Screaming Silent Suffering.

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You turn on the shower, this is no unordinary movement. You open your mouth to say something but don’t even know where to begin. Nothing comes out. 

You get in and just let the water run, you’ve done this more than three hundred million times in your life. You’re scared and you know you feel it, but you give it a go anyways. You pour out your heart. 

You realize after a while, you’ve gotten used to the heat. You turn the nozzle up. You realize nothing gets through. Nothing is understood. Nothing is more clarified than it was before this new version of the same repetitive argument. 

The new temperature isn’t satisfactory, the nozzle goes up another time. You start to feel it again. Different boyfriend, years and years later, same sick wonder. What if none of this changes? 

Maybe the temperature gauge is broken, so you crank that bad boy up. It’s almost becoming too late now-it’s feeling like there’s no point in fighting. Fighting for what? You stand back silent, knowing deadliness of the heart.


 

It’s so different, but so similar at the same time. You know the water is hot enough, but you keep turning it up anyways. The lukewarm water isn’t good enough, it’s not okay to just be mediocre ‘okay.’ You get sick of having to turn the temperature up, so you blast it. The second that scorching water hits your skin you jump back against the cold wall of the shower-out of the direct line of fire of the piercing bullets coming from above. In that fight or flight moment, you choose flight-the fight isn’t worth your heart anymore. Then it all changes, you dabble your fingers in the fight, and try to tell yourself it isn’t as bad as you thought. So you tell your body to armor up, it’s time for battle. You step back into the fire, and let the attack rain down. At first it’s miserable. Your body doesn’t want to stand it, and begs you to give it relief from the misery. Your mind tells you a little more strength and perseverance is all you need, you can take more than you think. All of the sudden you find your mind wandering elsewhere, only then realizing you aren’t thinking about the pain any longer. You put your hand into the bullets and realize you’re numb. Now you think maybe the torture has gone on long enough, and you shut the operation down. Reaching for your towel, all you see is red. You look down and notice it’s everywhere. Your entirety is covered with red. Every single visible ounce of you is blotched and burning bright back up at you. The under-lying bruises are the only things you can see shining clearly through the red haze. Quizzical.

You step out and everything is vivid in your mind. You wonder what just happened?

It’s simple really.

The only pain you can control.

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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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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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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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Taking a Pause on Life Tonight.

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Since as long as I can remember I have been a busy body. That doesn’t even explain it. I have kept nearly every second of my life crammed into my agenda, for what feels like forever. That’s my norm, that’s what I’m used to. I don’t entirely know my motives behind my actions in overwhelming myself. I know that I didn’t like being home for a really long time. That there, it was unsafe. That I couldn’t remember how to breath when I was there and that terrified me. The place that’s supposed to provide the most natural and complete comfort, just didn’t fit well in my heart. So I stayed gone, for a long time. For days, weeks at a time, I would be so busy I wouldn’t even see my family members. I know this action of being beyond my comprehension busy has been going on for a long and begrudging time. I don’t really see an end to it in the near future. But I do want a decline. Not necessarily in the amount of things I involve myself in. Instead, improvement in the quality of things I choose to spend my limited mind and time capacity on within my days here on earth. A few months ago, I went on a mission trip to Mississippi. Coming home from that week long spring break mission trip, my perspectives in life had drastically altered and shifted. I started seeing how much people threw away the opportunities they were handed to be involved in beautiful things. It was frustrating to me. How could so many people just completely miss the facts of the real things? Didn’t they see where their life needed to be? The things that were so heavily screaming their names, while barely coming through as a whisper in their ears..unheard of.

For myself, I needed to see that perspective drawn through my life. But for a tad bit different reason. I had no problem overloading my life, but where was the worth in it? First, were the things in my life actually worth the time and effort I had been giving them? And second, if I was going to continuously overwhelm myself, was I really proving to be of that much use to the world and the people I was trying to love on? That was a big negative to both. Sadly, this was a slap of harsh reality to the face, but so necessary. So I decided to change things. I quit involving myself in things that I had suddenly realized weren’t feeding into my life in the proper ways. They didn’t grow me spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. So I ducked out on them. Quack, quack. That’s exactly how some people saw me and my actions then. Quacked, crazy, and completely misunderstood. Just the way we like it, eh? Anyways, it was a pretty cool lesson to learn, forever an ultimate truth in my life. You make time for what’s important to you. So I started clearing away the things in my life that weren’t fulfilling, and added in ideas of things that could be. Making this subtle, but yet oddly drastic change definitely became apparent in my life. Well, to me in the least.

There still remained a problem though, overexertion. I have no problem doing just about anything for anyone at anytime. I don’t care if I have previous plans, I don’t care if I’m literally already booked down to the second, I don’t care if it’s impossible. Somehow, God always makes it happen. I couldn’t tell you the million times I should have been late to appointments, or meeting up with people, or to work even. Somehow, I’ve nearly always made it on time. No, I don’t speed THAT much….it’s way bigger than the reading on my speedometer. It never fails to make my faith grounded in moments like that. Moments where I KNOW something should have happened, and that the alternative is nearly impossible…but sure enough, the alternative pulls rank. The sad part, is that I never learn. I never learn how to say ‘no.’ How to put my foot down and say that enough is enough. How to have a limit as to what I am capable of. Typically I would see this as a good thing, but truth is, I’m just sick of it. I’m sick of running around like a college chicken with two jobs and her head in a blender trying to make Thanksgiving Dinner. I’m exhausted. My body is exhausted. My mind. Sometimes, my soul.

