Throwback Thursday

20 June 2013

It's that time of the week again!!
I know I didn't post a throwback last week because I was busy and it got put off.
However, I am back with one this week.

This throwback is not from many years ago, but rather from just about 2 years ago.
It comes from my freshman year of college.

We are quite an attractive group at 3am aren't we? Lol!
This group of awesome ladies pictured above is roughly half of my freshman dorm floor.
There are about 15 or so of us (most of which are pictured) that still hang out on a regular basis.

These ladies are some of the most awesome friends I could have asked for during my first year of college.
They have been an amazing support system on the good days, as well as the bad.
Collectively as a group we have been through all kinds of things.
In individual groups of 2-4 we have gone through numerous trials of all kinds.
I have had the opportunity to room with two of the lovely ladies in the above picture.
And this coming year I will have the opportunity to room with a couple of other girls from my floor, although they are not pictured above.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He put us all together on one floor that first year.
He has given us awesome friends! Sisters for life!
I got the blessing of not only rooming with 50 awesome ladies my freshman year, but getting to room with 10 of those awesome ladies my sophmore year.
There are 8 of us that will be living in the same apartment complex next year.
There will be many others visiting on a regular basis though, so that number is just those actually listed as living there.

I am so blessed to have connections with all of these amazing sisters in Christ.
While we have all grown and done our own thing, we have supported each other and come alongside each other throughout it all.
I have lived life with so many of them and shared some intense heart to hearts with a handful.
These ladies are some of the most amazing people I have met at college!
Sometimes I wish I could go back and relive some of the crazy, silly moments just because.
Yet at the same time I look forward to all of the wonderful memories we will make in the future!

God brought us all together for a reason and while I do not know in whole what that is, I have seen Him in so many of my interactions with these ladies.
Many of them have had a huge impact on my walk with God, most in very positive ways!
I could not have asked for a better group of Christ following sisters to share my college years & many beyond with.
They are a blessing to me on a daily basis and I thank God for them daily!!

Crying...Screaming...Or Something

19 June 2013

This is me.

When I get upset or something really just hits too close to home, I close up.
I turn myself off emotionally and almost completely mentally as well.
I put up walls to keep people out because it hurts too much to talk about all of it.
So I just sit there and think through it all.
I process it slowly and in my own time.
In some cases I even find myself dwelling in something because I get so lost in thought I can't get out.

People always make it seem like I should be having an emotional breakdown or something. Yet I don't think that that is the right way for me to handle any of it. This whole thing with putting up walls and shutting down is something that has been a survival mechanism for me. I started using it during 5th & 6th grade and I have just perfected it over the years. Sometimes I am able to use it more effectively than others and some people (although only a few) have gotten to know me enough that they can see through it. Yet despite these factors, I often find that this is my best survival skill. This often includes putting on a smile and saying things like "I'm fine" or "Everything is good" in order to make people believe me. Sad thing is...people rarely see through the smile and semi-false statements. It can make things difficult, but I have to remind myself that it is only difficult because I make it that way.

While this has been an easy way to get by without having to deal with emotions in the presence of others, it has also become a hindrance to my roles in my church and in ministry in general. So much of what we do as a church is relational and that means that we are sharing our lives with others, both the good and the bad. That whole shutting down thing can kinda put a dent in that whole relational part of everything. I am good with talking with them through their issues and problems, but I don't find it easy to share anything beyond the surface of my issues and problems. I try not to deal with the emotions around others, but building relationships often times means that I need to share emotions with others even if it is hard for me.

And let's not sugar coat it....It is very hard for me to deal with emotions around others. VERY hard.

It always has been. I won't say that it always will be because with some help from family, friends, and God I can learn how to share those emotions with others in a positive way. It is something that I have been working on in the last year or so and something that I will definitely be continuing to work on this summer. The fact that this particular issue of shutting down has been pointed out a couple times now is what really has the whole issue on my mind. It is a very prevalent issue right now in my life and I am trying to figure out how to fix this habit.

I know that God will help me get to where I need to be in this area and while it is most likely going to be a rough road & a struggle, it will be worth it in the end. His plans are always better than our own. I know His plan likely does not include room for me to shut down and hold all emotions inside of myself. He wants me to build those relationships with people and that means that I have to be real with people. This includes being real about how I feel about different things and situations.

Have any of you dealt with this issue? What helped you get past it? How have your relationships with others changed since you became more open? In what ways has God helped you in this area or how has He worked through you despite this issue?

Daughter to Father

16 June 2013

I dream of another you
The one who would never 
Leave me alone to pick up the peices
A daddy to hold me, that's what I needed
Daughter to Father,
Tell me the truth, 
Did you ever love me?

These lyrics by Lindsay Lohan pretty accurately describe most of my feelings towards my 'father'.
There are many more things that I feel towards him, but these are some of the basics that really just hit me on holidays, especially the holiday that everyone is celebrating today.
I find myself wondering why he didn't care enough to be a part of my life.
Yes, he did live in the house but he would go to work, come home and eat dinner, then go to his room and shut the door.
By the time I hit middle school I was in many cases afraid of this guy called my 'father'.
I learned that the best way to survive the outburst of anger and the throwing of random items was to hide in my room.
I'd tuck myself away with a book and some music, then forget about everything and everyone else.
It become a mode of survival that became a habit.

All of the things I remember about my 'father' are negative.
I do not have happy memories that make me smile and laugh when looking back.
I have memories that make me glad that I am far away and have no connection.
I do not have memories of him coming to or supporting my sports events or theatre performances.
I do not have memories of him teaching me to dance or wiping away tears.
I do not have any of the happy memories that most girls have.
How do I know?
Because I have listened to my friends at school talking about theirs and sharing stories.
I find myself retreating or walking away when those conversations start.
I do not want to have to share the memories I have and explain the kind of person he was.
The looks of sympathy along with the comments are not helpful nor do they make me feel better.

