A Change of Course

Trials and Tribulations

In church a few weeks ago, the speaker taught about waiting on the Lord. Oftentimes, when the Lord reveals his plans to us and we choose to listen and obey, we have to wait upon the Lord. During this time of waiting, we are often faced with trials and tribulations. These tests are meant to build our faith in the Lord and our obedience to Him. They aren’t easy tests, but they aren’t meant to be.

In the last month, there have been multiple trials in my life. After I applied for the 3-month long Immersion mission trip to Costa Rica for the fall, I quickly wrote and distributed my support letter for the trip, believing that if this trip was God’s will for me, that the funds would come in. In the midst of sending these letters out, I became extremely sick. I have dealt with health/stomach issues for about a year and a half now, but never have they caused me as much pain as they did the week I was accepted into the program.

I went to the doctor for blood work and the results came back a week later with news that I tested positive for Helicobactor Pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach that is actually present in about 50% of the people in the world. However, not many people experience the symptoms of H. Pylori. Unfortunately, I did. They put me on a triple dose of medication to rid my body of the infection and sent me for an ultrasound and an upper GI, which both came back clean of ulcers and damage (Praise Jesus!).

But I still felt miserable. The sickness and the medication took a lot out of me. I also had simultaneously began taking progesterone pills to help resume my period after not having one in over a year after coming off of birth control. As you can assume, my body was a mess and my mind wasn’t far behind.

To top it all off, the initial money I needed for my trip did not come in, despite my letters and prayers. I was extremely disappointed at first, but then I thanked the Lord, realizing that if this trip had truly been of His Will (which I thought it was), then I would have had the money in, no doubt about it. I took it as a sign of protection and emailed the program staff, heavy-heartedly declining the spot on the team.

Right Where I Need To Be

Immediately, I felt a sense of relief. I knew that the trip wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I know that the Lord has called me to the mission field, but I know that He will lead me to where He wants me, in His good and perfect timing.

And right now, I am exactly where He desires me to be.

I have been attending my friend’s church with him on Sunday mornings and joining their youth/young adult group on Tuesday evenings, while still going to my family’s church on Monday nights for prayer and to the Wednesday night services. I am falling so in love with this new church though. There is such a pure heart for the Lord. It radiates off of every single person there. There is such unity and a sense of family that I’ve never felt in any church before (and I’ve been to quite a few). I adore the church my family attends, but for the first time in forever, I feel at home when I’m at this church and with its members. I believe that is truly how a church is supposed to feel.

Plus, there is a large group of people my age in the church. People that I have quickly come to call my friends. I am so blessed to have been introduced to a group of Christians my age who live close to me and enjoy just fellowshipping with one another – no parties, no bars, no booze, no excessive spending on hanging out, but just watching sports, grabbing dinner, taking walks and playing games. It’s exactly what I have needed, exactly what I have been searching for.

Missions on the Home Front

I truly believe that God has placed me in this new group to help me grow further in my walk with Him. I believe that He will continue using me for His kingdom, starting right here in my hometown area.

I absolutely love spending my Tuesday nights with a group of children and young adults who have such a child-like faith in the Lord. I’m able to talk to girls who are coming into adulthood and will be faced with all the worldly pressures and temptations that I was, and I’m excited to be able to be an example and a confidant to them.

Right now, God has me right where He wants me. For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking to run away to a new life or get lost in a foreign destination. I am content, I am happy, I am full of love, and I am ever-so-grateful to be here.

Oh July, where did you go?

July? What am I talking about, where did the other six months of this year go?

Life in General

I’ve been back from Europe for nearly five months now. I’m still jobless (though to be completely honest, my hunt has been lacking – there’s not much in St. Louis that I feel competent enough to do, and I haven’t heard back from any of the jobs I have applied for, therefore, the search just leads to being depressed and wanting to binge on gluten-free cacao chip cookies while taking breaks between sob sessions).

So I’ve been spending my days working out, laying out and trying to figure out my life. I have no real direction, and while that slightly scares me, I have an incredible peace about it. I know that peace only comes from the Lord, and I’m incredibly thankful to know that He is the one directing my life and that He has a plan for me, though I still have no idea what that may be.

