Monday, December 25, 2017

5 Gifts I'm Thankful for This Christmas

Merry Christmas!♡
Today we celebrate our Savior's birth. 
In honor of Christmas, I decided to make a post about the gifts God has given me recently. 

PATIENCE
God has tested my patience repeatedly this season. Whether it be through dealing with children's tantrums and their squabbles at work or wanting something that I believe will fulfill me in my own life, God has taught me patience through it all. Even though I have felt overwhelmed at times recently, somehow God has given me the strength to be patient with those around me as well as with myself. I can be very hard on myself being the crazy perfectionist I am. God has taught me to not be so hard on myself and to be patient with my anxious heart. 

HEARTBREAK
This one may surprise you. Who in their right mind would be thankful to have their heart broken? Even though I have gone through a lot of emotional pain recently after the loss of my baby cousin and relationship issues, He has taught me that there is beauty within the pain I endure. He has taught me to look for Him in these painful moments, to see His grace and mercy. I asked for healing and without me knowing it at first, He bandaged up my wounds. It will take time for them to completely heal but just knowing that He cares so much about my heart makes me ever so grateful.

PURPOSE
God has given my life meaning. He has led me to a career that I am so thankful for. I am going into the Early Childhood Education field and couldn't be more content with such a choice. He has given me a passion and love for teaching. I teach a group of dear four-year-olds. Perhaps things in my personal life haven't gone quite as planned, I am trusting that God has a purpose for my life. That He will use me in some way to help those around me. To use my gifts for His glory.

TRUST
My little students taught me so much about this. Their childlike faith and optimism encouraged me to put more of my trust in the Lord. They needed no help when it came to trusting God and I admired their beautiful innocence. It's no secret that trusting God has been a struggle for me. Trusting Him when I felt like He had betrayed me by not answering my prayers made me wonder if He really was a merciful, loving God. I questioned him repeatedly. I was angry that He didn't do what I wanted Him to do. I was upset that a merciful God could seem so merciless. Every day I asked for trust, and I began to lean on Him. I began to trust Him even though my future was not known to me. Though I felt alone, He was there. The fact that He would always be there for me no matter how large or small my problems may seem filled me with such peace.

PEACE
I am so grateful for this gift. It is so hard to find peace in such a busy, loud world. When I needed Him, He would give me this sense of peace that calmed my worrisome heart and my busy mind. I found this sacred peace within music, poetry, and nature. I took and continue to take long walks in a field in my backyard. There is a small, beautifully woven tree that can only be seen when I am deep in the field. For me, it is my symbol of peace. I first met this tree when my heart was only beginning to ache with the weight of life. I saw it in the distance and a small path leading to this tree had already been created. So I followed the narrow path and found myself face to face with its bare branches. The sun had begun to set and its light shadowed the tree into a beautiful silhouette. My eyes watered, I smiled, I felt a gentle warm within me despite the biting cold. That is when I knew everything was going to be alright.

Friends, what gifts have God given you this season?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Icy World // a poem

this world can sometimes seem so cold
leaving chills clinging to my bones
as I inhale ice into my lungs
and let them turn to stone.
my fingertips are a chilly blue
from all the pain they have touched
so I stuff them in my pockets
to warm the suffering they tightly clutch.
my eyes are glossed with crystal frost
telling me what to see
though it leaves blind spots with its pure snow
letting me see a filtered reality.
I live in an icy world
that snows each and every day
hoping that the falling flurries
will mask the spreading decay.
but ice has a way of melting
and letting buried secrets be seen
when the world is not washed
by its cold artificial clean.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Emotion 01: JOY

Hello, all! I decided to begin a new post series on this little blog of mine that is centered all around emotions. I really wanted to do something that would allow me to be creative with these feelings we have all experienced. There are so many emotions out there that we have felt and my artistic nature cannot resist making a place for these emotions to breathe and speak through photographs and words. This post series is a way for me to see the beauty and the heartache in the emotions I feel and appreciate them all by explaining them through my senses.

p.s. which emotion should I do next?

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

WHAT IT TASTE LIKE
rainbow snow cones
freshly picked peaches
lemon verbena lemonade
vanilla cream filled chocolates
raspberry cordial

WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
warmth that fills me up inside
snowflakes melting on my skin
clarity in a world of uncertainty
 quick heartbeats of excitement
the inability to stop smiling

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE
fresh chocolate chip cookies
the faint sweetness in the summer breeze
tangy orange peels
pastel, tangled honeysuckles
freshly cut lawns

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Heart vs. Body // Fiction

My heart beats wildly as I run into the dark blanket of night, but my body remains calm and subdued. My body sits in a red cushioned chair, hands folded in my lap, listening carefully to him ranting about the football game scores and how little I’ve accomplished while he slaved away behind his immaculate desk.
My body is frozen to this chair in a bright, happy house that feels like a prison, but my heart, it runs. It beats like the wings of a bird trapped in my chest; my hands clench, and my arms flay as I run and run in hope of escape. While my heart runs away, my body stays at home, mechanically washing dishes and folding things into neat, little squares.
My husband scowls at me as the fireplace shadows cast orange light onto his face. I painstakingly paint on a mask of happiness to hide my fears. I know he will bruise me, beat me, shame me like a frightened caged animal, but my heart will not be scratched or broken for it is deep within the forest running with freedom in the air where even he cannot reach me.
 In my heart, there is no plastic, fearful smile. Instead, I laugh a dark, joyous laugh, a laugh that some might call insane. 
All the while I am sitting in that same chair, not moving a muscle.
I scream, but no one seems to notice. Though my screams do not leave my lips, the acid from my despair lingers in the back of my mouth. My screams echo in my mind, bouncing off my skull never to be heard by human ears.
 I am the animal shaking in captivity in the corner of my cage hidden by expensive furniture and red, floral wallpaper that I did not choose.
 I am the wild beast that runs without shackles on its feet, dancing across every fear that used to crowd its lungs.
My body remains chained to this chair, but my heart runs further every day, threatening to pull me apart at the seams. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

