Leave Room For the Unexpected.

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Something I do a lot is make lists. I like to write things down in ink, making them permanent in my mind. Last year I started this thing that I think I’ll continue doing for years to come. You see I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I think you should continuously be improving yourself and your life for the better. Instead, I make goals and dreams for myself for the next year of my life. So right before my twentieth birthday, I started thinking and praying about what I wanted out of the next year of my life. I wrote all of these things down in my Notes app on my phone. This way I could look at it, and cross them off once I have accomplished them to my own satisfaction. I had a list of about fifteen things for my year twenty. As I’m about to turn twenty one, I’ve been thinking about what I have and haven’t accomplished throughout year twenty. The majority of my list has been checked off, and I’d say I’m pretty satisfied with the blessings of this year. One thing I think has been potently alive in my life throughout this last year that I nowhere near anticipated was this: change.

The entire last year of my life has been in a constant spiral, a never ending circle of change. The majority of the things that have changed are things I never thought would happen-but well, here we are.

-I fell in love. Going along with this trend, this is the number one thing I absolutely never expected. I met a guy-a God fearing, genuine man. He absolutely, completely, and has forever changed my life.

-I moved twice, and will be moving again in just a few short weeks. This is crazy to me. It’s crazy, and stressful, and I so deeply look forward to this being the last big move I make for quite some time to come. I am so very much the person to follow her heart wherever it takes me. Sometimes though, that can be interpreted as unwise to some people. Sometimes I think the same, but I know I’ll never be fully satisfied unless I follow my heart and where I feel called to be.

-I served the Lord both in the states, and internationally. I was really against my international mission trip at first. Mainly just because I was terrified-but the Lord called, and I followed. Not for one moment during or since have I ever regretted putting myself where He asked me to go.

All of these things have been crazy, but they’ve each been amazing in their own special ways. In all reality though, my heart has been craving something different for a while now. I’m hoping and praying whole heartedly that this year, my change slows to a steady limited pace. It’s just exhausting you know? Having to pack up your life, unpack it all, try to nest your new location of ‘home’ into your life…just to do it all again maybe three months later in the most. I understand to a certain extent that this is what college is like. But it’s just different for me. I have never been the kind of woman that fits in with this college life regularly. The point where my life is, is that I’m ready for my heart to settle down a bit. I’d like to be in one place, with my one person, and keep myself there and steady.

Hopefully, this will be something to happen throughout my twenty one. I’m getting closer, so I guess we’ll see.

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Wednesday’s Were Always My Favorite.

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Is it true that all writers are depressed? All musicians? All artists? All photographers? You know, all of the people in a very creative outlet…I mean it makes sense. The places in my life that have been the most difficult on my heart and emotions have led to some pretty kick butt blogs. Even the snippets of thought that run continuously through my mind sound better after a struggle. Not really sure what that’s about.

I think I made a smart decision last night, leading into just a few moments ago.

Naturally, the largest of my life choices revolve around writing and words. For a while, I’ve known that I’ve loved writing. That I’ve found a passion in it that I can’t obtain in a lot of areas. Last year, my writing was at a huge peak. I started this blog, and wrote my way through all of the pains I was buried under. My words had power, as they were derived from very dark places other people don’t know how to paraphrase. Last year I was still a very, very damaged and scarred young woman. I had a lot to write about, even when I didn’t know I did.

Sometime throughout the transition into this year, all of that seemed to have ceased within me. I became happy. My boyfriend and I got really serious in our relationship, and continue to do so. I made an ambition decision to move in with my brother and sister, and their adorable baby girl. I transferred schools back to a place that once was the very root of the damaged heart I just talked about. I threw myself into numerous job interviews, accepting my first job at a hospital. I have grown more in my faith and as a woman.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have that hard hurt to mask my true heart anymore. That’s actually way more terrifying than it sounds. Such a long time had passed that the hurt had defined me. During that rough period of my life, I was no longer the woman that got up just to see the sun shine. I was the woman that only liked the dark, because the darkness was what had become of my heart. But now, I’m slowly finding my way back to that sunny girl. I’m continuously reminded that I don’t have to be insecure, and that I have every right to be confident in so many aspects. I’m remembering that there’s a time and place in my life for the darkness, and the end of that era is over. It’s almost like I have to remind myself often that the light is here, inside of me, and it’s there for a reason; and to not let the darkness consume me. Not today, not for the next hour, and not for the next few minutes.

