Madhat Musicianry.

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Throughout these past few wild and beautiful weeks, I have learned some important things. These weeks have been absolutely insane-like trying to run straight forward after your nephew wrecks the world of your boyfriend and you on the tilt a whirl ride at Navy Pier insane. Each day has been busy, a whole new set of little bitty hiccups along for the ride in this episode of Hannah’s Life. Gratefully so, quiet time and long car rides have given me time to digest all that has happened and changed so drastically. A penny for my thoughts they say…


 

>> What even is beautiful?

Serving as a missionary in Romania changed a lot of things within my life and my heart. One of the most significant changes is found in my overall self image. Just as any other young woman, I used to spend way too much time obsessing over the way I looked. I was guilty as charged in wasting a lot of money on my outward appearance. I was absolutely obsessed with shopping for new clothes, accessories and especially shoes. I changed my hair color a tremendous amount of times from the spring of eighth grade on. I got my nails done up all fancy all the time. There came to a point where I felt my confidence depend on whether or not I was ‘put together’ for the day. People would always always always reiterate to me that I was so beautiful and so natural. When in all reality, I couldn’t feel further from that truth.

From July 2k15 on, I had a REALLY hard time with what beautiful was ‘supposed’ to be. I talked to an enormous amount of women about their own experiences with this area of femininity. Everyone has repeatedly encouraged me to continue on with outward adornment-so long as I don’t feel it is Needed in order for me to feel beautiful. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me though. I looked at my boyfriend, and I think he’s beautiful. Actually, I think he is just the most studliest handsome schmexy fox that I’ve ever laid eyes on, but you know, semantics. 😉 He doesn’t wear makeup, dye his hair, obsess about the clothes he wears [unless it’s camo/blaze orange]…and I still find him absolutely breath taking everytime I look his way. I look at him a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Whenever he isn’t looking at me, I stare at the features of his adorable face. The curvatures in his hand movements. The way he raises his eyebrows when he smiles, just like I do. I see all of these things, and I think they’re beautiful. So why would I think I need all of these ridiculous worldly things in order for me to be beautiful too?

Exactly, I don’t. So I stopped. For a long time, I stopped wearing any makeup all together. I stopped dying my hair at all. I stopped shopping for anything except groceries and boyfriend trinkets. And I’m so content with that, but I wasn’t at first. I was shocked at how much I compared myself to others, everything about others. I’d complain to my boyfriend about indecision on makeup and hair dye, and what it all means. Being his supportive self, he’d try his best to hone in on the wondrous mind of a confused woman. Nowadays, I am slowly finding the balance of both worlds. I put on makeup when I specially get ready, but that doesn’t happen everyday. I still, and forever hope to, find comfort in my own natural beauty just as God made me. I haven’t and won’t dye my hair, but it’s still nice to know I can make that decision based on my own discernment.


 

>>The heart wants what it wants.

My mother calls me her tattooed gypsy daughter. I am infamous within my family and friends group for moving around a lot. I do move around more than the average bear; but I almost never share the intimate details with anyone why I put myself exactly where I do. The truth of the matter, is that I follow my heart and what I feel called to do. Back in the good ‘ol days, I was a little more irrational in my life choices. I would make snap decisions, or peripheral plans as my Persuasion Comm Professor would say [I really like Comm Studies, nerdy]. At that point, I never argued back when people were beyond shocked with the ‘new scandal of Hannah’s life changing event.’ Coming up to recent however, I am not nearly as impulsive as I once was. From the outside, my decisions probably do seem irrational and sudden. But that’s mainly because I keep about 98% of the world on the outside of my own private world-for very good reason.

What the 98% don’t know, is that I put a lot of thought into the decisions of my life. I take my time, actually way too much time, overanalyzing options. I make list after list, and think of every possible scenario that could play out. I pray beyond belief, knowing that ultimately God’s plan will pull heavy rank over any of my own. And then finally, I either act or I don’t. This time, I acted. I followed my heart, jumped off that cliff, and leapt in faith knowing full well God would catch me. This tattooed gypsy is at it again, figuring out the next adventure life has to throw at me, one day at a time.


 

>>The past passed away, rest in pieces.

When faced with thoughts of the past, you WILL get just as sick to your stomach as you did while you lived through it. The good part? You had a choice then, you acted on that choice then, and you have a choice now. Now, you can choose not to care about the ‘talk’ that people will absolutely do behind your back. You can choose joy, happiness and humility in the name of the Lord. You get to choose to be thankful for all of the amazing and life changing blessings that have been bestowed upon you. You get to continue doing what you’ve been doing; living your life for Jesus alone, and doing the best you can for yourself. You don’t have to answer to anyone but God, Himself. And if anyone tries to make you feel otherwise, tell them to have a convo with the one who loved you enough to put you exactly where you are. Long ago, you left the past and joined in a new realm of meaning for your life. So snap off the rearview mirror and drive on beautiful. That past is someone else’s mistake to learn now.

