Coming to Terms with Time

I have taken to this blog as a place where I can do what I do best, writing. When I write, it serves the chief purpose as to gather my own thoughts in one singular place and to look over them in hopes of reaping from them some particular insight or epiphany and hopefully help someone else along the way. Sometimes though, my writing isn’t always in that fashion, it doesn’t always afford me the opportunity of a great epiphany or understanding. Sometimes it is just ramblings in hopes of getting them out of my head, and that is a bit like what I seem to be doing here with the concept of time.

On August 30th I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I decided to leave behind the only sure thing I have known in the last fifteen years—school. I decided to take a semester off of college, a hiatus if you will, in hopes of making some attempts at getting well.

In this time off there have been marked improvements.  There have been improvements like the fact that anxiety is not gripping everyday of my life, or that I am not dealing with horrible side effects of former medications, or that I don’t feel like there is a dark cloud above my head in every moment preventing me from living. I have had time to come closer to God and to contemplate his truths. I have had the opportunity to make a platform for myself to share these things and because of this I feel like this is the place to contemplate the following thing that I have been too scared to admit to myself, that this whole thing is going to take time.

I have no good explanation for you as to what I thought was going to happen when I decided to take a semester off of school. I remember going in to it considering it a time of healing, to give myself time to repair, to heal not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually. My words, however, seem to have rung hollow to myself, I seem to have just been justifying my hiatus with this concept of allowing myself time, and leaving it as just that, a concept. Though I have made strides in these places of healing mentioned above, there seems to be a part of me that thought it would all be over by now.

But this is not the case. While I have come to this place before and explained great things God has revealed to me through this pain and have had the excitement of coming to know him better, I have also come to realize that there is a difference between knowing God is in control and accepting that he is in control. That may seem fairly obvious to some, but it’s a hard pill to swallow, a painful realization when you thought you were being accepting of such a thing, then having it proven by yourself, to yourself that you have been trying to hold fast to your own schedule and your own plan. It seems to be that He has decided that his plan for my life, for my healing, will take time, the very concept I justified my hiatus with, and it will take longer than human me wants.

Time is cruel, but yet again, I am left here in awe of the revelations of himself that God has presented me through this pain. Again I am left with the recognition that He is in control, and it is now my turn to relinquish my own attempts at having said control. I am still hurting. I am still broken. But it is time that I not only allow God to do what he will, to align my desires with his will, but also to start to be truthful with myself about where I am and what I need which is his good and perect time, not what I want in my human schedule.

 

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Reach Out

   Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31

The last few months, a lot has happened in my life.  I moved away from home and my mom, for the first time ever.  I started college at a school that was not even in the top five on my list of colleges I wanted to go to.  All of this was a lot and as it turns out almost too much for me to handle.  It was this September, that I also found myself sitting in a therapist’s office, crying five minutes in, not even understanding why tears were flowing from my eyes.  

This was the first time I told someone that the last year had been too much.  That the death, the illness, the work, the school, the college, the change, it had all been too much.  I told her how the last three years, I have felt a hole inside of me that would come and go, and when it came it was hard to wake up in the morning and when it went, I did nothing but dread its return.  

What I didn’t tell her was, through it all, there had been a bright side. In my junior year of high school, I had finally accepted Jesus’s undying love for me whole heartedly, I had dove in deep, head first.  I was happier, I could breathe again… but then November of my senior year hit and the news came, that not only one, but both of the most important women in my life were being affected by a disease that didn’t seem like it was ever going to leave our family alone.  

One night, I sat down, destroyed. The hole back, enveloping me in its darkness, cascading over me, and that was it.  I sat there on my bed, and screamed.  I screamed at God for letting this happen to these people I held so dear, I screamed at him for delivering to us what seemed like blow after blow.  I screamed at him for ruining my senior year, a year that was finally supposed to get easier.  I screamed at him, and I told him I was done, that I hated him and that I was moving on.  

My  life, well it continued to get worse.  I was sad, in pain, I secluded myself from almost everyone in my life, I scrapped by for the last semester of my senior year, I did nothing but go to school and work.   I was miserable.  There was no joy, no beauty, I felt numb.  The only thing that kept me going was the thought that I was finally going to get out of high school, this place where I had experienced so much pain, thinking that would be the cure.  

It was a nice bandage for a while, graduating high school, having a few months to relax.  That was until August came, and it was time to leave my mom and my house, and move to Boulder. That was when the weak bandages were ravaged.  It was fine the first few weeks, but I had this gnawing feeling in my stomach, something I had known all too well, the hole, growing inside of me.  It was terrible.  I felt like I couldn’t function.  Every time I talked to anyone in my family on the phone I cried to them about how miserable I was, how I didn’t feel good. And that is how I ended up in the therapists office.  

I continue to receive treatment, now for two months, and I have been feeling good.  However, there was something more heavy weighing on my heart.  

When the weight of it finally became too much, on a morning a few weeks ago, I finally opened up to someone about it.  Someone who I knew was a Christian, but didn’t know me well enough to know that I had been too, or that I had been faking it with my mom going to church every Sunday and rejoicing at the fact that I had to work on the Sundays that I didn’t go, because that meant I didn’t have to face what I had said, what I had told God back in November.  I opened up to this person and explained how this had been weighing on my heart.  We had a long conversation, which ended with her suggesting to me a book by a CU grad, Stephanie May Wilson, The Lipstick Gospel.  