I don’t really know what exactly it is that continues to try pulling my heart back towards the lost years emotion. It could be a number of things, and it could be the huge factor of one small aspect. I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a doctor of sorts, I’m just a girl. I’m just me and you would think that after almost twenty one years of me, I’d know me well. I know me well enough to know that something is off, somewhere deep inside.

But, it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to let one ounce of sadness control me. I don’t have to take things that I’m allowed to be less than enthused about, and let them ruin days. I can choose to be Happy Hannah. I can choose to be optimistic, smiley, bubbly. I don’t have to think that I am less anyone else based on things they choose to share online. I don’t have to talk myself into thinking that I’m not doing enough. I have the ability to be exactly who I am, and endlessly work to transform myself into being exactly who God calls me to be.

Everyday, I may not have faith in my abilities. But I have in God’s.

Today, my faith shines through brighter.

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2.17.16.

Lectures are Blogging Your Heart Out.

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I remember when I was little my mom was sad. I never knew the underlying reasons really, because little kids ‘aren’t supposed to worry about adult type things.’ At a certain point, I was old enough to go through the really hard stuff with my family. From then on I felt it, no longer just be a bystander on the outside of the pain. As an adult I know when my mom is sad. If I’m being honest, it would always make me really anxious to see. Partly because I’m really protective and I don’t like when things are hurting the ones I love. The other part is the selfish and jarred edge part that I don’t proclaim proudly. The other part is continuously angry when I see this sadness in her. It’s just a sadness I thought I never understood. I looked at her life, the parts of her life I was familiar with at least, and saw no reason to be sad. I saw five children, a husband, a job in a field she loves, and plenty of reasons to be happy. I saw the things my oblivious mind has been trained to see over the years-I saw her depravities. Now as an adult, I realize that I’m sad. I’m sad a lot, and I don’t know if I’ll ever understand that.

The same as I did with my own mom, I look at my life and give myself no reason to feel sad. I know that I am well privileged, and that I should almost feel ashamed for the pity party that happens in my mind sometimes. [Sometimes is so much more than I ever want to happen..] I have a great God that watches over me-where I could be faithless and bitter. I have a loving and genuine family-I could continuously suffer from loneliness without them. I have the most amazing boyfriend-SO many life events could have led me away from him instead of God bringing us together. I am a ridiculously broke college student-BECAUSE I’m gaining an education that you’re not supposed to be able to price. I have a car, it runs, and I’m not ever without the ability to get where I need to go-I could be walking, stranded, or unable to afford a car at all. I am about to start an amazing new job-where I truly have no idea how I was blessed enough to be the chosen one..

I look at my life and I know I should be happy, I know I shouldn’t be able to even complain about the most tedious things in my life. However sometimes, I’m just not the happiest Hannah I could be. That sentence in itself literally makes my heart ache. It’s just something I don’t understand.

If there are so many beautiful amazing things in my life, what am I so sad for? Is it because I think the future is immense, with too many options and paths for me to choose from? Am I sad because I live in the frozen tundra, where I get angry when I walk from class to class not feeling the limbs on my body? Is it because I don’t feel absolutely stunning like the rest of the world seems to be? Is it because I don’t have a strong enough faith and relationship with my God? Or maybe it’s because I am waiting for the rest of my forever to finally start…I have given many speculations to myself for the questions in my mind.