Living at home has proven to be just as stressful as I assumed it would be, as there are way too many people under this roof. On top of that, my mother thinks I’m just out to make her miserable. I don’t smile enough or talk enough (and when I do, she says it’s sarcastic or disrespectful), I don’t wipe down the counters sufficiently (but, let’s not forget the fact that I do all the cooking, dish-washing and I do wipe down the counters), I don’t do this or that when I should or shouldn’t. Aren’t our relationship with our parents supposed to get better as we get older? Somewhere between high school and college we started losing the close relationship we had, and we’ve yet to be able to figure out how to get it back. I don’t know how to change any of this. I work on it and it seems like things are going well, then she goes off on me again. I’m not saying it’s completely her mood swings, but it can’t always be me (which she seems to think it is, though everyone else in the house can attest to it being her, as she gets this way with nearly everyone). Sorry for the rant, it just happened again, so it’s fresh on my mind. I love my mom, I honestly do. She has always provided for me, even when she had to go without to do it. I just wish I knew how to “fix” this. Any advice?

Workouts and Diet

My workouts have been intense lately. I was lifting heavy with less reps for quite awhile, but have joined a group of girls on Facebook who are creating workouts that are both challenging and really switching it up with the lighter lifts and higher reps. I love it though, and can already tell a huge difference just in the first week.

My diet is pretty much the same from day-to-day: protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats. I eat a lot of the same things, but try to switch it up here and there, since I don’t want my body getting used to any one things. It’s hard when you’ve cut nearly everything out of your diet (I’ve been eating gluten, dairy, egg, corn and shrimp free). It’s actually been going really well. For those of you who think you could never cut all that out, I assure you that it gets easier with practice. When you feel so miserable whenever you eat any of that stuff, cutting it out is the most rewarding option. Plus, all that clean eating really helps with the cutting weight and healthy lifestyle.

I’ve also signed up to be a Beachbody Coach. I’m loving it so far! Although I’m still trying to get my follower count up. So if you’re interested, follow along on my journey through Facebook, Instagram and WordPress! Oops, nothing like a little self-advertising on my own blog, right? Haha.

Love Life

….what’s that?

I attempted this chat app. Which I suppose is a lot like online dating. And it sucks. One guy pretty much catfished me (really funny, now that I look back on it — I didn’t even know what that was until I started talking to a person on that app and they told me to Google it). I went to the Blake Shelton with another guy on Friday night. Talk about awkward. The drunk older women in front of us made a big deal about this “first date”, but by the end of it, two of them pulled me aside at separate times to advise me not to go on a second date with him. I had already planned not doing so before we even got to the concert, as I had “friend-zoned” him about three weeks ago. This probably makes me sound like a douche, but I really just wanted to see Blake Shelton, and figured it was as good of time as any to give this guy a chance. Thank goodness for the concert and the hilarious entertainment around me, otherwise I would have been miserable. After the concert, I met up with another guy I met on the app (who happened to know people I know, so it wasn’t quite as awkward). We sat outside by a fire for a few hours just chatting, and I thought it went fairly well, but I haven’t really heard from him since. So, guess that’s already finished.

I realize now why I have never liked the concept of dating. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and disappointing. But, at least now I can say I gave it a go, right?

Adios

I’m fairly sure that’s all the news I have at the moment. I’m sure there’s more that I will think of as soon as I post this, but oh well. I’m going to try to post more frequently, as every few months really isn’t enough.

I’m off to finish grilling dinner (we ran out of propane, so dad had to run to the gas station) and then stuff my face. When all else fails, my love of food does not.

Happy Sunday, loves! xx

Mother’s Day Weekend.

What a nice, good weekend.

I spent Friday after doing what I now can’t quite remember (darn you early onset forgetfulness!), then I met my mama at the gym after she got off of work for our workouts. After that, I headed home to make some dinner – GF pizza for her, leftover grilled chicken with asparagus and a sweet potato for me. As soon as I had gotten out of the shower, a friend text me and invited me to join her and some friends to see Ironman 3. However, I’m not a huge movie fan (not to mention I haven’t seen Ironman and Ironman 2), so I planted myself on the couch and watched/helped the girls play games (my mom and sister were playing Apple-to-Apples and Headbanz with my nieces and two of their friends). I was quite content.

