Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 50: Sixth Sense

I have a sixth sense. Not like that. Although the most memorable Young Life talk I heard all through high school was when they showed a clip of this movie. I tried to find the clip on YouTube but I couldn't find it. It's where the little boy is telling his secret and he says, "I see dead people. All the time. And they don't even know they're dead." Wow, that's real life! Doesn't that make you just want to go out and live out the great commission?!

Anyway... the first time I noticed this sixth sense was in 8th grade. I was in Washington D.C. on a field trip and we were seeing all these monuments and I felt like something wasn't right. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I started crying. When I got home, I found out about things that had happened while I was gone. I asked if they happened on a certain day around a certain time and found out they did. He asked me how I knew and I didn't have an answer. I just had a feeling. It has happened more since then at random times with no explanation. And last night was one of those times. When I was blogging last night, I felt blah! There was no other way to describe it and I didn't have a reason for it. As soon as I posted the entry, I found out the reason. I'm pretty sure this sixth sense is a spiritual gift that I don't really know how to use yet so pray about that!

So, last night I cried. I literally kicked and screamed in my bed. So frustrated- at the situation and at myself. But you know what? God is incredible! Seriously. I told my story like 2 weeks ago. Parts of my story that I hadn't told to anyone. Parts of my story that would have left me feeling totally isolated and alone last night with no one to talk to. But instead, there were people that knew. People that could pray with me and for me. People that could lament with me and encourage me. I am so thankful for the all the prayers from people that knew what was going on and from those that didn't. I was blessed by the scripture and words of encouragement that were sent. And I was reminded, once again, of the sovereignty of God!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 49: Random Musings

I don't have enough to say-or that I want to say-so I'm stealing Jamie's idea and giving bullet points of what's going on in my mind.

Christmas, Spanish for "more Christ": I didn't know how Christmas was going to be. My family did Christmas in Nashville on Christmas Eve because my sister had to work Christmas day. The joys of being a nurse... But I kind of liked it. I liked being able to do presents and family traditions on Christmas Eve and then spend that day focusing on Christ and the real reason for all the celebration. Me gusta!

Progress: At church on Christmas morning, I sat a few rows behind the Harrises. Ricky and Rosie are adorable. Seriously. I watched them hug, hold hands, dance, laugh, and smile at each other like they were so in love. (I promise I paid attention to the sermon too...) But as I was watching them I was thinking how I wanted that. And not in a jealous way! In a "that is so sweet; I want a love like that one day" kind of way. #babysteps

Lights, Camera, Action: I wish. Really just lights. The check engine light came on in my car yesterday. I called my dad. The conversation went something like this: "Dad. A light came on in my car. I work tomorrow, but if I come over after work tomorrow will you take it and get it looked at? I'll pay whatever. I just don't want to deal with it." Yep, I love my dad.

Torn: Illusion never change into something real. I'm wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn. Okay, not the Natalie Imbruglia version (and yes, I did look up who actually sang that song) but I'm talking about New Year's. There are a few things going on that I could do. I just don't know how I feel about it. Part of me wants to just sleep through the whole thing- or just not remember the night at all. Another part of me wants to curl up with sweats and a movie. And another part wants to go out and have fun. And tonight my mom told me that my sister and brother-in-law are coming in town and they are going to dinner New Year's Eve if I want to come. And that I can invite someone if I want to... BLAH!

Etc.: I was going to vent. About being frustrated and upset. And hurt. Ugh! But I decided against it. I still may cry myself to sleep. And no, nothing happened. Nothing at all. Isn't life grand? So I'l just leave with this, "when it's real, it's worth it."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 48

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 46: Easy Button

If you're looking for the easy button, there isn't one! But you know what's fun? Feeling like you're being tempted. No, not actually being tempted. Being tempted sucks! But feeling tempted is a different story. Tonight I felt like a fly on the wall looking into my own life. And I could sense the temptation. But because of that I can talk to Satan. I can command him away from me. And he has to listen! I'm pretty powerful with the Holy Spirit inside me!

But everyone told me that this whole thing would get easier. Not every day. But some days would be easier. And they were right! It does get easier. Don't get me wrong, It's not easy. The temptations don't go away (wouldn't that be nice?!) There are still temptations--Every. Single. Day. But it's crazy cool when I can recognize them now. And I'm starting to see the purpose in all this. I mean, I knew I was supposed to do this. There was never any doubt in my mind that God wanted me to take a break from dating and focus on Him, but wow! Things have changed so much. And by "things" I really mean my perspective on things. Every day I get to wake up and ask "What's the plan for today, God? What do you want to teach me?"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 44: Memories

Nope, not about a boy this time. Although I have tons of memories about boys too. But this time it's about friendships. Tonight I went to dinner with friends from high school. And it was fun- but it was different. They are in very different stages in life. We talked about their marriages and raising children. And about me not dating. They talked about me telling my growth group my full story, but they lived through a lot of it.