Most days, I am great. I’m happy and I know how continuously blessed I am and always have been. I relate these kinds of days with the color yellow. It just makes you think of happiness and positive thoughts. Honestly I don’t think I even really like the color yellow. Maybe because it reminds me of all the happiness I think I lack deep down. Maybe just because it doesn’t go well with my golden streaked hair. I don’t know, you decide-but what goes wrong when the color yellow is involved, right? These kinds of days make me think back to my mornings of getting ready before school. I remember looking out the dining room window to the east. I’d watch the sun come up across the table, streaking the floor vibrantly without fear of the darkness. Those mornings I just knew it was going to be great, like I was unstoppable.

Then there are the dark days. I don’t even know what words to use to describe them. Kind of like in Harry Potter, when the dementors are able to suck every ounce of light and soul from people? #nerd. These kinds of days make me contemplate everything. They make me have doubt in my abilities as a student, a girlfriend, a daughter and sister. The darkness seeps in and reminds me of the pitch black I’ve seen. You would think that after you go through it all, heal, and move forward, that would be it. That’s not what the darkness says though. It tells you that you’ll always be haunted by the scars that you have. No. Matter. What.

Some people can’t understand that because they haven’t seen the darkness I have. But then again, my darkness could be light compared to other people’s pitch black. Don’t think I don’t think about that. I do, I’m very aware of this theory.

It’s like insanity though. Trying something over and over again the same exact way, and still forever expecting the results to be different. Some dark days feel like that. I wake up and I can just feel the chip on my shoulder. I know that my day is destined to be rough. I can tell in my demeanor that I’m going to end up unintentionally taking out this sadness on the people around me. If I don’t take steps to prevent the hurt from taking over, it will dominate my heart.

So how am I supposed to make sense of this? This angel vs devil consciousness splitting my heart. How do I take hold of the angel and see to it that her light outshines anything else? Does the girl that refuses to take any medicine ever resort to taking happy pills? Talking herself into happiness through straightening out her chemical imbalance that way? Does she constantly surround herself with the people that offset her sadness well? With her boyfriend that might not even realize how sad she really is sometimes? I mean it could work, because he just doesn’t accept it. He pushes her, reminding her that she is more-she was God destined to be more-and we will get through this. Because #teamhaven that’s why. Or does she simply just take the time each and every difficult dark moment to pray her way out of the warped shadows?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what she would do. But I can tell you that on these dark days, I don’t like being her. That I don’t like thinking I allow these hard days and moments and thoughts to take me over. But it happens, I understand that. I read it all the time on those regurgitated Pinterest block quotes. ‘Sometimes it’s the people that smile the most that are the saddest.’ I crinkle my nose at quotes like that but yet I can’t help but feel there’s some kind of truth behind them. I don’t know. I know I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and I’ll probably be twelve thousand times better than I was today. The odds of that are forever in my favor.

But today, and tonight, I’m just not up to being her. God help me.

2.11.16

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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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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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Lucky Number Thirteen.

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Welp, here goes nothin..

W_

You may think you played an insignificant part in my history. But you’re still someone that I hurt. Someone that felt the trials of my ever changing heart. While still so young, you were devastated. I never understood until four plus years later, when you finally admitted it to me. When you finally asked me why things happened the way they did. I wish I had the answers you sought out back then.


A_

You taught me the meaning of a true friendship. In a twisted kind of way. That you would be there for me absolutely no matter what, no if-ands-or-buts-about-it. There’s something deeply cherished in that. But you also continuously help into pulling me away from everything I know I stand for in my cherished life. Or used to. Because that’s over and done with. Never again.


S_

Sadly for you, you were the first one that truly hurt over me during all of the in between. You were one of the first ones that told me to walk away, that there’s no way it could work after so much hurt had been done. That I deserved so much more. You made sure that I had an understanding of what I was pulling myself back into. You were right.


D_

You were all wrapped up in sin in my life. It’s so beyond frustrating to me. I know that I shouldn’t ever wish any parts of my story away. I know that God redeems all, that He is bigger than any of the sins my past could ever hold over my head. But my sins with you are devastating. And when does that leeway end? I don’t even remember what it was ever like being that damaged of a young woman. But I know that because I was her at one point in my life, you suffered heartache.


