27 June 2016

One More Step in the Journey

Every time I go through what I feel like is the lowest low I've ever experienced in my walk with God, I, somehow, a few weeks later, come out of it feeling stronger than I've ever been before. And today, it's time to tell you about the latest in the series.

Hope you enjoy the ride. ;) So, where did this latest low start...

The week after summer break started. I was alone, stuck inside my own head with all my faults, insecurities, and twisted thoughts. I kept things bottled up -- I tend to do that, though you wouldn't think it from the state of this blog. ;) See, until resolution comes, I deal with my own thoughts.

Me and God, that is. But this time, the latter wasn't a part of that equation.

In those weeks, I felt like I just kept learning more and more about God's holiness... and more and more of my own depravity. I sunk deep into a self-made prison, all the while screaming for God to help, to pull me up... but... He just, didn't. And I couldn't understand why.

My heart was so heavy, my mind so cluttered, my soul so dark. I felt isolated.

So there I was. At the lowest low, the tipping point, the bend in the river...

And then this weekend, something changed.

First, God spoke to me, taught me something that wasn't condemnation, and I finally felt a slight sense of peace. The turmoil my heart had became numb to lessened, and a piece of my broken spirit clicked into place somehow, somewhere deep within.

Another day, another click.

I slowly loosened my grip on the shriveled bits of self-confidence I had been clutching to so fervently, and let them go. I stepped out in faith in a few, small ways. I truly and fully gave my decimated self to God, and asked him to put me back together the way He wanted -- because, quite honestly, I was at the end of my rope.

Another day, another piece clicked into place.

Not all at once, but bit by bit, the pieces of my true identity in Christ were put in their proper places. Truth was poured into me from all different angles, until one last drop brought my cup to overflowing -- and there they came, coursing down my cheeks: salty drops of hope, joy, life.

With those tears, peace returned to a different me from five weeks ago.

A good different -- the kind of "different" that only comes through struggling and wrestling and crying and holding in there even when nothing "feels right." The kind of "different" that is not for the faint of heart. The kind of "different" that defines those chosen by God.

The kind of different that feels like sore muscles. A good, meaningful kind of hurt.

To (kind of) sum all this up...

These past five weeks have been really, really hard.

I've been a total and absolute mess. God made me come face to face with some hard truths and some dark places. He dragged me through it all -- and He dragged me out the other side stronger than ever. Growing pains? For real. But growing pains are good. And that's why, now,

I'm okay.

Thanks for asking.

How are you?


P.S. This video is just a little thing I created last week with some footage of that thunderstorm I mentioned earlier. Something of a creative outlet, as well as a creative exploration of God in relation to a thunderstorm.

02 June 2016

On The Topic of Invisibility

Talking about my invisible illness (crohn's, IBS, UC, or whatever exactly it is I have -- I was never given an official name) seems kinda taboo. Yes, it is embarrassing. It is a weakness. But it's also something I have to deal with every stinkin' day of my life. So, seeing "Crohn's Disease" trending on facebook today made my heart skip a beat, because seeing someone dealing with something much worse than me shout out to the world what she has to deal with... well, it made me want to shout out to the world what I have to deal with.

So, let me tell ya about me and my invisible illness, because its effect on my life has been pretty extreme. First of all, it has hindered me from so many opportunities I would have loved to experience (missions trip? not even an option). It has turned some fun times into disastrous experiences in mere seconds. It has made me struggle daily against living in fear of it. It has also made me the best person to ask where the nearest restroom is. ;)

But I thank God daily, because it's only by His grace that I didn't end up just like that girl who made Crohn's trending. He gave me my mother, who knows about nutrition and naturopathic methods, so that instead of having my entire gut removed, I have to follow a very limiting diet. It's tough, it's embarrassing, it's sometimes socially isolating. But I would choose not eating ice cream over having a bag attached to my stomach any day of the week.

With all of that said... I wouldn't trade my invisible illness experience for anything -- because it has brought me closer to God than anything else would have or could have. When just getting through a day of classes and work is trying, I have no option but to rely on God to help me through. And that's the beauty of an invisible illness, I think. When God's the only one around who knows what's going on, you learn to become very reliant on Him -- for strength, hope, and perseverance.

Friends, I pray this further knowledge won't make you view me any differently, but that it will just serve to deepen your understanding of my character and why I am who I am. Because, at my core, I'm just like you -- a sinner, saved by grace, fighting through a trial God has allowed, to become the person He wants me to be.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and God bless. ^_^