Believe The Truth Challenge (day 9)

A few weeks ago a dear friend began a challenge. She called it: #believethetruthchallenge

This challenge requires her to daily admit a negative thing, lie, or a self-critical belief she held, and then attack it with the opposite truth, and to share this on social media.

Sometimes we Christ followers refer to such thoughts or beliefs such as ‘I’m lazy’ as lies. Rightly so, as they are lies or at least misplaced perspective towards oneself.

I decided to join her on this challenge. I became aware very early on that this was not going to be an easy thing. Hence the word challenge. 🙃 I knew it would stretch me but I had no idea all that would be stirred. I quickly became overwhelmed and considered throwing in the towel but I have decided to follow through.

I recently realized some of these things would require a bit more than a quick Instagram post, and that brings me to where I am today.

It is no secret to anyone with fully functioning eyes that I could stand to lose more than a few pounds. My roommate’s daughter told me just yesterday in fact “Rachel you should lose weight.”

*warning side rant*

Why on earth do thinner people think it is okay to say that to a chubby person? Like losing weight is just some easy thing to do like they are just saying ‘Go to the store.’ Or ‘Walk the dog.’ Seriously do you have ANY idea how incredibly difficult it is to lose weight? You are talking about a many-year commitment and an entirely new way of doing EVERYTHING. Losing weight is not an easy thing, so shut up! 🔥🔥💥 Unless you are my momma or my doctor, shut your cotton picking pie-hole and mind your own business. 😤  Thanks. 👌🏼

Any way…

I am by all sense of the definition fat. I am fat. I am a fat person. It’s okay, don’t cry. Oddly enough I also feel like a fat person. Being fat is not only a physical state of being, it is also (as every woman knows) a feeling. I imagine the feeling is a bit worse when you actually are fat, but I digress.

I struggle with this daily, sometimes hourly. I feel as though I am not a human person. I rail against my body. I even have on many occasions and levels hated it. I have been disgusted by my body, revolted even.

The thing is though that’s not fair. My body didn’t force me to eat all those calories. My body didn’t force me to eat double quarter-pounders with cheese, buckets of fries, six chocolate chip cookies, and a milkshake on the regular. My body didn’t force me to lay around the house for 8 to 10 hours a day watching movies. I did all those things to my body. If hating should happen my body should be hating me.

God gave me this beautiful gift and I cookie by cheeseburger desecrated it. Are there extenuating circumstances as to why I became so morbidly obese? Yes. Are there biological factors at play here? Yes. Did I lose over 200 pounds? Yes. However that is not an excuse and it does not negate the fact that I made hundreds of extremely unhealthy, poor decisions. I treated my body like the nations treat our oceans. I repent.

Without my body I would have no home for my spirit and soul. I would not be me. My body has afforded me the privilege of experiencing the earth in all its wonder. My body (even in its broken down state) is a marvel. My body is a God-designed masterpiece, despite my efforts to ruin it. It is strong and resilient. My body is a miracle in many ways.

I have decided to stop hating it. I have decided to be grateful for it now. I have decided to see the beauty and glory God has deposited in it now the way it is, and not wait until it is in “better shape” to love and appreciate my body. My body is not perfect but it is a gift and I am grateful.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

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Gossip

Gossip… it is such a small word… six letters, yet it can destroy the world. It may not literally cause the earth to explode in flaming doom but it sure can feel like the end of the world and it can lead to the end of a relationship.

I have struggled for many years to define gossip. I am inclined to understand things and usually the way I begin that process is to grasp completely the definition of something. I have not found this to be an easy task when it comes to gossip. The bible teaches that gossip is evil and not to be done. It is pretty clear that the Big Nacho Eater in the sky finds gossip to be a deplorable practice. Because I am a person who cares about doing things that make God’s heart happy I want to make sure not to be participating in gossip. I fail at this goal all the time. All. The. Time.