A_

My story with you is an emotional one. You were kind of difficult for me to understand always. When we talked, I knew in my heart of hearts the type of woman God desired me to be. I had gotten a taste of what it was like to be the absolute opposite. Of what it meant to go against everything I knew I wanted to stand for in my life. I had a choice to make. Fall back into the type of life I knew I never again wanted to touch, or move on with my life. Making my best attempt to give my future and faith a fair shot.


G_

The first guy to ever take me on a truly honest real date. Picking every detail about what our date consisted of, where we went to dinner, picking me up at my doorstep, opening my car door, bringing my a King Sized Reeses (kudos to you), walking me back to my doorstep. I was so flattered. I know I enjoyed being able to spend time with you. You respected me intently, but it just wasn’t enough for me to stay at that place in my life. I needed to pull toward my faith more than settle where I was in it at that point.


S_

I forget how it is that we even became a thing. It feels like a whole other lifetime. To no mistake of your own, I fell away from my faith during that month. But as a result, I realized what effort I needed to continuously put in to pursuing my faith. I could’ve done without it, but God uses it all.


D_

You taught me to not be the one to pursue. Not because you manned up, but more of a trial and error issue of my heart. Sadly, this wouldn’t be the last time I had to learn this. But this one was the big one. It really showed me to respect myself enough to trust God over my own instincts. Because my instincts will be wrong. No doubt about it. I just know you really cared…even though you’re unhealthily excessive about it.


D_

The thought of the time I spent with you seems so foreign and weird. I guess you taught me that things would almost always be too good to be true. And when they were, to run for the hills. Because that’s just what you did. I guess when someone is everything you’ve ever wanted, they still aren’t enough. Makes sense. Great for the self esteem of a woman.


D_

You are such a genuine person. Literally one of the most kind hearted people I have ever met. You are wise, and thorough about the life you want you live. You strive for a determined future, for being wonderfully and truthfully happy. That’s very admirable. You treated me like a princess. Unbelievably so.


S_

Just so random. I think when someone drops off the face of the earth and ignores you for absolutely no reason, that should hint at you to pack your bags running. But, someone’s an ignorant girl. *cough* My life. Just because I’m twenty doesn’t mean I have to be grown up and wise yet. I had just barely turned twenty merely a week ago, so that barely counts as growing up-right??


M_

You’re a toughy. You are confusing, angry, and probably right to hate me. You were one of my best friends. Someone I cherished more. So maybe this ache hurts more than any of the rest because you were truly cared about long before I broke your heart. You think that no matter what I came into your life for a reason, but I think you were in mine for an even larger one. I think you’re the switch. I think you were the trigger to my loaded gun. That all of this has been building up for a long time. That it was a fire I watched ignite itself. And now I watch as our friendship goes up in flames because of my own selfish past. Know, that I’m praying for you always. Even when the rest is dead and gone.


B_

I’ve written novels on you, and I don’t really think I have to add to it. This that I’ve said before still remains true..You are the muse to the darkness inside me. That should be enough for me to understand. Thanks for that..


I thought this was a good idea. I thought this would bring some kind of clarity. Some kind of perspective, or closure. Something to make it all official and there to simply see. See the hurt, grasp an understanding of the damages done. Can we wash my war paint off yet?

But it makes me sick to my stomach. So many broken hearts. And for what? Ending one vicious cycle just to pick up another? Do I truly think I’m better off now? I ended a terrible cycle in my life that truly hurt two people. It hurt me, and him. Then my new cycle, while unintentional, it hurts. It burns, it breaks, shatters and rips apart every piece of you.

I guess that’s where humility comes in. Because this is one blog I’m not proud to write. These are words that break my heart to have to bring into reality. These truths that so many people will never understand. That I don’t understand. That I can’t even begin to put into order. It’s truly shattering.

My entire life, it was drilled into my head that the phrase “I’m Sorry” means that “you’ll never do it again.” So I grew up paying close attention to when people threw that phrase in my face. Like it simply meant less to them than yesterday’s worthless losing lottery ticket numbers. I always despised when people would say “I’m Sorry.” I grew up learning to doubt it. To think back to them, but are you really sorry? Because most of the time, they aren’t. And most of the time, they’re really saying it for themselves. To make themselves feel better about acting like a crappy, inhumane individual.

