So... What Now?

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So... What Now?

Wow! So the response to my last post was really amazing. Thank you to all the people who reached out to me to let me know that my testimony helped them not feel alone in their struggles! I knew God had a bigger plan for it, I just didn't realize how big. It's cool to feel used by God, I highly recommend it ;)

Ok but something that I DID get was that people wanted more. They wanted to know where I am now, what's happening with my walk with Christ... all your problems don't just go away right? WRONG! I don't want anyone to think my life has been anything short of interesting or easy since being a Christian. What's really changed is my heart.

I've noticed when your heart is at peace the hardest trials don't destroy you.

I'm 24 years old and I've seen and done so much. I've done an internship in Africa for 2 months, skydived, bungee jumped off of a bridge with Victoria Falls roaring behind me, gone on 3 mission trips (that number needs to CHANGE!), sat in the Devils pool, shot for Nike, helped shoot 2 fashion shows, I own my photography business, and help lead worship at a college ministry every Tuesday night. ALLLLL these things I like to call highlights. Ya know, the boasting, the stuff you put on a resume, the things people raise their eyebrows at...good conversation topics to bring up to validate that though I was a sheltered homeschooled kid I still hold my own. 

What no one sees is the mundane. You don't post on instagram "eating pizza for the third time in a row after waking up from my 3pm nap. And Yes, I'm still in my pjs." No one is IMPRESSED by that, no one thinks "Good Adulting" to that. We don't really broadcast our 9-5's we maintain in order to achieve our dream vacation, we don't broadcast our hardships, our money problems, heck...our eating out bill *monkey with hands over the eyes emoji*

 We broadcast the things that impress others, it's just good marketing. 

So when I was asked, well WHAT NOW? I wanted to come back with all my trophies and put them on a table to say - "THIS! This represents 2014, isn't she a beauty? This one represents 2015 and all the amazing things that happened! This one, oh man IT'S SO HEAVY, this one is a bad boy. This one represents everything I'm PERFECT AT!" 

HA!

Yeah right. So that's why it took me a couple of days to write this one. I had to search and ask God," Well.. what now? What DO I do now? What's the happy ending?" And like so many other times I've asked God a question there was a silence. Usually when this happens, my first reaction as a millennial with everything I need at my finger tips, is annoyance. "You're gonna make me wait and watch aren't You?" Yup. And I'm still waiting and watching for the really deep answer to this question...which I have a feeling will be revealed to us both as I continue writing.

God knows we want to do something grand in our lives. We want to leave a legacy, we want to leave a footprint in a block of cement that others come to and say - "*your name* was a legend, what a inspiration, I hope I'm like *your name* one day." We all long for a purpose driven life that sets the example for others to BE purpose driven... showing them how to have life to the fullest. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

I've found that my answer to "what now" lives in my daily walk and molding with Christ. Incredible statues come out of a lot of chiseling, a lot of paint, a lot of molding, a lot of perfecting. It's not done overnight. Our "what now" is what we should ask God everyday as we walk in obedience with Him. Notice I'm not saying "what next" We have a lot to deal with in our daily 24 hours, and God could be wanting to use you this day, this hour, this moment to share the Good News, and help someone out of the grave they're digging. But the way we really do this is in our day to day with Christ, which is why it's so important to have one on one time set aside for just you and Christ. 

Do we still sin? Do we still struggle? Do we still completely mess it up? Yes. To all of that. And you wanna know why? Because this isn't our happy ending yet. I don't have a high note to end on, because guys I'm not ON a high note! I'm enduring this life as I  would run a race. I will not ever stop running to His finish line no matter how many mountain tops or dark valleys I go through. Our "what now" answer is never fully answered until our last day has come and we are HOME because that is when we will be made complete.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I have been fully known - 1 Corinthians 13:11-12
 

 

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My Redemption Song

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My Redemption Song

Whew ok. So lets begin. My testimony.

For anyone who's doesn't know what "testimony" means, it is your story to date that has brought you to know and love Christ as your Savior. I was brought up in the church, I've been going to First Baptist Church of Windermere ever since I could remember and now I'm on their staff as their Digital Storyteller, so if you ever visit, yes. That IS my face on the screen haha!

I grew up in the church, I was homeschooled with Circle Christian School, and I've never moved from my comfy little house in College Park. Some like to call that "sheltered", and yes I agree with them. I was sheltered. Something I'm actually grateful for when I look back...I wasn't rushed into the evils of this world even though they could still reach me in the cracks of my life, because this IS a fallen world... and as I sip my coffee in remembrance of where I've come from, I'm smiling cause this is gonna get good.

This is about to get really personal.

Evil has a way of seeping itself into any environment. At a young age I became very self aware, and very self conscious. My sister, who is only 18 months older than me, and I were basically twins in the way we interacted. We did EVERYTHING together. We did Tae Kwon Do, dance classes, shared a room, had the same "classroom", shared friends, went to the same youth group, and were basically on the same schedule until Amy went to college and someone got THE GOLDEN ROOM (yes Amy, it was a fortress in our head) If she's reading this she's probably laughing through a little bit of pain Ha! Anyways, Plain and simple - Katherine had always been skinnier than me. That's just a fact. And in my world, she was the one who set the bar in all those things I listed above. So I needed to reach the bar, I needed to mold myself to be a good replica of my sister, not because anyone thought I should, I wanted to. I looked up to her. I wanted to BE her.

This wasn't a mindset that was enforced by Katherine, my parents, or my older sister Amy, it just...was. Therefore began my descent to what would be a really long battle that I still fight. 

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive and Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

That verse sounds so NICE! And when I was struggling in how I saw myself, this verse along with some others about being fearfully and wonderfully made, sounded SO NICE. But in all honesty? It. Did. Not. Help. Me.

