passenger, my hope, my true destination all along.

One road trip halfway across the country and back.

One wave of reverent peace.

One Almighty God.

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