So I’m going to tell you something, although it’s no giant secret. In fact, i’m quite sure I’ve told you before. So in that sense, let me reiterate to you. From the very depths of my heart and soul, I’m Sorry. For causing you pain, for being the source of your heartache-no matter how big or small. It matters. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that before. Your heart, it wasn’t deeply protected by me the way it should’ve been. It wasn’t paid close enough attention to. It was mistreated, emotionally abused, and let down. I know I’m human and I’m bound to let you down. But it wasn’t supposed to be like that for you. So I’m sorry. I can only imagine the heartaches of trauma I made you suffer through. I hope you know it was never in my intention. And I know that doesn’t really matter. From experience, I know that hurt is hurt, no matter the direction it’s coming from. When life feels like it’s ending, I promise you it isn’t. Just remember, God’s got your back. He’s not letting you go through all of this for no reason. He has a purpose, and He’s just waiting for you to accept that and find peace in it. Trust in Him.

Somewhere, I think it had to end. That this life shattering cycle would come to a close. I just never thought I’d see the day it would literally come crashing down all around me. Every which way I turn. Although it’s sad, I know to look for the good in it all. I know better now to deeply embrace it. To embrace the change, the quiet hearted peace. To know that whatever is going on here, chaos and all, just means that God is doing serious work up above.

So tell me, now that you have a teeny understanding of just how bad I’ve messed it all up, what would you do? You seem to know all of the answers my life doesn’t even ask anyways…oh, wait.


Will she ever be seen differently? Will she ever stop feeling like the people that look at her see right through her? Will she ever stop feeling like the people that look her in the eyes can see her burning pain that’s hidden so carefully deep below the surface? Will she ever stop feeling forever damaged and broken? Like a mosaic gone so wrong, the shattered glass can’t be created into anything new. Will she ever stop feeling like the world’s largest unsolvable puzzle? Like each of these thousand pieces is from an entirely different puzzle. Assuring there is no way to solve it, put it all together, or make it whole again. Just damaged. Broken.

Heartbreak is real. Sin is real. And it will tear your entire life apart. It will consume your identity. Make you mistake even yourself for who you really are.


Lucky number thirteen. Thirteen broken hearts. One shattered girl.

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Beautiful Biloxi.

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I am a girl that writes to process. In order to really think about something and let it sink in fully, I need to put my fingers to the keyboard or pen to the paper and let everything else go. This is especially drastic in times that are HUGE in my life. One life changing event I never put full time into writing about was my first mission trip. I kept putting aside time for it, but never protected that time to the necessary extent. Finally, I had an ultimate goal of writing it before I go on my next mission trip. Welp, I’m a college student, and procrastination is lyfe in college right? So here I am, leaving for my next mission trip in T minus eight hours. Time to write.


Now where do I even begin? When I was still attending UW Whitewater, I was endlessly searching. I was living a part of my life in drastic change and upheaval. I had a few inclinations on why my heart was so unsatisfied and quite frankly, hurting. I was an aching heart in wonder of what else life and the Lord had for me. So first I prayed. I kept feeling these pulls in certain areas, towards one thing and away from another. I was beyond confused, and so were the people all around me. Still, I prayed. Philippians 4:6. Eventually, I came to a sad peace. I applied, got accepted, and transferred home to UW Oshkosh. My year long career at UW Whitewater slowly came to a close, and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. Everyone claimed the usual stake of “I’m going to miss you’s” and many prayed over my heart and journey. My heart began to unsettle day by day during my final week in my home away from home. And then, it was done. The wild ride of a year I had at Whitewater was over, that chapter of my book was ready to close, and I was finally okay. I definitely shed tears during my two hour journey home, but those stayed between God and me. He was just about the only one who understood them, as usual. So I let Him wrap His mighty arms around me, assuring me that this is what’s right. And per usual, He was right. Funny how that happens.