Often times I find myself becoming angry when I think about him and the things he has done.
Sometimes I get so angry that I end up curled up in the ball on the floor with tears running down my face.
Many of these times I end up asking God questions about all of it.
Why did I have to have a father like him?
What did I do wrong?
Why didn't he love me?
Was there something wrong with me?
What made him think that what he did was okay?

Those are just a few of the questions that I end up asking God in those moments of anger.
I end up crying so hard that I physically hurt when I am done.
I have ended up going so far that I have caused myself a panic attack.
To say the least they are moments that I wish I could forget.

Sometimes I wish that I had had a father who actually cared about me and wanted to be a part of my life.
Yet at the same time I know that the lack of a caring father I have learned many lessons.
Some of these lessons have been good while others were not so good.
I have found myself searching for the things he didn't give me in other places and people.
A lot of my close friends were close friends as I have grown up have been guys.
I have looked to many of them to give me the things that a father should give his daughter.
They should not have had to provide that but I was in need and looked for it in them anyways.
The thing that I have learned in the last couple years is that there is someone who can provide it all.

God can provide all of the things my father didn't and so much more.
He is a better father than any earthly father can ever be.
He is my Heavenly Father and His attributes far outweigh those of an earthly father.
He is my Comforter on the bad days.
He is my Provider when I my supply is running low.
He is my Joy on the good days.
He is my Peace in the midst of turmoil.
He is everything that I need in any circumstance I find myself in.
And best of all, He loves me unconditionally.

There is nothing that I am in need of because I am a child of the Heavenly Father.
While I know all of this and am beyond thankful for it, I still find it hard to call God my Father.
It is something that I am trying to work up to.
For me there are a lot of negative connotations associated with the name father, therefore it is hard to try and put positive connotations with it to refer to God.
My past makes it hard but I am getting there.
It has been a hard journey but hopefully it will get easier one day.
I am broken but He is healing me.

Daughter to Father,
I know You will always love me.

Ithaca & Brooktondale

08 June 2013

Hey everyone!!
I am up in Upstate New York this weekend!
It was a little foggy this morning as I drove into town from the campground.
I'm glad I got to drive into town so that I could see this.
I only made the trek into town because I needed to connect with some WiFi to do some work for my internship.
There is WiFi at the campground but it wasn't working last night.
So i'm sitting in McDonald's in Ithaca.
I got my work done and am getting ready to head back to the campground.
I probably won't be able to post anymore until Monday sometime, but will definitely have more pictures!!
I look forward to sharing my weekend with you all!

I hope you all have a great weekend!! :)

Number 1 & Number 2

04 June 2013

Hey y'all!!
Sorry about being MIA the past week, week and a half or so.
I have been busy with the start of my Mission Internship with my church.
I have thought several times about writing a post but usually by the time I do I am too tired to do so.
So this post is going to be an overview of the past week.

Some of you may know that I am doing a Missions Internship with my church.
Well, the last weekend of May was the beginning of that.
I spent last week doing some prep work for the rest of the summer before the rest of the team arrived.
Andy also started the same time as me.
Everyone else arrived in town last Thursday.
We went to Aurelio's as a team with Pastor Chad & his family, as well as our Connection Pastor Kyle & his family.
We went over the basic rules & guidelines for the summer, as well as basic position expectations.
It was a fun night to get to know each other and hangout.
Friday we all left and went to Summer Missions Orientation in Steator.
We spent Friday evening hanging out with the other summer missionaries & getting to know each other.
On Saturday we had training, which consisted of several sessions of people talking about different aspects of being a missionary, leadership qualities, and discipleship practices.
It was a long day and we got restless by the end of the day, but we got to know a lot of really awesome fellow college students who are serving as summer missionaries across the state.

This is a group picture of all of the IBSA Summer Missionaries.
The seven of us our sort of spread out throughout the picture.
We got to talk with a lot of our fellow missionaries & I have to say that the above group is full of some amazing college students who really have a heart to serve God through missions.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a couple days with them!!

One of the highlights of the weekend was the spur of the moment jam session in the cabin lobby.
We had a couple guitars and a cajon.
One of the guys even had a small amp with him!
We played some random songs but the majority of what was played & sung was worship music or contemporary Christian songs.
We added our own twist to a few and they turned out pretty cool.
The jam session lasted a couple hours and it was definitely an awesome evening!!
To say the least, a lot of these college students are crazy talented!

Upon getting back the seven of us here have been busy getting into the swing of things.
We have done a lot of office work, which includes scheduling summer events, planning all of the details, and contacting the right people for everything.
I am working with Students (6-12th grade) along with Malik.
So we have been working on planning events for them and connecting with all of them.
We have really knocked out quite a lot the last couple days and I am excited for everything that we are working on!
I wish I didn't have to leave this coming weekend, but I know that Malik is going to do a great job of making sure that things get done and done well for our first big event of the summer!!

Overall it has been an awesome week with the team!
We have had lots of time to get to know each other and most of the time it seems as though we've been friends for much longer than this short week.
It is such an awesome thing to see how we are all working together and how God is already working through all of us both as a team and on an individual basis.
I have no doubt that this is going to be an awesome summer & that God is going to do some awesome things!!
I am getting more and more excited the farther we get into the summer!!

While I would love to keep writing about the amazing team that I am blessed to be a part of, I have to be up early in the morning, so I am going to end this post here.
I will try to post at least once a week with updates on what happens and hopefully some pictures!
But for now, Goodnight!!

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