I hear others say things like ‘I am woman so I like to gossip.’ ‘It is just so hard not to!’ ‘I like it, it’s fun.’ Okay that last one nearly made me gag, but honestly I have heard people say it. Men and women by the way. Ladies get a bad wrap for tongue wagging but I have known men to be among some of the worst gossips on the planet. I would dare say that it is a even split. I think that I might be able to write a book on this topic and perhaps one day I will, but that day is not today.

I shall return to the beginning. What is gossip?

When I was a teen in youth group it was explained as talking about other people in a way that is not true. Spreading rumors in other words. So I tucked that away and made sure not to do that. I didn’t spread, or continue to spread rumors. If I heard something about someone I would go to that person and ask them about it. That is where the trouble started. I thought I was not gossiping. I didn’t think I was doing wrong yet I found myself hurting people that I cared about. I have come to learn though that, that is not a true or correct definition of gossip. In fact that is a definition of yet another no no from the bible, (man so many rules!) and it is slander. Spreading rumors and lies about someone is slander. It is also very poisonous and destructive, but not gossip.

So then what in the world is gossip and how do I not participate? Where is the line between talking with friends about life and gossip?

Websters defines it this way:

noun

idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others

Hmm. Well that wasn’t much help. Thanks for nothing you useless reptile. 😉

As I have traveled through life there have been many times that I have been talking with friends and as we were catching up the conversation would go to the topic of others and I began to feel unsettled in myself. For many years I ignored it as I did with all of my feelings. In the last few years I have been intentional about not ignoring my heart. I have not encountered this scenario very many times in the last few years but there are two times that stand out.

One of the times was about three years ago at the beginning of my non heart ignoring lifestyle. A friend was sharing with me some concern she had for a family situation and shared with me her thoughts and opinions and conversations surrounding it. Later I was talking with another close friend and member of the same family and the topic came up. This person was sharing their hurt and frustration and I told them something my other friend had told me and boy did it cause a problem. Not only did it make an already bad situation worse but it deeply hurt my friend. I was not thinking. I was trying to help. I didn’t think that what I had done was gossip but it was. I could have destroyed a precious friendship. My friend forgave me and chose to still trust me after that debacle. When I think of the risk that she took I am amazed at her strength and grace. I don’t know that I would have been able to give the gift she gave to me to someone who hurt me that way. I don’t deserve her.

Another happened recently and after many restless nights I am still licking my wounds. A while ago I was in a situation where I was catching up with a friend and the conversation went towards a mutual friend. She began to tell me things so and so had told so and so and I listened for much longer than I should have. I began to feel a little sick in my heart and I steered the conversation away from that topic. Later I wondered why I had felt that way. Was it because that was gossip? Recently the person whom the information concerned shared with me the same thing and when I respond with the words ‘I know.’  the pain it caused him was palpable. I might as well have stabbed him in the heart with a flaming sword. It took him a couple of days to let me know how much that hurt him, and what he thought of it all. His words were… painful to hear. In fact they burned through me and my entire body grew cold. He was not unkind, and what he said was truth. Still it sucks to hurt a friend and to know that they have lost respect for you.

I never thought how either of my friends would feel about what I listened to and what I said. I never thought about how any of the people I have listened to other people talk about would feel.

 I have come to realize that gossip is discussing anything about another person that does not edify, honor, or support them. True or not true is irrelevant. Talking about another persons failure, indiscretion, ruin, health, or personal business is gossip. The only person’s failure, indiscretion, ruin, health, or personal business you should be talking about is your own.

If you are about to talk about someone put yourself in their place. Ask yourself if I were them how would I feel about this topic being talked about? Would it hurt you? Would it make you feel uncomfortable, or bad? Don’t say it. Also ask your self if it edifies, honors, or supports the person. If it doesn’t then don’t say it. When someone asks you how a mutual acquaintance is doing make sure you only share things that honor the person. If you can’t think of anything then say ‘You should call them up and ask yourself.’ These questions would have helped me to avoid both of these situations and countless others that came before them.