I had a month off in between ending in the dub, and starting up again at osh. A month to plan, dream, and for my norm–panic. My mind likes to wander in every direction and worry about things, things that I don’t need to worry about. As if there is anything really worth worrying about. Psht. But worry I did, and worry did I not have to. After one solid tear filled break down [in my car as always], I was starting my hopefully last transfer. UW Oshkosh here I am. Transferring is always a really interesting thing to me. That stress and pressure you feel when prepping for college, it’s always like that when you’re starting a new place. It doesn’t seem to matter how many years of schooling you have behind you, how well acclimated you had been at either of your last schools-starting over is hard. Always. Definitely not as hard as continuing on in a life you know isn’t the one you’re supposed to be living though. When I started school at Oshkosh, I was determined to make things different for myself. For me. I wanted to be more independent from worldly relationships, and more dependent on my relationship with the Lord. Eventually, I got what I asked for.

I nervously walked around campus in the first week, always trying to find my classes on time like the new kid nerd I was. While walking in and out of the bookstore for the millionth time in the first week to grab many last minute necessities, I was stopped. For some odd reason, I like reading fliers put around campus and within school buildings. So I was naturally drawn to the column of fliers posted right outside the bookstore. Little did I know, one of the first ones I saw, was going to change my life.

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On March 20th, I pulled up to the Go House on Oshkosh’s campus. I awkwardly drove my car to the back of the house, while a large amount of people I knew nothing about looked at me. I made the nervous ‘hello’ to a group I passed while walking to the front of the house, and I stood there with my bag. Slowly but surely, piles of people started to fill the front lawn, side lawn, and back lawn of this college campus house I knew nothing about. Eventually, there were fifty seven people collectively standing in a mass on this tiny front lawn. Fifty six people I had never met, knew absolutely nothing about, and then myself. Talk about nerves. It was about then that I wondered why I made this decision for myself. Why did I choose this as the way to get myself involved on my new campus? Why was this the organization I was choosing to try out first? Why did I stop at that bulletin podium outside the bookstore that day? But that’s it, I didn’t-God did. Looking back in hindsight, I can so clearly see that. I can see some of His purpose in the things I thought were of my choosing. And as usual, His plan is so much better than what I thought I could have invented for myself.

In continuation, the beginning of this mission trip with fifty six other people gathered on this lawn, was a true blessing. We listened to Aaron talk and pray over our trip, and we piled into six vehicles headed for Biloxi, Mississippi. Talk about excitement! I piled into the very back seats of one of our massive vans with two people I had just met, and clung to instantly. But then I had a chance to be outgoing and adventurous…which I of course scooped up. The van I was riding in needed a co-pilot for the trip down. Someone to talk with the driver and keep them engaged so our van filled with lovely people could arrive at our destination safely. Get to ride shotgun and be of assistance by being a jabberjaws?? My kinda gig! So I took it, hence getting to know fourteen other people pretty well over the next sixteen hours. Luckily, I love road trips. And talking.

After losing half of our huge squad of vehicles within the first hour, regrouping, many gas station stops, many cappuccinos for me, many bathroom breaks, many chapters read out loud of The Princess Bride, and many ‘get-to-know-you’ questions later, Biloxi bound we were. And yes, they have palm trees…just so you’re aware.

How to explain our week in Mississippi, one can’t even begin to imagine finding the right words. Cliche, but the only thing that could bring some kind of justice to my experience is life changing. Having never been exposed to missions, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew, was what I had heard about from my old high school math teacher. I heard that people were in need, as so many are. I heard that Mississippi was a beautiful place, and that it was still deeply hurting. I heard that my heart would long to help those people, and that I was the kind of person that would love to be there. All of those things, were very true. At lunch with said math teacher right before I left for our trip, I was given a verse.