It was good. It was fun to reminisce. There were definitely times when I listened to stories and was sad and thought that it was supposed to be my life. I was supposed to be that girl. But then they talked about my life and made a comment about how many friends I have. And it made me smile. Because it's true. And I wouldn't have said that a few months ago. Okay, I would have said it, but in my mind I would have known it wasn't true. A few months ago, I knew a lot of people. Now I have a lot of friends. Good friends. And I am so thankful. God has truly blessed me with amazing friends, especially at the time when I needed them most. Love the sweet reminders!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 42: Social Media

Well today was my second day at work and I go back tomorrow so I don't have the energy to write a long post. But there are some in the works my mind. So be looking out for posts on my family's reaction to the challenge, why I'm doing it in the first place, and "Dear John" letters to the exes.

But until then, I'll leave you with a little social media. A look at the birth of Christ:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 40: This Is My Now

I am made of more my yesterdays...
This is my now and I am breathing in the moment
I look around and can't believe the love I see
My fears behind me. Gone are the shadows and doubt.
That was then; this is my now.
I have the courage like never before. I've settled for less; now I'm ready for more!

I love me some Jordin Sparks! And this song is so true! This is now. I want to live in the moment and I think that the last 40 days have taught me that. The other day, after a wild girls' night in, I got a text that said, "Do you think when we're married we'll look back and wish we were free to do what we want and be single like this again?" Jamie wrote about it in her blog the other day. Here is an excerpt:
"One day I'll be married. One day I'll have a ring. One day there will be vows. One day there will be a kiss. And one day there will be a house that becomes a home... One day. But until that day, there will be today... It occurred to me... this is such a precious time in my life. Before I started this challenge I felt like I was just filling in time until he came along, waiting on him so my life could start. Nothing could be more further from the truth now. Instead of time being filled, I feel so full--my life is full and happy, and satisfying. I realized being single isn't shackles and woes, it's freedom. And it amazes me how in just 40 days my perspective has changed in extreme ways. When I am married, when will I have random nights out like this?... How often will I be able to just pick up and hang out with a friend? There's an element of spontaneity that fades when responsibilities come into play. Right now is the time to take advantage. Right now is the time to develop and enjoy a full life... And one day when we sit rocking on our porch..., I will think of the road I traveled long before my husband entered my life. I will think of my friends. Our nights out. Our nights in. And how much God blessed me with this [dating fast]"
So true! My favorite line from that is "I realized that being single isn't shackles and woes, it's freedom." I am learning that. I am beginning to feel that. And to really believe it! Last night, when driving to dinner and the symphony with friends I confessed that while I knew I would have a good time, I still wish I would be able to do this with a date. But honestly, I didn't! I had a blast with 16 other women celebrating Christmas and just having fun being girls! And for anyone that has ever even met me knows that this is a HUGE milestone! It was so much fun. And I got to have fun being with friends and not worrying about anything else. God is teaching me not to dwell on the past or look towards the next season, but to live in the moment and enjoy this time. This is my now!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 37: Relief

Thank you so much for all the prayers and encouragement today! I told my story this morning and was greeted with open arms and open hearts. As I was driving home, I thought about how I could have said things better or conveyed things differently, but being the over-analyzer that I am, that's pretty normal.

But it went well. It was overwhelming, but also felt as though a weight had been lifted off of me. My story is out there- and I know that I have a group of women who love me and want what's best for me. A group of women who are in my life to encourage me and hold me accountable. I am so thankful for each of them! I wish I had a picture to capture the memories of this morning. Breakfast and coffee in hand sitting around talking, but pictures like that don't happen at 5:30 in the morning! :) We serve an amazing God who knows what we need and meets us exactly where we are!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 36: My Story

No, this is not where I write out my story for the world to see! This is where I ask for prayers... Tomorrow morning at growth group, I'm sharing my story. Not the redeemed, this-was-a-sin-but-God-used-it, wrapped up and tied with a neat bow version. The messy, these-are-my-sins-and-what-I-still-struggle-with version. As I have been thinking about my story and praying about what to tell, different moments came to mind. I felt like God was nudging me to open up about different situations.