Dueces, applejuices.

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Tightrope Crawl.

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“How’s school going for you?”

Probably my absolute least favorite question in the history of foreverdome. As a college student, I get this question literally all the time.

My typical response?

Inside– “College is terrible. I hate commuting. I hate the stress. I love the stress. I can’t handle this. Pile more on my shoulders. I’m not doing enough. I’m about 25% sure I failed two classes this semester. I hate it. Hate’s a terrible word, but right now I hate college. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Is it this hard for everyone else? Why can’t my experiences be as great as everyone else’s? Why do I have to put myself through school. WOW I complain a lot! Blame certain professors. Take the blame upon yourself. Stop! Just, stop. God’s got a plan. You know this. In the end, He puts you through what you go through for a reason. You know this. Stop. Just breath. You’re OK! We’re going to make it through this. Breath.”

Outside– *Smile and tilt head* “College is college.”

It’s so complicated and yet so simple at the same time. I can’t really fully understand it all, but I am putting my faith in Christ. When I was in high school, I didn’t have to try hard. I got a near 4.0, and I didn’t have to put in millions of studying hours to get there. I guess you could say I was blessed by this. A lot of people wish they had that capability. But now? Now, I feel it’s more of a curse than anything. I never learned the techniques I needed to in high school to be able to be somewhat naturally ready for college success. On top of making the millions of daily adjustments it takes to make this huge transition, I have to learn of this as well. I have to learn how to study, how to really apply myself, how to stay motivated, how to cope with all of it. Tomorrow, I’m officially done with my sophomore year of college, I’m headed off to juniorland. I’m headed off to be a junior, and I have absolutely no idea how I got here. Throughout my four previous semesters of college, I can distinctly remember one of them where I felt I did as well as I wanted. Where I was actually proud to answer the forbidden question, ‘How’s school going for you?’ The rest of the time? I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in my efforts [or extreme lack there of] for numerous classes. I’m highly disappointed in myself for not being the shining student I was throughout my first twelve primary years of my education. Twelve years of being known for being bright, intelligent, and applying myself more than most. Two years of having the absolute most difficult time doing literally anything right when it comes to school.

Within the last two years, I have grown and changed more than I ever thought was possible in what seems like such a short time. It will never fail to surprise me how in a day, the various paths my life is headed on change and shift around so much. Nothing is constant. Change, is constant. And God, is constant. Nothing else is ever going to be constant. There’s just no absolutes in this life other than Christ. Huge revelation. Something I am reminded of so often. Throughout my first two years of college, my heart has gone through so much. There have been literally endless struggles when it comes to family issues, relationship issues, self identity issues, and the list goes on. One thing after another, I have struggled. I have been tempted and tried. I have succeeded in some areas, and fell completely flat on my face in others. Most definitely though, I’ve done more of the falling flat than the rising up. At least that’s what it feels like anyways. But that’s not to say I haven’t grown. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. At least I can take security in the fact that all of my struggles, all of my hardships, have grown me in some way or another. From each tough time I was put into or I put myself into, I learned. I’m still learning. Always. Every new day brings me endless opportunities to grow, learn, and show the same capabilities to others around me.

Some days, are just always going to be a little more tough to get through than others. Today, wrapping up my semester, is one of those days. Reflecting back on this past semester is kind of tough. I came into it completely new-eager and excited for a new start I knew was a long time coming in my life. Yes, my past, my old ways, and my memories will always carry with me. But I’m nothing of who I used to be. I was changed drastically, I was reshaped and molded into a new version of myself. I was metamorphosed. [Yes, that is a real word, I looked it up.] This transfer home, was the outward expression of an inward emotion. To me, it signified moving on with my life from the things of the past, and becoming more of who I have been called to be. So I got the move home part down, that was simple-ish. It’s the rest of it that falls into blurry details of the background. I don’t really know yet if I became more of who I feel I’m called to be, or if it’s just all in my head that I’ve grown and changed over the last half year. In certain aspects, I feel growth. I feel different. I feel like I can distinctly see the areas of impact on my life and my heart that will never go back. Really I guess, the only place I don’t really feel the growth is in school. The community of school? Definitely. Knowing my major is where I belong and feel I can excel? Still pretty sure. Pressing forward and being a kick butt student that is like, smart, and stuff? Definitely not. Which is quite unfortunate.

But you know what? I know God’s got it. He’s seen this. This disappointment and self-loathing type feeling I feel deep inside? He knows. He knows the certain ways I mourn for this semester. For the person I want to be. For the person I used to be. He knows the internal battle I fight every day. The well known fight against the flesh. He knows. And He will honor me, as I continue to honor Him.

So today, it kind of sucks. Today I’m sad that I’m not better than I am. Today I’m a lot disappointed in the student that I have been. But, repentance, mercy and grace are beautifully crafted in the hand of the Father.

And tomorrow is a new day.

Thank God for that.

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:5-8

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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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