That night I went back to my dorm and started The Lipstick Gospel. I read this story about a girl who went to my school, who was at the lowest point in her life, when she began to discover Jesus.  I read almost the entire thing that night, it was a beautifully written recollection of Wilson’s times in college and studying abroad in Spain.  It was enough to make me want to get up off of my bed and head to the study abroad office to figure out the soonest I could get to Spain myself.  The story was good, and I was admiring the way she slowly walked into her faith in Jesus, she wanted it so badly, but it wasn’t coming, she was learning about him through amazing friendships and amazing experiences.  


One experience in particular that she recalls in the book is of a week long trip, during her study abroad in Spain, when her and her friends chose to go to Italy. While in Italy they visited the Sistine Chapel, where they saw the beautiful paintings of Michelangelo that cover the ceilings and the beautiful history that surrounded such a place.  It was in this recollection of the Sistine Chapel wherein my own heart changed.  

In this part, Wilson recalls seeing Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam above her, a painting I myself have loved since the day I saw it, but never as much as I do now. 


She recalls her tour guide explaining the painting like this, “I want you to look up and notice something on the ceiling. Look in the very center at Adam and at God. God is reaching out to Adam, His arm fully extended, His muscles straining. Adam, on the other hand, looks like he’s relaxing after a big meal. His arm is limp, and his finger is barely trying. If Adam just reached, he could touch God. But whether he does or not, God is still reaching for him. God will always be reaching for him.”

When I read that last line, I burst into tears, “God will always be reaching for him.” 

I cried.  I cried an incredible amount.  I cried so much I had to leave my dorm room, praying that my roommate wouldn’t see me sob (I am sure she did, it was unmistakable, s/o to Cassi).  I ran outside in the cold weather and called my mom, pouring all of my thoughts from the past year out to her on the phone.  We cried together and she encouraged me to go to God. 

But for some reason, I wasn’t ready at that moment, I couldn’t bring myself to do it, to go to Him. Even after I had read those words that moved me to tears, I couldn’t do it.  I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready.  So that night I went to bed quietly sobbing to myself about all of the things that had just come to a head in my mind.  

I woke up the next day, went to class as usual, nothing special.  I went back to my dorm room, which was empty due to my roommate being in class, I sat down at my desk and my copy of Jesus Calling sat in front of me.  I pulled it from the shelf, made myself some coffee, and poured myself out to Jesus.  I prayed for so long I couldn’t even tell you how long, I sat there begging for forgiveness, giving thanks to God for keeping me going over the last year, when so many times I thought I couldn’t do it.  He was always there and allowed me to keep moving. I ended my prayer feeling a weight lifted from my shoulders and the world around me seemed brighter.      

The past few weeks I have spent more time with Jesus than I think I have in my entire life.  I have made a point of everyday, sitting down in the morning and in the evening and just laying it all out— in thankfulness and confession.

I still have a long way to go in my faith, but I know that no matter the circumstances, good or bad, it is all for His glory, and his overwhelming grace surrounds me and allows me the chance to be a part of His plan, and for that I am so incredibly thankful.

So many times in the last few weeks, in scripture or my devotionals, the words “reach out” have come across my path, and I can only settle on the fact that it is God, reminding me that he is always reaching and will always be reaching for me, I just have to reach back.

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No Soul

Recently I have been really struggling with being around people who have no soul. I’ve been feeling awkward around people I once felt comfortable around and felt out of place when speaking to them. While my heart aches with nostalgia of the great times we had together, I have had to come to the realization that it is neither my fault nor theirs, I just have this feeling that my soul is truly in another dimension.
The words that permeate the most with me as I look at the quote above is “I do not have time for things that have no soul.” This truly strikes a chord with me, as in my life I am always searching for answers about myself, about the world, that all together unveil to me its beauty, magic, and majesty. I will never understand people who have no passions. Over the course of growing and encountering numerous people over the past few years who truly have no passions I have found that is something about myself, I don’t know if I would call it a flaw or a pet peeve, but I don’t know how to handle people with no soul. I truly don’t understand people or causes that aren’t working for something bigger than themselves, that don’t have anything to pour their whole being over.
At the beginning of my senior year I really struggled with thinking that I was living a life that was “surface level” I became obsessed with the idea of living a “deeper life.” In my anxieties over the way I was living, I listed out the things that I absolutely adore and pour myself into: writing, coffee, fashion, reading, music, often to my dismay— people, I realized how truly and honestly passionate I am. I have so many passions and though an obsessive personality can be seen as unhealthy, mine has allowed me to find, construct, and nurture the growth of my own soul and to recognize it in others.
So forgive me if I identify with the line “I don’t have time for things with no soul,” if it sounds snobby or arrogant, but the feeling that this incites in me is not one of arrogance, but rather one of sorrow. I can’t help but feeling sorry for those around me, whom I have loved, who have nothing more to them than superficial traits that seek to please everyone but themselves, because this side: loving, giving, draining myself into things I love is something I wish everyone could experience and the kind of people I intend to surround myself with.