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

This verse stuck with me, becoming one of my many favorites, especially for my [hopefully] many more missions experiences. So I clung onto my newfound life verse, and hugged my teacher goodbye. Beyond telling me how proud and excited he was for me, his last encouragement to me went right to the heart. “Go do great things.” And that’s exactly what I was determined to do with these fifty six beautiful souls in this new place, with the help of the Lord.

There are so many moments during this week long mission trip that I will forever hold onto in my heart. The whole week has meant the world to me, even now, months after returning home. When we arrived, we got to know our camp leaders a bit, got settled in, and headed straight for the ocean. We spent the next few days doing the typical touristy stuff. We swam a lot. We got a whole lot of sunburn, even to dangerous degrees [love you haleybaley, and Linda]. We ate tons of ice cream, reached home by watching the Badgers kill it. We searched for alligators with no luck in a beautiful nature preserve. We bought massive amounts of souvenirs [including a few hermit crabs] from a ridiculously huge tourist shop. We got to experience an amazing southern church service. We had huge group breakfasts and dinners. We worshipped the Lord and prayed as a team in the  beginning of our mornings. We took the world’s most insane amount of wonderful pictures. We sang horribly, amazingly, and filled with love. We went on muddy runs and random Walmart trips. We ate real Krispy Kreme’s and real good southern cookin’. We had a few hospital visits thrown in the mix. We had Waffle House. We experienced life. We bonded, we made new friendships, we spent real quality time together. I could probably continue on and on with all of the amazing experiences I was privileged to enjoy with this fantastic group of people.

Most importantly, we served the Lord. 

I never knew what it was like to truly give my heart, my time, my everything to others. I never knew the fire that was deeply burning in my heart for those around me. I just never knew. I had the heaping honor of serving at Seashore Missions with a group of amazing people while we were in Mississippi. We had many other groups that did FANTASTIC work at other volunteer sites, this is just a brief on mine. The projects we were able to bless Seashore Missions with in our time there, I know are forever appreciated. My team changed a few times while we were there, some trying out different volunteer locations, others being welcomed into ours. As much as I loved the idea of spreading out to another job site to broaden my horizon of Biloxi just a little bit more, my heart was set on Seashore. Jeff and Judy held a firm grip on my heart, and that wasn’t going to go anywhere.

We had the opportunity to finish two completely gutted rooms in their homeless shelter. One we turned into a clothes closet and the other a food pantry. We tried our best to organize two massively massive massed out quonset huts filled with blessed donations to the roof. We had a savvy student literally redo the entire technological situation at the shelter. The surveillance cameras, the internet, the phones, all of it. And the most important thing to our blessed souls, we got to serve others. We got to lend a hand in dishing and serving meals to massive amounts of people in need from around the area. The insane part?! I simply cannot think of a time in my life I have felt more purely blessed than my countless minutes spent asking people ‘if they wanted green beans with that’, and convincing them by telling them ‘there was bacon mixed in.’ The fact of how deeply it touched my heart to be able to be that simplistic person for so many is indescribable.

One of the most touching moments I had on this trip happened right before our last time serving a meal. Judy always prays and gives a message of sorts before the food is served. She has a beautiful way with words that brings such high glory to God and all He has done in our lives. During her last message while we were there, she said something about our work. She spoke on how grateful she was to have our group of volunteers there, making such an impact on their shelter. She told the people benefiting from the shelter that the following Monday, when we were going to be gone already, they would get to try out the new clothing room we built and get a new outfit. There are no words to explain the feeling of gratitude poured into our hearts from every soul that room encompassed. They clapped and cheered, like we just got done running a marathon. That was nice, but that wasn’t what hit me. I looked around, looked into the grateful eyes surrounding my team and myself. Seeing the true and genuine joy from such a truly small act of handiwork, it was breathtaking. And that it did. It hit me hard then, the whole point of it all. The big why of God bringing me to this campus, to this organization, to this mission trip and this shelter. To experience the whole point of life on this earth. To be more Christ like than ever, even if just for a glimpse of a moment in my continuous time here. Absolutely breathtaking. I was overtaken with emotion, bursting into tears. I was grateful for the opportunity to change lives, and have mine so much more drastically changed without them even knowing they were making it happen. I was grateful to be able to let myself cry while Judy prayed over lunch. I was grateful Macky and Troy cared, handed me tissues, and understood because they felt those similar waves of emotion. I was grateful to look to my left and see similar tears in the eyes of my lady teammates. I was grateful. I am grateful. And that moment will forever be greater than almost any in my life.