On Saturday, I woke up early for breakfast and devotions before I was off to the gym for some cardio and core. Kali, the new trainer, kicked my butt in her core class. But I completely enjoyed it! After a quick lunch and shower, I set off with mom and sis to get some grocery and dress shopping knocked out. Chesterfield Bottoms, Whole Foods and West County Mall on a Saturday afternoon – not our best plan! But we accomplished everything we set out to do, and when I got home, I threw together dinner (while helping put away all the groceries, I might add) before heading over to Kory’s for a relaxing night in with friends. I absolutely love nights like that. Nights where you play cards, take goofy pictures and stay up just talking, laughing and joking – it’s such a good time. By the time I got home and took a shower (I knew if I waited, I wouldn’t get one before church — oh the perks of living with a ton of people!), I didn’t get to bed until nearly 2:30am!

Sister

Sister

Luckily, I was wide awake at 6:30am on Sunday morning to start my busy day in the kitchen. First up, GF banana nut pancakes, eggs and bacon for a small Mother’s Day brunch! Then a cake in the oven for sister’s 21st birthday (a very drunk Barbie cake) and a GF apple cinnamon streusel coffee cake for mom (and me!). I got the girls and myself ready for church, decorated the cake and managed to prep a bunch for dinner before we headed to church. It was such a great sermon. Pastor spoke on how we don’t see ourselves as clearly (or near as beautiful) as everyone else sees us. What a much needed message! While out shopping Saturday, this young girl who was passing me stopped to say, “you’re really pretty, just so you know” – it completely made my day! It’s amazing what a simple compliment can do! I suggest you look for an opportunity to compliment someone today, as I promise you, it will make their day a bit brighter.

Mama Bear

Mama Bear

Mother’s Day with the family went off without a hitch! Well, unless you count the strawberry sauce that fell and broke, leaving glass all over the floor. Or the grill that kept going out because of the wind (I love/hate propane). Or the million other little things… but I didn’t let them get to me. I grilled, set up dinner, washed all the dishes, cleaned up after – all so my mama could enjoy her day (which she did, btw). By the time everyone left and I sat in the recliner, I was exhausted. I passed out in the chair at 8pm!

Next up…

Now, it’s a glorious Monday morning and I’m feeling so very blessed. I’m off to work on internship things before heading to an interview, a chiropractor appointment and the gym.

I may not be where I was expecting to be by this point in my postgrad life, but I know that I’m right where I need to be, right where God wants me. I’m working on being content where I’m at and living in the moment, rather than being so wrapped up worrying about the future. Let me tell ya, it isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.

I’m going to try not to disappear.

But I’m already drowning under chapters to be read, terms to study and summaries to complete.

I’m liking most of my classes so far, it’s just that they all require so much work. I’m hoping to find a weekend to visit Sam in Springfield and fly out to Vegas with Liana, but things are looking slim. I’ve decided that I’m not going to obsess over working out. I’m going to do it when I can, I’m going to eat well, and I’m going to keep working on my weight loss goals, but I will not stress myself out if I only get 4 half-hour workouts in a week instead of 6 hour long ones. I will be proud of myself for accomplishing what I can while maintaining my GPA, learning at my internship, working on weekends, planning Alpha Chi events, going to church, seeing my family and keeping my apartment from looking like a tornado hit it.

 

We’ll see how that goes.

 

I really love blogging for fun though, so I’m going to try to continue with that.  However, I’ve already seen my Facebook and Twitter activity slow though, so this could be next. So, if you read my blog, try to bear with me as I trudge through my final semester as an undergrad!! xx

Peace and contentment, oh how nice to finally meet you.

I am never content. EVER. I have this feeling that I always need to be doing more, seeing more, being more. And I’ve never been able to just live in the moment that I’m in.

Until recently.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with a lot of emotional baggage left by some jerk and feelings of self-worthlessness thanks to a bit of weight gain after a few accidents. But I’m putting all of that behind me. I know who I am, I know what I stand for, and I know what I want. Well, I mostly know what I want…I kind of usually just wing it. But I have a good, general idea of what I’d like to do in the next few years, and that’s good enough for me.

I’m finally figuring a lot of things out. I’m finally finding peace of mind. I’m learning to have faith. I’m learning to trust in the Lord. I’m learning, my God, am I learning.