I wish I could take back the hurt that I caused by my ignorance, I wish I had not failed my friends, but I have learned form both of those failures. I hope that I can be more sensitive in the future and live as a better friend.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

Life.

Life. 

Life is beauty.

Life is wild. 

Life is pain. 

Life is healing. 

Life is love. 

Life is fear. 

Life is adventure. 

Life is dark. 

Life is fast. 

Life is still. 

Life is glory. 

Life is defeat. 

Life is birth. 

Life is lost. 

Life is found. 

Life is beginning. 

Life is ending. 

Life is winning. 

Life is risk. 

Life is feeling. 

Life is breathing. 

Life is joy. 

Life is lonely. 

Life is full. 

Life is empty.

Life is sweet.

Life is thrilling.

Life is hollow.

Life is abundance.

Life is desire.

Life is  bitter.

Life is a dream.

Life is grand.

Life is a moment.

Life is eternal.

Life is a nightmare.

Life is bliss.

Life is free.

Life is hard.

Life is a gift.

Life is a choice.

Life is a flicker.

Life is a flame.

Life is an ocean.

Life is a dessert.

Life is a supernova.

Life is a dance with the Divine.

Life is a journey.

Life is a destination.

Life is living.

Life is dying.

Life is giving.

Life is taking.

Life is loving.

Life is a symphonic masterpiece.

Life is art.

Life is learning.

Life is holding.

Life is letting go.

Life is…

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

Words.

I was talking with a dear friend about words. Words are powerful. Words are more than mere mutterings, and they are more than symbols on a page. They are so much more. Words carry a lot of power. With your words you can literally mold your future.

Now I know what you are thinking; ‘Oh great she has jumped into the pool of coocooness and gone off the deep end!’ , or maybe; ‘Well that sounds like a bunch of poop. I am going to stop reading if she doesn’t start making sense.’ Well hang on a minute bear with me.

I have read many accounts of people who have said very specific things that seemed absurd and those things happened. For example I read about a father on the east coast who had a daughter that lost her ability to walk due to a car accident. He would often say, “I would give my right arm for my daughter to walk again.” One day he and his daughter were traveling and were in another accident. After all was said and done his daughter somehow regained the feeling in her legs and walked again, and he had lost his right arm in the accident. Spooky. Also I read about how Jim Carey would sit at a look out point in the Hollywood hills and picture millions of dollars coming to him. He did this when he was broke and his car was practically falling apart. He nor his car are no longer broke, and he continues to be one of the highest paid actors in tinsel town. What is the point am I saying? Am I saying that if I sit and visualize living on the moon someday I will live have a vacation home there? Maybe. What I am really poking at though is that words are powerful. What ever you say is what you life will look like. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” -Proverbs 23:7

Do you think to yourself ‘I can do this. I can do anything I put my mind to.’ Do you think, ‘I am a looser. No one likes me. I am not special, or talented.’ Do you think, ‘I am a failure. Things never work out for me.’ Do you think,’Everyone who meets me loves me. I am an amazing person.’ Whichever of these things you think you are right! Do you think you are the most freaking awesome person ever? You are right! Do you think you are the worst and no one really likes you? You are right! Do you know that happiness is a house you  and YOU alone can build?

Image result for happiness cartoon i made it myself

God gave us an amazing amount of power. When we join our life with His the amount of power is extravagant beyond human understanding, but all on our own with just the basic amount of pull He has endowed us all it is mind boggling. We have free will. He made us to be the master of our little pocket of the universe. That is what life is. When you were born you were given a small pocket of the universe to steward, shape and influence.