These are pages and chapters of my life that have never been shared. Thoughts and feelings that I have never voiced outloud to another person. And I wish I could say that these are things that are going on right now that I haven't opened up about, but these are years of hidden moments and secret struggles that no one knows (as I said yesterday, I've worn a mask for a long time). And it's scary. I'm scared as to how people will react. Scared that I won't be able to voice how I'm feeling. But more than that I'm excited. I'm excited about what this means for the future. I'm excited about where these relationship are going to go because of this. I'm excited to not have to bear the burdens alone.

So I'm asking for prayers. Prayers for discernment from the Holy Spirit about what to tell and how much. Prayers for strength that I will make it through the story. Prayers that God will speak through me. Prayers for open hearts of the girls hearing the story. And mostly, prayers that this isn't about me. That this is God's story and He chose to tell it through me. Pray that He will get glory!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 35: Fears

This is going to be hard to write. The past two days have been filled with some really good, intentional conversations. Conversations about our lives and our struggles and conversations about why we are so afraid to have these conversations in the first place. We talked about why this kind of community isn't happening the way it should and the common answer was fear. We are afraid that other people do have this kind of community and we are just on the outside. We are afraid of judgement. We are afraid that no one else will understand or is going through the same things as us.

So we put up walls. And put on masks. This was me for so long! And still is sometimes. Taking off the mask that has become so comfortable- so second nature- is hard.

We Wear the Mask     Paul Lawrence Dunbar
We wear the mask that grins and lies. It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes.
This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts, we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be otherwise, in counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us while we wear the mask.
We smile, but, Oh great Christ our cries to Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile beneath our feet and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise. We wear the mask!

So we don't let people into our lives because we fear that they will judge us or look at us differently. The fear of judgement... That if people knew the real me- the things that I have been through- they would judge me or turn away. But that's only part of it. That's the more accepted part. My other fear: the fear of accountability. That if people know what I'm really going through and really struggling with then they will hold me accountable for those actions and I can no longer walk in sin.

Even as I'm typing this I know how ridiculous it sounds. In my head it doesn't make sense. That's not really what I want. But in my flesh, that is what I want. Sometimes I want the anonymity to do what I want to do. But more than that, I want to be known. And that is what this challenge is all about. Not just about growing in Christ and changing habits. But about letting others into my life- into the hidden parts so that they can hold me accountable and so that I don't have to go through this alone.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 32: Remembering Blessings

I haven't written in a few days and I missed my one month celebration. That's what working 3 in a row does to me. Totally cuts me off from civilization. Oops! The first month has definitely been rocky to say the least. There have been times of joy and excitement at the process and feeling as though I am growing. And then there have been times when I have failed- and failed miserably! Go big or go home, I guess. I am so thankful that His mercies are NEW every morning! And I am reminding myself that this is a process. That it takes time. That this is about changing my mind and my thoughts and my heart. It's not just about doing things differently. And hopefully it will get easier over time! Five more months...

But through this time, God has blessed me in more ways than I could have imagined. He has placed people in my life and orchestrated friendships that I didn't even know that I so desperately needed. And at the exact time when I needed them most. Today I was thinking about what I had going on this week and was reminded of some many blessings. (Stalkers, please stop reading now as I'm about to give my whereabouts for the entire week.)

Tomorrow: Church. Sardis retreat reunion lunch-God revealed things that weekend that I didn't even recognize in myself. New Rules Bible study-LOVE getting to know this group of women. They remind me that I am not alone in my struggles. Thankful God has put each one of them in my life. Excited about growing deeper with them. And then possibly a tacky sweater Christmas party.
Monday: Work. DTR Group-loved laughing with them at Christgiving last week and always look forward to relaxing Monday night growing with these ladies.
Tuesday: Playtime with Eryka before she leaves to go home for the holidays. Always a time of laughter and encouragement with her. I'm glad after being friends for a year and a half, we have finally opened up and let each other in. ;)
Wednesday: Work.
Thursday: Growth group. And no work which means sitting around drinking coffee and talking with friends at 5:30 in the morning and not having to rush anywhere. I wasn't in a community group and honestly wasn't really looking to be in a growth group until Jamie and Rachel talked to me about theirs and I said yes without really thinking. God totally had his hand in that decision and I am loving getting to know everyone better. As we are telling our stories, I am seeing pieces of me in each of them and I know that God has placed each one of us in this group for a reason- to learn from each other and to grow closer to each other and to Him.
Friday: Work. Then hanging out with friends.
Saturday: Getting dressed up. Dinner and the symphony. Celebrating the holidays and celebrating friends. Just a fun girls night out. Exactly what I need.

So that's my week. See how blessed I am? God is truly answering my prayers. And answering the things that I didn't even know how to ask for- in a Romans 8:26 kinda way. He never ceases to amaze me! What is God blessing you with right now?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 28: Let Me Let Go

I thought it was over, baby. We said our goodbyes
But I can't go a day without your face going through my mind.