let us live like dandelions
with veins like tangled roots.
when the ground feels safe
we let them sink into the earth
clinging onto brittle soil
and blowing wishes as the wind sways.
let our wishes travel 
where even the mountains cannot touch us,
breaking in our spirits like new shoes
and breathing in untainted air
that settles deep within our lungs.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I'm Not Okay & That's Okay

I have always tried to be real and honest on this little piece of the internet I have claimed as my own. So, I'll be honest with you, friends.
The beginning of my nineteenth year of life has been rough.
Though it has been full of hopes, dreams, adventures, and love it has also overwhelmed me like a relentless fast-approaching wave. Curveballs have been thrown my way, things I thought would last forever have fallen apart. Stress, worry, and anxiety have engulfed me in its dark waters. I am juggling two part-time jobs, being a full-time student, and having deep relationships with those I care about. And let me tell you, it has been so very difficult. I feel like this is my sacred place, this little blog of mine, to be real and let my emotions spill into these messy words.

I am trying to find peace again.
I used to know it so well, I used to feel it all the time. Recently, however, I have only felt frustration because too much noise and distraction has left me searching desperately for this peace. My heart is hurting. If you don't know me personally you probably don't know how empathetic I am, almost to a fault in fact. I feel the pain that those around me carry and it weighs heavily on me constantly. This, of course, causes me more stress and pain. There has been a recent, very young death in my extended family. It was devastating. I was so mad at God. Why had He let this happen? It wasn't fair. I prayed for a miracle and there was no answer. I felt the pain of those around me. It nearly swallowed me whole. What do us humans try to do when we feel pain? We attempt to ignore it, to numb our suffering so that we do not have to feel it anymore. Does this help? Maybe for a little while, but eventually we feel its sting again and this time it is stronger, more painful.

Ignoring our emotions only causes us to feel distant.
Ignoring the pain I felt made me push God and my loved ones away. It made me feel alone. But guess what my friends, it's going to be okay. Even in the dark and difficult patches of our lives, God is there. I'm sure many of you have heard the song "More of You" by Colton Dixon. It has been my anthem for life these days. The first line says, "I made my castle tall, I built up every wall. This is my kingdom and it needs to fall." For me, a big cause for me feeling stressed and distant is because the paths I thought God was pushing me towards are not the plans he has in store for me right now. I'm a planner, people. I hate not knowing what I need to do and where I need to go when it comes to God's plan or anyone's plan for that matter. But God sometimes calls us to do exactly that, to relinquish the control we so desperately hate giving up, to be okay with not knowing what the next step is but to trust that God does. It can be so hard to feel him, to hear him when the shadows of worry, grief, and stress swallow our air, our oxygen, leaving us gasping for something to fill our emptiness with something real, something sustainable. It can be hard to breathe when you are broken in spirit and worn in body and mind.

I know this because I am there.
I have been taking walks in a nearby field, listening to more music, attempting to regularly do my devotions, and reading my bible more often than I used to. I'm doing things that bring me peace. Am I okay? No, not right now, but I will be because I choose to focus on my faith rather than my fears. I choose to delve deeper into my relationship with God to ensure that I am spiritually strong before I try to help fix everyone else's problems. I choose to trust God even when I don't understand what he is doing or why he is doing it. Will this be difficult? Yes, of course, it will, but I have faith that I can.

If you aren't feeling especially okay right now, I want you to know that it is okay to not be okay. Maybe you feel broken, unwanted, hurt. Perhaps you have lost someone and you are questioning God's judgment. Know that this shadowy valley, these waves of doubt that crash into you, will pass. Know that God has a wonderful plan for you and those around you though it may seem so distant for you right now. Know that where there is pain there is always hope, there is always healing. No pain is too great for Him to remedy.

Thin Skinned

her skin was thin as wax paper,
pain soaked through her blue veins
and entered her heart,
filled her lungs
corrupted her mind
and made her bones shake.
she was a beautiful, fragile disaster
but people could only see the brokenness
and weakness
in her cold eyes,
but they didn’t see how she cradled
broken nests in the corners of her bones,
they didn’t see how she hid the broken bits of herself
in the shadows of her lungs
so that each time she breathed
her pain could be
made into oxygen
for the flowers to grow,
or how her ribcage
held all the frightened creatures
no one saw
her body was home for
the fragile,
the broken,
the weak,
and in her they found strength
they earned courage.
but people didn't see
that she was strong
even without thick skin
because she was able to let more life
into her heart.
she felt emotions
that others could only fathom of
but they didn’t see
that she was the strongest of them all
wearing the skin that could never
be callused by society's standards.