I don’t know about you but for most of my life I have been entirely oblivious to the glorious privilege that I have been given. Life is just… well life. I exist and I often take that for granted entirely. I never really thought about the amazing blessing that not only consciousness but life on earth actually is. Even when life is hard, even when life is pain, it is still devastatingly radiant. I have only lived about of a third of the time I will likely travel on this planet and it has already been one swirly, lovely, adrenaline laden, self expanding, mind bowing journey. I have been in some dark places in life, and I have also been in some overwhelmingly luminous ones. I have tasted, touched, heard, smelled and seen incredible things. I have loved, been loved, created, destroyed, traveled, been stationary, taken, given, hurt, healed, shrank, grown, sacrificed, risked, blessed, been blessed, read, learned, taught, listened, spoken, remained silent, roared, succeeded, failed, fallen, soared, climbed, slipped, fought, won, lost, breathed, and held my breath. I have made friends, and I have lost them. I have been present at the beginning of lives, and at the end lives. They are both filled with wonder. I think that as I stand here in the middle of my third decade spinning around the yellow star we call the sun my toes touch the threshold of an awareness that will forever change me.

God has given me many gifts. They are seemingly common. All people have them. I have the gift of words, time, choice, and life. I have for a time my own pocket of the universe to shape and influence. Within that pocket are all the people that love me and that I love. Also in the pocket are people that I know and know me to one depth or another. Every single thing I choose to say and do whether to myself or to them effects all of those people in some way or another. Even if I choose to stay in my house and never speak to anyone that effects people. I have realized that in life there is no such thing as a sure bet, or a safe one.

I have also realized that whatever story I tell myself is what I will live. If I tell myself I am no better than excrement and have nothing of value to offer than that is how I will live and everything I say will reflect that world view. If I hate myself everything I say and do will be mingled with that blackness. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” -Jesus

If however I learn to love, value and speak kindly to myself, and forgive easily my short comings that light and warmth will spill out of me as well. If I fill myself with the thoughts and love of my Maker how much more will I live? “I have come that you would have life, and life more abundant!” -Jesus

I have experienced abundant moments but I have yet to live an abundant life. I want that. I want abundant life. God has been showing me that all great change begins with small easy changes. For me the beginning of my trek towards abundant life looks like receiving the finished of the work of the cross, and changing my words. The Master of the universe gave me the life of His only son. It is not acceptable for me to say any destructive words about myself. It is not acceptable to hold myself hostage to any of my past sins. They are forgiven and that forgiveness is complete. It is not acceptable to tear and rip my self-worth apart every time I stumble or get stuck for a bit. It is not acceptable to pour poisonous words into my mind and heart about myself. All that God has for me is love, all He has for me is good. God is good. God is love. I want to be more like Him. He made me in His image and I need to be restored to a pure sate of that refection. Words are the beginning of that restoration.

I am a child of God. I am the child of the King of kings. I am loved. I am accepted in the Beloved. I am whole. I am filled with power. I am a child of God. I am not anything less.

Change your words, change your pocket of the universe.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

Image result for galaxies

 

Full Circle

Just Wait and See

 

sky

Life is an interesting journey. Things have a strange way of coming full circle. I have no idea how that happens sometimes. I mean seriously it is mind boggling! I would love to be less vague but I cannot at this time justify doing so. Just trust me. Mind. Blowing.

I got to thinking about God because well, He’s awesome so why wouldn’t I think about Him? Anyway I was thinking about God, and I realized that He always wins. I am sure that this is not an earth shattering revelation however it is true! God always wins! Even when it looks like He is loosing or has lost somehow He changes things and wins!

So today I was on my way to return a movie to the Redbox and I was nearly creamed by a truck the size of Jupiter. Seriously it was massive and blue. I drive an Altoid tin on wheels (also blue) and if that tank sized behemoth had stuck me I would have been a pancake. Her F350 would have barley had a dent, my Yaris would have had many. Those little cars save on the petroleum but boy howdy do they damage easy! I would know. Trust me. Not only did I somehow defy the laws of the universe and not become a watermelon in Gallagher’s Sledge-O-Matic line up, BUT when I slammed on my breaks there were no cars behind me. None. It is the third of July. Just that is a miracle. She saw me and floored it as slammed it and we missed each other. As I accelerated back to my normal 55 miles per hour I saw a herd of cars approaching behind. It was quite a thing. Through the process of all this blood pumping excitement the audio cable that connects my phone to my car radio snapped in twain. *insert weeping face* Bummer.