After serving the meals, we got to spend one of them finally sitting down with the world of people around us. It was more towards the end of our time at Seashore, but I was so thrilled for the experience none the less. So my dear friend MackDilly and I sat down at a table of men. We talked with them about anything, and a horizon of everything. We discussed our trip, where we were from, what it was like being in Mississippi. We talked about the movie that was playing, I hadn’t seen it but made conversation about it anyways. We talked about their lives in Biloxi, about the experiences they had on a daily basis. We talked with them about that fantastic southern food and how Judy filled our plates so full we’d probably never have to eat a meal again. Then ‘high tea’ was over, and it was time to get ready to go back to work for the afternoon. The men around us slowly faded away, one by one leaving until the next day Seashore was all open doors. One man stayed and sat with Macky and I a little longer, an extended goodbye. He asked when we’d be leaving, and we told him that the following day would be our last in Biloxi before we headed back to Oshkosh. Then, magic. Macky and I were probably making some goofy inside joke, and being our awkward selves while we ended our conversation. The man we were with turned a more serious note. Looking at us as if we’d been friends forever, he gave us a simple, ‘Well, how can I pray for y’all?’  The amount that I was caught off guard literally sent chills down my spine. After thankfully speaking for safe travel prayers, I asked him the same question in return. With one of those million dollar southern smiles, he looked at me and said ‘My name’s Steve.’  Core shaking, and simply life changing. A homeless man with seemingly nothing to give is one of the few people on this planet to give me the most hope in my life yet. God is so good.

The amount of times my heart was touched on this trip, there wouldn’t be a number big enough. I couldn’t even begin to go as in depth as to how blessed I am to have had such an amazing experience. Coming home, I struggled hard. Every part of my core felt so pulled to Biloxi, to serving, to more. Sitting in a giant lecture hall filled with students who didn’t care less about the world, while the professor talked about cloud scatters, it just simply sucked. I transitioned so harshly. I stayed in bed for a day after we got home, completely drained in the most amazing way. Biloxi took a piece of me. A piece of my heart and my life I couldn’t imagine another place with another group of beautiful people taking. My first mission trip. The first time in such a drastically long time I did something seemingly for me, but more importantly for the Lord. The first time, but so far from the last. Such an absolutely amazing life experience. So much heartfelt prayer for so many different people, organizations, places. Absolutely beautiful. The blessings abounding. Life changing. Fill in the blank mantra. Just God.


Coming home, I was also blessed abundantly with two new amazing people [among the other fifty four] to share my life with.

This, is MackDilly.

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Simply, one of the most genuine and kind hearted people I have ever met. I got to spend the entire week in Biloxi with this guy by my side. My random music singing, hand slap fighting, belly hurt laughing work partner. I am so insanely grateful God brought him into my life and allowed our friendship to flourish. I am so blessed to have made one of my best friends on such an outstanding mission trip in such a beautiful place.

And this, is Hale. 11156210_10153806013253012_7899597025979667958_n (1)

11175006_10153823418443012_7492801739443819699_n (1)My beautiful roommate, and such a fantastic woman. I am always sure to be laughing my face off when I’m with her. Always such a loving heart towards anyone and everyone. Truly one of the strongest people I know. Always so willing to be anything anyone needs, no matter what. I am so truly blessed and excited to experience life with her everyday this year and beyond! She’s going to be the absolute highlight to my days and I love her to death!

These two, are two best friends to cherish beyond this planet.

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Now, T minus six hours until I leave on the Lord’s newest adventure for my heart. Romania. Mission trip number two. God only knows what’s next.

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

In the meantime, this, is a snippet of the Biloxi in my life. Forever grateful.

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