I couldn’t do it without my amazing support system. My parents are everything. My parents pay my school expenses, they help with bills I can’t make when I don’t get enough hours, Daddy takes care of all my car’s needs, Mom listens to me rant and ramble and rant some more. They are seriously amazing. And I honestly have no idea where I would be today if it weren’t for them.

I have a handful of friends that I can truly count on. And to someone who has lost so many people throughout life, it’s the most wonderful feeling. To have friends who know your strengths and your weaknesses. Friends who know when you need a hug or when you need to just be left alone. Friends who offer support and encouragement, but kick you in the butt when they think you need it. Friends who teach you patience and self-control. Friends who push you to be better, because they know you can do it. Friends who let you beat yourself up for a bit, then tell you to pull up your big girl panties and get on with life. These are my friends, and I couldn’t have ever asked for better ones.

I’ve been seeking the Lord more. I’ve been spending time each morning in devotions, reading His word and praying. I don’t want this to be another “phase” in my walk. Where I start devotions and going to church and then get busy and backslide out of it. Never again do I want to be of this world.

This is a time in my life where I’m content, and I’m happy. Nothing is going to take that away.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Best friend, I’ve missed you so.

You know that feeling you get when you finally get to see someone that you haven’t seen in ages? That feeling of happiness, mixed with excitement, mixed with about ten other different feelings?

Try a two and a half year time span since you’ve last seen this person. Then, consider the fact that you never really “ended” the friendship, you just kind of fell away from each other. Add in a wedding you purposefully missed, deleting them from Facebook, a few new friends and life lessons, and then toss in a baby, then you might have an idea of what I experienced today.

Walking up to that hospital room, I was shaking uncontrollably and my heart was racing so fast I could feel it outside of my chest. I didn’t know what I was getting ready to walk into. When Tim opened the door, he had the most confused look on his face. When he told Lindsay who it was, I instantly heard the surprise in her voice. I’m sure in a million years she wouldn’t have imagined me showing up in her hospital room at 6pm on a Friday night, especially when I hadn’t even spoken to her in over two years, minus the two birthday texts I sent, because I could never not tell her happy birthday.

She welcomed me with the biggest smile and open arms. As cheesy as it sounds, it was comfortable. It was exactly where I was meant to be in that moment. It went a hundred times better than I could have expected. I figured she had to have hated me after the way I just dropped her so long ago, after I had ignored an invitation to her wedding, after I had never tried. But at the time we had stopped talking, she got caught up with her now husband, and did what she always did when she got a boyfriend, she ignored me. And I did what I do all-too-often, I got hurt and I turned that hurt into bitterness.

But I’ve grown up over the years, or so I would like to think that I have. She’s been on my heart for weeks now, since before mom told me that she had seen Linds at church a month ago. But I wouldn’t text or call, or add her on Facebook, or stop by. I fought that tug in my heart, but I didn’t know why. I kept fighting, because that’s what I do. With her. With Paul. With Jodi. With Hannah. With Aaron. With everyone who has ever hurt me. I shut them out and I harden myself to any feelings I have towards them, in order to not get hurt again. Honestly, it’s pointless. Not having the people who mean the most to you in your life hurts no matter how much you try to shut it out. And so I’ve decided to mend the friendships I can and move on from the ones that I can’t.

I’ve realized that I have a handful of truly amazing friends. Ones that I know will be there for me, 110%, whenever and wherever I need. I have Lindsay again, who will always and forever be my very best friend. I have Samantha, who I can always instantly fall back into step with, no matter how many miles are between us. I have Liana, who has been there since we were five years old, even though we spent years not being super close, she’s still always been there. Then there’s Greg, and without his wit and inappropriateness, I just don’t know what I would do. And finally, there is Sara, who I knew in high school, but have only had the pleasure of truly becoming friends with in the last few years.

I have a lot of good friends, too. Ones that I go out with, ones I work with, ones that I get to see often. But that handful of people right there, those are the ones who I can truly count on, and whom I would like to think can count on me.

Sometimes, I forget to stop and count my blessings. Sometimes, I forget to thank God for the amazing people he has placed in my life. Sometimes, I just forget how incredibly lucky I am.

No more though. Not anymore.