So I went to return my shiny little circle to the big red box and as I passed the electronics department I thought I would spy the cable situation. A very nice gentleman directed me to the place I needed to go. A replacement cable was only five bucks! Done. I got it to the car and realized it was actually better than the one that had just broken! Praise the Lord. You see? Even when we loose God works it for good and we win! Yay!!

Now I understand if you don’t quite see the connection I mean a tiny audio cable situation is nothing compared to the loss of a car, home, job, marriage etc you can’t possibly compare them, but you would be wrong sir! The principles of the Kingdom of God are transcendent! Woman what are you talking about? I will tell you! I mean that they apply across the board! If God can turn the audio cable debacle into a blessing than He can do that with anything big or small. Why? How? He is God of EVERYTHING!!! He is the God of all of creation from Cains Majoris to the Higgs-boson. He knows it all. He made it all and He is in it all. God is good. He never ever does anything bad ever, so even when the bad things happen God redeems it. It is His nature because He is GOOD! Jesus is the largest most in your face example of that. It looked like He lost big time and God made that the largest victory of anything ever! Jesus rose from the dead people! In doing so He changed everything forever. He paved the way for His bride to return to where she was always meant to be. We (humans) are His bride. We are meant to be by His side. Jesus is our Redeemer and our Redeemer lives!! We are redeemed! We live in victory! Even when it looks like we lost I promise you it won’t stay that way.

I promise if you feel like you have lost, if you actually have lost something, if you are in the depths of sorrow and you have no idea how things could ever be anything but awful, and dark and poop it will change! Lift your eyes and see your Redeemer lives! Things will suddenly shift. You will look back one day and weep with gratitude. You will look back and see that He was always there doing what He does, turning defeat into victory, evil into good, ashes into beauty, and death into life. I promise. I can do this because I know He won’t ever fail. He will not let me down. He never has and He never will.

People like to ask “Is there anything that God can’t do?” Usually they ask this because they are being a pill and trying to get a rise out of a person but I digress. The answer to the question is yes. There are some things God cannot do. God can’t lie, fail, leave, abandon, kill, destroy, steal, or be evil. God is a good father. He can never ever be a bad one.

That is how life comes full circle. God’s goodness. God’s goodness is the driving force of the universe. Eventually all this stuff will be nothing but beautiful. Just wait and see.

-R.

 