In fact, not a single minute passes without you in it
Your voice, your touch, memories of your love are with me all the time.

Let me let go, baby. Let me let go.
If this is for the best why are you still in my heart- are you still in my soul.
Let me let go.

I talked to you the other day. Looks like you made your escape.
You put us behind, no matter how I try I can't do the same.

Let me let go, baby, won't you? Let me let go.
It just isn't right. I've been two thousand miles down a dead-end road.

Let me let go, darling, won't you? I just got to know
If this is for the best why are you still in my heart; you're still in my soul.
Let me let go!

This song has been going through my head for a while now. And while I feel like some of it applies to me- to us- I don't know if I want to let go. Letting go means it's over. Letting go means moving on. I know that I need to move on. You've made it clear that nothing's going to happen. But it's hard. There’s part of me that’s still holding on. Clinging to something that doesn't exist- that never existed. And it’s holding me back and I hate it! I wish I could detach my heart and my head sometimes (they hardly ever agree anyway…) I’m trusting that God is going to do big things. And I’m praying that He will change my heart. That He will allow me to let go and that I will fully rely on Him- for acceptance, for protection, for worth. I know it's time to let go...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 27: One. Two. Three.

I was going to write about friendships today. I was going to write about Saturday night and the fun of cooking a pinterest dinner together. About the adventures and dancing the night away to kinect. About laughing and opening up to each other. 
All recipes found on Pinterest
I was going to write about Sunday and lunch after church with friends. About going to dinner to celebrate a sweet friend’s birthday. About affirming who she is and how thankful each of us is to have her in our lives.
I was going to write about tonight and celebrating Christgiving with my DTR group. About laughing at ridiculous outfits and absurd dirty Santa gifts.

Snooki and The Situation Christmas ornaments. All I can think of is Katie and Will on Halloween. I love Katie Bower! 
I am so thankful for my friends and have loved the weekend we've spent together but in the back of my mind there's always that feeling... "I'm single." Everyone tells me that it will get easier. And I hope it does! I don't know if I can handle the overwhelming thoughts that are always in the back of my mind. And today was no different...

One. You are the past. You are comfortable. It's easy to fall back into old habits. But you are in the past for a reason. I don't want to look back. I don't want to go back to who I was. I'm ready to move forward.

Two. You are the future. You are exciting. You are an adventure and a challenge. But you look too much like the past. You make it too easy to go back to the old me. God is growing me everyday and there's no turning back now.

Three. You are the unknown. And yet you know me so well. You are comfort and ease. Yet you keep me on my toes. You challenge me. You encourage me. You make me want to be a better person. Yet you are still unknown. I can't fall when I don't know if you'll be there to catch me. I don't know if you are part of God's plan for my life. And so I'm stepping back. I'm taking time for me and God. I'm praying for a renewed heart and mind. Today was another reminder of why I am doing this. Why I'm taking a break from dating and focusing on my relationship with my Heavenly Father. But there's still part of me that wonders where we'll stand when the dust settles...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 25: Race Day

Ran the St. Jude Half today. Did I mention I hadn't trained for this- at all? First thought: This is miserable. Second thought: I could do this again. A little bit delirious maybe. Or just a sucker for pain. But I think every blog I've written so far has pointed to the latter... But the best part was getting to do the race with my sister and cousins (and by do the race, I mean take this picture and then go to our separate corrals because my sister is a machine.) But it was still a lot of fun!

Now I'm getting ready to go play with a few of my favorite people! Glorious! I love when I don't have anything to write about. It doesn't happen very often. And I kinda do have something to write about today but it will take too long and I'm ready to play. So, I'll save it for another time...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 24

Today was rough. (Why do I feel like I start every post that way?) But I ended up being off today so it was my second day off which means my second day of lying around the house with nothing but my thoughts! Bad. Move. And I was still upset from last night. So needless to say my mind went crazy! I spent the beginning of the afternoon lying on the couch crying. Yep, fun day. But I am so thankful for friends that really know me! Got sweet encouragement and advise from a friend. And another friend got me out of the house because she knew I didn't need to "be alone with my thoughts." I love you guys!

Tonight, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions-happy, confused, relieved, frustrated, excited, upset, giddy. Everything else melts away. Why does this happen so easily? It was depressing and somewhat encouraging all at the same time! Maybe one day will be different...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 23

I don't even know what to write about today. I'm kinda pissed and still trying to decompress. Trying to figure out what I'm really upset about. I guess I'll write more when I figure it out...