 I lost a lot of weight at 9 years old because I couldn't fit into Katherine's pants anymore. (Yes Kat I've been stealing your clothes since 2001) I decided to stop eating candy, desserts, I stopped drinking soda, and had honestly a really hard time eating food without feeling sick to my stomach, cause I knew that FOOD is what makes you fat. 

If I was you reading this, I would now have gone to your social media account to immediately see the ending of the story. "Oh my gosh, is she fat or is she skinny I HAVE TO KNOW" 

Spoiler alert: I'M NEITHER. I'm in the middle. My pants are a size 8, I wear medium shirts (DEPENDING ON THE STORE CAUSE NO ONE IS CONSISTENT UGH), I only have 3 parts of my body that are described as "tiny" and those are my hands, my feet, and my waist. LOL. I am literally normal. Something I couldn't see for a very long time. So like a couple of my pictures on my instagram and fricken get back to my story.

Jesus had been my friend, but not my Savior. He had been this "Revealed Mystery" to me. As if I had figured Him out and I didn't see a NEED, just a...I'm struggling to think of a proper word....I guess a constant presence that didn't need to be dived into. (Dive? Dove?) 

I had the upper hand with Jesus, I was doing precepts with my mom, going to church, in a christian school, and a steady home-life. I felt saved, but I hadn't really known what that even meant until a couple of years later. 

Until then I struggled with an eating disorder in my brain. No I wasn't bulimic, no I wasn't anorexic, but I can tell you right now I was terrified of food. Another topic that I'm going to hit is pornography, but for the sake of this post all you really need to know is that it is dangerous, it is addictive, and I was held captive to it by the age of 11 or 12. It did nothing for my self esteem and only sent me deeper into separation with God. I struggled with that addiction for about 3 years.

When I was 15, I remember my Mom having a lot of back pain that just never seemed to go away. I even remember seeing her fall down our steps before heading to the class she taught one morning and crying because I was scared that she was in pain and I could do nothing about it AND she just fell which made her pain worse. It felt like an inescapable cycle. She started going to the doctors who took MRI's and all that medical talk, and couldn't find anything. So they started decompression therapy. I don't know much about this cause I remember my mom saying it was REALLY painful, so I never really learned about it. To be honest, this whole year I'm about to describe is a HUGE BLUR. I was really shaken by the whole thing, so I kind of suppressed it all. 

Well one of the days she came home, she got out of the car and quickly told my dad to help her get back in, she could feel herself loosing ability in her legs. I remember seeing the ambulance in the driveway next to our house, and I was worried something happened to our elderly neighbor. So naturally I called dad, only to hear that it wasn't our elder neighbor who needed the ambulance, but my mom. We found out later that she needed emergency surgery that would leave her with a less than 1% chance of walking ever again and after running some tests, found out she had cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the valley feels like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can't do this. 

 

                       Is my mom dying?

             

                                                Is she going to live to see my life play out? 

                   

                                                                                                                  I can't do this.

 

Where do you run when the world is still turning, mocking you as you lay down in agony begging it to give you a moment, crying that gravity could JUST. STOP. PUSHING. You're fighting against the dirt that's being thrown on your coffin as you're screaming I'M NOT READY. 

We are His portion and He is our prize drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, if grace is an ocean we're all sinking - How He Loves by John Mark McMillan

I ran to Christ.

I could not do this by myself. I could not see my mom in a hospital bed and think He did this to her, I could not be bitter when I was so desperate for comfort. One rainy day I went to my window, put my forehead against it and silently let hot, built up tears stream down my face in defeat. "I give up. You can have me. I can't do this by myself. I give up. I'm Yours. Please take me."

This was more powerful than any prayer I had prayed, because I could feel the Spirit beckoning me. That verse way up there ^ actually meant something precious to me because I understood it. I could feel the entanglement of my addiction to pornography, my constant body struggle, my comparisons and pain fall off me as my broken heart was made whole. I saw the time we have with this life as just a speck of dust, because the REAL preciousness of life is in the preciousness of HEAVEN Who was risen from the grave on the third day while death was vanquished and sins were given atonement and we were offered a resurrection, so that death would only be a single MOMENT in the glimpse of eternity.

 

To the astonishment of the doctors, my mother's 1% chance of walking didn't scare God. My mom can walk because of the miraculous God we serve, not because of an amazing earthly doctor whom we are incredibly grateful for. Her cancer, multiple myeloma, is treatable. Though it remains a constant battle, it has and will not be a hinderance of faith. We believe that our reward is in heaven and that God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) We know that this cancer, this battle is here to further His kingdom, or for the refining of our faith, or even both because thats what James 1 teaches us.

I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about, the way He loves us

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Gotta Start Somewhere

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Gotta Start Somewhere

So I'm a "BIG IDEA, GIANT STEP" type of person and I thought this first post was going to be a professionally edited-like-those-youtube-stars video series.

WRONG. That crap is hard ya'll! But I'm learning videography now, so...that was a helpful push into the right direction...right? Well lets get to it. I'm 24 years old, I love and live off of my photography, no one can ever get me to stop singing, I love my boyfriend most (so there Vilius, it's in writing on the internet forever, so I win), I come from an all loving family, I love cool interesting fashion looks, and most importantly I live my life boldly and unhindered for Jesus Christ. 

On this blog I'm going to talk about my life in regards to all these areas and how they effect me, my heart in ministry, and just plain life in general. I think it's important for my voice to be heard in this world, and I'm excited to share it with you. So welcome, ladies and gentlemen. This is my business site as well as my personal blog, so you can definitely tell I'm still figuring everything out, but here I go. I'm excited to share life with everyone on the other side of the screen!!! After that, we conquer the world!!! Or maybe that's a giant step? #thenormalgirl

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