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2016

Lessons

Life has been changing a lot lately, and also staying the same. I have been struggling through some difficult things. The end of a relationship. Valentine’s Day. 😒 The wedding of a dear friend in Hawaii, my first plane ride, and all sorts of other big things are happening. Needless to say I am feeling all the feels. ALL of them.
I have been uninvolved in ministry for a year and a half now. The longing to return is strong and deep. I ache. I feel the call tugging at my heart, pulling me back in that direction. I can see it off in the distance but it is still it is not close enough to touch, I want to lunge at it, but I feel the gentle pressure of my Daddy’s hand holding me back. I hear His voice whisper “Not yet. There are still lessons to learn.” I SO want to rush ahead and just get there already. I want to jump back in so bad! I feel ready to join the team I miss so deeply. I am longing to share what I have to give, and do what I was made for. The struggle is very real. Like really for real, real.
There are all sorts of big things happening for some dear friends and I am so excited and grateful to see it, but I am also very much on the outside looking in. It would be so easy to feel left out. In fact it is really hard not to feel that way, and sometimes (despite my best efforts) I do. I sometimes find it very hard not to feel sorry for myself. Can you relate? I mean honesty, sometimes it seems like the universe is just set up to make self pity impossible to avoid… or is that just me?? I am learning through that I am not a victim of circumstances, instead I am the master of them. God has placed His royal authority upon me, and I have the ability to reign in life. I can also choose to wallow in sorrow and be a victim of life’s splenetic fashion, or I can rise like the warrior princess that I am and choose joy. I can choose peace, truth, and love. I can choose to stand in the authority that being a child of God affords me, and speak to the mountain and sculpt the terrain of life with the faith rooted in my soul. I can stand firm and having done all, stand. This (like many things) is easier known in the head than lived out.  This is the kind of thing one must know both in head and in heart.
There has more than one occasion that has come to test this knowledge. You see this thing, that thing or the other would happen, and I would find myself starring down the barrel of a well traveled train of thought. I heard very familiar words echoing in my head and reverberating through my heart…
“They don’t need you.”
“They don’t really like you.”
“They don’t miss you. In fact they would be better off if you never came back.”
“You weren’t good enough before but now you are oceans below par.”
“You are all washed up. You missed your chance. It’s too late.”
“No one really wants you to come back.”
“You are a disappointment to everyone who knows you.”
“No one really even cares about you.”
“You can’t do anything that is important or special.”
“You have no more songs to sing. Your voice is too loud anyway.”
“Other people can write much better songs than you.”
“You are a failure.”
“No one cares what you have to say, they only listen because they are being nice.”
“You have missed your chance.”
“Give up.”
“No one really knows you, and if they did they would not look at you the same way.”
“Just leave. No one would care.”
For a moment I stood frozen on the tracks . I stood staring at that train of thought, of self loathing, pity, and hatred coming right for me. I held in my hand the ticket to ride that frequented train, then I did something new. I stepped out of the way, tore my ticket to ribbons and let it go right on by without me. The next time something happened that gave me a to ticket to ride that train I was much quicker to step out of the way. I am not going to ride that train of thought anymore. I am not a victim of life’s cantankerous moods, I am a child of God. I matter to Him.
I have come to realize that I need this time of tension, this season of wanting to return and staying quiet. It is so important. The really cool thing is that now I see how crucial this time is for my heart to completely heal. I need to see big exciting things happening without me in the middle of them. I need to know that my fiends are my friends outside of ministry, and that they still want to hang out with me just because they like me and not because they need me. Really they don’t need me. I had the privilege of being along side them in life and I took it for granted. My friends are amazing and I miss chasing dreams and bringing heaven to earth with them. The thing is though, I need to really experience what being valued by others is like when I am not doing a darn thing. I need to learn how to genuinely celebrate that God is doing big things for others when it has nothing to do with me. I am learning that when I see a long dearly held dreams of mine happening for someone close to me it does not threaten the possibility of it happening in my life. You would think after going to so many weddings alone for so many years I would have learned this by now.
I also now understand that this tension is the only way to untangle my identity of who I am from what I do. I am not what I do. I am not what I give. I am not how well I sing, write, pray, or give someone a timely word. I am not ministry, and I am not my church. I am not a human doing. I am a human being.
I am the daughter of the Most High. I am a child of the Mighty King of all kings. I am not what I do. I am a child of God. I don’t need to fear being replaced. I am the only person God made like me. (Can I get a hallelujah?!) Sure other people can do the things I do, and they can probably do them better and you know what? That is okay. My value CAN NOT be rooted in my talents and intellect or my ability to be “the best”. The world is positively saturated with talented brilliant people because every single human person is made in the image of God. God is magnificent! Hello?! I mean how can people not be amazing??!! Being threatened because someone else is awesome is such a huge waste of life. I can’t allow my self worth and identity to be founded in my gifts because other people have the same gifts, but NO ONE gets to have the connection and relationship with Daddy God that I do. No else gets to have the love story I have the the Great Lover of My Soul. Only I feel what happens when Holy Spirit moves in me. The Love of the Father is where my identify and value need to be planted . My relationship with my Father is the only safe harbor of my soul, not my abilities, talents, or how much I am missed when I am gone.
Though this process has been hard and has had more than its fair share of dark nights of the soul, I have learned that God is my source, strength, comfort, fortress, shield, safe place, teacher, lover, provider, and shepherd and so many other amazing amounts of goodness. I have also tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord. Man! He is so good. God is love. God is good. God is faithful, and God is there. God is always, always there.
If you feel God beckoning you to go where you have never gone, please trust Him. I promise if you stay with Him you won’t regret it.
I was terrified to let go of ministry, I was afraid of being left behind, forgotten and replaced. My fears were not true. They were stories I told myself because I had no idea who I was. I would have missed out on such rich deep goodness if my feet had remained on the track of self loathing, pity, and destruction. Sometimes letting go of something can be tremendously scary even when it is killing me because it has become my sense of normal. Self hatred is not normal. Constant fear is not normal. Thinking that everyone is secretly upset with me and just waiting for me to mess up so they can get rid of me is not normal. That is bondage and it is deadly! I had no idea how bound I was. I thought I was doing so good, and I was but I had some deep wounds that just weren’t healing right.
When I was nine I got my face kicked by a teenage boy and the impact broke my nose. When my nose bone healed it healed crooked. Now I have a slight breathing problem at night and sometimes snore. Also I very easily get sinus infections because of my nasal passage being a little off. In order to have that problem fixed I will one day have to allow a physician to once again break my nose. I know that a broken nose is one of the longest most painful healing processes. It was over a year before my face felt normal. I know one day I will have to face that pain again, but it is the only way my broken nose will ever truly be restored.
This process has been like that. My soul has experienced a breaking and it has been good. It has not been easy, or comfortable, but it has been worth it. I may want to rush ahead but I have learned to trust God’s no. Even His no is good. So good. My soul is still healing. God (the greatest physician of all) is watching to make sure as things heal they are all lined up.
He is a good good Father and I know that I am His daughter and nothing will ever tear that from me.