I’ve been exhausted and proud for a while. Today though, I’m exhausted and grateful. Today, was a long day. But a beautiful day through and through. After five hours of sleep, I was up at 0430, to rush to my nursing assistant clinicals day one. After that long day in itself, I tiredly rushed over to pick up my little sister, and spent the next four hours with her. Then rushing to drop her off and head over to my first counseling appointment in three weeks, I realize yet again how good my God is. My counselor messaged me and explained that we must of had some time communication error, as I was apparently supposed to be at church an hour prior for our appointment. After feeling terrible and blonde for about ten minutes, I realize the hidden blessing God sent to me. I think God knows that I in no way want to slow down. It’s taken me a while, but I finally feel content in thinking that most of the things I spend my time on have the great potential of glorifying God, if I so choose to hopefully act on them. So really, why would I want to slow that down? I wouldn’t, right? Exactly. Knowing my servant and determined heart, God made me slow down tonight, without really telling me He was going to do it. He allowed the time miscommunication, He sees how exhausted I am, He knows I need a night. He knows I won’t stop pushing myself to do great things in His name, so He gave me tonight. Tonight, to rest. Before my yet another crammed weekend of working, clinicals, studying, etc. etc.

So today, I am grateful for God and I am grateful for tonight. I’m grateful that God knows and honors my heart. That He has ways of getting around my stubbornness that is hardly even explainable to those that just don’t know. Today I am thankful that I push myself to be successful and to glorify such a beautiful and loving God. I am thankful for my ability to miscommunicate sometimes, as a junior in college and a communications major. I’m thankful. I’m exhausted. And now I’m going to honor God’s wishes, and go to sleep.

Goodnight. Yes, it is 0732.

[May24-May31]

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Consciously Aware.

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One week down, fifty one to go. There have been quite a few things I’ve learned already in just my first week of the great twenty.

_one.

I have let myself not trust, because of manipulative people. I heavily am affected negatively by the things others have pushed into my life. Cycles of pain that have seemed endless. Instead of trusting, my mind goes into a terrible cycle of overthinking. I assume that nothing good will work out, that it can’t ever work out for me. I assume that because two people have had such terrible affects on me, that there really isn’t someone amazing out there for me. I assume that people only lie, that they don’t know how to truly treat me right-and that just maybe, that’s my own fault. We accept the love we think we deserve, right?

__two.

I have learned to push my heart to prayer more. This is the thing I’m most excited about from this week. Something that I deeply crave for my relationship with Christ, is to have a stronger prayer life. I seek out to be the Prayer Warrior He desires from me. In any moment, good, bad, ugly, worse, I’ve learned to instinctually pray. No matter the length, no matter the reason, just to silence my frantic heart and pray to God. Let Him know that always, He is the first thing on my mind. That within everything I am experiencing, I know He’s seen it. That He’s allowed it into my life for a purpose. I know that those gut feelings I get, those are from the Holy Spirit. I know to pay attention to that, and to not just brush it off like it’s all in my mind. Am I going to really shy away from an opportunity to answer God’s will within my life?

___three.

Patience is simply key. I don’t have patience when it comes to certain things in my life. I don’t have patience when it comes to certain people. I don’t have it when I’m exhausted and acting selfish. As if I’m the only emotionally, physically, and mentally drained college final bound student out there. Likely.  I don’t have patience and it makes me turn into a version of myself that I don’t care to see. Definitely something to take notice of, and remind myself of looking forward.

____four. 

Relationship and communication are both gravely important to me. I am reading and learning a lot about how our childhoods shape us, especially women. Me. Especially women who were sexually abused. Ding ding ding. As a young girl, you want to be told and assured of all of the questions in your heart. To be told how loved and adored you are. When you’re not told this, it can be absolutely devastating to your spirit. When you’re told this in the complete wrong way, it is more than soul snatching. So forever, you will seek relationship, in the most pure and loving form. You will look for the love and tender care you never received. Same thing with communication. When you grow up around a family that doesn’t communicate their deepest thoughts, opinions, life desires, you want that. You want within your life the things you thought you could never have. You thought it was normal to go on without them. You never knew anything other than the ‘norm’ around you. Then one day you wake up and your perspective and expectations change. You see the other side, what life could be like. And your beautiful, yet devastatingly impatient heart, will not settle for anything but the best.

Being twenty, feels almost not a drop different than being nineteen. The difference, is that I’m bound and darn near determined to make it different. Twenty is going to treat me right. Whether it wants to or not. Whether I have to bend over backwards to make it. Whether I have to completely alter and transform my life. Twenty, is going to be so much more different. Twenty, is about God first, and then me second.

[April24-May1]

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17

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