image

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2016

Midnight

 Sometimes things do not turn out the way I want them to. Sometimes things don’t go the way I hope. Sometimes things happen that just plain suck.

Life has been rough for me lately. In fact 2015 was not a stellar year for me all around. It began and it ended with deep gut wrenching heartache. There was quite a lot of it in the middle too. I have been in some of the lowest low points I have ever been in… ever. I have made some really bad decisions. I have made some very tough decisions. I have suffered some big losses. In fact the person I was at the beginning of this year would at this point be throwing in the towel on life right about now. The person I am now though is not going to do that.

Some things in me are very different than they once were. I do admit I feel the familiar tug of self pity knocking on my heart’s door. However the person I am now knows better. For example I now know in my heart that in spite of how things may appear right now God is on my side. God is for me, God is fighting for me, and God is on time. I also know that even though I have suffered loss I am not a loser. I am not alone. I am not destroyed. I am not less. I am not desolate.

Sometimes life kicks me in the teeth. That is just what happens when living life in an imperfect world. This year life has kicked me in the teeth many times. Some of the times I brought the kick on myself, and sometimes I didn’t. The strange thing is that it still feels just as horrible when I brought it on myself as when I didn’t.

After this year I could go on and on about all the wrongs done to me, all the failures and defeats. I could lament and wail about the injustice of it all and ask, “why me? Why do I have to suffer on top of suffering?!” If I were to go into details I am sure most people would sympathize and understand why I would lament so. Oddly though, I have no desire for lamentations.

Do I feel all perky and awesome inside right now? No. No I do not. Even so I feel at peace. I feel loved and deeply grateful. God loves me a lot. God is looking out for me and saved me from certain and utter destruction. I have amazing people in my life who really, actually, really for real love and cherish me. Those people are looking out for me and are standing with me and are willing to go to bat for me if I need them to. I am surrounded on all sides but such real extravagant Love.

I will exit 2015 as I entered it: single. I will however exit 2015 much much differently than I entered it: single but not alone, single and deeply loved.

I may not have someone to kiss me at midnight, I may not have someone to make plans for the coming year with regarding a future together, I may not be planning my dream wedding in 2016, but I am not broken up about it. I have so many people who love me and, unlike at the beginning of this year, I see and hear them now. I may not get a smooch tonight, but I know that someone (probably more than one) will hug me at midnight, say I love you to me, and they will mean it. That is real, and it is more than enough. I am grateful.